Tag Archives: thesavvysurvivor

Reflections Before Laundry

I was feeling a smidge emotional this morning before I hit the laundry pile, so I decided to clickity-clack on my keyboard to lay down some reflections.

When I lost my sister, I was so young. Losing her hit me, but what broke me was the pain I felt through my parents pain. That’s the empath in me. I felt their pain and the love they had for my sister. Love is what got them through.

Through the years we experienced other losses. Another major hit was when my mom lost her own mother. Her pain was something she expressed regularly. But in true form, Mom persisted. She loved her mommy. I felt that love each time she spoke of Mavis Adams. Love is what got her through.

I broke again when I lost my Mom two years ago. But no matter how fresh the pain, I’m so grateful for her example of surviving through loss. I can feel the love, relish the memories, see the light in my children and take life one day at a time. How my Mom lived her life is probably one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive.

So although I cannot pick up the phone and call her; although I cannot hear her sunshine voice yell out one of my many pet names; although she’s not physically here with me, I will always have her in my heart and soul. She’s with me in everything I do, say and experience. Love is what will get me through.

I love you Mommy!

Valentine’s Day Isn’t So Bad … Is it?

7 ideas for overcoming the Valentine’s Day blues.

Spoiler alert … I love LOVE! Since I began dating, I have enjoyed Valentine’s Day- both witnessing it and being a part of it. When I was in a relationship, I would find creative ways to show those I cared about that I did. When I wasn’t in a relationship, I would love up on myself…watch a favorite, sappy movie in my cozy pj’s, eat a special dinner, buy me a new lipstick…anything to express the LOVE and care I felt for myself and others. That tradition continues today as a wife and mom.

As I’ve grown older though, I’ve seen a shift in how folks view the day. (Please don’t call it a holiday or you will feel the wrath! LOL) Some folks feel like I do and treat it as a time to have fun while many others, rue the day! They can’t stand the mere mention of it and refuse to take part. Reasons span from it’s not real to it’s just too commercial…I’ve talked to folks from all walks of life who just cannot be bothered. One of my friends even suggested removing the day from the calendar altogether. Well, let’s talk about this…

Now, who doesn’t love being loved and/or loving someone else? YES! You should do this all year round, but isn’t it cool that we actually get a special day to do it? If you’re sitting back reading this and rolling your eyes…just be patient and walk with me a while….it won’t hurt, I promise.

Valentine’s Day, like so many other ‘special days’ [not holidays], can be celebrated any way you’d like, and that’s the beauty of it! You can be creative and fun, spend little to no money or just rest in the quiet comfort that you are loved.

Here are seven ideas to consider, especially if you aren’t with it, but your partner/family is or vice-versa!!

  1. Picnic Anyone? Put the kiddos to bed early, make a sweet playlist, light some candles, and enjoy your favorite tunes with low lights, a fruit/cheese plate and your favorite wine!
  2. A goodie box! It can be given to anyone! For your mate, find a small box, think, tie box and fill it with things that let your partner know you’re thinking of him. Could include lingerie, chocolates, homemade coupons, LOTS of confetti or NOT (getting too excited) and a nice note. Shipping to the home address or leaving it on the pillow the morning of, works! For your children, pack a small box with things they love (i.e., lip gloss, a hair tie/ribbon, a movie ticket, gift cards for a free lunch and/or handmade coupons for mommy/daddy and me time and a sweet card. Hide it in plain sight!
  3. US Time! Get a babysitter.  Set a date night any day of the week. Do something fun and maybe just a little out of the ordinary and enjoy each other’s company. It could be as simple as a walk for ice cream near a park, a movie you’d both love to see or a coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
  4. Lunchtime Surprise! Remind your children they are loved by packing some special treats in their lunch box. Could include their favorite sweet, a piece of ‘special chocolate,’ new hair bows or a little truck with a sweet note.
  5. Sweet Surprise! Wrap their favorite candy bar in a pretty ribbon and attach a love note to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  6. Thoughtful Notes. Purchase or make a beautiful card to say hello, I’m thinking of you!
  7. Do you bake? Do you make something someone you know loves? Create your specialty just for them! Invite them over to share OR wrap it nicely and leave a sweet note just to say I’m thinking of you!

Do you see a pattern here? Simple and easy ways to show your loved ones that you’re thinking of them, and the most they cost you is time [and maybe a couple of dollars, depending on which you choose).

If this sounds easy and doable, by all means, get to it…you still have a bit of time! However, if you’re still on the fence, just think about it. If you still can’t bring yourself to get with the program, take a few minutes during the week of and just spend some intentional time with your loved ones. It only takes a minute and I promise you’ll get all warm and fuzzy when you see their reactions!

We all love to be SEEN and feel APPRECIATED; it’s even better when you SEE and APPRECIATE someone else.

Happy love day!

A God Wink: the story behind my Christmas tree topper

It’s Christmas day and the second Christmas I’ll be celebrating without my dear mother. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true, the holidays are not the same without Constance “Connie” Gardner. My mom- the mother to six, a wife, a sister, a friend, a nurse- was a beautiful woman with an incredible heart. She was classy and sassy and loved life. Her presence energized you. She cooked like a chef, danced with grace, and walked like a queen. She was royal (cue Tarrus Riley).

We lost my lovely mother to the dreaded “C” word in February 2018. Her death was the greatest tragedy of my life, and it showed. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment or conversation, but I owe it to my sisters for leading me out of the fog of loss and into the light of remembering the meaning of Mom’s life. Remembering her joy and zest for living, the care that she had for all, and her love of all things luxurious is what made me change my trajectory. By the summer of 2018, I was once again ready to embrace the beauty and joy of life, hopeful to experience the world anew, with purpose.

By December 2018, I knocked a few items off my ever-growing bucket list. I set out to cross off another: purchasing a Christmas tree topper. That task seems pretty mundane, but I assure you it was everything but. 

I was looking for an angel topper to honor my mother, my angel. Nothing ordinary would do, after all, Mom was far from ordinary. I spent half a day perusing Etsy and came across the perfect item from The Divine Angel Shop. I snatched it up right quick! After my purchase, I received a message from the seller:

“Note from Connie

Thank you for your purchase. The Divine Angel Shop is here to serve your decorating, gift giving and collecting fancies. I work hard to produce a quality one of kind item and want you to know that I appreciate your business.

Be Blessed and Please Come Again!

You guessed it. I was floored and speechless once I read the seller’s name. Connie. It took me a day to respond because I was so emotional.

Dear Connie,

For years, I have been thinking about purchasing a tree topper, but was never inspired and was okay with my two girls making them all this time. This year, however, I was finally inspired. We lost my Mom in February, and in her memory, I decided to look for a black angel Christmas tree topper. I found your beautiful creation, and soon after purchasing it received a lovely message from you signed Connie. This was my Mom’s name. I don’t even know how to describe how seeing your name as a result of this purchase made my heart smile. Thank you!


Ms. Connie was swift to respond:

Camille. You are not going to believe this but I lost my only daughter in July of last year and her name was CAMILLE. I thinthis was a God wink! 😍”

I sat there, reading Ms. Connie’s last message over and over again. Unable to move, to breathe. Then because I am paranoid by nature, I did some research and found her story to be true. 

This Christmas tree angel is a God Wink. A reminder that my mom was still there for me. Like she always was. Telling me how proud she was of me. How happy she was for me. Always being my cheerleader. Never dictating how I lived my life, but always encouraging me to be true to myself, my dreams, my desires. I didn’t realize until then that I was waiting for Mom’s acknowledgment that these changes I was making in my life were on point. Acceptable in her book because they were true to my authentic self.

The Savvy Survivor dictates that if one must spend money, the item or experience better provide lasting value. Well folks, my Christmas tree angel topper was an investment that ended up having more value than I could have ever imagined. 

Merry Christmas!