Our Engagement Story

Chris and I met in Detroit for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. On this particular day, I made a dinner reservation for the two of us at Coach Insignia. Coach Insignia was a fancy steakhouse located on the 72nd floor of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. The views from the restaurant were spectacular. It overlooked the Detroit River. From our seat, we could see Canada directly across the river. Watching the sunset that evening was breathtaking. It was romantic to say the least.

As we were eating dinner, Chris says, “I have something for you.” I’m thinking, “What in the world does this man have for me? It’s his birthday? Why does he have something for me?” He pulls an envelope from his bag. I open the envelope and it’s a Gap discount card. I said, “Thank you.” #sideeye

Shortly afterwards, he says, “I have another surprise for you? I said, “What is it this time, the garage door opener?”(This was inside joke.) He proceeds to pull a book from his bag. OK, it really wasn’t a book but close enough. It was a 7 page letter. Yes, you read that correctly, S-E-V-E-N, SEVEN, pages!

Me: “Do you want me to read this now?”

Chris: “Yes.”

Me: “Like, right now??”

Chris: “Sit directly in front of me so I can watch you read it.”

Me: Silently thinking, “This is weird!”

I must say, God prepared me for this moment. TBC, Tiffany Before Christ, wouldn’t have been sitting there reading nobody’s 7 page letter, OK! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Boy bye!

As I was reading the letter, my eyes began to swell with tears. The letter was a trip down memory lane. It recapped the special moments we’d shared since our first phone conversation only 7 months and one day prior! Side note: As I’m sitting here in bed typing this, the number 7, throughout this post, really stands out to me. It’s the number of completion. God was completing our courtship.

After I finished reading the letter, I looked up at Chris. Our eyes met. It was as if I could see inside his soul. It was a special, intimate connection. I’ll never forget that moment. I thanked him for the letter and told him how much I appreciated him taking the time to write it.

As we were finishing up dessert, he told me there was one last surprise for me. I’m thinking, “What else does this man have in that bag?!?!” LOL! He instructs me to close my eyes and he’d tell me when to open ’em. I’m thinking, “Sure. Whatever!” About a minute later he says, “You can open them now.”

I opened my eyes to find him down on one knee. Nervously, he began to speak. He said, “I couldn’t think of a better birthday gift than to have you as my wife. Will you marry me? #lifechanged

After I screamed a few times in disbelief and shock, I finally said YES.

You may be thinking, “Good for you. What does this have to do with me?” Before you roll your eyes and exit the screen, gimme a minute. You see, I’d been down this road before. Prior to this, I’d been engaged twice (I’ll share more about that later). This was my third, and God willing, final engagement. I didn’t share this to brag about me. About how good I’ve been or how much I deserve a good man. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t do everything right. In fact, I did WHOLE LOT wrong. But God… He redeems all y’all. #praisebreak

Here’s the thing. I shared this story for two reasons.

  1. Brag on God: God’s my hero. He saved me from myself. He’s been so good to me. In fact, He was faithful even when I was unfaithful. Listen to me, if God removes someone from your life, let ’em go. He has something so much better in store for you. Trust Him. I’m a living testimony. I’m SO, SO, SO thankful He didn’t give me what I thought I wanted. Not because I’m good, but because He’s good. It’s true, Father knows best.
  2. Encourage you. God is gracious. I don’t deserve to be married to the most amazing, supportive, handsome, loving, caring (OK, I’ll stop with the adjectives. Ha!) man, BUT God loved me enough to make it so. There’s nothing special about me. He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

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14 Things About Tea with Tiffany P.

Before we get too serious, let’s get to know each other a little better. It’s my desire, here at Tea with Tiffany P., to create an environment where you feel as if we’re good friends catchin’ up. I want you to know I’m just like you. I don’t have all the answers either. We’re all imperfect people trying to make the best of this thing called life. To foster that type of environment requires being open, honest, and transparent with you. In doing so, I pray you see a little bit of yourself in me. Without further ado, here’s who I am. Less than perfect, more than loved (And so are you).

  1. I’m a professional bodybuilder. When you think of a bodybuilder, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Manly muscles? Incredible Huck? It wasn’t until I became versed in the sport that I learned there are four women’s categories of bodybuilding – bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilder. I became a professional in the women’s figure category (see pictures to the right).
  2. I enjoy lifting weights. 
  3. I’m a certified personal trainer and health coach.
  4. I wear braces. My husband somehow convinced me that wearing braces together was a good idea. About 5 hours after wearing ‘em, I knew otherwise. I couldn’t chew NOTHING! In fact, I was questioning whether or not I still had teeth. My husband had worn braces before; therefore, he knew what was up. I was tricked. As the saying goes, “Misery loves company!”
  5. I bite my nails. No judging! … Is nail biting hereditary? My dad bit his nails too. Perhaps I inherited that trait from him. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, since wearing braces, it’s not the same.
  6. My father died when I was 7 years old. As of June 1st, my father has been dead 28 years. He passed away in a car accident at 27 years old.
  7. I ran a marathon in 4 hours and 47 minutes. Who told me this was a good idea again? Back in 2010, I ran my first and last marathon.
  8. I’m an engineer. I have a B.S. in Computer Science and a M.S. in Computer Engineering.
  9. I’m a member of a sorority.
  10. Some days I hate my natural hair. Is it just me, or do none of the natural hair bloggers have hair like yours? Their hair is usually thick and voluminous. Meanwhile mine is thin and flat. #notfair
  11. I’m self-conscious of my body, too. I’m all for body positivity but some days…
  12. I struggle with acne. Whomever said acne was only present during puberty lied!
  13. I love nuts. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts… They’re all the key to my heart.
  14. My goal is to be debt free by the end of the year. Debt makes the world go ‘round, right? Try telling that to my husband!

Now that I’ve shared some things about me, I invite you to share something about you. Please feel free to share by commenting below or by emailing me at teawithtiffanyp@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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3 Things You Must Do Before Your Next Relationship

Chris and I are celebrating our 7 month anniversary today. “We got engaged within 7 months of dating and we’ll be celebrating our 7 month anniversary in a few days. Can you believe that?” is what I asked Chris. Actually, we’ve been married longer than we were engaged – that’s a discussion for another day! Anyway, it made me think about what was so different this time around.

Prior to Chris, I’d been engaged twice. Yep, Chris was my third engagement. As I reflected on the differences, I was inspired to share my lessons learned. Before I do that, I would like to impart some words of wisdom to you. If you’re currently in a relationship, or engaged to be married, and you’re having reservations, it’s possibly time to move on.  When neither of my previous engagements ended in marriage, I was embarrassed. I was concerned about what other people would think. Would they think something was wrong with me? Would they think I’m a failure? The truth is, the people you’re concerned about will be off living their lives and you’ll be miserable. Do what’s best for you. Sometimes, it takes more strength to walk away than to stay.

Based on my lessons learned, the advice I have for you is:

  1. Pray FIRST. You may be thinking, duh! But, here me out. In my previous relationships, I never sought God, first. I sought His guidance about a lot of things but never who I should date. It never even crossed my mind. Interestingly, I ran straight to Him when things were going south. At times, even praying for Him to deliver me. I’m so thankful God didn’t say, “You’ve been doing your own thing. Now you want my help? Chile bye!” What about you? Is your experience similar to mine or do you seek God before entertaining a relationship?
  2. Set Boundaries. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” We start playing the role of a wife long before get the title, wife. Then we wonder why things aren’t working out. God sets an order for a reason. When we step outside of that order, we get into trouble. Before Chris and I started dating we established a set of boundaries. If you don’t set boundaries early, you find yourself at a point of no return. Yes, 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. That when we’re tempted, He’ll provide a way out but the way out starts long before “Netfix and chill.” If you allow him to come over after dark and nobody is home, and won’t be home for hours, what do you expect God to do? Come down and sit on your lap? Sit on your hands? Wire your mouth shut? C’mon nigh! Don’t be foolish!
  3. Surrender to God. In the past, I took matters into my own hands. For example, after I graduated from college, I was offered a job in Colorado. In my mind, it made sense that the guy I was dating would come too. Who wants a long distance relationship? Clearly, I didn’t pray first, nor did I set boundaries. Had I sought God’s word on the matter, I would’ve known this was wrong because it contradicted His word. The first night I talked to Chris on the phone, I was smitten. He was different from any man I’d ever encountered. He seemed to be all that and a bag of chips but as soon as I hung up the phone, I prayed this prayer: Lord, if this man is not my husband, remove him from my life. Period. I’d wasted enough time. As our relationship progressed, we continued to surrender. Over and over again, God showed us His faithfulness. We dated long distance until we got married. Most of that time, I was in Colorado while he was in Alabama. God orchestrated it all. I didn’t do a thing! Oftentimes, we don’t see God move in our lives because we’re too busy taking matters into our own hands. Is God carrying your relationship, or are you?

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Marriage: Why It’s Not What I Expected

 

“Is marriage different than you thought it would be?” was the question asked in a devotional Chris and I were studying. Pausing for a minute, I reflected upon what I thought versus reality. I answered first. “Yes! The first seven months of our marriage have been much different than I thought.”

I envisioned a two income household, endless shopping, disposable income, and lots of travel. Far from the cooking, cleaning, and piles of laundry awaiting me. I never in a million years envisioned myself being a housewife. I thought being a housewife was an elite status, reserved only for the rich and famous. I was neither of those things.

From a very young age I was taught – Work hard. Take care of yourself. Don’t depend on a man, or anybody else, to take care of you. Now what would people think? Scripture clearly says in Proverbs 29:25, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety” but that didn’t stop me from entertaining my thoughts. What would people think of me becoming a housewife? How would I explain forfeiting my six figure salary as an engineer to be a housewife? People would think I was crazy to give up my life to marry a man I barely knew (that’s a story for another day). All of these thoughts were confirmed when I received the following email from a friend/mentor.

Tiffany, don’t give up who you are for your new marriage…if something should not work out, you will be left with nothing. Chris is not giving up who he is for you, why in the world are you giving up who you are for him? What if he divorces you in two years, then what?

And, men respect hard work, intelligence and partnership from their spouses…if you become one dimensional, you risk becoming uninteresting. What is going on with you…I don’t get it? You marry a man that you don’t know, you quit your job, and you move away from all independence, you have no income, do you even know what his legal worth is and who he has assigned it to should anything go wrong?

Yeah, me too! I was at a loss for words too! Needless to say, I was upset. After calming down, I realized she was coming from a good place. Like me, she was taught, work hard and don’t depend on anybody. The thought of surrendering control to someone else is scary; however, that’s what God requires of us. He wants our hearts. He wants our complete trust. He wants to know we really believe He’s a good, good Father. Would I surrender this season of my life to him and trust He knows best? What about you? Is God tugging on your heart to surrender something? It’s easy to believe it’s us making things happen in our lives, but that’s simply not true. God is in control of all things.

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. Job 12:10

We can’t expect others to understand what God is doing in our lives. That’s why it’s so important to have a relationship with God. If you don’t know who you are, someone else is waiting to define it for you. Had I received this email prior to having a real relationship with God, I would’ve frantically started searching for jobs to prove my worth. Not this time Satan! I chose to trust the plan God has for me. We’re often taught, good things come to those who work hard. While that may be true, I also believe better things comes to those who trust God.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

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