Personal essays · Self Love

100 days…

From my post in April:  100 signifies an election. The word election stems from the Latin eligere meaning to “pick out.” So today, I have elected to reflect over the past 99 days and pick today as the day to begin to conquer my fears, move past my insecurities, and just do it. My faith is urging me to really do IT.

We were taught that 100 means the end. But it’s only April, and Spring just started getting good. Excuse me while I wipe off my rose-colored glasses, adjust my curls away from my face, and exhale, “please count with me…..101, 102, 103, 104, 105. . . .”

 

And now here we are in September with 100 days remaining in 2017. I have still elected to conquer my fears, move past my insecurities and just do IT! I came here tonight to make some declarations so I can purposefully and intentionally fulfill my 2017.

I declare that I will learn dedication and consistency.

I declare that I will work on not being so hard on myself.

I declare that I will work hard and put all my faith in God.

Good night and CHEERS!

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Personal essays

Oh July…

It’s the last few hours of July, my birth month. I can usually reflect back on all the love I received and/or the fun I have had. But I looked at my calendar hanging on the wall and the flower chosen for July is barely seen because the edges are folded over and I looked thinking, “I cannot believe I am actually turning the page to a new month.” July was a busy blur and I don’t like that at all. So much happening between home, work, church, and my life smashed up in there. I am disappointed. It makes me sad to think that my one birthday wish – to receive the love that I give out – really was not fulfilled. The irony here is that when I had that thought this morning, I received a text from a friend who said I crossed her mind and she chose to encourage me. I think God was wanted me to know that He heard my heart’s cry.

Either way, as I lay in bed very tired, I cannot believe that this 7th month of 2017 is over. Seven is the number of rest. I did very little of that. It is the number of perfection and my life has been far from that. I am just wishing I could rewind to July 1st and make some adjustments. I do not know what I could actually change because there was so much going on but I wish I could have found time to celebrate me. I kept telling myself that I will just borrow some time in August but it does not feel worth it at this point.

But in spite of it all, I am grateful. I am a full-time employee and as of August 1st, I will earn the most amount of money yet in this field. My car is still running when I thought it would have given out by own. I am able to sleep in the bed I want even though my parents think I should have gotten a smaller one. My skin is reacting to something; I feel as though I am breaking out from everything but it could be worse.

And what’s crazy, I did not plan a birthday dinner, per usual, but I really wanted a lobster dinner.😏 Guess that’s for the best because I truly want to adopt a vegetarian diet.

I think I had more to say but I started watching a Bishop TD Jakes message from a few weeks ago and my feelings of disappointment are beginning to dissipate so I am ready to sleep in peace.

Get love. Give love.

Personal essays

Seven – Seventeen – Seventeen

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!! 🎂🎁🎊🎉 (<—- and world emoji day 😄)

I left my journal at home 😕 so I might as well blog, right?? I had some good writing to get done, great thoughts to get out! Hopefully, I will be able to pen it all tonight.  I also left a check I needed to cash. I did not sleep well because my mind was racing and I think my music was up too loud – I think I heard every song between each sleep cycle. 😞 I am also at work, which is rare. I typically take off for my birthday, or if I must work, I leave early or something. I am here all day today! It’s a national holiday, and as much as I appreciate God for allowing me the ability to get wealth, I would have preferred enjoying it my own way.

In other 1st, I received birthday gifts from my family weeks early! That was pleasantly surprising. I also did not plan anything for my birthday. There are things I want to enjoy for myself and by myself (i. e. sips n strokes, possibly lunch at a winery) but I typically plan a dinner or some sort of gathering with my friends and family, and I did no such thing this year. There is so much going on, I felt that I would have been disappointed by the lack of participation or the flood of excuses, so I just opted to do me.

I do, however, plan on celebrating until the end of the month. I will try to stop on July 31st, but I am not making any promises! 😏 I expect the most from this year, so I will not be bound by time. I will be 37 for the next 364 days and every day is a gift!

But it’s 7 – 17 – 17 and I plan on just resting in silence satisfaction in all those numbers have to offer. 7 – perfection and rest. 17 – victory. I love it! I will rest in perfect victory today and for the remainder of the month. Taking advantage of this moment will carry me through the end of 2017.

My birthday wish: to see and experience God’s blessings while I am living and well-able.

I love my family for accepting me. I love my friends for loving me.

Give Love. Get Love.

Self Love

Attitude of Gratitude

It is Saturday and this day has earned this hash tag #selfcareSaturdays. So today I slept in, washed my clothes, bedding, and my hair, and now I’m writing! I have done my best to manage my pain without medication. I even do some window shopping online for a new car. Ideally, a massage, possibly deep tissue (if I could handle it!), a manicure, a shopping trip, and maybe a movie would have been so terrific. Yet I have had a free day, in more than one way and I am grateful.

I even got to catch one of my favorite shows, ER. Way back during the early days of cellular devices, I wanted the theme song to be my ringtone. I remember periodically checking to see if I could ever purchase it through a website or whatever avenue we used to use for that purpose. I can’t remember if I tried to record it, but I probably did. I, also watched some great documentaries on the presidency and the White House on the Smithsonian network (did not even know this channel existed). And I now get to watch Jeopardy!!!

It truly is the simple things and the joy they bring. If I had my way, this day would have been spent in the streets but I have recently become a full-time teacher again, and it has been such an adjustment. The job is not what I want, but I am very grateful for this time and trying my best to be patient and take advantage of the opportunity given to me each day. So today in all its simplicity was necessary. I have no regrets. And because I will be 37 Monday, I have been quite reflective. Trying my best not be depressive because I cannot spend my day the way I wish but again, grateful. I guess my self-care Saturday is simply about gratitude. I will take it!

Give Love. Get Love.

Parenting · Self Love

Kitchen ABC’s

For most adults, you learn how to feed yourselves according to your appetite. If you love watching Food Network, like me, you imagine a kitchen filled with the latest gadgets and utensils. Until that dream becomes a reality, you might have these basics on hand (most probably acquired during your college years): pots and pans, spatula, maybe a mixing spoon, probably a whisk, and aside from the staple silverware, you might have a knife block. 

As a woman, the saying goes, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Yet, any man that is willing to cook for me and with me is a keeper! I like using my hands and trying to figure out how seasonings pair or standing over a mixing bowl saying, “what if I add this?” or “I wonder how this will taste?” Sharing my creations has not always worked in my favor BUT I can follow a recipe to a tee (I still have to add my own personal touch!)

But regardless if you have flights of fancy of starting your own cooking web series, there are some kitchen staples that every home can use. You never know when the day will come and you want to host a dinner party, or you might feel like experimenting in the kitchen like I do.

 

I asked my childhood friend and talented chef, Birmingham’s Chef Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering, to lend her expertise by providing a list of kitchen staples that everyone should have – married, single parent, doting bachelor or family of 5.

Pantry:

  • Garlic (fresh or minced)
  • Basic seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika)
  • Coconut and olive oils (these are NOT interchangeable)
  • Liquid amino acids – building blocks of life (great substitute for soy sauce, and flavor additive) 
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Italian herb mix: oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • Lemon or lemon juice

 

Equipment:

  • One good knife because it can make magic
  • One pyrex or casserole dish
  • Small and large saute pan or skillet
  • Median and large sauce pot
  • Bowls (various sizes: small, medium and large)
  • Ziplock bags (varying sizes: sandwich, quart, freezer)
  • Nuwave oven: can replace stove, oven, and microwave
  • Rubber spatula
  • Tongs
  • Wooden spoon
  • Forks and spoons (4 of each) – never know when you will want to or need to entertain

 

Foods:

  • Greens: Kale, spinach, collards
  • Frozen fruits
  • Bananas
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Beans (canned or dried, depending on your preference)
  • Rice (brown or wild rice blend)
  • Butter

I am going to add flour and sugar to this list because anything can be made or created when you have those in your cabinet as well.

These are just some basics that you should keep stocked. You can add other foods, seasons, equipment to your liking.

Besides, recipes are becoming easier to follow. If you can subscribe to Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, you can surely select a recipe online or at your local Publix, purchase the needed ingredients and then enjoy the fruits of your labor. BONUS: Having a home cooked meal saves money and calories! 

(Shameless Plug): Chef Eryka offers food coaching, cooking classes, lunch and learns, AND she will even come to your home and cook for you and yours!!!! Contact her today <info@notjustcatering.com> and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and THEN subscribe to her newsletter  😉

 

 

 

Personal essays

Good TV

Can’t believe June is here!!!

Aside from my niece turning the big F-O-U-R, it is summertime! I have big plans of being poolside or oceanside, which ever finds me first! However, TvOne has decided to dedicate a portion of their programming to two of my all-time favorite shows – The Cosby Show and A Different World! These shows shaped my childhood, and I love them! I often times get frustrated with my Hulu and Netflix subscriptions because there is a lack of available shows that have the appeal that these two had and continue to have.

The Cosby Show would air on Thursday nights. I always looked forward to the musical openings, especially at the start of a new season. I wanted to change my name to Vanessa, raid Denise’s closet, date Theo, style my hair after Rudy and have twins like Sandra.  It made sense to me watch a two-parent, dual income household because it was similar to the makeup of my family. It was inspiring to see people with my skin color, hair color, and family situations that seemed so far-fetched at the time yet were quite entertaining.

A Different World gave me something to look forward to upon high school graduation. I definitely wanted to be a student of Hillman University. I wanted to live in the dorm, eat at the Pit, and take math from Dr. War (Colonel Taylor). This show made me feel that I would find love in college and possibly even reside in that same college town upon graduation. It provided hope.

What has been most beneficial about this marathon is that there are tv shows that I can watch with my niece! I do not have to compromise and watch Disney or Nick Jr. These two shows are appropriate for my also four-year-old niece. It has been refreshing to enjoy this together!

Self Love

Ode to Blueberry Pancakes

I could probably eat blueberry pancakes every single day. I usually reserve them as a Saturday morning breakfast/brunch treat or any day of the week that I have time treat. Yesterday was rough. I was dejected and spiralled into a bout of depression. My life feels like everything is up in the air and definitely not how I would have planned it. This morning I woke up purposed to not stay down. I went to the kitchen for just a cup of coffee and decided that I had time for my blueberry pancakes! I have been full all day!!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I have a friend who is a mental health professional. I reached out to him a few months ago when I felt that I was at the end of my rope. He recommended a few psychologists. Once I finally found the nerve to call, the one I selected was no longer in practice. I moved to the next name on the list and still have not called. I have communicated with her and she is very understanding and realizes it is a big step to ask for this type of help. The one thing that she said that helps me inch towards finally talking to her was, “Just look at it as helping you  to put skills in a toolbox to help deal with whatever is making you consider therapy in the 1st place…definitely no pressure.” Yet I still have not called. Seeking therapy does carry an unfair stigma. Definitely does not mean that I am crazy, just that help is needed. In the Black community, speaking with a psychologist or a psychiatrist is not an acceptable form of help. In the Christian community, this type of help seems to oppose the power of prayer. I think my hesitation lies in the thought that I can work it out. Things will get better. After yesterday or even during my “crisis” I should I have ran to this stranger. Yet I chose to sleep and wake up this morning to eat blueberry pancakes.

I definitely cannot eat my way to peace. I am already struggling with my weight! Talking is cheap, healthy, and safe. Prayer still works but I do need time to discuss me.

Thanks for reading. I hope to update this post with revelations after my talk with the therapist.

Give Love. Get Love.

Self Love

May is Marvelous

It is May!!! 5 months in 2017! That is just a crazy realization. Five is the number of grace. I will gladly walk in that all month long! Today I woke full of hope. I feel the freshness of this day. It is tangible. It is a great day to get stimulated and inspired!!

This weekend I was able to receive so much motivation! I watched this video on YouTube by one of my favorite comedians right now, Kevonstage, entitled, “Doboy’s testimony is my testimony.” 

This video was not a laughing matter at all but a push to just believe in yourself and the talent God gave you and keep working. Despite setbacks and rejection, keep striving. It made my heart so full. I think Kevonstage is so humble so to take the time to share an experience that was not about him just made me so incredibly full. Then I went to church! Saturday was women’s prayer. I almost missed it! Even though I was late, I was on time for what I needed to hear – God is concerned about me! We gathered to pray for loved ones and those souls who would give their hearts to Christ. At the end, we were instructed to them pray for ourselves and “ask lavishly” of God. As much as I have prayed and cried and written in my journal and whined to my friends over the past several months, during that moment in prayer in a sanctuary full of hopeful women, I felt my release. Then yesterday at church I was able to witness so many get baptized including my godson! I needed all of that the final weekend in April to set me up for the magnificence of May.

May means:

  • Lupus Awareness month. Put your purple in support! This disease does not play fair but the wolf won’t win! I’m a survivor.
  • It is Teacher Appreciation week! Being an educator is tiring and selfless but I love being in the classroom. Teachers need all the support and encouragement possible! Thank your child’s teacher.
  • Graduation season! I love graduations!!!!! That euphoric feeling of completion, realizing that you can finish something, feeling empowered to begin again and conquer new territory. . . .
  • Mother’s day! Mom’s are the best and just never get enough credit.

Now after writing that list, I understand why these events take place in May – it’s because each requires its own level or measure of grace (simple elegance, courteous goodwill, the free and unmerited favor of God).

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

Ephesians 4:7Amplified Bible (AMP)
Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.