Single Mothers, Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

In February 2010, my 1st husband announced he no longer wanted to be married… to me. With those words, I became:

  • Unmarried
  • Without a job
  • Without a church home (there is no first lady without a husband first)
  • Without health or life insurance
  • Without a cell phone plan
  • Without certainty of where I would live
  • And a reluctant single “mother”

My 1st husband and I never had biological children, but were blessed to be chosen as godparents to some amazing kids. One of them, at the tender age of 13 came up to me with her squeaky, demanding voice and said, “Help me find a job and be my godmama.” Taken aback by both, I said okay, and okay. No one could have known that two years later her mother, who worked for my 1st husband and me at the time would die within months of her diagnosis of cancer.

Rakia, and her siblings found themselves without a mom, but with a loving grandmother who took them in. When Rakia entered college the next year and year one of college away from home wasn’t what we wanted it to be she decided to transfer to The University of Montevallo and live with us. And live with us she did! She was a JOY!!!!!

So without the trials of labor I had the blessing of:

  • Teaching her how to fry chicken
  • Watching the best and worst of reality TV with her
  • Talking about boys
  • Teaching her etiquette
  • Reminding her how NOT to break a curfew
  • And now seeing her at almost 30 being a wife and amazing mother

My first marriage, was semi-decent until that night in my den when my starter husband said, he thought he was like Paul in the Bible and not supposed to be married. What the Hall and Oates did he say?!?!?! How was I supposed to hide my tears (and inner #35211) when a 21-year-old was upstairs in hearing distance hurting almost as badly as I was and when we were just months from her graduating college?

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If I was able to crawl out of bed with bags under my eyes she was watching. If I wanted to strangle him or SNAP she was watching. If I didn’t clean my plate (and I loved food) she was watching. She was watching because that was what she’d always done in days far more favorable.

One day, a couple of months into the REAL “he’s acting like he doesn’t even know me like I’m some stranger who did him dirty” U-G-L-Y side of my divorce things must have gotten the best of me. I don’t know if I looked bad, or said something contrary to my faith, but my mother uttered some profound words. I was getting ready to go to Superior Grill to meet a friend also going through a divorce and my Mama told me and told me to tell her… Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

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It was as simple as that. I knew she was telling me it was time to get it together, act like it and look like it too. I knew I must have had the devil and his deviletts think they’d won. So she told me to Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving! I did.

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Single moms, yes, you’re single…whether UNFORTUNATELY, UNPREDICTEDLY, THROUGH DEATH, DIVORCE OR BY CHOICE. Yes, however you got here might have hurt like heck. Yes, it might seem like he’s doing better than you with his new bae or boo. Yes, it’s not fair. Yes, to all of the things which would be answered YES. But, regardless… Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving!

In hindsight I know now that…

  • The lipgloss represented her order that I get my shine back and put my best face forward.
  • The high heels spoke to her command that I rise up, get my pep back and put my best foot forward.

 

  • Keep it Moving was her demand to not look back and put my best faith forward. Point. Blank. Period.

The time for waiting on life to start over is OVER. Life is well on its way to being exactly what it’s meant to be for you, and yours! And your kids are watching and being shaped by your actions and reactions! It’s time to LIVE, look like it and know that Life Gets Better!

So do something for yourself!

  • Get up and take a shower then spray yourself with that fancy perfume you’ve been keeping for a “special day”.
  • Finish a complete meal regardless of how the hurt tries to tell you not to eat.
  • Start saying “yes” when people ask you to do things and come out of isolation.
  • Go to a women’s retreat, a single mother’s conference, or a “can you help me with this pain” program.
  • Go to a movie…and I don’t mean the latest Frozen flick with your kids. Get a sitter, take a half day at work, go to the cheap Tuesday show and sit in the dark with grown people and popcorn.
  • Plan a trip out of town (Groupon and girls trips are the BEST!)
  • Get a massage or a manicure. (Groupon is the BEST!)
  • Join a gym and make your house an at-home “get myself toned, tight and right” spot
  • Write a book. (Somebody needs to have your testimony at the side of their bed at all times to help them make it out of bed.)
  • Learn how to garden, change a tire, or cook a real meal.
  • Sell your Mama’s famous chili recipe, your homemade door signs or get a trade that will make you a better woman…and some money.

And whatever you do, Put on Your Lipgloss, Your High Heels and Keep It Moving…because they’re watching!

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@AngelaMichele316

I Don’t Like Your Wig

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Growing up I subscribed to the list of so many myths of what a good husband was about. Bless my heart.
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Yes, ladies, he could be handsome. He could be 6ft 4in with wavy, salt & pepper hair (hey boo!). He could have a fly car, a great job, some flat abs, superhuman “powers”, a generous wallet, a funny sense of humor, be super smart, or be your college school sweetheart with the best shimmy or shake you’ve ever seen. He could spoil you to pieces, give the best birthday presents and back rubs, wash a car better than a machine, know how to grill a steak like nobody’s business and smell like he’s oozing Bvlgari cologne on a perfectly timed schedule.
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However, recently, my husband whispered words that elevated my love for him to the next level as he gingerly gazed into my half-mascaraed eyes and said, “Uuuummm, yea, so, I don’t know how I feel about your new wig on you. I’ll get you another one that does what you’re trying to make that one to do.”
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Of all the thoughts and hopes and wishes I had growing up regarding marriage, there are a few staples which must be and remain. To the list of my mature “must haves” in a husband, some of which are listed above and certainly fulfilled, having a husband who can have my back is a blessing! Even if it’s in sharing something I may not want to hear, I would prefer him telling me the truth from a point of sincere love rather than have my out in the mean streets of Birmingham looking like a silly OLD lady, with scattered blonde highlights.  Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. That kind of tell-it-to-me-like-it-is-with-love kind of love is definitely not a myth and permanently on my list.
Stay tuned for the new ‘do!

Single Ladies, Get It For Yourself

Single Ladies,

Why in the world would you expect God to give you a man to love you, cherish you, compliment you, help you with your stuff, enjoy time with you, and tell you you’re beautiful when you won’t, or don’t do that for yourself?!?!

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God is a God of order, something which took me a while to realize, particularly while dating. He does things decently and in ORDER. What that means is that He’s not going to bypass you getting it from Him just so you can get it from a man. So go ahead get it for yourself. Tell yourself you love you and mean every single syllable of it. Value your time, your worth and your whole being (even those wiggly and jiggly parts you may not like). Whisper sweet nothings of candid compliments in your own ear. Take your own self out for dinner and a movie. Get your business all the way together from the spiritual, financial, physical, mental, social and emotional points of view. (Pause for the Cause….please don’t feed into the age-old fairytale of a man being your savior. You already have a Savior who knows you and knows what’s best for you. So, just in case this applies, no more waiting around for a man to come in and pay your bills or buy you $30 steak dinner. Pay our own bills. Buy your own steak (or make it yourself). No more waiting around for a man to love you like your father did or love you like your father didn’t. Your Father God loves you WAY more than that, and I dare you to do the same for yourself.) No more thinking a man is going to elevate you in the game. Oh, contraire, homegirl. We actually elevate them. Don’t believe me. Read Proverbs 18:22. So go ahead now and step your game up so you can catapult his.

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Preparation for the future is the best way to make good of the past and make the most out of the present. Wanna be boo’d up, tied down, married off,  lawfully wed, in wedded bliss, or wifeyed? Good! I want you to want too. Listen, I know the Single Sister Struggle can be real. I just got married again less than two months ago and had many years before my first marriage, and many years between my first marriage and my final marriage of wanting to be married. Marriage is WONDERFUL, but it’s also the hardest job in the whole wide world. It’s hard as the dickens! What helps is when the two parties coming together have been getting themselves together under the watchful eye and loving hands of God. So sisters, while you wait you might as well handle you before God hands you to him. Capiche?

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@AngelaMichele316

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 3

 

The above video of our wedding day was such a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us, our love for each other and the journey of over 19 years (not including knowing each other since 10th grade when we would talk on three-way until his dad made him hang up). When I tell you that NEVER in a million and a half years did I imagine that my forever would include Aquil. I am sure he would say the same, and for similar reasons (that’s a book waiting to be written), but I am so glad God knew we needed each other.

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We had a lot of people ask for the who, what, where, when and how of our secret marriage we held on December 30, 2016, surprising a few of our family and friends who thought they were coming to a holiday party.

In my first blog post The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 1  I shared special nuggets on how our plot to plan a surprise wedding took root and the unusual circumstances which led us there. Check it out here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1

In the second installment The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 2 it was all about the food, fashion and unbelievable frugalness of it all. Check it out here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-2/

Now, in the final offering I have to shout out my peeps who so generously shared their gifts to make our moment simply magical. We are so very grateful to be able to hire such gifted friends to join in this journey of what God allowed in our lives. I’m not saying you should book them for your next “whatever”, but that would be a wise thing to do.

First up is the preacher. Yep, for those of you who know my sister/friend Charmel Taylor, some of you might have been shocked to know that this sassy, southern belle who works so very hard helping take care of our country’s veterans, is so generous and supportive, raises an amazing son, cooks like nobody’s business, is uber-insightful about the goings on of this world and is as funny as funny can be is also a licensed and ordained minister. So there was no other choice for us to help make this special day spiritual and, again, special. In true Char fashion she plotted along the way to help me plan the surprise and offered us the most meaningful marriage vow exchange I’d heard in a long time, and she did it in time for the beef short ribs, grilled salmon and pork chops to arrive. She is simply the best!

Can we talk about the pictures??? Oh! My! Goodness! Our pictures were perfect! Birmingham-based Taneisha Tucker Photography is stellar. There are no other words sufficient. Her vision and work are incomparable, offering a high end photography experience with a unique, personable touch. I’m always in awe of her professionalism and ability to capture a moment and make it an undeniable memory. She is simply the best!

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Our videographer WOWd the crowd, and I don’t just say that because he’s also a talented musician. However, Patrick Johnson of Blaq Angel Media is the BUSINESS!!! He’s like the real deal when it comes to taking a single event and making it last forever. He works with such poise and humility, often maneuvering through the space with his keen, creative eye capturing shots, actions, reactions, and sound that mere mortals might miss. He is simply the best!

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I know by now you’ve seen our décor. Yep, it was cute. I know. And I can say that because I didn’t do it. Jasmine Pickett of Jazzi B’s Custom Creations heard my thoughts, took it and ran with it turning a restaurant space into an elegant atmosphere. She thoughtfully created a feel of warmth, luxury and love that captured hearts and eyes as soon as they entered the space. She is simply the best!

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The path to our lives together was not perfect, but it couldn’t have been written by a greater Author. God deserves all the glory. We are grateful. We are grateful. We are grateful. Signed, #theAteam

@AngelaMichele316

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 2

I’m approaching the ripe old benchmark of one month as a wife to my fabulous final husband, Aquil. I’m still tickled, delighted, a bit taken aback and in awe of the come up God provided us and the coup we pulled off…also known as The Secret Marriage. If you want to know the beginnings take a gander here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1

One of the frequent questions I’ve received is “how did you do it”. Not how did we do it as in how did we invite 55 of dear family and friends to a restaurant under the guise of a holiday soiree, prompting them all to be SHARP, then sending out a fake “secret” message from Aquil saying he was going to propose, only to have a faux holiday soiree, a fake proposal and a real wedding all in one night. No, the question I’ve received from those who know me well is how did we manage to coordinate it all in a month in a half, while I recovered from major surgery and pull off what looked like a million bucks for what probably equaled the monthly salary of some.

From the beginning we didn’t want and couldn’t afford, at this time, a big wedding, and wanted to position ourselves to focus more on a beautiful marriage. That fact made things simultaneously easy and complicated. The easy part was, whatever we had was what we had. Period. The complicated part was the daily dwindling list of guests knowing some wouldn’t understand their omission from the invite and still finding ways to express our sentiments toward them void of a little list. So with the fact of the matter at hand, we busied our hands and feet searching for deals.

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The Rings: Let me just say I *heart* JC Penney’s. Say what you will and think what you might but they are alright with me. A black Friday deal with extra online coupons was a blessing. They’re not traditional rings, and we’re not a traditional couple so that made the deal even sweeter.  I would tell you how much we paid, but you may not believe me if I did.

The Attire: My boo was fresh to def! Yep, I took it back to the old school because that’s how long we’ve known each other. His paisley inlaid, Cranberry-colored, velvet sports coat and our little or not so little guy Jordan’s tailored, designer suit jumped off the rack at Belk with, you guessed it, coupons and cost savings that would blow your mind. Would you believe it if I told you a pair of slacks was $6?

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My dress, well, let’s just say that Mr. Lauren, Ralph, that is, must have made that gorgeous gown with me in mind. The fashion fairies at Macy’s, with yet another sale on top of a sale, must have hidden that jewel just for me after weeks of disappointment trying to find something which whispered holiday party, but would end up screaming wedding, while masking my swollen, post-surgery tummy at the same time. My hair, not to be forgotten in this post, was Vivica Fox’s finest purchased from and styled by my girl Leslie at my fav Alabaster beauty supply store. I wanted lights, camera, action locks and Ms. Fox did not disappoint. Altogether, our digs were the perfect picks for about the cost of a fru-fru steak dinner for two, a few grown man beverages for the grown man, a hot appetizer and a warm chocolate dessert on the side.

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The Food: And speaking of food. Wow!  Tormeika and the staff at Grille 29 worked so professionally and patiently with us on the menu, honoring our budget and desire to celebrate those who had continually celebrated our love and individual lives. If you’ve not been to Grille 29 in Birmingham please do yourself a favor and skedaddle. They were Heaven sent after days of calling and emailing for quotes from hotels, event spaces, conference rooms and other restaurants. In fact, Grille 29’s total tab on EVERYTHING was the cost of what one small, Shelby County location wanted to simply rent the space. And the cake. Oh Baby! That three-layer Caramel-Pecan top, Lemon center, and Chocolate bottom cake from K&J’s Elegant Pastries in Alabaster, which mirrored one I found on Pinterest, without the price was perfect. Perfect, I tell ya.

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I was hesitant to write this post because I didn’t want to paint of picture of lack because the truth of the matter is that we’re firmly placed in a beautiful season of financial resurrection and that’s a great place to be. Before embarrassment creeped in about the temporary state of things my spirit screamed, “Girl, if you don’t tell these people what God allowed and encourage them to NEVER give up their dreams even on the strictest of budgets, you betta!” I could go on and on about how God reminded me of how much He loved us by showing that He truly is our Provider. In the words of a famous songstress and reality star, “He Did That!”. I could go on and on about my friends with gifts who stepped up to the call and wowed us with their talents to bring it all together…and I will in another post…coming soon.

@AngelaMichele316

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 1

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December 30, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. It’s the day I said “I Do” to my best friend, my answered prayer and prayer partner wrapped up in one, my laughing buddy, my vision stretcher, my comfort-zone challenger, my cheerleader who needs no pom-poms, my personal couch pillow, my fellow foodie (whether he admits it or not), my proper “do over”, my own private kitchen and car dancer, my defender, my dude from way back in the days of Big Pun and Bun B, and my resuscitated heart’s cause for celebration and acceleration.

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Having both been married to others before, and with weddings far too big in hindsight, we opted to go “less” is more for this marriage. I specifically remember the pain of the lingering expenses which can come from a large wedding, and we both are undergoing financial reconstruction (do it Jesus!) so we decided the less we spent the more special the wedding would have to be. With thoughts of the marriage taking top billing to the wedding, in early October of 2016 we decided to get married soon. Fast-forward to November 1, 2016 and I awaken from major surgery feeling really “lovely” from my heavy meds and not so “lovely” from major pain to hear excitement in my mama’s voice as she said, “Aquil asked your daddy if he could marry you. He said yes!!!! I’m so excited!” With blessings from our parents we set in motion a plan which morphed into one of the most wonderful days in my life.

Thoughts of the living room, backyard, Courtyard (our favorite spot for hot wings) or courthouse had been tossed around for this simple ceremony. Now, let me be truthfully shallow. I was on a budget. True. But I must have a little bling even in on a budget and none of those first options defined the miracle from a MESS which transpired over the course of 19 years to get us to this point. So with a little praying and a lot of planning we chose to host our wedding at Grille 29, one of my favorite restaurants. The prices were amazing. The food is amazing. The location is amazing. The staff is amazing and again the prices were amazing when compared to the $25,000 spent the first go ground way back in the early 2000s. Yet still, something was missing.

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What was missing was the element of surprise. Literally. The wedding needed to be a surprise. I don’t prefer surprises, but boy, oh boy, do I love surprising. So the idea of keeping the wedding a surprise for our guests shimmied its way into our plans and found itself smack dab at the center of attention. My husband Aquil and I have been through a great deal collectively and individually. But by the grace of God and the wonderful people He surrounded us with we made it through. So we wanted the wedding to be our gift to some of our closest loved ones for them being such a tremendous gift to us. Being that I was in the midst of my 6-8 weeks of surgery recovery with no driving and no working, cringing while walking, sleeping a whole lot and on powerful pain pills, my physical capabilities were limited. Thank sweet Jesus from on high for internet shopping, a great mom, a super secretive sister, a wonderful boo who was as excited as I was and a fake theme of A&A Holiday Soiree to kick the ulimate plan of the sneakiest proportion in motion. How did we do it??? Great question.

Part two is coming soon…

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@AngelaMichele316

A Word to the Wives

****I’m honored to have guest blogger Kushuna “Kaye” Exford Williams @mediamaven365 on the blog today.
I totally thought “wifeing” was super easy. I mean people post these cute photos on Facebook and Instagram of their date nights, elaborate home cooked  meals, and let’s not forget all the uber-thoughtful gift photos. I had co-workers frequently talking about getting home to their husbands, hanging out with their “married” friends, etc. These things do happen and for the most part they are very true and extremely enjoyable. But “wifeing” is NOT easy, as a matter of fact it has another set of complexities aside from just being a woman. Why didn’t people share this on social media?

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I’ve been married for almost three years and before you say that’s hardly any time served, just finish reading okay. I love being a wife…..most days out of the week any way. I recently just went on a #wiveslivesmatter strike, because my sweet, loving, and handsome husband would not help me with the household chores. It should be noted, that I didn’t ask him for help. I just expected him to read my mind. During my strike, I didn’t cook, wash his laundry, or pick up after him. It should also be noted that my strike quite possibly affected me and my need for cleanliness and organization far more than it affected him. Eventually, I had a conversation with him about helping with the chores and when he is home, he attempts to assist, which I still complain about…pretty sure I’m the only one that does this….

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After my conversation with him God had a conversation with me. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I’m called to be my husband’s helper. Husband’s Helper, help him. I’m not his servant. I’m his helper, and that just may consist of consecutive laundry days, several days of cooking, picking up items he leaves out, folding and refolding blankets….that is some of my responsibility – to help. This little reminder made so much sense to me and it gave me a bit of peace as well. We wives are called to help, and that is very spouse specific, you know what your husband needs. WIFEING is hard and CHEERS to the women that do it effortlessly and can still post some social media worthy photos, ha!

@mediamaven365