Remembering Steve Jobs: “Find what you love”

7 Oct

I only own one Apple product – my iPod Shuffle. I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind on my technology. I don’t have an iPad or any of those hip toys. When I found out Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday night, I felt a deep sense of sorrow. You didn’t have to own one of his products to know Mr. Jobs made a huge impact on the world.

As I read all of the many online articles reflecting on Jobs’ life and career, the one article that stood out most to me was his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

In his speech, Jobs spoke of his death years before it happened. He’s absolutely correct – no one wants to die. Thinking about your own demise seems so negative and depressing, but I think Jobs wanted to use death as a way to encourage us to live life. I especially loved his comments on finding what you love.

This is my favorite part of his entire speech:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

What is it that you love doing? If you’re not doing what you love what would you prefer to be doing?

Thanks Steve for reminding me that good is the enemy of great!

Watch the full speech it here: 

My Pre-30 Blues

7 Sep

December 15th is coming fast and while this day is just an ordinary day for most, its the day where I celebrate another year of life.  This year I will celebrate turning the big 3-0.

I think the biggest dread I have about turning 30 is that I’m still single and child-less and 2012 will mark the 10th anniversary of my time in singledom. Can I just be honest? It stinks.

I know I should be happy and enjoy this time in my life, but 10 years sure is a long time.  I feel like God has forgotten all about me in this area of my life. Like I’m drowning in a pool and he is the lifeguard looking down too busy to save me. And when I see all the wonderful pictures of  my friends and family in relationships, getting married and having children,  I can’t help but wonder if it will ever be me. Right now, it doesn’t feel like it ever will.

Recently a former classmate mentioned that it’s time for me to start having babies. The only problem with that theory is that I’m not looking for just a sperm donor. I want a husband. When people say stuff like that they don’t realize its really not helpful.

Turning 30 makes me realize that realistically I have about 10-15 years left to safely carry and give birth to a child.  I know people are having children well into their 50′s, but honestly who wants to be 70 when their child is graduating from high school?

I wonder sometimes if I just need to face the reality that I may have to  either settle for just some man  or be content living life all alone. Part of me just wants to shut my heart off completely and just make the decision for myself to be alone. That seems like an easy answer, but I’d just be lying to myself. Its difficult when your heart wants something that feels so far away.  Even though I want to give up all hope that love will ever happen for me, I still have hope. I don’t want to become so jaded by the lack of love that I miss out on what’s in front of me.

The difficult part about being a go-getter is realizing there are some areas of life that you simply can’t control. The question is, can you accept that in life there will be things you can’t control?

Singles: What works for you when you feel down about your love-life?

If you’re in a relationship: What was it that worked for you? How did you meet that special person and what advice would you give to others who are looking?

Finding my own strength

22 Mar

Today was my second day in at the YMCA and I’ll admit I felt a little emotional. I know I’m overweight and I’m not where I want to be in life, but I think the trek from my job to the YMCA is like a journey of a thousand steps. When I joined the Y last week I told myself that I would be committed and that I would finally follow through on losing weight. I selected two classes that interested me and today was my second class – Sculpt and Abs. The class was all about strengthening my core, which is exactly what I need. Every time I go to exercise I think about how far I need to go and the challenges I’ll face. At least I’m honest about it! I walked into class today and told the instructor today is my first day, I’m out of shape and I have weak knees. My goal was to present all the barriers and then just work through them one at a time. Right now my barrier to working out and eating well is just doing it. I feel like I don’t know how to work out to get results or what to eat to improve my health. I don’t want to remain ignorant. I looked at myself in the mirror today doing the crunches and I saw a Maria I didn’t like. To get where I want to be I’m going to have to face who I am in the mirror then take steps to improve. All I know is, I’m ready to just do it.

Wanted: P-T Weekend Job

23 Jan

I know going after your goals
requires making sacrifices so this weekend I realized one sacrifice I need to make is my time on the weekends.

While I have a wonderful full-time job during the week, I realized I really could use a part-time job on the weekends.  I set a few goals for myself for 2011, such as building up my 6-month savings and sending money home to my mother, so  in order to accomplish these goals I need to make additional income.

I am open to retail opportunities as well as other jobs that allow me to use my skills in public relations and marketing. Since my work during the week is a bit strenuous, I am hoping to find a position that isn’t as stressful. Did I mention I can start immediately?

If you know of any part-time positions in the DMV area or those I could do online, please e-mail me at mariadjames@gmail.com.

My online portfolio is available at http://mariajamespr.weebly.com

Here is a brief summary of my experience:

Experience in Retail/Food service

  • I worked as a cashier for Dollar Tree for over 10 years and I also help set up a new Family Dollar in Virginia Beach, Va. This required unloading merchandise from the truck and setting up shelves. I also worked at Taco Bell.

Experience in Tourism/Travel

  • I love tourism and travel. I have worked as a  tour guide at the Virginia Marine Science Museum  in Virginia Beach, Va. as well as in the communications department for  museums throughout Virginia such as the Black History Museum of Virginia and the Valentine Richmond History Center. I also worked for two years as the marketing and public relations assistant at the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau. I also dabbled in historic preservation as an intern with the Preservation Alliance of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

I welcome all of your suggestions and connections. My goal is to start working in February.  I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

Are you job hunting? I’d love to feature you on my blog. Email me at mariadjames@gmail.com.

My new addiction: Coupons!

9 Jan

Saving money for 2011

Last week I watched a show on TLC called Extreme Couponing and I was completely mesmerized. The show features people from across the country who have developed unique, even outrageous, strategies for saving money by using coupons at the grocery store.

One man, Nathan Engels, of Villa Hills, KY, purchased $5,743 worth of cereal, hand soap and toothbrushes. After  utilizing coupons he only spent $241. He and his wife were able to get out of debt based on smart spending.

While Nathan and others stock piled tons of products inside their garage (Nathan has  10,000 items in his garage) I was most impressed by Joyce House, of Philadelphia, PA.

Joyce  didn’t have thousands of items stocked up in her home, but instead she was a regular shopper, like me, who realized coupons were free money. Through using coupons Joyce has not  purchased a toothbrush, toothpaste or deodorant in 34 years! On the show her purchases originally cost $230.38, but after utilizing her coupons, Joyce only paid $6.32.

What I like most about Joyce on the show is her drive to teach others her secret for saving money. On the show, she stopping other shoppers to ask them if they were using coupons and if not, she provided coupons for items in their cart that was on sale – A woman after my own heart!

While I don’t see myself stock piling 10,000 items (I can’t believe anybody does that), I do, however, realize I’m wasting money by not having items I use regularly available at home. Whenever I run out of something I immediately go to the store. I have no strategy! If its on sale great, if not, I pay the posted price or seek a cheaper item.   I need to be more strategic in my shopping .

According to the extreme couponers on the TLC show, strategic shopping is about taking the buying power back from the stores and putting it back into your hands. One of my goals for 2011 is to be a good steward over my money. The biblical principle of  being “the lender and not the borrower”  is not a myth. I truly believe it’s God’s desire that I prosper and be in good health, even as my soul prospers. Afterall, it says so in 3 John 1:2 (check it out!). I’m happy to know that I serve a God who cares about all aspects of my life, even my wallet!

I just registered for  CouponMom.com – check it out! CouponMom.com is a wonderful website, created by Stephanie Nelson, that not only provides printable coupons, but it also complies sales papers from retail and grocery stores in your area and matches their sales with the coupons from the Sunday paper and those online. You can even print off your grocery list based on the sales you select. Talk about time-saving!

I look forward to shopping this week. Harris Teeter is having their Super Double Coupons event from Jan 5 – Jan 11. They will double all coupons up to 1.98 (max 20 coupons per day). I’m itching to see what I can get for free.

Happy Shopping!

Top 5 Things I Look Forward to in 2011

30 Dec

 Every year I find myself saying the same thing – I can’t believe its the end of the year! I’m excited about 2011. I have alot to look forward to and here’s my top 5:

1. Learning: I’m planning to challenge myself and learn a variety of new things like swimming, rollerskating, cooking, Zumbaa and how to create and keep a financial budget. This year I’m soaking up knowledge and storing up for the future.

2. Traveling – This June I’m boarding my first Carnival cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. I look forward to seeing two beautiful beaches and soaking up the warm weather. I’m budgeting this year so I probably do alot of staycations and travel local.

3. Volunteering – I will be giving up a few hours of my time on Saturday’s to deliver food for the Food & Friends, an organization that provides meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people living with life-challenging illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. Anyone who knows about my father (he passed away in 1999 after suffering for years with an illness) knows this organization really speaks to me. I learned about the Food & Friends through my adopted church, New Macedonia Baptist Church in Southeast DC and it really spoke to my heart. In 2011, I also look forward to using my skills in other capacities.

4. Healthy Living – I’m planning to stop wasting money on my Weight Watchers membership and actually follow the plan. I look forward to taking fitness classes that interest me like Zumba and Latin Dance. I also look forward to saying good-bye to fattening fast-food meals and hello to better eating. I’m also going to take some cooking classes to learn how to use fresh ingredients.

5. Watching OWN – 2011 is all about the Oprah Winfrey Network! I love Oprah and I’m so happy to see her branch out from network TV and tackle cable television. While I’m sad to see her daily talkshow call it quits after 25 seasons, I’m also so excited to see what the next 25 years have in store for her career. I will be watching! Wondering where OWN airs in your area? Find out by clicking here: Find OWN

What are you looking forward to in 2011?

Ouch! A Girl’s Guide to Shoveling Snow

7 Feb

I have to shovel this?

Already this year the Mid-Atlantic region has been “blessed” with a record amount of snowfall. My city, Washington, DC, saw over 20 inches between Friday and Saturday! Once the snow stops, the reality is someone has to clear off your car, walkway and driveway. 

Ladies let’s face it – the men aren’t, can’t or won’t come to our rescue and help. While there are good men out there who will help, we don’t have to wait for that to happen. We can shovel the snow too! 

Before you head outdoors, save yourself the agony of a sore back by learning how to shovel snow properly.

According to eHow.com, here’s the proper way to shovel:

  1. Make sure you have a good snow shovel. Most snow shovels have open ends that allow you to easily toss the snow off to the side.

  2. Consider your physical condition. If you are out of shape you should proceed with caution. Snow is heavy and shoveling is hard work – you don’t want to risk a serious injury or jeopardize your health.

  3. Remove the snow from the driveway and any walkways needed to get into and out of the house. Don’t forget the areas around the mailbox, garbage cans and other places you’ll want access to.

  4. Work toward the areas where you are depositing the snow so that you have less distance to toss it as you tire.

  5. Chip away any ice that you find under the snow and remove the chunks with the shovel.

  6. Spread rock salt over the cleared area to avoid icing.

  7. Sand any areas that remain slippery.

Now, if you’re a visual learner like me, check out this wonderful YouTube video I found by Health Expert and Chiropractor Dr. Vogelmann (He works in  the same city as me  – Bethesda, Maryland!).

Also, don’t forget, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. If you see neighbors out shoveling, ask for assistance or consider helping them. My experience has been good neighbors will help one another in times of crisis.

Happy Shoveling!

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