Category Archives: relationships

I Think: This Is What It’s About?

By: Mia L. Black

I woke up on Sunday morning to the soft cooing of our 19 month-old daughter down the hall in her crib. My eyes flickered and I turned to roll over to my snoring husband, only to hear, “ouch” from our six year-old daughter, who had snuck into the bed in the wee hours of the morning. I apologize for elbowing her and relay that I did not see her, only to be interrupted by a loud, “Mooomeeeee” from down the hall. Apparently our voices had traveled and now she wanted to be included in all the fun. It was going on nine o’clock as I swung my feet out of bed. I had actually gotten to “sleep in.”

I stepped into the hallway and caught a glimpse of my daughter facing me with arms in the air, ready for me to scoop her up. My major dilemma at this point came down to, do I go pick her up, change her, and let her begin her day, or do I make a quick pit stop at the bathroom and listen to her scream and cry as I disappear from sight? I opt for the latter. No sooner do I get into the bathroom…the wailing begins. The door is wide open, I try to soothe her as I finish my business and wash my hands. Meanwhile, my husband still lay at rest and my six year-old is standing in the doorway giving me the second to second update of her sister’s tantrum. Mind you I have only been up for four minutes.

I get the kids situated, fed and begin dinner. Because I am going to make a beef stew and crock pot it all day, I want to turn it on for at least six hours. What should take about twenty minutes from beginning to end, takes me close to forty-five. I have opted to only get involved in my daughters’ arguments if they become physical. Unfortunately for dinner that happened three times….all the while, my husband lay at peace in the bedroom. I finally finished dinner preparation and tried to figure out what I would eat for breakfast at about eleven o’clock. I made me and my husband breakfast, which of course made my daughters hungry again. As we were finishing our breakfast (going on noon) I had the idea to write this exact blog. My husband said he would take care of the dishes and put the baby down for her afternoon nap. With the girls sharing a bedroom, nap time means our oldest must remove everything she wants to play with before the baby goes down. This usually means all of her toys take over my living room.

I get to my couch, coffee in hand and pull my laptop out. I check my emails and try to formulate in my head what I am going to write. I kick out my first sentence and my daughter leans on me to view what I am writing. I know this doesn’t sound right, but after about four times of telling her to stop leaning on me and go play, I wanted to just push her. Yes, I said it, a grown ass woman felt like pushing a six year-old. I was not able to get through three more sentences with any type of flow, because every time she moved I would punch the wrong key. I spent more time correcting than I did typing. Meanwhile, my husband had gone back to bed. As I complete my first paragraph, she now tells me she wants lunch. I am so annoyed at this point, that I tell her to go tell her father.

Finally peace.I reread what I have typed and erase it all. Not at all where I wanted to go with the story. Two minutes into my peace, I can hear my daughter running towards the living room. “Mommy, Daddy said come quick into the kitchen. He’s not even playin’. It’s really an emergency.” She retreats. I close my computer down defeated. I make the decision not to jump right to my husband’s rescue, but instead lean my head back and take a quick doze. Upon his messenger’s second request, I drag myself into the kitchen. My husband is wiping spillage around the crock pot with my good hand towel. This is the emergency? I think to myself. How could this be an emergency? I’m only glad I came into the kitchen when I did, after he tells me what he was going to do to our dinner. He was going to dump out all the “juice.” I’m thinking “juice?” You mean you were going to dump out the stew? I repot the stew and save dinner.

My daughter goes and eats her lunch and I begin my blog again. Again my husband returns to bed. At this point I begin to think, is this what it’s all about? Is this life when you have no plans? If not for the horrible weather, we probably would have gone shopping or to go visit someone, but I had no plans. I wasn’t pulling the family out into the storm. So now all four of us are stuck in the house, all trying to do our own thing, but I seem to be the only one jumping to everyone’s rescue. Because no sooner am I a paragraph into my blog, when our youngest wakes up. I try to outwait my husband, but he is not trying to budge from his rest. All the while our six year-old is running to each one of us, to announce that her sister is awake. I finally get up annoyed and stomp to our daughter’s room. I peak up the hallway to see my husband act as if he is going to get out of bed. I kiss my daughter, take her out of her crib, and bring her and a new diaper to my bedroom. I drop them off and turn to leave the room. I stumble over my six year-old because since I left the living room, she has been inches from me.

She follows me to the bathroom and I gently push her back from the door, and proceed to shut and lock the door behind me. I don’t have to go to the bathroom, but it is the only door that has a lock. I sit on the toilet and hear my daughter cry outside. A minute goes by and the crying is joined by, “Moooooomeeeeeeeee”. I’m not sure how much time passed until they realize I wasn’t coming out. But I finally won when I heard the sweet sound of victory, “Daaaaadeeeeeee.” I smile and listen to him tell them to go find me. They tattle and relay I am locked in the bathroom. My victory is short lived because then I have all three of them on the other side of the door trying to get in. Again I question myself, is this what it’s about? Is this what my life has come to? Locking myself away from my family? In the bathroom at that?I summon up the courage and unlock the door. I look into hurt confused faces and try to step around them and make my way back to the living room. Before I take a second step, my husband wants to know what is wrong, my six year-old tells me she is going to poop and will need help wiping herself, all the while in the background, “Mommy, Mommy, Mooommmeeee.”

I somehow feel like a bad mom, because I have done nothing with my family. I decide to make Christmas cookies. My husband finds a new location to do nothing, the living room with the football game. I pull out bowls, ingredients, and the mixer. I take the youngest into the living room and ask my husband if he can watch her while we make cookies. He doesn’t budge and says yes. I don’t even make it back to the kitchen before I hear a little pitter patter following me back into the kitchen. I go back and stand in the doorway and glare at my husband. He is completely dumbfounded and asks me “What?” He looks back at the TV and calls for our youngest. I manage to make the cookie dough and then have to deal with a meltdown with my daughter, because she doesn’t understand why you have to refrigerate the dough after you make it.

By this time I want to fall on my face and I am checking the clock at three in the afternoon. Five more hours, just five more hours until bedtime. Again, is this what it’s all about? Six hours in with these people and I’m already wishing it was their bedtime? But I won’t allow them to break me, I press on and walk into the living room. My husband is getting on his shoveling gear and the kids are within inches of him. I’ve come to notice with these little people, there is no such thing as personal space. They have to be right on top of you. I decide to let them get a little energy out…I simply lie on the floor. I don’t make it all the way down until they are on top of me. Laughing, giggling and having a ball at my expense, all because I am laying on the floor and they are able to sit, jump and play on top of me. My husband goes outside to shovel and I play as their jungle gym for the next twenty minutes.

I look at their happy faces and am able to answer my question with the question. Yes, this is what it’s about. It’s about being the occasional jungle gym, the referee, the cook, the refugee, the caretaker, the problem solver…all and all, it’s summed up in two words, mother/wife. So it may be two days later that I am now getting the peace to write and post this blog, but these past two days with my family have been worth it.


What I know about: Getting Advice

As I have mentioned before I am one of the people that many of my friends call for advice. I expect it is because I generally shoot from the hip. I am not as concerned with sparing feelings as I am with sparing my friends from pain.

Recently I spoke with a good friend who called me in a panic. She was sure that her boyfriend was on the way out the door. She recounted to me the story. If her version is correct, his words were harsh, and inappropriate given the situation. But I told her to “hold steady because people sometimes freak out and have moments of bad judgment when faced with a number of difficult situations at the same time. Keep it in mind but keep it in perspective.”

She was relived to hear my advice, because the person she called for advice before she could get a hold of me had another story to tell. I asked her “Why did you call her for advice on this subject, has she ever been in this situation before?” Look at how she deals with similar issues, and then decide if you think her way is the best way for you.

Be cautious in who you seek advice from.

I can tell you what I know about lots of things. But there are plenty of things that I know nothing about. I have never adopted a child, I have never flown a plane, I have never run a farm. I could not tell you anything about those topics. If a friend came to me for advice in these subject areas, or many others, I would not even TRY and advise them beyond…Why don’t you go look it up, or find someone who had done this and ask them.

Advice from friends is a wonderful thing. These are the people that love you and know you, sometimes better than you know yourself. The outside perspective they have is a benefit when you cannot see clearly from the inside. Just know who your friends are and what their areas of competency are before you rely on their every word.

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I Think: Marriage and Faith

By: Mia Black

What do you do when you call yourself a woman of God and you find yourself knocking on the door of divorce? For me I got down on my knees and prayed to God. I don’t know what I prayed for, but I can say that He has stepped in and renewed my faith in His power, His strength, and His on-going presence in my life. No doubt my husband has his shortcomings, but mine are there right alongside his.

My problem stems from my mouth. I talk things to death to all the wrong people. The only person I should be sharing this with is God and other married women that have been in my shoes and stuck through the bad times. But unfortunately I run to my group of friends. Not that I don’t get their blessings, but it is not the same. None of my close friends are married. Some have walked in my shoes and some have had long relationships with the fathers of their children, and some have no children at all, but ultimately marriage was not their final decision like mine. It doesn’t make anybody right or wrong, it just breaks that commonality that once linked all of us.

Because for me right now, I know I am not going to leave my husband. I know that when I came to do this the second time around, that this was it, hell or high water, and God willing; I am going have a 50 year anniversary. Because the one thing I did in this marriage that I didn’t do in my previous marriage is have kids.

Now I’ve been told by numerous people don’t stay married just for the kids. You need to think about you and what’s best for you and your happiness and you, you, you, you….blah, blah, blah. I’m sorry, but I will stay married for my kids. I apologize for my Whitney quote, but I do believe our children are our future. The day I chose to have kids with this man, was the day I vowed to make every effort and sacrifice to ensure they have both parents in their house everyday. This is not law or the way it should be, but it is me being true to the morals and values I was raised with. You marry the person you have children with. And I am not ashamed of these morals or values, to the point that I want to pass them down to my kids. And the only way I can pass them down is to lead by example.

I know my kids have witnessed arguments and they know when we run short on money to pay some of the bills, but are those reasons worth leaving my husband for? Hell no. Because for the rough times that they have experienced, they have seen tenfold the happy times. In my household, it is not mommy that gets them up for school and all that morning stuff that I just can’t handle; that is all Daddy. Daddy get’s them up, dressed, and dropped off at daycare and school everyday. When Mommy needs a break, Daddy takes them to the park or movies and spoils them rotten. Monday is Mommy’s day off so Mommy doesn’t have to do anything. Daddy has the morning and evening routine. Every Saturday and Sunday they sit down to breakfast and dinner with Mommy and Daddy. It would be more, but my husband’s and my schedule are offset. Then there are the holiday eves and mornings that will hopefully set traditions in their lives as they were set in mine.

I use these examples from listening to my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances along my journey in life, and I do hear about the impact that divorce does have on kids. Not seeing or knowing their father. Having to spend the holidays with just one parent or being battled over in court and having to choose which parent. Sorry, just not something I want to put my kids through. So if I have to shed a few tears or not go on a vacation or two, I will do it. My kids are worth it.

I don’t claim to have the answers to a happy marriage, but overall, yes I do believe I have a happy marriage. By no means is it perfect, but God didn’t promise me perfect. And every challenge and every obstacle He has set in my marriage, has made me and my husband grow as individuals and united us as a couple. I will say we have been through some serious tests that I’m sure most marriages won’t experience in a lifetime. But I must constantly remind myself, we have only been married for three years. In the span of forever that I vowed my husband and God; that is nothing. How can I quit on forever when I only gave it three years? I don’t know what God has in store for us. I have and will continue to pray for forever, because I owe it to myself, my husband and most of all God and my kids. And I have the faith in God that He has my back and is working behind the scenes on my behalf.

What I know about: Being True to Yourself

By: JT

You may find if you choose to live your life in a way that goes against the status quo your choices may be challenged at every turn. I am in a place in my life where I have decide who I want to be, and how I want to live. I want to be happy, I choose to be nice, and try and treat people how I want to be treated. I want to respect my body and my morals and live within my own comfort zone. I want to develop my career, and eat healthy and raise my children to love and respect and behave. I thought these were qualities that I should aspire to. Not everyone thinks so.

At Work
In the office this week, I think I was insulted, but I am not sure. I was told that I was too nice. I did not know this, but apparently you cannot be nice to people at work, you cannot help people if they are not giving you something in return.

I don’t agree, so I am sure that my work relationship with people who feel that way will suffer.
When I go to work every day I want to do my best. I want to work in a way that God would be proud. I choose not be easily offended and choose to be happy even in the face of adversity. Being argumentative, judgmental and insulting to people does not does not accomplish this goal. I cannot imagine anything that anyone at work could say or do to me that would make me compromise my joy, or forsake my positive work ethic.

In Dating
I just started dating after being in relationships for the past 13 years. I come out into the world only to find out, in general if you are not sleeping around, you will only get one date. With almost every guy I have met, we have been on a traditional first date, and then asked to come to their house for the second date. I am a smart girl, I know what they want.
I have been told, by people who love me, I should take full advantage of this time. I should go ahead and have a “booty buddy” and a “out for lunch” guy, and fun party guy and just play the field. I have options and choices, I should just have fun.

No thanks,

I can have fun, but my idea of fun is not stringing multiple men along, or selling my body for a plate of popcorn shrimp. I need to feel comfortable with a person before I share that much of myself with them. I need to know that they care about me and don’t intend to hurt me before I let them so close to me. Call me old fashioned but I think you should have a relationship before you have sex. I can buy my own lunch, and attend parties with my friends, what I want is a companion.

I considered relaxing my standards a bit simply because my friends told me that in order to move forward with my life this is what I had to do. But after thinking it through I decided; the guy that is right for me is going to not only be okay with my standards, but he will care for me and respect me even more for having them. True that guy may be hard to find, but I believe that there are still men out there with morals and respect, and those are the guys for me!

Know who you are, know your standards and your limits and embrace them. Be who you are and love who you are. At the end of the day you and God are the only ones who have to be happy with your decisions about how you “do you”.

What are You bringing to the Table?

By: Mia Black

In recent months the topic of relationships has continually come up in my random discussions with friends. Some friends are married, others going through divorce, and some are on the dating scene. Despite the difference in relationship types, I keep hearing the same themes over and over again, to the point that I feel compelled to explore and discuss the current state relationships between men and women as I see it and as they have been presented to me.

It is a complex subject, so I am going to take baby bites and start at step one with the dating scene, and “The Hunt for Mr. Right.” I will explore this entire subject from a black woman’s point of view and dating/marrying the black man. It is not that other races cannot relate, but the women and men that I talk to and hear about are of African-American descent.

Now back to the question at hand, what are you bringing to the table? I ask this question because I believe how you answer this question is going to determine how well you sustain that life-long commitment that you have made or will decide to make. In order to sustain a lasting relation ship you have to really know yourself and what you have to offer someone else before you gout out there trying to offer “it”.

  • Are you are the type to just show up to the table waiting for dinner to be served, you have pushed at least 90% of your relationship’s responsibility on your significant other.
  • Do you show up at least with the table setting, you are showing an honest effort, and you can raise your expectations a little?
  • Or are you waiting at the table custom place settings and five-course meal spread.

Waiting to be Served: All of us have encountered this person in our pursuit of happiness at one point or another. Men may call her a goldigger, and women may quote TLC and call him a scrub. By either name, this person offers you nothing but a head and heartache. They are needy because they have nothing to offer so they suck the living life out of you. Unfortunately the more soft-hearted person gets caught up in being needed and providing a little longer than necessary, because you can’t do anything but feel sorry for this person.

The Scrub/The Goldigger: This person has no car, no job (by choice), excessive debt, and a couch in their friend’s living room is their home or in other words, no adult responsibilities. I am by no means bashing this person because I believe there is someone out there for everyone. The problem I have is that they always leave the person serving the five-course wondering why their love and efforts have not been reciprocated.

Now I’m not a psychologist or some expert on relationships, but from my experience in dealing with this person, they really don’t take anything seriously. Because when you get to the point to where I was, (wanting to settle down and get married), investing your time on the this person became draining and expensive. Supporting someone who was not ready to become an adult yet, was not who I was looking to raise a family with.

Ready to Set the Table: Now this person may not be exactly where you are in life, but they have getting there. I think this is the person who most of us date and end up marrying. They have their life together, for the most part. By the time you realize that there are some real flaws, you have already let your guard down and are well into the relationship. But you may have also gotten to a point in the relationship that you feel comfortable with disagreeing and voicing your opinions, and begin to feel like all you do is fight. Are these just arguments or warning signs that this is not really the right person for you.

Just an Argument Vs. Warning Signs: There is such a big difference between the two. Let’s be honest, within any relationship arguments are going to occur. For instance you are dating for four months and your partner asks to borrow $300. Whoa! But let’s face it finances can mess up any relationship/marriage. And it’s happening more and more these days, opening our wallets before there’s even an engagement ring. Just an Argument: you’re upset because you are giving up $300, but the transmission in his car just went. But because you have your own car, you know car repairs never come cheap and they have the poorest financial timing. Warning Sign: He wants to go on a trip with his buddies. Hmmm…$300 for a trip you’re not even invited to. Does this make sense? Blowing your last dime on a trip for him?

The tricky part about the warning sign is that we have all at one point in our lives ignored them in the hopes for the “change”. And in the process of waiting for that miraculous change, we have wasted valuable years just to have the relationship end anyways or we end up bringing children into the mix.

The Five-Course Meal: This person is the full package, the one that we are all pretty much looking for. They have their quirks, but basically everyone in this relationship is on the same page (you have both completed your education, you are at the same level in your careers, your financial goals and savings are on point, family values are similar). But unfortunately many of us rushed, out of desperation to achieve marriage and a family by age __ (everyone’s goal is different), and haven’t waited for this person. Instead we have let the above examples in and become comfortable with our lower expectations.

Well this sums up the dating scene players. In a blog to post by the end of next week, I will go into more depth about how we need to date all of these types of people.

WAIT! Before you read the next blog do these two things for me.

1) Figure out which person you are

2) Figure out which person you date

What I know about: Not looking back

By Jennifer Texada

On my somewhat long list of resolutions having to do with health, wealth and organization there is one that stands out

“In 2007 I will move forward and not look back”

In truly examining how I was going to do this I realized, to truly move forward without looking back I think you have to forgive yourself for your actions of the past, truly forgive the people who have caused you pain and learn to be grateful for the lessons you learned and use those lessons to direct your forward path.

The biggest obstacle to moving forward is forgiveness. Forgiving yourself, and truly forgiving the people in your life that you feel have caused you pain. You can’t cast blame and move forward at the same time.

If you have done something that has been of detriment to your progress, acknowledge it, pray on it, and let it go. It is over. Re-living and obsessing over it is not going to un-ring the bell. Take the lesson from it. Be grateful that in this stage of your life you have learned such a profound lesson that is SO important to your growth and… keep it moving.

The same rings true for forgiveness outside of yourself. To me, anger and grudges are like stepping in crap. Half the time you don’t even notice you have done it until it’s too late. Then you’d better wipe it clean quickly or you are going to hold on to it wherever you go, and once it gets dried up there is always a little stuck in the crevices.

People often ask, how I can remain friends with people who have treated me pretty poorly in the past. Sure, I get mad at people, but it never lasts long, I have no motivation for carrying negative energy around with me. It is heavy and it makes me feel awful. Anger is an emotion, like any emotion, it comes and passes. At the end of my anger I try to find gratitude for the lesson learned through this person or event. People move through your life for a reason. Whatever was done to you, made you stronger, or smarter, or more self- sufficient. Whatever it is you would not be the polished diamond that you are becoming if you hadn’t been squeezed by that lump of coal.

Someone once told me if you want to figure out if you have truly forgiven someone, buy him or her a gift. Not just a dollar store bauble, but really come out of your pocket and buy something that they would love. I would add onto that, give them a hug; if you have truly forgiven them you won’t wince or shrug, you will embrace them with you whole body and heart. We are human, thus all flawed, and everyone makes mistakes. In my opinion, it is not my job to judge you or punish you for what you did to me or anyone else. God has got my back, and if you are not doing right he will take care of you far better than I ever could..

There are some amazing things coming my way, this year, I KNOW IT! I refuse to miss out something because I am too busy looking backwards. I resolve to find and let go of any lingering self doubt or hurt I have accumulated in the past year and truly move forward free of burden, free of fear.

What I Know About: Doing it on your own

By Jennifer Texada

I had been married about three months when I started to see the warning signs that I might not be in a healthy relationship. I had been fighting the drama for about a year and a half before I had the courage to step away from this dysfunctional relationship for the first time. I came back about 6 months later, but only to endure about 9 more months of lying and stealing before separation number 2 began. I moved with the responsibility of supporting our two children and he checked himself into an addiction treatment facility. The letters, calls and promises piled up and gave fuel to my fear of moving on. Six months later he was back “home”. This time it took two years before I discovered that not much had changed. I am not sure if he got better at hiding it or if I had gotten better at pretending it did not exist.

Part of the reason that I kept going back is that I wanted my marriage to work. I wanted to honor the vows I took in front of God and our families. I wanted my children to be raised with both their mother and father. The other part of why I kept trying was pure fear. It was the fear that I would not “make it” on my own. On top of the fear, there was this idea that my children could never be whole if I did not press on despite his destructive behavior.

At some point during all of this I decided I was going to stop living in fear. When I finally stepped out on faith and trusted God to take me through this he did exactly that, and all of the obstacles fell out of my way. In facing my fear I learned a few things that helped me to more confidently do it on my own.

1. I can do anything I put my mind to. I used to stay home instead of go to church without my husband, or take a vacation. I used to go months without an oil change or new tires because I felt uncomfortable in auto shops alone. During my times of fear I believed that I needed to keep what I had, because how would I ever manage without it. I realized that it was only fear that was fueling those thoughts. There was no reason that I could not go to church without him. They were just as happy to see me as they were to see us there. So far I have been sold tires, gone on vacation with my friends, brought in my own groceries, called the yard guy to mow the lawn, the list of all of the things I have done on my own is endless. Not only can I do them, I can do them faster. I don’t have to wait for him to decide that my needs are important enough. If I can do it, anyone can.

2. I am enough. I am a child of God and in Him I am sufficient. Having a significant other does not make me any more whole or healthy. Striving for health and wholeness is what makes me healthy and whole. Yes in a perfect world the union of man and woman is blessed, and children thrive with both parents. However, in theory people are also more productive with 2 legs. But what if one of those legs is gangrenous? Should we keep it despite the fact that its existence could devour the entire body? Or remove it, mourn its loss and find wholeness in your life without it? I know that this example is a little harsh but I think it illustrates my point. I know lots of people with 2 legs that never go anywhere. While the few people I know with one leg, live every day to the fullest, and I dare you to tell them they are not whole.

3. I am not alone. I have some wonderful friends and family. I am blessed with so many people who have helped to support myself, and my children through this journey. Before I went through this, I often felt that I could not lean on anyone. I was such and “independent woman” I could do it all. What I soon discovered is that these people love me and are happy to be my rock in time of need. I am not in good spirits every day. When those days come I make a call, and I am encouraged or soothed or listened to. If you feel like you don’t have these people go find them. Join a church, take a class or group counseling session, reconnect with the people you used to know, chances are they are still there and still love you.

I have been through quite a journey. However I feel I am successful in my single-hood. My children are doing well; my ex and I are friends and co-parenting. I have a great job, and making enough to buy MY family a new house. I have a fun and busy life; I do exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it.

I am often asked if I miss the relationship, the companionship? Sometimes, but I don’t miss the fear, pain and uncertainty of the former relationship. Plus, I am so in love with my new life, and I am satisfied with what I have been blessed with today and choose not to be consumed with what I may or may not be lacking.