Non-Negotiable needs—or deal-breakers as some call it—are the foundation that drives your relationships. Whether it's your career, your family, a love interest; deal-breakers are the fishbowl to any successful relationship.
Let me clarify.
When I use the term 'needs', I'm not referencing neediness or clinginess; that's a whole different story; and a sad one at that.
So cheers to strong women who aren't clingy.
However, non-negotiable needs are the things you REQUIRE in life, for yourself, and from other people. After all, it's your life, you get to pick and choose how people treat you, and what you want and don't want. That's the way it works.
I am not a fan of dating, I've written about this a million times; in fact I cringe at even saying the word. Sometimes I wish I could snap my fingers, and the man God has in-store for me would magically fall from the sky—eliminating all dating woes and mishaps—but that's unrealistic.
One thing I do know for sure is this, the most important four-letter word in dating is:
Dating is overrated and sometimes taken too serious, too soon. Don't be afraid to say bye! Don't overlook what you want and need and require in a relationship. Quickly move on ALONE and get on with your life. Eventually someone will come along, someone who has the qualities you cannot live without—but you will never meet that person if you get stuck with the wrong one.
Long haul, compromising on your non-negotiables will only make you unhappy, and sadly, it's also the reason many relationships fail.
Throughout my dating life I've met a lot of wonderful men who were sweet, kind, smart, funny—some of the qualities I love in a man—but they were all missing one or two items on my non-negotiable list.
One guy I dated, in particular, was sexy and fun, witty and brilliant. He was financially stable, super sweet and treated me ever-so-gentlemanly—a great catch for many women—but one of the items on my non-negotiable list is a man who worships the Lord. When I realized he wasn't on board with God and Christian values, I knew I had to walk away. I said goodbye; I was done.
Many women (and men too) sell out for someone who they believe is perfect. They blindly oversee their core values and beliefs. And I'm here to tell you, there isn't a single human worthy of your self-respect.
Knowing what you want, ahead of time, makes the transition of moving-on, an easy one. As much as I loved what he brought to the table, I was not going to compromise my love for God.
DEAL-BREAKERS are an absolute necessity.
Make yourself a list of the 10 most valuable dating no-no's. Then take your list of 10 and condense it down to the 5 most crucial in your life.
Your top 5 are your non-negotiables—STICK TO THEM—otherwise, compromising yourself will only put you in a position to fail.
We have all experienced certain times in our lives when we get tired of the daily. We overload our work schedules when we no longer can. We compensate for others to please the world. We say yes too often, when we should be saying no.
And eventually we melt-down.
We wake up one day, unmotivated and maybe unfulfilled. We're confused with the uncertainties of life and what we've created of ourselves. We don't really want to talk to anyone; we just want to be left alone, if just for a minute, an evening, a day, or as long as necessary.
People will notice your distance but will feel clueless to the sudden change. You won’t understand what’s going on, but the mind will know. And it's at that very moment when you unplug. No explanations, no deep reasoning, you simply let go.
You will search for a space of silence in this noisy, chaotic, fast-paced world. You will detach yourself slowly from people and start living without them. You will shake off negativity. You will disconnect.
Coffee and music will be your comfort as you shut off the world—because it is then that inactivity takes place.
This phase in your life is called hibernation.
And it is very normal.
You see, eventually we all get tired. The hustle and bustle of everyday living becomes a burden and we need a temporary shut down. Your body will slow things down to reinvigorate the mind. You will search for purpose and life for your soul. And once you are done—you will know—because you will be ready to live again with a newer and better version of you.
When I first read the book "PRESENT OVER PERFECT" by Shauna Niequist, I couldn't believe—for a second—the words I was reading. I'm a huge Shauna Niequist fan so when I purchased this book, over a year ago, immediately I read it. Since then, I have been inspired by it twice, with a third read as I sit here and write.
This book is powerful. It's a book about people-pleasing, burn-out, self-finding, living simpler and leaving it all behind. And although the author is female, I think both men and women can empathize—because we all need to find peace at some point.
Funny, we live our lives in a constant mode of "only me"... "things only happen to me"... "how can this be happening to me"... "why me"... but oh my darling dears, you are not alone. If you have a minute to shut off the world, HIBERNATE and curl up with a good book, Present Over Perfect is my choice for you. Because at some point in life, you will have to accept the fact that you are not perfect, but in the present, you can be happy.
If my words haven't inspired you, I hope this book does, happy reading...
TIMING IS EVERYTHING!
Whether it’s a romantic connection, a good friendship, a new relationship... even a marriage.
I believe we meet people according to the decisions we make in life. Before we were even born, God had a plan for us, He did; but sometimes (our free will) overrules and we end up taking a turn in the mortal direction, rather than God's direction.
But no matter what we choose, God prevails, always, and eventually, life catches up to us; mistakes and all. And when it does—sometimes—things work out for the better, and other times, things simply end.
The very people who crossed our paths, may or may not have been right for us, but for some reason, they walked into our lives and changed the direction of our journey; whether it was one year, ten years or twenty, lives were changed forever.
And although we take wrong paths in life, many times God steps in and prevents things from happening.
Other times He watches, without intervention.
He lets us lose—to grow.
It gives us the opportunity to reassess ourselves for improvement, with maturity and time.
Remember, there is learning in every lost battle, and it’s okay to fail—so long as you fail forward.
And if you’re sad, be sad for the right reasons. It’s ok to miss someone and not want them back. Life isn't over because you took a wrong turn. Don’t dwell too much on it, for the mind has the power to make the body sick. Stop stressing and close any doors that hinder you from moving on. "Let your eyes look forward." says Proverbs 4:25 ...and may the remainder of the year be a period of magnificent transformation for you, and within you.
YOU ARE A MASTERPIECE!
Art is not so much what you see, but what God make others see in you. A painting is only finished when the painter puts his brush down; and God isn’t finished with us yet; not even when we take a wrong turn. We are His masterpiece, mistakes and all, and everyday he works on us.
I don't know about your mom but my mama was always a working mom.
Aside from working the typical 9-5 office gig, she was also an avid volunteer at the church and at the forefront of every school function and event we ever had. She had 4 kids, 2 girls & 2 boys, and was there for each and everyone us—from school board meetings and fundraisers to sitting in the bleachers supporting every single thing we did; my mom was always there.
And while her children were her priority, she had an immense love for God, which made volunteering at the church so easy for her. I didn't realize it then but looking back, and as I write this now, she was truly inspiring me to be the woman I am today.
From lipstick, perfume and high heels to bake sales, school projects, motherhood and God, she was my inspiration to womanhood.
The one thing I vividly remember most about my childhood with my mom, was that no matter where she went, what she did or what she attended, she always looked nice. Her representation, as a woman and a mother, meant a lot to her and it showed with the efforts she made for herself.
And I was watching, every step of the way!
On weekdays she would spend hours getting us ready for school—from the struggle of waking up 4 grumpy children to screaming kids fighting about who was showering, who didn't want to and who hated it. My mom battled it all.
And breakfast was never an option—even if we weren't hungry, she made us eat at least a piece of toast—all while dressing herself too, throwing a load to wash and picking up the house, my mom did it all and out the door we all went.
During our entire childhood, and even beyond, I don't remember us ever being allowed to leave the house looking as if we had just gotten out of bed. My mom made sure we were always clean and never hungry. Our bellies were always full and we always gleamed from the cold cream she used to slather on our faces as we cried because we hated it. And our hair, well, it always looked combed to perfection.
However, watching my mom get ready for work each day, were the days I was first introduced to beauty & fashion.
Between Jafra body oils and pink Jergens cold cream jars that sat on her dresser, to her favorite AVON-embossed lipsticks and her collection of matching colored heels and panty hose—which were quite the rave back in the 80's—many of my first introductions to beauty and fashion were by watching her.
So in celebration of Mother’s Day, in a few days, I've compiled some of my mom's beauty advice, tips and tricks she taught me growing up; even my grandma made me laugh.
"Never go to bed with makeup on because it's bad for your skin but also because it’s a pain to wash your pillowcases."
"Just because all your friends are trying to look like Madonna, doesn't mean you have to. You're a natural beauty don't follow that trash."
"Before bed, put lots of moisturizer on your feet and sleep with socks on. You’ll wake up with baby soft skin."
"Make your hair as big as your personality" (my grandma once told me—in Spanish mind you—as I was getting ready for junior prom.)
"Use a lot of cold cream on your face, no matter how shiny you look, it's good for your skin."
"Always wear panty hose they hide scars, veins and suck you in."
"A woman should always smell good" ...as she sprayed her favorite perfume White Diamonds all over her body and headed out the door.
"Wear high heels while you can because one day you'll be old and won't have that luxury."
"Skirts make you look tall and elegant."
"Even if you don't feel like it, if you go out of this house put some lotion on your face, brush your teeth, and comb your hair."
Always get your nails done, it says a lot about a woman."
"If you get dressed, I'll take you to Glamour Shots, they'll make you feel like a queen."
I love my mom. She taught me so much about life, without realizing she was teaching me; at least she thought she wasn't. She didn't think I was listening (she always said) because I was always rolling my eyes and talking back, as most stupid teenagers do, but I was. And I thank God for her.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY BEAUTIFUL MOM AND TO THE REST OF THE BEAUTIFUL MOM'S, MAMA'S, MOTHER'S, MOMMIE'S, MADRES.
You may not believe it but you really are the stepping stone to teaching your daughters.
I used to struggle with age because getting older is typically something we want as children, not as adults. Until one day I was put in—what I call—the corner-truth. During a conversation with a wise friend, she said:
"Never stress over getting old because some people aren't given that privilege."
If that didn't put things into perspective for me, that day, I don't know what did. Her words permanently embedded in my thoughts and to this day, when I begin to wallow in self-pity on wrinkles and aged skin, those very words seem to somehow surface right to the tip-top edge of my soul. Funny, but God has a way of reminding us when we slip.
So I've learned to embrace my years and become more empowered as a woman. And I've also learned the importance of empowering other women.
Beautiful, smart, sexy, independent women are everywhere. Learn to support each other rather than tear each other down. For me, it's one of the greatest feelings I experience as I get older.
I thrive on helping other women succeed and feel good about themselves. I truly believe 'that' is a God-given attribute I've been blessed with because, truth is, not everyone has it; so I use it to the best of my ability.
So on days when you're feeling blah, because gravity isn't playing nice, remind yourself that you are alive. You've been blessed with health and a beautiful new day. And every single moment you have been given should be cherished with grace and gratitude.
So slip on your favorite jeans, you know the ones that say: age is just a number, and go out and get you some.
Embrace it. Love it. Learn from it and when you simply cannot find yourself loving on "YOU", practice loving others by giving your strength away! Empower someone else, you will be amazed just how quickly your mental attitude makes a complete 360°.
There's certain things I do, and don't do every single day; or things I like and don't like—just things—you know. Here a few—maybe unimportant to you but not to me—tidbits, facts and other things that make me—ME!
Bad foods I can't live without:
Things I dislike about women:
Things I dislike about men:
Things you should always have:
a fully charged phone
$50 cash (for emergencies)
a full tank of gasoline
Things I can live without:
Things I dislike in people:
men who play with a woman's heart
frenemies, I don't need em'
Materialistic things I can't live without:
Middle school shenanigans:
Behind the east side of my jr. high school building, I had my very first kiss. His name was Bobby and I really thought I was going to marry him, after all, we swapped spit. That day, I wrote Mrs. Bobby Saprias on a piece of paper—500x.
During my college years:
I was a party girl. *boy how times have changed
I was studying to be a Broadcast Journalist.
I was introduced to false eyelashes for the very first time.
I got pregnant.
My second-semester, Freshman year, was spent over the toilet puking with morning sickness.
Two years later I went back to college.
In between being a young mom and a full-time college student, I got married, had my 2nd child—who by the way weighed 10 lbs, 11 oz. at birth (that in itself is surreal) and I knew it all. I honestly thought I had life figured out...
Things I do everyday:
Things I love about women:
Women who empower
Strong, independent women
Women who are genuine
Things I love about men:
a man who loves God
hard work ethics
sense of humor
Things you would never believe I've done:
I've cried for the douchebag
I've cried for the loser
I've cried for the player
Things I love about life:
making my own t-shirts
Slang terms I need to stop saying:
Things I advocate:
fight against animal cruelty
feeding the hungry
My childhood years:
My very first heart-pounding crush was in the 5th grade to a boy named Derek Dingler—who never knew I existed. Ughhh, I hate you Derek Dingler, but I'll never forget you, you little red haired, freckled face cutie. *I crushed on Barry Swift too but Derek had my heart.
When I was in high school:
My senior year I was voted: Most Beautiful.
I was a twirler, a cheerleader and a writer for the school newspaper.
Once, during senior year, I scheduled two dates, in one night and ended up with a guy knocking at the front door and another one standing at the back door. My mom was furious with me and made me go with the first boy who knocked; but not before she made me apologize and tell the other boy I couldn't go with him because I had another date waiting to take me out.
One winter night, I remember my dad decided to light the fire place in our home. Being that I was cold, I stood next to the fire to warm up. In the midst of warming up, the mini-skirt I was wearing caught on fire. Yes, I caught on fire my senior year, fun times.