Category Archives: Joc’s Observations

Life lessons I learned from Miss Lucy

Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.

She’s the friend every woman has but doesn’t really like. Whenever she comes to visit, she’s a pain in the butt and literally saps every bit of energy you THOUGHT you had stored up. The only time she doesn’t come around is when you have a kid, but then she’s right back at your front door after they’re home a month or so.

imagesIf you haven’t guessed by now, Lucy is the menstrual cycle that comes ‘round every month. The two of us have had a hate-hate relationship since I was in middle school and it’s only gotten better because I know once I hit my fifties she’s outta here! So I can deal with her for another 20 years or so.

Anywho, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had SERIOUS issues whenever Lucy came to visit. More than normal – to the point my little twelve-year-old body could turn from a shining example of happy-go-lucky youthfulness into a tangled pretzel of agony in a matter of seconds.

As I’ve approached 30 years living on this earth, Miss Lucy has brought more bounce to the ounce as the pain has doubled, my energy has gotten freakishly low, and a myriad of other oddities have found themselves sneaking into my life.Menstrual-pain-470x219

When my natural instinct has always been to quit my job, curl up in a ball, and sleep all day; Lucy has forced me to pull it together, pray, and get through!

 

Lesson # 1 – Pain is inevitable in life.

On a scale of 1 – 10, the pain I endure every time Lucy pops in to say hey is about a good — umm — CHILDBIRTH! Now I know I’ve never had kids before, but I’m pretty sure the pain I experience is as close to childbirth as I can get! I’m talking pain where your entire body writhes, pain that lingers every time you sit up, pain that makes you want to throw up and pass out. Yeah. That type. Regardless of how much I hate pain, this experience every trip around my body’s sun keeps my attitude in check. It reminds me that I am human and as unfair as it may seem, I’m not the boss of everything. The only thing I can truly control is my response to negative experiences during this life of mine. I don’t have to let painful events or happenings warp my view of the future or kill my hope….I can just deal, choose to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and push through!

 

giphy (31)Lesson #2 – I need God.

Maybe this should’ve been listed first. My oh my – the need for God has been scribbled in jumbo marker ink all over my entire existence! To experience the emotional ups and down, energy plummets, and nausea has taught me to lean on the everlasting arms of Abba Father! There is absolutely NO WAY in this entire universe that I would be able to make it through anything without Him. I need the strength only given by God through my salvation through Jesus Christ. I as a mere human do not possess the strength necessary to DEAL with half of the stuff I’m able to day in and day out. I’m don’t agree with “we’re all gods and goddesses” – naw, we are image bearers of God, but we ain’t Him ya’ll. HE made our bodies as they are. HE gives us that extra burst of juice we need to push through the pain. HE whispers to us “keep going, I’m with you” when life gets too hard to deal with. I (and my body) are physical testaments that the help of God is what’s allowed me to not check out.

 

Lesson #3 – Resilience is my spirit animal.

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I’ve always said that resilience is the primary name of my game. Since birth, I’ve had to bounce back from some pretty tough hands, and regardless of what I was dealt, found a way to grow from the experience. When Miss Lucy comes around, there is nothing “prissy or missy” about her. She is a savage Amazon warrior who plays rough and keeps you on your toes. One month, I may be out of work for a week. Over the course of several others, I’m fine. Some, I’ll have close calls and just pray my way through – but in each situation, I’ve found out that I was better than I was before. Whether it’s becoming stronger mentally, getting much needed rest physically, I’m able to emerge from Lucy’s visits happier and more renewed than I was before she came. Sure, I may be running on emotional fumes the first day or so after she leaves, but eventually, I get my mojo back.

 

Lesson #4 – There is never a time creativity can’t come out to play.

giphy (19)What I mean by this is, balancing the consequences of mother Eve’s idiotic decision-making skills has caused me to be creative in figuring out ways to stay working, making money, and functioning at a normal level. Whether that’s taking cat naps in my car or ignoring phone calls to sleep for 5 hours or create a makeshift anti-nausea tonic from ginger, carbonated water, and pain pills – my creativity is usually called to light. You always think of using your creativity to manipulate photos, paint, or create kiddie forts; but you never think of how creative you have to be when it comes to maintaining life balance!

 

I’m about 98.72% sure that reading this post has been one of the most oddly interesting things you’ve done today, but don’t let the lessons escape you. Though Lucy has taught me these things, they are still applicable to every aspect of life.

Be blessed ya’ll

  • Joc

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1 Good Reason God May Remove Someone From Your Life

This afternoon, I was perusing my FB timeline for content when I happened upon a post from The Praying Woman. It was adequately titled, “3 Reasons God May Remove Someone From Your Life”.

As I clicked on the link to prepare myself to for a nice, quick read, I found myself scrolling over the times in my life where friends or significant others seemed to float right on out the picture. For some instances, the reasoning was clear, but for others, not so much. When I read down to the last reason listed in the article, I found this:

3. Because sometimes our loved ones become more of a distraction than our enemies. This is God’s way of keeping us focused.

Today, I ask you this: Where does God fit in your life? Is He #1, #2, #3, or a better question would be… Is He even a priority in your life at all?

Sometimes we place our relationship with God on the back burner without even realizing it. We don’t give it our all like we do everything else.

Try not to be so focused on earthly relationships that you forget about your relationship with God. Switch the energy you’re currently putting into your distractions and refocus it where it’s needed, on Him!

You know those times where you have a “feeling” you might be right about a situation but talk yourself into thinking you’re over analyzing it too much? YES? Then you’ll know that this is exactly what BINGED in my mind when I read this.

A recent loved one who parted ways falls into this category, and not bashing them, but I realized our personalities mixed with the constant need to ‘upkeep’ our friendship/relationship ultimately brought it to a close. I was willing to overlook a few struggles in order to maintain consistent communication while obliviously overlooking the fact that my focus on God was creeping down to 2nd place. I found myself not feeling like my jovial, bubbly, NORMAL self as fear and doubt hopped into the front passenger seat of my life; all the while ignoring the signs that God was sending me.

YOU WILL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDES ME!!!

I was making my friendship/relationship with this person an idol without knowing it and found myself more preoccupied with pleasing them and MAKING myself BE the right companion for them, that I totally ignored God! Yep, it’s a hard thing to admit, but I had to repent because I pushed God aside without even knowing it. I was all up and in works of the flesh trying to MAKE this thing work. That’s why God shut it all down! After a series of arguments and disagreements, this person and I parted ways and almost immediately, an entire ton of feathers lifted! By the time the sun rose, I was almost back to my former self. Sure this person is a great person as a whole, but here me when I tell you God will allow NO ONE to block the works HE desires to do in us. So whether that’s a sibling, friend, significant other, co-worker, even a parent — if we place anyone above God in ANY way, God will show up and cool it down. He’s not a “backburner” God.

So whether you’re doing it intentionally or not, stop making people idols in your life. If you find yourself thinking about them more than God — chances are you’re placing too much importance on them. If you spend all of your time with them (even to the point whether you just go work/school and stay up under them or call them) — then you’re probably making them an idol. There is nothing wrong with a good healthy investment into your relationships, but when it consumes you…. handle it before God does; because He will.

Be blessed, Joc

 

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Comparisons and Idols = #RelationshipKillers

Soooooooooo it’s been awhile since I’ve spilled my thoughts onto these digital pages so let me commence to spillin’…..

17038467_3267564373568_7968188302165185448_oOver the past few months, I ‘ve been gearing up for the website relaunch of my non-profit event The Opposite Sex Revealed. (I’m excited to official be able to say non-profit). At its core, The Opposite Sex Revealed (The OSR for short) is an annual panel forum hosted in Wilson NC that allows guests to dress up, enjoy positive and fruitful conversation while getting their deepest questions answered about and BY the opposite sex!

Naturally, all of this relationship and marriage talk has me in the mindset of — dun dun dunnnnnn love! Seeing as how my last relationship ended going on six months ago (it ended on pretty awesome terms, complete with mutual understanding and all — I’m blessed ya’ll #unicornbreakup) I again found myself single, back in a space where I began to observe the dating world around me.

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One thing I’ve found (that didn’t change during the year and some change I was in a relationship) was the fact that COMPARISON and IDOLATRY have nearly saturated the entire sphere of love and marriage. What I mean by that is this: think about how dating must’ve been in the early 1900s compared to today. Today we can get a date with a swipe, we screen physical attributes before even meeting the person, and with our ability to travel, can carry on a relationship with someone a million miles away! If we feel they don’t fit in our life — on to the next. Before dating as we know it came into existence, there were no computers, cell phones, apps, access to world travel, and most people didn’t move from within 50 miles of their hometown. Many people (especially African Americans) didn’t go to college; let alone own a car so chances are you found your future spouse in the supermarket downtown or crossing the street.

Let me pause to say that I don’t advocate we shun everything technological and move to the Amish Country, but what I AM saying is, perhaps we should take into account that many of the elderly couples we see married 30, 50, even 70s years didn’t have access to the countless dating options we have today; thus they were put in a situation where the dating pool was simple and the lessons in love were hard. 

I think this is one reason why there were more long lasting marriages “back in the day”. Yes, I’m aware, some people just married for security. Yes, I’m aware that some just married to keep their families together. Yes, I’m aware that many marriages of old were arranged. Yes I’m aware that some people just got married to the first person they dated because they felt “stuck”. I’m not talking about those.

giphy (13)I’m talking about the simple courtships that blossomed into fortified “ride or die” marriages through faith and the mindset to love through the tough times. Without the distraction of a million potentials crossing their eye gates every 3 nanoseconds, they were more likely to stick with the 80/20 rule and work through the minor issues and flaws that fell in that 20%. 

Now-a-days, singles seem to fall into two categories:

GROUP A- They are afraid of commitment and often break up over minor flaws for fear of making the wrong choice. With so many potential mates out in the world, they are frequently going back-and-forth on whether or not they are dating the right person. They DO value marriage (or at least long-term companionship) but are often looking for a unicorn ….so they stay single as they float from person to person, refusing to FEEL like they’ve “settled”.

GROUP B- They have no current desire to commit or get married. They can be found consistently playing the field and have no problem changing from person to person until the time “feels right”.  They often believe love is flawed and have no real faith or hope in it anyway, so they just see where life takes them.

The clash of these two groups in cahoots with the “many options” we have and the idolizing of #marriagegoals without the willingness to put in the work has made for ONE BIG DISASTEROUS POOL OF BROKEN HEARTS AND COUNTLESS SINGLES!

What do you think?

Be Blessed,

Joc

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Tank And The Bangas NPR #TinyDeskConcert

If you’ve had a long MONTH like I have, then you’ll enjoy this mini concert given by the recent winners of NPR’s #TinyDeskContest TANK AND THE BANGAS! Based in New Orleans, this group has pushed the envelope of everything I once knew as music. To be totally honest, I was losing hope for music in terms of innovation. Though I mainly listen to Christian/Sacred music, jazz and neo-soul holds a very special place in my heart. Something about it (like gospel or worship) lifts me up and away from the stresses of day-to-day responsibilities.

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Yet and still, that genre has yet to birth something new. Other than Musiq Soulchild’s most recent project, and newcomer Chantae Cann — there is a familiarity that isn’t bad, but not altogether great!

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THAT WAS UNTIL….. I happened upon TANK AND THE BANGAS’ submission video to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest. TALK…ABOUT…IT! The multifaceted eccentricities and grooves of each line and stanza took my mind on an unfamiliar musical rollercoaster that left me exhilarated and wanted more! I immediately subscribed to the groups’ Facebook page eager for more updates. Today, on what is shaping up to be the end of a SERIOUSLY LONG work week, I came across the gem posted below. When I though TANK and her people couldn’t do it…they gave me more! I think I’ll wrap up my commentary here and let you enjoy the fruits of my scrolling. Remember, if this has been a tough day, week, month — good music and prayer can always bring you up outta that funk! HAPPY FRIDAY YA’LL!

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Blessings, Joc

CONCERT HERE:

http://www.npr.org/event/music/519418207/tank-and-the-bangas-tiny-desk-concert?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nprmusic&utm_term=music&utm_content=20170310

 

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I Finally Figured Out Why So Many Toxic Men Were Drawn To Me

This afternoon, as I’m perusing Facebook looking for great content to repost, I come across an article from Bolde.com titled “I Finally Figured Out Why So Many Toxic Men Were Drawn To Me”.

**CLICK**

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I wasn’t a fan of the profanity, but the points were spot on!

1. I WAS TOO NICE. 

2. I GAVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. 

3. I WAS THEIR HOPE OF CHANGE. 

4. I WAS A FIXER. 

5. I AM TOO EMPATHETIC. 

6. I HAD GIVEN UP ON LOVE.

7. I DIDN’T HAVE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES. 

8. I WAS A GOOD LISTENER. 

9. I WAS TOO LAID-BACK AND EASYGOING. 

10. I DIDN’T VALUE MYSELF. 

11. I STAYED IN SITUATIONS LONGER THAN NECESSARY. 

I won’t take time going through the details, but I will say that this article speaks to my mindset in my late teens – early twenties! EVERY LAST POINT! I don’t know what’s wilder — the fact that there is someone out here who could put a “name” to my mindset, or the fact that someone just described my little dating life to a tee — either way, this is good!

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Take some time to check out the full article: http://www.bolde.com/finally-figured-out-many-toxic-men-drawn/

Blessings, Joc

 

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Wives Submit to your Husbands…

Ephesians 5 verse 21-33 is a popular piece of scripture that’s almost ALWAYS used in Christian counseling or when giving advice to individuals getting serious about dating for marriage.

Wives submit yourselves to your husbands.

The majority of us tend to stop at there at verse 22 but no one really focuses on what follows in verses 23-25:

“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” (NLT version)

This talks about SACRIFICE. Jesus gave His life up for the church.

So yes, a woman should submit herself to her husband BUT he should be making sacrifices for her.

How can a woman be expected to submit to a man that she can’t respect?! The answer is simple. You can’t respect a man who:

  • Cheats with other women
  • Doesn’t work and isn’t out looking for a job
  • Expects his wife to support the family
  • Abuses his wife

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If you’re a guy thinking about marriage or are currently married, you’re not the “man of the house” if you just boss everyone else around! That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! A godly man does SO much more than that! He protects, provides, and sacrifices for his wife and children.

As a man, you only command respect if you:

  • take care of things concerning your family
  • are responsible
  • do what needs to be done so your family is taken care of
  • get out and work (even if your wife makes more than you)
  • are a good parent
  • put your family first

 

Anything else will get a…….

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Ladies catch a lot of flack for their struggle to submit to their husbands (yes I’ll acknowledge by the time we get into relationships we’re used to doing things our way) but rarely are men challenged to adopt a lifestyle that truly reflects a lifestyle worthy of submission.

So if you’re a woman dating a man who constantly cheats on you or abuses you in any way — you need to get out NOW! It’s not going to get better. Marrying him will only bring it out.

If you’re a woman dating a man who is always bouncing from job-to-job because he simply doesn’t want to work or if you’re married to a man who ups and quits his job out of nowhere — get help now! True, women can do these things but shouldn’t be expected to keep the house, raise the kids, AND take care of things outside the house. If you’re a woman who insists on doing that then fine. But just know it shouldn’t be EXPECTED of you if you want your relationship to mirror what God calls it to be. There needs to be balance! A man is not living up to what a true man is if he expects YOU to be the only one holding a steady job and providing for the family as a woman. No ma’am. I’m not knocking him if he makes LESS money than you  — that’s doable — at least he’s showing that he’s willing to work to support his family. But if you’re dating or thinking about marrying a man who just simply refuses to do anything but spend money — GET OUT NOW! If you’re already married GET COUNSELING NOW!!!

If you’re a woman dating or married to a man who expects you to change the tires, mow the lawn, drive the broken down car when he drives the new one, fix the leaky faucet, pay for the meals, pick HIM up and take him to work because he doesn’t feel like driving — GET HELP NOW! This behavior is not worthy of respect. Yeah if you’re married it’s not as easy, but with prayer and ACTION it’s possible for your husband to see where he needs to step up.

If you don’t, then you just signed yourself up for a lifetime of unnecessary stress that you as a wife shouldn’t have to take on.

Please know that this is not to slander men or badmouth them but it’s just something I noticed I thought needed to be addressed.

Be blessed,

Joc

 

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Why Christian Dating/Marriage Is NOT 50/50

Today’s dating/marriage culture is 50/50 which comes from a selfish, faithless mindset. It says, “you have to meet me 50/50 one hundred percent of the time because I have to look out for me and be ready to go the moment you deviate from that.”

That’s fear. That’s lack of faith. Love is the epitome of faith. Two imperfect people CHOOSING to love one another through minor faults and quirks because they’re worth it.

 

If you’re a Christian (a follower of Christ and His teachings, believing that He is the Son of the Living God) you should understand that this is worldly thinking. (See Romans 12:2) As Christians what and WHO we believe by faith won’t make “logical” sense to someone who hasn’t renewed their mind with the faith of God. This is why many out here find themselves bouncing from relationship to relationship; never really committing their heart, in fear of not being able to wholeheartedly trust anyone other than themselves. I admit, I’ve had struggles with that over the years career and relationship wise. I felt that if I — JOCELYN — couldn’t handle something on my own, it wasn’t worth going with that flow. I thought that if I could organize, plan, and execute EVERYTHING in my life EXACTLY the way I thought it should go (despite not having peace about things and having the Holy Spirit nearly rip my sleeve off trying to drag me in the other way) then it wasn’t right for me.

This is a TERRIBLE way of viewing ANYTHING…especially relationships and marriage! Every married couple I know who’s been married for more than 10 years have ALL said that a thriving, godly marriage will never always be 50/50 equally split. There will be times (at any given time) where one spouse will end up sacrificing more for the other. While everyone’s innate concept of sacrifice varies depending on our personal experiences — a sacrifice is made. That’s just one of the reasons why communication is important before and after getting married. It’s vitally important to be on the same page regarding how you expect a godly marriage to operate, how you define sacrifice, and how you receive love.

 

Say your significant other is finishing up school while you’re the only one working full time .. that’s not going to be 50/50. Say one of your parents takes ill or needs help bouncing back from a life upset; you’ll need to be there emotionally for them and may need to visit them for an extended period of time or spot them some money (which will be pulled form your household income) to help them out…..that’s not going to be 50/50.

 

As a Christian woman, I strive to obtain and enjoy God’s best for my life. Period. Over the years I’ve had to grow and renew my old way of thinking to adopt a mindset that some may view as “traditional” or “unfair”. You call it unfair, I call is wise. I don’t want to enter a marriage ignorantly believing that I can have my best life with my future husband while having everything split 50/50 all of the time. I’m learning now that healthy marriages don’t operate like that. Marriage (shoot courtships/relationships period) requires stepping out of your comfort zone and sacrificing some of your comfort to contribute to the relationship working. If that means sacrificing down time after working during the day so I can make sure my future husband has a listening ear or a meal (even if I pick it up on those busy days. lol) that’s something I’ll be willing to sacrifice. If we’re taking a long trip and it’s evident that I’m frazzled or worn down, I expect my future husband to take the wheel to give me some recovery time. There are SO many things that I’ve learned (and still am learning) about God’s intentions for a love that mirrors His. I’m far from perfect, but I thought I’d share a bit on what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen going on around the country and social media.

Blessing, Joc

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