What is amazing is that John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath in 1939 and it covered the era of the Dust Bowl, yet 81 years later I can see scenes of that past displayed in painful images and news reports today. If you don’t know 1930s US history, then let me give you a quick recap of what the Dust Bowl was all about and how I’m tying this into present-day.

Due to years of drought and improperly farmed land (due to high demand of rapid cultivation), wind erosion, and the influx of mechanized farm equipment a decade earlier, the unanchored soil turned to dust. That dust was whirled up by strong winds that swept huge billowing dust clouds throughout the panhandle of Oklahoma (northwest), northern Texas, northeast New Mexico, southeast Colorado, western and central Kansas, and a speck of southwestern Nebraska in the early 1930s.

More than 100 million acres were impacted by the dust storms, most of the states affected were choked off by dust for over four years, while some states were impacted for over 8 years. Tens of thousands of people were displaced because they could no longer farm their lands, pay their bills, and provide for their families. By 1936, the financial loss was $25 million per day, which is the equivalent to approximately $460 million today, according to the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis.

Families who had lived on their properties for generations, were forced to leave with whatever they could pack and load in their vehicles. Their houses and other structures were oftentimes bulldozed and destroyed. Since the banks now owned the lands because the families took out loans that they later could not repay, these families were left to be tenant farmers and had no claim to the land they once owned free and clear. Banks showed no mercy as they forced the families from their homes and off of their lands. Sound familiar?

My maternal grandparents were born and raised in Oklahoma, and were children during the Dust Bowl. Thankfully for them, the storms never reached their part of the state and they never had to leave their family’s lands. And although I’m a California native, thankfully when my parents and paternal grandparents moved to that state, the chaos of decades earlier had been a memory far removed. But maybe you can see another reason why I’m naturally drawn to the story, The Grapes of Wrath. Both sides of my family have been landowners and property owners for generations. Imagine making it past the Civil War and finally gaining a footing in this cruel country, to then be forced off of the land you bought and worked on. Just devastating.

Tens of thousands of people traveled from Dust Bowl states and migrated to California, because it was known as a state that survived the Great Depression better than most states. Individuals and families saw California as their second chance to rebuild and thrive. What they didn’t know was that Californians didn’t want outsiders and “foreigners”. The migrants were called “Okies” and this wasn’t just because many of them were from Oklahoma, it soon became a derogatory term to describe the level of disgust that Californians felt for the migrants. Yes indeed, people from other states were called foreigners, and they looked down on them. If you look at our country today, locals don’t feel cheery about a spike in their population due to newcomers. They start to fear a shortage in jobs, housing, opportunities, and space on the freeways and highways. They start to fear a spike in the cost of goods and services. Although they give the side eye, they aren’t acting out like we did decades ago.

Not yet at least.

If you read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck then maybe you recall the struggle and strife of the people and families impacted by the Dust Bowl. You should also recall how they were overlooked and taken advantage of by those in their home states who didn’t lose their properties, and they were treated considerably worse by people in California.

Those who made it to California were forced to accept scraps, beg for jobs, and be subjected to inhumane conditions. And back then, the Salvation Army had a bad reputation in California for mistreating the destitute. If the “Okies” protested what Californians were doing to them then they were beaten, arrested, and many were murdered. Yes, even law enforcement was in on the mistreatment. Sadly, the migrants watched as their campsites were burned down by locals who didn’t want “Okies” there. Locals didn’t want to compete with the migrants so they did everything they could to force them out of the state.

Californians drove wages as low as possible to ensure that the migrants couldn’t live dignified lives. They created a mindset where people would accept anything just to eat. They would work for scraps of food to keep from dying of hunger. To keep prices of their crops high, the big landowners in California destroyed some of their crops instead of letting hungry migrants eat them. This waste and cruelty caused a “crop” to develop and sprout in the souls of the migrants—which Steinbeck coined, the grapes of wrath.

The irony is, Californians were doing all of that to protect the land that they stole from Mexicans. Yep, California was part of Mexico, along with Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas until 1850, 1912, and 1848, respectively. How did this happen? Well, in the early 1800s, Americans were desperate and they decided to travel to other lands looking for opportunities for a better life. They saw ripe acres of land and they chose to become squatters. They built houses, planted on and farmed the lands, and eventually stood strengthened in the belief that the land was now theirs. Since Mexicans hadn’t considered that squatters would be an issue, they weren’t prepared for what ultimately happened—losing their land to immigrants who forcefully fought to remain on land not theirs. In 1848 Texas fought and became a state. In 1850 California became a state, and because they also fought hard against slavery, it was a free state as part of the Union. Arizona and New Mexico eventually gained statehood in 1912.

Now, fast forward to the 1930s with Californians “owning” the land, they saw their old selves in the migrants, and rather than being neighborly, they acted rabid. They feared losing the land the same way they got it. They feared the migrants from Oklahoma and other states, and feared that just as they squatted on the land and fought the Mexicans, that the migrants would do the exact same thing to them.

If this wasn’t so painful to examine it would be comical. This nonsense has been happening since this country was first stolen from Native Americans. Our inability to coexist, share, be content with what is allotted to us in a land where we are all foreigners, so we steal that land and it’s resources from the people who allowed us to come here. Then when newcomers arrive we tell them we don’t want them here, there’s not enough land and resources to share. All I can do is smirk and shake my head.

If you never read The Grapes of Wrath and doubt you will go buy a copy or check out one from the library, let me help you out. I searched on YouTube and found all three parts of the audiobook from two sources. Below are the links. Listen to the book. Listen and see how then, is in many ways, now, and now is then.

Audiobook Part 1 https://youtu.be/CzdoHqBhcdc Audiobook Part 2 https://youtu.be/3ofBuTMAtc4 Audiobook Part 3 https://youtu.be/0sjzwlkkLmg

This savagery, as I call it, is cyclical— generation after generation. We keep repeating this nonsense and we don’t see the need to stop and live right. We don’t see the need to treat others with dignity and respect, just as we would like to be treated. Greed drives it all. Big business keeps squashing the little person, banks keep getting bailed out even though they won’t do the same for their depositors, and the frenzy drives the working class into a state of sheer desperation and madness—where they too begin turning on each other. Sound familar? If only people learned how to unite against the status quo. That was a thread of wisdom that Steinbeck wove through the story, where certain characters would propose the concept of strength in numbers, and standing as a collective voice and force—but each time, fear would get in the way. Just like today.

In the book, people were prevented from buying land in California, and if it appeared there was an opportunity to purchase, the price would be set so high that the dream would quickly disappear. They would be forced to live in government and other campsites, with communal facilities, and unsanitary conditions. Today, how do we get the “undesirables” out of neighborhoods and communities? We raise the price of rent, we increase our police presence to get more arrests, we create or unfairly enforce rules or laws that target them, and we make the living conditions unbearable. That is also the strategy to keep people away.

I’ve read several articles recently about the skyrocketed cost of living in California and the staggering number of homeless who have no where safe to go. People with jobs who can’t afford to rent are being forced to sleep in their vehicles, in shelters, or on the streets. Just the other week I read of a tiny house community that was built to house the homeless. It’s ridiculous that this community even had to be built. If property owners reduced their rates on their rentals people could rent. If property owners stopped being greedy trying to sell their homes for way more than their worth, we could have more homeowners. But guess what? Between greed and fear, no one is budging from their position.

But guess what else? It’s not just California that has lost their mind with these ridiculous rate hikes. Have you checked the rental and sales prices of properties in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding cities? Absolutely ridiculous. There are some areas where you can still be mugged or carjacked yet the houses are being sold for $500,000 to $750,000. I’m not joking. Houses that once were $15,000 to $50,000 were remodeled and because some sucker (most likely from California, New York, or other high priced state) was willing to pay $350,000 or more for a property nearby, that encouraged other sellers to list their homes for comparable prices. All of this has been driving the market up, which means a bubble will be bursting soon, and people will be wailing about the injustice of it all when the property values come plummeting down to levels that actually make sense. We could stop these bubbles from growing in the first place if people stopped being greedy.

Everyone thinks that someone is going to take or destroy what’s ours, even when what’s ours isn’t rightfully ours. We keep living with a “them” versus “us” mindset, rather than realizing that we all want the exact same things in life, and given the opportunity we could all live side-by-side in harmony. We simply choose the chaos. When will we grow tired of this treachery? Share your thoughts.

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman.

The mind of a fool…

Does not trust what he can’t see…But trusts what he can see, even if it’s a LIE!

You claim you want freedom yet you choose your enslavement.

Stretch your mind. You are only using a fraction of its capabilities.

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

If you didn’t watch the Superbowl game yesterday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, then you missed an intense and well fought game.

Neither team playing was one of my teams, but I was crossing my fingers for the Chiefs. Yeah, my love for the Cowboys and Raiders just won’t let me cheer for the 49ers! 🤣 So yesterday was a great day in football.

Having Strong Vision

What I found amazing, now serves as one of the overarching lessons from the game, is that some people—including some of the commentators, were beginning to say in the third quarter, that the 49ers basically had this game in the bag—that somehow the Chiefs couldn’t recover from the point deficit. Which is odd, because we’ve witnessed in multiple games that the Chiefs have the grit to not only turnaround the odds, but do so in their favor. While the commentators and fans saw lack, the Chiefs saw opportunity. The Chiefs knew that the game wasn’t over until the clock read 0:00 in the fourth quarter.

While the commentators were saying that Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for the Chiefs, somehow lost his zest, grit, mojo, magic sauce—Mahomes was focused on inspiring his team and looking for opportunities to leverage, and capitalize on. He tuned out those voices and tuned in to his inner power.

Mahomes didn’t lose anything. He was challenged to try something differently. He was tapping into his other skills. I’m surprised that the retired NFL players commenting on the game forgot what that felt like, the processes they went through to dig deep and rethink strategy. We watched them pull their teams out of the trenches, yet in their vision of Mahomes they didn’t see their past selves.

Until It’s Over, It Ain’t

There’s the lessons: you don’t give up until the game, project, activity, race, or relationship is over. And you don’t let naysayers get in your head and convince you that you don’t have what it takes to win. Even if those naysayers succeeded or failed at the same thing you’re attempting. Get them out of your head. You need to dig through your toolbox of skills and keep working until you get it right, or fail trying.

Passion, Creativity & Innovation

Both teams were highly creative and innovative, but Kansas City simply out-hustled and outmaneuvered San Francisco. Passion wanes because you stop engaging and reinvesting in it.

How many married couples later admit that the passion died when they stopped sharing, dating and learning from each other? They stopped looking for creative and innovative ways to connect.

How many businesses go belly up because they stopped reinvesting in their overall experience for both the worker and the customer. The passion for the mission dwindles because you stop pursuing new and creative ways, and revisiting old ways differently. They stop reinventing and reimagining themselves.

For some people, the mind dies before the body does.

Grit & Tenacity

Through your grit and tenacity, you can knock down barriers, and cause your opponents to make mistakes and decisions that concede to your victory. Or you at least give them a hard-won fight to the end. But you don’t just give up at the first signs of adversity. Neither the 49ers or the Chiefs caved when the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor. They simply pushed harder or with greater finesse.

When the pressure mounts, get excited, because that means you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. You just need to find the right opening to get to the next level. If it’s super easy, then you’re in the wrong arena, the wrong stadium. You’re not playing in the Superbowl, you’re playing in a Pop Warner game.

Now, let’s look at more lessons from yesterday’s game….

Be Present

There were some key plays in the game where the Chiefs did the unexpected, and it worked in their favor. They didn’t belabor in the missteps, they quickly recovered, with a focus on doing better the next time. They lovingly pushed each other to get and keep their heads and hearts in the game. Being present with the current down, not obsessed over the previous ones. You can’t fix the past, only learn from it. Don’t repeat the past mistake. Don’t be sloppy and leave yourself open to future ones.

Your Focus Isn’t Everyone Else’s

After the game ended, Mahomes was interviewed and asked what happened, and why he hadn’t repeatedly thrown the long and powerful passes we saw weeks and months earlier. People wanted to be wowed and drunkardly entertained by mesmerizing antics. His team won the game but not the way people envisioned.

His response was exactly what I expected. He gave an answer that most weren’t expecting, because they were operating from a place of lack. Patrick Mahomes said, in a nutshell, that the 49ers have an amazing defensive team that made it difficult to throw long passes, and risking those opportunities would have meant that the 49ers would’ve won that game. He wasn’t there to entertain, he was there to win.

They are two of the best teams in the NFL, both there because of their amazing skills, and that meant it wouldn’t be a blow-out win for either team. They were gonna have to bust their butts and work smart and hard for that win.

Mahomes gave San Francisco credit for being a phenomenal opponent. He had to find a different way to take them down. He had to look for other opportunities, and not-so-obvious opportunities. He had to trust his coaches and team mates, and they had to trust him. His team members who play on offense had to present scoring opportunities while reducing the risk of turnovers. His defensive team had to find ways to keep the 49ers from turning every attempt into scored points, while also looking for opportunities to force turnovers in favor of the Chiefs.

That’s why we saw footage of Patrick rallying both the offensive and defensive players on the team, it required both to be in the collective mindset that they each have a role to play, tasks to execute, and responsibilities to self and team—and no matter what the score looked like, the words being screamed by fans and haters, or the commentary on television—do your job and don’t give up!

The quarterback is not just the leader of the offensive team, Mahomes is the leader of the entire team. Heck, he’s even an inspiration to the support staff and the water and towel crew who run around making sure players are hydrated and cared for.

What are You and Your Team Made Of?

There has to be harmony even during chaos.

Everyone’s head has to be in the game, and properly aligned. If not, it begins to impact other players. Energy is contagious. Watch quickly how it spreads, for or against a team. Watch it’s heightened state when victory feels imminent, and watch how it dwindles and drains when failure is perceived to be close in hand.

Yes, the Chiefs played and beat the 49ers, but their biggest opponent was their own team, their individual and collective mind. If they allowed their fears, mistakes, and setbacks to gain a footing in their mind, the roots would have grown and latched on, and they would’ve caved to the pressure.

They rechanneled the fear, frustration, disappointment, and anger. They recalibrated. They studied their opponent during the game. They studied themselves and each other. They communicated more and kept every person that was standing and seated on that sideline focused on the mission and vision.

That is why it’s more important to seek out team members with desirable character traits that align with your values, than just seek highly skilled workers. If someone’s heart isn’t in it then it will display in their work. If they aren’t invested in the same things you are, it will show. The Chiefs came together as one unit, one body, one mind.

The more that Kansas City realigned themselves, the more San Francisco would be thrown off by the realignment. Not by a great margin, but enough for the Chiefs to leverage it in their favor. That turned into a win that the team hasn’t experienced in 50 years. Kansas City has been trying 50 years to get a Superbowl win. Their head coach, Andy Reid, has been trying to win a Superbowl as head coach of a team, since he first became the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. He had no Superbowl wins there during his 13 years with that team, and until yesterday, he had 6 years of unsuccessful attempts with the Chiefs. That’s 19 years of trying but never giving up. Year 20 he succeeded. This is his second Superbowl win in his NFL career. Talk about grit!

Learn and Apply The Lessons

Learn from yesterday’s game. Apply those lessons to your personal, professional, and academic lives. That’s what I love about sports, you can see the mirroring of other aspects of your life. The principles are the same, they’re just set in different arenas.

Is what lies before you a failure or an opportunity? Are you going to give up and walk away, or look for a different way? If you fall will you get back up or will you just lie there like a rug, letting life pass over you?

No, you won’t win every game. No, your efforts may not lead to a Superbowl victory (or something comparable in your life). No, your relationship may not last. But what effort are you investing in the success or failure? What lessons are you learning in real-time to pivot and adjust? How are you getting wiser, stronger, and better?

Life unfolds based on your perceptions. Failing doesn’t make you a failure and winning is not a guaranteed repeated outcome, even for the winner. How many of you initially thought the New England Patriots were clinching the Superbowl title again this year, just because they did it last year? Welp, they were eliminated. But I can guarantee that they are strategizing how to reclaim their spot for next year. Just as the 49ers are. Every team in the NFL is focused on winning the top prize. Even in the high of yesterday’s win, the Chiefs want to win again next year. You’re a fool to think that they are satisfied with just one. It’s a laser focus.

What are you laser-focused on achieving this year? What positive moves will you make to achieve it? What junk and noise will you blot out? What naysayers will you ignore? Who will you embrace that is trying to help you succeed? Who will you inspire to help make the vision a reality?

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman.

As I sit here, some things come to mind…

Many of us live through other people’s experiences. We dislike and fear what someone else dislikes and fears. We ourselves haven’t experienced what they did, yet we embrace the feelings and beliefs as though they are our own. Someone else was harmed by another person, so now we dislike that person for the harm they caused.

Someone didn’t like the food at a restaurant, so we never go and try it for ourselves. A person had a bad experience on their vacation, so we swear we will never visit that place.

That’s why so many people never travel beyond their town, city, county, state, region, or country.

That’s why some people never get on planes, trains, boats, and ships.

We never try new foods. We never read a different genre of books or listen to a different style of music.

That’s why some people don’t pursue educational dreams and career goals.

That’s why thousands of people can’t figure out how to fix their raggedy love life.

That’s why so many of us suffer.

We let other voices dictate to us.

We don’t know the truth but we accept someone’s words as truth.

We don’t think.

We don’t question.

We don’t seek answers.

We choose to exist rather than live. We confuse living with thriving.

When we’re thriving, fear has no stronghold, it has no footing.

When we’re thriving, our experiences are uniquely our own. No one else will have that exact same experience.

We know this.

That’s why two people can sit side-by-side on an amusement park ride and walk away with different experiences. Two people eat the same food at the same time but share different things about the food. One person tastes spices the other one didn’t notice or didn’t know what they were to define them. Two people arguing aren’t having the same experience, they are merely sharing the same space in time.

You have never eaten artichoke but you declare you don’t like it. Never tasted rhubarb but you swear it’s gross. Most likely, because you heard of someone else’s experience, or worse, their uninformed opinions from lack of experience.

How many of you have resolved to settle for a life of seeing the world through the pictures and experiences of other people?

You have to go to know.

People have opinions about cities, states, and countries that they have never visited. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time.

I smirk when I hear people make generalizations about a nationality, race, religion, or gender of people. Do you know every person of that nation, race, religion, or gender? Then how can you say, “all_____people…” or “____people do/say___”? But you don’t know all of them. So how do you know what they all say or do? You most definitely can’t say what one person thinks about all things, so how can you speak about an entire group of people?

I’m guilty of these ignorant statements. I try to catch myself after saying them.

I laugh when I hear or read people make statements about a group of people, yet they don’t know anyone from that group. They don’t know any Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, or Satanists. But they speak as though they do. They don’t personally know any people of African, European, Latin, Hispanic, or Asian descent—but from listening to them, you would swear that they know plenty.

Are all law enforcement officers corrupt, racists, bigots, sexist, and egomaniacs? No. Yet, there are people who see one officer and in that one, they see all. The broad generalization forms and becomes your personal belief system, creed, law.

And your one or few experiences doesn’t mean the totality for all humankind. Remember, those are your experiences, not mine, not your neighbors, and not your child’s.

We speak and act from ignorance. Since we choose not to educate ourselves through asking questions, researching, and stepping beyond our comfort zone, we say and do the stupidest of things.

You become more of what you are against than what you’re for. You are operating from a state of lack. That is a danger zone.

We regurgitate words from religious texts and ceremonies, without knowing their true and full meaning and application. We cling to historical figures and celebrities without knowing the person. Our idolization restricts us from being our authentic self. Our insecurities force us to manufacture false narratives to boost our desired perception. We follow man rather than lead ourselves. Because it’s an easier path and then you have someone to blame other than self.

There’s a reason for these words of declaration:

self-esteem, self-worth, self-enlightenment, self-empowerment, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-control, self-expression, self-healing, self-help, etcetera.

It starts and ends with self.

We keep expecting others to do it for us. Be the positive change you want to see, stop waiting for it to happen. Take responsibility.

You must lead yourself or you will most definitely be led. And since you don’t know yourself, you will allow someone else to dictate and create your story for you. They will define you. You will allow someone else to determine your worth and value.

Your ignorance comes with a harsh penalty.

We spread our ignorance. We deposit it into our families, our children, our houses of worship, our workplaces, and our communities. We manifest the lack we obsess over.

The uninformed are the easiest to recruit, brainwash, and mold.

What you don’t know that you don’t know, can literally destroy you. Those who feel lost, neglected, powerless, voiceless, and forgotten are prey. That is why drugs, gangs (defined by many names), prostitution, and the sort have great prevalence in society.

People are being preyed upon and they don’t even know it. They have no clue that the biggest predators are the ones standing next to them, hugging them, and cheering them on.

You can blame whomever or whatever you like for the person that you are today. Or you can make the decision to intentionally live with a clean slate. You have the choice to write or re-write your story however you please, with your unique experiences. Your learning only stops when you choose to close yourself off from life. You may not be able to choose where to live your life, but you can choose how to live where you are.

You can live in the world and not be of it. You can be like the fish in the ocean, surrounded by salt, but not consumed by their environment.

Think about it.

Last week, I heard a message from Darren Hardy that spoke of this amazing truth. That fish of the sea live in salt water, they breathe and take in salt water. They eat things that are also in the water. Yet they don’t taste like tons of salt. All they do is swim around all day and night in salt water. But we barely taste the salt in them. That is how we should live our lives.

We can live in it but not be of it.

You aren’t your environment, circumstances, or your past. You aren’t the family you were born into or raised by, or the people you associate with.

Unless you choose to be.

You choose to associate with toxic people and behave like them. You choose to live in fear and ignorance. If you live in a “free” and “developed” nation, you choose to not journey beyond your town, city, county, state, or country. You choose to believe what you think, and to entertain the thoughts that surface. How life unfolds is based on the choices that we make.

How will you choose to live your life, experience the world, and see the people in it?

What will you choose to do without thought of your age, gender, or where you’re from?

What healthy choices will you make starting today?

This very moment.

Then do it!

I love you all,

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I ran across this video, moments ago, and I felt compelled to share. It’s a conversation with centurions who have lived to be older than age 100. They share their experiences, lessons, and wisdom. A viewer commented (in the comments section below the video) that so many people are obsessed with listening to young celebrities, when we should be tuning in to listen to the words of our elders. The things that they’ve seen, heard, and experienced help to center us. Instead, we pass them by, we choose not to connect. We’re too busy to sit and listen to someone speak about their past and present. In so doing, we miss out on lifetimes of stories, lessons, and wisdom. We miss out on the beauty and purpose of life.

I am always thrilled to sit down and have a conversation with someone older and wiser. I miss my conversations with my grandparents. A couple of weeks ago I wrote my aunt Mary a letter. She’s my maternal grandmother’s sister. Writing her the letter felt nostalgic. Do you remember when writing letters was the norm? Now we lazily text, tap likes and hearts on social media posts, or quickly send an email. The latter is even pushing it.

My mother has reminded me from time to time about the joy that our seniors feel when they receive letters and cards in the mail. They get plenty of bills and junk mail. But the letters and cards are rare. Especially the letters. It doesn’t take long to write a message in a card. Or share the latest happenings in your life, in a one-to-two page letter.

I feel guilty for not connecting more with my family members over the past two years. I’ve allowed my personal troubles to interfere with my dearest of relationships. Knowing how devastated and heartbroken I am when they pass away, and I’m left with words unsaid. We should never be in a place in our lives where those connections with loved ones aren’t constantly reinforced. Let’s not take them for granted. Let’s not assume that they or we will be around to contact at a whim.

Please watch this video. It was produced by LifeHunters. When you get the lessons that you need to hear and realize, please share this with others. Let’s pay it forward. Then go a step farther—connect with an elder—family, friend, or stranger. And keep connecting, as often as you can. Don’t waste these precious moments in your busyness. You don’t want to live life filled with regret.

~Natasha

Today I want to celebrate my friends and associates. I want to celebrate all that they have done, are doing, and aspire to do. Hopefully it will inspire you to support their efforts, where and when possible, and most importantly—encourage you to celebrate and uplift your friends and associates.

We spend a great amount of time on social media clicking on 👍❤ and other symbols to express our sentiments towards the achievements, dreams, and goals that our inner circles have publicly announced. We may even repost their messages so that our social network can be made aware of these victories and aspirations. But in what ways can we do more, go higher, and provide greater opportunities for those we call our friends? Let’s do some shout outs!

On July 3, 2019 I launched the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast in honor of my father and my past dreams of being a broadcast journalist, and my desire to educate and be educated on business and by those in business. I also wanted a platform where I could celebrate my friends, associates, and complete strangers. Every week I devote time to highlighting the efforts of people that I know intimately, somewhat, very little, and not at all. It feels awesome to share my growing and evolving world with them, and vice versa.

So far through this podcast I’ve highlighted over 46 people with the following backgrounds:

  • published authors
  • psychotherapists, psychologists,
  • entrepreneurs
  • film, TV, and music industry professionals
  • Visual arts

I still have so many more people to highlight and interview. As the podcast is shared with strangers, they too reach out for that connection, and I gladly accept the relationship. Life is about relationships. Business is about interconnected relationships. We form, strengthen, weaken, break, and mend relationships on a daily basis. I don’t have the billions of dollars, yet, to invest in friends and strangers businesses, projects, and ideas as I would like, so I’m discovering and embracing other ways to lend my support.

Episode 22 aired this Wednesday and it featured my right hand, Eboni Brown. Listen to our conversation here Be sure to like and share it with your network of family, friends, associates, and social media pals!

Then ask yourself, how are you celebrating and showing support to the people you know and want to know?

You don’t have to wait until 2020 to start. Take the first step today!

Be sure to follow Foreman & Associates on IG and FB at @ForemanAndAssociates and on Twitter at @ForemanLLC You can read our company blog here.

I’m excited about future announcements that I will be sharing in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to set a reminder on your calendar to listen to Episode 23 of my podcast, next Wednesday, November 27th at 5pm ET. I will be interviewing my friend, Billie Harris, a Vinologist and the woman behind The Vino Van, LLC. You can listen in at ForemanLLC.com/podcast to hear us discuss all-things WINE!

Have a super awesome day and weekend!

~Natasha

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

Earlier this morning my mom shared these five simple words that form a very powerful message: Never Stop Living Your Dream!

live-your-dream

Mom said she heard the words in a Gladys Knight song and she thought they would help to serve through my blog. I wasn’t sure which blog she meant, so I figured that I could share on all of them. As I type this, I can’t help but to smile because had I only focused on sharing to one group of people (one blog community) then I would’ve ignored other people who may need to read and hear this message. Thank you mom for blessing me today with prayer and this suggestion for my blogs!

Since I just typed “hear this message”, I feel moved to speak and not just type the words that are coming to me. So let me switch over to video and let things flow. Just click on my Instagram video below and take a listen…

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

This morning I shared a message on my other blog #BreakingBreadWithNatasha

I decided to share here the reflection I had written there. I’ve edited it to focus solely on the thoughts and declarations about faith and fear. I hope it resonates with someone, maybe you. I hope it has the level of stickability to help you overcome that which serves as a barrier and hindrance to you. You can read the entire message here.

If you aren’t a spiritual person, simply change the word(s) that don’t align with you, for that which empowers and gives you greater confidence.

Here’s Today’s Reflection:

Faith is believing in the unseen, the unknown, the immeasurable, and the inconceivable.

Faith is walking even when you don’t see the path ahead.

Faith is believing in and opening yourself to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching using your spiritual senses—and not with your human senses (which are limited).

Faith is knowing that there is a “there” even when you aren’t sure where “here” is….

Fear is a distractor, a blocker. It rears up to distort your vision and perfect reception to God. The greater your fear the less you rely upon God to solve your dilemma. The more you give in to the fear, the more you pull away from God….

Fear is a punk. Faith is a warrior.

Fear keeps you in the state of lack. It keeps you struggling to survive. Faith fills and overflows your cup with abundance of greatness. Faith plus works equals a life of thriving, not just surviving.

We “can’t” with fear. We can with faith. It’s impossible with fear. It’s only possible with faith. Fear keeps “can’t” and “impossible” and “it’s too difficult” and “there’s no cure” as the barriers in our life. They become the forests that we think we can’t see past. Faith gives you the vision to see everything, everywhere.

Expand your thinking and vision.

Look beyond the weeds and trees, and beyond the obvious things surrounding you. Connect with your spiritual foundation and then hold on for the ride, because it’s going to be exciting and euphoric.

Love always,

Natasha

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

I saw this and had to share.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It hits extremely close to home for me. I’ve had at least 4 family members pass away from heart attacks, and a few others who were thankfully rushed to the ER in the nick of time. Here’s the link to the article shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men

Men, please don’t ignore these symptoms. My physically fit dad transitioned at the age of 48 (weeks shy of turning 49), almost one year after having what was clearly a heart attack, but he told me “it’s just indigestion. I just need a little accupressure” yet I knew he had just finished having an argument on the phone over a botched business deal.

My instincts said it was more than indigestion. But I deferred to my dad. He turned to accupressure instead of going to the hospital.

One year later, after a heavy training session at the gym and achieving his goal of benchpressing 400 lbs, my dad had a heart attack a few hours after returning home. He was on the phone chatting and laughing with a business associate and the associate told me days later, “your dad was laughing and then I didn’t hear anything. The line just went silent. I thought we had a bad connection so I hung up and tried calling back.”

I’m the one who found my dad, on the floor of his study, phone also on the floor. I can’t help but to question, “what if I had forced him to go get checked out in 2000, would he be alive today?” The truth is, only God knows the answer to that, and at this point, the only thing I can do is make sure that I’m mindful of the signs and symptoms, and that I share the information with others.

My ex-fiance had two strokes in his 40s and eventually passed due to the toll this trauma placed upon his body. He went from playing basketball to being confined to a bed. If you knew this man you know that he had a zest for life, was always on the go, extremely competitive, and wanted to live a long long life. He hated that he was convalescent. He lived for his freedom. He still had so much to do and see, so many goals and plans, and he was a father—and grandfather. He wanted to be there for his family. He wanted to help open doors for them that took him years to break through. His life here was cut short.

Men, you have family, friends, associates and neighbors who will miss you terribly. Go to the doctor! You don’t want to be poked, prodded and probed. But guess what? You won’t have a say or choice in the matter when your cold body is on the autopsy table. Once or twice a year of doctors examinations is waaaay better than suddenly taking your last breath and never getting to hug, kiss, and laugh with loved ones—in that same body that you keep taking for granted!

Women

Women, as you can see, we have more symptons than men commonly do, and these symptoms are oftentimes ignored as being “something else” when they could be the very thing that can end your life as you know it. Even some doctors ignore the symptoms, so be your best advocate and demand that they scientifically rule out heart-related factors. And when a doctor suggests testing, say yes!

I remember in 2011, after collapsing while cycling with friends, a cardiologist at Emory Hospital (then Crawford-Long), who kept me overnight for testing and observation, because he said he wouldn’t be able to “handle the burden of knowing that I sent you home, you went to sleep, and never woke up. Natasha, we’re seeing this happening more and more with women especially in their 30s…and you are at greater risk because there’s history on your father’s side….let me rule it out and then we can both have peace of mind….

That experience scared the bajesus out of me. But guess what? Until that moment, I had never had full-scale testing on my heart, lungs, brain, etc. The final prognosis was I was extremely dehydrated. Like, I could’ve died, I was that dehydrated. From the tests it showed that I had been dehydrated for several days. Had I not gone to the ER, well you can guess the result. But I want to thank the cardiologist who didn’t just accept this initial diagnosis and send me home with orders to rehydrate. He understood the other less-commonly known symptoms of a heart attack, and he sprang into action. His proactivity has led to my greater awareness.

My paternal aunt, Cheryl, transitioned in her 30s, after a workout at the gym which included weights and laps in the pool. Just like my dad, she was physically fit and loved working out. She wasn’t feeling good when she left the gym and felt worse when she got home. Ignoring the symptoms she decided to take a nap. Long story, short, my beloved aunt passed away that day.

Ladies, I’m not trying to intentionally scare you, but maybe it will encourage you to take this seriously and stop being like we’re conditioned to be—too busy caring for others to care for ourselves. Guess what? You can’t care for others if you’re no longer here. Charity starts first with YOU and for YOU.

Everyone

Don’t dismiss and be casual about your health because you’re not of a certain age. People are having heart attacks as teenagers and in their 20s. When it comes to heart attacks and strokes, age ain’t nothing but a number.

Don’t dismiss this because you’re physically fit. So was my dad and aunt. Heck, I was cycling for goodness sake—and doctors didn’t dismiss the symptoms simply because I was in shape and young.

Don’t ignorantly say, “well there’s no family history, and I don’t drink, smoke, or eat fast food…” because our bodies don’t give a damn about your history and what you do and don’t consume. We’ve learned that just like we don’t openly share our medical history with our family, they too aren’t sharing all of the details of their medical history with us. You only know what you know, and you don’t know much—especially if you have family members like my dad, who never went to the doctor, because either they felt good and rarely got ill, or because of religious beliefs. So that means your family medical history has major gaps in it. Don’t rely upon history to chart your present and future course!

Also, let me add this point: You can have an itty bitty waist, eat a bland diet, and a low body fat percentage, but your mental stress could be taxing your body, causing it to also stress.

If it stresses out over the added stress that you are placing on it: from your ambitious goals, overexertion from working out, and not getting enough quality rest—guess what? Your body is going to sound the alarms and start showing signs that it’s taking on too much stress. If you aren’t paying attention to the alarms and flags, then you significantly reduce your odds of surviving the attack your heart undergoes when it can’t keep up with you and your lifestyle.

We all have dreams and goals. Let’s take the small steps to ensure the odds are in our favor, so we can possibly achieve those goals and see those dreams come true. Let’s do what we need to do to be here for our family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I love spending time with the people that I love. I want to enjoy these moments for as long as possible.

Don’t be embarrassed or prideful about rushing to the doctor, ER, or urgent care, if you feel these symptoms then speak up and get help!

I love you all!!!

~Natasha

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/signs_symptoms.htm

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman.

I don’t know your religious beliefs, who and how you pray, or if you pray. You may not believe in a power higher and greater than you. Whatever, however, and whomever you lean upon each day for strength, courage, and inspiration—modify the words, as needed. No judgment from me. All I desire is your internal peace and that you share that positivity with the world.

Say it until you believe it and live it. I needed to read and speak this prayer today. It will be part of my daily prayer.

I’m grateful for my former sister-in-law, now sister-in-love, Arleen, who sent this to me. We chat almost daily, sharing words of love, empowerment, and healing.

I thank God in advance for all that comes my way—for the lessons, blessings, and any redirection. 🙏🏽
~Natasha

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.

Someone out there (maybe YOU), needs to read, ingest, recite, and apply these words —shared in the image above, and written below— to their life, starting TODAY.

Don’t be anyone’s VICTIM. Be YOUR own warrior. Be YOUR own savior. Be YOUR own hero. STOP plotting and planning revenge.

The BEST REVENGE is SHINING, off of YOUR talents, skills, and gifts. The BEST REVENGE is looking and feeling your BEST, and everyone knowing that it was YOU that made that BEST possible. The BEST REVENGE is not even thinking about getting revenge, because you’re too busy FOCUSED on SHINING!

THRIVE. Don’t settle, and don’t try to come up off of someone’s misery—especially if, out of revenge, you caused it. You call yourself a QUEEN/KING, then act like royalty and not like the crap we discard and try to forget about!

~Natasha L. Foreman

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.

Fear over immediate threat is okay; it’s understandable. Anxiety is the build up of fear and frustration of the “what-ifs” and the “shoulda’s” which oftentimes are out of our control because the past we cannot revisit and fix, and the future hasn’t occurred. We’re in a state of limbo, dangling in a space that we cannot control. And many of us have control issues.

So rather than stress over this reality, which is unhealthy, we need to focus on letting go and letting things be as they are.

Breathe.

Noticing your breathing means you are aware of the now; you are present. Rest in being present. Don’t struggle straddling fences. Breathe.

“Take in each moment as it comes. Don’t focus on the time. Focus on the moment”. Those are words of wisdom from my aunt Debborah Foreman, and she’s never steered me wrong.

I would love to hear from you by the end of the day or even tomorrow with an update on how well you handled your stress today. Did it build or dissipate? Please share.

~Natasha L. Foreman
P.S. Thanks to sis Arleen for forwarding the image used that motivated me to share with all of you 💗