God’s Teachings: Seasons

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Many who’ve met me in this season and see my successes tend to think I’m just lucky. No such thing. If only you knew the PAIN and trials I went through before receiving favor. If only you knew the many years I lived mad at the world, sorrowful and not trusting in Him. When I finally gave in and gave it ALL to Him my blessings poured in. Run your own race, trust in your own journey. If you get caught up comparing yourself to where others are in life you might miss your turn. Your current trial is only for a season. Let go and let God!

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Love Talks: Newlyweds

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Jorge and David met 3 and a half years ago playing volleyball but they both have different versions of the initial encounter. David recalls helping new members [to the league] get oriented one night when Gill Smith came over and said, “That’s Jorge over there. Go introduce yourself.” He did just that but despite David’s attempts to assist new member Jorge he wasn’t very receptive leaving David to think, “Oh my goodness, he’s such a jerk! He won’t even make eye contact with me!” Jorge however does not remember meeting David that night at all.  A couple of weeks later during a volleyball match against each other in which David was reffing the first game he spotted Jorge walking by and said, “Jorge, you’re on this court!” to which he replied, “How do you know my name?” According to Jorge, they first met that night. As their teams played each other Jorge flirted with David across the court all while scoring points against them with his serves. Per David, his team put a stop to that [points] right away! After that encounter Jorge reached out to David via Facebook messenger and they’ve been together ever since. Married now for a little over a month their bond is immensely palpable and with supportive friends and family in their corner, their love is sure to win.

When did you know you that you loved your spouse?

David: “I would say it was the time he created that starlight picnic for us inside the house and made a playlist. That touched a part of me that I never really knew before and that started the seeds of love for me.”

Jorge: “It was pretty soon after we started dating because I just remember us hanging out so much and everything felt so natural. We spent time at my apartment back then and I knew really early on within like a couple of months that this was something special.”

What is your favorite quality about your spouse?

David: “He makes me laugh all the time and constantly helps me be better in my personal life and professional goals. He helps me to really know my worth and helps build my confidence.” 

Jorge:My favorite quality about David is his kindness. He is probably one of the most kindest person I have ever met in my life and he does it without any hidden agenda. It’s just the type of person he is and I really really like that about him.”

What has been the most challenging aspect of your relationship?

David: “I think for me it has been adapting to someone with such a different personality because Jorge sees the world very differently. Sometimes I feel like I need to pause and be a little bit more in control of my responsiveness. He grounds me a lot.”

Jorge: “In my case I was just so used to being independent prior to being in a relationship. So that has been the most challenging. Finding the right balance between keeping some of that independence that I really like and have grown up with verses being in a relationship where it’s not just about me but thinking about both of us as a unit.”

How has your spouse changed you for the better?

David: “I think it’s part of the reasons why I fell in love with him and my favorite qualities and everything. Jorge helps me be the best David I can be. He brings out a different part of me that I never knew existed with confidence, with believing I can reach my personal and professional goals and constantly encouraging me. No one has had as much faith in me as Jorge has and it’s the best thing about my life since meeting him.”

Jorge: ” David makes me see things in a different perspective. I tend to be very strong minded a lot of times. David challenges me and makes me see other people’s perspectives that I otherwise would miss out on. Although at times I may not say it right of the bat, after we talk and he helps me see other points of view I do take them into consideration. I think that has made me a better person so far.”

What is the best part about being married so far?

David: “There has been a weight to wearing the wedding ring but it is a positive weight. I feel like my world has shifted just a little bit in perspective. When I am thinking about my future or making decisions, whether it’s minor things about the house or important dreams or goals, it’s not ‘I’ so much as ‘We’ so much. I am constantly thinking of how our marriage and family unit is going to grow and strengthen. The symbol of the ring is such a tangible one for me. In such a short amount of time it has brought such validation, comfort and just a new reality to my world and it has been amazing.”

Jorge: “The best part so far is just getting all of our friends and family together to witness us actually getting married. I think that was just an amazing day but even after that it’s just knowing how supportive everyone is of our relationship. So I think both of us being a couple now as husbands just really reinforces that unity that both of our families and friends bring together and I think that is the best.”

Love Talks: Home 

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Jamaal and Brandy Boone met in the dormitory of Anderson Hall during their freshman year of college and have now been together 17 years! According to Brandy, Jamaal was standing in the lobby staring at her. He says he was doing no such thing but told her his name when she approached him nonetheless. Every time the two saw each other after that encounter she’d make sure to say, “Heyyy Jamaal!” Their mutual love of watching WWE led to them eventually falling in love. Over the years their palpable bond, genuine friendship and commitment to family set the strong foundation needed to withstand the usual ups and downs of marriage. For this couple, there is nothing better than family.

When did you know that you loved your spouse?

Brandy: “There is no specific time that I can pinpoint but what made me say for the rest of my life this is who I want to be with was the fact the we liked the same things and we did the same things. When we were around each other we always had fun just doing nothing together. We use to go play uno together, watch wrestling together, all that stuff. We had a lot in common so I was like, ‘Yep, I can be with him for the rest of my life.’”

Jamaal: “I don’t know the exact point but I know that I loved her wayyyyy sooner than she loved me. My thing was, I’m just not going to say nothing until I get something back. I was holding out. There was one time we were in the student union building watching wrestling and I knew then like, ‘Oh yea, I love her.’ We weren’t doing anything. Just chillin and watching wrestling.”

What is your favorite quality about your spouse?

Brandy: “I like the way that he is with his children. I think he’s a really, really great father. Seeing him spend time with them, joking around and stuff, makes me love him more.”

Jamaal: “Well this isn’t going to sound as profound as what she said but she has pretty damn good organizational skills! I love her domestic qualities. She’s clean and she cooks well and often so I don’t have to and I appreciate that.”

What has been the most challenging aspect of marriage?

Jamaal: “Probably adapting to each other’s personalities. Like the fact that you just can’t do everything the way that you like to do it just because it works for you.”

Brandy: “Communication or the lack there of. I think it’s always a challenge to say exactly what it is you’re feeling especially when what you’re feeling may cause an argument and you’re not wanting to argue. Things of that nature. That’s the most challenging part.”

How has your spouse changed you for the better?

Jamaal: “Mannnnnnn, where do I even start? Can I even say this….if it wasn’t for her I’d still be out in them streets. Ain’t no telling where I’d be. I may be dead. I can’t really even say just one or two things. I can say that she completely took me away from doing boyish things. It’s like a complete 180 turnaround because I go from one extreme to the next. But that’s just one part of how she’s changed me for the better. I can go on and on about that. Compared to the person I was when I met her I’m definitely a completely different person.”

Brandy: “I would say that he makes me look at myself more because before it was always, ‘YOU need to do this’ or ‘YOU need to do that’. I’ve learned to look at myself and see what it is that I need to do. I’ve been not as quick to anger. I’ve been trying to fix my attitude as I can sometimes have a really bad one. So I think he’s changed me in that way. I now look internally within myself to see what I can do to make things better rather than focus on what I feel somebody else might need to do. Not just in our relationship but in life period.”

What’s the best part about being married?

Jamaal: “The stability. I appreciate the routine. The love. There is nothing better than coming home to my family. Like nothing better. Putting things together for the kids as a family like the birthdays, the celebrations…it’s kind of us verses the world. Coming home is by far the best part of the day. 

Brandy: “Having someone you can really talk to. I feel like I can talk to him about anything. Even though at times we may disagree I still feel like I can still come talk to him about anything. Also having someone you can just lay up under. I like laying up under him and when his feet aren’t on me at night I’m like where the hell is he at, lol. I guess I feel more safe because he’s around.”


Love Talks: Teamwork 

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James and Alaina Crawford first met in high school when their siblings tried to play match makers and failed. Three years later, they decided to go out to a movie and ice cream to catch up and have been together ever since. They’ve now been married 5 years but together 10 years and counting. They have two children and a pet fish. When career aspirations took them to a new state and away from family and sometimes each other, their love, transparency and partnership held them tight together. Teamwork makes the marriage work!

When did you know that you loved your spouse?

James: “I knew I loved Laina when I would take weeks off from work just to spend time with her. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t like to take time off from work! I used to spend every dime I had on rental cars, new clothes, etc…. just to go see her.”

Alaina: “I knew I loved James fairly early in the relationship. We spent the whole summer together before heading back to junior year of college and whenever I was with him I just felt complete. I felt like I could be myself and I loved that feeling. Then when I had to go back to school it was just a sad feeling so I really enjoyed the fact that he would come almost every weekend just to hang out with me. I mean do absolutely nothing but hang and that’s when I knew.”

What is your favorite quality about your spouse?

James: “My favorite quality about Laina is how supportive she is. Any goal I set for myself she’s always behind me encouraging me and helping me every step of the way.”

Alaina: “James goes out of his way to make sure that everyone he’s around is taken care of. He’s very selfless in that sense and just wants us to be happy. So he’ll do anything to make sure me and the girls are happy, that his family is happy, that everyone is OK before himself. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of marriage?

James: “The most difficult part of being married to me would be having those disputes about whose career is more important than the other’s. Who is more tired after work? Who should take that sick day to stay home with the kids?

Alaina: “I think one of the hardest things is finding time to just spend together. He’s in a career field that keeps him away very often and we live in a state where we have no family and very little friends. So it’s hard to make time for just us. But when we do find that time to spend together alone it’s fun.” 

How has your spouse changed you for the better?

James: “Laina has helped me to be more open minded. Try new things, experience new places.”

Alaina: “Being with James has helped me to worry less. I’ve always been the type of person who worries a lot and just stresses about things that I sometimes have no control over. But his personality has helped me to feel like everything is going to be OK. He always says it is going to be greater later or it’s going to get better and he’s always been right about it. So he has helped me to have more faith in stuff.”

What is the best part about being married?

James: “The best part about being married is having that teammate who’ll always be there for you no matter what and will always have your back. You set goals together and accomplish them together, someone that is always going to be there to push you.” 

Alaina: “The best part about being married is having a partner. But not just a partner but someone I can be transparent with. I never have to fake anything with James. I can always be honest and I know at the end of the day whether he likes what I say or agrees or disagrees he’s still going to love me. I just really enjoy having someone I can be honest with and feel I can be myself with.”  


Love Talks: Completely 

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Meet Donnie and Tanya. They’ve been married 3 years and have a beautiful baby girl together. Their love story is one for the books but not one of fairytales. It is one of two people finding a great thing in each other despite circumstances and deciding to hold on to each other for dear life when every aspect of their vows were tested in such a short period of time. I hope their love gives you hope, inspiration and the courage to hold on tight no matter the obstacles.

When did you know that you loved your spouse?

Tanya: “When he would go out of the way to get to me because he didn’t have transportation when we began dating. He made sure there was always a way to come see me.”

Donnie: “For me it was more instantaneous. I knew off the bat when we met for the first time. I just looked at her and knew I was good.”

What is your favorite quality about your spouse?

Tanya: “The fact that there is no seperation of roles in our relationship. He’s willing to cook, clean and take care of Aubrey yet he’s still very much a man.”

Donnie: “Her loving, the way she loves. The little things she does that shows she’s not only thinking of me as a person but us as a family.”

What has been the most challenging aspect of marriage?

Tanya: “Being able to bring two separate people together to create one household. We were both raised in two completely different environments and to be able to make that one and create our own home was difficult. In order to overcome that we just had to be open to communication but it is still challenging.”

Donnie: “I guess my answer would mirror hers. Having two completely different mindsets and having to understand that you have to think not just for yourself but come together collectively while at the same time accepting each other’s flaws and defects.”

How has your spouse changed you for the better?

Tanya: “I’m much more patient and not as quick to anger.”

Donnie: “I’d have to say the same thing. Sometimes I can be an irrational thinker and she gives me proper insight and teaches me how to be more cognitive.”

What is the best part about being married?
Tanya: “The best part is having a partner who will always have your back and love.”

Donnie: “The knowing that at the end of the day no matter your flaws, defects or inconsistencies that person will love you and will hold you down through every situation. Knowing that because it’s real it will last a lifetime and not just a moment. I wasn’t looking for someone to complete me, I was looking for someone to completely understand me and I found that in her.


Worth

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You’re unhappy more often than not. What are you holding on to? Flashes of false effort that only lends false hope? It’s not real. The way you feel is evident in your actions. The way he feels is evident in his lack of actions. How much longer are you going to let him use you? He doesn’t WANT you. May not even like you but seems to need you. Needs all that you give so freely. It’s been years and all he gives you are new reasons why he refuses to commit. Then tells you he loves you so you’d hold on just a little longer. Long enough for him to find who he truly wants.  Then tell you it’s your fault it didn’t work because you were too this or too that. Beautiful, you must activate your worth. It’s not enough to just know it.

Infiltrate

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The butterflies that inhabit my soul fluttered
joyously deep down in my center
Moments later they traveled through my womb
down to the souls of my feet
This journey began the instant your lips met mine…

I gasped for air that never escaped me
Closed my eyes to savor the feeling
Hoped silently that your lips wouldn’t depart
Yearned desperately for a deeper infiltration…

Your tongue grazed across my lips in search of an opening
I obliged happily and parted my lips slightly
The sweet taste of your tongue made my heart skip, pause…race
Rhythmically, I allowed mine to dance with yours…

I inhaled deeply in an attempt to take in your essence
Your hands reached to caress my face and my body simultaneously relaxed
Suddenly feeling safe while lost in your sensual embrace
I allowed my head to tilt back as your lips trailed my neck…

A pleasured grin painted my face and I exhaled
I soon returned the gesture and tasted the aroma of your neck, ear, lobe…
You moaned, I ached in anticipation of desired consumption
We pause, I rested my head like a missing puzzle piece within your shoulder…

Our breathes that were once deep and shallow now slowed in sync
For a moment in time we drowned in each other’s existence
Our eyes searched the other’s within the dim of the candle light
Smiles emerged, we then submerged as our souls kissed once more…