Being Saved, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

In school I was a beast… neeeever failed a test. Really I never earned a grade below a B. I’d do my little nerd duties, i.e., pay attention in class, take good notes, tutor my friends, study if I didn’t know it, but for the most part high school was a breeze. I never had to conquer academic failure.

Until I took the driving test… Listen. This is the first time I’m telling this story. And I’m not talking about the actual “driving” test. I’m talking about the multiple choice test you take that cuts you off after you get 3 or so questions wrong. Yeah, I failed it. My little cocky behind read through the book a few times but didn’t learn a THANG! My heart was so heavy that I didn’t test again for another year. I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Humiliated at my little secret. Please don’t tease me. That question about which way to turn the wheels when you’re parked on a hill is confusing. You probably got it wrong too.

That silly, little failure held me down for quite some time. But since high school graduation, I’ve had to grapple with real life struggles and their corresponding failures. While I was busy learning stoichiometry and projectile motion in science classes, I wasn’t learning the velocity (speed and direction) at which I should run when those freaky college football players approached. And while I analyzed poetry and prose for imagery, tone, and literary devices, I wasn’t learning how to communicate my thoughts with respect and kindness for others. And while I sat in my advanced math classes, I wasn’t learning how to manage my money.

Honestly I’d forgotten about the driving test scenario but forgetting and recovering are two totally different things. I discovered a few months back that some of my fellow nerds had the same challenge… *does shouting dance for not being the only book nerd without a learner’s permit at 15* What a joy to find I am not alone!

Wouldn’t it be grand to have life, REAL life, measured on the same scale as those silly objective tests we had in school? No? For me, absolutely. Because, here I am, divorced. Single mom of two. Trying haaard to live for Christ. With a new job. In a new place. Just had a car accident. Money tighter than ever. Looking for a church fam. Praying for new friends.

I. Am. Failing.

I laid on my face a few mornings ago and cried out to God specifically about my struggles. Then I got up to wash my face, and He spoke. (Oh, I love how He lets you get the frustration out, but I’ve learned He woke speak on the matter until we’re settled in our faith to BELIEVE Him. I had to quiet my emotions so I could hear.)

If you can learn to endure failure, you will pass the test.

This was after a gentle reminder about Peter– the brother we judge so harshly for denying Christ. Yet I’m not so sure I could stand in a test like that. But somehow after Peter screwed up he got himself together and was promoted while everyone else remained a disciple (Mark 16:7).

It’s not easy to always do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing isn’t cut and dry. Other times we walk into trouble eyes wide open. But after the fact, what we thought we’d try or might have been okay has left it’s sinful, burdening residue on us. And we feel like trash. Peter had to have felt like premium garbage when the cock crowed. But he didn’t join Judas on the tree…

So I’m learning, not so much the answers to the test, but strategies to pass it. I’ll test a concept here and there, and should I fail, I keep going. Because life doesn’t end after the paycheck runs out. And the week you put on an extra pound, you don’t become unattractive. And should you slide down that slippery slope of sexual desire, God doesn’t change His mind on whether He’ll give you a mate.

I’d like to hear from my readers.
Was there a time or situation in which you kept failing, but eventually came out on top?
Or maybe there’s something you’re struggling with now, but you’ve found a few ways to avoid failure.
How do you overcome after suffering the consequences of a bad choice?

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Being Smart, Uncategorized

I get so annoyed with the “blessed and highly favored” response church folks use to answer to a simple “How are you?” It comes loaded with a sense of self-righteousness, entitlement, snobbery, and a good dose of deceitfulness. Ma’am, just because you’re wearing a suit and hat from the Churchgirl Boutique does not mean you’re favored by God. Same thing goes for you, Mr. Pointy-toe Shoe Wearer. It’s foolish to brag on something that we can’t provide for ourselves. I haven’t always had God’s favor in my life, but I noticed a change two years ago, and again in the last six months. favor has really begun to overtake me.

How do I  know? My prayers are answered almost immediately. Then when I’m out and about, people bless me with things that I specifically ask God for— not with a bunch of stuff they don’t want, but with their time, their help, resources. They don’t know why they’re giving it, but they turn around, look at me, and pass it right on. And I can do nothing but praise Him in that moment!

Here’s I’ve learned about favor through my process of having none to really enjoying its perks.

Favor is a natural response to our obedience to God and His Word.

For many years things were going wrong for me. I seldom received blessings but always prayed for them, so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me why I wasn’t being blessed. Not too long thereafter I drove past a very nice car with a young woman inside. Her license plate read “Obdnt1”. OBEDIENT ONE!!! You’d think I would have been more aware of my heart’s condition, but I had really forgotten about the man I was sleeping with against God’s commands. How deceitful our hearts can be! Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The fact of the matter is sin is ugly to God and when we partake in it, we become ugly spiritually and soulishly. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, people respond negatively to this ugliness, and our lives cannot be blessed when our hearts are far away from God.

When you start to favor God just as a child favors his parent, people will favor you.

One of the coolest things about watching a child grow is seeing how their personality and features change over time. Children start to FAVOR one parent and as a result draw the attractions of those who favored that parent. When Little Leroy starts looking like Big Leroy, momma loves on him all the more along with daddy and granny and Big Leroy’s cousins. As I walked through a grocery store one day, the Lord spoke to me softly and said “The reason you have favor on your life is because you favor Me.” In other words, because I’ve started to favor Him, i.e., act like Him and think like Him, His grace and beauty is ON me. People are ALWAYS attracted to God’s beauty whether they know it or not. That’s why I can stand in line behind someone and they pass me a stack of coupons or pay for my entire cart of party food or give me extras without my asking. When you carry the presence of the Lord, or’s become and’s. People are drawn to God ON you and show favor…. even when they don’t want to!

Favor causes the blessings of the Lord to overtake you.

I received a prophetic word in 2010 saying that blessings would trickle in at first, but over time would rush out and overtake me. I’m beginning to see the overtaking. Not only have I moved and been assigned a job that I love, I’ve also been asked to contribute to an international project, co-author a science skills book, edit a text by a friend, and continued in several other projects. These opportunities are blessings and there are so many (I still want more) that I’m overwhelmed by the impact of them!   God’s Word says Deuteronomy 28:2 “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.” All which blessings? Read the rest of Deuteronomy 28 to find out!

The scripture says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature AND in favor with God and man, and He did so by hearing and obeying the voice of the Father. If we want to be overtaken with God’s blessings– and you should want this– then do the simple things you already know to do. Read your Bible. Pray. Open your heart and mind to receive from Him. Accept the fact that the way you may be doing things is wrong and allow Him to change you from the inside out.

Love God for who He is, and not for the benefits that He gives, and favor will cover and lead your life.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Side note: Just thinking of the many ways we use the word favor… Party favors and wedding favors are given as a “something to remember us by.” When you enter a room does your presence cause those around you to experience or recall what they know of God? You are (or should be) Heaven’s party favor!!! LOL!

Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

Are You KIDDING Me? I HATE Third Grade Homework

What do you mean you need help rounding to thousands? We spent an hour rounding to hundreds yesterday. You forgot what? Try it for ten minutes. Eight minutes to go. Four minutes more. Ok… I’m cooking dinner. WHY ARE YOU CRYING OVER A WORKSHEET?! Remember what we did yesterday? Look at the number to the right… if it’s five or higher, you round up? Oh?! You got it now. Ok. Do it.

Five minutes later I glance over his shoulder confident that he’s completed the worksheet correctly. I mean he DID tell me he knew how to do it. He cut me off in the process of reminding him. Surely… But what do I find but various numbers rounded to whichever place value he so chose? Some folk would call this creativity. I call it annoying.

I understand a child’s need to be a free thinker. I get that little boys want to take the easy way out instead of doing things right the first time. My kid is sharp as a tack and perfectly capable, but this worksheet took us an hour. *inserts expletive*

Brandon knew he was wrong because any time I made a sudden movement he would jump. He knew he wasn’t doing his best. He knew those crocodile tears weren’t going to work on me, but felt the need to try his hand at manipulation anyway. So I sent him to find a Bible while I gathered paper and pencil. I picked a chapter, and he started copying.

Here’s why.

  • I needed to find the root of the problem. At lower grade levels kids aren’t doing anything so hard it’s impossible to understand, so work ethic is probably the issue. Does your child tend to his chores half-assedly? You’ll have to tackle this problem on all sides. Give them a task and make them finish it to completion. No side-steps, cheats, or help. Excellence is the goal!
  • He needed to be spiritually settled. After a long day, kids are tired and out of sorts. I had Brandon copy a few verses out of the Bible to settle him. IT WORKED! He came back to the task focused and ready to do his best. Their spirits need to be fed just like ours.
  • I needed to change my schedule. Up until this year homework time has been a breeze. Fortunately, I get off work at 2:30ish and I can pick up the kids, bring them home, and spend my time working with them. Before I’d let them go to after-care and play until they were content. We don’t have that luxury until a certain someone starts rounding and subtracting properly, so until he gets it right, mommy’s time is his time.
  • I needed to stick it out with him. Yes, it’s HIS education, but he is a child and doesn’t know what’s good for him all the time. I don’t sit beside him the entire time or make myself completely available, but I’m close by. I may be in another room folding clothes or stirring a pot, but every so often I happen to walk past him to make sure he’s on task with a good attitude. If he asks for help,he will wait a minute or two before he gets it. I’m teaching him to stick to the task, but not abandoning him in the process. (As a teacher, I straight up abandon older kids. By 16, you really don’t need me every minute.)
So we’ve implemented a new daily plan. I’ll let the kids play at after-care until 4:30ish and bring them home. They know to get their snack and to grab a Bible and pick up where they left off. The younger child is simply copying one verse 5 times. The older child is copying 5-6 verses a day from a chapter until the chapter is complete. They’re spirits are being fed, and can I just testify that last night, the rounding worksheet took him 15 minutes and only THAT long because he was a little messy. But he got everything right the first time around!!
Attitude change made all the difference.
So I kinda misspoke earlier… what really happened was that I told Brandon to copy Philippians 4:13 ten times, but in his usual way, he “misheard” me and just started at verse one. I let him continue. So yesterday when he finally got to verse 13, he looked up at me. I KNOW WHY YOU MADE ME DO THIS! Yes, Brandon. Now you know. Keep copying.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your kid’s educational future and your sanity,

Alana

Photo comment: For those concerned about B&B’s vision per the featured photo, they were trying on glasses for fun. No worries… yet.

 

 

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Right Way to Go Dutch

Last week some time I watched a video where the speaker proposed that women should insist to pay for their own food the first date to test a man’s character. Ultimately, the man’s ego should kick in and he should pay. The speaker then said that if a woman really wanted to make a man want her, she should pay for the first 2 to 3 dates to say “You have to earn the right to pay for my food.”

Interesting, no? While I get his point and subscribe to the general theme of inquiring into a fella’s character, I feel like the tactic suggested is a little too game-y for my personality. Some of you more liberated women might feel comfortable doing this, but I’ll need to find out about his character in other ways. Plus I’m not going back and forth with anybody… Ain’t my cup of tea.

Am I saying I’m unwilling to pay for a date? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But under MY terms. I’m a  little more old school than most women my age. I date for the purposes of finding a potential mate, not so much for fun, but it does have to be fun if I am to continue. And if a fella can’t afford to date me, then he can’t afford to provide for me in marriage. Somebody just called me a gold digger, but it’s the same woman who entertains free-loading men, so ma’am, your opinion doesn’t count here.

So back to going Dutch… let’s look at how this thing could actually work…. or not.

 

“I pay for my order. You pay for yours.”

Between platonic friends, going Dutch is appropriate. But if there’s romantic interest involved, the gentleman pays UNLESS the woman has asked him out (which is another blog in and of itself). If a man wants to spend time with a quality lady then forking over some cash is not too much to ask. He should plan a date within his means (use Groupon & LivingSocial to up the quality) should she agree to go out with him. Why do I think this should happen? Well for one, a man’s money is close to his heart. If he won’t spend money on the her, then he values himself more than the time she’s shared with him. For the fellas– if you plan a date within your means (with her desires in mind, of course) and she is disagreeable, then she’s not a match for you or she’s there for the wrong reason.

This day in age when women are so liberated and men are so— ummm— like women, it might be a good idea to clear the air before you go out. Throw in a little jokey joke… “Oh, I love their grilled Mahi dish? Do I need to bring my own $15.99, or nah?” Fellas, if you believe a woman should pay for herself, then be bad enough to tell her before you go out. Don’t wait until the check arrives.

Might I also add that it doesn’t hurt, ladies, to pick up a portion of the date. After he whips out his Black card for my Mahi dish, I may offer to pay for dessert. Some guys are perfectly content for you to leave the tip. It doesn’t hurt to offer something, but don’t let your offering be misleading. I’m not a liberated woman. You, sir, must pay for my meal.

Split the bill.

The only thing I can imagine more disrespectful than a man asking me to pay for my own meal at the table is his asking me to split the bill evenly. This was on a movie, but I can’t recall the name. The woman ordered a salad, and the man ordered a Porterhouse. He demanded they split the bill 50/50 because it was only “fair”. I would have to put my sweet demeanor away if that ever happened to me. Even if my meal cost more than his, I feel something about it turns me the wrong way though I can’t put my finger on it. A friend of mine once commented that whenever she goes out, she orders according to the amount in her purse. Ladies, until we know a guy’s willing and able to “cover” us, this may be the smart thing to do.

A positive way to split the bill, however,  might involve planning in advance. I’ll pay for dinner, and you pay for the movies. You buy the groceries, and I’ll cook. Or you pay for this movie, and I’ll pay for the next one. A beautiful partnership can develop between two people when this approach is taken. It’s kinda like saying “I’m interested in spending time with you, and I’m perfectly capable and willing to share the cost to build this relationship.” I like this method for splitting the bill, but ONLY after I know a little about his character, and I actually LIKE him.

One out of four.

Ladies, if you’re continuing to see a person and things are blooming, then it’s a good idea to pay for a date every so often. You can either surprise him at the end of a meal, or ask him out after 2 or 3 successful dates. Tell him it’s your treat. Stay within your means and plan something you’ll both enjoy. If you’re a woman inclined to giving too much, then limit yourself on purpose. Mr. Ford was right. Once a fella knows you’re wrapped around his finger, you lose! Might I add, if you’re a great cook, then it might be a good time to show that off a little.

 

If you find dating burdensome financially or otherwise, then you might join me in sitting at home on Friday nights watching Netflix and tweeting til exhaustion sets in. Dating should be an expression of your freedom and maturity as an adult, not an activity that demands others to pass a test to keep moving forward. We all have our preferences, but there’s no sense in gaming and inciting a response when everything you need to know God will reveal.

Our methods for finding a match have become far too convoluted and messy. If we could just look back a few generations when love and marriages stood the test of time and find out WHY they did things a certain way, then we may be better off for it. Be transparent. Be truthful. Be respectful. Be Christlike.

What kind of love story would you want to tell your kids?  Think about that.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for you future,

 

Alana

Featured photo by Creative Commons License Dan4th Nicholas via Compfight

Being Smart, Family

How to Raise a Jerk

I know that sounds horrible, but I really don’t believe any parent sets out to raise a self-indulged, arrogant person who rubs folks the wrong way at work, church, and home . But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, things happen– or don’t happen– and children leave the nest with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a nasty attitude.

This jerk epidemic, ladies & gentlemen, is universal. Jerks are not limited to one race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class. They are as common as flu virus we’ll all be avoiding in a month or two, and twice as infectious. And, I hate to admit it, but I see jerk tendencies in one of my children. While I realize that selfish behavior is common at age 8, I find that as he grows he becomes harder to handle. I won’t blame anyone for it, but I can say that this little nastiness won’t be tolerated in my home. Y’all pray for me. Pray for his rear end too.

And so this morning on my drive to work, I thought of men and women who are self-confessed jerks and connected the dots. Sometime back in the 80’s lived a child with a strong sense of self, wasn’t disciplined, didn’t learn to care for others, only sought his or her own purposes, and now walks around with 8-year old sensibilities though he or she may be 28 or 38. Ugh. If this is you, I’m sorry. But let’s grow together. Lol.

Just in case you ever DID want to raise a jerk, here’s how to do it:

  1. Tell the child “no”, but give in. I’m bad with this, and this might be why my kiddo pushes me to the limit some days.
  2. Teach them that their qualities and gifts make them better than others.  Bring balance to the conversation and help them find ways in which to grow as caring human beings.
  3. Teach them that everyone needs their help. As opposed to offering it kindly as a service, some feel they can fix others. God is not nearly as impressed with the act as He is with the manner in which we offer it.
  4. Allow them to think their rights and wants are more important than the needs of others. No parent directly teaches this (I hope), but if your child is a squeaky wheel he or she may get more oil than they really need. Teach them to hush up and submit to you and to their siblings. Then again, I have heard parents say things like “Get yours, boo boo. Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.” Bad business…
  5. Allow them to think that they’re blessed because of their own goodness. Nawl. It’s because you work hard and love their little stinking butts. Grace is a gift! Kids are capable of understanding this. When mine need a spanking, they request grace and mercy, and too often they get it.
  6. Permit them to speak their mind without reservation. I believe in open forums with respectful tone for the most part, but I don’t want my children thinking that they can speak all of their mind to the world. My daddy made me study frowardness as a child, and it taught me early on that it’s best to just keep quiet about most things and until I’ve acquired wisdom in that area.
  7. Give your child everything he or she wants. Say no at least 2 out of 5 times or as often as you need.
  8. Allow them to display their emotions any way they choose. Even when they’re tired or there’s tension in the family, a child should still be expected to behave. Give them space to vent, then reel them back in. Being tired or sad is not an excuse for being rude and disrespectful. Deal with whichever issue is more pressing first. Sometimes sadness or anger supersedes the need for discipline, other times they’re just being manipulative.
  9. Tear them down with harsh words and unkindness. Kids who are constantly belittled seek ways to build themselves back up. You ever met a State Trooper who was bitingly sarcastic and almost cruel? I suspect this is why.
  10. Withhold love and affection. Some days they can be so needy and I can be so empty, but I take a few minutes to gather myself, then give them the hugs and kisses they need. Without it children will surely act out and become hardened to affection as they approach adulthood. Unless you want your child’s future spouse crying on your shoulder, give your kids what they need while you still can.

 

I think we’d all agree we want our kids to be confident in who they are, but still compassionate towards others. I know that I have work to do with my little ones, but I’m determined to press forward until my kiddo is the kingly young man that God has destined him to be. I know you’ll do the same for yours.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: By imagerymajestic freedigitalimages.net

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Getting to Know You…via SMS: The Don’ts


Earlier today I shared six appropriate actions for getting to know someone via text. I shall not belabor the intro, so here are the corresponding DON’Ts!!

  1. Text about things like goals, dream, emotions, etc. It’s super easy to say whatever you think a person wants to hear via SMS. Master manipulators will suck you into a heart-wrenching conversation via text and leave you to your emotions. There’s far too much room for romanticism and misinterpretation. Should someone do this to you, redirect the conversation until a more appropriate time.
  2. Bombard them with multiple texts or ask them why they didn’t respond. How needy are you??!! Stop it. If you notice a negative pattern, then more the likely he or she is disinterested and/or playing games. Move on.
  3. Just stop texting. I am bad with this. If a response is dry or remotely arrogant, I tend to let the convo drop. Bad business, I know. But I’m making strides to improve. Won’t you join me? Even if they don’t deserve the courtesy of “ttyl,” I’m a quality person nontheless and so I should offer it.
  4. Respond to anything meaningful with “ok” or “lol” or “that’s what’s up” or any other dry response. Despite what you may think, a lack of interest is discernible via SMS. It’s relatively cold to draw someone into a conversation, entertain them, and then go cold. Where’s your personality? Where’s your heart? If they’re excited, at least feign excitement for the moment. If you’re not interested, just say “ttyl” and nip it in the bud later.
  5. Text recklessly. You can be yourself and show your personality without being irresponsible or downright rude. Put your mobile device away until you can demonstrate maturity.
  6. Break your plans to speak on the phone via text. Call in advance to say you’ll have to reschedule. Show some consideration for the other person’s time! Otherwise you’re making it a point to show that person their interactions with you are limited to just text messaging, and no one likes to be put in the text zone unknowingly.

Let common courtesy be your guide!!!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Sippanont Samchai via Compfight

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Getting to Know You… via SMS: Six Do’s

I’m not sure why I’m on this social media, mildly techie kick lately but I guess my single self has the time to explore the idiosyncrasies of conversation through several filters.

I loooooves me some text messaging. Talking exhausts me, but a few swypes of my mobile keyboard can get my point across quickly and easily. But with text messaging I’m able to quickly determine whether a person is even worth continued conversation. Let’s face it… I’m a nerd and appropriate (not perfect) grammar and spelling are important to me. Cuz if yhu rite like dizzzzz… I can’t. And an even more importantly, out of the abundance of heart, the finger strokes speak! A person with impure motives won’t stay in hiding for long.

So here are five do’s for those of us who use SMS to play the get-to-know-you game… The don’ts will be shared tomorrow.

Do!!!

  1. Keep the conversation simple. SMS’s are 160 characters for a reason. If you can’t fit what you need to say in that space, then another tool would be more appropriate.
  2. Allow the person time to respond. We have jobs and families and businesses. Afford the person some grace with responding, but take note if they are only available during certain hours. This may be a sign of something “else” going on.
  3. Close the conversation with “Gotta run, but have a great day” or the like. Be gracious and show that you look forward to your next mini-chat.
  4. If answering a question, ask another one in return. For a conversation to take place both parties have to be engaged. Ask questions in return to keep things flowing. Most folks won’t ask your selfish butt five questions in a row as if you’re some demigod and not expect you to show some interest as well. (Could you hear the salt in my commentary there? Yeah.
  5. Syntax is important, but not nearly as important as correct grammar and spelling.There’s no ticking-time bomb going off in your conversation, so make sure auto-correct isn’t making you seem like a complete idiot or pervert. A few misspelled words ain’t so bad, but the there/their/they’re and you’re/your struggles are unreal. Tidy up, please.
  6. Make plans for a phone conversation.  One simple phone conversation might clue you in to the person’s mannerisms and habits. How many times have you heard the familiar Walmart beep in the background and only to hear your buddy berate the cashier for making a simple mistake? Or talked for a solid forty-five minutes only for them to have to suddenly jump off the phone with half a goodbye? Or listen to them order a #10 with a large milkshake and fries and add a few apple pies with two ice cream cones for dessert? Listen! Save yourself months of minimal emotional investment by (randomly) picking up the phone.

 

While the course of getting to know someone may begin with a few SMS’s, it certainly shouldn’t remain there. Over time the depth and nature of conversation should lean more towards phone and face-to-face conversations. If, for some reason, a person is only willing to offer SMS luhv to you, chances are, he or she is emotionally involved elsewhere.

Are you a texter? What do you love about it?

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

All the Bad Things I’ve Done As a Mother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]E[/dropcap]veryone has an opinion about how children should be raised. Outside of two resources that I can recall, a blog titled Raising Godly Tomatoes and a book about raising strong-willed children (scroll all the way down to my footer to see the book info), I can’t really think of a resource that’s given me such great advice that I’d swear by it. And there’s the Bible of course. Not all of us are nurturers by nature, but I want to share all the bad things I’ve done as a mother to my children just to prove to you that what’s bad for one may be great for another. And all the research may be chalked up to someone’s dissertation hours instead of actual parenting…

  • I nursed one longer than the other.
  • For the past eight years, they’ve slept in the bed with me more often than not. They’re just now starting to venture out on their own.
  • We skip school sometimes to stay home to rest or worship.
  • I let one go to school knowing he had not brushed his teeth or put on deodorant. He needed to learn his lesson.
  • I let the other wear pink nearly every day.
  • I believed Brandon when he told me it was dress-up day at school and let him wear his Batman costume. It was actually “Sunday’s Best” dress up day hence the featured photo.
  • I tell them about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
  • I totally forgot the kids lost teeth. At one point they were falling like dominos.
  • I took the tooth and forgot to leave the money.
  • I left the money and forgot to take the teeth.
  • I got a divorce.
  • I spank them when they tell each other’s business.
  • I don’t always spank them when they lie.
  • I can’t say no to school fundraisers… not because I want to buy the crap… but because they want that stupid prize at the end.
  • I let them do the current dances provided they aren’t impure. I don’t know the dances myself, but I like to see exactly what they know.
  • I talk trash when we play games, especially any Wii game that involves dancing.
  • I’ve removed some family from their lives, but I let strangers show them affection. Sometimes all the little lady in the mall needs a hug.
  • I allow them to make observations about people and tell me what they see, and we privately address it.
  • I follow their lead.
  • I say “no” to things and “yes” to experiences.
  • I put them out of my room.
  • I let them question my dates.
  • When they’re being punished, I never ever ever send them to their room alone. I keep them closer to me and give them things to do.
  • I make them scrub the carpet with Resolve, wash the windows with Windex, and dust with Pledge. They just wash their hands afterwards.

I”m sure you can find something research-driven and maybe even experiential that says my list of 21 things makes me certifiably crazy and therefore a bad mother. But my children are bright, happy, healthy, well-balanced… outside of being messy and moody sometimes, I cannot complain. Everything doesn’t work for everyone.

By the way, I feel guilty for NONE of the above!

Which unconventional methods do you practice with your children that contribute to their well-being?
Tell me about them in the comments section. 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

 

 

Being Single, Being Smart, Uncategorized

Single Lady Law

It took a while for me to reach this point, but I’m truly enjoying my singleness. There are times when I wish I had a little companionship, but if you’ve ever been in a relationship you know that those needs aren’t always met. So I press onward… and in the meantime, I try to abide by a few simple laws to keep myself fabulously feminine and devastatingly desirable. (Ok… I embellished there a little. I do get caught in the mom-teacher frump, but I fight that battle daily.)

 

  1. Shaving is not season-specific. Just because it’s getting chilly and we aren’t showing skin, doesn’t mean we can neglect shaving our legs and underarms. I like to reference Queen Esther. Every day she bathed in myrrh to prepare for her one night with the king, and this was BEFORE he even chose her! I’m not saying shave your legs in hopes someone will one day rub on them, but if that’s your hope… keep’em smooth and shiny even when they’re tucked away.
  2. When undergoing face-altering activities, trust God but pray for the technician. You walk into the shop and spot your favorite eyebrow-waxing technician. But when they seat you, a lady who barely speaks English with drawn-on brows comes to your service. Oh-em-egee! This is SCARY! Yeah, whisper a prayer. One bad stroke, and you’ll be penciling in your brows like your auntie did in the 70’s.
  3. When in doubt, play coy. Unfortunately, people lie. Our girlfriends lie. Guys that pursue us lie. Our bosses lie. Nothing will disarm them and empower you better than a good lash batting. What am I saying exactly? Play dumb!!! You learn so much more when you just close your mouth, listen, and pretend to be the idiot that liars think you are. Confrontation can wait until you’ve gathered all your facts and cooled your jets.
  4. Walk softly, and carry pink lipstick. Remember that Eric Benet song, Femininity? You are a woman for a reason! Be soft, gentle, and sweet. Pray for a quiet spirit and practice meekness. Your strength is in prayer, beauty, the ability to give life, and your submission to God! In short, you never have to be masculine, hard, or overbearing to get things done. Do what you have to do, but be pretty and feminine doing it.
  5. Subtract to multiply. As single women, we tend to invite too many people into our lives. We have so much to give and share, but many of the people in our circle are no good for us. We have to remove those people, so that others who are much more worthy of our time and energy can come into our lives. A few months ago I had to remove a few people from my life, but since then I’ve had deeper, more meaningful relationships with those who are genuine and full of purpose.
  6. Eat your fruit. Yeah, we should all eat healthy foods, but I’m talking about fruits of the spirit. Remember those from Sunday School? Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to react with harsh words and bad attitudes. But when I encounter those situations, I feel the Holy Spirit handing me a piece of fruit.
  7. Be seasoned, not salty. No one likes a bad attitude. If you’re still popping your lips, rolling your eyes, and making negative comments about everything, you need to grow up. Develop your personal interests. Read. Write. Take a class. Do something to expand your life experiences. Understanding and wisdom are attractive. Speaking everything that comes to mind is not.
  8. Keep a stash of Tylenol PM. I’ve been singing that old song, “When it’s cold outsiiiide, who are you holding?” Ummm… let me pop a Tylenol PM, hold my pillow, and take my butt to bed. It’s just not worth it!
  9. Single ain’t so bad! Few people realize that being in a bad relationship and lonely is a thousand times worse than being single and lonely. Many married women wish for the freedom that we enjoy. To go shopping and NOT have to hide my new dress in the trunk?! To eat that extra slice of chocolate cake without someone glaring at me sideways?! To not have to cook meatloaf and other manly foods?! Life is GOOD!

 

I’d love to hear what single lady laws abide by. Leave your comments below, and please share, post, email, tweet…

 

 

Enjoy your week, good people!

 

 

Alana

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The past week, I’ve been dreaming like crazy. More often than not, my dreams have significant meanings… usually something I must pray for or against, as needed. But a few slipped past my prayer radar, and I mistook them as the aftermath of eating way too late at night. At the risk of opening a window for you to peek into my soul, I will share one with you… hopefully to your benefit.

So I walked into one of my favorite lunch spots thinking I’d order my usual. I didn’t even bother to look at the menu when I confidently announced that I wanted Japanese Pan Noodles with Shrimp and extra veggies. The cashier looked at me with a scowl and said “We don’t serve that anymore. Our whole menu has changed.” Naturally, I considered leaving the restaurant, but since I was hungry and I believed in the quality of food the place served, I decided to at least look over the new menu. NOTHING seemed to be the same. I consider myself to be an adventurous eater, but most of the items on the list seemed… well, out of my tastes or bland. The cashier glared at me and said, “Well… are you gonna try something new?”



For YEARS I’ve been eating from the same menu. I love a big, juicy beefsteak kinda guy with bulky muscles, high testosterone, and a ego that stretches to the sky. Typically I prefer brown to dark-skinned fellas, but I wouldn’t pass up a cutie with a lighter hue. Before long, I realized one thing. No matter how different they seem to be, the guys I chose were all the same.


The conversations were the same. They spent hours talking about themselves in the most shallow contexts… parties, favorite models and celebrities, and high school sporting events.


The silly games were the same. They would pursue me tirelessly, and despite my reservations, I’d give in… Then of course, their interest waned.


The results were the same. I could accurately predict the next move a fella would make. I knew when the confession of love would come, and the imminent disappearing act. 


They really were all the same!


That’s not to say that all men are the same. I would never make such a heartless and foolish generalization. I am saying, however, that my lack of self-worth and fear of being alone rendered me a repeat offender in bad date selection.


And doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result is called… say it with me… INSANITY!



So, really who’s to blame? Those cocky fellas whose egos are still in tact, OR me? Put your hands down! That was a rhetorical question… Don’t be so quick to exonerate them. 🙂


I’m not going to delve into the steps needed to change your tastes because I don’t have them. What I do know is that there is another type of man out there that is confident, humble, and faithful at heart…. That’s the type of guy that will earn my affections. As it stands today, my tastes have changed enough for me to recognize that these men come in different packages. Unless I’m totally repulsed by that package, why not give someone who’s honorable an hour or two of my time simply to discover?


One more thing… all the dating books say that we should write a list of the qualities we want in a mate. I totally agree with that, but I’m going to “one up” the books. The list should be a living document. Revisit and edit it every so often. I’m a fairly quiet person, and after a date with a guy who talked for 3 hours straight, I prefer to be with someone who’s a little less chatty (read “insecure”). When I do, I plan to organize those qualities into two different categories: non-negotiable and negotiable.


The non-negotiable things have little to do with my appetite for a muscle-y man, but EVERYTHING to do with his character. I must be with a man that loves and hears from God. His belief system must be similar to my own… That, for me, is non-negotiable.


Now that I’m a little older and much wiser (I have the gray hairs to prove it), I don’t feel so drawn to the man with JERK written across his t-shirt. I’ve set myself free to enjoy some new, more satisfying personalities. This is the area in which my appetite needs some changing. But like I said before… this journey has only begun. 


So sorry… no satisfying written conclusion here, but maybe a reader or two will have a story to share?? But in the meantime….


Are you going to try something new??? 




Your cybersister,


Alana