One week before my birthday, my boyfriend and I broke up. (Sidenote: It’s feels really good to be blogging). Anyhoo, like I said, a week before my birthday, my boyfriend and I broke up. It wasn’t unforeseeable, yet, I didn’t see it coming. Not 100%. We were in that odd spot; that spot where we had previously gone looking at rings, yet hadn’t made any moves toward marriage. The spot where I began to put the pressure on…either it is or it ain’t. The spot where the hours where the patience was growing shorter and comprimise had thinned.

We were at our make or break moment. It was in that moment that we broke.

And it hurt.

And though not 100% related, life was coming to a head in the midst of that moment. At the tip, a life-changing trip to Mexico City.

I’d scheduled this trip while I was still in my relationship. He didn’t know I scheduled it, but I knew that I had to get away. Not from him…but from life. There were so many things stressing me out. Things that I was holding in for months; holding my tongue to try to be more PC. Holding my tongue to be a suitable mate. Holding my tongue because I no longer wanted to be known as brash. (BTW…I hate that label. Stop saying it to people.)

Being away from home, yet not far enough that it felt foreign, I had a change to gain a bit of clarity. The weather was warm. The sun was out. I spoke enough Spanish to get by (smile), but not enough to totally understand what was going on around me. I was literally able to have some time with just me.

For the most part, I experienced peace. I had moments where I laughed. Moments where I chilled with hip hop in the park. Moments where I shopped. And no one was bothering me. No one was asking me for anything.

That’s when I realized, I’d gotten into a state of giving too much without a ton of reciprocity.

Some would say you don’t give with the expectation to get something in return. They’re right. Though, wisdom has taught that you can’t give and give and give without having something put back into your tank. I was not putting back into my tank. And no matter how much my boyfriend wanted to or even tried, he wasn’t even filling the tank to the needed capacity.

The reality is that I was giving much more than I had to give.

I was drained. And I was on what seemed to be the verge of a mental breakdown.

And try they may, at this time, I didn’t need people. I needed Regina to be strong and get her priorities straight. I did this by putting things in proper perspective — what I was stressing over vs. my health. I went with my health.

I temporarily closed my Etsy shop. Though it was only supposed to be closed for a week, I closed it for a month. And I didn’t tell many people because it wasn’t their business.

I stopped stressing about my Etsy orders. I have a full-time job and lead a pretty demanding ministry at church. If an order was late, the most they could do was write a bad review, report me or I would need to refund their order. In the scope of what I had on my plate, that wasn’t a big deal.

I dealt with the issues that were stressing me at church. I’d been holding on to some things for close to a year, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to be very transparent with leadership what I’d been feeling, which was undervalued and not trusted. The reality is, I felt like a middle man and not a leader in some instances, and anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t play that role well at all. I’m either all in or I’m not in at all. Don’t give me a label if you don’t want me to strive for the level of excellence I believe we deserve.

I’m now at a place of contentment in those areas – well, as content as a person with anxiety can be.

On the other hand, I still have a ton of things I’m dealing with. Frankly, I’m dealing with loneliness and sadness. This is a daily journey. I don’ t have much hope for my romantic further though I want to. I just don’t. I’m angry often, bitter and a little hopeless. And that’s the honest truth.

I miss my boyfriend like crazy. I have a broken heart. And I am really just trying to get by.

And on top of that, I’m not sure where the people who look like me who aren’t married are. I love my friends, but I just need some melanin right now. I’m kinda missin the people from the hood too. Life was simpler and more fun then.

So to the age old question, does money buy you happiness? No.

And to what I started with, “am I okay?” No, but I know today is not where my story ends.

If there’s one thing I obsess about more than anything else outside of race relations is marketing. The numbers, the language, what makes people tick, colors, used, what’s new, what’s shiny, what’ll be gone tomorrow and what’s here to stay. It fascinates me because it’s amazing how predictable a person will react based on a varying amount of factors. It’s also fascinating because so many underrate it.

Don’t get me wrong, many companies know that making “noise” will garner attention. But they stop there…especially small companies (and larger companies too). And what they fail to realize most is that the organization’s marketing (place, product, price, and promotion) create the perception of a company. Good or bad, those 4 Ps together work together to create a lasting impression of the organization.

While I’ve had a bit of experience in place, product and price, much of my career has fallen in promotion — the communications side of marketing. The last 7 years have been specifically in the world of digital marketing – social media, email marketing, ecommerce, website content development and management, etc. I’ve even done a bit of consulting around it all. That’s why I must admit, this weekend was a bit painful.

This weekend, I saw both of my obsessions go head on into one catastrophic crash.

The situation

A young man by the name of Marcel Price of Grand Rapids, MI was assaulted by a bar tender and told that he would not be able to enter a local bar, Tavern on the Square because he was black. Marcel recorded the event on his phone and shared it via social media. This happened very early Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, this had turned into a social media nightmare; one that I wished I was getting paid the big bucks to consult on because it could’ve been avoided.

This is a textbook case of crisis management.

  1. Bad thing happens
  2. It blows up publicly
  3. Organization responds…quickly

But this is not what happened at all. Tavern on the Square failed to respond quickly. In fact, they just responded on their Facebook page, yesterday. They allowed over 24 hours to pass before responding to a racially sensitive topic in a city that has been publicly responding to racially sensitive topics over the last few weeks; you know with the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile events and Dallas shooting and all.

What made it worse was that Tavern on the Square had every opportunity to respond.

Having a bit of “inside” knowledge and knowing how to get the attention of an organization on social media I reacted 4 ways:

  1. I responded as a black woman who is super sensitive to racial issues as of late.
  2. I responded as a writer who has an understanding that the words I convey have power.
  3. Most importantly, I responded as a digital marketer.
  4. I encouraged others to respond. And not only did I encourage them to respond, I leveraged my digital marketing knowledge, providing clear details on how to respond including who to tag and what hash tags to use.

Taking all these angles to me was super important. I was observing every step of the way. I wanted to know how my friends would react. I wanted to know how people in private groups would react. And most importantly, I wanted to know how Tavern on the Square, Experience Grand Rapids, and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. would react.

The outcome: Two case studies on what not to do, and one case study on a team that got it kinda right.

Responses

Experience Grand Rapids. Within hours or a day, Experience Grand Rapids responded with a boilerplate response and suggested that I contacted them offline.

  • The good: They quickly diffused the conversation and stated that they were open for additional conversation.
  • Opportunities for growth: I would’ve preferred they responded much faster. I also would’ve appreciated a more personalized message. Finally, it would’ve been nice if they would’ve inboxed me or or at the least left an email address or phone number. When a person has a concern with your organization, you should go out of your way to learn more vs. asking them to do the work to get in contact with you. In this instance, the company has more to lose than the customer. Remember bad news spreads fast and it takes 5 new customers to replace 1 lost customer. That’s a very expensive scenario.

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. I would say “I’ll wait”, but I won’t. They haven’t responded and I don’t expect them to respond.

  • The good: N/A
  • Opportunities for growth: Downtown Grand Rapids is perceived as a locale that doesn’t have the African American community in mind. Weekend after weekend, you see people of the majority young and old sprawling through downtown Grand Rapids. Not so much for people of color.. And Tavern on the Square is downtown…so anytime Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. communicates “come downtown” this includes go to Tavern on the Square. Yet, when asked about how they would handle it, they didn’t respond at all…and this is regarding an event that effects the black community, which represents 20% of the city’s population. This is a great way to put a blemish on all the work Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. has done in getting people downtown. But then again, are they even talking to black people?

Tavern on the Square (Tavern). Good old Tavern on the Square. There’s so much to say. So again, I’ll start with the good.

  • The good: You responded. You also stated that you’re all for diverstiy (even though there were only 5 or less people of color in your establishment at closing time). You even said that you are looking into it and would be providing sensitivity training to your employees.
  • The bad:
    • This person wasn’t fired though he stated he wouldn’t let him in because he was black. Even if it were closing time and that was the real reason, simply confirming that he wouldn’t let him in because he was black is grounds for firing. No other reasons needed. That’s now blatant racism.
    • This person wasn’t fired though he clearly smacked the phone out of the person’s hand. I may let that one slide if there was some punishment associated. He can’t just go jack free. But maybe he needs a different role, because clearly he’s endangering others…even if he was provoked. If Marcel never put his hands on the bouncer, the bouncer should have never laid his hands on Marcel’s phone.
    • Tavern on the Square did not take responsibility nor apologize for the action
    • The owner alluded to the fact that it was a big deal because of social media
    • It took the organization over 24 hours to respond on social media. I looked over and over again. Comments flooded in. No response for hours. I even wrote posts to bring attention to the fact that more than just “complaining” was happening. Here are my very public posts:
      • So this video was recently taken at Tavern on the Square GR. GR of all colors, it’s time to make a difference with your dollars. Don’t look the other way. Instead take your dollars elsewhere. And make some noise about it too. Share, tag them, tag the owners, share the owners names. Let them know this isn’t the GR we stand for. This is unacceptable.
      • So the Tavern on the Square GR voicemail box is full. Nice job GR. I say keep calling. (616) 456-7673 They have yet to post a response…not even “we’re looking into it.”

        I can’t find an email address on their website because their website is now one page…that includes a link to a testimonial, phone number, and location info.

      • Forgive some of my grammatical errors (you have to be a grammar freak to know what they are). Here’s what I’ve posted on the Experience Grand Rapidsand Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. pages.Tavern on the Square GR has just added a smudge to the city’s resume. After a bouncer’s blatant act of racism and several calls for a response, the establishment has yet to respond…not even in the easiest spot…it’s social channels. (I’ve checked FB and twitter). We are now calling an official boycott of the establishment from people of all colors. I’m sure this is not what Grand Rapids wants to be perceived as, and we’re asking that you, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., help drive the importance of formally responding to such complaints…both publicly and privately. This is a continuance of the Grand Rapids perception of racism, and I’m sure this is something you’d like to see eliminated.This, along with Propaganda Donuts’ most recent lack of sensitivity shows the face of those who not only live in the metro area, but represent the face of this city’s economy. If nothing is done, we’ll begin calling for boycotts of bigger events that have garnered substantial revenue to the city.
      • I hate being on a digital team, knowing it takes all of 5 mins to respond to a complaint with a “we’re working on it,” yet we’re still waiting to hear fromTavern on the Square GR. The fact that this could’ve been remedied and not gotten so large (i.e. News 8) is a shame. [friend’s name], we need to add crisis control to the offerings because obviously people don’t know the importance of it.
    • Tavern removed most of the website with the exception of contact information and a link to a testimonial from 2010. (unless they never actually had a full website)
    • You can no longer post comments on their FB page. This looks guilty as heck (or insensitive at the least).

How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis Focused Around Race…or anything else

I’m glad that you stuck with me this far…or skimmed to this point. Either way, I’m okay because this is the most important part for small businesses or businesses trying to figure out how to staff for and manage social media and digital marketing communications. Here’s the gamut:

  1. NEVER think this type of thing wouldn’t happen to you. Even if you believe you operate in tip top shape, humans love to complain..and one of the places where they love to to it is on social media. Even if they aren’t trying to get your attention, know that one small spark (complainer) can set the fire ablazin’. It may be something as small as you using 1-ply toilet paper, be ready to respond to even that nonsense if it looks like it’s about to ignite a forrest fire.
  2. Have a crisis plan in place. You shouldn’t be figuring out how to handle a crisis when it hits. Make sure everyone knows what to do if media calls (i.e. what person or department should they be directed to? Can they talk to media or not?). Who should they make aware of the issue? What is the first line of defense? In the event of a complaint, how long should it take your team to respond and what should that response be?
  3. Equip your team. Ensure social media and web content managers are equipped to respond to comments. Make sure they have a who to call list. Also craft a few boilerplate statements that your team can use if they have to respond quickly. You have no idea how much scripting can come in handy here.
  4. Empower your team. If your team has to go up a chain of command before posting or responding to posts, you’re already a step behind. However, don’t leave it just to the person behind the screen. Make sure leadership is in the loop and ready to step in and help if necessary.
  5. Rules of engagement. There is nothing that can make a company more vulnerable than social media. So before you decide to enter the world, create rules of engagement. Decided whether or not you’ll allow users to post on your page. Determine how you’ll respond to complaints. Determine how you’ll respond to hateful and malicious comments.  (Complaints and malicious comments are 2 different things.) For example, some news sites allow racist comments while other companies wouldn’t allow it all.
  6. Hire competent people. Many people think that interns or cousin Pookie are the right people to manage their social media channels because they’re good at the tech stuff and “in the know.” Wrong. You need someone who knows your organization well, is a great communication and understand the difference between doing social for personal reasons and managing social accounts as an extension of the brand.
  7. NEVER take down your page. Exception: If you go out of business.
  8. Sensitivity gauge. Ensure your team has a sensitivity gauge. There are certain topics that should either be supported or not discussed for the majority of companies. Politics. Race. Sexual-orientation. Ethnicity. Nationality. War. (Yes, race, ethnicity, and nationality are all different things.) Some of these things (not all) are perfectly fine to comment on on personal accounts, but not for business accounts unless your brand is the Republic or democratic national conventions. (smile)
  9. Take responsibility. If you or one of your employees did something wrong, own up to it. Then talk about what you’re doing to fix it. If you didn’t learn anything from Steve Harvey’s fiasco, this was one of the greatest takeaways. He owned it…and got offered the job for another year. There’s a certain level of respect that comes with self-accountability.
  10. 24/7. When you work in the digital world, you have a 24 hour, 7 day a week job. That means that if something happens at 2am, you need to be responding by 2:05am. I’m blessed to work for a global company with people who monitor accounts while I’m sleeping. I’ve also had a past role where I had on-call duties.
  11. Turn on notifications. It’s not okay to just monitor your social channels when you’re on your computer or checking your facebook account. No…it’s time to turn on your notifications and check them EVERY time they come across your phone. Is it annoying? Yes. Will it be helpful in the time of a crisis…absolutely.

To be honest, if you practice these steps as normal business procedures, then it won’t be so stressful when a crisis arise. It’ll be business as usual, but with a few more people involved. Hopefully in the end, you can say “crisis averted.”

Until next time,

Gina

“You are the source of my life. You are the source of my strength. I lift my hands in total praise to You.” – Richard Smallwood

America. We stink.

I thought of several short essays I could write for this post of affirmation, but this is what resonates right now.

I could’ve written an eloquent letter to my black men letting them know just how much I loved them; how I admire them for their poise and persistence during this tumultuous time.

I could’ve written a letter to people with fairer skin about the plight of the people and why it’s time that the message of Black Lives matters started to resonate.

I could’ve written a message full of anger and and hate. But that’s not my style.

It hasn’t been for quite some time.

THE PROVERBIAL CHIP ON EVERYONE’S SHOULDER

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about getting past the “b” word. I allowed people to assume what the “b” word was. In reality, the “b” was for bitter.

I’m not sure if bitter ever has a place? In food, it’s hardly ever regarded as a positive note. In life, it’s what we like to call people who seem to have this everlasting chip on their shoulder.

And that’s what we’re seeing today. A lot of bitterness living out loud.

People are bitter – standing with the presumptuous chip on their shoulder. But the reason for the chip is different.

Blacks have a chip on their shoulder because from the day the majority of us were brought to this country, we’ve had to fight. We’ve had to fight to live. Fight to eat. Fight to get married. Fight to rest. And for centuries, we’ve been fighting for equal rights.

Generation after generation, we’ve run, hidden, fought physically, picketed, marched, and staged sit-ins. In the midst of all this, generation after generation, we’ve continually been told we’re not good enough. We’re ugly. We’re only good enough for sports. We’re not smart. We’re stupid. We are not the elite. And when we finally do something for ourselves, we’re told we’re racist and separatists.

No homie. We’re just trying to survive.

This is survival, yo.

And then there are people who don’t look like us who have a bitter chip on their shoulder for multiple reasons: Some think we’re taking their jobs. Some think we’re not good enough for the sons or daughters. Some think we shouldn’t have the same rights. They think we’re inferior.

Then there are those who think we should “be over” the “slavery thing.” Some think we haven’t worked hard enough; they think we’re riding on a free pass. They think our men are dangerous or drug dealers.

Then there are some who feel they are (and may be being) blamed for the plight and hurt of people of color. So they rebel. Or maybe they harbor feelings of hurt because they can’t understand why they have to bear the burden of things that happened long before they were even born.

Ultimately, this bitterness stems from hurt, fear, pride, and rejection — sometimes all combined.

IT AIN’T JUST YOU

I know because I have experienced this bitterness. It’s a bitterness that I have to keep in check — appropriate it for the right moments, places and times.

Yes, I get ticked off when I go to work and don’t know whether the person walking the halls are friend or foe. Yes, I question whether or not a “friend” is no longer speaking to me because of my outspoken nature surrounding the Black Lives Matter campaign. Yes, I get ticked off when I think that I may not be getting a promotion or treated fairly because of my race.

But then I’m reminded of my friends who’ve brought their kids around me. Laughed with me. Joked around with me. Watched me cry. Those FRIENDS are white.

I’m reminded of the promotion and support given by my white boss. I’m reminded of the encouraging words white people have said to me as they’ve watched very vulnerable steps I’ve taken in this journey. I’m reminded of the white people – adults and teens – who joined the picket line with me…and those who stopped to simply say “we agree.”

If all people who didn’t look like us were our enemies, I wouldn’t have stories like this.

In the midst of all of this, we must stop. Pause. Remember racism is an individual thing.

Just like we don’t like stereotypes to be applied to us, we must implement the same thinking and behavior.

Finally, I’ve learned we must be willing to be vulnerable enough to share our stories and compassionate enough to hear the other side. We must be willing to speak as well as to listen, even to those who don’t share the same view points.

C IS FOR CONVERSION

If we don’t have any other example, we can think about our conversion to Christ.

There was a time when we were on the other side of the Jesus fence. We couldn’t stand Christians. We just didn’t get them. And thought, why would we give up our “freedom.”

Those on the other side of the fence knew there was so much more to gain on the other side, but we had to be willing to cross to the other side.

America. We have to be willing to cross to the other side. There’s so much to gain on the other side of hate, anger, separation and inequaltiy.

To my fellow black Americans, be righteously angry, but sin not.

To my fellow white brothers and sisters, know that all we want is equality. Not perceived equality, but one where we don’t have to worry about who is calling us the “N” word behind our back. One where we don’t have to hide who we are when we go to work…or to a restaurant…or to a club…or to the mall. One where we don’t have to worry about being “the good black.” Where you’re no longer referred to as “one we can trust.”

We should get to a point where we’re simply referred to as people. PEOPLE.

Is it going to take time to get there? Absolutely.

Will we ever get there? Probably not.

But we can get closer.

We’re closer than ever before so let’s keep moving.

HOW TO GET THERE

It all starts with you. It’s a matter of your heart. His heart. Her heart.

The bible says that what a man thinketh, so is he. It also says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

We have a lot of things to unlearn, America. Ignoring it like a moldy leftover pot that’s been left in the sink for too long isn’t going to help. The only way we’re going to get the smell to go away is by putting in the work.

Examine your biases. Check yourself. Identify how you can make a difference. Then do the work.

If it’s by picketing, do it. If it’s by breaking down the barriers and having the tough discussions with people who look like you and those who don’t look like you, do it. If it’s by simply affirming within yourself that you won’t let another day go by living in hate, do it. Do whatever it takes to bring unity AND equality.

It’s time to start cleaning up this stinkin’ thinking and move on because #weareone.

AFFIRMATION

I will not go another day with hate and unforgiveness in my heart. It starts and ends with me. I will be the difference.

PRAYER

Lord, help me to not allow my heart to be a residence for hate. Lord, replace hate, bitterness, and anger with your joy and peace. Help me to live the life that you’ve taught me to live; one where I love my neighbors as I love myself. Lord, the world is ugly; America is ugly, but there is not one hurt that you cannot heal. Help us heal. Help us to not only cover up the bruises. Let us feel the hurt. But then let us move on. Let us do the hard work. Help us to cry in front of one another. To argue, but utltimately to not let the sun go down on our wrath. Bring unity. Bring joy. Bring genuine laughter and peace.

Lord, we will lift our eyes to you. Amen.

See you next Wednesday.

Gina

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WHERE ELSE TO FIND ME

ETSY: affirmeddesignsrrp.etsy.com for affirming, inspirational and motivational products
Instagram: @affirmeddesigns_reginap
Facebook: @affirmeddesignsrrp

 

The irony behind fact that I’m posting this on the World Wide Web is funny itself. It’s courageous and its on the Internet. The irony pretty much stops there though. If you know me, you know that the things I post below are things I have no problem escaping my thoughtful lips.

The fact thaat I’m writing this on an iPad MINI should tell you just how desperately I felt I needed to say something. (Okay need may be a bit of an exaggeration, but typing on this on screen keyboard ain’t for the faint at heart.)

Now that I’ve said that, here are some things that have been on my mind lately…

  1. Everyone has an opinion. Go with yours, but only if it’s well informed.
  2. Society deserves to not have to be subjected to every Tom, Dick and Harry’s opinion…so if you don’t have anything to say to better society, then keep your comments to yourself.
  3. To the internet trolls, stop! It’s funny how much courage a person gets behind a keyboard. The bible says, “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Try that on for yourself.
  4. And before you decided to have an opionion, educate yourself. We have enough people hurting from all these made up societal standards. Remember several of the social “rules” are made up. There is nothing that actually makes them real. In fact, they vary by geography. So put your elbows on the table.
  5. Why do you care so much?! This is something I seriously ask often. Like what makes you care enough to have an opinion. Example: there’s a young lady at my job (a global organization that’s number one in the industry and likely setting standards for the place you work)…this young lady is probably brilliant. I caught myself judging her. I was a hypocrite to my own thoughts, but I caught myself. So my future thought was anyone who’s putting that much energy into judging her probably doesn’t have enough work.
  6. I won’t say anything more than the name of Donald Trump because 90% of America agrees with me even if they’ve voted for him.
  7. If my boyfriend’s son huffs at him one more time… Momma bear rising up. I’ve raised too many kids to be passive.
  8. WWMLKD
  9. Everything Jesus did wasn’t pretty
  10. I wish people could have as much compassion for Christians as they as we have for them
  11. No, Christians won’t agree with everything. That’s part of our faith. We chose it and there’s not enough Christian bashing and bullying in the world that would make me change that.
  12. Leave the mom from the Harambe situation alone.
  13. Fear and boldness do coexist. One just eventually wins.
  14. I guess I have an opinion. I’m gonna go with mine. I’ll try to be informed.
Until next time,
Regina

Don’t go rolling your eyes at me talking about “you can say that now, you’re in a relationship.” I’ll say, “touché,” and then ask that you stick with me for just a bit.

I’m 35, not married and no kids. Personally, that means that I’ve had my fair share of time being single. In fact, I’ve been in this relationship for only 8 months. The one before that…3 months. And almost a year gap before the one before that. So, I think it’s fair to say that I know a thing or two about being single.

I know the struggles. I know the things that annoy single women. And I know that tomorrow will be a tough day for many of you.

As Feb 14 rolls around for another year, you’re gonna hear all the things that make their boo amazing, see pictures of flowers, balloons, chocolates, and gifts, and maybe even become a little jealous of held hands, gushy embraces, and proposals and such.

Conversely, you’ll be enamored with messages of those commiserating with you. You’ll see messages calling out “Singles’ Awareness Day” and maybe even posts about why he ain’t crap.

Ultimately, you’ll be tempted to sulk in self-pity once again, thinking that you’re not pretty enough, not good enough, too aggressive or some other reason that media tells you that you’re single.

I’m here to be your conscience. To tell you to stop right there, and really remember why you’re single.

I ended my relationship with a guy last year on the day before Valentine’s Day. Yes, I could’ve held off a day or two just so I wouldn’t be single on the day of love, but that’s not my style. I was over his inconsiderate actions. And because I was tired of it, I went into Valentine’s Day alone. And you know what I did? I hung out with my brother.

My family laughed because I’d told them he had 2 weeks to get it together. He made it not even a full 1 week. Which takes me to the entire point of this…

I was single by choice. I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want to settle for. His inconsiderate actions was one of those things that I didn’t want to settle for.

Chances are that you are single by choice also. Yes, you’d love to have someone to spend time with. Someone to spend romantic moments with, laugh with, and even shed some tears with. Someone who will rub your back when it hurts or call you beautiful every day. Someone who will affirm you, who will partner with you. Someone who will see you worthy enough of compromise and personal and mutual growth. But you just haven’t met that person yet. (Because they all ain’t that person.) And because you haven’t met the person who’s deserving of all you have to offer and accepting of your shortcomings that come with, you’re single. And that’s okay.

In a nutshell, you’re single because you love yourself enough to be single. Not to sacrifice. Not to compromise. We all know where we can give and where we can take, we know our deal breakers.

Singlehood, dating, and marriage are all times of growth. Singlehood is tough. Relationships are tough too. And marriage, well, it’s probably the toughest of all. But possibly (maybe) the most rewarding. (I haven’t been there so I can’t speak for that.)

Take a page out of my book. Be single and love on yourself. Play dress up. Get your makeup skills down pact. Spend money on ridiculous things without having to justify it to anyone but yourself. And just love on you. Fall in love with yourself so that when he comes, you’ll be that much more ready for him.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day with a friend, family member or loved one. Even though I’m in a relationship, that’s what I’ll be doing cause boo had other things to do. (See how that works. I can accept it because I know how to love on me even when he has other things to do.) And in the end, remember, it’s only a day.

2013 was the year I joined the team; the brand online team, that is. My boss was pregnant, lived in France, and was soon (very soon) to go on maternity leave. Little to my knowledge we were in the middle of a very big project.

This was the 4th site redesign I was involved in, and I was confused.

“How did I get to this place? How did I get in the middle of another site redesign.” I was in the middle of the restroom and those were my thoughts.

Soon I would be spending hours upon hours including late nights and sometimes weekends on this redesign. By the end, I’d had it.

Daily View - Work/Life Balance Planner
Daily View – Work/Life Balance Planner

But I’d also developed a habit, the to-do list.

Lists and more lists

While I’ve always been a “list” person, I noticed my dependence on a list intensified as the project intensified. I was beyond creating the occasional project list that lived with it’s respective project or the daily to-do list that may go on to the next day. Instead, I was at a point where lists were coming out of my wazoo.

There was the project (or projects within a project) lists. There were the priority lists. There were the red flag lists. And then there were my infamous lists…the monthly, weekly and daily lists.

I had literally started writing out monthly, weekly, and daily lists. And over time, I noticed the beauty. The beauty I found lied in 2 things…

1) Successful prioritization. As I saw things more holistically, I was able to better prioritize what was on my plate. And pairing that list with my daily calendar, I was better equipped to not tell someone yes or no, I was able to help put requests in their place, whether it was request for task work or requests for meetings.

2) Self-care. During this time, I also realized a need to take care of myself. Like I said, I was spending a ton of time working. Therefore, I had to make concerted efforts to take care of myself. Whether that was to exercise, sleep or simply turn off for the weekend, I knew I needed to find work/life balance.

Additionally, thanks to a friend, I’d been introduced to printables on Pinterest. (Printables are essentially cute to-do lists, life planners and so on.) While I printed these lists for a while, I felt daily printing was a waste. I also didn’t feel the printable I enjoyed using was the most professional design.

Because of this, I moved on to writing out these lists on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. As you can imagine, this got old. And this is when the planner process began; mid 2014, I started designing the planner.

Single chicks don’t want a mommy planner, but moms and pops can use this too

This planner was designed for a unique type of person. It’s not a mommy/family planner. It’s not a date/appointment keeper; we have phones and other devices for that. It’s for the boss lady or man; the person who is focused on successfully managing a hectic personal and professional life while also making a commitment to take care of themselves.

This planner is for:

  1. People who get ish done without going crazy operate on to-do lists and successful prioritization.
  2. People who want to know what to say yes to and what to decline.
  3. People who know and value the importance of making time for family, extracurriculars and others, and
  4. Most of all, people know that to be the best they can be, they have to take time to take care of themselves. So if they have to be deliberate about self-care time, so be it.

 

Find out more about the work-life planner and pre-production by following me on Instagram and Facebook.

And starting next week, you’ll be able to order online. In the meantime, take a look at (or order) some of the pre-releases.

Note: This was written before the previous post.

Decisions are an essential, inevitable element of everyday living. What to wear? What to say? What to eat? Even what to think? But some decisions are bigger than ever. Some are life altering driven by the core of who you are.

These include where to go to church? An overall way of living. Your career path and even where to work.

Then there are decisions that are even bigger. Decisions that you seemingly have little control over. Decisions that are not influenced by, but yet dictated by the essence of who you are.

These are decisions that you have little control over. As much as you desire to be liked or change certain behaviors so that you can be liked, the makeup of yor DNA, personality, and might I add calling, don’t allow you to change.

This is why singers will always sing. Dancers will always dance. Those who are naturally charismatic will always be charismatic. And those who are naturally influential will always be influential.

I happen to be all of the above…so I get it.

On the other hand, it’s hard when your calling is to be something that’s not popular. It’s hard when your character is to go against the grain. It’s hard when your calling is to be different.

You often approach a fork in the road when throwing in the towel and jumping on the bandwagon seems like a good idea.

“I’ll just be fake nice,” I said to myself. That was when I was internally chastised for giving in to the pressure. For even considering not being who God called me to be.

That’s when I was reminded that Jesus wasn’t liked. He wasn’t fake nice and he offended a heck of a lot of people.

I, by no means, am saying I’m even close to being Jesus. But isn’t it funny when your character reflects his boldness and his ability to go against the grain and suddenly you’re not Godly. Our lens of a holy God is so blurred by the smear of a “nice” God that we get it wrong.

We go out of our way to select the right words, put on the fake smile, and act “Godly” when we forget that it was that same God who called the lady out for being a prostitute. The same God who chastised the Pharisees for being pompous. And the same God who pointed out the fact that his closest friends had little faith.

Yet, this is the same God that we praise for being loving, patient and kind.

It’s funny how we can appreciate, see and accept both sides of Christ. Yet, we have little room to do the same for those we call our brothers and sisters.

If I said I didn’t know that I rubbed others the wrong way, I would be lying. But that was part of what I’ve been called to do; to go right when everyone is going left. To strive for better when others will settle for good enough.

Going against the grains isn’t a smooth process, but it can be a refining one.

It can bring fresh air to an otherwise gray world.

It can bring light to an otherwise dark existence.

To you I ask, what parts of your brother have you discarded because it rubbed you the wrong way, and have you ever considered the validity of the approach. Paul wanted to kill Christians but them became the leader. His zeal caused him to go too far on one side and bring massive change on another. Same person. Same personality. Different goals.

My question to you…have you ever thought how you’ve rubbed your brother, yet had patience, forgiveness and acceptance shown toward you. That’s what being a Christian is about. It’s not about trying to mold someone to who you want them to be. It’s about understanding how their piece of the body works with yours.

Which part do you play and how does your brother fit? 1 Corinthian 12:27.

 

I’ve fallen in love…again. Maybe that’s a bit drastic, but I think it’s safe to say I’ve been immersed in a world of creativity. And if I liked hearts, I’m sure they’d be twinkling in my eyes at the mention of design, business and just trying new things.

My life in photos *story continues below*

See, I’ve had a thing for stationery for quite some time. And if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve been posting some of my free printable designs of cute paw prints, autumn printables, and colorful chevron template.

Well, this design thing has turned into a full-blown business. I’ve opened an Etsy shop and have been working on products like crazy. And while the shop may seem a little empty now, rest assured… I’ve been working on product development. From sourcing pictures to writing to working with templates, I’ve been doing it all. I’ve even been making sure I have my legal crap in order. (Good thing this isn’t my first run at business. So much easier and less stressful this time around.)

But that’s not it. Scarves are also part of my product assortment. And I’ve been working my butt off on this too. There’s advertising, the photo shoot, creating my photo studio, and *ahem* replacing my crochet needle because I left the other one at my boyfriend’s house. (Yeah…that happened.) Oh…and the crocheting. Let’s not forget the crocheting.

Add that to my day job, church servanthood, and love life, and you find a busy girl over here. But I was excited to share with your what was going on. And if you’re into customizing your planner, scrapbooking or are a stationery freak like me, you have to keep checking back on my Etsy shop. Have a product you think you’d like, let me know.

If you’re interested in a scarf, feel free to email me at regina.r.patterson@gmail.com. I ship. I also hope to add inventory to Etsy. (I sold out of my current inventory.) Adult sizes start at $20. Children start at $10.

Finally, stay up to date with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Instagram

Until next time. Mwah.

Gina

So there was this time when I blurred  my business world and my personal worlds…because my brand was frankly, Regina. However, as I migrate my posts to a more focused marketing blog, it seems like this was the better place for this. Circa Sept 2014. 

People’s nagging words can be the paralysis to your purpose; to the things that you’ve had the balls to even dream about (excuse my French). But it’s true. Sometimes, when we dream big and tell others how we want to try something new, become President or maybe even do something as small as learning how to ride a bike at an older age, there are a million people who can come up with a trillion reasons why you shouldn’t do it; why it’s a bad idea. Reasons such as you’ll get hurt or you don’t fit the persona of the president or maybe even you’re not small enough or pretty enough to be a model. Tell them you want to quit your job to pursue your dream of entrepreneurship and all heck breaks loose. They don’t take the time to tap into the positive outcomes, such as conquering a fear, embracing confidence where self-esteem once took residence, or even all the new skills you’ll obtain simply by trying. And most of all, simply providing a pat on the back because you have the gumption to try.

And haters don’t come always come from the external. You may be the biggest naysayer of them all. You continue to tell yourself why you can’t do ONLY thing standing between you and those passing you by is guts.

But that’s okay. Go ahead and let others pass you by. Stay in the rut. The rut is safe. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself, which is totally contrary to what risk takers say. Their motto: “High risk, high reward.”

Let’s be real. I can’t say I’m totally a high risk person. If I was, I wouldn’t be working my comfy, full-time job as a marketing professional at one an industry leader. Instead, when I got laid off from my previous job, i would’ve stuck with my plan to do the marketing business full-time with a couple of side gigs as security. But noooo. I needed safe. Heck. I needed to pay my bills, and that was the only way I could see that happening. And so taking another full-time job, taking my talents to another organization is what I did. And everyday I question why. Why didn’t I put caution to the wind to embark upon my dream? Well, because it wasn’t time. However, a dream deferred isn’t a dream not recognized. It’s just exactly what it is…a dream deferred.

It’s now time to put the petal to the metal, not letting opportunity pass me by. Instead, it has fueled me to work harder. Invest more. And get serious – even more determined than I was before. And though this time I’m moving more slowly, I’m moving more wisely. I’m working smarter and not harder, redefining strategy, branding a more. In fact, the shift has allowed a chance to be inspired, be focused and unleash creativity.

It’s giving me time to doubt, be stretched and even encouraged. And frankly, it’s given me motive to push you to look beyond your doubts, your external and inner hater, and simply do what you do as you unleash creativity in your own, unique way.

Hey. I’m not quitting my job today, and unless you KNOW it’s right, I recommend you think long and hard before you quit yours. In fact, don’t quit. Not yet. Instead, continue to let the dream spur you, inspire you, and provide motivation until you look and exhale, satisfied in a dream realized.