A Toe-Sucking Experience in Cozumel

By Chaunte McClure

When I go on vacation, I’ve vowed to try something I’ve never done before, be it an adventurous excursion or some other out-of-the-box activity. This time, while in Cozumel I got my toes sucked.

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My entire feet, actually, and around my ankles, as my husband sat beside me, watched and enjoyed the same treatment. It was a brief escape from the sun after swimming in the turquoise Caribbean ocean at Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club where we could enjoy everything from kayaking to horseback riding to massages and fish pedicures. I opted for a fish pedicure after my cousins raved about their experience. (They snuck away while my body finally got used to the ocean’s cool temperature.)

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To the Islander Fish Spa I headed to get a feel for what it was all about. After getting my feet cleaned of the beach sand, it was time to simultaneously and slowly put my feet in the spa tank. Then the tickling began! A school of fish nibbled away at the bottom, top and sides of my feet. The bottom was the most ticklish but after a few minutes, I got used to the nibbling and kissing which lasted for about 15 minutes. It’s like a micro massage but from Garra Ruffa fish to help remove dead skin cells. Once the treatment was over, a technician (I guess that’s what they’re called) rubbed our feet with a cream that started out smooth and creamy then slightly dried before he wiped it off with a towel. The result: soft, smooth feet and a story to tell.

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In hindsight, I should have taken sanitation into consideration, but had I done so, you wouldn’t be reading this post because the germaphobe in me would’ve forgone the opportunity. No regrets, though, and three days later my feet are just fine. Kissable, indeed.

Have you had a fish pedicure? How did you like it? If you haven’t, would you try it?

 

Easter is on its Way

Hunting eggs, reciting speeches, dressing in your Sunday best, having dinner with family, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ – that’s what Easter is made of.

Risen

Easter was such an eventful holiday weekend as a kid. It was that one time of year that I’d get my hair straightened, usually the Saturday night before, but I remember at least once struggling through the process on Easter Sunday morning while constantly trying to avoid the steam from the hot comb. After we decked out in our new Easter attire, we’d pose in front of Grandma’s beautiful azaleas or other flowering shrubs and plants for the annual Easter pictures captured with either a Polaroid, a Kodak 110 or a disposable camera, depends which was trendy at the time. Families have it so lucky now. No more having a roll of film sitting around for weeks, or even months, before it gets developed. Just smile, snap and share them immediately with family and friends via text or social media before heading to worship.

I can’t even remember learning an Easter speech, though I’m sure I did, but I do recall the years after I was too old to recite a speech. I dreaded sitting through the two-part program when kids got up and bashfully recited those classic speeches. Do any of these ring a bell?

  • Happy Easter Day! (This one was the backup speech for any kid that didn’t get a speech or forgot theirs.)
  • What you looking at me for? I didn’t come here to stay, I just came to say happy Easter Day. (Or something like that. Who came up with that one?)
  • Christ arose on Easter Day and that is all I have to say. (Cute, right?)
  • All I came to say is Happy Easter Day!

Sadly, the only Easter egg hunt I recall is one we had in our yard. Kids love this annual tradition and I get to see their faces light up next Saturday during when my church hosts the fun event. Sunday will be one of the longest days because we’ll have “Son” rise service, the annual Easter program and morning worship. They all make for a long day, but the unmatched sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes it all worth it, for our risen Savior is the one Christians reverence on this special day and every day.

Happy Resurrection Day!

 

Essential Oils Craze

By Chaunte McClure

Have you shared with anyone recently that you have been experiencing an ailment and they’ve said to you, there’s an oil for that?

I’ve heard it a time or two – or maybe a dozen.

There’s a craze for essential oils that are believed to help the mind and body. And there are some women out there who are serious about their oils! I have a couple of friends who are advocates and they are sure to help you with anything from cleaning solutions to remedies. Whatever ails you, they’ll likely have this to say: There’s an oil for that.

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Another friend recently gifted me a set of oils and two diffusers. I have one of the diffusers at work and this week the smell of eucalyptus filled my office. Surprisingly, I like the smell, and eucalyptus oil is good for colds and congestion. I usually diffuse the tea tree oil because it has a fresh scent and it’s believed to boost your immune system, fight infections and kill bacteria.

Prior to being given oils, I purchased the lemon oil after desperately wanting to lower my blood pressure. I keep it in my purse and when I remember, I just place a drop under my tongue. You can also add it to your water bottle. When I had a sinus infection in January, I rubbed it behind my ears for relief. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as consistent as my advocate and friend recommended.

Back in the day, we didn’t have essential oils for remedies or alternative medicines. Vick’s was one of the solutions for all things congestion growing up. And although we despised taking them, Grandma forced us to take cod liver oil and that god-awful castor oil. She’d also rub tallow, an old home remedy, over our chest when we had a nagging cold. If you’ve never heard of it, take my word when I say that you do not want to go to bed, or anywhere for that matter, smelling like tallow. It’s made of some sort of animal fat and I remember she’d have to melt it before applying. I wonder if anyone still uses that stuff.

From home remedies to essential oils – what are your go-to oils?

Have you bought into the essential oils craze?

A Ministry for Fatherless Daughters

By Chaunte McClure

Admittedly, I am a pro at ‘crastinating and no, I’m not proud of it. I often say procrastinating is my strongest weakness, but hey, I eventually get around to doing what I set out to achieve.

Back in 2015, in the post Why I Wasn’t Aborted, I shared with you that I was interested in starting a blog to reach out to fatherless girls and women. It’s a desire that I’ve had for several years because of my personal story of being a fatherless daughter. I really didn’t have the time to devote to it while I was trying to complete seminary.

Now that I’ve accomplished that mission, I am pleased to finally inform you that in January I launched my personal blog, Say That, Girl!, to finally speak out about fatherlessness. There I share some of the most intimate moments of my life to help fatherless daughters begin to uncover their pain, release their shame, embrace forgiveness and learn to love (their fathers and themselves).

Chaunte McClure blogger

So far, the response has been great and women are contacting me to say thank you and to share how they relate to my posts.

Fatherless daughters come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and from various socioeconomic backgrounds. The common denominator among us is that we lack a relationship with our biological father because he is either absent, unattached or unavailable.

One purpose of the blog is to help us recognize the impact fatherlessness has on our lives so that the effects don’t become lifelong issues.

This is the beginning of a movement for me that will develop into other avenues for ministry and as a fatherless daughter advocate, I will follow God’s lead to spread the message and bring awareness to an epidemic (fatherlessness) that has swept this country.Say That Girl blog on laptop and tablet

Feel free to follow me on the Say That, Girl! blog, my latest ministry venture.

Are you a fatherless daughter? If so, what makes you a fatherless daughter?

Requiem for Mother Emanuel

By Chaunte McClure

As I stood in the gallery Monday night staring at the vivid images, my mood shifted from eager anticipation to mourning and my mind quickly reverted to the night of June 17, 2015, and the morning after.

I was viewing the iconic works of renowned South Carolina artist Dr. Leo Twiggs, who created nine paintings featured in Requiem for Mother Emanuel at the South Carolina State Museum. The nine works honor the nine church members who were murdered during Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Each of their deaths come to life in Twiggs’ compelling paintings.Requiem for Mother Emanuel9

The Power of Art

Drenched in symbolism – from a blood-soaked Confederate flag to the Christian cross – his works carry a message of tragedy to forgiveness and redemption.

The paintings are a testament to the power of art because this series will grip your heart, stir your emotions and generate conversations.

Remembering and Coping

Every South Carolinian probably remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the heartbreaking news of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting. It’s a memory that won’t soon fade away; one that many are still coping with after more than two-and-a-half years.

To help cope with the tragedy, Dr. Twiggs created nine vivid paintings which you can see at the South Carolina museum through April 29.

What You Will See

In addition to Twiggs’ nine batik works are items on display from Mother Emanuel including a hand-made prayer quilt which was created with patches from supporters from around the country and donated to the church after the tragedy.

If you go, you will watch a seven-minute video that features Dr. Twiggs who shares his inspiration for Requiem for Mother Emanuel.

Circles of Dialogue

You can also join the Circles of Dialogue, discussion groups offered on Feb. 20, March 20 or April 17 to explore reactions to this intriguing exhibit. Even if you’ve paid to see the exhibit on a different date, you can return to participate in the discussion groups on one of the reserved dates. Just RSVP for the Circles of Dialogue online or email group_visits@scmuseum.org.

Art Day: Honoring the Works of Dr. TwiggsRequiem for Mother Emanuel8

As a part of Art Day on March 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the museum will highlight Dr. Twiggs’ work. Activities will include a gallery talk by Twiggs, music performances related to the exhibition, behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on family activities and more.

The Requiem for Mother Emanuel exhibit is free with museum general admission.

 

Weather Rant

By Chaunte McClure

I was hoping this post would celebrate the one to two inches of snow forecasted for today. Instead, I’m whining because the flurries I had the privilege of seeing vanished as soon as they touched a surface.

The winter scene was beautiful while I sat in my car with the engine running, enjoying my chicken salad sandwich. Sadly, the snow lasted about 10 minutes before turning into a wintry mix, and back again to snow for another short span. All this while my sister, an elementary school teacher, is calling me from home sharing weather updates for the Midlands and bragging about her day off. Yes, I’m a little jealous, but I’ll get over it by Friday and I won’t be mad at her or the meteorologists who kept me on my times; however, I do have a heartfelt message for the weathermen.

Dear meteorologist,

My heart just can’t handle the disappointment anymore. When I see the snowflake in your weather graphic, I get uber excited and look forward to the ground being blanketed with snow. I mean, I dream up a day at home on the bed with my laptop and a throw, having snow conversations with my Facebook friends and peeping out the window watching it gracefully fall from the sky. Do you know the last time I took a picture of snow-covered Columbia? I think it was in 2010; two governors ago! Something has to change. I mean, you get me all worked up, then nothing happens. I know, it’s not your fault, right. The track changed and areas north of us got most of the white stuff. I guess that’s what happens when we live in a city that’s known to be Famously Hot.

Snow 2010 in Columbia

The glorious snow of 2010

With one more winter month ahead, I remain hopeful and I’ll still rely on you for an accurate forecast. Please, just don’t disappoint me again.

Sincerely,

A Southern girl who wants at least an inch of snow.

Remembering the Sabbath Day

By Chaunte McClure

Growing up in the South, particularly in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina with my grandparents, there were just some things you didn’t do on Sundays. For most of my childhood Grandma and Granddaddy didn’t work, rather they spent all day at home doing his and her tasks. Grandma cooked, cleaned and cared for a few of her grands while Granddaddy kept the yard mowed, tended the chickens and the garden and did handy work in and outside our cinderblock house.

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With the exception of cooking, we completed most tasks by Saturday night because, in our house, they remembered the Sabbath Day and hallowed it. That meant no: cleaning (except dishes, of course), washing clothes, ironing, sewing, cleaning cars or mowing. No one, that I can recall, had a problem with that because that was the norm.

Honestly, I’m not sure if that was a religious or cultural practice, but after living in a larger city, I’ve noticed that for many families, Sunday is the day to get all the housework and yard work done.

In the summer, forget sleeping in a little later on Sunday because the sleep you’ve been longing for all week is bound to get interrupted by the sound of a lawnmower. And because you’re sleeping so well, the mower actually sounds like an antique John Deere tractor.

In my household, we’re guilty of ironing on Sunday mornings because we don’t always choose our Sunday outfits Saturday night. Sometimes I think about Grandma while I stand in the laundry room ironing. I visualize her with her hand on her hip giving me “the look” – the now-you-know-better-than-that look. And I do know better, but I wonder if others don’t or because they are now adults they live by their own rules and not necessarily by what their parents and/or grandparents taught them. For many families, I’m sure Sunday is the only day to get it done because of work schedules.

What about you? Are chores forbidden at your home on Sunday?