Category Archives: literacy

The bullet I dodged..

So mister must have sensed I had taken a small break at work because he called and asked if I had a few minutes to chat.Me: sure, what’s up?

Him: If you knew all the things you know about me now, would you have still married me?
Me: *dramatic pause* I mean… in hindsight, I am glad we never lived together or shared bills before we got married because I was spared the delightfulness known as shock-to-the- brain. 😂 It makes sense now, why some of your family wondered about me because I get Things done no matter what IT is AND with alacrity. You are content to just mosey along with not a care in the world unless its robotic in nature.

Him: hey, I was attuned enough to know you deserved to be loved in a most special way and I was just the guy to do it. So do I get points for that? 😏

Me: jackpot baby. Yes you do.

So the answer to your original question is NO, I would not have married you because I would have been nuts and trying to “fix” stuff which have led to my feeling hopeless and not feeling forever and a damn day.That was NOT my role as your girlfriend but it is as your wife and I am happy to stand right beside you. You are a kind, decent and happy sloth. I love you for so much more beyond that though and dating you for five years helped me to appreciate the total package that is you.

I think he breathed a sigh of relief as he got off the phone to resume teaching😂😂 I ain’t going nowhere and I am eternally grateful he accepted me just as I am too. 

Our commonalities are greater than our differences and I wish more among us would take on and appreciate the art of dating before getting married instead of the alternative, only to realize you don’t like the creature you hitched yourself to.

And ladies- kill the mother instincts and slow down on trying to fix  our partners. If we were all Perfect people, what would we have to fuss about? A tiny bit of acceptance and understanding goes a long way.

Trust me on this.
Dueces and mad love 

DivA

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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

Raised with love, laughter and lessons

Either God has a sense of humor, or I’m crazy. I’m placing my money on God. Every single morning between 2 0r 3 am, I awaken like clockwork. I kinda know why but more about that later.

So I’m up as usual and happened to check the space where my siblings and I chat daily to check in with each other about our lives, what’s happening with our aging parents etcetera.

I clearly wasn’t prepared for the conversation I began reading but I felt a chuckle bubble in my soul, that erupted from my mouth into  full blown laughter as I read comment after comment that went from The ridiculous to the sublime.

You see, 2 of my siblings were trying to get a third to look beyond the scenario of dogs being taken to church  and to the altar to be blessed by a priest and see the lessons within but she was so STUCK on what our Jamaican culture dictated that she couldn’t see  why this particular scenario was happening. The hilarity that ensued, warmed the cockles of my tickled heart!

They teased her mercilessly and she wouldn’t budge but reminded them that she is able to look clearly enough at something and if it didn’t make sense to her, she wasn’t going to do it no matter what  her wretched siblings said to the contrary 😂😂😂

The older we get, it’s become apparent that we have similar traits to either one or both of our parents that we SWore would never happen.

Sounds familiar?

We prayed and asked God daily to let the idiosyncratic cups pass us by but alas!😂😂

Our father has been a sage offering all kinds of advice and lessons within everything he sees and encounters. It drove us nuts as children but we have some of those same tendencies. Some of us more than others and I ain’t pointing no fingers. Ha!! He also believes in using natural ingredients for everything. It better come from the earth or he ain’t touching it.  This is the man that went to the dentist and they could find zero plaque on his teeth because his regimen daily with brushing and flossing lasts a good 15 minutes after each and every meal.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Our mother is a class act who was steadfast in teaching us how to grow up and be responsible and classy women that wouldn’t compromise our souls for anything. She is much quieter than our father who talks from the minute he awakens until he falls asleep and she is the ying to his chatty yang.

Our childhood friends love our parents and we couldn’t understand their constant craving of two people we tried our best to  never cross hairs with but as we all age, we see the value in how they raised us to look after each other, showed us that prayer is a powerful tool, that giving back goes beyond the basics, that we are to treat others well and lord were they ever excellent examples of how we raised our own children. 

My sisters are the solid backbone to my very existence. They hold me accountable like only siblings can, they show up in ways big and small no matter what is going on and they pray hard when I take off on another adventure that I will return unscathed because none of them wants to be the one to explain to our parents, why they allowed me to go off on what they would consider a reckless folly.😂 As if anyone could stop me and they know this from raising my precocious self!

Our mommy celebrates another turn around the sun today and as I give thanks for her being here with us among the living, I also give thanks that she raised four girls into beautiful women who found their purpose and continues to walk with mankind in our own unique ways. She is an excellent grandmother to 4 grandchildren as evidenced with my oldest son dancing with her in the featured photo. She dotes on them in ways that makes us wonder  who she is because the drill sergeant mother became the pudding pop Grandmom.

Family is a blessing and it’s wonderful to live to a space where the value of it can be fully appreciated even in the roughest of times. 

Love and appreciate yours in ways big or small- meet people where they are-try not it judge but seek to understand and always remind yourself we aren’t going to be here on earth forever so make the best of each moment we have here.

Deuces and mad love,

Diva

The Rebirth of my nation

Friday October 7th was the premiere of the movie Birth Of A Nation and while I knew I was going to view it and psyched myself up to see what was sure to shock my senses in parts, what happened was something different. For me anyway.
That day began in an interesting manner where I had to circumvent and remind a few folks who were so entrenched in how they did things, they forgot education was about the children they purportedly served.
So I was already feeling some kinda funky from a long day filled with meetings, when I pointed my diva mobile in the general direction of the movie theater.
Lawd.

I had two sips of some kind of  beverage and some appetizers but I was more engrossed in chatting with many of the folks who I hadn’t met before this screening and a few who knew me Well enough to be prepared for any and all Shenanigans I may spew forth.

After ALL of that preparation, I walked in and settled myself in the very back after taking a deep cleansing breath.
I would NOT be the sister who left disliking all white folks based on what I saw. 
Listen. 30 minutes in? I was cringing, tears were flowing down my cheeks,

I was talking to myself and the screen, I called on Jesus more than

A few times and didn’t know IF I would make it through.
Here is what I learned- and let me be clear, you may get something totally different but our past experiences often shape what we see and feel.
I saw a man who was chosen to be a leader who was quiet, caused no trouble, did what his master told him and learned to read because the slave owners wife took an interest in him.
Lesson? Never dismiss people based on what you see. The eyes can be deceptive. Nat Turner had something within, that the outer facade belied and he was therefore trusted in places and spaces that gave him access when the time came.

There is a courage within people

Of African descent that isn’t often depicted anywhere as it serves to remind us that we matter, we are Smart, we Are Resilient and while everyone may not be on board when the time comes to act, it only requires a few to get a movement started.
Watching The constant raping of our women and children at the hands of slave masters, only for those broken women to be sent back to their men afraid, ashamed and hurt to their core, almost put me over the edge.

I also saw the courage, love and anguish of the men, who often risked their lives to protect their families the best way they could. That visual warmed my soul.
We suffered a lot as a people and it continues to present day but we also have more power and able to make choices instead of waffling in mired hurt and pain alone.
Many are called, FEW are chosen. We all have a purpose in this life and our one job is to find it and then follow.
Nat Turner and many others lost their lives

For that insurgence but it sparked a revolution that changed slavery after he died.
We MUST make it our business to learn

About our history and stop waiting for it to become

Curriculum in schools. There are too many books, not to

Mention google

For that to even be an excuse any longer.
As a woman, I walk every day with the ancestry of Nanny of the Maroons from Jamaica whose blood runs through my veins. I am steeped in my culture in a way that serves as a reminder that I can and will continue to achieve with alacrity and I must serve those around me with same.
We had a discussion after the movie and I left wondering who were to two or three who would actually step beyond the emotions to spark the next movement.
There were a few Caucasian students from Arcadia university who watched the movie and I could FEEL the palpable

Discomfort coming from a couple. I walked right over to them and reminded them to not leave here feeling guilty but rather enlightened on how they could help to make this a better America for us all.
That movie shook my very core- but it did something that was so much more. It was confirmation in a way that I in particular needed.
Go see it. It’s worth every penny and the lessons are priceless.
Deuces and mad love,

Diva

Purpose in a sea of discomfort 

The annual Pennsylvania women’s convention  was held recently in Philadelphia and 9 thousand women from all walks of life converged on the PA Convention center like hungry butterflies seeking connections, validation, love and confirmation among other things.

This is my  5th year attending and aside from the awesome keynotes which are always huge draws for the attendees, I was on a personal mission of my own as I was standing on a precipice of achievement, getting ready to leap and sought confirmation in either word or deed that I wasn’t crazy.

And I got it in spades.

After making my way through the throngs of women in search of my DISter friends (a group of ladies I will write about very soon,)  I found the first workshop on “Personal Branding” that had none other than Luvvie Ajaay as one of four panelists. If you don’t know awesomely Luvvie, I need you to get your life and google her because it’s worth the cackles for your entire soul.

As I listened to these women discuss how they took their fears in hand and followed their dreams to fruition,  I felt my soul lift and my body tingled  at the possibilities! I have long said to people that being your authentic self, is way more rewarding than a facade no one can identify with. The nuggets that came from That workshop ranged from using your social media spaces properly, finding your niche that others identify with and not allowing the imposter of self doubt to keep you from moving towards your goals.

I was front and center in the room and was able to get the first selfie with Luvvie before the sisters converged on her and that book of hers sold out!


I left that session feeling pumped and hauled my assets across the convention center to find the next one which featured motivational speaker and author, Lisa Nichols. If you don’t know WHO she is, I again suggest you google her then beg for forgiveness from the ancestors for such egregiousness that would allow the folly in you for missing out on this phenom!

She stepped in the stage, opened her mouth and I was immediately transported to the possibilities in front of me. Her speech? She was there to DISRUPT to norm in our lives, push us off the ledge of comfort so we can be uncomfortable in the challenges that would elevate us to our true paths in life.

Yes YES!!! I vacillated between being on the edge of my seat and taking copious notes that confirmed Much of what I had been hearing in recent days.. seated with me in this session, were 3 women who turned to me and said ” you better be ready because we are taking over your life and this is how we are going to help you get where we see you going.”

We left that session a few minutes early to get in line and meet these two women who would sign our books. As I stood there playing around with a few things, I bought new domain names online and just as I pressed “purchased” Lisa Nichols stretched out her hands to sign my book. I told her what I just did and she grabbed my hands in glee and screeched!! This is her below on stage and after signing my book.

I was so pumped after all of that, I barely touched my lunch or spent the usual time with my friends because I was on a mission. I went back to the exhibit hall, found a space to sit and began investing in myself  after learning about some tools I would need.

Amazon became my friend because I searched and bought as I was instructed to.  Talk about psyched!!

My last stop in the convention? Walking around to meet a few of the vendors as supporting women means the world to me. I floated until I saw something that grabbed my attention- a young mom who was so concerned about new mommys losing their identity after childbirth, she created a line of inspirational and hot looking Tshirts that would boost their spirits. I was so intrigued, I bought 4 and as I was signing for my purchases, I noticed she had years in her eyes as she thanked me. When she disclosed this was her LAUNCH day and that I bought the most amount of merchandise thus far and

It encouraged her that she was truly on to something, I hugged and wished her success beyond her wildest dreams!! Meet Ashley, the owner and creator of “Haute Moms..” did I say 10% of her proceeds go to support surgery for babies with cleft palates? I love her vision!!


Chile…. what was a diva left to do but bottle up ALL that inspiration and take it home in an Uber??

My hope is that your reading this will inspire YOU to leap off the ledge of comfort and face the challenges on your road to your purpose in life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
Dueces and mad love,

Diva

If I only had a brain… haste makes waste

About 12 months before the newest iPhones hit the market, my old one began behaving as if it was too much for me to ask it to do simple things like stay on and not reset in the middle Of a conversation. 

I called my son the iNerd and after running some diagnostics, declared my phone had some mother board issues and I would need to part with it soon.

I paid him no earthly mind and went about the business of adapting to soft resets several times a day to get the darn thing to work.

The week or so after the 7 was launched, my phone became possessed, and just told me off by doing nothing I required of it. You can’t tell me Apple is innocent in all of these coincidences but since I’m not an apple genius, I may never prove my hypothesis.

Off I went to purchase another phone and when told the price, I gasped for air, called down Jesus and all his disciples, yes, even Judas,  weighed my options and bought it.

So here I had this shiny new object right out the box and I removed the charger and left the earphones within so I could familiarize myself with the thing.
I’m chugging along mildly impressed and went to play music in my car only to realize there was no auxiliary jack on the phone??😱😱😱 all the money it costs?  Are we serious right now?

I went online and googled, got no information that didn’t require my spending hundreds more dollars. I don’t hardly think so!

So today some

5 days later, I finally make my way to the phone carrier and the employee walked me out to my car while assuring  me that it should work with the Bluetooth in my car. 

Slight issue. My Bluetooth comes through the rear view mirror and he declared my car too fancy for him.

Ninja please.

Mildly frustrated that I would have to spend extra monies, I  next went to the Apple Store, walked in and told a salesperson what my issue was and could they solve it?
He quickly said ” yes ma’am. Go look in your packaging box, lift the cordless earphones and right behind it, you will see a tiny adapter that will allow you to keep listening to your music in the car with no issue.”

Say what now? The answer was right there in the box? The box I didn’t bother to fully look through and spent needless days trying to fix a problem I DIDNT have??

The very obvious lessons for me?

  • Don’t assume anything
  • Read directions carefully and look at every scenario before getting upset.
  • Slow down and take time to process.
  • Things aren’t always as complicated as we make them seem
  • The answers are usually right there in front of you.
  • I need a new brain😂

Whew!! I didn’t have to pay a dime but I learned quite bit only to return to what was already there. 

In case I’mNot the only mad hatter running around about no auxiliary access, look in your boxes for this piece below.  You  Can thank  me later.

As for the employee in the phone carrier store- what was HIS excuse for not knowing his company’s products? 
Lawd.
Deuces and mad love,

Diva 

Living a life without limits

So as I write this blog, there are tears streaming down my cheeks. Not sad ones but tears of  what is possible when we dare to imagine a world beyond our own daily wants and needs.

I have been wrestling with God for a long time now.  I feel like He waits until I’m in a deep sleep and then awakens my soul through these dreams that in the moment, makes no earthly sense and then I am up at some random hour, trying to figure some things out.

Have you ever had somebody constantly tap at your door until you can’t ignore it? That’s what it feels like to have a burning passion but because of FEAR,  WAITING FOR OTHERS TO CATCH A VISION THAT ISNT THEIRS SEE, And simply not wanting to shed the layers of people who mean you no good because you are COMFORTABLE in a space that isn’t challenging you at all on any level, you sit there waiting for what, I don’t even know.

Without consulting a soul, I did something that required bravery and vulnerability on my part. I got past the judgements people may have walked into my space with, told myself this was for the greater good beyond any hangups I may have and the results have been nothing short of wonderful.

It was a strong reminder  to me that when we trust the process and follow our gut instincts, things move just as they should.
So while I am still in the space of transitioning, what are some of the limitations have you placed on yourselves for whatever reason/excuse it may be?

Walk with me. Let it/ them/situations all go so you can walk in whatever you true purpose is.

There are no great rewards without risks.

You will lose friends along the way. Trust God and the process.

Folks will spread gossip and try hard to discredit you. Trust God and the process.

You will be afraid and while fear can be paralyzing, trust God and the process.
One last thing.

Be love, show love, speak

Love.
Dueces and mad love,

 diva

Learn a trade because beauty fades

My childhood came full circle a few days ago, when someone I had lost contact with 28 years back, popped up and every memory I had of my young and teen years came rushing to the forefront like it was yesterday.

You see, We lived on what was a quiet suburban street filled with upper middle class families who worked hard and raised decent children with substance. That meant that the girls who hoped to be anything other than ” loose” worked hard to follow the regimented instructions we got from our parents while remaining average teenagers as much as we could.

Those of us who enjoyed very few freedoms that our other peers were given without regard, often felt baffled and unheard by what we considered overly strict parents.

We had gorgeous friends who had no curfew, could attend any parties they wanted to and allowed to wear whatever they desired. I could hear them at night while I was tucked in bed reading a book and wondered what a great feeling it must have been for them to have so many freedoms.

My parents would always tell us that ” freedom isn’t free and if you give away all you have without leaving anything to the imagination, when it came time for us to get mates, we would suffer for it. I thought they were nuts but here we are almost 30 years later and the fruit that bore from the trees are quite telling.

Many of us who were under strictly supervised homes, grew up on firm footing. We had convictions, worked hard, stood for something and understood our value. We faced trials like everyone else but we also knew we could find our way through and were not afraid to start over or look at things differently.

Some of our friends who were allowed all the freedoms they wanted as teens, are now adults who are slowly beginning to realize, a pretty face and a sexy body alone does not a long term and fulfilling relationship make.

These friends are sitting in marriages that have long stopped serving them or their spouses but they remain miserable because they never thought of anything beyond finding a man to support the life style they were seeking.

There is no voice to speak up, no grit and determination to be a change agent outside of being diligent mommies who are inadvertently teaching their offspring the same messages.

Smart is the new pretty and it’s about time. Men are seeking women who can not only hold intelligent conversations about most things, she challenges him through her actions to always strive for better.

If you have ever wondered why a woman who is far less attractive than you seems to have everything you desired, it’s because she used her brain not her beauty in everything she says and does.

So the next time you stand in a Mirror flipping your hair and pouting your lips just so to garner attention, be sure to remember that what is inside that head is way more valuable long term and give yourself the gift of stretching your brain to learn, experience and explore the world beyond your face.

That 28 year reminder came full circle and I was able to say thanks to my parents for keeping us from a life of mediocrity. The lessons we learned back then are the rewards we are reaping today.

Enough said

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The millennial minimalists in our midst

I have often been a harsh critic of the my generation for not taking millennials under their wings to mentor so that they can have a solid foundation to stand on as we eventually stand down.

It was in that spirit, that I decided along with some accomplished people in my network, to begin fully mentoring young people in their mid to late twenties, with the hope of staving some of which they have been craving from us.

I have been in this process for a few years now and something has become glaringly evident; a few of these new leaders are becoming the very system they spoke out against by looking out for their own interests and not helping to lift each other up. It leads to lying and pointing fingers at others in an effort to detract from the real issues at hand.

Added to the madness, is the minimalism. Some are so busy trying to promote their names and organizations in headlines, they forgot there is actual work to be done. When asked to produce some work, I get minimal to no effort with a bunch of excuses attached.

Quality work, when done consistently, is the backbone of real success so when I watch those who aren’t producing what is written on paper, while looking for the next place to have their names recognized, it gives me serious pause and speaks volumes about what hidden deals may be done, in an effort to keep giving shoddy results.

There comes a time when a name is just not going to be enough to keep one afloat and if it is thought you can be ” bought and sold” for ego, then you will be.

Are you willing to work while others yet sleep? Are you willing to learn the key ingredients for presenting oneself- that is, grooming, speech and preparedness?
At you willing hold fast to the ideology around your work without cutting corners? Are you willing to listen to sound advice from those who were there before you?

Then you are ready to do what it takes to succeed. Everything else is just window dressing clothed in laziness and a recipe for disaster.

Stand for something. Be about something other than yourself. Have some integrity and be your brothers keeper because you can’t rise alone. Treasure the time and efforts of your mentors and work hard not to burn bridges.

Most of all, leave the minimalism at the door so you don’t become a younger version of more-of-the-same.

You better believe, people are watching and nothing destroys a reputation faster than word-of-mouth by key powerful individuals who know real success when it’s presented to them.

Sons, brothers, friends…

My youngest son was born 8 weeks early at 3lbs 14 oz. But we were thrilled to see that other than his tiny size, he was very healthy. So after five days in the hospital, he was sent home. He needed doll diapers but ate like a hearty new born. No one would touch or hold him except dad, my mother and his brother who was 4 yrs old.

It is the relationship between the brothers that prompted this blog..

My oldest son knew instinctively that he had to take care of his little brother and that he did beautifully. He fed him, hugged him, helped to dress him after a bath and would put baby powder under his thick neck as he grew and became chubby. His baby brother adored him and for many years would only address him as “brother” even as he knew his name and could say it.

One day when they were 6 and 2 years old respectively, I sent them outside to play with the warning to be careful and watched as they went and began to play. I quietly checked on them
Every few minutes and it was one such check, that I saw something that seared in my brain as a beautiful memory.

The baby was watching his brother ride his bicycle around and was begging him for a ride. He stopped his bike and said ” mommy will kill me if you get hurt but if I put you on the handle, will you be careful and hang on tight?” The younger one looked up at him grinning and said ” I promise bwother!! I will hold on and won’t fall!”

I watched, rooted behind the blinds because my gut told me, to leave them be.

The older child helped his sibling up and off they slowly went. The joy on the baby’s face was indescribable as his brother concentrated and was carefully riding his brother around with his brow furrowed. He kept saying to the baby ” hold on for dear life! Mommy will be mad if you get hurt!” The baby kept saying ” I’m holding on!!”

They rode just a short distance and they were able to get down safely. The baby ran and hugged his brother’s legs with a big thank you and he patted his head while grinning with relief.

They went on to seek insects in the grass and I never shared with them what I saw that day.

They are now 22 and 18 years old. One has graduated from college, the other is in his first semester at college.

They remain close and share things I may never know about, but teaching them as babies to take care of each other, continues to pay it forward.

I love my sons… They remind us daily that being a parent is simply the most important job we have, when we are given the opportunity to bring children into the world.
Enough said
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