If You Love Someone Say So…

My heart is hurting this morning as I rise to find a timeline filled with news of the passing of my beloved teacher/mentor/friend Myrna Ria Ross.


It’s amazing. I can’t sing a lick and never sang in her choir, but was blessed to know and love her as a mother figure for nearly 30 years. She saw a shy, skinny little girl in the halls of Birmingham’s Ramsay High School, welcomed me into her world and helped grow me into a woman. Not to think I’m too special, I know full-well that she did the same for thousands and thousands of students over the last 35 years, most of which she still remembered by name, many of whom she was still in touch. In the last several years, the Lord saw fit to draw us closer allowing many phone calls, shared projects together, text messages, funny emails and moments in her office at the school talking about life, her roasted chicken from the toaster oven and her passion for her students and music. I’m so saddened though, because the last time we verbally talked on September 16 it ended with me saying I would swing by to see her the next week. I didn’t. I wish I had.

As I spoke with my super-sister Karla this morning about our feelings regarding Ms. Ross and the hope we have in Jesus, then reflected on the uncertainty of life and certainty of death, I was reminded of the following:

  • If you love someone say so.
  • If someone is on your mind or in your spirit reach out. And don’t stop until you reach them.
  • If you admire someone tell them.
  • If some things need repairing fix them.
  • Take time for those who matter.
  • Always find a way and a reason to laugh.
  • If someone has hurt you forgive them, and let them know they are forgiven.
  • Help others where you can and as you can.
  • Be bold in everything you do. If you believe it act like it.
  • If you say you’re going to “do lunch” do lunch.
  • If you aren’t feeling or doing well say so.
  • If you need to apologize do it.
  • Don’t be too busy being too busy.
  • Take care of yourself spirit, soul and body.
  • If you don’t like taking pictures take them anyway, and smile when you do. (Your friends and family will appreciate you.)
  • Life is too short to be unhappy.
  • Life is too long to be unhappy.
  • If God connects or reconnects you it’s for a reason. Make the most of it.
  • And from my inspiration Myrna Ria Ross, always share your life’s melody with others.

I love you, Myrna Ria. We shall sing the song of your life forever!


Are You My Now or My Later?

I’m a bit misty-eyed this morning after an exchange with a college friend who expressed regret for not appreciating an association in his life. After the brief conversation I was reminded, as I reminded him, that there should be no regret. All things happen for a reason, especially in our teens, 20s, 30s or whatever years come before our maturation does (let’s just be real.) I was able to share with him that God doesn’t waste His investment in us. He’s not going to allow any good seeds deposited into His good (flaws and all) children to go bad, even if it takes a while to see the fruit. His goal is life more abundantly and He never fails, even when we feel we have. His goal is to strategically use people, places and things to help get us what we need to get us to where we were meant to be, even if it seems like it’s taking us forever to get there, or even if we feel we’re okay where we are. Plain and simple, He knows what He’s doing especially when we don’t.

I was asked in an interview recently what my biggest regret was. Without hesitation I blurted out “not making the most of my relationships”. For a good little while I lived with the “I wish I would have” notion. I’ve learned to be grateful for who I am and where I am, but my mind would flirt with thoughts like “I wish I would have kept in touch with that person”, “I wish I would have joined that group”, “I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time with those individuals”,  “I wish I would have taken that job, or never left this job”, “I wish I would have listened to my daddy’s advice about spare tires and football players in college”, “I wish I would have gotten to know him/her”, “I wish I would have followed up on that offer”, “I wish I would have been more sociable” and so on. My I wish list was as long as a premium bundle of Indi Remi found in your finest neighborhood hair shop. But why? What present or future purpose was wishing from the past producing for me? None.


Life is like a pack of candy, Now and Laters to be exact. I remember growing up enjoying those bite-sized pieces of “tear the silver filling out of your teeth” taffy goodness, and treasuring how long they lasted in chew and in leftover flavor. I guess that’s where the whole notion of eat some now, save some for later derived. Such is so with people. Some people are sent to impart and impact during the here and NOW. Their purpose for our lives is urgent and immediate and felt instantly like that first burst of sweet, fruity flavor once we broke through that thin paper wrapper which often sticks to portions of the taffy treat. Other people, by God’s great design, have an impact so lasting that their goodness is meant to be savored and seen LATER like that wee bit of sticky leftover candy often found stuck to said fillings later on in the day after ones Mama has yelled from the front porch to come home because the street lights are coming on. Both, as in all things in our lives, serve a purpose when needed. It doesn’t matter when, whether now or later. What matters most is that we become who we were created to be all along thanks to the help of the rich and colorful array of sweet people placed in our lives.


Sometimes I Don’t Want to Be Nice!!! (The Diddy-style Remix)


Sometimes I don’t want to be nice!!!

There I said it! There are days where my introversion tries to take over or the left over get-back-at-you girlhood remarks like “Child Please”, “Girl, Bye!” and “Honey Boom” try to creep up my esophagus and trickle out of my mouth like water from a flowing faucet. There are time I want to state my case to clear the air knowing clearing my air will dirty someone else’s. There are times where a sassy/snappy/witty comeback makes its way to my mind so fast I’m even astounded at the thought. There are times I want to take my more “vocal” friends up on their request to help me fight my battles but I can’t. I must be nice. Why?

  • Because the Bible tells me so.
  • Because my parents told me to.
  • Because I’m old enough at this point to know that it’s the right thing to do (especially when I don’t want to, and regardless of how it’s received.)
  • Because usually the people who I don’t want to be nice to are the ones who need it most.
  • Because I’m bigger than my emotions.
  • Because usually there’s a reason (pride, pain, hurt, frustration) behind every person’s personality that makes them the one that I don’t want to be nice to.
  • Because usually there’s also a reason (pride, pain, hurt, frustration) behind what’s in me that would make me not want to be nice.
  • Now this is extreme, but…Because orange is NOT my new black, boo. I can’t afford to spend any time behind anybody’s bars paying a price for not keeping my emotions in check. I’m far to prissy for prison. (Do you ever wonder what really happened to seemingly normal women and men who end up on those shows we shouldn’t be watching about how they ended up in jail and think, wow, what if they’d just decided to handle things a better way?)


I’ll say it again. Sometimes I don’t want to be nice, but I have to muster up the maturity to be that and more. It becomes comical often, when I’m faced with certain situations where I want to react based off of another’s actions. I can tell when the enemy is trying to tempt me and when God is testing me to show the devil the return on God’s investment in me to be able to handle things like a big girl. When those situations arise or arrive, it’s like an internal alarm goes off alerting me that this is only a test, a test of my niceness. Some people are concerned with their “gansta” being tested. Nope, not me. Don’t test my niceness…LOL!


I’m not saying being nice is at all easy. It’s not. It’s hard as the dickens! I’m not saying I always get being nice right. I don’t. I’m human. I’m not saying being nice always fixes the situation. It doesn’t. It fixes me. I’m not even saying I’m always nice even when I know I need to be. I’m not. But being nice is necessary so I must do what’s necessary to be nice, even and especially when I don’t want to.


Are They Really Your Friends? Are You Really Theirs?

Yesterday I had an opportunity to do what I love most doing on Mondays. I spent the afternoon with some amazing high school students from Birmingham’s Woodlawn High School during my Steps to Success Small Group through Church of the Highlands. During our short hour together each week I bring in professionals (mostly friends and family of mine who attend Highlands and/or love God and have something to say about life and careers.) Yesterday was no ordinary day, as three presenters joined my co-leader and me in sharing their testimonies of how they ended up in their careers in banking and media. The conversations wrapped a bit earlier than normal, but not before us all having the opportunity to spill some tea (as in tell our business of mistakes made in college and earlier in life) and drop some knowledge (as in tell our business of what it took to overcome mistakes made in college and earlier in life). My prayer is that the students left empowered. Not too oddly enough, I also left encouraged. One underlying and overriding theme of what each presenter said was the importance of having a good circle of friends. We each shared something about wisely choosing our friends for now and later. This principle applies to those younger and those of us not as young.


Friend is a word which gets tossed around more often than the buffalo sauce on a pile of hot wings during football season in the south. To me it’s inappropriately overused. My parents would often say, and I believe today that “everyone isn’t your friend”. I’m no “Friendologist”, but I believe there are many different facets to platonic relationships which often go misdiagnosed because friend is the easy word to say. I often wonder if words like associate, colleague, confidant, classmate, co-worker, acquaintance, ally, mentor, supporter, and other words get jealous of the word friend for being used in places which rightfully belong to them.

So what is a good friend? I’m glad you asked. Do you have good friends for yourself? Are you one of them for others?


  • A good friend exposes you to purpose, and ushers out your best.
  • A good friend covers you in prayer.
  • A good friend genuinely celebrates your blessings.
  • A good friend helps carry your burdens…and not to the ears of others who don’t need to hear.
  • A good friend loves you where you are, as you are and helps you get to where you’re going.
  • A good friend asks before assuming.
  • A good friend is someone you purposely seek to see the best in and believe the best about.
  • A good friend is someone you trust with your heart and don’t hold hostage for the mistakes of other no-good-friends from the past.
  • A good friend can make you cry from laughter and wipe tears from pain…and sometimes at the same time.
  • A good friend will pick up the phone before picking sides.
  • A good friend is worth an “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” as often as needed
  • A good friend doesn’t have to be just like you to like you.
  • A good friend can love you without liking the choices you make or things you do.
  • A good friend should have the liberty to correct and direct you in love, as often as needed.
  • A good friend is someone you can see your older/growner/wiser self continuing to grow older/growner/wiser with through thick and thin.
  • A good friend isn’t always the one you’ve known the longest, see more frequently, or talk to most often. Sometimes it’s one who’s there on an ANB…As Needed Basis.
  • A good friend is someone who doesn’t make your face squinch up (homemade word alert) like you ate a rotten Meyer lemon when you see them or read their name on your caller ID, IM, DM or email.



Why Don’t You Have Kids?

“Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee?” those were the words blurted out by my five-year-old niece as she sat in the back of my car battling a stomach bug which would have given the grownest of grown-ups a run for their money. Riding along for what seemed like two hours instead of 30 minutes as she “released” things which obviously didn’t want to be in her body, and didn’t care that we were in an enclosed car on the interstate, it was as if each time she “released” a sweeter than normal spirit would come over her causing her to profess her resounding love for her little sister, gaze out of the window and declare how special rainbow-colored uniforms are or apologize profusely for the mess she was making. Just before we arrived on the long, winding road leading to my neighborhood she whispered barely above a whisper the words “Why don’t you have kids, Sweet Tee”?

I was about to answer her question when we had another bout with the bug which almost made me pull over even though I was just blocks from home. Instead I kept driving (and praying and silently pleading for no more), when, upon entering the garage she said, in an even softer, sweeter, almost angelic voice, “Oh, I know why you don’t have kids. So you can help take care of us.” Baby….the floodgates of my Wet and Wild mascara mixed with Maybelline eyes almost broke. I don’t know if it was because of her innocent revelation, because I was finally home to be able to clean her and my car up, or because of feeling like I’d received a personal confirmation from Heaven. Either way I was almost a goner.

Do I have any kids is a question I hear a lot. I’m sure it’s normal for people to ask as an icebreaker or get-to-know-you go-to, especially for people like me who are in their 40s or who are or have been married. It doesn’t bother me at all to answer no, or say I have no biological children. But I recently read about entertainers like Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen and Aisha Tyler who’ve shared their heartfelt bouts with infertility, choice of career over children or difficulty conceiving and their perspectives challenged me to share my story.  Word from the wise: Take a moment to think about questions you ask of others, especially those who are unmarried or without children. You never know their story and what your questions might be stirring up.  Please be mindful.


I think back to being in my upper teens, lying in a hospital bed and being diagnosed with endometriosis. Foggy, due to the anesthesia, I recall the doctor saying, “she probably won’t be able to conceive”, or something of the sort. As a teen, who barely had a stable boyfriend that hit me like a ton of bricks. I held on to that bedside burden and readily shared my accepted fate with those soon-to-come boyfriends as if it were some sort of scarlet letter of which they needed to know even though, in my late teens and 20’s children should have been the furthest thing in my mind. About a decade after my diagnosis, the Lord would silence the implanted doubt in my mind and prove that I could conceive, but ultimately show that His plans were bigger, greater and better. Go God!

While married, my ex-husband and I spent many grueling months (maybe years, I can’t remember) and lots of money on infertility treatment to find out what was the cause of not being able to have children when there were no known natural barriers to conception. I was jabbed in the stomach, stuck in the arm, pricked in the finger, dosed with pills, operated on, hooked up to machines, advised, consulted and consoled more times than I can remember with “no known reason” being the answer. My ex-husband was a man of faith so he proudly, publicly proclaimed what he believed God was going to do for us. I joined others and him in making preparations, choosing names, buying gifts and all that good stuff for the children which were sure to come. They didn’t. I bore the physical pain, doubt, internal fear and self-inflicted embarrassment when each “no” didn’t match up with what I believed God had said “yes” to.  Within a year of that time period my marriage ended. Again, God was showing His plans were bigger, greater and better. There wasn’t a medical reason for lack of conception, but a spiritual one. Go God! (Because He knew my reaction, response and bounce back would have taken a completely different route if children were involved in my divorce.)

Anywho, here I am a 43-year-old, footloose (not really) and child-free woman, who, admittedly ponders how much different my life would have been with my own seed. Truthfully, from time-to-time I wonder who will feed me Honeycrisp apples, drive me to Publix or take care of me when I’m old, especially because I’m currently not married, but I’m seeing all the more that that’s not my business. I’m God’s responsibility and if I’ve learned anything it’s that He knows what He’s doing and it’s always good! I never thought my life would turn out as it has. I thought I was born to be a mother and I am, just in a Heaven-made kind of way. Just ask Isaiah.


So now I look back and forward in appreciation for the born of my heart, not of my body godchildren, relatives and others I’m blessed to know and love. I also look from side-to-side at my other sisters in this journey of biological childlessness hoping to remind them of the extra-special, set aside gift they are to so many. And for that, and them I am eternally grateful, even if I needed a car-ride reminder during a child’s helpless battle with regurgitation to be so.


I Said “I Do” (to doing nothing)

I woke early this morning from a refreshing night’s sleep with a list of things I wanted to do, needed to do and planned to do on this chilly, Alabama Saturday. With full intent on accomplishing those things something happened mid-way between me adding an extra coat of barely black polish to my nails, enjoying my two slices of honey wheat toast and jam and where I am now which is snuggled up in my California King bed popping black, seedless grapes, sipping Publix purified water and blog posting while listening to the serenade of raindrops against the fallen autumn leaves and Tyrese from an available Spotify account. Something happened and that something just so happened to be nothing.


I put it off long enough, but today I decided to say “I Do” to a do-nothing day. This day has been chasing me, seeking me, and courting me like a gentleman one day soon worthy of my heart. Its pursuit has been relentless, teasing me with days which start off slow and speed up or tempting me with days which are busy in the beginning then wane in the end, but not in a very long time have I accepted the request of good sense to do nothing. That was until today.


My standard, chill day red Polo shirt with the permanent stain making its presence known just below the V-neck and grey leopard print tights will likely be the in-house attire of the day, all day. The pile of floral fresh clothes I washed Wednesday night and dried Thursday morning will remain on my taupe colored couch possibly until I feel like folding them next week (Shhhhh…don’t tell Angie (my Mama) that I’m leaving unfolded clothes out without a care.) The three light bulbs which need replacing over various parts of my house will remain dim. The luggage for a coming trip will remain empty at least for today. The clothes for the week will stay wrinkled until I iron them at another time. The $10 today only ponchos from Old Navy that I truly need will remain a need. The crumbled remnants of leaves on the carpet left by my last visitor will remain unvacuumed. The list of so many other things will remain a list. And I’m okay with that.


I’ve known the other side of busy where, because of life’s challenges, I’ve been bound to the bed, or unable to do what I wanted to, when I wanted to or how I wanted to. That was not a good look for your girl, but I learned so much from it about myself and others. I wholeheartedly believe that time of involuntary do-nothingness has been the fuel to my inner fire within the last several years to stay active and on the go because I’m simply grateful to be able to. BUT…now, I’m grateful also to be able to choose to do nothing free of guilt, free of worry, free of feeling/appearing lazy or even free of concern of how all my “it” will get done. As a single woman I’ve learned that “it” always happens and “it” always gets done. Somehow it just does. In the midst of all my “it”, taking time to rest, revive, pop grapes, peruse social media, talk on the phone like a teenager from the 80s, nap off and on like a newborn and swirl around my house singing my heart out to tracks number 4-5, 7-9, 12-14 on Tyrese’s Black Rose is about as productive as any day can be.


It’s Okay to Say You’re Not Okay

It’s okay to say you’re not okay. Yep, it’s true. Despite how society or our sanity might encourage us to think otherwise, not being “okay” is a fact of life we all have to face, embrace and express in order to really, truly be “okay”.

How many times has someone asked “how are you” and your response was “I’m great”, I’m good”, “I’m fine”, or “I’m okay” when deep down (possibly not too deep actually) you were anything but?


Why is it that the need to show strength in times of weakness is a need, when in our times of weakness we most need to show that we’re weak so we can be strengthened? (Repeat that sentence aloud five times. I dare you.) Now, I’m a proponent of faith, hope and positivity. I believe the Bible to be true and that we should speak those things that are not as though they are. I look for the brighter side of life in most things, and try really, really hard to see it in those things not so easily seen. In fact, I’m certain that behind my back a few people call me Polly Positive and other cute alliterative phrases that I appreciate. But I’m human. We’re all human, and by that mere fact alone that means that at times we’re not going to be okay.


We all need people who can be trusted to hear the words, “I’m not okay.” Before I go any further, this post is not particular to me. While this hasn’t always been my life’s story, at this juncture I absolutely am okay. I’m better than okay. I’m good. My times of me not being “okay” left me with no other choice than to know that God would do a Romans 8:28 on my “not okay” making it and me all good. I’m so grateful to God for the ability to rise above any attempts to attack my “all good”.

Now where was I? Oh yeah…We all need people who can be trusted to hear the words “I’m not okay.” I know I would not have made it to now without the support of those I desperately (I mean desperately) needed back then when I wasn’t okay. We owe it to ourselves to have healthy, loving, and supportive outlets to go to in times where okay seems like a joke, yet we still desire healing as our final destination.


I’ve grown to know that it takes more courage to say “ouch” than to pretend that we’re not in pain. So if that’s you, and you know that you know that you’re not (yet) okay, say so. There are people who’ve been where you are. There are people with listening ears, and leanable shoulders. There are people who love and care for you. There are people who believe in the power of prayer with proof as an accompanier. There are people who can make you laugh if nothing more than to provide a brief reprieve from pain. There are people who can help cook, clean, keep the kids, pull you out bed, let some light in figuratively and literally if needed, lend a few dollars, review a resume, put in a call, offer some wisdom, take you to church, pray for that stubborn spouse, cover that child, sit in the hospital, direct you in love and redirect you with purpose, dry your tears, silence your screams, share their testimony, share their mistakes, or simply offer an escape for you as you work your way to better than okay. But you have to say so so they can do so. Okay? Okay.