Proud to Be a Memphian #MLK50

Today is a huge day for the city of Memphis. I am with my 96-year-old grandmother in Jackson, but she was living in Memphis on this day 50 years ago. She recalls being at the laundromat the moment Dr. King was shot and killed. She talks about the progress we’ve made, and how things have also sadly gone backwards too.


Dr. King was the same age I’ll be next month when his life was taken, 39. But he had already done so much. His dream was put forth, and it’s up to all of us to continue to fight to make his dream a reality.

Memphis, like a lot of cities and our entire country, has a lot of work to do. But I do not join those who bash the city instead of working to build it. I am a Memphian by choice, and I am proud of how we are honoring Dr. King and his legacy for #mlk50.

The question for us collectively and individually is, “Where Do We Go From Here?”

So NOW what?

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Maybe You’re Broken to Heal

When I quit my job at ServiceMaster, I had about two months before I started my new job at FedEx. I opted out of the COBRA insurance which would have provided me with coverage in between jobs because it was so expensive. So I told my son who was 12 at the time to be VERY careful because there would be no doctor or hospital visits until my new insurance kicked in.

Of course that didn’t work. Two weeks in, he was playing basketball with his friend and broke his finger. I taped it to a splinter to the finger next to it. I knew what to do because he had broken it before…my active son.


I shouldn’t have been surprised when a couple of weeks later he came limping into the house held up by his friend. His pants were bloody because his knee was bleeding. When I looked down I also saw that his right shoe was sliced across the top of his foot. I removed his shoe to find that his foot was cut and bleeding too.

Remember, I didn’t have insurance so I cleaned up his knee and foot and assessed his pain and figured it was only a surface cut that would heal.

A few days later we were flying to San Francisco….to meet his father’s family (but that’s a WHOLE other post). He walked through the airport fine and was still fine at the airport for our connection. That’s why I was shocked when two into our visit his foot starting turning green!

We took him to the emergency room. The doctor said that his foot was actually broken. In three places and that it was beginning to heal wrong. The bones were fusing back together in the wrong places. He said that if we had gotten him to the doctor any later that they would have had to break his foot again so that it could heal properly.

Have you ever felt broken? Maybe you feel broken right now.

I certainly have felt broken many times in my life, but when I reflect on this story I realize that just maybe I’ve been broken or shaken up so that I could deal with things I thought were fine. And so that I could truly heal properly.

So be thankful for the broken periods in your life. Evaluate how the brokenness is actually helping you cope with what’s behind you and preparing you for what’s next!

And if you want help working on your what’s next, I’d love to talk to you! Feel free to schedule a free, no obligation call with me and let’s see how I can help you figure out your So NOW what?  and create a plan to get it done.

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Unlucky or Just Making Bad Choices?

When I was little, I remember playing on the playground with my sister and cousins outside of my aunt’s apartment . We had heard that four-leaf clovers were good luck so in between swinging and playing tag, we searched among the sea of clovers for that special one with four leaves.

four leaf clover

Although we were by most people’s standards, poor, we were happy. We were young and carefree, but we also wanted to have and do what other kids around had and did.

You know, nice clothes and shoes. The nice house and car. Two parents in the house…or just two parents who contributed to helping us grow up and live better and have more. Maybe we would find a four-leaf clover, and that would give us everything we wanted in life.

Over the years, I think we found some. I think the other kids we played with found some too. And over the years, we grew up. Good things happened to us and the people we played with. And bad things happened too.

Some of us got those nice clothes and shoes, nice houses and cars. Some of us got them the right way and some us chose the fast way. Some of realized that those things were nice but didn’t determine if we were successful and certainly weren’t the most important things in life. Some of us experienced two parents either for ourselves or our children. Some of us had the lives that we wanted, or at least most of we wanted. Some of us didn’t. Some of us got jobs and had careers. Some of us bought homes and started businesses. Some of us started families when we were ready and some of us have children and still aren’t ready. Some of struggled, and some of us thrived. Some of us lived well, and some of us even died.

As I reflect back on our days searching that patch of clovers for just one with four leaves, I realize that life is not about luck.

Minimizing our place in life to be about luck simply relieves us from responsibility for our circumstances. It says we think we have no control over our situations, and that we don’t feel accountable to or powerful enough to change what we don’t like.

We have to be responsible. We do have control. We have to be accountable. And we are powerful.

No, life isn’t about luck. It’s about blessings, and more importantly, it’s about our choices. How we choose to use those blessings, and even challenges, to create the life we want trumps any bad luck or bad circumstances we could ever face.

I’m thankful for the good choices I’ve made and even the bad ones because I’ve learned from them. As a life and success coach, I love helping people calculate their choices to get what they want and deserve in life too.



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Did You See This?

Memphis blogger and my friend who found me on Facebook, Belinda Simpson, covered the signature fundraiser for the nonprofit I started, the S.O. What! Foundation.

The 3rd Annual Love Yourself Event was a huge success with a Valentine’s Day focus on being, accepting, and loving your best self!

2018 Love Yourself Event flier

via S.O. What! I Love Me

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The Most Important Person to Love

I can remember being in high school seeing girls getting flowers and stuffed animals at school on Valentine’s Day. In college, more of the same. My friends often got gifts and went on dates, but I didn’t.

Sometimes it bothered me, but most Valentine’s Day it didn’t. I was a single mom and often didn’t have a babysitter so going out would be a challenge anyway, but I did think it would be nice to be shown given some attention at least on that day.

Then, after basically all of my life not getting Valentine’s Day gifts, I got the ultimate gift. The one that so many women want. I got a ring. A marriage proposal. And a bunch of other gifts, and I felt loved. Adored even.

Although I wasn’t ready to marry him because had only dated a few months, I did. And ended up divorced. IMG_1279

I hurt for a long time during and after process, but one blessing I got from the pain and the feel of loneliness was that I learned how to TRULY love myself. Because of the circumstances, I questioned everything about myself.

Why wasn’t I good enough?

Why wasn’t I pretty enough? Was I too fat?

Did I not cook enough?

Did I talk too much? Love too hard?

Then I reflected on my life and the fact that I had been single most of it. Only one Valentine’s Day where a man made me feel loved. Although I was smiling on the outside, I was dying on the inside and no one seemed to notice or care…at least not how I felt I needed it.

That’s when I learned how to LOVE MYSELF. Valentine’s Day was sad the first year of my marriage and the few years after my divorce. But that’s it. I went back to seeing it as a time to celebrate those in your life who do love you rather than focusing on what’s missing. And most importantly, it’s a time to check your self-love.

As I began to love myself with all my flaws and shortcomings, I began to clearly see the need for increased self-love in others.

How we feel about ourselves determines ever choice and every outcome in our lives.

Every speech I give, workshop I lead, and in all of my workbooks, self-awareness and self-love are at the core or the first topic mentioned. Through the nonprofit I started, the S.O. What! Foundation, I came up with an idea for a fundraiser around Valentine’s Day to help people stop stressing about the love someone else is or is not giving. The Love Yourself Event started in my home, and three years and three venues later the event has funded our STEP OUT program for challenged youth. And just as important, has helped thousands of people take the time to focus on loving themselves.

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Don’t Rush the Ring

It’s Valentine’s Day! The day specifically designated for love. Store shelves are full of, maybe nearly empty now, flowers, chocolates, cards, jewelry, you name it. And people, mostly men, are running out to get gifts for their significant others and hopefully, their mothers and daughters too. I usually get small gifts for my son. Some people think the holiday is too commercialized and unnecessary. Some people think it’s sweet and the actions on this day are true indicators of love.

But there are lots of people, like me, who are pretty indifferent. Regardless of our opinions about the holiday. There are a few facts.

  1. The are lots of people, like me, who are single this (and many) Valentine’s Day.
  2. There are also lots of women in relationships expecting or at least hoping for a ring today. And even some men anxious to put a ring on it when maybe she’s not ready.

As a single woman, I would like to make a suggestion. As someone who got engaged on Valentine’s Day and is no longer married (which means he isn’t either), I’d like to offer the same suggestion.

Don’t Rush The Ring.

engagement ring


I had been a single mother for eleven years and had had only a few relationships that didn’t last. I wanted to love and be loved, and I wanted a father figure for my son. Then I met, him. He pursued me for a few months then I decided I would give him a chance. I gave him my heart. After less than a year of knowing him, he presented me with a ring and asked me to be his wife.

I loved him, but I KNEW I wasn’t ready to marry him. I was still enjoying dating him and getting to know him, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and say no. I felt like he was the man I would marry one day so I said yes and insisted that we have a long engagement.

Big mistake.

Engaged is completely different from dating when you aren’t ready. That ring changed everything. No matter how much I wanted to keep “dating”, we were doing more towards planning the wedding. No matter how much I tried to plan for the marriage, it just didn’t happen. When I was unsure about whether or not to go through with the wedding, I thought about all the people who I would have to tell that the engagement was off. Then we started spending money on the wedding and the money we’d lose on deposits became a factor. A deciding factor even.

So after a year and a half of being engaged, we got married with the hope that things would get better. When we should have been dating for that year and a half to see if we really should even be getting married. A year and a lot of heartache, weight loss, sleepless nights (and more drama I won’t mention) later, I was out of the house and another year (and more heartache, weight loss, sleepless nights, and more drama)  later it was over. But not the consequences. Many of those still exist nearly ten years later.

Now that’s my situation, and yours may be similar or completely different.

So maybe you’re single and feel you’re ready to be married. Or maybe you’re in a relationship, and feel you’re ready for the ring. Or ready to give a ring. Only you know your situation, but marriage is a serious commitment that is much bigger than a holiday or a ring.

A ring is just a symbol of what can be a very beautiful union when it’s done right. But when it’s done wrong, or done in a rush or under pressure, it can be a very ugly and painful situation with long-lasting consequences.

Before you offer someone a ring or accept one, take time, as much as you need, to get to know them and feel confident that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Not just flaunt a pretty ring or brag that you put a ring on the hand of a pretty girl. And before you even do that, make sure you know yourself and truly love yourself. Then you’ll know that a ring or even a relationship does not define you, and you’ll only accept one that enhances you.

Need help or ideas? I’d love to be your life coach!

summer owens lye


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7 Steps to Help You Stop Sleeping on Your Dreams

As we prepare to head into 2018, people all over the world will be making New Years resolutions. You know, the things we probably wanted to happen this year and vow we’ll make happen next year. And hopefully we all will.

When I scroll through social media or just observe and listen to people around me, I see and hear the things people say they want. The dreams they have for their lives. Then I see posts like, “I’m bored,” or posts with other activities that seem contrary to that dream. I see people, in my opinion, wasting time or making excuses. And often I see people going to sleep- literally and figuratively- instead of working to make their dreams come true.

The one question I get asked the most is, “How did you do it?” (see my full answer in the video below). The short answer is I don’t sleep on my dreams. Because, first of all, I believe in myself and that dreams can come true, I allow my dreams drive me. I want others to be driven by their dreams too and make them come true in 2018.

Here are 7 steps to help you to stop sleeping on your dreams and start to make them reality:

1. Wake up. Whether you’re someone who sleeps in late or takes long naps in the middle of the day, if you’re not working late at night or all day, taking night classes, or maybe taking care of small children (or all of these at the same time), then why are you in the bed? If you’re resting from working or studying and pushing towards something meaningful to you, that’s one thing. But if you’re resting from working a couple of hours, then get up and get to work on your dreams or just admit you want your dreams to stay just that- dreams.

2. Evaluate your dreams. Are your dreams something you really want or just something that would be cool to have. This is important to ask yourself because the value you place on your dream will determine the value of the dream and your motivation to actually make it happen. If you don’t REALLY want it, you aren’t REALLY going to make it happen. Consider starting with the dream that is most important to you.

3. Turn your dream into a SMART goal. Dreams are simply goals, usually our really big goals. Write down your goal, and make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound). Don’t just say, for example, “I’m going to get my degree.” Where? When? How? What kind? And even Why?

4. Create a plan. Next you’ll want to sit down and write down a plan to make the dream come true. Think about every step you’ll need to take and what you’ll need. Do you need to figure out how you’ll get or manage certain things to achieve the goal or a step in the plan? Maybe it’s Time, Money, Connections, Education or Training that you need. The more detailed you make this, the more likely it will be to accomplish the goal.

5. Identify your resources. Now that you’ve created a plan and identified what you need, think about everything and everyone you know who can help you or help you figure out or connect to who else can help you achieve the goal. Before you even ask others to help you though, help yourself. Do some research on your own and show the person you’re asking for help that you are serious, you know what you’re talking about, and won’t waste their time if they help you.

6. Get to work. You’ve laid out the plan and identified resources who may have helped you adjust the plan. Now take the first step. Stop wasting time. Do something. Even if it’s a small start, just start and keep going.

7. Now go to sleep. We all get tired sometimes when we’re working, but be tired because you’re working towards your dreams. After you’ve laid out the plan put in the work, then get some rest. Go to sleep then get back up and get back to work.

What will you do differently in 2018 to make your dreams come true?

Be sure to follow my blog and catch my next post, “How to Turn Your New Years Resolutions into SMART Goals.”

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