You don’t get to choose your relatives. For some folks, you would UN-choose them if you could. Not possible.
Blood ties can be confusing as you witness loved ones as very loving people. You have great memories with them from your childhood. You see them do the kindest things for one another. Their image is on favorite family photographs. Other family members have stories shared with you.
And you also hear and see the shame and judgment passed onto others.
Here are a few shiny gems for dealing with the vibranium levels of negativity from family.

  1. Admit it. You’ve been conditioned and shamed into not talking about Aunt Linda or Grandma. Good respectful relatives remain quiet about family secrets. Even when it hurts the family. You know full well how devious they can be with their tongues, but you recall their hugs and secret candies slipped into your hand as a child. You don’t have to talk about it with anyone else, particularly another family member, but be honest and crystal clear with YOU about what you see. Denial ain’t good for nobody!
  2. Set boundaries. You want to go to your niece’s graduation, family cook out or Thanksgiving dinner without the negativity, but it ain’t likely. Your fam has been a classic display of “Unforgiving Fam:The Series” for years. Not attending ain’t an option because you become the Bugga-Boo of the Family Bloodline at that point! Decide to keep your visit to a limit. Bring your potluck dish. Give your niece a congratulatory hug, gift card, smile at everyone and BE OUT! Give the gift of your presence and enjoy theirs. Even if for a New York Minute! Everyone won’t appreciate your light. Stop offering it up only to be put on dim. Be present and retain the lit parts of yourself for other areas and people in your life.
  3. Put a long-term pause on defending your right to be a person with your own mind and opinions. The judgement and shame from fam can be more taxing than the IRS. When you haven’t met their pre-set notions of success, spiritual growth, relationship know-how, perfect parenting and “what-chu-doing-with-yourself-now” status, you get differing opinions for who you shoulda been, when and how much longer you ain’t got to get it rights. This can be debilitating in life. Need help? We got chu! 
    When you hear the commentary, naturally you go into defensive mode. Put the brakes on it! Don’t get lured into the deadly endless dialogue of seeking to justify your choices.
    If that person can’t appreciate your choices for you, then…oh well. Nah…if you keep asking them for money to finance your choices…this ain’t fuh you. We expect you gon’ hear the noise. For those using their own coins for their own choices, this is for you!

    Now go and love you and those related to you as best you can. You won’t get another family!

None of us know how much time we’ve got left on this side of the realm.
Only God knows.

And we know, fo’ sho, no one will get out of here alive.
For many, this feels so scrary.
For others, the time on this side is used to safeguard the time in the hereafter.
For another, there is no regard for the here, now or the hereafter.
You may meet someone who says, “It is what it is…” and lives as this phrase implies.

How you respond is how you choose to be.
The time to live can have great benefit when you use it to serve another…to hug another…to serve another.

Basically, the time you have can be a hook-up for you. All around.

Yesterday, Naa’ila’s father was given up to 4 months to live. Her father had already called for a pastor to give his last rites. We were able to witness these crucial moments in life.
And for us, it was more than an emotional and spiritual moment.
We saw it as a moment when a man was working on his relationship with God in the way he felt good. He found people who “stood in agreement” with him in these moments.

Then, he ate a whopper with cheese and fries.
And while you’re here, look for people to stand in agreement with even when you disagree.

Look for what you can agree about.

Look for ways to find these people if you don’t know how.  

Look for someone to share a whopper with cheese.
Look for people who help you work on your relationship with God.
Look for people you can help feel good.
You don’t know how many 4 months you have on this side. Use it well. 

It can be real hard not to say what you want to say in the heat of anger. Telling someone you have to control yourself when feeling hurt, frustrated or witnessing the same raggedy behavior from your husband or wife again will take you to another place. The Sunken Place. Tied to a chair. With toile tea cups in front of you. With no way to GET OUT.

So, Hasan and Naaila…what can I do to hold my words back and propel my thoughts forward?

Fall back. Don’t say a word.

We live in a society that encourages us to, “Say exactly what you mean…Tell it like it is…Give the brutal truth.”
Does the truth have to be brutal?

Get your words together. Nicer ones. You can’t give a peak performance in this moment. And don’t you want your husband or wife to get the fullness of how full you are? They need to hear all of dis. And in a way he or she can hear it and respond to it, which is what you really want.
Don’t just hear me. Act on what it is I’m saying. This can be a juggling act if you’ve never seen it before or don’t know how. Here’s the moment in which we come in. 
You have a better chance of making this happen if you make better word choices.

Let us clear our throats for this one. We want to make sure folks hear and hear good. Lean in closer. Lil’ closer.

Ok. That’s good! Many believe the marriage retreat coming up any nothin’ the community needs. We gon’ tell the truth. Every community needs it, but the Black community has a need so big it reaches underground level.
We need to put this retreat on CD’s and sell them at the barber shop. The kick back, clap back and roll back like Walmart, all equaling divorce, flow like the plague. There is an antidote. You don’t even need ObamaCare to get it!

It’s all within you!

This video make the connect to the #marriageretreat we’re hosting with Imam Shadeed Muhammad. You don’t wanna miss the reasons behind it. It is “Shut-Yo-Mouf” real!

Learn more here. https://www.facebook.com/events/1172101806259299/?ti=icl

Even if you don’t go to the retreat, what OOPS! action are parents passing on to grown children? Parents, we gotta do more than food, clothing and shelter for our children. They grow up and take their gaps, bigger than Michael Strahan’s cute gap. Google him and see what we talkin’ bout!

Ok…take a sneak peek at retreat topics, such as, “How are you missing the good behaviors during #engagement that jack you up in the marriage?” You get the “how right now”, but not the “What-Chu-Should-Not-Do” info here.

Trust us! It’s something in this video for you or someone ya know!

Wanna know about err’thang the whole weekend so these 3 reasons can miss you with that? The ways to neutralize the toxins is in that link right there.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1172101806259299/permalink/1194283050707841/

What are you waiting for? Time’s a ticking!
Online options for the retreat are coming! TBA. You thought we didn’t think about the villagers at home? Nah Bruh! We got chu too!
#ThatClayCouple #Rawdah

When mature couples marry you bring all your stuff with you, including your kids, Ex’s, in-laws and the not-so-favorite Auntie. All of these equal the normalcies of life and become the starter-kit for the new Love Thang you’re about to create.

The merging families come together for the sake of you. These folks don’t know one another. They may have had a few introductions over time, but nothing makes you family more than…well, being family!
Your family members line up for the sake of you! The line may be crooked at time. A person may be assigned a buddy for the line. Someone else will jump out of line. And it is all ok!

You will learn how to manage over time. For folks who struggle in this area, no worries. We’ve got on our superhero capes. Help is on the way!

Here are some surefire tips to consider from us:

It was a normal evening of counseling clients, managing social media content, coaching teens to obedience, dinner, talking and me flirting with him in between the social media content. Then, Hasan sat down and said, “Baby, I’m blind.”
I didn’t know what to say. He’s been blind for a few years now. This was not new information, but in this moment, we were having a different experience with one another. I wanted to say, “Ok….” and punctuate this one word sentence with a deep sigh at the end. But that didn’t feel right in my common sense and in my spirit. Seconds were passing.

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I couldn’t google nothing captivating to say and what is the keyword for, “He said he was blind and now what do I say?”

He was blind, but he could still tell time. I needed to give the man something from me and it needed to be some really good viral content! The three words he spoke to me deserved a locked and loaded response concentrated with hope and resilience. And I didn’t have ish to say.

So, I said, “Yes, Baby you are. We don’t understand this overwhelming test. We just know we have one heck of a pop quiz on our hands and we trust in God’s infinite wisdom to let us get from this test all that we need to.”

Hasan said, “Ameen.”

Then, his words were as silent as his eyes have been for some time now.

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Seconds later, he arose to sit next to me with totally new, random and unrelated conversation. He was still blind, but in that “We-In-This” moment, he and I saw what we needed. We could clearly envision poppin’ up with emotionally intense topics the other person is completely unprepared for and feel unjudged and with a friend.

You don’t need eyesight for this kind of loving feeling. To hear more about our story and to get your own unseen love seen by only the two of you, SEE US. 

As young twenty-something, single mothers she and I were the only ones in our low-income apartment community to be college students. Our children were close in age. She was a mother of twins and I had a one-year old on my hip. Her family was disgruntled with her for being an unwed mother, but still peeped in with occasional support. My own family gave help, unwanted advice and the side-eye as I too struggled to raise my son alone.

We made sure each of us had gas money. We put our coins together to buy groceries. Weekends were spent going back and forth from our respective apartments. We would run go back and forth from the back door, from one house to the other. She had this silent way of speaking to you with her unyielding light brown eyes. When I first met her, I felt she was weird. Her stare. I didn’t know how to read it or what it meant. I came to learn it meant nothing other than, “I’m here with you.” Later, our friendship grew as  another Beloved Soul embraced our circle. For years, our struggle was real, but softened by the three of us.

Few could relate to being so broke, bougie at heart and down for long haul to get up out of that Section 8 housing! We stuck together like thieves cause the three of us understood the plan even when we didn’t really have one.

Over a span of 25 years, self-acceptance, grandchildren, 10-40 extra pounds, graduate degrees, weddings, more children, entrepreneurship, buying our first homes, our first divorces and loving our last fool passed over our lives. It was never planned or discussed, but two of us ended up as mental health therapists. She opened her own mental health agency with a partner. There were bumps in there, but she made it work for her. And we all lived our lives.

Like many, social media became the place to catch up, but we did. Her giggle! It comes in spurts and then closes with a smile! The spurts are like a water faucet struggling to let water flow, but nah…said the water spout!

Yesterday, she became locally famous, but I’m not proud of her.

I’m pissed actually. Yes, there will be lights, and crowds and hand holding and speeches to commemorate her, but I’m pissed. I don’t want her death to be her greatest achievement.
To see crowds of people who don’t know her water-spout laughter to stand in a public park stained with her blood and acknowledge her as a victim of domestic violence pisses me off. Hthe-benefits-of-anger-management-counseling-3.jpger life is so much more than the location of her last moment of knowing breath.

I’m pissed because an Ex not to have known to have ever struck her before allegedly stabbed her to death after threatening her for weeks. I’m pissed because he allegedly planned to enforce his death wish on her without any concern for those who loved her to life.

His anger for Alicia having left him couldn’t be killed so he chose to kill her.
Alicia was found leaning against her car in a public park. Alone. She bled to death. No one should die alone. What was she thinking? Were her thoughts comforting to your own soul? How does a dying mother tell her children goodbye when they don’t know your leaving them? My other friend, the Beloved Soul is helping Alicia’s young adult children navigate this tragedy, bury their mother and holding the hurt in her own heart simultaneously.

When the alleged attacker was arrested, it was reported his hands were bloody and cut up. I smiled. She fought back. That’s my girl.

The lies you tell yourself are becoming a hardship for us all cause we can’t benefit from your good cause you don’t see.

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Ya see, cause of the random naysaying throwing-shade-at-yourself-talk you say to self, you get stuck. Don’t progress. And the world loses out on your gifts

It ain’t fair!

When you lie to yourself about how about badly you need your job because you don’t want to be broke, tell the truth about how broke you already are.

Can you get broker than broke? Once your coins get on the down low, your come up will come at a cost only God canlies-22 pay. Quit letting that job overwhelm you and you still can’t overcome the light bill. 

When  a co-worker made a comment about your consignment clothing, you lied and told yourself you never did like those pants.

When you quit telling yourself you ain’t crazy & your friend really is jealous of you…Thank God for knowing exactly what to pray about for him or her.

You knew she had been lightweight hating on you, but you convinced yourself there was no way anyone would envy your broke and used clothes wearing self. She wasn’t jealous of your closet. She desired the unseen gifts you tried to hide, but God revealed anyway.

When you didn’t know what to do about your family… Thank God for freeing you from it cause you didn’t know what to do.

If you don’t what to do with this freedom, we can guide you through it. 

When you stopped seeing how you were a blessing to others…Thank God for giving you humility even at the expense of your ego.

You can be glad your ego ain’t bigger than your consignment britches.

When you felt uncomfortable about what they did at work after they tossed your lil input aside… Thank God for the discomfort cause this is how you know comfort when you see it again.

Make room for the space that is about to come your way. Do the work to make it happen.

100When you didn’t shut your mouth & you wish you had…Thank God for your big mouth & ask Him to put it to good use before you get locked up behind it.

Your Momma always said your mouth would be your downfall and it will, after you breakthrough.

When your child embarrassed the mess out of you… Thank God for letting you know to be empathetic with another parent trying to raise a strong-willed child.

When you let your body be dishonored & devalued… Thank God for leading you to Him so you can know better.

The lies people tell you that you repeat to yourself, don’t come true because the words become your mental mantra. Those deadly words feel true cause you gave them life, but they are killin’ you.
Tell the truth about how these thoughts and feelings drag you. Tell the truth about how many times you think about it, over and over and over, again, at work, after work and a week later.  The Truth Shall Set You Free4.jpg

Telling the truth lets you free yourself from the lie so you can find relief in your own thoughts.

 

At the start of a new calendar year folks make many promises to themselves and to others. Thus far, THE HIM, Hasan, made the New Years Resolution to be more of the debonair and 30 lbs lighter man he assured me I would have all the days of my life if I married him. He lied! And if he loses 30 lbs, his legs may get to skinny.

Who wants that? So, let’s keep the weight so we can keep the legs.

See the trade off? It’s worth it…right?

Your life and well-being is so much more relevant than weight, skinny legs or to be delegated to 365 days in a New Years Resolution.

With that being said, here are 2 things NOT to do for 2018.

  1. You will not make any New Years Resolutions. We said it! Close your mouf! None. Not one.
    Your resolve comes over time. Some issues, you can create resolution in a month. In another matter, it may take the remainder of your life. Another heart thumper or head blocker may keep you stumped for a year or two. 2018 is not the beginning of your life. You jumpstart your life, not a new calendar year. You are the central focus of all of this. You make this merry round Go! Goal-Setting
    Sure, we encourage you to have self-awareness, to be a more directed learner, to put away your coins, to earn more coins, to start the business you want or to get the nerve to dye your hair purple in your 40’s. Do that! Help is here if you want it. Don’t relegate your desires, needs, dreams to a timeline created by man. We can work this out with you.
  2. You accept that your best moments may not develop in years or a specific year, but it will be moments in your life that give you the most joy.
    Have you ever asked an elder what they enjoyed most in their life? You’ll be hard-pressed to find one to tell you it was the year 1967 or Y2k.
    Most you say something like, “When my first child was born…Driving my first car… The moment I met your father…Graduating from college…Buying a house…Seeing my grandchild for the first time…” Or even sharing an endearing childhood memory. Who the heck says it was their New Year’s Resolution? No one. And you don’t have to start the pattern. high five.jpegSeek to create the best moments of your life and get in as many as you can. Now, that is something you can start in 2018.

Husbands and wives require many things for a marriage to work. We can name a few such as mutual respect, transparency, not sharing nude pics with another person, supporting the goals of the other person, good regular sex, displaying mercy to one another and the sliding in like a superhero with lil’ random acts of kindness. Ahh, everyday isn’t perfect. We hit or miss one or three of those every now or then. However, intentional folks will come back to the good acts of marriage they overlooked within time, preferably a really short period of time.

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And then there are the other folks. The folks who treat their husband or wives worse than a stranger on the street. Failing to give a greeting in the morning, offering a nice compliment or assisting someone with a task is something one would do for a co-worker. For what reason does your colleague get the lil goodies of behavior from you that your spouse doesn’t?
Have you been smiling at random people in the grocery story lately? Your husband or wife deserves to see all of your teeth behind stretched lips even more than this stranger. Did you pick up something for someone or offer to do something for someone cause, “It’s really no problem at all.” Your spouse deserves something even greater.

Now, the problem is your husband or wife has likely done something to piss you off, to cause your heart to harden or to care less at this point whether or not they can find the orange juice in the fridge. How do you get through these moments and change the relationship narrative? Nothing changes the incidents that got you where they are. It is what it is.  Did you choose to marry someone who has no good in them?

shock.jpgNada? Not a drop?

We’re gonna tell ya our true thought, that says a lot about you. We’re gonna give you the side eye about your selection process cause it’s defective. We’ve got a remedy for that also. Tell ya single friends. You’s “muh-reid nah. So, we gotta go into recovery and repair mode for you.

For now, we’ll think good of you too and trust you didn’t marry a complete butthole and your partner has a twinkling and two teaspoons of good in him or her.

What you can do is make the decision to see the good in the person and not function from a position of fear. Look for good in the other person and really give some thought to what keeps you holding on to this negativity. What good does it do you? Negativity does nothing for your edges, your pocket book or your faith. So, what’s the point?

Before being a husband and wife, your spouse deserves the same humane kindness you would give stranger or a person at your place of worship. Familiarity breeds contempt. The longer you live with a person, you’ll have many, ” What You Not Gon’ Do…” moments or “Really? Is that where you are now?” You’ll learn the other person faults. When you find out your spouse can’t pick out produce as good as the cutie pie at the Farmer’s Market, it can be a bummer. Or, your husband or wife doesn’t always tell you the truth. Or, they continue to be dismissive of you as you talk to them. You may need to call on the big dawgs for relationship help. 
Yeah, the kindness and mercy weans off. And giving the best of you to folks who have hurt you less seems easier.
This is your beautiful challenge. You get to be the better person even when it doesn’t feel the best. Your marriage is a platform to practicimages.jpege mercy and kindness on a higher level. If you feel confused about where to start, it’s ok. Wouldn’t it feel good to get unstuck? However, if you know if you make the bed in the morning and heat the water for hot coffee, your spouse will be happy, shocked as all get out, but happy, then, do it.

Whatever they did in the past won’t change, but you can.