Thursday, December 28, 2017

As 2017 Comes to a Close...

Christmas has come and gone, the New Year is just a few days away. 2017 is coming to a close. From what I see online, and based on the events in the world this year, most of you are ready for 2018. I totally understand. I have been trying to focus on the positives, myself. I've had many great experiences in my life this year, and I am looking forward to next year being even better. I hope you can also reflect on the lessons learned and make 2018 more rewarding.

For awhile now, I'd say since maybe 2015 or 2016, I've periodically been taking a step back to just regroup and focus on what is important to me and my life. Something I've learned about myself is that, though it's great that I can be dependable and loyal and all that, I was constantly putting my own needs aside to support many who had no interest in supporting me or learning anything about who I was. I had to ask myself why, and STOP doing it. It was really hard for me, as these were people I held dear to my heart. But my efforts were never (or, very rarely) reciprocated. It became exhausting. Relationships can't be one-sided. Letting go was one of the best things I've done for myself this year, and that is why my own personal life has blossomed, I am sure. I've also been approaching a lot in life with a "less is more" attitude. It really helps me to keep it simple and find the beauty in everyday things that we overlook. I'm continually renewing my mind, and I look forward to what's next.

I pray that you all have an amazing New Year! I'm excited to be celebrating my 1-year wedding anniversary on NYE, enjoying my time off from work, and spending quality time with my family.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reflections + Updates

The last few months have slowed me down a little bit, and I've had some time to process and reflect on things. This past year has been AMAZING for me, but it's been moving SO fast that it's nice to have some time to enjoy the blessings. I've also been re-evaluating my relationships with people in my life, which I do from time to time. It's good sometimes to see how things fit in your life as things change and as you grow. In less than 30 days, I will be celebrating my 1 year wedding anniversary. Our family has had a ton of milestones this year, with birthdays, my husband and I relocating, to preparing to welcome our first child together in a few more months. So, to be able to take it all in for a moment is so needed right now.

Speaking of welcoming my 1st child... My pregnancy has been going well so far. There have been no complications (thank God), just the typical pregnancy symptoms and aches/pains (which no one warned me about, btw). The hip & lower back pain, and occasional round ligament pain, are something else. My body pillow that hubs got me a couple months ago helps most nights but doesn't fully eliminate the discomfort. My workouts have been lightweight -- just walking a few times a week, and doing prenatal yoga stretches. I think this week I will start some light strength training (think squats, lunges). My weight and measurements are on-target according to my Dr, so - so far, so good. I've just been listening to my body and taking it easy when needed. On social media, I've been keeping things low-key. It's funny, I thought I'd be sharing every little thing online, but now that I am actually pregnant, the pregnancy and baby have become so personal to me that I'm very protective. There are some things I'd like to keep just for hubby and I, and now I do understand why some women choose not to share until much later or even when the baby is born. You open yourself up to lots of questions you may not want to answer (for whatever reason), and lots of opinions that you didn't ask for. Outside of that, people have been supportive and loving for the most part, and I appreciate that!! <3

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trusting God's Timing... with EVERYTHING

I'll be honest. Trusting God's timing isn't always easy. Especially in the world we live in, where instant results and busyness are glorified. But from my own experience, and from what I've witnessed with others, not rushing some things has been a true blessing.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Women's Health: My Fibroid Story

2 weeks post-op at my follow-up appt

This is something I have wanted to talk about since having my own experience with fibroids and surgery to remove them in 2015. I put this post off, because of the fear of getting too personal. I'm a pretty private person but sometimes things need to be shared to help the next person. God keeps putting this on my heart to speak on, and I know so many women are struggling with this in silence (especially African American women like me). I recall feeling very alone and scared when I was dealing with this. I ended up having to have an open myomectomy to remove an 11cm uterine fibroid, and had to lean on a Facebook group for support. Sometimes, it really helps to hear from someone who has been through it and could give details so you know what to expect. So, here is my story.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Protective Styling

I'm still allowing my hair to grow out and I'm just trying to keep it as healthy as possible. I love my twist outs but my hair tends to get dry really quickly the more I wear it out. My favorite protective style right now is a part on the side, with flat twists starting in the front and combining into a low bun in the back. I can leave my hair like this for a few days for no manipulation, and my ends are tucked away. Wearing your hair up with your ends protected as often as possible helps to eliminate dryness and excessive split ends. Some of my other favorite protective styles are a high bun/top knot or small- to medium-sized twists pinned in an updo.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Speaking Up Even When It's Uncomfortable

We live in a day and age where everyone's opinions are thrown our way, whether we asked for them or not. As a Believer in Christ, I know it can sometimes be discouraging. And if you're like me, you probably feel like there isn't much you can say to give hope or encourage, because let's face it - you're not a preacher or anything. That isn't what you (or, I) were called to do. I don't have a huge following on my social networks, or a ton of engagement. I was feeling all of this for a few days when God led me to 2 Corinthians 11:6, which says this: "I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I'm not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way."

This really spoke to me. I'm not a great speaker by any means. And maybe someone reading this feels the same. But it doesn't matter. If God puts something on your heart to say, out of obedience we need to speak it. We need to speak up. More and more, truth is getting silenced and false teachings are being believed. I feel as Believers, we need to do our part. No matter how big or small we feel it is, whether it's to help thousands or a few or even a couple. The important thing is that we follow what God is telling us to do. So, don't compare yourself or feel insecure in what you lack. Allow yourself to be the vessel God created you to be.


Monday, April 17, 2017

What I'm Reading | 2

I have a couple of new books I've started reading that I am really enjoying. I tend to read more than one book at a time. The 2 I am currently reading are "Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel Volume III" by r.h.Sin, and "Wallflower: Essays and Anecdotes for Quiet Women Who Want to Be Heard" by GG Renee Hill.

"Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel Vol. III"by r.h.Sin: I've really been loving and resonating with the posts he has made from excerpts in this book. I'm looking forward to getting into it more. I'm sure if you follow me on Snapchat, you have seen me sharing pages from this book. I've been getting into poetry more and more lately. I also ordered "I Love My Love" by Reyna Biddy, and I should have that sometime week.

Then, there is "Wallflower" by GG Renee Hill. It's a book of essays for the introverted woman (that's me!). This book isn't newly released - I've been meaning to buy this for awhile, now. Looking forward to finishing this one. Many people have misconceptions of what an introvert is - the main one probably being that we are shy or weird (well, I am a little weird but who isn't, really?). I didn't always understand this about myself/my personality. In my teens and 20's I'd force myself into situations to be more social, not understanding why I'd feel so overwhelmed after a few hours and want to retreat back to my own space. Coming to this realization about myself, I am better able to handle social situations I may have to be in, and I also give myself the time I need to regroup and recharge. This book is so relatable and an easy read.

What books have you been reading lately?


Friday, March 17, 2017

Staying Encouraged in Your Quiet Seasons

It's so easy to stay encouraged when things are going well. When prayers seem to be answered almost immediately, or when things are just overall going well in life: personal, business, etc. But how do you stay encouraged when things don't seem to be going your way? Or, when you're working hard and yet life just seems to be at a complete standstill? The business isn't taking off, your relationship doesn't seem to be progressing, your efforts seem to be in vain... What do you do, then?

Let me share a little secret with you all. I don't care what anyone tells you - we (humans) will NEVER have it all figured out. As long as we are living, there will always be something to work toward, more growth within ourselves to occur, and most times what we want to happen won't happen in our time-frame. That's life. The most important lessons I have learned while waiting for anything, are: What should I be learning during this time? What is God trying to tell me or show me, whether it be about myself or others? Am I thankful for the blessings I have NOW? Am I practicing being grateful while I strive toward continuing to grow in life? No matter how it seems online, or in life, people are constantly going through seasons. Yes, all of us. And usually, everything isn't "perfect" at once. We'll get one area together, and then some other area in life needs our attention. It seems God isn't speaking to us when we are waiting in that quiet time in life. Remember that God's timing is so different than ours, He sees things we don't. He knows better. So, do your best to trust that. Keep praying, stay grateful, stay faithful. The season will pass. If you look back at your life, you can likely agree. Things seem to come together at just the RIGHT time, for YOUR life. And if you can get to a place where you TRUST that, and know things will be okay in the end, those quiet times can be a beautiful thing.

Stay encouraged.  <3


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Embracing the Natural Me... Again.

Lately, I have been wearing A LOT of protective styles (braids, twists, weaves, crochet braid styles, etc.), and now that my hair has grown out enough where I am comfortable wearing it out again, I think it's time to let all the "hair add-ins", go. I definitely love the versatility, and I have absolutely NOTHING against any of that stuff. I'm an advocate of doing what YOU want with YOUR hair. Personally speaking, I started to feel a dependence on having longer hair or certain styles to feel beautiful or presentable again - and that wasn't good. The reason I went natural years ago back in 2008, was to let go of society's beauty standard and to just love myself - all of me - as I am. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love my beauty products and nails and whatnot. But the difference was - I don't feel negatively about myself without makeup or my nails done. But, I DID start feeling that way about my hair. That's a problem for me. So, unless I am wearing braids or twists, I am going to do my best now to just wear my own hair, and love it for what it is. I'm looking forward to this (not-so-new) journey. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Getting Real + Defining Your Standards

Every now and then, I see a quote online that really resonates with me. I saw this a few days ago, and it sparked something in me. "Get honest with people about who you are, what you want, and how you expect to be treated. Standards only scare off the people not meant for you." (When I saw this quote, there was no tag of the original poster, so my apologies for not knowing where this came from.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Being Still

In a world where we are constantly connected, when do we give ourselves time to be still? You're probably thinking, "There is no time for that. Do you know how busy I am?" I have learned that taking time to sit in quiet makes for a more productive day.

OK - most of you reading that already follow me knows that I am a Believer [in Christ], and that God is involved in EVERY area of my life. I can't separate, so this post will be no different. (There is my disclaimer)

Friday, January 6, 2017

We Did It!

On December 31st, 2016 (New Year's Eve), we said "I Do" in a private ceremony with our immediate family. We could not be happier with the way our special day turned out, and we are so grateful for this union.

Some of you don't know our story...