God Ain’t Piped Up Like That

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you sat in discomfort when He didn’t answer your prayer right away.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you went back to school and you trusted He’d pay the tuition.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you got the divorce because He never told you to marry that person, but He allowed you to.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you didn’t defend your child because your child needed that lesson.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you took care of your mother by yourself and watched other family members walk away.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you left that job cause it was never good for your faith and He pays your bills.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

God was pleased when you took care of your health because your body deserves honor.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

When you stayed up at night crying and praying, He knew you knew loving Him is #squadGoals.

You don’t believe it, but God is pleased with you.

Hard moments and hard choices can bring God closer even when it doesn’t feel like it.
We’ll believe it for you until you can. 

How Being Mad Can Inspire Your Marriage

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.

Facts About “Mommie Dearest” No One Dares to Say

Mothers are to be revered. To be respected. To be adored. To be taken care of. To be honored. And if you feel otherwise, you will quickly be shamed, condemned to the darkest corners of earthly motherless guilt and it will not matter if you’ve had a good mother. It will not matter if your mother was unloving. If you don’t know youmom2.jpgr mother no one cares. She birthed you so you must respect her for her super power. You don’t need to know her name or to care if she calls on your birthday. If she’s a bad mother, be sure not to repeat those same qualities with your own kids. You know how it feels so do better. Find a way to recoup whatever decency you’ve create within yourself and get over it. And dammit, you better not say anything bad about your mother.

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Alcoholics exist and some of them are mothers. Abusers exist and a few have given birth. Addicts have children. Inmates leave their children in the care of God’s grace to satisfy the punishment of poor choices. Some mothers may not go to such visible lengths of poor mothering. Many mothers lack the ability to give hugs as needed. To kiss boo-boos. To show up for school events. To clap when no one else does and to not be staring at the phone during incremental minute seconds of a child’s needs.

There are those mother’s who compete with their daughter’s for attention. What is a daughter to do when she is told there isn’t enough room in Mother’s world for both to exist? Where does the daughter find the space to be her unlimited self? Who gives her consent to be who she is fully without always trying to reserve unwanted room for a mother who does not want her daughter to save her a seat?

When your mother is an overachiever and you’re growing into who you are and on most days you’re quite unsure of whatever that is…but your mother knows with certainty who EACH of you are. How do you fit into the mold she’s created for you?  We promise you can. What does this daughter do to keep up with her mother’s repetitive successes? She sulks internally while her mother’s life becomes her reflection and all this daughter sees is ugliness and self-hate. This does not have to be your entire existence.

For the daughter whose mother’s made her hug another temommporary “uncle” who liked more than hugs when Mother wasn’t around and for the daughter whose Mother took her to her father to be pleasured by the same penis that impregnated Mother and for the daughter who got put out of the house because she fought Daddy when he hit Mother again. The mother’s of these daughter’s get jingles played on Hallmark cards, praised in public places and commended at forced family events. These mother’s smile and assume the prestige given by their wombs and earned by the souls that came from them.

Mother’s and daughter’s have tricky relationships. This is the first same gender relationship many have. Some screw it up and others thrive from the success, love and care within it. There are those who do a lil bit of both, with enough screw up and enough love to keep it balanced and beneficial. For any mother or daughter wanting help, it’s available. Mothers and daughters can get it ristrong.jpgght. There are mother’s who lack super powers, but have an overwhelming ability to be super human as needed.

And allow a daughter to reverence the womb that bore her and to love the life her Mother so superbly introduces her to.

5 Examples of Gut-Wrenching Adulting Issues To Inspire You

The month of October sucks. Big ones.

And then, we turn to Allah in gratefulness for what He has done for us.

This sounds like we may be all over the place. This month right here…October 2017, flipped up, turned us over, put us in reverse, choked and spit us out. Prayerfully. We’ve been all over the place emotionally, spiritually and mentally.stressed-out-278x300.png

Our youngest son was hit by a car this month. En route to the hospital, we had no information. Suddenly, everyone at the police department and the hospital staff knew nothing. How did everyone get stupid as soon as my child is hurt?

The silence hurt my heart and caused every Mother’s unimagined fear to come to life as I drove. The closer I got to Atlanta Medical Center, the more intense my fear. We rode in the car in silence. I ran out of prayers to say. Each prayer said the same thing. For my son to be alive and to not have any long-term illnesses or to be a paraplegic. Then, I swapped that prayer for another one, because I wanted to love him even if he were wheelchair bound. Next, I found myself praying for Mother’s who had already lost a child, and to be humble enough to know my son was no greater than theirs.

By the time we walked through the doors of the ER, Hasan had to hold me up. I wanted to know if my youngest child was alive, but the fear of a potential dead body consumed me. Hasan held me. He told me we had to go in. And I wondered what do you ask the ER Front Desk under these circumstances? What is the best question to get the best answer that does not lead to death?

I concluded I needed to remain silent. If my fear, my pain or my worry spoke the motherly words I wanted to say, I knew I’d be hospitalized too. My words was gon’ show out, sound crazy and not make sense!
Hasan said something. Who knows what it was. I recall the attendant saying, “He’s in Room 118.” 

This meant life. I fell limp. Again. I praised Allah in Arabic and in English in that ER! I needed to move to go see my son, but right then, a praise pause was needed. muslimah in dua.jpgThe neck brace still held onto his rigid, swollen, bruised and bloody body when I entered the room. Miraculously, his face did not have a scratch on it.
I wept. I stood next to his hospital bed and I cried. I cried for the life he had been given. For the life that he had to come. For the life that had not been taken from him. For the life I had taken for granted.

When my son told me how he called out, “Mom…Momma” when the pain was so intense and I had yet to arrive at the hospital, I felt like shit. Guilt took over and called me all kinds of names. I made sure during his entire hospital stay, this moment never occurred again. I rarely left his side. Had I not required a bath,  I wold not have left when I did.

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His hospital room already smelled like…well…a hospital.
The bleeding wound on his back earned a sour smell from his sweat and lying on his back for hours. Atlanta Medical Center did not need me to add to the smells in that hospital room!

While dealing and living with our son’s recovery, 5 days later, a beloved family member committed suicide. Devastation appeared all over again. I will not rehearse the questions, feelings and thoughts that ran through my mind. These questions, feelings and thoughts continue to run a marathon in my head. One day, they will stop. Just not today. I’m ok with that. I cleaned my family member’s blood from her home. Initially, I felt angry that there was any blood to clean up at all. I scrubbed, cried and turned to Hasan as needed while I cleaned. I’ve decided that despite the hurt within all of this, this act…this cleaning up…is a gift I was able to give to her and to her children.

During this time, Hasan and I have gotten upset with one another. This month, for the first time in our marriage, we were so exhausted, we slept in the same room, but separately. We’ve never been together and slept apart. NEVER. We’ve trusted each other to show up, to be quiet and to love when we didn’t know how to ask each other to do it.

During this time, Hasan and I have appreciated one another more. During this time, we’ve gone back and tried to recover from a wrong or to repair a snipe expressed verbally. We didn’t want to leave it in hanging on the ears of the other person.

Hasan has contacted a loved one struggling with their own mental health symptoms and laid down some ground rules of love to ensure this person lives. And lives a life knowing love despite every mental health symptom they struggle with or never share with us.

marriage meme.jpgAs a husband and wife, we took moments to be more vulnerable. To ask more questions. To make sure that when the pain occurs, we make sure, we make a difference. To make sure we leave this marriage and this life better than we came. And October 2017 did that for us.
This has been a gift.

Man Up or Man Down Situation: Men Get Hit Too

The clergyman/pastor/imam often gets blamed for telling the woman to, “Be patient” with her husband’s behavior. The abused wife is told to ,”Go home. Pray. Use this as a lesson to get closer to God…Be a better wife to him. Your husband is going through so much.” The wife ices her black eye. She calls in sick for work and is at risk of losing her job because she’s patiently used all of her sick days for the prior painful & scarring acts of abuse. To be a good woman of faith, she obeys the clergyman/pastor/imam because she needs to listen and to succumb to the men around her. After all, these men know best. These men are led by God. These men know something her black eye, her broken bones and her bloody nose do not know. handbeaten.png

The good wife is encouraged not to listen to her allies, to not build allies, to not leave her husband’s home and surely not to listen to those who crazily insist she’s a pure fool for staying. These naysayers know nothing about the Godly institution of marriage. These often unmarried or previously divorced folks don’t know her full situation. Matter of fact, these people may just be jealous daymmit cause the good wife got a man! And how in the sandhill can they give 2 teaspoons of advice when they’ve never heard the husband’s side. Ok…true enough. A few folks tried to talk to him, but he’s a man and he doesn’t want anyone in his business. He can handle his own marriage. You? Stay out of that man’s business…including his wife’s bruises, blood loss from wounds or tear-filled phone calls. Quit answering the phone when she calls. You know she’s whining anyway. Her husband is going to apologize and she’ll be fine.
She’s following the spiritual guidance of patience. Don’t interrupt the work of God.

This Monday, the husband was already on the couch due to a weeklong argument. The wife hit him in the head several times. He has lost hearing in one ear due to a prior attack from his wife. When he went to the clergyman/pastor/imam, the husband was told to “Be patient” with his wife’s behavior. The abused husband was told to, “Go home. Pray. Use this as a lesson to get closer to God… Be a better husband to her. Your wife is going through so much.”
Because he’s a man, the husband does not seek allies. He does not call anyone to whine. He doesn’t ask anyone to address his wife. When he did, he was told to tell her himself. He did. He and wife never finished the dialogue. He stopped trying to speak after she grabbed his throat, threatened to leave that night with the children and ripped his shirt from his back as he tried to walk away.

His wife apologized and calmed down for awhile. When she’s good….Awww Mahn! You want to nominate her for President of the Welcome Wagon. When she’s not, you’re sure she wrote books with titles such as, “How To Kill Bambi & Other Acts of Selfish Rage”.

man stat.jpegThree months later, she bleached his clothing because he didn’t speak to her when she wanted him to after an argument. She also flattened his tires. Smashed his phone. Got rid of one of each of his shoes. And when he confronted her, she slapped him until his nose bled. When he tried to restrain her, she threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave the daym house she helped pay bills in immediately. 

The husband left the house. The clergyman/pastor/imam advised him not to strike her and to, “Be patient.” After all, these men know best. These men are led by God.

Wedding-Rings-and-BibleWhat is an abused person patiently waiting to happen when the other party does not seek to correct their behavior? Telling an oppressed, hurt, and bleeding and bruised person, to “be patient” is akin to telling them to return to the scene of the crime to patiently await the next attack. People are to be patient with a goal. People are to be patient with the things they strive for.

People are to be patient with God’s intervention…but we know God doesn’t change a condition of a people until they change themselves.

God expects us to do sumpin’ too.

You got a nickel in that dime!

We’ve learned the, “Be patient” rhetoric doesn’t change per gender. This is the catch-all phrase. It is the control-alt-delete function to use when all else fails. It is One-Size-Fits-All. Globally Accepted. All-Inclusive.

And it is insensitive.

It encourages abuse. It gives no recourse or resolve for the victim and offers a community of patient and unearned justice for the perpetrator.

We gotta do better. And sometimes, we don’t know how.  S’ok to admit you don’t know. It is purely wrong to not try to do better. We’ve heard the suggestion, “Get Help!”  And you can choose to do so.

You may say, “Those helping folks don’t know me.” You’re right. They don’t. But their first introduction to you won’t have to be on the evening news or through court-ordered anger management that you have to pay for. It can be from knowing, “I gotta do better and I need help to make it happen. What I’m doin’ ain’t workin’ for me.”
Don’t get caught in the “Be patient” rhetoric and patiently wait for nothing to change because you won’t.

6 “Should Do’s” Before Saying, “I Do!”

Hmmm…So folks believe going to a member of the clergy before marriage, 1-3 times, is premarital counseling. Ohh…ok. 🤔  We’re surprised cause few actually get premarital counseling.
Truth be told…& we know you want the truth…most folks get premarital advice-not counseling. If we had a brick for every couple in marriage counseling with us who had been to “premarital counseling” with their pastor or imam, we could rebuild the yellow brick road!

premarital-counseling-todo-listHasan & I created & teach our own 6-week, State of Georgia-approved, premarital course covering eight “I-Didn’t-Even-Think-About-That” areas. 👌🏽  Don’t worry. Get happy! No need to doubt if your Bae is like #HurtBae or Romeo. Get our  Details  and tell your friends before another breakup or divorce is born! 👍🏽 But for right now, we’re gonna give you some premarital info to help you navigate these heart highways:

1. Don’t go to premarital counseling because you PLAN to marry. Use premarital counseling to decide if ya’ll SHOULD marry each other.

2. Don’t wait until you have a wedding date, cake & the giggles to set up premarital counseling. If you do, you want premarital advice, not premarital counseling. There’s a difference! You can get good advice from a member of the clergy, married mentor or an elder. With good premarital counseling, ya’ll may change or cancel that date!

3. Do not lie or embellish the truth to prevent heartache or out of fear someone won’t marry you if they know learn a previously unknown truth about you. Divorce causes more pain. 😔

4. Accept recommendations given by the premarital counselor. If you know you ain’t trying to hear it 🚫 & your mind is made up about getting married. Cool! Think through the what you want to get from premarital counseling.  Real talk…counseling is not meant to tell you what to do. You’re grown! However…a counselor isn’t there to lie to you because you paid them either. At least Hasan & I don’t…

5. Know you may learn surprising 😳😔😖 information about the other person in the premarital process. Use a counselor who provides individual sessions, for each of you, so you can recover from the shock attacks you may get on the heart highway!

6. Be open! Don’t limit your thinking. Limited thinking limits your options! You deserve a solid plan to begin your start for wedded bliss and not a wedded bummer!

Hasan & Naa’ila
“Ossie & Ruby Dee of Marriage Counseling”

How To Recognize An Unmarried Person

There are some fool-proof and signature differences between a single and unmarried person. We defined a single man in our last blog. Today, we’re gonna sniff out the unmarried person. An unmarried person may be single, divorced or widowed. They show up with all types of relationship history. The primary brand and seal you should seek on this person is that he or she desires a committed relationship. This person has a lifestyle that reeks commitment in some form or fashion in their life.

Tip No. 1: This person is committed to more than Jordans, their passport, car or designer bags.

For an unmarried person, commitment will peep out in ways such as a stable job history, an attachment to a program in the community or a long-standing relationship with a family member that extends bunmarriedeyond the mandated holidays, graduations and birthdays.

Tip No. 2: They slay, but it doesn’t get in the way.

An unmarried person has taken some personal inventory, but has also done some marriage preparation. They exude some self-awareness, but not an ego. An unmarried person may have a few coins saved or secured a few prized personal possessions, but this doesn’t interrupt who they are. This person understands they have a life, but an unmarried person seeks to add value to their existing life with meaningful companionship. Basically, they look good, and carry themselves well, but they aren’t stuck up.

Tip No. 3: They got baggage.

An unmarried person has been seeking marriage without success, and they ain’t happy about it. In the process of the search, shots were fired and they got hit! An unmarried person has been hurt, but this is where they will be different. They won’t lie about it. An unmarried person admits their dodo stinks, but will use some Febreeze for your smelling pleasure. Now, they won’t tell you err’thang, but their attempts at honesty will be genuine. You should also be able to ask questions and get the real deal from the folks in their life to be found in Tip No. 1. Her aunt, who she loves dearly, should be willing to talk to you at the door, one-on-one, after the family dinner. Talk to the people around this person. Ask a question. And then another question. If everyone tells you how great this unmarried person is, and nothing else, they don’t like you. Everyone has  flaws and someone should tell you the truth.

These three tips should help you better identify your target while single to shed the layers of your unmarried lifestyle. An unmarried person is more than single. This person has a life that is prepared for a husband or wife to make their entrance into their life.  There is a transition between being single and being unmarried. You don’t want to go into marriage as or with a single person. They will  learn to make the shift in the marriage. No one wants their husband or wife acting single! If you don’t have your affairs in order yet, start changing your habits to attract your future husband or wife.

Things To Do When Your Marriage Is Struggling

Everyone loves a quickie! Here are some hit-and-run love dovey’s you can do without too much effort.

You and marriage can look good very quickly with these 5 changes, but you have to do them. Simply reading them or trying to decide if you think they will work will not be enough! These small things go a long way to build trust & show gratitude.19059604_10155330887686303_8768946637038501587_n.jpg

1. Arrive when you say you will & call ahead when you won’t. Don’t call when you’re supposed to already be somewhere to announce your tardiness!

2. Do an extra chore around the house, including cleaning up after yourself danggone self! Pick up your dirty socks & get all your “woman stuff” from around the sink! The man can’t even brush his teeth for bumping into your facial products!

3. Reschedule a regular activity you normally do alone & arrange to hang out with your husband/wife. Don’t play basketball this Saturday. Cancel the pedicure appointment. Schedule in your spouse!

4. When you feel angry, just shut up & go pray. Don’t say nothing until you’ve prayed. Then, refer to #2. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

5. Greet each other with words and touch for at least 6 seconds after work or coming home. Make it a true welcome! Six seconds of touch or a hug has been proven to change lives. Start with your own life.

HERE’S A BONUS FOR THE MEN: When you go to the kitchen, think of her too! Bring her a beverage or a snack too. Please do not come back and sit next to her with nothing for her! This small gesture means so much!

Try one or more of them and let us know how quick the magic happens for you!

You Make Me Sick… For Real

Remember the last time you looked at the person you loved and thought, “I can’t stand you.” You meant it, but not really. You did in that precise moment, but not forever more.

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Love is such a funny emotion because the people we love give us an array of experiences. And each experience has its own gut-wrenching, love-filled, God-fearing, nail-biting and heart-felt thoughts with it.

Do you remember the song, “What’s Love Got To do With It?” It has everything to do with it. Love keeps us in these relationships and marriages. Love is the glue. Love is the Mr.Clean-power for our heartbroken moments. Love is what keeps us together. However, we don’t mean that love disappears in the moments when you can’t stand the person you love. The love of the commitment. The love of loyalty. Love of family. The love of God sustains us through those moments when a person we love doesn’t show up in the most loving way.

And when I can’t stand you, I can stand on the things that I love that we have created together. THE HIM and Naa’ila

I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through

I don’t look like what I’ve been through, but I pray like I’ve been through it.
I pray while remembering crying so hard my cheeks burned from my salty tears. A homeless shelter was my destination with a 5-month old in tow. I pray like the room I slept in at the homeless shelter became my office years later. Allah brought me back to the same place, a new way, an employee not a resident. I pray like I’ve had to take out a restraining order. He choked me, pushed me into a wall until it caved in & stabbed himself in the leg afterwards. I got the restraining order free cause I “petitioned to sue as a pauper”. Basically, I could prove I had food stamps. I pray like a man I loved pulled my mouth apart until my lips cracked. It felt so barbaric.

I pray like I hid $2000 in my infant son’s diaper pail in the shelter. I figured no one would think his crap was worth anything. I pray like a man I loved took money I saved to get a car & used my money for his benefit.I found out when he told me what he did. I pray like I had a Momma who helped me get a car anyway. I pray like I’d rest in the examination rooms while doing my clinical residency cause my blood pressure would be so high I couldn’t stand. I refused to go to the hospital cause they always admitted me & I couldn’t get the clinical hours needed from a hospital room. I pray like I had elder women who protected me when I didn’t have sense enough to know I was in harm’s way.

I pray like the masjid came through for me when laid off. I pray like I graduated & didn’t have my degree cause I owed the school money. I pray like I have my all of degrees in my possession. I pray like I’ve seen a child I raised make decisions I don’t like & I have to figure out a new way to love him. I pray like I’ve called my aunt while driving, pulled over, and said, “Don’t say anything. Just let me cry.” She did. I pray like I struggle with narcolepsy & try to live like I’m “ON” & alert when my sleep disorder has cut me off from you. I pray like I’ve shown a child, a burn victim, my vitiligo so she wouldn’t hide her talents behind her scars. I pray like I’ve watched a man I love go blind & still see God in his life. I pray for my mother who suffers from dementia & continues to find evidence of God’s grace in her life even when she can’t remember her own children. I pray like this cause I’m in awe of My Lord & unceasingly grateful.
I don’t look like what I’ve been through, but I pray like I’ve been through it.- Naa’ila © 2017I