Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beauty In My Brokenness

There is beauty in my brokenness.  At least that is what they said at church.  I sure hope that is true because lately I have felt very broken.  I know I haven't been writing like I used to and for that I apologize.  The truth is, I didn't want to have a blog that highlighted the fact that I feel stuck and unsatisfied post after post.   I told a friend the other day that my shine is dim.  I think that probably sums up my mentality at the moment.

I am not sure why I feel like this.  Well correction, I know exactly why I feel like this.  The question is why is different than any other time.  I still am looking for jobs, I am still taking care of my mom, and I am still hoping to find love.  Nothing has really changed in my life.  In fact things might be a little more stable than usual, yet I have this empty feeling.  I have these dark thoughts invading my brain telling me that I am not living up to my potential, that I am not trying hard enough, I am not doing my best, that I am tired of caring about others, and that I am just one big disappointment.  And while some of you may think I am being hard on myself, maybe I am to some extent, but in reality I do think I could be doing more.  But I think I am getting dangerously close to that point of wondering if maybe just maybe this is life.  That perhaps the happiness and the struggle free life that is on tv and in the movies and apparently on Facebook and Instagram may never be my own reality.  Maybe this isn't just a really long dry season but instead it is what my life is supposed to be and always will be?

The sermons at church the past few weeks have reminded me that being a follower of Christ does not guarantee that we will have an easy life.  In fact, being a Christian means that we will go through pain and suffering, but it is through that time that we are becoming stronger and preparing for the future.  I am not opposed to having storms in my life.  I have been through many and I am glad that I did.  I know my strength and my potential.  But this season, this storm,  just seems to be never ending.  That motivation and positivity that I have always tried to keep close is fleeting.  Right now I am feeling more lost than ever.

This weekend I decided to devote on working on me.  Well I have done a lot of reflecting.  I have shed some tears.  I have had some me time.  I have talked to some friends.  And I have done a lot of thinking.  And you know what I realized, only I can pull myself out of this funk.  Only I can be the source of my motivation.  Only I can choose happiness.  Oh and happiness is definitely a choice my friends.

We are getting close to the end of the year.  And I do not want to put off anything with the idea of starting fresh or with a clean slate.  I want to go strong into 2015 with momentum for change in my life.  No longer am I going to cover up my darkness.  Today, I am going to use the beauty of my brokenness to find joy, to be happy, and to love just as I am supposed to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Becoming a Better Me

Suddenly when I stopped stressing over a guy who never called me back, I had a lot of free time.  No I will be honest, some of that free time was still spent stressing over that guy that never called.  But with the remaining time I had after the stress, which still was a lot, I decided to focus on me.  Sure my job search may be lacking, I feel stuck in my family's house forever, and might never find a husband and turn into the neighborhood cat lady, but there is one thing over which I did have control, me!  Thus in the beginning of September I decided to get serious about my weight loss and fitness goals.

I know my weight loss journey is something I have written about several times over the years.  I have tried various diets and even tracking through  My Fitness Pal but I was never truly consistent.  Back in May I started Weight Watchers.  Despite paying my monthly fees three months passed by with very little loss.  As one member from my meeting would say, I was donating money to Weight Watchers.  But something stuck with me.  I guess I felt like the fall was a fresh start.  Ever since that I haven't looked back.

So what is different?  I have been going to the gym consistently.  My goal is to go everyday and at least do something.  Life happens, and LA Fitness has the worst weekend hours ever in life, so I don't always make it everyday, however I am coming quite close.  I have also started morning workouts.  Working out in the morning has basically changed my life.  Sure I set my alarm for a ridiculously early time and hit the snooze button four or five times.  But when I finally get there and get on the machine I feel great.  I think to myself it is 7:30 am and I have already accomplished something.  Not to mention the abundance of energy that I know have throughout the day.  Unfortunately, I have nowhere to place this new found energy, but I am working on it.  And what helps is that one of my BFFs is right there with me every morning.  We made a pact to not tell the other person when we aren't going to make it.  That way we always push ourselves to go because we assume that the other person will be there.

I am making smarter decisions with my eating.  I have been bringing in my breakfast and lunch more.  This helps me also save money which is a double bonus. Also I have even done some cooking over the past few weeks which I don't usually have the opportunity to do often.  I know that Weight Watchers is a lifestyle change and not a diet.  I no longer beat myself up if I have a "bad" meal or a "bad" day.  I refuse to be discourage when the scale is not a big loss, because I know as it is often said that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint.

But there is a bigger difference.  After much planning, scheming, and nudging I convinced my best friends to get back on board and re-join Weight Watchers.  It is while the three of us were on it together that we were the most successful.  We have all tried on our own for years and it just hasn't worked.  And now there is nothing more exciting to me than being able to share our successes and bad days together knowing that we are all on this quest together.

Each day I feel smaller and I feel stronger.  At 6:30 am I am on a machine dripping with sweat I am imagining myself on the beach next summer.  Each time I am craving fried chicken or a piece of pizza I think about the old me, that me from 7 years ago, and I think to myself that I refuse to go back there again.  When I see my mom and everything she is going through I know that I have to become a better me so that I will continue to be able to take care of her as she grows weaker.  So that is it.  I am becoming a better me and I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tinder Lovin'

Despite the fact that I had sworn off online dating, I decided to give Tinder a chance.  I thought what is the harm?  I needed to really start getting over the last guy I dated.  Plus, when it comes to online dating I know that there will always good stories that I can share with my readers.  So think of this Tinder experiment as my gift to you ;)

I must confess this is my third attempt at Tinder.  The other two times I joined via boredom and then I left and deleted the app via boredom 10 minutes later lol.  But this time I decided I would really give it a chance.
Anyway, I REALLY started Tinder a few days ago.  A few of my friends have had moderate success from it and I hear about it all the time.  Tinder is a dating app that I think it is connected some how through Facebook (yet doesn't share your information).  They will pull up people in your area and I think through you Facebook friends.  You will see a few pictures of the people who come up and you swipe left if you don't like them, swipe right if you do.  Then if you are both pick each other the app will let you know.  If you are a match you are able to start chatting via the app.

Now Tinder is not all roses.  In fact for a long time Tinder was known as merely a hook up app.  But I think that reputation is starting to change.  But I have still heard of a few people who didn't get the memo.  Case in point (my comments are in blue).



So I ended up deleted Rick after that.  Kind of obnoxious, but not enough to deter me from my mission.  And boy I found this jack pot yesterday!  So on Friday I started chatting with this man named Sean.  Sean is 27 lives about 40 minutes from me, works on the power lines during the day, and at night is a bouncer.  He looks kind of like a nerdy football player because he wears glasses.  The conversation seemed to be decent enough to me and we ended up exchanging numbers.

The next day there were texts here and there.  Until he started texting me from a different phone.  I am typing in the blue and green.  And pardon my typos I am a terrible texter.  Please read below (I have cropped out the phone number for privacy reasons):








Yeah that happened! Just to let you know, I really did tell him to give her back her keys.  He asked what I was talking about.  And then I sent him these screen shots.  His only reaction was WOW.  And I haven't heard from either of them since.  Why does stuff like this only happen to me? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Too Blessed to Be Stressed?

Too blessed to be stressed.  Who came up with that phrase? If you Google this phrase you will find a lot of motivational pictures and even more bible verses to read, a catering company, and even a tv show.  Regardless of the number of Google hits this search has I don't agree.  If anything I am stressed because I am blessed.  HMPF!

Everyday I feel like I am playing the shell game with some part of my life.  Rarely do I think everything is great.  Usually it is most things are good and something is really bad.  Or maybe most things are kind of terrible and there might be one great thing.  But I am not sure if I can ever say that everything is great.  I am not even sure if I can say that everything is good.  Despite feeling blessed and despite feeling grateful for what I do have, I'm stressed.

So why are my blessings stressing me out?  Well remember that line from one of the billion Spiderman movies.  I am talking about the first one with Toby McGuire.  Well Peter's uncle tells him that famous line "With great power comes great responsibility."  (Side note, while I was doing the research of this quote I found out Voltaire actually said this line first.  You should read about him if you ever have the chance.)  Anyway, I feel like when you are blessed you have more responsibility and responsibility obviously goes hand in hand with stress right? I am stressed because I am blessed.

Ever since I can remember I had this thought, this strong conviction in my heart that I was destined to change the world.  Even as a child I felt like I had to hold myself to a high standard in order to step into my roll as greatness.  It was a feeling of burden.  I often felt as if I carried the weight of the world on my own rounded shoulders.  And with this burden I often, and still do feel guilty and disappointed and never satisfied.  Why?  Because I feel like I am never truly living up to my potential.   In my mind if I let myself down, I am letting the world down and therefore I am letting God down.  Tough way to view the world huh?  I am blessed with talents and abilities but I am stressed because I am not utilizing enough to effect change in the world.

I go back and forth from meeting to meeting.  I have multiple conference calls a week.  I am trying to volunteer once a month.  I am beginning to get involved more in church.  But I often find myself wondering if I am really making a difference.  I am stressed because I feel like I am wasting my blessings.  I am not blessing others enough.

While this view has continued into my adulthood it has also morphed with my increased adult responsibilities.  In church they always tout honoring your mother and father.  And when people see my mom and I together at times people will stop to tell me that I will receiving my blessings in heaven for the way that I take care of her.  But at the end of the day I never feel that I do enough.  I never have enough money.  I never have enough time.  I never have enough patience.  I am blessed to have my this amazing mother in my life but I feel stressed that I am letting her down.

So I already know what some of you are thinking.  My faith is not strong if I am stressed.  Or maybe you are thinking God has it all under control so you don't need to stress.  Let me be honest.  I don't think I am in this upper realm of understanding with my relationship with God.  Now I am not saying that I lack faith, what I am saying is I am tired.  I feel like I am constantly bracing myself for the next impact.

All I really want to do is blessed others as I have been blessed myself, stress-free.  Is it even possible?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Too Overwhelmed for Words

I am embarrassed.  This is my first post in a couple of months.  It is not for lack of trying.  I have sat down down started typing but I could never find it in myself to actually finish.  Shoot, finishing this post may be a small victory in itself.

A lot has been going on with me.  Summer was plagued with a series of ups and downs (much like the temperatures for summer 2014).  Have you ever felt like not all aspects in your life can be in sync at once?  Through God's blessings I have had steady temp work since May.  But at the same time I feel so bored to tears.  I feel like with more money comes more bills.  I am always struggling to stay ahead.  This can't be life! Sometimes I crave quiet and stillness in my surrounding.  My brain is on overdrive most of the time. And it is exhausting.

My love life has been a whirlwind in every direction.  Sometimes really good sometimes really bad.  It can be hard to walk away when you should.  It is pretty difficult in admitting to yourself that no matter how great you think someone is and how awesome they think you are that it still may never be.  After the storm has settled your life has been shaken and in the end you are alone.  Again.  What hurts is the most is when men think I am such an amazing person, yet I am not amazing enough that they see a future with me.  I would probably rather you just tell me I am terrible then at least then I could hate you.

My spiritual journey has been at a pause.  I still go to church.  But where is my fire?  Where is my follow through?  Where is my passion?  I am stagnant.  I have not really grown.  And perhaps my lack in devotion has contributed to my feelings of being overwhelmed.

I am a tired caretaker.  I am scared about my mom's future.  I see her gradually get worse.  I see her needs expanding.  And I question to myself over and over again if I can handle this?  Am I prepared financially?  Emotionally?  At times I just feel like a terrible daughter.  This roll reversal is a battle in patience and I think I am losing big time.

But you know what, I am going to do better.  I have no choice.  Life isn't easy, this I know first hand.  But I have faced worst and I have gotten through it.  I need to get back to being me, fabulous and all.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Love Roller Coaster

I was in like with a man.  Ok I am still in like with a man.  As a result I have been a on a love roller coaster.  It is a love roller coaster a majority of which was self-imposed.  And while I have been on this roller coaster I lost myself, but today I am getting off of this ride.  Today I am regaining that woman I let go of for the past few weeks.

I have been dating this guy for almost two months.  You may remember I wrote about him a few posts ago. When we met there was this instant connection.  When we were together there was an unquestionable chemisty.  The first month I was riding high on a cloud of happiness and joy.  For the first time, in a long time, I thought that I might have found someone that I could spend my life with.  Yes I know it was a little too soon to predict that, but sometimes you have these feelings that you can't explain.  I had it.  And I had it bad.

Month two has been a downward spiral.  I went from being this vibrant, strong, dynamic woman to being this woman I am kind of embarrassed of.  My friends told me this.  I knew, yet I couldn't stop.  I was on a one-way ticket to Crazytown.  Suddenly my thoughts were revolving around the actions of a man.  My mood was determined on a man.  My daily happiness was dependent on a man.  A man.  A MAN.  As if any man should have that kind of power of me.  I was waiting by the phone to hear from him.  I was holding my breath every time I texted him.  I held back the things I wanted to say.  I did all of this in the hopes that he would realize that I am the one for him.  And in the end I think when I lost myself, I lost him too.

But I also must confess my roller coaster was not just him.  A few months ago I took a test that confirmed what I already subconsciously knew.  I am a girl who needs her downtime.  I need some good old fashioned by myself, doing what I want, not speaking with anyone for hours, alone time.  And for a long time I felt guilty about that until I realized that if I don't take the time to have some quality alone time I will be imbalanced.  Well yesterday it hit me.  I haven't had my alone time in a couple of months.  Trying to balance work, family, friends, the guy I am dating, and all my extra-curricular activities I was running on E, shoot I was skating by on fumes.  As a result, I have not been myself.  Couple that with my own insecurities and dating someone that pricks those feelings is a molotov of disaster.

Today is my fresh start.  Today I decided that I was no longer going to be a shell of my former self.  It's back to the basics.  I am am re-focusing my energy on myself.  Because in the end I am the most important person in my life.  It is past due time for me to start acting like it.  So I told the guy all of this.  Granted, it was in an extremely long text.  I didn't want to go another day with all this bubbling up in my chest.  And I am not giving up complete hope that that we can make it, but for now I am letting go. I am jumping off of this roller coaster mid-ride.   I am not going to wait around for someone to pick me.  I am picking myself.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Family Matters

This weekend my mom and I went down to visit my dad's side of the family.  It was a three hour trip that took four hours both going and coming.  But to me and my mom the almost 24 hours that we spent with our other family is just the beginning of reconnecting a family that has been separated for years.

Allow me to explain.  This was an important trip for me.  My mom and dad were high school sweethearts.  both grew up in the same city.  A former factory town without its factory has now become a shell of it what it used to be.  To me going back to this city is always depressing.  It kind of reminds me of those parts of Baltimore that you could see used to be great but have been abandoned years ago.  Anyway, growing up I only was able to see my dad's side of the family around Christmas.  We lived in the Midwest and the rest of the family was on the East Coast.  Any family besides my mom and dad seemed like a countless stream of magical family members.  It was hard for me to keep up with the faces and the names enough to really have much of a connection with anyone.

Then my dad passed away.  Suddenly the real person who linked us all together was out of the picture.  Communicating with my "countless stream of magical family members" seemed awkward.  As the years went by the awkwardness continued to grow.  Combined with the fact that my mom has very little of her long term memory left, it has been hard to find out more information about my dad and his family.  It felt like the only memories that she had were from me.  And some of those memories were from the point of view from one very imaginative child.

I always felt like there was a part of my life that was missing.  For many years I always wondered why I looked the way I did. And one day I felt that my questions had been answered when I found my dad's birth certificate.  On the certificate it stated that his father was from Hawaii.  I had figured it out.  I was Hawaiian!  Made perfect sense. This finally explained my curly hair, my reddish skin tone when I tanned, and the fact that I love pineapple and Hawaiian bread (just kidding on the last two).  I brought this information to my grandmother (my mom's mother) she told me that she didn't think that really was his father and that only my dad knew who his father was.  I was heartbroken.  I was going to continue to be a mutt.  But I realized then that I had more than a few unanswered questions.

So between the passing of my father, and my uncle (his brother), and the invent of Facebook I knew what I had to do.  It was time to really make an effort getting to know more about my dad's family.  The trip this weekend was part of the beginning stages of this process.

The weekend was amazing.  It was short, yes, both my mom and I learned a lot about my dad and his family. Some of it was happy.  I heard so many funny stories.  And some of it was sad.  It was sad to see the struggles that his family had.  But I was happy to know how much my aunt and uncle looked up to him, much like I look up to him as well.  My dad, despite some of the unfortunate circumstances in his life turned out to be this amazing person, amazing husband, amazing father, and amazing brother.  And it just made me tear up to think that I am no longer able to have this amazing person in my life.

I was also sad to confirm that I might never know who was my real dad's father.  It is a piece of my history that may always remain a mystery.  However, I am so glad and blessed that I have living history only a short four hour trip that should only be three hours away.  A special shot out to my aunt who is one of my number one fans!  Thank you for the first step of many in strengthening this bond.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Crazy Girl Syndrome

I have a disease.  It is called crazy girl syndrome.  Maybe you have heard of it?  It is that thing where you are dating someone, it's going well, and then all of a sudden you freak out and create problems that aren't really problems.  Does anyone else have this issue?

For the past few months I had been on a dating hiatus.  After the last guy I dated I figured that I needed a break from dating.  In fact the last few people didn't work out and I felt that I saw the signs and chose to ignore them.  As a result, I decided to step out of the dating game.  I focused on myself and other things and didn't deal with the drama that comes with dating.

That was until I met this new guy.  He is like a breath of fresh air.  He is sweet, funny, intelligent, and super handsome.  His spirit is as attractive as his physique.  He is a guy that makes me smile.  We can talk for hours about anything and everything.  He is a man that is a good father. I wouldn't say that he completes me, because I don't think that it takes a man to make you whole.  But he inspires me to do better and be better.  We are compliments of each other.

But then that crazy girl syndrome thing kicks in.  Suddenly his non-response from a text has gotten me acting all kinds of dumb.  I got paranoid.  I assumed the worst, I mean I am a realist/worst-case scenario kind of person.  So I immediately think that I have done something wrong because heaven forbid that he could actually be busy.  But after a few days of his silence I realized that I have all these insecurities that are bubbling up to the surface.  I realized that in some of my past relationships that I was so scared of doing/saying the wrong thing or not being the annoying/clingy girl that I actually become a self-fulling prophecy.  

I hope that we can get past this snafu.  That he will remember all of the good in me, as I remember in him.  I hope that this is a lesson learned rather than a goodbye.  I take partial responsibility but not all.  I think relationships are about communication, openness, and honesty. All things that we said we would practice. But alas nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed.

I wish I was that cool girl.  That girl who let's things slide.  The girl that doesn't worry.  The girl who doesn't overthink.  That girl who doesn't assume the worst when her man doesn't call her back.  I wish my thoughts didn't play like a record on repeat in my head.  But I am just not that girl.  I hope that I won't always be.  I hope that in the future when this happens I won't let it get to me, that I won't create a problem that isn't there.  In the meantime, I am going to work on myself and strive to get this crazy-girl syndrome out of my system.  I just hope that I don't have to go at it alone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Long Walk Alone

This week has been an interesting week for me, spiritually when otherwise it might seem kind of depressing actually.  The temp job that I started last week ended very early.  Future employment seems hazy (as is the usually industry standard).  Today I received notice that the job that I had interviewed last month, the job I had been praying about continuously, the job that made me think that my days of poverty might be over...I did not receive.  And as the weather gets warmer I am realizing that I am starting to crave having a summer boo haha.  But spiritually a lot has been going on.

It all started on Sunday.  I was debating whether to even go to church at all.  I had decided to take mom to Wine in the Woods.  Going to church that day meant I would have to go to the 8:00 am service, a time when I usually enjoy sleeping in.  But I, we, pulled it together and got there (not too late).  I was so glad that I did. I felt like the whole service spoke to me.  It began by having a skit portraying a single, 35 year old black woman, who is single and wondering if she is being punished by God.  I am in that boat.  And so are a lot of my friends.  

The sermon was outstanding.  Pastor Dan Taylor weaved his theology background with his dry sense of humor to produce a clear and on point message.  Basically, he said that God is training us to be strong.  He cautioned that we cannot run away from this training no matter how painful and uncomfortable that it may be. Instead we have to figure out what God is trying to do and learn from the lessons that he is trying to teach us.  Powerful stuff right?

Monday I received another sign.  The weather was beautiful and I was driving with the windows rolled down.  I felt so incredibility grateful, happy, and calm.  I even had happy tears developing in my eyes.  I just had a feeling like everything was going to be ok.  But I also had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to be still.  I felt like there was something I needed to learn right away.  It felt as if there was a moment that I could not miss.  So I drove immediately to the christian book store.  I bought a book called "When Women Walk Alone:  Finding Strength & Hope Through the Seasons of Life" by Cindi McMenamin. 

Before you get the wrong impression this book is not supposed to be a how to find a man guide.  The book is not necessarily referring to the loneliness of being single.  While that is one reference it is more of a general feeling.  You can be married and feel alone.  You can be in a room full of people and feel alone.  Sometimes you can feel alone just because you feel as if no one understands what you are going through.  Or you can also just feel alone because you are not dating anyone.  I have felt a few of these feelings  Shoot, I am feeling a few of these feelings now. But the point of the book is not to figure out how to get out of your lonely place, but instead to embrace it.  It is in our deserts that God is looking for us to pay attention.

All of these signs softened the blow of my job rejection.  I honestly feel like I am in a position where God is doing some great things in me.  I feel myself growing spiritually but as a person as well.  I am trying harder than I ever have to lean in and figure out what God has in store for me.  I might not have gotten the job that I felt would answer all my problems but I feel as if I am one step closer to where God wants me to be.  And although that means I remain in limbo, it means I am uncertain of my future, I feel like this thing I am feeling right now is more important that all of that combined.  You'll see :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Continued Pursuit of Close to Perfection



This year I have made the focus of working on myself.  I can say for the past few months I have really had the opportunity to work on my relationship with God.  This journey has allowed me to learn about myself, and myself in relation to others.  I have worked on joining my church (Shout out to Bridgeway !) and I was even baptized.  But through this all, in my continued pursuit of close to perfection (close to, because no human is perfect), I realized that I need to begin working on my body as well.

It has been said that the body is a temple.  If my body is a temple chicken wings, pizza, and french fries are at the center of my worship lol.  In all seriousness, I don't think spirituality and becoming a better person can be separated from the way that we treat our bodies.  If I am not both mentally, physically, and spiritually fit I will never be able to carry out my purpose to help others.  If I am in bad health how will I take care of my mom?

The past month I spent meditating on these thoughts.  I gave up fried foods for lent.  It might sound easy for some, but you don't realize just how many things are fried until you can't eat them.  Without the fried foods I was forced to make different decisions and I was happy about it.  But I didn't want to stop there.

I know this next thing I am about to say it is not going to be well-received.  So please don't throw daggers until you hear me out.  I want to get married one day.  And I truly believe that by looking, and more importantly feeling like this I won't find the right person.  Don't get me wrong, I think that everyone has their own preferences and marriages are not just about looks, obviously.  However, for me, and for me only, I love myself but I love myself to know that physically I am not where I want to be.  And because I am not where I want to be I am not shining how I could be.  Let me clarify.  I do NOT want to watch my weight and exercise in order to attract a husband.  I want to do all of those things in order for me to be happier with myself.  And because I am content with myself then I will naturally attract the man who is right for me.

I want to feel good inside and out.  I plan on being around for many years to come.  I don't want my last few years on this earth to be miserable because of the bad choices I made now.  I don't want to feel depressed when I shop for clothes.  I want to go on a hike with my friends without being scared that I will walk too slow or that I will start wheezing and slowing down and then everyone else won't enjoy their own experience.  I might never be able to run a marathon but I want to be able to do what makes me happy without my body holding me back.

Yesterday I joined Weight Watchers!!!!  This is not my first time on the program.  In fact I was on the program a few years ago and lost 70 lbs!  I didn't stop because I didn't love the program, I stopped because I needed to cut costs and I figured that would be an easy way to do it.  If I knew I would be where I am now I would have never quit.  However, I am back now.  Sure I don't really have the money for it, but I figure my health is too important to ignore any longer.  Health problems run on both sides of my family and after this week it became more evident to me that I need to make a true commitment to taking the best care of myself.

So here I am.  I put it out there.  I have you and Weight Watchers to keep my accountable.  If anyone else is interested in making some lifestyle changes with me let me know.  I would love to have some accountability partners in the mist of this journey!

#HoCoFaith

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Senseless

I just finished watching a video of man verbally and then physically assault an elderly couple on a bus.  Fortunately, when his assault became physical the several members of the bus rallied together to literally kick the man off of the bus.  Senseless.

I write this post through drying tears.  Sometimes I am just saddened beyond words how people treat each other.  People practically look at me as if I were a saint when I hold the door for others.  I was always raised to be kind to the sick, elderly, and pregnant.  I was always taught to be nice to everyone.  My faith has ingrained within me message of loving my neighbors because Jesus loves me.

When I see videos like I did today or yet another murder in the city, I feel this overwhelming sense of disappointment.  I wonder when did we get to his point.  How did we stray so far from the ideal that "it takes a village"?  More importantly, I contemplate if we will ever get back to the way we used to be.

I am not a blind idealist.  I know that "back in the day" was not always some land of optimism and pleasantries.  This country has had a history of treating people as less than human.  But that is not the point I mean to make today.

So what is the point?  When did we stop caring for each other?  When did it become ok to curse out elderly people on the bus?  Even more, why is it ok to shoot a video of someone attacking an elderly couple on a bus and the laugh in the background when the attacker is getting attacked himself.  Why do we laugh at videos of children fighting each other?  Why do we glorify violence on the "reality" shows that we love so much?  When did please and thank you become optional sayings?  What has sparked this meanness, this violence?  And is it all just the beginning of the end?

It makes me glad that I don't have kids.  It makes me even happier that I don't want kids.  I cannot begin to imagine how parents are able to navigate the circumstances of today when raising children.

I guess all I can do is continue to behave how my parents taught me.  Maybe if there are enough of us that set positive examples to others that I will never see another senseless video like I saw today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reality Bites


I admit it I am addicted to reality tv.  From Project Runway, maybe the Voice from time to time, to Chopped, I love it!  While I have not seen it all, I have seen enough to know that reality tv is my vice of choice.  But my favorite thing to watch?  The Real Housewives of <insert city here>.  But by far the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) is my above all favorite.  Each Sunday I make sure to have my schedule cleared to sit down and watch the outrageous cast of RHOA.  Shoot I even live tweet during the show.

But this Sunday was different.  In fact, the past few months have been different.  I am not sure if it is this working on becoming a better person thing, my spiritual journey quest, or simply a change of heart, but I am beginning to think that I need to distance myself from RHOA.  It was this past Sunday when we all saw what we having been waiting to see for  weeks, the RHOA Reunion where Porsha and Kenya threw down. At a time when I would normally delight in my weekly scheduled indulgence I was disgusted.

Television has long been the only image that people have of black people.  Many people had never seen black people until they were introduced through stereotypical representations of us on tv.   Black men were slaves and/or angry.  Black women were also slaves, or maids, or provocative sexual beings existing only for the pleasure of a man.  But that image has clearly changes.  Black women went from being Claire Huxtable to either having a sex tape, scrapping at restaurants and high class functions, or both.  The image of black women portrayed on television has taken a rather sharp digression, a digression that could have an impact on generations yet to come.

The irony of reality tv is that there really is no reality in it.  Story lines are created.  Situations are set up.  Characters are manipulated.  All to achieve the biggest drama which will equate to the highest ratings.  But in reality black women do not go around pulling hair and threatening to beat each other's ass when they have a disagreement.  Women do not carry around scepters and use a bullhorn to speak to each other.  If someone says something you don't like you do not get up and drag them across of a stage by their hair.

As black female I wish not to further condone this behavior.  I don't think any of us should.  Children should see examples of strong black females.  They need role models who are educated, who have businesses, are artists, athletes, who are pioneers paving the way for others following behind.  We don't need images of fighting nor the degradation of our fellow black woman.  We should be building each other up and not tearing each other down.  We should not allow these reality stars to extend their 15 seconds of fame through inappropriate behavior.

Of course not all reality tv is bad.  There are many reality stars  who use their shows and their images for good.  But that is not what sells is it?  Because people use trash tv as a form of escapism from their own problems there will always be a market.  However if we as a collective whole decide to take our business elsewhere the market will be dead.

So I am making this plea to whoever is reading:

Reality stars: if you are known for your inappropriate behavior please either resign from your position our clean up your act.  If you truly care about our children and even your own children, if you care about positive images of black women on tv you owe it to us all.

Everyone else: I ask my fellow reality tv viewers to boycott trash tv.  Do it for the kids.  Do it for your own sense of peace.

I can't say I am going to totally give up on reality tv, but I am going to make an effort to stay away from shows that are not in alignment with my morals, values, and spirit.  I hope that you will follow me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday!

Today is Good Friday!  Historically, this is the day that Jesus died on the cross.  I have always wondered why it was called "good" when it really seemed like quite the opposite.  According to my sources (Wikipedia) the origin of good actually could mean holy, which makes far more sense.

For me today is "good" for me for a different reason.  Today, I am getting baptized for the first time!  When I tell people that I have never been baptized they are usually shocked.  I mean most people are baptized as children.  But not me!  I am so excited that I will have friends and family who will be witnessing this very special occasion.

While I am getting baptized they will be reading my story.  Now I am pretty sure that it might get shortened due to time constraints.  However, I wanted to share it with you all because it is something of which I am very proud.  Here it is in its entirety:
 A lot of people were surprised when I told them that I was going to get baptized.  I did not grow up going to church.  Sure I went to Sunday school sparingly, but never on a regular basis.  But in my heart I always believed that God was a presence in my life from an early age.  When I was in college I started going to church more often.  It was actually back then at a gospel concert that I officially accepted Jesus into my life. 
I continued going to church in law school, but it was when I came back home to Maryland that I really started to work on my relationship with God.  When I returned, I began to attend church each weekend.  In fact not a week goes by when my mother doesn't ask me if we are going to church and at what time.  Week after week I would sit listening to the sermon with tears streaming from my eyes.  Many times I had no idea why I was crying, but I knew that a change was beginning. 
For the past few years life has been challenging.  I have struggled with unemployment, taking care of my mother, and the feeling that I am not fulfilling my purpose.  But throughout this process I have remained faithful despite the days when I feel as if I have no more to give.  If anything, my faith has grown stronger.  Each day I try to work on practicing forgiveness, patience, and love for others just as God has practiced with each one of us.  Each day I lean on God for strength and guidance.  In fact my favorite passage is: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (KJV) 
Some of you may ask why get baptized now?  Well it is kind of like the line from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”, “Because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  Long ago I decided to give my life to Christ, now I want to start living the rest of my life with him as soon as possible. 
My baptism has many meanings.  It is a follow through to a decision that I made many years ago.  It is a sign of obedience to God.  It is a sign of progression in my faith.  But perhaps most importantly my baptism represents that I have put my trust in God.  It is a testimony that I am walking in faith and that I am not scared to declare to my family, my friends, and the world that I am a proud follower of Christ.
Everyone have a great Easter!

#HoCoFaith

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reprogram Your Thoughts



I have always been of the philosophy that your thoughts can control your outcome.  I usually call it positive thinking.  If you think negative thoughts you will have negative results, however if you think positive results you will have positive results.  And I think that for the most part I try to stay as positive as I can.  But there are those times when I feel like my negative thoughts, my worrying, the always planning for the worst cast scenario side of me hoovers like a dark bleak cloud.  It is in those times when it is really hard to think positively.  It feels almost impossible to think of the good side of it all.  I even wrote a little about this in my post Get My Mind Right last year.  But for the past few weeks I have really been making a conscience effort in reprogramming my thoughts.

I don't think it is by coincidence that I had the urge to write about this topic today.  In fact, it was just this weekend when I was telling one of my friends of my efforts to change my thoughts.  But today, God sent me a reaffirmation of this practice.  

All this month I have been reading the book I Declare:  31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life written by Joel Osteen.  My friend gave me this book a few months ago, but I just started it reading it at the beginning of the month.  This book is a powerful tool.  In fact, some of the declarations speak so strongly to my journey right now that I feel like this book was placed in my possession only through God's wisdom.  Today's declaration is to "have a sound mind filled with good thoughts, not thoughts of defeat."  And boy is this a struggle.

A few days ago a friend was checking up on me to see how I was doing.  I told her that I was feeling good and that God was really making some changes in my life and that I felt like I was about to start a new phase. She told me that she was happy for me, but to be on the look out.  That the devil tries to block from receiving our blessings and tries to keep our eyes off of God.  I listened to her warning, but at the same time I was thinking I have been through enough I can take anything.  That same day I found out that I did not get the job that I had interviewed for.  I was a little disappointed, maybe even a little sad, but definitely not defeated.  

Yesterday I took my car in only to get a break light fixed.  I casually asked them to look at the breaks because there was some squeaking.  The estimate came back for over $1400 worth of repairs.  I was sad.  But I also very calm.  And again I was not defeated.  Over my the course of my life, money, or shall I say lack of money, has been an issue for me for quite sometime.  Even before I became unemployed money was still an issue.  However, I am used to this and I realize that I can only do what is in my power. The me from a few weeks ago might not have handled everything so well.  I can only thank God for that.

Financial issues aside, there have been a lot of issues that I have been dealing with the last few months that require me to reprogram my thoughts.  I have been dealing with how others see me and how I see the world.  I have analyzed how I am as a person, who my friends are, and how friendships work.  I have questioned what I am bringing into the world and how I fit in.  At times I have definitely had some stinking thinking.  But I think the difference is that I can recognize it and really work and pray to change those thoughts.  It is not easy.  No it is very difficult to make a conscience effort to change your thoughts.  

Over the past few weeks I have gone through this whole uncomfortable feeling of change.  However, at the same time I have also experienced some peace as well.  I can only think it is partially from working to reprogram my thoughts.  I encourage everyone to give it a try, it might just change your life.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Words Beats & Life

If you went to the University of Maryland between 2000 and 2003 chances are you have heard of Words Beats & Life.  Words Beats & Life (WBL) founded by my friend, Mazi Mutafa, started as a conference at the University and 12 years later it has ascended to an organization that is affecting change around the world!

This morning I was honored to attend the WBL Breakfast of Champions.  I, along with many others, were honored for our contributions to the organization. To be honest, when I received the invitation I didn't think much of it.  In fact, my thoughts were hmm I am off and I like breakfast so I might as well go.  I would have never thought that I would be a part of a breakfast that raised over $73,000 in an hour!

So let me tell you more about WBL.  According the website the mission of WBL is
to transform individual lives and whole communities through Hip-Hop.  We do this through public art creation, teaching courses in the core elements of Hip-Hop, publishing a global academic journal on Hip-Hop, sending artists abroad and hosting Teach-Ins and retreats to build the capacity of scholars, artists and arts educators and arts managers from throughout the country and around the world.
Over the past few years I have seen WBL grow and prosper.  This organization does it all.  They have an academy in which students can learn to DJ, dance, and even paint.  There are parties.  There is an annual teach- in that brings hip hop's finest from around the world.  There is an academic journal.  They hosted the first of its kind hip hop chess tournament.  And if you walk around the streets of DC you will see many of the murals that WBL were instrumental in creating.  Not only is this organization shaping the lives of individuals but communities as well.  It is so exciting to watch hip hop being utilized as an instrument of change!

Today I pledged to increase my monthly donor amount.  I also pledged to volunteer at at least two upcoming events.  But most important of all, I pledged to recruit at least two more monthly donors (called MVPS).  You can contribute as little as $5 a month or as much as you would like.  The organization also accepts in kind donations as well.  So please consider joining me in being an MVP for Words Beats & Life.

To learn more about WBL please go to:  http://wblinc.org/

Thursday, April 10, 2014

God's Conduit

Sunday morning was rough.  My mom was getting on my nerves, as usual, and making  my morning start off the wrong way.  That morning I was debating about which service to go to.  For the past few weeks we had been going to a new service at church where we sit at tables and have a group discussion after the sermon is played on the video screens.  However, I had spent the past few weeks ugly crying at church and I felt the need to be a little more inconspicuous.  But because of the rush of the morning we ended up going to the same discussion service as the week before.

As we walk into the room the usher informed me that our table captain had been waiting for us.  In fact, she had even saved a seat for me, my mom and my friend.  This is the same table captain that was there when I was a blubbering fool the week before.  I definitely felt a little guilty for my thoughts of not wanting to go to this particular service for my own selfish reasons, especially after everyone had been so nice and comforting.

This week at our table there were two unfamiliar faces.  They were a couple who looked like they were probably in their 40s or 50s.  They began to share that they had lost their son to a drunk driver in 2010. While not having had the same kind of loss with my father's passing, I was able to share with them some words of understanding and comfort.  The wife thanked me after and said my words had helped.  We ended up exchanging information a few minutes later.

I left church that day with this amazing feeling.  I thought how awesome is it that I almost missed this opportunity to help someone else who was in need.   I also was so shocked that God had used me as a conduit to help others.  I guess in my eyes I am still that girl who didn't grow up going to church and who has a limited understanding of the bible.  I feel like I would be the least likely person to help deliver God's messages.  But as I have told others this story  they don't share my amazement.  In fact, they have all had a sort of "duh" reaction. The duh, meaning that they have always seen me as someone who delivers words that help others.  I guess I am starting to realize that my desire to help others may not manifest in the way I had imagined.  I just feel privileged that God is using me in ways that I had never imagined nor may I ever understand.

I share this to say don't underestimate the power of words and their affect on others.  Words have the power to make someone's day but they also have the power to break someone's spirit.  You never know when you might be called on to say the right thing, to the right person, in the right situation.  Don't miss your opportunity.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be Still




Recently I have been practicing being still.  Sometimes I just sit in my room with no music playing and no tv on.  I stop checking my email.  I stop checking my text messages.  I just sit still, in the rare quietness of my room.  And recently this silence has been golden.

Don't get me wrong I am no stranger to the love of silence.  Living in a house with multiple people I appreciate the time sometimes in the dead of night where you can hear only the sounds of a house that is breathing.  It is on those rare occasions that my mother has finally turned off her tv and her snores are so faint that I can appreciate only hearing the natural sounds made by nature during the night.  It doesn't happen very often but when it does I take it in like it is my last breath.

As much as I enjoy the silence it is rare that I am actually still.  I mean isn't rare that anyone is still?  In this age we are are constantly doing something.  We can't even wait at a red light without responding to a text message or checking email.  At least for me, each day is planned.  No matter how spontaneous I try to be to some extent I have a set aside time to be spontaneous.  Each hour of the day is planned for something that I will do or I could be doing.  We are so used to the feeling of being always being busy and shuffling from place to place that we are allow ourselves to be still with our thoughts.

This week I have been practicing this.  And this week practicing stillness has been kind of excellent.  I feel for a brief time that I have actually heard myself think.  I have had the chance to pray freely.  For once in a very long time I have enjoyed letting my thoughts roam free without the guilt of not devoting my attention to someone else or to something else.

In my stillness I am trying to take in more of God and less of me.  I am trying to process all of the feelings and thoughts that I have without the voice of others, just myself.  Try it out and see what you think.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mom and Me



year marks the 20th anniversary of my mom's diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.  Since her diagnosis and in particular the past few years I have really gotten to know my mother in a way that I had never imagined.  The mom I know and love today is the complete opposite of who she was 20 years ago.  In many instances I am grateful that she is different and does not remember who she used to be.

As I was preparing to write this post I realized that I have talked about my mom A LOT.  Here are a few examples:  Preparing for the Inevitable, Note From Mom, Normal LifeHonor Thy Mother.  I noticed a theme within these posts,  that most of the time I was complaining or frustrated.  Now, don't get my wrong, I am not going to apologize for it.  This blog is about openness and honesty.  Being a caregiver is a big responsibility.  Being a caregiver at an early age is also a unique circumstance.

Despite all of my complaints and frustrations, as I look back I am realizing that my mom is pretty awesome.  In many ways my mom teaches me how to be the type of person who I want to be.  I think sometimes I am moving so fast that despite her deficiencies that she is not a hindrance in my life, she is actually invaluable.

My mom is probably one of the most caring people I know.  She loves to give people cards.  I hate cards so I have not adopted this practice of hers.  But she is always right there with a card for someone for any occasion.  Whether it is a birthday two months in advance, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, a friend's daughter, or even just once in awhile a card to encourage me through my struggles my mom is there with card in tow.  She teaches me a lesson that sometimes I think I am giving a lot of myself, but maybe I am not really giving very much at all.

Mom also is a fan of giving gifts.  Despite having a very limited income mom always manages to give gifts to friends and family.  A lot of the time I don't know where she gets the money for the gift, where it is coming from, or where she bought it from, but she never fails to celebrate a birthday.

She is very outgoing and friendly.  She always asks my friend how her son is doing.  Which says a lot that she remembers that she even has a son.  Much to my dismay she is constantly striking up conversations with strangers.  And whenever we are out around town she always runs into at least one person she knows who is so excited to see her (despite the fact that she might not remember who they are).  Now this, I know I have definitely inherited from her.  So I guess I understand how my friends feel when I strike up random questions lol.  She is also very funny, although sometimes I don't know if she means to be...

Most importantly, my mom loves me.  She loves me even when I am not at my best.  And she tells me she loves me.  This is huge.  I did not grow up in a family where we said I love you a lot.  We did not hug and kiss each other.  But now, with her MS she always expresses her love.  Sometimes she watches me when I am asleep, or she just wakes me up to ask if I am ok, both of which are creepy but I know that she is coming from a good place.  I know she is not doing this to annoy me, but because she loves me.

So yeah despite her flaws my mom is pretty awesome!  And if you know her you will agree to.

Mom and I will be walking in the MS Walk on April 26th!  Well correction, I will be walking, mom will be pushed in a wheelchair.  If you would like to donate to me or our team, Team Bonbon please go Donate to MS Walk 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Breakthrough

I did the ugly cry at church today.  Sure I usually cry at least once during a service, but today I really outdid myself.  Today, I was too tired to hold back my tears and I let it go.  I suppose a part of me was relieved.  You have no idea how hard it is to fight your body week after week.  This week I let go.  This week was different.

I started this blog about a year and a half ago to document my spiritual journey and whatever life has thrown at me along the way.  This process has had ups and downs for sure, but up until the last few months my spiritual growth had not been where I thought it should be.  For the past few months, God has been leading me on a path closer to him.  Today there was a flash of the light bulb.

This year I decided I really wanted to commitment to growing closer to God.  It all began with deciding to become a partner (member) of the church that I had been going to for the past few years.  I believe that this decision became a catalyst forcing me to do a lot of self-reflecting and caused me become very introspective.

It has been HARD!  I think I actually wrote that in my last post.  Here I was walking around thinking that I was a good person, I followed the golden rule, and I always tried to do the right thing I thought surely God must think I am doing well.  But then when you really dig deep down inside, when you really start paying attention to his word, I realized that I have not even scratched the surface.  And that was probably the reason why I felt that my spiritual life was not growing.

Today, between the ugly cries and the back rubs from friends and the encouraging words from near strangers I realized that I am right where I need to be.  I am finally on the right track toward becoming more Christ-like and in turn becoming closer to God.

But I am frustrated.  To the outside world I look crazy.  Shoot, I even feel crazy.  My tears are neither happy nor sad, they are just there.  I feel a rumbling in my soul that I cannot explain.  I feel thoughts that are in the back of my mind and I am waiting for them to travel to the front.  I have ups and lows that I am not sure that anyone understands.  I feel like I am isolating myself from others and I can't explain why.  To them I think they either think I am in one of my moods again, or I am just a plain jerk.  But I do it because I need to process what is going on.  I need to be still to receive all these feelings that are flooding my heart.  I am changing, and it is hard, and I don't like it.  Well I don't like the frustration, but I do like the change.  But I reminded myself that this is what I asked for!  This is what I have been wanting all of these years.

Someone told me today that God is trying to purify me and refine my soul so I can be prepared to handle what battles I face ahead.  And it all kind of clicked.  I have to go through this to get to the other side.  And on the other side I am going to be better than I ever thought was possible.  But until then, I know there will be more tears.  I know there will be more feelings of discomfort.  I know there will be times when I can't begin to describe what I am feeling.  But it is ok because I know that I am getting closer to being who I want to be.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Green Eyed Monsters




Jealous.  Envy.  Frustration.  These are demons that I have been dealing with for the past few weeks.  It has been especially hard for me to articulate a problem that is internal.  Being jealous is especially hard to talk about with friends when they may be the subject of your envy.  So the past few weeks I have been trying to take some time to step back and really focus on the green eyed monsters that have been impeding my happiness.

So what makes me jealous?  A lot of things.  I am jealous of people who have a stable job.  I am jealous of people who have their own place.  I am jealous of people who can buy a $200 purse or who can take a random trip out of the country and don't think twice about it.  I am jealous of people who are married.  I am jealous of people who can go to their parents and ask for advice.  I am jealous of people who could be gone from their house for a week straight and not have to tell anyone where they have been.  I envy people who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.  I envy those women who have big butts and juicy lips.  I am envious of people who can walk into a shoe store and not feel disappointed each and every time. I am envious of people who don't automatically figure out what bills they are going to pay each time they get their paycheck and how much that will leave them with to live for the rest of the week.  I am envious of people who can truly take care of their parents so that they have a comfortable lifestyle. I am jealous of people who don't feel like they have the burdens of the world falling on their shoulders.  I am jealous of people who are always happy.  I am jealous of people who can block out things that make them unhappy and who are not tainted from their dramatic experiences.  I am envious of people who are essentially "normal", or whatever that is.  I envy those who are walking in their purpose and feel fulfilled each day.  And because of all of this, and then some, I am frustrated.

So what do I do about it?  I took some time to think about all of this.  Jealously/envy while it is natural it is a terrible feeling.  We are taught both in and outside of church to not compare ourselves to others.  But right now that is all I am doing.  And even more so I am assuming that just because someone has some of the things I mentioned that they are even happy.  A lot of people are not.  What was that about the grass being greener on the other side?

I feel kind of guilty about feeling this way, especially now.  Right now I am working on a temp gig (only my second of the year so far).  I am starting to get some interviews.  I am working on my relationship with God and in the process of joining a new church.  I am really starting to articulate what I am looking for in the my potential suitors.  All these things should make me happy.  Yet here I am frustrated.  I am frustrated because I have been in the same position for so long.  I feel stagnant.

I feel like this frustration is a test in my faith.  Many people think that the closer you are to God, that the less problems you have.  This is not true at all.  I have found that as I have been really working on this relationship with God that I have been becoming more frustrated.  It is because I am starting to recognize more about myself and my surroundings.  I realize I am not where I want to be, where I should be and I get frustrated about it.  I work on trying to be a better person everyday and it is HARD!  I tell friends about the principles I am learning at church and what I am reading in the bible and a lot of times it is hard for me to practically apply these same things to myself.

So, that being said, I am definitely a work in process.  And I am definitely slowly slaying these green eyed monsters in the process.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Love and Be Loved

A few weeks ago I noticed there were new pictures on my phone.  Well they weren't new pictures exactly they are old pictures from a few years ago.   But they are new to the phone as I did not take them or download them myself.  I guess it is something with the IPhone and that whole cloud business that I still don't quite understand.  Regardless, they are on my phone until I figure out how to get rid of them.

The downside of old pictures are old memories.  Mixed in with my crazy selfies and group pictures of the girls are pictures of me and my ex.  Yes, THAT ex.  The ex I thought who I was going to marry.  I can remember each picture for where we were and how I was feeling when I took it.  Each time I was so happy and in love and I was with someone who I knew loved me too, well at least that is what I thought at the time.
Seeing the pictures of my ex and I in our happy times actually makes me sad.  It makes me sad because I was so in love and now, I'm not.  Don't worry, don't worry I am definitely not going to regress and contact him. Even though he has started to confront me in my dreams, I know that it is best that we remain apart with no contact.

But it still doesn't change this feeling.  I want to be in in love and to be loved.  I want someone who feels the same way about me as I do about them.  I want a man by myself who truly feels that I am awesome and accepts the good, the bad, and the ugly things about me.  I want a relationship that is easy, but can be challenging for the right reasons.  I want someone who can make me a better person while I encourage them to be their best.  I want a partner in crime and I partner in life.  I need someone who I can talk to about the Real Housewives of Atlanta but I can also talk to them about the awesome service I heard at church.  I want all of this and more.  And I think to a varying degree that's what most people want.

The other day my friend called the last guy who I dated a "placeholder."  A placeholder being a person who fills a space for a temporary time.  It may have been taken a back at first, but I knew she was right.  I might have even known very soon in our almost three month failed courtship that he was never going to be someone who I was with permanently.  And because of this, because he was my placeholder, there was really never a right fit for him in my life.  I was unhappy for three months because I let someone in who was never meant to fill that place in my heart.

But I am getting older.  I don't want anymore placeholders.  I want someone who is going to hold a permanent place in my heart.  And I in return want to be someone's eternal placeholder.  I suppose the time has come for me to be ok with passing up on the false sense of comfort that I feel with a placeholder.  I need to feel ok with being lonely sometimes.  Because if I am faithful I know that the right person will be here soon and when he does I will feel love and be loved.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Forward




I know I know it has been awhile since I have written.  I get into these funky moods sometimes when I feel like there is a lot going on, but it is too hard for me to actually articulate anything that I am thinking in order to make cohesive statements.  Am I the only one?  Well considering it has almost been a month.  I figured I needed to start somewhere. ALSO, this is not a post about the history of daylight savings so keep reading!

This weekend marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  That's right I am giving you the reminder right now that on Sunday you have to spring forward.  Daylight savings always seems like the true beginning of spring, despite the fact that the official start of spring is on March 20th.  And while it now takes me about three weeks before my body can truly adjust to daylight savings, the changing of the clocks brings a new start.

Well to me, I am going to use it as a new start.  First, I am going to de-clutter my surroundings.  It is time for me to do a thorough spring cleaning.  That means that I am going to really try to tackle cleaning both my room and my mom's room.  I hear that they say cleaning your space helps to clear your thoughts as well.  Lord only knows that my thoughts need some cleaning.  I need to be refreshed, so I am going to start with my room.

I need to really put some effort into my fitness and health.  I have been selectively going to the gym.  And by selectively deciding not to go.  Same goes with my eating, I have been selecting to eat everything within my reach.  My stomach has definitely been in knots for the past few weeks as a result.  This week I have made a conscience effort to start counting calories and incorporating more fruits and vegetables.  So far I feel slightly better.  I also decided to give up fried foods for lent.  I figured it was a win for my body and a win for God! lol

My spiritual journey needs improvement.  Last week in church I went to the alter to ask God to help renew my faith and to create some changes in my life.  I know good and well some of the things I need to do I haven't been doing well.  Going to church alone is not enough.  So I have been trying to make the effort to pray more and read the bible.  I even put it on my daily to do list.  Slowly but surely I am getting better.  I am practicing lent for the first time in awhile.  I feel like it would be a good start in walking in faith to practice sort of restraint even if it is for something silly like fried foods.

Now the thing that I am most looking forward to about spring ahead, is spring out of this "relationship" I have been in.  I put relationship in quotes because I have been dating someone for almost three months who I wouldn't consider my boyfriend.  We have "broken up" and "gotten back together", again I use in quotes because I only think that you can do these things when you are with someone, and I don't believe we are truly together.  Regardless, I think it is time for me to start fresh.  Gone are the days when I keep someone around because I feel sorry for them.  I have been preaching to others that I would rather be single and happy and then with someone and unhappy.  It is time for me to start practicing myself.

So cheers to spring, cheers to no more snow and cold days, and cheers to fresh beginnings and to springing forward and leaving the past in the past!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Working vs. Jobbing

Yesterday at Bridgeway Community Church we had a King deliver the message.  Yeah that's right I said a KING.  King Adamtey from Ghana, delivered a message asking "Are You Working or Jobbing?"  He explained that work involves working for a purpose.  A job is something that you do just to exist.  He explained that God didn't create us just to do jobs, but to work.  The message spoke directly to how I have been feeling.  This message motivated me at a time when I very much needed the motivation.

The past few weeks I have been deep in reflection.  I have been processing how I view myself and others view me and it has kind of been a rough process.  One thing that always comes up is how not having a steady job affects other aspects of my life.  Yes I am consistently balancing the funds in my bank account.  And yes I keep passing on buying snow boots to make sure I pay another bill.  I have to skip a few outings and a few fancy meals from time to time.  But all of that is just surface level material things.

The loss of my job and the trouble of trying to find a new one definitely has taken a toll on my confidence.  I now question my abilities and skills and wonder if I am really good at anything at all.  I know I shouldn't think that way.  I don't try to.  But it is hard when you feel like the last kid left on the sidelines for a game of dodge ball.  I sit back and listen to people tell stories from their jobs and about their co-workers.  What stories do I have?  I took a really interesting quiz from Buzzfeed?  I found a great recipe on Pinterest that I will probably never make because I rarely get time alone in the kitchen?

At the end of the day it is not the actually lack of a job that bothers me the most.  It is the fact that I am not fulfilling God's purpose for me.  I started this whole blog trying to figure out my purpose and work on my relationship with God.  I read the Purpose Driven Life and The Dream Giver to help me figure it out all.  It helped and I felt motivated, for awhile. I figured out that I really wasn't too far from what I already knew, that I wanted to help people.  However, with each day that I don't have a job I feel like I am helping no one and that I am letting God down.  Sometimes I truly feel like God wasted his time and talent on me.  Sometimes I question whether my vision of doing great things for others was a grandiose idea that I was never meant to have.

Yesterday at church I realized that I probably am disappointing God, but it is not because I don't have a job.  No, I have let my relationship with God dwindle.  Sure I still go to church every Sunday with my mom.  I take care of my mom.  I try to abide by the Golden Rule.  I invite people to church.  I give money to poor people.  I volunteer.  And now I have even begun the process to begin joining the church.  However all of that is not really work.  At least I don't believe it is the work to which King Adamtey was referring.

Yes, I have been doing some good acts, but it is not enough.  My prayers have been inconsistent.  My reading and learning of the bible has been almost non-existent.  Instead of working for the Lord I realized that I was the one jobbing.  In other words, I was going through the motions for the benefits but not really doing what God needs for me to do.  I have been asking for blessings without putting in the work.  I realized that maybe, just maybe, I have been stagnant for the past few years because my relationship with God has also been stagnant.

So today is the day I have decided that I am really going to start working for God and not just jobbing.  I woke up and got on my knees and prayed.  That is something big for me, I am too embarrassed to say how I usually pray.  I found my guide to assist me in reading the bible.  I am going to get involved with something at church where I am forced to make more than just a one time commitment.  I need to figure out what God needs me to do and maybe I will figure out what I want to do.  It's time to get to work!

Overall, I figured and it was also suggested by one of my cousins, that if I "stay in his face he'll elevate and stretch me."  In other words by putting my work in with God, it will make other areas of my life work out too.  Today I am taking my first steps to get back on track.

#HoCoFaith

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Preparing for the Inevitable




Between my involuntary vacation and the snow and ice days I have spent a lot of time with my mom in the past few months.  And it is call becoming much more clear to me that I need to start preparing for the inevitable...

My mother has Multiple Sclerosis.  This shouldn't come as a shock to most of you.  She was diagnosed when I was in middle school so you know that was a LONG time ago (but not too long lol).  Anyway, since she was diagnosed I have witnessed the gradual progression of the disease.  For my mother, her first symptoms were weakness in one half of the body.  Today the manifestation of the disease has affected everything from the way she walks, to her daily bodily function, her personality, and her memory.  In fact of all those, who memory is probably the worst.  It is probably her lack of memory that hurts the most.

 Her neurologist, who I love dearly, once told me that in 10% of MS patients that their biggest problem is cognitive functioning.  In my mom this is true.  For years my mom has not been able to hold down a job.  Her writing skills have diminished.  She doesn't really have an attention span to sit and read for long periods of time.  In fact, doing anything besides watching tv is hard for her.  She has to be given very simple instructions over and over again.  Many times writing things down for her is the best way for her to remember.  Now I have noticed that she has trouble remembering certain words and her speech is regressing.

Long term, short term memories they are all pretty much a blur to her at this point.  She has asked me which high school she went to and what her wedding date was.  She doesn't remember much of my childhood much less her own.  She can barely even remember what she had for breakfast.

It is hard for me.  It is hard trying to be four steps of anticipating someone else's needs.  It is hard to hold the memories for two people.  I sometimes find myself getting nervous with my own memory issues.  I worry that the few times I miss and exit are a sign that I too might have MS.  I mean what would happen if I no longer can take care of my mom, who would take care of her?  Of me?

So I know I need to prepare.  I know I need to get used to the idea that my mom is going to keep getting worse.  Part of it is just mental.  As the days go by my mother is more dependent on me.  She seeks me as her financial adviser, her friend, her girlfriend, her companion and sometimes all of that is too much for me to handle.  Sometimes I just wish that I was a daughter and she was a mother.

Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling this way.  My mother is a wonderful woman.  MS has made her such a sweet lady (before that I can't say the same).  She is very caring of others.  She can be funny, even when she doesn't mean to be.  She can be a little feisty as well.  I love my mom and she did so much for her.  And I feel guilty that I am not providing the best of care for her.  I feel ashamed that I lose my patience.  I am sad when I don't have more understanding.

I know I need to physically prepare as well.  Right now I am living with family.  What am I going to do when I move out and it is just myself and her?  What am I going to do when I am at the point when I can't take care of her on my own?  All of these thoughts are running through my mind when I don't even have a steady job myself.  Sometimes I am worried about her needs when my own life at times feels as if it is in shambles.

I am scared.  I am nervous.  I am frustrated.  I am exhausted.  But having all those feelings, experiencing my anxieties is natural.  Venting is ok.  But in the end she is still my mom, the woman who raised me.  She is still my responsibility.  One way or another, I am going to have to find a way to make it work, for her, and for me.

***For more information on Multiple Sclerosis please click here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Black History Month



February.  You know what that means?  The Superbowl?  Well yes, that was yesterday, but I am referring to Black History Month.  Yes, Black History Month is a month that I always look forward to but it increasingly seems to bring out the worst in people.  So I have decided to take it upon myself to answer some questions that come up every year.

1.  Why does there need to be a Black History Month?

Black History Month was created as a supplement to what you have learned in school.  It is a way of recognizing all of the contributions that African-Americans (besides Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman) have made to this country.

Also some might ask an alternative of the same question:  Why does there need to be a Black History Month, there is no White History Month?

          Let's be honest, most of the history lessons that we receive in school are Eurocentric.  We learn about the Roman Empire, Greek mythology, the World Wars, but how often were we taught anything about Africa or even countries of the African Diaspora?  I mean with the exception of slavery, very little.  So I guess if you wanted there could be a White History Month, but it would probably be superfluous since every other month seems to be that way already.

2.  Why is Black History Month the shortest month of the year?

  We can credit Dr. Carter G. Woodson as the father of Black History month.  Dr. Woodson was a famed author of many books including the still top selling book The Mis-Education of the Negro.  In 1926, he initiated Negro History Week.  It was later extended to continue through out the full month of February.

For more information on Dr. Carter G. Woodson :

http://www.naacp.org/pages/naacp-history-Carter-G.-Woodson
http://www.biography.com/people/carter-g-woodson-9536515
http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/woodson.html

3.  Well now that we have a black president (President Obama) why do we still need Black History Month?

Oh boy.  How do I begin?  First, the election and re-election of President Obama did not end racial inequality in the United States.  Many people say that we are living in a "post racial" society.  However, if anything, the election of President Obama has only heightened already tense racial situations.  The passage of the Civil Rights Act has not eliminated racism and inequality.  Each day there is a new reminder that we have not come as far as we would like to believe.  Black face, the use of racially insensitive comments, behavior, and images is still alive and well.

I am a product of the Midwest.  I grew up beside white people.  I went to school with white people.  I called white people my friends.  I still do.  I am blessed enough to have been able to have been raised in an environment where I have been afforded the same advantages as my white counter-parts.  I was also raised to remember our ancestors and the people who fought for me to live the life I live today.  I am a lucky one.  But not everyone has had what I have had.  Not everyone has people surrounding them to teach them about the past.  We need positive examples of African-Americans.  Our children need to know that our people are doctors, lawyers, and inventors and not just reality tv stars, athletes and rappers.  It is important that after Brown v. Board of Education that little black girls don't still look at the brown dolls and believe that they are ugly.

4.  Slavery has been over, why does everyone still bring it up?

It is important to reflect on slavery and its repercussions.  The fact is that slavery, systematic racism, and racial oppression still have far reaching affects today.  The reason why black people test lower and have lower graduation rates, have more health problems and have a lack of efficient health care, higher incarceration rates, and even why we live or don't like in certain neighborhoods is all a result of the effects of slavery.

Some people still want their "forty acres and a mule" that was promised to us.  Other people just want an apology.  But all of those solutions will not account for the hurt and pain that black people have faced throughout the course of history.  So yes, for no we still do need to have a Black History Month to learn about the past and improve the future.

But in case you don't agree with me just see what the cast of Saturday Night Live had to say about Black History Month: