Work and the Weather(man) #100HappyDays

You’re probably thinking, “Nice job, sis.  You just started #100HappyDays and you’re already a day behind.”

To that I say–you’re right; I am late.  But the reason I’m late is the reason I was happy yesterday, so check your lipstick before you come for me.  🙂

Day 2:  Educating people makes me happy.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of teaching a class of directors, managers, and supervisors.  Twelve intelligent, curious women learned how to support their staff and received the details they needed to make informed decisions about how their departments will work.  They asked great questions and really seemed eager to succeed, and I was so happy to see that.  I was proud to know that I helped them feel confident in their roles and this new software system they would be using.  This class took most of the day, and after it ended I got so busy with other work responsibilities and spending time with my awesome boyfriend that I missed posting about it.  But, even a day late, it still brings a smile to my face.

Pretty good stuff, huh?  Bet you feel bad about clowning me for being a day behind.  It’s okay; I forgive you.  🙂  And to show you there are no hard feelings, I’ll share today’s happy thing with you.

Day 3:  WKOW makes me happy.  I know this sounds weird, but the local ABC station in Madison helps me start my morning with a smile.  The Wake Up Wisconsin morning show has the best anchors; I love the camaraderie between them (the weatherman is pretty good too).  I appreciate the local news segments they do, and I love that they feature an animal from the Dane County Humane Society each week to help find it a forever home.  Also, today’s trivia question was about a Beyoncé song, which made me very happy indeed.

Ipsy!

I’ve heard a ton of great things about Ipsy and I’m finally giving it a try. If you’ve never heard of it, Ipsy is a service that sends you 4-5 full-sized beauty products each month. The products are tailored to your skin type and personal style. The best part is that it’s only $10 a month! 

If you’re interested in trying some awesome products, check out this link: https://www.ipsy.com/r/u4zaz

We’re all gorgeous–why not enhance it with some awesome products at a great price!

“I Met God, She’s Black”

When I was completing my undergraduate degree, I took a course called Sociology of Gender.  I was a sociology minor, so I was interested in the elective that discussed how gender influences the world around us.  In one particular session, our professor told a story about a man he knew who had faced death.  The man–who was able to be revived but was technically dead for a bit–had big news when he returned to the land of the living.  My professor visited this man in the hospital and the man told him, “I saw God, Steve–and she’s BLACK!”

This shocked quite a few people in my class.  How could God–all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God–be a Black woman?!?

The idea of God as a Black woman is not unheard of.  Authors (including one of my favorites, Ntozake Shange) have stated this before.  Even today, a man is selling t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, “I Met God, She’s Black” (see Huffington Post article here for more details).

Given the whitewashed image of God that has been presented to Christians (and the world) all these years, I can understand my classmates’ sentiments somewhat.  The church I grew up in still has a huge mural of a blonde haired, blue eyed, pale skinned Jesus right behind the baptismal pool.  Don’t even get me started on the Exodus:  Gods and Kings controversy.

However, as a Black woman, I love that God can be seen as someone who looks like me.  Black women have been lowest on the totem pole of society perhaps since the founding of America; the inequalities continue even today as Black women make 64 cents to every dollar that white men make.  Black women are often stereotyped as welfare queens, jezebels, or simply “angry.”  Even the most successful among us is subject to the “angry Black woman” stereotype (I’m looking at you, Shonda Rhimes).

Black women are more than just the stereotypes that are perpetuated about us.  Black women are beautiful, precious, and yes even heavenly.

Leaving Facebook for My Father

Yesterday, I took a break from Facebook.  This may not seem like a big deal, but I did it in remembrance of my father.

My dad passed away five years before I even opened my first Facebook account–it didn’t even exist when he took his last breath.  So you may be wondering why I chose this way to honor my dad instead of something more conventional.

If you’re anything like me, you check Facebook at least a few times a day.  So I had quite a few instances where I stopped and thought of my father.  His smile.  His nickname for me, Lil’ Mama.  His love of Motown.  Watching him drive my pink Power Wheels convertible up and down our street.  Him hanging out and cracking jokes with his buddies.  His silly dancing.  Eating garden fresh tomatoes with him.  The hospital bed in my grandmother’s house.  How thin he looked the last time I saw him alive.  The light blue suit I wore to his funeral.

While some of my memories made me sad, most of them made me happy.  Either way, I’m glad I had the opportunity to stop and think of him so many times.  I hope he looked down from Heaven and saw his little girl, now a grown woman, who still treasures his memory.  Even though he’s not here, he’s still my daddy.

Daddy and me on my first birthday

Daddy and me on my first birthday

Thank You

God doesn’t always come when you think you need Him, but He’s always right on time.

Two years ago today, I met a man who would change my life forever.  After I ended my engagement in January 2012, I decided that I needed to focus on my relationship with God and my relationship with myself.  I wasn’t looking for love–in fact, I had sworn off men altogether.  But God orders your steps according to His will, not yours.  And on March 24, 2012, I received one of the biggest blessings of my life.

As part of my fresh new start, I had packed up my belongings and hired a local moving company to help me get settled into a new apartment.  One of the movers engaged me in conversation, politely offering to show me around Madison sometime.  As he was leaving, I gave him a business card with my cell number on the back.  He called me as soon as he got back into the moving truck.  🙂  And now, two years later, our relationship remains.

There are so many reasons why I love him.  He’s hilarious, but isn’t afraid to have a serious conversation.  He’s hardworking and generous.  He’s strong.  He’s brave.  He’s a great son and an even better father.  He’s ambitious and isn’t afraid to go after his dreams.  He makes me feel beautiful.  He teaches me something new about the world every single day.  And though we’ve had our ups and downs, he’s still here loving me exactly the way I am…even when I don’t love myself.

Every day that we wake up next to each other is a good day.  We talk about our future together all the time–the business we’ll own and the trips we’ll take.  But I really don’t care what we’re doing, as long as we’re doing it together and for the glory of God.

So to my Bae, thank you for these two years together.  Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made (and I know there have been a lot of them).  Thank you for staying and fighting for us.  And most of all, thank you for showing up to work that day.  🙂

At "prom" in 2012.

At “prom” in 2012.

At a friend's wedding in 2014.

At a friend’s wedding in 2014.

Naturally Made

Naturally Made

Everywhere I go, I see more and more Black women who’ve embraced their natural hair texture and stopped chemically straightening their hair. I’ve been natural for a few years now and I love it! When I look in the mirror, I finally see me. But I haven’t always felt this way.

I can remember sitting in our kitchen getting my hair hot combed–and my ears burned–until I was able to “graduate” to a Just for Me relaxer when I turned five. The relaxers left me with scalp burns, limp strands, and sometimes even hair loss. But straight hair was “pretty” and what girl doesn’t want to feel pretty? As a little black girl in a mostly white town, all I wanted was the long, straight hair my classmates had. When I moved to Wisconsin, my biggest priority wasn’t finding an apartment but finding a hair salon so I wouldn’t miss a relaxer.

But that was then, and this is now. Now I know that beautiful comes in all hair textures, and I’ve embraced mine. Natural hair definitely takes work and I respect that some women choose to continue relaxing. But God makes no mistakes; all of His children are beautifully and wonderfully made–hair included.

This curly ‘do was achieved after a couple of weeks of flat ironing (which loosened my naturally curl pattern quite a bit) and two-strand twisting. More details on my naturally hair routine coming in a future post, so stay tuned!

This carnival ride…

A few days ago, I got word that my aunt (my father’s sister) passed away.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my father’s side of the family—summertime barbecues, holiday gatherings.  After my parent’s divorce, those weekends and holidays became less frequent.  It shames me to say this, but I hadn’t seen my aunt in years–probably since my father’s funeral in 2000.  There are occasional phone calls from my paternal grandmother, but I’m not close with them like I am with my mom’s side of the family.  

Thanks to Facebook, I was able to keep up with my aunt’s progress even though I couldn’t see her in person.  She had been sick for some time–close to death at least once–but her passing came as a surprise.  I spoke with my grandmother this morning on the phone and she just kept saying, “She was doing so well…”  I guess this is a true testament that God calls us home in His time.

Sometimes tragedy is the catalyst that families need to come closer together.  Who knows if my aunt’s passing will change the way I interact with my father’s side of the family, but it is a definite reminder that life is precious–we only get one go on this carnival ride called life, so make sure yours is one to remember.