Sunday’s Thought: Let Me Introduce You to My Friend “TIME”

clock_000000When I was 20 years old; my mom told me that my aunt Sally and my uncle Edward and his family were coming to visit us. It was during the summer of 1999 and I had just gotten a job working at a local nursing home in town. I was ecstatic that my aunt was coming, but I knew I had to work and didn’t really foresee a way to get off of work. I was a little afraid to ask for the day off due to a couple of girls getting “let-go” the week prior. The boss was really watching and monitoring everyone’s time and I didn’t want to be on the next one on the chopping block.

My aunt was really special to me. When my mother got pregnant with me when she was 16, it was my aunt that convinced my uncle Edward to allow her to have me. It was my aunt that kept me until I was two years old; allowing my mother to finish school and receive her High School Diploma. It was my aunt that worked scrubbing floors and washing windows to make ends meat for myself and her. I loved her so much, she had a son but he was grown and out of the house, she never had anymore children until she kept me, in which she treated like her prized possession. Mama would tell me that she would see my aunt on Sunday mornings, walking in 5 inch heels, carrying me on her left hip with her purse, bible and other items on her right. She said my hair was twisted up in knots (my aunt didn’t have girls, so she didn’t know how to do hair) but she did the best she could. She would walk 3 miles every Sunday from her house to church and back home again. So when I heard that she was coming, it broke my heart that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to see her. “Tell her, I love her and I’ll see her next time” I told my mom as I hurried out the house and went to work.

Work was long and got crazier and I never got the oppotunity to go and visit aunt Sally, but was looking forward to seeing her the summer of 2000. But that day never came; my mom received a call telling her that my aunt had been in the hospital for 2 weeks and we needed to come right away. We traveled over an hour to get to Little Rock, Arkansas. Once we got there, my mom was exhausted and re-assured us that we would go in the morning to visit aunt Sally. However; I was looking to hitch a ride from anyone that day who was going that way. The next morning as we were getting ready for church, I just happened to look out the window and seen my aunt’s son, it looked as if he was being consoled by his wife. As he came into the house, my heart dropped. He told us that my aunt had passed away in the wee hours of the morning. My moms scream is something that I had never forgotten…..I was inconsolable.

Why couldn’t we go the day before? Why didn’t I take off work that summer before? It was then that I realized that as time ticks away each day, we have to make the most of every opportunity. We fuss, curse and abuse time but we don’t stop to think about the gifts that it gives or provides to us daily. If we fail to take advantage of it, then it’s not time’s fault. It’s ours…clock_000000

Yesterday, I seen two co-workers that I hadn’t seen in a long time. As we hugged and embraced one another, one asked about my children. Her face was shocked when I told her my daughter was going to the 8th grade and my son the 5th. I asked her about her girls and she told me that they were doing well and that they now were 26yrs old now. OMGosh!!! Really?? I remember her talking of them getting ready for prom, I remember when they graduated high school and starting their first year of college….now they are four years from being 30. The other co-worker shared that her daughter was a senior in college this year, it seems like it was just yesterday when she was leaving work to go to her high school and watch her play basketball. Where does the time go?

Time shows us everyday that it keeps on moving – whether we want it to or not, it’s the only thing that never stands still. Time is the most underappreciated word in the dictionary, a word that’s always there with us but we seem to never realize it’s true worth until it’s too late. I don’t know how you’ve been spending your time lately, but I’m here to tell you to enjoy the small moments and cherish everything around you. Take a little longer to hold a hand, a little longer to view a smile, take time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, a moment to visit someone, take time to spend with your best friend or a parent because time shouldn’t be wasted and the best-est gift you can give to anyone.

Sunday’s Thought: You can always change your life but You can’t change Time. Use it Wisely…

TIME

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

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Did Someone Say Divorce?

*Warning, this blog is longer than my usual one’s but hopefully you read it and are able to get something from it.*

Marriage Is Quote 

Ever since I was 8yrs old, I dreamed like most little girls do of being happily married, having a beautiful home and a couple of kids. As I got older I began to watch romance movies and read romance novels. I always dreamed of having a prince charming to come and sweep me off my feet and we ride into the sunset to our little house on the hill with the white picket fence around it. I never envisioned us getting into an argument or having a disagreement about anything – I just knew and believed in my heart of hearts that we would be happily married for the rest of our lives. He happy with me and I happy with him, sounds so lovely right?

It wasn’t until I got a little older and started dating that I realized I had no idea what the so called “perfect” guy was. I mean, I didn’t have a constant male role model in my life that I could look up too to show me what a real man was and how that man was supposed to take care of a house, wife and kids. My mom was married but he was abusive and the guys she dated after that were no model citizens as they inflicted more hurt than love. So it wasn’t a surprise for me to get married to someone that had been married two times before and had two kids already (might I say one was already practically grown). When he asked me to marry him, one part of me said Yes while the other part said H**L NO!

But because we had dated for almost 2yrs, I felt that it was the right thing to do. Did I love him?, sometimes I did but most times I didn’t. I knew that he wasn’t the one for me, all the new things that I wanted  to experience for the first time in a marriage…such as having children, purchasing a home, new car and just experiencing the first years of marital bliss together was outweighed by his world of “I’ve already done that.” I married him because I thought I loved him and although I knew things weren’t on point in dating, I felt that since this was my first time being married that he would change. But that didn’t happen…..that didn’t happen at all. I will give anyone one main point that they should always remember before the walk down the aisle:

“Whoever a person is in Dating, Is exactly who they will remain in Marriage.”

If you decide to close this blog down and not read anything else beyond what was said above, I would totally understand. The thing about my marriage is that I expected him to change when the ring was placed on my finger. What I was naive to was the fact that he was and had already showed me who he was and what type of husband he was going to be but I ignored the signs and flashing lights and walked onto the tracks and got hit hard by the train. Although I knew there were going to be no changes in him; I still strived to be the best wife I could be at 23.  I read many books on marriage and even read a couple of erotica ones, I tried to lose weight and exercise whatever it took to keep him at home at night and away from  the gambling halls. But those efforts were ignored and after he decided not to change even after going to counseling. The dreaded “D” word came into play.

No one gets married to get divorced; that is not in the plan when you take vows. As you stand there smiling and looking into your future husband or wife’s eyes, anticipating on being the best partner ever. You wonder if their thoughts are in sync with yours.  When I realized that after much trying that me and my husband were headed for divorce, I was devastated. I honestly felt as if I had failed in my marriage and let my daughter (whom was 3 months old at the time) down. She needs a father in her life, what would I tell her when she gets older and asks for her dad or ask questions why we weren’t together anymore. I honestly thought that I had did something wrong, “Was I not good enough?” “Was I not pretty enough?” “Was I Not Small Enough?”

What had I done? Why did I get into this? The marriage definitely wasn’t anything like the movies or the novels that I read. I quickly realized that actors and actresses are paid to act a certain way and the novelist is a person that depicts an imaginary, magical world of expectation that doesn’t quite fit the puzzle of the real world.

I had many questions while going through and after my divorce. I felt lonely, betrayed and my self-esteem that I had worked so hard to build up to his expectations came crashing down like a snowstorm on a mountain. Overtime I realized that I wasn’t the only one that would face the “D” word and definitely wouldn’t be the last. I finally came up with this thought in which snapped me back into reality and it is:

“When you Know that You’ve done  EVERYTHING in your power to make things work and I mean EVERYTHING, then feel free to move on.

That includes counseling, trying new things and coming up with ways to improve the marriage). You shouldn’t give up on one try just because something went south or wrong) When you’ve honestly tried 100 things and all 100 failed or for some marriages it may be 20 or 50 things. What I’m saying is, make sure that you’ve given it everything you’ve got before you completely throw in the towel. And when I felt like I had given it my all? I left and the feelings that I felt afterward are my tips to anyone going through it, these are a couple of things that helped me to move forward and not backward.

Prayer Is the Key ~

I have to say, I felt crazy going to God when I went through my divorce because I didn’t consult him prior to getting married. So I have to be honest, I didn’t talk to God because I was embarrassed too. I mean after all he had given me plenty of signs prior to the marriage that, that guy wasn’t the one for me. But I took the bait and got caught up in the net. After stalling in prayer, I came to realize that God is a forgiving God and that no matter what we have done wrong, if you have the heart to reach out to him to ask for forgiveness. He will forgive you, not only that – he’ll be there waiting for you with open arms. Just as the king did to see his prodical son.

Know the Law ~

Every state is different so if you are headed down divorce highway, make sure you read the laws of separation guidelines within your state. In Arkansas, you can file for divorce the moment you decide that’s what you want to do. In NC, you have to be separated for a full year before you can file for divorce. The lawyer will ask what date you all separated and/or when they moved out the house. Whatever date that is, that will be the date (a year from now) that you can file for divorce. You have to remain separated for the full year, if they come back to stay for two months and leave then you will have to record the day that they left in which will prolong you filing.

Give Yourself Time ~

I started to put, “Don’t Date” after the dash but I know that, that varies by person. I would suggest from experience to give yourself some space and time after the split. The last thing you want to do is get mingled up with someone else and drag them into the hurt, pain and ups and downs of what you’re already going through. You really won’t know what you’re ready for until you give yourself some time. This time is for you to take a look at your situation and improve on who you are as a person. This means you’re going to have to do an inside/out job on yourself. Take time to clean out the hurt and replace it with peace, love and serenity. WARNING: This will not happen overnight.

Highs and Lows ~ Face It Head-on

When I was going through my divorce I had many high points and many low points as well. There were days where I was fine with what was going on and then there were days where I wanted to disappear from the face of the earth.  You’re going to have your high points and low ones too. On most days I woke up resentful, swearing that I would never, ever get married again and denounced relationships altogether. Bitterness and resentment will set in, so you’ll experience it all. Go through it, have your pity party – don’t sweep it under the rug to deal with it later. All those feelings need to come out now, it wouldn’t even hurt to talk with a counselor. I did and it helped me relieve a lot of stress and anger. Face It Now, rather than later.

Journal ~

If you can’t afford to see a counselor then journaling was another outlet for me that really helped alleviate stress, resentment, pain and anxiety. Its good to look back on it and see where you were and where you are currently now. It also gives you an opportunity to tweak areas in which you may still have issues with dealing with.

Healing Music ~

Music has a way of healing even the most messed up and broken situations. When I was going through my divorce I found a liberating song that I listened to everyday that helped me get out of bed and start my day. I would suggest finding a theme song for yourself. I wouldn’t suggest a song that reminds you of the person in which you are separating from. But a song that will give you strength to move forward. My song during that time was a classic by Wilson Phillips entitled “Hold On”. You’ll find your song and when you do, play it everyday until the hurt and pain you feel goes away.

Remember, Divorce is just a Detour – Not a Destination.

Here are a couple of Uplifting Quotes that will help you cope…

Quotes that will help you heal through and after Divorce.

 

For the Engaged or Newly Married – A few tips for you..

  1. Keep God First – Need I say more?, This should be a no-brainer. You have to have a good foundation and having God aboard your marriage is where it all starts. Pray with each other everyday. 5min or 10min a day will keep the devil at bay in your marriage. Not to say that he won’t try to bring things against it but if you all can build a strong prayer life…he’ll have trouble trying to break the barrier.
  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate and Communicate some more – you’ll be surprised. Most marriages end due to a lack of communication, talk with your partner about everything of importance. Yes, there will be times where you need to be alone. But if it’s something that’s going to affect the marriage in a bad way, communicating with each other will keep everything on track.
  3. Financial Discussion – This is the number one reason why most marriages fail. If you know your soon to be hubby or wife is not great with money, then you take it over. If you are not great with it either, then I would suggest you all get a financial counselor. Talk about what’s coming in and what’s going out, make decisions together when it comes to purchasing large items. It doesn’t matter who makes the most money and it’s not “my money” or “your money” it’s “OUR MONEY” remember you all became a unit of one, so whatever you money you make is made for the both of you.
  4. Best Friends – You married or are going to marry your husband or wife for richer or poorer, sickness and health until death do you part. You are each others best friend as well as life partners. Create a bond with each other that no one will be able to break. This person will be down with you when everyone else leaves, outside of God, they should be the first person you go to, to discuss matters of importance. If you can’t count on anyone else – then you should be able to count on them.

 

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

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Sunday’s Thought: My Dad is a ____________

There were many times in my life where that sentence line of my dad is _____________ was filled with words that I wouldn’t dare mention right now. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to grips with not being mad at the man that helped create me. (I’ll explain)…keep reading..

I never knew my dad, nor his family. I was told that he came to see me when I was three days old however; I remember seeing him for the first time at the age of nine. I finally got a chance to meet the man that I was so desperately asking to see since I was 5yrs old. What do I say? What do I do? Do I look like him? I was nervous, yet frighteningly excited and finally after what seemed like hours upon hours of excess adrenaline and anticipation, I laid eyes on the man I had longed to see. He was very tall, 6’7 I was told. Much taller than my 4ft tall height, he looked like the Jolly Green Giant over me. As he leaned back on the floor model T.V. against a stairwell, with a brown crumpled bag in his hand (in which I now know was a liquor bottle). He muttered “You know I’m your daddy right?” Stunned at his calm demeanor I quickly said “Yes.” – and that was all he said.

We ended up going to my mother’s cousins house, where he stood in the doorway of their dining room, looking at me as if he had never seen a little girl before. I head him tell several people, “She look like her mother.” as the night came to a close; he reached into his pocket, gave me $8.00 and took me home. I saw him again at the age of 14, my mother received a letter from Child Support, there was going to be a hearing and he had to be present. I begged my mother to let me go with her, just so I could see him and when I did, we locked eyes on each other and never let go. I wanted to make sure I got a good stare down of him, ; who knows when I would see him again and I was right, I never saw nor heard from him again after that day.

Because of that experience, my dad had become every nasty name known to man. How could he not keep in touch with me?, Every failed relationship that I experienced with men, I blamed him for every one of them. If he had been the dad I needed him to be, then I would know how a man is supposed to treat a woman. I became resentful, bitter and cursed the day I was born. While we can’t change whom our parents chose to date, marry or co-mingle with and no matter how much we would like to wiggle our nose like the famous “Bewitch.” – Wiggling our noses; will not change the past. Nose Wiggle - Bewitch As I grew much older; I realized, that while my dad may not have been the model dad I had wanted him to be, the best part of him and my mother getting together was me. I can’t help who my dad was or may still be but I can help who I am and whom I’ve become. Look at it this way, don’t hate the gene in which you were birthed from. Embrace it. I don’t hate my dad and really don’t care at this point in my life  why he wasn’t there for me or why he didn’t do more. I forgave him for everything he wasn’t and began to ask God to help me to love the man, I never really knew. I love my dad and if he stood before me today. I would tell him that.

You see, we can’t change the past – no matter how hard we may try. The only thing we can control is the present; which determines our destiny and future self. So, what am I really trying to say? Be the best-est version of your dad or mom. No matter what your DNA may say or dictate whom you are or are supposed to become; you were put here for purpose and to fulfill purpose. You were placed here to make the best out of the negative situation in which you may have been born under. At the end of our lives, we have to all give an account for “our” own actions whether they were good or bad. Forgive your past, including your dad or mom and let it go – they’ll have to give their own account for their mistakes. You just make sure that your heart and mind is clear about it. You may not ever understand them, but you “do” have the ability to become a better person than they might have been. We all have the ability to turn any negativity into a positive one, it’s a matter of choice.

So, the next time someone ask you about your dad or mom?, Just proudly say “My dad or mom is human, a person whom conceived their best product yet (even if they don’t know it) and that person is ME!

Sunday’s Thought: You have one life, that’s all any of us will ever get. Don’t waste it, thinking about the past and why someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do. Do you Boo…Do You and Do it Well…

 

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

 

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

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Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

 

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

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A Renter’s Nightmare: SLUMLORDS!

We’ve all heard the saying for as long as we can remember “Renting is a Waste of Time and Money” and while that is very true, not everyone is ready to purchase Park Place or the Boardwalk. I’ve been a renter for over 15yrs now and there have been many ups as well as downs. In the process I’ve learned quite a bit about myself as well as the individuals I rented from and I can tell you, all landlords are not created equal.

While I have had some landlords that made me feel as if I never wanted to move, I have also had my share of others in which I couldn’t wait until the lease was up. As a tenant there were many mistakes that I’ve made along the way but with experience comes knowledge and due to those previous rental mishaps, I now know what to do before I signed the lease (those tips later)…but it was through my most recent rental experience that I did fully came to know what my rights as a tenant really meant.

A couple months ago my dryer started acting up, it got to the point where it wasn’t drying the clothes as it should. The first thing I thought of was the heating element, maybe it was timing out. I purchased both the washer and dryer brand new in 2012, so 5 years later and this being the first problem, was well worth the expense. In the meantime I was contemplating on maybe purchasing another dryer but before I made that decision I decided to get the dryer checked out first…and, I’m so glad I did. To make a very long story short, the repairman came out and told me that the dryer was in good condition, however; my dryer hose was clogged. He went on to say that the hose was so backed up he was surprised that it hadn’t  started a fire.

Shocked face

OMGOSH? Like, Really??

He immediately told me to contact my landlord and let him know of the situation because it was very serious. My mind at that time went on flashback mode – the landlord hasn’t been that responsive when I’ve asked him about things in the past or let’s say, he’s acted but not in the way that I felt like he should. But this situation was very serious so I did as the repairman asked and called him right away.

Once called, I was informed that he would get someone on it right away. Two days later, I ended up sending a message to confirm if something was still going to be done. I was then informed that I could still use the dryer and that someone would be out to the house as soon as they can. Fast forward over a month later – no response, I sent a message explaining the situation again and asked if someone was going to come out, Once again, I was informed that the person was too busy and that they would find someone. Fast forward another month and a half later…..still no word. Tenant vs. Landlord1I was in shock that my issue had not been taken care of quicker than I had hoped, after all – a clogged dryer vent is a fire hazard that could have caused major damage within that time period and it did, especially to my light bill. So, I did my research and took matters into my own hands; I hired whom I needed to come out to the house and fix the issue in which got fixed the same day. There was a bird’s nest in the vent along with globs of lint; talk about a disaster waiting on a match. I was appalled at the landlord but after doing my research, I found that as a tenant I had rights and therefore could take those expenses from the rent payment and that is exactly what I did.

So given my experience, I wanted to leave you a couple of tips showcasing what I did and mistakes I made in the past regarding past rentals….

I. Document, Document, Document…

In order to withhold some of the rent money to pay for the necessary expenses needed to be fixed, I had to document and keep record of the times in which I contacted my landlord. I would suggest that if you have a problem, right down or keep track of the date, time and conversation discussed. It’s the most relevant piece of information that will come in handy should you need to take such action as I did or even take your landlord to small claims court.

I also would suggest telling your landlord about the situation a couple of times (3) to be exact with time in between to give them time to take action before you take action. You don’t want to jump the gun, because it could hang you later on. Always make the landlord copies of receipts of the items that you purchased, you keep all the originals and if you do get someone to handle an issue or problem that the landlord has failed to do. Make sure you try to get a reasonable person that offer reasonable prices; you don’t want them to think that you’re trying to take more off the rent than you need to and if you have to take them to court, you might receive questions from the judge asking “Why you didn’t go cheaper”– Remember, you’re not trying to stick it to them. You’re just trying to spread awareness that you won’t be run over.

II. Read Your Lease to the “T”

The number one mistake I’ve made in renting is not taking out the time to read my lease in it’s entirety. Getting the keys to your own space can be very liberating but costly if you don’t take out time to read your responsibilities vs. the landlord’s responsible actions. People automatically assume that if they rent then the landlord is automatically responsible for everything…not true. You may be responsible for taking care of the yard or fixing things that become dented, broken or messed up during your stay. Every lease and landlord is different so make sure you read what you’re supposed to take care of during the duration of your lease. And No, the landlord is not responsible for replacing light bulbs nor air filters…sorry. *sidenote* If there’s something you don’t understand or need clarity on, please talk to the landlord about it first before signing…once you sign, you are bound to whatever the lease states you are to do.

III. Inspector Gadget to the Rescue:

Once you’ve read your lease and got all the formalities out of the way and before you move one single item into your humble abode. Go alone or with a trusted friend and inspect your new place. Take out your phone and take pictures of how your place looked before you moved in. Check the wall sockets, the carpet, the bathrooms, sinks, under the sink, wash area even outside. You’re checking to make sure that everything is in good condition. If you notice the carpet is torn or a light fixture is broken or knobs or lights are off or out, take notes and write it up for the landlord, make sure you date it and keep a copy of it for yourself. You want to make sure that the landlord knows about any and all discrepancies before you move in, this makes him or her aware that there is an issue. If they choose not to fix it, then they will not be able to hold that against you once you move out…that’s where your copy of the letter comes into play.

IV. Credit Jeopardy:

If you rent from a private owner, they may not necessarily report your monthly payment to credit reporting agencies, however; most management companies do. If you ever have hopes of moving out to obtain better digs or have a desire to own your own home one day, then paying your rent on time is the meat that will get you there. This brings me to my next point…

V. Be Upfront about It:

If you live in this world, then you know accidents and misfortunes do happen. If you get laid off, have surgery or suffer any other life crisis that will affect you paying the rent, please be upfront with your landlord. I don’t know what type of relationship you may have with him or her but keeping them informed about important matters, will help build a trusting relationship with them, one that could indeed get you into your next place. You never know who they may know or who may know them.

VI. Leave it There:

There was one place that I moved into years ago that had pictures, curtains, shower curtain liners and other miscellaneous things in it. I was under the impression that the owners had just placed it there to stage and dress up the place when they showed it. It wasn’t until I moved out and was expecting to get my full deposit back that I noticed their list of reasons why it was cut short, they had listed all those little trinkets right on the detailed list. So please, if you move into an apartment or house and there are items left there either by the landlord or someone previously; please let your landlord know and ask what you need to do with those items. My suggestion would be to take pictures of where the items were or hung before you take it all down, put them in a box and save it for when you move out. Once you move out, refer back to your pictures to see how those items were placed and hang or place them back where they were. If the landlord says that you can have them, document the date and time of that conversation and refer back to it when you need it.

If you live in North Carolina, Listed below are a couple of links that offer great information on your rights as a tenant as well as the landlords. If you don’t live in NC, then you can replace the NC in the link below with your state acronym. Different rules apply for different states, so make sure you’re following the correct guidelines outlined for yours.

Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in NC

North Carolina Residential Tenant Rights

renters-rights-for-website

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

 

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

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