Nobody’s Perfect and That’s Perfectly Okay

Here’s a secret that’s been silent too long. Nobody’s perfect.

No person is perfect. No job is perfect. No organization is perfect. No group of friends is perfect. No church is perfect. No family is perfect. No school is perfect. No marriage is perfect. No civic or social setting is perfect. Plain and simple, nobody’s perfect, and that’s perfectly okay.

So, with that said we have to decide to allow imperfect people, places and things to be just that and not place expectations on them which are impossible to fulfill. We have to continue to look for the good in humans, even the fake, flawed, phony, misguided, messed up, hurting and discombobulated ones, who are sometimes and often not too unlike us. We have to cut slack, operate in forgiveness, take the pressure off and allow room to grow just like God does for us daily. Not that all people are meant to be in our lives. Some clearly are not, but some are, which means we can’t always cry foul and choose to remove ourselves from others at the whisking of the wind. Whether through example near or not as near we have to continue to learn from them, engage with them (if that’s God’s will), be open to others who may not or may be like them, and live life fully vested and invested in the notions that:

  1. We can’t always shut down and shut off from people.
  2. We can’t do life alone.
  3. We can’t hold on to the bad of one and place it on others.
  4. We can’t expect people to be, do and think as we are and do.
  5. We can’t always take things so personally and/or hold it permanently.
  6. We can’t isolate everyone and everything at the sign of unmet expectations.
  7. We can’t let the fear of being hurt stop us from being helped.
  8. And nobody’s perfect and that’s perfectly okay.

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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

Uuuggghhhh! Why Do You Have to Be So Happy?

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It’s not often I spill the tea. I’d much rather savor a warm Orange Pekoe Spice Blend of it with a hint of Earl Grey, while my pinky is slightly lifted and my head tossed ever so gently back. Anyhow, today I’m spilling some tea (also known as the 411, information, deets, da truth, the business, beeswax and a bunch of other colloquialisms of which I’ve not yet become hip to). Today I’m spilling the tea on how hurting people often feel about happy people. Baby, a person hasn’t smiled until he or she has had to smile for someone who has what was once had or what we want to have, and we need to be, have to be and should be genuinely happy for them.

Is it just me or is it sometimes hard to be happy for others when hurting in the area in which they are happy? This is especially so with the increasing popularity of social media. Pics, posts and timelines can sometimes cause in a tailspin.  I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way, or at least I hope. I could tell some stories about smiling on the outside with a bunch of “why not me” on the inside as I mustered through enough internal fortitude to hold back tears and simultaneously saying congrats (congratulations was too big of a word to utter). I can hip you to the game of wanting to shut all the way down on people and social media if I saw one more “I’m getting married. I got a fabulous new job. I went on an exotic vacation. I’m debt free. I’m healed. I have a new house.” post. Not that I’ve lingered in those feelings, but I’d be less than truthful if I said, at times, the raw, initial real emotions stimulated by praying to come out of the negative while a friend is flowing in the financial overflow, or going to a wedding while going through a divorce, or planning a baby shower while baby-less doesn’t sometimes sting like an angry, lower Alabama yellowjacket on a hot August day. It does often sting. Not all the time, but certainly sometimes. And it appears, at least during times where this had been my struggle, that the longer the pain and the subsequent promise I’d been waiting/hoping/praying/believing for as a result of it lingers, the harder the enemy tried to get me to stop sowing seeds of sincere gratitude on behalf of the one who just so happens to have already reaped his or her harvest.

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So what is one to do when one struggles with how to stay connected to, happy for, and inspired by those who were a source of joy prior to the pain? That’s a good question. We have to keep on being happy for the ones who are happy. Sorry, it’s not rocket science, even though it may feel like it at times. I have learned that in those times where I was most challenged in this area the decision to be happy, present, and/or a participant in another person’s blessing did one or two things. It helped usher in my own blessing in my area of need or it served as a needed distraction until that said blessing shows up. Both of those pushed me closer to God so it was worth it.

Will there be times where one simply can’t be there like that fabulous wedding with a candy station and photo booth I missed shortly after my ex-husband left? Absolutely. Will there be times where one tries to maintain the same support or presence as once had, but have to make minor adjustments for sanity’s (or your pocket’s) sake? Yes, ma’am and sir. Will there be times one didn’t think he/she would able to do it, say it, be there or be a part and do it anyway with trembling knees or shaking hands then find out at the end of the day or end of the night that all things are possible? Please believe.

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Whatever happens as a result of what hasn’t happened yet, that internal, sincere place of being happy for those who are happy has to be there and stay there regardless of where we are and what we’re going through. Why? Because we owe it to those who have been there for us to be there for them as best we can through their stages of rejoicing and celebration and through our own personal stages of our healing, restoration or waiting. Plus, the seasons will change and one day we’ll be able to share the goodness of who God is and what He has done, and we want to be able to operate in and exercise compassion for those who are where we once were because we remember how it felt to be there. Now sip on that:)

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@AngelaMMoore316

What Did You Just Say????

Have you ever had someone tell you something after the fact that you wish you’d known during the fact but likely couldn’t have faced that fact? Yeah, I have too. It often amazes me as to how God so strategically allows us to know things later because he knows we wouldn’t necessarily be able to handle it now. It’s not that the “who, what, where, when, and whys” of life don’t matter. They do and they serve a purpose, even purposes we don’t expect. Often, however, what matters most is us healing and moving forward without the sting of another blow, regardless of how badly we want answers.

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A few months ago, in casual conversation, with no tea and no shade (Google it), a friend mentioned something to me that was shared by a mutual acquaintance regarding some matters affecting me. This friend said what was said very casually and matter-of-factly, as if it was assumed that I had already been privy. I wasn’t. I was as clueless as Alicia Silverstone in one of my favorite 90s movies. This was a question that had crossed my mind too many times as the situation unfolded years ago. I wanted answers right then and there. I demanded answers right then and there to no avail and finally tossed in the towel and kept it moving. I must admit, hearing it from a trusted source helped me digest the less than palatable revelation that had previously escaped me. I’ll also admit that I am a seasoned “why” seeker. Blame it on my degree in journalism or my time as an investigative reporter, but I needed answers when I needed answers. And so I’ve not been one to shy away from asking questions (a lot of them) to whomever about whatever in order to find out what I thought I needed or deserved to know. Sometimes that worked well for me. Other times it didn’t work so well or didn’t work at all.

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As I sat there hearing my friend share this nugget of information my first response to this dropped bomb was, “What did you just say????” The friend repeated the statement, elaborated and shared more in detail. My final response after catching my breath from having the proverbial wind knocked out of me was to think, “Whew, I’m so glad I heard that years later because who knows how the old me would have reacted.” (Actually I do know exactly how I would have reacted which is probably why that little bit of important information had been placed on a delayed lay-away.)

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That’s the beauty of life, and a true testament to how much of a real Father God is to us. He knows what we can handle and when. He knows what we can’t handle and why. He knows who He should use as the postal worker to drop off the package and be there if needed for whatever may come. He also knows how He’s working in us, and His amazing plans for us so He is not surprised, taken aback or even shocked when those things that He’s withheld from us for our sake, which would have knocked us to our knees in defeat now drop us to our knees in praise for the journey that we’ve overcome in spite of the known…and unknown who, what, where, when and whys.

@AngelaMMoore316

The Unwanted Vacation by Kushuna Exford Williams

Today, I have the delight of sharing a blog post by guest media maven Kushuna Exford Williams about her journey from gratitude to even more gratitude all courtesy of an unwanted vacation. I hope her story blesses you as much as it did me. I can’t wait to see the amazing adventure awaiting her!

@AngelaMMoore316

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I have always had this desire to be stable and established, I went to school (at the best HBCU in the land, Talladega College) for Business and Marketing and got a job working in my field after graduation. I had the opportunity to work for an organization that I loved doing what I went to school for. Life was good!

Life was so good in fact, that I focused a lot on being grateful to God, because I knew that it could be different, but I believed that my “gratitude” would somehow shield me from life’s challenges. FALSE. On October 3, 2014 I was laid off from the organization that I loved so dearly, the place that I had devoted seven years of my career, the place where I spent 10 plus hours a day six days a week. I was called into the Executive Director’s office and given paperwork, there wasn’t any type of advance notice, and my last paycheck (which I earned) was considered my severance package.

I felt hurt, disrespected, disappointed, and confused. I was the Director that had the best staff morale team, the one that was never under budget, the one that usually picked up projects that my colleagues neglected, the one that never missed deadlines, and never late to meetings….yet I was laid off. Me, the top performer. This experience was such a blow to my confidence. I was also the one that thought my job title made the person I was. FALSE. Who I am has NOTHING to do with my job title.

Although, being laid off was very emotional for me, I still felt like everything would be okay. I had made up my mind to not be bitter or speak ill of the organization that I have worked for. This was hard, because the enemy wants us to rot in bitterness, but I believed that God would work this out. I had money in my savings account and after all, I was a previous top performer and I had two degrees…I should find a job in no time, right? WRONG. Somewhere between the 3rd and 5th month, I really began to get disappointed with God especially when my friends were giving me praise reports of their new jobs, promotions, etc. I was like, “God, I know you are able to help me find a job, but are you willing?” I sent out hundreds of resumes, applications, and emails only to get entry level responses, or no responses at all, and not to mention that I am running out of savings, quickly!  Then during months 6 and 7 I began to change my focus. I started volunteering and getting involved with causes that I believed in and I took my close friends advice and began to find a way to enjoy this “unwanted vacation.” God has a plan for me that is perfect and I need to just relax and wait for it to unfold.

I’m happy to announce that the 8th month of being laid off will actually end with a new job opportunity. It’s with a new company and I have NO IDEA what God is doing, but I’m very grateful. Although, I have learned that gratitude is a powerful tool that will keep you focused, but, it will not shield you from challenges. However, it is very necessary for when you face challenges….  in all things give thanks.

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

Ain’t No Competition

Competition can be tricky, especially when it comes to comparing ourselves to those before or after us. This can be so in jobs, with relationships, within families, in leadership positions or other areas of life. I was having a conversation with a co-worker about this very fact and the additional fact that there shouldn’t be competition. It’s as simple as that.

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We are who we are, where we are and when we are who we are for where we are because of a plan bigger than those before us or after us. Each persons serves his or her purpose for a particular season of time. There is no need to feel inadequate, feel superior, frequently reference those before or after us, try to outdo and spin our wheels trying to win a race we shouldn’t even be running. Again, it’s as simple as that. To spend time comparing and competing with the person who held the spot before us, or the persons who will hold the spot after us is not only counterproductive, but it’s self-destructive.

The only competition we should regularly engage in is in a healthy goal to always do better than the great and wonderful things we’ve already done. So when it comes to competition….ain’t no competition. It’s as simple as that.

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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