Perfectly Imperfect

feel-quote-1024x682Owe no one anything, except to love each other… – Romans 13:8

I’ve been quiet for a while. At first, the silence felt awkward. Then I started to embrace it. For the most part, I spent this quiet time talking to Dad. Also, I took the time to just observe, feel and be. It’s been truly refreshing. However, lately I’ve had the strong urge to write. I took notes and waited… But then I ended up awake all night and knew I had to… Continue reading

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30 Days of Gratitude

I’ll be traveling 3 and a half weeks out of this month with NO breaks at home in between. Needless to say, I’m feeling anxious. So in order to convince myself that life is indeed good, even when I’m tired, frustrated, or physically sick… I’ve decided to do 30 days of gratitude.

April is literally my favorite month (go figure) and I refuse to let it pass me by drowning in work/life stress. I feel like sometimes in order to maintain your sanity, you have to literally remind yourself of the blessings that God bestows each day.

So, every day I will post what I’m grateful for. God deserves a thank you EVERY SINGLE MOMENT I get to live and breathe.

Since we’re already 4 days into the month…here are my first 4:

  1. I am grateful for traveling mercies. God literally keeps me safe from dangers seen and unseen and for that I am grateful. Legit flew into a thunderstorm this week and even then I knew God would keep me safe.
  2. I am grateful for thoughtful, honest, sometimes uncomfortable conversations with people I love and care about. That’s how real growth happens.
  3. I am grateful for my niece and nephews. They teach me what it really means to love.
  4. I am grateful for my senses and limbs in perfect order (perfect as it pertains to my purpose in this lifetime).

Stay tuned daily for other thanksgiving to come. Also, join me maybe?!?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

L O V E,

ACC

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Why Lent is for Christians and Non-Christians Alike

It’s that time again! Yep, you guessed it: LENT. The season where we all get a chance to thoroughly cleanse ourselves of all the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual toxins that pervade our systems day in and day out. If you don’t know what Lent is, please check out my blogs from the past (I’ve literally done like 5) on fasting and Lent as it may be much needed context. Generally however, Lent is defined as “a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.” (Also see Lent 101) This year Lent begins on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 and lasts 40 days, ending on March 24, 2016.

So why am I so adamant that EVERYONE, Christian and non-Christian, should participate in Lent this year? Because we’re ALL in need of some cleansing and renewal from time to time. The daily stressors of life alone are enough for me to want to climb into a cave and hibernate once or twice a year. So Lent is your opportunity to do just that, hibernate, rest, and come out of a 40-day fast as a stronger, better person. So in that vein I’ve gathered the top 10 ways you can fast this season, and more importantly the things you can do in place of what you decide to fast from; because ultimately, we want to not just eliminate the toxins but also add in the vitamins.

So here are your top 10 ways to fast this Lenten season:

  1. Give up negative language including cursing. Also challenge yourself to give more compliments and less put-downs. Instead:
    • Add in words like love, happy, thank you, Good morning, etc. to your daily vocabulary.
    • Master the English language; dust off that old dictionary and learn some fun words.
    • While you’re at it, learn a new language; Try the duolingo app.
  2. Give up negative thoughts. Stop dwelling on your shortcomings. Instead:
    • Meditate on the positive things happening in your life.
    • Pray. Often. Pray for peace of mind, joy, etc.
    • Consider others’ circumstances. Someone has it harder than you, so count your blessings.
  3. Give up negative music. You know, the songs with lyrics that are lusty, misogynistic, or plain ol’ blasphemous. Instead:
    • Check out some Gospel music. My current fave is Israel and New Breed! It feels good, its uplifting, and it really does change your mood.
    • Explore other genres such as classical or jazz.
    • If this is REALLY hard for you (like it is for me) start off with instrumental versions of your favorite songs.
  4. Give up toxic food and drinks. This includes chemically-enhanced foods and alcohol. Christians, I’d recommend Leviticus 11 if you need more context on why this is a great way to grow closer to God. Instead:
    • Add in more fresh fruits and vegetables per day. I mean really, how hard is an apple a day?
    • Drink the right amount of water for your body; half your weight in ounces!!
    • Tea!!!! The good kind, though.
  5. Give up negative TV and movies. Yes, that includes that ratchet LHHNY or Housewives of Beverly Hills. Instead:
    • Add in more academic shows such as Jeopardy (I acknowledge I’m biased here lol), Brain Games, and Shark Tank (again another fave).
    • Try subscribing to video podcasts such as How Stuff Works or Bishop TD Jakes.
    • Add in a book or two; ones that will grow your mind and soul.
  6. Give up your negative history. You can’t keep allowing what happened in the past to influence your present or future. Instead:
    • Add in therapy. No, real talk.
    • Talk to a trusted friend/family member.
    • Talk to a pastor.
  7. Give up toxic social media. Sometimes seeing the “wonderful” lives of others and comparing yourself to them can be depressing. Instead:
    • Read blogs that will build you up (such as this one lol).
    • Choose to follow positive leaders online.
    • Take a break from it altogether. It’s ok, it will be there when you get back.
  8. Give up fear. Being afraid is not productive. One of my faaaavveeee versus of all time says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy, 1:7. Instead:
    • DO something you’ve been wanting to do forever. Push yourself to JUST DO IT!
  9. Give up stressful work. You deserve to be happy. Instead:
    • Work on the things that will advance your personal life goals.
    • Start your own business. No, really.
    • Find a job/career that you love.
  10. Give up toxic people. It’s ok to let go of people who don’t have your best interest at heart. PERIOD. Instead:
    • Find friends who love and support you, unconditionally (easier said than done, I know).
    • Expand your professional network. After all, your network is your net-worth.
    • If all else fails, go at it alone. God’s got your back.

Now, I know this is all a WHOLE lot to process but honestly, choosing just 1 or 2 will likely yield amazing results in your life after just 40 days. Don’t forget however that you need to:

-Have a plan! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Write it down and make it plain.

-Have accountability partners. You need folks in your corner who are going to call you out but also catch you when you fall. AND…

-Try, try, again. Fasting is hard, and we all fall. It’s up to you to get up and try again.

Hope this helps and more importantly, I hope you get in on the fun this year.If you need some encouragement, leave a note below!

Love yall,

ACC

P.S. What am I giving up, you ask? Some versions of 1, 3, 4, and 6. Pray for me lol.

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Top 5 Ways I Know I’ve Found a Friend

I was never one to believe in having friends at work. In my mind colleagues were fun from 9-5, but nothing more. At this point in my life I have a very stable, close group of best friends whom I wouldn’t trade for the world. But I’ve come to learn over the last 5 years that life just isn’t that black and white. Sometimes, you find yourself loving and caring for the people you work with, as a friend.

So today while sending a friend (who happens to be a colleague) birthday wishes, I highlighted the top 5 ways that I know I’ve found a true friend and what’s funny is the more I thought about it, the more I understood how SPOT ON this list is when we think about how God has been a friend to us. So, I thought I’d share that list tonight and push you to 1. be SUPER grateful for God’s friendship and 2. think about the ways you could be a better friend to Him.

Top 5 Ways I Know I’ve Found a Friend

1. We have inside jokes (or better yet secrets, memories, and lessons).

Not sure about you, but I DEFINITELY have some secrets and inside jokes that only God and I are privy to. I am often so humbled when I remember that God legit knows everything about me like the number of hairs on my head. Honestly, there are some silly things I’ve done that I ONLY want God to know about lol. You too?

2. I’ve said some not-so-nice words (and have done some not-so-nice things), and yet was still forgiven.

God’s grace and mercy; simply put. Ephesians 4:32 invites us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

3. We’ve had uncomfortable conversations about EVERYTHING.

Yea, I’ve GONE there with God. What good does it do to hide anything when He literally knows EVERYTHING, lol? Legit reminds me of when Adam tried to hide his nakedness from God. Impossible.

4. We’ve attended events outside of work (i.e. church) together.

God legit goes everywhere with me. Even when/where I act a fool smh. I even love how God reminds us in Joshua 1:9 by encouraging, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

5. We’ve made sacrifices for one another.

One word: Jesus! And although my sacrifices for Him will NEVER be enough, I still try. Oh, and checkout John 3:16 as a reminder of God’s ultimate sacrifice for us.

Happy Monday friends. Until next time…

-ACC

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9,419 Unread Messages

HEYYYY YALLLLL!!!! HAPPY 2016!

I know, it’s been FOREVER. But I’m back at it in full swing and excited to reconnect with you all this year.

Let’s get to it shall we?

In light of the new year, I know we’ve all set (or thought about) resolutions. I love the new year because it really does feel like a second chance at getting it right; whatever “it” is. While my resolutions are typically around eating healthier, working out, and saving money (you too, eh?), this year I decided to just focus on one thing and one thing only, my inbox. Yep, you read that right, my INBOX.

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Let me explain.

If you know me, and if you’ve tried to reach out to me, then you know one thing is for certain, I SUCK at responding to messages. Text messages, voice messages, Facebook messages, Emails, ALL OF IT. Part of me wants to offer a ton of excuses ranging from my hectic traveling schedule to me being an awkward introvert who lacks the ability to comfortably “chat it up”, but none of those reasons suffice because at the end of the day my behavior has just been plain ol’ rude. So before I continue with tonight’s blog, let me take this time to seriously apologize to all those who have been impacted by my sheer laziness and untenable actions (or lack thereof I suppose). I am truly sorry.

So of course my only resolution this year is to respond to messages in a timely manner. Period. Not only is it rude, but I am also missing out on super important updates, opportunities, and encouragement from the people in my life.

And this got me thinking… How often are we neglecting to check the messages that God sends us on a daily basis? And not just check, but respond? While it may be a bit humorous to think about God sending us an actual email, the fact remains that God communicates with us every single day.I love John, chapter 8, verse 47, which offers “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” What does it mean to not be “of God”? Perhaps part of that is simply NOT taking the time to actually read His word. Or neglecting to set aside time to meditate with Him and listening diligently to the messages He’s downloading into our spirit. a-text-from-god

In the same way I will work to be more diligent in checking my inbox and responding accordingly, so too will I be more active in checking God’s messages. But how? What are the best practices in making sure I am successful?

Well first, experts suggest I use a tool to filter “junk mail”. If we’re honest, how have we allowed junk mail to cloud and crowd our inbox? In our relationship with God, how can we work to filter the spam of our lives? I don’t have an answer, but you better believe its something I’m thinking hard about. As I think on this, I am reminded however, of Proverbs 4:23 which instructs us to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Another strategy is to prioritize your inbox according to task. For messages that require only a simple response in 60 seconds or less, experts suggest responding in that very moment. If it requires a little more thought or a complex task, move it to your “to-do” folder or list. Much like our relationship with God, sometimes the messages that God sends us only requires a simple response of “thank you” or “I got it!”. Whereas, in other instances His message requires a little more action on our part. After all, James 1:22 encourages, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Finally, the last strategy I will employ in my efforts to have a cleaner inbox this year is to set aside time each day to actually manage it; an hour each day, solely dedicated to checking and responding to messages. Again, in our relationship with God, the first step is prioritizing Him; setting aside time each day to check in, listen for His voice, and respond accordingly. Mark accounts in chapter 1, verse 35, that “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” Let us then look to Christ as the best example of how to make time for God, our Father.

Well friends, I’m off to go respond to a few of your messages lol. Catch you on the flip side🙂

Until next week,

ACC

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I Can’t Stand That Dude!!!!

I was robbed today.
That statement that changed my entire perspective on a person yesterday.
You see, the Nu-Look dry cleaners in Capital Heights, MD is a place I’ve always dreaded going.
It’s so close to my house, that I can actually walk to it. But the Asian guy who owns it, also works the counter, and is always so rude. He has the most stank disposition ever. It has really pissed me off in the past. I mean, he has this business in our community, yet he can barely open his mouth to say hello to us…his customers. 
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It has rubbed me wrong on more than one occasion, so I often sacrifice convenience to travel a bit further to go where I feel more respected. But yesterday, I needed to pick up clothes that had been left there for a few of weeks. It was around 3pm. As I peeked through the door, I saw no customers and the owner in the back of the store with his head on a table. It appeared as if he was sleeping.
As I walked in, I simply told him my phone number, so he could look up my info. He retrieved my clothing. Other than that, it was a silent exchange, as usual. He told me the total. I pulled out my credit card. When he swiped it, he realized the machine wasn’t working. He noticed the cord was missing. He apologized for keeping me waiting, as he searched for the cord. I was thinking to myself, how does a credit card machine cord become “lost”? Everyone pays by credit card. It was just bizarre. 

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Trust Issues

dealing-with-trust-issues-in-relationshipsKeep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26:41

 

Lately I’ve been hearing messages and having conversations about trusting God with my life. I’d have to admit that it is easier said than done. His way of doing things doesn’t always allow me to see how things will happen to get the desired outcome and I’m the type of person who wants details. We often say, “Jesus take the wheel,” but do we mean it? It has been hard for me to surrender control. At times I only do so once I’ve done all that I can, my own way. Once that hasn’t worked, I throw up my hands. It is human nature to want to be in control. Another way that I have often failed is when I try to help him out by doing things the way that I’ve always done them. Doing so is futile because it hasn’t worked for me thus far. Continue reading

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