Charlie Marcol 

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"Charlie's Angles" (Blog)

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Lessons from the storm

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (5)

Class is in session. The bell didn’t ring. We didn’t have recess, P.E. or lunch. There was nothing particular about this classroom. One teacher represented the faculty and staff. This wasn’t a traditional lesson with an engaging PowerPoint presentation and handout notes. It didn’t involve a pen, paper, textbooks or higher order thinking question stems accompanied with a read aloud. Instead, the curriculum called for interactive learning, faith, and your best judgment. There were no lesson plans because He was the lesson plan. One grade was given; Category 4. Our fate was in his hands.

Sometimes you learn valuable life lessons without stepping into an academic setting. A true learning experience should reform you and shape your perspective. Those encounters undoubtedly change us forever, never to return to our original way of thinking. God multiplied with Harvey equaled a lesson that I will never forget. He and his wrath earned my respect.

This storm was unfathomable. But I remembered that God is my present help in the time of trouble and boy were we in trouble. Our only option was to hunker down and ride it out. From Corpus to Houston, disastrous flooding, winds gusts and constant torrential rains left one to ask, “Will I come out of this alive?” I wish I could make you understand the magnitude of this storm and its aftermath. Houston, the 4th largest city in the country with a population over two million people was covered in water leaving it in a helpless estate. Both airports were closed, the start of school was postponed and the rain kept falling. Every street, outlet, shortcut and freeway was closed due to high water. With every news update and text alert, anxiety filled my body with tension and fear. All I could do is pray and hope for the best.

I made it through! Hallelujah.

As an educator, this Harvey encounter reminds me of the instructional 5 E model. The 5 E's describes a phase of learning, and each phase begins with the letter "E": Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This experience drew off of my existing knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Here’s what I learned from Harvey.

Engage-

1. Adhere to warnings- The National Weather Service warned us all week but many of us didn’t listen only doing the bare minimum. Warning comes before destruction. A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent - it is either occurring (a hurricane in the Gulf) - or it is about to occur at any moment. During a weather warning, it is important to take action: grab the emergency kit you have prepared in advance and head to safety immediately. Both watches and warnings are important, but warnings are more urgent. Next time, I will have an evacuation plan.

2. Have a rainy day fund- The most basic purpose of a rainy day fund is to provide a source of funds when you find yourself in the middle of a financial thunderstorm. Having a rainy day fund can help reduce your financial-related stress, helping you get a better night's sleep because you're not concerned about the "what ifs" of life: if an emergency does arise, you have it covered. Harvey has affected many of our jobs and sources of income and for some of us that leaves us up the creek without a paddle.

Explore-

3. Water is powerful- Water means life—it can kill you, but it can cleanse you. It is a preserving element that we need in order to survive. For without it, one will surely die. Many of us were baptized from the waters of Harvey by the renewing of our mind. For once, we cleansed ourselves from the negativity and hatred that we have embedded in our hearts about politics, the President and the social class of people. First responders, rescuers and volunteers didn’t care about color, creed or race. They wanted to save lives. That’s all that mattered. In this case, the flood waters united us in a weird but necessary way. A big shout out to the civilians that rolled up their sleeves, traveled from distant places and brought in their boats to help. You are the real MVP.

4. The sun is important- The sun didn’t shine for five days. FIVE! It was depressing to look out the window to see gray skies. Nothing is more important to us on Earth than the Sun. Without the Sun's heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth. I was begging for the sun to make an appearance and looking for a dove with an olive branch in its beak. (Read the story of Noah and the Ark) When it peeked through the clouds, I smiled. I think it missed us as much as we missed it.

Explain-

5. Stop taking little things for granted- It is human nature to complain. We want a bigger house, the traffic is horrible, our children are unruly, the humidity is messing up our hair and our families get on our last nerve. We are all so much more fortunate than we give ourselves credit for. We constantly preoccupy ourselves with thoughts of things we don't have and experiences we are missing out on. We need to learn to be appreciative and grateful for everything we have and everything we are going to receive. If we all stopped for a moment and looked around us, we would find endless things we have that others are not as fortunate to have. Kiss your children, say I’m sorry and love your family, even when they get on every nerve in your body. Harvey helped me realize how fast you can lose everything in a second. Count your blessings and be thankful instead of complaining.

6. There is no perfect plan in life- You can never prepare for uncertainty. No matter how you prepare yourself in every possible way imaginable. However, if you live in a coastal region create an emergency kit just in case. (Especially during hurricane season) A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water -one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • A Ziploc bag with essential documents

Elaborate

7. You need a village- the African proverb tells us it takes a village. I would like to elaborate and say, “It takes a village to survive.” When social media is being utilize properly it can bring awareness to dire situations. The village came through calling, texting, sharing, forwarding, and DM’ing information for others to be rescued while others checked on your well-being. Their tenacity and willingness to help, helped others in their desperate time of need. The power of connection is real and it showed. No one could have navigated this ordeal alone. We must learn how to depend on each other.

8. What’s in a name- Harvey means “Blazing.” This storm was given the perfect name. Harvey came out the Gulf taking names with guns blazing. He is one of two Category 4 hurricanes on record that have made landfall in the Texas Coastal Bend region with destructive winds that reached 130 miles per hour. He dumped 49.76 of rain at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport within two days. Harvey left a lasting impression on Texas for years to come.

Evaluate-

9. Even when things are out of control, God is in control- Let go and know that God is in control. I like to be in total control of every aspect of my life. Not so much this time. God showed me the true definition of sovereignty. Once I wrapped my mind around what was happening, He became my refugee and protected me from the storm.

10. Get acquainted with you- CABIN FEVER! Not me. There was a time in my life where I felt like I needed people to entertain me or I had to be doing something. We do that because we are afraid to be alone. At the end of the day, you have to be alright with you. I enjoyed the quiet space with limited interruptions, aside from the alerts, wind and rain. I learned some more about myself during this period of stillness. I learned I don’t have to be tough and strong, especially during the storm. I don't know if it was the weather, or the aftermath that followed but nonetheless, I had a good soul releasing cry that was long overdue. That was such a powerful cathartic moment for me. I cried for those affected, the city and those that were blessed to make it through without any damage or loss.

There are so many words to express how I feel at this very moment. I am still processing it all. Although the storm is over, we have only just begun. Houston has a long way to go. We will rebuild, even stronger than before. That’s what I love about this city. Just continue to pray for us & with us.

In everything that you go through, don’t forget to learn the lesson. If not your experience will be pointless. Class is dismissed.

Thank you to all my friends and family (my village near and far) that prayed and checked on me daily during the storm. I am grateful for you and your loving kindness toward me. YOU ROCK!



With the devastation of our city, let’s make a conscious effort to give back. Please know that I will be reaching out to you for your help and support for donations and volunteers to address the immediate needs of those that were affected by Harvey. If you or anyone you know were affected, please let me know. I want to help. Details will follow.

For monetary donations:

HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF FUND: Visit ghcf.org | Checks/Money Orders can be mailed to the address below:

Greater Houston Community Foundation

5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000

Houston, Texas 77056

#hurricaneharvey #thatstormthatwould #houstonstrong #thatwashouston


The Fabulous South

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (1)

The stars shine bright big at night… (clap, clap, clap, clap) Deep in the heart of Texas. Whoever believes Texas is full of tumbleweeds, cacti and cows haven’t visited since the oil boom of 1901. Opulence, fashion and fun is the new moniker we wear proudly, but one thing remains. The stars still shine bright on this great state.

Who was the latest star to grace the Lone Star state with its presence? Glad you asked. None other than Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily and celebrity stylist Ty Hunter. (Yes! Beyonce’s former stylist) I had the opportunity to attend a private brunch hosted by them at the chic Sorrento Italian restaurant in the famous Montrose area of Houston. As the mimosas poured, we shared our business brands, advice on work/life balance and networked with some of the finest in the business.

This was an out of body experience and I was thankful to sit at the table with them as they imparted wisdom on how to get ahead of the industry. The whole time I was thinking...

Pinch me! This can’t be real.

“If you are in the room with Oprah and you don’t take your chance, that’s on you!” I can still hear the words out of Ty Hunter’s mouth as he candidly spoke to the guest. Those words stabbed my heart like a double edge sword. How many times are we close to “our change” but we are afraid to make the step or say hello.

I am taking pages from their book and sharing some of the information with you. (You can thank me later)

  • It’s Ok to take a different path- Claire is a Harvard graduate and worked a 9 to 5 after graduation. She knew there was something better out there for her. She made a conscious decision to quit her job, MOVED TO PARIS to follow her dreams. Look at her now! It doesn’t matter how you get there, just get there!
  • If you don’t see it, create it- As a child growing up in the 80’s, you did not see a plus size model nowhere. Now, we are represented by different brands all because of innovators like Claire. She created the way for the fashion industry to be more inclusive by creating a safe space for plus size models to be seen.
  • Know yourself- Be confident in who you are and embrace it. Understand what you have to offer and accept nothing less. If they tell you “No,” ask in a different way and knock on a different door. Don’t give up.
  • Don’t be afraid to move- “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy Claire is not new to moving, change and growth. She’s leaving the concrete jungle (home) and planting herself in the City of Angels to take her empire to a new level. When growth is necessary, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone. If you haven't done it, you should try it.

The room was filled with likeminded creatives who cheered you on. We liked and followed each other on every social media platform immediately. Why? Because that’s what collaboration looks like. A wise poet once said, “Smart women don’t compete, we collaborate.” There’s a seat at the table for all of us, but we must be willing to pull up the chair.

Want to see more footage from the day, Click here… https://youtu.be/RtEWJ31ff5s




For more on Claire check out http://fashionbombdaily.com/about/

#charliemarcol 

Single at Christmas time... What to do?

Posted on November 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

After we cut up the turkey and stuff our mouths with dressing, it's officially Christmas season. Oh how I love the Christmas season. Not because it's my birth month but usually spirits are high and generally everyone is festive and bright. Carolers are out, light are strung from limb to limb and children's eyes are lit with pure excitement of the season. Everywhere you go they're playing "What do the lonely do at Christmas..." The dreadful song that no one has the answer too. I feverishly searched for the answer after my divorce only to find that the answer was in me. So, what do the lonely do at Christmas time? This rhetorical question leaves room to ponder. For the single person, this season can put you on an emotional roller coaster if you’re not emotionally capable to drown the noise. The noise of engagements happening, birth announcements, new lives, and other's new beginnings can cause one to feel manic instead of miraculous. Well, there's hope. Instead of dreaming of a white Christmas make the magic happen in your life. Here are some helpful tips to help you maneuver through the holiday season.

1. Serve, serve, serve... Devote your free time to those less fortunate. Serve in a soup kitchen to feed the homeless on Christmas Day. Lend a listening ear to the cries of the homeless and you will quickly learn the difference between alone and lonely.

2. Give, give, give! Your time, energy, and love. Adopt a family to love. Remember the elderly or those that have lost a loved one during the year. This will be the first holiday season without them. I'm pretty sure their spirits can use a picker upper. Be the joy instead of looking for it. Offer to cook dinner, buy gifts, or spend quality time with them.

3. Read a good book- I would suggest that you pick up a copy of From the Florist to the Forest so when Mr. Right comes along you will be ready and equipped with the knowledge you need to have the relationship that you want.

4. Count your blessings- Sometimes we're so busy looking at others that we forget how blessed we really are. A place to live, a car to drive, sources of income, friends to call and most importantly we are still breathing to see another holiday season. Millions didn’t make it, but You did. We are blessed beyond measure and don't realize it.

5. Have a gathering- Invite over your closest friends and be the hostest with the mostest. White elephant exchange, an ugly sweater party, or a trim the tree soirée will keep your mind busy from thinking about your singleness.

6. Be the comfort & joy factor- Embrace the joy factor and greet people with a smile, a warm handshake, or a loving hug. Your thoughtfulness may brighten up someone's day like a Christmas tree.

7. Go, go, go! Fill your weekends with social functions. A Holiday party here, a mixer there, throw in a brunch with your girls and viola before you know it the Holiday season will be over. Plus, you never know, all that mixing and mingling may lead you to some potential longevity if you play your cards right. Oh yeah, have fun and dance the night away.

8. Bedazzle your wardrobe- A little sparkle has never hurt anybody. Add a little bling and shine like the diamond you are. When you look good, you feel good about yourself and it shows.

9. Remember the reason for the season- It's not about gifts under the tree, it's our right to the Tree of Life. We may not know the date officially of his birth, but we know HE came to be our savior to save us and that's the real reason for the season.

 

Remember to serve, give, go and bling this holiday. It will give you the peace you need to embrace the season. Stay merry and bright my friends.


 

Untie my soul... Set me free

Posted on November 11, 2015 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Almost flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone but you're not. You’re not even married. It feels good to your soul! The connection is deep, intimate and it feels right. You can’t help but to wonder, “Is this person my soul mate?” Suddenly it ends, and you are devastated. You ponder pensively on the relationship and what happened. Yet and still, it’s hard to get over them. I know the feeling. I only write from my own personal experiences. This feeling can last long after the relationship ends. This is why it is so common for a person to still have 'feelings' towards an ex-lover that they have no right to be attracted to in any way. You want to fight the urge and get over them but it's hard, depressing, and heart wrenching. Do you know why? Your soul is tied together. A soul tie can serve many functions, but in its simplest form, it ties two souls together in the spiritual realm. Soul ties between married couples draw them together like magnets, while soul ties between non-married people can have a negative effect on your spirit. There are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects that come along with a soul tie causing you to feel unwholesome, as if you've given up a piece of your soul.

Let's discuss more in detail.

How soul ties are formed

1. Sexual relationships- It’s nothing like sex that you not shouldn’t have sex. It feels so right but yet it’s so wrong. It’s all connected and attached to consequences. Your sexual organs are connected to you heart, spirit and mind. If you say it’s not, you’re lying to yourself. Be Careful!

2. Close relationships- A soul tie can serve as bridges between two people to help through hard times. At first it will start off as casual and before you know it, you’re caught up with them and their mess.

3. Vows, commitments and agreements- The tongue has the ability to bring the soul great troubles and bondage. Be mindful of empty “I love you’s” Love is an action. Choose your words wisely.

 

Time to make a change…

By nature, women are the emotional gender. Our actions and thoughts are sometimes lead with our emotions. While, the male species tend to think with a different type of head. Men are more physical thinkers. He may not understand the reason why you have to make a change, but you know the purpose.

 

1. DIY- Do it yourself. Don’t wait for them to end the connection. You know the difference between right and wrong.

2. Free yourself- If any sins were committed to cause this soul tie, repent of them! Fornication is perhaps one of the most common ways to create soul ties. Forgive that person if you have anything against them but most of all forgive yourself. There is freedom in forgiveness!!!

3. Pictures and selfie photos- If our phones could talk, what would it say. Next to God, our phones see it all and hold so many secrets plus selfies. Get rid of those photos of your secret rendezvous. If not, your will find yourself going back reliving in the moment of yesteryear and when.

4. Wash your hands of the nouns- The people, places and ALL of the things. If gifts were given to you by the other person in connection with the sin or unholy relationship, such as rings, flowers, cards, clothes, etc. I would get rid of them! Here is another issue I witness with soul ties. When you choose to remain friends with “their” friends and family. You are not fooling anyone but yourself. This helps you stay in touch with “them.” Such things and relationships symbolize the ungodly relationship, and can hold a soul tie in place.

5. I do’s and do you’s- Are you married? You shouldn’t make any promises of anything. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Don’t say things you don’t mean. Save that for the individual that is worthy of fully committing to. Any rash vows or commitments made that played a part in forming the soul tie should be renounced and repented of.

6. Renounce the soul tie- Tell them but most of all show them. Actions speak louder than words. Do this verbally, spiritually, physically and mentally! Not even if that person was good to you, good in bed and fun to hang around. You can’t return to the situation once you have cut the soul tie.

 

*Remember I write from an honest place. As I created this blog, it spoke to my life as well. I truly believe that having soul ties will not allow you to reach your point of destiny. A soul tie will and can hold you back from God’s blessings. More than anything, you want to live a purpose driven life and your destiny to be fulfilled.


 

I'm single and ready to mingle.. Dating with children

Posted on October 31, 2015 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

So many thoughts about myself flooded my mind after my divorced was finalized. Damaged goods? Single mom? divorcee?... "Yeah, this is great. Who is going to want me?" After going through the healing process, I wanted to give love a try again. I am in love with the idea of love. In my mind, there IS someone for me that can love my imperfect self perfectly. I knew, I had to take it slow and be cognizant of any decision I made. There are two people involved; my son and myself. Believe it or not, our precious children suffer the most during our love shenanigans. It impacts their lives just as much if not more. They too get attached, love, create bonds and reap the benefits of someone being around. It creates a pseudo family unit that we all desire. Dating for one is difficult but dating while considering your children can be stressful. My focus shifted from looks, style and swag to beliefs, morals and future plans with children involved. When the relationship ends for us, it ends for them as well. The game of love is so abstract but when you have children you have to make sure the foundation is as strong as concrete by creating some rules.

Here are some best practices that I follow in the game of dating with children.

1. Ask the appropriate questions- Engage in “what if” conversations and do you see yourself dating someone with children questions early on. You need to know their thoughts about children before moving into a commitment. There’s no need to get involved if that’s not what that individual wants for their future. Spare yourself and save yourself the heartache later.

2. Timing- Make sure the timing is right. Create a time and space where the initial meeting is none threatening as possible. A family setting will be ideal, such as an entertainment complex, a sports game, or a family function. You don’t want the meeting to be awkward. This will force your child and love interest to shut down, putting you at odds in the middle. You will find yourself torn trying to mend fences and feelings.

3. Who- Before introducing your child, get to know them first. Date them for months before a formal introduction to the kids is made. Make sure you are not dating a serial killer, sex offender, the Spawn, or a master manipulator prying on a single woman to fulfill his needs.

4. Abandonment- Don’t get so caught up that you abandon your children. Don’t spend every free moment that you have on your new love interest. You have to remember the ones that were there loving you unconditionally in your single days. I know it feels good to have a new boo, but pace yourself and balance it out.

5. Meet your daddy- Negative! Introduce your love interest as your friend first not someone there to replace their father. Make sure roles are defined and everyone involved know the position they play on the team. Reassure your child, there is only ONE father.

6. Everyone isn’t privileged enough to meet your kid- This is your most prized possession so treat it as such. You may have a revolving door policy but don’t allow your children to see that about you. You set the tone of their relationships later on in life.

7. Listen to your children- Out of the mouth of babes speak the truth. Kids say it best. If your child and your significant other does not get along, take heed. You want to make sure that your children are just as comfortable in this relationship as you are.

8. Your children know when it is right-They have the ability to see things that you ignore. I remember the day I got married, my son wasn’t happy at all. People tried to coax him to smile, take pictures and be in the moment. No matter what we did or said, he wasn’t a happy. When asked he said, “This is a mistake.” Sad to say, he was true. He could see it, way before I could.

9. Let nature take its course. The universe tends to unfold the way it should. Don’t give disclaimers to your children such as, “Be nice” or force feed your new love on them. Let it happen naturally and allow them to form their own opinions. Remember your children are little people with feelings.


 

Dating after Divorce.. Time for reflection

Posted on October 25, 2015 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Now that you've gone from the Florist into the Forest, you are probably ready to come out of the darkness and begin putting the pieces together from your broken life. The divorce process can damage your mental and emotional psyche. (I don't wish that on my worst enemy) None of the less, you ready to start dating again. Looking for love after divorce can be daunting. I know the feeling all too well. From my own personal experience, use your judgement. If it doesn't feel right, it's probably not. That's why self-love is so important when beginning this process again. Love yourself so much that you will have an eagle's eye vision to discern those people & things that try to bring harm to your life. Everyone doesn't have your best interest at heart. Remember, there's levels to this dating game so don't get lost in the shuttle. Here's some helpful tips to help you navigate this process. Good luck!

1. Know your status- Get tested for everything. Make sure before you start dating again to know ALL of your statuses. Go see your physician to get your regular check-ups & physicals. Knowing this information helps you to make responsible decisions about your sexual health and your future. It’s good information to know.

2. You are divorced not desperate- Take people at face value until they prove themselves otherwise. If you see a flag on the play, don’t ignore the red flags. Ask all of the rigid questions up front. If you don't agree, move on. No love will be lost.

3. Dignity and Purpose- If that person being in your life is not serving a purpose, what's the point. Stop wasting your time in your prime. That’s dead weight and it will hold you back from reaching your fullest potential. After going through a divorce your purpose should be redefined and aligned to what God wants for your life.

4. Ladies, you are NOT a hunter- You don't have to hunt a man down to date you. If he can't make time for you, he's not for you. Remember, you are divorced, not desperate! Stop pursuing, let him chase you. Remember, HE that finds a wife finds a good thing. At the end of the day, you need to know that you are the answer to his prayers.

5. Wait a while- Make sure you are emotionally ready to start dating again. Go see a counselor to do the self-work. It’s important to work through your unsolved issues. You don’t want to carry a scared or a hardened heart into a new relationship. Work on the issues from your past.

6. Look for someone that wants to be your friend. Established a strong friendship first before undertaking a relationship status. This will allow you to establish a foundation and focus on those things that matter to you and your potential partner.

7. Be careful of the 9 to 5 lover- This is the lover that is not emotionally available so he will not invest in you. He has office hours for his dating career because he's living a double life. He is only available Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. After 6 pm he is as cold as a dead body in the morgue.

8. Go at your own pace- Don't make a decision or rush into any situation that you are not ready for. You walk by faith and not by sight. Ask the Heavenly Father to lead you on every decision for your life.

9. Don’t talk about “Them”- Leave your ex in the past. It’s over for a reason. You’re desiring a new start so stop lingering on your past. It’s a turn-off and tells the person your dating it’s still some meat left on that bone.


 

 

God's gonna trouble the waters...

Posted on September 15, 2015 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Once in our lives we have the opportunity to encounter an out of body experience that we will never forget. If you are mature enough, that one experience changes your perspective. Sometimes the experience can be so powerful that it becomes rapidly clear through your emotional barriers or that one experience can sabotage you. Recently, I posted your troubles are a part of your training. Little did I know I would have a close brush with trouble sooner than later. I try to avoid trouble at all cost, yet it hunts me down like I am prey. I didn't see trouble coming. Boy, did it hit me like a car accident. It came out of nowhere and in a split second I was fighting for my life. We were looking for fun in the sun, but what I received was a supernatural ass whooping. God troubled the waters for a reason. I realized in the mist of this unforeseen circumstance, there was a valuable lesson to learn. God speaks clearly to me at the most inopportune times. He is the teacher and I am his student. I truly believe God does things to get our attention and that he did. As I rolled on the river like Ike and Tina, I had no choice but to reflect on the whole situation. This ordeal became a spiritual cleansing. TD Jakes once said, “Even a skillful swimmer can drown in shallow waters.” Spiritually, water represents revelation. Even though, I didn’t physically drown this experience had a purpose. The water was shallow but the knowledge that I gained fighting for my life was deep. Through this revelation he revealed his Devine wisdom that I had been wrestling with internally. This was a much needed awakening. At first what seemed like sure maddness, gave me enlightment for my journey.

1. Life is precious. We take life for granted thinking our next breath is our own. In a split second, my life flashed before my eyes. Do not ignore its value; do not squander it in trivial pursuits; do not let it slip away and leave you unprepared.

2. Get rid of your dead weight. Sometimes the load that we carry is too heavy that it pulls us down. We carry each other's burdens and stress when in the end it has nothing to do with us. Cut the strings and let it go. With dead weight you can't travel light.

3. Everybody can't go! We want to carry everyone on the journey, but it's not for everyone to experience or see.

4. Follow your gut instinct. It will never lead you wrong. Other people think they know what's best for you when they don't. They are operating from their vantage point and not your reality. Trust yourself and nobody else.

5. Panic leads to paranoia. Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically leads to a pandemonium. It's hard to find solace in this state of mind.

6. You can never prepare for uncertainty. No matter how you prepare yourself in every possible way imaginable, God is in control.

7. Continue to fight even when it seem like the end is near. Easy goals don’t exist. Easy dreams don’t exist. Easy relationships don’t exist. A goal is a point of achievement that requires effort and sacrifice. Fight for your dreams. Anything worth having is worth working for.


 

 

Long distance relationships: Commit it or quit it

Posted on August 14, 2015 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s not going to work out! What are you doing? Are you serious? Your family and friends don’t see the point, but you see the purpose. This person is different. To you it is worth the effort no matter how many miles may stand in between the two of you. Ahhh… Long distance relationships! Something that I am too familiar with. It is said, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” but the real question is does it make the heart grow stronger? Some people find it hard to commit when you reside within the same city. Adding distance to the equation can wreak havoc on an individual’s soul; especially when you really like that person. Questions often run marathons in your head when you don’t have the usual face to face relationship all access pass, such as, are they fully committed to the process? Are they entertaining anyone else? What are they doing? Why wasn’t my call returned? Long distance relationships are catch 22. When it’s good, it’s amazing, but the moment things shift it’s hard to save. Here is the craziest part of all. When it’s over, it’s over. You never have to see that person again because distance is a factor. Crazy huh? One can really fall off the face of the earth never to resurface again if it ends on a sour note. Consistency is key when your relationship is geographically challenged. Without consistency being present insecurities will begin to fester like a sore making it harder for the relationship to thrive. No relationship is fun when it is full of insecurities, doubt and tears. Talk about a recipe for disaster. It takes creativity, effort and sacrifice to keep those home fires burning and your spirit churning when there are more miles than minutes that separate you. If not, the distance will not work for you, but against you.

Today, I dedicate my blog to my long distance lovers. I have worn those shoes proudly a time or two. I get it and understand. This is not going to be easy, but ultimately you will choose what’s best for you. Here are a few tidbits to help you in the quest of a successful long distance relationship.

1. Face It or Fake It- Ask yourself, “Is being in this long distance relationship worth my time and effort.” You have to be honest with yourself. We are settled in our ways, cities, and age. If you know there is not a possibility of either one of you considering a move, why stay? Don’t waste your good years trying to convince someone you are worth the chance. Someone will eventually have to make a move. Hopefully it’s a beneficial one for both parties. Face the reality sooner than later.

2. You need a strong support system. I know your family and friends may find it strange that you want to commit to someone that lives on the other side of the world. Tell them to save the ridicule and join forces with you. How? By encouraging you, keeping you busy and their prayers. You will need their support when things become uncertain in your relationship. Yes! You may make a fool of yourself, but tell them to get on board until you get off the train. Now, if the lack of support is because they believe he is not right for you, that’s a different story. Other people see things that we tend to overlook. You may want to take heed on that. Don’t completely ignore it.

3. Technology is your friend. Skype, Snapchat and FaceTime are an absolute must. Turn those miles into seconds by being one click away. Don’t overkill it though with outlandish expectations. Every conversation cannot take place through social media accounts because life must go on. But a few sprinkles of FaceTime will do your soul wonders and keep you grounded.

4. Everything matters. The small things and the big things. Include them in everything so they can feel like they are a part of your life. What that says is that you care and you wish they were there to share those precious moments together. Remember sharing is caring.

5. Seek every opportunity to see each other. Live for the weekends, and holidays. I truly believe that people will make time for things that are of importance to them. Plan those visits out accordingly, so by the time the separation anxiety kicks in the visit is right around the corner.

6. Expectations are a must. Lay the foundation and have clear expectations from the beginning. When you are dating long distance you need to know if the both of you desire the same outcome. For instance, will you be exclusive or will you see other people?

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate- Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Being in a long distance relationship is complicated, so save the attitudes, drama and antics. I can’t stress that enough. You have to build bridges and remove those guarded walls of your heart. Let them in! It’s pretty pointless to be in a one way relationship. Learn to be open and communicate effectively.

8. Mutually agree to make the commitment. In order for anything to work, you must be committed to the process. FULLY committed. 100% on both individuals. The moment that commitment waivers the relationship will too. Stick to it, especially if you know that this relationship has potential.

9. Avoid temptation- Tell yourself that you refuse to entertain anyone that can sway or temp you. If I think the guy at work is super fine, I will not accept his invitation to lunch or happy hour unless it is work related. Don’t put yourself in compromising positions that you will regret later. Run far away and don’t even give it a second thought. Keep the long term goal in mind.

10. Use your own judgement- Trust your gut instinct. No need to be suspicious, jealous, or asking belligerent questions smudging your lipstick. What happens in the dark will definitely come to the light. No need to go searching for what you “think” has happened. Eventually, lies can’t replace the truth. It will come to the forefront.

This blog comes from an honest place. At one point in my life, I actually preferred being in a long distance relationship. I loved that my heart was isolated from the dating madness. I had somebody to fill the void but he wasn’t physically here. No long walks in the park every Sunday, intimate touches or weekend dates. When he was here, it was explosive and meaningful. Moreover I relished in the opportunity to truly miss someone and someone missing me. The anticipated countdowns, long hours on the phone, cute text during the day, and waiting on plane tickets to go on sale were a part of my regimen. Despite the discouragement, I pressed on when it came to “him.” He was special to me but he wasn’t here. Then something changed. It ended suddenly and I was left with unanswered question and a bruised heart. Maybe he was tired of the distance, met somebody new or no longer interested in the pursuit. I don’t know. He disappeared like a vapor in the wind. The realization that it was over was realer than real. As I reflect I can’t help to ask myself, did we fully commit or did we flat out quit. We quit! Instead of growing stronger, we became weak and gave way. We quit trying. We quit caring. We quit making an effort. The distance couldn’t sustain the need any longer. His need to be fulfilled as a man and mine to have defining boundaries that I didn’t establish in the very beginning. Looking back, he was not a complete waste of my time. He served a purpose. He gave me hope.

People complain that long distance relationships don’t work. As far as I can see, relationships within the same geographic confinement struggle as well. Why? Because no one is willing to commit fully to the process. One foot is in this door and the other one is where it wants to be. In order for it to work, one must be fully committed to the process. The moment there is a change of heart, please share it with the other partner who’s keeping their heart stored away from the irresistible temptation.


 

The best things in life are free: Peace of mind

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Where oh where has Ms. Charlie gone. Oh where oh where was she... About a week ago, for 5 consecutive days I was away unplugged, unattached and unbothered with the hustle and bustle of life. That hustle and bustle stresses my nerves to the max, literally. Besides, I needed this break. Touring, book signings and speaking engagements has kept me busy this summer. I'm not complaining just thankful for the experience. With my plate being full I needed to unwind for a moment to take in the blessings he's bestowed upon me. Not in Dallas, or a spa day in Austin but away from every worry or matter of business that keeps me going.

Wheels up and I was off... To an island in the middle of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic was absolutely beautiful, but they are light years behind in infrastructure. There was hardly any excess to technology, cellphone service or social media. Telephone calls were $2.85 a minute and internet access was only in the hotel lobby. Wouldn't you know it, my bungalow was near the beach about a half a mile away from the lobby. This resort was massive. To get around easier on the resort one caught the tram. Yep, have you figured it out yet? In order to use the internet, I had to leave my bungalow near the beach, get on a tram and to go to the lobby. Well, that decision was rather easy to make. To keep people updated or save my cellphone bill from roaming charges? I think not! In hindsight, it wasn't that serious to me. No one needs an all access pass to every step or one’s whereabouts anyway. I forewent technology and relaxed. That’s what I came here for anyway.

Now, I can't lie. That first day nearly drove me crazy not being able to plug in. I'm so used to updating tweeting, posting and texting that the simple joys of life have started to pass me by. The beauty of God’s craftsmanship, a peacock perched on a branch, a flamingo in a lagoon and a hibiscus flower budding for the first time are the few things that amazed me. While unplugged, I had to get reacquainted with me; not Charlie or Charlie Marcol but CMJ. I get lost in the shuffle trying to juggle it all that I forget to make time for me. I learned some important lessons that weren't taught in school, tried new things, detoxed on an ocean, had an experience with Mamajuana, (Mamajuana needs a blog all by herself) let fish feast on my feet, and I moved at my pace. Time was not a factor on this vacation. Thank God because it's never on my side. More importantly, I remembered why the best things in life are free.

A smile, laughter, a good soul cleansing cry became the theme early on. I didn’t have to act tough or have it all together in the Caribbean. These people didn’t know me or my story. They could hardly say my name, instead they embraced me and was happy that I came. Watching these people work tirelessly day in and day out, singing a song from their heart without complaining, I rediscovered what it means to be in a peaceful place in your spirit. They were thankful to see a new day, tips we left and things we take for granted such as family, being alive and the facilities of our body. A peace of mind is priceless and it is nothing in the world like it. We are so busy chasing unrealistic dreams, impressing others with wealth that we don’t’ have and putting on airs that we too forget about that real peace. Peace that allows one to sleep at night and productivity throughout the day. Finding it didn't cost me one red cent, a credit card swipe, or a check cashed. It is that peace of mind to be free, to love and accept me for who I am, and to release those things in life that don't matter that cause stress. Many long for sweet peace that passes all understanding. As I walked along the fluffy white sandy beaches, lined with crystal clear waters deep in my thoughts, I made a choice not to let others control my emotions or their thoughts of me. On that beach I freed myself, and forgave myself for some mistakes that I brought upon myself. One of them being my failed marriage. I made peace with that decision as I walked those blissful shores. I released my disappointments on the sea to study war no more within myself. It was important and necessary that I did so. I have a testimony to share and I didn’t want that weight to keep me in bondage anymore. As I reflected, I have the peace of knowing God has me and this was a part of the journey to get me here. I even made peace with cutting ties that bring stress into my life. Being unplugged from the world, wasn’t so bad after all. It actually set my soul free.



 

One busy week... All in the name of the book

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The travel bug keeps biting me. This time he bit me hard. My word! In the matter of 3 days, I've traveled the southern coast of the United States racking up a grand total of 1,367 miles. Not to mention my drive to and from Waco and Dallas. My poor Acura needs a massage and an old fashion hand wash. It's good to get a change of scenery every now and again. Change is good. New places plus new opportunities equals exposure. Many people don't understand why I do what I do, but it's not up for their understanding or questioning. I believe traveling broadens your knowledge base, expands your view of the world and allows you to meet new people. I can remember as a young adolescent in elementary looking in my history and geography books wanting to travel and see the world. My daydreams have turned into my reality. These days most of my travels are in the name of "From the Florist to the Forest." The name of the book alone screams some type of traveling is involved. The exposure to markets outside of Houston will not come while I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs. So I made a conscience decision to actively pursuing my dreams. From the chitterling circuit to large cities everyone can relate to my book's universal message regardless of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. I really believe in my literary piece and I want to share it with the world and anyone who will listen. It's my beautifully transcribe testimony of not waiting on God for my soulmate. I was concerned with the frivolous superficial things and not the real purpose of marriage because of my age. Many women receive it well and encourage me to continue sharing the message because they can relate. I received love from Waco to Birmingham because of its powerful message to Think Deep Before You Leap! Thank you to Marlena Hamilton at KWTX in Waco, TX and Apryl Fort-Kelly for hosting "Glam in the Ham" with Charlie Marcol. Ain't no stopping me now, I'm on the move. (Can you hear me singing the tune) It's nowhere to go but up from here. Next stop, no one knows.... Stay tune.



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