Do's & Don’ts to organically developing New Friendships!

Believe it or not, there is an etiquette to almost everything in life... from eating dinner, to gaining new friends...!

Yes, there is actually a way to build relationships and specifically friendships.

I’ve been in the midst of dozens of women who talk about friendships, dislike friendships, desire friendships and want to develop friendships, but they really don’t know how to go about breaking into sister circles or just gaining one or two really good friends.

Well just as there are several “DO’s” to developing friendships, there are also several “Don’ts”; and one key to successfully developing friendships in life is to take a hard look at yourself before you call yourself getting into any kind of relationship, (yes, even friendships) with someone else. Not only could you sabotage the relationship but you could be setting yourself up for hurt and harm…. With all this in mind let’s get started on The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to organically developing new friendships by first developing some self-awareness!

"If you find yourself not "Liking" the vibes & personality of people in your circle learn how to organically develop new friendships, don't push yourself on people! Remember you attract people & vibes of the same frequency as you! If you find yourself in relationships with a lot of negative people- take a hard look at yourself- & vice versa! If you want positive friends learn to focus on the positive & you will attract the positive! And don't just say you are focused on positivity but still do things in underhanded ways like stealing friends, trying to social climb, or bring negativity into a relationship! Just DON'T even entertain the vibe or language of it!!... Now here are the "Do's & Don'ts" to organically developing new friendships! 

1.      Do be authentic at all times. Basically Be yourself! If you aren't, remember the real you will come out at some point & you may lose those same friends you tried to gain. 

2.      Don't push yourself onto people. If people are interested in developing friendships with you it will happen organically. 

3.      Do remember it takes time. Just like the old saying goes, "anything worth having in life takes time to gain or develop!" 

4.      Don't try to social climb and put yourself in circles where even you are going to feel out of place. There's a place for everyone in life! With a little bit of soul searching you will find your perfect tribe soon enough! 

5.      Do put the time & effort into developing relationships! Yes, this means sacrificing time & other events to make room for them. Remember we make time for ANYTHING & EVERYTHING in life we really want to do; so if want true authentic relationships, make time for them!

In short, remember developing friendships is just like anything in life it is a learned concept, it doesn't always just happen with maturity. It has its own etiquette to doing it the right way!... But if & when it's done right, it can lead to a village of people who will go from friends to family for a lifetime!

As Always,

Remember, Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube 

Know your place when you are “The in-law”! Tips & Advice on staying neutral in your Spouse’s family feuds!

As the daughter-in-law of a phenomenal mother-in-law and the sister-in-law to 5 wonderful sister-in- laws, I can’t say I can relate to this blog on a whole, but I have had to remember my place in my husband’s family dynamic on a few occasions over our 23 year marriage.

I’ve had the pleasure… or maybe not so pleasurable moments of having this conversation with not only a few of my friends, but also with my own mother who didn’t have the greatest relationship with her mother-in-law, and one thing I know for sure its’ never a pretty picture.

Yes, we’d all like to think that once we say “I do” that, we are all “family” and all is well in the world, …but unfortunately sometimes that day does come…the day when a family feud arises and your spouse decides get you involved,... Or the day when one of your In-laws decides to cross the line and chastise one of your children and your spouse doesn’t do anything about it. How do you handle this? What do you say? Do you give your spouse a reply?... Do you say something to your In-law?... Oh the stickiness of the whole situation.!....

Well there is no quick answer to situations like this. In certain instances maybe you should say something to your In-law and in others maybe you should just bite the bullet and let things go for the sake of peace in the family.

Listed below are 5 tips that may not keep the most toxic, volatile, or unstable families from going to blows with you or with each other, but if you put these tips into practice before any drama ensues, you just may keep your relationship with your In-laws stable, or neutral, if nothing else!

Tips for staying neutral in your spouse’s family feuds.

1.     Never forget that your spouse will always be blood to his/her family and for them to forgive your spouse for something that was said or done will always be easier than forgiving you. There’s a reason for the saying “Blood is thicker than water.”

2.     Always see how your spouse is feeling about an argument, disagreement or decision made by their family. It may not affect them the same way it affects you. Even if you think your spouse should be hurt by something that was said or done by one of their family members, always check their feelings before you go blindly into a response in their defense. They may not be as upset about the situation as you.

3.     Always take into account your spouse’s family culture and dynamics. This means just because you did things in a certain way in your family when you grew up, doesn’t mean your spouse and their family did things the same way. For example you may have grown up in a house that never poked fun at each, but maybe your spouse grew up in a family that did this kind of joking all the time… making jokes about each other’s character or physical flaws (etc), but in your family this would have been considered tasteless and insensitive! OR maybe your father made all the decision in the family but in your spouse’s family, momma was the head and daddy just listened and did what he was told. These variants in family dynamics can make a big difference in a family’s structure, and understanding them can definitely play a part in how you and your spouse handle family feuds with each other and with each other’s family.

4.     Always remember that your children are your spouse’s children, your spouse’s mother’s grandchildren and even your spouse’s sibling’s nieces and nephews. They will always be family, even if death or divorce takes you out of the picture. So always keep their relationships in mind when responding to family feuds.

5.     Remember there are consequences to your actions. Saying something that’s on your mind or doing something about something you feel was an injustice to your immediate family may seem like the right thing to do at the time of the incident, but always remember that after you say or do something in retaliation that there are consequences to be made and paid. They could include you being ostracized from family gatherings, you could be shunned by family members or worst you could cause a rift between your spouse and their family. This is not to say that you shouldn’t say or do something about an injustice done to your immediate family, it’s just saying be ready for the consequences of your speech or actions.

Understand that not all family’s have issues such as this! The Brady Bunch (The perfect looking family) can be a real thing, even if you’ve never seen them… but if you find yourself in the midst of in-law issues or on the receiving end of one of your spouse’s family feuds, just keep in mind that not every issue in life needs to be address and that there are ways to defuse disagreements and rifts in family feuds;… because you never want a rift to get out of hand and cause a tidal wave between you and your in-laws.

Always Remember

Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube

5 Things single women should REALLY be looking for in “A Man”

Yes, we've all heard it before, 3 things to look for in a "good" man, 4 things to look for in a marrying man, etc, etc, and etc and they all seem like good advice, but 9 times out of 10 most of the items in these lists are superficial and very rarely ever about a man’s character.  

Of course it's great to find a 6 foot tall, dark eyed, olive completion Adonis of a man, but,… and here is the BIG BUT,…does his outside beauty really match with his inside?

I've been a matchmaker for a few of my friends and some have even lead to marriages (one unfortunately to a divorce… hey nothing’s fail-proof.) But one thing I've always believed is that most women today tend to ask for surface or superficial characteristics in a man when they really should be looking for deeper qualities and inner characteristics.

I’ve been married for going on 23 years now and even though I do believe my husband is the finest thing that walks this earth, I’ve grown to realize that his outside beauty is NOT the thing that has kept me with him and …here it is… that has kept me HAPPILY IN LOVE with him.

The things that have kept me in love with him are his deep rooted personality and character traits, like how he really cares that he is a man of his word and how he will work hard to take care of his family and how he makes me laugh every single day. These personality traits about him have not only kept me with him but have kept both of us happy and still in love to this day.  

So listed below are 5 characteristics I believe every women looking for a "Good man" (possibly Husband) should be looking for when they are considering a long term relationship; and remember no list is ever all-inclusive, but this is a great place to start. 

1.     He is equally loyal to everyone in his life (family, friends, co-workers)! If he’s loyal to others, he will be loyal to you! (This one is simple and to the point) 

2.     Respects the sanctity of marriage! If you are tired of playing games and really looking for someone to settle down with then you need to make sure he takes the sanctity of marriage seriously. 9 times out of 10 if he takes marriage seriously he will take the vows seriously. 

3.     He is a handshake-promise type of guy! In previous generations your word was all you had to prove to someone that you were an honest person. If you said something you meant it and you stuck to it. This is the type of guy you can trust. He cares about how he is viewed in life thus meaning he will care about how he looks to you as well.   

4.     Makes you laugh! Whoever said “laughter is medicine to the soul,” couldn’t have said truer words. Laughing is not only mentally therapeutic but it improves your over all health and lively-hood. If you can find a man that makes you laugh or at least laughs with you then you have found someone who doesn’t take life too seriously. He understands the adventure in life and doesn’t mind taking the journey, mistakes and all with you. 

5.     He is Philanthropic! If you find a man that cares about humanity as a whole he will always care about you at heart!

So ladies remember no man is perfect, but the main goal in meeting a man who is worth your time and effort is to look for inner characteristics and qualities that last a lifetime. Physical features are relevant to your desires but never let the physical be your deciding factor. Pound for pound a heart of gold is worth more than a six foot tall six pack! 

As Always,

Remember, Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube 

5 Dos & Don'ts to Build and Maintain Healthy Female Relationships!! It’s not Impossible!

I think most people know by now that I study and research (as a relationship counselor) and one might go as far as to say “Love” (as a friend) Relationships! I love meeting new people & building relationships (yes even in my own Introvert kinda way)!

Throughout the years, I’ve found that building new friendships take time & patience but here are a few do's & don'ts in building & maintaining them with one of the hardest populations I know; FEMALES!!

Building friendships with females can be a hard nut to crack. They can be exclusive when you are trying to get in and too inclusive when it comes to sharing each other’s secrets and matters of the heart!

But they are not impossible to build; and once you do build them, they can be more loyal than a dog to its owner!

List below are 5 Do’s and Don’ts for building and maintaining healthy Female Relationships!

1. If you want the friendship, Do stay connected even in the midst of your busy life! We all have busy lives, but we make time for ANYTHING we really want!

2. Don't discipline, correct or treat your friends like they're your kids or your husband, no one wants to be harshly spoken to, corrected & or chastised in any relationship. Watch your tone, language & delivery when you talking to people!

3. If your friend has voiced that you've hurt them Do say I'm sorry even if you feel you have done nothing wrong.

4. Don't be a Drama Queen! Everyone gets drained of drama every now & then! Life is NOT always about you! Learn to share the Glimmer, Sparkle & Shine in the relationship! AND

5. Do show your friends that you love & appreciate their presence in your life! It's okay to give a random gift or card every now & then or treat them to dinner every once in awhile!

You see in order to have friends you've got to show yourself NOT ONLY friendly, but accommodating sometimes, inconvenienced sometimes, vulnerable sometimes & transparent at ALL THE TIME!

I've been BLESSED with numerous AWESOME Girlfriends & those relationships didn't develop because we were selfish or self-absorbing! It rattles my heart when I hear women say, "I don't have female friends. I don’t get along with women, that's why I'm by myself or only have guy friends!" Well I hate to say it, but that's when you need to do some self checking! You should have at least 1 or 2 Girlfriends you can count on; and if you have a clan (like Moi) Well that's AWESOME!! I'm not saying you need a clan, but its healthy to have 1 or 2 you can count on to have your back & front when needed & vice versa!

Now husbands, male friends, boyfriends & significant others are GREAT to have in your life, of course; but my mother always said, "No one can NURTURE a women like another women!!!

So No, Ladies, it’s not impossible to have great female friendships and it’s even GREATER if you have a Girl squad like Taylor Swift or a Girl Clan or Gang! It’s not only healthy but it’s one of the best feelings in the world to have a group of like-minded women who support you in your endeavors in life… There is no better feeling!!!

So Ladies… Here's to GIRL POWER!!  Females UNITE!!! 

As Always,

Remember, Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube 

5 Quick Steps to Rebuilding Trust in Relationships!

First of all the title of this blog is ALMOST an oxymoron in itself ; because one may think there is no quick way to building trust in the first place, either it’s there or it’s not. Well that may be true, to a certain extent. It does take the betrayed person to make a decision to trust; but that decision can be influenced and trust can be rebuilt in any relationship.

Trust in any relationship is a hard thing to gain and even harder to regain once it’s lost! When someone loses your trust or better still when you are trying to regain the trust of someone you have lied to, cheated on or betrayed it can be almost impossible to regain… but it doesn’t have to be!

There are a few tried and true ways for you to trust in someone again or for you to rebuild the trust of someone you’ve betrayed. These tips aren’t all-inclusive but they are a starting point. And we all know that starting is half-the battle!

5 Tips to rebuilding TRUST!    

1.     Take full responsibility for your actions (Don’t dismiss their feelings, recognize that what you did to them was wrong)

2.     Give the other person time (It may take 3 months or it may take 3 years)   

3.     Give the other person space (Don’t smother them by trying to be around them all the time)  

4.     Keep your word (Do what you say you are going to do and be where you say you are going to be.)

5.     Recognize that they will flip flop in trusting and not trusting you until they feel safe again.  

Relationships are the essence of life and everyone regardless of what they may say or think needs them! No, you may not need a lot of them but you do need a few in your life in order to have a happy, healthy and productive life.

So if you have been bitten by the betrayal bug know that all hope isn’t lost; just by taking note of the 5 tips listed above ANYONE can rebuild trust in ANY RELATIONSHIP all it takes is some time, some resilience a lot of patience and a whole lot of COURAGE!  

Remember,

Relationships DO Matter!

Toinette Neube

“5 Tips on raising Teens & Young adults who enjoy "Family Time"!

If you have children there are two points in life I’m sure you have been at or will eventually get to; that point when you are trying to figure out "where the time went, and that point where you are trying to get your kid(s) to spend more time with the family!

I have raised 3 boys into young men & to this day at 18, 19 & 22 years old they ALL still love "Family Time"! Proud Mommy moment! :-)

When I speak of family time, I don’t mean just dinner, it could be an event, a movie, or just hanging around the family having fun. Each and every one of my boys love staying regularly connected to our family, even as they get older; and THAT is an accomplishment all in itself!

Because of popular opinion, my husband and I awaited the day that so many people talked about; that moment when the boys would not want to hang around us or have family time any longer!” So we openingly accepted our fate… but to our surprise the day has yet to come.

Now we do understand that it is healthy for them to venture off and find their own way in life. That’s not what this blog is about; it’s about teaching or showing your children how important family time and togetherness is in their lives and praying they will take that lesson on into their own family value; because we all know, friends come and go, but family is forever!  

So how did we do it you ask? Well as with anything in life, nothing is fail proof, but I can say I believe my husband and I found a few rules and practices that worked for us while they were small and we just made them habits throughout the years and they still seem to be working 22 years and counting later.

Listed below are 5 rules and practices that have worked for us and we feel confident will work for you with time, practice and some stick-to-it-ness!

  1. Start when they are small! Catch them while they still need & even want your time & attention. Start incorporating family time into your family’s weekly routine once you are able to begin a regular routine after having the baby. This can even start once the baby starts to use a highchair; pull that highchair up to the table so he/she can be included in dinner time. Starting earlier is key, because we all know if it’s not ingrained in them, IT WILL NOT last long.
  2. Make it a habit! Keeping family time as a weekly routine is another key to getting the kids use to it. They say it takes doing something 28 to 30 days over and over again before it becomes a habit, so keep it up!!!
  3. Make it interesting! Make sure it's something they have an interest in. It could be a movie, a game, a TV show, an event, etc. The family time event, outing or “thing” doesn’t always have to be something everyone agrees on; for example sometimes mom may have to suffer through a football game if she has a house full or boys, (I know this one oh too well!) or dad may have to sit through watching "Princess Diaries 2 for the 3rd time, just for his own little princess....Sometimes you have to suck it up and “Just sit through it!”
  4. Don’t be so serious about it! Don't always use “family time” as a time for direct lessons. As they grow up there are always lessons in life they can learn, and you may be tempted to use this time to make an example of those lesson or talk about certain topics, but trust me when I say you don’t want to always use “family time” as a serious moment. Mix it up from fun and light topics to serious ones with fun and light being the prominent one. As a teen or young adult you don't always want to feel like you are in school. So even if your motive is to use this particular family time as a lesson, "feel" the kid(s) out. If you feel you can discuss the topic at hand right then, then go for it, but if not, then go to the event or watch the movie and save the “life lesson talk” for another time.
  5. Be Flexible! As they grow up continue to have scheduled family time but be flexible with them. Yes as they get older & make their own schedules they may miss a day or two of “family time”, but keep the tradition up and eventually they will realize what they are missing and come back into the fold. 

As I mentioned earlier nothing is fail proof and you really have to cater life to your own family’s culture and values, but one thing I do believe is if you have a heart to keep “family time” alive in the lives of your teens and young adults then just by having the desire to do it is a start and just by starting you are on the RIGHT TRACK to raising teens & young adults who will always enjoy & love Family Time!

Remember, Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube

"5 Things to do to live a Life of Happiness!"

Searching for happiness is like searching for the fountain of youth; never ending, and seemingly inevitable to find.

Everyone from celebrities to a normal working class people seem to be on the hunt for happiness; they search for it in everything from gaining riches and finances to acquiring fame and even trying to find it in drugs and vitamins.

But after years of searching for this thing called “Happiness” for myself, I’ve found out two things: 1.Joy and Happiness are not one in the same (more on this in another blog) and 2. Happiness can be found, even though it is fleeting!

Yes, you heard me right Happiness can be obtained. It may come and go, but with a consistent and focused lifestyle of trying to obtain and maintain “Happiness” one can achieve it on a constant basis!

Without getting into statistics and being too scientific about it, research has proven that our body produces on it’s on several chemicals and hormones that can help to induce, incite and ignite “Happiness” in our lives. These chemicals/hormones are produced by our body when we perform certain task or activities or obtain certain habits; and just like anything in life if and when we put our mind to doing these things on a consistent bases we get results!

In short, if you begin to incorporate the habits and activities listed below into your lives on a regular basis, you will begin to fire off and produce these chemicals/hormones in your body on a consistent basis and dependable bouts of “Happiness” will be yours for a Lifetime!

1.      Exercise daily!

Exercising ignites endorphins and adrenaline. These chemicals/hormones don’t necessarily make you feel good, but they aid in keeping pain levels down and that alone can keep you up and moving and excited about life.  

2.      Surround yourself with a positive loving circle of family and friends!

Having regular contact, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual (etc) contact with those you love and who love you back produces what is known as the “Trust” and “Love” hormone called Oxytocin.

3.      Think positive thoughts!

Getting into the habit of thinking positive thoughts can produce the hormone Serotonin in your body. This hormone is known as “The Happiness” Hormone.

4.      Get out into the Sunlight on a daily basis if possible!

Serotonin is such an important hormone I feel it’s worth doing everything possible to produce more of it in your life. Hence I feel it’s worth mentioning twice! I mean it isn’t called “The Happiness Hormone” for nothing! There a reason that more people flock to sunny places to live and vacation like Florida or the Caribbean Islands. Yes, the water has a lot to do with it, but the consistent sunny weather has a lot to do with it as well. Not only does Sunlight produce Serotonin but it is the biggest producer of vitamin D in our bodies. So drink up some Sun! 

5.      Set daily, weekly, monthly & even yearly goals!

Setting goals and striving to achieve them produces a chemical/hormone known as Dopamine. This hormone is known as “The Pleasure Hormone”.  When you make, set and strive to achieve goals in your life, this stimulates pleasurable chemicals in you. This hormone is believed to be pleasurable because setting goals and achievements provides a purpose for you and this in turn makes you “Happy!”

So there it is! Your road map to Happiness! Don’t forget nothing in life is fail-proof, but if you incorporate these routines and activities into your life, you will have at least begun the process and that, my friend is half the battle on your road to Happiness!

Remember, Relationships Do Matter!

Always with Grace,

Toinette Neube

Resources: National Geogrpahic 2017, Oct.

"When Communicating becomes too much!!!???"

Yes, I said it!!! Everyone knows communication is the key to a “Happy, Healthy Relationship”… isn’t it!?!?  Well in short yes and no! When you hear of a relationship that has gone sour 9 times out of 10 it’s because of financial reasons, infidelity, or a lack of communication; so why would I write a Blog even suggesting that communication could be a bad thing?

Well I’m not; … not really anyway, not if it’s done at the right time, in the right place, with the right tone and… catch this… if it’s not one sided.

One sided communication can be detrimental to a relationship if one person is always communicating their wants, needs, and desires, or always desiring to talk about how they feel.

As a Relationship Counselor I’ve had case after case over the last few years where too much communication was actually the issue. Yes, I’ve found that communication can be an issue when one person feels there is nothing to communicate but the other person feels there is always something to communicate about to make the relationship better! And here is the kicker the other person doesn’t usually view the communicating as healthy, but as… NAGGING! Yup! There is it is, the nasty Nagging Word!  

A few years ago there was a couple I was counseling, let’s call them Jim and Diane, who were having this exact communication problem. Diane always prided herself on the fact that she was a great communicator and definitely not a nagger. Diane grew up with a nagging mother and promised herself to never be a nag to anyone, let alone her husband. Jim always disliked a nag so he tried hard to stay away from women who even appeared to have a nagging bone in their body. Diane being a huge communicator always wanted to talk about everything and lived by the motto, “Never go to bed angry!” especially not with your spouse. This lead Diane to feel like she needed to talk about anything & everything with her husband; if she felt neglected she wanted to talk about it, if she felt sad, she wanted to talk about it, if she felt happy, she wanted to talk about it. Sounds like the “Perfect Marriage” right? Wrong! This much communication to Jim who came from a family that NEVER talked about their feelings let alone about things in general was communication overload for him! Not only did Jim get tired of talking about everything but he also began to feel like Diane was nagging him!!! Yup the Nasty Nagging Word!

Once Diane found out that Jim considered her communication nagging she was horrified; her worst nightmare had come to life! She was her mother! Not only did Jim find Diane’s constant communicating nagging but he also said during our sessions that it made him feel like he was a failure! He felt that he couldn’t do anything right in the eyes of Diane. Diane didn’t know what to say, she never wanted Jim to feel like a failure or that he wasn’t doing an outstanding job of taking care of their family. But Diane’s constant communicating was taking the opposite effect on their lives. It wasn’t bringing them together, it was tarring them apart.

Diane never thought in a million years that talking things over with Jim would be viewed as nagging or over communicating especially seeing that she never blamed him for things, never raised her voice and even thought she was finding the right time and place to communicate. But what she failed to realize was Jim’s personality was that of a provider and fixer and anytime she told him about her needs, wants, desires or feelings if he couldn’t fix it for her then he blamed himself and thought he was a failure.

Communication can be an awesome tool for keeping relationships and marriages thriving but there are warning signs that you can recognize when over communication or communication overload maybe happening or beginning to happen in your relationship.

5 warning signs that communication overload maybe happening in your Marriage/Relationship. The list is not all-inclusive, but it’s a starting point!

1.      Only one person is voicing their issues, desires, wants or feelings

2.      The issues you are communicating about are not being resolved

3.      When one person seems sad, irritable, or angry by even the mentioning of “Let’s talk”.

4.      The other person is always trying to fix things even the unfixable

5.      The other person voices that they can never do anything right

Thankfully, after months of counseling Jim and Diane are still happily married and communicating to this day. They both realized that communication is still a MAJOR KEY to a “Happy Marriage” but now they just make sure it’s at the right time, the right place, using the right tone and that it is NOT one sided!

Always Remember Relationships Do Matter!

Toinette Neube, Family/Marriage/Couples Counselor

"How to tell the difference between Friendships that last for a reason, a season or a lifetime?!"

If you are like most people in life I’m sure you’ve loved and lost several times during life; and when I say loved and lost I don’t mean boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives; I’m talking about plain ole friendships! Yes, those men and women we tell our deepest darkest secrets to only to pray they never come to surface anywhere else in life and unfortunately those people we tend to lose over the years because of one of life’s many issues and mishaps!

Well, I am a believer of the school that “everything happens for a reason”! Yup, even friendships gained and lost!

I also believe that not every friendship in life was meant to last for a lifetime. I believe people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and I have listed below 3 tips to help you decipher whether a friend is for a reason, a season or a life time.

1.       If they come into your life but you feel you have nothing in common with them, but you can’t bring yourself to cut off the connection because you feel there is just something about them that needs you or you need them. This friendship is for a reason!

2.       If they come into your life and after some time has passed, maybe it’s a year, 2 years or even 10 years, but something about the friendship has changed and you guys just can’t seem to gel anymore. The amount of time you used to hang out starts to diminish, the phone calls start to cease or you just don’t like to do the same things or talk about the same stuff any longer. This friendship was for a season. (Examples: single friends, married friends, friends with kids when you don’t have any, work friends, etc)

3.       Friends who have been there for you through the span of numerous events in your life. This doesn’t mean you guys haven’t had your differences or even had spaces in time where you weren’t that close, but you found your way back to each other and it seems like nothing has changed. These friends knew you when you were at your worst but still accept you at your best! They may have known you from childhood, but they still accept the adult or person you have turned into today! These friends are for a lifetime!

So in re-evaluating your life... because I can see your wheels turning after reading this blog... how many friendships can you place into one of these categories? Not only does realizing people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime helpful for future friendships, but it's also helpful for pass ones as well. Maybe now you can see why this person came into your life and has now gone, or the reason this person stayed inspite of not having things in common with them or better yet, why your "Life-long Friends" are just that, "Life-long"! 

So, in recapping, we all know that friendships can last for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! My hope and desire is that everyone in life is able to experience having at least one person in their life as that lifetime friend! And if you are lucky enough as I am to have several lifetime friends then you are doubly blessed and I hope you don’t take it for granted!

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always In His Grace,

Toinette Neube

“Take no thought for tomorrow!” Mindfulness, learning to live in the present moment at all times!

I’ve been told on several occasions that coming to visit me and my family is like living in a Zen garden and THAT is on purpose! My house, my family and my life, are all My spaces, and years ago, I purposely chose to have my spaces and my life drama and chaos free!

Now with this intent in mind, during that same time I was introduced to “Mindfulness" through one of my graduate counseling courses and it was at that time I made the decision to change my environment and my life, and I began to put Mindfulness into action in a purposeful way in mine and my family’s life!

So, what exactly is “Mindfulness”? In trying to avoid going into a deep historical review of Mindfulness and where it originated, one thing you should know is that it is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it is not something that’s related to anyone religion or culture.

Being a Minister of Christianity, I am cognizant that a lot of Christians tend to believe that mindfulness and any other psychological or physiological practice may be taking you down a road to being introduced to another religion or even another God, but let me be the first to tell you that this is just not true. Yes, Mindfulness is a practice that can be practiced by all religions from Buddhism to Judaism, but take comfort in knowing that you are not asked to practice any religion or idolize any god but the one you are already believing in and practicing.

When we examine being present or even staying “Mindful” of the moments we are in in life, even the Bible tells us to do things like“Take no thought for tomorrow.” “Keep our minds on things that are pure and just and of good report.” And “To be anxious for nothing.”And these scriptures are right in line with being mindful and living in the present moment.

Despite the numerous ways there are out there to describe what the author and well-known American instructor Jon Kavat-Zinn calls a “way of living” or “paying attention in a particular way”; Mindfulness to me can be described simply as being in the present moment. It’s a way of being, a way of living!To break it down a little further, Mindfulness is paying attention to nothing but where you are and what you are doing at that moment in time. It’s sitting down to dinner and feeling the silver fork in your hand, it’s smelling the aroma of your food, it’s tasting the various flavors in the food, it’s feeling the comfort of the chair you are sitting in, it’s feeling your feet firmly placed on the floor and being aware of the surroundings you are in at that timeand in that moment! It’s not getting your food, devouring it or rushing through it and thinking about getting back to work, or thinking about getting on to the next task. You see Mindfulness is about what you focus on. You are focusing on the moment you are in at that time and place in your life, and you do not have to practice any type of religion to learn to stay focus and stop multitasking your way through life!

Unfortunately, as humans in society today we have been indoctrinated into believing that multitasking is a good thing and that to achieve any kind of success in life we need to be able to focus on multiple things at one time. Even moms have embraced the term and are becoming proud at being multi-tasking moms or moms who juggle the kids, cooking dinner and a 9 to 5!

So how do you learn Mindfulness you may ask? Well over a series of blogs I’m calling “Mindful Moments” You will learn that Mindfulness is not just a technique for one way of living, but it is a total way of living. So,seeing that there are various types of Mindfulness techniques from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, for the sake of this blog,I will introduce you to 5 things that learning Mindfulness will do for your life. The techniques are simple, direct and so effortless that you can begin to introduce them into your life today.

Listed below are 5 things that learning Mindfulness will do to your life!

1.       Make you become aware of your body, mind and environment.

2.       Make you live in the present moment in life.

3.       Make you more focused on things that are important in your life.

4.       Make you better at bringing your mind, body and spirit in synch with each other.

5.       Make you more accepting of yourself and others in life.

So, this is Mindfulness in a nutshell, but seeing that it is a lifestyle there are many more steps to incorporating Mindfulness into your life! In the next Mindful MomentsBlog I’ll include ways to “Begin your morning with Mindfulness”, so that you can get your day started off right! So, until next time, Always Stay Mindful of your Moments in life!

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always In His Grace!

Toinette Neube

 

 

 

 

“Living single in a “social” society!” Tips and advice in social networking and dating in society Today!

Do you remember “Sex in the City!”, the phenomenon show that started in the late 90’s that was the definition of what it was like to be sexy, living in the city and single? I think that show was probably every girls dream of what it should be like to be single! Living a fabulous life in a big city filled with a buffet of other single people with your single girlfriends at your beck and call! The show made being single a desired thing of the time! But as time moved on even those girls got to a place in life where they desired to be married and got tired of the rat race of looking for a partner.

Marriage is great and a great thing to desire, but let’s be real, we know everyone is not going to get married or even find a partner with whom they will spend the rest of their lives.

But…. Has the invention of the internet and “social networking” or “social dating” made the chances of finding a significant other a any easier? Have dating sites and apps and even non-dating specific sites such as Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter made finding your soul mate more accessible?

According to research conducted by Pew research center and Tumblr, a microblogging site, online dating, social networking or social dating as it is affectionately called, has not necessarily gotten "better" with the advent of these services, but they have made dating easier. 

So, seeing that the internet or social network dating has made dating easier, in spite of not making it "better", more and more advice and tips on becoming better at surfing the internet for sites, apps and just dates in general, are in demand.

Listed below are 3 tips about internet dating that many internet dating experts agree to keep in mind if you are using social media to find your soul mate. The tips aren’t about how to effectively use the internet for dating but they are reminders that using the internet may be the easiest way to connect with people and find a date, but it does not mean it’s always the best and only way!

1.       Just because we are in a social or internet driven society, don’t be afraid to experiment with different or even antiquated ways of finding a date. If you have been doing the same thing or trying to find a date in the same way for a lifetime then try something different. Don’t be afraid to get set up by your friends, or try dating clubs or church or secular singles groups. You can still use dating apps or websites but don't get stuck on them. And as with everything in life, always use wisdom and caution with technology and the web!.

2.       Be open-minded beyond your list and beyond what you see on his or her internet profile. Now this is not to say that you should settle for anything that comes along, but be open for the fact that what God has for you may not be packaged the way you thought it would be packaged. The use of the internet has made physical appearance one of the first things people look for in choosing dates. Remember, You may be looking for someone tall, dark, with brown-eyes, but you may find someone who is tall, light and has black-eyes. He may have all of the other attributes on your list, but missing only a few. Don't be so focused on getting exactly what you want until you miss the fact that he or she is only off by one characteristic or trait! 

3.       Remember "One" is a whole number. You complete yourself! With so much focus today on being coupled or married, you have to remember you do not need a man or woman to complete you or your life! This is not to say you cannot pray for a spouse or partner, but you must remember that if you do not find that perfect mate, you are still WHOLE!

So, remember social or online dating may be here to stay, but you should never abandon the old way of dating or even trying antiquated methods of finding your soul mate. Always be open-minded to other traits or characteristics your soul mate may have or to them lacking in one or two areas, and never forget how to be “Whole” or complete in life without a mate, even though you may be “Single in a social society!

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always in His Grace!

Toinette Neube

 

 

 

“Keeping Date Night Alive after Marriage!”

If you are like most married couples once you say “I Do”, that's the exact time “You don’t”. You don’t keep paying as much attention to each other, you don’t say "I Love you" as much, you don’t hold hands as much, and you don’t keep dating each other the way you did before you got married.

Keeping Date Night alive after marriage is not an easy task, especially with taking little Kylie to gymnastics on Monday, Little Brian to baseball on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, little Alora to dance class on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, little Tyree to acting on Saturdays and then book club and Scout meeting on Friday nights back to back, Whew! That’s a lot to write, let alone think about doing; but believe it or not that is a lot of my friends reality. And to think about putting a date night for my “Selfish” self at the end of all that!?!?! There is NO WAY!

Yes, Yes, I realize it’s hard to keep having dates in the midst of family, work and just life as a married couple; but I’m here to tell you, if you don’t keep date night a priority, before you know it, the family, work and married life you are trying so hard to keep in tack will diminish right before your eyes. And thinking of something to do on those date nights when you aren't used to having them in the first place, is even more taxing on your mind and life!

So, I'm here to help! Listed below are 5 suggestions to help you start to put date night back into your life! It doesn’t have to cost a lot, take a lot of time (even though before you know it, you will be enjoying it so much until you will want more time), and you don’t have to do it every week, but try to start off with at least twice a month if nothing else. After a few times of incorporating date night into your busy calendar, you will begin to wonder how your marriage even survived this long without it?!

Date Night Ideas:

1.       Dinner and a movie:Pretty Self-explanatory!

2.       Dollar store dates: Dollar stores dates are date nights on a budget; basically, they are dates that don’t cost a lot, but you are getting out of the house to spend quality time together. I call them dollar store dates because my husband and I used to go to the Dollar store not far from our home and stroll the isles hand in hand while talking and laughing about everything from buying dollar store band medicine to serious things like where we’d like to move in 2 to 3 years. Whatever came up we talked about and held hands while walking and talking, and it was magical! 

3.       Picnic and a fire pit: Make dinner at home, spread a blanket on the floor and light a fire in the fire place. If you don’t have a fire place and if you have cable TV, find a nice romantic scenery channel or just play some music in the back ground, and have a romantic evening at home.

4.       A quiet evening sitting in front of a beautiful spot! This spot could be sitting in your car in front of a lake or river, it could be sitting at a park and looking at the scenery, it could be sitting in front of a monument or just a baseball park! Wherever it is, just make it special by talking to each other, reminiscing about the past (good times or victorious trials) and even dreaming about the future.

5.       A car ride away from home: Sometimes you don’t have to stop and park, just taking a ride into the city can do the trick. We live in the DC metro area, but not directly in the city, so sometimes we will get into the car and just take a 20-minute ride into DC just to talk and do something different. Sometimes we get out the car, but most times we don’t, and we head back home. It’s not expensive, it’s not a long night out, but it’s quality time and we enjoy the time alone for about an hour and a half or so.

So, in essence, date night can be whatever you want it to be! The key is that it’s just you and your spouse! As much fun as it is to include another couple or two every now and then, make sure you make time for date nights where it’s just you and your spouse at least once or at best twice a month. You see it’s not the cost of the date, it’s not the location of the date and believe it or not it’s not the amount of times you have it, if the quality of the time is right; but it is the value of the undivided attention, laughter, commitment and the love you put into the date night that makes it special and always memorable!! 

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always in His Grace!

Toinette Neube

How to have Effective Communication in your marriage! “Did you hear what I said?”

Guilty, guilty, guilt, I am so guilty of asking my husband this question thousands (okay maybe just hundreds) of times over the course of our 22-year marriage; but what I’ve found over the years is that even though every wife may not ask the question the way I do, many of them feel the same way… UNHEARD!

Now when I use the word “unheard”, I don’t mean you don’t think your spouse really didn’t hear you, but the question is, did they really understand what was being said? It’s like someone speaking a foreign language to you, but you really aren’t understanding them.Well sometimes, the same goes for communicating with your spouse;they may hear you, but did they really understand you; and of course,that’s the goal with all relationships and communication, to be understood.

Not only is listening a goal of effective communication, but so are many other… here is it… “teachable” characteristics. The loveable word here is “Teachable”! Effective Communication does not have to be unattainable or frustrating.Per Everette Worthington author of the book, Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling there are several interventions you could use to improve the communication between you and your spouse. But what I’ve found is that even though the book gives several tips on effective communication, if you just start implementing a few of the interventions, you’ve paved the way to effective communication in your marriage and your life.

Listed below are 5 ways you can make the communication between you and your spouse achievable and effective!

1.       Communicate by loving them the way they need to be loved! In my last blog, I wrote aboutThe 5 Love Languages; find out your spouse’s love language and put it into action.

2.       Communicate by loving them positively!Focus on the positive attributes of your spouse. Yes, we all know no one is perfect, but one of my mottos in life is “Whatever you focus on will grow”, if you focus on the negative that’s what you will always see in your spouse; but if you focus on what’s good and loving and honorable about your spouse that’s what will grow in your lives together. Compliment them on what they do well and not nag them on what they don’t do at all!

3.       Communicate by listening more! This brings me back to my introduction, “Did you hear what I said?” One thing I’ve learned in life that everyone in life,(regardless whether they admit it or not), just want to be loved, accepted and heard! No one likes to be ignored, so this makes listening, one of the most important characteristics in communication to develop. Listening is a Blog all in itself, so stay tuned for my blog on “Effective Listening Skills”.

4.       Communicate by sharing your values! Sharing your values, in opinion is one very important but overlooked communication technique most couples omit in their relationships. Sharing values such as religious, family and even financial values are a big component of effectively communicating with your spouse. 

5.       Communicate by creating time to communicate!We all have heard the saying, “We create time for everything we want to create time for!” Well the saying is true in all aspects of life. There is no better way to make someone feel special than to create time for them in your life. Whether it’s inviting them to an event, scheduling them in your calendar or making a date to just hang out and chit chat; and a spouse or significant other is no different! Creating time can be one of the biggest barriers in the lives of couples or relationships especially where children are involved. So, protecting the boundaries of communication and creating time to communicate is vital to creating an effective communication life between you and your spouse!

As I mentioned earlier, there are several other interventions you could use to help move you and your spouse toward effectively communicating with one another, but the ones listed above, if put to practice in a habit-forming manner, are a great start!

Remember, being married, in a relationship or being coupled is work! There are no perfect marriages and no perfect couples! According to the American Psychological Association, almost 50% of marriages end in divorce and one of the main reasons beside finances those marriages fail is because of a lack of communication.

So, I admonish you, study, yes, I said “study” your partner, learn how they desire to be loved,love them positively, listen to them more, share your values with them, and create time to communicate with them EFFECTIVELY!!

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always in His Grace!

Toinette Neube

“Discovering your love language!"

If I had a penny for every time I hear a woman say, (sorry ladies, it’s usually us), “Why can’t he just hold my hand more often?” or “Why can’t he just tell me how much he loves?”Or “Why do I always have to ask for attention?”I would be a billionaire (okay exaggeration, but you get what I'm saying)… Believe it or not, most women aren’t alone in this type of thinking, so my question to them is usually this… “Have you told him how you feel?” or “Does he know you feel this way?” … And the answer is usually the same every time. “No, I don’t want to have to tell him, I think he should already know and just do it!” If there is one thing women from all walks of life have in common, it’s that they just want to be understood without having to tell their spouse what to do!

Well, welcome to the state of marriage or being “coupled”! That is the state of being with someone who expects you to know everything about them and to act upon that knowledge without being told that they want it!

Now I hope you know this state isn’t a phenomenon, it’s nothing new, as a matter of fact it’s so old that several books have been written on how to read your spouse, how to communicate with your partner, how men and women think differently (etc.), or in this case, how to know their “Love Language”!

Today’s blog is based on the book by Gary Chapman, “The 5 Love Languages”, if you frequent marriage conferences the way my husband and I did in the past or have had any type of marriage counseling, I’m sure you have heard of the book or even the assessment and techniques used to learn and even understand you and your spouse’s love language.

The 5 love languages talked about in the book are basically 5 studied, tried and true ways that most people in society seem to want or ask for "love" from others. The 5 ways are:

1.       Words of Affirmation

2.     Quality Time

3.       Receiving Gifts

4.       Acts of Service

5.       Physical Touch

Now here is where the assessment and not “guest work” or you thinking you know yourself works best. Most people really think they know themselves and even their love language until they take the assessment or quiz. I personally am guilty of taking the “I know myself best” approach over taking the quiz at first. But I, like so many others, got it wrong. I thought my 1st love language would have been Physical touch because I do love to hold hands with my husband, but after taking the assessment I found out my first love language is Words of Affirmation. I love being told by my husband how much he loves and cares for me!

Now, I’m not going to go into each of the languages in this blog… I must help Mr. Chapman promote his book somehow, so you must buy the book to find out what each language means on a deeper level. And if you have found yourself like so many others in life, desiring for your spouse to read your mind instead of knowing for sure what you really want, then this book is worth the money.

So tonight, have a little fun with your spouse, make a date night to go to the bookstore or google “The 5 Love Languages”and buy the book or take the quiz online and have a date night finding out more about each other; I can almost bet you are going to find out things about each other you never knew! I know I did!

Now once you find out your love language, here is where I think the key to utilizing the knowledge is, remember, knowing is only half the battle, just because your spouse knows what you like or dislike, don’t expect them to just get it right the first, second or even third time. Both of you are still learning, and even babies fall when they are learning to walk. Give each other some time, patience, and understanding! I’m sure after a few months of intentional practice, some reminding here and there and lots of love, you will have not only perfected your spouse’s love language but your marriage will be on the road to better communication, better understanding, better romance, a healthier marriage and an overall healthier life!!!

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always In His Grace!

Toinette Neube

 

 

Building and Maintaining “A Loving Marriage/Relationship”!

This month on Godzgracegirl.com we are featuring a Contest! Well, so to speak! I’m not really the competitive type and the word “contest” suggests winners and losers, and in my eyes, we are all winners; (yup, I’m one of those people… give a trophy to all the kids who participated type of person) but basically, an essay should be submitted, a couple will be picked, and a prize will be won, so I guess that constitutes a contest!   

I’ve been blessed enough to have been married to my Hubby, My Hov, My Bae, My B, for 22 years now and we’ve been together for more than 25, and I have to tell you I am falling deeper in love with him every day! I know, I know, it sounds mushy, but it’s true!!! He still makes my heart pitter-patter at the sight of him and we both still laugh and flirt with each other like we just met!

Throughout the years we have had people admire our relationship, ask us how we stay so connected and how we keep the love alive after all these years? Well, I don’t believe in a one stop shop when it comes to building and maintaining a great marriage/relationship, so I can’t say we have one thing we do and do it well, but I can say we do several things all the time to keep the relationship fresh and alive! So, with that in mind, here are a few key tips that have kept our marriage and relationship loving for over 25 years!

1. Communicate: I know it’s the same old thing you’ve heard before; but guess what? It’s true! If you don’t communicate with your spouse it will not last! He’s got to know when you are happy, sad, angry, disappointed (etc.), and vice versa! But here is the caveat to that; you’ve got to know when you are happy, sad, angry, (etc) as well, so that you can effectively communicate that with him or her! Basically, you’ve got to know yourself too! If you don’t know who you are, how can you expect someone else to know you?!

2. Laugh: Here’s to praying that your relationship started out with laughter in the first place! If it did, please keep it up! To this day, Brian and I still laugh with each other everyday in some way, shape or form! Laughter really is medicine to the soul and to me it’s vital to the life line of a relationship!

3. Respect: You must learn to respect each other! Even though this one is more for the women than the men, (I’ll get to a man’s main responsibility in a minute) But Ladies never talk down, at, or against your husband, and men please do the same for your wives! If there’s one thing a man usually needs and desires, it is respect! A man is built on respect, respect from his friends, his colleagues and more importantly from his spouse! If a man can’t get respect from his home and those in it, then he will unconsciously and sometimes consciously desire to be in a place where he will get it, and sometimes that may be from another person.

4. Unconditional Love: Okay Ladies it’s your turn! Even though unconditional love is desired and needed by both partners in a relationship; women usually tend to desire and need the reminder that they are unconditionally loved more than men. The Bible tells us that men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and this, says it all! Christ loved the church more than He loved Himself, that’s why He gave His life up in the first place! So men, love your spouse more than you love yourself, give your life for her,… now that is unconditional love!

5. Romance: You have got to keep the sparks flowing, flying and forever fun! Keep each other satisfied and make it flirty and fun; continue to hold hands in public and in private (I emphasize in private too because it lets your spouse know you aren’t just doing it for show, and the touch is genuine even without an audience), continue to flirt with each other (in public and in private), continue to date each other, and continue to spice things up in the bedroom! Romance can be a touchy subject, but it is vital in most marriages; and it’s also another area of your marriage where communication is key because even in the bedroom, desires, wants, and even dislikes (discretely) should be communicated. Whatever you do, Keep the romance relatable (give each other what the other needs), and reliable (make it consistent)!

So, there you have it! 5 tips (not All Inclusive) on how Brian Neube and I Keep and Maintain “A Loving Marriage/Relationship!” No Marriage is failproof even if you do everything right, but always remember, as the old saying goes, as long as you have God at the center of your Marriage/Relationship, “Nothing is Impossible with God”; not even a “Perfect Marriage”, because it is “Perfect Enough For You”!!!

Love, Kisses & Teacups!

Always In His Grace!

Toinette & Brian Neube (We are ONE)

 

Sweetening Your "Sweet Spot(s)" in 2017!

Many people believe you have to make major life changes in the beginning of every year! Changes in areas such as improving your physical appearance, becoming a better person or strengthening areas of weakness. Well,… me?... I’m just looking to improve my “Sweet Spot!” Yup, that’s it! I’m looking to improve in areas of life I’m already doing and doing well for 2017!

I stopped making “New Year Resolutions” years ago, because I, just like most, only keep them for short periods of time and then I fall off the bandwagon. All intention is there and even the motivation for beginning the process, “duh” that’s why the idea becomes a resolution in the first place. But what I have found over the years is that I always make resolutions around things that I should do, but I don’t really like doing or even do well; things like learning to run or jog, learning to workout more consistently, or even crazy stuff like trying to be more content just staying home (Which in my case is virtually impossible J)

Would I love to do these things, especially the things that improve my health, of course; but here is the kicker, I don’t like doing them, I don’t do them well, and at this age in my life I will probably never like doing them or do them well!

So that brings me to today, a place of defeat and determination at the same time. I am tired of feeling defeated by not following through but I am determined to improve my life… but only in areas I like doing and I do well; basically “Sweetening My Spot(s)!”

Your “Sweet Spot”! What is that? Your “Sweet Spot”,is the place (or thing) where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort! Basically, the place where you are doing what you like doing, doing it well and gaining a maximum response from doing it. You see, I learned a long time ago to stop focusing on what I can’t do and start focusing on what I can do and do it to the best of my ability; thus finding my “Sweet Spot”! So, for me that would be concrete areas such as counseling, writing, researching (etc). (Now encompassed in those areas are my character traits such as compassion, empathy, (etc) but not to get too deep…J). Now if you don’t know what your “Sweet Spot” is and you need to discover it, that’s another blog for another time! I’ll keep you posted!

But if you know your “Sweet Spot(s)”, then why not make your resolutions around improving or expanding those areas. Why try and reinvent the wheel whenyou are already driving in a Bugatti or I’ll go lower and even say a Jag (at least you are on your way with a Jag); and if you know every year by February you have aborted your resolution then why keep putting yourself through the pain and torture of repeating it. Why not just sweeten the part of your life you are already doing and doing well.

For example, let’s say working out is your “Sweet Spot” and you are getting maximum results (financially, socially, etc) from doing it, but you see ways to improve it, why not make resolutions around that area of your life. You could make a resolutions to build a training curriculum by February or start working on a business plan to expand the business one week or one month at a time. Basically,by focusing your New Year Resolution(s) around doing things you like doing and do well, you are not only setting goals for yourself for the new year, and changing your life, you are “Sweetening Your Sweet Spot(s)”, and may even succeed at accomplishing your Resolutions this year!

So it’s not too late to redefine your goals or New Year Resolutions, we are only half way through January;… so take becoming a body builder off your list if you know baking cakes and eating them is something you do and you do well; take talking to people more off your list too, if you know you are more of an introvert and you get your energy from within and not from people; and make your resolutions “Sweet Spot” directed goals!

Now, I’m not saying don’t push yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone, (because challenging yourself does make you grow) but when it comes to making New Year Resolutions, if you find that every year for the past 10 years you have tried the same things and failed over and over again… well you know Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”… and I’ll leave that there!

So, if you keep attempting and failing each year, then… mmm… let’s try something different! This year let’s try to make Resolutions around areas of your life you love doing and you do well,… This year let’s make New Year Resolutions to “Sweeten Your Sweet Spot(s)!”

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always In His Grace!

Toinette Neube  

 

 

Relationships that Don’t “Fit”, You Must Acquit! (Set Free)

Why do we force things that don’t “fit” or work to stay in our lives; from shoes that are cute but too small, to relationships with men we know aren’t meant for us, to friendships that just don’t seem to work any longer.

I recently had a conversation with one of my girlfriends about this very subject, and in our conversation we both questioned why we were still friends with certain people in spite of how much drama or negative energy they brought into our lives.

Well, after some pondering and self-examination we came up with a few reasons for the self-betrayal; and our top three reasons were realistic but not enough to validate our suffering (for lack of better terms). The reasons we came up with were, 1. Longevity, they had been in our lives for so long until we just couldn’t just stop being friends with them, 2. Guilt, we felt guilty over being thought of as the mean person, and 3. Fear, we feared what the outcome of the breakup would do to our current lives and in the long run.  

In the long run, Longevity would deem a good reason to keep someone in your life, but if they are toxic, draining and even dramatic, you must examine their place in your life. We must realize that life, changes, just as seasons, change, so why wouldn’t relationships change as well. Nothing can stay the same forever! Moving forward in life means growing and sometimes “outgrowing” people, places and things! The same way we physically move away from a town or state because the “town folk” can seem too small minded, sometimes we have to move people in and out of our life emotionally. Moving away from someone emotionally is just as effective as moving away from them physically; and may be even more effective, because you can physically move away from someone but still be in contact with them; where as, if you move away from them emotionally you probably have changed your mind about them and changing your mind, means changing your Life.

Guilt can be an emotional burden and an all around nasty word and no one likes to be or feel guilty about anything in life, especially when it comes to hurting someone. So in letting go of guilt when it comes to breaking it off with someone, just remember we teach people how to treat us and all the negative energy and drama you are allowing them to bring into your life, they are only doing it because you have allowed it. Now this doesn’t mean you have to break it off in a nasty or hasty way, sometimes baby steps can be just as effective as huge steps or changes; and doing it this way might even subside your guilt a little because it gives you time to deal with the issue in bites instead of chunks. But know this, you have two choices; you can either live with a little bit of guilt for a short period of time or live with the drama forever! Which do you choose?  

Last but certainly not least, and possibly an evil twin to guilt, is fear. There are several acronyms out there for the word fear, but one of the most popular ones is False Evidence Appearing Real, and if you can use this acronym as words to live by then you will see that every reason you probably have for not  “acquitting” (giving them and yourself freedom) someone is probably a false reason. For example you may fear that letting someone go may change your life in a negative way; well let me say this, I would almost bet my bottom dollar that if this person is bringing that much drama and negative energy into your life….then any change that happens to you after they have gone is probably a good or positive thing!    

So In reality, there are times in our lives when we have to let go of things to create room for positive change, and sometimes that means letting go of things because they just don’t’ “fit” any longer. (Stop forcing those shoes to fit when you know they are way too small.) As I mentioned earlier, life, changes just as seasons, change, nothing in life is without change and relationships are no different. So if you are in a relationship that just doesn’t “fit in your life any longer, you must learn that if “It doesn’t fit, you must Acquit”! (Free yourself and them!)

Love, Kisses and Teacups!

Always In His Grace,

Toinette Neube  

I’d rather be an Eagle who soars alone (even though I don’t) than birds of a feather that flock together!!!

If all you are looking for in life is fame, recognition and a sense of connectivity, then follow the crowd, do what others do, say what others say, and believe what others believe; but if you are looking for something deeper, something more meaningful in life, something called “God’s will for your life”, then follow your heart!

So many times people say, “I just want God’s will for my life”; but they are afraid to step out on faith and follow His will, sometimes it’s for fear of lack of support, fear of lack of encouragement, fear of lack of followers, fear of failure or worst, fear of the dreaded question…”What if this really isn’t God’s will for me,” for some reason people give in when they have to tread things alone!

Well I’m here to tell you that all those fears are real and they can hinder and stop you from “walking on water” being a “pioneer” and…. doing “God’s will for your life”, but they are all worth the sacrifice when you know you are doing what God has called you to do; the support will come, the encouragement will be there when you need it, the followers… well my take on that is, they shouldn’t be following you anyway, they should be following Christ; but God knows your heart and if you need them to come, they will come too!   

As humans we have a tendency to think of fear as something big and scary like bungee jumping or going swimming if you are afraid of the water; or even going into a scary house, but in reality fear is very subtle and can attack you in ways you wouldn’t even consider.

There was a time in my life when I was afraid to step out and walk on water. I was afraid because of what people thought, I was afraid because of the fear of being alone, I was afraid because of what looked like rebellion to others, but one thing I wasn’t afraid of was that I wasn’t doing “God’s will for my life!!!”

You see I’ve always known the voice of God in my life, not because I am just that cocky, but because I believe what scripture says, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord,” (Psalms 37:23) “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Deuteronomy 31:6) and “My sheep know my voice”(John 10:27)! I know His voice and I’ve always known His voice in my life, and I’ve always believed that He would never lead me astray!

Yes, it can get a bit lonely and scary at times doing God’s will for my life, but I’ve always done what God has called me to do and guess what it has ALWAYS worked out; from marrying the right man, to being a stay-at-home mom when I wanted to work, to becoming a counselor, to writing books, to making investments, to working with the homeless and making it my mission in life….to becoming a minister of His GRACE!

You see years ago I accepted the call on my life to become a minister, despite, not having the traditional look, the age, being a female, and being a teacher and not a preacher, but I have to be honest I really didn’t know what I was walking into. I just felt the call and answered, well low and behold, I didn’t know God would call me, have me serve for a few years and then call me out to proclaim His Gospel of Grace! It was scary, it was lonely, and it still is at times, but I know my message, I know my ministry, my inner circle is AWESOME, my lifestyle is abundant and most of all I know the voice of God in my life!!! He and His voice hasn’t failed me yet and I know He won’t fail me now!!!

So stop being afraid, step out, take a chance at being criticized and ostracized; will it hurt? Heck YES! But I’d rather have this kind of hurt than the kind of hurt that comes with not “walking in His will for my life”! I can truly say I live a Life of Liberty, I Live a life of Love and I live a life for Christ!!! Don’t let man hold you in bondage, because when their lives aren’t up to par, they will, and unfortunately some will keep you in bondage just to keep their pews crowded and their churches full!

No, I’m not trying to bash Christian’s (Heck, I’m one), but it is time to stop playing church games and do what God has called us to do; TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER UNCONDITIONALLY, not to just love one another because we go to church together, or because we support each other’s conferences or programs, or because you are a member of my church and pay tithes and offerings; but love unconditionally!!! BY THIS (LOVE) THEY WILL KNOW YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES!!! (John 13:35)  

Remember God loves you and don’t ever let anyone ever tell you He doesn’t because of something you did or said! As long as you are a Child of God, His love is everlasting, His answers to your prayers are yes and Amen, and His Grace, Love and Mercy endures forever in your life!!!!

I love you and Remember,

You are Always In His Grace!

Godz Grace Girl,

Toinette Neube, MA Professional Counseling 

Religion or Relationship, which one are you practicing with God?

In academia “religion” has been defined as a particular system of faith and worship. Within religions themselves the term has been known to be defined as, a way of life and belief in God or a God; but in reality “religion” today has become known as a system of traditions, rituals, rules and regulations that has unfortunately not only kept unbelievers from believing in an Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient God, but has also turned away people who still believe in God, but have been enlighten and awakened, to embrace the Love, Grace and Mercy of God in a way that goes beyond the traditional ritualistic method we are so used to following in past generations.   

Yes, traditions, rules and regulations have made society and even cultures what they are today, and they have their place in life, even within the religious system, but we must be careful in Christianity not to confuse religion with relationship!

The Bible provides many scriptures on the relationship between a Christian and Christ. One such scripture is John 1:12-13 which states, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” This scripture alone tells us once we accept Christ into our lives that we are no longer strangers to Him, but we are now His Children. This scripture and many like it remind us that relationship/s is/are at the heart of our walk in life not only as humans, but also as Christians.

Receiving love in any relationship in life should be something that is without conditions; and the best example we have of this kind of unconditional love is The Love that Christ first gave to us according to 1 John 3:16, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!” Now that is Love! 

A relationship should be the “at the heart” of your life with God. Religion only requires you to have the ability to follow rules, regulations and rituals, while building a relationship requires that you Accept the person as they are, Rest in that acceptance, and Yield to receive what they have to offer! 

Unfortunately sometimes as Christians we have been so indoctrinated by past generations and conditioned by today’s society to prove ourselves “worthy” in our natural lives that we begin to believe that God thinks the same way we do! We get so caught up into trying to “please” people and “prove” ourselves to them that we forget that God doesn’t think or act like us. According to Isaiah 55:8, “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways,” the true meaning behind this scripture is that God’s love for us is so beyond our realm of thought that we can’t fathom it! Yes, He Loves us beyond Human Measure!  

So today I ask that you examine your relationship with God and in the midst of striving to prove yourself worthy of His love, via “Works” or obeying the “Law”, just take the time to Accept the relationship you have already confessed in, Rest in His Love and promises to you and Yield (slow down and be open to what's coming) to receive the Love, Grace and Mercy He has provided for you!!! I promise if you learn to consciously Receive more from God, you will unconsciously give more to others, because in the end, that’s all He really wants from us anyway, “Love one another as I have loved you!” (John 13:34)!    

Always In His Grace!

Toinette Neube

GodzGraceGirl!   

Is it true that all Great Leaders were once Great Followers, and if they were whom did they follow?

“All Great leaders were once great followers!” Wow! What a statement! Now my question to you is… is it true and if it is, whom did they follow?

My husband and I were talking about Leadership the other day and this question came up in our conversation. Now understand that the Word GREAT is the operative word here. We aren’t just talking about those who lead such as teachers, bosses, or the likes of those whom society has slated as “Leaders”, and are, in their own right, but we are talking about “GREAT LEADERS.” Such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Gandhi (etc.). Leaders whose missions have made a great impact or shift in society as a whole!

I must confess, I told my husband, that I found it hard to follow others as I have seen so many others in my life doing so effortlessly. It’s not that I think I’m better than them or that I’m just a rebel without a cause, it’s just that in my eyes there’s a fine line between following man and idolatry and I personally believe we all can unconsciously fall into the latter if we aren’t cognizant of it!

I’ve been taught through scriptures such as Psalms 146:3, Psalms 118:8-9, and others like it, not to put my trust in man, but to only put my trust in Christ, because they cannot give me salvation!

One of the most notable passages of scripture on this subject is Matthew 23, which teaches us that as humans we all have faults, and sometimes when others begin to follow us we can acquire an ego that leads us to thinking we are God, and that we have all the answers. I personally don’t think most people try to acquire this type of thinking, but it can come with the territory when others begin to put their trust in you the way they should be putting their trust in Christ!

Another confession, I have wanted to follow others for the sake of belonging and that feeling of unity and I, just as others in life, have wanted others to follow me in my beliefs and convictions, and I’ve found myself in the past judging others when they didn’t follow my thoughts and beliefs. But I find the older I get, the more I realize I don’t actually want anyone following me. First of all I’m not perfect and I don’t want anyone following me, because I do (and will continue) to fall short of God’s glory; and secondly if you follow me that means you aren’t following Christ in totality. Yes, you can look to me as an example of Christ, but I am not Christ Himself and thirdly, it’s just too tiring to have others constantly follow you, and I, (being transparent) am more of an introvert, (not in totality) loner and thinker and personally, people drain me!  

I have also found that because I can’t follow man in totality, I only call on others for a listening ear, for agreement in prayer, for accountability and for human connectivity; and viewing man in this light also helps me to love others unconditionally because I don’t see them as gods who will not fall or make mistakes, but as humans who are in need, just as I am, who also need to look to Christ for True Restoration!!!

I’ve had great men and women in my life, who’ve sown great words of wisdom, advice and examples for me to follow. I’ve never had a problem taking their advice and interweaving them into my own life, (from my grandmother, mother, father, Pastors and even iconic figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. etc.) but even with their great perils of wisdom and impeccable character, it’s just a no brainer to me that even they have areas of their lives that the Bible would categorize as sin, thus making them imperfect, human, embodying areas of fault, and in need of Christ’s redemptive blood to be righteous before God!

When I think about Great Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Sojourner Truth, and other of their like, who did they really follow? Yes, I’m sure they probably followed the advice of their mothers and fathers and others in their circle of life, but wasn't it more of their passion, their drive, their determination, their persistence and their obedient heart to bring to life at all costs, the dream or vision that God placed in them that persuaded others to follow them?

Gal 2:20 “Christ lives in me,,,,” Colossians 2:10 “I am complete in Christ,…” and other scriptures such as these, justifies that Christ lives in me and He speaks to me the same way He speaks to everyone else who believes in Him; thus telling me that I too am capable of carrying out great dreams, capable of accomplishing extraordinary things in life and capable of leading just based on the fact that He now lives in me and He speaks to me, all I have to do is listen to His voice and obey His commands when He prompts!

Trust me when I say, I’m not against following leaders, and I definitely don’t think everyone is a leader therefore calling for the need of followers. I also know there are great institutions out there that have benefited from the Leader/follower concept, the military being one; but I also know that we must beware and vigilant of making idols and Gods of man, because the shift can be slight, and it can deceitful and deceivingly subtle. I truly believe we are to look to those who are more mature in Christ, such as Pastors, Ministers, etc. for guidance, but I am also a big believer that once we truly accept Christ in our hearts and keep our minds stayed on Him the way He commands us to do, that we too will grow in our maturity, we too will begin to discern the voice of God, we too will begin to receive revelation from God, and we too will begin to know when God is prompting us to do something or not!

So the question remains are “Great Leaders” great followers or are they just great visionaries who have the art of influence and who’ve been given extraordinary tasks of being great humanitarians who have the passion, the persistence, the determination the resilience and the obedient heart needed to fulfill those great visions,… and if they have been great followers, who besides Christ have they really followed? Remember you can always follow man to great heights in life, but never, and I say never think so highly of man that you forget that it’s Christ that gives you daily Love, Grace, Mercy and most of all Salvation; Psalms 146:3 “Put not your trust in princes, (or) in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation,”!

Love, Kisses and Teacups
Always In His Grace,
Toinette Neube