This Week’s Formula…

I think today calls for some reminders to get through the week—

Literally, the start of each day, is a new beginning.

Every problem has a solution, even if it isn’t evident right away.

The world will not always understand your perspective, still stand by it.

Being misunderstood is about perspective; use it to your benefit.

Be compassionate. Compassion makes all the difference.

Give yourself grace. You will not execute perfectly; every time.

Love without conditions; do it freely.

Make sure what you say has substance. Your word is your bond. If you fail to deliver on that word, what else do you will have?

Money is nice but it should not be your sole interest. Seek peace.

Having emotions is not the problem; it’s how you express them.

Don’t stay in any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Pick and choose your battles, but feel confident advocating for yourself.

Never allow discouragement to keep you from playing the game. The outcome will surprise you.

Be confident. However, be mindful- there is a fine line between confidence & arrogance.

Stop second guessing yourself. Trust your instinct.

Be ok jumping in the unknown. It’s going to all work out.

When negative thoughts surface in your mind; profess with your mouth the opposite.

Ask God to give you wisdom before making decisions & be patient. He will answer.

Be ok with feeling how you feel; use it to reflect.

Stop using horoscopes to predict how your day will go; YOU set the trajectory of the day.

You really are in charge of your destiny; do it one step at a time.

Make the best out of this week. You got this.

Suppressed Childhood Traumas…

Hey ladies, Happy Sunday.

Hmm…

Let’s talk about childhood trauma & how important it is for us to deal with it. As children we have a variety experiences that contribute (to an extent) the type of adults we will be. However, many of us have had positive & negative experiences that we carry around with us– whether we know it or not. Like I said in the memoir I wrote a few weeks ago, “Let’s Talk About Trauma”, if we do not deal with what we have dealt with, we will never reach the pinnacle of our very best.

Let me give you an example. Like many people I know, I was raised by a single mother. I was abandoned by my biological father before I was born & I spent a large portion of my childhood feeling discarded. That later began to trickle down into how I handled my relationships with love interests, family & friends. I found it better to discard of people before they could discard me. I left very little room for errors & I never looked back. It was not until I began to deal with some of my deep rooted issues of abandonment that I started to recognize my own toxic behaviors. Had I continued on that course; I would not have been able to maintain the wonderful relationships I have now. As I have said before, I am grateful for the people who loved me even when I was not so pretty to love.

You see, many of us walk around everyday with the facade that what happened is irrelevant. We suppress without realizing that in doing so we allow negative behaviors to surface. We have to recognize that in denying ourselves the correct outlet to heal; we give our trauma the victory. Address it. Talk about it & then work on forgiving yourselves. Because trauma, especially those brought to us in childhood, creates a gateway that causes us to blame ourselves for what has happened. The truth is, we have been raised by people with their own trauma, had interactions with people that suppress theirs, encountered people who cause distress as a result of their own & we have contributed to the trauma of other people. However, when we make a conscious effort to deal with the wounded child, teenager & adult– we make positive strides to ensure that we stop contributing to the negative experiences of other people people. We clear the slate to raise people without our own trauma in mind & we further work on ensuring that we end those generational curses we often hear people talk about.

Life is absolutely too short. Wouldn’t you want to have a positive experience with it where you set the standard & create that trajectory. Life really can be beautiful. We just have to give it permission to be.

See you next week.

Taking On More…

Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.

Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.

I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.

You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.

Beautifully Imperfect

Hey, loves! Today is a pretty exciting day! Nickkie&Co. has not had a Guest Inspiration in quite a while. However, a long time friend & fellow woman in Christ, Quiomayra Figueroa, has offered her Testimony to share with us today. She brings forward the conversation that religion & a relationship with christ are NOT the same thing. In fact, relationship is so much more. Tune in & check out the brief summary of her journey. It might sound a lot like yours. Thank you Quio for your testimony.

My name is Quiomayra Figueroa and I am 31 years old, born in Camden and raised in  Pennsauken, New Jersey. This is my story of a born sinner saved by an awesome father God in heaven. 

I knew who God was but never really had a “relationship” with the Lord, it was more religion than anything else. I grew up in the Catholic Church; that’s where the foundation started but it didn’t continue. The seed was planted in me by my parents to know who God was and that Jesus died on the cross but never really experienced or understood the importance of having a relationship with God, to understand why Jesus died on the cross for us, and to be thankful and devoted like I am now. Back then what I knew about being a Christian was to “do this do that” and “if you don’t follow these rules you are going to hell and God is going to punish you”. Because of that, I didn’t have a desire to seek the Lord because I thought I had to be perfect. I didn’t fully understand why God allowed things to happen in this world and why I had to be a part of it; I didn’t believe it at the time because a lack of understanding.

I then started to do things my way. I went to college to do something that I was passionate about to help people and the community I grew up in; I went for criminal justice. In my college, I didn’t really experience the partying scene in school but I experienced it outside with the group of people I grew up with. I did what I wanted and what I thought was “living life”. I was partying, drinking like crazy,  and going out to the clubs all the time. Looking back now I basically got myself into a lot of situations that I could’ve avoided that were dangerous. Thank the Lord he had me covered. I was also not in the best relationship.  I don’t blame the person I was with because we obviously weren’t meant to be and that’s okay. I remember after graduating college I  was in a relationship for four years with a man I thought I was going to marry. While we were together I started to seek the Lord with a couple of my family members due to situations in my family; we decided to go to church and I loved it. I kept attending and curious about God; wanting more. I was baptized and I made that declaration to the Lord that I was going to follow him and change my life around but I wasn’t fully dedicated. At this point in my life I became a “luke warm Christian” with one foot in and one foot out. I didn’t want to let go of my old lifestyle; not fully trusting the God. I thought my life was good; I had a boyfriend, we lived together, working in my field of study, and got a dog. In reality though, things were following apart. 

Just like on social media, people post what they want you to see. Who post’s up their failures or what’s going on in their life? My relationship with my boyfriend at the time failed, just like  people in my life that love the Lord and prayed for me, said it would. I am not bashing the person I was with; but our situation. I knew that I was doing things out of God’s order. The relationship ending helped me to take the rose colored glasses off my eyes. I was able to be like you know what God “ I’m TIRED of how I’m living, TIRED of the partying and the drinking, TIRED of the failed relationships, TIRED of being mad at the world with different situations, trying to be in control and not getting good results. I decided that day to just say “I’m done” and I started to really seek the Lord a different way; on his terms because in the past I didn’t handle problems well my way.

When I was in high school during my senior year and part of my college life I handled situations so differently, unhappy and depressed. I would literally shut myself from the world, not wanting to be bothered by anyone. I would lock myself in the room, sleep all the time and I wouldn’t have an appetite. I remember my mom knocking on the door in my room to check up on me and  I would not let her in. I went from weighing 135 to 105 real quick; at my worst. At a certain point I snapped out of that depression in which God delivered me from and I decided to leave it in God’s hands! Once I made that decision to follow Christ wanting his peace and his joy, I ended up finding another church home; not because where I was wasn’t a bible preaching church but because I needed something different. Where I attend now has helped me to grow in relationship with the Lord and not just what people call “religion”. I get to learn who God is as our father and our friend. I have a community of family who know and love the Lord just like me that I can be accountable to. Because let’s face it, nothing is ever going to be perfect; we are human with real problems. Just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we are not prone to trials in this world because we decided to take this step. That’s a promise from the Lord that we will have to “face troubles but to take heart because he has already overcome the world”(John 16:33) when he died on that cross for us. That’s the beauty of it! We are going to fail in some way, shape or form. I feel true conviction when it happens which is good, but as long as we continue to trust the Lord and give it to him, he will help us, he will show up and he will change our lives like never before! 

God wants to meet us where we are; that’s where he can work in us. We don’t have to come to him perfect. He tells us to draw closer to him and he will draw closer to us (James 4:8). Because of that decision I made a long time ago, to accept this invitation from the Lord to follow him, my life has never been the same. Life’s purpose that he has for me and you is to encourage people, to allow them to see the love of Christ and to tell them the good news about him. It’s the whole point of life, to love God and love people. 

I didn’t desire to seek the lord because I thought I had to be perfect.

Toss The Loss.

Life has a funny way of making us grow in the midst of our discomfort. Despite the various ways in which I experienced this; 2020 has had a special way of confirming this. Granted, in spite of all the chaos, God has blessed me immensely. However, I can recognize the various, uncomfortable experiences that served to be learning opportunities that contributed to making me more resilient.

I know things have been significantly difficult this year. There is one obstacle after another & very little time to recover. But this year has taught me something significant about human-beings; we are survivors. We survive, keep surviving & then we thrive. We have a natural instinct to keep fighting even when the odds are against us.

Love, I may not know exactly what you are experiencing right now. But I do know that this message is for you. Sometimes we need things to occur by happenstance to motivate us to move forward. Understand that you reading this memoir today is not a coincidence. It was meant for you.

It is no surprise that things have been quite difficult lately. All the external factors, coupled with managing every facet of your life, is adding significant & unwanted stress to your already hectic life. Whatever the circumstance, you will get through this. Throughout your life you have overcome setbacks & loses; this is no different. You have lived & survived while managing the various roles & maintaining a life you have set out for yourself. In all the chaos, you have become multifaceted; a forced to be reckoned with. Take the time you need- reflect & readjust. Believe that what you want is yours. It is all apart of God’s divine plan. Trust the process. The journey will get you to where you are supposed to be. But I can assure you, a loss is not waiting for you at the finish line.

You just have to believe it.

Disappointments Happen…

Life is unpredictable. However, you can be certain that it will have its highs & it will have some pretty crappy lows. Many of those lows will be associated with disappointment in yourself, various circumstances & people. Knowing this, disappointment in people has been one of the hardest things for me to accept as part of life.

I tend to take those forms of disappointment personally. But what I have learned to tell myself is this- carrying the weight of disappointment & wondering why it had to happen to me is too much of a burden to carry. Instead, how someone treats me (especially when I don’t deserve it) has more to do with them then it does with me.

Therefore, I share the same perpsective with you. We do not need to know why. All we need to know is that it happenened & we feel a certain way about it. How the person feels about their behavior & how they feel about treating us a particular way is not our problem. Our responsibility is solely in ensuring that we bounce back from this, take the lesson & strive forward. This method ensures the best result for us. Because that is what matters, how we rise out of this.

Disappointment is inevitable. But so is the bounce back.

Relishing in Singleness

Here’s a fun fact about me. I have spent more time single than in a relationship. Not because no one wants me but because it was & still is my choice. With the few who slipped through the cracks, I have always ensured that I was selective about who I allowed in my circle; regardless of the type of relationship I chose to maintain with them. However, I always relished in the fact that being single has always looked good on me.

Let me preface this by saying– I am not discrediting anyone for their realtionship choices & their desires or actions in settling down early. I am a firm believer, what is for you, is for you & thus far singleness has been for me & settling down has been written for others. But aside from that, I am simply offering a positive perspective to what society refuses to accept as something positive; singleness. In my singleness, I have been able to pour into myself in a way that only I could have– educationally, spiritually, recreationally & professionally. In being able to focus on me & solely myself; I have been able to manifest everything I ever wanted without having to consider anyone else. My time single has been a blessing that has allowed me to learn so much more about myself & what my expectations are when I finally do settle down.

Do not be confused. More than anything, I want to be a good wife to a good husband & have a good family. But, at the right time with the right person. This does not mean I have not kissed a few toads along the way because I most certainly have. I dated multiple people, sat in the midst of some toxic relationships & ran at the first sign of discomfort. However, what I learned along the way is that; any relationship, of any sort, with anyone, are learning opportunities that require a moment to recover after separation.

Relationships are work. They take a lot of compromising, adjustments & create new standards of living. In ending romantic &/or intimate relationships, we need to learn to be single again. But what is the point of being single if you cannot relish & enjoy it. Nickkie&CO was founded after a rocky bout of too much fun with horrible people. I made a conscious decision to take time off from pouring into dead end relationships & into myself, God & other women who needed it.

& here we are.

Years later & it has been the best decision I have ever made.

If you are single & disappointed, I urge you to consider a new perspective. Sit back & evaluate all the opportunities that are available to you. Are there business endeavors you always wanted to consider? Did your last relationship provide gems that can be beneficial to someone else? Are you able to see where there are areas you need to grow for the next one? If so, this is the time. This is the time that matters & makes it worth it. Singleness can be so fruitful to your life if you let it. An active choice to be single does not mean you are alone. They are not one in the same & the moment you recognize this; relishing in singleness will be your new relationship status.

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.