Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Ex Factor - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.21.15

I have a friend who is dating a guy that she has no intentions of staying with for the long haul, but she is choosing to stick with him until "something better comes along." When I heard her make that statement, I asked her (out loud) "How are we still friends?" and chuckled.

Though I love her dearly, I have a hard time with her mindset for a few reasons:
  • I don't feel that it's right to lead someone on when you know that you really don't want to be with him or her.
  • I believe in taking a break in between relationships to get yourself together and learn the lessons from the last relationship. 
  • You could potentially be blocking the right situation by hanging on to the wrong situation.
  • Life is much too precious to waste valuable time in a dead-end romance.



Personally, I have to thank my last "ex" for giving me the gift of my freedom to pursue a new direction for my life. We were not the best fit for one another for a multitude of reasons, but our relationship (and subsequent break-up) helped me to figure out what works and more importantly, what doesn't work for me. 

I am grateful for having had the chance to move on (a little bruised, but not broken) and prepare myself for the next relationship while living my best life. Here's hoping that my friend will be able to do the same so that she and her current man won't "both end up with scars."






Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Spirit of "Can Do" - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.15.15

Anyone who is familiar with the Christian faith is intimately acquainted with Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV) It is oftentimes the go-to verse that is uttered when a person is faced with what appears to be an insurmountable challenge requiring outside assistance from Somebody Bigger.

Personally, I have been known to say Phil. 4:13 on the last leg of a mountain hike or during a training run or on each day of the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. I have prayed these words when I have had to finish a 25-page term paper (that I waited until the last minute to write) in record time. I have whispered this scripture silently when dealing with people that I find it hard to "walk in love" with. I find myself meditating on these words when my dreams feel as if they are much too big for me to turn them into my reality.

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation in which a couple of ladies were talking about how they couldn't do without food for a few hours and expressing admiration for a woman who was going to forgo a meal or two in preparation for a medical test. (These are the same women who are always complaining about their weight and then eating everything under the sun.) My initial thought was, "Wow! I know we have to eat, but is it really that serious? It's simply mind over matter."




It wasn't until later that Philippians 4:13 popped into my head and caused me to think about my own mindset when it comes to the things that are seemingly impossible for me to handle. I have found that it is easy to repeat the right words, but it isn't always as simple to walk what you talk. 

While miraculous things are known to happen when you call on a Higher Power, there is also something that has to come from within in order to be successful in any endeavor, great or small. As the Amplified translation of the same verse states: I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace. 

The knowledge that I have been bestowed with the gifts of readiness, equality, strength and peace of mind is just what I need to walk through the world with a "Can Do" spirit. And for that, I am grateful.

Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Joyful, Joyful - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.12.15

Just a few short moments ago, a profound sense of joy filled my soul and spirit, quite unexpectedly. Yes, it is currently Monday. Yes, I am presently working in a position that is far removed from my life's purpose. Yes, I could use some more money in my bank account. Yes, I have a few more pounds to lose. Yes, I am still single. Yet, none of that even matters because I've got JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY down in my heart! And for that I am grateful....


Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).


Friday, October 9, 2015

Grown Woman. Making Decisions and Choices... - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.9.15

Today I am serving up a double-dose of gratefulness, just because...

First of all, I am grateful for the artistry of the one and only Jill Scott, not only for blessing me with the soundtrack for the last 15 years of my life, but also for providing me with a title for this post. In the song Le Boom Vent Suite, from her 2011 album, The Light of the Sun, she showcases her ability to express both frustration (in the first part of the suite) and sexiness (in the second half) all in the same song. Miss Jilly from Philly puts it down, as always, but there are a few words that she utters in the interlude that really captured my attention from the moment that I first heard them: "I gotta do what I gotta do, son. Grown woman. Making decisions and choices...." (4:12-4:30 in the video)



Recently, I asked my Facebook friends for their insight on a major decision that I am gearing up to make within the next year or so. Normally, I am not the type of person to expose my personal choices to the court of public opinion, but I thought that it would be interesting to hear what others would do if they were in my shoes. Needless to say, there were almost as many different opinions as there were people who decided to respond, so I am glad that the final decision fully rests upon me, which brings me to the real point of this post.

There were two women who made specific comments about me being in the great position of having choices and options for my life, as if it was some sort of courageous thing. As a single woman who is not responsible for the care of anyone other than a fur baby, I am blessed to be able make my own decisions without having to worry about directly impacting someone else's life, while others may not feel as though they have the same luxury, for reasons that are either real or imagined. It was not until recently that I began to understand that I have been given a gift that has not fully been utilized and I intend to do something to do something about that.

I refuse to let "If I coulda, woulda, shoulda..." become my life's mantra, so I have made the grown woman decision to make more life-affirming choices as I move towards truly living my life like it's Golden. And for that (and Miss Scott) I am grateful.



Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Extended "Family" (431,900 & Counting) - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.7.15

My gratitude for the day reaches out to the women & girls, men & boys who are a part of the Brown Girl Collective (aka BGC) Family. When I was called to create a space that celebrates BOLD, Brilliant and Beautiful women and girls of African descent over six years ago, I never imagined that I would be able to touch the lives of so many people (who are not all "brown" or female, by the way) across the globe. (YES! The audience is WORLDWIDE!) 

Since 2009, I have learned a lot, shared in some great collaborations, and cried tears of both joy and pain (even when you make it your mission to celebrate others, they will not always understand you or your efforts). Whenever I have thought about throwing in the towel, my passion has been reignited by an unexpected message or two that lets me know that my work is very necessary. For that (and you), I am grateful. And in case you were wondering, the BEST is still yet to come!




Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unpacking Self-Compassion - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.6.15

Let me forewarn you, this is going to take more than 49 words... Marcie



In the last 18 months or so, I have been on a quest to become more proficient at practicing radical self-love by committing more of my time and energy towards the things that bring me a sense of inner peace and overall well-being. Though this path has not been without its fair share of roadblocks, detours and bumps in the road, I have been able to dump a lot of weight (both physical and otherwise) on the side of the highway, and for that, I am grateful.

It's amazing how good it feels to say "YES" to exercising regularly, eating clean, getting a full night of sleep, spending time at the spa, getting away for the weekend, sharing quality time with loving and supportive people, doing purposeful work and tapping into the Spirit that lives within on a daily basis. However, as good as all of that sounds, I am discovering that these outward manifestations of self-care only scratch the surface of truly learning to love myself.

Last night, I heard this quote for the very first time: "If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." Those words jumped out at me and have been resonating with me for the last several hours, as I ponder, "Does my sense of compassion include me?"

In order to get to the root of what compassion really means, I had to take it to the dictionary. It is defined as:

a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering; the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it; a disposition to be kind and forgiving


"A disposition to be kind and forgiving...." Have I always been kind and forgiving towards myself? If I am to be completely honest with myself (and you), I would have to say no.

I have been known to beat myself up over all that I perceive as "wrongs" in my life: financial decisions, career choices, eating habits, relationship disasters, etc., etc., etc., and so on. While I know that it is common for an individual to be his or her own worst critic/enemy, where does that mindset stem from?

In all fairness, personal negativity oftentimes comes from things that others have said that we have internalized and accepted as truth. In my case, the negative self-talk is the fruit of years of refusing to forgive myself for past mistakes.

As Maya Angelou used to say, "When you know better, you do better," so I am going to begin practicing self-compassion by letting go of unforgiveness and embracing my right to be fully human and perfectly imperfect.


Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).




Monday, October 5, 2015

The Power of Saying "No!" - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.5.15

I have a confession to make: I am a recovering people-pleaser. Not the kind who would risk life and limb to fit in, but the type that would answer in the affirmative when I really wanted to say, "Oh, Hell No!"

You know what it sounds like:
  • "Sure, I'll bring plates for the pot-luck (even though I won't be eating your food)."
  • "Of course I'll go out on a blind date with your brother/father/cousin (who I have already Googled and found lacking)."  
  • "Yes, sign me up for another committee (that I don't have time for)."
  • "Put me down for 15 boxes of your child's cookies/candy/pizza kits (that neither I nor my hips need)."
I am grateful that I have learned the power of saying "No" and "No, thank you" (when extra courtesy is required), understanding that it is a complete sentence and that no additional explanation is necessary. Here's to doing what's best for me, without apology!


Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I've Got All My Sisters with Me - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.4.15


Corbis Photo

After the Emmy Awards aired a couple of weeks ago, naturally there was a lot of buzz about Viola Davis' historic win and truth-telling speech, along with chatter about the awards that were picked up by Uzo Aduba, Regina King and Queen Latifah's "Bessie." Though she did not win an award that evening, actress Taraji P. Henson became a trending topic just by being who she is - a loving and supportive friend.

In a world in which Twitter beefs, reality TV scuffles, cyberbullying and video-taped girl fights have become all too common, it was refreshing to watch Ms. Henson's sheer excitement for her comrades. (It was also beautiful to hear Ms. Davis mention the names of her peers in her acceptance speech as a show of sisterly solidarity.) The media does an excellent job of showing the world their images of how African-American women relate to one another, so I was happy to see true sisterhood represented in a positive (and unscripted) light.

Today, I am grateful for my circle of sisterfriends/cheerleaders who show me love and support on a daily basis, outside of the limelight. Through their encouragement, prayers, information-sharing and laughter, I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself, which is the greatest reward that I could ever ask for. My prayer is to be able to do the same for each and every one of them.


Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Oh So Precious - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.3.15

Five years ago, I had to say goodbye to my long-time chocolate child, a fat cat by the name of Sammie. Ms. Sammie had been with me through a lot of life's ups and downs and even rode shotgun with me (in the car and not in her cage!) when I moved from Motown to SE Georgia in 2008. My heart was hurting so badly that I vowed to never own another fur baby, but two weeks later, I was presented with the opportunity to adopt Miss Precious. Needless to say, she stole my heart that day and continues to give me her own special brand of kitty love, morning, noon and night. Today, I am grateful for the gift of Precious.

(Side note: Precious is also very smart. Why did she just start rubbing on the side of my laptop, purr loudly, and then lay down next to me and do the same thing? She must approve of this message. LOL)



Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less.

Friday, October 2, 2015

And the Winner Is.... - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.2.15

Black vs. White vs. Brown vs. Red vs. Yellow - Rich vs. Middle-Class vs. Poor - Male vs. Female vs. Transgender - Democrat vs. Republican vs. Independent - Christian vs. Muslim vs. Hebrew vs. Buddhist vs. Hindu - Straight vs. Gay vs. Bisexual - Doctor vs. Dropout - Natural vs. Straight - North vs. South - Young vs. Old - Thick vs. Thin - Able-Bodied vs. Differently Abled - Hate vs. Love - I am grateful to report that LOVE ALWAYS WINS!!!



Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Morning Glory - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.1.15

Today I am grateful for the dawning of a new day and the new beginning that it brings, so I decided to turn on my favorite Morning Glory music mix and get it started right. (Listen in here.) In the words of Nina, Jennifer and Lauryn, "I'm Feeling Good."

Dawn of a New Day at Myrtle Beach - Photo by Marcie L. Thomas





Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What on Earth Am I Here For? - The Grateful 49 Project - 9.30.15

Over the course of 40 days in 1997, I read The Purpose Driven Life, searching for an answer to life's biggest question: "What on earth am I here for?" 18 years, 11 full and part-time jobs, 3 cities, 2 start-up businesses and 1.75 graduate degrees later, I am grateful to finally know the answer to that question. Now the real work begins.....

© Colin Anderson/Blend Images/Corbis

Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Meet the Parents - The Grateful 49 Project - 9.29.15

Today, I am grateful for my parents, not only for bringing me into this world but also for loving me without condition for all of the days of my life. I am blessed to call them Mom and Dad (and still talk to both of them almost daily)!

Mommy and Me


Forever Daddy's Girl 

Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Allow Me to Reintroduce My (Grateful) Self

Wow! It's funny how time flies when you are busy with the business of living life. Until this moment, I didn't realize that it has been well over a year since the last time that I wrote a blog post and even then, it was never on a consistent basis.

Why did I decide to enter into the blogosphere again after such an extended absence? Because there is a lot going on in the world around me and I have something to say, not about all of it, but about the things that touch my soul and spirit.

Not only have I felt as if the universe has been seemingly spinning out of control at times, but my own life has been a rollercoaster ride of sorts, with the highest of highs, but also some pretty big, heart-pounding dips. And for the most part, I have been going at it alone.

Since this space was created to be my "diary," I feel the need to put some of my thoughts on the page as a form of personal catharsis and also as a way to open up a dialogue with other sisters who are faced with their own challenges in living their best lives.

Some days I will have a lot to say and on others, not so much, but one thing that I will commit to is sharing at least one thing that I am grateful for daily, in 49 words or less, which I have named The Grateful 49 Project. (More on that in a moment.)

This past weekend, I was blessed to celebrate my 49th birthday, beginning with a dinner party with a group of girlfriends on Friday, peaking with a beautiful nature hike with the Creator of all things on Saturday, and culminating with lunch and a tear-jerking chick flick with my mother on Sunday afternoon.

Birthday Celebration Time!

In between the big moments, I was overjoyed by an influx of birthday messages, both from people that have known me most of my life and others that only know me through social media. Out of all of the well-wishes, there were three in particular made my heart skip a beat: One from a young lady that I have watched grow from a preteen into a budding legal genius, another from one of the boys (now a man) who used to tease me when I was awkward young girl, and the last from a sisterfriend that I have never met face-to-face.

Without getting into the particulars of what was shared with me, one theme was constant: They. Saw. Me. Not for the person that others might think that I should be, but for the person that I have always been and that I am on a continual quest to become even more of. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

For the next year, I am embarking on a daily journey of gratefulness as there is always something, either great or small, to express gratitude for. I no longer want to take the little things for granted nor do I want to ignore the significance of the bigger things. Knowing that I am blessed to be a blessing, it is my desire to encourage you to look for the goodness within your own life, and with that in mind, I hope that you will join me on this journey - The Grateful 49 Project.

With a Heart of Gratitude,

Marcie