Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dear Sugar: 10 Year Diaversary

Dear Sugar,

Last week, I celebrated ten years with my disease.  

Many of you already know that my disease was what gave me the gift of motherhood (via adoption).

Read my story on Huff Post.

Have a blessed week, Sugars!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dear Sugar: Stop Worrying About Should

Dear Sugar,

The other day a friend and I were talking about all the notes that come home from school:  do this, bring this, wear that.  It can be overwhelming for the parent!   She said, "Things like this make me feel like a bad mom."   We simply cannot keep up, and we perpetually feel as if we are failing.

Later that afternoon, my toddler was napping and my five-year-old begged me to just sit with her and cuddle while we watched the movie she had selected at the library.   This is when the "should" kicked in.

I should be emptying the dishwasher.

I should be working on drafting my new book.

I should make her do her homeschooling outside in the sunny and sixty degree weather.

I should be figuring out what we're going to have for dinner.

I should be calling my medical supply company to deal with ordering issues.

I should call my girlfriend who just had a baby and wants to schedule a play date.

I should take a few quiet moments to read my Bible, say a prayer, and journal.




There are so many things we "should" be doing as moms that supposedly make us better moms, better wives, better women, better employees or employers, better friends, better Christians.

It's overwhelming, and frankly, we are chronically disappointed and exhausted because of all the shoulds.  Even when we manage to have a day where we feel accomplished, there are a hundred more shoulds lurking.

I spend too much time, embarrassingly, on thinking about shoulds and doing shoulds.  And unfortunately, this means missing precious moments, opportunities to unwind and relax and laugh, chances to listen and learn.

Today I decided to neglect all the shoulds.   Today I plopped on the couch, pulled my daughter onto my lap, and we watched her movie with a blanket draped over us, our fingers intertwined.

It was the most important should.  And it wasn't a task to accomplish, but a gift to be received.

This week Sugars, I want you to take care of business that you MUST take care of.  But all those little shoulds that are whispering in your ear, they need to be shushed.


And if you need further encouragement on how to make this happen, I highly recommend The Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford.  I'm NOT a fan of "self-improvement" books---but this book is very practical, heart-driven, and for me, life-changing (slowly but surely).


If you enjoyed this post, please join me on social media to discuss all things adoption, race, chronic disease, and motherhood.  Buttons with links to the right.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dear Sugar: Sharing Your Story

Dear Sugar,

What brought you to adoption?

What people?  What events?  What words?  What emotions?  What past?  What present?  

What has brought you to the point in which you've said "yes" to the vulnerable, the unknown, the anticipating?  

Recently, I had the honor of sharing my story with Jamie Ivey, a fellow mama by adoption who hosts a fabulous podcast called The Happy Hour.

I have always been open about why we chose to adopt, but my sharing has been, to be honest, calculated, drafted (many times), and shared on MY terms.  

The truth is that my disease is very difficult.   You wouldn't know it if you just met me or even if we've known each other for years.  Because I don't complain about it.  Because I just suck it up and keep going, and going, and going (yep, like the Energizer Bunny).   Why?  Because there really is no choice.   I can either suck it up and keep going or let my disease win.  

I refuse to let it win.

My disease is exhausting.  Daunting.  All-consuming.  It's invisible, yet it never ceases to throw itself in my face when I least expect it.  It kicks me when I'm down.   It's predictably unpredictable.

So when Jamie asked me about my disease, something I've dealt with for ten years this month, the floodgates opened.

It's not just about my disease.   Because of it, we chose to adopt.   My motherhood is interwoven with my cross to bear. 

For a few years, I couldn't figure out why every February and March, I was just off.  I felt uncomfortable in my own body.  My mind raced and then dragged.   I was unmotivated, unmoved, uninterested.  Apathetic and vulnerable.   Irritable yet tender.

Sugar, you have a story, too.  A story of love and loss and depth and uncertainty.  You have a story of hope and devastation.

I want to hear your story.  I want to know your journey, your WHY, your leading to YES.

On the day this blog post goes live (Wednesday, 3/16), we'll be on Facebook where you'll be invited to share your WHY and your YES.   Join me, will you?   

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dear Sugar: Easter Basket Suggestions for Young Grade School Kids

Last week I featured some Easter basket suggestions for older toddlers to preschoolers.  This week, I'm focusing on young grade schoolers.  

The Wiz Live!

If you haven't seen the new THE WIZ LIVE yet, you are missing out!   The acting, the music, the set---everything---was simply astounding.   I also love that the movie is not nearly as scary as the Judy Garland version.   My kids have been watching this DVD non-stop since January.  

This is by far our favorite Bible for kids.  Every story is shared in a kid-friendly way without diluting the message of salvation, hope, and love.  The illustrations feature people of different skin tones, and Jesus is accurately depicted as olive-skinned.

ABCme flashcards featuring illustrations on one side and facts on the other.  They come in an adorable stamped drawstring bag for easy transport.

Natural T-shirt-Smart GirlsTank Top (2T-6T) or kids (XS,S,M,L,XL)

New Tribe, New Tradition is one of our favorite Etsy shops.  We own five of the shirts.  We've had the shirts well over a year, and the screenprinting has not cracked or faded.  Love the empowering messages!  This Black-owned business offers tees in all sizes.

Sugarplum Fairy Sparkling Aloe Lotion
We love this company which is owned by a mom-by-transracial-adoption.  Products are mostly organic and smell amazing!    Africa Sleeps offers sleep caps, skin care, and hair care products.


Double-sided, won't fall out, looks adorable barrettes?  YES!   Love our GaBBY bows!

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

Our favorite version of Cinderella!  The diversity is incredible (Prince is Asian, Cinderella/Fairy Godmother/Queen are Black, King is White, etc.), and so is the music and acting!  

We own several of these illustrated biographies.  Great for growing readers!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dear Sugar: Easter Basket Suggestions for Young Black Children


Easter is early this year, and I wanted to share with you some of my recommended Easter basket goodies for young-ish Black children (generally these are for older toddlers to preschoolers).  All of the items featured are small:  so perfect for tucking into your little one's basket.  We own all of these products.

Next week, I'll feature Easter basket suggestions for young grade school kids.

Here you go!  

Circo mini dolls are fabulous!  They come in a variety of skin tones, both boy and girl, are astoundingly affordable.  I love the Corolle brand dolls, but their mini dolls, equivalent to these Target dolls, are $18 each at specialty toy stores.  

Fisher Price Little People Wheelies are adorable!   They cost under $5 each (when bought individually), and they offer several options for kids of color, both boys and girls (and in different types of transportation like airplanes, trains, cars, etc.).   These can be played with individually, or my kids love the track so they can race the Wheelies.  As a side-note, I've seen the track being sold on local FB pages for as little as $10.  I'd def buy this item used if possible. 

I Never Forget a Face Square Matching picture

Eeboo is one of my favorite toy companies.  Whimsical, simple, and adorable.  Most of their products feature kids of different skin tones.   This game is our favorite. It's a matching game using the faces of children from all over the world.  The back of the box offers a guide to each country.   When kids are younger, play the game with the cards face-up.   This makes a great sibling gift, because kids of multiple ages can play and learn from the game.

Wooden Classic Neighborhood Set
We are big Melissa and Doug fans!  Almost every product features a diverse cast of characters.  We love their floor puzzles (check out this beautiful princess floor puzzle), their sticker sets, their color pads, their costumes, etc.   We own several of these wooden character sets.  They are a steal at $5 a pack!  

The cover doesn't do the book justice.  It's full of illustrations of kids of color and explains the biblical Easter story.  

This is the story of a little girl (brown skin and black hair) exploring the wonders of spring.  

This sparkly book is full of beautiful details!   It stars two children:  a Black girl and a White boy.  

This book features Black children (only), each in a different Easter scene:  church, flower field, etc.  

 African Playground

The Putumayo CDs are fantastic for families who want to expose their children to different music types without resorting to "kiddie" music.   We own several of these CDs and love them all!  

Global Wonders: African-American

This DVD is incredibly educational and entertaining.   And the price cannot be beat!