In Memory of Ma T

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Disclaimer: As I write this my head is all over the place and it difficult to collect my thoughts, so please bear with me.

Two weeks ago today I lost one of my greatest role models, cheerleaders, my heart, and second mom Teretha Posey or Ma T as I called her. Ma T has been my rock since I was a child. She helped me navigate through my teenage and young adult years, checked me when I was wrong, celebrated me when I was right, and loved me through every mistake and bad choice I made. She was not one to mince words (lawd have mercy lol) and I was never confused about how she felt; however, even with the toughest subjects she never left me feeling unloved or condemned. She took the time to pour into me and fill me with common sense knowledge and the word of God.

I will admit, in my wild days I would hate when she called or when I went to Cincinnati because quite frankly, I was enjoying my sin. I knew the moment I talked to her, whether I said what I was into or not I would feel convicted and the joy I once felt in my sin would be no more. Her question “When are you going to get your heart right with God?” would haunt me. I knew anytime she started with “I was praying for you…” I wasn’t going to enjoy the rest of the conversation. I remember the phone calls out the blue: Teretha: Joy what are you doing? Me: Um watching TV. Teretha: No, what are you doing? I would sit there like a child, rubbing my head wondering how she always knew when I was acting a fool. At one point I asked God to stop telling her my business because all I wanted to do was have fun (go figure); that didn’t happen.

I went through a very rough period in my 20’s that left me hating church, ministry, church people, and all things God. I would talk to her and she would tell me I couldn’t worry about people and focus on my getting my heart right would God. I remember her coming to town a few years ago for a workshop that Rodney was doing. My mom encouraged me to sing in the workshop but I was hesitant because I allowed people to make me feel as if God didn’t love me and I would never be fit for anything ministry again. At some point I started to believe it. Before I spoke to her I had a conversation with a friend and expressed how uncomfortable it was to sing because “how could Jesus love someone like me” and how out of place I felt. Teretha knew nothing about that conversation but she saw some things occurring that weekend she didn’t like. She sat me down, looked me in the face and said “Don’t you EVER let anyone make you feel like Jesus doesn’t love you because I’m here to tell you HE does, Jesus loves you in spite of…”. After that she just begin to talk to me and tell me what the word of God said about me and how she felt about me. I remember sitting there crying my eyes out because that was the first time in a long time that I believed that Jesus loved me. That simple statement started me on a path of healing and began to open my heart to believing in the things of God again. I moved at a snail’s pace, yes, but the one area I said I would NEVER be a part of again (music ministry), my heart started to soften towards it.

Teretha was the only person who would come to town and I would drop everything for no matter what. My other half was even aware. If I said “Ma T is here” the response would simply be “what time are you going to get her?” My willingness to be available to her came from her unconditional love towards me. No matter what I did, whether she agreed or not (and boy did I hear it when she didn’t lol) she still made sure I knew she loved me. I always knew when she didn’t like what I was doing because she would always say “I really need you to think that through”. She had my ear because of how she approached me. It was always in four steps: (1) She would tell me how she felt about what I was doing; (2) She would tell me what the word of God said about what I was doing; (3) She would tell me what the word of God says about me (the step many forget); and (4) She would tell me how she felt about me and how much she believed in me. Her method earned my respect, trust, and loyalty and even if I didn’t immediately follow instructions I always heard her.

Ma T lived Jeremiah 31:3 “…with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” It was the loving-kindness she showed me that helped me believe again. She was a living example that not all “church people” are evil and yes it is possible to love people in to the kingdom. She believed that love conquers all and worked hard to allow the love of God to saturate people and make them want what she had; a real relationship with God. Ma T was a model of strength, courage, and holiness as she believed in leading by example.

I will forever hold the last words I heard her speak to me “I love you too”. More importantly, the image that sticks out the most is seeing her at one of her weakest points, three days before her death, laying in the bed praying. I woke up, came downstairs and she was praying. I said good morning, and she just kept praying. I stared in disbelief because there I was finding every excuse as to why I couldn’t pray but there she laid praying in tongues. It made me shake myself and suck up every bit of emotion because if she could lay there in that condition and find the strength to pray, what was my excuse.

My heart is broken and there is definitely a void but I have to trust that God knows what he is doing. I don’t understand it and I can’t waste energy trying to figure it out; I just have to trust that God knows what he’s doing. One of my greatest comforts with Ma T is I always let her know I loved her and appreciated her. I encourage everyone to take the time to let people know how you feel about them while they are living because you never know when your last words to them will be.

Ma T I love you and I will never forget you. Oh and yes I will always “take care of Trina.”

09-12-1955 – 11-23-2014

One love,

MJ

For my young people~12-2-2013

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A Playa with a Purpose

Let me tell you about a playa with a purpose,
Who preys on people who don’t know their worth it,
Worth what you say? Worth being love, respected, and cared for,
Worth having someone who’s there for em’,
Someone who recognizes their value and encourages the same,
One who’s not quick to throw off the blame,
In an effort to take the attention off themselves, pushing their wrong off on everyone else,
Saying “it will never happen again” just to turn around and repeat the sin,
Knowing that you will let them in.

Let me tell you about a playa with a purpose,
Playa’s with a purpose know how to get in your mind,
Making you feel that without them you’re not worth a dime,
They’re there for you when you need them most,
Then turn around and get ghost,
Returning to their playa ways, day after day, play after play,
Only to make you feel like you led the way,
To their indiscretions, those one on one sessions,
With their other boo, who helps make you look like a fool.

Let me tell you about a playa with a purpose,
The funny thing is they don’t know that they’re worth it,
They stick to their playa ways, trying to fill their days,
Because they’re empty inside, too shallow to give up their pride,
So they need you to thrive and make them feel like a king or queen inside,
Why go through all that you say?
Because a playa doesn’t know their purpose,
Most times they walk this world feeling worthless,
They’re projecting the pain they feel inside,
Hoping it will help the hurt subside,
Not understanding that if they only look up they’ll know they’re worth it,
Because their creator holds their true purpose.

I was once a playa with a purpose. I didn’t prey on people (I didn’t seek them out) but I didn’t stop them from coming my direction either. I tended to attract people who were like me…hurting and insecure. Since I had been hurt so much before, I guarded myself to make sure it never happened again. However, I learned to play on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of others. I learned to make them feel like I was all they had. I was there for them when they needed me; a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a home girl. They were so blind because I gave them that one thing they never felt before, unconditional love. I didn’t judge them or make them feel less than like everyone else in their life. I lifted them up, became their cheerleader and made them feel like they were on top of the world. It was me and them against the world, so they thought.

Once I got into their heads and had them where they looked to me more than they looked to God (yep I was an arrogant one), I knew I could do anything I wanted…and for the most part I did. I knew if I kept them in the clouds they would be blind to and accept what I was doing. I called them my main and had my play things on the side. I made my own money but never had to spend it because they wanted to do everything for me…and I let them. I made them feel guilty for my mistakes and somehow always blamed everyone but myself. I was a user and abuser who played the victim card for so long that I didn’t realize that I had become the perpetrator. I was doing the exact same thing I thought I was guarding myself from. Although it was in different form, I was inflicting the hurt that I was trying to avoid. I felt like since I was being open about my indiscretions it gave me license to do as I please because honesty is the best policy right? Ha! I guess I should have started with myself.

I learned from childhood how to mask my feelings and not feel emotions so I didn’t understand why they were so upset once they came out of the clouds. Although I knew once the blinders came off they might despise me, I continued on in “my ways”. It wasn’t until someone I (surprisingly) opened my heart to was in my face crying and yelling “what kind of monster are you?” it clicked for me. Me, a monster? That’s what I called the people who hurt me. How can that be? I wasn’t doing what they did to me, so how can I be a monster? I mean what they did was waaayyy worse, so how can I be a monster? I was already at a point of struggling to look at myself in the mirror because the people I was hurting turned out to be really good people. However, hearing that person and for the first time (in a long time) feeling their hurt made me take a long, hard, honest look at myself.

I was a habitual cheater who didn’t know my worth. I enjoyed the pedestal I lived on and the ability to control people’s emotions because after all I had to get to them before they got to me (so I thought). I had to recognize my value and fight against every negative word spoken to me. I had to learn not to allow the words of others to define me. I had to learn to deal with my hurt rather than inflicting it on others. I had to learn that hurting others was not the way to make myself feel better. I had to learn to take responsibility for my actions and stop blaming the hurt from my past for present decisions.

I’m still a work in progress and far from perfect but I’m working. I’m thankful that I’m not who I use to be. I encourage everyone to recognize their value and be your best. It is an everyday process, so do not give up when it doesn’t change overnight. When you recognize your value, the way you walk, talk, and conduct yourself changes. What you allow in your life changes. Who you allow in your life changes. Look over your life and the company you keep. If your decisions are not adding value to your life, change them. If you “friends” are causing more harm than good, love them from a distance. Life is too short to waste it on foolishness. Live your best life because after all, you only live once so make it a good one!

Much love,

MJ

Just thinking…

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Respecting a persons opinion or belief does not mean that you subscribe to their ideas and philosophies. We were created differently for a reason and I tend to believe it is so we can learn from each other. I have come across “interesting” people in my life and oftentimes did not see or understand their significance until later. It is amazing how the words spoken to me (even when I didn’t understand or agree at first) flood my mind when I need them most.

As a teenager I dealt with self-esteem issues and I would hear the words of my grandma “God don’t make NO junk!” over and over in my head. At times, it snapped me out of my moments and helped me regain focus. I will admit I rolled my eyes as a teenager when she said it but now I get it and find myself repeating it to my children.

When my daughter was a toddler, a lady from my uncles church said to me “when you see a gift in her, invest in it.” I’m pretty sure I looked at her crazy but I heard her. I had an opportunity to speak with the woman in April and reminded her of the “nugget” she gave me. She didn’t remember but appeared shocked that I did. This wasn’t a lady I spoke with often or spent much time with but I remembered what she said so when I recognized my daughters gift to dance, I began to invest.

Sometimes it’s the simple nuggets people drop here and there that can change our perspective. The simple nugget this woman dropped on me has been invaluable especially as I watch my daughter excel in her craft.

My best friend, whom I call “coach” carries a wealth of information. I use to wonder how she knew so much but I started to pay attention. She is a woman who observes, listens, and takes notes of the people and things around her. Although she doesn’t have children, she came to me with information for my son that pushed me to get over myself and has helped our family tremendously. How did she know? By listening, observing, and taking note of the people around her. I could have pulled the “you don’t have kids, why should I listen to you” card, but when I stopped, observed, and thought about it I realized she was right. She gave my son and I one of the greatest gifts in the world by simply speaking up. That moment taught me to not allow a persons circumstances deafen my ears.   

Throughout the years, I have learned not to limit myself to receiving from those who appear or I deem successful. In all things, we must open our minds and remain teachable because we never know where our help will come from. I challenge everyone to look beyond a persons circumstance and just listen. God has a sense of humor and that one person you thought could never teach you anything may be the one person who delivers the message you need. Oh yes, and as always…pay it forward.

One Love,

MJ

Inspirational moment 4/6/13

This week has been an interesting week filled with reflection, clarity, forgiveness, and a reminder of why it is necessary to live in “what is” rather than “what was”. When you spend so much time living in “what was” you can miss opportunities that are sitting in your face. My honey and I were reflecting the other day on our relationship. During our conversation, I repeated a statement that I’ve said for years but for some reason that day it resonated with my honey. Prior to that moment I would become frustrated because I didn’t understand why my honey didn’t get it. My honey said my words weren’t heard because they weren’t ready to be accepted; at that moment a light bulb came on. I realized that no matter how much you express something to someone, until they are ready to receive it, it’s hitting a brick wall.

It made me evaluate myself and I started to realize why it was hard to let some hurts go and why it’s hard to trust again, especially my family. Although they apologized and gave an explanation for their actions, I couldn’t hear them because I was focused on how they made me feel. Yes I understood their actions after they explained it, but I couldn’t believe them. I didn’t believe they changed or could change because the only thing I had to go by is the hurt they caused. I couldn’t see pass the “if you loved me, how could you?” or “you treated me worse than a stranger on the street.” So I thought “how can I be frustrated with my spouse when I’ve been doing the same thing?” At that point I went to my room, closed the door, put myself in a corner, and a flood of questions came. How can I expect someone give me beyond what I’m willing to do? How can I place expectations on someone that I can’t meet myself? How can I demand people see me beyond who I was when part of me still holds them to who they were? Why can’t I accept that a person has grown beyond their prior bad actions?

It is so easy to get caught up in how a person hurt you but fail to look at the what or why. I’m sure everyone reading this has hurt someone at some point and if you apologized you wanted them to forgive you and let it go, right? So why can’t you do the same? You want people to forget what you did while you hold the person who hurt you in a place. How does that work?

When we choose to hold people in a place, we stunt our growth. I ran across a post on Facebook from Reverend Jackie McCullough that said “stop nursing the grudges of the past! It hinders the grace that is available to you today”. We spend so much time angry and in fake forgiveness not realizing that we are robbing ourselves of a fulfilled life. While we’re holding on to the past we miss opportunities sitting right in front of us. Most people are willing to engage in surface forgiveness but not many are willing to get to the core so they can release the poison. Yes getting to the core hurts but at what point is simply existing not enough? At what point do we say “I am worth enjoying the fullness of life and not the shell I choose to live in”? At what point do we stop allowing the excuse of what “they did” hold us in bondage? At some point we have to take responsibility for our life, happiness, and peace. Maybe we hold what “they did” as a crutch because we fear that releasing them will require us to look in the mirror. Maybe we hold it because our inner fears of success or failure because after all it’s easier to blame someone else, right. At some point we have to stand up and say enough is enough, I’m worth it, and I deserve to be whole. It’s a choice. Choose life.

One love,

MJ

Reflection and Appreciation 3/14/13

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You never know how your progress will help someone remember who they are. Recently I was given the opportunity to re-connect with an old friend. This woman knew me as a teenager and saw me at my worst, however she never stopped loving me. She was highly influential to me as a teenager and young adult because of her unconditional love and heart towards young people. Our worlds divided after much drama (outside of me) that hurt her tremendously and broke her spirit. Every time I saw her she would have this glow but after the drama the few times I talked to her, it wasn’t there.

Anyway, I went to her house in December to say hello. We played cards, laughed, and talked as if no time elapsed. Last month I invited her to my house to hang out. We started talking, then I paused to listen beyond the words. As I listened, I realized that although she was hurt and much was taken from her, the passion and love for young people was still there. She expressed how proud she was of me and few other young people she dealt with. Also, how seeing me and another young lady recently made her realize how influential she was and in short, realize that dealing with young people was more than a passion but her calling. She also realized that touching the lives of young people can go beyond the church doors. I expressed to her how she influenced me as a teenager and most of all, loved me through my mess. I also took that time to apologize for the chaos I caused. Although I cannot change the past, I am big enough to admit when I was wrong.

Many people say they care about young people but only few are willing to step out and do something about it. This woman did everything in her power to reach young people but not only did she reach them, she was effective and the results were/are long lasting.

I began thinking and realized that sometimes we allow life to deter us from our passions and callings. Some of us were trained to put so much faith in man or leadership that we lose sight of where our gifting’s and callings come from. We allow “people” to dictate what we can do, who we can reach, and what format our gifting’s should be used. Reaching people has to stretch beyond the church doors and when we fail to recognize that we become people who are simply (as my sister says) “sucking up air.”

Although this woman and I use to attend church together, the most influential moments I remember were outside of the church house. She taught and showed me how to love people unconditionally through their faults; how a smile and hug that we perceive as simple can brighten a person’s day; how to speak up for myself when something’s not right; how to follow my gut and not the crowd; how to serve others with the right motives; and how to encourage people even when they are acting like idiots.

Re-connecting served a dual purpose. She could see some of the fruits of her labor and see how much of positive influence she truly is. I was reminded of what a pure, genuine heart of love looked like. Also, no matter what we experience in life never allow it to destroy our passion and deter us from our calling. Everyone will experience hurt but no one or nothing is worth losing yourself over. So get up, dust yourself off, and like Mufasa said in The Lion King “remember who you are.”

One love,

MJ

Inspirational Moment 2/11/2013

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Sometimes God allows us to hit rock bottom so that we have no option but to look up. It is easy to focus on what we don’t have and what isn’t working but if we learn to stop long enough to be thankful and appreciate what we have our journey to the top may be shorter. I know everyone has experienced giving someone a gift and they did nothing but critique and complain about it. Remember that feeling of irritation and sadness because you put so much into choosing the perfect gift? How do you think God feels when we constantly complain because the blessings we asked for are not coming the way we feel they should? Why would he want to give us something bigger when we complain about what we feel is little? Do we ever stop and thank God for simply waking you up? Think about the families that are devastated because their family member took their last breath in their sleep. How about the brain power and lip movement that it takes to complain? There are people sitting in the hospital with no brain activity with their loved ones wishing they could just say one more word. Or people who can’t talk and have through communicate through other means. Do we ever stop to think that we are the reason our journey to what we believe we deserve is blocked by us? If our steps are ordered by the Lord then why do we insist on trying to put them in order? We can’t pray “thy will be done” then keep pushing our agenda. Maybe the slow path is what we need to help prepare us for what is to come.

I know we are human and frustration will come but at some point we have to be willing to look at our faults and stop blaming everyone and everything around us. I have been guilty of looking at my circumstances and allowing it to be an excuse for what isn’t. Instead of admitting my inner fears and insecurities I preferred to blame the system and my past. I still have to fight and remind myself to look up. I spent many years circling the same path because I was focused on “my will be done in my life” rather than “Lord they will be done in my life”. Or the infamous nonsense “imma do me”. Doing me hasn’t gotten me very far I’ll tell you that. I lived my life in Déjà vu because I was so head strong and determined to “do me”. I’m still a work and progress and have to work daily to remember there is someone greater than me and I can’t do it all by myself. Beyonce sang a song “Me, myself, and I is all I got until the end” and I really believed that. Carrying myself like that, yeah it was going to be me, myself, and I alright. Misguided journeys can be a lonely road because even with the get-a-long gang cheering me on, I still felt empty.

I encourage everyone when you get in that moment, pause and look up. I know sometimes it’s hard to see beyond your emotions but be thankful that you are conscious enough to have an emotional response. Be thankful for the air you breathe day in, day out. Change your thought process and remember words have power and can destroy the very thing you are working for. Don’t give up because everything happens for a reason. Be blessed.

 

One love,

 

MJ

Video

Inspirational Moment 12/9/2012- Believe in Yourself

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About a month ago I was at a function and was approached by a man I respected from my past. I was just expecting a “hey, how are you?” but to my surprise the conversation when in a completely different direction. He said he wondered how I was doing then began to express his distaste for how people didn’t believe in me as a teenager and young adult. He said “they just didn’t believe in you, I just wanted them to leave you alone.” He continued to say that he always believed in me. I was a little shocked because I didn’t think he cared then I wondered why he never reached out to me before. I began to think about the “what if’s”. What if he would have spoken up on my behalf? What if he would have told me as a young person that he believed in me? Would it have made a difference? Could the turn I made at 30 occurred earlier? So many questions bombarded my mind and I started reflecting…

I remember sitting as a teenager wishing that someone would see beyond my actions and focus on my heart. I was hurting and did not know how to express it but few could see ME. So often young people are labeled by their actions with no consideration of the “what” and “why” behind it. Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of garbage in my lifetime and own every bit of it, but again, the “what” and “why”. Oftentimes, adults hide behind what is politically correct (especially in the church) and are cowards who refuse to speak up. How is it right to watch a young person be bullied (in a sense) by adults and their peers alike and sit silently? We cannot hide under the cloak of “it’s not my business” or “that’s my leadership” when it simply comes down to what is right. No one is perfect but some frequently forget they are not resting on the throne.

My experiences have taught me not to focus on the actions of a person but rather the “what” and “why” behind the actions. I have learned more about the truth of a person by taking the time to understand the “what” and “why”. So many are quick to judge, but I imagine if someone shined a light in their closet the amount of skeletons shaking would exceed our wildest imagination.

We all have “stuff” as my mother would say. However, as we come out of our “stuff” we cannot forget to encourage those who are right where we came from. We also cannot be afraid to speak up when we see actions that are not right. As a teenager and young adult I didn’t believe in myself at all. Much of it resulted from people who said they loved me displaying actions to the contrary. I remember coming to a point of irritation because it seemed like every time someone said “I know you” it was associated with something negative. I placed too much stock in the people around me and allowed their words and actions of to shake my foundation and shape who I was for years. Once I realized that I was above the negative words spoken, it changed my life. I came to a point of believing in myself (after many years of therapy) whether those around me believed in me or not. I had to learn to love myself even when it seemed like no one else did (whether by truth or perception). I still have to shake myself from time to time and tell myself that “I can do it”, but I am in a much better place than I was.

So here I am; I’m still standing, refusing to give up. I have been through too much for my age and at times I felt like and have tried to give up, but I survived for a reason. I encourage anyone who comes in contact with a “troubled” teenager to take the time to let them know you believe in them. Sometimes knowing that someone believes in them until they believe in themselves can be a game changer. Look beyond their actions and remember that it’s bigger than what you see. Don’t ever be that person a young person remembers as the one who broke their spirit. Don’t be a coward and follow the majority or sit quiet. Stand up, let love be your light, and remember Jeremiah 31:3 …therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.

One love,
MJ


Side note: I attached this song by Marvin Sapp because regardless of how much I’ve survived, I know it wasn’t by my own strength. No matter how many times life and the people in it have tried to knock me down, I’m still standing!

Boundaries…what’s that?

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My teenage daughter (15) and I were talking a couple of weeks ago and she was expressing some desires she had. As we were talking my teenage son (13) chimed in and asked why I don’t let them participate in everything their friends do. He continues to say that I am over protective and my daughter agreed with him. I paused for a moment and asked them why they feel that way. They began to speak about how I do not allow them go to their friends houses at free will if I don’t know the parents (they answered their question right there, I don’t know the parents), don’t allow them to have a Facebook, go to the teen club (what the heck for), and the list went on and on…and on.

As I listened to them I realized that an extreme blur exists in this generation between what is age appropriate. I let them finish then I asked them “if I allowed you to have everything now what would you have to look forward to?” I began to explain to them my philosophy. I believe that everything should be done in moderation based on age, maturity, and level of trust. I allowed my daughter to have a Pinterest account a few days before this conversation and she was super amped. I asked her if I allowed her to start having social media accounts at 11 as she wanted, does she think she would have been that excited. Answer, no.

I believe that when young people are given to much too soon, it leaves them seeking more, which isn’t always positive. I also believe when a child is locked down too much they will find a way to break out so there has to be a balance. Again, this generation doesn’t appear to understand boundaries or have a clue about what is age appropriate. I have to pause and think about what is age appropriate because I wasn’t a “normal” teenager and my life moved a hundred times faster than theirs. If it’s confusing for me as an adult, I can only imagine how they feel as teenagers.

Anyway, the conversation continued and my daughter said “you act like we’re going to go out there and do crazy stuff.” I paused and broke it down for her “It’s not that I think you are going to do crazy stuff, I just realize as teenagers sometimes your brain shuts off or you can get in situations and don’t know how to get out of it. Every time I have gone against my gut because I didn’t feel you were prepared it was a disaster, which is okay because it was also a learning experience. However, my job as a parent is to equip you with tools and information to prepare you for what’s out there and deter you from the mindset that you have to experience everything to get it. The last thing I ever want to hear from a child of mines is “I didn’t know”. Would you rather I equip you with information or just leave you out there to fend for yourself? Think of it this way, life is like an ocean, you can either sink or swim. Information is a life jacket. Would you prefer I throw you in the ocean with nothing and say “good luck, let me know how that works for ya!” or provide you with a life jacket and you decide if you want to put it on?” She paused for a moment and said “have a life jacket.”

When I look at this generation of teenagers with all the suicides, murders because relationships broke up, bad acts because of peer pressure, lack of respect for authority, and bullying I realize that many of these young people are not equipped to handle anything. The voice of this generations peers has become louder than that of their parents and people who have their best interest at heart. What I try to put in my children is I was not put here to be their homegirl, I am here to be a parent and guide them. I don’t care about what’s cool and popular in the moment, I care about their future. I teach them that their attitude determines much; You can’t walk around being ugly to people and expect greatness. In my house, privileges are earned not given. Good grades and a positive attitude go a long way. Disobedience and reckless behavior get them nowhere.

I have found that many young people act out because no one expects anything from them. They have no boundaries or standards to live by. I am new to this teenage thing and learning much along the way but one thing I do have are boundaries. I’m not perfect and have made plenty of mistakes but I refuse to give up. I have learned to get up, dust myself off, and try something else. In the past, I would beat myself up but I realized that while I was in the corner beating myself up, I was doing them a disservice by leaving them without guidance; so I wiped my faced, sucked it up, and came out of the corner.

Parenting is a journey. It’s not always a beautiful one full of rose gardens but I believe my children are worth every smile, laugh, tear, bump, and bruise along the way. I am thankful for my children and for a while did not imagine that I could produce such beautiful hearts. I asked my teenagers to be patient with me because some things we are learning together, because once again I was a different type teenager.

I know we cannot protect our children from everything but at minimum we can show an interest and equip them with information. I know some young people will act out just because but we at least have to try. Life happens to all of us but we cannot fail our young people by throwing them in the ocean with no life jacket hoping for the best. I encourage every parent (especially with teenagers) to take a step back and evaluate your position in their life. Are you talking at them or with them? Are you talking more than listening? Are you respecting them as individuals? These are questions I ask myself from time to time to keep me focused. Every child is worth giving the opportunity to live their best life. Will you be a hindrance in that process or will you step up and give them YOUR best?

One love,

MJ