What Do I do with the Love?

friendshipbreakup

What do you do with the love when you come to the end of a relationship?  What happens to all the love that you’ve accumulated over the years of endless phone conversations,  financial bail-outs, late-night phone calls when you can’t sleep, boyfriend break-up, divorces, pitch hit baby-sitter when you have that appointment that you absolutely must attend and who could forget that girlfriend who knows just what to say to you before you jump off the building?  She has been to your go to person.  She is your S.I.C. or G.I.C. sister in charge or girlfriend in charge.  You can’t imagine navigating a life without her.  After all you talk to her more than you talk to your own husband.  I, too had a SIC.  As I write this, I can’t believe that I’m giving voice to the emptiness in my heart. I truly don’t know what to do with the love that I still have.

I don’t claim to know everything about women.  But, I’ve been around a few and I’ve heard tales of broken friendships and how one friend betrayed another.  We’ve all experienced or know someone who has crossed the lines with a boyfriend or husband that you’ve trusted.  But, the betrayal of a friendship when someone has walked so closely with you is the ultimate in betrayal.  In the beginning you looked for signs of deceit, you may have even tested her loyalties, and you even dared trusted her around your “man” yet she passed with flying colors.  Because of your insecurity you may have tested her periodically until one day you are convinced she is tried and true.  So you relax.  Years go by and the friendship is consistent.  There may be some minor hiccups, but this is your sister/friend and you’re able to move on without skipping a beat.  You and your sister friend are so interwoven together that others accept her because of your love for her.  In fact, there have been  times where other women have become jealous and tried to threaten or manipulate your relationship.  But, you two were smart, you even saw through that.  You both dared to be different. You prided yourself on not being “female”, manipulative or catty.  You’ve even spoken to your lesser friends on how to be the perfect sister/friend.  So how could this relationship go wrong?

If truth is to be told, many women have hidden agendas.  And if you are a female you may recall a time when it was you.  When I started Leading Ladies it was out of a desire to truly connect women together.  It was to demystify that we couldn’t trust each other.  I wanted a group of women who could be honest with each other and table and be able to walk away and come back as if nothing ever happened because we are GROWN WOMEN!  Sadly, my attempts were not accomplished.  I took a solemn oathe to be real with these women and I can tell you honestly, I didn’t know what that meant at the time.  I found myself opening up more than I ever wanted to.  You see there are some things I would love to just keep in the closet.  Little by little the Lord started picking me to share certain things.  I hadn’t planned on being that candid.  I wanted to expose these women to something new, but God wanted to expose me to something new.  He reminded me that I couldn’t get these women to trust each other if they couldn’t trust me.  So I opened, and I poured.  I exposed my feelings, my thoughts, my life, my marriage and my career.  It was the greatest lesson in growth and development that I continue to glean from today.  I pledged myself to any of these women who were willing to let me into their lives.  My single goal was to truly be a sister/friend.  I’m not perfect, but I can go to the creator knowing that this one thing I did well.  My favorite saying is that if there is anyone that will be wrong in the relationship, it won’t be me.  I practice intentionally on being a sister/friend.  I support, I show-up.  I study and learn my role.  I embody sister/friend in my relationships and one such lady was a benefactor of it.  I GAVE HER ME!

I have lived in my head most of my life.  It’s a place that I have found refuge from being an awkward child.  In my head I could be anyone but me.  But it was her, that showed me that life exists outside of my head.  My sister/friend came to me when I needed someone to hold up my world.  I didn’t even know that I was juggling the world.  It was my normal.  She graciously walked into my life and said, “God said for me to be your armour-bearer.”  I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I got the jist of it.  Slowly she began to show me that there is someone you can trust with your soul.  I learn to share mine with hers.  Years of pain and hurt that I didn’t know I had began to be peeled away.  I became naked with my dreams and my fears.  Her ears heard many of my triumphs and struggles.  Never once, did she give me a hint of any negative energy in anything I said or did.  She also made me want to be a better friend.

I recalled the day that I told her that my mom would die.  These were her  next words,”I’M ON MY WAY” as I type this post my eyes are filled with tears because they were the most healing words that I think I have ever heard.  All I know is that I needed her there.  She was there with me when my mother took her last breath.  That’s what sister/friends do.  That’s what she does.  She had mastered such a level of understanding me that was simply AMAZING.  She was God’s gift to me or my armour-bearer and she once said.  I can fill an entire book of what this lady means to me.  I am intimately aware of what gifts come from God and how they are to be respected and treated.  I would never discount and devalue the love that was given to me.  I know that God was the source and she was the vehicle.

So what happens when the relationship has ended?  When this person has hurt you so deeply and they have managed to show you what you have been afraid of all your life; losing love. And that your love doesn’t count.  How does your betrayed heart beat with a new rhythm?  How do you navigate the world with her?  What happens when you need oxygen and she was the one that put the oxygen mask on you?  Who do you call in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and she answers the phone like she was anticipating your call?  Who will you tell your husband secrets to when the world advises you to keep your marriage private?  For me, this person doesn’t exist anymore. Some would say our  “season” was up. I would never be convinced of this.  She knows and I know that this was not how our friendship was to go down.  There was nothing Godly in this breakup.  And for those who says seasons change, I would offer that they do, but there is always seasons to replant.

That brings me back to what do I do with the love?  Despite the hurt and the pain my love still remains.  I love her today as I did last year.  I wish and pray the best.  She will always be one of the greatest part of me. I have a love that deserves to be shared.  It’s a love that I crave to experience for myself.

I Wanna Know What Love Is

I can remember when I first heard the song, “I wanna know what love is.” I’m sure I said to myself what so many others have said.  “Me too!”  Finding love in this world has become such a daunting task.  Or maybe it isn’t.  After all, we have television shows like the Bachelor and the Bachelorette who find love in a few episodes.  Only in America can we endorse a man having his pick of many women and all vying for his heart.  What kind of love is that?

From a little girl, I dreamed of finding my prince.  I knew that he would whisk me away to some perfect place and we would have our 3.2 perfect children.  I would be a hot at-home mom and he would love me forever.  I guess it’s safe to assume that it never happened that way.  In fact, most of my life, I have been unlucky at love.  Sure, I have found men to fall in love with me.  Each of them always wanted marriage soon after dating.  I was and am the marrying kind.  But, I was never happy.  After each  failed marriage, I knew then what I had known when I walked down the aisle;I shouldn’t be doing this.  The Christian girl in me always wanted to do the right thing.  But, deep inside, I knew that it was that I wanted to be able to say I did the right thing.  No one ever taught me how to love.  I just fell willy nilly into relationships.  My mom was a product of an accident she was told regarding her birth.  Her mother was young when she had her so she was raised by her  maternal grandmother.  Her grandmother  was uneducated and the fund of her knowledge was picking cotton.  There was very little in the development of families during that time in south.  Just trying to survive daily on the plantation was all that many could do.  My mom, like her mom, got pregnant early.  My dad, married and raised my mom is what he would say.  They too, were children and didn’t know much about love. So it was a cycle that was perpetuated.  When my older sister was born my father did what many black men did during the era, the got married.  Our society teaches us that many men didn’t own up to their responsibilities back then.  I don’t firmly believe this.  Many men during this time, did get married.  Although my parent and  my parent’s parents didn’t have a Dr. Phil or an Oprah to tell them how to love they  went on instincts and I guess somehow that was passed down to me.  I knew how to be responsible.  If I had sex, that meant get married.  However, I lack the social skills, ingenuity, spirituality, and emotional capability to make any of those relationships work.  I had a form of godliness, but no true God.

I found myself in my current marriage, desiring love.  I knew my husband loved me.  I knew that if he had his way we would be together forever, but I wanted him to LOVE ME!!!!   The difference between love me and LOVE ME I hadn’t a clue.  The sad part to that statement is that I truly had no idea what that meant.  I remember having a conversation with my husband and him asking me how could he not love me?  He asked,   What is it that I am doing that makes you think that I don’t love you?  All I could say is that I know that you love me, but I need you to love me.  It doesn’t make sense, right?  It doesn’t make sense, but it was what I meant.   For days I kept asking myself what do I want.  I tried to make lists of things he could do, but nothing I wrote every amounted to him LOVING ME.  You see, I didn’t want him to kiss me more, or wine and dine me, although those things were nice.  I didn’t want a new car or a big fancier house. All I knew is I wanted something from him and he wasn’t giving it to me.  I started to become bitter.  How could he not know what I needed?  Why couldn’t he just fix me?  After, all I got him where he is.  Being all happy and stuff.  Why couldn’t he make me just as happy as he was?  My days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.  I wasn’t happy and I wanted out!

One day as I contemplated the  Mr. new guy who would give me exactly what I was looking for, I tried to imagine what he would be doing differently.  I couldn’t conjure up one image of what that  love looked like.  I slowly beginning  to realize that the problem might be me.  It was sobering.  I had blamed my husband for my unhappiness.  I wanted him to save me, but I could never tell him what the danger was.  I had all these expectations, yet no real visuals for the expectation.  Even if my husband had met my needs, I would have never  recognized it.  I had pushed love away many times because I stood asking, I wanna know what love is.  It’s like standing in the ocean and saying I wish I had water.  Love was all around me yet I couldn’t see it.  The best way that I can explain this is if you have ever lived by an airport or a railroad track, in time your mind has filtered the noise and you no longer hear it.  It is only when a visitor comes that hears the plane or the train and reminds you.  Love can be that way sometimes.  You’ve had it near you, but you’ve filtered it as noise and it becomes a part of your world.  So in time, you lose the beauty of it.  You secretly long for it because you think you  either lost it or it is gone.  This is why many marriages fail.  No one has taught them to move to dry land and look back at the water.  Love has to be experienced at some point from a distance to behold the beauty of it and appreciate its value.  To be in awe of something you have to behold it.  Standing knee deep in water, you will never appreciate it.  But, once on dry land, the enormity and the vastness of the water is clearly seen.  I found love again on dry land.

My dry land came in the form of a deep separation of almost all things.  I unplugged from life.  Except for the necessary, I did nothing.  I got in touch with God.  I didn’t intentionally start with God.  I’m much too stubborn for that.  I started with all the remedies I had to fix it and when I saw that didn’t work, then I tried God.  I’m just being honest.  I learned that I would have never known what love was no matter how hard I searched.  If he was rich, cute and intelligent, godly and rich(I know I said it twice), I still wasn’t going to be happy.  The love I longed for is that one that never fails.  No man or no human could have ever filled what my spirit and heart needed.  It was designed to be filled only by the presence of God.  The love I found in God taught me to accept the love of my husband in all of its completeness.  I no longer dictate the way that my husband loves me.  It’s his love and it’s not my business to tell his love what to do.  Whew, that was a big step.  I had to trust in his love for God that would empower him to give me all the love that I needed.  We often  ask God for things and I wonder do we really think that God is going to give it us when we ask.  I asked God for a man that loves me, yet I didn’t believe.  I was waiting on a feeling.  I was waiting on the extraordinary.  I was waiting for the fairy tale.  I will let you in on a secret you probably already know; fairy tales aren’t real.  I learned this the hard way.  If you wanna know what love is, Genesis to Revelation is the greatest love story ever told.

 

Organic Sista

DIY: Natural Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Homemade-cleaning-products

I love to make my own cleaning supplies.  Walking into my home and smelling a clean fresh house after working many hours is what the doctor has in order for me.  Nothing beats the smell of fresh lemons and stimulating essential oils.  It immediately picks up my spirit and create a sense of calmness.  Visitors to my home always remark how soothing and calm my house is.  I love it when we have guests overnight and they remark, there is something about that bedroom or your house evokes peace.  The quick answer is essential oils. Nothing can quicken your spirit and sense of sensibilities as essential oil.  Whether it is lavender (my favorite) or chamomile, eucalyptus or lemongrass, these oils will ignite you.  Packed within these pure oils are essences that you will discover that are therapeutic and mood provoking.   So here’s one of my cleaning recipes.

All Purpose Cleaner

4 oz of Castille Soap

12 oz of distilled water

1/8 cup of lemon or vinegar

10 drops of your favorite essential oil

I use this all purpose cleaner on my kitchen counter tops  and bathroom.  The castille is a very mild soap yet it cleansing properties are amazing.  I add vinegar or lemon (and sometimes both) to give the soap some astringent properties to cut through grime and grease.

Organic Sista

GONE TO SOON!

lashanda

FRIEND FOREVER

It’s been over a year since I have been able to visit the pages of the website. For the most part this website has laid dormant. I’ve been paralyzed to say or do anything as it relates to Leading Ladies. The end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 were horrible times. In two short months, we had the unexpected death of two of our Leading Ladies and the devastating separation of my marriage. Grief crippled me and I retreated. I went totally off grid to grasp the pain and deep sorrow that I felt inside. Words cannot express the loss of a biological sister and a best friend who was a sister all while dealing with a painful separation. What was I to do? I didn’t know how to navigate this new normal. I didn’t have a set of instructions. No college course had ever prepared me for LIFE.

Leading Ladies was formed out of a longing for true connection with women. I had discovered that I wasn’t open to female friends. It was my mistrust of the female’s deception that kept me from forming any bonds with most women. A casual conversation with an assistant of mine, informed that I was a loner and an introvert. This couldn’t be right I thought. I interact with people all the time. How could I be, dis-associative? After all I do have a best friend. It was at this point my assistant said, your mother has died and you didn’t allow anyone to come to your house. It had not occurred to me that I did that out of some desire to be apart from people, but it got me to thinking. I looked around and I only had one friend. A best friend who was 600 miles away. Even she and I didn’t talk much. I looked around and I suddenly felt lonely. I had management systems in my life not to feel or become close to anyone. I saw what hurt did to people and I surely didn’t want any of that.

The death of my mother allowed me to take stock of my life. I had worked my way to success and was climbing even higher when my mother died. Today, I don’t understand how I ran all the businesses, church affairs, marriage, and life in general. I was on several board of directors and was always at the ready to help someone out, but when my mother died, I couldn’t think of one person that I could call except for my assistant. I remember calling Erica, and saying I’m taking this week off because I know my mother is going to die. She later called me that day to check on me and I knew that it wouldn’t be long before my mother passed. What happened next was the most healing words of my life. “I’m on my Way.” I didn’t give it much thought, but it brought a certain amount of peace for the moment. My died that night with Erica there with me. The Lord knew in that moment, I needed someone. Erica went from being my assistant to best confidant a person could have. I was able to lay all my fears, sin, shame at her feet. She carried it on her shoulder and never showed me that she wavered from the stress of it. I had lived inside my head for so many years that I didn’t know how to come out. My mother’s death left room in my life to sit and think. I learned that all my success and ever setting goals was a mask for the guilt that I felt.

I had gotten pregnant in college. I felt ashamed as I was one of two people from my community who went to college. Everyone knew that I was succeed, but the shame of returning home pregnant created a drive in me. I wanted to repay my mother for the shame I had caused her. My mother dropped out of school in the 8th grade. She endured the pain of my abusive father to make sure I had what I needed. I still recall the day my dad told me that I couldn’t go to college because he wouldn’t pay for it. I cried. Those words still haunt me today. It was my father who threatened me to get good grades. It was he that told me a “B” means bad. I strove for straight A’s. But even with good grades he was never impressed. I thought the idea of the good grades were to go to college. My mother later told me to not worry about college. She proclaimed, “At the end of the summer you will leave her for college. I don’t care if I have to mop every white person’s floor in America, you are going to college.” So that’s where the guilt came in. I became focus at locking everyone out and creating a life that my mom would be proud of. The death of my mom released me from that guilt.

In walks in Lashanda Miles. I knew her from my orthodontist. She treated me special at my appointment for my braces. She made me a VIP. I would have never thought we would be friends much later. I was way too different. She was contemporary and I was awkward and nerd. I didn’t fit in with many women. I wasn’t into fashion, clubs or what was going in pop culture. I was into nature and science. This brilliant angel saw the best in me. She thought I was cool. She had so much confidence in me that I was scared to let her down. She would call and ask questions and I would just so happen to have the answers and she thought I was intelligent. I thought I was just lucky. It was through her pushy assistance that I launched my third company. Maybe demanded is the right word. She encourage me to be and to do all. She forced me into interaction with others. It became fun and then it became addictive.

Who knew friendship could be so good? I wasn’t totally naive. I did have a best friend. It is still the most sacred friendship I have, but it still had left me with wanting. Lashanda Miles was the gift that God gave to me to open me to the gifts that I had inside. I struggle to navigate without the footprints in my life. What do you do when one of your biggest cheerleaders die? She along with my sister has been the greatest teacher for me. I live INTENTIONALLY ever day. To do otherwise, would be a disservice to them.

Leading Ladies has been such a source of great joy and pain. How do I find my way back?

Conversation with God

Good Morning Lover

Good Morning Lover

Cast all your care upon me and I will give you rest. Today I don’t want you to take no thought or worry about anything that robs you of your peace. Let me take care of them. As your bridegroom I long to be with you today and just abide in you. I opened up this day anticipating our communication. Through your rush and haste today, you forgot to speak to me. But, rest assured, I know you thought of me in your heart. I don’t have insecurities, so I trust in the relationship we have. You don’t prove to me that I am number one in your life by the routines that other men do. You know like, I pray three times a day, I study the bible every morning at 5 am. I know the strength of your love for me is when you say I trust you Lord when your days seems dark. I feel it when you got that unexpected surprise and you immediately say thank you to me. I see in when you come to the aid of a friend or family. I know even then that you are loving me. Please don’t treat me with the world’s recipe of love.
I love you in so many ways daughter, and it takes a special woman to see me in the many areas of her life. But, I love you so much that in so many ways, I tell you that I love you daily. I’ve gone to prepare a special place for you my bride. I have adorned with everything that a bride would want and is worthy of. I want you to know your value today. That’s why I don’t want you to worry about anything today. I want to take that burden away. I don’t want any petty distractions that subtract you from the woman you are.
Today I want you to take time by spending time on your vision. I have planted purpose in your heart and filled you with my expectations of you to make you whole and complete. I know that I have given you the heart to help others with their dream, but today work on your vision. What is the difference between dreams and visions? Visions are your purpose and dreams are someone else’s vision.
I’ll wait for you at the end of the day as I always do. I close each day with thoughts of you and how I have secretly admired you throughout your day. I smiled as I saw you showing kindness to a co-worker who you felt didn’t deserve it. I marveled at the softness of your voice when you suppressed your anger and I felt like you were talking to me as you flirted with your spouse. I love you daughter and there is no one else like you in my life.

1 Peter 5:7bags

Dr. Harris

Leading Ladies Tour

The His Will, Her Way Conference exceeded our expectation. We are anxiously anticipating the Second Annual Conference later this year. Meanwhile, the Leading Ladies Tour is coming soon to Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale/Miami and Atlanta, GA. The speakers are refreshed, personable, full of wisdom, and will shift your mindset to becoming an Intentional Millionaire.

What makes this tour different? You will not just get empowering information, but you will learn practical life application. Stay tuned for more exciting details.

“His Will, Her Way” Conference Highlights

There are a multitude of women empowerment conferences across the globe. With hopes of doing better, being better or receiving a one word from a guru or the Lord, women pursue empowerment. The challenge with several conferences is that women attend and receive deposits without deliverance, connections without commitment, meet sassy sisters without embracing sisterhood and walk away with information without direction on application. That was a mouthful.

The Leading Ladies “His Will, Her Way” Empowerment Tour was unique. Prayers were for God to show up like fire. Belief was that every single woman that attended would get exactly what she came for. The expectation was that women would be set free. God delivered on His promises. The consensus is that the attendees feel better, faith has increased, excuses have decreased, hearts were mended, and true sisterhood has been cultivated.

If it had to be described in one word, it would be "Awesome."

His Will, Her Way Tour
Leading Ladies and the NFL & NBA Moms visit the
Tree of Life Clinic in Columbus, GA

What happens when you don’t have insurance? The Tree of Life Medical Clinic can provide healthcare cost to approximately 40,000. Unfortunately, there are no physicians, equipment, or support staff for the new facility donated by Columbus Regional. Leading Ladies and the NFL & NBA Moms joined forces to help with this endeavor, tour the facility, share testimonies and charge the community to invest in this free opportunity for healthcare. Sheryl Howard, mother of NBA Player Dwight Howard, shared with the Charity Gala attendees “the face of no health insurance.” After changing health insurance companies, Mrs. Howard lost health insurance for 3.5 years due to a pre existing health condition. Her testimony taught the audience that the face of no health insurance is not about social class, race, creed or religion. Every socioeconomic class, culture, race, etc. are affected.

The vision for the Tree of Life was clear and made plain. Attendees caught the vision and invested in the call to action.

Finding Friday

Finding Friday:  This entire week has been a world wind of emotions.  I’ve felt disconnected this week due to internal issues with family and friends.  But, yet I rose to do what was expected with work and other activities.  This week many times I masked much of what I felt except to those who can see right through me.  I felt such an overwhelming sadness this week that I still have not completely shaking.  When you couple that with disagreement with your husband (yes, I said it), a sick child in another state, empathy from friends pain and just a sense of feeling helpless.  I command my morning and define my days, but this week it was a struggle.  I have learned to depend on my sisters.  Erica Brooks, Tangie Henry, Pontress S. Bailey shoulders are much heavier for holding me up.  This Friday is not Freedom Friday for me.  I’m not focused and I’m running on adrenaline.  I can get over me, but I can’t bandage the wound I feel for my family or friends.  I hurt for my husband and Siobhan Hardy who has lost grandparents this week, my “Beetle” who has the flu in Florida  and to a mom who is in another state it’s torture.  From the hurt a close friend is experience by being taken advantage of, to those who are struggling to keep faith.  Finally, to hear that there is a shooting in NYC.   With the love you have, how does it not affect you?  My process is different than most.  I have 40 years of emotions that was unleashed.  Some mis- applied, but surges all at once.  Many will say you have to master your emotions.  I know that, and time is helping me with that.  But, until I do, I am still walking out most of it.  I want to care less, because it hurts so much now that I do.  It was simpler when I could walk away or ignore the hearts of others.  But, this day, on this Friday….I’m lost and I can’t find my Friday.  I know it will come so there in lies my hope….  I just pray my hope is not deferred.

Microscope Monday

Microscope Monday:  Let each woman examine herself closely.  Over the last few months I have been from one event to the next. I’ve learned some things along the way.  One events are nerve racking, two, it takes careful planning.  Three, women are very slack (yeah, I said that too.)  Recently a friend was having an event that had food.  The day before her event only 10 people had paid.  About 50  people showed up at the door.  She also told me that many of the ladies said that they would pay at the door.  The problem with this is that, she was not able to account for the food.  This is the same with a friend who had a conference, many wanted to pay the day of event.  How do you account for the conference material if you don’t have an idea.   And finally, I’ve been to events local and other, where women have RSVP and not shown up.  This is probably a personal pet peeve of mine, because that is disrespectful.  Most of us LL are managers of something even if it is our own home.  So we know the details are in our details.  RSVPing to an event and not showing up is not support.  Ladies, please stop doing it, or do not do it as a LL.  With everything let your answers be yes and no.    We have a reputation as being catty and un-supportive as other women.  Let’s begin to change that right now and today.  Many of you know that if I say I will do this…. or say that I will be there.  Nothing short of death, hospitalization or something beyond my reach… I’m there!  I’m loyal and I practice loyalty.  On this microscope Monday, make a commitment to someone else’s vision or event and stick with it to the end.    Do something wild like RSVP to someone and SHOW UP!  I love the English language and my WORD means everything to me.  Happy Microscope Monday!