What Are You Waiting For? 3 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Plan.

Some mornings or evenings I pray and meditate. The value of both is immeasurable but the awareness has yet to steer me to consistently practice both each day.

In this new season, I realize my lack of consistency is because I have not made either a priority.  On the mornings that I do not make time to pray or meditate, I make excuses.  

I wake up early but my husband sleeps late.  Because he is asleep, I don’t want to wake him (there are other options).

I enjoy prayer and meditation with a diffuser (lavender oil) or scented lighted candles.  I lay on a yoga mat or sit on my meditation pillow. All of my tools sit in a designated corner of our bedroom, which is supposed to be my meditation and prayer space.  

The area is pretty and ideal for its intended purpose.  Two plants, a beautiful bronze meditation statue, stones, candles rest atop a wooded foot high table, and a backdrop of beautiful wall art.

The wall display is in my meditation corner of our bedroom.

Visually, my spot is ideal.  Although it is functional during the evening, it isn’t functional for most mornings. During my routine, I listen to soft music and don’t want to be bothered in the morning by having to use earphones.  

The new year has prompted an intentional shift in my thinking so I decided to scrutinize my excuses.  

Five months ago, my daughter moved out of the house. I readily planned to make the bedroom a bohemian themed prayer/meditation space. Saved on my Pinterest page are pretty images that inspire my future decor. No TV! No computer!   

My thinking?   

“Once the room is completely decorated, I can start using it.”

The hard truth is, I thought to myself, girlfriend,  why do you need to wait until the room is completely decorated?  That’s silly.  Start where you are.

Beautiful and new truffle dark hardwood covers the floor surface. Freshly painted light gray colored walls, a chocolate ceiling fan, covered windows, and even a bathroom is set to go.  The room is distraction-free, which is what I need to calm my busy mind. It is a clean slate. 

A clean slate, I realized is my goal. Executing plans often go astray with many of us but tomorrow always clears the way for a second, third, fourth, or however many chances we need. 

We are 13 days into the new year. I know that many of you made resolutions, some of you are participating in the Daniel Fast, a new fitness or health goal, a career change, or something else. 

Or, you may be the person (like me) who awaits ideal conditions. You know, once I get (fill in the blank), I will be ready to start. Are you the Type A personality (I still struggle) who has to get everything perfect first or maybe you are afraid. Perhaps the wait is to get the money to buy a new pair of sneakers or purchase a gym membership, a grocery overhaul to start cooking healthier, or maybe you are waiting to find an accountability partner to jump-start your new regime. Be honest with yourself.

Instead of waiting for my plants, rugs, pillows, and chairs, I decided to stop bullshitting around and to takeoff where I stood. Consider this post the fire under your butt to get you moving… go ahead. Get on with it and take off!

The night before, I moved my oversized meditation pillow, my yoga mat, three candle jars, a devotional book, and a lighter into the empty room. 

My clean slate.
Gifted to me from my aunt.

Morning came. After my son left for school, I lit the candles because I wanted to smell the scented candles while praying and meditating. Fifteen minutes later I re-entered the room to the heavenly scent of amber and musk. I smiled. The sun had not yet risen, so the darkness from outdoors maintained the nighttime feel, permitting the flame’s reflections to dance around the room.  

My first experience using the empty room was superb!  Once I closed my eyes, I could not see anything; therefore, the missing material items were insignificant.  It did not matter that a fluffy area rug was missing. The absence of tropical plants had no bearing on my ability to focus. All that mattered was me, my comfort, my thoughts, my breathing, and God.

The same mindset that delayed me from fulfilling my goals, maybe preventing you in a similar way from accomplishing yours. Use the three steps below to get started:

  1. Assess your REAL needs. Let’s say your sneakers are run down and you want to do a couch to 5k run. Your current budget does not allow for new sneakers and you know that jogging on rundown footwear is not good. Brainstorm and ponder over what can you do in the meantime? Just walk instead. Walking is underrated and has many benefits. Walking can help to reduce blood pressure, increase circulation, lower cholesterol and more. WALK on your lunch break at work. WALK at the mall. WALK in your neighborhood (if it’s lit and safe). WALK up steps instead of using escalators. By the time you buy your new sneakers, your body will be conditioned to start running.
  2. Explore your GOALS. What are you trying to accomplish? Weight loss, eating healthy, career change, relocating, enrolling in college, or something else? Break your goals down into bite-size pieces. Tackle your list one item at a time and stay consistent. No matter how small the steps, you CAN take ACTION today. Do what you can today and you will move forward toward your goal. If your goal is to lose weight and cannot afford a personal trainer, go to YouTube, search exercises at home, and START at home TODAY. There are literally thousands of “how-to” videos online. Select one that resonates with you.
  3. Use your RESOURCES and NETWORK. What if you want to start a business and are waiting until you save “X” amount of money? WHY WAIT? Start now! Create a file and begin your research. Learn everything you can about the topic. Look for FREE workshops and mixers for entrepreneurs. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s webpage for resources to plan, launch, manage, and grow your business.

Something is tugging at your heart to make a change, but you keep waiting. Why are you waiting? The longer you wait, the greater the chances that you will not act on your plan. What are you waiting for? I waited needlessly and so are you. Now is the perfect time to start. Quit making excuses and stop procrastinating. Start now. YOU’VE GOT THIS! I believe in YOU!

By the way, Happy New Year!


25 Years Going Strong!

Twenty-five years ago, June 4, 1988, 3:10 p.m. I walked down the aisle of Second Baptist Church In Atlantic City, New Jersey to exchange wedding vows with hubby.

Not one clue did I have about the amount of patience, love, sacrifice, commitment, and dedication needed to sustain 25 years of marriage and 30 years of friendship.

The one thing I knew for sure was that I deeply loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How that would occur was a mystery that I would later sort through.

My father-in-law performed the ceremony, which made the day even more special. Although Reverend Cain died in 2003, the blessings he bestowed upon our marriage is still present today.

We were young and naïve but very committed to respecting and loving the other. I the extrovert; a crazy out going and out spoken hot-head. The contrast was my laid back introverted husband who internalized and mulled over everything before speaking. Talk about a contrast! I have wondered, “How on earth did it work?” Maturity, time, prayer, maturity, time, and more prayer helped immensely. I learned to speak less; he learned to speak more. Somehow we found a solid balance.

While I cannot speak for hubby, the past 25 years has been an enlightening journey for me. A personal journey that included bumps , bruises, detours, and exciting discoveries. Childhood relationships with my parents and between my mom and dad affected my relationship with my husband with great surprise. I saw glimpses of characteristics that I liked and that I disliked. The realization that I, and only I was empowered to make changes about myself that needed to be made was a relief. Cycles… some are meant to be broken.  The fact is that we don’t have to repeat what has been done before us. Some family traditions should end.

Sadly, I closely witnessed the shattering of too many marriages. I have never judged other marriages or thought that my marriage was better than another. I did, however, extract the lessons that I could from the failed marriages around me. So often spouses point the finger of blame, but don’t ask what did they bring to the table. In turn, my reality check is to stare in the mirror and ask, how am I doing? Do I need to make adjustments? Have I fallen off course?

Sometimes there are issues that exist within me, which require me to adjust and make changes. Other times, the pulse of our marriage needs adjusting– I think of it (the pulse) as a heart rate– Neither too fast or too slow is not good. I strongly believe that at least one person in every relationship, should have their finger on the pulse of the relationship at all times. The pulse being, the pace and mode of the relationship. Is it steady? Is it regular? How’s the vibe? Is it positive? Do things feel out of sync? They are just questions that have worked for me.

My point is that marriage is not easy. Point blank, it is hard work and by no means do I claim to be an expert. We’ve been blessed for 25 years and I hope and pray that we are blessed we a good 25 more years. While reflecting on the years, I came up with many lessons that I have personally learned. While this list could be longer, I dedicated one lesson for each year of our happy marriage.

Lessons I learned from 25 years of marriage:

  1. I learned that speaking my raw opinion, without considering hubby’s feelings was inconsiderate and to think before I speak.
  2. I learned that no matter how “I preferred” he do things, hubby is entitled and will do things the way he chooses to.
  3. I learned that I can only change and improve myself and that’s what I ought to work on.
  4. I learned that when you marry your spouse, you also marry your in-laws.
  5. I learned that just because you create babies together, doesn’t mean you will share beliefs on how to raise them. Your ideas on child rearing will differ. Compromise.
  6. I learned that your spouse will do things behind your back and you will do things behind his back.
  7. I learned that, if you allow it, children can take the sex right out a marriage.
  8. I learned that one of the two will always appreciate romance more than the other.
  9. I learned that saying, “I told you so” is unnecessary.
  10. I learned that somebody ought to know how to cook a decent meal.
  11. I learned that you will like some of your spouses friends and you will despise some of your spouses friends. You opinion won’t change his relationship with his friends.
  12. I learned that married family and friends will divorce. Try to stay neutral. Your harsh words may return and bite you in the butt.
  13. I learned not to compare my marriage to another marriage. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and you cannot predict the future (of yours).
  14. I learned that solid marriages are built on friendships. Maintain a friendship with your spouse.
  15. I learned to establish and maintain my identity and independence.
  16. I learned to become educated, even if you wish to be a stay-at-home.
  17. I learned to expect the unexpected.
  18. I learned to plan for the future, but live everyday in the present.
  19. I learned why older couples like my parents slept in separate beds. Thankfully, we haven’t gotten to that point.
  20. I learned that the affirmation, “A women’s work is never done” is true.
  21. I learned that husbands and wives should have separate clothing closets and bathroom sinks.
  22. I learned that spirituality is important to a marriage.
  23. I learned that spouses who work hard as a team can accomplish amazing feats and can overcome incredible obstacles.
  24. I learned that spouses who hang out together are genuinely happier couples.
  25. I learned that your spouse is not a mind reader.  Don’t assume that your spouse knows what you want.  Tell your spouse what you want.

Hubby and I have shared 25 solid good years. Were the years always perfect? No, but we’ve always managed to work through our differences in the most respectful ways and treat the other the way we wish to be treated. I am thankful for the 25 shares we’ve shared and pray for 25 more.

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June 4, 1988

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Exchanging wedding bands

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Spontaneous trip for our anniversary to Cancun, Mexico (2002 or 2003)

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Hubby forgot to tell me that we had an appointment for a family portrait immediately after leaving spending the day at an outdoor park. OMG! Look at those heads! LOL!

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NYE late 1990’s (I wasn’t natural then… I wish I were)

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NYE, Washington, DC – Late 1990’s – The Beehive look.