Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kind of Like ABDC, Only For Jesus

Like this slogan? You can buy it on a tee here.

While searching for Kirk Franklin's "Better" on YouTube, I came across this awesome dance version with a group of youth from a School of Worship & Dance (I didn't even know there were schools dedicated to teaching praise dancing). It's pretty cool, check it out.

One Of My Heroes: Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: journalist, writer, civil rights activist and one of my personal heroes.

I was 17, a college freshman in a 1000 level History class when I stumbled upon her: Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She was a writer (thrilling to me since I secretly fancied myself one, even though I was an education major at the time), independent, strong and outspoken (qualities I desired, but did not have). She was Black. She was a woman... a Black woman writer... a true trinity of uniqueness... and was making her mark on history a century before I discovered her. I was enthralled.

Over a decade later, I still am. Even though her mark has been hidden by decades of unawareness and shoved under the records of countless other Black and/or female leaders who are trotted out around this time (February being Black History Month and March being Women's History Month), it still remains. And if you don't know her, allow me please, to formally introduce you.

"Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, just months prior to emancipation in 1862. Her parents died of yellow fever when she was 14, and Wells, though minimally educated, began teaching to support her seven younger sisters and brothers. She somehow managed to keep her family together, graduate from Rust College and secure a teaching position in Memphis in 1888.

When she was 22, Wells defied a conductor’s order in Tennessee to move to a segregated railroad car and was forcibly removed. She won a lawsuit (later overturned) against the railroad and, from that point on, worked consistently to overcome injustices to people of color and to women. In 1889 she became co-owner of a Memphis newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight. Her editorials protesting the lynching of three black friends led to a boycott of white businesses, the destruction of her newspaper office and threats against her life. Undeterred, she carried her anti-lynching crusade to Chicago and published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, which documented racial lynching in America.

In 1895 she married Ferdinand L. Barnett, attorney and owner of the Conservator, Chicago’s first black newspaper, and hyphenated her name to Wells-Barnett. Though married and eventually the mother of four, Wells-Barnett continued to write and organize. She was a founder of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), marched in the parade for universal suffrage in Washington, D.C. (1913) and established the Negro Fellowship League for black men and the first kindergarten for black children in Chicago.

Though her crusade for Congress to pass anti-lynching laws did not succeed during her lifetime, her efforts as a writer and activist dedicated to social change and justice bore fruit in many areas and established her as one of the most forceful and remarkable women of her time. Ida B. Wells died in Chicago. She once said: “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

From Americans Who Tell The Truth

This is just a brief sketch of an admirable life. Ms. Wells-Barnett overcame slavery, became highly educated, promoted education, fought injustice, yet managed to marry (and to a civic-minded lawyer!) and have four children. Although she died in 1931, long before Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat, Dr. King marched and Malcolm revolted, it's undeniable she helped plant the seeds that grew into Civil Rights Movement decades later.

For more on Ms. Wells- Barnett, click here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beaker's Ballad

I was born when "The Muppets" was on, prompting my father to nickname hi's new little girl "Miss Piggy." Funny thing is, that porker never held my attention. I liked Kermit, but hands down, my favorite character was always Beaker. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's because he doesn't actually talk and always makes me feel bad for him. But I love him. So now, I present, "Beaker's Ballad"... or his take on "Dust In The Wind." Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fasting & Prayer, Sans SackCloth

Yup, this is pretty much me until Easter.

This year, for the first time, I decided I'd observe Lent. This is a first since I'm not Catholic or a member of a "high church" or liturgical Protestant denomination. Although my husband, being raised as a Roman Catholic, was quite familiar with this 40 Day period of sacrifice, I never bothered. In fact, when I was a kid, when I heard "Lent", I just thought of all that stuff we had to pull out the trap in the dryer.

As an adult, it always intrigued me, but being a penta-charasmatic-non-denom girl, I steered clear of it still. It seemed very... Romish. But after reading up on it, I realized how awesome it could be- a spiritual renewal in preparation of Resurrection Sunday (which I started around Palm Sunday anyway). What sealed the deal for me to do it though was a book by Evangelical pastor Jentezen Franklin called "Fasting". The book lists a number of different fasts one can do: drinking only water, from sun-up to sun down, eliminating a certain food group, short fasts, extended ones... I opted for a partial one, based loosely on the prophet Daniel's fasts. In chapter 10:2-3, Daniel abstains from "rich food", "meat and wine" for three weeks. In the first chapter, he (along with his three friends) skips out on everything except "vegetables and water". I came to the decision I would fast from meat and alcohol (so long chicken and my beloved glass of after-work-stress-relieving wine) for the whole of Lent. I chose to keep starches (potatoes, pasta, bread) since I am on medication for my illness.

I want to stress the point that fasting is not for simply giving up something. I'm not simply playing vegetarian for 5 weeks. No, you take away something, but you also add in more time for prayer, study of Scripture and meditation. If possible, donate some extra money (hey, you know you have it... you'll be getting that tax refund any day now! Do you REALLY need that 42 inch flat screen? Do you???). Don't have the cash? Donate old clothes, books, pots and pans to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Volunteer to mentor a young person, clean your church, or shovel for a neighbor the next time a snowstorm hits. When you spend time on your knees, donate some of your prayer time to others (we all get caught up in praying for ourselves and our concerns). Follow the method I learned as a child in Christian school: J.O.Y... Jesus, Others, You. Spend more time on the "O" and you'll be adding to the "Y" and honoring the "J".

One thing I won't be doing is walking around looking like a poor soul, drawing attention to myself just cause I have to pass on the chicken in my pad thai:

Matthew 6:1-18 "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you."

If you are interested in fasting, here are a few links to get you started:

The Different Types of Fasts
Resolute Fasting
What Does The Bible Say About Fasting?

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Not Just Us Sistas- Part II

Giddel with her hair straightened and cut into the perfect, layered bob.

In “It’s Not Just Us Sistas”, Rajul, Dawn and Amy (hilariously) shared their hair stories. In this installment, my best friend Giddel and good friend Robyn get their turns to assure us that women of every color, ethnicity and background have at one time or the other, waged war on their tresses.

Giddel (who was the object of my gushy BFF Valentine on Sunday), is Puerto Rican and has a head full of very thick, soft curls. From the time we met back in high school, I always loved her hair. Back then, she thickly coated her hair in gel, an easy, but sometimes damaging (if the gel contained alcohol) fix to get her sometimes unruly hair to behave. The downside- her hair was often crunchy, like many Curly Sues in the 80’s & 90’s. I must say there have been major improvements in hair products lately.

Anyway, Giddel’s most horrifying hair memory wasn’t the crunch of pulling her hair back, but a hair cut that haunts her since childhood. “My father decided that he would have some random friend of his cut my hair when I was about 4 and that person jacked up my hair so bad that my mother had to have my hair cut very short. As a result of that incident, at around 5 or 6 years of age I was mistaken for a boy while participating in a Girl Scout activity. I’ll never forget that, that was the first time I had ever been insulted and didn’t know what to do with myself except cry of course.” Unfortunately, she isn’t exaggerating about that cut. She allowed me ONCE and only ONCE to see a picture of her from that time period. She was tiny, standing with a large group of kids in a park in Philadelphia. I stared for a minute, scanning the little faces, playing “Where’s Waldo” looking for a munchkin version of my best friend. I had to admit, I didn’t see her… because, well, she really looked like a him. It was at that point I saw the family resemblance between Gi Gi and her younger brother Carlos. Quite unfortunate.

Wearing her hair in its naturally curly state (with good product), Giddel posed with her hubby David while celebrating their 1st anniversary.

The bad hair days didn’t end there, either. “At around 10 or 11 years old, my mother , who never knew what to do with my hair, decided she would try and hold my hair out of my face with barrettes -you know the little plastic ones that came in bright colors- so she could keep It loose. Since my hair was wet at the time it worked but once it dried it was the worse sight ever, my hair puffed into an untamed afro and the barrettes ended up suspended 2 to 3 inches above my forehead. Yeah that was fun and unfortunately there’s a picture to remind me of it.” She’s never let me see this one, not even ONCE! I guess there are some things that must remain hidden. By the time we met, she was 14 and had moved into the aforementioned gel stage. I soon did her the “favor” of introducing her to a plug-in hot comb (I was relaxer-free at this point, so I figured I’d share whatever advice I could). She eventually learned heat could tame the waves, but could also cause damage: I “never had problems with hair loss, but [experienced] a lot of damage from using styling products and a lot of heat from styling tools. It took FOREVER to get rid of the horrendous amount of damage I did to my hair.” One product she never tried: chemical relaxers thanks to “a cousin who told me my hair would fall out if I tried them when I was about 8 years old.” I wish I had listened to my cousin Velvet who told me to stay away from the creamy crack when I was a girl. But that’s my hair story…

After all the hair blunders, Giddel has been scared straight- and curly- and only uses proper products and is careful with styling tools. “I prefer my hair straight when it is cut short but curly when it's long. To straighten I need to blow dry it with a round bristled brush in small sections -don’t forget the straightening serum to help tame the frizz! - and once that is done go back over it with a flat iron to set it. I defiantly need to use a good conditioner designed for my curls, Redken Fresh curls has become my favorite. Conditions and doesn’t leave behind any residue that would make my hair look greasy.” Gi Gi has worn her hair very long (so long when straightened she could sit on it) and stylishly short (my fav was a Rihanna-during-the-“Umbrella”-era cut she had last year). “I love short hair as much as I love long hair. Having the option to have either of the two is enjoyable! And when my hair is short it’s easier to maintain and versatile as well, if I want to go long I can just have a good weave put in!” She’s all for adding hair, not just for herself but any women who wants to play with her look: “I am not against wigs or weaves. I feel that sometimes you want to achieve a certain look but you cannot with your own hair or you just don’t feel like putting in the time and effort to do so. It gives you another avenue for creativity with your look.”

Giddel and David with their children (and my godkids) Benaiah and little Sapphira.

I asked her point blank if she felt ethnic women who dye their hair blonde or add extensions are denying their true selves. “Honestly, what is ‘Keeping it Real’ anyway?” Good question, my friend, one that has launched innumerable debates and countless African American Studies courses throughout the country for decades. Gi Gi continued, “When a woman decides that she wants to wear a weave in her hair, does that make her any less of a woman? Does it lower her IQ? Those individuals, who think it necessary to make that sort of comment, to me, are just looking for something to complain about. The majority of women who use this styling medium use it for their own satisfaction. Many women that are in the public eye use hair weaves to maintain or create a certain look and none would be the wiser. To me, as long as the weave is done to compliment the woman who is wearing it then she is definitely being ‘real’ to herself.”

I asked, “Well, are they denying their heritage? Are they ‘trying to be white’?” She responded, “Who’s ‘trying to be white’? Why is it that having the option to wear your hair straight suddenly becomes an issue of race? What’s interesting is that there are some women whose hair is so kinky and coarse that straightening becomes a necessity to manage it. If she decided not to straighten it she would be criticized for having ‘bad hair’. And those women whose hair is naturally straight spend hours trying to put curls in their hair that will only fall out a few hours later, are they ‘trying’ to be black or Hispanic? No, it’s just a matter of personal preference.”

When Gi Gi wants to leave her hair in the hands of an excellent professional, she takes a very long drive from her home in Virginia to her cousin’s salon in Philadelphia. This might seem extreme, but she has her reasons. “Having moved to another state recently has made finding a salon with personnel who really know how to work with my hair… a challenge. I had been told by a stylist that she almost never sees someone with my hair type and when the other stylist who was working on my hair decided to ‘teach’ her how to straighten my hair type *sigh* that was the worst blow dry I had ever received. Because of that I’m willing to, and have already done, drive 4 hours to my previous place back home just to get a good hair cut.” Dirty Jerz might have its problems- pollution, high car insurance, even higher taxes, corrupt politicos and the entire cast of “The Jersey Shore”- but we do have a positive in an excessive amount of salons and beauty parlors… and being sandwiched between Manhattan and Philly with even more choices for follicle treatments.

Me, Gi Gi, Robyn & our friend Meghan (miss you!) on my 25th birthday. Yes, Gi Gi & Rob know each other. You can read about our time in employment hell together here. Alisha: Bringing great people together.

One of the first things I noticed about Robyn, who I met in college where we both worked as peer counselors/mentors to freshmen, was her long, dark, thick curly hair. I also noticed that although she was always professional in our office, this little girl (we’re both only about 5’2) had a mouth like a sailor and had a quick comeback to any diss someone might try to throw at her. So lady-like, yet tough… Like Charlotte York, sans the WASPiness, with a Jersey girl attitude.

At that point, a then 19 year old Robyn, who owes her curly mane to her Greek father, used gel, and like Giddel, had crunchy hair. And like Gi Gi, had travelled a bumpy course through childhood trying to manage her curls. “Having curly hair as a kid, you are automatically different. I think it was more of a confidence issue I had, rather than anyone actually teasing me for that at least....I've just had some BAD haircuts, usually as the result of trying to have my hair like that of the straight-haired girls. There was the bob in 7th grade that caused my hair dresser to have to shave the entire bottom layer so that it wouldn't stick out too much.” Ahhh! She SHAVED your head for a bob??? Although I haven’t seen any pictures of her from this time period, methinks Rob probably looked like a mushroom. Back in the 90’s, I went to school with a few girls who thought they had a bob but actually looked like Toad from Super Mario Bros.

Little Robyn at a birthday party, hair teased to Jersey girl-mall high perfection.

She continued, “Then there were the bangs that were way too thick and refused to stay straight.” (Hmm, maybe she should’ve tried the chemical straightner Amy did back in the 80’s?) “There was the mullet-esque cut my mom gave me all through elementary school.” (OH NO! Was this mullet like, Joan Jett or Billy Ray Cyrus? I guess either wouldn’t have been too great when most girls wanted to look like Punky Brewster.) “My personal fav was the cut I know affectionately as ‘The Jesus’. I was going for Jennifer Aniston as ‘Rachel’ and ended up looking like the Son of God...not a confidence booster for an 8th grader!!!” Wow. No, I’ll have to agree, no teen girl wants to look like The Christ.

Robyn, with curls, and her life long best friend, Kimmy. (Hi Kimmy!)

After all that, amazingly, most of the time, Robyn now wears her hair straight. Through many a trial and error, she has learned what works best for her hair. “I use a wet/dry straightening iron. When I was younger my hair stylist decided to make an experiment of me and tried every kind of chemical straightener on me -including the stuff they use only on Black Needless to say- see straightening iron above- it didn't work.” I’d like to add here, that it might seem shocking that a box of Creme of Nature didn’t work on a white girl’s hair, but as it turns out, relaxers don’t always take. Period. You can check out this story from Black Girl with Long Hair to read about it. This also explains why she couldn’t go the Amy-route with her bangs.

Mwah! Dan plants a big one on his lovely bride, Robyn, who has mastered blowing out her own hair (love the bangs).

After the series of bad cuts, she usually maintains length: “Longer is best for me b/c then I have the option for curly or straight. If I let my hair go Au natural when it's curly I look like an electrified poodle.” At the salon, “I've never really noticed an ethnic distinction. I am always on the hunt for someone who knows how to handle curls though.” Rob believes ladies should have the option to play around with their hair, to do “what makes them feel good about themselves -although I do think Kate Gosselin looks crazy with those ‘highlights’.” Agreed. I never understood the zebra method of hair coloring myself. And if I might stay on the subject of Ms. Gosselin, her infamous haircut that looked like a reverse mullet was bad. But now that her $7,000.00 extensions have turned and look like a horse’s mane, I’m starting to miss that buzz cut. Please note Giddel’s comment above about weave complimenting the wearer.

Despite all the battles, Robyn has come to love her hair. She no longer envies the “straight-haired girls”. “As much as I've fought my hair all these years, I would still pick my own. I love the versatility that it allows me...straight, curly, bangs, no bangs, half back, fully back, parted to the side, parted in the middle...the list goes on...”

Ahh, versatility. All the ladies featured in “Hair Stories” have prized it. The next group of women who will share their stories will discuss the length- and, um, short- they go through to achieve change. That’s right, next up, we’ll look at the ladies rocking weaves, wigs and extensions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Protestants: Why We Should Celebrate Lent, Too

From CBN:

"Why You Should Celebrate Lent
By Elliott Ryan
Guest Writer

For many years, I never associated the celebration of Mardi Gras with any sort of religious observance. After all, the news footage of hordes of people in the streets in various levels of drunkenness doesn’t seem to depict holiness. Growing up in a Protestant denomination that did not observe Lent, the whole holiday just seemed to be an excuse for public intoxication. For many of the people celebrating in New Orleans and other parts of the world, that is all that the celebration represents.

But as I’ve grown older, I have learned of the beautiful traditions of some of the other denominations. For Catholics and some Protestant denominations, Mardi Gras (literally translated "Fat Tuesday") is the final day before the observance of Lent. Mardi Gras didn’t start out as a time of drunken revelry. It originated just as a final opportunity to feast prior to the fasting of Lent.

While Mardi Gras has gained a reputation for its hedonism, Lent is known as a time of prayer, repentance, and recommitment leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, the start of Lent, a 40 Day fasting period set aside to sacrifice and for holiness. It's being practiced more and more by Protestants as well as Catholics and Anglicans.

Starting with Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, and culminating 40 days later, Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for the most important religious holiday for believers. (Sundays are not included in the observance of Lent as Sundays are supposed to be holy days of celebrating the resurrection for all Christians.)

Traditionally, observers participated in Lent by abstaining from certain types of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk products). In some traditions, partial fasts were observed where participants would eat only one meal on certain days. Many who observe Lent today are not as strict. Often they choose to abstain from a particular food or particular behavior (such as watching TV, for example) during Lent. The idea is to abstain from pleasurable activities and instead use the time and energy usually spent in those activities to focus on taking stock of one’s own spiritual condition and repenting for spiritual failures. This idea seems foreign even to many Christians in our culture of immediate gratification.

The 40 days of Lent are also a time of grief. All Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ each Easter. Unfortunately, we often don’t spend much time grieving over our sins that caused the brutal execution of Christ. This tradition begins with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a sign of repentance. The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions. In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin. Perhaps if we are to truly appreciate the great cost to Christ of our salvation, we should meditate on our sinfulness. This meditation should lead observers of Lent to turn away from their sins and recommit themselves to holiness.

Perhaps, after we examine our hearts and lives, we will be led to cry out to God as David did, "Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:9-10).

While my particular denomination does not traditionally celebrate Lent, I have come to appreciate its relevance. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, perhaps we should all use the next few weeks to focus less on our physical appetites and more on our spiritual needs. Perhaps such meditation would lead us to appreciate anew the cost of grace and the victory of the empty tomb."

For more on Protestants and Lent, check out these links:

Lent Mercies
Get Lent: Protestants Do The Sober Season
The Challenge of The Lenten Season
Appreciating Ash Wednesday--Without Bursting Into Flames
More Protestants Turn to Ash Wednesday

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To My Moonlight...

What we have seems crazy... so unbelievably natural, that in this world of fabrication, it is crazy. Crazy love.

A Valentine to My Bestest

Giddel and I at her 18th birthday party in 2001.

Very rarely do I get a chance to tell my best friend Giddel how much I love her, so I'm going to tell her now. We don't talk on the phone all the time, and we're certainly not talking through Warinaco Park or bouncing on that trampoline in your Mom's backyard anymore (even though I wish we could still sometimes). But you're still my best friend, and I'm so glad we met back on September 4, 1997 (yes, psycho with the dates, ha ha). I love you so much. Thanks for listening to me cry over my parent's divorce, being dumped by boyfriends and arguments with Joscelyne. For laughing with me as we tried to get to parade's (but didn't make it), going to concerts at Kean and driving 13 hours in my 1995 Hyndai Elantra for a weekend vacation (I still have "Dangerously in Love" implanted in my brain). Thanks for making me Benaiah's godmother (and not stopping me from claiming Saphirra). For making my wedding happen. For believing it SHOULD happen. I love you, girly, my sister from another mister. Happy Valentine's Day. *Long Distance Hugs & Kisses*

We were all hugs after the Homecoming Party at my alma mater in October 2001.

Road trip! Posing at Virginia Beach, Virginia, in July 2003.

At my surprise Graduation Party, May 2004.

Chilling out at my very first apartment, which she helped paint, in September 2007.

There were hugs (and some tears for me) on her last day of work before moving from Dirty Jerz to Virginia in February 2008.

A big hug and quiet words after I took my vows in October 2008.

Smiling at the reception afterward... she did the flowers and make-up. I still have never felt prettier. Love you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To My First Love

I love You, because You first LOVED me.

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.

11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea a]">[a] asunder
His love endures forever.

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.

17 who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.

19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.

21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.

22 an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

25 and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hot, Sexy... & Married

A couple of days ago, in “No Ring, No Ting”, I introduced the topic of sex- premarital, marital, chastity, etc.- in hopes of discussion. I got a few comments (really good ones, too), so thank you to those who weighed-in. However, I know for a fact a whole LOT MORE of you were playing looky-loos. I have a status counter on this blog, so I know which entries are most popular- which stories were clicked on and even how long you stuck around to read them. In fact, on that story, I got TRIPLE the amount of viewers than I normally do for an average story. So you all are interested in reading about it, but are not necessarily forthcoming with writing about it. I didn’t know my FAR readers were such prudes, lol! Ha, just playing. Seriously, though, I think it would be fortuitous if we all had a discussion- no judgment. If you don’t want your name out there, remain anonymous. Or use a pseudonym. But do weigh-in… since I know you are here, don’t just be creepers!

A few times I have heard guys joke, "Yeah, me and her had a great sex life... then we got married." Except the dudes weren't joking. On the flip side, I've heard wives complain how uninspiring their husbands become over time in the bedroom. After months, even years, some women have chocked sex up to yet another chore on their "To-Do" lists after the laundry and before packing lunches for the kids for the next day.

Apparently, we Christians need workbooks just to work it out. If you're interested in this one,
click here.

But does it have to be this way? A nice guy named Bill Quinn doesn’t think so. A few months back, he sent me an email (you can too at telling me about his website “Romantic Marriage Stories”. Here’s an excerpt of his email:

“… I am a conservative, born-again, Evangelical Christian… I have a Web site on which I have posted a series of romantic stories that... I call the site "Romantic Marriage Stories" ( It is not explicitly a "Christian" Web site, but since I am a believer, my stories present the high, Christian view of marriage. (This is similar to the way you answered one of the questions on your FAQ page--"Is this a Christian blog?")

“Most men are "in the mood" more often than their wives. What is the wife to do? Should she say no when she’s not in the mood? There is a central theme running through my stories that I believe shows how a wife can actually turn this ‘problem’ into an ‘asset.’

“The stories I refer to are my Terry and Laurie series. The link to all 23 of them, together with a brief description of each, is found in the menu column on the left-hand side of my home page. Story 1, "Laurie Adds Pizzazz,” sets the stage and introduces Laurie’s “new strategy." The remaining stories in the series show how this strategy can be worked out in many cute, romantic, and sexy ways. Some of the stories emphasize humor, while others are very sweetly tender; all of them develop different romantic scenarios. They are happy, clean (no explicit descriptions of sex), romantic stories that show how a couple, especially a wife, can have fun with sex in marriage–even when she is not quite ‘in the mood’ as often as her husband.”

I’ve checked out the site, and his description of the stories are dead on. Nothing graphic, but, yes, still sexy, which nowadays seems impossible. The stories even provide great tips, games and advice to bring spice into an area that for far too many couples is bland. To check out a kiss-filled Valentine’s game, click here. Or you can read the site’s most popular story, “The Shy Wife’s Striptease.”

Do you know of other good sites? Feel free to share, and remember, your comments are wanted!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Really, Tights Do Not Equal Pants

The first time I've seen a warning label on clothes. I think they should've added them to low-rider jeans, though. Cause they were dangerous sometimes.

From The Lady Likes...:

"Apparently, American Apparel is aware of the issue because they’ve started printing this little message inside their leggings. You know it’s serious when your dealer tells you you (sic) have a problem."

Indeed. Ladies take heed. Tights aren't pants, and wearing them like jeans can sometimes at the best, be unflattering. At the worst, just plain obscene.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Used to Love H.E.R., Too

I think sometimes my rants against music today, particularly hip-hop, seems too harsh. Or maybe it comes off that way, which isn't my intention. I don't hate rap (or Pop, I'm not Miley Cyrus). Not at all. I wasn't raised listening to hip-hop, in all honesty, since my parents were pretty strict about what secular (non-Christian) music I could hear. But by the time I was in high school, I was playing catch up thanks to my older brother (he favored Warren G, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog because of the synthesized sounds) and my cousin Shay (she liked Biggie, Jay Z and some Tupac). And I liked what I heard. A lot. So much so that by the time I hit college, I geared my journalism classes toward Arts & Entertainment writing, focusing on music, usually urban (rap, R&B, Gospel, jazz). I wound up with an enjoyable and informative internship at Vibe, then freelanced for their website a year later.

May 2004, in the lobby of Vibe Magazine, during my intern days, I posed in front of a picture of the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige.

But a lot has changed in five years. What had once been a fun and flirtatious friendship with hip-hop has morphed into a cold acquiescence. I'm indifferent to most of the autotuned, compu-beats that are popular currently, while I continually give a collective eye-roll to the entire Young Money crew (sorry Drake, I had hopes for you, but then, sigh, the "Breast I Ever Had" debacle). I think what's most depressing is that somewhere along the way, hip-hop lost it's soul. Maybe it was around the time Puff donned that shiny suit, but nah, it was already slipping before then. I don't agree with Nas, it's not dead. Maybe just deferred.

It definitely is a caricature, though. I figured I'd dedicate these videos to hip-hop. We still have a relationship-albeit strained. Maybe a Joan-Toni from "Girlfriends" type deal. Here's hoping things will change.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"No Ring, No Ting!"

...until you put two rings on it!

My girl Candace just posted this video on Facebook, and I had to share. Gospel Reggae telling the TRUTH!

This being February, with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I figured I'd open up the topic of sex. Full disclosure, I gave my virginity to K on our wedding night. Freakish to many nowadays, but one of the best decisions I've made in my book. But what do you say? How do you feel about:

  • Pre-marital sex?
  • How far is too far if you choose to leave intercourse for the Honeymoon?
  • Being "re-virginized", or choosing to abstain after losing your virginity?
  • Is sex in all it's forms okay for married couples?
  • If you're married, did you wait to have sex with your spouse? Do you have regrets either way?
  • Are sex toys okay?
  • Do you feel abstinence only education programs work?
  • What's the difference between chastity and abstinence?
Want to share your opinions on this? Please opine. But do remember, keep it classy! No vulgarity, and while this isn't a Christian Blog, I am a Christian, and if I feel a comment crosses a decency line, it will be deleted.

Comment away!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Fav Superbowl Commercials

I wasn't thrilled with this years selection of SuperBowl commercials mainly cause they seemed to depict men as neanderthals who are controlled by shrill women, in my opinion, but there were a few funny ones. Here are my picks:

My ABSOLUTE Favorite!

What were your favorites?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mariah Has Gone Back, Like a Baby With a Pacifiah...

Stop playing, girl. Really, stop playing.

... ok, not really. But she has gone back to pretending she's some kind of college-age tease. Hmm, no, back further, to pretending she's a Barbie doll... if Mattel released Trashy Whore Barbie, complete with skanky nurse's costume and plastic street walker outfit in orange glow.

In her latest video, for the uninspiring "Up Out My Face" with rapper Nicki Minaj, a Young Money artist who has the dubious distinction-in my opinion- of making the helium-sounding Lil' Wayne sound good, Mariah plays dress up, blows kisses and chews gums. And wears outfits that would fit smugly on Victoria Beckham.

What happened, MC? It's like you've consistently grown down! Check it out:

Around '97, MC sans Tommy Mottola started rocking the skimpy dresses, but the music was still solid and she was in her late 20's...

...and barely out of her teens, Ms. Carey seemed to display the most maturity (and vocal ability).

Yes, I know she has said that was the show, that was the package presented by handlers. I just wish she'd once again be handled by a team who'd let her know rehashing a tired Lil' Kim video isn't a vision many true fans will love.

"A Comparable Helpmeet" by Lakeyia Campbell

Ladies, do you want to get "two rings on it"? Before you get the husband, you should know what it means to be a good wife. Listen to this great message from my friend Lakeyia.

PS, I gave her "No Man's Concubine: Tell The Concubine She Was Meant to be a Queen" by Beverly D. Allen, and it is awesome. I recommend it as well. Mrs. Allen is actually a friend of my family (her husband is one of my father's best friends), and she's charming, intelligent and a real woman of God.

Celebrity Death Detail: Brittany, Casey & Michael

Today's celebrity news was dominated with news regarding recent untimely deaths. From MSNBC:

Brittany Murphy died from pneumonia, but anemia and prescription drugs also played a role, coroner’s officials said Thursday.

The primary cause of the death was community acquired pneumonia, with contributing factors of iron deficiency anemia and “multiple drug intoxication,” according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

The death was ruled accidental.

So Murphy's sad demise was primarily a result of having pneumonia, which corresponds to her husband's and mother's statements that she had been suffering flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, the coroner's report flies in the face of some other comments they made saying she wasn't on prescription drugs. Regardless, rest in peace, Brittany, and I pray her family will be able to heal from her loss.

The Los Angeles Coroner was working overtime today since they also released details of what cause 30 year old heiress Casey Johnson's death in early January. From MSNBC:

Socialite Casey Johnson’s death was related to her nearly lifelong diabetes, the Los Angeles County coroner said Thursday.

Johnson, 30, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson health care products fortune, died of diabetic ketoacidosis, the coroner said in a terse news release. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by lack of insulin and sky-high blood sugar.

Although plenty of bloggers had speculated that the hard-partying/Tila Tequila fiance had overdosed in light of past drug problems, it turns out diabetes was the killer, a disease she had struggled with since childhood.

And lastly, since it seems no death in Hollywood goes reported without the late King of Pop being mentioned, news broke that MJ's deadly doc, Conrad Murray, is reportedly on his way to surrendering to police in connection with his death last June. Also from MSNBC:

Michael Jackson’s doctor, who is expected to be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the pop singer’s death, is negotiating his surrender to authorities, his attorney said Thursday.

A statement from attorney Ed Chernoff said he was negotiating with the district attorney’s office for Dr. Conrad Murray’s surrender but there has been no agreement on the specifics...

Murray is set to be arraigned Friday at a Los Angeles courthouse, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The person declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The possible charge was not disclosed. However, two law enforcement officials have told the AP that prosecutors plan to charge Murray with involuntary manslaughter, alleging he gave Jackson a powerful anesthetic that led to his June 25 overdose death at a rented mansion on the west side of Los Angeles.

Looks like Dr. Murray is finally going to do his time, despite denying committing a crime. Sigh... a grim day in Hollyweird, indeed.

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