The initial installment of what must be a repeat performance was nothing less than spectacular. It was Heaven on Earth for a foodie like me. My friends and I, some of which came in from Baltimore and Charlotte just to experience the experience, were thoroughly pleased with this perfect park feast. It truly was a festival in every sense of the word. The mood was the electric. The crowd was eclectic. The food samplings were superb and the people watching at an all-time high. My one complaint, if any, is that I must wait a year in order to again enjoy all that this trendsetting event has to offer. Kudos to the organizers and the brains behind the Atlanta Brunch Festival.
Enjoy scenes of some of what I enjoyed…and make plans to be there next year. Get there early. Pay extra for VIP. Bring your best friends and your best walking shoes. Clear space on your camera and clear space on your proverbial plate for all things Atlanta Brunch Festival. Your tummy will thank you.
Sometimes love is easier said than done. Let’s just be real. There are people who represent situations, mindsets, circumstances and hurtful happenings which make the command to love a hard pill to swallow. That’s just the truth, yet we still have to do it! We have to love. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever wanted to say, “I barely like you, your actions or reactions, so I shole don’t want to love you.”
Yet, we are expected to love. Why? Because God said so. Because it’s the right thing to do, especially for those friends, family members, co-workers or former associates who we clearly don’t desire to have any fond sentiment regarding. Because it feels good to be able to push through anger and sincerely smile. Because it does no good not to. And because bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and hate are not worth it. They simply aren’t.
Here’s the deal about the whole love thy neighbor thing. Monopoly doesn’t make a “Get Out of Love Free” card and neither does God. It’s as simple as that. We must love.
Recently I had a chance to visit Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate the birthday of a dear sister/friend. Braving the 17 degree temperature, and snow all around was no big deal, but no small feat for this southern girl born and bred. From Thursday to Sunday, as if we were high school teens again, we laughed until we cried, cried because we were actually crying, we celebrated each other, we caught up on things old and new, we posed for pictures, we had our faces made up, we enjoyed ah-mazing spa treatments and we ATE!!!! Boy, oh boy did we eat.
I won’t waste my mere words describing the delightful dishes we indulged in and engulfed from famous Baltimore spots like Shell’s 365 Deli where they specialize in a $5 meat and two which will make a southern grandma wave her flag in food defeat or Ships Café Restaurant and Crab House where the seafood is as hot, perfectly seasoned, abundant in portions and fresh as the staff is friendly. I wouldn’t whisper a peep about the hot, moist brownies which greeted us after completing our massages, facials and Blue Grotto mud baths at the Pearl Spa (Google it, honey!). I won’t tell you about how we visited the local P.F. Chang’s and literally ate a sampling of everything from land, air and sea. I won’t even mention the 12am late-night breakfast fest at Double T Diner where the portion of pork sausage was so large it would make Miss Piggy run for cover, or the Cinnabon trips which were right on time. And I certainly won’t tell you about ending our final meal at Fogo De Chao just near our East Harbor Marriott Hotel where we didn’t take many pictures of the food because, well, we (as in I) was embarrassed at how much meat (leg of lamb, lamb chops, chicken, sirloin steak, filet mignon, ribeye steak, and some other steaks) made its way to my mouth…over and over again.
What I will tell you is that we were blessed to be there and even more blessed to share this experience celebrating a true angel on earth, my sister Karla F.M. Reid Young.
Baltimore, I’ll be back and I’ll be ready for MORE when I return. #feedmeBaltiMORE
Friends are like wigs. They come in various forms and fit in various ways for various reasons and with various people. Like a wig, not all friends fit at the same time. That’s cool, as long as you have “that friend” firmly planted in your crown of frienddom for whenever needed.
Today I’d like to shout out the many representations and incarnations of “that friend”.
Shout out to that friend who wraps up every tough conversation with those famous three words…”I’ll be praying.”
Shout out to that friend who will let you vent, say the bad words you wouldn’t dare utter, give you some good, sound advice, make you laugh and tell you to “keep it moving” all in 8 minutes or less.
Shout out to that friend who answers the phone with words like, “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?”
Shout out to that friend who floods your timeline and text messages with mega-motivation in the area you’re not yet motivated.
Shout out to that friend who has the best memories, funny (or embarrassing) stories, or wild tales in reserve as a reminder for just when they’re needed.
Shout out to that friend who will rise at 3am in the morning to hear your heart’s cry or take you to the airport.
Shout out to that friend who morphs into labels like “Sister” to you or “Auntie” to your children because you all are just that close.
Shout out to that friend who sees your post on social media and immediately calls os sends an IM or DM asking “What’s wrong?” and “Who do I need to have a talk with?”
Shout out to that friend who can remind you of your resume of poor choices regarding men, fashion and hairstyles faster than the speed of light then demand you to expect more. Point. Blank. Period.
Shout out to that friend who can snatch your out-of-place hair together or tuck in a bra strap with the blink of an eye.
Shout out to that friend who says words like “Girrrlllll!!!!”, or “Whattttt???” but never speaks negatively or throws shade in situations she knows mean much to you.
Shout out to that friend who always has the right accessory to set your outfit on fire, doesn’t mind that you keep it when you ask to borrow it, and even compliments you when she sees you in it.
Shout out to that friend who will defend your honor and clear your name before the streets could even take a ball and run with it.
Shout out to that friend who can pay when you can’t. (And double shout out to the one who knows when you can’t pay even before you have to say it and pays it.)
I hope my ex wins the lottery. I do. I really do. Call me crazy or call me comical, but I’m so very serious. Let me clear this quickly before I proceed. I have many exes. (Hey now, don’t judge.) So I’m not singling anyone out. This is for every, single one of them.
I have an ex-husband, whom I am still connected to through final divorce decrees, and the spiritual children we share. While we haven’t spoken in years, I’m not sure of his stance on playing the Powerball, but I do still want him blessed because at one time we were connected and are still connected due to the aforementioned important matters and people. I also have ex-boyfriends and ex-“We don’t know what we called ourselves” whom, some of them, I gratefully call friend. (Hey, y’all, as you read this blog). Honey, I KNOW their stance on the Powerball, Mega Millions, Porch Band of Creek Indians Casinos, Sweepstakes, Publisher’s Clearing House, Social and Savings Club Raffle Tickets, Scratch offs, Chuck E. Cheese “put all of your money in the machine and try to win a prize” games, and anything else remotely similar.
At the time of this updated post there is a $94 million jackpot lottery on the line in the United States of America. One or some of my exes playing and cashing in on that big bucks bonanza would be wonderful, but I so get that that is likely not the way they will be blessed. What I do know is that I want them all to be blessed and in a BIG, lottery-like way. Why? Because I had a role in their past and they had a role in mine. Inadvertently, we all have a role in each others present and future, as a result of lessons learned, experiences shared and growth gained from that past. You see, #Grownwomanhood has taught me that every person plays a part. Just because their role ends doesn’t mean our perception of the true purpose of that role and desires for them have to be negative, distorted, bitter or damaging. I want them all to win in whatever way God orchestrates for them…and hopefully they’ll fondly remember the time I was a “Ra Ra Shish Boom Ba” cheerleader in their game of life.
(BTW, if any of you lovely exes-turned pals are planning on making a trip to “ticketland” holla at me…LOL!)
I just love my friends. While, not many in number, the ones I do have all serve a wonderful purpose for me, and I hope I do the same. An early morning text-fest with one of my dearest buddies in another part of the country confirmed this post I was working on, and prompted the title, “Sometimes You Have to Do What You Have to Do”.
Is it just me or does it appear for anyone else, that the older you get the more you have to do things you don’t want to do? I thought adulthood meant more control over matters mattering to me, when actually it means making more tough choices. Go figure.
Anywho, my sister-friend and I were discussing friendship. She was relinquishing a new personal friendship she thought was promising, and was looking forward to. She was reshaping her circle of friends and desiring some special, new people to share her amazing world. I too have had to rethink some friendships in years past, and as recently as right now, as I’ve maturely evaluated the expiration date on some long-standing associations, and am positioning myself to allow the pruning to take place. That’s a tough pill to swallow or chew, especially if you’re social and enjoy the blessings of true friendship like we do. This morning, in fact, I asked God to enlarge my social circle. I guess one sure fire way for that to happen is for me to make room by allowing some faces and spaces to be moved.
But it’s not just making tough choices in friendships. Adulthood also means going places you don’t want to go for the sake of the greater good. (Think of that family function or office event you dread.) Giving things you really don’t have in abundance to spare for the purpose of another. (Like clothes, money when you’re in need of money or a coveted parking space at the mall during Christmas shopping season.) Sticking in jobs you are ready to transition from because wisdom tells you it’s best to wait when your emotions are speaking something totally different. (No explanation needed). The list of “I REALLY don’t want to do this, but I will” can go on and on. I suspect, the older I get, the more it could really grow longer.
The beauty of it all is that one day it will make sense. And usually the more I’ve not wanted to do something that I’m clearly going to have to do anyway, the better I am in the long run.
One of my biggest pet peeves is to be misunderstood. That gets under my skin like few things do. Why? I’m not sure, but I do know (now) that the more it bothers me the more I find myself in situations from time-to-time where I’m bothered. Maybe it’s the journalist in me or the fact that my parents allowed our feelings to be shared or not understanding how what seems so to me seems foreign to others. I just want my voice to be heard whether you agree or not and I’d prefer you agree, especially if it’s something affecting me.
Anywho, last month I returned to the land of four eyes, donning glasses for the first time since my miraculous healing and return to 20/20 over a decade ago. My trifecta of stylish specs has sharpened my sight for things close up. So now, rather than stretching my arm out like a rubber figure from the 70s I can see clearly when I read. My focus and view are on fleek.
The same is so, I now see, in others. Now, don’t get me wrong, some people are just plain mean and don’t care to see or accept another’s point of view. Others, however, simply don’t share the same focus, insight, vision or perspective.
That’s a hard pill to swallow especially when the unshared or unwelcomed receipt of my point of view is from someone who matters to me. Oh well…at least I can see.
***This inspiring post is by guest blogger Kushuna Williams, as featured in the feature picture with me sporting her big smile and even bigger heart.***
It’s no secret that my life did a total 180 degree turn when I was laid off from a company that I had been employed with for 7 years. When I first got laid off, I was full of “this is God’s will” or “the plans that God has for me are great” and “God has something better”…. well these words began to drift slowly away from my vocabulary as I continued to be laid off. It became increasingly difficult to chant them with confidence, especially when the one year mark came up and I still have not found a job in my field. I can remember the confidence I had in my education, work experience and well written resume, but these things have not been instrumental in helping me to become employed in my desired field with a salary that is more than just minimum wage.
I’m no stranger to the disappointments that life just tosses at you. I’ve had family issues, less than enough finances, more than enough bills, car accidents, health woes, friends that turned into enemies and enemies that turned into guardian angels. I think back on ALL those life lessons and often wondered why those things didn’t have the emotional impact that being laid off has had on me. Some of those things were actually more difficult especially the year I was involved in two car accidents where I totaled two vehicles. The difference: GRATITUDE. I somehow made gratitude my attitude of choice. My ability to be resilient and effervescent during those tough times came from a sincere attitude of thankfulness. I was able to be content in midst of every situation because I chose to be grateful. Gratitude was my superpower, and some where between January 2015 and lately I have forgotten my super power. I spent a lot of time being bitter, complaining, crying, wondering why me or when will it be me…God owes me NOTHING. I made up in my mind that something HAD to change, my negative emotions were making me sick, literally. God reminded me of my super power; that gratitude for what you already have will make you reevaluate what you think you need. I WANT a job in my field, a bigger home, my savings account to look like it did before I lost my job, and to be pregnant. What I HAVE is a job that is stable, a loving/praying husband that is content with our current living space, an opportunity to learn how to be wife before I become a mom and a God that has promised and proven to perfect everything that concerns me. Gratitude is my super power, it might not necessarily be your super power, but it couldn’t hurt sprinkling it everywhere!
Lately my “settle game” has been tested. Like a college student on edge with rapid fire final exams, I’ve been being faced with test, after test, after test on whether or not I would settle. From career opportunities I’ve mustered up courage and sense enough to say “no” to, to truly examining my deserved preferences in a mate, owning my pickiness and sticking to it like Elmer’s Glue from the 70’s (not this new-fangled stuff), even to knowing my financial aptitude right now and not budging from that budget, I’ve been serving up slices of “no settle” like nobody’s bees-wax.
Before I proceed let me just say I feel like, of late, I’ve been talking about relationships/boos and baes a lot on my blog. That certainly is not the center of my attention at the time, but the topic just keeps coming up in my circle. So while the frequent posts are not on purpose, they must somehow be. Anywho, I was talking to a relative about why we’re still single. She offered the notion that we’re just too “special” and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re like that limited edition whatever it is which is worth waiting for. The same must be so for our boos because they are certainly taking the long walk home.
Anywho, again…I was also talking to an associate about another associate, who, by all accounts fits the bill in most of my “must haves”, especially the way he dresses. (Call me shallow. I care not…LOL!) Still, there were things important to me which were not present. So I’ll pass. Let me proudly say that the Angela of old would have overlooked those few, albeit important factors as she fatefully did in the past and settled only temporarily until it drove her NUTS because she knew better in the beginning. Not so now, honey. Not so now.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely know that there are things in life which occur by the gentle (or not so gentle) command of our caring God which cause us to do things which others, self included, might deem as settling. I’m not speaking to those things. If God almighty says it we have to do it. I’m referring to the things which we know without a shadow of a doubt are not for us yet we settle still. That’s not the business. That’s some trouble waiting to hijack your life’s story.
So I leave you with this as I hopefully graduate soon from Settling 401: The Advance Course. Settling is for Quakers. It’s as simple as that. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it works for you.