3 things never, ever to discuss in bed

I’ll even go so far as to say, “Keep these 3 things out of the bedroom altogether.”Messy bed

MONEY – Whether it’s bad or good information, keep it out of the bedroom.
I don’t care if you just won the lottery and want to cover the sheets with benjamins so you can roll around in it. Trust me! Don’t do it. It will start out fun and then lead to statements like these,
“Think of what we could have done with all this money 5, 10, 15 years ago…”
“Why didn’t we save more? I always said you spent too much money…”
“How much do those highlights cost again?!”
The bedroom is where the magic happens, NOT the budget!

WORK – Nothing kills a sex drive quicker than talking about your newest project at work or the girl who dresses like she’s going to a bar. Maybe she is going to a bar. Leave her alone! You’re in bed with someone who you don’t have to pick up in the bar. STOP TALKING ABOUT WORK!
The bedroom is for words you wouldn’t use anywhere else, NOT for debriefing about your coworkers.

FAMILY – This includes but is not limited to…
Your beautiful children that you love so much you could just “eat ’em up!”
Your sister’s recent vacay.
Your brother’s girlfriend and all the reasons you know it isn’t going to last.
Your aunt’s cat’s arthritis.
Your cousin’s new band and the business plan you wrote that he hasn’t asked you for.
Your mom. (Especially, your mom)
Your dad’s latest hunting story. (My man loves a good hunt, but the moment I bring up my father when we’re trying to set the mood, forget about it. Ain’t gonna happen.)
The surgery that your stepbrother’s dog is being prepped for and how much it’s going to cost.
The seating chart for the next holiday get together.
The bedroom is a reservation for two, NOT a family reunion.

Now, if you find yourself wanting/needing to talk about one of these things, get up, go sit at the kitchen table or on the sofa and talk about it there. Better yet, wait until tomorrow. Chances are things will be a lot clearer and you’ll be in a better mood.

This is a decade worth of wisdom that you don’t even have to thank me for. Just stop bringing baggage into your bed. It’s much easier to move around that way.

You’re thinking, “It can’t be that simple?” It is. It’s that simple. Everything else can wait until your next therapy session.

I know there are like a bazillion other no-no’s for that fragile time before (whatever your code word is for sex) happens. Go ahead, tell us in the comments what you’ve learned never to talk about in the bedroom…

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To my Son’s Wife

3F9B1096Dear Daughter-in-law,

I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I know that sounds strange since my boys are only 5 and 7, but I can’t help thinking about their future. After all, I am the one who has been with them from the moment their past began.

I hear horror stories about mother-in-laws. It’s easy for me to say, “That’s ridiculous! She’s crazy! I’ll never act like that!” Truth be told, I don’t know how I will act when he falls head over heels for you. I would hope I will be supportive and not overbearing, loving and not smothering, wise counsel and not unsolicited advice.

Here’s the thing…I think I understand a little better why mother-in-laws get the “Crazy Lady” label. Some of us have trouble letting go of being the primary girl in his life. Some of us aren’t sure how to transition from being the last to wish him sweet dreams before sleep and the first to greet him in the morning, to the one you have to remind him to call.

There’s just something about a mother and son that is too precious to wrap words around. There is something about the space in a mother’s heart for the baby she raises into a man. There is a meshing of sorts that cannot be undone. And I’m not so sure it should have to be.

Please understand, I do not, nor have I ever, lived for my boys. I believe that to live is Christ. Everything else is a futile attempt at purpose. I’m not going to tell you that I gave up everything and sacrificed my life for them. We all make sacrifices. It comes down to what we are willing to sacrifice for. That looks different for everyone. Honestly, my life is so much fuller, richer and exciting because of my children. I cannot imagine what I would be doing were I not their mother.

I want to ask that you see one thing very clearly. That is, I have made every effort to instill in my children that there is only one opinion that matters. God’s. He is the great Creator. He chose exactly how they would be put together and how their mind, heart and spirit would work together and sometimes against each other. No one knows them better than He. Not me, not their earthly father, not even you, though I know that’s hard to hear.

So I have begun praying. For you, for him, for me…I’m praying that nothing will ever come between him and his relationship with the one who knows him best. I’m praying that you will encourage him to grow his relationship with Christ and always place it as highest priority. It may not seem like it now, but if that relationship is healthy, your relationship stands a much better chance of being strong and wildly fulfilling.

I could make a list of all the things I wish for you and him. All the things I want in a wife for my son. Honestly darling, I want nothing but God’s will. All else is fleeting and empty.

Please believe me when I say that I do not want to be regarded, by you or anyone, a monster-in-law. I am working on me. I have much to work on. I am also praying that God will guard my son’s heart, mind and spirit against confusion. That he will not mistake lust for love, manipulation for sincerity, ultimatums for resolution, insecurity for confidence, or persuasion for honesty.

I do, at times wonder if I have already met you. If I have looked into your eyes and seen your smile. Only time will tell. Just know that I do not take the responsibility of “Mother” lightly and I am doing the best I can to raise men of integrity. I hope that you will rest in the assurance that I am covering you with love and light, while praying God’s protection over your heart, soul, mind and body.

Gratefully Yours,
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3 Mistakes Moms in Recovery Make

Big HeartPeople have asked me, especially now that my daughter is 15, “How do you explain your past to your children?” My answer is, “I don’t.”

Bella has always been a curious child and I am very open and honest with her. There is no other way to be if I want her to live a life that is happy, joyous and free. The questions started when she was around age 4. Questions that most teenagers are asking their friends. At first, I was surprised. “Why is she even thinking about these things? Where would she have heard that word?” When I realized that none of that mattered, I was left with a decision. How do I respond and do I integrate lessons from my past with my answer? Nothing gets your prayer life started like unlocking a closet full of skeletons.

After 11 years of conversations with my daughter, here is what I know not to be helpful when treading through unknown territory.

1.) Too much, too soon.
Guilt is an interesting thing. It almost always goes hand in hand with fear. You can bet where there is guilt, there will be fear. I have several mama friends in recovery and we have all struggled with this. Just because your child asks, doesn’t mean they want a play by play. Only say as much as needed and speak from a place of wisdom. Reverting back to a time of rebellion will only end badly.

It’s okay to tell your child that you’re not sure how to answer their question and will have to give it a few moments of thought. Do not let them leave the conversation as you may never have the opportunity again. In that moment, ask God for clear direction.

Also, you don’t have to spill your guts in one sitting. Only address the things that pertain to the question/circumstances. If my child is talking about an eating disorder, I’m not going to focus on drug use.

2.) Not enough.
Just because you were a hellion, doesn’t mean your child will be. Don’t avoid the truth for fear of passing on the curse. You are not cursed. We all acted out to some degree. For some of us it was bringing home a B on our report card. For others…well…it was in a whole different realm of behaviors.

At some point your child is probably going to ask you, “Did you ever smoke pot? Drink before you were legal? Break curfew? Have sex? Get a tattoo? …You fill in the blank. Some many people will disagree with me, but here goes…

When my children look me in the eyes and ask me a question, I answer them truthfully. To some, lying is “protecting.” No, lying is lying and once it starts it’s difficult to stop. Honesty saved me from a miserable life. It was difficult. I once lied about everything. Even when there was no cause to lie, I lied. It made getting honest foreign and all the more difficult, but so incredibly freeing on the other side.

If there is one thing I never want to be to my children, it’s hypocritical.

3.) The shame game
Shame is contagious. Make sure it ends with you.
I get it. It sucks having to come clean to a kid, but what’s even worse is hiding. Darkness leads to relapse (no matter what your vice). It’s not possible to hide in the light so take up residency there.

You may be afraid of what people will think. “I’ll never be invited to serve on the PTA or be in a moms club or lead a girl scout troop or make cookies for bible study…” Remember, if you are still looking to someone else to prove your worth, you will never “feel” good enough. Besides, most things are highly overrated in our minds.

Worried about your image? Ask yourself whose image you are shadowing. I know that I am created in the image of a God who loves me and has a great plan and purpose for my life. When I think about His image, my confidence is restored and I no longer fear the actions of man.

I can’t tell you how much is too much or how little is not enough. Even if I knew your story, I couldn’t decide that for you. I would encourage you to pray. Ask God to guide your thinking. He gives us what we need when we need it and it works out as it should. It sounds simple, because it is, but it is far from easy. Examine your motives, asking yourself, “Why do I feel the need to share this? Is it helpful? Will it only make me feel better for the few moments I am sharing it, but lead down a path I never intended?”

Most importantly, for me at least, speak from a place of love, gratitude and hope. Be a living, breathing example that no one is beyond redemption. Do not overlook consequences or give permission. Do be authentic.

In the end, love always wins.

 

In It to End It

fb_profile3Yesterday I disappeared…from social media, that is.
And as ridiculous and spoiled as it sounds, it was incredibly difficult.
I realized how often I quickly scroll through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest on my phone while sitting in traffic, in the carpool line, at my kitchen table, in the drive-thru at Starbucks, before falling asleep…crazy right?

It was eye-opening and heartbreaking to think of how technology has become so second nature that it’s a reflex when so many have no voice. When I want to say something, often of no importance, I hop on one of my many social media outlets and “express myself.” Yesterday, I had to stop multiple times throughout the day from logging into the loop of instant updates.

As I sit here on my chenille sofa, typing on my MacBook Pro, with a cup of hot tea at my fingertips (to help soothe the cold I feel coming on), I am forced to think of the 27 million people for sale. And it took tearing my grip from social media for 24 hours to really get my attention.

So…you may be thinking, WIIFM? Which, if you aren’t familiar with that acronym it means, “What’s In It For Me?” (We all ask it whenever faced with a difficult decision.)
Well, that depends on you. Honestly, I don’t know my part in all of this. I don’t know where my place is and how I can be an ember amid massive atrocity and unfathomable evil? The one thing I know to do is share it with you. The one thing I can do is write. So today, here in this place, I will raise awareness with my voice, for the many who’ve been silenced and left without choice. Today, I will do what I can with what I have.

What can you do? First, remember this quote that strips us of excuses while hopefully inducing laughter, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never been to bed with a mosquito.”

Next, watch the short clip below, think about the faces fading in and out on the screen…picture someone you know in one of these hellacious scenarios…what would you do? Where would you start? Will you share this information on your blog, website and in your social media circles? You may not think it’s a lot, but it’s so much more than nothing.

Every picture you click on in this post with the End It logo will take you to their website. I will also have a button on the right side of my site with the End It logo that will lead to their website as well.


For more information and facts on slavery, you may download these PDF documents taken directly from the END IT website. Thank you.
fb_cover4Slavery Facts
Slavery Has A Face
END IT Manifesto
Rave Card

3 ways women can learn Victoria’s secrets

We’ve all heard it said that men are visual. I believe it to be true.
For some reason women, especially “women of faith” either voice issue with undergarments or treat it as taboo. Why?!

They say things like, “My husband shouldn’t have to see me in something red and tight to want me!” Truth is, he doesn’t! The end result is to see you in nothing at all, it just makes the trip there a little more fun.

Ladies, you are missing it! As a proud, card-carrying patron of Victoria’s Secret I’ve learned a few things over the years.

1.– There is the assumption that the only reason to wear lingerie is for someone else’s viewing pleasure. WRONG. I mean…half wrong. Wear lingerie because it increases your sex appeal…in the mirror. When you feel sexy, you’re more inclined to be sexy. Throw out those over worn granny panties. YOU will feel better in a little lace.

Not feeling so hot? “Throw some lace on it.”

2. – No matter your size, choose something that fits. Let me break this down for you…
If you’re a size 0, don’t buy a size 4 because you’re self-conscious and you’ve never worn anything form-fitting, above the knee or off the shoulders. Ladies, I’m not asking you to wear this get-up while shopping at the grocery store! It’s in the privacy of your own home.

If you’re a size 16, don’t buy a size 8 and attempt to squeeze yourself into it. That will only make you feel worse about yourself. Buy for your body. Let me say that again. BUY FOR YOUR BODY. Not for the body you are aspiring to have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what sales associates are there for.

3.– You can stop being judgmental and rationalizing why you don’t look like the model in the life-size mural on the wall in the store. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. We’ve all cut our eyes and hidden our husband and children from the half-naked woman strewn across the boudoir. (Those poor girls would give anything for a cheeseburger and a shake.) I’m telling you to walk in there proudly, warm pretzel nuggets in one hand, Starbucks beverage in the other and give that gal in the poster a little wink as you make your way to the “get your sexy on” or in some cases, “bring your sexy back” section of the store.

For those of you thinking, “There must be some scripture, somewhere to dispute wearing lingerie.” Bring it! I’ve never seen it, so enlighten me. I mean, have you read Song of Solomon?! There’s some pretty steamy stuff in there once you decode the palm tree, goat and pomegranate analogies.

I’m not telling you to blow the budget on fancy panties, but I’m pretty sure when discussing finances with your man, he will find room in the budget for a little shopping trip. Better yet, discuss budget in the buff. It’s always worked for me.

Your turn! Do you think any size woman should feel comfortable in lingerie? If not, what’s the cutoff?

Intimacy ~ It’s not what you think

What is the first thing that came to mind when you read the title of this post? For me, it’s sex. The truth is, intimacy is so much more than that.

After conversing with people from all walks of life, it’s incredibly clear that there is a real disconnect when it comes to intimacy, sex and being vulnerable.

This is something worthy of discussion. And not just once or twice. Ongoing. Admittedly it’s a tricky subject. I don’t want to make any career altering statements and at the same time I want you to understand that it’s not about where you’ve been as much as where you are.

Women, I don’t know what you’ve grown up hearing about sex, but here is what I know to be true…
It doesn’t have to be dirty.
It’s possible to relinquish everything that has happened and start fresh.
Nothing feels as good as redemption.
When you give yourself permission to stop sorting through the wreckage, you discover a new kind of freedom.

Men, don’t treat us like a whore. We don’t want to feel replaceable and when we look amazing, TELL US.

I cannot say everything I want to say. Nor explain in detail where my heart is on this because, quite honestly, it wouldn’t be pertinent to everyone and there are things in my relationship with my man that are just ours. Sacred things that allow us to look across a crowded room at each other, confident that we are fully known.

Love in it’s purest form. Transparency without limitations. Trust beyond comfort. The unalloyed definition of relationship. A safe haven. A source of life and freedom. Being pursued and overtaken by someone who wants every part of you, and you them. Heart, mind, body, past and present. That is intimacy.

If you are in a committed relationship and you are not able to do this, something is missing. I didn’t say, “Something is wrong.” I said, “Something is missing.” Marriage is your golden ticket to “get your freak on.” Not in a crazy sadistic sort of way, but in a fun, exploratory sort of way.

If you don’t believe me, If you are someone who can’t even be naked in your own presence without shame and embarrassment, I would encourage you to start with the following…
Stop making small talk or expecting a long conversation before being physical. When you are at a level of true intimacy, it’s possible and at times more beneficial to communicate without using words.
Be comfortable in your skin. It’s okay to be naked with the lights on.
DO NOT, under any circumstance, discuss perceived flaws of your physique.
Learn about your body. We are complex creatures. It doesn’t go down the way it’s depicted in movies. It’s better!

Now, go send your hunka burnin’ love a suggestive text message… even if you’re right next to them. It may be their go-to while sitting in that budget meeting tomorrow at work.

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Even a Girl Like Me

JCP-9884I am amazed daily by the truth that God can and will use a girl like me…scarred and wretched. But on the mend.

I grew up a P.K. You know…Preacher’s Kid.
I was pretty darn “holy” and “good” until around age 13. With boys, hormones and the fact that I was filling out my bra, well, things changed.

I began to dream of living somewhere other than my small town. No one ever left that town! They grew up and worked for their dad. They all played the same part and I wanted to break away. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like, but it wasn’t to stay there and be a naive trophy wife! (No offense to arm candy. It just wasn’t for me)

JCP-1344So I set out on this quest to really “live”. You could not have prepared me for what I would encounter on this journey. I would not have believed you if you had told me the compromises I would make and lack of self-respect I would wear.

Yeah, I know you want all the gory details, but you’re going to have to settle for the abbreviated version and a decade jump forward.

After surviving a beating from the world. You know, that place where I wanted to “live” so much?! I had limited choices as to where to go next. So I finally surrendered.

I know, I know, surrender sounds like giving up. For me, it was not until I surrendered that I found true freedom.

I had grown up hearing about God. Heck, I’d been hearing about Him since the womb! The big Being in the sky, passed the clouds, waiting for us at church on Sunday? “Who is this God and why did I need to pursue a relationship with Him?!”

Little did I know, He was silently pursuing me.

At age 25, after getting knocked up, beat up, locked up (not JCP-11necessarily in that order), abusing my body and mind through choices that I never thought I would make, getting divorced and growing sick of hearing myself ask, “Why am I even here?!”, I had to find a God that I could relate too.

You know, One who didn’t care if I was used and broken. One who would say, “In Me, you find rest…safety…eternal security.I needed to be redeemed.

Did He even exist?

I am still seeking, but He shows me everyday, in tangible ways that He does in fact exist. He more than exist. He is working and moving in ways that completely blow my mind.

God willing, on October 19th, I will celebrate 9 years of sobriety. Not just from alcohol, but from many other substances and ism’s that I used to numb the pain.

When the substances, food, shopping, whatever, stopped working and the love of my life sat me down and encouraged me (through a pretty harsh reality check) to admit to myself that I was a hot mess and he was not going to join the “pity city” that I was trying to create, things began to change (slowly).Love

So, here I am, just turned 35, which I considered geezer age just a few years ago. And the most miraculous things have happened. The craziest of which, being that instead of waiting for a door to open, God has knocked down a wall.JCP-1901He is using my story of shame, in ways that I never thought possible.
I am doing workshops, radio interviews and talking to women from all backgrounds of life. I was the girl who hated other women! Now, I support them in their struggle. WHAT?! Only God.

Only a God who has been in the trenches with me… the bars and back alleys (don’t read into that) and bathroom floor at 4 a.m. and then turned me into a mother of 3, wife to a stud and a productive member of society. Only that kind of God could use a girl like me to bring others back to Him.

People want real…they want scarred…they want hope…even from a girl like me.
JCP-9996

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