The “M” Word

As a single woman, my end goal when it comes to relationships is marriage. Point blank period. That to me is the sole purpose of dating – to eventually get married. I don’t want to be a long-term girlfriend, shack up with some guy or be a serial dater. What I want is my own husband (not someone else’s & not someone’s old one either) to have in holy matrimony until death do us part. And while this may be what I desire, it’s not necessarily the desire of the men I date.

I got into a conversation with a man I recently met about what it was that we were looking for in a relationship. He asked me what I wanted & I told him that I was only interested in ultimately getting married. I would never want to rush a man into marriage, but at this stage in life I am not interested in only dating but eventually taking that final step: marriage. Then I asked him the same question back – what was it that he was looking for? What was his purpose in dating? He told me he was looking for a long-term commitment & possible a serious committed relationship, but not one time did he use the “m” word.

I found it quite odd that he never said the word marriage. Is this a sign? Does this mean that he doesn’t want marriage or that he just didn’t want to get my hopes up? It turns out that he didn’t grow up in a married household, but he has been married before. Does this mean that he isn’t afraid of marriage (and even willing to get re-married) or does this mean he’s turned of by marriage altogether? You never know with divorced men.

I understand that not everyone wants to get married & I can accept that. But if one party tells another that that is what they want, it’s up to them to let them know whether or not they are on the same page.  Sometimes when men don’t say anything contrary to what they’ve been told, we women take that as a silent agreement. So, if I’ve told you that I want to be married & you don’t say anything back, I’m automatically under the impression that you are in agreeance with what I’ve said. After all, why date someone if you know they want to be married & you don’t?

When does the “m” word come up in your conversations when dating someone?


Are You Fed Up?

When most people are asked why they are so exhausted, they usually have a litany of excuses. With most of these excuses, I can’t help but to think of the old TV show “Maxed Out.” Each episode featured a stressed-out couple who were deeply in debt and had no idea how to climb out of it. Inevitably, their financial problems boiled down to: 1) not knowing how much debt they had, 2) no clue where their money went each month, and 3) a vague sense of what they hoped might happen in the future, but no concrete plan to move in that direction. They always felt out of control and frustrated at the outset, but as soon as they created a plan, took a hard look at their reality, and made some concrete behavioral changes, they experienced a sense of empowerment and forward motion. So whenever I hear someone get frazzled, I think of them as being totally maxed out — not on money but on time.

Are You Stressed?

We’ve all heard that financial intelligence requires knowing how you spend your money. The problem with time is that unlike money, it is finite. We each have 24 hours in the day and must divide that precious time between personal, physical, professional, and familial commitments. We can’t borrow extra hours from a credit card or a bank. We gotta work with the 24 hours that we get each day. People complain that they never have enough time (I say the same thing), that they are constantly running from one commitment to the next and that their lack of time leads to feelings of frustration, guilt, shame and an overall sense of not moving forward at an adequate pace. But they also couldn’t answer the most basic questions about how they spent their time because they just don’t know where the hours went.

Likewise, the first time I tracked my time over a week, I was shocked by how much time I was spending on furthering my career and how much time I was spending on extracurricular activities. Understanding how you spend your time each week (not how you think you spend it) will help you to decide if you are investing in things that will pay off in the long run or spending it on things that offer immediate gratification but no long-term interest. And more importantly, you must know how you’re investing your time today in order to make conscious decisions about how you will spend it in the future.

Track Your Time

Instead of tracking your money, keep track of how you spend your time this week. If you are feeling exhausted, frustrated, or I-don’t-even-know-how-I’m-gonna-make-it-today-tired, then try starting this week by tracking your time. Time tracking doesn’t have to be costly, difficult or unpleasant and it doesn’t require you to buy or do anything different. Just put a little piece of paper on your desk and keep a running tab of your activities & the time you spend on them during each day this week. Include everything: e-mail, writing, paying bills, grocery shopping, phone calls to friends/family, reading, getting dressed in the morning, meetings, social events after work, sleeping, eating, time spent with your children, Facebook, etc. (and if you prefer to use an app to track your time, you can do that too).

Evaluate Your Data

Once you have a week’s worth of data, tally up how much time you spend on being productive and how much time you waste. At the beginning (or end) of the week, it’s a great time to ask yourself: Does my time reflect my personal values, priorities, and long-term goals?

If the answer is “Yes,” then great! But if you find that the answer is a resounding “NO!” then it’s time to make some changes. For example, if 50% percent of your time is spent on social media or watching television but you desire to read more instead – that’s a problem. If finishing your degree and those last 3 credits are taking you 40 hours a week but you have a spouse & kids that need your attention too — there’s a problem. The good news is that these are problems that can be resolved by proactively adjusting your behavior and reallocating your time.

Rethink How You Spend Your Time

Those who are successful tend to spend their time the following ways:

  • Spending a consistent amount each day working on their personal goals
  • Aren’t afraid to ask for help
  • Manage their priorities accordingly
  • Spend time with people who uplift them & not discourage them from their goals

Only you can determine if you’re satisfied with how you are spending your time each day, but if you’re unhappy, exhausted & feel like you’re not moving forward then it might be time for a check-in. Becoming conscious of how you spend your time AND doing something about should help you become more successful as you work towards your goals.

I hope that this week brings you the patience to track your time, the wisdom to evaluate your current situation and pinpoint areas for change, and the sense of empowerment that results from making conscious decisions about how you spend your time each day.


“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
{Hebrews 12: 5-11}

True Commitment

It’s possible to love someone and not be committed.  

You could say you love the person you’re dating, but if you’re not available to them as a listening ear when they need you, if you’re not supportive of their endeavors, and if you’re dipping out and dating other people behind their back, then you can claim to have deep, heartfelt love all you want – but you’re obviously not committed.

It’s the same way with God.

We can say we’re Christian all day every day and claim to love Him with all of our mind, body, soul and strength – yet if we don’t make ourselves available to be used by God by not taking time out of our day to pray, if we don’t stand for what He stands for nor believe in what He believes in according to His Word, if we don’t attend church regularly yet the Word admonishes not to forsake the assembly of other believers (Hebrews 10:25), and if we dip out on Him by pulling out the grace card every other week as we continue to have sex on the regular while making excuses to sin instead of coming up with excuses not to sin – then we may say we’re saved, but we’re truly not committed.

The Word of God says those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

The more you hunger, thirst and long for more of God, and the more you couple that desire with action (such as showing up for daily prayer whether at your church or at home, attending service regularly and even more than once a week if possible, and really seeking God about your purpose and destiny and not making another move until He reveals it to you), the more He will make Himself known to you.

The more you read His Word the more His character becomes your character, and the easier it becomes for you not to sin against Him as reading the Word grows your spirit and kills the flesh (Psalm 119:11)

The more you pray, read the Word, and praise God on a consistent basis and not just when you need something from Him, the more your commitment level will rise and the more He can trust you with the ultimate assignment and purpose He has for you.

God is not hiding anything from you.  (Psalm 84:11) He’s just waiting for you to show up so He can lead, guide, direct and talk to you.  He’s waiting for you to turn your salvation confession into a lifestyle so that as you seek Him daily He will be found of you and will show Himself strong in you.

It’s not enough to just get saved, now it’s time to get committed.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a
*Originally posted on Kim on the Web.

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Korryn Gaines?

A Baltimore County jury awarded $37 million in damages to the family of Korryn Gaines, a black Maryland woman killed by county police in an August 2016 standoff that also injured her 5-year-old son.

The six female jurors decided in less than three hours that Cpl. Royce Ruby, the Baltimore County officer who fired the fatal shots, violated the civil rights of Gaines, 23, and her son, Kodi.

Ruby shot and killed Gaines on Aug. 1 during a confrontation in Randallstown, a suburb northwest of Baltimore City. Police serving a warrant for failure to appear in court over a traffic case kicked in the door to Gaines’s apartment to find her waiting with a shotgun. The ensuing six-hour ordeal ended when Ruby opened fire, killing Gaines and injuring Kodi.

The civil suit decision awarded more than $32 million to Kodi, $4.5 million to his toddler sister, Karsyn, and nearly a million dollars among Gaines’s parents and estate, court documents said.

Gaines family attorney J. Wyndal Gordon told The Washington Post on Saturday that the verdict was a “great decision” that will help make Gaines’s family whole after the incident. Gaines was shot four times by Ruby; one shot pierced her lungs and spine, and a ricochet struck her son, he said.

“Where is your moral compass?” Gordon asked rhetorically. “It was callous and sadistic.”
Ruby, who is white, remains on the police force and was promoted to corporal last year.
After the verdict was announced, Baltimore County Attorney Mike Field said in a statement that the county was “disappointed” by the decision and was reviewing its options, including an appeal.
“A mother died, a child was unintentionally injured and police officers were placed in mortal danger. By any account, this was a tragic situation,” Field said.

Baltimore County police spokesman Shawn Vinson told the Baltimore Sun that “the state’s attorney’s office reviewed the situation and deemed the shooting justified.” He declined to comment further.

Gaines’s mother, Rhanda Dormeus, told reporters Friday that she believed police were untruthful in testimony describing the shooting and the threat posed by Gaines.

“What we want is constitutional policing. We want them to be fair, we want them to have integrity, and we want justice,” Dormeus said. “And if they can’t do that, they shouldn’t be a part of the police force.” Since the incident, the county police department has expanded body camera wear for its officers and in 2017 began training for incidents involving people with mental-health issues. The county executive and local fraternal order of police group also did not return requests for comment.

Ruby testified that Gaines moved into the kitchen, with only her long braids and shotgun barrel visible. He fired once through a wall, believing she was raising her weapon to a firing position.

“There was no choice,” Ruby testified. “Officers were going to die if I didn’t take that shot.” He entered the room and fired three more rounds into Gaines, saying he feared that her finger was on the trigger.

Gordon disputed that version of events, saying Gaines was shot in the back, her lungs full of blood, indicating the additional shots Ruby took were unjustified.

Speaking outside the courthouse Friday, Kareem Courtney, Gaines’s boyfriend and Karsyn’s father, said taxpayers will bear the burden of the award, not Ruby.

“He’s not going to pay. He’s going to go home to his family. My family has been destroyed. My daughter’s not going to know her mother,” Courtney said, according to the Sun.

Kenneth Ravenell, the attorney for Kodi’s father, Corey Cunningham, told The Post that damages for the boy will be helpful for a lifetime of counseling and psychological treatment. Kodi explained in therapy that his mother went to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when she was shot, Cunningham testified.

Bearing witness to his mother’s death has jarred Kodi, his family members and teachers testified. “He’s a shell of himself,” Ravenell said, a once outgoing and happy child now introverted and sullen.

*Originally posted on the Washington Post.


I Can’t. But I Can.

Have you ever heard someone tell you, “You need to take the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary”?

The problem with that is, if you take one word out of your vocabulary you must replace it with another. This is especially true in relationships. If a man tells me that he can’t do something, then I expect him to tell me what it is that he can do instead. This is what I’m talking about –

I can’t take you out on a fancy date BUT
I can cook you a nice meal.
I can’t cook very well BUT
I can order from somewhere nice.
I can’t offer you deeply stimulating conversation BUT
I can find current topics to discuss to keep you engaged.


I can’t introduce to my family right now BUT
I can bring you around my friends so you can start to get to know the people who are close to me.


I can’t take you on a nice vacation BUT
I can save so we can take a nice trip another time.


I can’t buy you nice things now BUT
I can compliment your taste and let you know that I think you’re deserving of the finer things in life.


Ladies, what are some other “can” statements that you’d like to hear?

#MondayMotivation: You Have To Succeed No Matter What!

The fact of the matter is that so many companies aren’t set up to support your success and yet, YOU HAVE TO SUCCEED ANYWAY! So, if you’ve acknowledged that as your reality let’s move on to another common mistake some people make: Putting all their eggs in one ‘Institutional Basket’.

I realize that it’s incredibly difficult to get a decent paying job these days that we feel extraordinarily grateful to our jobs for simply employing us. In addition, many of us were trained under parents or supervisors who spent their entire careers at ONE institution and taught us this is “the way things are”. Regrettably, the result is that some employees behave as if their very life depends on that one job! They bend over backwards to please everyone at work, invest large amounts of time in projects that they’re not even interested in and will accept poor treatment from their superiors out of a desperate hope that they will be deemed worthy of a job they are underpaid for!

The problem with this approach is two-fold. First and foremost, you don’t know whether your current institution is going to make a long-term commitment to you (via tenure and promotion), so why invest 100% of your emotional energy, identity, and self in that outcome? More importantly, this desperate stance puts you in a powerless position because you are, in effect, handing all the power over your future to your employer (instead of assuming some control over it yourself).

How your seniors at work treat you is out of your control, but there are several important factors that are fully under your control: 1) your productivity, 2) your emotional investment in your current institution, and 3) promoting your work beyond your current situation. Below are just a few concrete ways that you can identify your power and use it to invest in yourself –

Cultivate A Professional Attitude

One of the best ways that you can ‘hedge your bets’ is to shift your reference group from the “local” colleagues to the broader arena of your discipline. Extending your network to get out there and mingle with others who share your goals can help maximize your productivity. This will help you increase the possibility that you will be marketable later in life and have the ability to decide whether or not you want to stay in your current position (as opposed to whether or not others will allow you to stay).

Make A Top 10 List

Make a list of the top 10 people in your profession and then make it your business to connect with them over the course of the year. Developing your top 10 list is critical for two reasons: 1) this will help you uncover a whole new network; and 2) you can always study them to see how they got to where they are.


Extend Yourself

Once you have identified your Top 10, figure out how to connect with these individuals. You could invite them to coffee, go hear them at a panel discussion, approach them at a conference, send them some of your work with a personal note, etc. Some will be nice about it & maybe even approachable and others will completely ignore you. What’s important is that you begin proactively connecting with people in your discipline who matter to your future success.

Feel free to do whatever you think will help introduce others in your field to your work, such as giving talks, great presentations and letting other people know when you have accomplished something they might find useful. The point is to let as many people know about your work as possible while making targeted efforts with those who are likely to help you succeed.

If You Are Unhappy, Do Something About It

Nothing puts your current situation in perspective like dipping a toe in the water! If you get that itch to do more or contribute in other ways, then start doing it! Volunteer somewhere to showcase your skills (or to stretch them), or grab a mentor who can show you other things you can do. When you start to work more towards your goals & can provide evidence of that, then you are a far more attractive candidate. This will cause you to likely generate more interest than if you were doing nothing other than your normal routine.

Sometimes even visiting a friend at their work can invigorate you to begin looking for new challenges. It can make you wonder why on earth you have been stagnant for so long and give you the motivation you need to try something new. Either way, it can be a valuable experience to help you make the mental shift from dependency to independence.

Life at a job that you don’t like can leave you feeling powerless, vulnerable, slightly angry or even a little depressed. This week, claim your power, use your imagination to see beyond your immediate context and pray for peace to face your troubles.