30 Before 30

31 Mar

Making a list

Santa ain't the only somebody who knows how to make a list...

I will be turning 25 two weeks from yesterday.  The thought both excites and frightens me because my car insurance will go down and I have done virtually NOTHING worthwhile in my life.  Honest…my life has been rather vanilla; only one or two truly interesting experiences thrown in there.  A few of years ago, I made a list of thirty things I wanted to do before I turned thirty.  Back then, thirty was an impossibly long time away and now that I am halfway through my twenties, I feel it’s time to get a move on!  I made a new 30 before 30 list two years ago and decided to compile the two existing lists (because they only had 9 of the same things on them) about five minutes ago.  yes, I am aware that I just made a post less than an hour ago.  I am also aware that nobody ever comments on these things (I had 47 people read a post and not a ONE cared to comment on it!).  That was a not so subtle hint…

I digress.  On with the list.

1.  Read a poem at an open mic poetry night

2.  Submit a short film to a film festival

3.  Go on a camping/hiking trip

4.  Convince at least one other person to dine in a fast food restaurant in formal wear (not during Halloween or Prom)

5.  Have an entire conversation in Spanish with a native speaker (outside of school)

6.  Go skydiving

7.  Wear a bikini on a beach

8. Be able to bench press 75 lbs (i.e. multiple reps)

9. Learn to play the piano

10. Visit all 50 states

11. Plant a garden (even if it’s a 3×3 indoor plot)

12. Hanglide

13. Finish a written work

14. Take a theology class

15. Run in a marathon

16. Go into a recording studio and record a song that I’ve written

17. Swim with the dolphins

18. Learn how to ice skate

19. Take ballroom dancing lessons (Don’t laugh.)

20. Go on one of those zero gravity rides (after 30, I’m liable to have a heart attack)

21. Go on an Alaskan cruise

22. Visit at least 2 countries on every continent (except Australia, which is a country, and Antarctica, which has no countries)

23. Join a theater troupe

24. Buy a house

25. Drive from one end of the country to the other (both east to west and north to south)

26. Serve a 5 course meal

27. Spend $500 on a single outfit

28. Rock climb an actual cliff (not the fake one in the Rec Center).

29. Go scuba diving

30. Buy some stocks. 


Thursday Inspiration: Whom Shall I Fear?

31 Mar

I didn’t get to post my Sunday inspiration because I was away from home.  Now I’m back and I’m ready to get this thing started!  Prepare yourself for another loooooooong essay.  I promise, I’m going to get better about brevity and such.

My topic today is about fear.  The Bible speaks often, and very explicitly, about fear.  I could easily name about ten or fifteen verses off the top of my head (2 Timothy 1:7, Psalms 27:1, Psalms 23:4 – for example), but the point is that fear is a natural emotion that has no place in our supernatural lives.  We’re human and we are bound to be afraid of a multitude of things that really don’t make any legitimate sense.  Me?  I’m afraid of monkeys, roaches, and balloons.  I’m also afraid of rejection, losing the people that I love, and being forgotten.  The things that we fear are oftentimes the driving force behind the decisions that we make in our lives.  Fear shouldn’t be our motivation.  Our motivation should be faith.   Faith and fear, by definition, are antonyms; you can’t walk in both at the same time.  I can’t have faith in a situation and operate out of said faith if I am walking in fear and operating out of worry.  It doesn’t work like that. Fear looks at a situation and says, “what am I going to do?”  Faith looks at a situation and says, “What is God going to do?”  The times that faith and fear most often come in conflict with one another are when we are going through trials.

In your trial, faith accomplishes what fear cannot and fear creates conditions in which faith cannot operate.  Once you step out on faith, you must place all of your focus and the whole of your attention on Jesus – otherwise you will start walking in fear.  Basically, you have two options when dealing with your trial:

1.  Trial —> Distraction —> Distraughtfulness —>  Disdain —> Disappointment
2.  Trial —> Focus —> Faith —> Action —> Results

I had a cute little flow chart I created in Microsoft Word, but it would paste into WordPress.  Oh well.

Since option #2 is very straightforward (I believe), let’s start with option #1 and with Distraction.  When you are distracted, your mind becomes preoccupied by what your situation is doing to you instead of what you are supposed to be doing to your situation.  Things that may distract you are people close to you, like friends and family,  who only remind you of how bad things are instead of how good God is.  Other distractions back be haters and obstructionists who don’t want you to succeed and will hind your progress, habits and behaviors that are contrary to the Word, pity parties, and any doubt, dear, depression, or hesitation that may disconnect you from God and His Word.  If you are or become distracted, i.e. unfocused, there are ways to get back on track.  Study your Word.  This is the most effective means because you have to know what the Word says about your situation so you will know how to act.  Praying and asking for guidance is other good idea.  Part of being distracted is feeling inadequately prepared.  Pray for God to show, direct, and lead your thoughts and actions.  Finally, you should surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and positively influence your life.

Once you have become distracted, and unless you refocus, you then become distraught and distressed because of your distraction.  Now you are so wholly consumed by what is going on, you give yourself completely over to fear and worry.  There are  several reasons why being distraught is a bad thing.  First of all, due to inevitably overreacting and forgetting that the battle is already won, you allow your circumstance to become bigger than you and forget that it isn’t bigger than God.  You start to second guess all of your choices and decisions, eventually becoming scared to even move.  When you become “stuck in neutral,” so to speak, anything that comes along can push you in a multitude of wrong directions and you are unable to do anything because you are unable to guide yourself.  You lose your peace and your joy and you become an ineffectual ministry vessel because your fear taints your work.  You are unable to effectively make your way out of your trial and are very likely not to achieve any results at this rate because you are going around in circles.  It’s easy to become disoriented (I’m using a lot of words with the “dis” prefix, I see…) and confused.  You don’t know left from right, right from wrong.  In this case, you usually make the wrong decision, which leads to….

Disdain.  My, how it is easy to get to this place.  It is frustration at its finest.  Once you have become fearful, you are no longer faithful.  You lose every ounce of your faith and then begin to question why God allowed you to get in this situation in the first place.  You’re angry.  Why me?  How come?  It ain’t fair!  You are so confused, you don’t know how to get out of the hole that you’ve dug for yourself and, to be quite honest, you really aren’t looking to get out because it’s easier to find external blame than it is to find internal blame.  You have no results.  You have no victory.  Unless you can refocus on the task and hand and get your head back on straight, you disdain will only lead you to your final destination:

Disappointment.  We all know how that feels.  You think that God didn’t come through for you because you didn’t get what He promised.  What really happened is that you didn’t come through for yourself.

I could go a little further with this, but I won’t.  Basically, I’m just trying to tell you to be wary of fear.  It creates a cycle of thought and behavior that simply isn’t in keeping with your faith life.  And to be quite honest, what do we really have to fear anyway?  If are what we say we are, Believers, then we should be able to walk more confidently in our faith.  And I’m not saying this stuff to be self-righteous.  This is meant for me as well.  There’s a laundry list of things I haven’t done – am not doing – and missed opportunities that I will be held accountable for because I was operating in fear.  But if we take the time to stop and examine our fears and examine our faith, it is possible to see that our faith can best our fears every time.

The End.

Flaws and All

26 Mar

It’s late (and not that great and/or coherrent), but here’s my video post.  Try to enjoy!

UPDATES: Video later tonight

25 Mar

I have equipped Malcolm, my dear phone, with a WordPress app. Now I can post anytime , anywhere! Isn’t that exciting?

In other news, I will be posting my pre-Meeting of the Minds video tonight. Don’t know what it’ll be about, but it’s sure to be interesting. Stay tuned!

And leave comments! I can tell from my stats that I’m getting traffic (especially on Sundays) but COMMENTS make me happy. Please and thank you!

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone

Three Words that Women Get Twisted on the Regular

23 Mar

Can I iron yo shirt?  N*gga, please!  Iron yo own d*mn shirt!  I ain't no maid; I'm a grown a** woman!

I would be willing to bet the lives of my entire extended family that the word "grown" was used no less than five times in this argument...


Good morning (or whatever time of day it is when I post this), y’all!  I would like to serve notice to anyone who will be reading that today’s post is a rant.  That means that I, in an uncharacteristic vein of anger, will write in excess of 2000 words about something that has managed to grind my gears in a MAJOR way.  I also means that whatever argument I am attempting to make may not be linear, coherent, and may end in “yo mama.”  I won’t rant very often because I don’t get angry very often, but I’ve gotta get what I’ve gotta say off my chest.  Now…some of you won’t like it or won’t agree with me.  That’s good.  You can (in a calm manner) tell me why you disagree in the comments section after you have finished reading the post

Okay.  So are you guys ready?  Can I kick it?  Yes.  Yes, I can.

Since I’m all about education and whatnot, I feel that it is my duty and responsibility to teach the masses.  Today I want to teach about something that’s been irritating me as of late:  improper verbage and word usage.  An an English major, I can get pretty nutty about language misuse, especially when people use words incorrectly, that is to say, without really knowing what those words mean. 

Case in point:  while talking with a female acquaintance (i.e. NOT a friend) about relationships, I noticed that she kept saying the following word over and over again:  grown.  She said it with such frequency that I stopped paying attention to what it was that she was saying and focused my limited attention on how she was using the word. 

I’ll spare you all the preliminary jib-jab, but the meat of the conversation went a lil’ something like this:

That chick:  Girl, these men got us twisted!

Me:  Mmmm…

That chick:  I’m for real.  All of ’em.  Pastors up in the pulpit talking ’bout how women need to be submissive to their men.  Submissive?  What, he wants me walking three steps behind some man?  Girl, whatever.  I got a degree and I’m about to get another one.  I ain’t no servant.  I mean, I’m a grown woman! 

Me:   Mmmm…

That chick:  And then these brothas out here talking bout how they give white women and Asian women play because they’re more submissive than black females.  They know how to treat their men.  That’s the wackest ish I’ve ever heard!  I’m a grown a** woman.  What kind of BS is that?  Submission my a**!

Me:   (confused)….I’ve never heard anybody say that.

That chick:  I am too grown to let some man tell me what to do and how to live.  I got one daddy, I don’t need another one.  I’m grown, and I got my own.  I got a job, a degree, a car, and I pay all my own bills.  (Begins to quote, no lie, the chorus from that awful “Independent” song by Webbie.)

Me:  (incredulous)  Are you serious?

That chick:  Like I need a man.  I can do bad all by myself, baby.  I am 100% independent and I don’t need a man.  I’m a grown woman.  Feel me?  I am GROOOOOOOWN!!!

Me:  Mmmmmmmmmmm….

That chick went own about her (grown) business and I went on about mine, but the more I began to think about what she said, the more it started to irk me.  Then I got irritated.  Then I got mad.  You know why?  This is not the first time I’ve heard this argument.  I hear this conversation, or some variation of it, come out of some woman’s mouth almost everyday.  On the surface, it sounds shrewish solid.  Women should be able to take care of themselves and not depend on a man to take care of them, right?  Well…that ain’t what she said at all.  What this chick pretty much said is that she was carrying a chip on her shoulder about something (I don’t know – her job, her past relationship[s], her bad quick weave) and was trying to justify what really amounts to as a bad attitude by spewing this weak, bonafied lame argument that I’m about to poke holes in.  This chick, like so many other women (heck, I used to be one of them) are using the word “grown,” and two other words, incorrectly and I’m about to set the record straight.

Shots fired.

1.  Grown –  adj.,  past participle of “grow”:  having matured; having developed and matured.

My problem with the way this word is used by women is the same one that I have with it being used by teens/young adults:  the incorrect usage is improperly associated with age.  Basically, 11 out of 10 people who use the word “grown,” be it a smart-mouthed teen or an independent woman (whatever that means – I’ll address that later), all use it in reference to their chronological age.  Apparently, turning 18 makes you “grown.” 

This is a lie from the deepest, darkest armpit of HELL!

Age ain’t nothing but a number (going down ain’t nothing but a thang) and being “grown,” or being an “adult,” as I would rather people say, has very little to do with your age.  I know young adults in their early- to mid-twenties with loads more maturity than men and women twice their age.  The opposite is true as well.  You can’t go around throwing the word “grown” in people’s faces just because the government says you are old enough vote and go to the strip club.  Your ability to be responsible and held accountable for your actions, the ability to take care of and provide for yourself, and wisdom are not granted by the Grown Fairy when you turn 18.  It don’t work like that!  Those abilities are the learned and acquired hallmarks of ADULTHOOD.  Everybody wants to be grown, but nobody wants to grow-up.  I’m starting to get even more agitated than when I started…


2.  Independent – adj:  self-supporting, not forced to rely on another for money or support; able to function by self, able to operate alone because not dependent on somebody or something else

There were a whole heap of definitions for this word, but because I am being (somewhat) mindful of my word count, I thought I’d give the two most pertinent to my argument.  Most people, when asked, will tell you that being independent means being able to take care of all of your needs and some of your wants without help from anybody.  Most people, when asked, also don’t know the name of their state’s govenor¹.

Now I’m not going to say that these people are wrong, but they’re only half-right.  Yes, self-sufficiency and the ability to provide for one’s self are both integral parts of being independent, but they are not the only parts.  Again, people are tying the definition of this word up into an incomplete, static notion.  Independence doesn’t only mean financial independence.  That’s all some people think it means.  I can buy what I want and need, so I’m independent.  No…you are (depending on your FICO score) financially independent and that’s it.  There are other kinds of dependencies that people, women especially, seem to overlook and most of them are of the emotional variety.  Emotional dependency is a tricky concept for some people to understand because they confuse emotional dependency with relationships – and I don’t just mean the romantic variety.  Let me know if this rings a bell:

Kara:  Oooh, girl!  That new Tyler Perry movie Madea’s Family Beauty Supply Store³ is coming out today!  You’ll go to the movies with me?

Tara:  Well, I was thinking about staying at home.  I’m pretty tired.  It’s been a long week.

Kara:  Girl, pleeeeease???  You know I don’t like going to the movies by myself…

Everyone has had or has been that friend that can’t go nowhere or do anything without another friend.  It goes without saying that this dependence on another person easily translates into a relationship setting.  I know a dozen of “grown, independent” women and men who have jobs, pay bills, are financially self-sufficient, and cannot function without a boyfriend/girlfriend.  How is that being independent?  For that person, the level of enjoyment gained by life is contingent upon the amount of companionship provided by a separate individual.  If it were an equation, it’d look like this:


 E = Σ (1 + 1/C)²         
E= enjoyment; C = companionship

I digress.  I won’t even get into the whole argument about how human beings are interdependent by nature and, therefore, cannot be truly independent of one another.  The point I’m trying to make is that there is more to independence than paying your bills or being able to buy a car without a co-signer.  Can you go to the movies by yourself?  Can you go shopping by yourself?  If no one called or texted you for three days straight, would your question your life?  If you were to spend the rest of your life as a single woman (or man) would you be happy?  If your existence is somewhat wholly dependent upon the existence of another human being, then you, my dear, are NOT the father independent.  
 ***There’s also what I call the Independence Effect.  I have a theory (which, predictably, I cannot prove) that the reason that men have become less “gentlemanly,” so to speak, is because women have become more bitchy independent.  It’s not reciprocated to them, so they don’t do it.  It’s a weird little cycle.  Boy meets Girl.  Boy asks Girl on date.  Boy opens the door for girl, pays for dinner, and does a number of other chivalrous/traditional things per Girl’s (mostly) unspoken demands.  Time goes by.  Boy and Girl are serious and decide to become Man and Wife.  more time goes by.  Man asks Wife is she’s gonna cook tonight.  Wife tells man that she ain’t no maid and if he wanna eat so bad, he can go to his mama’s house.*** 


 3.  Submissive – adj:  inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient.

The concept of “submission” is very hard for many women – myself included – to grasp and accept.  On the surface, it seems to be a sexist, chauvinist point of view.  However, I firmly believe that the definition of being submissive is being confused with that of the word “subservient.”  Many people equate being submissive to being a repressed, vapid mate who cannot or is unable to make any independent decisions.  They believe that being submissive is the act of yielding to the desires and demands of another person. 

Well, that not (what I think) it is at all.  What I think really and truly is a bit abstract, so bear with my as I attempt to explain. 

 Okay.  When you are in a relationship with another person, you have to understand that the relationship consists of two different people with two different backgrounds and two different sets of experiences which has created two different sets of personal beliefs and opinions.  I mean, you may have a lot in common with your boo, but you aren’t the same person.  Because you are not the same person…there will be times when you disagree and will not see eye to eye.  When this happens, a consensus must be reached and there are three possible outcomes:
                 1.  Your way
                 2.  His/Her way
                 3.  Compromise

I will neglect to mention the “stalemate” outcome because it isn’t an outcome at all.  Things are bound to come to a head. 

Anywho, a person who understands being submissive (re-read the definition) will understand that there are some times when you just have to suck it up and take the high road.  Sometimes you have to bend your wishes just a bit to keep the peace.  You don’t have to do it all the time, but you have to do it.  I wouldn’t want to be with a person who ALWAYS had to have things their way.  You have to learn how to take the back seat sometimes.  That’s what being submissive is about.  It’s not about walking three steps behind any man or being a timid little housewife.  It’s about knowing when to step to the side and let someone else drive for a change.  I know gender roles are changing and things are becoming more and more neutral in terms of what are considered to be “traditional” gender roles…but sometimes a man just wants to be a man.  Let him.

Okay…that’s all I have the energy for.  So…did I hit the mark?  Did I piss you off?  Did I manage to make a valid, coherent argument?  Drop me a comment and let me know!



¹The governor of the state of Alabama is Robert Bentley.  I didn’t have to look that up.  I have no way of proving that most people don’t know the name of their state govenor, but I’m willing to put cold, hard cash down on my unproven statement.  Plus, this is my blog and I can say what I want.²

²And I can do what I want.  Like make up random equations and give my footnote a footnote.

³I have a couple of major issues with Tyler Perry that I will expound upon another day in another post.

Sunday Inspiration: I’m NOT Perfect…but that’s no excuse

20 Mar

Not sure what’s up with the tree covered hill in the video…but I just wanted the song…

Public Service Announcement:  I am not perfect.  I curse like a sailor (usually when I’m alone and no one can hear it), I’m a champion procrastinator, and I dislike being wrong more than I dislike monkeys, roaches, veggies, and the color orange.  I’m impatient and stubborn; I can be insensitive and incompassionate.  My left foot is bigger than my right.

I am human.  We all are.

Everybody has a set of flaws that they carry around with them like a grocery list.  Everybody has that one or two or seven things that they know they need to work on.  We all carry the banner of imperfection, however, some of us are waving it a little harder than others.  I’m going to try and say what I’ve got to say with tact and brevity:  do not allow your humanity to overcome your humility.

Now what the heck do I mean by that?  Well, two things, really.  Allow me to get all lexicographical for a moment.  Humanity (in a nutshell, a really small one) is basically human nature.  A simple definition of humility would be the that is the opposing virtue to the vice/sin of pride.  A better definition (per the definition I just looked up) is, “the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing.”  Within that definition of humility are two opposite ends of the pride spectrum:  arrogance and despair. 

On one hand, you have the arrogance that comes from believing that being human gives you a free pass to act a fool.  There are some people who feel like they are exempt from having to behave themselves, above the rules so to speak, because “everybody makes mistakes.”  You know the ones…God forgive me for what I’m about to do.    Uh, come again?  God’s mercy endures forever, but He has mercy on whom He will.  Making a mistake is one thing.  The intent to sin, well that’s another matter entirely.  That’s a form of arrogance, plain and simple.  Yes…we’re all going to mess up.  That does not mean that you should not take care to try and curb those bad habits and do whatever you can in your power to move past the things that hinder you.  That’s the equivalent of refusing to take baths on the grounds that you’re only going to get dirty again.  Like my grandma says:  holiness is right.  I’m not saying go out and buy one of them floor sweeping skirts or do something extreme.  Holiness isn’t about appearance.  It’s about making a lifelong commitment to separate yourself from the things that can and will impede your direction and dedication when it comes to the Kingdom.  And I know I’m the pot calling the kettle black.  There are a lot of things that I personal need to remove from my life and I know that I will die having never fully gotten rid of them all.  However, I will not let that be an excuse for not trying.  It’s a long process.  I’ve got to die daily.  It’s not easy and I’m going to mess up more than I get right.

On the other hand, there is despair.  A word about despair:  a professor of mine told me once that the highest – and most dangerous – form of despair is pride.  Despair is the loss of hope, the feeling that whatever it is that you’ve done is something that you can’t or won’t be forgiven for.  This is a form of pride because you have allowed your self and your sin to become bigger than God.  The second half of that definition I mentioned earlier talks about “self-abasement,” which is (from the same source), “Self-abasement is voluntary self-punishment or humiliation in order to atone for some real or imagined wrongdoing.”  I have a few issues with the idea of self-punishment.  For starters, it sort of is a slap in the face of the Crucifixion, which was the ultimate sacrifice/payment for our sins.  It’s like saying that what Jesus did is enough for what you’ve done – again, despair.  Sometimes we allow our humanity, our human nature and the fact that we are imperfect to effect us to the point that we take ourselves out of commission.  We feel like we can’t be used by God.  We feel like we can’t go to God even in prayer.  That’s a dangerous, dangerous place to be.  As I stated in another post, God has used imperfect people in spite (or perhaps because) of their sin. 

The moral of the story is this:  you are bound to fall.  When you fall, you have three options:  make excuses, lay there, or get up and keep going.  It’s really that simple.  Nobody’s perfect and no one ever will be.  God isn’t asking us to be perfect.  He’s just asking us to keep pressing toward the mark.

Have a good Sunday, everybody! 

Video killed the (wanna-be) blogging star

18 Mar

So here’s a video that I did.  It’s terrible, but whatever.