about me · Personal essays

Maintain – My 2018

I follow a few bloggers who have declared a word for their year. I cannot recall what my word may have been last year, but this year it came to me quite quickly – MAINTAIN!

Here’s the story: Every new year brings this euphoric high. Of course, armed with this feeling, I was wondering how could I keep or maintain this attitude all year long. What helped with this belief was an Instagram post by one of my favorite bloggers/vloggers, @askproy, where she is doing #askproyselfloveproject. For January, she has encouraged her followers to post a selfie and attach a positive affirmation (I have yet to post my selfie). On this day, January 2nd, her statement was: I have come this far & I can keep going. She goes on to describe how we all make goals at the top of the year and then give up. She instructs to just take a moment, day, week, etc. at a time. My response was: My goal for this year is to keep this feeling all year long! And that’s when it hit me, the song lyrics of Jonathan McReynolds, Lord, Help me MAINTAIN!

Per my google search, Maintain is defined as:

  1. cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue
    1. It is my utmost desire to stay high all 365 (it’s already been a struggle!)
  2. provide with necessities for life or existence
    1. This is all God! But it also ties into a new venture I am exploring as well! WIN-WIN
  3. state something strongly to be the case; assert
    1. Now this one, it does not automatically come to mind when I think of maintain, but I declare/assert/affirm/avow/profess/claim/allege/contend with the notion that I will remain optimistic and motivated all year long.

But my visit to the hospital for some tests provided me with a 2nd word for 2018: HOPE. I was reminded that my God can use anyone at anytime to confirm something He planted in you. Words have power and actions carry weight.

I am moving confidently in my faith.

This is my scripture for the year: Psalm 16:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot.

I’m in a zone. Lord, Help me Maintain…


Give Love. Get Love.


Personal essays

The New New

January 1st signifies a newness. But as time ticks on, some people have begun to avoid the cliche’: “new year, new me” or even ignore new year’s resolutions. For most, before the 1st quarter is over, the resolutions have dissolved and old habits have resurfaced. Some, like myself, have tried to work on or plan for those January resolutions in November or December in order for maximum success. For me, I have tried not to fall into the same old mindset. However, I am realizing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using January 1st to start all over again. It’s a new day, a month, a new year that has never been seen before. The wisdom comes in planning:

  • I can create a new path to wellness in January but I need to plan for whichever I decide to follow.

Thinking about yoga + pilates, combined with some weight training. However, water aerobics would be the bee’s knees!

  • I can create a have aspirations for my blog but I must plan and schedule my posts.

My blogger/writing guru, Javacia Harris Bowser of See Jane Write has offered this as a guide for her Janes!

  • I can desire to a better steward of my time, talent, and treasure but I must apply discipline.

The Parable told in Matthew 25:14-40 paints a descriptive picture of what we are required to do with what God has placed in our hands until He returns.

Overall, I am very excited about 2018. I have enjoyed my Christmas break. I have lounged and ate and thought and planned and ate and slept and laughed and lounged. All of that served me quite well. However, I am ready to move forward guided by wisdom and led by love.

Give Love. Get Love.

Cheers to 2018!


about me · Personal essays · Self Love

Let Go

I went to bed last night full of hope. I got some exciting news from a close friend. She and her husband had been praying all year and believing God for a laundry list of things to happen. Last night she shared how many things had been crossed off, but the biggest prayer request had been answered, and I am thrilled.

So last night I laid in bed, trying to clear my mind for a great night’s sleep. I am returning to work today after being placed on bed rest. For the 1st time ever in life, I was forced to just rest. I have had recovery time from surgery, but this was not the same for me. I was being forced into 7 days of rest. It seemed promising but not as natural as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, last night, my prayer was to sleep sounding but awake on time, hearing my alarm. There was a noise in the middle of the night that seemed as if someone was preparing to enter my room. My doorknob jiggled. I waited to see who chose to disturb my sleep but thought if it was a spirit or something ungodly, I decided to prayed my voice to yell, “Jesus!” but I just went back to sleep.

I promised myself I would not be late for work and my current formula for that is to wake up earlier. (I am in the process of changing this idea of me ALWAYS being late.) I found myself hearing a rustle and felt my body slowly exit sleep and begin to wonder the time. I searched for my clock/alarm, hitting the button on the slide. My phone died. The idea of that seems so laughable because out of all mornings, I need my alarm. I was wrong in thinking my cord had hit the floor. Somehow, some weird way, my charger, and the phone had separate during the night. It was laying on the bed near my phone. I plugged it in, thinking it was around 330. It was 4:59 am. At that moment, I sat up and thanked God for loving me enough to wake me right when I needed it.

Two nights ago, I laid in bed thinking that maybe I had not been praying enough or listening to God closely enough or just making time to be still and learn how to wait. This morning, He lovingly and gently reassured me that He’s here, He’s listening, and I know how to hear His voice. It was a moment of reassurance that I could not have planned but desperately needed.

This was the 1st morning I attempted to meditate. My heart full of gratitude demanded a Selah – a moment to pause and quietly reflect. As I cleared my mind, a song played in my ears. I tried to remove it from my thoughts, but my spirit said, “Listen to the words. Listen to what you have been declaring. Listen to what you have been putting power to. Listen to what to what you have placed in the atmosphere.” So I allowed, “We are desperate, we are waiting for You, Lord. Have Your Way” to play in my head. This morning served as a reminder that I need to let God have his way. Not just sing about it but believe it, trust it and do it.

Give Love. Get Love.

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.




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.


  • 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



  • 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



  • 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  😉