I am not here for The Celebration of Dysfunctional “love”

Daily Adventures

I don’t know what it is when it comes to relationships nowadays. I have realized that it’s kind of celebrated, expected or assumed that a Black woman is to be a “ride or die” and put up with countless of non sensical things from her significant other in order to be deemed a good girlfriend/ significant other.

It’s like we have to endure pain and put up with things as if that is supposed to be part of our love stories. As if  Black women are supposed to always be constantly waiting for someone else to get their life together to love them the right way. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that love is sometimes complex so are relationships and so is life and that relationships come with both good and bad, but there has to be a line.

I understand that people make their own decisions and can decide to partake in whatever situations they choose to, but what does not sit well with me is the celebration of Black women being victims in unhealthy toxic relationships as long as the end result is marriage.  As if the unhealthy and toxic magically disappears once vows are exchanged and a ring is put on someone’s finger.

What I am saying is you do not have to accept to participate in struggle love, in “less than” love, in “once in a while” love, and in dysfunctional love because it isn’t Love. No one has to.  Relationships are to be built with God at the center with genuine Mutual love and support. You absolutely do not have to continue the narrative. Abuse, constant pain and enduring does not have to be your love story just because Black women are strong and resilient.

Your story does not have to reside in you constantly breaking your own heart waiting for someone else to finally act right. There are people out there who will love you the right way.  You do not have to carry someone else’s brokenness and dysfunction on your back. Sometimes love is you walking away. It’s also you ackowledging how God values and loves you, and honoring that by loving and protecting yourself from being devalued by others. ( thank you to Angelo G. for reminding me of this)

Love,

Lori

 

 

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When The Shoe Does Not Fit

Thoughts

                      I walked into a store a few years back and saw these beautiful wedges. If you know me, you know heels aren’t usually my thing although I DO love them, I just always pick comfort over wearing them. I can do with wedges though! you know they are comfortable not as much of a pain as regular heels. Anyway, I saw them and instantly thought I wanted them. I wear size 6 in sandals and 7 in regular shoes, but we all know how sizing can sometimes not be accurate. I looked at the size of the wedges and realized they were a 6. I thought: “I am a size 6!” (except this wasn’t a pair of sandals). I tried them on anyway and they were super tight. They looked good on my feet, but super extra tight.   To be honest, they didn’t fit. I thought well I will make them work. I will break them in in no time and took them home.  Believe or not I didn’t only do this with shoes back then.

This behavior was all over my relationships with friends or boyfriend. I had this thing where I would realize that someone wasn’t actually meant to stay in my life or just meant to be there and I would hold on to them thinking I would/could make it work. This went on in almost every relationship I had to the point where I would bend myself backwards to “make things work” with people not meant for me to begin with.

Not loving myself and not knowing my worth in God, made me settle to trying to shape myself to fit people into my life rather than allowing the right people who fit into my life to come to me and stay. I was so bound on making shoes that weren’t meant for me fit that I was loosing sight of the ones God had just for me.

How Has This Affected My Relationships?

I wasn’t being One hundred percent myself making it easier for me to be confused about who genuinely cares and who doesn’t. As a result, it was actually hard to have meaningful friendships not based on just hanging out and joking or doing stuffs together. At the end of the day, not one of my “friends” actually knew who I was aside from things I do or superficial characteristics like “Being a nice person” or a helpful person. I was a people pleaser. I couldn’t say no without feeling bad about it sometimes despite my own well being. There is a fine line between being selfless and being a people pleaser. Selflessness comes from a place of love and service while being a people pleaser tends to come from not owning who you are.

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How  Has This Changed?

I wasn’t liking where my life was headed with this and it took time for me to actually really love myself and to own who I am. Knowing who you are makes you realize that you are not for everyone and that everyone is not meant to be in your life. And that is totally okay. Knowing myself and owning it made me not willing to make anything that wasn’t for me fit anymore. I grasped my identity in Christ and in society which led to me knowing what I want, who I want to be, and who God created me to be. That led to me not settling for anything or anyone less than what/who was meant for me. 

As a result, I have made meaningful relationships with people I truly cared about and people who genuinely cared about me. I also was willing to let anyone or anything that was not good for me go and it was totally okay with me. I am okay with saying no because I only say yes if I am not at the same time saying no to myself. I was confident in God and true to myself, beliefs, and morals. I learned to truly be selfless how God intended me while being myself.

Honestly, I prayed about it a lot. I realized so many times how it breaks God’s heart knowing that He made me and that I was not willing to be who He created me to be. I was not willing to realize whose daughter I was. God sent me people, answers, and the realization of His love through His word to help me through this. I am forever grateful.

Even though I knew in theory about all those things that God says about me and how much He loves me, I had to relearn them and fully grasp what they meant. God has made us in His image. He has redeemed us. He loves us. We can either create a temporary identity for ourselves or we can claim the eternal identity that is found in Christ.  

I am sharing this because if this at some point was/is also you, know that you are enough just for being yourself because you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  Find strength in God and in His word. Bring Him your worries so he may show you the way to go. You are so beautiful and loved beyond what you can possibly imagine! So whether it comes to shoes, things, people, learn to accept what is yours and what fits you and let go of what doesn’t. The unnecessary pain you get from forcing things is not worth it.

Here are some verses that I found helpful:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”- Psalm 139: 13-14

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”- Luke 12:7

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”- Genesis 1:26

Love,

Lori

 

 

I did ‘Something New’ Every Day for Three Weeks: Here’s What Happened

Daily Adventures

 

Routine has always made me feel stuck or just plain annoyed; so to spice things up a bit, I decided to do something new every day. One new thing each day for a couple of weeks. Little did I know that it would last three weeks and still going on today.  It went from simple things like eating a different dish to stepping out of my comfort zone and talking to strangers. This is definitely something I will keep on doing every time I seem to fall in a monotonous life. Here’s what happened:

  1. I found new places

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From taking a different way home or a different bus or just walking around, I found different  locations for photo shoots (I’ll even post about them, if you are living in Gainesville it could help you out). I couldn’t believe I had missed them before!  I also found a new Pizza place that I intend to try as soon as I am able to because pizza is life!

       2. I met new People

I got lost taking a new bus to work. It ended up working out because I saw some places I had never seen before and I met someone new on the way. This guy who was on the bus helped me find my way. I also had tea with this lady I met while having lunch and ended up learning about her going to medical school, switching her major three times and getting the job she wanted. It was a great conversation about pursuing what you love. Funny enough, during that time where I was looking to do something new, new experiences seemed to follow me around!

3. I discovered new things about myself

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From buying/ making a different dish for lunch/diner, I found out I actually like food I thought I would hate. I also found out that having a full on good conversation with a stranger is something I enjoy. It made me realize that very often we don’t give ourselves the benefit of the doubt because we are too afraid to try new things or we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone to actually give other things or people a chance. I am very mindful so I don’t end up putting my own self in a box.

4. I felt more confident

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Being able to fully choose to do things I had never done before gave me confidence in knowing that I chose to do this so I can only fully assume the consequences or the outcome. I volunteered myself to train another coworker on using a machine I have used before for testing and did well. It was a wonderful experience although I did get rejected a few times if I am keeping it real. I asked a stranger to photograph her and she said no for example. I am currently learning to not take rejection personally by willingly putting myself in situations where I know I will be rejected. I will let you guys know how it goes.

When was the last time you guys did something new and what was it? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Lori

 

Waking Up On November 9th

Thoughts

November 8th of this year was elections Day in the U.S. Though I did not watch it on TV, I kept a close eye on the live results while studying for an exam I had on the next morning. I stayed up late because of studying and found myself getting more and more nervous as the  results were being updated. I stayed up until the final results were announced, but I was too tired to think about it. But then November 9th came, and I woke up feeling uneasy.

It was very unusual. It felt like the air was a bit heavier and there was some silent tension in the atmosphere and for the first time, I felt unsafe. I went on Facebook a little bit after I woke up (because who doesn’t right?), and I can say that I regretted it. News of racism, riots, and people sharing their disbelief, anger, and disappointment altogether flooded my timeline.I tried to brush the feeling off and told myself I would stay off social media because it was feeding into the fear I was experiencing, but that did not happen.

Emails were sent by the school about either clubs doing get togethers to “stop Trump” or about how the school is doing its best to create a safe atmosphere for everyone and everyone is always welcomed no matter who you are or what you identify with. As I went on with my day,  I felt worried about the future, and how the decisions of the newly elected president would affect my life and the life of pretty much 90 percent of people I know. I also thought about how a vast percentage of people felt the same way and that another percentage of people chose not to understand that. The fact that violating certain principles of morals or simple basic human rights are not deal breakers for some will always be beyond me.  One of my friends shared with me how she felt unsafe now to walk around because of the color of her skin and all I could say was “same”.

Feeling like you don’t belong or feeling like you are not wanted somewhere just because of the body you are born into is not something I could ever get my mind around. One thing I realized though is that giving into fear is never a good thing. Fear is not of God. I know I also saw a lot of posts about not bringing God into this because He did not vote for people. Although this is true and I agree, I still found the day easier to bear once I was reminded of who is in control when it comes to my life and that I do indeed bring God into everything when it comes to me.

All I know is no one should ever have to wake up feeling unsafe in the community they live in regardless of anything. Maybe it was a combination of social media and what I was hearing and reading in the news exponentially escalating a situation, or maybe my feeling unsafe was completely legitimate given the racist misogynistic comments  that were heard all throughout the past months along with people’s reactions. Either way you choose to see it,  whether you are on either side of the spectrum I hope and pray that you know that you are not alone and there are people you can talk to about it, that God is always there (yes you can bring Him into anything), and that you choose love and tolerance over hatred always in everything you do, say, and portray so no one wakes up feeling uneasy because of your actions or “opinions” at any given day.

Love,

Lori

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How I Keep My Prayer Journal

Thoughts

I have been asked about prayer journals since I have published 3 Reasons Why You should keep a Prayer Journal. I know it took forever, but I usually pray before I post anything and if I don’t “feel” it, I will not post it. Whether or not I actually know what I will write about. Anyway, I am sorry it took so long! Let’s get to it.

My prayer journals are usually journals I use to keep track of my growth with God and of my relationship with Him along with my conversations ( prayers) with Him. To be honest, it doesn’t have to be an actual journal in my opinion. It can be on your electronic devices, but I personally like to write and to have a physical journal so that is what I go for. Really, this is all about you and your preferences, but here  is what I include in mine:

  1. The date and even the Time

I didn’t use to do this, but I found it to be very useful to know the exact date and time when I was feeling a certain way or what I was talking to God about. It doesn’t matter that much, but personally I think it’s useful when looking back and realizing how God has been leading me.

 

2. Learned today Section

This is going to sound silly, but I usually write what I have learned on that day or what I have improved or not improved on. I don’t mean on an academic point of view, but about life in general. For example, I may write that today I have learned  or was reminded of the importance of humility and write how I have come to this conclusion. I have found that little things like that go a long way. I would write what God has put in my heart that day and anything that I feel is worth putting on there. That way, I also remember to thank God in my prayers for a particular improvement or pray that He helps me in this particular area so that I may be more like Him. For example, patience is a big thing for me. I have none whatsoever when it comes to certain things; sometimes even little things. So, time and time again I would write that I need to improve on my patience because I felt irritated because of this and that. It is a good way to acknowledge feelings and things that need work. I would then pray to God that He gives me the patience necessary to be able to love a little more like Him every day and that He teaches me how to do so. It is a work in progress, but I am getting there with His help.

 

3. Bible Verses

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I also like to include any bible verses or anything I read that day or that week that spoke to me or that I need some light on. That way, I can remember to ask God to open my heart and mind, and send me His holy spirit so that my mind, heart, and soul can grasp what he wants me to take away from a particular passage. I find this to also be a way to remember and keep in my heart what I have learned from reading a particular book.

 

4.  Prayer

This is my favorite part. I would make sure I read what I previously wrote down so I remember exactly what to thank God for besides the usual millions of things and I would pray about what I need to work on, where I have failed Him etc. I would also give thanks for what I have learned from a particular bible verse or what I need His help understanding.  To me, it is usually a conversation, as personal as it can get. I usually write “Dear God” to begin. This part is all up to you! Just open your heart to your father and be sure that He listens!

 

These are the four things I include in my prayer journal. Since I like to keep things organized, they are indeed in this very order, but as I said before, it is all up to you! I am sharing how I keep mine to maybe give someone else an idea. I hope you found this useful! Let me know in the comments!

 

Love,

 

Lori

3 Reasons Why You should keep a Prayer Journal

Thoughts

I have had a prayer journal for as long as I could remember. I was always very fond of writing and I find that writing down my thoughts usually help me keep them on the positive side of the spectrum. I don’t usually journal about events that happened during the day, more like how I felt that day and why. I also write ideas, projects, plans, bible study notes etc. But to be honest, nothing is more satisfying to me than to write my prayers down. I usually write them as letters to my beloved Father and I just love being able to read them over and over. Here are 3 reasons why you should keep a prayer journal.

 

  1. You can keep track of your answered prayers

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One of the best feelings of keeping a prayer journal is being able to look back and read over the prayers and requests that you wrote down before, and realizing today that they have been answered. You see I have realized that it is very easy to forget about our present blessings until we realized that a day before or a year before, the blessings that we are enjoying today were things that we were desperately praying for. On June 21, 2016 I wrote in my prayer journal for God to intervene for me so that I may have an interview with a specific company that I’d rather not name. On Monday June 27th, I was headed to my interview and opened my journal to pray before going. I started reading old prayers and couldn’t help but smile when I came across the one about the interview. On July 5th 2016 at 11:00PM, I wrote in my journal about going to orientation with my brother and having a place to stay and everything planned. On July 7th, 2016, there I was at orientation with my mother and brother with everything planned and taken care of. I could go on and on about this, but I wanted to give recent examples.

 

2.  You can use it to rekindle your hope in God

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Okay I know that sometimes we all lose hope or start doubting God or our relationship with him. Although yes, you should read your Bible and pray about it, but sometimes I don’t even feel like I have the strength to pray. I then open my prayer journal and start reading past prayers and I am reminded of who the god I serve is. I am reminded of my relationship with Him and of how I wouldn’t want to give that away for anything. It is funny that as I am inspired to write this today, I am living this part and reading my prayers over along with the Bible has sure brought the Joy of the Lord back to me.

 

 

3. You are more aware of the relationship you have with God

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I am not saying that I write every single prayer in my prayer journal because I pray multiple times a day. Before I eat, before I drive, before I make a decision etc. And these prayers are usually short ones in the quietness of my heart; But I do reserve one hour in the morning and one hour at night to sit down calmly with my Bible, my highlighters, my prayer journal, and worship songs. I write down my prayers, I bring my thoughts to my Father, my concerns etc. One thing I have realized from doing that is that I am more aware of what goes on between me and God when I keep my journal. I am able to have on concrete paper what I need to work on, what God is doing in me and in my life and in others’ life. Not only am I able to witness them in my life and in others’ life, I am able to look at it happen from another angle by keeping a prayer journal. I find that to be a plus if you are working on bettering your relationship with God.

 

I was inspired to write this today out of nowhere so I hope it inspires and helps someone. How has keeping a prayer journal helped you? If you would like a post about my process for keeping my prayer journal ( how it looks, what I start with, how I pray etc.)  feel free to comment and let me know! Feel free to comment even if you just want to say hi also! 🙂

 

Love,

 

Lori