Dec 14, 2014

Marital Parameters

Before Mario and I got married we went to premarital counseling with our pastor.  One of the things we had to do as a part of this counseling is write down things we'd leave behind and some parameters we felt would be important to establish going into the marriage.  

I've held on to those lists and to this day we still bring them up as a reminder of the promises we made to each other.  Here are the two lists...

Going into this marriage we will leave behind:
  • The past (e.g., wrongs, hurts, etc.)
  • Insecurities
  • Distrust
  • Immaturity
  • Lateness
  • Secrets
  • Letting others dictate our relationship/decisions
  • Arguing unnecessarily
We will uphold the following parameters during our marriage:
  • Can't use divorce/leaving as a threat.
  • Can't use sex as a bargaining tool.
  • Nicole - Don't disrespect my husband (especially publicly).
  • Mario - Don't deny my wife the affection/attention she needs.
  • Don't raise voices/argue publicly nor in front of the child(ren).
  • Don't embarrass each other intentionally.
  • No late night or inappropriate communication with the opposite sex.
  • Don't disrespect each other's family.
It's interesting to see the kind of thoughts we had about marriage and what we wanted and expected going into it, but I think we set some lasting "guidelines".  

Marriage is, and forever will be, a constant work in progress and requires conscientious effort.  I pray that we continue to uphold our vows and promises to each other for the years to come!

Food for thought:
What are some of the things you've left or plan to leave behind to protect your marriage?
What parameters have/will you set?!?

Nov 25, 2014

Will #BoycottBlackFriday Really Make A Difference?

In the mist of social unrest, brought on by the devastating events and subsequent grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo, I implore people (specifically Black people) to strategize, brainstorm and work together.

I need people that truly understand the economy, business, law, politics, etc., and how it all works, to come together. I need people with all different kinds of educational backgrounds (not just “traditional”) to team up, rally the people, and help develop a plan that will actually have a fighting chance.

If you’re telling me that we shouldn’t shop on Black Friday; I’m with it, but obviously so much more has to be done. People have to understand the true impact of not doing so and there has to be a plan in place that goes beyond refraining from shopping for just a day or two. If we’re going to boycott we need to boycott for xxx amount of days (remembering that the Montgomery bus boycott lasted for over a year) and have an understanding of how that will affect the economy, laws, politics, business and more.

We also need clear alternatives, because people have needs. Should we recreate not one but many thriving “Black Wall Street” type of communities? How do we start? How will it work? And, how can we protect those communities from resulting in the same fate as the original Black Wall Street. How do we keep this from affecting our White allies? More importantly, exactly where should I shop, bank, invest? If you’re telling me to invest in Black business and pull my money from certain banks, etc. then I need to have a good idea of exactly where I can go and who I can trust (because opportunists are real). Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely one to do my own research but..."the challenges of conflict and injustice in the world can often seem overwhelming. Although many of us would like to take a greater part in promoting positive change, it can be difficult to find good information and know how we can effectively contribute."  <source>

So, if we really want to bring about change we need the Martins, Sojourners, Malcolms and Angelas of our community to step up as leaders.  We need to put our heads together and lay out a timeline and set of goals, and explain why it all has a fighting chance of working! 

I’m more than ready to do my part! Let’s band together, support one another and recognize that collectively we can make a difference. We can start by coming up with a solid plan; #BoycottBlackFriday would just be the beginning. 

"Where there is no vision, the people perish..."
-Proverbs 29:18a (KJV)

Nov 10, 2014

Sweet November

It's November, folks, one of my favorite months; along with February, May and June.  My favorite people were born in those months; Maddie (Feb. 26th), Mario (May 17th), Me (June 19th) and Mommy (Nov. 13th).  And, yes, I'm one of my favorite people.  

I also love the changing of the season, from summer to fall.  There is just something about seeing the trees change colors that is so beautiful and comforting to me.  North Carolina is such a beautiful state to be in in the fall. I shall retire here one day.

Lastly, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.  My favorite!  I know Christmas is usually the all-time favorite holiday for most and I do love me some Christmas but there tends to be so much pressure involved with the whole gift giving thing.  As I grew older Christmas lost its luster and Thanksgiving became the holiday that I couldn't wait to get to.  Time off, comforting food, time with family and reflections of how good life truly is.  It doesn't get any better, in my opinion.

This year I'm hosting Thanksgiving and I'm really looking forward to welcoming my family in (especially since we have a dining room table this year :)), having a few people stay over for a night or two and going shopping in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday...none of that weird Thursday shopping business.

Want a peek at the menu I put together for this year?!  
I thought you'd never ask ;)...

Deviled Eggs


Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Macaroni & Cheese
Shrimp Fettuccine

Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Pie
Honey Bun Cake
Chocolate Cake
Banana Pudding

Dinner Rolls
Various Drinks

Do you think we're missing anything?!? Ha! What would you add to this menu? Better yet, what does your menu look like for this Thanksgiving? 

Do tell!!!

Oct 31, 2014

The End | Day 31

I did it!

I've written thirty-one posts for the month of October and it was most certainly a challenge.  Each week my urge to give up would increase a little more than the last.  Especially towards the end there when I was so close to finishing.  As I've mentioned before, I don't always finish things and I actually thought from the very beginning that this would be one of those things that I didn't finish.  I thought I'd make it a week at best.  But look at me, here at the finish line.  I feel quite proud!

A few takeaways:
  • Thinking about what to write every single day is tough.  It can be done, but it's tough.
  • If I really wanted to, I could write 2-4 post per week.  If I really wanted to.
  • I have the ability to encourage myself.  When I wanted to quit this challenge, I forced myself to write another post.  I need to apply this ability to many other areas in my life.
  • I've wondered how my audience views me.  I wonder if they think I'm overwhelmed or unhappy, a pessimist or complainer.  I hope I've just come across as real, content and human.
  • I've wanted to hone in on every little thing.  Be the best at everything.  Get everything done. 
    But, ultimately I've found that I need to stop being so hard on myself and extend myself some grace.  
  • Lastly, I thought a lot about how I spent my time as I went through this process. Time is valuable. Spend it wisely.  
I hope you've enjoyed this series.  I most certainly have.  
Yet, I'm thankful that it's over.

You can click {here} to read every post in this series.

The end,

31 Days of Writing Series: 
Day 1 - 31 Days of #HoningIn
Day 2 - My Morning
Day 3 - Appendicitis
Day 4 - Choosing Him
Day 5 - Me
Day 6 - Work
Day 7 - "Poppin' Pills"
Day 8 - Patience
Day 9 - Sleep
Day 10 - Support
Day 11 - Running
Day 12 - Help
Day 13 - Owl Costume

Oct 30, 2014

Time | Day 30

The older you get the quicker time flies.

This month I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I spend my time; this challenge has done that for me.  As you get older you tend to get caught in a rut of doing the same things over and over, not really thinking about the events of each day.  Before you know it it's the end of the year...again.

Are you making sure that life isn't just passing you by?!
Are you spending a lot of time:
  • Working
  • Watching TV
  • Web surfing
  • On Social Media
  • Procrastinating
  • "Relaxing" (i.e., doing nothing)
  • etc.
When you could be:
  • Writing your vision and making it plain. -Habakkuk 2:2
  • Developing a business plan.
  • Researching and implementing ways to reduce debt and build wealth.
  • Budgeting, meal planning, making grocery lists.
  • ...and the list goes on!
I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't take the time to wind down, to relax, to do mind-less tasks.  By all means, de-stress, and enjoy life!  Just make sure that you aren't spending too much time being idle. There is the potential to accomplish so much in this life, if only we learn to manage our time appropriately.  

Hone in,

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