Monthly Series: An Attitude of Gratitude – Challenge #3

Happy Monday! so, today is the second week/3rd day of our Monthly series – Attitude of Gratitude. Just in case you missed the November Vibes post, Every Monday and Wednesday for the month of November, I will be posting questions in regards to being grateful. I will answer these questions myself but my hope is that you will answer them too and leave those answers in the comment section.

Some questions may have us digging a little deeper within ourselves to answer them, but in the end – my hope is that you will feel more empowered and begin to see yourself and even your life differently and not just for the month of November – but for every month of the year. You can choose to start a journal if you want but this challenge as you may say, is not just about us writing things out and leaving it in a little book to store it away and go back to it when we’re reflecting on our life but the challenge is to show it!! so as an extra bonus after every question regarding yourself will be a question in which will relate to the world around you, it’ll be called “Our End of the Day Question” – you don’t have to write about it here, but it’ll be something that you’ll just ask yourself everyday at the end of your day. While writing out what we’re “grateful” for is half the battle, showing gratitude for and towards others is the KEY!

So, let’s do both – reflecting and showing….(by the way, the passage above will be in every challenge post to start off, however; a new question will be at the bottom of each post).

Today's Challenge Question is.... (6)

What painful experience has helped you grow. (My response)

I’ve had quite a few painful experiences that has helped me grow, some painful experiences (such as relationships) were painful for the moment but after the pain eased up, I found myself treading back down that same hurtful path only to get hurt again, except this time around – it was a little worse. But I have to say that this year I learned a lot from my past relationships whether they were friends or past exes. I learned that the past is the past and when things have past on – it’s best to leave it there. There’s a reason they call the past the past because it’s something that’ll always be entitled “once was.” The past has absolutely nothing to do with your future and if you keep toiling with the past and it’s issues then you’ll never experience the future, which always offer us something fresh & new! I might have messed over my 30’s with being in the wrong places, with the wrong people and put on more hurts, habits and hang-ups than I should, but as this year comes to a close I’m determined to hang out with people whom “truly” have my best interest at heart. #NoMorePainfulExperiences – at least none that I can control or help.

Now It's Your Turn

– What pain experience(s) has helped you grow; Comment Below –

Your End of the Day Question:

Did you put a smile on someone’s face today? If so, who?

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

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

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Sunday’s Thought: Will You Please Listen To Me??

Image above is courtesy of blog site by: Moïcani – L’Odéonie

Early last week, I became annoyingly frustrated at my 13yr old daughter. Ever since she’s crossed over into “TEEN-VILLE” I’ve noticed her attitude has changed tremendously, every time I tell her what she’s going to do, the first thing that comes out of her mouth is “I Can’t Do That” or “Why??” or “That’s not for Me” or “Mama, but I” I mean don’t get me wrong, I understand when the crossover happens, everything goes haywire in their minds. Their bodies are changing, their attitudes are unbearable and their mindsets are totally different.

What happened to that 5Ib little cute baby I brought home from the hospital, the one that would stay seated when I said too and when I talked, she listened. The girl that once used to smile brightly and be grateful for everything she got, has now become the teenager whom gives me such looks as this one….

WOMAN-DISGUST-facebook

As mama used to say, “When children are young, they’re on your lap but when they get older, they’re on your heart.” and she couldn’t have been more right. So, while I gather my heart strings together, let’s move on shall we to what I really want to convey. Every parent glories in the fact when their child comes to them and asks for advice, at that particular time, that’s our moment to shine. It’s our moment to give our kids the good, solid knowledge and wisdom that we obtained over the years. However; once we give that information to them, it hurts when they don’t take the advice and decide to do it the way they had planned in their head all along.

This was the dilemma I faced with my daughter. She came telling me about the lockers at school and how they were hard to get into. The teacher showed them how to unlock them, but they only showed them one time. My daughter went on to explain how she has been having the hardest time getting into her locker, last year was easy because they had to bring their own locks but now the 8th grade halls are filled with lockers that already have pre-set locks on them. So, she was complaining about how she didn’t have anyone to help her with her combination. “Mom to the Rescue” I said – Why not ask your friends? “They’re all busy and I don’t want to bother them” (puzzled) but they’re your friends…., okay, well what about asking your teacher for help again and so forth and so on, each time I came up with a possible solution – she kept coming up with excuses as to why my plan wouldn’t work. The more scenarios I came up with the more she debunked them…

Finally she said, “I’m just going to carry my stuff around, It’s really no big deal” By this time I had gotten a little frustrated and just told her to do what she wanted to do. But at the same time, I thought – Okay, so why did you come to me again?

As I walked on the treadmill that morning – I began to think about the situation with my daughter and how it related to God. I began to wonder how God must feel when we come to him with an issue and he gives us a solution but we make excuses as to why his way wouldn’t work and why our way is better. And I’m sure like me, he wants to say – But, Would you just listen to me?

Shunning my daughter away after a failed success of listening etiquette, is exactly how God does us. When we refuse to listen to his way, he let’s us go to do it our way and when our way fails?, unlike our so-called friends whom shame us by saying such lines as “I told you so” or “See, you should have listened to me” or “You feel crazy now, don’t you” and in most cases, they wash their hands of you altogether – All because you didn’t “listen” to their instructions. But if you’ve suffered or paid the price for not listening to God (and I believe we all have) Get ready to be celebrated because God in all his mercy and grace doesn’t do us like that, he’s not the God that’s going to make you feel badder than what you already feel, instead he accepts us back with forgiving arms.

And that’s how I did my daughter when she came back to me that same day to apologize. Just as a good parent would do, God is available to give you his wisdom and instructions for you to have a good life, what seems like the right choice in our head at the moment; may not be the same way in which God would like for us to handle the situation. I promise and it’s not always popular – But getting advice from God is the best way, it may take you longer to get through it, but you can rest assured that the end result will be a “sweet success”

While I continue to work on my patience with my daughters up and down ways, God wants to know from you today “Would you just listen to Me?” – Are you listening?…

listen to me2

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

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

All other images used were courtesy of Bing ~

A Comfortable PAST = A Dim Future…

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.
Quote taken from frankiejohn.blogspot.com

I have to be honest with you; I’m a failure at leaving the PAST alone. For some reason and I’ll explain why shortly, I always find myself going backwards instead of forwards. I mean, my mind says go forward all day long, but my body definitely has its own agenda and mindset. What is it about our past that keeps us stuck in the same place? I tell you what it is, it’s Comfortable. Sort of like that good ole’ soul food mama used to cook every Sunday. It’s a comfort that just feels good to your mind, body and soul.

But there are quite a few things from our past that aren’t good for the mind, body nor soul and that’s when the ghosts of times past haunt you down, grab you and don’t let go…but, you have control over this; control that I had never exercised until this past Sunday. It’s a shame how certain circumstances present themselves as “Wake up Calls” – in your life.  Me and my Past were the best of friends and I always felt comfortable  because it felt so good; I knew my way around every corner and nothing ever came as a surprise because I knew what was going on: I was in control of that destiny and to be honest? I liked it that way, having control of what would and would not happen.

When it came to relationships – whether friendships or personal ones; if they ended really badly, I would be sad about it, but I would move forward. Months or even a year or two after the air cleared, the door to that relationship would open up again and guess who always went back through the door…..ME! During this time, things would always seem good at first; but then it’s like old patterns would start to take shape again and I found myself getting frustrated by the whole scenario. Sometimes when things are over, they are meant to be over…FOR GOOD!

My “PAST” downfalls were always falling prey to old “boyfriend” relationships – It’s funny because when you’re in a relationship with someone it seems like they never understand or see how great you are or how much they need you until you’re gone. It seemed as though when they weren’t satisfied with “the woman” they were with, then I would get the call, the text, the email or the social media message of “Hey, I miss you” usually this always happens when I’ve come to grips with being single and satisfied. But instead of shewing them off, I entertain their conversations of “I miss you” and “You know you were the one that got away” or “I would do anything for you” and this was my favorite one, “Hey, you remember when we did?” They would always bring up things from the past, things that I could relate to and suddenly I would find myself thinking “Did God make a mistake?” That’s what happened to me this past Sunday, I realized that I had let my past come back to haunt me and I became all caught up in the game. The thing about this game was that it had been in half-time mode and there was no clock that ticked down to make it start again. It was just stuck in the same place…this game is known as “The Past”

past mistakes

The thing about the past is this, it never talks about the present nor the future; the only thing it knows and always speak of are past things, past situations, past occurrences, past mistakes, past hurts, past memories, past fun, past good times, past sorrows…get my drift? No matter how much they mention the present or the future; it’s short lived because the only conversation that’s in their vocabulary is…..THE PAST. It wasn’t until one of those past relationships went seriously wrong on Sunday that I realized, that’s why they call the past the past. Once I went into my contacts to delete them permanently,  I suddenly realized that I had every person from my PAST in there. Every guy that hurt me, whether the relationship ended in chaos or even without a proper good-bye I still had contact with them and talked with them on occasion. Why was I doing this?

No wonder I couldn’t move on to the future because I had stopped by the wayside of Times Past Highway to pick up old weeds and shrubs along the way; loosing focus on someone or something that doesn’t have the power to push you forward is a total loss and shame to you and your beautiful destiny. Let me tell you, if that person or thing was a part of God’s will to be in your life or on your path, do you actually think they wouldn’t have been? God is not the type of person that says “Oops! You know – I was actually meaning for you to get with that person or the one to say; Aww!! Man; my bad. I didn’t mean for them to get married to that person but to you.” As funny as this might sound, we have to trust that when God removes someone out of our lives; it doesn’t mean that, that person is bad – it just means their time in your life is up. But if we keep allowing them to feed us the past, we will never get a chance to see who we really are, what the future really holds for us or the wonderful person we’re really supposed to be with.

Sunday, I got rid of all the Ghosts of Times Past, their numbers – email addresses, text messages and social media feeds, I even went as far as changing my number. Because when you’re done with the past, you need to make the necessary changes to get rid of it; while this was a hard thing to do, I knew within my heart of hearts, it had to happen. I now realize that I was the one keeping me back from true happiness and a destiny filled with unknown surprises and I want to experience and see what the future has in store. I can’t change the past, nor the mistakes, pitfalls, slip-ups or regrets that I made concerning it, but I can forgive myself and move forward and not invite anything from the past into my future.

Dealing with my past relationships, made me also realize that I never really gave myself a chance to be wonderful, I was so used to going backwards and giving myself up to has beens, until I felt like that was all I had to offer. Now I’ve chosen the path of love, self-care and reflection. Who am I? And What am I? – Well, I’m still really unsure, but I’ve packed my bags and boarding the flight to self-discovery to hunt for who I’ve not yet become and I’m going to make it happen. I don’t know what you’re holding on to today in your past but I say LET IT GO! Your future desires your full attention and if you give it a shot – you’ll be surprised at some of the amazing things it has in store for you; but only after you let GO of the Ghost of times PAST first.

The Past4

 

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

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

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

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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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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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From the Sea Floor to the Surface: When God brings up Matters we don’t want to Face.

Has God ever dealt with you about the little kinks in your life. The Kinks that you kick under the rug and chalk up as it just being who you are? Well, you’ve heard the song Search Me Lord – the lyrics go something like this:

Oh, search me, Lord/ Search me, Lord/ Shine the light from heaven on my soul, if you find anything that shouldn’t be/Take it out and strengthen me/Cause I wanna be right/I wanna be saved/And I wanna be whole.

A song like that sounds so good when you hear it and I really do believe at the time that is exactly what we really want God to do. But if I can be honest – when God really does search us and bring it to the surface for us to either repent and/or handle or ask for forgiveness of; it’s not so easy. As a matter of fact it’s quite painful and nerving because that truth is now an open box that you have to deal with face-to-face. Sometimes we chalk things up as “Oh, that’s just who I am – I can’t help it,” we know its a problem, but it’s a small problem that we tend to sweep under the rug to not remember any more.

I just had this experience on several occasions within the past week and because I’m big on being transparent, I wanted to share that with you today. As long as I could remember, I’ve always been known to be a very sweet, outgoing, loving and catering person – notice the last word – Catering. Yes, I tend to cater to peoples needs. However, I had a serious issue that the Lord had to really dig up and bring to the surface. By the time he brought it up out of the water, what started out as something as small as a grain of sand; ended up turning into a ship – Yes! I had kept the problem buried for so long until it had grown bigger over time. Not ReadyThe problem I had was being totally honest with people. I’ve always been a caterer and when you cater to people, you tend to cater to their needs and wants, forgetting all about what you really need and want.

I had a good friend to ask me to be in a wedding this year, she wanted me to be the Maid of Honor, talk about excited – I was ecstatic about it, especially with helping her to plan her special day to trying on the dress and the whole nine. But, things took a major turn when I realized I didn’t have the funds to be in the wedding. On another note, I had a friend to give me some materials to write out for her; she wanted to turn a couple of videos into blog post and had asked, if I didn’t mind – could I do it. Of course I said Yes, very quickly. While I did do the first set of videos, Life happened and I wasn’t able to do the other set. Another Instance, lately I’ve been looking at moving and was looking into different places; I seen one I liked and contacted the property owner to setup a time to go and look at it, but on the day that I went to look – it was raining very badly and I ended up not going.

So, you may be wondering – Okay, so what’s the problem? Well, the thing is when life happened for me or if I couldn’t do something that I promised; I always came up with a lie as to why I couldn’t do it or just didn’t respond to the issue at hand – I always found it easier to just not respond to things of that nature, I literally would go M.I.A and when I was confronted – I would make something up that sounded really good and move on. Well God dealt with me about that and the instances I told you above went like this:

I was honest with my good friend and told her that as much as I would like to be in the wedding, I really couldn’t afford to do it. Money is tight and I had other pressing issues that needed to be handled. (In the past, I would have pressed on with being in the wedding and would have forsook all other responsibilities) And while they were off on wedded bliss, I would have been home crying my eyes out about how I was going to pay my next light bill. I ended up telling my friend that I apologize about the videos and not getting them to her in the time-frame that she wanted me too, I told her that life for me had gotten busy and that I would not be able to do anymore at this time but would finish the one’s she gave to me. (In times past, I would have just made something up about my reasoning’s). And last but not least the apartment showing – I ended up calling the lady and told her that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the showing and that I wanted to call her ahead of time and let her know. (In times past, I would have let the time come and go and she would not have saw me,  I would have let her go out to the showing without calling or giving a reason as to why I couldn’t make it).

The bible says, “The small foxes, destroy the vine” Song of Solomon 2:15 – It’s not the big things in the end that will get us, it’s the small things that we don’t really think of or take notice too that will ultimately be our demise – even with getting into heaven. While I didn’t want God to reveal those things to me about myself – I appreciated the fact that he did and that he loved me enough to bring that big ship out of the ocean for me to confront. We’re all a work in progress, It’s better to be at peace with yourself than to displease God just to please people. If we are truly adamant about being like Christ and/or going back to be with him, then we have to allow him to bring all of our oceans bottom, to the TOP!

What about you
Has God been tugging at you to bring something from your sea floor to the surface?

sea-floor