Faith, Grief And Loss, Life Coach, Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Waiting Season 

I got caged in to teach at a local church last evening. I mean what else do you call preparing to speak about a subject that you’re still yourself wading deep in the water about? That God would deign the stars and moon to align in this season of my life to speak about grief and loss is beyond my peanut brain’s capacity to understand. But He’s that Father. You know the one who allows you to flay your arm in the water while he’s under you. And then out of no where goes missing just to see if you can float by yourself. He’s that Father who wakes up one day and says “training wheels off!” 

Well that’s what happened the other night and I suspect that’s going to happen more and more in this coming season of my life. I’ve been meditating on the Holy Spirit’s nudging of being in what I call the “waiting season.” For me it’s the season where I’m literally in a spiritual room where the doors are shut and I’m waiting to hear the prognosis from the doctor at any moment. I’m waiting to hear some news, any news about next steps, next goals, next dreams, next directions. I’ve ticked off some things off my list but I suspect God has some other things in store that had nothing to do with my five year plans.

 As I wait, God reminds me to remain faithful in my actions. That waiting isn’t an immobile activity. Rather it’s an activity where preparation is taking place for when those doors do open and the results are in. 

I once took my laptop to the ER with me. I had an ankle sprain that had been bothering me. I saw people just sitting there bored out of their minds, counting cracks in the wall. Me? Well I was pecking away at my laptop, trying to meet some deadline or other. Before I knew it I was in my flow; didn’t even realize time had passed and even got annoyed the few times they kept calling me up to verify information. You see in my waiting I found something to do. Something to keep me occupied. Something to keep my mind and body going. Something to keep me on top of my game for such a time as when that door of opportunity opened and voila! I would be ready. 

Last night was that kind of night. I didn’t get invited to speak because my mother had died and that by some random designation I had become some expert at grief. I don’t do random and I don’t do happenstance. That’s for people who just “let” life happen to them

 God’s people don’t let life happen. They make life happen. There was more to it than losing my mother to cancer. Words would only simplify the journey that led to that one hour of speaking to one of the toughest audience groups I know. Haitian adults. In a church. Both men and women. Most whom have me by at least 15-20 years of age. Most who have had some inexplicable losses that my mind can’t even fathom. Words would only serve to minimize how at peace I felt in that moment. In that space in time speaking to those I have prayed to God that I could share my heart with. There are no words for that. 

Your waiting season may be here now. It may be laden with impatience and frustration. Remain faithful in your doing. Those doors will fling wide open. Just you wait and see. 

Your waiting season may be just around the corner. Don’t get blindsided by it. Own it. Accept it. Prepare for it. 

Your waiting season may be a thing of yesterday and you are right now hollering your praise to the Most High. Just don’t forget there are others who were exactly where you were. They can benefit from your wise counsel. 

Off will come those training wheels. Off will come those flotation devices. And off you will go forward once your waiting season is done. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage

Sistah Take A Seat: Don’t Dull Your Shine 

I’ve been sitting on this Ayesha Curry Twitter rant for a minute, waiting to see how it would play out. I wanted to see who would come to her defense and who would drop her like a bad habit. Seems like the bipolar social media hounds are at it again with the teeth gnashing and the petty behavior.  One minute they were loving her quirky videos, her choice in clothing, her propensity for all things “domestic” and next they were hating her for having an opinion and actually sharing it. 

Some can argue that she should have tempered her words and avoided implications of coming against the NBA-her husband’s boss. After all, she did say that the NBA finals were “rigged.” Raise hands if you didn’t agree with Ayesha. Birds chirping. I thought so. I’m not here to belabor that. But I am here to explore the whole, women keep silent whilst their men go out and slay the dragons “gar-baj” I see is alive and well in 2016. A rather verbose sports commentator decided he wanted to go further and compare Ayesha with Savannah (Lebron James’wife). He essentially asked, why couldn’t Ayesha just sit at home and bake her cookies and stay out of man folks business? Well, that’s all it took! 

Disclaimer. I don’t ascribe to everything that feminism expounds. But I want my equal pay for my equal efforts. And I want you to “put some respect” on me as a woman who deserves to sit at the table where the plans are being drawn and the decisions are being made. My faith in Christ has already gained me equality in His eyes. I was fearfully and wonderfully made from day one and no amount of social media perceptions of women as objects can change that. I don’t operate in fear (most days) because my mind is sound and I am able to do all things because he gives me a soul deep type of strength. Regardless of what man has done to try and make me cower by the use of “religion” to magnify himself and minimize myself has failed.  I know very well that Jesus’ appearance on this earth cancelled out inequality among the sexes. Don’t get me started on where women stood in his ministry. That’s for a face to face. Just not tah-day. 

Back to Ayesha. Back to women at large. There’s a secret relationship book out there that says women should look pretty, act polite and keep their mouths shut. They are allowed a college education but not necessarily apply it. They are allowed to earn an income but not hold an opinion or share it. I mourn for the countless of women who have drank the “inferiority juice” and found their light slowly dim to a dull glow. I mourn for the women who died with dreams unrealized. I mourn for the women whose brilliance was never known while they were yet living. 

This was and should never be about the battle of the sexes. Our womanhood is not a handicap. It is a gift we give our men. They are the ones who “found a good thing” when our lives connect. Our wombs bear children. Our minds bear dreams and visions. When I’m blessed to find two individuals who decide to call their union a commitment in marriage, my silent prayer is always “Lord please let my sister remain true to herself, please let her never lose sight of her own purpose on this earth.”

For my sisters who seek that lifetime companion, seek one who will value your worth. One who will sit at the table late nights and go over the finances together. One who will call you first before he calls anyone else for decisions. One who will not become anxious when it’s your name that’s on everybody’s tongue. One who will recognize you as his “ezer kenegdo” his “strength and power.” One who will not shrink at the brilliance of your shine. 

There is plenty of room for the Ayeshas and Savannahs of this world. One likes to talk and be quirky and doesn’t mind being at the forefront. One is low key likely making waves that she rather not have promoted or shared on the public front. One should never make the other feel less of a person for the choices she’s made and the journey she’s chosen to take. 

Yet neither should ever, ever, ever let any man dull their shine. 

Current Events, Faith, Life Coach, Uncategorized

Sistah Take A Seat: Limonade

What Haitian girl doesn’t like her self some “l’eau sucre” with lemons to make it tart? I love limonade/lemonade. That Simply Lemonade/Limeade is everything to my tastebuds. There is something about that sweet/bitter flavor that keeps me coming for seconds. Then in comes Beyoncé serving up her own Pitcher of Lemonade for millions to sip from. 

Disclaimer#1: I only watched it once. 

Disclaimer #2: I half watched it while typing up a report and still mulling over that last scene on Game of Thrones season six episode one. You just had to be there. 

Disclaimer #3: I watched it with a husband who kept asking me to decipher the double meanings for every, single scene. 

Disclaimer #4: I wore my psychotherapist lenses and kept my feelings out of the equation (yeah right). Bey was a client and I was the therapist/pastor wife/big sister who had no idea this was going on in her baby sister life. 

There was some seriously heavy stuff goings on in that video. Swinging bats a la Waiting to Exhale. Happily smashing out windows and riding on monster trucks crashing all them dope cars. Wow. In your face messaging.  My personal favorites: Two-timing daddy/husband. Like a magician. Living two separate lives. Malcolm X “Black women in America.” Most disrespected. Most maligned. Most all the bad stuff you can think of. Ashes to ashes. Dust to side chicks. Mezami! Call Becky with the good hair. Oh! #HandsOnMouth #HeadCockedToDaSide #Whoosh

Anger. Sitting in the very fire that threatens to consume your soul. You must go through the fire, the pain to see your way through. That’s what anger does to you. It eats, gnaws, erodes. Leaves wormholes where your heart should have been. 

Apathy. It’s the worst place to be. Middle fingers in the air. Peace signs with the hand twist. What woman hasn’t been in that mind space where a cold heart begs to be thawed but boo thang done did it again and there’s not a dog house big enough or a couch long enough to put him in. Reminds me of me and my squad during those college years. He dumped you? Well forget him! Let’s ride out and sing these sorry sad songs. R Kelly knew full well when he said when a woman’s fed up, there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. 

So many emotions. Given names. Given their equal share of air time.  Heart racing. Heart resting. Heart racing again. Heart standing still.  

How our first love, our daddies, can break our hearts like no other. How that bleeds into our relationships with other men. The first disappointment that prepares us for all future disappointments. When daddy hurts mommy, he also hurts baby girl.  

Intimate glimpses of her past and her present. Confirmation that yes, she was actually pregnant. Unless you believe in body doubles that is. Conspiracy theorists still at it. #SideEye 
Colors of gray. Black. Red. Yellow. Pasty white. Vintage beige. Off white. Ecru. Beautiful women. Who look like me. Who look like my friends. I see my nieces in there. My late mother. My grandmother’s wrinkles make an impromptu appearance too. My girlfriend’s locs. Cocoa. Caramel. Charcoal. Onyx. Colorism be damned. Hair issues be damned. 

You having issues with your man? You talk to your college roomies. Your daddy abused your momma and now she wants a divorce? You call up your ace. Momma bears her soul to you in a mother daughter talk. You take that to your grave. 

Mrs. Carter goes through similar issues, she gets to sing everything from country to rock to gospel, with a feast for the eyes imagery. But we all ain’t able. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have half the antebellum wardrobe  in my closet to process my personal angst. There is no huge monster truck parked in the yard to crush my personal demons. 
My prayer is that women of color begin and/or continue to acknowledge the pain that life has dealt us. That beyond the slayed hair, fleeked brows, and served face, there is a wounded woman buried deep; whose hurts demand attention, demand consoling, demand restitution. And when we come face to face with that bare face, no lipstick wearing, half browed self, we now elect to take the first steps towards personal healing. 

I walked into a marriage holding on to “daddy’s girl hurts.” I thought my husband should cure them. I thought he would repeat them. Then God reminded me–wait one minute. That’s My job. Not some mere mortal’s. 
This a reminder of the important role that human suffering and hurt plays in our lives and what should happen when our cup becomes too full. I can get real “preachy” right about now and remind folks about Jesus paying the ultimate price for those very same hurts. Or how He is near to the broken hearted. But I won’t. Yet I will say. He. Is. Enough. 

Grandma did it best. She took all those lemons thrown at her and made one helluva good pitcher of lemonade. 

Current Events, Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Sistah Take Seat: Upgrade Your Man

When Michelle LaVaughn Robinson saw Barak Obama pull up for their first date, I’m sure she didn’t envision secret service agents would be one day tailing him. What she did see was that huge hole in his car and may have had all sorts of thoughts running through her mind. Is this dude for real?!  I would like to think she had second thoughts. After all, she was his MENTOR! Their recent recounting of this first date ended with Michelle saying “I upgraded him!” FLOTUS didn’t walk away from her feelings of curiosity about this lanky young man with the cigarette dangling out the side of his mouth.  She went out on a second date and ultimately the longest date of their life.  

A lesson for all women be you single, dating, engaged, or married. Upgrade Your Man. 

Accept the flaws you’re willing to work with. You’re not perfect so don’t expect anyone else to be. You think men enjoy seeing hair in the sink or make up and other what-nots strewn about the counter? You think they don’t wonder about that odd personal habit you have? Let’s face it, some women can have some rather odd bordering on downright nasty habits. And their men love them nonetheless. Get over your need to point out his flaws which in the long run are truly minor. I can’t say what those are. We all have our own tolerances. Point is, stop sweating the small stuff. Is he responsible with his personal finances? Does he love his mama? Can he keep a job? Is his credit good? Can he drink in moderation? Can you take him to a dinner party and not be embarrassed? Girl, work out the rest. 

Focus on the bigger picture. We get so caught up in the doldrums of life that when we look over to our partner, we tend to forget how to remain optimistic. Wives are more susceptible to this. You’re years in, a few kids in tow, the dog bringing up the rear with the mortgage, college savings lagging close behind. Big picture thinking says, you are raising future leaders who are going to impact God’s Kingdom with all you deposited in their lives.  In the dating phase it may show itself in getting easily frustrated with personality differences, different levels of education, or minor differing philosophical viewpoints.  You got two degrees and he has half of one. His swag needs some improving. You knew that going in. Big picture thinking says you stand as an encourager for not who he is right now but who he will become tomorrow. 

Upgrade, upgrade. We live in a world where it’s expected that you set aside something once you are bored with it. Those shoes don’t fit. Set it aside. That hairdo isn’t au courant, then switch it up. That man isn’t living up to your expectations. Next! Single ladies, I am not saying to remain with a batterer, alcoholic, drug user, or ill tempered man. You are not Jesus Christ cause He is the only one who saves. Drop that “Mother Theresa” act and save your life! What I am saying is to take stock of what is working and what is not. In your journal write the Grows (areas that need improvement) and Glows (areas that are going well) in your relationship. Then sit back. Reflect. Pray. God will send that still small voice to whisper truth into your ears. And when He does, please heed His words. Unhappily married women everywhere plead that you do! They ignored the whispers, and ultimate screeching and have a heavy bag of tears to prove it. 

I look back fondly at those times when my husband and I would take the local bus to the movies. Or the time he bought a car that didn’t need a key to start it. Or the Scooby Doo van we rode around town in. Or the times he had to borrow a car to come get me late at night from work. I miss those “one car days” cause we started out our days together. Never belittle humble beginnings. Upgrade your relationship. Don’t be in such a hurry to trade it in. 

Faith, Life Coach, Love & Marriage, Uncategorized

Sistah, Take A Seat: Say I’m Sorry

Sequels to movies can either do one of two things. They can be successful or they can be a bust. So it goes in the world of blogging. I got a lot of positive traction for my “Sistah, Take Seat” blog last week. I’ve frankly been kinda scared to think about writing another one. Yikes! But one can never say (or write) enough about single women living their lives, doing big things and navigating their way through the issues of the heart. 

The hubster and I literally had to drop all commitments on our busy calendars to attend a one night marriage conference this week. It was by a well known expert on all things relationships and I’m happy we did. All I could think about while there was man! How many single men and women would definitely be their better self if they could get this stuff BEFORE they said I do?! Everyone is so hot to get in a relationship, take Facebook pictures with the googly eyes and then what? The hard work that goes into relationship building is more than a cell phone photo. Lawd knows it is! 

The speaker was a white southerner who spoke the king’s country English. Well I’m bringing it to you like your big sister, who you half can’t stand sometimes cause EVERYTIME you come to her with your problems she had the nerves to be honest and give you the business, the Fortune 500 type of business. 

Men can do some dumb things. No denying that. But let’s be honest we are no saints either. We just do better with making ourselves look good. Before you know it, dude is apologizing for something he never did! He does enough of that and you will wonder why the phone calls stop and he’s moved on to the 2.0 version of you. Bigger and better cause you wouldn’t, couldn’t learn how to apologize. 

Express regret and accept responsibility. Tell your man what you’re sorry for. Just saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t work anymore. Babe I’m sorry for not coming to you first to discuss this. Boo, I’m sorry for being out of hand and disrespecting you in public. Honey, I’m sorry for putting our business on that GroupMe chat. Learn to admit your wrong in a matter. Psalm 51:17. Luke 15:21

Offer to make restitution. It’s one thing to apologize and accept responsibility. It’s another to make restitution. That would mean you would have to make it right. Batting your eye lash extensions and rubbing his arm is NOT restitution. You embarrassed him in public, you better apologize in public. You didn’t allow him to take the lead on a decision. You better make sure you give him space to do that next time. You ignored his requests to spend time together to cause you wanted to hang out with your girls. You better make the next date night a hella good time. Make right what you made wrong

Genuinely repenting. So you have apologized. You have even made it right. Don’t do it again. Yeah. I know we’re all human. But you only got a few times to make the same dumb mistake before you get deleted off his phone and from his life. How many times you think dude is going to want to have to hear your banshee voice on the other end of the phone? Or all them capital letters on his text messages? Or the same old, “Babe I won’t do it again!” followed by some fake crocodile tears. Girl Bye! I said it before and Imma keep saying it. Cute don’t keep a man! Acts 2:38

Requesting forgiveness. The speaker said 10% of the population doesn’t ask forgiveness. This is a direct influence from how they may have been raised by their fathers. In my head I was like that’s gotta be wrong because I’m like the 1% right up in there. But he got the dad part right. Parental and life conditioning has taught us that asking for forgiveness is a sign of weakness on our part. We’re punks if we ask for forgiveness. We’re carpets to walk on if we ask for forgiveness. No, dear sistah. What we are is a relationship on its way to a glorious death if we don’t. Forgiveness is a healthy response to a sincere apology. When we have gone through the process of apologizing it is that final act that releases you and the offended party from the bitterness that tends to seep into the soul, oozing into the heart and manifesting in the form of mental and physical illness. No human being on earth is worth that kinda obligation. None. 

We think  that a beat face, three college degrees, 20 inch Brazilian hair, an extensive vocabulary, talents in the kitchen and butterfly wing lashes is what a man wants. Surprise surprise (in my Gomer Pyle voice), buddy has moved on to a woman who has got way more substance than you ever will. When you’re on your couch with a pint of Starbucks Caramel Machiato ice cream pining for that same man whose now googley eyeing with some other chick I hope you have a heart to heart with yourself and the Holy Spirit about what in the hell went wrong and what needs to happen to make it right. 

Start out small. Open your lips. And start with these three words. I am sorry.

Faith, Family, Love & Marriage

Marriage Made Easy

When the one month shy of 23 year old young woman and the just turned 26 year old young man stood before God and man and repeated those vows, all they could think of was jumping on each other’s bones later that evening and living happily ever after. That was me and my husband. We were kids taking a try at being grown ups and striking out on our own. Fast forward these many years later and it’s become common place to hear “You guys make it look so easy!” or “Wish my marriage could be like that!”

With eighteen notches on the marriage belt, it has been nothing but easy. Fun. Yes. Hilarious. Yes. Adventurous. Yes. Easy. Certainly not! Those marriage vows came home to roost in more ways than one. 

To Have And To Hold. We soon learned that we couldn’t just choose the good over the bad. It’s a package deal. When he got on my nerves with his laissez-faire attitude and his whatever comes what may mentality I had to have and hold it. When I irked his nerves with my strictly by the book, plan fifty years in advance staying within the lines mentality, he had to have and hold it. Two totally opposite creatures slamming into each other day in and day out made for some interesting arguments over the years. Some we laugh about now. Some with regret. 

For Better And For Worse. I didn’t sign up to be poor when I got married. After all I came from a two parent home where food was always in the fridge, the bills were always paid and our house was clean and well kept. Apartment living was supposed to be a two year stint. Not a five year one. Having one car between the two of us really tried my patience on most days. Having to live without some things I even enjoyed during my college years was the hardest part. I went from using Victoria’s Secret products to Vaseline overnight. Our combined income barely paid the bills and going to Fuddrucker’s was considered a treat! Steak sandwich, chili cheese fries, and a milk shake please! 

In Sickness And In Health. The occasional flu. Infertility. Surgeries. Parental illnesses on both sides. Caretaking roles. Our parents were hale and healthy standing as witnesses to our union then. It’s a different story these days. My dad walks with a limp from a knee surgery.  His mom is on blood pressure meds. His dad is on glucose meds. My mother is no longer with us. 

Til Death We Do Part. We joke around that in heaven we know we won’t be married. But we made a pact to at least live next door to each other. He is my best friend after all. Best friends don’t let best friends live in heaven by themselves! I shudder to think of the inevitable but know what God’s grace has done for countless of other couples before and He will do it with us. 

So Help Me God. There has been nothing easy about two polar opposite individuals living out life together. We have said some hurtful things. We have had to make it right. We have had to ask God to help us through some tough spots. Nothing we have done has been under our own volition. Going to bed angry was not a habit we kept. Not speaking to each other for days wasn’t either. Not trusting each other with our finances, our bodies, and our dreams wasn’t going to work. We confronted the issues at hand, asked for each other’s forgiveness and tried to do it better. All easier said than done. All part of what makes it work. 

Yeah. We make married life look easy. At least on Sundays. At least when we post a selfie on social media. At least when we entertain in our home. The rest of them days are all about working hard at doing right by God, ourselves and each other. 



Your Wake Up Call

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”‭‭Job‬ ‭42:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There is a point in time when we all will receive a personal wake up call. It is not a matter of if, but rather when. Separation from a job.  Loss of a friendship. Divorce. Illness. Death. We may have once sat in church listening to someone speak on their testimony. Of how God spared or delivered them. We may have read an inspiring book or watched an impactful movie and walked away thinking, boy that was truly inspirational, truly moving! 

But until we go through our own personal challenge–we will only have known of God and never knew Him. 

After all, you can’t testify about anything you have not personally gone through. Second hand stories don’t go over as well. I couldn’t speak to the loss of a parent until I lost my mother. It was then and only then I could look at another orphan and see my pain in their eyes. I couldn’t speak of struggling with infertility in one’s marriage until I had personally experienced what it was to live out life currently without children. I couldn’t speak about walking away from a job and trusting God for my tomorrow until I left colleagues confounded about my decision to leave a leadership role.  All personal wake up calls that have lead and continue to lead me to a “closer walk with Jesus.”
Your wake up call will slam you head first into God. You will have no choice but to acknowledge His presence and power in your life. To do otherwise would be spiritual suicide. You will at once go from hearing about this Jehovah with many names to knowing this Jehovah because you have seen his many names lived out in your life.