Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Review: God Help the Child

"What you do to children matters. And they might never forget."

I recently read Toni Morrison's contemporary book God Help the Child and the above quote stuck out for me.  Published on April 21, 2015, this is Ms. Morrison's first book to be set in modern times.  What I loved most about the book is that until I logged in to Goodreads to review the book, I had forgotten that it was meant to be set in modern times.  That is a quality and virtue of Ms. Morrison's writing that I enjoy.

Bride, the main character at the center of the story, is a picture of resilience and the complication that comes from longing to be wanted as a child and becoming in adulthood.  The journey of love, longing, and searching for what will last.

God Help the Child was a very quick read and left me wanting more. I wanted to get to know Bride more, I wanted to know Booker, Bride's lover, more, especially at the end of the story.  I would have loved for this book to have taken me longer to read and to get to know the characters on a more intimate level.

For those who love Ms. Morrison's previous works, you may feel like this one doesn't quite match your love.  Still, in Toni Morrison fashion, she gives us a look at the intersection of race and colorism in a realist way.

I would love to hear your thoughts on God Help the Child after you have the chance to pick up the book here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A picture

It was just a year ago when I took this picture. Munchkin and I were visiting Baltimore for Spring Break and Dave and I took him to Washington DC.  It was while taking this picture that I learned a valuable lesson.

I was taking this picture when a woman asked me if I wanted her to take a picture of the three of us. Without hesitation I replied "no, that's ok." 

We spent the rest of the day sightseeing and getting completely poured on by torrential rains. When we got back to the car and on the road to Baltimore I made a comment that I should have let the woman take a picture of us. I regretted that without even processing it I  immediately dismissed the idea of a taking a family photo. David told me he noticed and wanted to say something but didn't want to cause a "Niecy turn-up." Whatever that means.

I silently vowed to myself that day that I would never deny my son the opportunity to see his parents together. My son deserved photos with both his parents too.

As this journey would have it, Dave and I go through seasons.  We always find a way to come together for our son, but to be honest there are times I'd rather just not talk to him let alone take a picture with him. So vowing to make sure we do those small family things is a commitment. I say this because I want you to know this doesn't come easy. It takes grace, love, and work.

We happen to be in a good season where it's coming easier, so when Munchkin became obsessed with the idea of throwing a party for his dad's birthday this year, I called his dad and asked him how we could make that happen. Plus, it would be his last weekend of basketball and he deserves to have his dad at his games just like other kids. Thankfully, we made it happen. 

So last weekend, as I said I would do, we took a family picture on the way to church. Munchkin was acting shy to take a picture - I actually think he has alterior motives - but according to the response on social media, people were happy to see this side of us. I was so entertained by the numerous calls and texts I got asking if we were reuniting. Someone asked me if we were getting close again because they saw Dave open my door.   I just love ya'll.  You've been my greatest cheerleaders.

Here's what I have to say. My son deserves to see his parents happy together - whether we are married or just friends. My son deserves to see his mother respected and his father respected. My son deserves to learn from his father how to open doors for ladies and be kind. We can do this for each other and for him without being married. 

I'm not sure I would have taken this approach had I not regretted saying no to that picture last year in DC. I may have been too concerned about what others may think or the fact that in a few months Dave and I may be out of season again. 

I'm glad I learned the lesson.

While everyone is hash tagging their life, we will hashtag ours too! #theoriginalteamlunn

Be merry. Be.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crazy in love versus certain in love

I've been on one this week.  I stepped high onto my pulpit.  My heart is burdened with the desire to spread God's love to make sure women understand their full worth and don't settle, by any means necessary, for less than God's best.  It's turning into one of my greatest missions.

I've been sitting back doing a lot of observing lately.  Putting the puzzle pieces together to make sense of it.  Make sense of why I had to walk through some things myself to be able to deliver this message.  Why I had to walk through heartbreak, confusion, and less than God's best to understand that I will no longer settle for anything less than God's best for me. In fact, I won't even entertain it.

So I've been watching.  You know what I've been noticing?  When we settle for less, we get less. When we compromise, there's no limit on how much we will excuse.  We'll deal with the less, because we bargained a starting point that was less than God's desire for us to begin with.

On my heart lately has been the reality that often times we enter into committed relationships under less than ideal circumstances.  Life's situations cause us to desire more from a relationship or make us feel we are making the situation right by doing the right thing.  I know it because I did it.  On October 31, 2007, I found out I was pregnant.  On November 24, 2007, D and I got engaged, and on January 12, 2008 we were married.  D and I had been dating for the past three years starting in undergrad, and called off an engagement in 2006 because I had learned he was cheating on me, and he had just returned back from play professional basketball in Denmark for a year when we reconnected in Fall of 2007.  We were kinda sorta in a relationship and then when we found out we were having a child, decided the right thing to do would be to get married.  Not ideal. Not committed. Not sure. Simply put, not God's best.

I see this all the time now.  Whether the gift of a baby on the way or a heart conviction that you're not going to continue in a relationship without the certainty that you are the only one, for whatever reason when we decide we deserve the commitment, it can feel forced. It can feel uncertain. It feels unsure.

I stepped on my pulpit this week on instagram and said you deserve to be with someone who doesn't have to break someone else's heart just to be with you.  You do.  You deserve to be the one. The only. No questions. No reservations. A steady gaze. All eyes on you.  I believe it.  I believe your worth is so grand in the eye of God that that is what you deserve. I believe when God chooses to introduce you to your prepared one, there will be no question. No misconception. No gray areas. God is not a God of confusion. He is certain.

I see your eyes rolling and you thinking "yeah...yeah" under your breath.  I get it.  I'm not sure I've ever been in a relationship where I haven't settled.  Even after waiting 4 years after my separation to even consider dating again, I still settled for less than God's best.  The only reason this message is implanted in my heart is because it is my message.  

Here's what is on my heart and in my spirit.  You, me, we, deserve a love that is certain.  Don't give me someone who is out talking to everybody.  Who is playing the field to see what the best option for him is.  No.  I'm not an option.  I know people think I'm crazy when I say I don't date, I wait, but I'm serious.  Dating is not for me.  Being an option to see if this thing is going to work out is not for me.  I rather live and be content with all that I have and all that God is preparing me for and wait for the one He is preparing for me to be ready, fully baked.  What do I look like out trying to find the one God should be preparing for me and preempting God and trying to move things too quickly? Ya'll know I don't want a half-baked blessing.    

I'm reading Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom right now and the passage above left  me nodding my head saying "yes yes" in my head.  He asked the rabbi about marriage and the rabbi told the above story.  He knew when he saw his wife that he had found a good thing. There weren't questions. There was no putting her on a shelf.  He knew she was the one and he chose her.  Just as he asked her to remain single for him, he didn't go out entertaining other options,  risking his choice, while he asked her to wait.  That's the love I want. The one that is certain. Sure. That chooses me.

We also deserve a love that is prepared for us.  I truly believe that just as God is preparing us for all He has created us to be, He is preparing our potential mate for all He created him to be.  He can can't choose us and know when God is presenting him His prepared one if he's busy entertaining other options.  I don't want someone who has to break someone else's heart to be with me.  That's not certain love. That's not ready love.  No one wins.  

So what's the answer then?  Wait.  As Dr. Myles Munroe wrote in his book Single, Married, Separated, and Life After Divorce, "unmarried Christians should be so consumed by God and His will, so preoccupied and committed to finding out who they are in Him, that they are not distracted by the search for other people.  You can spend so much time looking for who you want that you have no time to be who you are."

Who are you as a person living fully for God? Who are you living fully on purpose for who God created you to be? Who are you just being by yourself?  Do you even know?  How will you ever know if your view is so clouded by earthly distractions disguised as dates?

I want more for you.  I want more for me.  I want all that God has for me. Fully packaged and prepared just for me.

I'm choosing to wait.

Don't excite love, don't stir it up, until the time is ripe - and you're ready.  
                                                                               Song of Soloman 2:7

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How I wear a crop top

I love a good crop top ensemble. This style has been gracing the streets for nearly two years now and it's definitely heating up. I remember the first time I was walking through the mall after work and saw a woman wearing a crop top. I was like oh. In the middle of the day? Just like that? Haha. I wasn't even comfortable with it.

I love to embrace the latest styles but the truth is I spend more time in the office and church than out at places and events I'd feel comfortable wearing a crop top.  Plus as a mommy, I'm conscious of how much skin I show on any given day because I don't just represent me. So I was excited when I found one of the greatest life hacks on Pinterest. 

The tip for my look above is to take a plain black sheath dress and layer a crop too over it. Voila! 

How have you worked out wearing your crop tops?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The reward

An acquaintance and I have been talking the past few months about relationships.  For the entire time I've known him he has warred between wanting the stability of a committed relationship and all that brings and being faithfully unfaithful to any woman he's ever dated.  A womanizer of sorts.

One night we were talking about women's expectations.  He was telling me that all he can do is be honest with people....women.  He seemed confused that even when he is honest with them, they still desire more from him.  I told him there's a difference between being honest and being right.  Just because you are being honest doesn't mean you're right.  I also told him that some women easily fall in love with the illusion of who he is.  He's a charmer. Attractive.  That's what they see.  Even though he's out with other women and is telling them so, they are still holding on to the illusion of who they believe he can be. 

We have these kind of conversations. He and I.

Fast forward a few months and I came across a picture of him obviously intoxicated grabbing a woman's behind.  It wasn't cute by any means.  I texted him the picture and told him he should be embarrassed...we're simply too old for this.  In case you didn't know, that's what you get when you deal with Niecy....honesty.  This recent conversation caused a falling out of sorts. He said he was being vulnerable with me and I used it against him  I told him I simply see right as right and wrong as wrong and I don't believe in sugarcoating the truth.  He told me he thought maybe I was jealous. I was nothing of the sorts. I just felt bad for him.

Once we finally got over the hurt feelings of me being honest with him,  I told him he really needs to check his character.  He told me he's honest about everything he is doing with everyone involved and that's the best he can do.  I told him he was wrong.  It doesn't matter the things we see it matters who you are. Period.

As the conversation progressed and I asked him why he doesn't just take a break from it all and do the work to be ok with himself, he told me that his current girlfriend has stuck it out with him, knows he's not ready to commit to just her, and for that he was going to reward her in 2015.  I laughed. Literally. Out loud.

I've talked about this before and if you've read my blog for anytime you know I have a BIG issue with this thought process.  How, after cheating on a woman and doing everything but committing and honoring her while you're dating, does putting a ring on it become her great reward?  How are you a reward if everyone in town has slept with you?

I was bothered.

I told him so.

Let me tell you. 

Fellas - you are NOT the reward. 

She is.

Proverbs 18:22

Now to my point of it all.  This thinking is damaging.  That all women want is to be married.  That we have lost the sense of our worth so much that we will settle for the man who instead of pursuing us and honoring us, will cheat and tell us so then put a ring on it as our reward.  I know...we as women have allowed this.  Have become the ride or die who will stick by these men until they are ready.  Where are the kings who understand that when they find a wife, she is good, and they receive favor from the Lord?  Where are the queens who understand finding you is a good thing?  If he won't honor you, respect you, and do right by you when ya'll are dating, guess what, the messiness doesn't just stop when he puts a ring on it.  I've worn that t-shirt.

When those words came out of his mouth I was shocked.  I still am as I write this.  Where did this thinking come from? What can we do to change it?  We have to know our worth, ladies and fellas, you have to understand that you are not the reward, she is.
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