Thursday, April 28, 2016

Puff, Puff, Pass!

There is a new guy that I’ve encountered recently: The Puffer. This is a guy who will blow a bunch of smoke and never deliver. He just puffs and puffs and puffs and yields no results. This is the guy full of empty promises. He says he’s going to do something when he has no intention of doing it at all. You know, “Imma call you this afternoon” - no phone call received (PUFF!) or “Let’s meet for breakfast tomorrow" - no call no show (PUFF!). 

It all started when I traveled to Atlanta, GA (my second home) for my one of my best friend’s 40th birthday celebration. Before we got into the main event for the weekend, we had to do some pre-partying. She took me out to a lounge spot in the ‘A’, I believe it was called MJQ or BQE or something like that, lol!! The music was going and drinks were flowing and somewhere in the middle of all that I met a very handsome man who I was quite enamored by. For purposes of our conversation today we’ll call him Benjamin (his name is actually one of the 12 tribes of Israel so I’ll go with this one lol!). We talked, laughed, and flirted, you know all the things you do in a lounge - well let me be transparent, I probably did more talking, laughing and flirting because of the spirit that dwelled in me at that time and it was not the spirit of Christ! Moving on. Turned out we knew some mutual people from college so we ended up exchanging numbers. We didn’t communicate that weekend because the purpose for my visit was my friend’s birthday. 

Normally when you meet someone long distance, even if you exchange numbers people usually don’t call. However, I was intrigued by him so the following week or maybe two, I followed up with a hello via text. To my surprise he responded and we began to text periodically; no big deal really. Fast forward about a year later, I decided to take a trip back to Atlanta for a visit. I certainly wanted to visit friends but I thought, let me check out Benjamin and hang out with him in the ‘A’. I called everyone about a 1 1/2 month before to confirm, to make sure that time was good for everyone, including Benjamin. I expressed to him I was looking forward to spending some time with him and he responded with the same! As is my way, I sent reminders to everyone about my arrival just to make sure people didn’t forget. So everything was a go, so I thought!

Since I was staying for a week I opted to drive, it was cheaper. During my drive to Atlanta, several friends and family called to check on me but no call from Mr. Benjamin; indeed a red flag. I arrived in Atlanta late Saturday night so on Sunday late morning before going to worship, I gave him a call. He stated how he thought plans had changed when he didn’t hear from me the day before (side-eye). I told him my plans for the day and he said “Cool, I’ll call you this afternoon”. Well the afternoon came and went and no call. I called him that evening, he said he wasn’t feeling well. I texted the next day but ended up hanging out with my brothers that evening. Blah, blah, blah….fast forward to Thursday evening, my friends took me to a place in downtown Atlanta (or maybe that’s midtown) called Ra Sushi (very good by the way!!) and lo and behold I get a phone call from Benjamin. I’d been there since Sunday and it was now Thursday! He proceeds to say, “don’t talk bad about me I had some stuff going on blah, blah, blah, blah”. Then he ends with, “let’s do breakfast tomorrow morning”, he said he would stick his head in the office quickly and then meet me for breakfast: Boy Stop!

The next morning, my bestie (I’m really too old to use that term but that’s what she is lol) was working from home and decided to cook a big breakfast. Guess who ate it? ME!!! Because I knew Mr. Benjamin would be a no-call, no-show - PUFFER! 

My week in Atlanta was absolutely wonderful: hanging with my brothers from another mother, shopping at the Mart, Ross and TJ Maxxing with my homie Dre, and that epic Tuesday night at the Hawks Game with E!! So don’t get it twisted my trip was awesome because I’m awesome and I do awesome s#!@ (said in my Kanye West voice)! 

So puff, puff nah I’ll pass!

I’ll go into the red flags to look for in spotting a Puffer in my next post. 

Until then…

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Girrrl! Don't Be A Shaky Investment!

In my recent post, ‘This ain’t the season for SHAKY investments’ I talked to you all about staying away from these shaky, unstable relationships. Today I wanted to go a step further and encourage the Girrrl Stop Nation: Don’t Be a shaky investment!

Over the past couple of months I’ve been housesitting during the day for a friend as they are having renovations done to their house. I am blessed to be able to work remotely so this arrangement helped out as they have to report to the office daily. They are having just about everything re-done in the house and it is very interesting to see portions of the house gutted out and then see the contractors start from scratch building from the foundation up. The most interesting to me are the electricians. They follow the blueprint put in place by the designer and they set the electrical circuits exactly to the specified dimensions. They know exactly where to put the outlets for the microwave, the dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. They cut out holes in the ceiling for the lighting and they do it exactly to specifications. If anything is off, that will throw the whole design off. In essence, if the foundation is faulty, it makes the end result shaky. 

When thinking about the building of a physical house we can make some parallels to our spiritual houses. There’s a scripture found in Matthew 7:24-27 which reads:

Build on the Rock
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Are you a shaky investment? Let’s check out your house!

Shaky Investments focus on the frivolous; they are liabilities 

Are you more concerned about having the latest fashions versus having your money in order? Do you endlessly try to impress others with material things instead of working on developing your character? If so, you are in shaky investment land. A woman of substance has her house in order. Her affairs are straight. This doesn’t mean she isn’t stylish but she’s not stylish to the extent that bills aren’t getting paid! It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t travel but she doesn’t overextend herself to do so. You want to be someone that a man can build with. In other words you want to be an asset, not a liability. 

Shaky Investments do not follow God’s Word

One of the things to note about the above scripture is that there are essentially two women (walk with me in my mind). Verses 24-25 is a woman who hears the sayings and does them. Verses 26-27 is a woman who hears the sayings and does not do them. What’s the common theme with both women? They both hear. So this isn’t a case where you have one woman who is in church versus one woman who is not, they are, parenthetically, both in church and both hearing the Word; yet one does them and the other does not. If you are not being obedient to God’s Word you are in shaky investment land. This doesn't mean you will be perfect because that’s not possible, it does mean that you strive to live a life of holiness and pray for the continual presence of the Holy Spirit because that’s the only way you’ll be able to combat those things not like Christ. 

Shaky Investments have a faulty foundation

If your life isn’t built on the Rock which is Jesus Christ, your foundation is faulty. Jesus is our designer and he indeed knows his creations. The designer has supplied the blueprint for His design in that of His Holy Word. If you are following everything else except the blueprint, when life’s storms come, you will not be able to stand. So what kind of foundation do you have? 

A woman who builds her life on a strong foundation doesn’t go fornicating around because she knows who she is and whose she is in Christ. She’s not shaky, she’s firm. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

A woman who builds her life on a strong foundation raises her children according to God’s Word, she doesn’t walk around talkin’ bout “not my child, they are just too precious to have done that”. No! She disciplines her children in love building character in them early and teaching them to respect authority in the home so they don’t have to learn the hard way in the streets. (Proverbs 13:24)

A woman who builds her life on a strong foundation, brings her tithes and offerings to the storehouse. She’s responsible with her money and knows that when she gives, it will be given back to her, pressed down, shaken together and running over. (Luke 6:38)

A woman who builds her life on a strong foundation has a strong prayer life. She knows that she must pray without ceasing. She fights her battles through prayer, she prays for her family, friends and the man that God sends in her life. She anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, lets her requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6-7)

A woman who builds on a firm foundation allows God to gut out her house if needed and work on her from the inside out. She knows that God can heal her without scars so that she doesn’t look like what she’s been through. She learns from her mistakes and ministers to other women so that they don’t trip on the same road she has taken. She takes every opportunity to grow because her full confidence is in Christ. (Phil. 1:6)

Whoa! That’s a lot and yes we all have work to do. We are all works in progress but the important thing is to strive to do and BE your best. Trust me I stepped on my own toes writing this but just like I don’t want us investing in shaky investments, I also don’t want us to be one. As the old adage goes, you attract what you are. 

Be great! Be fearless! Be unstoppable! Build your life on a firm foundation so that you will be a firm, solid investment that any man would be glad to build with! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

This is not the season for SHAKY investments

At a family dinner recently, my younger cousin proclaimed that this is the season of “clinch”. He was referencing holding on to your money and not wasting and overspending. As I pondered this from the perspective of relationships I concluded: 

Girrrl! this ain’t the season for shaky investments! 

When it comes to relationships of any kind an investment is always taking place. Be it family, friendships, mentorships, and romantic relationships someone is always investing. What are some things you invest as it relates to people? Your time, mind, conversation, resources, and overall energy. The investment is inevitable so the main question is, how profitable is the investment, what is your ROI = Return On Investment (oh my - those Howard University girls!)? 

In finance, ROI measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost. It is calculated as: 

It may sound harsh to refer to people in terms of profitability but the reality is if you are living your life on purpose, there is little room for shaky investments. 

So what does a shaky investment look like in the perspective of relationships? 

Shaky investments are one-sided. 

Are you the one doing all the calling? Do you guys only talk because you reached out? Girrrl, that investment is shaky! One thing is for certain, if a man is interested, he WILL call you; he will reach out. Because he’s interested, he will want to speak to you as this is the main way to get to know someone better. Some may disagree here but texting is not the same as calling, just my opinion. Particularly for people of a certain age (35+), constant text communication is not how real, genuine communication should shake out. (I’ll be the first to admit I’m a chronic text person and I need to do better!) The point here is, as it relates to people, investment should take place on both sides and when it doesn’t, it’s shaky. 

Shaky investments always leave you wondering.

Always wondering where you stand in said ‘relationship’? Never quite sure who you are to this man? Forever asking ‘where is this going?’ Girrrl run! This is a shaky investment that will not yield a positive ROI. When two people are working together to build a loving, fruitful, solid relationship, these type questions will never arise. Why? Because you would have already discussed it! I’ll make an exception for my teenage young men and those in their 20’s. At that stage they are still maturing and growing up and things may not be so clear then (not all but many). But for men of a certain age, you should not be walking around wondering what are y'all doing! Where dey do dat at? A conversation needs to take place about the progression of the friendship or relationship even. Keep in mind, everyone that enters your life may not serve a romantic purpose, relationships comes in many flavors. But communicating with one another makes the purpose of the friendship clear and the direction even clearer. 

Shaky investments deplete you

Whenever you invest in someone and you do not get anything positive in return depletion takes place. It only stands to reason that you would feel depleted after you have poured out and into someone only to receive nothing in return. Or perhaps you do receive some things in return - you get dissed: i.e. disrespected, disregarded, dismissed, (unnecessary) disagreements, disappearing (acts), disappointed, discombobulated, disconcerted, disarrayed, discarded, I could go on but I won’t. 

The one dis that would dismantle all of these is discernment! Girrrl pray to the Most High and get some!! Recognize shaky investments early to avoid the heartache and headache that comes with them!

I want to see you soar and live victoriously on purpose! 
Be mindful of your investments! 

1 Phil. 1:9-10a 
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent…

Next up…. “Girrrl! Don’t be a shaky investment!”

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