We Can Be Pretty in the Process

life-happens-JPEGLife happens. That’s an undisputed fact. In the midst of the rollercoaster called life which often brings with it Six Flag sized ups and downs, one of few things remain constant and true. We don’t have to look or act like what we’re going through.

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Sickness, Death, Divorce, Family Matters, Work Woes, Financial Stressors, and Spiritual Battles may come bringing with them life-altering and life-changing problems. Often times, there’s not much we can do about them as we go about the process of being done with them. But there’s something we can do. We can put our best face and best foot forward not becoming like the pain, struggle or challenge we are enduring. We can still decide to wake up every morning with thanksgiving to God, a grateful heart and a smile on our face. We can still decide to speak encouragement to ourselves and others. We can still decide to be nice and allow others to be nice to us. We can still decide to do the essentials like comb our hair, brush our teeth, shower, shave and show up wherever we’re going looking like we’re not going through. We can even decide to kick it up a notch and put on our best from head-to-toe as a proverbial one-two punch to the devil and our problems. Yes. Life happens, but we can still be our best even as the rollercoaster goes up and down. Choosing that path won’t always be easy. Choosing that path won’t always make sense. Choosing that path won’t always be understood, but it will keep us poised for God to move and for those watching how we handle life to see His power based on our “pretty”. So no, the “up and down” process of life may not always be pretty, but we can always be pretty in the process.

You can be pretty in the vitamin sea

@AngelaMichele316

 

It’s My 5th Blogiversary

5th blogiversary

Five years ago on January 2, 2013 I took a leap of faith and wrote my first official blog post.

Wow! Time has flown and I’m so grateful to have had each of you along the way for the ride. I’ve published more than 900 posts simply because I love words, and from time-to-time have something to say. There have been ups and downs, life changes, challenges, celebrations, events, random musings, inspiration, too many testimonies to count and food. What’s next? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to share it with you.

And as always, remember…Life Gets Better!

@AngelaMichele316

The ABC’s of Singlehood pt. 2

Being single can be HARD! It can also be very helpful in shaping women and men to become better for the next level of life whether marriage is included or not.

As mentioned in my previous blog post The ABC’s of Singlehood pt. 1 , in March 2017 I had an opportunity to speak to single women and married couples at the Can You Relate Conference 2017 hosted by Algernon and Taneisha Tucker. It was great for me too as my newlywed husband and I learned so much from the others. I spoke on the ABCs of Singlehood and thought I’d share a few more tidbits of what God and a lot of mistakes in life afforded me to know.

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Here’s 9-17. Stay tuned for pt. 3 coming soon!

  • I-Improve those qualities you know you need improved whether single or not.
    • If you know your attitude is bad (and you know you know) or you are selfish, or you’re lazy, or you have problems committing singlehood is the season to get those things together…by yourself.
  • J-Join groups to help you grow and stay occupied…a church small group, a book club, a Sassy Singles dinner club, etc.
    • Do something with yourself while single. You can boost your resume, build up your “team” and who knows, bae or boo might be waiting on you in the very group you join.
  • K-Keep the desires of your heart. If marriage is your desire, don’t let anything or anyone take it from you.
    • Do. Not. Stop. Believing. Marriage. Is. Possible. For. You. Point. Blank. Period.
  • L-Learn new hobbies and skills like cooking, how to change a tire, how to refurbish a chair, how to install hardwood, how to cut coupons, how to fly fish or something.
  • M-Make sure your expectations of a mate are being matched by you. Don’t want what you can’t give.
    • If you can’t afford steak don’t be mad because he can only afford hamburger helper. If you don’t have good credit don’t place unfair pressure on a man to have it because you don’t. If you aren’t bringing just as much to the table don’t be mad when you aren’t able to eat. Expectations of a mate should be matched by what we have to offer. A man is not your ATM, TransUnion savior, heart fixer, daddy do over or ticket to come up. Come up on your own time and own dime so you can help him come up even more.
  • N-Never let social media deceive you, make you feel less than, lead you to comparisons or have you become hopeless.
    • Don’t let Facebook, Snapchat and any other mode of media make you think married people are perfect, or that you, somehow because you’re not married are less than or will never have the love you desire…and all the extra good, and not as good stuff which comes along with it.
  • O-Open up your list of “I Want” in a mate to include, at the top, God’s list of “You Need” in a mate.
    • Be rid of those superficial things like how he dresses, what his salary looks like (now), where he’s from, how long he’s had the removable goldfront and all that good, not so good stuff which WILL NOT matter at the end of the day when you look back and laugh at how far God has brought you both because He brought you together.
  • P-Pray for yourself, for the mate you desire, for you all together, for patience, etc.
    • Pray. Pray. Pray…for him, for you, for his friends, for his mind, for his future job, for your patience, for his tolerance of you and all your “quirks”, for your future children, for everything that comes along with marriage. You can do this even before you meet the man.
  • Q-Quit settling.
    • I like to say Settling is for Quakers. Whatever you do while single don’t settle for less than who and what you know you deserve. Know your value and stop slinging discounts like a KMart Blue Light Special.
      • And if you don’t know what you deserve ask somebody who knows better.

To be continued…

@AngelaMichele316

 

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 2

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

@AngelaMichele316

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 1

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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.

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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.

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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…

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@AngelaMichele316

I Don’t Want to Pray for Him

“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.

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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.

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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?

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@AngelaMMoore316