Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 In Retrospect

2009 has been an amazing year of discovery for me.

I discovered that I am a woman of purpose and that my life is not just a happenstance. I am truly here for a reason and that reason is not simply to exist, but to serve others through my gifts and talents.

I discovered that you can't be angry with people for being who they are; you just have to learn to accept them as they are and decide how you will deal with them.

I discovered that I am not superhuman and I can't do everything by myself. Sometimes I need help and there is no shame in asking for it. Asking for help is not a sign of inability or weakness.

I discovered who my real friends are and who they are not.

I have learned to listen to my first instinct about things after being burned a countless number of times for doing the opposite.

I have discovered that compromising on matters that go against my morals, values and principals is not an option.

I have discovered that the word "no" is not the end of the world, but is often a blessing in disguise.

And most importantly, I have discovered that God is more amazing than I ever could have comprehended in the preceding years. My walk this year has been one that has taught me so much about God, and has also showed me that I have so much more to learn.

No longer am I afraid to be a witness to the fact that God and Jesus Christ are the answer to everything, and not in some sappy kind of way, but in a real way that makes perfect sense. And I never understood it until I got older but now that He has revealed Himself to me I am grateful.

I am grateful for my husband, my children, my family, my health and every other blessing the Lord has seen fit to bestow upon me. I have learned to take nothing for granted.

So as the New Year approaches, I look to 2010 with excitement and high expectations because my God is a good God and He has never failed me yet!

To all of my family and friends: If I haven't told you lately, and even if I have, I love you with all of my heart and I thank you for being a part of my life. If I have done or said anything to hurt or offend you, I ask you to please forgive me. And if you have done anything to hurt or offend me, know that I forgive you.

I wish you peace and blessings in 2010 and going forward for all the days of your life! Enjoy life, love hard, and have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Christmas

I have to admit that this holiday season is turning out to be a little bittersweet for me.

As I watch my children's excitement grow as they count down the days until Christmas and they can open their presents, I can't help but catch their enthusiasm because, let's face it, it's contagious.

But after the excitement dies down, this year especially, I am overwhelmed with the heaviness of missing my grandmother. Delores J. Hart-Washington was her name.

I don't know about a lot of you, but my grandmother was my everything. She was beautiful, kind, loving, funny and could cook like you wouldn't believe! And she had this uncanny way of making everything, no matter how big of an undertaking it was, seem so easy. Her strength was amazing.

And no matter what was going on in my life, it wasn't complete until I was able to share it with her. She would celebrate with me, vent with me, and always had a shoulder for me to cry on. My grandmother was my champion, and she made me believe that there wasn't anything in this world that I couldn't do if I wanted to.

And since she's been gone, it's like every time the holidays, or any special occasion, rolls around I just have to try to push past a certain sadness that creeps into my heart despite my best efforts to tell myself that she's in a better place. Even though I know that she's in a better place, my selfishness wishes that she could still be here with me.

I guess I'm just saying all this to say, this Christmas really take the time to enjoy and appreciate your family. All too often we take each other for granted or let petty stuff cause us to drift apart, and for what? Nothing. Give your loved ones their flowers while they are still able to enjoy them.

So if you are harboring a grudge, let it go. If you are ashamed of something from your past that is keeping you from your family, let it go. If you have unspoken issues that need to be addressed, speak on it and then let it go. If somebody owes you money, tell them Merry Christmas and write it off as a loss and let-it-go. Life is too short.

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Please No More Reality Dating...

Ok, so now so close on the heels of my kudos to television for actually putting on some quality programming, now I have to come back and bash them again.

The other night (I guess I had to be really bored) I turned the TV on and the reality show For the Love of Ray J was on. Now for the record, I have always thought that Brandy's little brother was cute and even went as far as to like a few of his songs. But after watching his show I completely lost any positive trace of anything I may have had toward him in the past.

This show, just like every other show of its kind, is superficial, raunchy and degrading to women. But due to the fact that several people I know said it was actually pretty good, I decided to give it a shot. Needless to say it ended up being another case of 'I should have went with my first instinct'.

For the life of me, I can't understand why these beautiful, and seemingly intelligent, young women would allow themselves to be exploited and degraded on national television just for the sake of obtaining a man. A man that they know will be slobbin' down and sexin' every other girl in the house right under their noses and in many cases right in front of their faces. I don't know maybe it's just me, but I don't want nobody coming to stick their tongue in my mouth after he just got done swapping spit with some other random chick. That is beyond nasty.

Not only do these women shamelessly throw themselves at this man, but he also had them running all over town inhaling chili and onion covered hot dogs, followed by grueling athletic challenges just to be the first obtain clues to get to him in hopes of getting a coveted 1 on 1 date. One girl even commented that she would eat crap if he told her to. Then another girl kept crying every 15 minutes because...well I can't say that I really know why she kept crying. I swear it was like watching train wreck that you just can't turn away from.

At 32 years old, I still consider myself to be pretty young. With that said, I can honestly say that I don't think it was all that long ago that respect for one's self was something that was taught at home. To this day my parents would collectively take turns breaking their foot off in my behind if they saw me on TV chasing after some man like I didn't have any type of home training.

Watching Brandy grow up through the years and blossom into the woman that she has become, it seemed like their parents had instilled some good moral values into them. How Ray J ended playing the role of the "playboy" just doesn't seem to fit.

Whatever the case may be, my one encounter with For the Love of Ray J, and all the other VH-1 and MTV matchmaker smut shows, was enough to last a life time. I just hope that one day soon, these women will wake up and realize that they are worth more than how they are allowing themselves to be treated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

It seems like most of my posts have been focused on a lot of the negative things that have been going on, so I wanted to take a moment to give some credit where its due: Big hugs to Nick Cannon.

Over the weekend I watched a show on Nickelodeon called the HALO Awards, which was created and produced by Nick Cannon. The show was focused on rewarding outstanding teenagers who had overcome various obstacles to be active and give back to their communities. They were given cash prizes and afforded an opportunity to hang out with their favorite celebrities (like Alicia Keys, LeBron James, and Justin Timberlake) and do all kinds of fun stuff.

As I was watching I couldn't help but get a little choked up with some of the stories because these young people were truly amazing. One young man was a crack baby, who was abandoned by his mother, got caught up in the system and was on the path toward becoming a delinquent. But through the caring intervention of his middle school principal this young man finished school, went to college, and is now mentoring other inner city youth through a step program.

This was touching to me, because by me being active in the middle and high schools in my area I see how a lot of these young people are so disenchanted with education, community or anything else outside of Facebook, Twitter, music videos and video games.

We hear so much about the negative things going on in our communities with our teens that to watch something like the HALO Awards really showed that, despite it all, there are people with means out there who really do care. Nick Cannon is a 29 year old celebrity who could still be producing sure-fire money makers like Wildin' Out but he choose to do something that really has purpose, and for that I say well done.

These kids need encouragement now more than they ever did. So if you happen to come across the Nickelodeon HALO Awards on the cable guide next time you're channel surfing with your kids, take minute to check it out. I can honestly say that this is a reality show with substance and one awesome opportunity to encourage your child to explore ways to help others, and not just because they may get something out of it but because it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Education Deficit

Even though we continuously hear about the nation being in the midst of a severe recession on a daily basis, most would have to agree that one of the most disturbing parts of the whole debacle is the fact that our educational sector is suffering irreparable damage.

As legislators battle back and forth about budget cuts, the carnage continues to roll down hill until finally school boards across the state are faced with having to decide which schools to close and teachers to cut amidst the angry ranting of parents and citizens who demand to know where their tax dollars are going if not to their children’s education.

It is a sad day when decisions have to be made as to whether or not schools should be kept open, as opposed to bars and strip clubs that seem to be on every corner. While the latter are not funded by the state or federal government, you can still see the irony in the parallel.

Education is the foundation of our society’s advancement in every sector. Without it our nation is doomed to become subservient to nations who understand the importance of the acquisition and application of knowledge.

Even before we fell into this “recession” many Michigan schools, mainly those in predominately Black regions, suffered a lack of the basic necessities needed to ensure that students were being properly educated. Factors such as lack of text books, over-crowded classrooms, and little or no busing are just some of the more prevalent issues that will be multiplied exponentially if schools continue to be closed. Then what can we expect? More apathetic youth who see no purpose in getting up to go to school every day.

Maybe some of the banks that received all those unrequested billions of dollars in bailout money should be so kind as to write a few checks to jump start the “education bailout”. Or perhaps there could be a motion put into place to give large corporations special tax incentives for adopting a school. Or maybe instead of people adopting a highway, they could adopt a class to help buy some books. The possibilities are endless.

When people can go to the bar or club and blow $200-300 on drinks alone, or pay upwards of $150 just for a VIP ticket, you have to believe that a resolution for funding education and helping our children lies somewhere that is reasonably within our reach.

If ever there was a time to start thinking outside of the box, it would be pretty safe to say that that time is now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Men, money and problems

What is the deal with rich and powerful men and their self-destructive fixation with getting caught up in sex scandals?

Do they really not realize that just because they are rich and powerful anything they do in the dark is going to come into the light? Maybe not immediately, but soon enough. Case and point: Kobe Bryant, Kwame Kilpatrick, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and now Tiger Woods (I know it’s still speculation at this juncture, but you get the point). And way beyond that the list goes on and on.

Everyone knows that women are, and always will be, attracted to powerful men. This is not rocket science. But being that this has always been the case, and it is almost 2010, you would think that a light would go on in someone’s head that maybe, just maybe, it would be better to stick to playing in your own sandbox.

Gentlemen, let me share some wisdom with you: Women (i.e. your wife, girlfriend, significant other, or someone you have lead to believe that she is your significant other) are not stupid. And to go even one step further, women are very territorial and vindictive. So for you to think that you can continue to play in the street like dogs in heat and not get caught is pure stupidity on your part and here’s why:

1- No matter the intent of the initial hook up, when you start messing around with someone, you run the risk of them catching feelings for you and when feelings come into play women become emotional. In case you didn’t know, women are emotional creatures by nature.

2- When women become emotional they then become territorial, so it no longer matters to your “jump off” that you are married or otherwise spoken for. She will then begin to vie for more attention and time thus leading to your first set of problems.

3- And here’s the biggest one: Men by nature are creatures of habit, and when y’all start messing around you tend to change your habits; and as sure as the sky is blue, women will pick up on that immediately. Don’t get it twisted…you will slip up eventually.

So then the question then becomes: Why cheat? Be a man about yours and either tell your woman that you aren’t happy and don’t want to be with her any more or come to grips with the fact that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. That type of selfishness in relationship is what leads to a lot of domestic “misunderstandings” if you catch my drift.

If you have a good woman at home, work harder at making that relationship work before you seek satisfaction elsewhere. And if you don't have a good woman at home, and if and when you do decide to seek satisfaction elsewhere, be a big boy and have a conversation with your mate and let her know how you feel.

Sure she will be hurt and may even fly off the handle, but in the long run she will respect you for your honesty. Or you can continue to be dishonest and play games and run the risk of getting your wig split. The choice is ultimately up to you, but be sure to diligently consider the repercussions of your actions for the latter.