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God made my bambino beautiful.

I love the lyrics of Beyonce’s new song. I look at Frederick every day and am still amazed that I shared my body with him for 40 weeks exactly. And I will always be grateful for the joy he’s brought to my life. This Thursday, my #1 blessing is Frederick Daniel. ❤

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Finding My Way Again

Finding My Way Again

Man, I’ve neglected my blog. But I guess that’s a reasonable trade off since I’ve been focusing on not neglecting myself. This year, I’ve really had to do a lot of figuring out how to trust my instincts, how to be confident again, how not to care so much about the street committee, how to see myself as more than a single mother, how to be more patient with myself, and how to accept help. I still struggle with a lot: speaking up for myself or not dwelling on things after I’ve decided to not say anything, asking for help, figuring out what relationships I want to invest in and/or repair, moving back to a place where I dream big and take steps towards those dreams, understanding what friendship means, and lots more. Then, of course, I’m still doing what I can to prove my worth at work and I’m still always trying to be current in what’s going on in the world and doing what I can in my community. Hopefully, in 2014, I can start back blogging and really sharing my thoughts on a regular basis. Maybe in the few weeks left, I’ll get back to the place where I’m comfortable sharing and not so worried about what people think about me. Until then, here’s a little poem I came across this morning.

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.

-Veronica A. Shoffstall

Expression Under New Management

Expression Under New Management

I haven’t been writing as much as I once did because I have felt stifled and unable to express myself freely. I am working on my perspective and figuring out what I need to do to feel okay to say what’s on my mind again.

I’ve realized that over the last year, I’ve begun caring a lot more than ever about what people think of me, how they interpret what I say (even when I didn’t think there was much wiggle room in the meaning), and how others may use my words against me. This is new territory for me because although of course I’m human so I’ve had some level of care, it never really stopped me from being who and what I wanted to be or saying whatever I had to say. Even when I was a Hillary Clinton fan in the 2008 primary election being questioned about my blackness, lol–I still didn’t shut up or let anyone make me feel less than awesome because of my beliefs. But now, I’ve found myself not wanting to share my feelings largely because of the fear that people will feed on the weaknesses that I have sometimes and exacerbate them or judge me for being on a path I didn’t plan to be on or anything else negative I haven’t been certain I could handle. That pit bull my ma has said I am has turned into a bit of a poodle. (But watch out because I’ve heard poodles aren’t wimps either!) Interesting turn of events.

I used to be a person who believed in taking risks and not having regrets, and I’ve now come to regret being that way. Isn’t that something? But I war with myself because I also feel like not taking risk is a risk in itself–a huge risk of one of the things that makes me who I am. But is that really who I am or is that just a chapter of my life? I dunno.

Stay with me. I’ll be back posting on a regular basis (instead of once a month) and writing posts better than ever soon (I hope).

Thanks to everyone who has been reading me since my old blog on blogger back in the day and those who read now. I appreciate you, especially those of you who comment and give me feedback.

Lunchtime Lessons

Lunchtime Lessons

Today, at lunch, I needed a stamp and a greeting card, so I decided to spend most of my hour walking through midtown (the post office is a bit of a trek, but I need the exercise so why not?). On the way to the post office, I passed a guy who yelled out, “Hey! What are you reading?” Because he caught me off guard, I actually had to look at my book before I replied “Hurricane.” The guy didn’t look homeless necessarily, maybe sick, maybe a little lost in life, so I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask me for money so I had “no cash” idly waiting on the tip of my tongue (which was true, but it definitely has become a bit of a stock phrase over my years of working downtown and midtown, although I try to make it a complete sentence “I don’t have any cash, sorry”, because I don’t like being rude to strangers*). But he didn’t. The light changed and he crossed the street.

Fast forward, I ran all my little errands and was headed in the direction of my office to get some grub, and I passed him again sitting on the steps of a little apartment building. I kept walking, but I was thinking, wow, how interesting to pass someone twice within an hour. He had the same idea, and he said to me, “Hey! I’ve seen you twice today. My name is Randall.” I slowed down, still a little worried, but I had no real reason not to. I spoke to him, and he said “Will you pray for me? There’s some reason I’ve seen you twice today. I’d really like you to pray for me.” So I asked him if he had any specific prayer requests, and he thought about it. Then he told me “my strongholds and my decisions.” By now, of course the sap that I am was really moved, so I said “I will definitely pray for you, Randall. Take care.” He smiled then went into what seemed like deep thought.

I spent the rest of my walk thinking about and praying for Randall, and I hope he’s okay. It just goes to show that you never know who you will encounter, and you never know if all someone needs is for you to stop walking and just engage them for a couple of minutes. Happy Friday, folks.

(And in case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been–I’ve been on tumblr and twitter pretty regularly, but I’m definitely gearing up to start  back carving out time to give you more than one thought at a time, so please stay tuned!)

*Disclaimer: I will totally be rude to mean people and people who are rude to me, whether I know them or not. Work in progress here.

Lemony Snicket… with a Happy Ending

Lemony Snicket… with a Happy Ending

When some random object flies off a truck on a busy I-285 and you can’t do anything to avoid running over it and then your tire as predicted begins to get low and you have to make your way across three or four lanes to get to the shoulder where cars and trucks are zooming past, you come to a juncture in the road where you must decide:

Do I panic and let this tear form? Or do I stay calm?

Yep, that happened to me Sunday. I chose to stay calm even though my eye was tingling with the thought of a possible tear forming. But as soon as I made that decision, I stayed in good spirits for the rest of what would become your run of the mill Lemony Snicket and a Series of Unfortunate Events kinda day. Now, this is the second time I’m writing this blog post–I lost it the first time, and I’ve decided to stay calm and just retype it–but this time, I’m leaving out some details, lol.

Alright, so after calling Roadside Assistance, I called the office where I was headed for an appointment, then texted the two people I had plans with later. One asked had I called the hero truck, to which I responded “what is a hero truck?” After getting over the initial disbelief that I have lived in Georgia for 9 years and didn’t know what a hero truck was, she told me to call 511 and they would come help me for free. By then I had the dispatcher State Farm referred me to on the phone asking me questions about getting a tow, so I asked her how much it would be, took down the number, and said I would call her back. I called 511, and sure enough, they asked where I was, what kind of car, and all that. (Read: God’s plan, step #1) Then the fateful question: “Do you have a spare?” It really is a long story, but suffice it to say that my daddy took my spare out and I had no idea if he had ever replaced it, so I answered “I don’t think so.” Why? Because I just didn’t want anyone coming to help me if I didn’t know AND as I was on 285, I wasn’t getting out of my car to clear out my trunk and lift up the mat and see.

So I called the dispatcher back, and she put me on hold to locate a tow truck to take me to where my tires are under warranty. Then she came back on the line and told me that it was taking longer than usual to find someone open on Sunday, and she would call me back in 5 minutes because she wanted to make sure she didn’t drain my cell phone battery. During this time, I asked my friend to come get me because I hadn’t eaten all day, and I would just make sure I was back in time to ensure that my car got to its destination. So about twenty to thirty minutes later, I see a yellow truck pulling up behind me… Hmmm, I think to myself… Tow trucks aren’t usually yellow… Then I see State Farm on the truck. Hmmm, State Farm sent me to the dispatcher service, so I’m confused… So a lady gets out of the truck, comes to my window and tells me she’s with HERO and she’s here to help me. (Read: God’s plan, step #2) I told her that I was told they wouldn’t be able to assist because I didn’t know if I had a spare. After telling me they sent her anyway, she said, “Well let’s see.” After together putting the contents of my trunk in my back seat, sure enough, I had a spare. (Read: God’s plan, step #3) As she changed my tire, I called the dispatcher back, who is sounding really stressed and worried. As soon as I told her that I was canceling, she replied, “Oh my God, I’m so happy because you wouldn’t believe I called this entire list and either they’re not open or they don’t have a truck they can send to where you are today.” (Read: God’s solutions ain’t got nothing on ours.)

When I tell you at that very moment, all I could do is think about how blessed I am, I’m understating how I felt. I immediately called my mom to share, and of course, I love sharing with her AFTER something has happened because she worries herself into oblivion. (Love you, mom!)

That’s not the end of my Lemony Snicket day though. Here’s the rest:

1- Went to tire place to get a new one

2- They didn’t have the tire I needed, so they called the next closest, they were putting their last 4 on a car at that moment. They then called the next closest. They had it and put it on hold for me.

3- There was construction on I-75 so I drove all the way up Marietta, which was fine because I needed gas. I pull in, swipe my card, it reads “SEE CASHIER.” I go inside, they say my card went through. Manager had to go outside and reset everything. I got gas.

4- Finally got to tire place, get it changed. End of debacle. Finally.

The other component of the day that made it a happy ending was the people I encountered. There are really good people in the world, even in Atlanta. (Kidding, y’all! (kinda, lol))

  • The dispatcher I talked kept telling lame jokes as she was processing my request. She knew that there was a good possibility I could be stressed out, so she was trying to lighten me up.
  • Before anyone got to me, a guy stopped and asked me if he could change my tire. Of course, this was before I knew if I had one. Thanks, Mister, for letting me know people care!
  • The HERO lady was soo nice and way diligent. That was my first experience with them, and I’m very pleased that we have that service here. Thank you, Georgia Department of Transportation!
  • The people at the gas station were very patient, and it rubbed off on me. Well, at this point, I figured the day was just what it was and if I hadn’t been upset yet, no need to start over a gas pump, but still. I appreciated them. The manager even pumped my gas.
  • As I was walking out of the gas station, a guy stopped me just to tell me I was beautiful. No pick up lines, no asking me for my number. Just wanted to give a compliment.
  • The mechanic on duty at the first tire place I went to recognized me from when I was there to get my oil changed, so he came over to speak and to look at my tire, and he assured me everything would be taken care of.
  • The manager at the place that put the tire on hold ended up being an AKA from Cheyney in PA (’82), and we had a great convo about politics while I was waiting on my car to get its new shoe. She was so nice and a great person to meet as I ended my journey.

So all that to say, you can’t see the rainbow unless there’s a little rain. And one of my favorite quotes is

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday could have been a monsoon if I had treated it as one. But it turned out to be a little blip in the road. I mean, yeah, I missed my social plans of the day, but I still got to my (rescheduled) appointment and ate dinner with my friend (who got to me at almost exactly the same time the HERO truck did and then followed me all over the place to make sure I got to the tire place–another person who was in that list of people who made my day). But the perspective is that things could have gone in a number of different ways, but they didn’t. And I still enjoyed the day because I allowed myself to, and because I trusted that everything would work out as they should. Now, I guess I’ll finally let my friend teach me how to change a tire, just in case that happens to me in another state. 🙂

MLM – Appreciating the Rain

MLM – Appreciating the Rain

Well, I’ve been dealing with some personal storms, and this morning, this story came to mind.  I posted this on 8-18-2003, and the story actually occurred in 2001.

On my way to work, I kept having the feeling that I left the stove on. So I turned around, and of course, it was not on. Luckily, I wasn’t late for work, but I hope I’m not becoming obsessive/compulsive. My ma says it’s probably just that I am growing up and realizing that I no longer have anyone to check behind me. Anyhow, it reminded me of two summers ago, my first summer in Atlanta, when I had an internship here, and I lived in the graduate apartments at Emory. I didn’t have my car with me in Atlanta, so I would walk to the Marta bus stop and catch the bus to the train and ride the train to my internship. Well, one particular morning, I was running late. It was raining lightly outside and I couldn’t find my umbrella or my hooded windbreaker, which was odd since I didn’t have much to look through. So I decided to walk through the drizzle so I wouldn’t be too late for work. The closer I got to the bus stop, the harder it rained. The whole way I fighting tears and asking the Lord to please let it stop raining until I got on the bus. When I got to the bus stop, it started pouring down. Rain was just beating down on me, and I was so upset that I was standing out there in the rain and that I would look a mess when I got to work. I decided to walk back to my apartment and dry off and start over. During my walk, I kept asking the Lord, “Why would you do that to me?” while crying and trying not to be hysterically upset. I walked back in my apartment completely drenched, and there was my answer… I had left my gas stove on. I immediately apologized to the Lord for doubting Him and started laughing after my heart stopped beating so fast after turning the stove off. What a tragedy it’d been if that gas had stayed on from 8-6… After I started over and got ready again, guess what. It was beautiful outside. And of course, I found my windbreaker under my books and folders in my bag (the one I was digging through as I walked in the rain trying to find something with which to cover up). And my umbrella was where I had left it–beside my desk… Unreal, huh? It’s instances like that one that let me know there is a higher power, and that I am watched over all the time. Well, let me get back to work.

One of my mantras is “perspective.”  Everything happens for a reason, yanno.  Even if it seems horrible or sad or negative now, there’s always a greater purpose that you’ll recognize when you try.  Even when you seem to not have any support or “covering,” God’s always there crafting and managing the situation.

One of my favorite quotes is “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

And there it is.  Time to put my dancing shoes on.

 

The Intermittent Rigamarole of My Life

The Intermittent Rigamarole of My Life

Yes, rigamarole is a real word.

From dictionary.com:

rig·a·ma·role (rĭg’ə-mə-rōl’) 
n. Variant of rigmarole.

rig·ma·role (rĭg’mə-rōl’) 
n.

  1. Confused, rambling, or incoherent discourse; nonsense.
  2. A complicated, petty set of procedures.

When things that seem to make all the sense in the world become confusing and chaotic, what do you do?  I am looking forward to clearing my mind with some hot yoga in the morning.  I know that all things work out the way they’re supposed to, but it’s sometimes difficult for me to shift to find the new perspective.  Oh, I will shift.  Without a doubt.  But there’s a delayed reaction. Maybe (hopefully) it’s just for a little while.  And by little while, I mean a quick moment.  Lofty, but possible, right?  It’s just hard being vulnerable and not in control.  But ever the risk taker, I can’t help but try, even if it ends in failure. I bump my head and get back up after as soon as I’m no longer dizzy.

So until I make that shift that facilitates my ability to have a positive perspective, this is for me and anyone else there that is having some trouble sorting stuff out.

Be still, young heart, and never will you fall apart.
Be wise, my dear, you must learn to just be still
Until you really really know.
Show me your eye, shine your light, I wonder when will i know.