My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

Category: Countdown To My Brother’s Wedding (page 1 of 4)

Tax Help for Single Girls (Update)

Image | USA Today

Yehuda Fishkind, a Certified Financial Analyst, came to my job a few years ago to conduct a Financial Planning Seminar for new hires. At the beginning of the seminar, he explained that he was Jewish and that he was here to talk to us about money…so we should listen up.

No argument on my part. After several intense hours of pouring over different retirement plans we took a break for lunch. So, I seized the opportunity to get some one-on-one coaching for my tax situation.

You see, I’ve lived in both Tennessee and Texas where the folks down there have the good sense not to have a state income tax. And, I never realized before what a difference not having a state income tax can make to the take home pay. I explained all this to Yehuda.

Yehuda: Are you investing the maximum pre-tax amount in your 401K?
Simone: Yes

Yehuda: Are you taking the deductions for your student loan interest?
Simone: Yes

Yehuda: Do you contribute to the Health Savings Account?
Simone: Yep

Yehuda: Hmmmm, You should get married.

I can’t remember how I responded to that, but I do remember thinking “Seriously, is that the best advice you can give a single girl?”

The Dating Intervention (Update)


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A few years ago my dear friend and colleague, Marie, came to my office. I could tell by the way her eye brows were furrowed that she meant business. She edits my work too. So, my first thought was “Lord, what have I done now?”

She sat down and began with the usual pleasantries. “How are you? What are your plans for the weekend, etc. etc.” I explained (nonchalantly) that I was going to run, hang out with some friends, see a musical…the usual.

And then the boot dropped. Marie was here to stage an intervention for my dating life.

“Simone, do you even want to meet a guy? I mean, have you even asked God where you can meet guys? I mean to date…not to evangelize. Seriously, he’s not going to show up on your door step wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I’m the one.’ Simone, I don’t think you are taking this stuff seriously because if you were…you would be trying to make yourself available. Its going to take two years you know. One to date and a year to be engaged. Have you thought about that? I doubt it. Because clearly, you’d be frustrated if you had!”

People, I cannot make this stuff up.

So, after an hour of “counseling.” We agreed that I would make better decisions on how I spent my time. The goal was to make myself more available to meeting guys.

As a good faith effort, I decided to go to a fireworks display that Saturday night, rather than a musical. Let’s face it there wouldn’t be any eligible bachelor’s at Mama Mia .

However, I didn’t tell Marie that I spent Friday night…in my apartment…reading a book until 4:30 a.m. That would have landed me another tongue lashing.

Thank God for Marie, though. Being available is a big part of the dating game. And, she knew what she was talking about too, because less than two years later…I was hitched.

Rerun: 28 Days and Counting

As I mentioned last week, for the month of July we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane to where this blog all started. Four years ago my younger brother had the audacity to get married before me and the single Simone was a little worried. 
Isaac & Simone

My brother, Isaac, is getting married in 28 days. I am more than excited for him. But, I am less than enthusiastic for myself. You see, Isaac is 25. I am 28. He is getting married before me, and that presents a conundrum. Why you say? Because, I will have to face all of our family, all of our friends, and all their questions.You know the questions I’m referring to. The one’s that come with raised eyebrows and feigned courtesy. You look great, Simone, how are you doing? Translation: You aren’t ugly, Simone, why aren’t you married? Ahhhh!

What’s a single girl to do? How do I explain that I am content? I LOVE my, family, job, apartment, friends, church, and all around life. How do I explain that when I wake up in the morning I thank God for another day that I get to live in this FANTASTIC city? Why does it have to boil down to this one future guy that I hope to meet in the near or distant future?

Yes. One day I do want to be married. Yes. I do want to have 4-6 kids. No. I am not delusional. I know that if I want to have that many kids I’ll have to start sooner rather than later. And No. I’m not one of those Sex in the City gals that thinks having a great career, wearing high heels to walk 20 blocks, and sleeping around is the life. I’m just not in a hurry. Can that be okay?

The Know It All

I became one them y’all. Yes, the dreaded know it all. I was sitting at my desk last week, and decided to review my first blog, Countdown 2 My Brother’s Wedding. It was fun to go back and read what my single self thought about being single. And, then I noticed that I was content being single, and most of the commentators were content being single.

The problem was the know it alls that inserted themselves in my life and were always pushing me to get married, start a family, find somebody, etc. etc.

Well, I became that Know It All.

I was having dinner with a lovely friend, and I casually mentioned “So, are you dating anyone?”

“No,” she said.

“Well, don’t you worry. God, has someone really awesome for you! I just know it,” I said.

“Perhaps, God doesn’t. Some people are called to singleness, like the apostle Paul,” She said.

And, I thought hmmmm… maybe.  But you, you are pretty and smart, and kind…surely there is someone out there for you. And, then I began to run down the list of all the eligible bachelors that we know and ask whether or not each and everyone was a suitable match.

How dreadful of me?!?! I had done exactly what I previously complained about, and inserted myself into her life.

Sadly, my lovely friend is not alone. My long-suffering siblings have to put up with my know-it-all self sometimes too. I shared a couple of months ago about my younger brother that failed to follow the plans I had for his life. He is doing amazingly well, and has written a guest post for next week.

It just goes to show you, I do not Know It All.


A Model Mother

If you have been following this blog for the past 19 months, you’ve meet 8 of my 12 family members.

My Family Fantastic

You’ve met my husband, dad, 4 of my 5 brothers, 1 of 2 sisters, and both my cute nephews. You have not read about my mom (Elizabeth), youngest sister (Shannel), or my fourth brother (Manny).

Let’s start with Elizabeth, because she is a model mother. My mother (a former Paris runway model) has lead quite an interesting life. She was chosen as one of a handful of students to integrate her school in 1964.  She then went on to become the first black homecoming queen of her university. Post-college Elizabeth went on to conquer the fashion world in Paris, Milan, and New York City.

Elizabeth in NYC Circa 1978

But then my dad (ever the salesman) convinced my mom to marry him and move down south. Elizabeth had  plans to be a fashion buyer for one of the local department stores, but then I arrived.

And, before I knew it…I had seven siblings and my family seemed quite strange in comparison to others.

Elizabeth home schooled most of us. Opted to have home births administered by midwives. Grew a lot of our food in the back yard. Eliminated the use of microwaves as a health precaution, and didn’t allow us to watch TV during the week. Looking back I can see that the tough decisions my mother made, shaped me and my siblings for the better. But, the strangeness of my family did not go unnoticed by our relatives.

As a result, most of our holidays were spent with just our clan. But, there is an upside to being isolated from extended family…me, my siblings, and my parents are a close-knit bunch.

I am especially close to my mother. Even though, I am married and live 700 miles away…we talk almost everyday. Whenever I go home for an extended period of time, my mother always finds time in her schedule to make my two favorite meals: spaghetti and fried fish. Because my mother is generous, kind, and enthusiastic. In fact, I can always tell when one of my siblings had a particularly challenging athletic event the evening before. Because she always sounds like an eighty-year old chain smoker when she loses her voice the day after.

Sometimes, however, my mother’s enthusiasm can get the best of her. I often tell her haste makes waste. Cut once measure twice. But, I think at this point she is just used to having 9 people depend on her. So, whenever she can get ahead of the game she aims to do so.

One such opportunity reared its head at Thanksgiving a few years ago, before I married Morris.


The Lifetime Wedding Planner

Thanksgiving is HUGE in my house, and it is the holiday that everyone tries to make it home for. We had all gathered around the table and were preparing to say the blessing, when my mother announced that she had a gift for me. My little sister ran to get the gift bag and handed it to me with a beaming smile.

The lovely gift bag held a beautiful book that my mother purchased on sale…The Lifetime Wedding Planner. It was complete with budgets, bows, envelopes and everything one needs to plan the perfect wedding. One minor problem. I wasn’t even dating anyone…and haven’t for several years. My five brothers erupted in laughter. And I, I wanted to crawl under a rock.Boy, did she get ahead of the game.

But, that book turned out to be quite handy when Morris and I got married last year.

I guess that’s what makes Elizabeth a model mother, because she thinks ahead and plans for what will be…not what is.


Closing & Opening

The wedding took place almost two weeks ago now. And, I have been thinking…how am I going to end this blog? Its kinda sad to sit here and think about it. I mean 28 plus days went by REALLY fast and I feel like I’ve grown closer to you, God, and even myself. Writing helped me to organize my thoughts, admit what I was feeling, and seek your help and advice. But, alas I knew it wouldn’t go on for forever.

So, as I bring this blog to a close a new phase is opening.


As many of you know, I’ve been wanting to write for a loooong time. But, I never had the courage, subject matter, or discipline to do it. I was inspired to sit down and write by The Intervention and a really special guy. Now, that I am beginning this writing journey I don’t want to quit.


You see, long-term I want to be a writer and a mother. I think being a writer will give me the flexibility to be at home with my brewd and still contribute to the household. Additionally, I think it would allow me the flexibility to travel etc.
A dear friend and one of my running buddies suggested that I enter the Life Lessons Essay contest. The deadline is September 24th and I am going to give it a shot. But, I will need your help dear ones. So, please continue to send me your kind thoughts, wisdom, and kicks in the butt when I need them:-)


So, for right now the rest is still unwritten.

Love, Simone

My New Sister

Howdy Folks, My heart is SOOOOO full right now! Two days ago my brother got married and I got a new sister. She is beautiful, and funny, and kind, and loving, and content, and she has eye lashes that touch her eyebrows (which I am slightly jealous of) and her family is just as awesome. It was such a joyous weekend…that even the hiccups i.e. a missing groomsman and my parents being late to the rehearsal dinner they were hosting turned out to be just that…hiccups.

This is a bad picture, but I wanted you to see the back of her dress.

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