The ROI on Distraction

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I laughed slightly as I allowed myself to ponder the idea that it was only a matter of days before my apartment building was swallowed up by a hole the crumbling blocks around created for it. At the corner of the street was a crack and a brook of water bubbling forth, water that when it froze took car tires captive.

About halfway into the next was a hole large enough that a fountain of water sprung up. It was the kind of fountain that if it were July and not January would have little ones in their swimming trunks and bathing suits laughing, giggling, and splashing in city summer time fun.  It was the kind of fountain that had the city’s water company come out and place huge concrete road blocks, yellow and black caution tape, and planks of wood  over and around the hole from which the fountain sprang.

If you made it to the end of my block and made a left, yet another hole. No water, just a crater of sorts.  I’m pretty sure it helped the block to bring in the New Year, and folks who wanted a new car probably got one because their tires and axles got jacked up courtesy of the crater.

Keep in that direction and go one more block…another hole. It’s the baby of the bunch, I’m sure. But if you aren’t paying attention, that’s your ankle, your knees, your face, and your tooth making it across the street without you.

I’m learning in life, if we’re not focused, we can become easily distracted by what is happening around us. If you were raised like I was, you were raised to pay attention to your surroundings; to be aware of where you are and what else is going on. Perhaps as you’ve gotten older you received some of the same messages in terms of paying attention. You’ve been encouraged to stay for the meeting after the meeting (the debrief of the meeting that was just minus a few folks). You  were told to observe what your boss and her way with words when it comes to your work bff , to notice how her language suggest she has it little positive regard for your work bff so you may want to distance yourself, you know, to keep your job (the one you really don’t like and have been leaving for the last five years).  You were told to maybe occasionally read Fred’s texts or his call log, just to be aware of the kind of company he keeps and who he communicates with.  Besides, if there’s nothing to hide what’s the big deal? You told to stop renting and see how this one and that just bought a house, and houses are great investments, so you should be a house (even if you aren’t ready, don’t want one, or need one).    Somehow a good habit, being aware, has us distracted. It has us losing friends, sabotaging relationships, and buying houses we don’t even want (and have no bff or boo to enjoy it with).  The distraction ultimately costs us. We somehow end up with the holes in our relationships, goals, and paths to purpose.  

ROI yellow

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We end up with the broken ankle, the misaligned axle, the frozen tires. Technically, all of which are repairable. All of which have costs- real costs. Distraction cost. Read that again.  In fact, let me write that again- Distraction costs.  What can seam innocent, easy enough, or smart at the onset can undermine, become a habit, and set us back.

My building is still standing. I don’t foresee the streets of west Philly swallowing it up.  I am still standing. Well technically, I am sitting on this vinyl bench in my favorite Starbucks in Philly on a rainy unusually warm January afternoon, nevertheless, I am here knowing that I’ve  paid the cost of distraction. It seemed cheaper than the cost of focus. It’s not. Just want to put that out there. I don’t care how hard it may be to focus, to say no, to live on a budget, to create some space in certain relationships (or let them go altogether), the cost of a distraction is always more and the ROI (return on investment) can’t even buy you a free cup of coffee.

You absolutely can make a comeback from going down a distraction rabbit hole, I just to encourage you to leave the hole alone altogether.  Mind your business. You can make a note of the advice, knowledge, well meaning cautions tat people offer, but how does it directly impact your purpose, you goals, your dreams? If it doesn’t then keep it moving. You can’t afford to be distracted. You can’t afford to undue a friendship based on some one else’s opinion or relationship. You can’t afford to lose your romantic partner taking suggestions from folks who stay sabotaging their relationships and have trust issues with everyone including themselves. You can’t afford a house in an area that you don’t know you want to stay in or working a job that has high turnover and a revolving door approach to retention and is stingy with pay increases. Pay attention for the sake of your purpose. Even if the mayhem is near, stay focused.  Pay attention for the sake of focusing on your destiny, your mission, your calling,  not for discovering a new long, unnecessary, costly detour. Ain’t nobody got time for the scenic route to purpose. Enjoy the journey, trust the process, but don’t get distracted. xxoo

roi they all hate us

Photo courtesy of Lee Oliveria

Listen to Your Life


Photo courtesy of Marie Claire

I sent this lovely picture (to the left to the left) of the oh so stylish SJP to one of my close girlfriends, Serena, and said “I’d like a photo op like this please.” Her response was “I can make that for you.” I didn’t doubt that she could because she is one of the most talented creatives I know and I am beyond grateful that I get to call her friend. We continued texting, about anything and everything including the winter storm threats both of our cities were under, her asking in response to my day not being what I needed when I was going to let it go and go be the best version of myself,  and good words I heard earlier in the day from one of my favorite podcasts, Chrystal’s Chronicles with  Chrystal Evans Hurst. “Listen to your life.” I texted Serena. Her response “And what’s your life saying?”


Can I just say that only a real friend  responds like that. Only a real friend asks the necessary question and waits for the vulnerable, unmasked, scary to text or say out loud answer. “It’s saying there’s a lot I need to shed/let go of.” 

She called me after that text and kept doing what good friends do. She shared some things she noticed when we last got together a few weeks ago over tea but waited for a better time to speak on them. She encouraged me and shared how excited she is and has always been about my gifts, talents, and goals. Lastly, she agreed that there are still some things that I need to shed.

We ended  the call with me expressing deep hope for a snow day the next day, because what I needed almost as much as I needed to go to sleep, was to be purposeful about listening to my life. I just wanted a moment.  A sweet tea, journal, pen, bible, moment to listen to what my life was saying.


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Well blessed grown man Jesus heard my prayers. Around 6am, jut after hitting snooze for the second time (I was listening to my body) a text came through from my college saying campus was closed for the day. Hallelujah!  I tried to go back to sleep after a round of group texts with family, but only for about a half an hour. Then I was up, sipping tea, and reading the devotional I purchased for Lent. The overarching theme in the passage for the day- timing, including the time for what was. I took it as a hint to make sure I made time to listen to my my lie today about what there still was for me to shed and let go of.

I won’t lie. I didn’t immediately grab my journal from my side table, ink pen, and curl up in the chair by the window in my bedroom. Nope. I got on Pinterest, Instagram, checked personal email (it was a snow day, I was not trying to check work email), etc. I got up and enjoyed some banana chocolate chip pancakes and then made my way to the gym. Don’t worry, the snow in my part of the city was still fairly reasonable to navigate and my gym is like three- ish blocks away. Walking there would be my warm up.

In fact, there was no “sweet tea, journal, pen, bible, moment” because life isn’t a moment. It’s a series of moments. So throughout the day, throughout the moments that made up my day, I did more tuning out and more tuning in to listen to my life. I paid attention to what I was attracted to on social media. I took a 2 hour nap. I didn’t answer each call that came in and was only the initiator of a few calls that went out. I didn’t even immediately respond to each text that came across my phone screen. I chose low impact machines at the gym and didn’t watch any of the televisions playing a steady stream of political news. I was selective about how I spent my time today, tuning into the decisions to be made about upcoming travel, financial commitments, time commitments, heart string commitments, telling my entire truth to a student who emailed me from my former institution about the ways in which racism, discrimination, and inequity were pervasive on campus (and from what she shared, still is) during my tenure there.


Photo courtesy of Q. Taelor

I’m still working through Valerie Burton’s book Successful Women Think Differently. Recently I answered a series of questions helping me understand what helped me to be at my best in my relationships, finances, career, health, and faith. When I look at my responses to those questions and think about the words of Chrystal Evans Hurst, “Listen o your life,” it was crystal clear that during my best moments, I was at my best in terms of listening to my life. My boundaries were firmer, my work aligned with my beliefs, spending wasn’t a means of coping or purchasing items to look happy in an effort to overcompensate for misery, exercising 5 times a week wasn’t something I even though twice about, and I made decisions that aligned with my beliefs and the goals I had that best allowed me to live from my strengths and on purpose. The more I listened to my life, both to what I needed and wanted, the better I was. 

I want to encourage you to start listening to your life this week. Listen to what your life is telling you. Don’t hush the whispers for rest, for connection, for exercising. Don’t roll your eyes at her voice to write more, connect face to face over coffee with a friend instead of texting, make reservations for date night with your bae to nurture your relationship. Resist putting your fingers in your ears when she says call a therapist to help you navigate the burn out, depression, anxiety, or PTSD. When she says you need to spend some time dreaming a new dream, dream on. When she says you need to assert yourself, strategically and confidently go forth. When she says draft the resignation letter, draft it on the nearest napkin if you have to. When she says you are on the run, it’s okay to ask if you running from or running to. Listen to your life. Can you hear you now? 


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That’s What She, Her, Them, Us, We Said

FullSizeRender (7)This week I had what was the combination of privilege and destiny to be in attendance at the first United State of Women Summit in Washington DC. I waited just a little under an hour in the line that wrapped the four city block perimeter of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at least two times over with thousands of us mostly women. Upon entering I received a name badge that read Ahyana King, The Simply LIVED Life- Nominated Changemaker. I was nominated to attend the summit which I knew but it was the word changemaker that breathed life into my weary spirit. I smiled at the young woman who gave me my badge and was determined that over the next day and a half at the summit I was going to own every inch of that laminated purple and pink ombre badge that proudly adorned my neck. I also decided on my train ride back home that I would share some of the wise fire in my gut deeply resonating with my soul don’t ever forget what your capable of words from the amazing individuals who took the stage and nourished my soul, reminding us that “today we will change tomorrow.” So, from my notes to your heart, here are a few of the words I wanted to be sure to share with you from the United State of Women Summit. Cheers to the weekend!

“If we stop being vigilant, we lose what we’ve worked so hard for.”- Sarah Jones, Actress


“Our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves. “- First Lady Michelle Obama

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“Respond. My work was a response. It was never about a role, it was about seeing a need and responding to that need. Don’t seek the role, seek the response and do the work.”                – Beverly Bond, Black Girls Rock.


“Deliberate and afraid of Nothing”- Audre Lorde ( quoted by Kerry Washington, Actress)

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“If we want equity we need diversity.”- Marley Dias, Literary Advocate




She Speaks Wise Words

“I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”- Tracee Ellis Ross. Here’s a little motivation for your week! xxoo


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Going All In Marriage

kico2We’ve been talking about what going all in looks like this month, from the decision to go all in, the scariness of it and the courage to push past the fear, and of course the processes of it. Today we’re going to talk about what it looks like through the context of relationships, specifically marriage. I’m sharing what Kimberly (Kim) and Maurice (Rico) Demosthene, of Philadelphia, PA have found it takes to go all in in their marriage. I’ve had the joy of knowing Kim, a nurse, and Rico, a private realtor, for about 10 years now. I got to coordinate their wedding almost six years ago and think they are amazing individuals, a great couple that has really had one of the healthiest and most admirable relationships I’ve witnessed, and they are pretty sweet, loving, funny and creative parents to Mathieu (3yrs) and Roman (5 mos.).

TSLL: How long have you two known each other?

Kim & Rico: We’ve known each other four 14 years and in July we will have been married for six years.

TSLL: When you think of when you dated compared to being married what has changed?

Kim & Rico: When dating, there’s less responsibility and at the same time more freedom to spend time with one another as you would like. You’re trying to figure out if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But also, you have a one dimensional view of the person- mostly the good.  In marriage there’s a lot of responsibility and most moments you share together you have to work for. You know without a doubt that this is the person you want to spend your life with. However, the challenge comes with actually putting in the work to build that life together. You come to see and  understand this person’s flaws but you realize the “good & bad” makes them who they are and you love them more for it.

TSLL: What does commitment to your marriage look like for you as a wife? As a husband?

Kim: For me, commitment to my marriage means never considering any other options and recognizing that I don’t need to because I made the best choice. It also means trying to give my husband the best version of me everyday instead of tired me, frustrated me, the me that’s left over when life has beat up on me all day. That’s not very fair to him and doesn’t show that I’m committed.

Rico: Commitment means appreciating what and who I have, not taking them for granted, and not making her feel less than. It’s showing her that I’m not interested in anything else because I’m truthfully not. She’s the one I chose to be with- she’s “it”. It’s also wanting to provide the best for her

TSLL: Have there been times in your relationship (while married or before) where you knew you weren’t giving it your all? How did you know and how did that change?

Kim: There have been times while married I knew I wasn’t giving it my all because everything that I would complain about him not doing (whether to him directly or inwardly) I recognized I wasn’t doing it neither. Sometimes I realized I was even worse. It changed by me learning that oh yeah…sometimes you have to give what you want to a relationship to get it out of a relationship.

Rico: Before marriage, yes there were times I wasn’t giving it my all.  I knew I wasn’t because it’s while you’re still trying to figure out if the relationship is something you want. Once I realized that she was who I wanted to be with, I had to give it 100% and I haven’t stopped since.

TSLL: What three things do you think are absolutely necessary if a woman is going to go all in and be a wife? A guy going all in to be a wife?

Kim: For a wife to go all in she absolutely needs to be fully invested in her husband, to open her heart to him fully,  and to be an encourager/supporter of him.

Rico: For a husband to go all in he absolutely needs an undeniable love for his wife, a selfless mentality (putting his wife’s needs first), and a vision for the relationship so he has a point of reference to constantly work towards.

TSLL: When you are running low on what you feel you have to offer your partner, what do you do?

Kim & Rico: When running low, honesty is the best policy. Just be upfront with your partner to let them know how you feel.  Take a moment to yourself to identify what’s going on.

TSLL: How does your partner help you recharge?

Kim & Rico: While marriage is definitely a partnership sometimes one partner is running low for whatever reason. When that happens, the other partner taking the lead in our relationship when really helps.

TSLL: How has your spouse helped you go all in in some other aspect of your life?

Kim & Rico: Providing encouragement, listening, and reminding each other of our strengths.

TSLL: Can marriage be fulfilling or healthy if one partner is all in and the other is not? Why or why not?

Kim & Rico: No.  Marriage is work requiring both partners to show up and participate. There will definitely be moments when one person has to help carry the other’s load, but that should alternate. If only one person is all in, they will get burned out. Both people are equally responsible for the outcome of the union.

TSLL: What words of wisdom would you offer to couples who feel like they have gone all in, things aren’t working, and they are thinking about getting all out?

Kim & Rico: Seek counsel. And remember the big picture- This is someone you love  and there’s a reason why you married them.





Welcome Back to Wednesday

We are back at Wednesday and back at the end of yet another month leaving us mere months away from another new year. It has been a strange week for a number of reasons, but sitting here in my in progressing home office sipping tea and reflecting back on the day and the days before I find myself swiftly moving past some recollections and lingering in the fondness of others. I suppose that’s how the whole looking back thing goes right? Look back just long enough to have perfect hindsight but not too long as we need not get stuck in the past, no matter how awful or awesome it was.  Here are a few wise words abut looking back to get you over the hump! xxoo

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Lessons Learned In Rewind

Some days I have the fortune of engaging with a really great customer service representative. Sunday I had such fortune with one of the customer service representatives at Go Daddy. As she assisted me with some of my technical difficulties we chatted abut what led me to start The Simply LIVEd Life, how the weather is in my part of the country, and before you knew it she was asking about my time out west and what I learned. These were some of the things I shared with her when I look back at my time out west. Happy hump day! xxoo 

There is no redemption without death. Some (3)


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Wise Words This Wednesday

Hellooooo!! These words are sent to you on the eve of one of my better decisions to take care of myself. I am beyond excited to participate in The Yellow Conference- A conference for creative women who want to change the world. I’m also super excited to do it in a city (small towns like my new one has a purpose but I am a city girl). I promise I woke up smiling and had to hold myself back from dancing as opposed to walking to the office this morning. There will be some amazing women speaking their truths and wise words and today I want to leave you with a few wise words on making sure out keep getting comfortable with making you, your needs, dreams, goals, and purpose more of a priority. Don’t go full self centered narcissist on me, but don’t neglect your amazing self! xxoo

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Humor Me on a Hump Day

Welcome to Wednesday, affectionately referred to here in the US as hump day. I’m sending you some hump day you can do it vibes from some of my favorite funny women. Because you know what, one of the ways I take care of myself is laughing. Whether it’s watching Pitch Perfect or Coming to America for the umpteenth time, looking at old photos of me as a kid (Sometimes there is a mixture of anger- like who let me out the house looking like that? Then there is laughter) or visiting the humor page on Pinterest, laughter makes my whole body smile (And jiggle, even the thinnest of us jiggle when we laugh. Oh and maybe Kanye doesn’t jiggle, but does he laugh?). So do yourself a favor today, soak up these thoughtful words from these funny folks, but laugh a little too…or a lot! xxoo

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Photo courtesy of Monica Schipper

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