Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Dear 2011,

I want to say this was a great year for me. I would love to talk about how I stepped out on faith, did me and walked with greatness. But, I can't.

The truth is, I made some mistakes.

I allowed my pride to stand in the way. A lot. I flew halfway across the country and let my fear of rejection stop me from truly living in the moment. My anger caused me to lash out the people I love; my guilt kept me awake at night. I accepted every event invitation to The Pity Party--guest list, one.

Do I regret it? Nah. 2011 was just my Scrap Paper Year.

Back in high school, anytime a standardized test was administered, you got a sheet of scrap paper. You could work out math problems, brainstorm ideas or even doodle until you relaxed enough to finish the test. The scrap paper was never pretty or neat. There was always frenzied writing on both sides of the page, pencil smudges, eraser crumbs and scribbles. Sometimes, I even balled it up in a fit of frustration....usually over some preposterous word problem. But I never threw it away. That frenetic writing translated into answers I needed. The only way I could pass the test was by referring to the scrap paper.

So, 2011, thank you. I will refer back to the smudges of anxiety and the scribbles of anger. I will recall the eraser marks of pride and depression. I will put an asterisk next to that whole section about Mr. Big (he knows who he fact, he's probably reading this blog). Every situation, every circumstance is an answer I need:

D. All of the above
E. None of the above

I have shown my work.

In 2012, I'm passing the test.

Still Encouraged,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Will All Come Back To You

Tomorrow, my parents would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. Normally, I repost an essay I wrote a few years ago on the subject (Why Didn't I Get Married, for my FB friends). This year, I felt I needed to say more. As I look back on a year filled with highly publicized scandals and divorces, I feel like it is time to revisit my beliefs on love and marriage.

If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of Mike and Regenia Woodberry. As a married couple, they went through just about everything a couple can face: the loss of all four of their parents; the birth of four children and the tragic death of one; the loss of siblings and friends; literally, for richer and poorer and in sickness and health. In the thirteen years I spent observing their marriage, I did not see perfection.

I saw, however, more good days than bad days.
I saw a husband and wife who refused to quit, even when they could have.
I saw two people who were committed to God, to their children and to one another.
I saw love.

But times are different. Today, fewer and fewer Americans are willing to jump the broom. That's asking too much. We should settle for being tagged on Facebook and mentioned on Twitter. If we really like each other a lot, maybe we can sign a lease--but not a marriage certificate.

Every day, a politician or entertainer is releasing a statement to the media, apologizing for marital indiscretions. Deion and Pilar Sanders, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, Kris Humphries and Kimmy K, Matthew and Tina Knowles have all said "I don't" this year. Divorce attorneys are raking in more coins than Scrooge McDuck.

Domestic violence is now more common than ever. Men and women continually use their fists and weapons to voice their anger and frustration, leading to the demise of countless mothers, fathers and innocent children.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent woman. Knowing what I know, is marriage a risk I am willing to take?


Please believe me--the rose-colored glasses are off. I have been cheated on, disrespected, hurt and rejected more times than I'd care to admit. I no longer believe that Prince Charming is going to whisk me away from a world of despair into Happily Ever After.

I just believe in love.

A love that...

...laughs at the corniest jokes.
...will eat that disgusting enchilada casserole and pretend to love it!
...notices a new hairstyle or weight loss.
...pumps the gas because it's freezing outside. the courage to share anything.
...prays with me and for me.

A love that never fails.

On what would be the last anniversary my parents shared together, my father played a song for my mother: "When You Love Someone" by Anita Baker and James Ingram. I have had that song on a cassette tape, CD and every mp3 player I have ever owned. It has followed me from high school to college to the tail end of my twenties. Every year, I play that song on December 21. I close my eyes and let the tears fall as I think about my parents and their love...about my life and what I hope to have one day. If I'm by myself, I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Of course, I know the lyrics by heart:

When you love someone
And you love them with your heart
And it doesn't disappear
If you're apart
When you love someone
And you've done all you can do
Set them free
And if that love is true
When you love someone
It will all come back to you

FBRs, here's to the reciprocity of love.
May the love you have shared--and the love you will share--ALWAYS come back to you.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

For the past week, I've been doing a lot of thinking about monogamous relationships. Those of you who know me know that I am Miss Optimistic. I will be the first person to tell you I believe in all of those "antiquated" notions about love; the soulmate, THE ONE, etc.

Except lately, all you seem to hear about is cheating. Whether it's emotional (letting down your guard with a co-worker or close friend) or physical (the drunken bachelor party/one night stand), the outcome is always the same. Someone is left with a broken heart, wondering where they went wrong and how to pick up the pieces.

In what I consider to be my first adult relationship, he cheated on me. There were several different factors at play: it was long-distance, we were growing apart, I was getting restless, etc. Still, that didn't change how devastated I felt when I walked into his apartment and saw signs of the other woman.

For those of you who are wondering, I didn't go Angela Bassett. I just got my stuff, walked back downstairs, got in my car and left.

Okay, I did peel out of the parking lot, but a girl has to give a little drama.

Has it changed me? Somewhat. I went through the grieving process--plenty of Toni Braxton, Fantasia and chocolate cheesecake. I DID NOT date while I was healing, because I feel that is a huge problem in the world right now: subjecting the next person to the last person's baggage.

I revised my rules, a little scrap of paper I keep in the front of my journal, chronicling the lessons I've learned about dating in the past ten years.

Lots of scribbles and bold print.

When I reentered the dating world, I will admit that I was still very cautious--kind of like the first time a kid is allowed to swim in the "big pool." Even though I logged many hours of introspection and prayer, I couldn't help but ask myself:

Am I good enough?
Is he going to cheat on me too?
Is all of this just an exercise in futility?

And then I smacked myself for being melodramatic.

In the seventh grade, I got food poisoning. I'm talking crying out to God, choosing which end goes on the toilet kind of food poisoning. It lasted for about three days. On the fourth day, I managed to keep down a bowl of chicken broth. By the end of the week, I was back to eating solids. Within two weeks, you never would have known I even had food poisoning.

My point (and I do have one): how silly would it be for me to stop eating just because I got sick one time?

That's the way I chose to deal with the aftermath of cheating. I wasn't going to dive into a buffet, but I could stomach an appetizer. One date--one evening at a restaurant, getting to know someone. Then, another one. And even though those dates didn't turn into a relationship, I realized I was ready to move on.

So, what's my official stance on cheating? I never want to go through it again. BUT, if I must, I know how to cope. And I will keep going through ups and downs of dating, until I meet the man who completely captures my heart.

He's out there.

If y'all see him, tell him to send me a BBM.

Be Encouraged,


Friday, September 30, 2011

Life & Lyrics, Part II

Ain't no city in the world like this/if you ask how I know, I gots to plead the fifth...
Miami, Will Smith

This year, my birthday present to myself was five days and four nights in the paradise known as Miami. I'm not going to lie: at first, I was scared to death. I have never been anywhere by myself, especially a place as hip and metropolitan as Miami. I even considered exchanging my ticket for a much safer North Dakota.

Something in my spirit told me I needed to take this trip, and I'm glad I did. Here's what I learned while I was 1500 miles from home:

1. Nobody cares about your imperfections.
The first day I went to the beach, I had on my typical swimming ensemble: bathing suit, long-sleeve coverup, shorts and flip-flops. When my feet touched the sand and I looked around, I realized I was severely overdressed.

No one was checking to see who had hail damage on their thighs or a less than perfect stomach; everyone was just soaking up the sunshine and splashing in the waves. How could I fully explain the way the ocean feels unless I let it touch every part of me?

So, I did it. I took off everything but my swimsuit and jumped in.

Scratch that: jumped in would imply that there was a time when I was fully submerged in the water. I waded in. Sorry, but I've seen too many movies about sharks and people who can't swim well.

2. Silence is golden.
I was in my hotel room, getting ready to hit the city. I bent over to put lotion on my toes when it happened: my beloved Crackberry jumped out of my pocket and straight into the toilet.

I got weak in the knees and had to sit down before I passed out. This phone was my lifeline! How in the world could I survive without my precious phone?

Well, I could and I did. For the next twelve hours, I was forced to live in the moment. I couldn't hide behind a text or a Facebook message when I felt nervous or insecure; I just had to deal with those emotions. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took that time to really talk to people....and enjoy life without constant vibrations.

A few weeks ago, I asked my FB friends how long they could survive without a cell phone. Now, I know I can make it at least half a day. After that, I'm scouring the city for the nearest T-Mobile store.

3. When you're nice, people will be nice to you.
When I arrived at my hotel, there were three travelers in front of me. Every one of them went out of their way to be rude to the front desk clerk; demanding special privileges, interrupting her conversations, raising their voices for the most minor inconveniences. I was tired and ready to take a shower, but I just sat on my suitcase and patiently waited. After all, she was doing the best job she could do.

When it was my turn, I smiled. She apologized for the wait; I told her that I understood this was a busy time and I was in no hurry. She asked me if I had any special requests; I told her it didn't matter to me. She smiled and said I was the easiest customer she'd had all day, so she was going to hook me up. I shrugged it off....I mean, it wasn't exactly the Ritz-Carlton, so what could she really do?

She hooked me UP.

When I got to my room, my jaw dropped as I looked out of the window and realized I had the most perfect view of the ocean in the entire hotel. During my stay, she made sure I had everything I needed, from a taxi to a new toothbrush (did I mention THAT fell in the toilet too)?

Just by showing a little kindness, my whole experience went from decent to amazing. Remember that the next time you want to take out your frustrations on the next person. Choose wisely.

4. EVERYBODY has ties to Oklahoma.

On Sunday, I decided to take a tour. The guide asked everyone where they were from, and I told her Oklahoma. Her face lit up, and she spent the next ten minutes explaining how her daughter lived in Norman and she had just come back from visiting her. I also ran into a woman on the beach who told me the most hilarious story about spending Christmas at the prison in McAlester.

You know, maybe I don't give this place enough credit. A lot of people got their start right here in the Sooner State, and I can appreciate that.

Still, the first opportunity I get....I'm outta here!

5. Missed chances...

Errrrrr....I don't think I'm ready to write about that one yet. Moving on!

6. When necessary, I can run in a halter dress and sandals.

I'm no Flo-Jo, but I can get out of harm's way.

7. Traveling is my new coping mechanism.

Before I left, I spent some time talking to my dad about the grieving process. Even though I have been through it before, something about this time seems so foreign and brand-new. He told me that I need to think about how I coped with previous losses and try to implement those same strategies in my current situation.

I thought about it. The truth of the matter is, the way I coped in the past was not healthy at all. I used food, alcohol and even affection to help me escape from the harsh realities of life; in this season, I could not allow myself to go back to such destructive behaviors. This time, I needed something different.

When I booked this trip at the end of August, I had no idea how tumultuous the next few weeks would become. Only God Himself could have known just how much I needed to get away, relax and rest. My first night in Florida was the first night in a month that I slept for more than four hours. As I stared at the water for as far as my eyes could see, I literally felt the stress and frustration leaving my body. I needed that.

Really, I needed everything: the adventures, the mishaps, the food, the laughter, the solitude, the companionship and the beach. ESPECIALLY the beach.

This is how I'm going to make it--by not limiting myself to the same surroundings and the same experiences. I am determined to see as much of the world as possible. And every time I get on a plane or put Appalonia on the highway, I'll think about how much my time in Florida changed me and I will expect the great during future trips. Above all, I'll reflect on the most important lesson I learned while in Miami:

The same God who keeps me on a cul-de-sac in Del City can keep me anywhere in the world.

Be Encouraged, y'all.


Life & Lyrics, Part I

HELLO, Faithful Blog Readers! It's been over a month since my last entry and so much has happened. Instead of going with my typical format, this entry will be set to the lyrics of some of my favorite songs. Music is life--my life. Be encouraged, y'all.

Seems like only yesterday/that your laughter filled the air/and whatever I was going through/you were always there...
--I'll See You Again, Richard Smallwood

Saying goodbye to Uncle Glenn is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. To refer him as my uncle does not adequately describe our relationship. To put it simply, he was my hero.

I'll never forget the story he told at my mother's funeral. He was driving along a highway when, out of the blue, rain started pouring down. This wasn't just any storm; it was the kind of storm where your windshield wipers are powerless against the sheets of rain. He had to make a decision: pull over to the side and wait for the storm to subside or keep driving. He chose to keep driving, and less than five minutes later, the clouds broke and the sun began to shine. Now, if he had chosen to pull over, he would have remained right in the eye of the storm. But, he didn't. He kept driving.

Today, so many of us find ourselves in that same predicament. The proverbial storms of life have us wondering whether we should pull over or keep driving. For me, the decision is easy. No matter what comes my way, I am determined to keep driving.

Thank you, Uncle Shorty.

Here I am/now looking at 30/and I've got so much to say....
--I Choose, India Arie

On Tuesday, I turned 29. In the words of Flava Flav: "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" When I imagined life at 29, I pictured something completely different than my current situation. Yet, where I am right now happens to be far more perfect than anything my mind could have envisioned. Why? I'll be glad to tell you.

1. I look better now than I did in my early 20s.
Y'all know I'm telling the truth. Say I'm not fly!

2. I feel better now than I did in my early 20s.
Right now, my confidence is at an all-time high. I don't think I can do anything--I KNOW I can do anything. For the first time in my entire life, I am not bothered by other's opinions of me. I am letting go of my past and moving into a future that is surely filled with more love, laughter and promise than I can stand.

3. My failures have become my success.
Let's face it--I failed A LOT in my 20s. Not just little, private missteps....several times, I have fallen flat on my face in front of a live studio audience. However, every one of those mistakes/bad decisions/rejections made me the person I am today. There is a strength within me I never knew existed; my faith is secure and my vision is clear. I never would have known that if I had not been allowed to mess up every now and then.

God, thank you for allowing me to fall.

Thank you for picking me up every single time.

Count on me through thick and thin/a friendship that will never end...
--Count On Me, Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans

In the month of September, I was once again reminded of the value of true friendship. I just have to pause here and say thanks to some people who really had my back in the past thirty days. You all continue to prove that I can count my friends on more than one hand.

Bestie: Even though you suck at motivational speeches (LOL!!!!), I cannot thank you enough for how you've been there for me. No one in this world knows me like you do; sometimes, I think you know me better than I know myself! I love you and I am so glad I asked God to make me a best friend! *insider*

Biscuit, J-Stunna and Baby Sis: I still can't believe that what we started all those years ago in Lawton has evolved into so much more than a friendship. You are my sisters, and that will never change. I thank God for what He's doing for you and I pray that this is only the beginning.

The SWOSU Fab Four: Thank you so much for that awesome dinner and for making me laugh on a day when all I wanted to do was cry. That touched my heart more than you will ever know. Next up: Charlie Wilson! LOL!!!!

Putter: I'm glad that what we have extends far beyond the confines of the office. Thank you for always keeping my best interests at heart. Love you, girl....and I miss "Truck Talk!"

Mr. Big: You always come back into my life during the times when I need you the most. You inspire me; you encourage me; you make me laugh. You treat me the way a man should ALWAYS a treat a woman...with respect, which is absolutely mutual. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter in our story.

And thank you to everyone who called, sent a text/BBM, prayed or kept me in your thoughts. Trust me, I'll always do the same for you.


I have a lot more to say, so I shall continue this in another entry. I had to break it up for those of you who have ADD.

Be Encouraged,


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Clearance Bin

Yesterday, I went shopping. My intent was just to purchase a pair of black pants and leave. But as soon as I walked in the store, my eyes were drawn to one of the most amazing sights since D'Angelo's "Untitled" video:

80% OFF!

I was a goner.

I rifled through the racks, looking for some things I needed to update my fall wardrobe. I was just about to leave when I hit the motherload--a pair of high-waisted, dark denim trouser jeans for SEVEN BUCKS. I didn't even take the time to try them on; I just did my "cheapskate" dance, paid for them and walked out of the store with a huge smile on my face.

When I got home, I tried them on and discovered exactly why they were so cheap--these allegedly long jeans are exactly three inches too short. I looked like Steve Urkel as a woman....whom I suppose would be Myrtle Urkel, but I digress. I sighed and made a mental note to take them back in the morning.

You realize I'm going somewhere with this, right?

The single life has always been fun for me. Even the bad dates--and I have had some BAD dates--have been awesome, in retrospect. Who can forget the man who took me to a shooting range for our first date....and had a trunk full of military-issued rifles? How about the Interviewer--the man who, on the first date, inquired about my income, the square footage of my house, my credit score and my investment portfolio?

At least they make good anecdotes for blogs about dating.

There's something about the end of your 20s that causes you to reflect. As I look back, I still find these tales quite amusing. However, I also see the pattern: the man who seems like a great catch; feels and looks like the real thing....but no matter how you pull, squeeze or even accessorize, he just doesn't fit.

Am I shopping in the Clearance Bin of Men?

Please don't get me wrong--this is not a man-bashing, Waiting to Exhale kind of post. I do not believe all men are evil; I don't even believe the men in my past were all that bad. The problem? I just don't know what I want.

Studies have shown that if you do not have a shopping list in your mind before you enter the store, you will spend almost double what you intended to. In dating, I feel as though I have spent more--more time, more energy, more pain and heartbreak than I ever really had to experience.


So, dear hearts, that is where I am in my life. Time to make a shopping list; time to see what's in and what's out.

No Clearance Bin either. This time, I'm willing to pay full price.

Be Encouraged,


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? Musings of a Road Trip

For the last few months, I have been in (what feels like) the fight of my life. My strength, sanity and even my faith has been tested. I found myself literally at a breaking point, so I did what I always do when life happens...

I hit the highway.

As the mile marker numbers decreased, so did my stress level. Literally, the past was in my rearview mirror and I found myself looking forward with anticipation and laughter.

Of course, I never do road trips by myself. My partners in crime, Shayla and Jeanette, held it down with me as we passed through most of northeast Texas. Along the way, we learned some things.

1. "No one knows me like you do."
Lately, I've been suffering in silence, too embarrassed to share my struggles with anyone, even my sisters. Nevertheless, there's something about the open road that just made me feel free to lay down my burdens.

Surprise--there was no judgement or discouragement; only empathy, support and love. Sometimes, you have to encourage yourself. But sometimes, God sends people to encourage you when you need it the most.

2. The little things.
Have y'all ever been to Ruby Tuesdays? It is my secret love. Any time I am within a 50-mile radius, I am drawn there like a moth to a flame. They make the most fantastic turkey burgers I have EVER tasted, including the ones I make at home. I don't even need to see the menu at this point--just give me the turkey burger and add the salad bar.

I'm telling y'all, that meat will lift up a bowed down head!

(Honorable mention: Lofthouse sugar cookies, snack bags by Jeanette, and the lobster buffet at Boomtown. Needless to say, I'll be eating celery all this week.)

3. Laughter heals.

I wish I could share with you, my dear FBRs, all of the jokes we shared this weekend. Some of them would make you laugh until you cried; some of them would be hard to understand (if you don't know us); some of them would make you think we are complete idiots.

We are, but I digress.

In life, everything just cannot be serious. Even when you are in the midst of a storm, take some time to laugh--not chuckle, grin or give a half-smile, but REALLY laugh. Laughter truly puts things in perspective....

Nothing is as bad as it seems when you LOL.

4. Southern Hospitality

Maybe I'm biased, but I love Texas people. They don't know how to be anything but friendly, sweet and kind.

(This excludes all my exes who live in Texas, thank you very much.)

Once again, God nudged me and I was convicted all over again. Instead of worrying about this or that, I just need to keep showing kindness to those around me. Not just any kindness, but sacrificial kindness. There is a difference.

Sacrificial kindness costs you something--time, money, etc. Nevertheless, it is truly a sound investment. Whatever you spend will be returned to you. Luke 6:38 says it like this:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

In a time where the stock market can drop 500 points in a single day, I would much rather invest in the kingdom of God.

5. There's no place like home.

My girl Dorothy was right. Even though I love getting away from Oklahoma City whenever I can, my heart rejoices whenever I see the sign that says "Oklahoma City Limits." If I'm not in the driver's seat, I'm already collecting trash and getting my stuff together so I can be in my house as soon as possible.

And here I am. Home.
Now more than ever, I am grateful for this--not the material things or even the house itself, but that feeling of peace in my heart. To me, that's home.

So, maybe you are going through something right now. This situation--this storm, trial or whatever you choose to call it--has a hold of you and it seems like it is never going to end. The way I see it, you have two choices:

-A road trip. Even if you don't have the time or the finances to cross state lines, do it in your mind. Put the past in the rearview mirror and floor it.

-Go home. Find your peace....'nuff said.

Be Encouraged, y'all.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Lessons Learned

This week, I had a great many epiphanies on a subject which is constantly on the hearts and minds of every twenty-something: my career. Ever the writer, I felt the need to share.

If you agree with what I'm saying, nod your head.
If you don't.....get your own dang blog! LOL!

1.Everyone does not like you.

To be honest, that has been so hard for me to accept! I, K. Marie, am a people-pleaser. I want everyone in the world to like me, or at least be able to tolerate me. In the pursuit of "like-ability," I forgot one very important thing....

I don't like everybody.

Some people just get under my skin. Maybe it's the way they drink their coffee or speak; maybe it is their overall attitude or their demeanor. Maybe it's because they like the Lakers--and y'all know how I feel about Kobe.

And you know what? That's okay.

Even though I happen to think I am pretty awesome,I have to admit that I would hate to live in a world full of me. Life is about celebrating differences; our very valid right to not want everybody in our inner circle.

So, raise your glass to the people who roll their eyes at you. As Bobby Brown so eloquently put it, it IS their prerogative.

2. "Stepping out on faith" requires action.

If you follow me on Twitter....or we're friends on Facebook....or we are BBM contacts (sidenote: there are way too many ways to contact me), then you know I've been talking about "stepping out on faith" for over a month now. Over and over again, I have asked my prayer warriors to lift me up as I step out on faith. Every morning and night, I asked God to stand with me as I stepped out on faith.

The problem? I never went anywhere. Fear cemented my feet to the ground.

When I was in preschool, my daycare teacher decided that my class needed to learn how to swim. We put on our bathing suits and went outside to the BIG pool. One by one, she swooped up each one of us and tossed us in the pool, where another teacher was waiting to catch us.

I better add that part--I don't want anyone calling DHS on them.

I was standing at the back of the line. I watched everyone splashing around in the pool, having the time of their lives. But as my teacher reached for me, I screamed "NO, NO, NO" and started crying. I mean, full Kayla tantrum mode. I just knew I was going to drown.

She didn't try to reason with me; she didn't try to console me. She just pushed me in the pool.

I sputtered and coughed, but I didn't drown.

This week, I had an adult Kayla tantrum. Only this time, it was with God. Mentally, I kicked, screamed and cried. God listened for awhile, and then He pushed me.

I'm glad He did.

I do not think I can add anything more to that, so I will end here. Be encouraged, y'all....whatever your situation may be, God is still in control.

Learning To Swim,


Monday, July 18, 2011

@ The Brook Besor (I Samuel 30)

Do you know the story of the Brook Besor? Of all my favorite David-themed stories in the Bible, this is my favorite. . In Max Lucado's Book, Facing Your Giants, he describes the 21st century version of the soldiers at the Brook Besor:

The church has its quorum of such folks. Good people. Godly people. Only hours or years ago they marched with deep resolve. But now fatigue consumes them. They’re exhausted. So beat-up and worn down that they can’t summon the strength to save their own flesh and blood. Old age has sucked their oxygen. Or maybe it was a deflating string of defeats. Divorce can leave you at the brook. Addiction can as well. Whatever the reason, the church has its share of people who just sit and rest.

Dear friends, I find myself at the Brook Besor right now. I am wounded. I am hurt. My strength is waning and my confidence is lacking. In the past month, my character, integrity and even the way I look and dress has been attacked--all by people who love God and are just "speaking the truth."

Well, I too must speak the truth: I'm human. This hurts.

So, what do I do now? Rest.

Don't take this as a "goodbye, cruel world" kind of post. I mean, I'm Kayla Marie....I'm not going out like that. However, I realize that now is the time to be really honest with God about who I am and where I am going in this phase of my life.

To put it bluntly, I cannot be effective in any capacity until I allow God to heal the broken places in my heart. And I know He will, because that's just the kind of God I serve.

Anyway, pray for me. And for those of you who also find yourselves at the Brook Besor, I'm praying for you as well. Resting is not admitting defeat; rather, it is acknowledgement of God's sovereignty. It is surrender to His will.

It's like getting a good night's sleep before a marathon. I just want to be prepared.

Be Encouraged,


Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Before 30

In the South (and yes, Oklahoma IS southern), women are bred to do two things: get married and have babies. If you are older than 25 and single, you're an old maid.

I've been told so on several occasions.

Hmmmm. I don't feel old; I'm dang sure not anybody's maid. And quite frankly, there's more to life than rings and bibs. I think we (read: ME) get so obsessed with what everyone else wants that we forget to discover what we want.

I just want to live life with no regrets.

Below, you will find a list of things I'd like to do before I hit the "dirty 30," a bucket list for my twenties. As of today, I have about a year and 3 1/2 months to get on it. Feel free to help if you can; if not, cheer me on from the sidelines.

And if the LOML (love of my life) or Sydney decides to show up during this journey....well....they better get in where they fit in!

30. Find my signature dish.

Church folks know you have to have a signature dish--you're go-to for all potlucks, baby showers and funerals. I've been flying under the radar thus far....but pretty soon, the ladies of UBC are going to figure out that napkins and cups don't really count.

29. Evaluate friendships and really let go of the toxic ones.

28. See the Pistons play in Detroit.
Now, one of y'all got the hookup. Sorry, but it's not like their games are sold-out every night! I just owe it to my team to support them on their home soil.

27. Learn how to drive a stick shift (for real this time).

26. Write a song.
I have a feeling it's going to come out sounding like Toni Braxton power ballad.

25. A visit to the East Coast (gotta see my Philly twin).

24. A visit to the West Coast (Kourtney promised me that In-N-Out burger).

23. Take a dance class
...something Latin.

22. Eat a sweet potato (I think they're disgusting, but I'll never really know unless I try).

21. Learn not to feel bad about saying no--even if you're only reason is because you want to go home, put on your PJs and read a book.

20. Read the Bible in its entirety.
I confess:I have my favorite passages. There are certain books and verses I keep going back to because of the way they make me feel. However, I'd like to go through the journey from the beginning and really see how it is all laid out....even the "such and so begat mama 'nem" section.

19. Accept criticism....
I was talking about this with a friend of mine who was surprised this is an issue for me. On the outside, I appear to take it well; but on the inside, I am HOT. I am learning to take criticism for what it is--medicine. Chewing Excedrin tables is gross, but my headache is gone in ten minutes or less.

18. ....not insults.
I have this really bad habit of internalizing insults, especially the passive-aggressive ones. And sometimes, I literally have to look in the mirror and tell myself: "I am NOT that person." And I mean it too. Either get with me or get left...

And I suppose you could get bent too.

17. Pay full price for something.
I came thisclose to dropping some major cash on two skirts I really wanted, but my cheapness just won't let me do it! I might need some Xanax before I attempt this one.

16. Lose control.
I pride myself on being "in control" at all times; but life is a roller coaster. If I know the restraints are on and working, I can fling my arms up in the air, scream at the top of my lungs and enjoy the ride.

15. Stop spending significant time on insignificant people.
Say it with me: the IGNORE feature on cell phones has got to be one of the greatest inventions in the 21st century.

14. Buy myself fresh flowers at least twice a month.
I have a bouquet of daisies sitting on my desk. Every times I look at the vibrant colors and smell their aroma, I smile. I need that simple pleasure in my life.

13. Pay off the rest of my credit card debt.
Kids, listen to me: buying up everything under the sun when you're in college sounds fun....until ten years later, when you're STILL paying for that meal at the Macaroni Grill.

12. Completely let go of one addiction.
Yes, there are many--I have an addictive personality. However, I just believe that if I can conquer one, I can conquer them all.

11. Run in some kind of competitive race.
5K, 10K, half-marathon....any or all of the above. I just need to prove to myself that I am so over the physical limitations of the extra weight I carried around for so many years.

I could also challenge a five-year-old to a race. That counts, right?

10. Learn to play the guitar.
I am the most musical non-musical person I've ever met in my life! I only want to play two songs--"Beautiful Surprise" by India Arie and "Chasing After You" by Tye Tribbett.

9. Change a tire.
I paid attention the last time I got a flat--I think I can do it this time!

8. Be comfortable without the Crackberry (or whatever cell phone).
I think this is different from an addiction--it is an obsession. That thing vibrates more than....well, I won't make that joke.

But it dictates my life--why should that be? It shouldn't. I remember when I used to turn off my cell phone for hours or days at a time, and I need to get back to that. Technology will not rule my life!

7. Skydiving.
Okay, hear me out on this: I don't really want to jump out of plane. I think I just want to do that indoor skydiving....'cause that's a lot closer to the ground!

6. Cultivate an adult wardrobe.
Make no mistake about it--K. Marie knows how to dress. Okay, my STYLIST (and I do have one) knows how to play up my strengths and downplay my weaknesses. To me, an adult wardrobe isn't much different than what I have now, but I do need some signature pieces:

--the power suit
--the LBD
--the "strut" shoes

Refer back to number 17.....whooooo, I'm feeling faint!

5.Bra measurements.
I have a real phobia of trying on clothes in general, but ESPECIALLY bras. I just grab what looks right and go. But as a woman--dang near 30 years old--I should probably find out exactly what size I am.


4.Drive faster.
Shayla will love that one.

3. Laugh harder.
IJBH, I was in a really bad mood a few hours ago. I was ready to just read someone the riot act, when someone sent me a YouTube link. It was eighteen seconds long, and I laughed so hard I cried. Just like that, I was calm again.

There are a million other ways to defuse a bad situation, but laughter works every time.

2. Write the freakin' book.
Okay, at this point, I'm even looking into plagiarism.

Seriously, I know there's a book in me. I feel the words, paragraphs and pages in my soul, However, I believe it is a process and I will allow this journey to move at its own pace.

I wonder how many people have read The Bluest Eye....I kid, I kid!

1. Every morning, I will look to the hills and expect the great.

I know how to expect the worst--that's easy. But expecting God to do everything He said He would do? Well, that takes faith.

I have faith.

Therefore, I expect the great.

Be Encouraged, y'all.

And to all of my friends who are turning 30 this year, HA HA!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I See The...."Dad" In You?

It's the week before Father's Day--and I am excited. I love taking time to honor the man who has been there for me since that unseasonably warm September day in 1982.

I'm not one to use cliched phrases, but my dad is my hero. I will love and respect him not just on Father's Day, but every day of the year.

*grabs tissue*

Back to the lecture at hand. I realize Father's Day is not always an "easy" holiday, because it makes us think--especially us sisters. We think not only about our fathers, but about the men in our lives; the men who could be the fathers of our children; but before then, our husbands.

Let the church say YEEEEEEEEEEEEEES......

A few years ago, I was conversing with a guy on the phone. Simple conversation--middle names, favorite food and books, etc. I mentioned something in passing about my father and homeboy got extremely quiet. I asked what was wrong and he told me: "Normally, I don't like to talk to women whose fathers have been active in their lives."

Y'all know this both piqued my interest and ticked me off. I had to ask why.

He went on to explain that women who grew up with their fathers are "spoiled and entitled, and no man will ever be good enough for them."

Clearly this man wasn't, but he brought up an interesting point....Biblical, even.

"A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22).

(Note: I went with the Contemporary English Version strictly to prove a point--not to omit the word "submit," which was the basis of the legendary dad/daughter debate of 2003.

In case you're wondering, he won.)

As I mentioned earlier, my dad is my hero. My fingers would cramp up before I finished typing just a fraction of the wonderful things he has done for me. And I am spoiled--more so emotionally than through material possessions.

He was the first man who told me he loved me; he reminded me often that I was beautiful...even in the midst of my ugly duckling/Precious phase; he sacrificed his time (and sleep) just to help me work through some of the twenty-something crises I have experienced.

...And you mean to tell me there will come a day when I have to give all of that up...for GOOD?!?!?!?

Nope. Not at all.

Have you ever been to a wedding where someone tells the father of the bride: "You're not losing a daughter, you're gaining a son?" Same principle. It's not that I have to give up what I love about my father; rather, I should be seeking out those same characteristics in the man I intend to marry. And even in the midst of the pessimistic dating climate, I have met plenty of men who've got that certain something that just lets me know.....

Whether I am his good thing or not, he is going to be a good husband one day.

So, ladies, if you're father is in your life or was ever in your life, think about some of those GREAT qualities; the ones that made you stick out your chest with pride and say: "THAT'S MY DADDY!" Keep them in your mind and on your heart; remind yourself of those attributes, even when they don't come in the "right package."

Another blog, another time.

To my sister-friends whose fathers were not active in your lives, I pray (first and foremost)that God would heal that wounded place in your heart. Secondly, I pray that there is a man in your life--a grandfather, stepdad, uncle or pastor--who has some of those GOOD qualities with which you can identify.

And for all of us, no matter what our situation may be, there is Abba (our Heavenly Father). If you're looking for an example of what a good father should be, it just doesn't get any better than that.

Be encouraged.


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Summertime Pledge

Ladies (and gentlemen), please raise your right hand and repeat after me:

I promise:

--(Ladies)to make sure my toenails are painted. Even if I am late for work/church/school, I will gladly accept the consequences in order to fix that chipped big toe.

--to step out of my clothing comfort zone. I will wear colors I have never worn and styles I've never long as they are APPROPRIATE. Rompers? Not so much.

--to participate in (at least) one child-like activity. Amidst all the tragedies being discussed on CNN, they've left out one of the biggest--losing our childhood innocence.

Find it in a water balloon fight; a Tiger's Blood sno-cone; a game of Hide And Seek at the park; even an afternoon spent lying in the grass, blowing dandelion petals and thinking about absolutely nothing.

--to eat good barbecue. I also promise to tell the FABULOUS author of this blog about any barbecue within a 50-mile radius.

--to make sure the AC is running efficiently at ALL times. If not, thou shalt have the numbers of three good repairmen on speed dial.

--to take one road trip, even if it's just to the other side of town. I know, gas is expensive...and? 40 bucks in Appalonia reaps dividends to my stress levels and my soul. Open the sunroof, put on that good music, press the pedal all the way to the floor and GO.

--to laugh. Often. Until tears stream down my face and my stomach cramps up. Free, fun and so worth it.

--take lots of pictures....and not just to preserve your "I'm awesome" FB/Twitter image. Next February, when you're so cold you can't feel your calves, much less your toes, you can look back on those pictures and know summer is just around the corner.

--not obsess over "summer lovin.'" I know, I happened for John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. One of Mariah Carey's best songs is "Fourth of July," all about a summertime romance. Everybody is showing more skin; your hormones are raging; all your instincts are telling you it's time to couple up.

Slow your roll, homeskillets. The good news is there is no "magical season" where you're are destined to fall in love. If you haven't met the Love of Your Life by Labor Day, life goes on.

And if you've stayed true to the Summertime Pledge, you can look back with a smile on your face and say:

"Man...that was a good summer."

Here's to a groove slightly transformed.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Randomness on a Wednesday Night

--In the past week, I have eaten mayonnaise that is four months past the expiration date and milk eleven days past the expiration date.

Reason #212,534,987 why I do not have children.

--Why was I drinking milk anyway? I must have a death wish.

--I bought the BADDEST dress on Tuesday...right color, right style, just flawless. I get home, try it on and BAM--t-shirt length. I need to look for tags that say "totally appropriate for those of you with 4 feet of legs."

--A good friend of mine asked me to go to Frontier City on Saturday. To be honest, I am really excited. It's been more than a decade since the last time I rode the Silver Bullet!

--I just thought of a really good sex joke to accompany that last sentence, but I'll let my dear readers connect the dots.

--I finally get the allure of BBM--it's like a secret clubhouse! Of course, it would be ten times better if I could get my message tones to alert me when someone sends a message.

LOL 15 hours later just doesn't have the same effect.

--Someone asked me if I was morning person or a night owl. Neither. You don't want to talk to me before I've had a cup of coffee; God help you if you interrupt my dreams with a text.

But I'm cool in the afternoons! Or dusk. Yeah, call me a dusk owl.

Well....that's my time! You've been a beautiful audience! Thank you and goodnight!

Shutup, Shayla--this WAS funny.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

'Round Midnight

On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. --Acts 27:27

I couldn't sleep last night.

I tried to count sheep; I tried thinking about sleep. I tried changing my position; I tried changing my breathing pattern. Yet, every time I even got close to REM, anger rose up within me. I started thinking about the "not fair" situations in my life--people who have hurt me with their words and actions...situations that just keep popping up, no matter how hard I try to avoid them.

Anger was like a Red Bull for me. It gave me energy, and not in a good way.

I kept going over what I should have said or could have said. Let's face it--I have the ability to make folks cry without ever having to raise my fist. I wanted them/him/her to hurt the way I was hurting.

They should be losing sleep, not me.

And then, midnight came.

There's just something about midnight that brings clarity. Perhaps it is because midnight is the official start of a new day. No matter what happened yesterday, midnight signifies the promises of a new day. It is the expiration date on problems; the recurring deposit of brand-new mercies.

At midnight, I could not take it anymore. I sat up and talked to God. As Pastor Reid would say, I spread my report before Him. No pretense--just the words on my heart without any censorship.

God, this fabulous vessel doesn't feel so fabulous right now. I'm wounded. I'm worn. I'm hurting. I need You.

And God came to see about me. Ain't that just like Him?

Instantly, I felt those heavy burdens lifted off of my shoulders. I closed my eyes and found the rest I so desperately needed. Probably a little too much because I overslept this morning...but that's neither here nor there.

As I sit here, I can't help but think about a few people in my life who are going through the same thing. You feel shipwrecked; the storms of life have battered you to the point where you are just hanging on by a rope. All around you, all you can see is rain...

To you, I say hang in there. Midnight is coming.

Be Encouraged,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother to the Motherless

In Christianity, there are times when we are guilty of saying things we don't fully understand. The phrases we heard the old deacons utter during devotion become a part of our lexicon--we never take the time to research exactly what they mean.

However, there is one phrase I know well:

"God, You are a mother to the motherless."

As I look back over the last fourteen years, I am blown away by God's hand on my situation. My mother died at the beginning of my adolescent years--at a time when I had way more questions than answers. And as much as I was grateful to have an awesome father, there are some things only a woman knows. Some special women stepped up to the plate, teaching me how to become the best woman I can be.

"Mommae" Sherry taught me how to be a bargain shopper. To this day, I rarely buy things that are not on clearance.

Aunt Lee taught me how to arch my eyebrows. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief that I no longer have a "unibrow."

Aunt Dy taught me how to cook....well, let me rephrase that. Aunt Dy taught me that I CAN cook because it is in my DNA. I just don't want to.

My beautiful Woodberry cousins showed me how to juggle it all. You can be a wife, mother, have a career and serve the Lord, all while looking FIERCE.

Aunt Cat taught me that I'm not crazy; I am just Regenia's child.

Mothers to the motherless.

To every woman out there who shared reassuring words, a comforting hug or just spoke my name in their prayers at night; to every woman who believed not in me, but what God could do through me, I say thank you. I do not have the words to adequately describe what you mean to me, but I will do my best to let my life express my gratitude.

To my mother--my inspiration, my heroine, my love--thank you. Most people say I have your intellect, your mannerisms or your wit...and all of that is true. However, I pray my heart and my spirit are even half as beautiful as yours. That, mommy, is why people still come up to me and share the many ways you touched their lives. That is why your name still resonates in the halls of the Liberal Arts Building at UCO. That is what makes me smile when I feel like crying. That is your legacy--the greatest gift of all.

Happy Mother's Day.

Be Encouraged,


Friday, May 6, 2011

Presenting: Me.

As I sit here, listening to the new Musiq CD and unwinding from a long week, I can't help but think about life...mainly, who I am when it comes to relating to the opposite sex.

Thank God for growth. I can remember that awkward, painful phase in my life when I tried to become whoever I was dating.

You like rap music? Oh my gosh, I loooooooove Talib Kweli and Rick Ross!

Mint chocolate ice cream? The best! I eat it all the time!

Oh yes, I've been a fan of the Lakers since the days of Kareem and Magic!

That relationship ended fast. I hate the Lakers.

In the years since, I have learned that the old adage is unbelievably true: I can only be me. Try as I might, the real Kayla will crash the party sooner rather than later.

So, who IS Kayla? I'm glad you asked.

(And forgive me, because I am about to talk about myself in third person.)

Kayla is complex. What makes me laugh on Thursday can make me cry on Sunday and vice versa.

Kayla is analytical. If you send me a text, trust me--I am scanning for the motive behind your period, comma or exclamation point.

Kayla has a really DRY sense of humor; if you don't understand sarcasm, you probably won't understand me.

Kayla loves to laugh--and not just a chuckle either. I'm talking about that laughter that requires complete participation from all extremities, leaving tears running down your face and you, gasping for breath.

Kayla likes competition. Kayla usually wins. ESPECIALLY basketball....not a threat, but a promise.

Kayla gives so much of herself that she MUST be surrounded by people who have her best interests at heart. Sometimes, the encourager needs to be encouraged.

Kayla is of those things you swear you're not going to inherit from your parents, but you do and it takes someone else to point it out.

Kayla is a diary. Like Alicia Keys, she won't tell your secrets.

Kayla is a work in progress.

Okay, that came out sounding like a cheesy essay, but you know what I mean.

Dear hearts, stay true to you. In this world of 6.1 billion people, I choose to believe there exists someone who understands why I need fifteen minutes of quiet in the morning....or why I love roller coasters but remain scared to death of the Ferris wheel.

Someone out there gets me.

Here's to hoping my romantic GPS works.

Turn right. Turn left. You have arrived at your destination.

Be Encouraged,


Monday, May 2, 2011

The "Human" Blog Entry

Maybe it's the has been blowing awful hard lately.

Pandora isn't helping.

Janet Jackson--Anytime, Anyplace

Floetry--Say Yes

Mariah Carey--My All

Toni Braxton--I Love Me Some Him

See, I don't know why I even changed from my Israel Houghton station.

The Kayla in me is kind of embarrassed to talk about this, but I'm sure someone out there can feel me....and not literally.

Temptation looms.

Let's face it--there are times in life when we have those urges. I don't care how saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost you are, there are just some moments when EVERYBODY looks like your fantasy come to life.

So, what do you do?

I'll tell you what I'm going to do: RUN! I'm going to go home, put on my tennis shoes and hit the trails until I can't move another step. If it's too cold and rainy, there's always INSANITY.

Scratch that. At this present moment, Shaun T is a little too smexy for me to be seeing on a daily basis.Better stick with Billy Blanks.

I'm going to take a COLD shower (yes, it works for women too), crawl into bed and pray that this raging fire within is soon downgraded to a puff of smoke....and pray there's a shortage of the following colognes:

--Issey Miyake
--David Beckham

In fact, I hope every man is forced to wear something like....Old Spice. Yeah. It's safe if you smell like my grandpa.

And finally, I am going to wear sunglasses all day, everyday. Apparently, I flirt with my eyes and there can be none of that right now. Just call me Ray Charles.

I'm not answering my phone....
Text messages...
Facebook?!?!?! Oh, heck no. That's just begging for trouble.

I'll see y'all when this passes.


The Baptist Nun

(Note: By now, I hope you've figured out this entry is satirical. If it made you scoff instead of smile....then my goodness, you don't really know me at all! For shame!!!! LOL)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

IJBH: 4.30.11

Just being honest...

....If you missed the Simultaneous Revival this week, you missed a real treat! In the weeks and months leading up to the revival, I prayed that God would send a Word for the current stage in my life. Hallelujah, He answered my prayers in an overwhelming way!

I took away a lot of pearls of wisdom, but the overall theme is this: it is time for me to woman up. Lately, I have fallen back into this pattern of being Superwoman--saying yes to everything and everyone; letting people walk all over me and internalizing every blow/attack to my person. The storms have been festering within me, affecting me physically, emotionally and even spiritually.

Today, I say no more.

I'm not an arrogant person at all--I just know who I am. I am Kayla Marie Woodberry, daughter of Mike and Regenia and child of the MOST HIGH God. It's time for me to act like it.

I can show you better than I can tell you.

.....So, one of my lifelong dreams came to an end this week. And I'm okay.

In life, sometimes we give our minds too much credit. I know that sounds weird, so let me see if I can explain. We think we know what we do in any given situation. How many times have you been conversing with someone about a bad relationship or a loss and they tell you: "Honey, if that had been me....."

Don't be too hard on 'em. We do it to ourselves too.

I thought I knew how this situation was going to play itself out. I thought there were only two possible scenarios, one good and one bad. Yet, the Lord unfolded before me a third option, which was really the best outcome.

May I be really real today?

Ladies (and gentlemen, if any are reading this blog), we cannot play games with God when it comes to relationships. If you haven't figured it out by now, God is not a genie and He doesn't grant wishes....he lavishes blessings upon us.

I set my sights on this person I truly believed was "The One." I had all but picked out appliances for our home....

*ahem* A four bedroom/three bathroom Colonial with a wraparound porch and in-ground swimming pool...

But I digress.

I only saw what I wanted to see. I didn't take into account that above all else, we are friends. He's like my brother and I'm like his sister. And technically, a relationship would be pretty gross.

I always believed that if my advances were spurned, I'd be crushed. Funny thing about that--I'm not. In fact, I'm almost giddy; excited and energized by the possibilities of life and love.

I may have lost a dream, but I gained perspective and cemented a friendship.

I wish y'all could see my face right now--I am straight cheesing. Ain't that just like God?

Dear hearts, I am at a place in my life where I am learning to take the limits off. If I am to fully submit to His will, there can be no conditions, asterisks, notes or fine print. I have to trust that God is so vast--so infinite and immutable--He can add a paragraph to a book that's already been sent off to print.

God is my editor...I am relinquishing my red pen to Him. I pray you'll do the same.

Be Encouraged,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Extinguishing the Torch: Friendship

How ironic that my last post was in celebration of friendship....

I despise conflict. It literally makes me break out in hives. If I am watching a television show and the plot takes a dastardly turn, I switch channels until things are back on even keel.

Even more than television, I despise conflict in my life.

I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings....which is probably why I hang onto relationships,particularly friendships which should have ended years ago. I keep telling myself: "This is temporary."

It's not.

These people have shown me who they are.

Time to believe them.

If friendship were an item, it would be one of those weighted scales, such as the scales of justice. For this example, let's use the ginormous version featured on Vh1's Celebrity Fit Club. When empty, the scales were perfectly balanced. But when Carnie Wilson, Bobby Brown and Kevin Federline were loaded in, the difference was drastic. Sometimes, one side would almost touch the ground while the other side seemed to be feather-light.

Our friendship(s) started out with us evenly matched. Side by side, we were equals. Then, life happened. Storms happened. I answered your phone calls and text messages; I cried with you and for you. I prayed with you and for you. The scales became unbalanced as you tossed your worries into my bowl. I dipped further; you soared higher. You came out of the valley and we celebrated.

I went into the valley and you....couldn't be bothered.

If you, like me, are going through that season where friends have become frenemies, consider this:

--You've changed. The most common reason for a dissolved friendship is simply growth. As time passes, your interests have changed; what once appealed to you seems rather trite at the moment. Pat yourself on the back, baby--that's what being an adult is all about.

--You are making room for new people in your life. Change makes my stomach hurt. Still, I've learned to embrace it instead of fearing it, especially in my friendships. By 25, I thought I had all the lifelong friends I would ever need. However, I have met some of the most amazing, humorous and loving people in the last 2 1/2 years....friends.

Indeed, change is good.

--Ending a friendship does not make you a bad person. I think this is the part I've been stuck on for awhile--getting rid of toxic friends was mean. After all, I am a Christian--I'm supposed to forgive and forget! I am supposed to "turn the other cheek!" I am supposed to "love my neighbor as myself!"

I did, I do and I will. But if I am to love all of God's people, that means I have to show love to myself.

You know what's really mean? Allowing myself to be treated any kind of way, as if that's the best I can receive; as if that is what I deserve. Holding onto bad friendships is like pressing your open palm against a stove set on high. There is only one action that is going to stop the pain...

Get your hand off the stove.

Friends, associates, strangers and everybody else, be encouraged.


Monday, April 11, 2011

(Male) Friends: How Many of Us Have Them?

I like going out/taking walks and stuff/I don't run with many girls/'cause they talk too much...
--"Caramel," City High

That's taking it a bit far, but I believe every woman needs a good male friend in her life.

Let me go ahead and clarify before we get any further: strictly PLATONIC male friends. Y'all know how I feel about "friends with benefits," so I'll save that for a future rant.

Growing up, I always wanted a brother. I was envious of my friends who had that big brother who teased them incessantly, but also had their backs like no other guy in our age group ever could. Since my mom made it abundantly clear that her shop was closed for business, I tucked that dream into the recesses of my mind.

A funny thing happened in Weatherford, America: I started to realize that guys could be friends too. I know I sounded really blonde saying that, but allow me to explain. I've always had guys who were friends, but they were on the edge of the circle...the ones I called when I missed the last few minutes of a good basketball game or needed help changing a tire.

Then, there were the ones who were my "pretend friends." Don't act like y'all don't know what I mean! A PF is the one you say is your friend, but like Biz Markie stated so eloquently, he's got what you need. You hang out, but in the back of your mind you are screaming: "For the love of macaroni and cheese, MAKE A MOVE!"

Hehe. No names, people.

At this point in my life, my male friends took on a whole new perception. They became my confidantes, waning philosophical over cold pizza and Mountain Dew. They became my encouragers, teaching me to be confident no matter what. They were my counselors, because let's face it--I knew NOTHING about dating in the 21st century. They were my protectors, 'cause if anybody messed with me....well, let's just say it only happened once.

In Weatherford, I found my brothers.

Over the years, I lost touch with some; graduation brought about a season of change and I accepted that. I still think of them and wish them well in life. Some have returned to my life and when I see all that they have accomplished, my heart is full. I'm so proud of them.

Then, there are my new brothers; the ones who know just how to make me laugh or channel my my D Dot, who pops up at random times in my life, but always when I need him the most. Or Tre, who is a constant source of ***BLANK STARES*** and encouragement.

To all of my brothers--past, present and future--thank you. I hope I've been there for you as much as you've been there for me.

To my sister-friends: don't get so caught up in the search for "THE ONE" that you overlook the beauty of a brother. Just because he does not see you as a potential mate does not mean he can't have a positive impact on your life.

Ahhh....I hate it when my own words convict me.

Be encouraged, y'all.

Your Sister,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Relationships

What is it about this time of the year that makes me want to fall in love?!?!?!

I blame daylight savings time. Too much sunlight.

Looking back, I notice an emerging pattern: springtime is the season in my life for making some bonehead decisions. Something in the air makes me wax sentimental about love lost; scrolling through my phone, hitting SEND on messages that probably should have stayed a mere thought.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, I am cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Alas, this a new year. 2011 will be different. Now, I realize that these actions stem from fear: fear of never settling down; fear of never having little Tater Tots; fear of ALWAYS having to answer that question--"Why are you still single?"

But fear has no place in the heart of a believer.

Translation? WHO CARES?!?!

One of my favorite gospel artists of all time, Mr. Byron Cage, has a song entitled "If You Never." In it, he sings about still praising God even if you never become a millionaire or reach the pinnacle of success. I don't think it's one of his "popular" songs because it is not what people want to hear. We've been taught that we can have EVERYTHING, even when it's so far out of God's will you can almost see Him giving you the side eye.

Me? I love it. Here's my version:

Lord, if I never get to shop for a wedding dress
if I never know what it's like to have a ring on my hand
if I never have to go in Walgreens to pick up an EPT
if I never get (more) stretch marks on my belly
if I never get to be annoyed by hubby's snoring
if I never say "I do"

I'll still love You.

Clearly, I'm not a songwriter....maybe it will sound better coming from my main man, Paul:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Phillipians 4:11-12).

Tonight, I am praying for all of my singles brothers and sisters. And the next time fear causes you to think twice about answering THAT phone call--and you know which one I mean--tell it to kick rocks.

And for the love of all that is holy, press IGNORE!

Be Encouraged,


IJBH: 4.7.11

Just being honest...

...This week has been an emotional roller coaster. I've been sad, angry, excited, scared and even a little amorous. I have to believe there is a method to the madness; every single experience has purpose for something to come in my life. Something better is on the horizon. I smell it in the air.

...I'm beginning to have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. On the one hand, I love being able to communicate with some of the greatest people in the world. Inspiration and encouragement are just a click away.

On the other hand, it has become a huge distraction. Lately, I've been posting dozens of daily statuses--and my poor Crackberry vibrates every ten seconds. The most troubling habit that stems from my Facebook addiction is my lack of the ability to be in the moment. I can't even concentrate on a conversation without looking to see what's happening on the book.

So, I am weaning myself off. The first step is to totally ignore my cell phone when I am speaking to someone. I did pretty good today; hopefully, I will do better tomorrow.

....I am so looking forward to the revival at the end of the month! There's just something about this time of the year that renews the hope within me. Plus, I know Pastor Reid is going to deliver some spiritual HEAT!!!!!!

....Poor Appalonia. Seems like we've been all over the country in the last few months. After we get back from Wichita, I promise I'll give her a break.

....I really did consider getting a relaxer today. My hair is getting on my last good nerves because it will not do what I want it to do. This 'fro has one more week to get herself together, or I promise I'm going to get a TCB.

....I got a reminder this week from an amazing friend that my dreams do not belong on the backburner. Lately, I've been so caught up in the mundane details of life that I have forgotten what it feels like to pursue my passion. There is so much more to life than going to work and going to bed...there are stories to be shared and people to be encouraged.

Dear hearts, hold fast to your dreams. Chase 'em until you are breathless.

....Here we are at the end of the regular season and my beloved Pistons have disappointed me yet again. Oh well...2012 is our year.

....Aaron Afflalo is FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!! Sorry. Just had to get that one out of my system.

....God still answers prayers. That's a good reason to smile right now.

Be Encouraged,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Guilty As Charged

This is probably as real as I have ever been....interpret as you wish.

On Facebook today, I had a conversation with several of my friends about dating within the church community. What started out as a way for me to pass the time soon became an opportunity for God to speak to me about my current situation. Though I tried my best ignore what my heart was telling me, I heard the verdict loud and clear:

Guilty as charged.

Check it: I want somebody in my life. I can try to paste on a smile and brave the world every morning, but at night....loneliness becomes my bed mate. My mind goes on a time warp, back to the days when I dated this person or such and so. I wonder: was he really that bad?

I wonder: am I really that bad?

I recall the moments when I have done things I'm not proud of....trying to force God's hand by "positioning" myself in front of someone or changing who I am to suit their tastes. And at the end of the day, I am no closer to a legitimate relationship than when I started playing "the game."

That stings.

I feel anxious. I'm standing at the corner of Bitterness and Desperation, two blocks over from the intersection of Envy and Resentment. Daily, I pray for God's direction in this matter. Daily, I struggle with the flesh rising up within me.

When is it going to be MY turn?

I've heard it all....

Just wait on the Lord!
Just love yourself and keep working on you.
He'll turn up when you least expect it.
Be grateful--you have PLENTY of time to do God's work while you're single!
You have so many other reasons to thank God (indeed, I do).

My heart is weary of another break. The scabs are still fresh.

Do I even have the strength to try again?

I try to trick my mind into not thinking about it. Some days, I succeed. Other days, I don't.

Heaven knows I can't stand whiny people. Suck it up and keep moving. Yet, here I am....

Guilty as charged....the desires of my heart....


Tomorrow will be better.

Be Encouraged,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

May I Keep It Real?

I was driving down Memorial this afternoon when I noticed that Appalonia was pulling to the right. I turned into a gas station and was not surprised to find that the tire was flat. I called my girl Nadia to help and (with the aid of another Good Samaritan) got the tire changed.

Ordinary occurrence, right?

When I looked at the tire, there was a nail embedded in it and it was ripped straight down the middle. If I had gotten on the highway like I intended to, that very easily could have turned into an accident. Chills ran down my spine as I thought about how, once again, God spared me from dangers seen and unseen.

As I drove home, I started thinking. You have plenty of time to do that when you can only go 30, as my spare happens to be the approximate size of a dinner plate. I thought about my purpose in this life; obviously, God has me here for a reason.

But what?

That is the question of the day. In my heart, I feel as if I am just existing. I have become complacent in my life--it ain't broke, so I won't fix it. Yet, something is telling me that is no longer enough.

This is far greater than my career, relationship status or anything like that. Again, I find myself at a crossroad and I am not exactly sure where to turn. I have no doubt in my mind that God will be with me wherever I decide to go, but I have a feeling that what He desires of me is far bigger than any task I have ever accepted.

The conundrum of the twenty-something: can I step out on faith?

What gives me great comfort at this confusing time in my life are those who have traversed this path before me.

I think of my mother, who stepped out on faith until the very end.
I think of my father, who has this incredible ability to remain calm in the face of life's biggest storms.
I think of my cousins, who have inspired me by branching out...'cause life is so much bigger than Oklahoma.
I think of my girl Mina, who walked away from a "good" situation because her heart knew that GREAT was on the horizon.
I think of all the people, even strangers, who have shared their stories with me. Even the most unstable person has a pearl of wisdom if you're looking hard enough.
I think of me. I have been here before, and I know what is required.

I think of God, who really knows me.....I mean REALLY knows me. I can almost picture Him smiling like a child with a secret, for He already knows the conclusion of the matter.

As I type this, I feel someone out there is going through a similar situation. Your world is black and white when you know there are thousands of other colors on the palette. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to dip my brush in some reds, yellows, pinks and blues to create my mural.

My life.

Chase the rainbow.

Be encouraged,

Monday, March 14, 2011

IJBH: 3/14/11

Just being honest....

....I have to blog about this for posterity's sake, but there are not enough words in my vocabulary to explain the way I feel about 2011 Annual Youth Day. In just a few short moments, my whole life was changed. Everything was put into perspective and I have been completely humbled.

More than anything, it was proof that God's ways/thoughts are far higher than mine. I thought I knew what to expect, but I was completely unprepared for the outpouring of pure worship yesterday afternoon. Even today, I cannot stop crying as I think about what transpired.

I think we said it best in the last song we sang: "my storage is empty." Lord, whatever You want to do in my life, do it. I'm just along for the ride.

....In other news, I just realized I am absolutely ignant. Some of the things I say and the thoughts I have completely defy logic. I wonder if I can get a check for that. I ought to just go up to DHS and tell them I'd like a disability check...

DHS Worker: Okay, ma'am--what's your disability?
Me: I ain't got the sense God gave a chicken!

Hey, it's worth a try!

.....I don't know why people want to whistle first thing in the morning! Look: it's cold, it's rainy and I just lost an hour of sleep. Furthermore, you already know I'm not a morning person.

Translation? Whistle again and I will "zippidee" your "doodah!"

.....In the dating/relationship world, it's funny how your eyes can be opened to new things and new experiences.

May I keep it real for a few moments?

I have a type. Everybody and their mama knows my type. However, that "type" has caused a lot of sleepless nights and wounds on my heart. Hear me when I say that I am not placing the blame on them at all....for true insanity is when YOU keep doing the same thing while expecting different results.

I'm just saying I think it's time to step out of my comfort zone. Interpret that as you wish.

.....I'm just counting down the hours until I can go home, put on my Snuggie and watch some "Family Guy." This is one of those days where getting out of your nice, warm bed feels like punishment!

....I sure wish this weather would be consistent! *cheap moment* As bad as my allergies are, I just refuse to pay all that money for the new Allegra. You mean to tell me Walgreens or, even better, Family Dollar haven't figured out that formula yet? Get to work!

.....I'm also looking forward to jogging at Lake Hefner.

If you think you don't like to exercise, I dare you to try it for two weeks. Those endorphins are a beautiful thing--better than any anti-depressant, tranquilizer or pain medication. And the beauty of it? Your own body makes it! Why pay someone else to do what you can do for yourself?

.....Be encouraged. No matter who, what, when, where, why or how, be encouraged. There are so many great things on the horizon, even if you can't see them just yet. Hang in there. I'm praying for you and I know God will continue to do great things for those of us who diligently seek Him.

Romans 8:28,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sentenced to Freedom

(For ECH & BY)

You said

I love you

Trust me

My lover

My friend

Mine for eternity

I said

No walls

No locks

My heart is yours



In you

I have found

my happily ever after

And life happened.

I said

Talk to me

Where are you

I miss you



What happened

to the man

I met

in spring?

You said




Emotions so jagged

my heart

was torn


for your pleasure

Tossed aside

at your discretion

I blame myself too.




A new season




I said

Take the bandage

off my heart

I am healed


reaches my eyes


sways my hips

Shoulders back

Breasts forward

I see you looking.

I feel




to try


I will.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Maintenance Prayers

(For Anonymous)

A few months ago, I was driving down the highway and Appalonia started "talking" to me. She does that sometimes. Her message center told me that I needed to change the oil soon. I made a mental note to do so and promptly forgot about it.

Everyday, Appalonia chimed her warning bells and told me I need to get her to the shop. Two weeks later (don't judge me), I got tired of her friendly reminders and went to Hibdons on my lunch break. The mechanic asked me how long it had been since her last oil change, and I told him it had been a little more than 3,000 miles...

Okay, closer to 9,500 miles.

Mechanic looked incredulous. He said: "Ma'am, if you want to keep your car performing efficiently, you've got to do some maintenance."

Make no mistake about it, God is still in the blessing business. In the lives of my friends and myself, I see God moving. Situations that have been on my heart for months or years are coming to a resolution. I see the sun breaking through the storm clouds of this life, and it makes me smile.

But alas, we are human. Sometimes, we forget.

We store in the deep recesses of our minds those times when we were so low, nobody but God could dig us out. We forget those times when we were desperate for Him and Him alone. We are so focused on basking in the beauty of the blessings that we forget to maintain what God has given us.

How do we do that? I'm glad you asked. Try the Maintenance Prayer.

1. Acknowledgement

As everybody's grandmother used to say: "People don't have to be nice to you; so when they are, make sure you tell them thank you." I thank God everyday, but there are moments when you have to get really specific:

God, do You remember that night a few weeks ago? I was tossing and turning and I just couldn't fall asleep. My heart was troubled and I turned to you, making my requests known just like Paul said (Philippians 4). Even though the situation wasn't resolved immediately, I felt peace about it. I slept like a baby after that. Thank You.

Indeed, there are moments when you must look back in order to move forward. Take a moment to thank God for what He has already done.


Lord, in the midst of this incredibly awesome time in my life, remind me that this is still about Your will and not mine. As smart as You made me, there are still a lot of things I don't know. There are even more things I don't understand. But what I do know is that You always have my best interests at heart and it all works together for my good. Have YOUR way, God.

Ephesians 3:20 says: "Now unto Him who is able to exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think..."

God. Not Kayla.

And there you have it.

I love that I am writing this on a Saturday, a day most people set aside as a time to run errands. You grocery shop, clean your house, get oil changes...

You know, maintenance.

I encourage you to take a few moments today and do some maintenance on your relationship with God; maintenance on the blessings He has entrusted to you. Maybe, like Appalonia, He has been sending you warning bells all week long. Maybe like me, you've been putting it off. Hopefully, you can't ignore it anymore and you are ready to go see the "mechanic."

And just like Appalonia, you'll soon be driving through this life, as good as new.

Be Encouraged,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

IJBH: 3/2/11

Just being honest.....

....I was thinking about something I used to do, but haven't done in a long time: praying for my husband. Not in the "Oh, LAWD, I'm going to hold my breath and turn blue in the face until you give him to me" way--more like: "Lord, whatever he's going through right now, good or bad, take care of him. Let Your will be done in his life and the lives of those surrounding him."

I need to get back to that. And wherever he is, I hope he's praying for me.

....Raise your hand if you're excited about the month of March! Aside from March Madness (rock chalk, Jayhawks), there is just something exciting about this month. It is a time of renewal for the earth and for me as well. I am leaving behind the cold, bitter months and awaiting a season of hope, encouragement and love.

Yeah, that sounded pretty flowery.

....Why am I just now figuring out how to really use the Crackberry....and I've had this phone since July? It's like I've been living on the first floor and it just dawned on me that I've never been upstairs. When it comes to technology, I promise I'm slow.

....So, at Bible Study tonight (wonderful lesson, BTW), we talked about showing love in our communication. I realized that sometimes, I am not "speaking the truth in love," especially at work. If I am having a bad day, there is no need for me to take it out on the people around me. First off, they didn't do it. Second, they probably don't even realize I've been having a rough day. So, I'm going to work on it.

But for the love of God, PLEASE don't talk to me before I have my first cup of coffee.

.....I really need to go on a grammar fast and let go of my addiction to the exclamation mark. Judging from the !!!!! at the end of every sentence, some folks probably think I'm manic.

....My heart goes out to all of the parents who lost their babies in that daycare fire in Houston. If you know me, you know children are my heart. I can't imagine ever doing anything so blatant to put them in harm's way. But let's face it--we live in a world where anything goes.

Let's just continue to pray for all children and their parents. I still believe it takes a village.

....My co-worker has challenged me to buy one item not on sale/clearance in 2011.

Does gas count?

....You know what I miss? Staying up on the phone until five in the morning. Whether friendship or relationship, you learn a lot about someone pre-dawn (and fully clothed.....amen, saints). If anyone wants to try, I'm game.

Uhhhhh......but I need like two days' notice. I'm not as young as I used to be!

.....I was talking to my best friend today about life. We talked about how difficult the first two months of 2011 have been for a lot of people. And I said: "Well, sometimes you have to go through the mess before you can get to the miracle."

Tonight, if you feel like you are trudging through life, knee-deep in mess, just remember this is a journey with a purpose. There is an end in sight--the answer to your situation.

A miracle.

Be encouraged, saints.


Monday, February 28, 2011

My Reality

(Inspired by yesterday's conversation)

Soul Train and pancakes
on Saturday morning
They loved me
I knew it

"the village"
Raised me
Believed in me
Shaped me

I stand
on the shoulders
of greatness

My reality.

Good Black men
in their twenties and thirties
Holding the door open for me
Calling me 'Kayla' or 'Miss'
They see my heart
Not just my thighs
my breasts
my lips

They respect me
I respect them

I LOVE them.

My reality.

Not jealous and petty.
Celebration in good times
Comfort in bad
A magnetic force
of beauty

I am my sister's keeper

In my reality

I still believe in love



Confidence is my rhythm

Faith is my melody

I sing

in the key of life

I am more than a stereotype

More than a movie character

More than a conqueror


is my reality.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Fear Factor

I was talking with some good friends of mine last weekend, and I found myself lamenting once more about being stuck in Oklahoma. Ever since I graduated from SWOSU, I have threatened to get on the next thing smokin' out of this state.

And one of them said: "What's stopping you?"

Three little words that kept me awake all night.

I've watched as people in my circle spread their wings and fly, and it is a beautiful sight. And time after time, I run to the cliff just to put on my brakes and fold my wings behind my back.

What is stopping me?


What if I don't make it?
What if I'm not good enough?
What if it all blows up in my face and I fail....BIG TIME?

I believe this is the Achilles' heel for many twenty-somethings in the 21st century. While we crave success, there's a little voice in the back of our mind that tells us not to rock the boat.

As believers, we are told that God's will is good, acceptable and perfect. I submit that we should add another phrase: "God's will is not complacent."

From Genesis to Revelations, we see God calling people to step out of their comfort zones; to risk suffering, pain, embarrassment, failure, even death.

Maybe He is calling you to completely change your career path. Perhaps He is telling you to let go of a friendship or relationship that has served its purpose. He could be asking you to take on a leadership position....or maybe, He's calling you to preach His word.

Call it your own personal fiery furnace, lion's den or fish belly....sometimes, it feels like all those and more.

But just like our Biblical brothers and sisters, you just have to say yes anyhow. Yes when it hurts; yes when you can't see what's in front of you; yes when you are terrified. And God, because He is who He is, will open doors where you couldn't even see a doorframe.

Who knows? Maybe next year, I'll be writing this blog from the East Coast.


No fear.

I John 4:18,


Monday, February 21, 2011

A Love Letter To Myself

I am super-late posting this, but I am a woman of my word.

Dear Kayla,

There are mornings when you wake up feeling like the crap on the bottom of a well-worn boot. You look in the mirror and notice all your problem areas staring back at you; you wonder what on God's green earth could make someone want to love you?

Lots of things.

You're giving.
You're forgiving.
Your "for real" smile is radiant (and I'm not talking about the fake one for pictures and annoying salesmen).
You have a heart that (hopefully) everyone sees.

You've got a really bad-ass 'fro.

I love you because you see the best in people.
I love you because you've finally started seeing the best in yourself.

Whatever tomorrow brings--whatever today brings--I'm just glad I took the time to look past the faults and see you for who you are...

A blessing.

If I had a choice right now to be me or someone else, I'd choose me without hesitation.

Kayla Marie Woodberry.

That's my girl.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Flexible Blessing Pt. III

Shayla and I sat next to each other in the waiting room. I watched as one by one, the nurses whispered to each other and then looked at us with sad eyes. They walked back and forth between the nurses station and her room, but no one said a word. Shayla started to cry. I reached for the next nurse I saw and asked her--begged her--to tell me what was going on.

Tears started falling. "It's not good."

February 11, 1999 is a date that is forever stamped on my heart. On that unseasonably warm day, I said goodbye to my big sister, partner in crime, mentor and friend.

I didn't understand. For over a year, everyone I knew was praying for her healing. We had special prayer services and even fasted, pleading with God to do what the doctors could not. On an intellectual level, I knew her body was just worn out. But my heart was not ready to let go. I wanted her to get up, walk out of the hospital and never look back.

This sure didn't feel like a blessing.

As Christians, we are taught from the earliest moments of our journey to pray that God's will be done. In theory, it sounds so easy. God knows us better than we know ourselves and everything is a part of His greater plans for our lives. But that's in theory. In practice, there are times when God's will seems like God's punishment.

Many of you have heard me say I am grateful for my storms, for those were the moments when I really met God. See, I had been in church all my life. I could quote Scriptures with the best of 'em. I took good notes on sermons and I went to Sunday School. I knew Him....but I met Him in the valley. I was introduced to God, the comforter; God, the burden-bearer; God, the mender of broken of hearts. But more than that, I learned how to trust Him. I learned how to admit that I could not do this on my own; I needed Him more than I needed air, food and water. And He came through for me.

As I type this, tears are streaming down my face...not for myself, but for those who are where I was twelve years ago. I remember what it feels like. I remember the continuous dull ache in your heart. I remember waking up at three in the morning, covered in sweat and crying out from the depths of my soul. I remember watching the world move forward while I seemed to be stuck in neutral. I remember when I wondered if I would ever smile again.

Dear hearts, let God meet you in the valley. Even though you may not be able to see it right now, there is a blessing in the storm, tailor-made just for you.


A few months after Tracee died, I was cleaning out my car and I found an old cassette from a church service. I started to toss it, but something told me to listen. At the very end of the tape, I heard a familiar voice. Tracee was singing a John P. Kee song entitled "I Shall See Him For Myself." The whole song is beautiful, but these lyrics in particular pulled at my heartstrings:

That is where I shall take my rest
In the beauty of His holiness
I shall see Him for myself...

Of course I cried, but this time they were tears of understanding. Tracee had taken the time to tell us where she was going and how it was going to be when she got there. She was finally free from surgery, hospital stays and pain medication.

She was blessed. And that blessed me.

Be encouraged.