Respect: You Don’t Always Get the Right-of-Way

I ran a bunch of errands this past Friday. I live in a pretty good neighborhood and it was a really nice day( plus I have NO A/C and it’s Texas) so I had all my car windows down. When I pulled up to one of the stoplights,  there was a car in front of me. I saw a young  brother riding his bicycle, minding his own business. I guess he knew the person in the car in front of me because they proceeded to have a conversation at the light. It was ,cool.
It was a turning lane, and I guess we could have turned right on red, but I wasn’t in a rush, so I just let them talk. The car behind me, however, honked the horn just as the light was turning green. The car in front began to turn the corner and I proceeded to follow.

Before I could complete my turn, the kid on the bike stuck his head IN my window and said, “Slow your ass, trick!” and pedaled off. Not in a hurry like he felt any kind of fear or guilt, but slowly, as if with pride in the fact that he’d taken the opportunity to “set me straight”.

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WHAT THE HELL?

He was a nice looking, young teenager, probably still in high school. 15 at the most. He coulda been my little brother.

I kept driving, but the more I thought about what he did, the madder I got…and the sadder I got.
I was mad because he was flat out rude and disrespectful, AND he was directing his words at the wrong person.  I was mad because of his arrogance and his carelessness.
I was sad because I could see how something like this could escalate into a more serious situation. Road rage is REAL. This is Texas. And people are mean sometimes.

So, I turned my car around.  ( I have a lil’ bit of crazy in me too…)

As fate would have it, he was at the gas station buying some snacks and Gatorade.
When he saw my face, his whole demeanor changed. He was shocked! He might have even been scared. I’m sure he didn’t expect to ever see me again. But,
I let him know I just wanted to talk to him real quick about what just happened.
I asked him if he was the young man who called me a trick, etc. He said,  “Yes ma’am, but, oh I’m sorry I didn’t mean any disrespect or harm.”
I asked him why he felt that it was ok to do what he did and say what he said to a perfect stranger, a woman, no less.

He said, “Cuz you honked the horn”.

I let him know that first if all, it wasn’t me, and he apologized some more. But I also told him that even if it was me, he needed to be more careful. You cannot violate a person (or a person’s space) with words or actions and think that it’s ok. What if I wasn’t there to just talk? What if I meant to “get back” my respect? What if I was a white man in a truck? What if I was a black man in a truck? Would he have been as reckless?  We talked about being respectful  to ALL people, even when they do you wrong, cuz you don’t know how what you do will affect people. By the end of the conversation we were laughing and joking.

I asked him to please be careful and to think first in the future. Just because you feel a certain way about someone, or something they did you must always THINK about whether YOUR REACTION will set something bad into motion. Evaluate the risk of what you plan to do. As a kid that’s probably kinda hard, but in this day and age, some people don’t care how old you are when all they’re trying to do is get back at you.

I thought about not talking to him. I don’t know what he had in his backpack…he coulda been crazy, too. But to me, if I didn’t say anything to this young man, who would? He could say something tomorrow to another person… and end up on the news. I PRAY NOT. I know I tried to impart some wisdom into this child, someone else’s baby. I hope that if my little niece and nephews or my future kids decide to act out, someone else takes the opportunity to talk to them without flying off the handle first, or pulling out a gun, or following them with bad intentions.

I got back in my car. He apologized again and said “If you see me again, don’t run me over!”  I promised I wouldn’t.
I hope I do see him again…

Stamps on My Passport

In just under 100 days, I will be boarding a plane to Cameroon, fulfilling my dream of going on a medical mission trip. I’ll keep you guys posted!! Check out Faith Gardens Medical Center,Intl.  This is the organization’s first medical mission. I’m honored to be going with some really great,  caring doctors and nurses. Next year will be even better!!
Do you have any tips for international travel? Have you ever been to Africa? What’s something you wish you’d known before you got there?

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This is papaya tree in Camaroon, courtesy of picafric.com

The Kids of Asemkow

One Dallas Chick:

Amazing photos! Every single one made me smile!

Originally posted on Ryan Bolton's Website:

The kids in Ghana are full of life. In all of my travels, they are some of the most happiest, proud and beautiful kids I’ve ever met. And they love to have their photos taken as you will quickly see. I just returned from a 2 week stint photographing with Me to We in small villages along the ocean coast of Ghana. I was tagging along with a great bunch of high school students from Hunstville that were helping build a school for these very kids in Asemkow. The following is a first set of photos from the trip that I will publish. Many more to come.

For now, enjoy these happy faces of Ghana.

Ghana Kids 1

Shot in Asemkow, Ghana. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Ghana Kids 2

Shot in Asemkow, Ghana. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Ghana Kids 3

Shot in Asemkow, Ghana. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Ghana Kids 4

Shot in Asemkow, Ghana. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

Kids in Ghana 21 Shot in…

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Love: It’s kinda like money

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Why do you invest money?

You invest money in the hopes that you will make more. It’s a means of getting better financial stability and security. You don’t deposit your money in banks with 0% interest rates, or buy up every stock, or go betting on anything and everything that “looks” good, do you? You compare interest rates, look up rates of return, gain and losses, etc. You hire an expert or, you do your homework. How much moreso should we do our homework on the people in our lives?

Your heart is like a bank filled with love- love for family, love for all mankind, and for the people you have chosen to be in your life. These are your friends, your husbands, your lovers, your boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. They don’t have to be there, but you allow them because you know they have value and add value to your life by the nature of their relationships.
It’s easy to love the people you’re supposed to love.  Family is family, no matter what. These other folks…are a different story. When it comes to these risky dealings, you must invest the contents of your heart wisely.
Investing time, energy, love, and emotions in people who say one thing and do another, continuously hurt you intentionally or perhaps unintentionally because of their insensitivity to your needs, or just by their sheer selfishness is tantamount to buying shares of a stock that has a negative rate of return. But sometimes, we continue to hemorrhage our love onto and into people even when they have shown that they don’t appreciate it, recognize it’s value, or even really WANT it…because we are human.  It’s hard to divorce people you truly love and care for, even when they don’t return your investment of love. We do it because we need relationships with people, and when our investments are returned the feeling is AMAZING!   A good friend/spouse/relationship is PRICELESS! It’s like winning the lottery!

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That is why we have to seriously and honestly evaluate the people we allow to be around us, in us, beside us… behind us.
Think about your love deposits.
Do you get back what you give? Is it a sporadic return every now and then? Are your deposits handled with care? Taken for granted? Discarded? Unaccepted? Accepted with a disclaimer or a stipulation?
Some people are going to take what you give and not give anything back. You might need to divorce those people.

I’ve made risky love investments. They hurt more than losing any amount of money. My love funds have been given freely, even undeservedly…if that’s even a word.  I try not to repeat the same mistakes, but that’s hard to do when all you want back… IS THE LOVE YOU GIVE.

I thank God for His  limitless supply of love and it’s exponential return rate. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to forgive the people who have taken advantage of the investments I’ve made in them. But, I do forgive them. And I won’t stop investing in people. #justprayingformysafereturn

Things I’m Dying to Ask My Mother

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This sassy lady is my mom. This is my most favorite photo of her. Ever. She’s put together. Classy. Look at those legs! I wish I had long legs like she did.

She was a fabulous woman who loved God…and shoes. She could always find the jazziest pumps for her big size 11-12 feet.  I’m sure that’s where I got my borderline obsession with shoes from. No matter what was going on in our lives, my mother put her best foot forward, figuratively and literally.
She successful raised 6 children, partially on her own.

This is us on a Sunday before church.

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That little boy on my dad’s lap is my nephew.  I think I’m 10 in this pic ( in the red and white dress) so he’d be about 2 or 3. My mom raised him until he started going to school.    On a side note see how long and thick that ponytail is? It goes about halfway my back. I had HAIR yall!

As time passes, I realize that the list of things I’d ask my mom is getting longer and that makes me kinda sad. It means I’m experiencing life and all its joys and pains without her. She died when I was 23. I’ll be 34 this year.

I don’t want to forget her views and opinions about life, even though she was beyond strict, super spiritual, and very hard to talk to about “regular” stuff. Her catch all response to almost any question was, “What does the Word say?”  Or “No.”

Me: “Ma, can I have a boyfriend?”
Her: “What does the Word say?”/”No”

Me: “Can I go to college outta state?”
Her: “No.”

Me: “Can I talk on the phone?”
Her: “To who? You shoulda said what you needed to say at school. No.”

I never understood why she was SO strict. I made good grades, I never got in trouble, I did my chores, I never was disrespectful, or rude, or anything. She had an iron grip for reasons beyond my comprehension…so I snuck around and had a few boyfriends at school. They didn’t last long though cuz who wants to date somebody WHO CAN’T EVEN GO ON A DATE?!

At any rate, I am where I am today not just because of choices I made, but also because of choices she made. So, I wonder some things, and I wanna ask her. Because I need her insight. Because I want to know her opinions about this adult woman I have become. Because I just want to. And, because I can’t.
I like to think that she’d relate to me differently now that I’m grown.

If I had the opportunity:

Mommyyyy!

Can I have a hug?

I stayed in nursing school like you told me, and I finished on time! I’m a for real nurse. How proud are you?

I make pretty good money. Want some shoes?

I didn’t marry Terrence. I probably never would have become a nurse if I had. He did exactly what you predicted. How relieved are you? Ugh, you were so right!

I cut my hair off. Almost all the way. Are you mad? Do you like it?

Yes, I’m still single. I hate it. What am I doing wrong?

We have a black president! Are you shocked and amazed? Weren’t you and daddy republicans, though?

Grandma is ok. She asks why you don’t come, and I hate telling her why. I think she gets it sometimes. What should I say to make her feel better? What would you say?

Is heaven for real?  Can you describe it? I believe it, but somehow I’ve turned into a person that tends to always need proof before I believe something. It been rough for my faith sometimes, especially since you died. I Google EVERYTHING!

Do you know what Google is? It’s awesome!

Can I have another hug?

What made you marry daddy? Did you really want to have all 6 of us? Did you really forgive him? Did you ever want him back?

Are you ever going to like anybody I date?

Don’t you wish you’d gotten remarried? I do.

I’m scared I’ll never get married or have kids. How am I supposed to deal with this?

What do you think of John’s wife?

Do you see all the stuff I do? I drink, I curse sometimes, I don’t go to church every Sunday. Do you see all that?
…Sorry. I’ll try to do better.

What does Jesus look like for real?

I really miss you. Can I have another hug?

What’s your recipe for homemade chili?

Remember when you read my diary? That was so uncool, but I’m kinda glad you did.

Is there anything you wanna tell me or warn me about?

This could go on forever so I’ll stop here.

Hug your mamas if you can! Call them!  Ask them anything and everything if you can. Write it down and cherish the words. Trust me on this.
Thanks for reading :-).

6 Months In…

Here it is! My first blog post, and what is it about? Hair. So many people are talking about and participating in the natural hair movement. Here’s my 2 cents!

I did a big chop 6 months ago after transitioning for 7 months. My relaxed hair wasn’t damaged or unruly. It was actually very healthy and grew very easily.

I had a GREAT FOUNDATION! My mom had five girls, and she washed and pressed our hair every Sunday before church. I learned how to take care of my hair from my mother.

Check out my baby fro… and fifth grade flow

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I didn’t big chop to jump on the “bandwagon”. I decided to go natural out of curiosity. I wanted to see what my hair could do. I often explored endless styling  possibilities with my relaxed hair. Twist-outs, Bantu knots, braid outs, spiral sets, straw sets, sew- in weaves and braids were my BFF’s. I liked my options and I liked doing my hair. The only thing was, my curls ALWAYS died before the day ended. Forget going to the gym! The styles had no staying power.  And, I  could never achieve the fullness and the tightness of curls that I’d seen on ladies who’d embraced the practice of wearing their hair without relaxers.

I tried transitioning, but in between the braids, the battle was REAL! I couldn’t get a comb through my roots without crying or tearing out gobs of my hair. I never experienced breakage like I did when I was transitioning. The amount of hair I was losing was crazy and scary!! The two textures were torture. I could always take care of my hair and keep it healthy, but this was too much for me to handle.  So one day in the shower, I grabbed a pair of scissors and ended my misery. I cut off about 5 inches of my hair.

For a split second, I thought I would cry. My long hair was a part of my identity, and it was almost all gone. I couldn’t pull it in a ponytail on a lazy hair day or swoop my bangs to cover a random pimple. Did I just screw myself over?? Did I cut off too much? Was it even EVEN? As soon as I got out of the shower, I went to Supercuts and had a stylist named Kellyn finish the cut. She did a pretty good job. And, she solidified my decision. It was the best hair decision I’ve ever made.

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Chop Day: July 27, 2013. I’ve had it cut one time since my BC. That was in October.

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November 9, 2013

And, this is me yesterday, February 14,2014. 6 Months In.

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Valentine’s Day. I celebrated by loving me! I love my curls, I am loving the freedom they bring, and I am loving the journey! I am eager for the versatility and the options that I’ll have with my new texture once it grows out some more. I can’t really play with it at this length.  I can’t wait to see my one year pic (if I can stay away from the scissors…Lord help!) My hair goal for 2014 is to keep it growing and maybe try some more color.

What are some of your hair goals? Have you thought about a new shade or a new length?  So many of my friends have given up and gone back to perming their hair. They say it’s too hard and that their hair “doesn’t curl right” or doesn’t grow fast enough. I think it’s just a matter of finding the right product for your hair and having the patience to sort through all the wrong ones until you find it.

What are some things you wish you’d known before you became a natural hair queen? Have you thought about giving up? What keeps you motivated to stay natural?

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll follow me. I promise my posts wont be all about hair. :-)