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Expressionless Wonder?

I have a serious question to ponder with you guys. OK, it’s not really a serious question, but it leads me to talking about a serious(ish) topic, and it’s a break from telling every woman within shouting distance of this blog “get your life!” (BTW: I LOVE Tamar Braxton and her idioms, and use them frequently. It’s one of my “guilty pleasures” that’s not really guilty, but that’s another discussion for another day).

I was watching an engagement video on someone’s blog, as I do from time to time. I love engagement stories. To be honest, I love stories; it’s kind of what I do. Still, my favorite stories are love stories. Anyway, I’m watching this engagement video and the question pops into my head: When I get engaged, am I going to do the “oh my gosh I have to pee dance”?

Yes, you know the dance I’m talking about. I’m talking about when the women covers her mouth with her hands (oh my gosh) and kind of runs and jumps in place (the globally recognized little kid’s I have to pee dance). Or the “oh my gosh someone just punched me in the gut/oh my gosh I’m going to hurl” dance where the bend over or drop it low with their mouths covered. I’ve also seen the “oh my gosh I’ve got to run away; no, wait I have to go back” dance and the “oh my gosh; hand claps for honey” dance. Delight and joy and “oh my gosh” just radiates from these women.

And then there’s me. Am I going to be that girl? Probably not. It won’t be because I won’t be excited to be engaged. It will be more because I apparently have an issue expressing emotion. This is weird, since I have an “expressive face” to most people, but I’ll give you an example of this phenomenon.

I had an annual review/pay review once a while ago. In my fantasy, I was going for a certain annual salary but I didn’t think I’d get it. I went into the meeting with my “be serious in front of the higher ups” face, ready to take my 2% and go back to work. Instead, I got my fantasy annual salary. You know what my face did? Maintained “look serious in front of the higher ups. They had to ask me if I was happy with it because they couldn’t tell by my face. How can that be? I was doing cartwheels and high fiving myself in my head. I was falling on my face praising God and fist pumping at the same time in my head. But outwardly? “I get huge raises and high praises everyday face.”

Y’all, I hope I’m not one of those girls who just smiles beatifically and gives her fiancé a quick, gentle peck on the cheek (no offense to anyone who was that girl). I don’t want to be that girl any more than I want to be the girl that sits down with her guy and they “decide” to get married without a proposal (again, no offense to anyone who was that girl). I’m one of those crazy girls that wants a guy to put some effort into it, some thought behind it, some wow factor in it. I almost lost all hope of life and happiness when Jim Jones and Lil Scrappy proposed to their significant others. It was one of my throw my shoe moments, word to George W. (Sidenotes: I need to stop reading a certain website that convinces me I can say things like “word to George W. I’m not a punchline writer in real life. I need to have several seats. Anyway)

Am I just being a girl? Will it all be different when I see a guy on one knee? Is my face ever going to emote in a key moment? Will I actually have to pee? The world may never know.

If you’re an engaged or married lady, how did you react to the proposal? Was your reaction predictable and so you or completely out of left field? What girl were you?



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Freestyle Friday: Wrapping Up Month 1

Who can believe it’s already the first of February? February is always a month of personal introspection for me as my birthday inches closer and closer (My birthday is the 24th of this month; I would like books, music, movies, a new flat iron, cute shoes that don’t hurt, cute work clothes, gift cards, caramel ice cream or cake, and/or The Adobe Creative Suite, Scrivener, and a laptop:D). Since my word of the year is to savor, I figured it might be a good idea to recap the month. Since I’m recapping the month, I decided to take a cue from Diary of a Happy Black Woman and give the month a word as well. Without further ado, January 2013.

The word of the month: Reset

I could have used a lot of words to describe this month: perspective, backsliding, crashed, pain, delay, etc. Most of them were negative  or didn’t give a full view of what this month meant to me, so I decided to go with the word that most fit what happened the entire month: Reset.

In December when I picked savor as the word of the year, I made preparations to be able to live out the meaning of the word. I had given myself a few things to savor: a great job review/bonus, paying off my car, Mr. Perfect and  I finally making a decision about our relationship, signing up for my first paralegal studies class and the ability to travel more like the last half of the year. I was ready to take writing and blogging by storm. I was going to tithe the full 10%, no excuses.

The thing is, I floundered a little bit. I reached out to an editor, but when it came to sending her a sample, I just wasn’t ready. I gave myself a deadline to finish the book, but I discovered I still had a lot more to write. I went to my first class and felt a crazy mixture of excitement that I was actually doing this and mild trepidation that I was going to fall on my face. I wasn’t sure what to do with the extra money I would have, what I should save for or acquire first. I had set myself all of these high expectations, and I was scared stiff I wouldn’t be able to meet them.

After the car crash, everything was reset. I had to withdraw from the class I was taking. There’s no question what I need to save for and/or acquire first: a car. I had to miss some work, which meant I wasn’t ahead at work anymore. Instead of Mr. Perfect and I pulling back and spending less time together, I see him everyday because he takes me back and forth to work and appointments resulting from the crash.

I could look at this as everything being set back at zero, but that’s not actually what has happened. What has happened is the slate has been wiped clean. No more hold-over expectations from last year; I can start fresh. It feels good to be able to slow down and ensure I have time to fully develop the things I outlined for the book, topics I didn’t even know I wanted/needed to include. Not being able to rush from point A to point B has allowed me to savor some quiet moments to myself that I would have missed. Even though this month has seen me more irritated and a bit snappier than I’ve been in a long time, it has revealed that I still have some growing to do in some areas. If I truly want this year to be about savoring moments and influencing people to be more Christ-like, I’m going to have to slow down to take in all of the flavors and be savory in times when I would rather be sour.

This month has been like the pre-test at the beginning of the year to see what you already know about the subject and what you will need to work on learning. Now that I know where I stand, it’s time to dig in and learn.

I’m off to start day one of couch to 5k. Wish me luck in sticking with it this time.



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Not So Savory Moment: The Car Accident

On my way to church on Wednesday night, I was involved in a BAD car accident (not that any car accident is good, of course). Wednesdays are my long days. It was my first day with my new Wednesday schedule: go in to work from 8-5, go to class 6-7:15, go to church from 7:30 to approximately 9:00-9:30pm, and get home (probably with fast food in hand) at approximately 10pm. Instead of this happening, a series of unfortunate events:

My boss let me leave a few minutes early so I wouldn’t be late. I immediately went to campus, parked in visitor’s parking, and set about finding the bookstore before class. I found it, but didn’t have my id to purchase the book. I went back to my car for my bag, but still couldn’t find the ID and didn’t have time to look for it. I decided I would just buy the digital book while I walked to class. The bookstore’s registration page wasn’t working properly on my phone, so I gave up. Luckily, we didn’t really need the book for the class. Even though I would be late to church, I wanted to get the book before I left campus (I found my ID in my class notebook). I went to the bookstore, now a LOT emptier, rented the book, got a little lost on campus, finally found my car and started out.

I was talking to my mom on the phone as I was driving down a major road that leads to the interstate (I’ll call it Straight Road), telling her about my class and that I was going to church. “You’re still going to try to go?” she said. “It’s late.” “Yeah, but I still want to go and catch what I can.” As I come to where Straight Road intersects with (what we’ll call) Broad Way, the light is green. I am going the speed limit, as the last couple lights have been green and I haven’t had to stop. This intersection has turn lanes with arrows because there’s a popular shopping area on one side and a row of restaurants (including a Chick-Fil-A) on the other side. Since my light to continue straight was green, the left turn lane coming in the opposite direction was red. Unfortunately, when I was less than a block away from the intersection, someone turned from that left turn lane RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I only had time to press my brakes and say “Oh my God” before impact.

It’s funny how time can seem to slow down, how much clearer details can become. It’s like in the movie Big Fish where the main character talks about seeing the love of his life for the first time: time stops, but then it seems like when time starts again, it speeds up to catch up. I saw (and still see) the side of that Jeep in my headlights slowing coming closer and closer. I feel the impact push me forward and my seatbelt jerk me back. I see the Jeep turn over, landing with the driver’s side down, my car crunched to the underside of their vehicle. I don’t remember my airbags deploying, just seeing the deflated bags and the haze of the powder in the air. My phone had hung up on my mom before impact; when I spoke to her a few minutes later, she said she thought I told her to hold on and had clicked over. I’m forever thankful my poor mom didn’t hear that deafening squealing, crunching, and hissing.

I got out and called to the people in the Jeep. I looked back at the still green light, dazed. At times like this, you wonder if you’re dreaming, or if you did something wrong. Was the light green for me? Did it change and I was distracted? What really just happened?

The people in the Jeep are talking. An SUV that was traveling the same way as I was stops to help. People run from the Chick-Fil-A and the gas station, one already on the phone with the police. I am dazed. I call Mr. Perfect, who is at church. No answer. I intend to call my mom, but mistakenly call him again. He picks up and I tell him what happened. I go to my car and grab my purse and canvas bag. By this time, my arm and leg are stinging from their contact with the hydraulic powder on the airbags. The police and fire trucks are there within 5 minutes.

Three of the four people have been pulled from the SUV. People are being interviewed by the police. I’m standing off to the side with my bags, alternately trying to get things out of my vehicle. I see coolant leaking and smoke rising from my hood. I try to get the key out of the ignition, but the steering column has locked on it. My New Orleans keychain of Mr. Perfect and I at the Audobon Aquarium has shattered into pieces and the picture is nowhere to be found. I can’t lift anything else out as my right arm is starting to ache and I can’t hold anything with it. Some witnesses spot me and ask if I am OK.

The police officer gets my name, driver’s license, and where I am coming from before being pulled away. Another asks me briefly what happened and if I have been checked out by EMS. Two witnesses come over to me, helping me with my bags. One is an ER nurse. “It’s OK. It’s clear you weren’t at fault. Several people saw them run the read light and turn in front of you. They’ve all been drinking, too. You should get you a lawyer. I’m surprised there isn’t one out here handing out cards already.” She suggests I call a popular law firm here. “You should get your arm checked out. That looks like it might be fractured. I can’t say for sure; there isn’t an X-Ray machine out here, but I’m an ER Nurse, and it looks really bad. Let me see your other arm…yes, see how it is started to curve out right there? That’s either a deformity from a fracture or really bad swelling.”

I’m getting a little giddy and overwhelmed looking around at all the flashing lights and the firemen stabilizing the jeep so they can get the last passenger out. One of the passengers comes up to me. “Are you OK? Yeah, sorry about that. He cut out in front of you like that. I wasn’t driving, though. It’s my birthday today. We been out celebrating. This isn’t anyway to celebrate, though.” He looks around. “That’s my old lady they still tryin’ to get out.” He turns and introduces himself to the witnesses that were helping me. The firemen have got out “the jaws of life” to begin removing the top of the Jeep to pull the woman out.

I’m finally led over to the Fire Response truck to be examined. My arm is put in a makeshift sling and my vitals are taken. They want to take me to the hospital. I ask them to look for my phone. Mr. Perfect is on his way and I’ll need to tell him what hospital I’m being taken to so he can meet me. As if by my request, Mr. Perfect appears just outside of the truck. I ask him to get the things out of my car and they pass on the hospital information. I talk to my little brother on the way to the hospital. The fireman riding with me shows me a picture of my car that makes me queasy. “You’re car did exactly what it was supposed to do,” he says. It’s a good thing you had on your seatbelt, too.”

The car is totaled. After hours at the hospital, I learn my forearm isn’t fractured, but I have bad contusions there, as well as powder burns from the airbags to my chest and shins, along with some bruises. I’m given a prescription and sent home (which is, ironically, right next door).

The bad news: my car (which I received the title to on Monday), is totaled. When I paid off the car, I lowered the insurance. I just asked what they could do to lower it now that it was paid for. They took off collision (bad move), and the portion that would have paid me for missing work for a couple days (even worse move). Since the other driver was at fault (and breathalized/arrested at the scene), they can contact his insurance company and get a settlement from them, but I couldn’t choose to go through them, get my money faster, and let them subrogate against the other insurance company. I don’t have a car and my have to drop my class if I can’t get transportation to class on Wednesdays (Mr. Perfect works 10-6 on the other side of the Metro area). I have no coverage to get a rental car under my policy. I don’t think my credit is good enough yet for me to get a decent interest rate on a car, or even be able to get a car from a reputable dealer.

The good news: I’m alive and my injuries aren’t that bad. My insurance coverage does still include uninsured motorist, so even if they don’t have insurance, my medical deductible and bills will be covered. I paid off the car, so my credit is a bit better than the last time I had to look at cars. Fault has already been proven and I was not at fault. No one was seriously injured. I heard from a great many people who were concerned about me. I got to see who really cared. All of my things were taken from my vehicle (this was an issue at the last accident a few years ago; lost some great music and important papers). I no longer have to renew my registration, and I’m dropping my insurance down to basic, so I’ll save money (I’ll take whatever I can get).

This post is already way too long, but I want to think everyone that prayed, called, texted, and showed concern for me. By God’s grace and mercy, I am healing and will be fine. I’m confident He will see me through the upcoming weeks and bring me out of them as well. I may not have wanted to be in this particular moment, but going through bad times really makes you appreciate and savor the good times. If I’ve gained anything from this experience so far, it’s the knowledge that I have truly tasted and seen that the Lord is good for myself (Psalm 34:8). Be blessed everyone.



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The Fairytale

This year has been a rough one for me, challenging all of these long-held notions I’ve had about what I’ve wanted from my life, notions I didn’t even know I held on to so tightly. As silly as it sounds, I’ve always thought that making the second most important decision of your life would be like the Covergirl slog–easy, breezy, beautiful. I’ve heard so many of the stories about people “just knowing,” seen so many happy endings to the most improbable stories, that I just assumed that in a relationship that moved along so smoothly deciding on forever would be as uneventful as the summer rainstorms at three each afternoon here.

Needless to say that my notions of fairytale love have taken quite the beating this year. For one thing, going to all of the marriage and family workshops and pre-marital counseling sessions have shown me that marriage is hard work in a way that just thinking about the prospect has not. The major thing that all of my visions of how I would come to be married (on the remote chance that I ever WOULD get married) missed was that there would be this other person who would have to be equally as sure, equally as committed. Seeing the other person struggle to make a decision on you forever is surreal. It’s like having a magician systematically reveal the secrets to all of the tricks that left you in wonder. It takes the bloom off the rose. I keep thinking, “it really shouldn’t be this hard, should it? Either you do or you don’t, you will or you won’t.” There doesn’t appear to be any room for surprise or romance left. There’s not likely to be any “it’s always been you” moment in which the hero finally confesses he’s loved the heroine from the first and always knew it would be her, mainly because from the outside looking in, it doesn’t look like it’s “always been” anything.

I hate unromantic proposals in everything but a Harlequin. A Harlequin is just a book, a marriage of convenience just a way to keep these two idiots together long enough for them to figure out what we’ve figured out be page twenty; they were meant to be together. When I watched Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s reunion show and saw Lil’ Scrappy propose to Erica, when I saw Jim Jones finally propose to Chrissy on Love and Hip Hop, when I hear about any lackluster proposal, it deflates me. I don’t know, maybe I want to much, but I want a guy that’s happy and excited and can’t wait to put a ring on it. I want a guy who only waits to put a ring on it as long as it takes him to be sure and to plan a proposal just for me. When I shop, I want to make comparisons and deliberate. I may leave the store without buying anything so I can go home and think about it some more to see if I still want it. But that purse I carried around on my arm like it was already mine isn’t going to feel led on if I don’t end up buying it, you know? *Sigh* I stopped making sense two paragraphs ago, didn’t I?

I went to New Orleans Thursday night. We stayed until midmorning Monday. I bet I don’t have to tell you all the number one question I was asked both before and after my trip. Was he going to propose? Did he propose? Even Pink Susie, who told me I needed to move on, asked. Even my boss asked. Seriously. No one had anything else to talk about except beignets and Hurricane Katrina when it came to my trip. I went on my trip trying not to let any of the proposal hype get to me, and I managed to have a pretty good time. I love New Orleans–the music, the art, the food, the people. I liked getting up and going for beignets in the morning, loved walking around the French Quarter for hours. I fell in love with jazz music all over again and missed my stepdad so much my heart hurt. It felt fantastic to get away for a few days and decompress a bit, stretch out and breathe. Would it satisfy my romantic side to have had a nighttime proposal in the French Quarter with a street musician on saxophone playing for his life and an artist immortalizing the moment on canvas, MensHealth on one knee in the dirty narrow street? Sure. Did I think it was going to happen? No. What I envision is something much more prosaic. I imagine that if MensHealth does decide he wants to marry me, we will sit down and discuss it rationally. Since he has said he would “state his intentions” but wouldn’t realistically be ready to propose (as in has a ring) until March or April, I am not imagining frills or poetry. But I like frills. I love poetry. A saxophone solo or hidden photographer would make my life. But I won’t have that.

This has been a tough year on my notions of love and my vision of how love should happen. I feel more like I’m negotiating during a lock out some days than I do like I’m on the brink of making a forever commitment to love. It’s hard to accept that MensHealth just might not be ready, but that’s easier than trying to convince myself I can wait a while longer. My counselor asked me about my decision and having a hard deadline, and my answer to her is still valid. I need a resolution like Aaliyah. I need to move forward or move on. I can’t even write in a straight line about this anymore. It’s all a big loopty-loop. January 1st, broken heart or not, I’ll be able to breathe, to just…breathe.



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Wedding Watch

I saw a wedding last Saturday while out with MensHealth. Since our pre-marital counseling session was cancelled, we went on a search to find our favorite local park. We can never find the stupid place on the first try, but it’s such a beautiful park, so tranquil. When we finally found it, my favorite area to visit was reserved for a wedding and a few people were milling around. I was less concerned with the wedding than I was with the fact I couldn’t go into the area.

After not being able to visit another favorite spot, where a family photo shoot was going on, we ventured back towards the first area. “Oh, look, the bridesmaids are walking up,” I said as we were passing by. We stand and watch a moment as the bridesmaids give way to the bride and her parents. We watch as the minister leads them in a word of prayer before moving on. The gathering looked to be no more than 20-30 people, standing on the steps in a public park. There were no additional decorations that nature didn’t provide. The whole thing probably took 15-20 minutes. They were there longer taking pictures than they were for the wedding.

We stopped again after making a few circuits of the park and sat on a bench not to far away. We discussed wedding pictures and watched babies toddling around the open space before being scooped up for group pictures. As we leave, MensHealth says “I think that’s why I don’t like watching all those wedding shows. They make it seem like you need all these things.”

He’s right; they do make you feel like a public park with 30 of your closest family members and friends for less than an hour just isn’t enough. I don’t know anything about the couple we saw get married that day. I don’t know why they chose to get married there. I know many people who go to court houses across the land and country on a Monday or Tuesday to get married, as well as those who plan for nearly two years. I wouldn’t presume to say that either of these options is any better than the other, but it does make you think.

I suppose that for some people, as long as you’re married at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. For me, I have a close knit family, both natural and spiritual, who I want their to witness my vows and continue to support us and our relationship long after. I want to be married by a minister who knows us and who has some wisdom to impart to us. I want to celebrate with those who have prayed for us and our relationship and who will continue to do so. It’s all in what’s important to you.

As much as I try not to be influenced by trends, wedding shows, wedding blogs, and my friends’ weddings, I know that there  are other things I can add to the above which will not add to my married life at all: Pomanders, personalized cocktail napkins, aisle runners, head table banners, and dance floor decals, a photo booth, chiavari chairs, chandeliers, candelabras, flowers, a Maggie Sottero gown (the MonaLissa Royale is a front runner in 2blu’s fantasy wedding), and the most perfect location I’ve ever seen (I would tell you where, but I can’t part with it; if I can’t have it, neither can you).

A friend of mine just got married this week and is happily making her first Thanksgiving meal as a married woman. I don’t know anything about her nuptials. I saw a picture on Facebook and MensHealth got a text from her husband to let him know they had gotten married. As far as I know, there wasn’t any pomp and circumstance at all, yet today, she is trimming a turkey as a Mrs. Maybe the woman in the park is doing the same thing. That’s the point of all of this, right? To be married? But what do you “need” to accomplish that?

No, really. That’s a real question. What do you “need” to get married?

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How Choosing a Mate is Like an Election…

Mr. Perfect was asking me about a remark our minister made about the election. He was talking about how it didn’t matter who was in the White House because God was in control and had set up the government. Mr. Perfect asked me if I believed that it really didn’t matter. I said I did. I believe God works all things together for good for them that love Him and are called according to His purpose. God can use even non-believers to carry out His will. At some point, the conversation switched to making bad choices in mates and divorce, as many conversations do these days for various reasons. As I was explaining my beliefs to him, it struck me that choosing a mate has a lot in common with choosing a President. Here’s my list of similarities:

  • You have to do your research. Anyone can tell you anything, but you have to look at a person’s record. Does he/she keep their promises? Are they swayed by special interests with deep pockets? Do their policies line up with your beliefs on how things should be run?
  • False advertisements and slander abound. Sometimes people oversell themselves when they are trying to get a position. They only put their best foot forward and pretend they have only done well their entire lives. They may even attack a rival’s record and cast doubt on their ability to handle a position. Even special interests groups not affiliated with either candidate will pay for advertisements against a candidate or in favor of a candidate that shares their beliefs. Similarly, when we are going about mate selection, a potential mate may only let us see their best qualities or will cast doubt on someone they see as competing for your affections. Your friends and family members may also have a lot to say about the person’s suitability. Their inner circle will have things to say about you as well. Discernment is key in determining who to let advise you. Read and listen for yourself and weigh biased opinions against the truth you have observed.
  • Debates don’t mean much. Being able to present your arguments for or against issues is important. Looking confident and keeping your poise under pressure bodes well for your ability to handle the position. But when you have your ceremony and are bestowed with the title, foreign leaders and even members of your own House aren’t going to abide by debate rules. There won’t always be a mediator to keep the conversation on track and mudslinging to a minimum. Everyone won’t be swayed by pretty words. How are you going to work with people to get things done? Can you concede the small points and stand firm on the more important ones? Are you willing to stay in the room until an agreement is reached?
  • Prayer is necessary. There’s no way to get around the fact that we will never know everything we need to know about a candidate endorse them unreservedly. Even if we could know this, there’s no way to predict how being elected can change them. At some point in time, you are going to have to choose one of the candidates or not vote. Time can run out and make the choice for you or you can decide for yourself. Either way, God knows all. He knows things we can’t possibly know. Prayer for God to show you who someone really is, to give you discernment, to help you know what questions to ask and who to believe is crucial. If you want God to be a part of your relationship, invite Him in early and let Him stay. Take advantage of the advantages you have in being able to have God personally involved in helping to prevent you from choosing the wrong person for the job.
  • You can only choose one. As good as the candidates may or may not be, you can’t vote for all of them. You may be compatible with one on the social issues and another on the economy. No candidate is going to match up perfectly with all of your ideals (or as Chris Rock says, you won’t meet anyone who loves Star Wars and the Wu-Tang clan as much as you do). You have to choose the best man for the job and support him, or don’t choose anyone.
  • A president can’t change anything without the House and Senate. There are a number of roles in our lives that need to be filled, just like there are many levels of government. These are checks and balances. If a democratic president has a majority republican congress, unless some bipartisanship takes place, they will cancel each other out. The congress won’t pass the laws the president wants, and the president will veto the bills that congress wants. You need a mate that can work well with your congress and you can work well with theirs. You can’t be engaged in a power struggle for every issue. Is this someone whose agenda you can support and push through, or will you constantly filibuster them?
  • There are strict rules for impeachment (aka you can’t undo your vote). Once your vote is cast, it’s hard to recall it. After someone is elected and they do a complete 180, it’s hard to get them out of office before their term is up. Only two presidents have been impeached, or investigated on suspicion of wrongdoing that may lead to removal from office (Nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings against him began).   Both men still remained in office. It’s equally as hard to undo a marriage. Divorce is “easy” in today’s society, but the spiritual and mental ramifications are not easy to overcome, let alone what God has to say about it.
  • Even if you pick the “wrong” candidate, God’s will can still be done. God can use your “wrong” mate. Even when what they do is meant for evil, God can use it for good. All things work together for good for us as Christians. You may be “stuck” with a less than perfect candidate who makes mistakes, but God is ultimately in control.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section.

What are some other ways in which choosing a mate is similar to choosing a president? In what ways is it different? I haven’t even touched on the ceremony similarities. I probably won’t because I don’t want to drag election talk on past today, so feel free to start there.




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Isn’t She Lovely?

It’s been a lovely Sunday for me. I spoke to my dad early this morning for a while to wish him a happy father’s day and catch up before going to an amazing Sunday School service (late, but I still got something profound out of it that may be a future post) and hearing a great sermon from Genesis 18. Imagine my surprise to come home to an email saying I had a comment on this here little blog, and finding that comment was a notification that I was nominated for the lovely blog award. Yay! I’m so excited to finally get a blogging award. I have been blogging for years without getting one, and that makes this an extra special honor for me.

Before I wax to poetic, I’ll repost the rules and give my nominations:

* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post

* Share 7 things about yourself

* Nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire

* Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

I have to thank Giana over at Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and Freedom for nominating me for this award. I have no idea how she made sense of half of what I write in this grab bag blog, let alone what made her think it was lovely. If you’ve never been to her blog, you are in for a treat. I love how her sunny personality shines through. Go show her some appreciation, already! (Then come right back; I’ll wait…)

Now, 7 things about me:

1. I’m one of “those” Christians: I believe in the Bible. I quote it. I talk about God. You’ll see God mentioned here and on my other blog a lot with no apologies. My faith is a big part of my life, and it feels false not to mention it. So even though this isn’t a “Christian Lifestyle blog,” Christ is everywhere.

2. I cannot.stop.talking. I am a huge chatterbox. I love talking to people in any and every medium. I love the sharing of ideas and views and will talk to anyone about just about anything–probably a lot more than they would like for me to talk. I could have been the next Oprah. Pay me to talk, somebody!

3. I am a writer. I love writing. Right this moment (well, not right this moment, but..) I’m working on a book (a few books). I’m writing a memoir about my year off of school between my junior and senior years of college. My life’s goal is to be a pick for Oprah’s book club (so millions will hear about my book) and to actually make a living off of my writing.

4. I have a MENSA level IQ (can you see how I’m stretching for interesting?). This means nothing to anyone, least of all me. I discovered this fact because my aunt, a mental health counselor, insisted on giving me an IQ test when I visited her one Christmas break. My mother was quick to tell me that MENSA people still had to do dishes and go to school, so it didn’t seem worth it to actually apply to be a member.

5. I smile a LOT. 90% of the time I am smiling. I smile so much people think I’m smiling when I’m not. I like being happy. I chose to be happy. Things in my life aren’t always roses and cream, but I choose to respond adversity and trials with the belief that all things work together for good for them that love the Lord. I like that people see me as being optimistic and happy go lucky, but it’s a hard row to hoe, as the saying goes.

6. I love cooking. I like to try out new little touches in my kitchen. When I make a dish and people ask for seconds, I feel so gratified. My family is southern, which means food is a big part of what we do to connect. Food covers a multitude of hurts and offenses. My mother throws down; I can get by, but I’m trying to gain on her and Pink Susie.

7. I am a perfectionist. I like to have things just so. I want things to go according to plan and I want to get things right. That’s one of the biggest reasons why so few posts make it to my blogs. The special thing about this blog for me is that I make it a point to let this blog be what it wants to be without trying to give it form and make it conform to this predetermined shape. I don’t want this to be a topical blog at all.

Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, the fifteen blogs I think are lovely (in no particular order):

1. Simply Solo Blog

2. Determined. to Be

3. Eat.Drink.Breathe.Sweat

4. Cordelia Calls It Quits

5. Marriage Confessions

6. Heather Lindsey

7. Skinny Runner

8. Eat:Watch:Run

9. Common Heart

10. Quarter for Her Thoughts

11. Dear Future Hubby

12. Fieldwork in Stilletoes

13. Southern Girl in the City

14. JannaTWrites

15. Jaclyn Rae’s Blog

So there’s my list of lovely lady blogs. I hope you learned something new about me and find some great blogs to read. Have a happy Sunday night!


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One Year later…

In my infinite wisdom, I’ve decided it would be rather fun to write a letter to myself to be read a year from now in honor of my birthday. I did this my junior year of high school and read the letter my senior year, and it was interesting how my perspective had shifted. It was even more interesting to see what did and didn’t come true, what was important enough to include in the letter, and my overall outlook on life then. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to share with you the fun letter. The more serious letter will be scheduled for my birthday next year, to be read then.

Dear 2blu,

This is your barely 27 year old self talking. Eery, isn’t it? It’s like a voice from the grave. How many people can say they’ve heard a word from the past that was directed at them? Anyway, thanks to our penchant for writing and prolific nature, you get to read and get all caught up on 9-26 any time you want to; just open a journal or a browser, and there they are in all their glory. You may have read about that missive that 17 wrote to 18 back in the day. As anal as we/you are, you probably have it somewhere. 26 thought it would be fun to do that again, and she was supposed to do it yesterday, but she was too busy planning her own funeral and setting things in order, so she asked me to do it. See? Already, we are more timely with me at the helm. Now, the purpose of this letter isn’t to leave you with fond memories of me, but to provide you with a self-evaluation tool before you “eat the big one” “push up daisies”–you get the picture…and for me to be nosy from a distance.

Am I married? Please tell me I’m married. I always wanted to be married. I mean, I know I’m only seven hours old, but that’s long enough to know you’re own mind, right? Was it a big wedding? Did I get to keep my color scheme and touches? What was the first dance song? Planning a wedding would be so much easier without a husband, wouldn’t it? Oh, no, you didn’t miss anything; at the time of this writing, I’m not engaged, but 26 wanted to have a vision of her day (she’s probably the only 26 who didn’t have a vision, despite all of those wedding shows) in case she was proposed to, so she didn’t have to plan for a year and a half before FINALLY marrying. She liked to think of herself as organized. Ha!

How does my hair look? 26 left me with awful hair my first day. I’m hoping to leave you looking better than 26 left me. It’s not completely her fault; she left me better than 25 left her, even lost a few pounds. 26 was pretty awesome, all told. Jumpstarting our career, getting involved in the community, finding her voice and asserting herself–everything but taking care of herself (and, by extension, us). Hopefully, I at least had something done to my hair before you came to be. The goal is to lose a few pounds, of course, but we’ll see how that goes. Eat better, yada yada yada.

Hopefully, I’m a published and well respected author when I die. That’s been the goal of everyone from, like, 8 through to me. Everyone has had their challenges and setbacks, but really? How long does it take to write a few books? Everyone was a good writer (with me being the best, obviously). Seriously, I may not get to the promised land with you, but I plan on leaving you a finished book to shop around at the very least. I like to pull my weight in this life, you understand?

I suppose I should try to say something profound, or give you some real markers to judge my success and guide you in the future. As a co-worker likes to say, I want to “memorialize” my plans for the future, and give you some advice.

  1. We have to take better care of this body. It’s the only one we’ve got, and when I got it, it looked a little worse for wear. It will be harder for you, and each succeeding year, so I’m starting on doing that now. You’re welcome.
  2. Make time for us. Hello! If 2blu isn’t taken care of, who will be here to take care of all she takes care of? I’m definitely doing more yoga, more cooking, more running, more stress relieving/feel good activities than 26 did. I want to save the world, too, but charity starts at home. Remember that.
  3. I will write that book. Point blank period.
  4. I want to have sex. What? I will do it the right way, in the bonds of marriage. If I don’t make it there, have lots of sex for me. No body issues, either. I don’t want to die from trying to hold my stomach in, or be thinking about the cottage cheese on my thighs. A woman has to feel sexy at some point in her life.
  5. Take a more earnest heed to the things you were taught, lest at any time you should let them slip. Don’t neglect so great a salvation…you (should) know all these scriptures. Keep God first no matter what. Married, single, single indeed. I plan on having a much more personal relationship with God than 26, and you should strive to beat me.
  6. I won’t die if I’m not married…well, I’m going to die anyway a year from now, but you know what I mean. We won’t die if this romantic relationship doesn’t work out the way we want it to. I mean, you know what 26 said, don’t you? She kind of screwed it up for us.
  7. I have no real friends. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I have a few real friends. That’s fine. I won’t be as big of a doormat as 26. I won’t maintain those toxic relationships. Hopefully I make you a lot of quality friends…not all of them online this time though. Every girl should have some friends she can pinch so she knows it’s real.
  8. I’m going to be the big girl and do a lot of the INEBIGTDIA stuff. You’re welcome.
  9. 26 got us to our first annual salary goal; I’m going for even more!
  10. I know I seem all about business, but I’m going to be a lot more fun than any of the others were. And by this time next year, you’ll find me casket sharp and put away nice.



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Skinny Genes

I’ve felt skinnier the last week or so. I can’t explain it. I shouldn’t feel skinnier (TMI ALERT!!)–I mean, Aunt Flo was in town, and no sane woman feels skinny then, but there I was feeling skinny.

My clothes fit better…or they are worn out. I can no longer see my stomach when I look down, so it must have gotten smaller…or “the girls” have gotten bigger. Despite not having a reliable car to get to the gym, I am getting slimmer…or delusional.

The only thing I can point to is that I eat out less often. I am exercising again (usually at home…stupid car) and I walk more during the day at work as well. It doesn’t seem like enough to make a visible difference yet, but there you go.

I turn 27 in a few days, and I thought it would be fun to update you on where I am in life, what I’m doing, what I’m looking forward to, what I’m working on bringing about. It’s time to put out my real new year’s resolutions and tell you all what I plan on doing this year. But all I could think to write on this, day one of that plan, is the fact that I feel skinnier. Go figure.

I’ve been in a pretty good mood overall lately, and that doesn’t make since either. I have a car that isn’t working (even after paying to get a part replaced that was supposed to be the problem), MensHealth and I are still very much up in there as to what we are doing here (is it going to be yes or no? The world may never know), I have seen more physically fit and trim days, my finances are still all messed up, I’m being worked half to death at work…and yet, I’m in a pretty good mood. I’m taking life as it comes. I’m letting go of my fairy tale dreams that life’s problems can be solved in 30 minutes (60 minutes for a really bad issue) and am seemingly as happy as a clam. Is this God? Is this being resigned to a sucky life? Is this the calm people feel before they kill everyone they know and then take their own lives? I’m not sure.

Honestly, it’s probably the endorphins from working out more and the mental boost of feeling as if you look good. Maybe it’s just the pre-programmed response to my birthday’s fast approach. Maybe I AM a bit skinnier…and maybe I’ve officially lost my mind


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Why Jay-Z Deserves A Break

My twitter line has been full of witty jokes and outrage in response to Jay-Z’s declaration he will no longer call women “female dogs” after the birth of his own little girl, Blue Ivy Carter. Everyone in twitterland is full of criticism over this: “If he had a boy, would he have done this?” “Having a mother and wife didn’t stop him–NOW he wants to stop?” etc. Even though I’m not inclined to defend people who make bad life decisions (and, more important only to my “writerly spirit”, bad word choices), it shows me a deeper issue with the American psyche that no one has said anything positive about his choice to be more conscious in what he calls the fairer sex: we can’t let people mature and grow up.

Despite when you think someone should have awakened and stopped doing something, despite when you think someone should have started doing something, the fact that they have come to the “correct” realization is a good thing. Not letting people move on is detrimental to our own growth.

I believe that people can change. I know people from my high school days who weren’t very nice to me and now we are friends. They aren’t the same people as they were in high school. I can’t keep seeing them as those people. It would only affect me if I continued to try and cast them as they used to be.

Many people do this when people have religious conversions, swear to give up drinking, vow to be celibate, start going to the gym. We remind them that they could have done that any day; they didn’t have to wait until a new year. We remind them that they said that before and then they went right back to doing what they were doing. We tell other people, “Watch; in a week she’ll be back doing *blah blah blah*.” We think of clever “deep” things to say on twitter about why they couldn’t see that they needed to change a long time ago.

Wisdom, maturity, and growth doesn’t happen in other people like we think it should. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Perhaps Jay-Z felt some stirrings of wanting to stop using the word when he got married; I don’t know. He probably doesn’t think of his wife in the derorogatory terms he used in his music, but if you want to sell records…I remember a rapper who took a stand and stopped using the “N” word when we were all doing that; do you remember him and what happened to his career? Some of you may have vowed to stop and have slipped back into the habit.

Maybe the birth of his daughter, like a bolt from the blue, hit him over the head with the fact someone could use that very word about his daughter. Maybe he will occasionally slip and use the word again.  Maybe he won’t ever be able to live up to his declaration. But I would rather take his “conversion” (for lack of a better term) at face value, understanding that changing the habit of years takes time.

I think that it speaks to what kind of people we are when we can’t let anyone else have an “a-ha!” moment and grow from the experience without backlash and “yeah rights” being thrown like rice at a wedding (or, as the song REALLY says, haters throw salt like rice at a wedding…*ahem*). There are plenty of things to be skeptical of or try to be deep about without sneering at another person’s attempt to grow to be more.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section.