My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

Tag: When Things Go Wrong (page 1 of 3)

2016 Review (or Why This Blog’s Been Silent 6 Months)

Y’all. I’ve been working on this 2016 review for weeks.

But I just haven’t been able to get my act together.  Typically, I like to spend the last few days of a year reflecting on all that’s happened.  You know, the highs, the lows, how I’ve navigated and God’s grace through it all.

The thing is,  2016 has not been typical.

As 2017 opens, I wanted to share a not-so-brief update on why I’ve been MIA. And ask for a bit of grace as my life drastically changes in a few weeks.

The primary reasons I’ve been out of touch are: a baby, a book and our new little bungalow. Since it’s been a while since we’ve chatted, I’ll just give you a chronological update (and lots of pictures) of the last six months. Continue reading

How NOT to Talk to Guys

Image | David Wygant

I had a problem when I was single. I didn’t know how to talk to guys. I know what you are thinking. “Simone, you are the farthest thing from shy?! What was your problem?”When it came to guys that I thought I might like…I had a bad habit of ignoring them. I got all nervous, and couldn’t think straight, and couldn’t make coherent sentences.

In other words, I lost all sense of normalcy. So, I resorted to ignoring them in an effort to keep from saying something completely stupid.Here is a typical conversation that I might have had with a guy that I have no interest in what so ever.

Conversation A
Simone: Good Morning, Titus! How are you?
Guy A: Good, Simone, how are you?

Simone: Well, thank you. Did you have a good weekend?
Guy A: I did, but I didn’t do much watched the game, hung out with some friends, and went running. That’s about it.

Simone: Sounds like you had a good weekend! I went running too, but the heat made it pretty tough. I’m going to try and run earlier next weekend. Are you training for anything?
Guy A: Yes, the Marine Corp Marathon. I’ve run it a couple of years in a row.

Simone: Whoa! That’s awesome. I dream about doing a marathon one day, but I’m not there yet. Congratulations on setting that tremendous physical goal, Titus. It was good to talk to you. Have a good day!
Guy A: You too, Simone. See you later.

Now, for the conversation with the guy that I thought I might like…but I had no idea because I’ve never had a decent conversation with him.

Conversation B
Guy B: Hi Simone! How are you?
Simone: Well, thank you.

Guy B: Did you have a good weekend?
Simone: Yes, thank you.

Guy B: Oh, what did you do?
Simone: Nothing much, just hung around.

Guy B: Well, that sounds nice. Have a good day, Simone
Simone: Thanks.

Why on Earth did I do this?

Things worked out in the end, and I wound up with my dream man. But, it turns out I’m not the only one with this problem.

If you too get a case of the heebie jeebies when it comes to talking to guys… try these 3 tips:

  • Smile: It turns out that guys almost never approach girls that look mean or unapproachable.
  • Don’t Jump the Gun: Aim for having a short friendly conversation, and avoid the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out what your future children will look like. It’s simply too much pressure.
  •  Compliment Him: All God’s children like compliments. No matter how confident a man looks on the outside, he still needs to know he’s enough. And, compliments are a great way to kick off a conversation.
    It might seem a little scary at first, but you got this! Question: What other ways can single women let guys know they are interested? 

My Parents Don’t Agree with New Jersey

Last week, same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey. I haven’t discussed this topic with my parents, but I know they don’t agree with New Jersey.

You see, I learned my parents beliefs by what they did. They took me and my siblings to church. They told us they were praying for our respective spouses, and taught us to be loving toward others. They always taught me to show kindness. And, to never be afraid to share my beliefs.

Me with my Kindergarten Class

In kindergarten, I was afraid to pray at lunch time and give thanks to God for my meals. The kids at school made fun of me. So, I stopped praying, because I was embarrassed. For some reason, my Dad asked me about saying my prayers at dinner one day. And, I started to cry.

I knew my dad would be disappointed in me.

My Dad told me that I should continue praying for my lunch at school and that I should never be afraid of what other people think. He told me that I have to be brave and strong. My dad was always teaching me to be brave and strong.

Dad and Me

At five, he left me at Pizza Hut to order pizza and eat lunch while he went across the street to buy paint.

At six, he sent me into the Sheraton Hotel to retrieve a visitor that was joining my family for dinner. I walked into the hotel lobby, went to the front desk, and asked the concierge for Ms. Rutherford.  My dad waited at the curb in the “no parking” area in front of a hotel.

He was always pushing me beyond what I thought I could achieve. That’s what a good father does…he provides security and a safe place for you to fall and stumble and to grow. A good father teaches you to be brave, and helps you to push your own limits.

But, it was my mother that actually went to school and prayed with me at lunch time. That’s what a good mother does…she teaches you, shows you the way, and she is there to comfort you.

Me as an infant with my mother

And, for some odd reason when my mother joined me for lunch…all the kids joined in and wanted to pray too. I think it is because my mother is tall and glamorous and people love being around her. She prayed with me and all the kids wanted to join in.

That’s why I needed both parents. My dad helped me be brave and strong. And, my mother held my hand and went with me during the tough times.

My parents don’t agree with New Jersey, and neither do I. Families need both parents, a mother and a father.

Seeking Approval

My brother told me that my last post amounted to a tweet, and that I need to work on expanding my idea. That’s one of the reasons my family is fantastic…we keeps it real. So, here goes…

I guess what I was trying to say in my last post is this: Christians are sometimes portrayed as happy go-lucky people that are immune to the struggles of life. But, that is a false notion.

We have trouble, we have enemies, and we have every-day struggles. And, each time I face some trouble, an enemy, or a struggle I try to ask myself “What is God trying to teach me?” But, it often takes me a while to complete the journey from initial reaction to self-reflection.

Today, I learned that I
really
really 
really want people to like me.

Two weeks ago, I applied to the Leadership Development Program at my job. The Program is a training series for high potential employees that have the potential to lead. And, I really wanted to get in. But, I didn’t tell anyone that I was applying, because I am super competitive.

And, I didn’t want people to ask me whether or not I was accepted.

And, I wanted to make it seem like applying was effortless. ( You know, the way someone compliments you on your hair, or new shoes, or whatever and you want to make it seem effortless so you say “Oh, this old thing. I’ve had this fooooorever).

And, I really wanted that validation that said: “Yes, S.B., you belong here. And, we acknowledge you are an excellent employee, an asset to the organization, and a nice person. We wish all employees were like you. And, we want you to be a future leader.”

But, I was rejected

And, I was crushed.

I spent the afternoon crying in my office, and dreaming of revenge. I know! I would apply for a job at Google. Get hired. And, tender my resignation with pomp and circumstance and let those jokers know that I am going to greener pastures and that I had a new AWESOME job.

But, that didn’t happen.

So, after a two-week road trip to self-reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that what I really wanted was approval from my job. Despite having the approval of my God, my husband, and my family…I still wanted outside validation. And, that is a dangerous place to be.

The approval and unconditional love of my top three (God, husband, and family) should be enough. And, it is. I just have to remind myself of that often.

In response to my most recent learning adventure, I’ve decided to further develop relationships with my husband and family that create an environment of approval and validation. I never want them to feel like they are without love or approval. So, I did some research on the topic. Would you like to know what I learned and give it a shot? Okay, let’s try these 3 tips…..

3 Tips for Demonstrating Approval 


TAKE INTEREST IN THEIR INTEREST.
If your sister is interested in fashion, ask for her opinion on the latest trends. Doing so demonstrates that her opinion is valuable and that you are listening.

HONOR THEM.
If your mother picked up your kids from school, honor her by explaining specifically what the help meant to you  specifically, buy her a nice perfume, OR write a nice thank you letter and mail it.

DROP THE CRITICISM.
Resist the temptation to correct your loved ones at every turn. You have made mistakes, and they will too! Unless it is detrimental to their health and well-being be supportive and only offer advice when asked.

What need for approval have you overcome today?

It Was Hard to be A Christian Today…

Someone was cruel to my brother today, and I wanted to fight them. 
But, I can’t. 
Because I’m a Christian. 
We, Christians, are supposed to “love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and pray for those that use us.” 
But, that is hard to do… 
So, I am resorting to crying, blogging, and praying ( in that order).

How to Dig Your Marital Grave in the Quickest Possible Way

I opened the refrigerator door last week to discover that two bags of frozen vegetables had been removed from the freezer, opened, and placed in the refrigerator.

The bags of vegetables were identical.

Both bags were clearly labeled:  KEEP FROZEN.

Yet, the vegetables had been left in the refrigerator.

This was a major problem. And, I was furious.

Only one other person lives in our 300 sq ft studio apartment. So, I knew immediately knew who to blame.

Why had our Trader  Joe’s Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts & Wild Mushrooms been carelessly moved to the refrigerator?

Each bag cost $2.99. ( A total of $6.49 with tax).

Didn’t I always say “waste not, want not?”

This was clearly wasting.  And, hungry children across the globe could have feasted for a week on $6.49.

I thought about calling Morris at work to inquire about the reason for leaving frozen vegetables in the refrigerator. But, I decided against it.

Thankfully.

On the way to work, I was saved by the words of Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.  In Part Six of his book, Carnegie describes the great tragedy of Abraham Lincoln’s life – his marriage. For almost a quarter century, Mrs. Lincoln nagged and harassed the life out of him.

She was always complaining, always criticizing her husband; nothing about him was ever right. He was stoop-shouldered, he walked awkwardly and lifted his feet straight up and down like an Indian. She complained that there was no spring in his step, no grace in his movement; and she mimicked his gait. She didn’t like the way his huge ears stood out at right angles. She even told him that his nose wasn’t straight, and on, and on, and on. Did all this nagging and scolding and raging change Lincoln? In one way, yes. It certainly changed his attitude toward her. It made him regret his unfortunate marriage, and it made him avoid her presence as much as possible. While a circuit attorney, he remained out on the circuit for three months in the spring and three months in autumn. Other attorneys managed to return home for the weekends, but Lincoln dreaded to go home. So, he didn’t. Such are the results that Mrs. Lincoln obtained by nagging.

The aforementioned chapter is entitled, How to Dig Your Marital Grave in the Quickest Possible Way.

And after reading it, I decided that $6.49 and two bags of frozen vegetables were not worth nagging about.

By the way, there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for the vegetables to be in the refrigerator: Morris was thawing them to eat for breakfast the following morning.

A Face of Courage: Antoinette Tuff

Last week, Morris and I studied courage. In the series, The 12 Traits of the Greats courage is defined as the mental or moral strength to venture. 12 Traits explains that courage is more about action than forethought and that success is simply the action of getting of the bleachers and getting involved.

Antoinette Tuff
Photo from Gwinnett Daily Post

That’s what Antoinette Tuff did this week when she persuaded a would-be murderer at an elementary school to put down his AK-47 and surrender to the police. She got involved.

 

Ms. Tuff didn’t wait for others to get involved. She didn’t wait to see what was going to happen. She didn’t analyze the perils of getting involved. She just went with the wisdom of Nike and just did it.

 

And, because of her courage untold lives were saved.

12 Traits says that when you force yourself to do the opposite of what your natural tendencies are telling you to do, and when you turn toward fear instead of away from it, your fear shrinks.

After hearing the story of Ms. Tuff, I decided to start marketing my writing again and shrinking my fears. You see, I had a couple of story ideas rejected in the past year…and it takes some time for me to bounce back. So, I haven’t submitted any articles to publishers in weeks. But, hearing Ms. Tuff’s story inspired me and gave me courage – I submitted three stories this week to newspapers and magazines.

 

Other folks in my family are shrinking their fears too. My brother, Izo, is leaving his job at a mortgage company this week to pursue his dream of being a producer- with no job prospects in sight. And my brother, Zaiah, has a tryout with a developmental team for the NBA in early September.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Courage has many faces, and here are a three that inspire me:

Sir Winston Churchill
Photo from Wikipedia
Tank Man in Tiananman Square
Photo by Charlie Cole
Cesar Chavez
Photo from Wikipedia
What  face of courage has inspired you?
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