Life Interrupted, but Still Right Side Up

COVID19 has affected America, and the world in such a way none of us could have ever imagined. It has affected all of humanity. This is my son’s Senior year of High School. He is a Brilliant young man. Throughout his entire academic career, he has worked hard, to be the Honor student he is today.

But, like other Class of 2020 parents we are deeply saddened that our children may not have the opportunity to celebrate Graduation, Prom and other senior activities. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the decision to cancel or postpone for the sake of Public Health & Safety. So, this is not a complaint.

Rather, I’m just pointing out how the recent events have stalled many plans and perceived growth opportunities. For instance, I can remember a relative saying to me that he felt he had picked a bad time to start getting his life together. Honestly, I could relate.

As the days progressed, so did the death tolls and infection rates.  A sense of worry and panic came over me. I spent my days visiting stores, and preparing to be shut in. And, as we began to adjust to our current circumstance what worried me most was the uncertainty of the days to come. My faith was being tested. Indeed, it has been tested.

From Love, Comes Rebuke!

I knew I needed to pray. I knew enough to know that I was being attacked by the spirit of fear and hopelessness. Therefore, as I prepared for bed. I began to pray. The Lord led me to the book of Amos. As I read, I felt both a sense of terror and calmness. Terror not based in fear, but of awe. An awe of the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe.

God is a good Father. And like any good parent, he will not just sit silently while his children continue down a road towards their own destruction. No, as any good parent would, he intervenes. He will fight for their deliverance. Even if that includes letting them suffer for a little while the consequences of their own actions. For whom he loves, he rebukes. (See Revelations 3:19).

The book of Amos details the reason God had allowed disaster to come upon the people of Israel, and their neighbors. Because of their inability to do right, he was going to send fire against their cities, and their strongholds. In other words, he was going to permit the destruction of everything they trusted in so dearly. Below is a snapshot of the reason’s God sent punishment on the land:

  • People shut up their compassion
  • People were betraying the sacredness of Brotherhood
  • People were mistreating their neighbors
  • People had rejected the Law of the Lord
  • People had Trampled the Heads of the Poor
  • People engaged in Sexual Sins
  • People had hindered/despised the Prophets of the LORD

As I read, I could see many similarities between the civilizations of antiquity and contemporary society. Actually, all of the wrath producing behaviors are in operation in the world today. Consequently, our markets, pleasure and vanity have been severely disrupted.

Yet, the Lord never left his people stranded without a way to be blessed. No, instead he gave them the key to heal themselves and the land. The same message he spoke over 2,000 years ago is the same message he is speaking to us today,

“Seek Me and Live.”

 His word to the believers, is to come out of Spiritual laziness. He never called us to be light within the four walls of the church, he has called us to be Light to the World! So, Shine! Seek God and Live.

All the sinners among my people who say: Disaster will never
overtake or confront us, will die by the sword. (Amos 9:10 Holman CSB)

His word to the world, is to Humble yourself and receive the gift of his son, because he loves you. He hates your pride. So, Repent! Seek God and Live.

I loathe Jacob’s pride and hate his citadels, so I will hand over the city and everything in it. (Amos 6:8 Holman CSB)

Edify, Exhort, Console

While COVID19 is of a serious nature, it is temporary. Just as it came, it will also go. Sadly, many lives will be forever transformed, after the loss of loved ones. And to those, I am praying for your comfort. May the God of Peace keep you and bless you. May you receive a double portion blessing in the name of Our Lord and Risen Savior Jesus Christ. You are not forsaken, nor defeated.

 After this season, many will emerge as Victorious. Many will be confirmed and established in the Faith. For you, I pray that from now until Jesus returns you continue to draw near to God, and that your hearts and conscience remain true. I pray that you promote love and good works while holding on to Jesus, the savior we profess. We are not of those who draw back and are destroyed, but we are of those who have faith and obtain life. (Hebrews 10).

I admit, I was upset with God at first, and I boldly confessed it to him. He already knew what was in my heart. I cried out to him, and he didn’t shun me away. He didn’t turn his face from me. Instead, he heard my cry for help, and saved me.  Rather, than kick me out of his graces, he held me tighter.

For all the good the Lord has done for me, how can I repay him? I will drink the cup of his salvation. Now, I know more than ever before, there is no need for me to be afraid. God is for me. He is for you too.

Weekly StyleSpiration: My First Client

ChunkyCutieStyles exists to recommend and assist women in finding beautiful, modern, and trendy apparel accessories. I’m extremely delighted to aid other wonderful women in defining and refining their own personal style. So much of how we look is determined by how we feel. Our attitudes don’t just determine our altitudes, but they also determine our STYLE.

Meet Dionne Riley, my first client! Dionne is a dynamic Singer, and a good friend. So, I was delighted when she asked for my help in exploring and developing her own personal style. BTW, if you need a singer for your Wedding, or special event, she is an AWESOME Gospel Singer. She is truly gifted with an Angelic and melodic voice! Just Book her, and you will thank me later. For bookings, feel free to leave a comment 🙂 She is naturally beautiful, so she didn’t require much work. To overhaul her look, she elected to go for a Short and Sassy Cut. And, she prefers simple classic lines. Expect to see more of Ms. Dionne in the future as her style continues to progress in fun, bold and creative ways.

Sometimes, to remake your look, you can shop right in your own Closet! This look actually came from my own closet. Talk about bargain shopping at its best, right! This weeks style inspiration is from Lane Bryant. This Indigo Cut Out Sheath dress is about 3 years old. It was buried in the closet, and still had the original tags! This dress is about 3 years old, so you probably won’t find it in stores, but if you try places like Poshmark you may be pleasantly surprised.

You don’t always have to go to the stores, sometimes you can find treasures right in your own closet! So, get in front of your closet, and play dress up! Try, mixing and matching different pieces. See how many new looks you can create from your own hidden treasures. Keep it simple, or play with different patterns and textures. Just remember to be bold, be beautiful, be you!

For more fashion finds, and tips check out: https://www.chunkycutiestyles.com/

Photo Credits: Riley Bros Photography

“I Ain’t Mad at Cha”: Better to Forgive

I recently had an encounter with a former acquaintance. I wasn’t quite sure how the interaction would play out since we didn’t exactly end on the best of terms. I was pleasantly surprised because the meeting went better than expected! We talked about current events in our lives, we even discussed a few of the misunderstandings we had between us. As we chatted, I realized the fierce anger I once held in my heart towards this person had cooled.

When people wrong us, we naturally want justice. It’s in us to want people to pay for their misdeeds, we want them to hurt and suffer the same pain we believe they have inflicted upon us. Think of unforgiveness as a brick wall, and the longer we hold on to it we add another layer of brick to it day by day, year by year until are our hearts have become encapsulated by stones.

The truth is we are more like God when we forgive others. Also, harboring anger in our hearts towards another individual robs us of the creative energy, joy and peace that our Savior died for us to experience in our everyday lives.

Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting the offence, nor does it diminish the severity of the offence. Rather, forgiveness is acknowledging that we are fully aware that we too have fallen short of perfection, and it fully acknowledges that only God has the power to fully administer justice. Forgiveness may not always be easy, but it is ALWAYS necessary. More simply, we forgive because we ourselves have been forgiven.

Now, once an offence has been forgiven, it is our responsibility to set up proper boundaries and expectations by clearly articulating to others what behaviors we will and will not tolerate. After all Jesus said to his Disciples “Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:6 NIV). After extending the forgiveness we are commanded to be alert, prudent and astute in our judgement; we are to be careful to not carelessly offend others as well.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the love you have shown to us. For while we were still unworthy sinners you sent your only Begotten son to bear in his body the penalty of our sins. Jesus, we are so thankful that you bore the penalties of our sin in our place, so that we through you can stand in the presence of Our Holy Father fully forgiven. Holy Spirt, please reveal to me any hidden malice, or unforgiveness I may still have in my heart towards others. Help me to fully forgive them, just as you have fully forgiven me. Give me your love for them, teach me how to be more like you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

With the aid of the Holy Spirit, list the names of the people you may have not fully forgiven.  Write a letter to God about each one. Tell God how they hurt you, and then think about how you have grown past the hurt. Afterwards, pray for them and then pray for yourself. For this exercise I want you to write them on separate sheets of paper as there will be no space given in this section. After you have written the letters and prayed over them, then destroy the letter. This will serve as a physical manifestation and demonstration of your ridding yourself of the offence. Do this as often as you need to.

Weekly StyleSpiration: SHEIN

The dress featured in this post is the Plus Surplice Wrap Belted Pleated Glitter Dress 3XL . This dress is available in various colors, and was purchased from SHEIN. Click the link above to see the original post model pic. But, to see me, just proceed to the “Fabulousness” below.

In addition, to being comfortable, the dress is SUPER Pretty. I felt glamorous wearing it. The empire waist was flattering and the pleating on the bottom skirt added a nice vintage appeal to the piece. The puff sleeves added to the Grecian feel of the dress, further enhancing overall aesthetic of the piece. Needless to say, I received many compliments, and many inquiries on where to buy it. For more of my thoughts on SHEIN, and why I love this dress. CLICK HERE.

For more style inspiration for Plus Sized Beauties, please subscribe to: Chunky Cutie Styles https://www.chunkycutiestyles.com/

Styles for The Plus Size Beauty

Fashion is the visible expression of an individuals character, passion, value and mood. Over the years, I struggled with acceptance of my appearance. Twenty years after childbirth, and I’ve never regained my pre-baby body. Oh Well! Body Positivity Baby!

After years of trial and error, I finally know myself, and my body! I’ve come to know what does and doesn’t work well for me. I felt compelled to help other Women discover their own “Stylespiration.” Out of a passion to help other Plus Size women, ChunkyCutieStyles was born. https://www.chunkycutiestyles.com/

If I had to describe my style, I’d say I’m Moderately Conservative. I’m Sassy, but Classy. 😊

Plus Size Gold Peplum by City Chic

ChunkyCutieStyles exists to recommend and assist Plus Size women in finding beautiful, modern, and trendy apparel and accessories without breaking the bank. Empowering women to be their best because you are Wonderfully made!

Plus Size Mock Neck Rib Knit Midi Dress

When it comes to my personal style, I desire to honor my faith in God. I wholeheartedly believe I don’t have to dishonor my body to look good. I believe everyone should be convinced in their own minds to follow their own convictions. I stand confidently in my own lane. https://www.chunkycutiestyles.com/post/plus-size-mock-neck-rib-knit-midi-dress

I can remember feeling frustrated going in and out of stores when I couldn’t find the items to create the looks I wanted to achieve. Sometimes, I think Plus Size women are not given great selections. The difficulties are further compounded for Christian women, who seek to be trendy yet conservative.

I’m glad to see the Retail Industry is becoming a lot more style inclusive. And I’m working diligently to seek to partner with brands that I believe my audience will also love and trust. I love you all, and we are in it to win it! Be Bold. Be Beautiful. Be You!

 Plus Velvet Maxi Dress
https://www.chunkycutiestyles.com/post/elegant-plus-velvet-dress

Follow me on IG @ChunkyCuteandChristian

IDK, and It’s OK: The Necessity of Security

I hate suspense. And ambiguity is utterly annoying and uncomfortable.  I am the person who needs to know the ending of a movie before I watch it. I will read the last page of any book first. In addition, it’s difficult to surprise me, not impossible but difficult.  I find comfort in watching the same movie literally hundreds of times, sometimes even back to back. It never gets old to me. I’m the person who needs closure after every breakup, or I’d be obsessing over the details of the failed relationship. Suspense creates anxiety and tension within me. Unlike some people, I don’t find uncertainty entertaining.

As a single mother, often a struggling single mother I had become used to having the rug snatched from underneath me. Therefore, it seemed that from one moment to the next there always seemed to be some disappointment, some unfortunate mishap or surprise that always required my attention. There was always something requiring me to shift gears. Years of living from day to day not knowing what to expect created distress, depression and cognitive dissonance.  Consequently, I have developed a low tolerance for ambiguity.

However, I’ve come to discover, possessing such a low tolerance for uncertainty has led to me having a rather impulsive, and reactionary life. A life riddled with anxiety, and as some of you may know, an anxious life is not the type of life we were created to live. We are not meant to live in a constant state of worry. Our biology can’t sustain such maladies. On the contrary, we were created to have an abundant life. A life full of joy, creativity and wonder.  Anything less is of the evil one.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NIV

As a Christian, I know that a doubleminded person will receive nothing from the Lord, because they are unstable in everything they do. Furthermore, doublemindedness is a state of unbelief, and unbelief is a sin, thus a barrier between the believer and the Savior. Cognitively, I knew all of this. Practically, however I didn’t know how to break free from it.

Understanding the Psychology of Uncertainty

As humans we need closure. We need security and safety. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see below), a study of human behavioral motivations, if our most basic needs are not met, then it we will struggle in progression toward meeting our highest goal of Self-actualization. People want firm answers, and hard evidence.  It’s me, I’m People.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In cultural psychology, Uncertainty avoidance deals with how well a nation or culture tolerates uncertainty. Technology developments, laws, and religion are all tools used by cultures and society to better cope with the unknown. The United States scores at 46 on the Uncertainty Avoidance Index, which is relatively low when compared to other countries.  This is evidenced in America’s “do whatever you want, find your own way’’ type of cultural mentality. Countries with higher scores tend to have stricter beliefs and customs. For More information Read this (https://clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/uncertainty-avoidance-index/). The fundamental question is can we really be prepared for the future? Or, do we just let it happen, and hope for the best.

While, having too much uncertainty overwhelms an individual, having a tolerance for uncertainty is a valuable life skill worthy of pursuit and cultivation. According to Michel Dugas, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Quebec, “The goal is to experience a bit of uncertainty and tolerate it even though it is uncomfortable.”

According to a 2014 study, there are benefits to uncertainty. Expert and author, Jamie Holmes states, “uncertainty improves our decisions, promotes empathy and boosts creativity.” Uncertainty can cause us to prepare for the future. It makes us plan; it forces us to consider the possibilities. However, it was never meant to make us afraid to face tomorrow. We may not know the specific details of the future, and what it will bring but we can be sure that it will all work for our good in the end. The key to being able to deal with uncertainty is contentment. It’s being able to accept the reality of what is and being hopeful of what will be. Yet, uncertainty can become so uncomfortable that some people prefer to know the outcome even if it is painful, rather than not knowing at all.

IDK (I don’t know) and That’s OK

One day after praying I opened my bible. It opened to Isaiah 43. At the top of the page, was a prayer I had scribbled in red ink which read, “Father open my eyes to see what you are doing in Jesus Name.” I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me that I had to change my perception, the way I viewed the unknown. My strong desire for predictability, was making it hard for me to just to sit back and Trust. I  had to be involved in the process. I MUST see it to believe it, and that is Anti-Faith.

Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (See Hebrews 11).  And, there I was not even realizing I was telling God he needed to “Show me” his plans. It wasn’t enough that “He knew” the plans he had for me. If I’m being honest, I believed he needed to take my advice sometimes. Surely, I have good insight on what will work best for me, right? WRONG!

God sees the Big Picture. He see’s it ALL. All includes EVERYTHING, the good the bad and everything in between. He alone declares the end from the beginning and has said that his plans will be accomplished (See Isaiah 44). His plans for us are good! He wants to prosper us more than we really know (See Jeremiah 29).

 Sometimes we won’t be able to see all the specifics, but we can Rest in knowing God’s good plan for our lives has already been accomplished.  God has already worked everything out long before the problem or solution comes into fruition.  God completed everything he needed to accomplish in our lives, but it’s up to you and me to keep walking towards the promised land. It’s up to us to determine if we will trust him enough to enter his REST. He promised us he would make streams in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. He promised us, he would be with us, and nothing would overtake us. His Promises are a Sure thing! I am CERTAIN of it.

ON the RIGHT TRACK! Grow On Girl!! Happy New Year, Happy New You!