Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sheen is Gone, Charlie


Eww. Crack is whack.



Ack! Did you happen to catch the frightening interview Charlie Sheen did with NBC on "Today" this morning? Is it just me, but has this guy aged like ten years in a matter of months?





And this dude wanted to give Lindsey Lohan advice? How about Robert Downey, Jr, give him some, and VERY SOON.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blog Repost: Two Become One: April & Gary

Late last night, my friend April gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Eli Taylor, who weighed in at 7lbs., 14oz. To celebrate, I'm reposting an interview I did last March with April about marriage, Godly relationships and romance. Congratulations to April and her husband of four years, Gary. You two are going to be great parents!

~Alisha




April & Gary attending a friend's wedding.





Note: This is part of a series on Love, Sex, & Relationships from a Christian Perspective. It was inspired by "No Ring, No Ting".






“You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes” Song of Songs 4:9b









April and Gary had pretty much grown up together, attending the same church, belonging to the same youth group. Yet, they weren’t close, just cool. After high school, Gary joined the military and shipped off far from home. April, in the meantime, finished school and left for college in Seattle, eventually earning a degree in nursing. After serving honorably, he was discharged and headed back home, back to his family and the church he grew up in. April headed back home, too, and settled in with her parents, rejoining that same church, where her father is one of the pastors. Years had passed- both had grown older, wiser. Both had dated, but wound up single. And within a few months of meeting back up in 2006, they were married. Actually five months later, in February of 2007.







What always amuses me about their story is how the two of them knew each other for years, yet they didn’t actually “see” the other until that autumn. Now married three years, they continually see each other in new and exciting ways, as children of the King, friends, roommates, partners and lovers. I got a chance to capture April's thoughts on their marriage, having already read some of Gary’s opinions (I even posted some of his stuff here on FAR. You can check it out here and here).


 




April described their whirlwind courtship with smiles (full disclosure- this interview was conducted via email, but knowing her, there was a smile on her face while answering my probing questions):LOL, well....we were technically preparing for our wedding before I got a formal "Proposal" LOL. We knew on the first date that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.” Let me just interject here by pointing out that there were two “laugh out loud’s” in that opening. There is no way she wrote this with a straight face. Let’s continue. “Gary talked with my parents. And then we went out to dinner with my parents together and talked to them about us planning our wedding pretty quickly. My DAD told me a month earlier, "Why don’t you guys get married next month?" LOL slow down dad! Then 2 months before the wedding, while Gary was up here (he was living in Florida during our dating) for Christmas, he proposed to me Dec. 23rd.”







April’s father, Pastor Bill, is gifted when it comes to “seeing” things, even when others don’t. Five years ago, while I was at a retreat, he described K to me, saying he’d come into my life and bring plenty of blessings and happiness. Being the Pessimistic Paula that I was at the time, I balked. The funny thing is, a few months later I met K, but inexplicably, did not “see” him. It wasn’t until three years later that my blindfold came off- and it’s been blessings and happiness since. Ahem, but enough of my story, back to April’s proposal. “I was sitting in my living room, painting for my aunt's Christmas present. He came in the door and whispered in my ear..."Do you trust me?" Then He blindfolded me and carried me to the car (i had no shoes on). Drove me to Rahway park, gave me his big sneakers to walk in LOL..and lead me to the river in Rahway Park [located in Rahway, New Jersey]...where he'd placed roses everywhere in a quiet area. He took off the blindfold and knelt in front of me. The ring was tied to one of the roses. He knelt, in his sox, in the mud and asked me to marry him. LOL, I'm covered in paint, wearing his sneakers, and so the adventure began, LOL ;)”







April might have gone into that proposal blind, but she didn’t enter their marriage that way. She had long prayed for her future spouse, even before knowing who he was, and received sound advice about the life changing commitment she made in saying “I do.” This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of learning both had to do, and fast. Soon after the nuptials, April kissed Jersey goodbye, along with the family and friends she had just reunited with, to move to Florida where Gary was working. As Christ as their head, the two set out trying to find a proper balance, learning what it means to be husband and wife.







The core basics… for a Godly balance: The husband needs to be the head of the home and be responsible for the decisions made. This means decisions are made as a team, but the end choice and final say is the husband's… and his responsibility.  The wife is his helpmate, and this will be different depending on the needs of the husband. I was blown away when Gary and I started going out. What I thought I would need to bring to the table in a serious "Godly" relationship... wasn't necessarily what Gary needed from me. I thought I needed to be the one who promoted ‘spirituality’... and [so I] encouraged him ‘spiritually’.”







She laughed thinking back, “But that wasn't what Gary needed from me (in general)...so I had to start from scratch with him. Which was great... because now that we're married, I can encourage, empower, and uplift him in any way he needs. The other major core basic is to love each other. If the communication -verbal, emotional, physical- is not reflecting I Corinthians 13, then there is something missing. I think it’s so easy to say you need to be ‘Patient, kind, self controlled, slow to answer....etc’. But to put that into creative application within a fluid relationship is the art of marriage."










April describes communication as “LIFE to the marriage. I find that when I'm in a funk, or have an attitude, it’s because I’m not talking to Gary about something. He's so good at being patient with me as I learn to articulate what I’m feeling.” She laughed again, “I always feel like a boy when it comes to this.” Don’t worry, Girl, if that is a masculine trait, I might have a little Y chromosome in me, too. She continued, “The style of communication will differ. BUT, it is oxygen to the lungs. Gary and I share everything together. Our love aim is to know all about each other's heart and to run this race as one. This kind of openness varies within different personalities in marriages, but in the end, if you are living as a team, learn to express what’s inside. ;) Some need to learn to express less....some to express in love...and some to learn HOW to communicate in general. How can you empower, heal, grow and become a mighty team if the thoughts in your mind and the things on your heart are not known by the other part of your community?”






If you are married, engaged, dating or single, I’m going to ask you to reread what April shared above, because I think, personally, this is where so many marriages go awry.  We tend to focus on and talk about money, careers, kids, families, friends, church, sex, money... again, and then shove communication, truly sharing, in a wise manner, our fears, concerns and thoughts under that huge pile which makes up life. But as April pointed out, communication is “LIFE” to the marriage. Don’t allow life to smother the LIFE out of your marriage.







One topic which was discussed by every horny, “Silver Ring Thing” wearing Purity Pusher (and take no offense to that, I was a member of this group, sans ring) I knew throughout Christian school and in church was sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex. Ha! The group of kids I ran with talked about it so much they probably would’ve made Salt-N-Pepa blush. Even the ones who were doing it, talked incessantly about it, and we all foolishly believed sex would be the piece de resistance of our future marriages. Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, for anyone out there who is thinking this way, allow me to correct your thinking. Sex does not make a marriage. Don’t get me wrong, lack of it, abuse of it and having it with a non-spouse CAN break a marriage. But it should never be a foundation for one.







So there was no way I could ask April to discuss marriage without bringing up sex. Admittedly, I felt a little worried, she’d be taken aback, but thankfully, she was ready to share on this topic, too, making sure to run things by Gary (good move).  Sex is “extremely important in our marriage. I truly believe God infused sex with a spiritual way of uniting two people beyond words. Yes we always hear it "ties two souls"...but I really think it does just that -without quoting scripture. I'm talking just as a woman and wife.  There have been so many times I cannot express what is on my heart, but I've been encouraged, empowered, relaxed, and healed by intimacy with my husband. ;)







“Yes, we all know there are many different kinds of sex, but I think it is such a beautiful power that God has fused into marriage. But, just like any weapon...or power...things can be misused when there is something skewed in the relationship. So, sex in a healthy relationship, molded into a healthy way, is, for me, one of the most powerful, non verbal gifts.” April and Gary waited until their honeymoon to make love for the first time, and is so happy they waited. She believes there is freedom of expression in the marriage bed, but again, stresses communication is key. “I think what is desired within sexual acts will be different with every couple. I believe that as long as one of the partners does not feel uncomfortable, violated, humiliated, hurt...etc... then I believe in the beauty of creativity and exploration.







“So...no, I don’t think there are certain sexual acts that shouldn't be performed within marriage. And within marriage, I'm talking about Sexuality between only the man and his wife. Any kind of sexual immorality as described by God's desires: i.e. more than the husband and wife involved, homosexuality, animals ...etc is a perversion of this freedom.  As for pornography, I don’t feel that is wise, healthy, or God-inspired. I think the man and wife should only be turned on by each other. Sexuality should be original between the two souls. If education is the desire, and creative inspiration is needed, there are other ways of attaining ideas and knowledge without porn: books, talking with experienced people...etc.  Between the man and woman who are married, there will be seasons of sexual maturity and different desires and needs that can be explored through patience, sensitivity and thorough communication.”







Ok, so let me play Nosey Nancy. What about “toys”? And no, I’m not talking about Monopoly (although there are some games that could be played by rolling a set of die). “I think this kind of falls into the previous question. I think all "things" ;) are good to go if both partners are understanding. Again, if someone is being hurt (in a way they don’t desire), violated, humiliated...etc then take the toys away. Bringing another individual (not the husband or wife) or many people, animals, or porn,  are not in the toy... but the porn is something I don’t think is beneficial or pure. Purity belongs in marriage as well. Seeing other people have sex, is not something I think God calls holy or pure. But toys...I don’t see why not if that’s your way of having fun together.” At the end of this sentence, she smiled again. Really. As you can see from the smileys I left in, this is one happy girl. Her middle name is Joy, and she lives up to it.









So is it okay to NOT have sex in marriage? For a partner to abstain? “I would need to ask... why? I think in a fluid love language, nothing should be withheld. Communicate. Talk. Figure out the right words to express what is on your mind and in your heart spinning around. What is the reason for withholding sex? I don’t think this is a healthy strategy in marriage. Overall answer...No, I don’t think it is right. Again, I want to know the situation. Is there a physical pain? Is there a fast going on? What is the heart motivation? Do both parties understand? If it is attitude, control, or just because...then no.







“Marriage is a powerful tool given to us, to live in community with another soul and God. This should always be in a fluid movement forward to strengthen and bring joy to the community of the three. Withholding, or even being ignorant of knowing the needs of the other is a red flag to me.  Affection is also something that needs to be discussed. Why withhold affection? Is the partner turned off? Thinking about something the other did wrong? Control? Why withhold anything? Talk. Find the words to express what is on your heart to the other. You are a community...and that requires understanding for actions. Note: Some times this requires the couple to get counseling if this becomes an issue.” I agree with her. If there is something in your past, such as abuse that is preventing you from being comfortable sexually with your spouse, get help. There are countless women who have experienced harassment, molestation and rape. I encourage you seek help and healing so that you can move forward, free of fear and full of love.







Sometimes, though, it’s not the past putting the brakes on intimacy. It’s the present. It’s work, bills, sickness, stress, headaches… sometimes, you just can’t stand him. And I’m purposely using “him” here, because for the majority of problems like this, it’s the woman saying “no” to the man. What’s a wife to do if she’s not in the mood? “I think this is a complex situation. Not something that has a textbook answer. I would ask them the foundation for this feeling. How are they loving their husband? What is their love language to him? What does he need? LOL,  if he's a man- I'm speaking to Godly women, so it should be a man- then he will need and naturally desire sex. Has she talked with him about this? Are there cleanliness issues? History of sexual pain/trauma? Discomfort? Physical issues? Lack of a general sexual desire? What is the core issue...and then address that.





Um, no, ladies, definitely not the way to handle problems. Even St. Paul warned against putting on the brakes for too long.









“In the end, I would love to see the woman, not just "serve" her husband sexually...but truly become a fluid gift and powerful beauty for him, through sexually loving him. Is she aware, before he asks, of what he needs/wants? Is she confident to initiate? Being a sexual gift (and not obligation) to her mate is one of the most beautiful and powerful things we have to empower and strengthen him. If this is an area of hesitation, I would need to know her heart.  Her thoughts. And so will her husband. There may be medical reasons as well that could be lowering her libido.”




For the singles out there, and those in the dating and engaged phase, I asked her about abstinence. “I think there is a difference between abstinence and PURITY. Abstinence can be chiseled down to technical verbiage. Purity is in the heart, and what is happening between the two souls and God. In the end, if what is happening between the two is something that cannot be talked to God about....then maybe things need to be evaluated.”







And really, no matter what state a person is in relationship wise, if they are serving Christ, I believe a regular self- evaluation or heart check is in order. What God desires from all of us is purity in the heart, and I believe as we seek after that, all of our relationships- marriage included- will be stronger. We will “see” each other as God sees us- as simply ravishing.






If you want to read more by April, check out her blog "Colors of An Old Soul". If you are interested in talking about sex and relationships from the Christian perspective, email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Circles, Squares & Z

We sat, mouths slightly agape, staring. We were shocked and hurt, K and I. We had just been counseled briefly that the child inside me might be genetically "defective". And then asked flatly, if we would like to consider terminating the pregnancy?

********************************************************




Six weeks ago, K and I left work early to go the hospital where I plan to have Z, named after an early Christian saint and martyr evoked at times when peace is needed.

We sat in the full waiting room with other expectant parents, waiting to be called. After an hour, a doctor assigned to be our genetic counselor came out and said she needed five minutes to review my file. I suppose she hadn't expected the additional medical records I had brought along, results of various tests related to my sensory neuropathy ( for info on this, click here or here). But whenever I go to a new doctor, I tag along a 20 page summary of the litany of tests I've gone through in the past two years. So, I sat back down for another fifteen minutes and waited for "Tina" to return.

Tina came back and ushered us into her small office with a stack of files on the desk and some family photos spread about. She quickly explained I would have a sonogram done to look for physical abnormalities, and blood and urine samples taken as well. Then there were questions, many: about my ethnic background, family history, and an illnesses with an emphasis on Down's Syndrome. The line of questioning- or maybe the cold tone in which they were asked- made K uncomfortable, and he shifted several times in his chair. I had warned him this appointment would be different from the others at my OBGYN. This was the First Trimester Screening, and they were looking... no, searching for problems. "What if they find something," he asked, "it's not like we won't love and care for Z." I responded, "Well, there are many other parents who don't want a Downs Syndrome baby, so they'll choose an abortion. That's why the rate of Down's has fallen so much. People choose to terminate." K looked stunned.

Tina pulled out a large sheet of legal paper turning it landscape, and then began drawing circles and squares, each shape representing one of our family members. "Uh, huh, and how many siblings? A brother and sister, okay. Any half-siblings? No. Alright...," she said while making my older brother Joe a square and younger sister Joscelyne a circle. Then lines came from them and more shapes appeared in place of their kids.

"So I see from reviewing your medical records you have a neuropathy. It could be caused by Charcot Marie-Tooth. Do you know what that is?" "Yes," I replied, but that was ruled out. I had a biopsy done last April and they tested for it and that was a nega..." Tina sat up in her chair. "I see." Her brain seemed to really be turning this over. "There are many hereditary diseases that could be causing your symptoms. Have you had a genetics test done?" "No, but as I said, they did do a nerve biopsy and tested the nerve itself for a number of diseases and it was inconclusive. They also took vials... I think it's more like gallons at this point... and tested them, along with MRIs and nerve conduction tests and they haven't nailed anything down." Tina turned quickly and jotted down names and numbers of geneticists she knew. "But only take this number if you're going to actually call. And you can tell them you're pregnant so they'll see you sooner." I took the card, but did not feel encouraged. Her tone was just slightly north of curt, and her manner a bit cold. I realized I was sitting forward in my chair, in the type of position I would if I knew I'd have to spring up suddenly. I was at least as uncomfortable as K.



Tina's cell phone vibrated and she rushed to answer. "Oh, I have to get this." She picked up and began to speak in Italian, her tone suddenly sweet and friendly. My eyes fell on the card she handed me, and I noticed the Italian surname. I glanced at K and he still looked uncomfortable. And increasingly annoyed. I looked back at Tina, and she continued the lighthearted conversation. It was as if we had suddenly disappeared from the room. After about five minutes, she hung up and mumbled an apology. The dead voice returned, and she pushed the geometric family tree back across her desk at us. "So your illness could be genetic. It could've been inherited from both your parents. It it was, then you and your siblings could have it." She then began to explain it could be a mitochondrial fluke, and my mother the sole culprit. "... And then your sister would pass it on to her two children," she went on. I increasingly felt my spirit falling. The way she spoke about my family- my sister, mother, little niece, as if we weren't people, just giant petri dishes full of disease.

She finally got to her concluding question, asking as if referencing the cyst I had removed from my cheek last year, if I'd like to terminate the pregnancy. As if I hadn't started hoping, dreaming and praying for this child. As if we hadn't already picked a name. As if Baby Z was a mistake.



K sat stunned. And for a good three seconds, I did, too. But then these words came out: "Abortion is NOT an option. I know I have this sensory neuropathy. And I know it MIGHT be hereditary. But I wouldn't have an abortion because I MIGHT have a hereditary disease that I MIGHT pass on to my child." Tina looked at me blankly, still holding her pen above the blue ink shapes connected by straight lines. I looked at Z, sex unknown, drawn as a triangle. She pulled the tree back, and reiterated I call the geneticists and ushered us out of the office.

Back in the waiting room, we sat numb. "She talked about our baby like we should just throw out an old pair of  sneakers," K said. I fought back tears. "I feel... like she thinks Z shouldn't be here... but neither should I. Like my life isn't worthwhile." I felt humiliated.

A nurse called my name. It was sonogram time. "I feel  like just leaving now," I said to K. "Let's go." My name was called again. I got up... and followed the nurse into the darkened sonogram room. I sat down, and a few minutes later, I watched in amazement as my baby's little body appeared, in 3D, on a flatscreen TV. Suddenly, the little legs kicked. And then, a hand went from Baby Z's mouth to hitting. K, now 180 degrees mentally from two minutes ago, grabbed my hand. Z began an earnest attack at the invading bump- the ultrasound wand- swatting for space. The peppy ultrasound tech said, "My, you have an active little one!" And I quietly said I'm sorry, even though I wasn't. I was proud. Proud of my little fighter. Proud that Z was far more than three lines on a white piece of paper or defective cells clumped together or a mistake needing to be rectified. Z, the warrior baby.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Qu'Osby Show?

CBS news anchor Katie Couric suggested last year that to better help Americans see how ordinary Muslims are, there should be a show created in the same vein as "The Cosby Show", which showed how ordinary African Americans are. I thought this was funny because the idea, while good intentioned, seemed a bit naive. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED "The Cosby Show" growing up, to the point I wanted to be Rudy. And I agree that the show definitely gave the U.S. a positive example of upwardly mobile, professional and loving Blacks. But to think a 30 minute sitcom changed society in the way, say the Civil Rights Movement did, is just plain simple. (Then again, considering more people keep up with the Kardashians than the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, maybe Katie is on to something.)



Leave it to the good folks at "The Daily Show" to give us a pilot of this Muslim Cosby comedy- "The Qu'Osby Show":

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

 Last year, I stumbled upon a site called "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" and I read through it. What struck me was, unlike other atheistic sites, it didn't have a nasty tone towards Believers or belittle the religious. Instead, it takes a slow route to dismissing religion as myth by starting with the simple question for which the blog is titled.

"Does God answer prayers? According to believers, the answer is certainly yes.


For example, at any Christian bookstore you can find hundreds of books about the power of prayer. On the Internet you can find thousands of testimonials to the many ways that God works in our lives today. Even large city newspapers and national magazines run stories about answered prayers. God seems to be interacting with our world and answering millions of prayers on planet Earth every day...


For believers, it is obvious why so many prayers are answered. In the Bible, Jesus promises many times that he will answer our prayers. For example, in Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:


Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!


Ask and you will receive. What could be simpler than that?"

And then the plot thickens... the blogger suggests a simple experiment to prove Jesus' words to be true for today:

"For this experiment, we need to find a deserving person who has had both of his legs amputated. For example, find a sincere, devout veteran of the Iraqi war, or a person who was involved in a tragic automobile accident.


Now create a prayer circle... The job of this prayer circle is simple: pray to God to restore the amputated legs of this deserving person. I do not mean to pray for a team of renowned surgeons to somehow graft the legs of a cadaver onto the soldier, nor for a team of renowned scientists to craft mechanical legs for him. Pray that God spontaneously and miraculously restores the soldier's legs overnight...


If possible, get millions of people all over the planet to join the prayer circle and pray their most fervent prayers. Get millions of people praying in unison for a single miracle for this one deserving amputee. Then stand back and watch.


What is going to happen? Jesus clearly says that if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. He does not say it once -- he says it many times in many ways in the Bible.


And yet, even with millions of people praying, nothing will happen.


No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written -- there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day."


To read the whole thing, click here. On the site's blog, there is an entry with a bunch of YouTube videos of Christians trying to answer the question... and mostly getting stumped. Even this clip, where the speaker makes good points in support of theism, still fails to answer the question:




A couple of weeks ago, I asked my brother and sister this question. Joe responded that God will do what He wants to do. Um, yeah, but why is it He'll heal people with cancer, strokes, diabetes, migraines, whatever, but when it comes to a demonstrable and scientifically improbable situation in which He could truly reveal His power, He has always passed? Joscelyne said God does heal- through doctors and physical therapists who help amputees to get better and live with their new disabilities. Alright, but where exactly does God actually come in?

Do any of my readers want to take a swing at it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Post 400! My Baby Bump!

So this is my 400th post on FAR, which is cool since I figured I'd have gotten bored with blogging about a year ago, but haven't. So to celebrate, here is a peek at my burgeoning belly and a little bit of a hair update as seen through pictures.

Baby Z is making an appearance... kind of, lol. Also, as you can see, I'm still natural. I have been tempted to go back to relaxing about three times in the past three months, but I still haven't. I did, however, put a rinse in just before Christmas to cover up my barely there highlighted ends and graying roots. And yeah, I'm being honest, I'll be thirty next year, despite the baby face, and my hair is proof of it.

I style my hair by doing two strand twist outs almost exclusively. It's far to cold for wash and go's, so this style is easiest for me. I start by washing (or co-washing), then conditioning. I've learned to section my hair in two while washing and conditioning and use a shower comb to pull through knots while the conditioner is still in my hair.

I then smother on a leave in like Miss Jessie's Curly Meringue or a butter cream. I section my hair into parts and then twist. The final piece are soft cloth rollers I purchased at Wal-greens, but I have also gone old school and used brown paper bag rollers (how's that for going green?). Either method works well. I like to use rollers because the tips of my hair are still relaxed (almost all gone now) and I honestly have some pretty confused hair (some parts kinky, others curly, some straight from the root). The rollers act to give my hair some uniformity.

This might seem like a lot of work, but it's actually not. The whole process (washing, conditioning, twisting, rolling) takes about an hour and a half since I don't twist my hair in very small sections. The best part is, as a working mom-to-be, this will last me for days. When it starts to get too frizzy (and I actually like it when gets a bit poofy and wild), I 'll just re-twist a few parts and go to bed, untwisting in the morning. And then I'm good to go. To give it a little variety, I sometimes pin part back like in the picture, add a hair band, or give myself some funky bangs by removing the part.



I'm sure in a few months, I'll look back fondly at the time I was able to look down and still see my toes. The baby is already kind of long, and I seem to be carrying more out as opposed to around, even though my waist has spread.


Here's Baby Z at 12 weeks. I'm 17 now, so Baby is much bigger. I'll be going for another special 3D sonogram in two and a half weeks, so check back for more pics. And by the way, Z, in my opinion, totally looks like Daddy!

Will the Mary Mary Haters Please Just Keep "Walking"?




Mary Mary has just released "Walking" the first single off their forthcoming album, and I it was definitely a pick me up this cold February morning. Check out the video here:




If the video got stuck or kept looping like a bad DJ remix, sorry, but Vevo has issues.

The sisters look beautiful as usual (I totally want to run out and dye my dark locks honey blond now) and the song's message is inspirational and positive.

But of course, since haters will always surface for everything, there is some kind of "controversy" out there that the Gospel act sampled this early 90's dance hit by Crystal Waters for the tune:



At this point, with the Campbell sisters in the game for over a decade, I wish the naysayers would give it a break- and keep on "walking".

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Mooz-Lum": Would You Watch It?




"Mooz-Lum" staring Evan Ross (son of the ubiquitous Diana) and Nia Long star in this film about a Muslim American student attending university- circa 9-11. It's an indie, so it's release is extremely limited. Do you think it's a hit or miss?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back Alleys and Beiber: Hollywood & Abortion



I just saw this Move On.Org ad featuring Lisa Edelstein from "House":



Meanwhile, Justin Beiber, while bashing the U.S. health care system, has come out to say that he is against abortion: "I really don't believe in abortion. It's like killing a baby?" And as for extenuating circumstances, such as rape? "Um. Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don't know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adventures in Preachers' Kids: Cee Lo Green



Cee Lo Green and his hit "Forget You" (Um, or alternately, "F*** You") is all over the place, thanks to iTunes and Glee and his performance with Gwyneth Paltrow (?) and the Muppets (???) at Sunday's Grammy's. But did you know he's the son of a preacherman? And a preacherwoman?

As a fellow PK, I decided I'd share a little info on Mr. Green's churchy beginnings. From Wikipedia:

"Thomas DeCarlo Callaway (born May 30, 1974),[1] better known by his stage name Cee Lo Green or simply Cee Lo, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper and record producer. He originally came to prominence as a member of the southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob, later launching a critically acclaimed solo career[2] and forming Gnarls Barkley with DJ/producer Danger Mouse...

Cee Lo was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended Benjamin E. Mays High School in southwest Atlanta. Both of his parents were ordained ministers and he started his music career in his church. His father died when he was 2 years old. His mother Sheila J. Tyler-Callaway was involved in a car crash, leaving her paralyzed, of which she died two years after the accident. At the time, Cee Lo was 18-years old and his career with Goodie Mob had just begun taking off..."


I'm amazed that he was able to overcome such hardship to become an internationally renowned star.

Following is the video for "Forget You", which showcases his strong Gospel/Soul roots. I hear this song and can't help but think of Al Green, who has hits in both the secular and Christian world.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Miranda had to fake a sonogram. I think I'll be faking "it" during this pregnancy.

That's right dear readers, I'm pregnant. Unlike when I penned "First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Baby in the Baby Carriage", I'm getting big- and it's not just fat.

Now, I'll pause here so you all can do the "AWWW!".

Next, I'll answer a few of the basic questions. Yes, I am happy. Yes, so is K, even if it took him a good month to "process" this big step into the next chapter of our lives. You see, my sweet husband is much like the computers he works on tirelessly. So he, upon learning the news, said he had to "process" it, which immediately made me think of that little hourglass rotating anytime I'm waiting to download something.

But once he fully uploaded that I was pregnant, yes, he became very happy. Also, if you're curious, I'm 4 months. And no, I do not know the sex and I plan to wait.

For everyone who thinks our decision is dumb, I'll pause here to allow you time to get over it. Because, yes, I'm still going to wait to find out.

So, on to my current problem, and what the title of this entry is about. Faking "joy" every time every individual gazes at my belly and realizes that I'm pregnant. Hmmm... let me clarify that. Faking the expression of joy every time every individual gazes at my belly and realizes I'm pregnant. I do not want you, my dear reader, to believe I'm not overwhelmed with emotion right now. In fact, I have so many thoughts and feelings going through me I sometimes feel buried in them. The problem comes when I'm expected to react at any given moment with just one quick easy to read emotion- happy. Positively, ecstatically, rejoicingly happy. As if I should somehow summon up that "glow" all pregnant woman are supposed to have (I don't) at every person's beck and call... which feels like a demand. Instead, I end up looking something like this:




Yes, my mouth is spread into a smile my old cheerleading coach would be proud of, but the eyes... the eyes tell the truth. Lips, smile. Eyes, frown. Lends credence to Tyra Bank's whole "smize"- thing, doesn't it?

Today at work, a co-worker said, "Are you pregnant?" Me: "Uh, yeah." Her: "Oh my God, congratulations! How do you feel?" Me: "Like crap. You know I've been out sick all this week..." Her: "Oh, morning sickness, right?" Me: "No. I'm pass that. No, I'm on antibiotics and..." Her: "Yeah, but how do you FEEL?," said with a big beaming smile. Me: "..." Her: "Huh?" Me: "..." Her: "Okay... are you HAPPY?" Me: with forced faking it smile, "Yes!"

I'm aware that I'll be repeating this conversation, in all it's various forms, up until and including the day I participate in my own personal version of "A Baby Story".

Speaking for all of us Miranda types, who are sincerely and deeply touched by these huge moments in life- like getting married or having a baby- but don't necessarily have a Charlotte type smile and chipper response at the ready for every occasion... please give us a break. Please know, that when I first laid eyes 11 weeks ago on that blurry sonogram picture of my Baby, who we call Z, my heart melted. I fell in love. And a love that deep is often not visible on the surface. But believe me, it's there.
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