It’s here Good People! Jan 1st 2016. If you are reading this it means we made it to see another year. Thank you sweet baby Jesus in the manger for that. Okay now that the celebration is over. The euphoric high of making it to 12:00am has come and gone. It’s time to get to work, stop playing, get off the fence and get into the game. Like for real. Today is not the day for soft and fluffy words, empty clichés, or dead on arrival resolutions.
Today is the first day to get it done and get in position. Whatever your “it” is you need to get “it” in position.
If your “it” is….
A blog. Position it to be read around the world.
A business. Position it to be fruitful.
A marriage. Position it to be focused on Kingdom building.
Start somewhere. Doing something. Create goals. Make them S.M.A.R.T.
“Sometimes life seems uncomfortable and that’s actually when life starts.”
― M.H. Rakib
Since the last time I blogged many things in my life have changed. My visions have increased, my network has expanded, one child has left the nest and another is on his way to flying out next year. I’ve shared my journey via speaking engagements with more people and I have created more live events for my online community The Dreamers Circle. My ex-husband and I have become better parents and friends and some friends have now become strangers. I resigned from my job to work 40+hours a week for myself and decided that I needed to live instead of exist by investing my time and energy into my own business Youth Vision Runners.
It’s suffice to say that many of these decisions made me and the people around me very uncomfortable. I will even go out on a limb like Teena Marie and say some folks think I am foolish or crazy for doing half of the things listed above. They cannot understand how this reformed professional high school skipper now Master College Prep Coach, who was once a teenage mama, with 3 children, 2 divorces, 2 college degrees and a whole lot of resolved and unresolved baggage can be so comfortable with change and challenge.
Here is my message to all of you: Life is full of highs and lows. Life is full of people who get it and those that don’t. If you go through life trying to stay in the box that society has so pleasantly put you in eventually you out grow the box. If you continue to live by fictitious mind bondage and the narrative created you will never be comfortable. It is only by stretching, bending, and contorting your ENTIRE life that the discomfort eventually becomes comfort. When you have had as many JUMP moments as I’ve encountered you welcome the newness of the unknown.
So the next time you decide to judge or question someone else’s newness ask yourself this one question “when was the last time I added some newness and unconformability to my life?” If you can’t remember, shut your pie hole and go find you some.
Guess who took a summer sabbatical from writing? This chick! But guess who is back ready to shake up the world with my thoughts on love, life, business and anything else this 40-year-old Detroit ’til the day I die brain can think of? This chick!
I was encouraged by a very good friend of mine to write about the elephant in the room. This elephant comes across many social media feeds, Facebook groups, homegirl conversations and anywhere else single women reside. The elephant’s name is HONESTY. And tonight, I want the single 40 & over-with children-who have been through some stuff-but still desire a healthy relationship-but it seems like it’s taking forever crowd to get honest and transparent about how you feel right now.
Too many times we profess to be A-OKAY with the single life for fear of looking thirsty, being too forward or out to get a daddy for our children. One persons perception is not always another’s reality. The reality is that while we are out here patiently waiting to be pursued and boo’ed up at times it SUCKS! Yes, it ain’t all peaches and cream. But I can say for myself that I came out of the womb impatient. I want to be very HONEST in how I feel while waiting. Some may be freed by this and others may feel like it doesn’t apply to their process. I’m okay with both ends of the spectrum. But this must be said because there are a lot of people not being honest with themselves, their friends or potential mates for fear of how they are perceived. Ladies, it’s time to take the scarlet letter off and have a REAL conversation.
Here are the things I am leaving on the table. Pick them up or leave them as you see fit:
We want to be in healthy happy relationships and we do enjoy life, but waiting:
Is lonely at times
Is uncomfortable and frankly you can get mad at God that Boaz ain’t coming quick enough
Will at times cause you to question your sexy, if your standards are unreasonable, or if marriage is really a part of God’s plan for your life
Is a time for self-reflection, internal and external work
We should not just be sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, the next text or the next inbox message! However we should be working on our craft, hopes, dreams and goals. But let’s be honest we want someone besides our good-good girlfriends, children and family to share IT with. Whatever your IT is.
We get tired of:
Going to family functions without a boothang
Carrying 50-11 groceries in the house
Not having someone to cuddle with at night
Doctoring ourselves when we are sick
Cooking for the kids when we are tired (Yes, men can cook too!)
Chauffeuring the kids everywhere by ourselves
Yes we want someone:
We can have great deep conversations with
We can travel with and without children (Hey, mama gotta life!)
We can bounce ideas off of
Who is a beast at Spades, Bid Whist, Phase 10, Uno and any other game that requires strategy and competition (Spades is LIFE for me. Don’t judge.)
Who will pray for us when we can’t pray for ourselves
Who values family and loves the women in their lives
Who will protect our hearts and honor us with their words and actions
Who will embrace our children like their own (I don’t believe in step.)
We can pray for, love on, support in deed and words, care for and invest our energy and time into their dreams
We can cheer for!
I am glad my friend encouraged me to write about this elephant. This messy, murky, sometimes uncomfortable middle. Yes, I guess 40 years old is middle-aged. In all of its guts and glory this is my story. It may or may not be yours. I’ve been married twice (third times a charm) and have had other relationships that for whatever reason didn’t work out. There’s enough blame for all parties to get their share.
But, people will keep telling you to be patient, wait on the Lord. Use this time for yourself. Pray for your husband he’s on his way. Well guess what? I’ve done all of that and I am still here 6 years later waiting, watching and wondering. However, I am also working on my goals, dreams and aspirations. I need to bring something to the table besides an empty plate with nothing on it. I am still raising my children (even the adult one), hanging with homegirls, enjoying my family and going through the motions of creating a life that I want to live and that someone else would want to be a part of.
Love and marriage are 2 things God ordained for us to have in all of its splendor and trials. No, I don’t think marriage will fix the broken places nor is it the pinnacle of all that I can accomplish. Marriage not only grows you but it exposes you. Who you marry is a reflection of who you are at that point in your life. It’s a representation of the inner work you have done before entering into a covenant agreement with someone else. I will however say that having been on both sides of the coin it is much better having someone to share the good, bad, and ugly (think stankin’ morning breath) than to not.
Again, this is just one female, 40-year-old, twice married, with 3 kids, a 9 t0 5 and a business thoughts on love, marriage and honesty, about where I am in life as of 10pm on a Sunday night. YOU may see life differently right now and that’s okay. But if any of this resonates with you holla at cha girl!
2016 isn’t over yet so let’s see what happens. Maybe someone will come correct and take me out on a date, or 2 or 3! I will still enjoy life, drink my chai tea lattes, and tootsie roll through life as I patiently wait. Because that’s just how I live. On my own terms
It takes two to destroy a marriage. –Margaret Trudeau
Over the Memorial Day weekend my family celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday in true black family style. Soul food, music, laughter, and doing all of this while dressed for the occasion. My ex-husband was kind enough to drive my son all the way from North Carolina so that he could be a part of the celebration as well. In the words of my older cousin Carmelita “our family is like the mafia once you are in there is no getting out”. That is unless you my second ex-husband. But that’s another blog for another day.
My son’s father hung with my family the entire weekend and I must say it was refreshing, fun and eye-opening. This was probably the first time in almost 10 years that we spent that much time together. I learned some new things about myself over that weekend. This blog is dedicated to anyone who has gone through a bad divorce, breakup or separation and felt like you could never learn the other person. We must look past the failures and focus on what we can glean from others; even if it’s someone who may have hurt us. You can learn from anyone. Even those who may have broken your heart.
Some Things Are Just a Matter of Time
There is a difference between being healed and being made whole. When something is healed the scar still exists but it is covered. People can tell that something happened in that area although they may not know the specifics. However, when you are made whole there is no scar, no evidence of injury and people can’t tell that anything happened. This weekend taught me that even though I asked God to heal me of past hurt the ability to retell the story of my divorce in all of it’s guts and glory prevented me from coming forth and asking to be made whole.
Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Own Your Part
It takes two people to tango, ballroom, cha cha, fox trot, Chicago two-step or perform any other dance you can think of. You need one person to lead and another to follow. Move too quick and you are stumbling over each others feet. Move to slow and you lose count. Being loud, strong and wrong lead me not be the best wife as a young twenty-something. I needed to own that. I knew it in my heart. The original narrative made me feel better when he was the villain and I was the damsel in distress. These big girl panties feel way better than those young girl thongs. Own it. Say it. Forgive it.
Allow People The Opportunity To Grow.
Just like seasons change so do people. Like the leaves of a tree some habits die off during certain seasons and new leaves/habits sprout. Allow people the space and grace to grow, change and shape into who they truly are. Most people cannot be judged by one moment in time. No matter how short or long that moment happens to be. People learn new skills, knowledge and techniques to cope daily. Allow them the chance to rise to the occasion. You just might be surprised at the experience.
Help Comes From the Strangest Places.
Now, I must be honest and transparent. Having an extra pair of hands to help me was a wonderful feeling. Someone driving most of the time was an awesome feeling. Carrying a gabillion grocery bags in the house becomes annoying and using all of my gas to chauffeur my children around is not my idea of fun. But nevertheless these are all things that a single mother must do. It’s not that I didn’t think my ex-husband would help me; however it was a feeling that I had to get used to. Single mamas have a hard time asking for help and an even tougher time receiving it. I am learning daily that vulnerability does not equal weakness.
My motto in life is that you can learn anything from anyone. People either teach you what to do or what not to do. You determine in each situation whether you are the student or the teacher.
One of my best friend’s, Andrea, gave birth to a gorgeous bouncing baby girl, Zoe, two weeks ago. I decided to surprise her and be there right after she gave birth. Watching my friend become a mother after years of waiting, fasting, and praying was nothing short of a blessing and miracle wrapped into one sweet-faced brown baby package. As I watched the nurse place the baby directly on my friend’s skin an idea crossed my mind. There is so much power in hearing a person’s voice and being close to them before you even meet them in person. That baby girl knew her mom’s voice instantly and it was the only one that could soothe her. As my friend cradled her to start the breastfeeding process, Zoe latched on quickly. It was at that moment I realized the power of connection.
Zoe never saw Andrea’s face or felt her skin until the day she arrived out of the womb. I liken this to the whole online process of doing business with people. There are many people and causes we become close to in business and in our personal lives simply via the power of connection. Because we are in a social media day and age we share many of our lives tragedy, triumphs and tribulations with folks we have never met in person. The power of connection has the ability to move mountains. Shake foundations and establish strong bonds.
Our connections must be authentic just like the love between Andrea and Zoe. As kingdom-minded business people we must remember our “why”. Why did we fast, pray and wait for our divine business and connection the way Andrea did for Zoe? Only you can answer that question. But if you dig deep enough into your heart I am sure you will find the answer.
If you are looking for a way to make divine connections with women who are dedicated to their purpose, vision and gifts please join us in the Dreamers Circle on Facebook. If you need help discovering your “why” please email me at email@example.com. I would love to assist you in uncovering your purpose in life.
Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and cooldesign
Last week on my personal Facebook I stated the following: “What’s really prolonging our blessings is disobedience. People don’t want to hear it but it’s the truth. You better put yourself on punishment before God does….ijs..and I ain’t exempt! #appliestometoo.
That statement came from a very real place for me. For the longest I had been Tootsie Rollin’ around the perimeters of uncivil disobedience. Now you may wonder what exactly is “uncivil disobedience”? I am so glad you asked.
The definition of civil disobedience is belief in the need to obey a higher authority and to be cleansed of self-interestedness. (Lopach and Luckowski, Uncivil Disobedience). Uncivil disobedience is the exact opposite. It is reckless abandonment of a higher authority and it satisfies the fleshy carnal side of who you are.
When we make decisions that don’t involve God; that’s uncivil disobedience. When we decide to take matters into our own hand; that’s uncivil disobedience. When we hear go say “I have made an escape route for you to avoid temptation”, but we still open the door, pick up the phone or go to that place; that’s uncivil disobedience. It is taking us far too long to have conqueror and slay some of these bad habits of ours.
Now, I am speaking directly to followers of Christ. We say we have all power. God is a deliverer. Jesus can turn our situations around. And all of the other feel good stuff. But let’s be honest. There are things that feel good to us and we are still doing them. Because it’s not at the top of the sin ladder. If it’s not murder, steal or kill then it’s okay. All other forms of uncivil disobedience are non-fat skim milk sins. In other words I shouldn’t have this latte but since I ordered non-fat skim milk instead of regular whole milk it’s okay. Yeah, well that’s a WHOLE LIE!
Businesses aren’t being birthed, lives aren’t being changed, blessings are being missed and gifts are going to waste because of our uncivilized-willful-prideful-not wanting to give up a good thing to get a great thing-disobedience. We must put an end to this epidemic. We must hold each other accountable and just like The Mayor told Spike Lee “always do the right thing”.
If you need help refocusing, recommitting and ridding yourself of “Uncivil Disobedience” come on over to the Dreamers Circle on Facebook. We are a group of women dedicated to supporting, uplifting and networking to leverage our gifts and talents for the greater good.
Half of the year is already gone. It is now the beginning of June. What did you declare, commit or resolve to do on January 1st that you are not doing today? Did you declare that this was your year to lose that extra 20 pounds? Did you commit to planning the work and working the plan? Or did you make a resolution to simply quit quitting. As a child I was allowed to quit most activities when I either lost interest or my friends no longer showed up. Violin, tap, girl scouts….you name it I quit it. This behavior then carried on into my teenage and early adult years. I quit school, jobs, and people when the slightest bit of adversity crept into my life. Yes. I. Quit. Quitting never feels good. It makes us feel ashamed, embarrassed and guilty as hell that we never finish what we start.
Let me be real transparent for a second. As much as I encourage, support and motivate other folks I almost had a moment of quitting last month. I wanted to throw in the towel. And go back into my honeycomb hideout and just be old regular Vanita who worked with youth, ate $5.00 sushi on Tuesdays and drank green tea at night. I wanted to shut down the part of my brain that loves to create, write and strategize for myself and others. I felt like I wasn’t making any progressive. My finances and life were getting the best of me. I know how to pray. I know how to journal and I know how to reach out to others. But I still wanted to quit. The young girl inside of me wanted to retreat back to old habits, sit on the bench and watch the game as a spectator and not a participant. I would just live vicariously through others.
There are two things that forced me to suit up and get back into the game. First, was a note my 7 year old daughter wrote. She likes to read and write like her mama. I know she is watching my every move because of messages like this:
“Sometimes it can be hard to work but you have to keep trying”~Alexa, age 7
The second was something that God whispered ever so sweetly in my ear about three years ago “the blessing is in the book”. That message has two meanings. All blessings seen and unseen can be traced back to the Bible aka The Good Book. But my ability to write books is what will bless my life and help with legacy building.
In order to quit quitting sometimes you have to remember the reason you joined the team in the first place. Other times you have to constantly tell yourself that my purpose is bigger than my adversity in this moment. At what point will we quit quitting and make our hopes, dreams and visions a reality?
Tell me in the comments why and how you will quit quitting. I would love to hear from you.
In honor of Mother’s Day and Mental Health Awareness Month my blog will feature stories, lessons, and narratives focused on both subjects for the month of May. I think there is a connectivity between the two subjects and if you know me you know that I don’t believe in coincidences. Mothers are probably the most in need of mental health self-care and we make the least amount of time available to check up on it.
Tonight’s blog is in honor of my grandmother aka Ms. Agee. My sense of comedic timing, my love of cantaloupe, my ability to be a human jukebox and so many other characteristics can be traced back to her DNA. May is also the month we celebrate her 90th Birthday.
Now, if you know anything about black grandmothers you know for sure that they will comment on one of three things: your weight, your relationship status, and your clothes. In the case of my sweet humorous Ms. Agee I was batting 3 for 3 when I visited her. My grandmother thought I was cute as a button in my thigh hugging lycra dress pants (us thick chicks love stretch whenever we can get it) and lady with the gold afro and red glitter t-shirt. She adored my hair and wanted some So Yummy hair products for herself. And she didn’t ask me about a certain someone who is really just my friend. However, when it came to me getting more junk in my trunk and a little round in my mound her message was clear, “girl you picking up some weight there”. The only thing I could do was laugh and say “hey I like to eat and I don’t like to exercise, I bet Eve had the same issue back in the garden of Eden”.
As I walked through her apartment her mind raced to a suit she had hanging up. The conversation went like this:
Ms. Agee: Nita, what size do you wear?
Ms. Agee: I have a suit with a leather shirt I want you to wear.
Me: Okay, let me see it
Ms. Agee: Shows me the suit
Me: Ms. Agee! This is a 10!
Ms. Agee: Then use this as motivation to lose weight. I want to see you in it before I die.
Me: Well, I have at least another 10-20 years to lose the weight. You aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Ms. Agee: Who wants to live that long? People that old are ugly. Take this suit and go lose some weight so you can wear it!
Me: Ok, girlfriend if you insist (laughing hysterically and shaking my head).
This is what I love about my Ms. Agee but especially older women. They have no filter and give ZERO damns about your feelings. Whatever comes up comes out. Whatever comes out comes up. But I know it’s coming from a good place. Within our conversation she reminded me that she used to be fat. I do remember this as a child, but she was more like a 14/16 which I don’t really consider fat. Seeing her through my child-like eyes I just remember her being large and in charge and I loved it. Her lap was always a place of comfort and rest. Her full face always wore a smile. And I remember wanting a behind like my grandmother’s. She had it going on baby!
But for now I have a size 10 black and white striped, leather shirt and lapel suit to get into. I guess I better get off of this computer and get on this treadmill.