Sometimes it’s just best to tell your story before your story gets told. In all I’ve endured God has been GOOD! I hope this helps someone know that no lesson in life is wasted.
Sometimes it’s just best to tell your story before your story gets told. In all I’ve endured God has been GOOD! I hope this helps someone know that no lesson in life is wasted.
I’m approaching the ripe old benchmark of one month as a wife to my fabulous final husband, Aquil. I’m still tickled, delighted, a bit taken aback and in awe of the come up God provided us and the coup we pulled off…also known as The Secret Marriage. If you want to know the beginnings take a gander here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1
One of the frequent questions I’ve received is “how did you do it”. Not how did we do it as in how did we invite 55 of dear family and friends to a restaurant under the guise of a holiday soiree, prompting them all to be SHARP, then sending out a fake “secret” message from Aquil saying he was going to propose, only to have a faux holiday soiree, a fake proposal and a real wedding all in one night. No, the question I’ve received from those who know me well is how did we manage to coordinate it all in a month in a half, while I recovered from major surgery and pull off what looked like a million bucks for what probably equaled the monthly salary of some.
From the beginning we didn’t want and couldn’t afford, at this time, a big wedding, and wanted to position ourselves to focus more on a beautiful marriage. That fact made things simultaneously easy and complicated. The easy part was, whatever we had was what we had. Period. The complicated part was the daily dwindling list of guests knowing some wouldn’t understand their omission from the invite and still finding ways to express our sentiments toward them void of a little list. So with the fact of the matter at hand, we busied our hands and feet searching for deals.
The Rings: Let me just say I *heart* JC Penney’s. Say what you will and think what you might but they are alright with me. A black Friday deal with extra online coupons was a blessing. They’re not traditional rings, and we’re not a traditional couple so that made the deal even sweeter. I would tell you how much we paid, but you may not believe me if I did.
The Attire: My boo was fresh to def! Yep, I took it back to the old school because that’s how long we’ve known each other. His paisley inlaid, Cranberry-colored, velvet sports coat and our little or not so little guy Jordan’s tailored, designer suit jumped off the rack at Belk with, you guessed it, coupons and cost savings that would blow your mind. Would you believe it if I told you a pair of slacks was $6?
My dress, well, let’s just say that Mr. Lauren, Ralph, that is, must have made that gorgeous gown with me in mind. The fashion fairies at Macy’s, with yet another sale on top of a sale, must have hidden that jewel just for me after weeks of disappointment trying to find something which whispered holiday party, but would end up screaming wedding, while masking my swollen, post-surgery tummy at the same time. My hair, not to be forgotten in this post, was Vivica Fox’s finest purchased from and styled by my girl Leslie at my fav Alabaster beauty supply store. I wanted lights, camera, action locks and Ms. Fox did not disappoint. Altogether, our digs were the perfect picks for about the cost of a fru-fru steak dinner for two, a few grown man beverages for the grown man, a hot appetizer and a warm chocolate dessert on the side.
The Food: And speaking of food. Wow! Tormeika and the staff at Grille 29 worked so professionally and patiently with us on the menu, honoring our budget and desire to celebrate those who had continually celebrated our love and individual lives. If you’ve not been to Grille 29 in Birmingham please do yourself a favor and skedaddle. They were Heaven sent after days of calling and emailing for quotes from hotels, event spaces, conference rooms and other restaurants. In fact, Grille 29’s total tab on EVERYTHING was the cost of what one small, Shelby County location wanted to simply rent the space. And the cake. Oh Baby! That three-layer Caramel-Pecan top, Lemon center, and Chocolate bottom cake from K&J’s Elegant Pastries in Alabaster, which mirrored one I found on Pinterest, without the price was perfect. Perfect, I tell ya.
I was hesitant to write this post because I didn’t want to paint of picture of lack because the truth of the matter is that we’re firmly placed in a beautiful season of financial resurrection and that’s a great place to be. Before embarrassment creeped in about the temporary state of things my spirit screamed, “Girl, if you don’t tell these people what God allowed and encourage them to NEVER give up their dreams even on the strictest of budgets, you betta!” I could go on and on about how God reminded me of how much He loved us by showing that He truly is our Provider. In the words of a famous songstress and reality star, “He Did That!”. I could go on and on about my friends with gifts who stepped up to the call and wowed us with their talents to bring it all together…and I will in another post…coming soon.
December 30, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. It’s the day I said “I Do” to my best friend, my answered prayer and prayer partner wrapped up in one, my laughing buddy, my vision stretcher, my comfort-zone challenger, my cheerleader who needs no pom-poms, my personal couch pillow, my fellow foodie (whether he admits it or not), my proper “do over”, my own private kitchen and car dancer, my defender, my dude from way back in the days of Big Pun and Bun B, and my resuscitated heart’s cause for celebration and acceleration.
Having both been married to others before, and with weddings far too big in hindsight, we opted to go “less” is more for this marriage. I specifically remember the pain of the lingering expenses which can come from a large wedding, and we both are undergoing financial reconstruction (do it Jesus!) so we decided the less we spent the more special the wedding would have to be. With thoughts of the marriage taking top billing to the wedding, in early October of 2016 we decided to get married soon. Fast-forward to November 1, 2016 and I awaken from major surgery feeling really “lovely” from my heavy meds and not so “lovely” from major pain to hear excitement in my mama’s voice as she said, “Aquil asked your daddy if he could marry you. He said yes!!!! I’m so excited!” With blessings from our parents we set in motion a plan which morphed into one of the most wonderful days in my life.
Thoughts of the living room, backyard, Courtyard (our favorite spot for hot wings) or courthouse had been tossed around for this simple ceremony. Now, let me be truthfully shallow. I was on a budget. True. But I must have a little bling even in on a budget and none of those first options defined the miracle from a MESS which transpired over the course of 19 years to get us to this point. So with a little praying and a lot of planning we chose to host our wedding at Grille 29, one of my favorite restaurants. The prices were amazing. The food is amazing. The location is amazing. The staff is amazing and again the prices were amazing when compared to the $25,000 spent the first go ground way back in the early 2000s. Yet still, something was missing.
What was missing was the element of surprise. Literally. The wedding needed to be a surprise. I don’t prefer surprises, but boy, oh boy, do I love surprising. So the idea of keeping the wedding a surprise for our guests shimmied its way into our plans and found itself smack dab at the center of attention. My husband Aquil and I have been through a great deal collectively and individually. But by the grace of God and the wonderful people He surrounded us with we made it through. So we wanted the wedding to be our gift to some of our closest loved ones for them being such a tremendous gift to us. Being that I was in the midst of my 6-8 weeks of surgery recovery with no driving and no working, cringing while walking, sleeping a whole lot and on powerful pain pills, my physical capabilities were limited. Thank sweet Jesus from on high for internet shopping, a great mom, a super secretive sister, a wonderful boo who was as excited as I was and a fake theme of A&A Holiday Soiree to kick the ulimate plan of the sneakiest proportion in motion. How did we do it??? Great question.
Part two is coming soon…
“Nawwwww, girl. I don’t want to pray for him.” Those were the honest and eye-opening words a woman recently uttered concerning her ex-husband. A previously pleasant and light conversation with friends quickly shifted to talk about praying for an ex-spouse and the benefits, not just for the ex, but for the child involved, the person on the praying end of the prayer, the financial obligations remaining and the prayed for person’s overall peace of mind and well-being as a human being.
The back and forward banter, mixed with some hilarious one liners and some purposeful testimonies, continued as we recalled our own experiences with divorce and ultimately getting to the point of sincere and sometimes selfless prayer, which, was NOT/is NOT always an easy journey, at least for me. She explained her pain. We listened then explained God’s plans. She shared her very valid frustrations, mostly financial and time related as it relates to his time with his child. We listened, shared our own frustrations, which can continue years after the ink has dried, and still explained why prayer was the missing link in fixing what our mouths, our anger, our lawyers, and our own devised plots of “get back at ya” can’t do.
Prayer, as simple as it might sound, really does work. What I know is that a working prayer doesn’t always change the situation or the other person. Often it can, but I’d be lying if I said prayer for your ex-spouse will instantly make all things right in your world. What prayer can do is change our perspective, our focus, and our expectations of our ex, and it can up our expectations of God to do what He’s always done, and that’s FAR EXCEED what we think, know or desire any man or woman to do. Prayer will have us looking at and loving our former spouse like a brother or sister in Christ rather than someone who hurt, betrayed or disappointed us. Prayer will shut our mouths and stop our fingers when we want to go off via the world wide web. Prayer will give us peace (and provision) when daycare fees are overdue and we see our ex flossin’ on Facebook in Gucci and Ray Bans. Prayer will allow us to say “pray for your ex, girl” when we know those words would have never, and I mean never, come out of our mouths before. Prayer is our own personal ticket to peace regardless of the actions of others. It gets God’s attention to know that we know who’s really the Man, regardless of the actions of man. Ya dig?
Recently I had an opportunity to spend a Saturday morning with some young girls from Grace House and young women from the University of Montevallo’s Mu Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who were my captive audience for a training on Dining Etiquette.
It had been a while since I’d done any group talks and quite honestly I didn’t realize how much I missed it until sharing that time with the ladies and little ladies. Like, I really miss speaking regularly. Their questions and responses were thought-provoking, sincere, hilarious, encouraging, hilarious (I know I’ve already said that), gasp-inducing and inspiring all at the same time. They all participated and were engaged, and sent a clear message to me that, regardless of what the media says or what we might see regarding girls and young women, the return of the lady is inevitable.
Yes, we debated who was better, Beyoncé or Kevin Gates (who? what?), but we also talked about which fork to use, what’s appropriate to discuss at the table, how to slice a bone-in, fried chicken breast with poise and elegance (and still get all of the skin and juicy, meaty goodness) and how to engage in effective networking at “fancy” functions. Sure, we talked about why it’s not a good idea to place gum behind our ears or on the rim of our plates, why “smacking somebody” is not the answer or why we can’t take crab legs from a buffet, but we also embarked on a stirring dialogue about the fact that each and every one of them will be someone BIG someday and deserved a seat at the table, and not just a seat at the table, but some undeniable influence as to what was being served, and preferably positioned at the head of that said table. We absolutely laughed out loud, when teaching each other how to gingerly bite a green, frosted cupcake or cut it with a fork, then sip tea with or without a pinky up. We discussed at length how not to pull out the hot sauce in our bag (swag) to saturate our food at a fru-fru function, and talked about how it’s okay to be classy and respectable and unique and still cute and noticed even in this bare as you dare, be angry, be loud, frown all the time, forget manners, and pop off at will world.
That time with the girls was the perfect balance of what makes a lady. A REAL lady is a woman who is able to put her best foot and best face forward, regardless of her setting or personal circumstance, regardless of her upbringing, regardless of what media or social media says and regardless of what she might have seen before or hasn’t received from others. And a REAL, REAL lady can do that while feeling comfortable and confident never forsaking that fact that she belongs.
So, here’s a snippet of what we discussed. Want more? Email email@example.com
Table Talk in the Business World
****LPA…Long Post Alert
Let’s just be clear. For many, money is a large part of divorce. It’s about as large a part of divorce as it is the engagement, the marriage and possibly the myriad of reasons which lead to the divorce in the first place.
Six years into this thing called divorce I’ve witnessed firsthand in my life and at a glance through the lives of others in similar situations how the needs, requirements and mandates following divorce can wreak far-reaching havoc on the lives of those who have already experienced havoc in their life at the figurative hands of the divorce. From paying to divorce, while possibly still paying for the wedding, to paying for the divorce when you still wanted to be married, to child support, to shared responsibilities with the children outside of the ordered child support, to joint business and financial obligations, to alimony, and more, again, for many, money is a large part of the divorce. This is especially true when the one with lingering financial obligations to honor the divorce decree fails to oblige and honor.
Let’s just be even more clear, money becomes a more heightened matter when the one with the legally mandated responsibility to provide short-term or long-term support stops it, reduces it or does both while going around flossing in Gucci, Gold or Gators, all the while knowing he or she has not done what he or she is legally and morally supposed to do financially.
If you’re the one on the receiving end hear me clearly. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard and unfair and another blow to whatever you’ve already experienced to have to juggle and finagle, and go without, and explain to children, and borrow from loved ones, and beg creditors, and down-size, work two jobs, and stay up late, and wake up early to try to provide or merely make ends meet while trying to keep your Christianity in tact and a smile on your face. Get rid of blame, anger, bitterness, people in your ear telling you unwise and ungodly things, or punishing the ex-spouse by not allowing him or her a role in the children’s lives when in fact you are punishing the children. I know it’s hard, but keep doing right. In the words of the late, great Whitney Houston, “It’s not right. But it’s okay.” In the words of the even greater Philippians 4:19 from the Bible, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
If you’re the one on the legally and morally mandated giving end hear me clearly. I know it’s probably hard to feel like you’re still connected to something or someone you wanted to be permanently disconnected from and to have to do right by that which, in some way went wrong or you might have been wrong. I know it might seem unfair. I know it might be hard to balance your present life while still honoring the requirements from the past. I know some might feel like you don’t “owe nobody nothing else”, or you’ve already “done enough”, or you’re “tired of this”, or you just want to be “done with this”. I can only imagine what your mind or other influences might be telling you as to the reasons for not doing what you’re required to do. I’m not one to judge. However, the best way to be “done with this” is to do right and see the decree to the end. The best way to not be “tired of this” is to change your perspective on the ex-spouse and whatever hindrances might be overruling your wise decision making regarding him or her. The best way to “do enough” is to do everything you’re supposed to do, especially when children are involved. The best way to “owe nobody nothing else” is to give them what they are owed. The best way to balance the present while honoring the requirements from the past is to handle your business in the order in which it came so that God can bless you with more. I could quote the late, great Johnnie Taylor right now and his perspective on divorce/separation, but I won’t. (Google it if you want seriously catchy tune about divorce/separation in your head.) Instead, I will again go to the Bible and remind you that the same Philippians 4:19 which will work for the one waiting on you to do, will also work for you. Use it! Get rid of blame. Get rid of being angry at yourself for your actions which might have resulted in these decrees. Get rid of being angry at your former spouse for having to still provide. Get rid of people in your ear telling you to dishonor what is required. Get rid of thinking you’re punishing the ex-spouse when you could be punishing the children. Get rid of avoiding responsibilities. Get rid of stubbornness and bitterness and simply do right please ma’am or sir, so that something beautiful can grow for you too from the seeds you’re still planting in the life of someone you once loved.