As a Speech Therapist, I always get questions from friends and family who are parents asking for tips on how to help improve their child’s language. Who remembers worrying when your child wasn’t using their words or not using as many words as their same age peers? We’ve all been there.
To help alleviate that worry, I’ve compiled the most useful information that I’ve acquired over the years in an easy- to-read guide for parents and caregivers to help improve the language of toddlers and small children. I’m super excited to share the information in my e-book titled, “Let’s Play: How to Elicit Language from Small Children” because language is really best taught to small children through play and routines. The true essence of learning comes from children feeling safety and love in their daily routine, including play.
The New Year can invoke many different emotions in us based on where we are emotionally, physically and psychologically. 2020 has been one hell of a year and many of us have experienced loss in more ways than one. Many have lost those they love. We’ve experienced loss of freedom to move and go about like we normally do. Many may have also gained from this year. Hopefully we’ve all walked away with a sense that change can happen in an instant and how we respond to change determines our very survival.
With all of that being said, the start of the year is a perfect time to set your intentions for all of the good that you deserve and desire in the coming year. Here are some ways to organize and create your intentions. I know we all love the computer and the magic of technology but there is something about writing intentions down with pen and paper that makes the magic happen.
Intentions Setting Method– Avoid the use of the phrase “I want” when setting intentions or when speaking affirmations. The word “want” invokes a feeling of need and we are not moving in a needy direction. Strive to use the phrase “I am” instead.
I am starting——-
I am sharing——-
I am quitting——–
I am continuing——
I am going to be—–
I am learning——-
Set intentions in areas of your life where there is room for improvement. Categorize it. Set two or more intentions in areas such as: Family, Health/Wellness, Career, School/Education, Personal, and Spiritual.
I spend more than 1 hour a day connecting to and being present with those I love.
We eat dinner together five days a week
We have game night weekly
We have Sunday devotions weekly
Now that you have a starting point, sit down, grab your journal and start setting your own intentions.
Are you a “wake up as soon as the alarm sounds” or “snooze city” morning person? Me, I’d love to be the jump out of the bed with a mission to take over the world type but I enjoy tapping the snooze button at least twice before rising. To be clear, I don’t fall back asleep after the alarm goes off. I use the snooze time to lay with my eyes close in a type of silent mediation and think about how I would like my day to go because I want everyday to be my day. Thinking about all of the wonderful possibilities that are ahead of me helps to frame my focus for the day.
We all need ways to save time and effort in the a.m. so that we can focus on conquering the day ahead. Here are 10 time saving hacks that if adapted daily can become daily habits to help improve your productivity.
(You may remember some of these from grade school because our moms lived by many of these shortcuts.)
Pack your work bag the night before. Don’t forget to pack important projects that you may be working on at home in the bag the night before so that you don’t forget it the day of.
Pack you gym bag (clothes, sneakers and towels) along with any after gym snacks and water. Schedule your workout time into your day the night before to ensure that you will take the time to take care of you.
Remember the night before the first day of school? What did you do with your brand new fly outfit the night before school? Laid it out on a chair or on a hanger of course. Well, do the same now. Except now you are laying out your adult work clothes so make sure you’re fly but appropriate for the office.
Prep breakfast and pack a lunch the night before. This helps to keep your healthy eating on track and you save money on expensive lunches. Save your food money for those expensive weekend brunches.
Leave any and anything you fear you will forget in the morning right by your door. Keep your keys, wallet and phone by the door on a tray as well that way all three items are together and can be easily retrieved before leaving the house in the morning.
Wrap your hair with a scarf or a bonnet. You know why so I don’t have to get into it.
Set the tone for the morning. I love listening to morning motivation from some of my favorite speakers or I play some frequency music. I’m always working on vibrating higher.
If you live with people that you love, don’t forget to check your mood and make sure that it adds goodness to their day. Do a mood check and if your mood is crappy make sure you aren’t adding that crappy mood to those you love.
Refer back to number 7 if your mood is crappy. Have a goal of chasing joy. We won’t be happy everyday but if you are struggling, find something to be grateful for.
What is your vision? How do you know what it is that you want your life to look like and and how did you get to that vision? It can be difficult to formulate a vision of you don’t have enough exposure to all that life has to offer. It is most crucial to put yourself in spaces that you are not normally ever in and speak to people that help you grow. If you can’t physically get to people and places, open a book. A book is the easiest way to delve deep knit different thoughts, places and people.
This article is called the “H” Game because it is pertinent to Honor your vision. Once you grasp that vision it is your job to honor it. You must be true to your vision to see it become a reality and vision comes to a reality when discipline is practiced on a daily basis. Discipline creates good habits. The “H” Game involves creating good, daily Habits. Set your intentions daily and strive for mastery in all that you do. Do everything with Heart. Put love into all that you do and be open to receiving love in return. Don’t lose your Hunger. You must think you deserve all that you desire in your mind and believe it. Next, have Humility. Stay humble. Finally, Hustle. Like Dr. Maya Angelou said, “Nothing works unless you do.”
We can all agree that these have been trying times. It can feel beyond hopeful right now. Imagine, just over eight years ago we had “hope” and we felt hopeful. Today, well, we are going day by day. We are feeling overwhelmed with fears about the pandemic, overt racism, dirty politics, dirtier politicians, global warming, and the list goes on. So how do we focus on persevering and flourishing during this time? How do we stay aware and participate in what we believe in without depleting our mental and physical energy?
Here’s What I’m Doing:
Drinking water and eating Whole Foods. Taking care of my body by taking in the very best foods possible. 2. Exercise. My exercise not always rigorous but I make movement a part of my daily routine. I move my body and increase your heart rate for 20 minutes or more per day. 3. Simplified my routines (beauty, self care, exercise, cleaning, home life, wardrobe). Pear it all down! I found that the more I made my surroundings simplified, the more I saw that I had much of the things that I already needed. I didn’t need to buy new clothes or home decor because I had the stuff. It was just hiding under all of the excessive stuff I already owned but also wasn’t using. I used all of my beauty products before buying new ones. This was a hard one for me.
What is the vision that you have for your life? Do you have a vision for what you want your life to truly look like? Have you thought about it? When you think about your goals, dreams, vision, do you shrug it off and tell yourself that the vision you have for yourself is impossible or do you trust the vision and go after what you want? I know, I’ve bombarded you with questions and some pretty tough ones at that. Truth be told, many of us are living in perpetual fear of some of the big things, or big visions that find themselves into our minds because we have been conditioned to believe that we cannot do or accomplish the big things. The “big things” are reserved for the people who don’t look like me or who are smarter than me or more talented than me. These are the types of things we tell ourselves to talk ourselves out of pursuing the vision.
The first step in learning how to pursue your vision is to feed your faith, not your fear. Fear can be a good thing. It keeps us from danger. We needed much fear to survive as cavemen, because danger lurked around every corner. Today, we can put much of that fear at rest. It’s like the extra hair, we don’t need it anymore. Begin to rely on faith.
The second step is to see yourself with all the good that you desire. Go ahead, picture yourself in the business, the position at work, the car or the house. When you are going through your day create a vision in your mind -as you do your chores, as you work, as you drive- of the life you desire. Paint a mental picture and place yourself front and center.
The third step is to make it plain. Write about the things you desire, speak them, talk about your vision with passion and then place yourself in the environments–as much as you can- that feeds your vision. Whatever you see, you can have. Clarify your vision, take it from the mental plane to the physical plane. Take it from your head and put yourself in the picture physically by placing yourself in the environment that feeds the vision.
When your vision is clear, you are able to get into alignment. The clearer the vision, the more you can accelerate your goal. This is life and life does not come without obstacles. Your vision will be tested and this is why faith is the first step. You must have faith in yourself and in your own vision. Keep your vision in mind and it will help you overcome the obstacles. Your vision will create your discipline. It will drive you. The vision tells you which books to read, which program to study, what you can and cannot eat, what time you should go to bed, what time you should wake in the morning. Your vision creates a guide for you and the right people will appear at the right time to help accelerate the goal.
Synopsis: Have a vision (See It) – Put it into action- God will send the people to help you execute the vision or goal.
The reality is that all things are possible but your mind can work to tell you differently. Self limiting thoughts is one of the main difficulties that keeps us from advancing personally and professionally in life. The reality is that we are conditioned to think thoughts of good or thoughts that serve to limit us. “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz delves into our prior conditioning and gives us 4 “Agreements” that can be applied to our everyday lives in order to break this societal conditioning that leads to self-limiting thoughts.
”The Four Agreements” are outlined in the text as:
Be impeccable with your word: Be a person of integrity, speak with integrity. Avoid gossip and the act of gossiping about others. The words are useless and does not breed any good intent. Your words are powerful and use your words to speak powerfully over your life and others.
Don’t take anything personally: Master the before that nothing others do is because of you. The actions and words of other people are a reflection of their own reality, their inner selves, not you. Become immune to the opinions and actions of other people and watch your life turn in a direction that serves you, your dreams and goals.
Don’t make assumptions: Communication is key in order to avoid misunderstandings. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ask for what you need, ask for clarifications in order to avoid misunderstandings. Much of the chaos that exists in our lives is a direct result of miscommunication which leads to misunderstandings.
Always do your best: You are an individual and life isn’t always perfect and not always aligned to go how we want it to go therefore our “best” may change from time to time depending on life events. No matter what is happening, try to be your best and do your best. You owe it to yourself and others.
I know, at face value, these agreements that you make with yourself all seem very simple and you may be very familiar with each of these agreements in isolation already BUT how much are they really practiced in your everyday life? The truth is, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all made with a purpose. It is important to pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. Speak about yourself with favor and eat the fruits of your words.
Surround yourself with the images that brings joy and abundance into your life. The reality is that you cannot do what you cannot see. Go out of your comfort zone, if you must, in order to SEE the things that you desire and work until it is no longer a desire but a reality.
There is nothing better than a Sunday afternoon stroll and if you get to stroll through nature, then the Sunday stroll gets even better. The warm weather invites cool clothing as well as the desire to get outdoors. This dress made me feel amazingly free and not restricted. I normally live in blue jeans but sometimes the buttons squeeze too tightly or the thighs feel too tight but none of this happens in this dress.
Getting in touch with nature before the start of the week is a great way to reset. Weekdays for many of us can be a combination of work, chaos, schedules, meetings and juggling multiple responsibilities and tasks but getting a jump on mentally centering yourself on a Sunday can help to remedy some of the potential chaos.
On Sunday, take time to think. Take time to breath and reflect on all of the growth and stillness of nature. Find tranquility that you can take with you into the week ahead.
How do you ready yourself mentally for the work week?
COVID-19 came and changed everything that we know is normal. We all sheltered in place, worked and schooled from home, our favorite restaurants and shops were closed, no entertainment and for many of us no visits with our friends, families and loved ones. The way we lived changed dramatically.
As you thought you had a hold on life in quarantine, all things shifted again. We all watched the tragic video of a Black man being murdered at the hands of police in Minneapolis. We have seen this tragedy time and time again but this was different. The combination of having the time to process just what is happening in the world along with the final straw for injustice brought on a Black Lives Matter movement bigger than any expected. We saw a worldwide movement. A shift. We now hope to see systematic change.
As you read this now, you can look back and think about just how much you’ve persevered. You did it. You lived through a time that will go down in history. You’ve added to change and you could not have done it without caring for your mind and body.
Food became an essential part of quarantine. Many of us baked and showed off the prettiest banana breads on Instagram. We had to cook or learn how because many restaurants were closed and ordering for pick up or delivery as no longer with ease. Let’s face it, food probably also gave us the most comfort, the feeling of a norm that we craved.
We are surrounded by people schooling us about the “universe” and “manifesting” all the things that we want, and you know that for most of us it’s money. Well, the question is, how do you manifest the things you really want? Truth be told, we can only ask and expect to receive. Please believe that you will have to roll up your sleeves and put some work in but the first step to manifesting is to know exactly what you want, ask for it and believe that you already have it in your possession. The Bible taught us that faith without works is dead so the disclaimer here is to not forget to put in your work. Work is something you cannot escape.
After the realization that you must put in work, please remember when asking for what it is that you desire from God or the Universe, please affirm your ask with the simple phrase “I Am.” The “I Am” places you in the present tense and it is how you should begin writing your goal/s. Remain in the present and think of your “I Am” as a command of sorts. You are commanding the things that you want but with humility and gratitude. You can ask for success with “I will be successful.” You command it with “I am successful.”
If nothing else, start your day with your “I Am” affirmations. Create affirmations that describe the you that you would like to become. Start with “I am health. I am abundance. I am wealth. I am happiness.” This is a mantra that can trigger the subconscious and lead to your reality if you are not ready there.
How do you start your day? Do you have affirmations that you’ve created to set the tone for your day?
When most people think of Jamaica, they often think of pristine blue beaches and easy going vibes. They are right. You get all of this and then some when you visit but my most recent trip to Jamaica was not one where I managed many beach trips, rather I was mostly in Jamaica’s big city, Kingston. This was a real first time for me and did not know where to go or what to expect. Well, Kingston did not fail. What do you do in Jamaica when you are not at the beach? Well, learn about it’s history and eat ice cream at Devon House of course.
The most delicious artisan beef patties can be had at the Devon House Bakery.
The quaint brick structure that now houses the Devon House Bakery was the original kitchen for the historic home.
The Family’s Dining Room at Devon House.
Jamaica’s first black millionaire, Mr. George Steibel.
The home is spacious and airy but still feels quaint, like home.
This was the stairway for a secret room. After entering the room, the stairs can be pulled towards the ceiling and concealed. It was positioned like a type of panic or safe room.
The windows are large and everyone has pretty storm shutters lined by light white curtains. The home needs no lights because the sizable windows lets in all of the sun.
The horrific earthquake that sank one of Jamaica’s most notorious ports. Legends say that Port Royal was such an evil and wicked place that God consumed it with the earthquake.
I live here now.
We had the docent to ourselves and what felt like a private tour of the home. We felt extremely lucky.
The size of the key effects the size of the home. This is the docent opening the front door for us to have the most epic view of the home’s front lawn.
A portion of the from of Devon House.
I adore the classic checkerboard flooring and the the Italian style borders.
A portion of the rear of the home. I would be in heaven if I can spend the rest of my life on this back porch.
The ice-cream is the real tourist attraction at Devon House. Every Jamaican I know lives for Devon House ice-cream on a Sunday. It’s a religious experience of sorts. This is the holy grail of ice-creams, the grape nut.
If you are in Jamaica and you love visiting Devon House, drop me a picture or a line in the comments and tell me about your experience. If you plan on visiting the land of wood and water then hop over to Kingston and get a patty and ice-cream for me please 🙂