Happy “Thanksgibing” back….

It’s Thanksgiving day people, not TURKEY DAY.  Yes, many people eat turkey, I get it, I eat plenty of it myself.  But this was a day set aside to give thanks to God for all of his blessings.  A day started by a group of people who had seen the worst kind of heartache, and for a extended period of time.  And still, they had been provided for, and recognized that.  And were deeply thankful to the One who had given them life.

So HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone.

And “Happy Thanksgibing back.”

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5 Things You Should Never Say to a Large-chested Woman

Large bra

I am well endowed.  Have been since I first sprouted in middle school.  When my mom took me to get my first bra, my Dad joked that we were going to buy an “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.”  He didn’t know the unfortunate truth of that statement that was to come.

I get that women everywhere want large breasts.  Actually, I take that back.  Women don’t REEEEALLY want large breasts.  They think they do.  Because somewhere, some guy told them bigger was better.  Or they heard it on TV.  Or a movie.  They read it in a magazine.  They think they want to be big because it results in more attention, desire, and ultimately, approval, love and acceptance.

I’m not exactly a fan of my D-cups.  They’re not horrible, but they are just…. way too big.  They make my back hurt, they get in the way of just about everything from playing guitar to scrubbing the shower, and they nearly give me a concussion every time I go jogging.  It amuses me to no end how women assume that I love them, and that if they had them, they would love them too.

But you know what happens when  you assume.

It makes an ASS out of U and ME.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Large-Chested Woman:

1.  “They’re just…..so….BIG.”  If she loves them, well then, you’re single-handedly helping to fuel this cultural lie that highly-sexualized bodies are the only way to get noticed.  Surely, there’s something else you could compliment her on?  And if she doesn’t love them, well, then you’ve just pointed out the pimple.

2. “Oh, stop it, you could totally go bra-less.”  Umm, HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?  No.  Bra-less isn’t an option, but thanks for not taking me at my word, and reminding me that I’m doomed to live in a “chestity belt” for ever and ever.

3. “Can I feel them?”  Man or woman, this is never appropriate.  I don’t care if we’re best friends.  They’re mine.  And my husband’s.  And he doesn’t like when other people use his toys.

4. “Bend…….AND SNAP!”  This kind of vulgar behavior repulses me.  Especially when you consider the fact that I spend more time playing them down than I do buying shoes.

5. “My boobs are so small!”  I would gladly switch with you, if I could.  So thanks.  For that.  Can we talk about your awesome cheek bones too?  And then bond over a mani-pedi?

 

 

 

 

The Project-Friend

A new friend of mine asked me recently if I had picked them as a “project friend.” I knew immediately what that meant, I’ve just never been asked that question before, point blank.

 

The “project friend”: a person one takes on for an undisclosed amount of time to guide them through, convict them of, and teach them things that they genuinely couldn’t receive anywhere else.  (*sarcasm)

 

The “project-friender”: a person who frequently chooses to surround themselves with people who they perceive to need their help, and proceed to give their help throughout the relationship.

Project friender

 

 

Everyone loves a good project friend.  

Rephrase, us first-born, type-A personalities love a good project friend.  We get to boss them, pinch them, squeeze them, and watch them grow.  And sometimes, just SOMETIMES, we stay friends.

 

I’m a fixer.  It’s what I do for a living.  Think Olivia Pope of ABC’s “Scandal”, with a slightly less-fabulous tan. People pay me to boss them around, essentially.  To tell them what’s wrong with the situation, and tell them what needs to be done to fix it.  I give advice, compel people to action, and challenge them to find what’s buried deep down within them.  How on earth does one keep that from permeating other areas of life?

 

Wrong question, lady.  OF COURSE it’s going to seep through the cracks of one’s professional upstairs floor and end up all over the living room couch, but you can certainly control who sits on the couch, can’t you?

 

The right question is, how do you view your friends as peers?  Equals?  With each of you bringing to the table strengths and weaknesses that build, sharpen, and encourage each other?  The right question is how do you do this for at least PART of the time.

 

Well, to start off with, ask the Father to SHOW you their worth. He gave His son to be murdered in their place, (and, need I remind you, your place as well) so I’m fairly certain that they mean a great deal to Him.  What, that isn’t good enough for you?

 

There will be times when advice is needed of course, and God will put you in front of them, with the experience to give the advice, at that moment.  Everyone is messed up, each in our own ways, and to varying degrees.  You might need the advice next.

 

Another right question: WHEN DO YOU SHUT UP?  Just because you have great advice to give (whose advice doesn’t sound perfect in their own heads, right?) might not necessarily mean that you need to deliver it yet, or ever.

 

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7  ESV

 

It’s God who gives our words fruit, meaning, and a responsibility. Our advice is useless, unless God, in His infinite power, makes it effective.  And so often, I myself become gravely convicted, taught, or encouraged myself through the giving of advice, whether it goes on to “help” the other person or not.

 

When my friend asked me this question, my reaction was so strong, I had to take a break from the conversation.  WHY?

 

Hellooooo conviction.  I do have a tendency to fix my friends.  And what else is that skill than using your friends to make yourself seem or feel more relevant/powerful/important?

 

It’s PRIDE.  At its simplest, and yet its deepest.  As if I couldn’t possibly learn anything from this clearly inferior person.

 

Think back, to “that person” or “those people” in your life, who have been the most influential.  Was this person or these people trying to fix you, change you, judge you?  Not usually.

 

It was the person who was THERE FOR YOU.  Just… there.  Listening, giving advice when asked, and being open to what God was showing THEM through the experience.

 

That’s the kind of friend I want to be.  That’s the kind of friend I’ve asked God to turn me into.  That’s the kind of friend that I, just a few days ago, realized I am nothing like.  Yet.

 

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

no_strings_attached (2)

What is love?  “Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.”  Cue head banging.  (If you’re too young to remember this, here:)

 

Some maintain that love is an emotion.  Or that love is an ability.  Or that love is a verb.

 

I belong in the “love is an action” camp.  Think about it, to act in love IS to love. After actors get paid to kiss each other, fake intimacy, and act as though they’re in love, often, it turns into the real thing. They start dating, they get married, they cheat on their current spouse with their co-star. So what’s the difference, I wonder.  Between acting love, and feeling it.

 

I used to be a professional Ballroom Dancer.  Yes, I KNOW.  It’s just as glamorous as it sounds.  And in that industry, it’s extremely commonplace for dance partners to fall in love.  I fell in love with my dance partner, and 2½ years later, he became my husband.  That’s popular too. For dance partners to get married.  (And about 3 years later, to get divorced. Hence why I USED to be a professional dancer.  I’m still married, FYI.)  When playing up the sexuality of the Rumba or Cha Cha, you’re stepping through the actions of a couple in love, or in lust.  Maybe it’s more love -as in the heartfelt affection- when you dance the Waltz.

 

And as if by some sort of pre-meditated inside joke, every movie about one-night-stands or cheap and meaningless sex ends with the characters falling in love. The moral of the story is always that when you ACT in love, the body can’t can’t tell the difference. Two people who behave as though they’re experiencing love, end up experiencing  just that.

 

So there’s this photographer who puts random people together in intimate poses before taking their picture.

 These strangers who get thrown together to pose as couples, fathers, daughters, Aunts, or Grandmothers end up feeling affection for the random person that they’re hugging in the picture.

 

The “Love Dare,” as described in the book and movie “Fireproof” is the concept of acting out love whether or not you receive any in return. Eventually, the giver (and receiver) of this display of affection is powerless against the stream of emotion.  And often, in the beginning, it’s only an ACT of affection, that later morphs into actuality.

 

I’m definitely not the world’s foremost authority on this subject, but I can most certainly tell you one thing: never easier is love received in my heart, than when it’s created in my heart first.  And never easier is it created in my heart, than when it’s created in my hands first.  It’s easy to stop acting, but I want an award nomination.

 

Love is an ACTion.  Better make it an Oscar-worthy performance.

 

PUBLIC DISPLAY OF PROTECTION

“Will that be all, hon?”

Trying to blend into the floor, I hung my head and mumbled a response.

“Mmm hmm.”

The cashier grabbed the box of condoms like it was nothing more than your average gallon of milk.  But to me, she might as well have been spelling my name out with fireworks. “SHE’S BUYING CONDOMS.”

Condoms

Oooh nooo, I realized.  Wrong size.  Having just become sexually active, (with the man who would later become my husband) I didn’t know the rules.  Will he be offended if I get the wrong kind?  I’d heard that guys were very concerned with size, and I didn’t want to unwittingly emasculate my new (and inaugural) boyfriend by getting something too small.

“Um, I’m sorry, I think I got the wrong ones.”

“Oh yeah, which ones do you need?”

“Probably something a little…er, bigger.”  I couldn’t believe I was saying this.

“No problem, Al will grab them for ya.”  She swiftly fetched the walkie-talkie from her belt and barked the order.  Her deep southern drawl formed a chorus with the other walkies in the building and echoed off of every surface.  “AAAAL!!  This here young lady needs help with the CONDOMS!  Can you grab a couple boxes of larger sizes and bring them to register 2?”

Thanks.  I’m never shopping here again.  EVER.

I paid for the contraband and left the store, feeling a whole new wave of conviction about what I was about to do.  Sex with someone who I wasn’t married to was wrong, I knew it and believed it.  But it wasn’t enough of a reason to stop me, at that time in my life.  I spoke fluent “Christianese” but had not pursued a relationship with the Father.

Two years later, both my boyfriend and I began to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We became convicted about our sexual activity, and became celibate during our 9-month engagement.  (Hardest thing I’ve ever done, AFTER having given this man my virginity.  But the Lord was faithful and we made it to our wedding night.)

A few weeks before the wedding, we were at the apartment that we would later share, setting up some things.  My fiance had moved in by himself a month earlier.  There was a knock on the door, and a package delivered to the doorstep.

It was addressed to him, but without thinking I sliced through the tape and pried open the cardboard flaps.  Inside the box were several other containers, about shoe-box size.  I opened one.

CONDOMS.  Hundreds of them.  More than I had ever seen in my life.  I was mortified.

My soon-to-be husband came around the corner from the bedroom and saw me, stunned, with a handful of rubber.

“Oh.”  He stammered.  “I ordered some condoms online.”

“Some?”

“Yeah.  Well, we don’t want to run out!”

“No, I guess we don’t.”

“And you know, it’s always so embarrassing when you buy them at the drugstore.”

THIS MAN.  He’s a keeper, I thought.

We had condoms coming out of our…. cabinet for years.  YEARS.  By the time we wanted to discontinue use of contraceptives, we still had two boxes left.

It was around then, our second Christmas as a married couple, that we received the invitation to our friends’ house for a “Dirty Santa” party.  It was the perfect setup.

I carefully wrapped the box of raincoats, topped it with a bow, and we left for the party.  The hosts of the shin-dig were our friends from church, who were only a few years older than us, but had 6 kids.

I placed the present under the tree.

Half-way through appetizers, I panicked.  My husband saw the look of trepidation, followed me to the Christmas tree, and caught me red-handed trying to remove the gift from beneath its branches.

“Leave it!  It’s going to be hilarious.”

I wasn’t convinced, but he assured me he would take the blame if the prank fell flat.

Presents were opened, and one “steal” was allowed.  Number 9 was called, and our box, with a big “nine” written on the top, was selected and presented to its new owner.  The only teenager at the party, whose mother was in the home group with the large family.  I nearly died as the 16-year old boy ripped the wrapping paper, and lifted the lid of the box.

Those darn fireworks seemed to go off again.  “THEY BROUGHT THE GINORMOUS BOX OF CONDOMS!”

A few people laughed awkwardly, but the real punchline was about to land.  The man of the house and father of 6, drew the number 10.  Instead of choosing a new gift from under the tree, he marched decidedly over to the teen, glaring, and snatched the box from the boy’s fingers.

The entire party erupted in laughter, as the irony of the decision sank in.

As I caught my husband’s eye, we smiled at each other.

“Public display of protection,” I whispered.

 

 

How to get accepted into Black culture

White among Black

I am white.  I live in a very white part of town, (Mid-sizedtown, USA) go to a very white church, and hang out with mostly white people. Being white is okay, but it’s a little…vanilla for me. Had I gotten to choose the culture from which I sprouted, it would hands down be African-American.

Now let’s get one thing straight right here, I am NOT racist.  It seems as though that term is launched at every other person who acknowledges that there’s a difference between being Caucasian and being Black.  I, in no way, mean any disrespect, I just don’t see the point in trying to argue that we’re all the same.  Yes, we’re all of equal value, but WE’RE NOT ALL THE SAME.  And that’s totally awesome! We must acknowledge that this world of ours is made up of a vast array of experiences, skin types, languages, hair colors, and cultural background, and there’s so much to be learned from people who had a different upbringing from ourselves.  How to fry chicken, for instance.  Among other things.

Even though I’m white (on the outside), I have lately been paying more attention to who I am on the inside: BLACK.  I’m not a buxom, middle-aged Black woman, with spiral-curly hair, who waves her index finger, arches her eyebrow, and purses her lips when she talks.  I am the tall, slender, fashionable black woman, who never wears animal prints. My kinky curls are under control.  I’m loud and boisterous only when the situation calls for it, and can manifest the appropriate amount of attitude when people need a good verbal slap across the face.

The problem?  I’m not black.  But I’ve been trying a few ways to get accepted into Black culture, and I’ve hit on some foolproof actions.  Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll be guaranteed a spot in the club.  And in this club, somebody always getting krunk.

1. DON’T ASK PERMISSION.  If you ask for permission to join the group, the answer will most likely be no.  But if you assume that you’re “one of them,” no one will ask questions.  (This usually goes for most social groups in any setting.)  Let’s say you’re at a crowded restaurant at lunch time, and all the tables are taken, except for one large “communal” style table, almost-full of African-American women.  Don’t ask “do you mind if I sit here?”  Walk right up, pretend you’ve been friends with these ladies forever, and say “you girls are so sweet for saving me a seat!  You be looking out for a sister, I appreciate that.”  And sit down.  Just sit down.

2. USE SLANG.  Without being over-the-top.  You gotta know what you can pull off.  For instance, some people can get away with “B!+@&, while we out hanging at AJ’s crib, she showed us her threads she be throwing down the Benjamins fo, and then that new playa of hers roll up, and give this sermon on keeping up wit’ all her bling…” Others of you, will have to make do with “girl, when we went to AJ’s house, she showed us her expensive clothes, then her boyfriend came in and complained about buying all of her nice jewelry,” with a nice “it was cray-cray” thrown in there.

3. DRESS A LITTLE ON THE WILD SIDE.  Black women are daring, in ways that us boring white girls would never have the imagination to be.  Now, you have to know how to work it no matter what you’re wearing, and don’t go too far off the deep end.  It will look as though you’re trying too hard.  Whatever you wear, you gotta throw in some attitude.

4. ALWAYS THANK THEM.  You’re out shopping, and a black woman says that she likes your purse.  Don’t just smile.  Make firm eye contact, cock your head and bit, and say “thanks girl.”  And if you want extra points, you can throw in a “you know I love me some leather/stripes/buckles/whatever.”

5. PUT “ASS” AFTER ANY WORD.  You might be offended.  But it’s true, and you know it. It works.  100% of the time. In fact, this is a great one to start with, since you don’t need no have developed any of the other aforementioned skills to pull this one off.  “My lazy-ass cat won’t even go in the litter box.”  “Her ugly-ass dress should never have left the store.”  “That hot-ass barista is looking at you.”  Even stuff white people like can have an urban flair when you throw this word in.

6.  BE LOUD, and LATE.  For those of you white folk who are a little too white, this one will be tough.  But the basic idea is that you want to speak loud enough to draw some attention to yourself.  And always run on CPT.  (For those who don’t know what that means, you’ll have to Google the Urban translation, because if you’re white, you’re not allowed to say it.)

Are humans basically good?

I’m generally a good person.  I tip 20%, brake for squirrels, rarely use curse words, have never been arrested, etc. Isn’t it funny how often people say that? “I’m a good person, ya know?”  Usually followed, (exactly how I did) by a list of reasons that prove it.

But you know what else people say quite a bit?  “Nobody’s perfect.”  I realize that “perfect” and “good” are not the same word, but it’s interesting to be in a culture where two almost-opposing terms are used more than please and thank you.

Sad box-person

“Is the heart of the human race, basically good?”

I know plenty of people, but since I can’t speak for them, I’ll examine myself on this one.  A friend recently bought me dinner.  We had agreed to go dutch, but she swiped the bill at the last second, and refused to take my money.  Several hours (yes HOURS) later, we got up to leave, and I forgot to thank her.  I, the “good person” had been blessed by my friend, and just completely forgot to feel grateful.  I don’t know what to call that, but the word that comes to mind certainly isn’t “good.”

good

 [goo d]

adjective, bet·ter, best.

1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous.

I was not consumed with moral excellence, I was consumed with selfishness.  But since no one was intensely hurt by my actions, or lack thereof, it’s harder to call it “selfishness,” isn’t it?

“Well that’s not THAT bad.  It was a small mistake, more forgetful than malicious.”  But who are we, but a collection of small actions?  And if the heart of the human race is basically good, then making extremely small, good decisions should be a piece of chocolate cake, right?

So driving home, I’m hit with this sense of conviction.  “Phew,” I remind myself, “good thing I’ve never murdered anyone.”  But the second wave of conviction wasn’t far behind!  The underlying reasons I do all these “basically good” acts is self-serving too!  Maybe not 100%, but I don’t think anyone could deny the presence of some selfish influence.  The reason I tip 20%: because I want -and expect- good service, because I want the server to like me, and I want the people I’m with to be impressed with my generosity.

The reason I don’t often curse: because I want to be respected as an intelligent person who can use a wide array of terms to describe situations.  The reason I brake for squirrels?  So I don’t get blood on my car.  How inconvenient would that be?  The reason I’ve never been arrested: (notice I didn’t say committed a crime) is because I have a reputation to uphold.

But nobody’s perfect, right?  Many people in our world today would arguably maintain that if one person’s crimes against another weren’t physical, then it’s not as bad or evil as it could have been.  Stealing a purse isn’t as bad as hitting someone, verbally de-valuing someone isn’t as bad as punching them, raping isn’t as bad as murdering.

Let me ask this, how many people do you know who have been through something physically traumatic at the hand of someone else?  (Beating, raping, abuse, shooting.)  Maybe a few come to mind.  And these few were no doubt greatly affected by these experiences.

Now, how many people do you know who have been through something emotionally or relationally traumatic?  (Divorce, verbal threats, end of a friendship, breakup.)  Ummmm, let’s see, EVERYONE.  You.  Me.  My friend who bought me dinner.

Isn’t it strange that we consider these “little” things we do to one another to be no big deal and just part of life as “basically good” people?  But in reality, these selfish, hurtful things affect everyone we’ve ever met, more often, many could argue, than physical crimes against one another.

Basically, the things that we use as examples of our “goodness” are most often the culprit in dividing friends/lovers/families and causing our own happiness to deteriorate.  The very actions that we offer as proof that make us “not as bad as the people who do such-and-such” are usually the ones giving the “nobody’s perfect” statement its truth.

Less than perfect is, well, IMPERFECT, now isn’t it?  Synonyms include: flawed, deficient, below-par, and defected.  Hmmm.