I Bought A Home!

Hey loves, happy Sunday!!! It has been almost a month since I have made one of the biggest commitments of my life; I became a home owner. However so, I am still adjusting to the changes & getting acclimated with what new bills look like since this is an endeavor I decided to take on my own. While in the process, I am amazed how much I did not know & how much other people want to know. So I decided to, of course, share what I learned & show my realtor (Hey Aspen!) some love. Her contact information will be included at the bottom of this memoir. Thank me later because she’s ahhh-mayyy-ziiiinnnnggg!

  1. It is never too soon or too late to see where you stand financially. Many times, what we think we know about our finances varies in the mortgage process. If homeownership is a goal of yours, it does not hurt to speak to someone (loan officer) to determine if homeownership is a goal you can accomplish now or later. If now is not the time, don’t feel bad. I inquired last year about my status; last year was not the time for me. However, I knew exactly what I needed to work on so I could be prepared now.
  2. Good credit isn’t enough. Your debt-to-income ratio can be a pain in the butt when trying to get approved for your loan. Your loan officer not only ensures that your credit is sufficient; they also ensure that you can own your home. They don’t like risks.
  3. Savings are important but there are grants out there that can help minimize the upfront cost on your end. You will never know until you ask! For instance, after speaking with my loan officer, it was determined that FHA wasn’t the best option for me in the long run. So she found some Conventional Loan options that suited me best.
  4. Once you get approved for a loan, the home searching process begins. Understand, you can be approved for a loan that is higher than what you want to spend on a home. That’s ok. Don’t spend what you do not feel comfortable spending.
  5. Ask all the questions you need to ask. This is a huge commitment. I drove my realtor & loan officer crazy because I apologized so often for asking questions. They like questions. That want to be sure you are sure about what you are committing to. So, the more questions you have, the more likely you are to vocalize concerns.
  6. When actually looking for a home, the best thing I did in this process was write a list of my non-negotiables (must have or must not have) & my flexible desires. This allowed me not to get distracted when looking at various homes. If you share your list with your realtor, she/he will keep you focused.
  7. Once you find your home & the offer has been accepted it moves quickly. Most realtors attempt to close within a month or sooner after the offer has been accepted. I closed in 3 weeks.
  8. Upon offer acceptance, there are other expenses that you pay to protect yourself such as: a Good Faith Deposit ($1000-1500 deposit to the seller, committing to purchasing the home; no worries you get it back at closing), Lawyer for contract review, Termite inspection, home inspection & home appraisal. All these things ensure that you get the best deal when purchasing your home. In fact, these can give you some negotiation power.
  9. You sign a lot of documents throughout this process but if you are efficient, it makes it easier for all the parties involved trying to see this deal to the table.
  10. Getting to the table is the easiest part. Because it’s done. If you do what I did, you sign all e-documents before you get there & you sit at the table all of 10 minutes then you take cute selfies. lol

Being scared is normal. I am almost a month in & I am still scared. Just enjoy the ride. This is a big accomplishment. With the right people, you will not be stirred in the wrong direction. God will not give you anything you can’t handle recognize the blessing & continue on.

Reign & Rule

Revelation 5:10 (KJV) confirms that God made us kings & priest to reign & rule on this earth; in every encounter- EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Therefore, today, as you begin the Monday morning hustle & bustle; keep this in mind. Be mindful of your voice & your actions. Do not submit to any of the behaviors that compromise your position & make you anything less than what you are; royalty.

With the political & social climate we are currently in, establish your position & stand firm on it. Use your words to speak life into yourself & others. Use your actions to show love & use your experiences to be a testimony to someone else. Times are difficult. But they are not difficult enough to defeat us. However, now more than ever, it is imperative that you be what you were created to be. Do not coward when times become less desirable. Do not zip your lips when you see injustices & do not run when you witness adversity.

Your strength is needed. Your wit is desired. You intelligence is required. Use it.

TUNE IN…

We have grown up in a society that requires us to keep moving. This same society encourages us to ignore the nudges & do whatever is necessary to advance forward. A valuable lesson I have been learning is there is beauty in being still & tuning in. When I am still, I become mentally & spiritually full & I hand over the platform to allow God to do him & show off!

So many of us run ourselves ragged & wonder why our relationships suffer, our mental health is teetering & our momentum is depleting. However, instead of paying attention to what these things mean; we keep running the rat race wondering why the limited silence around us is so loud. The truth is, we can do any & every thing; BUT we limit ourselves when we do not give ourselves the opportunity to sit in silence & reflect before making important decisions & exposing ourselves to certain endeavors.

Our bodies are natural born survivors. All it cares about is surviving. All aspects of our being is created to do so; down to our physical, spiritual & mental being. We, however, push against our natural survival instinct with the constant demands we put on ourselves & the failure to listen when our body is talking to us.

Therefore, today I encourage you to tune in. Do not fill the gaps of silence with tasks that keep you so busy you fail to notice what your body is asking you for. Begin to appreciate those times & just sit still so that you can recharge & be fresh. You will notice, once you give yourself & your body the time you need; you will become more equipped to handle day-to-day tasks that once felt tedious, difficult or unenjoyable.

You are too valuable not to allow yourself a moment to tune up. Make it a requirement. Trust me, your body & those who love you; will thank you later.

Making History 2020

In a time like this, when it is your duty to take a stand, will you?

Today I did. I took a stand in what will be the history for my children & the continued strides of my ancestors. I walked with over 1000 people from one town to the next- amongst political figures, police officers, white people, black people, adolescents & children. We were all walking in protest for the same thing:

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Quite frankly, I am speechless. I cannot even articulate the thoughts running through my mind & the raw emotions coursing through my body. Even if I tried, I cannot begin to express to you the extent of solidarity & pride moving throughout the protest today. I am full of gratitude for the people who do not look like me but walked with me, talked with me, shouted with me, & supported on the sidelines. The message was clear- real clear.

BLACK LIVES MATTER- TOO!!!

It is extremely important that we do not stop here. That we keep going & we continue to have our voices heard. Not just during this Black Lives Matter protest, that fights back against police brutality & systematic racism; but forevermore in the face of any & all adversity. By utilizing our First Amendment right to assemble; protests have ignited & inspired positive social changes, advancements in human rights & a vast spread of information to be delivered by the masses to the masses. We see this in the examples before now such as the Women’s March, Gandhi’s Salt March, Boston Tea Party, March on Washington, March of Our Lives, Million Man March, Berlin Wall Protests, Iraq War Protest, etc… & even if the desired result was not achieved, people of like-minds, came together & had their voices heard. That alone speaks volumes. Volumes that one individual person cannot do alone.

Make your voices heard. Make your ancestors proud, pave the way for the generations after you & fight for your lives by taking a stand against the injustices so many of us face every day. Do not be deterred. Push forward. Stand Tall & DO NOT GIVE IN.

Sitting idly is NOT option.

Remember their names:

George Floyd, Christian Taylor, Dante Parker, Sandra Bland, Akai Gurley, Oscar Grant, Mya Hall, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Salvado Ellswood, Rumain Brisbon, Eric Gardner, Kimani Gray, Jonathan Sanders, Joseph Mann, George Mann, Eric Harris, Jamar Clark, Natasha McKenna, Michell Cusseaux, Laquan McDonald, Jerome Reid, Anthony Hill, Breona Taylor, Matthew Ajibad, Christopher Davis, Trayvon Martin, Rumain Brisbon, Akai Gurley, Brendon Glenn, Anthony Hill, Samuel Dubose, Philando Castile, Sean Bell, Alton Sterlin, Freddy Gray, Walter Scott, Troy Robinson, Sean Monterrosa, Botham Jean, Oscar Grant, Philip White, Amber Monroe, Ahmaua Arbery, Terrence Crutcher, Aiyana Jones, Ezell Ford, Dominic Hutchinson, Rumain Brisbon, Bill Ray Davis, Ahmaud Arbery, Jamar Clark, Kevin Hicks, La’vante Biggs, Tyree Crawford, Anthony Ashford, Alonzo Smith, Michael Lee Marshall, Michael Noel, Bettie Jones, Frank Smart, Michael Sabbie, Peter Gaines, Patterson Brown, Randy Nelson, Nathaniel Harris Pickett, Felix Kumi, Tony Robinson, India Kager, Miguel Espinal, Richard Perkins

& the countless others I have missed.

Because their lives matter too!

Why Black Lives Matter…

The last thing I wanted to do was write about the climate we are currently in. Not because I want to avoid the topic but because it hurts. I have a tendency to speak out of turn with rambunctious emotion before I have taken a full moment to process all that is happening & has happened. However, I will be a fool & will not be of service if I shy away from difficult topics like this one. #blacklivesmatter & I refuse to be apart of the problem that says otherwise. 

Let me preface this memoir by stating what should be obvious: If you THINK this topic does not affect you; you are sadly mistaken. Because it does. Whether you are brown, black, white, blue, yellow, green- of african decent, hispanic decent or asian decent – IT AFFECTS YOU! If you, yourself have not experienced the effects of the oppression imposed on black & brown men & women in the United States; I can guarantee that someone you love, someone you hold dear to you will not have the same testimony. If by some unlikely possibility, this still holds false– there is still a high probability that THIS will greet you at your doorstep. So do not be fooled. Don’t allow yourself to be oblivious to what is going on around you because THIS MATTERS!

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Now when WE say #blacklivesmatter, we are not saying other lives don’t. What we are saying is- #blacklivesmatter TOO, ALSO, AS WELL, TAMBIEN. However, the events that have occurred & continue to occur remind us that expressing this is extremely important & in these circumstances- the rest…

DO NOT MATTER.

It is the black lives being targeted & slain. It is the black lives that have to question the trustworthiness of the very individuals in place to “serve & protect” them. It is the black lives who are yelling for their mothers during the last breathing moments of their lives. It is the black lives who have to continue to watch as guilty individuals continue to be acquitted for the murder of their loved ones; while jails are overpopulated with black lives that have done less.

Need I say more?

Racism is very much real & despite the strides of our ancestors; it is still very much a reality. It is this fact alone that has us rowdy, fighting back & unrelenting with various ways of expression. Do I necessarily agree with the looting? Nope. However, can I understand why? Most definitely. People are tired! Fed up! Scared & scarred by a system that continues to profile, victimize & disregard them as individuals time & time again. Efforts for peaceful & silent protests have occurred & have disheartened protestors & supporters when another guilty man is acquitted for a murder streaming all over the internet.

With that being said, you cannot be silent & be a supporter. You cannot be a supporter if you turn your cheek to all that is going on around you to avoid conflict or confrontation. You cannot stand up for what is right if you refuse to speak up about what is wrong. Silence in these very moments speak louder than your words ever could. Speak up! We are in a social pandemic & it is not going anywhere; especially if your silence is all you can offer to “support” in this time.

I am sorry that this even has to be a topic of conversation. I am sorry that my friends & loved ones have to be scared to watch their children grow up; unsure how they will protect them. I am sorry that a script has to be provided to our young men in case they ever get pulled over. I am sorry that people lose their lives in order for us to wake up to the injustices of what is going on around us. I am sorry for all the stories we did not hear about. You know, the ones that happen in broad daylight without the presence of a video camera recording the footage. I am sorry that the criminal justice system still functions with enough systematic racism that justice is hardly served for those needing justice. I am sorry that it is so hard to be optimistic in these times. I am sorry that we have to feel the need for war in order to have peace. I am sorry that despite all that is going on around us- people still do not get it.

I am sorry. So very, very sorry.

But please hear me when I say…

Black Lives DO MATTER!

Learn to do good. Seek Justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17

Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering & oppression? Psalm 44:24

 

Set Boundaries. Periodtttt!

Boundaries are “lines that mark the limits of an area” & although this term is used in various ways – particularly in relation to self care & preservation – very few of us truly understand it’s importance. I have been diligent in ensuring that I assess & re-asess my behaviors, responses & reactions to how I am feeling & how others make me feel on a consistent basis.

However so, I continue to learn that establishing boundaries are not my strongest suite. Sure, I advocate for myself & speak up (not always the best way) when I need to. But by then, opportunities in which I should have established clear boundaries have come & gone. Being able to speak up & advocate for yourself is NOT the same as establishing clear boundaries that says “this is where I draw the line.” I have learned now, more than ever, that people will always do what you allow them to do; they will even test their limits to see how much further they can go. If we fail to establish those boundaries we cheat ourselves from peace. What is peace if we are unable to preserve it for ourselves? We cannot require things from people if we do not set the standard of the expectation.

So as you start this week, I urge you to take the time to evaluate your interactions – what makes you feel great & what doesn’t– & learn what boundaries you need to have in place. You need to care for YOU before you can be productive doing anything else. Stop trying to heal everyone & fix everything before tending to the your body is telling you it needs. Pay attention. Many times, your initial feeling is the guide to establishing the boundary that needs to be set in place. If it does not feel right than it is not right. Draw the line.

Moms, Remember This…

Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers, soon-to-be mothers, attempting mothers, mothers in heaven & those who play motherly roles! Your influence is appreciated & your love is unmatched. Although motherhood has not graced my life yet, I am aware of how hard you are on yourselves on a regular basis so…

Life (physically & mentally) could not happen without you.

You have super powers that being someone’s mommy affords you.

You bring comfort to those who need you.

You inspire those who watch you.

The world does not always appreciate you but it would not go round without you.

You are multifaceted & play many roles.

You are a Chef.

A nurse.

A teacher.

A therapist.

A chauffer.

A referee & mediator.

A best friend.

A sister.

A protector.

You are strong beyond measure.

You serve those you love to perfection.

You defend with precision.

You provide experiences & memories to cherish.

Your love is the midas touch. Everything it touches turns to gold.

You birth new life every day by simply being you.

You support without question & provide wisdom in your statements.

You organize a life that may not have been provided to you…

…But you do so without hesitation.

You are power & bliss.

Sunshine & a calming rain storm.

You are fire & ice.

A force untouchable.

A testament of LOVE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Spread Life NOT Gossip

Sitting at home we have a lot of extra time to invest our energy into a variety of things. Depending on where our mindset is, we will either choose to devote our energy into positive or negative things. It is imperative now more than ever to speak beauty into life instead of contributing to the ugliness there is by gossiping.

Regardless of how much we deny this- we are all guilty of it. We spew out negative energy that is not of us. We were not created to thrive off the shortcomings & inconsistencies of others & we surely were not meant to spread it, either. However, if we spent more time being conscious of our own we would be able to manifest that energy to becoming a better version of ourselves.

Because the truth is, gossip is poison. We hurt people when we spread negative statements about their character & fail to give them opportunities to redeem or defend themselves against what is being said. Keep in mind that what we say not only effects the person but it effects the people who love them. This could have lasting effects that make it significantly difficult to get past. People’s character will show others who they are; they don’t need our help. We get caught up with people kicking our own backs in but fail to recognize the irony when we do it. We receive what we give out to the world so now, more than ever, we need to mind our business & not speak life into things that are not becoming of us.

We are light. When we do anything other than spread light; we lose. We demote ourselves when we engage in things that are beneath us. We are above this. Although it may take a conscious effort not to engage; our abilities far extend past a negative statement that we give life to by passing it on.

“On the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak” Matthew 12:36

& we should prefer to be praised for the life we spoke into others when we face our father. Period.

Recuerdos.

You are woman.

You are muse.

You are brave.

You are intelligent.

You are light.

You have super powers.

Everything you touch grows.

You give life into all things around you.

Being vocal does not make you “angry”.

Being firm does not make you “mean”.

Being smart does not mean you are not humble.

Accept the lessons in your experiences.

Release love in all interactions.

Love your body. It works hard for you every day.

You are beautiful as you are. You do not need to change anything unless you want to.

Laugh often. Even when you do not want to.

Push fear aside & create something amazing.

Be responsible for your own joy.

Radiate respect.

Be inspired & inspire.

Exude confidence. Always. Even when confident is not what you are feeling.

Define your own standards of success.

Set out what you want your life to look like & go after it.

Favor is on your life. You need not to worry.

Your breakdowns are your breakthroughs.

There is no need to be perfect every day. Be you.

Make commitments & keep them.

Be sure in what you have to offer.

You are entitled to breaks. You do not need to keep going & going & going.

Expect the best from every situation.

Silence your inner critic. She does not belong.

Believe you can & you will.

Be still & know that God is with you (psalms 46:10).

You Are Better Than This

We are on what feels like 100 days of this quarantine. We are currently living in the stark reality that things will never be the same. It will be a long while before people stop wearing masks, feel comfortable shaking hands or hugging love ones. However, what we can strive to do; despite this, is try to make our skill set & opportunities better than what they have been before all this.

For instance, I have taken this time to master different make up techniques, consider doing additional things on my bucket list I never had time to do before & create professional development training for my staff’s advancement. My mother has has become a social media guru overnight, friends are learning to sew & others are learning what it really means to take time for self-care. So although socially things will probably never be the same; I can guarantee that no matter what you decide to do; you WILL be better than when this first started.

Consider writing the book you always wanted to write. Think of new ways to invest & practice some talents you were too busy to keep up with. Read a book, start writing, learn something new or learn the true meaning of Netflix & chill. Whatever you decide to do, do not succumb to the attempted hold of the enemy. Try your best to push forward. You will thank yourself later.

Remember, as I always say – all obstacles are made for your glory. Take advantage of it.