Carla M. Brown |Speaker| Writer|Educator|Coach|

We have the perfect words. Write when you need them. Visit us at www.carlambrown.com


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Magic & Memories

 

memories

I almost did it.  I almost took her home.  Forever.  Because her grandmother said I could have her.  I thought about all the little men running around the Brown home and how much I am madly in love with my tribe, but I couldn’t get away from that subtle  inclination to have that pinkness in my house!

I loved the lace dress.  The blue-green eyes.  The tiny tights.  The diamond earrings and the clinging that she did for what felt like hours, but I floated back into the realm of reality and finally conceded to letting her go.  Nevertheless, I realized that even if I didn’t take her home, I’m still on a path to potentially impact her life.  I’m making magic and memories – for everyone…

I’ve received more texts and phone calls and emails than normal lately, particularly in reference to my renewed interest in charging ahead on catching those dreams.  I’ve been most delighted though!

In a weekend conversation, I learned that one Dreamer has already started journaling and planning to develop a portfolio for future intentions of becoming a model.  Another Dreamer wanted to develop a specialized curriculum that they hadn’t seen in any of the Districts surrounding them.

Another Dreamer on a path that parallels my own has been in the planning stage of consulting aspirations and found herself being pursued by interested clients that she never expected to meet.

An enthusiastic Dreamer from last week relayed the unveiling of a project that he and a partner have worked on for two years.  Overflowing with ideas, we’ll be meeting soon to determine a timeline to help them makes those moments of innovation into milestones of reality.

My favorite responses?  Those that have been contacting me to let me know that they’ve already gotten started on the homework assignment from this weekend!  I’m trying to contain my own excitement because I’m thrilled that I’m able to share this journey with others who are ripe for realization.  Which gets me back to the future Dreamer in the picture.

We too often forget how the reality of our dreams affects others.

For every story I hear of those that are ready to leap, there are ten more that share why they just can’t do it.  Some cite time, money, or support; but, I remind them that their decision isn’t limited to changing their world, it can change the worlds of others.   That’s the magic.

Touching others with your tenacity!  Inspiring them to dream because they see yours coming to fruition!  Making memories that make history…and move others to do something great…

That young lady who wants to become a model is choosing a new segment of the industry that focuses on unconventional beauty and steers away from the status quo.

She’s considering in part because of many teens who have already expressed how they look up to her as she defies what beauty was perceived to be and defines, in her own right, what beauty is.  She’s ready for the next step.

That educator, who met the clients she wasn’t expecting, almost didn’t attend the meeting she was invited to.  She thought age gaps might be a factor and that others may not have enough in common with her in spite of her efforts.  She fought those feelings of doubt and pressed forward to that meeting, contending that it was one of the best experiences of her professional career.

I’ve toyed with the idea of penning a book for years.  And after starting and stopping, starting and stopping received a post two days ago that said, “Have you written any books yet? If so, let me know. I would love to read any you write.”  #confirmation…

If you’re still sitting on those ideas; those passions; those goals, those unrepentant, untapped, unfulfilled dreams.  Stop squelching them!

Because you don’t live and operate in isolation, those inclinations – whether they are within your current profession, a part of your personal goals or something that could impact communities within and abroad – they’re yours; stamped with your originality and authenticity.  Who better to do it than you?

If you extinguish your fire, you won’t be the only one who suffers from the loss.  So will those around you who could be greatly benefited by your best efforts.  This is the season of giving, right?  Give us your best.  We’re dying to see what’s in store.

My dreams are on the horizon…  Watch me leap…

#catchyourdreams, #leapofgreat, #betheone, #pursueyourpassion, #leap2017, #somethingsbrewing, #beadreamer, #staytuned

Caption:  I might convince her to be a Dreamer tomorrow if I catch my dreams today.

 


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When Decadence and Diligence Danced on My Plate

Decadent and Diligent

I almost shamefully admit that I’ve become quite sugar-addicted somewhere between my last trimester and my current motherhood moments.  I think about dessert daily, and I am making an extreme effort to exercise moderation, of course!  Nevertheless, when one of my oldest (and favorite) Nursing clients from the College of Nursing at Prairie View A&M recommended we meet at Grace’s recently (which I’d passed many times, but had never been), I couldn’t help but indulge in the decadent chocolate cake that peered seductively at my table.

It was perfectly molded.  I could see from a distance that the sponge like texture had just the right resistance, and the aroma was intoxicating.  Warm, chocolate ganache cascaded over its luxurious crown, accented with ripened raspberries that were gently kissed by herbaceous mint leaves.  When I finally took a bite, I was in disbelief.  Its deliciousness was unparalleled, but I expected less – because on the menu, it was deemed “flourless.”

Like many of my contemporaries, I’m from the era that feels items with traditional ingredients missing taste slightly different; at times, a little off, at others not quite right, and at worst, simply sub-par.  Nevertheless, I recalled that there are occasions when flour yields rather undesirable results for a significant part of the population.  Apparently, it created enough of a dilemma that certain individuals were determined to create an admirable option – tantamount in culinary delight.

Their diligence is delectable.

I realized that often, the things that we don’t like are what encourage us to make changes.  Should they not? In the workplace, we call them evaluations.  We weigh them against our standards to determine if the results are the best.  If they’re not, we try again; use different approaches, re-examine procedures.  In our lives, we opt to work harder; use greater insight, seek wise counsel.  Why?  Because we are convinced that improving our efforts will lead to a better situation.  And when we do that with consistency, I call that diligence.

Through the diligence of a patient pastry artist unknown to me, a flourless chocolate cake emerged that tastes perhaps even better than its predecessor.  The quality of this taste for me, was more than a sweet treat, it was a delicious reminder that diligence is its own reward.  If you have a goal, a desire, an objective – that hasn’t quite turned out like you wanted just yet – don’t stop trying.  If necessity is the mother of invention, displeasure is the father of innovation.

Let your challenges catalyze your dreams.  #catchthemwhenyoucan

Caption:  A double dose of sweetness, decadence and diligence.  #howsweetitis


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Shooting for Their Success

Shooting for Their Success

It’s not everyday that we get to work at a job where we can actually say we’re thoroughly delighted with our daily activities.  You know how sometimes, you work at a place because it helps you to make ends meet?  However, there are occasions when our place of employment is an environment where we can take those things that we love and put them into practice in a way that is not only beneficial to others, but allows us to thrive in the areas where we shine best – because we love what we do.

I’m pleased to say that when I am not speaking, writing (or eating, LOL), a part of my day is dedicated to teaching two of my favorite subjects of academia (English Language Arts/Reading and Writing) to my 8 yr. old son at the school where he is also learning Spanish and Chinese.

Sharing with him and his 3rd grade peers the art and science of communicating their most vibrant thoughts with the rest of the world tickles me for days on end.  They’re at a point where they still love learning – and sadly, so many of our children don’t.

One of my favorite days at the school is Friday – not because I know it’s going into the weekend (although that is an added plus), but because each Friday the staff focuses on emphasizing the importance of college, and the students are enamored.  Uniforms are gone and college apparel abounds.  There are speakers, special presentations, and surprise guests – all with the intent of stirring up their enthusiasm for post secondary education.

Now, I don’t knock the world of sports, but to say I’m a fan of any team in particular would be quite the leap.  Anyone who knows me realizes my fandom is reserved for all things culinary.  That being said, I was delighted that on one of those recent Fridays my son’s eyes lit up when he saw this mascot (and massively tall) basketball players from The University of St. Thomas immediately following a presentation that again shifted his view towards his future.

I spend my afternoons with high school students who have not had such success in their academic careers.    Many are over-aged, some have been to three to four different schools already, prior and consistent failures from the past are common.  Nearly a third are homeless, some have single parents – and are single parents – but what I zone in on is the one thing that I can use to help their learning experience be effective:  desire.

There exists among them students who long to be successful, despite their circumstances.  More than a few of them possess the same desire as my third graders – to learn.  I share the common enthusiasm of wanting to teach them…things that perhaps they never knew or hadn’t considered.  Whether the eyes are oooing and awing in an 8 year old body or an 18 year old body, I hope and pray that the lessons developed – both from classroom and life – will inspire them to change their future in a way that is incessantly rewarding.

I’m no athlete by sports standards, but every day – I am shooting for their success.  All of them.  We each have the ability to touch lives with our talents, but are we really scoring the way we should.  What are you shooting for?  It’s not limited to a classroom…  I’d love to know.

#pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1, #athletesarentjustonthecourts

Picture:  Christopher and the mascot from The University of St. Thomas – feeling excited about his future.


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My Mother, My Mentor, My Muse

thebestmomever

You know how most people think that their mom is absolutely perfect even though we know perfection is impossible?  Yeah, I’m in that group.  My mom is very much a quiet person, behind the scenes, all-star.  I had to wrestle this picture from her because social media is simply not her thing.

Then I explained – how she’s my utmost inspiration; how I had no intention of flooding the Internet with her beauty for selfish purposes, but rather expressing my undying amazement and gratefulness for her – so I was granted this once-in-a-lifetime permission to gush to my heart’s content complete with my favorite-Mom-photo.

This is her senior picture from 1968.  The note is to my dad, who she didn’t know would be my dad then.  Heck, she didn’t even know there would be a me!  But she wrote “Love, Shirley Harris.  Stay sweet and remember me (smile).”   I’m so glad he did…

I often feel I’ve had the best of both worlds – tragedy and triumph that is.  I know some people think there’s nothing to celebrate about hardship, but having had so many, I disagree.  My grandmother used to say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  And as a kid, I thought that was a horrible thing to even conceive!  “Who wants to go through all of that?”  I’d wonder.

I didn’t know that I’d later be held at knife point and gunpoint; that I’d be drug through a boy’s house by my ankles after being hit in the face in high school; that I’d lay in my own blood in a parking lot while losing a love I’d never meet.  That I’d seriously contemplate ending my life with a rope at 13.  To say that was hard would be an understatement.  I realize now though, it’s not that you want to go through bad things. Bad things happen.  It’s what you do with it that makes a difference.

Life’s hardships have not been kind to me, and at times I think I’ve had more than my fair share. I’ve experienced the gamut of negative emotions – anger, confusion, hopelessness, doubt, depression, disgust, disappointment, loss… Nevertheless, with God’s help, I’ve drawn strength from them in ways that I never could have imagined.

I’ve encouraged others, women, men, elderly, youth, the heartbroken and downtrodden – because I was able to tell them about how I got through the anguish.  I had a point of reference for their heartache.  Interestingly, I was taught this lesson  best – by my mom.  She – and her own mother – transcended worse tragedies like a champion.

Throughout my life, I’ve had opportunities to meet amazing people that left my head spinning.  I was speechless at the things they’d endured, yet accomplished amidst their personal struggles.  I was always flattered by their thoughts of me, especially when so complimentary.

But I’m forever reminded that everything I do well, I do because of my mom.  I can trace each strength to what I gained from her.  She was my first teacher; first storyteller; chief editor and grammarian.  She created my appetite for reading and nurtured my love for words.  I type 120+ words a minute because she made me learn from her dusty old book from the 60s – when I was 12 years old.  The first money I ever earned from a “job” was because I was typing for someone else.

She taught me how to sing; how to play the piano; how to draw; how to act, to write, to think, to dance, to love, to listen, to speak….and that’s without her loving it nearly as much as I do.  She was mentoring me.  But more than anything, as I’ve “blossomed into a woman,” as one of my friends said – I am acutely aware that my mother – is my muse.  I aspire to be great, but if I could be a fraction of the woman she is, I would have far exceeded my goals.

I nicknamed her “The Oracle” many years ago.  Because in her I find wisdom, grace, strength, and beauty.  I used to be really sad that I never had a daughter – because I wanted to replicate the relationship with her that I have with my mom.  But – these boys are turning out not to be so bad after all. In fact, they’re quite the mini-mes 🙂

Either way, I am incessantly thankful that God gifted me with Shirley Harris Turner to guard me and guide me with her endless love.  My life without her wouldn’t be my life at all.  My love for her is at the core of my greatest aspirations.  She is my mother, my mentor, and my muse.

#mypassioncomesfromwithin, #shesinsideofme, #shirleyjr, #bethe1, #shehelpsmecatchmydreams, #iloveyoumom, #happymothersday


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Be the One…

Bethe1

While I realize winter is long gone in Houston, I can’t help my lingering awe with the ever-so-intricate snowflake.  I came across this book in my second-grade classroom this past December and like my own children, was utterly fascinated by how little I knew.  What I did know (and find mind-boggling) is that despite the trillions of snowflakes that fall all over the world, no two are alike (remember hearing that as a kid?).   This beautiful photograph fast forwarded to my memories when I began explaining my latest hashtag to my Creative Director – #bethe1.

As a cohabitant of the Twitter generation, I’ve finally developed a fondness for the hashtag hysteria.  For me, the affection stems from the constant reminders in what’s “trending”.  I like to remind myself that being one of few who chooses differently is a notable thing to do.  I realize that there are people who will opt to take the low road when I don’t, but I’d like to be the one who does the unexpected.  There are individuals who will not applaud my work ethic because it is easier to do what is convenient than what is correct.  I want to be the one who does what’s right anyway.

It is not always popular to disagree in a group when everyone else is in consensus.  My question is, “What is the impact of going along with the crowd?”  If my buy-in is going to make it difficult for me to sleep at my night, then my answer is going to be, “I understand how you feel, and I can see how you came to that conclusion.  However, I’m going to peaceably disagree.”  I will be the one that stands on my convictions because I can’t allow other people’s assumptions to compel me to change my own.

Sadly, what’s widely accepted often determines the decision making for all.  People are ostracized for thinking differently, labeled, and criticized.  I have never fit the status quo, so being the oddball is not foreign to me at all.  I am more concerned for my children – and our children – because when we don’t choose to stand out for what we believe, we send a message to them that it is better to go along than to champion what we feel from our hearts.

You will come across many snowflakes in your life.  Some will be a bit flakier than others.  In actuality, all will be beautiful because they come from the same source.  Nevertheless, many will blend in so much that they will only appear to assimilate into a blanket of snow.  Even still, remember that every part of your make-up makes you uniquely different.  Despite their best efforts, no one can be a copy of you and you shouldn’t be a replicate of anyone else.  When you feel like the tide of public opinion is pulling you under, don’t be afraid to ride the wave.  Stand up.  Stand out.  Be different.  Be the one…

Picture:  The one that was so beautiful, it took the photographer’s breath away.  Be the one who’s captivating the crowd because of your confidence.


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To Live, To Love, To Last…My Wishes

My Love

For whatever strange reason, “love” has been the topic of many of my conversations with several of my closest friends of late.  Some want to find it, some have found it only to lose it, some think they have it, but aren’t sure, while others have it, but feel they’re losing it.  And then there are a few who have it and just love it.  I couldn’t imagine discussing it without reflecting on my own experience.  And so tonight, I begin to take it apart, piece by piece, to ask myself what does it really mean – to me?

So I had to think about how I first met my spouse…I will spare you the humorous details, but it was funny.  Past the stage of infatuation, past the stars in the eyes and the “oh he’s just perfect” and “he thinks I am, too”, I realized that the depth of love is discovered not in the beginning, but in the thick of the rough patches – and making it through them.  For me, love has shown brightest in the ugliest moments.

Like, when you’re feeling the complete opposite of beautiful, but you are treated as if you look like a star.  Or, when life has left you with some unwelcome blemishes, but you are convinced that you are perceived as flawless. When you feel like a failure, but the one you love picks you up and tells you it’s okay to try again.  Love is what you experience when you learn to accept someone’s imperfections, shortcomings, and inhibitions and still be enamored with the reality of who they are.

I’m quick to tell people that while I’d love an everyday-all-day fairytale romance, I learned early that marriage isn’t written like a script from the movies – it is work!  Quite frankly, it can be difficult to compromise.  You won’t agree on everything.  And you will get your feelings hurt – that’s a part of life.  But…what makes the greatest difference for me, really?  Is our faith.  Because at the end of the day, on the few occasions where we may have disagreements, dissensions, or hurt feelings in between – we maintain the same core of beliefs; we both feel connected to Him; we both treasure divine guidance because of what we believe God intended for our marriage.

My husband and I were spatting about something recently in a most non-verbal way.  (You know how you can give each other a “Don’t even” look…), and while I was blogging, he wrote me a little note on the back of a small card, gently placed on my laptop that said, “Marriage can be difficult…but, I promised to be with you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”  Before I even read it, he quietly walked away.  When I revisited those vows, they meant the world to me…

I wish to live my life to the fullest.  Catch my dreams.  Pursue my passions, but I also want to enjoy being in love and all of the discoveries that come with its growing intensities along the way.  My friends whose hearts ache or are broken – I want them to find and be with the one person who will be perfect for them, because it saddens me to see their undying pain.

My friends that love being single?  I want them to get as much fulfillment out of life that they possibly can without feeling the disdain of those who believe marriage is for everyone – sometimes, it is not!  And to all that I know who are in strained relationships or marriages that seem broken, I hope they experience the healing that will allow them to know again what true love really is.  Real love…is wonderful.  It gives you a reason to live and imbues you (and your love) with the power to last.

#catchthatdream, #pursuethatpassion, #betheone, #notjustonyouranniversary, #loveeveryday, #loveforalifetime

Picture:  The day I signed on to Team Brown – and never looked back.


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The One in the Back

intheback

I thought I was having déjà vu when I saw this crimson version of the same flower I’d noticed in a completely different locale just last week.  I found its beauty to be breathtaking, but unlike the other flower that bears its likeness, something else called my attention to its floral aesthetics.  The one in the back.  Look closely to the right; tightly closed, almost invisible, blocked by those in front.  From the sidewalk, I noticed the broad petals beckoning for sunshine; the stately stamen that dazzled with golden hues; the fragrant aromas that emanated from within – but when I came in closer, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the late bloomer in the back.

You’ll notice that the bulk of the flowers in the front are indisputably gorgeous, but within a week’s time they had wilted.  Following their fall to frailty, the tightly closed bloom shined undeniably – without any interference or overshadowing from the aforementioned stars.  “Ok, Carla,” you may be thinking…”Where are you going with this?”  Well, meeting recently with client Erica Wiley, we were discussing the lyrics of her new single, “The Front.”  As we exchanged stories about similar experiences, it occurred to me that many of us have been late bloomers of one sort or another.

So often, we may not be prepared to take center stage.  Sometimes, we are overwhelmed or overshadowed by others whose gifts or talents seem more prominent at the time.  Perhaps, it’s not an individual that bests us in the realms of opportunity.  It could be a situation beyond our control; unfavorable circumstances, or simply ill-timing.  Nevertheless, I am wildly convinced that many of you – of us – possess beauty and magnificence that are tantamount in quality.  While you may not be noticed for the unique gifts and skills that you bring, fret not!  You may be merely in your blooming stage.

Tightly gripping your core ideals and dreams, know that your time is coming.  How quickly you bloom depends on how you nurture your dream.  Others may not see you way in the back, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone else who’s looking.  You never know who’s watching.  Suppose there are passers by like myself, who will be compelled to take a closer look and notice the bloom beyond the prominent petals.   What should you do?

Get prepared!  Soak up the sunshine that warms you through and through, i.e, the positive things that keep you spirited, encouraged, and enthused about what you’re pursuing.  Water your ideas.  Become deeply rooted in the practices that will give you a firm foundation – and only fill yourself with things that brighten your demeanor and disposition – lose the toxicity that abounds with unhealthy relationships, soured advice, and unproductive tendencies.  They threaten the success you so desperately strive for.  Your holistic wellness is critical.

Things may not happen when we want them, but it doesn’t mean they’ll never happen at all.  Patience is a virtue, and the things that are truly worth waiting for are also worth the investment.  Erica eloquently conveys in her latest single that the time for transitioning from the back to the front is now.  I agree.  You may be the bloom who is set to blossom when those who overshadowed you are wilting in the zenith of your beauty.  Don’t lose sight of your dreams.  Renew your passion.  Reclaim your power.  Refuel your purpose, and allow the world to bask in the magnificence of your gift.  #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #betheone

Picture:  Celebrating the bloom in the back, which will one day be the most mesmerizing of all.