Almost daily, I chat with my former sister-in-law Arleen. She and I have always had a close and special bond. A bond that would and will never be broken. We are connected spiritually, so marriage nor divorce, had a say in the matter of whether she and I would be family. She will always be a part of my family.

I awoke this morning to my daily text from Arleen. It included a quote that moved me and made me emotional. I felt compelled to share it. So I did and I am. I hope that it speaks to someone, maybe you. I also hope that you will forward this message to someone who may truly need this as a reminder each and every day.

Some may question the title of this post. I wrote it to speak to those individuals who share common beliefs with me. I don’t assume that everyone who reads my messages are believers of God. Matter of fact, I know that I have athiests, agnostics, and even conditional believers (when things are going great they believe) who are subscribers. I want them to make a choice to read my message, or not. I’m not here to trick or blindside people. I believe in choices. So with that, let’s delay this no further…

Sending love and light to all of you!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I don’t know your religious beliefs, who and how you pray, or if you pray. You may not believe in a power higher and greater than you. Whatever, however, and whomever you lean upon each day for strength, courage, and inspiration—modify the words, as needed. No judgment from me. All I desire is your internal peace and that you share that positivity with the world.

Say it until you believe it and live it. I needed to read and speak this prayer today. It will be part of my daily prayer.

I’m grateful for my former sister-in-law, now sister-in-love, Arleen, who sent this to me. We chat almost daily, sharing words of love, empowerment, and healing.

I thank God in advance for all that comes my way—for the lessons, blessings, and any redirection. 🙏🏽
~Natasha

My oh my oh my…having the courage to admit our flaws, when we’re wrong, when we don’t know, and that we messed up…oh the agony of forcing that confession out for others to hear and realize. Daggumit it can be a doozy to the tenth power, especially if you’re as stubborn as I am—or more.

This morning I took the time to really pull back some layers and admit some things that I’ve passively admitted in the past, but honestly never took the time and required steps to fix, heal, and make right.

It wasn’t an easy process. It took me about 3 hours to really process and reflect my truths. It can be difficult looking closely in the mirror at self, looking at the things that you don’t like or that you try to mask from others. Unlike those external blemishes many people attempt to conceal, the internal ones are hard to mask and run from. At some point you’re going to have to face your demons, truths, and even your lies. Everything will have to be confronted. Everything will have to be revealed. The truth always comes to light. Nothing can remain in the darkness forever.

The only way to heal is for the yuckiness below the surface to be compressed until it has no choice but to rise up and get plucked, blotted, or drained out. When I had an infected wound from a second degree burn, the doctor had to scrub, scrape, and pull out the infected areas so that healing could take place. It was painful. I don’t have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn’t wish that pain on them. I felt like I was going to black out and die. The doctor apologized before, during, and after. He kept saying, “please don’t hate me” and I cried and kept repeating, “I don’t hate you. I know that you’re trying to help me!”

Looking at my inner self and how the negative and toxic things that I’ve said and done to myself and others has had a lasting impact, is something that hurts deeply. Today I had to really face some harsh truths so that I could really heal. Not that superficial healing, where the wound is tolerable because it’s better than it was. Nope, I mean that deep healing that is so complete that there’s barely a sign of a previous injury. That’s the kind of healing and wholeness that I want. I don’t want to walk around visibly wounded and clearly wounding others. As the old saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people” and I’ve been hurt through self-infliction and through the actions of others, but I’ve only made it worse by turning around and hurting other people—especially those that I love. How can I genuinely love you if I hurt you? The same is true in reverse. And just because someone hurts you through words or actions, it is our decisions that determine how much more hurt will be inflicted through our desire to retaliate. Are we truly ready to live with the painful consequences? Self-control is easier said than done. It’s far easier to try to control others. It’s also more pitiful.

Over the weekend, someone I love did and said something that hurt me. Yet, my lack of self-control made the wound deeper and far more painful. I lashed out, shut down, and dug my head in the sand to try to block out the internal voice of peace and reason that said, “just shut up, listen, and stop trying to control the narrative and outcome“. The more that I argued the more I hurt myself and this person. It hurts to type that. But it’s the truth and in seeking the truth we have to be willing to pull back layers that are ugly, smelly, painful, and difficult to tolerate.

You gotta go and grow to know.

So if you have a moment, visit my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog post for today. Maybe what I’ve shared can also help you or someone you know begin the deep healing process that we all desperately want and most definitely need. You don’t need to be Christian or even spiritual to connect with today’s message. It’s a message that digs past and beneath the ordinary so that we can reach and embrace the extraordinary.

I share this in and with love!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

This morning I was moved to read and reflect on this scripture in the Bible:

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. –Proverbs 16:18 MSG

I then began to write the reflection below followed by a prayer, that you can read in its entirety by visiting my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog. My message for today is lengthy but as it helped me to share it, hopefully it will help someone to read it.

Pride

Pride driven by ego is a dangerous weapon that always leads to self-inflicted torture. This form of pride should not be confused with being “proud of” overcoming obstacles or being proud of your children. That’s not the pride that causes crashes.

Pride, as referenced in the scripture above, is the manifestation of being so self-absorbed that you refuse to ask for help, admit that you’re wrong, admit that you can’t do something, etc. You could be struggling financially, spiritually, mentally, or physically yet you refuse to reach out for assistance so that you can struggle less or not at all.

This level of pride would allow you to leave a job or a relationship simply because you couldn’t see yourself letting go of the little control that you thought you had because you refused to be vulnerable, open and exposed with someone else. Not wanting it to appear that someone outdid or outsmarted you, you would rather uproot, disrupt, destroy, and walk away than to give in to the process that could bring peace, harmony, and restoration.

Ego says that you don’t need to pray to God before speaking, because “you’ve got this“. Ego convinces you to never surrender in an argument, to fight relentlessly to the end regardless of the collateral damage, and regardless of the fact that you could be and probably are 100 percent wrong. Pride says, “oh well if I am, you won’t get me to admit it”.

Strong people have a difficult time letting go and asking for help, and admitting that they simply don’t know or that they are weak in certain areas. Highly intelligent people oftentimes can’t fathom not knowing the answer to a question, having a solution to a problem—so pride will step up and declare all sorts of misinformation, distortions, and even blatant lies to mask the truth. Pride will sacrifice everything for self-image.

The ego doesn’t want to lose so pride steps in and cheats to win. To the ego the consequences of actions are meaningless or can easily be counteracted. The reality is there are always equal or greater consequences to the actions that we take, even if not immediate, they still come with a heavy penalty.

My Admission of Guilt

I’m guilty of letting my pride get the best of me. My ego can be whopper size and my stubborness to defend my position at all costs can and has left me severely injured and a lot of collateral damage along the wayside.

My pride has caused me spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial harm. My pride has caused damage to personal and professional relationships. Things said and done oftentimes can’t be reworded or undone. It’s usually set in and embedded so deep that your only options are to flee (pride) or work to make things right (humility). You have to be willing to surrender, admit that you’re wrong, and pursue the steps required to make right your wrong. The ego hates that. It digs deep into your gut causing you a pain that makes you feel like dry heaving (also known as “retching”).

In the late 1990s to early 2000s, my pride cost me my career, car, home, furnishings, and lifestyle. I hit rock bottom and had to humble myself to slowly get my face up off of the ground. It was a devastating blow. I was reminded that my priorities were off and that I was listening to ego when I was supposed to be listening to God. My pride was quick to blame others, but God quickly silenced me with the bold reminder that the decisions I made were done so consciously, so credit and fault rested with me. You can argue with God but He has time on His side, so choose wisely.

Pride stepped in and caused me much grief after my March 2017 divorce. Ego told me that I could deal with the trauma on my own, alone, and isolated. Ego told me that I could heal, recover, and rebound faster and better if I did it by myself, without help from anyone. The problem with that scenario is that you tend to also block out God’s voice and avoid seeing the blessings in the form of opportunities and redirection.

God speaks through people, but if you’re isolated how can you interact with them to hear His message? And sadly, because I’ve always projected myself to be “strong” and a “super woman”, others see me this way, so when I did reach out for help, friends and associates dismissed the level and severity of my pain and circumstances because in their mind, “Natasha’s strong, she’s got this,” but what in my past has ever truly prepared me for divorce?

In my past I’ve experienced gut-wrenching heart break, I’ve experienced extreme loss and numerous human deaths (all of which were untimely). But nothing has ever prepared me for the devastating blow that comes from divorcing the person that you planned to spend the rest of your life with. You’re not given a handbook or put through a training program before or during marriage that prepares you for divorce.

Church, family and society preaches “for better or for worse, til death do you part…” and with that your mind isn’t focused on the death of your marriage, your union, your relationship—but that’s what divorce looks and feels like for so many of us—death—and you have to go through ALL of the stages of grief to fully heal. My ego was even fighting that process. My ego had me to wear the mask of “I’m perfectly fine with this situation, it is what it is…” knowing that it was a bold and blatant lie. I wasn’t even an inkling of “fine” or a shade of “okay”.

I was in denial and the pain and frustration reared up and clobbered me in November 2017 and dragged me like a ragdoll through January and February 2018, and plopped me on a stump in March 2018 with my truths staring me squarely in my face. I finally got my head turned around and senses together so that I could sit up and assess my situation. That happened in April 2018. I had a tumultous 2017 and 2018 had some very painful stumbles, but it didn’t have to be so extreme, had I listened to and obeyed God instead of my ego.

For two years my company, Foreman & Associates, LLC suffered because I wouldn’t get the help that I needed personally so that I could focus on the work that needed to be done professionally. Because I didn’t protect and take care of myself, my business was punished. That collateral damage is real!

I’ve come to realize that it’s not one single thing or even a handful of things or circumstances that prepare you for life’s clobbering sessions. It’s the culmination of all of the times that you were beat down in the “boxing ring” of life, and you got back up. It’s all of the times that life beat you and you found yourself pinned against the “ropes”, trying desperately to fend off the hits and not get knocked out—yet you never looked to your corner begging with your eyes for your trainer to throw in the towel of defeat.

When I look at all of my failings, disappointments, heartbreaks, losses, and blowups, I can see how I would pick myself up and go through the necessary steps to rebuild. I can also see the times when I thought that a shortcut to healing and recovery would work better, and jeesh was I painfully wrong. I can reflect on the pain that I felt and still feel from loved ones passing away and knowing that I won’t see and hear them here and now as I did before. Selfishly I want them here.

All of those experiences have tested, strengthened, challenged, and refined me. All of those experiences made me wiser and more humble. And yes, all of those experiences combined have prepared me for the death called divorce and the rebirth that I’m experiencing post-divorce.

It’s the shedding of one layer for the growth of a newer and better layer. It’s going from the caterpillar stage to emerge as the amazing and graceful butterfly. It’s being less of who you were to be more of who you’re supposed to be. It’s opening yourself up to the possibility of loving and being loved by someone new and unfamiliar in a way that is pleasantly new and unfamiliar.

Divorce is not the end. Losing your job, car, and house is not the end. Those things and experiences are only pages or chapters in your life. They are not your everything. What will you do, see, and experience on the next page or in the next chapter?

Through God I am confident. Through God I love and am loved. Through God I forgive myself and forgive others. Through God I can let go and gain more than I ever imagined. Through God I have peace, joy, happiness, and comfort.

The opposite of all of that comes from choosing ego instead.

This Week…

I’ve been under a lot of stress over the past two months—tied to work and house-hunting. This week my anxiety flared up and reached a level that scared me. I had to meditate on being present and not focusing on the what-ifs of the future or the past. The unknowns of the future are irrelevant when you’re focused on the present, and you can’t change the past so obsessing over it is deflating and counterproductive.

That’s ego getting in the way. I have to learn to stiff-arm ego like a football or rugby player and slam it to the ground.

Today I’ve been presented with a test, an opportunity, to do exactly that—put my ego and pride to the side and instead focus on God’s plan for my success. Will it be uncomfortable at times? Yes, that’s why it’s called “growing pains”. Would I prefer the temporary discomfort over the long-term agony that comes from being ego-driven instead of God-led? I will take those growing pains so that I can be, see, and do what God has called me to be, see, and do.

Will I slip up and let pride step in from time to time? Yep, I’m sure that I will. It’s my go-to default switch when I’m being stupid.

What I pray for is God’s love to see me through, the discernment to know His voice above all others, and the courage to stand and quickly realign on His path.

Change Starts With You

We can counter our pride with humility. We can start by saying:

…I don’t know”

“...I have no clue what the answer is”

“I don’t know but I can try to search online for the answer or ask someone who may know…

“…I need help with _____”

“…That’s not my strength. I’m better at doing ____ but maybe I/we can find help through ____”

“…I’m sorry. I was wrong. I won’t do it again. How can I make things right?” (And then you work to make things right)

“…I’m sorry I was being selfish/childish/stupid…

“…You’re correct, I’m wrong…”

“…I can see your perspective and that it differs from mine, so how can we compromise?”

Do you see how making it less about you (ego) allows you to be whole, healthy, and complete with and through God?

Being flexible and fluid, like water, allows you to bend and consider more than your perspective—it allows you to discover that it’s not all about you, you don’t know as much as you think you do, you can’t do everything you set your mind to, and the world doesn’t revolve around you. And it’s perfectly fine that way. It should actually be liberating to no longer carry that baggage that you have been lugging like deadweight for decades. Let it go!

We have to decide if we want growth or stagnation. Do we want pleasure or pain? Do we want health or sickness? Do we want prosperity or suffering? Do we want to be right or do we want peace?

We are given the freedom of choice. Our decisions have lasting consequences. What will you choose to do today? Don’t concern yourself with tomorrow. What choice will you make today about how you will think, speak, live, treat yourself and others?

Lovingly,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

There’s something about getting away from the norm, from home, from the daily hustle and bustle. There’s also something about getting outdoors, absorbing vitamin D from sun rays, and taking in the sounds and sights of all sources not associated with a box-of-a-building.

You can call it a vacation, a getaway, or whatever you want. The most important thing is that you take one.

July 4th

I spent July 4th with friends and for the first time in years I was not hosting, cooking, or organizing a thing. At first it was awkward, but eventually I got the hang of it. I got to chill out and just have fun.

I went to one friend’s house where we ate, drank and merrily watched her husband and his friends light stadium-quality fireworks in the cul-de-sac on their street.

I was at first nervous because I used to live in the same subdivision for 7 years, and no one risked lighting fireworks or firecrackers—because of the huge trees and close proximity of the houses. But my friend’s house is next to a few vacant lots so there’s more space, and since it had just finished raining, the grass and trees were still wet. It was an amazing sight to see. I felt like a little child as I found myself saying “ooh” and “aah” and “wow” every few moments.

After spending quality time there I drove around the corner and spent several hours with one of my other friend’s, and her husband. We had a great time catching up while also learning a lot about each other. It’s amazing what you can learn when you share.

I left their home at almost 2am and was grateful that I didn’t have to drive and that my destination wasn’t as far as my home. I had a big plans for the next day and I needed to get my beauty rest.

Orlando

On July 5th I opened my eyes and smiled at the thought of my reality—I was about to hit the road and get away from Hotlanta, and I couldn’t wait.

We spent four days and three nights in Orlando, enjoying the sun, splashing in the pouring rain, prancing through Sea World, taking in the action at Aquatica, and laughing at a dinner show.

The rain kept trying to get in the way of our trip, but I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself I would just adapt and overcome—which I did.

I mean how could I complain?

It was my first time in Orlando, I had never been to any of the places we were visiting, we were staying at a beautiful resort with a view that stopped me in my tracks and a bed that made me melt, and all of this was only roughly a one-hour flight or 6-hour drive away from Atlanta. It was all a blessing and I wasn’t going to waste a precious moment complaining about the weather or missed opportunities. I was determined to make the most of each day, and we did.

Just Get Wet

I will say that on July 6th, when I found myself having to choose between walking into a full-blown thunderstorm while leaving the grocery store, or standing inside and waiting for it to pass, I looked down at my sundress (that covered my swim suit) and flip flops, and I smiled and giggled as I walked boldly into the rain.

We were soaked by the time we got into my SUV. I mean soaked. I looked like I had jumped into a pool. Nothing on me was dry or even damp. I was dripping water everywhere. It was hilarious. I laughed for several minutes as I dried off in the SUV, and found myself giggling as we drove on to our next destination, with my hair dripping water all over the place.

Sea World & Aquatica

I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted at Sea World and Aquatica—but at least I got to go and take in the sounds and sights. We were disappointed that Shamu was away at another park as the Orlando park staff prepared for a seasonal show to be featured there for several weeks. We really wanted to see Shamu, but we got over it.

I was in awe of the shark exhibit and the restaurant that was attached, allowing you to see the sharks swimming while you dined.

We also got to ride Mako, the new rollercoaster at Sea World. It’s exhilarating. I found myself screaming “oh shhhh” with each drop and flip (mindful that two seats over was a child with her mother). I was surprised I kept my eyes opened the entire time. I’m also glad that it’s not a long ride or I would’ve probably lost my cookies halfway through. I was hungry and dehydrated (but didn’t know it), and it was humid (at 8:30pm). A bad mix that almost messed up my night. But it quickly turned itself around once I got some electrolytes in me.

We watched the laser and fireworks show at 9pm and once again I was transfixed. Thank goodness one of us had a phone that could capture the beauty and excitement—and I can say, it wasn’t my beloved phone that did the capturing.

After the fireworks show we dipped into a chocolate shop and treated ourselves to some of the yummiest fudge I’ve had in years—one bar of chocolate and one bar of chocolate with walnuts. I nibbled on that fudge until I took the last bite two days ago (yep, it took me roughly three days to finish savoring it). It was pure bliss.

It was also exciting because we were given two tickets to return to Sea World on July 8th. How cool was that?

The Aquatica waterpark on Saturday was jam-packed. It had been raining on and off that day so it was humid and hot. It was also the perfect environment to people-watch, as you find people from all over the globe trekking through amusement parks and waterparks in Florida.

You wouldn’t expect to get a good burger at a waterpark but guess what? We did. It was huge and we got them for free. Yes, free. It made the cheeseburger taste even better.

An added treat to the experience was watching the mammals that they had creatively positioned throughout the park. Imagine zooming through an enclosed slide and witness these two cuties:

Dinner Show

Saturday night we spent laughing and chatting away with complete strangers at a dinner show. I’m so glad that the tickets we purchased had us seated at a long dining table with several people. We got to meet and learn about them, and vice versa, all while being entertained by a group of awesome actors. I would definitely return to check them out again.

Randomness

And here’s some randomness for you…

I’m still puzzled as to why I can travel throughout most of the 50 US states and find a 7-Eleven, except in the state of Georgia. Stop hating on 7-Eleven, Georgia, it’s a national fixture—embrace it. They’re all over Florida (and almost every other state). Being different, in this instance, does not make you special Georgia. I’m just saying!

Something cool I finally got to see in person, was an Amazon locker. I’ve heard of them and saw one pictured online—but I finally got to see one up close over the weekend. It’s a cool concept. Especially if you’re traveling and don’t want to risk your packages being stolen from your home. It’s also a cool idea if you’re trying to surprise someone with a gift and you don’t want to risk the gift arriving home before you can intercept and hide it.

My Takeaway

As my time in Orlando drew to the end I had to pause and reflect over the four days that I spent in a city that I’ve never been to before, in a beautiful resort with great amenities (I especially liked their fitness center) and a gorgeous view from my suite.

As I stated earlier, this was an absolute blessing. There are thousands of people around the world who wish for an opportunity like that, and there I was enjoying the experience. I’m grateful for each moment.

My week started off awkward as I attempted to celebrate my late father’s birthday, missing him and wishing he were here—and my week ended with me smiling at the fact that I finally made it to Orlando, and now living much closer to Florida than when we lived in California, I would be able to return with my nephew Logan and our family—to fulfill my dad’s dream of taking us there for a vacation. That moment is becoming more of a reality as I plan in my mind the details. I’m excited.

I’m grateful for the breathtaking moments that I experienced over five days, and even the twist and turn moments (that could derail a trip) because each moment I spent being present and with someone I love, value, appreciate and respect—and who loves, values, appreciates, and respects me. Can it get any better than that? To me, my week and weekend were priceless.

I pray to always cherish those memories. I look forward to building and capturing more moments and memories along this great journey we call “life”.

Don’t put off even a day of bliss to ‘plan’ for a more convenient time in the future. The future in your same body is not promised, so you should seize the moments as they come. I’m ready for my next adventure—whether it be big or small—I plan on making it feel bold and beautiful!

What are your plans for this weekend? This summer?

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I re-posted the picture (above) on my Instagram page on January 27, 2016. I saw it at @i_amrachelg

This picture and what Rachel G had to say in her caption, speaks volumes about some of today’s relationships. Let me reflect on some things:

When reading the words on the picture I can’t help but to think about myself and how I’ve always viewed my role within a relationship. I was raised to focus on my mission and purpose while making sure that I also stood firmly next to my man to help him with his mission and focus, because guess what? My man should be doing the same for me. Iron sharpens iron.

(more…)

Audio Message

What I’ve shared below can also be heard through this audio message. Click play and enjoy.

I’m sitting here at my desk reflecting.

My reflection is focused upon my life, specifically my love life.

I’m a romantic. I’ve always been. I don’t need the big and grandiose. I love the simple things in life and love. Oftentimes it’s the smallest of gestures that have the biggest impacts, the smallest packages can contain the best of gifts—and that, for me, brings me the greatest joy. A handbag has a price tag and can be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away; sitting by my bedside holding my hand, rubbing my head, kissing me and telling me that all will be well, while I’m in the hospital fighting fear and whatever else—that’s priceless and can never be damaged, lost, stolen, sold, or given away. That time, attention and affection is for me and only me. That is precious and everlasting in my heart and mind.

(more…)