Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Birthday

In my little Fluffy World I can feel the days of the week.  Don’t think I’m loco, please hear me out.  Even though I don’t have to report to an office daily, Fridays create a feeling of excitement and anticipation.  Saturday mornings create a sense of joy in that I have a full day to do what I want.  Sundays are a day of reverence and feel inspiring.  National holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas have their own feelings, too. 

January 4th has its own feeling.  As I awoke to a new day I stretched lazily in my bed and said my morning prayers.  I then opened my eyes and smiled at the ceiling. 

“Happy Birthday, Avant.”

Today is Avant’s 41st birthday and he’s celebrating with his buddies after work.  That might not seem like a big deal, but it is. 

You see we share a common feeling about birthdays - they stir up unhappy memories.  I won’t share his sadness, but mine stems from my sister and maternal grandmother both dying on my St. Valentine’s Day birthday. 

Three years ago we both made promises to enjoy our special days.  Avant and I celebrated his birthday by having lunch, seeing a movie and barely escaping a horrible blizzard.  Avant planned a weekend of activities for me and did something no one had ever done.  He celebrated my birthday and St. Valentine’s Day separately.  I was his Valentine.

We weren’t on the best terms in January and February 2015.  We exchanged birthday email messages, but neither of us celebrated our birthdays separately with friends and family.


2016 was much better. We exchanged greeting cards and talked on the phone.  He didn’t celebrate his birthday, but I went to Orlando for a week.  The day of my actual birthday my nephew and niece created a restaurant in their home and served me dinner.  They actually took my food order!
 



 



I’ve matured in the past 9 months and am better at not trying to figure God out.  He doesn’t need me analyzing His actions!  I am thankful that He answered a prayer before 2016 came to an end.  On December 15th Avant and I became friends again.  I didn’t know if God would hear me (see “Turn The Page”), and there are no romantic strings attached.  At least on my part. 

Yes, I’m being honest.  Do I sit starry eyed, dreaming of what could have been?  No.  Do I still love him?  Of course, but that’s how I know God's worked on my heart.  I can look at that chapter of my life and smile my famous smile.  Avant didn’t become my fiancĂ©, husband and Baby Daddy in 2016, but I received a greater gift – restoration.  I had my silly and goofy friend back.

My silly, goofy friend is living his life as I asked him to back in April.  Tonight he’s with his boys Dennis and Roland.  He’s not sitting at home watching television.

And I’m happy for him.

This was posted on Twitter today.

"This is for you, Avant! You know I have the balloon hook up. :-)"






"Fluffy, this is the best! You have given me a #socialmedia #bday greeting & I luv it!"

You're very welcome. :-)

Question:  What prayer has God answered differently than you expected?

Scripture: Mark 11:24

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sephora

Avant has a few pet names he calls me, one of them being Sephora.  I remember the first time he said it.

“You don’t know how special you are to me, my sweet Sephora.  You’ve blessed me beyond measure.”

Huh?  I’m his sweet cosmetic store??  This GiGi was clueless yet again. 

“Sephora in the Bible, my dear.”

Had Avant said it that way the first time, I would have known.  Duh, I taught a class on Women of the Bible!  But let’s be honest, how many men drop Bible references with their lady?  And I hope they’re being holy when they say they want to “know” us better.  But I digress….

Zipporah (also known as Sephora, I like this spelling) is an interesting character in the Bible.  She was the daughter of Jethro the Midianite and the wife of Moses.  If you aren’t a Bible scholar but have seen The 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston, she’s played by actress Yvonne De Carlo (aka Lily Munster).




A significant piece of Sephora and Moses’ relationship was omitted from the film. In the Book of Exodus God was very angry with Moses and was about to strike him dead when Sephora saved his life.  How?  By circumcising their son and throwing the foreskin at Moses’ feet.  She heard from God and took action.




Told you she was interesting!  Cecil B. DeMille knew 1950’s America wasn’t ready for that, plus the censors would have stopped him.

Today I was lying in bed reading when Avant’s father, Mr. H, came on my mind.  I didn’t have an opportunity to meet Mr. H but since we share a birthday (and love his son) there was a connection.  I smiled as I remembered some of the stories Avant told me about his dad.  I continued reading but couldn’t shake the heaviness that was on me.  The best way to describe it was that I felt something was wrong.  I asked God to take care of Mr. H, and prayed peace over whatever was going on.  The uneasiness wouldn’t leave me.

I promised myself that when someone is on my mind, I’d reach out to them.  Mr. H is paralyzed on one half of his body and lives in a nursing facility near Avant’s childhood home.  Mr. H couldn’t speak to me if I called, and not being family the nurses surely wouldn’t give me information.  If I lived closer I would have driven there.  I kept praying, asking God to heal this man since the only way I could help was out of my reach….or was it?

I had one of those moments when I felt God was thumping me in the head, but I did my best to ignore it.

“God, what do I do?  You told me not to contact him…”

The pressure got strong and stronger.

“Father, I trust you to take care of Mr. H.  I don’t need to get involved. “

Stronger and stronger…….

“Lord, do you want me to contact Avant?”

And then God spoke, and he sounded a lot like Sarah Roberts, 1st Lady of One Church LA.

“IF you ARE a Woman of God, you will act like it and do what you have been called to do.”


I rose from bed, and took my cell phone with me to my home office.  I said another prayer and texted Avant. 
11:56am
Happy Thursday.  Your father is heavily
on my mind today.  How is he?
12:12pm

Hi Fluffy.  I hope fine.  I was there last weekend
You think I should call the nursing home?

12:17pm

Please do.  I doesn’t mean anything is wrong, but
I promised to check on people when they’re on my mind.

Ok, I will call & let you know.
Thank you.

I put the phone down and went into strong intercessory prayer, using my Heavenly prayer language.  And then I heard his text tone.

12:23pm

The Force is strong in U. LOL. He fell out
of the wheelchair while he was sleeping.
No injuries, praise The Lord!!! Thank U
for telling me.
My God…..Thank you for checking on him .

No, thank U! I’m glad U R in tune with
The Spirit!!!  God is better than good!
Amen (smile).






“That’s why it’s important that you know you’ve got a Word from God. Because when that confrontation comes you may be twisted into thinking that you should back up, when really God is calling you to go forward.” ~ Sarah Roberts

I AM a Woman of God. I know my spiritual gifts, and Lord I promise to flow in them. I will move forward as your Spirit directs me. 

Question:  Do you know your spiritual gifts?  This quiz can help you identify them. Click here.


Scripture:  1 Corinthians 12: 1-11

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Catching Up

As you can see, I've been away for a bit. As much as I love posting to my blog, I've realized that I could not do this professionally - at least not at this point in my career. Unlike the people in my blogging group, I cannot compose an update at the drop of a hat. I have to be inspired to craft a post. Each entry must have a purpose, something that will encourage or inspire the reader. I like to write, but I don't have the gift of writing daily. I'm okay with that, and make no apologies.

I write in a personal journal and those thoughts are between God and me. I'm not comfortable putting all my thoughts available to the world. I've worked very hard to keep my identity private for this blog, as all the posts are deeply personal and reference people active in my life.  Had a brief scare in October when Avant emailed me (yes, he has resurfaced – more later) and my email address appeared as “Miss Wisdom” in the “To” section of message.  I was sitting in my virtual office aka a local coffee shop (I pay my rent in lattes) when I made the discovery.   Talk about a moment of panic.  I let fear get the best of me - I didn't want him to know I've been writing about him.  About my feelings.  I let fear get the best of me.

So why am I posting today, November 23, the day before Thanksgiving?  I got hit with a quadruple conviction to pick up the pen (or keyboard) again.  I got a Godly whooping so to speak.

Conviction #1
Pastor Toure Roberts visited my church and delivered a message titled “It’s You Time.” A few statements at the beginning of the message jacked me up. 

“God is waiting for You.”

“There is a new YOU to be revealed.  Come from behind the curtain.”

Conviction #2
“If you are you, you will walk in such power and victory.” 

Pastor Toure was at it again. Watch here.


Conviction #3a
Sarah Jakes Roberts went there on Friday at our women’s conference. Watch here.

Conviction #3b
Saturday April jabs me in the ribs at the women’s conference. Why?  Sarah spoke yet again.

“You have to share your story.”

Conviction #4
Any speaking engagement or workshop I give includes a short poem by Langston Hughes.  It’s my signature so to speak.  So as I’m pondering my business, blog and how I want life to bless others this happened Tuesday at 9am.  Watch what Sarah's father said here.

I have a story to tell, and I’m committed.  These posts will one day be published in a book to encourage and lift women….and they’ll be published under my legal name.



Happy Thanksgiving!

Question:  Do you really believe your story is worth telling?

Scripture:  Matthew 13:10-17

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I Love Your Smile


I’ve been told the first thing people notice about me is my smile.  It’s my signature. Avant said that’s what caught his attention when we first met. It took me sometime to realize that I have a nice smile because I always focused on one tooth that is slightly pushed back.  Honestly no one would know about the tooth unless I pointed it out.  Legend has it that when I was 3 or 4 I thought I could fly and jumped down a staircase of fourteen steps.  The rest is history.  My father’s insurance package at the mill didn’t include dental so a trip to the dentist wasn’t possible. 

Thankfully my paternal grandmother provided guidance and my tooth was saved.  I guess you can Granny was our dentist and we learned from her.  Granny taught my brothers and me how to “wash” our teeth.  When we spent the night at Granny’s house she wet a washcloth (or face rag as we called it) and dipped it into the Arm & Hammer baking soda in her opposite hand.  We opened our mouth and Granny gently rubbed the front and back of every tooth, finishing by rubbing our tongue.  Then we rinsed our mouth with warm water.  As we got older we were allowed to use a tooth brush and mixed a tiny amount of Colgate toothpaste (the size of a green pea) with the baking soda.  Granny didn’t believe toothpaste was good for you.

“It’s too sweet.  Why would folks want to wash their teeth with sugar?”
Memories like this warm my heart.  For only having a 6th grade education, Granny was wise.

It’s been six weeks since I quit my job and my Affordable Health Care insurance coverage kicked in August 1st (Thanks President Obama!).  Time to schedule the remaining appointments I couldn’t fit in before I resigned.  First up is the dentist.  Who loves going to the dentist?  I know you do because you’re such wise and savvy readers.  Me?  I know I’m wise and savvy, but I don’t like the dentist.  I’d rather have a mammogram than endure a person fooling around with my teeth.  But I have to take care of my pretty smile.

My appointment with a new dentist was August 18th.  I took my sister-in-law to her appointment at the same office a few days prior and was sold on the welcoming atmosphere and customer service.  The receptionist put me at ease both times, and said my visit would be easy breezy. She was so kind!  I believed her, yet sat in the chair while this tune played in my head:


In the middle of my quiet prayer a young man in dark blue scrubs with dark wavy hair approached me.

“Miss Fluffy?  Hi!  My name is Avant, and I’m your dental hygienist.  I promise to take good care of you.”

SERIOUSLY???  “Avant?”  Of all names. I could only shake my head and smile. 

As a new patient Avant took time to explain what would happen during the visit and the roles Dr. Vela and he would have.  I won’t bore you with the details of the visit, but let’s just say when I was done my numb gums and lip caused me to look like Billy Idol and talk like Mike Tyson with a speech impediment.



Yes, really.

“Miss Fluffy, you are all set,” said Dr. Vela as she finished making notes on my chart.  “Did you know you have a really great set of teeth?  I don’t know many people your age that have never had a cavity.  I was quite pleased when I reviewed your x-rays.”

“She does have a wonderful smile, doesn’t she Dr. Vela?” Avant chimed in.  “Fluffy, would you like to see your x-rays?”

I gazed at the computer monitor as Avant clicked through the different images of my teeth.  One that stood out was an image of my entire mouth flattened like a sideways crescent moon.  Two rows of God designed, perfectly aligned teeth smiling back at me. 

I had a new revelation of what others have seen for 46 years.  And I smiled back.

Enjoy this 1991 video from Shanice.  



Question:  What positive truth have others told you, yet you find it difficult to believe?


Scripture:  Proverbs 31:25

Monday, August 15, 2016

Exposed

I took a step this week and did something I never thought I’d do. I participated in a blogging challenge, and posted a link to my blog revealing my real government name. Are you surprised Fluffy Girl isn't my real name?  Dani has been coaching me as I start my new business, and challenged me to post to a Facebook blogging group.  I introduced myself, and put a link to Wisdom From A Fluffy Girl. I figured I didn't know these people personally, and they wouldn’t know the people I mentioned in my blog. The post caused people to visit my page, and I noticed the audience statistics increased dramatically.



When I began Wisdom From A Fluffy Girl it was just a way to get some of my thoughts out.  I challenged a friend to start blogging because she loves writing and then took my own advice. My first post was composed in a San Antonio hotel room as I completed the capstone course for my graduate degree.  I was at a conference for work, attending sessions in the day, and doing homework and writing at night.  I spent time with Ice during the visit, too.

Only Denise, Dani, April, and Dr. Youngston (not their real names) know about my blog.  Writing was more for me as I laid the groundwork for a future book targeting teenage girls. Each chapter will have an entry, a question, and a scripture to meditate on.

After I posted to the group I became uncomfortable when it REALLY hit me that readers would know “Government Name” authors the blog.  Fluffy's true identity was revealed to 325 writers.  I was exposed! That was OK to a certain point, but my thoughts went to Avant.

I respected our relationship and did not share all the details with anyone while Avant and I were together.  Not even with April (smile) or social media. I'm old-school that way, because there are some things that should be left between a couple.  Even telling your closest friends can violate the trust you have with a significant other. Everything I've written is true, however I’d never want him to know I've shared samplings of our business with the world.   

My writings are never to put Avant in bad light, but to help others who may be walking in my shoes. Because I love him, I will never share all the details of our three year relationship with anyone – not verbally or in writing.  And from what I know of Avant, I believe he’d offer the same courtesy.  He’s had a public Twitter account since October 2014 and has never posted anything about me.  And he has plenty material.

Are you surprised I still love him?  I’ve never been one to switch feelings on and off like a light switch.  And from hints Bethanie has dropped, Avant loves me too.  But that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be together.

The night of August 15, 2013 I was nervously preparing for my first date with Avant.  He took me to lunch on Friday, August 16th.  Knowing the experiences of the past three years, if given a choice to accept his lunch request or not, I’d still say yes.  Enjoy this video from my teenage years that took on new meaning as I matured. 

And I'd still say yes to sharing this blog.


Question:  What secret do you have that could bless others if revealed?

Scripture: Ephesians 4:15

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chopped

I’ve not had a relaxer in my hair in over 4 years, and have worn protective hairstyles in effort to transition to wearing my hair naturally.  This is how I wanted to wear my hair:


On August 4th I was prepared to begin wearing my hair naturally, but had a rude awakening when I visited my beautician Miss Providence.  The stress in my life took a toll not only on my physical body but on my hair.

“Baby Girl, we’re going to have to cut your hair.”

I turned my chair to look in the mirror – this is what I saw:



The stress of leaving my job and transitioning to “retirement” had caused hair at the crown of my head to break off.  I had 3 inches of length at the top, and shoulder length in the back.  I allowed the college to literally worry my hair away.  When I started at the college in 2004, I wore wrap hairstyle similar to this:



When Miss Providence was done I resembled Jill Scott minus the hair color, makeup and accessories.  I was Jill with black hair and silver sprinkles throughout. 




When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see a beautiful 46 year old woman.  I saw a six year old girl with short hair plaits.  A little girl who was laughed at because she was taller than her peers. A little girl who was chubby and knock kneed.  A little girl with only her brother to play with.  A little girl who believed she was ugly.  My confidence was mingled with my dead hair on the shop floor.
It didn’t help my self-esteem when an elderly client with dementia under the dryer shouted out “Sweetheart you look so nice.  You look just like a boy.” I wanted to cry.   

Miss Providence assured me that I didn’t look like a boy.  She along with Denise, April and my massage therapist Leesa gave the support and encouragement I needed to get my mind right.  Leesa also recommended hair products to help define my natural curl pattern.

Today I debuted my new hairstyle at church.  The first to compliment me was Phillip, a greeter who works on the east door that I enter.  He said how amazing I looked as he gave me a hug.  Did I mention he favors Avant?  Another blog, another time. LOL.

My fellow Ushers were the next shower me with praise.  Six of my team members welcomed me to the Short Hair Club and we broke out into an impromptu Naughty by Nature “Hip Hop Hooray”dance in the center aisle.  Nothing like coming to God’s house and getting pumped up!  Coincidentally (or not so much) my Pastor’s message was about pressing forward in life.

I’m enjoying my new look and will be experimenting with accessories and makeup.  I even bought a purple hair rinse I’m going to play with!  This is the new look I’m striving for in the upcoming weeks:




But then God may have something else in mind.   My transformational journey continues...

Question:  Are you your hair?
Scripture:  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dating Solo

Who says you need a man to go on a date? You don't. Being 46 and single, you learn to do a lot of things alone. I've never had a problem going to the movies, concerts or dinner alone.  I would prefer to share these moments at times, but if I waited on others I'd always be waiting. Life is too short for that.

On this particular Sunday I made a decision to not go to church. Before you call me a heathen or backslider let me explain.  I serve in two ministries at my church and what is a worship service to others becomes a job to me.  Depending on my needs I will adapt my physical presence.

  • If I want to attend services as a regular person, I'll attend service without my uniform. I will help my team if needed. 
  • If need an uninterrupted worship experience I'll hide in the balcony with the sound booth team. 
  • If I am tired, in physical pain or need quiet time away from the masses I'll watch from my bed via iPad.  
I woke up with achy knees and tired muscles, so I listened to service while in the bathtub. A first for me! When service ended I put on a cute sundress with sandals and left the house. My first stop was to see my weight-loss counselor. I lost a pound (yeah), but still 6 pounds up from when I should be. Josie and I reviewed my chart  and saw I was at my lowest the day after I broke up with Avant. Extra nibbling wasn't the culprit, my activity had decreased. I drew the line in the sand. I had deadweight to shed.

Sundays are a day where I eat what I want within reason. So I decided to go on an impromptu date. I stopped by Best Buy and purchased a new fitness tracker to replace my broken one. Next I went to my favorite jewelry store so my three LeVian pieces could get their six month check up. Then I went to Starbucks where I had a waffle cone frappuccino and cranberry scone and paid with my iPhone like a pro. My mentee showed me how! ;-)  I sat for two and a half hours nursing my drink and handwriting future blog post. 



For dinner I drove to Panera Bread where I enjoyed a strawberry poppyseed salad, a bowl of chicken wild rice soup and a cup of water. Umm, so good...



In between eating and writing I watched a two-year-old in a lilac sundress do her version of a Texas two-step near my table. Oh to be that age again!  Next she slow danced to a song* I was unfamiliar with. I admired her boldness and freedom. Little did I know I would be doing a dance weeks later when I quit my job. Dance on baby girl, dance on! 


* I found out later that song was "Let The Monkey Ride" by The James Hunter Six. Check it out on YouTube.

Question:  When was the last time you stepped out your comfort zone and did something alone?

Scripture: Mark 1:35