On March 21st I quietly acknowledged my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and told myself to share a memorial post in honor of her, but I got distracted 🤦🏽‍♀️🙈🤦🏽‍♂️

My mom told me today that it’s not too late to give a birthday shout out. I’m so used to having flowers and a gift delivered to my grandmothers, and not having them here, makes birthdays, holidays, and special occasions feel awkward.

Here’s my grandmother pictured between me and my sister. My mom is standing with her hand on my shoulder.

It’s amazing how much I look like both women. Both families genes are STRONG! ☺

Happy belated birthday to my amazing grandmother. Missing you Mama!

~Natasha

It brings me joy to say happy birthday to my one and only sister, Alexandra. A decade and a half separate our ages, but through the years, we’ve grown to feel closer in age. I love this woman like I love the air that I breathe.

She’s been through a lot, but still she can find peace and humor to share with others. I chose this picture of her because of the hilarious caption she shared with it. My sister can make me laugh so hard that my head, chest, and sides hurt.

She’s caring, sensitive, and hopeful. She’s a hard worker and will give her last to someone, because that’s her nature.

I’ve seen a huge transformation in her, especially since she became a mom. They say that parenthood brings out all sorts of strengths, characteristics, traits, and more. I look forward to seeing how she blossoms as a woman and mother. I look forward to seeing how she pours into my nephew so that he can shine and thrive in more ways that any of us could ever imagine.

I look forward to seeing the blessings, opportunities, and experiences that my sister will seize and make the most of. I pray that this new decade brings her the strength, courage, discipline, and obedience to do big, bold, and beautiful things—while freeing herself of everything that would restrict, diminish, or weaken her.

Happy Birthday Sis!

I love you with my whole heart ❤

~Tasha

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

Today an amazing woman was born into this world. Her parents didn’t know what her future would hold. They just knew that they wanted her to see, experience, and embrace more than they could ever imagine.

She is a mother of three amazing children. It is beautiful watching her children grow and mature over the years. Her two eldest are now taller than their mom, which makes me giggle because you have to do a double-take to notice that she is the mom in the bunch. As you can see in this picture.

It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with her since 2014. Our work relationship and friendship is built on honesty and transparency, which has created a level of trust, that is priceless. Our word is our bond. Truly.

If you listen to the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast, then you know that I mention her frequently. You also know that she joined me for a conversation in Episode 22. She is an awesome woman, mom, friend, and professional.

She enjoys the work she does in the community, her growth as a leader in Toastmasters International, her membership in book clubs and bikers clubs. Yes, she loves motorcycles! One day she will have her own, and then she will be vroom vroom zooming all over the place!

Please join me in wishing Eboni Brown a very happy birthday!

~Natasha

Wow…wow…wow…I’m 43 years young (as of yesterday) and it’s amazing to make the attempt to process that. What does it mean, beyond the fact that this whipper snapper has only been on this planet for 43 years?

I’m really not sure.

I’ve been raising hell on some level since my head poked out of my mom’s womb. I’ve seen, done and experienced a lot. I’ve laughed more than I cried.

There’s still so much more that I want to do, see, and experience. I’ve traveled to several countries, but there’s more than 100 that I still want to visit and explore. I’ve met hundreds of people, yet my heart yearns to meet and connect with hundreds more. I look forward to learning and sharing with people from different faiths, nationalities, and backgrounds. I look forward to years of continued service in all of the spaces and places that many others would never consider.

I want to experience more “firsts” and doing so boldly. I look forward to my best and brightest days. I look forward to smiling more. The picture that I share with you today captures the love that I felt at that moment and the love that I feel today. I enjoyed every second of my birthday. I enjoyed being loved on and sharing in that love. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes and to those who provided birthday treats. Thanks KLB for the pamper day. Here’s to more love, life, and light!

Happy birthday to me!

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Today would be my maternal grandfather, Elisberry Stephens’, 94th birthday.

Happy birthday Poppa!

My grandfather is an amazing example, for me, of a person who was always a blessing to others. My grandfather taught through example what it meant to be hardworking, dependable, honorable, forgiving, grateful and gracious. He gave of himself every day in every way, even when people took advantage of him, and even when people didn’t show or express their gratitude for all that he did for them—-he never stopped giving.

He took his last breath after spending a day giving to and blessing someone else. A day that he was supposed to be relaxing and recharging, he instead was being a help to someone else. What a man he was and what a man he still is. I can’t believe that it’s been 23 years since I last saw him and spoke to him. I keep him close to my heart and keep an image of him on my dashboard in my SUV. Every day that I see his picture my heart warms and I smile brightly. What an amazing man!

Happy birthday to my grandfather and to all of my friends and associates who also celebrate today as the day they entered this world. Additionally, I would like to say happy birthday to each and every one of you, even if we call each other strangers we are still siblings in Christ!

Last but not least, for those individuals who woke up on September 11, 2001 with goals, dreams, and visions on their mind that were cut short due to the evil plotting and planning of other people who felt the need to make a global statement so that others would share in their pain and frustration—I would like to say that I pray that the world never forgets you and that day, and that we never stop honoring those who died trying to help, those who died while praying, and those who died while seeking escape and refuge.

May your lives and your human deaths never be seen as lived and given in vain. May you live eternally in peace.

Love,

Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

On July 3, 1953 my dad was brought into this world, most likely kicking and screaming. He was early—a preemie, and just as he fought to be in this world, he spent each day of his 48 years here, living boldly and trying to have a lasting impact.

It’s awkward to say “happy 65th birthday Dad” knowing that the last time we celebrated his birthday together was for his 48th birthday—and then 27 days later he took his last breath.

Dad Through My Lens

My dad was an inquisitive child and clearly, from the stories shared with me, a daredevil. A childhood accident left him unconscious and unresponsive. Prayer and CPR brought him back to life. You could tell that the incident shaped his life thereafter. Dad wanted to do more, see more, and be more—understanding that life here begins and ends at a speed and intensity that we cannot control.

My dad was and is both a dreamer and a doer, both optimistic and realist, a lover and a fighter, creative and analytical, entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial, a leader who could also follow.

He was and is a son, brother, husband, father, and friend. He will always be my father and my friend.

Missing Dad

I catch myself when I slip up and comment that I wish he was here for certain things; because he is here, just not in the way that I would like. So I hold him close through my memories and the pictures of him.

I miss our talks. I miss watching football and basketball games with him. I miss creating our outlines for draft picks and trades, and who we expect to win playoff rounds. I miss watching track and field meets with him. I miss our workouts at the gym. I miss our business strategy planning and brainstorming sessions. I miss our weekly visits to IHOP with my sister, sitting in our favorite booth that management always tried to have open for us. Heck, I even miss our arguments.

Books and the Power of the Pen

My love of books and writing is because of Dad. He devoured books and was an amazing writer. He wrote in high school (even for a well-known Black newspaper in Oklahoma) and he wrote in college.

Guess who grew up loving books and not only was the editor of my high school paper, but I also wrote for the city newspaper where I grew up and initially majored in Broadcast Journalism in college (before switching majors two more times). I’ve never stopped writing—clearly, you’re reading this, so my love has not waned.

I did, for several years, slow down on reading books for leisure. If they didn’t have to do with school or work I didn’t seem to find the time to read them. Well, all of that changed last year. I’ve been devouring them, even more so this year. I’ve read more books in the past six months than I have in over three years. I’m just tapping into a favorite pastime that I shared with my dad.

I even went and got a library card last year—which I love using. Dad and I used to get so excited about our trips to the library, even as a teen and as an adult when we would go the law library—to do research for his business.

As a child I would giggle when Dad and I would place a bet on who could finish first at reading the biggest books we could find. I had no clue that Dad was teaching, molding, and challenging my brain through these exhilarating days. All I knew is that for a few hours each day, I would sit by my Dad and quietly read a big ole’ book.

So this year, I’ve set aside time every single day, investing time for myself to sit and read a book, and I can’t help but to smile and think of Dad sitting beside me reading his.

Love of Cars and Sports

My love of cars and sports is all because of my dad. My dad loved fast cars and he loved working on cars. I enjoyed every second that he would allow me to help him work on a car. The more grime I could get on my hands, the happier I was. He could ask for a certain tool and I would smile and look in the toolbox to see if I could figure out what he needed. Dad would teach me about the parts and the mechanics of it all.

At some point, dad stopped working on cars and started taking them to mechanics—hmmm, probably because he began acquiring finicky, high-end cars that weren’t as raw and accessible as the American brands he was accustomed to since childhood. It’s a possibility. I never asked him why he stopped working on cars.

I mentioned Dad’s love of sports. He played football and ran track in high school and college. Can you guess my two favorite sports? He loved the Cowboys, Raiders, and Lakers. Guess who I grew up loving?

My dad was the sprinters coach for two seasons at my high school. He volunteered to whip us into tip top shape and boy did he ever. So many of my friends still share their fond memories of training with Coach Foreman. Work demands prevented him from returning for the remaining two seasons. I have to say, my best years as an athlete have always been under the guidance of my dad. From sprinter to power lifter, having my dad as my coach was an amazing experience—painful at times, because he didn’t permit slacking or excuses, but oh so rewarding.

Dad’s Legacy

I always try to think “what would Dad say?” or “what would Dad do?” and cross my fingers that it’s just enough to satisfy my desire to have him here or a phone call away.

The past two days I’ve been babysitting my nephew Logan, and I can’t help but to think about Dad. He would be so excited to hold Logan, play games with him, sit him on his knee while watching sports—explaining the game and the roles and responsibilities of each player, take him outside to play, buy educational things for him to sharpen Logan’s mind, and take the family vacations that he always wanted to do with his two daughters.

So since Dad isn’t physically here to do these things with and for Logan, my sister and I will gladly step in and do them. With the help of our mom and family, we will tell Logan all about his grandfather. And when I have children, we will do the same for them.

I miss my dad but I will look for him in other people, in the circumstances I face, in the experiences that I have. The pain of his absence is of course less intense that 17 years ago when he transitioned; it’s still present, it’s just morphed and more tolerable. I navigate through it, not denying it while also not magnifying it. Dad wouldn’t want me grieving like that.

When I was a child he taught me that our pain-filled mourning hurts the person that we’re mourning—because they can’t be here to console us. I always try to remember that when I begin to cry.

The months of June, July, and August are so rollercoaster-like. Holidays, birthday, anniversary of marriage and of his transition. You want to celebrate and honor your loved one, at the same time you want to bury your face in a pillow and cry. I try to balance the highs and lows so that they don’t exhaust and drain me.

Celebrating Love of Food and Family

To celebrate Dad’s birthday this year I enjoyed a meal at IHOP—one of our go-to spots. I savored each bite as I listened to a John C. Maxwell audiobook. Our other go-to spot is Shakey’s Pizza, and the nearest one is about 3-4 hours away, so the goal is to get there with my sister and Logan, and celebrate Dad there at least once a year. He would love it.

The smallest things can mean so much!

Dad and I had so many dreams, big and small. I haven’t forgotten them; the ones that I’ve since seen manifested by other innovators as well as the ones that I haven’t seen manifested, that are still waiting—that I would love the opportunity to launch and build to success. Dad and I would dream of family trips and business trips. I haven’t forgotten. I’ve taken some and there’s more left on the list. I’m determined to take the family trips, to see my mom, sister, and Logan’s eyes light up; to look in the eyes of my children and see me in them, and my dad in them. It brings me joy to imagine that bright and bold future.

As Dr. Alduan Tartt wrote, “mom is the Most Valuable Person (MVP), but dad is the MIP—Most Important Person, in a daughter’s life….” and today I wish my MIP a very happy birthday!

I love you Dad!

Love always,

~Your Sunshine

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.