Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Five Things Kids Can Teach You About __________


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]G[/dropcap]od’s love? Greatness? Living? I don’t know how to finish the title, so I thought I’d give YOU the chance to fill in the blank.

I had a rough upbringing… not bad, just bumpy. I always thought of God as He who sat on the throne pointing his long judgmental finger in my face about the one pan I left soaking in the kitchen sink. I thought that if I didn’t do things juuuuust right, I’d be doomed to live in misery until I died and barely made it to Heaven. But when I had children, I didn’t feel that way about their shortcomings, and so it didn’t make sense that God would feel that way about me. So as I’ve loved my children, I’ve learned some things about God’s love for me. And as I’ve watched them grow, I’ve learned about faith and humility and forgiveness and loving. What I did not learn as a child, I am re-learning and re-experiencing as a mother.

So here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from my children about how I should interact with my Heavenly Father on a daily basis. It may be something different for you.

 

Stay hungry knowing you’re going to be fed.

Every hour or so it feels like B&B are begging for a snack. They’re always digging in the fruit bowl or snack jar looking for something to fill their bellies until they are content. Last week when I sprained my thumb, they demanded to know who was going to cook for them if I couldn’t. How hungry are we for God’s presence? Do we inquire of Him daily? Do we spend time with Him knowing He will respond and waiting for it? The Word says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” God’s very words are sustenance for us. They are strength for our day. And like our children, we should want to feast at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and enjoy snacks in between. Being spiritually hungry is a sign of spiritual health. Keep reading, keep praying, keep seeking until you are filled and able to pour out to others!

Rest when you need it.

Briana’s not much of a napper, but if Brandon’s tired, he’ll make himself a spot anywhere (usually my bed) and go right to sleep. As adults we run circles around ourselves thinking that if we don’t take care of every single item on the list, our entire world will crumble. My friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned about God in this year, it’s that He moves most when I’m at rest. I’m not saying kick your feet up every time you feel stressed. I’m saying we must work hard to find the place of rest in Him where we need not stress or feel condemned over things that won’t matter in the long run. Our God is not a hard taskmaster. Take a note from your children. Grab a pillow and blanket, and rest your head on the Father’s chest. Speak to Him about your cares, and watch things miraculously get checked off your list.

 

Ask for what you want expecting to receive.

Mommy, can I…? But mommy, it only costs… Mommy… Mommy… Mommy… pleeeeeaaaassseee!

They ask for any and everything that they want, and who am I to stop them from asking? Even if they can’t have it at the time, it is my desire as a mother to know what things interest them. I want to bless them when the time is right because I love them, and not because they necessarily deserve it. Why would God be any different? Old religious folk used to tell me not to bother God with small things, but how wrong were they!!! I believe that anything that matters to us, matters to God. I pray about my weight, my skin, my hair… things some would say are superficial. But if it matters to me, be it in my control or not, I talk to God about it. There’s nothing He desires more than our companionship. Our prayers do not make Him weary.

 

Remind God of what He promised you…. often.

When my kids ask to do something I’m uncertain about I say “We’ll see.” They cheer knowing there’s a chance of a positive outcome. If for some reason, we can’t bake cookies or go to Busch Gardens or wherever else they want, they say “But you promiiiiised…” Of course, I didn’t, but still there’s a lesson to be learned. God tells us to remind Him of His word. Children have no problem reminding of you what you said, did, thought, the face you made, et al. When you don’t see the outcome, remind God, in faith, of what He promised. The act of reminding Him shows that you believe His word is true and that He is able and willing to perform it. Leave the whiny bit off though… No one likes whining.

 

Make friends!

When Briana was a mere 19 months, she would squeak out simple phrases to let me know what she wanted. Well one day, I took the children to an indoor playground, and she walked her short diaper-laden self up to a toy car, climbed in next to another kid, and said “Do you watch Caillou?” I. Was. Floored. I had no idea my baby could speak in complete sentences, use vocal inflection, and communicate her personal interests. Even now, I watch B&B walk up to other kids in the grocery store and carry on complete conversations about where they attend school, etc. I’m 30. I can’t do that. But my children understand something that I’m still learning. We cannot complete this walk alone, and to make friends we must first be friendly. B&B force me to come out of my introverted self, smile, and show kindness to others. After all, God uses people to show His love for us.

 

[quote] At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is really the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven at all. (Matthew 18:1-3) [/quote]

 

What lessons have you learned from your children?
And how did you fill in the blank?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Plight of FB Relationship Statuses


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap] first signed up for Facebook after my former husband and I separated. He had secretly acquired an account, and since everything was going downhill between us anyway, I decided to get an account of my own. Not for the purposes of meeting people or anything… I just wanted to see what the hype was about. I wasn’t very tech savvy at the time, and all I knew was that I could reconnect with folks from high school and college.

So I created my little account, plugged in all the requisite information, and looked it over. My life in boxes on white and blue background. The only other speck of color on that page was the red heart with “Married” beside it.

Oh. Heck. To. The. Nah.

I didn’t want to change it to “Single” and definitely not “It’s complicated.” So I deleted it.

And what slides down my meager News Feed?

Alana is no longer listed as “married.”

Before I even saw the damage I’d done, my phone starts to buzz and ring with the kind of tune we only give to our mothers. She was on “Team Soon-To-Be-Ex-Husband” and was livid that I’d post such a thing. I explained as best I could that I had no idea it was there or what I needed to do to fix it. I managed to delete that little tidbit from my news feed before anyone commented.

Since then my relationship status has either read “Single” or hasn’t been visible at all. Why? Because inadvertently, I’m an over-sharer. And this was one area in which I KNEW I could not lack discretion.

So this post is for those who feel that you should update your statuses every time there’s a change in your romantic status. It’s silly to think people won’t judge you based on what you post, and you may not care. But you should… After all, you will need job references, character references, friends in the future. Being a recovering judgmentalist (that’s a word now), this is what I try not to think when I see your updates. And it’s not all negative…

 

“Single”

And there’s that “Interested in…” box which tells us you view FB as a viable dating site. Nothing wrong with being resourceful!!! If you want people to know you’re ready to mingle, then you might as well advertise. When I’ve had “single” posted, I found I was hit on more often by men who were not on my friend’s list. I can do without the inappropriate comments about my features, so I don’ t even have my single status visible on FB. Anything posted welcomes discussion, and it’s no one’s business but mine until I’m ready to share it.

“In an open relationship”

What exactly is an open relationship? Dating? If this is the case, then why is this worthy to share with your circle of people? When you truly understand the process of dating and courtship, you know that when you’re dating everyone doesn’t need to know. You’re getting to know that person, and that process takes time. Assuming he or she is a great person, you don’t want to invite others in to ruin what you’re developing. Assuming he or she is less than stellar (i.e. shiesty, trifling), you’ve damaged your own reputation through association. This is one status that should never be posted.

“In a relationship”

I’m happy for you… really I am (even though you just told me last week that you wanted to hang out). I would not be comfortable sharing this tidbit until 3-6 months into the relationship. I know some of you fellas get sucked into because your lady absolutely insists, but let’s be wise. And if you have that “with….” phrase going on, you know we’re checking. It’s funny how some folks stream of boyfriends/girlfriends have the same look and demeanor. But y’all don’t wanna learn! Ah well! Should the relationship regress, get rid of the “with…” phrase first, then delete your relationship status altogether. Wait a month or so before posting “single.” A break-up is a dagger on its own. No need having your thousand or so friends comment on it… You might have lost a love, but keep your dignity.

“It’s Complicated!”

I could cuss every time I see this. Why is it complicated? Are you in or out? I’ve resolved to have peace in every aspect of my life, and I’ll be doggoned if I let a man come in and complicate things then tell FB about. You know how you fix a complicated relationship? Get out of it! Relationships are supposed to make our lives better, not worse. Alas, there is a host of folk who love drama. Carry on while the rest of us snicker at your indiscretion.

“Engaged/Married”

I love seeing these, but I have one request here. Please make this status visible to EVERYONE, not just those on your friend’s list. Love, in its true form, needs to be celebrated more!

 

The intent of this post is not to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do on “your” FB page, but to give you an idea of what message you’re sending about yourself.

One final note… should your status change multiple times within six months, just stop posting. Seriously… stop it. Your significant other should honor your need for discretion until a more appropriate time. After all, you’re going to post those subliminal updates about how much fun you had the night before anyway… We’ll know you’re taken. 🙂

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for tasteful social networking,

 

Alana

Photo Credit: Constantine Belias via Compfight

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

The (Mis)Classification of Menfolk: Why You’ve Been Friend-Zoned


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]D[/dropcap]ear Fellas,

You absolutely must know why we limit our interactions with you to equal to or less than platonic measures. To be perfectly honest, it may be your fault. Then again, it may not be. This is going to hurt a little, but don’t squirm too much or others will notice.

No point in belaboring the introduction. Let’s get right to it!

 

We may not be dating.

It seems I’m not the only person on a dating sabbatical. If a woman says she’s not dating, let it be. I don’t mind answering “why”, but there’s nothing you’re going to tell me that will change my mind. God knows the time we’ve committed to Him, and if you’re the one, then you’ll wait patiently til the egg timer goes off.

 

We’re just not attracted to you in that way.

Incredibly witty, unattractive men greatly abound in this world. Let’s face it… attraction, subjective as it may be, is still very important to us (but not quite as important as it is to you). Fret not. We won’t tell you that’s the reason. We will keep our fingers crossed that someone will soon swoon for your looks and charm. I’d be remissed to imply that only physical attraction matters here. Sometimes there’s simply no common interest. So you’re big into Hip Hop culture? Cool. That’s not me. No need to hobble down that path…

 

You’ve talked yourself out of a chance.

Within two conversations some of you list everything that everyone has ever rejected you for. You’re too short. Too tall. You have really bad breath in the morning. Something’s wrong with your man meat. T–M-FREAKING-I! We care very little as to why someone else has rejected you, but we care very much that you still care. Women are attracted to confident, not cocky, men. We’re not asking you to brag or impress, but to show that you have a healthy love and respect for yourself. After all, if you make it to hubby status then you must love us as you love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, well, the converse is true. There’s a time and place for transparency, but the first few conversations is not it.

 

Because when I called you “bro” you took it the wrong way.

If we address you as “bro” that does NOT mean, you don’t have a chance. It simply means we have not yet discerned the type of fella you are. We can’t call you “boo” without sending the wrong message about our intentions. I guess “sir” will do. But if you get upset over a simple “bro” then you will most likely get upset over something else just as minuscule. And let’s be for real– Not every woman wants you, and that’s ok too.

 

You’ve already made it clear that I’m not your type.

Everyone has preferences, and that’s fine. But if you constantly talk about the light-skinned, baby-haired woman who wears a size 6 with triple D cups…. Bro, that’s just not me or 99.999% of the women on this planet. Many of us are attracted to the very thing that will keep us in trouble. Sort out what you want and what you need. But I can’t be the person to help you bridge that gap. Once I’ve assessed that I’m not what you like, I will put you in a zone far from anything that resembles a romantic relationship. THIS is why you all get the pats on the backs during the hugs!! Farbeit from me to ask you to make an exception. Farbeit from you to make me your second, third, or fourth choice.

 

You’re far too aggressive.

I’ll be the first to say I love a manly man. But, sir, you cannot grab and kiss me the first time we meet. You cannot tell me what you want to do to me every time we chat. It’s far too much. Are you trying to conquer me, or get to know me? One will get you far. The other will get you in the SMS-zoned. (SMS zone is beneath the friend zone.) Keep it up, and you’ll land a spot on our Blacklist and receive an automatic SMS reply that reads “This text has been declined by the receiver because you are an @$$!”

 

One final thought… don’t take the friend zone personally. It’s quite alright if a woman doesn’t want to pursue anything more with you, and if you can’t handle that, then you really aren’t ready to date. If you are truly interested and your heart is in the right place concerning her, then you will wait and continue to pursue her until things change. In the meantime, be a great friend and show her that your integrity and charm is worth making her reconsider your (mis)classification.

 

What mistakes have led you to the friend zone of a woman you cared for?
What changes can you make in yourself to prevent this from happening time and time again? Would YOU date YOU?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future freedom from friend-zoning,

Alana

Image by Paul Goyette via Compfight

Being Saved, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Ninety Down: Flies in the Ointment

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap] hate flies.

They’re filthy, disgusting, annoying, and aggressive. Maybe it’s just where I live, but the flies in the burbs of Richmond will roll up on you, light up a cig, and blow the smoke in your face without thinking twice. And these nasty creatures–I’m not sure why God created them– were gathering at my back door.

Over 30 of these minuscule beasts were pressed against the glass panes buzzing “Give us us free.” They must’ve known I was coming for them because they hid in the blinds and soared around my apartment whenever I approached. And for an hour or so, the children and I took turns until every single fly revisited that window and disappeared into the swirling suction of my lavender vacuum cleaner hose.

Like any person with common sense, I looked for the source of the problem. There were no maggots in the trash can. (Thank goodness!) No gaps in the door. No gaps in the windows. I was at a loss…

…Until last week when I cleaned out the old clothes and toys from my daughter’s room. A foot to the left of her bed on the ceiling is a vent. Directly below the vent on the carpet– dead flies.

Nasty, filthy, stinking flies crept in unaware through an area that I had not considered because it was out of my reach. And because of my ignorance, a small swarm of flith-laden creatures had defiled our living spaces. (I thank God for the makers of Lysol and Clorox Anywhere Spray.)

And the old phrase, incomplete as it may seem, came to me…. “A fly in the ointment.”

Flies are attracted to anything with fragrance. They buzz around looking for the juiciest piece of fruit, hottest piece of chicken, or your finely-fragranced body butter. If we are diligent, we cover our wares and swat the flies away. But if we turn our backs for a moment, they contaminate, and something that was good just moments before ultimately gets tossed into the garbage.

And so it is with us, when we take on the lifestyle of a Christ-follower. We. Smell. Good. And the enemy knows he cannot get us to turn back to our life of sin, so he sends in the flies.

He sends in the annoying, the nit-picky, the continual harassment from people and circumstances. There’s a buzzing of my bank account on low, the texts from the guy who won’t kick rocks like I’ve asked him so many times, the forwarded emails with Tweety bird at the end!!! They all aggravate me to the point where I meditate on the wrong things, leaving my fragrance uncovered. Then the flies settle in making whatever beauty and grace I had completely distasteful and repulsive.

Aggravated. Frustrated. Exhausted.

 

[quote]Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour . (Ecclesiastes 10:1)[/quote]

 

A few flies have crept in over the past ninety days… By God’s grace I’ve found the sources and closed some of them. I’m cleaning out the remnants of disappointment and bitterness as I type. And I’ve managed to hide myself enough to discourage them from landing anywhere near me and mine. I’m guarding my heart and my mouth to no end.

So the bank account matter… I trust Him. The texts… Google Spam works wonders. The Tweety Bird forwards… Headed to the trash before they even seen my inbox. I’ve closed the vents.

Because what good is it for me to have suffered what I’ve suffered and lost what I’ve lost and gained what I’ve gained all unto God’s glory yet I bear a bad attitude and lack discretion? Why would I allow my precious relationship with Christ to become anything but by allowing small, nagging situations to enter and remain unchecked. We all have those rough days and weeks, but we cannot continually allow these matters to settle in our heart because they take away from the beautiful fragrance that God places on his people.

After all, flies aren’t the only ones attracted to us. So are the lost and the hurting. Who will embrace them if we don’t? And what hurting person ever seeks comfort from one who bears a bad attitude?

What negativity has been buzzing around you lately?
How can you be free close the vents even in situations where you have little control? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

Overcoming Sickness

This is my first podcast, and I hope to jump on the iTunes bandwagon soon. Here are the Scriptures used to support this teaching.

[button link=”http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/overcoming-sickness.mp3″ type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Play MP3[/button]

[box type=”download”] MP3 will open in another tab.[/box]

Luke 13:10-13

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

 

Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

Luke 1:37

With God, nothing is impossible.

 

John 9: 1-3

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!]

 

[button link=”http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/overcoming-sickness.mp3″ type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Download MP3[/button]

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Overcoming Temptation: Tipping the Struggle Scale

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W[/dropcap]e fall into two categories when it comes to temptation: “Struggling” and “Not Struggling”. To dig a little deeper those who are classified as “Not Struggling” are either totally delivered from a situation OR have no desire to fight against the very thing that’s keeping them bound. For those of you who see no wrong in indulging in your vices, this post is not for you.

I’ve struggled. In some ways, I’m still struggling but I’m definitely not falling like I used to. So you’re in good company, and I won’t tell your secrets if you won’t tell mine. Here’s what I had to learn about myself in regards to my weak (read “sinful”) areas.

[quote]But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15[/quote]

Lust brings forth sin and sin brings forth death. And lust, in this case, is not just a sexual term. Lust is any desire that takes you outside of God’s perfect plan for your life. It may be sexual, abuse of substances or people, cursing/cussing/complaining, gossip… fill in your blank.

So how do you tip the struggle scale to your favor? Start here.

 

READ YOUR BIBLE!!!

If I don’t offer any other steps, this piece alone is sufficient. Prayer does not work once you’re “in” the situation because your will is already compromised. The only way to stand in trying situations is to strengthen your spirit by reading the Word of God. As your spirit becomes stronger, your will becomes more aligned with God’s plan for your life and your desires start to change. You won’t see yourself or those shameful situations in the same light after some time. The Word is a lamp to show us where to go (and where not to go) and a light to make the truth evident. If you don’t read your Bible, you’re navigating your life in the dark!

 

Know your weakness & avoid it. 

Remember God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Temptation comes from within us. For example, put a fine chocolate-y, muscle-y brother in front of me, and I might be tempted. Pour a glass of Crown Royal and dangle it before my eyes, and I won’t blink twice. My lust is not for alcohol, so I cannot be tempted by it. I plead the fifth on the former situation, however. So until I’m able to stand, I should not put myself in those situations. So many folk have criticized me by saying “Don’t you have any self-control?” Well, no, I don’t. And bless God, I’m honest with myself and therefore I can avoid trouble.

 

Check your fellowship.

Somewhere in the Bible it says that we should not fellowship with brethren that we know are fornicators (in the KJV) and acting against God’s ordinances (1 Corinthians 5:11). By brethren the Scripture refers to those who identify themselves as Christ-followers. There is a two-fold purpose here. We cannot condone the continual sin of a person who calls him or herself a Christ-follower, so they must be given some space to allow God to change their hearts. A STRONGER reason is that eating with a person (and fellowshipping in general) is a way in which soul ties are formed, and wherever there are soul ties spirits and desires will transfer. (Bad company corrupts good manners, don’t you know?) Though your friend may not be malicious, the enemy certainly is. You’ll have to limit your ties with such a person to preserve your own soul.

 

Love God MORE!

Who I am to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like? Feelings in and of themselves are not evil, but actions are what bring  judgment. You might like to smoke a little “reefer” (that word makes me snicker), but you have to love God more to find your freedom. There are times in our walk when we find ourselves halfway between a place of sin and a place of prayer. Just choose to love God more, and He’ll handle the rest. Remember where sin abounds grace SUPERABOUNDS!!! (Romans 5:20– This is truly one of my favorite Bible verses.)

 

Consecrate yourself.

No one likes to do this, but nothing will break your nasty habits better than fasting and praying. I can fast for 3 days and see major changes in my most basic desires. Sometimes you have to literally starve your desires, and you do this by overruling your flesh with your spirit. BE HUNGRY FOR GOD!!! This also means that any influence that glorifies your lust issue should be cut off until you can handle it. Personal example… I haven’t watched music videos or listened to most secular music regularly in years because I cannot handle its content. It drives me want to sin, so it must go! A proper fast will bring about a lifestyle change ultimately transforming your desires so you don’t even want to do the same things anymore.

 

All of these steps will help you to resist the enemy as opposed to falling and repenting multiple times. Just last week, I had all these crazy thoughts come to mind that didn’t seem like my own. I wasn’t able to rest because I was so busy thinking and worrying over small things. I heard in my spirit “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). So I rebuked him and all the thoughts went away. The enemy is legally obligated to run from you the moment you choose to shut him down. You are not helpless. You do not have to succumb to his advances.

I think back to a certain relationship when the person kept wronging me in the same way over and over again. After some time, sorry didn’t mean anything to me because I realized he was making a choice to give in to temptation. How much more does God hurt when we continually choose our lustful desires over Him, knowing that in the end we’re still broken and unsatisfied?

Selah.

What’s your personal struggle?
How many more times will you allow yourself to be defeated
when you’ve been given the commandment to overcome?!
And what good thing is waiting for you on the other side of victory? 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Family, Uncategorized

Parenting Whoa’s: I Did NOT See This Coming

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S[/dropcap]chool let out eleven days ago, and life with my children has been fast-forwarded. We’ve spent some time in karate class, at the gym, in the pool, and at home in front of Netflix. But other things are taking place. These jokers are growing at an alarming rate, and I can’t seem to keep up.

Here are the top three WHOA’S of my first 11 days with B&B and some of what you might be encountering with your children too.

 

They eat EVERYTHING including my healthy, mommy foods.

In one night after a dinner of BBQ chicken wings, boiled potatoes, and green beans, they knocked off some popcorn, milk, chocolate and strawberry syrups, a bag of grapes, bananas, and Doritos. They also finished off my imitation crab meat (left Old Bay sprinklings on the table) and giardinera. What six-year old likes to eat pickled cauliflower, carrots, and banana peppers?

Where did all these doggone toys come from and WHY are they mixed with clothes?

I’m not a cusser, but I feel a big, fat juicy one coming on when I ask them to put their clothes away, and drawers are left open with clothes seemingly vomited across the room. Then I take a step into the room and step on a Beyblade or a missing Barbie doll heel. Dagnabbit!!! Tomorrow we’re tackling the boy’s room. If I don’t post again in 24 hours, somebody come rescue me.

And the biggest WHOA of all… The first stages of puberty have emerged in one of the children.

I blame it on the hormones in our food (and genetics). But nothing prepared me for the conversation I had to have with my son today… God bless his dad for following up because some things I just can’t say. I figured as long as my son is still wearing his Thor helmet, cape, and carrying his mjolnir, all is well. (Thanks, Duana!) In the meantime, I’ll just hide all the pairs of scissors around my place to keep the kid from following through with his crazy idea. He’s truly my child because I remember thinking about snipping things away back then…

Shortly after we made this discovery, Brandon earned himself a popping on the arm. For a split second I felt like I’d popped a grown man, but when he looked at me with his baby eyes I was assured and comforted that he’s still my eight-year old baby. Oh the games our minds will play!

Somebody pass me a pamphlet and a box of Kleenex!

What unexpected surprises have you encountered with your children so far this summer? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

How to Shamelessly Catch a Guy at Church

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] L[/dropcap]ast year I wrote about the ploys women use to catch a guy’s attention at the gym. Sad to say, but this happens in church as well. What better place is there to secure the right guy for you? He knows God, is humble, and possibly in ministry… right?

Hmmm…

And before you all start pointing any fingers, let me just say there isn’t ONE single man that is a member of the church I attend… maybe there is one, but he’s far too young for me. Now before you start picking apart my words and finding a loophole, let’s get to the steps.

  1. Find the right church. Now we know single, Black men are few and far between in some of our churches so you’ve got to scope out the best location. Smaller country churches with lots of married couples and a few singles sprinkled throughout are best. You might as well forget the mega-churches. Those brothers have already been scoped out, and the competition will be far too stiff.
  2. Don’t overdress. Save the bright red dress for date night, honey. Demure and attractive is best. Wear “get-em-girl” dress if you must, but then you might intimidate the heck out of your future boo.
  3. Your hair and make-up MUST be perfect. A low bun just won’t do, ladies. Whatever style you choose, be sure it accentuates your best features and glistens under the bright church lights. Make sure your lip gloss is popping, and don’t forget the waterproof mascara for when the Spirit moves you.
  4. Sit within gazing distance. You want to be where you can see him seeing you. Avoid direct eye contact, and DO NOT SIT BESIDE HIM! I saw a lady do this once. She sat her self right next to a fella and kept standing up and poking her ample bottom in his face. We’d like to think the guy continued to sit there, right? Not this guy! He got up and mooooooved!!! I cheered for him in my thoughts…
  5. You better praise Him. After all, what decent brother wants a woman who doesn’t enter in during praise and worship? I’m not saying you gotta shout and holler (please don’t), but you need to clap your hands to the beat, sing, and dance a little. Show that you don’t mind getting down for Jesus. When the Spirit gets moving and you feel a tear coming, remember to dab (not wipe) your make-up.
  6. When it’s time to greet your neighbor, head his way but completely avoid him. Hug at least one person from each of the following groups: a female close to your age, a small child, and an elderly person. And, honey, you better griiiiiinnn like there’s no tomorrow.  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with him. I mean your eyes need to dance around him like he isn’t there at all. He will work harder to make himself more visible later.
  7. After service is over meander at your seat, but look busy. Take your time putting away your notebooks, pens, and highlighters. Say goodbye to your closest neighbors and offer your business card (or two) to one of the married couples in the church. Gracefully head to the door. He will find his way to you even if it’s not until you reach the parking lot.
  8. If he doesn’t speak, fret not thyself. You’ve made your presence known, honey! Rest assured he’ll ask around…. more specifically to the married couple that to whom you passed the business cards. Well, played, lady. Well played.

So I’m not completely serious about this. In no way do I recommend that any woman should take these steps seriously, but if you’re willing to try, who am I to stop you? There’s nothing here that’s wrong in and of itself. But should you be so bold, make sure you find your want to the “Contact Me” tab above and share your story.

On a serious note, kingdom women who desire companionship must demonstrate self-respect. Leave all the desperation, loneliness, and attention-seeking at home in your prayer closet. On a more serious note, don’t go to church looking for a boo. Seek God, and He’ll send the right one in the right time. Yeah, I know it sucks… Ugh.

[quote]I’ve learned that any man that you attract by your own efforts will fall short of what you truly desire.
Every. Single. Time. God knows what we truly desire and need.[/quote]

 

In the meantime, ain’t nothing wrong with being a little coy…

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Letter to the Married Brother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] D [/dropcap]ear Sir,

 

Need I remind you of the nights you prayed for the warm body that shares your bed?

Need I remind you of the countless dates with women who could not hold your heart or even a worthwhile conversation?

Need I remind you that Christian couples are divorcing everyday and there are consequences called child support alimony?

Yet you risk it all through emails, texts, and private messages. No, the  content may not be inappropriate but it is questionable. And the question to ask yourself is this…

 [quote]If your wife saw this, how would she feel? Your pastor? Your children?

Is this something you’d be proud of IF and WHEN it is revealed?[/quote]

Let me remind you that the Lord sees the intent of our hearts, and though you may be lonely…

Though you may feel neglected…

Though you may be searching…

You are still married, and I am not your wife.

 

Unless there is a defined purpose for a relationship AND that relationship is public, there is no need for us to communicate continually. I need not be welcomed into your life. I don’t need to answer all your questions. No “just because”, “goodnight” or “good morning” emails should cross my networking threshold.

Where is your integrity, man of God? Have you yet to learn that no one can satisfy your soul but God Himself?

Just as you seek to be comforted and entertained, the enemy seeks to destroy YOU. He doesn’t care about your job, your family, or your ministry. He wants your soul. And he will bring you a Delilah when you’re at your lowest point.

 

You’ve found yourself at a stand still and wondered why your prayers are not being answered, yet you do not serve God or your wife with fidelity. How could He bless you when you don’t protect the blessings you already have?

 

If you’ve got to send that message early in the morning or late at night…

If you delete every exchange of conversation…

If you’ve never expressed the objective of the conversation without identifying who you are (and being married is part of that)…

You’re wrong. And I forgive you for trying to use me to soothe your own insecurities.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #3: They Just Keep Leaving

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] H [/dropcap]ow many times have you met someone and started a continual stream of great conversations only to have the communication come to a screeching halt? Then pick back up again… Then stop. Again.

It happens more than we care to admit, and it happens with men and women who identify themselves as Christ-followers.

And it’s WRONG! Any action that causes one to feel deserted or abandoned is one that is displeasing to God.

I remember sitting with my old pastor and telling him about this man he sent to date me. Everything was going along fine until we had a disagreement about something, and the brother disappeared for 3 days. What really made me angry was that this guy and I had shared things that were deal-breakers, and disappearing acts are numero uno for me. So having known this, he made a conscious decision to break a date, not call, and completely disappear. He had a good reason of course. There’s always– and by always, I mean never– a good reason to abandon someone that you’ve made a part of your life. I’m not quite sure why he was upset about my ending the relationship, but I digress.

My pastor looked at me puzzled and asked for clarification. The more I explained what took place (which was a very simple story) the more confused he became. He offered me no solace except to say he was sorry, and that really was good enough. Two years later I can confidently say that in THAT particular situation I was NOT at fault for the brother’s choice to abandon, but something I did made him think he could get away with it. (Even though the pastor sent him, I didn’t have to date him.)

Fast-forward a year and some change, and I’m enjoying a long-distance friendship with a very kind fella. Things start to get busy at work, and I find myself overwhelmed with everything! So our conversations were limited in time and frequency, but they didn’t stop altogether. I started to lose interest, and so made myself even more unavailable. His reaction was… ummm… which made me like him even less. I shared my feelings with him, and though I didn’t expect him to receive it well, I didn’t expect him to throw a hissy fit and delete me from Facebook. (Pardon me while I snicker…) This person was the assistant pastor of a church and behaved like a big baby. He was so used to women abandoning him that he thought he’d jump the gun and abandon me. Even though I would’ve liked to just up and disappear on him, I knew that God would not be pleased which is why I openly shared that he wasn’t right for me.

I was wrong in both situations. I began to write two lists, one for the role of the abandonee and one for the abandon-er, but I find that the core issues are essentially the same. So let’s see what we can glean from these matters:

  1. Abandonment stems from and creates emotional instability. Many of us grew up in single-parent homes or homes where one parent was present but only in the physical sense. We’ve come to think that abandonment is a normal and acceptable part of life, and we become predatory daters, self-seeking and totally un-Christlike. Rest assured that if you are up and disappearing on folk you are hurting them because YOU are hurt. Take a seat and allow God to deal with your heart before you rack up too many more broken hearts.
  2. You are your brother’s and sister’s keeper. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. It is our duty to guard and protect one another’s souls, not to bring harm. God is love, but He’s also a judge. Be ye careful…
  3. You will leave every romantic relationship but one, so learn to do it the right way. It’s not easy to tell someone that you’re no longer interested, but you owe them and yourself the respect to do so. Check out How to Break Up and Stay That Way for some helpful guidelines.
  4. One who makes promises early on is more than likely unable to keep them. Don’t bother believing or accepting the well-meaning lies. “You’re the one for me… I just know it.” Oop. We don’t know these things until a measure of time has passed and we’ve seen the character of the person. People will sell you a lie thinking they’re telling the truth. Protect your heart and be spirit led.
  5. Don’t tell everything on your heart. In the first scenario I alluded to the fact that I did something to make this brother think he could play games with my emotions. I told him entirely too much about my feelings towards him. He used my feelings as leverage to attempt to manipulate me. When I broke things off, he said to me “But I thought you said I was everything you asked God for.” If that ain’t a big ol’ slap in the face…
  6. Slow your roll! We move entirely too fast. It’s ok to change to subject or make yourself busy so you can slow things down. Talking everyday all day is a guaranteed way to tell too much too soon.
  7. Sometimes a “gentle” rebuke is needed. In the second scenario I was irate about the way the buddy boy carried himself. I called him up and laid him out. I’m not inclined to telling people off, but his actions warranted it. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t be so easily hurt and defensive. He apologized for his actions, and we were able to restore our friendship… minimally.
  8. When they walk, let them. They’ve made their choice. All that “let’s make it work” talk is reserved for marriage. You don’t “make” things work with someone you’re just dating. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
  9. Sometimes you’ll have to give a gentle push. Some people don’t know how to take a break-up. After saying the words, you’ll have to prove to them you mean business. Egos are big in these cases. Worry not about bruising them.
  10. If you’re going to be by yourself, then BE BY YOURSELF! A few weeks ago a young lady sent a tweet to someone asking for advice. Her boyfriend never answered the phone when she called. The person responded by saying “Sounds like you don’t really have a boyfriend. Let him go.” My last relationship was just like this. Being lonely in a relationship is far worse than being lonely outside of one. (But here’s a tip… loneliness eventually goes away if you learn to enjoy your own company.)
In the greater scheme of things, God will allow you to be abandoned continually until you learn to better handle yourself in dating situations. He will permit for you what you permit for yourself. Accepting the same type of mess from people will cause further damage to your already broken heart, and will ultimately push your goal of being happily married further down the line.
People will leave your life, and that’s ok. Let them go and rest assured that when you trust in God, you will NOT be disappointed!

Do you have a “precautionary dating tale” to share? I’d love to hear about it… anonymously of course! Tell me your story, and join CTheLily Newsletter so you’re updating to its posting. And of course,  only share your identity if you wish!  Here’s the link!

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net