The Rose Colored Glasses Named Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina's 10 year anniversary is here and the people that sat at the Superdome for days were victims. They were called refugees and we ignored them, as a nation.
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Approximately four days after the levees broke and  the water drowned New Orleans, its homes, land and humans; then FEMA Director, Mike Brown did a satellite interview with CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien stating the environment was too dangerous for FEMA to come in and save lives and spirits, that were being lost day after day as residents of New Orleans and surrounding areas just sat in hopelessness. I remember watching that interview with my neighbors and one of them said with the self-righteousness of ignorance with no bliss, ” Why did those people build homes in a known flood zone and not expect this if a hurricane came.” At that point, I lost ever ounce of decorum I exhibit on a daily basis and went ( pardon the expression…or not) smooth off. I asked if he asked the same question of people who build and then RE-build their homes in Tornado Alley. Of course, his answer was, “no”.

That question and answer from my neighbor was basically the sentiment of people who had never struggled through the type of complete devastation nor helplessness we were witnessing during the days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. As the nation watched people being rescued from roof tops, bodies floating down subdivision streets and thousands of people at the Superdome “living” in sub par conditions and literally starving; some completely disconnected themselves from empathy and began to criticize the actual victims. Those days for me were more than just eye-opening, they were belief system changing; soul rearranging and simply put…heart breaking.

Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that followed changed America's eyes forever. The anniversary only makes that easily recognized.
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I watched that scrolling banner on CNN of children who had been separated from their parents by hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles,  when General Honore’ finally got military tanks and school buses to the Superdome to get New Orleanians to safety. I heard the multitude of debates about  “who, what, when and why”. I listened to blame being  passed like a game of ” Hot Potato” between the Mayor, Governor… residents and I listened to Federal Officials telling blatant lies and making excuses for why people were dying in the chairs they had sat in for days and the constant wails of hungry infants permeated the air.

At this point, I questioned what kind of country did we really live in. We’ve always been known to speak about the freedoms we have as Americans to anyone willing to listen. We actually have this weird type of arrogance about that fact, which can come across as braggadocious. Nonetheless, this same country watched its citizens (who became “refugees”, depending on which news network you viewed) become broken by Mother Nature and were more interested in blaming them versus saving their lives. We should have been ashamed of what we let happen in New Orleans and yet…we were not.

After all the news cameras left, Telethons were over and Katrina was no longer water cooler banter at workplaces, the city and its occupants who did not leave had to still deal with homes barely standing, no employment, unsafe food or water and FEMA trailers that turned out to be some what of a death trap. America went on with her life with Hurricane Katrina in the rear view mirror.

Hurricane Katrina anniversary and the storm that killed over a thousand people and showed how disconnected we were as a nation.
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As this “anniversary” comes around this year. I recall that Soledad O’Brien interview vividly, as she stated to Mike Brown, ” How is it possible that we’re getting better intel than you’re getting? We had a crew in the air. We were showing live pictures of the people outside of the Convention Center. We had a National Guardsman who was talking to us, who was telling us he estimated the crowd at 50,000 people. That was at 8:00 in the morning yesterday. And also, we’ve been reporting that officials have been telling people to go to the Convention Center if they want any hope of relief. I don’t understand how FEMA cannot have this information The mayor, the former mayor, putting out SOS’s on Tuesday morning, crying on national television, saying please send in some troops. So the idea that, yes, I understand that you’re feeding people and trying to get in there now, but it’s Friday. It’s Friday.”

His response was the twin of aloofness and damage control. I decided on that day to retire my rose-colored glasses…forever.

Hurricane Katrina's victims sat on topp of their foofs to escape the water and try to get helicopters to rescue them before they died.
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Single Mother Chronicles: Samantha Who Is Not You.

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“Samantha Who?” was an ABC sitcom that ran from 2007-2009. It chronicled a woman who gets into a car accident and develops amnesia. She completely forgets everything about herself and the people around her. Evidently, Samantha was a miserable, backstabbing, conniving female  according to her “friends”, associates and family. Through all of their eyes, she sees what type of person she is and she wants to make amends for all her past actions. It is was an interesting concept for a television show, Could you imagine only being able to live your life through the eyes of everyone else? Samantha’s life changed dramatically after the accident.

Becoming a single parent from a failed relationship, life decisions – or just dealing you a cruel blow – can seem life shattering and definitely life alternating. Ever have days when you just want to throw your hands up and quit, sleep for days, or wish that you could just start over? If given the chance would you like to develop amnesia and forget everything and every experience from before? Could you, would you want to begin your life anew like Samantha? You couldn’t change past relationships, because you wouldn’t know they existed. The people you knew before would have a vision only of how they knew you, which more than likely would be completely different from how you see yourself.

Single mothers starting their lives over. Samantha Who? , a sitcom about amnesia and who you really are.
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It would be interesting to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, especially if you had no idea who they are talking about. How wounded would you be if they rejected you based on your history? When all along you believed yourself to be a pretty decent person, would their opinion of you be valid? Have you disappointed or disregarded them in the past? Are they holding a grudge, just because … you were Samantha?

I ask all of these hypothetical questions to prompt you to not only to think about what you give off to people, but also what you allow yourself to receive. Even in the depths of being a single mom, and others not understanding what you are going through, or not having help at home…you are always in control of what you give off to people.You do not have to start your life over in order to live in its altered state. Stand strong in your new role as a single parent. Everyone will have their own opinions of how they see you, but if you embrace who you are, their opinions will not have any impact on you.

Samantha, who?

Single Mothers and being stronger by getting over a break up and moving on with their lives. Single mothers not letting other people define who they are what they need to do.
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Back to School Cool: Helpful Tips for Parents

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It’s that time of year again,when  some parents start dancing randomly around the house while carrying the new school calendar and children may groan, often and loudly; Back To School!

The week before and the week of children return to school can be an exciting, albeit stressful time. Here are some helpful tips to start the year off on the right foot.

⇒Start pushing bedtime up an hour per night the week before school starts. This makes the early bed times more of a transition versus a shock from the lazy days of summer. This also gives you valuable time to connect with your children through short conversations and bedtime stories. Because life always seems to be life, the additional quiet in your home may also give you an opportunity to share time with your spouse. Whether it is having a conversation void of anything related to children, watching a movie together or simply just sitting in solitude with your spouse and holding times…solid relationships require effort.

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 ⇒Tax Free weekends are taking place within the next two weeks in many states. Stock up on school supplies, clothing and select electronics (desk top computers, laptop, calculators, etc.) during this weekend and save those extra dollars. You can even use the money that would normally go towards tax to open up a 509 Savings Plan or a Savings Account for your children’s college fund. Check with your bank for more details on both options.
⇒Plan weekly or monthly dinners and cook a little bit extra. Then use the leftovers in your child’s lunch box for the week. All there is left to do is add fresh fruit or vegetables and their favorite treat. Dinner and Lunch is done in a snap, saving you time during those potentially hectic mornings. (P.S. Don’t forget to add notes to your children’s lunch boxes letting them know they are special. P.S.S.- You can add love notes to your spouse’s lunch box, as well.)
⇒Putting together outfits for the week is also a time saver. In anticipation that children will and do change their minds, have them pick out their clothing with you.  Let them add their own personal style with accessories and color choices.  Place the outfits on hangers in the closet for easy access for your child and watch how quickly they are up, dressed and giving you a mini-fashion show to boot.
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 ⇒Create a central location in your home for all Book Bags, Lunch Boxes, Homework Folders, Emergent Reader Booklets and Permission Slips. This way, when you or your child is looking for these items right before you have to rush out the door to catch the school bus or take them to school, everything is right where you can find it. No more tearing the house apart looking for the proverbial dog that ate the homework.
Remember with school starting, it means more cars, daycare buses/vans and school buses on the roads. Please be mindful of the children and take your time navigating the streets on your way to your destination.
Here’s to a successful 2015 school year!


Single Mother Chronicles: What’s in Your Bank Account?

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Are you a wealthy woman? Not the type of wealth that comes from how many zeros you have behind the 1,2, or 3 in your bank account, but the type that speaks about your mind-set, home life or the relationships you have with others. One financial guru and pretty much my financial hero says that the eight qualities of a wealthy woman are harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness and beauty.

Some of the qualities at first glance seem a bit strange. I was perplexed and intrigued at the same time when I first read them. However, once I looked into what the qualities were trying to convey, it became crystal clear.
Quality 1: Harmony – What you think should be a direct reflection of what you do.
Quality 2: Balance – Pay attention to your feelings.
Quality 3: Courage – Speak the truth even when others may not want to hear it.
Quality 4: Generosity – Giving the right thing to the right person and it benefits you both.
Quality 5: Happiness – Being open and accessible to possibilities.
Quality 6: Wisdom – Do not do what is easy; do what is right.
Quality 7: Cleanliness – To bring in true wealth, you need to clean up your life.
Quality 8: Beauty – What is possible when you achieve the other seven qualities.
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When I first took my inventory with this list, I was a single mom working my way through life and believing I was doing an adequate job. Nonetheless, knowing that I could do better. Initially, I checked off five things on the list. After reading I decided to make it a goal to successfully be able to check off all eight. I believe this list was crucial to me at the time and they all still ring true today. While it can be an important list to all women, single moms can benefit greatly from it.
Your harmony and balance can be thrown way off when you become a single mom. It takes time to gain them back, but not impossible. Even if the struggle for you is not financial, what you have known for years is now different. Even though it may seem impossible now, accept this shift in what was normal and embrace your new norm.
Courage comes in many forms. Know that being a single mother is one of the most courageous things you will do in your life.
Your generosity as a single mom can be as small as offering your shoulder to another mom that is having a difficult time coping or as large as donating time to a cause you believe in.
Happiness does have ebb and flow, but it does include optimism. Some days will be hard, but know there are better days ahead.
You will become the master of many things. Wisdom does come from doing. Even some men will have to ask you how to fix the plumbing and what that mysterious noise is coming from their car.
Single mothers schedule camps, tutoring, child care, sport activities and sleep overs all while cooking dinner, putting hundreds of miles on their cars from all the commuting and working a full-time job. A single mother’s organizational skills are on point.
Simply cleaning out your purse or donating clothes that have been just sitting in your closet for months can help you in making room for abundance in any of its forms.
My financial hero says that being able to check off the seven other qualities on the list creates beauty in your life. I also say that putting your strengths into practice, realizing your weaknesses and then being able to study your success rather than analyzing your failures is beautiful.
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Keep your chins up single mommies, being soul wealthy is within your reach.