To church or not to church… your choice but heal from past hurt!

I get a lot of people are hurt by the church body. If you don’t understand what church body that means that 9 times out of 10 they went to a church who has left a bad taste in their mouth and now feel like the church as a whole has failed them. This isn’t one of these blogs that says you have to go to church. This is for the folks that I know that are like me who have been burned and want to go. So miss me with the whole “omg I don’t want to listen to a sermon.” That ain’t how this blog is rolling!

There are a lot of truth to the pain that folks have endured especially depending on where you go and who you are under. Every church body that identifies themselves as whatever they choose have certain rules and regulations that can be harmful for people who are hurting to begin with. I grew up in church all of my life. I’m talking about that bible study twice a week, usher meeting, choir rehearsal no family time on Saturday and all day Sunday type of church. Being a child and not able to govern what I wanted to do in the case of church or spirituality there were zero options. I was in the building even even I didn’t want to be.

A lot of principle I have taken with me. I choose now not to take like the be in the building every day principle. I think that is team too much but I don’t knock those who insists that works for them. I too have been burned by church folks aka the folks in the building. It’s no secret. I’ve had to block many of the folks I’ve once attended services on social media. Why? Real simple any time I’ve spoken on my experiences it’s been an issue. No harm no foul I get it they are deep in. Kudos to you. I choose to live with balance. I choose to make sure that with all of the hours of being inside of the building that my life outside of the building looks right on and off social media. Most importantly I am grown. As much as I want to blame God or the people in a particular church, I’ve since moved on from that target of pain. I still don’t deal with my old pastor however I have said my peace about it and him. I wish him well but he’s not my spiritual leader. There’s nothing wrong with that it is what it is.

Disclaimer: I have a lot of my home family and friends who will read this blog and would love to spin this into a thing. I have like a lot of my blogs edited it. I will not edit myself in person if you attempt to try me and make this into more than it is.

People we’re all in their feelings with gospel singer Le’ Andria went left but she spoke no lies it was her delivery that folks was up in arms over. We have to stop thinking that folks hurt and pain can be wiped away with a prayer alone with the ones who are out here hurting don’t take responsibility for their actions. Charity or love starts at home and needs to be brought back in the households of faith. If the world is hurting, surely coming from dysfunction into a spiritually dysfunctional place will not heal them just cause you use Jesus name. That was a word for some that didn’t catch it. Also leaders are flawed. Leaders are men and women and outside of Gods hand will do, and do things they shouldn’t. We got to stop setting these pastors on peddle-stools. A lot of folks know what the pastor said and none on what God says. We don’t even study we just go with the flow. We don’t ask questions because asking questions is disrespectful. This mindset is one tootsie roll to that of a cult!

I no longer use my old church, the folks in it and anything that happened while I was there in my youth to sway me from my spiritual journey. I used to use that excuse but after awhile even I had to come to the realization that folks is going to be them. If they off at home no wonder they spew offness over a whole congregation and their people live off lives outside the building. Listen I got a slew of flaws. I got folks that would be deaf to anything I say or do based upon old interactions. I could give them the opportunity to start over again but the reality is when folks don’t like you no matter what you say or do they won’t receive it! So I choose to live life in balance.

If you are struggling with going into the house of God or at least where man has placed his name, dont go back to the place that hurt you. You don’t have to vomit and go back to it! If you’re sick, there are a million and one other hospitals to go to. Find your spiritual path. Make sure not to drag the pain with you forever. I promise you, you can live a balanced life, and still find what you need.

To the past church members that I have offended let me say I’m sorry for my actions as well. However when I wish you well I mean it. To the ones who have offended me I have dropped the charges mentally and emotionally.

I know that Sunday morning plays all kinds of games on those who struggle to find their way! I am a living witness that you can move past pain that the good “church folks” have given you! It doesn’t have to end your church career. However I would caution you from church hopping to avoid what you left. I would employ you to deal with it. No matter how messy it is, or how painful it is. You deserve to be made whole and understand that may not come from the ones who hurt you! Don’t do like me and attend Bedside Baptist to avoid folks! Folks is folks they gon be them until the end of time. Find what works for you that is your initial direction. It’s not about having “itchy ears.” It’s about finding a place that will guide you and that won’t put a stamp of approval on your stuff but also isn’t afraid to admit when they too aren’t aligned and then do the work to get aligned!

Happy Sunday morning!!

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Self Love

Self love will look different, sound different, taste different, etc to different people. Self love means by the very definition is about loving yourself.  The broadest definition of self-love is learning how to care for you, what you need, how much you need, and being okay to not limit how often you love on yourself. How you achieve the goal will be the unique marker for each individual person.

If you are in a relationship and you are finding that the person that YOU selected isn’t loving on you the way that you want, do some things about it.  For instance, if self-love looks like you taking some me time, that’s what you need to do. In relationships we all need our own time but when you don’t have enough self love and aren’t being active in your self love, the second your mate isn’t doing what he or she needs you get upset.  What you haven’t recognized is that you may not have loved on yourself and therefore what you lack isn’t love from an outside source but from yourself.  Your personal love cup is empty.

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This is a new journey that I am taking.  When you start to love yourself even the mundane everyday interactions that you tolerated before will cause your eyes to open.  You start setting limits on how much time you are in one place because you see that the person or location no longer serves you.  This is the by-product of loving you.  Our society always seems to put more on an emphasis on what others do, how they do, and when but not enough on what you require, how often, and when.  Change the way you look at yourself.

When you self-love you can see your flaws, work towards making them better, but still embrace them. Self love isn’t always a come to Jesus moment either.  Self love also involves making some drastic changes and changes that sting and hurt in the beginning. For instance, how can you love on you but don’t care what you consume?  These type of bad habits have to stop when you love on you more. Tap into what YOU need and not what people have set limitations for what THEY think you need.  If a part of you needs to finish school so that can be a goal that you cross off for you, than do that.

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I was walking in the store this morning.  I heard a woman tell the cashier how her husband doesn’t like it when she reads.  First thing that came to mind was what in the unholy hell is that?  How can a man tell his wife that he doesn’t like her reading. Then I stopped because I have no idea what is going on in their home, if it’s a cultural thing, or if she really is in an unsafe environment.  What I did hear is that she said that what he wanted didn’t stop her. She gets up early almost an hour before he does and reads anyway in another room.  She takes books to her job and uses her lunch time.  She uses her E-reader to read and he thinks she is web surfing.  I could go in on her oppressed like home, but she did something about it that made her happy in spite of the environment she was in. What about you who aren’t living in an oppressed environment.  Are you willing to get up early, stay up late, change your schedule, make yourself temporarily uncomfortable to give YOU what you need?  I mean apart of the process of self-love is learning how to tune out the negative thoughts that come from you and those who you seem to want approval from.

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Self love should be the first love you master and re-master over and over again.  This will take loveless relationships and end them fast.  You can’t dip yourself in love and allow someone to give you less than what you give yourself.  Maybe you need to re-check your self-love meter.  If you compromise on you than don’t go off on someone else who does what you allow them and you to do to yourself.  Have you ever been asked what makes you happy but don’t have an answer to give?  I am not talking about winning the lottery.  I am talking about the type of things that make you happy that money can’t buy yet when asked you go blank.  Your self love bank is empty and you need a refill.  What makes you happy? What are your passions?  What makes you at peace when the world is going to hell in a handbag?  I am going to clue you in even as a wife and mom although I love my titles, it’s going to have to be more than changing some diapers and loving on my husband to make me happy.  Relationships change and kids grow.  Simply and only being caught up in either title will leave my self love meter empty.  Why do you think the divorce rate is high when couples get into the empty nest phase.  One they may have not put in enough energy in their relationships or themselves.  However it rolls out to be, self love is the MOST important love you will ever encounter.

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Cleaning Up

Now I know some people are either on team resolutions or they feel like it’s the dumbest thing ever to do.  With that being said, we still need to take the time to finish some loose ends.  If you are against resolutions that’s fine but to be truly successful you must have the mindset of making goals even if its daily and making it happen.  Nothing happens by accident.  Things that you want and need out of life do not simply just fall out of the sky. You have to work hard.  It has to be in your mind and heart and often times will need a little elbow grease to take off.

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We just celebrated and are still celebrating the holidays.  It’s also time to change focus. Yes the new year is coming, it comes the same time every year.  What I have been doing is tying up loose ends of 2016.  Making sure the things on my vision board that I actively been working towards achieving are all lined up.  Checking over the family goals and seeing what I can put in place NOW not waiting until January 1st.  Yes I know the new year is coming in a matter of days, but honestly the mindset for change has to be renewed daily.  There is at least one thing that can be done daily to reach your attended goal. No one is perfect so that means with goals there is going to be good and bad days.  The bad days aren’t the end all be all, failure is only when you don’t make any moves.

So what are you needing to clean up besides some holiday decorations?  I am focusing on paperwork.  I am a stickler for organization and to be honest its honestly just a down send when you have papers all over the place.  It’s not necessarily a trait that my husband and I share.  So often times it takes me going in and making sure things are very organized to get things done.  I plan on making sure I know where I stand in the most important areas of life.  Paper in the way is usually in the form of bills, or things for the kids.  So my plan is to reorganize it all so a plan can be in force.  You don’t know where to begin if you don’t know what is on the table to get done.

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Another area that I am always tweaking is relationships.  It  is so much harder to navigate holding onto dead relationships.  Regardless if its romantic or not, some things and people need to be let go.  If the relationship is making you negative, hurt, or angry re-evaluate the level by which you have placed the importance.  Sometimes we do things out of habit or comfort.  Sometimes it may take you being uncomfortable to make change.  When I was dating my husband in college he was my first.  You couldn’t tell me there wasn’t another man greater than him.  I wouldn’t have believed you.  It had nothing to do with sex.  I was totally infatuated with him.  I wasn’t willing to see what was out there.  The men that I dated after him became a comparison game.  It wasn’t until I decided to knock this behavior off.  How could I know for real if my ex-boyfriend was my dream guy if I wasn’t willing to take the breaks off and try.  So I did.  I can say that when my husband and I came back together this last time that it was because he was the ONE.  I had to venture out and do some self-love, travel, enjoy my days of being single.  I had to stop looking at being single as a death sentence.  I met some great men that have and will make great husbands but they weren’t the one for me.  Also dating even when you are wanting to settle down doesn’t have to be looking at everyone and evaluating when you will get proposed.  I was never that extreme but there are some that first dates turn into interviews for rings.  Stop. You put too much pressure and not able to find out all you need to know about a person. Do you know how many men are great for giving rings but it doesn’t mean they are the ones that make great husbands.

What about some of the bad habits.  If you picked one bad habit to stop, that in itself can cause great change.  We all know about the outward ones like bad eating habits, etc.  They are great ones to change but the ones like lying, talking about folks in the name of prayer for my church babies, or keep up drama.  These are the things that a lot harder to break especially if you have “always” indulged.  However these bad habits evoke the most change.  These changes help to place you in the right place in your life.  These are the ones that make the difference in your life.  Once you make several of these changes, it will bleed into other areas too.  It changes how you respond to others, it causes you to definitely be more calm, and it in general will be the stopping place for why some people can’t excel. Take more inventory to your inward person when you keep trying your hand at positivity and it seems to not work.

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As we embark soon on 2017, began now to put an action plan in place for your goals.  Don’t just let this year come and go with the same excuses and lack of plan like in years past. Make the difference between a normal resolution and jump into life changes,

How to Have the Best New Year’s Eve…

First of all this is one busy night.  There are a lot of preparations to make it perfect, but let’s keep it real there’s no such thing as perfect.  You have to set aside what goals are most important to you.  They say how you bring in the New Year is super important and it is.

Here are some of the ways you can bring in the New Year:

For Couples:

It’s important to attempt to spend it together.  Yes some people have to work and that is totally understandable.  However if you are a couple there are a million ways to spend it. You can go to a hot party and get all dolled up.  This would require that you and your partner book ahead of time.  Going out on New Years means having a party plan.  Will you use a taxi, Uber, Lyft?  What are the prices?  Everything is super expensive on that night. Do you even want to go out and deal with other party goers?  Decide early because after Christmas if most clubs and establishments haven’t already posted prices they definitely will.  Remember anything where you can pre-pay ahead of time is better.  At the door the price will usually go up from $20 to 100 per person.  Ouch.  So plan ahead.

If you and your boo do NOT want to go out, opt hosting a party get together.  You can do this by having other couples come and share in the purchase of food and drinks.  This will cut cost down dramatically.  You can have a great night in.  You can do things like play games, watch movies, whatever you want to do.  It’s all your choice.  This is a great option for a laid back night with others.

If you say Toi, I really just want a quiet evening, than do that.  I know couples who dress up and cook a meal together.  This can turn into something if you want it to trust me. Nothing is sexier than your partner in the kitchen.  Make a meal that you both can try that you wouldn’t have normally tried before.  This way its something out of the ordinary than your normal pasta dish at home watching tv.  You can do a vision board together as a couple as well as an individual.  You can play games and make it fun.  Spice it up.  You can just spend some quality time with the one you love as you bring in another year.

For Singles:

You can do the same thing as above as far as going out but make it a great group effort. You aren’t the only single one in the whole world no matter how much your mind tells you. Get together and reconnect with friends that you may not have been able to catch up with during Christmas.  This is a great time to travel.  Some of my friends are out of the state so if I was single you could travel to their state or pick a new destination altogether. The same rules apply, have fun and be safe.  If you want you can have the ultimate girls night.  There are a million and one ways to have a group of women come together and have a great time. You can pick a theme.  It doesn’t have to be just the New Year.  You can have a makeover night.  Everyone brings make up, wear cute pajamas, etc. The sky is the limit. Be open-minded.

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Travel

Like I said I remember hitting Miami up one year.  I had the BEST time with my girlfriends. We went to a great club that had open bar for a price and food.  We danced so much I can’t tell you how bad my feet hurt.  However when I look back at the pictures I smile.  We really had a great time and even walked a little on the beach.   You’re single not dead.  Enjoy life. There is so much to experience that is beyond your backyard.  Now that I am married a few of my single friends have even gone out of the country.  Imagine that.  If you have a passport, isn’t it time for some new stamps?

For Parents:

My husband and I have been parents for 7 years and the ONLY time we have had a night out for New Years has been this past year.  We ended up going to Chickie and Pete’s.  We had no immediate plans.  We made none.  We decided to just get dressed up and head out. As we went to a few places, we noticed how super crowded and how limited space was open to be out.  So I did what any woman would do, I goggled.  I found that Chickie and Pete’s had a special for a flat rate you could eat and drink top shelf liquor all night. I said let’s give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.  Not only was the crowd hype, there was dancing, our own table, and did I mention all you can eat and drink on food we knew would be good?  Yes we had hit the jackpot.  It’s hard to get a sitter and last year we lucked up.  So what do you do when you have no sitter and you have little people?  You make your own party. I have always done a party at home.  I had adult drinks and kiddie mock drinks, New Year’s gear, and we had a full party.  Dancing, music, the countdown all of that. Guess what it was low-key, loads of fun, and I didn’t stress bed time either.  I let them stay up until they fell out.  It was a great time.  Oh and my kids can hang.  They loved every bit of it.

Another option for parents is to invite other parents that are in the same boat.  You can have a kid and parent party.  This is a good idea for parents who want to interact with others but can’t find a sitter.  Everyone can come together and split food and drinks. Everyone can have a great time in a safe location.  Parents can interact with other adults and the kids can get some time out as well.  Trust me the ride home will be quiet, your little ones will be knocked out no matter how late or early you go out.  Also during the day on New Years places like aquariums etc will have specials for the little people and a special count down too. This way if you are venturing out you can tire them out before you go and have some fun too.  Check prices and get tickets early as well.

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New Year’s night can be as much fun as you want it to be.  You have to be willing to step it up no matter what your status in life is.  Yes I didn’t mention church, but you didn’t think this fellow PK (preacher’s kid) would forget.  Yes watch tower or midnight services are fun too.  It does depend on where you go.  I am sorry church folks but you can make New Years fun.  Yes have a good message, preach, have choirs but have some fun too.  Nothing is worst is dragging your family out in the cold to church and having them wanting to gnaw their arms off because the service is no different from any other day.  It’s a fun night of celebration.  Just because you in the church you don’t have to cut the fun out. Incorporate something into the service. Have food.  Do something out of the box and bring folks into the church.

I do not have my plans set yet.  Whatever I do it will be fun.  Whether that’s out and about, a night at home, with friends I will have the same joy of beginning the New Year as I have always have even if I have to create it.  That should be a part of your new goals.  Creating happiness in your circle. Trust me the situations I was in I should have been sad but I turned them around and made the best of it and so can you.  Enjoy the New Year celebration as well as make your own mark going into 2017.

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Halloween and the Church

So I know without a doubt that my fellow PKs will get a kick out of today’s blog but you know it’s that time again for Halloween.  If you are a PK you already know what that means but for non PK friends its means preacher’s kid.  I grew up in one of the most strict environments known to church folks. No pants, no makeup and even vaseline on my lips would have been deemed too sexy.  I was not allowed to do a bunch of anything.

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Now that I have children I noticed that over the years I was paranoid to do anything Halloween.  Now let me break it on down the way the church mothers would be proud of me. Halloween represents the devil’s holiday.  Let me say now that the use and word of the devil will be magnified because that is the way we were brought up.  Dressing up in costumes that represents demons aka the devil’s friends was a huge NO NO.  So what does a child do around Halloween?  Growing up we went to church.  Yes depending on when Halloween fell if it was a choir rehearsal day or bible study day that that’s where you would find us.  I know of some kids who had Holy Ghost night where basically you had a bible study along with some treats. Again at my church it was mostly a church night of activities. So when others were talking about what they were dressing up to be my siblings and I’s response was we was saved.  Saved is when you give your life to Christ and live for HIM and HIM alone.

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We thought it was funny.  The backdrop is that my family and I came to the “church” when we were almost 13 years old.  So we had plenty of memories of trick or treating as well as Halloween parties.  To give that up at 13 was like taking a knife and twisting it. However it was what it was.  As I got older and had my first child her daycare had a little party. I dressed her as Minnie Mouse.  You couldn’t tell me that she wasn’t the cutest ever. However I told myself don’t let her dress in anything scary, no witches, and no ghosts.  I didn’t take her trick or treating either. That party was her only thing.  The second year I had moved to Philly so we dressed her up and I made them treats and watched the Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown.  That was the end of that.  As the years went on I really just took them to organized parties and really we stayed home.

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Until last year, I took them trick or treating for the first time. I felt so conflicted.  I love the Lord but I was stepping into the Devil’s territory and all I could hear was one of them church mothers saying “the devil is a liar.”  By the way he was a liar about everything if you ask a church kid.  If your lights were cut off it was the devil’s fault. It was never the fact that someone ain’t pay the bill.  Anyway, so yes I took them.  I was scared the whole time. I triple checked their candy and was paranoid.  Halloween is a big deal to kids.  It is a time for dressing up and getting candy.  However although I thought my church was a bit extra I still believe that spirits are real.

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I don’t have an answer for what others should do.  I just know and understand the PK plight.  I will have the kids dress up this year and they may go out.  I am more on the fence of doing a treat, pizza and just eating candy.  Again because outside of the spiritual side of it all I don’t want to be paranoid about the evil people who use this holiday to evoke fear. People putting bad things in candy to harm them is enough to scare me.  However I have decided and again this is a personal decision to be more open to options and taking the sting. I remember the first year I decorated a pumpkin with my kids. I was looking around to see who saw me.  I didn’t even live in the same city as I grew up in.  I am a lot more smarter now and enjoy the festivities that I want to be involved in.  I don’t judge other parents for their choice.  My kids seem to enjoy the home activities and don’t see a big deal if we go out or not.  I know there are some church folks reading this and shaking their heads and I know.  I get it.  Pray for me.  So we shall see and I’ll post back to let you know what we decided to do.  I know there are others who share in my same sentiments so to you I say I feel your pain.  The struggle is real…….