Thursday, July 31, 2008

BLOGGING WHILE BROWN 08: ATLANTA ENCHANTED PART 1























First off I must have been a southern woman in a past life...I am certain of it. My smile widened from the moment I stepped off the plane. Atlanta is seductive. I am still intoxicated with its beauty, hospitality and vibe.
When I signed on to attend the Blogging While Brown conference my motives weren't purely about the conference...I had other delusions of a tryst of a romantic nature. That notion was a bust, but the conference became the thing I most enjoyed. That and meeting some of the most gracious and welcoming folks on the planet! More about Tony OH, Torrance aka Raw Dawg Buffalo, Sista GP, and Mizrepresent in tomorrow's post...they need their own post!
The conference was a great success for its debut. I think Gina McCauley, of What About Our Daughters is a jewel and phenomenal talent. She convened an interesting mix of Black/Brown bloggers who are really making this blogging thing work for them in a very lucrative way. I swear there was a lot of technical information that really was quite overwhelming and I certainly could have used a blogging terms 101. I followed along and was quite pleased with the information I did come away with.
Now there are 2 parts to my Atlanta trip the conference and the in-between-and-after-conference experience. I have photos to reflect both. Today I am highlighting the conference and some of it will overlap with tomorrow's post about the second part of my Atlanta experience. There is no way I can adequately capture my deep and abiding feelings for the friends I have made in Atlanta or the love I have for this very glamorous and gracious city.

I am looking forward to the Blogging While Brown Conference next year...no matter where it will be held. And I certainly will be back to Atlanta...soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BLOGHER 08...HANGING WITH THE PRINCESS







While I was in San Francisco for the BlogHer conference I spent the day with Princess Tinybutt. She and her husband Juan and their beautiful daughter ladybug picked me up at my Hotel. Juan and Ladybug went off to explore the day and the Princess and I hit the road. I drove! I drove all around San Francisco...like a native baby! Oh and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge! Oh I imagined I could hear the theme from Taxi in the background! We dined on soul food...yes in Oakland! It was delicious! The Princess can EAT! Yes she is TINY...but she can EAT!

I loved every minute with her! Hanging with her was the highlight of my San Francisco trip!




Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BLOGHER 08...OR WHY I LOVE WOMEN















I am still reeling from all the extreme traveling of the last 2 weeks. Going to San Francisco to attend BlogHer 08 was AMAZING! Being in the company of so many talented and funny and wild and wonderful women was a dream come true. I can't remember when I had such a good time. I mean the swag, the parties, the parties, the PARTIES! Hey I missed the cheeseburger party...I arrived just as security broke it up...yeah it was like that! The Macy's party was off the chain! Shoes, wine, handbags, lingerie, snacks and KY Jelly...WTF! Oh and a DJ!...IN MACY'S!
The conference itself never missed a beat, they thought of everything...I mean everything from a spa room---which almost sent me into orgasm--that head massage was the SHIT! to Sesame Street...yes Sesame Street with Grover...yes the REAL Grover!

The sessions was really good. I tried to hit as many as I could. If only my wonder woman powers worked outside of my house I could have hit 'em all! High fives to my Panel: What We Believe: Blogging as a Healing Force. Our panel was intensely emotional and moving and uplifting. I loved each and everyone one of the dynamic women who courageously shared their stories. I was supposed to bear witness and I did.

So here are a few of my favorite pics! Tomorrow I will talk about the Blogging While Brown Conference and my love affair with Atlanta!




Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I LEFT MY HEART IN...

Tomorrow I am off to the Blogher Conference in San Francisco . This is remarkable on so many levels. For one, last year this time I was waiting on sentencing. My attorney thought perhaps I would have to do 6-9 months in federal prison. The maximum sentence was 14 months. Needless to say I was overwhelmed. I am still not ready to talk about what that meant and how I felt. The thing that is remarkable to me is that I remember stumbling upon Blogher.com. I joined just as they were announcing their conference in Chicago. I said to myself I can't go this year...but next year I will be there. I knew I was going even before the sentencing. Here it is next year and I am going! I am going because I fixed my mind to go. I was sentenced to 30 days. I served 29 days in a federal prison camp. I did it with as much grace and dignity as I could.

It is amazing getting ready to travel and pack and coordinate the care of my children because last year it was a different kind of preparation. Last year I did not let myself get caught up in leaving my children. I went about the business of creating a seamless plan for their day-to-day experience. They would not miss out on anything because I wasn't there. I made arrangements for every aspect of their lives, I left instructions for everyone, even the back-up plan had a back-up plan. This plan for this trip is different, I will be back in a few days. This is joyous and exciting! My "True Love" friends are making this trip possible. And I am speaking at the conference too so that was a huge blessing and relief in expenses.

I am however a bit nervous about leaving my children. They are feeling a bit anxious about me leaving...they remember last year. I remember last year...we all remember last year. I almost don't want to go because I don't want them afraid. But I must go because I don't want them afraid. They have to see me come and go and come and go. I am anxious and trying to hold it all together. See this is where good sex could help in this...LOL! I could relax and all the tension could be worked out...but I digress.

I am getting ready, doing my last minute what-nots. This is an incredible time in my big life. I am in awe of the power of love. I am in awe of the power of community and I am in awe of the power of friendship and LOVE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: I AM MY BIGGEST FAN

It matters to me what people think of me. OK, not the whole world, just my circle of "True Love" friends. I value their opinions and I seek their advice. I know they have my best interest at heart. They have shown me that they love, care and respect me. They have walked through fire with me and have not complained once. But at the end of the day my opinion of myself is the prevailing opinion.

If I do not hold the highest regard for myself, how can I expect others to? If I am not my own biggest cheerleader how can I expect others to be? If I don't believe I deserved to be loved in a righteous way then, how will true love ever show up?

I am my biggest fan. I am my biggest fan. I am my biggest fan!

The world in all its beauty will from time to time whisper You are not good enough, you are not smart enough, Who do you think you are?

The Haters...an urban hip term for naysayers, doubting thomases, folks who never have nothing good to say about anything let alone me. Are all
around us at every turn. They can be loud and intimidating. They are dream stealer's and killers. They can be the close relatives or co-workers, lovers, neighbors. Their insecurities fuels their hate. Some could come off as supportive, but really they are not, they work hard at planting the seeds of doubt.

I have learned not to give any energy to haters and recognize them when they step in my path. I know that as long as I know who I am and trust in my dreams and move forward, that what anyone says in opposition will be of no consequence to me. I go my own way.

I am my biggest fan! I am my biggest fan! I am my biggest FAN!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

IT'S ALWAYS JAZZ SUNDAY: CLEANING HOUSE

I can feel myself changing. I can feel myself shedding old wounds and old haunts. I can even feel myself outgrowing some blog friends. I am convinced that moving forward is an act of mental house cleaning. Some things you keep, but a lot of things you have to put away, toss out, de-clutter. I am feeling just this way. What I needed last year this time, I no longer need in this moment. What I needed 6 months ago, I no longer need in this moment. My desires have changed. What I need now is much more refined and focused.

You gather up the tools you need for the journey ahead and with each milestone you re-evaluate what is needed to continue on. What you need is always available, just sometimes you get stuck and you don't trust your own power and faith. I have had those moments. But I always manage to get a grip and get back on my trusty steed. I have learned that everyone gets knocked down, its the getting up that defines your fighting spirit.

There is in me a fearlessness. I am living an extraordinary life. One with God's care and concern.

Friday, July 11, 2008

FAITH FORWARD FRIDAY: DECISION TO BE HAPPY

I spent this week thinking out loud about the ending of my marriage, the possibility of dating, the possibility of sex, the possibility of marriage again. I have come to realize that time is irrelevant. Time is not healing, the changing of my mind and how I want to be, is healing.

Happiness is a choice!

Love is a choice!

I am over my ex because I choose to be. Because the thought of hanging onto what was done to me is pointless and adds nothing to my current state of happiness. Like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. A year is nothing. It means nothing as I think about this. All I have is right now and right now I have decided to be happy. There is no such thing as too happy or too much happiness. This came to me in the middle of the night. I realized that I want every happiness all the time even in the midst of drama, crisis and self-doubt. I am deciding that I want to be happy. Not being more right, not smarter than, not better than...HAPPY!

My Ex is moving on and he has to live with his own conscience about how he left this family. It is not my life's role to remind him, or to punish him, or to guilt him into taking care of what he needs to do. Now a good attorney will handle shit if he falls by the wayside, but it has not come to that, so far he has been keeping his word to our children. Trying to show him my pain and how badly he hurt me is sad and keeps me stuck on stupid.

I have a bigger dream for myself and I have a life that I want to live, a life full of the love that is divinely designed for me and if I mess around with trying to punish him or shame him because he made a decision to choose happiness without me and our children as a package, then I lose out on receiving the blessings that are waiting for me. I only have to step from behind my fear. I am, boldly!

A Course in Miracles says "Love waits on welcome, not on time"

I have decided to welcome love in RIGHT NOW!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

JULY 07-to-JULY 08

MY LIFELINE TO YOU
These are the ways I am deeply connected to you:
Our History
Our Children
Our Sense of the World
Our Faiths
My life has more meaning because of you.
We have a rich history together.
You are my comfort, my joy, my love.
Wherever we are together is home.
I’ll always be waiting for you.
I wrote this to my husband as he was preparing to leave. I put these words inside a photo of a house that looked like ours. But with a great deal of color and flowers...very whimsical (for some reason I couldn't cut and paste the lovely picture). I rolled it up and put it inside his wedding ring. I gave it to him with the hope that he would change his mind and come back home.
Well here I am a year later, and re-reading these words is like looking through a window and seeing someone else in my shoes! I mean I was sincere in my outpouring of emotion. Last year I was willing to tolerate a lot more nonsense. I was willing to accept his explanation of "I need space" " I am unhappy" "It's not you...it's me" I was willing to be smaller in character, in thought and mind and spirit for his sake.
I am not that woman anymore. And seeing these words does not stir up sadness. I wrote them from a place of fear and desperation. I was in the thick of it. I had a lot going on and I was just trying to stand against the winds. I was trying to hold onto anything and everything. Trying to save my family in the midst of all the drama...that made sense to me.
Today a year later almost to the day, as a matter of fact. I am different. I am better different. Stronger different. Lovingly different. Happy different.
So here are my words to him today:
May you have peace of mind,
may you have peace of spirit,
may your soul be at peace,
may there be peace everywhere,
and
may there be peace between us.
Alice Walker

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WHY SOMEONE WOULDN'T WANT TO MARRY ME...

Let me just say someone emailed me this question: Why Someone Wouldn't Want to Marry Me. I thought a post would answer it...yes it is whinny...thanks Tony OH!

As I am contemplating dating again. I am thinking about what that will mean. How much dating will I do and what would be the point? I am not being pessimistic. I am a romantic optimist by nature and by choice.

In my 20's I loved dating. I loved having the numbers of different men and having their attention. I loved hitting the clubs and hanging out from time to time. In my 30's I was happily married and committed to one man. For more than a decade I was in a monogamous marriage. So here I am at 45 contemplating what I will do to meet men and date.

I can't imagine having a string of lovers. I can't imagine going from man to man trying them on to see who fits. And NO ONE gets access to my kids. And my kids, what in the world do I tell them? They have already been hinting that I might date. They are interested in knowing who I will kiss! Way too many Disney movies! LOL!

I am not sure men would find me appealing. Certainly not appealing enough to marry me. I mean here is who I am today:

I am too much of a homebody. I am no longer a party girl. My pleasures are different. I love being at home. I love tinkering with crafts. I love hanging with my kids. I am polite. I will call when I say I am going to call. I am rediscovering the joys of cooking fabulous meals. I love family. I like independent films. I can take care of myself. I love black & white films. I love jazz. I am not interested in being in a harem. I love honesty and truth---even if it hurts. I want and value kindness over ability to take me out to dinner. I like simple presents. I give simple presents. I have a fat tummy and fat thighs...I am no model! I like fine linen on my bed. I love nice things around the house. I love fresh cut flowers. I have friends who mean everything to me...that includes men who I have never ever slept with. I have 4 beautiful kids who do not need a father--but could benefit from another strong man who cares and loves them! Doesn't mind magazines, books and journals in the bed. Respects my quiet time. Is not threatened if I want to check a film or have dinner and cocktails with friends, even if those friends include men---who I have never slept with and do not intend to sleep with. I am a loyal woman and do not have patience for men who aren't. I am a fool for Christmas, Valentines' Day and my birthday.

I am going to date. And I am going to date for fun and without pressure. I am going to be open to new love and I do not plan on sleeping around no matter how horny I get! LOL!

Yeah no one is going to marry a woman like me...LOL!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: CUTTING THE TIES THAT BIND

Last year when my husband hinted at separating and then recently filing for divorce I was completely wounded...DEVASTATED! It never occurred to me that I would not have his love always. I believe in the "til death do you part" I still believe in marriage and the vows and the commitment. But I am not talking about that today.

Yesterday I was standing in my kitchen talking with him about his new apartment and the camping trip and the upcoming trips I am taking and I realized I AM OVER HIM! The ties have been cut. I am no longer linked to him in a hurtful way. I believe I have released him! Now that doesn't mean I don't remember all the things that went on in our marriage...the highs and the lows, but I can remember and not feel like I want to get back at him for destroying it all.

I do not want to get back at him. I do not want to be mean to him, or snide, or nasty. No matter what kind of shit he pulls, I am not staying connected to him through drama. That's my light bulb moment! If I spend time wallowing in what he did, what he is doing, what he didn't do, what he said, What he didn't say but should have... then I remain tied to him. I remain TIED TO HIM!

I see this in other folks break-ups, the pain is so great that they stay tied to the person who left. All they can focus on is what that person said or did or didn't do. The gaping whole that was left is stunning. The person that left actions becomes the point of reference for all things relationship driven in their lives. They can't move on because they are stuck. They can't get over, because they have not cut the ties that bind. I have heard all manner of excuses of why the ties cannot be cut--the children, finances, reputations, etc. I have hid behind my excuses too. Afraid to truly let go because the unknown is vast and to be out there alone is scary and heart-breaking! And then to think how could they not want me! is the hardest part to get a grip on. The rejection. The fact that they would rather be with nobody than be with you. Or they found somebody who is better than you...or so you think and that stacks up more pain and hurt.

To fail at love is sad.

So I was standing in my kitchen yesterday having a lovely conversation with my Ex and I was very happy. I have cut the ties that bind. I am freeing myself. I am growing myself. He is no longer the focus of what I don't want. He is no longer the model of pain and hurt. He is not that large in my life and he no longer gets that energy.

The only way to happiness for me was to let go of him and forgive him. Otherwise to hold onto all that drama was like drinking poison and hoping someone else would die! Besides I am fabulous! Someone will see that and like it!

Yes indeed the ties that bind have been cut!

Monday, July 7, 2008

CAMPING FUN...A GOOD TIME HAD BY ALL!







Camping with my kids was the best fun EVER! My kids were so happy and so silly and so into it! They were not ready to go home. However I was...sleeping on the ground even with padding is not my idea of a good time. I did like being in the tent though. It rained...poured for 2 nights. It was a bit daunting in the morning but we trooped it. We fired up the griddle for waffles every morning with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. We reserved a campsite with electricity and water. Yes with 5 kids we weren't trying to rough it....survival camping is not recreation! LOL!

By the afternoon the sun peeked out. The campground was designed with children in mind. Several playgrounds, activities and a pool! Yep, it was good time indeed! S'mores, hot dogs, burgers, snacks and bubbles were a big hit!

My Sister-friend JB and I were quite pleased with our camping efforts! Quite pleased indeed!






Thursday, July 3, 2008

5 KIDS 2 ADULTS, TENTS, AND THE BEAUTY OF CAPE COD!

My Sister-friend JB and I are taking our kids to Cape Cod for the 4th of July weekend. For those of you who are not New Englanders, Cape Cod is about 15 miles from Plymouth, MA---you know were the Mayflower, the Santa Maria, Nina and the Pinta landed. Any way, we're staying at a professional campsite...the kind with tons of activities and the like. We are staying at KOA.

I am so excited about this. This is truly liberating and empowering! My kids are beyond joyous!

We leave today, early Thursday AM)...so mid-afternoon I will be ready for a serious margarita...yes we are making margaritas! We are bringing beer and wine!

This is my first summer vacation in a very long long time! This vacation is so important on so many levels and the fact that it is Independence Day is certainly not lost on JB and I. We started planning this trip when we both were in the early stages of the divorcing process. We just knew things would get better. And things are definitely BETTER!

Have a fab weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

MUSIC...TAGGED YOUR IT!

My blog Sister Mizrepresent was tagged. You know, asked to tell 7 things about herself. Well this particular tag is about music. So I lifted it from her blog as inspiration for me today!

Here goes:
"List seven ( I am choosing 10) songs that you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to." Note: I am not tagging anyone...if you drop in consider yourself tagged and go and do this on your blog and let me know if you do!

1. Carol King, So Far Away
2. Alicia Keys, Like You"ll Never See Me Again.
3. Jill Scott, All I.
4. Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Everlasting Love
5. Mary J. Blige, Grown Woman
6. Angela Bofill, What I Wouldn't Do For The Love Of You
7. Brenda Russell, If Only For One Night
8. Wynton Marsalis, Resolution Of Romance, the entire CD
9. Lizz Wright, Fire
10. All the Music on PChats (CapCity and I picked each one)

OH I guess I could have put up a widget to play these songs...sorry. However my Blog Sister Capcity has one up!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TRUE LOVE TUESDAY: TURNING THINGS AROUND

Today is another 24 hours I got as a gift.

Yesterday was daunting because I went into the weekend knowing I had to go and file an appearance for my Divorce. I carried that hurt with me all weekend. I had my first conversation with a divorce attorney on Friday. So by the time Monday rolled around my spirit was depleted and I couldn't figure it out. It just felt like the whole world was sitting on my head! I could feel myself losing sight of all my gains...blessings. I easily forgot how far I have come and all the cool stuff coming up for me.

GOD is still speaking. GOD was speaking yesterday and I couldn't hear because I was listening with the ears of the world and not the ears of my heart and soul. I let the world tell me who I should be rather than reveling in who I am. This body houses my spirit and my spirit is grand and kind and loving. This life is the most perfect gift. How could I have forgotten that?

For me everything is personal. I wear my heart on my sleeve all day, all night, all the time. I do not apologize for that. I cannot go back to building walls to protect me from being hurt. I will not go back to shrugging off my feelings. I will not go back to running from me. I will get hurt. I will get knocked down, I will cry and cry so more. I will always get up and move forward.

The blessing is my ability to turn things around. I can turn things around simply by changing my mind and remembering who I am. There is beauty in me, in my spirit, in my soul. It is not a beauty for all to see and embrace, but a beauty for the few who see me as I am. The love in me. The world is welcome to see my beauty, but I know that few will notice and gravitate toward me. Those in your life reflect your life and that makes me so very happy. Because as I look over my life now, and see and admire all the lovely beings in it, I am overjoyed! This is what it's supposed to be. So the sadness this weekend is really the ending of another chapter in this big life. I race forward to a new chapter more suited to the woman I am becoming.

Sure there will be more days like yesterday...I am sure of it. There will be days when the world will be louder than my own heartbeat. And there will also be days of tremendous joy and that is what I carry in my spirit.

I can turn things around...I already have.