Daddy Gone

I was watching a clip from Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah. The title of this post, “Daddy Gone,” is the healing sentence she prescribed to daughters who grew up fatherless. She suggested saying this sentence and accepting it as true after you have told the true authentic story of your own father. So, here it goes.

I have few memories of my dad and mom married. I remember him eating breakfast in the morning, eggs. I remember him yelling at me to get back into my own bed when I would sneak into theirs. That is it. The same two memories on a loop. I think I was three or four.

I never thought I had daddy issues. I considered myself a pragmatist when it came to my story. I knew who my daddy was. He paid child support faithfully. He came around sporadically. I tried to develop a relationship with him as an adult. It did not continue. He died.

That is my story in a nutshell. I grew up. Completed school. Became gainfully employed. Father’s Day would bring a few what ifs but they would quickly fade. As far as I was concerned, his absence had not affected me in the least. I became a success and all without his input. I had not become a statistic. I was not a teen mother or on drugs. I had made it.

Then I began to date and get into a serious relationship. I noticed some behavior patterns that I did not understand. I would overreact to everything. I was always afraid and even anticipated abandonment. I expected fatherly behavior – to be taken care of, to be made whole. To be paid back for an emotional deficit acquired from age 3 until 39. An impossible task for another human, especially, another flawed one with his own set of issues.

So what’s a girl to do.

  1. Tell the truth. My dad was not in my life in a meaningful way. It has affected my relationship decisions.
  2. Forgive. That story does not define me anymore. It is no longer an excuse for my behavior. I am responsible for my actions.
  3. Let it go. I am still working on it. I can say that I have to let it go again and again whenever it comes to mind. Daddy gone.

What is your daddy story?

http://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=44432

A Yes in My Pocket

My mother always says when God is about to bless you, all hell will break loose.

Bruh, she ain’t never lied!

There have been dreams, goals, decisions that you have made based on the belief that it is God’s will. Maybe someone even spoke a word into your life. It seems that as soon as you step out of the boat on faith, the waves start to rock.

Man, that is the story of my life.

“A Yes in My Pocket,” was the title of a sermon I heard several years ago. I still remember it because the message is still so poignant. It goes a little something like this:

There was a ruler named Jairus who asks Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter. Jesus tells him, yes. He agrees to go home with him and heal the girl. Great news, right? Well, on their journey, other people surround him. A woman with an issue of blood touches him. Jesus takes the time to heal her openly after she touches him secretly. During this time, Jairus is still hanging tight when messengers come into the temple to tell Jairus that his daughter is now dead so there is no need to bother Jesus. When Jesus heard them, he says, “Fear not: believe only.” So, Jesus goes into the house and he brings two of his disciples. The people in the house are weeping and carrying on. Jesus tells them not to cry  and that the girl is merely asleep. The people go from crying to laughing.

After kicking the laughing doubters out of the house, Jesus restores the child back to life.

Jairus is one patient guy. His daughter lay dying and everyone else’s problems seems to occupy Jesus’ time. Jairus did not tell the woman with the issue of blood get in line lady. I was here first. Why, because Jesus had already told him, yes.

The task is moving forward with the same confidence and belief when the obstacles arise as when you received your yes. The challenges will show up. Trust me, they are a’coming. If you decide to eat healthy, someone will bring doughnuts to work. If you decide to save for a house, Macy’s will have a door-buster sale.

That is life. Keep moving forward. If you have received your yes, put it in your pocket because it is a sure thing.

 

Hypothyroidism: Incurable or Nah?

I have kept a secret from my Get Fit with Fe crew for all of the years since starting my fitness group. I have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, as defined by WebMD:

Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

Some quick facts:

  1. The most common type of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is an auto immune disease in which your body produces antibodies that attack your thyroid gland.
  2. When your body does not get enough thyroid chemical and bodily processes slow. In short, your metabolism is slow. Really, really slow.
  3. There is no known cure.

When I found out I had hypothyroidism, I was really ambivalent. One the one hand, I finally had an answer to the culprit behind my life-long struggle being overweight. No matter how much I exercised or changed my diet, the weight would not come off. At least, not permanently. And it was not just the weight. I had all of the freaking symptoms – extreme fatigue, memory issues, depression – I had it all.

Being diagnosed gave me relief. On the other, I had to manage a disease that had no known cause and no known cure. I did not like the sound of that – no cure? With God, all things are possible. So, I started searching for the possible.

There is a lot of research regarding gluten-sensitivity and hypothyroidism. The student HERE suggests that people with hypothyroidism and gluten-intolerance absorbed more thyroid chemical when following a Gluten-free diet. There may be some stock to this. I did the Daniel Fast with a friend, who is also hypothyroid, and we both lost at least 10 lbs each. The Daniel Fast eliminates all wheat, as well as, dairy, and sugar – other known causes of inflammation.

Self-Diagnosis –

I read about Pulse Test used to determine if somonesuffer from food allergies/sensitivities. The test, developed by Dr. Arthur Coca, postulates that food allergies produces an immune response in people causing their heart rate to go up. This can be measure by taking the pulse before and after consumption of the allergenl. Dr. Coca’s book, The Pulse Test, goes into greater detail, but the gist of the test is:

  1. Grab food that is the suspected allergen and have it ready.
  2. Take your pulse while in a rested state at least 5 minutes after activity.
  3. Place the food on your tongue. Let it stay in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. DO NOT SWALLOW the food.
  4. Take your pulse from anywhere on your body. It may be easier to take it from the wrist. Count the number of beats for 60 seconds.
  5. If your pulse increases greater than 4 beats between tests, the  food is likely producing an allergic response.

I tried the test. I tested for milk and wheat. Milk produced no response but bread did. It is important to note that this test cannot distinguish between food allergies and food sensitivities. I am going to cut out all wheat based products for 1 week and track my results. It is worth a shot.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

3 Online Trading Sites to Get You Investing

1. Etrade

Etrade is an online brokerage firm. It is for self-directed investors. This means you have the power to invest as you choose.

Pricing

Transaction prices are listed here.

Minimum Deposit

$500

Phone App

Etrade does have a phone app (in addition to the website) that gives you access to your portfolio, news articles, and investing education tools.

What I like:

I like the ease of use of the Etrade website. There are video tutorials. T

Cons:

There is a fee to trade. The cost to sell and buy stock is $6.95 as of publication date.

2. Robinhood

Robinhood is a free stock brokerage firm. It is for self-directed investors. It only offers stock trading at time of publication. Robinhood makes its money buy lending the money customers deposits, similar to what banks do with checking and savings deposits.

Pricing:

Free stock trades.

Minimum Deposit

$0

Phone App

Yes.

What I Like:

It is free. If you are new to investing, this can be a less intimidating method of entry.

Cons:

  1. The fact that it is free may cause you to trade too often to realize a real growth potential.
  2. You must still pay a an SEC and FINRA Trading Activity Fee (TAF) fees. See here.
  3. You cannot purchase OTC (penny stocks) using Robinhood. Robinhood only offers stocks from the NYSE and NASDAQ.

3. Bloomberg

Bloomberg is site that provides news regarding investing from around the world.

Pricing:

Free

Minimum Deposit

N/A

Phone App:

Yes.

What I Like:

I love the Bloomberg phone app. It sends push notifications regarding news articles. There is also a feature to create a watch-list. The watch-list is lists of stocks you select. It is a simulated purchase. You can track how well your stocks perform before you spend money.

Cons:

This is not a stock trading app. It if informational.

Walking On Water

I am up at 10:37 PM when I should be asleep, thinking. I was thinking about how disappointment comes in waves. They are big, boisterous and all encompassing. Imagine being a voyager in the middle of your nautical journey when a big wind blows in a tempest. What do you do?  Do you tuck tail & sail and go back in the direction you came? Or do you forge ahead knowing that behind those rain clouds, as big and ugly as they may be, is a sun. It was shining before the storm, it was shining during the storm, and it will shine after the clouds have rolled away.

I feel like Peter. I was so Peter for the longest time in my walk with Christ. I was so sure my faith was so rock solid, I could confidently say, “Sure, Jesus. I’ll come walk on that water with you.” Then the the waves came. And they kept coming. I took my eyes off the Son. All I could see were dark clouds. I felt the wind knocking me off my mark. I tried in my own strength to walk but the water rushed to me knees. I kept thinking, “Why would the Lord call me out of the comfort of my boat only to watch me fail?” It was then revealed that I took my eyes off of the Lord and tried to walk in my own strength.

“Jesus! Save me!”

It is the only strength I have left – to call out to the master. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to succeed. I wanted to walk on water. My mistake – I started to rely on me.

Jesus reached out his hand and helped me up. Wobbly and shaken, I am learning to stand. I know that without Him, I will fall. I just need to sharpen my focus. No matter the opposing forces, they are only distractions. Stay the course. Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2). He set you out on the path of righteousness, he will see that you make it safely to the other side.

 

Edge of the Frame – Mr. Bear

I had been sitting on a Walgreen’s shelf for a few weeks when a young, caramel-faced woman stared into my eyes. She picked me up and squeezed my side. Sandwiched between her arm and her side, I was taken to the register and purchased. I was elated to be chosen and soon I would have a home. We drove quietly to my new abode. A love song by someone I am unfamiliar with, played on the car’s radio.

The caramel-faced woman’s name is Michelle. She took me out of the plastic bag and sat me on a faux suede sofa. It was brown and soft like me. Out of nowhere and huge black dog charged into the room. Our eyes lock. Certain that I am staring death in the face, I say a prayer to the stuffed-bear gods. Quick as a blink, Michelle grabs me holding me over her head. With her free hand, she grabs the dog’s collar and leads him into the basement. I am safe.

I feel like the luckiest bear stuffed. I have a new home and a mom who just saved me from the brink of death. I watch mom write and seal a card and stuff it in a glittery bag. She places me in there, too. I soon fall asleep.

I awoke to voices – Michelle’s and a man’s. I strained to see but it is dark inside the bag. Michelle’s hand retrieved the card. I heard the man say, “Aw.” I heard kisses.

“Wait, I didn’t give you your gift,” Michelle chimed.

“I told you that men don’t get Valentine’s gifts.”

“I couldn’t help myself. He is just too cute. Just like you.”

She pulled me from the darkness.

“Bwahaha!”  the man laughs. “What is this?”

“A bear silly.”

“I’m a grown ass man,” he managed between laughs.

“You don’t like it?” Mariah asked disappointment echoing in her voice.

“Nah, It’s okay. I’m giving it to Mariah though.”

When the rough play of the day was done, I could always look forward to being placed in her arms and tucked under the covers. We would sleep soundly until morning.

Christmas came and everything changed.

I have been in this chair watching Mariah hug a plastic doll. She is not soft and furry like me. When I sat on the shelf at Walgreen’s waiting to be purchased, I had not known what it was like to be hugged and loved. I am waiting again, this time with a broken heart.

 

 

 Edge of the Frame

2016 Was Not So Bad Regardless of What Facebook Says

2016 has been a trying year for all. There have been disappointments, deaths, and disasters. Not to mention the rise of the Donald. Social media posts show heartbreak over celebrity deaths. Someone has created a GoFundMe account to protect Betty White. Many people are eager to see 2016 go in hopes of a better 2017.

If you really think about it, there have also been joys, births, and good times. Isn’t every year a mix of triumphs and disappointments? It is called life. We as humans increment the vastness of time into yearly increments. Perhaps it gives us some sense of control over the uncontrollable. The truth is – bad stuff happens and so does good stuff. Your happiness cannot hinge on the nature of what is happening around you.

I have been cooking lately. Well, learning to cook. Yesterday, I decided to do it big. The meal planned – fried pork chops, mashed potatoes from scratch, and roasted garlic asparagus. I prepared by reading highly rated recipes. I watched how-to videos on Youtube. I was PREPARED. Armed with ingredients, knowledge, and determination – I was ready. I started cooking. Everything seemed to be going great. Food looked good, smelled even better. After much sweat, I was finally finished. I fixed my plate. It looked good enough for Instagram. I cut into the perfectly browned pork chop. It was too salty. I felt the wind escape from my sails. I was not only cooking for myself but for my boyfriend, too. I was near tears. My friend said that is was okay. He stated that the only way to learn is to try. I began to feel less terrible.

That is my 2016 in a nutshell. It started with great aspirations. I even had a plan, a vision board even. I tried my best and still some things failed – relationships, promotion attempts, finishing my second book, weight loss. It was like those Facebook videos you watch of someone taking off in a race and then some invisible leg extends in front of them and they trip and fall. It feels like the fall is so hard because the person running was moving ahead at full-speed expecting to finish first.

I had started writing a great story based on my childhood adventures – over 10,000 words. I had written some wonderful poetry almost 30 pages worth. I went to Texas for a work conference and lost my thumb drive. Talk about tripping over an invisible leg. Man, I was hurt. Thankfully, the 10,000 words had been backed-up on the cloud. The poetry only exists in my head and heart.

I am ready to start again.

If you have been graced with another day of life, you have another chance to get it right. Some failures require some hard work. Others require some downtime for healing. No matter how comfortable, resist the urge to stay here. This place is meant to be temporary. You have to get up and keep running.

2017 is what you make of it. Start again. Be enthusiastic again. If you should fall, get back up and continue.

Trusting God

These are two very loaded words – trust and God.

The ‘trust exercise’ is used as a team building mechanism. It involves two people. One must turn his back to the other, cross his arms, close his eyes, and fall backwards trusting the other individual will catch him.

Not I, said the cat!

My inclination is to buckle my knees and brace myself to catch myself. As crazy as that sounds, I am always trying to catch myself. Then, someone comes along preaching about trust and God. Now I am supposed to close my eyes and trust that a being I cannot see will catch me.

Easier said than done.

Today, I left my purse at a Panda Express. All on the ride home, I was singing in my heart, Jesus never fails, and other songs about trusting God. I get to my house and I cannot find my purse. Now chile, everything is in my purse – wallet, cell phone, lip chap – everything! I did not panic. God had put  a song in my heart.

trust

I called the Panda Express and the young lady had my purse! She said she would hold on to it until my friend could pick it up for me.

God knows me. He knows my inclinations and tendencies to panic first and think rational later. He sent me a song to prepare me for what was ahead.

I know there are greater challenges to face. To get to where I am headed, I will have some lost purses along the way. I am learning from lessons great and small that not only will God catch me as I am falling but he will give me the peace that trusting him along the way gives.

This lesson was better than the fortune in the cookie.

 

How Saturday Cleaning Blessed My Soul

There is a dog in my space. He knows no boundaries – only-dog syndrome. Subsequently, there is dog hair found everywhere. To combat this fluster of fur, I vacuum. I have a really good vacuum. It even has the word, “Powerful” in its name.

vacuum

Today the fur was winning. I could not understand. I had this ‘powerful’ instrument designed to clean and remove dirt, fur, and anything that should not be in my carpet, yet the nuisance remained. I saw a piece of trash, big and white, juxtaposed with the brown carpet fibers. Going through the usual motions, ran the vacuum over it. It remained – stubborn. I wanted it gone. I tried again. It rolled across the carpet fibers in defiance. How is it that this powerful vacuum was not removing the trash I wanted out of my life?

I unplugged the device and started examining the hose. Nothing there. I turned on the light and peered into the hole the hose was joined to. There was a clog of dog hair and dirt. I tried to remove it with my hand and could only scratch the surface. I got a screw driver and began to dig out the clog bit by bit. I realized the problem was much deeper than the hole. The clog was all the way to the upper canister. I took the vacuum outside and pulled, dug, and shook that dirt/fur/dust clog until all was clear. I then put the pieces back together.

Isaiah 59:1-2 says,

1. Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 

You can go to church (or not), read your bible, and be a generally good person and lack the power to remove the trash the enemy drops in your life. Is there contention, strife, trouble on the job, your health, your kids and family? Could it be that their is some trash of your own blocking your power source?

Let me tell you – prayer is powerful. I have been on this prayer kick ever since being introduced to the book, “Fervent,” by Priscilla Shirer. You can, through the power of prayer, influence your environment.To get this, you must believe the premise that there are two worlds – the natural and the spiritual. There is a constant battle of good versus evil. As a believer, your life is meant to be vibrant and abundant bringing glory to God our father. The sinner sees your life and wants that joy, inner-peace, and abundance that your life reflects. The enemy’s job is to make your life unproductive and dull; a life that is riddled with failures and sins. A sinner sees your life and thinks, what’s so different between him/her and me?

Satan is after our witness. He has lost your soul to Christ.In comes the lure of sin. It stuffs you with debris. It keeps you powerless. Like that big, ‘powerful’ vacuum unable to suck up flimsy dog hair, sin separates you from fully realizing the power of God. So, review your life. Is there a clog somewhere? Is someone, something, or some behavior keeping you from walking fully into what God has for you. If you are not sure, start with prayer. Like that plug of fur and dirt deep into the canister of my vacuum, God will reveal it. Then get rid of it. You may have to pull it out bit by bit but the result is power to transform your life.

Happy Black Girl – Tamika Catchings and Las Vegas

I ran across a page on the internet once entitled, Angry Black Woman, or something like that. The author discussed a range of issues – race, politics, gender, etc. I just could not get passed the name. I believe that words have power to shape your future and even influence your current mood. I did not want to be angry.  My name is Felicia. It is derived from the Latin word for happy. Every time someone says my name, they are literally calling forth happiness. I like to spread happiness to others but, lately, I have been having some challenges in this area.

I was at a networking event in Indy where Tameka Catchings, of WNBA fame, was keynote speaker. She discussed overcoming a hearing impairment and other obstacles to become a WNBA Champion and a gold- star Olympic medalist. She also heads a charitable organization, Catch the Stars Foundations, which hosts an annual basketball camp for kids, fitness clinic, and literacy programs.

What stood out to me the most was her humble demeanor. I have been to a number of networking events. The wealthy people on stage really want you to know that they are ‘special’ lol. Catchings came across very personable and relatable. She seemed so . . . happy. Like, really happy to be there and to share her experiences and gifts with us. It just got me to thinking about how to be just that – happy.

I have just returned from Las Vegas this past Saturday. I was with my sister celebrating her birthday/wedding anniversary. When she brought up the idea of the trip, I was really gong-ho about it. Then some drama happened. I had to figure out another living arrangement relatively quickly. Should I buy or rent? How much can I afford? How soon do I have to move out? Stress on worry on stress. I even considered cancelling the trip.

The thing is I really needed a vacation. I had planned a trip to Vegas earlier in the year that fell through. I was stressed from work, my living situation, my health. Life was coming at me from a lot of angles. I was meditating and God let me know to let go. Let go of the worry, the stress about finding a place to live and go on the trip. I decided that I would not allow outside forces to rob me of my plans or my peace. I made the choice to go to Las Vegas.  It did not matter that I was the only single girl in the group, or I could not get my eyebrows arched because time got the best of me. I was in a place I had never been before having a new experience with people I love and who love me; and I was happy doing it.

Happiness is a choice.

The decision about where I should live was settled in one day. I went to a view an apartment community and was bummed that the unit was not up to par. I pulled over into a gas station and had a talk with my daddy God. I asked that He show me where I should live because I had been looking at homes and apartments for the past couple months to no avail. I looked online in the area where I was and found a great place. I called them and immediately went for a viewing. I loved the location, the apartment, the staff who assisted me, and the price. Even the online reviews were good.

Back in undergrad, I read a book called the Secret to Happiness by Alice Walker. She summed up that the secret to happiness is resistance. I beg to differ. The secret to happiness is trusting in the one who made you. Knowing that his plans for you are good. If you are in need of direction, you can stop at a figurative gas station and ask for help.

I am so excited about my future. I am excited about new adventures. I am asking and trusting God’s direction for me. I am learning how to be happy.