Thanks, Dudes!

Here’s a growth moment for you…

I was sitting on the phone chatting with a dear friend, something I rarely do, and that friend mentioned a hang out in Atlanta I used to frequent with an “ex-of-old.” Boy, oh boy, did we use to have a ball at this Georgia establishment, especially if it involved him riding off on his motorcycle looking all Larenz Tate-ish from Love Jones with the Fugees blasting from the nearby Saturn, Eclipse or 300ZX. (Notice I said, “him riding”, your girl was a chicken and would follow or meet him there in my champagne gold Maxima.) Bless my heart. Anywho, I digress.

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In remembering those fun days, the sting of whatever separated us was nowhere to be found. The “oh-my-goodness” my world is over (or so I thought) that I probably thought at the end of the association didn’t cross my mind.  The antics I ensued in in my humble form of “revenge” was now reduced to a mere giggle (or gut buster depending on who I was recalling the memory of the immature things I’ve done in the past).  And let me just be real, because that’s what a blog is for after all, I am super sorry for all the get backs I tried to give. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do anything remotely worthy of LMN (Lifetime Movie Network) because remember, I’m a chicken, but I could come up with some mischievousness so quickly it would even shock me. Don’t believe me? Then don’t dare ask my sister about how I messed up her first acrylic nail appointment with my 20-something tomfoolery. And don’t dare talk to my old friend who was like a brother in and shortly after college or my bestie since kindergarten. LOL!!!! (Bless my heart and my quick thinking mind.) 

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I racked my brain following that conversation about that Atlanta hot spot. I starting scanning my “relationship” file and realized that flaws and all on both sides of the coin, circa the late 90s, I was blessed to closely know and grow from some really cool dudes who have all grown into some really great husbands, fathers, businessmen, leaders and the likes. Some I would even comfortably call my friend with no ungodly thoughts attached one way or the other. Whodathunkit?!?!?

I realized that, while none of my past relationships of long ago were forever (thankfully) they all left me with some great memories, needed growth and some pretty swell guys who are etched in my life’s story, forever, whether they knew it or not. What they didn’t leave me with are any scars, damage, regret or remorse which we often believe we must carry through life like some badge or “been there, done that” honor. That’s a blessing and the beauty of choosing to grow. God will grant us the ability to see and settle on the good in others because that’s exactly what He does for us. The good is all I see, because at one point they were good enough for me. (And I think I’m pretty grand, which means they must be too.) So thanks, dudes. I would shout you out or tag you by name, but that wouldn’t be wise. You know who you are.

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@AngelaMMoore316

 

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

Girl, Somebody Lied to You!

Washing my hands in the restroom at work, gazing in the hazy mirror at my newly cut bangs (from a less than new sew-in) the words, “Girl, somebody lied to you” crossed my mind. I was shocked initially, almost wondering where this inner, loud whisper derived. As women, too many times than not, we have listened to lies from others about ourselves, lives from ourselves regarding others and even from ourselves regarding ourselves. Before you hop on an “all men are dogs” channel that I simply do not and will not ever subscribe to do know that I’m not referring to the “player, cheater or not quite mature enough to handle the responsibilities of a relationship” kind of man we might have knowingly entertained or naively encountered. I’m talking about the bold face lies society, unwise influencers, and our own misguided hopes and dreams might have told us. (BTW…is a bold face lie different from a scared face lie? #ija) I digress.

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I started thinking of a list of a lot of lies we, as incomparably beautiful, God-created, life-giving, purpose-overflowing, love-filled, spiritually gifted women, need to know longer believe about us if we’re going to be the fabulous, fabulous women we were all created to be. I’m not listing lies, as I prefer truth. So below I offer you a sampling of seeing yourself from a different point of view.

  1. A man or marriage won’t make you happy. (Ask a bunch of other married, dating and no longer married women how we know. Happiness is an exclusive right. No help is needed. I promise this one is true so if you were clinging to it like a newborn to its milk machine please let it go.)
  2. Marriage won’t cure your ills. (If struggling with financial mismanagement, loneliness, fornication, low self-esteem or any other issues before marriage, and not taking steps to be healed from it, an “I Do” doesn’t take it away. It just shifts it into another gear.)
  3. You really don’t need makeup. (I “heart” make up. I really, really do, but I know that it is strictly an enhancement to all the goodness, flaws and all, about us which already exist, but it is not a necessity. We’re fine with or without it. Literally, and figuratively.)
  4. Your voice is important. (Often as women we feel our voice, opinion, thoughts, ideas or histories aren’t embraced so they must not be important. They are and must be heard. Ya heard?)
  5. Women can be friends. (Forget the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night reality show and social media fighting. Women are social creatures by Godly design. More importantly, we’re communicators, which means we are equipped to get along, stay together, talk it out, establish trust and enjoy the love, support and influence of other women meant to walk this amazing journey called life with us.)
  6. Your hips are hot. (Don’t be fooled. Those areas in which you carry as a testament to your DNA, your life’s struggles, your overcome medical obstacles…childbirth included, or whatever is behind the story of your behind and its less than perfect body buddies is beautiful. As is. No pun intended.)
  7. Being spiritual, smart, sincere and sophisticated is haute. (It is absolutely popular and eternally trending to have a relationship with God and show it, speak properly, use correct spelling and grammar in formal and less than formal writings, be kind, be generous, showcase your knowledge in all types of settings, pursue higher education, be classy, carry poise, and take the lead as lead in areas of which you know you are gifted.)
  8. Your spiritual Father has the first and final say-so. (For those who have bore the pain of the lack of presence from an earthly father or a proper one, do know that your real Daddy is the MAN! He loves you, won’t leave you, is trustworthy, will show up when He promised, won’t forget a birthday, has you on His mind all the time and loves you. Yes, I said He loves you twice just so it can settle in.)
  9. Pouty mouths, duck lips, and frowny faces can’t compete with a smile. (I don’t know who hijacked the smile, but I demand a swift return. Ladies, nothing says “confident, sexy, approachable, mature, friendly, or comfortable in the skin I’m in” like a good, old-fashion smile. Try it. Often. Please.)
  10. Gaining a new job, new house, new body, new man, new car, new degree, and/or new circle of influence is a blessing, but it won’t build you… and guess what, should you lose one, any or all of it, it won’t break you either. (Ask me how I know.)

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@AngelaMMoore316

You COLD Busted!

One of my favorite songs from the 80’s was Oran Juice Jones’, “The Rain”. In that melodic tale of love gone astray he belted out an often falsetto-esq tune about catching his unfaithful lover “walking in the rain”. With an infectious beat and a hypnotic hook, as if the song couldn’t get any better, mid-way through it goes into an all-out hip-hop inspired bridge (as in take me to the bridge), with my favorite line being “Now close yo mouth cause you cold busted”. When I tell you the middle school me loved that part! I loved that part, and suppose as indicated by the fact that I’m incorporating it into a blog post today, at 43-year-old the same must be true.

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So what does Mr. Juice Jones have to do with my life? Glad you ask. I’m headed in a different direction with this one so hold on tight.

Yesterday, after leaving work and before going back to work I decided to ride by a place representing something for which I was believing God. I’d only seen it online and wanted an up-close, “I have to see it for myself” view just to, well, see it for myself. After surveying what needed to be surveyed I began to head back to my destination of home before returning to work. I was focused on studying the environment I was in, when out of my peripheral view I noticed a car that looked like one of which I was very familiar. I reduced my speed to examine the cautiously moving black Mercedes with tinted windows. I slowed to an almost turtle’s pace. The driver of the other vehicle didn’t see me as they too tended to surveying what needed to be surveyed. And boy, there was some surveying going on. I used power from my right “lymphadema” wrist I didn’t know I had and laid on the horn, probably startling the driver as I now recall. Like a scene from a gansta-style, B-movie, we met window to window, pressed our buttons to roll down those said windows, stared and glared in disbelief then both broke out into a laugh that lasted so long I can’t recall when it actually stopped. And as if it were made just for me, the words from Mr. Juice Jones came to mind and out of my mouth as I said to the driver, “You cold busted!”

Who was this mysterious person? Glad you asked. It was my Mama, doing what caring, loving, supportive humans do. In the middle of the day with dilated eyes and glasses that would have made Ray Charles look even more fly, she was coming by to “see it for herself”, and pray (even though she didn’t tell me that’s what she was doing). I shared this funny story with my sister who quickly informed me that she had already been by the day before. Wow! Now that’s what I call love, and faith. My Pastor Chris Hodges preached a message on this past Sunday from Church of the Highlands called Better Together. He talked of the importance of not doing life alone and having others in your corner in times of good and bad. That’s what that 2pm Pelham, Alabama exchange with my mother was for me. She didn’t have to be there, and I wouldn’t have known that she was there joining me in this prayer had I not been there to see it for myself. She could have been home, shopping, napping, running errands or doing any other thing a 68-year-old retiree does, but instead she was exercising her faith and joining her daughter in that same exercise to see what God has in store.

(So, I snapped a picture of her near the “Scene of the Faith”. She begged me not to tell anybody I saw here there. Of course I said I would, hence this blog post. I hope today is one of those days she’s not reading by post.)

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And that, my friends, is what life is about. We all need and deserve people who are there for us whether we know it or not. I pray that everyone has those kinds of angels on earth whose faith, love, sacrifice, example, encouragement, support, prayers and kind actions toward us continually remind us of the amazingly beautiful and awesomely wonderful promises from God which are sure to come to pass…one way or another. 

May your days be filled with the best possible reasons to say #YouColdBusted

@AngelaMMoore316

Don’t Forget the Seeds

Let’s be real. It can be tough as an old Cordova’s “thickly cushioned” Corinthian leather (Google it) to think that things in life are going to change in our favor, especially when we desperately need things in life to change in our favor. This is the tea, and can be a serious struggle. Ask me how I know. The sweet-as-can-be sweetener in this tea, however, is the fact that in Romans 8:28 God promises that all the things we’re going through will work for our good if we love Him. And that He also promises in Galatians 6:9 that if we keep doing good we will reap if we don’t faint. That is some good news!

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So what do we do between this and that? I would suggest remembering our seeds. Talking to a friend recently who was going through some life-changing testimony builders (as I prefer to call them) I had to remind her of just how faithful to God and her situation she’d been, and how sacrificially kind she’d been to so many people, including me. She was in a time of need and needed to remember her seed. She’d sown some major blessings, that, while the main harvest might not have been meant for her, the residual reaping sure was.

Now don’t get God twisted. He’s not in the lottery business nor is He vying for Wayne Brady’s gig on “Let’s Make a Deal”. We can’t bet, barter and finagle with him like a mid-day game show or a midnight casino run. What we can do is know that, if we’ve done things to please Him and if we’ve been a blessing to His children, like any good Father, in fact the greatest Father, He’s got our back. No, that’s not going to mean that our situations will immediately improve. No, that’s not going to mean that we will necessarily reap from the exact people or places we’ve sown into. No, that doesn’t mean that it won’t even appear (note, I said appear) that somebody “done come all up in our crop” and plundered our stuff. But yes, Romans 8:28 and Galatians 6:9 are true, and there’s nothing any situation or struggle can do about it, but succumb to it. Bow down struggle. Bow down.

So, when we’re tempted to think all hope is gone, things can’t better, there’s no way out, this is as good (as in bad) as it’s going to get, and so on and so on, we can’t forget the seeds we’ve sown. And we certainly can’t forget the works and wonders God has already done. We have to ponder on our seeds and successes for a few then get right on up and sow some more. In fact, I dare us all to sow in the very area we need it most. Need money? Give money. Need a job? Volunteer. Want children? Babysit. Need a marriage miracle? Bless a couple. Desperate for healing? Care for the sick. Family matters? Help another one. Got it? Good! Now let’s get going, and keep sowing.

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@AngelaMMoore316

There’s a Mouse in My House

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Early one Monday morning (last week to be exact) I rose at “0: dark thirty” to head to work. Preparing to walk out of the house I turned on the kitchen light and was greeted by Mickey’s cousin. A petite little rodent ran across my path and almost scared the hebedejeezes out of me. I quickly turned on more lights, surveyed the property, looked for Mickey’s cousin and laid out a few traps left by my pest control agent last year to help catch a snake. Now, before I continue let me clarify. I live in the country (or at least it’s the country in my mind). Because I live where I live it is nothing unusual to have deer, foxes, ducks, lizards, geese, cranes, snakes, turtles and the likes around just as casually as my next door neighbors. However, I’ve never seen a mouse in my eight years of living there, and I’ve certainly not seen one inside of my house, which by the way, is clean (In other words… I’m Angie’s daughter and was taught how to clean like my life depended on it, which is why “ain’t no shame in my game” when it comes to posting this post which some might deem TMI..too much information.)

Anywho, since discovering my unfriendly friend and hearing the Orkin man say it may take as long as two weeks to catch him I decided to exit the premises and set up shop with my parents. Let me be honest and say that the thought of having to pack up a weeks worth of clothing and cosmetics each week was not a part of my plan, nor was it something I was looking forward to. I also was non-too pleased about the fact that Mickey’s cousin (and his cousins, as my sister is sure my mini-Mickey isn’t in this mission alone) and the $135 pest control bill I paid and am waiting on to work are the reasons for having to leave. If I were leaving home I would much prefer it to be because I’m traipsing off to some exotic location for sun-soaked respite. I enjoy being at home, and the older I’ve gotten the more I enjoy being at home alone. Not to be a sourpuss, I must say emphatically that I’m so very grateful to have two parents who would toss me the garage remote and welcome me with open arms. Boy, what an adventure this mini-vacay away from home has been . Home-cooked meals, chats over basketball and reality television, clothes washed and the occasional swishing of my mother’s house shoes across her hardwood floors as she rises at 5:30am to “make sure I’m up” have become my new norm in the last week…and counting.

 

Rather than stew in misery about the mouse in my house I started pondering, “Now, I wonder why on earth this would happen now”. The pest control specialist said the mouse likely came in my house through a pipe during a time we had days of torrential rain here in Birmingham. So I know his reasoning. What I didn’t know readily was why the Lord would allow such a seriously comical situation to take place knowing that in just a couple of months I will be moving to another location and no longer calling this house home. After asking the question the answer surfaced. My moving soon, starting a new chapter after a long, drawn out story (new blog post coming soon) is exactly why this happened now. Mickey’s cousin isn’t the culprit, no matter how much he makes my flesh crawl (or cross as some people say…LOL!). This seriously comical occasion is like a pruning stage and simply providing the foundation to get me mentally ready for the pending sale of my home, making my trek to the transition of what’s new and coming soon one that is smoother and more familiar before it even happens. Plus, I’m enjoying great times with my great family and having lots to laugh about with my friends who think I’m a wuss for fleeing in the first place. This mouse in my house is a blessing. That’s how I choose to look at it…at least until I get to look at him on that trap.

Not to be outdone by Mickey’s cousin, I want to be clear, in all my revelatory glory, that I want him O-U-T! There’s a song from my college years with a name and lyrics I shan’t mention, but with a beat so catchy it immediately came to mind when I thought about Mickey’s cousin. So, for those of you fresh on your 90s hip-hop (especially the songs we shouldn’t have been sweating our hair out to) see how long the nifty little tune to this flashback stays on your mind and when it does, as you clap to the beat think about Mickey and me… There’s a mouse in my house. There’s a mouse in my house. If you see him put him out.

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@AngelaMMoore316

 

 

I Spilled My Tea

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of students from Birmingham’s Woodlawn High School through a mentoring program/small group I host called Steps to Success. The two speakers I’d arranged to come and talk about Money Matters couldn’t make it for very important reasons which left me faced with figuring out in the 11th hour what I was going to talk to them about during the one hour after school I had their full attention. I sat down in front of them and explained the absence of our speakers and asked what they wanted to hear about. One of my more quiet young men hollered out, “You, we want to know more about you.” So that set the stage for me spilling my tea about me…the Ramsay High School Version, that is.

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For a little over an hour, over the backdrop of pouring rain, whispers, giggles, and teens smacking on Little Ceasar’s pizza I told them about skipping school (and the subsequent interaction with a belt that followed), arguing with my parents about not letting me stay in a hotel for prom (and the subsequent interaction with a belt that followed), the battle with the curfew (and the subsequent interaction with a belt that followed), my high school boyfriend’s horrific murder, relying on the support of family, friends, medical professionals and the Lord to help me heal and deal, the importance of being involved in extra-curricular activities to meet new and exiting people and experiences, and so on and so on.

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The things I shared with them were for them, but as I rehearsed my own words, I realize that even now, at my age, or any age they still apply to me, and so many. Here’s what I shared with them:

• If you love someone tell them.

• Use your words carefully for fear they will come to pass.

• Use your words boldly with confidence they will come to pass.

• The heart can heal.

• Choose your friends very, very wisely, recognizing that some may have to one day get off the bus (or be kicked off) because they’re no longer headed in your direction.

• One day you will be someone’s husband, wife, mother, father, leader, Pastor, CEO, teacher, etc. and who you are today can greatly affect that role one way or the other.

• Different is a great way to be.

• It’s okay to start over, and over, and over. Just don’t settle in your mistakes.

• Stay connected to teachers, mentors, and associates who are where you want to be, or can help you get there.

• Don’t rush to get old. Stay and enjoy the beauty of right where you are as long as you can.

• Somebody loves you, believes in you and will do their part for you to become who you are created to be…if you let them.

• Our elders got to be old for a reason. Usually they know of what they speak.

• And lastly…never, ever skip school following the Annual College Fair at the Civic Center to go to Ensley Park with friends and a boy with a name you now can not even remember. In the end, after that interaction with a belt you won’t remember his name, only the embarrassment from having to wear a black and white striped, mini-skirt ensemble from Parisian in Eastdale Mall in Montgomery the next day which gave gentle, glimpses of the interaction with the belt. Years after this bit of teenage tomfoolery, you’ll only be privy to enough of the pain from that interaction and sketchy details from the eating pizza in the park story to tell and gain many a gasp and lots of “Oh my gooooddddnneessss, Ms. Moore, I know you didn’t do something like that”, from a group of amazing kids. (And to the non-believers in the power of discipline. No, my parents did not in any way abuse me. They loved me enough to do their part to save me from a path of “Self-Destruction” as the old hip-hop hit went.)

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@AngelaMMoore316

Whistle. Whistle. Tweet. Tweet.

You know you have flourishing self-esteem when you whisk your head around to say “thank you” after hearing what you think are whistles only to find out it’s actually real, live birds just doing their job of tweeting in trees. (I promise you, those birds sounded so “fake”. I just knew they were humans…LOL!) Not to be one easily swayed by the whistle, hiss the, occasional “Hey Girl” or my all-time favorite from the University of Alabama Quad…”Hey, Ms. Lady”, I did want to be polite to whomever I thought was using that age-old method of complimenting and at least wanted to smile in my best southern way and say “thanks”.

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I laughed, really hard at myself after this experience. I laughed even harder when I shared this with a friend who almost choked laughing then begged me not to repeat this story. Of course I did choose to repeat it, hence the purpose of this post. There was a time when I would never have assumed a whistle was coming my way. Now, let me be honest and clear, those times were rare, as my parents did an excellent job of instilling in us to the best of their ability as we received it the importance of healthy self-esteem. However, bouts with life sometimes deal a tough blow which can taint even the most perfect balance of esteem and humility.

There have been times when I would have kept on walking either with my head down (not in a good way) or my head up (in an even worse way) after hearing the fake, yet really real whistles because I thought I was too tall, too thin, too big, not dressed my best, or even too good to be admired by the type of person who has the audacity to whistle from a street (those were the days when the “stay humble” struggle was real for your girl). So as I hopped down 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama in my Old Navy deal of the week with an orthopedic boot on my foot and wind-blown hair that had to be rewashed later that day because I failed to condition it and it showed, nothing in me said that for whom the whistle whistled wasn’t me. I knew it was.

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So many times we let life tell us who we are, how we are and what should be expected. I expected the whistles to be from an admirer because that’s what I expected. Simple and plain. I dare you to expect. Expect the best. Expect to be admired. Expect to be appreciated. Expect to be valued. Expect to be recognized, all in the purest place of humility, of course. Expecting is scary sometimes. I know. It’s disappointing sometimes too. I’d even go so far as to say that expecting is risky. but I know the other side of the flipping coin and let me tell you, having expectation is better than having none at all.  In my mind, the fact that God saw fit to even let the birds of they were tweeting) is just the icing on the cake, cherry on top, food for fodder, a post to post about and laughter for days. carl

@AngelaMMoore316