Faith, Family, Love & Marriage

Marriage Made Easy

When the one month shy of 23 year old young woman and the just turned 26 year old young man stood before God and man and repeated those vows, all they could think of was jumping on each other’s bones later that evening and living happily ever after. That was me and my husband. We were kids taking a try at being grown ups and striking out on our own. Fast forward these many years later and it’s become common place to hear “You guys make it look so easy!” or “Wish my marriage could be like that!”

With eighteen notches on the marriage belt, it has been nothing but easy. Fun. Yes. Hilarious. Yes. Adventurous. Yes. Easy. Certainly not! Those marriage vows came home to roost in more ways than one. 

To Have And To Hold. We soon learned that we couldn’t just choose the good over the bad. It’s a package deal. When he got on my nerves with his laissez-faire attitude and his whatever comes what may mentality I had to have and hold it. When I irked his nerves with my strictly by the book, plan fifty years in advance staying within the lines mentality, he had to have and hold it. Two totally opposite creatures slamming into each other day in and day out made for some interesting arguments over the years. Some we laugh about now. Some with regret. 

For Better And For Worse. I didn’t sign up to be poor when I got married. After all I came from a two parent home where food was always in the fridge, the bills were always paid and our house was clean and well kept. Apartment living was supposed to be a two year stint. Not a five year one. Having one car between the two of us really tried my patience on most days. Having to live without some things I even enjoyed during my college years was the hardest part. I went from using Victoria’s Secret products to Vaseline overnight. Our combined income barely paid the bills and going to Fuddrucker’s was considered a treat! Steak sandwich, chili cheese fries, and a milk shake please! 

In Sickness And In Health. The occasional flu. Infertility. Surgeries. Parental illnesses on both sides. Caretaking roles. Our parents were hale and healthy standing as witnesses to our union then. It’s a different story these days. My dad walks with a limp from a knee surgery.  His mom is on blood pressure meds. His dad is on glucose meds. My mother is no longer with us. 

Til Death We Do Part. We joke around that in heaven we know we won’t be married. But we made a pact to at least live next door to each other. He is my best friend after all. Best friends don’t let best friends live in heaven by themselves! I shudder to think of the inevitable but know what God’s grace has done for countless of other couples before and He will do it with us. 

So Help Me God. There has been nothing easy about two polar opposite individuals living out life together. We have said some hurtful things. We have had to make it right. We have had to ask God to help us through some tough spots. Nothing we have done has been under our own volition. Going to bed angry was not a habit we kept. Not speaking to each other for days wasn’t either. Not trusting each other with our finances, our bodies, and our dreams wasn’t going to work. We confronted the issues at hand, asked for each other’s forgiveness and tried to do it better. All easier said than done. All part of what makes it work. 

Yeah. We make married life look easy. At least on Sundays. At least when we post a selfie on social media. At least when we entertain in our home. The rest of them days are all about working hard at doing right by God, ourselves and each other. 

   
    
    
    
 

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Family, Life Coach, Random Thoughts

Beware Of The Daddy’s Girl

The father’s toast to his future son-in-law at their engagement party started like this “I already showed you the gun… here’s to taking this last expense off of my hand.” I hollered! 

It reminded me so much of the one time both my dad and then boyfriend/now husband both accompanied me to buy my first new car. They haggled on my behalf. Both standing on each side of me protecting me from this salesman’s pitch. I will never forget the look on my boyfriend’s face when he saw the five one-hundred dollar bills that my dad pulled out. I didn’t miss a beat and took the cash to handle the transaction. Boyfriend talked about that for weeks. He would soon come to learn in our pre-marital counseling sessions that I was a bonafide Daddy’s girl. 

Daddy’s Girls are a dangerous species in the human race. They come with a long list of instructions and warnings attached. Like, she buys shoes every two weeks and because her dad paid for her prom dress (though she was working), she kinda expects you to spend your money first before she spends hers. She doesn’t like bare pantry cabinets. She doesn’t like buying one toilet paper at a time. Costco is her favorite spot and she likes to buy things in bulk. 

She’s sorta, kinda impatient. Her daddy gave her field trip money every time and extra just in case. He was always waiting after her shift ended and she’s since hated having to wait for anything or anyone. No isn’t in her vocabulary because much to mom’s chagrin he could never say no to his baby girl. 

Daddy disciplines but would secretly cry after for doing so. When she is old enough to understand, she can cry you a river and you will never know the difference. Beware because she’s only gotten better at this. Lol!

Daddy reminds his baby girl that men are a dime a dozen and her self-fulfillment comes first. Get your education. Get your own money. If you found someone you could see yourself being happy with, then and only then would you consider putting them first. When this joker doesn’t work out, have a good cry and get on with your life. Remember Daddy taught you to have your own anyway. 

Daddy’s Girls don’t take no for an answer. As they get older they accept the no, but not before trying to find a way to make it a yes. She’s determined and tenacious. She’s a natural born leader. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her she’s cute or smart or the ish. Daddy always told her. So the blah blah compliments and yada yada commendations will always fall on deaf ears.  Daddy already beat them to it. 

Beware of Daddy’s Girls! We, ehem, I mean THEY, are hellions in heels. They run organizations. They run households. They run DIS! And lawd forbid you come across an only Daddy’s Girl. You know the one who had a josue full of brothers, one brother, or no siblings at all?! There’s no competition in a house with the one girl.  There’s no competition other than herself in life for her either. 

Prayers now being accepted for my husband. LMBO! 

Family, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Luv Is Not Love 

I can be down with the word abbreviations and slang every now and then. “Turnup” being one word instead of two. “On fleek” used as much as you use hot peppers on your submarine sandwich–very sparingly. Fo’ sho instead of for sure has a nice clean ring to it. It’s definitive, it’s fo’ real. Yet my mentor brought up a good point the other day in our conversation about one word you just shouldn’t fool with. Being in love and being in “luv” are two different things. 

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

In luv means one person is in it for the benefits, and the other is in it hoping the benefits will lead to commitment. Being in love means you have both decided to throw your gifts, talents, faith, time energy into this thing called a relationship. There is no me and mine at this point. There is only ours. You ride the waves of life as a unit not as one person waiting for the other to fail. You look good, we both look good. 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

In luv there’s plenty of room for manipulation and deception. If cell phones are always in pockets and purses, Houston we have the beginnings of a problem. If there is this unspoken agreement to live separate lives and connect only when necessary (for sex, paying bills, going to church on first Sunday together) well you could have just hired an escort two weekends out the month! Being in love, is about transparency and acknowledging faults and failures in each other. Hiding your true intentions in a relationship is just delaying the inevitable. 

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

In luv means it’s ten years later and you’re still stuck with a person that’s not hungry for the things you are hungry for. They’re stagnant in their faith, their life goals, their way of thinking. You’re stifled in this muck called a relationship drowning every day. In love means, you’re growing together and when one stumbles along the way, the other is there to encourage, console, or just be there until the rainy weather ends. 

Don’t be fooled! That luv mentality has found its way in dating life and dare I say even marriages. Only difference is one couple didn’t spend gobs of money to sit in some hot mess of a failed relationship! One of you can walk away. One of you well…that’s a blog for another day. #HowToDivorceADeadBeat (jk) 

It is the complacency that comes with settling. Settling for a life without Jesus at the center of it. Settling for two-bit excuses about why he or she won’t just do right by you. Settling for mediocrity.

Moving from that luv to love mentality isn’t easy. It takes some serious soul searching to identify the whys and how in the hell did you get here type of self-analyzing. It takes some special kind of praying to be released from the bonds that threaten to choke you.  It takes you sitting on someone’s couch and bawling your eyes out in between gasps of finally telling your truth.  It takes you realizing that yes you screwed up but there is still hope of redeeming your sanity, of redeeming your life. 


Family, Random Thoughts

Home Anniversary 

“Happy Anniversary!” That’s my husband reminding me that as of Halloween night we have now celebrated thirteen years in our home. As children of immigrant homeowners, we both knew that homeownership was part of the plan. Five years into our marriage, a vision board, and an awesome testimony later, we crossed the threshold into our pre-foreclosure home. 

I remember the realtor holding his breath when I came across the dead mouse laying on his back on the concrete floor. The house had that Brady Bunch feel. Drop ceilings, popcorn ceilings and wood paneling would be our view for the first few years. We kept the popcorn ceiling. Some things you grow to love. I regret covering the terrazzo floors now. I couldn’t appreciate the beauty of speckles then. Drat! 

Hurricane Wilma blew our patio away three years in. Our guest bathroom is the last space to go through my HGTV-ish shenanigans. Every summer was a project. My home office is my personal pride and joy. All me! Home Depot is my spot! I miss the smell of sawdust and sound of tools. Being the daughter of a construction worker had its perks. I discovered my personal style during those years of remodeling. I didn’t want shiny. I didn’t want modern. I certainly didn’t want bric-a-brac. I liked what I liked. And. I. Got. What. I. Liked. Much to my hubby’s chagrin. 

Now we are entering that season where things need to be repainted, replaced, or removed. Yet another one of life’s reminders that things don’t stay young and fresh forever. There’s going to always be room for a do-over, a makeover, a scrap this and try it over. 

We were like nervous kids signing all those documents that Halloween Night. Our younger selves excited about this new adventure we were on together. Taking another swipe at this “American Dream” thing. Now our seasoned souls sit back and bask in this achievement of coming to not just a house–but a home. 

The AC unit has lasted another South Florida summer! It’s the smallest things. 

Faith, Family, Journey to Mommyhood, Uncategorized

Daredevil Mommies

I’m a scary cat by nature. I don’t swim. I don’t bungee jump. I don’t do anything that takes me off the ground and places me outside of my element. I wonder had I been given half the chance and opportunities whether my predisposition for all things safe and secure would have been different. My mom was a scary cat. God bless my risk taking dad. Had he pushed just a little bit more, maybe my brother and I would have been a bit more risk takers ourselves. 

Children take their cues from their parents and especially their moms. If that child looks back and sees a petrified look on mommy’s face, there is no convincing them to move forward. I was watching a Ted Talk the other day about a man who goes on adventures around the world. Of the 80 people who went on his last trip, 65 were ages 9-13. Gulp! What mother in their right mind would send their child out to dive in caves?! What mother would allow her child to go swimming with sharks?! Mine wouldn’t even let me go to sleepovers! 

Being that mother who encourages an adventurous spirit can’t be easy for those who grew up sheltered or underprivileged. But ut is necessary for your child’s well being. Here are some reasons why. 

Your child will dream big. They won’t get stuck in the muck of what others think about them because you have already made them a believer in their own capabilities. Any child that can do back flips on a beam is ready for greatness. 

Your child will have faith. It goes without saying that “Kingdom Children” children of believers of Christ’s teachings, lead a more purpose driven life. Compound that with exposure to climbing trees, non-traditional sports, or trips to off the beaten path locales, and you have a child who dares to believe beyond what their eyes can see and what others would like for them to believe. 

Your child will make a great human being. He or she will see beyond the mundane and strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives. Exposure to the outdoors yields respect for the environment. Exposure to different cultures and backgrounds builds empathy. Exposure to higher order thinking builds intelligence. 

Your child will not suffer fools gladly. I always admire children who can advocate for themselves-appropriately that is. Let’s be honest who among us doesn’t enjoy a rousing discussion with a nine year old. Children whose “bull crap” alert stays on high lead safer lives. Stranger Danger is only the half! 

This self-professed scary cat has dreams of raising a child that will do all the things I couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I guess I gotta start by learning how to swim. Yikes! 

Faith, Family, Grief And Loss

Permission To Live

This summer marked the first time in four years where words like doctors, medication, Cancer and death didn’t float around my mind like alphabet soup. I knew going in to these dog days of summer that it would be different this year. My mom’s passing last May meant no more case managing her life. No more phone calls sequestered in a corner at work haggling with the doctors. No more keeping two appointment books. No more dealing with the home health agency. No more pain. No more suffering. 

There will be times in your life where you get so caught up in just existing that you scarce can’t remember what breathing normal felt like. That your heartbeat’s regular pace is really not abnormal. When life’s turmoils take us for a somersault we never believe that we will bounce back. Yet eventually we do. 

And when we do, it’s always wise to take stock of where we have landed. Like change that falls out of our pockets during roller coaster rides, some things are evidently loss to us. Never to be seen again.  What’s since been lost to you? Has friendships changed? Has priorities changed? Has your mindset changed?

It was in those times of personal pain that I sought God the most. He has proved to be the only constant. He, the Rock that is higher than I, has remained steadfast. I learned to take care of me better than before. I learned to grieve honestly and personally. 

This summer was a lesson in just living in the moment. Summer concerts on the lawn. Multiple stamps on my passport. TV binging–my latest and oh so guilty pleasure. Books that turned my brain to mush or stirred my inner self. Permitting myself to live–to move on. 

It is good to give ourself permission to live. To love. To laugh again. 

Family, Love & Marriage

Happily Married

“You look like you’re happily married,” says the random dude that passes her in the shopping aisle.

Her wedding ring wasn’t readily seen.  Yet something in her demeanor, on her face, in her walk, that may have hinted at a woman in throes of marital bliss. 

Did she send out some hormonally-laced message that intimated of a sexually, emotionally and intellectually satisfied woman?  Was her casual glance his way empty and vague? As if to say “You don’t hold a lamp to my man.” Did he sniff a hint of pleasured domesticity as she carefully chooses 500 count thread sheets or that Egyptian cotton brand towel her man preferred to use? 

Could he possibly know that she was a woman who enjoyed making her house a home for her family?

She will never know. The only words she throws his way are, “I sure am HAPPILY MARRIED.” Moving on.