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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Monday, March 24, 2014

3 bedroom 2 bath home for rent in Sherwood, Arkansas

I've lived in Mississippi now for over a year, and my house in Arkansas sits empty. I'm ready to change that, so I offering my home for rent.

The home is 1,434 sq ft with 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and a garage with a fully fenced back yard. All rooms have vaulted ceilings, and with the insulated windows there's plenty of light coming in to each room. One of the bedrooms has built-in bunk beds and shelves; and plenty of room for kids to play.

The kitchen has a new (electric) stove, recently purchased refrigerator, fireplace, new central air and furnace. Separate laundry room with washer/dryer connection.

Storage building in the back yard is large enough to accommodate lawn equipment with plenty of room to spare. There's also additional storage off the garage.

I want to help someone get into their new home by the end of April.

Rent will be $950 every month, first and last will be due up front. There will be a NON REFUNDABLE pet deposit of $250.

Download a rental application for my home in Sherwood, Arkansas here to get started.

For more information:
anasthiaj@gmail.com

Monday, February 24, 2014

What unemployment really feels like

FAILURE.

I've been unemployed since December 27, 2013. . about two months.

I was laid off. . whatever that means.. At the end of the day, if you have been trained to appreciate steady employment, regardless of the reason for an extended lapse in employment, it always feels the same. Like Failure.

I've worked since I was 16 years old: 22 years. I've built up this provider persona that I can't really live up to right now, and it's got me really questioning my identity, my faith, my goals, and how I ended up in my current situation.

That last part doesn't really matter. How you end up in the hole is really an empty question. How are you gonna get out of it? That has to be the focus. That's my focus. But I'm struggling.

I wake up every day, and the first thing I do is look up new job openings. I send out 2-3 applications; if I can find 2-3 relevant positions. This all happens before I step out of bed at 6:10 am. And before the day is over, I read 2-3, "You didn't make the cut" emails, and pray that I can go through the process for at least one more day. . to give God just a little while longer to work this whole messed up situation out and to get me on a team where I can do some good.

That's what I'm starving for right now. After taking care of the kids, the house, the dog, the boyfriend, the entire world.. I have to feel like I've done some far-reaching good. And right now I just don't. I feel helpless, useless,

I've been waiting for about a week to hear back from an employer that I just really really felt was a good fit for me: the interview went really well, my potential boss was really pleasant, they contacted my contacts on time. During the final interview, I actually thought they were going to offer me the job. Then, they told me I was one of 6 candidates (out of 72 applicants) that they were considering for the position.

Everything seemed to be going so well.

Then, I received the dreaded "You didn't make the cut" email. Yes, I've read it dozens of times. I can almost recite the text verbatim. But it hurt me SO bad. Oh my. I prayed on this job. I begged God. I was well-prepared for the interview and picked three strong professional references.

I still don't know what happened. All I know is that I feel like I've been kicked in the gut because I have somehow failed again.

I will brush myself off in a little bit and get back at it, so I restart my career in the position that God has just for me. I'm just licking my wounds. . They hurt. I have to go tell the kiddos that this one didn't work out either and answer to their looks of disappointment once again.

This is SO hard. But I'm strong. And I have to be, so I will be. But ouch. This one got me good.

Monday, November 18, 2013

You do not know me if. .

Over the weekend, I realized that there are some people I've had in my circle for YEARS, who don't really know me. To make it easy for you to tell whether you really know me or not, I decided to take a few moments to put together a list of traits for people that may think they know me, but who really do not.


You really don't know me if. .
1. You pronounce my name the way it's spelled.
2. You knock on the front door when you come to my home.
3. You come to my home uninvited, and expect me to answer the door.
4. You think that my baby boy I'm always referring to is less than 10 years old and 100 lbs.
5. You think because I smile and speak to you, I'm flirting with you. I really believe that when you smile, it adds just an extra glimmer of hope to the world.
6. You call and I don't answer (ever), and you think I don't know that you called.
7. You think that I'm always happy when I'm smiling. I'm a lady. I was not raised to say something negative every time it comes to mind. Refer back to #5.
8. You think that I have to not love you to cut you out of my circle.
9. You think that I don't love my kids to death. I do. I do. I dooooooo.
10. You are constantly recommending that I watch a new TV show. I'm not into TV. How about you recommend what I'm into? A BOOK
11. You think that I have forgotten a lie you told me and I caught you in. Forgiven (maybe), but not forgotten.
12. You think I don't notice and appreciate the little things. . and expect you to do the same.
13. You say really negative things about people I cherish and think it doesn't make me dislike and distance myself from YOU.
14. You think that when I say I forgot, you can hint me into remembering miscellaneous facts. Look, generally when it's gone, it's GONE. But I do remember the important stuff.
15. You think me walking away while we were in mid-conversation on a meaningless topic means I wasn't listening. Mmmmm, I was. . that's why I walked away.

OK. I've made it easy. Now, let us both stop pretending.

Monday, October 7, 2013

You just never know who you touch

Today is a rough Monday. I guess it's typical for a Monday, but I was getting so caught up in frustration that I almost forgot. . This is the norm. It's supposed to be crazy after you've had not one but two virtually stress-free days to recover at home with the ones you love.


I had just arrived at the point when I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" and "Why do I care?" when I looked up and saw this little gift from a patient. This little adorable package was sitting on my keyboard when I turned on the lights this morning, but it didn't really have weight until I started to feel unappreciated. As soon as I realized that someone I've served thought enough of me to spend her time and money on me, I got all teary-eyed. Honestly, I cried.

Once I pulled myself together, I called T to thank her, and here's what she said.

"Anasthia, I come in there sometimes on the brink of giving up, and your attitude is what saves me. I don't know why, but just the way you care about me reminds me that I'm worth it. Don't stop Anasthia. I need you."

So, you know me. That's all I need to snap out of this funk. Back to work I go. . with a smile on my face. . that will (hopefully) inspire someone who's having a worse day than I am to keep going.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Behaving as half of a whole is HARD work for a runner

Today has been a tough day. Nothing has gone the way I've wanted it to, but for some reason my other half thinks it has.

Let's see.. The mortgage consultant called me today and told me that we have to come up with another $3k to close on the house. My boss told me that the position I'm interviewing people for, and have determined who I want to fill it, he is also doing his own personal interviewing and screening for. My other half has blown all out of proportion a response that I had at seeing an old pic saved on my laptop of a dear friend. {Yes, he's over there MAD right now. Ignoring me and focusing on his new iPad. . when he knows I'm an attention hog.}

I became so frustrated when I got off of work, I grabbed my tennis shoes and was about to do my thing.. escape.. run.. separate myself from the world that's drowning me.

In the past, my single days (and honestly the entire (brief) marriage, too) on days like this, I would pack a bag, pick a location, finish my work day and go. . leave. . disappear. But I don't have the luxury anymore.

I'm connected to someone else who expects me to behave as half as a whole. I promised him that I will not run until he can run with me. . but today I want to run from him, so putting my word into practice is SO HARD for me right now. And today is a really hard day. I'm just DROWNING.

For six years I've trained myself in the art of escaping. I've perfected it. So today, I feel so trapped, overwhelmed, imprisoned, confined, and anxious. I just want it to be over. What IT is, I don't really know. But I can't deal with it.

The great thing is that I knew where I was before I hit this patch in the road. My better half and I talked about marriage, and I agreed with him. We aren't ready. I didn't say exactly why. But deep down I know that I can't seal the bond with another human being until I can figure out how to stop running. And today I really don't know how.

But right now. . I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW. I feel so immature to not be able to figure out something that I think should be . . well. . natural. This thing of sticking it out. . making it work. . latching on to someone else until the storm passes. . it's just the hardest thing ever for me. . today.

I'm praying that if I can just make it through the night, I'll wake up a little stronger. able to sustain the storm.. and maybe rest my heels for just one more day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"White is Right" is wrong

Why is it that when black people do well in an area, it's defined as "White?"

- "You talk White" means you speak well.
- "You living like White folks" means you have a nice home with little stress.
- "I want that White man credit" means I want to actually pay my bills on time and not live beyond my means.
- "You better stop treating your kids like the White folks" means you better start verbally abusing your children, and physically abuse them when they don't listen.

I've heard them all. And have heard each of these phrases multiple times at one point or another throughout my life. It goes into one ear and out the other. But now my kids are starting to complain that they are hearing "You talk White." And they don't understand what it means. .

Oh boy. . Here goes.

Here was how I explained it to my ten year old today.

"Some Black people are convinced that we (Black people) are not good at anything. So, when someone of color is good at something, they relate it to a white person because somewhere in life they've learned that all good things come from white people. So, it's your responsibility to be even better than you would naturally be. . so somewhere along the line. . that person will have at least one example of a person of color who was just as good or better than the vision of goodness they have created for whites. "

But when I was done with the Mommy talk I had to shake my head. It just makes me sad.

Damn! It's 2013 and racism is still alive. Black on black racism is still rearing its ugly head.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What I'll Never Know: The Last Lesson My Heroine Taught Me

Every now and then I hear myself saying, "My momma taught me that. .," or "My momma would always say. . " When I do, I always take a little pause after that sentence to let the sadness pass. . and to blink through the tears that rush to my eyes.

I've pretty much gotten over the fact that my momma is now in heaven, so I will not have the luxury of hearing her voice or seeing her face on the tough days. But what I can't seem to get over. . the one thing I can't seem to shake is that when my momma left this world she took with her some really amazing sayings and some helpful lessons that I now will never receive.

I feel the greatest loss because of that.

It is NOT true. You CAN miss something you've never had. . especially if the other things you've received are SO beneficial that you know that the best is yet to come.

Elizabeth Ann Francois just taught me SO much. She gave me all the tools that have gotten me this far in life.

- Thank God for the good and the bad. Oftentimes they serve the same purpose; to build your spirit.
- You can't love all your children the same. They are not the same. Your job is to treat them like the individuals they are; and love them the way they need you to love them.
- People will use you, abuse you, and confuse you. LOVE THEM ANYWAY. But when they hurt you, do it from a distance.
- Being rich has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank. It's about how able you are to help others.
- Always forgive. Not to help the person who hurt you; but to help yourself.
- When you can help someone else, do it. You never know when you are going to need someone to come through for you.
- When you do your best you never have to brag on yourself. People will take notice and spread the news about your awesomeness.
- A no good man is just that. You cannot change him. That's God's job.
- Being Christian has nothing to do with your church or how frequently you show up in your best Sunday attire, it's about allowing the spirit of Christ to shine so brightly within you that people can see him in your walk, talk, and act.
- You have to be IN LOVE with yourself before you can fall in love with anyone else. Once you build yourself up you don't have to look for someone else, they will find you.

I could fill a blog directory with all of the lessons my momma taught me. I was blessed for 32 years to have her in my life, and if I try hard enough I can probably recall a thousand nuggets of wisdom she placed with me.

So, I'm sure you're wondering why I now feel like I left some cards on the table? Well, at the end, I just didn't take the time to sit at her feet and allow her to add to the wisdom she started planting with me..

That has to be one of the most painful admissions ever.

My momma was SO strong and so unrelenting in the most difficult situations. Honestly, I thought she'd kick cancer's butt, and we'd have a laugh about how the Devil tried to take her out again.

That's just who she was. She was a conqueror.

So, when I learned she was sick, I asked her to be straight with me. "How sick are you, Momma?" As always, she said, "I'm OK, baby." So, in my mind I thought, " I'm gonna take the next few months to wrap up these work projects, and bring Momma to stay with me this summer." Even after I went with her to chemo and saw how tired she looked, I just KNEW this was just one of those tests she had to endure so she could impart upon me the lessons she had learned.

Well, I'm sure you've read her obituary. She passed November 6, 2007.

That's the day I learned the lesson people speak on, but don't really understand unless they LIVE it. Tomorrow is not promised: not even to the strongest of warriors.

So, my life has changed. I don't let a day go by without telling my children I love them. I call my siblings as soon as the thought crosses my mind. Work is work. There's a time for it; but I'm not consumed by it anymore. And I've decided to be the best friend to my best friend. . not only in words, and cards, and on holiday. EVERY DAY.

I can only be grateful for this final lesson my momma left me with: the reality of my own mortality. It's been a hard pill to swallow, but still I have to say thanks.