Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is love? Rewrite

I recently revisited a writing I posted January 30, 2006, where I wrote on this subject: What is love? As I was reading it, I began to smile, reflecting on my life now. When I answered this question 6 years ago, I wasn't in love, nor had I ever experienced it, but the picture of love was so vivid to me. I knew exactly what it was suppose to look like. I knew exactly what it was suppose to feel like, but at the same time, I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

A lot has happened since then. I went to grad school, quit 2 jobs, was terminated from another, worked for myself, dated a few jerks, hurt some feelings, got a couple cold shoulders, even gained a bitter male enemy, but ultimately, I've learned first hand what love really is.

Here's what I said in 2006, and how I feel in 2012.

"Love is the ability to tolerate someone regardless of what they do. Being about to put up with someone's imperfections - be it their stank feet, or the fact that they snore - is a sign of sincere love. If you don't love some one, you're not going to put up with stuff like that. But if you love them, it's not a big deal, and if it is, you will address it with honest and kindness, without being rough or hard, because when you love some one, you don't want to hurt them or cause them pain, but you care just as much about their well-being as you do your own. So instead of saying "DAYUM yo breath stank," you'll offer them a breath mint, and if the problem persists, you take them to the dentist. lol!"

If it were only as simple as putting up with stank feet or snoring. There is almost no surface to reality's imperfections, that's just how deep they get. Something as innocent as a bit of jealousy - which is often thought to be mildly cute in the beginning - can stem from unhealed wounds of cheating and lead to a controlling and argumentative relationship. Something as simple as building trust, although not always simple, can have roots seeded deeply in failed former relationships that have fostered a spirit of unforgiveness. Selfish. Manipulative. Poor communication skills. Demanding. Needy. These are the imperfections that reality presents, not stank breath or snoring. No one is a perfect person, but when you find true love, you'll find the person FOR YOU, flaws (imperfections) and all. And if they love you as much as you love them, the two of you will be able to work together to deal with (not put up with) those imperfections.

"Now, there is "loving" some one, and there is being "in love" with some one. You can love some one with out being IN love with them, just as you love your mother, best friend, or pet. But you cannot be IN love with some one without loving them. If you're truly IN love with some one, when things fall apart, you will still love them, because when you're IN love with some one, you LOVE them unconditionally, no matter what. Even if he cheats, even if she lies, you still love that person and you still want to be with them."

Hol' up. Wait a min. Pause. Say WHAT now? LOL Only God can love unconditionally. Unconditional, by definition, means not limited by conditions. We, as humans, have conditions, mainly death. I can love you til I die, but I cannot love you unconditionally. And let me add that if he continues to cheat, and she continues to lie, it's ok to still love that person and still want to be with them, but you just might need to love yourself a little bit more and realize we can't always have what we want when we want it.

"If you find that you're no longer IN love with some one, and you have no feelings whatsoever - you don't want to talk to them, don't want to see them, don't care if they live or die - then you were never truly IN love with that person. This is called infatuation. When you are infatuated, you have little to no control over your emotions. Your emotions control the relationship. Although this is easily mistaken for love, it isn't love. While being IN love involves a certain degree of infatuation, being IN love with some one means your feelings and emotions are REASONABLE."

I use to think that the good life was built upon ones ability to make good choices - those that are both sound and reasonable. But I've come to find that in no matter how sound and reasonable your decisions are, you are still bound to have a run it with some of the "bad" in live. With love in particular, it's way too easy to loose your inhibitions, omit all logic, and just say, do, and act in ways that are just plain old unreasonable. 

"Your REASON rules your EMOTIONS instead of your emotions controlling the relationship."

Experience has confirmed my belief that you cannot allow your emotions to control your relationship. Emotions are natural, instinctive responses to one's circumstances or mood. When you allow your emotions to control your relationship, the relationship endures tremendous stress each time you exhibit unfavorable emotions such as fear, jealousy, indifference, worry, doubt, or sadness. Love goes beyond that. When you truly love some one, you love them beyond your current mood or circumstance. You love them beyond your fear, jealousy, indifference, worry, doubt, or sadness. 

"Real love brings out the best in you. It's exciting, and it causes an eagerness to grow and improve. It gives you a greater sense of...I don't You start thinking about the future, possibly saving. Of course there is much more to being in love. There's admiration and a high level of respect. There's the best-friend factor. There's devotion and affection. And so much more. 

There's also the disagreements, and the compromise. The getting on of nerves and the needing of space. But when you find someone who's worth all that and more, you can step back and say, "This is love."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Know by Age 30

So I read this article today about a s1997 story publish in Glamour magazine titled "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30," originally written by Pamela Redmond Satran, but became so popular that it was often wrongly attributed it to various women from Maya Angelou to Hillary Clinton. Just today, the editors of Glamour released a book around this article, featuring essays from famous women. Taking a look at the list (and considering the purchase of this book), I've come to find that many of the things on this list are applicable to women at any age. Maybe age 30 is the time to have them by, but it's never too soon to start preparing, and it's never too late to try attaining. So here's the list (copied from the link above) with my comments in red purple.

By 30, you should have ...
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
  • I can NOT imagine going back to any one of my exes. Not a one. Not na'n one. The mere thought of it is the pits. My oh my have I come along way. I'm thinking that if this thought crosses your mind often, you might wanna "find a resolve" (insider) before age 30...actually before you enter into another relationship. All you'll need is one small argument with your boo, and a random text from the one ex, and you just might find yourself in a world of confusion. Yikes!
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
  • How does one define "decent"? My parents bought me a bedroom set when I moved out of their house years ago. It's obviously not brand new, but it has survived 3 moves. It's in good shape and I don't plan on replacing it until I purchase my home...and even still, it'll probably go in one of the guest rooms.
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
  • In an hour you say? I'd like to spend that much time alone doing my hair! LOL. But I do have the perfect grey pinstriped suit and little black dress (or little pink dress...or little raspberry dress) for either of these occasions. Every woman should have a grey or black suit in her closet. This can be worn to interviews, to church, to conferences, networking events. It's also my opinion that you can never have too many LBDs (Little Black Dresses) that can be worn to parties, on dates, and even to church if it's not TOO little. lol. It's also a good practice to try these items on regularly (to make sure they fit) and be sure that at least one of them is clean at all times.
4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
  • If your budget doesn't allow you to shop Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Kate Spade, whatever, invest in a quality purse that has a neutral color, and that can be worn dressed up or dressed down. Shop Marshall's and TJ Maxx. I've gotten a number of Coach bag from there for much less than what the cost is at the outlet stores.
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
  • While I often think, "had I known then what I know now...," I am content with every decision made and every success (or consequence) I experienced as a result. Each has molded me into the woman I am today. Even in situations where you may feel you've made the biggest of mistakes, know that there is a blessing in every lesson. Learn from it and use that knowledge to make for a greater future. That's a true sign of maturity.
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  • Not so sure about "juicy" but I'm definitely working on a love story and I can't wait to share it with my grandchildren. Live life intentionally, and with every decision you make, consider how the story will sound years from now if you were to share it with some one, anyone.
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age -- and some money set aside to help fund it.
  • Nobody really WANTS to grow old but I've learned to look forward to it. The only way to escape it is to die young. Unfortunately, it wasn't until the ripe age of 29 that I began to set money aside to fund my old age. Better late than never. (Had I known then what I know now... Smh). I sho nuff plan to enjoy my olden days.
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account -- all of which nobody has access to but you.
  • Check. Check. And check. Got it! Let me add that your email address should be something that looks good on a resume, and you voice mail message should be something appealing to anyone who calls (your mom, your boss, your pastor, the POTUS...)
9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
  • By age 30, we should not only be certain the career path that we want to follow, but should have enough work (and maybe volunteer) experience to prove ourselves worthy... (If I knew then what I know now. smh lol). If you don't know. Don't be discouraged! It's never too late! And if by chance your resume is padded, but prepared to put in the extra work to back it up!
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
  • I'm not much of a crier so IDK who this one friend is for me, but laughing and crying are essential to healthy living. Laughter is good for the soul. And Crying is merely temporary relieve of momentary pain. Sometimes crying come from joy and laughter. We are designed to be creatures of release. So don't be afraid to release those tears and release those laughs. Just be certain that your one friend is a true friend. Everyone who makes you laugh and allows you to cry is NOT your friend.
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
  • Living alone for so many years, I did find great use of a set of screwdrivers (tighten towel rack, assembling bookshelves and TV stands, etc), but a cordless drill? Not so much. LOL. Lace bras are nice :)
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
  • Yeah, I still haven't gotten to this point yet. Maybe I can insert my MacBook Pro in this "ridiculously expensive" category but I feel the writer was leaning more towards a $600 dress...which I just remembered I have, or a $400 pair of shoes, or an $800 handbag. Hmmm. "Ridiculously expensive" is a relative term. But we definitely should have have something nice that we really don't need but that we really want. But by no means should we break the bank or neglect necessities to get it.
13. The belief that you deserve it.
  • I struggle with this one myself. I believe you deserve what you work for. But God shows us favor, and His grace gives us things we don't deserve, not even a lil bit.
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
  • I'm totally failing in this area. I have skin care products, but I don't have a regime, and my exercise routine is limited to my walks to and from the fridge.
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
  • A career is so much different from a job. It's a journey, as is life. If your career is solid and satisfying, so will your life. And a satisfying relationship gives you some one to share it with, some one to support you, encourage you, and cheer you on. I'm certainly off to a solid start and loving it.

By 30, you should know ...
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
2. How you feel about having kids. 
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship. 
4. When to try harder and when to walk away. 
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next. 
6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town. 
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to. 
8. Where to go -- be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat -- when your soul needs soothing. 
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents. 
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over. 
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love. 
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long. 
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally. 
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault. 
15. Why they say life begins at 30. 

What's on your personal list of things to have and know -- and possibly do -- before turning 30?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Church Clothes

I try to avoid conversations/arguments that try to define "church clothes." Having grown up as a drug baby - my parents drug me to Sunday school, drug me to morning worship, drug me to BTU, NBC, VBS, the list goes on - I understand and appreciate the concept of "Sunday's Best" attire. In a nutshell, God is awesome, and we should dress our best to present ourselves before the King. But being stuck between generations, I'm also stuck between the traditional and contemporary concepts of the proper church uniform.
For certain, I disagree with the misconstrued notion of "come as you are." Yes, the Bible says "come as you are," but that command was directed towards those who labor and are heavy those with sinned sick souls... And each person who "came as they were" ... none of them left the same, because it's impossible to have an encounter with Christ and not experience a change

But as far as church clothes are concerned...what exactly ARE church clothes? If I had my way and money was no factor, I'd have a closet full of St. Johns, Shellie McDowells, and Christian Louboutins that I'd wear every Sunday. Not because that's church attire, but because that's how I like to dress. I like the way I look and feel in knits, hats, and pumps. But that's just me.

Now, I have a couple hats. I have a few knits. I even have a St. John (just far), and a closet full of pumps, but that's not all I wear, nor is that all I desire to wear. However, I can honestly say that there aren't very many items in my closet that are inappropriate for church, like that pair of skinny jeans that hug my curves like oh my gawd...that one Tommy Hilfiger mini skirt that I wore to homecoming my freshman year at UIUC...a couple cocktail dresses, a few halter, one strap, and strapless tops, and of course my swimming suits.

But here's the thing. The church is not where you go. It's not confined to the 4 walls of a building, tabernacle, temple, mosque, hall, or worship center. There are no geographical boundaries for the house of the Lord, nor his gates and courts. Therefore, everywhere you are, everywhere you go, you should be entering His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. The church is not where you go, it's who you are!

Now, after having given this "church dress code" some thought, I've come to find that there are certain ways to tell if your attire meets the dress code for church, whether you're dressed in Sunday's best or dressed in Saturday's leftovers.

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen: If your underwear can be seen, you are in violation of church dress code. This includes visible panty lines due to your clothes being too tight. This included the panty peek that occurs when you take your seat. And this includes the unsightly boxer/brief/tighty whitey that poisons my eye with saggin jeans.
  2. Ladies: If your mid-section shows at any point during worship, you are in violation of church dress code. Lifting your hands in total adoration should not expose skin.
  3. Ladies and Gentlemen: If your clothes are too tight, you are in violation of church dress code. Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm not saved enough to not be distracted by body cuts that can be seen in muscle shirts. My Gawd. Smh. And ladies, we know good and well some of our clothes can cause a weak soul to sink, taking focus off the Savior and tuning in on our sexy. *points to self* Guilty! That is not ok *in my Auntie Dee voice*
I say all this in fun, but in all seriousness, it is my belief that Christians ought to LOOK like Christians. When I leave my house on Sunday mornings (not so much on Tuesdays though), everyone I pass on the street knows I'm headed to worship. Don't get me wrong. Let me be very clear in stating that it's NOT about your clothes. Dressing a certain way does NOT make you any more Christian that the next person, but I do believe that once your soul is changed, once you are saved on the inside, there ought to be some outward sign as well.

What's your take on church dress code? How do you determine if you attire is appropriate?

Monday, April 9, 2012


Maybe it's just me, but I absolutely hate Wite-out. Every time I see it used I cringe a bit. I thought maybe it was because I spent 10 years in social services and Wite-out wasn't allowed because all documents were legal documents, held up a court of law. In lieu of using Wite-Out, we were to draw a single line (not a scribble) through the incorrect word, and write the correct word next to it. Just recently, I've given this concept some thought as it relates to the life and times of LaSondra.

In life, we all make what many refer to as mistakes. I, personally, don't believe in mistakes, simply because I believe in purpose. I believe that everything in life happens WITH purpose and ON purpose, whether it's planned or not. But for the sake of making my point, we all make mistakes, mistakes that cannot be infinitely erased, permanently covered up, or perpetually whited out. I'm reminded of the popular saying: "What happens in the dark shall come to light." I've heard this oh so many times and thought that it was just an old saying passed down from generation to generation. Imagine my surprise when I found it in the Bible.

Luke 18:17 says. "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad."

Now I know why I hate Wite-Out. It's because it's not representative of the life we live...or at least not the life that I live. Yeah, I've done some things in life I shouldn't have done. Yeah, I've said some things and gone some places I had no business whatsoever, and have even suffered the consequences thereof. But at this point in life, I wouldn't dare try to Wite-Out any of the decisions I've made, no matter how poor, irresponsible, or just plain stupid they may be. I would rather live my life with a line through my mistakes so that the world can see the progress I've made by learning from my poor decisions. I don't wanna cover them up or white them out and pretend they never happened. I don't wanna paint a picture that I'm so holy that I do everything according to the Word of God and I always have and that I never make mistakes. Particularly for the unbeliever, on the one who's faith is weak, I want them to SEE that I once was lost but now I'm found. I want them to SEE what I have overcome because if He did if for me, He can do it for you. I want them to SEE that a breakthrough is within their reach. I want them to SEE that deliverance is not far-fetched. I want them to SEE that there is an unspeakable joy, a peace that surpasses all understanding, and a real love who believes they are to die for.

I'm mature enough to admit I've made mistakes. I'm woman enough to own up to them. And I'm so strong in my faith that I know without a shadow of doubt that I am forgiven.

To the person who's still struggling with the poor decisions you've made...the person who's using layers and layers of Wite-Out...Be encouraged! II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passes away; behold, all things are become new."

You are more than the choices that you've made. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are more than the problems you create. You've been remade! (You Are More byTenth Avenue North).


Monday, February 6, 2012

An Abundant Life



Abundantly is derived from the Greek word perissos [pe-rēs-so's], which means "exceeding some number or measure or need; over and above, more than necessary; something further, more, much more than all."

Jesus says in John 10:10, "I come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (KJV). MORE abundantly... MORE perissos... MORE than exceeding measure or need... MORE than over and above...MORE than MORE. My God!

I've heard this scripture, read this scripture, memorized, recited, and even sang this scripture a thousand times, but just now, right this very moment, it has a whole new meaning in the life that I live from this day forward.

Abundance is mine! It is within my reach. And I have a very vivid picture of it, in HD.

~Elle Kidd