Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"I Desire"

Tonight I meditated on a song that brought me to tears. The lyrics were from a woman who desired to have more of God’s spirit in her life. She is broken hearted and thirsty for something more than what exists around her, something clear, not dirty or cloudy like the water she’s use to drinking to quench her thirst. She seeks clarity but knows that the only way that she can receive it, is to submit herself completely or at least long enough to experience something good.

Her desires, are not that far from my own. I want the every day confusion and uncertainty of my life to disappear like quick sand. Like my daily stress of wondering when and if a pink slip will arrive on “my” desk. Or if the car I’ve been driving since 1995 will make it into the new year or which bill I will or will not pay this month in order to put a smile on a loved ones face this Christmas. But then, I hear the word “submit” ring softly in my ear and I yield myself to the voice of my higher power.

Make no mistake about it though, I’m human, and not without fault. Therefore, the yielding and speaking part of me may not always match up with the ‘dewing’ part of me. In other words, I often choose to do my own thing by succumbing to worry, doubt and fear. Believe it or not, I haven’t always accepted the fact that my needs and desires will be taken care of as long as I am patient and believe.

My mind might not be able to grasp this concept, but my heart will. And this, is where, the best part of that songs rings true that when I fall on my knees, and attend my prayer with God he will take me beyond the veil..and give me more of him….and she asks, if it’s not to much to ask, I want a deeper relationship with you, I want the oil of God to flow in me through and through..here I am..on bending knee with out stretched arms crying Lord, not my will but your will..less of me and more of you. What an awesome experience, and what a joy it is to know that everything that we go through whatever it is, regardless of the severity or level of importance in our own eyes we dew it in partnership with the creator and there’s simply, nothing, better than that.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Dead King Furniture" By Landis Lane from "Journeys of Love Voices of The Heart"

"In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month"

When my Aunt Ruby died several years ago, I was stuck with her furniture. I can’t tell you why, it just happened. After a long, fruitless battle with breast cancer, which ravaged her once luscious curves and ended her life; all that remained was her furniture.

She didn’t just die…she faded away. She breathed slowly then drifted off on a wave of painkilling morphine. We all sat around the bed, not quite realizing that it was over. Finally, we shook ourselves out of the stupor of what seemed like an endless vigil. After all the arrangements had been made, we read the will.
She left the furniture to her son, Leon. He took one last look at the ornate carved curls and gilded wood amidst the satin embroidered seat cushions and said, “I couldn’t sit on that “crap” when I was a kid so why would I want to sit on it now? You can have it.”

I still don’t know why he looked directly at me when he made that comment. I should have said, “No, you keep it, I really don’t like gold-painted wood and aquamarine satin.” I thought about that all the way to the U-haul company where Leon and a few of my other cousins cheerfully loaded the sheet-laden couch, chair and glass-top table into the truck. The table was heavy and it took three grunting, sweaty cousins to hoist it into the trailer. They stopped for a beer break in between grunts and back strain. Then suddenly, I opened my mouth to tell them that I didn’t want this “crap”, but the words stuck in my throat as though some unseen hand reached up to choke me, preventing me from breathing. They didn’t look too pleased with my expression.

“But—but,” I stuttered.

Their narrowed eyes and perched lips indicated that unloading all that heavy furniture was not going to happen. The blood-red-and white-trimmed crystal lamp was to ride in the back of my car, cushioned by blankets and down comforters to keep the crystals from shattering. Each crystal had been lovingly wrapped in tissue paper by my cousin’s wife, Portia. She was probably on her knees thanking God that she wasn’t going to be shamed into keeping this monstrous stuff. What had I ever done to Aunt Ruby to be saddled with her furniture?

I was a dutiful niece. I visited and often read to her. I smiled at her, told her jokes and ignored her grimaces of laughing pain. I even combed and styled her sparse hair until it fell out and then bought her flamboyant wigs to cover her smooth pate.
She didn’t even leave it to me, I wailed inwardly, as I watched the chair, tables and finally the couch being wrestled into my living room. Leon transported the crystal lamp to the marble-top table and with a jaunty salute, a quick kiss on my forehead, and a military about-face, he and my cousins left me to contemplate my fate.

I sank into the chair and pouted. Then suddenly, a vision of my once beautiful Aunt Ruby raised itself from the couch and said, “Hi baby, you remember when I got this couch? I was so proud of myself.” She smiled at me with that flirtatious smile that used to allow her to get her way with everybody in the family.

“But Ruby,” I said, “This…this Louis the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, whatever, it’s just so… so…”

“Beautiful,” she finished, rubbing a ghostly hand over the satin seat cushions.

“I had to work really hard to get this, baby. I know you probably don’t remember that I used to work in that old white couple’s house. I
used to work my fingers to the bone for them.”

I remembered that they were an “old money” rich couple that Ruby worked for. My aunt sure could clean. Her own house was always so spotless that we were afraid to sit on the floor. And we never dreamed of sitting on her furniture.

“Yes, Ruby,” I said, “I do remember them.” She smiled a little sadly, perhaps reminiscing about the past.
And then I thought to myself, “Ruby, if it’s the last thing you do, you are going to get this couch,” but then she floated up from it, grabbed the back of the gilt and steadied herself.
“I guess I haven’t gotten the hang of this ghostly visitation stuff yet,” she said and giggled.
I laughed out loud then suddenly remembered just how much I missed her famous laugh.

“I had to clean day and night for years to get this furniture,” she said. “I sacrificed and ate beans, just so I could get it. I looked in the store window and gazed at that furniture every day while I waited for the bus to take me home. I always knew that I was going to be “high-class folk” when I finally got it in my house. I scrubbed a lot of floors for this couch. And it’s Louis the Fourteenth, by the way. He was French.”

“Aunt Ruby, you were always high-class people, but it’s still dead-king furniture,” I said stubbornly.

“Just sit on it for me, baby,” she said, fading just a little in her sweet soprano voice. “My biggest regret is that I didn’t sit on my furniture when I had the chance. I always thought that it was too pretty to sit on.”

“You were prettier than the furniture, Aunt Ruby,” I said, remembering all of the beautiful gifts she’d ever given me and now realizing just how hard she had to clean to buy them for me. To this day, I see her twisting her fine hips and popping her long bleach chapped fingers, teaching me how to dance the Four Corners and the Mashed Potato. I also see us sitting in her kitchen while she pressed and curled my hair on a sunny Easter day. I can still smell the scent of singed hair. She always told me that the path to beauty was slicked with hair grease and Marcel curling irons. Tears clogged my eyes as she smiled at me one last time, with that fabulous gap-toothed grin that I had seen in all of her younger pictures. I blew her a kiss as she disappeared like spray mist from a perfume bottle. I got up from the chair and finally sat on the couch.

“I guess from now on, I’ll consider this dead queen furniture. And I’ll sit on it every day in your honor,” I said. As the sun sparkled on the ruby crystals of the lamp, I rested on the couch made for a king but fit for a queen.

From the love anthology, "Journeys of Love Voices of The Heart," Coauthors Hillary Roy and Rose Mitchell

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Lease

A new lease on life…a new lease on life…sometimes that’s the only thing we can ask for when hard times come and nothing ever seems to go our way. Not the job, or marriage/relationship, not our finances or the things we need to rid ourselves of most. Like the “dirty” little habits that keep popping up in our lives. It doesn’t matter what they are…that drink, that drug…that addiction to love. Whatever it is, we’ve got to remember that when we fall “it’s never too late to get off the ground and do the things we want to do in life.” This simple truth comes, from a person, who knows this more than most.

When I read an article, about a 43 year old man playing football for Clark Atlanta University as a tight end, I laughed and thought to myself, what would an old, has been, need to prove at his age? He’s certainly no Michael Jordan, George Foreman or any other well known athlete. But a man, with heart and desire to show that he wasn’t giving up on life. Jeff Chaskin was finally learning to turn it around after having struggled from alcohol and drug addiction for more than 25 years. Not only was he doing it for himself but his family, the wife and 8 children that he loved so much. And he wasn’t going to let the fact that he had been arrested just 1 year prior for cocaine possession stop him from doing just that. In his glory days he was a successful businessman with a thriving lawn care business but nothing could shield him from the influences of “the fast life.” One might say that Chaskin was suffering from more than a deep addiction, he was suffering from a case of more money, more problems. But as fate would have it, 8 months of prison, reading the bible and 500 hundred push ups later he was on his way to reclaiming everything that was stolen from him. Like the promising football career he lost when he was in college several years ago and the marriage that failed from his rampant drug use. Yet, even with the braces on his arthritic knees that are drained every 3 weeks and the fact that he’s the only white male player at a historically black college, simply wearing #43 on his back makes up for all of it. To see the smiles or hear the praises from his team mates and family is probably recognition enough even if it is only for a season. But what matters most is the example of the “dew season” in the life of man who could have given up but chose to run another way.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"I Wanna Kidnap You"....featuring Mi Mi, Nakita Cook Young & Hillary Roy

If you've never been kidnapped before..today "We Wanna Kidnap You"....

“I Wanna Kidnap You”….
By “Mi Mi”

I wanna kidnap you…..

And go back to summer days
When days were hot
Nights were even hotter

I wanna kidnap you….

Never setting you free
And hold you till you see
That everything is better
When it’s you and me

The nights that I lay beside you
Holding on to thoughts of your essence
Drawing you closer with every breath that I take
No longer awake because I only have you when I dream
So what does this mean?

I wanna kidnap you…

You're in my head, never really there,
Never really where I'd always hoped you'd be
Can never see you in a way I'd hoped I'd see

I wanna kidnap you…..

All I wanna do is be, with you
Whenever, wherever, however that means.
Hoping that in this world when I dream
You will invade my reality

I wanna kidnap you….

This seems to be the only place where I am at peace…
Nights that I lay beside you
In this bed that we share
In this bed of air, in this bed of nothing there
Nothing there but just air

I wanna kidnap you….

“I Wanna Kidnap You”……..
By Nakita Cook Young

I committed a crime of the heart….I shanghaied and took my lover by force
I could wait no longer as my emotions would no longer stand still
I was inflicted and overcome mentally and physically
with interludes of romantic voyages and adventures of desire
The sensation came with such amazing speed and suddenness and
before I knew it I was taking my love against his will!

I acted exactly as my heart dictated…and I used my womanhood as my choice of
weapon; I stalked and prowled every inch of his body with my unlawful intentions;
I locked him up in my love and held him captive, with my unbridled kisses and
touches and my Karma Sutra body positions!

I’m not in command of my desire, passion and sexual prowess
I can no longer help myself I’ve got to get close to my divine so
I drugged, coerced and abducted him with my sexual appeal
I kept him restrained by sedating him with hot shots of my sweetness!

Boy you got me so gone over you my mind is slippin
with just the mere thought of you my love starts to flow and I start trippin
but, I don’t give fugg ….The jonz in my bonz got me thinking crazy
and I’m down to do whatever it takes to get next to you baby!
even if that’s locking you up and “throwing away the key” and keeping you prisoner!

I’m Never, Never gonna give you up even if the cops come knockin
There ain’t a damn thing that I won’t do to keep you as a hostage
I got you right where I want you gagged and bound in my allurement
Nothing else even matters to me but, my ransom and demands…
Touch all places that make me hot, love me from the bottom to the top,
and make me scream and holla!

This wild and excited unlawful escapade escalated and intensified
I got caught up in the rapture and swept away in the sexual euphoria
I was possessed by my sexual insanity and got hung up with passion
And that’s when it happened my kidnapping plans were foiled and I became his capture.

Thoughts of passion and sweet sensations drove me to do it
He takes my body over the edge with a feeling of awe!
It was a crime of the heart, an act of love is… necessarily punishable by law
I can't help from thinking this is how it’s suppose to be I belong to you…and
baby you belong to me!

“I Wanna Kidnap You”…….
By Hillary Roy



a stick up..

And I wanna kidnap you..

I wanna pick pocket every emotion running through you

Hold u, console u

Put u up for ransom

Then.. kidnap u….

Again, and again and again

No need to try and hide from me

I love u this is my decree

And earth is only but so wide

Can’t show the love I feel inside

This is a stick up





I’ll trace the footprints of your steps in sand

And when I do, “you’ll” do, as “I” command….

8 hours, 20 minutes, 6 seconds will be

Almost as long as eternity

I’m just securing what’s mine you see

My prize possession he’ll always be

I’ll cook, I’ll clean, I’ll keep it real…

Give him a love that’s etched in steel

And passion that is oh so thick,

oh trust me “he’d” be turning tricks

So yes I’m guilty of this crime

I’ll thankfully do whatever time

Cuz I’m just securing what’s mine you see

And making sure we’ll always be


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who Cares About Gail King...My Name Is.......

Last Saturday I went to one of the most powerful empowerment sessions I’ve attended in a long time. But, I gotta admit, I was a little intimidated. When I first walked through the doors of the CAU recreation center (that’s short for Clark Atlanta University) I could feel the tension in the air as more than 100 women from all over the Atlanta sat in upward poses as if they were being auditioned for a top model shoot. There were Prada bags, weaves and Mac cosmetic adorned faces that were so flawless I knew I couldn't’t compete. And why would I want to since this isn’t what that day represented. At least not for me and probably not for any of the other women who attended the first annual I AM WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) Tour held in Atlanta. It wasn’t about “appearances” or profiling, it wasn’t about name dropping either, it was simply a day, for students and women of all backgrounds to come together and gain insight from some of the hottest trailblazers in the entertainment industry.

From the moment I heard Lauren Lake speak I knew the day was going to be special. Not only is she an attorney but also a motivational speaker, a television personality, author of the book “Girl! Let Me Tell You,” and former host of the HGTV show “Spice Up My Kitchen.” She along with 6 others panelists including: Nina Brown ( V-103’s morning show producer), Phaedra Parks (Entertainment Attorney, The Parks Group/Executive Consulting Producer of BET's “Tiny & Toya” show), Terrence J. (BET's 106 & Park co-host), Shanti Das(Executive Vice President of Universal Motown), Chaka Zulu (Disturbing the Peace Records, Ludacris’ label), Stacey Lee ( Former Miss Michigan ), Kaira Akita Whitehead (Actor, Tyler Perry Films) graced us with an afternoon of pure, unadulterated honesty and wisdom. At times I often felt like I was sitting in my living room talking to a few of my best friends because the conversations flowed that easily. I listened carefully as Nina Brown detailed the steps she took to become the producer of one of Atlanta's hottest morning radio shows. And even at 23yrs of age she wasn’t going to let that number or some veteran radio talent stop her from pursuing that dream. So with a little determination, tenacity and a strong willingness to learn she made it happen. Next up was Phaedra Parks, an well known entertainment attorney who credited her entrance into the business after having a conversation with a well known radio personality and mentor. But when Terrence J.from BET payed homage to his mother for being the catalyst and driving force for his career I couldn't help but feel his pride. He spoke of a young woman who became pregnant at 17 years of age who never had the chance to pursue her own dreams therefore, she became the fuel that ignited his hope of entering the entertainment industry. And with that, came the promise, to return every, single hope and dream his mom had loss. But the moment that stood out for me the most was when a woman in the audience asked how she could rekindle a tie she had established with Oprah's best friend, Gail King. It was a chance meeting she had with her many, many years ago that still had her feeling as if she had missed her shot at fame and fortune. After all was said, a very direct Ms. Lake looked her straight in the eye and replied…”Stop waiting for Gail King or anyone else to give you what you already have, create what “you” want for yourself.”

As I meditated on her words I remembered all my mentors, friends, and the people in my life that I had waited on to "take me" where I wanted to go. I wanted the gain without the pain and that's just not how the universe works. Simply talking about the place that I wanted to be wasn’t going to be enough. I had to have a vision and position myself for God’s blessings to flow through me and around me. I had to learn that I could no longer be a “pity party mess” and just dew what I needed to dew for myself. Then and only then did the visions of my life, not anyone elses become clear. One seed at a time I planted and used the gifts and talents God gave me and with his grace and hard work I'll continue to dew my thing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Momma Knows Best......

For all the talk of “momma knows best” this time, I can say, I certainly agree, as celebrity recording artist Khandi Burris and character on “the Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is slowly, but surely, finding out. Not for the obvious of course, i.e. the fact that her soon-to-be husband (so we think) has 6 kids by more than one woman, or because her fiancé won’t “man up” long enough to have a conversation with his future mother-in-law just to set the record straight but because it’s just plain stupid that a woman with everything going for her would make such a hasty decision to say yes to marrying someone she hasn’t even known that long. Notice I didn’t say stupid, because many of us have taken that trip in more ways than one, fortunately we were able to get off that cruise ship and make our way back home. Earth to Khandi..it’s time to come home now sweetie….Royal Caribbean has ended that tour. Nevertheless, I find myself feeling more and more sorry for her as I watch episode after episode, as she pleads for her mother to accept the fact that she’s happy with this man. And I can’t help but wonder why she can’t for one minute see the other side. Happiness is fleeting but peace is everlasting and right now it looks like they’ll be no peace in the foreseeable future. I’m not being a pessimistic I’m just calling it as I seem em. Although, I’m not a mom or married or dated enough men with children to make a completely solid case on this, I do know one thing for sure and that, is that, if I had a child he/she would have to be completely, 100%, on board with our union. I also know that my family: Mom, Dad, Aunt Betty, Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Smoothie, Uncle Lester, Aunt Boobee, Cousin Frankie, Sister Susie and the rest of my crew would have to be on board too if family meant that much to me. Does that mean that every bit of that person has to be loved by family, probably not, but there would have to be a mutual respect going on in order for me to walk down that aisle or else….we ain’t getting married! I also look at the future implications, that should they just happen to divorce (God forbid) how it would affect all of his kids, not just her daughter, but re-routing an entire family from one location to another to be with yet another woman or how seeing daddy fathering children with several different women looks (another topic that I know will cause a stir) or the fact that this young woman could very well pay child support or/alimony to this man (get a prenup please) or what this whole situation might do to her own family unit is what I question most. Again, I’m not a pessimist, just a realist and a woman who knows that no amount of great “wa wa,” money, or loneliness wouldn’t make me think twice before I, say, “I dew.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Truth Is......

For the past few days I’ve sat silently, as I watched replays on CNN of a dog and pony show taking place during the town hall meetings over one of the most serious issues our country has had to face in a very long time. And right now, I can no longer hold my tongue. And since this blog is about life, lessons and truth, I will try my best, to share my truth, without offending anyone. I cannot speak for the masses, I cannot speak for your truth but what I can do, is share my reason, for wanting health care reform. Perhaps if we listened to the bitter words of a woman’s family who had to bury her because she died from cancer simply because she was unable to pay for medication or have radical surgery to reverse her circumstance. Perhaps if we listened to the cries of young child suffering from a bone marrow disease but unable to receive a blood transplant because his parents couldn’t afford to pay for hospitalization. Or, perhaps if we saw the tears of a woman who no longer had a job because the small business she worked for, for over 10 years, could no longer afford to pay her and now she struggles to pay healthcare on her own even though she had always managed to stay healthy by grace along with her 3 kids. No longer can I stay silent when just a few years ago, I had to face, a similar dilemma. I was unemployed but was fortunate enough to have received a contract sales position that lasted all of 3 months. I was grateful for the opportunity but knew in my heart that I had just enough to eat, pay for rent and fill up my gas tank. There was absolutely, positively, no way that I would be able to afford healthcare. Before this time, I was like any other hard-working individual. I had a job that paid well and a healthcare plan that paid for everything. Yet, when I found myself being wheeled away on a stretcher after being told I had to have emergency surgery my glory days of healthcare security became just a memory. Not having insurance meant that I would be responsible for paying for everything and everyone. The doctor, the nurse, the transporter, the radiologist, the bed, the wraps, the meals, the swabs, the person who wiped my backside and I could go on and on. Fortunately, there was a plan in place for the “uninsured” and that plan was called “Charity Care.” Had it not been for this, I probably would have asked them to keep me on that stretcher because I truly had no way to pay for the $50,000+ surgery they stuck me with. Am I saying that people shouldn’t be responsible for paying their bills if service is performed, absolutely not, but if it wasn’t for programs like these, for special circumstances like this one, what would people do? They would do, exactly what so many others are doing; lose their homes, file for bankruptcy, take out second mortgages, borrow, plead, beg and steal or, simply, doing nothing at all. Ultimately, they are caving into the pressure and stress of not being able to take care of their health. I cannot speak, and will not speak on whether this issue is about “the haves or the have nots” or someone who is Black, White, Asian or Latino. But what I know for sure, is that it’s about people, simply expressing, a lack of compassion for anyone other than themselves. And a lack of wanting meaningful dialogue to discuss both sides of the coin which really is what matters most. Not what you’re gonna lose, or how much political leverage you’ll gain but what you and your family, and your family’s family, and your children’s family can treasure most. The most important resource we have, which stands above the dollar and above any color line…is what we call LIFE. Perhaps in dew season, or this season, some folks will get that part right.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beating the D

The other day I stood quietly by my locker as I watched a coworker speed pass me like his life depended on it. I managed to catch his eye briefly, and in that moment I saw him carefully wrap his hands around a bottle that he held ever so tight. He was visibly agitated and when I asked if he was okay he responded softly then replied “I will be, just as soon, as I take, my meds.” I tried not to see what “meds” he was talking about because this was no business of anyone else but him. But before I could turn away he stuck the bottle in my hands and all my eyes could focus on were the words D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N. It was as if they were superimposed not just me, but anyone else who was listening. And then I froze. I was unable to think of what to say next. It was awkward and I had no real way to recover? So instead of responding with some sort of generic response my mind starting flashing back to previous conversations I’d had with him. He was 26-years-old, black, good-looking and the father of a beautiful baby girl. I know none of this really matters but what it showed me was that depression had no labels and its ill effect can strike any of us. He and I flirted with each other months before this, until I reminded him that I was "old enough to be his momma” speech, every time he asked me out. I was flattered, but what I felt, that day, was an overwhelming sense of “what if?” What if I had chosen to go out with this young man. Or what if I had entered a relationship with him. What would it have meant for us? Would I be able to handle the momentary episodes that often come with this crippling disease? Would I continue to be the strong woman that I so often profess to be and love my friend through what could be many rocky roads ahead? Or, would I simply walk away without trying to understand? I also thought of my own family, the cousin with bipolar, another who is no longer with us but was drawn to a state of confinement unable to leave her home for fear of what might be outside her door or the grandmother I never met. The one I’d always heard stories of, the plain woman, the talented yet meek woman who died in a sanitarium or crazy home for those who knew differently back then. And when my journey was over, I thought of all the other friends, family, coworkers and strangers I’d had conversations with who proved themselves brave enough every time they woke up or walked out their own front door. Beating the D….beating the stereotype that depression can sometimes hold against them, the stigma of the D that many fight to break free from everyday. And in that moment I smiled to myself, not because I was grateful to God for allowing me to be spared from this but by allowing me to be in the path of that young man to simply say “It’s okay.” “Pray.” “It’s going to be okay.” Whether we know it or not, perhaps dewing, or saying something, just might be enough.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Does My Thinking Need An Adjustment?

Loving, caring, hard-working, successful, dedicated mother, multi-talented professional and independent woman. These are the words that describe my long time sister friend, Lisa Barclay. Since she was the winner of my blog challenge last month it only seems right to share her post. And if you'd like to read more stories from Lisa pick up a copy of my latest book "Journeys of Love Voices of the Heart" available now at: www.HillabeesandRoses.com. Enjoy her post!

Does My Thinking Need An Adjustment?

I try to start most of my work days with a devotional reading. You know, try to get my mind right as I prepare to do the corporate shuffle and deal with daily life. Today’s message resonated with me in a really big way because I’ve been going through some things in my personal life and as a result, I’ve had a lot on my mind. The message told a story of a woman who planned how her whole life would be in her head and when it didn’t turn out that way she was angry and frustrated. In her mind her husband was not the knight in shining armor as he practiced his daily ritual of coming home from work, offering no help around the house, criticizing her weight and the things she didn’t do; all the while assuming his couch potato, channel surfing position. Her house wasn’t the Elle Décor picture of perfection that she had hoped for. Things never seemed to stay in their place. The floor always needed mopping and the sink had a never ending pile of dishes. Her kids were not the perfect little angels she dreamed of because they never listened and caused daily chaos in the house. Over time, this woman’s daily mantra became, “Why bother? No one else does?” She let life’s disappointments block her view of the blessings in her own life. Sadly, she couldn’t see beyond “what wasn’t” in her life.
I have to admit I started seeing myself in that very same light and have often been guilty of adopting that same attitude. The message asked if we realized when our thinking needed an adjustment. Do we check ourselves to see if our thoughts have any true merit or have we allowed negative energy to influence our minds and our hearts? As an imperfect person, these questions give me great pause because I know that my thinking is not where it should be. I am grateful for the daily blessings in my life - my home, my son, food, clothing, a job, my health and so many other things. I often think about and pray for the people who are not as blessed and fortunate as I. Yet,in spite of my gratitude I have to stop and ask myself if I need to change my own thinking. As a self proclaimed, strong Black woman, I know I do. And just like the message that was based off of the scripture (Philippians 4:8-9), that change, would create more peace. In dew season and with God’s help, as I think differently and act differently the blessings of peace will rain down on my life. And that, is a much better, option to me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Loving Myself Whole

Several years ago I found a letter from a lover who had written to a woman in another country. She lived, in Japan, I believe. When I read it, I was devastated, broken and numb. I suppose it was because we had dated for a number of years. Once I got to the end, I packed up my things, and raced out of his front door. There were no words that came from my mouth; I was simply in a state of disbelief and very, very angry. And with all that anger, came feelings of insecurity and doubt. I started picking myself apart, wondering what part of me he didn't love. Was I not attractive enough? Smart enough? Kind enough? Was it because I didn't have the long, silky hair that she had? Or was it, as he used to tell me, that I needed a more submissive spirit? As the questions continued to ring in my head so did my anger. So I used the address of the other woman that I managed to jot down a few days before to find some answers. I wanted all of my frustration and bitterness to be directed toward her. Not him. Not me. I asked how long they had been seeing one another although it really didn’t matter. I asked if she had also loved him even though I could care less. And then I wished her well and told her how I hoped that his mistake wouldn’t be repeated with her. And in that moment I found closure because I knew that his cheating had nothing to do with me at all. That period of my life, as difficult as it was, became the catalyst for me to stop the inner conversations of inadequacy and replace it with self love. And while there will always be the memory of that broken relationship I learned that there was more value in loving myself whole. In dew season, I pray, we all feel this way.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Power of Love: A Father's Day Message

This weekend I cried baby boo hoo tears, I mean the kind of tears you cry when you have that toothache that doesn't want to go away or the kind you cry after the passing of a loved one. And I couldn't stop them, because scene after scene I could feel the pain, torment and love Will Smith had for his son while facing a long, hard journey in the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness." Having never been a mother of anything other than a couple of cats when I was a kid I've never truly understood the bond that parents feel for their children yet I found myself not only appreciating, but respecting that bond this weekend. And, I held my candle high for the efforts and sacrifices that fathers make every day, all, in, the name of love. All too often we hear about the sacrifices of single mothers, those who have been forced to raise their children on their own. But rarely, do we hear the stories of men, especially black men, who stop at nothing to make sure that their children are fed. They work 2-3 jobs to pay for rent, bills, and food. They hustle up and down gang infested streets all hours of the night. They are our doctors, lawyers, teachers, poets, business men, athletes,janitors, construction workers, service techs, pastors, rappers, musicians and so many other men in between. But, each of them, share a common thread; the love, they have, for their kids. As I sat back and watched this movie, I witnessed a man who loss everything, his wife, his pride, even his home. But never, ever, did he lose the love he had for his son and he maintained that bond even when he didn’t have a dime to his name. He fed him, bathed him, clothed him, cheered him on in his successes and gave him wisdom that would far surpass the face on any dollar bill. He gave him his love, he gave him his presence, and nothing society says, can ever diminish that. No child support check can do it, nor can a pair of Nike shoes. So today, in honor of all fathers thank you for not giving up on us, especially the sons, daughters, nieces, nephews or children on your block or in your schools who may have been abandoned by someone else. You could have walked away, you could have turned your back, but instead you made the choice to simply love us. In dew season, I pray that each and every one of us experience this.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Oh, The Things I Will, Won't Do For Love....

I gotta admit. I’ve never been much of an organized person. Never been the type who hangs her clothes when I come home from work nor do I fold them after pulling them from the dryer. I don’t walk around with a list of daily do’s and don’ts. And rarely do I care what’s on my dinner plate. Just so long, as it’s good. That’s just not who I am, never has been, never will be, unless, it comes to choosing a mate.

For the past 20 years I’ve hopelessly struggled to stay true to my needs/wants as it relates to having a successful relationship. But, I often wondered, what’s the point? Men and women are always going to have differences therefore ya gotta roll the dice and take the good with the bad. Yet, even though I’ve held true to this mantra I still find myself changing my requirements almost as much as I change my taste in clothes.

I’ve watched them dwindle from a thesis, to a one page synopsis, all the way down to the length of a gas receipt. And while much of what I desired in my twenties still holds true in my forties, some of those qualities have slowly began to fade. Therefore, all that I have left is a list of “Things, I will, won’t do, for love.”

And so we begin…..

The Will’s

1.I will date a man with all of his teeth (minus the gold plates)
2.I will date a man whose stomach is bigger than mine (as long as it’s chiseled)
3.I will date a man with a less than perfect car (as long as it’s not his momma’s)
4.I will date a man who knows that chivalry is not dead ( I still enjoy having doors open for me even if it is only the bathroom)
5.I will date a man with a bald head ( as long as there’s no bumps on the back of his neck)

The Won’ts

1.I won’t date a man who’s cheap (in other words…frugal).
2.I won’t date a man who smokes (something about the smell annoys me)
3.I won’t date a man with more chest hair than me (bad experience, he had breasts)
4.I won’t date a man with kids (unless they’re from the same mother)
5.And finally, I won’t date for the sake of dating; I’m looking for my husband.

Generally speaking, this list idea has worked for me right up until my fairy love mother comes in to punish me for my sudden memory lapse. In other words, I tend to flip flop often, only to be stuck dating men I have no business with. And yet, I still long for that special someone the kind with the sense of humor, and pick-up lines don’t count. Or the kind who offers meaningful conversation that doesn’t include what he just ate for lunch. For those of us who still believe in the power of “the almighty list”, fairy god mother’s, fables, and knights in shining armor, all we really mean, and what we really need is…love. Or, at least that’s what I think I need. Oh well, perhaps I need another list to figure out the things I will…won’t do…for love, once and for all. In dew season, I’ll probably get it right.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Rare Beauty"

I often wonder what life would be like for me if only I had looks like that of some celebrity or the body of a goddess. Would it be easier for me to date among the millions of other single women? Maybe, maybe not. Yet, right now, I'm just as happy being in the skin I'm in when there are thousands of other women with physical struggles that far surpass my occasional bad hair days, or acne parties. But for some women, just being able to get the attention of one,single man is almost as difficult as finding buried treasure. Yet, everyday they continue to try, through internet dating sites, bars, churches, networking events hoping that one day they might find their one true love or at best one date that would last for more than thirty minutes. Society has made it so difficult to look past the physical appearances of men and women that it makes any form of abnormality seem taboo. So when I read the article about a woman who suffered from a rare disease called Klippel-Trenaunary Syndrome, my heart went out to her. Her right leg is longer than her left therefore she walks with a limp. Her back is uneven with a fatty slab and a dense lump above her waist and there's a gigantic port-wine stain that reaches around her broad torso and down toward her right thigh. This woman is not the picture perfect celebrity that I mentioned earlier nor is she the average individual that we cross while walking down the street. She is unique, strange at best but she is, in fact, a woman who just like me has the same desires and needs that I long for. The need to be loved, the need to have the attention of a loved one, the need to be accepted for "who I am" and not what I look like. Her need to have all of these things has driven her to the likes of the Internet to find those things, unfortunately, dreams tend to fade fast and the reality of truth always sets in. She is deformed and there's nothing that she can do about that. No matter how beautiful her face is. No matter how much she enjoys her life. Truth is, most of the time she'll never be accepted for anything other than a woman whose deformed. And so that tiny, little secret becomes something she tries desperately to hide each time she goes on a blind date. And it's also something she must deal with for the rest of her life. As I continued to read her story I realized the shallowness I'd shown toward men at one time in my life by never fully embracing the shell that was within. I also thought of all those men who met her and chose to run the other way. Who never even experienced the joy of her conversation. Or the chance to see bravery at its best. How many of us would want the same if we were the one with the abnormal face, foot or hand. How difficult it seems, to love without restriction. Without judgement. Without fear. Perhaps when dew season comes, her story, like many others, will remind us that beauty really is skin deep.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"No Biking On Holidays"

400 Million? 400 Million? Did you say 400 Million? And this, isn't even, a lottery prize or the salary of a CEO from one of those corrupt banks on Wall Street. No, my dear, this, is the amount of money, that the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina may lose out on this Memorial Day holiday all because they are saying no to "The Black Bikers weekend" event. Well say it isn't so! But why would anyone be surprised when some of our aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and yes even grandparents have chosen to act a fool all in the name of fun! Now you can call me conservative. Or even a prude. Call me, whatever you so choose but before you finish reading this post at least you'll call me honest. For the life of me I can't understand why anyone would question the decision of residents who live in a community and pay taxes who try and stop an event don't have that right too. Especially when those residents see their poor town become mass destruction to the highest degree. What once was the pride of a city has become complete mayhem. And again, I say, all..in..the name..of fun! And yet supporters are crying that this is not what the weekend represents. Hmmmmm, I get it, so it's about peace and joy. Or as one biker put it,it's about other biker groups bonding and networking with one another, it's about showing off their Mercedes Benz, BMW, priced recreation vehicles, or sharing mechanical and maintenance tips and doing a little competitive racing and blah..blah..blah...blah. I get it! And while I understand the honest intent of those who earnestly believe that I know otherwise because I've attended. Well, unfortunately, alot, but not all of what you see isn't that. If it was, the community wouldn't take the chance on losing the type of dollars that I'm sure they desperately need. On the contrary, for many (again not all) of the men and women who go know exactly what this weekend offers: alot of flash, parties, nudity, drinking, sex, rawness, and yes, the opportunity to act like complete fools. Almost like what happens in Vegas....well, you know the rest. And for those who may see my thoughts as outdated or smug I'll say this. I have no problem embracing groups or organizations that choose to join because they have every right to (it's under the Constitution) but what I do have a problem with are those who question the choices of others when they don't agree. Let me put it more clearly, if I owned a house for 30+ years and had perfect strangers yelling and screaming outside of my house all hours of the night I'd have a problem too. Wake up people, this is not about race, or color or anything other than respect something that I pray many of those aunts and cousins I talked about will do. Until then, accept the fact that some folks will judge you not just by your words but by your actions and right now some just need to get their acts together. Perhaps in dew season they will.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Mother's Day Wish

Today I agonized over which topic to discuss until I realized that Mother's Day was approaching. Why? Because that day has always been bittersweet. Not because my mother isn't in my life or because distance separates us but because the lines have always been blurred. Mainly, because my mother and I have always battled for as long as I can remember. Didn't matter what it was,there would always be a difference of opinion. Whether it was the outfit I chose to put on or the choice of hairdo I made, my mother was always going to have the last say. That's just who she is. And nothing that I said or thought would ever change that. But after all, didn't she have the right too? She is, in fact, the person that endured countless hours of labor for me to even exist. She is also the person who managed to go from working as a babysitter for myself and other neighborhood kids when I was young only to become a manager of a retail store. And she did this because she separated from my father and had to raise my sisters and I all alone. So whether it was a pair of shoes I needed for a dancing school recital or a ticket to a Broadway show, my mother always made a way. Once again, I say with admiration, doing it all alone and without the kindnesses of any strangers or anyone else. My mom was too proud for that. She was, and is, a pillar of strength. I guess this is where I get my tenacious spirit, always managing to bounce back from difficult situations. Therefore, this year, I'll take time out to thank my mom for all the arguments, the birthday wishes, the tears she made me shed from harsh words, the disappointments we shared together, the long talks, the heated exchanges we've had and last but not least the times we missed out on when both of us chose not to speak. Why? Because all of these things taught me how to be a much better person, and a much better woman than I'd ever hoped to be. On this day I'll push aside my judgement of the choices she made on how to raise me, and replace them with gratitude and appreciation simply because she gave me "life." In dew season maybe, just maybe, we'll all see the light.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Meat Me In Another Lifetime"

As much as I hate to admit this, I love cooking! I say this because there will be a few "In Dew" readers who will see this as an opportunity for me to cook a good meal. But please don't get confused, I'm not talking about cooking that "mean ole pot of spaghetti" that folks are always bragging about. Or, that hearty breakfast with 2 eggs, toast, a slab of bacon and pancakes. Nope, I'm talking about that down home, give your mom a hand smack, finger licking type of food. The smothered pork chops, mac and cheese, rice and gravy, yams, and fried apples with biscuits sha-bang thing. The only problem is, as much as I like preparing it, I can't eat it! At all! Not one bite! A few years back I was diagnosed with "endometriosis", a very painful female related condition that causes severe pelvic pain and cramping. There's also other symptoms associated with it but for many women it's either misdiagnosed or goes undetected for years. It's the type of condition that will cause you to stay in bed for days laying in a fetal position, feel nauseous or have you thinking you just got hit by a truck. It's painful folks. And for years I complained to friends and family about not feeling good or cancelled activities because I didn't want to be labeled as the "party pooper." Yet, all the while I was suffering from an unexplainable, nagging sickness that I couldn't do anything about. Fortunately, alot of that's changed. And while I haven't undergone any sort of surgery for it I have changed my way of life. Thankfully, the pain I've grown accustomed to is no where near the level that it once was, all because I made a conscience decision to change the way I ate. I had to give up most,if not all of the foods I enjoyed. Hence, the beefs, the porks(no swine flu for me), the chicken (unless hormone and antibiotic free), the dairy (evil ice cream, didn't like chocolate anyway), and turkey. That meant no more lasagna( darn holidays) fried chicken (I miss you bad), scrambled eggs with cheese, short ribs...and so on and so on......Was it easy? Absolutely not! But given the choice of feeling better over feeling sick, the winner is.......And while I miss the taste of traditional cuisine and hate the fact that I can't just "eat any body's food", I know that I made the right choice. Besides, in dew season, I'll be able to eat anything I want and that includes asking God to "meat me in another lifetime."

For more information on endometriosis visit: www.Endofound.org an organization co founded by "Top Chef" co host Padma Lakshmi.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dedicated To Delisia

I've always heard folks talk about people being taken before their time but in this case it seems totally unjustifiable, not even real, as I read about a wife, a new born, a 6-year-old and a husband dead as a result of a careless car crash in College Park, GA. Details aren't relevant. Neither is blame. But what's left is the testimony of a woman who soared like an eagle during her short time here. Delisia LeMons Carter was more than a mother, wife and friend, she was an advocate for young people, an author of the book "Overcoming Negative Self Talk," and the business owner of The Eagle Connection, a non-profit group created to teach others how to transform their lives. Something that Delisia LeMons-Carter knew well. Not naturally, but instinctively by drawing from her own struggles and experiences. And she created a new world for herself by pleasing others in the process. Although she was a victim of physical abuse, homelessness and poor self-esteem, she never let that stop her from pulling herself up and out of that downward spiral. I share my poem from the book "Journeys of Love Voices of the Heart as a dedication to one of God's most beautiful eagles. May she and her family rest in peace. For more information about the Eagle Connection or Delisia Carter's life please visit: www.TheEagleConnection.com/newsletters/aug08.html or www.TheEagleConnection.com

Peacefully I Soar

I heard a whisper from afar…cry not…..
I am here…..I am here.
I am in a place too glorious to describe.
I made it…. made it to the
top of the mountain. Made it to the gates
where crystal palaces are
real. Look up, not down, this is where I truly lie…
not beneath some
muddied ground because my soul has
already lifted. I’ve done my time so rejoice and
celebrate me, knowing that I made it over.
Finally getting the rest that I deserve…
I’m in a place where struggle is no more…
where peace is everlasting….
and love is unconditional….
no pain…just free…
free to fly and soar like an eagle high above
rainbows, dancing in the wind. I am here…
I am here……..I am here…..only now
I am a sweet spirit…
soaring high above the clouds.

Hillary Roy,from "Journeys of Love Voices of the Heart."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fleeting Moments

In a crowd of more than 3,000 fans at a right to life event, the Ex-GOP Vice Presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, admitted that for one "fleeting moment" she considered having an abortion. This after news that this 44-year-old politician learned she was pregnant. It was hard for her to grasp the concept of changing diapers again. In addition to this, she was faced with the reality of knowing that her unborn son had Down Syndrome. And in that moment I thought, what would I have done? What would any of us do if faced with the choice of making probably one of the toughest decisions of our lives? I certainly have no right to judge the choice of anyone either way but in fact found myself reflecting on the choices of my past.

I was a freshman in college and had been dating my first love for over 3 years. Both of us had decided to further our education as far away from home as possible. I was finally getting an opportunity to meet people who looked just like me who were from other parts of the world. It was also my best hope of escaping the "rules and regulations" of my mother's home. Freedom was here and I couldn't wait for the chance to exercise my independence. What that meant for me was being able to come and go as I pleased and do whatever I wanted to do whenever and how ever I wanted. There would be no more advisement from mom, and no more threatening lectures warning that if I ever came home pregnant that I better not come home. The only concerns I had were going to class, partying and enjoying my new surroundings.

When the doctor announced that I was pregnant, it really didn't matter to me. I never thought of "the life" that lay inside of me, just all of the things I'd miss out on if I didn't end it. There was hardly any discussion, my decision came from nothing more than a brief sigh and a moment of silence. I couldn't imagine myself sharing the news with the woman who sacrificed so much to get me into school. Nor, did I want to face the burden and stigma of being a college dropout within my first year. I was numb and all I could think about was staying on track with my plan of pursuing my degree in communications and finishing school. Besides, how would I be able to support and be mom to one of God's greatest creations, anyhow? I didn't know..I didn't know..I simply didn't know so I let fear take over the voice inside of me that I knew best. And I let the sounds and echoes of the voices of those who never knew me at all make that choice for me.

I often wonder how different life would be for me had I had my own "fleeting moment" back then. Unfortunately, I'll never know but what I know for sure is that I'll dew everything that I can, to appreciate whatever life may be in my future.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In Her Honor

My heart sank this morning as I read an article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution about a 48-year-old woman who died of cancer. Normally, I'm unaffected by the death of someone I never knew. But when I read her story, I realized that just like this young woman my day would also come. What intrigued me most were the words of her husband as he described her loving spirit. She was in his words, the type of woman who loved and gave of herself to others all the time. Never asking for anything in return, never raising a flag over her accomplishments or deeds. She just did. How many of us can actually say this? Or how many of us can actually admit that when given the opportunity to do for other people well, we sort of miss the mark. Now, I'm not talking about helping the people that we know, or throwing money in the offering plate at church, but using everyday opportunities as a way to bless others. While I'm no Mother Theresa, I can attest to the fact that a simple word or ear can change the way someone looks at the world in an instant. Far too often we run through life never allowing ourselves to experience the joy of relationships. If a person looks a certain way, sounds a certain way or acts a certain way toward us then there's no real reason for us to associate ourselves with them. But what we miss out on in these rare occurrences are chances to enrich ourselves. Everyone has a story just waiting to be told. Whether it's a top exec. at a Fortune 500 company who loss her job or a man contemplating paying child support in order to cover his bills, their lives matter, their thoughts matter, their struggles matter. And no amount of make-up or mask can disguise that. Perhaps in this season we'll plant seeds by listening, and honor ourselves in the process creating our own legacy of loving in this life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Measure of My Success

Monday night I was amused as I watched the women of the reality show "Harlem Heights" talk about their views of success. For those who've never heard of it, it's BET's mature answer to the dreaded high school series "Baldwin Hills." The show explores the day to day activities of a few young, urban black professionals living in Harlem, NY. The women are intelligent, fashionistas full of attitude. Yet, as much as I enjoy all the flavor and controversy, I've often wondered how much of their spirit was actually in me? What began as a simple conversation about each of their professional walks became an internal dialogue within myself. And I reflected on all of the dreams I had when I was there age simply journeying through "Corporate America." Was I just as concerned as they were about reaching the "glass ceiling" or was I simply enjoying life as it came? As much as I would love to say I shattered the glass, this really wasn't the case.

When one of the characters shared her thoughts on not having accomplished any goals before reaching thirty, I was amazed. Here was a beautiful woman who was college educated, with management experience and well on her way to becoming a major force in the production world. Yet, this still wasn't enough.

Perhaps some of us are still making the mistake of equating "success" by the amount of money we make, the car we drive, the home we live in and the people we know. No doubt we've all been there. And while I agree that many of these things are necessary none of them define who we are. In my early twenties I was blessed with a lucrative sales position. I was working in pharmaceuticals and able to vacation, dine, and shop any time I wanted. But while the dollars satisfied my pocket they didn't satisfied my soul because all of it came with a tremendous cost. I wasn't saving a dime and had no concern about my future. All I wanted to do was enjoy my new found life. Was I selfish or just plain stupid? I guess only I can be the judge. Back then I was so caught up in the hype of having "things" that I was losing the very thing that was most important....me! My lessons in life became humbling experiences and opportunities to draw closer to God. In dew season I pray that I continue to dew better and continuously acknowledge that the secret of success is based only on who defines it therefore I'll choose to define myself.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Especially for You

Yesterday I took the day off from work to get some much needed rest. I was exhausted from a long weekend of moving and everyone knows how taxing that can be. When I returned, I noticed that I had missed my chance to show my support for National Autism Day. This was especially important to me as I have friends with children who are affected by this. Most of us, whether married or single with kids are completely unaware of how blessed we are. Having a healthy child is a gift that so many people wish they could share. One of my best girlfriends and her husband who live in North Carolina struggle daily with the task of raising their two autistic sons in a world that fails to except anything that seems "abnormal". Although a day late, I share a story from the book "Journeys of Love, Voices of the Heart," that I coauthored with Rose Mitchell. It's my way of offering acknowledgement of a disease that affects millions of men, women and children all over the world. "Bubble" describes a mothers love for her autistic son. To those who are facing this reality remember that you are never alone. Look toward this dew season as God's way of allowing you to experience his extraordinary love. He made all of us in his image, he just gave you someone extra "special".

"Bubble," by Lorena Smith

I listen to my son babble in the bathtub as I’m putting clothes away in the closet. He’s swatting at the bubbles and giggling to himself. I don’t know what he’s trying to say. He’s non verbal. That’s what the “official” report says. The report also states, “Jacob is a physically healthy, non-verbal, seven-year-old autistic child.” It looks so sterile written like that. It looks like it’s just a passing blip. They can’t know how much I long to hear him say something, anything. At this point, I’d settle for him even cursing me out. In all his years, I’ve never heard him spontaneously say to me, “I love you”. I’ve never heard him say what a good mom he thinks I am. I’ve never heard him ask for candy or mumble rude things under his breath because I wouldn’t give it to him.

As I walk up to the bathtub to get him out, he is staring at the big, beautiful, round soap bubble he has caught in his hand. He stares at the little rainbows dancing in the light reflecting off the soapy surface. I put my head close to his.

“Is that a bubble? It’s so pretty,” I say.

I have acquired the habit of just talking around him. I have hours and hours of one-sided conversations, just hoping that something, anything, will stick in his brain and make sense. Then slowly, very slowly he moves his hand so the soap bubble is directly in the middle of us. He moves his head and leans it against mine. We sit there, my son and I, him kneeling in the bathtub and me kneeling on the floor beside him staring at this beautiful bubble, this token of love he wanted to share with me. We’re at the movies my daughter, my son and I. We sit in the very back because there is no way of knowing what he will or will not do. However, today he’s pretty calm. My daughter and I laugh at the movie. It’s very funny. It has a British koala bear in it. Who has ever heard of a British koala bear? Occasionally, I look over at my son. During most of the movie, he has his hands over his ears. He flaps his hands in front of his eyes and focuses on everything but the movie screen. I wish desperately that I could reach into his world and see what he sees. I wish so much that he could connect with my world so we could laugh at the silly lion together. My daughter loves it. She nudges me and giggles at a particularly silly joke in the movie.

When it’s over, I wait for most of the people to exit the theatre and then get up to leave. Then suddenly, I feel his hands on my waist tugging me into the aisle. The credits are rolling and the tune is mellow. He puts his arms around my waist and lays his head on my side. Then he starts swaying to the music. I put my arms around him too, and my son and I have our first dance in the aisle of the movie theater. The girl who cleans comes in to sweep the floor and flips on the light. She sees the streams of tears running down my face and quickly turns them off then quietly closes the door. My son and I continue our first dance until the music stops.

Over the years, I’ve learned that people can’t always express the love they feel with words. And, after having my son, I’ve come to realize that words are overrated anyway. It’s not what you say but what you do; it’s the way you tell someone you love them, even when you don’t have the words. It’s a soap bubble. It’s a dance in the aisle of a movie theater.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm Not Scared of Lions, and Tigers and Bears"

"I'm not scare of lions and tigers and bears, no I’m not, but I'm scared of.....loving you.” Okay, was Jazmine Sullivan serious when she wrote that song? Has she even seen the size of the bugs that run through the streets of Atlanta? If she had, then I'm almost certain that her lyrics might be a little different. Ever since I was a kid I've been tormented by every, single insect on the planet. My oldest sister and I joke about this all the time. As a child I remember being stung by a queen bee while playing kick ball with a few kids on my block. My middle sister Jocelyn had tried desperately to warn me beforehand and literally screamed at me to not touch my hair. Unfortunately, for me, it was too late. Hence began my rollercoaster ride through wild kingdom and my growing fear of bugs. When I moved to Atlanta I was so excited I couldn't wait to experience my new life. The warm temperatures and the rumors of it being a much slower pace is what lured me. But, my picture perfect dream faded just as fast as the flight I took to get here when I saw, what I thought, was a butterfly flying above my head. Only it wasn't daytime and my butterfly had more than wings, it crunched! And once I heard that, I knew that I was in for some big trouble. So I had to act fast with my interrogation process. After much research and interviews with my southern friends it was determined that I had seen a "palmetto". Oh, pardon me "a flying cockroach,” they said. What the heck?! When did cockroaches learn how to fly? I thought I had left Jersey behind, this can't be happening! I vowed that I would have a fresh, clean start and this was not going to include: crack heads, gang initiations or anymore wire hangers! I mean roaches! Now, I'm all for loving all of God's creatures but roaches aren't one of them; especially those that are the size of my size 8 shoe. When my best friend from college who lives out of state and I met up for dinner one night, I relished the opportunity of showing her all of the neat things to do and places to see in Atlanta. But, before we knew it, we were being followed by a team of groupies that were ducking and dodging us everywhere we went. This was becoming a problem and would continue being a problem every time the weather changed. It seems that my “palmetto” was a tropical insect who not only loved the outdoors but also warm climates just like me. Therefore, having weighed all of my options I had to do what any other person would do when his or her rights were violated. Stay in doors at night time, hire an exterminator, or relocate my little self right back to Jersey. Perhaps in dew season, I’ll muster up the courage, and make a better choice.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Role Rehearsal

"Take me back in the day when loving was pure
Love ain't going away, love is always secure
Life's not always perfect but love's always forever
Lets let true love connect lets try lasting together

I'm so ready to love, I'm so ready to promise my all
I'm so ready to give til' the day that my life is no more
I'll be everything that this woman can possibly be
Cause I'm ready to be like the olden days when commitment was golden"
(Lyrics by Chrisette Michel)

Oh, if this could only be me again...at least that's what I think the woman on the Good Morning America show would say. Yet, her actions and words said just the opposite. Today's segment entitled " When Women Bring Home the Bacon," (Role reversal creates emotional strain on Married couples)should have been called "When Women Bring Home the Bacon and Let their Men Fry." Why? Because it showed us exactly what happens to people who don't understand the meaning of the words "I Do." Now, now, now I don't profess to knowing everything about relationships nor am I the marriage expert, heck I'm not even married but what I do know, is that it takes uno, dos, tres to make anything work and that third wheel emphasis should be on God.

As I watched the interview, I found myself feeling totally disgusted. Not because their roles were reversed, but because of the lack of appreciation from both sides. Both had been, I'm assuming relatively comfortable financially at one time because they both had sales careers. Yet, when this woman's husband was laid off, all of the love, hugs and kisses flew right out of the window. Now, mommy was the certified financial power house of the home (working 14 hour days) and unable to effectively perform her wifely and motherly duties. Dad, on the other hand had become "mister mom" and something many women in this century, would have no problems with, certainly not me!

But when you stack them all together, what do you get? A big, fat glob of under-appreciated, non-loving, angry, bitter individuals who have sunken to roommate status. What happened to all of the love? She would no longer respect him because he no longer exemplified her idea of "head of household." You know, the one who worked 18hour days to provide for his family. And yes, I agree with her 100%, but we, are no longer living, in a time where we have the luxury to make this choice. Right now it's about survival...in our relationships...on our jobs and yes, in our homes. We have to learn how to weather the storms for better and for worse not just when we feel like it. He, on the other hand, wants to be appreciated more, to feel like she understands what he's giving up. He's no longer able to do the day to day visits with clients to bring home all the bacon fat he used to. But he, has to learn how to get over it and do everything he can as a man to provide love and support in other ways. What both of them are facing is a real life example of how the dew seasons of our lives can show us who and what we really are. My prayer is that their temporary role reversal is just a role rehearsal for the greater blessings and joy that will surely come.

Monday, March 9, 2009

With Age Comes....

For years I’ve prided myself with having clear skin. While I may have had an occasional run in with acne every now and then none of that compared to what I have right now. It's the type of acne that will make you cancel a dinner date, wear a turtle neck or keep you awake at night just thinking of ways to get rid of it."Adult acne” has got to be numero uno on my list of pet peeves just under the dreaded grey hair that most women over 35 have to deal with. And if I had a magic wand I'd wish them both away. Oh well, I guess with age comes beauty..yeah right…if that was the case then why do I have all these marks on my face?! I never abused chocolate candy or sweets (whatever)and I’ve always been good about washing my face at night. So where on earth are these demons coming from?! My once clear, caramel complexion is now being bullied every, single month by the likes of a little man who dances on my face like it’s New Years Eve. And right now, he needs to know, that this party is over! The only problem is, I’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to help. Every article I’ve read states that if I keep myself away from stress my skin would greatly improve. Right…I got it; I guess when I see stress walking down the street I need to move right out of his way. R-i-g-h-t....Or maybe I should take a yoga class to calm myself down. Now, who has time for that?! Or better yet, maybe I should stay away from all the people and things that might be causing my stress. Like the hosts of family, friends and coworkers who talk about my acne like I’m terminally ill or act like I’m not even in the room. “Poor, poor thing, what happened to your face? “Wow, is that a mole, or a pimple? “Did you get into a fight, oh don’t worry it’s going to be okay.” “You’re such a pretty girl but you really need to take better care of your skin,” they say. “Have you seen a dermatologist?” For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would think that people with acne have no idea that there’s a pimple on their face. Heck, we see it every time we look in the mirror so there’s no need to remind us. We also don’t need friends and family holding on to our faces like we’re new born babies. For goodness sake, this is probably how all this stuff got started in the first place! Have you tried Clearasil? Yes. How about Pro-Active? Yes. Retin-A? Yes. Tea Tree Oil? Yes. Alcohol? Yes. Witch Hazel? Yes. Have you tried running around in an ice storm with your face to the sky? Well, um, I think so, yes! Yes, yes, yes, oh yes! Folks, I’ve tried everything but holy water and prayer. Grudgingly, I’ve given up on fighting it and decided that life will always bring good and bad seasons. Therefore, I'm letting my skin dew its own thing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Poet In Motion

"if i can't do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don't want
to do
"it's not the same thing
but it's the best i can

"if i can't have
what i want then
my job is to want
what i've got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more
to want

"since i can't go
where i need
to go then i must go
where the signs point
though always understanding
parallel movement
isn't lateral

"when i can't express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
i know but that's why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry"

As a writer I've always admired poets like Maya Angelou, the late Langston Hughes and e.e. cummings and Sonia Sanchez. These were and are the men in women who inspired me to write. But no one, and I mean no one, writes like the queen..the great...Nikki Giovanni. Ms. Giovanni is more than just a poet, she's an educator, activist, and heralded author of a number of poetry collections that span as far back as 30 years ago. Yet, her work is timeless.When I was young I used to read her poems over and over again trying to figure out a way to make my words sound like hers. Of course, I couldn't because she wrote from experience and a depth that was tapped from something deep down within her soul. The first poem I ever read from her was "Ego Tripping" which made me see the beauty within myself as a black woman.

"I was born in the Congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light, I am bad......"

Yesterday, I read an interview with her and award winning journalist Bill Moyers from PBS and was reminded yet again why I love her so much. I could care less if she wrote a poem that was 4 or 40 lines because I know that whatever it is it will move me. Like her poem "Balance."

in life
one is always

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

3 grains of salt
to one ounce truth

our sweet black essence
or the funky honkies down the street

and lately I've begun wondering
if you're trying to tell me something
we used to talk all night
and do things alone together
and i've begun
(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

Her words express truth and power, it is the essence of who she is. A strong, courageous, beautiful black woman of talent. May her poems continue to dew for others what they have done for me all these years. For some reason Ms. Giovanni I know that they will.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Oh Brothers, Where Art Thou"

The other day I was so excited by the notes I got from a few people who read my blog. It was the first time I felt that folks had actually connected with something that I think, is a serious issue, in the black community; the lack of support for "good" black men. The dedication I wrote was my way of saying, I know that there are good black men out here but, when will we be able to work together and grow as a strong unit? Yet, just as I was beginning to feel the snaps and hand claps of followers, I received an email from a friend in New Jersey referencing an article from Christianity Today. When I read it, I was at a loss for words. The article was entitled, "Oh Brothers, Where Art Thou." The author was sharing her views on the difficulty of finding available(Christian men) in a world filled with erotica and sexual exploitation. Finding a good man was not just limited to the general population but even more challenging in the Christian community. While this may not come as a surprise to some this story, could not have come, at a better time. Oh the irony! And here I was professing all of my love for black men who are in many ways hard to find. Of course that would be based on who and what you're looking for but nonetheless a truth for many of us. As I continued to read, I found her insights to be quite interesting. It wasn't just our culture that was experiencing a shortage of men, there were others. Like the 40+ something-year-old Russian woman who had never been married or the 2 Bulgarian women she also spoke to. In a nutshell, this is a global issue. And while I am not passing judgement either way this reality is a reality. Solid, committed relationships are just not that easy to come by. And while there are countless churches that offer singles ministries and small groups, the lack of men who actually participate is another story. Now I'm sure that for some of my male readers this is a touchy subject. Yet, I chose to challenge one or two of them with helping to create a solution. Why should we (women) bear the responsibility of supporting these avenues alone. Don't they want the same things that we want? And if this is the case then why aren't they showing up? Is it the pressure to be married when you're not while going to church that keeps men away as mentioned in her story or perhaps because some "just ain't living right," or could it be something else? Finally, I got an answer and while it may not have been the answer I was exactly looking for, it was an answer nonetheless. I'll share his words:

Hillary, while I understand the article and think it is valid, I choose to focus my attention in a different manner. My way of dealing with that dilemma is investing the largest portion of my single time to work on me especially as it relates to building my relationship with God, my personal character, and my profession in a healthy context. As I get myself together, other people will follow and one of those people will eventually be my wife. All of my friends want what I want, but they're not going to stop what they're doing until they see somebody who has actually done it and who can clearly articulate that path. People have to apply themselves differently in order for things to change. It's not a reality that's inherent to men alone. It's inherent to women as well. People are messed up in general and women aren't excluded from that demographic.

The thoughts of my friend are undeniably true, how can we expect to have anything different if we haven't decided to be different. Perhaps in dew season this difference will come for all of us. Let's pray that it will be so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dear Brother: A Letter of Love

Today I woke up, and thought about the gifts I'd like to share with people that I love for Valentine's Day. For me, it's never been about the present but rather the presence of love and today was no different. Yet, the kindness of a talented author and new found friend was more than I ever expected. Larry Wilson's life, is an example of the dew seasons that I talk about in my blogs each week. His story exemplifies how a single human being can be transformed by the divine spirit that lives within. Larry was in prison at the age of 19, once out, he did his best to change his circumstances but ended up on a path of homelessness, contemplated suicide and by his own words loss himself. Yet, just like Job in the bible he was stripped then restored by God's grace. What started out as a simple email from one stranger to another turned into a Valentine's day blessing for me. Today I share my gift of love with you..a dedication to Larry and other black men who have stumbled but are trying their best to rise up. I pray that each of you enjoy it and support this rising star. To learn more about Larry Wilson please visit: www.BarnesandNoble.com, book search- dapharoah69.

Dearest Brother,

I love you more than you’ll ever know. I feel your suffering, your losses, and your burdens. Believe me when I say that I appreciate all that you do. So many nights I’ve kneeled down to silently pray for us to be unified, solid and strong. I am praying that we are able to fight the battles of life one day at a time. This dear brother is no journey you need to face alone. You need me to help you carry the weight of the world. Even when your instinctive, macho spirit tries to trick you into thinking otherwise. Don’t be intimidated by me because my paycheck may have a few more zeros than yours or because I have the title of doctor or esquire attached to my name. Never let this stop us from rearing beautiful black children together. And if ever there are days that I’m a little hostile toward you or insensitive to your needs, know that I am not questioning your ability to handle your business. I’m probably just P-M-S-ing. I know what you are capable of achieving. I also know that you are made up of a divine and perfect spirit which resides in you. It is that same life-force propelling me to share this message of love. Always remember my promise is sacred to you. Put trust in my words this day and know that together we’ll make a way.


Dedicated to the men in our lives that we love. Let us honor and cherish them for who they are and what they have been to us...beautiful, strong and supportive. An early Valentine's Day dedication for you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Steel Supporting The Ladies"

It's official! Oh yes, it's official! I, Hillary Roy, am an official believer. A believer in the power....the power of, the Pittsburgh Steelers! My dew season is here! Yes I, the one who said, that she would never watch a football game in her entire, sports deficient life but would supply all of the snacks and goodies for her friends and preferrably her husband have now been converted into a fan! I don't know what's come over me, maybe it's the hype of the former ex-drug dealing lineman turned golden child or maybe it's the fun I had screaming back and forth at the T.V. set, or maybe it's the pico de gallo and pasta salad that got me all wired up but whatever it was, it worked and I am no longer a subscriber to the "I'll support my man while he watches football club." Nope, no longer will I be a slave to "Football for Dummies" because by golly I finally got this game! With 4-inings..I mean 4 quarters and 2 teams racing across yards to complete a homerun..I mean a touch down..I have now mastered this game and I am ready. So bring on the Super Bowl next year baby because this lady is ready to win! Bring on the football pools, the countless bets with coworkers and yes more ESPN sports talk because I'm ready! I'm committed to this game! Hey,does anybody know when the next season of Project Runway starts?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"No Longer The Girl Next Door"

When I was growing up the only thing I wanted to do was write and sing. But for some reason "Momma Joyce" had other plans. She always made sure that every, waking, moment of my life be filled with things to do. Whether it was forcing me to do domestic duty or grudgingly going to private duty for every single organization known to mankind, my life was always full. To me, I was participating in some sort of social boot camp, only I was the one doing all of the work. First, it was piano lessons...but I sucked at that and had to quit. Next, it was dancing school: jazz, tap and ballet back to back. Then, it was gymnastics, didn't suck, but I could never figure out how to do that "back-flip" thing. And finally it was bowling, now that was something that I was proud to say I did well. As a child, I really didn't get the option of deciding what I could and could not do but one thing I knew that I wouldn't do, was be apart of any groups. I preferred to bathe in my own identity. No way, no how, was I going to join anything that made me wear a uniform. Who on earth would ever want to walk around with a beanie on her head or a tan and green skirt and shirt with gold medals? It just wasn't cool to me. In fact, nothing about joining the Girl Scouts was. Yet, when I was asked to participate in a Silver Career event for girls last weekend, I just couldn't refuse. I guess I was still feeling guilty about my lack of interest in them back then or maybe I finally felt that I had reached the level of achievement that they so often preached. Whatever the case, I was going and there was nothing else to it. When I finally arrived I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. There were a sea of girls in every size, hue, and shape and they were swarming around me like bees to honey. What on earth was I going to share with them? I didn't even know what a "Girl Scout" meant! I certainly understood the "girl" part but what were they scouting for? And then it dawned on me, they were searching for answers just like me when I was growing up, trying to discover who I was through activities and new paths. They were navigating their way through life and this was just one small stop on their journey. As I sat at my table, patiently waiting for the girls to stop by I tried to think of as many pearls of wisdom that I could share. Would I sugar coat their vision of life with stories of grandeur? Or would I share the harsh realities that life can so often bring? But before I had the chance to even make that decision, Alex was already in front of me. She had a caramel complexion, and was radiant and full of glee. I listened carefully as she vividly described what she wanted to achieve. She loved riding horses and wanted to be a marine biologist. She was fascinated with the fact that I published my first book and humored me with stories. And when she finished, I sighed with relief, proud of who she was about to become, proud of the promise of her future, proud to see that young girls still dream big, and learn to become great women, capable of dewing many great things!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Back Door to Greatness

Last Sunday I watched in awe as the late, great Ella Fitzgerald took the stage on PBS's Jazz Icon series. She was live in Stockholm, Sweden and the performance captured her best moments during 1957 and 1963. I wasn't even born, yet I could appreciate her masterful talent and skill. She belted out not 1 but 10 songs back to back with no gulps of water in between, no clothes changes, no perspiration breaks, just a small band that played ever so gracefully behind her. She was effortless and in her glory as her lips scatted and bopped weaving melodies so fast that I started getting dizzy. And then she paused and belted out her final number, a dedication to another great, the late Louis Armstrong. She not only sang but mimicked the sound of his voice as well as the notes he played on his instrument. Like I said a true talent...a real talent. Ms. Fitzgerald didn't need any back-up dancers jumping or gyrating across the stage with little or no clothes on. No, she used her natural talent to captivate her audiences. She didn't have the everyday conveniences that celebrities have today to garner any form of support, no videos,no concerts that demanded $75-$100 a ticket, no nothing. Yet, here was this voluptuous woman, with an even bigger voice who had the tone of 12 angels. A woman, who by beauty critics today would be called average and therefore unable to walk through the front doors of most of the places she performed. I imagine that there may have been times when some doors just wouldn't open at all. I thank God for the Ella's, the Etta's, the Billie's of our past for opening doors and breaking barriers so that I could do many of the things I do with ease. I may not sing like these women but I move like these women. I fight hard every day to break down walls, to push myself to new heights of understanding and knowledge and I use back doors with steps that help elevate me to places in my life that I want to go. In these dew seasons of my life I am grateful and humbled by the low points, the bruises, and the cuts. For without them how would I ever be able to grow?