Yassss, Queen! Meet Tara Jackson McDow: Conquering Weight Loss 1bs At A Time!

Check out Yasss Queen spotlight, Tara Jackson McDow! Learn how she lost 39 lbs in 4 months!

Here’s the thing, I’m always sharing my story but so many of my friends have such amazing stories to share that I thought, “Hey! I can spotlight my friends!”

As many of you know, I meal prep and I workout. I get lots of messages encouraging me to keep pushing and posting because what I’ve been sharing has encouraged a few. What you guys don’t know is that so many of you inspire me more than I inspire you!

One of my inspirations is my Big Sister/Soror Tara Jackson McDow. Her weight loss journey is definitely one that needs to be shared, but because she is shy I am highjacking her story and telling it for her! Lol!!

Last month after we returned from our sorority convention she texted me and shared her story as to how she started losing weight. I won’t share the details because that’s for her to do. I will say that after season of grief she found herself using food as a way to cope with her emotions. She decided it was time for a change, and she has lost 37 lbs in 4 months!

I was impressed! “How did you do it?” Her success has been a team effort. Tara’s husband supports her by grilling her meat on Sunday. Along with her grilled meat and vegetables, she limits carbs and sugars. That’s it. No magic wand.

In addition, she walks everyday. We follow each other on our Apple watches and I get the alerts! I see it and it motivates me to move too.

One thing she has reinforced with me is CONSISTENCY! When we were in New Orleans at Cafe DuMonde, I think she was the only soror who turned down a beignet. I, however ate two! Plus, a cup of hot chocolate. 😬

I am so proud of her! I wanted to spotlight Tara because she deserves to be celebrated for her HARD WORK and DEDICATION!!

Congratulations, Tara! Keep up the good work!

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Black Men Don’t Cheat…Unless you Get Fat?

A couple of days have passed since The Shade Room or TMZ dropped the news Nicole Murphy was seen kissing Lela Rochon’s husband, Antoine Fuqua. I was tempted to let it pass without giving my two cents on it, but I just can’t.

I guess I want to start by saying that really this whole situation is none of our business, but we have become a culture of people that love salacious news. What could be juicier than the used to be Eddie Murphy Vixen (Rochon) getting played by husband with Murphy’s used to be wife (Murphy)? Whew, Chile! Folks’ comment sections were lit! “Is it really Fuqua?” “Nicole Murphy is fine. Is she really 50?” “Damn! He is fine. That kiss ain’t friendly.”  I mean this little tryst caused quite a commotion.  I was a bit amused until I started reading comments that blamed Lela Rochon for her husband’s alleged indiscretion. “She let herself go.” “She used to be fine. Now look at her.” “Ladies, if you want to keep your man, you have to keep yourself together.” “Look how much weight she’s gained. No wonder!” These comments didn’t just come from men,  but the women were attacking her too! I was shocked. And disgusted. And disappointed. I was also hurt. I hurt for Lela. Not only is she facing the embarrassment and humiliation of the WORLD knowing that her husband possibly cheated on her, but she also has to endure the shame of people blaming her for his adultery because she got fat. And FYI, Hollywood fat is not the same as regular people fat, so she’s probably still fine!

Really, world? This what we doing now? I don’t know everything about relationships, but I do know this-whenever someone cheats, it is NEVER the other person’s fault. Nope. Not at all. Not even the person he or she was cheating with.

When do we hold the cheater accountable for being a trash individual? Relationships are about making a commitment, and in a marriage, a covenant commitment. A commitment that says, “No matter what I choose YOU.” Times get hard and people change; however, for better or worse includes weight gain…or loss. Didn’t we learn our lesson about holding men accountable for their actions from Molly and Dro? (But y’all mad at Molly)

The fact that Lela’s weight and appearance are mentioned at all in this situation is problematic. What if the situation were reversed. He gained weight because of an unknown back injury that limits his activity, and Lela decided to step out on him with Dwayne Johnson? Would we blame him for letting himself go and celebrate Lela for keeping her body in shape and snagging a hunk of a fella like The Rock? No, we wouldn’t. The world would call her all kinds of names that do not include the one her mama gave her.

I’m not even mad at Nicole or women like her. I will not side-chick shame. I can only blame the person who made the commitment. In this situation, Antoine Fuqua. He’s married; and, if he stepped out on his wife then he’s the only person that should be ashamed of himself. Married with kids!! I just don’t understand the concept of putting your family at risk. But men do. Women do… people do. It’s sad.

Maybe I expect too much.

Bottom line, let’s stop adultery-shaming people (Yes, I made that up and side-chick shaming too) and blaming them for the indiscretions of their spouses. I don’t care if it’s weight-gain, unemployment, no ego-stroking, whatever. It is not their fault! You can only look at the person who decided, “I want that more than I want this!” But people aren’t shoes. They can’t be taken off and replaced with a new pair without significant consequences. If I were Lela, and if it’s true that her husband cheated, I would call Juanita Jordan’s divorce attorney, and then hire the best celebrity personal trainer in Hollywood with that large settlement that I just got from my now ex-husband. I would get my body back into that outfit from Boomerang, or the one from Harlem Nights that caused old boy to leave his wife. Most importantly, I’d make it a point to go holler at one of Antoine’s single homeboys and then flaunt in his face. Take that, Cheater! I’m just petty like that.

But I’m not Lela. I’m just a girl with an opinion that people shouldn’t be made to feel bad because they have gained a few pounds as if that is an excuse to dishonor your vows. I am of the opinion that Antoine Fuqua and men like him use weight as an excuse to do trash things and hurt their families because not only will Lela suffer, but so will their children even if they are grown. All I can do is think, “How can we hold this dude, and others like him, accountable for being an asshole?” This is when I boycott. No more Antoine Fuqua directed movies for me. Matter of fact, I am boycotting Black Lightning too because Salim Akil needs the side-eye for that alleged 10-year relationship he had on Mara…and she was FINE!

All I know is that last year, y’all were shouting,” Black men don’t cheat!” I guess they don’t until you gain weight. Sad.

P.S. I really want to roast Nicole Murphy too because what has she really done for the culture besides hookup with rich men? At least Lela Rochon is a cultural icon…”Gold star for Marcus!” IJS. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Girlfriend, What’s Really Going On?

“Do you wake up every day tired…Do you find yourself at the brink of tears or overreacting to the smallest things? Ask yourself what’s really going on.”

“Why you look so mad?” “Man, you are mean.” “She’s so unapproachable.” “Put a smile on your face.” “Y’all know she’s sensitive.”

It seems for the majority of my adult life that is how people have described me. In one way or another, people always found a way to say there was something wrong with me. Some days I didn’t let it bother me, other days I wanted to scream. What people didn’t understand is that most days I felt like I was in a fight that I was continuously losing. It felt like I had no one to look after or take up for me, so yeah, I was probably mad a lot of days. It’s hard walking around feeling alone and feeling like you are your own hero. Sometimes a girl just wants to be rescued.

Then one day after a horrible break-up and full-blown meltdown in the deli section at the local Walmart, I decided to get some help before I went to jail. Fortunately, my meltdown in Walmart happened before going viral was a thing. I’m so grateful. Had I got caught on camera blessing out the folks in the deli because they didn’t answer me in a tone I found appropriate or courteous enough, I would have surely lost my job. You see I felt disrespected, and I’d had enough of people disrespecting me. I had spent two years working as a parole officer, and after that, I worked 10 years in inner city schools where kids made the school in the movie Lean on Me look like daycare. Every day I had to be ready to defend myself. I couldn’t let my guard down—kids sense weakness and take full advantage of it. If I wanted to survive, if I wanted to be successful, I had to be strong, tough, and mean. No tears, unless I was mad, and I was mad often.

On top of that, my financial outlook was bleak. I made decent money, but not in relation to my student loan debt. My salary didn’t align to the cost of my education (that’s another post for another day), so, as they say in my family, I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. But, I did as I was taught: pray about it, shake it off, and keep going. Fast forward a few years, a few bad relationships, family drama, and people you love dying and you have me in the middle of the deli SHUTTING 👏🏾IT 👏🏾DOWN👏🏾. “What you not gone do is disrespect me! Where is your manager?” He showed up and I let him have it too. Over what? Because someone’s tone was a little snippy, short, snarky. “T, it’s not that serious. Calm down,” I tried to tell myself,” but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let go of my anger, my fury. I was big mad!

I left the store that night knowing something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t fix it by myself. I cried that night and went back to my tried and true solution: I prayed about it. This time I listened for an answer.

God reminded me of something my line sister had shared with me years earlier. She told me that she had gone to counseling for several years. I’m not sure what we were talking about that made that bit of information stick, but I do remember thinking and telling her, “I can’t afford therapy.” She told me, in her matter of fact way, that most people’s insurance companies would cover up to 25 sessions per year. She said, “You should try it. You pay for it anyway.” I wanted to try, but I never did because in my family talking to someone, a therapist, about your problems meant you were crazy. When I was a kid we called it “having a nervous breakdown.”

I wasn’t crazy, but I was hurting. I was scared, afraid, and I was grieving. There was a heaviness on me that I couldn’t shake. I was tired of the battles-those in my life and those in my mind. I needed help and I decided to get it.

I researched black, Christian therapists near me. This was prior to Therapy For Black Girls Podcast and Directory, so it was harder to find a therapist that was both Black and a Christian. Having a Christian therapist was more of a priority for me at the time. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I was doubtful in the beginning and sometimes throughout the process because it was awkward at first discussing my problems with a stranger. Who am I kidding? It was always awkward. I never got fully comfortable talking about myself; however, working with my counselor allowed me an opportunity to breathe. In talking out my problems, issues, and concerns, with a professional, I gained a new perspective. I learned that the anger that I was feeling had built up over time. It wasn’t just one issue. It was a series of triggers that happened over time that I had never dealt with, that I tried to bury but was now manifesting themselves in the form of outbursts and a negative attitude. However, talking out my problems wasn’t the only benefit. I was also able to learn practical strategies to have difficult conversations with the people in my life. My counselor was also able to show me in scripture what God said and how He felt about the things that I was dealing with.  Over time, I learned to apply both the strategies and the scriptures to my issues, and I started to recognize and deal with my triggers quickly before they turned into a behemoth of emotions that I couldn’t control.

We disagreed sometimes on my homework assignments, but for the most part, my counselor started the process of my ongoing healing. And the interesting thing is, the thing that I thought was bothering me, I barely talked about.

I discovered so much more about myself than I realized. I learned that being brave isn’t walking around pretending that nothing is wrong and then moving on. Quite the contrary, being brave means being vulnerable, honest, and transparent. When you operate in these spaces, there is a sense of peace and freedom that can’t be matched. It’s like no one can hold anything over you because you have already removed any ammunition that might be available.

I remember when I decided to share with my family that I was going to therapy. I don’t know why I decided to tell them, because no one had to know, but I wanted to. I can’t remember what I said, or how I said it. I clearly remember their reactions though. They laughed! I think it was more of an awkward reaction than ridicule. Therapy allowed me the freedom to see their reactions for what they truly were and not what I perceived them to be. I laughed too, and I think I said, “Y’all asses need to go too.” It didn’t matter how they reacted though because I was ok with them knowing. I just needed to be free from the weight I was carrying around everyday and sharing who I truly was with my family was part of that process.

There are so many women today struggling with so many things, and we have no recourse in managing the burdens we carry daily. Do you wake up every day tired? How often do you find yourself frowning? Check the wrinkle on your forehead. Do you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed…all the time? Do you find yourself at the brink of tears or overreacting to the smallest things? Ask yourself what’s really going on. Don’t let it fester. Seek counseling.

If your friend is struggling, ask them what’s going on. They may not want to tell you. Most people don’t want to feel judged as weak or fragile especially in communities of color. Typically, there is a perception that we can handle anything. And we can…with HELP! Our villages are strong, but it is ok if your village includes a professional counselor.

So the next time you blow up at your kids, your husband, your friends, the manager at the deli ask yourself, “Girlfriend, what’s really going on? Then, go figure it out with a therapist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratchet Review: The Proposal

Great premise and ripe with potential for hopeless romantics to enjoy.

I am not sure that I would have ever read this book if it were not recommended by my friend, Alesha. She’s not a fan of romance novels, but she happened upon this book, and said, “ Cass, this seems like a good book. You should check it out.” You see, she and I have “novel-beefs.” We both love African-American novels and authors, yet we just can’t seem to see eye-to-eye on the specific genre. She is really smart, I mean like she has a Master’s in English smart. I, on the other hand…well, I’m just happy I can read. Alesha tends to read books with the tragic heroes of historical literature, while I tend to lean ever so slightly toward the comical musings of street-lit a.k.a urban fiction!  Books like, Baby Mama Drama or Thugs and The Women Who Love Them…don’t judge me We argue all the time.  “Cass! Why are you reading that shit? ” Because it’s funny.

Anyway, I think she recommended this book because it seemed to fall somewhere in the middle, but honestly, I didn’t want to read it. It is…a romance novel. The gist of the story is that the main character, Nik, meets Carlos who rescues her from a humiliating marriage proposal at Dodger’s Stadium. Ever so grateful, she becomes his friend, and they embark on a gratuitous,  and mutually beneficial, friends-with-benefits relationship. It’s all good until one of them confesses love and the other one has to decide do they or don’t want to take the risk and open their heart for love to reside. 

Great premise and ripe with potential for hopeless romantics to enjoy. However, my hopeless romantic days died a long time ago. Like I said, initially I didn’t want to read it. Having grown up with Harlequin and Avon Romance novels, I should have been giddy. When I grew up, I realized that some of these books were just glorified porn, and having survived a few relationships of my own, I also realized that love just doesn’t happen like that. I’m jaded, but I thought I would give it a go. I was going to give the book one chapter, and if I didn’t like it I would put it down.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised! The author did a nice job telling a story of how the foundation for a healthy relationship begins with honesty, communication, and friendship. The Proposal was a light-hearted look at what could happen if two people are honest with each other, let go, and have fun. The author also explored how emotional baggage has an impact on how people relate to one another in relationships. Nik’s previous boyfriend was an asshole, a critical asshole at that. He criticized her, and he broke her heart. The result: Nik becomes a serial monogamist who tends to break-up with men before they break-up with her. Carlos, on the other hand,  has placed a large amount of pressure on himself to support and care for his family. He is the self-appointed father-figure and feels like he has no time for anything meaningful. They are both emotionally unavailable; consequently, they feel they are perfect for what they want from each other: just sex. 

As a reader and ex-hopeless romantic, I was sold. This is real-life. I didn’t want to read another book that lied to me about how great and easy it is for people to fall in love, I’m too old. I know the truth.  love is like meatloaf; you mix all of these different things together, blend it, and beat it until it’s smooth, then, you bake it for a couple of hours until it ends up being delicious. That’s love. You put in the work and effort, and it becomes great. 

Again, it is a romance novel, so I am sure you can predict the ending. And, it does have that bubbly, romance novel tone and feel to it. I needed just a little more “ratchetness!” OH!! And I LOVED that the characters were from diverse ethnicities, but I wish the author would have been more descriptive about their cultures and backgrounds. Sometimes I felt like I had to guess, “Is this person White, African-American or Hispanic?” 

Overall, it was a nice enjoyable read. I give it three and a half bookmarks out of five📚📚📚📖. Great for reading on the beach. Get you a copy before you go on summer vacation!

10 Things You Should Appreciate at Work

10 things to appreciate at work that will help you have a better day. 😊

It’s Friday. I just got paid. And it is one of the rare occasions that the weather in Texas is pretty decent. I feel great!
Yet every day isn’t like this. If you are like me, you sometimes dread hearing your alarm go off. It is the signal that the peace and quiet that you have so carefully cultivated in your bed is about to come to a quick and dreadful end. It is time to get ready for work. If you are like me, you wake up with one consistent thought every day: I just want to be left alone. And, if you are like me, you know that is likely not going to happen. As you wash your face and choose which shoe works best with your professional style but also won’t pinch your right pinky toe, you know deep down that someone is waiting on you to arrive to help them solve a problem that they could have solved themselves two days ago. You also know that someone is waiting at work with the work-ethic of a snail. You know that there is a millennial waiting in the wings to tell you all of the ways that they are smarter and more efficient than you, the Gen-X relic, who is out of touch with reality, but yet, they still need your help to get their project done which, in fact, could have been done three weeks ago if they had just listened to you the first time.
If this is you, don’t give up! Focus on what is good and right on your job and I promise you will have a better time of it. Here are 10 things to appreciate at work that will help you have a better day. Enjoy!
1.) It’s so nice when you walk into work and the first thing someone says to you is GOOD MORNING with a big, bright smile! They aren’t waiting at your door ready to ask for something before you can even put your lunch kit down.
2.) Shout out to the people who show up to work and do what you ask them to do without complaining. They are the real MVPs!
3.) If I had a dollar for every time someone said let me help you with that or let me get the door for you, I would be a rich woman. Thank you so much. You are appreciated (in my Tupac voice).
4.) FLEX TIME is like manna from Heaven. 🙂
5.) So are lunch breaks! If you’ve ever worked in education then you know the value of being able to sit down and eat a nice sandwich in relative quiet for even 15 minutes. It’s more than a breath of fresh air. It’s an oxygen tank for a low capacity lung. I. Can. Breathe! And, guess what, I get one every day. LOOK AT GOD!!
6.) My kids steal books! What a blessing!!
7.) Note to self: when you feel like you don’t belong, remind yourself that you do! You got this!
8.) Special shout out to my colleagues who leave a friendly restroom. It’s the small things that matter most. 🙂
9.) I appreciate a person who gives me so much consideration that they give me at least 48 hours notice when they want me to give them some pertinent information. It lets me know they appreciate my time. And guess what? When you appreciate my time, I try to appreciate yours. You get the info early!
10.) It’s just good to have a job you like going to every day. Thanking God for His deliverance and covering!
P.S. When your day gets rough, make sure you turn on the Essential 90’s playlist on Google Play or Hip Hop BBQ on Pandora. They are fire! 🔥🔥 (I’m Dreamin’ by Christopher Williams makes it all better. He’s my boo! 🥰).
*the many faces I wear to work (educator, author, servant, and prayer warrior). 😊📚🙏🏾📝 💻

In My Feelings

This past weekend, my line sisters and I participated in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area Joint Founders Day Celebration for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. We, along with more than 100 other women, were honored and we celebrated 25 years as members in the largest and one the most influential African American sororities in the nation. This was a pretty awesome day. Well, it should have been awesome. There were so many positive things happening, but the only thing that I could really focus on was the negative conversation in my head. As you read this post, please don’t think that I am looking for sympathy. That is not my steelo (for all of my non-90’s readers, that’s hip hop lingo for style). I guess what I am trying to do is process what I am thinking and feeling so I can end the conversation in my head and move on.

Anyway, what should have been a glorious and grand day was almost a bummer and it was no one’s fault but my own. You see for most of the day all I did was criticize myself in my head. My outfit didn’t fit right. The braids on my hair were awesome, but my edges wouldn’t stay down. My hips were on full display, and not in a good way. It didn’t matter if I turned to the left or to the right, whether I crossed my legs or stood straight, none the pics I took were flattering.  I should have picked the other pair of shoes. My pearls weren’t pretty enough. When I walked I could feel myself waddle. I even ran into the back of my line sister during the processional. I was soooo over the day. I just couldn’t feel what I should have been feeling. I should have been excited. Yet, all I could think about was how out of place I felt. Not because I was in a room full of bosses and change agents. Not because I wasn’t smart enough to be there, or that I hadn’t worked hard (well…for a few years I took a vacation). Not because my line sisters and chapter sorors make me feel bad or judge me. Nope. For the most part, they think I’m pretty dope. And, I think they are amazing! We have no problem gassing each other up. It was simply because I let negative thoughts cloud my thinking.

You see, I’m my own worst critic. Some would say I am self-deprecating. I’m not sure if that is the correct word, but I am definitely hyper-critical of myself. Yesterday, it almost got the best of me. I can honestly say that even listening to the keynote speaker, one of my Founders granddaughters and my national chaplain, THE Vashti Murphy McKenzie, tell me emphatically to “SLAY IN MY LANE,” I couldn’t shake that feeling of…dissatisfaction. I just knew I wasn’t happy with myself and it sucked. 

So on a day that is filled with some fantastic memories of being with some of my very best friends for 25 years, some pretty amazing big sisters and mentors, some of the sweetest neos (my little sisters), celebrating a huge milestone, and in addition, celebrating my line sisters 50th birthday party (it was EPIC), I allowed myself to focus on stupid shit.  Stupid shit like feelings of inadequacy because my dress didn’t turn out like I had imagined because my hair hadn’t turned out like I imagined, because I don’t walk like I think I should walk, or because my stomach was protruding. You see inside, I’m still just an insecure little girl wanting to fit in and be best that I can be. 

My first lady said in Sunday school yesterday that when we think of leprosy we usually think about the disease in the Bible, people with open sores and living in isolation because they are contagious. She talked about the idea that if you think of leprosy in a spiritual way then you will understand that anyone can have it. In a spiritual sense, leprosy is anything that is toxic that overtakes your life and isolates you. We all have it in some way. My leprosy is judging myself too harshly especially in comparison to other people. It almost ruined my day. Almost

So right in the middle the Soror Mackenzie again telling the crowd to “slay in our lanes”, I decided to focus on why I was in the room and instead focusing on what I thought I was or wasn’t. I was there because in the 8th grade I decided I wanted to be a member of a group of women who were powerful, women who changed the world. Women like Barbara Jordan, Lena Horne, and Shirley Chisholm. I was in the room because when I got to the campus of UTA I saw a chapter of young ladies who were involved in the community and who were leaders on campus. Like we used to say back in the day, “The Deltas ran the yard.” I was there because when I decided to apply, my friend was a regional officer and she wrote my letter of recommendation at the last minute because the person who said she would write my letter originally wouldn’t even answer the phone. I was there because on April 15, 1994, I crossed burning sands with 11 other women who were excited and eager to no longer be pyramids but full-fledged Deltas. We didn’t have to practice throwing up the pyramid in the room or softly saying oo-oop so no one else could hear it. We could say it out loud! We could work and serve our community with other powerful black women. I was there because I wanted and I was a change agent.

Luckily, I spent about three years in therapy, learning to recognize negative self-talk. Luckily, I have developed a few strategies to help me focus and redirect such toxic thinking. ANNDD, I know Jesus and I could hear Him speak to me and say, “You are my child so you are worthy and you are beautiful. Then I heard my granny call down from Heaven to say, “Look, little girl! Ain’t nobody thinking about that shit but you!” 

I was in the room because of the sisterhood! We have been through so much together! Graduations, babies, marriages, divorces, health problems, money problems, and career changes. Chapter meetings, state meetings, regional conferences, and national conventions. Lord have mercy, even lemon squeezes (Deltas knew about Lemonade well before Beyoncé) because our is grand but so are our fights. You name it, we’ve been through it! It has been a journey.

When people get married they say they do life together. I “do life” with my sorors. My friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have three blood sisters that I adore.  No one can take their place. But you know what? When God gave me my sorors, he showed me “sisterhood amplified.” My sorors are there right along with my sisters to support me on this journey, and I would change it! 

My mind was playing tricks on me. It was lying to me. But being with my sorors changed the game. We shut it down!!! We partied, laughed, danced, and celebrated my line sister who is aging not just gracefully but phenomenally! She is sweet, supportive, smart, and successful! My other line sisters and sorors too! We held the 25-year debate of who was the meanest, Kiphani or Misty (I promise you, we will have this debate at our 50th. SMH). It was a day that I needed. Joy…I just had to take the focus off myself and enjoy the moment, enjoy my friends.

I think it is called imposter syndrome, and I write this because there are women that feel the same way. We talk ourselves out of experiencing and feeling joy. We smile, but inside the struggle is real. If you feel this way at times remember, there is more about you to celebrate than to criticize. Know that you are not alone. Fight those feelings of inadequacy and flip the script in your head. Take the focus off yourself, embrace your sisterhood, celebrate life, and live in the moment with your friends and family. Fight it, Sis. I promise you, it is worth it! I am so glad I did. One of the BEST DAYS EVER!

P.S. Kiphani and Misty, it’s a tie. You are both nice-nasty! 🥰🤣

Dear Rilynn

You are the dopest toddler I know. You love me and shade me all at the same time. You have been unbothered since you were in the womb. Took your mighty sweet time to get here. However, from the day you entered the world you refused to be ignored and let us know immediately that you would be HEARD! I think I said, “Wow! She’a a strong soprano.” The doctor said, “We’ve got ourselves a drama queen!” LOL! I don’t know if you will ever sing. I don’t know if you will ever act. What I do know is that whatever you choose to do or be, you will do it or be it!

As your great aunt and God mom, I have the privilege of watching and assisting you on your journey in life. I don’t know if I will be around in your adult years, or even if I am, I don’t know if all of my mental capacities will still be functioning properly. I hope that I am still physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually available long enough to see you have children. But chances are,  that’s not going to happen. I might not even get to see you become an adult if God decides to call me home sooner than I think. So, on this Sunday when I am in the mood I thought I would leave you with a few words of wisdom from your TeeTee.

So, Miss Rilynn what is it that I want you to know? Well first, I think that it is important for you to remember that your relationship with God is the most important relationship that you can have in your life, even more important than the relationship you have with your mom and dad. Remember that on the days when your mom makes you mad or your dad disappoints you. Your parents, and grandparents, are human. It is inevitable that one day they will hurt you, not even that, you just might not agree on everything. The best gift that your mom  and dad are giving you right now is introducing you to God and making sure you understand His Holy Word. 

You are loved, and you are worthy of love. This world is cruel. It will make you think that you are less than, that you aren’t capable. You might experience rejection and disappointment simply because you are black or because you were born a girl. Don’t worry about it, Miss Rilynn, and don’t let those things get you down. Stand up and keep fighting for what you want-respect, honesty, loyalty, commitment, peace, joy, kindness, and love! You deserve all of those things. Demand them. Don’t rest until you get them because you are worthy!

Finally, I want you to recognize that you come from greatness. Great genes, great culture, great family. Not all of it related to material wealth. However, every bit of your greatness comes from robust attitude, genuine pride, and sincere desire to make the world a better place. Take time to get know your history both globally and within your family, North Texas (Fort Worth) and South Texas (Houston), Southern and African. Learn it and own it. Then walk with your head held high everyday because you, my dear, are royalty. Period.

There is so much more that I want to share with you. I am sure that one day we will have long talks over snow cones and ratchet hip hop. At least I hope so. A blog post is really not conducive to long dissertations meant for private conversations. Yet, I leave this here as tangible proof that you can achieve the unexpected and live the unimaginable. Please do. I want to smile from Heaven one day and say, “Wow! She surpassed my expectations!” 

I love you, Miss Rilynn. I want nothing but the best for you in life. Dream big, accomplish much, and learn a lot. You can do it! Be better than we are right now. Not because we want you to, but because you can. The world deserves a unicorn loving, dinosaur having, cowgirl princess like you! #toddlerslay