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

The ABC’s of Singlehood pt. 2

Being single can be HARD! It can also be very helpful in shaping women and men to become better for the next level of life whether marriage is included or not.

As mentioned in my previous blog post The ABC’s of Singlehood pt. 1 , in March 2017 I had an opportunity to speak to single women and married couples at the Can You Relate Conference 2017 hosted by Algernon and Taneisha Tucker. It was great for me too as my newlywed husband and I learned so much from the others. I spoke on the ABCs of Singlehood and thought I’d share a few more tidbits of what God and a lot of mistakes in life afforded me to know.

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Here’s 9-17. Stay tuned for pt. 3 coming soon!

  • I-Improve those qualities you know you need improved whether single or not.
    • If you know your attitude is bad (and you know you know) or you are selfish, or you’re lazy, or you have problems committing singlehood is the season to get those things together…by yourself.
  • J-Join groups to help you grow and stay occupied…a church small group, a book club, a Sassy Singles dinner club, etc.
    • Do something with yourself while single. You can boost your resume, build up your “team” and who knows, bae or boo might be waiting on you in the very group you join.
  • K-Keep the desires of your heart. If marriage is your desire, don’t let anything or anyone take it from you.
    • Do. Not. Stop. Believing. Marriage. Is. Possible. For. You. Point. Blank. Period.
  • L-Learn new hobbies and skills like cooking, how to change a tire, how to refurbish a chair, how to install hardwood, how to cut coupons, how to fly fish or something.
  • M-Make sure your expectations of a mate are being matched by you. Don’t want what you can’t give.
    • If you can’t afford steak don’t be mad because he can only afford hamburger helper. If you don’t have good credit don’t place unfair pressure on a man to have it because you don’t. If you aren’t bringing just as much to the table don’t be mad when you aren’t able to eat. Expectations of a mate should be matched by what we have to offer. A man is not your ATM, TransUnion savior, heart fixer, daddy do over or ticket to come up. Come up on your own time and own dime so you can help him come up even more.
  • N-Never let social media deceive you, make you feel less than, lead you to comparisons or have you become hopeless.
    • Don’t let Facebook, Snapchat and any other mode of media make you think married people are perfect, or that you, somehow because you’re not married are less than or will never have the love you desire…and all the extra good, and not as good stuff which comes along with it.
  • O-Open up your list of “I Want” in a mate to include, at the top, God’s list of “You Need” in a mate.
    • Be rid of those superficial things like how he dresses, what his salary looks like (now), where he’s from, how long he’s had the removable goldfront and all that good, not so good stuff which WILL NOT matter at the end of the day when you look back and laugh at how far God has brought you both because He brought you together.
  • P-Pray for yourself, for the mate you desire, for you all together, for patience, etc.
    • Pray. Pray. Pray…for him, for you, for his friends, for his mind, for his future job, for your patience, for his tolerance of you and all your “quirks”, for your future children, for everything that comes along with marriage. You can do this even before you meet the man.
  • Q-Quit settling.
    • I like to say Settling is for Quakers. Whatever you do while single don’t settle for less than who and what you know you deserve. Know your value and stop slinging discounts like a KMart Blue Light Special.
      • And if you don’t know what you deserve ask somebody who knows better.

To be continued…

@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

I Don’t Want to Pray for Him

“Nawwwww, girl. I don’t want to pray for him.” Those were the honest and eye-opening words a woman recently uttered concerning her ex-husband. A previously pleasant and light conversation with friends quickly shifted to talk about praying for an ex-spouse and the benefits, not just for the ex, but for the child involved, the person on the praying end of the prayer, the financial obligations remaining and the prayed for person’s overall peace of mind and well-being as a human being.

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The back and forward banter, mixed with some hilarious one liners and some purposeful testimonies, continued  as we recalled our own experiences with divorce and ultimately getting to the point of sincere and sometimes selfless prayer, which, was NOT/is NOT always an easy journey, at least for me. She explained her pain. We listened then explained God’s plans. She shared her very valid frustrations, mostly financial and time related as it relates to his time with his child. We listened, shared our own frustrations, which can continue years after the ink has dried, and still explained why prayer was the missing link in fixing what our mouths, our anger, our lawyers, and our own devised plots of “get back at ya” can’t do.

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Prayer, as simple as it might sound, really does work. What I know is that a working prayer doesn’t always change the situation or the other person. Often it can, but I’d be lying if I said prayer for your ex-spouse will instantly make all things right in your world. What prayer can do is change our perspective, our focus, and our expectations of our ex, and it can up our expectations of God to do what He’s always done, and that’s FAR EXCEED what we think, know or desire any man or woman to do. Prayer will have us looking at and loving our former spouse like a brother or sister in Christ rather than someone who hurt, betrayed or disappointed us. Prayer will shut our mouths and stop our fingers when we want to go off via the world wide web. Prayer will give us peace (and provision) when daycare fees are overdue and we see our ex flossin’ on Facebook in Gucci and Ray Bans. Prayer will allow us to say “pray for your ex, girl” when we know those words would have never, and I mean never, come out of our mouths before. Prayer is our own personal ticket to peace regardless of the actions of others. It gets God’s attention to know that we know who’s really the Man, regardless of the actions of man. Ya dig?

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@AngelaMichele316

Divorce 101: No Money, Mo Problems

****LPA…Long Post Alert

Let’s just be clear. For many, money is a large part of divorce. It’s about as large a part of divorce as it is the engagement, the marriage and possibly the myriad of reasons which lead to the divorce in the first place.

Six years into this thing called divorce I’ve witnessed firsthand in my life and at a glance through the lives of others in similar situations how the needs, requirements and mandates following divorce can wreak far-reaching havoc on the lives of those who have already experienced havoc in their life at the figurative hands of the divorce. From paying to divorce, while possibly still paying for the wedding, to paying for the divorce when you still wanted to be married, to child support, to shared responsibilities with the children outside of the ordered child support, to joint business and financial obligations, to alimony, and more, again, for many, money is a large part of the divorce. This is especially true when the one with lingering financial obligations to honor the divorce decree fails to oblige and honor.

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Let’s just be even more clear, money becomes a more heightened matter when the one with the legally mandated responsibility to provide short-term or long-term support stops it, reduces it or does both while going around flossing in Gucci, Gold or Gators, all the while knowing he or she has not done what he or she is legally and morally supposed to do financially.

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If you’re the one on the receiving end hear me clearly. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard and unfair and another blow to whatever you’ve already experienced to have to juggle and finagle, and go without, and explain to children, and borrow from loved ones, and beg creditors, and down-size, work two jobs, and stay up late, and wake up early to try to provide or merely make ends meet while trying to keep your Christianity in tact and a smile on your face. Get rid of blame, anger, bitterness, people in your ear telling you unwise and ungodly things, or punishing the ex-spouse by not allowing him or her a role in the children’s lives when in fact you are punishing the children. I know it’s hard, but keep doing right. In the words of the late, great Whitney Houston, “It’s not right. But it’s okay.” In the words of the even greater Philippians 4:19 from the Bible, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

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If you’re the one on the legally and morally mandated giving end hear me clearly. I know it’s probably hard to feel like you’re still connected to something or someone you wanted to be permanently disconnected from and to have to do right by that which, in some way went wrong or you might have been wrong. I know it might seem unfair. I know it might be hard to balance your present life while still honoring the requirements from the past. I know some might feel like you don’t “owe nobody nothing else”, or you’ve already “done enough”, or you’re “tired of this”, or you just want to be “done with this”. I can only imagine what your mind or other influences might be telling you as to the reasons for not doing what you’re required to do. I’m not one to judge. However, the best way to be “done with this” is to do right and see the decree to the end. The best way to not be “tired of this” is to change your perspective on the ex-spouse and whatever hindrances might be overruling your wise decision making regarding him or her. The best way to “do enough” is to do everything you’re supposed to do, especially when children are involved. The best way to “owe nobody nothing else” is to give them what they are owed. The best way to balance the present while honoring the requirements from the past is to handle your business in the order in which it came so that God can bless you with more. I could quote the late, great Johnnie Taylor right now and his perspective on divorce/separation, but I won’t. (Google it if you want seriously catchy tune about divorce/separation in your head.)  Instead, I will again go to the Bible and remind you that the same Philippians 4:19 which will work for the one waiting on you to do, will also work for you. Use it! Get rid of blame. Get rid of being angry at yourself for your actions which might have resulted in these decrees. Get rid of being angry at your former spouse for having to still provide. Get rid of people in your ear telling you to dishonor what is required. Get rid of thinking you’re punishing the ex-spouse when you could be punishing the children. Get rid of avoiding responsibilities. Get rid of stubbornness and bitterness and simply do right please ma’am or sir, so that something beautiful can grow for you too from the seeds you’re still planting in the life of someone you once loved.

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@AngelaMichele316

Don’t Date Right After Divorce

I don’t know how else to say what I’m about to say without just saying it. Do yourself a favor and don’t date someone right after divorce. Yes, I know they may seem nice. I know they may say it’s their former spouse or almost former spouses fault (that’s a WHOLE ‘nother post about NOT dating people who are separated because separated people are still married and with that comes a bunch of guck and stuff you do not want to deal with. I know.) Anywho, I know this newly “free” male or female may seem to have it all together. I know they may appear to be an answered prayer. I know they may be so caring and kind and fun to hang out with. I even know they may be lonely, and you may be too, but I know that they are NOT ready for a new relationship right out of an old one.

A conversation recently with a counterpart who is dating a man with ink still wet on his divorce decree reminded me of the year and a half I spent in a Church of the Highlands Restoration Small Group for men and women who had experienced divorce and separation. Hearing her gush about how nice he was, how mean the ex-wife was, how they’d known each other for just a little while but bonded so beautifully and how she really wanted to be with someone took me back to that chilly, Autumn Sunday where we discussed dating and marriage after divorce  in my small group. It took me back to the moment when the hosts of the small group read the writing on the papers we were discussing and the words about how much time we should take and wait before dating and definitely before marriage rang in my ear like a whistle from an overzealous, courtside referee. I remember shock and awe sitting next to my friend who was going through the same trial. (Hey, girl, hey! Thanks for helping me get through that stage with my lipgloss and high heels on point.) Speaking of lips…I remember “exercising my eyes in the upper part of my head” and sucking my lips like a defeated school girl thinking there was NO WAY IN THE WORLD I was going to wait one year for every two years I was formerly married to get re-married like the wise couple recommended. I had been married nine years so you do the math to see how my mind calculated that to=TOO LONG TO WAIT!

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I’m so glad God saw fit to thwart my fast plans. I felt like I deserved a real, and good marriage. And I did/do. I’d gone through the extended small group. I had personal counseling with an amazing Christian counselor. I’d gone to counseling with my former spouse when I was begging him to reconcile. (yep, you read correctly.) I’d prayed. I didn’t have anybody beat anybody up when all of this was unfolding. I didn’t succumb to pressures attempt at depression. I kept eating and in fact, didn’t lose a single pound through the trying ordeal. I didn’t fall out with God, the church or church people. All of this, and you mean to tell me I STILL wasn’t ready regardless of how many times I tried to prove otherwise? I was a hot mess being made better and simply wasn’t ready to come right back out of the gate trying to stroll down the aisle with the first man who spelled my middle name correctly. Neither is anyone else right out of a covenant union stitched, snatched, weaved, orchestrated and ordained by God regardless of what happened to tear it apart. Healing of this nature takes time…lots of time.

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So, as I sat and listened to my associate I thought:

  • I wonder how she’s going to handle navigating through the imminent ex-wife and the children situations…also known as drama.
  • I wonder how she’ll feel on holidays, if she’s alone as the man and his former spouse figure out how to do what’s best for the children (and the children deserve the best.)
  • I wonder what will happen if he decides to go back to his ex-wife.
  • I wonder what would happen if he shuts down communication with her because of the pressures of his new and reduced financial arrangements.
  • I wonder if she’s even asked him if he’s gone to counseling and still going.
  • I wonder how she’ll respond if she gets the side eye from friends or his family members who prefer the former wife.
  • I wonder what’s going to happen the first time he accidentally calls her the ex-wife’s name or makes an unfair comparison of her macaroni and how she folds clothes.

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In all my wondering regarding her I remembered that I used to wonder why God would dislike divorce so much, and have in place all of these “rules” for the extended restoration process. The truth is, divorce stings like a MOTHER…pinching her child in church after he/she smacked on a Jolly Rancher too loudly.  So I wonder no more.  I know that He loves us and has a unique process of healing for His children, especially those who have endured this kind of loss. His timing may not seem fair, but God is doing us a favor. There are some messes He simply doesn’t want us messing with. So, with that I will say again…don’t date someone right after divorce.

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@AngelaMMoore316