Family

Family: Who You Make Of It

I learned from my parents a long time ago that family is who you make of it. With relatives living countries and states apart, I knew from early childhood that water would and could in many ways be thicker than blood. Neighbors became aunts and uncles. I would soon accept that it is the common story that would bind me closer to friends than family in years to come.

Holidays and special occasions are a constant reminder that memories are made with loved ones who have stood the test of time. Friends who have helped me create memories that relatives simply could not. Losing my mom brought that home for me. For every memory that I have created before and after her passing has not had the “family member” stamp on it. Rather, it is the friend whose stood beside me, the in-law whose kept me in prayer, the classmate whose not too far away.

Holidays are poignant reminders that family comes in many shapes and sizes. They are the unexpected souls, deposited by God into our lives to walk this journey through life making memories along the way.

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Random Thoughts

Boycotts and Sit-Ins

A verdict has been reached. Stores have been pillaged and my Instagram stream is steeped in provocative images. Black man hung by an American flag noose. Malcolm X has been resurrected. Black Friday myths and calls for boycotts come in at a steady clip. Black woman holding a little boy with the words “don’t shoot me” painted on his shirt. All provocative, all well meaning, all coming from a place of rightful indignation.

Although my shadow wasn’t going to darken no one’s store at 4am this Friday, these pleas for boycott isn’t making a bit of difference in what I do this weekend. But I do plan to boycott and I do plan to sit in.

I am boycotting ignorance. I am boycotting the ignorance in believing that walking up and down a street in 2014 is going to solve today’s social ills. Ignorance in believing that the conversation on race and culture can be done in 30 second sound bites by people who live in the mountains of success and only come down to promote a book every few years. Ignorance in believing that a black man’s future is tied to his athletic prowess and not his business acumen. Ignorance in believing that a black woman isn’t worth a damn if her self-worth isn’t tied to a man, a pair of shoes or purse. Yeah, that’s what I’m boycotting.

I am sitting in. I am sitting in on my future children’s school plays, parent meetings, and book readings. I am sitting in community organizations whose core values align with mine. I am sitting in on community meetings before things happen not after they happen. I am sitting in a career that takes a young hand in mine and walks the journey to adulthood with them. I am sitting in a church, a prayer meeting or a bible study that will lead my heart and soul to think all things eternal and not be so caught up in the temporal. I am sitting in a marriage where my future children will have a father figure to set the example on how to live a productive life. I am sitting in on purposeful relationships with other women that empower and encourage our better selves. I am sitting in a diverse family where society’s dictates of what love looks like doesn’t stem our flow. Yeah that’s what I’m sitting in.

So pardon me if I bypass this Black Friday boycott and move on to things worth boycotting and worth sitting in.

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Holiday Humbug

Each year I make it a point to buy a holiday themed Tshirt. I have a Dr Seuss one and I also have a Hello Kitty one. This year, I’m seriously thinking of getting the Oscar the Grouch one that says it all for me, “Bah Humbug.” Just not in the mood for it this year. Call it missing my mom, call it advertisement overload, call it whatever you like. It’s just not in me this year.

The Christmas season was usually my thing. Scurrying about buying gifts for people. Baking cookies and making bread pudding was my thing. Come see all the cookie racks I have to prove it! The tree be it real or fake would go up. I would add a few new pieces to the decor, candles would be lit in our fire place. Nat King Cole would be playing softly in the background. Holiday smells wafted through our home. I had “Christmas” nailed.

This year, there won’t be a list to check twice. No unique gifts to match with unique people. No personal cards with our family photo to mail out. I might bake. I just might.

Celebrate the season? Yeah or Nah? I choose Nah.

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An Aorta For A Quarter: Why Christian Women Land In Failed Marriages

Somewhere along the way be it one’s misinterpretation of the Bible, a pastor’s casual commentary from the pulpit, or the pressure from the pews, sisters in the faith woke up believing that marriage would be the cure all for their self-perceived loneliness. So trading inner peace for chaos and joy for pain many women have found themselves in battered ships on the turbulent sea of marriage.

He’s the One
Yeah one of MANY. Women are like drones. Once we set our sights on a man, nothing short of pestilence and scurvy (yes, I said scurvy) will shake us when we have found that man who we THINK will be the answer to our prayers. Yet in the words of my urban chicks “that’s the problem.” Last time I checked, Jesus never spoke of human beings as the answer to our prayers. Matter of fact, clear warnings abound about being “yoked” to the wrong One. As if the form of godliness (i.e. knowing how to sit straight and be attentive in church service) means a man is the dating type, never mind the marrying type! Don’t know nothing about his perspective on child-rearing, caring for aging parents, or education but you ready to hand the rest of your life over to him. Ha!

All That Glitters
So we sit in church and watch couples hold hands, rub backs and steal secret glances. Then we think, yeah that’s what I want. Someone to sit next to and make me look good. Make me look whole. Never mind the other six days of the week, these couples are on the grind keeping roof over head, keeping children fed, taking care of elderly parents and finding time to have sex and save for the future in the midst of it all. Get a grip folks! MARRIAGE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!! So no, all that glitters truly ain’t gold. Rather it is combination of metals that take continuous polishing to keep it looking good.

Wake Up Call
Nothing gets my goat more than seeing women who rushed down the aisle still zipping up their dress and putting on their shoes limp back down in the other direction throwing rings and public jibes all over social media rueing the day they said the big “I Do.” And in the true spirit of ignorance and poor judgement, the rest of us get dragged into the muck of your mess as you find every excuse under the sun to write your exit slip out of your marriage.

Guess what? You don’t pass go and collect $200. You don’t get a do over and claim he wasn’t your soulmate. Yes, some of us sure know how to use God to support such asinine comments. You don’t get a big pink eraser. What you do get is a reality check and the opportunity to make it right. You do get to find mentors who got plenty of sense to whom you can lay bare your broken marriage, ready to receive wise counsel. You get to shut your damn social media (yeah I said damn), stop asking millions of strangers to answer your questions and seek counseling from qualified professionals and clergy. Hint, your single friends and three margaritas during happy hour IS NOT considered marital counseling session. A divorced friend once told me that you have to work yourself out of a marriage. It should not be easy to just walk away.

So before you sell your heart for sixpence and be none the wiser, take a pause for the cause. Your heart is Christ’s most precious possession. Dare not to hand it over for less than it’s worth.

In love and transparency …

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Ageism: What It Means for a 40-Year Old

I’m reminded daily that life is indeed a ticking clock that will eventually stop. A parent’s death, working with middle schoolers and 20-something colleagues, teaching college students, aching more at 39 from exercising than at 33–oh the reminders abound!
While I look forward to the sunset of my life, I can’t help but start feeling irrelevant.

Yep I said it. Irrelevant. In a society that values the vim and vigor of youth, one is hard pressed to try and figure out ways to stay young, feel young, be young. Casual references to being an “old lady” is more common now than ever. Wearing ripped jeans and a Tshirt should only be reserved for the youngins I hear. When a 20-something compliments your appearance, it always starts with you look good for a 39 year old! As if 39, is when you stop looking and feeling good. Sigh…

I say quotes and make references and I draw blank stares from my students. If it doesn’t come from World Star Vine, it doesn’t matter. When I mention my all time fave quote: “Love all, trust few, do wrong to none,” students think it’s a Drake lyric. Nope, not even. Shakespeare wrote that. I already get the vibes. You know the “she think she knows everything” vibe? I guess living a few extra years on this earth really doesn’t carry much weight around here. I get blocked from Twitter accounts for fear that my “old lady” eyes won’t see what they are doing. Lol! It was just the other day when I was hiding my journals and such from my mom. Touché.

As I count up to the 40 mark, I realize that it’s also a countdown. I have already lived half of my potential life time! I’m thoroughly excited for the latter half. I’m game for what it holds. I like the soon to be 40-year old me. This me sits pretty, caring ever more less about what others think of me. I’m not the 12 year old kid who got nervous walking into the cafeteria. I’m not the 18-year old girl who tried to please her parents by staying close to home for college. I’m not the 20-something year old losing her identity in her marriage.

So yeah, block me from Twitter, make snarky jibes about my “dated” comments. It comes with the “getting older” territory. While I yet have time on my side to be the authentic me, I will embrace aging and embrace it gracefully.

The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” ~Haggai 2:29

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Random Thoughts

Downton Abbey: Lady Violet

I’m in love with the Dowager Countess of DAbbey! She’s the old woman I want to be when I grow up. She’s equipped with a set of huge sagging eyes that miss nothing and a knife for a tongue that slice and dice with no repercussions.

She is a lioness always circling about, protecting her cubs. Hobbling on a cane into every situation. Reunifying marriages, advocating for the younger set, and making one’s life miserable if you make her “F List.” Ever the diplomat, Lady Violet would have done well in politics. Her cards stay up her sleeves until it’s absolutely necessary to reveal them. She’s a diplomat at the core who has no qualms in making deals for the greater good of the family.

The family’s properties and finances need a resurgence in innovation to survive. She makes a case to her son to let the younger family members handle the household affairs.
Robert: “I’ll do it on one condition – no, two. First, Matthew must agree . . . Second, you will both admit it when you realize you were wrong.”
Lady Violet: “Oh, well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I’m never wrong.”

Her son’s marriage is in danger of ending, no qualms about getting a doctor to lie.
Dr Clarkson: “You want me to lie?”
Lady Violet: “Lie is so unmusical of a word.”

Enough said.

Heavily garbed in yards of taffeta, Lady Violet spares no expense in giving you a piece of her mind, ever so fashionably. She’s not ready for the dawn of this new age. Women’s roles are changing yet she is quite fine with pretending to be the complacent female. This outward show of feminism is quite unsettling to her.
Matthew: “Edith has had an invitation to write a newspaper column.”
Lady Violet: “When may she expect an offer to appear on the London stage?”

Crickets…

To be old and to say whatever comes to mind. It is the stuff of dreams! The writers have done a superb job in making our Lady Violet’s scenes worth the rewind on our remote.

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Random Thoughts

Downton Abbey Giving Me Life

Yeah I’m late. Like how many seasons late? Tardy to the Downton Abbey party. I’ve been hearing talk about this Masterpiece Theatre “piece de resistance” for some time but it stayed below my radar. Then a little thing like cutting my cable and being conscious about my tv watching led me to a beautiful mansion, with servants quarters below and a Lord and his family living above. Throw in the requisite scene stealing dowager and we have got my latest addiction.

I’m taken back to my first fictional love: fictional novels set in 18th/19th century England. My how my vocabulary shot through the roof during my middle school years. And to think it was reading boring textbooks that did that. Not! Lord and ladies going about the life of the “ton”. Using calling cards to pay people visits and taking in the “season” in London each year in search of husbands for hopeful young women. I know it all sounds impossibly dated. The fact that nary (yes I used the word nary) a black soul shows up in any of these books and now this series should have me running to the next movie noire. But I love me summa DAbbey!

All five foot three of my Haitian, Sisterlock wearing soul enjoys a show where human beings struggle to make sense of a world that’s shifting from centuries of proper decorum as they are blasted into the First World War. I love seeing “middle class” folks grapple to make sense of where life was and where it is headed. That being a maid turned secretary is possible. That being a lady of the house turned nurse turned women’s lib believer is possible. Seeing the grand Dowager bitingly quip throughout this series as she harkens to yesteryears gives me life! That lady there is something else. Sarcasm and wit at it’s height.

So I’m still trying to find someone whose not too busy watching Black-ish or Blacklist to join me (however late) in yacking about a show I can’t wait to get home to see. It’s got oodles and oodles of great scenes, plots, subplots and twists. So anyone, anybody? Join me for some tea and crumpets will you. Tsk, tsk.

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