Sunday, March 15, 2015

Faith and Parenting

I was asked to contribute to Serenity's "Faith Series." During the Lenten Season, she has guests blogging about an area of faith. I was ask to write concerning faith and being a single mom. I have copied the post here. Feel free to read some other great stuff at Living My Faith

During this lenten season, we will have guests posts from other ladies who will share what faith means to them and how their faith impacts their lives. I asked Tiffany to write an article to share about faith as it relates to being a single mom. When I met Tiffany (through my blog), she was a mother to a son who may have been in middle or just beginning high school. She used to listen to my stories about Tyler and always give a word of advice based on her experience being in similar shoes. Her son is now a college athlete and a great young man. 

When Val asked me to be a guest blogger, I was honored but felt  a little unworthy. I was not sure what I would say. I even sent her a response saying just that because my faith walk is nowhere near where I think it should. However, I agreed for a couple of reasons. First, I know my friends see things in me that I don't see immediately. I knew if I sat for a minute and ask God to bring back to my remembrance, I could write something that could possibly help someone. Secondly, it is NOT about me. My life is a testimony or an example for someone else. Who am I to NOT share?

So here we go!

My definition of faith is trusting and believing in God or someone. It's not having proof that it will happen but still believe that it will. I can't pinpoint exactly when my faith walk started. However, if I am being transparent, my faith walk have sometimes ran in the opposite direction. It is a work in progress. I am just grateful that I have enough sense to recognize when faith or what I am believing for God allows me to see to come to pass.

I became a single mother exactly one month after I graduated from college. Looking back now, I realized I started applying my faith as a mother the day I discovered I was pregnant. My son was not planned BUT he was wanted from the very beginning. There was never any consideration of any alternatives. I am a strong believer God will never give you more than you can bear.

There were a few prayers I remember saying over the years. It wasn't like I said them every day, but God and I have conversations and He led me in the right directions. One of them were to break generational curses being repeated throughout my family. God also provided me with real tangible examples for my son to see and understand he had a greater purpose. The other prayer was to have a village to assist in the raising of my son. As a woman, I know I can't raise him to be a man. I can and did raise him to be a good person, to be respectful, and to do his best in everything. However, I am not silly enough to think I can raise a man. I was not equip for it.

The reason I had to have faith in God for those two requests is because I knew I could not fulfill them on my own. I come from a loving but underachieving family. I knew that I wanted my child to strive for excellence. Whenever he decided on some foolishness, we made a trip to my hometown. I would let him see how wrong decision can take you down a road you did not want. That was a great motivator for him to get on track. Looking back, I see that is exactly what God does with us. He shows us situations from our or another's past to learn a lesson. He loves us so much that He does not want us to make the same mistakes.

My village deposited into him as well. They reinforced my beliefs and desires for his life. Many times God provided the right villager to handle situations or milestones. With teenagers, mimma don't know what she is talking about many times...in a teenager's mind.


       Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This verse is the one I call the ultimate parent faith scripture. This is our or at least my biggest faith item. I have trained him up and st him free. My son is an 18 year old sophomore in college. My role has shifted to more of an advisory role. I know he has not attended church in his college city. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was sitting in church and received a message from him. "What did pastor say? What is the title of today's lesson? I'm streaming service. I really miss catching him. I need to get up and log in." I think I smiled the remaining of the service. My faith in this area manifested with my son knowing AND doing what he needed to do. As a parent, I can't ask for anything more!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Day 10: Overcommitment

This day really hit home for me and caused me to pause and really think about my current commitments and the ones I have made in the past. I thought about how I feel when I am overcommitted. There are two feelings that rush over me: overwhelmed and/or frustrated. Neither are good feelings to have festering inside.

I am proud to say that I have been doing a much better job of not overcommitting in the last couple of years. I have learned to say "No" or "I will try." Earth will continue to spin on its axis if I don't make or do everything! Its alright!!

Because "birds of a feather, flock together," I posted and tagged several friends on Facebook. They are just as guilty of doing and being everywhere. About a week ago, one of them asked me how did I learn how to slow down. She was even thinking about moving to a small town as a way to slow herself down. I told her that because I am a busy person, people assume I am busy and I don't correct them. I have at least one "do nothing" day a month. That consists of me moving from the couch to the loveseat throughout the day. I don't leave the house at all. Its my DVR and me! This allows me to recharge.

One of the author's questions is "why is overcommitting bad for us and for others?" For me, it physically makes me sick. It started in college but the doctors did not diagnose it until years later. When I am stress (usually from too many commitments), my body literally starts shutting down. I experience chest pains. They start as a dull pain, but increase in severity to feeling like a 400 pound person is standing on my chest. The cure.....sit my tail down and get some rest! The doctors suggested some medication. To me that was just some foolishness. If I can prevent it by sitting down and resting, then that is what I will do!

Overcommitting have other negative impacts as well. It causes anxiety, resentment, other feelings we can do without in our lives. When we overcommit, we usually can't do it all. Someone is left disappointed and we feel bad for not honoring our word. That is just not a good way to live! Eventually, people will stop asking or leaving us out of things.

One of the plan of actions the pastor recommend is consider my commitments and eliminate one commitment I have that is taking away from my other commitments. I took that to mean an ongoing commitment or a one time event. It was up for me to decide. As I am typing, I thought about a commitment I have for this summer. I am scheduled for several work related commitments with overlapping times. I was debating on how to handle it. I just decided on what to do. I will eliminate the last one I accepted. It causes the most conflict, takes up the most time, and produces the smallest results. After typing it, it sounds like a no brainer. However, I feel it is beneficial. That is why it was on the schedule. I guess I need to tell the powers to be to allow them time to make the necessary adjustments.

Another plan of action is to make one day this week an actual Sabbath Day. That means that you take the day to do nothing and recharge. This is my challenge to you! Will you do it? Can you do it? Leave me a comment or send me a message to let me know if you do it.

For those interested in the series, I have included the link for today's reflection Overcommitment

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 3: Feelings of Unworthiness

No you did not miss Day 1 or Day 2. I never picked up the laptop to write. I started to get all overwhelmed because now I have 3 days to write about. Then, I just stop. Nobody told me I had to write about every day. Nobody said I had to go in order. I can write about those days on a Sunday when there is not a post. I can NOT write about it at all!!! I did read and thought about it. That is the purpose of this time of year.....reflection and spending time with Him.

Today is about giving up feelings of unworthiness. I think we all suffer from it from time to time. I am grateful that I don't suffer from it often or overall. Reading the questions to ponder, I know at this moment, I am not suffering from feeling unworthy. Now, don't get me wrong. There are things I can improve, but I am still worthy!

One of today's plan of action is for parents. It says "if you are a parent, make sure to tell your child how proud you are of them. Assure them that you love them for no other reason than the fact that they are your child. Assure them that no matter what mistakes they may make, you will always love them. This is how your Heavenly Father loves you."

This is the one spoke to me more than the other two. I thought about my interactions with my son and if I assured him that I love him no matter what. I do believe I have shown him that over the years, but I do plan to check in with him and ask. I am going to take it one step further and ask him is there any other ways I can show my unconditional love to and for him.

Each child is different and feels love in their own ways. It took me a few years to realize the words I use have a huge impact on his self image, confidence, and  worthiness. I figured it out by his actions when I really attacked him verbally versus expressing my feelings. He confirmed it one day when we had a conversation about love languages. (That is a totally different post.) That conversation reiterated a couple of things: there is power in the tongue and one of his languages is words of affirmation.

This series is really giving me a chance to examine past experiences and learn the lessons from it. I encourage you to check out the series and if you are willing, examine areas of your life. Today's post is a reflection from 40 Things to Give up for Lent.
  


Friday, February 20, 2015

40 Things to Give up for Lent


One of my favorite people posted this picture on FaceBook.


But when I clicked on the link, it explained each one in detail. I decided to sign up for the pastor's email list to receive the daily posts. It has been great and I am going to blog some of the days. I would say everyday, but we know I get distracted...LOL

SO go check out the site by clicking on the word link above and join me! Each posting includes scriptures, questions to consider, plans of action, and reflection. I am getting something out of each one of them. 


By the way, one of my favorite bloggers, Serenity is having a faith series on her blog, Living My Faith. She will have guest bloggers discussing their faith in certain areas of their lives. It started on Wednesday. Go check it out too! 



Monday, February 2, 2015

2014 in Review - Visions and Strutting 2014

I am not going to have 12 different posts on 2014. The beginning of the year was just adventurous. The next few posts will cover a few more things in a post.

In March, I hosted a couple of vision board parties. I facilitated one for my church Women's Ministry and another one with sistah friends.





There was one vision board virgin in the group of friends. She literally put on her board she wanted to go to Hawaii for her birthday later that month. She hadn't started planning it, but that was what she wanted to do. Guess what? She did it!





The ironic thing is I never completed a vision board for 2014. I vow to make one this year.

Another major event in March was the STRUT Awards. It is an awards program that honors regular women doing extrtaordinary things. The weekend is filled with events to empower, uplift women and young ladies. Women are recognized for their passion, drive, vision, compassion, and selflessness. 2014 was the year for teachers and yours truly was humbled to be one of the honorees.












Keisha Pooler gave the attendees an amazing free style poetic work. She literally had random people give her words and she weaved each word into a remarkable poem. I really wished I had recorded it. 

The Art of Zion dance troupe performed a soul stirring dance that had everyone up on their feet. Many could not believe the talent of these middle and high school ladies. These ladies could easily be the next generation for Alvin Ailey! 

The night ended with ladies strutted, shared, networked, empowered, and poured into one another. Great night for all! 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 in Review - Part 2 Cruise Edition

January started off rough!!! But February was so much brighter! February 1st the doctor informed me the mass was non cancerous.

STOP!!!! TIME FOR A PRAISE BREAK!!! My prayers were answered. I prayed and God showed up. During most of that experience, I believed the results were going to come back negative for cancer. However, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that fear crept in from time to time. I am grateful my village was in place ready to assist me if I had to go on that journey.

With the good news, I was ready for February. My cousin moved to Atlanta from Cali. I was and am so glad she is here. She arrived a few days before our family cruise. My family knows how to have a good time. A few of my friends went with us a few years ago. One my favorite people and bloggers, LadyLee posted about her adventures here. This time, a few of my sister's coworkers went. They too had a ball.

This was a week long cruise. We made port stops in Cozumel, Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cayman Islands. This is the first time I had been on a family cruise in a few years because of my teacher schedule. My family likes to go off season and I only have 1 break (in Feb) that works. We had a ball! I tell you my family have a bunch of comedians!!! It was never a dull moment.





These are shots from our stay at the Ritz before we headed to the ship. This was a huge contrast to the snow we had in Atlanta and Cleveland a few days before. We could not wait to get to warmer weather!


Below are some pictures from the Captain's Dinner
Me and my crazy brother Reggie

My 1st little sister, Tenia and me
Me and Auntie Linda


Every time we stepped off the boat it was an adventure! 


Auntie Mel best friend and Auntie Mel

Auntie Linda's friends 

My sisters' friends





Hell's Post Office - Yes I have been to Hell!



When was the last time you saw a pay phone?

Watching the dolphins













Sister infinity tats

Yeah, she killed that fish! 


We had all these gadgets to catch pictures. I am still waiting for the ones on this device. 


I really needed some shades! 

Sister love

Daddy's girl

Our Tour Guide - He has 5 children and wants to have 20 total...Say what now?


Mahogany Bay

My brother and sister - they had their own photo shoot

They knew a Delta was on the ship





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