Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Letter to a Friend

I have chosen to be your friend because of the qualities I admire in you. You have a giving spirit in everything you do. You seek to serve others behind the scenes. And you are morally upright….you don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or engage in sexually immoral acts. Overall you are a good person!

Through our friendship we have experienced many ups and downs together…We have been witness to the highs and lows in each other’s lives. And through it all we remained each other’s cheer leaders.

I want you to know that I want to see you be the best you can be. I want to see you not only achieve your career goals, but to grow to be the child of God, God wants you to be. I don’t want to see you settle for mediocrity. I don’t want to see you give up on your passion. I don’t want to see you give up on life.

I want to see you be better than you are…and be better than you think you could be. I sometimes feel as though you don’t see how talented you are and how much you add to the lives of those you come in contact with. You are a leader because of your desire to serve others. However I have noticed your desire wax and wane with the challenges you experience in your own life. I have noticed that you found yourself in a comfort zone because it easier for you to be there…as oppose to challenge yourself and your faith and step out of your comfort zone. I have noticed that you have chosen not to get involved at your local church because for some reason you seem content simply attending church. Why? You have so much to give. God wants us to serve Him by serving others. God wants us help others. God wants us to give of yourselves…We must remember that we have a responsibility to the local church that we are a part of. We have a responsibility to help build and grow that congregation. WE have a responsibility to serve in that congregation. It is not enough to simply attend church. Be the church that you want to see.

I am saying all of this because I care about you, and I care about your soul. I know that you can be better than where you are today. I know this because I have seen you be better.

As it pertains to your career, my prayer is that you TRUST God and remember that it is because of Him that you are where you are today. I know intellectually you know this…But as you think about the next steps, let faith guide you. Do not let fear inhibit your decisions. Do not allow the devil to put our God in a box…Do not compare yourself to those who have gone before you, because they did not have the POWER that you have in God. Recognize that if you go to God in prayer, and ask all that you can ask or imagine, he will grant it to you. God can make a way even when we cannot see the way.

You are so analytical in your thinking that it’s seems hard for you to truly make a decision on faith. You base your decisions on your calculations rather than your belief that God can do what we call the impossible. You will end up limiting yourself if you limit God. Please don’t limit God. I know it’s hard when it seems that your life is hanging in the balance but don’t you know that God already got this. He has already determined your destiny…Ask God for what you want and believe He would open the door that looks permanently shut.

As you go through relationships in life, I pray that you will deal with conflict appropriately. I pray that you would stop sweeping things under the rug and deal with it as it comes along. I pray that you challenge yourself in your relationships to speak the truth in love…You have chosen to ignore something in our friendship that will eventually lead us down a road where we will no longer have a friendship. I have chosen to allow you to make the first step in restoring our friendship because I believe that if you want our friendship that you should fight for it. I believe that if our friendship is important to you that you would not turn a blind eye. It has been 5 months and I am forced to believe that you are “fine” with the way things are. You have chosen not to deal with this…but you have also chosen not to be my friend.

I recognize that the things have I have said in this letter are probably the very things that you may not like about me. My bluntness…My encouragement that seems as though I am talking down to you…And seeming like I don’t accept you for who you are. I hope that you will realize that I want for you the same thing I want for myself. I want friends who can help me be a better person…Friends who will be honest with me even if it hurts…and Friends who will support me and help push me when I can’t push myself…And friends who love me enough to challenge me to step out of my comfort zone.

Regardless of where our friendship stands, my hope is that you would be the best you can be in everything you do. I pray that you would be successful in your career, marriage, and spiritual life. And the prayer I pray for you…I pray for myself as well…Because we all need to continuously strive to be better than where we are today…

In love and peace…

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today I am reflecting on my life, my purpose, my mission, and my journey…I thought about what makes me, me…why I do what I do. There are several principles that I have adopted along the way that I strive to live by. These principles help me to enjoy the journey called life. I have chosen to write this to REMIND myself of these principles. Sometimes I may drift away and I need to do some introspection to bring me back.

• Choose to surround yourself with positive individuals who are where you want to be or on their way. You should be able to look at every single one of your friends and ask yourself, “What do they contribute to my life?” The closest people in your life should be striving to go the same place where you are going. First and foremost, I surround myself with spiritual people. It’s not a surprise then that most of my friends are Christians. And not just any and every Christian but Christians who are striving to live right, do right, and be right. Christians who though they make mistakes they recognize that they have not “arrived.” They realize that they must depend on God for everything…And there is a constant movement towards growing closer to God. You are probably thinking that sounds like I am looking for perfect friends. But I’m not…Just those who are striving for perfection :-).

• Another group of people I surround myself with are those who are aspiring to have successful careers. That would be individuals who are actually trying to graduate! They came to school with a purpose. Not to party, get drunk, go to the club, pledge, etc. etc. They came to school with one MAIN purpose…to get an education…Believe it or not, many people do not go to school for that purpose. If you are not careful, you may find yourself doing everything else but your school work…The people I chose to surround myself with when I was in college were the ones on the honor roll…the folks who were going where I was going…Straight As all the way…Or at least ASPIRING for As. We did other extra-curricular activities, but it never distracted us from our goal.

• In your professional career, you also want to stay close to folks who are going where you are going as well. Some people are just there to collect a paycheck. While others are there to make a difference! They work with purpose. Regardless of their position in the organization they do the best they can at their job. I like befriending these people. I can relate to their hearts. My motto is, “Anything you do, do it as you are doing it unto the Lord.” If you recognize that God is your boss, then you are more likely to work with passion and go further that the lazy Jo Blow you work with. I sometimes get discouraged at work when I find that people do not work with purpose and passion. I feel frustrated when I hear them talking for hours casually or see them on facebook all day…while complaining that they have soooo much work to do! But I must remember that my purpose does not hinge on their performance and what they chose to do with their life.

• Feed your mind with positive things. This is a very important concept because there is a lot of garbage out there. Ranging from trashy novels, ghetto music videos, nasty music, unsavory places etc.etc. I choose not to drink and get drunk, AND I choose not to hang out with ANYONE who participates in that. The same goes for drugs. SAY NO TO DRUGS! I choose not to go partying, and clubbing…It’s just not my vibes. I feel awkward and out of place in those environments because I am surrounded by people who are not trying to go where I am going…I much rather spend time with my friends playing cards, eating, going to the movies, get-togethers at friends’ house, chatting, going on wild nature adventures, going to plays, the beach, and traveling. I LOVE to attend fellowships with other Christians. The college ministry, young married couples, young adults, and the ladies. Spending time with these people fill my soul. It encourages me to keep doing what I am doing.

• Additionally, I TRY to listen to music that is not degrading or just outright sinful. Yeah, I know…the beat is real catchy…But you have to try. I was singing “Blame it on the a a a a a alcohol…” the other day, and my husband so kindly said, “Do you know what they are saying in that song?” He then informed me that Fox was singing about a girl who got drunk, had a boyfriend, and he later had sex with her…Ummm, did you know that its considered rape to have sex with someone who is drunk?…Okay, maybe I don’t need to be singing that song…But dang it’s so catchy…hmmm…And as I write this I am looking at Beyonce’s music videos...:-)

• But in terms of positive things to feed my mind…I like to read books about building stronger marriage relationships, spiritual books, and anything that promotes better living. I am not much of a reader so I don’t spend much time reading for pleasure. Another way I try to contribute to feeding my mind is by studying my Bible and doing devotions. I must confess that I have to seriously improve in this area and simply be more consistent. I have not managed to maintain a consistent pattern of daily devotion and prayer. I don’t know why this habit is sooooooo hard to form. It’s like exercising! Why can some people just jog every day…pray every day…with ease? I wish I could be more consistent in this area. I need to find someone who can help keep me accountable…It is my personal goal is to improve in this area.

• Stay focused! Life can present itself with so many distractions to take our eyes away from the prize….Ranging from facebook or twitter addictions, to an obsession with celebrities. These things can really distract us from what we are supposed to me about. I heard something on CNN the other day where they said that there was this teen that was sending 5,000 text messages in one day. I can’t even imagine how that is possible…But I know that when we get so entrenched in things that are not really that important and we start to treat it like its important the devil is smiling…Because we have turned our attention onto things that are less important and does not draw us closer to where we need to be.

• Appreciate the good people in your life. There are friends who are my cheerleaders in life. They encourage, motivate and even inspire me. It’s easy to take them for granted because I know “they will always be there.” But that’s not true. They may not always be there…Sometimes I dwell on the people I want to have a relationship with (like my sisters) and forget that God has blessed me with so many sisters who want to have a relationship with me. It is so easy to block God’s blessing because we are looking for it in someone else. I believe that no matter where you are in this world, the Lord will always send his angel in the form of a friend just for you. The time you spend following senseless tweets, or facebook statuses, reading random forwards can be better spent appreciating these good people.

Dear Lord,

Please help me to reprioritize my life. Help me to stay focused on the things I need to stay focused on. Help me to draw close the people who are trying to go where I am going. Help me to find them and help me to rid myself of individuals in my life who are simply a distraction. Or better yet, help me to help them be better…God, help me to be better, to grow closer to you and to live my life with purpose and passion…because you gave me life…you gave me another day to make a difference. Help me not to be distracted with the media (facebook, tv, email etc.) as I have but help me to use it to advance my goals and my mission in life. Please help me not to place emphasis on the thing that are not important but rather on the things that are important (family, friends, making a positive difference in my community, serving in your church, building strong and positive relationships, and ultimately serving you God). Please help me to develop healthy habits such as reading positive books, daily devotion and prayer, and regular bible study. And please help me to be an example in word, thought, and deed…especially when no one is looking. Use me God…and help me to be better than I am today.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Jitters

Baby jitters is the term I coined to describe a category of couples where one partner has a sudden, overwhelming urge to have a baby. Sometimes that partner is able to convince the other partner that they are ready, willing and able to have a child…
I have noticed two distinct categories of folks with the baby jitters. (There are more, but for the sake of today’s blog, I’ll talk about two). The first category consists of those couples who went through a rough patch in their marriage. Let’s call that rough path a hurricane…yeah it was REAL rough! But now they find themselves in a good place and are coming out of the storm. They think they are out of the storm but in truth and in fact they are in the eye of the hurricane. They, for the first time in a long time, have experienced a sense of calm, a sense of joy…Happiness has returned in their hearts and they have tasted joy again! This sudden return of ecstasy in their marriages creates an almost overwhelming desire for a child. The child functions as the “cherry on top.”

With this couple, they have romanticized the idea of having a child so much that they are often terribly far from reality. They believe this child is going to enhance their life and their marriage…The visions they have is joy overflowing from a cup of ice-cream…cookies with sprinkles on top, cupcakes and musical chairs…it’s all sunshine and roses! Life seems perfect…And though they acknowledge having to change dirty diapers, doing laundry, cooking baby food, and a general loss of time…they envision doing it ALL with a smile…Their resolve is that “it won’t be that bad...God will see us through” What this couple has failed to consider is the reality of a baby…The REAL DEAL. The part the most folks don’t tell us about…

Post partum depression, tiredness like you have never experienced before, sleepless nights, constant disappointment with your mate, fights over who’s turn it is to do this or that, a sudden change of relationships with friends, no social life, loss of income beyond what you had imagined, a dying sex life (for either lack of desire or lack of desire)…And the list goes on and on…No one talks about these things…But they are real…they exist…and I bet there is someone you know right now experiencing this…The thing is, you probably would never imagine that they are feeling this way or experiencing such hardships..Why? Because they have learnt to plaster a smile on their face and avoid company…They have learnt to live in pain by themselves...In silence… But why would someone do that? Why would you choose to live in pain and not say anything? But we do it all the time…Our inability to talk about the real deal with marriage, children etc. has forced us into a silence of untold stories…It has forced us to think that we are the minority…that if we had it together we would not have problems…It has forced us to think that it’s just me…But it’s not just you baby…It’s you and most of the rest of the world!

Unfortunately statistics tells us that many are not able to survive this stage…This is not what I signed up for! And before you know it, you are raising two kids by yourself. The transition to parenthood is really a critical phase in the life of a marriage. It is not one to be taken lightly at all. My plea for those with the baby jitters is to realize that it’s not all roses and chocolates…But to understand that this can be you…When you understand and accept that it can be you, you then start to think about the steps to put in place in yourself and your marriage to help make the transition smoother and your overall experience more enjoyable.

The second group of folks who wake up with the baby jitters are those who are in the middle of the hurricane…They are about to just about give up on their marriage…They are about to give up on their ability to feel joy and be happy again…But the thought of a baby may be that one thing that can give their marriage a jump start…It may be that one thing that can restore their happiness…It may be that one thing that would make them happy and feel complete…OR so they think…Boy they could not be more wrong!

My dear friends, having a child does not complete you…You are already whole! And if you don’t already feel whole then you need to do some introspection…Because there will come a time when your baby will grow up, move out and you would feel incomplete again…Your marriage would be shallow and there will be nothing to sustain it…The child acted as a crutch to make you believe you were whole…or make your broken marriage feel whole..BUT that is impossible to be self-sustaining. If these couples even make it to the empty nest stage they often end up depressed and divorced. Statistically the highest divorce rates occur during the first 7 years or during the empty nest stage…Can you guess why? In these marriages, one partner usually builds their lives around their children. Everything they do is for their child…Nothing for themselves or their marriage. Besides going through the same shock as the first couple when their baby arrives, these couples’ weaknesses become more prominent. That’s the thing about a child…It is a stressor…And stressors highlight your strengths and weaknesses…So if you go in weak, you are only going to feel weaker.

Some may argue that there is no right time to have a child…But I disagree. That is like saying there is no right time to get married…Well you wouldn’t want to see your 14 year old getting married now would you? I have a few pointers that I have acquired from my couples class and books I have read on the topic. Here is a few:

• Have a strong and healthy marriage. This point is as broad as it is wide…But succinctly, a strong marriage consists of two individuals who are committed to serving each other’s needs. They work hard to please each other and engage in healthy communication where conflict is dealt with constructively.

• The marriage consists of two whole individuals where one person is not dependent on the other for their happiness. They are able to have a life independent of their partner. This may be as simple as having same sex friends, participating in a sport etc.

• There is a healthy engagement with each other. This can range from regular date nights, participating in a sport together, or just enjoying each other’s company in various arenas.

• A network of friends and family. This is a major one…These are the folks you can count on to babysit, lend a shoulder to cry, or give you words of wisdom…Don’t take these folks for granted. If you are considering having a child, consider making a regular schedule of date nights. It’s a must!

• Money. We know kids are expensive…So it would be helpful if you are actually able to afford to have a child before you have one. Not having sufficient finances can add major stress on your relationship.

• When making your household budget, be sure to include date night and babysitting as a line item. I have seen where couples add $1,200 for the baby and not $1 for themselves. You need to have that alone time with each other where you can restore yourself and intimacy with your spouse. Again that network of friends and family can come in handy when planning date night on a budget.

• Talk, talk, and talk some more. But make sure to talk about the REAL stuff…Talk about mood swings, depression, low sex drive, severe tiredness…And then talk about your action plan to overcome these things…And when you are done talking, talk some more!

• Husbands…know that you are going to have to step up! Regardless of what your view is on women, please lend a hand with the laundry, cleaning, cooking, baby feeding, etc. This is probably the number ONE characteristic of a couple who can gracefully transition to parenthood…It’s not going to be easy, and you won’t always have a smile on your face…But you would survive and even thrive. The best gift you can give your child is a happy marriage.

Monday, April 12, 2010


One year older…and one year wiser. It’s strange, but I finally feel like an adult! An independent, responsible, confident adult :-).
I realized that throughout my life I have limited myself for one reason or another. I realized that I have been constantly looking for the approval of others…Whether friends, family, church goers, or the people most important to me….And that has limited me! Although I present myself as a very STRONG person in my beliefs, opinions, mind, spirituality, there is a part of me that feels like a child. Children always look to their parents for their approval…for their parents to smile and say “great job! We are so proud of you!” Whether parents, teachers, friends, family, church family, or our spouses all of us want to hear these words…regardless of our age. We want to know that we are doing the right thing…and we are making someone proud.

This thirst for approval can often be limiting if we are not strong enough to move forward despite the dissenting voice…

When I was a little girl my dream career was to be a lawyer. I wanted to be someone who would defend the rights of the disenfranchised…But my stepmom told me that lawyers have it tough…they often have to work years before they can make it to the top…and when they just start off they don’t make much money…As a result I never pursued it…I initially went in the direction of studying business, but my inner passion to work to make things better led me to social work. ..I do not regret that choice! But I must confess that a small part of my questions my ability to pass the LSAT much less graduate law school…

I lived in Trinidad until I was 22 years old. There were so many aspects of my culture that I never got to experience due to not having the approval of others. I wanted to go to a comedy show, but we were too young…I wanted to see a play but no one wanted to go…I wanted to see a Panorama Steel Pan Festival, but we don’t celebrate carnival. I am finally at a point where I can savor these experiences despite what anyone else says! And still feel GOOD about the experience… The unfortunately thing is that I no longer live in Trinidad. But if I am ever there while these things are going on I will certainly take advantage of it.

Even living in America, I have limited myself too. ..It was as if my mind was still stuck in Trinidad…Still waiting for approval…or blessings from others in order to truly live my life.

I have even limited myself in even simple things. For instance, I asked one of my darling friends if she was interested in reading a book about sex with a couple other married Christian ladies…with the hope that we can learn and grow…But she wasn’t really keen about the topic and her lack of desire dwindled my desire to move forward. And though I have had a couple ladies interested and EXCITED about the idea, I have yet to move forward…But I will!!

The same is true about church stuff…there are times when I am bursting with enthusiasm about an idea I have and something I am willing to implement…But it just takes one person to not support my idea for me to lose my passion…and lose faith in my idea. It’s important that as Christians we don’t lose heart in these things. I have to remind myself that I have a responsibility to do good even if it’s not supported…even if no one wants to help…even if it’s me alone…I have a responsibility. I would agree that there have been times when I have tied my “good works” to the approval and support of fellow Christians. And this is more than simply participating in established ministries in the church…It’s even harder to do things that are not “established” when it’s just on you to do it. But that’s another topic for another day.

But I have finally liberated myself…I think I’ll drink to that ;-)

This year, 2010, I have decided to take advantage of any and every opportunity as it presents itself! I will live my life to the fullest and not deprive myself of something I truly want to do for fear of what others will think, or simply because they won’t join me. If no one else wants to go, participate or support…I will just keep on keeping on! (By the way, I don’t plan to do anything against my morals, spiritual values or that will intentionally hurt someone else. )

In 2010 I planned my first romantic candle light dinner for my husband! been to my first comedy show, first US concert (Alicia Keys!!!!), first Tyler Perry Play, a Grenadian play in DC, looked inside a Casino visited friends in St. Louis, VA and DC, and bought my first bottle of wine…YES ALCOHOLIC WINE (And I don’t plan to hide it in a brown paper bag…or in the cupboard…I won’t be putting it away when Christians come over etc. etc. Well, I’ve bought wine before, but that was to cook with, LOL!

And as a birthday gift to myself, I have decided to give myself the gift of unbridled potential…the liberty to stretch my mind and know that with fear unleashed, I can be anything I want to be…Because I know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power…

And with that in mind….I am going for the PhD!!!!!