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: 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: or

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! 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.