This week I’ve been tuning in to my social media networks, and having an ongoing conversation about the need for focusing 100 percent on our health and wellbeing. We’re only born with one brain, one heart, one stomach, and one body. Yet we abuse the heck out of them. Let’s not even go there with the other organs that we neglect and mistreat.

Shouldn’t we take care of them? We usually think about them when we’re in excruciating pain or facing hospitalization. We think about mental health when we see someone else suffering with issues.

How can we achieve goals, visit far places, and spend quality time with loved ones—if we aren’t here to enjoy all of it?

Stress is nothing to play with.

Let me correct that. Bad stress is nothing to play with. Good stress, like winning the lottery, competing in a game (or sport), or having sex—those are pretty cool experiences. Bad stress, that comes from trauma in our life, like: injury, illness, death, high consumer debt, crappy credit score, joblessness and homelessness (or the risk of either, or both), or anything else that causes our life to be so disrupted, that we can’t help but to think that it’s a sick, twisted joke—or somehow our punishment for being a fool in the past.

So, that means, a recovering workaholic like me—has to be mindful that although I have HUGE goals that I want to achieve, I need to be alive to successfully claim them. That means, being more productive with less hours in the day. I was experiencing too many bouts of burnout—and close-calls to the hospital—trying to maintain a 90+ hour work week. Last year, I actually thought that I was about to collapse and die. I was under so much stress, trying to deal with personal issues, my desires for my career, and not having the billions of dollars that I need to serve all of the people that I want to help. Okay, the last part wasn’t a stressor for me. I just wanted to lighten the mood. Did you visualize the billions of dollars? Good. So did I! But seriously, there were a few times last year that I was scared that I wouldn’t make it long enough to one day see my great-grandchildren. I didn’t think I would live to see 2019. I felt worn out!

Honestly, there have been some moments, this year, that I’ve had to tell myself to slow down, regroup, and get the heck out of my head. My mind doesn’t ever slow down. It never stops chiming in. My confidence began to wane—drastically. I felt depression trying to rear up and take over. It took everything in me to double-dutch myself out of the trap that was coming.

Children double-dutching in Chicago (1973)
Source: John H. White, 1945-, Photographer (NARA record: 4002141) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

I’ve recommitted to working out at least 6 days a week. I’m learning to say “no” to more people and to more things that will require more energy than I have to spare. I’m speaking up and sharing my reality, my pain, my fears—with some of my family members and friends. Not everyone can handle the load that you carry, so you have to be mindful of what you share and with whom. I learned that the hard way.

Something else that I’m working on, is accepting that I can’t rely on anyone or anything—other than God. For me, He is my absolute. There’s no doubt. There’s no question. He’s kept every promise made to me. I can’t say that about His creations. Go ahead, laugh. You know that was funny, and the truth. The only guarantees I have is with and in Him. No one and nothing else. So that is what I’m choosing to roll with. That way I can stop being disappointed when the dirty diaper hits the fan, and splashes all over me. I mean, isn’t that how it feels when life blindsides you? That’s how it feels for me. It’s a gross but effective visual.

Check Me Out. Chime In.

Check out my Instagram videos that I posted this week. Chime in. Let me know how you re-balance, decompress, readjust, and realign. How do you make the most of work days, when you’re bound to set schedules and small windows of time? How do you change your environment to clear your mind? How do you refocus, so that you’re not overwhelmed with the periphery, or with the stuff that you know you can’t handle or solve right this very moment (or no time soon)?

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I always get a little bummed around the holidays, especially Father’s Day, because my dad is no longer here to celebrate with. Since 2011 I’ve been forced to honor him strictly through words and memories, and it’s difficult some days to do so with a smile.

Yesterday, through social media sites, I honored my dad, grandfathers, and my sister’s boyfriend. I forgot to also honor them here. So before I do anything else today, I’m going to pause to honor these great men in my life.

My dad— wow, a few times a year I’m writing about him, so most of you who follow my blogs and social media posts already know a great deal about the man who helped make me the woman that I am. He’s in the picture above, embracing my mom on their wedding day. Their parents surrounding them. Sadly, my grandparents have also transitioned to their next spiritual promotion. I don’t know why, as a child, we expect everyone to live forever beside us—a phone call away. That becomes our expectation as we grow up, and we get disappointed each and every time someone transitions.

I’m grateful for the time that I had with my dad, 25 amazing years. Not as long as I had hoped and planned, but longer than what many children get to experience. Sadly, longer than what my sister got to experience. She was just a child. She had just graduated from 5th grade and was excited about her promotion to middle school. Then the devastating blow, that has since altered her mind and life.

My sister and I have our own experiences, memories, and lessons from our time with dad. I know that her recent blessing, giving birth to her son—my amazing nephew, Logan, has also given her another blessing—Logan looks just like her, his father, and our dad! Oh my goodness there are moments when your mouth just drops open and you hear yourself saying, “he looks like dad”. Like in the picture below.

I always wonder if the visual recognition, the familiarity, brings a sense of calm to my sister. I know it fills me with a calming light that keeps me smiling.

I don’t just think about my dad on holidays. I think of him daily. I replay his words of wisdom through my mental archive, so I can be more thoughtful of the decisions that I make. It’s like, “what would dad tell me….”

I also think of two other men, and my time with them—my grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather, I called him “Papa” (use your *Spanish accent* when you say it) transitioned when I was a child. I believe I was in 5th grade. That was rough on me. I wanted to learn so much more from him. I couldn’t wait until I was older so he could teach me how to sail boats and make replicas of the ones we sailed in, and how to make the beautiful wooden clocks that he and my grandmother built a business making. I wasn’t as close to him as my maternal grandfather. But it didn’t weaken my love for him. I remember helping to clean buildings and churches with he and my grandmother, as their company had janitorial contracts that I gladly helped to fulfill. I still have a few of the clocks that he made, including one that he shaped as the continent of Africa, for one of my Godfathers, who happened to be the General Counsel for an African country. My Godfather gave me the clock as a gift after my grandfather passed. I keep it hanging on the wall in my home so that every time I see it I think of my Papa.

My maternal grandfather, my “Poppa” (or “Paw-paw”), transitioned when I was a sophomore in college. It was a day from Thanksgiving, but not a day that we initially could bring ourselves to give thanks. To us, his asthma attack was a senseless passing that could’ve been prevented. We spent years in the mental state of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” until we eventually healed to be thankful for the time that we had with him, the lessons that he taught us directly and indirectly, and the words of wisdom that he imparted. I don’t see a vegetable garden and not think of him. He worked for a Ford Motors Corporation subsidiary, so when I see and think of Ford, I think of him. He bought my mom and her two siblings Ford Mustangs when they were in high school. I grew up wanting one. I convinced my now ex-husband, to get one, and he races it in amateur competitions. He even surprised me with a trip to Utah to participate in the Ford performance racing school, where I drove and raced Mustangs for a day (he went for two days). I felt my grandfather smiling at me. I smiled back. I felt such pride, months later, telling Henry Ford III about my grandfather. Through my then husband’s perseverance, he got to meet, know, and form an alliance— and eventually a friendship, with Henry and the company. I still of course have plans of owning my own Mustang. The love of Mustangs still runs deep with my aunt, my mother’s sister, who still owns one. She’s purchased probably 5 or 6 since receiving her first one from my grandfather, her father. In that way, that is one way for her to keep a strong connection to my Poppa. I never asked her if that’s why she keeps buying them. That should make for an amazing conversation. She subscribes to this blog, so I will get an answer to that pretty soon I suspect.

Now, last but not least. My sister’s boyfriend, Shawn. The father, daddy, and hero to my amazing nephew Logan and his big sister Giavonna. I’ve witnessed Shawn light up when he’s with his children.

He gets more time with Logan, because Logan lives with him and my sister. Giavonna lives with her mom, and although when they lived closer together, we used to see Giavonna on a consistent basis, her mom has relocated and the distance and time has grown. But that doesn’t weaken Shawn’s love for his daughter, his firstborn. Nope, he just plans for those days and moments that he will have to share with her. She looks just like her daddy. A spitting image. She always called me “Tee Tee Tasha”. That little girl will always be my niece, my precious sidekick.

There’s no denying that Giavonna and Logan are Shawn’s babies. Oh my goodness that man’s genes are strong. Last night I had the pleasure of video chatting with my sister, Shawn, and Logan. I got to watch Shawn and Logan playing. Their laughter was contagious. Then I was able to take a screenshot of them face to face. Logan staring in his daddy’s eyes.

I smiled brightly watching this precious moment— that a father has with the mini versions of themselves. No man, who wants to be in the lives of their children, should be kept away from them. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers. There’s no substitute for a parent’s love. That DNA is the magic sauce.

I’ve been filled with so much joy watching Logan grow and watching him cling to his male hero—his daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my grandfathers, and to the man who I’ve affectionately called my brother for a few years now. One day out of the year isn’t Father’s Day. Every day is. I love these men!

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful, amazing, powerful, and gifted mother and sister.

I absolutely love having you both in my life, sharing with you, loving you and being loved by you. I’ve dedicated and will continue to dedicate my life to loving, protecting, empowering, and uplifting this gang of ours.

My heart is full. 💖

My nephew Logan brings me a joy that is indescribable. Alex, you have done and are doing a remarkable job molding and nurturing him.

I will give his daddy, Shawn, his props next month, on his extra special day 😁

Happy Mother’s Day to two amazing Queens!

I LOVE YOU BOTH SO VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH 😘

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I enjoy being me. My life is blessed, even during the roughest of storms. I’m determined to see my life and myself through the lens of love and appreciation, even when I feel like crap.

Every now and then I want to make myself smile and laugh hysterically. The other day I decided to play with filters and overlays on Snap. Below are the results of my adventure. There are even two videos (at the end) of my silliness.

Lesson embraced: don’t ever stop having fun, don’t look to others to entertain or uplift you—do it yourself!

Hopefully this message speaks to someone who takes life and themselves way too seriously. If your stress levels are maxed out (or almost there), take a load off—lighten up with some self-love!

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

My oh my oh my…having the courage to admit our flaws, when we’re wrong, when we don’t know, and that we messed up…oh the agony of forcing that confession out for others to hear and realize. Daggumit it can be a doozy to the tenth power, especially if you’re as stubborn as I am—or more.

This morning I took the time to really pull back some layers and admit some things that I’ve passively admitted in the past, but honestly never took the time and required steps to fix, heal, and make right.

It wasn’t an easy process. It took me about 3 hours to really process and reflect my truths. It can be difficult looking closely in the mirror at self, looking at the things that you don’t like or that you try to mask from others. Unlike those external blemishes many people attempt to conceal, the internal ones are hard to mask and run from. At some point you’re going to have to face your demons, truths, and even your lies. Everything will have to be confronted. Everything will have to be revealed. The truth always comes to light. Nothing can remain in the darkness forever.

The only way to heal is for the yuckiness below the surface to be compressed until it has no choice but to rise up and get plucked, blotted, or drained out. When I had an infected wound from a second degree burn, the doctor had to scrub, scrape, and pull out the infected areas so that healing could take place. It was painful. I don’t have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn’t wish that pain on them. I felt like I was going to black out and die. The doctor apologized before, during, and after. He kept saying, “please don’t hate me” and I cried and kept repeating, “I don’t hate you. I know that you’re trying to help me!”

Looking at my inner self and how the negative and toxic things that I’ve said and done to myself and others has had a lasting impact, is something that hurts deeply. Today I had to really face some harsh truths so that I could really heal. Not that superficial healing, where the wound is tolerable because it’s better than it was. Nope, I mean that deep healing that is so complete that there’s barely a sign of a previous injury. That’s the kind of healing and wholeness that I want. I don’t want to walk around visibly wounded and clearly wounding others. As the old saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people” and I’ve been hurt through self-infliction and through the actions of others, but I’ve only made it worse by turning around and hurting other people—especially those that I love. How can I genuinely love you if I hurt you? The same is true in reverse. And just because someone hurts you through words or actions, it is our decisions that determine how much more hurt will be inflicted through our desire to retaliate. Are we truly ready to live with the painful consequences? Self-control is easier said than done. It’s far easier to try to control others. It’s also more pitiful.

Over the weekend, someone I love did and said something that hurt me. Yet, my lack of self-control made the wound deeper and far more painful. I lashed out, shut down, and dug my head in the sand to try to block out the internal voice of peace and reason that said, “just shut up, listen, and stop trying to control the narrative and outcome“. The more that I argued the more I hurt myself and this person. It hurts to type that. But it’s the truth and in seeking the truth we have to be willing to pull back layers that are ugly, smelly, painful, and difficult to tolerate.

You gotta go and grow to know.

So if you have a moment, visit my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog post for today. Maybe what I’ve shared can also help you or someone you know begin the deep healing process that we all desperately want and most definitely need. You don’t need to be Christian or even spiritual to connect with today’s message. It’s a message that digs past and beneath the ordinary so that we can reach and embrace the extraordinary.

I share this in and with love!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

This morning I was moved to read and reflect on this scripture in the Bible:

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. –Proverbs 16:18 MSG

I then began to write the reflection below followed by a prayer, that you can read in its entirety by visiting my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog. My message for today is lengthy but as it helped me to share it, hopefully it will help someone to read it.

Pride

Pride driven by ego is a dangerous weapon that always leads to self-inflicted torture. This form of pride should not be confused with being “proud of” overcoming obstacles or being proud of your children. That’s not the pride that causes crashes.

Pride, as referenced in the scripture above, is the manifestation of being so self-absorbed that you refuse to ask for help, admit that you’re wrong, admit that you can’t do something, etc. You could be struggling financially, spiritually, mentally, or physically yet you refuse to reach out for assistance so that you can struggle less or not at all.

This level of pride would allow you to leave a job or a relationship simply because you couldn’t see yourself letting go of the little control that you thought you had because you refused to be vulnerable, open and exposed with someone else. Not wanting it to appear that someone outdid or outsmarted you, you would rather uproot, disrupt, destroy, and walk away than to give in to the process that could bring peace, harmony, and restoration.

Ego says that you don’t need to pray to God before speaking, because “you’ve got this“. Ego convinces you to never surrender in an argument, to fight relentlessly to the end regardless of the collateral damage, and regardless of the fact that you could be and probably are 100 percent wrong. Pride says, “oh well if I am, you won’t get me to admit it”.

Strong people have a difficult time letting go and asking for help, and admitting that they simply don’t know or that they are weak in certain areas. Highly intelligent people oftentimes can’t fathom not knowing the answer to a question, having a solution to a problem—so pride will step up and declare all sorts of misinformation, distortions, and even blatant lies to mask the truth. Pride will sacrifice everything for self-image.

The ego doesn’t want to lose so pride steps in and cheats to win. To the ego the consequences of actions are meaningless or can easily be counteracted. The reality is there are always equal or greater consequences to the actions that we take, even if not immediate, they still come with a heavy penalty.

My Admission of Guilt

I’m guilty of letting my pride get the best of me. My ego can be whopper size and my stubborness to defend my position at all costs can and has left me severely injured and a lot of collateral damage along the wayside.

My pride has caused me spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial harm. My pride has caused damage to personal and professional relationships. Things said and done oftentimes can’t be reworded or undone. It’s usually set in and embedded so deep that your only options are to flee (pride) or work to make things right (humility). You have to be willing to surrender, admit that you’re wrong, and pursue the steps required to make right your wrong. The ego hates that. It digs deep into your gut causing you a pain that makes you feel like dry heaving (also known as “retching”).

In the late 1990s to early 2000s, my pride cost me my career, car, home, furnishings, and lifestyle. I hit rock bottom and had to humble myself to slowly get my face up off of the ground. It was a devastating blow. I was reminded that my priorities were off and that I was listening to ego when I was supposed to be listening to God. My pride was quick to blame others, but God quickly silenced me with the bold reminder that the decisions I made were done so consciously, so credit and fault rested with me. You can argue with God but He has time on His side, so choose wisely.

Pride stepped in and caused me much grief after my March 2017 divorce. Ego told me that I could deal with the trauma on my own, alone, and isolated. Ego told me that I could heal, recover, and rebound faster and better if I did it by myself, without help from anyone. The problem with that scenario is that you tend to also block out God’s voice and avoid seeing the blessings in the form of opportunities and redirection.

God speaks through people, but if you’re isolated how can you interact with them to hear His message? And sadly, because I’ve always projected myself to be “strong” and a “super woman”, others see me this way, so when I did reach out for help, friends and associates dismissed the level and severity of my pain and circumstances because in their mind, “Natasha’s strong, she’s got this,” but what in my past has ever truly prepared me for divorce?

In my past I’ve experienced gut-wrenching heart break, I’ve experienced extreme loss and numerous human deaths (all of which were untimely). But nothing has ever prepared me for the devastating blow that comes from divorcing the person that you planned to spend the rest of your life with. You’re not given a handbook or put through a training program before or during marriage that prepares you for divorce.

Church, family and society preaches “for better or for worse, til death do you part…” and with that your mind isn’t focused on the death of your marriage, your union, your relationship—but that’s what divorce looks and feels like for so many of us—death—and you have to go through ALL of the stages of grief to fully heal. My ego was even fighting that process. My ego had me to wear the mask of “I’m perfectly fine with this situation, it is what it is…” knowing that it was a bold and blatant lie. I wasn’t even an inkling of “fine” or a shade of “okay”.

I was in denial and the pain and frustration reared up and clobbered me in November 2017 and dragged me like a ragdoll through January and February 2018, and plopped me on a stump in March 2018 with my truths staring me squarely in my face. I finally got my head turned around and senses together so that I could sit up and assess my situation. That happened in April 2018. I had a tumultous 2017 and 2018 had some very painful stumbles, but it didn’t have to be so extreme, had I listened to and obeyed God instead of my ego.

For two years my company, Foreman & Associates, LLC suffered because I wouldn’t get the help that I needed personally so that I could focus on the work that needed to be done professionally. Because I didn’t protect and take care of myself, my business was punished. That collateral damage is real!

I’ve come to realize that it’s not one single thing or even a handful of things or circumstances that prepare you for life’s clobbering sessions. It’s the culmination of all of the times that you were beat down in the “boxing ring” of life, and you got back up. It’s all of the times that life beat you and you found yourself pinned against the “ropes”, trying desperately to fend off the hits and not get knocked out—yet you never looked to your corner begging with your eyes for your trainer to throw in the towel of defeat.

When I look at all of my failings, disappointments, heartbreaks, losses, and blowups, I can see how I would pick myself up and go through the necessary steps to rebuild. I can also see the times when I thought that a shortcut to healing and recovery would work better, and jeesh was I painfully wrong. I can reflect on the pain that I felt and still feel from loved ones passing away and knowing that I won’t see and hear them here and now as I did before. Selfishly I want them here.

All of those experiences have tested, strengthened, challenged, and refined me. All of those experiences made me wiser and more humble. And yes, all of those experiences combined have prepared me for the death called divorce and the rebirth that I’m experiencing post-divorce.

It’s the shedding of one layer for the growth of a newer and better layer. It’s going from the caterpillar stage to emerge as the amazing and graceful butterfly. It’s being less of who you were to be more of who you’re supposed to be. It’s opening yourself up to the possibility of loving and being loved by someone new and unfamiliar in a way that is pleasantly new and unfamiliar.

Divorce is not the end. Losing your job, car, and house is not the end. Those things and experiences are only pages or chapters in your life. They are not your everything. What will you do, see, and experience on the next page or in the next chapter?

Through God I am confident. Through God I love and am loved. Through God I forgive myself and forgive others. Through God I can let go and gain more than I ever imagined. Through God I have peace, joy, happiness, and comfort.

The opposite of all of that comes from choosing ego instead.

This Week…

I’ve been under a lot of stress over the past two months—tied to work and house-hunting. This week my anxiety flared up and reached a level that scared me. I had to meditate on being present and not focusing on the what-ifs of the future or the past. The unknowns of the future are irrelevant when you’re focused on the present, and you can’t change the past so obsessing over it is deflating and counterproductive.

That’s ego getting in the way. I have to learn to stiff-arm ego like a football or rugby player and slam it to the ground.

Today I’ve been presented with a test, an opportunity, to do exactly that—put my ego and pride to the side and instead focus on God’s plan for my success. Will it be uncomfortable at times? Yes, that’s why it’s called “growing pains”. Would I prefer the temporary discomfort over the long-term agony that comes from being ego-driven instead of God-led? I will take those growing pains so that I can be, see, and do what God has called me to be, see, and do.

Will I slip up and let pride step in from time to time? Yep, I’m sure that I will. It’s my go-to default switch when I’m being stupid.

What I pray for is God’s love to see me through, the discernment to know His voice above all others, and the courage to stand and quickly realign on His path.

Change Starts With You

We can counter our pride with humility. We can start by saying:

…I don’t know”

“...I have no clue what the answer is”

“I don’t know but I can try to search online for the answer or ask someone who may know…

“…I need help with _____”

“…That’s not my strength. I’m better at doing ____ but maybe I/we can find help through ____”

“…I’m sorry. I was wrong. I won’t do it again. How can I make things right?” (And then you work to make things right)

“…I’m sorry I was being selfish/childish/stupid…

“…You’re correct, I’m wrong…”

“…I can see your perspective and that it differs from mine, so how can we compromise?”

Do you see how making it less about you (ego) allows you to be whole, healthy, and complete with and through God?

Being flexible and fluid, like water, allows you to bend and consider more than your perspective—it allows you to discover that it’s not all about you, you don’t know as much as you think you do, you can’t do everything you set your mind to, and the world doesn’t revolve around you. And it’s perfectly fine that way. It should actually be liberating to no longer carry that baggage that you have been lugging like deadweight for decades. Let it go!

We have to decide if we want growth or stagnation. Do we want pleasure or pain? Do we want health or sickness? Do we want prosperity or suffering? Do we want to be right or do we want peace?

We are given the freedom of choice. Our decisions have lasting consequences. What will you choose to do today? Don’t concern yourself with tomorrow. What choice will you make today about how you will think, speak, live, treat yourself and others?

Lovingly,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

Happy 29th birthday to my amazing sister Alexandra. I’ve witnessed true growth over the years and seen as you transitioned from wild child to mother, boldly taking the responsibility of a mom with a warrior spirit. I’m extremely proud of you. I can’t believe you’re already 29.

Jeesh it feels like not so long ago you were knee high, trying to hang with your big sis. Time flies when you’re living.

Wow…the last year of your 20s. What bold steps will you take today and each day after to put a beautiful bow on this era, to gracefully walk into the next?!?

I look forward to seeing your shine, and baby girl you better shine BRIGHTLY for the world to see how blessed you truly are, and how bold and brilliant God truly made you! You are beautiful, brilliant, wise, loving, thoughtful, protective, nurturing, humorous, creative, and reflective.

You can be “Cali B” and whatever else to whomever else, but to me you will ALWAYS be my POONKA! I love you sis.

Let’s take a visual trip down memory lane…

It’s amazing how much you and mom look alike, especially as children. I swear that both of you as babies looked like Logan. Yet Logan also looks identical to his daddy. Man, both families have strong genes!

It’s awesome that you have remained friends since childhood and now have the opportunity to build stronger relationships as grown women!

What an adorable family. I love the three of you so very much.

Our family bond is unlike anything else in the world!!!

Well Poonka, I wish I was there to hug and celebrate with you. Know that I am, in my heart. Enjoy your day, week, month, and year.

Love your big sis,
Tasha

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman