Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I Know About: Writing New Years Blog Posts

Around this time of year I usually write a post about what I am going to do next year. I can say usually because this is the third New Years post I have written for I’m Every Woman… Where has the time gone!

It has been a stellar year for me. It has been the kind of year that would have played well on a reality show. Full of ups and downs… elation and sadness… surprises and just plain weirdness.

So let me recap

Dec 18 of 2007 stepped through the door to my new office, not really knowing what would come of this new job. 12 months later The work I have done on some just really fun projects have earned me the privilege of being a featured speaker or panelist six times, I have been quoted in 3 publications including Business Week, and I even won a national award. I LOVE THIS JOB!

One of my friends had all her prayers answered and she had a baby boy… my godson. Then… about 3 weeks later my brother who swore he would never have any children welcomed is daughter into the world…my niece.

Between work and play this year I went to San Jose, OC/LA, Boston, New York, Austin, Dallas, Rome, Venice and London… It sure was fun but boy am I tired!

I also celebrated year one in my house, bought a new car, dropped my oldest daughter off for her first day of high school, I was consumed by the election and so excited about our new president.

After this year I feel like anything can happen. I am for the first time in a long time excited about the possibilities. So what am I gonna do next year? I really don’t know. I am sure that the year will be filled with all kinds of crazy adventures and new opportunities. But while all that is going on…

A- I am going to loose this 20 pounds that I put on this year, plus hopefully a little more. I guess all the excitement made me hungry! I am going to be passionate about my health in 2009

B- I am going to go back to school. I found what I think is the right masters program for me. I am going to apply go, and hopefully finish before I have to drop my daughter off at college

C- I am going to be even more diligent about my finances. I have this dream of getting 2 mortgage payments in the bank

D- I want to try and get all of the anger and hate and animosity that I held for the people that have done me wrong out of my heart. Clean slates for everyone in 2009

I like the new year because it gives you place to reflect on how far you have come, and it gives you a natural place to call a re-do on anything you need improve on.

What are you going to do in 2009? What have you been through and what do you need to call a re-do on?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I know About: Standing Up for You

I used to be one of these people who would hold my tongue to keep the peace. I thought it was soooooooo Christian to let things slide. After so many years of doing that I finally exploded and decided that the best way of dealing with negativity is to weed it out of my life. As soon as I saw it coming my way I just headed in the other direction. I cut myself off from anyone who caused me undue stress, and I lived a quite happy, sort of lonely life.

But eventually I realized that many of the people who pushed my buttons were not going to go away so easily. After a few years of avoiding them I realized that I had sort of lost my ability to even manage these encounters without totally breaking down.

Then I realized...since when did being Christian mean that you should let people talk to you disrespectfully, or take advantage of your kindness. In essence ignoring those exchanges is a form of lying. You lie to yourself, when you tell yourself that what they say does not matter. You lie to them, and trick them into believing that their behavior is okay and appropriate in exchanges with you.

I have decided to kick that habit. If there is something I don’t like I stop, and address it head on, I try to address it with directness and patience. I try and understand the position of the aggressor. Cultural background, personal experience and educational level sometimes helps you to understand why that person feels that their behavior is okay. I try not to assume that they are being hurtful on purpose. I assume that they just don’t know or understand that the behavior that they are exhibiting is not appropriate for me and will not be tolerated…without consequences.

That does not mean make idle threats. If you must attach consequences, make them ones that you might actually follow through with. Don’t say things like, if you don’t (your demand here) I am kicking you out and filing for full custody, especially if you have no job and no intention on doing that. That is a lie and the more often you do that the less credibility you have.

Be a woman (or whatever you are)! Stand up for yourself respectfully, openly and honestly. Yes in the beginning you may have more conflict, but I believe as time goes on, and you are consistent with this behavior the aggressor in your life will begin to understand that you are not the one to mess with.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I Know About: Christmas Gifts for Children

As a child I always thought I had great Christmas mornings! I got a mix of gifts from underwear and socks to the latest baby doll, or board game. I admit I was fortunate, I never remember a Christmas morning where I did not wake my brothers and run out to the living room to see a sea of gifts overflowing abundantly from beneath the tree. Every year I gave my list to my mother to "mail to Santa" and I generally got at least 2 or 3 of those things on the list and was always grateful and thrilled for that. Of course like any kid I stacked my list for good measure. I had a system... I always put something crazy like a pony in the number one slot, so that when "Santa" reviewed the list new bike looked like a reasonable request when positioned next to the pony. Yes even at 8 years old I was strategic. But bike or no bike for me it was more about the flurry of paper and ribbons, then Christmas lounging around, then dinner and fun with the family.

I hear that in many households that the meaning of the holiday is changing? I did not know that you could change a 2000 year old tradition but… okay whatever. From what I understand now the tradition is to spend every dime on sneakers, and handbags, video games, and cell phones. I also hear that if they don’t get every little last thing on their list then the kids are allowed to throw a fit and demand of you the latest in fabulous clothing and gadgets, or you risk being ignored or tormented by their angry rampages?

I have even heard that as a teen you can tell your parents stuff like “This is the phone I want…you can either get me this or nothing” Well I know what my parents would have said if they had been faced with such an ultimatum, but what about you? Do you feel pressured by society and your children to spend obnoxious amounts of money in a effort to win their love and respect?

Parents trust me I understand your dilemma. I too want only the best for my beautiful daughters...I want their eyes to light up on Christmas morning as they tear open the boxes to see the delights of their heart. But I also want the house to light up because I can continue to afford to keep the lights on. Beyond just the cost of it all, I want them to realize that Christmas is more than getting the “Stuff” that you want.

This year…like every year they will get a few of those fancy presents, but mostly books, and board games, art supplies sweaters and stuff.

Personally I think those things prove my love for them even more than a video game or a cell phone. Those things represent practical love. Those things to me represent the fact that I want them to stay warm, and I want to play games with them, and I want them to love art and reading. I want them to know that neither the spirit of Christmas nor my love for them can be measured in the price of the gifts under the tree.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What I Know About: Greener Grass

I don't know about your mother and grandmother, but every time I got to the point where I started to envy what someone else had versus what I had they said "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". I always remember thinking "Well what the hell does that mean?"Does it mean you are going to get me the thing I want or not? I eventually came to understand that it meant no I was not getting anything.

However, recently I have begun to understand that concept very clearly. Thank God for me that my understanding of this concept has come from watching... from the other side of the fence.

Recently I have heard from a friend that another friend of mine was trying to use my life as the measuring stick. She was trying to holding her relationship dealings with her NEW step children up to mine. Essentially she was trying to say "look at the relationship that Jenn has with her step kids... I want it to be like that." Apparently my grass looks pretty from where she is standing. Well, right now it is pretty, but she chooses to forget all of the watering and mowing and fertilizing that I have been doing for the past 10 years to make it so green. It is green because of financial sacrifice, tear filled discussions, and hard work. But she does not really feel like she should go through all that. She just wants an insta happy family, but "it don't work like that honey".

Next on my list is her significant other. Long story short, it seems he left his wife, not because of my friend, but because I think he had decided that he wanted to be in a different type of relationship, with a different kind of woman. He was married to what seems from my perspective to be a successful woman. A woman that I imagine ran most of the details of the house, maintained her own financial stability, and probably demanded a level of respect from him that he did not want to part with. I am sure there was some hurt and pain that took place on both sides of that marriage, so I expect that his vision of a perfect woman became one that was the polar opposite of what she was... a woman who was not so career focused, or demanding. His new dream girl would be willing to stay home and take care of the house and children, forgoing her own personal goals for the support of his goals. He went searching beyond the fence for his greener pastures, and there she was... my friend.

What I think he did not bank on was that on this new pasture, 100% of the burden rests on him. She is not working... at his request, and now that the baby is here, she does not really want to go back to work... but she is still being asked to pay a portion of the bills out of her savings. I wonder what will happen when her savings runs out? Also, she needs him for everything, her sun rises and sets on his every word... just like what he thought he wanted.

So I hope if you are in a place in your life where you are unhappy, and you are looking over the fence into someone else's yard.
Look away because:
1) You don't know what it took to get to where they are
2) Be sure you are prepared to handle whatever it is that you want
3) Maybe they seem so happy because they are just happy in the place God has them right now

So work on your own yard... run your own race... and just look for the joy in your own life. Most likely there is someone looking over the fence at your raggedy brownish green grass too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What I know about: "Good Enough"

In my life it seems to be the season of work and career. I have been doing alot of speaking and training in my area of knowledge. I am in the middle of performance review season, and even , my friends have begun to step up and take on more responsibly in their careers or career aspirations, and have come to me for support and advice.

Today I spent some time ( 9 hrs) In a process improvement training seminar. I learned a great deal... and some of it went right over my head. But one thing stuck right in the middle of my forhead. The faclitator said somthing to the affect of "Why would you want to be good enough when you could be one the best"? This has kind of been my modus opperandi for some time now. Career wise I really try to do the best I can. I try and do my work like I am working for God directly. Like it does not matter what they say on my performace review... I am trying to work like my performance review is happening every day. I think of it this way. It was 2 years ago last week when my prayers were answered and I walked through the doors of my new job. I had been looking a job for weeks, I interviewed on every call and prayed daily that I would find the job that I needed to support my family. If I belive that God answered my pray and put me in position to recive that job then aren't I technically working for Him? He kinda hired me... right?

So I want to make Him proud and show my gratitude for making it possible. So every day I go into work and try my damndest to bring my A game. I cannot take for granted any bit of it. Especially in this economy it is not the time to... if you are fortunate enough to have a job and have the ablity to take care of you and your family...offer anything but your best to your blessing.

Additionally if your path is not the traditional 9-5 and you have been given gifts to produce a product or service. Don't you owe it to Him to do that. Not everyone has your gifting. To be unmotivated to follow your gifting is kinda wrong too.

All I know is Good enough is not good enough.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I know about: Getting out of a Bad Situation

I do not subscribe to going when the going gets tough but I do think that you should not let you health, sanity and well being be put in jeopardy. I know there are reasons why we convince ourselves to stay in bad situations, but the reasons are generally based on short term thinking.

Today I have two friends in situations that warrant an escape plan. One is in a marriage that has been on a steady downhill track since the were pronounced man and wife. It just took another big tumble yesterday. The other in a job where no matter what she does, they will find a way to fire her. She just got to the fork in the road this afternoon. Both know that they probably need to get themselves to safer ground, but both hesitate because, of perceived financial, and moral barriers.

Before you make the choice to spend one more day in that bad situation, ask yourself... Is this God's best for me? He is a comforter, support and provider. He plans are for your good and not your harm. Does the situation you are in feel like it is a part of Gods plan?

A friend, @magsmac on twitter sent this video around today, it inspired this post. It reminded me of what my friends are going through. Maybe they will be inspired by this crazy little puppy. If he can do it... They can too. You can almost see the moment before he starts scaling the wall where he asks himself "Is this God's best for me!"

It's true, getting out is not easy. Are you scared of what is on the other side? It is just fear... don't let fear stop your progress. There are lots of things I have done, while afraid. Accept that getting out may be a bit of a challenge, and it may take a little work... your landing might be a little bumpy. But once you get there you have a brand new set of choices.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I Think: Love

By: Mia Black

I love you. I love going to the movies. I love reading. I love music. I love food. I love writing. For everything that I love, I've forgotten to love me. I've forgotten to take care of me. I forgotten to make me happy. I've forgotten to find comfort within myself. I think I may have even lost me. But the comfort that I have found is that I have not lost the desire to find me. I haven't lost the desire to be happy. I haven't lost the desire to take care of myself. I haven't lost the desire to comfort myself. And I definitely haven't lost the desire to love myself.

The one thing I have noticed is that when you begin to love yourself, the devil gets pissed. The devil will call you out of your name. He will make you feel guilty when you buy nice things for yourself. He will try and knock you off your course and bring you back to the darkside. And I will admit, over the past two months I've turned out my light and joined him. But God is so deep in my heart that He pulls me out, turns the light back on and brushes me off. The comfort I have in His forgiveness is that He has allowed me the strength to face the devil. For so long I have either joined or ignored him and that has truly been the detriment to my life's decisions. So now that I face all of my problems, pain, hurt, emotions, concerns, I can finally close chapters in my life that have been left open. And trust me, they aren't happy times that I have been going through, but they are necessary times.

It's a scary road to travel down, but God has placed so many angels in my life that all I have to do is pick up the phone for guidance and support. I'm so happy I made that call before I got to the nail salon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What I know about: Bottling it Up

Nice title right... Quite contradictory to my regular posts of hope and vision. But here in my era of honesty I have a point to make.

I have been angry for the past couple of weeks, sometimes just mad for no reason at all. I recognize the anger as unproductive, baseless, and probably manageable if I just took the time to manage it.. but I haven't. I have been pushing back every time I am pushed, and that is not like (the new) me at all.

Then on my way back from the car dealership the other day I realized why I was not managing my anger as well as I once had been.

For the longest time, I had been carrying this cute little stripped spiral notebook with brown recyclable paper pages, and an elastic band that held it shut. It was just small enough that it fit in a handbag easily. I took it everywhere. It held meeting notes from work, and church notes form services, and journal entries that I made when I was mad or sad or happy for that matter.

So the last time I was at the dealership I wrote a fax number in the book and handed it to the woman who had been handling my paperwork. She forgot to bring the notebook back to me, then I left. When I went back she reminded me about the notebook. She said "You know you are not getting your notebook back, right?" Then she went on to explain how she had read the notes, and been inspired by the church notes and writings. She said she had been reading one page in the notebook every day. It was inspirational to her.

I have NO idea what I wrote in that thing that could be that inspiring, but if it is a blessing to her I want her to keep it. However it was on my way home from that exchange that I realized what was missing for me.

In a post last year I mentioned to you all that when I have things going on in my life I tend to write them down instead of bottle them up. Leaving the worries on the paper was helpful to me in moving past whatever negative emotion was holding me back. During the tough times I would write every day, and when those times passed I did not need to write so often.

I have not been following my own advice.

So yesterday I went and bought a new notebook, and I am about to start letting it out again. I am sure that everyone who has been around me in the days since I lost my book will be happy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What I Know About: Re-discovering Yourself

By Jennifer Texada
A friend called me a few weeks ago crying (again) complaining (again) about something that the "Him" in her life had done. In the middle of the conversation she mentioned that she was tired of everything in her life being about "Him". She felt like she was becoming one of "those women" who's whole life and happiness revolved around her guy. I guess that is fine for trophy wives and first ladies, but for most of us that is not a healthy way to live.

So I asked her to do what I did back when I felt like I was losing myself. To be honest, by the time I had figured this out, I had already lost myself and was going on a full scale hunt! I told her to make a list of the things that were just about her, the things that she loved to do. It turns out that this was not an easy list to make. She had been in this situation so long she had no idea who she was and what she liked.

When I was in this situation, these are the 2 questions that helped me to figure it out.

1-When was the last time you were happy, and feeling totally free? What did you do for fun, and what made you happy?

2- If you were single, and had no kids, where would you go, what would you do?

She starts with "That is all well and good but how am I really going to do that" already making excuses. "He can do what he wants, because he has a babysitter, me I have children I cannot just do whatever I want when I want to".

Point taken, hire a babysitter. Isn't your sanity and happiness is worth $20 a week for a few hours of freedom.

Yesterday she called me from the nail salon. A.K.A. the place where happiness begins.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Long Haul

The Long Haul
By: Mia L. Black

When you first meet someone, the game is on. You say everything they want to hear and they do everything you want them to do. You spend hours on the phone and all of your free time with this person. Everything is going great, until….WHAMMO!....your first fight. Then everything bad that has ever happened to you in a relationship comes gushing forward and you have to make that decision if you are going to continue with this person. If you decide to split… you split. But if you decide to stick it out and go for the long haul, when will you truly meet that person you have chosen to stick with?

I ask this question almost ten years into a relationship and four years into a marriage. My husband and I are at another rough point, but I think for the first time in ten years we have taken off the gloves, taken off the masks, taken off the front, and stopped playing the game. Over the past few weeks we have come to see each other for who we truly are. And the thing about it is we aren’t bad people, we are different people. We are people that are so opposite that we are trying to figure out if we have what it takes to fulfill our vows. We have discussed separation and being out of each other’s lives, but deep down inside I don’t think it is what either one of us want. It just simply comes down to, when you’ve been with someone for ten years, how do you live with the new them?

I am speaking about both of us as I ask these questions, because we are to be blamed equally. When I say new person, I don’t mean there has been a drastic changes. But that person that gave you all the warning signs for all this time, has finally become one person. All the warning signs added up to make a whole and now the pressing question is; is this person the one I want to be with? Do we have to bite the bullet because we said “I do” and brought two children into our lives? Or do we cut our losses now before we hate each other?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but I know that God is flicking both of us in the heads right now. I truly think He is laughing at the both of us and saying, “I told you so.” Because the warning signs are what warrants, “I told you so” down the line. Just because we chose to ignore the signs, doesn’t mean they were there for us to read. He has shaken us with a traumatic loss and made us both reflect on the words that we speak. Whether we stay or part, I feel after almost ten years in the long haul called marriage; I have had the first glimpse at my husband. And for better of for worse, I love him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What I Know: About Following my Own Advice

By: Jennifer Texada
As you all are so painfully aware I dish out tons of advice. I have been through lots of stuff in my life and have learned some tough lessons, it would be wrong for me to not share what I know. Right? However in the last few days I have been faced with the ghosts of my own advice. Right in the midst of trying to get people to hear me, and follow God, and not make the same mistakes, I am now being forced to walk what I talk.

First, I always talk about how you are only treated the way that you allow people to treat you. If you are going to stand there and let people insult and berate you then you get what you get. So I "had" a "friend" I think you might have read about him in an earlier post who was negative, condescending and careless with the feelings of others. I kept answering the phone when he called, or entertaining his conversations when he stopped by my office. The more I did so, the more my feelings got hurt. Is he really to blame for having these opinions and expressing them unapologetically? No, that is who he is and who he has the right to be.

I did not like that channel, so I turned it off.

Another one of of my friends has been going through struggles in her marriage. As many of us do, in the arguments she was holding the present issues next to the issues of the past. I told her that it was not fair to throw the things that he did in the past in his face, especially since you claim to have forgiven and forgotten those issues. Stick to the issues today, and work forward. We do not like it at all when our parents, and bosses and enemies bring up our failures to discredit or demean us, why would you purposefully do that to the man you claim to love? Neither of you are perfect.

That sounded like great advice, until I was faced with the same challenge. A man from my past asked me to lunch. A simple meal, in the middle of the day, no more than an hour long. I did not want to go, because of his past mistakes, things that I could not let go of. Then on Sunday, my pastor started talking about how God has forgotten your mistakes and he only sees your potential for growth. He can forgive anything, but I am so good that I cannot? Great, more self reflection.

So I have agreed to go to lunch.

I am frustrated with having to look inward right now. I really feel like shutting up with the advice. It seems like the more I share the more I am challenged to hold myself to a higher standard. That requires personal growth, which is uncomfortable. But I truly believe that God can only bless you where you are. If I want bigger blessings and a better relationship with him, then I am going to have to step up. Unfortunately for you, this means that I will continue to dish it out for a now. (Sorry)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What I know about: Pooing or Getting off the Pot

By Jennifer Texada

I would like to tell you the story of the little wifey who cried fowl! Every 6 months her hubby would do something that was so much fun for him but she did not like it at all. When she found out what he did she began to shot "FOWL" you are a bad bad man and I don't like you. If you do that again I will go away and never ever come back. She yelled so loud that the children and the dog, and her mom and dad and all of the village could hear her shouts. All of the people said "He had better never do that again or she will for sure keep her promise and never return". So he said "So sorry my dear I will never do it again".

So 6 months would come and go and he did it again and she yelled "FOWL!" You are a very very bad guy and I don't like what you have done. If you you do it again I will go far far away and never come back. So...6 more months would come and go and he would do it again and then...I am sure you know how the next part of this story goes.

So this went on for years and years. Neither the hubby nor wife ever got happiness or satisfaction the children were confused and the village just stopped listening.

The empty promise maker is as guilty in this story as the promise breaker. The more empty promises you make the further you degrade your own credibility. If you do not feel you are getting respect from the folks closest to you perhaps you should retrace your steps to find out where you may have lost that respect.

These are basic "street sense" rules... Don't make threats you can't deliver on. That does not mean that you should not stand up for yourself, it just means that in the heat of anger choose your words carefully.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What I've Learned: Lessons from a bigot

By. Jennifer Texada

Got into another heated debate with a single man that will remain nameless, about women and how he feels about us in general. His perspective goes something like this. “Every time something bad in my life has happened a woman has been in the room.” He went on to include gems like "Women never do anything for you, they are only out to use men."He ended that sentence with “except you” What a charmer.

I felt like for a moment I was talking to a bigot. If he had replaced “woman” with "the N word" in every sentence he would have sounded like a klan member. I have heard people of other races say to me…Blacks are this and blacks are that, but not you, you are different. This did not make me feel any better about the statements. I still take them to heart and an insult to my people, still feels like an insult to me. My race, my gender, my family, my hometown...

When I could not take it anymore, and went straight into defensive mode. I

  • pointed out the flaws in his reasoning
  • mentioned that I had men were not so flawless either, and
  • every time these “bad things” happened there were two people in the room, the evil bad woman and HIM!

In hind sight, I was wrong. I have seen the skinheads on Maury, and that approach never works!I should have just told him how sad I feel for him. That his way of life is only damaging him, and his potential for happiness. Those people who hurt him have won for as long as he allows this way of thinking hold him back. They have stolen his faith in half of mankind, and if they are all as bad as he says they are, the do not deserve that privilege.

Then I realized... is this what I sound like when I am mad at my ex? I have sat around with girlfriends and talked about how men stink, or why they do some of the awful things they do. I don’t really think that all men stink. Despite my negative experiences, I think that there are some wonderful men out there in the world. Ones that are responsible and smart and do an excellent job taking care of their families.

Thank you…you know who you are... for you bigoted opinion of an entire gender, and your willingness to share your venomous hatred with me. I have been self checked. I will from now on try my best not to participate in man bashing sessions. I see first hand the kind of damage this behavior can do in a life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I think: No Passing the Buck

No Passing the Buck
By: Mia Black

As my husband and I rode in this morning, we listened to talk radio. This morning’s topic was, “Is the School System Failing Black Boys?” They were speaking of elementary age boys from about the second to the fourth grade. It went about 50/50. Those that supported the fact that it’s the school’s fault that the kids aren’t learning or reaching their full potential, and those that blamed the parents for allowing their kid to reach the third or fourth grade without saying anything. For me I blame both. But when I look at the school, I don’t blame the teachers, I blame the school board.

My daughter attends the Boston Public School System –ugh! It pains me to say that, but at the same time, I don’t worry that she is lacking because I do my job at home. I don’t have the money to send her to private school, but I do have the time to invest into my child by creating my own curriculum at home. I guide her and she lets me know when she is ready to move on to the next step. By the time she got to that school age, she was much more advanced than the other students, but I was able to convey to the teachers where she was at, give them a copy of her annual syllabus, and tell them how best my child learns.

But the reason I was able to convey my concerns to her teachers with such ease is because I did an intense search for her school. I had eleven to choose from and I narrowed my search down to four. I visited each school during their open houses and did a pop-up during the day at each. This school was a good fit all around. But I was amazed at some of the questions the parents would ask, “do you serve breakfast?”, “how late can I pick them up?”, “Is that the only playground you have?” And people somehow have the nerve to say it’s the school systems failing the kids?

I’m not by any means saying I am the only parent out here that is working with their kid at home, but when my kid is reading to her class and the class below her, I’m proud and concerned all at the same time. I’m working with a school board that does not believe in promoting a student based on their intelligence, only by their age. So even though her class is working on writing their basic letters and she’s practicing cursive, by the schools standards, she’s not old enough for that yet. Funny how they don’t understand that the “No Child Left Behind”, is a double edged sword.

That is why I don’t put the blame so much on the teacher as I do the school board and their policies. The school board is the one that decides on the curriculum, not the teacher. The school board decides that no matter how smart or advanced a child is, if they’re not the right age, they won’t advance. The school board decides the tardy policies. I had to put that last one in there because my husband’s client was sent home for being tardy. Absolutely absurd to me, but I’m not on the school board and his mother had no problem with it. She got to go to work early because he could watch his little brother.

Monday, March 31, 2008


By: Mia Black

Where have all the adults gone? I ask this question after speaking with my husband about the teachers of today. It may sound a bit old fashion, but I remember my teacher wearing a skirt or loose fitting “slacks”, short-cut hair or pulled back or up, some make-up, and at least twenty to thirty year difference in age. Never did my teacher dress like me or talk like me. And never could I read about one of my classmates sleeping with one of them.

Now I will say me and my husband stand on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to the problems with todays at-risk youth. He and I both look at the parent, but I put most of the responsibility on the child. I believe every child must be held accountable for their actions. But it was amazing to me today that we both finally agreed on something. Today’s teachers have become younger, hipper, and entered the “buddy” zone.

This is not the first time that I have heard this either. On radio stations and talk shows, parents and teachers have talked that it is harder to reach today’s youth. So in trying to reach them “you have to speak their language” or “you almost have to dress like them with the throwbacks and the hoodies”. I’m sorry, but at what low point did we hit in society, that our kids now need their teachers to be their friends too? It is my belief that many of these at risk youths already have suffered from their parent/s being their friend/s and now they are being subjected to yet another “adult” trying to play buddy. I mean honestly, we are living in a society in which it is not odd to read about yet another teacher sleeping with their student or a student’s life is over because they killed their teacher’s spouse in a jealous rage.

I’m not saying it is easy to teach our at-risk youth by any means. But my husband visited a classroom today and asked a student to remove his hat. The student refused and continued to talk to his friend. My husband didn’t yell, scream, or cause a scene, but explained to the student, that if he wanted to be viewed as a man, than he would have to remove his hat. He explained that men remove their hats before they enter a building and pointed to his hat that was in the corner with his coat. The student told him, nobody had ever put it that way before and removed his hat. My husband didn’t try and speak his language, or keep his hat on just to fit in. He set an example and allowed the student to follow.

My point is children need adult role models. It may seem easier to throw on the hoodie or the lycra pants. It may seem easier to call them dawg or slip into their slang, but how is that going to get them the interview for the job that will someday support their family? How will they know to take their hat off before they enter a building, if their teacher has chosen the peer route, instead of the adult route? I do agree that children want a peer when it comes to their teacher or parent for that matter, but it is not what they need.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Think: Opting Back In

Opting Back In
By: Mia Black

The old age question for the working woman has come into my life once again: How do you find the balance between family and work? I've come to believe there is no perfect balance. There is a definite choice; one or the other is going to come first. Well about six years ago, I made a choice. I put my daughter first. She was my first born and she changed my life in a way that made me feel indebted to her. As though I brought her into this world and I had the obligation to put her and all of her needs ahead of mine no matter what.

But as she grows older and my other daughter approaches two, I want to opt back into the workforce. When my first daughter was born, I had finally reached management level in my career and could have really pushed forth with it. But the company that I previously worked for wasn't parent-friendly and neither was my particular position. Working in the property management industry at a management level creates a 24/7 availability schedule for you. If you get paged at 1 am on your day off, then you come in at 1 am on your day off.

So I opted for a strict Monday-Friday 9-5 desk job, a job that would allow me to leave work at work when I left for the day. A place that would understand if my daughter was sick, I couldn't come in. Or maybe I want to leave early so I can catch her concert at school. I found the perfect job as an administrative assistant at a college. It has truly allowed me the opportunity to start and support my family and was overly compensating to me during my pregnancy with my second child.

So now I want to opt back in. Now that I have my family, I want to be able to support their growth in the long run, i.e.: a house, the camps, the lessons, all the little pets, and eventually the big one, COLLEGE. But as I slowly step into the interview world, my management position that I left just six years ago, doesn't have the weight it did when I left. Meaning if I was looking for a higher management position six years ago, my resume would have definitely gotten me in the door. But now that I have put six years of administrative work under my belt, those management positions are now out of reach…as if I somehow forgot my management training.

At this point I have put it in God’s hands because as He makes me uncomfortable in my current situation, I know through Him and only Him will the right door open for me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What I know: About Raising a Child with Dicipline

By Jennifer Texada

It is not my intention to brag when I say that I have a great kid, despite the fact that she is a teenager. She is smart, articulate confident and generally well behaved. I am genuinely proud of the young lady that she is. She did not get that way by accident. She has a parent.

I was barley 22 years old and fresh out of undergrad when she burst into my life. It was my intention from the start to make sure despite our circumstances she would not be a statistic, but a success. I did not really know what I was doing, but I did know that I wanted to give her the tools she would need to survive and thrive in this world.

I felt that in order to be a success in this world she needed to be: Confident, respectful, articulate, purposeful, creative, driven, happy, tolerant, loyal and ultimately self-disciplined. I think she is almost there.

There are three things that I can point to that I think have helped us get to where we are today.

For every action there is an equal reaction. Bad behavior has consequences are apparent and diverse. The correction began before she turned two years old. There were spankings, but not just spankings. There was grounding, and time out, and extra chores. She was corrected by Nana, and aunties, and uncles. She was corrected immediately, so that she knew that crime equals punishment. Finally we talked she always knew why she was being corrected and new how to avoid making the same mistake twice. The fact that there are consequences to bad behavior has been a consistent part of her life. My hope is that she will take that lesson with her when she walks out the door to start her adult life.

It has been established that home is a safe place to express your feelings. We talk. I try my best not to cringe or judge or condescend when she needs to talk to me about things that concern her. If she does not agree with a rule she know we can talk about it. If she does something wrong, she knows it is safe to confess. So far she has not felt the need to yell, or scream or disrespect me in efforts to express her feelings. My hope is that no matter what stage she is at in her life she will know that she is not alone, she can always call her mother. It is easier to be confident when you know you have support.

Consistency is key. The rules were put in place at least 12 years ago (she is almost 14 now). We have been following the rules every day since then. When new questions arise we create a new rule and stick to it. There is always room for discussion but it is common knowledge that in mommy's house there are rules. Rules that were created for the safety and success of the children trying to learn how to grow into successful women.

Within it all God, and faith play a big part in our home. She has been encouraged to discover her own relationship with God and faith, and in that she is beginning to find self discipline.

I have one more daughter. I am putting her through the same program. So far, despite the fact that she is much more strong willed, than her sister was at her age, she is beginning to get with the program. Check back in about 7 years , and we will see if this all still rings true and if I really do know anything about raising a disciplined child?

I Think: The End of Discipline as We Know It

The End of Discipline as We Know It
By: Mia Black

As a week goes by and a family drifts further apart, I feel compelled to bring the issue to the table. It all comes down to discipline. That is really the issue that has a family not talking. As an outsider, it puzzles me because it is still being brought up a week later. What is being brought up? My friend’s daughter found her teenage nerve in front of the family last week. Her mother requested to speak to her in the other room. She refused. High volume words were exchanged from both sides of the argument. I was not in the room when this took place, but one story goes: her daughter was snatched up by her neck and slammed against the wall. Another goes: someone attempted to interfere with the whooping that was about to take place and a hand ended up in the throat area, while my friend held her daughter against the wall.

Either way as an adult and mother; I must go by my own accord. I heard a spoiled brat that was scared of being embarrassed in front of her family peers; disrespect her mother in a screaming tirade. Knowing my friend and how she was raised, I was not surprised at all that she snatched her daughter up by whatever she could grab. I was surprised that she did allow her daughter to get in so much before the actual…whatever happened. Again I was not an eyewitness.

But where my actual shock came from was in the story that comes after my friend left. I was summoned to the pity party in the corner by my friend’s sister who's goal was to soothe the poor wounded spirit of my friend’s daughter. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My friend’s mother and sister tried their best to convince me of my friend’s wrongdoing…grabbing, throat, slamming…and a new twist; she also shoved her mother out of the way in the midst of the almost whooping. In the midst of the overwhelming stupidity and hypocrisy of the situation that I was summoned too. I was thinking to myself, why am I explaining discipline to this CHILD? She almost got her butt whooped for mouthing off to her mother. I could not see the wrong in the situation and still can’t. And as I stood, and tried to explain this to the CHILD, she stood in my face and attempted to disrespected me with her attitude. All backed up by Aunty and Nana.

I must now explain why I am saying “almost”. By my friend’s account, her mother stepped in and grabbed her arm/hand while my friend was reaching for her daughter. That is how it ended up in the throat “area”. Point is: No child is allowed to shout and point in their parents face PERIOD! And the hypocrisy of the situation is that her mother had the audacity to stop her from disciplining her daughter. A woman that used to not only whoop my friend’s behind, but would allow for others (Aunties) to do it too. So how can she and her daughter now interrupt the discipline of their granddaughter/niece?

What is so absolutely horrible about this ridiculous fiasco, is that my friend’s daughter got away with yelling, screaming and disrespecting her mother and I. She was given reassurance through the matriarchs in the family that yelling, screaming, and carrying on like a one year old, warrants no consequences.

On the flip side, the relationship between my friend and her daughter is a bit estranged. There could be a lot more effort on my friend’s end to be more involved in her daughter’s life, but point is, there isn’t much you can do 15 years in. I was able to talk to her daughter and find out there was so much more going on than what came out in her moment of fearlessness. But like I told her, no matter what, that is your mother and you need to respect her or suffer the consequences of getting snatched up again. She didn’t hear that message at all, because I was interrupted by the so-called matriarchs who didn’t want to hear her being told that she was wrong. I told my friend’s daughter how much I loved and cared for her, but where I come from, yelling at your mother or father is absolutely unacceptable.

And now over a week later, a family is divided over how that situation was handled. I have spoken to my friend since, and backed her up 100% along with the other family members that have heard the story. Rightfully so, my friend has had it with the meddling of her mother and sister when it comes to her parental duties. Whether or not they speak again, I can’t say, but I am happy that my friend went old school and enforced a punishment that fit the crime. She stood in the face of her CHILD and had she not been interrupted, would have successfully whooped her behind.

*To be followed up with: Raising a Teenager with Discipline. By: Jennifer Texada

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Think: Resolutions For a Lifetime, Not a Year

Resolutions For a Lifetime, Not a Year
By: Mia Black

As I step into this year and put the lock on last year, I have been careful when I speak of my resolutions. These past two years, I have made sure that they are changes that will bring a new me, not a temporary me. My "diet" is not diet by the traditional diet standards. It just involves more vegetables, water, and less sweets. I pray that I will stick with my exercising and make it part of my lifestyle. And I've prayed to God that 2008 be the last year I work for anyone. So when I walk into 2009 I will be my own boss, running my publishing company. I want this to be the year that I learn to embrace faith, no more questioning if God hears my prayers and no more looking back. I've stepped into 2008 with some wonderful lessons from 2007, but it is only the lessons I will carry forward, not the mistakes, pains or strives.

Last year I asked that my house come to order. Through the grace and mercy of God, that has come to pass. With my house being in order, I can concentrate on myself this year and work on my dream of becoming a published author and business owner. And because God has blessed and surrounded me with so many positive people, I know in 2008 I can't lose!

But this is what I mean about lifetime changes. When these things come to pass, they will be life altering and bring about change not only for me, but for my husband and children also. I will be liberated from the daily grind of a monotonous office job, and be at the forefront of my children's legacy. How absolutely rewarding that will be. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Think: "Strong Independent Black Woman" ?

Strong Independent Black Woman?
By: Mia Black

Last Friday I was forwarded an e-mail which was titled, The Epitome of a Strong Black Woman. Once I finished reading the e-mail in its entirety, I had to stop the madness. Below I have included a copy of the e-mail:

As we began 2008, resolutions abound, but are quickly abandoned, within a few weeks time. Some have said that this will be “The Year of Women”. However, old habits, attitudes, and destructive behaviors die hard. This coming year, all women should make a concerted effort to live up to the ideals that they profess and strive to become the very epitome of Strong Women…a queen, who not only has her life together but her head too.

Therefore, women should resolve to Love, Love, Love Yourself. There’s only one of you, so love yourself to death!

Stop Playing the Victim.
Martyrdom is totally unnecessary for today’s women. Your first allegiance is to yourself. Without a strong sense of self, there is no way that you can tackle the ups and downs of a relationship or the rigors of motherhood (if you so choose).

Stop Settling for Less
A piece of a man is definitely not better than a whole, healthy man. Your desperation is showing.
Stop Trying to Be a Savior
If a man doesn’t have his head together and is on the skids, it is not up to you to try to save him. You are neither his mother nor his therapist. Let him go and move on. Men like this will bring you down if you aren’t careful.

Learn to Exhale Between Relationships
In other words…no transitional lovers. Someone always ends up being hurt and it could be you…again, or that poor man. Neither one of you deserves to be hurt or used. Give yourself some down time.
Learn the Difference Between Being alone and lonely.
Being alone is by choice and loneliness is only temporary. Get out and enjoy yourself. Wallowing in loneliness can often make women desperate for attention and lead them into unhealthy relationships.
Don’t Allow Any Man to Validate You
Allowing any man to define who you are as a woman leaves you open to being controlled and eventually abused. Why give a man that type of power over you? Now, do you really want to be the kind of woman who thinks that her life is not complete unless she has a man in it…any man? Where’s your self-respect?
Blessed is the Child That Has Her Own
Handle your business…educationally and financially. Generally, needy, uneducated women tend to attract men of the lowest character. Small sacrifices now lead to bigger rewards later. (YES)
Don’t Let Good Sex Sway You
Sure, He may rock your boat like no other man has ever done, but don’t let the sex cloud your judgment. If he treats you like crap or a convenient botty call, then, eventually, you may come to resent him with the same passion you displayed when he was between your legs. Now, if that’s all you want, then be honest and protect yourself. If you play, you will definitely pay. Don’t confuse lust with love. And no fair trying to trap him with a pregnancy neither one of you wants. That’s dirty pool. And why should an innocent child pay for your stupidity? After all, you picked him.
Don’t try to Buy a Man’s Affection
In the long run, not only will you lose him, but you will lose your self-respect and any smidgen of respect he may have had for you. Are you that desperate? Any self-respecting man will never allow himself to be kept. (Have u lost your mind)
Stop Trying to Change Men
Men will usually tell you who they are if you really listen to them. So try less talking and do more listening and you will, most likely, save yourself some trouble. (hahaha)
Stay Away From Unavailable Men
If he’s married, separated, having problems with his baby’s/babies’ mama/mamas, not ready for a commitment or etc., he is off limits. Now if you thrive on drama, then, by all means, go right ahead. Some women are made like that. Love doesn’t Hurt. Women who say that they love physically or verbally abusive mates have some serious emotional issues. Don’t become a statistic. The life you save may be your own. (I hear U)
Don’t’ Compromise Your Moral Values
Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly religious person, promiscuity will take a toll on your self-respect and even your health, in the long run. Sleeping around with men who don’t have your best interest at heart tends to chip away at the very essence of you. Many times, it can turn you into a bitter, jaded woman who thinks all men are nothing more than dogs and not worthy of any respect. Listen to your instincts. They will never lead you wrong. (that’s what I’m talking abut)
Respect is Reciprocal
If you want respect then you must give respect, especially toward your mate. If you lash out in anger, frustration, or whatever, be prepared to receive the same in return. Even the most loving and gentle men can take only so much of his woman’s’ funky attitude.
Keep Your Personal Business Between You and Your Man
Use extreme discretion whenever you are tempted to discuss your personal problems with family, friends, etc. Many relationships have been broken up due to outsiders putting their two cents in where it didn’t belong. Keep that mouth zipped!
Don’t Advertise Your Man
Whether he is “ad bomb” in the bedroom or a blessing sent down from heaven, try to keep it to yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Most women can pick up on this just by being around you and yours. Why? Because you are as happy and contented as a kitten with a saucer of warm milk. It will definitely show. Now there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of bragging about your man. But keep it low-key. No sense in irritating those unscrupulous women who will try to “test your man’s” and/or lure him away
So, my Sisters…how about a whole new you for 2008?
Why refer to yourself as a well-bred Queen, if you’re carrying yourself like a low-bred commoner? If you want to be treated as a Queen, then it’s time to start displaying some queenly behavior and sporting a whole new attitude. If you want to be treated as royalty then you must act like royalty. It goes both ways.

There is very little in this "shout-out" that epitomizes the women I know. This e-mail to me epitomizes what it is to be a weak person, whose only identity relates to a man. Throughout my life I have repeatedly heard and used the worn out slogan "I'm a strong independent black woman, I don't need a man." Luckily I grew the hell up and entered adulthood. This is not to say that there are not single women out there that are not handling their business, by being financially stable on their own or raising their kids by themselves; it's to say, for some, independence was not by choice, nor was raising their children alone.

So I guess I should point out what I feel epitomizes a strong woman, black/white/whatever...a woman.

1) A woman that keeps God as the head in her life. Because without Him, nothing is possible
2) A woman that loves herself.
3) A woman that is humble, and thinks of others before herself.
4) A woman that stands in the face of adversity, overcomes it, and takes a lesson out of it.
5) A woman that can be burned in a relationship and still stand up and love again.
6) A woman that can reach out and ask for help when she needs it.
7) A woman that can raise her child/children on her own, but knows she can never be a father.
8) A woman that can keep her identity and still want a man in her life.

I guess the first thing that truly bothered me about the e-mail is that there was no mention of God. And for me, all topics that were touched on, cannot be achieved without faith in the Almighty. Secondly I feel you should love yourself to just love yourself dammit. Not so some man can see that you love yourself and want you, but so you can live a healthy esteemed life. The third point hits on the woman that I have surrounded myself with. My friends epitomize love of others. The fourth point was one that I truly had to work on in becoming an adult. No grudges. Just take the lesson and move on. The fifth is a lesson that I don't think the author of this original e-mail was ever able to deal with or learn. Just because one man burned you, doesn't not mean number two will. Learn to love again. Number six I guess puts a slap in the face of what this author epitomizes a strong woman to be, but that's okay, because without the help of my God, my friends and husband, I would not have been able to tackle the problems that faced me. Number seven is to squash that "I'm the mother and father," quote I hear tossed around so many times. No you aren't. You are a single mother and a damn good one, but only a man can be a father so get over yourself. Number eight is something I feel many woman have a hard time admitting. I mean let's face it, if you are not gay and want to be married, you need a man. If you are not gay and want to have sex with another person, you need a man. If you are not gay and want to be in a relationship, you need a man. So at what point did we become weak by needing a man to fulfill these needs?

Again, this is just my opinion and I wanted to comment.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What I Know About: Handing it Over

By Jennifer Texada

Earlier this week, I was having a conversation. I was asked if I would "snap" if I saw my guy with another woman. I said no. To that I was told, that I was mistaken, that everyone has a breaking point, and if pressured enough everyone has the potential to do it. THEN! I was told that I have probably never been through anything devastating enough, to understand the feeling.

I have snapped before. Been so angry that I lashed out. I have let my emotions get the best of me, everyone has. I have just finally started to understand that I don't have to do all that.

Those days where people do things that hurt me will still come. I may indeed see my guy with another woman one day. But now, when I am faced with a burden so heavy that I am in danger of buckling under the pressure, or snapping under the strain, I have learned how to had that over to God. He is way stronger than me, and my little burdens will never cause him to snap.

Don't get me wrong it is not automatic. It takes, faith and strength to get to a place where you have the ability in those moments of strife to hand it over. But if your goal is to achieve peace and maintain happiness even through the storms it can be done

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What I know: Being a Blessing

I am sure that you will all be glad to know that I did it. Around this time last year I wrote a post about looking forward, and not looking back in 2007. Well I stuck to it. In 2007 I moved forward is many aspects of my life. I can truly say I am not the same woman that I was on Jan 5, 2007.

So here we are Jan. 2, 2008, coming off what I feel like was a big win. Ready to claim my goals for this year. I aspire to gain for more control in my finances and more control of my diet. I just want to be more, do more, build upon the momentum that has begun.

In 2008 I will do more.

I have been blessed with a home, a great job, beautiful children, great friends, & people who love me. Most days I go home to my house and my kids, cook dinner and settle in for a night of tv. Sure I am kinda active in the church, and I sometimes have pto meetings or work functions to go to, but most nights it is just me and the tv.

The point is I have more to give than what I am giving. I could be a bigger blessing, or become a better parent, or start a new business. I can do more.