Farewell 2014

As this year is coming to a close, I wanted to breathe a huge sigh of relief and say “Dog Gone We Made It!” Yep, we survived 2014. It flew by and as we get ready to usher in a new year it is incumbent on us to reflect on what things we did and what we hope to do differently in the upcoming year. Yeah 2015!

I told you that I love hope because it is filled of possibilities, well this is an awesome time for me because it is the time that I can hope for new things. I don’t do resolutions. I try to look over my life for the last 12 months and resolve to do better with somethings or to try new things. Things that are measurable and can actually be accomplished.

So, what do I resolve to do in 2015?

  • Laugh more – Truly. I think this year, I’ve laughed more than I ever had in the last 3 years. It is awesome and I want to keep it up.
  • More – I talked about wanting more earlier this year and that’s what I intend to do. Ask for more, give more and be more. I can change my mind if I want too. More says I’m worth it.
  • Travel – My car insurance took me for a loop this year, so I can’t afford much, but I would love to take day trips or weekend getaways.
  • Meet new people – This year I’ve met 5 new people that I actually talk to on a consistent basis. We are developing and nurturing friendships. I want to keep that up.
  • Continue to grow – I spent many years hiding in the uncomfortable spaces by trying not to be noticed or let people know what I wanted. I don’t want to do that.
  • Dance in the rain – Yep, I want to do it. Not sure when because let’s be real…A sister doesn’t like to mess up her hair. LOL! But, I want to do it.
  • Finish my book – I want to bring the characters to life for you. Not to become rich, but that I may grow and share my work with people who will find it both interesting and relevant.
  • Learn two more things about myself – This year I’ve learned quite a few things about myself and I pray that learning process will continue because it is only then that I can love, learn, redirect and accept the things that I need to change.
  • Let go – I want to truly let go of some of the things that created barriers and walls in my life. I want to bring them down and mend some relationships, but more importantly, heal.

That’s it for me. Not really resolutions but a list of hopeful things that I would love to accomplish in 2015. What about you?

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Brown Girl Blues

The best way to protect young black, brown, men of color, women of color, is to actually stop profiling, stop the prejudice, and stop the judgment first. – Hill Harper

 

Sigh.

There are too many battles with my beautiful brown babies going on. As a brown girl with a brown boy, it affects me. Personally. The latest issue outside of the “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” movement is the piece I read about how black girls are disciplined harsher than white girls who commit the same crime. Worse than that…darker skinned black girls face harsher or more severe punishment than lighter skinned blacks. WTH?

Yep, that was my reaction. WTH is happening to our brown babies in this country. Really? Are we doing the brown paper bag test on our children? I thought that kind of slave mentality had ended. Apparently not. I am too naive for this country. For those of you unfamiliar with the brown paper bag test it was a test that some blacks used to determine whether admission would be granted in certain circles such as sororities or admission into colleges. If you were as light or lighter than a brown paper bag, you were admitted in. We (blacks) actually used this as a way to determine whether we were beautiful. Based on our complexion. Now others are using it. Today.

A New York Times article entitled “Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differ by Race and Hue” earlier this month just added another piece in a puzzle of growing social issues in which I’m monitoring. In short, the article stated that researchers found that black girls were punished harsher than white girls accused of the same crime and that throughout darker skinned girls were three times more likely to be suspended than light skinned black girls. Excuse me? Yep. You read that right.

To deny that there is such a thing as white privilege is to ignore that racism doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that you are a racist, but let’s be real, you can’t say that you don’t see color and that all these injustices to people of color are a figment of a nation’s imagination. They are not. We need to address the issues of disparity and then try to formulate ways to prevent these kinds of injustices. What about our children? What about our girls?

The fact that the school system is systematically treating girls of different races and then hues differently is a sign that there needs to be change. We can’t continue to hide the fact that racial injustices are occurring all over this country. Even in our schools.

As a black woman, I was fortunate to not have to experience racism in school. I went to a predominately white school at the time (60% white) and my favorite teachers were white. They were the ones who never gave up on me and encouraged me to do better. They inspired and nurtured my love for reading and writing. They helped me pass Chemistry and Physics (by blatantly giving me the answer) because they cared about me. They believed in me. Even when I doubted myself.

There was no color. Just love. Yes, I knew they were white and they knew I was black, but their genuine belief and support in me mattered more than anything. For that, I am thankful.

No, my situation wasn’t the same as these young girls, but that’s because I attended a great school with great teachers and even a great principal. They took the time to learn their students and they treated us equally. Fairly. I couldn’t talk about experiencing racism at school because I didn’t know what that looked like. I never experienced it. I thought everyone had the same experiences as I did. It wasn’t until college that I realized that the world was bigger than my town in Maryland. It was a lot bigger.

College and life shaped my views about the injustices outside of my circle. I grew more aware and socially conscious. I became someone who wanted to seek solutions to the problems that plagued our community. An activist. An intellect. A feminist. A mother. Many titles, but deep down inside…I’m still a little brown girl who hurts for everyone.

One of the best comments I read was by a reader named Kinsey Clark in Athens, Georgia who said the following:

I am a white female, and I was in Georgia’s public school system my entire life. Anyone who argues with these studies is simply wrong to do so. I know I got away with things that my black classmates did not, or I was at least punished to a lesser extent. I hate my white privilege, but I have learned that the best hopes for eradicating it are to accept it for what it is. By denying it, by pretending that I am not lucky to be white in this country, I would be ignoring the problem. I feel too many people don’t speak up against these types of inequalities. I wish I had when I was in school. Racism is still rampant in this country, in ever nook and cranny. It’s simply become so institutionalized in the most subtle of ways, that many of us privileged white folks don’t even notice it. I won’t try to pretend to understand what it feels like to be one who is forced to suffer through it. Yet I will always do my best to put myself in another person’s shoes. I thank the NYT for publishing this article. While protests are roaring nationwide against racist practices by the police, we must continue to shed light on ALL forms of discrimination. The first step to fixing any problem is to let people know the problem exists. I hope school systems will listen and take action.

Insightful huh? Let’s hope that the school systems will listen and take action. For everyone’s sake.

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The Day After

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. – Lou Holtz

It’s the day after Christmas and the holiday glow is still going on. I enjoyed the day spent with my son and friends. Very low-key. Nope, I didn’t get an abundance of gifts, but an abundance of prayer and for that I’m thankful. So, nothing to return today, but in thinking about my life over the last year, there are a few items that I would like to return before 2014 is done.

Here they are:

  • The need to worry about what others do and don’t do in regards to developing our relationship throughout the year. I give too much thought over people and things that don’t need my time or attention. I want to return that worry.
  • Less control over situations. I know I can’t control everything, but I need to give up some of the reigns. So I’m giving up SOME CONTROL. LOL.
  • My lack of patience. I know that things come in due time, but I’m like a kid screaming, “When is it my turn?” I need to get a grip and be patient. I’m returning my impatience.
  • My fear of not trusting my instinct. I spend so much time asking my friends for advice instead of following my heart and trusting my own instinct. I want to return that fear.
  • My pessimistic attitude. Believe it or not, sometimes I can get really dreary with saying things like, “I knew it would turn out this way. That’s the way life goes.” More optimism please and I’m returning that pessimistic attitude because it doesn’t fit.
  • My fear of wearing clothing that accentuates my shape. I’m turning 40 and I’m embracing all the things that come with being 40 including loving the skin that I’m in. Bright clothes, different shapes, heels, make-up and more smiles is what I’m carrying into 2015. I’m returning the fear that curvy means dreary clothes.

So, that’s it loves! Some of the things that I want to return today and not carry into 2015. What about you? Anything you want to return?

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:11-14 King James Version (KJV)

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

Let’s celebrate and sing “Hosanna, Hosanna” because on this day our Saviour was born. That in itself is reason to sing in exultation because we know that Jesus is the reason for the season.

In opening your gifts and spending time with your family and friends remember that this day is a day of celebration. Not a pity party or a time to be upset about what you don’t have or didn’t get for Christmas. Because you did get a gift today. The best gift ever! God gave us the gift of Christ.  A king was born and the entire world received this gift.  This is the true meaning of Christmas.

So, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and share Christmas photos of munch over the years to let you know that I’m truly thankful for the gift I was given. God is an awesome God and while my munch is opening up his gifts on Christmas morning, we will be reading the Bible story about the birth of Jesus. Let’s rejoice!

 

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The Little Drummer Boy

My church is awesome! Have I said that lately? I love my church and my church family. I’ve been a member since I was 16. I got married in that church, I got baptized there and dedicated my son at that church. Whew! You see the level of adoration I have for it right?

Now that my son is older. I put him in the Sunbeam choir (children 3-12) to sing to the glory of God. Why? Because I can. LOL. No really, my son has a beautiful voice and I tell him that we need to honor God by doing something other than just attending church. So, he is a member of the Sunbeams and he performed at our annual Christmas program on Sunday, December 21, 2014. They performed Little Drummer Boy.

Check it out.

The Bestest Gift Ever

I titled this post the bestest gift ever because I wanted to tell you through pictures what Christmas means to me. It’s not the cost of gifts or whether I get any gifts at all, but waking up everyday with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for Christ allows me to know the difference between wanting things I can’t afford and knowing that I received the bestest gift ever. It’s a year in review of what I’ve been blessed to receive.

 

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I’m thankful for everything. I wish you only the best this holiday season. Remember to appreciate and enjoy the life you have and know that you are truly blessed.

The Number 7

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. I saw the number 7 everywhere. I woke up late at 6:27 a.m. I was late dropping my son off at school. It was 7:55. I got stopped at 7 red lights between my son’s school and getting on the beltway. I arrived to work late at 8:37. I got on a conference call that was supposed to be 30 minutes long and it ended after 37 minutes.

Seven was everywhere. If I was a gambling woman, I probably would have gotten a few lottery tickets with those 7’s in it. But, I don’t gamble. I remembered the significance of the day when I glanced at the calendar and began drinking my coffee. I knew why I was seeing the number 7. It’s been seven years since I lost my best friend.

Brennan Copeland (my cousin) was smart, attractive, attentive and loving. He was my best friend. He was the man I named my son after. He died seven years ago on the 15th of December. He lost his battle with cancer.

Brennan and I were like brother and sister. We were 9 months apart. He was my hero. God had truly designed a man to love me without restrictions, hesitation or ill-will. That all-encompassing agape love. Brennan or as we called him “Boo-Bop” taught me many things. He was full of charisma, intelligence and always had these quirky sayings. Many things he said, I couldn’t repeat on this blog, but trust me when I tell you that he had a sense of humor.

I was fiercely loyal and protective of Boo-Bop. I often challenged his love for me. I would cause drama in his life to test his love. See if that would stop him from loving me. It didn’t. No matter what I did he always forgave me. He loved me and had my back.

On December 15, 2007, seven years ago, I felt my baby move for the first time. I screamed for my husband. I told him that I felt the baby move. He reached for my stomach. I yelled, “Hand me the phone.” I called my sister. I asked her was it too soon?  I was 16 weeks and 3 days. I told her it felt like someone was tickling me with a feather inside of my stomach. She said, “Nope, that’s your baby moving. He’s freakishly huge. It’s quite normal for big babies to move.” We laughed at my baby.

Seven minutes after I hung up with my sister, my mom called to say that my cousin had died. Seven.

Seven years later and I started looking at the significance of seven and here’s what I learned about the number seven and my faith. According to Bible Study.org, “Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things.” How awesome is that? Completion.

My cousin had faith. He is with God. Seven years later both physically and mentally I am in a much better place. I miss him immensely. But, I know that as I’m finishing this at 12:37 that he is truly watching over me and all that I’ve learned since he has passed.

Seven years later. I’m stronger, smarter and more aware of who I am more so than I’ve ever been. Seven.

There is completion and spirituality in the number seven. I’ve found peace and understanding in seven. Guess what? My word count is 577. Seven is good.

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Finding Me

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. – Benjamin Franklin

 

There is something I want to tell you…

I’m not perfect. Whew! I finally got that off my chest. I’m neurotic about alot of things. I’m moody and loving and emotional. Gasp! I actually cry when I see sad movies. The last time I cried…Umm, last week when I watched The Amazing Spiderman 2. Yep, when Gwen died, I balled. Before that I cried when I watched the movie, Belle. How could a mixed woman not be with the man she loved because he didn’t have a title? Love should have no color, status or issues. Love who you choose.

You see…I’m pretty dang emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I live and I laugh and I cry. But, some of the hardest and most emotional tears I shed were over me. Why? Because I loved someone so much that I was hurt when they hurt me. I actually blamed myself for someone else’s shortcomings. I thought, “If I was smart enough he would introduce me to his family”, “If I was thin enough he would take me to meet his friends”, “If I didn’t anger him, he would stop walking out and not calling” and many more thoughts.

Pathetic huh? Not to me. Those times in my life when I felt hopeless and lost because I loved someone more than me taught me an invaluable lesson…I’m special and I am worth it. I’m worth someone wanting to jump through hoops to rearrange his schedule to see me on a whim. I’m worth honesty, dependability and faithfulness. I’m worth being with someone who wants and accepts all of me.

For many years, I shrank in relationships. I became smaller so he could be bigger. I denied my true self for the sake of relationships. I wanted to keep the peace. I hid my individuality and focused on the team (us) while the player (me) grew smaller and tried to give her all. I lost who I was. The thing that makes me special.

Until one day…

I woke up and took back my strength. Not to hurt anyone, but to save me. Because me needed saving. Me was special. Me was important. Me was just the beginning.

So, find who you truly are. What you truly want and make decisions that will help you get to your place of happiness and more. We all want something. This is your time to get your more and remember that you deserve it.

I Am My Sister’s Keeper

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

I am my sister’s keeper. Not just my actual sisters (I have two), but my girlfriend’s too. I care about women and love my girlfriends immensely. They are the most powerful, inspiring, straightforward and loving women I have ever known. They listen, support, encourage and push me to keep my head up in spite of adversities. They are my support network. Better yet, they are my sistergirls!

My sistergirls have picked up my son from daycare or school when I was stuck in traffic and his dad was stuck in a meeting. They have kept my son overnight when I’ve been too tired to play mommy. They have kept my son when I have traveled out of town to their city for a date night. They have kept my son when I was an emotional wreck and had no family in sight. They have drank with me, shopped with me and gave me some of the funniest and best advice ever.

The bond between two women can be an incredible experience. You love the person and they become a beat in your heart. They don’t change your relationship with your significant other, they encourage it and remind you that no matter what…nothing will ever come between you two. They understand that you’re too busy to get together because you’re playing wifey or supermom. They cook meals when you’re sick so you can focus on getting better. They are just awesome!

Sistergirls are a requirement for any woman. You need that support. God has provided me an awesome network of women that do that for me and more. When I go to them with my “issues” they just listen and give me a non-judgmental and practical approach on how to handle things. “Whatever you want to do girl, you know I got your back” is what they say.

How encouraging is that?

Recently, I had a man tell me that he worries about me being everything to everyone. He said, “If you give of yourself tirelessly who will take care of you? What will you have left in the end?” I smiled and said, “Enough”. He looked at me puzzled. I said, “God gives me enough. Enough heart to love and strength to be the support that my sistergirls are too me. Yes it may seem like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but the load I carry is not heavy. It is enough. I am enough and I can handle it.”

I need my sistergirls more than they need me. I’m always the one calling them with the latest and greatest thought, idea or piece that I wrote and I want their advice. They give it to me. Without hesitation. When I have a break-down and cry about a situation, they love me and support me and remind me that “God never gives you more than you can bear.” They are the ones that have encouraged my writing and they are the wind beneath my wings.

But lately, my sistergirls have been going through things that I can’t fix. Do you know how that annoys me? They make things better for me and I want to do the same for them. I know I can’t carry their burdens, but I share in their heartbreaks, disappointments and pain. I willingly love and try to inspire them with subliminal tweets, posts, texts and Instagram love. I want to be their rock because they are that to me. So, you know what? I will.

I don’t want a man telling me to not concern myself with their problems because that is not what sisterhood is about. We live, we love, we laugh and we cry. Shared joys and disappointments. If you are my man and you’re going through something, don’t you want my support? Yep! Absolutely! So, understand this…there is no greater love than sisterhood. I am my sister’s keepers.

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