Are You Ready to Say Yes to the Dress?

Every woman desires marriage until it’s time to actually be married. Let me tell you a secret: The wedding is easy, it’s marriage that requires work. It’s all fun and games until the reception is over. A lot of women gather all of their prettiest closest family members, friends and sorors to stand beside them during the ceremony. However, the bridal party is not only meant for partying and getting the bride down the aisle.

Every woman needs a trusted set of individuals who can pray with and for her. I have a tribe that can offer sound advice and talk me off the ledge when I’ve been ready to call it quits. (Oh, I’m not talking about you. I know your marriage is perfect). Women also need friends that won’t judge them if they take longer to walk the aisle or never marry.

I think that our society places so much emphasis on the dress that the woman underneath the veil is oftentimes unprepared after she says, “I Do.” I learned the hard way that it is impossible for me to be the wife God called me to be or that my husband needs me to be if I am operating out of my  flesh. PAUSE. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Let’s talk about marriage God’s way. Disclaimer: If you are not a believer, you can still benefit from the foundation of marriage that the bible portrays. If you consider yourself to be a Christian, you will likely find yourself teetering between agreement and anger. At least that’s how I felt when I first read about submission LOL. Be prepared to swallow your pride.

Image result for randy jackson that's a no for me gif

By nature, I am sweet and considerate of other’s feelings. I love pouring into women and sharing my story with them. I strongly believe that I can offer at least a glimpse of hope to another woman by my transparency.

How does this look in a relationship with a man? The same way, until he says something I don’t like. “Who does he think he is talking to?” My solution has always been to just end the relationship. Dump him before he dumps me.

 

 

I never had any real plan on facing problems, just a short term solution of running away from them. That doesn’t necessarily work in marriage. I have been forced to face my insecurities and deal with them. Marriage God’s way holds a mirror up to you both. Your spouse reveals a reflection of your spirit that you would otherwise ignore.

I believe in protecting my space and only having people around me that emit positive energy. You know…GOOD VIBES ONLY! I have gone through too much and worked to hard for my peace. Then, I read about Paul in 2 Cor 11:16-33. I guess I haven’t went through THAT much after all. And the crucifixion? Jesus makes my problems, issues, past betrayals etc. seem minute in comparison. Suddenly, the “cross” I carry does not feel so heavy.

What has #wifelife revealed to me? I had to face the music that I tend to be passive aggressive until I reach my breaking point. Then, I turn into The Hulk on PMS. I’m not Ms. Perfect. Not by a long shot. I know that I can have a bad attitude. I do not like being told what to do if I already know it’s my responsibility. I despise being micro managed or controlled. I’m grown, so I can do what I want to do, right? Wrong.

I’ll maintain a straight face, but chances are, this is what I’m thinking.

I have become enraged for the smallest things. Sometimes, I am angry and I don’t even know why. I can blame hormones, my past, or I can take a step back and check my heart. This is different from negative self talk. This is doing the work to journey through self love and healing.

 

 

Recently, I was praying and pouring my heart out to God. I had to quiet my spirit and ask Him to reveal the source of the emotion I was feeling.  I heard clear as day: I cannot intervene if you keep getting in my way. Let ME talk to him. The same love and attention you desire from him is what I want from you.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that as long as I am doing what I am supposed to do, I am honoring God. When I step outside of those parameters, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

Do I know that my husband loves me? Yes. Does the enemy still lie to me and tell me otherwise? Absolutely. We have different love languages but the enemy will use that to communicate division. This is why I have to stay in constant fellowship with Christ and like-minded individuals.

I can show the love of God or turn people away from the faith through my actions. This goes for my household and everyone else I encounter. Even for people I don’t realize are watching me.

I went to a Marriage Retreat with our church earlier this year. The speakers burst my bubble when they revealed the following: I am to submit to my husband whether I feel he deserves it or not. There were no exceptions listed in that scripture. Being submissive does not mean that I get bossed around or walked on like a doormat. We are very much a team. And when I feel like he is being a jerk, I have learned to shut up and pray about it. God always softens his heart a lot better than I can. God will either reveal to me the source of the disagreement and give me peace, direct me to talk to my husband at the right time or remain silent. In that time, He also deals with my wrongdoings as well. This is not a sign of weakness, but of resilience and strength.

So, there you have it. It took me almost a decade to learn so that I can save you lessons of remediation. Submission is not a choice nor does it equate to weakness or inferiority. What are your thoughts on this?

Family Feud

Remember the infamous Jay-Z and Solange elevator incident while Beyoncé looked on? There was no audio, so no one except the parties involved, their loyal confidants and God know exactly what happened in those intense moments preceding the 2014 Met Gala.

Speculation centered around Jay’s infidelity judging by the look of an unbothered Beyoncé. She never jumped to her husband’s defense which  made people think that Solange was defending her sister’s honor and Jay deserved whatever blows he was dealt. Pun intended. Others said maybe Solange was in a drunken rage and this was a regular occurrence of family drama between the  always polished, prim and proper celebrity power couple. Days after the elevator surveillance video was leaked, all three released a joint statement to the Associated Press:

Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family. The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false. At the end of the day families have problems and we’re no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.

That’s commendable. Not only did all of this play out in the public, they maintained their dignity and respect for each other. Kissed and made up. So, if they can do it why can’t we? Celebrities fear people getting close to them with the intent of learning intimate details about their private life and selling information to the tabloids. But some regular folks betray their loved ones for free. It boggles my mind.

Art imitates life. With the duo’s latest album releases, Lemonade and 4:44, both albums were more than likely loosely based on their life–or not at all. Hashtag plot twist. I’m sure their experiences helped shape the musical genius that was created, but I highly doubt the notoriously private couple pulled the curtains back on their marriage just to make more money.

If the elevator incident was because of marital strife, this is a great example of the aftermath of venting to your family. While you may be completely over it and back to living happily ever after, ya mama, auntie, brother, sister, cousin, Pookie and them are still upset from the last time you and bae had a disagreement. And now there’s tension all over again.

The thing that I love most about The Carters is regardless of what happens behind the scenes, the only negativity you read about them is always from outside sources. They aren’t taking shots at each other even if they have every right to do so. No one is putting the next person on blast.

That’s unity. That’s love. Because, after all….no one wins when the family feuds.

 

Good Samaritan

I love to tell stories through my writing. Did I ever tell you all about that time I thought my husband was crazy for getting in the car with a complete stranger, while I helplessly followed behind them? No? Well, I wrote a story about it. Like to hear it, here it goes.

I got off work late one night and insisted on going to Wendy’s. Judge me, if you will. My husband and I talked for a little while before heading out to the restaurant. Upon arriving, we kept hesitating about going inside or the drive through. This caused us to drive around the parking lot, before finally deciding to go inside since the line was shorter. *Laziness never pays off.

After we placed our order, one of the employees yell to his coworkers that there’s a medical emergency outside. Initially, I’m thinking that we should’ve stayed in the drive through line, because we would have been done. The man would have been two cars behind us. At the same time, I know that everything happens for a reason and that we were exactly where we were supposed to be.

I just worked twelve hours, so the last thing I want to do is work for free. I’m still in my work clothes with a big ole emblem on the back that says ER lol. Great. I stand there as if I was waiting to turn
invisible and my husband nudges me, “Get out there.” What the heck am I supposed to do? Wait. Is he seriously making me go out there alone? Alright, God…this one is on you.

I go outside to see an older Caucasian man standing up against the building in agony. Pause. No, everything is not about race. But this is Georgia. The deep south. During a time when racial tension is high. Resume. My husband was a few steps behind me. Sigh of relief. The man told us his name, but to protect his identity, I will call him Sir Sweat A Lot or Sal for short. Just wait for it. Sal had already given his keys to the employee that came inside for help. That employee parked his van and kind of gave us the “good luck with that” look. In fact, everyone that drove past us did the same. One person even gave us a thumbs up, but the look on his face was a complete contradiction.

I introduce myself and ask what his problem was while scanning his body for blood, injuries, etc.
Sal tells me that he just finished a several hour long tennis match and now has crippling leg cramps. Honestly, I’m thinking really dude? You seriously held up the drive through for leg cramps?  Get in your car and go home. Suck it up. Grow a pair. Call your wife. My fries are getting cold. If I had stayed in the drive through we would be at home. Sarcasm to follow: However, God has such a great sense of humor. The way our marriage is balanced, my sweet husband blurts out, “Do you want us to take you home?” Wheeeeeeet?! [Insert ‘are you kidding me’ obscenities here]. Sir Sweat A Lot says that he would love for that and was about to ask us. He went to his trunk and grabbed a banana. He even tried drinking water with a ton of salt packets. He said that when he sweats a lot, he needs to ingest salt. I had never heard of that before, so I asked about his medical history. I was so desperate to get out of this situation, I even offered my fries since they’re loaded with salt. I’m standing there trying to figure out the reason for this not-by-chance-interaction. [cue Matt 5:13, Mark 9:49-50]

My husband doesn’t even have his phone and all I have is a crappy 30 something percent with  no charger. Sir Sweat A Lot says that he lives a few miles from where we were and gave us the address while explaining the direction we were going to take. Unfamiliar, with the area, I said a prayer. Actually, I never stopped praying. I did not like the discomfort of losing control and seemingly handing my husband over to who knows what. An ax murderer? A secret clan member? The enemy had a field day in my mind. Finally, I casually walked over to my husband and told him, “Pray.” He said, “already did,” then kissed me. Duh. His eyes told me not to worry.

“but my prayers are 
more powerful.”

Sal called his wife and I sat in the car with 911 already dialed on my phone. We head off and I frantically pray: This doesn’t make any sense. Lord, are you really leading in this situation? Please, cover my husband and keep us both safe (followed by a whole lot of begging). I should be happy that he has such a big heart, but why does he have to risk our safety? Then, I snapped out of it and got an attitude. Wait a minute.

YOU have not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind. We have all power over the enemy. We are courageously helping your child. I am boldly proclaiming victory. My husband WILL return to me. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. You said the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous availeth much, so I’m here praying for his safety. I’m believing you for his safety. I declare and decree that all is well. Besides, my husband aint no punk. I know how he rolls. Who am I to think that I have to protect him?! I thank you for this test. For showing me how important it is for me to pray as a wife. Even though he is the head of this family, I can pray that you continue to order his steps. If necessary, I can run Sir Sweat A Lot over should he try anything crazy, but my prayers are more powerful.”

The whole time, we are driving a lot further than Sal said his home was located, but I eventually have an overwhelming sense of peace. I begin affirming things. I’m locking in landmarks and paying attention to street names. My phone still has 911 on standby, so all I have to do is press CALL. But I’ve already called on God. We finally arrive to a house and the front door opens. I’m waiting for a family of cannibals to come out. Ya know, just in case. Watch and pray, right? Because, NOT TUH DAY! Instead, a loving wife runs to her husband and simultaneously thank us. She told him that he needs to stop playing tennis. Sal can’t imagine life without his beloved sport but he promises his wife that he will go to his doctor appointment later that week. We chat with them briefly, then get out of there, because it was literally in the middle of nowhere.

God will take you to unfamiliar territory to see if you really trust Him. It will be against your better judgment and will oftentimes not make any sense. You will even have to walk alone sometimes. That’s the purpose of it, though. In it, you will find your strength.
People oftentimes talk about the leap of faith. I always say that my walk consists of many leaps of faith. The beauty of this journey is that you will not always know where you are going, but if you hold fast, know that it will always be for your good.
You may not receive an actual turn by turn list of the route beforehand, like Sir Sweat A Lot gave us, but with your GPS (God-Purpose-Steadfastness) navigating the way, you will surely arrive at your destination better than you were when you first started.
You may even have to give up some things, but the small sacrifices will be nothing compared to the blessings that will be released on your life in exchange for your obedience. 2 Cor 5:7

Why is Black Girl Magic Necessary?

We can have careers, healthy marriages, & thriving children.
We can cultivate dreams and nurture friendships.
We can do whatever it is that we put our minds to.
We can and we will. #BlackGirlMagic

***This post was originally drafted during Women’s History Month

Rosie the Riveter, was a campaign to recruit more women into the workforce during World War II. At the time, women were homemakers and relied on their breadwinner husbands for income. When a large portion of the men deployed, America needed the support of women to fill those job vacancies left behind. There was one problem with Rosie. She only represented one type of woman. The propaganda was directed towards recruiting middle class White women into the workforce. However, hidden in the shadows were Black women, often discriminated against and forgotten.

Raising her to embrace #BGM

There were 600,000 Black women that entered the workforce during WWII. Those women had to fight for equal pay, because they sat at the bottom of an unspoken hiring racial hierarchy. Not much has changed in the workforce today. Going back to the campaign. Perhaps, a Black woman wasn’t as beautiful as the woman pictured on the posters. Rosie, with fair skin and cherry cheeks did not represent women of all walks of life. Tough stance, but subtle gaze with the words “WE CAN DO IT” failed to mention that “we” was actually quite exclusive. We did not include me. Every time I see those posters circulating around the web in celebration of Women’s History Month, all I can think is what about us?

While at a children’s birthday party this weekend, I instantly thought of Rosie after seeing a jumbo inflatable boxing glove. The funny thing is, my six year old daughter picked it up first. [sidebar]: Not too keen on gender roles and norms, I will never be the mom that tells her she can’t do something because she’s a girl.  In fact, it made me proud that she wanted to play with the boys and was not afraid nor too prissy to get down and dirty in the grass. [end sidebar] Here’s to knocking out the status quo and shattering all stereotypes that society has placed on us. Here’s to teaching our daughters that they can be self sufficient and independent while still loving and honoring a man. Here’s to raising educated women that do not solely rely on their body to gain popularity or riches. Here’s to juggling a million things and succeeding at them all.

The back story to why I was moved to write on this topic: A kitchen is what Blacks refer to as the hair on the nape of the neck. I used to be embarrassed by my “kitchen.” So, I cut it off every time it grew. I religiously straightened my curls because that’s what made my hair appear longer. Whenever I saw a beautiful woman in the media, she had long hair. If it was not naturally long, extensions were added.  I, like many of my sisters, ran away from the rain or any water that threatened to revert my stretched locs to a curly fro.

I also grew up hiding my pronounced derriere because it seemed like it just did not fit my body. I hated the way I spoke. You see, I’m not one of the Black girls that speaks very well or articulates the right way-the proper way. In fact, I used to wonder if I should take speech therapy classes. The more I mispronounced words, the more silent I became. Without a confident voice, I searched for ways to
present myself as more valuable than a roll in the sack. I did everything I could to avoid becoming a
baby mama and still found myself raising a black boy alone. I tried so hard not to become the stereotypical black woman until I started to learn more about her essence. What does being a Black Woman mean? Why spend my entire life being ashamed of who I am?

In general, Black women are no longer hiding in the shadows. We are busting through the doors once closed and announcing that we have arrived. We are very well aware of all that we bring to the table at home, our workplace, heck even our country of residence. What would America have been without Michelle Obama in office the last eight years? I asked a few of my Instagram followers why Black Girl Magic is necessary and they responded as follows:
@raaaaaaeeeee “For the simple reason, we aren’t shown as black women ENOUGH that there is more to us than our bodies; mass media loves to show us in the Love and Hip Hop outlets, but lack showing the doctors, the activists, entrepreneurs, and businesswomen. To give an avenue to show black girls that they are awesome in a society that doesn’t like to tell them that.”
@jessd83 I think it’s necessary, because what distinguishes Black Girls is minimized, if even acknowledged (like boxer braids). Now, more than ever with a lot of negative images available, I think these two hashtags highlighting some of the [good] things we do is refreshing and great.”
@1thought.nyc BlackGirlMagic is necessary and needed because it is the strength and power of the Black woman that has kept our people alive, giving them the strength and power to continue on. It heals the warriors. It elevates boys to men and turns men into gods. It is needed because it is the life force of the universe, if it wasn’t for the love of the black woman, society would not exist.
@thedanifaust Why is someone even asking the question? SMH

To me, Black Girl Magic, like Black Lives Matter, is not about superiority or even exclusion. It has nothing to do with placing black girls on a pedestal while demeaning others. It has NOTHING to do with any other race. I believe Black Girl Magic has everything to do with finally loving who we are. I struggled with self love for so long because of the inadequacy that I used to feel as a Black woman. I once dated a guy who told me that I was the only black woman he would ever consider marrying. That was the breaking point for me. Was I supposed to take that as a compliment? Things like that had me questioning if I was good enough throughout my twenties. Nowadays, it’s heartbreaking to see so many women that are ashamed of their unique shapes and complexions. I wish we as a people can eventually get away from the mindset of “good hair and lighter skin tones” equating the better genetic variation. People talked about the rapper, Lil Kim, but I went through the same thing she experienced-not to that degree, but it still hurt. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

Moving beyond physical appearance, Black Girl Magic is an ongoing celebration of the strides we
have made and continue to make. It’s a reminder that we are special and don’t need to be like or look like anyone else. It’s more about celebrating OUR plight after so many years of being denied equality. Despite the struggle, our perseverance has consistently set us apart to save an entire nation of people. Generations can have better lives because of the things our sisters endured. Children are promised a brighter future because of the labor pains and the gifts that so many mothers gave birth to. Strength and honor flows through our veins and each curve holds the secrets to our heart. Our men are able to go out each day to face the cruelty of this world knowing they can come back to our warm embrace and tender kiss. The angels taught us how to praise continually and forgive always. It’s a reminder that when God created the Black Woman, He simply created a masterpiece. Every woman unique and different in her own right. Every canvas receiving the same amount of love, attention and dedication yet each one telling a different story. We are all interconnected.

The next time you are feeling down and discouraged, sprinkle a little bit of Black Girl Magic on your face as you stare that sister in the mirror while affirming greatness. Walk boldly and confidently down the path God has called you to take. Safe travels on your journey to healing, self discovery and self love. The more in tune you become with yourself, the more you should raise your head up a little higher. Your stride should be that of a model on a catwalk. Your eyes should be set on the finish line of your goals with no looking back. You should exude confidence and regality as the Queen that you are.

May you never forget that Black Girls Rock.


Double Portion
She wears the color of royalty, because she is a Queen
The sway of her hips is like a love scene
The cadence of her feet and pep in her step creates a melody
She is a Black Woman that defines beauty.
Always uplifting others and offering encouragement
Teaching of love and peace-she must be heaven sent.
She is strength all wrapped up in smooth, ebony skin
If I had a choice, I would ask God to create her again.

I thought I wanted to be a Stay at Home Mom

So, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Until, my husband granted my wish and I was trying to get back to work after two weeks.

I became a mom at 19 years old, a little over a year after enlisting in the Marine Corps. I got out after serving four years and did not have any significant work experience. However, being a veteran did give me a lot of preference over other applicants when I applied for various positions.
I had to work two jobs to make ends meet for a few years. Eventually, I landed a position with great pay, but it kept me away from my then three year old because of mandatory double shifts. I decided to take a pay cut to switch careers.
After twelve years of working hard, (the last few spent working while going to school) I threw in the towel. I got tired of hurriedly running in and out of daycare to drop off my daughter, speeding around the drop-off circle at my sons’ school only to see the SAHM sashay without a care in the world. She would either be well put together as if she was fresh off the runway or she was still wearing her pajamas. She appeared to be fit because of all the time she seemed to have that must have been spent at the gym.  She would drive a brand new luxury vehicle or a messy minivan. Jealous, much? Yes, I was.
I wanted a piece of that homemaker pie.
I hated that the PTA only met during business hours. School events were even during business hours. It’s like they did not care about the working mom. Matter of fact, they looked down on you if you had to go to work and could not read to the class every week.
So, in August 2014, my job ticked me off one last time and I submitted my resignation letter like a boss. Okay, what actually happened is I became overwhelmed with all the slave labor work without breaks and I called my husband in tears. I felt unappreciated, overworked and underpaid. I told him I just wished I could quit and he cut me off, sharply responding “Do it!”
I stopped crying…huh?! Did I hear him correctly?
He said, “Yeah, I’ve been waiting for you to leave that place. You’ve been unhappy for a while but I figured you must know what you’re doing and why you’re there.” That was all the push I needed. The same week I quit I received several job offers for a promotion. So, I called them to schedule interviews. Ya know, just in case.

I lasted three months as a SAHM, To my surprise, I was more busy than when I was working. At first, I took pride in rising early to cook a hot breakfast for my husband before work and pack his lunch. Then, I would do the same for the kids: Pack their lunches and drop all three off at school. I was making hot breakfast every day, lunches that rivaled all others in the breakroom and school cafeteria.

My husband thought he could pile up honey-do lists on me since I had all this so-called free time. *Remember, I’m still enrolled in college full time! One of my courses is accelerated which means way too much work to complete every other day. Housework never ended. And all the cooking breakfast, packing lunches and making dinner all before noon? Oh, that got old really quickly. I never made it to the gym. Or running first thing in the morning. All I wanted to do was hit snooze on the alarm clock a few times. Never got a chance to sleep in like I thought I would until the kids went on Thanksgiving Break. I really became a round the clock taxi/chef/nurse/maid/secretary/etc. There was nothing glamorous about it lol.

I would like to publicly apologize to all the SAHMs that I’ve ever criticized and went so far as saying they are good for doing nothing more than watching soap operas and shopping all day. I’m sorry for thinking that taking care of the house is easy. I’m sorry to have judged you when I saw you stressed out thinking that you don’t do anything all day and should therefore be happy. Yep, I was pretty shallow. Not taking into consideration that we get breaks in corporate America as opposed to working 24/7 at home. You all made it look so easy. I signed up to chill and quickly learned that I was bamboozled.

I thought the grass was greener on the other side. It turns out, that some people water theirs more than others and make it look greener. But just because something looks better does not mean it actually is better. Other people plant fake grass, smile and wave.

The next time another woman feels the need to speak down on you for choosing to be a homemaker, just smile and wave girls, smile and wave. As for me? I’m gonna make due with what I’ve got and mind my own business from now on. Ha!

... caP9AS8rubY Click here to create another GIF from the same video

Year In Review

Happy Blogaversary to me! This online diary as I like to call it has pushed me beyond the limitations I’ve placed on myself. I am so happy and proud of my growth.                                   As I stated before, Phineas and I grew up together. When he reached the milestone of turning ten (double digits whoo hoo) I decided to start this blog. Even though it’s no longer just the two of us, he will always be the umph needed when my motivation is running low.

I woke up and got to work before the sunrise
Tired, but keeping my eyes on the prize.
When I walk across that stage just to see the look in your eyes
Always, remember that mommy did this for you guys.”
 ~CiCi (the part-time poet/blogger, full-time working mom and wife).

Sometimes, I run off of negative motivation. When I first found out that I was pregnant with Phineas, a nameless person told me that my life would be ruined if I had a baby. And what would I possibly do about being newly enlisted in the military? I made it my business to prove that person wrong.

The moment I delivered a baby into this world and became a mother, my life had just begun. I served the duration of my enlistment and never considered giving up. I’m not a quitter and failure is not an option. No matter how high my goals may seem, I just take each day in stride and one step at a time.

A sniper is an elite marksman and even they use sights to help them focus on their target when it’s too far away for the naked eye. I have always aimed high with anything I’ve pursued. So, upon starting this blog, what I’ve learned most about myself is that I CAN  have it all. It will just take time…I’ve dubbed my journey the scenic route (no one has been in college as long as I have).

I did everything backwards as far as [cue theme song to Married, With Children] love and marriage. If I didn’t have Phineas at such an early age, I don’t think I would be as driven. Pre-babies, all I cared about was shopping and paying my cell phone bill. Now that I have a family they serve as the purpose behind everything I do.

I have an extremely supportive husband. He has been beside me even during rough waters, although I thought he’d jump ship a few times. He never deserted me and the times when the waves became too high knocking us over, he always made sure I kept my head above water. He taught me how to weather the storm and tread water. God has been an emergency raft for my family and our bible is the life vests.

courtesy of Cafe Gratitude

I couldn’t seem to find balance last month and had to take some time off of blogging. However, I am fully recharged now and ready to type my little fingers away :-). It is my hope that over the past year, I was able to offer insight, encouragement or even add laughter to your day. To all of my readers or casual visitors, thank you, for all of your encouragement and support!