Monthly Archives: October 2014

Who are YOU calling a B&?!@???

Today told me for certain that I have indeed found my calling in life..

I was asked to speak to a group of young people at a local high school
(That will remain nameless for now) who were suspended and a part of their plan for getting reinstated was to sit and listen to people who looked like them about what it took to be successful in life.

Oh yeah, their parents had to accompany them.

I knew I was in Oz when I got to the school and as the young people were leaving, all I heard were words not worthy of printing. I cringed inwardly with sadness but kept going and eventually found the room I was to be in.

The folks started coming in and the attitude was downright hostile. Parents arguing they don’t have time for this and some of the girls were saying things like

we in here to listen to this Bitch? My momma going to cuss her out and we will get to leave.”

Clearly, they were in for a treat.

I waited until they settled down, pulled up a chair in the center of them, opened my mouth and laid them all out so flat, not only could you hear a pin drop, the parents were asking to be mentored along with the kids.

The Principal walked in an hour later thinking he was going to have to keep order and his mouth fell to the floor.

He said one of the toughest judges in the city walked into that school and gave up and walked out. He was shocked at what he found.

I’m going back there. Every Tuesday that I’m in town for the entire school year. Those young people needed support and they needed to know I was not the Sista to run game on..

We have got to expect more of ourselves no matter how low we may feel in life.. Everyone left respectful and said thank you after the girls asked for these sessions to keep going…

Say what now? 😜

That was by FAR, the toughest experience I ever had with young people and parents but what I know for sure is this, no matter how crazy a situation seems, if you command the respect with your presence, miracles can and will indeed happen.

I bet you not one of them will call me a bitch anymore AND they will think twice before they use it carelessly among themselves too..

Enough said.

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The Unhappy Penguin

Some women have mates that are snazzy dressers and connoisseurs at being metro sexual and they are well put together everywhere they go. Sometimes they even outshine the women themselves..

Welp. Not over here in this camp.

My Mister threw on what was clean, loved his dark colors and gave “no damns” because he was comfy and happy.. Throw in a huge piece of meat and ESPN and you would think Glory shone on his life.

It took some eye rolling, a couple of threats and a few tears on my part, to get him to pay attention to what he wore and now he loses sleep, each time we go somewhere fancy because it takes him hours to make a choice..

His dressing gene is completely missing.

Keep following me here…

I spend a lot of time traveling and attending fancy events that requires a gown and he would be right beside me in a really nice black suit. I had other thoughts in mind however but waited for just the right moment so he wouldn’t feel the pressure all at once.

A few weeks ago, with another such event approaching, I quietly suggested that he gets fitted for a tuxedo and gave him the reasons why (not to mention every grown man should have one in his closet.)

He agreed and without my having to remind him, he did just that. I was so proud of him, I could burst.

As the event quickly approaches, I turned to him and asked if he had the appropriate shoes to wear with his Tux. He said
Yep. Just gotta find my black shoes around here somewhere.”

I gasped in horror and replied

what? You can’t be seriously thinking of wearing those horrible things with a tuxedo!”

He looked at me and said

but they are comfortable. I tried on tuxedo shoes and my feet immediately began to throb. I’m already going to look like a penguin, must I be a limping one too?

I leveled him with a ” you fixing to start something” look and he sighed and said he would go find a pair of penguin shoes.

I kissed my unhappy penguin, told him I appreciated his efforts and that I loved him for being willing to do this for his diva. He grinned and told me

anything for you dear.”

Success. We work hard at compromise and collaboration around here. I could have been snarky and told him women suffered in heels for men all the time and while it crossed my mind in the midst of our discourse, my love for his willingness to try, was a strong reminder to be grateful for the victories without gloating..

I!m so looking forward to our next event…

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The red frock ( dress)

My mother is the best. I call her every morning before 6 a.m. So we can have our daily chats. While it’s usually the mundane that we discuss, hearing her voice brings me such joy and if I dared to miss a few mornings due to work, I get attitude and an earful when the calls resume. I take it in stride because she has come to enjoy our chats too.

This morning, I’m giving her the news that three of my friends mothers transitioned which has left me with trying to navigate three funerals, as they are all on the same day.

My darling mother says ” that reminds me; I want no crying at my funeral. Please bury me in a beautiful red frock, red shoes, red undergarments and if you can find a red casket, I will take that too. Let the folks coming know they are to wear NO purple, black or white as those are funeral
Colors. Everyone should wear bright vibrant colors. I want my 4 grandchildren to be pallbearers as they are old and strong enough.”

I’m looking at the phone gasping for air and giggling because she is just stating things as she sees them with a threat that she will be most displeased if we fail to follow her orders.

So I asked, ” mommy, since you insist on having this conversation what would you like us to sing?” This mad woman chimed in ” hey! None of my girls can sing except you so please do not let the other three squawk until I sit straight up!” I laughed until tears leaked from my eyes at the thought..

What I believed would have been a sad conversation had some levity because my mother is clear, she cannot live forever and she prefers to go out on her terms. I love that about her.

I could not promise her that I wouldn’t cry but what I could do, was give her exactly what she required and I would wear a red frock to boot!

Love my momma and these daily chats are being stored for a time when I can no longer hear her physical voice..

If you are fortunate enough to still have your parents among you, love the hell out of them and forgive what you can because they won’t be with you forever..

Enough said.

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We liked you until he likes you more…

Imagine this scenario if you will: man meets woman, falls in love and decides to take her with stars in his eyes, to meet his family.

He is happily introducing her to everyone but his new girlfriend feels a tad funny because there is a “vibe” in the air she can’t put her fingers on. She smiles, answers all their questions and pretends to not see the furtive eye glances between family members.

Months go by, and it feels like maybe, the family are now accepting the new girlfriend. She learns her man is the backbone of the family and everyone calls him for everything. This piques the interest of the girlfriend because it is assumed that all it takes is a phone call for her love to drop everything, including her, to see about their needs.

As time goes on, he becomes more involved with his girlfriend and while he is still available, he is no longer as accessible because he is building a life with her and creating a family of his own.

And then, it happens. His mother, begins to make snide comments that since he has his woman, they can’t find him and it’s beginning to feel like he is a stranger to them. She goes further to say, this is how every woman he ever had, took him away from them and she sees that his girlfriend may be too strong of a personality for her son, who is easily “manipulated “when he’s in love.

The smiles and hugs they had for his woman, becomes half-hearted hellos and once warm embrace are now so cold, she needs a blanket to recover.

Try as they might, the family cannot “rid” themselves of this woman, who by all accounts, has made their son very happy.

It’s is a few years into the relationship and the son decides he wants to marry his girlfriend. Folks have just now gotten downright hostile and begin leveling accusations that their dear son/brother/ nephew deserves better than a woman who would keep him away from them.

Man stands up to his family and in no uncertain terms, let’s them know he sees what they are doing, he’s grown and is capable of making good sound decisions without their input. The family backs off because they don’t want to lose him but his poor girlfriend/wife has never been treated the same or has to spend years proving herself.

Sounds familiar to anyone? The
Scenario above has played out a thousand times in households where mothers feel no one is good enough for their child and will go so far as to create a wall so thick and high, thereby forcing their grown child to choose.

It is a self defeating habit that must cease if you want to have peace in your families. We all have choices to make. We all make mistakes. We all learn from them
But life cannot be handled for us by meddling family members. It makes no earthly sense that a grown man, still has to report to his mother daily or she will be upset. Something is very unhealthy with this scenario and it all begins when our children are yet small.

We have a small window to raise them but the ultimate goal is to make them self-sufficient beings who will make good choices in life. If the choice Is removed through coddling, meddling parents, too many people stand to lose too much.

Do your job. Raise your children and then stand down.

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till Death us do part

A local woman in Philadelphia went for a jog in the PennyPack Park, failed to return home after several hours and was ultimately found dead. A few days later, after the reward went to fifty one thousand dollars for the capture of her killer/s, her husband was arrested. According to the police, he confessed they had an argument, he followed and ultimately strangled her. It seems like just another story of domestic violence but the numbers are pretty telling;

http://www.domesticpeace.com/ed_nationalstats…
A woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States. Each day ….. 4 women die as a result of abuse.

5.3 million women are abused each year. As many as 324,000 women each year experiance domestic violence during … cases of domestic violence occur among U.S. women 18 and older each year
http://www.abetterwaydomesticviolence.org/ro…

In this case, there was a history of domestic violence in the home and people often say things like ” why do they stay?” I know from personal history that it isn’t always so easy and domestic violence takes a toll in ways that’s just unimaginable. In my case, I was able to get out and lead a productive life

But many other women are not so lucky.

Because we ( victims of violence) tend to hide abuse from our family members, look
For the following signs that something is wrong;

1) your loved one starts making a bunch of excuses about why they can’t visit family or family cannot visit them. This could be a classic sign of someone being controlled against their will.

2). They seem Like different people when they are with you but when the mate comes around, personality changes noticeably

3). Unexplained bruises with fantastic excuses

4) they begin to exhibit signs of nervousness and unexplained tears when you least expect it.

These are just a few. I have to caution you that no amount of begging or easing seems to work
with many victims because they are often left to feel
Like the abuse is a result of some behavior on their part. The victim
Must get to a place of ” no more” and will hopefully run when it’s safe to do so. Having children in the mix, often complicates things further.

I also must say that the abuser is usually suffering too from some sort of undiagnosed mental illness or anger management from childhood trauma. Some are just sociopaths who prey on the weak. The best way to help them, is to hold them accountable for their actions but often, the victim ( through fear guilt and yes. Love) refuses to press charges as in the case of the running back from the Baltimore Ravens.

It is a sad scenario indeed and one where education must begin literally from birth. Our children learn through our examples. What are we teaching them is acceptable through our behaviors?
We want to believe that most people are good and many are, but do not be deceived by the sociopaths among us. Protect yourselves by not getting fully vested into a relationship that spells trouble. Take those clues in the beginning and run for your life.

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The debt you cannot ever repay your children

I attended a funeral service recently and what I witnessed, was a strong reminder that we only get a few years to raise and spend quality time with our children. Once we let those years slip by, we may, depending on the adult child, spend the rest of our lives and even into death, paying for it.

About nine years ago, I met this wonderful elderly lady who walked over and told me that I had something within that would turn the world on it’s ear. She did some digging and learned that I had two boys and was told, that they were good children who were loved.
This sweet lady, told me that the world would be ready when they finally discovered my gifts but she had one request; that I finished raising my sons first before allowing the world
To sweep me away into a vortex.

I stared at her strangely because back then, I was a mommy working hard to raise decent children and had no aspirations of any kind other than to teach English at the secondary level.
I told her as much and she smiled, nodded her head and said with a twinkle in her eye ” your presence is powerful in a way that I have yet to see in too many people but because I know you will be sought after sooner rather than later, heed my words about your children.”

She went on to describe how she and her husband dined with President Jimmy Carter, were heavily involved In Politics at the local, county, state and Federal levels, got invited to many functions and she carved out a strong political name for her family while he ran the family business. By all accounts, they were extremely successful and by the time they both realized the children they loved were on the back burner, it was too late.

The resentment was incredibly high and one child who is now in her fifties, despised them to the bitter end. My friend says in retrospect, she believed buying very nice things, living in a very nice house with a nanny and traveling to wonderful places, made up for the lack of time and attention.

The sadness in my friend’s eyes, made me vow to never put career and wants above my children. The results have been nothing short of wonderful and before my dear friend slipped fully into dementia, she could hug me with tears to say ” well
Done mommy.”

Fast forward to the funeral; one of her children got up and said she despised her parent even as he laid in repose. She felt he was hard and uncompromising and loved their mother more than he loved them. She shed not a single tear and seemed almost gleeful. Even in death, she defied his last wishes.

Broke my heart.

Parents please; listen to your children. Spend quality time with them while you can. You don’t get a second chance in those formative years between birth and sixteen. Your money means nothing when they feel alone with no adult support.

You can always be famous, successful etcetera but don’t find yourself spending your golden years trying to buy the love of children that you had free of charge.

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The “Ghost” of Civil Rights revisited

It was one hell of a week so filled with pain, shock, disbelief and yes rage, as the entire country reeled in the aftermath of the shocking details about a young man, Mike Brown, who was for all intents and purposes, murdered in cold blood by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri.

Like many others, I began this mental journey filled with rage and place a picture of my sons on social media asking when did it become okay for us as parents to raise them only to have them a moving target for rogue police officers?

My anger was so searing hot, it scared me. It was then, I became clear this was not going to be another incident that people eventually forgot, because the town of Ferguson literally became the ghost of civil rights past resplendent with dogs, tear gas, armor and people so angry, they were tearing up anything in their pathway. The country responded and folks began to choose sides but I’m heartened by the volume of white allies who are right here beside us as a people because that murder finally shocked them
Into consciousness about the daily realities of black and brown people in America.

I learned a few lessons and became much clearer on other things;

The news media, depending on who they were, reported in ways that were so biased, I hardly watched any of them.

Twitter has become the mainstream of “live” reporting and gave a much more accurate description as events unfolded.

Voting in our local and State elections were always important but never more than in this present moment. It is a right we must begin to fully exercise because each voting finger adds up to change in a powerful way.

Black men and boys are still seen as 3/5 of a human being by way too many and it doesn’t matter how educated and well raised they are. Black people have always been clear that we needed to be stellar in word and deed and we have been much clearer, that means nothing to a rogue cop who will ” tell a story” too many are willing to believe even it’s 100% false.

What is happening right now in America feels like 1963 revisited because we as a people have become complacent and forgot to remind our children of our history so this could not happen to us anymore.

Strong new black leadership has begun to emerge with our millennials who understands the power of social media and are not afraid to use it to create change.

Anger, when channeled, is a powerful force and if we really desire to make lasting change, we must start in our local
Communities and work our way out in our quest for changes in policy and practices at police departments, schools, courthouses and prisons to name a few.

White allies are stepping out of the shadows in ways that is heartwarming and are a reminder that not everyone in America is filled with judgement and hate.

The ripple effect of these unchallenged murders of so many black men have begun and will be felt for a long time to come.

Because America’s ugly scab has been scraped off for the world to see and you better believe they ( world) are watching.

The revolution is televised and many are now willing to die so that we can live in peace..

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Fly diva fly!! My day with USAF Thunderbirds

I have often said, that what we put into the universe, will manifest itself and that we are to be therefore careful what we think and say- I gotta tell you, this has been a summer for the record books and an excellent reminder of what is possible.

I am an educator so when June rolls around, all I can think of is doing something mindless, daring and free! I started with a trip to Puerto Rico where I climbed two waterfalls and as if that wasn’t daring enough, I got back home and promptly cut off all my hair. For a black woman, that is worse than giving birth to triplets. Another story for another time but the best part of this summer, was something that even I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams!
In early July, I received a call
From a gentlemen claiming to be from the United States Air Force and the purpose of his call was to inform me, that someone nominated me as a hometown hero for transforming lives and because they were aware of something insane on my bucket list, they thought I would be an excellent candidate to fly with the US Air Force Thunderbirds!

It took me a minute to find my voice and pick my jaw up from
The floor but once I got myself together, I realized this was indeed very real and I was about to embark on a journey I would not soon forget.

After several weeks of filling out appropriate forms, signing away my right to sue the government if I died and having a physical from
A doctor who would clear me medically, I was ready to go.

On August 12, 2014, bright and early in the morning, my family and I drove to the 177th fighter wing of the NJ AirNational Guard in Egg Harbor and reported to Sergeant Andrew Mosley.

I was then introduced to three crew members of the Thunderbirds and could barely contain myself when I was taken outside to see the F-16 Fighter jet I would be flying in with my pilot Major Michael Fisher who I would meet later.

The intensive crash course began. I had to be fitted into a flight suit, put on a G-suit over that and taught in a couple of hours everything I needed to know about ejection & what all the apparatus was for. The next person I saw was the Team doctor who was hilarious and scary at once because he had to tell me all that could go wrong in the air and taught me how to take G-sips once the plane went into G-force.

It was the closest I came
To saying nevermind. But I was resolved to do this.

The last person I spoke with was Major Fisher, who alleviated all my fears, gave me instructions about the cockpit and showed me some of the maneuvers we would be doing if I felt up to it. My excitement began to build over the nerves because I realized I was really going to do this!

I had to hydrate by drinking more liquids than usual
So after one last potty break, I was told to meet the pilot out on the Tarmac.

Imagine walking out and seeing cameras everywhere and some of the most handsome men I have ever seen in my life who shook my hands and said their job was to make sure the plane was secure for our safety.

They did just that. I strapped my vest on and anchored it to my body, then climbed into the cockpit and had my mask and helmet secured while my oxygen was hooked in and tested.

When the cockpit closed and the engine fired up, I knew this was it and I would experience something I would never do again, so I resolved to enjoy it while patting my barf bags just in case I needed them.

We took off and went vertically 17 thousand feet in under 5 seconds!! I could NOT believe what I was experiencing and utilized all the things I learned so that I could breathe once we went into G-force which felt like my entire insides flew up to my brain.

Major Fisher flew to restricted airspace and performed some of the stunts you would see in an air show. He talked me through each one and didn’t do them until I was ready. It felt like I was in heaven!!

We made it through most of the stunts but that last one, a 360 degree roll twice was more than enough for my tummy and I got sick. I was able to drop my mask and do it neatly without making a mess too. Bravo to me. My entire flight was recorded in the cockpit.

After an hour of experiencing the thrill of my lifetime, we flew back.
Once we landed and I got out of that cockpit, I was incredibly happy to have been chosen as one of a few civilians who will ever be able to say this was something they experienced!!

I was given some pretty neat memorabilia signed by the entire crew, my name was put on the cockpit and I was interviewed by NBC.

The pride and awe on my sons faces was priceless and they learned from my bravery that nothing is off limits and if you can dream it, you can achieve it!

Thank you so much to the Crew of the US Air Force Thunderbirds for the thrill of a lifetime and thank you Allison Mine-Phillips for nominating me as a hometown hero!

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“hot stuff” the devil

Many moons ago when Mister and I had our first date, it was the day after Valentines Day and he came bearing gifts. In this bag was a box of chocolates, pencils ( gasp), a stuffed red devil with the words ” hot stuff” on the belly and a card.

I looked at the bag and looked back at him quizzically but was a little hesitant to ask what the collage of gifts meant. He seemed unsure looking at my face and I could tell, he had put some thought into his gift.

Had I been any other kind of woman, that would have been our first and last date but something told me, he really meant well.

Curiosity got the best of me about the pencils and I asked why were they in the bag. His simple response was, he always liked putting something practical in every gift he gives and I chuckled quietly. To this day, all these years later, every gift he gives has a practical Component and I have come to look forward to whatever it may be especially since he watches what I may need and add it.

I still wondered about the devil though and why he chose it instead of say- a teddy bear. As I’m sitting at my work desk today, it finally struck me but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t assuming.

So I called him and this was his response; ” I think you are incredibly sexy and hot but thought it would be rude to say it on our first date. I sought something that would convey, without insulting you, what i felt and I still feel that way about you to this day. To me, you are simply drop dead gorgeous.”

Awwww…. See? What I originally thought was offensive, truly was his way of saying he loved his diva. With communication, all things are possible.
I will cherish my lil hot devil until the horns fall off..

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The man- code.. alive and well or dead?

The man- code.. alive and well or dead?

Usually when we hear of scandalous scenarios being played out in relationships, it’s because women are jealous of each other and does something sneaky like dating her girlfriend’s
Man behind her back to disastrous results. It’s the stuff that made Jerry Springer wealthy. I recently heard a story that made me ask for some feed back from men because I was too outdone.

Someone I know, has been in a solid business partnership that led to a decent friendship and both men worked hard together to make their business thrive with much success.

I often felt like one was a tiny bit jealous of the other because my friend has a wonderful personality while his partner was more business minded and serious. For the sake of this article, I will call them
Steve and Jake.

Steve met who he believed to be a wonderful young lady and they began dating in earnest, displaying pictures all over social media. By all accounts, they were the perfect couple. Something happened and they went their separate ways but unbeknownst to Steve, Jake began quietly seeing his ex-girlfriend without giving him the courtesy conversation so as not to break the ” man-code.”
In fairness to Jake, his now girlfriend didn’t think she should have said something to Steve either and both carried on as it it was the most natural thing in the world to do with Steve looking on in surprise once he found out.

Steve of course called
Jake on his actions and was not only summarily dismissed, Jake plans to marry his partner and friend’s ex.

Talk about a strained working environment.
Since I’m clearly a girl
And coming from a ” hell no”
angle, I posted on my Facebook page and asked for men to give me some insight on this scenario.

A good friend and brother Jeffery C Weaver, summed it up nicely;

“The issue here is integrity. The first guy was blessed to have the “opportunity” to rid himself of two weak individuals, who were once in his life. It’s true many, if not most, of us have thoughts that we don’t act on. The difference is that those who don’t act on such thoughts, exercise “self” control or in other words “strength” of conviction. But, we are who we are and what they “did” to him, they will, no doubt, eventually, do to each other. No real man should ever be that “thirsty!”
Jeffery’s comments mirrored most of the men who responded but one young man in his early twenties, questioned whether the man-code was dying a quick
Death because he saw way too many of his peers
Ignore it to go after a girl their friend might be dating at the time.

My response to him that a mature man would at least have the conversation first and that the bro-code is still very much alive in my humble opinion. If it is indeed dying a quick death, we need to do something and quickly because I can’t believe any man worth his salt would take a woman seriously who thought not enough of herself to hop between friends. It’s cold and it speaks of a character most men wouldn’t take home to
Mama.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, my friend Dennis Thomas said the following-

” There are a lot of guys, partners or not, out there who truly feel that once they’ve dated a woman she is off limits to all of his friends — no matter how long it’s been since they broke up. This is ridiculous thinking. We don’t own people; we just share our time with them. It’s your job to make the relationship that you have with her a great experience, and when that relationship comes to an end, you need to let her go.(In my Teddy Pendergrass voice) You had your time together and hopefully you created some great memories, but now it’s not your place to try to change and control anyone’s future or the way they want to live their lives.
I don’t believe that people are not possessions. I don’t care if it’s a casual acquaintance, I don’t care if it’s your best friend in the whole world, and I don’t care who broke up with whom. If I break up with someone — and I have broken up and been broken up with a lot — I have no problem with any of my friends dating my ex, falling in love with her and even marrying her. A great relationship, and great chemistry between two people, can be rare to come by. ”

Maybe I’m way off base here… What do you think? I would love to know your opinions one way or the other. Is the Man-code much ado about nothing or is it still alive and well?