What If “What If” Never Is?

Now’s the time for us to call it QUITS with fear. #nofearhere #allfaith

Life Gets Better

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I’ll be honest and say that “what if” has had me be unfaithful to my faith one time too many. “What if” is a mess, a mess I tell you! I am a Christian, and I profess to have faith in God to do exceedingly, abundantly ALL I could ask or think. But still, those two gigantically small words “what if” sometimes seem to sneak into my testimonies trying to wreak havoc that isn’t even guaranteed.

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This week alone, I’ve spoken with two dear loved ones. Both are facing or have faced health challenges, and both have entertained the company of the dreaded “what if”. As I empathetically listened to them voice their concerns (also known as fears) I reflected on own my life, days distant and days like yesterday where “what if” invaded my space and my faith. I, like them, have done the “Tango”, “The Bump” and the…

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Don’t Forget the Seeds

Let’s be real. It can be tough as an old Cordova’s “thickly cushioned” Corinthian leather (Google it) to think that things in life are going to change in our favor, especially when we desperately need things in life to change in our favor. This is the tea, and can be a serious struggle. Ask me how I know. The sweet-as-can-be sweetener in this tea, however, is the fact that in Romans 8:28 God promises that all the things we’re going through will work for our good if we love Him. And that He also promises in Galatians 6:9 that if we keep doing good we will reap if we don’t faint. That is some good news!

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So what do we do between this and that? I would suggest remembering our seeds. Talking to a friend recently who was going through some life-changing testimony builders (as I prefer to call them) I had to remind her of just how faithful to God and her situation she’d been, and how sacrificially kind she’d been to so many people, including me. She was in a time of need and needed to remember her seed. She’d sown some major blessings, that, while the main harvest might not have been meant for her, the residual reaping sure was.

Now don’t get God twisted. He’s not in the lottery business nor is He vying for Wayne Brady’s gig on “Let’s Make a Deal”. We can’t bet, barter and finagle with him like a mid-day game show or a midnight casino run. What we can do is know that, if we’ve done things to please Him and if we’ve been a blessing to His children, like any good Father, in fact the greatest Father, He’s got our back. No, that’s not going to mean that our situations will immediately improve. No, that’s not going to mean that we will necessarily reap from the exact people or places we’ve sown into. No, that doesn’t mean that it won’t even appear (note, I said appear) that somebody “done come all up in our crop” and plundered our stuff. But yes, Romans 8:28 and Galatians 6:9 are true, and there’s nothing any situation or struggle can do about it, but succumb to it. Bow down struggle. Bow down.

So, when we’re tempted to think all hope is gone, things can’t better, there’s no way out, this is as good (as in bad) as it’s going to get, and so on and so on, we can’t forget the seeds we’ve sown. And we certainly can’t forget the works and wonders God has already done. We have to ponder on our seeds and successes for a few then get right on up and sow some more. In fact, I dare us all to sow in the very area we need it most. Need money? Give money. Need a job? Volunteer. Want children? Babysit. Need a marriage miracle? Bless a couple. Desperate for healing? Care for the sick. Family matters? Help another one. Got it? Good! Now let’s get going, and keep sowing.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Dyron’s Lowcountry: Brunch Done Right

Follow me on my new blog site http://www.angelaeatstheham.com. Just look for the FOLLOW, enter your email address and read more posts on my affair with food.
#ReadItAndEat

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This post will be one of few words. Why? I’ll let the pictures do the talking, and hopefully you’ll take my few words and find out for yourself. There’s this little jewel of a dining experience nestled in the heart of Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, called Dyron’s Lowcountry. I first introduced you to it in my blog post The Deliciousness That is Dyron’s (read it and eat) after being introduced myself during a Girls Night Out which turned into a foodatopia.

Two days later I somehow found myself back at Dyron’s indulging in brunch with my sister and mom.  Shame, I know. But I just couldn’t help myself. Like a warm bed on a cold, rainy night with fresh from the dryer linen Dyron’s was calling me back. And I answered. The brunch did not disappoint, dahlin’!

Starting with flaky, tender biscuits and wedges of ice cold butter…

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The AfterMATH of Divorce

Let’s just cut straight to the chase. Divorce costs…BIG! It can be one of the most costly investments or divestments ever if you ask me regardless of what side of the gavel and decree one might sit. That’s likely one of the many reasons God would prefer us to stay married (with the exception of instances like abuse) and why exhausting every, single possible road to staying together is such as wise option.

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Anywho, what those who haven’t been unfortunate enough to travel the road of divorce might not know is that the afterMATH of divorce often lasts longer than the shock of the separation and the finality of the decree. For some, there could be financial strains and pains lasting what appears to be a lifetime. Whether one is the one who left, or the one who was left there could be circumstances where a former couple has children together and child support obligations, school, graduation and wedding financial requirements,  shared property with both or one name on the line, mutual business dealings with jobs, life insurance, retirement, stocks, bonds, social security, credit ratings and public reputation on the line, short-term or long-term alimony, depleted savings, foreclosure or short sale of homes, and a bunch of other stuff I probably didn’t even know about as I maneuvered blindly through my own personal ordeal that’s still a big deal with which I’m dealing five years later.

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So, what’s a woman or man to do with the afterMATH (as in money issues) following a divorce?

Here’s what I have heard or learned:

  • Never give up hope. So cliché’ but so true. Things can and will get better.
  • Don’t fret over what the other person is doing, or what you think they’re doing, especially if it appears that he/she is doing, gaining or having more than you are able.
  • See a financial advisor and fast.
  • Seek counseling.
  • Readjust banking, retirement and life insurance matters quickly.
  • Keep good written documentation, not to use against anyone, but to make sure you are handling things on your end properly.
  • Liquidate any shared property as quickly as possible and be proactive about communicating with the party most affected as to the status of things.
  • Put pride aside and ask for help from family and friends if you fall on harder than normal times.
  • Talk to your creditors about what’s going on to see what help they might provide.
  • Be realistic with your children about the financial state of things (never pointing the finger, depicting another party negatively or placing blame), but in a way where they appreciate what they have and the sacrifice being made. 
  • Learn to budget even better and accept it as a temporary new way of life.
  • Appreciate the new lessons learned as prepping ground for greater. Either you can use your couponing and discount dining skills and frugal shopping for yourself and your children, and/or share them with others to help them make the most out of where they are in life.
  • Put it on paper. Journal what you’re experiencing so that you can look back and be even more grateful when you’re from under the financial fog often brought about due to divorce.
  • Stay focused on who and what matters. Beware of bitterness, especially when money, court ordered requirements and promises are short.
  • Pray for the other person, especially if those answered prayers can benefit you both as you go your separate ways while maintaining a financial tie.

@AngelaMMoore316

 

How to Balance Work (When the World Around You is Tripping)

Let’s face it. That whole separation of work and life can seem impossible at times. Maintaining a sense of professionalism, positivity, energy and gratefulness in the workplace can feel like an impossible and unfair task when there’s a mini or major storm brewing in our personal lives. And still, we’re expected to be present, perform well, play nice (as in get along with others for the greater good), and pretend as if what’s happening outside of the walls of work aren’t happening to the person who just so happens to be within the walls of work.

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I’ve had my fair share of days where the mere thought of having to face another human being and represent whichever company I was working for felt like someone asking me to snatch my hair out strand by strand…and I’m talking my real hair. Having to work through years of sickness, pressing family matters, deaths of loved ones, financial nightmares (or so they seemed), and marital issues when said issue was with your (now ex) husband who also happened to be your boss is not for the faint of heart. I mean, who wants to put on make up and a happy face and function in front of thousands on television as I had to at one point in my life or in the midst of any other people?  It hurts, frightens and disrupts peace like the dickens to sometimes have to work as if we’re not hurting, frightened or disrupted at least until we clock out for the day or call it a night.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work for 20 years professionally now. In past careers I’ve supervised several interns. For seven years I was the official/unofficial “HR” representative for a staff of up to 25 full-time and part-time ministry workers. I’ve also been able to supervise as many as 40 AmeriCorps members (look us up at www.ywcabham.org/americorps) at one time. One thing all of these experiences and certainly my own have taught me is that humans have issues and sometimes those issues seep into our work or service whether we know it or not, and whether we want it to or not. We all have a backstory that we bring to the big stage of life, even at work. The signs of what those issues might manifest could be change in attitude, calling in frequently, unproductiveness, being present (but not), problems with other co-workers, isolating others, change in appearance, and overall frustration (however it chooses to show that there is frustration).

So what can we do to try to make the best out of some of our bad situations until the bad gets better so that our job, service and sanity stay in tack? Great question. Glad you asked.

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  1. Be honest enough to admit there is a personal problem.
  2. Talk to someone at work who can help.
    • Having someone to vent to and talking to someone who can help are two different things. We should stay away from those in the same situations as we are, or those who are negative who may tend to bring or keep us down. We have to rely on those, like our supervisors or some who have been where we are who can help us strategically cope and continue to function well at work.
  3. Disclose health problems or need for reasonable accommodations.
  4. Take time for self.
    • A nice walk around the building, a real 15 minute break, an hour at the gym, appropriately timed chit-chat with our favorite uplifting work buddy, or 30 minutes of a meal and 30 minutes of reading our favorite book or watching our favorite Netflix sitcom during our lunch break can mean a world of difference.
  5. Utilize the Employee Assistance Programs or counseling if offered, especially if it’s free.
  6. Daily find things at work for which to be grateful.
    • We can carry those thoughts through the day and when we return back to what’s awaiting at home.
  7. Get ample amounts of sleep and rest. (There is a difference. You know?)
  8. Keep it positive.
    • Calming music at our desk, inspiring Post-it notes around our cubicle, refreshing verses we can quickly read when needed at work and a proper mental perspective can help.
  9. Place problems appropriately.
    • We have to be certain not to take our personal problems out on the people around us from 9-5 or 6-2 in my case.
    • Our situations will one day change for the better. We want to be certain they don’t leave an inaccurate, lasting impression at work or with anyone.
  10. Manage emotions.
    • We should readily recognize the heightened possibility for an increase in anger, sarcasm, laxness, blame, misunderstandings, discouragement or sluggishness and not let that be what others see in us.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Power of a Circle

Yesterday I almost cried. For seven months I’ve been spending either my Monday or Tuesday afternoon with students from Birmingham, Alabama’s Woodlawn High School through a Church of the Highlands Small Group called Steps to Success. Like clockwork these amazing 9th-12th graders would trek across the street from school to the Birmingham Dream Center, filing in one-by-one, some with smiles, some with giggles, and some with looks of sheer exhaustion, after spending a day learning within the four wall of the traditional academic atmosphere.

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Week-by-week they would come for another round of education through the small group I was blessed to be able to start just to spend another hour or so learning. Sure, there was Little Ceasar’s free pizza and the occasional Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Yes, there were my corny jokes, standard “Hey, y’all” when they walked through the door and required picture taking when they departed. Certainly there were amazing co-leaders leading and helping organize along side me like Mr. William, Ms. Jones and Ms. Helen from the Dream Center who made it all happen for us each week with welcome arms and a warm smile. Absolutely there were the speakers who showed up to give back each week sharing their professional advice, personal “oops, I made a mistake”, stories of struggle and triumph, wisdom, connections and God-given love. Don’t believe me? Just check and see who and how AWESOME they are. BTW…my friends and colleagues ROCK! #blessedtoknowthem

September 8: First and Lasting Impressions in Business and Life-Angela Moore

September 15: Law and/or Finance-William McKenzie

September 22: Mock Interviews and Networking –Angela Moore and Rikki Ross

September 29: Public Relations-Chanda Temple and Jeniese Hosey

October 6: US Air Force-Lacy Gunnoe

October 20: Media- Pamela Cook and Tasha Simone

October 27-Owning Your Own Business- Kim Colvin, Chandra Sparks Splond, Pastor Mike and Dee Edwards

November 3: Business and Public Safety- Annetta Nunn and Charlie Glover

November 10: Community Engagement-Bacarra Mauldin, Tanika Harrell, DeShunn Wilkerson, and Jennifer Hatchett

November 17: College 101-Kristalyn Lee

November 24: Science and Technology-Russell McClinton, Kaye Williams and Cynthia Byner

February 10: Soft Skills- Rikki Ross and Angela Moore

February 17: Design-Traci Ann Moore

March 3: Social Justice and Youth Leadership-Rebecca Harkless and Angela Moore

March 10: Social Work-Walter Robinson

March 17: Videography, Photography, Graphics-Patrick Johnson, Eric Jones and Terria Jones

March 24: Community Leadership- Taneisha Tucker and Charmel Taylor

April 7: Health- Michelle Bridges, RN

April 14: Life Enrichment-Dr. Mark Sullivan and Cassaundra Davis

April 21: Following Your Dreams-Joe Lockett, Melva Tate and Comedienne Joy of The Joe Lockett Show

April 28: The Truth About High School-Angela Moore

May 5: Law- William McKinley

May 12: Closing Ceremony with Returning Speakers

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Most importantly there were the students! These future veterinarians, computer program designers, cosmetologists, engineers, music producers, politicians, public speakers, medical experts, civic servants and sports analysts who also just so happen to be some of the brightest million dollar and nationally known scholarship winners, robotics team leaders, horticulture experts, basketball players, playwrights, student ambassadors and all-around good people filled the room and filled our hearts each week with their mere presence. Sometimes braving the cold, potential snow and heat while others were home, hanging out or being ordinary teens, these extraordinary human beings showed up each week and soared. The ease at which they trusted the help of strangers, pouring out their thoughts and questions had me in awe. Their spunk, inquisitiveness and support of each other inspired me. The things they learned and taught simultaneously in our often-lopsided circle will stick with me forever.

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Who knows where all these mighty agents of change will go in life. No one but God for sure. But I can speak on behalf of all those who spoke to them during the Steps to Success Small Group and safely say I’m glad I was in the circle along for a part of their journey, and can’t wait to see where it takes them.

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@AngelaMMoore316

How’d They Do That?

In honor of Mother’s Day I reblog this post and pose the question still…”How’d They Do That?” I salute all of the AMAZING moms and mother figures today and always.

Life Gets Better

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I’m convinced that I’m from a line of special-agent, super heroes. As my mind thought back to my childhood, as it often does, it drifted to food. As fresh a memory as one created moments ago I thought back to the days spent at home in Birmingham, Alabama and with family in Montgomery, Alabama. My mother, grandmothers, great-grandmother, godmother, aunts and other caretakers took care of my relatives and me. They really took care of us. Tending to houses full of children, working full-time jobs, taking care of husbands, other people’s children and themselves, and making sure we never, ever, ever went without a meal that left a lasting memory was the norm. I often ask myself not, how’d they do that.

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I fondly remembered one of my favorite meals: Salmon croquettes, white rice, English peas, canned Hungry Jack biscuits and Kool-Aid. With an active and growing family of five it baffles me to no end…

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