Monday, November 10, 2014

The Miracle of Endurance


I spent the last Saturday and Sunday in October believing for a miracle for some dear friends. I knew God could do it, and I knew they believed He could do it. And not them alone--they had an entire body of believers believing with and for them.

The only question was would God do it?

If you asked me then, after I learned how that chapter of their story ended, I would have shook my head sadly and said no. God did not perform a miracle, and their hopes were dashed again to the astonishment and agony of all who believed. And after steeping my sorrow in a plethora of platitudes, I would have concluded that God decided a miracle was not in His divine will for this couple.

But the following morning during my quiet time with Him, I saw things from a different perspective.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Expression" by Salt-N-Pepa


As anyone who knows me knows, I am a self-proclaimed country (music) girl. Despite being born and raised in Philadelphia, my heartstrings most likely belong to a steel guitar. I worship at the altar of King George Strait and still consider The Judds' breakup one of the saddest things to ever happen in music.

Having said that, there is a part of my soul which belongs to hip-hop alone, a part craving its unmistakable, irreplaceable swagger and energy. For everything country music gives me, it cannot give me that.

Nothing else can.

And after the BET Awards took us back to 1994  with Brandy, MC Lyte, YoYo, and Queen Latifah's epic performance of "I Wanna Be Down (Remix)"the other night, I thought it fitting to dedicate today's Throwback Thursday category to the pioneering women of hip-hop, the ladies who paved the way for Kim, Foxy, and 'em.

And if I'm having this conversation, then I'm talking about Salt-N-Pepa.

Though "Whatta Man" is my favorite Salt-N-Pepa track--the En Vogueness of it all should make that obvious--the first SnP track I ever loved was from their third album, Blacks' Magic. As a young Christian girl not allowed to listen to secular music, I nevertheless saw this video on The Jukebox Network at my grandmother's house one afternoon, and my life was changed.

Though the camera work gives me vertigo and some of the outfits confuse and vex me, the song's simple, powerful message resonated with me then and still moves me nearly 25 years later.

"Go 'head, girls! Express yourselves!"




What say you? Hit me with a track from your favorite pioneering woman/women of hip-hop.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Seven (MORE) Random Questions with T.M. Franklin

Greetings, all!

To celebrate the recent release of TWELVE, Book 3 of the MORE Series, T.M. Franklin (How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You) is back to answer seven more random questions about TWELVE.

***TAKE NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD***


1. TWELVE begins with Ava and Caleb trying to rescue Sophie, not that she appreciates it. Tell me about a time someone did something for you that you didn’t appreciate or understand until later.

I think a lot of what my parents did falls under this category. I always thought my dad was so strict (as did my friends) but really, in the end, I didn’t miss out on anything really important. And I came to really appreciate their parenting when I had my own kids.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Yellow Ledbetter: Heartbreak in Vampire Diaries 6x02



The Vampire Diaries Season 6 premiere was two weeks ago, and I didn't write about it because I didn't know what to say. Watching Elena mourn Damon...though not really...was strange and awkward, to say nothing of watching everyone scrambling and lost.

But my reactions to that episode weren't strong enough to warrant me sharing them, so I kept them to myself.

Such is not the case after "Yellow Ledbetter," the second episode of this already emotional season.



I have already rewatched this episode twice since Thursday and plan to watch it daily for the rest of my days.

Or at least until Damon returns to Mystic Falls.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Release Day! TWELVE by T.M. Franklin

Blog Tour Banner

The action-packed conclusion to the MORE Trilogy is here!

Twelve cover

Ava Michaels is gifted, powerful, and — whether she likes it or not — part of a plot to take over the world.

It’s only been a few months since Ava Michaels discovered she has ties to an ancient people living in the shadows of the human world, despite their superior gifts and abilities. A select few don’t like hiding, however, and think it’s time to take control.

Now Ava’s caught up in a conspiracy in the works before she was even born. In fact, her birth was an integral part of the plan. She’s one of the Twelve, the most powerful Race ever created, and they were created for a purpose.

Turns out, Ava doesn’t like being told what to do.

All she wants is to start a new life with her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, but before they can even think about that, they must join forces with former enemies, seek out some powerful new friends, and figure out what exactly the Twelve, and their power-hungry leader, are up to.

Then, they have to find a way to stop them.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Awesomely Awful 80s Karate Rap


Prepare your mind for awesomeness.
The internet has offered many humorous gems over the years that have enriched my life and made me grateful to have wifi.

But this video...this TOTALLY 80s VIDEO...takes the cake and adds twelve layers, chocolate filling, and neon florets with sparkler centers.

From Samurai Studios, Inc., the group that brought you nothing you've ever seen before, this four-and-a-half-minute anthem brings us everything we loved about the 80s: big hair, electric hot pants with blouses and high heels, synthesized background instruments, rockers in headbands, cheesy green-screen action, aerobic routines masquerading as choreography.

And did I mention the song is about karate?

And performed by a Caucasian married couple?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Cry For You" by Jodeci


Tonight is the premiere of Season 6 of Vampire Diaries, and I am FREAKING OUT. My beloved Delena is facing a crisis of supernatural proportions, and I cannot wait to find out where things stand.

What does this have to do with Throwback Thursday? Glad you asked!

See, Delena--the moniker given to Supercouple Damon and Elena--are not together right now. I won't tell you why, but let's just say there are more than miles between them. She is heartbroken, begging the universe to reunite them, and I second those emotions. Her epic meltdown in the Season 5 finale still makes me wanna fall out in the floor and wail 'til my throat is sore.

And that got me thinking about "Baby, please come back" songs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: FREQUENT FLYERS


Cover Reveal for "Frequent Flyers," a Romantic Short Story Collection

Frequent Flyers Cover

Coming November 1, 2014!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Regulate" by Warren G and Nate Dogg




It was the summer of 1994. I was spending a month on Penn's campus for its Summer Science Academy. Fellow science fair geeks like me stayed in the dorms, ate in the dining halls, and had more fun in four weeks than should be allowed.

And every time I turned on the radio, I heard "Regulate."

I don't know what it was about this cut from the Above the Rim soundtrack. Maybe it was the familiar Michael McDonald track in the background. Maybe it was Warren G and Nate Dogg's odd rapping style--nice to understand all the lyrics for once, eh? Then cringe a little when you realize what they're talking about.

(Booty and bullets. Awesome.)

Whatever it was, "Regulate" owned the radio and MTV during the summer of 1994. I'm still not entirely sure what the G-Funk Era was about, but whenever that song came on, I was totally here for the take-over.

And I still am.




What's your favorite song that took over the airwaves?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Sesame Street's "J Friends"


This week marked the start of Season 45 of Sesame Street. How do I know that? Because I'm a stay-at-home Mom who still enjoys the antics of Elmo n' 'em.

And was kinda counting the days.

Though much is the same in the neighborhood, some things have changed. Grover is now "Super Grover 2.0" and focuses on technology, science, and engineering concepts. And Cookie Monster is often dispatched to show kids the importance of paying attention to details. But the emphasis on education and entertainment has only improved over the years, and for every other PBS Kids show, Sesame Street remains the standard.

I believe its arsenal of songs is part of the reason. A few seasons ago, Sesame Street spoke to the hearts of little brown girls everywhere with the affirming "I Love My Hair," and the video went viral. And when modern artists like Usher and Feist stop by to sing, magic happens.

I get the most geeked when they recycle songs from my childhood. In recent years, I've seen remakes of "Ten Tiny Turtles on the Telephone," "Somebody Come and Play," and "The Ladybugs Picnic." But the one song I've been waiting for has yet to be redone. And as they have ways to feature this letter, I don't think they'll ever do it.

That's just fine with me though. Because this song, my favorite Sesame Street song, needs no improvement: from its jaunty 70s vibe to the jamming singers, "J Friends" is perfect.

And one should never mess with a classic.




What's your favorite Sesame Street song?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saving Delena: The Official "Vampire Diaries" Season 6 Poster

If you're an obsessed Vampire Diaries fan like me--and a Delena shipper to boot--you have been counting down to October 2nd.

(Fifteen more days. Jesus, help me to hold out.)

And if you're like me, when you saw the Official Season 6 Poster, a part of you died inside.


*head explodes*

Buzzfeed gives an in-depth analysis of this photo, and their on-point observations give me heart palpitations. Despite how utterly gorgeous everyone looks--Kat Graham SLAYS in that dress--Caroline alone on her knees makes me unspeakably sad, and I don't trust that lurking Enzo in the least.

But the distance between Damon and Elena seems bigger than the problems wrought by a disintegrated Other Side. If this image is to be believed, Bonnie and Stefan are pulling our favorite pair apart, dragging them in opposite directions and ripping out the hearts of Delena fans around the world.

If this image is to be believed.

Don't get me wrong. This poster aptly depicts the current state of affairs with our TVD favorites. Bonnie and Damon are separated from everyone else, and of the remaining characters, Elena and Stefan's worlds have been rocked the most.

But I don't believe for one minute that Plec and Co would disrespect the Delena bond by ushering in the eras of Bamon and Stelena. Why not?

1. Because Stefan wouldn't do that.
If Stefan wouldn't get with his brother's beloved (who was really Katherine passengered inside Elena) while Damon was alive, I hardly think he'd recover from his brother's death by doing so now. If the positions were reversed, I don't know if the old Damon would show the same restraint, but the living Salvatore is too compassionate to be so callous.

This image cracks me up every time!
2. Elena wouldn't do that.
Say what you want about Ms. Gilbert's former indecision, choosing Damon in 4x23 was the decision of her immortal life. She couldn't "think about always" with Stefan but craved eternity with Damon.

In light of that, there is no earthly way she would go back to Stefan after losing Damon. The love she shared with Damon has no substitute, no Option B. And after losing it, I don't know if one ever fully recovers.

But if one does, I do know it doesn't involve a liaison with the brother of that once-in-a-lifetime love, especially not the same brother one dumped to secure it.

Just...no.

3. Bonnie definitely wouldn't do that.
Lest we forget, Bonnie cannot stand Damon. She has grown to tolerate him without rolling her eyes or frying his brain on sight, but let's not get carried away. Even if swayed by the smoldering Salvatore's aesthetics--and a lack of options wherever in the world they are--I cannot imagine any scenario in which Bonnie Bennett would start a relationship with her boyfriend's sister's boyfriend. She has too much integrity for that.

4. And Damon couldn't do that.
And if you don't know that, then you don't know Damon.

So take heart, Delena shippers. It may take all season, but I'm holding out for an epic reunion.

This poster be darned.

Season 6 of Vampire Diaries premiers Thursday, October 2nd at 8pm EST on The CW.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men


On this day when we remember exactly where we were 13 years ago--and when I gladly wish my father a happy birthday--I'd like to take you back to where I was the first time I heard Boyz II Men's "End of the Road."

It was the last day of school at GFS, my last day forever as I would attend a different high school. Bittersweet hugs and phone numbers were exchanged, along with promises to come back and visit a lot. There was also a farewell kiss at the front gate with a beautiful, sweet boy I didn't realize I'd miss so much.

(And no, I don't kiss and tell.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On Janay Rice: A Personal Story

I drafted this blog post before reading Janay Rice’s statement, intending it as a show of solidarity and a “Shut your stupid mouth” to those who wonder why she married Ray after the elevator incident. Having read her statement, I feel she’d prefer silence to solidarity.

But silence on domestic violence solves nothing, so I am sharing my story anyway. This small truth is a kiss on the cheek compared to that video, but sharing it now feels like a right thing to do.

I hope you feel the same.


One sunny afternoon in middle school, I was walking home when Gio [not his name] emerged from the alley between my apartment complex and the adjacent row houses. Though we hung out with the same people in the summer, his presence that day seemed odd. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "All I Do Is Think of You" by Troop


Ah, September. Temperatures drop, days shorten, and parents everywhere rejoice.

Back to school time, baby.

This overachieving perfectionist loved school. So many chance to excel and challenge myself, not to mention all the socializing in-between. And no three years were better than middle school...until Howard, that is.

(Bi-son! You know!)

Middle school exposed me to many new experiences: camping trips, weekly Meeting for Worship, and lacrosse rank highly among them. But for a boy-crazy girl like me, middle school was where I fell in and out of love every few minutes. These jive emotional entanglements were unrequited, mind, but that didn't diminish their value. I had 20+ crushes in sixth grade alone, lasting anywhere from a few days to the entire year.

Lucky for Horace, all that romantic energy is now directed at him. Boom, baby!

So when I think of middle school, I think of daydreaming about this boy or that...and being secretly terrified of the prospect of reciprocated feelings (He likes me too. Gasp! What am I supposed to do now?!?). And when I think of that, I only think of this song.

Take it away, Troop.




As soon as I heard, "I can't wait to get to school each daaaaay..." I just knew they wrote this song for me!

What song reminds you of middle school? Let me know below!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Trailer Revealed! TWELVE by T.M. Franklin

Displaying Twelve Banner.jpg



Today is Trailer Reveal Day for TWELVE, the third and final book in T.M. Franklin's exciting MORE trilogy!



TwelveSummary:
Ava Michaels is gifted, powerful, and — whether she likes it or not — part of a plot to take over the world.

It’s only been a few months since Ava Michaels discovered she has ties to an ancient people living in the shadows of the human world, despite their superior gifts and abilities. A select few don’t like hiding, however, and think it’s time to take control. 

Now Ava’s caught up in a conspiracy in the works before she was even born. In fact, her birth was an integral part of the plan. She’s one of the Twelve, the most powerful Race ever created, and they were created for a purpose.

Turns out, Ava doesn’t like being told what to do.

All she wants is to start a new life with her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, but before they can even think about that, they must join forces with former enemies, seek out some powerful new friends, and figure out what exactly the Twelve, and their power-hungry leader, are up to.

Then, they have to find a way to stop them.


THE OFFICIAL TRAILER:



TWELVE will be released October 9, 2014


And check out the first two books:

Trailer for MORE (Book 1) - http://youtu.be/lPUYw1IPdws
Buy links - Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TWCS | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

Trailer for THE GUARDIANS (Book 2) - http://youtu.be/cld-yl_vvxs
Buy links - Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TWCS | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads


TM Franklin
About the Author:
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. An Emmy-Award winning Seattle TV news producer, Franklin is the author of the award-winning YA adventure, MORE, and its sequel The Guardians. In addition, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short stories A Piece of Cake and Window. Her new YA romance,How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, is Franklin’s first love story without a paranormal element, although she believes love is the best kind of magic.




Friday, August 29, 2014

"Shake It Off": Leave Taylor Swift Alone

I am a huge Taylor Swift fan. Beyond my 20+ years love affair with country music, I admire her honesty, panache, and self-awareness. She turned down a recording contract early in her career because she didn't feel right about it and instead created a brand tailored to her personality. As I have often remarked to Horace, had Taylor Swift existed in my youth, I would have had an entirely different--and emotionally healthier--high school experience.

(I swear she wrote "Teardrops On My Guitar" with my laughable teenage love life in mind.)

So I'm making up for lost time, vibing to "Shake It Off," the high-octane first single from her next album.

But not everyone is.

Last week, headlines flew around the internet about how racist the "Shake It Off" video is. Aside from not believing Taylor Swift would make such a video, I scoffed at one such opinion as it begins "haven't watched the taylor swift video and I don't need to watch it to tell you that it's inherently offensive and ultimately harmful."

Not for nothing, but I'm pretty sure you should watch a video before deriding it as inherently offensive and ultimately harmful.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Butterfly" by Mariah Carey


Mimi's having a rough week. Her split from Nick Cannon is all over the news, and I imagine it isn't easy to endure personal woes in the public eye. So I'm gonna throw her a bone and dedicate today's TBT post to her music.

Mariah Carey hit the music scene in the spring of 1990, electrifying the airwaves with her debut single, "Vision of Love." From range to resonance, her vocals were amazing and unparalleled, and by the time the song ended, we all knew she was only getting started.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Mike Brown


Words fail

Images scorch, spurning the truth

What year is this?

Are you sure?

Is that teargas and justification?

Why, yes--he was black

and male

and breathing

I see why that would scare you

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: "Jem and the Holograms"

For the last few weeks, my brain has been mush. Events in my house and around the world have rendered me mute and unwilling to do anything but hug my children, eat ice cream, and watch Vampire Diaries reruns.

But today is Throwback Thursday, and I'd like to spread some innocent cheer.

So let's talk cartoons.

If you grew up in the 80s, then your cartoon options were endless and awesome. From Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning, there was no shortage of animated entertainment. To this day, you need only hear the theme song to your favorite cartoon to bring an immediate smile to your face.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce Jem and the Holograms.


Come on, Kimber. Makeover time!
The theme song reflects the show, and the show has everything: a quartet of gorgeous, stylish pop stars...one of whom is a brown-skinned drummer with a purple afro (what?!!)...rival singers, a secret identity, a romantic interest, a souped up car, and two new songs in each episode.

As a young black girl with singing fantasies, this show was a dream come true. And my parents indulged my reality, as this favorite photo proves: two redheaded Kimber dolls, Shana's purple hair all combed out, the pink roof of the Rockin' Roadster, and an assortment of their colorful shoes on the coffee table.

And my fashionable brother David, indulging my whims as usual. His sock game was on-point!

So with all the unrest and unhappiness in the news of late, and rightfully so, I invite you to my happy place via my "Favorite Cartoon Theme Song." It's truly, truly, truly outrageous!



What's your favorite cartoon theme song? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I'm an Electric Lady! (Thank you, Janelle Monae)

I realize it's 2014, but this girl is happily stuck in the 90's. I watch Friends and Seinfeld as if I've never seen them before and hold out hope for a My So-Called Life movie to tie up the loose ends from its lone season on ABC. 

But nowhere is this preference more apparent than my music collection. Throwback Thursday is my favorite day of the work week, and I'm still praying Janet Jackson goes on one last tour. 

In my defense, I've had some exciting encounters with this decade. I went rolling in the deep and cheered when Horace put my love on top. I worried about Bruno Mars and them young, wild girls and wanted Christina Aguilera to say something. But the last album--yes, I say "album" and always will--I bought that was produced after 1999 was....um....gimme a minute....


Oh! Mary Mary's The Sound. Had to acknowledge the God in Me.


But that time-defying static ceremoniously changed last week when I rushed to my phone and downloaded Janelle Monae's "The Electric Lady." 

For a long time I knew only about her taste in tuxedos, but she was part of the sorority of current singers to whom I'd planned to someday lend a lingering ear: Chrisette Michele, Estelle, Ledisi, Emeli Sande. I finally saw Monae in action via an "Electric Lady" performance on Maya Rudolph's show in May, and between the high-octane track and her incredible artistry, I was an instant fan. Then Horace or my kids did something adorable or aggravating, and the song flew out of my mind. I didn't even remember I'd wanted to remember it.

Until this happened last week: 



I have not been this excited about a music video since Janet dropped "All for You." From the wall of Electro Phi Betas (T-Boz, Monica...WHAT?) to the HBCU house party, this video gave me everything I didn't know I was missing in life. And as I stopped dancing long enough to hear the lyrics, I fell deeper in love:

"...Electric Lady, you're a star / You got a classic kind of crazy / But you know just who you are..."

See, Ms. Monae could not have known this, but not so long ago, I would have owned the crazy, not knowing who I was. I wanted to be a star but didn't think I was and doubted I ever could be.


But God has done a miraculous work in me these past few weeks. And by His grace, I can boldly own it all. I am a star. I've got a classic kind of crazy, but I know and LOVE just who I am.


This album may be a year old, but it's new to me (another 90's TV slogan .SIGH. Is Living Single on yet?). And this anthem could not have come at a better time. So thank you, Janelle Monae, for providing the perfect title track to this chain-breaking season of my life.


"We the kind of girls who ain't afraid to get down / Electric Ladies go on and scream out loud!"


Friday, August 1, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ghetto Superstar by Pras, Mya, and ODB



If you're like me, you just started singing the hook to this cut from the Bulworth soundtrack. Mya's light, lovely voice flows through your mind, and you wonder why this song isn't already in your 90s playlist.

I can tell you why. Because you like this song only for the hook.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tight Harmony + Epic Dance Solo = The Best Video EVER

Mommy & me with the handsome groom.
Today's post was going to focus on weddings, those life-changing ceremonies uniting two people in love and eternal, exclusive fellowship. I aimed to gush about my cousin's beautifully intimate nuptials this weekend and the amazing food, folks, and fun at their reception.

I was then going to rant about contrast their joy with the inherent stress of wedding planning, a problem often rooted in folks forgetting weddings should celebrate the bride and groom not cater to guest preferences. I planned to empathize with family-wrangling couples and offer testimonies, condolences, and support.

And if I had enough space, I planned to wrap up with the amazing truth behind a recent viral wedding photo featuring two contrasting groups of people and a telling hashtag.

Well, that was the plan until the following video popped up in my Facebook news feed last night.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The "Diff'rent Strokes" Theme Song

Very similar to the TV of my childhood
(Ah, the memories...)
Though well-read and admittedly snooty in my grammatical preferences, I am a girl who proudly proclaims her lifelong love of television. The snappy one-liners, the tear-jerker moments and shocking storylines enrich my life in ways books and films cannot. As it stands, I'm on my third run-through of Seasons 1-4 of Vampire Diaries on Netflix, and I sit there watching the drama unfold in Mystic Falls as if for the first time.

(For real for real, I need to hurry up and finish this entry because they're conspiring to kill Klaus, and it's getting gooooood.)

So in honor of the beloved boob tube--Gosh, I detest that term--this week's Throwback Thursday category is "Pre-90s TV Show Theme Song." As a gluttonous consumer of television programming, selecting just one was incredibly difficult. I love different songs for different reasons, and no fewer than ten popped in my mind when picking this category.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al Indicts Us for "Word Crimes"


The Weird Al of my childhood.
Since the day I heard his greed-inspired parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," I have been a huge fan of Weird Al Yankovic. His rewrites of popular songs are equal parts hilarious and creative, and from a songwriting perspective, I have nothing but respect for his brilliance.

My previous favorite was "The Saga Begins," his treatment of The Phantom Menace set to the music of "American Pie." Though not a hardcore Star Wars fan, I have been known to hum a few lines of the chorus every now and then.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fear and The Father: The Great Exchange

Last week, I confessed my fear of success, failing, and just about everything else. Doing so was liberating, empowering, and something of which I continue to be proud. For someone struggling with perfectionism, publicly admitting my failings is a huge step in the right direction.

But during a Skypeversation with my Moo Sister Jess, she pointed out that a key portion of my premise could be easily misunderstood. Specifically where I said, "See, God cannot work through fear; He cannot move in the face of anxiety." 

"I think you were trying to express the same thing that I think," she wrote. "but didn't quite get there."

She's right, and I'm so glad she brought this to my attention, lest someone get the wrong idea.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Confession: I Am Afraid


I am reading Believing God, a spirit-stimulating book in which Beth Moore encourages us to step out into the deep and get real with our relationship with our Creator. With five simple phrases, she gives us the tools to begin the process of taking God at His Word and believing it to the exclusion of all else.

Sunday morning on my way to church, I was reading her treatment of the fourth statement--"I can do all things through Christ"--and its connection to fear. And as she discussed some of her fears and how God worked with her to overcome them, my eyes began tearing up. I wanted to dismiss the reaction as acute empathy for her plight, but the more she exposed herself, the more emotional I became.

I closed my Kindle and asked, "Why are you being this way? You're not afraid."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scuba Solider: Welcome Home, Capt. Hyrum Bronson

Of the millions of videos circulating around the internet, my favorites are those of soldiers coming home and surprising their families. My daddy is a Vietnam veteran, and though his service predates my life by a decade, I empathize with and appreciate the sacrifice of these selfless families.

This video is more than a year old, but I saw it for the first time this weekend on Facebook. And as the tears coursed down my face, I thanked God once again that I was born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. America has her issues--Lawd knows she does!--but as long as she has men and women like these standing on her front lines, she'll be just fine.

Grab some tissues and prepare to be touched.



God bless you, Bronson family. Thank you for your service.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Mater Problem in "Cars 2"


Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 is an internationally-themed sequel starring Mater, the kindhearted, southern-accented best friend. Though not generally anti-sequel, I barely liked this film (and I'm not alone). My issues lies with a central theme best expressed in this conversation between main character Lightning McQueen and Uncle Topolino halfway through the movie.

McQueen: I brought my friend Mater along on the trip. And, you know, I told him he needed to act different, that we weren’t in Radiator Springs.
Uncle T: This Mater…is a close friend?
McQueen: He’s my best friend.
Uncle T: Then why would you ask him to be someone else?


Uh, slow your roll, Uncle T.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Biggie, Gimme One More Chance

Sometimes the best part about liking a song is anticipating the video. Some are strange, some stand out, but the best ones make you wish you were there. The artists, dancers, and extras seem to be having the time of their lives, and you can't help but want in on the action.

As such, this week's TBT category is "Video You Wish You Were In."

(FB friends, this is the blog title to which I referred the other night. I changed it, as you can see, but please keep praying for me.)

Choosing one song for this topic was extremely difficult as I spent much of my teen years glued to MTV, VH1, and BET, engorging on one music video after another. For some videos, I wanted to borrow their stylists; pretty much every En Vogue video falls into this category. Others had both stylists and apartments I craved: "Ex-Factor" and "The Boy Is Mine" immediately come to mind. 

But my selection in this case wins the day because it seems like the funnest (yes, that's a word) music video ever made. The cameos alone made me wish I were there, to say nothing of how much I love the song. It never fails to make me stop what I'm doing and start snapping my fingers.

Ultimately though, nothing grabs me like an old school house party. And this video gave us one for the ages. 

The artist is Biggie Smalls a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. The video is "One More Chance (Remix)."




I'd love one more chance to be in this video! Which music video do you wish you were in? 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Toilet Paper: An Agent of Peace


Entertainment Weekly, 03.21.13

Modern America is fraught with division. Freedom to be ourselves begats freedom to dissent, and in every imaginable arena, differing groups are at odds: Democrats and Republicans, rich and impoverished, Delena fans and Stelena fans (as if there's any doubt) and the list goes on.

But during the Independence Day festivities this weekend, I experienced a profound reminder that underneath it all, we are all the same.

Friday, July 4, 2014

For Fashion's Sake: Stars & Stripes

Happy Independence Day, America!

As we celebrate our freedom from Britain's tyranny, let us all consider ourselves free from making questionable fashion choices in the name of patriotism.

I'm talking the Stars & Stripes.

Being a native Philadelphian, I have seen more than my fair share of gaudy, touristy ensembles, rife with huge flag decals or designs. And I get it. It's the Fourth of July, and you're visiting the Liberty Bell. You're practically obligated to don a flag-emblazoned fanny pack.

But there are ways to rock the Stars & Stripes without forsaking your style. Here are a few of my favorites from around the web:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TBT MUSIC: Song at Every Cookout

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and given our country's origins, the discourse will shift to concepts like freedom, sacrifice, honor, genocide, bigotry, and hypocrisy...you know, the usual suspects of American history.

But this is Throwback Thursday, so I'm not here to delve into that stuff. Instead let us focus on our favorite staple of the American summer besides fireworks.

The cookout.

Cookouts (or BBQs) invoke different memories for all of us. Some remember the smoky heat of the grill and the burnt hot dogs your drunk uncle tried to pass off as "just a little charred." Others think of a giant bottle of mustard or suspicious green potato salad (I'm looking at you, Jill Scott).

No matter your thoughts, music is the one ingredient without which no cookout would be complete, and this week's TBT category pays homage to the tunes that just seem to go with charcoal, wine coolers, and scorching summer temperatures.

My selection comes from an artist we sadly lost nine years ago this week. Though his musical legacy lies mainly in ballads, this jazzy number dances its way into every cookout I've ever attended. And basking in his silky voice is one summertime tradition I wholly support.

The artist is Luther Vandross. The song is "Bad Boy/Having a Party."


Cookout or not, we miss you, Luther!

What's your favorite Cookout Song? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, June 30, 2014

My First Mammogram

Recently I went to have my first mammogram. Although I'm not yet 40, two of my maternal aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past ten years. They are survivors, praise the Lord, but a little preventative check-up just made good sense.

When I arrived at the Women's Center, a lovely woman named Penny checked me in. She was warm and inviting, much like the waiting room, and I was instantly at ease. I filled out some basic information about why I was having the exam and was soon called to the back room to change. Though I'd been instructed to shower and not lotion, I forgot not to use deodorant and needed to wash it off.

Why is this relevant? Because I did something in that bathroom I've always feared I'd do.

Not take a selfie, though I did do that.

No, in true Denise fashion, I inadvertently set off the wall-mounted "patient needs assistance" alarm.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lifting or Leaning?


Each day I find reason to inventory my attitudes and actions. After a frustrating time-suck with a call center clerk or bedtime negotiations with my children, I wonder if I am part of the solution or the problem, if the other person left our interaction feeling better or worse.

In Winning with People, John Maxwell shares the following poem by American author Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Poignant and provocative, "Which Are You?" makes a fine tool for such self-assessment: 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tribute: Michael Jackson

Five years ago today, I was pregnant with Braylee, sitting in the children's waiting room of Temple Hospital's ER because Jonan was running a high fever and our pediatrician's office was closed. As I checked my phone, I heard whispers from the other parents that Michael Jackson had died. I ignored them, certain it was another internet hoax.

Then came a frantic text message from my cousin Nate.

And a nudge from Horace that he was seeing the same thing online.

I checked my Facebook page and watched the unspeakable truth fill my news feed. Incredulity quickly dissolved into despair, and I buried my face in Horace's shoulder, crying my eyes out. As I came back to myself, I noticed the other adults in the room doing the same thing, hiding tear-stained faces from their children who didn't understand the significance of what had happened. "Michael Jackson is dead! Michael Jackson is dead!" one clueless child chanted until his mother recovered enough to silence him. It was one of those devastating moments I'll never forget, one that should not have happened that way.

Gone Too Soon, indeed.

Tomorrow is Throwback Thursday. But if anyone warrants acknowledgement a day early, it's Michael Jackson. And as we Remember the Time he spent with us, I invite you to share any Michael Jackson song, clip, or video you choose, for any reason it moves you.

Given his massive body of work, selecting a favorite song is impossible. But to kick us off properly, I'll share my favorite video.

I love this video for many reasons, starting with memories of watching it over and over again with David and Nate at my Aunt Bernice's. Despite the harsh reality the lyrics describe, the video is as smooth as the brim of Jackson's white hat and matching skinny tie. Many celebrate a later video for its famous dance sequence, but I think this one is his most elaborate and fascinating to watch.

I hereby present "Smooth Criminal," as presented in Moonwalker.




Five years later, and it still hurts. We miss you, Michael. Thanks for the music and memories.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Vampire Diaries: Why Do We Love Damon?

Thanks to Netflix and YouTube videos, I'm obsessed with The Vampire Diaries, the CW’s uber-popular series based on the books by L.J. Smith. 


In case you’re unfamiliar, TVD chronicles events in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, a place populated by vampires, werewolves, hybrids, doppelgangers, and witches. Oh, and some humans. With Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec at the helm, TVD is a sprawling, intricately woven saga which captivates from Episode 1 until the last moment of Season 5.

I’m still recovering.

But this die-hard romantic watches TVD for one main reason: the dynamic romance between Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert, expertly portrayed by real-life sometimes-couple Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev. You can get the deets on Damon and Elena's history here, but know this: their epic love is one for the ages. It is wild, passionate, and all-consuming, everything you want in a relationship.

Right?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ainsley Bishop Blog Tour: Seven Random Questions with T.M. Franklin

Today is the final day of T.M. Franklin's Blog Tour for her latest novel, How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You. I am thrilled to share her answers to my Seven Random Questions!

Here we go!




1. As Ainsley Bishop begins, we get our first glance into Oliver’s List Notebook. What’s the first list he ever made? How old was he? What was on it?

Young Oliver
Oh, excellent question. Nobody’s asked me that yet!

TBT MUSIC: My Favorite Summer

As today is the last day of school for my older children, our attention now turns to what many consider their favorite time of year.

Summer.

Summer is awesome beyond its warm weather and lack of academic restrictions. It is the season for friends and fun, of shorts and swimsuits. And for young people away from the invasive eyes of parents and teachers, it is the season for discovering who you are and what you're made of.

In honor of this wonderful time of year, today's TBT Music category is "Song that Reminds You of Your Favorite Summer." For me, there is only one choice.

The year was 1992, the summer before my freshman year of high school. For Ebony, Nita, and I, it was the summer of Fern Hill Park where we jumped double-dutch and walked to Stop n' Shop food market on Wissahickon Avenue to get snacks and soda for our basketballing male friends. It was the summer of riding bikes to Walnut Lane to see Karlynne, making up dances and singing acapella in her living room. It was the summer of sleepovers at Missy's house, playing hide and seek in the dark and laughing so much our sides ached. It was the summer of love, such as my teenage self understood, where every week brought happiness and heartache in equal, heady measure.

It was the best summer of my life, and this song played in the background of every moment. There were three of them and three of us, and never had a more perfect symmetry existed. We miss Ebony like they miss Left Eye, but every time I hear this song, all I feel is good.

The group is TLC. The song is "Baby, Baby, Baby."


What song reminds you of your best, most favorite summer? Let me know!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm a Naive Mom: Excerpt from "The Motherhood Diaries 2"


My blog posts often highlight moments where motherhood has thrown me for a considerable loop. In The Motherhood Diaries 2, twenty-four other mothers and I share our ups, downs, and all-arounds in the name of solidarity and preserving our sanity.

And in that same spirit, here's an excerpt from my essay, "Diary of The Naive Mom...(Or Everything I Didn't Know)."


Many words accurately describe me: Creative. Insightful. Passionate. Optimistic.
But the one I like least. . .  and which most thoroughly applies, I’m afraid. . . is na├»ve.
In high school, I heard a story about Toni Braxton being “discovered” while pumping gas. As I also harbored deep-seated dreams of singing stardom, I believed such a thing would happen to me. Only in my early 20’s did I discover — to my great shock and confusion — that this occurrence was not only highly improbable but also a poor substitute for a life plan.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: "How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You" by T.M. Franklin


In high school, I had a terrible three-year crush on a guy we’ll call “John.” Though unrequited, my epic crush on John prompted me to do things like spell his name in syrup atop my pancakes, memorize his volleyball serving technique (ten ball bounces then two steps forward), and spend the first weeks of post-freshman year summer break dissecting his cryptic message in my yearbook.

Yeah, Usher. I had it baaaaad.

But for all the energy spent loving John from afar, I never thought to put my brain to good use and draft a list of things I could do to make him fall in love with me.

And that, dear friends, is the difference between me and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the endearing protagonist in best-selling author T.M. Franklin’s latest novel, How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TBT Music: Don't Tell Mom!

In honor of Sir Mix-a-Lot's epic performance of "Baby Got Back," we dedicate today's category to the songs you were too young to be listening to, where the lyrics were over your head--or maybe they weren't, you "fresh" thing!--but that didn't stop you from nodding and singing along.

Unless your parents were around.

That's when you'd turn down the sound so low on your Walkman you could barely hear the beat through your foam headphones. Or if you were in the car and that song came on the radio, you suddenly engaged your parents in conversation, hoping to talk long and loudly enough to obscure all the explicit parts. Once the song ended, you fell silent, now fascinated by the passing scenery.

Can I get an Amen?

In my case, we weren't in the car. Mommy and I were at the Pizza Hut on Stenton Avenue near Washington Lane with David, my Aunt Bernice, and cousin Nate. I don't know what was up with the jukebox at this Pizza Hut, but every time we finished eating, this song would fill the silence with a rapid drum beat followed by a suggestive male moan. David and I would shoot panicked looks at each other, praying Mommy would be too busy laughing with Aunt B to notice the filth pouring from the speakers.

Or that her Christian children knew every word, grunt, and sigh.

I don't think she ever said anything about it, but every time I hear this song, I think of Pizza Hut with Nate and Aunt B, Mommy's potential wrath, and spine-tingling fear.

Good times.

The group is Bell Biv DeVoe. The song is "Do Me (Baby)."




What song did you hide from your parents back in the day? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Baby Got Back...with an Orchestra

I think it's safe to say I have officially seen everything.

Just in case you missed it, Rolling Stone featured a story yesterday about 90's rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot performing at Seattle's Benaroya Hall as part of Composer Gabriel Prokofiev's Sonic Evolution series.

Though Prokofiev also featured Mix-a-lot's other hit, "Posse's on Broadway," this video of "Baby Got Back" wins for several reasons:

1. Mix-a-Lot's introduction
The outspoken MC's prologue to the performance alone is worth watching. He is as charismatic and hilarious as ever, reminding us why he ruled the charts.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TBT MUSIC: This Song, That Movie

Since the silent era of yesteryear, movies have changed with the times. The addition of color and sound were transformative, as was the musical era of the early 20th Century. But true music lovers would argue the inclusion of songs in key film scenes changed the cinematic game forever.

Why? Because you will never again hear this song without thinking of that movie.

Which brings us to today's category.

As an avid movie watcher, one song and film combo immediately came to mind when Horace gave me this category. But as a loyal sister, I cannot choose the song my brother undoubtedly will pick when he participates on Facebook later this morning. Thus I must go with my second--though no less significant--choice.

This movie reigns in my heart for several reasons. Not only did I see it with a dear friend during my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania, but it is the defining black romance of my early adulthood. And though its soundtrack is one of the best CDs ever assembled, this particular song will eternally remind me of the stylishly simple photo montage of the opening credits.

The movie is love jones. The song is "Hopeless" by Dionne Farris.


What's your selection for this week's category? Join the party with #dlmtbtmusic

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Guest Post: Marcena Hooks, Writing Process Blog Tour


We're still touring, y'all!

Having conquered the mysterious, belligerent assault on my stomach earlier this week--let's hope there's no encore performance--I hereby share Marcena Hooks' contribution to the Writing Process Blog Tour. She is excited to participate, and I gladly yield her the floor.

Take it away, Marcena!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be a part of the Writing Process Blog Tour, a dynamic event where I share a bit about my writing process then tag three fellow writers to do the same.

Special thanks to the amazingly talented Lissa Bryan who tagged me!
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Getting a Yes: I'm Being Published!


"The Motherhood Diaries 2: Humorous and Heartwarming Musings on Motherhood" is the second volume from nationally bestselling writer and editor ReShonda Tate Billingsley. I am honored and excited to be included among the 25 fabulous women appearing in the anthology!

Being published is a dream come true, the main aim of any writer. But to be included in a collection celebrating the most challenging and life-defining aspect of my existence is particularly satisfying. I am not a perfect mom, but I'm a newly published one, and that is pretty darn cool!

(Take that, Mom Guilt!)

Look for "The Motherhood Diaries 2" this month, just in time for Mother's Day! Here's a little preview to whet your appetite. If you'd like an autographed hard copy, comment below with your email address, and I'll get in touch with you.

Here's to Getting a Yes!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Proud Parents (Baby Steps)

A good start, I think.
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My youngest daughter Braylee receives weekly speech and behavioral therapy in our home. Based on her initial evaluation, her therapists work with her toward certain goals, updating me after each visit.

Right now they are encouraging Braylee to speak in longer phrases. Instead of “book, Mommy,” they advocate, “I want the book, Mommy.” The more words she speaks, the better.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Repost: Life After Death (Finding Treasure in Your Trials) by ForHisGlory Natural


My dear friend and all-around amazing woman, ForHisGlory Natural, opens her heart to reveal a poignant, beautiful picture of how God's love can appear during one of the most difficult trials a woman can face. Her honesty is as lovely as she is, and I know you will be blessed by her story.
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Life After Death: Finding Treasure in Your Trials


In August it’ll be two years since it happened. You often hear birth stories but rarely hear about the pregnancies that never lead to births.

I was 29 years old when we lost our second child. I thought I knew what I was doing with my life, felt like I had the "bull by the horns." Everything was planned out, right down to our dogs' names (we had no dogs, by the way - still don't). But these words changed everything...

"It looks like you're going to have a miscarriage."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30th: A Trilogy

Ten years ago on April 30th, I was in a different place.

Literally.

I awoke alone in the twin bed from my teen years, the most important of days peeking over the horizon. After leaving Howard University during junior year on God’s bizarre orders, I’d moved into Mommy’s Chestnut Hill apartment. Those two years forged a unique bond and synergy we still share, but on this morning, I was preparing to put on my big girl panties and get my own place.

At age 26, it was time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Repost: Embracing Rejection by Jess Molly Brown

My dear friend/Beta/sister-in-another-country/sanity-preserver/brilliant writer Jess Molly Brown just shared a poignant post about the power and necessity of embracing rejection. As one intimately acquainted with the story she shares, this particular post is especially dear to me. Plus, there are adorable animal gifs.

Enjoy and be encouraged!
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To get a novel published, you have to develop a thick skin, something I started to do five years ago when I began posting fan fiction for public consumption. As great as most readers are, there are those who like to flame writers. You have to learn not to let it get you down. In short, you have to be professional in face of personal attacks.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bigger than Blogging

Confession: I have not blogged in two and a half weeks.

(Which, if you're a regular reader of my blog, isn't a confession at all.)

I could cite many reasons for my absence—busyness, indecision, a two-day stint in the hospital—but in truth, only one matters.

I wasn’t supposed to.

A Writer's To-Do List
Image Courtesy of kanate / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Now before I launch into this explanation, let me say I know how it works. I know blogging is one of the major activities distinguishing writers from everyone else on social media, that it is key in establishing a personal, professional brand and an online presence. It improves your writing by demanding frequency and variety and teaches discipline as nothing else quite does.

Yet I have not done so in the last 18 days, drafted only one possible entry two weeks ago and that one right poorly.

So why am I yet encouraged, excited, and proud of my inactivity?

Because in not blogging I was doing what I was supposed to do.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Safety of Sleep

The calm in the storm.
Image Courtesy of samuiblue / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Some church friends and I are each doing an Immersion Bible Study on different passages of scripture, the idea being to learn as much about the verses and their personal implications as possible. I am studying Mark's account of Jesus calming the stormy sea, specifically His command in 4:39, "Peace, be still." Those three words have provided much-needed comfort, strength, and constraint over the past few weeks.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Feels Good to be Nominated!

Yesterday was a rather craptacular day. No one did anything to me per se--unless you count Braylee's unrelenting wanna-be-up-under-Mommy attack--but I was definitely wearing my Cranky Pants.

And no, it's not the Waxing Crescent phase of the lunar cycle, thank you.

Yet I felt overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and downright annoyed with myself and everything else for no particular reason.

So imagine my delight when I checked my email but a half hour ago and found this message:

You have been nominated in The Non-Canon awards! So head on over and check it out...and don't forget to grab your nomination banner! :)

A Twilight fanfiction award?

I was stunned. Geeked beyond measure and stunned.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Confession: I Do Not Play Spades


To Whom It May Concern:

It is Monday, March 10, 2014. We have an African-American president, Lupita won an Oscar last week, and Scandal is one of the highest-rated shows on television. And with these things in mind, I feel it is safe to make a confession.

I am a black person who does not play Spades.

You can't see me, but I'm in there.

Please note I didn’t say I cannot play or do not know how to play, only that I do not play.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Guest Post: Seven Random Questions with Lissa Bryan


On this wonderful Wednesday, I am thrilled to hand the blogging reins to my dear friend and author Lissa Bryan, author of four books including the recently released Under These Restless Skies. As part of her blog tour for UTRS, she has graciously agreed to answer Seven Random Questions for me today, and I don't want to take up any more of her time or space.

Take it away, Lissa! 


1. What surprised you most as you worked on Under These Restless Skies?

Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII got married on January 25, 1533, right before dawn. When I was writing the scene, I went to NASA to find out the phase of the moon, so I could describe the night accurately. That night was a new moon. I immediately wondered if Henry and Anne had chosen that date because it would cover their movements in darkness as they slipped outside to the gatehouse of the palace where the wedding took place.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: "Under These Restless Skies" by Lissa Bryan


In Lissa Bryan’s Under These Restless Skies, the court of Henry VIII is a fascinating, dangerous place where intrigue and insinuations lurk in every jot and tittle. Amid this swirling cacophony of royals and rascals are two unlikely participants—Will Somers, a humpbacked performer whose jokes and honesty make him a favorite of the king, and his wife Emma, a magical Selkie with otherworldly power in her touch.

This novel has everything—romance, suspense, drama, humor, and traces of the supernatural—masterfully blended by Bryan’s hand to create a compelling story you never want to put down. I could write my own book about how much I enjoyed this one, but in the interest of brevity--and promoting the awesome Guest Post she'll be doing here tomorrow!--I shall instead highlight my favorite features of this captivating novel.

**No spoilers, so no worries**

Monday, March 3, 2014

More than Skin Deep

Last night at the 86th Academy Awards, Lupita Nyong’o completed her sweep of the awards season with a win for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in 12 Years a Slave. As she gave an impassioned, gracious acceptance speech, concluding with “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid,” I found myself in tears.

To be clear, I also cried during Jared Leto’s heartfelt tribute to his mother. And when Bette Midler started singing “Wind Beneath My Wings,” I fell apart at the first line, thinking of my dearly departed Ebony and the one and only time I’d ever watched Beaches. But there was no denying the way my soul soared when Lupita took the stage cloaked in glee and gratitude, no escaping how I felt her triumph on a personal level.

And that surprised me.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Out of the Mouth of Babes


Countless blogs including this one have often paused to admit one truth.

Parenting is difficult.

We don’t complain for kicks or to garner sympathy. We share our passion and pet peeves because we just didn't realize it would be like this, whatever our this is. We thought parenting would be more of abc and less of xyz. We thought our children would reveal one set of traits hidden within us and they instead unleashed a completely different set, one of which we are sometimes ashamed. Realizing other parents experience these dueling dualities makes us feel a little less loopy.

And a lot less alone.

Although I know my children know nothing of these musings, every now and then they say or do something that makes me feel as if I am not totally screwing this (and them) up.

Tonight Braylee did.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Now o'Clock in the Morning


At 3:50 this morning, I awoke to Jonan calling through the bedroom door, “Mom, can you help Braylee get back in the bed?”

Mommy to the rescue!
(Image Courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
I jumped up with a groggy “Yes, honey, of course!” donned my bathrobe, and headed to their room. As I stumbled down the short hallway, I marveled that I missed the ‘boom’ when Braylee hit the floor after falling out of bed. Then I wondered how she did that when Jonan sleeps on the outside.

And as I thought of Jonan, I realized he didn't seem all that concerned about Braylee being injured, which wasn't like him. He’s the kid who can’t focus in school if a classmate is crying or upset, the one who seemed able to read and respond to my emotions before he knew his ABCs.

Watching him take Braylee’s tumble in literal stride—I mean, could he walk any more casually?—I entered their bedroom and realized my error.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Investment Yields Joy

Last night, Dale Earnhardt Jr won the 2014 Daytona 500, his first Daytona win since 2004. This win was especially significant for me as Dale is Horace’s favorite driver and won on Horace’s birthday.

While at first ignoring the race, I could focus on the blog post I was supposed to share today, the follow-up to Friday’s DWD Challenge recap. I could zone in and out of the action because I wasn't invested in it. Then Dale joined the crowd at the front of the pack.  

Blog forgotten and heart pounding in my chest, I watched those final laps with my every nerve on the edge of fraying. My gaze darted frantically among the speeding cars, clenching and wringing my hands when they bunched too close to one another. Having witnessed a number of crashes already, I don’t think I fully exhaled until Dale took the checkered flag...and that under Caution.

And as I celebrated with Horace and Dale, something hit me: Investment yields joy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Day Without Data


We are one of those families with a monthly data allowance.

Twenty precious gigs.

Though we don’t stream or YouTube as much as we’d like, that amount is usually sufficient to meet our needs. But this month—due to what I am sure was a malware attack—we sit at 19.908GB with less than 24 hours to go before the start of next billing cycle. In the interest of avoiding overage charges, we have decided to go this final stretch without using any data.



(This will be the soundtrack of my day...I'm almost positive.)

And in the interest of transparency about my data dependence, I shall chronicle my Day Without Data for your amusement and edification.

Let us begin.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TV Time: Grey's Anatomy

Next Thursday night, I will put the children in bed, complete all chores, and turn off my ringer. I will jump in bed beside my husband just before 9:00 p.m., turned the channel to ABC, and barely resist the urge to squeal with glee.

For it will be the start of the Spring Season for Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

Perhaps the Winter Finales of those two shows didn't leave you breathless and wanting and wondering why Shonda Rhimes insists on slaying you week after week. Perhaps you haven’t been counting the minutes since 11:01 p.m. December 12th, wondering how you were going to survive nearly two months without your adventures in Shondaland. Perhaps you don’t understand the lure of the on-call room or why one would need to put one’s white hat back on. And if all of the above are true, then this might not be the post for you.

Otherwise allow me to dedicate the next two Wednesdays to honoring the two reasons I love Thursday nights.

First up, Grey’s Anatomy.



Just to give you an idea of how long Grey’s has been on the air, it premiered on a Sunday night with Desperate Housewives as a midseason replacement. Back then, I was a college student with no children and a different last name. Tweeting was something only birds did, and Barack Obama was newly elected to the US Senate having delivered an electrifying keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Ten seasons, y’all. That’s two lifetimes in the modern television era.