Have a Stress-free Holiday!

Good Thoughts

This may turn out to be an obnoxiously long post so I want to save you some time. The holidays can be stressful. The traffic will be bad. The lines will be long. It will seem like you’re swimming in a pool of Christmas lights, garlands and wrapping paper. This list is going to help you out!

First and foremost, consider this very important question: How much of this going to matter on December 26 and January 2?

The truth is that we put so much into small moments without considering the long-term results. Invest your resources on things with value beyond this season!

A few other things:

How much time, money and energy would you save if you decided not to stress out about what to wear to your holiday gatherings. What if you spent 30 minutes going through your closet to identify possible items. You might find something you forgot you bought. This activity may be clutch, if after you have scoured the malls, you come up empty and have to rely on plan “B” anyway.

Don’t wait to get gas. Stay full. The little things can become big things if the timing is wrong. (I’m currently out of gas on the side of the road waiting for Roadside Assistance!)

Download a free shopping list app for your phone. Use tools to help you manage additional stresses of the holiday season!

Take a ziplock bag or plastic container and put all receipts in it whenever you come out of the store. If you need to return something, you won’t be stressed about finding the receipts at a later time!

Spend 10 minutes setting reminders in your phone! Let Siri or that other lady help you! I’ve got reminder set for things I need to do that I might forget because of vacation brain.

Hitting up a lot of potlucks? Identify one dish you will make for the whole season. Don’t stress out about over-cooking. Use Pinterest and other online resources to help.

Plan for traffic. Download an audio-book or buy new holiday music. Make a YouTube playlist! Make a call list of people you have been meaning to call and call them. (Be safe. Use your Bluetooth technology!)

Last but not least, be prayerful, considerate and empathetic. ‘Tis’ the season for a lot of instability. Those who pray and remain peaceful can help those who are struggling!

I’ll add more as I think of them! Here’s some advice from a few Facebook friends:

“Keep it low key. Maybe just with immediate family. And or a separate event with friends. Say no to those Christmas parties you don’t have and don’t want to attend. Do something different like everyone go to the movies together. Mix things up. Be blessed!” – P. Sylvester

“I love Christmas. I don’t try to buy gifts at Nordstrom with WalMart money. I don’t go to holiday events that I don’t want to.” R. Smith

Share this with a friend you think would benefit from it!

Move ON.

Good Thoughts, Uncategorized

There are so many “help” lists to choose from. There is no shortage of help, I know. Nevertheless, you deserve to be inspired. Inspiration is here! Life will throw al kinds of curve balls but you can rely of God’s help to survive. One gift God gives us is the will and insight it takes to MOVE ON. In my attempt to move on, I ran into these truths.

1. You can abuse freedom. When you get freedom, be intentional about how you use it! Protect it from people who do not respect your time and gifting. Move forward with intentionality.

2. Throw your own party if you have something to celebrate! You don’t even have to invite anyone! The more intimate, the better! It’s easy to confuse the crown with the folks who love you. BUT, it’s not impossible. Move forward with JOY!

3. I am changing so that the people who won’t/can’t will not have control over my experiences/environment. I’m moving forward with plans to improve!

f275828fb98f43b39870c65eb6c6e5bf--keep-moving-forward-hand-lettering

Do. The. Work.

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I vividly recall being the kid with a lot of follow-up questions. I think I may be the reason my grandmother had little tolerance for my quick rebuttals. I had such a passionate belief that asking for clarification was the way to prove I was listening. Grandmother didn’t quite see it that way. Aside from the cautionary reminder not to talk back, her encouragement was more about wanting me to know when I needed to “figure it out” and when clarification was necessary.

As a result, I learned that when a person gives you information, it’s just as much your responsibility to learn more as it is theirs to be clear… but expecting folks to be clear is unrealistic. When we are presented with an opportunity, expect to have to work for it. Don’t be afraid to go in the bathroom stall and Google or take the time to figure what the right questions to ask might be. It always makes me feel good when I thoughtfully pursue clarification and the person responds with “that’s a great question” or “no one has ever asked that.”

Do the work it takes to be great!

Book Review: Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore

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I’m not a huge fan of fiction. I never liked Hotwheels that were not like cars you couldn’t see on the street… But I like Walter. I like good stories about redemption. I like thoughtful writing. I like riches-to-rags-to-riches stories. I like learning. So… I’m giving this book a go. Check out the description.

Book Description
Release date: May 13, 2014
In this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn’t going to “do it anymore.” But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare—she of the blond wig and blue contacts-“do it” on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous onset orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and “film producer” Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he’s died in a case of hot tub electrocution, “auditioning” an aspiring “starlet.” Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She’s done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.
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The Change Challenge

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I am not sure if Maya Angelou said it first but I’m sure she said it. She said, “when people show you who they are, believe them.” As simple of a concept as it seems, it’s the hardest truth to swallow. We tend to want to believe that people have temporary failures that don’t completely define them. We make excuses for people because we choose to isolate certain behaviors.

Ponder this question. What is my real potential for change? Am I fully capable of becoming the opposite of what I am for the sake of those who are dissatisfied with me? What will I do if I change but no one believes me?

So… The challenge? The first change is dealing with how we know we are ready for a change. Let’s commit to thinking through what prompts the urge to change. Is it frustration? Is it the fear of failure? Let’s challenge when we engage Change. Let’s entertain Change intentionally. Let’s schedule it.

LESSONS FROM CLEANING OUT MY CAR

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Yesterday, I had the misfortune of losing my keys at a local restaurant. After hours of searching, I conceded. Kind and friends from church made it possible for my car to be towed to my place. It takes about 24 hours to recover, get new keys, change locks, etc. The last 24 hour hours certainly slowed my life down by about 70%. But, I learned some wonderful lessons today as I spent several hours cleaning out my car, reflecting and talking to the Lord.

In my car I found:

1. Things I thought I lost forever.
2. Books I was excited to read but never got to.
3. Things I borrowed but never returned.
4. Things I forgot I had.
5. Things I thought I needed but didn’t.
6. Lots of duplicates.
7. Other folk’s stuff that they left.
8. Money I lost between the seats.
9. Gifts and cards I was too busy to open.
10. Trash that made it hard to find all the things above.

No, I didn’t recover my keys as of yet. But, the Lord answered my prayer. I asked him to use this misfortune to
bring revelation and clarity. The moral of the story?

1. He loves me.

2. Whether it’s the tow truck guy, friends from church or my messy car, there are opportunities and blessings all around.

3. Slowing down, decluttering and paying attention are a part of a healthy life.

 Innosanto Nagara’s “A is for Activist!”

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At a baby shower I attended, the gift everyone wanted to learn more about was Innosanto Nagara’s “A is for Activist!” It’s a book about issues that should be important to all of us, no matter what our politics or religious perspectives. It’s a great way to teach our kids to LOVE early. You can learn more about the book on its website! 

This book inspired me. We don’t have to EVER give basic gifts. We can find empowering gifts for our children to keep and cherish.cover.jpg