Life

Psalm 23

Makes me feel like royalty.

My first thought was to save this for my weekly Hello Sunday blog since it sounds like a Sunday message. But this is how I am feeling now– in this particular moment. So I am sharing.

After checking Facebook and Twitter this morning, I began to feel discouraged. Every post/tweet was about chaos and doom. If someone was not sharing stories about us going to a cashless, socialist society, then they were sharing stories about injustices and living in the last days. Sometimes.. no.. most of the time, it is so overwhelming. However, this morning, as always, God reminded me that He is still in control. Our job is to trust Him in spite of what we see.

Story time:

When I was a little girl, I spent my summers with my great-great grandma, Madea. Every morning Madea would get up, pray, and read one chapter from her ginormous white Bible. That chapter was Psalm 23. It was her morning ritual. Y’all, she did this every morning before she started her day. To this day, that entire chapter is instilled in me. However, verse 4 is my secret weapon. Whenever I feel afraid, that one verse seems to calm all of my fears. I dare you to recite it when you are afraid. Whew! Talk about peace like no other! Personally, it kind of makes me feel like royalty. As if my daddy is The King and I am His princess. Like nothing can touch me. Sounds crazy– huh? But it does.

Anyway, without further ado, here is Psalm 23. Enjoy! And use it!

Psalm 23 KJV

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Amen. Y’all, God is with us. Trust Him.

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday

Thankful for life.

Thanking God for life. I had written an entirely different blog and decided to save it for another day or space. Today I would like to focus on God’s greatnesses.

Y’all, I am always amazed at how God works. How He connects the puzzle pieces of life. This is one reason I write and document everything. It allows me to go back and review past events and follow God’s work. If you do not journal, search your social media posts or look at old photos. See where you were a year ago, three years ago, or even ten years ago and compare it to where you are today.

Some of you might believe life is worse now than it was before. While some of you are finally living your best life. For me, life is definitely better. However, even during my lowest moments (documented in journal entries), certain aspects of my life were really good. When I suffered financial losses, my relationship with my children became stronger. During relationship problems, I grew closer to God. Problems at work, I expanded my knowledge. Y’all, there were always positive moments during adversities, heartbreaks and disappointments. I could not see it then, but I do now. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying that life is so good that I do not have disappointing and heartbreaking moments because that would be a lie (in Maury’s voice- lol). It is in those moments that I refer back to where I was, compared to where I am now. God saw me through everything then and He continues to do the same today. So yeah.. life is definitely better.

Please enjoy your Sunday.

Shaun

Life

I am Back! The Journey Continues

If you recall, two years ago I allowed a bad experience to stop me from moving forward. As I said in that blog, it was time for me to get back to work. Well, I am finally back!

After a two-year hiatus, or as I would like to refer to it as– my sabbatical, I am finally back and ready to get things rolling! I learned a lot …

I am Back! The Journey Continues

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

Raw, unedited, and probably does not make sense. Publishing it anyway. Enjoy!

As usual, my Hello Sunday’s are random. This Sunday’s topic surrounds the Jada and August “entanglement” situation. No.. I refuse to give my two cents their story. It is theirs, not mine. However, I will talk about my experiences with “entanglements.” All I have to say is, it is complicated.

Y’all, I was so emotional after watching this past episode of Red Table Talk, Here’s to the Journey. I cried for hours. No lie. Shoot, I am becoming emotional, now. I can pinpoint times in my life where I felt lost, felt so far gone that I did not know who Shaun was. For me, every past relationship left me feeling like I was drowning.

Not sure if I ever wrote about this, but in my 47 years of existence, I have only been in 4 relationships. My first one, Mr. W initiated the relationship. I was 17. Had just graduated from high school and was ready to conquer the world! Then along came Mr. W on his Honda Ninja. It was so unexpected. NEVER in a million years did I expect him to be interested in me. But that’s another story for another day. Anyway, after a few months of dating, I guess he became bored with me and went back to a couple of his exes. Maybe he never really left them. Yesterday, someone made a video about the third party victims in relationships. The person the broken person reaches out to to make them feel good. Well, looking back, I was probably that person. I was the one who filled in the void until he decided what he wanted. So some of my feelings also resonate with August’s. My response to Mr. W leaving me hurt was to get as far away from him as I could, so I joined the Air Force. Y’all, be careful for what you ask for. My first assignment was in Ramstein, Germany. When I tell you God will give you what you ask for! Whew!!

My next relationship was with Mr. X. This is really funny because the letters actually defines the person in certain ways– cool! Mr. X was minding his own business when I approached him. He seemed like a great guy. Didn’t know he was in a relationship. Again– another story. Well, I was still hurt from Mr. W and decided I would alleviate the pain by pursuing a relationship with Mr. X. Boy was I wrong! He caused more damage than Mr. W.

Fast forward to several years later, I had begun to have feelings for this one guy. I already knew a relationship with him would never work, but it did not mean my heart was not in it. Yeah.. my heart was there. This particular relationship is not part of the four. He has his own special place in my heart. If he ever reads this, he will know it’s about him. So this part was written especially for him because I know it will make him smile.

Anyhoo… as Jada said, I needed to feel good again. So I found someone to make me feel good. That was probably the worst mistakes I made. Now that one was complicated. The only way I got out of that relationship was to do what August did, cut all ties. Believe me, that was one of the hardest things to do. That relationship was toxic! I went into the relationship thinking I would not develop feelings for Mr. Y, but in the end, I did. This is where my ex-husband came in.

I will not go into details about my relationship with my ex-husband. Just know that by the end of our relationship I felt lost. I pretending to be someone he wanted me to be and that was not me. You know, you can only pretend for so long before your true feelings and character come bursting out. As Will and Jada did, we separated. For me, the separation was final. However, for him, he thought we would get back together. Before we separated we had a conversation about what the separation would look like. We discussed starting over. We discussed dating and perhaps actually falling in love. Because we both knew he was the rebound guy and that I was never in love with him. During that conversation he asked, “What makes you think you will fall in love with me if we date again if you haven’t fallen in love with me in the past 11 years?” It was light a light switch came on. I was like, you are absolutely right. Why even waste our time. Despite what anyone believes, God had already told me years prior, to let him go. But I kept holding on because I was afraid. I did not know how I would survive. Now I am all off topic and getting into another story. Sorry…

Okay, let me refocus. I was discussing my “entanglements.” Well, he was the last. Honestly, after separating, I thought I was going to lose my mind because I did not have anyone to run to to make me feel good again. I needed that 4 1/2 years of separation/divorce period to chill. To actually discover Shaun. That piece of paper (my marriage license) kept me from starting any new relationships. Maybe this is the reason my ex refused to sign the divorce papers. He knew I would never move on even if I was only married on paper. Life.

From now on, no more entanglements for me. I refuse to be the third party in anyone’s relationship. And definitely no more rebound guys for me. I am finally off to a new start. Open to what God has in store. Not my will anymore but His. I am staying out of it!

Now, I probably should go back and revise this. You know… omit a few things, but I’m not. I am going to click “Publish” without re-reading it. Bold move, right! Y’all, this is the raw version of this blog. So if it doesn’t flow.. it is what it is.

Happy Sunday!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

Moving forward.

Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.

Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.

Okay… moment of full transparency.

It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!

The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.

Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!

The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.

The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.

When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.

After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.

As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.

Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.

Shaun

Life

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

Please allow me to interrupt my usual “Hello Sunday” blog with a tribute to my father. I must say, it is truly an honor and blessing to spend Father’s Day with my dad. After suffering from two strokes over the past two years, I did not think he would still be with us. Y’all, God is so good!

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to get to know my father better. To get to know the man behind “Mr. Sutton.” For as far back as I can remember, all my dad has ever done is work. He was a teacher (now retired teacher), a truck driver, the snowball man, the fireworks man, the Valentine’s Day man, the tombstone man, and now the graveyard man. Yes.. my father has a tombstone and graveyard business. Y’all, he is always working.

On Father’s Day 2016, I interrupted his work schedule. That morning I informed him that I was going to work with him. He was not thrilled to hear it, but allowed me go anyway. Y’all, I was a grown woman going to work with my daddy. Lol! And you best believe he put me to work. He does not believe in people just sitting around talking and watching. If you are with him, you better be prepared to work or be prepared to leave.

Here is what I wrote and posted on Facebook the following year:

It’s amazing how you think you know someone, but in reality you only see what’s on the surface. Last Father’s Day, I discovered so much about my dad. After we made snowball juice and bagged ice, we had a long conversation about dreams and goals.

Throughout the years, we’ve had conversations about his childhood and people, but never about his dreams. After showing me the picture below (the prototype for his first snowball business), he tells me that he never thought he’d go to college. He stuttered constantly and had dyslexia (back then they didn’t know what it was). He was able to go to college on a track scholarship (yes- my daddy could run!). He said he studied so hard to make it through college; while selling snacks from his dorm room (what can I say, it’s in his blood 😁). One of his most prized possessions is his thesis. He said he worked his butt off to complete it.

Prototype for Sutton Rolling Store 1978. He said all he had was a bike and a dream. On that day, he also showed me the concept behind his tombstone/monument business.

He ended our conversation by telling me to go after what I want in life. He told me to never give up on my dreams no matter how impossible they may seem or who doubts me. He said people will laugh, but keep trusting God. It may take years, but it’ll come to pass. NEVER give up!

On that day, he gave me the boost I needed to pursue all of my dreams. So, if you see me reaching for other galaxies, you know where I got it from. Yes- I’m my father’s child. Happy Father’s Day, Alton Sutton!

Y’all, I love my Daddy! I cannot wait to spend today with him.

Happy Father’s Day to you and/or your father!

Be Blessed,

Shaun