Don’t Mess With My Friends

Dear Meanies/Misguided/Mistakenly Wrongs of the World,

Don’t mess with my friends. There, I said it. From time-to-time I sense when things aren’t right with those I love. From time-to-time, those I love actually just come out and say what’s wrong. As faith-filled as I’d like to think I am, it hurts to hear that those I love hurt. I don’t take it personally, but I do take it to heart. I’m by no means a fighter or anything near it. I wouldn’t retaliate physically, or even verbally no matter how sometimes I wish I could, or how ABSOLUTELY funny the following photo is… (Take a gander…giggle.)


I digress. I’m back…


So, while that “2.5 seconds” quote does not at all apply to me, I will say this, when my loved ones hurt I feel it and I don’t like it. But my fight back is prayer. Listen, Linda or Larry. The worst (or best) thing that can happen to you is for someone to pray for you in the midst of whatever was done or is being done to the one you have hurt whether intentionally or not. Be warned, hurtful people. Prayer works. Talking to you won’t always solve it. Talking about you won’t change it. Acting out, shutting down, turning up or flipping out won’t fix it. But be warned hurters of the world, prayer will put you in a “make your enemies your footstool” position and you’ll find yourself in a place of propping people up who you’d just tried to tear down and you’ll be none the wiser. I’m telling you. You’ll be nice and can’t explain it. You’ll start being a used a resource and can’t understand it. You’ll be proactive, advanced and above-and-beyond in the very areas you were once just the opposite. You will be totally disarmed of the ability to be anything but a blessing, and you may even become healed yourself of whatever hurt caused you to hurt AND nice along the way. Trust me. Prayer works. So just know. I’m praying for you, boo.

So, to my friends who are hurting. Hold your heads up, hunnis. I’ve got you covered. To the people who have hurt them I’m praying for you. To any ones who’ve ever hurt me do know the prayer covering is mutual and there are people sincerely praying for you too. Yep. So think it not strange when things get better and even your own transformed actions seem a bit unbelievable. That’s just the power of some people wise enough to pray.



Five Steps to Overcoming Crisis in Your Relationships

Originally written in 2003, I was tickled to see this post this morning following the message Pastor Chris preached at Church of the Highlands on Sunday, Marcy 6th.

Crisis is bound to come whenever two or more people of different backgrounds, experiences and opinions come together. That’s especially so in relationships like marriage, family, social media and social settings and work environments. So how do you overcome crisis?


Apply the 5 Cs


Christ-Christ is, and always should be the center of everything you think, say and do. Before you proceed in handling a crisis consult Christ via prayer and His Word to see what He has to say about the matter. Acknowledge the Lord and He will guide you through this time of crisis (Proverbs 3:6)

Communication-Once you’ve sought the Lord, communicate your matters of the heart with those involved. Bottling in your feelings is not a solution. Be sure, though, to communicate lovingly, selflessly, compassionately and spiritually. Make your words as pleasant as a honeycomb. Also, pray to the Lord that He allow you to communicate at the right time. Someone once said that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. (Proverbs 16:24)

Counseling-The Lord places some people in our lives for the purpose of helping us overcome areas in which He has already delivered them. Seek out those persons. Whether it be a Minister, brother or sister in Christ or someone who has shared similar experiences, there is someone for everyone. When seeking Godly counsel, do know that the counsel will not always be comfortable. It may hurt and you may not want to hear it. Recognize that true Godly counsel does not always validate what you feel or think is true. In issues of relationships, it might cause you to see that the other person is not as much to blame as you would like to believe. Remember the way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15)

Conviction- Allow the Lord to work on your heart to convict you toward His will for the relationship. Should you apologize? Are there some areas in your life that you have to die to? Are there outside influences that may be clouding your judgment? Spiritual conviction is not always pleasant. Just like being arrested for a crime. It’s painful. Prayerfully though, after your “arrest” you’re a better person, not willing to commit the same sins which placed you in the predicament. When you’re convicted by Christ regarding your relationship it may hurt, but it helps. Some parts of you will be challenged, but what the Lord evolves you into will be what God desires for the relationship. It will also equip you with tools to help weather other situations. (Romans 12:2)

Conversion-Conviction leaves room for conversion. A change must come. In order for you to completely weather the crisis in your relationship, someone or something has to change. It may be one of you. It may be both of you. Conversion does not equal guilt. It does not mean a green light for one spouse to criticize or point the finger at the other. It means that one or both persons was willing to allow the Lord to move in the relationship via Christ, Communication, Counseling and Conviction. Conversion means forgiving and forgetting what was and looking for what is to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)




I Don’t Want to Love You

Sometimes love is easier said than done. Let’s just be real. There are people who represent situations, mindsets, circumstances and hurtful happenings which make the command to love a hard pill to swallow. That’s just the truth, yet we still have to do it!  We have to love. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever wanted to say, “I barely like you, your actions or reactions, so I shole don’t want to love you.”


Yet, we are expected to love. Why? Because God said so. Because it’s the right thing to do, especially for those friends, family members, co-workers or former associates who we clearly don’t desire to have any fond sentiment regarding. Because it feels good to be able to push through anger and sincerely smile. Because it does no good not to. And because bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and hate are not worth it. They simply aren’t.

Here’s the deal about the whole love thy neighbor thing. Monopoly doesn’t make a “Get Out of Love Free” card and neither does God. It’s as simple as that. We must love.



A Taste of Baltimore

A Taste of Baltimore

Recently I had a chance to visit Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate the birthday of a dear sister/friend. Braving the 17 degree temperature, and snow all around was no big deal, but no small feat for this southern girl born and bred. From Thursday to Sunday, as if we were high school teens again, we laughed until we cried, cried because we were actually crying, we celebrated each other, we caught up on things old and new, we posed for pictures, we had our faces made up, we enjoyed ah-mazing spa treatments and we ATE!!!! Boy, oh boy did we eat.

I won’t waste my mere words describing the delightful dishes we indulged in and engulfed from famous Baltimore spots like Shell’s 365 Deli where they specialize in a $5 meat and two which will make a southern grandma wave her flag in food defeat or Ships Café Restaurant and Crab House where the seafood is as hot, perfectly seasoned, abundant in portions and fresh as the staff is friendly. I wouldn’t whisper a peep about the hot, moist brownies which greeted us after completing our massages, facials and Blue Grotto mud baths at the Pearl Spa (Google it, honey!). I won’t tell you about how we visited the local P.F. Chang’s and literally ate a sampling of everything from land, air and sea. I won’t even mention the 12am late-night breakfast fest at Double T Diner where the portion of pork sausage was so large it would make Miss Piggy run for cover, or the Cinnabon trips which were right on time. And I certainly won’t tell you about ending our final meal at Fogo De Chao just near our East Harbor Marriott Hotel where we didn’t take many pictures of the food because, well, we (as in I) was embarrassed at how much meat (leg of lamb, lamb chops, chicken, sirloin steak, filet mignon, ribeye steak, and some other steaks) made its way to my mouth…over and over again.

What I will tell you is that we were blessed to be there and even more blessed to share this experience celebrating a true angel on earth, my sister Karla F.M. Reid Young.

Baltimore, I’ll be back and I’ll be ready for MORE when I return. #feedmeBaltiMORE


Shout Out to “That Friend”

Friends are like wigs. They come in various forms and fit in various ways for various reasons and with various people. Like a wig, not all friends fit at the same time. That’s cool, as long as you have “that friend” firmly planted in your crown of frienddom for whenever needed.


Today I’d like to shout out the many representations and incarnations of “that friend”.

  • Shout out to that friend who wraps up every tough conversation with those famous three words…”I’ll be praying.”
  • Shout out to that friend who will let you vent, say the bad words you wouldn’t dare utter, give you some good, sound advice, make you laugh and tell you to “keep it moving” all in 8 minutes or less.
  • Shout out to that friend who answers the phone with words like, “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?”
  • Shout out to that friend who floods your timeline and text messages with mega-motivation in the area you’re not yet motivated.
  • Shout out to that friend who has the best memories, funny (or embarrassing) stories, or wild tales in reserve as a reminder for just when they’re needed.
  • Shout out to that friend who will rise at 3am in the morning to hear your heart’s cry or take you to the airport.
  • Shout out to that friend who morphs into labels like “Sister” to you or “Auntie” to your children because you all are just that close.
  • Shout out to that friend who sees your post on social media and immediately calls os sends an IM or DM asking “What’s wrong?” and “Who do I need to have a talk with?”
  • Shout out to that friend who can remind you of your resume of poor choices regarding men, fashion and hairstyles faster than the speed of light then demand you to expect more. Point. Blank. Period.
  • Shout out to that friend who can snatch your out-of-place hair together or tuck in a bra strap with the blink of an eye.
  • Shout out to that friend who says words like “Girrrlllll!!!!”, or “Whattttt???” but never speaks negatively or throws shade in situations she knows mean much to you.
  • Shout out to that friend who always has the right accessory to set your outfit on fire,  doesn’t mind that you keep it when you ask to borrow it, and even compliments you when she sees you in it.
  • Shout out to that friend who will defend your honor and clear your name before the streets could even take a ball and run with it.
  • Shout out to that friend who can pay when you can’t. (And double shout out to the one who knows when you can’t pay even before you have to say it and pays it.)



I Hope My Ex Wins the Lottery…or something like it

Lottery BallsI hope my ex wins the lottery. I do. I really do. Call me crazy or call me comical, but I’m so very serious.  Let me clear this quickly before I proceed. I have many exes. (Hey now, don’t judge.)  So I’m not singling anyone out. This is for every, single one of them.

I have an ex-husband, whom I am still connected to through final divorce decrees, and the spiritual children we share. While we haven’t spoken in years, I’m not sure of his stance on playing the Powerball, but I do still want him blessed because at one time we were connected and are still connected due to the aforementioned important matters and people. I also have ex-boyfriends and ex-“We don’t know what we called ourselves” whom, some of them, I gratefully call friend. (Hey, y’all, as you read this blog). Honey, I KNOW their stance on the Powerball, Mega Millions, Porch Band of Creek Indians Casinos, Sweepstakes, Publisher’s Clearing House, Social and Savings Club Raffle Tickets, Scratch offs, Chuck E. Cheese “put all of your money in the machine and try to win a prize” games, and anything else remotely similar.


At the time of this updated post there is a $94 million jackpot lottery on the line in the United States of America. One or some of my exes playing and cashing in on that big bucks bonanza would be wonderful, but I so get that that is likely not the way they will be blessed. What I do know is that I want them all to be blessed and in a BIG, lottery-like way. Why? Because I had a role in their past and they had a role in mine. Inadvertently, we all have a role in each others present and future, as a result of lessons learned, experiences shared and growth gained from that past. You see, #Grownwomanhood has taught me that every person plays a part. Just because their role ends doesn’t mean our perception of the true purpose of that role and desires for them have to be negative, distorted, bitter or damaging. I want them all to win in whatever way God orchestrates for them…and hopefully they’ll fondly remember the time I was a “Ra Ra Shish Boom Ba” cheerleader in their game of life.


(BTW, if any of you lovely exes-turned pals are planning on making a trip to “ticketland” holla at me…LOL!)


Sometimes You Have to Do What You Have to Do

I just love my friends. While, not many in number, the ones I do have all serve a wonderful purpose for me, and I hope I do the same. An early morning text-fest with one of my dearest buddies in another part of the country confirmed this post I was working on, and prompted the title, “Sometimes You Have to Do What You Have to Do”.

Is it just me or does it appear for anyone else, that the older you get the more you have to do things you don’t want to do? I thought adulthood meant more control over matters mattering to me, when actually it means making more tough choices. Go figure.


Anywho, my sister-friend and I were discussing friendship. She was relinquishing a new personal friendship she thought was promising, and was looking forward to.  She was reshaping her circle of friends and desiring some special, new people to share her amazing world. I too have had to rethink some friendships in years past, and as recently as right now, as I’ve maturely evaluated the expiration date on some long-standing associations, and am positioning myself to allow the pruning to take place. That’s a tough pill to swallow or chew, especially if you’re social and enjoy the blessings of true friendship like we do. This morning, in fact, I asked God to enlarge my social circle. I guess one sure fire way for that to happen is for me to make room by allowing some faces and spaces to be moved.

But it’s not just making tough choices in friendships. Adulthood also means going places you don’t want to go for the sake of the greater good. (Think of that family function or office event you dread.) Giving things you really don’t have in abundance to spare for the purpose of another. (Like clothes, money when you’re in need of money or a coveted parking space at the mall during Christmas shopping season.) Sticking in jobs you are ready to transition from because wisdom tells you it’s best to wait when your emotions are speaking something totally different. (No explanation needed). The list of “I REALLY don’t want to do this, but I will” can go on and on. I suspect, the older I get, the more it could really grow longer.

The beauty of it all is that one day it will make sense. And usually the more I’ve not wanted to do something that I’m clearly going to have to do anyway, the better I am in the long run.



Hold on to the Vine, My Friends

Recently I was in Publix and saw a beautiful bundle of red grapes. Not only were these little, morsels of fruity plumpness pretty, but they were on sale. Boom! If you’re like me, on a budget and have recognized that the cost of grapes has escalated, you can only imagine how happy I was to hurry home with my California grape goodness.


By the second or third day of having the bagged grapes I noticed that there were some which had fallen down to the bottom of the bag. The others, still ripe for the picking, were, well, ripe for the picking. The ones at the bottom were brown, mushy, wrinkly, and in my mind smelled like they were on the fast track to turning into an intoxicating beverage. Needless to say, the seedless fruit still on the vine were the ones I went for. The others went in the trash.

As I was thinking about today’s #bloglikecrazy theme of Friendship I thought about those grapes. We’re all connected to one another for whatever reason God saw fit to bring us together. Sometimes, for various reasons, friends fall off, like those mushy, stinky grapes, and that’s unfortunate. Now don’t get me wrong. Not every friend who starts in your life deserves or is destined to stay there. However, there are some who are, but it’s usually little prickly situations like immaturity, unresolved internal struggles, lack of communication, failure to adapt and envy which cause those who did belong all along to disconnect. That, like those grapes I had to toss out, is unfortunate.

If you’re blessed to have real, good friends who are there for you, encourage you, support you, love you, bring out the best in you and allow you to do the same then hold on to the vine. Yes, they might work your nerves like a grave yard shift job. Yes, their quirky ways might aggravate the stew out of you. Yes, your friendship might have to change as life’s situations change. Yes, you might even have to press pause and pump the breaks for a moment, but whatever you do for those whom you call friend hold on to the vine. You’re connected for a reason.



#IAmMaryJane (Are you Lisa?)

I woke still thinking of a fictional television character, of whom, up until lately, I was not too attached. The #UglyTruth episode of hit drama Being Mary Jane dealt with the suicide of the title character Mary Jane Paul’s oldest friend Lisa. Over the last year, and especially in the last couple of episodes, the relationship with the two had been strained, to say the least. It was filled with drama, betrayal, insensitivity, hurtful words, envy, dysfunction, toleration, avoidance and blame. Their friendship culminated with an epic revelation, and gut-wrenching dismantling of a sisterhood which had spanned decades. Mary Jane’s friend Dr. Lisa was smart, accomplished, a philanthropist and beautiful, flaws and all. Yet, Lisa committed suicide in the opening scene after years of depression and bi-polar disorder, lack of fulfillment, unrequited love and following a time in her young life of sexual abuse, all leaving her feeling alone and unloved. Even though their relationship was strained, again to say the least, Mary Jane was left with the task of planning her friend’s funeral, and was asked to offer words by her estranged parents. She did. Boy, oh boy. She did.

Not to reveal too much more for those who have yet to watch this moving piece of cinematic call to action, I will just say that my emotions were all over the place following the episode’s end. It hurt for Lisa, and those like her in life who feel death is the solution. It also hurt for Mary Jane, and those like her in life who are left to deal with death, especially when there are questions of “what could I have done differently” attached.


Mental illness is real, and it affects persons of every walk of life. The end of the episode offered help for those who feel suicide, for whatever reason is the option. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) offers help for those in need. What struck me most, however, from this episode was Mary Jane’s cutting and raw eulogy which challenged others to do more for those who are in need, by simply letting them know they are loved.

I don’t know of many personally who have taken their own lives with the exception of the young boy who lived around the corner when I was growing up who hung himself one day in the 80s and a former co-worker from the 90s.  After watching that episode I started speed-walking through my mental rolodex to scan my list of friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues who might be like Lisa and I’ve simply been too busy to see or too consumed with my own concerns to care as much as I should. #IAmMaryJane  Wow. That stung even typing it. I pray to Jesus that no one in my circle of life is or has ever pondered suicide, but I must, we all must, do more to be there. Think about it. We all likely have the friend whose name is mentioned and words like “he’s crazy”, or “she gets on my nerves”, or “he needs to get it together”, or “she just needs to get over it” come to mind. I hope I’m not the only one who has avoided the phone calls of someone because I simply didn’t want to hear the complaining, blaming, or negative talk because of what I had going on or what I didn’t want to be involved in, if nothing more than to offer a listening ear. We’ve all possibly had that person, who, when we met them or shortly thereafter, we realized something wasn’t quite right, especially regarding their friendship and relationship matters, or past hurts, and we tolerated them until those same things we tolerated turned on us.


So what do we do? Again, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is here for anyone who sees death as the way out. If this is you, know that you are loved and there is always HOPE and a reason for living. But for those of us who are in their lives, we have to, as Mary Jane said, let them know we love them, we really, really love them. We must do this not through judgment, not hampered by our personal frustrations with their situations, not making light of the trials of their life, not to make us feel noble or good, but simply because they are human beings as we all are, deserving of love, support, empathy, sympathy, counsel, listening ears, open hearts and assurance that their existence matters especially when they are in the fight of their lives, for their life.



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.