Thursday, April 30, 2009


Today is my birthday! This pic is the cool sign my co-workers had on my file cabinet when I came in today. I am grateful to God to have another year. The alternative to another birthday isn’t very promising so I have learned as the song says…flowing from my heart is gratefulness..

My birthday is also time for my lists. The lists of things I have learned, things I want to do this year, things I screwed up last year, things I got accomplished, things I have changed. I thought I would share some of them with you. I usually write them in my journal but maybe someone can glean something from my experience…so here we go.

A few things I want to do for me at 42
Cut my hair again (I already have the style picked out…C.U.T.E.)
Lose 8 lbs (ok that seems more attainable than 10)
Get a bike ( a 10 speed not a motorcycle)
Plant a garden
Read at least 5 books
Stop e-mailing and texting people that I care about and take the time to actually call them, visit or handwrite them a letter. E-communication is getting so old.
Go on a weekend away to finish my book
Re-Organize my closet again
Get a Sunday School book and study my lesson every week like I used to.
Audition for another musical (what am I suicidal?? lol), but it is so fun..I know I will miss acting when its over…so we’ll see
Things I got done for me at 41Got over the fact that I was over 40
Read over 5 books
Lost 7 pounds (the goal was 15-UGH)
Co-starred in a musical (sing, dance and act)
Changed personal style
Joined a volunteer organization to sow community service (Joining the Junior league was a biggy-I am so glad that I did that)
Got a mammogram
Organized prayer and purpose planner

Things I learned being 41
Do not allow people to make you feel guilty for saying NO or that's enough.
Say no, more often, if necessary
Having critical, uncomfortable conversations is really important to get unstuck in certain situations.
I make time for what’s important to me, and so do others
Being a women comes naturally with gender and age…being a lady does not. You have to study ladyhood and work at it.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to look nice or have beautiful skin. NOTHING works better on your face than plain Ivory soap, Noxema and Witch Hazel. A total of $7.43.
Be careful not to mimic, look, act or completing imitate someone else’s style, mannerisms, likes, dislikes, words, clothes, hair etc.. Contrary to immature belief, that is not flattery-it’s an insult to God who made me specifically to be me. If I am going to be “them”, then why does God need me? K-duh.
I am 41 not 14. Whereas I don’t deem that as old, I do need to be mindful that I am an adult and I should expect to be treated like one.
People do not have to be like me or think like me in all things in order to be right.

Things I miss
Playing jacks with my sister on the porch
Mr. Softee Ice cream truck
Marathon candy bars
Going to Marching band practice
Directing the choir
Getting letters in the mail
Indian brand Pumpkin seeds in the red bag
Vacation Bible School teaching
Going to the dollar store and then the dollar show with my kids on Saturdays
Modeling (some of it, like the clothes…the make up, the shoes)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CSI-Mommy Style

Most of us know that CSI on TV is a criminal investigative show. I personally don't think I have ever watched a whole episode. But their acronym "C.S.I." is very popular in our home and most of the people that live there don't even realize it.

For me...CSI stands for Clever Simple Instructions. It is when I take obscure moments and use them as teaching opportunities for the family. It can happen during cooking, shopping, driving, ironing, laundry, flat ironing hair, reading...any moment can be used to double as an opportunity to share, to learn, to probe, to correct, to teach.

My mom was the master at this. She would personally iron all 25 of my dad's dress shirts usually on Saturdays. We would go to choir rehearsal and by the time we got back in the afternoon she would be all set up with board, starch and iron ready to go. She would begin by asking us about rehearsal and then while we were eating lunch and watching her iron the conversations would turn to school, the arguement with had with each other, our chores, how much money we had saved, who was the new girl in the marching band and what we were wearing to church the next day. She also of course use that time to teach us how do whatever it was she was doing. So if she was ironing...she taught us how to iron. So much so, that I though my mom is left handed and we are not- My sister and I both iron and wash dishes like a left handed person.

I won't forget moments like that. She would walk the aisles in the grocery store and make us add and subtract and figure out percentages. We were crossing off items on the list and looking for the best deals for meat at 10 and 12 years old. We were doing "what not to wear" episodes long before the show came out. At the mall, at church, walking down the mom would see something and just give us that look that said "if you ever think about going out of the house like that..think again.

What made me think of that was just recently I was ironing a shirt for my husband and I sprayed it with lavender linen water. My daughter Jordan asked me why I was doing that. I told her it was because I care and noone cares for him like me. I care about how my husband looks and I care that the simplest things that I can do for him...a calming scent on a shirt...a crease in the pants are just little things that he may or may not notice to show him that I love him. I told her it was sort of like when I put hot cheetos in her lunch..and then she was like OH!!! I get it. (I HATE those fatty, salty things...and when they get them its a exception..a little thing that's a big deal). But she won't forget day when she is ironing for her child, or her husband she may go the extra mile because of mommy's CSI moment.
The day seems to end before it starts somedays. But multi-tasking is a great way to sneak in moments of instructions and guidance. It may be seemingly easier to delegate things to other people or hire help but you are loosing prime opportunities to sow wisdom and instruction to those who matter most if you don't use your free time correctly. To the rest of us on earth who don't really have free time you can use what you have-"non free time" to get a morsel of teaching in. Plan Plan Plan...for example...When I take Jordan to Ballet practice it is prime time to talk about school and upcoming assignments. When I am cooking, it great to talk to whoever is around about health and wellness...and what certain spices are used for...and while I'm ironing...its a great time to talk about....well, Cheetos.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh yeah ...I forgot to tell you

John has agreed to have a garden this year. We were going to do it last year, but we had alot going on and really weren't ready for it. To start things off...Jordan (the girl) is going to grow tomatoes. She wants to start them indoors, so I may find her one of those topsy turvy things to transplant it in later.

As for me...I am going to start with growing my own herbs indoors. I really dislike "canned" spices and seasonings. Unfortunately, they add unnecessary preservatives to everything! Another thing that I found out is that many canned spices have added "salt" for consistancy. Salt is an absolute NO-NO in our house. First of all, because there are 5 black men that live and eat there. To all of my non African-American friends and family members...The elderly and African Americans males are highly more susceptible to high blood pressure due to excess salt than others. Sodium is important for our body to function, but when you get too much, the kidneys work harder to protect you by passing it into the urine. Then when that gets to be too much it passes into your blood...which causes the rise in pressure. And most importantly, my brother in law is a cardiologist specializing in hypertension. So, if his brother and nephews OD'd on salt, it would be bad for his business :-).

So anyway...I said that to say that as busy parents I know that many of us don't feel we have time to slow down enough to care about what we feed out families, as long as they eat. But that isn't true. YOU have to care. You have to watch. You have to monitor. You have to observe. YOU have to make the choices that they don't pay attention to. They think fast food 6 days a week, a slosh of butter here...a 1/2 cup of sugar here....douse this with salt here...and it makes no never mind. That is not true and its a sutble way that the enemy uses to get us sickly, slow, overweight and spending resources at the doctor's office instead of in the kingdom.

Am I telling you to grow all your food..and never ever use salt again?...ummm no. I am saying PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Plan your meals. Plan what you CAN do to ensure fresher food for your family. Grow a vegetable or two. Quit buying everything in a can or a bag. Go to a farmers market to get fresh fruits and veggies. Stop adding everything the recipe book says to your food. If its says butter, find a substitute. If it says salt, don't. If its says sugar, try a natural sweetner, like honey instead. If you need to use basil, parsley, etc...try growing your own...dry it out and you can't imagine the taste difference in your soups, stews, chili's etc..also the satisfaction you get for knowing that you cared for and nutured these things for your family with your own hands.

I am so excited that we are starting this garden this year. I 'm looking to plant tomatoes, broccoli, greens, carrots, onions, watermelon and herbs. I am not sure what John wants to plant yet, probably weird stuff like squash :-). I just hope and pray that we can enjoy the food before the deer, racoons, chipmunks and squirrels get to it :-). I'll post pictures and let you know how its coming.

Opening Weekend !!!

Sweet Charity has officially opened! We had a great opening run. We had a sell-out crowd on Sunday and almost sold out on Saturday. I am having such a great time. I am tired than a mug...but its so fun. Its what I enjoy (almost as much as writing and reading).

Most people wince when I tell them that I have added a 15 performance run to my already busy schedule. But I know that there are abilities that I have in that area are God given and it is my desire to keep them sharp and up to par for whenever He wants to use them. We don't do major theater or musicals anymore at my church (I mean a mini-skit here and there...but no productions or theater quality performances). So, unfortunately for me, it left me with a talent void to sow this back into the kingdom. But supernaturally God opened doors in other places for me to help with productions at my sister's church. I also helped edit scripts for another church. I had the chance to do make-up/costuming for my brother's church. Then came Southfield Theater and now Farmington Theater..God always has an opportunity for me and I honor Him for that.

So, a few weeks ago I begin How is God gonna get the glory outta this? He has me here (in Sweet Charity) for a reason. I think I figured it took all this time to get to the prinited program of the show. When people in the cast read my bio they found out that I was an author -that led to people asking questions about what I wrote and what was it about...and TA-DA "an opportunity to witness". People have asked for the link to my book page and have asked to buy it. WOW, go figure...all of the auditions, rehearsals, dancing, singing, messing up, learning lines, blocking, make-up, frustrations, time away from home, exhaustion...was all pre-meditated for this moment. The simple opportunity to share Christ and my testimony indirectly with someone that may need Him.

What if I hadn't pursued this...what if I had of just sulked that opportunities were no longer available to me instead of seeking them out? What if I decided that I will keep "my gift to myself"? Then this soul opportunity would have been lost..and as my Bishop used to say...its all about souls.

So, I am sure more is yet to come out of this...who knows but God. We have almost a month to go yet.. But if nothing else does..its been worth it just to get the Word of God through my book into someone elses hands. Sweet truly "Sweet" indeed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Picture Day!!

I am tired...... "Exhausterated" as my daughter would say...Sweet Charity (the broadway play I am in) is nearing opening night. So, dress and tech rehearsals are wearing me OUT. Its fun, exhilarating, rewarding and well...tiring all at the same time. My legs ache, my throat hurts, my back is screaming at me for trying to move it like its only 19 years old. So anyway...this is picture day. Just thought I would use pictures to show what's been going on lately...I'll write more later.

Jay came home from Oklahoma for Spring Break. The whole family went bowling.

Jerica (A.) moved to Florida to work and go to school. Here is a shot of her new house! I am so proud of her. She went through her first Florida tornado like a champ!!

Me and my Monster Lashes for the feels like "bangs" on my eye. These lashes are like so Massive....I can't imagine why they made them except for theater..

The shoes I want to buy before my 45 birthday :-). Ok, I know that was random...but you gotta admit these Jimmy Choo's are BAD!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not easily broken

This past Easter I had the opportunity to sit still and watch a full length movie with my sister and brother, mom and dad and in-laws...without interruption. It was Not Easily Broken by Bishop Jakes. It was great! No knocks on the door, no phone calls, no texts, no notes under the door, no e-mail, no yells for help from 25 feet was peaceful and I appreciated it. It was so peaceful that I was really able to glean some things from this movie that I may have missed trying to watch it at home. So, I have to believe that it was orchestrated for me to have the serenity needed to get what I was suppose to get from it...and boy did it have layers...

On the surface its your typical marriage gone wrong, tragedy happens, you grow apart, seek solace in others, listen to bad advice, realize you were an idiot, fight for the relationship and win...happy tie it all together ending and voila!! Movie. BUT...(my grandad used to say...there is always a but...) There were other "layers" to the characters of that movie that could each be a book by themselves (even the secondary characters). There was alot of blame to throw around in this movie...but the one angle I will approach is the bad advice and negativity that Clarice recieved from someone she thought she could trust-her mother.

Clarice's mother loved her dearly and her mom was truly a help in Clarice's rehabilitation after a car accident. She stopped everything, moved in and even checked Clarice's attitude when she treated the physical therapist and husband badly when they were trying to start her treatment. However, due to her own past hurts and founded fears-she convinced Clarice to give up on her marriage and protect herself. Her example in front of Clarice has not always been the best either which was proven in a statement that Clarice made "mama, you taught me how to be strong, independent and a survivor but you didn't teach me how to love, how to forgive, how to care and how to take care of my husband and my marriage." You mama's marriage to Clarice's dad there was abuse, hurt, infidelity and bitterness and mama feared that Clarice was going to walk down that same path if she didn't protect herself.

Parents, we have to be sure that we teach our children out of our faith, not our fears. They should absolutely learn from our mistakes and know of our failings, but our instruction should be balanced and full of hope, encouragement and not shrouded in this fear that I was hurt here and so they will be too. Sometime ago I realized that bits and pieces of what I needed to know was missing out of what I knew, or at least of what I remember. There were people that I admired that I began to watch and learn from. I even interviewed ladies that I wanted to adopt characteristics from. There were books I read such as "The art and power of being a lady". (More on that topic later). Prefacing my statements with my kids, with "This happened to me but realize its my reality-not yours". Small steps such as these have helped me to be a little more balanced in my thinking and my training. When I get done, the goal is to have Jordan and Jerica have the grace & giving spirit of Princess Diana and the fight and tenacity of Xenia Warrior Princess. I want them to be a lil' bit June Cleaver, Clair Huxtable and ME.. slap there own personality and twist to it -all rolled into one...and viola! Whew, tall order for two little girls ...ok they are 21 and 12.

I suppose the best thing I can do for them is what I'm doing... #1- give them all I have and remind them that the Spirit of God is available to them to help discern what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for there lives....#2 teach them to live life out of their faith...and not out of their fear. #3 live a life before them that's wisely transparent versus fake and pretentious and #4 show love for my husband in front of them to show them how a godly marriage is suppose to look and operate.