My Bra Hurts

Recently I was lamenting to my sister about the status of my half bra. It hurts. I mean it Hurts with a capital “H”! In 2011 I was diagnosed with Lymphedema, the buildup of fluid called lymph in the tissues under your skin when something blocks its normal flow. This causes swelling, most commonly in an arm or leg. My Lymphedema just so happens to have happened in my right arm. (Check me out posing in the ATL a few years ago with my funky-fresh compression sleeve on and my badge of honor (that scar under my arm) of what I’ve endured.)

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Since going through treatments, therapies, fads and new-fangled products I’ve been mostly healed of the disease. I manage it daily myself, and usually don’t have problems unless I’m flying or exercising (I have to wear a compression garment), when the seasons change, if I lift something too heavy, when I get extremely hot and when I wear that daggum half bra.

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That bra, that beloved half bra, has seen me through cute times too many to recall. But it hurts. It hurts so very badly. So when I told my sister about the bra hurting me she said through her matter-of-fact face, “Well, just get yourself another one.” “I can’t,” I said. “It’s too expensive,” I complained. “It’s too hard to find my size,” I whined. Then again, in a matter-of-fact face which has only been intensified since she entered the world of motherhood she turned to me and said, “Oh well. Just keep on hurting then.” Boom! Just like that she shut me up, shut me down and reflected an attitude many of us take on in life.

Why was I willing to allow something to keep hurting me when I didn’t have to, especially when I was in control? All I had to do was buy a new bra. Simple. And plain. Why did I find every excuse possible to keep wearing the bra rather than just toss it and buy a new one. Sure, it’s going to be expensive. But so is physical therapy when my Lymphedema flares up. Sure, my “special” size is hard to find, but so are a lot of other things I might have scoured the internet, shopping malls and specialty stores for in the past. Sure, I don’t even wear that half bra that often but when I do I want to pull my weaved hair out strand by strand and that makes no sense. Sure I could just settle for what used to work, but it doesn’t work for me anymore so that settles it.

Bras and I have had an interesting relationship through the years. Because of my generationally transferred upper physique they’re one of those things simply not on the top of my “must have the fanciest and frilliest” list. I never really cared to know much about the importance of bras, especially as they are so instrumental in providing foundation and support. Much like my life, I’ve also had the tendency to invest more in things related to others than me, being a foundation or support, but not always investing in building my very own foundation and support.  I’d like to blame that one on genes too. (I hope they’re reading this…LOL!) That’s all changing now, thanks to the fluff and stuff under my right arm compliments of Lymphedema. I’m about to step my bra game and life game up. Just watch me…well, not really, but you get my drift.

@AngelaMMoore316

These Muffins are Magic

Hot off the press from http://www.angelaeatstheham.com
These Muffins are Magic!

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There’s a big, little secret nestled in the heart of Mountain Brook, Alabama, just off of Highway 280’s Overton Road, up, around and down the winding road leading to bakery perfection. It’s Magic Muffins, and yes, the magic is truly in the muffins.

First off, let me start by saying this post is about muffins, but their sandwiches, biscuits, cinnamon rolls and sticky buns are blog-worthy and shall receive their fair praise in a post soon, especially those ham and cheese biscuits with a sticky bun and Grapico on the side.

But back to the muffins. Ohhhhh….the muffins. How shall I say this? They are magical. The Low Fat Muffins come in: Blueberry, Banana Nut, Carrot Pecan, German Apple, Chocolate Chip, Zucchini Carrot, Pumpkin, Oatbran,Blueberry Oatbran, Cherry Jubilee, Peach Streusel, Morning Glory, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip. I’ve had at least half of that assortment and every, single one makes my mouth happy. There…

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File a Report! Real Music is Missing:(

Happy #FBF…Thankfully, since this post in 2013 “real music” has made its way to the radio and my ears from artists like Tyrese, Jill Scott, Tamia and so many more. Bring on the music!!!

Life Gets Better

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Snuggly in my 40s, I hesitated in writing this blog today because I didn’t want to come off like a crotchety, old lady who always whines about how things were back in the “good old days”. But I’ll be doggonnit (is that how you spell it?), I can’t take it anymore! I’m launching a grassroots campaign to find real music because obviously it’s missing and has been gone too long.

I was serenaded to sleep last night by the Unsung of one of my all-time favorite bands, “Mint Condition”. It felt good reflecting on their music, the instrumentation, their expertise, their live show (which is absolutely bananas), and the cohesiveness of it all that comes when you’re singing about something that really matters. Well, wouldn’t you know it, while riding into work I attempted to listen to a syndicated radio show of a wildly popular comedian whom I just so happen…

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The Chase #DestinationUnknown by Guest Blogger Kushuna Williams

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I absolutely adore shirts that have positive and cool messages on them, just like the one I have on in the photo. Cute, uh?! I was very excited to sport my ‘Jesus Saves, Bro’ shirt at church while I stood at the front door with my tray of peppermint candy and greeted all the people coming to praise God.  I usually get my deepest revelations during church worship services….given this fact, one would think I would be there more consistently, ha.

There I was sitting and praying, chatting with God, reminding Him, that I still need a job in my field, that I would like help to prepare and pass my PHR certification, that my husband needed new clients, that I need to get more sales at my current job, yada, yada, etc, etc. THEN, God reminded me that 80% of my thoughts were consumed with finding a job in my field, passing my PHR, taking a class, reading a resume article, praying constantly about these things also. I could audibly hear a voice that suggested that I change my focus and chase God and not my career. It made such perfect sense. God used my sweet husband a couple of months ago to tell me a similar message, “change your focus, the thing you are chasing will come when you focus on something else.” Needless to say, I didn’t listen to him.

God promises us that He will provide for us, that we will not be forsaken, nor will we be forgotten. He constantly reminds us, that if He makes sure the birds and the fish eat (and they don’t tithe) won’t He do the same for His children. Sometimes I have to be told twice…. I had to make a  decision to change my thought process. There is nothing wrong with being career driven and setting attainable goals, but the only thing that should consume me is my love for God. I have to trust God and make investing time with Him a priority. I’m going to chase God, and I have no idea where the destination will lead, what I BELIEVE is that He will perfect everything  that concerns me and that it will  be a most interesting journey.  I guess my cute little Christian t-shirt is true….Jesus Saves, Bro #allday #everyday!

PS. If you want your own Jesus Saves shirt, checkout shoprileyclay.com or @RileyClayDesigns on Instagram

XOXOXO – Kushuna

God Gets the First and Final Say So

Always remember Who gets the last word. Keep the faith!

Life Gets Better

So many times in life we are derailed by the words and perceptions of people. Enough of that already! It’s time to put mess on mute! Regardless what has been spoken over, spread about, implied concerning, or believed regarding you God gets the final say so. It doesn’t matter what they say when you know and believe what God says. Yes, the unhealthy, unwise, ungodly, unguided words of others may hurt, temporarily set us back, cause us to question and possibly not trust, but they do not, nor ever will, trump the Word of God. Always remember that God gets the first and final say so. Capisce?!?!? (I took two years of Italian in college. Capisce means understand…lol!)

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So in spite of what “they’ve” said I want to remind you of what HE said!

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  • I haven’t been left. Deuteronomy 31:6
  • I’m promised joy in the presence of God. Psalm 16:11
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

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You Can Take the Girl Outta the Hood….

There’s a popular saying that was really popular in my life growing up. “You can take the man/woman/boy/girl outta the ‘hood, but you can’t take the ‘hood outta the man/woman/boy/girl,” was something often said in various forms depending on the geographical location of the man/woman/boy/girl being discussed. So ‘hood, as in neighborhood could be easily substituted with words like the country, the ghetto, the projects (of which my daddy was particularly proud), Alabama, the Gump (as in Montgomery, my place of birth) and so on and so on.

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While designing my meme anticipating the upcoming Straight Outta Compton Movie and proudly blasting the West on my chest (as in West End, as in West End Manor, as in #35211), I thought about the fact that I’m glad the ‘hood remains in me. Now, don’t get me wrong. My “hoodocity” pales in comparison to some, probably most, as I’ve always been a bit genteel, and sure, it has been buffed, polished and shined up like an Italian leather Easter shoe, but believe me, it’s still there. And I’m proud. My ‘hood has helped me so much. It’s helped shape a little girl into a culturally rich, people sensitive, genuinely caring, grown woman.

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Nowhere else can you learn creativity and ingenuity like the ‘hood where you took a cardboard box and made a full-fledged dance floor, or turn Jolly Rancher and pickle selling into a thriving business. Where else can games like Four Square, Double Dutch, Hide and Go Seek, Dodge Ball, Old Mary Mack, Red Light/Green Light and Hands Up for 85 give you eight full hours of absolutely free fun, and teach you the art of improvising, teamwork and how to refresh yourself from a water hose? Where else can you have your summertime hair stylist live right across the street and she hook you up with braids and beads so colorful and plentiful that they would have made Bo Derek jealous? (Shout out to Carol!) Only the hood could provide the luxury of a wintertime, springtime, and falltime hair stylists who lived two blocks over and had burnt fried bologna, homemade biscuits and Alaga Syrup waiting for you when you walked to her house ALONE as a six or seven year old with $5 in hand to pay her to press the mess out of your hair with Queen Helen or Royal Crown Hair Dressing. (Thank you Mrs. Feagins.) The ‘hood taught me my signature picture pose and how to do it in a way that was real sassy, but still classy. (Take a look at any of the many hundreds of pictures I take today and that “hand on the right hip, head slightly tilted, smile straight at the camera” pose remains the same. As it shall. #35211ForLife) The ‘hood taught me event planning the time my Mom and her friends shut down our entire street, with permission from the city, to host a block party that rivaled one from NYC. Nowhere but the ‘hood would have an unofficial, organized “hospitality committee” comprised of the most loving and caring neighbors who would canvas the street day or night, going from house-to-house to take up donations of funds or food if anything happened to one of their own, or would call for prayer in time of tragedy (Kudos to the 19th Street caring crew like my Mom, Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Long and the rest.) My ‘hood also had loving fathers like my own and so many who wouldn’t mind breaking up a street fight (Gasp! Yes, we did have those) then calling us all to the front porch to break down some common sense (or break out a belt), reminding us, especially the young men who might have been involved of how loved and valuable we were.

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My ‘hood taught me about love, respect, courage, confidence, support to and from others, community, fun (for free) and so much more. None of that do I wish to depart. So yes, the saying is true. You can take the girl outta the hood, but you can’t (and shan’t) take the hood outta the girl, at least not this one.

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@AngelaMMoore316

But Why Does She Live Alone?

“But why does she live alone?” That was the question my then four-year-old niece sleepily asked my sister after it dawned on her one evening that I, unlike most she’d come to know in her few years on this earth, live alone. She must have thought of this thought very thoughtfully because she also asked “if I had any family”, and “if it would help if they stayed with me more often”.

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I giggled upon first hearing my sister recount the story of my niece’s sleep-ushered concern about my living arrangements. After thinking about it further, as I often do with most things, I felt a sense of proudness. NEVER in my wildest dreams could you have paid me to believe that I would be alone at this juncture in life. I was born and bred to be a Mrs. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’d gone from living in my parent’s house, to a colorful array of roommates (and boyfriends) in college, to roommates (and boyfriends) after college, to back to my parent’s house, to married, to married with a goddaughter living with us, to divorced with a goddaughter living with me…and into the mix of all of that was a smattering of a few more boyfriends and the aforementioned ex-husband. With that said, again I’ll say that never in my wildest dreams could you have paid me to believe I would be alone at this juncture in life…and never in my wildest, wild dreams could you have paid me to believe I would actually enjoy it. Shocking. I know!

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Prior to my niece’s questions I’d actually begun to relish in the fact that I live alone. I actually really like this life. I’ve been in the season of solo before, but this season feels different. I’ve crossed the bridge of personal maturity to the land of alone, but not lonely, and have grown to appreciate my solitude, the remote control, rising as early as I want to, turning down the thermostat, having girlfriend gatherings, coming and going at will, even deciding when I want to take out the trash or if I want to roll it out to the curb at all. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan to stay in the season forever, and there are surely things about being a spouse that I desire from and with the right man, but while I’m here I’m growing to enjoy this space and my place for as long as I can, until the marvelous surprise that is my future reveals itself.

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@AngelaMichele316

Doubly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, my friends! Enjoy this tasty treat and please don’t tell my sister I’m sharing our secret recipe:) #CookieGirl

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Let me let you in on a little secret. I’m a cookie girl! I *heart* cookies!!!! In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day I present to you a simple recipe which has made this cookie girl oh, so happy. There’s a hotel chain known for free sweet treats given to its guests. This recipe is as close to that cookie as my sister and I could find. It’s so good. It’s so, so good! It’s so good, in fact, that we would bake up batches (like dozens at a time) and give them away in plastic bags to begging friends and family.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Doubly Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 Cup rolled oats
2-1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon. cinnamon
1 Cup butter, softened
3/4 Cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 Teaspoon. vanilla

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Life Is a Celebration

I hear often people say things like, “You’re always doing something”, or “You have so much fun”, or “Do you ever slow down”. My answers are often, “Yes. Yes. And Nope.” Unapologetically, I will turn any appropriate event into a party, celebration, event, shindig, soiree’ or picture-taking, memory-making occasion. There are reasons for why I do what I do that’s probably explained in a blog post or two. By no means has my life been perfect, easy, fair, or fun all the time, but the general gist of things is that life, in my eyes, is a celebration and there’s no need for me to be here and not enjoy it to the fullest. Life is a celebration and we all received an invitation.

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So yes, I will make a trip to Wal-Mart look and feel like an upscale shopping spree in West Palm Beach’s CityPlace. No, I don’t mind stretching $8 to make it look like an $80 experience. Yes, I welcome the mundane Sunday afternoon turned into a full-fledged picnic in the drive way with the latest music blasting from an I-phone. Absolutely, I appreciate the free Happy Hours, discount buffets, Ladies’ Nights at the restaurant where my girls and I are treated like Norm from Cheers (everybody knows our names) and gift-card inspired opportunities. By all means, I relish the fun family times (even times where we’ve turned hospital waiting rooms into a barbecue ribs party as we ate, prayed and shared a bit of sunshine with other families in need of a miracle). I invite the impromptu football viewing parties, the mid-day laughfest with friends over a salad and cake, the quick road trips up 65-South or Interstate-20, or anything else I’m able to do because, while I may not (YET) be able to to all I want to do I’m surely grateful to God for being able to do what I do.

Why? Because life has taught me not to take it for granted. I’ve accepted that it would be so much easier to sulk and whimper, pout and point the finger. I could very liberally live in regret or comparison, disappointment or antsy-ness regarding things of old or things of new, but instead I prefer to look at the bright side, and surround myself with people who can remind me of the bright side when my view gets a bit hazy.

This life is all we have, people. It really truly is our best shot at Heaven on Earth until we actually make it to the grand finale in the sky. With that in mind, I sincerely believe it’s better to just buckle up, trust the Tour Guide, be determined to make memorable, gather up some cool kids to enjoy the ride with you and do that…enjoy the ride.

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@AngelaMMoore316