the yeses and noes of 2017

Osheta and I recorded the latest Shalom Book Club podcast today, a mash-up episode of Wangs Vs. the World meetsYear of Yes – two books that couldn’t be more different if they tried.

Listen here! Listen here! Listen here! 

But as my co-host always does, she finds a way to bring together the most unlikely of topics; she weaves shalom into the conversation and she makes room for grace, and somehow along the way, she always makes me feel like a million bucks, too.

And I, for one, want to say my yeses and noes as loudly and vibrantly as this crew right here.

So, today, in the midst of laughing and interrupting each other and sharing our hearts over the podcast airwaves, we also found ourselves narrowing in on two questions that seem rather applicable to the start of the new year:

What are you saying yes to this year? 

What are you saying no to this year? 

It’s the yeses and noes of 2017, the yeses and noes of where we’ve been and where we want to go and really, who, as our best and most real selves, we want to become along the way.

So, what is it for you? What are your yeses and your noes? How do you want to grow and change and be and morph into the Gina 2.0 version, the Mark 3.6 version, the Cora 7.0 version of yourself?

Here’s what I’m looking at in the coming year:

I’m saying YES to dreaming big. As some of you know, a year or so ago, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I sat down to write our Better Together goals together; while we haven’t formally done that yet this year, my mind is churning. It’s in go-mode. One of the best goals I made for myself in 2016 was to write for pay: even though it felt like such a big, unattainable number, I set out to publish twelve articles for pay last year. And at the end of the year, I did a little hop, skip and a jump when I realized that I’d surpassed my goal by FIVE, and instead seventeen articles published for pay last year. Fist pump! High five! Toe touch! Well, this year, I desire to continue in that trajectory but I’m dreaming big, even bigger: I want a book contract. I want to publish in Salon, Real Simple and The Atlantic. I want to believe that my writing is good enough.

I’m saying YES to health. I’m sick of holding on to baby weight. I’m sick of downing a glass of wine every night – not as a treat, but because it’s rote, it’s routine. I’m sick of not being able to fit into the clothes I want to fit into. I’m sick of back pain and of being a living, breathing conundrum to the doctors who try and treat me. So, I’m bound and determined to find the healthiest version of myself, through whatever means necessary. Year of health, here I come!

I’m saying YES to me. You may have read my post in She Loves Magazine last week, but one of the things I realized upon moving here is that in taking care of others I oftentimes neglect to take care of myself. So, what does care look like for me? It might mean working a bit more, because truth be told, I’m a better mom to my boys when I get time away from them. It might mean treating myself to a manicure or pedicure. Or it might mean simply standing up for what need and remembering that I have a voice and a say in the matter.

And on the opposite hand…

I’m saying NO to sugar – at least for now. The story of my back: I mean, at this point we could write a novel about it. The problem seemed to be solved with Physical Therapy, but that was short-lived. Gluten seemed to be the main culprit for a while, but hasn’t continued to fully rid me of pain. Then, just last week, the third friend in a two-week period mused aloud whether sugar might be the cause of my inflammation. Y’all: the result was immediate. The pain is considerably low. I’ve slept until seven in the morning most every morning. I may only be five days into a sugar-free lifestyle, but it seems to have struck the most positive of nerves – so for now, I’m just saying no to one of my favorite ingredients (and yes, this has included wine as well).


I’m saying NO to bad fits. A funny thing happened on the way toward becoming a bonafide writer and speaker: I started biting off everything. Anything and everything that came my way, I took it. Now, is that wrong? Not necessarily, at least for a time. But it’s time to narrow my focus, just as it’s time to not merely say yes to something just because it’s a “great opportunity” or has an “outstanding platform.” If I’m not a good fit, I’m not a good fit – and I don’t need to morph myself into something I’m not and vice-versa.

Finally, I’m saying NO to excess stuff. Man, y’all: you know that we just moved, just as you know that “we just moved” is a phrase I’ve used a lot over the last eighteen years of my life. Even though I haul carloads of junk to the local Goodwill on a monthly basis, there’s nothing like moving to show you how much STUFF you still have …and don’t need. I desire simplicity, and if that means further pounding my way through every unopened box in the house in order to say good-bye to items that long don’t give us life, I’m in.

So, that’s it for me, at least for now, at least for today. Because at the end of the day, this is truth: we need to say no in order that we might say a bigger yes. 

Wouldn’t you agree?

So, what are your noes? And your yeses? Be sure to check out the latest and greatest Shalom Book Club episode, and otherwise, fill me in: I want to hear your list! 

*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links, m’ dears.

2 thoughts on “the yeses and noes of 2017

  1. What a great list! I’m excited to see where your Big Yeses (and Big Nos!) take you this year. I’m so impressed with your passion and confidence in your writing. I’m totally not there yet, and you are an inspiration…. For me? Yeses include healthful eating (Whole30 was an awesome kick-start!), more hikes and outdoor adventures, more writing for others (not for pay but for the experience of thinking beyond my own blog). I feel like I may need to say No to some really amazing, good things that are starting to feel not so amazing or good. I’m hesitating and praying because they are so good but I just have that gut feeling about needing to refocus. (I’m terrible at those decisions….)

    Thanks for this inspiration! Sorry for the rambling response – you’ve given me lots to think about!

    1. Oh friend, I GET it. Obviously, I’m in for healthful eating, just as I’m in for believing in myself when it comes to my writing (as you should as well). Also, if you ever want to guest post, let me know! This space is yours!

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