Blog refresh

Several months ago, I changed the name of my WordPress blog site from “Enlightened Social Worker” to “My Enlightened Life”. The address is still the same, but the name is different. I selected the original name mainly because I wanted to establish myself with some credibility and be recognized as a licensed social worker. However, although I’m still the hard-working professional I’ve always been, I am no longer licensed as a social worker. I remember being so proud of the work I accomplished to get licensed back in 2012. I waited almost a year after my graduation and completed all the steps, including studying, taking multiple practice exams, taking a couple of other exams, and ending with the final step – a 4-hour comprehensive social work licensing exam. I didn’t care if I passed by the skin of my teeth….as long as I passed. As it turned out, I had a decent score.

In Texas to be considered a social worker, you must be licensed. Alas, I will always be a social worker at heart, plus I earned a graduate degree in social work. I just cannot legally say I am a social worker. I am no longer licensed because I couldn’t keep up with the required continuing education credits due to my demanding job, raising my children with my husband, and my families’ health issues, including my own. It was difficult to manage it all and something had to give.

I never thought I wouldn’t maintain my license, but life happens and I don’t need it for the work I currently do as an administrator with the state of Texas. I also don’t need it for my blog. I just thought readers would be more receptive to content from a credible source. Moving forward, I deem myself credible by virtue of my ample life experience filled with ups and downs and my professional life which is also filled with ups and downs.

I did most recently inquire to the board that oversees social work licensing on what I need to do to get my license back. I’m working on some activities to get my life in alignment with my goals. I may decide to pursue my license again so that I can keep my career options more open.

I’ve also been wanting to make a pivot on my blog for quite some time. It’s hard to believe that I started this blog 7 years ago, especially when it took me a year to commit myself to start. Most often the hardest thing to do is start. I exhibited some courage when I started this blog. Over the years, the frequency of my posts have ebbed and flowed depending on what’s been going on my life.

Though this blog continues to be about self-care, I’ve evolved over time to share more of my favorite self-care activities such as cooking, smoothie challenges, exercising, gardening, and maintaining my health. This evolution is why I changed the name of my blog to “My Enlightened Life” because my blog content extends beyond social work. It’s about navigating life in my authentic way and me striving to be mentally lighter, more self-compassionate, more present, more joyful, and more self-accepting.

I suspect other people are striving for the same things, so if that’s you, stick around. If you’ve been sticking around, I’m forever grateful.


Intention for the week V.11

I’m still enjoying some time off work after the festivities of my daughter’s graduation from high school last week. One of my sisters flew into town from Chicago, so it was a busy week entertaining and getting ready for the graduation.

Elise Noelle walking across the stage. LPC
Us posing for a quick photo before heading to the graduation. LPC

After taking to my sister to the airport the day after graduation, Thursday, I ran some errands and then relaxed. I spent Friday following up with my medical team (that will be in another post) all day.

The weekend is somewhat of a blur, but we got some lazy river time in to kick off our lazy summer. I was not feeling well yesterday. I couldn’t tell if I was coming down with a cold or allergies, so I layed around. I practically forced myself to do 15 minutes of Pilates.

I’m better today, although I still feel like I may be getting sick. I had more energy for a strength training workout and stretching. My son took us all to the movies this afternoon, which was a nice treat.

I’ve had a lot on my mind with my daughter’s graduations, college, and my immerging health issues. May was a busy month, and I accomplished ALOT. On that note…

My intention for this week is: May I get ample rest and relaxation. May I not force myself to do things I don't feel like doing. May I pace myself and take breaks as often as needed. May I include everything that I need to on my "to do" lists and give myself grace if I don't get it all done. May I smile and laugh  as often as possible.
Gorgeous graduation roses on the dining room table. LPC

Food Chronicles: Cucumbers

I’ve been craving tuna salad and have also been intentionally increasing my protein intake, so after church on Sunday, I prepared a tasty bowl of tuna salad with lots of veggies like red onions, bell peppers, and pickles, diced finely. I added a boiled egg finely chopped and other condiments and seasoning.

I love eating tomatoes with my tuna salad, but we didn’t have any. We did, however, have some cucumbers. I had to improvise. An idea popped into my head to finely slice the cucumbers, season them with a chili lime seasoning and black pepper, and place them on top of my tuna salad (which was on top of Wasa crackers). When I tell you this was SO good and hit the spot….

Tuna salad on crackers with corn chips, a side of more cucumbers, and fresh cherries. I couldn’t eat all the cherries because I was so full.


Food Chronicles: Mango love

Recently, in the WordPress daily prompt, I blogged about what my top 5 favorite fruits are, which you can read about here: Daily Prompt V.7 – Fruits?

I love mangos, and I picked up a few this past week while at the grocery store with my sister, who was in town for my daughter’s high school graduation. I hate wasting food, and these were looking very ripe, so what I love to do with them is puree in my blender.

Thick and creamy mango puree… no other ingredients

From there, I prepared two separate treats.

I love this chia pudding! Mango puree, coconut milk (from can), almond milk, a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, about a tablespoon of maple syrup, coconut flakes, and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I forgot the vanilla extract.
Ready to set in the fridge



Daily Prompt V.13- Joy

Describe one simple thing you do that brings joy to your life.

I developed the habit of exercising in my early twenties, but it was 12 or 13 years ago that I tried Zumba fitness for the first time at the local YMCA and my life hasn’t been the same.

Me doing my thing at the Texas Capitol several years ago.

Since then, any type of dance, including Zumba fitness, brings me utter and complete JOY. I loved it so much that I became a Zumba fitness instructor right before I turned 40 years old (10 years ago). I renewed my license in December 2022 after a hiatus.

I don’t teach anywhere at this time, nor am I attending anyone’s classes, but I still do it at home. In fact, that was my workout this morning before church. I’ve been learning new routines and platforms. Enjoy some past photos of me participating in Zumba events.

Zumbathon at the Texas Capitol several years back. Do you see me?


Daily Promp V.12 – Internet

Do you remember life before the internet?

I’m a proud Generation X and latchkey kid. Life was different growing up through high school without the internet. Raising kids in these last 2 decades has been interesting knowing what I know about what we didn’t have and how we lived.

Earlier on in my life, we had a rotary dial phone and later a push-button phone. I remember pay phones, and later, pagers. In my freshnan year of high school, I learned how to use a type writer.

I don’t know how parents did it back then because they couldn’t have known where their kids were, at least in large cities. Growing up in Chicago, Il, I was all over the place, in public transportation mostly. My mom had to trust that I was safe. I was trained to always have a few quarters in case I needed to use the pay phone.

Nowadays, I fuss at my kids if their location app is not downloaded or operational on their phone so I can see where they are at all times. My phone is so important to me because it stores just about everything and organizes my life so efficiently.

I remember the door to door salesman getting us set up with an encyclopedia collection. Now, we have access to so much information (arguably too much) on the internet through our phones. Life has certainly changed with the internet. It’s exciting and scary.


Food Chronicles: Open face

I’m all for a low, slow, and savory delicacy for a meal, but summer is upon us, so I need some quick and healthy meals in my rotation, too. I love an open face sandwich because it allows me to portion control and eat less carbs without feeling deprived.

Here are a few I’ve made in the last couple of weeks, starting with Sunday brunch on the cover. For the crispyest bacon, I baked the bacon in the oven, which makes clean up a breeze as I don’t have to worry about bacon grease splashing on my back splash and counter tops. The rest is just as simple: toasted sourdough bread, half of a large avocado, tomato, everything bagel seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Meatball Open face sandwich. All organic beef meatballs, well seasoned, baked, then simmered in my homemade marina sauce on sourdough toast with a little fresh spinach and grape tomatos. LPC
Smoked Brisket avocado toast on sourdough bread. LPC
Beautiful brisket my husband smoked. We bought a very large beef brisket on sale, cut it down to 3 portions, and froze them. This is 2 of the 3. We’re getting better at cooking just enough for us. My Haitian mom got me in the habit of cooking large portions of food. I’ve changed my ways. LPC

Daily Prompt V.11 – I’m good at…

What are you good at?

I’m good at cooking, taking care of my home and family, writing, gardening, and overall making things beautiful.

This beauty has been thriving for 2 years under my care. LPC
She’s living her best life! LPC
My 20+ year old aloe vera plant birthed this little baby. She’s so cute! LPC

Daily Prompt V.10 – Having it all

What does “having it all” mean to you? Is it attainable?

For me, it’s the simple things that matter. It means having peace of mind, having good health, my basic needs being met, living comfortably and in beautiful surroundings, enjoying my simple luxuries, spending ample time with the people I love and care about, visiting a few new places occassionally, not worrying about money, and doing things that bring me joy like gardening (my pink hydrangeas are blooming beautifully), writing, and moving my body. I’m working on this daily, and I believe it’s attainable.


Daily Prompt V.9 – Weather

How do you feel about cold weather?

I despise it. Growing up in a large city in the Midwest (Chicago, Il), I didn’t know where, but I knew I would not live the rest of my life in a cold city. I’ve been happily living in Texas for 26 years, and I’d take the heat over the cold any day.

I often say it’s in my blood to live in a warm climate because both my parents, siblings, and extended family were born on an island. 🏝 My ideal temperature is 80 to 85 degrees, but I can tolerate warmer.