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I have a very bad habit. And that’s cancelling plans. I usually have some valid reasons, but sometimes I just don’t. My decision to cancel sometimes depends on how I feel that day. Once I’m not in a good mood, I would just cancel. It may seem like a selfish move but it really is not. It’s more like an equation in my head: If I’m not in a good mood, I will draw so much negative energy therefore I will ruin it all for everyone.” So instead of going and being a party popper, I stay home and try to re-mediate myself.

Then there are the times when I do have reasons to cancel. Like I mentioned many times in several of my posts here, I engage in a lot of activities in my church or for my church. Some of them I don’t recall ever affirming that I wanted to be part of, but somehow I’m all up in them. So what happens now is that, everyone__from my pastor to all the presidents of the different departments of the church__ counts on me. Why, you ask? In the words of my blunt boyfriend “Because you don’t know how to say no!”. Not that this is entirely true, but sometimes, I just can’t bear to say no when it comes to doing something for the people at my church. My mother raised me to always be of service for the church anytime that I can. And I’ve always kept that with me. Now it’s making and breaking me at the same time.

There have been times when I had to cancel girls’ outings, birthday parties, bridal/baby showers  just because I had to be at practice or because I had to wake up early for Sunday service the next day. I have broken a lot of my friends’ heart by doing that, and now some either don’t invite me anymore or are skeptical when I RSVP. I hate the fact that, even when I use the proper etiquette of bailing, it still hurts the other person. I then get mad at myself for not handling the situation the right way, especially after I gave my word to be there.

Well, last week was different. I didn’t wake up with a certain state of mind to be bold in the decision I made, but it sure gave me the balls to stand up for myself.  One of my girlfriends came in town to celebrate her birthday: 4-day weekend type of celebration that is. And I knew about her coming since July. And of course, like all the other times, I told her I would be there.

“Are you sure?” I remembered her asking. She sounded unconvinced.

“I promise, I’ll be there.”

Knowing me with my cancelling habit, she was super excited and took (rather, held onto) my word for it. So the plan was for us to meet Thursday night for dinner.  I was excited, that, for once out of  the many times  I’ve cancelled on friends and family, I was finally keeping my word. Only to realize that it wasn’t going to be for long.

Last Sunday was Young Adult day at the church. This is when all the young adults of the church do everything in the services: from ushering to directing and preaching. So guess who was picked to direct THAT Sunday out of every single suitable young person? You guessed right. Me. Now I had a dilemma. If I was to direct, I would need to attend praise team rehearsal which would be that same Thursday of my friend’s birthday dinner. And that night would be the only night she would be in NY, the only night I would be able to see her since she made plans to be in Massachusetts the rest of the week-end. I can’t begin to explain the crowd of thoughts that kept racing through my mind. I wanted to tell my pastor that I wouldn’t be able to direct, if it meant for me to be present at rehearsal. But I didn’t want to let him down. So I said nothing, and concluded that the best thing would be for me to cancel…on my friend.

Too ashamed to call, I sent her a Facebook message, first asking her when she would be leaving NY, because I ‘probably’ wouldn’t be able to make it on Thursday because of rehearsal.

“You always have something going on. I’m disappointed. I’m not going to hide it. But it’s ok. I understand.” was her reply. My fingers  itched to type back “No! you don’t understand! And that wasn’t my question!” but I had to face the truth. And whenever I face the truth, I’d throw a fit then finally, I’d give in. I explained the whole dilemma to my older sister, hoping to get her to sympathize with me, but instead she told me: “So you have so much responsibilities…whose fault is it? There are other people in the church who are  well-able to do all that you do. You just make yourself too available. That’s your problem. Be unavailable for once.”

So I picked up my cell and called the praise team director. I told him I would not be able to come to rehearsal and sent him a list of what needed to be done. He tried talking me out of it, telling me that I needed to be there and such, but I resisted. I knew I needed to be there, but God knows that I’ve always been there, rain or shine, sleet or snow. For once, I had to decline.

So I went to the dinner. My friend was so happy to see me. She hugged me for what seemed to be a very long second and whispered: “Thank you…”. I hugged her back and smiled. That made the rest of my weekend :-).

Then Sunday came, I directed. And the service went marvelously :-).

I’m glad I’m slowly breaking this bad habit.

Related Post (s)

http://www.chatelaine.com/en/blog/post/30396–how-to-avoid-cancelling-your-plans-without-notice 

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Before you give me your verdict__as the worst and most trifling blogger ever!__ I need you to sympathize with me…please…just a little 🙂 (Hello lovies! Hugs!)

 

My life has been a little hectic for the last couple of weeks! Between school, work, choir practices, praise team rehearsals, helping my sister with her wedding preparation and also helping the youth of my church prepare their anniversary celebration (talk about multitasking), I barely had the time to eat.

I had helped my sister get her bridal gown, the bridesmaids’ dresses and also found a photographer & cameraman, a make-up artist and all. But in all this disarray, I haven’t found my dress yet! And knowing myself, if I can’t finish up what I started I will not stop nor rest! My boyfriend always complains about me putting other people’s needs above mines, and that I don’t take time to enjoy myself. I hate the fact that he is right and I know deep down that it is the truth but I denied it all.

Who’s to blame in reality? It’s not my fault that I was born such a perfectionist. It may not be a virtue but it can’t be that bad of a vice either. Since I feel like I’m much better at dealing with myself when I fail at planning and such, I rather let me blame myself. Not someone else.

So yes. I will skip and sacrifice breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack times, sleep, fun days/nights to finish my tasks. After everything is done, I will play and rest with a peaceful mind.

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Ok! Where do I start?

...where do I even begin???

Should I spill all the juicy details?

I’m sorry but there aren’t any. I wish I was able to flood my blog with crazy fun pictures of  unforgettable moments I shared with friends and family during my birthday, but that was not the case.

Well for one, my birthday weekend “celebration” ended by Saturday morning. I usually keep celebrating until the end of the month, but this year, I willingly toned it down.

My birthday this year was untypically solemn. Some of my friends were…well, in their own world. Some forgot. And those who forgot are whose birthdays I always remember. Some sent me nonchalant wishes via Facebook or text. It wasn’t how I expected it to be, but it truly (and surprisingly!) didn’t bother  me. I have gotten use to that and I’m alright. I just think that once we grow older and grasp a wiser sense on how to control our emotions and not hold on to idle stuff,  situations like these do not faze us anymore. If they don’t send us cards, call us or throw us a birthday party, we do it ourselves and have a good time. My guess is this year, maybe they didn’t matter. Maybe it wasn’t  supposed to be the usual. And I enjoyed every minute of it :-).

First, my day was warmed up by a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my beau.

The bouquet

Aren't they lovely?

He always sends me flowers on special occasions and random days :-). Mom also made me a fruit cake (on top are slices of pineapple, cherries and prunes) since I’m not a big fan of cake icings.

Fresh out of the oven...yum!

Then I received a cute painting from a good friend who lives in New Jersey.  He painted it himself and I was so moved by the gesture.

So full of colors! I believe the Mandarin sign reads: Peace. I may be wrong :-/

This little bunny melts my heart 🙂

And later on that day, Older sis and Judith (a sis from another Mom 🙂 ) took me to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway!

Before heading out to work, Older sis tried really hard to convince me to take the day off  but I truly couldn’t since Fridays were the busiest days at work.  She was a little disappointed but I reassured her that  I would leave early so we could have the rest of the day to ourselves. I was totally oblivious of the plans she made.

We both met at the train station near home, and we waitedand waited...and waited some more for Judith. When she finally showed up, we both sighed in relief, gave her a reprimanding look and unwillingly digested all the excuses she fed us for being late. We almost didn’t make it to the show. She’s lucky we did.

I was a bit skeptical about the show because I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that I loved musicals and opera.  I saw the actual movie in French as “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” when I was seven, in Haiti, and I recalled that it scared the lights out of me. The story didn’t make sense to me then and I just didn’t like it. (Please don’t judge me, I was seven.)

By the way, this is me (and my mommy) on my seventh birthday...Go ahead and laugh at my dress.lol (Please excuse the quality of the photo)

To my surprise, the show blew me away! It was a true masterpiece and the actors were all amazing! It was so beautiful and moving! I didn’t get a chance to take pictures with them but I did buy a poster with their autographs on it.

The autographed poster

The funds were to benefit two major causes: AIDS and Cancer. I can’t begin to explain the joy I felt for contributing.

After the show, we went to a Caribbean restaurant called “Negril Village” in Manhattan, where we chatted and laughed over aromatic and delicious dishes and a few drinks. There was no better way to end the night. This year’s birthday may not have been the typical but it was the ideal one for me and I couldn’t have asked for more.

What I drew from it all this year is that, the more solemn it is, the better. I got to reflect on a lot of things and appreciate the littlest things. I was content to see another year and focused on thanking God for always keeping me and protecting me. Some people either lay unconscious in a hospital on their birthday, or some just don’t see it. Who was I to complain? I was surrounded with so much love :-).

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This morning was one of those mornings I don’t usually wake up to.

I usually get in a hopeless fight with my bed every morning, but this morning, it was different. I felt myself gently shaken awake to the must beautiful sight ever. I reached for my camera to capture such marvel, but I stopped. Moments like these were to be savored peacefully. And for some weird reason, I was afraid that while I’d take a photo, it would all disappear before my eyes. Then I reminded myself that I wasn’t dreaming. This was real.

I heard the wind’s gentle whistle and saw a few brown and orange leaves twirl in the sky. There weren’t any birds chirping (which would’ve made this moment even more perfect) but seeing a few squirrels chase each other on my neighbor’s roof  humored me.

I got myself out of bed finally, anticipating much more. I was grateful that I saw another day, the most beautiful and peaceful day I’ve ever seen and felt in a long time. I was so content that, if I wouldn’t wake up to see my birthday tomorrow, I would repose in peace.

Once out, I deeply inhaled the fresh morning air and watched the sun’s rays play peek-a-boo with the clouds. It wasn’t a full sunny day, nor was it a cloudy one, it was…just right.

I didn’t want this day to end. I wanted all the time in the world to make the best of it.

Then I heard a voice whisper: “It’s yours. Do make the best of it.”

My heart raced with fright and excitement. Unsure, I paid close attention and heard it again.

I heard it say: “Happy Birthday Daughter.”

I couldn’t retain the tears of joy that ran down my face and all I heard myself whisper was: “Thank you, Lord…thank you.”

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For the first time (in a very long time) last night, I sat down to watch the news, and to my disappointment, one particular story reminded me of why I never really liked watching the news in the first place.

A New Jersey high school teacher (Vicki Knox)  has been accused of posting anti-gay remarks on  Facebook  and now, she is on the verge of being suspended, which may eventually lead to her getting fired.

This is my very first time hearing about such stories and what shocked me the most was that it was not the first time actions where taken against teachers who spoke their mind on Facebook, especially about homosexuality.

I read the alleged  ‘horrifying’ comments she made and in my opinion, they were not at all hateful. They were expressions of her thoughts genuinely based on her religious beliefs and personal values. Now, let’s assume that maybe she wasn’t supposed to make those comments publicly. If those comments were made directly to students or staff members, I would then understand.

What I do not (and probably never will) understand is why they want to fire her based on comments she made in her free time, on a social site where  people practically freely speak their mind. People from all over the world make 10 times worst comments about homosexuals (I myself have read comments about people threatening to kill every single homosexual they set their eyes on :-/)  so now one person just voices her opinion, based on her religious beliefs, and she should be revoked from her profession? Why do people feel the need to use rights as a tool for revenge? Just like lesbians and gays feel like they have the right to fight for they believe in, I believe Mrs. Knox reserve the rights to freely express herself based on what she believes in.

If I had any advice for Mrs. Knox right now, it would be: “In this course of life, not everyone will agree with you. No matter how passionate you are or how passionate they are. You will have different reasons and beliefs and they will never mesh. If you can get this, then you can get that it is okay. If you get that it is okay, you will be much happier. But DO stay true to yourself, and don’t change your views/beliefs for anyone.”

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My family and I haven’t really had the chance to spend quality time together due to our hectic schedule, but last Sunday made up for all lost moments.

We came from church quite early last Sunday so my older sister decided to help Mom prepare dinner. Usually, Mom would be the only one in the kitchen and every now and then, Older sis and I would go to the kitchen to steal a bit from anything that was done and ready for the table. She would shoo us away and burst into laughter every time we’d playfully fight her and do a little victory dance once we get our hands on a piece of shrimp or banann peze (pronounced “Buh-nun Peh-ze”) which is fried green plantain.

It all seems well with us but moments like this bring so much heartache. Our Sunday afternoons have changed drastically.

Our Sundays in Haiti were always full of ambiance and so much food! Our house was always flooded with friends and family from every corner of Port-au-Prince, because people knew they were bound to have a great time…and go home satiated. My late father was a musician (by hobby) and whenever he would come up with some kind of inspiration, he would feel the need to inculcate us some ridiculous moves to a random new song and have us perform in front of our guests. Every. Sunday.

I never knew what inspired him, but that was his idea of Sunday afternoons entertainment, and we, my sisters and cousins, didn’t like it.

At that time, it seemed like torture, but now I would give anything to have those Sundays back. I would give anything to have my father back :-(.

After we had our dinner, we each quietly retracted into our rooms and I know that last Sunday, although we were laughing and bickering, we’re tasting dishes and we’re laughing some more,  we each ache silently.

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I’ve always been perceived as the strong one in my family. At times I’m not sure if they just wanted to use me (since I would never refuse them my help) or because I seemed to be the one who had more physical abilities (i.e. I was a little bit more active than my sisters yet I was still the heaviest.lol) or maybe they just genuinely depended on me.

My mother even used to call me the ‘boy’ of the house at a certain point (when me, her and my older sister migrated here from Haiti; my father and little sister were still in Haiti then) and all the manly jobs that had to be done, she would rest assured that Lissa (me 🙂 ) was going to take care of it.

I didn’t really like being called the ‘boy’ of the house…maybe because I knew the surtitle came with loads of responsibilities, but somehow I continued to feed their dependency on me, by always making sure that everything functioned perfectly. Or somewhat.

Even after my father passed away, I still remained strong for us. When my mother and sisters were inconsolable, I, who happened to be the first one to get heartbreaking news of his passing, had to put my strong hat on and console them. I had to fight back the tears and play the role I believe I was meant to play. At that time, I didn’t know how I did it…how I became self-composed throughout the whole process of burying my father was almost supernatural. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for God, and the faith I had in Him, despair alone would’ve sent me to my grave.

And even with friends, I’ve always been the strong one: the one to always give them hope when they’re down and out, the one to always give them a testimony or a word of encouragement to boost their faith, the one to internally cry with them when they are in deep sorrow.

In all of these circumstances, I’ve always remained strong, yet deep inside I wished someone could be strong for me. I wished they knew that I, too, even though I don’t show it, can be weak and vulnerable. I, too, cried, almost every night. I, too, needed someone to console and comfort me. And I came to realized that people view you differently once they know that you are like them, and that the truth was, you didn’t have superpowers.

Just like Batman, Superman and all the other superheroes I grew up watching, at times, they couldn’t get themselves out of trouble. Or sometimes, as strong as they were, it would take another weak normal human to encourage them or help them out of danger.

There’s a thin line between pity and disdain, and in situations like these, people tend to walk more towards the ‘disdain’ end of the line, which is the worst thing one can bear with. As if they forget that you ARE human.

I must say, in all of my troubling times, family and friends have always been there for me. And even when they were not, God has always been there. ALWAYS. I’ve never lacked a shoulder to cry on, an ear to hear my thoughts nor arms to comfort me. Such people make your life worth living for.

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