Filling up on {faith}

Six weeks later and we finally have a post! I’d say we’re off to a good start (sarcasm).

You know, I’m always having an internal debate when it comes to my schedule. I feel like I rarely ever have downtime and I can’t decide if that’s just how life typically is at this phase or if i need to take control of it and be more intentional about creating downtime / learning to say “no”.

….anyway, I digress.

Last time I wrote, I promised to update you guys on what has been going on in my life in each of the 6 “F’s” so today, it’s all about Faith.  I would definitely say I’ve always believed in God but, over the last year or so, I feel like I’ve really been learning how much He loves me.

I know, I know. That sounds so cliché…

Especially because those who know me well know that I’ve been going to church since literally the womb. For most of my life I was one of those kids that went to sunday school, “big church” and some other form of activity on Wednesday nights. But honestly, I don’t know that I can say I had much of a relationship with Him (at least until these last few years). And I definitely feel like I didn’t fully start to grasp His love for me until this past year or so.

Growing up I would say I was a pretty good kid. I got good grades, I had a great relationship with my family, I was involved in sports. I was everything that I feel like a parent would want their kid to be. But then I hit the teenage years… and not only did the devil horns come out (am I allowed to blame hormones?), I became someone that I hardly recognized. I did things I wasn’t proud of. I hurt people that I love. I was so far from God and honestly wanted little to do with Him.

But that’s the amazing thing about Him – even when we want little to do with Him, He never stops pursuing us.

It wasn’t until I moved to Richmond that He really started to get my attention (you can read a little about that here and here). In one of my last posts, I was talking about how I had just joined a new small group (shameless plug: if you’re not in one, you should join one. do not pass go. do not collect $200. join one. like now.). When I wrote that post, I had recently joined “the Fan Fam”. As part of that group, we all committed to sharing our stories at some point throughout our time; not as a confessional, but more as a testament to the work God had been doing in our lives. As my date to share was nearing, I had so many mixed emotions. Part of me was finally getting somewhat comfortable with the fact that I would be sharing intimate details of my life, but also part of me felt kind of sad. I felt like God had been doing so many amazing things in my life… things I wanted to be able to share with my family, but i felt stuck. Because for my family to understand all of the things God had been doing, I’d have to tell them what I’d been through.

Isn’t it weird? Sometimes it’s easier to tell people you just met your deepest darkest secrets, yet we’re crippled at the thought of telling those closest to us… those who have shown and proven that no matter what you do or have done, they will always love you.

Anyway, I decided to start with my mom.

For those of you who don’t know my mama, she’s amazing. She’s loving and caring, wise and supportive. Of all the people in my immediate family, we are probably the most dissimilar. I’m often loud and boisterous, she’s typically the type that doesn’t mind playing more of a “behind the scenes” role (although don’t let that fool you, she can still talk your ear off). Yet, no matter what, when I really really need someone, she’s usually the first one I call.

So yeah, I called her and asked her to come to Richmond. I basically told her that in my (at the time) 24 years of living, I’d never had one-on-one time with her so I wanted her to come spend a weekend with me. (How can anyone say “no” to that?). We locked down a date and put a plan in place. She was going to come on a Thursday night and leave that Sunday afternoon. I scheduled the weekend with a dinner/girls night in on Friday, a gala with Dr. Ben Carson on Saturday, church on Sunday, followed by brunch at Graffiato afterwards… and I was going to share my testimony with her (that part I never told her).

It was going to be the perfect bonding weekend.

But before I knew it, the weekend had arrived… and when she got here, I couldn’t muster up the courage. Before bed each night, we would lay for hours (literally hours) watching Suits and as each episode played, I would tell myself that as soon as the episode ended, I would bring it up. As every episode neared the end, I would pray, asking God to remove the fear and to give me the courage to talk to her… yet every episode would end and I would just let it go to the next one. Finally at around 3AM each night, I would finally call it quits, go to bed and promise to do it the next night.

Except Thursday night passed. Friday night passed. Saturday night passed… nothing.

Sunday morning rolled around and we got up to go to church and anyone who knows me knows my favorite part of church is usually worship. I just love listening to the words and really meditating/reflecting on their meaning. That Sunday, for the first time ever, my church decided to play a song called You Make Me Brave and I seriously felt like God was speaking directly to me. If you don’t know the lyrics, there’s a part of the song that goes like this:

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

I. Started. Bawling.

Like ugly crying. Tears, snot, everything. And as you can imagine, this blew my cover a bit… but my mama, being the patient woman she is, just handed me a tissue and kept singing (she’s a lot like Jesus in that way. Patient. Very Patient.)… and me being the woman I am, still just tried to play it off like everything was cool.

Church ended and we went to brunch, we hung out with friends, we made dinner… I literally kept going on with the weekend like nothing had happened. After dinner, Mom wanted to keep watching Suits and since she wasn’t working on Monday, she decided that she would just stay the night and leave Monday morning (deep down, I know the real reason that she stayed). So we go to my room to watch Suits… and as the first episode is coming to an end, I say my prayer asking for courage, I pause the show and tell my mom I need to talk to her…
 
 
 
… Not really, I let it go to the next episode. (Didn’t I already tell you what kind of woman I am lol?). Yep, I literally chickened out AGAIN. We watched a few more episodes that night and then got ready for bed…nothing. We wake up the next morning and lay in bed talking… still nothing.

Finally, I went upstairs to make my mom breakfast while she got ready and as she comes upstairs and sits down at the bar, she looks at me and asks me if everything is okay. Naturally, i look at her dumbfounded and say, “yeah, why?”… she brings up what happened at church and I ask her if we can wait until she gets in the car to talk.

So we pack the rest of her stuff up and go sit in her car and I just burst into tears. I tell her about Needle’s Eye. and how amazing the Fan Fam is. and I tell her that God has been doing some great things in my life and how I want to be able to share those things with her but that scares the poo out of me. because for me to tell her who He’s molding me to be, I have to explain to her who I used to be… and that’s terrifying. It’s terrifying because I love my family and I love my parents and I would never want to do anything that hurts them…and then she stopped me.

and you know what she told me?

She told me that she loves me. and that my dad loves me. and that there is literally nothing, NOTHING i could ever do that would change that. She told me that she understands that there are some things in our lives that we don’t need to tell everyone, and sometimes that includes our family. and that’s okay but that if I ever want to tell her, she’s there with open ears and arms. She also encouraged me to make sure that I at least talked to someone about it because often times the Devil uses secrets to hold us captive (or as another woman that I look up to always says “Secrets make us sick”).

She told me that there were people in the bible who had done all sorts of things and that not only did God love them, He used many of them to do amazing things for His kingdom… because at the end of the day its not about what we did, do, or will do. It’s about what Jesus did on the cross.

And then she grabbed my hands and she prayed for me.

And when she finished, she looked me dead in the eyes and asked me if I knew that Jesus loved me. If i really, deep down, believed it… and when I told her that I knew it but didn’t feel like it, she told me to wake up every morning and thank Him for loving me… because she knew that the more I said it, the more I would believe it.

And she was right.

——————————————————————-

How Can it Be by Lauren Daigle.

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

Chorus
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

Chorus

Bridge
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

Chorus

Struggles of a Black Woman: Hair Journey Recap

So once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived two nappy headed black twins…

Kel, dont kill me.

Kel, dont kill me.

Haha jk. (but seriously…)

The first time I got my hair relaxed, I was 8 years old. Kelly & I were going to be flower girls in our aunt’s wedding and had planned to have our hair pressed. The week of the wedding, we found it it was supposed to rain on the big day so instead of pressing our hair like we had originally planned, we got relaxers instead. (I WISH I had a picture that showed how long our hair was… It was beautiful… and full…. and straight- we were in awe!) I remember we kept flipping our hair back and forth because we were shocked that it could actually move haha. We were so excited to have “white girl” hair, we thought we could take care of it the same way… Needless to say, the length and the healthiness quickly deteriorated.

The Summer of 2011, is probably when it got the worst.

Summer of 2011- at the Fair

Summer of 2011- at the Fair

Summer 2011- Girls Night at Coastal Flats

coastal_girls2

July 2011- On the way to Kathrina's baby shower

July 2011- On the way to Kathrina’s baby shower

boat

Father’s day 2011- My hair was so weak that when I would take my sunglasses off my head, pieces of hair would come off with it.

I was at the salon getting a relaxer and for some reason I decided to touch my hair. When I did, I noticed that hair was coming out in my hand. I freaked out but never said anything to the stylist… I was hoping I was seeing things. Soon she called me over to start washing out the relaxer. When she started washing it out, I guess she noticed the same thing because she asked me if I had been taking any new medications because my hair was falling out in the sink… I seriously almost died. The whole time all I could think was that I had some terminal disease that was causing my hair to fall out. As soon as I got in the car, I called my mom and told her what had happened. She told me that if it was a health issue, the hair would be falling out from the root, not the ends, and that my hair must have been over processed. I called the hair dresser and told her what my mom said so recommended I do protein treatments. I started doing them but the reality was no amount of protein could save that hair.

In September, I went to a different stylist, the one my sister was using at the time. I had her cut my hair as short as it could make it where it would still look decent.

September 2011- The day I cut my hair & a week before I started putting in full weaves.

September 2011- The day I cut my hair & a week before I started putting in full weaves.

While I was sitting in the chair, she mentioned that I should braid my hair up to give it a break but there was no way I was going to let that happen. (There are some girls that can rock the braids… I’m just not one of them). We decided that a  full weave would be the way to go.. A week later I was at her house and she was hooking me up! From September 2011 to now, I had been rocking the remy hair.

sep2011


nov2012

jan2013

 I loved it. It was low maintenance, you could get it whatever length you wanted, you could go swimming and not come out with an afro- it was awesome. The only problem is… its not cheap. Eventually I got tired of dropping $400-$500 every 3 months to get new hair put in.  I decided it was time to come back to reality and go back to my hair. I started researching natural vs relaxed hair to see which one I thought would be a better fit for me. (Natural is nice because you’re not putting chemicals on your hair so you can use heat more often… plus you get the versatility of wearing it curly or straight. Relaxed is nice because its easier to manage but the downside is you have to be extra careful with it if you want it to reamin healthy). For weeks I kept going back and forth… it wasn’t until last December when I was getting my old extensions taken that I realized there was no way in HELL I could be natural. Not only was it so much hair to take care of, just brushing it was a NIGHTMARE. (I swear I needed 80 advil after she was done brushing through it).

Since I made up my mind on going back to the “creamy crack”, I started focusing on learning how to maintain healthy relaxed hair. I reached out to my friend Jessica to see what she did as well as  started researching hair blogs and YouTube to see what worked for other people. Jessica gave me her regimen & turned me on to this girl, UloveMegz… I was instantly hooked. I literally spent 7 hours on her blog and YouTube Channel. I started taking pictures and writing everything down trying to prepare myself for what to do once “D-Day” came. (I literally felt like a pregnant mom, awaiting her soon to be born baby… anxious to see what it would look like hahaha). Once I made my hair appointment, I started buying everything so that I would be ready to go…. except I went a little overboard…

$300 later....

$300 later…. I swear I have enough hair products to last me a year.

Anywho, I finally got my hair done yesterday and here is the final result :).


newhair1

newhair_back

Diptic

I was a little sad that she had to cut some off but overall I’m happy! I think I’m most shocked that all of that hair is hair that has grown since September 2011… gives me hope! Now its time to start following my new hair regimen (i’ll upload it tomorrow). It is going to take a lot of work but I’m excited to see how it goes :)!

xx

What in the World Am I Doing?

Over the past couple of years, I have gone through more major life changes than I have in my entire 23 years of living. From my parents moving, to starting college, to graduating college, to moving to a brand new city all by myself, to working full time and paying bills… These past 2-3 years have been CRAZY… When I was going through it all, I think I was so busy trying to keep my head afloat that I never really took the chance to take it all in and reflect, and learn about myself… which is what leads me to this blog.

I’ve been thinking about starting this up for a while now but have always been too scared to pull the trigger. I didn’t think I would have anything to write about, much less anything that anyone else would want to read about…  I have no idea what I’m doing.  I don’t consider myself a writer or a very public person. I generally share the good things on social networks and keep the “not so pretty” details to myself  (or to my family and close friends who I’ve already forced to love me :)). But for some reason, I feel called to start writing things down; to let myself be a little more vulnerable. My hope is that one day I will look back and see the goals that I set for myself and see how I’ve met them.  Or at the very least, that I can look back at these posts and appreciate everything I’ve gone through and see that I’ve learned from it…  And in the end,  if someone else ends up reading this & it helps them too, then that’s an added bonus.

So here goes nothing…