Friday, August 1, 2014

Time To Tidy Up

As I’ve previously discussed on this blog, I don’t enjoy cooking. I can cook, but I think food that is made from love is the best (for reference, see my Aunt Dy’s Sock It To Me cake).  What I can do with love, however, is clean. For me, there’s a little slice of serenity in dusting, mopping and even scrubbing tiles.

But that wasn’t always the case.

When I was a younger, moody pre-teen, I refused to clean my room. No matter how my mom scolded, yelled and nagged, I just couldn’t be bothered to straighten up. I liked my mess because it was mine. There were even days when, on a cleaning frenzy, my mom would clean my room herself. I’d take in the freshness of it all and promptly throw my jeans on the ground, starting that pile of dirty clothes that only seems to grow larger, never smaller. My mom would sigh, shake her head and clean something else. I’d kick my feet up on my unmade bed and smile that smug, pre-teen smile.


One day, a few of my friends came over my house. After we ate dinner, we lounged around in the den and watched BET (back in the dark ages when they still showed actual music videos). My mom walked in and said: “Why don’t you take your friends to your room?”

My pulse quickened a little bit. I mean, my mess was my mess, but I am a little bit southern….and every southerner knows your home should be clean when you have guests. The den was clean; my room was not.

I narrowed my eyes at my mom.

I detected the hint of a smile on her face.

“We’re good down here, actually. We wanted to watch videos.”
“You can watch videos in your room,” she said with finality. That was the end of the discussion.

I trudged up the stairs and opened the door to my bedroom. I could almost see those wavy lines used in commercials to denote a particularly pungent odor. My friends pretended not to notice, but they soon found an excuse to go home. I spent the rest of the night cleaning my room.  
To this day, I don’t even leave my house without making sure my bed is made and my clothes are where they are supposed to be.


My mom did what she did out of love. She probably could have (and would have) cleaned my room every day. But she wanted to teach me to take care of myself. That day, I know she was probably just as embarrassed as I was, if not more. Still, the lesson had to be learned.

Sometimes, God opens the door to our hearts and reveals our mess—our sin; the burdens we’ve been carrying around forever and a day; the resentment we hang onto like a well-worn blanket. Others may see the mess—those of us who have been there before know that there are moments when God has to do big things in order to grab our attention. However—and here’s one of the things I LOVE about God—most of us will experience that revelation in private.  He will open the door and show us that we “missed a spot.”

Because He loves us.

And the best news? Today is Big Trash Day. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m ready to take my burdens to the Lord and leave them there.  

I like a clean room, but a clean heart is ten times better.

Be Encouraged, 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Blaryngitis: Finding My Voice (Again)

Last weekend, I read an article by a young fashion blogger named Sarah Ashley Buckley. Her article listed the five reasons why she walked away from her wildly popular blog, The Quirky Martini. I could relate to everything she said, but her definition of blaryngitis resonated with me:

I had lost my blogging voice. I had been so wrapped up constantly creating new design and layout concepts for my blog, for making it this glittery, “look at me” blog, that I had forgotten to take a look at myself. Reading previous posts, I could admit that I had changed drastically in not only my writing style, but also in my attitude. I was no longer “the girl-next-door oddball who helped college students dress a little more professionally while on a budget”. I was “the girl who began with the right motives, but lost her way amidst the glamour of blogging”. I had lost my authenticity, and it wasn’t fair to my readers to be subjected to that.

If I can't say a word, I'll just wave my hands.

When I started this blog, I was still in my twenties.

In. My. Twenties. Hmmm. That left a weird taste in my mouth.

The big 3-0 was looming in the horizon and yet, I felt like I already knew who I was—an encourager. I owed it to the world to wake up every morning and share with them whatever major eye-opener I had received in a way that ignited change in their own lives. I had to pour out the deeply personal moments of my life (e.g., major weight loss, my mother’s death, FEELINGSBOMB posts about relationships and the elusive Mr. Big) and wait for the “me toos” because...that made everything I had gone through somehow worth it. 

For a long time, this was my writing style and my voice. Until it wasn’t.

One of my favorite quotes talks about learning how to dance in the rain of life’s storms (“life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain”). Not to toot my own horn, but I am really good at dancing in the rain. I know how to praise God when everything seems to be going topsy-turvy in my life. I can smile when I should be crying. And YES, LORD, I can encourage someone else no matter what’s happening in my world.

But life is not always about storms. There are some moments when everything is calm—the birds are chirping, there are no clouds for miles around and the sun is heating up a turkey sausage biscuit in the microwave.

I love that commercial.

There are times when life is so good and so calm that really, you shouldn’t do anything but be grateful. I tend to panic. I am constantly scanning the horizon, looking for the first sign of rain…because we’re always either going into a storm or coming out of storm, right?

How can I encourage someone if I ‘m not going through anything?

If I can’t write about the trials and tribulations, who am I as a writer?

I am still a writer; I’m just not a storm chaser. I am learning how to truly live in the moment. Sometimes, that means storms; other times, it’s all sunny days. I can embrace both situations without immense feelings of guilt, self-imposed or from others’ expectations…which is whole ‘nother blog post and saints, I will surely deal with that!

I’ve never stopped writing. I never will. It’s taken some time and one incredible experience with a group of amazing writers, but I have found my voice again. I hope my dear FBRs will stick with me for this next chapter in my (writing) life.

In case you’re wondering, yes….

I’m still encouraged.


Monday, April 28, 2014


(Hey FBRs! I haven't written any poetry in a LOOOOOONG time, but it seemed so appropriate for what can only be described as *Blank Stare* Saturday. Hope you hear my heart on it.)

I am Enough.
Cried an ocean of tears
Smiled ‘til my cheeks burned
Jagged rocks
Bitter pills 
They mingle together in my stomach
I have dreamed
For him.
And him.
Oh, and “pleasepleasepleaseprettypleaseGodIknowheistheone?”
Him too.
But he wasn’t.
And I was still
Am still
I jumped through hoops
Balanced on tightropes
Wore the mask
Stuffed the hurt deep inside because…
I am more than numbers
And percentages
I am Enough.
I am not your ex-girlfriend
Baby mama
I did not break your heart
I did not ask for your money
I don’t even know you
You don’t know me
Allow me to introduce myself…
I am Enough.
More than
A credit score
A dress size
A skill
A look
A word
A feature
A promise that if you will just….
all you need to do is…

Be Enough?
I am.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Take My Advice...Or Don't.

Currently, my favorite app is Scout. All I have to do is type in my current location and Scout tells me how to get wherever I want to go.

But it’s not always right.

A few weeks ago, I needed directions to a restaurant in Norman. I told Scout I was at home and Scout’s lovely voice told me it was getting the fastest route to my destination. I started driving, allowing Scout to lead me down I-35 to my appointed exit. The closer I got to Norman, I started seeing signs about construction. In fact, the exit I needed to take was closed. I had to take a detour.

I got off of the highway and realized the area was familiar to me. I relied on my knowledge of landmarks to lead me where I was trying to go, even though my girl Scout kept insisting I was wrong. When I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, all I could do was shake my head at that voice that was trying to “reroute” me. I had already arrived.

I have a bone to pick with this sudden flood of relationship advice overflowing my newsfeed. Reading these memes. misquoted quotes and the flat-out incorrect statistics  leads us to believe there is only one road to the finish line-- which is marriage, for most of us. That road, according to Facebook, is filled with shame.

Single? Here’s why:

You’re fat.
You’re not thick enough.
You’re promiscuous.
You won’t give it up.
You have too many kids.
You don’t have any kids.
You’re too eager (or, for the younger generation, THE THIRST).
You’re not aggressive.
You’re too loud.
You’re too soft spoken.
You’re bitter.
You’re broke.
You want too much.
You don’t want enough.
You’re just not good enough.

If you combined all of this advice in a bowl and baked it at 350 degrees, what you will have is a hot mess.

This advice does not take into account the current mental status of its readers. There are some broken people in this world. If their hearts were jigsaw puzzles, those three connected pieces in the middle were swept up and thrown away with yesterday’s trash. They have dealt with grief, loss, heartbreak, abandonment and rejection so severe, even getting out of bed to face one more day seems like a chore. They log on and see words of disparagement “liked” and applauded by thousands of people, and the Trauma DJ begins to play their greatest hits once more.

You deserve all that has happened to you.

The vicious cycle continues. We create more brokenness in a world that is so desperately in need of whole people.

Dear FBRs, sometimes, it’s good to take a moment and reflect on your choices in life and love. My journal is filled with cringe-worthy, what in the world was I thinking moments. There are also epiphanies and lessons I have learned that, for me, will help me become the wife and mother I long to be some day. But I can’t post those things on the Internet and say it is the definitive road to lasting relationships.

I don’t have all the answers.
You don’t have all the answers.

And that’s okay.

In case you’re wondering, there is some relationship advice I follow.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

--I Corinthians 13:4-7;13 (emphasis added)

Detours, closed exits, reroutes and all, I’ll get there.

Be Encouraged,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Requiem: The Text Conversation

I was folding laundry and watching Basketball Wives (don’t judge me) when I felt my phone vibrate.


I don’t even have to glance at the top of the screen. I know who it is.



Leopard isn’t his real name, but it is the name he has in my phone. In fact, he’s had the same name in the last two phones I’ve had.  Leopard is the litmus test; the lens through which all new men are viewed.

Leopard is not a bad man. He is my type, both physically and intellectually. He is as sarcastic as I am. If I type LOL in a text message conversation with him, I mean it. He is not intimidated by me at all. On the contrary, he doesn’t allow me to get away with a one-word explanation or a dismissive brush-off. If I had a checklist for potential, he’d meet most of the criteria. Except for one:

He doesn’t want a relationship with me.

Well, he does not want a relationship with anyone. That’s what he says.  And I accepted it because…it sounded so different, such a millennial way to approach this male-female interaction. At the time, I was not in the mood for the late twenties melodrama that seemed to be engulfing my friends’ relationships. I had just gotten over one of those Toni Braxton heartbreaks myself (read: EPIC). I just wanted to hang out with someone every once in a while and have a good time.

And we did.

Eventually, I realized I had all the demands of a relationship and none of the perks.

If my car is making a funny noise, I still call my dad or a mechanic.

If I have a cold, he’s not bringing me orange juice.

When I have an aggravating day at work, I can’t get a reassuring hug from him.

I can’t let down my guard around him.

As long as Leopard is the placeholder in my life, there’s no room for anyone else.
I’m sort of dating someone now.

Six words I agonized over; two seconds to press send and begin to untangle a web of complex emotions stirring within me. I worried he’d make a scene. I thought he might call and demand more answers than I really have. But he was cool.

No all caps rants. Only one exclamation point.

Even when I told him I was going to blog about this, he gave permission with but one caveat: I couldn’t use his real name.  That’s fine. In my eyes, he will always be Leopard.

And a Leopard never changes its spots.