So…music soothes the soul!

So…music soothes the soul!

So…you know how I told you that I looooooooooove music and I wake up with a song most mornings…well…this isn’t the song I woke up with but it’s the song on my mind.  It’s called Grace by Tasha Cobbs.  The lyrics are simple.

God loves me.  Adores me.  Watches over me.  You are for me.  Grace loved me.  It’s not what I deserve.   And nothing that I’ve earned.  But daily, grace saves me.

If you haven’t heard this song, you should check it out here.  Yes.  It’s that simple.  Grace is just something God gives us his grace easily, and freely.  I think about all the times I have done something that in my mind would ensure that nothing good would ever happen to me again.  I think about all the times I’ve been counted out or dismissed because of whatever.  Then I remember God’s grace.   It’s because of his grace I’m still here.

Now, it might seem odd that I’m switching gears right here to change from Tasha Cobbs to talk about another artist, but in my mind, it’s related.  See, my favorite musical artist EVER is India.Arie.  Her new album Songversation came out this week.  I joked with a friend about the album and the next thing I knew, I had a gift card to purchase it!  WHAT?  SERIOUSLY?  I didn’t deserve it.  It’s not something I would live or die without, but this friend decided to gift it to me.  I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude that it’s ridiculous!   And of course…I absolutely LOVE the album.  There’s a song on there called Just Do You.  It’s so appropriate for this time in my life.

I know that I’m loved by all who know me, but I’m so blessed…simply overwhelmed.  It’s in the last few weeks that I realize that I have so many prayers being answered.  Things I’ve spoken in jest, things I’ve cried over in my spirit, things I’ve been seeking for years…prayers being answered.  I do often wonder if God hears my prayers or simply goes, “Oh…here SHE goes again…”.  Every now and then, I’m reminded that he not only hears my rushed, hurried, muttered or whispered prayers, but he answers them.  He my not be answering my prayers in the order in which they were received or in order of what I think is important (HA!) but they are being answered.

I said all that to say, I’m truly blessed.  When I downloaded that CD, I INSTANTLY fell in love.  The number 8 track on every single one of India’s CDs are usually ones I’m instantly drawn to.  This one was no different.  I think she must KNOW that the number 8 is magical.  Or at least it’s magical to me!  I was born on the 8th and so was my daughter!  Anyway, even though I’m in love with Moved By You…my favorite song on the CD is number 2…called Just Do You.  It is the newest song in my work out mix.  I love it.  It’s encouraging you to BE YOURSELF whoever that self is.  Inspiration is hitting me daily…I’ll have some left over when I don’t feel “inspired” but press on anyway.  Here are the lyrics for my favorite part of Just Do You.  Its the part typically classified as the bridge followed by the chorus:

If you create the game, then you create the rules.  And if you just be you there’s no way you can lose.  There’s a story waiting for you to write it.  There’s a treasure waiting for you to find it.  There’s a picture waiting for you to paint it.  There’s a dollar waiting for you to make it.

So whatchu waitin’ on?  Who are you waiting for?  If you don’t take a chance you’ll never know what’s in store.

Just do you!  Somebody’s got to be a star.  Just do you!  Somebody’s got to raise the bar.  Just do you!  Somebody’s got to change the game.  Just do you!  Today!

So…Just do you!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…funk is over…back to writing!

So…funk is over…back to writing!

So…for some reason, I found myself in a funk last week.  I did not want to write.  I did not want to eat.  I did not want to exercise or do anything that is VITAL for me to do daily.  I went to work, went to get the girl from her summer program and came home.  I have absolutely no idea what happened but I can pinpoint when it started.  It was last Saturday.  I found myself sitting on the couch all day watching movies on ABC Family.  Not a good idea.  All the movies kinda had tender moments that made me want to cry.  Spending an entire day on the verge of tears is clearly not a smart use of my time.  Duly noted and it will NOT happen again.

Yesterday though, I was smart.  I woke up and cleaned a bookshelf and dusted.  It felt much better.  While I didn’t write as much as I wanted to, nor did I exercise the way I wanted to, I was productive.  Anyway, I read a post from my favorite blogger a few weeks ago about goal setting and decided I need to WRITE DOWN my goals.  I mean, I know my goals, but writing them and looking at them while you write them and having something to refer to later is like…totally needed!

So…with that being said, I’m writing my goals for this week (and hopefully each week to follow).

  1. Pray each day…ALL DAY!
  2. Exercise at least 150 minutes this week.
  3. Log my food each day, each meal, each bite.  (actually, I DID do this last week!)
  4. Write every day (even if it’s only a paragraph.)

That’s all I can think of right now as far as weekly goals are concerned.  The biggest point is that, there is no reason to NOT do what you should do each week.  Nike said it best…JUST DO IT!

So..I’ll keep it moving..keep on writing..keep on singing…

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…what are you reading?

So…what are you reading?

So…anyone who KNOWS me knows me…KNOWS that 9 times out of ten, my preferred activity involves my nose in a book. I love, love, LOVE reading! For those that don’t know or didn’t know that about me, you can read here how it all started. I prefer fiction because it allows me an escape. I have been to all kinds of places in my reading. The authors I read are experts at taking me wherever it is I go.

My favorite genres to read are probably Christian fiction and contemporary fiction. These are usually modern day tales and are easy to find. This is the majority of my book collection. Authors include Reshonda Tate Billingsley, Daphine Glenn Robinson, Vanessa Davis Griggs, Marilynn Griffith, Victoria Christopher Murray, and Lutishia Lovely. For these six ladies, I’ve either read all or own all of their books (sometimes both). There are lots of other authors I love to read, but I’d go crazy trying to name them all.

I also love historical fiction with a special place in my heart for the 1800s! I have no clue why…but I do. I once read two four books-series by Michael Phillips The Shenandoah Sisters and Carolina Cousins. They began amidst the Civil War. Two young girls, one the daughter of a plantation owner and the other a slave from a neighboring plantation are both orphaned when their plantations are raided by rebels. They find each other and have to learn how to live a “normal” life. Very interesting stories. I also just read my first historical romance. It’s Vivid by Beverly Jenkins. Oh my…I absolutely loved it! I have a few more of hers to read. I’m very excited.

Once upon a time, I loved horror/thrillers. I used to read lots of Mary Higgins Clark (though I’m not sure she’s in that category) Dean Koontz and John Saul. On my high school senior trip, I took Monster by John Saul. I honestly can’t remember what it was about, but it was such a good read, I got hooked on John Saul and eventually owned everything he’d written from the year I was born until whatever the current year was. The last book I read by him until 1999’s Right Hand of Evil. I read that when I was pregnant with The Girl…and um…yeah, it scared the begeezus out of me and I haven’t read him since! I once read a Stephen King book…and well…it scared the whosiswhatsis (which is different and MUCH worse than the begeezus) out of me and I haven’t read ANYTHING else by him. I like going places in my reading, but if it’s going to cause me to have nightmares…yeah…I’m good.

I had always avoided romance novels. You know…the traditional ones found at the checkout in the grocery stores. I remember sneaking to read my aunt’s Harelequin stash when I was a preteen. I think back to those books and laugh at the language I remember. It was so mild compared to what’s in some of the newer romances. I am being more open to romance novels…but it has to be a gooooooooooood story. It’s going slow…but I’m working on it.

Now, I don’t read erotica much. I mean, some books I read aren’t “classified” as erotica but are so daggum steamy and filled with umm…well…stuff..that they might as well be. Some of the scenes are so explicit, I might as well be watching one of those videos that used to be in the room behind the curtain at Blockbuster. Yes, I’m a grown up. Yes, I know what’s going on. However, I’m a single girl…trying to stay saved…and while I don’t have a problem with other folks doing what they do, I know that the less I tempt myself, the less problems I’ll have…know what I mean? I was once blessed with a gift of a certain famous trilogy that was supposed to be oh so wonderful. I was sad to say that it was not a great read. I always wonder if I’ve ever met a book I didn’t like. Then I realize, I have…especially when I think about that trilogy. I read the first one. I realized about the 3rd chapter that it just got a lot of hype some kind of way which made it so friggin’ popular. I kept reading trying to make sure I understood what the hype was about. I FOUGHT to get to the end of the book. I couldn’t stomach reading the second one. It just insulted my intelligence.

That is one of the reasons I don’t usually do the big name stuff. If it’s something that everyone is talking about, I’m not interested usually. So many people hype it up then when I get involved, I’m in for a big let down it seems. I’ve yet to read the Harry Potter series. I’m sure they are great books but I’m cool. Maybe when I’m old and gray. I haven’t seen the movies either. Now I DID read the Twilight series…and it was only after a friend begged me to read it four years after it was popular! After I read the books, I wanted to see the movies because I was unfortunately obsessed with Edward and Bella. I enjoyed them and have read them more than once. I also read The Hunger Games series. My daughter begged me to read that one with her because they were talking about it at school and she wanted to see the movie when it came out. They started talking about the movie a FULL YEAR before the release, so we read it. I finished the series and she is still reading the second one. (I told y’all she don’t like to read!)

Anyway, I’m doing a reading challenge. I’ve set a goal for the year and am doing pretty good considering I didn’t set my goal until May…like I said…I’m doing pretty good…I mean, I’ve been reading all year, but I set my goal and it’s kinda low…but I set it there…with writing in mind. Though I’m a reader…I must right. Benjamin and Fontana’s story HAS to be told! With that being said, I bid you adieu.

So…the next time you’re in a restaurant and you see a lady in a booth with her face in a book and her fork suspended mid air…it could be her new diet plan…”Read don’t eat!”

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…Working Out…whew!

So…Working Out…whew!

So…one thing I’ve learned over my many years of trying to lose weight is that the workout is important.  But good grief!  I ACHE ALL OVER!  I found out that I have extra places that did not previously exist!  GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN!  Alas, it’s a good hurt.  Knowing that I am improving my overall well-being is making me smile through the ache.  Best of all, I’ve found that I have THE BEST workout partner ever!

When I’m looking for excuses, she lets me have NONE.  When 5 am rolls around and I don’t want to go, she is bright and shiny (though I can’t get her up at 5 am for anything else!).  My work out partner is always around and always encouraging me.  Her name?  The Girl.  Yep.  The Girl.  Who knew?!  All this time, I’d wanted an adult work out partner because I knew I could have someone to chat with while I worked out.  Turns out, I needed the little 11 year old girl who would encourage me to get on up and go and tell me that I “can do it!” to come along with me.  While we don’t talk while we’re working out, we are getting to spend some quality time together.  I’m also leading by example on what healthy living looks like.

So, we’re getting fit, fine and fabulous together!  I love it!  Even though she’s entering those torrid teen years where she’ll probably hate me and not want to talk to me for days at a time, we’re building our relationship now…getting a good foundation.  Today though..she probably hates me from being sore! She is also making sure that I eat breakfast each morning.  I mean, she cooks if needed…heats up, brings it to me…whatever!  She is taking care of her mama!

I’m grateful…so grateful.  She helps me more than I ever knew she could.  My little sugar bean is growing up…today, when I took her to her summer program, she asked if I was still tired.  I told her I was and she said, “well you need to just take a day off mom.  You need some rest.”  Aww…yup…I guess I’ll need to remember all of this when she’s learning to drive and my knuckles are turning white from gripping the seats.

ANYhoooooo….Good news…the scale gods have visited and made my scale be nice!  It appears…I’ve lost 14 pounds!  WOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!  Now, given my size, some folks may say 14 pounds is nothing…but to those folks…POOH ON YOU!  I’m not in it for a competition.  My competition is that chick looking at me in the mirror.  I’m doing it for her.  And if it is going down, we’re happy.  So…yay me!

scale

So…we’ll keep at it…keep pushing…keep hurting…until the deed is done…Words of wisdom from The Girl, “Mom, you just have to keep at it until it becomes a habit.”  Really now? lol…Gotta love her!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

 

So…Balanced Nutrition is HARD!

So…Balanced Nutrition is HARD!

So…I’ve attended a counseling session for diabetes education.  Let me first say that every question I had and some I didn’t have or KNOW to ask was answered.  If my former physician, Dr. Her, could have given me even a quarter of the information I received that day, I would have been in a better place for making a plan to eat better.

After the session, I finally went grocery shopping…without a list…bad idea!  I get into the Publix and gosh darn it doo hickey to heck!  They have Entenmann’s doughnuts on sale!  They were buy one, get one free!  SERIOUSLY?!  This is the first thing I see when I walk into the store.  I fight and fight the urge and walk past them.  Every sweet treat I could EVER want was on sale as a BOGO in the Publix.  It’s like they were taunting me.  They said, “hi!  Buy me!  BUY ME!”  The next day, when I dropped my daughter off at her summer program, the person checking her in was eating a doughnut and said, “Go by Dunkin Donuts and get you a coffee.  They will give you a free doughnut!”  Umm…no thanks.  It was National Doughnut Day…and apparently every doughnut joint was giving away free doughnuts as told on Facebook.  Good grief Charlie Brown!  Can I get a break!  UGH!  (no..I didn’t go get a free doughnut from anywhere!  Yay me!)

While balanced nutrition means that no food is off limits, but moderation is the key, for me and my journey, that is not the case.  If I buy cupcakes, cookies, cakes, candies and pies, it is a recipe for disaster!  In my mind, I think, “yes, I can have just one serving.”  While this is true, it usually turns into one serving at a time, and another one and another one, then “OH MY GOD I ATE THEM ALL!”  For me, there’s no such thing as moderation for those kinds of things.  I have to just make a different choice.  That’s why I reblogged the post from Black Doctor about how to sooth your cravings.  For me, it’s about making better choices.  Only problem is…I don’t crave crunchy or sweet or chewy…I’m usually very specific…like..I’m craving Ben and Jerry’s Everything But the…*sigh*….I think I can..I think I can…I think I can…

Reading labels is going to be the most time consuming part of my grocery shopping experience for awhile.  Am I discouraged?  No.  I am just going to have to make a concentrated effort to PLAN my shopping.  In the grocery story, I went for my old staple of turkey bacon and really wanted some regular bacon.  I decided to pick up both of them and compare the labels.  I was VERY surprised to find that they are both about the same nutritionally.  The turkey bacon had twice the sodium!  Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss recently posted an article on whether or not turkey bacon is a better alternative.  I actually read this AFTER I did my grocery shopping, but hey…guess I’m smarter than the average bear…

The point is, I have to make decisions.  True, I can eat whatever I want.  I have to decide though is it going to be better for me?  One blogger I read said that before he eats anything, he asks himself, “Is this going to improve my life?”  Well, it’s not THAT serious for me, but I will ask myself if I’m going to regret having eaten whatever it is.  The other thing is to not have those things that are difficult for me to have in moderation in ready supply at the house.  I once read someone who said that she doesn’t keep any processed foods in the house.  She said if she wants cookies and has not the time to make them, then she can’t have them.  Well, I have learned how to bake to fill that craving, but now, I have to find better recipes for more suitable alternatives.  Until then, I will not be baking any sweet treats, but I will make some fruit popscicles.  Aside from that, I’ll just have to find new favorites.  Twenty four chocolate covered raisins is 96 calories…hmm…just a thought.

Ah well.  I’m figuring it out.  I just have to not give up.  So…I won’t!

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata

So…what defines you?

So…what defines you?

The other night, one of my sisters of the pen, Crystal Brown Tatum, replied to my post about the trip to Houston for the Motherhood Diaries and kindly informed me that my “struggles…do not define” my worth!  That struck a chord with me.  For so long, I’ve lived by other “struggles” and have always…ALWAYS been defined by them.  I’ve been defined by my skin color, my weight, my height, my family situation…just EVERYTHING.  While I am all those things, I should not be LIMITED by them.  I should not let them keep me from being who I was divinely created to be.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV) says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.”  Here, David is thanking God for how he made him.  Whatever it is, however it is God created him.  That in itself is a WONDERFUL thing.  I am continuing to try to embrace that.  Whoever, whatever, or however I am created, it is fantasmagorical because God created me that way.

Normally, my blogs are posted Sunday, Wednesday and Friday by 830 am.  The Virgo in me is having issues with this being late…but am I defined by that?  NO!  (Virgo begs to differ…might have to hit that invisible mosquito on her face).  ANYWAY, this post I had trouble writing because I really had to dig deep.  So, this morning, I was having a conversation with one of my prayer partners about purpose.  She was explaining to me that I am living my purpose.  Jokingly, I asked, “What’s my purpose here?” referring to my job.  She said, “This is just your job, Kim.  It does not define who you are.”  WHAA???  Oooh…okay…so again…what defines you?  It’s not your job!  It’s not your rate of pay!  It’s not that stupid performance evaluation!  You are you…the only you there is.

Find out what defines you.  Is it something that makes you cringe every time you think about it?  REALLY?  WELL CHANGE IT!  The more you focus on those negative things, guess what…that’s what you BECOME!  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Translation?  Keep talking foolishness…that’s what you’ll become.  I learned that lesson a few short years ago…and my life is forever changed.  No…I don’t mean say, “I’m a millionaire” when you don’t have two nickels to rub together, but stop saying, “I’m broke.”  Change your mind.   It changes how you react and how you deal.  Before you know it, you’ll be walking around with a grand smile on your face all the time.  Folks won’t know WHAT hit you.  I do though.  It’s called P E A C E!  You should get you some…With that being said, I’ll sign off and share this wonderful graphic with you.  Here’s to changing your life.  Find out what makes you…YOU!  It’s not what anyone else thinks…it’s what you think.

Give up and live

What defines me?  Being the best me that I can be.  I’m not perfect, but I am human.  I will use prolific when I mean profound.  I will miss an apostrophe.  I will mispelle a word.  One thing I do know is that I am not defined by those things.  I’m blessed beyond measure.  That’s what I am.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

Until next time,

Hakuna Matata