Sunday, November 2, 2014


I'm back to take on the challenge! How does one get anywhere in life if they keep giving up when things get hard or don't go their way? I'm not saying that I give up all the time, but I often imagine how different my life would be right now if I had faced some of the challenges/fears that I've run away from.
Well, no more! After the twice-monthly meetings I've been going to with other women who are trying to grow and be empowered, being taught by a dynamic, powerful woman of God, and after the confirmations I've received from the Love Life Women's conference, I am on a mission to kick through these brick walls of fear that have been surrounding me all my life, wield my sword, and start cutting down the things that have been holding me back (which includes my own insecurities) and live my life with purpose - in ways that glorify God and that not only make me feel fulfilled, but that let me know I am fulfilled and doing what I am meant to be doing.
To kick this off, I am accepting the challenge of NaBloPoMo for 2014. If you have followed my blog (and if not, now is a great time to start!) you may recall my post from single post for NaBloPoMo 2013. Sad isn't it? I did one post out of 30 and didn't start until the 19th day. However, I give myself credit that I started. This time has already started off better, which proves to me, even if to no one else, that I have grown. :-)
Anyway, this was supposed to be a short introductory post which I started approximately 2 hours ago, but in the meantime I have checked my son's grades, subscribed to a video series on marriage, installed and run CCleaner on my computer, and searched for sales on coconut oil and hair gel. Also, in order to attempt to keep myself on task, I even made a couple of "To Do" items at the bottom of this entry so that I will see them after I'm done and do them instead of interrupting my writing time. I'm not even mad at myself right now, I am actually laughing at the insanity and intricacies of my mind. I am making efforts not to be mad at myself for the way I am, but to embrace my different-ness and learn to take advantage of it.
That being said, I am going to conclude this entry with a list (I LOVE lists!!) of possible topics for NaBloPoMo.

  • Marriage (my anniversary is coming up! I can't wait to write about it!)
  • ADD/ADHD in adults (namely, Me LOL)
  • The social media vortex that we all seem to get caught in from time to time
  • Ratchet music and why...
  • I came up with many other ideas but I was busy so here it is for now. See you tomorrow! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spiritual Exercise!

It's been awhile, but now I'm back and I wanted to come back with something that will make people think as well as help with spiritual growth. So here is my first Bible study for "Honestly, Natalie."

This time I want to address the subject of prayer. Prayer isn’t just about asking God to help you and to sustain you, it is openly communicating with God. It is about growing spiritually, connecting on a higher level. Without a prayer life, what are we, just natural beings who are simply existing?
When we are having a dialogue with God, we are allowing our spirits to breathe rather than having them trapped within our body on this earth. Below are some scriptures about prayer. Please study them and pray about them and about this bible study and ask God to not only listen to you, but to speak to you as well.

Ps. 145:18-19 - The lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
19He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.

Deut. 4:7 - For what great nation has a god as near to them as the lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him?

Ps. 10:17 - lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.

1. When you pray, is it a monologue or a dialogue? Sometimes we may continually ask God for things, but never wait to hear from Him. Something to work on would be to quiet our minds sometimes and listen, or look for what He wants to say to us. 

Heb. 4:14-16 - So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

2. Let's not be timid and think ourselves unworthy of God's love and mercy. The fact that He sacrificed His son shows that we have a special place in His heart and should not be afraid to communicate with our Father.

Job 22:27 - You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him.

Is. 58:6-11 - Then when you call, the lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. 11The lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

3. Prayer is intended to be an open line of communication between us and God. It is also guidance for us to walk the way God wants us to walk and for His light to shine through us.

Please leave your comments/questions/suggestions below! I would like to set up a Skype, or Google Chat for those who are interested in discussing this in real time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Letting Go In a Cold, Cold Season

This winter season has definitely been lion-esque so far! (Does that make sense?) Not much unlike how I'm feeling about my life. I am reflecting on the choices I've made & thinking of how my current "life season" is similar to the weather outside.
One thing that has always challenged my sensibilities is change. I want so badly to hold onto what once was so wonderful - or at least comfortable - that I end up losing my grip on things that are more important in this present time. That is when things start to fall apart. Sometimes things, people, even places from our past ought to be let go of before we lose ourselves in attempting to recreate that which was only meant to be during the time it originally existed.
I have spent a lot of time this week clearing out clutter in different areas of my house just because I felt like it, not as any sort of New Year's resolution, but simply because it is time to stop holding onto things that are no longer beneficial to me and are just sitting around not being cared for properly. (This is very significant for me because being clutter-free is one of the biggest challenges in my life.) It is just time to let go.
I have known for awhile that a particular situation had long since changed seasons from summer, to fall, to winter, but I didn't think I was ready to let go so I tried to hang on to the summer.

A Hawk I watched eating a mouse behind my house

I tried in vain to keep the leaves from falling off, tears, broken promises, etc. Not only did winter come, but it hit me like a blizzard, as if it had decided to punish me for trying to keep it away. (As you can see, I love my metaphors. :-))
Now that it's here, I am almost relieved. No matter how inconvenient it may be, the snow is undeniably beautiful. Who can look at a blanket of snow and not be filled with wonder or a flood of memories?
I will accept this winter because I have faith that spring will come again just like it always does. It may not be exactly like the last spring, but it will still be beautiful. The next summer will probably be different, but it will be warm and sunny.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-6
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Sadly, today is the 19th day of November and I am posting my very first entry for NaBloPoMo. *Insert one. slow. clap.* I will be organized, or at least semi-organized one day! I think one thing that will help me to post more often is to keep track of my daily accomplishments. We'll try that today and see what happens. :-)
In other "homemaker news": One thing I want to talk about is that I have finally learned to love oatmeal raisin cookies (or at least the ones I make). I used to view them as shifty little devils. With the raisins partially camouflaged underneath the oats and flour and brown sugar, they sometimes appear as beautiful dark semi-sweet chocolate morsels. There have been times when someone has actually told me that the cookies were oatmeal chocolate chip - they were sure of it - then I bit into a deceitful raisin, adding to my trust issues. I had been craving homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
for some time and decided it would be a nice little bonding project to do with my kids. Of course, the two little ones tested my patience to the point of no return and ended up getting sent to bed. (It was 9:00 by then anyway.) I mostly made them by myself with a a bit of help from my older son with cracking eggs & a little mixing, then he had to go to bed too. So instead of cookies for desert last night, they will be everyone's after school snack today. Since the hubs loves oatmeal raisin, I split the dough in half & decided to do half raisin, half chocolate chip. As the first pan came out of the oven smelling all cinnamon-y and irresistible, I knew I had to make a sacrifice and try one of the raisin cookies. Somehow, some way, I actually liked it! I even tried more after they cooled off and still liked them! I think I can actually eat oatmeal raisin cookies (that I made) without feeling betrayed!
What is the secret to the raisins' trickery? 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves! The recipe calls it optional, but if you're anything like me and have had a longstanding contempt for raisins in your baked goods, then the cloves are definitely a requirement. Here is a link to the recipe (Although mine came directly from my BHG cookbook that my mom gave me when I moved into my first apartment - Thanks Mom!)

Today's Accomplishments:

  • 2 rows of blanket completed
  • 2 baskets of laundry folded & put away
  • Plants watered/cared for
  • Blog post completed :-)
  • New knitting project started
  • Worked on video editing for hubby's Sunday message

Monday, September 30, 2013

Where Is Thy Sting?

Oh, Death, where is thy sting? For those left behind, it is everywhere. Because of my faith, I know that my loved ones are experiencing a glory that cannot be compared to the sufferings of this present time and for that, I have joy. However, for me, it is as though I own a mansion with many rooms and each time a person is gone, it is like a room gets permanently sealed off. The light will never come back on. The windows are shuttered and we can never go back and experience the joy we felt in that room and no new memories will be made in that room. My house has lost several rooms in the past few months and it keeps getting smaller! I just cried last Monday over the loss I experienced in April and - unexpectedly - and just last Thursday, another light was permanently extinguished, another door sealed off. If I didn't know God, know Christ, this would be too much for me to withstand. I now completely understand why there are hermits, and old recluses. They cut themselves off from everyone so they don't have to experience the pain of caring for, loving, enjoying someone's presence, only to have them gone without notice. It takes a piece of your heart away.
I would love to shield my children from this. I would love to just pack my family up and take them deep into the woods so that we don't have to see anyone, so that we can be distant from them and avoid the sorrow when it comes time to lose another loved one.
To my friends and family, I apologize that sometimes I don't communicate. It's so much easier to hear all the great things about someone at their funeral and think, "I wish I had gotten to know them better," and leave knowing a small nightlight is gone from your hallway, than to truly know and love how great they were and feel a chunk of your heart gone.
I understand that God has a plan for each of us, on Earth as well as in Heaven. I know He calls  people when they have fulfilled their purpose here, or when He can better use them in the spiritual realm, but why can't we still talk to them? Or at least why can't I talk to them? Why can't I send them a text message just to say, "Hey," and get a quick response back?
That's where faith comes in. It is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Because of my faith, I know that I will see them again and it will feel like we just saw each other yesterday. Because of my faith, I will take time to grieve in order to release these emotions back to God, but I will know that I will get better, that I will go on. I know that my "mansion" will continue to have more rooms sealed off, but that more rooms will also be added, perhaps even another wing or two. :-)
It stings now, but these wounds will heal with the passage of time and for that, I am grateful and will continue to have joy and peace.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back To My Roots

I wanted to share my first creative writing assignment: "Tell your life story in three incidents involving hair." I was proud of myself 1) for actually completing the assignment and 2) for getting an "A" on it! So hear it is -

Back To My Roots

As a little girl, hearing stories about Rapunzel and seeing television and movie stars with long flowing locks of hair, I wanted nothing more than to someday be on screen with my long, lovely locks. After getting my hair washed I would stand in front of the mirrored shower door with a towel hanging off of my head and a brush, or bottle of shampoo in my hand as a microphone, envisioning my silvery, glittering ball gown and a crowd of adoring fans. Then the towel would inevitably fall off and my actual, tightly curly hair would be standing straight out and up and I was quickly shoved back into reality.
I still had hope, though. Looking at the older women in my family and my favorite actress, Phylicia Rashad, I knew that as soon as I became an adult my hair would magically turn from braided ponytails to flowing curls that would bounce as I moved my head. I didn’t realize that the women I was looking at all had chemically processed, or heat-straightened hair. All was not lost though, once I turned 11, my mother decided to take me to the hair dresser and I was able to get a relaxer. At last, my hair bounced! It was long, light brown with naturally blonde highlights, and I could style it myself! I could comb through it in smooth strokes! That first relaxer was the best thing that could have happened to me!
Unfortunately, with each relaxer, I lost length. I didn’t know how to properly take care of my hair because I thought it was essentially the same as my friend Jenny’s* hair and I should be able to care for it the same way. My mother tried to tell me, but as an eleven year-old, I was sure that I understood way more about taking care of myself than she could possibly know. Instead, I listened to Jenny. After school, we would go up to her room and use her curling iron while listening to Bon Jovi and she would “fix” my bangs. Burning my forehead multiple times, she would curl one layer down, then she would take the top layer and curl it up and back while spraying the strands that were locked around the barrel of the iron. I thought nothing of the smoke, or the odor of fried Aquanet hairspray. I just knew I was getting the latest style bangs and nobody could tell me I wasn’t cute. It all changed when Jenny and I got mad at each other. We stopped talking for a few days, but I still needed my bangs to look “fly” so I decided I would do it myself. Again, nobody knew better than me how to take care of myself. As I searched under my bathroom sink for some suitable tools and sprays, I realized the only hairspray we had was an old bottle of Stay-Sof-Fro and a small barreled curling iron that didn’t compare to Jenny’s. Oh well, I could make it work. I vaguely remembered Jenny saying something about wetting her hair first. Instead of undertaking this mission before bed, I decided I needed my hair to be fresh so I waited until the morning while I was running late getting ready for school. After wetting my hair, I applied the Stay-Sof-Fro then commenced to curl my bangs. I was then on my way out the door to a very foggy morning causing a very long, very moist, fifteen minute walk to school.
I was so confident when I walked into class, until I saw their eyes. The first one to speak was Jenny , who, with one sentence, had gone from being my best friend to my arch nemesis with the words, “Wow, you look like you stuck your finger in a light socket.”  Never being blessed with the gift of witty comebacks, I just went to my desk and sulked and tried to come up with, for the rest of the school year, the perfect insult to hurl at her, but to no avail. That was the last time I attempted the “JennyBang.”
Now, over 20 years later, I have evolved into loving the hair I was born with. After being frustrated with the chemicals I was constantly subjecting my hair to and the damage it was suffering, I realized that I wanted to go back to my roots. I wanted to be able to wear my hair in its natural state without chemically altering it, without constantly straightening it with heat. If other members of cultures are comfortable with wearing their hair the way it grows from their heads, then I should be able to do the same. In 2009, I decided to finally stop getting relaxers and began experimenting with braided and curly styles, on my partially-relaxed, partially-grown-out. Then I got fired.
After dealing with an extremely stressful job and people, my supervisor decided I was no longer worth having around and manipulated things in a manner to justify terminating my employment. I was devastated. Although I was married, we still had 4 children to take care of and my two youngest absolutely adored the company’s childcare center as well as its teachers. After those things were ripped from my grasp, I decided I might as well make a fresh start. I visited my former hairdresser and asked her to cut off all of my relaxed, damaged ends, leaving me with a much shorter, curly afro.
The moment I looked in the mirror and felt the small soft curls of my own one hundred percent natural hair, my whole soul breathed a sigh of relief. No longer was I conforming to what television and movies, and countless other people told me was beautiful. I knew, that with the hair God gave me, I was beautiful, and quite unique. I haven’t looked back since. Although I like being able to change my style and occasionally straighten my hair, I will never put a relaxer in it again, and I will no longer accept that I am not beautiful just the way I am.
I have grown into myself. I have accepted me for who I am and “going natural” was the step I needed to take to reach a new level of maturity. Since that time, I have returned to school full time and I have decided to take full control of my path in life by refusing to be bound to a single employer, instead using my talents and learning new ones in order to make money for myself. My life story is still being written. I’m sure I will probably have more hair endeavors, but I am certainly satisfied with the direction my life, and my hair, is moving.
In this photo, I had flat-ironed my hair and it shows how long my hair had grown 2 years after cutting off all of the relaxer.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thoughts on Human Compassion

Lesson of the week for me: Never care more passionately than someone else about their own problems.
It seems I have had to keep learning this lesson the hard way. Why? Why do I get so obsessive over someone else's issues when it seems they're just sitting back and relaxing? I guess it's a gift and a curse for me.
This "gift" could be used for good and for advocacy - standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves. It becomes a curse when I'm trying to stand up for someone and, for whatever reason, they get more frustrated and turn around and resent me for causing them stress. That is why I have to learn how to detach and disengage from certain people and/or situations.
On another (sad) note, I just lost a second family member to violence within the past 4 months. I get so depressed sometimes thinking of the level of heartlessness people are capable of. Emotions can be a scary thing. I've certainly been so angry with someone that I wanted to seriously hurt them, but thank God, I had a twinge of common sense and thought of the consequences to me and my family if I were to follow through. Unfortunately, it seems like more and more people are not getting that twinge until after they commit senseless acts. Life goes on for the rest of us while we pick up the pieces. I just pray for people to think before they act and to just have a little love and/or respect for the families - especially children - of those they want to cause harm to. :-(

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