Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Message from Inspired Sistah

“Tis the season to be jolly,” right? Well, maybe not. Many people this season are dealing with losses such as death or divorce. Many are dealing with financial losses and feelings of despair. For a lot of people, the Christmas season brings about feelings of depression. Some are sad because they are separated from their family or they’re alone this Christmas. Some mothers are panged by the hurt look in their children’s eyes when they tell them that there is no money for gifts. Others have been laid off from their jobs and they wonder how they will pay the mortgage next month. So, feeling jolly may not be the first thing that comes to mind.

But, despite all of your apparent misfortunes, one thing I want to impress to you is that, even though you may not be feeling jolly, you can be joyful. You see, joy is an emotion that is not based on what you feel, but what you know. And what you can be assured of is that: Today is a new day of hope and possibilities. You have been given another opportunity to get it together. Yeah, based on what you see right now, it may be bleak, but as the old saying goes, “If you can look up, you can get up!” So work really hard to focus on all the wonderful things that are going right in your life. You may not have all the money you want or you may be without your spouse or your kids this season. You may even be without your home. But your eyes popped open this morning with a new day of promise before you. Now, that’s a miracle!

Rejoice in what you do have. Shut out the negative thoughts and negative influences. Know that troubles don’t last always and weeping only endures for a night. Joy is sure to come in the morning time. Be encouraged, today, and know that your latter days will be greater than your former days!

Merry Christmas!

Inspired Sistah

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Patch up the Leaks

Picture a beautiful vase; hand-crafted with intricate detail. You walk over to it and pick it up to examine the beautiful craftsmanship. Suddenly you notice that on the back of the vase is a huge crack running lengthwise. You also notice that it’s wet because the water has practically leaked out of it. Your perception of the vase will probably change. It may not seem as beautiful as it once did. Also, the value has dropped because it no longer does what it was originally intended to do…hold its contents. From a far, it looked good, but once you were able to further evaluate it, you realized that ‘everything that glitters ain’t gold!’

I use that analogy to describe the condition I think a lot of women are in. From the front or on the outside, they may look like they have it ‘goin’ on.’ Their hair is fly, their nails are done. They have the latest This or That on. They drive the newest whip. They have the job, the husband, the kids, the WHATEVER…but they’re leaking. When you have a conversation with them, you notice that their speech is laced with judgment and criticism. When you take a peek into their bank account, you notice that it is overdrawn and all of their credit cards are maxed out and over-due trying to maintain their ‘flyness.’ When you follow them home, you notice that their husband ignores them and their kids disrespect them and they stuff their pain with Haagen Daaz and romance novels. You notice that they’re leaking.

You know, the travesty isn’t that they’re leaking. The travesty is that they don’t know they’re leaking. When you bring some things to their attention, they become defensive and may turn around and attack you. They would prefer, instead, to maintain appearances rather than deal with the real. I understand that, all too well. I used to be like that. Because of my emotional pain, I would work really hard to keep the outside looking good. I made sure my hair and nails were done. I worked hard to attain all the “trappings” of success, but on the inside I was broken and hurting and desperate for a way out.

I admonish you, today, to do inventory before the year comes to a close and make a decision to lead a healed, whole, healthy life in 2010. Take off the fa├žade, get your finances together, get your family together and get YOURSELF together. You know where you’re coming up short. You know the ways you try to compensate for the pain. Make a decision TODAY to stop the madness and patch up the cracks. Because whether you think so or not, we all know you’re leaking, but it’s time for you to not only realize it, but make an appointment to get serviced.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Blessings to you,
Inspired Sistah

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful...

That what hasn’t killed me has made me stronger.
That I’ve been chosen to deliver an amazing gift and I don’t take it likely.
That I don’t have to live in bondage to other people’s opinions or expectations.
That I have a winning attitude, no matter the circumstance.
That I see mountains as molehills and stumbling blocks as stepping stones.
That I am more than a conqueror and that I’m the head and not the tail.
That favor overtakes me.
That my gift makes room for me and brings me before great men.
That by this time next year, people will be reading my book and singing its praises.
That my haters energize me to succeed.
That my words are seasoned with grace and pleasant to the hearers.
That people will come from around the world to hear what I have to say.
That the favor of God is so strong on my life that many will be compelled to know Him.
That the words that come out of my mouth are life-changing and affirming.
That I have enough courage to write this.

Part confession. Part faith. But nonetheless, I’m thankful for all these and more…

Tangie

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sleeping Giant

Dedicated to my dear Sistah, Chanisha...

As I have the opportunity to interact with a lot of women, one consistent theme seems to always come up in the conversations. I’ve met women who are gifted and beautiful and talented and feel they have a higher purpose or call, but they have not moved out on that calling. They are stuck in dead-end relationships, dead-end jobs and dead-end situations, but are clueless as to how to get from where they are to where they think they should be.

Here are my thoughts: You will NEVER be comfortable or satisfied until you go HARD after your purpose. Yeah, you may have a pretty cool job, but you may feel that it stifles your creativity. Yeah, you may have a pretty cool marriage, but feel that your relationship could go up a few notches. Yeah, you may have the “appearances” of a good life, but you have this internal struggle that’s telling you there is more. I call that internal conflict a Sleeping Giant and that Sleeping Giant in you is begging to be let out. She wants to help you take the world by storm, but you keep her locked away in a nice, neat compartment where she’s safe. Maybe you’re afraid of what others might think, or maybe you’re concerned that you don’t have the training or the finances to carry out your venture. One thing I know for sure is that, although you may have some perceived shortcomings, sitting on your gift & not sharing it is far worse than launching out & trying it. Sure you will have some missteps & make some mistakes. Sure you will have your own personal ‘Hater Board’ that will criticize and judge everything you’re attempting to do. But, so what? Do you want to continue to live a life of mediocrity, discontent, and unfulfillment? Or do you want to live an extraordinary life filled with fulfillment, grace & peace? You decide. All I can tell you is that the world is waiting for the manifestation of your gift.

Okay, so nap time is over! Go on and wake that Sleeping Giant up. We’re waiting on you…

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Official!

My new Official Inspired Sistah website is up & running: www.InspiredSistah.com. Yay! The Inspired Sistah Brand has been expanded to include Personal Development Coaching for which you can get the details on my site. I’ve also displayed my new Inspired Sistah Crystal tees which are just too cute! There’s also a link to my logo items, as well. So even if you’re not a t-shirt person, you can pick up another item that displays to the world that either you’re an Inspired Sistah or you know someone who is. ;-) Don’t forget Christmas is coming up! (hint, hint, hint).

I'm so excited! Join me in the excitement!

Tangie

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mean Girls Series-Part 5: Sistah-Friends

It’s often been said that if you get a bunch of women together, they just can’t get along. People say, “Women are ‘catty’, ‘jealous’ and ‘backbiting’”. “If they all have to work together, it will never get done because all they do is gossip”. And, Lawd help us, if you get women of color together, it’s really ‘on’ then! There has been much talk and debate about whether a sistah can ever really have a true girlfriend. You know, true-blue-and-tight-like-glue? Well, there have been songs sang and books and movies written proving that women can, in fact, get along. But if you ask the average sistah, she would probably say, “Unnhh, unnhh! No Way!”

I use to wear the same ‘Women Just Can’t Get Along’ t-shirt until I had two significant things happen in my life that disproved that theory. The first one is that I read this book many years ago called, “The Friendships of Women” by Dee Brestin, DeeBrestin.com. In the book, Ms. Brestin points out why women are the way they are and how it can actually benefit our friendships. We are very passionate and when we love, we love hard. So if we feel betrayed, you’re gonna know it. She uses the friendship example of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible and shows how it can, indeed, be done. She gives insight into characteristics about us that are unique, which makes us excellent friends…but also excellent enemies.

The other significant thing that happened is that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of having some real, genuine, honest-to-goodness friendships with a (small) group of girlfriends. We got each other’s backs no matter what. We’ve encouraged each other through heartbreaks and celebrated each other in triumph. Dee Brestin wrote a sequel to “The Friendships of Women” called “We are Sisters”. In the sequel, she talks about how our female friendships can actually help enhance our other relationships. A lot of sistahs feel like if they got their man, that’s all they need. Well, I beg to differ. Your sistah-friends can actually be a great sounding board and voice of reason when you and your man are having some challenges (cause you will). Also, a little ‘girl-time’ can refresh you and make you more amicable in dealing with your family, your co-workers or even your neighbors.

I ran across two powerful pieces of literature that speaks to the importance of us coming together as sistah-friends and embracing, supporting and encouraging one another. Norka Blackman Richards wrote a powerful essay entitled, “Eight Hateful Things Women Do to Each Other”. It echoes my observation and experiences in dealing with other women and encourages us to discontinue certain practices in “order to heal our sisterhood”. Another great essay, “The Sister Accord”, written by Sonia Jackson Myles, is a beautiful affirmation admonishing us to uphold one another as sisters.

I think the bottom line is that any relationship; friendship, marriage or otherwise, takes a tremendous amount of effort and can only be as good as you make it. We have so much to offer one another and we’re cheating ourselves and others when we hold out on giving the gift of friendship. I know we’ve been burnt before; our best friend stole our boyfriend, our sister told everyone that we peed in the bed when were little, our college roommate went out with a guy she knew that we liked, etcetera and so forth. But let’s squash all of that! If we understood the enrichment having a good girlfriend had in our lives, we would realize our mass potential to effect change, not just in our community and world, but more importantly, in ourselves. That old song by Whodini is ringing in my head, “Friends. How many of us have them?” Let’s make efforts to debunk the stereotypes, embrace one another and tell another sistah, “You can count on me…”

This will conclude the Mean Girls Series. I hope that I’ve given you some food for thought and that you’ve taken the opportunity to challenge yourself and others in your attitudes and actions toward other women. Since beginning this series, I’ve had to check myself quite a few times. The reality is that infighting and derision only further divides us and hinders us from our true purpose. Let’s make a commitment to ourselves and other sistahs to stop the madness and instead make concerted efforts to build one another up.

Be Inspired!
Inspired Sistah

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last Week’s Poll Question was: You show up to your daughter’s dance recital and you spot your ex and the chick he left you for. What do you do? Eighty percent of you said that you would, “Walk up to them and speak. After all, you are looking pretty cute tonight”. Everyone took the high road & decided not to “Bust her upside her head, ‘cause it’s been a long time coming!” LOL! No one wanted to, “Make a bee-line to your car before they see you; your daughter will never know you missed her dance”. And only one person chose to, “Ignore them; you’ve moved past the drama. More power to them”!

I think it’s big of you to want to go over and speak to your ex and his Home-Wrecker girlfriend, but I would caution you to examine your motives. If you’re going over to them because you have truly forgiven them and are healed and free, then ‘Go On, Sistah’! But if you’re going over there to rub in his face the fact that you are 20 lbs. lighter and looking better than ever, then you would do better to keep your seat. Gloating before them may give you a short-lived burst of satisfaction, but the real victory comes in when you have done the work and you are healed and whole. Wouldn’t it be the best thing ever if you could sit comfortably in your own being and have internal peace and satisfaction knowing that what the devil meant for evil, God meant for good?! Now he can put that in his pipe and smoke it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mean Girls Series-Part 4: Dream Killers

It’s not uncommon to meet a sistah who has a dream. She may dream of owning a salon, writing a book, or being a rock star! The question then becomes, “Why isn’t she going for it?” Trying to pinpoint exactly what the obstacles are, I realize that it can be from external forces like a lack of contacts or financing, but from internal ones, as well. I began to think about some Dream Killers that could potentially hold us back from living our dreams. And for illustrative purposes, I will address them as ‘sistahs’ to make them more real to you. As you’re reading their descriptions, feel free to do some self-examination and see if any them sound familiar.

Sistah Anger: There’s a name I give a sistah who walks around mad at the world with a chip on her shoulder acting like a rebel without a cause. I call her an ABW: Angry, Black Woman. You know her; she always has an ‘attitude’. She has a negative opinion about everything & everybody. She’s usually using this demeanor as a cover-up for some pain or injustice she’s experienced in the past. Having a hard time moving past it, she wears this Anger like a badge of honor.

Sistah Bitterness: Bitterness is a close cousin to Anger. She shows up when you feel you didn’t get a ‘fair shake’ in a situation. She is hardened to possibilities of greater opportunities because she doesn’t have faith that the situation will turn out in her favor. I mean, why should it now? It hasn’t in the past. Like the taste of something bitter, this sistah is just unpleasant to be around.

Sistah Resentment: Anger, Bitterness and Resentment are BFF’s. Resentment makes her mark by making it difficult to appreciate positive things going on whether it’s in her own life or someone else’s. This sistah can never celebrate your accomplishments. When you tell her that you’re getting a promotion on your job, she says something like, “Ummph! It must be nice. Everybody ain’t able…” Don’t you know people like that? I do! Ugghhh!

Sistah Jealousy: Okay, so if you have the three BFF’s, Anger, Bitterness and Resentment, you know Jealousy will not be far behind. She’s gotta hang with her girls, too. Not only is this sistah Angry because you always get picked for the special projects at work but she’s also Bitter ‘cause no one notices how good of a job she does. Resentment manifests when she then starts resenting you, anyone who acknowledges you and the whole fact that she was the one that trained you in the first place. And then she becomes Jealous of you and the fact that everything always works out for you.

Can’t you just smell the toxins that are oozing out of these sistahs? Because of the stronghold these attitudes may have on them, everything is viewed through the color of their emotions. They are Dream Killers because it is very difficult to have the motivation and stamina necessary to pursue your dreams if you are laden down with all this baggage. Too many of us won’t deal with the REAL, but we instead act like we got it going on. When, in fact, we’re walking around with these festering sores all covered up in our Gucci & Prada.

What’s the solution? How about doing some serious self-evaluation and see what’s REALLY going on. Okay, so Ray-Ray left you for Bonequesha? So the person you trained eventually took your job? So your best friend told everybody that Ray-Ray left you with a “gift” that keeps on giving? You have a decision to make. Are you going to allow yourself to be consumed with the pain of those betrayals? Or are you going to use them like fertilizer and allow them to make you grow and flourish? Harboring ill-feelings is toxic; physically, emotionally and spiritually. They hinder you moving forth in Purpose and stunt your growth. Do yourself a favor: In the words of Martin Payne, tell those Dream Killas to "Getta Steppin'!"

Next week we’ll wrap the Mean Girls Series with a special tribute to our Sistah Friends and some possible solutions to dealing with Mean Girls and their antics.

Until next week…
Be Inspired!

Inspired Sistah

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s question was: Jackie, your BFF since 2nd gr. always seems to pull a disappearing act when you need her the most. Fed up with her behavior, what do you do? Fifty-Seven percent of you took the high road and decided to express to her how you feel & ask that she respect the friendship. Some of you, though, said that you would delete her from FB, MySpace, Twitter, Email & your Cell Phone! LOL! Only one person wanted to give her an ultimatum and tell her to clean up her ugly ways or getta steppin’! And no one wanted to overlook her behavior.

It’s likely since you two were friends since the 2nd grade that you have some positive history and the relationship is at least worth trying to save. Probably the better way to handle the situation is to address her and see where her head and heart are. Her being undependable may be an awful character flaw, but her lack of support for you may not be meant to be malicious. And it’s likely if confronted, she may not even realize that she’s been taking you for granted. If she blows you off and continues her trifling behavior, then you know where she stands and you can make a decision based on everything that’s been presented to you. That’s the Big Girl way to handle it, but boy is it tempting to delete her and give her the peace sign! LOL!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mean Girls Series-Part 3: 'Frienemies'

I heard the term ‘frienemies’ some time ago and it piqued my interest. A frienemy is an enemy disguised as a friend. The sad thing is that a lot of frienemies don’t know they’re offenders. Most don’t deliberately set out to sabotage your success; they just do it as only someone in your inner circle can. There’s a saying that says, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Well, where do frienemies fit in that schematic?

I’ll admit that there are devious people out there that will deliberately befriend you in order to gain some particular benefit or inflict some hurt upon you, but I’m not speaking of them. I’m speaking of people who cloak themselves in a friendship garment, but who are secretly jealous of you or who can’t celebrate you or who are selfish and so consumed with their own drama that they can’t support you. A healthy friendship is based on mutual encouragement and support. There’s no room for hatin’. These ‘friends’ are what I call ‘SUCKERS’. They suck all of your energy, time and talent and leave you with nothing. They also have nothing to offer you in return.

Evaluate the people you engage with that you call your friends. When you leave their presence or get off the phone with them, how do you feel? Do you feel encouraged, motivated and free? Or do you feel discouraged, discontent and dumped on? Don’t get me wrong, Dee Dee may be your girl from the 5th grade, but if she’s a taker and not a giver, she may be doing you more harm than good. Good, healthy relationships have balance. Dee Dee should have a little sumtin’, sumtin’ for you sometimes.

So take a look around your life. What do you see? Cheerleaders or Dump Trucks? Friends or Foes? If they’re not for you, they’re against you. You may have to make a decision about what place they will have in your life. After careful scrutiny, you may just find that they’re more foe than friend. In fact, they actually may be a ‘frienemy’!

Next week I’m going to introduce you to some sistahs who may be lurking in the shadows of your life whose sole purpose in life is to steal your joy and kill your dreams.

I’d love to get some feedback from you regarding this series and answer any questions you may have. You can contact me at InspirationallySpeaking@comcast.net.

Be blessed!
Inspired Sistah

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s poll question was: You’re excited about your new promotion at work & you overhear some of your co-workers bad-mouthing you. What do you do? The majority of you chose to ignore their remarks "‘cause they’re just sippin’ on Hatorade!" The 2nd highest choice was to call them in your office at separate times to ask them if they had anything that they’d like to discuss with you. And finally, the 3rd most-picked answer was to "confront those skanks!" LOL!

One thing that I’ve learned in dealing with people who gossip about others is that, when confronted, very few of them will ‘fess up to their rhetoric. So, sometimes, the whole confrontation thing satisfies your need to let them know that you ain’t no punk more than it does to correct the behavior or get down to the real. I favor ignoring them because if they were so wonderful, they would have gotten the promotion themselves. People sittin’ around talkin’ ain’t doin’. And if they ain’t doin’, then they’re not worth your energy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mean Girls Series-Part 2; Negative Smiley

In this 2nd portion of the Mean Girls Series, Sistahs Gone Wild, I want to introduce you to some ladies you might be familiar with…

This week we’ll meet, ‘Negative Smiley’. A friend of mine introduced me to this term and I was completely intrigued with it. A Negative Smiley is someone who appears to be very caring & supportive & sweet, all the while sharpening the dagger to stab you in the back! She will probe you about your personal business in such a sincere-appearing way ("How's Rayquan?" "Is June Bug feeling better this week?") that you don’t know you’ve been gutted until you’re lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Quite honestly, insincere people rub me like jeans two sizes too small on a hot summer day! Just be who you gone be! (Ebonics intended)

When you get to the heart of it, Negative Smileys are really insecure themselves, so they seek information from others to help boost their deflated egos. They also live with a sense of false humility in that they are portraying themselves as caring individuals, but their motives are not pure. People who are just kind of bold and ‘in-your-face’ often get a negative rap. They are seen as ones who don’t regard anyone else’s feelings. But I like dealing with those kinds of people because you always know where you stand with them; unlike Negative Smileys.

Okay, so here’s an opportunity to check yourself: Instead of working on being nice, how about working on being authentic. I’m not giving you a license to be rude, but what I am saying is work on being true to yourself and others. You may not be the most popular girl at the party, but you will be the most respected. And in the long run, that’s what matter most. So, away with the Negative Smileys!

This week your challenge is to examine your motives when dealing with other people. Are you skinning and grinning all the while plotting their demise? Are you going along just to get along knowing that you’re being phony? If so, stop the madness; right here, right now! Practice genuineness. Watch how far it will take you. You may be a little surprised….

Next week we’ll talk about our BFF’s, frienemies, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, keep your questions and comments coming to InspirationallySpeaking@comcast.net.

Be blessed!

Inspired Sistah

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s question was: You’re ready for Ladies’ Night Out and your girl, Von, shows up with a dress that is 2 sizes too small. What should you do? Seventy-Five percent of you agreed that you should call her tomorrow and have a heart-to-heart to see what’s really going on with her. That’s what a true sistah-friend would do. Typical Mean Girl behavior would be to talk about her, avoid her or lie to her as the other choices suggested. Being sincere with your girl will cultivate a healthy relationship and be of greater benefit to you in the long-run. Remember: when you belittle someone else, you’re only making yourself look small. So, keep doing the right thang, sistah!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mean Girls-The Series

As you know, my interest lies with women and their issues. Lawd knows, we’ve got plenty of them! But we all know that. But where my true passion lies is with facilitating positive change in our lives so that we can be a blessing to our spouses, families, friends and communities. So, lately, the subject of Mean Girls has been sticking with me and I feel impressed to do a series about them. When I began to do my research, I learned that this is a very Hot Button Topic amongst women and bears some attention. Now the thoughts that I present will not be anything we haven’t heard before, but I will present them as only Inspired Sistah can. :-) Also, it’s my desire that it will spark real dialogue between us sistahs with hopes that we will all learn and grow and be the better for it.

So let me start with a definition. A Mean Girl is a woman who gossips, back-bites, ostracizes, intimidates, humiliates and demeans other women. Now before you count yourself out of this definition, I want you to seriously reflect on your attitudes and behaviors toward other women on your job, in your church or even in your family. There are different layers to the Mean Girl. She can be the bold, brassy bully that no one can stand, but she can also be a conniving, sneaky, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing kind of sistah, too. I’ll admit I have been both a perpetrator and a victim; even as an adult, even as a Christian!

The Mean Girl spirit is insidious and you don’t know you’re That Girl until you’ve been overtaken! Make no mistake; she’s your boss, your co-worker, your sister, your mother and even YOU. But we all know that, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, we are familiar with the Mean Girl and her antics, but we don’t acknowledge some of her traits we or our compadres may possess and we really don’t attempt to foster any solutions. We just say, “It is what it is…” and figure it will always be that way. Well, I beg to differ. So in this series, I will introduce you to the Mean Girl, but at the end, I will try to offer some solutions to eradicating the Mean Girl’s behavior that manifests itself in others and even in YOU.

Stay tuned next week for, “Sistahs Gone Wild!” where I will introduce you to or reacquaint you with some specific Mean Girl behaviors to see if you recognize them.

In the meantime, feel free to email me at InspirationallySpeaking@comcast.net with your questions, comments, thoughts or concerns and I will try to incorporate them in this series.

Until next week…Be Blessed!

Inspired Sistah


Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s poll question was: You’ve been baking cakes for friends/family for years. Secretly dreaming of starting a catering business, what should you decide to do?

Everybody (100 %) said that you would start taking some business/marketing classes to get the ball rolling. That was an obvious answer, right? I mean no one wants to admit that they may have thought about choosing answer one, “Waiting until the economy stabilizes just in case it doesn’t work out. And answer two, thinking that “no outside of your family/friends would be interested in your ‘little ol’ cakes’” would make you seem like you were wimpy and lacked confidence. While I don’t doubt that, by faith, we all see ourselves as go-getters, taking the bull by the horns and running head first into our dreams, I think the reality is that we all have a teenchy bit of trepidation still lurking around. But that’s okay. Dream chasing is a marathon, not a sprint. It may take a few hurdles and setbacks to get us re-focused and back on course. But that’s all part of the process. Just know, in the end, YOU WIN! So, come on, let’s get it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Let's Get It!

Here’s some food for thought: Have you ever thought about the fact that people who may have been in a debilitating, life-changing accident today didn’t wake up this morning anticipating that their lives would be forever altered? What about people who died today unexpectantly? Did they plan that today would be their last day on this earth? Probably not. My point is that very few of us, if any, know when we will no longer have an opportunity to do all the things we’ve been “meaning” to get around to. I’m not talking about the load of laundry or paying the light bill. Although, those are important tasks. I’m talking about the things that have been placed in our spirits that we’ve been mulling over for years. Have you ever heard the saying, “Time waits for no man?” And sistah, is that ever true today! If we don’t get busy about doing purposeful things, we will find ourselves weeks, months and years later singing the same ol’ tired songs about how we wish we could do such ‘n such.... I heard Joyce Meyer say, “You don’t need a wishbone; you need a backbone!”

To be in pursuit of your purpose doesn’t mean that you have to be on a mission to save the world. But what I’m proposing is that we’re not here to merely exist. There is more to life than getting up going to work (on a job that we may hate), tolerating a spouse (that we can’t stand) and sheltering children (that we refuse to raise). What is that thing in you that you are so passionate about that it is literally burning a hole in your gut? A lot of people, off the cuff, may not be able to answer that question. But if we take the time to examine where our true passions lie, we may see that our purpose could be that of being an awesome, dedicated wife or mother or to write a book that will inspire people to live beyond their circumstances or to be a CEO of a company. Whatever it is, you were placed here to do it and do it gooood!

So get focused! Stop spending your energy on fruitless things. Invest in someone or something else besides yourself. Come on! Time’s a-wastin’! Let’s get it!

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s poll question was: After waking up from surgery, you are told that a hysterectomy was necessary. After reeling from the shock of never being able to have children, what do you do?

There was a tie at 44% for answers one & two. You equally thought that you would either book that vacation to Italy you’ve been dreaming of, realizing life is short, or check into a local mentoring program or review some adoption options. Deciding that your life was over and dying as a childless spinster just wasn’t an option for you. I’ve learned that we are best able to exemplify the greatest power when we get us off of our minds and extend ourselves to others. Does that mean that you have to deny your feelings or your current circumstances? No. But what it does mean is that you can facilitate your healing process by encouraging someone else along the way. ‘Cause if you think you got it bad, just take a look around the corner. That’s sobering! Also, doing some things that you’ve been putting off, while you were waiting for the “right” set of circumstances to come along, can also be empowering. It makes you appreciate what a beautiful gift life is even if things are not going the way you planned. So be encouraged, my sistah, the ability to be powerful is closer than you think. Leave the pity party to the whiners. You’re not invited, ‘cause you’re a Warrior!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pitiful or Powerful?

Back in the day, I used to have a beautiful head of long, thick hair and when I was in my late twenties, I began losing it. It started as just a small patch at the crown of my head that was easily covered by the rest of my hair. And then it began to progress to the point where I just needed to use one track of weave to cover the spot and then eventually needing a full head of hair weave. The process of losing my hair was very painful; from the embarrassing stares and whispers at the beauty shop when I would get my hair done to the sideways glances of other sisters trying to figure out if my hair was “real” or not.

It’s been about 10 years since I’ve begun this particular journey and I wish that I could say that I’m completely comfortable with my hair loss, but I’m not. Because I can talk about it without shame, people wrongly assume that I’m okay with it. I still feel a little twinge of discomfort when someone asks me about my lace wig. I’m still disappointed and slightly angry that I get judged by how my hair looks. After all, I am NOT my hair, as India.Arie so eloquently put it. However, this is my reality, and I have a choice to make. I heard Joyce Meyer say that, “You can be pitiful or you can be powerful, but you can’t be both!” That statement really resonated with me. I had to decide: Do I want to sit around and wallow in self-pity? Bemoan my situation and ask myself why? Quite honestly, the whole pity-party thing doesn’t work too well for me. My life has been a series of challenges, and sitting around whining about them has never been my forte. Instead I choose to use my adversities as tools of empowerment to myself and others. The truth of the matter is that WE ALL HAVE ISSUES in one regard or the other.

The difference between triumph and defeat is based on the choices we make. Two people can experience the exact same hardships, but their attitudes and actions determine their outcome. There is real power in taking a situation that seems completely unbearable, completely hopeless and completely un-survivable and using it as a means to encourage others. No one says that you have to have a huge platform for others to hear you. But your day-to-day choices and conversations will convey to others that you can roll with the best of them and still come out on top. So the next time you find yourself faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, ask yourself, “Do I want to be pitiful or do I want to be powerful?” Think long and hard and choose wisely, ‘cause we’re depending on you.

Last Week's Poll Results..

Last week’s poll question was: On your first weekend off in several mos., you get a frantic call from your girl, GiGi, asking you to babysit for her tonight so that she and her new boyfriend, Tre, can have a romantic night alone. What do you do? Ninety percent of you said that you would call her back and apologize for not being able to help her out and encourage her to call someone else. Now I know that your initial Superwoman Instinct may have felt a twinge of guilt for not flying to the rescue to help your girl out, but remember, you hadn’t taken time for yourself in a minute. If GiGi was really your girl, she would have been sensitive to your need to refresh yourself and found someone else to dump on. Remember that even well-intentioned people can sometimes become life-drainers. It’s important for you to set boundaries, minister to the needs of others when you can, but don’t forget to take care of you!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Superwoman

Growing up I loved to watch the DC Comics series. You know, they had some bad chicks in them like Wonder Woman and Super Girl. Those girls would be regular sistahs one minute and saving the world the next. Now that’s something to aspire to. Who didn’t own a pair of Super Girl Underoos and run around the house jumping off the couch exerting her super powers?

As women of color, we’re known for our strength. We’re known as being the ‘Go-To’ Women. We know how to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. We can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never, ever let you forget you’re a man! We wear this badge with honor, and very well, we should. But there’s a downside to being a Superwoman. In an effort to appear as if we have it all together, we can sacrifice ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally. Afraid to let anyone see a crack in our armor, we secretly suffer unnecessarily. We think that we will be perceived as weak if we show vulnerability. So we keep on truckin’ even though we’re struggling with addictions, low self-esteem, depression, or a “I-don’t-need-nobody,-I-got-this!” mentality. Why do we do this to ourselves? Some of it is culturally learned from our Mama’s and Big Mama’s where we were taught not to have to depend on anyone but ourselves. And some of our behaviors are adapted behaviors in an effort to insulate ourselves from hurt, rejection and disappointment. Whatever the root, the fruit is spoiling.

While our resilience is admirable, it can sometimes be a cover-up for being broken and bruised. While we sometimes appear like we always have it ‘goin' on’, we’re only fooling ourselves. Like a beautiful vase with a crack in it, eventually, the contents will seep through. Those toxic contents manifest themselves in a lot of different ways, but one of them is what I call the Superwoman Complex. That’s when we appear to be able to handle all of our drama and everyone else’s too. And when our cup approaches the full line, instead of saying, “You know, I would love to help you out, but I just can’t right now”, we heap more stuff on our plates, and begin to neglect the things that should be important to us, including ourselves. That type of behavior will put you on the fast track to destruction. Know that it’s okay to be vulnerable and transparent and take some time to take care of you. Because after you finish saving the day and running yourself in the ground, those same people you tried to rescue will just step right over you and continue doing what they want to be doing anyway, despite your efforts. So leave the superhero escapades to the media, and do yourself a favor, retire the ‘S’ and bid ado to Superwoman.

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s question was: After several months of spear-heading a special project at work, you complete it and submit it to your boss. Impressed with the work, your boss goes to one of your team members and offers them the promotion you’ve been seeking. What do you do?

Sixty-three percent of you said that you would arrange a meeting with your boss, outline your list of contributions to the company and request that the promotion be given to you instead. A few of you thought that maybe you should resign and some of you even thought that maybe your contributions were not as good as you thought. It’s important to be confident in your abilities and be assertive in displaying your talents. The people that advance are those that believe in their gifts and are not ashamed to tell the world. We all know people who are not necessarily all that talented, by our standards, but somehow they seem to be successful in their ventures. I believe that part of the reasoning behind their success is their willingness to put themselves out there and be immune to failure. The only thing that shyness will get you is a back seat on the bus! So keep doing yo’ thang, girlfriend, ‘cause you deserve it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You Deserve It!

I grew up in Los Angeles. You know, the city of beautiful people? La-La Land. Hollywood. While my upbringing was less than glamorous, I was certainly close enough to the action to allow some of the “shine” to rub off on me. In my mother’s more prosperous years, she started taking me to the beauty shop to get my hair done when I was just four years old. I was too little to reach the dryer hood so I used to sit on stacks of Yellow Pages until my hair was dry. A common theme I would hear while the perm was burning my scalp was, “You gotta suffer to be beautiful!” Little did I know that those subtle influences about how I viewed beauty, fashion and even myself would govern my thoughts and actions to this day. Little did I know that even though I kept up appearances, I had a distorted image of myself in my mind that told me that I had to look a certain way in order to be accepted.

Now I love to see a sistah when she has it ‘goin’ on’. Her hair is fly, make-up is tight and, of course, her clothes are banging. I used to put a lot of stock in how a person looks and think that was the sum total of who they were. But I have learned that everything that glitters ain’t gold! That sistah could be steep in debt trying to maintain her ‘flyness’. And as I’ve had an opportunity to meet lots of women in my profession, I’ve learned some things about women, in general. I’ve learned that underneath all of the Gucci and the Prada is usually just a regular sistah who wants to be loved and accepted. And sometimes we want this to our detriment. Sometimes we compromise our values, morals and core beliefs just for that acceptance. Sometimes we settle for Ain’t-Had-No-Job-In-Two-Years-Laying-Up-On-My-Unpaid-For-Couch-Leroy just for the comfort of a warm body in our beds. Sometimes we settle for letting the Undereducated-Low-Skilled-Sister-of-the-Boss get a promotion ahead of us. Sometimes we settle for letting Nina, our girl from college, use our credit card once again to get her hair done.

I believe at the heart of why we settle for less than the best and over-extend ourselves to be accepted is because we don’t believe we deserve better. If you ask us, however, we would say that we are “confident, secure, and our way to the top”, but our actions belie us. What is it going to take for us to realize that we are fierce all by ourselves even if we don’t have the latest Coach Bag or the flyest ‘do’? Clothes, purses and make-up don’t validate you as a person; being a woman of substance and character does. So take some time to think about all the ways that you settled or compromised to gain acceptance and start making steps toward re-defining how you view yourself. ‘Cause, guess what? You deserve it!


Last Week's Poll Results...

The question was: After dating for 3 mos., thrice-divorced, Kenny says that he loves you and is ready to take your relationship to the next level. What do you do?

The overwhelming winning response, at 61%, was to tell Kenny that you’re feeling him, too, but that you’d like to take things slowly and walk through some seasons with him. Thirty-Nine percent of you chose response number 3 which was to ask him if he’s crazy and if that’s what happened with his other three wives! LOL! Nobody picked the answer of saying that you were waiting for him to come around ‘cause you’ve already been ring shopping. Hmmm...I wonder why? Will anybody fess up? LOL!

New relationships are always so exciting and it’s easy to get caught-up. When things are going well, it’s tempting to begin to (secretly) plan your future with him. But time and experience teaches us that a leopard shows his true spots after awhile. If we wait it out, we’ll find out if the prince is going to turn into a frog! Way to go, ladies! Keep holding up the standards.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Don't Be an Old Fool!

I grew up in a single-parent household and I watched my mother struggle tremendously trying to raise my brothers and me on limited resources. Things that other people took for granted like having clean clothes on a daily basis, weren’t always a luxury for me. As a result, the spirit of lack took hold of me and even as I became an adult, that spirit manifested in my life to the point where I was living hand-to-mouth on a regular basis. To look at me on the outside, you wouldn’t have known because I had become a master at disguising my struggle. When I was on my own and earning an income I got into credit trouble where I ended up with two car repo’s and credit so bad that I probably couldn’t even finance a pack of bubble gum!

Now, many years older and wiser, my credit is restored and I can probably buy just about anything I want on credit. Through my many mishaps in life I have developed a motto of, “No experience is a wasted experience”. What I mean by that is that when setbacks occur in life, whether they were based in your own ignorance or not, there is always an opportunity for growth. What having jacked-up credit has taught me, is to never intentionally get myself in a situation where I can’t rent a car if I need to, open a checking account if I need to or get the lights turned on with the power company without a having to fork out a huge deposit. I took the obstacle of having poor credit, and the consequences it brought with it, to learn and grow from it.

I’m sure there are situations that have occurred in your life that you thought you would never recover from. But you did! And although you may have been down, you don’t have to be out. View the apparent set-back as a set-up; a set-up to start a new business, a set-up for healthy, loving relationships, or a set-up for that dream house. Turn those past experiences into gold mines of wisdom-gained and don’t let it go to waste. Getting older doesn’t necessary equate to getting wiser. There’s a saying that says, “There’s no fool like an OLD fool!” Capitalize on the things that you’ve learned and, please, don’t be an old fool!

Last Week's Poll Results...

The Question was: After being turned down twice for a mortgage due to some past credit challenges, what should you do?

100% of you chose to get a second job to help pay off some bills and reapply next year, realizing that faith without works is dead. One of the other options was to call your cousin Ray-Ray because he had a friend that could give you the ‘hook-up’. It may be tempting sometimes to take short-cuts because it seems other people are cutting corners and are doing just fine. But everything that glitters ain’t gold! You may not know what’s really going on behind the Jones’ closed doors. And the final option was to just give up. Well, we all know that giving up is not an option. Delay is not necessarily a denial. The best option was, of course, getting your affairs in order and re-applying. We can’t be daunted by what appears to be a rejection. It’s really more of an opportunity to be set up to be blessed in a mind-blowing way. Good job, sistahs!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Push!

Currently, my paid profession is that of a Registered Nurse. My specialty is Labor & Delivery and I love working with pregnant moms. While I have personally never had a baby, working with women who are ready to deliver their babies has taught me to look out for some characteristics unique to that population. For one thing, her personality is distinctly different from when she first “thinks” she’s in labor to when she actually is. As the time gets closer for her to deliver, she begins to get overwhelmed with the incredible urge to bear down. And when she is ready, there is no force in heaven or earth or an epidural that can stop the show!

So it should be with our dreams and visions. If you find yourself in a place where you're increasingly uncomfortable, dissatisfied, and downright ornery, you may need to PUSH! Once a seed of greatness has been implanted in you, you can only carry it for so long until you must give birth to it. If you continue to hold back your gifts, you will not be happy and you will make sure others around you aren’t happy, either. So what are you waiting on? Mr. Right? To get a promotion on your job? To hit the lottery? Although those things may come to pass for you at some point, think of all the time you’re wasting waiting for the “right” conditions. As with women who are giving birth naturally, the circumstances may not be ideal, but that baby is coming whether she’s ready or not. So get in position to bring forth your “baby” and PUSH!

Last Week's Poll Results...

Last week’s poll question was: You walk in the room feeling fierce. You notice all eyes are on you. You think to yourself, “I must be hot tonight!” Someone taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe. What would you immediately do?

Seventy-Five percent of you said that you would, ‘Quickly remove the toilet paper and play it off like it never happened; daring anyone to mention it.’ And the other 25% said that you would ‘Leave the toilet paper on your shoe; pretend it’s a fashion statement and work the room like the rock stah fashionista you are!’ No one said that they would run out of the room because they were completely mortified. One thing is for sure, you ladies realize that no matter what the shortcoming appears to be, you have to learn to accept it, embrace it, and rock it! Kudos!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Hand You're Dealt

When I was growing up, I hated my name. It was different from everyone else’s and I used to get teased incessantly. I was called “Tangerine”, “Tangy” and my all time favorite, “Tangerinee-Weeney”! I wanted a more common name like “Jacqueline” or “Demetria” so that I could fit in and not stand out. Then I struggled with insecurities about having to wear glasses. I was kind of homely and my hair was nappy. As I became a teenager, I struggled with not having “good” hair, light skin or light brown eyes. I was skinny and my feet were big, and I began to seek approval in all the wrong ways. As an adult, I’ve questioned why I started losing my hair in my late twenties, why I struggled with infertility and most recently, why do I potentially have an eye disease that could threaten my vision in the future.

The list of ‘why’s’ can be endless. It’s in times when I’m feeling the most vulnerable that I have to rest on what I know verses what I feel. What I know is that God knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb and that He has a definite and specific plan for my life. That plan can only be fulfilled by me in my unique, pre-designed way. I know that nothing that occurs in my life is a surprise to God. He has already pre-destined my path and I just need to walk in it with confidence and ease.

If I would have designed my life, it would have been a whole lot different, but not necessarily to my good. I think in life we can take a lesson from one of my favorite card games, spades. When the cards come around, you don’t know what you’re going to get, but a good player always knows how to make the most of the hand they’re dealt.

Last Week's Poll Results...

The question was: What’s the Best Way to Deal with Haters?

Sixty-Eight percent of you said that you would “feel flattered because if you weren’t doing anything spectacular, they wouldn’t be hatin’ on you in the first place.” The next runner up was to “pretend they dropped off the face of the earth”. One thing that I’ve learned is that as long as you’re doing something worth-wild, there will always be the Peanut Gallery trying to throw water on your flame. They’re full of criticism, comments and critiques, but none that are helpful. You have to get to a place where, yes, you ignore them, but also use their rhetoric as a clue that you are, indeed, doing yo’ thang, and One Monkey (or two or three) don’t stop the show!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tune In and Tune Out

I love listening to music on my iPod. I like to crank up the volume and tune out my surroundings. When I’m jammin’, the world could be coming to an end, but I don’t hear it and I don’t care about it. Taking my earphones out of my ear becomes a reality check, so to speak. I, then, realize where I am and have to deal with the circumstances at hand.
When you’re on your path to Purpose, there are some skills you need to develop in order to get to your wealthy place. First, you have to tune in to positive vibes that will fuel your energy. That can be in the form of receiving instruction from a mentor, reading a good book, or being encouraged by your Boo. Those tools of motivation can help give you that boost you need to keep on keepin’ on. You also have to learn to tune out negativity. That negativity can come from some Hater on your job, a doubting family member or even the negative self-talk in your mind. Whatever the source, it’s got to go! Think about all the people that are at the place you’re trying to get to. No doubt they experienced some nay-sayers and player-haters along the way who were less than supportive of their efforts. What makes them so unique? They went for it despite the obstacles, despite the disappointments, despite the rejection and you can, too. In the meantime, learn to focus on that which will catapult you to success and pretend you’re listening to your iPod and practice the art of tuning in and tuning out.

Last Week's Poll Results...

The question was: You’re on your way to a job interview for your dream job. With 10 minutes to spare, you sit in the lobby waiting to be interviewed. You look down at your blouse & notice a big jelly stain from the chicken biscuit you ate earlier. Just as you were about to run to the bathroom to try to get the stain out, the interviewer calls you back…

Seventy-two percent of you said that you would ‘Put on your million-dollar smile and work that interview like your unemployment check depended on it’. AMEN to that! We all have imperfections that we have to work around, but nothing is more attractive than confidence. You’re on the right track, sistah, so keep workin' it out!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Work With Whatcha Got!

When I was growing up, Debutante pageants were real popular. They were supposed to be a ‘coming out’ ceremony for a young lady, but were more of a lesson in who could raise the most money. There was always a talent portion, which I dreaded. Most of the contestants would usually sing or display some musical gift. I, on the other hand, am not musically-inclined. My ‘special’ talent was always orating. (Yawn!) Anytime there was any display of talent, I was the narrator or speech-giver. Neither I nor the audience appreciated my talent. Even as I became older, I would secretly envy people with artsy gifts while I lamented about not having a ‘gift’.
As I began to explore my purpose and really start focusing on what I was put here to do, I realized that my ability to relay stories, both on paper and in person, is INDEED a gift. Wow! What a revelation! It changed my whole perspective about how I saw myself. You may not be able to sing like Mariah, work it like Beyonce or look like Halle, but you do have that ONE thing that is unique to you and the world is waiting for it to manifest. There’s a quote that says, “When you undervalue who you are, people undervalue what you do”. Haven’t you seen that Confident Sistah who, by other people’s standards, may not have the greatest assets, but she’s always workin’ it? She’s tapped into the knowledge of who she really is and you can too. Stop looking at what you don’t have and capitalize on what you do have and then start workin’ with whatcha got!

Poll Results: What's the Best Way to End a Bad Relationship?

The winning response was, “Tell them, 'It’s me, not you’." Sixty-One percent of you thought it best to save their feelings and make a grand exit using the oldest line in the book! LOL! I guess it still works…

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time to Go Shopping!

Have you ever slipped on your favorite sweater and realize that it’d gotten too small? At first you figure you could make due and wear it anyway. But as the day wears on, you notice the sleeves keep riding up, it begins to itch around the neck and you find yourself constantly tugging on it and pulling it down at the waist. By the end of the day, your once-favorite sweater has fallen out of favor.
I compare situations in life to that once-favorite sweater. Sometimes you just simply outgrow them. Maybe it’s a relationship that is no longer giving you what you need, but is instead sucking life out of you. Maybe it’s a job that refuses to recognize your talents and giftings. Whatever the circumstance, you’ve become increasingly uncomfortable and can no longer ‘go along just to get along’. What’s the solution? Remember that the relationship or the circumstance did meet a need at one time, so you should try to transition with grace. You shouldn’t cuss out your boyfriend or walk out on your job without proper notice (although you may feel like it). The better way to handle the transition is to acknowledge the role it played, appreciate it for what it provided and move on. It may not be that easy and may take a process. But like that once-favorite sweater, another relationship or another job opportunity will come along and when it does, you just may realize that you wore that sweater way too long!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Watch Your Mouth

Did you know that Life or Death, Blessing or Cursing, Victory or Defeat is in the power of your tongue? Have you ever really considered what comes out of your mouth? Let’s say you’re having a bad day at work. The boss is nagging, the co-workers are getting on your nerves, the clients are whining. You have a choice. You can jump on the boat of misery with everyone else or you could speak life into the situation. Is that easy? Nah…hardly. Is it necessary? Absolutely! Why? Because, our words are like spirits. They have the power to effect a situation. This is not hocus-pocus. This is the authority that you’ve been given. So the next time Jonquesha gets in your face talking about your boss, send her packing with, “You know, Jonquesha, June Bosshead has been kinda difficult lately, but talking about her is not going to make it better. Let’s just work on doing what we know is right to do and sit back and watch the situation turn around”. After Jonquesha puts her eyeballs back in her head, she’ll probably think twice about bringing you garbage again. Refuse to be a garbage can. Garbage in-Garbage out. Think about what’s coming out of you: life-affirming words or poisonous, toxic words? Think about that and WATCH YOUR MOUTH!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Too Much Junk in the Trunk

Originally written 12/17/08...


As the year comes to a close, I’m starting to think about new beginnings. I’m hesitant to make a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions, but I have decided to make some permanent changes in my life and I challenge you to consider some of them:

1. To thine own self be true. I endeavor to always stay true to who I am and live authentically even when others don’t approve. Hate on haters!
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is entirely too short and too fragile to let pettiness get me off course.
3. Eliminate the toxins. If it’s killing you, stop it! That goes from the food we eat to the people we associate with.
4. Do you. Nobody can do you like you can. So what if you have big feet, nappy hair or 20 extra pounds? You are uniquely and divinely made and it is an insult to your Designer for you to want to be anything or anyone else.


As you go into the new year, envision a car loaded down with too much stuff: it will get poor gas mileage and eventually wear down before it’s time. The way to improve it’s performance is to unload some of the baggage and take care of it. Like the car, we can be loaded down with too much baggage as well: anger, bitterness, insecurity, haters, etc.

Challenge yourself to get free and dump the junk!