Category Archives: Education

The twists and turns to womanhood

There l was, enjoying a quiet breakfast this morning, when l got the text from one of my darling millennials who wanted to know how did l embrace my womanhood and what did it take to get there?

I read that text, chuckled and commenced to having a good conversation because she was shocked when l said, l didn’t fully began to walk into all that made me a woman, until l was about 40. Yep. I said it.

The first person l heard saying this statement and l looked incredulously at the television screen when she did, was Camille Cosby. I was all of 27 then, and just KNEW l was a woman, with all the mess l had experienced to that point and what was she even talking about?

But now that l am a half a century old, l have come to understand what she meant and the older l get, the more steeped l have become in being comfortable with who l am with zero apologies.

But to my millennials, it is indeed a journey-one that is fraught with second guessing yourself, making mistakes you swear you will never recover from, worried you will NEVER find the right mate, be a good mother should you so choose to become one,or be successful at anything long term in life.

You will lose friendships you swore would last your entire life, experience heartache that will have you questioning love and feeling fear when you want to feel hope.

So the bad news is that these experiences will shift in and out, one way or another for your entire life.

The good news is that you will be so settled into you are as a woman who knows herself and what she will not tolerate, that you will no longer second guess yourself to death or worry about that which you have no control over.

Someone doesn’t like you? Okay and? Keep it stepping.

That job isn’t working out? Move on in grace and find another.

Folks second or third guessing you on your decision to be an entrepreneur? Thank
Them for sharing and either fail or succeed splendidly for there are lessons to be learned in it all.

The bottom line is this- every molecule that is you, means that you are more than enough. Embrace your warts and all with as much dignity and grace you can muster up. Or not. Because the truth is, you have another moment to get it right.

In the meantime, stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy the journey to fully embracing the woman you will blossom into being.

Love, peace and fish grease,
Muva diva.

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The fear of excellence

Well here we go… 2017 is upon us and with so much spinning, what with a new incoming President for this great country, not to mention life changes seen and unseen, it can feel exhilarating and unfamiliar all at once.

I have been intentionally quiet for a few weeks here because I have begun taking steps so completely out of my comfort zone,  and while I recognize that true change never comes without hard work with lessons disguised as failures along the way, I found myself today, gripped with fear, after enjoying a ten day respite with my husband to clear my head.
It’s time to, as old folks say, piss or get off the pot.  Fear of excellence has crippled way too many. I refuse to be in that number.

I have had a zillion conversations with others about walking fully into one’s purpose and still I find myself wondering how many friends will I lose for my bravery, who will be the ones that tries to undermine my efforts and am I even crazy for going down this path?
What keeps me going, is the knowledge that continuing to follow that status quo or doing what others deem to be acceptable, has never been the road I took my entire life and this is not the time to second guess what could be the best moves to date.

So here we go… one day, one hour and one minute at a time, with constant prayer and an ever vigilant soul, there remains no choice but to keep pressing forward. No matter what.
Nothing comes to a dreamer but a dream right?

I wish for you all a 2017 filled with grace to handle the bumps life sends your way, the humility in dealing with the victories and the kindness that continues to live and support those around you and beyond.
Be the far reaching ripple and the disruptive wave. choose wisely in knowing when to be what.

Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Good Googa Uber!!

So I had to get an Uber for several Days  in a row and I have come to the conclusion that many of those drivers listen to people confessing their souls while giving up a few confessions of their own

Chile listen… it ran from the ridiculous to the scary but this one dude made me gasp, smile and shake my head all at once.. 

When he got to my door and saw my infirmities, he hopped out his car, got my crutches and bags and was just wonderful in a way that told me he was special. His Hat was on backwards and when I got in his car, I noticed the back of his seat was almost reclined to a sleeping position.

He slid in and sat up with his seat just that way. I didn’t question because I have seen it way too much with young guys driving around in Philly.. they will keep chiropractors in business with that mess but I digress..

After asking if he could call me Miss Andrea and my answering in the affirmative, he proceeded to tell me that he was originally from Ohio but was transplanted to Reading at a young age and after feeling like he had too few opportunities, he moved here after meeting a young lady online and had been here in Philly now for a few months.

As he shared his life story, he said “you know, people judged and asked why I was making these moves and taking these risks and I told them I am the author of my book. I didn’t ask for editors and I am writing the story the way I see fit.” I damn near high fived the back of his head for those profound words of wisdom!

He went on to say,  he was filled with nuggets but had a hard time taking his own advice.

Then it got real. 

He said he would always choose women for their bodies and what was between their legs instead of what was between their ears and that he realized he was choosing Shallow intimacy over substance because he didn’t want to put in the work it required to have a good relationship.

He is so into this new woman who, from all accounts is so smart, he wonders Why she is with him, that he made a pact to NOT have intimacy with her for a year. He is coming to the end of that year and swears he loves and appreciates her all the more because they spent time learning about each other and doing things beyond the bedroom. 

Well I’ll be. 

His lesson and the way he chose to go about changing his habits, showed up this way and who am I to judge?  He truly believes in the power of intention, following ones passion and hard work, after he met the owner of a Car dealership while being his waiter and the owner found him to be so personable, he offered to train and hire him to sell cars.

He went from making $7 an hour to 60k per year AND he Ubers on his days off! I love it!!

The tenacity of the human spirit is something else. 

When we got to my destination, he took my stuff to the door of the building, shook my hands, thanked me for listening and odd he went.

I learned so much from him, not the least of which is to not stay stuck in your circumstances and to take bold leaps even if you can’t see where you will land.

We don’t get to judge people in their journey because it’s different from our own- our oath is simply that. Ours.
Dueces and mad love.

DivA

The Season of CHANGE…

Early last week, seemingly out of the blue, I received a phone call from one of my mentors who said she felt the unction to pray for me so she stopped what she was doing and we prayed over the phone.

I couldn’t figure out what that was about because I was cool and life was good… and then, the very next day, running in my bare feet to answer the doorbell, I slammed my left foot into the base of my sofa.

And broke not one, but two toes.

Ouch.

I knew immediately at least one was broken because the searing light I saw as I went down on those fluffy cushions, was a vision of heaven and hell all at once.

But to know me fully is to know this- I’m super determined to do whatever I set out to and so I got up, and went about my business while limping. I was so bold, I walked in a fashion show two days ago, changed outfits 4 times and had 5 inches of heels on and didn’t miss a beat. No one would have guesssd I was in pain at all. See for your self..


And it went on for days. Six to be exact, where I went to work and attended events, before my husband forced me to go have my foot x-rayed because we Iced, elevated and taped those toes together to no avail. 

So by the time I got the delightful news that I had done the obvious and they gave me crutches, the ugliest shoe known to mankind, my films and a referral to see a surgeon, it was slowly sinking in that I would have a new normal for the next few weeks.

This is where it got interesting- my phone began to ring and texts came in at all kinds of hours about what folks can do to run errands, take me to work etc and I was simply blown away. We live in a “I’m doing me and you better do you”  society, and yet here I was, the grateful recipient of love in the midst of this change happening around me. 

I’m freaking grateful. Believe that.

I also noticed something else too. And I will be back to address that at another time but this mentor had not a whole week ago, sat me down and said the season of change is upon me and the ones who don’t want that change to take place, will be the least kind or helpful and may even eliminate themselves by finding a reason to disagree about something to create issues.

The thing is this- I have been swirling with the winds of change for a while now and that meant stepping into spaces of discomfort and off ledges of  comfort and complacency.

If we want to fully actualize our purpose here on earth, what other choices do we have? If you are the smartest person in your circle, you need to get over yourself and elevate with people who already are where you are trying to  go so you can learn and grow.

I can see with these broken toes, the lessons in this new season has begun but the beautiful part is simply this- prayer works, the turmoil won’t last forever and the sun on the other side of it all, will be blinding in its splendor.

Never let the challenges deter you from you mission but also cocoon yourself with at least ONE person, that you can call and share with no matter the hour.

To my dogmatic mentor- you know who you are-thank you.


Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Trick or treat?

I often wonder if we fully grasp what it means to have a long term relationship with anyone. It could be romantic, business  or platonic in nature but they all require work in order to sustain them fully.

I look around me and see these relationships fall apart for many reasons but it all came back to not maintaining the health and viability of your partner.

Someone asked me a question last week that led to my  wanting to delve into the romantic aspect of relationships here.

When we first meet and begin the process of getting to know a person, we should check the temperature of those feelings regularly by asking ourselves things like 

What are my motives?  

-Do I truly like this person or is it something to do that deflects/detracts from loneliness?

– What shared values do we have beyond the initial attraction?

-Will we openly communicate in ways that works through any issues that will arise?

– Am I in this relationship to rebound from a failed one?

You get the gist right? 

The way we enter a relationship, sets the tone for how it flows and it still requires work and checking in with each other regularly because life will get in the way.

Unhappiness breeds all kinds of malcontent when not addressed in a timely fashion.  When we add marriage to the mix, that flame goes way up because you are now dealing with blended families and lord knows, everyone has an opinion whether you asked for it or not. 

Leave and cleave is not a cute catch phrase. It really means something. If you gotta run back to momma every time you have a question, how do you develop relationship with your spouse?

If you allow your children to dictate your lives through whatever means they choose to employ, that will cause a serious rift.

If you gush about another person without fully acknowledging and routinely appreciating the one that lives with you, it’s cause for a situation.

Do not invite the opinion of others into the seriousness that is your life. Learn about your mate enough to know when to draw the line and pull back with compromise and love.

We say that we know  relationships won’t be a bed of roses but the first time we get pricked with the thorn of life and see blood, we run for cover  and end what could be a long term partnership 

The flip side of that is hanging around and grasping at someone who consistently shows you with their actions you are not valued.

A relationship that begins on shady ground will feel like a trick from hell. One that is nurtured becomes a treat that keeps on giving. You decide through your choices.

Know thyself. Love thyself.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

My Sojourn to Paisley Park 

Mannnn….. in late August when the news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson’s estate was going to be opened up for public tours, I went immediately into a purple purpose, looked at my calendar and proceeded to book a flight and then buy those VIP Tour tickets with the ONLY other person on earth I knew loves Prince like I do.

If you have no idea who the purple king of shade was/is, you can stop reading right here and go atone for your egregious sins because I am about to go IN about this experience and it’s not for the Prince novice.

Anywho, we were up and out our doors at a time that would frighten fish and landed in Minneapolis before noon only to see an airport that was devoid of folks and the car rental agency had zero lines anywhere. I inquired and was told it’s usually snowing this time of year here and nobody visits this place in the winter.

It was our lucky day I guess and we were cool with that! 

I took my friend Tanisha to see a couple of places where Prince used to frequent and one of them was First avenue where he filmed parts of the movie Purple Rain. She was super stoked and it was cool to watch her experience for the first time  what I had an opportunity to soak up last May when I took my first trip here after he died.



We then went to get ready for our tour which was to begin promptly at 5 pm and as I dressed, I could barley contain myself at the thought of what was to come!! 


Hontey!! I was ready baby!!

We took off and when we got within a mile of the place, I told Tanisha to prepare herself but when we turned the corner, she was shocked that the estate was RIGHT there visible to the highway. We pulled into the grounds and I could hardly contain myself because 6 months before, I was looking wistfully through the fence determined to be back and be inside.

We have arrived. 7801 Audobon Rd, our Mecca to all things Prince!!


We collected ourselves, hopped out that car and made it into that building in record time! We were given our Instructions, bought our flash drives for a special opportunity and off we went. Our VIP group consisted of 5 people and so we were  feeling special especially after seeing another group that was super large.

We were ushered into the entrance and the first thing we saw was Mural of the shady One with the inscription “I am watching you.” Right above that was a camera which told his guests he had cameras on them at all times. I cackled at the shadiness of it all.

Our phones were locked in special bags as NO pictures were allowed to be taken and it allowed us to fully soak in what we were about the see. On the first wall were all these gold and platinum records from his early and future work. As we stood there in awe, Tanisha was visibly shaken and leaned on my shoulder with tears in her eyes.

When we stopped into the atrium where he hung out and peeped into the kitchen where he spent loads of time when he wanted to relax , I could see him in my minds eye moving about within and felt his spirit strongly for some inexplicable reason. I was soon to find out why.

Smack dab In the middle of that atrium were his remains. I damn near fainted looking at that purple urn built into a replica of the Paisley Park compound and encased in fiberglass. 

Lawd. I got emotional. Had  a quiet moment.

 There were also two doves sitting in large cages above the atrium and we were told they were 24 years old. The lifespan for them is usually 15 years. That atrium looked like you were standing in the middle of heaven with clouds and points of light everywhere.

We went on to visit his office and it was in there I noticed how freaking cool his furniture was!! Deep purple and designed in the most unusual shapes!! I was fascinated!! We saw his handwritten songs in rooms dedicated to Paisley Park, Purple Rain, Musicology Tour and the list went on!! He was a pack rat and threw away nothing. They are still finding and archiving things. His penmanship was beautiful by the way. They found vaults of music and video. He was famous for firing editors and spent hours editing his own work. He was simply a creative genius!

He had hundreds of guitars. No exaggeration. My head spun at the volume of them we saw in every space! His costumes too were out of this world right down to the shoes of which he had over a thousand. Chile Listen.

We visited studios A, B and C, each space carrying his strong presence and we could feel Him Throughout. Studio C especially was lined with cherry wood for perfect acoustics and we were told artists like Stevie wonder recorded there.  

Hallowed ground I tell you. 

We got to listen to a jazz piece he was working on shortly before he died. I hope they release it because it’s dope.

This place was deceptive looking from the exterior because within was 65 thousand square feet of space !! He has a main stage that could hold over a thousand people, was 12 thousand square feet and had concerts there along with filming parts of his movies. We walked around and marveled at the rich history within. Behind the main stage was a more private setting to seat 120 folks and we heard Madonna performed for him in late 2015

We saw a wall of the artists he supported and the ones who influenced him. Tower of Power, Jimmie Hendrix, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire and the list went on. We saw his numerous awards, the bike he filmed Purple Rain on, pianos in purple and a sundry of Other colors but I wasn’t prepared for this one. At all.


I’m told he bought it on the late 90’s. He was such a man before his time.

We had a special photo opportunity in Studio B that I will share soon and that was special.

Whew!! I think I captured the essence of the visit. 

Wait until you see his zen space. So peaceful!! He also loved scented candles and they were everywhere.

We left on a happy purple haze of peace and closure after buying stuff from the gift store but don’t tell my husband😂😂


Babay did we ever have a rocking good time!!! This place is for the true Prince fans!! I sang along to his music and even did a slight jig  watching him perform in various rooms.  I saw a clip of him in Philly during the Musicology tour and was ever so grateful that I was front AND center at the concert they highlighted..

We saw a piece of history and Prince was right there with us. How does it even get any better than that? Go see what has become the museum of his life if you can. Dude lived and died in his purpose and it affected millions of us around the globe.

That alone, is worth the sojourn there.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

The eggs dropped by the birds nest for a little love 

A few days ago, my eldest child flew home to visit albeit briefly, so we could see each other before he went off to handle his real purpose for being here- his fraternity and the brothers he formed a deep bond with. I was with him for less than 12 hours but we squeezed priceless moments within and my soul and heart were full when he left.

I wrote about this son a while back in a post where he had an encounter with a police officer https://lawfultrainer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/innocence-of-a-child-forever-gone/

Even as we worked diligently to be certain he was okay and told him to keep achieving, he continues to defy and exceed any expectations anyone could have of him.

Quite simply, he’s determined to succeed and writes 5 and 10 year plans to keep his purpose in the forefront always. So earlier this year, 2 weeks before his 24th birthday, he had already graduated from college, works for a Great company that values and relocated him to another state and after just 11 months of living in said state, he closed on his very 1st home.

As remarkable as that was, he also bought that home with no financial help from his father and I. In fact, he insisted it was something he wanted to see if he could do and he did. We couldn’t believe how disciplined he was to save by not buying a new car when he graduated from college even as his peers were stunting with new rides all around him. He paid his bills on time and kept his credit score in a place many adults do not have and he stunned the banks when they saw he really saved and had a stable job at his age. Once he bought that home though, I flew in and helped him to furnish and buy appliances. He smiled and said I was “such a mommy” as if that was an insult!!😂😂😂

He is now 24 and as I listened to him discuss what his next set of plans entailed, I teared up remembering all he had gone through to get to this point and that his adversities only made him grow to the place where he is an incredible advocate of his rights and can see things from a point of view most miss.

He is a really quiet and profound cat that I am so proud to call SON. I caught a brief glimpse of his need for parent love when he walked up to hug me and just laid his head on my chest for a good two minutes. It was cathartic and healing to us both.

He credits his tenacity to having parents who aren’t afraid to work hard and achieve-he astutely learned certain traits we carry that he found to be beneficial in business and life and built upon that. I have no doubt we haven’t fully begun to see what he will accomplish. and while the house was filled with both my children and all their friends, when the nest emptied and those birds flew back to where they came from, they all left a piece of their love joy and peace with me..

Parents- raising children is the most challenging thing we will do and it never ends. We want to protect our children from danger and harm while we coach them on being able to thrive in environments away from us. If we could, we would shield them and keep their innocence firmly intact but life doesn’t work that way. 

On this day, I pray you have the courage and strength to do what you know is right for your children and to seek advice when needed.

Those babies we carried and nurtured will one day become adults. How they get there depends upon you in those early years of learning and growth.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

when the oldest comes home for a visit

Cutco oh oh..

There a few things that I love and aside from hubby and family, chief among them are cooking and young people striving to earn money honestly to pay for tutition etcetera.

But honey, someone at Cutco did a profile on what would make people buy their products and I swear, one of those avatars has my face on it.

Stay with me here.

I got a call recently  from one of the young people I love who wanted to see if she could come to seee me and do a Cutco demonstration on my home.

I already knew the deal because I have Cutco products in my kitchen that I use daily so I was prepared that my pockets would squeal a tiny bit so that I could support this “baby.”

Well Damn.

We are flipping through the pages and I saw a set of silverware that interested me and asked for a quote. The 5 place setting was $1,400 and plenty coins!! Did I say I was looking at the 12 place setting though? I told her never mind, collected myself and kept flipping those pages.

Whew!!

We decided on a few pieces in the end but I continue to be struck by how expensive those pieces are!  They are more costly than pieces of jewelry and probably brings more joy if you love to cook like I do. That cleaver slices through bone like butter but it requires mortgaging your kidney to buy it😂

Chile listen. At the end of the day, if you don’t like being in the kitchen much, save those coins but if you want an experience with cooking tools that makes creating meals a joy and your pockets can support it, go for it as they are worth every penny. 

For the rest of you who buys cutco simply as a status symbol in your house while they gather dust because you couldn’t find the stove knobs if you tried, cutco has an avatar with your face too. It’s called the label/status symbol junkie😂😂

For the record- while that child left my house with a sale firmly in hand, don’t yall send no more children to my door because it’s easier to just write a check to support their college fund. Ya dig? They are hard to resist but my pockets will force me to say no by hiding behind my door quietly when they come

Knocking 😂😂

Dueces and mad love.

Diva 

Delayed is not denied….

When I think of how much my life has changed in the last 20 years, I can safely say I’m beginning to grasp the concept that delayed doesn’t mean denied and if we trust the process we are in, we will see it was all for our good long term.
That job you thought you had to keep because it pays your bills but you got laid off and was surprised to see it was designed to happen just that way because you wouldn’t have otherwise stepped out on faith and become even more successful?
Delayed is not denied
That man you just KNEW God sent for you and you scratched and clawed to keep him even as his actions said otherwise. It finally ends and you mourn him thinking there isn’t another soul worth having only to meet someone who made this Other person seem like a joke?
Delayed is not denied
Those days when you could barely scrape the rent money together, you had no car to drive and small children to take care of in the middle of an awful Divorce only to look up years later and life is good?
Delayed is not denied.

In order to turn the corner from life’s tragedies, you must first be willing to do your own work to healing and that may mean forgiving the people who hurt you, learn from the mistakes, choose wisely, be open to taking risks and have faith.
The alternative is staying mired in the hurt and disappointments only to look up and realize your delay did indeed become your denial because in the end you can’t change anyone but you and nothing grows in a stagnant state.

Ya dig?

Dueces and mad love,

Diva

When money can’t buy this…

I met a lovely woman today who made it a point to sit beside me in an early morning meeting and I could tell she needed to have a conversation by her approach and she thought  maybe she could have it with me.

In our polite chatter, I learned she lived in one of the wealthiest communities in the state and country and she was struck by how few people of color she saw there unless they were NFL or NBA players.  It was then that I began to learn the real reason for her speaking with me. She asked if she could be honest to which I replied in the affirmative and she fussed about seeing the few black folks in her community being, in her words, constantly stopped by law enforcement and while she didn’t witness any aggressive behaviors, she also noticed no one else in their community being stopped as much either. 
I was mildly stunned when she then said ” I’m a blonde haired white woman who wants to help in any way I can but who would listen to me?” She and I spoke of strategies on being a good neighbor without feeling forced and then I learned she married a man that was so incredibly wealthy, his family had buildings named after them and they gave away tons of money yearly to what they considered worthwhile programs and ventures.

I listened to all of this and stayed engaged but felt something was missing. 

Then She said it.

She desires to find a more diverse place to be but didn’t want to create unnecessary hangs for her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his early 50’s. I looked in her eyes and my heart broke at the resigned sadness I saw within.

I could see she would happily give up some of that wealth to gain her husband a healthy mind instead of the one that was slowly destroying him and in that moment, I gained clarity on just how important our health is.
Every day that I can walk into the gym and lift weights, box or even have my presence of mind, is a good one. We so often take that gift of health for granted until reality hits us. Family genetic markers are important to know by asking key questions that should help each generation to make choices based on what we have within the gene pool.

Do everything you want in moderation- love hard, practice kindness and humility daily, hug whenever possible And keep gratitude in your heart.

Because we never know when the tide will shift…
Dueces and mad love,

Diva