I usually don’t write about what is in the news, but I was saddened to learn about Toya Wright, author and reality tv star, losing both her brothers at the same time. She has since put them to rest and i pray that in time her and her family learn to cope with their loss. No, I don’t know her personally but my heart aches for her. Sure, she is famous, but she is still a person. We tend to dehumanize people for all sorts of reasons, one is for being in the limelight. I could not imagine for one second not having both my brothers in my life. That is why I cherish them the way I do. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t give do or say for them. They love me unconditionally and are two of my best friends. Whenever I am feeling down or ungrateful I often think of them. Both my brothers were almost killed in violent ways. One, a terrible car crash in which the coroner was called out because there was no way anyone thought there was a survivor. There was. My other brother was attacked by some nut, stabbed several times and left for dead. But for the grace of God I didn’t have to feel what Mrs. Wright may be feeling. I didn’t have to pick out pictures for an obituary, sit and act dignified in a church when all I would want to do is scream and yell and ask God why? I still have my brothers. I am sure Mrs. Wright loved her brothers with all her heart. She was with them a lot and mentioned them all the time. Just from what I have seen they had a genuine loving sibling relationship. Perfect? Probably not. No one is, but the bible says in 1 John 4:20, If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. Regardless of what I have done or what my brothers have done I know they still love me and I love them. Our siblings may do things you don’t approve of and vice versa, but we still have to love each other. I knew from an early age not to judge my brothers for all their actions as they didn’t judge me for mine and I can be a bit of a handful sometimes. We loved each other and we stuck together. Yeah we had little fights like brothers and sisters do, maybe over the remote or who at the last cookie, but anytime there was on tiny inkling of a major divide our parents and/or the other sibling nipped that in the bud! I am so grateful for how my parents made us stick together. It helped us grow into the siblings we are today. We treat each other with respect, kindness and honor. I tell my “bubbies” often how much I love them and I show them even the more. They have always gone above and beyond for me and still do. I know they love me and will always protect me. I never want to take for granted that they will always be around. There will never be a divide among us as I am my brothers keeper.
One summer day a man decided he could make a woman’s life better. Although it would not always be sunshine he figured he was strong enough to hold her hand and lead her in the darkness. He thought he may not have much now, but he would so his best to provide for her. He would keep her safe. Safe. He would love her when her body changed, when her teeth began to shift, when her hair began to gray. He would love her when she fell ill and could not get out of bed. He would love her forever. He knew what he wanted. He wanted her. He wanted to respect, cherish, uplift and to make her happy. He not only loved her, he valued her. He could not promise she would have all of the finest clothes, shoes and country club memberships but he could promise to love her unconditionally. This woman wasn’t perfect. But she was beautiful, not just physically, but her mind was beautiful. She was smart, caring and kind. No, he wasn’t perfect either, but I think she saw the God in him. She saw past all of his inadequacies and not so good habits. She saw his heart. He asked and she said yes. She said yes I will be your wife. She said yes to going in blind not knowing what lie ahead. Yes to broken promises, yes to pain, yes to times without money, yes to things she would never be able to share with anyone. Yes to sacrifice. But then again she also said to dependability, consistency and passion. Yes to loyalty and sincerity. Yes to complete open honesty. Yes to being the most important person in his life second only to the Heavenly Father. Yes to being put on a pedestal no one could ever take her off of. Yes to prayer when things got to be too much to deal with. Yes to arguments but yes to “I’m sorry”. She said yes to cooking his favorite meals, yes to rubbing his back after a hard day. Yes to washing his dirty, sweaty, stained clothes as he slept. Yes to continually lifting him up in prayer even when she didn’t feel like it. Yes to bearing, rearing and caring for his future children. Even when he made her worry she still said yes. Even when he disappointed her she still said yes. She said yes to her best friend, her closest confidant. She said yes to love. If her soul ever was to be tied, his soul was the one she needed to be tied too. She said yes. I’m so glad she did. Had she not said yes I may not be here to say yes to that man who someday will propel my life to greater things I never dreamed of. Had she not said yes, I may not have known how I was supposed to be loved. Even though I act like I don’t know sometimes. Had she not said yes, I would never know how to cherish another person so much that I know when something is wrong just by the way he is sitting. I’m so thankful she said yes. She said yes and one day I will say yes too. Because of them, I to desire to marry my best friend. To have that safety, that love, that bond with my husband. I desire to care for another human being above myself. I desire to be selfless. On that summer day my daddy asked my mommy to marry him and all his imperfections. He asked her to accept all his good and all his bad as he would accept hers. Sometimes love really is all you need. If you have true, deep, genuine, unconditional love everything else falls into place.
What God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mark 10:9 NIV)
Happy Anniversary Mommy and Daddy. 41 Years. To be continued…
Miss Natalie Green, the young girl from a small town with a big prayer. Natalie’s “We don’t want no devils in the house” prayer hit social media like lighting and soon her prayer was heard around the world. When Natalie was born on that sunny day in June her family had a hunch that she would be something special. Natalie’s talent and boldness has always exceeded her numerical age. Now, at the age of 5, she can add to her resume. She has worked with a major recording artist, by lending her voice to a CD by Mr. Kanye West. She has been on a day time talk show with Mr. Steve Harvey. She has also been offered major opportunities some only dream of. With all this being said she is still just a sweet little girl who enjoys watching countless reruns of Full House and reading Elmo books. Happy Birthday Natalie.
She always heard, whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. One day she actually started to believe it.
For every heartache, her heart actually began to grow stronger, because after each tear that rolled down in her ears as she lay on her bead literally feeling her heart break inside she lived another day. She saw the sunshine again, and it was good.
For every mean spirited word towards her from strangers who really didn’t know her story or even from those family members and friends she thought would have her back she grew another layer of skin. Now you can say what you want, it really won’t bother her.That too was good. For every friend she lost, she realized that she already had the best friend in the world.
For every second she wasted listening to the sweet nothings and they really were nothings she lost a bit of her sweetness. Which in turn made her a little less easy to push over. Everything works together for the good of those who love Him and those that love her. For everything she has been through made her an even better person. Stronger, smarter and wiser. Now when she faces an obstacle that would destroy most, she looks at it and laughs. For now, she sees what didn’t kill her did make her stronger and so much more.
Published to Blog 6/7/16
Girly Squeal Spotlight: Lisa Cotten Esquire
When I’m not squealing on my blog, fiddling with rhinestones or day dreaming about being at some exotic location, I am at an office moonlighting as a paralegal. Yes, I work in Corporate America in a little purple and teal decorated cubical to support my aforementioned habits. There is a phenomenal woman that also works at the firm that I have had the pleasure of working with. My boss: Lisa Cotten. I affectionately named her the “voice of reason”. She is always there to listen to me vent when clients aren’t being very understanding and always encouraging me to live my dreams outside of my 9 to 5. For almost ten years Lisa has been my mentor, therapist, financial consultant and most of all my friend. I am very proud of her and just wanted to shed a little girly squeal spotlight on an accomplishment she achieved. Just recently, Lisa has been chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Bar Foundation. She wanted it, she worked for it and she got it. The Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Bar are responsible for directing millions of dollars for the entire state of South Carolina. In past years, the Board has funded community projects for Habitat for Humanity and South Carolina Legal Services.
I am pleased that someone who is innovative, honest and genuinely cares about the improvement of community that will be serving on this board. I am also excited as she is to see what projects will be funded with the millions of dollars raised by the Bar Foundation! The possibilities are endless for the Board and for Lisa Cotten. Her down home demeanor coupled with beauty and brains is a recipe for achievement. Aside from all of her legal accolades, Lisa is also a devoted, loving wife and mother. I count it an honor to watch and learn from her. She has taught me that if you want something sometimes you have to make it happen yourself. There won’t always be someone around to help you achieve what you want. It’s your dream and you are responsible for making it come true.
Sidebar: Should you need assistance with obtaining your social security disability benefits, workers compensation, personal injury (car accidents, slip and falls etc.) please email me at email@example.com and I will be sure Lisa receives your information.
Once I was seven years old. If there was a problem in life I didn’t know it. I was joyous, full and loved; that was all that mattered to me. And I had a Sarah. She had pale skin full of freckles, red shoulder length hair with a crooked little bang and talked with a lisp. We laughed and played until we were out of breath sometimes. We had no worries just snacks and sunshine. Running barefoot thru the freshly cut grass in swimsuits and shorts. Life was perfect. Every moment was smiles, giggles and girly squeals. I was saddened when I learned that she had to move.I would always remember Sarah.My time with her taught me that love had no color.
Once I was 9 years old. I met a little girl with a big smile. The tiny tall girl sat on the end of a couch quietly smiling nervously. She was new to the neighborhood which was overrun with smelly preteen boys so I was so happy to have some estrogen around. I believe I had on those glitter stripped knee socks and purple shorts. I was a quirky, shy, short 9 year old with a high pitched voice. As different as we were on the outside our hearts connected and we became fast friends. She is one of the best friends I ever made. Me and this little girl spent countless days walking each other half way home and running back home to see who could call who first. Our relationship went beyond the neighborhood girls hanging out. She accepted me for just who I was. I remember packing her sandwiches when she “ran away”. She was my closest confidant, a sister who didn’t share my DNA. I would do anything for her. I wore those glitter knee socks a lot that summer and she never judged me or tried to change who I was. Today she is still my best friend although our lives are extremely different it never changed her love for me. She taught me it’s whats on the inside that counts.
Once I was 18 years old and I went off to college and met a group of ladies that would put an imprint on my soul. My cavalry. I’ve experienced so much with these brave women. They came from many different backgrounds but somehow we had a connection that couldn’t be explained. I experienced some of the best and worst times of my life surrounded by these strong independent chicks. Sleep overs in crammed dorm rooms, pot roast and pork chop Sunday dinners, parties, God, addiction, Cancer, abuse, and even death. These ladies and the things we experienced together shaped my very being. I felt I could trust them with my life. They stuck closer than a queen bee to her hive. We became family when our families were miles away. Yes, we have spread out over the years and gone on to live separate lives, but one phone call and I know each and every one of them would be there for me, in a black sweatsuit if needed. That’s when I learned that blood isn’t always thicker than water, try mixing it with dirt.
Once I was 35 years old and I met a girl who would forever change the way I looked at the world. She wanted nothing from me but to love me. She was one of the cutest people I ever met. She was short with poofy hair, slightly pigeoned toed with a million dollar smile that could light up any room. She had become a part of me. Everywhere I went she went and I hated when we had to be apart. We had Saturday morning adventures, summer time road trips and lazy Sunday afternoons. I thought life would end when she went away. I had never felt my heart literally break into pieces. I thought I would die. I actually wanted to because I thought after all I had been thru and put myself thru in 35 years I just didn’t want to deal with the pain.
That’s when I learned that we teach people to love but we do not teach people how to stop loving. That’s hard. And unfortunately something we are just going to have to deal with it.
Memories good and bad I am thankful for them all.
*you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
I was inspired to write this blog after listening to a song: “Seven Years Old” by Lukas Graham
Perfection perfection I always try to be. Perfection Perfection I now realize is not in me.
Though I strive to be perfect for he she and me. I finally realize perfect is something I will never be.
I tend to make them mad when I am just trying to help.
I make mistakes, say the wrong thing and with this fire tongue, make some melt.
I say things and don’t realize until later how the recipient felt.
Sad thing is sometimes I don’t care, that’s just how the cards were dealt.
Just one day, no wait maybe just an hour,
I wish everything was perfect, no sad feelings no reasons to cower.
I could love who I wanted to, open honest and true.
I’d have all my real friends with me and my sweet baboo.
I’d smell flowers with no sneezes and eat just what my tummy pleases. Cheese milk and of course bacon too.
Oh wouldn’t you love one perfect hour or maybe even two?
No tears, no loneliness, no emptiness inside.
No secret depression, suicidal thoughts or no unheard cries.
Just perfection with no need to seek that unwarranted affection.
No fights, no arguments, no name calling or strife.
No dangerous secret desires no secret sins.
Everything would always be out in the open and at the game of life my entire family would win.
Perfection perfection always hiding from me, perfection perfection is something I will never see.
I still wish everything was perfect but perfect is not my life.
If perfect was a dollar I wouldn’t have enough to buy a fifty cent pie.
There’s only one perfect thing I’ve found. Yes just one. His name is Jesus, you know, yeah, the Father’s Son.
So Perfect Patty I will still strive to be. For if He is in me that is all the perfection I need.
“Destiny” by Tina Campbell is a favorite of mine. Lawd she can sang, yes sang! She gives me chills every time I listen to that song. “Destiny” reminds me that God has a destiny for all of us and as the lyrics say, “the road may be bumpy getting there but I’m pressing through”. You may not act like or look like what you will eventually will become all the time, but know God’s Will, will be done in your life. You may begin to feel unworthy and like there is no way out of your current situation. Then you begin to look at other people and constantly compare your situations to theirs. I’m guilty of that too. I often wondered why certain things happened to me. I used to think it wasn’t fair. I tried my best and I felt like geez can a sister get a break! While I am thinking that, there are people who feel like I have the perfect life. They may say things like what does she have to complain about? She has what she needs, looks like she’s happy and doing well. Well, yes I am happy, maybe not all the time, but I am. It’s a choice to be happy and I have to choose that daily. What you have to understand is that God made my journey specific to me and allowed certain things to happen to mold me into just who He needs me to be. Maybe God wanted me to have a good job, home and something to drive but also allowed me to experience what heartache felt like so when I come across a broken heart I can empathize with them. If I had to worry about other necessities I may not be so empathetic. Maybe I had to deal with people turning on me, who I thought loved me, so I can be a little less open and giving to evil people who just want to use me. God gives us everything we need, but sometimes it’s just weird how He gets it to us. We need to stop giving the devil all the credit. The devil doing this, the devil fighting me with that. Half the time you are fighting yourself. Even worse, you are putting up a fight with God while he is trying to equip you for your next level. Go through it, whatever your it may be and learn why God has you where you are. Oh and for those who will probably say, oh she doesn’t know my situation, it’s really tough, it’s easy to say just go through it. I understand it is easy to say, but I know just how hard it is to do also. So shhhh. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sad sometimes or it’s not going to hurt, but I just really want us to focus on why we are where we are. What did God want me to learn from this? What trait did God need to get in me to help me when I reach that divine destined place? Who can I help with my story? What can I give back to God? How can He be glorified in this mess? We have to remember God loves us. Sometimes I felt like he didn’t like me very much but I knew He loved me. (Ok ok He likes me too) I still have some things that don’t feel too good and make me feel “some kind of way”, but I know that in the end it’s going to work together for my good. Every trial, heart break, unfair act towards me and mistake I made, I know will push me towards my destiny. Let yours do the same.
Random Tuesday thoughts. Yes. I am super excited about 2016, but today I am also excited about December 29, 2015. You say what’s so special about today? I say what’s so special about January 1, 2016.Yes I have an expectation of the things a New Year can bring. But I can’t forget about the blessings of today. Today may be the day all my dreams come true. So, today while many rush away the last few days of 2015, I will focus on the beauty, possibilities, and coincidences of today. December 29, 2015. I will focus on how many today are braving the freezing snow, but the sun decided to peak out at me through the cotton like clouds and warm my cheeks. Today I will focus on how beautiful those birds were in the morning sky, soaring scattered, yet in perfect harmony. Today, I will appreciate how easy it was to get downtown. I will focus on how I did not pass one accident during that morning commute. Today I will focus on how calm I am. I will focus on how God will speak to me thru a soft whisper while I trot about. He will let me know that time is my most precious commodity and I should cherish it. I am in a state of wonder about what will happen today and how it may be connected to my tomorrow. Today, with all I have to do, I will remain at peace. Today, I will focus on being the best version of myself. As they say each day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Remain present today and Happy December 29, 2015.
Valerie Smith, 60, Retired
Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University
You may ask why in the world is she squealing about retirement?!?! She’s only 35! If we are going to maintain our wealth the first thing we need to learn is how to save. We think we will be youthful forever and have that steady paycheck until we get old and grey. We just buy, buy, buy and never think about the future. Or we say, I’ll save $100 a month and think we will be fine. Ummm, no! Before you know it you will be 35, 45, 55 and start wondering where has the time and money gone?
Take a look at your savings account. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, now take your current savings….well I’ll be generous for this example. Let’s say you have $10,000.00 in savings and you save the same amount each year for 30 more years. That’s $300,000. You only have $300,000.00 on hand and no steady paycheck. You retire and live 20 more years. You have $15,000.00 to live on per year. Can you live off of that? I’m sure many do, but a large percent of us would not be able to maintain our current lifestyle. Probably not even close to it. What if you live more than those 20 years? Sure you can get another job, maybe. But then can you even enjoy what they like to call the golden years? If you’re not careful, before you know it, you are back to doing what you have to do, not what you want to do.
To get more insight on preparing for retired life, I spoke to recently retired administrative assistant, Valerie Smith. She is a 60 year old retiree that has worked for the same employer for 30 years. She explained how thankful she was to have an employer that offered a decent retirement plan similar to a 401K. She took advantage of her employers retirement plan by having a certain percentage of her paycheck automatically deposited into her retirement account. Her employer would then match the funds that she deposited. That’s free money ladies! In addition to her employer retirement plan and joint savings accounts she shares with her husband, she kept her own personal savings account. Valerie mentioned to me that she was glad to have a husband who has the ability to make money and know what to do with it. She praised him for making intelligent decisions regarding investing and saving. Valerie believes that if you are going to be married, you need someone that can help with finances not hinder. Valerie knew the importance of setting a savings goal in order to afford the lifestyle she wanted when she retired. Because of the sacrifices she made early on in life she is still sitting pretty during her golden years;collecting her coins, traveling, and loving on her grandchildren. And that’s exactly what she wanted to do.
BIRTHDAY BONUS (Valerie turned 60 today!)
Valerie’s Girly Squeal saving but still shopping secrets and tips:
If available, use direct deposit to make deposits into your savings/retirement accounts. If you don’t see the money, you don’t miss it. Valerie owns one credit card for reservations and emergencies. Credit cards are not for daily shopping.
And her all time favorite, hoard your birthday, holiday and miscellaneous gift money. It keeps you from going into your household money when you want to shop. “I can shop without ever worrying about dipping into my bill money”.
By the way, Valerie Smith is my mommy, the girly squeal originator. I need a moment to publicly love on her and thank her for helping make me financially responsible. Thanks mommy for teaching me how to start from the back of the store because that’s where the clearance racks were. Thanks for teaching me that pricey labels aren’t important, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. Thanks for letting me help you clip coupons on Sunday afternoon after church and comparing prices to get things almost free. Thank you for showing me that paying tithes and giving offerings wasn’t just something you do, but there was a purpose for it. I know I wasn’t a perfect steward over my money all the time and I still make mistakes, but the more I watch you the more I want to do better. You are the best mommy any girly could ever hope for. I’m glad you let me be an individual and not a cookie cutter little girl. You put me in ruffles but let me climb trees. I especially thank you (and daddy) for teaching me the importance of being able to stand on my own two feet. And to be kind and gentle yet strong and stern. You told me once that your prayer for me was that one day I would be able to take care of myself. Well what do you think?
Love you and Happy Birthday. *Girly Squeal Salute*
If any of you girly squealers want further information or need help finding information on retirement/ saving opportunities you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t know the answer to your financial question, I am committed to helping you find it. The Wealthy Women Alliance has your back.
Find me on Facebook: Kimberly Smith
Find me on Instagram: @girlysqueal