#TBT, Bible, Blogging, Brooklyn, Career, Christian, Dating, emotional, faith, Family, Fear, Flatbush, Give Back, Growing Up, jesus, jesus christ, Love, Marriage, NYC, prayer, Wedding

You can’t always get what you want. And that’s not a bad thing.

Life is quite funny.

By God’s grace, D recently found a new career opportunity in NY. What this means is that after six years of what was supposed to be a year of living in New Jersey, I’m heading back to Brooklyn and taking this Jersey Boy with me. His friends think I’m elated. I’m happy, but it is bittersweet.

When I first moved here I was sad and upset at having to leave NYC, but took comfort in the fact that it would be for only a year. 365 days. When it became clear that year would extend to four, I was bitter and disappointed. Thankfully, two years into living here, I was led to my current church – a blessing God knew I needed but wouldn’t have gotten if He hadn’t moved me to the other side of the Hudson. I had been away from God for a long time before that and was slowly (think tortoise steps) finding my way back. God placed me where I could get the support of an uncompromising bible-teaching-believing-practicing pastor and fellow believers to grow in my walk with Him. Fellow believers who helped me move past the guilt of turning my back on God and accept the forgiveness He offered after I came back in broken repentance.

I am happy for this new challenge ahead of us and the opportunity to change, shape and make a real difference in the neighborhoods of my childhood, but I am sad as well. In addition to my church family, my in-laws have made Jersey a home for me. Where there was no true emotional connection to the state when I first arrived, I must say that it now holds a special place in my heart that is uniquely its own. One that even New York can’t ever touch. How can it? This is where D and I started our married life. Jersey is forever tied to those memories.

Some may not believe me, but I am very grateful for the way life turned out. I am thankful that God overruled my wants and led me to follow His will.

Would love to hear stories of how your life took a path contrary to what you wanted but that turned out to be exactly what you needed.

Proverbs 19 21

#TBT from 2011

Same old story, different couple. 20-something Brooklyn Girl enjoys the highlights and pitfalls of everyday single life without care or thought to settling down. Brooklyn Girl meets New Jersey Boy online and thinks New Jersey Boy is funny. She’ll go out with him. Time goes by and BK Girl realizes that Jersey Boy is awesome. She’ll keep going out with him. More time passes and both BK Girl and Jersey Boy realize they want to keep hanging out with each other.

Jersey Boy proposes to BK Girl after a series of comical errors. BK Girl screams “Holy Crap, We’re Engaged!” before saying yes to nervous Jersey Boy on bended knee awaiting an answer.

BK Girl makes it clear to Jersey Boy – “THERE’S NO WAY I’M MOVING TO NEW JERSEY!” Jersey Boy agrees, but secretly wonders if maybe BK Girl doesn’t understand the meaning of compromise.

Jersey Boy starts the search for NY job. And he searches…and searches…and searches. Jersey Boy realizes NY job market is a bust. Makes more sense to keep current NJ job.

Jersey Boy agonizes over how to tell BK Girl that the stress of the reverse commute would eventually cause him to drive his car off the Brooklyn Bridge. BK Girl and Jersey Boy separately contemplate living apart while married – both agree that’s probably not the best idea. Jersey Boy nervously brings up subject of moving to Jersey to BK Girl.

Seeing the writing on the wall, BK Girl makes Mandelaesque sacrifice and leaves the bright lights of NY for the humdrum life of Jersey — at least temporarily.

What was supposed to be a one year stay has now turned into three with one more to go before Jersey Boy can be settled in his field.

With humor, BK Girl tries to embrace her current refugee status while dreaming of the day she can return to her homeland.

Join her on this cross-state journey as she embraces her life in Jersey while still maintaining her New York roots.

bklynjersey

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Beauty, Career, Martha's Vineyard, Vacation

Back from hiatus

Hi. Long time no chat. Been around living life. And by living life I mean spending lots and lots of hours working. My colleagues invested the same. Not wasted hours, though. The fruit of our collective labor was well worth it.

After our biggest summer project two weeks ago I finally shut down and took a vacation.

A couple of pictures and videos (have to shrink the file sizes first) from Martha’s Vineyard. It was great to be back after some years.

How’s your summer been? Any vacations taken or scheduled?

Running with the sun rising

This is what greeted me on my runs each morning.

Where's my sailboat?

Water

Where we bought our picnic dinners

Where we bought our picnic dinner

Lobster roll, crab cake, lobster bisque and chowder

Lobster roll, crab cake, lobster bisque and chowder

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IMG_20150812_001437

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Brooklyn, Career, Education, Flatbush, Give Back, It takes a village, mentor, Volunteer

Are the teenage attackers in the McDonald’s violent brawl more than their horrible action?

Animals. Thugs. Savages. Worthless space in our society! Lock them all up, do society a favor.

This past week a horde of high school-aged girls viciously attacked another teenage girl in a Brooklyn McDonald’s while customers watched, many laughed and at least one recorded and uploaded the brutal act. The comments above are a sampling of thoughts and feelings posted on the Facebook page of a local news channel in response to the story.

Like many others, my first reaction was horror followed very closely by disgust. However, while reviewing various online comments on this story, I noticed an unfortunate trend that the disgust was directed not at the act, but at the girls themselves. You might wonder about the difference. To me, the names and statements directed at the girls have the power to do more harm than good.

According to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist David Caldwell, “one’s own behavior can be altered by self-fulfilling prophecies. Referring to someone as negative or “bad” in some manner can elicit that same type of behavior, and it can affect the person’s own self-beliefs. If I believe that I am “bad”, I might act that way because I now think that is all I am capable of doing.”

In the ten plus years of working with teenagers who fit the same general profile as these girls, I have seen firsthand the destructive power of internalizing the labels of hoodlum, thug, animal, underachiever and so many more. I have seen that when expectations are set low, a number of the teens without appropriate role models in their lives, will actually seek to prove these expectations right. To the detriment of their well-being, they disregard what is right in order to own the black mark society has set on them. Think of the expression cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.

I am not condoning their horrible behavior nor saying anyone else is to blame for their actions, but what I am saying is that we as a society should be careful not to write them off as unreachable and unredeemable. And that happens when we start to believe that they are inherently evil and stop to believe that they can be separated from their evil actions.



McDonald's Violence

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Author, Blogging, Career, Coding, Confidence, Criticism, Doubt, Education, Empowerment, failure, faith, Fear, Feedback, Goals, Technology, Write, Writer, writing

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

Learning to code is certainly challenging, but well worth the effort and time. I kicked-off 2015 not with a resolution, but with the goal of undertaking a project that would shove me out of my safe and comfortable bubble. And shove me HTML, CSS and JavaScript have done. And they’re just the basics. Let’s not forget that I still have the programming languages to learn. Hello PHP! Nice to meet you, Python! Oh, Ruby, you sparkling beast! Oy. Well, one task at a time.

So, what challenge will change you this year? What challenges have changed you in the past?

My Last Top 3 Growth-Encouraging Challenges

  1. Completing my very first novel. IT. WAS. HARD. REALLY. REALLY. HARD. But for the first time since I started keeping a diary at the age of nine, I had the confidence to call myself a writer.
  2. Sharing my writing. When I clicked submit and officially entered the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest, my heart dropped to my stomach. There was no turning back at that point. I had opened the door for others to see my heart. I needed that experience to give me the courage to work towards becoming a published author. Something that hasn’t happened yet, but I refuse to give up on.
  3. Running my first (and only so far) half marathon. I was injured, cold, and felt like a truck had run me down. I remember praying with every painful step that the Lord would strengthen me to continue. He did. That experience was yet another confirmation of Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back.

P.S. I apologize in advance for the errors you might encounter in future posts as I practice HTML and CSS behind the scenes. 🙂 I’ll keep working with Skillcrush to improve my skills. I’ll be an expert yet.

challenge change

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Blogging, BlogHer, Career, Family, Family Values, Gender Inequality, grandparents, Growing Up, Haiti, Haitian, Marriage, mom, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, november

Losing My “Woman” Crown

Today I brought dishonor and shame to generations of Haitian women – at least the ones in my family. I maligned the good name and character of those who lived long ago and those who live today. I insulted my great-grandmother and the great-grands before her, my grandmother, my aunts, my mother and my older sister (though she’s older by just a couple of years). I disrespected all of my female relatives who pride themselves on caring for their men, their families and their homes.

What’s worst? I don’t care. That’s right. I don’t. I’m free of caring. I’ve agonized over taking this step for the last two years. Vacillating between the stress it would reduce on the one hand and the stress it would cause on the other. Today I decided I can handle the anxiety of not feeling like a loving and caring wife, a nurturer, a potential mother. If it means getting back a few extra hours of precious time, I can forfeit the title of “Proper Haitian Woman”. Not that I was ever really in the running. You can’t be crowned Ms. America without the basics of beauty, talent and poise. And you can’t be crowned Ms. Proper Haitian Woman without the most basic of basics: knowing how to cook a delicious meal.

And you lose any chance of the crown when you do what I did today: hire someone to clean your home.

Well, women of my family, there it is. I’ve failed to be the proper Haitian woman you all worked so hard to make me. While you did it – and did it well – when I was growing up, I’d rather not follow in your footsteps. I don’t want to work 10-12 hours and then come home to cook a fresh meal, scrub, mop and dust. It’s honorable, but it’s not the path for me.

Before you complain that I’m wasting money, may I remind you that the value of time can never be measured. Yes, we’ll have to rearrange our budget to fund a once or twice a month cleaning, but it’s worth it. I am your granddaughter, daughter, sister, and niece. I know how to make a few dollars go a long way. Bring on a week of eating plain spaghetti if it means D and I can spend quality, stress-free time with one another on the weekends. Time we don’t have on weekdays because of our work schedules.

So, family, here’s my crooked ruler. Use it to measure me so I won’t fall so short. Not that I care. Well…maybe a little.

joy-of-cartoon pictures

joy-of-cartoon pictures

NaBloPoMo_November

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america, Blogging, BlogHer, Bold, Career, Confidence, Fear, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, Self confidence

Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.

It’s Monday, yay! No, I’m not crazy to be happy about Monday. Just very glad I can almost breathe properly again.

Sooooo…. this evening I discovered this gem of a show on TLC called 90 Day Fiance. The show profiles several couples where one person travels to the U.S. to live with their overseas partner for the first time. The couples must marry before the visa expires in 90 days, or the visiting partner will have to return home.

Initially this post was going to discuss my suspicions about three of the six couples. I’m convinced the international partners are scamming the American ones. But I changed my mind and shifted the focus after watching the few couples that seemed as if they truly loved one another.

To leave your family and your friends, quit your work, and move away from the only home you’ve ever known, just to take a chance on a relationship that may or may not succeed, is a decision that requires courage. You’re coming to a country where you’re not familiar with the culture, you may not speak the language (as is the case for one of the partners), you will be unemployed for an indefinite amount of time, and your sole support system is someone that you’re still learning about and adjusting to. Someone you’re still working on building a permanent relationship with. That’s nerve-racking. But at least they’ve taken a chance. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. They can move on knowing they tried.

Watching this show I couldn’t help but think about the times I didn’t take a leap of faith. What would have happened if I’d done so? If I hadn’t allowed fear to keep me from applying to Emerson, would I already be established as a writer? If I had taken the job in South Korea upon graduating college, what direction would my life had taken then? What if I had accepted the opportunity to join AmeriCorps and moved to Maine? I make a conscious effort not to dwell on what-ifs because I don’t believe in coincidences, but what would my life had been like if I had taken any of these opportunities?

As I move closer to my self-imposed deadline to figure out my next career move, I’m praying that I won’t continue to shrink away from opportunities because I’m second guessing my ability to succeed.

I could stand to follow Tina Fey’s thought process when it comes to the next open door around the corner: “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward” has helped me to be more adventurous. It has definitely helped me be less afraid.

What about you? Take the poll and then share your story in the comments section.

SAYYES

NaBloPoMo_November

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Blogging, BlogHer, Career, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, november

You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything.

from CharmAndGumption Etsy store

from CharmAndGumption Etsy store

Whenever I’m reminded of this life lesson, it always hits me over the head — hard. Really hard. Thank you sinus headache and runny AND stuffy nose (how is that even possible?): my body’s punishment for refusing to listen to its needs. Apparently running it ragged to meet the demands of life, work, NaNoWriMo, and NaBloPoMo makes it unhappy. Back to the couch I go with my tissues, plenty of liquids, and Hallmark Christmas movies.

Do you listen when your body says to slow down? What happens when you don’t?

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