The Day Texas Changed Part II

As the time passes and the tears come less frequently

I think back on the smiles and moments that were created

The times of hugs and cooking and when talking was a not a past time

A father that was dedicated in every way to make sure

His children knew his love and that he was there for them through the long haul

Time has seen to fly by since you are no longer physically here

However, there are those moments of longing to just fill you in on

The new changes, choices, and next steps in my life

I find myself inspired to do more because I know you knew I had so much more I wanted to do

I wish I had the answers for how things occurred and where if anything could have been different

I’ve come to accept that all I have left are the imprints you left on my heart and soul

A man that adored me from my first breath to his last

Who would tell it to me like it was and not sugar coat it just to appease me

I hope you know how much I loved you and adored you

I always prayed that my husband would possess your hard working qualities, the love of children you had, and the openness to discuss and communicate about anything

If I paid attention to my visions then, I would have known long before my engagement ended that my husband had not crossed my path… as you weren’t present at my wedding

I thank you for being a father that others could appreciate

Wanting to help me become the best person I could be

As well as not shying away from me in those teenage moments where I may have gotten a little beside myself
What can I say Pops… Jaws… Daddy… I will love you always and you live on in my memories and thoughts


The Pieces of Me

This is more of insight into me. I hope you learn something new and find yourself with a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, and my purpose. Along the way, if you gain something that makes you think twice, I have done what I set out to do.

The Daughter

As a daughter, we strive to be what will appease your parents. I recall a time when that was so big for me. As I have grown and matured, I realized my purpose in life was not to fill dreams that my mother had. I can make her just as proud by just being me. Most of us seek that acceptance from our parents. I reached an odd middle ground at an early age of learning to debate and wanting to understand my mom and father’s thought process. Let’s say that didn’t always go over well as it came off as me questioning them. I have always loved my parents and appreciated being blessed with two that put me first and gave unconditional love. I look forward to the day that I can shower my mom as my dad is deceased with anything she wants. A child that grew up outside of anyone’s shadow and aiming to prove my own. I was an introvert for years and many times still am today. I believe in making time to spend with my parents and will push the envelope by having those hard conversations when my mom steps out of line.


The Christian

I recall the stories my grandmother used to tell me as I got older. She used to tell me how I would pray for the sick as a young child and cry about the death of Jesus. I had dreams and nightmares for as long as I can remember. She told me to start writing them down as there may be more to them. I think back to the church we attended during my most crucial years of my life. It was a family affair and a church where women didn’t really wear pants. The sermon was way above my head and I can’t say I took a lot a way. However, as I have grown and accepted my relationship with Christ, I have learned so much about myself. I have had so many battles between visions, relationships, death in the family and at times wasn’t sure how to get back to some sense of normalcy. I was introduced to a church by a friend that opened my eyes to so much. I attended regularly and began to start really understanding and having that passion to grow. I am the first to admit I sin and my sin is not different than anyone else’s. I am guilty of not attending church as much as I should or pray as much as I should. It is truly a process and at times a battle daily. I have had times in my life feeling like the devil just won’t let go and in times of weakness I played right into his game. It can be hard to walk off that path you believe you are content. I had to really take a look in the mirror and what was in my heart as that is the one thing outside of God’s word that keeps me grounded. Thank God, God knows my heart.

The Friend

Loyalty, Honesty, Integrity, and a bond not easily broken.
I am one that believes in friendships. I have had some friends since I was 11 years old and only gained from there. It is such a blessing to know what friendships that become sisterhoods are like. I have learned so much from these ladies and hope that I have brought some light to their life as well. As we have grown together and circles turn, I have tried to gain as much as I can from the experience. I have never been the friend looking for what I can gain or benefit from it. It is about the bond that can be formed. What can we learn and motivate one another through? I used to battle on how to be there through it all. You learn real quick what friendship means to you and who has your best interest at heart. No we don’t have to talk every day, every week, or hang once a month. We don’t tend to hold things from one another that would make or break the friendship. I will support those friends of mine until the day I take my last breath. I don’t make a difference in how I treat my female and male friends. I don’t use the term loosely nor do I take it loosely. When I use it, it may come with some minor expectations of mutual respect and knowing how to communicate. I grew up with some pretty great guys as well. We don’t talk all the time either but true to form like back in the day, I feel like I could call on some of them for anything. Some of um know be just as good as I know me. As the circles grow, I am always enlightened by the blessing of friendships and passion to support that comes with them. I thank you all for being a part and allowing me to be apart of your lives.

The Girlfriend

#loyal #support #respect
As a girlfriend I am loyal, supportive, and will be respectful. I can be the number one fan and also keep it real with you. I believe in a relationship looking to go to a lifetime partnership and marriage can be different if the foundation isn’t built with getting to know one another. I am one that likes to have discussion on current trending topics, learn things I may not know, and open to see where I can grow. I have matured in the way of learning and wanting to be lead versus leading. I have had a very strong independent pull for most of my life even in serious relationships. I can admit I have learned so much from my serious relationships. I think back to my first serious relationship and I learned real quickly the boundaries of guy friends and how to respect my relationship first. I believe along the way I have learned to have better conversations versus talking at someone which I was guilty of years ago. I am the type that will celebrate your promotions, goal completed moments, and anything else that is important to you. I believe if at some point we see a future together, getting to know one another’s family is important. I learned in my second serious relationship to watch what I said to who about my relationship and the details. I think most importantly through it all, I have learned the difference between what I need and want. All my wants don’t need to be met and all my needs may not… but once the one God has for me, finds me. I may have a better understanding of the 80/20 rule as I have become clearer on that as well.


An Aunt

One of the best titles of them all. I think most people think I am over exaggerating when I say that. I didn’t blog about it taking a village for no reason. I know the influence my family had on my upbringing. I will admit that the first time I saw these kiddos my heart was theirs from the start. I dreamed of what my niece would look like before she was born. My first nephew, I would just hold and talk to when I would keep him when he was little. I secretly loved the moments that one of them got sick and I was asked to watch them. Not because I wanted them to be sick, but because I don’t believe being an aunt only lends me to the fun and easy times. As they get older, I want to be able to have conversations with substance with them. So one day many years from now, they will look back and think that we could talk to TeTe about anything. We didn’t have to censor it to her feelings because we knew she would love us anyway. I do make it a point to remind them that I will love them no matter what happens and how things change in life. I believe it is important for children to know unconditional love from more than just their parents. I want and enjoy going to see their games, programs, listen to them talk about test, homework, and their friends. It makes my heart smile. Even more so when they discuss their friends. It is just something about when I can do for them or surprise them that lights my heart up. I love to hear their laughter and man do they give the best hugs.

The Blogger

It all started from a dream of wanting to help others. After losing my father, I prayed and decided it was time to pursue my passion. I always had a drive and pulling force when it came to helping others. I have been a long time believer in supporting others and their endeavors. My passion is fueled by wanting to make sure the little ones in my life understand; life is going to happen and as we learn and grow from those avenues, we build our character. In the midst of trying to see through the storm of grief was born the clarity of sharing my voice.
My background and foundation stem heavily from strong family values. At a young age the family celebrated all occasion’s together, discussed politics, race, and education. My debate background opened my naïve eyes and equipped me with the ability to be able to see both sides of many situations or at least be respectful in understanding the other parties reasoning. A former debater in high school and continued to give back by judging state and regional qualifying tournaments. As a former debater, it helped me learn how to form ideas with reasoning behind them and become more comfortable with communication. Commination is another area I feel so many are lacking in, but can grow from it if willing to learn and be flexible.
I started a homegrown blog named Roots to the Soul for the purpose of discussing different topics and attempting to bring awareness and openness. I am the youngest out of my siblings and a first generation college graduate and have seen what the lack of communication and being closed can result in. I have broadened the scope of sharing my voice by blogging about events, online radio shows, and current mainstream topics. In my spare time I spend time with family, work on my future book, and catch up on reading and movies.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to hear more about my struggles and how I have made it… Check out The Day Texas Changed, The Power of Strongholds, and Learning to Forgive

Power vs Empire

If you enjoy a show with powerful men, action, unexpected twist and being left on the edge of your seat with cliffhangers then these shows fit that criteria. Oddly enough, I know most people I hear speak of one, watches both versus one or the other. The craz is on about these two shows. Similar but different and relatable to probably almost anyone. The shows are taking ratings by storm and I would say are probably one another’s largest competition.


Power has a story line of a man that is married to a women that met him while he was young and working on coming up. The main cast consist of Omari Hardwick, the husband; Naturi Naughton, the wife; Joe Sikora, the childhood best friend of Omari; Lela Loren, the childhood love; Curtis “50 cents” Jackson, one of the producers and a partner in crime in the drug game. He was and is a drug dealer and she was by his side every step of the way. As he moved up the chain in the drug game he realized he needed to mask the money he was making through legit means. As he grows as a husband and a man he gets to a point where he wants to get out of the drug game to be able to live a life where he can provide a safe environment for his family and enjoy life without those dangers. He finds himself going in a direction that his wife is not likely to follow. She wanted him to be the largest drug dealer in the game in their area. His best friend happens to be one that also doesn’t welcome the growth of this husband and father and attempts to keep him deeply tied to the street life. Omari and his wife reach a point of disagreement as she doesn’t welcome his change of heart. In the interim he runs into a women he loved dearly when he was younger and ends up cheating on his wife with her. All of these things make some great correlations of him reflecting in the mirror from the man he was and the man he was becoming with the challenges that come along with his lifestyle. The struggle of a man wanting to live a different life and his wife not being so supportive even when she finds out about the mistress.

TV STILL -- DO NOT PURGE -- EMPIRE: (L-R): Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Taraji Henson as Cookie Lyon, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon and Trai Byers as Andre Lyon. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX
TV STILL — DO NOT PURGE — EMPIRE: (L-R): Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Taraji Henson as Cookie Lyon, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon and Trai Byers as Andre Lyon. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX

Empire happens to have a similar background in the way of the building of this families empire starts with drug money. The cast consist of Terrance Howard, the father; Taraji P. Henson, the wife; Trai Byers-the oldest son; Jussie Smollett, the middle son; and Bryshere Y. Gray, the youngest son. A young couple are in the drug game and have 3 boys when the wife is busted and takes a 17 year rap for their dealings. As her husband moves on during those years and building a music icon in a business after the family name and raising their sons; she is left as a memory. Once she gets out, her husband played by Terrance Howard, has moved on to someone else and isn’t so welcoming in her return or placing her in the business. This show reminds most of us of the extension of the movie Hustle and Flow where the two main stars continue in this show. The family is no longer involved in illegal activities as now the concern is taking a business public on the stock market, one son who has a mental illness that is not addressed, one homosexual son which the father does not know how to accept, and the woos that come with running at that top of the game in the music world.

The shows both focus on family men who happen to be black men. They are both very driven and focus on the providing for their families. One man that battles with his reflection in the mirror of who he was and who he is striving to become. Another father who is visited by his past memories of dropping one son in a trash can and the times when he made music on the side of his hustler life. They are both have women by their side that were down for that life and could be said to be ride or die chicks. However, as one starts to grow in a different direction the relationship on Power is challenged. The marriage between the couple on Empire falls apart as his wife is in prison for almost 20 years. I believe both could easily take a toll on a marriage or a long term relationship. I believe we have to stop and evaluate why we are with this person. Are we willing and wanting to make this work or do we run due to being stagnant and resistant to change. When one of us grow, change can be scary for some and others worry about the change in lifestyle. I guess in my mind, to have my man safe and out of harms way with a life that we no longer have to look over our backs or wonder if our kids will be ok would be enough to help me want to make that jump. You see in Power the wife is very resistant to this change. You have wonder if it is all based on the money and the life. Their marriage takes a hit as her husband cheats on her with someone he loved dearly before he met her. It seems to still not fully get her attention straight on the family being priority, but still aiming to get him to be one of the largest dealers in the game on their coast as she references. I think so many of the issues between the husband and wife teams are things we hear of most of the time. Listen to what your other half is sharing, don’t just hear it, but process it.

As the shows continue to dig their hooks into us, we learn of the family troubles on Empire. A husband left to raise his kids while his wife did time. One son with a mental illness, that is never properly dealt with until the son is in college. I do feel that most black families are not quick to jump on the bandwagon of a diagnosis like this without being resistant. However, in the long run this can only hurt the child at hand as they are neglected treatment until much later. The middle son played by Jussie is gay. This father has no clue how to take all this in. He does what he feels is the best he can by raising and providing for them. However, this father thought he was doing the best he could. He attempted to fix his son that would walk in women shoes on occasion by attempting to rid his son of this “condition”. Terrance is not able to rebuild or work on these relationships until his wife gets out of prison and adds some nurturing to the mix.

Although they are both entertaining and some feel it is just a continuation to depict the black community negatively, their ratings are off the charts. I believe as adults that make the choice to have children, planned or unplanned have to think about the environment we bring them into. No parenting method is perfect, but we have to find a balance between raising them and getting them ready for society while being sensitive to what comes with our bundles of joys. The ultimate concern should be welfare of the child and teaching them to be open, loving, understanding, planting values, and morals. I think as parents or parts of the family we get so caught up in what we are not comfortable with or are posed with situations we are not familiar with and therefore we don’t address it. This doesn’t fix the issue or search for an amicable way to handle it!!! It makes it a stupor later versus now.

The shows offer some great strong points to focus on, like family, providing, and how to handle some of the more stressful things in life. Let your partner be just that. They are a spouse and someone to assist, grow, and learn with you. Don’t make it a roommate situation by not being respectful of where they are going in life (of course I am not speaking of things like gender changes, those bring different dynamics to be addressed). As times move forward discuss goals, best way to raise your children, and carry over the open communication with your children. If they are confronted with tough times and what to do next, you would much rather they come to you versus feeling they can only speak with a friend that could happen to be a hormonal teenager who doesn’t think clearly and is more than likely lacking maturity. Don’t try and force your kids in the direction to live a life you chose not to. Let them enjoy their individuality and if that is hard for you as a parent, open that communication door and be open to learn how they feel.

Mom, Momma, Ma, Mother: What do you call her?

Unconditional love, generous, kisses booboos, a parent before a friend, careful, your first teacher, strength, passion, pain, tears, smiles, joy, and starts to set the standard for how you view the world. I don’t know that there is a difference between Mom, Momma, Ma, and Mother as they all tend to be names of women that hold the qualities above. I know mine went by the names of Mommu, Mom, Ma, Auntie, Aunt Dot, Grandma, Gran, Aunt Lisa, Aunt Linda, Momma Sharon, Mrs. Boykin, Mrs. Ferguson, Ms. Mallard, Mrs. Belino, Ms. Harge, and I am sure there are a few more I may not have gotten to list.


From the moment they get to hold you first in their arms and have a star in their eye…they felt you were perfect. They knew their blessing in God trusting you with them and vowed to take being a mom seriously.
I think of my own relationship with my mother as far back as I can recall. I was always considered a daddy’s girl, but I love my mom. We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I know she has unconditional love for me. She doesn’t always agree with the way I cut my hair, share my opinions, etc, but I know it is just because she wants what is best for me.


A mother many times is the first example we have of love in our lives. She teaches us without even knowing it or trying. If she holds us when we cries, when she wipes the tears, or if she takes time to discuss the concerns that are causing those woes. The undying love of a mother is something not everyone knows. The smallest things from wiping your nose, to teaching you the proper way to speak, and brining smiles to your face. It is something about a bond of a mother and their child. She many times knows the things her child will struggle with long before the child or anyone else does due to being observant. Just my two cents on what I have seen from the mother’s in my own family and many family’s close to me. They are often referred to as momma bears for a reason. They can be the kindest, gentlest person, and change in the blink of an eye to protect their child.

They sure know how to make a house a home. If it’s the smell of the aroma from the dinner, snacks, or homemade chocolate fudge for ice cream sundaes. The way they make the bed or tucked you in at night. The kind words they shared when you didn’t make the cut, or the cheering for you like no one else would or will. The joys they share as they see you growing and becoming more independent. They want to cry because they aren’t ready to see their bird take more steps on their own, but they give you enough room to enjoy the new avenues life is taking you on. They want to save you from all the bad things of the world and keep you safe from your first heartbreak, the injury, the car accidents, the daily challenges of life. However, they can’t protect us from the world, yet they choose to share us with the world.

Moms don’t always get the credit deserved… but their day is coming up on Sunday. I believe we shouldn’t just show our appreciation for them one day out of the year. I can’t say I always make a big deal out of that day due to that. However, I do acknowledge and do my best to make sure my mom knows that I love and appreciate her throughout the year. It is the little things that matter to my mom. So spending time, making dinner, shopping, looking around, and time with the grandkids.

We don’t always turn out the way they think we should. Nor do we always follow the path they prefer. They may judge here and there, but it isn’t because they want harm upon us. They love us no matter what because to them we will always be their babies. They never give up hope on the ones that are disrespectful. They may not always be so forth coming on how things happened in their life due to appearances, but will eventually let that wall weaken to attempt to save their own from walking that same path.

I know everyone doesn’t have a flowering relationship with their mother. I have to wonder for those that were given up for adoption if one day you can find solace in maybe she gave you up to save you. If she was molested and concerned she would only see the pain in which you were created. If she is an addict and knows she won’t keep you safe or not sale you for the next high. Or if she just knew and accepted that she wasn’t ready to put someone else’s life above her own. I commend her for not keeping a child for the sake of being called mom and trying to be a mother when she knew she would not arise to the occasion.

So this goes out to all my family, extended family, and girls that are mothers. I pray the day my day comes, I will encompass so many of your qualities as being a mom.

Love you ladies!!!!


The Single Dad Perspective

Full House

Different Strokes


Sister Sister

Similar for 1 reason??

Single fathers raising children and as I researched and located the song below

Kid Rock shares the lyrics of Single Father:

Latley ive been spendin lots of time with my kid

Tellin him stories

About the things that we did

When we were a family

Long time ago

Ive answerd his questions

Till im blue in the face

Wish all that hurt in him

I could erase

But i tell him the truth

Cause he aint to young to know

Today I want to take the time to discuss this side of the story of two men raising their children. In today’s society, we are so quick to put down our men for not taking care of their children. I would say I minimally hear of the praising of or for men that are supporting their children versus when it is a women. I think a men and women deserve equal prays for taking care of a child they equally created. I am not speaking of unforeseen situations like rape, molestation, etc. I am speaking of between two consenting parties that knew the possible result of enjoying the pleasure of creating the little bundle of joy. Please only continue reading if you are open to hearing these men share their perspective candidly. I started with asking these gentlemen a few questions to give me a snippet into their lives. One in particular shared so much… I believe I saw his life play by play.

single dad 3

Loving Father817 -34, in the DFW area, and does window auto glass repair

I ran across this young man while handling some business with my car being serviced. He was helpful, full of smiles, and in sharing a little about himself shared that he is a single father. I thought how odd, I have been planning to write on this perspective. I had to ask if he would be willing to share a little about being a single father with me at some point as I would love to hear his story.

This young man is truly motivational. His background, decisions, making the choice to put his daughter first…is just the beginning for him. At a young age he was faced with learning how to cope with a broken family. His mother and father divorced while he was a preteen. The parents decided it was best for the sons to live full time with his father and the girls to stay with their mother full time. At some point his father remarried, but his new step mom wasn’t exactly what a child would dream of. While dealing with the changes that comes with divorced parents and gaining a step parent, his life was quickly whisked into a whirlwind. The loving home he once knew with his biological parents was no longer available. He was now in a home where he was mentally and emotionally abused. His father never came to his rescue and he soon decided to take his life into his own hands after being in and out of foster homes but being sent back to the home. Lovingfather817 ran away from home at the age of 11. A child, now alone and turning to the streets was only looking for survival. As time moved on, he found himself in trouble, time and time again as survival comes at a cost when the streets are now your family. One last brush with the law left him thinking of how to turn his life around.

He met one women and became involved. She had two daughters from previous relationships. As their relationship got more serious the young lady became pregnant with his son. She questioned if she would keep the baby and wanted confirmation that he would be there. She had experienced men walking out on her and her prior children and still carried that fear. He assured her no matter what occurred he would be there for his son. One day came that she disappeared with his son and her daughters and he was unable to locate them. One more thing for this young man to carry on his shoulders while attempting to make it.

As time moved forward and he longed for a complete family, he met a young lady that he felt he would live the rest of his life with. Him and this young lady were married and later had a child. His void of having a complete family was starting to be filled. Still longing for the one son he had still been unable to locate, they decided to start a family as well. Eventually the two of them had a daughter and although he was candid that things got rough at times, he took pride in providing and being there for his family. He hoped to create an environment full of love for his wife and daughter. It was a goal of his for his daughter to not experience the impact of a “broken home” Later to only find out his wife was cheating on him with someone that they were both close to. She eventually left him for this other party. He decided at that point of realizing she was not willing work things out, that he wanted to make sure he was an active part of his daughter’s life.

This loving father focused on the best way to make a living and provide for his daughter. He met a man on the street who allowed him to help with small jobs and it helped him getting by with a place to stay off and on as he lost everything once his wife made the decision to leave. He was newly motivated to make sure he would be a part of his daughter’s life. Along the way he met a few people that became family. He gained a support system and people willing to assist in a way he had not had or seen before. He was able to get on his feet and sit and have some adult conversations with his ex-wife. She is in a demanding field and he wanted her to know that he was willing to keep their daughter whenever possible. He said they discussed things and as he started to get on his feet on his own, he has his daughter 98% of the time. Since his ex-wife is in another relationship, they even discussed how discipline would be handled, visitation, etc.

He said it wasn’t hard to shift his focus, because she is the most important thing to him. God and faith has gotten him through, but he never wants his daughter to feel as he did coming up. He said things are tight sometimes, but the most important thing is to be able set a foundation for his daughter and provide. I could hear the smile as he discussed how much they enjoy arts, crafts, the park, etc together. As things have continued to look up for him since last August, he is just thankful. He has no fears as a single dad, he just approaches situations that come up, head on. He feels he has “appreciation for things many people don’t” due to his background and upbringing.

He admits he had to find balance and keep his faith intact. He has learned a lot while becoming a single parent and he puts his daughter first. He said he does get complements from people as they hear about him discussing his relationship with his daughter. He did note, that he has a deeper appreciation for single moms, now knowing what it is like to raise your child on your own.

single dad 2

Andy Brown – 40, in the DFW area, author/life coach/Creator of The Online Happy Hour

He is a father, life coach, host, and a writer. He is one of the hardest working men that I have run across in a long time. He takes pride in being an involved father and writing about things that will reach out and help others. He doesn’t try to hide behind the simple topics to discuss and believes in giving back to his community. He is Andy Brown and known by many as AB. He is a Kansas City, MO native and a graduate from Grambling State University.

He became as single parent raising his son in August of 2014, his son made the choice to come live with him versus his mother. He feels being a single father meant being responsible for his responsibility which was now to raise a man as he has been taught and more. When discussing if he had any major adjustments in his life once becoming a single father, he said there wasn’t much. He just made more time available for time and space to allow him and his son to learn more about one another. Andy advised the greatest challenges and moments this transition has brought was recognizing he would need to give his son his time as they are still learning and growing together and making, having, finding time to date. Andy did share that he did adjust his music and the character of people he had around once his son came to live with him. While discussing if being a single father has brought on any additional stereotypes or stigmas, he noted that the one thing he has noticed is the police and their lack of value for the Black men have become more and more eye opening. He also advised the young teen dress style and fashion is one of those things as well.

Neither father has experienced any discrimination from women for stepping up and being full time dads. Most women have tended to be more complimentary of it, if anything. I believe both are single ladies…don’t quote me on this. LOL. Let’s make sure we are giving praise where it is due when we see, meet, and engage in conversation with these type of men. We all know every man is not willing, no matter the situation.

I would like to just say thank you to these men for opening up and sharing a piece of themselves. I can appreciate someone sharing what motivates them, what curve balls have come in life, and how they adapted. You men are inspiration to the next man that may find themselves in this family dynamic and may not be sure if they can bare the weight of it make it through the struggle. Keep in mind just like Will Smith who played, Chris Gardner,in The Pursuit of Happiness. It will be a change, your life may go to a place you do or don’t expect; but be the man you were designed to be and watch the blue print unfold.

If you enjoyed this blog and may be one that does not have their father or know someone missing their father or considering walking out on their children. Feel free to direct them to the blog Imprint of an Absent Father.

It Takes A Village

Weeks ago I wrote about the Imprint of an Absent Father and soon will write about the concerns of a Vacant Mother. I don’t have children, but this will be from the perception of being on the outside looking in. I was and am very involved with the raising of my niece as her mom and I lived together the first few years of her life and we have remained close. I have nephews that I don’t get to see as much, but definitely think about anytime I am with them how I am behaving, talking, and others I might have them around. The one thing that comes to mind is the learning and growing of these children is that it does truly take more than mom, dad, grandparents to raise children; I by no means am taking away from those that only have one parent or no living grandparent. It by no means means those children come to less well rounded. Let’s address it from the positive reinforcement that it can bring. I give props to all parents, no matter the situation. It is not a title to be taken lightly and from many I have been it are the best title they will ever carry and the one they are the proudest of.

I was fortunate in the way that I had two parents fully engaged in my upbringing with hearts full of love and monetary support. My parents were both hard workers and my family was very involved, My grandmother and grandfather were a large part of my upbringing We used to gather as a family for birthdays, holidays, graduations, and anything in between that was important to someone else. My aunts have always been down and held their title at the highest level. I was lucky enough to have aunts that made sure they stayed in contact, picked me up from school, had me at times during the summer, and never missed anything major in my life. A grandfather that would cut out articles from the newspaper (yep back in those days people still read the actual morning newspaper) and save them for me to read about a field I wanted to go into. I am and have been truly blessed to have each and every one of these people in my life. My mom was able to work overtime if needed and my dad worked odd hours due to each party in my family that played their part. I don’t mean with attitudes or looking to make a profit from it, but rather just being glad to get extra time with their niece or granddaughter.

I was able to focus on growing up without concerns about food, cloths, and having to work to assist my family. My job was to make good grades and be the best I could be in all activities I was involved in. I was in drill team, a newspaper writer, peer mediation, Student Counselor officer, and a debtor. My other activities were just as important to my parents as they were to me, but enough about me…let’s dive in real quick.

I know so many people that have a great team of people to assist and some vice versa. I’ve always wondered why that was if the parent is attempting to do something positive or just needs a breather. Now days you have grandmothers that don’t want to be called grandmothers. Grandmothers that would rather be in the club, with other people or just not willing to help with their kids kids. I am not speaking of raising your grandchildren fulltime, although all the things you do with and around them do mold them as well. I guess I have always wondered why and how that works if your child is trying to better themselves or provided stability for their family, why aren’t others willing to help.

Single parent or not all parents need family or other people to assist with the raising of the kids. Not just necessarily monetarily always but to help with school pickups, drop offs, extracurricular pickups and drop offs or watching the kids on date night or for the parents to enjoy their hobbies. So many people are out there without family and need others they can call on as well. The kids get an avenue out as well. They enjoy getting to see their family and friends. If you don’t think it matters, it does. I have heard three year olds ask where their family is. I have heard preteens asking why their other grandmother doesn’t call or pick them up… And people think kids won’t notice or figure out the ones that want to be involved. When I am with the little ones (even though some of them are taller than me now J) I take time to talk with them even if it is about boy bands, that I don’t see talent in; it is just about the time. It also just about learning and knowing their interest and what goes on at schools, conversations between them and their friends, and you can learn a lot about what is going on with them by just listening. I know it can be easy to drown them out as they can be little chatter boxes, but it is good to stay actively listening.

Children need love, stability, and guidelines. The best way to do that in my opinion is to provide an area with them knowing prayerfully who God is and who they can trust. Just as it is not only the responsibility of a teacher to teach our kids what they need to know academically and to live responsibly, it is just not on parents either. So the weight of this falls back to all parties involved. If you know your sibling, friends, etc are mistreating their kids, neglecting them, or even just aren’t stable themselves. It is ok to ask questions and offer assistance where you can. You have to find your comfort level in stepping in which will cause many people to instantly become defensive. So be aware and ready if you decide to comment on their parenting style.

So to all my parents out there, I bow to you!!!! I know it isn’t always easy, but know many of us out there hope to be as good of parents as you guys are one day. You were chosen to be in charge of one of God’s greatest creations.

So to my Mom, Dad, Mommu, Daddo, Monica Teague, Nicole Johnson, Delaneo Johnson, Monika Teague, Erica Ray, Candra & Dewayne Bryant, Nikki Boykin, Brandon Boykin, Counselor Web, Shava Echols, LaToya Minor, Meriane Carter, Keon Smith, Mike and Megan Browden, Adrienne Gonzalez, Traci Champion, Andy Brown, MasterPiece, Desmond Patterson, ShaRhonda Caviness, Adrienne Whitman, Raine Daine, Aunt Dot, Shara S, Zandra Sumlin, Char Jeffers, June Bracy Brown, AC Cristales, Delanea Davis, Ramelle Santos, Brandi Mallard… thank you guys for not only taking parent duty seriously but to the aunts and uncles listed above that I know go way beyond their call of duty…. One day if the kids don’t already see it they will be thankful for you 🙂 Anyone I left off, please don’t be offended… These were just the first people to come to mind. I appreciate you all.

What is your Holiday Dynamic?

I have been one that has always loved the holidays. My maternal grandmother and I always did. It was the cooking, gathering of family, the memories created, and the movie watching. I loved every minute of it, from the hugs on the way in the door to the talks about life, and the aroma of Mommu’s place (this is what we called my maternal grandmother). My family has always been movie watchers. So after holiday eating came a few movies and lots and lots of conversation and laughter. The cooking traditions that have come together with some of us cooking together the night before or watching Claymation animation with my nephews and seeing their faces light up. Visiting with my Munchkin the night before Santa came to visit and to see her bright eyed and overly ecstatic as her mom used to be about the visit from Saint Nick. The holidays bring families together that haven’t seen each other as much as they would like, close the gap between ages, and leads to stories that now you can only laugh at. Oh, how the times have changed. My cousin, brother, and youngest aunt are now the ones spilling stories our parents knew nothing about. #priceless.

The holidays bring on so many things for so many people. As we enjoy the living parties of our families, we normally still have to reflect on the angels we have lost. However, in speaking of them the event still carries on without a damper or sadness, but rather moments to reflect on all they did and their character. I miss having these events at Mommu’s and Daddo’s (this is what we called my maternal grandfather) or even making sure I knew where my dad would be so I can come by or cook something he wanted to drop by with and spend time with him. We all have loved ones that are no longer with us. Keep in mind that it is ok to keep their memory alive during this time and share wonderful stories, photos, make a dish they loved, etc. I feel these things help us not to forget our past loved ones, but a way to include them in a joyful way.

This time of year brings on different things for so many people. Most are trying to figure out where to spend their time or how to split it amongst families, how to allocate funds, and deciding to travel or not travel. I personally have not ever had to figure out the traveling piece too often as my immediate family is in the Dallas, TX area. I haven’t had to figure out how to split time in years since my last serious relationship and we attended family holidays together. We tended to get lucky on some holidays as most his family lived out of state, but would come here normally every other year to celebrate. This helped us be able to split the day so we could be with both families on those years versus having to choose which family we would be with. However, for those of you that have… how do you decide? Do you do Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with the other? Do you travel every year or tend to be home and travel for other events?

As much as many of us love the holidays, the shopping factor can bring on some stress. The grocery stores are overly packed unless you can go during nonpeak times. If you are anything like me, in the middle of cooking or starting stuff, you realize you forgot a few items. I believe this year for Thanksgiving, I went to the store three times and I actually had a list in hand and still forgot stuff. SMH, I can be a little sidetracked at times. The grocery store is normally just the start as it is followed by big shopping days on the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving. Man… I have had my share of Black Friday shopping woes. I was in high school when I experienced my first one. My mom sent me to the mall to pick up a Spanish speaking Furby for my cousin. As she really wanted this Furby and they were on high demand so my mom did not want them to run out. The better thing about that was because I didn’t have my car at the time, I had to get up and take her to work at like God knows what time and then head to another side of town to stand in a part of the mall, I didn’t even know existed. I recall looking and hearing all these adults that seemed so anxious, I was just sleepy. In my head I was thinking, I sure hope she loves this thing as I am losing sleep to pick it up. Lol. I love her like a sister so it was fine, but that early morning I was cold and a tad grumpy if I may add. As I got a little older my girls and I would get out in the madness for their kids and our nieces and nephews. I recall one night staying with two of my girls that lived together and going to Walmart. My first experience with that madness, it was surreal. People running through the store, still in pajamas, hair wrapped, slippers, people cussing at one another, us all going to different post to try and get stuff. For those of yall that know me, know I am non-confrontational for the most part and can be a little scary or uneasy in some situations. I was like these people are crazy, there was no way I was about to cuss, fight, or be a fool in a store over a toy or electronic. Now, that could be a different note with horrible customer service or someone attempting to cut in front of me in line. I wouldn’t just jump to acting like a fool, but politely correct or try first. My cousin and I went out a few years back to a Best Buy sale the night of Thanksgiving. I recall us getting there around 10 PM and bundled up. We saw people with tents that said they had been there for days. My thought… a few days, where do you use the restroom, shower, brush your teeth and what the hell is in here that is that much of a deal that you are spending days camping in front of this store. I may have just never have had that big of a need or want for anything that was on the list for Black Friday. I can say that all those wonderful experience make for great stories and laughs, but I haven’t really gotten involved in this in sometime. Do you find that those lines or hours of waiting are beneficial to your financial bottom line as most sales carry on and some are even better after Black Friday?

What’s your holiday dynamic? Traditions yearly or different every year? Do you and your family gather for holidays? Do you guys go out to eat or cook?

The Imprint of an Absent Father

I wonder if people understand the power they hold in becoming a parent. I don’t think it takes much to become one as we all know a few pumps can grant someone this… but to truly be a parent, not just in name but literally. As a dad, you don’t have to be a man mentally, but just sexually active with someone that is fertile. Let me get right in this folks as this this topic gets me on my soap box.

I was a girl that did have her father around as much as possible. I had a father that defined work ethic in everything he did. He believed in working and taking care of his kids. This man was not only focused on helping based on child support, but was willing to split other items needed with my mother on top of child support. When it came to me getting my first relaxer, going from glasses to contacts, dances, debate tournaments, clinical rotations, being a mediator, writing for the school newspaper and on to college; he was there every step of the way. He was a man that would work multiple jobs and make time to call, visit, etc. He did not have me every other weekend due to working odd early hours, but best believe he made time to leave his legacy behind. He was a man that believed in having real talks with me and didn’t sugar coat much. He had his flaws, but he made sure I knew as his daughter and many times called his twin that I knew he loved me unconditionally and that there wasn’t anything I could do that we could not discuss and work through. For this, I can be nothing but thankful for the time I had him on this earth. As we just passed the third year of him passing and I am determined to live his legacy to the fullest. It about killed me to make it through two funerals and when they started to lower him into the ground, all I could think of was how cold he would be and how alone he would be. I about lost it in that moment. I say all this to impress upon you folks, not looking for empathy. I’ve dealt with my grief. My questions to you as a father; are you leaving an IMPRINT, RESENTMENT, or a LEGACY???

I see so many men that handle up on their responsibilities and I couldn’t be more proud. The men out there are going to make sure, even if their baby momma is ignorant that they are paying child support, getting court documents in order to see their child and spend that time. A parent raising a child takes more than money to raise them to be productive citizens. So many people struggle with issues they never dealt with as a child due to lack of love or feeling important to their parents at a young age. I specifically wrote about fathers/dads in this segment, but there will be one about mothers in the future.

As a dad, you didn’t have to invest much, but to be a father much is required. It requires you to be selfless, aware, self-evaluating, etc. Many of us don’t mind the act in making these children, but aren’t ready to be a parent. Don’t get me wrong…we all enjoy the action to make them and have had times not being so careful. What do you do once that pregnancy stick is a + vs a -?? At the moment you are made aware, it is time to get your mind right. I am not saying it will be easy or something to do overnight, however, it is something’s you should sit and think about. I see so many of our (this is universal, not specific to one ethnicity) men take the route of ducking their head under their tale versus standing up for an innocent child you helped create. You aren’t willing to try and better yourself or think about the future seeds you will plant in this child by walking out the door. I wish I could hear from some of these JOKERS that walk out after things don’t work out with the baby momma, the wife, the mistress, etc. It truly brings tears to my eyes when you see these wonderful blessings from God (let me mind you that some people can’t reproduce) questioning themselves due to these piece of crap (I was thinking another word) men. Men that are too busy to help pay for this child because he is building another family or raising other children. Don’t get me wrong…. Some have distance between them and can’t be there for every activity and that is understandable. I am speaking of those that can’t seem to get out of some chicks butt long enough to keep up with visits, the one that can’t pay child support for their own kids but can help support her kids because that is who he is with at the time. What makes this ok? Do you think of what that child goes through along the way? Of course not!!! You aren’t there to deal with building that child’s spirit and reassuring them it isn’t them, it is the man labeled dad. You may be a dad, but can you be a father? If you can’t monetarily be there, can you be there emotionally? Can you be there to be your daughter’s first love, first date, first cheerleader and/or for your son to show him how to treat women, how to be a man, how to deal with issues men suffer through? Or does all that go out the window the moment that something better comes along or someone you don’t have to handle your responsibility because it means you can’t go out one or two weekends a month or that you can’t hang with who you are dating because your child needs your undivided attention. What is the price you are willing to pay for this?? What happens when that three year old starts to ask where daddy is? When they realize other kids mention their dad, but they have no memory of theirs. When you do come around sporadically and feel that child should have some internal pull towards you, but he/she has no idea who you are. So I ask, why come around if you won’t be consistent. The point when that pre-teen is starting to see things for themselves. The little one will start taking note that their father that only calls when it is convenient for him (not because the mom is mentioning this, but because they are old enough to start forming their own opinion). The dad that only offers to pick them up when they can spend time only if their girlfriend is free. WHAT THE HELL. (side note, women if this is your man and you are good with this, I am going to need you to self-evaluate) The dad that will come to lunch and buy holiday gifts, but doesn’t ask how school and other activities are going on the regular. The day that child gets to a point to see things for themselves… You absent fathers may want to get your shields up, because they will have questions and opinions one day of your behavior. Their comments and feelings may not be to your liking, but best believe they will be real. Please, please think about these little roots that lead to their soul that you are imprinting. I have seen so many people battle with this for most of their adolescent life due to daddy issues.

Is it enough to know that your daughter may grow up doubting herself because the man that should have first shown her unconditional love is absent? Will she turn to being promiscuous? Or dating men beyond her age bracket and maturity level due to searching for that love? Will she turn to men that show the same characters you do because she is searching for something missing? Is it enough to know your son will question his manhood? He will be unsure how to handle that feeling of how to be a man? How to deal with questioning his feelings through puberty? How to handle stress? How to be there for a woman? What is ok as a man or indifferent? Do you care about the imprint you are leaving on your legacy??? Are you walking away because your father wasn’t there for you? Is it ok to continue that chain of disappointment? If you grew up without your father, don’t continue the cycle. Break it…

One more thing, if you are present in the child’s life but are not fully active; this still applies to you. A child recognizes people that don’t really want to be bothered many times more often than adults. Dad’s that claim to be there, but really aren’t, can be just as damaging. If you are there and ignoring them on the weekends for video games, pawning them off every time you get them, etc… that is not spending time. What I will say, is be ready for that day when that child comes to you and explains they did not appreciate your presence as it was clear you didn’t want to be bothered. Yep… that is real.

For those that need proof in the pudding: ( I chose older stats on purpose…to let it be a reminder of how long the trend goes on… but best believe it goes way further back)

•Fatherless aggression: In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.”
Source: N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

•Hungry for love. “Father hunger” often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home.
Source: Alfred A. Messer, “Boys Father Hunger: The Missing Father Syndrome,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, January 1989.

•Dadless years: About 40 percent of the kids living in fatherless homes haven’t seen their dads in a year or more. Of the rest, only one in five sleeps even one night a month at the father’s home. And only one in six sees their father once or more per week.
Source: F. Furstenberg, A. Cherlin, Divided Families. Harvard Univ. Press. 1991.

•63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)

Do I have your attention yet? I wonder if now, will see the correlation of what an absent father can leave on a child. You have a comment? You feel like you have an excuse you would like to share?

The Day Texas Changed


The Day Texas Changed

I recall the days when my smiles were plentiful,
Sun shined brightly and my heart loved easily.
The simple joy of watching others have a great time, until…

One year in the Spring I took a trip with a friend only to return to a new journey,
To come off cloud 9 and discover my father was ill.
A turn of events became a whirl wind,
As he began to no longer be able to dress himself, drive himself, or sign his own documents
This was a life I had not known as this man had been a manly man.
He loved to cook, clean, dress nice, always laughing, and hardly complained.
Days and nights ran together as time flew by,
Trying to balance the new life of caring for my father, my career, and care for myself was a life I did not know.

From one change to the next,
How hard this must have been for a man, tha had been on his own since he was 17 and never returned home, now relied on his family and friends for the smallest things in life.
This illness swindled in and took his pride much like a tornado comes in and destroys a town.

One hospital trip turned into many endless trips.
His tarnished attitude lead to refusing surgeries, treatments, and diet plans.
The nurses and doctors soon advised there was nothing more they could do and in a matter of time his last breath would be taken.
They could not pinpoint the day, month, or years only that their work was done.
This all lead to reality hitting us both like a fright train.

One day the doctors advised he was in stable condition, but not out of the woods,
Within a week his body disagreed and he took a plunge to the other side.
One flat line was the short beginning to the end.
His journey wasn’t a yearlong and his fight was fought hard with the struggle between seeing God’s plan and accepting his part.
The day soon came where God gave him rest.
The days now go on, one by one, and time passes like nothing happened as my days pass like an eternity.
My days and tears all run together in the moments of wishing to hear his voice one more time, feel his hug, or watch Lifetime movies together with the back patio door open.
But the day he took his last breath, I knew… Texas had changed in a way that would never be the same