Life is good! Circumstances may not always be pleasant or the people I know and hear about may not always be kind; however, after living a life filled with continuous growth and change – it is still good. I often reflect on the early years of my life which were very challenging in my mind’s eye after summing up the experiences I remember; however, the lessons learned were always life changing. Some of those lessons left me with scars and some with laugh lines –yet I am alive today to appreciate the struggle and to inspire someone else who may need to hear that most things will get better – just give them some time and have a plan.

At this stage of my incredible life, I reflect upon a specific moment of my existence, frozen in time when I was working as a day laborer as a teenager in the hot tomato fields of south Florida and I looked all around me and saw nothing but rows and rows of tomato vines waiting to be harvested for meager wages and I said to myself then, “Life has got to be better than this. I am not settling for what I see before me!”  I compare my statement to a statement made by one of my former students who told me she wanted to work right beside her mother at a pig processing plant and she did not need to come to school to know how to do that.

Her comment stunned me. Didn’t she know there was more to life than gutting pigs and picking tomatoes? Where was her hope? Who was coaching her? She was far too young not to be a dreamer. I thought by sharing my story with the students all of them would immediately be inspired to want a better life for themselves and their family. I later discovered that many of my students were living a life of self-fulfilling prophecy – their own. It really bothered me to view their school attendance records or watch them not try to succeed in their academic endeavors. It appeared that not enough people cared enough about them to make sure their life beyond the school building was conducive to healthy living, conscious living, and dreaming powerful dreams about their future.

Subsequently, I chose a slightly different path of influencing more people about their supernatural ability to make greater and better things happen for themselves. I knew that even as an adult, there was something special about living with hope and ambition. I wanted more for myself, my family and everyone I was blessed to encounter and establish a relationship with. I began telling my story to several people and they wanted to know more. Never thinking that my story was any different than people I grew up with. I never tried to hide being poor from an economic stand point because I knew I rich from a spiritual vantage point – my faith, beliefs and passion to living my best life have always been strong.

For the most part, most people want to tell their story. On the other hand, other people want only to forget their past and keep looking forward. The past gives me a point of reference and from there I measure from whence I came and actively implement a plan for where I would like to go. I continue to ask people their story and I am fascinated by their responses. I ask them to journal their story and share with their friends, family, community and beyond.  That means shifting their mind set and recognizing they are someone special whose story must be told.  I want to hear more about them – so that they may see within themselves a world of hope, dreams and ambitions. As I look back at that young girl in the tomato field in Florida, I see her adding up the cost of her dreams. Nothing could replace her life experiences beyond the tomato fields – and she would not take anything for her journey into the future – her divine destiny. What’s your story? Are you prepared to tell it, grow from it, and release your dreams and follow your heart. Tell your story.   ~ Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny ~