I Salute You Fathers Without Fathers

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Growing up, I had the wacky notion that everyone had a father like I did. It really wasn’t until college that I realized that not only was that not true, but just how much of a sacrifice it was for my father to be who he was for my mom, siblings and me, when he never had who he had become.

The youngest boy of ten children from a single mother, having worked since age seven when he started picking cotton, navigating his way through the ups and downs of life, love, family matters, losing his hearing, mentoring boys and men, retiring from a 30+ year career, offering financial support and helping take care of relatives in is latter years and every thing else in between, my daddy did it all without the presence of his own biological father to guide him.

To this day I share an often turbulent mix of overwhelming love, awe and sadness for him, as a man who didn’t have the chance to experience a father as AWESOME as he is. Later in life he had wonderful role models like my grandfather Willis, but never that full embrace from the man whose skin tone he bore. He deserved that! Everyone deserves that! It amazes me that there’s something extra special in some fathers that would allow them to give their own what they never had or no longer have. In the words of Salt-n-Pepa…”What a man! What a man! What a man! What a mighty good man!” To me, being what’s never been to you or is no longer to you takes courage, tenacity, selflessness, strength, trust in God and wisdom that only comes from God.

Not one to sugarcoat or remix history, I would be the second or fourth or fifth to say that my father, like any human is not perfect. He would be the first to say it. But he’s become perfect at working at those things that need work.  I will also say, that, as his oldest, baring an uncanny resemblance to him, I am not perfect either and have given him more than a run for his expertly accounted for money as I often exercised my ability to “lose my mind”. We would bump heads about some of the most outrageous things and my outrageous behavior. Like the time I got MAD at him because he wouldn’t let me spend the night in a hotel with some friends at the ripe, old age of 17. How dare he?!?!? (Or so I thought). Or the time I couldn’t understand why he didn’t understand why I wasn’t grateful for the red Geo Metro he bought me because I wanted the hot new car on the market…a Hyundai. Or the time, even earlier as a child, when I had a full-fledge, Academy Award-worthy fit because he had the nerves to work overtime, take me to Disney World and make me wait for him to wait in line to get me some pizza. So what did I do? I commenced to use the voice that would one day make me money to SCREAM AND YELL that he didn’t love me and that I was adopted (how did I even know that word at age five???). Through all of that and the hundreds of other things that I shall never blog about he loved, cared for, protected and provided for me like those things never happened.

I’m 42 years old and my daddy still tells me I’m beautiful. He studies my face to see if there is concern, fear or any problem peeking through that he feels is his job, at age 69 to still solve. He still asks if I have money, if I’m dating, if I want to sit down and watch the game with him, or if I have him some “blowgum” (our version of the word bubblegum). Like a true protector, he also makes it crystal clear in Trenholm Court (his former housing project in Montgomery) terms that he still has a smidgen of street in him that can and will come out at the defense of his bloodline.

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I often struggle with the notion of knowing that many who I know and love have never had, or no longer have the joy of a tangible man to love them since birth and be present to see them through adulthood. That point is made even more clear on days like Father’s Day as I celebrate the man who means the world to me and think about others and him who have never been able to, or no longer can. My prayer is that throughout his life my daddy, Sylvester Scott, is daily reminded of just how absolutely loved, influential, needed, cared for and appreciated he is. I’m committed to being a part of that charge. My prayer for others, like him without a father is that a warm, and reassuring sense of the Heavenly Father’s love ushered in through good, ol’ folk right here on earth overwhelm and saturate them now and always.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Held Up to Help You

Life Gets Better

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Holding patterns don’t last on airplanes and they definitely don’t last in life. That’s a message I had to remind myself of as I slowly felt the sense of “oh my goodness when am I going to get to moving” try to sneak in. Airplanes often enter a holding pattern as other activity is going on around them to prepare the runway for its delivery. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines holding pattern as: 1: the usually oval course flown (as over an airport) by aircraft awaiting clearance especially to land and 2: a state of waiting or suspended activity or progress. Now if that definition doesn’t sound like life I don’t know what does!

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Don’t let the devil tell you you’re stuck where you are. He’s the one who’s stuck beneath your feet! Yes, you may feel like you’re going in circles with no destination in sight. Yes, it may seem like…

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Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number

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I know some of you immediately did as I, and started humming along to the song by R&B superstar Aaliyah (RIP) when you read the title. Oh, how I wish the concept of age could be as melodic and sappy-sweet as the catchy little 90s tune Aaliyah belted out. But sadly, it’s not.

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Age is one of those things that’s tricky to point to, and pin down from person to person. You just never know, based on a person’s life’s experiences, exposure, course of growth or path of healing why they do what they do or how they don’t seem to know any better.  I often hear, or have said things like, “she’s old enough to know better”, “I’m too old to be going through this”, “I’m old enough to be over this by now”, or “If he/she/ acted his/her age things would be better”.  Prince even said, “act your age mama, not your shoe size.” (I just threw that in for laughs!)

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Age, however, has taught me that it ain’t nothing but a number. There’s a story that’s probably much deeper, or sometimes darker than we can possibly imagine that explains, not necessarily excuses, why a person is the way he or she is. Expectations, based simply on how long a person has been on earth are unfair, unrealistic and often unmet. It takes more than the passing of years and blowing out birthday candles to grow, know, learn, heal, adjust, adopt, adapt, trust, change and learn to maintain. It takes wisdom, love, sound advice, patience, persistence, prayer, support, different actions, new reactions, culture shifts, environmental changes, mentors, make-overs, a little bit of kicking, possibly a whole lot of screaming, and a final surrender to the thought of deserving the best and doing whatever to receive it.

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So the next time you think of holding yourself or someone else hostage by your “ought to be this or that by now because of age” assumptions don’t. Don’t lower your standards, but do increase the empathy, the prayers and even the support if you can to help. Trust me. You’ll do yourself and others a big favor when you do, because after all, age ain’t nothing but a number.

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(Now carry on with your hum along…)

@AngelaMMoore316

My Friends are Like Good Gumbo

This revised post is in honor of National Best Friends Day!

Life Gets Better

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In honor of National Best Friends Day I did the Diddy on this post (remixed it) and am telling the world about my super best friend!

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The path to joy and happiness is made so much richer by the hands and hearts that help you get there. The only problem is, sometimes it’s hard to put yourself in position to receive the right people to walk that path with you, even if their strut is different from yours. Being a friend can be hard. You have to be open, honest, transparent, willing to listen, and available to build/maintain relationships. That can be challenging even for the friendliest people. It can be even harder to trust friends to walk all the way with you without letting thoughts of cynicism and fear creep in. Especially as women, we sometimes buy into the myth that women can’t be friends. That’s not so, I tell you. It’s simply not so.

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Can I Get an AMEN?!?!?

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My family is something else! We’re teachers, preachers, civil rights leaders, PR powerhouses, military masters, administrators, secret chefs, lovers of life and most importantly people who love each other and have a LOT to say.

Two years ago I asked some of them to share some Words of Wisdom…and they did! I asked them to submit words they’ve said or been told about  life, common sense, faith, love, family, finances, fun, parenting, education, health or any other aspect of life.

Hold on to your hair, this is about to be a wild and crazy words of wisdom ride!

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Words from her parents, Willis and Jean Walker (RIP) from Angenetta Scott:

  • Daddy, Rev. Willis R. Walker:  Don’t call your children ‘kids’ they are not goats.
  • Remember you are representing the family
  • Do unto other as you have them do unto you.
  • I’m fine and dandy like apple candy
  • Mother, Jean Johnson Walker: “Always wear clean underwear just in case you have an accident.
  • Boys, put on your ‘rain coat’ if you are having sex.
  • Don’t leave home with your bed unmade.

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From Angenetta Walker Scott:          

  • Thirty seconds of pleasure can mean a life time of hell.
  • Always remember to be a blessing.
  • You can’t say Mama didn’t tell you.
  • Fiddle Darn Sticks!
  • I’m STILL the Mama!
  • I can show you better than I can tell you!

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From Sylvester Scott:            

  • Don’t write a check you can’t cash.
  • Don’t let the green grass fool you the dew will kill it too.
  • You can’t beat that with a hammer.
  • You wish you looked as good as I do.
  • I love you.
  • One monkey don’t stop no show.

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From Rodrick Scott:

  • Babies get rid of pacifiers in order not to hinder growth and development. If anything is pacifying you, it is time let go and journey towards your full potential of growth. Live and enjoy the experience of life.

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From Kristy Scott Lee:

  • Chile, all I can do is pray!
  • Ain’t nobody finna be worryin’ bout that!
  • There’s nothing wrong with a “red cup” party!
  • The Lord is up to something. I’m telling you! I can feel it!

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From Ozie Cotton (Tee Walker):

  • Jesus is my boyfriend!
  • Always put God first.

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From Zelda Ann Ross:

  • No great thing is created suddenly. There must be time, Give your best and always be kind.
  • Every loss leads you to a gain and every no takes you that much closer to a yes.
  • It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. Be persistent.
  • You must endure some rain to fully appreciate the rainbows.
  • Your absolute best is all anyone can ask of you.
  • Sometime you simply drift in the wind before you start to sail.
  • Grief is not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. It is the price of love.
  • Life is fleeting. Enjoy each moment. If you get a chance to sit it out or dance I hope you dance.
  • Remember, if you are headed in the wrong direction you are allowed to make a u-turn.
  • Enjoy what you can; endure what you must.
  • Pick the battles that are big enough to matter and small enough to win.
  • Do what you can with what you have, where you are.
  • Don’t eat watermelon before the fourth of July nor oysters during a month that doesn’t have a “R” in its name.-Jean Elizabeth Johnson Walker
  • The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply a little extra
  • Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
  • Be prepared. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  • Don’t burn the bridges behind you.
  • Your future depends on many things but mostly you.
  • All monsters don’t look like monsters.

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From Britney Walker:

  • You can’t have your way and God’s way at the same time… -Pastor Oliver
  • God is not fooled with crisis Christianity…everyone gets holy when all hell breaks loose.  -Pastor Wesley
  • I’d rather feed my dreams and let my fears starve to death –  Rocstead (lyrics from a song)
  • You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel. – LeNora Hawkins
  • Honey, you can’t try to figure crazy out. – Lacetia Walker
  • Date people, not potential – if their potential doesn’t lead to their progress, then you’re just dating an idea.- E.B.II
  • Good morning girls, we love you. have a great day at school/work – John and Lacetia Walker (via/ text message)

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From Betsey Whatley (RIP), Ken, Lawanna, Melissa and Orlando Walker:

  • Don’t be like me.  Be better than me.  Ken
  • Be responsible.  Melissa
  • I’m praying for you.  Melissa
  • God knows the truth…He knows.  Orlando
  • To God be the glory…To thine self always be true.  Betsy
  • Two wrongs don’t make it right.   Betsy
  • Every one deserves to be loved and respected.  Betsy
  • No matter what the situation…you do the right thing.  Betsy
  • You need to listen…just listen sometimes.  Betsy
  • Never allow anybody to belittle or lower your self esteem.  Betsy
  • You can do it…you may have to work harder but you can do it.  Betsy
  • Just try…you never know unless you try.  Betsy
  • If you’ve done your best, that’s all that’s expected of you.   Betsy
  • Always speak softly to your children, listen to them, trust them and make sure they know you love them unconditionally.  Betsy
  • I don’t need you when everything is well…I need you when I’ve messed up and/or disappointed you.  Betsy
  • Education is the most important thing you can get. Make them children read…better yet, you read to them!  Betsy
  • Expose my babies and constantly provide them with experiences.  This develops their confidence.  Betsy
  • You are no better or no worse than him/her…you are blessed with better opportunities.  Betsy
  • You are responsible for your actions.  Betsy
  • God makes “NO” mistakes.  When you complain you’re telling HIM, HE doesn’t know what HE’s doing.  Betsy
  • Don’t continue to defend or prove your actions.  Explain it once.  Either I believe you or I don’t.  Betsy
  • Keep GOD first in all you do.  As for me and my house we will serve the LORD.  Lawanna
  • GOD will convict you of what HE wants you to stop doing.  Lawanna
  • Always tell the truth…no matter what tell me the truth.  Lawanna
  • I’m not you; therefore, I can’t think, speak or react like you.  Lawanna
  • I’m not you; accept me for who I am and not what you want me to be.  Lawanna
  • In life you must play the hand you’re dealt.  Lawanna
  • Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Find the good in every thing.  Is it cloudy or partly sunny? Lawanna
  • If you got it flaunt it; if not others will want it.  Lawanna
  • Remember your manners.  Did you say Thank you?  Yes/no ma’am/sir.  Lawanna
  • Help/understand others.  Until you walk in their shoes, you don’t know how you would react.  Lawanna

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From Ricky Ross:

  • Be the best you can be.
  • Be careful what you ask for; You may have to deal with it.
  • Be careful who you consider you friend.
  • Don’t be afraid to share.
  • Don’t go with Auburn on a bet! (sad)

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From Rikki Ross:

  • Quit judging folks. The world needs strippers just like we need auto mechanics.- Rikki Ross
  • Sleeping with old men or women will give you worms.

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From Nishia Ross:

  • There are only two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein
  • Every moment is a gift. Spend it on things that matter – learned from movie Flight 93
  • Make your life a mission – not an intermission – Unknown
  • Everyone faces challenges in life. It’s a matter of how you learn to overcome them and using them to your advantage – Thoughts about my Mom and brother RJ
  • At first dreams seems impossible, then improbable, then inevitable – Christopher Reeve
  • All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them – Walt Disney
  • Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams.
  • All my children are beautiful – My Mom
  • Coffee will make you black! – My Granddaddy
  • You are somebody! – My Grandma Jean  

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From Myia Hatchett

  • Always follow your goals and dreams don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it because you can do it if you set your mind to it! and “make wise choices” From her Meme Zelda Ross

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From Melba Bateman:

  • Tell the truth, shame the devil.

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From Rakia Craig Hassell:

  • Don’t be so ratchet!

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From Bennie and Laura Smith:

  • Watch out, Boy, if you lie, you will steal.  A liar can’t tarry in God’s sight.  Ned Smith,  Submitted by Bennie Smith, son.
  • Be careful about carrying a lazy man’s load. 
  • Just wait, the Lord moves stumbling Blocks.  Violet Smith   Submitted by Bennie Smith
  • If you don’t follow this advice, you will see this again and wish for what I’m telling you.  Maggie Howard   Submitted by Donald Wallace

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From Ann Turner:

  • Praise the Lord, darling!

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Now can a get an AMEN?!?!?

 

-Angela Moore

How to Keep it Classy When Cussin’, Cutting and Acting Uncouth Are Not an Option

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Let me just start out by saying I was baptized at the age of 15 and know all about what scripture says about character. I grew up in the church (except for the occasional times we stayed home to watch Blondie and Dagwood and go for rides in our Town and Country station wagon to look at mansions in Mountain Brook followed by eating “Baseball Nut” ice cream at Baskin Robbins).  I was voted Most Poised by my 12th grade class and have the picture of me in the floral print, peplum dress with white stockings from 5 Points West and black shoes to prove it. I pride myself in being a lady and try with everything Godly and good within me to stay on top of my West Endian roots (yes, I’m from West End Manor, Birmingham, Alabama and with that comes a sense of, shall we say, “spice” that seems to settle on a West Endian girl:) Sometimes, with all of those factors it still hard to stay Godly and good.

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In today’s society with a growing trend of women fussing and fighting on television (and everywhere else), I wouldn’t dare judge others because judging is wrong. Plus, I don’t know their stories, struggles, exposure or environment. With all that said, there have been times in my life where I wanted to cuss, cut (as in three tires, not four so the insurance won’t cover it) and act uncouth. Through all the wild and wacky reactions I might have taken as a result of not being mature enough to handle other’s actions I’m thankful for God’s grace. I’m also thankful for the fact that I’ve developed a sense of knowing how to keep it classy when cussin’, cutting and acting uncouth are not an option.

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My divorce and the aftermath of handling lingering business was the most recent thing to test my West Endian heritage. Surprisingly, just a bit of it was directed toward my former spouse (as with any couple going through the end of a union, so don’t go TMZing in the mind or the mouth), but most of it wanted to be directed toward the fact that I was out of control of my life and anyone or any entity that I thought had some role in it. That’s crazy. I know! As strange as it may seem, while that was the most recent time I can remember (which was four years ago), it certainly wasn’t the most intense time I’ve had to keep myself in check or learn from times when I didn’t. (Trust me, there were times I learned through error. I flinch in embarrassment when I see a few of the victims of my inability to keep it classy). Situations in all forms of life have tried to get the best of me, as I’m sure they have many.

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Not verbatim, but people often ask how I keep it classy or why I accepted that cussin’, cutting and acting uncouth are not an option. I’ve never, ever been a curser (as my Bestie always likes to declare), but I had an uncanny way to being an undercover revenge seeker as if that were my part-time occupation.  Since I’m being honest, I’ll be the first to admit that I’d mastered seeking my revenge in a way that was so clever often time my targets didn’t know they were “gotten” until long after they were “gotten”.  I’m not proud of that at all, but learned a few things along the way. Put on your seatbelts and get ready for this “keeping it real” ride!

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Here’s what I learned…

  • I’m too pretty for prison.
  • I don’t want my loved ones seeing me on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, BET, E True Hollywood Story or MSNBC unless it is because of how fabulously I did something fabulous.
  • I accept that acting “cra-cra” certainly won’t make anyone stay or anything change.
  • My Mama doesn’t “cuss, cut or act uncouth” and even if she did I don’t have to follow her unfortunate footsteps.
  • It’s never worth disrespecting myself just because I’m disappointed.
  • I care what people think. I know some people often say they don’t care what people think, but I do. I don’t want any of my words or actions confusing them about who I am.
  • I have people who look up to me. I’d much rather them be mimicking me in front of my face over a meal at Fleming’s or Panera Bread rather than while looking at my face on the America’s Most Wanted poster in line at the Post Office.
  • I know nothing says “I’ve moved on” like truly letting go, and looking and acting good while doing it.
  • I don’t want to plant a bad seed I’m not prepared to harvest.
  • I realize that Social Media is forever. Pictures, posts, videos and the likes might be deleted, but copies and memories are hard to erase.
  • I understand that life has a sense of humor. We never really know who’s coming in, going out and coming back in. I don’t want to have to deal with the repercussions of my reactions while trying to rebuild a relationship.
  • I don’t want to be known as “that girl”…you know the one that can’t seem to trust God enough to get over what happened and takes it out on every living, breathing thing in her path.
  • I believe that I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control my reaction.
  • I trust God.
  • I know the Lord specializes in “your latter shall be greater”. Far be it for me to mess that up!

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@AngelaMMoore316

Gimme a Break!

The wonderfully talented and sassy Nell Carter belted out the following lyrics on her hit television show in the 80s: Gimme a Break Theme Song

Gimme a break I sure deserve it It’s time I made it to the top Gimme a break I’m looking forward Get behind me Pull out every stop

Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it shall be received”. James 4:2 says “You have not because you ask not”. So taking a cue from God and Ms. Carter (RIP) I’m asking for this simple request….”Gimme a Break”.

Nell Carter in Gimme a Break.

You know it’s time for a vacation, a respite or reprieve when your two-year-old niece interrupts her own car seat serenade with Justin Timberlake to yell out emphatically and with authority, “Sweet Tee (that’s what she calls me), WE need a vacation!” I humbly agreed as if she were the adult and I were the toddler. Not that anything has to go on or wrong in life to need a break or a breather, but simply by default of living we all need a healthy escape. Being human requires rest, fun, adventure, and new memories. I’m talking about the kind of break that doesn’t have to cost a lot (unless you can afford it) but that’s so good, and so relaxing, and so invigorating, and so exciting and fantastically whatever you need it to be that you talk about it and thrive from it for years after it’s over. People often comment on how “nice” I am. And for the most part I am (or try my best to be), but that’s due in LARGE part to me being able to get myself in check and keep myself in check through regularly scheduled rest and relaxation, otherwise I’d be…well, I won’t even give my doubters or the devil any room there. So, I’m waiting on, praying for, looking forward to, and receiving any ways God desires for me to catch a break (meaning I’m very selective about who I share my spare time with, what I do and where:). But if the Lord prefers I enjoy a gift of a Groupon vacation. I’ll take it! A free trip from some contest I’ve entered? I’ll be present and accounted for! A trip to the spa or several spas? I’ll go! Some serious outlet shopping? Yes, ma’am or sir, I’m available! A girlfriend getaway? Pass my new luggage please! A four or five-day escape with money to spare? Count me in! A rainy Saturday with all day Food Network “Chopped”, “Restaurant Impossible”, ” The Pioneer Woman” and “Barefoot Contessa”? Remote, pizza and popcorn please! A daycation or quick retreat? Yep, I’m down. I’ve learned that knowing what it takes to keep you going is just as important as the act of keeping going. For me, that’s a break (or two or three or more) each year. I need breaks. I depend on breaks. I like breaks. I expect breaks and I don’t feel bad at all by admitting any of the above. So for now, I’ll enjoy some photos of breaks-of-old, hum along to Nell’s sweet song and make myself ready for the adventures ahead. And when it happens new posts and pics will follow!!!!

@AngelaMMoore316