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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Brazil Bound! Nigel Shoyoye is headed to the 2014 FIFA World Cup as a McDonald's Team USA Player Escort #ImLovinIt

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” Sophia Loren

Ain't that the truth. I think at least four times - once for my children, once for my husband and again for MY mother and myself. ShoMommy's mental check list kicked in at McDonald's in the Lithia Springs WalMart about a month ago. I was craving a large $1 libation to keep me cool and help me chill while I grabbed a few items from the neighborhood superstore. However, my desire for a refreshing sip of sweet tea wasn't the only thing on my mind. Printed on the cup and the receipt I saw an ad for McDonald's annual World Cup sweepstakes. Parents were encouraged to register their elementary age children for a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Cue the proverbial light bulb.

The Shoyoye family has soccer in it's blood. My father-in-law was an incredible student athlete who secured a college futbol scholarship that brought him from Nigeria to Ohio in pursuit of higher education. That's where he met his lovely wife to be; the mother of his future children - their oldest son being my husband Marvin. 

My 7 year old Nigel played soccer for a couple years in Chicago. This summer we decided to kick it up a few notches as a family. The kids joined a brand new league in our Atlanta community, Olympic Atlanta Soccer Club. Both Nigel, and our three year old daughter Morenikke, joined age level teams. Strangely enough there weren't an overwhelming amount of soccer pros clamoring to coach the 3/4 year old squad. I volunteered to take on the job, figuring that the wee ones wouldn't catch on that we'd be learning the game together as beginners. Given my new role as Coach Sho and my son's renewed interest in the sport, I submitted an entry for the Mickey D's Player Escort contest on behalf of Nigel. Rules allowed for each parent/guardian to enter once a day for a one week period, so registering Mom and Dad boosted our chances. I told a few folks about the promotion in passing and didn't give too much thought to Nigel ACTUALLY WINNING. Fast forward to my stunned husband taking a quick call from a McDonald's rep. "Babe. We really won," he said with cautious enthusiasm. He and Nigel will soon be taking the trip of a lifetime. I'm looking forward to a lifetime of them telling the story and thanking me for being brilliant enough to enter. 

After three weeks of verifying the legitimacy of their win, the tedious process of renewing passports and requesting visas, Nigel's selection as one of 25 McDonald's Child Ambassadors and Team USA Player Escorts was official! On June 16, 2014 Nigel will escort players from the Men's US Soccer team onto the field before they face off against Ghana in Natal, Brazil. Set your DVR! At the request of the sponsors we had to keep things hush hush. Hard to do with lots of thrilled family members and an exceedingly astute first grader. Eventually we picked a date for the big reveal, May 22nd. My birthday! How fitting that on the day that I celebrate my life, my son is given an extraordinary gift. It made the day so very special for my family, and brought me an indescribable amount of pride and joy. 

We are blessed and eternally grateful! School is out for summer and Nigel ended it with authority. He was promoted to Wolf Cub through Boys Scouts of America, portrayed a munchkin in his school's presentation of The Wiz, then received a Principal's Award and Literacy Honor for finishing first grade reading at a seventh grade level. For working so hard and being such a smart, sweet boy; he deserves this magical moment! We're already planning for the trip. He'll embark on this journey with a new camera to capture his memories, and a notepad to write down his thoughts and take down email addresses for the friends he'll make on his first international excursion.

Local news media was on hand to document this unforgettable announcement. Check out the links below and share, share, share in support of my sunny boy :-D

Footage of Nigel hearing the news for the 1st time

News segment from Atlanta's WXIA NBC local station

Article from Atlanta CBS station channel 46

News Segment from Atlanta CBS 46 Sports News Now Article

TwinSportsTV: Nigel 2014 FIFA World Cup Trip Surprise sponsored by McDonald's

Nigel escorting USMNT member DaMarcus Beasley

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Motiviational Mother's Day Message

The Mommy-Morphosis mission is to celebrate motherhood 24/7/365.
For all the love, wisdom and effort it takes to raise children, we surely deserve it.
On this day especially, you "better recognize"! (In the words of my own Mommy)

I haven't blogged in a while and actually planned on skipping an obligatory post today, but the message I received at Sunday service was too good to keep to myself. The powerful, hilarious motivational speaker Les Brown electrified the congregation with his tribute to 'life's greatest treasures" - Mothers. "Mammy Brown's baby boy" often details how blessed he was to be adopted by a truly incredible woman. Despite her son being mistakenly labeled as "educably mentally retarded", Ms. Brown spoke greatness into his life with faith, love and determination.

Here's a brief recap of his message, with a little ShoMommy embellishment:
M - Mental resiliency
Motherhood isn't all roses and chocolate. It can be a tough, dirty job that requires us to be strong and brave. There are times when Moms must make a way where there's none. We face our fears and shed our tears, but always find a way to do what's best for our families.
O - Open your heart
More than ever a mother's love can be used to combat our culture of rudeness and insensitivity. Be kind because you can. It will make your children better people.
T - Take care of things that matter
Mother's help us learn what's really important in life. Let's remember (and teach) that success isn't only material. Relationships that we've built and memories we've created will carry us through the difficulties we will inevitably face. 
H - Hold a place for hope in your heart.
Hold your head high, always! Mother's help us see the light inside when everything looks dim. When life gets hard and we're disappointed or heartbroken, Mom's unconditional love reminds us that the best is yet to come.
E - Enjoy yourself!
Live, love and laugh! It's the best medicine. Have fun with your children, don't take things so seriously. Joy is invaluable to our lives; share it with those who matter most.
R - Remember what's important and forget what's not.
"Forgiveness is remembering without anger." Let go, or be dragged. Not every mother has been there when their children needed- some by choice, others by circumstance.  It's never too late to make peace, and if nothing else, give thanks for the gift of life. 

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms, Godmothers, Grandmothers, Stepmoms
and Mother figures!

I pray you feel appreciated for all that you do daily. Please take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity you have to impact the world. The wisdom, strength and encouragement you pour into the children you love will eventually overflow into our collective future.