Category Archives: epic quotes

X-Ray Wednesdays: Do You Believe in Majick?

A most Happy Wednesday to you dear pilgrims!!

And an even HAPPIER
and healthy
New Year!!

 

This is the first X-Ray Wednesdays post of the New Year AND I have a MAJOR announcement.

First, let me tell you about last week.

Last week was a challenge! I didn’t have a chance to post last week because Danny and I were busying running errands and taking care of overdue business. I took it on the chin as much as I could; but Thursday when I looked at the curve balls we had been thrown, the mounting costs, and our limited funds I really got discouraged. Still, I leaned on Danny’s cool composure, trusted in his God given strength and didn’t give up hope.

Earlier that week a friend wrote an encouragement on Facebook reminding me that GOD is a GOD of infinite possibilities. I meditated on that throughout the week as Danny and I went from appointment to appointment. I reflected on it at my lowest point, choosing to believe GOD and worship Him anyway. Sure enough as we took care of one thing at a time JESUS provided and made a way.

Even though last week had its difficult moments, God continued to shower us with grace and favor. I’m thankful that we were able to recognize that. JESUS provided me with an opportunity to prove myself so I could land a position I had been searching for and finally found. With His help, I passed, which only led to another opened door for Danny and I.

However, the culmination of these blessed events happened yesterday –

hence my MAJOR announcement.

I received an email from a teacher and this is a little of what it said,

“We have an MLK Remembrance and Celebration quickly approaching, this coming Sunday in fact.

Our school hosts the Youth Celebration. Students from all over the Archdiocese have written essays and created posters honoring Dr. King and incorporating the theme “come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden”

There is a program of events including a number of Musical selections and honors on Sunday at our school, but we are in need of an opening. Doing a bit of digging, I came across your blog and found the excerpt from  your play “Do you believe in Majick” I was moved and impressed and really thought it was just the workings of the Holy Spirit that lead me to your blog! I would love 2 of our students to open the Celebration with a Dramatic Reading of this Monologue, if that would be okay with you.

If you will permit I think this would be a very poignant way to open our Program on Sunday. I have 2 – 8thgrade students who would orate this selection beautifully!”

I was speechless! I got it together and of course I agreed!

But that’s not even the BEST part…

A little back story –

I wrote the play “Do you believe in Majick?” almost four years ago during one of the most difficult times in my life. It was the apotheosis of an independent study course I took in my last semester for my B.A. in English.

About the play:

Callender's_Colored_Minstrels_plantation_sceneFrom the original blog post that the teacher referenced:

“The play is an exploration of black stereotypes down through the centuries – with a focus on the idea of ‘magical niggers’ [entertainers that existed for the consumption of White people] and ‘militant negroes’ [fighters that threatened White society].”

militants

My professor gave me and A and told me to seriously consider publishing the play and taking up songwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

Almost two years ago I posted this on Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.36.36 PM

After that post I spent a few weeks working towards the goal I had set but I allowed life to get in the way and soon forgot about it.

For the most part I forgot about the play, except for when I occasionally checked my blog stats and saw that people were still reading that old post. But never, ever could I have imagined anything like this. What an honor to have my work included in a school program celebrating a man as profound as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The fact that JESUS has allowed children to be exposed to my writing as if it were a textbook is deeply, deeply humbling.

The Best Part

The school is here in Georgia!!

That means Danny and I get to be present at this Youth Day MLK Celebration.

This is the first time I get to witness my work being read by someone else. Ever.

If you’re in the Atlanta area and would like to come out to the Youth Day program you’re invited!

The Program begins at 3pm this Sunday, January 18th

St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School

2460 Tilson Road

Decatur, Georgia.

I have done “work” in other areas but I didn’t work for this. I had absolutely nothing to do with this. I’m so glad this teacher recognized it as the work of the Holy Spirit because only JESUS could do this. This is for His glory and out of His sheer pleasure to be unreasonably kind.

I am eternally grateful. Most of all because of Christ’s assurance that I am walking in  my purpose. It doesn’t matter how many other people write, it doesn’t even matter how many people will read my writing, writing is what JESUS has called me to do and I will never stop.

This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

The dramatic reading that will open the MLK Youth Day Program will be of the following slave monologue. The character, Aaron, is based on one of the slave narratives I read during my independent study course.

auctionblockAaron: (standing up) I was born a slave!

(soft singing in the background  “No more auction block for me…No more auction block for me…etc” until Aaron finishes his monologue)

But glory to God no more auction block for me! The auction block was a sight to see. A range of Blacks aged gray and white haired to infancy. Souls being sold at the sound of a hammer. Families that God had joined together were separated forever. Blacks bartered for cash, counted as property, whipped and lashed. Broken. Their black bodies broken. Their spirits broken. The only way to survive was to live with a hope in – God. Even when I became free I found life to be hard. They thought they was using me when they came to me and asked me to tell my story but really I was using them in hopes to see the brotherhood of all humanity. It was a lesson to be learned. That people should never be converted into property. Men should never be made merchandise. As all men bare God’s image they should never be turned into instruments. Thank God for the day freedom came. I traveled the white world preaching in Jesus’ name. Yeap, (sitting back down) no more auction block for me.

I truly believe the greatest honor any writer can receive, is not some prestigious award from a bunch of snobby critics, but to hear someone from a younger generation read and engage with their work. JESUS has bestowed that honor upon me at the age of 25 and it’s just another reason, on a long list of reasons, why I owe Him my life.

So do Danny and I believe in Majick? No, not in any form. Neither one of us subscribe to the negative stereotypes of Black people seen in the media – from music to film. We don’t believe in magic or luck either. But we DO Believe in Miracles and the miracle worker – JESUS.

Pilgrims I cannot say enough about Pursuing GOD and pursuing His purpose for your life. In Christ, there will be difficulties and there are challenges but there is also unfathomable fulfillment.

Sending you so much love & light,

-CN

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Wednesdays: The Hyde…Out.

 “I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine.”

-Dr. Jekyll

jekyllhydejasonedmistonSuch an intriguing story! The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that is. Dr. Jekyll was a reputable professor who became consumed with the contrasting elements of good and evil. Jekyll concocts a potion that is intended to bring out the good in him. This potion was designed to maximize his potential for good and put his benevolent characteristics on display.

But the morality serum had a reverse effect.

It did the complete opposite, transforming the doctor into a menacing brut know as Mr. Hyde.

Hyde is villainous, he is the antithesis of everything good and he represents the bad that lives inside or Dr. Jekyll. However, although Hyde is wicked and his intentions criminal, the doctor feels liberated when his evil alter ego is in control.

He feels free when trapping his victims; he comes alive as a ravenous murderer.

Twisted isn’t it?

I wonder if Dr. Jekyll’s identity crisis still permeates today…

In fact, it does!

We all posses the capacity to be moral or immoral, good or evil, Jekyll or Hyde. For the majority of my life I roamed the streets as Mr. Hyde, preying on women and anyone I deemed weaker than me.

Mr. Hyde is the external expression of an internal deficiency.

We can call it the flesh or our human nature, but Hyde is easily summed up as the result of our degenerate way of thinking.

When our minds have not been changed by the power of God’s word, being impressed upon by popular trends and the status quo is inevitable. This way of thinking is characterized by violence and lust, greed and selfish ambition.

My view of a husband was created with this thinking.

I thought that a “good husband” was corny.

He was always chipper and pleasant.

He was a yes man and his wife wore the pants.

He was happy and singing and prancing…[in short,]

He was Wayne Brady.

WayneBrady

 

Yes, that’s what I thought;

Wayne Brady was my image of a “good” husband.

I thought, “How stupid is that? That’s not me, I’m not that guy and I don’t ever want to be!”

The sad but true realities of young black men [in America] may have had a hand in shaping my view of a good husband.

Many of my childhood friends and I hail from dysfunctional matriarchal households. That’s no knock against single mothers, but if we’re honest we would agree that its not God’s intent for the family. Because of this incomplete upbringing, my view of certain things, namely a good husband, was just as incomplete. And even more than that, it was twisted.

What I saw as chipper and pleasant was really JOY.

What I demonized as a yes man was really a PROVIDER.

His wife doesn’t wear the pants, he TEACHES her submission by submitting to her first.

He is not Wayne Brady,

he is not corny or lame,

he is CHRIST.

“Girl I love you like Christ loves the church”

…Probably the weakest line that has ever been quoted, but its derived from one of the strongest marital teachings in all of scripture. Paul instructed husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church to the extent of giving up his life for the purpose of her holiness, to cleanse her and make her presentable. Then he says again, love your wives as you as love your own bodies. [Ephesians 5:21-33]

Did you eat? If so, why is she hungry?

Do you have on lotion? If so, why is she ashy?

By following Paul’s instruction I can be certain that both the spiritual and natural needs of my wife are met.

Dr. Jekyll soon discovered that his evil counterpart was not the split personality that he first assumed it was. He realized that Mr. Hyde wasn’t a person he became when the moon was full; rather it was who he already was even in the daytime. Hyde was simply an external expression of an internal deficiency.

Similarly, we don’t sin because all the stars are aligned and there was no way of avoiding this inevitable pit fall. We sin because our way of thinking says its okay. Even when your conviction is SCREAMING at you to run in the opposite direction this way of thinking finds an excuse to override it.

This way of thinking is what nudged me to critique a good husband rather than learn how to be one.

It’s extremely poisonous to have an unchanged degenerate way of thinking.

What kind if person thinks murder is good or compassion is weak?

Who can say that mistreating your wife is admirable?

“They don’t make no award for that!”

Isn’t it better to LOVE than to hate,

to FORGIVE than condemn,

to UNDERSTAND than be understood?

In marriage it is.

Cara and Daniel - 10.23.14 (C)In 3 days, Cara and I will enter into a life-long covenant and one of the things I’m most thankful for are high-ceilings. Naturally you’re thinking of decadent living rooms and chandeliers but I’m speaking of potential, the headroom necessary for growth. Growth to escape that which we thought was liberating but is actually entangling and growth to carry the mantle of a leader.

Hyde was a sickness similar to a severe heart condition. And just like any heart condition, without proper monitoring, it can return.

The best EKG is walking with The Lord daily in humility.

I pray that your mind would be renewed, your twisted views straightened out, and that there would be nothing Hyde-ing in your heart.

D.F.

 

Wedding Wednesdays: What’s in a Wedding?

It’s WEDNESDAY!! Oh, Wednesday, fancy seeing you again.

Pilgrims, I hope you’re experiencing a day filled with joy and peace.

I have found that in the last couple days I’ve had to make a conscious effort of keeping my joy and peace. I’ve had to be on guard because my own feelings can mislead me so easily. However, I know

“The effort required is well worth it.”

Subconsciously, that is something I have been telling myself for some time now. People around me have also been encouraging me with the same sentiment just using different words.

As I typed it, I realized how much that statement has propelled me through this journey, particularly with wedding planning and marriage preparation.

DoitI’m not a quitter but LORD knows I’ve been tempted. Usually, the temptation to quit comes when we are tired from our efforts and when we don’t know what is coming as a result of all our effort.

Seeing the results of our efforts  for their full value, that’s a GOD thing.

HE sees the end from the beginning but HE doesn’t always tell us what the end looks like, we’re just instructed to follow HIM. I know HIS eyes are better than ours (#understatement) and the value of what comes at the end may be something we would not be able to recognize even if HE showed us.

And that’s why there’s a process.

The process is for us not for GOD, HE already gets it.

Yesterday, I was reminded, while engaged in a conversation, that there is a greater value to this wedding than I may have already realized. It’s something that goes deeper than a testimony of GOD’s goodness to our parents, than families getting together for a happy occasion, than friends reuniting for good times, and it’s even deeper than two people joining their lives and formally aligning their individual purposes to forge an even greater joint purpose.

It’s something beyond all of that, something I’m missing but that GOD has not missed.

And that reality has me living in a light that demands I recognize that this wedding is not about me.

Sure, I’ll be doted on. And I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to that.

But It’s not my day.

If it were my day, something I was in charge of and could control, then the temptation to quit would have turned this wedding day into a day at the courthouse about 9 months ago lol (#IJS).

And maybe this “something” that is beyond my recognition, is something that will not be recognizable for years. I won’t obsess over discovering what it is, it just has to be enough to know it exists. (I feel like I’m rambling and I wish I could articulate that knowing feeling I have better but that’s all I have right now. I suppose that’s the thing about transparency, sometimes you know to share but don’t understand why, when you haven’t even figured it out yourself.)

gettingcloser

So with only 9 days to go until November 1st – this is our wedding planning reality – 

  • Last night I had a 2 hour phone call with our extremely capable coordinator. We (Danny was on the call too) walked through every detail of the day of the wedding including the rehearsal.

Take awaysa few items to be finalized, proposed adjustments to ensure fluidity and most importantly a reminder to have my big sister in charge of my phone on the day of.  I’m just kidding about the most importantly part, well, #sortakindanotreally lol

This week we’re:

  • Reviewing the design and draft to finalize the program and get it printed.
  • Finishing the seating cards
  • Finalizing the seating arrangements
  • Reviewing all the vendor contracts and taking care of any remaining balances.
  • Ensuring that everything needed for next week will be ready for pick-up by next Thursday the latest.
  • Packing for the honeymoon!!

Attitude – Let the chips fall where they may. 

At this point all planning is complete. There’s no use in working yourself up about anything.

Whatever goes wrong goes wrong (just don’t tell the bride about it) lol.

Whoever shows up, is meant to be there.

Que sera sera. What is to be will be.

photo-1

My only goal, my only hope, for that day is to see Danny standing at the end of the aisle waiting for me.

checklistWhat’s in a wedding?

Well, according to wedding planners and experts there’s plenty of things that go into a wedding, but the truth is most of it is just stuff.

Passing vanities captured in a moment thanks to photos and videos.

Unfortunately, in America, the photos last while 50% of the marriages are dissolved.

What Should Be in a Wedding? wedding ingredients

JESUS – GOD is love. #needIsaymore

Love – a deep appreciation, a willingness to put the other before yourself and equipped with forgiveness.

Covenant – irrevocable.

Friendship – helps with communication. You should like each other at the very least, the majority of the time, lol.

Togetherness – you will be life partners. 

Trust – sustained confidence.

Determination – tenacious stubbornness and a refusal to give up on your marriage. 

Commitment – loyalty, fidelity, to GOD, to the other person, and to making your marriage work.

The “stuff” (i.e. dress, centerpieces, floral arrangements, etc.) really shouldn’t matter. Any stuff is just a plus. Even the rings are extra. They are only a symbol they don’t determine the worth of your marriage.

While a ceremony at the courthouse is not what GOD had in mind for Danny and I, there is certainly nothing wrong with it. It can still be as grand a wedding day as any celebration with a $100,000 budget.

Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable in every way, so husbands and wives should be faithful to each other…”

Whether the ceremony is in a living room, after a church service in a back room, at the courthouse, or in a grand ballroom – marriage is honorable. When you have those key ingredients you’re well on your way to a lasting marriage. And if you choose to pass up the grand ballroom and go an alternative route you’re saving a lot of money too! #naanbutthetruth

Marriage is honorable.

I’ll end this post with some well wishes someone gave Danny and I a few weeks back,

“I hope your MARRIAGE is worth more than than the rings and that it is filled with more Good Times than the wedding.”

Remember:

MARRIAGE is more important than the wedding.

photo-2 It’s truly my desire that everyone called to walk the path of marriage be in a successful and healthy marriage.

This is my last Wedding Wednesday post as a single woman. Yay!!

Next week DANNY will be writing the final Wedding Wednesday post. 

We will share pictures and video from the wedding here and on our wedding website danielandcara.com

I can’t Thank You enough for reading and being a part of this process.

Best wishes for love,

-CN

 

 

Wedding Wednesdays: Practicing. Private.

Here we are…

On another Wednesday. I hope everyone is having a spectacular day!

And if you’re struggling with that any at all, here’s a helpful hint – spectacular days start with grateful hearts, positive attitudes and “accurate” perceptions (seeing life as GOD sees life).

Here’s an Update on Our Planning Process:

Our invitations are finally, FINALLY done and have been sent out and people have started receiving them. FINALLY Done! It was such a task! Collecting all the addresses, making sure the addresses were correct and that no information was missing …AND I didn’t even do any of the really hard work – printing, stuffing pockets and envelopes, going to the post office to mail them off…but still, lol.

**One thing I’ve learned is that procrastination has been kind to me when it only affected me alone. Obviously, now that I’m getting married, my procrastination no longer affects only me and it’s affected a lot of others who have been helpful in this planning process (My bad! Truly), so I’m hoping I’ve learned my lesson there, lol.** 

The invitations came out beautifully! Danny and I couldn’t be happier.

Special thanks to our designer Yohanna Reis.

Now that the invitations are out – the REAL fun starts – receiving RSVPs and working on the seating plan.

In addition to that I still have to figure out a few technical details for our centerpieces, which are simple (on purpose) and makes the technical part all the more strange. But, whatever, its necessary.

We also met with the ministers (our premarital class facilitators who are also) officiating the ceremony and we’re excited about what we have planned.

THE MOMENT ALL BRIDES LOOK FOR

“Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this…” – Kelly Clarkson

**For the record, I am a Kelly Clarkson fan, that is, I thoroughly enjoy the music she makes. #RockOn! #IDigress #MovingOn**

SO I’m going to be honest…

Up until the moment I saw the finished invitation, I didn’t really have the “Oh my gosh I’m marrying the love of my life!” moment.

Even when I was trying on dresses,  it all seemed so foreign to me.

The closer I get to the wedding day, the more I lean and include Danny in all the planning and the more I text my sister every wedding thought I have when it hits the more I have felt like a bride.

But yesterday my moment came. When I saw the completed package and held the invitation with our names and saw my name, my dad’s name,  and Danny’s father’s name – I was overcome with happiness, my eyes welled with tears…invitationpackage

“I’M GETTING MARRIED!” 

And yes, the marriage is way more important than the wedding. And again, let me be honest here: I have struggled with having a wedding. One minute I was at peace with the idea and other times I felt like it was more trouble than it was worth.

But GOD has totally changed my perspective on that.

This wedding is a BIG deal!

To our families? Yes. 

But even more so because of what it means to me…

This wedding is the  tangible reality of a promise GOD made to me six years ago. Even beyond that, GOD is using this wedding to show Himself strong to my parents, reminding them of where they started and the position HE has placed them in now.

When GOD brought that to my attention, and I REALLY understood it, I looked at this wedding, at this entire process in a very different light.

Sure…it’s about Daniel and I coming together but that  wouldn’t have been possible without

The Orchestrator of it all,

The ONE

Who thought of me,

Danny,

Our families

Before

HE laid the foundations of the earth.

This wedding is about GOD being GOD in my life, in Danny’s life, in the lives of our families…and I’m so thankful for the people who will be able to celebrate and witness this next step with us. 

Which brings me to my next and final points.

Practicing. Private.

One thing that was emphasized in our pre-marital class was having a plan in place (for conflict, for dealing with money, etc.) and practicing those principles even before you say I do. Sometimes practice comes in the form of actions , like in the middle of a misunderstanding, and sometimes practice comes in the form of discussion, like planning out a budget. for your family.

One area I’ve needed practice is in handling conflict and putting right thinking into action (not just knowing the correct thing but actually doing what I know to be correct).

Other areas people can practice are speaking highly of your spouse-to-be and never speaking ill of your spouse-to-be. That goes for men and women but particularly to us as ladies, because we can get overly emotional and have the “need” to “vent” – I spoke about that more in detail in last week’s post (Bridesmaids).

Marriage is a private, intimate, and sacred thing instituted by GOD. 

In a world where so much of our lives seem lived for the sole purpose of sharing it on Social Media it’s good to have this reminder – that some moments are so intimate, so special that they should be kept private and that it’s okay to be selfish sometimes.

You don’t have to share everything with the rest of the world.

The day-to-day inner workings of your marriage should not be disclosed to other haphazardly. If you’re married we shouldn’t be able to tell that you and your spouse just had a disagreement because of your latest post. You don’t have to share every time your spouse surprises you with a gift just because.

Private moments aren’t just found in marriage they’re all around us. I had the opportunity to work with author Lana Reid and she truly is wonderful at what she does.  I loved what she said in this quote –

 

Don’t get me wrong, there is much insight that can be gleaned by others through our sharing  private moments with others. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have this blog. However, sometimes I think we share things prematurely and it can become a situation where we, intentionally or unintentionally, begin to rely on the attention and approval of others as a measuring stick for our happiness

I just wonder…if Social Media existed during Bible times would David have taken a selfie right after he had been anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel? David didn’t become King until years later.

What if David would have taken a selfie and posted it on Instagram likeKing David Rei Davi

Photo Source: http://biblefilms.blogspot.com/2014_01_01_archive.html

#anointed #nextKingofIsrael #SaulImcomingforya #bowdown – how would we feel about him today?

People, especially loyal servants of King Saul, would probably leave comments like #boystop #pumpyourbrakes and maybe even death threats (since apparently you can use social media for that kind of thing). 

Photo Source: www.laywhispers.com
Photo Source: http://www.laywhispers.com

My point is, before David became King he had to go through a process – an intimate and private process with GOD. Yes, we can read about it now and it resonates with us and it’s because David went through that process the right way. David didn’t seek to promote himself, he waited on GOD to do the promotion.

If GOD has given you something precious, be it a marriage, a child, a goal, a book idea, anythingbe careful of sharing prematurely and attempting to make it happen according to your time. Check your motives for sharing. You don’t have to cause a ruckus just to inform the world of your next move…just make it.  

And remember-

Every good and perfect gift comes from GOD (James 1:17)

Promotion comes from GOD (Psalm 75: 6-7)

And Your Father who sees what is done in private will reward you openly (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18)

And when GOD rewards you openly, you don’t have to hide it….

Go ahead share that thing ALL Over social media – lol

Just remember to tell the whole story – the days you were discouraged, the tears you may have shed along the way, the times you may have failed and yet GOD remained true to His Word.

It’s Practicing. Private. and ultimately Sharing –

The right way. 

Wishing you wisdom, courage, love and peace along your journey,

-CN

Wedding Wednesdays: If You Ask Me I’m Ready

“I was wondering maybe, could I make you my baby/If we do the unthinkable, would it make us go crazy/Or would it be so beautiful/Either way I’m saying/If you ask me I’m ready…” – Alicia Keys, Unthinkable

“It’s hard to love someone,” Jada Pinkett Smith said, “It takes so much courage and so much strength.”

Unconditional love is unthinkable. 

It’s unthinkable because it’s difficult.

In our human experience we tend to shy away from difficulties, challenges, and suffering-

So why do people run to love? Or rather, run to an idolized idea of love? An idea that is often devastatingly limited? 

Does love hurt? Is love supposed to hurt?

If you find yourself in a “love” situation and are feeling pain should you look for, run to, and run through your nearest exit? 

Based on my own experience this is what I can share –

Love DOES hurt sometime.

CHRIST died for us because HE loved us so much and that was the only way we could one day be with Him –

pain doesn’t get much more “hurt” than that.

Not only did HE die for people who claim to love Him back (and still manage to fail living up to His example constantly) but HE also died for those who had and who would reject him.

Unrequited love is probably the worse slow burn one can imagine.

But unrequited love isn’t the only reason love can hurt.

Love hurts because it is death to self and to one’s ego. 

It’s unnatural, at least in Western society, to but aside one’s own ambitions and well being to focus all attention and efforts on the well being of another. It’s not so hard when children are involved because…they are children and helpless to navigate the world on their own. But placing another capable adult before yourself, well that’s an entirely different thing altogether.

Love is about sacrifice.

And last time I checked, in the moment, sacrifice doesn’t feel good.

In fact, if sacrifice doesn’t hurt then it’s probably not as big or as meaningful a sacrifice as one might like to think.

What’s a $100 dollars to a billionaire?

And then there’s that other issue of LONG-SUFFERING which encompasses patience and forgiveness. Long-suffering is certainly not a lovey-dovey-feel-good word, but still, its a word that I’ve found characterizes the best marriages and relationships.

Exercising patience with one’s spouse and being quick to extend forgiveness so that the relationship can continue to grow and progress forward as unhindered as possible is critical to a healthy relationship.

PLEASE NOTE

While love does come with experiencing “hurt” to a degree –

The hurt experienced from “LOVE” should NEVER be physical or emotional pain resulting from physical or verbal abuse.

LOVE IS NOT ABUSE.

And long-suffering DOES NOT mean remaining in an abusive relationship hoping the perpetrator will one day change and come around to good sense. 

Love elevates. It never degrades. 

**If you find yourself in an abusive situation, marriage or relationship, PLEASE get helpthere is 24/7 confidential support – call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or go to www.thehotline.org IMMEDIATELY**

In a healthy relationship, it does take an unnatural and unthinkable amount of courage and strength (and it starts with a willingness to possess those two things) to love another person.

But if you ask me –

I’m ready.

And I have a confession, I’m not ready because I was born ready. Or because I always felt confident in my courage and strength and ability to love.

The road to readiness first started with my Heavenly Father and placing my heart in His hands – and trusting that HE would protect me so that I wouldn’t have to spend my life looking over my shoulder, watching my own back, or stuck in self-preservation mode.

My readiness started with surrender and a willingness to possess the courage and strength required to believe GOD and love others.

In my case, I also had the loving reassurance of a solid community around me – Starting with my earthly father who truly believes there is little I’m incapable of doing perhaps because of his God-confidence in the job he and my mother did with raising me. My mother, older sister/Matron of Honor, and numerous faith-filled friends (including other brides and newly-wed women) have all encouraged me along this journey.

And finally, and most relevant to my betrothal to marriage journey is the example of Danny himself.

My heart is so full, I feel like my chest is about to burst!

The last two weeks have been trying. My car broke down, and the first day Danny gave me his car to use I ran over a nail lowering the pressure in one of his tires.

Thankfully, my car is up and running now and GOD worked it out so that repairs didn’t cost nearly as much as we first calculated.

Still, for two weeks we shared one car. Fortunately, for the most part, our work schedules are opposite of each other. But for two weeks Danny put himself at a disadvantage, limiting his movement to accommodate my going to work.

For two weeks, without complaint, I watched him work tirelessly to ensure that I was taken care of – from transportation to work to belly laughter when my heart was heaviest to exercising patience with me at my moodiest.

Danny’s smile and sacrifice helped me to view the situation with a grateful heart towards GOD and GOD fanned the flames of gratitude, keeping my eyes open to HIS goodness and granting me magnanimous mercies.

Through Danny’s undaunted and undiminshed example of light and love my confidence in my ability to be strong enough and courageous enough to love and respect him (the way he deserves to be loved and respected) swelled.

There are countless other acts of kindness , friendship and love that Danny has shown me over the 11 years that I’ve known him, including, giving us the space to grow, apart from each other.

Ultimately, that was God’s way of preparing us to grow together.

In a world filled with madness, especially in these times, I’m thankful to have a strong loving leader and partner, someone to walk through the rest of this life with.

I could not have found, worked for, asked for, or prayed for a better man to be my laughing partner, life partner and best friend. 

I am confident

I am ready

I have the courage

I have the strength

To love this man with my whole heart for the rest of my life –

Challenges, Obstacles, Disappointments, Death to Self, Sacrifice, Long-suffering and All

I am ready to love him and to accept without fear, doubt or question the love he gives me, for the rest of our lives, this side of heaven.

P.S. I got our Engagement Photos Back – YAY!!

We took them at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Shout out to our wonderful photographers husband and wife Jeff and Lia of JL Veritas photography! So much fun to work with!!

Here are some of my favs:

**To see all of them you can check out the photo album on our wedding website danielandcara.com**

Nose to Nose. Heart to Heart Black and White Ring Bling Come Close Necking So Kiss Me

Thanks for rocking with me along this journey fellow pilgrims –

It’s always a pleasure to share with you 🙂

Peace.&.Blessings on this Wednesday,

-CN

Wedding Wednesdays: Let the Good Times Roll!

It starts.

Excitement is one thing, but actually enjoying the anticipated good times is quite another thing altogether.

It seems, at least from where I’m typing, that those times are here!

letthegoodtimesroll

Just a day short of exactly 8 months to the day of being engaged – 

Danny and I took our engagement photos! 

For the record, I didn’t want a long engagement. However, I was also particular about the time of year we wanted the wedding. This past Spring would have been too soon. And I definitely wasn’t planning on waiting til Spring 2015. And Autumn is another favorite time of year…and not just because its the season my birthday falls in. LOL.

Anyhoo on Sunday Danny and I went to a not-so-secret location for our engagement photo shoot. We had one change of casual clothes so one set of the photos are more dressed up than the other.

The photos won’t be ready for another few weeks and of course the big reveal will happen here once they finally are ready. 

I’m typically a little uncomfortable in front of the camera but I had a blast!! The photographers we worked with were wonderful!

I’ll talk more about them once I get and post the photos.

It was an ultra hot day in Atlanta –

ATLskyline

Partly cloudy. 92 degrees. Humidity was thick!

The shoot lasted about two hours.

I didn’t have my phone on me most of the time so these few pics I snapped of Danny were from when I got to change into my casual change of clothes. He changed before me so he’s already in his casual set here.

TheFin

Look at those bulging biceps! :Swoons: LOL

Oh wait.

Am I not supposed to swoon over those guns? 

I’m not in this just for his good looks. But I appreciate them! 

Ready

Here’s me in my casual top – after the fact… 

caranaan

After the engagement shoot session we went out for lunch.

I really enjoyed going out and being with him because in those moments I get to enjoy being his fiancee. I’m not a bride-to-be who is utterly consumed with planning a wedding. I’m not a future wife consumed with being perfect for her future husband.

In those moments I am simply a happy and content fiancée enjoying the company of her fiancé.

And for that reason alone I appreciate what has ended up being a long engagement.

Too many times as women we obsess over going from girlfriend to wife that we skip out on the joy found in being a fiancée. Its a process and a journey to be enjoyed no matter how long or short the engagement period. 

As I await these pictures coming in, the other fun project I get to work on is centerpieces and Danny and I get to finalize the invitations (and by default the guest list) with our graphic designer.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of this journey to the altar as much as I can over these next few months.

As of this Friday, August 1st, we will have exactly three months left!

Whoo!!

Happy Wednesday All!

Much love to you,

-CN

 

Wedding Wednesdays: The Bride Who Knows

Happy Wednesday Love Birds!!

I get married in Exactly 100 days –

Let the countdown begin!

Or

“Onward” as my dear fiancé said.

At this point – I can say with complete conviction that I am excited!!

I can’t wait to become Mrs. Findlay –

Typing that made me blush and made my tummy flutter!

It’s been a journey so far.

Pulling all the plans together,

Making decisions

…But it ALL has been good for me.

Even when tensions have been high and when I’ve felt overwhelmed.

Wedding planning has forced me to mature and grow in areas that I allowed to lay dormant, mainly, continuing to speak up even when its uncomfortable and not compromising on what Danny and I have decided we want. I’ve seen the growth!

One thing I have learned is that it is OKAY to change my mind. Re-examing all my options or receiving additional information that proves one option is better than another and making changes accordingly is OKAY.

Changing my mind Does Not make me an indecisive bridezilla. 

I came across this excerpt on psych-your-mind.blogspot.com:

“Brides who take the lead in planning their weddings may find themselves caught between opposing pressures. The ideals of femininity wrapped up in the traditional bridal role–innocence, submissiveness, sweetness–are not very compatible with the demands of being an effective wedding planner. Successfully navigating the sometimes ruthless wedding industry requires assertiveness, tough negotiation skills, and the ability to make decisions that won’t necessarily please everyone. Behaviors such as these that deviate from the feminine ideal can come dangerously close to the “bridezilla” stereotype. Brides may feel torn between wanting to appear pleasantly agreeable and wanting to stand up for themselves on important issues, such as budgetary concerns.”

But being assertive, tough, and making decisions and sticking to them or changing your mind in order to make a better decision DOES NOT make me or any other woman who does this a bridezilla.

It just makes her, or me in this case, a bride who knows how to navigate through the endless options to find what she wants.

So yes, I did have to speak up and voice my wishes or disagreement with certain things, if for nothing more than simple personal preference.

Yes, I fired my wedding coordinator when I realized that we weren’t on the same page and our expressed wishes as a couple weren’t being considered.

Being assertive, tough, or speaking up loudly enough so that your voice isn’t drowned out and is taken seriously isn’t always easy or fun. But I have found it is necessary.

Thank GOD I have been gifted with a life partner who encourages me and is the support I need to be assertive and tough. I often rely on his strength but I’m glad that I’m whole enough to do it even when he’s absent.

beautifulwoman

 

 

 

 

 

 

So CHEERSChampagne-Toast

TO THE WOMEN & BRIDES WHO KNOW

  • A wedding is for the marriage, the marriage isn’t just for the wedding. A wedding is one-day set aside to celebrate a life long marriage.
  • That the most important guests at the wedding are GOD and the groom
  • The show can and must go on even if and when perfect plans fail and the sky falls
  • It takes a strong woman to submit
  • Marriage is two whole people coming together, complementing each other rather than completing each other and working as partners…FOREVER
  • “No,” is a full sentence.
  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • It’s okay to change your mind.
  • It’s okay to stick with your gut instincts even when its hard to articulate or give a verbal explanation.
  • That you can be tough and assertive without being a bridezilla.
  • You can free yourself from those things and/or people that may be holding you back.

I will see the rest of this wedding planning through…and hire a day of coordinator. But on November 1st, 2014 the most important thing will be meeting Danny at the end of that walk down the aisle.

On that day, I fully intend to be a carefree bride.

carefreebride

Here’s to knowing!

Love. &. Light to all.

-CN