Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Don't Judge Me and I Won't Judge You

So a few weeks ago, I went to a women's conference at my sister-friends church and "Don't Judge Me, Love me" was a title of one of the sessions we had. This session was probably my favorite.

 The presenter called our attention to Matthew 7:1-5. She pointed out how it is so easy for us to judge each other. She said we have to be careful because passing judgement that is not in love is not God's way. Let's be clear, there is correction in the Bible but when we correct others, it should be done in love--meaning to help or better people not trying to get them to conform to our expectations. We all fall short-- in different ways for sure (and if you haven't fallen short yet, please keep on living), but we all fall short nonetheless. So who are we to judge? The presenter told us many stories of judgement taking place in the church house. I myself have felt judged trying to navigate the "church world" with a toddler. Did toddlers just magically behave in church back in the day? People are always looking around or making comments about myself or others as if churches always had cry rooms (that I loathe sitting in by the way)...but I digress.

Additionally, the speaker challenged us that if we do pass judgement in a way that is not in love that we should apologize and fix it early. If a sister (or brother) comes to us wounded, we should help them not pass judgement. We don't know what led that teenager getting pregnant, we don't know why that man or woman may have been in jail, we don't know why that child is running around church instead of sitting with their mother, we don't know why someone may come to church wearing something that we think isn't appropriate, the list goes on. So before we judge anyone, I challenge you all and myself to push the pause button. It should bother us if we hear judgement that is not coming from a place of love. We may have been blessed to never have to go down certain roads but maybe we are catching someone else on the road to their blessing and victory. Who are we to judge?

Let's take this even outside of the church for a minute. Personality theorist suggest that we categorize things in ways that help us. The way we categorize people and things is based on our experiences and environments. These categories guide how we interpret things and the expectations we have about them. Sometimes though, in forming these categories we veer left and create stereotypes. Don't even get me started on stereotypes. Who wants to reinforce a stereotype? Not I.

In closing, let me highlight Matthew 7:2-3 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with that measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

I'll leave you with this final thought from this session: people we wound through our judgement are people that Christ has died for. Who are we to judge? I do not want to meet Jesus and the first thing he asks me is do your remember my child ____ and how you treated them because you thought ____? I'm not trying to have that conversation with Jesus. Nope. Not at all.

Look around this week and show a sister or brother that you are or were critical of some love. Maybe they are fine the way they are even if you don't like it or maybe they simply need some encouragement and support instead of condemnation. I am not pushing us to be optimists without causes. We cannot invite everyone into our inner sanctums but we can release our judgmental tendencies. I may not be able to be friends with that brother or sister but I can love them with the love of Christ. I can speak and be polite even if they are judging me themselves. I have to answer to Jesus for my own actions not theirs.

Don't judge; love and see how that enriches your own life.

Be lifted my friends.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Recap

This weekend was glorious! I had the perfect blend of getting things done at my own pace and family fun. A much needed reprieve after a few weeks of cloudiness.
We had our Holy-We-R celebration for the kids at my church (pretty much Halloween without the gobblins and other spooky things). People went all out decorating their trunks so the kids could come around and get treats. My boo was not feeling his cookie monster costume though. Yikes! This was my first year going and it was a lot of fun. I even let Jalen try a Kit Kat bar.

I even had time to play my all time favorite card game Phase 10 with my family (yes I still like to play old fashion games in addition to new stuff like candy crush...hehe)! But in other news, somebody needs to get their uncle Spike Lee. Below is the picture that came up while I was reading to my son. My husband told me it was a little too much a while ago when I bought the book, but I just thought it was a cute little girl. At second glance though, little mama is a bit much. I love the book though. It's called Please Baby, Please and is about the struggles toddlers put parents through while we begging are them to just do one thing without so many problems. Maybe I'll just cover her little butt next time.
I hope everyone had a great weekend and an even better Monday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Sometimes you just have to laugh it out. 
Laugh on my friends.

When It Rains, He Pours

Yesterday was filled with so much loss that I started to think of the story of Job in the bible.

Job lost everything he had in a matter of minutes. It literally says while one mesenger was reporting one loss to him, another thing went wrong, then another thing, and then something else until he virtually had nothing left. Riches to rags if you will. And then, not only did he lose everything but was then plagued with his own sickness. Things were so bad that his wife even questioned his devotion to God. But Job did not waver. He said to her in Job 2:10b Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?

We can lose it all but God will restore whatever we lose. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. Job 5:18. This is much easier to think of in terms of things but what about people? I don't even know... but I do know that after 42 books of loss, grief, pain, suffering, and doubters, God took care of Job the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. Job 42: 12a. Sometimes I feel like I am insanely optimistic but I really beleive the word even in the most trying times. I don't want to be hopeless; I want to have an endless hope.

I was supposed to go to a conference about helping people cope with grief tomorrow and I am kicking myself now because I made a last minute switch because of a professor to go to one that was more "valuable". I want to be equipped to help others the best way that I can. So since I can't go to formal training right now, I can use the words God pours into my heart and turn to the ultimate trainer and training manual--God and the bible.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to you saying thank you. Thank you for life, health, and strength. Thank you for family and friends. I come to you Father asking that you touch those in my life experiencing loss-my deacon's family, my church family, and my sister-friend and her family for the loss of her brother. Father touch those experiencing loss that I don't even know. Help us to find comfort in you and to accept your will for those you have called home to your kingdom. Even though it hurts, I know that to be absent from the body is to be with you Lord. Help us through our grief and pain. Help us Lord to find support and to be supportive to one another. Help us Father. Guide us. We need you right now. Thank you Lord for all that you have done and will do in our lives as we press on.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Life Is Too Short

I have so many drafts that I have been trying to finish up because I have so much to share from school, life, etc. I was all poised to post my fun post about wearing a red lipstick this morning but I learned that one of my beloved deacons, my brother in Christ and in Greekdom has died.

Initially, I was in denial. What were all these Facebook statuses about? Is this how we find out people have died these days? Surely they must have been about someone in my church that I did not know.

But then I saw his name.

I wanted to just call his phone and hear his voice to confirm there had been a mistake but I couldn't allow myself to call him and have him not answer. Didn't I just see him? Had I not planned to see him at church this weekend?

When I was younger and someone died in my old church, it did not affect me much. But at Calvary my church family is my family in Jersey. This man (and my other favorite deacon) taught me and my husband during our orientation classes when we first joined my church. I learned so much about being apart of the body of Christ through these men. He blessed my house when we first moved in. I remember him giving me our first bible for the new house and telling me "you write in it because your handwriting is neater". He always brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. He was really like my big brother at the church. I loved his passion when he prayed and I loved when he did the welcome during worship. He loved the Lord and was a cool brother--and helped me see that cool people can be cool and love Jesus too.

Life is so short and so delicate. I have missed church a few Sundays so I am saddened that I didn't get to see him just one more time.  We never really know when someone will be called from this life to the next so we really have to seize every moment. I can hear him so clearly saying "hey sistah/hey family" and giving me big hug.

This weekend at my church is our big men's and women's demostration day weekend where we celebrate our growth as a church in the body of christ. All of our hearts will be heavy for our beloved brother but we know he is with our Father and we will see him again. He enriched my life in so many ways. I will never forget him. I pray for his mother, his family, and our church family.

Hug your babies, call/text your loved ones and friends.

Cherish every moment.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Kind Of Groupie Are You?

All right y'all time to publish some of these drafts! Here is a post I started last weekend.

I've never been one to hang in groups. I've had the same core group of friends for a while now---I've added a few ladies for sure but not very many. I really live by the motto no new friends well before Drake made his song about it. I hang with the same people so much that these ladies are always in photos and easily remembered by family and other friends because they can always count on them being around. These ladies enhance my life. They love Jesus, they challenge me, support me, and make me always want to strive to be better. Such a good group.

Some groups can be toxic though. When I first thought about toxic groups, I thought of a gang. But toxic groups can be in places you least expect them to be. Certain people in church, work, school, etc can be toxic. These people are crafty. They may seem good and well intentioned at first but if you pay attention, their true nature always comes out.

This was highlighted for me last week on my way to DC when I saw this about groupies:

This got me thinking about how careful we have to be about who we surround ourselves with and the groups we form. Sometimes we have been around people for so long that even the thought of having to let them go gives us anxiety. We tell ourselves, "they are a good people but...". When the negatives a person brings to a relationship start to outweigh the positives, it may be time to release them from our group.

Now this doesn't have to end in a shouting match or with harsh words. It can be a gradual release. Maybe the person never did anything spiteful to you that really broke you down but sometimes we simply outgrow our relationships with people as we grow in Christ and grow in our own personal development. There is a season for everything and everyone. No group we are or were apart of was a mistake. We were suppose to learn something but learn the lesson and get out.

I am proud to be  a groupie amongst my girlfriends. We are all doing something and going somewhere. We all have goals and aspirations and are working towards them everyday. We are learning and growing in Christ, realizing that we don't need much to be "rich", and just all around good people. We laugh, we cry, we teach each other, and we support each other. If you are a groupie, make sure your group adds to your life. If not, it may be time to move on.

Be blessed my friends.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Fun

Finally!!! Why is it that the shorter work weeks always seem like the longest?? I feel like I say this a lot but I have never been so happy to see a weekend. I plan on getting renewed and ready to conquer next week because this week was a fail. 

My cousin called me yesterday and she really brightened my day. She always cracks me up. She is such a realist. She will tell me in a minute girl don't do it (in her finest Mississppi accent). Whenever I talk to her, I get transplanted right back to my country roots. No side walks and so much land to run around on, picking peacans for pecan pie straight off the ground, days lounging with my cousins--I don't even think I had any friends who weren't cousins when I lived in the Sipp lol. Some parts of the south are really their own little separate contries within the United States.

Anyhow, on deck for this weekend is a Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla Cake, catching up on Scandal and reading for my book club, and getting ahead on my assignments that I have due for school next week (I claim that in the name of Jesus!).

I am working on a presentation for one of my classes about Virgina Satir. She was the pioneer of family therapy. Her mantra was peace within, peace between, peace among--I love this (although I might replace peace with Joy). I will be taking that into this weekend and make it a great one.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I can vaguely remember the last time I had a good cry or had something happen to me that really tore at my heart strings. Because it has been a while, I should've known that I was long overdue. I've been learning in class that our bodies react when something happens to us (love, trauma, loss, anger, etc). I thought that was probably true but now I have confirmed that is a fact.

This week has been filled with amazing highs---personality theory midterm aced in fifteen minutes flat, rocked my first pair of wedge boots all day (major accomplishment on my part), got great feedback on one of my teaching observations, son went down for bed and instead of crying when I got up to leave, when I told him I was going he said okay mommy, and I have a great lesson for teen mentoring tomorrow night at church.

But it has also been filled with some real heart aches--didn't get the chance to study how I needed to for my other midterm so I probably didn't do well, my auntie that I am named after is having her heart checked for blockages today and I can't be with her, someone very close to me really hurt me in a way that I am not sure I can repair, so much grad school reading and work to do and very little time to do it well, and I have to have some tough conversations in the coming days and I am not sure I'm ready for.

My body is definitely in sync with these heart aches I am feeling. I have been able to remain calm for the most part but I have definitely wanted to throw up. I haven't broken down and let the tears cleanse me yet so instead I didn't get much sleep.

It is usually like this right before a major blessing is coming. I can not see it yet in the midst of all the clouds uncertainty but I know something is coming. In my devotional the other day, it talked about how sometimes we are given struggles not for ourselves but to be a model for others. I want people to be able to see the Christ in me even when times are rough.

That is why in the midst of my current heart ache, I am still grateful. I am grateful that many of my friends who work for the government are going back to work today. I am grateful that I have a loving family in spite of our imperfections. I am grateful for the sister friends even if I have to disagree with them or fuss at them sometimes because there are many people who have no one.

I am grateful.

I am grateful.

I am grateful.

Keep me in your prayers my friends.

Encourage Yourself

Sometimes that's all you can do because in the end, we know who really has the final say. We have to keep our eyes on God's plan for us---even when it is incredibly hard, even when we don't understand, even when we can't seem to catch a break, even if we don't feel like it and have just flat out had enough---God's got us all in the palm of his hand and he has great plans for us even if what we see on the immediate horizon has many twists and turns. It is not about how many times we get knocked down but about how many times we get up.

Everything has a purpose. 

Everything has a purpose.

Everything has a purpose.

These songs are currently blessing me so I wanted to share and I hope they bless you too.

Have a blessed rest of the week everyone.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Unlearn A Few Things

I am sure we have all learned a lot of valuable lessons and habits over the years however; I think there are a few things we need to unlearn. I found an article in the Huffington Post that highlights ten things we should unlearn.

Anything in particular that you wish you could unlearn??

Let me know!

By Martha Beck
In the past 10 years, I've realized that our culture is rife with ideas that actually inhibit joy. Here are some of the things I'm most grateful to have unlearned:

1. Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by boring authority figures. You learned that problems -- comment se dit? -- suck. But people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job burnout? It's steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It's teaching you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They're suggesting you hire an accountant, so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each problem is what gives life its gusto.
2. It's important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don't have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something that makes you miserable. Then think, "I must stay happy!" Stressful, isn't it? Now say, "It's okay to be as sad as I need to be." This kind of permission to feel as we feel -- not continuous happiness -- is the foundation of well-being.
3. I'm irreparably damaged by my past. Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out they're largely erasable. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist who had a stroke that obliterated her memory, described the event as losing "37 years of emotional baggage." Taylor rebuilt her own brain, minus the drama. Now it appears we can all effect a similar shift, without having to endure a brain hemorrhage. The very thing you're doing at this moment -- questioning habitual thoughts -- is enough to begin off-loading old patterns. For example, take an issue that's been worrying you ("I've got to work harder!") and think of three reasons that belief may be wrong. Your brain will begin to let it go. Taylor found this thought-loss euphoric. You will, too.
4. Working hard leads to success. Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, which is why "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Boys who'd spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem (see #1). Play, not work, is the key to success. While we're on the subject...
5. Success is the opposite of failure. Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.
6. It matters what people think of me. "But if I fail," you may protest, "people will think badly of me!" This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide. I realized this when I read blatant lies about myself on the Internet. When I bewailed this to a friend, she said, "Wow, you have some painful fantasies about other people's fantasies about you." Yup, my anguish came from my hypothesis that other people's hypothetical hypotheses about me mattered. Ridiculous! Right now, imagine what you'd do if it absolutely didn't matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back.
7. We should think rationally about our decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer and more error-prone than your deeper, "animal" brain. Often complex problems are best solved by thinking like an animal. Consider a choice you have to make -- anything from which movie to see to which house to buy. Instead of weighing pros and cons intellectually, notice your physical response to each option. Pay attention to when your body tenses or relaxes. And speaking of bodies...
8. The pretty girls get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true. I unlearned this after years of coaching beautiful clients. Yes, these lovelies get preferential treatment in most life scenarios, but there's a catch: While everyone's looking at them, virtually no one sees them. Almost every gorgeous client had a husband who'd married her breasts and jawline without ever noticing her soul.
9. If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect. Check it out: People who have what you want are all over rehab clinics, divorce courts, and jails. That's because good fortune has side effects, just like medications advertised on TV. Basically, any external thing we depend on to make us feel good has the power to make us feel bad. Weirdly, when you've stopped depending on tangible rewards, they often materialize. To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.
10. Loss is terrible. Ten years ago I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I'd smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. What I now know is that losses aren't cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That's the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you've abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Don't Act How You Feel

Can I just say I never feel like doing anything. 

Like really.

I am very content with staying home and snuggling with my 2 1/2 men all day. I'm happy to sit in silence. I will cancel some plans in a minute. 

Lately though, I have been doing things in spite of how I feel and I must say, each time I was blessed. We were not created to be alone all the time. In Sunday school on Sunday, the teacher said iron sharpens iron so how's that happening when we are constantly alone?

I have a lot going on right now. I struggle with this at times but my eye is on my big goal. This season of busyness will be worth it in the end.  In spite constantly not wanting to do anything because I am so busy, I've made an effort to get out and spend more time with my husband and close friends. I don't have quantity time but I can sacrifice for some quality time every now and then.

Like this weekend. I wanted nothing more than to hide away in my house after my week. But I ventured to my home away from home--the DMV area. My sister friend had a women's conference at her church and I got myself together after a crazy day of work and made the trek to support my girl.

And boy was I blessed.

A few things from the conference resonated with me for sure but what hit me the most was the love for Christ that my girlfriends have. As we sat up and chatted Friday and Saturday nights, I was in awe of how we are all growing together in the word in spite of the various struggles we may be having. It is amazing to see the transition from our college years to now. We are mothers, working women, and lovers of Christ. God never ceases to amaze me. How blessed am I to have believers as friends? Non-judgemental woman that I can share everything with while I am growing in Christ as well. It was funny to see how we are all trying to juggle being active in our churches with motherhood, our hectic work schedules, and still trying to bless a few people along the way. How did our grandmothers do it?

I am glad that I didn't let my feelings cause me to miss this blessing. 

I encourage you to do at least one thing inspite of how you feel this week. Text or call someone, go to bible study, or play with your children for a little while without being distracted by the TV or cell phone.

Don't miss your blessings because of how you feel.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Send out blessings

Last weekend I stopped for gas and after I paid the attendant said have a blessed evening. Can I tell y'all I almost started crying...like for real. What a nice thing to say especially after the hectic day I'd had. How many people do you know don't even say good morning to you let alone wish you a blessed day/evening? I don't know those words resonated with me so much that night, but they did.

And then I read Ruth 2:10-12. In it, Boaz tells Ruth "may the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." What a blessing to speak over someone!

As a believer, I want to get better at speaking to people and wishing them blessings because I know the power it has. Asking someone how they are doing and taking a few minutes to engage them in conversation goes along way. A student did this to me the other day and it literally shocked me. I probably could've cried then too (I think pregnancy and being a mom has really made me a cry  baby but we can talk about that later). I thought he was just going to say the usual hi, how are you doing and go on his merry way. I didn't really feel like talking either so that would've been fine. But he actually stopped and not only asked me how I was doing, but how my son was as well. I asked him about how he was doing and his plans for high school. What a moment. Not only a moment of growth for this particular student but a demonstration of how a few minute conversation can be so impactful. I just felt good afterwards. 

We have to stop sometimes. There are too many people who feel hopeless and one word or conversation can make all the difference. Don't think so? Let me introduce you to Kevin Hines.

In 2000, he decided that life was too much and attempted suicide. He took two buses to the Golden Gate Bridge, the second most common place for suicide in the world---a 200ft plunge into the ocean. He had tons of reasons that led him to that moment. But you know what he said on the way there? If one person will ask me how I am doing before I get to the bridge, I won't jump. He cried the entire two bus rides to the bridge. No one on a crowded bus asked him how he was doing or if they could help him. A bus driver kicked him off the bus. In his forty minutes at the bridge pacing before he jumped, a tourist asked him to take a picture. But no one took the time to acknowledge him and his pain. No one asked this man how he was doing even though he was visibly suffering. 

So he jumped. 

I'm not saying we can save everyone but we can speak to people in genuine ways that shows the God in us and hopefully ignites the God in them. We can do this in our families, in stores, on trains, or when we are out and about in our towns. We can do it when we feel like it but also when we don't. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 

There is so much darkness in the world, let us be some light my friends.

Be blessed.

Kevin survived his suicide attempt-one of only 34 survivors out of thousands of attempts. An amazing story but that's a discussion for another post about God and all his awesomeness though.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's Holding You Back?

I have been removing things that have been holding me back over the last couple of years. I stumbled on the article below on Facebook about things we keep in our lives that hold us back. At least half of these resonated with me.

Take a look and let me know how many of these things are holding you back???

Oct. 3, 2013
1. The phone numbers of people that never, ever call you or text you first, and often don’t even respond when you text them.
2. Mean or uncomfortable exchanges with people — either in your text or internet history — that you occasionally go over and re-read because they make you feel angry and terrible all over again.
3. Subscriptions to online stores that you can’t afford, and which send you tons of emails and texts about the sales you should not be spending money on.
4. Bitterness over the things that your friends or coworkers have, that you might not be able to afford or have time for.
5. Expectations about having “the perfect” significant other, or someone who is going to make you feel better about yourself/fix your problems in a way you’re not able to do on your own.
6. Facebook friendships with exes that you have no interest in talking to again, and only keep around so you can occasionally stalk their new significant other.
7. Facebook friendships with people you don’t really know, don’t care about, and who post ridiculous things that always make you roll your eyes.
8. The idea that you have to keep up with all of your friends professionally, even if you don’t want the same things or have the same backgrounds, just so that you can impress them on social media or at parties.
9. Roommates who don’t respect your personal space.
10. Subscriptions to magazines that make you feel ugly, fat, poor, and unstylish.
11. Friends who only like to hang out with you or keep their plans when it involves drinking and spending a lot of money, and who otherwise aren’t that interested in being around you or hearing what you have to say.
12. A sense of entitlement about the amount of material things you think you deserve in life, especially when it’s much, much more than you need to be safe and comfortable.
13. Desire for name-brand and the latest version of everything, even when the generic brand or off-brand is just as good, or when you could get the item at an outlet store as long as you were willing to wait a season.
14. Pictures of you where you think that you look so much better in, and that you torture yourself with by looking at every day when you are feeling particularly ugly.
15. All of the old clothes and accessories that you no longer wear or use, which just clutter up your closet, and could easily be donated to people who would actually use them.
16. Junk food that you know you’re going to binge-eat if you keep in your cabinet or refrigerator.
17. People who constantly make weird comments about superficial things that make you feel really self-conscious.
18. The idea that you need to go to a coffee shop on the way to work every morning to get breakfast/coffee, when you could just as easily take two minutes to prepare things yourself most days and save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.
19. Shame over the amount of debt you are living with.
20. Memories of the time that you label “the best time of your life,” which makes you consciously feel as though everything else you do won’t compare or will just be part of an overall downward slope.
21. Old medicine from when you had a minor surgery or dental procedure, which you will now just take recreationally even though you know that’s a terrible idea.
22. Resentment for your friends who are in happy relationships, because part of you feels like them having love success somehow means that there is less hope out there for you.
23. The idea that the amount of work you can do is directly correlated with how much time you spend at the office or how long you spend working at home. (A work-life balance, or being able to do more work in an efficient amount of time, is way more important than putting in overly long hours.)
24. Family members who make you feel terribly about yourself, who contribute nothing to your life, and whose only connection to you is genetics at this point.
25. Love for people who will never love you back, no matter how much energy you devote to caring about them and wondering what they’re doing at this moment.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Never Too Far Gone

Does anyone else hate making the same mistake twice? Even three or four times?? I am definitely kicking myself right now because I feel like I made a few mistakes that I have definitely made before. I saw them coming for sure. I had that gut wrenching feeling that I really shouldn't do it but I did anyway...ugh
You'd think I'd know better...sigh but, my weakness is helping people and focusing on long term goals in spite of short term bumps. Who doesn't want to help when you are able or be apart of a team? But Lord Jesus you CANNOT help everybody or situation.

That is the hard part.

You would think that people would want to help themselves ESPECIALLY when they have help and resources at their disposal; but the truth is some people just don't or aren't ready...I can respect that. Some teams and people don't recognize your true value. They can only learn in your absence and I have to be cool with that.

I don't believe that people can never improve--I just can't be the captain or judge and jury of their growth journey. I  need to leave more in God's hands for real. I want to get more comfortable with taking a step back. I think as a professional, I am better at taking a step back from people and watching their struggles from afar. I can assist when asked but not really own their follow through. In my personal life though, this is harder.

This isn't a song I would typically listen to but the words are so powerful. Take a listen.

Pray for me saints.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Big Goals...Bigger Problems

Sunday I chose to be a TV saint. I don't normally opt out of going to church but since I've started school I'm finding that sometimes I have to break this once rigid routine (especially if I have to work on a Saturday). In the past, I was really against church on TV but can I just tell y'all Joel Osteen is the truth. When I watched the live broadcast and saw him doing regular church announcements that gave me life. It is just regular church---minus the thousands of people in the audience-- on TV.

Anywho, I decided to catch up on some Joel Osteen sermons I have on my DVR. I forget the title of the sermon but the message centered around the fact that if we believe God has great plans for us, we can't expect to have ordinary problems. For example, if David didn't have to face Goliath, he would still be a Shepard boy. David had a big destiny so, God sent him a big problem.

Now I'm not trying to face a Goliath but I really saw his point. I am striving for some big things--not grandiose dreams of fame and fortune but I have some very lofty goals. The bigger my goals get, the harder the journey becomes.

How can we support our mental and physical health when times get tough, over, and over, and over again? I wish I could tell you something my friends that will get it right every time. But, what I will say though is we have to be deliberate. We have to control what we allow to take over our thoughts. We are all on our way to greatness. When we notice our minds drifting towards negativity and depression, and then we have to fight it head on.

With that said, I started a new devotional called Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes (why do we have to collide with our destiny?? Can't we just walk up to it?? I digress...). It is a 30 day journey through the book of Ruth. I have heard parts of the story but never read Ruth in its entirety. Let's read it and chat about it my friends. You can find an excerpt here. It is only available in paperback right now but it comes with journal questions at the end of each day that I think will make a big difference (and it's only $10...a steal for all my deal lovers). Sometimes when we write things out, it really makes them plain and makes us more committed to them. I'll be blogging about my progress through the book throughout the month.

Be lifted my friends.

I didn't forget about Produced by Faith by Devon Franklin. I will be giving my final thoughts on that book soon so check it out if you haven't. I promise it will bless you. 

Mommy Struggles

This has been sitting in my draft folder for a while so I figured I'd finally let it out.

I have a confession to make: sometimes people without children really grind my gears (aka get on my last nerve) with their little judgemental selve's. Now let me first say I have quite a few friends that don't have children and we get along great. They come over to my house instead of asking me out so my son can run around in his own element while we chat and have some wine. They don't get upset when I need to step away to give him a bath and put him down for bed. They engage him when he comes running towards them with all of his babbling glory. They even don't mind if I have to bring my son along for whatever we are doing or get upset when I can't make something that may not be kid-friendly. They even try to convince me to have a girls night out every now and then but when I say not right now; they back off.

I'm not talking about them.

I am talking about acquaintances and other random people I encounter while I am out and about.

I am talking about observations I have made of people being down right rude to parents in stores and other places with their side-eyes and comments.

Now I have a been a judgemental person without children before so I get it. But if you have a problem with something, it is NOT your place to say something to a parent ESPECIALLY while their kid is having a melt down in Target because their mom isn't letting them have the gigantic bag of M&M's or because they have to part ways with the toy mommy or daddy let them hold that allowed them to get through the majority of the shopping trip unscathed.

You'd be surprised why kids through fits--waffles instead of pancakes, wanting a the toy their brother or sister has (even if they have to exact same one), not being able to stand in shopping cart in the store while it is moving, wanting to play games on your phone while you are trying to read your shopping list, or my personal favorite taking off in a full sprint when you put them down for one second to grab something, etc, etc, etc.

Bottom line: Know when to keep your mouth shut. You don't know our story so cut us some slack *fights the air*. My grandmother used to tell me people don't like you when you talk too much...I really believe this. You don't have to say everything that comes to your head and if you must, phone or text a friend.

The next time you see a parent struggling to get their groceries out of the cart because their child is throwing a tantrum, offer to help them. You'd be surprised how good that will make you feel.

Anywho, below are two fun posts about the same subject. If you go to the full articles and skim the comments, you'll see some of the egregiousness that comes out of peoples mouths just in case you think I am making this stuff up.

Do something nice for a parent today (a hug, compliment, whatever).

Is there a parent appreciation day before Mother's and Father's day??? I need to research that.


Day 166: To all my friends without children.
by Jason Good
I know our friendship has changed since I had a family. I never answer the phone; I don’t return texts as quickly; I almost never “hang out” anymore. That’s because my priorities have changed. I would have warned you, but I didn’t know it was going to be so severe. I still love you as much as I always did, but between my job/art and kids, I’m fucking tired at night. I still want to see you, but can you please just come to my place? I know it’s far, but I needed a house and yard or I was gonna lose my mind. It will be hard to have a conversation because my kids will be angry that I’m not giving then all my attention. I wish I could just tell them to be quiet and go play, but that’s not really how it works.
It’s true, I hang out a lot more now with families who have kids the same age as mine. That’s because when the kids are playing, the adults have a little time to talk. If there are no other kids around, I’m responsible for all the entertainment, and it’s exhausting. Also, people with kids understand that I’ll have to leave in the middle of their sentence to get a juice box. They understand because they just did the same thing to me 5 minutes ago. It’s not because I like them more than I like you, it’s because they understand the situation, and it makes everything easy. I need things to be easy a lot these days, especially when it comes to “entertaining.”

I know you want us to just get a babysitter and drive out to your place and drink wine until 3am. I want to do that too, but I can’t. Not for a few more years. My kids are too young and they still wake up at night for various reasons, and I want to be there when that happens as much as possible. So for now, you kind of have to come to my house. Understand that when you do, most of what we do will be about the kids and not about us. I’ll have to put the hotdogs on the grill before the steaks because if I don’t, someone will freak out and throw themselves on the ground. You’ll also probably have to spend some time by yourself while I take one of my kids inside to talk to them or read them a book or put on a TV show. To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted...

Read the full article here.

If You Don’t Have Children, You Don’t Get An Opinion On Parenting Issues
By dadcamp

...My thesis is that it’s all well and good to stand on the sidelines and tell people how their kids “should” be raised, but until you’ve actually sat down and had a fight over what color mittens, socks, or underwear will be worn in what order, you are hereby asked to keep it to yourself.

I added it up yesterday. I spend about 5 hours a day with my kids. That’s an hour or so in the morning, and 4 after school. Of those 5 hours, maybe 45 minutes of it is “fun”. You know, laughing, playing, giggling – he lighthearted, non-stressful stuff we love about our kids. The other 4 hours are spent breaking up fights, cleaning up messes, negotiating meals, bathing, cooking, helping them get dressed, etc. The “work” part of parenting is, by far, the greatest weight in the equation.

To say the work outweighs the reward is wrong, in the end it is worth it. But the thing that people without children don’t understand is that it is work. Every single day it is work. It is a struggle to lead these little minions through the day. It is stressful. So, on occasion, we take shortcuts. We just do. It keeps us sane.

I just don’t think you can appreciate that “work” part of parenting, and how much effort/stress/emotion it takes until you live it.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Flex Your Independence Pt. 2

A while ago, I told you all I was reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The older more mature I get, the more serious I get about my work life. The honeymoon phase of merely being gainfully employed are over. I still have plenty of room to grow, but I am an asset and should be treated as such.

I haven't been the new kid on the block for a minute so why should my mind be stuck there? Even if you are the new kid, be confident in what you bring to your profession and act and expect to be treated accordingly.
Here my key takeaways from the book that plan to keep at the forefront of my mind as a working woman and working mom.
    1. Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.
    2. Women need to support other women. We have to stop being our own worst enemy. I love lifting other people up but I definitely know what it is like to feel like other women are riding my back or out to get me in the career realm. We can be our own worst enemy and that is sad because we really all need each other. We have to lead by example. Cut a sister some slack and go after a man instead. :)
    3. We have to start feeling worthy of recognition. Sandberg pointed out that most woman often feel headed for failure or fraudulent--I can definitely relate to this feeling. But the reality is, we are often putting in massive amounts of work and going above and beyond so why not except to do a good job or get recognition? Be humble of course but don't sell ourselves short. If you are rockin' it own it even if know one knows it but you.
    4. Don't let fear hold you back. There is nothing wrong with a healthy amount of fear just don't get stuck there. Everyone gets nervous or scared. Work through it.
    5. Most women are not thinking about having it all, they're worried about losing it all. 
And with that be lifted my friends.