Friday, March 30, 2012

Updates and More!

First off... Good Morning and Happy Friday! I love FRIDAY!!! I love my weekends, I love time with my family and friends... the work week just doesn't allow enough time for the good stuff. Nothing compares to a good weekend. I can't say I have anything planned for this one and it feels good!

Last weekend, I got to see The Hunger Games with my sisters and our girls J1 and Kai. We had a good time, and for the record... The Hunger Games was AWESOME! I really liked it a lot. Like all book-to- movie movies, it was NOT nearly as amazing as the book, but it was still very enjoyable, I recommend it to all whether you read the book or not! I think they did a great job portraying each character (except for Peeta). In my mind, from reading the book, I pictured him being much more attractive. I envisioned him as attractive as Gale, just more pretty and less rugged than Gale. I don't appreciate the movie killing that for me but casting a leprechaun as Peeta! I want to write someone and complain. Is that superficial? But it's hard for me to be Team Peeta after seeing the movie. I like 'em tall myself... but that's my own issue. He loved Katniss and that's important... I suppose :) I loved little Rue's character... she was so cute. In the book, they described District 11 residents as having dark/brown skin but that did not necessarily make them black for me (idk why) but I guess it wasn't just me. Unlike some others, I was happy to see Rue, Thresh and Cinna portrayed as black people. There have been stories about certain people not appreciating Rue, Thresh and Cinna as being casted as black...this is riDONK! But I guess this is still how some people are.. racist! How can the color of someone's skin "ruin" the movie for you? I am not gonna let other people's ignorance take away from my experience! I enjoyed the movie MUCHO :)
(I wish we'd taken some time from our enjoyable day to snap some photos, but 1. it was raining and 2. we were so busy just enjoying the moments that we didn't stop to capture them...) I did make shirts for the girls especially for our movie outing (I'll try and take after the fact pics and post them) Kai was in a "Team Peeta" shirt, J1 in a "Team Gale" shirt and Nae was the "Girl on Fire". We had fun! Go out and see the movie, you will not regret it.

Another update: in my Die Trying!!! post, I wrote about beginning a juice fast after seeing the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Well... that lasted one day! I bought the juicer, used the juicer, cleaned up the gigantic mess from the juicer, washed the juicer out then put it back in the box. I can NOT commit to cleaning that thing out after every use! It was a mess and a half! AND I feel like I wasted perfectly good fruit. A pound of fruit only to get an ounce of juice (not literally, but close). It was just too much work. I don't know if it was the particular juicer I had or what! but I know myself and I can't do it. *shakes head* I hope not to discourage any one else, but I just know it wasn't for me. After an almost arrest at Walmart thanks to J (lol, long story), I have since returned the juicer... the refund hit my account earlier this week. I needs that! I am currently back on the GM's Diet just to get back on task (not as committed this time though). I have been majorly cheating. Not majorly, but when I cheat, I cheat badly. Day 1. I did the all fruit during the day all day, then when I got home for dinner I had Chick-Fil-A.. shame on me. Day 2 (yesterday) I did the all veggies all day, then for dinner I had salmon patties, brown rice, mac n cheese and asparagus (big time cheat!) Today is fruits and veggies... so far so good, but it's still early. Please don't use me as a good example on this, this time. The first time I did it, I was super committed and I did it fair and square all the way out. This time, I'm doing against my own will and better judgement so I am less committed. But at least I am owning up to it. If you do it, do better than I am doing this time! It really was worth the 10 lbs I lost! Where I was down 5 lbs by morning of Day 3 last time, I am only down 2 lbs this time, still pretty good if I say so myself! *sticks out tongue* I'll do better for the rest of the cleanse though, no more big time cheats!

Any other updates? Wedding? Do we even want to talk about that? I'll make it brief... it's coming along. Bridesmaid dresses ordered, shoes picked out and should be ordered soon. Venue, caterer (went to the tasting last Sunday... yum), photographer... all handled. Right now, I am searching and plotting on decorating and centerpieces and such! I am documenting much of my ideas and finds on pinterest. Wish me luck! I am hoping to DIY a lot of my decorations in order to add a touch of Tam to the wedding and to save on cost, plus I think it'll be fun!.

(What I was feeling yesterday, but never posted...) 
Ever just feel like you should be doing something more? I feel like there is something I should be doing in my life, but I'm clearly not doing it. I go through my life for Tamika (J, the kids, my family and friends). I do what needs to be done for my own life. Work, family, bills... but there is something else calling me. I love my life and the people in it more than I could ever explain, but I am craving more.
I want to be committed to doing something that is helping someone else. Living my own life just isn't enough anymore. I feel something tugging at my heart, but I just can't place it. I am going to pray that God shows me what it is He would have me to do. I know anything I try on my own or plan in my own mind and strength, will not be nearly as fulfilling as doing whatever God is calling me to do. I feel "out of position." I feel it with an urgency and I seriously want MORE! Pray for me as I pray for myself. Thanks!

That's my peace! Love, Tam

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Too Perfect to Apologize

Good Afternoon! I haven't written anything in weeks! What's going on with everyone? Happy First Day of Spring!!! I am having a good day, but I felt like I've been neglecting my blog... I'm not reading anything, I don't want to keep venting about my wedding planning frustrations and that's really the only thing new going on in my life. I had a great weekend, spent a nice relaxing Saturday with my friend Kiwi... girl stuff, you know! Let my little Nae fly the coop a little and hang at a friend's house, let my Kai have a friend over. I guess this weekend was about girl friendships... and oh a topic sits on fingertips, just waiting to be typed out. But I don't think its ready yet. I think it needs to brew a little... namtalmbout?

But just so you're not left to wonder... girl/ women friendships are a disaster! FOR NO GOOD REASON... if you feel any conviction, no I'm not talking about you, but maybe I am (or should be). I have been on the listening side of way too many women complaining about their other women friendships (hopefully someone isn't saying these same things about me somewhere, am I saying these things about someone?) Anywhoozle... why can't we all just get along? There will be problems, situations, disagreements... but why do we have so much trouble talking about them rationally, apologizing and forgiving? Why does one incident have to be the demise of years of friendship? It just doesn't make any sense! Why can't we, as women, communicate with each other openly and honestly without offense? Why?
I am concerned for us... no, really. I am worried for the state of women friendships everywhere. Yes, some of us have it figured out. We can have an issue and recover, but why isn't that the consensus across the board? What do these men know, that some of us women don't? They aren't smarter than us, how come they've managed to figure out how to continue a relationship healthily after a dispute? They are putting us women to shame, we should be ashamed! It is possible... I believe in us!

The problem? Maybe we are (or think we are) too smart. Everyone has an argument that they can substantiate with their own claims/ versions of why the should be offended or how someone did them wrong. We don't spend enough time walking in each other's shoes and then offering compassion. We don't own up to our own issues and we blame others, then expect others to know exactly how they should handle our issues. You are the one with the issue! All of you, both of you! Every single last one of US! YET... we don't even see it. "I can do no wrong, she should have..." We expect to read each other's minds then respond accordingly. Am I being harsh? Well! We are petty and immature. All we need is to practice a little compassion, communication and connection. We need to keep apologies locked and loaded in the holster  and forgiveness should be just as readily available. Why are we too proud to offer an apology? You don't have to have done something wrong to apologize (that is a misconception). Maybe you did something (without intending any harm) that hurt or offended someone you care about. If you cared about them, an apology should not even be a second thought. "I am sorry that what I did hurt you. It was not my intention to cause you any pain. I see that I have, and for that I sincerely apologize. Our relationship is too important for me not to apologize for something I did that was in any way harmful to you. I love you and I'm sorry." It is as simple as that. But too often, it's "but she..." and "I didn't do anything..." or "why is she even mad about that?" And there we have it, friendships that will never be mended because everyone is too perfect to apologize. Relationship destroyed over simple, minuscule offenses. Is it worth it? Someone has to decide to be the bigger person. "Why do I always have to be the bigger person?" Why not be? Is it worth it to you? Would you rather leave this relationship unmended... maybe you don't care! You have other meaningful friendships that you can rely on, right? You don't necessarily need this person... well, I sure hope not. I'm not even going to go into the fact that it isn't pleasing to God... all that can be for another day. I love you all and I just want us to do better.

I did say that I was going to let this brew a little, right? Well I guess it's brewed long enough... tea anyone?
This is, for certain, my unedited unprepared insight on this. It kinda just typed itself out... but no worries, I have read The Five Languages of Apology and I have women friends... I am an expert! :) lolololololol

But no really, you can call me Dr. Tam, or even better yet A Peace of Tam, Ph.D.

Wait until I get all this wedding foolishness out the way! (Upon J's approval) I am going to host a Women's Brunch/Lunch so we can talk, heal and mend!  

Love you all MUCHO!

(that's my "I'm a Dr." Peace)  Love, Tam aka "Dr. Peace"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Power of An Apology!

So.. good morning! Happy Hump Day!!! We're halfway there and I'm so looking forward to the weekend. Last weekend sucked MAJOR and I need a do over desperately! I really can't see how this one can go wrong, so I am excited for it to get here. One: I get to see my lady friends and go look at bridesmaids dresses (how much fun is that going to be?) Two: I'm going to pick up J's ring this weekend... I OWN HIM NOW!!! lol Three: Maybe I will get to fit registering for the wedding into the weekend. That should be fun, right? Free shopping. I'm sure there's a four, but I can't think of it right now. Pretty much, this weekend should be legen... (wait for it)... DARY!

I finished reading The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman this morning on the train...

"If apologizing were a way of life, no walls would be built. Relationships would be authentic. Certainly people would fail, but the failures would be dealt with in an open and honest manner. Regret would be expressed; responsibility would be accepted. Restitution would be made. Genuine repentance would be our intention, and we would stand humbly and say, "I need somebody to forgive me."

In the book the author's grand-daughter, Davy Grace, was disobedient to what her grandmother told her to do. When confronted with her actions, the 5 year old grand-daughter simply began to cry and said "I need somebody to forgive me." We all make mistakes, none of us is perfect and we all do something to violate someone's trust or offend someone we care about in some way. When these offenses go unacknowledged, relationships are fractured. The relationship will suffer from the offense and if neither party reaches out to mend the relationship, the quality of the relationship will continue to diminish. Imagine how many relationships could ultimately be saved if someone was just willing to apologize, then forgiveness could be granted and the relationship could be restored. I am far too often witnessing friendships fall apart over something that could be fixed if an apology was offered and grace was extended with forgiveness. In the grand scheme of things, it just doesn't seem worth it NOT to apologize.

So as not to leave you UN updated... in my last post So I Read, I talked about needing to forgive someone who I feel had offended me. This person did not come to me and offer an apology (certainly not in my language), so it has been an ongoing fractured relationship. In the book, it said I was supposed to lovingly confront them, make them aware of their offense and request an apology. Well... this past weekend, I went to confront them. I went in hope of taking the steps to restore the relationship. I was hoping for and apology but definitely not expecting one. I will not give you all the details of the conversation, but I want you to know that I am glad I went. It did not go how I anticipated (idk what I thought would happen), I almost left without having received the apology, but I would have found some healing in having tried. In the end, after some (not so) gentle prodding, I got the apology I needed (them accepting responsibility) and I offered them forgiveness. I released them from the penalty from hurting me and am no longer going to let the offenses stand between us. I am still working on the trust and restoration part... I'm really not sure what was ever really there to restore. But at least the lines of communication are open and I don't cringe at the mere thought of them. :) Progress, I'd say!

I have to say, I FULLY enjoyed the book. I feel like my life will be forever affected (in a very good way) having had read this. I have broken down the barrier in one relationship and have gained the knowledge necessary to maintain all my currently perfectly functioning relationships. Let us not underestimate the power of an apology!

Book club for The Five Languages of Apology will be held on March 17th at 2pm, my house! Even if you have not had an opportunity to read the book, I strongly encourage you to join us for, what I promise to be, some very powerful and enlightening conversation.

We all need someone to forgive us and that is more likely to happen if we learn to apologize effectively. I am officially in apology mode!
"Father, give me the attitude of Davy Grace: 'I need somebody to forgive me,' and teach me how to apologize effectively. Amen."

AMEN! That's my peace... Love, Tam

Friday, March 2, 2012

So I Read...

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

I really should be busy working right now, but I couldn't get this off my brain. How ironic that today is Dr. Seuss' birthday and also READ ACROSS AMERICA Day. It is a day where you are encouraged to READ, but mainly to instill the joy of reading into your children by reading to them. I am a HUGE advocate of reading to children. I seriously believe it is a major factor in the development of a young mind. I read to Kai from the very beginning and to this day, she enjoys it. READING is FUNdamental!

It is said that some white people believe that "if you want to hide something from black people, put it in a book." It is a (an almost too realistic) stereotype that black people do not read. It is sad, but too true. I am black and I read and I know a whole score of black people that read, but I also know too many that would not touch a book. Not to say there aren't any white people who don't read, but let's not compare ourselves. Truth be told, we are already behind... we should be doing everything in our power to be getting ahead (or at least catching up). Ignorance is bliss though, huh? Everything you could possibly know about anything is written down somewhere. But some of us are all to happy living in our ignorant worlds of dysfunction, dissatisfaction and disorder... knowledge-less. It is a sad state of affairs, smh. I encourage you to, if nothing else, read to your children. Let's break the stereotype. (Then again, what am I doing? Most likely the people who need this are NOT READING my blog... hahaha).

Anywhoozle, I was reading the book club book, The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman... enjoying it to the fullest when BAM! Right in my face, I began reading to myself something I'd wish I hadn't. I'll explain...
I was on the chapter on forgiving when I stumbled across the section on what to do "When No Apology Is Offered." Let me go back a little bit... even before that section I read that The Bible instructs us to forgive as God forgives us. We are to acknowledge our sin (apologize) and He is faithful to forgive us. In order for our relationship to be restored with God and for Him to forgive us, we must first apologize (confess and repent). The two are not separate with God, so to us (mere humans) an apology is a critical factor in order for forgiveness to be granted and a relationship restored.
For awhile now, I have been wrestling in my own mind how to forgive someone who has hurt me. If you've read my Am I Willing post, you'll see my efforts to forgive someone who's hurt me. It has been nothing less than a struggle. I want to forgive, I would like for the relationship to be restored but I have not been able to fully forgive this person.. (light bulb!) They have never apologized to me, not in my apology language anyway. (No one should have given me this book, forreals!) No wonder it is difficult for me to just rebuild the relationship as if these offenses never happened, the forgiveness and restoration cycle requires confession and repentance (an apology). That brings me to the section in the book... "When No Apology Is Offered". (I so just want to copy and paste the book right here, LOL)

What if the person who offended me does not come back to apologize? Book response: Then I am to lovingly confront the offender. Say what? Hold the phone? So I'm NOT supposed to reject and avoid? Cause that's what I have been doing. My thought process: You hurt me, what you did caused a barrier in the relationship, you have not apologized, what relationship? A relationship is dead. I cannot get past the barrier, so I guess we will just be divided. But no! The book says I am supposed to confront you, lovingly. HA! (now I feel convicted and obligated) I know now, so I would be at fault and responsible for my (now) disobedience. "If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them." (Luke 17:3-4) An offense is committed. The person does not immediately apologize. So you confront the offender, looking for an apology. If the person apologizes, then you forgive. There is to be no limit to our forgiveness so long as the offender returns to apologize.
Question posed? What it the person refuses to apologize---even when confronted with his/her behavior? I am going to hope this isn't the case, but the book says to "approach the person a second time, telling them of the offense and giving them opportunity to apologize. "If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell him (confront him)—work it out between the two of you. If he listens (apologizes), you've made a friend. If he won't listen (apologize), take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again." (Matthew 18:15-16) This is telling me that I am supposed to continually confront this person, each time ready to forgive them, in hopes that they apologize (in my language). The first time, I should go alone. And if they do not respond, go a 2nd and 3rd time, bringing someone with me so "that every accusation may be verified by two or three witnesses" (God's Word Translation).  Really? This had me baffled and stuck, so I stopped reading. I could not get past this point... serious reflection. I looked ahead a little, and I feel like I need to read on to carry out the necessary actions I must take to not feel the conviction I currently feel.
Forgiving When The Apologizer Doesn't Speak Your Language and The Danger Of Forgiving Too Easily are the next couple of subtitles. I definitely want to read those before I face my offender. I don't want to go into the battle unprepared, but at least I have the 1st steps on what needs to be done.
This is going to be a big, bold step for me, one I am not looking forward to. But one that must be done...
They shoulda never let me start reading! I swear... I takes it and I run with it! The book has been quite helpful thus far, it's not only forcing me to face my demons but also reinforcing my relationship with J. I've been passing the info on to him, and he is becoming quite the effective apologizer. This is really gettin good! :) I HIGHLY recommend this book.

I've gone on long enough with my issues and book enjoyment... IT's FRIDAY!!! I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, remember to read to your children (love them and hug them).

That's my peace! Love, Tam

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Die Trying!!!

What's up? What's up? WHAT'S UP???? How has everyone been? It feels like forever, right? I don't even remember the last time we were here together. But we're here now and that's all that matters. I've missed you. What's been going on?

A week ago, I was down and out and almost dead with strep throat (s/o to Gigi for taking me to the Urgent Care), it was beyond rough. I could barely move my body, and let's not even talk about swallowing... *tears* Thank God for healing, I'm glad it's over and I am feeling much better. The day before I knew I was going to be dying, I'd decided to do this GM's Diet . I didn't let a little strep throat stop me though! I actually think it made the 1st day much easier, what was I trying to eat with a super sore throat anyway? NOTHING! I went ahead and carried out the cleanse as planned and it is exactly a week later, I did it! I am proud to announce I am 8 lbs lighter. It was not an easy task, there are moments when I wanted to throw the cleanse out the window! Let's say Day 3, Dinner at Carmine's.... but I just kept reminding myself that "only the strong survive." And I am definitely among the strong. Also, while I was dying (exaggerated for dramatic effect), I watched this documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, its about a guy who was fat and sick and... lol. Well, he wanted to not be fat or sick and dying so he went on a journey to get his health and body under control by "juicing". For 60 days, he converted all his meals consisting of only fruits and veggies into juice, that is all he ate drank every meal. The documentary follows his journey and progress. To say the least, it was inspiring (even J was inspired) and... I have since bought a juicer. I am going to shoot for 7 days of juicing, not sure if I am going to do every meal just yet but I'm working out the details of it all yet but my plan is to start on Sunday. I'll do my best to document exactly how it goes for me, wish me luck! Get Skinny Healthy or Die (trying)!!!

BYOB! I have began reading the book club choice for this month, The Five Languages of Apology by Dr. Gary Chapman. He is the same author of The Five Love Languages, I'm sure I've discussed that book in another blog. But they are both life changers, eye openers, good jump starts to enhancing all relationships and I highly recommend them both. Check it out! (literally) if you don't want to invest in the cost of the book, you can/should pick it up from your local library. Knowledge is POWER! Apologize or Die (trying)!!! READ or Die (trying)!!!
Today is the first day of March... we are that much closer to the opening of THE HUNGER GAMES!!! You don't think I forgot about this do you? I am still waiting with serious anticipation. It is going to be legen (wait for it)... DARY! I am siked, amped, hyphy! lol (don't judge me). I seriously can not wait! I have since gotten my niece and daughter to read the book. We are gonna be up in there DEEP! It isn't too late for any of you to be apart of this monumental occasion, there's still time for you too to get caught up in the thrills of The Hunger Games. :) Your choice! Let me get on this ticket purchase before I'm left standing in the cold... "may the odds be ever in your favor."  Survive or Die (trying)!!! Dang, I'm hyped!!

I am excited about this upcoming week... some time with Kai, juicing, wedding planning progress, The Five Languages of Apology, more weight loss, time with friends, always J and Nae. I am sooo loving my life right now :)  Live or Die (trying)!!!

That's my peace!

Love (or die trying), Tam

Happy March!