The Intentional Parent

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I will never forget the day I learned I was going to be a mother for the first time.

It was late Spring 1994. I was in my 24th journey around the sun, single and trying to find myself. I kept having abdominal pains and horrible indigestion, so I made my way to the clinic to get checked out. I figured my ulcer was rearing its ugly head again and I’d be needing medication. Imagine my face when the doctor returns and says, “Ma’am, you are expecting.”

Come again?

Say what now?

Whew chile. I wasn’t ready. It took me a minute to digest that one. Once it had settled in my spirit that I was going to be a mommy, I was like, ok, let’s do this. I have always loved babies, but I was clueless about raising children. However, I was determined to get the 411. I had too many aunts, cousins, etc. not to learn what I needed to know to raise my little one.

Fast forward to the end of December 1994. My little mini-me made her grand entrance (a day late, but hey) via c-section after 14 hours and 41 minutes of labor. I held her and gazed at her chubby little face. I knew at that moment that the real work was about to begin.

Oh, I’m not talking about diapers and bottles and baths and no sleep and feeding around the clock. Yes, that’s par for the course with having babies. But I’m talking about raising children. And the real work goes far beyond the basics of keeping them clothed and fed. The real work in child-rearing is in the development and validation of the child, the mental, spiritual, and emotional nurturing and support of the child; all of which comes about via two words: Parental Presence. Wait, make that three words: Intentional Parental Presence.

Parental Presence is self-explanatory. You have to be there. You have to be present and visible, actively present and visible, in your child/children’s life. That’s a given. Here’s why I added intentional:

My mom was 22 and single when she had me. She immediately went to work to take care of me, and my aunt (and uncle), who raised her, insisted on keeping me while she worked. Which turned into a permanent thing. There was no debating with them, so she left me with them. But every chance she got, she was at the house spending all the time she could with me. She was intentional on being present and involved in my life. The same with my sister when she came along; she was married by then, and Dad Henry’s parents got my sister (to watch her while they worked, which ended up being permanent as well). As we grew, we knew who was raising us, who we lived with, but there was never a doubt about our parents or their love and presence. We talked to them daily and they came and spent as much time with us as humanly possible. They were intentional on not only being there physically but being involved and interacting and guiding us as well. And this was from birth until The Most High called both their spirits back home.

Because I had the benefit of such parenting, I knew I would do nothing less than the same when mine came along. The babies I carried and birthed were (are) my charge to keep, and when I was not at work, I would be with them and they with me. Nobody would bear the responsibility of raising my babies except me. Don’t get me wrong, I had (have) a willing and able village lending support, and I have accepted it with immense gratitude. But ultimately the weight belongs to me, and I shoulder it gladly. Yes, I made mistakes along the way. But I stayed my course and I stayed right by their sides and do so until this day. I have shouldered my responsibility as a parent from conception to this present moment and will continue to do so until The Most High sees fit to call our spirits back.

I’ve said all that to say this: when you’ve accepted and carried your responsibility as a parent from conception until whatever present time, you can give your child/children guidance, wisdom, advice, etc.; you can give them the good, the bad, and the ugly. And 9 times out of 10, they’ll accept it. Maybe with a grain of salt; maybe with a rolling of the eyes; maybe they’ll throw it in the ‘trash’ in the back of their mind (but they won’t empty it). Nonetheless, they’ll accept it. You’ll know for certain they have because they’ll come back to you one day and say “Thanks mom/dad, I remember what you said. You told me right”. They accept and keep your words not only because it’s sound advice, but because it came from a parent who was there. Intentionally Present.

There’s a flip side to this though. There are those of us who either had or have parents who were or are not there, or ‘we’ are the parent who was or isn’t or has not been there. And when you have that situation, it’s difficult to manage and maneuver. Allow me to give you an example:

A young man, ‘Tim’, was raised by his father and bonus mother; his biological mother left to do her own thing when he was a toddler, but over the years they’ve mended the rift and built and maintained a decent relationship. He grows up, meets a lovely young lady, and they decide to get married. ‘Tim’ decides it would be a nice gesture to invite his biological mother. She arrives a week before the wedding and inserts herself into the planning. She has opinions on everything, from the venue, to the food, to the music, to the ceremony details. Even the bride’s gown, which she deems ‘too plain’. Her intrusive opinions almost ruin the time of celebration; ‘Tim’ has to remind her that 1) she’s a guest, period; 2) she has not contributed to the cost of the wedding at all; and 3) she was not there for him growing up, so her opinions on his wedding are irrelevant. 

Another example:

‘Devon’ was raised by her mother and bonus dad. Her biological father left before she was born, and despite efforts to forge a relationship or at the very least, some form of contact between them as she was growing up, he remained distant and uninvolved. ‘Devon’s’ mother and bonus dad divorced when she was in her early 20’s but she remained close to him. Her biological father got wind of the divorce and contacts first her mom then ‘Devon’ via social media. She ignores him for a while, but as curiosity got the best of her, she responds. They meet and manage a civil conversation, and they keep in touch. ‘Devon’ posts much about her life, her accomplishments and such, on social media, and the biological father inserts his unsupportive opinion on everything, putting a huge damper on her otherwise happy moments. The last straw comes when she posts of her engagement to her boyfriend of 2 years. Bio-Dad states, on her public and very joyful post, that she’s “too young and not ready for marriage”. After a brief but heated exchange, ‘Devon’ deletes and blocks him on all her social media and deletes his number. 

Intentional. Presence.

It’s all well and good, and wonderful even, when you can mend fences after years of estrangement and move forward in peace and love. And it’s fine when you can come together, and the formerly absent parent can be involved going forward, even giving advice and guidance from time to time. But what that parent has to realize is this: when you make it to the game in the 4th quarter, 4th down, with 30 seconds left on the clock, it’s too late to try to coach and tell the player how to score a touchdown from the opposite end of the field. In other words, you can’t come into an adult child’s life and try to raise them like they’re still 5 years old. It ain’t happening. And you can’t come in barking at them like the ringmaster at the circus. If you’re graciously allowed access to your adult child’s life, and you’re graciously allowed to offer advice or guidance, you’d do well to temper your words with all the humility that is at your disposal. If not, you’ll find yourself back on the outside with access denied.

A child growing up with one parent willfully and intentionally absent has enough emotional baggage to deal with that carries itself into their adult life. They feel left out, cast aside, not good enough. They ask the question “Why didn’t he/she want me?” And that’s the most painful thing to hear a child say. I’ve been there, I’ve felt that way. They’re filled with a myriad of conflicting emotions. They want their parent, but they don’t need that parent trying to raise them and they’re an adult already. They want the advice and the counsel, but they don’t need the negative energy being barked at them. They want that additional family support, but they don’t need the on-and-off, ‘sometimes I care when I feel like it’, ‘stepchild’ type treatment they get that makes them feel like a mutt at the pound. They would rather be left alone than to accept shabby, half-a$$ed treatment.

And by the way, parental respect for one who hasn’t been around, has to be earned. And you have to give that same level of respect. They’re your son or daughter, but they are no longer a child. They deserve respect. You are not owed anything just because you dropped an egg or a sperm for the cause. Anyone can do that. You get respect when you step up as a parent and do the right thing in the right way.

Parental Presence. INTENTIONAL.

Just Like The Plantation

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DISCLAIMER: What you are about to read may just p!$$ some of you off, and that’s fine. Because if it makes you think, then I’ve done my job. Read on…

I and my generation (and my parents’ generation, and their parents’ generation, and so forth) were raised diligently on Proverbs 13: 24, which reads:

He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chaseneth him betimes (KJV)”

Or, as the NIV (New International Version) reads:

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

Along with that verse, parents (grandparents, etc.) relied on Proverbs 23:13-14 for child rearing and discipline, which reads:

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (14) Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (KJV)”

The NIV says it this way:

“Always correct children when they need it. If you spank them, it will not kill them. (14) In fact, you might save their lives.”

And so it has been. For as long as I remember, I, along with my siblings and cousins, got ‘corrected’ with the belt, the switch, the shoe, the spoon, the flyswatter…you get the point. Nine times out of 10, we would have to go retrieve the tool of correction (“Go brang my belt gal!” “Go get me a switch offa dat tree!”). I didn’t take too kindly to the pain of the whipping, so I learned my lessons very quickly; especially after that time I got snatched up by my ankles. That was it for me.

I grew up on that method of discipline, and as I’ve often said, I turned out well. So did my sister, and a number of cousins. We stayed off the streets, stayed in school, stayed out of jail, stayed off drugs, and grew up right respectable. When we had children, we continued the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ method of discipline. We hit a few bumps with a couple of our kids and had to apply the rod a little more often and a little more forcefully, but we made it through. Now our kids are grown and doing well in life. Sounds good, right?

Or is it? See, I’ve always been an observant person. I watch things very closely, and over the years, as I’ve observed different family dynamics, particularly in the area of discipline, I note that my spirit has become sorely vexed. For the life of me, I could not put my finger on why I was so bothered by the discipline being dished out; I mean, I found myself cringing at what I would see and hear. I remained puzzled until one day I was reading through some articles and viewing some pictures about slavery and life on the plantation, and it hit me like a big bucket of bricks: ‘we’ are doing to our kids what Massa done to us.

Whew chile. That thing struck me so hard I almost cried. I’m not talking about a loving parent giving a light three-lick tap on the hand with a ruler and directing the child to their room without dessert. I’m talking about an adult raging at a child and causing them to shrink down to nothing. That ain’t cool. And I know what you’re probably going to say, the same thing I used to say: “I got my a$$ tore out the frame and I turned out fine.” But did we really turn out fine? Are we really ok? I don’t know about you, but I’m 50 years old and I jump and cringe when people yell and argue and fuss and cuss. And don’t let me be around when a ‘parent’ (for lack of a better word) yells and cusses at a child. I get knots in my stomach and it feels like I want to vomit. It crushes my soul, knowing that we’ve taken parental discipline to a whole other downward level. We collectively and generationally perpetuate the master/slave dynamic in our families.

How so? I’m glad you asked. You do know how slaves lived and were treated, don’t you? Basically, it was:

  1. Do what Massa say, when he say, and how he say.
  2. If it wasn’t done just how he wanted, get cussed out and beaten.

**Now, let me stop here and clarify a couple of things. First, by NO means am I minimizing or trivializing the horrific treatment of slaves, period. Second, there is no comparison of parenting in general to literally owning another human and their entire family and their descendants (although something can be said for the mentality of some parents and grandparents who do act like they own their children and grandchildren-but I digress). What I am speaking to is the mentality of Massa’s level of control and how that control was exercised over another more vulnerable human.

And such control is what we have going on in so many of our families now. We struggle to keep the family foundation solid, but it crumbles because we continue to perpetuate the dynamic that almost took us out of here. Think about what takes place in so many homes and among so many families:

  1. A child is given instruction to do something. When they don’t get it exactly right, they get yelled at or cussed at or beaten; sometimes all three.
  2. A child gets a list of instructions rattled off to them, do this, do that, go bring me this, put this up, take this here, etc. Before they can get one task done, they get 10 more. They miss one, they get yelled at or cussed at or beaten. Or all three.
  3. Children act up. Sometimes they get a lick or two with a belt. Or sometimes, they’ll get a dozen hard-as-hell licks with a broomstick, then they have to figure out how to hide the bruises, or the scars it leaves if it breaks.
  4. “I brought you in this world. I’ll take you out.”
  5. “You gone do what I say or get out.”
  6. “I gave you life.”
  7. And how many children have gotten their first job and been all excited to make their own money, only to have the parent take nearly their entire paycheck? “You gone help take care of these bills.”

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point, which is, for generations some parenting is nothing more than glorified slavery exercised by the ones who are supposed to love, nurture, and protect them. Instead of raising beautiful children to become productive adults, folks are out here breaking these babies, killing their spirits, and tossing them out to the wolves before the ink is dry on their high school diploma. I’ve heard of parents/grandparents who willfully mistreat the child just because they’re the adult and they feel like it’s their right. Children have had frying pans and pots thrown at them, had doors slammed into them; because a chore wasn’t completed to perfection, the entire house was purposely torn apart and the child made to clean it back up to perfection. And please, let’s not forget the emotional trauma. The name-calling and such (“wit’ yo dumb a$$” “sit yo stupid a$$ down” “you ain’t gone never be nothing”) is absolutely reprehensible. This type of treatment is hardly what Proverbs meant.

And we keep it going. Madear threw shoes and called your mama or daddy a ‘dumb a$$ b!+@&’ and they in turn did it to you, and you’ve done it to your kids, Then wonder why they act out, run away, or leave home as soon as they turn their tassels. It’s because they’re tired and they want to be free. They want off the plantation.

We have to do something different people. A child can be ‘trained up’, a child can be disciplined, without the mental, emotional, and physical trauma. Authority can be exercised, in love, without being raging fiends towards these babies. Respect can be earned and received without harsh, cruel demands; that’s not respect anyway, that’s fear, and there’s zero love involved. We have enough strikes against us culturally as it is, without striking down our own future. No one has to be like Massa to master parenting. The physical plantations of slavery are long gone; it’s beyond time to eradicate the emotional plantations we’ve carried for so long. Shut ‘em down.

That Church

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I was raised in the church.

The good old, down-home, rural Southern Baptist church. The wooden framed one that sat way out on a long, lonely road deep out in the country. The one in which the paneled walls reverberated with the acapella renditions of the old Dr. Watts hymns, sung off key by the passionate elderly deacons and echoed by the church mothers clad in white and never losing their wide white hats.

I was raised in the church.

The one whose congregation was made up of about 2 or 3 families who were connected by their unwavering love for the Lord. The one that held Easter programs and gave out Easter speeches. The one that held week-long revival meetings culminating in a full ‘moaning’ bench. The one where the beat was kept by wing tips and Dr. Scholl’s patting the wooden floor in sync.

I was raised in The Church. THE Church.

The one where a young man, worn and haggard, ravaged by years of being on “that stuff”, would wander in, and the deacons would ease over to him, take him and get him water (to drink and for his face), while one of the mothers would grab him a plate from her house across the street. When he was satiated, they would gather in a circle and pray over him. Or, the young lady who was “fass”; the first thing the mothers would do is grab a sheet or baptismal robe and cover her exposed flesh, then get her satiated and pray over her as well. The visitor would get the kind (but firm) “now baby, you’n need to be out dere doing all dat. Gone home to ya folks, get in school or get you a trade. And make sho you come on back to chuch hear? Imma be lookin’ fa ya.”

I was raised in THAT Church.

My aunt and uncle, faithful church members, were in their late sixties when I came along. They took and raised me so my mom (22 and single) could work (they raised her as well). Auntie and Uncle kept me in church, and at 12 years old I joined the “moaning” bench and got baptized. Growing up, church was a must; but it was also a joy. I come from a long line of people who were faithful church members and it reflected in their actions. Mom sang in the choir; Dad is a Pastor; Auntie and Uncle were ushers; mom’s brothers were deacons and her sister was an usher; her mom was a church mother; the list goes on. Everyone I grew up with in the church displayed Godly agape love. Were they perfect people? Of course not. But they demonstrated the love of Christ to the best of their abilities. The church as I knew it, as was demonstrated, the church that raised me, exemplified the mission as outlined in The Word.

It was pretty much the same when I was a young adult, in my early twenties, single with a little one of my own. My cousin invited me to church with her one Sunday, one she’d been attending for a while. I hadn’t been in a minute, so I was both nervous and excited. I enjoyed service so much that I kept going and soon joined the congregation. It was a small wooden church, reminiscent of the church I grew up in, right down to the close-knit families and the genuine love. Right down to the regular revivals and special programs that provided special involvement for the kids. Right down to the Dr. Watts and the mothers and deacons and deaconesses who prayed over wayward souls and made them feel welcomed and loved. They helped me many times when I was struggling. I stayed in that membership until I got married. It’s been over 20 years and I’ll see members and former members, and the love and warmth are still genuine. A testament to the spirit that was so rich there.

And then it all changed. The church went from the people’s hearts to buildings with people in them. I’ve visited several churches in the years since then, and I can count on one hand (with fingers to spare) how many congregations still reflect genuine, Godly, agape love. I’ve been to way too many places where it’s competition over Christianity, fame over Faith, self over Salvation. If Kingdom population is dependent on the actions and character of the church of today, then the Golden Streets are going to be pretty quiet…

So, what happened? What changed? And how can we fix it??

I can only speak from my observations.

Overall, as society has become more modern, more progressive, more forward thinking, the church has fallen down the rabbit hole and lost sight of its mission and commission. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being modern, progressive, and forward thinking. But when those attributes take precedent over having love and heart for our fellow man, those attributes become foul markers of a stagnant and virtually useless entity.

As I said, I can only speak from my observations. From over 20 years of growth in churches that actively demonstrated His love, to another decade in churches that revealed a truly disheartening state of “Christianity”, here’s what I’ve noted, and what I see needs to happen, if we are to truly reflect the love of The Most High and win souls:

  1. All Talk, No Action: this is the biggest item, in my opinion. A few years ago, a loved one was in dire straits, lights were about to be cut off, which didn’t really matter because they were facing eviction. We called a few churches for assistance, only to be turned away at every hand. One rep said, “We don’t do that”. I was floored. I realize that the church can’t fix everyone’s problem. But to take no course of action when your fellow man is in deep need? Not even $20? They didn’t even offer a prayer. But these are the same churches with big congregations in the pews and expensive luxury cars in the parking lot. Make it make sense.
  2. Judgment At The Door: most people who don’t attend church, don’t go because church people are the most judgmental. A sad and unfortunate truth. Let a haggard homeless person wander into the sanctuary of one of these nice upright churches. People will start holding their noses; women will clutch their purses tight; and the men will put on gloves and escort him out. Let a young lady not moderately dressed come in. She’ll get 50 shades of side-eye from the prim and proper congregants, along with snide whispers. And, she’ll be the topic of the Pastor’s message. No one will say a word to her directly; but the stares, whispers, and slick shade-thrown-from-the-pulpit sermon will speak volumes. And she won’t be back. Souls, gone. Make it make sense.
  3. Lost Leading The Lost: no one I know is comfortable in a church full of hypocrites. The ones who loft up holy hands every Sunday (or Saturday, whichever is applicable) and turn around and slap you with both hands Monday through Friday. The general consensus is this: Passa can’t tell me nothing and he’s got a baby by the girl down the street, with his married-with-3-kids self. Deacon Jones can’t say nothing about my sin and he’s creeping in the bathroom with Lil Damien from the choir. And Ms. White, don’t you say nothing to me about me being in school and pregnant and I seen my classmate leaving out the back door of your house with his shirt off and you had on that lil skimpy nightgown. Basically, as the old classic gospel song says, “Sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around mine”. I mean, really. You preach at me, and you’re on a slow fall to Hell? Please, Please, MAKE IT MAKE SENSE.

I could go on and on, but HOPEFULLY you get the point. We have got to get it together people. If you are going to be an effective ministry, you have some work to do:

  1. HELP PEOPLE. Maybe your ministry can’t afford to pay that rent or light bill, but you can pray (SINCERELY) with them and get them a meal, so at least they won’t be hungry in their situation. In other words, Do Something.
  2. STOP JUDGING. You’re so saved and sanctified, surely you’ve heard of Matthew 7:1-3? “1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” So you know, the same way you turned your nose up at that wayward person that came into your precious space, that’s the same way The Most High will turn his nose up at you when you try to slide through the Gates. Think about it. Stop Judging.
  3. BE THE EXAMPLE. And if you can’t control your sin, sit down and stop causing other people to stumble. Sit. Down.
  4. TELL THEM, IN LOVE, AND LET IT BE. You lose souls when you constantly berate, browbeat, and beat them over them head with doctrine. If you shove a tablespoon of grits in a 6-week-old baby’s mouth, that child will choke and die. Think About It.

If you’re really a Christian, and your church/ministry is really about Jesus, then follow His example. He didn’t come at people all hard, throwing the Bible at them and beating them down with it. Go back and read and study. WWJD? He would:

  1. Meet The Need: whatever the immediate physical need was, He took care of that FIRST.
  2. Be Gentle, and BRIEF: with their need met, their interest was piqued. They would inquire, and He would give them a loving and succinct reply. The seed was planted. That’s it. Period.

That’s all you need to do. People (Souls) have needs. They can’t receive what you have to say until those needs are met. People have feelings. It’s detrimental to the effort to spew harsh judgment at the next person; a dogmatic tirade has no place in a conversation on love and salvation. Show some love, empathy, and above all, RESPECT. Once they know you care, and you are sincere (that is, not bragging all on the news and social media about what you did for them), they’ll instinctively want to know more. Give them a little at a time. The seed will grow if you let it. But only if you tend it right, with the right intent. Do Better Church.

 

 

I Am Greenville

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I Am. Me. I Am.

I Am The Mighty Mississippi River & Lake Ferguson Combined.

I Am Delta Born & Bred. I Got The Blues On My Mind.

I Am Highway 1 & 82 Connected. Lick Skillet & Carver Circle Collectively.

I Am Highway 454 to Old Leland Road. And That River Long To The Underpass Of Old.

I Am Greenville High Hornets & Washington Generals.

I Am First Baptist & Grace Outreach. A City Leader And A Call To Teach.

I Am That Levee Built For Protection. And Harlow’s Built For Recreation.

I Am The Future As Well As History.

I Am All That Greenville Was, And Ever Will Be.

 

–From Manna, Mirrors, & Mosaics by

Author Toni Chevelle

Copyright © 2016 Toni Chevelle

All Rights Reserved

 

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Featuring: Author Karma Kingsley

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I love shouting out my fellow authors. With that, if you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for yourself or the avid reader in your life, check out this new anthology from Author Karma Kingsley:

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Oh, and there are also giveaways in the party room, Stocking Stuffers Party Room

#karmakingsley #anthology #stockingstuffer

 

#1Day

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September 2019.
The Sisterhood is REAL.
The decision to return to her natural hair stemmed from the desire to restore her hair’s health and strength.
It has been an interesting journey.
The Big Chop was an impulsive act of rebellion; it was also the most liberating thing she’d ever done.
Embracing her hair in it’s original, created state has enabled her to appreciate who she is.
But nothing made her more proud of being a naturalista than this day.
This Natural Hair Photo Shoot was the vision given to the beautiful and awesome Andrea Dennard-Baldridge.
The experience was beyond amazing.
Not only did this shoot celebrate the beauty of natural hair, but it brought about a bonding of Sisters from various walks of life.
New friends were made that day.
Natural beauty was embraced that day.
Cultural pride was fostered that day.
Individuality kissed common ground and blessed hearts that day.
And it was a moment in time that she would hold dear for the rest of her days…

Photography by: DeMarcus L. Drakes Sr.
‘Unapologetically Me’ Tees by: Niki Raggs

#countdownTo50 #1day #50who #50where #fineat50 #fiftyfine #50andfabulous #libraseason #authortonichevelle #thatbeme

#2Days

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June 2019.
Greenville High & TL Weston Class of 1987.
Oops they did it again.
50th Birthday Celebration #classof87turns50
That weekend was one for the books.
She had the most amazing time, celebrating such a blessed milestone with her Hornet/Eagle family.
The turn-up was litty lit🔥🔥🔥.
Not only did they turn up; they sent praises up too with church service that Sunday (last pic is from the after church photo shoot).
One thing about it, #classof87 knows how to enjoy life #mintconditionstyle.
She is always tremendously blessed and honored to be amongst these amazing women. They have welcomed her with open arms, and for that she is eternally grateful.
They always show up to support whenever and wherever they can.
She is proud to count them not only as friends, but as sisters.
And this, is her life goal.
To enjoy life, and celebrate it without reservation.
This is Sisterhood at its Finest…
#countdownTo50 #2days #50who #50where #fineat50 #fiftyfine #50andfabulous #libraseason #authortonichevelle #thatbeme #classof87goes50 #stillminty

Annie Delores Smith-Dean
Debra Reynolds Debra Reynolds

#3Days

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June 2019.
Class of 1994’s 25th Reunion.
Her late husband’s high school graduating class.
She was invited by his classmates to share in their memorial, to honor and remember the ones who had gone on.
She counted it an honor to celebrate with them.
She was new at this whole social butterfly thing, but she was determined to escape her cocoon.
So she broke out of it in style.
This dress was far from her usual attire, but it represented so much.
A new chapter, a new beginning; the better side of her.
It was the revamp, the launch of a vastly different persona.
Allow her to reintroduce herself…
#countdownTo50 #3days #50who #50where #fineat50 #fiftyfine #50andfabulous #libraseason #authortonichevelle #thatbeme

#4Days

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A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men” Proverbs 18:16 NKJV

That little brown girl growing up on a cotton plantation in Swiftwater, MS had no clue, could not fathom, life outside the rural MS Delta.
But she had an active and vivid imagination.
She had hopes and dreams and desires and ambitions.
She knew that one day she wanted to be great.
She watched every Grammy and Emmy and Tony and Essence and AMA and NAACP awards show faithfully.
She could see herself being a part of something positive and amazing, something that would bring light and joy to others.
Fast forward to November 2018.
#greenvillegirlsrock hosted by #immagic; the vision brought to life by lovely Sha’Ketta Davis.
A night unlike anything she’d ever experienced.
The room was filled with the most talented, gifted, intelligent, vibrant, BEAUTIFUL women.
And here she was, a part of the event.
Here she was, a part of giving honor to whom honor is due.
Here she was, in the midst of greatness.
It was an unforgettable night.
And guess what? It ain’t over yet…
Greenville Girls Rock: Washington County Edition 2019
#countdownTo50 #4days #50who #50where #fineat50 #fiftyfine #50andfabulous #libraseason #authortonichevelle #thatbeme

#5Days

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September 2018.
A night out with loved ones.
Celebrating a family member’s 60th birthday.
She herself was approaching the last year of her 40s; 49 would usher in the dawning of a new era.
The dawning of a new persona.
She enjoyed that night with family and friends. Watching her loved one celebrate and enjoy her birthday in style inspired her.
She determined then, to love, honor, and celebrate herself more.
And with such, she hopes to inspire others to do the same…
#countdownTo50 #5days #50who #fineat50 #fiftyfine #50where #50andfabulous #libraseason #authortonichevelle #thatbeme

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