Moments worthy of celebration. Graduating from high school. Landing that seemingly perfect new job. An engagement of two souls in love. The birth of a new baby. Or perhaps, the purchase of your dream home. What are a few moments you recall that have gone down in history as the reason the party hats were pulled out of storage and the save the date announcements were sent?
If you took time to reflect, you would be surprised how long that list would be.
I'm a true fan of firsts. There is something about knowing this amazing feat has never been accomplished and it serves as a healthy reminder that just about anything is possible. I say just because there are limits, however, if you don't try and push yourself you will never know and realize the full potential that is within and just waiting to get out.
Time and energy are as important as peace and purpose. I vowed to stop watching the news about 7 years ago. It brought no joy into my life and it was full of much anguish and turmoil. Doing more harm than good to my mental state and something told me that needed to be protected. I begin to refocus my energy on more important topics, and before I knew it my outlook on life, in general, began to change.
It goes without saying if you had eyes and ears you couldn't help but notice the hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. In what would at times be a very heated exchange, it seemed unfair and unnecessary that her character was on trial in such a probing and unforgiving way. One of the questions asked, "How does one human being do so much, so extraordinarily well?" I wanted to put on my cape, jump in to protect her, and shield her character from the unknown, the doubters, the questions, and the evaluations. I don't have that power just yet, so I closed my eyes tight, and prayed, I hoped and I wished for history to enter the world yet again. This time in the form of a strong black woman with a message to bring and the background to back it all.
The saga is never-ending. Just when I thought there would be nothing left to amaze me, I am amazed all over again. Homeownership has taken me through a few things. Some were self-inflicted and some were necessary to remain enclosed in four walls. A tad bit exaggerated but please allow me to be extra when telling the events of my real-life true story!
Visions of perfection, the right shade of pink, or the muted and sexy shade of blue are the images I had in my mind when I walked into my home for the very first time. If I'm being honest the vision I truly had was running in the opposite direction. But, I digress, so what was saying again? Oh yeah... Instead, I was slapped in the face with a dusty matte grey. I hated it! Well, fear not, my trusted followers, because my home is nothing like it used to be, except for a few rooms that I have yet to convert to a box of Crayola crayons. I just close my eyes and take a pick and hope for the best color to excite me. It's the most fun I have had with decorating and trust me I have done this quite a few times.
There is no comparison to look at here. Men are clearly from another planet, and Mars sounds about right. I'm just trying to figure out when the ship is coming back to pick them up and drop off a new batch. Let me start off with my disclaimer. Yes, I know not all men are walking around portraying themselves as humans, while being 100% alien.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, I along with several of my female counterparts all across the world would like to know, what's the deal? Why has dating become so hard? Why are men so closed off when it comes to expressing themselves emotionally? And why is it necessary to play mind games when it's so easy to simply be honest. So many questions, and I'm not sure I have all the answers.
If you have ever sat down with your elders and listened to their stories of courtship, love, and commitment it is quite understandable to feel a need to achieve this level of undeniable love before you reach your golden years. Or perhaps, you have watched one too many love stories and allowed an unhealthy obsession with the made-up theories of love to shadow what love should actually be, feel, sound, and taste like. Yep, with love, everything tastes better. Can't find this seasoning in any store though. Bummer huh?!
The climate for new business ventures has taken a dive. People are hesitant to invest and indulge in projects and passions that perhaps won't provide a guaranteed return. The CBD business, however, is booming, and Aashir Jabbar has decided to get his piece of the pie with his entry into this highly lucrative world. His positivity, drive, and infectious spirit make you stand up and take notice. Without further adieu let's hear from Mr. Jabbar, and learn more about his business, while educating our minds, bodies, and spirits!
◆ How are you doing on this amazing day?
First, I would like to say thank you for this wonderful opportunity and I’m well on this amazing day. Thank you for asking.
◆ You recently launched your online CBD store called Pure Canna Wellness. First of all, congrats on starting your business, and I wish you much success! When did the idea to start this business turn into the passion and drive to ultimately just go for it?
I’m originally from Texas. I met Dr. Sebi’s son in 2010 through a mutual friend who happened to be living in Dallas as well at the time. We immediately bonded and became close friends. One day, we were entertaining the idea of partnering up and selling herb formulas he learned from his father and creating a business together.
At that same time, I was going through a hard time in my life. Our mutual friend who spent time in Hawaii mentioned the experience of living there many times and suggested at that time, that I should consider living there if I had the opportunity to do so. After a week of thinking about the possibility of living on an Island, I decided to make it a reality. I quit my job in 2010 and moved to Big Island Hawaii. We started a business called Go Green Leaf. With Sebi’s son, Asami, his wife at the time Lateefah, and myself, we started creating formulas of herbal supplements & salves and began vending at local spots around the community of Pahoa Hawaii. Long story short, I moved back to the mainland in 2014, worldly things consumed my life for about 5 years but the desire still remained. My father passed in 2019 and soon after, on Christmas Eve of 2020, my mother passed and spiraled me into unhealthy habits. CBD helped to curve those unhealthy habits and that’s when the light was reignited.
As a little girl, I watched my mother and grandmother garden. At the beginning of Spring, I knew it was time for the ritual of turning the soil, clearing out weeds, and planting seeds. The idea and chore behind it all never seemed appealing. Play in the dirt where critters live and breed? Nah, I'll pass.
To my surprise about 30 years later I was doing the very thing I said I would never do. Cultivating and loving my garden while running from the occasional bug or two. Hobbies are meant to ease your sanity and bring instant joy to your soul. If not, it's time to find a new hobby. There is a certain level of peace that comes along with gardening and yard work and I completely lose myself when I'm putting my green thumb to work. It's the therapist you never knew you needed. But don't get it twisted! Gardening is truly backbreaking work, however, the end result is well worth it. Get your notepad ready, take notes, because we are getting down and dirty!
So, you've decided to try your hand at growing something. You've killed more plants than you can count and you have sworn to stick with the plastic plants that are forever green while requiring zero water. Doesn't get easier than that! But it does. Following rules are important for most things, and gardening is certainly no exception.
I've heard people say you shouldn't live for the weekend, well I certainly do! I enjoy my weekdays, however, there is nothing like the weekend when I can truly let my hair down and exhale.
With only two days to absorb any and everything that is not of work-related jargon, I take in projects here and there. Sitting down has never been my forte, which is probably the reason my grandmother would make the statement that I must have ants in my pants. As confused as a child could be, hearing that statement, I kinda knew it meant I needed to sit down somewhere. The problem was, I didn't know where that was, so I've been moving ever since.
My eyes target various weird things to get into. Noticed a slight smudge on the entry door into my laundry room, which creates a scrubbing frenzy to remove any signs of stress and dirt. Or perhaps, the baseboards that require close attention. If you get too close to anything an imperfection or two is bound to pop out and make instant eye contact. I'll just start at the basement level on my hands and knees cursing myself out along the way.
After relocating, my body went through a few changes. I'm not the same 24-year old so the recovery time was quite extensive. I listened to this body of mine on most days, and when I didn't it caused a visit to the doctor who advised I had a herniated disc in my back and would need to take it easy. As the doctor continued to speak a foreign language that I surely did not understand, I said no problem doc! Ok, you might be wondering what the hell I was doing to get to this point, but I don't even know. I mean I might have an idea or two, but who needs to talk about the past!
Back to the story...
The move put me into a state of pause. I felt as if certain things I loved to do had lost their flair and excitement. I was no longer the busiest bee in the hive and that was alarming. Cooking, decorating, and flowing into my own space. I was in an adjustment period and needed time to unpack in a mental and physical sense. Now that I feel rejuvenated, I find enjoyment in small, medium, and sometimes large-sized projects that I throw myself into. Getting back into cooking meant I was finally in my happy zone.
So, it's the second day of the workweek. I vowed after my last project that I would sit down and do absolutely nothing. But, that would be telling a lie and that just isn't my thing. I found the cutest little paintbrushes for a tiny-sized project. The grout in my guest bath is not of a color that makes me smile, so I bought grout paint. Simple and exciting right?! After this project, I have a few more but this is so easy I'll have it done in a flash. It's the story I always tell myself. Whether it's true or not will determine what new ideas I come up with.
Therapy comes in ways you least expected. I often speak of joy and finding peace as it is the backdrop of your life.
It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted. -Mary Flannery O'Connor
Bees are known to be very active. When summer greets us with the never-ending sunshine and beautiful weather you constantly see bees buzzing around and doing their thing. I asked google, why are bees so active, and here is what I found. 'This behavior is normal, and means they are settling into their new home.'
I rest my case. 🐝
I remember the series of events I am about to share with you as if it were yesterday. I moved to Atlanta in the Fall of 1996 after spending the summer with my boyfriend's family at the Summer Olympics. I had fallen head over heels in love with everything Georgia had to offer. The weather, the people, and the smells were all infectious. I was 23 and felt as if I could rule the world, yet I knew nothing about the world at that time and what would happen next. The choice had already been made in my mind. We were moving. Our parents asked what we were doing, and we looked bewildered. What do you mean? We are moving and we are in love. Aren't we??? But we had no idea about the meaning of true love and all that it meant.
As we settled into our first apartment in Georgia it was something brand new and such an adventure. If you asked me at the time how I felt I would without hesitation say it was the best time of my life. It was different, it was exciting and I felt a new level of freedom I had never felt before. Time continued to move forward as it always does. The excitement fades, bills are due and life happens. I started working and met new people that led the way to interesting conversations and new ideas. Suddenly I felt a sense of empowerment that I couldn't wait to share with my boyfriend.
I love myself!
Prior to the beginning of the new year, I can't say with any true certainty that I vowed to see my resolutions come true. The reason being, I hadn't made any. Duh! As a planner and a bit of a perfectionist along with acknowledging my OCD about everything from the crookedness of the kitchen rug to the slant of the window curtain, I have accepted that things just are as they are meant to be and I am perfectly fine with those minor imperfections and this run-on sentence.
Aside from being totally against resolutions this year, I planned to dive into my writing, get lost into the creativity of my keyboard. The sounds under my fingertips that mean I am working, the clickety-clack of my nails that would annoy some sounds like a perfectly tuned melody to me. I am thinking, creating, and sharing my thoughts with the world and that allows me to dive headfirst into my happy space. Life is forever unexpected in the series of events that are waiting for you around the corner. You simply never know what to expect. Those events will sometimes cause a necessary pause, allowing time to completely heal and get back to who you are. The beginning of my year has been a challenge, but I'm here, still standing and stronger than ever.
Mental health is real and necessary to acknowledge.
I have a goal to create a few new posts per month, however, as a creator, I have learned that pushing myself is not the proper way in order to create authentic work, which is what my brand is all about. When the spirit moves me I will write and when the universe grabs hold of me and tells me to woosah for just a bit I shall listen.
I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Restoring AJ was a promise I made to myself. Told myself it was ok and perfectly normal to take that much-needed break. The gift of writing doesn't fade when it's genuine.
Feels good to be back doing what I love. As mental health awareness is heightened please take the time to ensure you are ok. Talk to those who will listen and find things you can submerge yourself into without overwhelming yourself all over again. Or just do absolutely nothing, sometimes that serves as the medicine your body truly needs.
One of my favorite quotes is, "It's not rocket science so it's not that hard unless you are a rocket scientist and think it's super easy". Yes, I made that up, but it makes sense!
With all the love and positive vibes I can muster, I wish you all the best that life has in store for you.
Without knowing what lies ahead, I try my best to start each day with a bit of positivity, an overflow of love followed by a hope and a prayer so powerful that it will shake the universe and send a miracle down straight from heaven. Life is known for throwing curveballs without fair warning and the impact can be so strong it will take your breath away.
Summer nights in Georgia were everything. The weather was just right and it gave us a reason to be outside. I remember everything about this night like it was yesterday. My best friend and her husband were hosting movie night in the backyard. How could I miss it?! I wanted to spend as much time as I could with friends because I was packing to move to Indiana in a few weeks. So off to movie night I went with only expectations to have an amazing time. Had no idea it would be a night that would forever change my life.
Meeting someone new can be scary, but it's also really exciting. We sat and talked for hours, about life, music, what brought me to Georgia and what was causing me to leave. The promise was my movie would be much better than what he chose. It would be something to laugh about for the rest of the night because we couldn't remember either movie. Allowing ourselves to embrace something that felt good and that was simply being ourselves. It's not often that you meet someone who makes you feel as if you have known them for years. When you get that feeling you want to hold onto it, forever. You were different and I knew then that I wanted you around.
As part of our normal conversation, you would always ask how I was and I wanted to know the same of you. You were considerate in that way. When you told me you had a few health challenges ahead, it was with shock and sadness to hear you say the diagnosis was cancer. At this moment you never want to be the person who says the wrong thing, but what is the right thing to say?
I'm here for you in whatever way I can be, and I am praying.
As the weeks and months continued forward your optimism and positivity shined through and you sounded like yourself again. I hoped and prayed that everything would be ok and I claimed it to be so. Young, strong, and determined to fight for your life I was happy, inspired by you, and looking forward to what was to come with you and I. Wishing I could have been there to make you smile, to share a laugh or two, to give you a hug and to hold your hand. Often taking time for granted, we never truly know just how precious it is.
"When are you coming back to Atlanta?" I know that it won't be before the end of the year, the holidays are so busy and I'm still getting settled, but it will surely be early in the new year. "Well, do you have a passport?" I most certainly do! Ok then, let's go somewhere, plan a trip and just live life and get away." Yes, I would love that so much so let the planning begin!
When I heard the news that you were gone my heart sank. Feelings of anger, pain, guilt, and confusion that literally felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces. Why didn't I visit sooner and why couldn't we have taken that trip when you mentioned it? As the tears continued to fall I went back through our messages and read them from beginning to end. I looked at your pictures and smiled a time or two. Wondering if the tears would stop, I remembered the laughs we shared, the memory of you, and finally drifted off to sleep.
As I woke this morning I felt good. Knowing that you were no longer in pain made my heart happy and for that I am thankful. I am thankful to my friends for introducing me to you. You were an extraordinary person, gentle, kind, sweet, and a perfect gentleman. Your hugs were everything right in the world. A true class act. As a believer in the promises of God, I know that you are reunited with your loved ones, and I rejoice in that. My prayers are with your children, family, and numerous friends who are mourning your loss.
I don't believe in chance encounters. I know that each meeting is for a reason. Maybe as a lesson to love better, to hug tighter, and to cherish the times. Whatever the reason, I leave with a heart full of thanks.
With nothing but love, I will forever miss you and never forget you Hasan. May you rest in eternal peace. 🕊
With a stretch and yawn as if I had just completed an Olympic-themed hibernation event I woke to a new day and a brand spanking new year! I don't feel any different. I'm not magically better at any one thing than I was on yesterday. I slept for most of the New Year's Eve festivities and it truly felt perfectly normal for a change. There is a small bit of jealously watching those who had a blowout party and danced the night away. Then I am reminded of the times when I woke on the 1st day of the new year with a rocking hangover so that less than 1 percent of jealousy I mentioned earlier has quickly diminished into nothingness. Besides, I am 49 and have no time for regrets and sideways ginger ale sips from the sofa all day.
I love new beginnings. I always have. The start of a new movie, a fresh new pair of boots, a crisp bag of chips just opened to a perfect level of freshness, and of course seeing the Amazon delivery truck outside my house, yet again. If 50 First Dates was a person waiting for that blue truck to hang a right at the corner and stop in front of my house, it'd most certainly be me. It's all in what moves you. I'm pretty simple on most days. I require normal things and try to give as much as I receive. As a writer whose mind is wildly teetering between sanity vs insanity, I believe I have finally found my balance.
Writing gives me the freedom to escape from the reality of life when I choose and for that gift, I am forever thankful.
Reading through Happy New Year texts and social media posts this morning with one eye open while searching for my reading glasses makes my heart feel happy. After the past couple of years, it's no surprise that we all want what feels like normal. What tastes like fantasy and what makes you dream like you did when you allowed your thoughts to run completely free. So how do we get back to all of that? It's simple, you gotta allow yourself to. Let go of what you feel you shouldn't be doing just because someone told you it was silly or because you are afraid of all of the great things that might happen. One foot in front of the other is how I plan to step through life. It isn't always rose petals perfectly laid, one because my cats would never allow me to be that great, but it is Chapter One and you can write it, however, your heart desires. Go on an adventure and amaze yourself with what is waiting for you.
The deeper question here is, how much longer do I have to wish everyone I encounter a Happy New Year?! My cutoff is somewhere between the end of today or February 1st. Hey, what can I say I'm a sucker for giving well wishes.
With love, light, and an overflow of blessings, I am wishing you the best that 2022 has to offer. Sending you positive vibes and teleporting catchy beats you won't be able to erase from your memory no matter how many tequila shots you have.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman