Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Welcoming Church

Today I went to church, love my church. When I moved to Georgia my family became members of a great church; creating and maintaining a great Christian foundation through the hardest years of my development. Well today I returned to that church to hear a friend preach and it was like time stood still.  The whole church looks exactly the same as the day my family left.  The shelves that a friend and I put up when we were 12 are still in the same place. To give you a frame of reference I am now 36.  The church is almost empty. The capacity is 250 there is nowhere near that number in this church. When my family left there was about 125 in the church and we were a close knit church. We did everything together. We are still close and today hurt my heart.

The members of the church don’t smile. The walls were white and sterile. My heart literally sank when I sat down in one of the many empty pews. Though I am no longer a member of this specific church I still think of it as my church home. It is where I learned about myself as Christian, where I learned from the faith struggles of my friends and my own personal struggles with what was right. It saddens me that my home church is struggling. My prayers go out to this church and I will do anything in power to help in anyway. 

I would love to suggest that they add some color to the church. Add some plants and adornments, it gives life to the church. It’s welcoming. At present the church feels like hospital; very sterile and unwelcoming. Church is a safe haven. If you don’t feel like you are welcomed or able to praise God without fear, you stop going.

I need my church family connections, they sustain me. They know the real me and still love me and because of that relationship I have made it through a lot of issues in life.  Thank you to my Church family. I love you all!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Number for today is "6"

Remember when we were younger and for some of us, yesterday, when we watched Sesame Street and they told us what the number for the day was. Don’t act like you don’t still watch Sesame Street, and yes I do! Well the number for today is “6”.

For the last two weeks I have been fighting my weakness for breads; so far so good. And because of that I am officially down 6 pounds. I have started walking again and though my legs feel like jelly, it feels good to know I have accomplished a few short term goals.

My new goal is to actually eat 6 meals a day… especially breakfast (which I really don’t eat). I don’t eat large meals in a day but I do like to snack. So I am now snacking on baked vegetable chips and fruits. But I am working on portion size and snacks of substance. 
I am drinking A LOT of water! I am striving for at least 176 oz of water, which is 11 bottles in a day. I have been accomplishing that at least three times a week. Shoot, 11 bottles is a lot of water… and too much of anything is a bad thing.

So this is not a diet fad… this is a lifestyle change! So when they ask, “So you are dieting?”… answer…”No, I am eating healthy”.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Rotten Parents!

Today I read an article in the Houston Home Journal, my town paper. It was entitled ‘Boy, I am glad had rotten parents’. And when I read the title, I immediately thought to myself… Me too!! I know what you are thinking… “damn, that is harsh”...or “she must have had a really bad childhood”. If you were thinking that you would be…wrong!
I thank my parents for everything they have done and continue to do for me. But I truly thank them for exposing me to so many things and nurturing my view of the world.
My parents where just like today’s parents; they want their children to have something better than what they had, to do better than them, and to leave their mark on the world. The difference is that some parents want all that on their terms and they do what they have to do to make sure their children succeed. The problem is that in the end these children grow into adults that can do NOTHING for themselves. So in essence they are coddled children who turn into crippled adults. This is the result of having great parents who do everything for you. Clean your room, wash your clothes, make your meals, pay all your bills, and clean up all your mistakes, Something I would know nothing about, thank God, oh yeah, and my rotten parents.
My rotten parents taught me the value of a dollar and doing my best. I started working, literally getting a pay check, at age 13. I sold hotdogs at the Air Force Recreation Department. I have been working ever since. Every summer since my 13th birthday I have had some kind of job. So when I hear kids say that they deserve something because they got good grades, or did what their parents told them to, I laugh. Where is it written that you deserve a reward for doing your God-given best. Don’t get my wrong, I was given a lot of things and some even said I was spoiled. But I would call then a liar. My parents required the best out of their children (there are two of us) and we strived to make them proud. Because of that, they believed that we deserved some things. And for that I am eternally grateful…
Now we were not perfect kids either….
Did we bump heads, yes.
Was I ever grounded, yes.
Did I ever slam a door, yes.
So I would claim the title of typical kid.
Did I ever curse my parents, no.
Did I ever try to strike my parents, no.
Did I ever steal from my parents, no.
Did I ever do something that would place my family in danger, no.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you wouldn’t have lasted long in my home.
My parents were not my friends they were my parents and because of that I grew up respecting and loving them for the role they played in my life.
The author, Ronda Rich, said is best, “because I had such rotten parents, I learned the value of hard work, the importance of a dollar, the comfort of prayer in times of need”. I will add to that by saying my rotten parents taught me that people deserve respect, that you give 100% to everything you do, the world is not fair and that God is in control of everything.
I thank my rotten parents for introducing me to books, to music, to writing, to art, to knowledge. I thank my rotten parents for teaching me my history so that I know where I come from. I thank my rotten parents for introducing me to God and allowing me to cultivate my own relationship with Him. I thank my rotten parents for always being present and allowing me to be me without prejudice. I thank my rotten parents for given and showing me what love feels like and looks like. I thank my rotten parents for being the world best rotten parents.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What I'm Reading: Fall from Grace by Ryan Phillip

About a year ago I was given a book by a friend, I have never really liked Christian Fiction because it tends to leave out God until there is a crisis and doesn’t show God in all of the writing; so I have stayed away.However,  I love supporting African-American writers and especially female writers, Ryan Phillips met both those criteria.

Saving Grace by Ryan Phillips

Book Description: As the only daughter of a successful businesswoman, Grace grew up with nothing but the best. Sheltered by her single mother and educated in an exclusive private school in Detroit, Grace was not ready for the harsh realities of an unforgiving world.
Grace's naivete coupled with her desire to experience life on her own terms leads her down a path of emotional devastation and physical abuse. Through a chance encounter Grace meets Mike, a successful design artist who introduces her to a relationship very different from her usual one-night-stands and affairs with married men.
Things take a turn for the worst however when Grace's roommate walks in on her and her married personal trainer in their apartment. This betrayal tears apart Mike and Grace's romance and shatters the trust and friendship between Grace and Trina.
In the midst of torn relationships, Grace's mother dies in a tragic plane crash leaving Grace with no one left to turn to except the God she thought had long since abandoned her.

This book was an amazing read and though I’m blessed to still have both of my parents, this book hit home. The friendship between Grace and Trina mirrors a relationship that I had growing up. The men in the book, I've encountered some of the same.  Ryan writes with an ease that shows growth and allows you to grow with the character. I was glad when I found out that she continued the story in Fall from Grace.
Book Description: 'GRACE fights the lump RISING in her throat. For a MOMENT she is LOST in thought, remembering WHAT IT HAS TAKEN to get TO THIS POINT...'

Grace Cambridge is a young Black Christian with a new husband, old friends, and a shocking moral dilemma.

A proverbial 'cat fight' opens the story and draws you into a complex relational web. The book peels through layers of dysfunction between Grace and Trina and follows their individual, sometimes intertwining, lives to reveal how they find their way back to Christ and to each other. Grace is intelligent, determined, well-spoken yet vulnerable. You want her to be happy, you want her to succeed. Grace's Christianity isn't sugar-coated. Her faith is real and so is her life---riddled with plenty of twists, turns, and conflicts.

As Grace's relationship with God is challenged she questions her identity and is faced with a life-changing decision. She deals with everyday issues, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Grace's experiences are not much different than yours---how she handles them might be.

Let’s see where this one takes me…if you want to read them they are available on 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yes, I am a Woman

I have always been a little self conscious about the way I look. As I get older I become very comfortable in my skin. But it has been a process. I remember the times when I didn't really want to go places because people who look at me there. Now my response to 9 year old me is..."Who cares?" But again, it was a process.

I have been lucky in my life that I have been told I am beautiful by those I cherish and those who cherish me. That is a feeling that cannot be minimized. So note to the moms and dads out there, tell your daughters that they count, that they are beautiful, that their emotions matter. Show them what real relationship look like so that they know what love is supposed to be. I thank my parents for showing what good times look like and how to get through the bad ones.

Now as I approach 40 (well in about 5 years, okay 4 years) I can say that I am happy with me. Though I want to make some changes I know that I am no longer worried about what others see when they look at me, I am happy with me.

It took me sometime to become comfortable in my skin but I am there. I know longer feel like a little girl looking and hoping for the world acceptance. I can now answer, "Yes, I am a Woman!"

Black Women & Depression

It looks like different things to different people. In the end it’s called the same thing… Depression.
As a community, blacks view mental health issues with closed eyes. It is seen as the issue that we deal with and don’t address. When someone says counseling the answer is always, “I am not crazy”. And that is definitely a true statement however it doesn’t mean that you do not have issues that couldn’t be addressed with counseling.
We all go through things in life that if they continue without intervention they can become too much to handle. What happens then…. We break!
“Fantasia Barrino’s recent confession of her suicide attempt sparked a realization that black women are as susceptible to depression as anyone else. When asked about her recent suicide attempt, she explains “I was overloaded with carrying six years of so much…dealing with my family, dealing with my father, dealing with men and their bullshit…” I think we can all relate in one way or another. While her “so much” and (y)our “so much”may not be identical, people feel overwhelmingly inclined to pass their issues off to black women—assuming we can handle it stoically—because we have been doing it for generations” – Crunk Feminist Collective
I will give the disclaimer now; I am not discounting the strength of my white sisters, however I have never experienced life as a white woman, just as they have never experienced life as a black woman. So though we share a gender our experiences are colored differently.

And the history of the black woman has been one of self-sacrifice. From their first days on this land they have been treated as property and sold at will. They have raised their owner’s children for generations while their children were sold off like cattle. But they stayed strong. They raised their children over generation without partners. Avoiding emotions was a survival technique which has now become a cultural habit. I use the word “they”and “their”, when I should be saying “We” and “our”.African-American or Black women, however you reference yourself, have had a different and difficult walk in this world; can we say that depression is side-effect or by-product of that journey? Whatever your answer, the one truism is that even the strongest person gets tired; and tired is not a weak emotion it’s a necessary one. We all get tired. However when that feeling is all consuming, over powering or takes over your existence, it is time for some intervention and help. You need to talk to someone.

Most don’t know what Depression looks like; so we will consult the book that the psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnosis others; the (DSM-IV)  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifies Depression as"
296.32 Severe Depressive Mood Disorder (Moderate)
Research has shown that depression is influenced by both biological and environmental factors. Studies show that first degree relatives of people with depression have a higher incidence of the illness, whether they are raised with this relative or not, supporting the influence of biological factors. Situational factors, if nothing else, can exacerbate a depressive disorder in significant ways. Examples of these factors would include lack of a support system, stress, illness in self or loved one, legal difficulties, financial struggles, and job problems. These factors can be cyclical in that they can worsen the symptoms and act as symptoms themselves.

Symptoms of depression include the following:

· depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness)

· reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed, sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping to much)

· loss of energy or a significant reduction in energy level

· difficulty concentrating, holding a conversation, paying attention, or making decisions that used to be made fairly easily

· suicidal thoughts or intentions.


Treatment can either combine both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy or utilize one or the other individually. Medications used to treat this disorder include Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Other medications can be found, along with their descriptions can be found in the Medications page. Psychotherapy is useful in helping the patient understand the factors involved in either creating or exacerbating the depressive symptomotology. Personal factors may include a history of abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual), maladaptive coping skills/ Environmental factors involved in this disorder include, among others, a poor social support system and difficulties related to finances or employment.

Major Depressive Disorder has a better prognosis than other mood disorders in that medication and therapy have been very successful in alleviating symptomotology. However, many people with this disorder find that it can be episodic, in that periodic stressors can bring back symptoms. In this case, it is often helpful to have an ongoing relationship with a mental health professional just as you would a physician if you had diabetes or high blood pressure.

Special treatment considerations for African American women:

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); only 12 percent of African American women seek help and/or treatment. Building and maintaining a strong support network can aid in the recovery and future prevention from clinical depression. Learn from role models to help you distinguish between what you can and cannot control. Many African American women minimize the seriousness of the problem and do not proactively seek treatment. The strength of faith and church supports can supplement depression treatment and reduce isolation. Seek other forms of support to better your mental health. Putting yourself first on the list is essential.

I have family members who deal with this daily. It is not easy to see people you love going through something that you cannot help them with. I make sure that I am there to support them and whenever they need me. I also PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! I know that prayer changes things.

Note to my sistas: Many African American women do not seek treatment because it is viewed as a personal weakness, not a health problem. We all need help in some form, at some point in our lives. It’s not a weakness to say you need help; it takes strength to let someone else help you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Return Of Bones

I have been a Bones fan since day one. I love Forensics and the writers of this show are amazing. They have finally seen fit to put Brennan and Booth together and then they had to bring the drama.

If you are watching like I am you know that last season ended with Brennan leaving home because she was being framed for murder by Palant (yup, he is a serial killer). With the help of her father, Bennan gets out of town and begins a life on the run. All the time knowing that her friends and Booth were working to find a way for her to be cleared.

Makes you think that in a situation that is dire, who will be in corner. As I get old I realize that I KNOW alot of people but I have very FEW REAL friends. In the situation I am not sure if I have friends who would stand beside me and have my back. What I have learned if that those who call me friend do so because I can do something for them and not because of who I am. And those people are no longer my friends...they are people I know.

So when it comes to those I can trust with my life....the list is small and I can count them on one hand. Because in the end there are few people in this world that you can trust.

I love this show and the cast is amazing!!

Season 8...let go Brennan and Booth!! BONES!!


Well another Sunday has come and gone. Usually I would be up watching T.V. and worrying about something or other. But I have set a new goal for myself. BABY STEPS!

I actually got up and worked out to Turbo Jam.  I love those tapes. I don't care how much I do them I know I will get a good workout. If you have never done Turbao Jam you might want to try them they are amazing. I have bad knees so there are some things I cannot do (like jumping or alot of up and down). I have a goal of doing Turbo Jam at least two times a week.

The other goal is to see if I can complete any phase of the Instanity Workout tapes. My friends do it and it looks like a great workout but once again there are things I cannot do, so I will take it one thing at a time. I have a goal of doing Instanity at least two times a week.

The other days out of the week I will be walking and attempting me new goal.....a WALK/RUN do that I can get to the point where I can run a non-stop 1/2 mile by December. Again BABY STEPS! Looking forwards to when I can run a mile without a thought. Just music in my ears and feet to the pavement. I have a need to be happy and are looking foward to getting lossing three more pant sizes. That is my goal by Valentine's Day!

I am looking foward to taking part in the BLACK GIRLS RUN 5K next year. Another goal!

So let the games begin... and hey if you want to join in, jump on in......

Saturday, September 15, 2012

That Punk Procrastination: My Weight Loss Enemy

In 2010, I decided that I wanted to loose some weight. Well that's lie. My doctor told me that it was in my best interest to lose some weight. Of course I was agast, well not really. I wanted to be healthy so I was game.

I started a program and began to lose the weight. I felt really good. I started working out and walking and dropped three clothes sizes which made me feel even better. And then it happened...I STALLED!

I would work out sporadically and of course I gained a few poounds back. Every month since then I have been telling myself that I was going to start doing this and that. But I haven't. Procrastination has become my friend. Along with this procrastination came the retiurn of my two weaknesses, bread and Wavy Lays potatoe chips. Those evil people at Lays have it out for me. (Lol)

I am going to lie and say I weighed 200 pds and tell the truth and say that I lost 35 pounds. I have officially gained back 10 of those. But I have found some motivation..

Yesterday I read the Essence article on Jill Scott. Ms Scott recently shed  60 pounds. She has always been someone I admire (and I don't admire many) her beauty, her style, her music, her grace, just the person she is in general. The forumla for her weight loss is one that I think I can follow. "Eating more vegetables, avoiding bread and pasta (going to struggle with this but I can do it) and evercising" She is also following the principles of  Dr. Peter D'Adamo's  blood type diet and is staying away from foods that have been deemed incompatible with her blood type. I have already downloaded Blood Type Diet from Amazon for my Kindle. I am going to make this work for me. She is my MOTIVATION!!!!

Along with this formula I am going to start with Weight Watchers again. I believe that being accountable to something or someone else also me to be a little more motivated. I have been paying for a gym membership for a year and I have never used it. Well that too is going to change. I start at Edge Fitness on Monday morning and I will be getting back to my workout routine.

I have to get to the point where I am healthy again. I am not losing weight because I feel fat or anything. I am an attractive young woman with a lot to offer anyone who enters my life. But I think that losing weight will take some pressure off my knees (born with bad knees), increase my metablism, and hopeful cut down on my migraines.  Soooo.....

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!