30 Things to Do Before You Die

by Shannon Kaiser (With Commentary by Me.) 🙂

#repost

A Facebook friend and law school classmate posted this list yesterday morning. I liked most of the things listed and thought I’d share. Maybe someone will find the list helpful.

  1. Stop worrying about debt. (But, definitely seek to get out of it.)
  2. Forgive your ex[es]. (Forgiveness is for you and your sanity. It also provides a sense of closure.)
  3. Stop trying to control your outcome. (Leave that to God.)
  4. Look in the mirror and love yourself unconditionally. (This is a definite do.)
  5. Leave the job you hate [or just don’t like as much any more]. (Do this one sooner than later.)
  6. Find your purpose and live if full heartedly. (This is a cornerstone of true happiness.)
  7. Adopt a furry friend [at least once in life]. (Be it a from a rescue organization or from a breeder.)
  8. Don’t feel guilty about holiday weight gain [or weight gain that results from memorable times].
  9. Trust that everything is in the right order.
  10. Travel to the place you keep thinking about. (If you don’t, you will one day regret it.)
  11. Try something that scares you daily.
  12. Be open to change.
  13. Let go of your past.
  14. Stop trying to change people.
  15. Stop looking for [the] answer outside yourself. (You know yourself better than you realize.)
  16. Stop thinking you did something wrong. (Don’t be so critical of yourself.)
  17. Be your weird, crazy beautiful self. (One day it will pay off.)
  18. Follow your heart. (One day, this too, will pay off.)
  19. Risk everything for love. (Sounds good in practice. It also sounds scary. But, ultimately, I think it’s worth it.)
  20. Reject rejection. (Keep forging ahead.)
  21. See the world as a beautiful, safe and loving place. (Be optimistic. After all, happiness is your birthright.)
  22. See everyone as equals. (You are no better than anyone else; s/he is no better than you are.)
  23. Give up all attachments to stuff. (Easier said than done; but, the more you do it, the less tied down you will feel.)
  24. Recognize [that] the journey is the reward. (We learn so much along the way.)
  25. Stay hopeful and optimistic in difficult situations.
  26. Welcome life lessons. (It’s all in the journey. See #24.)
  27. See the opportunities in every challenge rather than give up.
  28. Live your values. (Stand on principle. Don’t go along to get along.)
  29. Inspire others by your own bigness. (It is surprising what others see in you that inspire them to see greatness in themselves.)
  30. Play with the world. (After all, the world is your oyster.)

Signature - Nefertara pink pretty

P.S. Check back in a few days for my personal commandments.

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Birthday Lessons

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Today is my birthday, and it’s hard to believe I’m 31!! Time flies when you are having fun. On the eve of my personal new year (yesterday) I reflected on the previous year. I brought my 30th birthday in with a bang – 3 bangs to be exact. This year the celebrations have been/will be a bit different; but, they are no less special.

In the last year, quite a bit has happened. I launched a website and am navigating the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. I have learned and decided a lot about life and myself. I have reminded myself to be content (Philippians 4:13) and thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I have grown a lot. Most of my adult life, I have said that I don’t need people to like me. I have always semi-believed that. But, now I believe it more completely. Don’t get me wrong, friends are wonderful blessings. But, everyone isn’t your friend (nor should they be). That means that everyone isn’t going to think of you as the rock star you really are. And that is definitely ok.

I continue to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). I have made some important life decisions. I know that both patience AND self-control are virtues (Galatians 5:22-23). I have had to remind myself that man’s rejection is God’s protection (insert praise break here). I recently realized fact that I am fascinated with hearts and owls (not a shortcoming). They make me smile.

I have also decided that I am not really an over-achiever (as I am frequently told), I just can’t sit still. I ALWAYS have to have something to occupy my hands or mind. I’m really going to work on this – as soon as I finish the things on my never ending to-do list. 🙂

My desire to be this amazingly awesome, Wonder Woman continues to burn bright. I think that desire is related to my ever-active brain. I have also decided that is ok to be confident in my abilities. That doesn’t mean boasting. It just means not downplaying them.

“Hello” and a smile are the least expensive way to brighten anyone’s day. It doesn’t hurt or cost a thing to say good morning (or afternoon) and offer a smile. Treat everyone as an equal who is worthy of respect – from your co-workers to the homeless man outside of your office building. We are all God’s children, created in His image. Plus, you hello and a smile will be returned, and that always puts an extra bounce in my step.

Finally, I realize more clearly than ever before that life is short. Too short to have regrets. Too short to want to be someone else. Too short to spend time in unsatisfying situations (relationships, jobs and friendships). So, live out loud. Live intentionally.

Daily, I’m living and learning and loving every minute of it.

So, happy birthday to me! I am looking forward to the year ahead.

Continually amazed by God’s grace,

Nefertara

A quick reminder:

Father’s Day Gift Sets are available. They are priced from $15-$45. Check out the website by clicking here.

I Believe

This is random, but relevant. Hopefully something I have written will be familiar or make you smile. Two weeks ago, I read a post on Boundless entitled “Working Toward Compatibility.” I read it, but I didn’t close the window when I finished.  I reopened Safari later and saw the tab still there (along with several others). I went back and looked at the article again because apparently I wasn’t finished with it.  This went on for several days, and I just could not bring myself to close the tab. You see I leave the tabs open as a reminder of the different things I need to follow up on. So, the fact that I left this tab open for so long triggered the “I need to do something with this” response in my brain. 🙂 This post is the result of that trigger.

I believe in fairy tales. I believe in happily ever after. I believe in arranged marriages.  I believe you can learn to love someone. I believe communication is important. I believe that if people agree on the important things in life (Believing that Jesus died for our sins, whether to have children, how to rear and discipline those children and a few other things), almost everything else is relative. I believe that people can work toward compatibility, after all relationships – marital and platonic – take work. I believe that happily ever after is all about self-preparation.

Matthew 18:19 (NIV) – …If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

“Great love isn’t the result of two people finding a perfect match in each other. Great love is two people choosing to be each other’s perfect match.” I also believe that truth speaks from a quiet place. So when you see and experience the truth, you know it.  And when you know that it (or he or she) is truth, you are at peace.

That is all.

What do you believe (in general or about anything I’ve said)?

Nefertara

P.S. Today is my mother’s birthday! Happy Birthday Mama! My father took us to lunch yesterday for her birthday, and this is the dessert she got. Cute right?

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P.P.S. I’ll be sharing a craft (of sorts) with you next week.  So, stay tuned for that!

Welcome to October

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It has been a few weeks since I last said hi to you guys. So, Hi, and happy Tuesday! Today is the 1st day of October. With today being the 1st day of the month, I thought it would be fitting to do a Welcome to ______ post. So, WELCOME TO OCTOBER! 🙂 Fall is here (as of September 22). The air is a little more crisp, which makes we want my fall favorites – apples, pears, popcorn, cider, pumpkin pie and corn mazes. The air conditioner is no longer on in my house. I find it necessary to put on a sweatshirt for Ivori’s early morning and late night walks. My fall wreath and other decoration have been put up. Fall makes me want to be outside every moment I get so that I can grab the last few weeks of comfortable weather.

October also marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This means that we will see all the NFL teams with pink jerseys, pink cleats, pink ribbon and lots of other pink things in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m sure all of us know someone or know someone who knows someone who has been stricken with breast cancer. So, donate if you can. AND, don’t forget to do your monthly breast self – checks!

Today, the government shut down for the 1st time in 17 years. That says a lot about our country’s “leaders”. Many Americans – federal employees, veterans waiting on benefits, national park campers and visitors, etc.- were affected by the shutdown. I’m sure we all know at least one person who is being affected by the shut down. The “leaders” who thought they were hurting our President or making him look bad are really hurting the American people, their constituents. Often times, people don’t get involved or make any noise until they are directly affected. It is my hope and prayer that one good thing that will come out of this government shut down is the civic and political involvement of more Americans.

In brighter news, the Affordable Care Act took effect today (Yay!!) despite many efforts to sabotage it, block funding and anything else that could prevent the Act from taking effect. If you don’t have insurance or are considering switching providers, make sure to visit http://www.healthcare.gov (the government sponsored web site) to learn about “The Marketplace” and to find the answers to your questions about coverage.

Have a great October!

Peace and blessings,

Nefertara

P.S. Speaking of football, I think a game day football party might be in order and soon.

Ode to India

imageOk, I have a confession.  I have a girl crush on India.Arie – not in the sense that I want to date her.  But, in the sense that I think she ROCKS…HARD!!!  She’s awesome and so is her music. I only wish more people appreciated her music as much as I do.  I remember sitting in the rain at Chastain Park in 2006 at one of her concerts.  That is dedication, especially for me – a person who makes every effort not to leave the house (or office – depending upon where I am) if it is raining.  Her highly anticipated (by me anyway :-)) 5th album is being released tomorrow. Double yay! I pre-ordered the deluxe edition of the album over the weekend, and I eagerly await its  arrival in my iTunes library in the morning. Gone are the days of having actual CDs (pictured above and below). Nevertheless, I am still excited about this new album!

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India’s grace, beauty, truth and style are present in every syllable that starts deep down in her soul and then comes pouring so smoothly out of her mouth.  She dares to be different.  She dares to sing songs that are socially conscious (read aren’t solely about love, sex and material possessions). The lyrics of her songs make my brain happy!  She is only 1 of 4 artists about which I can say that I have purchased every album they’ve ever released.  Below, I list my favorite song from each of her albums.  I invite you to purchase the new one (and any of the old ones you don’t have) and choose your favorite song(s). I am looking forward to having this album on repeat and discovering new favorite songs.

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Acoustic Soul (2001) – Part of My Life
Voyage to India* (2002) – Talk to Her & Can I Walk with You
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life and Relationships (2006)- I Choose
Testimony: Vol 2, Love and Politics (2009) – He Heals Me
SongVersation (2013) – to be determined

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*Voyage to India was by far my favorite album.  I really could have listed 2 more songs that I really liked on that album.

Wishing you peace, love and “SongVersation”,

Nefertara

P.S. Check out the vacation bible school (or just because you feel like being crafty) craft ideas.

The Truth…Personified

This is my third (and hopefully best) draft of this post. The other ones were a little too much – for a number of different reasons.  🙂
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Things I have learned about the truth

It is…

  • or it isn’t
  • real
  • perplexing
  • hard to accept
  • intriguing
  • loyal
  • liberating
  • infuriating
  • phenomenal
  • original
  • a guiding light
  • a motivating factor
  • scarce
  • strong
  • draining (though it should not be)
  • a safe and scary place (yes, both at the same time)
  • God’s gift
I accept both the good and bad about it.  I am it’s biggest fan.
“You will know the truth by the way it feels.”
    – The Truth, India.Arie
 

Peace and blessings,

Nefertara

Happy Dance

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This is totally random and silly; but, I’ve been in a random and silly kind of mood today.  I try not to take myself or life too seriously, so days like this are good for my mental stability. What makes you do your happy dance? I think most people have a happy dance.  If you don’t have one, you should choreograph one.  Well, maybe choreography is taking it a bit far, but you understand what I mean.  I get excited about pretty things and getting a good deal on something I purchase.  I clip coupons and comparison shop.  Soooo, my happy dance comes out when I have gotten a good deal (or have convinced myself that I’ve gotten a good deal).  🙂 Sometimes, I actually do my dance at the register, sometimes I just tell the cashier that my savings makes me want to do a happy dance and other times I just text a friend or two.  Ok, to be honest, sometimes I’ll do the dance and text someone about it. 🙂   To be even more honesty, I think about doing the happy dance more than I actually do it (I think).  LOL

 Other things that make me do (or think about doing) my happy dance:  finding something that I have been looking for and finding something I had forgotten I had (that’s one of the best feelings ever).

imageMore recently, when I noticed that my tulips (the first to bloom is pictured at the top) had started to look like real tulips, I did my happy dance at my front door.  It was about 6:00 in the morning, and I was headed to the gym.  When I actually saw the first bloom a few days ago I took a picture and called several people to share my excitement.   Side note:  I’m quite proud of myself because I planted the bulbs months ago and wasn’t sure that they would even bloom.

Ultimately, whatever brings joy to your heart should make you do your happy dance, or at least think about doing it. I hope something brings you joy this weekend so that you too have an opportunity to do your happy dance!

 As I continue to be amazed by God’s grace, I pray that you are blessed. 

Welcome to March!

imageSpring is coming! Spring is coming! March signifies renewal, new life and warmer weather. Life is fragile, and it is beautiful. We are well into the Lenten Season.   I have given up desserts (Monday – Saturday) and all forms of alcoholic beverage for the entire 46 day period.  From what are you fasting?  Resurrection Sunday is at the end of the month on March 31.  March is also Women’s History Month.  This year’s theme is Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment. Women are pretty awesome! I’m definitely glad to be one.  Check out the women’s history website for more information.  Basketball will be a hot topic this month because March Madness is beginning. The Final Four Tournament will be taking place right here in Atlanta the first weekend in April. 
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Today is a day just for me. No, it is not my birthday. It is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day!  Dr. George Washington Carver is credited with inventing peanut butter. He  invented more than 300 uses for the peanut.  In observance of this day, I incorporated peanut butter into my breakfast smoothie.  I packed PB&J for lunch, as I have all week. It is such a comfort food. I also plan to incorporate it into my dinner as well – haven’t decided how just yet.  🙂
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Tomorrow, March 2,  is Dr. Seuss’ birthday; it is also Read Across America DayGreen eggs and ham anyone?
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March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. This is a BIG day in Savannah.  When I was in college, SSU band would always march in the parade.  I miss Savannah and the university by the sea.   Make sure you wear something green so you don’t get pinched.  Undergarments do not  count!
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Happy March!
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P.S. I have to credit my mother as the reason that I know about Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, Dr. George Washington Carver and Read Across America.  She taught me about the numerous contributions of African Americans, not just during black history month, but year round.  And, before she retired, she spearheaded Read Across America at her school.
P.P.S.  In the spirit of Spring  and the cleaning that comes along with it, I finally threw my gingerbread house in the trash.  It was time. The icing was starting to fall off.

Welcome to February

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Welcome to February!! So far, this has been an amazing year. Today is the first day of February. Technically, its almost the second day; but, I’m just getting a chance to sit down and write my post.  Valentine’s Day is in 13 days! I’m excited!!! I already have my Valentine decorations up.  Actually, I’ve had them up for over a week. Don’t Judge me. 🙂  I have loved Valentine’s Day as long as I can remember. There’s something about chocolate, flowers, hearts and love that make me smile even more. Love makes the world go round, but friends and family keep you from getting dizzy.

Today is also the first day of Black History Month, which was begun as Black History Week in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the Father of Black History. In 1976, Black History Week was extended to 1 month. Because of the many contributions of African – Americans, it is important to celebrate our history and legacy year round. Black History should not be limited to just one month.

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Super Bowl Sunday is few days away. Ravens or 49ers?  I’m 95% sure which team I will be cheering for.  My menu has been finalized.  I have all my party supplies (a few are pictured above), and I’m excited about food, fun, friends and football! I think I’m more excited about the food and friends than anything, but football, Beyonce and the commercials are an added bonus. I’m a little nervous about the wings because I don’t cook  chicken, beef or pork regularly.  But, I’m sure the wings will be fine. I’ll let you know.  I’ll post the recipes and some of the pictures next week.

Random Acts of Kindness Week is also celebrated this month – February 11 – 17, 2013. So, be sure to do something kind for a stranger (or two or three), not just during that week, but all the time.  Remember, it is better to give than to receive.

Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping; poured into your hands – all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.  – Luke 6:38

Peace and blessings!

Things before 30

imageI will be 30 in about 5 1/2 months.  I knew that there were some things I wanted to do, but I just didn’t know what.  I knew that I didn’t have any desire to complete 30 different things before my 30th birthday.  I listened to my friends’ lists.  I Googled 30 before 30 and got well over 100 hits, some of them blogs.  A few sites that I came across that had interesting before 30 lists were – GlamourHuffington Post and Stuff Steph Does.  The lists were very detailed, but they just weren’t for me.   So, I  have finally decided on the things I’d like to do before I turn the big   3 – 0. 🙂  My list isn’t long.  It isn’t fancy. Instead of trying to create a list of 30 things, just to say I did, I have created a list of things that will make me feel fulfilled upon completion.  My list started off with three things and then it slowly began to grow.  It doesn’t include any adventure sports or exotic trips. Although, my oldest friend (our parents were friends while we were in the womb) is supposed to be planning our 30th birthday trip. My list includes things that will make me a better, more well rounded person. Without further ado, here it is:

1) Read 30 books
So far, I have read 12 books. I’m behind. By now, I should really be at 16. But, life sometimes gets in the way.  😉   I have a stack of books waiting to be read by me in my den.  I’ll get to them eventually. If anyone has any book suggestions, I’m all eyes.  (get it?)  As I read the books,  I will choose some to review.

2) Perform 30 random acts of kindness
I am a firm believer that we serve God by serving others. As such, I will perform 30 acts of kindness for strangers (or at least people who aren’t my close friends). After all it’s super easy to be kind those we already know and love. Performing these acts of kindness will encourage others to show God’s love and perform good deeds to pay it forward  (Hebrews 10:24).

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Shirley Chisholm (first African American woman to be elected to Congress)

3) Try 30 new recipes
It’s no secret that I like to cook. Since I am getting a late start on this 30 new recipes idea, I will have to try 6 new recipes a month, at least.  As of today, I have tried 6 new recipes – 5 of the 6 were desserts. 😦  I have a horrible sweet tooth. That is why I bake and give the goodies away.  But, I’m off to a good start on the number of recipes. Healthier options (homemade black bean burgers, potato & leek soup and some type of salad) will be coming next week.

4) Loose 30 pounds/ Be healthier
A few months ago I decided that I wanted to loose 30 pounds by June. All this baking isn’t helping that goal. And actually, 30 pounds, just kind of went with the theme. In my mind, 30 pounds seems like it would be too much. But, we’ll see. So far, I’m down 15 pounds!  Woohoo!! My weight doesn’t matter that much.  My true desire is to be healthy. God wants us to be healthy. Our bodies are temples.  If we are healthy, we are better equipped to do the work that God created in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)   I  have a picture in mind of what I want to look like again.  I have made it the background on my phone to remind me.

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5-6) Make a Peach Cobbler and Bread from scratch
The peach cobbler and bread will do nothing in the way of helping me loose weight and be healthier.  But, it will be a great experience.  Making bread and cobbler are just things I think I should know how to do as a woman. Don’t judge me. LOL My mother makes the best homemade cobblers. So, I’ll be using her recipe.

7) Complete a 10K
When I say complete, I mean jog,walk or crawl across the finish line. I’m participating in my first 10K – the Cooper River Bridge Run – in Charleston, South Carolina in April.  So, to condition, I’ve made a commitment to run/walk  3 miles every Saturday and Sunday.  I’ll increase the distance every few weeks. It was a chore last Sunday. I’ve been on the hunt for jogging partners.  So far, I have two!

8) Truly Surrender
SURRENDER is my word for the year. It is my goal to truly surrender EVERYTHING to God. In just two weeks, I feel as though I’m surrendering, particularly in my love life. I was bought at a price. Therefore, my life is not my own, and I can’t plan my life based upon my whims and desires. (Jeremiah 10:23). So, through June 1 and beyond, I will be still and recognize God’s authority over me and my life. (Psalm 46:10)

9 & 10) Design a Logo & new name cards
Designing a logo and new name cards are related to passionately pursuing my purpose.  In pursuing my purpose I am going to dream vividly, think abundantly (Ephesians 3:20) and pray boldly (Ephesians 3:12).

11) Clean out my garage
If you saw my garage, this goal would speak for itself. LOL Currently, my garage is organized chaos.  Some would disagree with me on this description. But, oh well. It’s my garage and my post. 🙂 I want to get rid of the chaos and just leave it organized. I started working on that earlier this week.

12) Make something I can wear
Making something I can wear has always been a dream, and it seems so practical!  My mom is an awesome seamstress!  She used to make all of her clothing, and when I was small she made all of my dresses. I’m going to try my hand at a skirt that I will wear during my photo shoot next week.  I bought my fabric a few days ago! (A picture of it is below.)  I’m really excited about the photo shoot!! A Savannah State Alum will be the photographer. I’ll post pictures.

tulle w Ivori

Ivori inspecting the tulle

13) Send more handwritten notes
I like sending and receiving snail mail in the form of handwritten notes and cards.  I get this from my mama too. 🙂  There is nothing better than coming home after a long day and finding a note in  the mail from a friend. I have three friends who send me random notes and cards in the mail.  I appreciate them for that.  Over the past few months, I have gotten better about giving or mailing scripture cards, thinking about out you cards and notes of encouragement to my friends and family. The power of life and death is in the tongue (and the pencil).  For me, it is all about letting people know that they are appreciated. My friends inspire me to be a better person.  Not only does it makes me feel good to encourage and inspire others, but God calls us to do just that (Hebrews 3:13).

note cards

Some of these projects are already in progress.  Follow my recipe and reading progress on the corresponding tabs at the top of the page.

Peace and blessings!