To Give Or Not To Give?…That Is The Question

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Most of us weren’t born of privilege.  We’ve had to work long and hard for our earnings.  Adulthood is a major responsibility.  It is not easy to manage life, family, your home, taxes, bills, work and everyday expenses.

But now that we’ve arrived, we must face the challenges before us to the best of our ability.  Life’s pressures can become insurmountable.  At times we need financial help.  Most of us have been in situations where we’ve asked someone for help or someone has asked us for help.  No one is immune to the low points in life.  Asking for help and receiving it can be beneficial.

Someone once told me that it is always better to give a hand up than a hand out.  In short, be discretionary when you’re asked for financial help.  Consider the amount, the reason, if you can afford to give and if you should or should not.  Consider whether you’re enabling a situation by putting a band-aid on it or actually healing an issue.

If you’ve learned to respect the dollar by managing your finances then continue to do that.  You’ve come to understand that money should never be taken for granted.  Be proud of what you’ve learned and applied to your life.

Many have not come to the realization that budgeting and saving should be paramount in daily living.  And if you allow them to, those who don’t follow these practices will use you. The taker normally doesn’t consider themselves a user.  In their minds, it’s just a favor. They assume you have the financial means and figure it is your responsibility to give to them for whatever reason.

What they should realize is that you have financial means because you’ve worked hard.  You’re responsible and you make sacrifices when it comes to spending.  You’ve learned that money comes and it goes quickly and that managing it well will keep you afloat in the worst of times.

If you choose to give, then do it from your heart but not out of guilt or pressure.  Don’t allow others to dictate how you’ll handle your monies.  If you continuously give without discretion then one day you just might end up on the asking end of the hand and not the giving end.

EXPECTATIONS: What They Expect -vs- What You Expect

Expectations can be a burden and a blessing.  When our family members put high expectations on our lives, it can sometimes hinder our personal development and make us feel pressure to please everyone else but ourselves.  In many cases, they want the best for us.  They want to see us successful and at times they live vicariously through us as we accomplish the things they couldn’t.

This can be unfair and a burdensome load for most.  These expectations make one feel that falling short will make them inadequate.  This can breed feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, depression and underachievement.  Some may argue that certain individuals need to be pushed by others and this is what truly breeds success.

However, setting self-expectations has an adverse effect.  When life goals are set according to your standards and wants, they seem more attainable.  They provide a sense of purpose and wholeness.  They motivate a person to be accomplished in their our own right.  There is a different feeling of euphoria when you push yourself towards success verses when someone else does.

One must decide whether they’re going to live according to their own ambitions or the expectations of others. You can find completion and achievement in what you aspire to be.  Perhaps down the road your family will also benefit from the life you’ve chosen to live.

For those of us struggling with upholding the expectations of others and the negative feelings that come with it; I want to encourage you to think outside of what others want for you.  Walk your own path and find peace and fulfillment in an environment where happiness an success is bountiful.  I wish you all the best!

 

Hold Yourself To A Higher Standard

As humans, we are creatures of habit.  Let’s be honest with ourselves; as we developed from adolescence to adulthood we’ve learned and carried behaviors that are counterproductive to our maturity and well-being, while other habits empower us.

Some of our behaviors are hereditary and birthed inside of our being from inception. Many are taught to us from our parent/s and those in our household.  Some behavioral patterns are learned from teachers, friends and other peers.

Overtime our beings that were once pure became tarnished.  Thank goodness for redemption!  Once we honestly accept who’ve become and set our mind on who we want to be, then we can start the process of redeeming ourselves.

None of us are perfect.  Part of being human is making mistakes.  The other part of being human is learning from your mistakes and doing your best not to repeat them.  This is the hardest part for most of us.  But today I’d like you to challenge yourself.

Be honest with yourself.  Examine yourself without a filter.  Think about the mistakes you are making and the ones you’ve made over the years.  In your reflections please don’t blame others for your shortcomings.  Take ownership for the wrongdoings that you’ve committed.  You won’t remember them all but the ones that remain prominent in your mind are probably your biggest ones.

After you reflect and judge yourself then forgive yourself for those mistakes.  This begins the healing process that is paramount in your success.

Make a commitment that you will be good to yourself and others.  This will require you to change the way you think, the way you speak, the way you look, your outlook on life, your everyday habits and the way you treat others.  Practicing will make you better at it.

Begin to hold yourself to a higher standard.  Start by loving yourself.  Put yourself on a pedestal.  Commit to changing the negative things about you.  Strengthen your moral compass.  Commit to being a respectful person with personal convictions.  Create a defining line in your mind and spirit.  This will help you to reject the negative and accentuate the positive.  Assure yourself that you deserve a change for the better.  You deserve all good things and you deserve greatness!

Be determined, be positive and be upstanding!   Today is the perfect day to get started!

What Are We Searching For?

What are we searching for and what is it that we want out of life? There will be different answers to these questions depending on the perspective of the person responding.

Many will say love, some will say fame and fortune.  Some seek spirituality, peace and happiness.  Others will answer equality. There are a multitude of fitting answers.

But what is it that we really seek as humans?  Is it all of the above?  Why do we have an insatiable appetite for possessions and feelings in this life?

My belief is that we are entitled to them all.  I earnestly believe that God has given us the inalienable right and power to possess everything that is good and rightfully ours unequivocally.

Everyone is created with a special talent.  Some of us are born with more than one gift. One must realize and utilize their talent to its fullest extent.  When you harness the power from within by using your brain, your five senses, your talents, intuitions and strength then you’ll begin to acquire each and every one of your entitlements.

The Matter: National Security or An Invasion of Privacy

For many years we’ve all been aware that “big brother” is watching.  As technology advances, so does our desire to have the latest gadgets and conveniences.  We should all be made aware that we are being monitored by private companies along with city, state and local government.

Ever wonder how restaurants know what foods to advertise or where to place their new location?  Large corporations use geographic information systems (GIS) to determine where to build new restaurants. They compare all sorts of data overlays which allow them to see auto traffic, consumer demographics, safety information, commercial mix, and other factors.

Local, state and national government has taken it a step further by cataloging bank and credit card transactions, postal mail transactions, travel itineraries including rental car agreements. Your internet history and phone usage including text messaging is also recorded.  Some may think that deleting information makes it obsolete.  Let us remember that the internet never forgets. Information that is deleted can be retrieved.

Across the United States and other parts of the world, larger cities have already deployed facial recognition software and license plate reading equipment to track all drivers, passengers and walkers.

These advanced monitors are being installed at structurally sensitive points on bridges, tunnels, highways and cross street intersections.  They’ve been and are being applied across major transit hubs including airports, subway, bus and train stations.

Not all citizens embrace these initiatives. Many believe its an invasion of privacy. Others feel that these implementations are necessary in safekeeping our country.

What is your opinion on this matter?

Jollof Rice – Ghana Style

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  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 4 large onions
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 2 hot chili peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. beef, chicken or lamb (pre-cooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 1 chicken or beef Maggi cube
  • 6 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground white and black pepper

Put tomatoes, garlic and peppers into a food processor and chop.  Set aside.  Then fry pre-cooked meats in oil until browned.  Remove and set aside.

Add onions and fry until soft.  Add the chopped garlic, tomatoes and chilies.  Add water or meat stock and Maggi cube, tomato paste, ground white and black pepper then stir.

Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat before adding rice.  Stir and mix well before covering.  Cook on low heat for 20 minutes.  Incorporate vegetables and mix well.  Add about 1 cup more of water and continue to cook on low heat until rice is done.  Serves 4 to 6.

Why Wait For Valentines Day? 10 Simple & Fun Ways To Spice Up Your Nights

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Ladies, there is no better time than the present to show your partner how much you appreciate them by spicing up your nights. Why wait for Valentine’s Day?  Try these tips and let the magic happen!

  1. CHANGE YOUR POSITION:  Let’s admit it folks “The Missionary” is just plain boring! And 69 is not your lucky number anymore.  Why not change your positions?  Try the “Spider” or the “The Good Spread” to bring heat back into the bedroom.  Read “Position of the Day – Sex Every Day, In Every Way by Nerve.com.  You can find this book in its paperback version at http://www.amazon.com starting at $6.64

  2. ACCESSORIZE:  Spicy up your bedroom look with accessories.  You can glam it up with sparkly earrings, a necklace, and bracelets on your arms and ankles.  Or you can go tribal by marking your face, arms and legs with body paint.  The use of toys are a fun way to accessorize as well.  Be creative and explore different ideas.  

  3. FOOD & WINE:  This is a great additive to foreplay.  Place a small fruit crudite platter with whip cream on your nightstand.  Pair it with red or white wine.  Take the time to drink and feed one another.  Don’t eat and drink from the platter and glasses.  Use your bodies.

  4. LET THE GAMES BEGIN:  If you enjoyed playing Connect 4 as a kid, you’ll love 4 Play In A Row, the adult version.  You can find this and other adult games at http://www.spencersonline.com

  5. RED HIGH HEELS:  Nothings says come and get me like a nice shiny pair of red high heel shoes.  Pull it together with a sexy red lip color a red lacy thong.  And that’s it! Visit http://www.heels.com for the shoe that’s right for you.

  6. DRESS FOR THE OCCASION:  Sexy lingerie always sets the mood for pleasure.  Be sure to choose colors that accentuate your skin’s complexion and your body shape. Pick something that exposes those hot spots.  Visit http://www.nubianskin.com 

  7. TALK DIRTY TO ME:  Words are powerful.  Talking dirty can take your experience to the next level.  If you’re not used to this behavior, its okay to practice but being in the moment works best.  Whispering in a sultry voice and moaning is always effective.  Screaming is not suitable for all sexual occasions.

  8. RUB A DUB DUB:  Take the time to rub your partner down from head to toe.  Begin slowly with the face, then the hair and you know the rest.  Use a pleasant fragrant oil to stimulate the sense of smell.  A light oil easily dissolves and stimulates the skin.  Visit http://www.honest.com for a wide selection of body oils.

  9. DO A LITTLE DANCE:  For centuries belly dancing and strip teasing have been known to entice the toughest of men.  Dance for your partner. Put on a show.  If you don’t know how to dance, search http://www.Youtube.com for belly dancing, pole dancing and strip teasing lessons.

  10. TRY NEW PLACES:  Sex doesn’t just have to take always take place in your bedroom or on a bed. Try having sex in another room of your house.  If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try having sex outside in your yard or your balcony, or in a public place like a park, beach, the roof of your building or your desk at work.   But if having sex in public is too risky for you, why not book a room at that swank boutique hotel downtown? Any place other than your “normal” place may be all the excitement you need.

 

Garden Egg Stew (Eggplant Stew) Ghanaian Recipe

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2 medium (2 lb.) eggplants, 1 cup vegetable oil; palm oil or shortening, 6 medium onions – sliced, 4 oz. cod fish, 3 medium tomatoes – sliced, 1 tsp. ground red pepper, 1 lb. smoked herring, 6 hard boiled chicken eggs.

Wash eggplant and boil until tender (10-15 minutes). Remove skins if preferred.  Heat oil and fry onions, cod fish, and tomatoes in that order.  Stir to prevent sticking to pan and add red pepper.  Mash then add eggplant.  Add smoked herring and the liquid left from boiling the eggplant, if desired.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and set aside 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, cool in ice water then peel eggs.  Add to stew when plating.  Serve hot.  Yields 6 servings.

Garden Egg Stew is best served with Akple, Aboloo, Kenke / Komi.

TUO ZAAFI (Flour Dumplings) Ghanaian Recipe

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1 1/4 cups of millet flour, 9 cups water

Mix 2/3 cup flour with 2 cups water and let stand overnight.  Divide the dough into two parts.  To one part of the dough, add the rest of the flour and stir until thickened.  With the other part, prepare a thick porridge with 7 cups of salted boiling water.  Add first half of dough and continue cooking both parts together, stirring until a smooth, sticky paste is formed.  Test with fingers: they should come free.  Serve hot or cold with soup.

How Do You Maintain A Healthy Weight?

What do you do to maintain your weight?  This is a question I’ve been asked over the years by family, friends and co-workers.  The answer is not that I practice bulimia, starve myself or own a gym membership.  I usually answer that I try to make good eating choices but honestly it goes further than that.

As a child my mother always cooked fresh food and baked from scratch as did her mother.  Growing up, we didn’t eat canned goods and processed foods other than cold cuts of meat.  Our diet consisted mainly of poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Rice, bread and potatoes were our main starches when we could afford them.  Twinkies and other snacks were usually never bought on food shopping days.  Instead we got fruit roll-ups (the real fruit roll-ups from the 1980’s where you could actually see the milled fruit).  We usually only drank Pepsi soda on Sundays when we visited my grandmother for Sunday dinner.   To indulge in junk foods we went to the neighborhood bodega and ate the treats that my mother would never buy.  The house was her domain.  She made the food choices and we followed.

Having a good foundation helped me to develop good eating habits as I matured.  Over the years I’ve eaten bad things and always felt that I was doing my body harm.

In my twenties I became a vegetarian for about two years and enjoyed it very much.  A boyfriend exposed me to the lifestyle by talking to me, giving me literature and by showing me videos of what was done to animals in the food processing industry.  I adapted to the lifestyle but sadly abandoned the practice when I met a new boyfriend later.

Now that I’ve shared a little of my background with you, let me explain the lifestyle I’m currently following.  I follow my mind and heart.  Changing your mind about what you eat and feeling passionate about your healthy choices comes next.  No big name diet will ever fulfill the job that you control mentally and emotionally.

I love fruits and vegetables.  I really can’t get enough of them.  I continuously eat fresh foods.  A variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables and proteins such as fish and chicken keep me slender.  I eat very little red meat and I no longer eat pork.  I only drink alcoholic beverages on special occasions which is usually around the holidays.  I mainly drink water and tons of it everyday.  Water is my first choice when I dine out.  When dining out I typically make good menu choices and seldom make bad ones.  I drink milk only in my coffee and I buy juice when it’s on sale.  When I food shop, I typically stay away from processed and canned goods.  I love granola so if I’m buying a box of cereal for myself that’s what it’ll be.  The methods I used when preparing my foods are broiling, steaming, boiling and baking.  I don’t like frying food.

To burn calories, I stay on the go.  I walk around my house, sometime my neighborhood and the local park.  Lastly if I want to eat ice cream, Doritos or a candy bar, I do it in moderation.  Even my day to day snacks are healthy.  Discipline is key.  Eating small portions is helpful.  I don’t gorge myself.  If I cannot eat the whole of something, I save it for a later time.  Another helpful tip is to only buy healthy items when you shop.  Having junk food around is tempting.

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle first change your mind.  Do a self examination of  how you feel, how look and how your eating habits affect your health.  It all starts in the mind and the rest of the process will follow.