The Thing About Friends

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammad Ali

Finding friends that stick with you through the good, the bad, and the ugly is a rare and precious thing.  The ones that stand by you in the midst of the storm, and the ones that find you in the middle of the storm, providing you with some much-needed shelter, are the ones you need to hold on to. (Tightly, with both hands, and never let go of!)

I thank God everyday for putting people in my life, who don’t necessarily ask questions but provide an ear, who hold their hands out to grab mine, and pull me out of the quicksand.  For the people who have been praying for me non stop.  Who have shown me unconditional love, kindness and encouragement just because! (Do you know how hard that is to come by?  I do.) I have fallen short in the friend department because of my own issues and/or problems.  I shut folks out and retreated into myself.  But thank God for God, because he knows what I need and he knows when I need it!

He sent people my way who refused to give up on me!  Who knew that a war was being waged against  me, and found a way to make my life easier even if it is was just for moment!  Who showed up out of nowhere with cupcakes and pizza (and maybe even some wine!) because they knew I was having a bad day!  Who talk to me, and with me about any and everything.  Who love my kids (and y’all that right there is a lot!)  Who called me up and promised to ride with me if things get to sticky!  Who offered bail money and jail visits if I were to get locked up. (Just kidding, but not really)  Who text me in the middle of the night to make sure I am okay.  Who laugh with me, and at me when things got to rough, easing the tension.  Who talked me off of the ledge, when I was this close to jumping. (or jumping on someone either way they stopped me!)

Making friends has never been easy for me. The friends I had, I have had for a lifetime. I stopped trying with them, because I was tired of opening up to people and not getting anything back in return.  I know now, that real friendships, the ones that last past a lifetime don’t always require a physical give and take.  What is actually required is the ability to open yourself up to the possibility of something new.  When you do, you end up with an abundance of love from a variety of people who you could have never imagined!  Play dates for the kids, some grown up conversation, family dinners and outings, and wouldn’t you know it, some amazing friends!

Just by saying yes, I have more people to talk to (THANK YOU, SWEET BABY JESUS!) I have people to hang out with, I have people in my life that are funny, interesting and add to my life.  I was in desperate need of life-preserver, and God saw fit to send some amazing people my way.  Friends.  They come in all forms.  And I am grateful for them. (Y’all have no idea how I have been saved!)

So, the thing about friends is that you invite a lot of people into your life, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late.  But in the end, after the party has ended, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. (or at least offer)  And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess.  These people are your real friends in life.  They are the ones who matter most.

And I thank God for them EVERYDAY!

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21 Days!

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I have a very bad habit of trying to do things on my own.  Of thinking that my way is better than God’s way.  That it was okay to kinda of put my trust in God, and then try to figure the rest out on my own. Well folks, I have learned that without complete faith in Christ, I am nothing. That I can’t use God as my safety net in times of trouble, but that I actually have to trust in him at all times.

They say it takes 21 days to form new habits.

To show me that there was nobody greater than him, God had to put me through the paces.  People when I say the past month has literally been hell, I speak truth!  There is really no other way to describe it.  I thought I had reached rock bottom, but I found out there is always a new low when you don’t believe, when you put you before him, when you don’t give it all over to Christ, and put you and your family in his hands. Now don’t get me wrong, I never stopped believing and trusting in Christ, but I had pushed him to the perimeter of my life.  I stopped depending on him, and focusing on him and what he had in store for my life.  I became complacent and comfortable in the spot that I was in, thinking we had made it through the storm. Yes, it was rocky, but the boat didn’t tip, we didn’t sink so obviously we were okay.  I believed that we could handle things on our own, that nobody needed to know what we were going through.  Things were spinning out of control, but I couldn’t see it. I could not see that we needed help. Because asking for help meant that you had failed.  So in typically Jacquie behavior, I shut down and in the process I shut people out.  I kept the people who meant the most to me in the dark, not wanting them to judge me, forgetting that they were actually on my side.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit!

It took hitting the other side of that rock to realize that not only is My God a good outstanding and amazing type of God, but my family is my solid rock and my foundation, that my friends, the ones that have stood by me and shown me what real friendship is, are completely amazing. That my enemies, come in all shapes and sizes, and they are now my footstools. That Satan will keep throwing mess at me and my family but, in return for my faith HE will NEVER leave me alone, that even in my darkest moment, HE is the light at the end of each hallway, framing the doors, opening my heart to what’s in store for me.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

It has taken a world of hurt and disappointment to show me that my family is strong enough to withstand anything life throws at us, if we stay focused on what God has for us. That we have to have each others back.  That having money helps, but it is not going to fix all of my problems.  That if you don’t actually deal with your issues they will keep coming back, and they will keep knocking you down.  That people are going to come into your life and try to destroy you, but just as quickly as they come they will definitely go!  That not everybody is your friend, or has your best interest at heart.  That he will show you who you need in your life!  That everything is not for me and mine and that what mattered the most was right in front of me all along.  That life is hard, but it is a whole lot harder without HIM!

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

So I making some changes in my life!  I bringing some new habits into my life.  Praise, gratefulness, prayer, and thankfulness just to name a few.  I am praising God for keeping me, grateful to God for blessing me, praying to God everyday to guide me and remove what is wrong from my life, and thanking God for saving me.  For providing me with new opportunities, for giving me a chance to follow my dreams.  For showing me that I am not in this thing called life alone!

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit!

20 Random Facts About Me

1. I love chocolate, a lot! I mean I eat chocolate almost EVERYDAY!

2. I have tried every random diet known to man, and I probably will try some more!

3. I watch scary movies during the day time, with the lights on, with gospel music playing in the background!

4. I procrastinate on purpose because I believe I work better under pressure.

5. It’s not easy for me to make new friends.

6. Flying terrifies me!

7. My dad drove me to college in Virginia every year for four years! (See number 6)

8. I am paranoid beyond belief that I am going to have a final destination type accident on the highway.

9. I refuse to swim in the deep end of the pool.

10. My favorite color is red.

11. I am addicted to Chap stick/lip-gloss, purses and shoes. (In that order)

12. I met my husband the summer before my junior year of college.

13. I have only dated one other person besides my husband.

14. I was one of two black girls in my high school.

15. I have 11 nieces and nephews.

16. I am ADDICTED to ratchet reality TV.

17. End of Time by Beyoncé is currently my favorite song.

18. I don’t let my kids win on the dance games for the Kinect.

19. My mom thinks I am HILARIOUS! ( I think she may be the only one)

20. Cleaning my house soothes me immensely!

This post was inspired by the super awesome Jen at http://www.babymakingmachine.com/.

Wasted Time with a Side of Paranoria!

This post is dedicated to the delightful people who work for the Secretary of State down in Springfield, Illinois, and those lovely people who made the Final Destination movies! Without you none of this would be possible.

Not to long ago I got a letter in the mail, stating my plates would be suspended for not having any insurance on my car (false by the way, cause I am a law-abiding citizen AHEM!), and that if I did not send in, or show proof of insurance by the 17th of May, not only would my plates be suspended, but I would also have to pay a lovely reinstatement fee of a $100. (How nice of you State of Illinois, always finding new ways to take money out of my pocket!)

So I called the Secretary of State’s office down in Springfield and I spoke with the most delightful woman on the phone (complete sarcasm people!) who said if I had responded to the first notice I would have had plenty of time to get my situation taken care of.  To which I responded in the nicest manner possible, that there was no situation, that I never received a notice because if I had I would have told the friendly people down in Springfield that I had insurance on my car, so there was no need to get all suspension happy and suspend the plates on my car.  Yeah, she didn’t take to kindly to that at all!  In fact, she caught an even bigger attitude with me, needless to say things went downhill from there.  Every time I tried to speak she would cut me off, rudely telling me what I needed to do and how I needed to do it.  (HEY LADY YOU WERE EXTRA RUDE, I’M JUST SAYING)  I so stopped listening after she gave me an address for a location in and my area.

So to make a long story short, yesterday I had the pleasure of filling my tank up at $4.21 a gallon (I swear I die a little every time I have to pump gas!)  drive all the way to Lombard, with a very active, very hungry, very annoyed four-year old, to sit and wait for 20 minutes only to have the lady who was taking her break at the counter where she was supposed to be helping people, tell me that I was on the wrong side of the building.  SO I walked to the other side of the building where I waited in another line to for 20 minutes only for the lady to look at my stuff for 2 seconds and say and I quote ” Your fine, it was nothing you did, the state randomly picks plates in the system and sends out this letter to protect people with insurance.”   Ummm what the what! How does the threat of suspension and random fees I can’t afford help me!  (SO ANNOYED PEOPLE, SO ANNOYED) Such a waste of my time!

ANYWAY, on the way home from the Secretary of State’s office in Lombard, I got behind one of those tanker trucks filled with gas, then a huge flatbed truck that carries large amounts of dangerous items on it pulls up on the other side of me.  (This is where the paranoia kicks in)  Apparently, I have seen one to many Final Destination Movies, cause all I could think about at that moment was that tanker truck flipping onto its side cause it was trying to avoid a car that stopped suddenly, and bursting into flames while the huge truck on the side of me gets in front of me and starts to skid on the gas that was spilled from the tanker, flinging its huge death barrels at my car, and just as I was about to get hit by one, I blink and flash back to the present, prompting me to get off the highway and avoid imminent death, only to be chased by death until he finally caught up with me and……well you get the point!  Needless to say I got from behind both of those vehicles with a quickness cause yeah, I got issues people! SERIOUS ISSUES! (don’t judge me!)

So there you have it people, two wasted hours of my life that I will NEVER get back, along with a healthy dose of my paranoia just for kicks!

Your Welcome!

Accidents Happen, I Just Wish They Would Stop Happening To Me!

So anyone who knows me knows that I am clumsy to a fault.  I am that girl who trips walking up the driveway, that slams her fingers in the doors, that gets hit in the leg by the car door.  You name it and it has probably happened to me, at least twice!  There is not a door, floor, wall or corner that I have not met, and that has not left a bruise on me!  If there is a shoe on the floor, guaranteed I am going to trip over it.  If there is a wall, a corner or a table anywhere in the room, HELLO my arm, leg and quite possibly my face are going to run into it.  It is ridiculous people, and I mean to ridiculous to even count the number of times I have injured myself doing normal everyday things like walking through my house!  I don’t wear  heels if I don’t have to, I’d  like to say it is because I am really tall (which I am), and I don’t need them, but truth be told it is because I know that I won’t make it three steps without tripping and hurting myself.  I am truly amazed that I have not broken any bones so far! (Knock on wood, fingers crossed, Jesus be fence!)

But nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the last two weeks!  It has been series of accidents happening, one after the other and there seems to be no end in sight!  I have bruises on my arms (thanks corners on the walls for not moving out of my way!).  I have busted my head trying to get out of my car! ( yep you read that right), and I busted my head on the inside of the trunk trying to get groceries out of the car.  I have cut my knee open sitting at a metal table at work!  Seriously, all I did was move my leg to get up and next thing I know my knee is bleeding!  I was putting laundry away and I tripped, yes tripped out of my flip-flop SIDEWAYS and almost knocked myself unconscious and I twisted my ankle!  Who does that you say? THIS GIRL!

I know you are thinking it can’t get much worse than this, but wait for it, there is more!

I was helping my mother cook for my son’s birthday party and burned the tip of my finger trying to cook Mexican egg-rolls, at that same party I sliced my finger open trying to cut vegetables for a salad! (Just two more reasons to add to a very long list of why I think cooking is detrimental to my personal well-being!), and as  I was moving a stool from one end of the counter to the other (at the same said party!)  I stubbed my toe on the big in plain sight cooler (meaning everyone saw it but me!) bruising that baby toe up something serious!

My biggest injury thus far was when a miniature person (a preschooler) at the school I work at, stopped on the track in front of me when we were racing and sent me skidding across the track. People, I left pieces of me on the track that day, (skin, pride etc.) and walked with a limp for a couple of days.  The kicker though was when the little stinker told me if I had not tried to jump over him I would not have gotten hurt in the first place!  Yes little preschooler  this is exactly what I wanted, to slide across a track and spend the next two weeks with a LIFE SIZE bruise on my arm!

I just keep getting up day after day hoping to make it through the day injury free…..that has not happened yet people, so keep in me at the top of your prayer list!

So again I say…… I know accidents happen……but can they happen to me a little less?

She Rocks!

Growing up no matter how hard my mama tried I was not very confident.  I stood out, not because I was sure of myself, but because I was tall, awkward and gangly (or so I thought).  I played the flute in middle school and high school, and I was actually first chair, but if you asked me to play by myself in front of a bunch of  people, (at church, during competitions) I could pretty much guarantee that I would be begging my mama not to make me do it, and when that did not work, I would be the one up there on stage bawling my eyes out while trying to play His Eye Is On the Sparrow on the flute.  No matter how well I did, no matter how many times I did it, it never got any easier for me.

As I got older I gained more confidence, I was the co-captain, then captain of my Pom Squad in high school (shout out to Aurora Christian High School), and in college I was actually a campus tour guide for prospective students at Hampton University. (Rock the Blue & White!)  But while I became more confident in myself and who I could be, I have never been (and probably never will be) completely comfortable in front of crowds. Speaking engagements? I would be sweating my way through them! Speeches for speech class were always rushed, presentations at work, I could not even look the people in the eye!  I just could never get comfortable with all those people looking at me (no matter how cute I happened to be at the moment!) One on one I am personable and charming, standing along in front of an audience, no bueno at all!

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Now my baby GurlSHE ROCKS!  She has always been confident in who she was!  She goes for what she wants and keeps going after it until she gets it!  No is not an option for that little girl!  Around Christmas time she tried out for a solo at her school.  She didn’t get it.  It broke her little heart.  There were tears and irate grandparents (ahem), and as her mama I wanted to protect here and give her music teacher a piece of my mind! (Something along the lines of how dare you not see how great my baby is, and you better go back and get your life and give my baby a solo! And so on and so forth). But as a girl who never really learned how do deal with disappointment the correct way, I put my feelings aside and explained to her that she would not get every part she tried out for and that people weren’t always going to see her the way that I did, but if this was something she really wanted she would have to keep trying!

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Now if that had been me, chile please you would have never heard me speak of trying out for a solo again!  It would have been dead in the water, along with some tears and an emotional journal entry (yes I was and still am very dramatic)!  But thank God for God that my JadaBear is not me!  When it was time to try out for her Spring Concert, she wrote her own letter, got up there and auditioned again, and guess what! MY BEAR GOT A PART IN A TRIO!!  Trust me when I say I almost did back flips up in the parking lot when she told me!  I have never been prouder!  She has been practicing EVERY SINGLE DAY since then, and listening to her practice and sing her heart out does my mama heart proud!

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This little girl right here is everything I ever wanted to be, and yet she is so much more!  Speeches, no problem,  singing in the choir, she’s got it, recitals for her dance company?  She is right there in her sparkly pink outfit and bun shaking her groove thang!!  There is NOTHING, I mean NOTHING this chick can’t do, because I tell her everyday that nothing is out of her reach!  That no matter what obstacle comes her way she can handle it, that she is beautiful, smart and talented (all the things my mama told me but I refused to believe) and that oh yeah, SHE ROCKS!!

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I Look To You

So this song right here has been my saving grace and my salvation as a go through my own personal storm.   No lie from the moment I received this CD this song has been on constant rotation in my car.  In my moments of weakness, when I feel alone, I let it out and do my best to let God handle me. I am a continual work in progress, and I am so thankful that I can lay my burdens down and his feet, with no judgement.  That I can look to him. Enjoy!

I Look to YouWhitney Houston Featuring R. Kelly from the I Will Always Love You The Best of Whitney Houston CD

As I lay me down, Heaven hear me now
I’m lost without a cause, After giving it my all

Winter storms have come, And darkened my sun
After all that I’ve been through, Who on earth can I turn to?

I look to you, I look to you
After all my strength is gone,  In you I can be strong

I look to you, I look to you
And when melodies are gone, In you I hear a song, I look to you

About to lose my breath, There’s no more fighting left
Sinking to rise no more, Searching for that open door

And every road that I’ve taken, Led to my regret
I don’t know if I’m gonna make it, Nothing to do but lift my head

I look to you, I look to you
And when all my strength is gone, In you I can be strong

I look to you, I look to you
And when melodies are gone, In you I hear a song, I look to you

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