Maximize Your Season

By: Kaydene Green

“Every season is one of becoming, but not always one of blooming. Be gracious with your ever-evolving self.” — B. Oakman

Summer officially began this past Tuesday, June 21, 2022. If you ask me, summer started at least three months ago, but I live in Florida, so that should explain that. Weather-wise, it is my least favorite time of year. Why? For obvious reasons. Have you stepped outside lately?

The sun beats down during the day like an undefeated champion in a boxing ring. The humidity at night; ungodly. My curls absolutely hate this weather. Not to mention me trying to wear a moisturizer that has some amount of sunscreen in it. A sight to see.

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The hellish season of summer is marked by the highest temperatures of the year which is the perfect environment for thunderstorms to form that brings along with them doses and doses of fatal lightning strikes. This alone inflates my anxiety whenever I’m outside trying to make it safely to my car under an overcast sky.

With the heat being the highest during this time of year, so is the misery of any amounts of time spent anywhere with no air-conditioning. Wouldn’t it be immensely convenient to circumvent the extreme heat of the summer by having a portable ac unit to walk around with at all times? Or to be able to have a remote control to turn down the temperature of the sun?

Let’s just say, I complain a lot during the summer. And for all of you with leather seats, I pray away those third degree burns awaiting you after you sit in that car that has sat in the sun for ANY period of time.

Though this blog post is not about how to survive the summer, I’d like to provide some helpful tips when outside temperatures are exaggerated enough to cause heat advisories: stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed.

So what makes a season, a season?

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National geographic defines a season as “a period of the year that is distinguished by special climate conditions. The four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—follow one another regularly. Each has its own light, temperature, and weather patterns that repeat yearly.”

Why do we need seasons?

Seasons have an enormous influence on vegetation and plant growth. Winter typically has cold weather, little daylight, and limited plant growth. In spring, plants sprout, tree leaves unfurl, and flowers blossom. Summer is the warmest time of the year and has the most daylight, so plants grow quickly. In autumn, temperatures drop, and many trees lose their leaves.”

So all seasons serve their own purpose under their unique conditions, but let’s backtrack for a second; “seasons are distinguished by special climate conditions“. “Climate features also include windiness, humidity, cloud cover, atmospheric pressure, and fogginess.” In the summer, plants grow quickly because of the season’s warmth and abundance of sunlight.

How ironic? The season I hate the most has the best conditions for what I understood to be optimal plant growth.

Is it safe to say that we can draw from the seasons of the year a few life lessons on how to perceive, with intention, the very seasons of our own life?

Biblical Reference

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The book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, (excerpt below), presents the theme “a time for everything“. The literal and figurative representations the text provides is a list of seasons we; as human beings; may face at some point on our journey in this thing called life:

A Time for Everything

1 For everything there is a season,

a time for every activity under heaven.

2 A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

3 A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

8 A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.

There are 28 different seasons mentioned. All of which does not appear to last forever but has a recurring opportunity.

As for me, life has served me up at least four of those seasons so far this year, and while some of them bring me an immense amount of joy, others certainly did not. “Character building moments” is what a good friend of mine described them to be.

The summer season has consistent harsh and somewhat predictable weather patterns; blue sunny sky by morning followed by extremely hot days along with afternoon storms. If I choose to set aside my complains about the heat, the heavy blanket of humidity and frightening afternoon thunderstorms, and navigate those nuisances by making small adjustments like staying hydrated, using the sunshade in my car to keep the internal temperature reduced,

walking with an umbrella or a raincoat and wearing rain boots to prevent my feet from getting soaked or just as simple as running errands earlier in the day to avoid getting caught in torrential afternoon downpours while embracing the benefit the weather has on vegetation, (and maybe my vitamin D level), then maybe, just maybe, I would have much more to be grateful for and less to complain about.

How To Handle Difficult & Unfavorable Seasons

A ‘difficult season’ may be subjective. What may be a tough time for me could easily be smooth sailing for you, and vice versa. This is where sympathy and empathy for the circumstances of others become important.

If I simply applied the facts presented by the general nature of the summer season’s influence on vegetation, it would only make sense to conclude that when navigating a challenging season of life, it is critical to not focus wholly on the discomfort of the season. Yes, the heat & mucky humidity of the summer can be unbearable, and possibly so are the long drawn out sunny days; but choosing to redirect the mindset that the kind of growth the climate of this season is able to nurture and provide makes it one to appreciate.

Sure easier said than done, but not an impossible mindset to acquire. It is simple to focus on the discomfort and misery of any given moment, but if we tried to understand the potential positive climate conditions within it, would that make it easier to endure?

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So what season are you in right now? Is it a season of singleness? Could a love for self grow out of the climate of this season? Is it grief? Could you learn to appreciate every moment with loved ones more? Is it illness? Could you learn to nurture, understand, and appreciate good health? Or is it a season of happiness and abundance? Could you learn how to extend a hand to others who may be unhappy or lacking?

Do you believe there’s any good that lies dormant in your current unfavorable season? Can you dig deep enough to discover the positive change(s) that could arise within you at the end of it’s duration?

Seasons are great when things are tranquil, serene, and effortless, but if you understand how a car is able to move from point A to point B, then embracing the bumps and friction involved in the process may make your journey – though hard – a little easier and the load a lot lighter.

I cannot control the summertime thunderstorm patterns, but I can choose to utilize the tools to navigate how I get through the weather conditions better and to remember that the temperature and other conditions of the season are the perfect conditions for many plants to flourish. Most of which we need to survive.

With that in mind and my current season at hand, the question I ask myself is; what things are needed to grow and develop within me that only this season can aid in?

I believe the best season for the growth you need right now, is the one you are currently in.

Just like the marked varied importance of all seasons of the year, so too are the seasons of your life. I implore you to zone in on the areas that need the challenging conditions to cultivate and grow from them and seek further guidance if you are struggling to discover them.

GOAL: To take full advantage of the season you are in.

Until next time friend, take care and know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

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 And we know that everything works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them – Romans 8:28

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Last Updated: June 29, 2022

Looking Back


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward”

– Soren Kierkegaard


Happy new year friends! We made it to 2022 or as some would call it; 2020 too. I’d like to think this year will be different regardless of how similar it may have started to past years. We’re about two weeks in with a short 50 more to go. How has it been for you so far?

I still can’t believe this year marks two years since we’ve been living in a global pandemic and from the looks of it, it is not letting up anytime soon.

As I reflected on what 2021 was like for me (and even prior years), I vividly remember excessively stocking up on paper products, bottled water and canned foods. Fears of running out of essentials were at an all-time high. This was possibly a new experience for the majority of us.

Once the shelves grew bare and became decorated with the dreaded “only one per customer” sign, I began to care less and less about my personal brand preferences and arguably, slightly hoarded enough of whatever was available.

No one wants to find themselves toilette paperless in the middle of a bathroom visit; at least not me.

This desperation and depravity made me think of times when I had uninhibited access to purchasing as much or as little grocery essentials without having to worry if I was ever going to run out and not have access to these necessities when I needed them.

They say “the cow never misses it’s tail until he loses it” and I dare say many of us probably understand that saying without needing any explanation of it.

Regardless of the lack of supplies on those barren grocery isle shelves, one thing that I did notice was that no matter how they dwindled in numbers, there was always more eventually. I am beyond grateful for all those stockers who worked diligently day and night to ensure consumers, like myself, had access to groceries.

I know for many, reflecting on all that transpired during the initial and ongoing phase of the pandemic may be tough to do. Maybe goals were not met and were instead replaced with set backs. For some, it may have been the loss of income, good health, hope, property, relationships or the loss of loved ones.

My heart and prayer goes out to anyone who has been hurting greatly during these unprecedented times. Regardless of how hopeless your circumstance may seem to you, please know that weeping truly only does endure for a night. As long as you are breathing, there’s more to your story.

I know I’ve spent quite some time reflecting on pandemic woes, but if I am being completely honest, that is only a small part of the fraction of the things I’ve sat and pondered on over the past years.

I think of the people who are no longer on my journey, the harsh realizations I’ve faced with some of them, the life lessons I’ve acquired through making mindless decisions, the person I used to be and who I am today, the excessive amounts of money I’ve spent at the grocery store, how horrible I was (and slightly still am) at sticking to my budget, the habits I’ve tried to break that has won the battle over my own mental strength, and the personal and spiritual growth that came from it all.

No matter the unfavorable past mistakes, I’m grateful for all of it and for the opportunity to see a brand new year that was never promised. While I welcome you dear 2022, I’d like you to slow down for a quick second to take a moment to reflect on a few things I need to zone in on from 2021.

In Retrospect

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You’ve probably started off the year with a list of resolutions and goals that you have every intention of achieving for yourself and possibly for your family. It is nice to set new goals, to dream new dreams, and to have new visions.

NEW is exciting.

Whether it is to finally start exercising, eating healthy, reading more, saving more, paying off that nagging debt or at least knock out a good chunk of it, starting your own business, writing your first book, discovering your God given purpose, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to cut back on groceries (the inflation that is upon us is no joke).

There’s something about new beginnings that gets me inspired and pumped and most importantly, hopeful. Many times, unfortunately, those goals that were decided upon are seldom achieved. The spike in “new year, new me” adrenaline seems to taper off and by the time it gets to March (or even as early as the end of January), the urge to pursue those goals is long gone.

Think of all those resolutions you’ve set last year. How many of them have come to fruition? How many didn’t? Why not?

We want to achieve the goal but are we disciplined enough to get there? Too often also are we inclined to hastily throw out and try to forget the old year. Don’t underestimate those mistakes made in 2021 my friends! Those hurdles you’ve had to jump over could possibly be the golden tickets of insight for growth and better choices in 2022.

Here’s why I say that.

Mistakes, in my humble opinion, means you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new. That’s commendable. That is proof that you’ve had more faith than fear. Comfort is nice, but we know there’s no growth in comfort zones.

In the midst of your mistakes, you may have made very little progress, none at all, or even have taken a few steps back. That’s ok. What matters most is that now you know what does not work and you aren’t willing to give up. That in and of itself is an accomplishment. Why? Because now you have knowledge about something that someone who never tried does not. You can tell others what worked and what didn’t.

The Rearview Mirror

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While driving, I use my rearview mirror a plethora of times. If you own and/or operate a motor vehicle, you’ll know where to locate your rearview mirror and when to use it. Incase you aren’t familiar, here’s the Importance of a rearview mirror:

Your car’s rear-view mirror serves a multitude of purposes that help keep you safe as a driver. The rear-view mirror promotes an alert driving experience by allowing you to see behind your vehicle without turning your head. By checking the rear-view mirror, you can monitor traffic and prepare for any potential dangers. It’s also helpful with parking as it gives a clear line of sight to the sides and rear of the vehicle. The rear-view mirror is a great asset when backing into a parking space, parallel parking, and exiting a parking space.

Most driving instructors suggest checking your mirrors every five to eight seconds with a glance. A glance does not mean studying the mirrors, but more along the lines of a quick check. It’s important not to stare off into your rear-view mirror as you can miss hazards in front of you. Checking your mirrors frequently gives you an adequate mental map of what’s happening on the road. From moments if there’s a vehicle about to hit you from the rear or an item falling off of a truck, mirror checking keeps you prepared.

Did you notice the emphasis from the article above to glance back quickly, when using a rearview mirror, (for the obvious safety reasons) but not to plant your eyes on the rearview mirror for too long? While looking back is important, if the car is moving forward, it would be very dangerous to keep your stare glued to what is happening behind you.

Our eyes are certainly at the front of our head for a reason.

After looking back, here are a few things I’ve realized I need to adjust this year that you may be able to relate to and how I intend on seeing them through:

  • Breaking bad habits – Identifying what triggers me to keep falling to the same temptation of the bad habit and to be disciplined enough to stare clear of the trigger. For example, if I am trying to reduce my sugar intake, the obvious decision is to not buy sweets at the grocery story. I’ll have little to no sugary options when that late night craving hits.
  • Stop overspending at the supermarket – this is such a sore area for me. When I looked at the dollar amount I’ve spent over the past year on groceries, it is safe to say I spent way too much on food. The sad thing is, some of it ends up in the trash. With the inflation that is upon us, this most certainly has to stop. How I intend to cut back is to plan ahead on meals for the week, make a grocery list based on that plan, use coupons when I have access to them, take advantage of other saving opportunities the store provides, and to never shop while hungry.
  • Aim for early, not on-time – I’ve heard the saying that if you’re on time you’re late. This is true. Aim for early as we cannot predict the journey to wherever we need to be is going to be unobstructed every day. Accidents happen, road constructions show up unannounced. If you aim for early, there’s a better chance of making it on time with these conditions.
  • Flee from procrastination. Heard the saying delay is danger? Why risk forgetting or not completing something if I remember it now and can get it done?
  • Stop overbooking my schedule – it is easy to get dragged in all directions. It can be even worst as a full-time employee and student. Prioritizing mental breaks is important. It’s great checking off the to do list but should not happen at the cost of a burnout.
  • Prioritize taking care of the temple – Get that pedicure sis! We can’t be out here with a job and a roof over our head but when someone looks at our feet they think we’re homeless. You have one body, so take very good care of it in every way possible.
  • Listen without distractions – Most people today have smart phones, in hand, and almost all the time. We live in such a multitasking era that we feel like listening while someone is speaking but needing to scroll through the phone can still be effective and then after they are done speaking we realize we don’t even know what they just said. Sometimes we miss the opportunity to be there for someone because of this.
  • Control the thoughts, don’t let the thoughts control you – This is a tough one. I know I am not the only one that needs to work on this. Being emotionally led can be detrimental because we act on feelings rather than facts. The key, in my humble opinion, is to take a moment to think through all the thoughts and to ask ourselves how many of them are true and how can we work through getting our peace back without making matters worst.

Biblical Perspective

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old

Isaiah 43:18

Scripture presents many references that suggest the detriment of looking back at the past or better yet, staying stuck there. This is pointing to the true meaning of salvation and incase you are thinking of salvation being only a soul saving event from sin, I’d like to inform you that salvation also refers to being set free from old ways of thinking and operating. Things like breaking bad harmful self-sabotaging habits, how we steward God’s creation of self and of all the things He’s created on this earth that He has allowed us access to.

You may remember the story of Lot’s wife and how she looked back and became a pillar of salt. She appeared to not have wanted to let go of the things of old and her unwillingness to let go stripped her of a future. – Luke 17:32

If you ever get stuck in the past thinking you coulda shoulda woulda, please remember this promise:

For we know that for those that love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28

The Correct Way to Reflect on the Past

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In the one minute video below, Michael Hyatt shares his perspective on reflecting on the past. He explains his phenomenon of “completing the past” as:

“If you don’t complete the past, if you don’t deal powerfully with what happened in the last 12 months, too often we drag that into the future so that it becomes an inhibiting factor in accomplishing our most important goals.

For example, if we went through a failure or disappointment last year we might be tempted to not try in this year. And so often, people that are successful failed their way to success. And so we have to learn to deal powerfully with the past.

Michael uses 8 major questions to guide his students. One of which is:

What were your major accomplishments last year? (It’s good to rehearse those to get into a powerful frame of mind where we’re building on our success and our momentum which builds confidence and gives us a reason to set even bigger and better goals for the future.

But we also have to deal with things like disappointments or regrets or maybe there were times last year when you thought you should have been acknowledged but for whatever reason you weren’t and if you don’t get that out and just deal with it, then it’s hard to get the slate wiped clean and to develop a plan for this next year that is inhibited by what happened in the past 12 months.”

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Looking Ahead

Downtown Tampa, Fl

I’ve learned something new every single year about myself. No matter what I’ve learned about others, what I came to realize about myself mattered most because the only person I can control is myself. As I am graced with life, I try my best to take those lessons and apply them to the new year, new month, new week, or the new day. Thankfully God’s mercies are new every morning.

Not only can we be grateful for that, but no matter what you did not accomplished or failed at or wished you had done differently, know that you can be hopeful and expectant each and every day in the fact that it’s a new opportunity to do what was not done the previous day all while not having to spread your bed in the despair of your past failures.

You must be intentional about this new mindset.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you an unforgettable new year for all the right reasons. One filled with higher highs, good health, more joyful moments and one riddled with much laughter and little to no tears – unless of course they will be tears of joy. Be expectant for the new adventures and accomplishments on the road ahead. And don’t be afraid to fail at something new. You got this!

What goals have you’ve set out to achieve this year? How do you plan on seeing them through? I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and subscribe for new content and announcements. Until next time, have a blessed week.

Stay In Which Lane?

By Kaydene Green

My Mistake

A few minutes after driving off the DMV parking lot after officially passing my Florida driver’s license exam, I almost got into a car accident that would have been entirely my fault. What made it even worse was the fact that the car I was driving was not even mine. I almost failed myself and the person behind me, (not to mention the owner of the car), by switching lanes without taking the necessary steps to ensure that the lane I wanted to reposition myself into was clear for me to merge into. I made an impulsive decision out of fear of missing my fast approaching left turn because I was still heavily relying on a gps at the time to guide my trips every step of the way.

Photo by Artem Podrez

The irony of the ‘close call’ was that prior to doing the exam, I received an advice that still echoes loud in my mind after hearing it so many years ago. The advice was that, “switching lanes is one of, if not, the biggest cause of motor vehicle accidents so be careful to check your blind spot before you move over into another lane“.

I am almost certain that with all the new technological advancements in our world today, distracted driving may now have topped that list. But, that is still beside the point. I did not listen well or somehow had forgotten the advice and failed to take the proper “lane changing” precautions and found myself mindlessly merging into a lane I did not belong in.

Shaken up and embarrassed after receiving the disapproving deafening horn honk from the disgruntled driver on the left back side of my miscalculated decision, I nervously made an attempt to apologize for the almost catastrophic event by leaning out of the driver’s window with surrendered hands and an apologetic posture. Unfortunately for me, she was not having any of it and made it clear with rolled eyes and the lack of eye contact that my attempt of an apology was not welcomed. Ouch!

Photo by Liza Summer

At that point there was nothing else I could have done. I had almost ruined both of our morning. Obviously, in her mind it seemed, there was nothing I could have said that would have justified the “stupid” decision I made. So, like a dog with a crushed spirit walking off with it’s tail tucked away, I rolled my window up and humbly and carefully made my way back home.

Between the high of the celebration, the anxiety of missing my turn and my overly confident desire to change lanes, the complacency of not checking my blind spot almost became the cloud on a beautiful sunny day. All because I was moving into a lane I had no business in at the time.

Photo by Craig Adderley

Stay In Your Lane

While we are on the topic of changing lanes, I’d like to share the information that Florida law requires you to Move Over a lane — when you can safely do so — for stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles and tow trucks or wreckers.

“Sweep in front of your own door”

German Proverb

Often times when we hear the words “stay in your lane“, it is usually in reference to the command of minding your own business. It can be quite the irritant (to me), when others meddle in matters that does not concern them. Maybe you’ve been the one to do the meddling. As for me, If I am not careful about my own approach on this topic, I get so caught up in minding my own business that I forget to ask the right questions for the sake of becoming enlightened.

Like the Florida law makes clear, there are times when moving over into a lane other than the one you are in, is unapologetically warranted. This is not something we put into perspective as it pertains to people getting into the details of our business. It feels more like a nuisance to be asked personal questions or to be put into a position to have to think about things you had no intentions of being concerned with. Context should be taken into consideration however.

What is the purpose and the intention of someone slithering their way out of their lane into mine? Is it to gain information so they can discuss it behind my back with others who does not, by the slightest, wish that I succeed? Or is it to find out enough to get to know me to offer support or a helping hand? Our own hard wired worldviews may determine the answers to these questions unless of course you have chosen the route of learning the facts about the people in question.

It Is Ok To Step Out of Your Lane

Photo by Toa Heftiba u015einca

Galatians 6:2 encourages us to share each others’ burdens and I do not see how we can accomplish this without stepping out of our own situation and circumstance, even for a short time, to selflessly focus on the concerns of others to uplift them in the way that is best suited for their specific need. This sounds like switching lanes to me, but only when the time is right and when the attempt is to benefit other drivers on the road. With self serving intentions, we may find ourselves in lanes we have no business in that proves to be very harmful for all involved.

When choosing to change lanes or to work our way into a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with us, it is a good idea to remember that our intrusion is only meaningful when the purpose is to uplift others or to expand our understanding of a situation in order to handle it better for the benefit of everyone involved. That is my personal conviction of a new perspective.

Your Lane, Your Unique Journey

Photo by nappy

Another way we can look at the topic of staying in our lanes, is to remember that we all have our own race to run with the unique talents we were gifted. I’ve learned one important element of running my own race is to maintain my gaze on my own actions within my assigned lane. To explain this better, I’ve linked a video below that has within it excellent encouragement on how to “stay in your lane”. I’ve found the advice quite useful and you may too.

Whether we are mindlessly wondering in someone else’s business for selfish reasons, being distracted by the journey of the people around us or seeking knowledge in understanding how to be the support system others need, staying in your lane should be considered within it’s appropriate context.

Were you ever told to stay in your lane? What does it mean to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Don’t forget to subscribe for new content as soon as they are released. Until next time, have a blessed week.

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Things I Miss The Most – A Jamaican Perspective

Jamaican Proverb: “New broom sweep clean, but ol’ broom noe dem cahna”.

Translation: The new broom sweeps clean, but the old broom knows all the corners.

Meaning: We should strive for a happy blend between the old and the new, combining the freshness of the new with the valuable experience of the old.

Originally named ‘Xaymaca’ which translates to “the land of wood and water“, Jamaica is the place I called home for my first 21 years of life. I am asked this question every time someone finds out where I am from; “so why did you leave your beautiful country to migrate to the U.S.?” and after a brief chuckle and a short stroll down memory lane, my response is almost always the same; “to pursue an opportunity that became available to me.”

Like many Jamaicans, I was vaguely exposed to the American culture and values by means of television shows, through friends who traveled it’s terrains during the summer break and would come back looking like new money at the beginning of the school year, and through migrant relatives who returned to the island for what was described as a “well needed” vacation.

I would particularly look forward to seeing these relatives in anticipation of receiving the blessing of the crisp and seemingly coveted U.S. dollars which when converted to Jamaican dollars was more than enough to earn me some summer must-haves like bun and cheese, bag juice and prepaid cellular phone cards that I could burn through faster than the time it took you to read this paragraph.

I spent a good chunk of my childhood listening to stories of trips to the United States and daydreaming about the day I could say I was “coming to America”. While I waited my turn, I would fill in the gaps in my mind about what the experience was certainly going to be like. I’ve since been privileged to not only see what the United States is like, but to also live here as well in which I have for over 12 years. (Yikes! Where did the time go?) May I add, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to live in such a great nation. Though very grateful for access to more resources and an abundance of new experiences, there are some signature luxuries about living in Jamaica that I do miss dearly and no matter how much time has passed, the yearning remains the same.

I know I cannot speak for all Jamaicans currently living in the U.S., but I can confidently tell you that these are easily some of the things I took for granted that I miss the most:

1. The Fruits

https://suzandtell.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/jamaican-guinep/

In my teenage years in Jamaica, it was a privilege for me to be able to buy American fruits in any of the Jamaican supermarkets. Purchasing grapes and American apples were considered as “a treat” as they were a little on the pricey side. Once they were consumed in their entirety, there would be no more to have until the end of the month when the next paycheck would hit.

Guinep (or spanish lime), pictured above, is one of the fruits that I miss most. I know, it’s probably not that impressive of a fruit to many, but the memory of what it represents means the most to me. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on a bunch neatly packaged for sale in one of the supermarkets I shop at in the Tampa Bay area. I was delighted at the discovery and as you may have guessed, it did not matter what it was going to cost me to make that purchase, I had to have them. Unfortunately, unlike Jamaica, there was no “taste and buy” so the risk level was pretty high.

The package with the shiny green outer shells of the fruit took me back to some of the best summers I’ve lived through. I always looked forward to the guinep sellers riding around the neighborhood on bicycles selling bunches and bunches of guineps out of a cardboard box. Looking out for these guys by the way, was an extreme sport for me. Though the fruit would leave a stainy residue on the tongue and even on my clothes when the juice fell, it was still a hallmark to a well spent summer.

Guineps aren’t the only fruits I miss. The list is rather extensive to include fruits like sweetsop, soursop, naseberry, East Indian mangoes and of course sugarcane. Making this list was rather torturous.

2. The Food on the Beach

Hellshire beach – It’s the fish and festival for me

I have a feeling you are probably wondering why is missing the food second and not first. Well, that is because anywhere you go in the U.S. where Jamaicans are located, you will most likely find some semblance of the staple dishes. From jerk chicken, to curry goat, oxtail and beef patties, I have access to them all, one way or another. I do however miss seeing the street cooks out in the busy streets on a Friday night making jerk chicken on jerk pans and the inviting and irresistible aroma that would fill the air fresh off the caramelized and seasoned to perfection chicken. It must be noted how the chicken was always cooked to perfection even though the jerk pans or make shift “grills” had no temperature gauges.

One specific dish that I miss the most out of all, is the freshly fried fish and festival that would be made in the huts by the sea side. There’s no better experience. Enjoying the fish dish while soaking up the cool sea breeze is an experience that even though simple, should be a bucket list item. The Jamaican KFC is another staple experience. You would only understand if you’ve tried it.

3. The Pastries and Snacks

I’ve had some very delicious and beautifully decorated donuts in the U.S., but nothing warms my heart more than the simplicity of the pink berry flavored jelly filled prestige donuts with the lightly sprinkled sugar garnish. Yum! This is only one of the many delicious snacks I grew up on. Pastries and snacks like grater cake, peanut cake, onion bits, big foot, tiggaz, just to name a few, will forever leave an impression on my taste buds. Should I even mention the sweet potato pudding and the delectable fruit cake made at Christmas time? My grandmother would make it a yearly tradition to bake dozens and dozens of Christmas cakes which, in my biased opinion, is still the best I’ve ever had.

4. Working Less

My first major job fresh out of high school at age 19, was an entry level statement renderer position at a bank in the New Kingston area. It was a salaried job. I worked 8 hours per day and one of those hours was a paid lunch. Yes, you read that right. So for all my mathematically inclined readers, I worked on average, 7 hours a day. Maternity leave, as I remembered it through my observation of others, (hold your horses), was 3 months with pay. That meant nothing to me at the time.

FYI: “Across the country (The Unites States), employees who are paid an hourly wage for their services account for 82.3 million workers 16 years and older, representing well over half (58.1 percent) of all wage and salary workers in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly workers have always been the backbone of the U.S. economy, and the importance of the work they do has only become heightened during this pandemic crisis.” (source).

All of this does depend on the choice of career but if you know, you know.

5. The All Inclusive Resorts

Summer of 2021 was when it dawned on me that I could not have the all inclusive vacation I wanted if I was not in Jamaica. To be fair, I have not traveled to many tourist destinations in the world or even here in the U.S., so I am not saying Jamaica is the only place that has great all inclusive experiences, but I first experienced this kind of vacation in Jamaica. What I payed for one night at a beach resort in St Petersburg Florida, which shockingly did not even have complimentary breakfast, I could have possibly paid for at least one night at an all inclusive resort in Jamaica with the guarantee of getting three meals. Yes, food is important to me because “belly ungrateful”.

6. Living Debt Free

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong, you can live debt free in America, but unless you were guided properly before your arrival, you will most likely understand how finances work in the United States well into a few credit card mistakes. The financial backbone of the United States, from my vantage point, appears to have planted it’s feet securely on a credit score system which bases your financial fitness through your ability to manage debt. You only start to build a credit score when you start to borrow money and avoiding debt is difficult because your credit score is like a boarding pass to a flight to your next major purchase. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

I personally believe this approach is a set up for present and future financial failure. If you have not moved to the United States as yet but are planning on doing so soon, may I suggest a very careful approach to acquiring debt. Less is more in this regard. I am no financial expert nor am I qualified to give financial advice, but I would be selfish to not bring some awareness to avoiding the money mistakes I made. On the flip side, it can be very beneficial to not have to wait indefinitely to save up enough money for something that is needed asap. This of course depends on who you ask. Whatever you decide to do just remember, “a borrower is a slave to the lender“.

7. The Diction

I just miss using the letter “u” in words like neighbor (neighbour), color (colour), and favorite (favourite). I know, this is probably not a big deal to you, but it gets annoying having to explain it was not a typo and that you can actually spell.

Feedback from Jamaicans in Tampa

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To gain some perspective, I took to the streets to locate other Jamaicans to chit chat with about what they had missed most about their beloved island.

My first stop was at a local Jamaican restaurant. Trudi, the first person I spoke with, was a server at this spot was brought to my attention as the only Jamaican available at the time, so I took a few minutes to talk to her:

Me: What is the thing you miss most about Jamaica?

Trudi: The atmosphere. I am from the country part of Jamaica (my interpretation of country is anywhere except Kingston or Spanish Town). The air in the mornings is so fresh and clean. I don’t experience that in America. I also miss the authentic food. I cyaah (can’t) stand anything out of the tin like tin ackee.

Trudi lost me at ackee. Fun fact about me: I cannot stand the taste of ackee. This is unfortunate because it makes up the Jamaican national dish.

I left this local spot and headed to a beauty supply store close by as I remembered there were some Jamaicans who worked there. After I had made my purchases, I once again sought out the Jamaicans that worked there. I found two very polite young ladies who were more than happy to participate in this conversation.

Me: Hi Sade, I’m just curious to know, what is one thing you miss the most about Jamaica?

Sade: The food.

Tanika: Deinitely the food.

Me: Is there anywhere that you can go locally that can provide you with food that is close to the original?

Sade: A mi yaad! (At my home) – this response tickled me

Sade: I also miss seeing how much pride we take in how we dress. People are a lot more casual in America.

Me: I agree. I was mostly surprised by the laid back dress code policy in many professional settings. This of course is not necessarily a bad thing and it does take the pressure off having to impress anyone by having to buy expensive attire when the money could be used for other important purchases.

Sade: Yes, Jamaicans know how to dress like fowl foot. (Jamaicans go hard with their attire)

Me: True, not to mention the church attire. No one went to church dressed casually. (this I personally do not miss)

Tanika mentioned a few things that, in true Jamaican style, I will leave unmentioned. Trust me, it is for the best.

Things I Do Not Miss About Jamaica

“Then if you miss there so much why are you here?”, some may ask.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not all sunshine and warm friendly smiles on the island. The media has paraded enough shortcomings about Jamaica to raise enough concerns and fears about the possibility of even visiting. Like any developing country, Jamaica has room for improvement.

Among the things I do not miss are the high cost for food and utilities. I also do not miss having to wait monthly for the salary to hit my bank account, and most certainly do not miss the limited resources and the lack of opportunities for advancement. Jamaica as mentioned earlier, is still developing, so I say these things with as much grace and love as possible. No matter the shortcomings, I would not change the experiences of my early years on my beautiful island.

As the Jamaican proverb encourages, “strive for a happy blend between the old and the new” and that is what this post is all about.

What do you miss most about living in Jamaica? If you still reside there, what is one thing you love about living there? Please share your thoughts below. I would love to hear from you. Until next time, have a blessed week.

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Updated: November 26, 2021

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Finding Comfort in the Midst of Discomfort

by Kaydene Green

Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth

– Bryant McGill

Last November, I opened my home to Mickey and Malarkey, my two adopted domestic short hair tabby male cats. Try not to get hung up on the names, I had no participation in that decision and I was too lazy to think of new ones. Furthermore, I thought the already assigned names were perfect as is. A mantra I live by is to not fix what isn’t broken.

The kittens, alongside their lactating mother, were dumped into the bushes along a road in a plastic tote. Thankfully they were found by a good Samaritan. I am not going to advocate for a universal love for cats. I know they can be a handful and may display unfavorable behavioral patterns, but I would suggest that the humane thing to do, if they are unwanted, is to take them to a nearby animal shelter where they can receive the proper care until they are placed into a forever home.

At the time I heard about this discovery, I was not mentally prepared to own cats. I considered my dwelling space to be too small for such free spirited animals, but the dilemma had prematurely tugged on my heart strings and I could not find the breath to say no.

The kittens, at the time, were obviously traumatized and I was told it took quite an immeasurable amount of effort to rescue them. Once they were introduced to their new home, a few months after being rescued and getting back to good health, they spent hours in hiding before they realized this unfamiliar territory was going to become their new place of sustenance and safety. I know I’m probably about to lose the people who don’t like cats right now, but I urge you stick this out with me.

Mickey (and Malarkey) preparing to go to the vet

This past week they were both due for their annual wellness examination and booster vaccinations. Unfortunately, Mickey was the only one of the two that made it to his appointment. Malarkey, upon realizing that I was fixing to put him in the small carrier, made quite the scene and refused to endure that kind of discomfort. The outcome of course is that he would have missed a very important appointment. Mickey, on the other hand, unknowingly, cooperated well but like any cat would, became very vocal about his discomfort the moment I set him in the carrier, in the back seat of my car.

A miserable Mickey, waiting to be seen by the vet

Mickey stuck with me on that car ride through the discomfort. He was audibly uncomfortable and like most cats, did not like that he was confined to a carrier in the backseat of the car not knowing how this journey was going to end. The sole purpose of Mickey’s discomfort was to get him from his home to the vet to give him the necessary medical attention he needs as he gets older for a healthier happier adult life. Mickey’s pain was for a good reason, if only he understood this.

When it Rains

Photo by Fabiano Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Like Mickey being in the dark about my plans to take him on a mentally uncomfortable car ride to the vet that day, I too am never ready for a misfortune to land at my doorstep. If I had it my way, I’d never want any if it and would probably set up a system of detection to warn me of the impending doom to allow me enough of a heads-up to do everything within my human capabilities to avoid it.

Misfortunes are uncomfortable and disrupts my smooth predictable routine. I’ve never seen anything more inconvenient than a problem I did not see coming let alone when they set up residence in my life. I’m not one for a surprise that I am not ready for, unless of course it’s one that would make me happy and misfortunes did not make the list. Depending on our worldviews, what may be a big problem to me may be small to you and vice versa. “When it rains it pours“, are words I grew up hearing and ones I’ve found myself repeating in my own series of discomforts.

I complain every time something throws me a curve ball. But why do we do that? To share the burden? It’s even more frustrating when others do not have the right words to appease us or are just incapable of expressing the empathy and sympathy we so desire. Perhaps you can relate to this. Maybe right now, you are in one of your hardest battles of your life and no-one probably knows about it. One after the other, problem after problem, struggle after struggle. Does it ever end? Can I catch a break?

Things aren’t necessarily happening to us but for us

My outlook on struggles changed drastically and for the better not long ago. To say the least, I found myself in quite an uncomfortable situation and it was not the kind I could (easily) run from. I had always been extremely crafty at figuring out how to escape discomfort. I lacked the ability to challenge myself let alone to accept the challenge. Somewhere along my life’s journey I adopted the culture of getting away from a problem, never to embrace it with outstretched hands. Who does that anyway? This time however was different. It was time for me to grow into next season and this was my catalyst. The light bulb had finally been switched on and I soon realized that in order for me to grow mentally, spiritually, emotionally, amongst many of the other “allys” that you could think of, I had to sit in the seat of discomfort and buckle up for the ride.

The Story of Job

If there is any story that has given me a renewed perspective on trials it is the story of Job. You may or may not be familiar. In the biblical era, the norm was to interpret misfortunes as punishment for doing something wrong. Many people still feel that way today. If you were facing trials of any kind, it was an automatic belief that you were a victim of God’s wrath. Job was exceptionally faithful to God and most certainly did not “deserve” misfortunes. His love and trust for God was probably more than that of my own if I am going to be honest. He was blessed in all areas of his life beyond measure but his comfortable life got turned up-side-down and he ultimately lost everything, except for his life of course. Feel free to fact check me and to dive deeper into the story in the book of Job.

I cannot imagine that he endured this with a smile on his face at any level of loss he experienced. The mind-blowing realization was that it got worst at every level of his circumstance. He never saw it coming and I would say it qualified him to have gone into depression and ultimately to have thrown in the towel and lost all faith. Job commendably endured and ended with more than he had to begin with. The process had only served to strengthen Job’s faith and trust in God and to show mankind that they should never rely entirely on human wisdom in tough times.

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Lessons from Nature

  • A caterpillar must undergo metamorphis in order to become a butterfly
  • A mother must endure the pain of labor and delivery to bring forth a new life
  • Diamonds are formed within the earth’s surface under conditions of heat temperature and pressure
  • A seed will never grow into a tree without the right amount of sunlight, water, air and temperature.

You get the idea right? So it is with nature so it is with us, we grow under certain conditions and it is usually in discomfort.

This is not to encourage you to sit in an uncomfortable harmful situation that you need to get out of. There are things within our control and for those things I believe we should take the necessary steps to flee. Even then, use wisdom. What I am mainly referring to are those unsolicited moments that we can do nothing about that we have to allow time to remove. I’ve learned to grumble less in misery and to seek divine and deeper meaning to gain a higher perspective than that of my own.

If you have thoughts on this topic, please comment below. I’d love to hear your story and how you used those challenging moments for your greater good. Until next time, be encouraged and have a blessed week.

James 1:2-4 NIV – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perserverance finish it’s work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Last updated: December 1, 2021

Buying a Home While Having Debt – A Bank’s Perspective

Written by: Kaydene Green

Sooner than later, one may find themself facing the inevitable reality of pursuing the possibility of owning a home. It is an achievement and one that is the hallmark of hard work, dedication and success. Whether a home is purchased by one or multiple individuals, big or small, it is yours and there is no better feeling. For some, renting is paying someone else’s mortgage and a complete waste of your hard earned money. In some cases this may be true. What they are unaware of is the unique financial situation of the individual renting. It is easy to encourage the purchase of a home, but it is hard to steer people in the right direction who have already acquired quite a bit of debt.

The problem is, owning a home only becomes a thought, for many like myself, well after there has been an accumulation of debt. The average American has $90, 460 in debt (Source). The average cost of a home according to zillow is $308,220. and the average monthly mortgage payment for US homeowners is $1487 (Source). This is not common knowledge nor explained ahead of time and while making those thoughtless financial mistakes.

There are many people who have not considered buying a home because of debt and have not thought it necessary to even find out how. It is said that ignorance is expensive and I am definitely paying the price to say the least. I’ve done some homework to learn a few things to start looking into before attempting to apply for a home loan.

Ground Rule

Debt-to-Income ratio (DTI) is the primary consideration in the qualification of a home loan. A low DTI demonstrates a good balance between debt and income. Simply put. If you can keep your debt low or nonexistent it will become a home buying dream, if you plan on purchasing a home in the future of course

I took some time to stop by my local Credit Unions to speak with the home loans officers to gain an understanding of things to consider, while having debt, before buying a home. May I add these bank associates were extremely helpful. As I already knew for my own personal situation, I had to rearrange a few things on my financial record in order to maximize my home buying experience. I wanted to go in a bit more detail to find out exactly what areas to target and how were the best ways in doing so. If you are in debt and would like to be able to afford a home, eventually, here were a few things to consider in advance.

1. Get a free (detailed) credit check with AnnualCreditReport.com

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

If you are like me you may receive monthly credit score updates from credit check apps like mint. Unfortunately, according to CD Thornton, one of my credit union’s mortgage advisors, there may be hidden occurrences on your credit that you may be unaware of that could poke it’s ugly head out once you are ready to buy a home. Things like unknown outstanding medical bills or even something as simple as not returning your cable box can be seen on your credit history and may be used against you. I guess it may be time for me to return my cable box 🙂

2. Student Loans

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

1% of your student loan balance is counted towards your debt when buying a home (TD Thornton). If you are not actively paying the income driven repayment plan. It is a good idea to make sure that you are actively paying off the balance with an Income Driven Repayment Plan to provide a set monthly student loan expense. This can be calculated as much less of an expense as opposed to the 1% consideration. This makes a tremendous difference when qualifying for a mortgage. Remember, the less you have to pay in bills monthly, the more mortgage you will be qualified for.

3. Move Credit Cards to Personal Loan

Photo by Rann Vijay on Pexels.com

D. Pullara, relationship officer at my local credit union suggests one way to improve my credit just before applying for a home loan is to move my credit card balances to a personal loan. This should boost my credit score and allow me to pay a smaller interest rate and make smaller monthly payments. The goal is to keep my monthly expenses low. Personally, I am not quite comfortable with debt consolidation and would prefer to continue applying the snowball effect to my credit card debts but this was an honorable mention in the event you need to know how credit score can be boosted just before applying for a home loan.

4. Refinance Car for Longest Term

My 2016 Honda Civic

The goal is to receive lowest payment. A car loan can be refinanced, just like a personal loan on credit cards, to provide a lower monthly payment. When the loan is in the home stretch of ten months, the car loan does not count towards debt (D Pullara).

4. Save for Down Payment and Closing Cost

Photo by Sarah Trummer on Pexels.com

Though many may be quailified for a grant to aide in the down payment of a loan, many will not be able to be qualified and will have to find the money otherwise. Down payments can be 6-8% of purchase price. Dey, a member relationship officer from another of my Credit Unions says one mistake many people make when considering buying a home is forgetting about all the additional fees.

5. Consider The Climate of the Home Buying Market

It is November 2021 and we are in a sellers market. In my interpretation of this, it is harder for the buyer to negotiate and will more than likely have to be ready to make an impressive offer. My deduction, take a little more time to get ready than to force the situation when funds are low.

To Close

Full disclosure: This is not financial advise but merely things to consider based on my own personal situation. Please consult your bank to get an evaluation based on your unique financial situation.

Before we see other’s inability in pursuing the purchase of a home as pointless, it may be good to understand that many people are correcting some of the mistakes that have been made in the past and will need time to rearrange their priorities. Rushing someone into purchasing a home can be a vulnerable situation and instead, encouraging persons to address their financial woes first would be a more pleasant experience.

Last Updated: November 19, 2021

Pit of Expectations

“When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be”

– Mandy Hale

My Experience with Expectations

At a very early age I learned to expect from others. I relied heavily on parents and other relatives for my basic needs to be provided and ultimately my dependence converted into a habitual expectation to receive. As the years progressed, the magnitude of my expectations only grew more and at a rapid rate like a pesky vine of weed on flourishing vegetation. Inversely, as my expectations grew, so did my confidence in people. Ironically, that did not deter my desire to expect from the people around me both near and far. If there was an academy award with the category of “Most expectations had by an individual“, I probably would have taken home the trophy every single time or at the very least, I would have been amongst the category’s top contenders. Consciously and subconsciously, I created a list of all shapes and sizes of expectations to have of the personal and professional relationships I’d developed over time. I dare to say you can agree that having expectations is a very natural human behavior as you may also have expectations of the people in your life and them of you.

At no point did I ever expect to turn the key in my car’s ignition for it not to start, I never expect to turn the tap on and not see clear running water flow from the faucet, I never expect to bite into an apple to get the taste of mango and I never expect that my sent messages would be left on ‘read’ for longer than the time it should take to respond. I had built the foundation of my happiness on expectations even though I knew there was always the potential to be disappointed. I had fallen into the “pit of expectations” very early without understanding how and under what conditions to expect.

In my defense, met expectations were how I measured the quality of the relationships I’ve acquired. If I cannot call on a friend in times of need then what is the purpose of that friend? The problem I discovered with this state of mind was that I found myself being disappointed and very disgruntled almost as numerous as the breaths I took which too often shaped the outcomes of my mood and views on people. I had also never remembered in those moments that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I was particularly triggered by one specific unmet expectation that propelled me into the conversation of expectations.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Views On Expectations

To expand the horizon of my understanding on expectations, I took to the “streets” to gain feedback from a few of my friends in an effort to collect their input on the topic. To maintain their privacy, I have kept their identity hidden. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Do you think we should have expectations of others?

Person 1: “No. Well, very little. I expect people to look out for themselves. I do however have a simple expectation of my girlfriend that she will love and respect me and if she does not anymore that she will tell me. Oh, and I expect that if you make jerk chicken that you bring me some.”

Person 2: “We all have some expectations, and to say otherwise isn’t realistic. I mean, wouldn’t we expect in relationships to be loved and treated with respect? so even though that is the most basic thing, to me, it’s still an expectation. As far as others expectations, I think if certain expectations have been discussed as far as who does what, then its ok, but even so, we need to show grace, because if there’s one things we can expect from other humans, its that they’ll let us down at one point or another. No one is perfect. Too often we place unrealistic expectations on other humans to make us happy, it’s setting them up for failure.”

Person 2’s brother’s father-in-law: “Accept or don’t accept, but don’t expect. You can’t expect people to be like you because they don’t think like you.”

Person 3: “Friends, No. It’s a choice from both parties to be friends. What they choose to do is up to them based on what is best for them first. You may ask or offer if you prefer but it’s up to them and you can decide how to continue the friendship depending on each other’s actions. Family (immediate family – parents, children and partners like a spouse or any committed relationship), yes. Here is why. You should want the best for people in these categories and hence need to have some expectations and need to be willing to help the individual meet them if they can’t do it on their own. As a father and husband, I am expected to ensuring that my family is safe and taken care of. If I become ill, I expect my family to take care of me. The level of expectations depend on the people involved.”

So how should I approach expectations?

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

After I was done complaining about how disappointed I had felt due to an unmet expectation, I was asked the question; “So what expectations do you have of yourself?” I did not know how to answer this as I had never sat and thought about it until that particular day. The truth is, my narrow focus was always on how others made me feel by not meeting my expectations. It occurred to me in that moment that my perspective was rather distorted. In the many moments of disappointments due to unmet expectations, instead of deleting people’s subscription from my life, it was a time for me to reevaluate not only my own expectations of others but more importantly that of myself. It was a moment to take an inventory of how much I was meeting the expectations I had set for myself and to also give myself the opportunity to reflect and redirect where I was placing my joy. Incase you have not noticed or have somehow forgotten, please let me kindly remind you that human nature is very flawed. This is actually a note to self. In the heat of focusing on the disappointments, I was missing the opportunities to search within .

Lessons From Unmet Expectations

If I were to define the need for my relationships on unmet expectations, I would be doing life alone and in solitude, forever. Regardless of how self-sufficient I set out to be, I understand the value in community. On the flip side, it is not a bad idea either to evaluate my relationships to ensure I am surrounding myself with people who, while not perfect, will add some amount of value to my journey. Here are some choices I’ve made on how to handle and adjust my idea of expectations:

  • Set expectations for myself only and hold myself accountable – the only human’s behavior I can control (to an extent) is that of my own. I will forever be unhappy if the roots of my joy is planted in how others should treat me.
  • Understand who people are and expect accordingly – simply put, if someone shows me who they are, that is what I will believe and expect of them, unless of course they are pretending. Until other character traits are revealed, I will not expect them to be anything other than what they show me to be.
  • Give grace to others – None of us are perfect. I too will not meet the expectations of others so I must choose my battles carefully and in the way I would like to be treated.
  • Place all my hope in God and not mankind – There are some needs that human beings will never fulfil. This is where I believe a higher being has to intervene. Psalms 118:8 reminds us that “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”

Conclusion

I am not an expert on how to perfectly approach expectations. I do believe there are healthy and realistic expectations to have of the people in our lives depending on who they are to us but more important is the expectations we set for ourselves. It is still an area of struggle for me but there is no better time to be curious about a concept than when it has become our reality. If you have dealt with the struggles of unmet expectations and have great insight on the right approaches on the topic, please leave your feedback and comments below. I would love to hear from you. Until we meet again, have a blessed week.

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Last updated: November 12, 2021

Perspectives

Perspective – “the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, in having a meaningful interrelationship” (dictionary.com)

Perspective Backpack

We all have an invisible backpack. As we walk the journey of life, we take something from every stage and every encounter, whether positive or negative and little by little we fill our backpacks with them. We take this backpack with us day after day, year after year and unknowingly, the contents in the bag ultimately shapes the perceptions of our experiences.

Numerous factors including our cultural affiliation, family distinctives, and religious beliefs possess the ability to shape our view on life, the situations we face, ourselves, and the people we encounter. Standing only on our limited personal ideas and worldviews without making room for new insights may pose relational challenges due to the limited nature of our vantage point. You may agree with me when I say that life is filled with provocations and problems and not all have quick fixes or easy solutions. Some of these unfavorable circumstances may leave remnants of trauma, that if not addressed carefully, could leave our attitudes stale and and our progress stagnant.

One pastor I’ve spent much time listening to, who has produced a plethora of content on right mindset once said, “right thinking can enable you, and wrong thinking can disable you“. I’ve made quite a few mistakes in most of my adult life on how to positively see worldviews and behavior patterns that were not my own. In retrospect, I now see where much of my narrow ideologies attributed to a great deal of my own negative spiral of events. I’ve made great progress since, but there is still so much more to learn as new and unforeseen events will arise.

Together, with my own personal revelations and that of others, we will explore in detail the things that shape our own unique perspectives and learn the blind spots in the ways we view many things so we can dive into new and exciting ways of perceiving misfortunes and the valuable lessons we can gain by adjusting our focal point. Excited that you are on this journey with me to live elevated and to develop a next level perspective.

For a biblical perspective on this topic, I encourage you to read day 5 of the i-factor devotional in the YouVersion bible app.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

– Romans 12:2a NIV
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Last updated: December 1, 2021

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