Thursday, October 16

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (Part 1: Belgium)

So almost 3 weeks ago, I embarked on a solo journey to Europe to attend a conference. To some people that may not be a big deal, but for me it was an amazing experience that opened my eyes, mind, heart and spirit to the possibility of journeying forth alone. I met up with some professors once I got there, but navigating my way there was just me, my backpack & my nylon purse. I took almost every mode of transportation available and took in every second of it!

My journey began on October 23rd. I departed DC via a $3.25 bus ticket to New York. I arrived in NYC around lunchtime & surprised my friend at work. I was not aware the affect my presence would have on her but that is her story to tell... We chatted for awhile about my trip and she wished me well. I took the train to JFK Airport where I embarked upon an 8 hour plane ride to Brussels, Belgium.

I was between France & Netherlands! photo from:

Brussels Air is a fantastic airline if you are average height! The headrest was NOT for me. Luckily I had a window seat, so I spent most of my time with my head IN the window. Each seat had a tablet on the back and you had movies, shows, music & games from which to choose. I watched several movies but most notably, The Devil Wears Prada both on the way there & home because... why not? They fed us a snack and a meal and another snack... I don't even eat that often at home! I landed in Brussels and had NO idea what to expect. I sat by baggage claim trying to connect to the wi-fi and tell my mom 6 time zones away that I was in Brussels and not kidnapped. (That was her BIG worry).

I traveled by taxi to Grand Place in the early hours of the morning and wandered the streets for a few hours. Here are some pics...

Belgium is home to tons of cartoonists and famous cartoons including THE SMURFS.

. They even have a museum called the Museum of Original Figures...

ANd of course you know I ate GOOOOD! 




And I had a cherry lambic that was EVERYTHING! I hopped the train after about 5 hours in Belgium & was off to Milano.... 

(To be continuuuuuued...)

Wednesday, September 10

All You Gotta Do is Say "YES!"

No matter what you may believe in: one God, many Gods, the universe as one being, WHATEVER... this blog is for YOU!

First, a little background... I woke up one night many years ago and remembered my childhood dream of being a Child Psychologist. I know, I was always a strange child. I had let other people's opinions and my self-sabotage talk me out of pursuing psychology in undergrad. I spent and am still spending my years after working in communications in some form or fashion. But that day I decided to get me some other education. I got my M.A. in Forensic Psychology in 2007. But by the time I was finished the program and started applying for jobs it was apparent I would have to take a pay cut! No thank you. I knew that I had decided to go after this degree for a reason, so I just waited for the opportunity to present itself.

Fast forward to this summer, I am in the midst of pursuing a degree in Mental Health Counseling in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and I have been doing pretty well in school (ok VERY VERY well, but I digress). I was invited to join the honor society and I thought that would be the end of my participation in the honor society because I'm busy! I received a sketchy email, with very few details about the opportunity to travel with the honor society overseas. But I just didn't understand the logistics. So after initially saying yes, I did no follow up and chalked it up as a loss. Some 6 weeks or so later, the faculty advisor for the honor society contacts me again and asks if I would like to attend a conference in Italy. I called a few people some of whom told me no because essentially I would be travelling alone. I prayed on it. I asked some questions to the advisor and I prayed on it some more. Checked flights form this area and was like OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO "DIS TEW MUCH"!
Then after a weekend of conflict in every sense of the word, I got the ok from "the universe": my boss said he didn't mind me leaving at the end of the fiscal year as long as I got my work done, my close friend randomly called and told me to check flights out of NYC.  Lo and behold, flights were $300 cheaper. So, I said "yes".

I called the advisor out of the blue and the more she explains to me about the trip, the more sure I am that this is what I was supposed to do. She mentioned that the person whose name is on the apartment rental would not be in Italy until later that night so she encouraged me to try to get a long layover somewhere. When I booked my flight I had to decide between Brussels and Zurich. The fat girl in me chose Brussels (waffles, beer, chocolate & steak frites!!) and I accepted the adventure to come. A week later, I receive an email from the professor asking me if I wanted to help present at the conference. ME? the government worker from DC with no counseling experience? the daughter of a single mother who was the first person in her family to graduate college? ME? What do I know? What can I share? Who am I to get up and speak to anyone on anything important? I am the person that is being asked to get up and speak to someone about something. So without hesitation, but MUCH trepidation in my spirit, I said "yes" again.

I go to the website yesterday and see my name and face as well as my "credentials" on the website for this international conference that is less than 2 weeks away. I realized that all I did was say "yes" & everything else fell into place. As I type this, I am fighting back tears because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine presenting on an international platform. I simply wanted to help the children in my area, but God has shown me bigger and better. And all I had to do was say "yes"!

I am learning to trust this process more and more each day! And I encourage you to do the same. The fear and anxiety may not ever go away, but get the hesitation out of your spirit and say "yes". Take that leap of faith & grab on to those opportunities presented to you. You never know where they will lead!

Friday, July 25

Four Little Words

No four words can wreck a friendsjhip QUITE like "why don't you just..."

It is the gateway to judgey, unsolicited advice and the quickest way to let someone know you don't understand their situation. While you may think you are dispensing sage wisdom,  the receiver ain't  receiving. I knoww that when people start a statement like that, I instantly think: "Why don't YOU just shut your face!" Often times people just want to vent so the unsolicited advice isn't even necessary. And the term will likely do more harm than good.

If you feel there is something that just MUST be said, why don't you just rephrase it and save yourself a cold shoulder, a severe side eye in perpetuity or being sent straight to VM forever and ever AMEN.

Many  times  we fail to see that we are "at fault" not in what we say (because if we are all being honest, certain things must be said [I loves me a good paranthetical phrase, don't I?]) but in how and WHAT we say. Maintaining a healthy friendship is about finessin that thing and not coming from a place of harm.

Wednesday, July 16

Say WHAT!?!?!?

This blog is a BIT all over the place... but just rock with me, I promise it'll be worth it!

There are times in the process of getting to know someone where communication breaks down. Sometimes it's forgivable, overlookable. But sometimes it's a testament to how the person listens, processes and acts upon what you tell them. I have known many a man who will ask you one thing, receive the answer and then develop something in their heads that when it does not come out how they planned get upset with you. Here's my issue with that. Time and again when they asked me a question I answer THAT question without assumptions or anticipations. So when THAT question is more open-ended than it should be, please don't get upset with ME! Prime example:
Them: What are you doing later? 
Me: Nothing.
Them HOURS later: So where do you want to go for dinner?
Me: I made plans already.

When you make your intentions clear from the beginning, there is no room for misunderstanding. Even in cases where someone wanted to surprise me, there are ways to make sure I'm where you want/need me to be at the right time without saying "I have a surprise for you". It's all about how and what you communicate.

I am a woman who says what I mean and mean what I say. If you interpret it any differently than how I said it, that's totally on you. I choose my words carefully for this very reason. I was a Communications major, I have a way with words, I KNOW what I said. In order to deal with me one must understand this.

I'm not perfect, by any means. There is a song performed by Nina Simone that says:

Oh baby, I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?
Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little foolish thing, some simple thing that I've done

'Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

I SOMETIMES make mistakes in my communication due to emotion, or sleepiness..... But, for the most part I mean every word I say and I expect you to understand that. I don't set out to make things difficult for anyone, contrary to popular belief. But I do expect someone to be able to process what I say the way I say it without inferences and interpretations. If you ask me what I like and I tell you, then you immediately decide to do the opposite, I'm not going to go along just to get along. I said what I said for a reason. I say it all the time, "I'm always right and I'm almost never wrong" so disputing me is futile. Whether that is a good stance to take or not, it simply means I stand by my words. I can give you flowery prose, or I can be so concise and blunt that you may get your feelings hurt; either way I pride myself on my ability to communicate well. If you don't respect and understand that, you don't respect or understand me.

I urge you all to take heed to this. As an adult, you know what you like, love, or are indifferent about. You know what is important to you, what you are proud of, what means the most. If someone does not appreciate it or at least respect those things, they just aren't for you. Don't be afraid to say what you mean. Too often we mince words to keep someone around, failing to realize that we are suppressing a part of ourselves to appease someone else. Many of us have done it for far too long and still come up empty. So why not speak your peace (yes PEACE, think about it!) and let things come together or fall apart based upon  your truths. You'll be happier in the end, I PROMISE!

Monday, June 30

Speak Life

What do you say to yourself in the mirror in the morning? "You look like crap!" "You need to pull it together."  What do you say to yourself as you are getting dressed? What do you say to your friends when they ask you how are you?What are you speaking over yourself? Whether in jest or in truth... What do you say?

I am NOT a rainbows and unicorns person, but I believe in positive energy regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation. When you feed into negativity you breed more of the same. When you speak ill over your life illness will manifest. Today, for some reason, negativity is cropping up in my mind and while my heart is saying it knows better, my mind is racing with all manner of thoughts that center on the negative. I just had life spoken into my situation by a friend that is so over me for today! But she still found it in her to speak life and not help or allow me to dwell on the downside.

Which brings me to what are your friends saying to you? When you talk about your current love interest or your ex how do they respond? Those around you may be speaking death if you are not careful. Jokes are fine, but at the core, what is there? Who are you allowing to speak to your situation? Negative Nancies and Bitter Bernards? or do you have a network of people who know how to be real, honest AND positive. The truth doesn't have to be covered in sugar OR sh*t (pardon my language). It can be done tactfully. If you ain't got that... How can you expect fruit?  Proverbs 18:21 says- "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." I'll take the life fruit please & thanks!

Tuesday, June 17


Over the past few months, I've been dealing with some men ("some" meaning more than one but less than 10).  "Dealing with", not really dating... just kinda dealing... Men that I knew were too young, too immature,  too insecure, too used to drama, too busy, "not good enough" (THEIR words, not mine). After reading The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas, I know that there is not ONE person for everyone, but several if you are seeking someone to aid you in the building of God's kingdom. These men were not that. I am in the process of discovering who God would have me to be for Him to this world and these men had no clue. Not to down them, they had great hearts, and some even appeared to have a DESIRE to follow Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." which is the verse that the aforementioned book is based upon, however... they were simply PLACEHOLDERS.

1. a person authorized to act for another

In my mind, and at least once in my heart, I was giving these men authorization to act on behalf of  a man that better fit into my future. But in doing so, where was this man to go if someone was holding his place? This man may be ANY of the things that I mentioned above but if he is seeking the kingdom, it would look and feel differently to me. He may be younger but have an old soul... I have NO desire to have an argument about whether the original WILLY WONKA and the Chocolate Factory was better than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a man in his 20s who has only seen the latter! He may be insecure but  in seeking the kingdom he allows himself to love me and me to love him and his insecurities fade... I have NO desire to deal with someone teetering back and forth between no drama with me and known chaos with someone else. He may be busy, but in seeking the kingdom, he realizes that he can and will make time for a woman who is also seeking the kingdom with whom he can build. He may not be good enough, but in seeking the kingdom his actions (not plans, but deeds) have him on a path to becoming a better person, not for me, but for God. But if these other men are holding his place, how and where will he fit?

These placeholders were granted authority out of loneliness, from a place of almost giving up, with the thought that SOMETHING was better than NOTHING. Because I "was not ready for a real relationship" it was ok to have hemidemisemiquavers taking the place of a whole note... for those that don't know music, that's 1/64th of a whole... that's several notes that you have to use to equal a whole (iowno math)

In some cases, I was the placeholder for them. I am a lot of things (some awesome, some good, some not so great), but I am NOT a placeholder. God knows I'm not perfect, but I am a woman that is seeking the kingdom. This morning on FB, my update from "God Wants You to Know" stated that "well done is always better than well-said". I talk a LOT but I try my best to make my words match up with my deeds and I am trying to make sure my deeds match my intentions in a way that impacts the kingdom positively. And for that reason, I know that I am not a placeholder. I am not a proxy, a  surrogate, a backup, a fill-in or a substitute. I am the original, the archetype, the model, the pattern, the paradigm. I must continue to see myself as such and act as such. 

Sure, I'm loud, a little raunchy, I have a sophomoric sense of humor, I still curse a little (ok sometimes a lot but not in front of children, pastors & old people anymore), I drink, I like a little ratchet music every now and then. But I am leaps and bounds away from where I used to be, how I used to be, what I used to be and WHY I used to be. I work regularly to do and be better and I cannot stand in place. I am not a placeholder for any man on this earth, God has given me the authority to overcome all the enemy's power and nothing will harm me (Luke 10:19). It may hurt for a moment but it will not harm me there is a huge difference.

I challenge you all to identify the placeholders in your life. Not just people but the things you have given the authority to act on behalf of something or someone else. I also challenge you to trust the process and step out of your placeholder position and take the authority to act on your OWN behalf. I pray that God allows us all to let go of placeholders and placeholdings so that we are free in his authority to seek him, trample the snakes and scorpions, and match our words to our deeds to our intentions to build His Kingdom.