Signs of Life

I’m crying.  I have lots of tears these days.  I thank God for my tears because they are a sign that I’m still alive.  Everyday I wake up and I find something to be grateful for no matter how small, odd sounding or mundane someone else may think it to be; I’m determined to be grateful in my grief.

I miss my husband.  I don’t a vocabulary sophisticated enough to amply describe what his loss means to me.  Just typing that sentence made my chest burn and my heart race, another sign of life, Thank God.

I DO want to go on without him.  I’m not sure how I’m going to go on without him; but each moment I trust that God will give me what I need to get through.  Some minutes are incredibly hard and I can’t think to the next.  I have bad days and worse days, but in each day I am blessed.  I say this, I believe this, I live this.

Yes, I live this.  BLESSED.

For the past 3 years my husband has been in a middle of a custody battle with his daughters mother.  A few months ago, we quit.  No more shady lawyers, inept private investigators, biased GAL’s, and depleting bank accounts.  We agreed to a very modified visitation agreement and I feel we got what we really wanted leverage against mom’s moods, whims, poor judgment …..

As school let out and summer approached hubs and her ( my step-daughter’s mother) worked out an agreement that allowed him to maximize his free time with his daughter.  We shared the absolute best father’s day ever.  Never thought it would have been his last, never imagined he would be gone from us 4 days later.  My God, My God!  But I also never imagined that God would love me, us enough to allow those last 5 minutes of family time, praying, kissing and trading “I love you’s”  —  I had no idea we were in what would be the final moments of his life; thank God I didn’t because I would have been too panicked and wouldn’t have been able to love on him.  I was just trying to make him comfortable while we waited for help to arrive.

My step-daughter was there….my husband died surrounded by his two most favorite people in the world.   All I can do is say “Thank you God for allowing all 3 of us those precious moments”

It’s been about 3 weeks now.  Of course I’m still sad.  Heart broken doesn’t begin to describe  how I feel.  I normally do all of my crying in the shower but I’ve been afraid to go in our bedroom, so I cry in the wee hours of the morning in my car, then I shower at the neighbors.  But she got her key back and I’m out of hotel money so I was forced to come back home alone.

I opened all the curtains, cut on all the lights and I prayed, prayed and prayed.  I called out to God for help. I spoke the word of God over myself.  “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted”  Matthew 5:4.  I processed this to mean that I had to allow myself to grieve if I want to feel the comfort of God.  I can’t run from the uncomfortable feelings that I have.  I can’t avoid the memories or the awkward and lonely situations that I find myself in.  My heart skips beats often, my stomach aches, but I pray.  I asked God for help and he sent it.

Of course my friends, family and in-laws were available.  But God sent me a fire filled praying woman of God (my neighbor whom I never met before)  she saw me locked out of my friend’s house and stopped and just prayed with me.  Then she came in my home and we spoke the word of God together and prayed throughout my house and I immediately begin to feel the presence of God in the middle of my new mess.

I say new mess, because life is full of challenges, disappointments, and death.  New mess, new mercy!

A few days after burying Victor I wanted to begin to get rid of some of his clothes.  So soon…YES.  I lost my daddy four years ago this August, he was a collector of things…jazz, coins, antiques…I inherited his collections, they fill my small home…I can not become the keeper of dead men’s things.  My husband was so much a part of me, I don’t need every single thing that he owned in life to feel close to him.  We’ve been together for twenty years; he is very much a part of me.

The day I took all of my husband’s pants out of his closet I had asked my best friend to help me, she agreed but never showed up, I then asked another close friend; who also agreed and did the same thing.  I was disappointed, but felt like God wanted me to do it alone, just Him and I.  I did it alone, eight trips up and down the stairs holding arms full of folded jeans loading them into his truck.  I never thought I would be able to do that.  God showed me something in myself, that I didn’t know existed.

I’m still grieving, I’m still growing, God is still with me and my life is full of His grace.

Title I Don’t Want – Widow

I’m a widow.  My husband died suddenly only a few weeks ago.  I know it was a Thursday, I thought it was a Wednesday and someone corrected me.  I know it was before the fourth of July, but the date doesn’t matter.  What matters to me is I’m alone.  I said on so many occasions when describing my widowed mother “mommy never prepared or imagined a life without daddy.” Damn, again I’m my mother.  I NEVER prepared or imagined a life without my beloved Victor.

Who thought that fun loving, newly weight conscience, easy going Victor Tavers would die suddenly.  I mean he had survived being shot 7 times in a random act of violence.  I used to tell him, God has a plan for you, He spared you.

Now, what do I say?  What do I believe, the plan was fulfilled?

I miss my husband so much.  We didn’t have too many words unsaid because I was always expressing myself and my feelings.  I told him “I love you” every day.  I told him “I’m proud of you.” at least once a week.  But I wanted to keep telling him that.

I spoiled my husband.  He reciprocated.

I hate walking in the house and nobody is here to greet me.  As I pull up in front of my door each day my heart races a little bit.  My digestive system is shot.  I know I’m going to lose weight.  I’m developed an unnatural fear of losing my car or house keys and having know one to call.  I can’t believe my sister is going to be my next of kin now.  I’d rather not put anyone on the paper.

I keep forgetting to wash clothes, because Victor washed our clothes.

I believe in God.  I trust God.  I’m reading my Bible.  I’m praying.  ALOT.  I’m doing a lot of these spiritual things, I am a Christian.  But I’m also a widow.

I cry and scream hysterically in my car.  I’m afraid my neighbor will come check on me if I do that in the house and I don’t want her to check on me.  I think she had a secret crush on my husband.  It didn’t bother me before, but now it does.  I’m mad at her for that.

Some friend’s told me I can call them anytime, day or night.  Yesterday I called different friends not one answered the phone.  Only 2 called back.  They lied.  They have lives, they have husbands.

My sweet 12 year old step-daughter calls me every day.  I LOVE her.  She says she loves me back, we say it to each other all the time now.  I feel bad for myself, but then I think of her and I know I don’t have it bad.  My daddy died when I was 39, not 12.

Not sure what to call this.  Couldn’t put the word widow in the title because don’t want to read that word every time I go to my blog.

Last night was the first night I slept with the lights off.  I haven’t slept in our bed yet, I did lay across it today.

I went to the grocery store the morning my husband passed.  I don’t want to go grocery shopping anymore.  I know I have to.  I’ve been forcing myself to eat the crappy food already in the house.

Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4.

I believe that.  — Reading that scripture, made me feel like I had to accept the pain and grief, I just let it overtake me when it comes and it does eventually subside.  One of my friend’s from high school told me she had been a widow for eight years.  She is a Christian, she looks well, she is living what appears to be a good fulfilling life.  — Her reaching out to me was comforting.

I’m getting rid of things.  I quite a few items from my uncle and father that are both deceased.  They were collectors, I inherited their collections.  Now I have my husband’s things.  I’ve started getting rid of some things, because I don’t want to be the keeper of dead men’s things.  I know I must get to a place where I’m content with good memories.

I know that mourning is a process.  I can’t rush or control this grief.  But I’ll be glad when I get past the measuring everything as the “first time” without him portion.

For now I walk past my husbands closets and grab an armful of his clothes and bury my face in them.  His closet doesn’t have doors.  This weekend I’m going to have doors put on the closet.

I have my dad’s old van.  I’m giving it to charity.  It used to be my 2nd vehicle.  Now my husband’s truck serve’s that purpose.  I wish I felt close to him when I drove his truck, but I don’t.  I don’t know where I feel close to him.  Today while cleaning the van I found an old poem my husband wrote me, over 10 years ago.  It’s a whole page long.  I don’t even remember him writing poetry.  On the back of it, he wrote 26 Bible verses, now that’s comforting.  I’ve been excited and uplifted all day because I found that treasure.

I’m overwhelmed at how God did that.  I almost didn’t open the glove box.  I’m so elated by this treasure I’ve made multiple copies of it to share with family and friend’s that I think will be encouraged by his words.

I’m mourning.  I’m comforted.

Heavy Metal Mouths?: Study Finds Carcinogens In 32 Commonly Sold Lipsticks

Great information. I will be doing a double take before dolling up.

Consumerist

Before you pucker up and slather on your favorite lip lacquer, consider the carcinogens: A new study tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses and found they contain things like lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals. Some of those were present in potentially toxic levels, especially bad news if you’re the type to chew your lip.

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health now want the Food and Drug Administration to “wake up and pay attention,” reports USA Today.

While there have been previous studies showing low levels of certain carcinogens, this study looked at more metals than previous studies and estimated potential health risks based on how often someone uses lipstick and what the concentration of metals is in each kind.

“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue. It’s the levels that matter,” says co-author S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health. And…

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Did I Hear You Correctly?

Active listening pays off.

Diary of a Mad Saleswoman

NPH Hear

My formative years were spent in two states: New York and New Jersey, both of which are known for their straight talk, mind your business, but keep it business attitudes, so admittedly, the fact that I was STARING at two people while they were deep in conversation is an absolute “no ma’am”!  Yes, I was staring as they conversed.  I, who have judged staring as a southern trait–believe me, here in the south it’s seen as showing interest not being nosy–picked up the dirty little habit for 15 whole minutes (give or take 3 seconds).

What’s interesting about me staring?  Not so much the part about me being a Northerner and finding it rude but the fact that I didn’t understand a word that was being said.  The two people were speaking another language…sign language.  Their hands moved as swiftly as hummingbirds and the conversation was obviously fluid.

I wasn’t…

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Ambulance Chaser or Opportunity Marketing

Below is a sad story about a young woman that was killed in a vehicle accident on her 21st birthday.  The story was covered by news outlets locally in Hampton Roads but one enterprising attorney added it to his blog with a pitch.  As I’m writing this, this young woman Karoline Johnson hasn’t been buried yet.

As a marketing professional I get it, strike while the iron is hot.  Seize the opportunity and maximize it.  Yet there tugging deeper inside that says wait, this makes me quite uncomfortable.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want to read about someone I care about on a lawyers blog so soon after their death.  I understand the information is public and this lawyer may only be saying what others are thinking (who is responsible?  Someone should pay?  Can the family sue?)

Read below and please share your thoughts.

Karoline Johnson of Norfolk who was Killed in Head-on Crash with a Police Cruiser in Norfolk Died on Her 21st Birthday

Fri, 04/19/2013

By John Cooper, Norfolk Car Accident Injury Lawyer

The woman who was killed in a car wreck when the Honda she was traveling in hit a police car in Norfolk, was celebrating her 21st birthday, according to media reports.

I was saddened to read of this crash on Tidewater Drive in the early hours of April 19, 2013. As a Norfolk car accident lawyer I see many fatal crashes. It’s particularly tragic that Karoline Johnson, died on her birthday.

Karoline Johnson of the 9300 block of Inlet Road in Ocean View, was a passenger in the Honda and died at the scene, police said. She had just turned 21.

According to WAVY.com, at about 4:30 a.m., a Honda heading south on the 6200 block of Tidewater Drive crossed into the northbound lanes where It was involved in a head-on crash with a police cruiser.

See this WAVY.com video

Accident victim killed on her birthday

The male driver of the Honda was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, wherehe  is in a critical condition, WAVY reported. The police office was also injured. Fortunately, his injuries are non-life threatening.

Tidewater Drive from Widgeon Road to Norview Avenue was reopened around 9 a.m. on April 19.

It’s not clear why the Honda driver crossed into the northbound lane. What is clear is the terrible consequences of this accident.

It would appear to me that Karoline Johnson’s family have a clear case to take a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver’s insurance policy, although no amount of money can ever make up for a life lost at so young an age.

The police officer could likely also make a claim for any injuries sustained.

To find out more about wrongful death and what expenses are covered see this article from our Norfolk wrongful death lawyers.

The Norfolk, VA based personal injury and wrongful death law firm, Cooper Hurley with client meeting locations in Virginia Beach and Hampton, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. Attorneys John Cooper and Jim Hurley have more than 40 years of combined experience in specializing in auto injury as well as other accident claims. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA. Our motto is: “Your Injury. Our fight.” If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at (757) 455 -0077 or contact us through this website.

CHANGE.ORG & Ethnic Barbies

A few times a week I will have an email from WWW.CHANGE.ORG.  In case you don’t know Change.org is a website that sponsors online campaigns.  There stated mission is to  “empower anyone, anywhere to start, join, and win campaigns for social change.  I love the concept.   Getting people around the world to rally behind your cause is in fact empowering & it allows for the average person to connect with other like-minded people and accomplish wonders.

I know I can just delete the email, but some of these causes upset me.  Like the one I received today entitled.  “A Barbie that looks like her daughter”  Essentially this Black mom wants you to sign her petition to force Mattel (toy maker) to make Barbie’s of color.

I would rather  just not buy Mattel products than to tell them what they already know.  They know that little black girls exist.  They know the purchasing power of African American’s; apparently they don’t care.  I remember feeling this way when Mabelline came out with the “Shades of You” line for Black women.  I felt like, so after all of these years you’re finally acknowledging we exist. Too little, too late, no thank you.  But that’s me.  Just in case you don’t know about the POWER of the Black spending I’ll enlighten you.

African -Americans represent over 42 million strong consumers, product talkers and brand influencers with a buying power of nearly one trillion dollars annually. By 2015, African-American buying power is estimated to gain a whopping 35% hitting 1.2 trillion dollars, up from $913 billion in 2008.* African-Americans are mega consumers beating out all other ethnic groups in the consumption of automobiles, wine & spirits, baby care products, groceries, health and beauty products, personal care products, apparel, electronics, movies and travel and entertainment. http://www.reachingblackconsumers.com/2012/06/intheblack-launches-to-highlight-black-consumer-spending-power/  We need to use this to our advantage.

I wish this mom would have created a prototype of what that Black doll would look like. The doll I imagine for my daughter is true brown, not beige.  Her nose is wide, her lips are full, her hips are slight with a full buttocks and her hair is thick and natural.  I bet she would have found funding on www.kickstarter.com Kickstarter is an online platform where individuals can have creative projects funded.

I want my daughters to be strong.  I want them to have a true understand of the world that we live in.  I’m not saying accept it, but choose your battles wisely.    I feel like this type of action weakens us.  Oh please take our money.

Here is an excerpt from Karen’s “A Barbie that looks like her daughter” – As parents of children of color, we’re basically faced with the choice of either foregoing a Barbie theme altogether, or compensating for Mattel’s lack of sensitivity through labor-intensive DIY solutions. Check out this blog of a mother who went so far as to print out labels of Black Barbies at home and stick them to party supplies:  http://ebonylove10.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-have-black-barbie-party.html  I love this idea.

Yes, Mattel made a clear choice not to create Black Barbie doll, so let’s just make a clear choice not to spend our money with Mattel.

I agree with Karen “Young girls of color need positive images of themselves reflected back to them in popular culture, the media, and their daily lives” that why I only allow my daughter to watch television shows reflect positive images of all women period.  No Bridzilla’s , No Bad Girls Club, essentially no videos & no Bravo network!  I live my life to be the best reflection for her in her daily life, mirror me!

It’s taken me 4 days to write this.  Since I started Mattel has gotten a bit of bad press from their “Mexico Barbie” critics of the doll says she is stereo typical.  http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-buzz/mattel-offends-mexico-barbie-absence-african-american-barbie-160432558.html  Let it be!

Advantages of Co-Branding by P V Reymond with my 2 cents added.

I am pushing the idea of co-branding to my bosses.  This is one such article that touts the benefits of this type of relationship.  We need additional revenue streams.  As a marketer & brand ambassador I network constantly and honestly I have great information that is beneficial to our partners, why not make money while sharing?  A few months ago we volunteered our social media savvy for a non-profit; I did double duty for three weeks.  My shoulder still hurts from copying & pasting links and sending out mass emails (one at a time).

I learned a valuable lesson from this: many of the organizations that we are working with are less knowlegable about social media than we are thus presenting a unique opportunity for us.

Our primary business is in home care.  But for the month of January we were a social media marketing company.  Our goals was to create local buzz, spike the organizations likes on Facebook & secure a speaking engagment.  We did all three!

So why not build off of that basic concept to build relationships, increase referrals/sales & leave a lasting impact on the community we serve.  (While making money of course, I didn’t need to say that part)

So now to P. V. Reymond’s article.  (he gives permission on his website to use this as long as we give him credit and provide a link to his website…this is wonderful for bloggers like me that struggle with daily post)

We have heard a lot of online entrepreneurs mentioning the term “co-branding.” Most of them have high praises when it comes to co-branding. So, what is the fuss about? What is the exact meaning of co-branding when it comes to online marketing? Co-branding is a form of marketing in which you leverage your referral partner’s client base.

In my opinion (PV Reymond’s opinion) I think that co-branding is the most underrated and an overlooked online marketing strategy. Co-branding is a marketing strategy wherein it can be an extremely effective way to generate online business. The best form of co-branding is when it adds value and enhances your partner’s website by offering valuable tools and added functionality.

If you plan on doing co-branding you must remember that you should choose a partner that is closely related to the product or service that you are offering. Think of it as like this, a prospect clicks on a link on your website, then after doing so he is directed to another website with a totally different brand or company, believe me when I say that this will confuse prospects.

If your partner’s products or services are so far-off from what you offer yourself then prospects will be of course be confused why they have been directed to an entirely different web page with unrelated content. When it comes to co-branding you need to choose partnerships that have something in common with the product or service that you’re selling.

Co-branding can be very cost effective, particularly for small online businesses. However, if you choose the wrong associate, or too many partners, it might be more harmful than advantageous.

Co-branding online can be done by offering your service, the information that you have, as well as your products under a different company’s identity, while preserving your own brand in less leading format. The later is made for your own advantage and is commonly the main reason for the entire product or service offering.

Co-branding Advantage #1: Less expense to market a new product

If you decide to go with co-branding then I am telling you right now that it results to less expenditure. We all have an idea as to how much it will cost to market a new product right? And of course we all know that if you are alone and you market a new product then the expense will be outrageously high.

However, with co- branding you need not worry about that because it results in very less expenses because of the already existing brand image of the other business in the market.

Co-branding Advantage #2: Boost the company’s brand image while increasing profits

When you start with co-branding you are able to reach out to more and new prospects with your new products and services. Introducing new products or services creates a buzz and stirs curiosity amongst your target market and this result to an increase in brand value and at the same time it boosts profits.

Co-branding Advantage #3: New markets

Co-branding enables you to reach people or areas that were out of your reach before. When you were operating the business by yourself you have limited access, but when you start with co-branding, you are able to tap into customers which you were not able to reach before. This results in bringing new customers to your online business.

Co-branding Advantage #4: The risks involved would be less

If ever you just started your online business then the risks of introducing a new product to the market is higher. It will take some time before you are able to tap into your market, usage and implementation of various strategies is needed. So, it is better for new online businesses to tie up with an established company which have a brand value in the market and this result in reaching the target market easily. Co-branding Advantage #5: Improvement of products with the use of modern technology

With co-branding, you get to share with the other company’s technology which will assist you to produce better products. This will yield in giving quality products that can be offered at a fair price with advanced features which will of course attract new and existing customers.

Co-branding Advantage #6: Introduction of your products or service to the other side

The best example for this is the promotion of Intel. Years ago Intel came up with the slogan “Intel Inside,” this made consumers realize what was inside their IBM and Compaq computers. Because of this around 300 computer manufacturers started co-branding with Intel.

Co-branding Advantage #7: Benefits from the other company’s customer base

Co-branding can bring in the benefits to a company from its partner’s loyal customers. Back in 1984, Nike got together with Michael Jordan the world-renowned NBA player with the basis that all Jordan fans would feel affectionate and loyal towards Nike and choose it over its competitors. Why? Because, well their idol is with Nike, so they feel the need that they should also be loyal to Nike.  Written by: PV Reymond  http://internethomebasedbusiness.startup-internetbusiness.com/co-branding-advantages/