Let’s Talk: Fiscal Responsibility

I want to start this post off with a definition today:

House Poor – Being able to pay rent, mortgage, bill payments, etc., but unable to purchase basic necessities such as groceries, fuel, clothing, etc. and/or live a happy life due to financial strife.


As we begin making preparations to head into the new, grand year of 2020 (a whole new decade!), I wanted to take some time to impart the knowledge that I acquired this year regarding Fiscal Responsibility. I’m doing this because I want those around me that I have the ability to impact, to financially start their year off right. If I can help it, I would like to prevent anyone from dealing with what I dealt with this year.

Many of you already know that I struggled a lot with my finances this year.

A lot.

However, in the midst of a struggle, you learn, you change and most importantly you (hopefully) grow.

If you’re still reading, there’s a few steps I want you to take as soon as you can. No, actually, do it now. Enough fooling around.

Step One – Control Yourself: Open up an INTEREST BEARING SAVINGS ACCOUNT at ANOTHER BANK (preferably a credit union). Do NOT by any means, order a debit card for this account. If you get one by default, hide it from yourself, cut it up, give it to someone you trust, but you better not use it unless it’s for emergencies.

Step Two – Automate EVERYTHING: This part is really important. Take 7% of your paycheck (or whatever you can afford to do), and set up AUTOMATIC TRANSFERS TO THIS SAVINGS ACCOUNT AT THE OTHER BANK. Set it up for every time that you get paid, whether it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Why? When you are moving money automatically from one bank to another, it’s in process for 3-4 days. It’s up in the ether, and you can’t touch it. Therefore you can’t spend it. Once it arrives at the other bank, it’ll take the same amount of time to transfer it back, once again inhibiting you from unnecessarily spending that money you’re supposed to be saving.

Also, the way my bank is set up, there’s a $3 transfer fee to an external account for the 3-4 day transfer. I never notice those missing $3 dollars. If I’m feeling spicy, I can immediately transfer the funds the same or next day for $25, but ain’t nobody got time for all that.

I would also suggest that if you can, set up auto pay on bills that are easily manageable. Sometimes you get a discount for doing so!

Step Three – Tame your Money: Download these Monthly Budgeting and Bill Tracking Excel Spreadsheets from my Google Drive.

Budgeting has a bad rap. Budgeting is not something that’s supposed to give you restrictions, it’s something that’s supposed to liberate you and make you aware of how you’re utilizing your income. We use budgeting sheets to see where our money is going and to tell our money where to go. It helps us identify if we’re spending money on things that we don’t need and can do without. When you’re filling out the sheet, make sure that you…LIST EVERYTHING YOU SPEND MONEY ON. Including all your lil’ subscriptions to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Discord, Apple Music, alladat.

If you want tips on budgeting per paycheck, check out The Honest Plan on YouTube.

Once you’ve completed your monthly budget sheet, the Bill Tracking sheet will be your best friend. You’ll use this to list everything you pay a monthly bill for, see if you’re staying on top of your bill payments, observe to see if there are any fluctuations in bill amounts and overall be absolutely sure that you’re paying things on time (especially when the collectors attempt to call you and tell you that you’re behind).

Not only do these two tools give you peace of mind, but you’ll also feel like you’re doing a lil’ sumn sumn as a money managing guru.

numbers money calculating calculation

Step Four – Side Hustlin’ (Optional): Find a side hustle you wouldn’t mind doing. If you’re good at something, you might as well get paid for it. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra income! While you’re at it…check out Blankets of Blessings 🌚

Step Five – Trading & Investing: It would be worthwhile to hop onto YouTube and watch some videos on Trading vs. Investing. It’s never too late to start, and besides, if it goes well, it’s something you can set aside and “forget about” while your money grows. I’ve recently started using the Robinhood and Stash apps. If you’re interested in Robinhood, use my link here to get a free stock! Disclaimer: You should already know this is not a quick way to increase your income (unless you get the blessing of a lifetime and have an incredibly successful day trade).

Step Six – The Snowball Effect: I’m sure many of you have heard of this. …No? Okay, my bad for the assumption. Allow me to enlighten you: The Snowball Effect is something that one of my mentors shared with me, and it involves paying off looming bills. Essentially, all you are doing is paying off the small bills first so that you can launch a full, head on attack on the larger bills and aggressively pay those down. It’s effective, it works, do it.

Step Seven – “It is Finished.”: God rested on the seventh day, so we shall rest on the seventh step. Put this cycle in motion and you’ll be taking your first steps on your path to Fiscal Responsibility.

Matthew 25:14-28 

These things I mentioned above will take time to get going, and this blog post is not the end all to education about Fiscal Responsibility. This is just what I’ve learned from my experiences and those around me. You have to ask questions, you have to be attentive to what’s going on with your wallet. It’s up to you to take control, and use money as the tool it was intended to be used as. I do care to mention that, be careful you don’t become obsessed with money. Money isn’t everything, but how we use it determines how we live our lives.

Here are a few things to take away from today:

  • Wherever you put your value, that’s where your money is going.
  • Don’t go after things that have no eternal value.
  • You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24
  • Figure out what your definition of money is – this will help you determine if you’re using money as a tool or a toy.
  • Don’t forget to pay your tithes.

 

Happy Holidays! 🎄💖

 

BlerDCon the Recap: Part Two

YER. I see you made it to Part Two. Clearly that means you enjoyed Part One 👀. Welcome back, my dedicated reading friend.

Well, since Part One was mostly comprised of the activities I took part in while at the convention, you already know that the second part is going to be about…THE COOKOUT FAM, AYYYYY.

Every convention I go to, just expect me to mention the litty litness of The Cookout. Cookout Fam Chronicles if you will, haha. There’s a lot of pictures that I took of us, so please, enjoy this lovely slideshow:

ANYWAY.

I already learn so much from everyone day to day in Discord, but it’s on a different level when you see your fam in person actually speaking on their personal experiences, etc. with a passionate tone in their voices. Many of the panels I went to, we mostly ventured

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Genesis speaking da truth

to together and it was astounding to hear everyone’s perspectives up close concerning stories and occurrences happening in our communities.

We basically traveled together in one big and various group pods the entire time, and let me tell you, it was the best thing ever. Sure it’s nice to enjoy something alone, but it’s even better to be able to share a moment with someone and laugh, cry and yes, even debate with them about what you all just witnessed (or overheard, LOL).

My most favorite moments occurred when we were all chilling upstairs in @Genesis_0109 hotel room, just hanging out, playing a card game he introduced us to, and just voicing our different opinions on a myriad of topics. If you fell asleep and got caught slipping, best believe you got sleep cammed by yours truly, LOL.

Yes, I have this thing I do called Sleep Cam: if you fall asleep around me while we are all being extremely loud and having fun, your picture will be taken and most likely with people doing random funny things in the background behind you.

I definitely can’t forget the after parties. WHEW CHILLEEEE. We danced and danced and danced, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The fam gets super hype okay, that’s all I’m going to say on that.

So, about this COSPLAY.

Last but not least: I cosplayed for the first time in my entire life and let me tell you, that was one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences I have had in a while. I’m actually getting emotional as I reflect on getting everything together for it. I’m even more emotional because I cosplayed a character of my own original design.

Realizing the fact that I was able to bring her to life, and it wasn’t too shabby looking either? I WAS SHOOK. What made it even better was that a couple people actually chased me down to take a picture with me! I definitely wasn’t expecting that because, even though I was happy that I cosplayed, I was thinking that my cosplay wasn’t as great as some of the others I saw. I honestly had to keep reminding myself that none of that mattered and that I needed to stop comparing myself. At the end of the day, all that mattered was that I cosplayed, I did my best with what I had, I had fun and freaking I enjoyed it! Now I just have to work on my posing, LOL. (Solo photos of me courtesy of @Tru1p)


Right now, I’m tearing up because, this is my family, and in such a short time, these phenomenal individuals have become incredibly important to me and I care about each and every one of them. It’s such a blessing to be able to serve the community as an Admin staff member because I really get a chance to see how our efforts are helping those that come into the community from a granular perspective. Like I mentioned earlier, I learn so much from being around them and hearing their stories. Even though they roast the heck out of me (out of love, LOL), the out pouring of help, support and love I and everyone else receives is incredible. These are some of the most talented, driven, intelligent, hard-working and dedicated people that I’ve come to meet so far in my life. I hate that we all live so far away from each other, but it’s comforting to know that we are all just a Discord message, Voice Chat, Stream or Game Lobby away.

If you’re a PoC Content Creator looking for a group like The Cookout, I definitely recommend you check us out. The group is only accessible through an application, and that is temporarily closed while we process the huge number of applications we’ve received in the past month or so. However, keep up with us on Twitch, Instagram and Twitter!

Special Shout Out to the Cookout Fam I was able to hang with at this convention, y’all are top tier ❤

@blisscreates, @stellyblanca, @SpoonGodTitan, @willthegreatest, @therealrapcritic @LilaBoBina, @Tru1p, @JermainePlays, @vickibewicked, @_LadyKayLee, @DippedNV8Splash, @007Steeze, @_kingether, @DJ_Cocoa_Butter, @CSamSim, @ProdigyDaPrince, @JediOso, @Leesh_Capeesh, @Nizzy917, @Bball4Life35, @frenchiefied, @unicorninthekitchen@RobRegalGxC, @Genesis_0109, @Son_of_a_yellow, @shinageeeexpress, @TheRetroAstro, @dream_killa22, @xStill_Infamous, @skool_the_otaku and @kendallxanime

(Everyone above isn’t necessarily in the Cookout) If I missed you, it wasn’t on purpose. There was a lot of y’all in two days LOL.


Thank you again for reading Part Two of my BlerDCon Recap! There will be an actual vlog of the activities coming soon, once I find time to sit down and edit!

BlerDCon the Recap: Part One

Not that I don’t mind blowing up everyone’s Twitter and/or Instagram mentions with tags, replies, etc., AND WOULD DEFINITELY DO IT WITHOUT HESITATION… I figured I’d type up an article (paired with a vlog, soon come) of my experience at my first Blerdcon this past weekend instead, because, whew chile I have a lot to say.

I truly don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I’ll first talk about the activities I attended! I probably am going to split this into two parts.

Aside from the blazing heat at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City (LOL), I was in AWE from the moment I walked into the hotel.

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Repping our North Carolina Area Codes

This time, having my sister (@Bball4Life35) AND brother (@dream_killa22) in tow, we not only went on our first “family” road trip, but we also got to experience a world that we really are mostly cut off from back in our hometowns. I’m glad that I was able to take them with me, and that we were immersed in this adventure together. It’s definitely a memory we will always cherish!

BlerDCon was nothing short of magical. It was a multi-level, action packed weekend, with everyone absolutely living their best lives with no ragrets (not even one letter). I was able to participate in my first Maid Cafe!

That food was AMAZING. It was just as fun as it’s portrayed in Anime, haha. For the first time in my life I tried soba noodles. Not to mention, one of my good friends from college (@treezyspeakeasy) was actually a maid (Her maid name was Michiko)! It was super awesome to see another one of my friends enjoying the same type of interest as myself. The rest of the Maid Cafe staff were super hospitable too. Since I went to the Cafe alone (I high key was wandering and forgot to tell my fam that I ended up there, LOL), they sat and talked with me the entire time which I really appreciated.

We also visited a few panels. To name a few: It Really Be Your Own People: Gatekeeping the Black Experience, D.I.Y. Sci-Fi Filmmaking and discussion on the Culture of Black Twitter.

It Really Be Your Own People: Gatekeeping the Black Experience was an insightful IMG_0829.jpegdiscussion because it drew light to the fact that, whether we mean to or not…we all gatekeep at some point.

  • If you’re unsure of what “Gatekeeping” means, it’s referring to making someone feel as though they can’t enjoy a hobby, show, book, series, etc. because they don’t necessarily have as much knowledge as you do on the respective topic. Basically making them feel as though they don’t have a right to enjoy whatever it is they’re trying to enjoy because they don’t know all the backstories. Miss me with that.

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I, along with many other people, have witnessed this happening on various social medias, and it’s honestly disgusting and pointless. Just let someone enjoy whatever it is they’re trying to enjoy (as long as it’s not illegal or very wrong, yikes).

The D.I.Y. Sci-Fi Filmmaking panel I came in at the end of (because I was putting on my cosplay, huehuehue). However, for the little bit that I could listen in on, I thoroughly IMG_0842.jpegenjoyed it and probably will soon be getting back into learning more about Premiere Pro and After Effects since I have access to them for now! My takeaway from this panel was that you can do a lot with a little, and you’re really only limited by your imagination.

The discussion on the Culture of Black Twitter, led by one of my super totally awesome brilliant friends Lila (@LilaBoBina), and two other women making some power moves outchea, Tanya (@cypheroftyr) and Shonté (@ShonteWrites),

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Tanya, Shonté and Lila

IMG_0990highlighted how Black Twitter means a lot of different things for everyone. They also discussed how much society takes ideas from Black Twitter and tries to market it back to the rest of the world as if it was their original idea. They especially are privy to doing this without giving credit to the people that they stole from.

Quirktastic, the group who hosted Quirkcon back in June, also collaborated on a video with another group called TeamRedPro to make a live action short film called Afro Samurai Champloo. Y’all. This had to be one of the best and most hilarious short films I’ve seen in a while! The blooper reel definitely had me rolling at the end, ahaha.

Among the other things, I was able to attend a little bit of the comedy show and peek in on some of the table top gaming they had going on as well. I can’t forget the PLETHORA of extraordinary vendors that seemed to never end! Oh, and don’t get me started on the Food Trucks, WHEW CHILE.

I also SHOOK ESTELLE’S HAND, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Haha, well, I think this is a good stopping point for BlerDCon the Recap: Part One. If you would like to read Part Two, stay tuned. If not, that ain’t no problem! I definitely do appreciate you taking the time to read Part One! Be Blessed fam!


Also, I want to just say that everyone, no matter which con you go to…everyone should experience a con. More specifically a comic, gaming, anime, etc. type con. It’s an incredible adventure that I believe would bring out the inner kid in all of us.

More pics from the convention:

Did the Thing I Never Thought I’d Do.

You can guess. The very thing I was extremely adamant about.

Yep. I had sex. Before marriage. It happened.

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SHUN ME IF YOU WILL.

This happened last year, so yeah, I lost my virginity when I was 23.

God snatched me up real quick and said “AY. You know this is NOT you. You’re not acting like yourself…,”.

I was really debating whether or not I would share this, primarily because not too long ago, I was up here blog posting all about how “Sex is for the Birds.” Saying I was waiting until I was married and everything. And yet, I fell weak to my flesh and didn’t wait any longer. I regret not waiting because, in retrospect, I gave my body to someone undeserving (I really thought they were at the time). It happened at a time that I wasn’t really respecting myself. I was going down a dark hole, turning my back on God and doing things that were very much so out of my character. But lissen:

God snatched me up real quick and said “AY. You know this is NOT you. You’re not acting like yourself…,”.

Okay, maybe He didn’t say it quite like that, but God got my attention. With a quickness.

Once He got my attention, it may or may not have taken a few more months after that for me to actually get a hold of myself, break free of the sinful actions I was participating in, and tell the devil to get thee behind for good. I took the time I needed to take, because listen, once I got tired, I got tired.

Let me say this though: sex is not a bad thing. God just wants us to engage in this activity with someone who we’re married to that really loves us and cares about us in every way they humanly can. Though things don’t always go this way, this is the way that He intended, and for good reason.

One reason is so we don’t regret giving our bodies, our temples, the place that God Himself lives within, to people who are undeserving.

  • To people who don’t understand how special you are.
  • To people who just want to use you as a means to their end of pleasuring themselves.
  • To people who could careless about your well-being.

I could go on all night, honey. Don’t get me started (at the same time, please do).

One of the other reasons I was so hesitant to share this was because I know I have a lot of people looking up to me. Who’ve made me their role model. I felt as though I’d disappointed all of them. I couldn’t even forgive myself (I can’t ask God to forgive me, if I can’t even forgive myself).

The good news is, I’ve forgiven myself, and that’s why I’m sharing this today. I hope the people I just mentioned can forgive me too, and please understand. I’m human, and you are too. We fall weak to things, but that’s okay. As long as we recognize this, and make an honest effort to not continue to fall weak, then it’s going to be okay at the end of the day.

As a result of my previous experience and the dark hole I almost got sucked into, never to be heard from again, I vowed to myself I wouldn’t give my body to another man unless he proved to me that he was deserving of me. And not just me either: you get my family along with me. We are a special breed that’s been through a lot. We won’t just let anyone waltz into our lives and let them try to wreak havoc where they may. Those days are over!

As a wise person once said:

If you want to be in my life, you have to respect my life. To respect my life, you have to know the rules of my life.


I hope you’ve all been well! Thanks for continuing to hang with me ❤

The 5 Areas that Affect People Holistically

Ever heard of this anywhere? I just recently learned about it from (bit of disclosure here) my counselors that I began to see last year. Today I want to share what I learned about these five areas. As you continue to read, you’ll see and begin to notice how much attention you give to these five areas.

Sleeping

How many of us get the right amount of sleep on a nightly basis? How many of us are even able to sleep, but can’t due to factors such as insomnia?  I for one know that if I don’t get enough sleep, the next day I’m either wired up or completely drained. I’m barely able to keep my eyes open. We should be trying to get at least six hours of sleep every night. However, there are a lot of factors that prevent us from doing so. I’m talking about that deep sleep too. I notice that if I sleep with lights on, I don’t get the chance to really rest because though I may be asleep, I’m not in the stage of deep sleep. Therefore, not recharging. If you’re like me, try cutting off the lights, putting your fan on the lowest speed, placing your phone somewhere that’s not close to your bed and see if there’s a difference!

Eating

This is something I struggle with A LOT, and even more so because I have Crohn’s Disease. My appetite isn’t effected, don’t get me wrong, but if I don’t eat regularly, I lose weight at the drop of a hat. In the month of January, I had some (still do) financial difficulty, and bills took the priority of eating. So, I was barely eating and ended up losing three pounds to put me at 114. Not good. Anyway, I said all this to say that when I don’t eat, I don’t have much strength or a lot of energy. That goes for anyone. Your body needs food! It affects a PLETHORA of things, including your mood. If you don’t eat, your body will start eating itself to stay alive.

Meditating/Praying

This area, in my opinion, is one of the more important ones out of all five. Meditating and/or praying greatly helps your mood. It gives you a chance to self-reflect, shut out the world for a short time period, and just focus inward, allowing you to listen to your body. This world is absolutely bonkers. We have to take time to disassociate from it and relax. There is an incredible amount of agitating factors in the world that seek to destroy our mental health, so why wouldn’t you want to meditate and/or pray to strengthen your mind against these detrimental things?

Exercising

Oh, the dreaded E-WORD. Exeerrcissee?!?

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Yes! Exercise! Getting up, getting active and getting SWEATY! I’ll admit, that doesn’t sound appealing at ALL (well maybe it does to exercise enthusiasts), HOWEVER. It is necessary if  we want to feel good inside and out. It’s weird though, when you exercise, you eventually start to have more energy all together. I don’t know about you, but THAT sounds extremely appealing!

Complaining

Don’t complain about something if you have no intention to try and fix it. Plain and simple. What good is your complaining going to do, except waste that precious God-given breath of yours? Go complain about not having enough art in your home and then go paint million dollar pieces. At least this way, you’ll relieve some stress, haha. I actually can’t promise that they’ll be million dollar pieces, but hey as long as you believe they are, THEN THEY ARE. Also, complaining takes a lot of effort, and eventually you’ll annoy yourself, even. You’ll just be sitting there about to complain, but suddenly stop and say to yourself, “What the heck, self.” Then you’ll proceed to get up and do something about what you were about to complain.


Now these may vary from other things you’ve seen online, but these are just the things that were shared with me. ❤️

Relationship Hiatus

This post may come as a shock to a lot of you, and quite frankly, to a lot of you…it may not.


Almost three months ago now (sheesh, time really does fly by)…I made a rather difficult and heart wrenching decision to end my relationship with my boyfriend of two years. There’s nothing to speak on about it, I made my decision for reasons that will not be disclosed and it is what it is. I say it was a difficult and heart wrenching decision because, I really do love him, and still do. However, sometimes, things just don’t work out, and that’s all there is to say about that.

I didn’t think I was going to write a blog about my decision, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to blog about it. If you’re looking for me to talk bad about him, then I’m not sorry to disappoint you; none of that will be taking place. In fact, I sincerely hope he is doing well.

Continue to live your life and impact others with your gifts, love and presence that God has blessed you with.

There comes a time when you have to part ways with some people in your life. It’s not because they’ve done anything wrong or you’ve done anything wrong. It’s because the season for you to be with that person (or those friends, etc.) has ended, and it’s time to transition into another one where you take what you’ve learned from the previous and continue to grow. Continue to live your life and impact others with your gifts, love and presence that God has blessed you with. Continue to experience and really go through life, paying attention to the little details that make life worthwhile (especially the details that make the people you love in your life, them).

So, in regards to the title of my post today, I am taking time for myself to do these things I mentioned above. I am taking a Relationship Hiatus.

I have no interest in dating anyone until I decide that I want to do so. I’m disregarding these feelings of lust and loneliness, and praying that God will continue to prepare me for the husband He has set aside for me. I have some things to work on anyway, and one of these things includes not neglecting myself along with my friends and family when I do enter into a relationship again. I’m in the process of taking this time to really focus on myself, my family and friends, and just laugh. Laugh until we cry, laugh for no reason! Uplift, and encourage them (I was doing this before, but I’m going HAM now). Travel! But also, cry with them if we need to and really become reinvested in their lives.

I almost lost myself in my previous relationship, and as a result, couldn’t be the person I was supposed to be transforming into. Since I’ve ended my relationship, I’ve been putting in overtime to work on this, and I’m happy to report that I’m seeing a change take place. My joy has literally returned and I’m one step closer to being the fierce woman I was when I went to Spain by myself two years ago. However, I’m not stopping there. Oh, no. I’m going to be the next best version of that woman I was two years ago. I know I’m going to be this because God has called me to be this and strongly desires me to come into my full potential. How do I know? Like I said…

I can already feel and see it happening. I am LIVING it.

(Besides, I figure as long as I’ve gotten married on the island of St. Croix and have had my two children before I turn 35, I’m along for the ride, haha.)

Though I make these plans for myself, God has a sense of humor. So regardless of these plans, His plan is still the Master Plan. Though you make plans for yourself, and planning is essential since, if you fail to plan you plan to fail, always put your trust and renew your faith in God, and you’ll be amazed at how things will turn around. You are FAVORED!


Much love to you all, as always. 💖 – Bianca

New Year, New Things!

Hello everyone! This is a different post for today only (or maybe it might happen in the future, I’m not sure, haha). I hope everyone’s 2019 has been off to a great start so far. If it hasn’t, I surely do pray that it gets better and remember, it’s only January!

I wanted to share with you all that I’ve decided to try some new things this year, and focus on some things I’ve been more or less neglecting.

The new things I’m getting into are: Modeling and Etsy.

Modeling?!

Yes, I’ve been told many times that I should try out modeling. After looking through numerous pictures that I’ve taken/had taken, I figured, why not? If I don’t like it, I don’t have to keep doing it, right? Besides, I’m still trying to figure out the things I like and don’t like doing, so why not give it a shot. It’ll make for an interesting story later in life, haha.

Etsy!

Yes! I’ve opened up an Etsy shop. I’m finally allowing myself to just create and share my random art pieces that I design with you all (also I’m having a hard time paying off these medical bills from last year. Yay Crohn’s check-ups!) The pricing on my Etsy site is considerably lower than the prices on my website. This is because the items being sold in my Etsy shop are more simple and pre-made, rather than custom designed. When you get a chance, I’d appreciate it if you dropped by to see what I have so far! The inventory is of course limited, since I just opened it three days ago, haha.

If you want to know what other services I provide, also check out the Services tab on my website.

Link to my Etsy


So, what else am I going to be focusing on this year?:

Music/Art, Exercise, Health/Weight Gain/Diet, Sleep…and most importantly, ME!

I didn’t neglect myself as much as I did in 2017, but I still have some work to do. 2018 was still kind of rough, but I made it! I’m going to keep making it. In order to do that, I have to focus on me, what my body is telling me, and so on. I also have to do what makes me happy and fills me with joy, hence the Music/Art bit. I have to make sure I keep my Crohn’s in check, and if I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t be there for myself nor others. So this is my plan. I’m giving it to God, praying for strength and determination. Also praying to get rid of this procrastination and laziness…lol.

There was a podcast I created at the end of 2018 (probably the only “podcast” I’ll create), but I really felt God moving in my spirit and telling me to just stop worrying about things and to trust Him. I thought I was doing that last year, but, SIKE, apparently not. Anyway, I feel and believe great things are going to happen this year. Not only for myself, but for you too. You have to believe that for yourself as well!

If you want to listen to the podcast, 20 minutes in total, I have linked it here.

Thank you all as always for reading, laughing, feeling, loving and crying with me! Here’s to a great year for all of us! God Bless!❤️

Your Blood Pressure is Precious

Now, you may be wondering what this post is about. I advise you to continue reading. 👀

Is this health related?

  • No, not really.
  • Okay, maybe just a little bit.

What’s so precious about it?


Haha, okay enough jokes for now. In all seriousness though, your blood pressure is precious. What I mean by that is:

If there’s one thing I learned this year, in this fine year of 2018, is to NOT let other people and their craziness, problems or what have you, RAISE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.

There were countless times during earlier parts of the year where I found myself so infuriated, that I was getting lightheaded, couldn’t hardly think straight and just wanted to punch something. I’ve never experienced anger to that caliber before and let me tell you, it’s the worst feeling ever. When you’re that angry, it’s difficult to not lash out at others who are completely uninvolved in whatever you’re dealing with. Then when you come down from that heightened sense of anger, you feel like…to put it simply, you feel like crap. Supreme doo-doo. Anger doesn’t feel great at all, and when we let others affect our moods like this, in the long run, it won’t be healthy. For more reasons than one.

When we are dealing with difficult people in difficult situations, it’s important to go within in yourself in the moment, take a moment, analyze what the problem actually is and not let the words or actions of those involved set you off. Once that blood gets boiling it’s hard to cool down. If you discover that the problem doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you, great. Hold onto that, breathe and proceed to work with those involved to reach a resolution. If they’re not trying to cooperate, by all means, say you need to remove yourself until things calm down and then maybe try to revisit later. If they still aren’t cooperating, there’s not much you can do for them. The important thing is to not unnecessarily make their problem, your problem. However, if the problem involves you and you contributed to its creation, then work accordingly to come to a resolution. But resist letting the person, people or thing raise your blood pressure. Anger tends to make things worse (but being angry for the right reasons, helps).

Also, don’t turn to things like alcohol or other detrimental unnecessary substances that could potentially make matters worse (including your health) in an attempt to distract yourself from the situation(s) at hand.

As the year ends, just remember: Get angry for the right reasons. Being angry for the wrong reasons exacerbates things and fuels the fire (one of those fires being raised blood pressure 🌚).

❤❤❤

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

No, really, ask yourself. Are you honestly a good listener?

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not. BUT. I am making an effort to change that. I’ve already seen a difference in the conversations I have with my friends and family, and even random people who decide to share things with me.


Someone quipped, “God gave us two ears and one mouth because we need to listen twice as much as we talk.” Learning that means being “quick to listen, slow to speak.” Good listening builds relationships. But good listeners aren’t born, they’re bred! So here are a few suggestions to improve your listening:

  1. Listen without interrupting: Resist the temptation to jump in and finish the sentence, or hijack the floor. Rein yourself in – just listen.
  2. Listen to understand: Try to understand their point of view, feelings, thinking and needs. Good listening is hearing what they actually think, mean or feel, not what you imagine they do. Instead of guessing, ask, “Am I understanding you correctly? Do you mean…? Are you feeling…?” In other words, don’t assumeverify.
  3. Listen without judging: Don’t rush to conclusions. If what they say doesn’t quite add up, keep listening. “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13). When you hear more, it may make sense.
  4. Listen without correcting, countering or devaluing: Saying, “That’s not the way it was,” or “What did you expect? If you hadn’t…” or, “You’re just being too sensitive,” (in other words, getting defensive, straight up attacking or “flipping the script” before letting the person finish), puts people on guard and stops real communication. We know this to be true, as we’ve all experienced it. How many times has this happened and you just started to shut down because you couldn’t even get what you had to say out before the other person or people jutted in? It doesn’t make anyone feel good, and it can incite anger.
  5. Validate the speaker: Accept their perceptions and feelings as valid expressions of a valued person. “If I understand you correctly, you’re thinking…feeling…Am I right?” Ask them to help get you on the same page with them. Everyone understands things and thinks differently, so you have to be aware of that. “Given what you’ve told me, I can see why you’d feel what you feel,” is very validating and will increase their confidence and willingness to consider the solutions you may offer.

 

– From: The Word for you Today: A Gift for You (with some personal bits from yours truly added in)

Corinne

Corinne Bailey Rae! My absolute favorite artist (other than Michael Jackson) to walk this planet.

She’s not a new artist on the scene, she’s been producing some bops since 2005 (I believe, starting with Like A Star). If you haven’t listened to her yet, here’s one of my favorite songs by her:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iibMNsSRCE?rel=0]

I’m writing a little bit about her today because I listen to her music often, and I listen because I relate to most of it. Also, her voice is so pure and genuine and it just puts you at ease and fills you with joy at the same time. Not to mention, she’s absolutely gorgeous!

Corinne Bailey Rae, a British singer/songwriter, provides that connection in her music that we a lot of times don’t have the chance to experience with the music that’s being produced today. Her most recent album was published in 2016, and it’s titled The Heart Speaks in Whispers. 

However, this is not a short artist biography.

I was watching an interview that she had with The Pool , a 10-minute interview, and she talked about the loss of her husband, what it was like to come back to music after that and her most recent album. She talked about a few different things as well, like things she enjoyed, having an inner voice, etc. As I was sitting there watching I just kept thinking: Wow, this girl is so amazing! As she was talking, I really did see myself in her a lot, especially when it came to the creative parts.

Anyway, my point in saying all this is: she is a really powerful woman, and such an inspiration to me. She’s worth listening to and learning about for sure. She’s the reason I started playing guitar and the first song I learned to play real well is in fact Like A Star.

Go and give her a listen! I’m sure you won’t regret it.