Source: Fake It Until You Feel It
So, today is the final day of #bloglikecrazy and of course, I’m going off course, and not blogging about what I said I would blog about. But I am blogging and that’s quite a feat for me over the last 30 days. Yay!
Today I’m not feeling by best as I battle a pesky little respiratory something that’s been hanging on too long. Poof. Be gone. Please. Nonetheless, I woke up in the middle of the night last night with the thought of “fake it until you feel it”. My first thought was, “why in the world am I up and why is that what came to mind?” Anywho, almost instantly I became aware of why that thought was so pressing it had to interrupt my post-Soul Train Awards slumber.
There are matters in life sometimes which require us to have gratitude and act like we’re content while simultaneously and gingerly getting ready to make a run for the door at the first sign of a green light. That’s the great balance of life. That’s where I find myself regarding a couple of things, but one thing in particular. I’m smack dab in the middle of grateful and get the heck out of dodge. I’ll be honest. I’m not feeling that feeling. There’s a change I desire and feel I deserve which has been weighing heavily (not in a bad way, but in a “I know this is not my final stopping place” kind of way.) You know the feeling you have when you know time is expiring or it’s time for something new and you’re just waiting on the opportunity to politely serve whatever it is the “thank you for your services” papers so it and/or you can move on to something so much greater? Again, not that it and/or you are bad, but sometimes you just know it’s time to go, but you can’t act like it because you don’t want to put a rush on anything God is doing, especially at the urging of a bad attitude and being ungrateful.
So what do you do? And by you, I mean me. We fake it until we feel it. Whether we understand the timing of God, like it, or agree with it is not the challenge. His ways and works are not for us to always understand. The challenge is being able to get on board, mustering up enough “uumph” to act like we do until we actually do so we can really be ready to move. It’s about being grateful while waiting on the green light. So, if you see me acting “extra” about any one or a few areas of my life just know it’s for a reason. I’m trying to learn some final lessons, exhaust all of my purposes in those areas, maximize whatever opportunities left, and get some things once and for all settled deep down within me so I can be trusted to move on to bigger, better, newer, and next.
Source: Hold on to the Vine, My Friends
Recently I was in Publix and saw a beautiful bundle of red grapes. Not only were these little, morsels of fruity plumpness pretty, but they were on sale. Boom! If you’re like me, on a budget and have recognized that the cost of grapes has escalated, you can only imagine how happy I was to hurry home with my California grape goodness.
By the second or third day of having the bagged grapes I noticed that there were some which had fallen down to the bottom of the bag. The others, still ripe for the picking, were, well, ripe for the picking. The ones at the bottom were brown, mushy, wrinkly, and in my mind smelled like they were on the fast track to turning into an intoxicating beverage. Needless to say, the seedless fruit still on the vine were the ones I went for. The others went in the trash.
As I was thinking about today’s #bloglikecrazy theme of Friendship I thought about those grapes. We’re all connected to one another for whatever reason God saw fit to bring us together. Sometimes, for various reasons, friends fall off, like those mushy, stinky grapes, and that’s unfortunate. Now don’t get me wrong. Not every friend who starts in your life deserves or is destined to stay there. However, there are some who are, but it’s usually little prickly situations like immaturity, unresolved internal struggles, lack of communication, failure to adapt and envy which cause those who did belong all along to disconnect. That, like those grapes I had to toss out, is unfortunate.
If you’re blessed to have real, good friends who are there for you, encourage you, support you, love you, bring out the best in you and allow you to do the same then hold on to the vine. Yes, they might work your nerves like a grave yard shift job. Yes, their quirky ways might aggravate the stew out of you. Yes, your friendship might have to change as life’s situations change. Yes, you might even have to press pause and pump the breaks for a moment, but whatever you do for those whom you call friend hold on to the vine. You’re connected for a reason.
Source: Roll Tide, People!
As if the blog post fairies knew I’d be savoring the memories of yesterday, nestled under covers recuperating from Thanksgiving, 2015 Edition, my self-appointed focus of today’s #bloglikecrazy theme is Family. Yay! Easy-breezy!
Given that I’m still in the midst of enjoying my wild, sophisticated, funny, praying, cultured, realer-than-real, hardworking, know how to celebrate, loving, peculiar and definitely not perfect, God-fearing, good cooking, heavy eating, “we get through things together” family I’ll share some recent pics with you.
Wherever you are, and with whomever God has selected to walk this thing called life with you through blood, by law or because of good, old fashioned friendship value them today and always. They are yours for a divine reason. You may not always get along (we sure don’t), but you should always come together.
Marriage is one of those amazing things ordained by God, but often messed up by His children. I remember vividly preparing for my first wedding more than a decade ago.
After a less than ideal proposal and courtship, I recall eagerly meeting with florists, vendors, caterers, bridesmaids and the likes. I remember the excitement about the wedding, and not much excitement or focus on the marriage as my busy groom-to-be was foreshadowing his continual busyness, and I was entranced tending to “girl stuff” with our mothers. I remember a trusted girlfriend asking if I was “sure” this was what I wanted to do. I remember thinking, “things will get better”. I even remember the jilted ex (he wasn’t really jilted, I just like that word), declaring his last-ditch-effort love the day before my nuptials. I’ll admit now that I didn’t know if I was sure. I didn’t know if things would get better, and I could have virtually smacked that ex for pulling a Dewayne Wayne (Google it) so late in the game.
Anywho, my first wedding was one I’ll never forget. News of its approach was broadcast on local radio. More than a thousand squeezed in the sanctuary for a seat decked in lilac and silver. I remember sashaying down the aisle smiling as my recorded voice filled the walls with poetic declarations. I recall stirring songs “tearing down the house”. I remember the ministers praying and declaring blessings. I remember the rings and I remember the doves released to the air in a beautiful swirl of white wings flapping. I remember all of that, but still feeling “some kind of way” as the modern day youth say.
I’ve learned in retrospect that by design, marriages are key targets for the enemy to fire his best shot. Afterall, he’s jealous, and can never have what’s been promised to man! That makes it crucial for couples to be centered in Christ, committed to one another, and sure they’re down for the cause, especially when inconvenient. I’ve also come to know that there are subtle caution signs and blaring warning signs prior to the I Do, which can be used to help if heeded to, or can lead to the total opposite if ignored.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. However, it takes more than a ring and a prayer. It takes work from the beginning, in the middle and until the end, regardless of the outcome.
Aside from the spiritual mandates, physical connection, and honoring of God’s united purpose marriage takes:
• Two people committed to God first.
• Two people devoted to each other above all else other than God.
• Two people with hopes, dreams and goals that don’t have to match, but certainly have to mesh.
• Two people who love each other even when they don’t like each other’s actions.
• Two people who respect and support each other’s specific role in the marriage. It must be mutual.
• Two people who respect and support each other’s specific role in life.
• Two people willing to submit to growth and change for the greater good of the union.
• Two people who are aware of, and accept that marriage is really not about the wedding.
• Two people who have an ear to hear and heart to receive from the other.
• Two people willing to let the other “in” even if their natural tendency is to block out and shut down.
• Spiritual counseling prior to the marriage (My first husband and I didn’t have this, even though he was a pastor. I guess no one thought it was needed. Yikes!)
• Spiritual counseling and encouragement after the “honeymoon” has ended.
• Spiritual counseling throughout the marriage to prevent trials, and certainly when trouble like unexpected sickness, job woes, financial struggles, generational issues, children or the lack there of have entered the house.
• A strong network of mature, Godly supporters who are open to be totally honest with both parties, and who are not afraid to tell the truth in love for the greater good of the union. (I’m not talking about the “Girl, If I ‘was’ you I would” group, or “Man, you need to” crew, but true God-sent helpers.)
• Individual lives (friends, family, circles of influence and ministry) that support the marriage and don’t suffocate it.
• A healthy, committed way to openly communicate things that are pleasant, and not so pleasant, especially when it’s not so pleasant.
• Scheduled family prayer time.
• Scheduled time to discuss and handle family business
• Scheduled fun time.
• Spontaneous “FUN” time. (If you know what I mean.:)
A simple Saturday in Montgomery preparing for the memorial service of a family member turned into a delightfully sweet treat thanks to my cousin, Nishia. This true “hostess with the mostest” took a page out of the Book of Zelda (her Mama) who is known for hosting family and friends with the most gracious (and selfless) generosity. Like her mother, my grandmother Jean (RIP) and her sissy, Nette (my Mama), my Aunt Zelda’s ritual of making family feel right at home dates back, at least for me, to the times where I would spend weeks at her house as a child growing up, even bringing friends by from high school or college by, sipping on cold Co-Colas, staying out late, eating fancy-smancy seafood from my Uncle Ricky, primping and shaking in barely there clothing and Payless shoes in front of their large, glass mirrored wall before heading to Club Top Flight (bless my heart), and enjoying the joy of family.
In the true sense of Zeldahood, my baby cousin (LOL! She’s three months younger) opened her doors to my sister, nieces, her sister and me recently. At a nearby establishment known for a $27 buffet and lots of machines which light up and spit out, prompting an impromptu car dance reminiscent of the aforementioned glass mirror dance, we had a BLAST the Friday before the Saturday Nishia decided to get up, cook a buffet breakfast of muffins, bacon, and delish leftover pizza. Then, like a quickening flash of “where’d she get that from” energy, she decided to brave the cold weather and go to the store not once, but twice to bake a cake and grill her famous “Boo Burgers”.
I wish I could give you the recipe to the cake. It was truly something to behold. Too bad though, the recipe is safely kept between Nishia and my three-year-old niece Kenna who studied like a baby hawk as her apprentice in the kitchen while the cake was being made. I do know, thanks to Kenna spilling the tea, that the cake has sugar in it. Go figure! There was something more important than the recipe, it’s sheer aesthetic beauty, the utter delight of the moist nuggets of buttery goodness nestling in on the awaiting tongue, the intoxicating taste of lemon in every bite or how absolutely delicious it was as my friend and I nibbled on a slice in church the next day (We can do that at my church…and we watched a movie in church too. Go Highlands!)
More important than all of that was the love with which it was made and received, and the gift of hospitality being continually transferred from generation to generation. I can hardly wait to see how the example set forth by Nishia blossoms into her daughter, who by the way, is the best babysitter ever! I can’t wait to see how my nieces Kenna and Kassi take what they’ve been given and give it back in ways we can only imagine. And to think, all it takes is a cake or whatever we have to offer.