Education-An MVP of the Pandemic

This morning I participated in a Twitter chat, #pd4uandme after a little nudging from a colleague. The conversation was about naming educators in our lives who we saw as Most Valuable Players this year. I struggled to identify an individual because the year we’ve had in public education leads me to believe that every educator has been an EDU-MVP in the wake of this pandemic. I tried to think of one EDU MVP and immediately my mind was flooded with so many people, starting with my work family and all the way to my Edu PLN. It’s just too big to name one person. It’s been tough, but we’ve managed…by staying CONNECTED. Education is one of the Most Valuable Professions and has proven itself so during this pandemic.

I hope the spotlight on public education continues to shine in a way that honors our worth, promotes the recruitment & retention of excellent educators, & continues to elevate the profession-when the pandemic is over. Educators are integral to our democracy!

I hope folks will talk about the way educators stepped up and learned to pivot at a moment’s notice as much as they talk about learning loss. Our students need us and we’ve got work to do, but let’s be clear: It’s not because we haven’t put forth exceptional effort.

If I were forced to give an EDU-MVP award, I’d give it to the profession as a whole. When crisis arrived, we answered. We taught-by computer, cell phone, tablet, in 😷, provided meals to students & families, & mental health & SEL services. This shouldn’t go unnoticed.

When I think about how valuable educators have been to society during this pandemic & how valuable we are in general, it brings me great sadness to think we were first to serve, but in many cases will be last to be vaccinated. Our profession deserves better.

I don’t mean to get on a soapbox & don’t care to debate. I just hope we are the topic in conversations about how to honor, elevate, and uplift our profession post pandemic-not just in the ones about how we’ll be punished if the children don’t do well on the test.

We’ve proven ourselves to be much more than test scores.

Until next time, be you. Be true. Be a hope builder!

@latoyadixon5

Time to Tell the Truth

There isn’t a single soul who should be surprised, astonished, or even shocked by what happened in our nations’s capitol this week. We all had more than context clues; we had evidence of what was to come long before it transpired: “Proud boys. Stand down and stand by.” Tell the truth.

The disrespectful and vile behavior of those individuals who chose to stain the hallmark of American democracy, the peaceful transfer of power, should be called what they are: domestic terrorists. Tell the truth.

And we all know that if those rioters who immersed themselves in the destruction of the consecrated halls and offices of the people’s house were not White, there would have been a lot more blood shed and a slaughtering of Black and Brown bodies left for dead. Remember, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts?” Tell the truth.

The time to use precise language about what happened this week is now. There is no need to construct vague sentiment that doesn’t put you in a predicament of having to defend your position or opinion. Right vs. wrong isn’t a matter of opinion, and the fact is that what happened was wrong. If you have difficulty seeing this, consider the wise words of my Mother: “There is no right way to do wrong.” Tell the truth.

We know the consequences of not telling the truth. We saw them live and in living color on our televisions and social media feeds this week. When those who call themselves leaders embrace lies-big or small-they should not be surprised that those who follow them believe them. And further, when those followers act on what they’ve been sold as truth, sentiments like, “Enough is enough,” isn’t good enough. One’s retroactive concern for himself is about the only transparent thing I’ve seen from these newly enlightened individuals.

Courage is not convenient, but it is precisely the way one can cement his legacy on the right side of history. And that’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Until next time, be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!

Latoya

The Truth About Leadership: Part 3 – Resilience Is Required

One of my biggest challenges as a leader has been strengthening my resilience. From the outside, it may appear that I have approached challenges with vigor and persistence, pushing through tough situations and times with a smile. On the inside, there’s a different story. I’ve had to learn over the years not to replay my mistakes in my mind over and over and over again in an attempt to analyze where things went wrong. It’s taken me some time and a ton of experience to understand that healthy reflection includes resilience instead of a long period of deep self-disappointment. Acknowledge the error. Make note of what you could have done differently. And most importantly, move on, and do so with haste. In the early years of my leadership, mistakes seemed to linger longer than they should have and in ways that were not productive. I struggled greatly with being a perfectionist and became a pro at worrying about everything and anything. In 2017, I found myself in a toxic relationship with worry. Even now when I tell folks that they tend to look at me rather puzzled. They almost always say, “I’d never know it. You seem so confident.” But we all know things are not always as they seem. While my confidence is at the best level it’s been in my leadership journey, it hasn’t always been that way. I remember turning 40 in 2017 and thinking that I had spent what could potentially be half my life worrying, and on my birthday I decided I’d worry no more. My relationship with it had made me a leader who lacked resilience and I began to focus on bouncing back rather than being all consumed with making an error.

Here’s the truth about leadership: If you are a leader, you are going to make a mistake. The best thing you can do is spend time working on how you will move on and beyond your errors rather than wallowing in them. Analyze your relationship with reflection and make sure it isn’t toxic. We have a tendency to misrepresent what it means to be a reflective practitioner. Here’s what it doesn’t mean-over indulging in guilt, which can manifest into self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Self-doubt and humility are not synonymous, and all too often leaders operate as if that is the case. Humility means you recognize everything is bigger than you, including your purpose, and it is precisely the reason we ought to be more resilient in our leadership journey.

As a young student in elementary school, my teachers often wrote about how conscientious I was-it’s how I learned what the word meant (report card comments). It’s my nature. I want to do a great job and I was reared to always do my very best. Momma wasn’t having it any other way. But I have finally learned that my conscientiousness cannot be a handicap to my confidence. Leaders must believe in themselves, and we demonstrate that by practicing vulnerability and resilience in equal measure. It makes us more authentic and most importantly, it gives us freedom rather than fear. And we all know that freedom feels better.

Until next time, be you. Be true! Be a hope builder!

Latoya

@latoyadixon5

The Truth About Leadership: People Will Use You…If You Let Them.

I recently started thinking about how it is possible for someone to admire and enjoy your insights and ideas, and not be fond of you as a leader or as a person. If we can all learn from someone, it means we can even learn from people we don’t like or who don’t like us. And this is exactly why we must not confuse those, “I want to pick your brain,” requests for anything other than what they are-an exchange of ideas. Coming to this realization often leaves us feeling disappointed, dejected, and even used. That’s right. I said it: used.

As a leader there will be times when you feel used, undervalued, and like a pawn in someone’s game of chess. That’s why you cannot confuse someone’s desire for your insight, knowledge, and expertise, with an invitation for a friendship or an attempt to build a strong and trusting collegial relationship. Quite simply they want what you think, your ideas, and quite frankly may not give a damn about you as a person at all. When one comes to this realization it can hurt, especially if you’ve presumed that one had good intentions in asking for your insight.

The reality is this: Leaders who intend to be successful might work especially hard to have folks with right strengths, talents, and skills around them to help carry out their vision. Building a strong team with diverse experiences can help expedite success, but just because someone ask you to be on their team doesn’t mean they can fully appreciate you beyond your ideas and input. After all it is work, and that is the primary purpose of our professional experiences. And while we should not take it personally, we often do-at least I do. I tend to believe that when someone ask for my opinion, it is because they value me as a person and a professional, but over time I’ve learned not to confuse the two, and how important it is to not blend my personal identity with my professional reputation. While both impact each other, they are not the same. I am not my job. My job is not all of me. Each has its’ rightful place, but must remain in balance for an equally harmonious professional and personal life.

I hate feeling used. But I realize I am in control of the offerings I make, the connections I develop and sustain, and the insights I share and how I share them. I’ll be operating with a lot more intention in the coming year. Sharing, caring, and connecting with intention and deliberateness. While this will help me to make sure others do not take my intellect for granted or that I end up feeling used, it will mostly be a bold demonstration of self-love. Loving myself enough to know not everyone deserves access to my intellect. And I mean that in the most humble way of all.

Until next time, be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!

@latoyadixon5

The Truth About Leadership

This is part one of a multi-part blog series. If you are so inclined, I welcome your feedback.

I’ve been thinking about something lately that I can’t seem to get off my mind. It’s the idea that too few people write honestly about leadership. It’s all sunshine and rainbows, but not really. The truth is that leadership is incredibly hard. It is challenging, some days more than others, and it does not always feel great or good. Sometimes it can feel scary or unnerving and other times it can be purely exhilarating and full of joy. But nobody writes about the scary and unnerving times. It’s all about how to be great, how to lead with courage, how to set a great example for others to follow. Sure we all need encouragement and being positive is necessary, but sometimes I just want people to tell the truth about leading. It is tough, and the only way out of the tough parts is through. I’m not going to wait any longer for someone to be real and write about the rawness of leadership. I’m doing it. Here goes nothing. In this blog series, I’ll be writing about the hard parts of leadership because there are too many leaders who feel alone in their experiences because so many simply won’t tell the truth.

Nothing is more demoralizing than a leader who lacks authenticity. One who does the things they think they are supposed to do because they want to be sure they live up to the idea of leadership that others promote. During my time in leadership, being committed to being authentic has been a blessing and a curse. Some appreciate it. Others are uncomfortable with it, and usually they are uncomfortable with the opinions others have of them as well if they aren’t all glowing and positive. But the truth is that if you are a leader, you can guarantee that you will be criticized, not liked by some, and it will not feel good. I’m not writing to tell you that you should not care when others don’t care for you. I’m writing to tell you that it is normal to feel concerned when others criticize your decisions, your leadership style, etc. But that concern doesn’t have to be coupled with conformity. Want to get yourself in a rat race that you’ll never win? Try pleasing everyone. You’re sure to burnout fast. By doing what you believe to be the best thing for the people in your organization and those you serve, you lead. You stand on what you believe in and you accept the criticism where it is warranted and respect the differing opinions of others as leaders should. But make sure you don’t fall victim to losing your authenticity as a leader-what makes you….YOU.

In my experience, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and observe many leaders. Time and time again, I’ve watched folks lose themselves in their leadership. Either taken over by ego or reduced by a few loud voices of criticism, they begin to not even recognize themselves. While leadership and the experiences that come with it are sure to impact you, and if powerful enough maybe even change you, your core values must remain solid. The moment you find yourself shifting in what you believe to be right, just, and equitable for all, or consider taking action in a way that contradicts what you believe, you must reconsider your leadership journey. It could mean you aren’t in the right environment or it could mean you’ve allowed the pressures of leading rather than the privilege of leading to drive you. Because leadership is a privilege, and those who lead should never forget that. In those times when I have faced criticism, I’ve had to work to remain balanced and find the sweet spot between taking it too personally and disregarding it all together. It’s the middle ground of giving consideration where it is warranted, but not allowing it to produce a level of self-doubt that negatively impacts me and my ability to lead that has worked best for me. And finding that balance is a never ending journey.

Real leaders reckon with remaining authentic and true to themselves all the time. I am not sure why few share this experience and so many resort to telling the sugar coated stories of leading. My leadership journey, while full of great experiences, has equally been filled with sleepless nights, stressful days, anxious nerves, wonderings of regret, fearful and tearful moments and conversations, and more. That’s because leadership is hard. It is not easy, and it is especially not easy if your greatest goal is to be an authentic leader who accepts yourself, your flaws, your mistakes, your errors as well as you accept your accolades and accomplishments. This is a mammoth task. It requires a level of personal and professional security that is solid enough withstand the winds of change, the voices of criticism, and the uncertainty of it all.

But I am determined to be as authentic of a leader as possible. I’m not afraid to admit that leadership is the hardest task I have ever embarked upon, and it’s been a challenge at every level, big or small, school, district, or state. However, I recognize that what has kept me in it is remaining true to myself, my core values, and real in my relationships with others. That is the stabilizing force in the journey-the authenticity- of it all. I implore others who lead to join me in telling the truth about leadership. It will help all of us.

Until next time, be you. Be true! Be a hope builder!

Latoya

@latoyadixon5

Certain In Uncertain Times

Since March and the pandemic began, I’ve struggled. Every social pattern I’ve had has been disrupted: family, friends, associates. My sleep overs with my nieces, shopping and dinner out with my mom & sisters, and time with friends laughing and cutting up …gone. And to make things more interesting, I started a new job last January. A new job means “new” people, new relationships, new vulnerabilities. It’s been a struggle, but it did not make sense to me until today. I just finished reading Brene’ Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection. It’s the best self help I’ve received since March.

Self-doubt is dangerous. It’s especially dangerous when one feels that everything is uncertain and unpredictable. It’s easy place to go when we are “new” at something. In some ways, second guessing ourselves can feel safer than believing in ourselves. It means if things go awry, I can say, “I knew it would.” But I’ve never been one to be afraid of failing, until recently. I’ve checked all the boxes, attained all the degrees, and built a reputable career. And all of a sudden, I get a new job and a pandemic ensues. Timing really is everything.

Here’s what I recognize: I must dig deep into what’s always worked for me: Believing in myself. Self doubt didn’t earn me-a kid of poverty, of a single parent, who grew up in government housing, on free lunch every year, struggled over and over again-any thing I’ve ever accomplished. Believing in myself, however, did. And that should never change-pandemic or not. And further, I am more than the sum of my accomplishments.

I’ve not blogged in some time, but I’m ready now, and I implore you to join me in not making these uncertain times make you uncertain of yourself. You are enough. I am enough. And it will all be ok.

Now, go read that book I mentioned. And enjoy every moment of life because if anything should teach us that life is too short, a global pandemic ought to be sufficient.

Thankful,

Latoya

Purposefully Present

Like many of us, my mind has been accustomed to anticipating the future and making decisions as a leader that best prepares the team for what is likely coming next. In fact, I find a great deal of comfort and pride in my ability to be forward thinking and believe it to be one of my best skills. But this time that we are living in has changed that. None of us can predict, with any level of certainty or confidence, what may be coming next. Stability can only be found in being sure that life, work, and play as we once knew it is in an ongoing cycle of change. Change is the new constant. And if change was difficult for humans pre-COVID, we can all expect this time period to be one of the most challenging and significant periods of our lifetime.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share how disruptive this has been for me personally and professionally. And I believe this to be true for almost all of us. Disruption causes discomfort, but in an attempt to shift my thinking I’ve been reminded that it can also be the birthplace of innovation. I am choosing to see it as an opportunity to reinvent myself, to reinvent how we do the work in public education, and ultimately, create a better and more equitable system for all children. It seems that even with knowing we were in the midst of a public education system riddled with too much standardized testing, not enough social emotional learning or personalization, many of us find ourselves longing for what we knew-even though we know it wasn’t the best way to support and lead teaching and learning. It’s a classic lesson and it teaches us that every thing that is comfortable to us isn’t good for us. And without being forced to take on a new perspective, many of us would not be able to let go of the past-no matter how unproductive it has been for many students and educators.

Reinventing ourselves can be exciting work. We get to start over and clarify our values and beliefs. We can create healthier and happier versions of ourselves. We can make our work what we desire it to be instead of feeling stuck in a system that we know doesn’t work for all children. But this period of significance can also be accompanied by fear and anxiety. Not knowing is the height of discomfort and that is why we must solidly rely on what we do know. I am choosing to concentrate on those eternal principles that will never change: 1. Relationships matter a great deal. In the end, it’s our relationships with others that carry us through and make our lives meaningful. I intend to use this pandemic to create and build on those friendships and relationships that matter most to me. 2. The needs of the children must come first. With all the conversation regarding learning loss, it’s easy to gloss over those other needs-safety, security, food, shelter, hope-that our children all have and may even be heightened as a result of this pandemic. When we stop to ask ourselves what it is that our children need, we need to be gut level honest. We cannot make their social emotional needs less important than their need to learn. Both matter a great deal, and quite frankly it is about both need and readiness. If we don’t work to be sure our children are ready to learn, we will miss the opportunity to meet their need to learn. Let’s not assume that the only need for our children is to recover the learning they’ve lost. We all know being academically successful is built on a foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We need to be attuned to that with a precise focus. 3. The most difficult work can only be done successfully if we work well together. Collaboration is necessary for success, and during this time I find it to be essential. If we aren’t pulling our team together to share the load, engage in powerful discourse about next steps, and support each other, we can be sure that we’ve succumbed to an approach that is purely centered on surviving. As hard as things are, we need to survive and thrive, and in my mind the thriving part has never been more important.

I am hopeful that we can all take this opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our work in ways that benefit us and those we serve beyond this pandemic. My goal is to come out happier, stronger, and a better leader than before. To do that, I’ll have to let go of my need to anticipate what is coming next and focus on being purposefully present-enjoying every good and happy moment life offers, making the most of my experiences, and finding joy in knowing that moving through this pandemic one day at a time is more than o.k. instead of thinking ahead. I’m committed to being purposefully present and collecting all the joy I can find.

Until next time, be you. Be true. Be a hope builder.

Detoxing: A mind, body, & spirit experience.

During the time I have been detoxing from social media, I have found myself alone with my thoughts. I can’t fill the empty spaces with scrolling or reading a feed of some sort, so I sit and I think, and reflect, and gather my feelings. It’s amazing how much social media can add to our emotional lives and at the same time, lead us to a place where we know our feeds better than ourselves. In this month of cleansing my mind by taking a break from social media, journaling, and meditating, I have found myself nose to nose with some of my deepest fears, aspirational goals, and emotional needs. I can’t hide from what’s inside by distracting myself by absorbing the thoughts, opinions, and reflections of others posted for all to see. In this season, I am alone with my thoughts and feelings. And for now, I think that is a good thing.

I’m not one to watch much television, so aside from my binge watching of Season 5 of Greenleaf in two days, I’ve sat quietly quite a bit. Sometimes sitting outside staring up at the clouds and letting my mind be free from its’ usual distractions. Other times, sitting on the couch and taking a minute to just be still. Something I rarely do as my type A personality views time spent idle and unproductive to be one of life’s many ways to practice a lack of discipline. Yet, I have found that this time of stillness has been much needed. It has helped me to clarify what is important to me, to set my intentions around how I wish to spend this next phase of my life, my career, and determine which personal relationships I need to nurture more. I remain a solid believer that my need for deep, meaningful, and authentic relationships is at the core of who I am, and there is no substitute for that-social media included. I need human interaction, and it appears it may be more beneficial for me to invest more consistently in those relationships and friendships no matter how few they may be in quantity.

I recognize that our empty moments, a minute filled with silence, a pause in the daily grind of life does not have to be filled with scrolling, trolling, or news feeds. It’s more than ok to be still. It’s required to think clearly, to live with intention, and to stay true to one’s self.

I’m posting this blog using an automatic button on WordPress that will post it to Twitter for me, but I won’t be back on social media until next month. And somehow, I know I’ll be better for it in all ways possible.

Until next time, be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!

Latoya

Again.

It has happened again. Jacob Blake. And no, I didn’t watch the video. And I haven’t watched anything about Kyle Rittenhouse either. I’ve read about it, but I can’t watch trauma. It doesn’t help me. Writing does, and so I write. Here’s the full quote that this series of blogs has been centered upon:

Write hard and clear about what hurts. Don’t avoid it. It has all the energy. Don’t worry, no one ever died of it. You might cry or laugh, but not die.” -Ernest Hemingway

The crying part is a definite. Putting my feelings into words seems difficult these days. All I know is that it is a deeply painful time to be Black in America, and acknowledging that pain doesn’t make me ungrateful to be American. It makes me sad and hurt and sick of the attack and murdering of Black and Brown people, and for those who advocate for equal justice with us and for us, but may not look like us. Murder is wrong. There is no debate about that. What will it take for us to all agree on that simple fact? Murdering someone is wrong.

7 times. 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Four numbers I will never forget. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, and now Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. What does it say about us when we are working to convince a segment of our society that murder is wrong? Why are we in the midst of a debate about what warrants a violent attack on another human being? There is nothing in my heart that warrants taking another human life, and the idea that folks feel comfortable in justifying what is inhumane and undignified scares me. We are in a dangerous place.

I find myself in a space between fearful and hopeful. I am afraid that it will not end, and that things will get worse before they get better. I am fearful for my friends and my family members. I am fearful that we too, may find ourselves in a dangerous situation subject to the act of violence, harassment, and expression of racism by someone else. But I know I cannot wallow in fear or allow it to lead me through life. And so I hope that others can clearly see that America’s soul is on the line, and quite frankly so is everyone of ours each and every day that we are a part of this world.

I am hopeful that courage and conviction will smother prejudice and bigotry, that love will outweigh hate, that speaking up will override silence, and that good folks, of all races, creeds, and colors, will refuse to give in to a way of the world riddled with too many lives lost at the hands of hatred. I am hopeful that the old will learn from the energy and effort of the young, and the young from the sacrifices of the old. I am hopeful that good will win over evil, that compassion and empathy will override power and privilege, that justice will ring true in our hearts and our lives when we say “with liberty and justice for all.”

Do not give up friends. We cannot relent and we must not retreat. We cannot ignore it. We cannot pretend it is not so. We must press on and continue the work to change it.

And when we feel alone, we must know that our collective spirit of hope, change, justice, and equality has the power to change this nation-one conversation, one decision, one interaction, one friendship at a time. Stay on the battle field. Our children are watching and they need us to plow the ground. For we shall reap what we sow. Let it be love and light.

Until next time-be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!

Confessions of A COVID-19 Summer

A little more personal than usual, but a much needed release. Check out my latest blog post: Confessions of A COVID-19 Summer

Summer has always been my favorite season. Even as a young child, I yearned for the time of year when Momma would let us wear shorts. In our house, you didn’t wear shorts before May 1st. That’s how Momma knew all the potential “cold snaps” had passed. I know cold and April don’t seem to coincide, but that’s how it worked for us. Fast forward 40 years and my nieces are granted the opportunity to wear shorts when they ask-May or not. At any rate, this summer has been a real struggle, and it’s not just because of COVID-19.

Obviously, practicing social distancing has impacted my life. Other than my travel to work and a few socially distant visits with my family, I’ve pretty much been at home. I have gone to the grocery store or drug store as needed wearing my mask, of course. Otherwise I have been at home. I’ve tried to spend more time outdoors and I’ve taken up weighted hula hooping which as been fun and good for my mental health. But beyond COVID-19 and the changes it has forced on us all, I’ve undergone other changes.

I started a new job in January, making the transition from my old job to this one over the holiday break, and I have taken no time off, other than our granted Spring Break, since then. I’ve worked hard to support the work of our district, helping plan for reopening, supporting principals as they work to get ready for the school year, working with my instructional team colleagues to plan and execute professional development. I’ve put together more documents and plans in the span of three months (June-August) than I can remember in a long time. I’ve worked long hours, weekends, and evenings to get things as ready as possible for our district, as have many of my colleagues. And when I find myself saying I am so tired, I feel tremendously guilty. We are all tired. All of us. And I am particularly tired of COVID-19.

My usual travels in the summer have been non-existent. For the last three summers, I’ve traveled to Nova Scotia for what I call my Zen Retreat. There on Locke’s Island, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, there is real spotty internet, and not much to do. It is beautiful, and still, and quiet. It forces me to stop, and I can feel my mind at ease while I am there. While there I’ve hiked in Kejimkujik National Park, visited with friends, and been able to simply stop. Of all the places I’ve traveled in my life, it is by far the place where I have found the most peace-mentally and spiritually. And I can tell I have not had that experience this year.

My social interaction with friends, nights out to dinner, travels to the beach or Mountains, gatherings for fun nights of laughter have been missed. I think if I have learned anything during this pandemic it is that we need each other to thrive-not just to survive. Yesterday, I hosted a virtual check in for educators who wanted to just chat and be encouraged. We spent two hours doing just that and I have to say, it was uplifting and as much for me as it was for them. I needed it. I am because others are. My relationships with others serve as a source of energy, inspiration, and much needed stimulation for me. There is no doubt about that.

Each day, I try my best to be positive. Some days I am better at that than others. I try to post something uplifting each morning and set my intentions to have a great day, to be still in my mind and heart, to be a servant, and to give my all and my very best. So many mornings I see that my post has helped someone else and that gives me so much joy and energy to keep going. And in this time of heightened uncertainty, where we can’t be sure of anything other than ourselves and our hearts, I hope we all recognize that at the core of our humanness is a need for connection and relationship. I hope we will all pick up the phone, call a friend, send a text, and have virtual happy hours. I hope we will not become desensitized to COVID-19 and how it has altered the way we work, live, and socialize. I hope we will not let isolation become the norm. I hope we will check on each other regularly, especially our strong friends.

This is a marathon and the road ahead is long. But I’m encouraged because I have an opportunity to strengthen relationships, to build new ones, and to gain clarity about what really matters. As we embark on a new school year, I am exhausted. I am weary, and I am tired, but I am hopeful. And it is that hope that better days are ahead that keeps me going.

The best really is yet to come.

Until Next Time, Be you! Be true! Be a hope builder!

Latoya

@latoyadixon5