Being Thankful In A Pandemic

“Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16, 18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A lot of people think that with all that’s going on in the world, it would be hard to find things to be thankful for. But I beg to differ. In fact, I have even more to be thankful for during this pandemic. Life has been different for the last several months. We have had to do things we’ve never done, have conversations we’ve never had, and think thoughts we’d otherwise not think. But through it all, it’s a blessing to be able to be able to relay the things that I am thankful for nowadays. I’ve narrowed it down to five things that I’m thanking God for this year:

1. Family: I used to think it was crazy how close we were. People would laugh at how many cousins I had. And it would sometimes be annoying how we were always together every weekend. But when you don’t have the luxury of going to the birthday parties and the Sunday dinners, you feel different. It’s like a part of you is missing. So I have to say that I’m very appreciative of the way I grew up close to my aunts and cousins. The sleepovers, grandparents buying us back to school clothes, and the countless cookouts. My family is absolutely amazing!

2. Friends: I always say that our children will truly think we were crazy with the stories we have. And Lord knows we have endless stories about the craziest things ever. I’m almost afraid of whoever does the speech at my wedding. Anything that starts with “remember the time” will have me unplugging the microphone! I love my friends, the girls and guys. We have surely lived a fun life.

3. Church: Anyone who knows me can tell you I stayed at the church house. Whether it was rehearsal, Sunday school meetings, or second service, I loved being in the house of the Lord. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to go to church and never miss a Sunday. It pulled at my spirit to get amongst other believers to worship. From New Bethel to New Life, I have truly been blessed. From singing with Kevin Davidson to Tennessee Mass Choir, I’ve enjoyed being with the Saints in the presence of God.

4. Job: I must give a shout out to my coworkers in LA. In the midst of a pandemic, they were all that I had that remotely resembled family. I was feeling very low at one point, but the laughs were very much appreciated. They gave me kind words, fun times, and advice of where to eat. Everyone knows I love a good meal. I’m glad to have met such good people at PATH and The Center.

5. Sorority: Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority has been super clutch since I’ve been in LA. From Sorors inviting me to brunch to helping me have somewhere safe to stay. Lord knows I am thankful for kindhearted and intelligent poodles! I am glad I made the decision to join such an elite group of women.

One gospel song says count your blessings and see what the Lord has done. Well, it would take a lifetime to truly state the things I’m thankful for on a blog. Yes, things have been rough and people have lost loved ones and careers. But I’m so glad that God saw fit to keep me in the midst of it all. One thing is for sure, I’m still alive and will give God the praise every day. This week, let’s focus on the things that matter most and have a posture of thanksgiving. Be sweet!

My VP Looks Like Me

I wonder if parents truly believe it when they tell their children they can be anything when they grow up. I think of the black parents who patted their sons and daughters on the back when they mentioned wanting to be the future president. The parents were being kind, but all the while thinking of all of the unfortunate situations the black race has been through over years. Then a miracle happens and Barack Obama shines light on the dreams of those who shoot for the stars in the dream world. I believe that same sentiment occurred when they announced the first black woman Vice President in this country’s history. The fact that my VP looks like me truly gave me an inspirational boost.

If it’s one thing I know, it’s that no one can keep a determined person down for long. When a road block appears on your journey you have to take one of two options. You can either let it deter you from your purpose, or you can find new avenues to get to where you know you’re supposed to be. In the words of VP, this is truly an example of what believing in possibilities can do for you. This is what happens when you work for what you want with conviction despite what it looks like. Oppositions will always show up when you’re on the right path, but you have to have a determination within you that pushes through no matter what.

The biggest take away from this win is never say never. They never thought black people would survive the tribulations they went through from slavery to the civil rights movement, and now we’ve turned some heads. Our first black President showed us that we can and we will win. They never thought a woman would make it, but here we are again with the win. The only person who can stop you from getting to where you want to go is you. That means you have to do a self check and see how bad you truly want to succeed. Ask yourself what the one thing you need to do to offset your road to success. Then work for it with everything within you!

It’s A Win For Us All

Why is she acting like that? What gives her the right to shine? Who does she think she is? Those are things things we as Black women are going to hear from the haters. I hardly ever say the word haters, but anyone trying to stop your glow up is a flat out hater and they need to get somewhere and sit down. Matter of fact, they need to get up out of your business and mind the business that pays them. Yes, that escalated quickly and you’re probably thinking what is Monica B talking about today. Well, I’ll let you know now beautiful black women. Most of us will get a boost of confidence from the news of the first Black Vice President of The United States. With that will come the side eyes and questions that I started this blog off with very soon.

I’ve come to realize that the phrase black girls rock makes other races feel some type of way. Take notes y’all. This is in no way a phrase that is meant to diminish any other race of women, but to shine a light on our own. You see, black women have had to fight for the spotlight that they have so deserved for decades in this country. This country is used to the Rosa, the Maxine, and the Michelle. But we’ve grown up with the Big Ma, the TeTe, and all the other inspirational women who have made a difference in communities for ages. So our black girls rock mentality isn’t new, it’s a reminder that we needed so we can keep moving forward in excellence. We won’t apologize for being a positive voice to our own. Take it or leave it sweetie pie!

So the next time you feel the need to try and extinguish a black woman’s fire, be careful that you don’t get burned. We’re on fire and this is a very motivating time for us. Another black Miss USA, along with Kamala Harris…you can’t tell us nothing. So don’t try! If a person even tries, read them from cover to cover so they’ll know not to do that ever again! This is a call to black women who have felt like their brightness would never be as bright. This is for the ones who have even dimmed their own light out of fear of the brightness. Girl, it’s time for you to step into the light and show this world of many possibilities what you’re made of. [Drops mic, exits stage left]

Don’t Lose Your Mind During The Pandemic

Recently, I have been enjoying life and realized that I needed to write a relevant blog. I was thinking heavily on what the topic would be. Then I remembered the conversation last night with a good friend. I was very honest about how I was slipping into a slump from March to June due to this whole pandemic. I also thought about how I did a short PowerPoint for my sorority sisters about coping skills. So I thought it would be best to tap into ways to cope during all of what is going on. From the country being in slow motion, to working from home, to the children being homeschooled, it has been a bit much. Then to top it off, we have a very critical election that will determine our fate going froward into the pandemic. It’s a whirlwind of events going on that we have never encountered and we need a manual or guide to stay sane. So, I came up with a few things to consider. Pull up a seat and take notes!

First we need to pinpoint the things that have been wearing us thin…

  • Being in the house more than usual isn’t too fun unless you’re an introvert, and even then you want to have the option to go out.
  • Many of us are seeing just how “active” our kids really are. Maybe the teacher wasn’t lying on little Katie or Johnny.
  • Running errands has turned into you being a contestant in The Hunger Games. May the odds ever be in your favor. Germs everywhere!
  • You want to hang out with your friends, but you suspect their every cough or clearing of the throat as being the Rona. I will body slam you bestie!
  • Working from the house isn’t what we all thought it would be. For heaven’s sake, please learn how to mute your mic on these darn Zoom meetings.
  • No vacations!!! I am in a fetal position after typing those two words.

So now that we have come up with a few things that we are all mostly dealing with, let’s come up with some solutions to stay sane:

  • It may be hard, but try to focus on and work on some of your goals. Life hasn’t ended!
  • Take care of your body, eat heathy, take vitamins, and wear the freakin’ mask over your mouth AND nose.
  • Learn to say NO and stand by it. Don’t stress out with other people’s mess.
  • Start a side hustle or get a new hobby. Learn something new.
  • Cook your favorite things at home. Postmates, UberEats, and DoorDash are rich because of us. I promise it’s about $7 extra for the delivery.
  • Check on your family and friends and tell them you love them. People are passing away from this virus.
  • Get rid of things (and people) you don’t need. Downsize and prioritize!
  • Limit your social media time because it will depress you. Folks are wild nowadays.
  • Don’t drink too much because wine belly is a thing. (Goes to Google tummy tucks) Okay…settle down, don’t kill me!!!
  • Please try to stay calm when you’re repeating that Math problem for the third time to your kids. (Rethinks…Maybe drinking isn’t so bad!)
  • Don’t isolate yourself because depression will set in. FaceTime a friend to uplift your spirit.
  • Please stay home if you feel sick. It’s not worth it to contaminate everybody else.
  • Finish the degree honey, you owe it to yourself. Plus, you’ll probably get more money. Millionaire status!
  • Get some fresh air…not every place is contaminated.
  • Don’t let this pandemic limit your growth! You deserve the best!

The Cardiologist

They asked how it still worked

At one point I thought it had stopped

Broken, stabbed, ripped to shreds

Blood everywhere from the attack

Quickly on the table for operation

Mending was an in and out procedure

Only the best could have completed such a task

Healing was a process for me

But I knew my cardiologist would be my hero

He worked a miracle like no other

Beating strong and like brand new

The Social Butterfly Flies Alone

You usually don’t see a pack of butterflies together

They tend to explore this world alone

I suppose the cocoon prepares the butterfly to handle flying solo

The term social butterfly is an oxymoron

Time spent preparing to brave the world in isolation

Breaking free from what seemed like a jail

Only to become what you’ve been destined to be all along

Beautiful after a time of pruning

Ready to show the world your vibrant colors

The butterfly flies alone but leaves an impression on its viewers

I Don’t Want A White Horse & Carriage

Most people who truly know me know that I love Cinderella. Yes, I’ve been rolling with that home girl for a good minute now. As a kid, I wanted to watch any movie variations of Cinderella because the ending was great. It was the typical Disney white horse and a carriage fairytale. But now that I think about it, that hefa lied to us. Where did she get a fairy godmother? I want Whitney Houston to appear from nowhere and make me a ball gown and I want to sing a duet too. Don’t get me wrong, I want the happy ending, but I want real love, not the fairytale crap. Proceeds to sing “Real Love” by Mary J.

It’s funny that I never would have believed that I would be single with no kids at the age of 34. But single and settling are not synonymous in my book. My mother once said that she knew why I was single. I was waiting for something petty a mother would say, but instead she came through with the sermon. She said I was single because I didn’t settle. Girlllll…you surely know your daughter! What would I look like to be this age and just go for anything? Nope, not I. Again, the happy ending is the goal, but in a realistic none settling way.

Having standards, boundaries, and aspirations is the key. Going outside of your “type” could help too. This is where realistic comes into play. I’m sure some people get millionaire men, who are over 6 feet, drive a black Tesla, and live in a 3-story mansion in the hills. That’s cool and all, but how does he treat you? Yes ma’am, put your superficial thinking to the side because you’re going to wish you saw past the surface of a man once you start dating them. Dig deeper to get to the real deal honey, your happiness depends on it.

So as I write my grievance letter to Disney for setting us all up for the okey doke, I have to keep some things in mind for dating. Being in my thirties doesn’t mean I’m desperate for anyone ol’ guy. It actually means that I need to be more cautious of ending up with the wrong guy after waiting so long. It’s okay to have some standards, but my line is to not put God in a box. So as I wait (slightly impatiently) on this wonderful man from God, I have to make sure I’m also ready as a woman. Remember, Ruth was WORKING when she met her Boaz.

Love Verzuz Hate

Lately we’ve been putting the greatest musical geniuses up against each other. Most would say there were no actual winners because the win is in the unity of our people. The cultural experience that we have shared has been priceless. The unity of both rich and poor has been satisfying. Although these lyrical masters have allowed us to reminisce on the good times way back when, we still have an ongoing “Verzuz” every single day. Love has been put up against hate and the battle is strong. We would like to convince ourselves that love will win, but hate is putting up a good fight.

Hate is bringing back hit after hit, much of it from the past records. The songs hate have introduced are some heavy hitters. Police against a whole race, politicians against progression, and nations against nations. From the untrained eye and ear, it would seem as if hate is gaining way. But in the depths of my heart, I can feel love ready to show the masses just what it’s made of. Love is in the midst of coming through with a powerful punch that will turn this battle around.

Love has had some historical hits of its own if we would only take the time and recollect. When hate thought it was winning, peaceful protests were a staple in the civil rights era. When hate was grasping for the top, love entered into the picture through slaves teaming up to escape misery. The greatest and longest lasting love track was that of Jesus giving his life so that hate would never truly win. So it’s cool that we have this entertainment via Verzuz, as long as we all agree that love must win over hate. That’s the battle we must constantly give consideration to daily. Be sweet.

Wakanda Forever

I remember when the Black Panther movie came out and everyone was excited, but the black community was doing the absolute most. I saw a post that said that everyone needed to wear all black and I remember changing after church to be in uniform for the occasion. I even bought my boyfriend a Black Panther shirt for his birthday and he had to wear it to the premiere. It was amazing to see how black people stood in solidarity for a movie and in support of a strong black lead in a predominantly white industry. We chanted “Wakanda Forever” and greeted each other with the crossed arms across the chest for months. It was such a touching experience for our people.

Since Chadwick Boseman passed away, we have been reminiscing on his greatness and how he brought black people together. We got to see a person who looked like us as a king of a thriving nation and not as a thug. I began thinking about how we could truly have the Wakanda Forever mentality moving forward, and I’m not talking about a Marvel movie. I’m talking about the mentality that we as black people are kings and queens who deserve to thrive. We deserve to live in harmony and show the world we too are great.

I recently watched Black Panther and one quote stood out to me the most. Black Panther stated, “We must find a way to work together as if we were one single tribe.” That in itself is a whole sermon! With all the craziness going on in this world, one thing we need to do is work together. Yes we all have our differences, but togetherness is a must if this world is going to move forward. I feel as if we are stuck and our differences are holding a stop sign towards progress. We can’t all be the same, that would make for a boring world to live in. Remember, there’s power in numbers.

I’ve heard more than once that Chadwick Boseman is the epitome of “you never know what a person is going through.” Because of that sentiment, we should all be running to hug our loved ones (with a mask on). We should be trying to right our wrongs without hesitation. If we’re going to be proclaiming “Wakanda Forever” in the next few weeks out of respect for Chadwick, we can at least try to portray what that means. Black lives actually mattering, standing against racism, and being a light in a dark world. Each of us has the power as kings and queens to make a difference in this world, but it would be a lot easier if we did that together. Be sweet.

God Wrecked My Plans

When you looked at the title, you were probably thinking “this girl is crazy.” Hear me out! God did indeed wreck my plans, but I’m ever so thankful for it. As smart as I THINK I may be, nothing I can come up with tops God’s plans. The Bible even states that eyes haven’t seen, nor ears heard the good things God has in store for me. Therefore, I’m going to go out on a very sturdy and reliable limb and trust the creator of everything on the plans for my life. Maybe you should follow suit, and here’s why.

Have you ever thought that you had it all together only to find out you didn’t even have the same puzzle pieces from the same box? Yeah, that’s my life for sure. The things I thought would fit in my life were being forced into the spot. Talk about uncomfortable. Little did I know that if I had listened to God, I wouldn’t have had to bare needless pain. The days when I took a left and should have taken a right had my plans for life wrecked. But I’m so glad God allowed me to take a U-turn.

God saw that accident waiting to happen and put some road blocks in place to keep me from danger. I thought I wanted to move to Nashville and that wasn’t a good option for me. I thought I wanted to be married at 22, but thank God it didn’t happen. I thought one career path was for me, but I got a nudge in the right direction. All in all, God’s plans have been way more conducive for blessings than anything I could have dreamed of. The moral of the story is to just open your spiritual eyes and ears so you can make the most of your life. You’ll do this by following God’s voice. Be Sweet.