2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 610 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Allowing God To Work With The Pauses Of Our Lives

Lately I started feeling that God was not sensitive to all the delays (pauses) in my life. Haba! Is He not aware? So much is happening, so much has happened and I am wondering if His heavenly radar is off me. There are things I have been praying for and have prayed for yet no sign! I have been mistreated, I have kept my cool when trampled on. I have tried to be patient with so much ill treatment all in a bid to remain …….. You what? Something changed when I had to read the book of Esther because of a plan I started on YouVersion. Esther showed me that all those pauses I felt were unnecessary delays from God were for a reason . Now let’s see if you will get my drift.

I can almost imagine the scene, a beautifully decorated table adorned with all the king’s favorites from first course to last course…every detail of this important night was purposely planned and executed. Esther was a queen who knew her king, and her king liked banquets….he liked them a lot actually.

So what better way to speak to her king on her people’s behalf than to first invite him and his buddy to a special meal! Come on girls, we all know one of the best ways to our men’s hearts is through their stomachs! Esther was no fool.

But something happened that night at the banquet, somewhere between appetizers and dessert, Esther sensed God guiding her to wait in sharing her request with the king. Imagine how hard that must have been! The pressure of thousands of men, women and children’s lives were at stake. Her words had to be perfect, the meal flawless. Everything needed to go exactly as planned…and then it didn’t. Personally in situations like this, I’d just as rather get it over with than extend the agony of waiting one more day and planning one more dinner party. But not Esther, she was a woman who was willing to wait on the Lord, even if it didn’t make sense to her at the time. Her trust was firmly planted in God, in His will, and in His timing. She was willing to wait if that was what her Lord was guiding her to do.

And so she waited.

“If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.” Esther 5:8

Esther was a queen who knew the power of when to speak and when to remain quiet.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

The right words said at the right time, in the right setting, that’s what Esther was aiming for. Sometimes we know what needs to be said, but the timing is off. Esther felt God press the delay button and so she postponed her request.

“God put it into Esther’s heart to delay her petition a day longer; she knew not, but God did, what was to happen in that very night.”- Matthew Henry

God was busy working in Esther’s period of waiting.

He does the same for us.

Sweet friend, don’t be discouraged if you are in a season of waiting. Don’t loose heart if you feel like God has had you press the “pause” button. Maybe it’s the desire to get married, but the right guy hasn’t come into your life yet. Or maybe it’s the desire to start a family, yet God hasn’t blessed you with a child. Maybe, just maybe, it’s in the silence, the unanswered prayers, the delay…the pause of life that God is working behind the scenes, writing an amazing turn of events story that is yet to be revealed.

Sometimes I think God does some of His best work in the “pauses” of our lives.

Don’t lose heart, sweet sister, if you are in a “pause”…you never know what God’s tomorrow will bring.

A sleepless night was on the horizon and an amazing turn of events was in the works.

I believe that you can understand why I have realigned myself to know that He my great God will work out His great purpose for my life in due time. With or without the pauses of my life. In due time He will come through.

Shalom

Evaluating Your Friendship

Evaluating a friendship is often times necessary in order to improve the quality of your relationships. Some friendships come easily and are maintained well without any effort! Other friendships can seem draining at times, and when that happens, it’s best to take a step back and really question how to go forward with the relationship. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself when evaluating a friendship that will be beneficial for all your current and future relationships!

1. DOES SHE INVEST AS MUCH TIME AS I DO?

One of the key questions to ask yourself when evaluating a friendship is the amount of time both of you invest in each other. Sometimes, one of you will invest more time than the other, causing an imbalance in the quality of the relationship. It’s not essential that you see your friends or speak to them on a daily basis, but putting in the time fairly often is important for growth! If you are always the one to make plans and to reach out first, it may be time to ask some questions.

2. IS IT EASY OR DIFFICULT TO CONNECT WHEN WE’RE TOGETHER?

Some people are just naturally easy to talk to and get along with, and are gifted with the ability to put people at ease. Meaningful relationships should have this quality, despite personality differences. There is a big issue with not being able to connect with friends and having awkwardness in the air because it generally means you’re trying too hard to impress. Be yourself, and take note if you feel at ease around the other person.

3. CAN I TRUST HER COMPLETELY?

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. You know when you have it and when you don’t. Does she keep your secrets to herself? Can you depend on her when you need her and trust she will follow through? If the answer is yes then keep her close! If not, then it’s time to let that friendship go and move on- trust is just too important!

4. DOES SHE LISTEN?

All of us desire to be listened to and understood at the core of who we are. It’s expected for friends to turn a listening ear when you’re speaking and sharing your life with them, without interrupting and being dismissive. We all need to work on being intentional listeners, but if you and your friend don’t listen to each other as you should, then things need to change!

5. IS OUR TIME TOGETHER DRAINING OR ENERGIZING?

I know when I am with a close friend and I leave feeling energized with the knowledge of time well-spent, it’s a strong relationship. If you constantly leave your friend feeling drained and emotionally exhausted, then it’s not worth your time investing in that friendship! Drama and ridiculous behaviors shouldn’t be the center of any friendship.

6. DO WE ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER?

Do you go out of your way to encourage your friends and vice versa? And I don’t just mean when times are hard. It’s so meaningful and life-giving to encourage your friends just because you want to lift their spirits! If you know of a friend who encourages you in this way, definitely keep her around!

7. IS SHE A VALUABLE PERSON IN MY LIFE?

Lastly, and possibly the most central question to ask when evaluating a friendship, is asking if she is valuable to you or not. Would you be devastated to lose her in your life? Each response, yes or no, will provide you the means for where to take your friendship in the future and whether or not it’s worth investing in.

Friends are one of life’s most precious gifts that should be valued and treasured! Evaluating the state of your relationships ensures a healthy group of people to always surround yourself with. If you are lucky to have a friend that has got your back be wise to nurture it and do not let go, trust me as you get older it is difficult to make friends at least the kind that will always be there for you.

Personality Traits We Should Loose To Be Better Persons.

Personality traits are distinguishing qualities or characteristics that are the embodiment of an individual. They are your habitual patterns of behavior, temperament and emotion. However in psychology there are five broad dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. Every personality trait fall under these five dimensions and they are;

1. Openness to experience: (inventive, curious, consistent, cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities.

2. Conscientiousness: (efficient, organized, easy-going, careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.

3. Extraversion: (outgoing, energetic, solitary, reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.

4. Agreeableness: (friendly, compassionate, analytical, detached). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one’s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.

5. Neuroticism: (sensitive, nervous, secure, confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and moodiness.

If unattractive personality traits have started to define you, it’s probably time to leave them in the past and move on to being a better person. You won’t change who you are and how you act overnight; it’s a process. As you shed these unattractive personality traits over time, you’ll find yourself surrounded with good friends and a more well-rounded work environment, not to mention a better relationship with your significant other if you are in a relationship about to be married or married.

1. SELF-DESTRUCTIVE

Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, the late, Amy Winehouse were all examples of a self destruction. Self-destruction is the epitome of unattractive personality traits and the one that really requires professional help to overcome. If people in your life are asking you to seek help, I hope you’ll consider it.

2. GOSSIP

If you’re talking about friends behind their backs, what kind of friend are you? If you’re repeating things you’ve heard that might or might not be true, you could be forever damaging someone’s reputation. Think twice before saying anything about others, and you’ll find more people will trust you with confidences.

3. UNRELIABLE

One way you can show you are unreliable is not showing up when you have planned to go somewhere with friend/s. This can happen to anyone because of circumstances beyond their control, but when it’s done repeatedly, it’s just a blatant form of disrespect. If you’re going to be late, pick up the phone and call the person waiting for you, and have a good reason to go along with your apology.

4. PESSIMISTIC

One of the nicest things you can do for someone is to be optimistic and show enthusiasm for their plans. Friends or family members that are considering starting a new business, a new relationship or any of a hundred things, would love to hear encouragement instead of all the reasons their plans won’t.

5. MOODY

I love consistency. I love consistency in people. I want to know that the person I’m going to hang out with will be the same agreeable person I have always spent time with last week.

6. BOSSY

If you’re in a leadership position, it could be very tempting to be bossy. Don’t give in to it. Delegating projects to your team should be done in a way that will make them eager to do a great job. Barking orders has the opposite effect. In a friendship or romance, being bossy can be the kiss of death.

7. TOXIC

When you care about someone, the things they say to you not only hurt or encourage you but you tend to believe them. If you have someone or people around you who constantly bring you down by their attitude or what they say to you please let them go. It is only by disassociating yourself from those persons that You will regain your optimism and sense of fun.

8. CONTROLLING

If you’re a controlling person, chances are you won’t recognize the signs in yourself. Hopefully, people in your life will tell you and try to help you. You can just ask yourself simple questions and give honest answers to find out if this is behavior you’re guilty of displaying. When you have the need to regulate someone else’s life, to constantly inform them that your way is the only way, you’re controlling. You should know that sooner or later, the person you are controlling would rid themselves of you and your desire to dominate them.

Are you friends with someone that displays negative personality traits? Have you attempted to discuss it with them? It’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist for the sake of harmony, but you know that harmony is short-lived when you’re dealing with a person that has personality issues. Life is too short, let’s be careful.

Shalom!

Identifying toxic or negative friends. Don’t kid yourself!

When everything just doesn’t add up, it is time to discover the some interesting ways to identify a negative friendship. You have always been their best girl friend; you’ve helped them every time they’ve asked. But why do you keep receiving the short end of the stick? To establish whether it is time to walk away, let’s learn the some ways to identify a negative friendship. Chai! I think I am the greatest mugu in this world. Friends have dealt with me ooo. Sistas, if you know that you will make a head way in your life this year eh, you better re- asses your relationships with your friends so that you are not pulled back. Here goes.

1. THE OPPORTUNIST
An opportunist never sees the bright side; they only see what’s in it for them, and this marks them as a frenemy, making it easy to identify a negative friendship with them. They utilize their methods of manipulation to take advantage of your kindness and reap all the benefits.

2. ME, ME, ME!
Have you ever noticed that one of your friends must remain the center of attention at all times? The truth about this friend isn’t that she’s confident, and everyone likes her. It’s that she has extremely low self-esteem and wants the focus on her instead of you, because she feels threatened by you. When this becomes an everyday occurrence it’s time to unload this toxic attention hoarder; it’s your turn to shine.

3. ALWAYS THE VICTIM; NEVER THE VILLAIN
Taking responsibility for one’s own actions is a part of becoming a mature adult. If the constant theme with this friend is that she never does anything wrong, she is incapable of seeing her shortcomings. She is irresponsible and will eventually turn the focus of her pity party toward you, at any time that you do not agree with her completely.

4. YOU’RE ALL MINE
At any time that your friend tries to take control over the amount of time you spend with others, it’s time to steer clear of her. This is a red flag implying clearly that she is a control freak. Like the founder of a Sisters Fellowship International, Mummy Nches Iredu will say, such a friend will hijack your bag to pick your phone to know how many people that called you and the ones you spent time talking with. They want to know everything you do per time.

5. SUPERIORITY COMPLEX
Friends who are too afraid to just be themselves, and score friends on their own merit utilize the techniques of the superiority complex to make themselves look better than you. They discuss your private details, especially your failures, with others in an attempt to make themselves appear superior to you. In truth, they fear you and are extremely jealous of your ability to be who you are, as they are too cowardly to do so themselves.

6. THE LACK OF GUMPTION
Toxic friends are incapable of standing up to similar friends. They’re aware fully of the negative attributes of these friends, but will never stand up to them. She will take on a passive attitude toward these friends when they do something negative to you as well. The entire reason that she remains your friend is because she can manipulate you. In truth, she’s highly submissive, herself, and is incapable of handling anyone who stands up to her. Show her that you do have gumption, and you won’t be mistreated.

7. YOU STILL EXIST?
You can call her all day and never get a response, but the moment she needs anything you’d better be there o or else! Does this sound familiar? This is another sign of a one-sided friendship. She needs you to handle her responsibilities for her, but she doesn’t want to repay the favor.

8. THE MOOCH MONSTER
The sad reality is that not all mooch monsters are unemployed. The underlying factor is that they just don’t want to spend their own money, if they can spend yours. You always receive a story of sadden and desperation along with a list of their hardships.

9. THE QUEEN B
She is controlling and manipulative. She believes that she rules every aspect of your life and will deliberately cause drama for you to get what she wants. As I learned the hard way, these toxic friends will even stoop so low as to attempt to use your children to get their way. Negative friends will only bring you down to their level if you stick around. They will wreak havoc on your life and use you at every turn.

Everything you have here is as a result of what I have experienced as well as others I spoke to. Some told me how they quietly and in some cases harshly did away with some nasty friendship. I would love to hear from your my dear Sistas how you handled very toxic friendship. Till next week.

Shalom!

How To Stop Being Envious of Another

Envy is when you as a Sista bears a grudge towards someone due to converting what that person has or enjoy. In a milder sense, it means the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended towards that person. Envy is a feeling that we all know and feel from time to time, but sometimes we really struggle with it. If that is the situation that you have found yourself in, you can use these ways to stop being envious so that you can push your aspirations, goals etc to its permanent site this year.

1. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

One of the best ways to stop being envious is to count your blessings. Focus on what you have, not what others have. I have often heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy and that is very true. Don’t compare what you have to what others have. Simply focus on all of the wonderful things that you have in your life.
2. FIND HAPPINESS FOR THEM WITHIN YOURSELF

It is hard to be envious of those that you are happy for. Use this as an opportunity to work on your inner self. Make a decision to be happy for the person you are envying. Choose to refuse those feelings of envy. When you feel them start to creep up, decide to replace them with other, better feelings. You can tell your feelings how to behave.
3. REMIND YOURSELF THEY MAY HAVE WORKED HARD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE

You know, many times we don’t see what a person has gone through to get where they are. Instead, we only see and focus on the end result. This could be true in many different situations. It could be when we are envying a person for financial stability, weight loss or any number of other things. Remember that there is sometimes more than meets the eye and the person you are envying may very well have worked very hard to get where they are.
4. ACCEPT THAT LIFE ISN’T FAIR

You know, this is just a hard fact of life. Life really isn’t fair. Some people are much more fortunate than others. But what can help is to realize this and accept it. Rather than trying to fight against something that we cannot change, we can just accept it.
5. REMEMBER YOUR TIME WILL COME

Good fortune sometimes comes in waves. Very few of us have good fortune all of our lives in a constant manner. Maybe the person that you are envying is just enjoying a bit of good fortune while yours is not so good. It is good to remember that your time may come. Most of the time, the tide will eventually turn.
6. THINK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE

If envy is eating at you, make yourself think about something else. Maybe you don’t have it within yourself to be happy for them or to count your blessings. That happens sometimes. But you can choose to think about something else. It could be your job, your flower garden or any number of other things. The point is that you shift your thoughts.
7. REFUSE TO LET IT CONSUME YOU

Envy will eat you up if you are not careful. It is a terrible feeling and it can destroy you. Only you can make the choice not to allow that to happen. You certainly don’t want to give someone the pleasure of allowing their good fortune to devour you. Make yourself move on. You can do that.

Shalom Sista!

Reasons You Should Ignore People’s Negative Criticism.

Quite often, people love to give their opinions about your life, work and what you do, but there are reasons to ignore people’s negative criticism that will benefit you tremendously! It’s also important to recognize the difference between constructive criticism and rude and negative comments that have no basis whatsoever! Constructive critiques are valuable in how we learn and grow, but hurtful words and criticism are only mean and negative. Don’t let those mean words affect you! Here are some great reasons to ignore people’s negative criticism- keep reading!
1. BE YOUR OWN CRITIC

Most of the time we are our worst critic. How you appear to others, what you wear, how talented you are, how great a friend you are, etc, are all judged most harshly by you! When someone slams you with a negative comment or critique, it can be easy to take offense. Part of you fears that it may be true based on your own harsh perception of yourself, and thus your fears are being validated in a way. Don’t think this way! Instead, recognize that one of the reasons to ignore people’s negative criticism is that the real power is held in how you view yourself, not how others view you.
2. ONLY YOUR LOVED ONES’ AFFIRMATIONS MATTER

It can be easy, especially if you’re a particularly driven person, to cling to what others think about you and their affirmation regarding your work. In reality, the only opinions that truly matter are those of family and close friends. This is why it hurts more deeply when loved and trusted people in our lives say mean things! However, most of the time they are the ones who have your back no matter what. So, don’t hold tight to the negativity of those who don’t know you well and wouldn’t be affected by your presence in their lives.
3. THEY ARE PROBABLY INSECURE & JEALOUS

Often times, negative criticism and hurtful words come from those who are insecure about their own lives and talents. Jealousy is a nasty emotion that spurs people to say mean things and have feelings of contempt towards lovely and beautiful people. Understanding that outlandish and hurtful remarks are generally coming from a place of deep insecurity and jealousy is key in being able to brush them aside without regard.
4. THEY DON’T KNOW YOU

I’ve found that people who are the most hurtful and critical are the ones who don’t know you that well to begin with. It’s easy to be critical of people we don’t know because our minds like to capture the worst in others- it’s the human condition of wanting to be better than everyone else while having everything figured out. We have ALL been there at some point in life, but that doesn’t mean this belief is appropriate or beneficial. Instead, choose to believe the best about others, even the people you don’t know, because they might be going through something difficult and scary!
5. YOU’RE THE BETTER PERSON

Quick reactions to hurtful words or deeds are usually ones of anger and retaliation. Unfortunately, using anger and hurt to get back at people for hurting you in the first place is just stooping to their level! You don’t look better to them, but instead it probably confirms their initial beliefs about you in the first place. A better approach is to “kill” them with kindness. People don’t except a kind response and it may in fact blow them away and allow them to feel guilty for being out of line.
6. MEAN PEOPLE ARE TO BE PITIED

Mean people are the ones who deserve pity because their lives are not full of happiness and joy. If they were, they wouldn’t be quick to lash out with negative criticism towards you! I understand that everyone has bad days and on those days, it’s easier to say things you don’t mean. But you know what? Those people usually follow up with an apology after! If a person is critical of you in a non-constructive way, assume they don’t have things easy and just let it go.
7. BE CONFIDENT AND ASSURED IN WHO YOU ARE

Lastly, and probably most importantly, be assured in who you are and confident in your skills. When you’re confident, you’re much less likely to feed into negativity and let it affect you. You’re also more prone to productivity and success because of the assurance you carry on your shoulders. Remember to also be humble in your abilities, which is far more beneficial than a prideful person unable to accept failure.

Remember that it’s all in your attitude, in how you respond to negative criticism! Having a positive outlook means everything in not allowing negativity to weigh you down. Shalom!