Issues of the Heart Part 7

For Part 7 of this series about the many faces and places where we find love in our lives, my sister talks about what it’s like to be in a relationship where the two people live on opposite sides of the globe.  It’s a different love-one that requires a different mindset and a different perseverance and sacrifice, but I’ll let her tell you all about how she makes it work below! 

Guest Blogger: Juliet, 27. Zimbabwe, Africa/California, USA 


Years from now, our past will be a story- a story of long days and lonely nights, hard work and lack of sleep.  We will live each day having intimately knowing the pain of being apart. We will appreciate and embrrace our time together, knowing how lucky we are to have made it through and we’ll find solace in the promise of a future together. 

Long distance love is hard. Not in a million years did i think that I would fimd myself in a long distance relationship, but here we are.  When we first started talking, we automatically clicked.  We talked for four hours straight and the more we talked, the more we wanted to get to know each other. I started to fall in love with a stranger based mostly on what he was telling me or showing me over the phone. I had to embrace the fact that time difference and learn to live with it.  He sometimes calls me at 3am ( him knowing how much i get uncomfortable not having my makeup face on) he always ask if i need 5minutes to put my “Lipstick on” . These little moments we have with each other are the ones that count.  For  example: 2 weeks ago when i woke up i got a video from “Mr Long distance” explaining how his day went and letting me know what he was planning to do with the rest of it.  Although to him this gesture might not have been such a big deal, but to me it was the best video ever.   It made my whole day that much better! After seeing it all i wanted was to hug him but i couldn’t do that so what i did was watch the video over and over again- grinning all the way to my ears.

In order to make our relationship strong, we have learned there are 3 important components that can either make or break us: 

  • patience
  • communication 
  • trust 

Trust plays a huge deal in everything.  When “Mr Long Distance ” doesnt answer my calls a lot of things come to my mind- I always end up asking and answering my own questions Lol . I hate 1 specific question i ask myself all the time “who is he with that makes him so busy that he can’t answer my calls??” When he eventually calls me back even after 5minutes we fight about why he didnt pick up, which basically put our communication skills to the test. After a whole lot of drama of screaming and hanging up ( usually me screaming and him hanging up) lol and probably wanting to choke each other, We come back to find common ground and try to be patience with each other by talking and compromising

The worst part about all this is regardless of our strong bond, we cannot comfort each other physically when things go south and we can’t really makeup either.  We just talk it out hoping we will be fine after. We are not a typical or usual couple but guess what? I fell in love with his soul before i could even touch his skin. And  so I call him My Mr Distance. Happy Valentines Day to you my love. 

Now it makes sense why that girl is always…and I mean ALWAYS on the phone hahaha. A beautiful story about a beautiful love. 

Again, thanks for reading everyday guys. This series has been really awesome.  Tomorrow, Valentines Day, is the grand finale.  I have a few more posts on the general views of love that I think you guys will enjoy so again-stay tuned! The previous posts are linked below!

(Sibling Love) Myesha/Pete (pt1)

(Sibling Love) Steph/Nicole (pt2)

(Motherly Love) Blessing/Mase (pt3)

(Motherly Love-Nonbio) Kait& the babies (pt4)

(God & Love) Rebeca (Pt5)

(The many faces of love) Jonathan (pt6)


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Love Bit For The Week: Optimism 

So I had the day off work today, hence the late post. When you don’t have a day off you complain about how much you could get done if you did, but when you do, often times nothing really gets done. At least that’s been My experience. 

So this week was rough. You know the feeling of comfort I talked about last week?  Well, that kinda faded away.  Sometimes things go so well in life that you almost forget what it’s like to struggle.  But fret not, life often reminds you.  I’m struggling with a difficult professor, plans I thought were set in stone seem to be falling apart slowly, and I just cant seem to get it together. Not to mention every time I get a news report about things going on in our country my heart hurts a little more. I am an INFJ personality type for those of you who took the MBTI. This means when I’m stressed I don’t ask for help, I simmer like a quiet volcano until I can summer no more. I look inward and tend to deal with tough stuff on my own and if not reigned in, this often just leads to random outbursts here and there. 

About midway in the week I felt myself just having bursts of annoyance with just about everyone.  Anytime I looked at someone all I could see is what annoyed me about them, because I was not dealing with the real reasons that I was feeling this way. 

So where was the love, you may be asking.  As I said last week, there’s always a silver lining-always a break in the clouds if you just wait.  Yesterday I spent the day with my mama at her work. She’s a high school math teacher and she has been for years but I’ve never seen her in action for one reason or another.  Either we are in school at the same time, or I’m busy at work.  But yesterday she was just so happy.  It was like bring your kid to work day for her.  She got a new grader, and a new shiny toy to show to all her friends and coworkers.  I can’t count the number of teachers who I got to meet who seemingly knew all of my wonderful accomplishments.  My mom and I fight like any other mother and daughter but watching her do what she loves, it’s hard to not be in awe.   


How she does what she does at work all day and then comes home and still gives her all to her family is beyond me.  That woman has always amazed me.  I’m really grateful I got to see her teach, laugh, learn, and encourage even for those few hours.  Being a teacher is a thankless job, but being a mom I think is the greatest job of all because you kind of take on every role in book-with no pay, no breaks, no end date. It’s incredible. 

And so. What I learned this week.  It’s really easy to look at people and see all that’s terrible, all that’s wrong and all that you would do different.  But when you search for the positives, the good in people it changes YOU.  optimism is a powerful thing. Even the person you despise the most, has something or someone they love. And I think In the world we live in today, we need more of that. More optimism, more of people embracing their passion, more really great teachers. I’m going to chill out this weekend and try not to murder anyone. I think some selfcare and unplugging is in order to refresh before Monday. Have an awesome weekend!! Hug your moms extra tight and thank them for all they do. 

As usual, your comments, questions and concerns are welcome below. Thanks for always reading. Thanks for learning how to love better with me! ALSO.  I have a really special project. I’ve been working on for the week of Valentine’s Day that creeping up here and I can’t wait to tell you guys about it.  Stay tuned! 

-Jo❤

Love Bit For The Week: TV Notes (This Is Us)

So for the new year I wanted to change up my blog format a little and find some direction. My theme is All things Amore, and I talked about that a little in a previous post about how love is at the core of most everything we do. 

So what I wanted to do was post two times a week at least. One post will be at the beginning of the week and it’ll be some form of encouragement to kinda fill up your love cup for the week.  This will be either in the form of a quote, a verse, a video, song lyrics, a picture, etc.  I also wanna do posts called Love Bits at the end of the week that detail places where I saw love during my week.  These will be more versatile depending on my experiences that week but I do hope they will be helpful. My goal for this year is to sure more love with the world and just share my experiences trying to be a more intentionally loving person. 

For last week’s Love Bit I watched an episode of the new drama/comedy Rhis Is Us. I love love LOVE everything about this show basically.  I love milo ventimiglia, I always have.  I love his portrayal in this episode specifically of the father of the household.. I love watching him kind of battle his own demons on his own time, also finding time to be super dad to his kids. So basically I typed down my thoughts while watching last week’s episode in real time. If you haven’t seen it this would be a good place to stop reading lol


Season 1, Episode 10 “The Right Thing To Do”

Kevin explaining his jokes is actually hilarious 

The chemistry between milo and Mandy is epic. I believe them so much I feel all the things they feel as parents. 

I wish Kate had another storyline outside of her weight and her boyfriends weight-maybe a hobby would make her more relatable for me. Weight is an issue for every and any girl he’s but I don’t like how in this show it kinda defines who she is.

I love the fact that Randall and Beth’s family is a successful black family not a single mom struggling in the hood cause representation matters. 

Yes Kevin you sleeping with your playwright and you coworker is a terrible idea 

Olivia has returned and all the air in the Room has Been sucked out. It was like when Chris Harrison walks into the room with the first impression rose on the bachelor and all the girls stop breathing and speaking. 

It’s adorable how Randall and his father have sort of switched roles. It’s clear when Randall watches him walk out that door for the overnight date with Jesse that he doesn’t wanna let him out of his sight for whatever reason. We all kinda have that moment when we get older where we start caring for our parents and worrying about them as if they’re 4. 

I love love love the generational parallels in this show. Getting to see how pushy and disapproving and overbearing Jack Pearson’s mother in law is explains why jack seems to always be in overdrive as a parent and as a husband. He’s always had something to prove. 

Kate and Toby. I just feel like she’s his mom. It’s like she cares about his well being more than he does and that feels weird to me. I’d have to peace out tbh. 

“Olivia’s more famous but she also might be mentally ill” 😂😂😂❤ im telling you I LOVE Kevin and I love how he plays off  of Randall because Randall has terrible horrible, no good dad jokes and Kevin’s dry humor kills me 

KAY so there’s about 8 minutes left in the episode, I’m gonna go ahead and grab a box of Kleenex cause I’m not new here and I know the drill. 

Kevin made a good decision but still somehow screwed it up.  He picked the right girl but he made it sound like he did it because he HAD to not because he wanted to be with her. So naturally she storms off.  I think he needs a little bit more maturing before he can be in a good committed relationship. Same with Kate tbh.

“You ve lived in this home and if it comes down to it you can die here”…Aww Randall is breaking all our hearts.  Although he’s also acting very brand new.  Like you knew it would come down to this because that man told you right after he met you.  I think his exact words were “I’m dying son” 

I just wanna hug jack and not let go. He always seems like he needs it. He gives and gives and sacrifices and sacrifices and he’s still always a step behind. AND THEN THEYRE JUST GONNA KILL HIM? I’m hurt. He sold his beloved car. Just to die and be replaced by some no personality having imposter who marrieshis  wife. W h y 😭😭

And the smile on jacks face that only comes when his wife smiles. Ugh I’m so hurt. And I also fed like every episode I’m literally waiting for him to die. I hate free nit knowing but I also see how it keeps people tuned in because we know he’s gonna die eventualllt just not how or when. 

Solid episode overall. Nice to see a little of the past and the odds jack and his wife had to overcome deciding to keep the kids against everyone’s warnings and the love that propels them through the tough times and up to where they are today. 

Why didn’t this show win the golden globes again? I think it was just the categories they were in that were tough. God knows they deserve it. I just love the raw emotion and array of feelings I have when I watch it cause there’s never just one. 

So that was basically my live reactions. Let me know what you think.  Have you Watched the show? If so, who is your favorite character? How do you feel about the constant flashback parallel to the present format? 

This week I hope you appreciate your family and how unique their love is. Like the Pearson’s love someone through the bad AND the good this week. 

-Jo❤

A Thoughtless Love Pt.2


As promised, I wanted to come back on here and kind of finish off my thoughts about grief and loss that I began during the holiday break.  Feel free to head over to that specific blog post and check that out: 

A Thoughtless Love Pt. 1

As I said, grief has been something particularly fresh in my life recently and I just wanted to talk about some of the insights and lessons that I learned from those experiences. 

  • Grief is like that one unique puzzle piece that you can’t replace.

People grieve over different things. Grief for you may be the wave of emotions after your dog died.  For someone else it may be having to get a new house because the last house held so many pivotal memories for them. Failing a class, losing a loved one, going through a breakup- all of these things qualify as a reason to grieve. We don’t get to tell other people their grief is over exaggerated, unecessary or unimportant just because we do not understand it.  The reasons why people grieve differ, and so do the ways they grieve. What works for you may not work for another and we have to be respectful of that.  Sometimes it’s a trial and error situation to kind of see what makes you feel better in your particular situation and that’s okay.


  • People won’t know what you need until you speak up.


    Your feelings cannot be guessed. People will reach out and try to help you the way they think you need it.  Often times we do to others what we would want done to us and that may not always be what that other person wants.   For me, I got a lot of “I’m praying for you” “I’m sorry for your loss” texts and they didn’t really do much.  What I needed at the moment was for someone to REALLY be there, instead of send me what they thought I wanted to hear.  I wanted someone to force me to sit and cry, to talk about my loss, and tell me to stop putting it off.  It’s hard, but you have to speak up.  If want you need is a hug, a silent friend who is just physically there, some space-speak up and speak out. You are not alone.  People want to help you, they just don’t know how. 

    • You must FEEL.

    It’s important to let yourself feel the experience.  A lot of times we are told to power through the pain because society often describes those who cry or react outwardly as weak or overdramatic.  I love the movie Inside Out & how it portrays the emotions we feel.  Joy has a hard time not taking control and she feels like the world may fall apart if the little girl is not happy. We often smile even when we don’t feel like it.  We go to work and tell people we are okay when we aren’t because we think that’s what we are supposed to do. The negative emotions are scary but they’re important.  Sadness, anger, rage, lonliness-you can’t learn from them until you experience tbem. Let the loss hit you- cry, be mad, FEEL. It’s okay.  

      • After you grieve, begin to rebuild. 

      The quickest way to heal is to get yourself unstuck and moving again.  Often times taking some type of action really helps.  For me there was a time period of just not leaving my bed, watching sad movies, lots of ice cream and poptarts and many tears.  But after that I had to get up-start working out daily and the #HolidayCheerInABox project came about.  You can’t internalize forever. Grieve, feel, but start living again.  Like a field of flowers with different colors and shapes, life has its ups and downs, but we must embrace both. It will never be entirely okay.  Things will not be the same, but they will get better.  You will have good days but the point is you’re living again and you’re healing, which is important. 


      These were just a few thoughts I had during my most previous grieving process. I hope some of it helps anyone reading this who may be going through something. If nothing else just know that you are entitled to fell the way you feel for as long as you feel it and no one gets to dictate that. If someone around you is grieving I encourage you to love on them and ask them what they need from you. 

      As usual, feel free to sound off in the comments with any questions/concerns or thoughts you had. Tomorrow, I plan to post a short summary of my plans for this blog for the new year! The new love layout will be a lot of fun so stay tuned. 

      Until then, love more! 

      -Jo❤

        Looking back and Looking Forward 

        So I know I promised you a follow up post on the lessons I’ve learned from grief but I just don’t wanna begin the new year in that note. Anticipate that soon though! 

        I wanted to begin on a note of gratitude and appreciation to all of you. When I began this blog I was lost and confused and I didn’t even really know what I was writing for, or about.  You all embraced that confusion and at times inconsistency, and you never stopped reading and giving me feedback so thank you for roughing it out with me! 

        2016 was a rough year for me along with many others but I think it’s important to remember the amazing times too.  I don’t believe any one thing is entirely bad or good so I wanted to acknowledge all the moments of growth, happiness, love, and warmth I felt in 2016 and use that to spring forth into this new year.  I didn’t really make any resolutions but I do have goals in mind- some big and some small, things like texting back people faster, making more of an effort to call my loved ones, writing more, keeping in touch with God more- the bigger picture of all that is that in 2017 I want to LOVE MORE. 

        As that is the theme of this blog, I hope to post more about things I love, things you love, ways we all can love more, and ways I have experienced love daily as a 20 something postgrad just trying to navigate life.  I hope and pray you guys will join me as well!! 

        That being said I’ve gone through my extensive picture library and chosen pictures that span times I felt love and happiness in 2016 and included them here just for reflection and to share with loved ones! I’m so grateful because all the smiling faces in these pictures contributed to the great parts of my year and there are many more who went unrecognized. My heart is so very full and five days into the new year, I know it’s only going to get bigger this year as I find more reasons to love! 

        Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below as usual if you want. What are your resolutions? What are you most looking forward to in 2017? 

        So the last one wasn’t so happy hahaha but it was a great game to watch. So many memories and so much love. Happy New Year friends

        -Jo❤️

        A Thoughtless Love❤️

        One doesn’t necessarily have to be a psychology major to learn about the five stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. People are generally aware of the fact that grieving is a process and although those five steps offer a sort of framework, grief does not look the same for any two people.

        2016 Was the first year that I lost someone close to me.  In the years before. I had been told acquaintances had passed and I had attended a few funerals, but nothing that really hit me close to home.  This year however, I lost three really awesome people- 2 gradually to cancer. And one very suddenly to an unforseeen health issue.  I learned some invaluable lessons as a result of losing all three of them, but I felt like my grieving process was halted on one of the cases.  An old teacher and a close family friend Velda Cobb-Brown has been gone for a year now, and dealing with that hadn’t been easy. I would say I am beyond the sadness, denial, and bargaining, but I felt kinda stuck at the anger phase.  I was angry at God for taking someone who seemed to be doing all the right things from a Christian perspective, angry at myself for notbeing home and for choosing to stay at school and take finals even as the funeral went on at home last December.  A year later, I was mad I didn’t tell her how much she meant to me when she was here and I didn’t reassure her that her girls would be loved because I just assumed she knew. 

        Being back home after college I hadn’t really seen her kids or her husband and that anger morphed into guilt for not being there for them.  Then I realized how much of it was about me. Things change when you stop thinking about yourself and step into someone else’s shoes.  I knew I had to do something with the holidays coming up and I couldn’t stop thinking about holidays for small children without a mother.  My mom is in all my best holiday memeories and I can’t imagine her not being there.  My desire to share some sort of love with all of these families, the need to feel like I was actively doing something about my grief, and the result of too many hours on Pinterest gave me an idea.

          I entitled it #HolidayCheerInABox.  The basic idea was to put together holiday gift baskets for the two kids in each family, not because I thought it would ever erase the pain of holidays without their mother, but because I hoped it would give them a reason to smile even for a few seconds.  I’m still working on building the boxes now and putting things inside them, but I’ve bought lots of fun gift cards and added one of those 365 jar things- again Pinterest inspired– I wanted to fill the jars with as many notes of happiness as possible: bible verses, encouraging quotes, inspiring lyrics, jokes, and just personal notes.  Ideally, I wanted the kids to be able to reach into this jar in any given day that they feel a little low on love and maybe borrow a little extra love through a note from someone else.  I decided to open up the project to the community and I got so much help it shocked me.  People donated money, wrote notes, and even offered to help me put baskets together.  Most of these people I think on some level were also dealing with their own grief and trying to find a way to help the families too.  In trying to help someone else, I ended up helping myself and helping others. 

        So a few days ago I left all my notes for the #HolidayCheerInABox project in my desk at work (I love that hashtag). If you’ve ever worked with kids of any age, you know what a bad idea that is because they want to see everything, read everything, be apart of everything And touch everything. One of my 8th grade students picked up the paper and read a few notes.  For the next hour, he was nagging me to explain the project to him.  I wasn’t sure what to say, or not say, but he’s easily one of the most persistent 13 year olds I’ve ever met so I had to come up with something fast.  I told him I have a few friends who lost their mom and that I was creating gift baskets to make them feel a little better.  Immediately, he wanted to be apart of it.  I must have redirected him back to math 5 or 6 times but he kept asking, “what can I do Ms. M, I wanna help!”  Eventually I told him to bring his favorite snack for me to add to the basket.  I knew his heart was in the right place, but I assumed he would forget. Most 13 year olds I know are concerned with food, Pokémon, maybe girls, video games and friends- some. Arely even remember to bring last night’s homework to class let alone something else. The next day there was not one, but two acts of candy lying on my desk.

        My heart was overwhelmed and I choked up a little bit at how much love this kid had.  He didn’t ask how this death occurred, how old the kids were, what they looked like-nothing.  He saw a problem and he wanted to help, without even knowing who he was helping. 

        What if we all had a love like that? What would that look like in the world? What if we loved on the homeless, the destitute, or just those around us who Are hurting everyday, whether we know them or not?  What if we were all as impulsive as this kid was when in came to reaching out and being there did our fellow man.  I imagine a world like that is about as close to heaven or whatever utopia you believe in, as we can get. When crosses all boundaries and just moves, it’s beautiful thing because much like small children, it does not discriminate.   

        I hope this story brought you as much comfort as it brought me.  I know the holidays are not always so effortlessly happy for those of us missing someone who was always apart of them before.  In my next post I will share a few things I learned about grief through the last year, so stay tuned.  Until then, love as much as you can and as hard as you can, without second thought. 

        As always feel free to sound off in the comments with your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Have you lost anyone thatyou particularly  remember every holiday season? How do you combat that and for those of you with kids how do you help them do that? How do you think we go from little kids who love others without second thought to becoming adults who are mostly only focused on themselves? This post was particularly hard to write so thanks for reading!

        -Jo❤️

        Learning to love yourself 

        There’s a song by Kirk Franklin entitled “I Like Me”, and when I first listened to it I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It seemed a little narcissistic and slightly random, but the beat had me nodding my head & clicking repeat.  We live in a society where if people perceive your self love the wrong way, or the right way, you may be accused of being conceited.  Being a 20 something in the world today though I think it’s actually very important to learn to love yourself. 

        It’s been something that I have struggled with for many years and i can really only give advice from my perspective.  I’m a very reflective person and the phrase “treat others how you would like to be treated” has always resonated and been my motivation. I’m that person who loves random acts of kindness and just going out of my way to let people know that they are loved. But I’ve found that because I’m so adamant about showing others love, the points in my life where I’ve been the most disappointed have been times when I did not feel that love reciprocated back to me. I’m learning that loving others is a beautiful thing, but one must start with themselves. 

        It’s okay to love on you a little bit too. I’m learning that before I can extend a hand, I have to be in a place where I am content with myself. I’ve been reading this book on self love and doing many exercises from it but one of them is to keep a journal where each week you note what things you’ve done for yourself.  It’s helped me become more intentional and very aware of my body, my mind, and my self talk. I feel a whole lot better.

        So my advice to you as this new week begins is the same. When you think of loving others and helping others, begin with you. Speak words of kindness to others, but also to yourself. Take care of your body and your mind and don’t be afraid to treat yoself! I don’t think I’ve reached the point of narcissism and only thinking of myself, but I value myself a whole lot more when I’m taking steps to make myself happy and do the things I love. 

        Feel free to bounce back your thoughts in the comments below- How do you practice self love? What is something you have always wanted to do that you know will add to your happiness?  What’s stopping you? 

        I appreciate you all reading and I love you guys! I hope you show yourself some love this week.

        -Jo❤️