Saying Goodbye (Or Maybe See You Later)

By Chaunte McClure

Have you ever felt like it was time to leave a job or stop serving on a ministry, but there was an internal tug-of-war between your love or appreciation for what you do and the need to let go? I was speaking with someone earlier who believes God is unctioning her to join a new ministry, which requires her to leave what she’s known most of her life to go to unfamiliar territory. My advice to her was to obey God because she was tugging with the thoughts of what others might say and how she’ll be perceived. Trusting God means putting aside the what ifs for His (unknown) plan.

Sometimes it’s easier to give advice rather than take your own, for I had a tug of war in effect too. I’ve been thinking about this moment for about a year now, after it seemed I had too many balls in the air, juggling home, work, church, school and depression (again). Before long, I was losing my spark for writing and it became a burden rather than an outlet from my day-to-day routines. It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe my season for blogging is ending. I said, but I know women who enjoy reading my posts, God. I really love sharing that I’m an Every Woman blogger, I rebutted. Even before I started typing these words, I told myself that I wanted to make one more contribution prior to saying goodbye. Then I heard, let it go, so I am.

After four years of inviting you into my personal life, inspiring you and taking you back to Grandma’s house during my nostalgic moments, I’m saying goodbye or maybe see you later. There may be times when I’ll have something burning inside that I want to share and if I’m allowed, I will.goodbye

I’ve shared this platform with some phenomenal women, great writers who share some fabulous experiences. I know many of you look forward to me sharing posts on my Facebook pages, but I encourage you to follow the Every Woman blog for personal stories, recipes, advice and more.

It’s been a wonderful journey with you and I thank you for taking the time read, share and comment on my posts. Thank you for encouraging me because even during times when I wasn’t up for writing, because of you, I pounded on keys late at night creating content I hoped you would appreciate. Breaking up is really hard to do, but sometimes it’s necessary.

I’ve asked God, what’s next? I still don’t have an answer, but I’ll trust His plan.

In case you missed any of my previous posts, you can find all 90 of them here. If you are a woman without a relationship with your biological father, please follow my personal ministry blog, Say That, Girl.

Signing off for now,

Chaunte McClure

A Wedding in a League of its Own

By Chaunte McClure

In ministry, I’ve had many firsts, but my experience earlier this month was out of the ballpark. I officiated my first wedding and it happened to take place at Spirit Communications Park, home of the Fireflies, a minor league baseball team in Columbia. It was nothing short of creative and fun.

The couple, both softball coaches at South Carolina State University, had an “A League of Their Own” themed wedding. No fairytale princess gown, no tailored tuxedos, and no formal bridesmaid dresses.Reese Wedding Party

The bride, Cheretta, wore a custom dress made from white and red baseball jersey fabric Reese Vowswhile the groom, Calvin, dressed in the same colors, wore slacks, a blazer, and a baseball cap. They both wore red Chuck Taylors. The bridesmaids were decked in softball themed dress uniforms and white Converses and the groomsmen stood tall in white slacks, blue button-up shirts, white slacks and blue Converses.

The couple stood above the dugout and vowed to love, honor and cherish one another until death as family and friends sat in the stands and witnessed the Reese’s Field of Dreams.

The game wasn’t over after the wedding because the Reese’s came to play all day, even at the reception. With baseball instrumentals and theme music playing, the announcer introduced the bridal party and the new Mr. and Mrs. The couple ditched the traditional first dance for a first pitch and guests could nibble on peanuts until dinner was served.

baseballThe menu? Items you’d find at a concession stand as an option and food you’d find at your family’s cookout as another option. Oh, this event was a homerun. Every detail was well thought out and executed.

It made for a unique opportunity and certainly a memorable moment for my first time as a wedding officiant.

May the Reeses never strike out and pitch countless innings of love, honor, and respect in their marriage.

 

Dealing with Rude People

By Chaunte McClure

I grew up in a community where it was common to sit on the porch and wave as people passed or walked by. We were taught to say yes ma’am, yes sir, no ma’am no sir and thank you. You know, just basic Southern hospitality. Then there are some courtesies that have become a habit and what I thought was normal.

Take holding the door for someone, for instance. When you see someone about to enter a doorway that you’re exiting and they’re about, eh, two feet away, do you let the door close in their face or take two seconds to hold it until they’re able to grab hold and enter?

I had two experiences in the past couple months where doors were practically closed in my face. I was entering a favorite brunch spot on a recent Saturday and a young man was exiting the establishment, looked me dead in the eyes and let the door go as I was raising my arm to reach for it. Maybe he had a lot on his mind and was just distracted by his thoughts. Maybe he’s not from around here where good manners cost nothing. That experience made for a brief conversation at the table while I waited for my two little deuces with sausage.

I fell victim again as I was about to enter a department store at a local shopping center. Again, I was so close to the customer that I could have touched her. Granted, she had bags in her hand and her husband exited right after her. He immediately said ‘I’m sorry’, perhaps noticing the look on my face. It disgusted me as much as it does when cashiers place my change on the counter instead of in my hands. But because I generally use a debit card, I don’t have to experience this much at all.

What I have experienced over the past 20 years is good mornings are hard to come by some days. There were days when I’d walk in the workplace, say good morning and would hear silence. I mean, I’m not a morning person and I don’t have much to say first thing in the mornings, but you’ll at least get a good morning out of me. Common courtesy, right? Not exactly, but again, not everyone is Southern and not everyone is hospitable. But is it right? Better question: How do you respond to rude people?

When they go low, we go high.

Here are five ways to deal with rude people:

  1. Ignore them. At least 95% of the time this works for me because I can easily recognize and ignore ignorance.
  2. Give them a pass. Everyone wasn’t raised like me and sometimes people are just having a bad day. That’s not an excuse but it is a reality. And like the man and woman mentioned above, you’ll likely never see them again anyway, so why bother?
  3. Be kind to them. Being kind can potentially shift their mindset and cause them to in turn be kind and sometimes later apologize for the rudeness. Michelle Obama said it best – when they go low, we go high. Go high.
  4. Speak up. When necessary, speak up for yourself. You are not a doormat. It took me forever to learn that people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Every battle doesn’t need to be fought, but when you discern that it needs to be, do so. Your fight shouldn’t include a loud argument which could escalate. If the rude person is a colleague or family member that you have to spend considerable time around take time out to talk to him or her after you’ve calmed down, even if it’s days later.
  5. Anyone can get pushed to the edge, and even when I do, I take a moment to say a prayer, so I can remain calm.

Front Porch and Kitchen Memories

By Chaunte McClure

By now, you know I love to reminisce about growing up with Grandma. I was scrolling Facebook on Sunday night and came across a meme with an image of peas in chipwood baskets, and of course, my mind traveled back to summer months sitting on the porch at Grandma’s.

On occasion, she’d shell peas or butter beans while we, the grandkids, frolicked in the yard. Some days I didn’t have that privilege or thought I was “too grown” to play with the others, but my time wouldn’t be idle because I’d have to get a bowl and help shell peas. Geez, if Grandma could’ve seen the eye roll I imagined upon her demand. Of course, she always knew whether or not I wanted to do what she asked. I’ve heard her say, “If you can eat ‘em, you can shell ‘em.” That meant get your fingernails ready to open the seams of 2,000 pods. (Clearly, I’m exaggerating.)

fresh-peas

It just seemed like it took forever to see the results of my labor, for I thought my bowl would never get full and the pile of unshelled beans always looked so large.

We snapped beans too. I’d much rather the snapping because it was much easier to break off the tips and snap the stems and that was easier on the fingernails, thumbs and index fingers.

Those are classic moments because today I don’t eat fresh vegetables often enough nor do I have a garden like many families did during my childhood. Food was better for you and oh, the memories we made just with food. Picking, peeling, cutting and bagging tomatoes. Canning peaches, apples, and beans. And making biscuits from scratch. I only watched Grandma knead biscuit dough and even at 42 years old, sadly, I’ve never made homemade biscuits nor have I canned fruits and vegetables. But some of my fondest memories were made on the porch and in the kitchen at Grandma’s House.

What are some of your fondest memories growing up in the South?

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.

Pic 1

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.)

Pic 2

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.

Pic 3

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.

oil-1370569_1920

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?