Cherished

A couple of years ago around this time I met a guy – a really nice guy. He was kind and caring, considerate and attentive – just an all around good person.

One day in particular, after we got off the phone, I rested in my thoughts for a minute thinking, ‘what is this feeling?’. After mulling over it for a few moments I realized what it was.

Cherish(ed) – verb

To protect and care for (someone) lovingly.

Synonyms: adore, hold dear, love, care very much for, feel great affection for, dote on, be devoted to, revere, esteem, admire, appreciate. – Dictionary.com

I felt cherished.

It was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a very long time. It was through dating him that I learned what it meant to be treated really…..really well.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d dated other guys in the past who had a host of good qualities but this was the first time I was cared for in this way. He didn’t objectify me which was important especially since I was waiting. He listened and was patient with me. He truly cared for me and showed it through his words and his actions.

That standard of care changed the game for me.

Years ago a friend of mine was talking about her now husband. After dating him for a while and then getting engaged she said something like, “I can’t believe I let myself be treated so badly for so long”.

Oftentimes people treat you the way you allow them to, or people treat you the way you treat you.

With that said, if you don’t step your you game up no one else will.

Some years back I had to have a very necessary talk with a family member about what I would and would not allow. How I would and would not be spoken to. And while it took a lot of courage to have this conversation, I haven’t been treated that way by that person, since.

While talking to a friend recently she said, “there’s the gold standard of care – treat people how you want to be treated. And there’s the platinum standard of care – treat people how they want to be treated.”

Love languages fit here – And treating people how they want to be treated fits here because everyone experiences love in different ways. Share how you want to be loved and as long as it’s not hurtful, love others the way they want to be loved.

Everyone deserves to be cherished. You deserve to be cherished but you have to start with cherishing yourself first.

So get real with yourself. Do you want to be doted on or discarded? Loved or loathed? Criticized or cherished?

You get to decide.

And once you decide, make sure you treat yourself that way. It all starts with you.

Happy Waiting.

Lessons Learned in 2018

To close out 2018, I’m listing some of the things I learned this year. Here’s the short list!

1. Don’t Worry

The Word has a lot to say about this and for me, the last couple of months have involved a lot of uncertainty. From illness in my family, to house woes and such.. lots of time has been spent on worry and I’m done with that as of yesterday.

2. Guard Your Peace

The Word also says to guard your heart but I also learned to guard my peace this year. Phone calls, texts, emails, and conversations can turn a good day into a bad one. But whatever the case may be, we can’t hand over our power and faith so easily. Guard your peace and don’t give it up without a fight!

3. Trust Yourself

Many decisions were made this year and some of them were life-changing. Many of the decisions, when I trusted myself, got me past the finish line while others sent me on a detour. Weigh all of your options and trust yourself to make the very best decision. Listen to you first!

4. Ask Questions

The other day while making a tough decision and praying my way through I asked 100 questions. I even made the other person wait and while waiting may have caused her some discomfort, I couldn’t exchange her peace for my moms so, I asked ALL of my questions and in the end everyone was happy. Ask! What’s the worst that could happen?!

5. Live

I had the most fun this year! From meeting up with friends and traveling to being honest about how I feel and…all of this changed me! I also gave myself permission to cry – OMG I cried so much this year but giving myself permission to cry was one of the best things I did! I also left room for me to be me and stood firm in who I am. That was most powerful because no one could tell me who I was because….I already knew. This was a game changer! Get to know YOU! That way, no one can tell you who you are.

6. Be Vulnerable

This is a continuation of #5. I read a lot about vulnerability this year, practiced it and relationships have been made better for it. If you haven’t heard of Brené Brown get into her. She’ll help you see vulnerability in a brand new way.

7. Take A Risk

In July I bought a new journal. I’ve been writing in my journal almost everyday for the last 2 years. Starting last summer, I started every journal entry with what I was grateful for and still do. The words on the journal (in the picture) were a reminder to take a risk and that I did! I’ll write more about those risks here in 2019. In 2019, I’m encouraging you, with God’s guidance, to take a risk. You never know what’s on the other side.

All in all 2018 was a rollercoaster of a year. And I’d do it again if it meant I’d learn the lessons I learned this year.

Special thanks to everyone reading this post! It warms my heart that people are choosing to read my blog and are (hopefully) taking something away from what God has taught me. Let’s do more of this in 2019!

Happy Waiting! And Happy New Year!

Post Up

So….yesterday a 2nd grade student was in my office taking a break. She decided to stay in my office during recess so I wasn’t super concerned about what she was doing. At first, she was trying to make a paper airplane like the one in the book she was reading and then she was drawing pictures on post-it notes. I was working with a 5th grade group so my attention was a bit divided but I checked in on her every now and then. At one point she was picking things up on my desk and found the picture I submitted for college awareness month.

One of our co-workers decorated a bulletin board with our pictures and had returned them a few weeks ago. I figured her looking at the picture was a good thing so I kept on teaching.

This morning while sitting at my desk I looked up and saw this –

She found a pushpin and put the picture up on my board and I hadn’t even realized it until this morning.

In this super anxious world it’s possible to discount our accomplishments – to move on to the next thing as if what was accomplished wasn’t an accomplishment at all.

During this season of love and giving, please don’t forget to celebrate YOU! No matter how big or small the accomplishments are, they are YOURS – And while you may be waiting on other specific things to come into fruition, stop and smell the roses! There are MANY more accomplishments to come!

Happy Waiting!

Why I Took a 6 Month Break From Dating

While dating someone last year I fasted and prayed about the relationship that was developing. In many ways he seemed like the perfect guy but I didn’t feel peace in my spirit about it even though I really wanted to.

So I fasted.

One day while on my way into church, during the fast, I said to myself, ” I don’t know how to date.” I’ve never been the kind of girl who dates multiple guys. One guy at a time is more than enough for me. I’d much rather be with one guy and in a relationship. Dating sucks.

While in the bathroom at church I heard a woman crying. I asked if I could give her a hug and we talked a bit. She told me about her husband and how he had passed away years ago. She also told me about someone she had started dating recently and that she realized she didn’t know how to date. She literally said, “I don’t know how to date”.

I was shocked.

That was the SAME thing I said to myself as I walked into church. While sharing that I thought something similar walking into church she said “God told me to buy these books, I think I’m supposed to give one to you.”

The following Sunday, we met at church and she gave me the book. As I sat in church waiting for the service to start I began reading. Three to four pages in it said to commit to a six month break from dating to focus on myself and my relationship with God.

I wanted to throw the book out of the window. What?! 6 months?! Why? How Jesus? Again – I had taken a 3 month break the year before. The book also had different activities at the end of each chapter.

While I was reluctant at first, I did it. I took a 6 month break and here’s what I learned.

1. Make Room

I’m really good at staying busy. I was an opportunity addict. Something would come across my email and I’d apply even if I knew I was already overwhelmed. I was filling the time just in case there was nothing in the future to fill the time. So my yes’ started to become nos and I stared reclaiming my time. There really wasn’t room for anything else. I had to purposefully and intentionally make room.

2. Get Your House in Order

I bought my house and with the hustle and bustle of life, along with a new job, grad school and other opportunities I was so exhausted I couldn’t even hang a picture on the wall. Getting my actual house in order was something I had to do. I also committed to joining and joined a new church. I had been attending for a little over a year and it was time. On the last day of the dating break, I received the right hand of fellowship at a new church. I had reached a level of spiritual maturity that required a different kind of preaching, worship, and praise.

3. Self-Care

Once I finished my degree, I began intentionally engaging in self-care. I began working out more often, getting back to my healthy eating routine and spent more time doing the things I loved with the people I loved. I became more intentional about personal boundaries at work and removed myself from troublesome situations. Above all else, I’ve been praying more and praising more and more frequently. Joy doesn’t seem so out of reach anymore.

4. I Stopped Caring So Much

A good friend of mine use to say “If everyone cared as much as you do…the world would be a better place.” Truth is I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Deep down I believed if I was perfect nothing would go wrong but I have 1,000,000 examples of how untrue that is! I learned it’s ok to be imperfect and that life will still go on.

5. I Learned How to Have (More) Fun

Okay so I had some fun over the last few years but I didn’t allow too much fun. Why? Because I had to write a paper, read an article, write a lesson plan, post to blackboard… now, weekends aren’t catch up sessions with books and papers, it’s fun! I didn’t know how much I missed it.

6. I Realized What Was Important

Family and friends are important. Spending time doing the things I love with the people I love is important. Jobs come and go, yesterday is not like today but each day is a gift and should be treated as such. Yesterday I walked into a classroom to talk to a teacher and she said “what’s going on with you? You look so happy!.” I was and nothing in particular had happened to spark that. I had just reached a point of contentment with myself and the things around me.

Ultimately I think this journey was about becoming what I wanted to attract and intentionally investing in me. There’s no use looking for something or someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. If I’m honest, I spent a lot of time looking for the qualities I lacked in the guys I dated. That was wrong. I had to learn, know, and be true to myself and become the woman God wanted me to be. Now, not all of this happened in 6 months, it’s definitely a process but I’m farther along than I’ve ever been.

Through this process God wanted to restore me, to teach me a few lessons, and to return me better than ever! Now, I’m not perfect (no where near it) but one thing is for sure, I’m better now than I’ve ever been. I’m expecting God’s greatness real soon. But in the meantime…

Happy Waiting!

It’s Still a Blessing

After you’ve prayed and waited a long time, and God finally gives you what you’ve been praying for, although it may come with obstacles big and small, don’t forget that it’s still a blessing.

I bought my house 4.5 years ago. For the first 2-3 years I would sit on the steps, in the dark, and thank God for this magnificent blessing.

This year, I’ve had more things break than ever before. The microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, vents, vacuum cleaner…I’ve had pipes back up and water leak… if it wasn’t one thing it was another.

My blessing isn’t so shiny and new anymore. It has been all the way broken in. I found myself feeling burdened instead of feeling blessed. My source of comfort had become my source of pain.

But…when I really think about it, it’s not that bad. Everything can be fixed.

Prior to buying my house, I put in offers on 5 different homes. Before the offer was accepted, I laid face down on the floor and prayed. I wanted this house. How foolish of me to ever treat it as less of a blessing.

Think about the things/people you prayed for that came to pass. Are you treating them as a blessing or a burden? Are you recalling the good or the bad? You get to decide.

God’s Word says to think of whatever is nobel, true, praiseworthy… think of all of God’s blessings this way. He’s got so much more in store for you. But first, you have to be grateful for what you have now.

Happy Waiting!

What Waiting Has Taught Me

Waiting has taught me to look deeper and be more critical about my choices while dating. In years past, my attraction to men was mostly physical. Now that I’ve spent more time thinking about what I want long term, I’m taking my time and really getting to know the person I’m dating. 

Not long ago, I did an exercise with a counselor. I wrote down the names of guys I had dated/been in a relationship with and wrote down what I liked about them and what attracted me to them. What I didn’t spend enough time on were the things I didn’t like. 

So, this weekend I’m going to write 3 names, what attracted me to them, what I liked and disliked and see if I can find any patterns. Then, I’ll take this knowledge along with what I’ve learned about myself  – including what I’ve done to attract these kinds of men – and decide what I need to do to attract a different kind of man. 

Will you do this exercise with me? It shouldn’t take long. The first time I did it, it was helpful. Now that I’ve had a longer stretch of dating the same person it will be interesting to see how (and if) my dating pattern has changed. 

Feel free to share what you learned! I’m hoping to break some chains and do a new thing in my dating life. I hope you are too.

Happy Waiting!

A Time and a Season

Last week I bought 2 mangos. I LOVE mangos and I planned on eating them, at different times, for dessert. I guess fruit isn’t what most people would deem a dessert but it is for me.

I felt the first mango and I thought it was ripe enough to eat. Well…after cutting it and attempting to peel back the skin, it wasn’t. I was super disappointed but had 1 more mango left.

So a couple of days later, I felt up the second mango and attempted to eat it. It was so hard y’all. I couldn’t believe I had done the same thing TWICE! And wasted two perfectly good mangos smh!

Later on that week, I bought another mango. I took my time selecting it and made sure it was close to being ready to eat. I even waited another day or two. Then, when I was ready to eat it, I checked it again and decided to give it another day.

Finally, it was ready to eat and it was DELICIOUS! I am SO glad I waited.

I know me. Sometimes I rush to get to the end. I want that mango, that job, that boo and I’ll rush to an end before it’s time. Do you do this as well? Or are you waiting patiently for the right time and the right season?

I believe God takes us through waiting periods. He has to work somethings out in us. While it is annoying to have to wait and watch and wait some more, sometimes it’s just not the right time.

I threw away two perfectly good mangos because I didn’t want to wait. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and ended up having to start all over.

I could have had 3 mangos by now smh.

So I implore you to wait. Wait for the right time, wait for the right season, wait until you have all of the facts or as many as you can get. Wait until you’re sure. Don’t rush it but also don’t move too slow. If you rush it, it may not be ready, you may not have all of the facts and you may have to throw it away. If you wait too long the opportunity might pass you by.

We’re in the middle of wedding season and I know the tendency for some is to push something further than it needs to go to get to the desired end. Don’t be that girl or guy. Wait. Take your time and make the very best decision.

There is a time and a season for EVERYTHING. Wait for your time and your season.

Happy Waiting!