Tuesday, June 21, 2022

15 by 51

I know you are wondering; what does 15 by 51 mean? 

If you divide 15 by 51 it's a rather small number, 0.2941176471.   If you multiply 15 by 51 it equals 765.  Someone might try to figure this out and say, "Maybe she is building something with total square footage of 765.  What could she be doing?" 

Ha, I know you are trying to figure this out. Let's explore...

Last year, during my 50th Birthday gala, "Celebration of Sisterhood", I encouraged the sisters to "be the light". That means showing up in a room, not intending to change or convince anyone to do anything differently, but your mere presence shifts the atmosphere.  The light and aura illuminates the room without you ever having to open your mouth. But Baby, when you do open your mouth, you speak truth to power and bring light to every situation.  That has been my mode of operation over the past year. 

 And here's what I really like about shining your light...

My light doesn't put your light out.  It merely accentuates what you already have inside of you.  We shine together!!!  This is why I am very intentional about encouraging other Sisters.  I am neither threatened nor am I discouraged, by noticing the accomplishments and growth of other women.  And if they are younger than I am, I really want to pour into them by modeling authentic celebration of another woman.

Because I was intentional regarding shining my light, doors opened for me this past year that allowed me to have a lived experience.  I've been asked to preach in some great pulpits, speak up for others on various platforms, ran for office and I've been engaging with others on so many fronts just because I dared to shine my light.

Well now it's time to set another intention, as I make my way to 51 in August.

Have you ever complained sooooo much that you have grown tired of hearing yourself talk about it? No one else is talking, but the voice in your head just complains on loop. You understand, right?!  Well, it's time to finally shut this voice up!  (it's so unnecessary) You have seen me this past year cruising on my bike or walking around the neighborhood (RIP Arby), I have slimmed down a little and my legs are pretty strong, but tthefat has shifted in my upper body. Go figure!  My belly and doggone back fat have appeared with a vengeance and they are quite proud of themselves. Ha!

I know that maturity has a way of slowing down metabolism and raising cortisol levels that help us to store fat, but (geesh!) that doesn't mean that I have to accept it!  This sister is not going down without a fight.  The fight is first in my mind, then it will reflect itself in my actions. In fact, the shift happened this morning.  I found an exercise program/ channel that I like on YouTube and I made myself get up and go to the "workout room" that we created during COVID. (Yes, I have everything I need in my own house. Don't judge me. Ha!)   I can literally go to the other room in the morning and do a 20-minute workout without even thinking about it.  If I go to the gym, swim, ride my bike or go for a walk, that should be the added gravy to my exercise intention. The next step is to champion my nutrition; not with a diet but with intermittent fasting and eating more REAL foods, as opposed to junk food fillers.

So I am calling on my fitness and nutrition oriented Sisters to shine your light this way. I'm going to need encouragement along the journey!!!  You are my accountability partners. (Don't bash me or I will mysteriously delete your phone number. Ha!)  Know that I have seen your social media posts and YOU have already encouraged me to strive for better in this area.  Thank you!

So back to the 15 by 51...

I am setting the intention to round out year 50 by losing 15lbs by my 51st birthday. (August 15th)   I already know that I CAN do it... ability is never the question.  The concern is whether or not I will make the necessary changes to meet my goal.

 Today, I have already made a few very important steps: 

1. I got up and exercised,

2. I drank plenty of water,

3. Fasting until noon, and

 4. I put my business in the street by informing you... now I have to be accountable. Ha!

Share with me what your intentions are for the rest of the summer.  You may have set a different goal for yourself, but I'm sure that you can always use a little encouragement.  Let's keep each other lifted in this journey, we call life.

Now walk it out....




Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Could this be a prime example of voter suppression and the disenfranchisement of Black citizens?

THESE ARE MY NOTES OF REFLECTION AFTER CAMPAIGNING FOR OKCPS BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 5. THERE IS POWER IN TELLING YOUR OWN NARRATIVE. NEVER ALLOW ANYONE TO WRITE YOUR STORY FOR YOU! BE BOLD, BE COURAGEOUS AND SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!

Please note that I didn't write this to say that I deserve the Board seat over my opponent. Mr. Anderson is the new OKCPS Board of Education District 5 member, and I called immediately to congratulate him. In fact, I intentionally waited to publish this information until he was officially sworn in, so that he and his family could enjoy the process.  I wish him nothing but success moving forward!  

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My name is Dr. Sharri L. Coleman (you already know me) and this has been an amazing 4-month journey.  I have been in education and have served the OKC community over the past 20 years. When introduced to the idea of serving on the OKCPS Board of Education, representing District 5, I LEAPed with anticipation. It was an opportunity to have a seat at the table to ensure that the majority of Black & Brown kids who make up this community would have someone who could articulate their needs and the needs of the schools they attend.  When I learned that the district lines had moved 3 blocks east of my primary residence, I obtained a lease on a second residence that was within the lines of District 5, where I am a registered voter. It is legal to have multiple residences in the State of Oklahoma. Thus, I filed, knowing that my opponent would have an opportunity to contest my candidacy.  He did not. Therefore, I proceeded with my campaign. For months, I raised funds and campaigned prepared to serve the eleven schools within District 5: Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Thelma R. Parks Elementary, Rogers Elementary, Shidler Elementary, Spencer Elementary,  Willow Brook Elementary,  FD Moon Middle School,  Wheeler Middle School, Classen School of Advanced Studies High School at Northeast,  Douglass High School and Star Spencer Mid/High School.

Note: Only an opponent has the ability to contest candidacy within a certain time frame. (2022 Board of Education Candidate Filing Packet: Contests of Candidacy.)


However, Rebecca Budd, who is not a resident or registered voter of District 5, disagreed with my decision to run and rigorously worked to end my campaign. Ms. Budd was elected to the OKCPS Board of Education in 2017.  In October 2021, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction announced that this individual would serve as Chief of High Performance Systems and Operations for the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). However, none of her current professional capacities include certifying the eligibility of candidates.


Timeline of events for my campaign:

  • When I announced my candidacy via Facebook in November, Rebecca Budd messaged me and questioned my District residence.

  • There was no need to respond to her, because she was not an opponent. (I received numerous messages via social media that my campaign team advised me not to respond to.)

  • I learned that she called both the Chair of the Board and another School Board member regarding my residency. She was told by both individuals that they would allow my team to take care of any issues and not get involved in this matter.

  • I publicly shared my candidacy filing at the County Election Board on Dec. 8th via FB Live.

  • The County Election Board informed me that my residence could be contested.

  • My opponent had until Friday, December 10th at 5pm to contest the filing.

  • He did not contest.

  • I persisted, campaigning effectively throughout January and February.

  • At the beginning of March, I received a call from Jessica Sherrill, the General counsel for OKCPS. She left a message stating there were questions regarding my candidacy.  This is not in her job description. On OKCPS website, Ms. Sherrill has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies and discrimination complaints of students and personnel. (Who had given her, an OKCPS staff member, the authority to call an OKCPS Board candidate? Isn’t this considered unethical?)

  • Due to what I considered an improper request, I chose not to respond and was advised to save the voice message.

  • One week later, the same individual called again and I saved that recording, as well.

  • I continued working the campaign by fundraising, canvassing and connecting with the community.

  • One of my LOKC classmates had planned to host a fundraiser for the campaign, but was discouraged after receiving a call from Rebecca, the State Board of Education staff member. 

  • Another classmate, who did not learn of these inquiries from me, sent me an email suggesting that I respond to the inquiries of the OKCPS General counsel. (Apparently, I'm a popular woman. Ha!)

  • In mid-March, I was informed that someone from the Oklahoman newspaper was writing a story questioning my residence.  She went to both of my legal residences, talked to neighbors and contacted my leasing agent. 

  • After a week or so, I received a phone call from reporter Nuria Martinez-Keel. We had an interview regarding my platform and I shared with her how much I wanted to be of service to the students in District 5.

  • On Tuesday, March 29th, I made the front page of the Oklahoman, not regarding my platform, but questioning the legitimacy of my candidacy based on residence. Later, I was informed that this same State Board of Education staff member made the call to the Oklahoman.

  • Knowing the rules, I chose not to respond to the article.

  • That same morning Barry Mangold, of Channel 9, reached out for an interview. 

  • By 5 pm, Barry was at my doorstep.  He spoke to my husband who told him that we had multiple residences and advised him to watch the forum, hosted by the Urban league of Oklahoma City, later that evening.

  • Barry watched and reported on the 10 pm news. 

  • Questions, innuendos and rumors initiated by Rebecca Budd and generated by the news media continued to circulate about my candidacy eligibility.

  • On Saturday evening, another digital article from the Oklahoman came out regarding my residence, again authored by Nuria.

  • Saturday, Sunday and Monday during canvassing, I repeatedly had to defend myself and explain to the constituents who read the article or saw the news report that I was indeed a registered voter and resident of District 5.  They didn’t understand why I hadn’t responded to the story, at which time I explained that there was no need to give an account to individuals outside of our community. 

  • On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, I lost the election by only 58 votes due to low voter turnout. (There were 2 or 3 precincts that had no voters. Ouch!)



The goal in writing this timeline is to showcase the unethical behavior surrounding this election from outsiders.  Although my actions were called into question by the State Board of Education employee, I followed the necessary steps to ensure that I could serve the 11 schools within District 5, none of which was contested by my opponent.


The unethical behavior of the State Board of Education staff member and the OKCPS general counsel member must be addressed by the State Superintendent of Education, Joy Hofmeister and the OKCPS Board of Education. On the morning after the election, Nuria wrote yet another article NOT simply congratulating my opponent for winning, but glorifying the misinformation provided by Rebecca Budd.  The skewed nature of Nuria’s reporting confirmed a serious agenda to block my campaign or to disparage the reputation that I established not only in my community, but throughout the City, over the last 20 years.


I am not concerned about the election loss personally, but we all must recognize that this behavior is a prime example of voter suppression and the disenfranchisement of Black citizens.  The failings of this campaign cycle are not a reflection of the two candidates. We were amicable and competed honorably to win the votes of the people. This campaign was about ONE white woman who attempted to control the narrative of an entire Black community and students within the eleven District 5 schools.  Now, the time calls for someone to investigate the intentions and actions of Rebecca Budd and those who aided her.


Questions to address:

  1. Is it common practice for a State Board of Education employee to interfere with a local school board election by contacting individuals to question the current candidate? (i.e. newspaper, LOKC members, and school board staff) In an official election, does the Oklahoma School Board of Education override the procedure of the Oklahoma County Board of Elections?

  2. Is it common practice for general counsel of a local school board to reach out to a candidate running for school board? Did she contact both individuals campaigning?

  3. Under whose authority did general counsel act? 


There are upcoming local elections in June, August and November and all of us must be certain that this type of questionable behavior is not able to continue, especially when it impacts communities of color.


I will continue the work of educating our community and serving students.


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


Isn't it funny that you never know what's really happening behind a beautiful smile?!  I wouldn't change this campaign experience for the world.  I have learned so much and gained greater insight into what makes me tick, so I can appreciate how I have been called to navigate the space that I now occupy.  I'm reminded of Mordecai's words to Queen Esther, "You have been called to the kingdom for such a time as this".  A reminder to her to complete what she was placed there to do.  

Today, I fully understand that I wasn't called to this position, I was called to purpose!


Now walk it out....



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

October 6th is Mommy's birthday

Today, Mommy would have been 83 years old.  

This summer,  I purchased an airline ticket to go to Philadelphia just so I could place flowers at her graveside.  Daddy used to always take her flowers on their anniversary, her birthday and at least every other month.  After he passed, I was able to go back that first summer and give them both flowers.  Well, the pandemic shut all of that down, so I was excited about having an opportunity to travel again and pay my respects to both Mommy and Daddy.

After purchasing my ticket, something happened with the flight schedule and Southwest changed my airline ticket.  I wouldn't have arrived until late this evening and it would have been too dark to navigate through the City and a cemetery.  I wrestled with it and finally cancelled the flight since the purpose was to be there on her birthday.  So today I can't say that I was sad, but I was disappointed and just felt slightly off.  I just wanted to be quiet and reflective.  I got up and rode 5 miles on my bike this morning,  but outside of that my energy level was not where it usually is.  

The year Mommy transitioned, she would have turned 75 years old.  That year on her birthday, I mourned the fact that I didn't have the chance to celebrate such an important milestone in her life.  I felt like I had waited for the 'big' number to celebrate her, but was heartbroken when I couldn't show her how much I appreciated her. I'd waited too long!  (Don't get me wrong, I loved on her everyday and she knew it, but 75 is just so huge that I wanted to express how I felt in front of everyone. ) I would have wanted her to feel like a queen on her special day.   I believe that's the reason why it was so important to put together a team and plan my own 50th birthday celebration this past August.   I didn't want to miss another milestone or to leave it up to someone else to plan.  I did for myself, what I couldn't do for her.

My Celebration of Sisterhood 50th Birthday Gala was about me, Yes......but it was also about Mommy.  She loved to encourage women and my goal was to make certain that EVERY woman felt special that night in August.  She was a church girl,  but she loved to see others have a good time; so the African dance segment would have made her smile and shake her tail feathers. My mother was pure joy! She would pray with and for you, laugh with you, give you great big hugs,  and call you Shuga.  I am blessed to have been born to the wonderful, Nelda J. Mattison.  These days whenever I pass a mirror, I see her profile.  When I look back at footage of myself leading praise & worship, I get tickled because I notice her mannerisms. (Mommy was smooth with hers though, she could have been a lounge singer.  Daddy used to say that she crooned.). In my encouragement of others, I can hear her whispers in my ear.  That woman was my #1 cheerleader!!!  

If she were here today, she would make sure that I was taking care of myself and not doing too much.  If she were here, she would cry and praise God with every one of my accomplishments.  In fact, she'd probably go crazy every time I went LIVE on a social media platform. "Look at you Baby, you are doing it.  You sound like you know what you're talking about". (I'm sniggling & giggling right now, as I'm typing.)

As I look back at my birthday photos, I see Mommy strutting her stuff (in high heels, of course).  The joy and sense of freedom I felt was a result of years of her pouring into me.  She made certain that I didn't allow my insecurities to keep me fearful and unable to move forward.  In fact, around her I had no insecurities. I was free to be my authentic self! Honey, if she could see my bald head today, she'd kiss it, anoint it with blessed oil and say "get it Girl".  No mother-daughter rivalry here, just love and respect!!!! You may have never met my Mommy, but as I get older, I am meeting her again for the first time.  I am Mommy and she is me!  Happy birthday Mommy!  I didn't make it to Philly to give you flowers, but I can smell the flowers in my garden bed and think of you!

I'm sharing my entire birthday photo album with you so you can see the joy of the women and my own joy as we celebrated one another.  My joy is her joy, which boils down to the joy of the Lord!

So to all of you reading this, don't wait until the 'big" milestones to celebrate, learn that every DAY is BIG and worth celebrating.


Now walk it out....


Click HERE to view my full BD photo album.


Friday, July 16, 2021

I am not my hair! BUT at the same time, I am.

A few months after Daddy died in January 2019, I noticed that my hair stopped coiling the way I liked.  There seemed to be breakage or damage at one spot.  I have worn a teeny-weeny afro (TWA) for years, AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT, so my hair has been short for quite some time.  I thought the hair breakage was just due to stress and grief, until I noticed periodic itching and burning of my scalp. After visiting a beautician, who specializes in natural hair, she parted through my hair and discovered little white bumps all over my scalp. It looked like a teenager with bad acne, but on my scalp instead of my face.

She mentioned that it was probably folliculitis brought on by hair products which attract dirt and then styling it with a sponge used to separate into coils. So, I changed hair products and began to finger coil instead.  It offered some relief, but the symptoms eventually came back.  I transitioned into a protective hair style for 6-9 months, which helped me to keep my fingers out of my hair. In April 2020 of the pandemic, when everything was shut down, including all the beauticians, I took the protective hairstyle down myself and dyed it a strawberry blond color.  You could not tell me anything! The lack of hair manipulation had been good for growth, and I loved my new length, but again I noticed a small bald spot smack dab in the middle of my head.  I thought perhaps I had cut my hair by mistake when taking down the hairdo.  After only a few weeks, the strange coil pattern and thinning resumed. Ugh!

In February of this year (2021), I visited a black, female dermatologist who specializes in ethnic hair. She performed two biopsies of my scalp and the results confirmed that I have Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA).  CCCA is a disease characterized by permanent hair loss in the crown region of the scalp, inflammation, and scarring. It occurs almost exclusively in black women aged 30 to 55 years. What the what?!  She mentioned that once a scar forms there is permanent hair loss in that specific area. So, what is a girl to do?  Dr. Allen believed that we caught it in the early stage, so we began treatment immediately. (Please note there are different types of alopecia, so it is best to have a dermatologist diagnose it to begin the appropriate treatment.)

I am currently taking an antibiotic for acne and using a specially formulated prescription strength Minoxidil cream that comes from a pharmacy in Florida. I have also endured two series of steroid injections throughout my scalp and along the hairline. So, now we are just play the waiting game. I became so frustrated recently because it appeared that the initial spot seemed to be filling in, just as another bald spot developed in the front. Even as I type, I can feel my scalp itching in certain areas, due to scalp inflammation.

For the past two weeks, I have wrestled with the idea of getting braids, but that's not the best option right now.  Although braids are another type of protective style, if braided too tightly can cause a totally different problem, namely traction alopecia.  Although I am NOT my hair, I must admit that my coiled hair is a major part of who I am; and when that is not right, feelings of insecurity creep in.

It is the craziest feeling. Insecurity that is!

I do not care how confident you are, when there are issues with your crown, you tend to feel just a little different.  I considered the song by Indie Arie, “I Am Not My Hair”

 

She said it like this:

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lives within

But honestly, you do not come to this conclusion and assuredness until AFTER you have dealt with the insecurity that accompanies bald spots or thinning or whatever the hair issue. I decided rather than cover my spots by getting braids or another “protective” style, I would focus on getting my scalp healthy devoid of underlying inflammation. (I told my husband that he might have to get used to seeing his wife bald, if I actual decided to shave it off.)   Well, a sister did it…. I SHAVED MY HEAD TODAY!  My beautician said that the thinning spots actually had hair growth/peach fuzz, but it just looked like a major bald spot because the hair around it was full.  So, I told her to give me a buzz cut and a little bit of color…. And just like that, I decided to start over. No more unnecessary manipulation of my hair; just time to let it rest and grow back evenly.

I could not hide from the reality that my body had given me messages that something was not quite right internally. Rather than run and hide from the signals, my aim is to be consistent at tackling the root cause.  That means that I must increase my water intake, keep taking the acne antibiotic as prescribed, continue using the prescription cream and cut my hair short to cut down on hair manipulation. I think I might even do a 3-day cleanse, beginning Monday, to rid my body of toxins. The body is a magnificent machine that gives you warnings that it wants better. My scalp wanted better, so I decided to respect her needs so my hair can come back stronger and healthier. 

When I began twisting my hair many years ago, my grandmother said to me, “Oh baby, I like that…you have such a nice, shaped head”.  Well Granny, everyone will now have the opportunity to see this awesome dome for a while. 

As I approach 50 years of age (August 15), all the words of affirmation that I pour on others, I will bathe in as I allow myself grace to change and grow.  For now, I am bald and beautiful!  If/when my hair fills in, I will still be pulchritudinous.  My beauty does not originate from external factors, but the very core of my existence is light and beauty.  Fifty is coming in like fire, because I have set it ablaze!

So, embrace ALL of you are with or without make up; with or without hair; lean or fluffy; short or tall.  You have such a beauty that beams from the inside and lights the path of everything and everyone around you. Alopecia cannot and will not define me.  I will continue to strut my stuff with a bald head, a good pair of earrings and a bold lip.

Now walk it out…   

Saturday, July 3, 2021

It's a Celebration of Sisterhood!

I'd like to invite you to celebrate with me. My 50th birthday is in August and I'd love to share an evening with 100 amazing women. Please enjoy the digital invitation below and then register on the the Sign Up Genius.  It's about to go down!

Please watch and enjoy my Digital invitation to you.

Click HERE to register for Dr. Sharri's 50th Birthday Gala $50forFifty


Monday, May 31, 2021

Spiritual Connections in the Kitchen

When was your last spiritual encounter?

Were you in church? Were you sitting on a park bench? Were you laying in a hammock?  Were you enjoying nature?  Were you on a run? 

My most recent spiritual encounter was in my kitchen!

Today, Byron and I had just returned from Tulsa, Oklahoma commemorating the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.  Immediately following church yesterday, we set off with our sons to Tulsa to participate in some of the weekend activities with the Legacy Fest.  To see Black vendors, sample from Black food trucks, sway to Black music, listen to Black spoken word, people watch beautiful Black people as we all thought about the lives of Tulsans that were forever changed in 1921 was enlightening and invigorating.  It took us back to our Lower Manley Fridays at Spelman College, when all the AUC came together.  We were happy to share this experience with our sons and to broadcast LIVE to our church family from Greenwood.

We returned to Oklahoma City early this afternoon to enjoy the rest of the day and prepare for the week.  Byron mentioned a food show on Netflix, and we decided to watch the first episode.  The name of the show is "High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America".  The documentary story line is about food, community, culture, and resiliency. It is narrated by Stephen Satterfield, who describes how American food culture has its roots in African culture. 

And when I tell you that I was in tears by the end of the first episode...HONEY!  Even now as I am typing, I am full of emotion.  Earlier this year, I had a DNA test to discover my ancestral origins. I learned that I am 42.5% African: Yoruba People (13.1%), Esan People (11.2%), Gambians (8.9%), Mende People (8.4%) and Luhya People (0.9%).  In the documentary today, they talked a lot about the country of Benin, their culture and food traditions.  I was immediately intrigued because the Yoruba people could have originated from these countries: Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, BENIN, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast or Portugal.  

I was like..."yo, they are talking about MY people".  Satterfield interviewed one of his idols, American culinary historian, professor, cookbook author and journalist, Jessica B. Harris.  Together they walked through the various markets of Benin visiting food stands, clothing stands and talking with the natives about the foods that were traditional to their people.  Okra was mentioned as a staple in Benin cuisine and how it made the journey to the Americas.  She dispelled the myth between the sweet potato and the yam.  (Note to self: we are buying sweet potatoes in the supermarket. If it does not look like a hairy elephant's foot, it is not a yam.)  As I watched them discuss food and sample various delicacies, my stomach started to growl.  

What was intriguing about the show was how they made the connection between the African people and American cuisine.  They talked about Abomey, Benin and the long dirt road that led many of the Africans right into slave ships. Even today, that road is unpaved.  The gentleman being interviewed said that they had no idea that this road would lead them either to their death or their enslavement. He also posited that you cannot erase the past and walking that same road is a reminder of the ancestors who traveled that way before. #goosebumps 

Intermingled throughout the episode was food, culture, and memory.  It was impactful because it demonstrated how African people showed resilience by bringing their food traditions to America.  For example, Byron used to tell me how Friday night dinner was often fried fish and spaghetti in his family; to which I always swore that those 2 things should NEVER go together.  Oddly enough, one of the meals highlighted was fried fish and some type of African dish that was tomato-based.  Satterfield mentioned that growing up in Georgia, Sunday meals were fried fish and spaghetti that fed the community.  

What, the what?! Byron was not crazy after all. Ha!

Though the specific tomato-based dish was not an American food tradition, the African palate survived the journey. (We simply used an American substitute, but the sentiment in the pairing was the same.)  Another piece of African culture survived!  The final story was told where the Satterfield and Harris stood on hallowed ground to venerate the ancestors. Below their feet, underneath a statue were the remains of those Africans who never made it to the ships.  They died right there at that port because they REFUSED to give in.  Many Africans were brought to the port to await transfer and they were given specific foods that were from their villages. The goal was to keep them eating and full so they could maintain their energy to survive the journey.  Rather than giving in to the slave masters, many of them refused to eat. So, they died right there...  They practiced resistance even unto death! #goosebumpsagain

I was moved to tears and got up immediately to cook.  I had no idea what I wanted, but I felt the urge to connect to my heritage.  Byron began to ask questions of what I was going to cook and I simply informed him that I did not know, and could not take suggestions.  I just went to the pantry and refrigerator and was moved by the spirit as I pulled out the onions, peppers, cabbage, okra, and pigeon peas.  I was having a spiritual encounter connecting my present to my past.  When I saw the frozen okra in the freezer, I immediately thought of Mommy and how she would make okra patties for Daddy.  (It was never for the kids; it was only for Daddy; his own special treat.)  But today, I was determined to feed my husband with this meal.  In complete silence, I created a meal that took elements from my African heritage mixed with my own American traditions. I tasted and seasoned until I was satisfied with each dish, as the flavors burst in my mouth.


·       Sautéed cabbage with onions, garlic, red, yellow, and orange peppers

·       Pigeon peas with tomatoes, seasoned with a medium yellow curry powder

·       Lightly fried okra patties 

The flavor profile was treacherous, and I felt like I had grabbed my Benin ancestors and my own parents tradition to make the perfect meal.  No bread and no meat, yet I was completely satisfied! (Byron liked it too.)

Today was a spiritual moment of connection for me....

My past informed my present and will ultimately influence my future.  I learned to always be proud of where I come from.  I learned that refusing to give in is a sign of resilience and resistance.  I also learned that I could control the narrative that will lead to better health decisions and a more sustainable life.  

Today, I met God in the kitchen!

Be mindful and open to each day's powerful lessons...

                                                                                            ~Now walk it out!


Saturday, February 27, 2021

The church vs. God? Who wins?

 Who told you women should be silent in the church?

Who told you pants were unacceptable attire in the sanctuary, but wearing skirts and dresses somehow meant you were holy?

Who told you that women were not allowed or should not have equal footing in the pulpit?

Who told you how a "good girl" should conduct herself?

Who told you that living right was better than living well?

Who told you that sacrifice down here would get you a reward up there?

Who told you that position squashes passion?


THE CHURCH.


Who is telling you that your inner voice is piercing to the status quo, if only you are brave enough to allow it to be heard?

Who is telling you that your attire is not an indicator of your worth, but simply an expression of your beauty and personality?

Who is telling you that the passion, the cries, and the groans of a woman cannot be contained in a pulpit, classroom or any other space?

Who is telling you that being chaste does not a good girl make; but a woman who is in touch with all of her being: mind, emotions and sexuality, is powerfully boundless?

Who is telling you that entrepreneurship, forward thinking and independence are tools to living well in the here and now?

Who is telling you that every day you can experience a little bit of heaven as you walk along the earth?


GOD IS.  In all of her splendor.


Ponder that!

  

Now walk it out...