Senior Grace

Senior Grace

I visited my hometown this week; while there I had the privilege of speaking with an elder in our community and I was honored. I learned vast history in the span of a conversation. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s happening today and rush through life but if you don’t take time to learn history… “You are condemned to repeat it” per George Santayana. When was the last time you spent time with a senior citizen or even took time to help them by cutting a yard, picking up groceries, or even just having a great conversation with one? It’s the small things that can make someone’s day and for a senior it could make their month.

I adore spending time with seniors because they are an untapped resource for wisdom. The things most have experienced are amazing such as World War II, Vietnam War and desegregation in addition to seeing leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy and Malcom X actually working in the nation. Often, interactions with the elderly are quick or rushed but imagine what could be learned if we slowed down and listened to them. Think about it, they have been blessed to see centuries and just by sitting and listening they can speak encouragement, growth and change in your life. Also, with age many unlock secret knowledge of life that younger generations just don’t get, like morals and values.

While speaking with this precious asset, she told me about entrepreneurship in the community and many black owned businesses. She spoke of the churches and the growth within our small town; she even told me that originally when she was just a girl, they would travel to a creek to be baptized. I also learned a little more about my family that I didn’t know. I think my favorite part was speaking about children; she was very honest about what she thought about my generation.

This post came about because as I spoke to her, it became very clear how my current generations have gotten off track. Instead of cherishing elders, they are often disrespected and forgotten; left in “retirement communities” or nursing homes to pass. Yet, just like you or I they desire to be loved on, talked to, and appreciated. We get so busy in our lives we forget about them and that’s not fair. I recently saw on the news that while playing that knock out game, a young man punched an elderly man and knocked him out; I was disgusted. It’s not acceptable to treat anyone like that, especially our golden aged pillars of the community.

With so many things happening in the world today, please let’s not forget about our elderly; especially with holidays approaching. Take time out of your busy schedules to seek and spend time with someone 65 and up; learn from them. It is important to cultivate our communities and we do that by learning from our history. When was the last time you talked to Ms. Green down the street or took cookies to Mr. Banks next door? Did you call Big Momma or Granny this week or last? Why not take the time out to do it now before it’s too late? If you don’t have grandparents then adopt one from your local nursing home. A simple visit or phone call can make someone’s day special.

Life’s Masks

Life’s Masks

Hiding is exhausting. Take it from someone who hid her true thoughts and emotions for years; it is hard work fitting into confined ideas of others. We often allow others to define us and hide behind a mask of perception just to fit in or not to offend. Let me clarify what I mean by mask, I’m referring to the everyday mask you pull out of your everyday draw or closet to blend in and maintain a bland life; not the second face some put on as a malicious attempt to hurt others. Yet, being anything that is unauthentic, even when it is simply to spare others or to blend is simply exhausting.

During the course of my life I’ve had numerous masks I wore to conceal my excellence and uniqueness; unnecessarily, because when you are made to shine nothing can stop it. I played the role and I was good at it; I had to try and please everyone else. There were many times, I would ask myself why are you doing this? I forced emotions often. This should sound familiar to many because I’m sure I am not alone. I remember when many of my friends were concerned with clubbing and having fun, I put on my PPAARRTTY mask and went along. I made myself fit in even though I always felt out of place. I was shielded from so many situations because the Lord covered me with grace and mercy.

All the masks I’ve put on were not to hurt others but to show them I loved them. They expected certain things out of me. Even in difficult times, I had to put a smile on my face to show people how happy and quirky I was, even when on some days I didn’t even want to roll out of bed. It wasn’t until one day I said to myself, enough. There is no point in making everyone else happy but I’m miserable internally. I would go through times of sadness and depression but because I had to keep on the perfection mask I wouldn’t tell anyone. Looking back it was not only stupid but dangerous.

It is imperative to know yourself to love yourself; yet you cannot know yourself if you keep hiding behind mask. Find worth and strength in discovering your own voice and realizing the purpose intended for you. I know we adapt for those we love, for jobs, or for friendships but honestly those meant to remain in your life would encourage you to be your authentic self.  Once they encounter the real you it will make them love you more. Yet, if being your authentic self is too much for any person, place or thing, do you really need the added stress? Unfortunately… people will drain you if you let them. If you never set a limit on expectations, people will continue to take pieces of you until there is nothing left.

Stop people pleasing. Show your uniqueness; embrace it with all of your being. For example, don’t let stereotypes define you; you have the absolute ability to beak these stereotypes. Also, if you have mental health issues it is ok to seek treatment regardless of what your squad, family or anybody else thinks. Many issues in society stem from trying to impress others or hiding issues; stop trying to impress the Joneses because behind closed doors they got issues too.

My true freedom came from taking off my mask and living my life authentically. Yes, I have failures and I have success. My goal is not to portray perfection but to be genuine. Building my relationship with Christ helped me to understand, I was never meant to hide behind anyone’s mask but to stand out in my own spotlight he created.  He opens doors for me that I could never open because he created the door, lock and the key for me.

I made the choice to remove my masks, all of them. Living a full Christ like life full of exploring, loving and being myself is vibrant and fulfilling. Remove the mask and try it.

When Will It STOP???

When Will It STOP???

Originally, todays post was intended to be about the mask we all hide behind when we are in despair yet another police involved shooting has changed my direction. Please look for the original post later this week.

Today however, let’s discuss this officer involved shooting of another unarmed Black Man, Terrence Crutcher.  Can anyone explain to me, how authorizes can detain a terrorist responsible for a bomb but can’t detain or help a man with car trouble? I’ll wait. Looking at this situation objectively, it looks like anyone with too much melanin in their skin is considered threating even when that is not the case.

What was Mr. Crutcher’s crime; blocking an intersection? One of the most disturbing facts is that none of the officers even showed remorse for murdering an innocent human being. This man had a family, he was a part of his church choir, and was attending night school. As we have seen before the media will do their very best to assassinate this man’s character and humiliate the belated in the public eye yet, whatever his past may or may not reveal this man was murdered in cold blood.

Truly, we are at a point that if you are not a part of the solution than you are a part of the problem. How long will you claim ignorance; that you didn’t know racism exist? Stop justifying the actions of officers like Betty Shelby by saying… “She felt threatened” and “he looked scary.” First and foremost how does one feel threatened when a man has his hands up walking away from you??? Secondly, a story is developed saying he was reaching for a gun inside the car yet, he had already been tasered and the window closes to him was closed and there is blood from your fatal shot on the window? Third, you are a police officer so you have been trained to deal with all types of people and how to deescalate. If you’re scared maybe this is not your field sweetheart.  Stop making excuses for cops like this!!! There is a line where it is no longer ignorance regarding racism and it becomes a choice.

Seeing this video is sickening! There are numerous critics out there criticizing an athlete for exercising his first amendment right of free speech yet they are silent when something like this happens. If you want to use your voice to whine about something, use it to whine about the injustice suffered by African Americans for centuries. Stop trying to sweep racism under the rug and face it head on or SHUT UP!

It is hard to wake up another morning to see another human being gunned down over something minor. He did not deserve to be treated like this; prisoners of war are treated with more respect. Wake up America, remove those denial tinted glasses and face the fact we have real issues on our hands!

Warriors

Warriors

Amazingly, it seems all things go wrong at once or maybe you have so much piled on your plate you can’t think straight? Yet, have you asked yourself could anyone else walk in your shoes or handle what has been thrown at you the way you do? No, it’s not all pretty or handsome, sometimes things just suck and your hands are forced; yet you always rise to the occasion poised and capable.

I’m speaking for those who have it all together; I’m speaking for those who are a mess. I’m speaking to the single mothers, the black sheep, the ones with secrets and the ones who have no clue what’s next… yes all of you. Even the people who portray to have it all to get but really it would only take one small straw of hay to break your back.

My generation has been labeled Millennials, rebels or maybe even unfocused but the truth is we are simply trying to survive in a really messed up world; at some point other generations did the same only in a different way. In fact, looking at the world as we know it today many from previous generations are still trying to figure themselves out as well. How so? Look around at older generations learning new skills or going back to school and acquiring that diploma or degree they never thought possible. Look at women who refused to be smothered by chauvinist views and shattering glass-ceilings. Bravo, ladies and gentlemen you are warriors!

No one is like you! Not one person can handle the ups and downs of your life the way you have because you are special! It is ok to stumble or even to fall but don’t let that stop you; never give up! Yes, today you might struggle with your own specific situations that may even look bleak but know it is T-E-M-P-O-R-A-R-Y. Everything is a season and every season affects each individual differently. Yet, don’t make permanent decisions in a temporary season. Understand that you have everything you needed to be genuinely joyful and successful.

Yes, that mate left you… Yes, you’re out of gas and broke… Yes, your job has you stressed to the max and you want to quit but those bills keep rolling in…. Yes, your wedding is months away, but your parents and in laws hates each other… Whatever your situation may be, I could go on and on but, whatever the situation is, it will not last always. You are responsible for whom you let in your atmosphere to steal your peace and joy; stop giving any situation room to interrupt your peace.

I can say this because I am speaking from up-close-and-personal experience. I have moments too! Yet, I am reminded that the bible explains that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So in my eyes if the Lord took time out to make me specially, he also equipped me with everything I need to solve every issue I face. Clearly, I did not say… I solve every problem I face; I said he has equipped me. So before I do anything, I pray to seek counsel.

We’ve all found ourselves in less than ideal situations, in fact many could be described as dire; yet here we are, still standing. Faith, being the things hoped for but not seen… these situations could knock us down for a moment but pause, breathe and get right back up. We Are Warriors, designed to conquer!

 

 

 

Picture is not property of B’plush and can be found at

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=public+domain+warrior+pictures&view=detailv2&&id=F11A4EB01C66E54F73D5D2A74EF1E2CCFDBC5D2E&selectedIndex=0&ccid=KOoqX2es&simid=608020606931176932&thid=OIP.M28ea2a5f67ac0f22bc503c6a2592f971o0&ajaxhist=0

who holds full claim of photo

 

I Saw a Gummy Bear Today

I Saw a Gummy Bear Today

Today, I saw my Gummy Bear and it was bitter-sweet. It is easy for some to forget you existed but me, I carry you everywhere I go; you are a distinct part of me. I know that we didn’t get to visit long but I’m so joyful I got to meet you and that you left a lasting impression on me that I will never forget.

Looking at your images inside my womb, breaks and inspires me; a painful peace. Pain because, I wanted to know everything about you, like the color of your eyes, the curl of your smile and what type of personality traits we would share. Peace because, I have learned never to question the Lord, even when you don’t understand. The Lord’s will is perfect and pure; with his grace and mercy I was able to endure.

Instead of anger or regret, I thank the Lord for choosing me to bear this thorn, you were my special gift. If only for a moment, I got to share time and space with you; that’s an honor in itself… You inspire me to keep going even when I want to quit. Mommy still loves you no matter what and though you are not here physically, you still live with me in my every movement. You are my motivation to become better and choose wiser.

Gummy Bear, seeing you today made my heart stand still. I understand why you can’t be with me but mommy misses you every day. I know you are with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit watching over me every day; I pray I make you proud son.

 

My Own Room

My Own Room

How is success measured? I’ve seriously contemplated this question during course of my journey. Does money equal success or is it joy? I’m sure everyone’s goal is not money; it may be weight loss, kicking an addiction or countless other possibilities so, how should that be success measure in the real scope of things. Do we give ourselves enough credit because it is very easy to believe the negative yet greatly difficult to accept the positive? Do we allow society’s views to shape our understanding of success? This was a simple thought I woke up with this morning and felt this conversation was truly needed.

Money=Success?

As I scroll down my timeline in both Facebook and Instagram many are very concerned with their monetary situation in some fashion, shape, or form. I’m aware that in many ways money often equal survival and status but I’m not sure it equals success. I stepped back from the system to peak at it from afar and the idea that money equals success didn’t measure up. Many individuals with money often step on those without it yet are habitually unhappy and miserable themselves; money has yet to fix their situations. I mean, you have wealthy people snorting, shooting-up and smoking their pain away and when that doesn’t work they find relief in suicide and you would think if money equal success why are these people so unhappy. Please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying because yes many of the less fortunate also may have addictions and suicidal thoughts.

The bible says, and I’m paraphrasing here, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven yet through Christ all things are possible. Why do you think that is? I believe it is because as some gain money, there actions are un-Christ-like and money becomes their God. Imagine all the people individuals have stepped on to gain their riches, just to become rich and be miserable. I believe in order to gain success while gaining wealth it is important to keep focus on Christ through the process. Understand that, it is his greater good which provides the avenues for financial increase and it is his gifts that open the door to success.

Scope of Success

So maybe your goal is not a monetary one, how do you know if you have succeeded? Is completion an equivalent to success? Realistically, just because something was completed does not mean it was a success. This has been resonating in my spirit tremendously over the past few days. I’m working on several projects so my mind keeps thinking if I can just get these done then I can go to the next phase but, that was not the right attitude.  Also I see others doing some of the projects that I’m working on and I’m like why are their items moving so much faster than mine; what am I doing wrong? This was also the wrong attitude; understand that your journey is designed specifically for you.

During my times of stressing and trying to control situations that I can’t, I’m often reminded that patience is waiting with a positive attitude. My spirit reminded me to enjoy the journey and not rush the process. Yes, I could speed up and just get it done but would it be done correctly? Yes, others have completed their projects and are on to the next one but will their product inspire and reach the same people I’m trying to reach, was their journey like mine? During a podcast of Be Your Own Boss 30 day challenge, I heard two pearls of wisdom for sure that I’m carrying with me and I wanted to share; 1) When you’re ready your gifts will make room for you and 2) The world is waiting for what you have to offer. I know I’ve heard this so many times before yet this time was special it sat differently with me. It confirmed within me that there is only one me, I am unique and I touch people differently than the next person; so when I apply my gifts there is a spot created especially for me and the same goes for anyone. Believe your worth. Also there is no one who can compete with you and you cannot compete with anyone else, why, because everyone was created differently and the world is waiting for your own personal sparkle. Surprise! That really should remove some of the pressure you’ve been holding on to.

Success Defined

This will be short and sweet. You define your own success. If you know you’re trying to quit smoking and last week you smoked 10 times a day and this week you are smoking 9… well that is success because you have moved one step closer to your goal. Forget what society is telling you, deprogram yourself. Anything you can think of, you can achieve as long as you don’t quit.

Focus, overcome, and aspire. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times but I’m saying it again… If your dream does not scare you, than you are not dreaming big enough. I will however add a little nugget to that, everyone dreams differently so do not let anyone or thing look down upon you because your dream is different than theirs. Anytime someone threatens your dream, tell them I have my own room, I don’t need yours.

 

Image used from http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi4tJvAp7bOAhUI5WMKHZmWAToQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Flogbase2.blogspot.com%2F2008%2F04%2Fcould-you-keep-my-place-in-line.html&psig=AFQjCNGeiuQOYpI6x3z36V_1NrAPjzZrng&ust=1470899935576304

Real VS Fake: First Lady Edition

Real VS Fake: First Lady Edition

Last week most of the world watched the Republican National Convention (RNC), where Melania Trump’s carbon copy of Michelle Obama’s speech sparked a monstrous amount of controversy. In fact, memes from her epic fail are still circulating throughout social media. Yet, yesterday First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama graced the stage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to speak about Hillary Clinton and her opportunity to be the first female president of the United States. The contrast between the two speeches and women was quite noticeable; I believe Michelle summed it up quite elegantly, “When they go low, we go high.” Instead of using her moment to retaliate against someone who wronged her, she used it as a teaching moment and to show why she is the epitome of intelligence and class.

It has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery yet; the issue still must be examined. Certain things can never be faked because the truth will always show through; even when individuals have the greatest acting skills or prettiest mask a person can only perform a charade for so long. Also, it’s amusing the RNC tried to minimize the fact that Mrs. Trump plagiarized Michelle speech, like it was no big deal and other people do it all the time. Nonetheless, it is simply ironic that after all the criticism from Trump’s camp the FLOTUS came prepared to show what genuine panache looks like.

Lies Unfolded Before our Eyes

In an interview with Today’s Matt Lauer hours before her big moment, Melania said she wrote her speech with minimum help. Hmmm, transcribed would be a better description due to the fact that a large chunk of her speech was derivative from Michelle’s 2008 speech at the DNC. Of course, there had to be a fall person right; so Trump’s team delivered a young lady claiming to have written the speech for Melania. Regardless of who takes credit for this botched attempt, it has made a huge impact on Trump’s attempt at the White House.

Melania also claimed she had a college degree from University in Slovenia in design and architecture, this was also proven to be a fabrication. Yet, the big question here is who suggested this untruth, Mr. or Mrs. Trump? The moral to this story is you can only get so far with a plastic face and a lie; Trump’s campaign skeletons are falling out of his closet daily,  so be prepared.

We noticed.

It is humorous that the RNC, especially the Trump Campaign, tried to minimize this situation. Did you think America was stupid? It only took one person to put one and one together. You would assume his campaign figured no one from the millions watching would realize his wife’s speech wasn’t original. Funny how Trump condemns immigrants by saying, they come to the U.S. and steal from its citizens; he must have used his wife for inspiration. Additionally, he is awfully hypocritical when he discusses building walls and immigrants returning to their own country because he has yet to put Melania on a plane home.  How can he demean migrants as harshly as he does yet, his own wife can barely speak English. Please invest in a dialect coach for her, immediately, instead of a $2000 dress.

Ted Cruz made the obvious party split a bit awkward when he refused to endorse Trump. “Vote your conscience” was Cruz’s stance on voting for Donald Trump. So, does that mean he will vote for Hillary in November? The party being so divided over the nomination for Donald Trump is amusing. They’ve created a monster they can’t contain; for centuries many of the members of this party wore sheets by night but held high offices while trying to convince America that racism was dead. Trump has single handedly displayed the hate that the Republican Party stands for. Looks like the ones hiding are mad as hell! It is mind blowing that many members from this party want to label the Black Live Matter Movement as terrorist yet maintain the belief that the Klu Klux Klan are simply expressing their first amendment rights; excuse me but your sheet is showing.

Class and Grace is Her Name

Yet again Michelle approached a negative situation with empowerment and class. I commend her on so many levels because she makes power moves. As she addressed the Democratic National Convention her words were powerful and meaningful. She put time and thought in the way she approach us as a Nation. No one can deny she is a force to be reckoned with and even on Melania’s best day she could never hold a candle to Michelle on her worst day.  The truth is that it is not a black or white thing, a Republican or Democratic thing or a money thing; simply put it is real versus fake.

Michelle has been disrespected and called so many ugly things but she doesn’t feel the need to react because she knows who she is and what she stands for. She doesn’t have to be loud and obnoxious to get her point across; she speaks and the world listens. Money can and will never be able to buy grace or class; it is something that is taught, developed and anointed. I’m sure some faces of the GOP turned red when she said she wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves. Yes, black girl magic is real. Thank you Michelle, you’ve giving women someone to admire and black girls someone to aspire to be like.

In that order

These are my thoughts on the subject matter. Whether you agree or not, please form an opinion. This is an election year; your voice and vote matters and not using either could be detrimental. Remember that if you don’t speak, act, or vote then you have no room to complain about choices made on your behalf.