Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Just Fine" Mary J. Blige My Warrior Queen Theme Music

RESOLUTION 2008: THE YEAR OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS

I love making resolutions. I usually make one for the year and work like the devil to keep it up. I never make it so challenging that I fail within days. I like it simple and personal. For 2008 I am going for GRAND! I am going for THE WOW! I am going to have a list of things. My list is solely about ME. Not my kids, not the world, not my community, not my church, not my "true love"friends. Just me--centered in self. So here goes:

  1. Health is Wealth--living a fitness plan that will get me fit and healthy. Go Vegan!
  2. Write. Publish.
  3. Launch new business venture(s)--create new revenue streams/get my hustle on!
  4. Create a meditation/alter in my bedroom.
  5. Focus on personal development; expand my mind; reach for a higher consciousness, through books, lectures, blog discussions and whatever else I find interesting.
  6. Seek out artistic venues (movies, theater, spoken word) to check out and participate in.
  7. Travel.
  8. Love, fall in love, be in love, be open to love, create love, live in love.
  9. Enjoy my "right now"
  10. Give up worrying and live happily in my faith.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

IT'S ALWAYS JAZZ SUNDAY: I AM DOING ALL MY OWN COOKING

I am cooking everything myself this year for Christmas dinner. For the past 10 years I have catered my holiday dinners. I did this not because I can't cook, quite the contrary, I am a chef by trade. I am a formally trained chef. I catered holiday dinners because I hated being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else was having a good time. I catered holiday dinners because I hated being exhausted with all the preparation, planning and shopping for EVERYTHING by myself. It just made sense to pick-up items fully prepared from Restaurants that I loved to dine at. So my now-estranged husband and I would make a menu and order. I was happy, he was happy, our friends and family were happy.

Usher in sweeping change; reversal of fortunes; limited resources--ah make that no resources. I am back to prepping and planning and preparing food...and I am loving it. Let me make it clear, I do not expect to take this on every year. But this year I am. Not because I am totally broke--because I am, but mainly because there is a sense of divinity in making a meal and sharing with loved ones. My friends are amazed and anxious to see what happens. Yes, they know I have skills, but a full Christmas feast...well that is another story. I am ready. I created a budget, I have poured over countless cookbooks at my house and online. I have narrowed it down and created a menu. I shopped for the freshest ingredients and have begun the prepping. Even my kids are fascinated with my focus--they are ready to help and I am going to let them.

So here is my menu:
Roasted Turkey, stuffed with apples, garlic, thyme, oranges and onions,
Jazz Stuffing--not quite traditional, but not haute cuisine either,
Potato and Sweet Potato Torte
Potato Gallette
Sauteed Collard Greens
North African Spice Carrots
Mediterranean Herb Green Salad
Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheez---this is made without cheese--it is delicious!
Vegan red velvet cupcakes for dessert

Friday, December 21, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: I KNOW NOW...FOR SURE

I have been having these great moments of clarity around the current state of affairs that is my marriage. What I am beginning to realize is that once I take off the everything-was-bliss glasses and put on my this-is what-it-is glasses, I see a much more accurate view of the total marriage. When my estranged husband moved out and left us, I was so wounded. It was as if someone kept punching and kicking me while I was on the ground. He, on the other hand, does not see it that way. He has no hard feelings about it. He said he prayed and prayed about this and his answer was clear...leave. Now I am not one to challenge any one's conversations in prayer with God/Higher Power/Deity/Witch Doctor. But I do know he has no regard for my care and concern. You see if someone loves you they do not hurt you, they do not leave you in crisis or disregard your feelings. His leaving was not about me, but more about him and what he was not capable of dealing with. I own my contribution to the demise of our marriage. I was thinking that perhaps my actions were the larger contributor to the ending of our marriage. But in reality he has some deep rooted issues that were bigger than his love for me and what we were building as a family. I always understood that all marriages have tough times and I was fully committed to riding out whatever storm came our way. I believed in my vows--they were my shield and my blanket in the most difficult of times. He, however did not feel that and I suspect the strain of all that was going on, was too much for him to handle. As my "True Love" friends say--"He just did not have the capacity to go any further" Marriage and the commitment of marriage is about love, but more importantly it is about character and truly living the vows you take and make with another person. Sex is easy, romance created, but long lasting love requires diligence and kindness all the time. This revelation has freed me and allows me to see my estranged husband not as some romantic character from a fairy tale; but as a flawed human being who is trying to figure out his place in the world. We are on different tracks. I am clear about who I am and I am clear about the kind of woman I want to be. He has personal development work to do. At some point we all have to answer the basic questions: Who am I ? and what is my purpose? I already know real abiding happiness isn't tied to salary, homes, cars, multiple partners and status. I now know my happiness lies in making the world a better place. I know what my worth is and I know what I value. I wanted my husband to be at my side, so I pushed and pulled and carried him, hoping that the real him would show up and be ready to roll with me. This is my short comings, working on his potential and ignoring who he was really and fully. I totally ignored who showed up and tried to make him into my ideal and I think for awhile he bought into it and then woke up and realized he was lost...with a broken compass. I am changing and I feel myself letting go of him and the dream of him. I have a new dream and it's rooted in authenticity, happiness and faith. I wish him all the best on his solitary journey, and I can't wait around for him. I know that now...for sure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: TRACKING PERSONAL GROWTH

I am beginning to see change in my life. Just reading past posts from this blog I see personal growth. I am not as fearful as I was when I started this blogging back in June 2007. I have jumped a few hurdles and ready for the next. I mean I am confident and excited about all the possibilities of right now. The New Year will be upon us and I am thinking with reverence about all that happened to me in 2007. It was tough, I can't even sugar-coat it. I was close to suicide, I was overwhelmed with fear and doubt and shame and grief. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't focus. But the whole time God was whispering. I barely heard God above all my mess. Each moment both joyful and painful held it's own magical lessons for me. BE STILL. BE STILL. BE STILL. Just by re-reading my blog posts I can see when I heard GOD and I began to change my perspective, my attitude and my mind. My faith grew stronger as the days went by and no matter what came at me and God knows, a lot came at me, I was able to let GO and LET GOD.
I am growing in my faith, I am growing as a woman, I am growing as a mother, I am growing as a person who loves life.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

IT'S ALWAYS JAZZ SUNDAY: SISTER-FRIEND JOY

JB is my new Sister-Friend! I actually sort of knew her from church. I mean I saw her every Sunday for a few years, we were polite to each other and often would talk briefly about raising children. Nothing earth shattering, nothing that would make us pay any attention to the other. But something divine happened, the first Sunday on my release from Danbury Federal Prison Camp, we saw each other at Church and she greeted me joyfully and somehow we got onto the subject of blogging and entreprenuerism. WELL! we had a lot in common and not just blogging. Turns out she is in the process of divorcing too. So we started having lunch on Tuesdays to sit and talk and support each other. We take turns preparing lush meals with real silverware and dishes and fancy glasses-- the works! She is amazing, well accomplished, super smart---like intellectually smart and gorgeous and funny. Now I know many of my friends do not want to appear in my blog--they do not want their business all over the Internet--My friend Ron has already smacked me around about this and he doesn't care that I have changed his name...but I digress. Anyway my Sister-friend JB has added a level of support and comfort that I did not expect or see coming. Tuesdays with her has made my marriage-is-ending moments more than bearable. She has added another voice of reason and common sense to the choir that is my network of beautiful "True Love" friends. My marriage ending is unbearably painful, I mean PAINFUL! So her sage advice always carries me until the next Tuesday and before I knew it, I have gotten through a month of Tuesdays! This is truly the season of wonder, mystery and JOY!

"You can't depend on someone with a broken compass to chart your course" JB.
Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: FAITH, FRIENDSHIP AND A SNOW STORM

It is the small gestures of kindness that fosters my belief in God. It is the unexpected gifts of friendship, and caring that God uses to light my path. God as the director and producer of my life has given me a starring role and has given me a cast of supporting characters to make this journey a success.

Yesterday could have been a mess. There was a snow storm and I had no groceries and I needed to get to the store, and school was cancelled . I called my estranged husband the night before to see if he could give me the weekly money, of course he wasn't home--as far as I can tell he did not spend the night at home. So of course I was wounded by that. I spoke with him once he got to work to see if he could meet me--of course he had a bit of an attitude and said maybe he could meet met at 10:30 am. The storm was slated for midday I wanted to get ahead of it. But I needed the money. So earlier that morning about 7:30am, my newest Sister-friend JB called me and said I was on her mind. She offered me some money and offered to come watch the kids while I run to the grocery store. At first I was no, no, no then I conceded. Now shortly after I hung up from her, my Soror dropped off her beautiful children and gave me money so that if my estranged husband didn't come through, I could at least get a few things to tie me over. My sister-friend JB arrived with her beautiful child in tow, handed me money, took over the breakfast detail and shoos me out the door. I get to the grocery store and I get all that I need. My estranged husband calls me on the cellphone and says he can meet me. I meet him with my groceries in the car. I did not need him. I got home just before the storm started.

For me yesterday was a big deal and represents a turning point in my life. I had faith that everything was going to work out. I lived my faith yesterday in a way that I have never done before. I did not panic and I did not cry or feel helpless. I accepted God's help without Resistance. My Soror and my Sister-friend came to my aid without question. I accepted their help graciously and without shame. I am all the better for it. This is what love is all about. This is how we are all connected on the continuum of time and space; each of us in fellowship, working for the divinity.

I have all that I need to move me forward. I know in my heart and mind that I am destined for a happy, abundant and full life. All is as it should be.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NIL

Lately friends have been gently hinting that I ought to test the dating waters. See what is out there. (Sigh) I have not given this any real thought. Oh yes I have fantasized about mind-blowing sex or some chance encounter with a dream lover. But to actually think about dating someone and going out and having light conversation with someone with the possibility of a love connection...NO! I mean I am a good looking woman, winning smile, charming personality and a great sense of humor. I am sort of smart and sort of well-read and sort of intelligent. I believe I am a gem. However, in addition, I am a newly minted felon who is on home confinement until March 31, 2008 and then probation for 3 years. This is not an attractive attribute. I mean come on, I am not so sure I would date me. Now I am NOT posting this because I am in need of a confidence booster...OK maybe a little. But I do know that this is going to be a huge obstacle for someone to deal with. I have a lot of shit I am dealing with and who would want to get in bed with all that. (SIGH)

Yesterday I was over at Sojourner g who's poem Nil moved me to a place of longing. The poem is haunting and drags me to a place that I was not prepared to think about. So here I am thinking about life after marriage. Sex after marriage. And dreaming that I will be the object of someones desire that is so beautifully expressed in the poem Nil. (SIGH)
I know all is as it should be and "True Love" will find me...when it is time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: WE ARE NOT OUR WORST MOMENTS: MY THOUGHTS ON MICHAEL VICK

I am not nearly as well versed in all things football as my SisterLo, she has that locked-down. She and my two brothers are dyed-in-the-wool football fans! I know enough to talk intelligently, however, I do know a great deal about the federal sentencing process and publicity, public opinion and drama and yeah, going to federal prison. I am in no way condoning cruelty to animals, that is not my deal. I believe we are all worthy of grace. We are all worthy of love and redemption. Mr. Vick will serve his time and what he does with his life now, during and after his release is up to him. Everyone has an opinion, and some believe they have some sort of moral obligation to weigh in and tear down. I know how it feels to be the object of scorn, ridicule and humiliation. The press can be brutal and will fan the flames of public outrage. At the end of the day the lessons Mr.Vick learns are his and his alone. Yes, this is a cautionary tale for us all about so-called friends and unholy alliances. But in the quiet moments it is his ultimate lesson to learn. There is grace and redemption for him as it was and is for me and you. It is my hope that he uses this time to become more of who he is meant to be and who God intended him to become. To fully recognize that no matter what is said about him that he does not have to accept it. As my attorney said "We are not our worst moments"

Monday, December 10, 2007

FEELING GOOD;GOOD FEELINGS ABOUND

I am in a good mood right now. I have a few projects looming on the horizon. I am excited about them because they are authentically mine. They are projects that will hopefully give me some financial freedom. As it stands now I am beyond financially challenged. I mean I am broke! And all the wolves (read bills) are held at bay for the time being. As I said earlier I am laying these burdens down. That doesn't mean I sit twiddling my thumbs, it simple means I have done all that I can do and I must let God direct my steps. I have faith that I will come through these difficult times...hell I am coming through right now. I am still standing. None of this mess has killed me. None of this mess has broken me. I believe being a mother of 4 and having "true love" friends has saved my life. I can not just wallow in my own ego driven mess, I have others to think about. I have children who depend on me for their care and concern. I cannot just walk out or leave or not be mentally present. Realizing this is comforting and pushes me forward. My children have to see that I can take care of them. I do not and will not give up. It isn't in my nature to accept my life as it is. There is more ahead and I just have to keep moving forward. So today I am feeling good and good feelings abound.

Friday, December 7, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: UNEXPECTED GIFTS

A few years before my Mother died, she gave me her china set. I have loved this china set since I was knee high. So when she turned it over to me I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to show the china set off and use it. Well, I must say, I can count on one hand the times I have actually used it. My reasoning was always, I have no place to store it. So when I got married and moved into our first house, I put up funky shelving and up went my china. Fast forward 12 years and into a new house for the last 6 years the china never saw the light of day. It sat boxed in my dining room. I would, of course out of reverence and remembrance of my mother take out 1 or 2 pieces during the holidays. So one day this week my neighbors were cleaning out their basement, they had a complete dinning room set that they wanted to give away. They knocked on my door to see if I had any use for a dining room set. I said yes! It came with a huge 2-piece hutch, dining table with leaf, and 6 chairs. I lovingly cleaned the hutch and happily unpacked my china and placed it in the hutch. Now I have no idea where I am going to be living in the new year. But right now I am here and this is still my house and I am treating it as such. Seeing my china in its own place makes me happier than I have been in a long time. The dinning room set was such an unexpected gift I never saw coming. Tis the Season!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RON!

Today is my bestest friend Ron's Birthday. He is a few years older than me! But he swears he looks younger...no he doesn't...close though!

I am dedicating today's post to him and our friendship. He has been my big brother, the father I never had, the strong shoulder to cry on, the strong voice of reason when I was losing my mind, the one who stayed on the phone with me all night --the night before I had to self surrender to prison, the one who remembers my birthday and thinks I am just the craziest person ever, is always just a phone call away day or night. He has been a good person to argue with--nothing is ever personal with him. He is the one who always had a kind word, the biggest cheerleader and the staunchest supporter---second only to my Sister Lo. My friend Ron is the most honorable person I know...and I know a lot of people. He is funny and irreverent and smart, and witty and nice. I am always trying to "hook" him up with girlfriends and soros and he is always telling me to mind my own business-- "I can get my own dates-Thank you". He can, he does, I am just a meddler and he doesn't seem to mind. We have been friends for well over 18 years and the time has flown by. I can't imagine what my life would be like with out him. He is so dear to me. My world is a whole lot richer because of him. Happy Birthday! to my bestest friend Ron. I am raising my glass in CHEERS TO YOU!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: "TRUE LOVE" FRIENDS

So much emphasis is placed on romantic love and the sexual expression of that romantic love. But really, it is good friends who stay with you through thick or thin, good times and bad times, for better or worse. The marriage vows ought to be said to good friends, rather than to someone we think we are so in love with. No, I am not angry or jaded or even disillusioned. I am very clear about this. My marriage has ended but my friendships have stood the test of time. The folks that are my "True Love" friends know me, understand me and still love me as I am. Isn't this the love we all want. I know I do. My love for my "True Love" friends is satisfying and deep and sacred. It is this love that comforts, and heals; sending me into the world stronger, wiser and braver. I am lucky, blessed and humbled by the love of my "True Love" friends for all the days of my life forever and ever.
Amen.

Monday, December 3, 2007

HERE'S THE PLAN: MY LAST YEAR FAT!

There is something to be said about starting a wellness/fitness/weight loss plan on a Monday. It gives you a starting point. For me this key. I didn't binge or overeat on the weekend. I just started planning this new attempt at losing weight. This is MY LAST YEAR FAT! I am putting forth a grand effort. So here's my deal: Get back to tracking my progress on my SparkPeople site--look to the right. I will talk about my weight loss goals and feelings there. I will get 60 minutes of exercise everyday. I am swearing off all alcohol and drinking only water until May 08. I am serious. My goal is to be down 50 lbs by May 08 and another 58 lbs by October 08. I want to go into 2009 108 lbs lost! This is not ambitious and I am not doing any fads or fasting or quick fixes. Just old fashioned common sense: Eat Less, Move More! Off to the scale I go for a beginning weight check and then every other week. I will go to the gym--since I have membership to Planet Fitness which I need to use since it is paid for. This is my moment and I am taking it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

IT'S ALWAYS JAZZ SUNDAY: I AM MY OWN BEST SUPPORT

My son Gregory got up this morning sick. I mean throwing up sick...YUCK! Today is Sunday, they sing in their church choir and it's "Stone Soup" Sunday. We aren't going. I called their father to see if he could come over and sit with Gregory while I took the other 3 to Church. He says OK but can I be back by 12 noon--he has something to do. Stone Soup doesn't start until 11:30 am. I am annoyed. He knew today was special, but of course what he has going on ALWAYS trumps what is best for OUR children. So my brother--who is always there for me and the kids said he would come at 11:00 am to relieve their father. My Brother has no problem dropping whatever he has going to take on my kids--each and every time I have been in need of childcare he has raced to the plate and stepped up. Then I just decided , forget it. I will stay home, we all will stay home. I am tired of bending to their Father's shit. He lives 15 minutes away and can't seem to come see them on a regular basis. He has a cellphone and can't seem to call them. Last week I told him this was last week I would hunt him down to talk to his kids. I am done trying to hold it down for him. Trying to explain his behaviour. I am done trying to make this work for him rather than for the kids. Sure he loves them, but talk is CHEAP! Maybe it's unfair to ask him to drop his plans for the sake of his child. But I do it EVERY TIME! And being late is different than not doing something at all.

I am taking a breath. I am refocusing my energy and redirecting my thoughts.

I am not giving this anymore energy. I am letting this go and I am not allowing this negative chatter to take residence in my heart and mind. In this moment I realize that it's not about being right or being the better parent. I am kicking my ego to the curb. I will do what needs to be done, joyfully and happily. My focus is my love for my children and my new found independence. I know I am on the right track because this morning was the first snow. I was dreading snow, but seeing it this morning warmed my heart and put a smile on my face. God is working for me. So my holiday music is playing in the background, Gregory is tucked into bed with a bucket nearby, Margeaux and Khalil are watching TV and Briana is reading in her newly cleaned room. Talk about a good day. It doesn't get any better than this. This is joy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: FAITH TESTED/TESTING FAITH

Today I am still in my upbeat mood. I have been beating back the negative chatter like a Warrior Queen. Each time a negative thought tries to creep in, I immediately call it out and send it on it's way with a few curse words...yep I curse. This seems to be working. There is, however, in the back of my mind the thoughts of "sure I am doing well now but how well will I do when my faith is really tested" I can feel myself letting fear and indecision and discontent creep in. So far I am winning. But, and the "BUT" is really the negative chatter emissary, when the "BUT" shows up that is usually the first indication that the whole family of negative chatter is just behind it. Oh my faith is being tested and I am testing my faith. The thing about walking out on faith is that you have to keep your eyes to the heavens. You have to stay focused and you have to keep your balance. My strength lies in knowing this. Knowing that I recognize the negative chatter and stop it cold. Even when I want to give in and allow myself to accept the invitation to the pity-party and the woe-is-me cocktail hour, I can't. If I am messing around there, then I run the risk of missing my miracle. And I need and want and deserve my miracles. So, in this moment I am good and I am boldly making friends with GOD and I am assured that all is as it should be. I have great faith.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

SEASON OF MIRACLES

My house IS NOT IN FORECLOSURE yet. I am trying to work it out. I am going to modify my bankruptcy plan. I was in the belief that I was going to lose my house any day now---I have been feeling this way since May. Nothing is over. nothing is done. I have another chance to turn things around. And you know with God on my side I am going to do it. I am so optimistic right now I am shaking. Yes I have a million hurdles but that is OK. I am beating back the self-defeating thoughts and so far I am doing well. Yes I need money and lots of it and I have no idea where it's going to come from. But I do know I am walking out on faith. My heart is open to a miracle. And I know a miracle(s) is in the making. So from here on out I am treating my house like it's my house and not a temporary shelter. Whatever happens it will be as it should be.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

YES I DO MISS HIM...I AM OWNING THAT

I miss my husband. I miss him. I am allowing myself this emotion without beating myself up and with full knowledge that he is not coming home. I miss him, that is it. There is no hidden agenda or longing for days gone by. I am turned toward the horizon and I am stepping foward in God's care. But in this moment, in this season, I miss my husband.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: GOD'S INTENTIONS

I believe God does not intend for Us to be blue, sad, depressed, out of sorts. I believe that God intends for Us to live an abundant life, full of grace, love, joy, music, art and faith. For me this is key, because I am learning that when I believe I am an independent woman, disconnected from God, then discontent takes root. I notice that when the world closes in around me, I automatically feel as though I must make something happen. I must try to force an outcome that is favorable to me--having everything turning out the way that I want. Forgetting that my power, my faith, my grace securely lies with God. I must LET GO and LET GOD. Each and every time I forget this simple act of faith and love, I end up sad, blue, depressed, out of sorts. Debbie Ford, author of "Spiritual Divorce, Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life" says "When we finally surrender our picture of how things should be, we make ourselves available for a new reality to emerge." So I am changing my mind to change my life. When the negative chatter starts in my head and in my heart, I am turning it off. When fear tries to creep in, I am now prepared to stand still...God's got my back. God has a bigger dream for my life and I want to be present in peace as it unfolds.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanks Mauro in Portugal!

On November 23, 2007 I was awarded the Great Blog Award "Best Love Related Blog" (look right) OOOOweeee I am so happy! I got the award from www.1millionlovemessages.com. Mauro Correia is the brainchild behind this fab site, he lives in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. I am delighted that he found me half-way round the world! The power of the www is phenomenal. So stop by and bask in all that love.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

STANDING IN THE NEED OF PRAYER

I am tired. I am tired of everything and everybody. Yep I am feeling low. This is my favorite time of the year and I am usually good at beating back the demons. I am usually caught up in the throngs of holiday cheer, Peace On Earth God Will Toward People...damn it. Right now I am not feeling cheerful. I am feeling overwhelmed and alone and afraid. Afraid that I am not capable, not able, not very warrior-like. I am allowed I hope to vent and feel blue. I will of course kick the blues to the curb and get up swinging...tomorrow--I am good at that. But right now I am wounded, the battle is starting to pierce my resolve. I can feel myself laying down for the count. It is the aloneness of the world that has got me by the throat. It is feeling like I DON"T want to fight ANYMORE. The romantic optimist is feeling like a hater-pessimist. AAArggh! The aloneness can sometimes be crippling to the spirit. Today for me it's crippling, because right now I am doubting my ability to stand still and let GOD do the handiwork. I am tired and I am afraid and I am crying. Perhaps this is my only way to salvation and grace--being brought low before I can soar high. Pray for me and my desperate self. "It's me, It's me oh Lord standing in the need of Prayer"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HONEY PLEASE, MAMA IS COOKING

It is Wednesday...Thanksgiving Eve. I am so organized and so on point that I am basking in my badd self! I just finished cooking my sweet potatoes for pies...yes pies made with Grande Marnier. My turkey is ready, my stuffing with sausage is done. My brother Roberts' fiancee is making mac and cheese and a turkey ham...yes it is to die for! She is also making a cake. I picked up a pecan pie. My church put together a basket for me that included another pie--pumpkin, a turkey and all the fixings--I am donating most of the stuff because I have been so blessed with so much, but it was so wonderful of them to think of me!. I have all my libations--wine, beer and I am making a punch for the kids. I am so proud I stuck to my tight budget.

I invited my estranged husband...3 fucking times and he turned me down, he would rather sit in a diner with strangers. Oh well, if he prefers that to eating with his kids...fuck him. I am feeling too good right now to stress over his madness. I am really in my element. The holidays are so incredible. I love all that peace on earth, goodwill toward men/people!

Yesterday I had a divine lunch with the most engaging Sister I have met in a long time. Our paths have divinely crossed and I am grateful.. She is someone I know God meant for me to catch up to. Her sage words were healing and thoughtful. I don't think she knows how far she has carried me in my personal development...sitting and spending time with her was like having crib notes on my right now life.

I am so Thankful. And prayers for the incredibly spirited women graciously doing their time at Danbury Prison Camp. I hold them and their families all in prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL IS LEARNING TO LOVE ONE'S SELF

I have been battling weight for quite sometime. OK not really. I sort of just let the weight arrive little by little until one day I looked at myself and WOW! I am really heavy. Heavier than I want to be. I was fine as a full-figured beauty--size 18 was OK, but now I am just Obese--size 26/28. I weigh 278 lbs. I am 5'8 I need to lose at least 100lbs. I realize that if I don't take care of me, love me that I will be doomed to die at an early age like my mother at 58, her sister at 40, their mother -my grandmother 60. My Dr. once asked me:"what are you doing to change that fate for yourself" Hhmmm...I don't know I answered. Then he said you got to lose weight! I have high blood pressure, I am close to having diabetes, and I am always tired and I drink too much alcohol. No I am not falling down drunk, nor am I drinking to oblivion. However I could cut back.

Being raped as a child by my Father and then having him sell me for sex to others was very traumatic and I believe has a lot to do with why I am carrying all this weight. Now I am an adult and what was done to me, was done and I have made some peace with that. However there is a part of me that is hiding behind this weight. I know this. And I know I have to deal with it. I can't in good conscience continue to talk about love when I am not fully in love with myself. I have to fall in love with myself. And that means taking greater care of myself. I have little kids and if I want to see them all graduate from college and I do, then I have to love myself more than I already do to lose this weight.

And then there's the vanity issue: I am getting divorced and at some point I will want to date and have mind-blowing sex. There is no way I can think about that now; but I want to be ready. I want to be game ready! I want to be fit and fabulous. I want to love myself more and have it show. So today I am making my plan. I am resurrecting my on-line support group that I started 2 years ago, I am making a timeline. I am going to really make this year my last year living fat! I am going to date me, I am going to pamper me, I am going to support me, I am going to love me MORE!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Totally Fabulous Award

My Sister-Friend Lisa McGlaun over at http://compassionate-news.blogspot.com/ awarded me the Totally Fabulous Award! See to the right of your screen! I was so pleased by this, because 1) it was unexpected and 2) I needed it after the last few days. Lisa McGlaun's blog is all about good news and good things in her life and in the world. So you know I am a huge fan of hers. As promised I am passing the award forward to a few blogs that I love a lot!

My Sister-Friend Laurie http://www.notjustaboutcancer.blogspot.com/ she is amazing! I am lifted every time I visit her blog.
http://www.confessionsofabottleblonde.blogspot.com/ talk about a good time, this Chick is hip, cool and funny all at the same time.
http://www.thethinkingblackman.blogspot.com/ I know this Brother will not put a pink award on his blog...or maybe he will, anyway he has a fine mind and thinks passionately about the affairs of the world and Black folks in particular.

Friday, November 16, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO GET ON WITH IT

My life is amazing. Extraordinary even. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried. There are times when I want to lay down and die. I mean just check out and not do another thing. But I can't. I love living way too much. I am who I am and nothing changes. It never occurs to me that I won't fall in love again. It never occurs to me that I won't have mind-blowing sex again. I will and I shall! Don't get me wrong I am firmly rooted in the NOW. But I am a romantic optimistic so I just believe what I need will come my way...it always has. So my faith NOT is being challenged at all. I know what I know...GOD is real and sustains. I am fearless in my everyday life--even when I am not sure how. Even when I am at my breaking point which is every other day--I know GOD has my back. And, I do know I am being prepared for the greater part of my life. The greater calling of self. I know there is much to be done in this life--my life. I am refusing to surrender to regret. I am moving forward in my faith with the loving belief that I am blessed and loved and loved.
It has been a tough few days but I am recovering. My bounce back time is becoming less and less longer. At some point you just have to get on with it...and I am.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY:THE POWER OF FILM:TYLER PERRY'S "WHY DID I GET MARRIED?"

My Girlfriend Robin and I went to see Tyler Perry's movie "Why Did I get Married?" Robin has seen it , but was more than willing to see it again with me. Now this post isn't a review of the movie. It is about how the film affected me. There is a scene in the movie when the Jill Scott character has just learned her husband was cheating and tells her he is leaving her. The Jill Scott character is talking to another fine man in the movie who has taken her up to this beautiful bluff somewhere in Colorado. Anyway he tells her this is where he comes to work out his issues,to pray, scream, whatever. She says to him that her ex-husband is her life, and she can't live without him, he is everything or something to that affect. The minute she utters those words, I saw myself. I saw myself thinking the same thing when my husband walked out on me and our children. Now prior to seeing this movie on Sunday, my estranged husband let me know that he has been cheating since July. And has gone out on date(s), while I was in prison camp. Of course I was sick with tears and overwhelmed with heartache yet again. WAIT! now here comes the grace: The tears were cleansing and the film was affirmation of that. Seeing that woman in that state of mess allowed me to see my own being. I am on the right path. This blog and all these posts reflect that. I have grown and you can see it. I am moving forward. I have moved forward. Thanks to Tyler Perry for helping me do that...who knew.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

TODAY I AM GRATEFUL FOR...

Since we are in the season of thanksgiving , I am grateful for:
  1. My sister Lo who keeps me grounded and supported--she is the best woman I know and if ever I was trapped in a fox hole she is the one I would want with me, if I was ever stranded on a deserted island she and a good bottle of tequila and aspirin and a Oprah magazine would be all I need to survive;
  2. My children, God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed them in my care--they have rescued me, healed me and shown me unconditional true love;
  3. My brothers Robert & Michael--men of great strength and courage, they have been watching my back since they were 7 & 8 years old. I admired them;
  4. My best girlfriends Robin and Karen & Bette in Seattle and Ruth FTB in Nashville, every woman ought to have sister-friends to hold them up and push them forward;
  5. My minister Reverend Dr. Shelly, what an amazing woman. I know God needed her to be in my life to help steer me forward;
  6. My blog community. I am in love with you all--(see to the right of my blog all my favorite sites) these folks blog about things that capture your heart and give pause to your place in the world;
  7. my church family, they are amazing people, they never tire of helping and giving and praying and fellowship;
  8. All the spirited women I met while serving 29 days in Danbury Prison Camp--I didn't know what grace was until I was in community with these women;
  9. My ability to choose love at every turn; I know who I am and I like me more and more each day;
  10. My Dearest and Bestest friend Ron, who for the past 18 years has been my touch stone, my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, my voice of reason, my cold slap, my biggest fan. His friendship has taught me so much about love and commitment and friendship. I've not met a more honorable, kind and generous man than him.

Friday, November 9, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: KEEPING PERSPECTIVE

If I really sat down and really thought about my life and all that has happened and is happening, I probably would go to the nearest tallest building and jump. Yes, jump. Because on first glance there is drama and turmoil and uncertainty, financial ruin, pending divorce, supervised release--newly released from federal prison, house in foreclosure and issues with being overweight. Who's life is this? And why would anyone want to go on in the face of all this madness? I DO! Even though all this seems overwhelming in print, and it is in real life too, I remind myself of what my dearest friend Ron always says: "let's keep some perspective" and he runs through all the good things that have happened to me, and he reminds me of my resiliency to overcome obstacles. Good friends are like that, they remind you of who you are and wrap you in the blanket of keeping perspective. The reality is, yes I have a lot of shit on my plate--which is more like a buffet platter now! How can I whine about anything when I have my health and people who love me and care about me and have supported me without so much as a hint of being tired. Yes, I have my moments of despair and blue-ness but at the end of the day, I pick myself up, say my prayers and as my dear brother Rob likes to say "Keep it Moving" So today I am sad and blue but I am also keeping perspective--it is not the end of my world and good days are right now.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

HOLDING IT DOWN

Yesterday was a tough day. The job that I thought I was going to interview for can't hire folks on supervised release. I am beginning to see how difficult it is for people on probation or newly released from prison. I have skills, education and a strong professional work history, and still it is going to be an uphill battle. Or maybe not. Maybe I have to think about this in a much more optimistic way--which suits me. I am very optimistic by nature so I can't imagine that I wouldn't find a job. It never occurs to me that I wouldn't find a job. So last night I cried myself to sleep because I was feeling overwhelmed and alone and tired. But this morning I popped up said my prayers and I am right back to holding it down. I said this before and it bears repeating--Alice Walker wrote: "The way forward is with a broken heart". So I am holding it down like a Warrior Queen and I am moving forward with my broken heart in tow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: THANK YOU FOR LEAVING ME

I was so pissed at my estranged husband. I have been praying and praying to have the grace to let go of this mess. He left me. I am standing here not understanding what happened. So since I asked for the keys to the house and my ride, he has been busy. Busy separating me from the car insurance, the cell phone account and the joint bank accounts. He said I need to be independent and that he was happy that I asked for the keys because he was tired of being responsible for me. OK. I was so furious that I emailed him my feelings--not cussing him out, but really saying what I wanted to say for a long time--from the safety of my computer. I let him know how I felt about all this and our past history. Then I re-read what I wrote and the light from on high came on! Looking at our history laid out before my eyes startled me. WHY IN GOD"S NAME WOULD I WANT TO CONTINUE IN THIS MARRIAGE WITH ALL THIS PAST AND PRESENT DRAMA. Oh my God! I got it! Now there are 3 sides to a story, my side, his side and the truth. I gotta tell you I think I am closer to the truth than he and I have family and friends who support this. Truth be told I should have left him years ago when all the physical and verbal abuse started. But we went to counseling and moved the marriage forward. But as the years went on there were more incidents of abusive behaviour and still I hung in. Telling myself all marriages have problems. All marriages have their issues. Dr. Robin was right, "as long as we are willing to call things anything and everything except what it is, then we allow ourselves to stay in the mess."
My husband did me a favor by leaving me. He really did. And I am able to see it now because I can speak truth to power. All this turmoil and upheaval in my life is really about preparing me for the greater days ahead. I understand that today, in this moment. I was so tortured about being left that I was willing to believe his spin about me. I almost let his shit become my reality. I almost lost my confidence in who I am and what I can do. I am a Warrior Queen.
So we have called a truce and I am committed to co-parenting. And I am moving forward on my own terms, on my own steam and on my own strength.
So thank you husband for leaving me. You have set me free in ways you could never imagine and I say THANK YOU!

Monday, November 5, 2007

FEELING LIKE THE WARRIOR QUEEN THAT I AM

Today was pretty good. My minister stopped by with a lead on a gig. I almost jumped out of my skin! Do you know what a job will mean? Anyway a woman in church heard me address the congregation before I left for my 29 days in Danbury and she was so moved by whatever it was I said. Anyway she spoke to my minister and said perhaps there might be a job where she works. Honey I called that woman today and we had a nice talk. They are launching a new initiative--now hold on and know the power of GOD, this initiative will help women who are newly released from prison or are on probation to help link them to community programs. Are you kidding! If this ain't a job for me I don't know what is! Anyway, she did say that the money was low and of course she was well aware that I could command a big salary. Are you kidding me...I have no salary at the moment. A sister ain't proud! So I am emailing my resume to her right now and if the stars are aligned and my mojo is working, I could have a job SOON! I am going to be this excited each time a job prospect comes my way. I am going to get a job!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Warriors, Come Out and Play…..

Yes, I know, I said I was finished blogging for Babz. But I need(ed) to blog about Babz. My sister thinks I am very smart and extremely talented…which is true. I’m not boasting, but I’ve long since acknowledged my talents and strengths, and am the first to identify my challenges (read weaknesses to others). However, I recognize my source of strength, or rather the foundation by which my talents and intellect were born and nurtured. My mother, brothers, sister, 6th grade teacher and my father have had the most significant impact on my life. I included my father, because the level of brutality, mean-spiritedness, and abusive behavior forms the crux of how I interact with men specifically, and people in general.

Anyway…. my sister was one of my heroes before I knew what that really meant. I couldn’t verbalize her significance in my pubescence, but began to clearly understand her impact when I reached high-school. With college, I could appreciate what having Babz for a sister was worth, and by the time I moved to NJ, knew that we were not just great sisters, but she is a best friend. Now, I don’t use the word friend lightly. I only have a few, and four of them I’ve already mentioned. My rule is, if I have more friends than fingers, I’ve got too many friends. Not that I don’t care about people, and I want them to care about me. But, I only have a few people that I know will go to battle w/ me no questions asked, or if they do ask, they ask the questions that matter, not what did I do, but what do I need now.

My Mom taught me what unconditional love looks like, feels like. If I don’t feel that, you can’t be my friend. I know some will say that’s harsh, but I don’t take friendship lightly. If you’re my friend, it’s for life. I didn’t get to choose my brothers and sister, aunts or uncles. But, I do/did get to choose my posse, my ride or die partners, my I-got-your-back-no-matter-what crew. Enough said about friendship. Now, Babz has had this episode that I think has shaken her to her core and made her doubt her capabilities. I post this for all to see. Babz is not a survivor, she is a warrior. We are warriors. Survivors… survive. Warriors survive and conquer. So, let’s kick some ass Babz. Yes, my cage has been rattled, and I want Babz and whoever else reads this blog to know this: this episode was one moment in time, one episode in the life of Babz. An anomaly. The good times are coming back around. But, I want my sister to know I love her, I adore her. I know you.

Babz, I’m sorry your marriage is ending. But it is. Let’s keep it moving. To Babz’ husband if he’s reading: too bad for you. I don’t wish you any ill will, but too bad for you. I’m sorry for the kids. I’m really pissed that the concerns you had for your marriage weren’t important enough for you to check that shit before now, before the marriage, before the kids were adopted, before the house. I have said to Babz frequently, you set the bar to high for him and now you’re tripping, not him, over the bar. So, in closing, Babz, I’ve got your back. I think you can save the house, reinvent yourself, and make six figures. Yes, I believe, because I know you. Fuck the husband, the media, and the naysayers. They don’t exist in my world and they shouldn’t exist in yours. Because at the end of the day (my favorite saying), it’s only about you…Babz. Be who you are, better yet, be the woman you want to be.

Warriors, come out and play…...

MAKING MY WAY FORWARD OR HOW I AM BECOMING THE GREATEST DRAGON SLAYER THAT EVER LIVED

So yesterday, my estranged husband comes by to give me money for the groceries. He lets himself in with keys. I decided in that moment to take the keys away. I asked for the keys to this house and keys to MY minivan. If this marriage is over...and it IS! then he can't just waltz in whenever he feels like it. There has to be rules. A couple of weeks before I left to self-surrender to the federal prison camp he stood in my kitchen in the midst of an argument about him seeing his kids on a regular basis and said to my face: I left you get over it! So this is my getting over it--give me my keys to my house, keys to my ride. Call before you come over and I will do the grocery shopping from now on.

Here's what I now for sure: I can get through this. I just went to prison. I am bankrupt and will probably lose this house. I am getting through this all. I am not broken and I am not defeated. My fighting spirit is strong.
My estranged husband is right, he left and I have to get over it. On to the next dragon!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

THE SPELL OF PRISON IS BROKEN...AND I AM SO FINE

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTED MY BLOG WHILE I WAS DOING MY TIME.

Thanks to my Sister Lo for holding it down for 29 days. She mailed me the blog entries a few times and they were really good. My sister is so talented. I must have missed that gene.

I have a lot to say about my prison camp experience, I just need a bit more time to process. I should have blogged earlier, but I couldn't. I just didn't have the nerve to do it. But here I am, today was my day to snap out of my pseudo-funk and break the spell of prison.

I am grateful to be home with my kids in familiar surroundings. I'll have more to say in the days ahead...trust that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Return of Babz

I have missed my sister. There has been a whole in my conscious realm of existence. Only recently have I hade the benefit of speaking with her. Babz returns today. Sometime after 8:30 AM, Babz will be released.

I know will she have many stories to share. I also know she will have changed. Her experience with the justice system has been a journey I’m sure she never expected to take. Still, it is my hope that she turns this experience into an asset.

Babz has repeatedly said she no longer has the desire to work with the public. I think she was burnt-out. I think Federal prison may have rattled her cage and reignited her energy, her hustle, her motivation. I hope so, ‘cause there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

For me, this will probably be my last post. To those of you that have been faithful to this blog while Babz was away, thank you for your support. Stay tuned, the transition continues….

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Faith Forward Friday (Saturday): Holler If You Hear Me…..

I haven’t been to church in years. I have been invited to church by friends for various ceremonies. But, I had planned to join a church by now. I’ve been in New Jersey for more than ten years and still haven’t made that connection. With the birth of each child, again, I thought surely I would/could find a house of worship.

I grew up going to church EVERY Sunday. Although I didn’t particularly like the church I attended, I did feel a part of a larger community that believed in God and all that entailed. When I became a teenager, my mother allowed me to decide if I wanted to continue at that church, join another, or not go. I frequented my grandmother’s church because the choir was the best in town. But, I never joined a church through baptism.

I am a spiritual person and have studied different religions. I take what works for me and incorporate those practices into my life and believe I am passing universal truths and lessons to my children. Still, I would like them to have the experience of the ritual of church sermons, bile study, maybe even bible camp. It’s not my lack of faith that keeps me from church, it’s my lack of belief and trust in those that lead. I have met only a few religious leaders with which I would entrust the spiritual development of my children. I don’t like being yelled at, or victimized by the fire and brimstone speech. I don’t like cliques, especially at church where I expect members to have a greater appreciation and understanding of acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.

Now, some who know me find it puzzling that I would even entertain the idea of church, on a Sunday, since that’s football’s day during the fall. However, any church that I’ve attended and would/have considered have early sessions that would get me home before 1 PM (kickoff time).

Anyway… I’ll find something. Sometimes, there is no substitute for sitting in a house of worship and feeling the power of belief released in waves across the congregation. Not the jump around, fall on the floor belief; but that quiet, nod your head or smile belief because the sermon was seemingly directed at you, without judgment, but with care and concern.

Holler if ya hear me…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Opportunity Knocked and Broke Down My Door….

I’ve stopped watching TV. Not because there isn’t anything to watch. I do like several shows - Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Life, K-Ville and a few things on the Discovery Channel. Thank God for Tivo! I couldn’t possibly watch everything if I couldn’t fast forward through the commercials. But still that’s not why I’m not watching.

In the past ten days, I’ve received every contract I applied for. Can you believe it? Every one!!! Now, I had hoped to get two or three, in the best case scenario I dreamed of four. I have FIVE contracts. I have five contracts that require my time simultaneously. So, I don’t have time to watch TV. I’ve turned my TV off because I’ve been using TV as a crutch, a way to pass the time instead of doing the things I know I should be doing and the things I say I want to do.

I’m not complaining. But, my husband got me thinking when he asked me “are you prepared for the success awaiting you?” Of course I adamantly replied, “Yes.” Then I thought about it – am I really prepared?

I know I have an awesome skill set and work ethic. I know my strengths and challenges. Most importantly, I know what I want. Still, the little voice in my head asks, “are you really prepared to make the sacrifices you regularly speak about to others? Are you really willing to rise to the occasion and forgo the comforts you have come to know, and enjoy?” I believe I am. But today, at this moment, “The work” I so frequently refer to in conversation is here and needs to be done. It needs to be done right, the first time. My professional reputation is gaining the respect I envisioned. But to move to the next level, that level I have seen myself moving towards for years is here, right now. I am both excited and apprehensive.

Damn, the opportunities are….here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rambling Thoughts about ….Road Rage?

I haven’t blogged in almost a week. I meant to. I had plans to. But it didn’t happen.. again. I could make lots of excuses, and have. So, I’ve decided to just write about whatever pops into my head as I write this post.

For past postings for Love Babz, I knew exactly what I wanted to say. Now, my mind is filled with all my new contracts. Yes, I’ve been blessed with two new contracts that will keep me busy through March 2008. I love when all the effort you put into something materializes just when you think, “Well, I guess that’s not gonna happen.” And then, you get a phone call or an email or some communication stating that “we couldn’t possibly do this project without you.” Yes, my mind is on work and the possibilities of new work and how all that work (at good pay) will help me return to some semblance of financial stability.

I could write about how I hate that our society is more prone to believe what they see someone say on TV, as opposed to believing what they see like the Rodney King beating. I could query why political pundits spend so much time analyzing politicians and not enough time helping Joe and Jane Public decipher the politics of politics. I’ve even thought about a campaign to place all cars a device that automatically disengages a vehicle if it fails to signal before a turn. Better yet, I’d rather have an ordinance that would provide me with a monster truck to aggressively pursue people who don’t use turn signals or who flick cigarettes from their car windows instead of using their ashtray.

Well, see, I had more to say than I thought.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

True Love Tuesday: Love Money Can Buy

I’m a consultant. There is a certain pleasure I derive from being my own business entity and commodity. I work my own hours, at my own pace, and wear whatever I want to get the job done. The thing I love about consulting is that I can ramp up for a project that is finite. If anyone wants more of my services, they know that they have to pay for it - which is always good.

Now, sometimes I have to take a job for the money…because I need to pay bills. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with good jobs, but sometimes those jobs are few and far between. In the past few months there have been times when I thought I would be working for Target or Home Depot at anytime. I’m not opposed to working; I’ve been working since I was thirteen. I know how to hustle multiple so-so paying jobs with low-wage jobs. I’ve done retail, custodial, and childcare.


But now, finally, I feel like my talents are being appreciated with the appropriate compensation I heard tell about some years ago with the go-to-college-and-do-good- things speech. I believe if you have talent and are steadfast, opportunities will find you. I love the whole karma thing. So, yes, a good contract that allows me to showcase my skills and pays top dollar, well that’s a love money can buy for me ANYTIME!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Faith Forward Friday: Ask and Ye Shall Receive ….to a point

I’m a consultant. My specialty areas are project management, project evaluation and performance management. My three areas of expertise are linked – effective management will include ample opportunities for internal evaluations that (should) lead to a continuous improvement loop. My faith is similarly appointed.

I pray for things that make sense to me – incredible health for family and friends, viable contracts to do good work, patience (always patience) and wisdom. I have on a few occasions asked to win the lottery or have someone removed from my life (not dead, just exit my realm of existence). I haven’t won the lottery, but a few folks have moved on to other locations – some in this world, others in the “spirit” world.

Anyway… this week I received news about a contract which was pending for several months. It’s a great contract because it will allow me work 2-3 days a week as opposed to five days and a part-time job to meet household expenses. Well, when it rains, it pours – for me anyway. I received a call from another organization that I have consulted with (love them because they pay top dollar!) and was asked if I was amenable to working for them again. On top of that, an organization I thought I probably would not ever work with again contacted me, not about work, but the conversation was pleasant.

I have been smiling like a Cheshire Cat all day. I got what I asked for, what I prayed for. What I take away from moments like this is that I never wavered in what I needed. I want a lot of things – weekly spa retreats, a bigger house with weight room, and manageable hair. But, I nver wavered in asking for what was important to me.

Now, I must digress for a moment. I used to have the kind of hair and haircut that would make people stop and notice – healthy hair with a sharp haircut. I’m six feet tall, so an excellent haircut just accentuated my stature.

Back to the blessings. Instead of quick wealth, I always asked for sustainable wealth; opportunities for me to work at the things I wanted to be doing, but also with an accommodating salary. This week I feel that I’m on my way…making my prayers and dreams a reality. Oh, I’ve worked hard, sometimes for free. But, I always knew and know that my blessings are opportunities, I must be steadfast and diligent with my efforts to move to the levels of personal success and personal fulfillment that I desire.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

True Love Tuesday: What Do You Want…Today?

I awoke this morning, somewhat stressed and bothered. Stressed that I’m not doing the things I really want to be doing when I want. I know that sounds childish, even selfish. Still, the obligations that await me daily are sometimes overwhelming and sometimes just… overwhelmingly boring.

I like adventure and being impromptu, but I also like routine. I like certain things to stay on schedule – like bedtime for my boys, dinner during the week, and knowing that on Sundays in September though December, I’m watching football.. ALL DAY.

Anyway, this morning I was annoyed that my oldest son was not doing what I had asked him to do to get ready for school. It’s a common occurrence, but today it just really annoyed me. I get that he’s four and his focus is on playing, or rather, occupying his time with the things that he deems more important than following my commands. He was about to blow our morning routine.

The request this morning that became the bane of my existence at 8:30 AM was Buddy Bear. Buddy Bear is a stuffed animal that each child in my son’s Pre-K class takes home to care for and reports to the class the next morning all the things they did. Well Buddy Bear was lying on the floor without his blanket. “Where’s Buddy Bear?” I asked, knowing exactly where he was and how blanketless he was. My son replied, “I don’t know, can you help me find him?” I explained to him that he needed to be more responsible for his things, like keeping his sneakers together so we don’t have to hunt for them in the morning, or putting his toys away, consistently keeping his room clean – I could (did) go on and on. When I had finished, my son smiled at me and asked again, “Mom, can you help me find Buddy Bear?”

In that moment I(re)learned a valuable lesson – ask for what you need. My son wisely ignored my rant and focused solely on what he needed at that moment: Buddy Bear. Now, I realize that an adult life is much more complicated than child’s (the whole work and debt thing). But, his steadfastness and forgiving tone was more resolute than my whining.

At times, I have been slow in asking for help. I have repeatedly (re)learned to take it from wherever it comes. I’m not a supermom, although today my sons beg to differ. Whatever crisis of boredom or frustration I have because of choices I have made are mine to resolve. This morning I realized (again) that what’s happening at this moment is more important than what could happen tomorrow. Knowing what is needed today and asking for it today is wise.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Faith Forward Friday: That’s the Truth, Ruth

I believe in a God. Yes, I believe that there is a higher power moving through the universe, a positive force (goodness) that ALWAYS trumps negative energy (evil). Now, I don’t claim any particular religion, because I don’t believe I need an intermediary to get access to my God. However, I will concede at times that an intermediary, in whatever fashion – be they called priest, reverend, rabbi, or friend – is necessarily helpful with my communication.

Each morning when I awake, I lay still in the bed and give thanks for all that I have and pray for the wisdom and guidance to do all that I must. I’ve been thinking that keeping the positive energy flowing toward and around me (blessings) require the appropriate actions and deeds. I try to keep it simple – do unto others…, say what I mean, mean what I say, and keep the lying to the bare minimum. I really don’t have a problem with lying. Most people that seek my advice and/or support do so because they know they’ll get just that – the unadulterated truth. That’s not to say that I’m not tactful, just snarkily honest.

When I was a teenager, I took bible study with my sister. One of the most important lessons for me was that once you know something to be true, you can’t ignore it anymore. You can’t pretend that you didn’t know, or fake it. Because then Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” would prove to be … true. Now, I do believe that most of society resides in Plato's proverbial cave; again by choice. It's easier to ignore the truth than to deny it, becuase denying it would mean you'd have to think about it, then present a cogent argument for refuting it, AND then do something about it (whatever it is).


I spend a lot of time thinking about truth and what that means and it’s relativity from one situation to the next. One thing I know for sure (ode to Oprah) is that when truth is not readily accepted, it’s because it’s not what’s really wanted. We say we want to know things, we want the truth. But what is really sought is a truth that is recognizable and palatable. A truth that is conveniet and comforting. I don't want a convenient and comforting truth. I want the usually painful, often distateful, sometimes burdening, but always cleasning truth. And that's the truth, Ruth.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

True Love Tuesday (on Thursday): Are You Ready for Some Football?

I love football. I get anxious about the season right around June. I spend hours talking with my brothers and husband about the trades, acquisitions, the ads; I can have a conversation about just anything about football. I can always tell when a special season is on the horizon because the weather behaves and accommodates my sense of fall, which includes a slight crispness in the air. Unfortunately, this is not one of those seasons. Still, I believe that the possibility for greatness exists if the players cooperate, which continues to feed my passion for the sport.

See, like life, there are external forces (weather, turf/field, referees, fans) that can impact our actions and choices. Still, the choice to excel and succeed is ultimately ours. Lou Holtz (former Notre Dame Football coach) recently gave a speech about champions vs. winners. What I got from his musings was that champions expect to win and play accordingly because they make the effort to be prepared; while winners are usually talented, but play not to lose. I think if you love what you’re doing, it’s not a chore or a job, but an essential part of who you are and you prepare yourself accordingly. If you’re a professional football player you should be watching tape, taking advice or whatever is needed to make you a better player (without cheating). Champions know that with success much more work is required to prevent mediocrity and complacency. Champions exude confidence, so much so that their opponents expect them to win, even if the score says otherwise.

I believe I have a champion attitude. In my professional capacity, I need to show up prepared when scheduled. I can’t say, “Oops, I’m sorry can I get a do over? I was out late last night partying, because that was WAY more important to me at the time than this job.” Now, that works if you really don’t want your job, but what if you do? What if it’s not a job, but a friend, spouse, child, or ___________? You could fill in the blank with anything you’d like, because if was important to you, you’d find a way to prepare yourself to do what was needed to excel and succeed. Hence, True Love Tuesday on Thursday! Excuses only work for young children. Now, I may not have the making for a dynasty yet (one of those teams that’s a juggernaut in whatever they do Boston Celtics [pre 80’s], Yankees, Green Bay Packers [12 NFL titles], or the Chicago Bulls).

So, I’m taking my own advice and making it work for me as a guest blogger for Babz. I dropped the ball, but I’m still here willing and ready to fiercely participate – ‘cause that what champs do.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What the Hell is Snarky?

I spoke to Babz this morning. She was expecting my call. Actually she and my brother (Uncle Robert) were estimating my call. See, I have a routine where I call Babz and/or my brother after I drop my son off at school. Anyway…. they were en route to Danbury.

At one point the conversation turned to what she’d wear upon release. I asked, “What difference does it make? Can’t you just wear your khaki’s home? Why waste time changing clothes? What… you have an interview or appointment scheduled?” Then she called me snarky. “You’re being real snarky today.” Snarky? Snarky? “What the hell is snarky?” I asked. She enlightened me that I was being sassy in blog speak. Of course, I immediately Googled the word to learn its meaning and usage (it’s a habit of mine – if I don’t know I find out through the internet). So, yes, I was being snarky or rudely sarcastic.

Our conversation ended with the mutual “I love you” and a joke about calling when she could. My brother escorted her inside. I asked him if she was alright, “did she cry?” “No,” he replied. “I told her yesterday that if she did, I’d laugh at her.” Babz, my brother and I chatted about this day of surrender. She vehemently stated that she wanted to be strong and not cry. My brother told her that her strength comes from experience – she’s known hardship and anguish. She should take this moment in time and use it to her advantage. Get her head right, and get back to her trailblazing ways.

SEE YOU LATER ALLIGATOR...

...BACK IN AWHILE CROCODILE. See you all in 30 days, however in the meantime, my Sister Lo will be holding it down.

Love,
Babz

Friday, September 28, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: BLOG REVIEW

I started this blog June 2, 2007 with my first post at 4:48 am. I started this blog because I was so filled with fear and anger that I just wanted to release it to the universe. I was living with crippling heartache and self doubt. Suicide was a viable option. I knew I had to do something and I knew it had to have immediate effects. My blog surpassed my wildest dreams. I could not believe the heartfelt posts from complete strangers who wished me well, prayed for me and sent me links to continue my spiritual growth. This blog coupled with my in-my-face friends have turned me around and pointed me in the right direction. This blog has been a lifeline for me. Over 400 folks have stopped by to check my profile and many check me on a regular basis. I have not had one bad post/comment. I have made friends blogging, folks who are facing issues more compelling than mine and they graciously show me how to move forward. I have found some blogs that have changed my life and made me truly believe that blogging is what I ought to be doing. I love this blogging world, I love my voice in it. This blog has been a life saver and chill pill. It is my goal to move from A Life in Transition, to a Transitioned Life. I am on the right path. And thanks to all the folks who believe I matter and are watching prayerfully for my success.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I’m Heeere!

When my sister Babz asked me to fill in her absence, I hesitated. “Babz, I can’t commit to that, I don’t have enough time in my day.” I replied. How could I possibly find time to write about my thoughts on something without distraction – daily!?!! While I do spend considerable time using my computer and searching the internet, it's usually conducting research for work (or home remodeling projects). I have two new contracts which require my immediate attention, both my boys have been battling colds for the past two weeks and I need to finish reconstructing my fireplace. (sigh) Then I realized we find the time for the things that matter to us.

I make time for pro-football EVERY year. So much so that family and friends know NOT to call between 1-6 PM on Sundays in September through December (and sometimes Sunday nights!). When I gave birth to my first son on a Thursday night in November, I told my doctor and the attending nurses that I needed to he home by Sunday 1PM – I was.

So, this is important to Babz - which makes it important to me. I've promised to make time to maintain the vehicle that has provided her a source of strength and reflection. I will do my best to maintain the standard she has set and will communicate as frequently as possible, with the promise of at least three times a week. Check me next week.

INTRODUCING SISTER LO

HOORAY YAHOO

My Sister Lo will guest blog for me while I am contemplating my being in federal prison. My Best Friend Ron, declined and not because he didn't want to. He is technologically challenged. No really, it would take him 30 days to figure out how to get on, post and check other sites. I knew this would be the case when I asked him so I wasn't hoping against hope. I am so happy that my Sister Lo is going to blog--I know she will love it. She has let me know that she can't do it everyday, but she could commit to twice a week--but I think she will do more---I am hoping.
She will talk about whatever she likes, I will write to her and if she wants she can update my blog with my notes from prison. My Sister is very opinionated and will have lots to say on many things. So check her out--I will see if I can get her to post something today or at the very least before I self-surrender on Monday. Her profile is up so feel free to check her out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: UNDESERVED FORGIVENESS

My Minister, Reverend Rochelle Stackhouse preached a moving sermon September 16, 2007 titled: Undeserved Forgiveness. Here it is in its entirety. It may seem long--please stick with it, I think you will find as I did that it speaks to a place so deep and sacred that you will immediately be renewed. And feel free to share with folks. Of course I could have linked it--if I knew how to do that. I just like having it right here without clicking to it.


Undeserved Forgiveness
Exodus 32:7-14, I Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10
September 16, 2007
Rochelle A. Stackhouse

www.uccredeemer.org

Draco Malfoy. Isn’t that a great name, Draco Malfoy? The name has its linguistic roots in words that mean Dragon of Bad Faith. Draco Malfoy is one of the people you love to hate in the Harry Potter books. He’s obnoxious, mean, petty, cruel, sneaky and likes to dabble in evil magic; he’s the epitome of the school bully. All through the first 6 books of the series, many of us were just waiting for Draco and his even nastier father, Lucius Malfoy, to get what was coming to them in the final book.

But there we were given a surprise by the author, J. K. Rowling, and I’m not giving away a crucial plot point here for those who still haven’t read the final book. Our hero, Harry Potter, saves the life of Draco Malfoy twice in the climactic final scenes of the story, once at great risk to his own life and to the horror of his friend, Ron Weasley. And probably to the disappointment of many readers who were hoping Draco would get paid back for all he had done to Harry over the years.

Harry, clearly, was operating under a different sense of what is “fair” and “just” than many of his readers or his classmates at Hogwarts. In that way, he is like Moses in this curious little scene we witness in the story from Exodus, or like Jesus in the way he treats Saul, now Paul, the formerly zealous and venomous persecutor of Christians in the early church, as described in the Timothy reading. Not only do the faithless (“malfoy?”) people of Israel not get destroyed, as many of them might deserve, not only does Paul not get punished for his harm to the early church, but Moses and Jesus go out of their way to try to save the nasty, the faithless, the evil.

Look at Moses. God has made him a pretty good offer. “How about if I get rid of this people who have been a pain in your neck since before you led them out of Egypt and find you a people who would be more cooperative for you and faithful to me?” A tempting offer, no doubt. But Moses doesn’t even consider it. He pleads with God not to harm the people, and he does so by appealing to the very nature of God. He tells God that it would be inconsistent with who God is as one who is loving, merciful and patient, the one the Psalmist describes as “not dealing with us according to our sins or repaying us for wrong-doing.” “Remember who you are, O God,” Moses says, “and act accordingly.” So God does, and sends Moses with the Ten Commandments to give the people yet another opportunity to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with their God.” Not only does God forgive these people undeservedly, but God actively seeks after them to help them turn from their ways and live. A whole nation whose religious life has turned from faithlessness to faithfulness is pardoned and sought out; because God still hopes they may hear the words of justice and love and respond to them.

God does this a lot in the Bible. If you remember the little story of Jonah, you’ll remember that Jonah did not want to follow God’s command and travel far to Nineveh, (in modern day Iraq, by the way), to a people who were so mean and immoral that Jonah wanted God to fry them with a righteous and holy and vengeful fire. But God instead used Jonah to seek them out and call them back to faithfulness, hoping they would respond. God sent prophet after prophet to the Hebrew people every time they turned away to chase after them and try to bring them home. And when all that seemed to fail, God came in person, in Jesus, who went out of his way to seek out the lost, the sinners, those rejected by their neighbors and families, those of bad reputations and many sins. God does this because it is in God’s very nature to do so.

Jesus is trying to explain this when he tells these two little stories about sheep and coins, and then the parable of the Prodigal Son which follows. Notice that the shepherd doesn’t wait for the sheep to come home, saying, “stupid sheep; if she doesn’t know enough to stay with the flock, then she deserves to die. I can’t be bothered to go and find her. It’s up to her to find me.” Notice that the woman doesn’t just sit and wait for the coin to roll out from under some furniture or tumble out of a pocket in her apron. Both the shepherd and the woman search diligently, believing that a single sheep or a single coin is worth finding and bringing back into the community from which it came. After the lost are found, the response of the seeker is not to devise deep punishments for the foolish ones who are lost, but to rejoice that the lost have been returned to those who can love and care for them, that the community is reconciled and restored. The nature of God is to want the community to be whole, for it is only together, God knows, that each of us can come to our own wholeness, can receive mercy, can live into the abundant life God yearns to celebrate with us.

God is the seeker. What God calls us to do is to cooperate with grace, both the grace offered to us as individuals and the grace that is offered to others, individuals or groups of people, as in the case of the Hebrew nation wandering in the wilderness with Moses.

God knows, this is not easy to do. We are a suspicious people. Sometimes we cannot believe that God would so eagerly seek us out and so willingly forgive us, and so we lay on ourselves guilt and burdens that we could easily let down. Sometimes, like Jonah or Ron Weasley or the Pharisees and unlike Moses and Harry Potter and Jesus, we don’t want God to go seeking after those who have broken the rules, those who have hurt us or others, those who seem to be so evil. We want punishment, justice, we say, let them fry or at least not be accepted into our community. People who don’t deserve forgiveness shouldn’t get it, because it will seem like we condone what they do.

Yet neither God nor Moses condoned what the Hebrew people did by making that calf. God did not condone Paul’s persecution of Christians. The shepherd does not say to the sheep, “O, it’s okay, you go and wander, and it doesn’t matter.” This is not about condoning what is wrong. It’s about putting the wholeness of a person or a community or a nation above seeking punishment or vengeance. It’s about cooperating with grace.

I learned this in an interesting way when I was in seminary studying for the ministry. One of my classmates at Princeton was a man named Jeb Stuart Magruder. For some of you, that name will mean nothing, but for those who remember Richard Nixon and the Watergate hearings in the 1970’s, that name may ring a bell. Magruder served in the first Nixon administration and then as deputy chair of the committee to re-elect the President. He was the second person convicted and sentenced in the scandal around the theft and spying in the Watergate building offices of the Democratic National Committee. He served time in federal prison for a felony. Believe me, this was all still very present in the nation in 1979 when I went to Princeton. There were a number of fellow students (and perhaps some faculty) who did not trust him, who did not believe that this man who had so misused immense power on a national scale could have had a quick turnaround and now be a man of faith, to be trusted with the care of a congregation and fit to be called “pastor.” Couldn’t this smooth political operator be snowing all of us at this nice, naïve seminary?

Perhaps. But Jeb Magruder had a very strong sense of being sought after by God, and his road to ordination (he became a Presbyterian minister and has served several churches) was his response to being sought by God. The most challenging thing about becoming a pastor for him was not the study of Greek and Hebrew or thinking about the hours of pastoral care or the pain of sitting beside someone who had experienced a tragedy in their lives; the hardest part was the constant experience of having church people reject him as a sinner before they ever knew him as a human being.

God knows, it is not easy to cooperate with undeserved, exuberant, irrational grace. We tell our children every day to make the right kinds of friends and not hang out with the bad crowd (and really, that’s exactly what the Pharisees told people about prostitutes and corrupt government officials like tax collectors). But we also believe in and serve a God who, while on earth, constantly hung out with troubled and troublesome people in the hope that they would let him pick them up, drape them around his shoulders, and lead them back into the community of the safe and loved. Sometimes they responded; sometimes they betrayed him. Jesus felt it was worth the effort if only one lost sheep came home.

To those of you here today, then, who may feel you are beyond hope for the grace of God or of the Christian community, I say you are here this morning because God seeks after you and led you here to become one with us. To those of you here today who are among the 99 sheep still in community with one another and with God, I say that we need to be as zealous as that shepherd or that woman in Jesus’ stories (or Harry Potter, for that matter) in cooperating with God’s irrational, undeserved grace toward individuals and even nations whom we perceive to be beyond redemption. From the time of Adam and Eve in the garden, hiding after eating that apple, to this very day, God is still seeking. That, my friends, is the best news of all. Rejoice.

Monday, September 24, 2007

NEW SONIFIC MUSIC TO THE RIGHT: ALL GOSPEL!

This week I thought I would play nothing but Gospel music. Old School, New Age, Comtemporary, Smooth Jazz. I find it to be healing, restorative and joyful.
I NEED THIS THIS WEEK...SIGH...SMILE.

THE COUNT DOWN IS ON...YIKES!

Next Monday, Oct 1, 2007 I will self-surrender to a federal prison facility to start my 30 day sentence. But I am not there yet. I have today, tomorrow and the remainder of the week to get my proverbial house in order. I have to make lists for my estranged husband. I have to make lists for my brother, their Uncle Robert who will take to them to music lessons on Wednesdays. I have to make instructions for pick-up for Aunt Betty, who will pick them up everyday except Wednesday. I have to give contact info to my girlfriends Karen and Robin and make sure my sister Lo has everything because she is the back-up in NJ. I have to make blog-log instructions for my sister Lo and my best friend Ron--Yep they are going to guest blog for me while I am away. I am already feeling overwhelmed, I need a list to keep straight about the list I have to make. I am not nervous or scared yet, I am just trying to remember all that I have to do to make sure the kids are taken care of. I am keeping in the front of my mind that the hardest part is over--the waiting and the not knowing what will happen. I have been sentenced and I will be doing my time in 7 days. Doing the time is the beginning of the end of all this shit. And that my friend is joyous!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

JAZZ SUNDAY...HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLTRANE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN COLTRANE!

XM SATELLITE RADIO IS DOING A ALL DAY LONG TRIBUTE TO JOHN COLTRANE.
XM 70 REAL JAZZ.

I am cooking barbecue beef ribs-with a citrus barbecue sauce, curry rice with red beans and a vegetable medley-yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and zucchini. Soul the way I like it!

Friday, September 21, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: KEEPING MY EYES ON THE PRIZE

I am not thinking too much about my self-surrender date. I have been focusing on other things. There is no reason to agonize over going to prison. That will take care of itself--all I have to do is show up. I am however thinking about November 1st and what I will need to do to pack up this house. Yes, I am still sorrowful about losing my house--but again there is nothing I can do, it will take care of itself. I am focusing on my future and thinking about all the things I want to accomplish. I am keeping my eye on the prize--an old civil rights saying. Keeping my eyes on the prize and holding on! I am looking at my children more closely and trying to hug them more without freaking them out. Today is my son's birthday--and he was supposed to take cupcakes to school to share with his class, but the last couple of days he has been acting out--so I took away his cupcakes. I told him the other day "Gregory, you are not keeping your eyes on the prize" He got it, but still did his own thing--which got him into trouble. Anyway, that's where I am today, trying to imagine my life after Oct 30Th and you know it looks pretty good in spite of...well everything.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

MEME VIRGIN NO LONGER...THANKS LAURIE!

I am new to this tagging thing, and I am intrigued by it so:
OK, here are the rules:
1) link to you tagger and post rules;
2)share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird
3)tag 7 people at the end of your post--list names;
4)let them know you tagged them by leaving them a comment on their blog--and hope they don't kick your ass.

My tagger--Laurie of http://www.notjustaboutcancer.blogspot.com/ this courageous woman tagged me and I am honored that she even reads my blog--so thank you Laurie.

1) I am a chef by trade--yes I went to a vocational, technical High School where I studied culinary arts for 4 years--My diploma is in culinary arts. I won awards for decorating-using sugar and french techniques--don't ask...eek! I dreamed of being an executive chef on a cruise ship.

2) I worked on the Grammy Awards when they were NYC before they got pissed off with Mayor Giuliani and moved to LA--Janet Jackson was my assigned celebrity that was a client of the PR firm I worked for. I was in charge of getting her ready for the press after she accepted her award--if she got one. She did and she refused to talk the press--she just stood there with a smile and a blank stare. I was mortified and caught hell because she wouldn't talk to the press--after I spend all that fucking time with her prepping.

3)I am mortally allergic to milk proteins, dairy, casein.--I have been in comas from eating dairy products. EGGS ARE NOT INCLUDED.

4)I love big band music.

5)I had cervical cancer when I was 22 yrs old. I participated in a clinical trial that was designed to preserve my reproductive system. It didn't work. I cannot have children.

6)I like tasteful pornography and erotica.

7)I felt my mother's death. I was in Grad school-commuting to NYC every day from CT. I remember waking up and knowing my mother had died. I got ready to catch my train, I told my husband to go to my mother's townhouse and check on her if she is dead then call my Sister and Brothers. I purposely left my cellphone off the entire day. When I got home My husband was waiting to tell me my mother had died and that he had found her just as I said. I have been clairvoyant all of my life.

Here are my 7 folks I am tagging:
This chick is hot and has a great perspective on life as a single woman--and she is so much fun http://www.confessionsofabottleblonde.blogspot.com/. http://www.mochamomma.com/ is a Sister with a great blog on life as a teacher/administrator/mother/woman of color. This is one of my faves. http://www.piecake.blogspot.com/ are my new best friends in Australia--they take some of the most beautiful photographs. http://www.ndelible.blogspot.com/ a Sister who keeps it real. Sister friend Two Feathers over at http://www.mandalamadness.blogspot.com/ she has the most beautiful art work that you will ever see--the lost art of mandalas is something to behold. http://www.goteeman.blogspot.com/ the only man in my bunch, but certainly no lightweight--he is a fellow journeyman on the road to self awareness. And last but not least, http://www.compassionate-news.blogspot.com/ if you are in need of a spiritual pick me up this is the site. Good news all the time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: BEING STILL

Each action and choice, each decision I made brought me to NOW. My first instinct is to strike out against the tide. I wanted to try to change the outcomes by doing something. I wanted to change everything by doing anything. I worried myself sick trying to analyze my way out of my mess. But here comes the grace: I sat still and let the hand of God move me forward. There is grace and divinity in being still. Not spending time trying to figure out every angle, trying to lobby God through prayer. Using prayer as a bargaining tool rather than a tool to center one's self. I learned to be still, to let go and let God. Being still does not mean doing nothing. It doesn't mean allowing your life to spiral out of control. Being still is not being inactive. For me, being still, quieting my mind and tuning out the world's chatter is about turning up the volume to hear God's whisper. Worrying is exhausting and draining and it accomplishes nothing. I caught myself still worrying about this house and I had to force myself back into reminding myself that losing the house is small. And that I will be OK. I am back to being still and that is priceless.

Friday, September 14, 2007

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: I AM MORE THAN MY WORST MOMENT

I am coming into my own. What I know now at 44 is so different than what I thought I knew at 24 and 34. I am more confident about who I am. I can depend on me. I am not helpless and I am not mindless. This season of my life is one of the best. I know I have a lot going on and a lot to deal with. I am handling it all in stride. None of this stuff killed me. None of this stuff takes away from all the cool stuff I have done in my life. I have stood in the Oval Office with then President Bill Clinton, talking about early childhood education. I have helped bring the Jacob Lawrence exhibit to NYC MoMA. I have worked backstage at the Essence Awards with Oprah hosting. I have adopted 4 children. I have taught business courses on the college level. I coordinated a hot line for our local Rape Crisis Center. I was sexually abused as a child. I have delivered meals to people shut in with AIDS and HIV. I have volunteered for years with Habitat for Humanity. I was elected to public office twice. I was a police commissioner. I committed a federal white collar crime. I am not the sum total of my worst days, there is so much more to me and that is where my faith resides; in all the best I have to offer. My best days are just up over the hill and I am ready...almost.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

THIS IS MY STORY AND I AM STICKING TO IT: TELLING MY KIDS ABOUT MY UPCOMING 30 DAY ABSENCE

We have decided not to tell our 4 kids the whole truth about where I will be for the month of October. After long conversations with their pediatrician, mental health professionals and family members, we have decided to tell them that I will be away working on a project for my job. Now I am sure many will say why wouldn't I just them them the truth--that I am going to prison. Well, since my children were adopted from the foster care system, they all have issues of abandonment and for three of them their biological parent went to jail and never saw them again. So they will associate jail with being abandoned. Each one of them has a story of abuse and abandonment and I did not want to undo all the progress we made with each one of them. Margeaux is a little different, she arrived as a newborn so I am the only mother she has ever known, and she is aware that she is adopted and that does cause her a bit of anxiety that we are working on. When I was an elected politician, I went to week-long conferences all over the country several times a year, so they have experienced me not being home. This was not a decision we made lightly; we weighed all the pros and cons. We purposely waited until I received my official letter directing my self-surrender. Last Sunday I sat them down and told them I was going away for about 30 days. I sort of down played it so they wouldn't get anxious or freaked out and I reminded them of all the times I went away before. I reassured them that their Dad and Uncle Robert would be home to take care of them. They seemed OK. I have about 2 weeks before October 1 so this will give me time to continue to reassure them. This is not easy no matter how you slice this. My first priority is the protection, care and concern of my children. Now there are pitfalls, people can be mean and self-righteous, someone could easily confront them or whisper to them or whisper to their kids and their kids confront my kids. I am aware of this. As a matter of fact I have friends who's kids are friends with my kids. They have felt it necessary for whatever reasons to share with their kids some of this drama--I don't know why. I can only concern myself with my kids and what I choose to tell them. Someday they will get the whole story from me...I look forward to telling them. But now is not that time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: I GET TO DECIDE WHO I WANT TO BE

I get it. I get to decide who I want to be. I get to decide how I feel about me. I get to decide how I feel about everything. Regardless of what is written about me, it is not my truth. It is merely someone's interpretation of who they think I am. And I do not have to accept it. I do not have to give energy to it and I do not have to try to change their mind about who I am. To get to this stage and thinking is quite liberating. Don't get me wrong I am new to this and and each day I grow more and more into myself. I am not going to get stuck on being labeled a felon. I am not going to get stuck on the fact that I committed a crime, lied about it and tried to cover it up. The facts are this, I am going to prison for it, I am making restitution for it, I am losing my home, I have lost a few friends and still, I GET TO DECIDE WHO I WANT TO BE. I am not wearing anybody's judgement of me. I am not accepting poor treatment from anybody because they think I am dirt, I am not going to beat myself up over this anymore. I am putting away my boxing gloves, whipping stick and broken glass. I am done with self imprisonment, I am done with trying to prove to people that I am sorry, that I am remorseful. I am taking back my life and my dreams. I am deciding who I want to be and that starts today.

Prayers to all the families who lost loved ones on September 11.