Personal essays · Reflections

Mother’s Day

I can appreciate a holiday that allows people the opportunity to express their love, appreciation, and precious throwback photos of their mother. Just like my favorite, Valentine’s Day, each year on social media, feeds are flooded with pics surrounded by words of adoration that make me smile. But one thing I noticed this year was a generational theme. So many pics of mothers and grandmothers – 1st-time mothers posting pics with their child and then their mother. It reminded me the importance of a village (refer to my previous post here). It made me realize the significance of one’s past to acknowledge the future.

Mother’s day also reminds me of those who have lost a parent. Many of my friends, peers have lost their mother. My sympathy extends to them each holiday. I never know if it’s safe to call, text, or share a fond memory. I depend on my mother so much, and I could not imagine life without her. My mom lost her mom was about my age. Even though we are in two different phases of life, I know my mom would appreciate having her mother now.

This year, in particular, causes me to think upon those with strained mother/daughter relationships. Being a mother is an unending, tireless, and frequently, thankless role. Many are given the responsibility without warning or preparation. I have always seen motherhood as a gift because not every woman is granted the title, at least not biologically. One of my mottos has been, “Children don’t come with instruction manuals” and if you become unexpectedly or undesirably pregnant, no manner of manuals will help. It is my hope this holiday provides an opportunity for healing or reconciliation.

And in honor of this particular day, my brother, the artist, GI Magus has released a new song, Simone GraceIt serves as an ode to the beauty of the black woman as a hope to inspire young brown-skinned women to accept themselves just as they are and to carry that feeling into adulthood. It is an intergenerational lullaby that should motivate mothers to teach their daughters to embrace every curve, every dimple, every mole, and every pimple. Anchored by the hashtag #tellher, GI is signaling to all his followers to tell her that she is loved, that she is beautiful, that she is essential, and that she matters.

Motherhood is more than a notion. Being a godmother and aunt are roles that I have been honored to claim. Being surrounded by so many beautiful women who have shown me numerous lessons in sacrifice, devotion, elasticity, multiplicity,  and sheer grace has allowed me to appreciate being the man with a womb. Regardless of the circumstance or the relationship, #tellher (mom, sister, daughter, wife, friend) beyond social media and before it is too late. Do not assume that she knows. She would not mind hearing it again and again and again…

Give love. Get love.

about me · Personal essays

Maintain – My 2018

I follow a few bloggers who have declared a word for their year. I cannot recall what my word may have been last year, but this year it came to me quite quickly – MAINTAIN!

Here’s the story: Every new year brings this euphoric high. Of course, armed with this feeling, I was wondering how could I keep or maintain this attitude all year long. What helped with this belief was an Instagram post by one of my favorite bloggers/vloggers, @askproy, where she is doing #askproyselfloveproject. For January, she has encouraged her followers to post a selfie and attach a positive affirmation (I have yet to post my selfie). On this day, January 2nd, her statement was: I have come this far & I can keep going. She goes on to describe how we all make goals at the top of the year and then give up. She instructs to just take a moment, day, week, etc. at a time. My response was: My goal for this year is to keep this feeling all year long! And that’s when it hit me, the song lyrics of Jonathan McReynolds, Lord, Help me MAINTAIN!

Per my google search, Maintain is defined as:

  1. cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue
    1. It is my utmost desire to stay high all 365 (it’s already been a struggle!)
  2. provide with necessities for life or existence
    1. This is all God! But it also ties into a new venture I am exploring as well! WIN-WIN
  3. state something strongly to be the case; assert
    1. Now this one, it does not automatically come to mind when I think of maintain, but I declare/assert/affirm/avow/profess/claim/allege/contend with the notion that I will remain optimistic and motivated all year long.

But my visit to the hospital for some tests provided me with a 2nd word for 2018: HOPE. I was reminded that my God can use anyone at anytime to confirm something He planted in you. Words have power and actions carry weight.

I am moving confidently in my faith.

This is my scripture for the year: Psalm 16:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot.

I’m in a zone. Lord, Help me Maintain…

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

about me · Personal essays · Self Love

Let Go

I went to bed last night full of hope. I got some exciting news from a close friend. She and her husband had been praying all year and believing God for a laundry list of things to happen. Last night she shared how many things had been crossed off, but the biggest prayer request had been answered, and I am thrilled.

So last night I laid in bed, trying to clear my mind for a great night’s sleep. I am returning to work today after being placed on bed rest. For the 1st time ever in life, I was forced to just rest. I have had recovery time from surgery, but this was not the same for me. I was being forced into 7 days of rest. It seemed promising but not as natural as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, last night, my prayer was to sleep sounding but awake on time, hearing my alarm. There was a noise in the middle of the night that seemed as if someone was preparing to enter my room. My doorknob jiggled. I waited to see who chose to disturb my sleep but thought if it was a spirit or something ungodly, I decided to prayed my voice to yell, “Jesus!” but I just went back to sleep.

I promised myself I would not be late for work and my current formula for that is to wake up earlier. (I am in the process of changing this idea of me ALWAYS being late.) I found myself hearing a rustle and felt my body slowly exit sleep and begin to wonder the time. I searched for my clock/alarm, hitting the button on the slide. My phone died. The idea of that seems so laughable because out of all mornings, I need my alarm. I was wrong in thinking my cord had hit the floor. Somehow, some weird way, my charger, and the phone had separate during the night. It was laying on the bed near my phone. I plugged it in, thinking it was around 330. It was 4:59 am. At that moment, I sat up and thanked God for loving me enough to wake me right when I needed it.

Two nights ago, I laid in bed thinking that maybe I had not been praying enough or listening to God closely enough or just making time to be still and learn how to wait. This morning, He lovingly and gently reassured me that He’s here, He’s listening, and I know how to hear His voice. It was a moment of reassurance that I could not have planned but desperately needed.

This was the 1st morning I attempted to meditate. My heart full of gratitude demanded a Selah – a moment to pause and quietly reflect. As I cleared my mind, a song played in my ears. I tried to remove it from my thoughts, but my spirit said, “Listen to the words. Listen to what you have been declaring. Listen to what you have been putting power to. Listen to what to what you have placed in the atmosphere.” So I allowed, “We are desperate, we are waiting for You, Lord. Have Your Way” to play in my head. This morning served as a reminder that I need to let God have his way. Not just sing about it but believe it, trust it and do it.

Give Love. Get Love.

Personal essays

Seven – Seventeen – Seventeen

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!! 🎂🎁🎊🎉 (<—- and world emoji day 😄)

I left my journal at home 😕 so I might as well blog, right?? I had some good writing to get done, great thoughts to get out! Hopefully, I will be able to pen it all tonight.  I also left a check I needed to cash. I did not sleep well because my mind was racing and I think my music was up too loud – I think I heard every song between each sleep cycle. 😞 I am also at work, which is rare. I typically take off for my birthday, or if I must work, I leave early or something. I am here all day today! It’s a national holiday, and as much as I appreciate God for allowing me the ability to get wealth, I would have preferred enjoying it my own way.

In other 1st, I received birthday gifts from my family weeks early! That was pleasantly surprising. I also did not plan anything for my birthday. There are things I want to enjoy for myself and by myself (i. e. sips n strokes, possibly lunch at a winery) but I typically plan a dinner or some sort of gathering with my friends and family, and I did no such thing this year. There is so much going on, I felt that I would have been disappointed by the lack of participation or the flood of excuses, so I just opted to do me.

I do, however, plan on celebrating until the end of the month. I will try to stop on July 31st, but I am not making any promises! 😏 I expect the most from this year, so I will not be bound by time. I will be 37 for the next 364 days and every day is a gift!

But it’s 7 – 17 – 17 and I plan on just resting in silence satisfaction in all those numbers have to offer. 7 – perfection and rest. 17 – victory. I love it! I will rest in perfect victory today and for the remainder of the month. Taking advantage of this moment will carry me through the end of 2017.

My birthday wish: to see and experience God’s blessings while I am living and well-able.

I love my family for accepting me. I love my friends for loving me.

Give Love. Get Love.

Parenting

The Village

Although I am not a parent, I have parented several children throughout my years as an either an educator, nanny, aunt, or sister. Each of those roles as afforded me the opportunity to be a part of a village. From my 3-year-old niece to my just-turned-1-year-old nephew to my friend’s children to all the children I have had the pleasure of calling me, “Ms. Valerie” or more recently, “Ms. Jones,” I have the honor of being a part of several villages.

Raising a child is not easy, and I do think anyone has have made that claim. This is why it is important for parents to know how to create their village. Regardless of how convenient family is or if the grandparents are deceased, your community should consist of those friends and family or “framily” (friends who become family) that you can not only trust with your child but also those who can vent to, cry to, and expect support. Those people become responsible to your family. The 1st year of the child’s life is so unexpected yet very foundational. Books, parents, friends family, other parents, and the childless offer all levels of advice. It is your job to trust your gut and then surround yourself with those who either go with your gut or even challenge it. Then keep away those who are set on destroying what you know to be true.

Your village should protect your child. The world can be scary. The angels assigned to your child and your family are always on guard. But those you have chosen and allowed into your community will be your eyes and ears when you can’t.

Your village will love your child. Perfect love, the love that Jesus personifies, the love that God is, cast out every kind of fear. Love creates a cocoon that your child can help them face the world head on. Knowing you are loved gives you confidence, security, and a sense of bravery needed to conquer any challenge.

Your village should be available for a good laugh. Laughter provides healing to your soul. When your soul is healthy, your body is healthy. Soul prosperity is beneficial to you and your child. Do not be afraid to call on your village just to chuckle.

Your village will provide a strong shoulder. A good cry is just as important as a good laugh. Lyfe Jennings said, “Crying is like taking your soul to the Laundromat.” What we see, hear, and say is how our souls are fed. Sometimes we have been feeding too much of the wrong thing and need a crying detox. There may be times when your child is inconsolable, give them room to cry. When you need to cry, call on your village so you can have the room to just cry. Cleanse your soul.

You do not know what your village will look like. It will just come organically. Embrace those who are willing to embrace your child. Use discernment to only include those you mean you help and not harm. You are not alone. You will have moments you feel lonely, and that is okay but know when to pull on your village, your circle of love.

Give love. Get love.

Self Love

May is Marvelous

It is May!!! 5 months in 2017! That is just a crazy realization. Five is the number of grace. I will gladly walk in that all month long! Today I woke full of hope. I feel the freshness of this day. It is tangible. It is a great day to get stimulated and inspired!!

This weekend I was able to receive so much motivation! I watched this video on YouTube by one of my favorite comedians right now, Kevonstage, entitled, “Doboy’s testimony is my testimony.” 

This video was not a laughing matter at all but a push to just believe in yourself and the talent God gave you and keep working. Despite setbacks and rejection, keep striving. It made my heart so full. I think Kevonstage is so humble so to take the time to share an experience that was not about him just made me so incredibly full. Then I went to church! Saturday was women’s prayer. I almost missed it! Even though I was late, I was on time for what I needed to hear – God is concerned about me! We gathered to pray for loved ones and those souls who would give their hearts to Christ. At the end, we were instructed to them pray for ourselves and “ask lavishly” of God. As much as I have prayed and cried and written in my journal and whined to my friends over the past several months, during that moment in prayer in a sanctuary full of hopeful women, I felt my release. Then yesterday at church I was able to witness so many get baptized including my godson! I needed all of that the final weekend in April to set me up for the magnificence of May.

May means:

  • Lupus Awareness month. Put your purple in support! This disease does not play fair but the wolf won’t win! I’m a survivor.
  • It is Teacher Appreciation week! Being an educator is tiring and selfless but I love being in the classroom. Teachers need all the support and encouragement possible! Thank your child’s teacher.
  • Graduation season! I love graduations!!!!! That euphoric feeling of completion, realizing that you can finish something, feeling empowered to begin again and conquer new territory. . . .
  • Mother’s day! Mom’s are the best and just never get enough credit.

Now after writing that list, I understand why these events take place in May – it’s because each requires its own level or measure of grace (simple elegance, courteous goodwill, the free and unmerited favor of God).

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

Ephesians 4:7Amplified Bible (AMP)
Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.