Sunday, May 29, 2011


How do you make tough decisions? Do you marinate endlessly on them? Do you decide quickly? Maybe you're one of those that makes a pros and cons list.

For me, I usually pray about it, marinate a bit, and then decide. But the key word here is "usually!" Sometimes a decision is made for you by a sudden change in events or the actions of people. I admit, this has happened to me. I may have already decided to handle something in one way and then "BANG," something happens that either takes the decision completely out of my hands or cause me to instantly change my mind about how I'm going to handle it. So is this such a bad thing? Do these sudden changes in reality that cause a sudden change in our actions make us an "uncontrolled" person? I don't think so.

Let's analyze this. We sometimes are afforded the opportunity to look at a particular situation and spend time looking at what the end product will be based on the path we decide to take. This is particularly true when deciding on a vacation or a major purchase. We can sit down, calculate the cost, plan an itinerary, all those things. I like being able to "decide" like that. But what happens when decisions are taken away from you? What do you do when the actions of others, the events of a day, or just the plain facts of a situation completely take all decision making away from you?

The "really reality" is that no matter the situation, none of the outcomes are up to us anyway. Our paths have already been decided for us. You see, God decided a long time ago what ups and downs we were going to have to deal with. He already knows what decisions we're going to make and he has already decided what he's going to do about EVERYTHING! What we have to decide is are we willing to accept what God has planned for us? Now that is the though decision and that is the "really reality."

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I woke up this morning rather annoyed. At first I thought it was because my beagle, Sasha, had conveniently forgotten that it's Saturday and wanted to go out at 5:15am. Then I realized that it was because I'm missing something that's very important to me. My Friends!

Now don't get me wrong. I have friends here in Houston. But I'm missing those friends that I spent my "formidable" years with. We use to all be in relatively close proximity to each other, no more than a couple hours drive. Now we are all so spread out. Sadly this is not a new occurrence, we've had these miles between us for nearly 9 years. But I'm really, really missing them.

These are the friends that you knew would be down for whatever! The ones that call you at 3pm and you're hanging out with by 7pm. The ones that you can talk to for hours about nothing. The ones that you've been through the craziest of times with. I remember once we were just hanging at the apartment and about midnight someone said, hey let's go to Six Flags tomorrow. Sweet, we had season passes, at 7am we were loaded up and made the 2.5 hr drive to ATL for a day of screams! There's no impromptu outings now. In fact the last time we were ALL together was at my wedding almost 6 years ago.

Maybe I'm being nostalgic. I'm sure that we all have moments when we wish we could go back to the "good 'ole days." But is it really so wrong to want that sometimes. I don't know if my oldest friends follow this blog but if they do I want them to know I MISS YOU!  I hate that it takes an insane amount of time, planning, and hoping that family obligations don't conflict, in order for just a fraction of us to gather together. Maybe we need to place on our calendar a set time every couple of years for a reunion like some families do. Hmm, now there's an idea. Yeah, a time that doesn't revolve around football, bands, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Just a time for us to be us! Come on buddies, can we make that our "Really Reality?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thank You Oprah

Tomorrow will be the last Oprah Winfrey show. WOW! 25 years. I can't remember what it was like for Oprah not to be on TV. As a Chicago native I'm feeling quite nostalgic about this milestone in Miss Winfrey's life. I'm also feeling regretful that I never took the initiative to try to get the hottest ticket in town. But that's neither here nor there. As we prepare to say good-bye to the Oprah show let's reflect on what Oprah has meant to our communities.

Now, let me start by saying TO THOSE THAT HAVE SOMETHING NEGATIVE TO SAY ABOUT OPRAH, GO SIT ON AN EGG!! No she is not a perfect person, but she DOES have a good, giving, loving heart and spirit! No one with a soul can sit and watch these two shows being aired from the United Center and not tear up a little. The young ladies stating how Oprah has impacted them and made them believe that "they ARE enough!!" The Morehouse graduates that have come full circle because of Oprah's belief in scholastics. The 25 schools that Target is putting new libraries in because Oprah encouraged us to READ!! Or the the 25000 oak trees that are going to be planted in her honor from coast to coast. And yes, even Patti kicking off her shoes as she sang!

I can only pray that we don't ever forget the good that this one woman has done. You see, when it's done for the pure joy of doing it, it makes it that much sweeter. Let's be real, how many of you actually knew that she had set a personal goal of making sure 1000 black men would get an education at Morehouse? So far, 415 have. She's getting there. The encouragement of women, reminding them that they are powerful and strong. Standing up to those that said no! Celebrating our unsung heroes and reminding of us of OUR history!

So as we prepare to watch the last Oprah Show I would like to say this:

Dear Oprah,
Thank you for being you. Thank you for the tears and the laughs. Thank you for making me hate a little bit on the people who were in the audience at your favorite things shows. Thank you for making me know that it's ok to want more for myself. Thank you for helping me remember who I am and where I come from. Thanks for making me know that I can do it, all of it, any of it, or none of it! Thank you for helping me feel JUSTIFIED!! Thank you for showing me why I need to get to Australia sooner rather than later. Thanks for showing me how beautiful Miraval is (it's in my folks backyard and we've never been.) Thanks for the books! Thanks for loving children and mothering them in your own special way. Thanks for making me appreciate my BFF! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will miss you but I will be watching OWN!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


We go about our daily lives, working, spending time with family, paying bills, etc. But what really dictates why we do the things that we do? Who laid out these "expectations?"

My mom and I had a brief conversation this evening and we touched on the topic of expectations as it relates to education. We both acknowledged that attending college was considered an "expectation" and not an "option" as we were being raised. We also agreed that my sister and I were both raising our children with this same expectation.

Do we place on our kids our hopes and dreams. I would venture to say that to some extent we do. We want our offspring to be productive citizens. I would even say that if we don't have personal goals for our kids that we are doing them a disservice. Goals keep us focused, shouldn't it be the same for our children?

The "reality" is that I believe in my child just as I hope every parent believes in theirs. My folks believed in me. I thank God that they never gave up on me because I was not the most efficient person when it came to getting out of school. But now I have not only a Bachelor degree but a Doctorate as well. I don't know who was prouder that day, me for finishing, or my mom when she heard them say Dr. followed by my name.  I expect that my son will make me just as proud. I expect that he will be well educated and my hubby and I will instill in him the importance of that education. It will be an expectation. The plan will be that he will always know that a college degree is part of the natural progression of his life. And that is the "really reality" for him!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I have a college friend that out of the blue was given the most life changing information ever. CANCER. For some reason that friend was on my mind today. I'm not sure why, I know she's doing well, living life to the fullest, enjoying her child, working and just being incredibly grateful to God that she gets to keep doing all these things because she's in REMISSION!! But yet for whatever reason, I just started thinking about her.

Perhaps it's the knowledge that at any given moment, my life could change. Realistically our lives change on a daily basis. We make plans, we start to execute them, and then POW!! All the plans go south. Now what? Do you start over? Do you give up? Do you change your plan? Which direction are you suppose to head in?

When life throws those unexpected things at you, do you quiver with fear or take a stand? I hope that I can follow the example of my friend. Was she afraid? Duh, of course. Who wouldn't be when you are given a diagnosis that has such an uncertain path. But she did take a stand! She fought. She leaned on those that had always been there for her. She loved her child. She talked to God daily!! I don't doubt that at some point she asked God "why me?" But isn't that just human nature? To ask God, why? 

The "really reality" is that CHANGE is NOT a negative! It may be a challenge but it's meant to make you stronger. Just like my friend fought back against her Cancer, we have to fight those changes that far to many look upon as devastating blows. Change is nothing but an adjustment. It's up to you as to how you handle it. If you roll over, wallow in your tears, and just give up, then expect to get what you have put in: NOTHING!! If you grab the bull by the horns, fight, except that there will be bumps and keep going, then you can expect: SUCCESS! And that my friends is "really reality."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mixed Emotions

I found myself in a mix of emotions this morning. As I looked upon our 8th graders I thought "when did 14 turn into 30?" Overly done faces, 4 inch heels that made my ankles tremble, fishnets, etc. But that was not the majority. The majority looked adorable in their dress shirts and ties & their dresses and appropriate smaller heels. They were excited about being on display.

The "reality" is that these kids, these young adults, are our future. And that scares me! 355 8th graders sat in that gym with their smiling faces and their proud parental figures just snapping aways with their cameras. 355 totally different personalities. 355 different fates. I found myself proud and indifferent at the same time. Over 50 had maintained honor roll status this year, 4 had straight A's. The academically successful athletes were acknowledged, but half of them (mostly the boys) were kids that stay in trouble. The coaches were perfect in their choices of top honored athletes. If you could see the shock on some of the boys faces as less popular persons received the top honors from the coaches.

As the band played and several of "my" kids stood to do solos, I found myself tearing up a bit. "These are my good kids," is what I was thinking. "These are the ones that work hard, don't talk back, are sometimes so quiet that I forget they're in the room. Yeah, these are my good kids!" Then they started calling the names of each and every 8th grader and I found myself looking at some of them thinking, "Dear God, help them!"

So the "really reality" is that in spite of, I do care about each and every one of these kids. I will be so sad to see some of them go. Others I will gladly hold the door open and wave goodbye to for the last time. The ones that I know are ready I don't worry about to much. It's the ones that are ready but have all those "other" things impacting their worlds that I worry about. The ones that have been through incredible losses this year. The ones that think they don't have to be concerned with their academics because "athletics" is going to provide for them. The ones that I keep snacks around for. These are the ones that stay in my mind.

I've never taught 8th grade before. Before I always had the chance to see "my kids" roam the halls for at least another year as they matured and prepared for high school. There's such a finality to the close of this school year. I don't even know if I will be in this district come August. How will I know how "my kids" are? I NEED to know if my tough love did it's job! Even the ones that got on my last nerve every day, I want to know if they are doing alright. How do I deal with this mixed bag of emotions? How can you be so proud, so sad, and so worried all at once? This wasn't in the middle school teachers manual. Oh wait, there was no manual! This totally BITES (as the kids would say)! And to that I say, "really reality?" Really?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Giving credit

I'm a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. So let me first start by saying I've started this blog because my cousin started one. As I was reading her's I got to thinking, hmm, maybe I should do that. I have a ton of things I could write, fuss, complain and advise about. LOL Fortunately, she was supportive of my craziness and encourage me to jump right in. So here I am in my brilliant, signature RED!!

I'm not sure what direction this adventure is heading in. What I do know is that on any given day my "reality" can be wonderful and in a matter of seconds flip to complete suckiness! (is that a word?) Sort of like my soon to be 2 year old's demeanor. That boy can go from being so sweet it makes your teeth hurt to the devil in a red cape with sharpened horns faster than you can blink an eye! I guess the terrible 2s have started early. SMH, shrug.

Anywho! My "really reality" is that I have to be bright eyed and bush tailed tomorrow as I will face a school full of parents. An awards ceremony where EVERY child is getting an award. Call me crazy but I thought you were suppose to earn those. What do children learn if you have to stretch to come up with something for them. No expectations of moments of pride tomorrow. So to that I say "really reality?" Really?