Category Archives: Happiness

Let It Burn, Let It Burn, Let It Burn

*Cue Usher*

I burned my right index finger Monday night attempting to turn chicken with a short fork. I reached into the oven just a little to deep a YOWZAA! My index finger has a grill mark. 

I immediately put a cube of ice on it and the pain subsided but as soon as the thing melted the pain rebounded. I started looking for a quick remedy. I slathered antibiotic ointment on it. That made it worse. I got another cube of ice and the ointment congealed. I was in a bigger mess trying to avoid the pain of my little mistake in judgement. Note to self:  always use a long fork when testing food in the oven. It's like cooking 101. 

Waves

Finally, I just lay in bed. I began to try a mind over matter approach. I thought intensely about another part of my hand. It worked temporarily but I kept reverting to my darn finger. It was not the worse pain I had ever felt but geez did it hurt.  Noting the futility of my efforts to minimize my suffering, I had new thought – just ride it out. I reasoned that the pain could only last a few minutes or maybe even an hour. I knew for certain that it would not last forever.

A funny thing happened. I went to sleep. 

The next morning I hardly remembered the burn on my hand. I saw the scar – a reminder not to do something so stupid again – but the pain was gone.

Pain is our body's response to trauma. The nerves fire off intensely warning you to stop what you are doing. As my skin touched the heated metal coil my hand instantaneously jerked back. My body's instinct kicked in to protect me. 

God has equipped us physically to avoid the damaging things that cause us pain. It will come. Loss, heartache and disappointment are a part of life.  Pain is inevitable. You can lament your fate or evaluate the root cause and learn the lesson. Avoidance only leads to chaos.  Numbing it with substance abuse or other quick fixes leads to worsening of the initial condition. Ride the wave.. No matter how high the crest, waves always crash. Pain does not last forever. 

Standing in the sun outside of my office. I realized the heat is necessary. I closed my eyes and let the sun sink into my pores. I needed a vitamin D mood boost. The scar on my finger is shiny and brown. I have learned the lesson and the pain is gone. 

Forgive and Release, You

The year's end is upon us. Cue the onslaught of reflections and resolutions. I resolve to <insert goal here>. Bring on those rhyming catch phrases, "In 2015, I'm getting in those size 10 jeans." lol

It is what it is.

  1BC

For many, the New Year inspires hope for the future. For others, it can  spark an onset of the blues. I was speaking with a friend who confided that he felt a bit down. The New Year's Blues, I suggested.  I explained that when we reflect on how we have spent the year, often we focus on what we did not do quite right – the shoulda, coulda and wouldas. I found myself in a similar quagmire last night. In addition, a sand truck was dumping on all of the things I still had to do. 

I inhaled and exhaled. Through the simple act of breathing, I began the process of letting go. The more I focused on the air entering my lungs and escaping my body, I relaxed. Every mistake made is already past. I can only move forward. Trying to relive the past is as futile as trying to recapture yesterday's air. 

It came to me, like an epiphany. *cue Chrisette Michele*. I can let it all go and just breathe. 

2015 Right now, I resolve to forgive myself for bad choices. I release myself to make good choices. I also acknowledge all of the things I have gotten right – 40 lbs gone,  MBA received and first book published! Yeah me!!!!

This encompasses money, healthy, relationships, career, etc.  

I would encourage anyone reading to embark on a journey of self-improvement. Read books, join clubs, expand your circle of friends. Empower yourself, through knowledge and experience, to make better choices. Like the old folk say, "You know better, you do better!"

If you are looking for resources, check out the links below.

http://thebudgetnista.com/free-stuff

Get Fit With Fe

Ruth's Awakening: A Love Story

On Seeing You Again

I can honestly say that I had a great week. Seriously.

I went home and saw my lovely family. I saw my nephew who I had not seen in nearly 6 0r 7 years. He was shot in the lung a few months ago. By the grace of God he survived and is healthy and strong. We laughed and talked about totally unimportant things but to have him there talking and laughing was the most important thing. You can talk on the phone all day but when you see someone and hold someone, love becomes real. You must be present to do this. Life happens when you are present.

I also saw a good friend (of whom I have written on here in the past) who I had not seen in nearly 16 years. It is wonderful to connect with someone via social media, texting or phone conversations. There is another level of intimacy that occurs when you are able to see, touch, smell and hold someone. It becomes real.

Being present, however, adds another dimension to communication – the all-telling body language.

Why are you so distant? You are acting like we are strangers.

Continue reading On Seeing You Again

Living In The Moment

 If you could have one superpower, what would it be? I have one. It is a blessing and a curse.

I can time time travel. I do it quite often. I live in the past, remembering what was or  how I did not take advantage of some opportunity. I live in the future, dreaming of a future where my dreams are my reality.

My cryptonite. Living in the here and now.

Time travel

I was watching  a reality show and a stylist was being reprimanded by the owner. She was trying to point out how the stylist could handle conflict better. The stylist swung around in her chair repeatedly stating that, mentally, she was at Disney World. When she came back to earth, the conflict remained unresolved.

There are moments in life that are not pleasant. You can choose to mentally escape or be present. Feel the moment and what it brings – pain, discomfort, fear. It is only when you are fully present can you ascertain the situation. You will do what is necessary to prevent the same issue in the future. People who time travel escape the moment but the circumstances remain.

I was sitting in the sauna and overheard a conversation between a woman (27-ish)  and  man (43-ish). The 27 year old woman recounted many events in which her mom physically and emotionally abused her as a child. The older man tried to offer advice. The woman just voiced how the past would not allow her a future relationship with her mother. They went back in forth. The younger women revisiting her past and the older man remember his own.

I just sat there sweating. I really wanted to relax and not think about anything but I was vicariously time travelling via someone else's memory. I could see it all flashing through my mind. Unforgiveness, you are stuck in the past. Procrastination, anticipation, angst – personality traits of a voyager of time. 

I closed my eyes allowing the heat to purge the toxic sweat from my body.

It is better to be in the moment. In life, it is all we truly possess.

 

The Life of the Fire Within

There have been brush fires across California incinerating homes, transforming hard-wrought dreams to ashes. It is amazing that such raging infernos can begin from the tiniest spark of carelessly tossed cigarette. Fire warms, burns, consumes. It changes the very nature of all that it touches. We fear it. We need it.

Reminds me of love.

It is funny how you discover you love someone. You can vaguely remember a carelessly tossed thought. I wonder if. . .  Suddenly, you are thinking of that person all of the time – totally consumed. If someone loves you, you will know it. The love they possess will burn for you. You feel it first soft and warm. You are friends. Each person is a safe enough distance to admire the other. What draws them closer? Curiosity? You draw nearer, or rather, the flame grows wider, higher. The heat intensifies. If you linger too long and too close, your heart becomes totally engulfed.

To all of the guys, if a woman loves you, do not take it for granted. Even fire has a life cyle – ignition, growth, flashover, decay. A fire needs only fuel and oxygen to continue to burn. Without either, it dies. Never expect the fire that she holds in her heart to outlive your immaturity, filandering, or fear of committment. You may look around cold and lonely from the storms of life only to find the fire has gone out.  

If you notice a twinkle in the eye blow on it. No, not literally blow in someone's eye. I mean, draw closer. Only two things will happen – the spark will die or a flame will start to burn.

". . . Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" (James 3:5b)

The Woman in the Mirror

I was looking in the mirror as I got dressed this morning and a little smile developed. As I stared at my reflection, I noticed the woman looking back at me. I noticed her chin, her smile, the contour of her eyebrows, the light around her eyes.  She looked like Felicia. Where had this woman been all of this time?

She, I, was hidden beneath extra pounds, defeat, insecurity, etc. In this move from Chicago to Dallas, getting settled, finishing my MBA, writing my book – it has been a whirlwind. I have set goals, met goals. Tried some things. Succeeded and failed. Through all of it, I had somehow forgotten this woman in the mirror. This Felicia who believed all things were possible, who had hope insurmountable.

Losing weight is more than a number on a scale. It is more than being a baddie in a red dress. It is remembering of who you are at your core. It is seeing yourself outside as you feel inside – beautiful. You are reshaping your life in your own image.

I am liking my own reflection. Every failure is a lesson. The people in my life – lessons and/or blessings. There is no room for regret, doubt, or what-ifs. For I have seen the woman in me, once forgotten, looking victorious.

You are – I am – victorious!

Heart of a Woman

A woman’s heart is the most powerful force on the planet. For love, a mother will charge a lion, lift an SUV off of a child. That is the love of a mother. There is another kind of emotion – the love between a man and woman. This, too, is quite powerful. I know of a woman who moved across the country to be with the man of her dreams. A mother’s love is eternal. The love a woman holds for a man has a shelf life.

Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use or consumption. (Source) What happens to things deemed unfit for consumption? To the left, to the left. lol

I am not simply writing about my experiences. I know so many women who, once they have moved on, get bombarded with tearful apologies and begging all to no avail. So, I am writing this to help a brother out.

Dear men:

You do not hold a woman’s heart captive forever. There is a window of time in which she will make herself available to be wooed. When she has closed that window, it remains closed. You can stand outside tapping on it, throwing pebbles or whatever. You have, in her eyes, become unfit for consumption. In other words – EXPIRED.

It is not about hate or dislike. It is indifference. I liken it to the moment I realized WWF wrestling was staged. It was still the same cast and show but the passion for it had dissipated. I would have to willfully suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the fantasy. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

This year’s forecast is looking quite nice. I am open for a ‘no limits, no boundaries’ kind of year. There is no room for nostalgia of something that never was. There is no room for expired goods on my shelf.

The moral of this post is to value the people in your life, now. Never take them for granted. You never know when your time will be up.

 

Felicia

2014 – I Love Me and If You Knew Me, You Would, Too.

If you have been a reader of this blog, then you know how much of a sucker I am for a sincere compliment. I love to hear great things about myself. I love putting on a flattering dress and walking that I walk. lol

I am unabashed.

I have been told that I am vain. I will not cop to that. I have just learned how to love and appreciate myself. I know I am a godly woman kept by God's grace. If I am in Christ and he is in me, how can I view myself as less than anything.

I was not always so confident. I was teased as a child, sometimes, mercilessly. I was teased for being smart, being chubby (at times), being a 'church-girl', for not being sexually active. I was teased at school by some and teased at home by siblings. It was unrelenting at times. At home, I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry because my siblings would tease me so bad. I sometimes wished I could disappear. When I opened my eyes, I was still present.  Instead of wilting away, I made a decision to be bigger. Bigger than the hateful, negative things that had been said.

God was merciful to that shy, scared girl and put people in my life who WOULD tell me great things about myself. I was told that I was smart, beautiful and that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Those words mattered so much to me then. Kind words matter so much to me now.

What was the truth?

Throughout all of that negativity, I came to know God through Christ. I learned through the bible that I am eternally loved, valued, forgiven and beautiful. I chose to believe the truth about me through the ultimate word – the WORD of God.

I do not simply receive compliments, I am also a giver. I am that friend who will always point out your best qualities. I will lift you up when you are down. I know first hand how sometimes you need to hear a good word. I remember my best friend told me that she waited to tell me that her grandmother had past because she knew I would make her feel better and she just needed to grieve a little. 😦

Some say women are not capable of giving a genuine compliment. It must always be something like, "Ok, well she's pretty but *insert negative comment*. I was in class and heard two girls talking about the girl in front of them. The girl in front had really, long wavy hair.

One girl says, "Her hair is so pretty.'

The other girl says, "Too bad SHE ain't pretty". 

Oh the shade! Porqui, ma petit?

If you want love, give love freely. If you want positivity, be that positive influence. If you want a nice guy to tell you that you are beautiful, then BE BEAUTIFUL – inside and out.

Half-time – Where Do We Go From Here?

The half-way point of anything can be confusing to the unfocused mind. You are not where you started but you are not quite where you would like to be. You ponder:

Is the glass half-empty? Is it half-full? Are we there yet? Are we there yet now?

What do you do?

You keep moving.

I have had many rest stops on this road to fitness. I know full well what the side of giving up looks like. I long to see that place known as the 'Finished Line'.

I look at myself at lot in the mirror. Partly due to vanity. I can cop to that. I am a woman and it comes with the territory. I looked at myself today – full-length. I curled both my arms. I noticed a change. Am I back to stopping traffic with my walk? Not yet, but I am not where I once was. I am stronger, faster, better. I am winning.

I have previously fallen into the trap of complacency. Feeling so high that I have lost a few pounds that I decrease my committment and intensity only to fall by the wayside feeling defeated. Not this time. I have an actual plan of attack.

I encourage myself daily. I have accountability partners. A group of my friends and I do a daily fitness challenge. We check-in with each other on Facebook daily. It is fun and useful.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the change in yourself – body, attitude, confidence.

There has been some residual effects. I do not accept the poor treatment of others becuase – through fitness - I have learned to make myself the priority. I can say no to food and as an extension no to other things that are not good for me or that are not in my best interest. I have found that people who you love the most can take advantage if allowed. I have found the cure for this. It is the word 'no'.

I am feeling pretty confident about the rest of my journey. I know through it all God is with me. With Him on my side, I cannot, WILL NOT, lose. Except pounds of course. lol

It is like the lyrics to an old song my mom would sing while cleaning the house:

 "I don't feel no ways tired./I've come to far from where I've started from/Nobody told me that the road would be easy/I don't believe you have brought me this far to leave me."

5 Life Lessons I Have Learned

My birthday is right around the corner. Birthdays, like the New Year, are cause for reflection. I have decided to share a few life lessons I have learned over the years.

1. There are no short cuts to success.

Be it in the gym, classroom, or life –  success comes from the good habits you perform daily. Everyone wants the promised land. No one wants the desert experience. Trust and believe there will be a desert experience. If success were that easy, EVERYONE would have it. I heard a message preached that success comes from doing what you know is right/needed regardless of how you feel no matter how long it takes.

#word

2. To quote Shakespeare, 'All the world's a stage.'

Someone once told me that you have to be friends with someone before you decide to date them because that is the only way to know the real person. Once you put a label on something, people start frontin'. By frontin' I mean playing the role, being insincere.

The balancing act comes from being aware of this truth without becoming jaded. I try, emphasis on try, to meet people where they are in life with as little judgement as possible. I believe that way they feel more comfortable being who they truly are. I have also come to accept that people are who they are and will be who they choose to be.

Players gonna play. Ballers gonna ball.

To quote MC Breed, "Ain't No Future in Your Frontin' ".

3. OTN: When someone shows you who they really are, BELIEVE THEM!

OMG this is a lesson on which I seem to keep failing the test. I just want/need to believe the best about people. I do not want to be someone who navigates relationships with lowered expectations, always suspicious of ulterior motives. I am taking copious notes in preparation for the next test.

4. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." Psalms  146:3.

I understand this verse to denote  recognizing the humanity, fallibility of man. Accepting others mistakes makes it easier to acknowledge, accept and forgive our own.

5. Love is an exercise in vulnerability.

You cannot get to it being fenced in by insecurities, anger, resentment, or relationship baggage. March around Gideon getting your praise on and let those walls fall. (You would have had to present during a bible study or two to catch the reference.)

If you think about it, God is love. You are really opening up the God part of you to the God part of someone else. If God is in it, there is no limit. *Cue Israel Houghton*

What are some life lessons that you have garnered over the years?