Monday, October 26, 2009

Day Old Cassrole

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. ~1 John 4:1


When it comes to matters of the heart, your relationships....mind your tongue.

Can you truly know the frame of reference of the person you confide in? Can you be certain that person has the Spiritual maturity to intercede on behalf of you and your beloved? ~Before you spill your marital problems, be sure you know WHOM your speaking with. Does the advice come from righteously sound counsel? Think about that before you call your "friend" to "vent". To Whom are you speaking to? or for that matter to WHAT?

~Does this source allow you to go on and on about how awful your spouse or boss is?
~Do they "co-sign" during your "venting"..
~....remind you later of your frustrations once you have just simmered down?
~Do they take you to Margarita night when you just told them you were trying to lose 15 lbs?
~Do they tell you to go ahead and get that bag at Nordstrom.. when its SO not in your budget?

~Is this advice... from a reliable source? Always check your source. How successful are they in the area you need help in? Have you allowed yourself to be a vessel in which misery travels forth and to?

I must admit I have... guys know I am (literally) an open book now and errrr body knows my biznazz...(:-). However freed I thought I was from the opinions of others there was nothing like having my indescretions throwned up in my face to remind me just how close the enemy hold us in his deck of playing cards. I had a rude awakening to how he plays the game...when I realized that not everyone had the sincerity about my revelation. Conversely, someone I allowed to carry over into my new walk from the shadows of my misery tried to pour a rain cloud in my pertual Sunshine.

Thank God for wisdom and obedience. Because He knows what we do not...He instructed me to stay away from my "friends" (on facebook... and in everday) long enough to see who it was that truly held my interest...


No sooner than I was finished with my fast.. did this evil cloud reveal itself.

See, In my darkness, I relied heavily on the confirmation of others ..."friends" who would give well meant advice...and some... not so much.

But that was in the darkness...And we don't dwell in what we can no longer see.

Trust me... I don't see you. Your misery is beneath my current understanding ;-)

The next time you are having problems maritally, financially, or evenprofessionally.....ask God to ponder your heart with understanding of what it is you need to do in whatever situation...then WAIT for the answer. It always comes.

In any case, I have learned this valuable lesson.

Advice, like casseroles...ALWAYS tastes better the next day. Pray on it...then put it in the fridge overnight and let the flavor sink in. Yummy.

Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.- Psalm 37:34

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Contracts Finale :-)

This is the end of this series on how I was saved; but truly not the end of the story He is telling with my life. My purpose is limitless, and I am sooo excited.

He has given me clarity; my eyes see with an open perspective. I see how I helped the Enemy contribute to my own personal Hell. I see how I had no love in my heart; therefore I could not see the ways I lacked goodness in my relationships with my family; professionally; and with my friends.

I am and always have been a sucker for a good love story. ;-)

The fruits of the spirit are all formed in and for LOVE...

Galatians 5:22-23 says...The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

It is amazing that He has brought me this peace in my heart. I am not afraid to fall asleep and I wake with so much fervor for what He will have in store for me. That is love...

I can't stop smiling... I have forgotten all about my Zoloft prescription. I feel unspeakable joy at all the blessings He has favoured me with just for loving Him and putting Him first in my life! In two weeks, a much needed escrow check, a job!, a phone call from my dad...He allowed me to see how abundant my friendship ties are. That is love...

...That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings..."Phil 3:10 ...Not our flesh induced suffering; which is mostly self inflicted through our ability to sin...but the natural suffering that comes with life; that which builds character. I can look back on my mothers lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia and rejoice: that she loved God everyday of her life despite her pain. He is so good, He truly allows ALL things to work together! Now I feel what my mom meant. She was free. I can think of her and smile now. This that I have been through has also served a greater purpose so I am no longer regretful...That is love...

I have been unkind through my selfishness; through pride and bitterness. Four years back my biological father was delivered from a fifteen year crack cocaine and heroin addiction that prohibited his involvement in my upbringing. Instead of rejoicing in his recovery and being thankful that I was able to have a father in my life, I was bitter and unkind when he reached out to me. I was so unbelievably mean. Once, I recall yelling at him for trying to go and visit my mothers grave. Though they never divorced, I had some strange twisted idea that he had no right to her, that he hadn't come to her funeral, that he wasn't there for me, so he should stay away from her grave site. I was disrespectful and filled with hate for him. No apology was large enough. I mistreated that man; holding him responsible for how unhappy I had been in his absence. I didn't know forgiveness. But God had already shown it to him. Because when I had no one else to turn to...who do you think was there? That's right. Without one word of resentment, my dad. That's love...

No longer is my motivation for being a "nice person" fueled by a desire to be accepted; or a fear of rejection. I witnessed such enormous GOOD in Winter, Bree, Lesa, Nakia, Kenya, Tone, My Dad...when I thought I was all alone these guys showed me what goodness and love comes from true friends. I am thankful I was able to witness what true friendship looks like. He placed these souls in my life at that time of darkness to remind me what goodness looks like. I have big shoes to fill. :-)

Self Control:
I have always lacked the ability to control my emotions. If it seemed to make me feel better: I did it. Whether it was drinking, or idleness, or gossiping, or sex... I did what I wanted with no restraint. And for my efforts, I have been imprisoned to these false idols that filled my heart. But they were empty calories. Now, because I love Him, He has blessed me with conviction for my wrongdoing, so that I will always think of Him first and remember to live according to His word. I cannot sit idle while my house is disorganized, self control helps me to keep a budget and not to overspend to fill a void in my heart. In all these ways my heart was opened, and it overfilled with an indescribable bliss, that sustains....SUBSTANCE.

My friends say I sound different. My husband says so, too. The first few days of my new faith, he was skeptical, to say the least. He was almost laughing at my open acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He asked if I was going to be a "stuffy church lady" now. I smiled. A week later, he was in Bible Study with me, holding my hand and whispering to me how much he never wants to leave me again.... :-)

FYI: Things between the mister and I are much, much better. We have a date night and we pray together every morning. We no longer need to pervert our union to be whole and that is better than anything I have ever known.


I know what went wrong before with The Love Dare... it was unsuccessful for me... because I was solely motivated by self. I only wanted to know what I got out of the deal when it came to His Word. But truly, why should He ordain and bless what was entered into... with no regard for Him? What is the point in what we called a "marriage" if we are not a united force for His purpose in our lives?

I repented for my selfish motives for wanting to save my marriage. They included but were not limited to: Fear of being a stereotype. Fear of financial burdens. Fear of being alone....

I was never alone.

Today is Day Seven of The Love Dare. So I must close this. I have work to do :-) I hope if you continued to read thus far, you have been inspired in some way to have a personal relationship with Our Savior. God Bless you all!

Facebook Fast Day 3 Lesson: Abundance

There is so much going on at one time my head is literally spinning...

lets see...where to start...

Loren is potty 2 of new JOB... day 3 of facebook fast... day seven of love dare, day 1 of p90x... still scouting a perfect daycare for my potty training naked baby... making sure I attend Bible Study and Sunday Worship... writing...booked a wedding; cook dinner, clean house, prioritize mommy and daddy bonding time...

There are more blessings. So many I find my day filled with amusement at how wonderful He is...

Even though my day starts at 4 am and ends after midnight...I am so grateful. I know that this is conditioning for the marathon I am about to start. (Literally, I am going to do a Sickle Cell cycling marathon this Spring.) AND figuratively; how can I complain and get tired now; with Clark in the Spring and sometime soon...a book tour? :-) (He did say speak that as if it were... did He not?)

I am so blessed to say I have a full days work to do. When 4am comes creeping around my clock in a few hours...I will remember the feeling of GRATITUDE when I got the offer letter for my new job....I will remember that my bonding time with meathead should be cherished when I get cranky because I am too tired... and when I want to quit..thoughts will go to how happy I will be when Naked Loren soon gets onto potty... and out of my carpet. :)

Oh ...and a word on FB:

I have also realized that it is not facebook that I miss. I miss talking to the same five people who read my ridiculously long blogs and comment on them, encouraging me...(I bet I can put a million dollars on the people who are actually reading these things, and I bet another million out of 215 friends or so... you can take away 210....


This is what I miss...My friends. I don't miss facebook... I miss...FACES. I don't miss social networking... I miss being around my true friends- and that's what I gained from seeing the little box with a familiar face and funny random thoughts... pieces of their days...what their kids said to make them laugh and what the dog did to make them smile...

I miss my friends... I know they are one of the many blessings that God has sent to me.

Today I learned that quality is always better than quantity. When The Lord sends your blessings, be ready to hold out a large bucket for the downpour.

I have an abundance of blessings.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Part 3: Contracts...

Boy, how I fell.

He laid out his terms, and they didn't include me. He said he "could no longer respect me as a woman, that I didn't contribute to his ultimate "personal legend"... He was going to leave the house and our mortgage; unless I was willing to move, then in turn, he would stay in the house and get roommates to cover the expenses. He already had roommates lined up and ready to move in! I had exactly one week to find other means of living. Outraged? Hardly. Devastated beyond human comprehension? Now your getting closer...

I looked for answers where I thought I could find them. Another really good friend, (shout out Big Dog :) ) asked me if I had prayed, and suggested the Love Dare book from Fireproof. What was with these guys and this book?I told him of course I pray; and I had already tried The Love Dare.
"It's pointless, hopeless and thankless; this marriage", I said.
I could tell he wasn't amused at my desire to give up so quickly. He asked me to get another book, The Power of A Praying Wife.... I told him I would put it on my reading list...soon... but we both knew I wouldn't...

Self pity was far more alluring to me than actually looking at the problem holistically; let alone spiritually. How could this be happening to me? Had I not suffered enough in my life?

I was no stranger to rejection. This hurt.

Like Hell.

I called my girlfriend Tone, hyperventilating from crying hysterically for so many hours. I told her how empty I felt, how utterly I had lost my way, I could no longer find my way towards anything that even resembled peace. I told her I was tired of being thrown away...not measuring up...something in me was so flawed no one thought I was worth sticking around for. NO one, Not my mother who was gone too soon; not my father who never wanted to try to know me; my Grandma; not the many guys who had left me heartbroken, not some of my "friends"... no one stayed.

I knew I sounded like a self pitying crybaby but I was so broken down I didn't care.
I just wanted to cry until the hurt in my chest was numb.

She listened patiently, and in her amazingly soothing voice she told me that I would not like what she had to say.
Oh great, I thought.
'Do you pray?" She asked.
Here we go again, I thought. What was everyone's deal with this praying buisness? I didn't feel comfortable asking God to save my marriage.
We weren't exactly on speaking terms.

"Yeah, I mean, God's knows my heart...I am a good person Tone." I fumbled through an explanation.
"If you are lead by your heart, this is why your life is in turmoil. Do you know what God you serve?" She asked.
"Of course, girl. The same one you do!" I replied, more than slightly insulted.
"No, don't, girl. You have made your husband your God. You do things to win his approval, others approval...but you don't make the one true God the priority in your life. You don't love God the way He loves you...yet you search fruitlessly for an Unconditional Love in everything ...but the one place you can truly find it...."

I wanted to argue. I wanted her to be wrong. But nothing out of her mouth was a lie. The first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing before I go to bed is.....ME. Even when I thought of my children or husband; it was ultimately self serving to try to hold onto these things like my life depended on it. When my marriage started crumbling; I clung to my children for salvation, and if anything ever were to happen to them...I am certain I would have given up.
More than anything, I was motivated by what served my own purpose.

But what I was calling a life... was falling apart. Without any explanation. Even when we tried to explain to others, we couldn't really pinpoint EXACTLY what was wrong with our marriage.It just wasn't working.

What is a marriage without Love?
What is Love... if not God?

All we had done was entered into a contract. Literally.

Nothing about that agreement had any motivation for serving a greater purpose for God. There can be no love without God. Only binding papers.
Which is exactly why I stopped enjoying love making...once I was married; the very thing I should have been saving for marriage all along. There was no God in our home; in our children's lives; and certainly not in our marriage.

As I sat there on my couch talking with my friend Tone, we prayed. That night, for the first time in a long time, I slept a peaceful sleep uninterupted by nightmares or worry. I decided I would go to church with her that Sunday.

For years, I have been bound by my insecurities, my self centered loathing... very few who know me have seen me bare faced and make-up free; far fewer have EVER seen my hair unkept. I have called out of work for a bad hair day.

Please believe it.

Not this Sunday. I was not allowed to call out because I wasn't cute that day. The BOSS was giving promotions...did I want to stay at the bottom entry level or advance to the Kingdom? I stood before that alter, my hair unkept, in plain clothes. In a room full of people, I was alone. It was just me and GOD and He spoke to me so clearly. HE SPOKE TO ME. There is no way on earth, that this preacher I have never seen, knew my darkest secrets, fears, doubts IN DETAIL. (events, skeptics ;-) he couldn't have known.) Things I never even said aloud. Ever! Yet HE spoke through this man, this stranger, directly to my soul...
HE said it was okay..
That years had been taken from me, but that I was free to forgive those who hurt me. That HE forgives me even though I can't forgive myself. That HE LOVES ME...and LOVE is a real feeling, not a metaphor... but complete and absolute!

The fact that I don't care one way or another what one may think about my revelation; is a testimony itself. I am no longer bound by my self centered desire to please others. I think most people who know me would say I am "sweet" ... "always smiling"..."a people pleaser" ...but what is this, if not selfishness? It is fueled by a desire to be liked, accepted by mans terms. Even if those terms cause God and ultimately, myself; pain. Being a "people pleaser" is the reason I was promiscuous at a young age. Being a "people pleaser" is the reason I have hidden my true opinion from my friends when I should have been giving honest advice. Being a "people pleaser" is the reason I invited and allowed pornography to defile the innocence of love making with my husband. Pleasing Man is the reason I have hated my own reflection and concealed it. All of these things have kept me running in circles looking for absolution in places I would never find it.but...WHEN I FOUND IT! ! !

It wasn't until I knew His Love that I was sure that the place I was trapped in all my life is surely a preview of Hell.
I don't want it. The Enemy can have it. I have spat him out the way he spit and chew on me my whole life...

When I was still bound; the misery blinders kept me only thinking of the glass half full. With the Light; I see how He was always there to keep one foot in front of the other when I was too lost, too weak to go it alone. He makes me strong. And proud. I hold my head high. I can see the blessings clearly; I had a family- an imperfect one, but a living breathing entity still, that can also grow and learn our purpose together. I am so thankful for His grace! If the only blessing He ever gave me was His love, I could never repay Him for showing me out that dark place.
I made it so complicated.
God is Love.
And everything makes sense.

Thanks for reading this guys. It is never easy to air your darkest secrets to the world. I did so because it is what He would have me to do for others who have been here where I was. I encourage feedback if you know what I mean when I say... HE IS AWESOME! Even if you don't know it, leave feedback if you want to know it.
There is an ending tomorrow. Please come back to read the final part. Love you guys!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FB Fast-Day One Lesson: Obedience

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. -Psalm 143:10


It was harder than it initially seemed.
Doesn't it sound simple enough; stay off Facebook until the 29th day of your fast...


I was doing great, folks. I had WONDERFUL prayer time this morning, listened to my Spensha Baker singing like an angel... Journaling my inner thoughts, and optimistic for the future in my new walk with Christ.

Then I had a splendid idea after I posted my "Contracts" blog this morning. I would send out... an email! Yes! To everyone, telling them to read my blog since I couldn't "update my status" on Facebook. Genius!

On to Google I went. I would simply tell my facebook buddies to "spread the word" in my absence.

The problem...
Is I only have three email addresses saved to my gmail account. Not exactly how I saw the buzz getting out there.

Then entered another idea:

Go onto Facebook, just for the email addresses of your friends.

Okay, I thought. That's good, right? Just get the emails and get off, right? Don't comment or even read status updates...right?. No YoVille...or Sorority Life...or videos...on and off. No one will ever know the difference...right?

Stop right there...WHO WON'T!

God is not fooled by my bending of the rules!

No sooner than I got the first ten addresses, did a fellow "truth seeker" catch wind of my cheating... and call me out on the facebook chat! (Thanks Ma'am, we need folks to keep us in line sometimes ;-)

I got off line disappointed in myself, with deep conviction. Not because I had been "caught" by a friend, she was joking in her tone and I am sure meant no harm.

No, it was God I had disappointed.

I tried to reason with Him:
"But God, I didn't read any comments..."
Still, conviction.
"And you know it was for a good reason..."
No dice.
"...God, but I want to share my story with others. You said it was my purpose, remember? ...Remember?"

I went to my Written Source for answers to why I felt so...well, guilty.

I found it.

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as manpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.
-And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
-Knowing that the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye serve the Lord Christ
."- Collosians 3:22-24


So that's it. I had gone wrong when I disobeyed the service put on my heart to fast from my dependence on social networking. The people pleaser in me wanted to get the message out; but God would not have us to be disobedient to His Word, to bend the rules just a little for the greater good, would He?

Absolutely not!

He said no facebook for... one month. No negotiations!

The flesh is so weak, even when we think WE are "doing the right thing" and go against FAITH to get what we think we need, we have lessened the almighty power of HIS WILL. This is how the enemy creeps in and plays on our pride, egos, fears and insecurities. That is why the Living Word and the Written Word is so detrimental to staying faithful to your love walk.

Have you ever "bent the rules" thinking you knew what was best for you instead of God?
Think about a time you may have let the enemy trick you into going against faith to "Shortcut" your way to what you think you need?

Wow! He is so good. I understand now more than ever why this fast is important for me. ( I do miss you guys in FB land already though. )

As far as the blog "Contracts", I am putting my whole entire biznass out there; in faith that it will serve a greater Purpose- to testify to how low the enemy will take us and to how beautifully He can lift and renew our very souls.

It will reach who it is intended to help because I have faith it will. HE doesn't need my help in that. He said "tell the truth." That is all.

To have faith is to simply say: The rest, I leave in HIS hands.

Day Two will involve no cheating, I promise! :-)
Love you guys! God bless!

Part Two: Contracts

Part Two: So if your reading this, you were intrigued by part one from yesterday. For all you truth seekers, I appreciate your interest. I know it may be shocking for some of you to read this very personal account. I just want to tell the truth as I saw it; for who do we really fool in being decieving? Thanks for reading. I don't know exactly how many of you read it since I can't check my facebookmobile or the PC :-)(day one of the fast...) As I said yesterday, it is a dark story the first few posts. I promise it lightens up ;-) Anyway, this is importing from my blogspot, which some of you subscribe to. Leave feedback if you read it.

...It felt like I was living with a stranger.
The stranger was not my husband, if that what you think I meant.
The stranger was... inside... me.

By the time we got here to Atlanta; we were all but shells of the once alive and in love couple that we had previously been. Things took an even darker turn in the last two years.

We got pregnant with Loren, and what should have been such a joyous occasion will forever be scared. By the time we had our first child together the disconnect was so far between us; on the way to the hospital to have the baby, we quarreled...Lawrence said he didn't know why, but he simply was not "in love" with me anymore. Yes, on the way to deliver the baby...

He's no monster. To be fair, at any given time we would have these "moments" where either of us would decide that we just don't work; and try to just walk away. The whole concept of "till death do us part" .... just didn't resonate.

I began to spiral down a deep and painful depression. I tried everything: Zoloft, The Secret, along with every other self help book at Borders, shopping, clubbing (social networking), drinking...heck, even weed...I tried it all. I began to believe that there was nothing inside me alive anymore, if there had ever been, I couldn't recall. I remember telling my husband it felt like I didn't have a soul. The walking dead. The further I sank into depression, and looked to Lawrence for emotional structure; and ultimately, the more he shut down. We were your classic Hypo-Hyper emotional Texas Giant of a ride.

But on the outside...
I was the envy of all my single friends, wishing they had this elusive thing called marriage. Everyone told me how I was so lucky to have the perfect little family... That is how we appeared to be. When will we learn about appearances? All a thinly vieled fascade. Just like my fascination with outward beauty. It is by no accident that I ended up in the fashion/make up industry.

While I may have appeared to be groomed to perfection: what lies beneath was just as ugly as whatever was growing inside my would-be happy marriage...
I could not get it right. I needed to be loved. He craved stability. And like a sad faced circle, we went around in a cycle of destruction. I wanted attention, and began an "emotional affair" with someone online. (Don't get all distracted trying to figure out with who. I didn't know him personally, and we never met.) My husband began a similiar "inappropriate friendship" with a colleage from work. Neither of us are very good liars, and quickly our indescretions were discovered by one another. I was certain it was over for good. For years I was able to convince others that they should evny me. Everyone was "always so proud of me"...and "I was always smiling"...and "she's sooo pretty"...and "sooo sweet"...I had it together...I had beat the odds...I was dying. Really, I was. I had increasing moments of sheer terror; I felt impending doom...

In May, I began having severe panic attacks.

At random times, in traffic on the middle of photo the parent teacher conferences...I could not escape. The walls were caving chest... I thought I was going to die. Which I would have welcomed, but I was afraid of what waited to grab my empty soul...was it the same thing that was showing my previews of Hell in my recurrent nightmares...?

I lacked any ability to cope with even everyday stressors. The doctors diagnosed me with severe clinical depression, with post traumatic stress disorder.

I was ashamed to let my sons see me in such a state. Ticking time bomb is an understatement....

While you were telling me how awesome it is that I have a "beautiful family" and an exciting career as a make up artist, what you didn't see...

was how Kameron began to have nightmares, worrying about his momma, his grades dropping down to near failing...
you didn't see me crawl into the fetal postion and cry until no sound came out.
Sleep and sleep and just pray I wouldn't wake up again. To doubt everything from my abilities as a wife and mother- to even if I was truly as talented in my GOD himself. I stopped selling myself as a make up artist. I even gave half my professional kit away, saying it was pointless...I was secretly screaming "help me"...

Saddened, a good friend (Mr. Smith Gregory, ur the best!)..suggested that my husband and I watch the Christian marriage movie Fireproof. We did, and it was amazing as Greg had said it was. I cried like a baby at the end. Could this be the answer? God?...

My husband, however; fell asleep while watching. He had been drinking and he never could catch the end of a movie when he was on the sauce. I got angry- told him it was pointless. I felt like I was the only one "trying." So The Love Dare went unfinished. ...As did our recovery.

A few months passed. On the surface, things were getting "better"...I guess. I took my prescribed Zoloft, I lost twenty pounds. Kameron started this school year in his dad's school district, and his grades improved 100%. (His lowest grade thus far: 94!)

Sorry, I digress; proud mom moment.

So all's well that ends that way, right?
Not quite.If you think so, then your still missing the big picture.

I am inviting you to scratch the surface for this one time.

I was still trying to win my husband's affections.

I was hurting that despite my efforts, he was still so distant and cold.
I really would try:

"do you want to go for a walk?"
"Do you want to go bowling with me?"
Not really.
"Do you want to talk to me at all?"

It was obvious that he wanted out. If not from his body language, from his actual words. He said...I no longer measured up...
I have learned the victim role well over time. I have a doctorates in despair with a specailty in tapping into bitterness and blame to escape accountability.
If he didn't want to love me anymore - fine.
I was willing to give up, too. Afterall, I have my pride...
What is it that they say about pride...oh, yes.

Pride always comes before the fall...

Part two was a bit longer than one, thanks for hanging in there with me. It gets better I promise. Part three tomorrow. Leave feedback! or follow me on :-)
Love you guys!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Contracts are binding indeed...but Love sets the spirit free.

Disclosure: This is deeply personal. I am trying to overcome the spirit of people pleasing. So I am putting this portion of my thoughts and actions on display in hopes that if you felt like I did, that I can inspire you to want to seek a higher place; no matter what anyone else thinks of me for doing so. It is in segments, and begins very dark. No one call gets better. :-)

So...I took time to self reflect.

My ephipany...was, that I realized that.....
I was utterly sick and tired...
of self reflection.
I needed a new target.

Have you ever met someone, and couldn't figure out for the very life of you; why they got under your skin? No matter what they did to win you just couldn't shake the fact that this person was not your cup of tea? Somehow you just new you would never really like them.

What if that person was yourself?

What if you were trapped inside a shell with a soul you didn't recognize?
What if you tried your hardest to remove yourself from no avail?

It is not a far exaggeration to say...I have NEVER been happy. Ever. Not as a child, not as a troubled teenager full of unknown angst...not as a young adult...not after I graduated from basic Training...not after I began my career in make up artistry...not after the birth of my children...still, there was some hole I couldn't fill.

Not happiness. Sometimes pleasure, but NEVER happiness. Not at any time I can remember....ever. Not even when I got married. Yeah, thats right ladies, I said it. I was not that princess at the end of the Disney movie- elated about the happily ever after I was to partake in with my picture book perfect husband.

Why not? Had I not kissed more than my share of frogs before I found my Prince? Why was it that the very moment I entered into contract with my husband... did I lose all desire to make love with him?

For years, I have held the truth in shame; that when it came to intimacy with my husband, I found that my once overly active sexual desire had all but vanished. It wasnt a lack of sex, but the place my mind had to go to in order to desire him once we were married.... that distrurbed me. We watched ex rated material; additionally, I allowed talk of sinful nature to enter our bedroom. I was ashamed and it just didn't make any sense.I just couldn't seem to keep an interest in him once I had the moral right to. After a while; I stopped trying to figure out what kind of twisted mind I must be possessed with. It was disheartening to admit- that after years of being objectified by men (and most of all, by myself); that I could not enjoy a healthy sexual relationship- without still objectifing myself.

So needless to say, after a few years, it became increasingly difficult to pretend; and our love life waned. This created a new list of problems for us. I had invited ex rated material into our home; and in turn, became angry and insecure with my husband's growing tendency to watch the videos once I no longer wanted to.We began to lack any communication. He would come in from work and not speak. I would bait him into arguments just to get him to talk to me. It felt like I was living with a stranger. By the time we got here to Atlanta; we were all but shells of the once alive and in love couple that we had once been.

Things took a much darker turn in the last two years....

What happens next? LOL!!! That is all you can read without getting lost in blogland.
Part two tomorrow...

Friday, October 9, 2009

The 7 days of Friday Lifestyle!

The power of Friday...

Its every one's favorite day of the traditional workweek. Friday.

You can feel the energy from every classroom...corner office, every cubicle...even at every mall and restaurant where the workweek isn't over, the barista was smiling a little harder at Starbucks this complain less about the commute into the city....

Why is it that Friday invokes a powerful emotion of optimism, and appreciation?

Is it truly because we are counting down the seconds till we're free?

Are we just glad for the break in the monotonous J.O.B?

For some, this may be the case.

But the TGIF feeling exists in those who don't even work a regular work week.

My husband's off days are Tuesday and Wednesday of every week. While he refers to his Monday shift as his "Friday"(his day before his two days of rest)...he also seems to have more pep in his step on the actual Friday work shift; even though he would be returning to work Saturday morning. I was puzzled and compelled to explore a new social experiment: The 7 days of Friday Lifestyle!

What if, like Fridays: you could view every single day of the week with just as much gratitude and excitement?

What if, on even your most dreaded day of the week, you woke up excited to being a day full of promise and purpose?

Tell yourself what it is about Friday that excites you. Is it getting more time with your kids for the weekend? Upcoming football Sunday? Is it perhaps a date night that you hold with your spouse Saturday evenings?

Tap into what makes Friday a day to look forward to.

Figure out what truly gives you reason to be. Write down all the reasons everyday of the week, why you are grateful for that day.

Set new standards for quality of life. Want more family time than you get the weekend? Set up a weekly holiday where your family commits as a whole to gather and spend time together in gratitude toward one another. We have a National Kamerons Day at sporadic times throughout the year where we will surprise him with an "unbirthday" Party like Alice in Wonderland..

Follow a similar pattern of gratitude for whatever it is that God has blessed you to look forward to on the weekend, let the same appreciation show in every aspect of your life. Thank Him... even for the annoying guy who chews at your nerve on the job. It can and does get worse than the things we complain of and take for granted.

I challenge you to try. Tell Him that when you wake to have a Friday! attitude on your dreaded Monday morning. Play some good tunes while getting dressed. Make a conscious effort to smile. Even on Tuesday. Bring dunkin donuts to the office for your coworkers, even on Wednesday. Create the culture of TGIF... for every moment of your life. :-)

Update your facebook status, instead of TGIF...(your name her) saying TGIA! (Thank God I'm Alive)

View everyday that the Lord has given you with the same fervor as you look upon one Friday to the next with.

Bless the lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgives all thine iniquities; who healths all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crown thee with loving kindness and tender mercies:
Who satisfies thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.-Psalm 103:1-5

It will make the difference.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A rare and beautiful thing...

So the past month has been...well. Its better now.

But as with all things; the well earned lessons that come from harsh realities far surpasses the trauma of it all.

The lesson I learned that I will always remember, is that friendship...true friendship...will always reign triumphant in tragedy.

Friendship lesson #1: Friends hold you up...
I was distraught. Down and out is a gross understatement...the kind of grief that scares you, you wonder if you will ever feel completely whole again. And there are those rays of lights in the storm...

My first ray of light came in the name of compassion. My cousin Bree is my junior by 5 years; and I have always tried to keep my place in her eyes as big cousin that knows more, has seen more, can make it happen always. But one day when I couldn't move, couldn't breathe with heartache; it was my baby cousin who held my head in her lap until I felt human again. It was my baby cousin that helped me care for my children when all my energy had fled...Thank you for being more than family to me: a Friend.

Friendship lesson #2: Friends keep up encouraged...
I was feeling a little better. A little. My childhood friend that is Ms. Lesa Jimmerson has stayed with me throughout adulthood. She has a very honest tongue. When I am cloudy, she helps clear the fog. I was pretty foggy last week. It is a true friend to give you the hard advice you don't want to hear. It is also a true friend to send you a blessing even when they need one themselves. Thank you for putting up with my for over two decades.

Friendship Lesson #3 Friends are constant...
We as adults have everyday tasks that sometimes keep us from thinking outside our own problems. We may know someone is in distress, but it may not be the forefront of our minds. Thank you Winter for being the kind of friend that notices trouble signs even when I tried my best to conceal them. Even more, thanks for continuing to check on me for every single day leaving me kind notes that I have no doubt took a considerable time to write. Your brand of compassion is a rare and beautiful find. As always, Thank you.

Friendship Lesson #4 Friends help you see the Light...
Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is to leave someone alone. No one wants to be alone; it is our nature to be accepted. With this in mind, often we will hold on to toxic friendships...relationsips...out of obligation. Even when it feels foreign. So when I stopped hearing from my girlfriend Tone, I was hurt initially. Then when she did call she was usually too busy; on her way to bible study, or Sunday School. She didn't come to my dinner parties or want to go out to Girls Night anymore. She wasn't rude or judgemental...just...different. She didn't want to gossip about mutual friends. She was calm. She never complained. So as far as our lives had become it was amazing how consistent she was when I needed her the most. Thank you for giving me an example of what a strong woman of Faith looks like. Thank you for having the courage to say what many would shy away from. The the best gift sometimes. Love you!

I am overwhelmed with how blessed I have always been...and never really knew it. :-)

True friendship is that wind in placid air. It reminds you that hard times are there so we can marvel at compassion and the resiliency of the sisterhood.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

so yesterday...

i throw it around so much...because i feel it bears repeating, chanting, singing...

perhaps it has grown familiar; but what other way can i express the way you make me feel?

i could smile when i see your face...

but i already do so innately.

i can give you a thousand hugs and kisses...

but those are directives my body follows involuntarily.

as individuals, we are mere specks floating through time;

but collectively, we are complete.

it weighs heavily; yet i am strong;

i drown in your enigmatic allure; yet i am thirsty.

the mystery that you are, and all its splendor, defines your complexities...

and that captivates me.

i want to learn more of your language when we follow each others rhythms.

i throw it around so much...because it bears repeating, chanting...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conversations overheard @ Bella Cupcake Bistro...

She said...

He was standing there before me as if he had never left, as naturally as breathing; which, in that moment, I’d forgotten how to do. The face was slightly tarnished, yet somehow more beautiful; like an oxygenated statue, or the graphics on an old faded t-shirt. For more than a moment, we stood in awe of one another. He found words before I did; and the voice was the same as it had been ten years before. It had not weathered like the face....

" are you? You look..."
He stopped short of a compliment, but his cheekbones were raised at attention, his head slightly tilted. When he smiled, the skin around his eyes smiled; too. I knew he was impressed with the sophisticated woman I'd come to be. I hoped my silence didn’t give the wrong impression. I just couldn't believe my eyes…

Though I said nothing, he seemed not the least bit offended. He continued to converse; as if silence was commonplace in his everyday conversations.

He didn't fit into this picture; but, conversely, was a cold steel skyscraper interrupting my sprawling water colored landscape. He had crawled out of some dead hole I had no desire to revisit.

I felt heat from the inside of my cheeks...I saw glares that weren't, heard whispers that originated from an internal shame that no one else in the small room could possibly know. I wanted nothing more, than to expunge this colossal Sears Tower hat had disrupted the serenity of my Water Lillie's masterpiece.

At last, I found my words. Hindsight being what it is; I wish I'd chosen them more carefully.

"What are you" I said. It just kind of… came out, and I knew how bad it sounded. It was simply the truth; unraveling itself, in that peculiar way it has a tendency to.

He was silent a moment, his smile changed in a subtle way only one completely fixed upon it could have noticed.

I recalled the way he smiled at everything, some time ago; my tears, my joys, my contempt, and my lust for him. When he smiled, I was his sole source of admiration. That was, of course... until I wasn't any longer...

"What am I doing here?" he finally said. He looked perplexed.

He looked down at his crisp Dress Blue uniform. "Buying cupcakes." he huffed sarcastically, but his smile betrayed the tone of his voice. I really wished he’d quit grinning at me… laughing at me....

I wanted to crawl under the bistro table. Calm down. I tried to regain control of the conversation.
"Oh...well, I live here, was all I meant. I know its cupcakes, silly. Its just that you’re here, in Georgia, with me…I mean, not with me, of course, but you’re here... and I’m here... with my husband I mean… Yes, my husband and I,... my husband attorney...we bought our home here in Buckhead last I guess you can say this is home for us now..."

I'd repeated myself past the point of redundancy. I heard my voice and wanted desperately to control the pitch. I was louder than I should have been. I sounded obnoxious, and I knew it. I couldn't help myself; he was standing there with that smirk, thinking about God only knows…I guess it gave me back my footing into adulthood- and out of this realm of past indiscretions- saying it...husband.

...So I said it one more time.
''My husband and I...we've been married six years."

He was completely unaffected; smiling even harder than before.

"Texas! Congratulations! Your all grown up now!" he said.

Did he seriously just call me Texas? All Grown Up...? The nerve! Had he thought me a child, back then?...surely not. Who did this asshole think he was? Whatever. I would conform to no box; yield to no road barriers. I am a respected woman in this community. A wife and mother. Where was the exit...from this man and these unwanted memories...

"Mrs. Jennings..your order is up!" the baker called. Thank God.

I turned to him once more, confident that I would be able to walk away from him this time.

" was...interesting to have seen you again. You take care, now." I said, as shortly as possible.

As I walked away, I could still feel his eyes on me, and I knew he understood. He had not had the best of me; after all.

He said...

I felt eyes on me. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that I'm not still capable of turning a purty young thang's head every now and again; but this broad was...gawking.

Maybe she's looking behind me. I thought . She made me uncomfortable in a foreign kind of way. I stared back; hoping to break her comatose expression, awaken her from her daze.

She blinked, cocked her head to the side. Still; she didn't turn away.

She knows me...
Think quick, where do you know this chic from? I drew blank after blank.

I should know her...
I felt warth settling in the pit of my stomach, this was potentially about to be an awkard encounter...

The look on her face, one of both awe and confusion; made me wonder just how well I knew this familiar stranger.

Dressed in loosely tailored, heather grey Tahari; there was little hope in appraising her assets underneath. She was too familiar in her gaze, so brazen it was impossible that our acquaintance was merely casual. The face wasn’t much to look at; and it seemed she’d gone out of her way to blend in. The type that wear Mrs. as badges of honor. not at all the type I used to step out with. I liked my playmates, well… more playful. Normally, I would never have looked twice at this stale woman glaring across the room at me.

But now that she had my attention…and I was intrigued, I guess.

So, I walked over to her. You know what they say…The best offense

"Well, hey you!" I tried it on, see how it fit.
It was risky, but I figured, one can never go wrong with the good ole "hey you" in place of: “I can‘t remember who you are to save my own ass..”.

I hoped it was a mistake in identity, and the worst that would come of it was a quiet apology, and a quicker exit.

But still, she stood there... silent.

I tried again.

", you look..."
I wasn't sure how to finish. I could have said "great" or "wonderful," but that would have been a lie; as I could not rightfully say it was an improvement on any prior look. See, I didn't just forget her name. I simply didn't remember her… at all.

I was drowning in the awkward silence. I was just about to say forget the damned cupcakes and head out of there.

Just then; she broke her silence.

"What are you doing here?" She said.

Good question. What was I doing there? Buying $60 cupcakes for my neurotic wife who can't just go to the corner grocer and buy a pack of Duncan Heinz. Who the hell was this woman?

I had her voice now, but it lent nothing familiar to my ear... Except that she was very nervous. Why? Had I slept with this Plain Jane? Man...I should really lay off the Patron.

"What am I doing here?" I laughed. "Well, the same as you, I suppose. Buyin' overpriced baked goods."
I really hoped she would laugh. It is harder to mask a laugh; they almost never change.

No dice, so; I laughed for us both.

She looked both annoyed and embarrassed by the obvious oversight. Had she thought I was stalking her? Hell, if only I could remember her!

Just then, my luck changed! In her embarrassment; she'd started to ramble...I couldn't tell you what the hell she was talking about, her husband or something or another moved to Georgia...???

Now we were getting somewhere! She was unraveling like a very uninterestedly wrapped birthday gift. Her voice was cracking; and the pauses between words were longer than is natural. The more she rambled on; the more a distinct southwestern twang slipped from her city slicker tongue.

"Texas." I said aloud. I was proud of myself, I couldn't help grinning from ear to ear. Sherlock Holmes ain't got nothin' on me!

I started to feel myself, knowing I was seconds away from cracking this mystery. I congratulated her on her marriage, told her I was glad she'd grown up so. Strangest thing, I almost thought i had it wrong, she looked a bit put off.

When her order came up first, I started to breathe easy, knowing she was exiting without a "keep in touch" moment, or forcing me into some awkward "put me in your blackberry" scenario. Had that happened; any hope of walking away not looking like a complete douche bag, would have been lost.

I only wished I could have remembered her...

Then it happened...
She exited the small shop; strutted across the busy intersection. I watched in awe; as she took each step in her stilettos, each rounded cheek defied he other under her corporate business attire. Only one girl I knew possessed a behind so grand it would perform under this most restricting gear. Memories came rushing over me so intensely I could barely contain my childlike giddiness. My smile was no longer painted on; but permanently etched into my head, like those memories of that magnificent specimen perched atop the burnout hood of my old Honda. It sat as just as regally in the air as it had all those many years ago...

I wanted to call after her, run through the pink frosted glass double doors and yell her name… . I stood mesmerized by the way her posterior swayed and bounced in cadence… in the most beautifully familiar way!

Of course. …Nadine....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PART TWO: "Baby's Parent Etiquette"

Rule #2: Don't place your ex in a box. Or He'll never have room to grow...

Scenario B: Fife and Brian were a very young couple with a child. He was not a lot of help with their daughter, he was inconsistent with his income, often "in between" jobs. Most of the time he sat around, played the PS3, never helped with the potty training, never cleaned up after himself, or took the child on outings. Sadly, in this scenario, the mother was the bread winner, the homemaker, the quintessential single parent within a two parent household. By the child’s third birthday, she’d had enough.

When Brian moved out, however, he quickly moved on; moving in with another woman and her two children. He got a new job and stayed on that job consistently. He was regular with Fife’s child support and not only that, took care of his new girlfriends kids as well!

This put Fife in a fury she couldn't explain. She wanted to be happy that Brian had matured so quickly. But something inside her couldn't accept his new found paternal responsibility. The thing keeping her insides boiling every time she dropped their child off for weekends at his house with this new woman and her kids. What she wouldn't admit…was that she would rather Brian continued to be the predictable child she was accustomed to- than to see him become the man he never was with her...with someone else.

There is was. No matter how much he improved as a parent, Fife wanted Brian in that box she’d labeled "dead beat dad". If he wouldn't do right in their five year history, then he couldn't do right for this new woman, either.
She found moving on difficult. She would spend a great deal time on first dates talking about how badly her past relationship ended, and what a deadbeat her child's father was. When she didn't find relationship success as quickly as Brian, she became even more bitter. She decided to run a little interference. When Brian would come to drop off his daughter, she began coming to the door in her robe and underwear. When that did’t work; she became highly combative, even to the point of pettiness. She complained about the shoes he bought their daughter, that they were “too cheap, and maybe if he wasn't taking care of all those other kids, he could buy better quality clothes for his ACTUAL daughter." So, he stopped buying "extras", stuck to the court ordered child support.

The last straw came two years later; when she learned that he and his girlfriend were engaged, and expecting a child together. Fife called and asked Brian to come over “so they could talk about what that meant for the future of their daughter together“. Wanting to extend an olive branch; he went over to see her; alone, as she requested. He didn't come inside, she met him at his truck. They talked for a long time; and it seemed they were finally moving forward, and past the animosity. Fife was very emotional and used this moment to express why she was so mad all the time. She told him that she was hurt that he was such a bad father and boyfriend to her- yet he had moved on and became the “perfect man for this new woman“. She told him how hard it was for a single mother to find love again.

He was shocked. He explained that he was upset with himself when they'd broken up; and as a result, he’d vowed he’d become a better father. He said he never meant for her to think she wasn't good enough for him; but in actuality, he had not been man enough for her. He’d learned from his mistakes with her, and felt he was given a second chance at happiness with his fiance, whom he loved very much. This made Fife cry; and Brian embraced her. Things got heated quickly, and the next thing they both knew, clothes were off and the windows were foggy.
When it was over, Brian was very upset that he had lost control with Fife; knowing that he was going home to his pregnant fiancé. He apologized for hurting or misleading her. She smiled and told him she understood, that this was "the closure she needed to move on". He was relieved, though something in her tone made him question if she’d really meant that. Brian asked if he could go inside to freshen up. He left, and nothing of their little mishap was mentioned again....
Well, almost. The next week, Brian's fiancé went to pick up the dry cleaning in his truck. When she went to get the pick up receipt from the console, she found Fife’s black lace underwear, strategically placed on top for her to find.
Despite Fife’s efforts; Brian married his fiancé, anyway. After the truth about the incident was exposed; however, Brian never came to Fife’s home unaccompanied again. A bitter rivalry ensued between both women. At every "drop off", an all out brawl took place. It got so explosive, the police were often called to the residence. What had once been just tension was now outright warfare! The little one’s would watch as the parents behaved like children.
Brian's visits to his daughter became less and less frequent.

*How were both parties responsible for how things went array?
*Did Fife contribute, in any way, to how limited her child's time with her father became?
*Is Fife responsible for her own failed relationships after her breakup with Brian…?
*…Or is there really a double standard, when it comes to how single mothers are received in dating... versus single fathers?
*How does keeping Brain in a box, ultimately keep Fife in an even smaller one?
*Had Brian taken the time to sit down and explain his epiphany that led to his "new behavior", would it have helped Fife come around to the idea of his moving on sooner?
*How did Fife let her bitterness take over her life, and ultimately; negatively impact her own relationship with her daughter?
*How truthful was Brian about why he was such a better partner with the new woman? Do you believe he truly, "learned his lesson", or was that the convenient answer for his ex crying before him? Do you know any men/women who did a 360 degree turn after a relationship ended? What explanation did they give for it?

It is always refreshing to see our children benefit from cohesive relationships between the biological parents, even after the relationship has ended.

The underlying message in both scenarios is respect. A woman (or man) must respect themselves enough to set and maintain boundaries once they have been put in motion. If a relationship is over; the sexual aspect must end as well. You only cheat yourself trying to hold on to something dead with your body. It won’t make that person want to be a better parent. Similarly, if your ex has, in fact; matured and is trying to move forward in a relationship with someone new; it is only to the benefit of your children with that person that you maintain a respectful boundary. Trying to run interference will only make you look bitter and desperate.
We must learn the science behind when to close the box (in Angela's case) and when to keep the box open for potential lessons (In Fife's case).
Things run much more smoothly when the children are the focus after breakups, and not our own selfish needs.

PART ONE: "Baby's Parent" Ettiquette

So, lots of feedback on the respect issues in married/single platonic friendships- thanks for that, guys! Apparently, this is a hot topic for most of us.

Truly, we are not our grandparents generation when it comes to how the family structure is built. Right before our eyes, we are seeing the stereotypical single parent stigma demolished; with more than half of marriages dissolving in divorce; many families are choosing to raise their children as single responsible parties. We are faced with a new problem that is an unspoken taboo: what is the "proper etiquette" for the baby mama/papa to follow, when the relationship has ended... but the children are still very real?

We all have friends that do it; perhaps its you. Still sneaking a little cookie out of that sealed off jar. Maybe you feel frustrated with the dating scene as a newly single person; and thus, seek comfort in whats familiar. Or perhaps, you have not resolved your feelings for this man, and continuing a physical relationship keeps you connected to him. Maybe a sexual relationship is how you lure him over to see his kids...Maybe you secretly want to sabotage his new relationship with that girl that you want no where near your kids. I have heard all these things; believe me.

I am not throwing stones, not at all guys. I simply want speak to what these things really say about you as a woman, as a mother, and ultimately: as a potential mate in future relationships.

Rule #1: Giving him the nookie... will not keep him from playing hookie!

Oh, don't shake your heads at me! You all know it goes on. That unspoken rule that is upheld by many mamas and papas alike: You can always still sleep with the baby's parent.
Scenario A: The revolving door of the baby mama....
Angela is a successful attorney, on the fast track to partner in her firm; she embodies what is inspiring in all single mothers. She cares for her two children as the primary care giver; she is a role model and spends quality time with her children while balancing her career. She and her ex husband were married young and separated years ago. He has not remarried, and she has not found the time to begin to date again. It takes so much energy, she told her girlfriends, these guys with their down low lifestyles; bad credit; criminal records...Angela had heard all the horrendous stories of what the dating scene held for her in Atlanta. So even though Howard, her ex husband, was never a hands-on father, was a cheater and had fathered children outside their marriage; she kept him around as a "filler in the space" until Mr. Right finally surfaced. When Howard would come over to "see the kids", he would spend fifteen minutes with the children, then head to the Angela's bedroom for a little action before heading off. She always felt guilty; her kids were middle school age now and surely knew what Daddy and Mommy were doing upstairs. At times when she would cut him off, he would simply not show up at all. Months would go by and the children would not hear from him. So, when he would come around, she obliged him what he wanted in exchange for the few hours a month he spent with her children. She knew it set the wrong impression to her kids, but as a Christian woman, she resolved that even though they were no longer married and living separate lives; that what she and her ex husband were doing was better than the alternative- fornicating with men that may end up being just a fling. With Howard, however awful; at least she knew what she was getting...
At least, that's what she thought. A routine doctor visit for a yearly exam showed that Angela actually had no idea what she was getting. Throughout her marriage and divorce, Howard had never been faithful... to anyone but himself. He misused women his whole life; and Angela most of all. He had managed to never give her a birthday present; an Anniversary Card...but he had given her HIV.

Sadly, this scenario plays out everyday. It seems simple enough to blame her for her lack of standards; or to vilify Howard as the "STD carrying-deadbeat -womanizer". But when we take accountability... how did BOTH contribute to the outcome, for their children?
*Had Angela been less fearful of moving on, of being rejected or hurt in a future relationship, could she have prevented this?
*Had Angela cut off Howard's sexual "privileges," and it resulted in his not coming around the kids anymore, would it have been worse than having them see him treat their mother as a "side piece"?
* How will her lack of self esteem impact her children's lives now ?

In this story, we see how continuing to engage in sexual relations with our "ex's", particularly "ex's" with whom we share children, never ends well. While it may seem the "safe route," the "quick fix," or the "safety net," what seems safe... could easily be toxic. You cannot be certain that your ex has the same standards of exclusiveness that you do, critically; when it comes to who they will engage in unprotected sex with. Just because you had a clean bill of health at OB when you went in for your prenatal check up; doesn't mean that your partner won't continue to gamble with their private parts after your relationship has ended. The same thing that made you end the relationship will likely not change just because he/she moves out. If you lower the standard to "cut buddy" status, then not only have you have not let go of the baggage from this relationship, but you are carrying it into any potential relationship in the future. Worst of all; it is showing your children that boundaries are meant to be broken. Once a relationship ends all the fringe benefits should; too.

Part Two is finished; I will post them both on the same day. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friendship... and the spouse.

Aw...platonic friendships. After thresholds have been crossed; brooms jumped and all that jazz, where do relationships with friends of the opposite sex fit in?

Though never an easy topic, I am frustrated enough to take it on this afternoon. This came about after my well intentioned husband tried to justify going to his single work buddy's bday bash at a nightclub, without me. This same coworker also has no problem calling and texting him. I have asked him to invite her to our dinner parties and mysteriously, she never showed. I need to add... she is a single woman. Don't misunderstand. I love my free and single ladies. I mention her status only to reiterate a point: the mindset is understandibly different between the single and married person. It may have never occured to her that she was violating ettiquitte by urging my husband to accompany her to a night club while inexblicably leaving me off the guest list. She is likely not after Meathead. She just doesnt' think like a woman who has to set boundaries because she isn't one.

What is the big deal anyway? Shouldn't we all still be able to engage in friendly relationships with the opposite sex after matrimony?

Well, I will anger a few of you, by answering with a resounding... NO!!!

I hear you now: that's jealousy, that's being a "ball and chain"...guys and girls should have the right to friends of the opposite sex...

Yeah. I hear you. Sure.
Without a doubt; there FEW exceptions- and these exceptions ONLY:

*The "friend" is a mutual friend to both husband and wife, or would have no problem being so. (e.i. the co worker that would gladly invite your spouse to the bbq, and come over to yours. This friend understands that marriage is a package deal that way.)

*The "friend" has never been in a relationship with your spouse. (No, I dont mean your sixth grade crush. I mean the ones with which you have vivid memory of their private parts. :-)

*The "friend" is a 'family friend' - which you have known so long, your other half would come across as a absolutely pyscho for interfering with your bond. (However; in these cases- that "family friend"- is usually very open to being around your spouse.) I will give an example of this later.

Before you write me off as a nearly thirty, overprotective, jealous married lady; let me give you the back story to my very sound logic.


A married couple is having some typical problems in their sixth year. Husband begins to feel like he married too young, starts to wonder if he's missed anything....He confides his frustration to a single co-worker of the opposite sex...

A few months pass; and the newly friendly pair go from casual lunches shared in the break grabbing a few drinks after playful everyday conversations... Very detailed conversations, where hubby reveals all the marital dirty laundry. All with wifey left in the dark about this new girl-friend/girlfriend.
So, months pass...things get better at home for the couple. Then, husband starts to feel a little "uncomfortable" with the amount of time his co worker "friend" spends at his desk; her non stop texting... which eventually his wife takes wind of. Of course, that doesn't go over well.
So what do you think happened to that friendship?
Yep. If you said husband tried to put it all on his "stalking co-worker" and cut off his friendship with the single guessed right. The poor friend was his shoulder to cry on... until he decided he was finished crying. She was left humiliated and undoubtedly angered that she was used this way.
MORAL: Don't befriend married people behind the spouses back. If your friend values your friendship, it won't be a secret from his/her spouse. Don't allow that married person to drag you into their drama by making secret friendships with them. you can't really help him/her with their issues, unless your a marriage counselor or a pastor-in that case you would still need to see BOTH parties. This married person is using you as their dumping ground. If you beginto feel sorry for this "unhappily married friend," you may find yourself with conflicting feelings about them, as this young lady did. She took all the wife bashing as a sign he was on his way out the door. Even if that person's marriage was in fact, over; keep it friendly until you know for sure, like the ink is dry on the divorce/separation papers. That way, you protect your own feelings, as well as the feelings of that spouse who has no idea that you are even an issue. It will only end in bad karma for you, when you don't respect the boundaries of marriage!


We all love social networking. Catching up with college/high school buddies- male and female- is my favorite part of it all, since we all live in different cities now. My obscure fascination with pro wrestling, hip hop, and the Dallas Cowboys- keeps me engaged in playful banter with my FB male counterparts on a daily basis.

So how do you draw clear lines of distinction; between keeping it real with your buddies, and crossing over into murky water?

Well, for one, it is wise to keep the conversation public. (E.I. The "Wall" or "Status Updates")...For the most part, I am PROUD to say almost ALL of my male friends keep it kosher and respectful; and even when a playful flirtatious joke is thrown in here and there, they always keep it respectful of my vows and I appreciate those of you who do that.

Then comes that proverbial bad apple that spoils the collective bunch...

Last week, I went against my better judgement and accepted a "friend request" from a high school "boyfriend". It seemed harmless enough, like I said, all my C-Town homies keep it clean and professional- so I am not so full of myself- to assume that this guy I haven't seen in over 12 years- had some ulterior motives. After all, my status clearly says MARRIED. So what harm could come, right?

WRONG. First it was the "chat" invites. I am a habitual night owl; and I keep my FB open while I blog or browse the web. Every night, in the wee hours of the morning; there was this red light alerting me that someone was inviting me to chat. Sometimes my deployed friends get on since they have the time delay, so I went to check it out. When I saw it was this "ex", my spidey senses tingled a bit, but I just ignored it and closed out the box. What did he have to talk to me about at 2 am, after 12 years? Strange. Even more weird, when I would close it out, he would start in again. The box read: HI KRISTEN. Ignore. Then two minutes later...HELLO KRISTEN!!! When he didn't get very far on the chat, he sent emails. In one, he casually thanked me for the "add", then said "but I didn't expect you to be married, though." WTH? Why not? Whatever. I kept it pro and didn't say a whole lot, figured he would fade to black into the pile of people collected on my page I never engage with.
Sure, I was annoyed. But its the computer. One has choices. I just closed out FB, and went on about my night.

Then the next afternoon, I went on to update my status. I made some less than subtle hint about wanting to have Meathead (hubby :)) take me on a hot date. This TOOL gets on and comments to my status: "OH, I'm ready to take you on a hot date right now. As I remember, we had LOTS of those!"

WOW!!! Talk about embarrassed! (Now, if you assume his prank was harmless; remember what I said- I actually did unfortunately date this guy for a very short time in high school. So there is no irony in his statement. He meant to be coy and cute; but conversely, was rude and disrespectful.) Had we been truly "friends"; the tone of the post wouldn't have made me so uncomfortable. Like I said, I love my male buddies! Some of the guys I converse with on FB are actually my husbands cousins, brothers and friends. No harm in that. This ex-asshole is not my friend, therefore, he had no business on my page. I ignored my better judgment, and was punished for it. Undoubtedly, he saw no harm in trying to open that door, maybe he was kidding. So really, its not his fault. In his eyes, I accepted his friend request, so if he saw me up at 2am on the chat, he saw no foul in trying to connect. He isn't the one that is married. I am. So I must remember to be mindful of how my intentions are recieved, especially by single men who have nothing to lose. Especially since the guy was so insignificant that I never even mentioned him, nor those subjective "hot dates" to my husband, who was not happy about the bull headed post. Lesson learned, however humiliated I was. :(
So how did it play out? I kept it classy, responded that his comment was inappropriate; and left the comment up, even though I could have deleted it, as a reminder to myself... that everyone cannot be your friend. Period.

So on to the example of the appropriate friendship... #3: The Lifelong Friend.

I promised in the intro, to give an example of the type of friendship that almost trumps the married clause. It is that on longtime friend of the family. I said ALMOST because- with anything; there is that one or two "bad apples"...but my example is one that is positive.
So my husband's parents followed their best friends from the military here, to metro Atlanta, when they retired. That family also had children; one of which is close in age to Meathead; and they all grew up together. When there are family functions and they all get together; I am thrilled to listen to the stories that they share as children. This particular friend-I may add; is a bonafide cutie pie- super pretty- and I am sure as kids, my husband had- at the very least-a mild crush on her. I think its cute, and he would probably kill me for putting it out there! Sorry, babe :).
Nothing about the presence of friends like this upsets me. Not even a little. I am more than secure, and not only that; I actually like all his childhood family. I found her refreshing and funny, and I probably talk to her much more than he does now. She is family- like his sisters and brothers. Because she is actually a family friend, she and her siblings made me feel welcome just like the rest of the Sealsee clan. If she called him right now; and was talking to him, about anything at all; nothing in my being would be dis aligned with that. Family is family. Respect.

I know I am going to hear it from yo guys so just note that my husband and I both have friends of the opposite sex. No jealous tirades over here.

Bottom line: as adults, we all chose our own paths to follow, and if you find a friend is not respecting boundaries that they should; whether single or married, distance yourself. It never ends well. The amount of disrespect for vows these days is deafening. NO JOKE- last week a female co worker of my husband's told him "I know your married... but I would love to go down on you while your driving..." and then walked away! No kidding. He had co-workers cosign it actually happened. This is what is comes down to. With trash like this in the world, the last thing a married couple should have to worry about is friends who say they mean well, but don't. If you are a great friend that provides the opposite sex perspective, I commend you. Everyone needs one of those. Just make sure you are really being a friend. And exit soapbox. :)

The moral is: with all endeavors; use your integrity. I love my singles and my marrieds; I urge both to govern themselves accordingly. Peace.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

what paralyzes you?

I may be a real big punk.

Last October I took my little cousin and sister in law to Netherworld, the top rated Haunted Attraction in the country. I ain't scared of no ghosts, I watched the Exorcist at age 5. Really. I have been to every run of the mill Halloween theme park.So when we entered the first of the two haunts, I lead the pack. It was just make believe...

Within minutes, I started to hyperventilate, looking for the emergency exit. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be, there were no distorted mirrors or evil clowns jumping out at you, no skeletons popping up out of cardboard coffins. No sir, whoever made this mad house was some sick twisted individual, no doubt. I admit, I wasn't ready for the attention to detail shown in that attraction. I was scared voiceless, unable to move forward without being literally pushed by my comrades. It felt like we were inside a real life horror movie; the makeup was cinema quality- the actors must prepare the entire year for the stamina to terrorize each patron with the same amount of fervor each time. The first house we enter was called "The mangler", and played out more like a cross between a Saw Movie and Night of the Living Dead. There were even real "survivors", running around like crazed victims of some unspeakable horror. Over the top gore, from start to finish.

I was so shook up upon exiting the first house that I had to prepare for over thirty minutes to even enter the next one. Heck, I am certain I would have forfeit that extra $5 dollars extra to enter the second house, had I not been pressured by the ladies in my party. Besides, the spooks didn't just haunt the inside. They were outside, hiding behind port o potties waiting to shake it and scare the you know what out of whatever chump was trapped inside. I decided to take my chances with the group rather than stay outside alone, with those things.

But I was so freaking scared. The whole time we stood in line, I kept trying to make sure I was not in position to be neither first nor last in line with my group. First was bad, but last meant the things could sneak up behind you...and I wasn't with that. Not at all!

So this time in, I hid behind my five foot nothing little cousin. I held her hand and kept my eyes closed the entire time. If I heard a noise or anything remotely ghoulish in my ear, I squeezed them even tighter, like a child awaiting a surprise. I was so scared, I had forgotten that it was make believe, the line between fantasy and reality had blurred indefinitely.

I came out of the second house much less shaken; but certainly stirred.

Do you ever close your eyes to the things that terrify you, hoping that if you just hold the hand in front of you, you'll be okay?

What if that hand leads you toward more pain?

What if the situation is more terrifying when you are kept in the dark?

That is exactly what happened that night. According to the other girls, the second house is the tamer of the two, and we actually went in reverse order. As it turn out, I had my eyes closed in the less scary haunt. I was so afraid, I gave up, and ultimately cheated myself.

This year, I am looking for redemption. I have already been to fear and scoped the two themes this year: Blood Night and Zombie Wars. I hadn't mentioned that the idea of zombies literally makes my skin crawl. Don't worry, no matter how detailed the paint, or how realistic the moans, I will keep my eyes open. Even if it kills me...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

pest control

My friend Liza has a serious pest problem. No one eats there; for fear that the rodent has been pilfering through the groceries. No one watches TV; the disgusting thing will sit down right beside you. She swears she got rid of it twice, and sometimes it seems as if it is gone for good. I asked her one day, how she planned to exterminate it once and for all...

"Hey girl, whatcha doin'?" I asked.
"Looking for my rat poison." she said.
"Oh, don't tell me it's back!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, unfortunately," she sounded very tired. It hardly seemed fair for her to have this embarrassing problem. She had always been clean, and neat. She didn't even invite over suitors anymore.

"I have no life anymore. I stay home with my children, because they are afraid of the rat. My mom tried to put the rat in its place, but it screeched back at her. Only my little brother will entertain it, because he feels sorry for it. It sits on my couch, eating my food, getting fatter, laughing at my misery. I would move, but I can't find a buyer for my house. When they see the rat, they scream and run." she said through frustrated tears.

Everyday, it sat unapologetic hoisted upon her once sturdy sofa. She had told me on more than one occasion; that if she could only get him out, she would replace that sofa the same day. There was a sunken spot where his body had imprinted the cushion permanently.

He started early in the day, and watched television into the night.
The rat watched lots of Judge Judy and Court TV. He was excited to see that it would be very hard to have him evicted. First, according to Judge Judy, she had to serve him with an official notice giving him at least 30 days to vacate the premises. He didn't figure she knew that. She was hardly ever watching TV. The way the rat figured, he was so slick, he could call the Judge and sue her for not being nicer to him while he stayed there. He would argue that he would go if he could take the beloved device with him. He picked up the phone, and dialed the number on the television screen.

The courtroom was just like it looked on the TV; only the courtroom audience gasped when he walked into the courtroom through the double doors in the rear. He was self conscious about his new found girth around the mid-section. He couldn't understand how he'd gained so much weight.

"All rise! Honorable Judge Judith presiding!" the bailiff exclaimed.
The Rat was so excited. This was the best day ever!
"Plaintiff vs. Defendant in the case of Mr. Rat vs. Liza Zimmerman!"

Judge Judy entered the courtroom with the same shrill countenance she always held. She didn't waste any time.

"Mr. Rat, you are suing Ms. Zimmerman for the rights to stay in her home indefinitely and for the television set. Am I correct Mr. Rat?" She did not look amused. It didn't bother him, he knew how to work the old bat. He never missed an episode.
"Yes, your honor. I feel that Ms. Zimmerman should be more respectful to me as a man. She treats me like I am worthless, and I don't appreciate it." He smiled triumphantly.

"I see. Mr. Rat, do you pay any bills?" She asked.
"No, I don't. I can't find a job, no one will ever give a rat a job." He replied.
"I see. Mr. Rat, I see you have children. Do you care for them as well?" The judge asked sharply.
"Well, compared to what alot of other rats do, I'm father of the year. Most rats don't do anything at all for their babies. Just hatch 'em and rum. At least I come around-" the Judge stopped him mid sentence. She had heard enough.

"Enough outta you! Ms. Zimmerman, I truly applaud your patience in dealing with this disgusting field animal!" The judge screamed, and the veins in her neck were much more prominent than they looked on TV. Even high definition could not prepare him for the wrath of this woman before him.

"Mr. Rat, I understand you never miss an episode of my program, is that correct?" she snapped.
"Yes...yes ma'am. I watch everyday." he replied.
"I see. And do you also watch during the commercials to see who my biggest sponsor is?"
"No. I usually wait for commercials to go get a snack."
"Well, that's much too bad. It seems you may have called the wrong Judge. I would expect anyone who is a fan of mine to know how much I hate dirty sneaky rats! Bailiff, will you show our sponsor into the courtroom now."

The bailiff obliged, and just then, a large man wearing a white jumpsuit with the bright red Orkin logo approached.

The Rat had the sinking feeling that his verdict- was about to be rendered.

make me a blonde poodle...part one.

Today there was an article in the Times about Michelle Obama’s hair and the controversy surrounding whether or not she will ever “go natural” and wear her hair in it’s natural curly state.

Truly, this is still an issue close to the heart of all Black women; whether you are a all natural or choose to straighten your hair through the many inventive processes we all know to well. The article made me think of the first time I ever knew what the standard of beauty was. The following is an excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago, it is fictional but I think we can all apreciate the sentiment:

When I was nine years old; I sold my soul to Satan.
I mean to make no grand, sweeping statements filled with metaphorical sentiment, like when some corporate peon "sells his soul to the devil’- in which said 'Devil' really just some big, heartless corporation. No, that is not at all what I am telling you. I mean in the very literal, quite physical sense; I had a very real pact- with THE DEVIL, himself.

Don't act so shocked. I happened to be God’s biggest fan, but this was business. I mean, really, it’s not as if God buys souls, for crying out loud. Alas, my plan was neither it evil nor sinister, I hardly even knew the guy. I had something he wanted, and hoped in return he could give me what I understood was too shallow and sinful to ask the Lord.

I should probably give you the obligatory back story.

My Momma was the most beautiful creature ever to have ever walked the earth. Now, I know every little girl thinks their mother is pretty- but see, it wasn’t just me that thought so. The clerks at the local mall, the butcher in the meat isle of the Winn Dixie- everywhere we went, my mother turned the collective heads of everyone; from high school boys, to wheel-chaired old ladies. I suppose God allowed her to grace the world with her angelic looks since He was only going to let the universe borrow her for a little while; but while she was here, I lived vicariously through my mother’s perfect image. People seldom ignore that kind of superior beauty. Walking next to her made you feel like everyone was looking at you, too; as if suddenly my plain features took on significance, similar to the way unappealing night is lit by the mysterious light of the moon.

As resounding as her beauty was, to my constant dismay; she seemed sorely underwhelmed with the favoritism the Creator had bestowed upon her.

I guess terminal illness will do that to a person. She had been dying from the time she was born; and no matter how many times people would praise her looks; she would digress to “heavier things”- like how people should be happy with what God gave them, that outward beauty is futile.

I should note: that only pretty people believe this.

Undoubtedly, she would have traded her impossibly silken ringlets, her ample bosom, her impeccable almond skin, and her slightly overwhelming doe eyes; for a single day without pain. For myself, everyday lacking those attributes was my own brand of constant pain, subjective, but nevertheless, real in a way that made nothing else matter to me.

Sometimes, late at night; I would come down stairs and find her in front of the TV watching paid programming. Her face would be wet, watching some televangelist heal the afflicted, Right there in Technicolor for the world to see!

“See how they doubt you Lord! But I know you can heal me! Hallelujah!” she'd exclaim.
Every once in a while, TV Pastor would send my momma a little patch of felt that smelled like the oil my grandma used to cook with, with a letter that looked almost hadwritten. Momma was always very excited to see that her contributions were being acknowledged, that this man was her gateway to communication with the Big Guy himself.

Alas, no matter how many of those oil soaked napkins came in the mail, she hurt; all the way to the bone, everyday of her life. Eventually, the pain was too much, even for the bone; and corrosion left a hollow place where her hip bone used to be. After that she became increasingly less excited when the red velvet cloths showed up, but still believed that if she bested this test, she would overcome.

People always say that we shouldn’t focus on beauty, obsess about it. We admire the gifts that poets bring forth with their magic ability to string obscure words together and make them sound gorgeous. God gave poets their words. We marvel at thousand year old paintings that cannot feed us; yet somehow still, they nurture us. Yet we do not deny the artist, nor the poet, the right to share with the world what He gave them. He also gave favor to beautiful people; yet we deny them their glory, and say beauty is only skin deep.

Momma kept her faith, her beauty, her Bible, and her oily felt rags; and in return, was duly rewarded with thirty six years of life.

At Momma's funeral, people still admired her beauty, spoke of her shell as if it were a Rembrant. The chatter filled the space between occasional sobbing. "What a good job Baker’s did with the body!" "They didn’t make her too dark. And they nailed that red lipstick she loved so!" "MY that was the most beautiful woman I ever did see! Even in Death! Such a likeness to herself! Amen!"

Sometimes the whispers were not as low as intended.

"Where is the husband? He didn’t even come to see her off! Is the grandma gone raise them kids? At her age? God Bless her soul." Every once in a while, someone would come over and speak to us, the words thoughtfully well chosen.- “well look at you? You are getting so big! How old are you now, what’s your name again? Oh yes! Wow, eight you say? Well, you hold your head up, you got your mama’s spirit, that’s for certain. You just stay in the way of God....then to the other sibling: "Is this your little brother? Jacob!Well, ain’t he gorgeous! He is as pretty as his mama! It ain’t fair to give all them lashes to a little boy! Now that is a beautiful child!"

I asked Grandma why God never healed Momma.

“Watch your mouth, blasphemous child! We cannot assume we know w’tis God’s will. All we can do is be fai'ful to His word, baby. Our unworthy min's cannot comprehend His Devine Plan. He blessed her immensely. Them doctors don’t know it all, if they know a damned thang at all! Lord forgive me! I get fired up ‘bout them so called dock-ters… (and she always said 'doctors' like it was a really bad word. I used to think “doctor” was synonymous with child molester)…
"…you know dey gave m’ baby till her seventh birthday. Seven years old! Then they tu'n 'round an' say she wasn’t neva sus’pose to have nan’ one you chil'ren. Well, her and the Lord sho’ fooled them crazy PhD’s!!!" She belched up a victorious laugh that stretched across the single level home.

Maybe asking God to cure incurable diseases was too big a request. Maybe better to ask for compromises. He gave her years past what was promised to her by medical professionals. My grandma said all I needed was the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains! All I had to do was believe.Just like Santa Clause or Tinkerbelle? I asked, for clarification of course.“No, baby. They are not real,” she said.“How do you know?” I knew this bordered whomping status, but she seemed to be in a generous mood this evening.“Because man made them up just to amuse idle children“, she said.“Well, how do you know that God is real, Grandma?” I pushed. “How do you know some man didn’t just make Him up, too? To amuse idle adults.” I had recently learned the word adults, and I liked it a lot. It made me feel smarter than my friends that called them grown ups. Grandma was not as impressed as my classmates. She sighed and looked up from her Bible. “ I know my Lord is real, because I have faith, baby. You must always have faith,” she said.
Was that it? I am sure Momma had faith, but she was going about it all wrong with that bushy browed TV preacher and his oily felt rags.
I heard my momma say once; that she would trade all the beauty in the world for her health. Funny, I would easily have given a hip bone to possess even an ounce of her beauty. Rather to have lived a short, beautiful life; than to face the alternative: an long, ugly existence.
I figured He would appreciate the direct approach:
God, it’s me. You know. And I think you’ve made a mistake with me. See, I’m Denise’s daughter, and I know you have her there with you, now. I am happy she lives with you, she was in a lot of pain here. I miss her, but Grandma says not to question you, so I trust she is very happy now. Anyway, I am talking to you tonight because…well, everyone tells me how much I have my momma’s spirit, but they don’t ever mention my momma’s prettiness. That’s cause I think you may have forgot to give me any. I’m not mad, I know your busy and all, its an honest mistake. I was wondering, if you find time to, if I could have some of her pretty, too. Just a little. Maybe some softer, longer hair, that would be a great start. If I am not supposed to have pretty because I am going to have some other talent, I would gladly trade that talent in for this one favor. I wouldn’t want to be greedy. I love you very much. Tell my momma I said hi. Thank you for your time,

**i will post part two saturday.**