Search This Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

{Throwing Down Thursday} Southern Chicken Roll-ups.

Simple. Quick. and DELICIOUS! Anyone (even children) that you make this for will adore this meal. You can serve it with any starch (I like seasoned white rice) and any vegetable (I like broccoli). 
Southern Chicken Roll-Ups Recipe

Southern Chicken Roll-Ups RecipePhoto by: Taste of HomeSouthern Chicken Roll-Ups RecipeRating 5
100% would make again
This is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken because it tastes so good and it doesn't take long to prepare. I like to serve it with rice.
This recipe is:
Contest Winning
Southern Chicken Roll-Ups Recipe
  • 6 Servings
  • Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


  • boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 pounds)
  • slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


  • Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. Place a cheese slice on each; roll up jelly-roll style. In a shallow bowl, combine flour and pepper; add chicken and roll to coat.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in butter until browned, about 10 minutes, turning frequently. Add broth and oregano; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 12-14 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (prepared with reduced-fat cheese, margarine and low-sodium broth) equals 284 calories, 157 mg sodium, 94 mg cholesterol, 4 gm carbohydrate, 36 gm protein, 13 gm fat. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Men ADORE women who can cook. They probably won't admit it but it remains true; the way to a man's heart is indeed through his stomach. 

True Story. 

Goodie Mob - Soul Food

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{Little Tyke Tuesday} Mama's baby, Papa's maybe.

So, I haven't been blogging like I told myself that I would... "Everyday will have a theme. I'll blog everyday." Yeah. Right. (But one day, I will.) Life is getting in the way. Work, being a mommy and a good companion; it makes doing things that are important to me VERY difficult.

That was a total sidebar from what I was about to talk about... So, yesterday, I went to my parents house after work. My daughter has been with her father for the last three weeks and I have missed her like CRAZY! But, because of work and a few other extenuating circumstances; she's going to be with my parents through the end of the week. I feel terrible about it. I really do, but I can't change it.

The real truth is; I can. I should. I MUST.

My best friend Racheal really gave me a perspective that I never even considered. Now, my entire outlook has changed.

To give you that story; I have to give the back story so, here goes.

My daughter is enrolled at a half day pre-school that her father chose. It's three blocks from his house and free, run by a State assisted church, and, free. The first week of class; Shey saw a dead mouse in the 'pee-pee toilet'. As such; I've never taken this school seriously. I've always felt like her TRUE school life won't begin until Kindergarten.

On Monday, My mom told me that she probably wouldn't be able to get her to school since she and my step dad were down to one car (which happened NOT to be the more gas efficient vehicle of the two) and had a lot of appointments this week. I told her not to worry about it; Shey REALLY starts school in the fall... Don't worry about that neighborhood school.

Then comes the call from Paul... "Shey had a bad report card. Did she go to school today? What are y'all doing over there?"

I HATE having to answer to someone whom I feel is parentally inferior to me in every way.... BUT! In this way; he is superior. He sends her to school every day that she's with him. He COULD make the argument that I'm denying her the head start that she needs to succeed in the competitive environment that I'm sending her to.

Once I got a lecture from him... The same dude who went 10 months without talking to her... The same dude  who needed a second person around to fully care for her; I felt convicted. I fully realized that I needed to take control of my little girl's situation. Not him. True story; my daughter WILL be literate when Kindergarten hits, just like I was. She will lead the charge, not be behind, the kids who have been prepared.

My parents are going to be phased out of the equation. In terms of who is responsible for her education. Even if it means that I have to make bigger sacrifices. Time off or not; Shey is MY kid. She will look to ME later on to sat what I did or didn't do. True story.

Thanks Racheal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{Working Out Wednesday} Making it a priority.

I've always been "big". By 'big' I mean fat.

People like to sugar coat stuff like that. "You're not that big." "You're thick." "You're big-boned." "You carry your weight well." All of those are just niceties for "you're fat." My sister asked me one day; "Well if you're fat, then what am I?" Ummm.... Really fat?" The thing is; BMI doesn't lie. My BMI says that I'm obese. This means that I am at risk for all kinds of fat related issues; hypertension, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint issues, self esteem issues and plain old unattractiveness. I already know all of this, and, I'm working on it.

The thing is; I know how to lose weight. I've done it not once or twice, but a lot. The first time I did it was after high school. The day after graduation, we took the unofficial senior trip to Cedar Point. Me and two of my friends went on the RipCord. It was phenomenal. We took pictures and paid $30 for one vhs tape which I volunteered to take home and copy. I was appalled at my appearance. My face was so big that when I smiled, you couldn't see my eyes. I was offended that no one, not my mom, friends or family, took the time to tell me that I had gotten so frigging big. That very day; I made a decision. Not to get skinny, but to do better by my body.

Not long after that; I happened upon a weight bench and weight set at a second hand store that was being thrown out. I brought it home and used it every day without fail. I wasn't doing it for results, I did it because it made me feel good once I was done. The awesome thing was that I DID get results. Within months, I had dropped at least 50 lbs. The reaction that I got from folks who hadn't seen me in a while told me that I was doing something right. So, I kept at it and it became a way of life.

Fast forward a decade and a couple years later. I'm 30, a mommy, and so busy with work and life in general that working out is more of a luxury than a priority. But I've realized that that's what's missing! Before I had my daughter; I ran 4 miles a day, 5 days a week in addition to the 4 miles I walked for my commute and while at work. I was strong and athletic and I felt good, all the time. I got a lot less sleep than I get now, but I always felt rested.

Truthfully, I hadn't truly realized how far I'd come in my weight loss journey up to that point until I saw two of my girls that I hadn't seen since high school at a mutual friend's wedding, five years after graduation. My then husband and I sat in a different area of the sanctuary and went looking for them after the wedding. Their reaction was akin to the way that the families on The Biggest Loser react after not seeing their loved ones until their transformation is complete. In unison they squealed "Oh my God, ACHSHA!" with their mouths agape.

How they remembered me. - High school circa 1998

The day of the wedding. - Five years later; fall 2003

I still have both  of those dresses. Sadly, I'm closer to being able to fit the black one than the blue one. But I'm working on it. I'm a bit of a procrastinator and some mornings, it's easier for me to tell myself that I will work out in the evening and just to hit the snooze button one more time. THAT is not making exercise a priority. And THAT is why I am stagnating.  

I am eating better though. I rarely, if ever, eat fast food. I brown bag my lunch and intentionally leave my debit card at home so I have no means to buy the greasy foods I love so much even if I am tempted. As a woman of a certain age; I'm determined not to do the same thing in my 30s as I did in my 20s. I spent half of my 20s as an athletic, nutrition conscious woman. I spent the other half wallowing in my post-motherhood body, quieting the pain of my divorce with 40oz beer and junk food. 

Right around 29, I began to feel like myself again; like a whole person and now, I can say truly, that I am whole again. Now, it's just a matter of finding the balance and getting that 20 something's zeal for exercising and zest for life. 

I used to take my athleticism for granted. After I had my daughter, after not having exercised one bit the entire time I was pregnant, I remember going out and attempting to run as I had before. I got to the end of my block and was ready to collapse. Back when I could run a 7 minute mile, I didn't realize, even back then, that it had been a long time coming. A gradual progression from walking to interval jogging mixed with interval cardio workouts. No matter how badly I want them to, I know that my results aren't going to come over night. I'm over that. I'm not watching the scale. I'm getting back to basics. I know that if I just work out everyday. If I just do what I know is right, the weight will come off. I'm finally back at that place mentally where my resolve is meeting my drive. 

It's an awesome feeling. And it's about time!

Kanye West - Workout Plan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{Little Tyke Tuesday} I miss my Boonchie!

My daughter has been with her dad for the last two weeks. I don't get her back until Monday morning. Back on August, her father began to adhere to the 50/50 joint custody arrangement sent in place in December of the previous year. Initially, it was a week for him, a week for me. Out of nowhere, he said that the only way he could do it was to keep her for two weeks at a time so that he could schedule his 'job' around having her.

Since I was out of town last week, we had to finagle the schedule to accommodate him having her while I was in Chicago. So, I kept her for three weeks (instead of two) and he kept her for three weeks. Once this period ends, we'll go back to the two weeks on, two weeks off arrangement. I call her everyday. To see how she's doing, what she's up to and whatnot. She seems happy; the exact opposite of the clingy, unhappy Shey I dropped off two Tuesday mornings ago.

He told me today that he had to fire his nanny. (Who knew that a dude without a job who can't afford to pay child support can afford hired help). She didn't show up on time (must've been something HUGE because that dide lives on CP time) and she wasn't doing things the way he wanted them done. I cautioned him that going from one woman living in the house (his soon to be {second} ex-wife) to having another woman be the matriarch, might be confusing to Shey. As usual; he didn't listen.

It's times like these that I'm glad that I'm not married to him anymore. Back then, because he was my husband, I had to acquiesce to his 'better' judgement because, as the husband, he was the spiritual head of the household. That reason alone should be enough for every woman who is considering marriage to fast and pray leading up to, and proceeding, becoming engaged.

I met and married my now ex-husband in six weeks. You read that right. Six. Weeks. When we met, the Lord spoke to my heart and said that I was going to marry him. I tool that as the Lord telling me to marry him. It wasn't until years later when I told my Aunt/then Pastor, this that she asked me "Achsha, what if the Lord was simply telling what you were going to do not what to do?"

Truthfully, I had never even considered that possibility. That thought changed my entire perspective on the whole situation. Then I thought... If I'd never married Paul, I wouldn't have had Shey... Suddenly; it all became worth it. Everything; all of the pain, hurt, misery, all of the put-downs had given me an awesome little person that I adore.

Being divorced gives one a perspective that others who are considering the process respect. When asked, I tell my homegirls the same thing; "I will never tell you to leave your husband or to stay. The only thing I can do is give you my perspective."

Going through a divorce was tough. So much so that at times, I considered calling it off just so I wouldn't have to experience the pain that comes along with it. Looking back from the other side, it's easy to say that it was worth it, but in the thick of it; it wasn't. I wanted nothing more than to turn tail and give it another go. True story. But in the end; I'm SO glad I didn't. It was the best decision. FOR ME. I reiterate. FOR ME it was the best decision.

But! It doesn't make joint custody easier. Splitting my daughter's time between her dad and I sucks. When I get her back, she seems older, more mature, wiser. It's hard to describe but it's true nonetheless. For as long as she's a minor; I will have to live with the consequence of having left her father, my (then) husband. Choosing to be a single mom and to raise her alone.

It's a tough road and it's one I won't know the path of until I'm done traveling it.


Pink - Family Portrait

Chrisette Michelle - Blame it on Me

Monday, March 21, 2011

{Money Monday} Family Planning; When you fail to plan, plan to fail.

One of the things I was never taught as a child was how to budget. Probably because my mother grew up in a patriarchal household where her father worked and her mother stayed home. He paid all of the bills and his wife reaped the benefits of having such a great provider. Before my parents divorced, and before we moved in with my ailing Paw-Paw, we moved. A lot. Since my mom was a homemaker, I'm guessing my dad wasn't so good at budgeting either. (Does that mean I can blame my lack of budgeting skills on genes?)

When I got married, in the beginning, my then husband was very good about budgeting the money that we were bringing into the house for what had to go out when we got our bi-weekly checks. I liked the idea of having a budget. Of paying bills on time, not just when someone called asking for the money or threatening to shut something off for lack of payment. I would have loved to stay in the budgeting habit but once I saw the scales tipping out of my favor when it came to pocket money being budgeted to me, I fell out of love with the idea of budgeting.

As a single mom and the sole person responsible for making sure that things stay on around the house, food is kept in the house, a budget is a necessity. The only problem I have with the budget is (as Dave Ramsey always says) there's always more month at the end of the money. What I have come to learn about budgeting is that, as with most other things, it is better to be proactive than reactive. Even if it takes longer than you hope or anticipate; stick to the budget. You'll get ahead faster with a plan than you would just winging it.

I've got some very ambitious goals for my very modest budget. What I keep telling myself is that by sticking to it; any overages will allow me to maximize every dollar that comes into my household. That's one of the advantages of working in sales; if I go hard enough, I can bring in more than what I even expected.


Anesha Birchett - "Broke"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

{Celibacy Sunday} What's the female equivalent to "blue balls"?

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you now know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefor honor God with your body.

I Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV)

My heart was heavy today. Last week, I shared how difficult my purity walk has become for me since being in love with such an awesome man. Today, I almost reversed my decision, with a smile on my face. I have always felt in the back of my head that if I went back on my promise of celibacy until marriage that God would reciprocate by not allowing me to marry my boyfriend, the man of my dreams. 

During a conversation we had on the phone today, where I all but talked him into coming to see me for that very purpose, he said essentially the same thing. He was down to do the do with me, we were debating on what day. I said today, he said later this week. I said today. He said tomorrow. I said today. There was a long, awkward silence. I told him that I wanted to get it in before I lost my resolve. That if we waited even until tomorrow, that I would talk myself out of it. 

He was silent again, for longer than the aforementioned silence. "We can't", he said. "I can feel God shaking His finger at me like 'Don't you do it." I was steadfast. I told him that I could see God shaking His finger at me, so I turned my head. "See, when you're dealing with someone who is omnipresent, you can't turn away" he said. "That's when you close your eyes" I said.

We were silent again and he said that we could do it, but he was afraid of what would happen to us if we did. That's when the thought jumped from the place in the back of my mind that I had shoved it. If we did this; there would be no coming back from it. We had made this promise to God and to each other and no one else. Were I to acquiesce, I would be no different than any other girlfriend or sex partner he'd had before. The same would be true for him. 

But the truth is, he IS different from anyone I've ever been with. I love him in a way that I never loved even the man I was married to. That's one of the factors that makes abstaining even harder; he's the only one that I want to be with, ever. And I have to wait for an undetermined amount of time. 

After talking for a while, we reset our resolve. I told him that if sleeping with him now even held the possibility of us not spending our lives together; that I would hold out for as long as it takes. That I would shoulder the responsibility of keeping us pure. We've waited individually a long time even before having met each other. I ask myself, "what's a little more time?"

I took a nap before leaving to run errands and I eventually ended up at my best friend's house. I told her what happened and she encouraged me. She told me that my celibacy journey has been inspiring to her and that since he and I love each other so much; it'll be worth the wait once it finally happens. It will be God blessed, full of anticipation and guilt free. I agree totally but it doesn't make it any easier. Not. Even. A little bit...

But I am determined to see it through. In truth, I do not yet have the body that I want my would be husband to see. When I do think about what it will be like to be with him; the circumstances do not mirror any of our current circumstances. So I'm leaning on the Lord. I'm asking for strength and affirming Bible verses like the one above to keep my head and body in the right place. 


Dru Hill - These are the times 

Responsibility over risk.

Going to Chicago always does something to me. Inspires me, saddens me, enlightens me. Reminds me that I'm not really living. I haven't been to Chicago in just over a year. The last time I went was for training for work. We were north of the city in Schaumberg (or something like that). It was cool; getting away from work for the week on the company's dime. Drinking every night and dining out for every meal. I even got to see Juan who came up to see me one night; we stayed up late shooting darts and playing pool.Coming back from that trip, I can remember feeling so energized and pumped up about the possibilities that lay ahead.

I was accompanied by my service manager and my counterpart that hired in with me. Both of them are pretty, thin, tall blondes who dressed to the nines everyday. It was awesome to get a peek into their world. I'm the only Black female in my division at my location. I am also the only overweight girl. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Those chicks ate low-fat, fat-free, sugar free everything ate salads instead of burgers, and drank diet pop, if at all. I came back to Detroit feeling like I could conquer the world. For a week, we were given tips on how to overcome objections, trained on the products that we sell, and indoctrinated with corporate culture, our service philosophy, and, most importantly, our principal objective.

More recently, I've been feeling as if my performance at work is slipping. I was doing really, really well but within two quarters, I was on a plan that was, essentially, probation. I went from having had my name up in lights to being the example of how NOT to run one's route. 

Working 10 and 12 hour days was exhausting and I felt like I was chasing my tail. More recently; I've been trying to figure out this whole work/life balance thing. How to be able to go hard at work, be successful and make the most money possible while still having the time and energy to spend with my daughter and my boyfriend. 

I have yet to get a grasp on that totally, but what I have realized is that I have to really focus on bringing exercise back into my daily routine. It's the best way to manage stress and it makes me feel good. It helps my energy level, and, I sleep better. (As much as I love to sleep, this is essential). With my trip to Chicago, I didn't get to blog Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Wednesdays are Workout Wednesdays where I talk about my weight loss struggles and successes. One thing I know about myself is that my body adapts very well and very quickly to whatever I do to it. If I eat right and exercise; I can lose 5+ lbs in a week. (I lost 14 lbs in two weeks at the beginning of the year). If I eat all the wrong things and don't exercise; I can put on 5 lbs or more in a few days. 

There are many things that I know about myself; one of them is that I am a procrastinator. I hate this about myself because waiting until the last minute always gives me anxiety. Lately I am beginning to realize that my procrastination is what is causing my issues across the board. Instead of working out in the morning, I'll tell myself that I'll do it when I get home. When I get home, I tell myself I'll do twice as hard the next day to make up for it. Sometimes, I do, more often than not, I don't. 

Spending the time that I spent in Chicago with my BFF, and my brothers really made me reevaluate what it is that I'm doing right, and what I'm doing wrong. By changing certain behaviors that I am fully aware are self destructive, I can change many of the aspects of my life that I'm not happy about. I preach to my customers all the time about the need to be proactive instead of reactive. By anticipating issues and/or taking care of the issues right away; you save yourself the headache and the hassle that comes along with allowing that molehill to turn into a mountain. 

So, I'm taking my own advice and moving forward with one of the affirmations that I used to tell myself. "Doing it tomorrow are words used by other people. I do mine now, get the job done and receive my just rewards." Right now; I've got to focus on maximizing the opportunities that I find myself in; making a decision to do and be the absolute best that I can be which is something that only I can control. That stands true in every aspect and area of life; work, home, fitness and any other area that I want to advance in. 

True story. 

Ludacris - Cold Outside

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

{Little Tyke Tuesday} Give the kid some credit!

So, you all know I have a daughter. She's 4 1/2 years old and 38" of awesome. She's got the cutest little voice and she has comedic timing that Eddie Murphy would appreciate. (I attribute that to her large vocabulary and the fact that I'm quite the comedienne myself.)

My daughter is an only child from her father and I and the only Grandchild my parents have. For a long time before and after she was born, there weren't any kids in our family. Of all of my friends who are parents, my daughter is the youngest of the first born children. As a new Mommy, I didn't know anything about being a parent so I started reading about parenthood.

First, it was the books that they give you when you find out you're pregnant; What to Expect When You're Expecting and the like. One of the things I kept seeing was how important it is to read to the child, to talk to the child even from the womb. So, I did. Not knowing her sex, I just told the baby what I was doing (while trying not to look like I was talking to myself), narrating as I went about my day. At night, I would read whatever I was reading to her and I would play rudiments with my fingers on my belly.

Once she was born, I talked to her all the time. ALLLL the time. I'd ask her questions and pretend that she was responding.
"So Shey-Shey. 
How was your day? 
That's great! 
What did you do? 
You did?! 
That's awesome! 
You know Mommy missed you... 
Yes, I did. I missed you SO much!"

To which she would just stare at me and not respond. When I went back to work, I would call her from work and do the same thing; my mom would hold the phone to her ear while I talked and talked.

Eventually, I would say she was about six months old, she began responding to me. The first time she did it, I was at work and we were on the phone. 
"Hi baby!" 
"Brmmmmmm paeee!" 
"How are you?!"
"Zhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaa... totototo"
"Are you being a good girl?"

This went on for several minutes until my mother pulled the phone away. She was just as excited as I was to see that Shey was finally responding to my talking. Not surprisingly, my daughter's first word was MaMa followed shortly thereafter with "YaYa"; the name she chose for my mom. 

Even before Shey began speaking, however, I knew that she understood what I was saying to her. Speech comes long after comprehension (if you ask me, I don't know if that's a fact, but it was true in Shey's case.)

When she was about 10 months old, her father and I were exchanging her. As he was leaving, she did something I didn't appreciate and I chastised her. Paul got upset with me and chided me for doing so. "She's a baby Achsha! She doesn't understand!" I looked at him like he had seven heads. "Are you kidding me? Watch this." "Shey-Shey, go get Mommy a diaper." Not yet walking, she crawled into my bedroom and returned with a diaper tucked under her arm. I changed her, put her on the floor and handed her the dirty diaper. "Okay baby, now go put this in the garbage." She crawled away to the kitchen, pulled herself up by the garbage can and put the diaper into the trash before crawling back over to me and motioning for me to pick her up. 

You could've picked Paul's face up off of the floor. He couldn't believe it. "She doesn't understand?" My laugh was an 'I told you so' in itself. I told him to give her some credit. As adults, we're the ones who underestimate children. They are limitless! We are the ones who tend to stifle their learning by thinking that they are not capable of picking up on things. 

When I was pregnant, I heard or read somewhere that there is a direct correlation between the number of words a child hears before their first birthday and the level of education that they will be able to attain. I heard or read later that Black children hear one million fewer words before the age of five than their white counterparts. Really? (By the way; words from TV don't count.)

Funny story; the Christmas after Shey's third birthday, we were at my parents' house having dinner. After dinner, Shey was dressing up in her newly acquired princess attire. She walked over and said "Mommy, how do I look?" to which I replied "Honey, you look gorgeous!" She looked at me with all seriousness and said "No Mommy, say da-stingwished." 

You could've picked MY face up off the floor. I've said all that to say; interact with your children and those around you. And remember; reading is FUNdamental. 

C is for Cookie - Cookie Monster

(An all time fave #classic)

Monday, March 14, 2011

{Money Monday} Dave Ramsey is the smartest (money) man alive.

So, back in the day, I was a Process Server. For those of you unfamiliar with the legal system (thank your lucky stars), a Process Server delivers subpoenas and court summons to people who are being sued for myriad reasons. Most court summons are for civil suits; people who haven't paid a bill, are getting divorced, etc. Most Process Servers work a lot of nights and weekends since that's when most of Americans are at home.
Many of the nights that I spent delivering bad news, I searched the radio for quality programming and stumbled upon Dave Ramsey; a Christian financial expert who teaches how to build wealth and be debt free.
Listening to his show and all of the people who called in daily to tell Dave how they had used his program over the course of many months or several years to become debt free was inspiring.
I bought the book The Total Money Makeover and zipped through it. It was simple, practical and easy to follow. But it took a level of discipline that, up until that time, I hadn't achieved. Then came my quarter life crisis. On the verge of 30, I began to evaluate my life and the way I was living it. Things weren't going bad, just not the way I thought they would have gone by the time I was 30. The most noticeable of them was where I stood financially. I wasn't in debt per se, but I wasn't debt free. I didn't have any savings at all and had no concrete plan as to how I would start saving.
One of the things that I don't think we as Black people talk about enough is the importance of saving, college funds for our children and home ownership. It really does amaze me at how many people are completely happy being hood rich. Not familiar with the term hood rich? Let's allow the Big Tymers to enlighten us.

"Gator boots with the pimped out Gucci suits.
Ain't got no job, but I stay Sharp...
Can't pay my rent, cause all my money spent. 
But that's ok, cause I'm still fly...
Gotta a quarter tank of gas, in my new E-class
But that's alright, cause I'm gone ride...
Got everything, in my Mama name. 
But I'm hood rich...
Watching this video, and so many others like it, makes it clear to me why generation Z is predicted to be the first generation of Black folk to be less successful than their parents. We're being indoctrinated and propagandized into believing that it's more important to be fly than it is to be smart, educated or successful. How have we forgotten that education is the key to success?

Success for themselves and their descendants is paramount in every other culture except ours! How many times have you seen Black folk riding around on rims that are worth more than the vehicle they've put them on? Nine times out of ten, those same people don't even own a home. Our wealth is in our clothes, shoes, cars and HAIR!

I know I'm up on a soapbox but I can't help it. Somewhere along the way; we missed it, dropped it or left it behind. It's frightening to think where we are headed. Or is it just me?
I haven't always been the most financially astute. Truthfully, I was never taught how to budget or save for a rainy day. All I ever saw was bill shuffling, robbing Peter to pay Paul and living paycheck to paycheck. I've made a decision that I want to do something that I've never done so that I can get a different result. It's irresponsible to continue to pray for more money if I haven't displayed the ability to master and control what I've been given. 

Luke 16:10 says that He who is faithful with little shall be faithful with much. And if I'm going to train up (my) child in the way (s)he should go, I have to be the example of what I want her to be. 

For instance, (per Dave Ramsey's philosophy) I do not give my daughter an allowance (As far as I'm concerned, I allow her to live in my house. I allow her to eat my food. I allow her to breathe my air #Boondocks). My daughter, just like I do, works on commission. Every Saturday, she is given the charge of cleaning her room. If she does it successfully, she gets $5. Of that $5, She has to give $1 to God, $2 to savings, and she gets to spend the other $2. Even at 4 years old, she's getting the core concepts of what it means to earn money. 

I'm not anywhere close to finishing the Total Money Makeover but I'm well on my way. And the lessons I'm taking from what I'm learning I am passing on to my daughter. It's worth checking out because, please believe, anything is better than this flim flam these dudes are talking about. 
True that!
Big Tymers "Still Fly"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

{Celibacy Sunday} I hate snakes! (Except "Trouser Snakes")

I've been celibate for 15 months and counting. It was easy for the first eight months or so. With no prospects of a relationship on the horizon, I was, in effect, a sexual martyr, (for Jesus, of course). Then, I meet this awesome, awesome man. Talented, funny, sweet, witty, and, foine
Off top, we both knew that we were looking for something more substantial than dating and decided that we would be a couple, pretty much from the beginning. We were both on the celibacy path before we met and agreed that we would remain celibate until marriage. Easier said than done. 
For a while, it wasn't really a question. The house that I moved from didn't allow for much by the way of discretion in intimate matters. I rented a bungalow above a basement apartment where my elderly landlord lived. My bedroom was above his bedroom and I had heard him, on more occasions than I care to remember, getting it in. I knew that if I could hear him, he would hear me. This was always very sobering to me when I would begin to second-guess my celibacy decision. Since I've moved, by the grace of God (and despite the opportunity presenting itself), we've maintained our purity. 
No one else I know is on this path. No one. So when I came across a DVD  that my then boss gave me several years ago as I was divorcing my husband, it shined a new light on the subject for me. There were women in this documentary that had been single for decades. It made my journey pale in comparison. 
I loved my ex-husband dearly. But the relationship that I'm in now, tells me that I wasn't in love. When there's no reciprocity, how can one be in love?
So now that I'm head over heels for this super-foine man, it is inherently difficult for me not to want to express myself in that way towards him. Then again; it's not. He and I have made this promise to each other and to no one else, that we would be pure again and save ourselves only for the one we are married to. Even in my former marriage, despite only knowing one another and being engaged for six weeks, we too, slept together before we were married.  
I was listening to a radio program that featured Pam Stenzel, author of 'Nobody told me'. She said that she heard a wise preacher talk about his pre-marital counseling method for people who sought to be married in his church. Paraphrasing, he asks the couple to be if they are living together or sleeping together. When they tell him which one they are doing, he tells them "So you've already made it clear that you are okay with sleeping with someone that you're not married to." 
She went on to say that our society has a way of regarding marriage as the the institution that is supposed to be respectful of all things sexual. But that we cannot have it both ways. Where is the standard? Either sex is something that is only to be done between people who are married, or, we should stop judging Tiger Woods (and the like) for not being faithful to his wife. 
That was a profound point to me because the truth is, being married is not the only time that you will have to practice sexual discipline. Even now, in my celibacy with my boyfriend, I am establishing a ritual of discipline that I will have to maintain for the rest of my life. Never mind that having been married and sharing a sexual bond in the confines to which God intended it has utterly skewed my perspective on what sex really is and is supposed to be. 
I have had relationships, sexual and otherwise, outside of being married (not while I was cohabitating with my now ex husbnd) and there was always something missing and the unmistakable presence of guilt that followed every sexual encounter. I never wanted to have that kind of smudge or guilt to mar the relationship with the man that I know is the love of my life. 
I will just as soon wait for us to be man and wife before we do the act that God intended for husbands and wives to begin with. 

Say word.