Make Me Wanna Holler

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“And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Romans 5:3-5, KJV

“Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters,
And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor—Bare. But all the time, I’se been a-climbin’… I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”
“Mother to Son,” Langston Hughes, 1922

Are y’all familiar with the phrase, “The struggle is real…”? O.M.G. Have I got a story to share this week!

Normally I would begin by apologizing for my tardiness, but I can’t apologize for grief and mourning. The death of Prince really hurt my feelings and no, I didn’t know him personally, but I do get extremely emotional when tragedy befalls my favorite celebrities. I was so stunned by the news, my mind would not rest. I just kept watching the special reports over and over again. I watched Purple Rain twice. We had a Prince music marathon for the entire week! And then just as my heart began to process the loss, I found out that a close classmate of mine had passed away. Now, although I know that death is an inevitable part of life, it just makes me feel some type of way. I mean, I was already in my feelings anyhow before the death of “The Purple One,” and then my Big Homie died a week later! (Sigh) I prayed for the families of both men and had a few “adult” beverages to numb my pain.

I know that only explained two weeks of silence. I know my last post was over a month ago. See, I started this particular piece fully intending to publish ON TIME, and yet, for reasons I still can’t explain, my thoughts, my words just would not come together. I wanted to express my disgust for the countless number of deadbeat parents (yes, Mamas AND Daddys) walking around with children they neither want nor deserve, because I am tired of hearing so many stories about babies being mistreated, neglected and abused. While searching the Bible for a background scripture, I read the story of Abraham and Sarah, two of the oldest parents ever to conceive. Their story struck a nerve in me because I have really been struggling with my own ticking biological clock. I recognize that I am a woman of a particular age and my window of opportunity to have my own baby is slowly coming to a close. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Especially since ALL my girls AND all of my siblings have children of their own.

On top of all that Mother’s day came and went, we had a mini family reunion the following weekend and just the other day, one of my relatives died. My life has literally been an emotional roller-coaster and I can barely process how I feel about everything, let alone write about it. I don’t even know how to pray about all this stuff. I just ask God to give me strength to keep on pushing and not let the Devil get close enough to break me down as I go.

What I’m learning is that in all that I do, no matter what, God is in control. People hook up and break up with each other sometimes, babies are born and relatives die sometimes, but God remains constant throughout every aspect of our lives. If it is His will for something to be done, then it shall be done. Now I see that He will grant my heart’s desires, but only when I have prepared myself to receive His blessing. Sometimes we think we’re ready for the things that we ask of God, and when He gives us what we ask for, we don’t know how to handle the whole blessing.

Hearing stories about abused and neglected children breaks my heart. Seeing kids looking crazy (dirty, cold, hungry, whatever) makes me wanna fight. I don’t understand how people can create another human being, an extension of themselves, and not give everything they have within them to insure the success of that helpless little child. I’ve asked God several times if I missed my chance to bring life into this world, because I was too picky, too cautious. I’m always too deep in my feelings to hear His response. Well, y’all know how I feel about coincidence, right? A few days after I read the story of Abraham and Sarah, I was elated to hear that my childhood idol, Miss Janet Jackson would soon give birth to her very first child at the age of 50! Just last week a 70 year-old elderly couple made headlines throughout the world for having their first child! I feel like God showed me that He can do WHATEVER we want Him to do for us, but not until we get ourselves together. Meaning, I need to keep working on myself and preparing for the blessing He has for me. If He were to bless me with a child anytime soon, I can honestly say that I’m not mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially stable enough to receive such a precious and wonderful gift. I don’t know very many people who can openly admit that revelation about themselves, but I don’t consider myself special because I can.

If this is your first time reading one of my “parables,” you should know that I don’t write what I write to pass judgment on anyone, I just share my thoughts and feelings with the world to let people know that we all go through tough times. We all wish for things other people may have. The struggle is real for EVERYONE. Stay prayed up and do your best to be as GREAT as you can be. God sees you and He will take care of you. Until next time…

This Is My Heart: Kum Bah Yah

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“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love…” 1 John 4: 15-18, KJV

“We can’t go on pretending day by day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change. We all are a part of God’s great big family and the truth, you know, Love is all we need! We are the world, we are the children; we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving. There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives! It’s true, we’ll make a better day-just you and me…” “We Are The World”, USA for Africa, 1985

Peace and blessings, y’all.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know it was yesterday, but I was recuperating from a stomach virus and I couldn’t quite finish this piece in time to publish ON the actual day of love. Nevertheless, I am so in my feelings regarding this particular holiday for a great number of reasons and I have decided to break this blog into 3 parts.Why a trilogy? Well, my initial plan was to write this piece about the state of the union today. You know, all this racial and political division among American citizens? I feel some type of way and I need to share it. Then, I got this grand idea to write a love letter to someone who has never heard how I truly feel about him. I’m constantly telling people that they need to communicate with each other, and I think I need to take my own advice. Last but definitely not least, I wanted to express my love for myself, my heritage and my culture. I grew up with educators for parents, so I have always known the importance, as well as the relevance of Black History Month and what better time to pay homage to those who paved the way for me to be perfectly imperfect Shaunna? Plus, did you guys see Adele on the Grammy Awards?

And so, here’s a little piece of my heart…

In previous posts, I’ve explained that I grew up in Oklahoma, attended predominantly white schools, but graduated from a Historically Black College/University. I was the ONLY Black girl in my class for my first 5 years of school. I remember I got called a ‘nigger’ once on the playground and kicked the kid between the legs. I didn’t even know what the word meant until my Dad explained it to me later that same evening at home. That was my only encounter with racism until I got to high school. No matter where I lived though, my parents taught us to treat EVERYBODY the way we wanted to be treated. Since my Dad was a pastor, you already know what he was preaching in our house: God is Love and Love is God.

It’s important to note that I attended high school during the 1990s hip-hop explosion, when predominantly Black culture began to permeate mainstream pop culture. You saw more White girls dancing like Black girls, more White boys bumping rap music. You saw an increase in interracial dating. You saw more diversity on television. It was a very eclectic time period in which to shape a developing mind such as my own.

I am so abundantly blessed to have experienced life as I know it, because it reminds me to keep an open mind, in addition to an open heart. The friends and associates I have acquired through the years are very near and dear to me. I believe I have been effected in some way by all my many classmates and those experiences have helped shape my view of the world. Sure, my parents laid the foundation, but it was my choice to connect and build relationships with the multitude of people who came into my life.

My point? Instead of concentrating so much on all the things that make us different, why not take a glimpse at what makes us the same? I posted a status update on Facebook a while back about my disappointment in not being a mother yet, and my acceptance that my time may never come. I received an outpouring of love and support, from a majority of my White friends and associates. They didn’t care if I was Black, Christian or democrat, they empathized with my heartache and reassured me that I was not alone. Do you know how much that meant to me? Even better, I went to my 20-year high school reunion last summer and I cried when I finally made it home from the festivities. I was so elated to see so many familiar, smiling faces, but I was overwhelmed by the pure, genuine love I felt as I hugged my former classmates of ALL races, man or woman, gay or straight, rich or poor, no matter their religion or political affiliation. I actually felt the love from people who I literally hadn’t talked to since I graduated from high school in 1996. It was positively amazing.

I know that historically, Black people have trust issues with White people and the government and America, period. Rightfully so, wouldn’t you agree? But now is the time for us to join together, as one nation under God and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I believe a phenomenon like that could actually happen because I believe in the power of prayer. Anybody can clearly see that people are speaking out against discrimination, but we need more people to accept the idea of unification. United we stand, divided we fall. Let’s be the change we want to see and spread love from sea to shining sea. Until next time…

Dangerous Liaisons

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“And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.” Leviticus 20:17, KJV

“It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola’s father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair.” “The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison, 1970

 

Peace and blessings, y’all.
I am so excited to share my story on this first week in Black History Month, because I love myself, I love my people, I love my culture, I love my heritage. Black is beautiful, no matter what society says today, no matter what history taught in the past.

So Black History Month has started off with quite a bang for me, and I am about to explain why. Last week, a woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant Donham finally broke her silence about a lie she told over 60 years ago that resulted in the death of 14-year-old Emmit Till. A few days later, the parents of the late Trayvon Martin annonced their new book, which chronicles his life and tragic death at the age of 17. A few days after that, I heard a local story about a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by some boy at her school and then last, but definitely not least, Ms. KeKe Palmer revealed that she had been molested by a 9-year-old, FEMALE cousin when she was only five years old!

All those stories had a tremendous impact on me, but Ms. Palmer’s story resonated with me the most, because something similar happened to me, not once or twice, but several different times, with three different people-two boys, one girl. The most disturbing part in all of that horrific behavior is that we were all children. I was only four or five years old when my teenage relative sexually assaulted me and between the ages of seven and nine when I was touched by children of our family friends. I have never openly discussed what happened to me all those years ago; in fact, I honestly can’t recall if I ever even told my parents, but seeing and hearing KeKe share her story of abuse only further encouraged me to finally speak up about my own secret shame. I know now not to blame myself for the incidents, because I was so young and didn’t fully comprehend what these individuals were actually doing to me, but…

As I do with EVERYTHING in my life, I have prayed to God for a spirit of peace, understanding, patience and forgiveness in regards to my situation. No one, NO ONE, no one likes to talk about the reality and possibility of incest, molestation, child pornography or teen pregnancy. It’s an extremely uncomfortable subject for everyone, but pretending it doesn’t exist won’t prevent it from happening. My parents had no idea that the people they trusted to watch over their children were raising confused, misguided (possibly abused), children of their own. It’s a delicate and difficult situation to deal with for all parties involved, which is a huge reason why I chose to keep the abuse to myself for this long.

I’ve stated in previous posts that I share the events of my life in hopes of helping others deal with their own issues. I’m proud to say that in my life, I have developed a rapport with many different women, and I was saddened, as well as bewildered to discover just how prevalent incest truly was. So many friends and associates have shared similar tales of innocence lost and a betrayal of trust within the family dynamic. It’s not my intent to destroy my own family, I hope that I can help prevent a similar situation in the future.  I’m not bitter or angry about what happened to me. I don’t blame my parents or feel like they failed at their job of protecting me from harm. I don’t even have any malice in my heart for the children who abused me. What I have learned in all this is to simply be aware and lean more towards my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I know that there will be a tremendous amount of backlash from this particular post, because in the Black community, a common philosophy shared among families is, “What goes on in this house, stays in this house.” It’s something we are taught very early in life. It’s something that needs to stop. I mean,  it’s bad enough to have to process the idea of being molested, but to keep it a secret only makes it worse. If you are dealing with something like this yourself, please be encouraged. You are not alone.

The world is a very wicked place, even more so now than ever before. Each generation has its own unique set of societal issues with which it has to deal. As for me and my peers, well, it’s now our turn to show the world who we are, what we believe in and why. My parents taught me to treat people with dignity and respect, if that’s what I wanted for myself. Sure, tragic events happened during my childhood, but that’s no excuse to project pain and suffering on anyone else. The Bible teaches us to love one another as Christ loved us and at times that may be the most difficult emotion you can conjure up for another human being, especially for people who do you harm; trust me, I know. But if you want to heal emotional wounds, you must master the art of forgiving, or you will never grow emotionally, let alone spiritually. The stairway to heaven may be a struggle to climb, but the eternal reward is more than worth the effort. Until next time…

One Size Fits All

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This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away…” 

II Timothy 3:1-5, KJV

“Oh, I’m real–real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics! I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics anyone’s ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. Everyone can be super! And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”

Syndrome AKA Buddy, The Incredibles, 2004

 

Happy New Year! Happy Friday the 13th!

Peace and blessings to everyone near and far, friend or foe.

2016 was something else, right? So much stuff happened in my life, in the world, that I literally could not sit down and express myself. The words would not flow freely as they had in previous months. And every time I felt like I should be writing about something, distractions kept me preoccupied. Distractions like moving from an apartment to a house, discovering my nephew has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), voting in the presidential election and mourning the deaths of so, so many people really took a toll on me. I had plenty to say; in fact, my friends and followers kept asking me about my blog and why was I not writing and still, I sat down to pour out my heart onto a page, but the words would not come.

Then, I made it to church on the first Sunday of the year and I have to say, I feel really good about having done that. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Now, I feel how I felt when I first began writing this blog-excited and obligated. I’m excited because I really love writing and I feel obligated to express what I learn, especially knowledge that could help someone be the best person they can be. I hear and see so much information day by day that it makes me feel some type of way not to share my stories, my thoughts, my words with anyone who cares to read or listen.

And so I have to tell y’all, I cried as I watched President Barack Hussein Obama deliver his farewell speech to our divided, volatile nation the other night. I feel grateful and blessed to have seen the first Black man serve the United States in its highest political office; a phenomenon that I thought would not occur in my lifetime. On the other hand, I am so incredibly sad to see him go, because in a few weeks, Donald Trump will be sworn in as our nation’s 45th president, and he simply does not have what it takes to run this country, a bona fide fact that he has proven time and again with his words, his actions and his demeanor.

How can it be that the same people who had such fortitude and audacity to elect POTUS Obama, chose the least qualified, most inexperienced candidate to take his place?

Is it just me, or have we become a society of complacency and mediocrity?

Think about it, people just decide that they can or could do whatever they want to do nowadays, with minimal knowledge, training or skill in the activity or profession. What do I mean? I mean preachers or pastors who call themselves ordained or licensed after answering a series of questions on the internet; doctors who have neither attended medical school, nor completed coursework associated with holding said title; and last, but definitely not least, bloggers who think that having a huge following on social media somehow gives them journalistic credibility!

So now we have actual scholars and trained professionals fighting for jobs, titles and credentials that have been bestowed upon people who think they can produce or perform better, but have not put in the work necessary to receive credit or recognition. Wait, seriously?

Remember the phrase, “too many chiefs, not enough Indians?”

Or what about the concept of passing out trophies or medals to all kids who participate in competitive sports, so no one goes home empty-handed? What part of the game is that? I remember how proud I felt when I EARNED a spot on the boys relay team because I almost beat the fastest boy in my class! I didn’t just go to school and tell the coach to put me on the team! I had to prove that I belonged on the team.

I understand that as times change, so do people. It just seems like we’re missing the mark. We want to live like a celebrity, but we barely have a grasp on civilian life. The days of hard work, dedication and patience seem to be long gone. Now you can get rewarded just because you breathe. My late professor said it best, nearly 14 years ago, “We live in a microwave society; people don’t want to work or wait for food, let alone anything else…”

During a recent interview, Charlie Sheen said, “…No one is above common courtesy, ever. And the two things that appear to be evaporating in society and on this rock of ours are common courtesy and common sense…” Indeed. Show kindness to people and work hard to be the best-two concepts that are slowly but surely getting lost in the sauce as we push forward in the digital age. Nothing in this world worth having comes to you easily. As a Christian, I recognize that more and more each day. The Lord said this world is not my home and He has a place for me in His kingdom, if I obey His word. And so, in spite of all this chaos and disorder around me, I will fear no evil, for God is with me always and His truth endures. Until next time…

 

Woman to Woman

 

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“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies…Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness…”
Proverbs 31:10, 25-27, KJV

“Women forget how much we can inspire one another. No one understands us like us.”
Alex Elle

I write this piece for my sisters, young and old, rich or poor, of every ethnicity in existence, in honor and memory of my Great-grandmother (Mama Lizzie), my Grandmother (Mama Jane) and my Aunt Lue.

Forgive me for my extended vacay. Life has caused me to put my blog on the back burner, but I am determined to finish what I started 9 months ago and keep the promise I made to my audience, as well as myself.

I started writing this piece back in May, around Memorial Day (hence my dedication intro) after witnessing some rather disheartening behavior from women I respect and admire. I didn’t want my words and thoughts regarding what I saw to be misconstrued as preachy or judgemental, so I put off completing my article for fear of sounding like yet another female writer bashing on her sisters without suggestions for improvement. And then I watched First Lady Michelle Obama address the nation at the Democratic National Convention, speaking in favor of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Watching the FLOTUS use her voice and influence to support her “sister”, in spite of naysayers and critics, inspired me to finish my story. God bless, Mrs. Obama…

It’s no secret, I’m a Daddy’s girl. I try really hard to emulate him. He has so much patience with people and that just amazes me. People can be really ugly sometimes, but Pops constantly reminds me to maintain a forgiving spirit, be a proper example for people to follow. Is that an easy task to accomplish? Absolutely not! Do I get discouraged when I fall short? Absolutely! How do I overcome the challenge? I pray. Seriously. I ask God to make me better-more affable, more tolerant, make me be the Shaunna He wants me to be and I try really hard to adhere to the standard, day by day. Well, for these past few months it has been most difficult for me to stay on the path of righteousness and I’d like to tell y’all why…

In my opinion, once you become a woman of a particular age, you should exemplify a certain air of dignity, poise, and grace. You conduct yourself in a manner so as to show the younger women, who themselves aspire to be like you, how it is actually done. When I was a little girl, I loved to watch the older ladies in church go about business as usual. They dressed, moved, acted, looked and even smelled a special way. I used to stare at the ladies and wonder if I would become one of them someday. Now, here I am, approaching the time to do my thing and I am discouraged by what I see. Those examples that I looked to for guidance as a child, have been replaced by younger, more modernized women who appear to be clueless about what it means to be a “deaconess” or a “first lady” of a church. This new generation of church ladies seems unbothered by the fact that women like me and teenage girls and even little girls still watch them to learn how best to portray the ideal of a good Christian woman. It helps to see a living example of someone being “Christ like” and it frustrates me to no end that women who should know better don’t do better. Now, I was raised in the church, so the bar for my standard of quality may be too high, but you never know who might be watching you, observing, learning and imitating your example, good or bad.

Hold that thought for a minute…

Now, although I am extremely close to my Father, I am just as close, if not closer to my Mama. In fact, our relationship has grown tremendously over the past 5 years and I have learned a lot about myself by getting to know her better. I am indeed the woman I am because of her. You see, my Mama is a different kind of woman, and we are alike in so many ways; however, she doesn’t attend church regularly and I have come to the realization that I am farther along in my walk of faith than she is. In fact, our roles often reverse when it comes to abiding by the will of God. In other words, I have to remind Mama that God is in control, not us. She remembers that I am right, and we keep it pushing. I gotta tell y’all, it has taken me a few years to accept that responsibility, because I felt some type of way having to correct my Mama. She is the parent, I am the child. She is supposed to tell me right from wrong. God said, “Honor thy father and thy mother…”, but am I really not honoring my Mama if I choose not to blindly follow some of her poor examples? When you know better, you do better; that’s a lesson I had to learn on my own, aside from the instructions of my Mama. I had to pray long and hard on that one too, but I think I’m Gucci now!

I recognize now that the same patience I exhibit for my Mama, I must also show to these “modernized” women of the church. Yeah, they may come to church regularly and do many of the things most church ladies do, but they still need guidance and reminders of the will of God sometimes, too-just like my own Mama. Instead of getting frustrated by their actions, I can just be the example myself. I know better. Daddy has been grooming me in Christian education, church etiquette and simply doing the right thing since before I could talk. I can be the change I wish to see in others, especially the women. Until next time…

Do The Right Thing

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“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
Romans 7:14-19, KJV

“I am a sinner, who’s probably gonna sin again. Lord forgive me! Lord forgive me, things I don’t understand. Sometimes I need to be alone…”
Kendrick Lamar, “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” good kid, m.A.A.d. city, 2012

Don’t call it a comeback!

Hello once again to all my family, friends and fans! I missed y’all, real talk. I honestly had no intention of staying away this long and I wrestled with the decision of coming back at all. I thought that it didn’t matter if I kept writing these “Parables” or not. I thought nobody was really paying attention to what I had to say anyway. I thought that I could just walk away from my obligation and be unbothered. I thought wrong.

As a result, I’m back on the scene with renewed fervor, renewed determination and renewed purpose. Even though my hiatus was short-lived, the saga of my life continued to be an experience of epic proportions and I am finally ready to finish what I started several months ago.

For those of you that have been rocking with me since day one, bear with me for a second while I connect the dots for the newcomers. See, my old heads already know that I don’t believe in coincidence. Today is exactly 6 months before my birthday. I started this blog one week before my birthday last year. In my very first entry, I explained that I am a Christian (a Preacher’s Kid, at that!) and I believe that God spoke to me, which led me to share my world and tell other people about how God’s grace and mercy have impacted my life, thus far. I am not now, nor have I ever claimed to be the best or perfect representative for Christ; however, I recognize and respect the fact that He gave His life for me, and I’m grateful for the chance to grow in my Christian faith and help others who might be struggling as well.

Back in February, as I began this particular story, a few events had taken place that I took as signs from the Holy Spirit. From the beginning, I have used these signs to help me determine what to write about each week. Now, here it is, 2 months later, and my initial idea for this parable is still relevant. That’s how I know that this thing is much bigger than me, that’s why I don’t believe in coincidence. If it is God’s will for something to be done, then it shall be done. We may think we have control over our lives, but God has the upper hand.

We recently moved from an apartment to a house. As we made preparations for the big transition, I kept praying for the Lord to show us favor, bless us with a clean slate to begin our new life in our new home. One day, I went to set up utility service for our new place and ended up in jail. Turns out, I had a warrant for my arrest from 2011, for a measly parking ticket. I was completely humiliated, totally caught off guard. When I was about that life, police apprehension did not phase me. It all tied in together. But I had not been in trouble with the law in over 10 years! The last time I went to jail, I promised God I would make a genuine effort to stay out of trouble. No matter how rough times got, I would not rely on my criminalistic skills to get ahead in life anymore. Living the thug life had run its course with me. I wanted to be a better daughter for my parents and a better human being for myself. So you can imagine how betrayed by God I felt as I sat in yet another jail cell, especially after I had worked so hard to change my life. I ain’t gonna lie, I asked God straight up why did I have to go to jail again? After several hours, I stopped crying long enough to arrive at this epiphany: in order to wipe my slate clean, I had to go through that experience one more time. If the police hadn’t picked me up that day, I would have kept on living life, thinking I was fully legit. So, thank God things happened the way they did, because I know I’m Gucci now.

I know we all have difficulty accepting the Will of God as it pertains to our lives, but my Pops always says, “If you want your life to go right, get it right with the Lord…” I asked God to bless me and He did, but I understand that I must be obedient to his instructions. My point of all this is simple–God told me to share my story and I must finish what I started no matter what obstacles arise in my path. I appreciate all of you encouraging me during this process, while holding me accountable as well. I set a goal to write specifically for this blog for at least 6 months and according to my stats, I have 6 more “Parables” to share. Remember that God will do what He said He would do, but we have to do our part as well. Thanks for not giving up on me. Until next time…

It Could Happen To You

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“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Ephesians 5:22-32, KJV

“Two hearts, two hearts that beat as one; our lives have just begun. Forever I’ll hold you close in my arms, I can’t resist your charms! And love, oh love, I’ll be a fool for you! I’m sure you know I don’t mind… ‘Cause you? You mean the world to me! Oh, I know I’ve found in you-my endless love…”
Lionel Richie & Diana Ross,”Endless Love,” 1981

Once upon a time, there lived a young woman who desperately wanted a family of her own. She prayed every day and every night that God would one day send her a good man. She hoped that the man would become her husband and she would become a Mommy and they would all love each other and live happily ever after…

In another land, far away from the young woman, there lived a young man. He was very sweet and very kind. He also longed for the day that he would meet his bride. But as the years passed, he began to lose hope of ever finding true love; thus, he accepted the fate that he was doomed to live the rest of his life alone…

As it turns out, the young man and woman eventually found each other. They fell in love immediately, had a beautiful, bouncing, baby boy and got married soon after the birth of their child.

This is no fairy tale; in fact, the woman is my sister, Shannon and the man is my now brother-in-law, Ervin. They are truly my most favorite couple of all time. Let me tell you why:
My sister had her first seizure when she was seven years old. We found out later that she had epilepsy and although her seizures could be controlled with medication, she would suffer from the effects of the disease for her entire life. Because of epilepsy, and her medication, Shannon’s mental capacity is slightly delayed-she doesn’t always grasp concepts as quickly as most people. In spite of her limitations, my parents and I always, ALWAYS encouraged Shannon to be whatever she wanted to be. We taught her to be independent and strong.
Ervin has a similar story. He had a stroke when he was very young that left him with some permanent brain damage. Both he and Shannon were considered learning disabled for their entire academic careers, but they both managed to graduate from high school and lead productive lives in society. As they grew older, Shannon and Ervin watched relatives, friends and associates leave the nest, get married, have children. Different men and women came into their lives that misused and abused them because of their disabilities and they became discouraged. Neither one of them truly believed that they would ever find true love.

But God’s plan was for their paths to cross, and nothing or no one could change that. A year after they met, Jacob was born, then a year later, on Valentine’s day, they tied the knot. They chose that day because it was easy to remember and so their anniversary would be on the day we celebrate love.

Eager to find a place of their own, Shannon and Ervin began the search for their first apartment together. The idea of my sister being alone with the baby for multiple hours, daily, while Ervin worked to provide for them scared me to death. What if she had a seizure? What if she had one while holding the baby? I cried when they asked me to move in with them. They said they needed help with raising Jacob, as well as help with learning how to live on their own. Now, here we are, 3 years in and they have accepted the role of taking care of me as my health has deteriorated.

And so goes the story of how the precious love of Shannon and Ervin has changed my life. I could have been selfish, turned my back on them when they asked for my help. Fact of the matter is, I would have never forgiven myself if they made a rookie parent mistake that caused irreparable harm to Jacob. They would never be able to live down that kind of error. As for me, they could have passed the burden of assisting a visually-impaired, morbidly obese relative on to someone else, but instead, they told me I can stay as long as I want. Ain’t that just the sweetest thing? I thank God for them every day.

If you are blessed enough to have someone who truly loves you, cherish that, hold it close to your heart and spread that feeling to all those you can. You never know how much of an effect it could have on someone else. If you’re still looking for true love, be patient, don’t be discouraged, because love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Until next time…