The summer of 2015, my entire family (both in-laws and biological) came to Birmingham for a 4d ultrasound that would reveal the gender of my then unborn son. A few short weeks after the gender reveal, my cousin was murdered. I remember when I received the news that I just couldn’t breathe. I’ve stated before that I didn’t grow up with many of my family. In fact my Aunt D and I her boys were the only family members that we consistently spent holidays, summers and weekends with. He was my little cousin. That day was so chaotic. So many people were coming up and my Aunt got lost; at that time the GPS would take you to some odd place. I tried to give directions, but I am so terrible with directions. It is like one of my fatal flaws. I know landmarks and that’s about it. Well, after some time trying to explain how to get to my house and both sides getting a bit frustrated my aunt decided to turn around and go home. I later found out she turned around 15 minutes from my home. In fifteen minutes had I taken my time she and my cousin would have arrived safely.
I regret that entire situation. I should have been more patient and kind, but I just wasn’t. My cousin was with her and what makes this so odd…he hadn’t come to anything we all had done in a while. I didn’t reach out to him after that either. And then…he was gone.
I did so many things wrong in that scenario. And it literally haunts me a few times a week, because I was so unloving and I really did/do love him. I used to judge him and I used to nag him all the time about his life choices. I remember thinking he should just listen to me I’m older. But loving someone means you accept them and even if they don’t live how “you” think it doesn’t mean you treat them differently. I always wonder if he knew how much he did mean to me. I always wonder what it would have been like to actually tell him good bye. I hadn’t seen him in about two years before then; I was “busy”. I just didn’t make the family trips anymore and I honestly never thought about death. I never thought about someone being snatched away before because until that moment in August…everyone else that had died had at least made it to middle age.. He didn’t even make it out of his teens. I often wonder who he would have become had his life not been stolen. That’s exactly what murder is. A stolen life. An individual stole someone from a family, from a community, from a home. I hate to say that I still occasionally take my time for granted, but since his passing I work harder at it to not become a habit.
I see him a lot in different things and I hear his voice in some of the kids that I work with. I want to so bad tell them to be careful, to know fully that every day is not promised. Sometimes I do…sometimes I don’t it depends on their receptiveness to what I have to say. I don’t want to come across preachy, but I do work so hard for them to know that they matter. Their life, their contributions matter and even if no one in their life has told them this…it is the truth. What is even truer is the responsibility they have to do something with the gifting they have. Do something great. Be something greater. Don’t succumb to all the b.s that can sometimes pile up on you in life. Is it hard to rise above…YES! Are there some circumstances out of their control:YES! But if they can tap into someone who believes in them and stay connected support and love is literally the difference between a life…and a death.
As I reflect on almost 3 decades on this planet… I just wanted to make note of this. Make note of a time when I failed and the cost was immeasurable. Not saying that I could have saved him, but that he mattered just as he was.
So, I finally watched the movie War Room. So many people have been talking about it and encouraging me to watch it. My mother-in-law actually called on Friday and encouraged LaDarren and I to watch it together. I felt like it was a sign to stop running from the movie.
I can’t tell you why I’ve avoided the movie. I actually did a devotion from the War Room book like months ago. So why was I so against watching the movie? Idk maybe my flesh would feel more convicted…who knows. But anyway LaDarren and I sat down to watch the movie. The theme of the movie is about having your own plan of attack against the schemes of the devil. If we aren’t in God’s Word we are more likely to fall into temptation, strife, worry…just all the stuff God commands us not to do.
In the movie, the main character has to literally carve out not only time, but space to read the Word and pray. Now, we all know I have struggled in this area. I used to wake up 15 minutes early so I could do my devotion time…but lately I’ve been using it to hit that snooze button a couple (or three) times. It’s really a shame. But this movie did motivate me to reevaluate my Walk (for like the 7th time this year and yes I know it’s January).
I struggle to pray. Reading and studying I usually do fairly well, but praying…I tend to fall off. I had a talk with the boys (with LaDarren) about some of the ways in which we could be better and do better. My boys are good kids, but we all have room for improvements. They gave me one or two things.
I asked the boys what did momma need to work on and immediately Daniel said “yelling”. That’s right. I, Renee`, am a yeller. I don’t mean to be. I really don’t and I try to be patient but it is definitely a weakness of mine. I grew up in a yelling household. My mom used to say if she didn’t yell we acted like we didn’t/couldn’t hear her. I promise sometimes it feels that way with the boys as well. I don’t yell all the time, but when I do…I’m probably doing it with some gusto. I know it’s a weakness and I apologize to the boys every time I end up doing it. But the problem is…ME. If I surrendered everything to God. Guess what, my patience would grow. I know when I spend time in God’s Word I do SO much better.
I have started again putting Scriptures up around the house and just meditate on God’s Word. I am determined to kick this bad habit and I am ready to really surrender.
Hello everyone! Below is my update on my goals so far.
1. Invest in myself by taking advantage of resources (free or paid) for things that I’m interested in.
-I’ve made a lot of progress on the goal! This month I invested in the Best Selling Year program by Shalena the D.I.V.A. Best Selling Year is a program that help entrepreneurs take their business to another level. No, I’m not an entrepreneur but I have been thinking about it. I also have been taking advantage of free resources such as webinars & video series on topics such as finances, goal planning, & love.
2. Become discipline in my spiritual life especially with projects that I’m working on.
-I’m still working on this goal. I’m not as disciplined like I would like to be.
3. Schedule time to spend with God daily.
-I’m working on this goal as well. I pray on a regular basis. I also get up every Sunday to watch Word of Faith Family Worship’s Cathedral’s church service online. I need to do a better job w/ reading by Bible everyday.
4. Reprogram my mind by changing negative thoughts into more positive thoughts by doing daily affirmations, readings and scriptures.
-Reprogramming my mind has been hard! Sometimes it’s easy for my mind to revert to the negative thoughts & self limiting beliefs. Reprogramming mind is something that I have to do constantly.
5. To date with purpose. To continue to not entertain men that aren’t what I’m looking for in a mate.
-I haven’t been on any dates yet. Sad face! I’m currently am dealing w/ a situation that involved a guy that I was getting to know. I liked him a lot! He was funny, caring, nice, & we had a lot of things in common. I recently found out that he was a wolf in sheep clothing. I have to heal from the situation & move on. I hope that next year I’ll have better luck in the love department & possibly be in a relationship! I’m trying my best not to give up on love.
6. Gain clarity regarding my purpose by figure out my way on God’s path. I will not limit myself on what I can achieve.
-I don’t have clarity yet. =( I hope that my purpose will become clear
7. Develop a plan to make the College Transition Program successful.
-I’m still trying to figure out a plan! Lol! I haven’t been focused on this goal as much as I should had been.
P.S. I know that it’s been a minute since I blogged. I have to do better!
~Written Thurs. Dec. 31, 2015
Hello everyone! This year overall wasn’t bad. It had its ups & downs of course.
Low/High: The Transition of Moving
I moved twice this year. The first move wasn’t by choice & the second move was my choice. I moved back to my old apartment building in April. The apartments that I was living in were doing renovations to all of the apartments. The second move was in August. I moved out of my old apartment complex to a new one. It felt weird to move to new apartment. Even though I moved twice (September of last year & April of this year due to renovations) in my old apartment complex, I lived there since Sept. 2010. I’ve had a lot of roommates over the years! I’m like I have my own bathroom & a walk in closet at my new apartments. I had a little bit of a tough transition moving to a new apartment. I had to find people to help move my stuff & a storage unit. I got a deal on the storage unit that I paid for but the guy that I rented from hasn’t gave me back my deposit.
I’ve contacted him several times about my deposit & I haven’t received it. =( I moved out of my old apartment July 31st. I lived w/ my dad for two weeks & let’s just say that there is nothing like living at your own place! It was the first time that I ever lived w/ my dad. I got bit by bed bugs at my dad’s apartment & it was really bad! My legs & arms got ate up! I was so happy when I moved into my new apartment in August! Lol! I had two roommates (Marissa & Emilee) move in the apartment November. They are ok so far. My original roommates that was suppose to move in August never moved in. I don’t know why.
High: My Birthday
I turned 28 yrs old this year! I can’t believe that I’m almost 30 yrs old! Lol! People often ask me when am I going to have children & get married. It will happen whenever it happens! I’m not in a rush! I’m not about that life yet even though I desire to have kids & get married one day. My mom & I went to the Island Wing Company for my birthday. During the week of my birthday, one of my female friends & I went to the movies to see Straight Outta Compton! It was a great movie!
High: My Christmas & Thanksgiving/Low: Christmas Eve
I had a good Thanksgiving & Christmas this year. My family & I ate Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Mary’s house. We ate dressing, turkey, ham, collard greens, cupcakes (my uncle’s girlfriend baked them), pecan pie (I baked it), & cranberry sauce for our dinner. My Aunt Pearl& her son Ronald (they live in VA) came to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving. I was happy to see them! The day before Thanksgiving, two of my aunts, a few of my cousins, & I went out to eat at Applebee’s. I also was able to visit one of my cousins w/ my aunt from VA & a few of my cousins. I was happy to have majority of my family together for Thanksgiving. I also was happy that one of good guy friends (Bobby) came home for Thanksgiving. My mom drove me to my friend’s hometown (which isn’t far from my mom’s house) so I could meet up w/ my friend. It was the first time that I’ve seen my friend since 2013. We’ve been friends since high school.
My mom & I was together for Christmas. My mom cooked a lot of food! We had baked chicken w/ gravy, cranberry sauce, dressing, collard greens, rolls, Mac & cheese, ham, chocolate cake, sweet potato pie, banana pudding, & potato salad. My mom invited company to join us for Christmas but they weren’t able to make it. I was happy that I was able to watch the marathon of Power on STARZ at my mom’s house. My mom gave a gift for Christmas. I gave both of my parents a Christmas card & $10 for their gifts. My mom & I visited my dad the day after Christmas. We brought him a plate full of food from Christmas & his favorite dessert banana pudding. On Christmas Eve, I received news from someone (she contacted me) about a guy that I’ve been talking to for a couple of weeks. I didn’t like the news that I received & I became really upset.
High: Fun Events this month
This month my Goddaughter Ja’Kiyah turned two years old. She had an attitude on her birthday! Lol! Her birthday party was at Shakey’s this year. Her theme was Doc McStuffins. This month I went to my job’s Christmas party w/ my mom. We had a good time. I didn’t win any prizes this year for the raffle. =( Last Saturday one of my friends & I went to the movies to see Concussion. It was a good movie! I was hoping that CHIRAQ & Creed were still showing at the movies but they weren’t. =( This month I also attended at Christmas party at the clubhouse of my apartments. I won a gift card to Best Buy! I met new people (Conrad, D.C., Gabriel, & T.C.) & laughed a lot! The biggest prize that someone won at the Christmas party was a scooter. I was expecting real food at the party. Lol! I was a little disappointed that the food was pizza, cookies, & cupcakes. Lol!
I forgot to mention that I went home for my church’s Christmas program on Dec. 20th. After church service, the congregation enjoyed a dinner at the church.
Low: My Summer
My summer this year was rough. I didn’t work at summer camp this year w/ my job. I was expecting to work at my hotel job during the summer but that didn’t happen. Business was slow there. I was expecting to find a job but I didn’t get anything. I applied to a few places & had a few job interviews. One of the job interviews I had was a professional job through AmeriCorps. I was on unemployment & that was very helpful! I was cut off from my food stamps in May but I still had money on my food stamp card. I was grateful that I had money leftover was on my card so I could buy groceries. I disliked that the cable provider for my apartments changed. We had Charter & switched to Pavlov Media. My tv wasn’t picking up the HD channels & I missed my shows! =( My tv only picked up the HBO & CineMax channels. I had 10 channels. I bought an antenna to try to fix the problem & it didn’t work.
Around August, I received a notice from the Department Labor stating that I was overpaid & had to repay the money that I received. The overpayment was due to a commission job that I had during the summer. I didn’t earn ant money from that job. I found out that a commission job was considered as employment the hard way. I wrote an appeal to Dept. of Labor & send them documents (everything had zeros on them) from the commission job. I also had to go through a hearing on a teleconference call w/ a judge to present my case. Long story short, it was found that I didn’t commit fraud but I had to pay back the Dept. of Labor. Smh!
~Low: Losing a Friendship
I also lost a friendship during the summer over something that I think was petty. It really took a toil in me! I cried six hours about that friendship & became depressed. It sucks to lose a friend. My female friend and I never had an argument before hat situation happened. Overall we had a good friendship. Her & I were good friends in high school. We lost contact after high school & got reconnected a few years ago. I still think about my friend every now & then. I miss her! It still hurts that we aren’t talking. It doesn’t hurt as much as it did a couple of months ago.
~High: Last Doctor’s Appt./Blessing with Medical Bill
In January, I had my last checkup appointment from my surgery that I last year. The doctor told me that I healed up pretty nicely! I was so happy that I didn’t have to go back to the doctor. I’ve been going back & forth to the doctor since September of last year. It’s been a year since I had my surgery (my surgery was on Oct. 16th last year). In January or February I applied to charity program through that hospital to pay for my medical bill. I got accepted & my medical bill from my surgery was paid for! Praise God! I’m still paying on anesthesia bill (it’s seperate from the hospital bill). I plan on having that bill paid off next year.
High: Mother’s Day & Father’s Day
I took my mom out to eat for Mother’s Day at a soul food restaurant. We had a good time! My mom & I also went to one of our church’s members (an elderly lady) house to eat. On Father’s Day, my mom & I took my dad out to eat (it was at the restaurant I took my mom to for Mother’s Day).
High: My Best Friend’s Birthday
My best friend’s birthday was in June. She turned 29 yrs old. My best friend, a few of her friends, her boyfriend, & I went to dinner at O’ Charley’s. We also went to a casino in Montgomery. I’m really not into gambling but I still had fun at the casino.
Low: Getting up early for work
Anyone that knows me know that I’m not a morning person. Lol! During spring & fall semester of this year, I had to get up between 5a.m. & 5:30a.m. for work. I had to set multiple alarms to get up. It was a struggle for me to get up in the morning time!
Low: Resigning as a director of a program/High: Gaining experience as a director of a program
Earlier this week I submitted my resignation letter for the director’s position of the Mamie Reese Scholarship Fund for my sorority. I’ve been the director of the program for four years. I built the program from the ground up. I had no blueprint. All I had was a description of the director’s position. I had to do a lot of research about scholarships & had to create an application. I had negative emotions such as fear, self doubt, & unworthiness. I couldn’t my had done the program without the help of God, friends, & my sorority sisters. I’m proud of myself for doing something that was uncomfortable & building something from scratch. It was bittersweet to walk away from something I built. I’m grateful & thankful that I’ve had the experience.
Low: The ending of Empowermoments/High: Being stretched as a writer & ministering to other women
During the summer, a blog (Empowermoments) that I’m writer on ended. I’ve been writing on the blog for over a year. The founder of Empowermoments felt that the season for the ministry had ended. Some people that were involved in the ministry wasn’t pulling their weight. I was really sad about Empowermoments ending. I’m grateful that I’ve had the experience of being a writer for the blog. It really took me out of my comfort zone! I’m also grateful that my posts (also the other writers of Empowermomemts) touched the lives of other women.
Low: Being exhausted from a second job/High: Having a second job
Earlier this year (around February), I picked up a second job at a hotel as a housekeeper. It was my first time that I ever worked as a housekeeper. It was rough! I worked at my job on campus Monday-Friday and my second job on Saturdays/Sundays.. I was exhausted throughout the week! I was happy to have extra income but it came w/ a price. Around April I got moved from working as a housekeeper to helping with breakfast w/ my co-workers from the front desk. I didn’t get as many hours as I did before & my paychecks were a lot less. I worked at the hotel from February to May. I was expecting to work at the hotel during the summer since I got laid off from my primary job. My manager told me that she would contact me if she needed help but I didn’t receive a call back. I stopped by the hotel a few times in May to check to see if I was on the schedule & I wasn’t.
I didn’t quit my job at the hotel but I didn’t return either. Lol! I assumed that my manager didn’t need me so I never checked back in with the job. I probably should have. That would had been the professional thing to do right? lol! I also went through a lot during and after the summer so the hotel job went to the back burner in mind. I stopped by the hotel this month to return my work shirt & give my manager my new address. I left a note for her at the front desk of the hotel.
High: My friends
I have an awesome bunch of friends! I received gifts from my friends (via the mail) & I loved them! I had a few visits from my friends (my guy friend Demetrius, my HIS Algem, & my friend/former roommate Kathleen) this year. I’m always happy to hear from my friends whether it’s by social media or phone. My friends & I had a secret Santa gift exchange this year. We had to guess our secret Santas! My guess of my secret Santa was wrong. My secret Santa was my friend Pam. I received a Curls Blueberry Bliss control paste (it’s like an edge control) & two storage bins. The storage bins were pink & purple (my favorite colors). My friend Pam sent me & our other friends beautiful customized cross necklaces.
High: Winning a gift card to Sephora from Swift Ministries
Earlier this year, I participated in a giveaway that Swift Ministries was having on Facebook. I answered a question right & was in the drawing for the gift card.
High: My TV Shows/Low: Having to wait until next year for new episodes of my shows
Anyone that knows me that I love tv shows & Lifetime movies! Lol! Majority of my shows are on a hiatus until they come out w/ new episodes next year. I enjoyed watching The Wiz Live (a special on NBC), the Book of Negroes (a special on BET), The Game, RoseWood, Empire, Sleepy Hollow, How to Get Away w/ Murder, Being Mary Jane, Gotham, Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, Once Upon a Time, Quantico, Scream Queens, Black Ink, Black Ink Chicago, Wild N’ Out, The Fosters, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Haves & the Have Nots, Welcome to Sweetie Pies, Flex & Shanice, Ballers, 2 Fat 2 Fly, Grey’s Anatomy, & Raising Whitley. I was upset that I missed a whole season of Pretty Little Liars this summer! I didn’t miss it on purpose! One of my favorite shows (The Game) ended this year. I was really upset about it! I’ve been watching The Game since day one. The Game started out airing on the CW. He got cancelled after three seasons & got picked up by BET a few years after it got cancelled. I was one of the fans that signed a petition online for The Game to come back on tv! Yes, it was that serious! Lol! Once The Game got moved to BET, it was very different. It wasn’t as much of a comedy that it was before. After a few season of the show being on BET, two of the main characters (Melanie & Derwin) played by Tia Mowry Hardict & Pooch Hall left the show. Two new characters replaced them (Kira & Blue) played by Jay Ellis & Lauren London. One of the main characters (Kelly) got reduced to a guest role, she left the show for a while, & then she came back for the later seasons. The last episode of the final season (9th season) ended on a high note.
This year on Grey’s Anatomy Dr. Derek Shepherd died. He died a hero but I did cry! Lol! I think I cried more when Dr. Sloan died. I hate when my favorite characters die on tv shows that I watch! I wasn’t sure how I would like Grey’s Anatomy without Derek but it wasn’t so bad. Another show that I was upset that ended was 106 & Park. 106 & Park was my show! I cried when the show had it’s final episode. I liked that BET brought back the old co-hosts (Julissa, AJ Free, Terrance J, Rocsi, & the new hosts BET had for a while but didn’t stay long lol) to be on the final episode.
This month The Wiz Live aired on NBC & it was awesome! The cast of The Wiz included Mary J. Blige, Amber Riley, David Alan Grier, Queen Latifah, Elijah Kelley, Uzo Abuda, Stephanie Mills, Shanice Williams, Common, & Ne-Yo. The acting, singing, costumes, & dancing were on point! The Soul Train Awards (it aired on BET & Centric) was awesome this year! The show aired this month & was hosted by Erkyah Badu. The show was good from beginning to end! All of the music artists that performed did a great job! Some of the artists that performed were Tyrese, R. Kelly, Jazmine Sullivan, After 7, Jill Scott, Andra Day, Bobby Brown, Tevin Campbell, Boys II Men, Fantasia, Brandy, Erykah Badu, Cameo, Erica Campbell, Jeremih, Lion Babe, Tasha Cobbs, V. Bozeman, & Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds My favorite segment of the show was the tribute to Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. I didn’t know that he wrote so many hits!!! I also enjoyed the Billboard Women in Music 2015 that aired on Lifetime this month. The women that received awards were Demi Lovato, Lana Del Rey, Kelsea Ballerini (she sings country music), Lady Gaga, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Loretta Lynn (a legend in country music), Selena Gomez, Brittany Howard (lead singer of Alabama Shakes), Tori Kelly, & Fifth Harmony. On a side note: I loved the addition of Lance Gross on Sleepy Hollow! I also loved that Missy Elliott with Katy Perry performed during the halftime show of the Super Bowl this year.
~Written Thurs. Dec. 31 , 2015
I hope that next year will be a better year for me! Have a Happy New Year everyone! God bless!
2015 started off just like the last couple of years, a lot of promised and excited energy but I am not sure when but the energy bubbled down to concentrated energy; Concentrating on making it one day to the next, living for the weekend. It wasn’t all bad though, because also like the last couple of years, I have learned more about myself. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.
- I have a strong support system. From blood to the family my God has put the best people into my life; he has gifted with me with some beautiful spirits. They constantly encourage and pray for me. They are so non-judgmental. In my profession as a substance abuse counselor, I’ve learned that what I have is not the norm but I’m so blessed that it is my norm.
- I am a competent professional. I have a lot of self-doubt. I doubt if I am making a difference. I doubt if I was helping others learn concepts about their disease. It actually too me finding a new job and hearing what clients have to say about me for me to get a tiny glimpse of how they have been benefited from me.
- Making mistakes are okay, dwelling in them is not. I make mistakes, sometimes daily. Some things I am able to get over quicker than others. What I’ve learned is that when I do something outside of what I feel is out of my character, it takes me longer to rebound. It’s a learning process but I’m slowly coming to terms that I can make mistakes and not beat myself up forever.
- I want more from my life. I’ve been feeling this way for the past couple years but it started to get stronger this year. I want to network more. I want to deal more with my counseling association. I have other things to offer and can learn from others.
- You only live one. That’s right. I can’t keep waiting on the right circumstances or the right waist size. If I want to do it, now is probably the best time to do it. I’ve learned to not wait on the right circumstances and to not over think things.
Cheers to 2015 and waiting expectantly on 2016.
Until Next Time,
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.
Being the oldest of four children I have always been the one to put other people before me. It’s never been difficult for me and honestly I genuinely enjoy helping people. I enjoy helping people reach their goals, supporting them tough losses and encouraging them to start again. I honestly think encouragement is one of my strongest giftings.
My real issue is not that I encourage other people, it’s that I still haven’t learned how to value myself and my resources (time, goals, love, money) the same way I do for another person. I give until I am almost depleted, but I honestly don’t have a lot of people who pour back into me. I am alot like Martha and Mary….
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I never understood why Jesus didn’t ask Mary to help Martha or ask Martha to sit down with them and relax. Was it because Martha was doing things to be seen? Was she missing out on bonding because she was worried about details? I still don’t know honestly. I am praying for some real revelation, because I honestly identify more with Martha than maybe any other character in the Bible.
Maybe I have love all wrong. Maybe you shouldn’t feel so empty afterwards-maybe real love is stopping before you get to that point and reevaluating where you are and why you are doing the things you are doing. Maybe you aren’t supposed to love people more than yourself, but equal to the love you give yourself. And maybe…just maybe that’s what Jesus was trying to tell Martha.