Now I know, some people may think I’m nuts for saying that statement “How to be thankful during a pandemic.”  The reason why I can say that we can be thankful during a pandemic is because I learned that although we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our reactions to them.

As someone who has definitely had her fair share of ups and downs in life, I know for a fact that my focus on God and His blessings/promises were the only way I made it through life’s storms. Since this state of mind helps me, I encourage you to do the same. Keep your focus on Christ’s promises.

Now, let’s be clear, I’m not one of those so-called “life coaches” that just says stuff that sounds good because they heard someone else say it. I’m literally giving you advice based on my own experiences.

Despite all of the chaos that is currently happening in the world, racism, the Coronavirus, the economy, I want you to choose to focus on Christ and His promises. This is how I make it through this crazy thing called life.  I can honestly say, I have a very happy and successful life. MY LIFE IS GOOD!

One of my absolute favorite songs is Here Today by Aloe Blacc. I kid you not, it’s like he wrote that song based on my life! I know what it is to lose a loved one, job, savings, the list goes on…  

Yet, I am also fortunate to experience what it is like to be Back In The High Life Again which is another favorite song of mine by Steve Winwood (check out the songs/lyrics on my site). 

Anyway, those tough times put me in a position whereby I’m able to truly enjoy my life. Like Aloe Blacc’s song says, “ We ain’t promised tomorrow, so I’m gon live for today.” Realizing that life isn’t promised to you enables you to truly place emphasis on the people and things that do matter. 

Trying to enjoy Thanksgiving during a pandemic is not easy. Nonetheless, I want to challenge you to think of at least three things that you have to be grateful for in your life. With me, I am thankful for developing my confidence, God giving me a life whereby I have plenty of free time for hobbies, and last but not least, technology.

Confidence

The reason I am so happy with me developing my confidence is because when I was growing up, I was afraid to speak up for myself.  I was fearful. I wanted everyone to like me, so I would go out of my way to avoid confrontation. I tried to keep the peace at all cost; even at the point of allowing my reluctance to defend myself to eat away at my self-esteem. 

As I got older and entered the corporate world, I realized real quick that not everyone who smiled in my face had my best interest in mind. I’m a very creative person, so I’m always coming up with ideas. Out of jealousy, there have been instances throughout my career where I’ve actually had managers ask me to dumb down my ideas or not share so many of them.

After constantly being confronted with these types of people, I turned my reluctance to defend myself into pure anger and courage.  My mom helped me to see that nothing is worth losing your self-respect and pride. She taught me that I must be happy living with myself; not the people who want to destroy my confidence and possibly me myself. I am sorry to say that I was sort of slow in applying her knowledge and wisdom.  Anyway, I learned the hard way that she was right. These people are literally in your life for a short period of time, so why allow them to ruin your life?

I now can truly say that I have learned how to maintain my confidence by saying, “No.”  The word ‘no’ has increasingly become my favorite word.  There used to be a time I was afraid to say the word, “No.” Now, I’ll say no to anyone–LOL  i=If I don’t want to do something, or if I don’t feel comfortable doing something, I will say no without any hesitation. Titles mean absolutely nothing to me. You can be my boss or the President of the United States and I can confidently say the word NO to you.

Now do not get me worry, I believe in helping people by going that extra mile. My pet peeve is that most people want to treat nice people, like me, as a doormat. They want to take and use up all your resources and then toss you aside like a dirty rag. I have even had people who would not even say thank you after I helped them. I do not let this bother me because there were many people that Christ helped and only one or two were grateful enough and said thank you.

I am thankful that I finally learned that not everyone is like me. I am always grateful for whatever help I receive and express this fact.  My point is, I am so happy that I finally developed my confidence. I do not spend my time with people or doing activities that will waste my time. 

Time is the only resource on earth that you can’t get back. Therefore, I’m fiercely protective of my time. If you’re asking me to do things that don’t align with my goals or hang out with people that do not add value to my life, expect me to say, “No.” Which brings me to my next topic that I am thankful for “free time for hobbies”.

 Free time for hobbies 

I’ve got a lot of energy. So Netflix and chill is not how I have been spending the majority of this pandemic. I think I may be the last person in America that still hasn’t finished the Last Dance documentary and I’m from Chicago!

I’ve never been someone who watches a lot of TV.  I truly enjoy learning and doing different activities. I recently took an Adobe Illustrator bootcamp class because I have a desire to further develop my design skills. This is something that is not only going to help me with creating even more innovative presentations/ infographics at work but also create more detailed t-shirt designs for StarenguCrew.

I am thankful because I work from home and so I don’t have to worry about commuting. This has given me even more time to explore other interests and develop other skills. I don’t have to wait until the weekend to do these things. Here are some of the hobbies I plan on looking into even more are:

  • Further developing my photography/videography skills 
  • Learning more about nutrition and natural medicine
  • Perfect my ability to create earrings
  • Create my own soap 

This is just a tiny fraction of the activities that I would like to accomplish while we’re going through this pandemic. Again, you have two choices: You can either complain about being bored or you can channel that time and energy into an adventure of a lifetime.

I know the pandemic can be a difficult time for everyone. Unfortunately, it can be more difficult for some than others. Nonetheless, if you start focusing on what you have instead of what you lack, you’ll quickly realize that you are much more resilient and resourceful than you thought. I encourage you to utilize this pandemic time to learn and/or build up your God given skills. This brings me to my last but not least thing that I am grateful for and it is living during this era of technology.

 Technology

I am so happy that the pandemic hit when we are experiencing a boom in technology. Many of my activities that I enjoy would not be possible without technology. Since I properly channel my time and energy, I do not feel any of  the loneliness that I hear and/or have read that most people are experiencing.

Thanks to technology there is so much to do and explore. I encourage you, instead of sitting back feeling sorry for yourself, get busy enjoying all the possibilities technology has to offer. That’s exactly what I did and why I’m so incredibly grateful and fortunate that I am able to work from home.  Working at home gives me even more time to explore my adventures. It is absolutely astonishing when I read about people complaining about working from home. This will never make sense to me and I go into all the reasons why in Episode 119.

Again, I feel so fortunate and blessed to be in a position to work from home and it’s all thanks to technology.  Technology has allowed me the opportunity to connect with people in ways that I never I never in a million years would have imagined. One of my students, who by the way is now one of my friends, was looking for an English tutor for her son. One of my audience members who listens to this podcast and also happens to be a fellow podcaster one time shared with me that he has experience in teaching kids English.

One day my student explained how she desperately wanted a English teacher for her son. Since I have always been taught to not just look for blessings, but to actively look for opportunities to be a blessing to someone else, I was able to connect my fellow podcaster and my English student together and everything worked out perfectly for them.  It is situations like these why I am so thankful for technology.

I’ll never forget my student was taking a class with me while my fellow podcaster was teaching my friend’s son.  It was so funny, during a teaching session, my friend shared her laptop so me and her son’s new tutor (the fellow podcaster I referred her to) could all say hi. It still blows my mind that all four of us were literally in 3 different locations; yet, able to communicate as if we were in the same room.  That moment could not have been accomplished without technology. 

I’m big on education, so when I’m not working or teaching English, I thoroughly enjoy taking classes that will expand my mind. I’ve been teaching English online since 2013 and taking Spanish classes online for almost 2 or 3 years. Next year, my goal is to take courses in product management and UX design. I foresee the concepts in both of those fields playing a major role in my career in the future. 

I know there are pros and cons to remote learning, but as an adult, I LOVE it! I love being able to take part in a live session and then have the ability to review the class in case there are parts that weren’t as clear to me. In my opinion, the success of remote learning is contingent on how engaging the instructor makes the material. Speaking from firsthand experience, I go out of my way to make sure that I’m using materials that convey the concepts I want to share  without boring you to death.

When you’re able to take classes that expand your mind, it only makes sense to align your mind with your body. Taking virtual exercise classes has been a tremendous mood booster for me. I make sure that I’m able to support my favorite dance/boxing instructors by attending as many live classes as possible. I normally teach dance classes and was in the process of pursuing my AFAA certification so I could *officially* teach kickboxing/boxing  (my AFAA certification is on pause thanks to the Coronavirus).

During the first couple weeks of this pandemic, I was super concerned with how I was going to be able to function without a gym. However, I slowly but surely managed to turn my living room into a functioning home gym. My goal is to look as fit as possible once we’re past this pandemic. The virtual classes I have been fortunate to take are all on YouTube and/or accessible via Amazon Prime or Netflix. Virtual exercise classes are not only helping me to achieve that goal but also puts me in a position to have enough energy to work on my hobbies.

When you change your perspective, you’ll be amazed how fast time goes by and how much you have to be thankful for even during a pandemic.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating, or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!

Here Today by Aloe Blacc

[Verse 1]

I’m a long lost wandering soul tryna find where I belong

And I’m lookin’ for a place where it feels alright to be wrong

Just a loud-mouth, hard-headed, fool-hearted stubborn old son of a gun

Chip off the old block with a chip on my shoulder that weighs a ton

All I know for sure is that nothin’ is forever

And all that matters is how we get along together

Life gets harder every day that I get older

Hope I figure out why I’m here before it’s over

[Chorus 1]

‘Cause we’re here today and gone tomorrow

We’re here today and gone tomorrow

Lead the way, never follow

Here today, gone tomorrow

[Verse 2]

I been stuck at home alone on nights when no one calls

And I’ve had nights where I can take my pick or have them all

And I had those days where I search my pockets for a nickel and a dime

And I’ve had those days where tryna make money was a waste of my time

I’ve had shiny brand new leather patent loafers

And I’ve had torn up bruised old teddies handed over

All I know for sure is that nothin’ is forever

And all that matters is how we get along together

[Chorus 2]

‘Cause we’re here today and gone tomorrow

We’re here today and gone tomorrow

Through the joy and the sorrow

We’re here today and gone tomorrow

[Verse 3]

We ain’t promised tomorrow

So I’m gon’ live for today

Been from 5 star hotels to cockroach motels

And rode day-whole drive retails to thrift store re-sales

I’ve had chauffeured town cars to an old broken down car

It ain’t what happens to you it’s what you do about it

[Chorus 1]

‘Cause we’re here today and gone tomorrow

We’re here today and gone tomorrow

Lead the way, never follow

Here today, gone tomorrow

Here today (hey)

Here today (hey)

Here today (hey)

Here today (hey)

Back in the High Life Again by Steve Winwood 

It used to seem to me

That my life ran on too fast

And I had to take it slowly

Just to make the good parts lastBut when you’re born to run

It’s so hard to just slow down

So don’t be surprised to see me

Back in the bright part of townI’ll be back in the high life again

All the doors I closed one time

Will open up againI’ll be back in the high life again

All the eyes that watched me once

Will smile and take me in

And I’ll drink and dance

With one hand free

Let the world back into me

And, oh, I’ll be a sight to see

Back in the high life againYou used to be the best

To make life be life to me

And I hope that you’re still out there

And you’re like you used to beWe’ll have ourselves a time

And we’ll dance ’till the morning sun

And we’ll let the good times come in

And we won’t stop ’till we’re doneWe’ll be back in the high life again

All the doors I closed one time

Will open up again

We’ll be back in the high life again

All the eyes that watched us once

Will smile and take us inAnd we’ll drink and dance

With one hand free

And have the world so easily

And, oh, we’ll be a sight to see

Back in the high life againHigh life

High life

In the high life againWe’ll be back in the high life again

All the doors I closed one time

Will open up again

We’ll be back in the high life again

All the eyes that watched us once

Will smile and take us in

And we’ll drink and dance

With one hand free

And have the world so easily

And, oh, we’ll be a sight to see

Back in the high life again

High life

(Back in the high life)

Oh, we’ll be back

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