Posted in Cancer, cANCER, Health Matters*, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Coming out about having cANcer

>>Talking about having cancer doesn’t get easier …One just gets used to it .>>

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Once I was able to wrap my brain around being diagnosed with cancer ; I felt an irresistible urge to share my journey with my family and closest friends .

My main hope in sharing was to provide cancer prevention tips to my loved ones & collect insight from others as well . Also I’ve discovered the more I talk (& learn ) about cancer , the less scary the topic is for me to cope with . After all hearing the words @You’ve got cancer ; is something the majority of us fear ‼️

Any tips you’d care to share with others for coping with having cancer ?

*Let’s rap !

Posted in Bill Cosby, Black America, Black History, Higher Education, Telling it like it 'TIS, Temple University, The Cosby Show, Watercooler Chat, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

COSBY KARMA?

I’m OLD enough to recall the recoil from Black Americans after Bill Cosby’s seething commentary at a NAACP event 2004ish ; with his harsh perception of the ills affecting Black American society … His response to the outcry after his speech was “ I feel I can no longer remain silent . If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want change in lower economic communities ; then I choose to be the bell ringer … “ ( Hmmm @ remaining silent phrase but moving  onto the meat of my thoughts ..) Without repeating Cosby’s harsh speech about Blacks at that time here , he ended with , We can’t blame white people .

I grew UP watching and loving The Cosby Show .. I was SO proud of  Dr Cosby for advocating higher education and giving millions to colleges/ scholarships . Bravo ! I laughed at his Jello commercials & cried when his only son died ..Full fledged Cosby fan I admit ! Yet … I was hair blown black appalled when he felt he needed to go on a National soapbox to speak about what he felt were the ills among Black Americans .. That’s pretty bold and I guess he felt he was just that powerful and had done SO much for Blacks ; that he could … I disagree and I was disappointed in him then .. And NOW. I tend to feel no one is that lofty to judge an entire group of anything .. Lest? You are comfy with being judged just as harshly when your day of judgement arrives … That day has rolled around for Dr Bill Cosby .

I readily admit when the first of a cazillion accusations began , I felt it was orchestrated to stop him from buying NBC. I still feel that way . However , they’d have had NO dirt to dig up if he hadn’t had a closet FULL of skeletons .. I do not think the accusers are liars . I think that what they recanted DID happen ..I feel bad for Cosby that now in his 80s he faces prison time and will have a prison record . Thus! becoming one of the very ills he spoke about in 2004. A Black male with a prison record .. Do I think it’s fair that our justice system can convict a man on 30 yr old evidence ; yet can NOT convict police with video captured events of horrendous behavior towards people of color? NO, it is not a balanced equation . But more I think about it that doesn’t make what Cosby did right . Period . He got away with it for years and years because women felt their word meant nothing against a man of power . And someone ALOT of someone’s knew and when called upon they began to speak out . I will never understand what kind of mind prefers to drug women versus being on the up and up about what they want .. Rich or not . Black or not . Wrong has no color. And? He once said WE can’t blame white folks for anything ; so? WE can’t blame NBC for using foul tactics . Period . 

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

An Under Examined Now: New Orleans

Loved seeing New Orleans through another’s eyes / words … Birthplace of my parents and grands , I love New Orleans

Brohammas

A friend told me New Orleans was exactly my kind of place. A different friend described New Orleans as completely debauched. I think one was referring to the city’s reputation for music history and food and the other was talking about drunken toplessness. He compared it to Vegas where too many people are trying too hard to do something regrettable. He did however give New Orleans credit in that while Vegas is a plaster imitation of a million other somewhere elses, New Orleans is in fact a real place all its own.

I had in my head, thanks to history books and too many movies, an image of a place a lot like Philly, having an old colonial feel topped off by a few decades of industrial decay, just with more of a swing than a beat- and wrought iron balconies. Maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to…

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Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

VIDEO: Gabriel Ramirez – “On Realizing I Am Black” (NPS 2015)

VIDEO: Gabriel Ramirez – “On Realizing I Am Black” (NPS 2015)

http://dh.jmjafrx.com/2018/04/28/video-gabriel-ramirez-on-realizing-i-am-black-nps-2015/
— Read on dh.jmjafrx.com/2018/04/28/video-gabriel-ramirez-on-realizing-i-am-black-nps-2015/

Posted in <<COMING SOON, @Berna's Book Reviews, Telling it like it 'TIS, Watercooler Chat, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~~Shopping While BLACK~~~My 2 cents regarding the EPIC failure of the recent filmed Starbucks and Philly incident

Humiliation personified .. A surreal scene mayhaps for those who aren’t racist ; but for those of us Black Americans and minorities who have been there or seen it’s become an every day moment reality that still reeks of ISH.. Many of us , including myself!, have sons same age as the victims .. Makes it terribly personal .. And YES I said victims .. I’ve sat in MANY Starbucks from Barnes and Noble to Target stores and just SB sites ; and had meetings , link upS or just to hang out and READ.. I’ve used their restrooms whether I purchased a product or NOT.. And not once as an American Black woman have I been arrested .. Not 1 time from coast 2 Coast.. For the record to preface I’ve got a myriad of friends of all colors , sexual orientation and genders.. IF I must state I’m not racist here it IS I’m not , but what I am is a Black American woman proud of my culture and Co- parent of 3 amazing , astounding grown Black SONS .. And to quote former POTUS Obama this could’ve been one of MINE.. Honestly, I fully support and stand behind ANY person unjustly villified .. It just is not right to judge anyone , lest alone based on color of one’s skin color . These 2 college graduates weren’t wearing hoodies ! They weren’t thugs yet they were treated like thugs .. Like CRIMINALS.. Those words @ I feared for my life… I’ve heard from my own sons breathing while Black and innocent yet targeted .. For nothing .. Which IMO is the worst type of words a parent can hear from sons they’ve birthed and raised to do the RIGHT things .. Starbucks IMO let this manager who called the police OFF lightly .. Allowed her to resign , mutual parting , pfft! Many of US would’ve been FIRED for far less .. Now Starbucks due to many of US refusing to remain paying our big bucks to them ; is taking ONE day for racial unbiased training.. 1 DAY a month in advance to roll back how many years of racial ISH? Want to impress me? Why is it planned so far in advance ? Why not teach racial non bias as part of training ; period ? WE don’t need short term 1 day so called solutions .. Truth IS they hired a racist person ..What is the long term solution to keep that from happening again and again ? And mind you this isn’t an isolated Starbucks issue.. IMO with Trump thumping racist behavior and condoning it; this is becoming more and more common… Thankfully ! this time no one was murdered .. As a collective group Black and Brown have HUGE spending power .. I will not cater to companies who don’t treat those who look like ME with great fair customer service .. Ever .. Might mean being inconvenienced or making my own coffee or whatever .. But saving lives and dignity in the long run is worth it.. IF I was on fire ! and the only water available was in a Starbucks cup of coffee I would rather burn to death .. Period .. I recall when Starbucks had to close stores during the recession due to over saturation .. If it depends on my money , and I’m a coffee lover, they’ll close many more until they stand for fairness and equality . Let’s rap…

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Does It Take An Ultimatum For A MAN To Propose Marriage?

In Cancun recently for my eldest son’s wedding amongst ALOT of intellectuals and highly degreed folks ; I engaged in many highly interesting conversations .. One such afternoon I found myself in a chat with married and single folks and topic of wedding proposals arose .. One married guy, who will remain un-named, who I hadn’t met prior position was that ALL marriages are initiated by a woman giving a man the ultimatum of marriage or nothing .. First of all, I dislike using the term , AlL, second of all I’ve been proposed to and married (though not as many times as proposals ) and not once did I have to give an ultimatum . Thirdly , and most important in my book, since childhood I’ve been raised to believe , and I do strongly , that a man knows early ON if he wants to marry said woman or NOT.. I am of the belief that though I feeeel the woman sets the pace for said relationship , from the onset, I will not marry anyone that has to be forced .. To heck with an ultimatum !! However , I’m always interested in hearing guys unfiltered , unapologetic actual true relationship tips and or feelings on any given topic .. So, let’s rap.. And ladies feel free to speak your 2 cents worth also! I know I’m old school but have things really changed that much in relationships from backintheday??

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

RACIAL DIVIDE IN POST OBAMA AMERICA*****

Quote by Former President Barack Obama@”You Can Be Completely Right & You  Are Going To Have To Engage Folks Who Disagree With You..”

 

Alright y’all I’m back and here are my thoughts on the matter…70 million! Americans chose the 1st Black president in our Nations’ history of 232 years–

MANY  thought that would shatter racial barriers..Many of us , like moi, had renewed! HOPE in our country, pride in finally seeing someone who looked like US in the White House..A certain someone who had lived a life closer to average working folks lives than any other president prior to him..He wasn’t born rich like his predecessors …

Yet? Many of us knew race was STILL an issue for a country built ON the very backs of African slaves; slaves who did NOT come here voluntarily! Even knowing that vile history I was still horrified and shocked! at the wave of seething hatred Obama faced and even more so at the amount! of racists bursting out of the closet during and after the Frump campaign …RACE  will continue to be a huge issue in our country until WE discuss it honestly..

WE must stop describing people as Black, White, Latino, Jewish; otherwise it will always matter! WE must stop feeding into and repeating stereotypes. WE must grow a pair of cajones(figuratively..) and not allow racist jokes to be told in our midst..It isn’t a laughing matter and never was..WE must try to learn of other cultures and to respect others rights to cultivate their own cultural beliefs/practices. Live and let live I say! WE must show/feel the same respect for others as we wish to be treated..I don’t claim to have all the answers, by far to anything..But it is my sincere belief WE must start somewhere….Not discussing it & tip toeing around it isn’t making it go away

THIS division is growing larger and more lethal daily–It Must Stop Now Before Implosion..Welcome and look forward to y’all chiming IN..And? Happy New Year!!! WE can make our country better 2Gether

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

THAT Talk WE Actually HATE That We Must HAVE – I’ve attempted to open this UP properly & to properly express aka! ReLeAsEeeee pent up feelings on THE topic since August …Letting this serve as a re-reminder to myself to gather the tons of fragments of thoughts in my mind & on scraps of paper so we can rap about it …..2Night 4 Sure? I hope so! @@@Coming SOON

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Cracks in the Pavement

A viewpoint well worth sharing from the Via Ex Machina blog site ~~Reblogged by Berna

Via Ex Machina

I turned on my car radio a week ago Tuesday morning, anxious to hear details about the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case. The BBC News Hour was on.  I grunted.  I love the BBC, but Ferguson analysis was probably not going to be their focus. Still, I decided to stay tuned in hopes that a Ferguson report would be forthcoming.

A commentary about Pope Francis’ address to the European Parliament was concluding with a woman commending the Pope for criticizing the EU’s indifference to African asylum seekers drowning in the Mediterranean. The broadcast then segued to Egypt, where an eight-story building had collapsed, killing at least fifteen people and injuring many more.  Family, friends, and neighbors were frantically digging through the wreckage.  The building was originally constructed with three stories, but the owner had added five additional floors supported with rickety wooden beams and other inadequate (and…

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Posted in @Cultural, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~#BLACKLivesMATTER~~~

Lest we get so caught UP in our own day to day lives(and I’m guilty of that…) that we forget things going on in OUR world/country; are just as important..I had a surreal conversation with my youngest son today that made me pause for a minute to wonder out loud@Is this really 2014???? My son commented on the latest NON verdict regarding Eric Garner..He said WOW there are some police out there who really hate Black folks!! I found myself, again, telling him the what-to-do’s on IF ever stopped by the police for random traffic stops..NO sudden movements..Don’t get out of the car unless asked to do so..Don’t get angry, just listen & be patient..WtH & OMG is this 2014 or the 1940’s??? And while I know I’m not the only Black parent to feel this way; it sure IS a heavy feeling..Heart-wrenching to say the least..I’m asking everyone who reads this who has a wordpress blog site, facebook page, or who twitters to spread the word for our ‘new cause’ @BlackLivesMatter..Doesn’t it seem like we’ve had to say this alot more lately? Because we HAVE…Police brutality against Black folks(and with no punishment/penalty), no MEN, is on the rise..IF we all stand together certainly our voices will be heard! I’m posting a couple letters from NAACP(yep folks they’re still alive , well , and working for US) and another organization I’m a member of ASALH(Association for the study of African American Life & History..) that have further motivated me to speak OUT & stand UP for the cause @ Black lives matter & police brutality must end..I can only hope/pray it helps to motivate y’all as well..Peace & light always , the One & Only Berna

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Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Riots and Reason

>>I’ve been itching to blog out my thoughts regarding the Ferguson ruling..Still plan on doing so when my thoughts have been properly gathered..After reading quite a bit from all perspectives; I can appreciate this one for more reasons than not..Much regard /respect Tressie for helping to push for ‘justUS’..(justice..) Many of us hoped also that this would go to trial for a FAIR chance to have revealed what really happened..Sadly, that chance was sabotaged! >>RE-BLOGGED by Berna from The Blog of Tressiemc

tressiemc

I truly believe that to be a good teacher, a decent writer or a perfunctory scholar one has to concede the limits of evidence, reason, and rationality.

It is no wonder I believe that. Evidence, reason and rationality can rarely explain my place in this world. I know the limits even as I try to stretch them. It is either futile or the human experience or, I suspect, it is both.

For months I have participated and supported the ground work of activists, scholars, teachers, preachers, parents, young people, old people, and people people in Ferguson, MO. My contribution amounts to little more than nil on the grand scale of things. Mostly, I have hoped that people would persist.

It is an unreasonable hope.

Representatives of the State, of a public that includes black people who are also a public, were defiant when they announced the grand jury results of Michael…

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Posted in =Self Discovery=, Health Matters*, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

*A Problem Shared Is A Problem Lessened?”..Is Venting Good For The Ventee?

We all need a good vent every now and then..Some of us more than others..Having done my fair share of venting, I’ve got wagon loads of compassion for those in need of a good vent..But what about the flip side of the coin? Does the ventee walk away with a warm , fuzzy after-glow? Or is it normal for the ventee to often feel like an emotional bag of bricks was just laid on their shoulders??

Posted in LOVE, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

>>What EVERY Child Should Hear From Their Parent At Least Once In Their Lives…



There is no fail-proof manual that comes with raising children…Know why? Because no two children are alike, not even twins, let alone siblings..What I do feel IS universal is parental love..My free flow of thoughts on this near & dear topic is dedicated to my parents… These are a few things I think every child should hear from their parents at least once in their lifetime>>>

I love you always! Unconditionally. From the womb & forever..

I am proud of you!

What do you think? Or, what is your opinion? (and then listen..)

Thank you! (whenever applicable..)

I am human..(we must teach our children, at all ages, it is ok to admit fault & try again..)

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Hiding in Plain Sight

REblogged by Berna from the FiftyFourandAHALF blog site .. Whether you’ve early voted or will VOTE tomorrow this is a piece well worth watching ! Get out the vote & VOTE

FiftyFourandAHalf

If you haven’t seen this bit from John Oliver’s new show, you should.  You should watch it before Tuesday’s election, and then again periodically, just so you remember what I keep telling you.  That elections matter.  And that it is important to pay attention to not just Federal elections, but to the ones lower down the food chain.

Apparently it takes someone from England, from the country from which we declared our independence, to explain to us just how we are letting our own government get away from us.

Because we don’t pay attention to “the unimportant levels of government.”

Ummm, it is at the state level that we’re really getting screwed.  I can attest to this as a resident of “Virginia is For Ultra-sounds.”    Yup, it is the folks whose names we don’t even know, who get to decide these issues that most impact your life and mine.

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15 Acts Of Chivalry For The 21st Century

RE-blogged by Berna because JMS you’re so right@ common courtesy and respect will always be in style ! I took to heart teaching/showing ( as did my co- parenting partner ) our sons how to treat women with respect .. These are things that should rightfully be taught at home … I can fully testify that chivalry is NOT dead .. And always , always it’s appreciated and returned tenfold ! Once again JMS outstanding write ….

James Michael Sama

Times change, and along with them – social norms change. Technology changes. Acceptable behavior changes (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), and basically, well, everything changes.

For this reason, we cannot always simple ‘bring back’ certain concepts that were once widely accepted or appreciated, and for good reason. But what we can do is glance back at the past and pull the frosting off the top, so to speak. Particularly when it comes to dating and relationships, there have been noticeable changes in the way we approach and treat each other.

century2

The origins of chivalry may be ancient, and not all considered appropriate for modern society. But, we can take the parts we want that we feel will make the dating process better, and leave the rest to lay where it is. Here are a few practices that I feel are the ‘frosting off the top’ of the way things…

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Once upon a time I ran for political office..What was true then remains true all these years later..My slogan was ‘Your Vote is YOUR Voice’..And if you don’t vote you’ve NO right to complain or expect positive change..Early voting period has begun folks..One way to make sure you don’t have to stand in long lines November 4, 2014? VOTE NOW..In many places polls are open from sun up to sun down..Literally..I’ve included a brief video clip on why voting is so important..WE can make a difference! >>

GET OUT THE VOTE 2014 **Mid-Term Elections Matter Too!

Posted in ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Defining Moments of Clarity..

What defines us to ourselves? Is it our intentions? Is it our thoughts? Is it our actions? Is it our attitude? Is it our outlook on life? Some of us don’t like to admit it(hand raised high in the air! ) but we want our existence to be remembered..I think we all want to matter..We want to define ourselves with something that is LASTING..Whether it is a published book, successful business or goodwill towards others..Some of us also pour a great deal of the best parts of ourselves into our children..I’ve very guilty of that! Why? Because they’ll be my living legacy long after I’m gone..Yet, isn’t it the little moments quilted together that define us? I believe it is..

Who we spend time with defines us>> Who we keep close are the people that will most influence us..When I close my eyes & reflect on the BEST moments of my life? More times than not those were moments that had someone else in them..Someone close..Dear ‘trusted’ friends who have been there for us in all types of weather..Family members who love us unconditionally to the very core of our being..And those we’ve loved deeply , who care for us even after seeing us at our worst..I’ve learned & am still learning to be ‘conscious’ about who I spend time with ; for they have a say in defining us..Many moons ago I used to tell my sons pick & choose your friends wisely! At 51 years of age that still remains true..Mayhaps even more so now>>

Acts of Kindness>>Corny as it sounds it can make a loved ones’ or stranger’s day! We aren’t always aware of the impact our simple presence has on others..A smile…An unexpected tip(recently happened in my world that I tipped someone whose establishment provided horrific overall service) A comforting ear..A hug..WE have the power to restore someone’s faith in humanity..

We choose our perception of the World>> I heard someone say very recently that the world is full of mostly evil people..Made me a little sad that they’d feel that way..I quickly realized I couldn’t change their mind..I think it is an individual decision we can choose to make every minute of the day..Is the world revolving around us or can we step out of ourselves & see the world from a more realistic viewpoint? If we can’t ever see the world from another’s perspective what does that say about us? There is alot to be said for that old adage@ Walk a mile in my shoes..>>

Addressing naughty habits>>I found myself saying , just today, perfection is boring..There are many things we may dislike about ourselves..None of us are above anyone else..We are human & will make mistakes..Throughout our lives we forms habits, attitudes and even addictions that can be detrimental, but to let them define us would be the greatest misfortune..We must and should strive to dust ourselves off, do better, work on self-improvement/progression and move onwards and upwards>>

What have been some of your life-defining or life-altering moments? Who have you chosen to BE?

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

**OTHERHOOD**40s, 50s, Childless, Never Married**Their Perspective Revealed>>

I won’t and can’t lie…I can’t relate to this piece…However, now that I’ve been single & celibate for 3 years(though actively dating someone I dig alot..a whole lot!) I find myself trying to understand all aspects of the dating spectrum…My hair was blown back by the open nature and honesty of this write..At 51 yrs old and UNmarried; my biggest fear is entering old age alone..ALONE..MY parents attend even random doctor appointments TOGETHER..Shopping, etc..whatever they do together…As much as I dig my independence I MISS being part of a forever union..Knowing that someone always has my back..Good , bad or ugly…There IS comfort in that…Having said all of that I’ve a silent respect for those who are still patiently waiting on ‘the One’..It is hard for me to imagine waiting & waiting & waiting on love until well into the 50s…I’m just NOT that patient!

IF anyone can relate to this woman’s perspective, feel free to comment…I was captivated from word one!

I’m 45, Single And Childless. No, There’s Nothing ‘Wrong’ With Me….

October comes in innocently enough, stretching the edges of summer into fall. But then, one night, seemingly out of nowhere, a cold chill touches my shoulders like a former lover I’ve tried to shake from memory. I shiver. My heart falls; I know that another long winter is approaching and I’m still alone.

I hadn’t planned it this way. I have always been open to love and relationships. I have held on to hope and to expectations and to dreams and to grief and to men I should have let go of much sooner. I have been high on love and tip-toed on top of clouds. And I’ve lost my breath under a dark cloud, wondering why it’s so hard for me to have the long, meaningful relationship I deserve.

I’m at a bar, on my first date with Brian, a man I met online. I’m happy to be inside, sitting next to this man, warm and calm. At age 45, I’m no longer focused on the future; I’m no longer envisioning my life as one half of a young couple, thinking about our future children. I’m focused on the moment I’m in right now. This is life. This is my life. And notwithstanding it not turning out the way I had expected, my life is beyond my expectations. I have chosen to live my life to its potential, and I’ve never felt better about myself or more comfortable in my own skin.

Brian is handsome, self-made and from his body language, I can tell he’s happy to be sitting at the bar next to me. He swivels to face me, smiling, and I smile back. The date is off to a great start. But soon enough, his tone changes. Brian has decided it’s time to find out what’s wrong with me. And after all these years, seasons of men, loves and likes and not-quite-there feelings, I recognize the conversation that’s about to begin.

First, my dates prove their ability to be in a relationship. They describe their marriage and how it concluded, or why their recent long-term relationship finally had to end, as Brian’s had earlier this year. “We argued so much it no longer felt good to be in the relationship,” he volunteers. And now, as these exchanges go, it’s my turn to share why I’m still single.

“Have you ever been married?” Brian asks.

“No,” I say.

“Have you come close? Like engaged or lived with someone?”

“Nope,” I add.

Brian presses his lips together in judgment. “When was your last long-term relationship?” he asks, believing my answer is the answer to whether or not I want to be in a relationship. Or, perhaps more importantly, whether or not I am capable of being in one.

“It’s been a while,” I softly respond, noticing my own disappointment, let alone his.

“But you’re attractive and smart. I can’t believe you haven’t had a boyfriend in a while,” Brian says, but I know his flattery is a guise to learn the great mystery of why I’m still single. “Like how long?” my date continues. “How many years?” He wants details. He wants to hear proof that he’s right about his assumption that there is something wrong with me. Perhaps, he thinks, she can’t commit.

“I don’t even know,” I say with a smile and a nonchalant shrug. And I’m being honest. I don’t know. I don’t know how many men I’ve gone out with or how many men I’ve kissed or been intimate with or how many men I’ve lost to what was simply not meant to be. I don’t count the men because, in the end, they are all one closer to one that will be the One.

“That’s OK,” Brian offers as consolation. “Some people aren’t interested in having a serious relationship.”

I immediately find myself rising up to my own defense and resent us both for having to do so. “Does it mean I’m interested in having a serious relationship if I stay in one too long because I don’t know how to leave or because I can’t bear to be on my own?” I ask. “I never married the wrong guy or pretended to be happy in a relationship when I wasn’t. And it hasn’t always been my choice for a relationship to end. I’ve been in love. I’ve wanted to be in love forever with some of the men I’ve dated. My heart has been broken,” I add.

My date seems unsympathetically relieved at this last note. My black-and-blued heart is proof to him that I’ve gone to battle for love. But I’m more focused on the fact that I’ve survived and have moved forward than on the battles I’ve lost.

“So, what’s the issue?” he asks. “I can’t believe you would still be single. You must be picky.”

We’re entering the “dating-deduction” phase. Brian will keep trying to deduce what’s wrong with me until he hits the jackpot.

“Of course I’m picky,” I say with confidence. “I want to be in love with the man I’m with and he deserves to be loved. If being ‘picky’ means I won’t settle for a lesser love, then you are right: I’m picky.”

My date pours more wine into my glass from the carafe we’re sharing. Our conversation moves on to entrepreneurship, a passion we share. He goes first, and I’m sincerely impressed. And then I share my work and the business I’ve grown over the last seven years. But for my date, he’s not so much interested in my work, but in how my career might be the root-cause of my singlehood.

“Some people choose to focus on their careers and some choose to have families,” my date says emphatically, making the assumption that because I haven’t had a family, I’ve made my choice.

“I didn’t choose to have a career over falling in love, getting married and having children,” I reply, my voice again slightly raised. “I can control many aspects of my career, but I cannot choose when and with whom I fall in love and who returns the love to me. I didn’t plan to be single at 45 or not to have children.”

“I have a friend who admits she spent too much time focused on her career and not her dating life,” Brian says, like it’s a diagnosis: “Career-Womanitis.”

“Women don’t often forget to fall in love. They don’t often forget to have children. Sure, time passes faster than we’d all prefer, but if someone wants to be in a relationship, and most women do, then we find a way to do that when a man who wants the same thing is present in our lives,” I reply. “Women are better multitaskers than men are in general, so I don’t buy into the ‘too focused on career’ script modern women have been given instead of the truth: Despite having a great career and taking care of ourselves financially, while also taking care of our health and well-being, we haven’t met the man we’re meant to be with.”

“Maybe you’re too independent,” Brian suggests, more to himself as he looks down his mental list of possible reasons for my singlehood.

“I’m independent,” I reply. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t be dependent on someone else for a change. We keep hearing about how women should ‘lean in.’ I am leaning in so far that I’m falling over. I don’t have a net, emotionally or financially, to fall back on. What I would do to be able to lean back for once. What I would do to have a man in my life whom I could count on when times are tough…”

Brian is running out of arguments. I’m running out of patience.

“Brian, if you spend the rest of our date searching for what’s wrong with me, you’ll never discover what’s right with me,” I say, trying to soothe us both into another topic of conversation. “I have no regrets. I’m living a life I never dreamed of in many respects. Yes, I wanted to be married and become a mom in my twenties, but here I am, in my forties, with all my bumps and bruises, still in the ring, unwilling to give up on love.”

My date seems satisfied, at least for now, and we begin to chat about other things. As we leave the bar later that night, Brian gives me a hug. “You’re shivering,” he says, sweetly. “Let me get you into a cab.” He hails a cab and asks me for a second date.

“Yes,” I say. “I’d like that.” I’m open to a relationship, after all.

“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he says with his handsome smile as he opens the cab door.

I smile back as I get in the cab. I am happy to be out of the chill.

Melanie Notkin’s second book, OTHERHOOD: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness (Seal Press/Penguin Canada), is available now. OTHERHOOD received a prestigious *starred review* by Bookli

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35 Rules For The Modern Man

RE-BLOGGED by Berna from the JamesMichaealSama blog site..**I love this advice for todays modern man !!!

James Michael Sama

This is an excerpt from a list I came across quite awhile ago online, and was happy to have a friend remind me of it on Facebook earlier. I think it provides a good set of guidelines for the modern man in order to be our best selves, so I wanted to share it on here. To the point and effective. Enjoy!

rules5

Stop talking about where you went to college.

Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.

Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.

Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.

You will regret your tattoos.

Never date an ex of your friend.

When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.

If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.

When people don’t invite you to…

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**What Makes You Interesting? Or Better Yet, Are YOU Interesting?**

Is being interesting in the eye of the beholder? Are some people just naturally more interesting than others? What makes a person interesting? Is being “different” the same as being “interesting”? Here is a list of things I ran across than can help to define if someone is boring or interesting…

You are a confident person.
You are up on current events.
You have at least one interesting hobby.
You are creative and like to make things.
You listen carefully to what people say.

You have a good memory.
You don’t let yourself be bored.
You read regularly.
You don’t complain much.
You start conversations with strangers.

You love to learn new things on your own.
You joke around a lot and make people laugh.
You don’t watch much television.
You tell a good story.
You are irreverent and sometimes shocking.

You are very open-minded about people. You give everyone a chance.
You refrain from talking about your feelings or focusing too much on yourself.
You are friends with interesting people from all walks of life.
You are well-traveled, and you enjoy visiting new places.
You have a career that you are passionate about.

You rarely turn down an invite to do something.
You try a lot of new things. You don’t like to be stuck in a rut.
You participate in at least one group activity outside of work and school.
You are not a snob. You don’t think too good for anything or anyone.
You don’t gossip or argue. You keep your conversations upbeat.

Alright y’all it is time to chime in! ..Are you boring & self involved or interesting? Do you find yourself inclined to spend time with people who you find interesting?

Let’s take this one step further..IF someone were to ask what makes you interesting; what would your answer be??? I’ll share if you’ll share…I’m working on my listening skills 🙂

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Why I Don’t Go to Church*

This is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve EVER had the privilege to read & pass on in a re-blog..It resonates with me for several reasons & I get it! I hope my readers not only READ the initial post ; but also READ the comments..Later tonight I shall drop my comments on why I attend church. Mass. But the condensed version? (which I don’t often do well..) It is the connection with the PEOPLE at my church, that I get the most out of attending church. It IS the feeling of utter joy of singing the words of the songs I sing in choir..I feel it in my bones! Joy! I find myself in a phase of life that I’m seeking a closer relationship to God..My maker & creator! There are PEOPLE in my church(including my parents, my spiritual advisor, and my GodMom) that are helping me to get closer to God..However? I’ve also met people who do NOT attend church ; who I see the face of God in as well..By their actions ..I could add more now; but I won’t..Open minds will enjoy this read! **Re-blogged by Berna

D.L. Mayfield

*Ha! I totally got you! That, my friends, is called clickbait. Of course I go to church. I just am not very good at it.

//

Yesterday I did not go to church. I did not feel well at all, and usually we come to the ends of our week ragged both with the good things and the incurably mundane. I read a Walter Brueggemann sermon instead (suggested by a dear friend) and cried my eyes out. I watched a video of a prophetic demonstration, and cried some more. I listened to a podcast while I cleaned my kitchen and–you guessed it–the tears came again.

A few times a month we go to a little Mennonite church in our neighborhood. We started going there because we could walk to it when the weather is nice. Before we started attending, a year and a half ago, we had never been inside…

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How Safe Are We From Ebola in The United States?

I don’t know about y’all; but I’m a little more anxious about the U.S. Ebola situation as the days progress..Can’t lie I wasn’t thrilled to hear about the two American Ebola patients arriving on U.S. soil this summer..Even more unsettling was the first case of Ebola that showed up in Dallas this week..Dissemination of factual news/information can reduce hype, anxiety and reduce the spread of a disease like Ebola..IF it gets to that point..As with so many life instances a little knowledge can save our lives and provide us with peace of mind..So here are the facts I’ve picked up about Ebola>>

Is it possible for this disease to spread in the United States? Of course it is..Anyone who says it isn’t possible just isn’t being honest(or doesn’t know any better)..However, more than just the odds indicate it will probably not become a pandemic in the U.S. There ARE reasons ebola has spread so quickly in Western Africa…Life there is very different than life here..Culture, hygiene practices, customs(including washing the dead before burial; which btw has been a leading method for ebola to spread..) & the fact most can’t afford hospital care..All of that together perpetuated the rapid spread of the virus>>

Ebola Fast Facts

Ebola is not brand new..The first human outbreaks occurred in 1976..The virus is named after the Ebola River, where it was first recognized. There are 5 different strains ..All but one of the strains can cause illness in humans & animals(the 5th strain only affects animals)

Ebola is extremely infectious but NOT extremely contagious..An infinitesimillay small amount can cause illness..Because it isn’t transmitted via air, it is only considered moderately contagious

Humans can be infected by other humans IF they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons..Humans can also be exposed to the virus, by butchering infects animals…

Typically, symptoms appear 8 to 10 days after exposure, but incubation period can span 2 to 21 days…

Ebola is NOT transmissible if someone is asymptomatic or once one has recovered..BUT, the virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months…

According to the World Health Organization: The fatality rate can be up to 90%.

Posted in Watercooler Chat, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Watercooler Chat***Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

Conversation ice breaker of the day..Is honesty always the best policy?

You’d be surprised what the responses are when you ask someone this question!! Though an age-old cliché not everyone believes this is the best policy…What is your take on it & how has it worked out for you in your day-to-day life experiences? Later, I’ll post my thoughts but in the meantime here is a clue …

What would be even more fun is post the responses you get when you ask someone this question today..Let it flow y’all!

Honesty and keeping it all the way real…

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Standing Up for Black Women

I simply can’t not re-post this piece..Beautifully written & expressed! Re-blogged from the Tall, Black, One Sugar blog site

Tall. Black. One Sugar

There is a tendency when an article is written about injustices against a specific demographic be it race, gender, ability or orientation that some people want to jump in and talk about ALL. All races. All women. All abilities. If that is your intention, then this article is not for you. Try this one instead.

This article is primarily aimed at my simple voice for standing up for black women of the Diaspora primarily living in the UK and USA, who have come in for a lot of unnecessary negativity.

To My Black Brothers
My first shot from the bow is going to be aimed at my black brothers within the Diaspora. I think it is important to sort out our own house first before taking any broadsides at the wider community.

For many years black women have been pillars in our community. When we as black men have…

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It’s Complicated

>>This piece was originally posted on ‘ The Uppidity Negro’ the personal blog of ICUs Joshua Lazard>>>

Joshua Lawrence Lazard

dvwhenlovehurtspix131122

Domestic violence, inherently, creates complexities on both sides of the gender aisle.  We, as a society, have to admit that in order to have an open and honest conversation.  This would be a conversation that appropriately lets emotions be felt and listen to opinions that may seem like something directly from a male chauvinist playbook be dealt with directly.  The first open and honest paradigm that should govern these types of conversations is that the victim should not be further victimized.  There is nothing ever that the victim caused to be a victim of domestic abuse.  There is no word or action that has the power of causation for them to be hit or struck in any shape, form or fashion.

I’ve sat back, silently (and perhaps that is a fault of my own I hope to explore later in this piece), and watched some of my black brothers bring out…

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>>GAME Changer..America’s Teachable Moment@Ray Rice

..MAJOR SOCIETAL FAILURE** >>When a woman is figuratively RAPED in front of the entire world over & over & over again as she’s victimized repeatedly ..The point has been made clear by the NFL @WE don’t believe women. WE think they are wrong & we’ve got to be convinced they’re right… So, here is my breakdown of how many times Janay Palmer was victimized since Ray Rice PUNCHED her in the face this past February & knocked her out cold! >>

First a FACT that the NFL might want to take note of(Or more so) ..Especially with the “indefinite suspension” for Ray Rice. In my humble opinion? He should be banned for life from playing professional football. I’ll get back to that later..Over 45% of football fans are women. Go figure..A traditionally male-oriented , very often female-exclusionary sport has a fan base of almost half female. Many of us have watched it right along side our husbands/partners/Dads/sons..Some of us love it! Having said all of that..If the men of the NFL won’t man up & stand UP against violence towards women(I simply don’t believe they’d not seen enough evidence to dump Ray Rice when they gave him the 2 game suspension..) Then the women of the NFL should and need to. If half its fans don’t tune in or buy NFL products??? I bet it wouldn’t take a TMZ released video for the NFL to do the right thing next time! Come on now..A celebrity gossip entity can get the full video & the NFL couldn’t have?? Wasn’t it already clear what happened in that elevator with even the first video of Ray DRAGGING unconscious Janay ??? Does anyone expect Goodell to say , NOW , that he made a right decision with the first suspension?? A guesstimated 375,00 women attend NFL games each weekend of the season..Alot of moolah is on the line. However, what I really feel is on the line is the sentiment about women in America>>

Back to the list of ways Janay Palmer was victimized>>

#1. When Ray Rice punched her(like she was a grown MAN) in the face..Every picture I’ve found of Rice, alone, he’s pointing to his enormous muscles. Yet? He instantly responded to the situation by punching the mother of his child. He could’ve simply lifted her off her feet to calm the situation. I’ve heard not one report on her injuries..Not one.

#2 Janay was next victimized when, from the onset, the Ravens minimized her assault. It was called “a distraction” in their star player’s life.

#3 She was forced to sit in front of the media & the ENTIRE world in an interview..Apologizing for her role in being punched in the face..WTF & OMG..I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And America sat back in full acceptance. The game must go on at any cost. Right?

#4 When Rice’s lawyer said it was “completely hypothetical” Panay instigated and Rice was in defense mode. Later the justice system, didn’t even pursue full charges against Rice. Hmmm big money talks & at times it truly is a man’s world. Still even in 2014>>

#5 When the NFL’s powers that be, somehow didn’t see enough evidence to punish beyond a 2 game suspension. Why wasn’t a request made to gain access to the entire video? Major League Baseball got evidence during the Biogenesis scandal, right? Yet, the NFL (btw the # 1 American sport & quite powerful..) couldn’t get a tape from a hotel??? Poppycock!

#6 By Ravens cheering fans when Rice returned to the field. WOW..Enough said.

#7 The full footage of the incident being released to the world last Monday. Truly an invasion of Janay’s privacy! As IF it wasn’t enough for the entire world to have seen her dragged out that elevator like a cave dweller..I won’t post that video clip as a visual for that reason. It’s been seen enough and too much as it is..Shouldn’t have been necessary to reveal so much.

The final painful thing to occur is that many(one was too many…) blamed Janay Palmer. That somehow something she DID or said provoked her to get punched..As IF..Why is it the woman always gets the burden of proof??? Casted as being mentally imbalanced, or as gold digger, or dressed provocatively, or simply saying something to rile a man UP..Lawyer’s use this(as Rice’s did…) time & time again. Because it works! Why? Why is it a woman’s word(especially with supporting evidence…) isn’t a good as a man’s? It is a deep cultural misunderstanding of how violence operates , to think that the victim incites the abuse. How about a person using self-control(some dang discipline!) & keeping their hands OFF another person? Especially when they dominate over them in size/weight/physical power? Football is a sport driven with aggression and violence. That is no secret..When played with great sportsmanship it is a sport many enjoy watching and playing. I get that!(though I readily admit football has never been a sport I adore) And when that aggression is left on the field, where it belongs, it can’t impact innocent others who aren’t football players. If they want to beat their own bodies up to a broken down mess by time they reach their 40s & 50s..So be it! Humans though are habitual in nature..I’m more shocked this isn’t a more wide-spread issue. Youth hormones + amped up testosterone + aggression training + the coddling athletes receive..The potential is there..As a woman I’d have felt better if Ray Rice had been banned for life from the inception of the first video being released..Immediate. At least then it would’ve been obvious how the NFL(or rather the men in power calling the shots…) felt about women. It is as if they didn’t believe (or care..) about Janay Palmer’s opinion or well-being. Not one bit.. Furthermore, I don’t believe no one in the NFL saw that full video. The burden of proof should be on them to PROVE they are in full support of women’s rights..Nothing less than banning Rice will prove that. An example needs to be set. Let him use his millions to seek continual therapy..Rice needs to question his own ethics..Why did he allow the mother of his child to be pimped out in an interview? Amongst other questions. This isn’t just a football matter. It is personal. I’ve already spoken before about how I feel about violence..Didn’t physically discipline my sons/ I’ve never been in a physical fight/ I don’t feel war is a necessary tool except in self defense…We live in a time when education is made more & more accessible and excessive technological advances..Yet bohemian and heathenish(is that a word???) behavior is viewed as a mere “distraction” ..When such a great deal of people could cast Janay Palmer at fault in her own assault; instead of feeling compassion for her as a victim. As a society we’re in trouble!! ..Good self-esteem isn’t something we’re born with. It is cultivated, nurtured and taught! A great deal of lessons learned are from what we see..And the way I see it? The NFL needs to be clear on its stance against violence away from the field. Can’t sit on the sidelines & make the right decision only after the truth comes to light. Women are more than just potential profits and should be treated as such. Not just during football season either. All the time.

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Memories of being 50 years YOUNG* Thanks y’all for being part of my journey..

Waving y’all! Quick break in a VERY busy day..It IS my 51st bday..Wooooohooooo!!! Extremely humbled by the amazing amount of Bday calls, texts, emails, ecards, gifts ..Blown my hair back & as I reflect on this year past? Flew far faster than I anticipated it would..Yet as I count off the goals I accomplished this year? Almost completed all of them..Progresssive year indeed..What was most important to me? Living IN the moment; and making those I consider dear feel as special as they are to me. Nothing more special to me than time spent & enjoyed! I learn & I yearn to learn even more. Thanks to all who have added to my journey. Thanks to all who taught me lessons I’d not have learned had you not entered my world. Most of all thanks be to my God for allowing me to learn the lessons a tad bit quicker..Embarking on a new adventure as we speak; and I am READY. Be back asap to share ..Till then live, love , laugh! Have a fun & safe 4th. 4ever sincere & still standing, Berna(the 1 & Only)

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Horrible Mistakes Women Make In Relationships

**Re-blogged by Berna from The Opinionated Male blog spot** Always love the frankness & insight of these brothas! Feel free to add your 2 cents..(ladies & guys)

THE OPINIONATED MALE

woman-depression-sad-hurt-unhappy-lonely 1- OpinionatedMale.com

Another night alone. Another evening rendezvous with your cat, dog, or in extreme cases your….*ahem* toy. Another instance of hearing how much fun your girl Marissa had on her date with Darnell. How about hearing all about how Tania and her husband Curtis just came back from a weekend getaway?

Now maybe it won’t bother you at first but after a while you start questioning yourself. You go from not wanting or needing to be in the company of the opposite sex to feeling downright lonely and melancholy because you’re not. You are labeled as the ‘token friend’ that your girls are trying to hook up with someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blind date or otherwise.  Maybe you made some mistakes that many women tend to make in their relationship(s) starting with:

Giving up the cutty rather quickly & often, then suddenly your vagina goes on a hiatus

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#YesAllWomen

All I could think as I read this piece was ..Yes, YES, Yes! Such a young writer but she clearly gets IT..I’m glad she didn’t let fear stop her from sharing it..>>Re-blogged by Berna from the In Transit blog site

in transit

#YesAllWomen

Because all women have walked to their car in the dark, keys clutched tight in hand, one poking out between two fingers.

Because when I go out to bars or clubs, I have to think about whether what I’m wearing is too suggestive, instead of putting on whatever I please.

Because I feel the need to apologize when I’m not wearing makeup or my hair hasn’t been washed, or when I’m generally looking anything other than flawless.

Because there was nothing I could do about the man who touched me inappropriately in the middle of Gillette Stadium as I waited for my then-boyfriend to come out of the bathroom. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STADIUM.

Because there was also nothing I could do when a man touched me inappropriately in the middle of a crowded street, his arm around his girlfriend. Because retaliating in the way I wanted to…

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A Message to My Brothers. We Must Do Better

One of the best pieces I could ever wish to happily share/re-blog! Written by The Barista from the Tall, Black, One Sugar Blog site

Tall. Black. One Sugar

“We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky”. – Thomas Sankara

To my brothers, elders, youngers of all shades, colour and creed.

At some point we have to come to the realisation that we have a collective responsibility towards the way that we treat women both within and without our sphere of influence.

Globally the world is shaped in our favour. Systems, be they religious, political, economic, educational or social are shaped and dominated by male thinking. The official word is patriarchy.

As a result of this many woman are treated as property.

In the extreme cases we are talking of rape, child marriage, FGM and a whole raft of other offences.
In other cases this manifests as…

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Women are women, but men are people

Personally? I’d love to see a ticket with Hillary & Warren..No doubt in my mind they’d WIN..It is high time for women to step out & act as the equals we ARE..Pfft! @ Dianne Feinstein’s comment..Women must stop adopting male perspectives & support women who are just as qualified(or more so..) for POTUS. 2 thumbs UP for writing/sharing this piece! ..>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Of Means & Ends Blog

Of Means and Ends

photo via businessweek.com photo via businessweek.com

“I am not sure it’s wise. You want a ticket that represents men and women.”

Who said that about running two women on a presidential ticket? Mitt Romney? Mitch McConnell?

Oddly enough, it was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of two Democratic female senators from California. Feinstein didn’t explain if she felt like women had been unrepresented by almost every major party presidential ticket in history, but Ann Friedman nails the core issue:

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Sterling, Clarkson and Scudamore: What discussions in private space reveal about the pervasiveness of racism and sexism.

…”But it is hardly surprising that powerful, wealthy, white men have moved quickly to defend Sterling, Clarkson and Scudamore’s right to privacy if these three men are representative of how powerful, wealthy, white men talk to one another…” Snippet from this excellent commentary by Stefan Lawrence ..A mouthful , indeed! ..When private discussions are revealed; it clearly reveals how alive & well racism is in America..And the struggle continues to overcome! >>Re-blogged by Berna from the Stefan Lawrence blog

Stefan Lawrence

In recent weeks, Donald Sterling (owner of the LA Clippers), Jeremy Clarkson (BBC presenter) and Richard Scudamore (Chief Executive of the Premier League) have found themselves having to defend unsavoury comments made during private communications. Apologists for these three men have taken quickly to radio, television and social media to support the accused, arguing simply: the overtly racist and sexist comments, made by each man, happened in private and were not intended for public consumption. For some then the argument must stop here. Supposedly, there’s no need for any further inquiry or analysis. The social context of the utterances renders them inconsequential. By the logic of this argument it is unimportant Sterling is troubled by his girlfriend “associating with black people”, that Clarkson saw fit to subject his co-workers to the ‘n’ word or that Scudamore, self-proclaimed activist in the “whole equality agenda”, thought it acceptable to ridicule “female irrationality” and…

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If You Ever….

All the things I wanted to express this Mothers Day; but couldn’t because I’m missing my grown sons SO much right now..I share the same sentiment as this piece times infinity ! >>Re-blogged by Berna from The Chatter Blog

The Chatter Blog

If you ever birthed, adopted or fostered a child.

If you ever held a baby for endless hours because you wanted the child to sleep, whether you did nor not.

If you ever held a vomiting child.   Or had a child projectile vomit in your face.   Or held a baby high, laughing at their beauty, and they spit up in your laughing face-and you kept laughing while gagging.

If you ever read story after story after story after story after story after story after story.  Then read another one.

If you ever laughed at 1,279 ‘knock knock’ jokes that ended with “it’s me mom!”

If you ever went out scouting the neighborhood, or the school, or the football game to get a glimpse of the boy/girl that broke your child’s heart.  Or called them a name.  Or pulled their hair.  Or gave them a dirty look.  Or did…

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