Some 20 years Ago…

I had a quick chat with a perfect stranger today. She is 20 years my junior and has the great privilege of sharing my birthday month 😌. Though we didn’t talk long, the conversation was still significant. I told her not to rush turning 18, even though I felt really old saying it. “Once you’re grown, you’re grown,” I advised, in my now late 30-somethings’ voice. She laughed and nodded, then said, “I just hope it’s not as horrible as everyone says it is.”

Hmmm…interesting. I interpreted her to mean that “growing up” was horrible. That “being an adult” was horrible. Speedily, memories raced in my mind of my own experience, and in the little time we had to chat at the Walgreens register, I shared, “I definitely don’t think it’s horrible, but there is responsibility. You will, however, have opportunities that you wouldn’t as a kid, and hopefully you’ll grow and mature.

We went our separate ways shortly after; me, to my 2017 Ford Escape, her to her register as a cashier at Walgreens. Still, her statement lingered with me. I reflected back on the last 20 years, which were far from horrible. I felt that most of my greatest experiences were actually happening now, in my 30s. I realized that, though life has been far from easy, the experiences and opportunities I’ve had are probably very unique from many outside of my community, and academic acquaintances.

Even during the pandemic, I went whitewater rafting with the guy I was dating, spent Thanksgiving cooking a full course meal for him and another loved one, decorated my home and Xmas tree with the same guests, in addition to my new kitten, and even last month, hosted my dear friend of 18 years, along with her lovely family. For a single living alone, it’s been pretty action-packed, (even if there were ample lonely nights and grief stricken days woven in between the action.) And, let’s not forget I have written over 900 pages within the last year! Yes, life has not been stagnant, even if it hasn’t been what I imagined.

So, what would I tell my 18-year-old self who was engaged to a man she thought was the man of her dreams, but who ended up being just short of a nightmare? Well, probably that things do get better. God has a way of answering prayers in His own way. Life will be filled with people, and love, and really good experiences. There will be more heartbreak, more pain, more laying down of her desires, but she would grow, and evolve into a classy, sweet, compassionate individual who somehow, someway, was still walking with Him. And really, He was still walking with her.

I would tell her that she was still his.

No matter what.

SHALOM❤️

This is me during a zoom workshop in my home office ❤️#goredhawks

Some Things Just Come Easy

I was listening to a podcast this morning that I’m really growing fond of. The host is a Christian single woman who’s found herself in her mid 30s with her life looking nothing like she thought it would. Sound familiar? Well this morning’s interview was with another woman who has a strong faith but got married, and I suppose, has kids, yet still found herself waiting.

Still found herself comparing.

I was intrigued when she talked about her longsuffering. Unlike yours truly, her longsuffering came in the form of waiting to publish her first book.

She shared that she first had this inclination some 20 years ago, and did not get to see its realization until her 40th year of life. Wow. She would watch from the sidelines as friends, or peers, spit out their novels and transported their crafted stories into published works of art, when all the while she would wonder, “When will it be my time?”

Can you relate?

I know I can. Except not with book publishing. You see for me I have this knack for churning out content almost effortlessly. One of my close friends has even told me how much she admires how quickly I am able to produce written work. She too is a writer. A really good one I might add.

My very first book was short and sweet. I published it within months of writing it. My second book was a little longer, and required a tad more work. I had to conduct interviews and transpire what I was told into stories that made sense. Still, I conducted all said interviews, then typed up those stories, and again, published the finished product within a few months (whew!).

Now I am working on my third book, and first hand at fiction. It will be well over 500 pages according to Amazon’s handy template manuscript. I am so looking forward to this work as it has brought both joy and healing in a season of difficulty. And even though technically I started writing some of these stories in 2017 (when I lived with a roommate, and was still a W2 employee) the bulk of it was written during this here pandemic. The bulk was written in the last 9 months.

The funny thing is, even though writing tends to come easily for me, and ideas swiftly converge into thoughts on paper, I was always leery about writing a full novel. Honestly, I was downright intimidated. It sounded like such a large feat! Well, not only have I written 500+ pages of a compilation of short stories and novellas (sprinkled with poetry) but I also simultaneously wrote my first novel (which will be over 400 pages). Crazy right? I know.

And yet, there are others out there who do not have this grace to produce writing so quickly, for whatever reason. Whether it be time, resources, or a lack of inspiration, it just doesn’t happen for them.

Even recently I was presented with a freelance writing opportunity by one of my BFFs. I’m really excited about this position because it will give me a broader audience and an opportunity to continue enhancing my writing skills. There are some particular rules for writing for this online magazine, and as a result, I’m more challenged, but thankfully I always appreciate a good challenge (within reason).

So anyways, I submitted my first pitch for my first article four days before the deadline, and guess what? I already have the whole article written, and it’s not even due for two more weeks. I know. I know. Crazy.

But what I realize is, some things are just easy. Some things are really easy and some things are really hard, and depending on who you are, and your lot in life, the things that are hard and easy can vary drastically.

It took 20 years for this woman I heard on this interview to churn out her first book, and I have written two in the last year. Two. Now quality of course is more important than quantity so that’s not really saying much, but my point is, we all have our own graces.

The Creator knows our purpose, and identity and our end result. He also knows how to get us to “said end”. He knows the weaknesses that prune and humble us so that we bear more fruit. He knows the graces and strengths that offer us hope and encouragement. The ones that cause us to soar over the darkness that combats us in the valleys. He knows.

And even when we do not know, we know Him.

And that is another thing that has come easy for me.

Knowing His love.

Knowing His affection.

Knowing His intimacy.

SHALOM.

A Family Affair

Some 18 years ago I met some people who would become “forever friends”. I know this because they told me so. Sadly, at the time of, I admit that I wasn’t a believer of the term. At a young age I had already experienced rejection by my peers which caused extreme trust issues that only layered the already abandonment/rejection issues I had accumulated from birth. Still, I went along for the friendship ride and when they used the terms “Bestie”, or “Bestfriend”, or “BFF”, well, I did too. But cautiously, because inside I was holding my breath for when I would get dropped when the honeymoon phase ended. When they discovered I couldn’t possibly be deserving of the lifelong love and loyalty they were offering (oh the lies we believe).

If this were a perfect world, or if I were writing one of the short stories in my new book (shameless plug), I would say that that never happened. That I never got dropped and those girls were right, and I was so happy to have been proven wrong. But the truth of the matter is, I have been dropped. And actually, I have done my share of dropping (insert audible gasp). But that is the reality of life. It is messy as hell. And honestly I’m at the point where I believe that true love has to be tested. If our bonds with others don’t go through the fire, we will never know if they are strong enough to overcome its flames.

When I look back on my very close relationships with women, I can see that there have been some serious fall outs in several of them. But for many of them, most of them in fact, we have found our way back to each other. I think that is because there was something deeper than just a friendship that drew us to one another. Now I can say, it was a real sisterhood. They were no longer just friends. They were family.

One of these women has been one of my greatest teachers of what family looks like when you aren’t blood related. She saw through the baggy clothes and immature attitude and sometimes arrogance that seems to tag along with most (if not all) only children. I think she and I connected on a deeper level because we discovered that we shared a divine connection with our Creator around the same time.

In a sense, we fell in love with God together.

Miami Days!

Over the years we took different paths. She became a wife and mother. I became a roommate before finally getting my first apartment. I attended her showers (both bridal and baby). She bought me my first set of really good cookware (shout out to Calphalon). She obtained her Masters in Theology and I flew to her graduation. I received my MBA, and she made the trip to Cleveland. Even though our lives were becoming drastically different, we still walked with each other through various turns of it. Surprisingly it seemed, we were learning the same life lessons at exactly the same time. In fact, we still are.

At the zoo

People told me that when she got married things would change. That I would have to take a backseat, and maybe in some ways I did, but in other ways, I felt like I was needed even more.

We have beared with each other through a lot. The ups and downs of life are unreal sometimes and there aren’t too many things that stay the same. Yet her being there has.

Regardless of the time apart, or the distance that has separated us, her love has never been separate from me.

Girl’s Night in my kitchen!

My heart was full this week as she and her tribe made the two-day long drive to visit her fam, which included yours truly. At my request, all six of them stuffed themselves into my one bathroom (not even a half bath to offer relief), quaint two-bedroom bungalow (bless their souls). For the first time since I bought this home it was overflowing with life. Two babies, four adults, one pre-teen, and a 6-month-old kitten, filled it’s corners and caressed its edges. We took pictures and videos because we know how fleeting life is and the importance of capturing the moment (we have all experienced our own losses). But we lived in the moments too. I soaked up our one-on-one times while the babies were asleep, or blessfully, being watched by their stellar dad. I snuck in a mini “car-turnup” on our short trip to get our eyebrows done. She finally got to learn my step workouts and cracked me up at her dance moves (which are still on point by the way). We were in our own world even when said world consisted of motherhood and a new marriage partner.

Her visit meant so much to me because in a world with Covid-19, isolation is at its peak. Even for an introvert like me, loneliness is inevitable.

God has been so good to set the singles in families. I’ve given up on that notion that the good things in life should cancel out the negative ones. Instead, I feel that both the highlights and the hard parts can beautifully coexist. In other words, I’m of the mindset now that the good parts of life do not remove the hard parts. For a long time my frustration at not having “my own” family weighed on me like a 20lb dumbbell. Even still, it is an unmet desire that accompanies me on my day to day journey as a single. But what I will say is, part of my pain stemmed from the difficulty with believing that I had people who loved me like family. And now, I realize, my unbelief stemmed from a core belief that I could not possibly be so loved. I simply wasn’t deserving.

For years I wouldn’t allow this love to go too deeply within my heart due to fear of rejection/betrayal/abandonment/loss/etc… I wouldn’t, but that didn’t deter her. She pursued and waited, and loved me anyway.

Through my shortcomings.

Through my weaknesses and stubbornness.

And in the end I think that is all we can ask. To find people who will love us like that.

To find people who will love us like God.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

SHALOM

My Thoughts on (Extended) Singleness

Years ago, I did what fools do. I planned out my life.

Ever heard that joke that says, “Want to make God laugh? Then tell Him your plans for the future!”

Well, I did. But I still didn’t think the saying was applicable to me. In my delusion, or umm, pride…or maybe, naivete, I thought God and I were so tight that, well, “He wouldn’t play me on my plans.” I had some learning to do about God, and, well, life in general.

The thing is, I had my life planned out, but I left room for waiting. Or so I thought. After letting go of the man I loved, I prepared myself for a “time of singleness”. Even a very long time, by some people’s standards. Still, it was not long enough.

I was taught that I should be “doing something in the meantime” while I waited for this man to come along, and so I set out to “do those things”.

I wrote books. Got my MBA. Started a business. I did speaking engagements. Counseled others who needed to “overcome heartbreak.” Went on trips. Spent time with friends. Bought a home. I created a full life. And still, no husband.

Then, the unthinkable happened. 35 hit. I was officially in my mid 30s and single. But worse. I was alone. Really alone. Not like the alone I feared (like I was just single), but the alone that accompanies loss and grief and no kids, when you are fastly surpassing the child-bearing age.

I was blessed with plenty of people who surrounded me. They were there for the times they could be, but I was no longer “someone’s only”. I was no longer someone’s point person. The way that I had been for nearly 35 years of my life. And that reality, has been a hard pill to swallow. I, in fact, have been trying to swallow it for 2 1/2 years now.

I have enjoyed the gifts God has given over the years of following Him. He has been very intentional in His blessings. The thing is, those blessings do not remove the constant ache for what I gave up all those years ago. And what was removed just 2 1/2 years ago (which was family).

Still, I wait.

Thanksgiving was a hard one. I have struggled every holiday for as long as I can remember. I was just re-reading a journal entry from several years ago where I admitted this. But I had never been truly alone. I just seemed to have less (in this area) than what others had. What my friends had. What society had.

I did have a friend eventually join me for Thanksgiving, though he was delayed. And the food was good, along with the company. So in that sense, it worked out. But those hours leading up to it, well, they were just painful.

I say all this to say, the journey is hard. I have tried for it not to be hard for so many years. But it just is. At least, in this area.

Today I was reminded that even Jesus needed help carrying His cross.

I had this thought out of nowhere, and I like to think that it was from God. Certainly it was full of grace and compassion. So the fruit of it, at least leads, back to Him. My interpretation of that thought, was that it is ok to feel weak. The word He keeps sending me in this season is actually that He is perfect in our imperfection. He is strong in our weakness. When we fail His love never does. That is a blessing, because I am unable to be strong. At least, in the way that I used to be.

Years ago, friends and I watched a documentary of black women in their 40s who were single (and did not want to be). I looked at these women who were successful in business. They were homeowners. They took trips. They lived very full lives. But, they wanted love. A romantic love. I looked at these women, and I thought, “That won’t be me!”

Now at 37, I admit to myself. It is me.

I sit here in my new home, with my cat at my feet and my wine in my glass, and I see. It is me. It is the life I did not want.

I suppose that’s what sacrifice is. Laying down what you want, for what He wants.

Choosing His way over your own, in hopes that one day there will be a reward. Either on this side, or in eternity.

But I have met my match with this path. I have realized it will always be too great for me. I guess that means He will get the glory if I overcome. He will get all the praise. It will only be Him.

I miss my mother everyday. I miss the parts of her I did not appreciate when she was here. The consistency, the devotion, the hope she had for my life. I struggle to remember that she is full of joy and love in a way that she could never be on this side. I give in to those feelings of grief and loss, even when they are untrue. I simultaneously feel grateful and disappointed with God’s plan for me. It is not like that for other people, at least, per social media. They do not mourn the way I do. They bounce back from hard things. They let it roll off their backs.

But that is not my way. And At 37, I realize, life is simply never what you expect it to be.

Here is me and BJ, after I decorated my tree with loved ones.

SHALOM

Do You Want a Cat?

Sometimes God is just funny. Like, I normally think about Him in terms of being loving, and gracious, and kind. Caring, and gentle, and intimate…but not really funny. Today, I had to literally laugh out loud though, because I realized, He really does have a sense of humor. The Guy is a straight up comedian.

About a week ago, I was not in the best mental space. Let’s face it, we’re in a pandemic, and no one really knows how long this thing is going to last. 2020 has been one shock after another, and I feel like, as a collective whole, humanity just could not catch our breath. We took one big gasp in January, and have been holding it ever since.

The first shock was Kobe. I sat there on the couch in my well-furnished basement, with a good friend, and watched CNN, for hours. We were told that Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter had died with several others in a helicopter crash. We were horrified and entered into a period of grief along with the whole world at the sudden loss of a well-known superstar. We were all suddenly reminded of the brevity of life, even if we weren’t avid sports fans. For months, Kobe and his family, (and those other poor souls), were the talk of our conversations. Were the topic of our heartfelt prayers. But then, the senseless injustices of the Black community came to a head, (once again). For me, it was Ahmaud who gripped my heart. Ahmaud Arbery was a young Black man who was gunned down while running in his neighborhood by three white men. He was unarmed. He was vulnerable. And he was killed. I laid out on the floor, weeping profusely. I could not stop. I couldn’t believe he was so young, and I kept imagining his mother finding her son. Dead. Bleeding. Lifeless. But then I didn’t have much time to even grieve that, because George happened. George Floyd, whom the nation responded so loudly to, was murdered by a white police officer, while his fellow officers stood by, and watched him kneel on George’s neck, mercilessly, while George cried out in agony, weeping for his mother. I could only watch (stomach) some of the video footage.

And somewhere in between these men, was Breonna. Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her own home, by police officers. A horrifying case of mistaken identity. The police officers were released by the way. No charge. No justice.

Throughout these atrocities, there were riots, and looting, and chaos. Grief, and fear, and sorrow. Not to mention, a recent presidential election which usually has folks up in arms in general, but would now have them even more so, during this particular election.

And all of this has happened in the midst of a world wide pandemic, of which the United States is leading in cases. I don’t even want to get into my own feelings of personal loss. My own personal grief. I just shared all this to explain why finally, after the last eight months of walking around with a mask on and dousing my hands in hand sanitizer at every moment’s chance, I felt the heaviness seep in. I felt it, and I recognized it from a past experience I didn’t think I would make it out of.

Well, that particular morning while feeling the heaviness, I decided I needed a pet. I have looked a few times in the past for one, particularly a kitten, but every time, it just never panned out. One time, my bestfriend and I went to the animal shelter near me. This was right when the pandemic hit, but they were closed due to the new crisis. Another time, I looked on Craigslist, but whenever I spotted a cute furry creature I could fall in love with, they would already be sold, once I reached out to the seller. I remember even over a year ago, my old roommate and I looked for a pet, but I didn’t find one I connected with, so I waited.

This particular morning while looking online though, I figured it was time, because of what I was dealing with. But I had a lot of work to do, and so after 20 minutes, I needed to switch gears from online perusing for a furry companion, to bookkeeping for clients. 5 hours later, I was spent. I actually remembered that I was looking for a kitten that morning once done working, but was too tired to go back online. I just wanted to veg out. Interestingly enough, within minutes of me having that thought, I heard a knock on my door. I was confused. It was the middle of the day. Who could it be? Anyone who visits normally calls first. Why didn’t they do that? Why didn’t they ring the doorbell? These were all the thoughts swirling in my mind as I made my way, cautiously, up the stairs, to the door. I peeked out, and saw this little light brown kid. He was holding a black kitten in his arms and peered up at me with large eyes and disheveled black hair. “Hi. Do you want a cat?” he asked.

Now, call it my upbringing with a single mom who was from the streets of Toledo, but my brain was racing. Is this kid in cahoots with a rapist, or mugger, or killer who is going to pop out while I’m distracted by his cuteness with this kitten and knock me out cold? So I start praying, Lord, please don’t let me be a victim in my foolishness to open this door to a stranger! (I’m serious too. I really did pray that.) Then I’m channeling my discernment, feeling for God, because what are the chances that someone is going to offer me a kitten on the very day I was looking for one? I looked at the kid, confused, and he explained, after glancing over his shoulder down my driveway, “My aunt is giving them away.” I stood back, assessed him some more, and knew I had to make a quick decision. I also knew it was God, and that this was my time to commit—or not to commit—to being a pet owner. Did I really want this? But never one to miss out on a blessing, I opened my hands, and he dumped the scared little fluffy bundle into them. I said, “Thanks,” and that was that. He left, and I was in awe.

I have been the proud owner of a small black kitten since that day (it will be one week tomorrow). His name is BJ and I named him that after the suggestion of a good friend who said to name him after a character in my book. (That is, my newest book, and first novel, that I’m still working on.) But people kept asking me what “BJ” stood for and I would cringe because I really didn’t know. It bothered me greatly because I’m someone who values words, values names, especially. I wanted some weighty, deep name that meant something, but all I came up with was, “BJ”. I loved BJ in my novel because he is a loving male friend to my female protagonist, but that couldn’t be enough. I needed a deeper meaning.

So here is the funny part. Remember, I said God was funny? I was driving today from making my normal daily Starbucks run (this began during the pandemic to get out of the house). A venti coffee with light cream sat in the cup holder, while I was thinking about God giving me a black cat, and thinking about how He had done the same thing before and gave my old roommate a black cat. She had named him Benny (short for Ben-Samuel, a nice, strong, Jewish name), and if you’ve been following this blog for a few years, you’ll remember a couple of blog posts about him. He was definitely an interesting character! So I was thinking this, and not for the first time you see. I was thinking about its significance. That God was doing something twice (usually in the Bible when He says something twice like, “verily, verily”, this means to pay attention). And then I thought, Isn’t it funny that God gave us two black cats whose names both start with B? Then it dawned on me! I had to laugh, and I had to share the laughter with someone whom I knew would understand its humor, so I called my old roommate Lianna. I told her how I just realized what “BJ” stood for! “Benny Jr!” I exclaimed with glee, and she laughed with me, and told me that was what she had figured when I initially shared his name!

Lianna, Me and Benny, 2016

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked. Of course she thought I already knew, but I didn’t. It was plainly in my face and I couldn’t see, I guess, until the time was right.

I laughed hard, and it was a good laugh. A needed laugh. And I think God held that little secret from me for a whole week just so He could see me laugh that hard. Just so He could see my face fill with joy.

Which it does, every time I look at BJ. AKA Benny Jr.!

God is so significant in ALL things. He is an amazing provider, and loves giving us the desires of our hearts. He also loves a good laugh, I’m convinced.

Meet BJ (Ben-Samuel Jr.)

SHALOM

A Real Writer

Before this season I knew next to nothing about getting a book publishing deal. And can I tell you a secret? Even with two self-published books under my belt, I still didn’t consider myself “a real writer”. I mean, I’m a good writer (in my opinion) but I did not study writing or major in journalism (except for that brief time period freshman year, but God told me to “x” that idea). I mean, I’ve attended a few writing workshops but honestly, most of my training has come from, well, completely, Holy Spirit teaching me. 😁💕

I have read countless books and have always been an avid reader 🤓. Books were a safe haven growing up for me. I was a loner. Born an only child and struggling in the friendship department (my how things change). Most of my pre-teen years were spent with my nose in a book. I would get so excited when my mom would take me to the library to pick out a few books that I could spend the weekend reading. (Yes, I spent my weekends reading, LOL!) And even though she herself was not a reader, she supported me in my reading. She supported me in everything…

It’s funny how fast God can move in some things. Like this writing thing for example. I was just reading about a writer (one of those real writers, I mean) and how she kept submitting her manuscript and query letter to publishing companies and then getting rejected. Over and over. Until finally, she got accepted. In my mind it was a given she would get accepted. I mean, she was a real writer. (Any writer who knows how to do a query letter, and submit their work to a publishing company, well, that is a real writer to me, LOL.) So that’s why the last couple of months are astounding to me. Because out of nowhere I got a message posted on my social media account from a distant relative (someone I hardly interact with) about a publishing opportunity for black writers. Well, I’m a black writer (I use that term loosely as I’ve already explained my perception of myself as a writer), so I should definitely look into this. Well, I did, and they wanted the first 30 pages of a manuscript. Now, I had resumed writing once the pandemic hit, but had no idea how much I had written, and I wasn’t so sure I had enough written. To my surprise, at the time, I actually had 150 pages written! SMH. So, I quickly started working on my book project to get it submitted. But the company also wanted a query letter included. Hmmm, here we go with that query letter again! Well, shortly thereafter a friend slid into my DM’s with contact information for a well known published author who was offering her services (free of charge mind you) to help black authors put together a query letter for this very opportunity! Crazy. Could God be anymore obvious? LOL. So, I jumped on it, and she really was a godsend in every aspect of the word. Within a few weeks I had my query letter! Then it came time for editing. Or so I thought. I turned back to social media, put out feelers for an editor and reached out to one in particular.

Now, I am a no nonsense type. I like to get stuff done. Give me a project, I’ll knock it out. I love productivity. So when this person suggested we wait to do the editing and that I should revisit the story and dig deeper (without actually having read the story) I was a little annoyed. Come on lady, I’m tryna give birth to this thing and you telling me I’m not done carrying yet! 🤰🏾🙄. Now, she felt this message was from God and that she was hearing something. I’m not one to tell someone else what they are hearing or not hearing, but I know that if it is a word for me, then it is going to have to resonate with me. So I agreed to wait, although I was skeptical 🤔. But I didn’t have to wait too long. I sat with the story again, and Holy Spirit moved quickly. I began writing, and so much more came out of the characters. I was in awe. I sat with the story for a whole month after that and am finally meeting again with the editor (today actually). Hopefully we are ready for the editing stage (fingers crossed). I also submitted those first 30 pages and am awaiting a response from the publishing company. They have 3 months to respond so we have time (2 months left actually).

God has given me several words about this book project. I don’t know how much of an influence it will have but I know that it will have an impact. I love that it reflects my growth spiritually and where I have evolved as a person. It is relatable, down to earth but still revelatory. And to think, when I began writing it, I had no idea it would actually be a published work. I only started writing out of enjoyment.

I am looking forward to the outcome and to see the expression of the Father’s creativity through me in this season. And through so many others.

It’s our time.

SHALOM!

Like Father, Like Daughter

Being an only child has its pluses and minuses. Plus: You learn to play on your own. Minus: You usually hate to share. Plus: You usually have your physical needs met. Minus: You can be (maybe a little 🤣) spoiled/self centered. Plus: You have a strong sense of self. Minus: You can be stubborn/bossy. (And some of these characteristics may not describe a typical only child, instead they may just be describing me LOL).

I was talking to a friend recently about growing up an only child and not having that experience of sitting at the dinner table together to share a meal with a family. Growing up in a single parent home my mother was more concerned about me having food on the table over us eating it together. Many evenings she was working when in fact I ate. My friend felt bad for me but even when I myself started feeling bad I was quickly reminded of how she and I shared all of our meals together some 4 months ago when the shut down hit.

Me and Dee❤️

And so in that case I could see God giving me that experience of eating with my sister. Similarly I found myself having another redeeming familial experience yesterday when visiting my dad for the Fourth of July weekend. (Side note, there are many in the black community who are not celebrating the fourth and I totally get it. Why should we celebrate the Independence of a nation that enslaved us? And so while we did gather during this holiday my heart personally is not to be affiliated with the “liberty” of slave owners.) For the first time in my whole life I partook in a holiday celebration with my father. This was a huge deal and I had to send out for backup prayer requests to my trusted intercessors who, thankfully, reminded me that I was not alone and that they were with me.

I made the trip physically on my own, trusting God all the way. I knew He was ordering my steps and that even though there had been so much warfare against my relationship with my father much of my life, the Father’s heart was that it be healed and restored.

I went and stood with these people who look like me: dark brown skin and musical. They sang for hours doing karaoke and relived the time when my father was a star in an all male group. He actually went to California to make it big. They had a cd recorded, of which I have the digital copy. You can find it on iTunes 😁. It was heartwarming to see my relatives gathered at the back porch as if it were a stage and watch my father and his old group members perform. I knew God was giving me the desire of my heart.

So many were happy to see me and over and over I heard about how much I look like my dad. I wrestled with my emotions and am still processing but it is not missed by me that the Father is healing.

Sometimes we miss things in our childhood. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. And sometimes God gives us those things later in life.

I never grew up in a household of people who looked like me. My love of music was shared for sure but they were not performers. In my youth I had loved performing and seeing my father’s relatives do so showed me where I got it from. DNA is a powerful thing. We can end up just like the people we were conceived from even when we are not raised by them.

In this season I long. I long for so many things. The thing I have longed for the most and for the longest time is to have a family of my own. The Father has given me His family and that has been a blessing but it has never replaced the longing to have my own. I think that Mary would agree, she still missed Jesus, even after He gave her John.

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!””
‭‭John‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

How could she not? He came from her own womb.

But the love and belonging that my blood family has in their heart for me is evident. Even as I struggle with the lost years, I am in awww of the gained days. Being around people who are “mine” is a dream. And there are so many dreams God has made come true.

He is faithful.

Like father, like daughter ❤️

In other news stay tuned for a release of a new book I’m working on! I am so excited about this book project and what God wants to do through it! This book has offered me an opportunity to express both my spirituality and black culture. It adequately expresses where I have evolved in my faith at this point in my juncture. May He get all the glory ❤️.

SHALOM

In Honor of Juneteenth. (Poem)

I am my ancestors’ wildest dream.

I’m the writer for those who couldn’t read,

The voice for those who couldn’t speak,

I dance for justice and fight for peace,

I am free.

But only due to their bravery.

The men and women who went before,

And paved a road of liberty.

Laced with sacrifice, and suffering.

Families tattered and torn by a system of oppression,

Brutal beatings armed with lynchings filled with aggression,

False lessons.

To prove they were lesser than their oppressors.

But we fought back you see.

And lifted arms under its weight until the system was dismantled.

We used our Hope and Faith as weapons.

And sliced through the enemies camp of fear,

Set out to keep us under.

Instead we went down under,

Ground.

And met Fear face to face.

We looked him dead in his eyes

And found, he was really the one afraid.

I am my ancestors’ wildest dream.

I dance the dance that David did,

With feet of a King.

And lift my head up high like Esther.

Exuding the exquisite stature of a queen.

I march and shout like Martin and Harriett, Malcom and Sojourner, Frederick and them.

Their blood races through my veins at a considerable rate,

To fight in the war I was born to face.

The eyes of our hearts now having been open,

It was never about our skin but our purpose!

It was never about our race but our image!

And Who’s we were created in.

They passed the torch to us to win!

We run not for ourselves but like they did,

For our next of kin!

For houses built and businesses owned.

For laws that protect and injustices atoned.

We are our ancestors’ wildest dream,

And they now find their rest, their joy, their love in the manifestation, of such a miraculous thing.