Charlie Marcol 

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"Charlie's Angles" (Blog)

Influence. Inspired and Italy

Posted on July 5, 2019 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s been a week since I have returned from Italy. I am still riding high on a cloud. The jet lag has finally left my bones but my mind is 5,686 miles away. I must admit, I am bored. I needed something to do so I decided to blog and podcast about this beautiful place. Italy was filled with rolling hills, quaint towns tucked away in the Earth’s surface, cobblestone streets with remnants of history, and mountains that touched the sky. I can’t put this experience into words but I will try my best. All I can say is, this trip is one for the books. From Rome to Florence, I believe we left an impression in Italy and Italy left an impression on us. Shout out to my personal travel cultivator, Detra Alton and Almeda Travel for believing in my brand to put a trip of this magnitude together. The vision came to life on June 17 as we invaded airports with big hopes and dreams. Twenty-one women traveled safely across the globe and back without any major issues. Nobody ended up in the infirmary, Roman jail, or captive in a medieval castle in a dungeon in the Tuscany hills. That’s huge. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and prayed with us as we traveled to foreign lands. God’s hand was definitely upon us.

I toured Italy with 21 phenomenal women from different walks of life. Girl’s trips scare me because women can be catty, but these women were mature and professional. Many of us didn’t know each other, but we meshed well together. Our lives, situations and circumstances bonded us together. We laughed a little, cried a lot, shared stories and toured foreign lands until our feet were swollen. Simply put, for seven days we ate, drank and lived in merriment. We started with fellowship and ended as a sisterhood. Strangers were now friends built on organic encounters and experiences. At first, people were skeptical and didn’t have a clue how a trip with 21 women with unexplainable personalities with diverse needs was going to unfold. Guess what, it worked! This trip was planned with free time built in so you can do you! Some women shopped until they dropped, went on private excursions, and ate real Italian cuisine.

It will be an exaggeration to say, I immensely enjoyed myself in the country of Italy. This trip was more than a passport stamp, it was filled with purpose. I learned some new Italian words and saw sights and monuments that were once a dream. The Vatican, the Coliseum, and St. Peter's Basilica. Now, in Pompeii I learned that Basilica means the place of judgment where others believe Basilica means a church. I had the opportunity to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece in The Sistine chapel along with the statue of David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Forum and the Holy road. There were many more but the sites are too numerous to list them all. Just know I saw a lot, walked a lot and learned a lot.

Through it all with every sight and every ruin, I looked at everything as a lesson. I constantly asked myself, “What is the take away?” What is it that God wants me to learn? What is it he wants me to see? There was so much to digest on a spiritual and emotional level. To be honest, I’m still processing it all.

Here are my thoughts. Some are deep. Some are funny and some are on the surface but none the less, I wanted to share them with you.

  • God is real- Duh! I knew that already but I could feel the presence of God as I walked the cobbled stone streets. As I stepped back through time and history, I couldn’t help but to think of my faith and my religion. Knowing that the Romans crucified my Lord had me spellbound. Then to know two of his faithful disciples were executed in Rome while spreading the gospel made me realize how my religion has stood the test of time. At one point it was illegal to be a Christian and here I was walking freely while singing songs of Zion in Rome and in Apollo’s sanctuary. My take away... The word of God will never come back void and shall stand forever more.
  • It's good to be missed sometimes- People don't realize the importance of your existence in their lives until you are not readily available to them. Meaningless conversations were almost nonexistent because I was seven hours ahead of those back home in America. My favorite text message was from my mom asking when will I return home because she missed talking to me. That made me smile! Love is shown in action and the smallest gestures can go a long way. My take away... Know that you add value to your love ones lives rather they tell you or not.  
  • Family is everything- One thing Europe hasn’t lost is the sense of family. It’s truly a unit that is meant to connect and empower. Maybe I noticed that more because I desire a true family unit deep within. It gives me great joy to see a husband leading, the wife serving, the children laughing and playing while the grandmother looks on in silence. That scene warms my heart. The family (la famiglia) is the most important aspect of an Italian’s life. Actually, it is a crucial necessity. They believe the family unit is important because it provides love, support and a framework of values to each of its members. Italians have stronger feelings of loyalty to their family than they have to their country. My take away... Blood IS thicker than water.
  • Sharing is caring- A famous Italian saying goes “the appetite comes while you are eating.” Therefore, there is a structure to Italian dining. Much of Italian life revolves around the family dinner table. Meals are often ordered in family style. People pass food to one another from serving dishes over a bottle of wine and stimulating conversation. Conversation is just as important as the meal. I didn’t see cellphones on the table or people texting while dining. They were engaged in conversation over a good meal. What does that say to me... Put my phone down and be present in the moment. If I’m not interested, stay at home.

Here is the structure of Italian dining.

• The antipasto: A traditional Italian meal starts with something to nibble on, called an antipasto, which translates into English as “before the meal.”

• The primo: In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event. Soup, rice, and polenta are the other options for the primo.

• The secondo: The main course is called il secondo, or the second course. Chicken, meat, or fish are the usual choices, and portions are generally small. These main courses are usually fairly simple, especially if a rich pasta or rice dish precedes them.

• The contorno: A platter of vegetables usually accompanies the main course. This side dish highlights the simple goodness of the vegetable. The word contorno loosely translates as “contours” and refers to the fact that the vegetable course helps shape and define the meal.

• The dolce: A dolce (or sweet) ends a traditional Italian meal.

  • Olive Garden has us fooled- Our palate is truly Americanized. Day one, I had to wrap my mind around the cuisine in Italy. My first encounter with real Italian food made me come to one conclusion… That Olive Garden is not real Italian food. It didn’t even resemble what I was accustomed too. First of all, the pasta is served al dente. “Al dente” literally means “to the tooth” in Italian. That means that well-cooked pasta must have a soft bite, a “snap” that you can feel when you chew. Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft. So basically, al dente pasta is better for you. We overcook our pasta, vegetables and meat in America. Our pizza isn’t even authentic. I ordered a ham, mushroom and mozzarella pizza. The crust was so thin, crispy and flakey. It reminded me of pita bread. The tomato sauce was made from grilled tomatoes that was pureed by somebody’s grandma in the back and the ham came in thin slices. It was actually prosciutto and I was looking for Canadian Bacon. We even eat Mozzarella wrong here in America. When freshly made, you’ll often find it served in restaurants and at the family table as an antipasto, or appetizer, to enjoy with sliced prosciutto, bresaola or salami. I learned that mozzarella is not stored in the refrigerator, unless you are going to using it for cooking. The proper way to store it is at room temperature in the liquid it is packaged in when you buy it. Who knew!!! I was like yeah… this is very different but different can be good because it broadens our perspective. Another plus was the food was fresh and my body appreciates that. It didn’t stay in my digestive track long. My happy point... I ate gelato every single day. Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. It starts out with a similar custard base as ice cream, but has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs (or no eggs at all). It is churned at a much slower rate, incorporating less air and leaving the gelato denser than ice cream. Talk about delicious! 
  • It doesn’t take all that- We do the most while doing the absolute least at the same damn time. We are caught up in our day to day operations that we forget to live. Take time and smell the roses.
  • Rome really wasn’t built in a day- I know its cliché’ but there’s truth behind this statement. Rome wasn't built in a day is a proverb attesting to the need for time to create great things. What does that say to me? As I am building this brand, take my time and build it brick by brick, one layer at a time. I want a brand that will last like the Roman Coliseum and leave an impression on each person that I encounter. These buildings and monuments are STILL standing centuries later. Why? Because it was constructed with purpose and designed with every possible mishap in mind. We learned majority of the buildings in Rome were once covered in marble. Today, there is not a trace of marble due to time and greed but here’s the take away. The removal of the marble didn’t strip the edifices of its beauty. It was still an awesome wonder to behold. We weren’t concerned with the outside. We wanted to tour what was on the inside. So what’s the lesson? Glad you asked. People will try to strip your purpose, tell you what you are doing wrong, attempt to take what rightly belongs to you but it doesn’t affect who you are. People are attracted to what’s on the inside. You are still a site to behold.
  • Get a tour guide- Often we try to tackle unknown places and foreign lands by ourselves. I am queen of that. That’s how I toured Paris, but Italy was a different story. There are many benefits to traveling with tour companies. They really do suit the needs of a lot of travelers. Traveling with a tour company is safer, faster and efficient. We skipped the line at many museums and walked through like we were VIP, which was a bonus. Another added perk is they provide insightful information that adds value to each and every sight. They know the history. Also, guided tours with tour companies can prove to be a great choice for those who want to see as much as they can in a small space of time. Shout out to my two favorite tour guides: Patricia in Rome and Andrea in Florence. 
  • Invest more in your flight- We've all been there. Long flight, cramped in coach. To fly overseas it is a minimum of 10 hours. I’m telling you, after a flight like that, you are weary and looking for rest as soon as you touch ground. Upgrade your seat to an emergency aisle or an aisle seat so you can stretch out and move around the cabin. Our bodies are not meant to be cooped up like chickens. If your pocket book says it’s ok, opt for one of those fancy pods that allows your seat to recline with the gourmet food. It’s worth it! They look like they had a good night’s rest upon arrival. I looked into the first class section like you lucky son of a guns! One day Lord, one day!
  • Compression socks- You finally land and discover your ankles have swollen to twice the normal size and maybe it even hurts to walk to baggage claim. Traveling is so rewarding but can take a toll on your circulation. While the risk of developing blood clots on a flight is low, it goes up as travel time increases. Get you some compression socks. Yes, really! The first time I noticed that I was swelling was on the plane and I didn't have on any socks. I was miserable because I was in the middle section in the middle seat. Getting up was not an easy option. So add compression socks to your traveling list of must haves. These stockings help increase circulation and reduce the risk of swelling or worse deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting on a long flight.
  • Fun Fact I learned- The Margherita pizza was designed after the Italian flag. Red is represented by the tomatoes, Green is represented by the basil, and the mozzarella cheese represents the color white.

Prepare: Before, During and After

  • Call your bank prior to your departure. Inform them of the dates of travel so when you swipe your card you are not greeted with a nice decline message.
  • Get your exercise and water intake on. That goes without saying. There is a lot of walking involved when visiting foreign lands. We drive everywhere in America and that’s an unrealistic expectation for continents like Europe. Be prepared to get your walk on so prepare your cardiovascular system early.
  • Also, get some calling cards so you can call home without putting a dent in your phone bill. I am not ready to look at my cell phone bill at all even though I had a global day pass. AT&T charge $10 a day and they are wrong for that.
  • Download the WhatsApp so you stay connected to those back home. You can call and text using this app. While in Rome, my phone worked perfectly but other cities infrastructure was not as advanced as Rome. You never want to lose connection with your love ones. GroupMe is a good app to have as well. That's how the Mr. and I stayed connected.

After you return home

  • Rest! I thought I was ready to continue to take of the world. Oh, was I wrong. Jet lag is not fictious and your body must get used to being back home on a different time zone. Proper rest is important.
  • Wash your dirty clothes immediately. Don't bring those germy clothes into your home.

That’s all for now… Ciao Bella!





Want to learn more... Listen to the Bellissma podcast available on every podcast platform.

https://anchor.fm/charlie-marcol/episodes/BELLISSIMA-The-Breakthrough-With-Ariel-Shirley-e4fg40

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.


 

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.


 

 

The High Maintenance Acquaintance, Do you know them?

Posted on June 9, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Friends... How many of us have them. Loyal. True. Honest. Confidant are just a few character traits that I can use to describe a real friendship. When it comes to friends, some of us are more in tune in that department than others. When we were younger, friendships were easier to come by. As a child you were my friend if you wanted to "play" with me, shared your Oreos on the black top and wore cute clothes. (Shallow... I know right. Hey, I was in elementary school) As I mature, friendship has taken on a different meaning for me. There comes a time in your life where you should evaluate your inner circle of acquaintances. Who's riding and who's lying. Yes, lying! Side note:  Why do we say ride or die. Are you willing to lay down your life for me or is that just lip service? I only know of one man who did that freely. But I digress.

The Bible tells us that a man that has friends must show thyself friendly. At some point, you can't help but to notice your circle of friends because your friends are a true reflection of you. Friends should add value to your life and not bleed you dry, talk about you to others or pass judgment as if they are the "invisible" one. We take the word so lightly when friends have a major impact in our lives. We tell our dirty secrets to our friends, share and bear each other's burdens, celebrate as well as sympathize but more importantly our friends are adopted members of our families. That's the beauty in having a true blue friend.

We’ve all heard the saying "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch," and have probably seen instances where it applies to people. Every now and again, an apple falls into the barrel that wasn't ready to reap the benefits of harvest. It is spoiled, no good and infested. After awhile it will contaminate other fruit it is stored with. Now, do you really believe I'm talking about apples? Not hardly. I'm talking about that friend that doesn't know he/she is spoiled. That friend whose intentions are good, but can't identify the maturity of the friendship. We keep them around because they may be a good person at their core, but during their growth process something happened that caused them to get infected. What kind of friend am I speaking of? Let me introduced you to the "High maintenance acquaintance." As I progress in life, I am learning that I can live without the "The high maintenance acquaintance," because they add no value. I steer clear like a ten car pile up on the freeway. The high maintenance acquaintance have standards and expectations so high that no one can meet them. The sad thing is, if you were to turn and demand those same expectations they will fall short every time. Be aware. The high maintenance acquaintance can be deceiving as if they want the best for you but honestly their opinion and views are very distorted.

Let me break this down for you.

1. Burger King syndrome- The High Maintenance Acquaintance loves to have things their way. They love to outshine, compete and be the center of attention. The demands are borderline narcissistic because it's all about what they want, how they want it and when. This narcissistic mindset is often the result of failing to learn as children and young adults that we are not so special, and other people don't merely exist to serve our needs and wants.

2. You will do things out of obligation and not out of love for the High Maintenance Acquaintance for fear of the backlash or ridicule. Compassion is an after thought and never in the forefront.

3. Their advice reigns supreme- The High Maintenance Acquaintance believes they are very knowledgable in every facet of life. They have advice for everything, even things they have not experienced. Hello! What worked for someone else may not work for others. Listen, advice is always great but you have to consider the source. I don't like to listen to advice from people that I will not trade places with. Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

4. They can't recognize their problem- The High Maintenance Acquaintance loves to point the finger and place the blame on others. It's hard to look at self in the mirror at times. Being in a reflection state is scary. In their eyes, they are perfect and hardly wrong. Others opinions, lives, situations never matter because it's all about them. Which brings me to point #5.

5. It's all about me- No one ever listens to me. Me! Me! And me some more. The High Maintenance Acquaintance goes silent almost into hiding when "me" didn't get their way. They won"t call you for days, weeks or months on end because they are mad with you for standing up to them. Crazy huh? A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (That's the word)

6. They never let sleeping dogs die- It's ok to talk things over, but the high maintenance acquaintance loves to go on and on and on and on. They must get their point across and will not stop until it's heard. Their comments have to be validated and or justified. They never take in consideration your feelings or thoughts. The best way to shut down a High Maintenance Acquaintance is soft answers. Soft answers turns away wrath. During a quarrel go completely silent without responding. After they have stated their claim to win the war, say this. "Are you done."  Watch how that sends their rocket into orbit. Arguing adds fuel to the fire and many of them feed on that behavior.

7. They don't adapt well to change- No matter how they may stress I'm "easy breezy" underneath it all, they still want things their way. A sudden change in plans, new friends to the crew, or heaven forbid if your opinion is different from theirs automatically leads to disputes. Any change causes them to stress and has a major impact on their life.  I think it is the fear of the unknown. The High Maintenance Acquaintance is be a bit of a control freak.

8. Insert vs Assert- The High Maintenance Acquaintance can not distinguish the difference between insert and assert. Being assertive can be seen as a bit bossy at times. By all means, that should be saved for professional relationships never with your friendships unless the friend is causing eminent danger to themselves or others. But when you are a positive ray of light, people will insert you in their lives. You don't have to be assertive when people want to be around you. You bring goodness, cheerfulness, and being around you is a sure delight.

9. Entitlement- The High Maintenance Acquaintance has a sense of entitlement in your life. They believe they should be on the front row in your life's audience. How dare you put someone else before them. Entitlement, or sense that we have the right to have something, can be a dangerous expectation. However that same sense of entitlement is never deemed necessary when the shoe is on the other foot. For example, they want to be invited everywhere with you, but they never offer or invite you anywhere in return. They are borderline offended when the invitation is not extended. But as the good book states, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."

10. Judge and the juror- The High Maintenance Acquaintance can be very judgmental. People need to learn the difference between criticism and critique. One is done with love and the other one is laced with malice. Encouragement is the key. The Word tells us, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

At the end of the day, we love our friends, but are you really entitled to keep friends around that drain you and vex your spirit. As I can round my age to the next perfect number, I have to evaluate my circle of friends. My life is enriched and my friendships should be as well. It's just a thought and something to ponder. These ah-ha moments that I am having are so real, but refreshing.



Don't perish because the lack of vision

Posted on January 11, 2015 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. So about last night... I am so happy! I participated in a vision board party at my dear friend's home with some amazing women. The weather outside was frightful but the fun inside was so delightful. It was truly a blessing to be around warm & positive spirits who are just as determined and driven as I am. We encouraged, helped, laughed, assisted, drank, ate and laughed some more. That made being out in the cold weather so worth it. What a powerful way to end the first week of January! I believe last night will make a major impact in my life for 2015. What is a vision board you ask? A vision board is a powerful visualization tool that you can use as inspiration for your journey toward your ideal life. By cutting, creating & pasting what I envision for my life, through my hard work and prayer, I truly believe God will make those things happen if it is HIS will for my life. Futhermore, having a vision board will help you to remain focused on your goals but most of all it will hold you accountable. Speak those things into existence. The word of God tells us to delight ourselves in Him and he will give us the desires of our heart. I want my dreams to come to fruition in 2015. The vision board party forced me to set aside time to draw positive things into my life. Doubtless you have heard it said that most of us never get what we want because we don't know what we want. Well... I do! Making a vision board is a wonderful way to bring clarity to that general desire and turn it into an achievable goal. I challenge you to do the same. There’s no “right way” to arrange your images because this is YOUR vision. Act like Nike and just do it. Remember my motto for the New Year... Give birth to your dreams in 2015. Nothing comes to a dreamer but a dream, you must but your vision into action. Why not start today.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • a posterboard, cork board or small canvas
  • a stack of old magazines
  • scissors
  • markers or paint
  • glue, tape, thumbtacks or pins
  • a photo of yourself (optional)
  • Decorative items such as ribbon, tulle, and/or construction paper

Step 1:

Set aside ample time to complete your vision board. It takes a while. Go to a quiet space in your home where you can concentrate on yourself for a little while. Ask yourself some important self-reflection questions such as... Where do you see yourself by the end of 2015? What are the ultimate goals you want to achieve?

Step 2:

Create a relaxing atmosphere. Put on inspiring or upbeat music. Light a few candles if you want. Close your eyes and take a moment to reflect on your big goals and dreams. What do you want your ideal life to look like?

Step 3:

Cut out images from magazines that represent the life you want to live. For example, if you want to become a fashion designer, you might clip photos of models wearing designer clothing on the runway. If you want to find a great romantic partner, you might snip pictures of happy couples smiling at each other.

Step 4:

Place the photo of yourself in the middle of the board (optional). Then, paste or pin your magazine images on your board. You can fill the board with pictures or just have a few posted all over on the board. I tried my hardest not to leave any open space. I want to remain focused on my goals.

Step 5:

Use your markers or paint to write your personal mantra or other favorite quotes onto your vision board. You can also just cut out words or phrases from the magazines to paste on your board that remind you of the life you want to live.

Step 6:

Display your vision board somewhere you’ll see it every day and feel inspired! If you like, you can also frame your vision board and hang it on your wall.

And there you have it – an easy, step-by-step process for creating a vision board to help you reach your goals. I hope it’s useful to you!

If you found it useful... please leave a comment and share.

Happy 2015!!!

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Happy 2015. Where did the time go! 2014 is in our rear view mirror and now we are walking into a new year. Did you know that 2014 was a year for double completion? What did you complete this past year? Did you live your life with purpose and fulfillment? Did you allow God to lead you & surrender to his will & his way. I tried it this year & for the first time in a long time, I feel complete. Did I go contrary to HIS will at times. Yes, I did. I'm human. But honestly, I'm not longing or wanting anything. God supplied all my needs plus more. He gave me some wants, made dreams come true define my purpose & helped me find my passion. Thank you God! This week has been bitter sweet, well more like melancholy because 2014 was wonderful to me despite the ups and downs. I accepted it all; sometimes with tears in my eyes, a bowed head, broken heart and spirit. I look forward to the blessings that God is going to bring in 2015. As it is written, Eyes has not seen, nor have ears heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the GREAT things which God has prepared for them that love him.

Sooo.... C'est la vie c'est la vie 2014. You were absolutely wonderful to me. I completed some task that I did not think I could accomplish. I learned to love myself, I wrote a book, I became debt-free, I learned to look in the mirror and self reflect! My new motto:: Give birth to your dreams in 2015. I challenge you to live your life with purpose & promise with God as your captain. He knows the plans that He has for you. Be blessed and a blessing to others.

#purpose #livinglikeitsgolden #onwardandupward

Let's pour the Reali-Tea

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Let's pour up some tea...

Basketball Girlfriends, the Fake Housewives of whatever county, Keeping up with The K’s, Lust & Bebop... Yeah, you got it? For legal purposes I will not mention their name, but we know who they are. To be honest, reality television has put a sour taste in my mouth. It disappoints me how reality television has impregnated the minds of impressionable people. It has given birth to a false sense of reality. We sensationalize, idolize and elevate these women to the position of BFF’s in our head. We know what their characters represent; they are topic of conversation on Facebook and Twitter, in the elevator, and at the salon. We read about their business on gossip blogs and we follow them on social media but yet some of us have not decided to follow Christ. (I digress) I could be wrong about this, but reality TV has messed up our discernment about friendships, marriage & relationships. The sad thing is that the majority of these shows are produced by women that is more concerned about dollar signs and fortune and less on women’s empowerment. These women have entered our homes religiously on Sunday nights to give us the “tea” on issues that don’t affect us, our city, our paychecks or our home. We are more consumed on what is going on in ALT than our own backyard. For some, it has affected the perception of who we are because we have allowed these women to become our role models influencing our self-image and self-worth. Nothing is real about these woman, nothing! From the hair in their head, the catty made up fights, the cars they are driving, to the lavish condos and houses they are parlaying in. It is for entertainment purposes so stop carrying them into your reality. What happened to goal oriented, career driven, professional woman that had morals & values being represented on TV. The TV wives of yester year, loved and respected their husband & his opinions. These women cared for their children & took care of their husband’s needs. Granted those shows were scripted too, but each show had a message. Man, I miss television shows in the 80's. There was a plot, theme, empowerment & progression that dealt with real life issues. Children went off to college, friends enjoyed living single in a brownstone, people actually left the ghetto and moved up to the Eastside to high rise apartments. Now our black boxes are filled with ratchetmess, male bashing, adultery and a bunch of debauchery. All of it has embedded foolishness into our lifestyle but we are trying to keep up with them. We are living above our means, putting unrealistic expectations on relationships. Reality TV is as phony as a Canal Street Prada bag for $40.00. You can see how fake it is from a distance. It's scripted, timed, & full of drama. It's junk food feeding our hungry souls. We are looking for some entertainment that will give us true nourishment about real happiness, friendships, or how neighbors can come together to support one another in life. I guess Archie Bunker was right. "Those were the days." (I just told my age)