Thursday, September 26, 2013

Letter to my Younger Self

Don't get too excited. It would take me a minute for me to come  up with a full blown letter to my younger self and y'all know I am pressed for time right now. But, I wanted to share a letter that Sarah Jakes wrote to herself that was really touching to me. 

For now though, if I had to give my younger self some advice I would say:

  1. Enjoy the fun side of college life.
  2. Save it for marriage.
  3. Don't take yourself too seriously.
  4. Spend more time with your girlsfriends.
  5. Burn the credit cards.
Maybe I'll write a letter one day but for now, enjoy this gem from my sister in christ (who I really feel like her sister sometimes from reading all of her stuff).
Be lifted my friends.  

A Letter to the Lost Me

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013

Reading through the manuscript for my memoir, Lost and Found, and wrote this letter for us. A letter to my old self. Sure I’ll need this again soon.. Hopefully it helps you too:

Dear You,
Everything you need to be beautiful, successful, incredible, blessed, trusted, respected, honored, and happy are already in your life. It may not seem like it, but its only because you’re focusing on the wrong things. Anything birthed prematurely risks complications. The complications you’ve faced that made you stop believing are all things that you gave birth to too soon. Still, God was kind enough to teach you a lesson from that journey that made you better for His use. Don’t take life into your own hands. Control the part of you that believes you know better than Him. Trust that if you don’t have it it’s because you aren’t ready for it. Believe that if it’s on your plate it’s because you can handle it. Stop doubting your strength and testing grace. Don’t do what feels right, do what makes you better. There will be countless things that allow you an escape from your insecurities, don’t use them. Instead, see your insecurities for what they are: places where love can fill in the gap. Love yourself enough that the insecurities have to become beautiful.
Be patient. Once you reach your destination you will wish that time would slow down. Find something beautiful about life everyday. Look beyond the bills, the heartbreak, the dying mother, absent father, the wild child, and the failed dreams. See the beauty in having another day, another chance. Choose to no longer worship the way things should have been. Praise God for knowing you weren’t ready.
You’re going to lose yourself along the way. It’s inevitable. You won’t always do things right, but no one else does either. No matter what they say or how beautiful their lives look from your view, we’re all carrying a weight. Stop trying to see theirs it’s keeping you from balancing your own. The moment you realize that you’re lost you will hide from those who know you best. Don’t. You will need them to remind you who you are when you forget. Their memories of your laughter will help you find your voice.
Watch out for “they” because they’ll always have something negative to say. They won’t always understand why you have to be so “much.” They will tell you it’s because you think you’re better than they are. They’re going to form a group and exclude you from it. You won’t understand it and it will make you pick yourself apart. Don’t. It’s not your sense of humor, your choice in music, your beliefs, or your struggles. Just be glad that you were brave enough to show your truth and have peace that it wasn’t meant to be understood by them. You only want people in your life who understand being connected to you adds “much” to them. You’ll feel like an outcast, but it’s okay. Great people are never fully understood just admired.
When you start to find your true identity people will still be looking for glimpses of the old you. Some will be unsuccessful, others will be content with learning the new and improved you. Have a memorial service for those who want to hold you to your mistakes and poor decisions. If that’s all they choose to see, then they shouldn’t be granted access to the blessing that is your journey.
This will be the hardest part: You’re going to lose people you thought could never walk away from you. As if you were nothing, they’re going to turn their back on you. You will beg and plead for a reason to apologize. You will comb through every conversation, moment, text, phone call, and encounter. You will look high and low for something that justifies being abandoned. Understand that you can only control your part. Insecurities ignored have symptoms. You can’t always fix those things with your love leave them to God.
You can love their brokenness, but only they can grant God the access to heal it. Do not think so highly of your love that you set it up against God. There are truly some storms only He can calm. A blood transfusion doesn’t heal the injury it only makes it easier to manage. When you give your love to another it should make life easier to bear. Your love may even save them from despair, but it can’t save them from life’s injuries. Some people are intent on hurting others, because it’s easier than admitting their hurting on the inside.
They aren’t evil. They’re broken. You don’t have to let them break you too though. You don’t have to lose yourself trying to save them. Be strong enough to choose you.
The moment you stop focusing on who God is in other’s lives you’ll find Him in your own. You will spend years seeing His hand on other’s lives and wondering why He has yet to touch your own. He has been with you everyday as consistent as the beat of your heart. You never knew He was there because He was born with you like the hair on your head. Others could see Him from the outside looking in, but because His presence was always with you, you took it for granted. Find Him in everything You do. May every word out of your mouth be a reflection of Him. That’s how you will become a light that the world cannot diffuse. When your light burns for Him the world will have to take notice.

You will make it. You will be lost.

…….. and found.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sister, Sister

My sister and I used to be thick as thieves. We did virtually everything together. I think a shift started when I went away to college (maybe a little before then). There are things I wish that I would have done a little differently so that we could continue to have a strong relationship but hindsight is 20/20 right?

I must admit that I can be am a little overbearing at times as a big sister. I definitely feel like sometimes I know what is best for my sister, I mean after all I did go to college and have been around for a few struggles, but I guess the reality is, no one wants to listen to anyone be a nag. Everyone has to find themselves at their own pace.

So last year, I made the tough choice to let my sister venture off on her own after she had lived with me and my family for a while. No nagging-- a little suggesting (but way scaled down). She has definitely had her own struggles and there have been plenty of times when I wanted to step in and save the day but I have simply watched and only commented or helped when she has asked--which was hardly ever...ouch. Now we are kind of back in the same struggling position again and it stinks. How long does this growing process take?!? I guess I have too many fabulous friends that have set the bar super high that I have a low tolerance for/can't understand when a person is so stuck that they are almost paralyzed. We all vent but the woman I know move on.

Throughout all of this I have learned that we are two different people...I mean we are really different. But different doesn't have to mean bad. My way isn't always the best way for her.

In the book, It's a Wonderful Imperfect Life: Daily Encouragement for Women Who Strive Too Hard by Joan C. Webb says "our dreams, plans, and choices don't have to be perfect to be fulfilling and God-honoring." I am going to go ahead and say I am a perfectionist, a doer. If something needs to be done, I try to do it right away. There are lessons to be taught, resources to be found, careers to be built--right now so why wait or drag your feet? That is largely why I am becoming a therapist. We all get down and have challenges but time waits for no man and I pray that this stuck phase leaves my sister swiftly and we can experience healing in our relationship.

How do you all handle sibling relationships? Is it a challenge for most people to move from childhood relationships to adult ones with siblings? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Here is another great blog about nurturing sisterly relationships from two of my favorite sisters Tia and Tamera:

Sister 2 Sister: How Do We Stay Close?

Recently, I got a message from site member Toya asking how to rebuild a relationship with her sister, who had just gotten into a new relationship and seemed to be drifting away from her. Toya (and all my other lovely sisters out there) – I know how scary it is to feel like you are growing apart from your sister, especially if you used to be super close. Tamera and I have been there for each other through thick and thin, and she is one of the closest people to me in the whole wide world, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t struggle with our relationship as we went through different life changes through the years. When you start having a family, a career, a husband or even just start living in different places, it’s so easy for siblings to start drifting apart. However, there are certain things we’ve done that have helped us keep up our bond, and I think they have made a huge different in our relationship. I want all my amazing sisters out there to have the best relationship possible with their sissies too, so I’m sharing the tips and lessons I’ve learned over the years below.

1. Make Your Relationship a Priority

I know this may be easier said than done, but if you really want to maintain a strong relationship with your sister or sibling, it’s important that you are actively making it a priority. That means being proactive and scheduling dates to see each other or talk on the phone and putting your time with them above other things that you might rather do at the moment. Believe me, nothing beats quality one-on-one time. Tamera and I have made our relationship a priority in our lives, and we always make room for priorities!

2. Communicate – As Often As Possible

Tamera and I are guilty of abusing pretty much every line of communication with each other – we text, tweet, email, call…sometimes all within one day! Even retweeting each other’s tweets or sending a short five-word text makes a huge difference. Most importantly, it keeps us a part of each other’s daily lives – which is so important, especially if you don’t live close to each other. Don’t wait for something “big” to happen before including your sister in your life – text her a photo of a cute dress that reminded you of her when you were shopping today, or call her and tell her about the cute guy who just started working at your office. It’s the little things that will keep you close and your bond strong!

3. Respect Each Other’s Differences

I know I’ve been giving out a lot of advice, but that doesn’t mean Tamera and I always have a perfect relationship. Do we fight? Yes! Do we disagree? Hell yeah! Buuuuut (and this is a very important “but”) – in the end, no matter how much we disagree or pull each other’s hair (kidding!!), we do one very important thing: we respect each other’s differences. Which is way easier said than done. Sometimes it just seemed like we were on two completely different pages, and both of us thought we were right. We’ve taken therapy to help us with our communication issues, and through therapy we’ve learned how each of us loves and what we need from the other person: Tamera needs affirmation, and I need presence. Having an outside perspective really helped us realize that the best thing we can possibly do for each other is to embrace the fact that we are two different people - often with two totally different opinions - but that’s exactly what makes our relationship (and every relationship!) so unique and special.

4. Forgive, forgive, forgive

Last but not least, forgiveness is key! I think life is way too short to hold a grudge against someone, especially your sister – it just makes you an angry person and does nothing but poison your relationship. Tamera and I try to make it a goal to never go to bed upset or angry at each other – we always try to clear things up or just forgive and forget before the sun sets. Unfinished business is dangerous and leaves room for assumptions…usually ones that are completely misguided and wrong!

Sisters – how do you keep up your relationship with your sister or other siblings? What have you done that has helped keep you close over the years?


Friday, September 20, 2013


Is it always a marathon race to Fridays? When Friday hits, I am like yes I made it through another week--actually I feel this way on Thursdays too. I wonder what it is like for people who don't work a typical Monday-Friday schedule. This was essentially my first full week of everything I have to normally do at work and all my classes...YIKES! But I made it and got an A on my first paper! I don't mind a busy week but the weekends need to be clear and this weekend is pretty clear so I am thrilled.

On tap for this weekend: spending lots of time with my baby boy and husband, catching up on a few shows, reading a few chapters from a book that isn't from school, and a healthy dose of candy crush and Pinterest.
This weekends dessert : Apple Dump Cake
Probabaly one of my favorite thing about fall is apples so I think it is only fitting that I make something with apples. Yum yum yum. I'm motivating myself by trying a new dessert every weekend...If I can make it through the week someting glorious is always at the end lol. Last weekend I made these beauties:

Why can't I be one of those people that doesn't like sweets??? I'll be getting my walk on too because thanks to Pinterest, I always have something yummy to try.
Anywho, tonight is my first teen mentoring group meeting for the year at church. I am kind of looking forward to it now that I am in a group conseling skills class. Hopefully I can try out a few things to keep the group momentum going throughout the year and get some practice as a clinician. We shall see.
Have a great weekend!
How I feel leaving work Fridays #meme #feel #leaving #fridays #funny #humor #comedy |

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Time to Let Go?

.Let go or be dragged
 Sometimes in life we have to let  go of people and habits that are holding us back. This is really hard to do but so necessary in order to truly enjoy our own lives. I don't know if I have mastered this yet, but I am slowly de-cluttering my life of unnecessary stuff and people...and boy does it feel good.
Today I saw a post about something similar and wanted to share from Sarah Jakes (daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes but great blogger/writer in her own right). This post made me think about something I wrote a while ago I wrote about the amazing women that I have in my circle. You really are who you surround yourself with.

I love that she adds that even treasures have to be polished and we have to give ourselves room to get it wrong. Sometimes we can't really tell when we need to let go of something. Sometimes we may let go of something only to find it creeping back in on us. Growing pains are the worst.
Letting go is hard but holding on to dead weight is even harder.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Well maybe wine is better. No definitely laughter and wine are the best the best medicine. So pour yourself a glass of wine and have a laugh on me courtesy of Tamera Mowry's blog a few weeks ago.

Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes

Hey guys!
The other day, I saw a funny baby meme and shared it on my Instagram:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes

Yep…sounds about right.  Lol! I got so many comments from people saying they loved the pic, so I wanted to share a couple more hilarious baby memes I founde.  Even if you’re not a mommy, these memes will make you chuckle…
 The scheming baby:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who's finally met his nemesis:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who can't deny the facts of life:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who thinks you're the funniest person in the world:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who just got a wake up call:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes

The baby who keeps getting in the same argument with his girlfriend:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who's been saving up for this gift:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who's had one bottle too many:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes
The baby who's happy with the way things are, thankyouverymuch:
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes

And of course, I couldn’t write this post without including the king of funny faces himself…Aden!   
Giggle-Worthy: 10 Silly Baby Memes

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Change is Coming

After a crazy full week and with an even crazier week ahead that's all I got folks. 

Keep pressing on. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

I feel like my answer to this question varies but it is something that I think about often. Today I stumbled across some Lean In tumbler updates and they got me thinking. Here are some of the posts that stuck out to me:

I would stop counting calories and weighing myself. I would educate people about eating disorders and other mental health issues. I would remember that ups and downs are a part of life and I don’t need to use unhealthy behaviors to get through them! Dayna

“I’ve taken the first step and created a career and business for myself that I can fit my life in to, instead of trying to fit my life in to someone else’s idea of what a career for me should be. Now I need to take the next step and fully take ownership of everything … professional and personal.”-- Jennifer Evers, 43, Chicago

"At the root of any eating disorder is fear. I’ve been afraid of rejection, letting go, facing emotions and not being good enough for eight years. If I wasn’t afraid, I’d be happy. What more can you ask for?"— Fi, 22, London.

"I’m 18, and I’ve been dieting for the last three years. It controls my life. If I wasn’t afraid, I’d stop."

"Say NO more when it’s not the right fit!" Kristin Crane, 38, Providence, RI

You can check out other posts here.  I think a little fear is normal but sometimes it can be all consuming and crippling. I also think sometimes it is hard to tell if you have a normal amount of fear or a legitimate reason to be afraid. The bottom line is, we all do things we are afraid of initially. Sometimes we see that our fear was unnecessary and sometimes we had every right to be afraid. My goal is to never be stuck because of fear. We can do so many things this day and age why not try new things? I would rather try than to always wonder.

Here is what I on my "what would I do if I wasn't afraid" list so far:
  1. Open my own dessert boutique.
  2. Get my Ph.D
  3. Stop counting calories.
*There are a few other things I'd probably do but they probably fall under the what would I do if I was rich category as opposed to me being know like quit my job, travel the world, etc hehehe.*

 Have you ever thought about what you would do if you weren't afraid? What would you do?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moving Ahead

Last week was a huge step in the right direction for me. I started out the week with a game plan to get some exercise each day and stick to a few routines that would help me save time and energy throughout the week. While I still have a few things on my to-do list that didn't get completely done, I feel like I am off to a great start.

I talked about my need to find some routines that I could stick with last month. While I didn't write down anything specific, here is what I  tried last week that I felt really set me up for success and plan to continue doing this week with a few modifications.

On Monday night (which would really be Sunday nights going forward since it was Labor Day weekend), I got all me and my son's clothes together and ironed for the week. I threw in a few extra things in case I wanted an extra option or the weather was funky--good call because I definitely changed my mind a few times. This saved me a ton of time in the morning and I didn't come home to piles of clothes I typically come home to because of my rush to find an outfit.

Secondly, I got up early and walked every morning--from anywhere from 15-30 minutes. My goal was to at least get in a mile. I find that morning exercise prevents me from having a mid-day slump which given my schedule, I don't have time for. It also helps me to make sure I get some exercise in when I don't feel like working out in the evening. I love Zumba but my evening time right now is sacred.

Lastly, I made time for something fun--hanging out and making cookies. I even made this little gift for my son's teachers. Nothing fancy--heck I even used Christmas wrapping lol but it was nice to do something nice for my munchkin, who ate his fair share of cookies, and his teachers at the same time.

This week is my first full week of classes and work. I am more prepared than ever. So many people have encouraged me and believe that if anyone can master this load, it's me so I can't let them or myself down. This week, I am going to try to get a little more sleep, get in 2-3 blog posts, and space out my grad school reading so I don't have to stay up really late later in the week.

It's a lot easier to make the right choice when you're focusing on God and your victory instead of the fear of failure. -Joyce Meyer
Here is a prayer that Joyce Meyer had from the devotional Joyce Meyer: Promises for your Everyday Life-- a Daily Devotional that I think will help us all continue to conquer our not so great habits and replace them with good ones and really conquer whatever we have to do in a given week:

God, I'm done living with my bad habits. I make a choice now to take the authority you've given me over temptations that want to boss me around. I will follow your Holy Spirit into new and better life habits.
Be lifted my friends.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Things My Mama Has Taught Me

My mom has taught me a lot of things over the years. Here are some lessons highlighted this summer.

1. I can be wasteful. If some thing is expired in the fridge--even if it is one day I tend to throw it out. Small tear or tarnish--it's gone. I feel like I use to really save everything but now I am pitching everything. I have to get better at balancing my desire to have less "stuff" and being wasteful. In my defense though I do donate a lot of stuff to charities. So I am winning in that area.

2. Homemade coffee is just as good if not better than Dunkin'. *Gasps* Maybe it's because this comes like  a tea bag and I don't have to technically "brew" it myself (me and coffee pots don't get along). And altogether it's only 82 calories...get out of here. Two a day isn't even a problem--and with grad school this is slowly becoming the norm.

3. You can make a meal out of pretty much anything. I am not very creative in the kitchen unless I am baking but my mom helped me to realize that I can use what I have in my cabinets when I have no idea what to make or if I can't make whatever it is I have planned. This may sound simple but I never really did this until this summer. No tortilla shells? Taco night turns into taco salad night--yum. Definitely makes my life easier and saves me random trips to the store.

4. Toddlers can behave. No really. My son didn't even cry at the barber when my mom went with him and my husband WTF?!?! We will test out if she was really the difference when he goes back but I think she was. I must say that I am pretty lax in most areas with my son, I want him to explore and learn, but now that he is getting older, I really have to reign him in so he isn't a nightmare when we are out or visiting other people. I was in awe at how she would tell my nephew and son to sit while she ran into the kitchen for something and they would really sit and wait...grrr I think these boys are playing me for real. There is enough room for fun and discipline...see below (sent to me by my mom).
5. Teaching kids how to pray starts now. This I definitely knew but something simple as saying grace, my son has picked up quickly just from practicing at every meal. He obviously hasn't mastered it but he know when he sits down to a plate to put those hands together.

6. I have to speak up for myself. Now in my professional life this isn't a problem but in my personal life, I sometimes let things blow over or don't let people/friends know when they are doing something that bothers me, My mom pointed this out to me and I will put that in my things to work on bucket because she is right.

6. We parent differently and that is OK. I must say a few times I wanted to cringe when my mom had to reprimand my son for whatever reason, but I realized that instead of interceding all the time (because y'all know I had to say something a few times) I need to let them build there own relationship. We both learned a few things from each others style that I think my son will benefit from in the long wrong. Biggest lesson-don't tell a toddler learning to talk to sit on their butt unless you want to here them repeat it every chance they get--even in church.

7. We are more alike than we are different. I never really thought of myself as a mommy or daddy's girl but if I had to pick, I am definitely all about my mom. We always have something to talk about and even when we seemingly disagree, all we really want is the best for each other. My mom is a lot of fun. We get each other on more levels than I think either of us ever realized.

Today is a sad sad day because my mom has gone home. I almost took to begging her to stay but maybe a little space is healthy (I think she could get that space by moving a few miles away but that's neither here nor there) we have had an amazing month and a half. I can't wait to see what the next visit brings.