I See the Color of Your Skin; and Here’s Why That’s Okay.

I usually have a thoughtful intro; but today, let’s Dig right into it…

In My Teens an into my twenties I’m constantly surrounded by statements like; “first black Disney princess”, “first black President”, “first African American woman” to medal in a specific olympic sport, “all black TV cast”, “black artists”… Sure we can argue that the world should stop placing color labels in front of things, but I can argue that we can’t change every single person in the world and that this is far from ending. We can’t surround our kids with these constant statements of color and then tell them to ignore or not see color. I see color. Here’s why that’s okay.

It’s okay that when I look at you I see a white woman. It’s ok when I look at me I see a black woman. It’s okay that when I look at some of my friends I see a white woman with a black man, or a black man with a white woman, or a Hispanic friend with the white husband, or a Filipino woman with a black husband. It’s okay that I look at you and see that because what matters is WHAT I DO and how I INTERPRET that information. I see it and I think it’s beautiful. I see it in my eyes and brain recognizes it and then I MOVE FORWARD with interacting with a HUMAN being. So what if I noticed your color when I saw you! When I drive down the road if a car cuts me off I noticed it was a SILVER van with a stick figure family or if the Lamborghini goes by me I noticed the pretty blue dreamy color. That’s okay! It’s about what we do with the information and how we interpret it. When I walk into a store I need to know what products work best on my black skin. What products are tailored to my black hair.

I can recall a moment where I was surrounded by a group of individuals who were racist towards my particular culture. I can remember looking around the room and immediately noticing the black skinned male across the room and giving a look to make sure that he was alert to the situation. I can also very well recall seeing all the people of white skin, the same color skin as the individuals who had such hatred towards people of my color, sit next to me ask me if I was OK and almost be near me as if a sign of Alligance. I can remember noticing the white skin of my junior high friend turn red and sweaty as I defended her from racial slurs. I also remember her big bright colored eyes look in to me and say “Im not even upset. This is the first time I’ve experienced this but there are people who have to deal with this all the time.”

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The beautiful, amazing Multiracial men in my life; accompanied by a skyline with many beautiful colors to take note of.

I also see color because I constantly want to educate my boys on some of the harsh realities of our world. I noticed this year that of all my son’s friends almost none of them look like him. They all have a lighter skin than him so far outside of family he doesn’t really have any friends of his same skin tone. I noticed that ,and while I know the kind of parents we are and how we will raise our kids to love each and every person they come across whether they deserve it or not, I know at a point I’m going to ask him if he notices that. If he knows that it’s okay to be friends and just hang out with anyone of any color as long as they have good character. We just haven’t had the specific opportunity to make close relationships with someone of his skin tone or some other skin tones yet. We have actually had several friends of our same culture get great opportunities and move away before our kids got old enough to really enjoy playdates talk and communicate. Though I know my child’s character and I know that he knows he can play and speak to anyone and I know his heart I’m still going to make a point to speak about it because I want to be 100% certain that I know where his character is and the same for my youngest as he grows. I am also going to be diligent about making sure they are able to gain relationships with people from many different backgrounds and of many different skin tones and that they know where my purpose is. So, saying that we shouldn’t see color is a misguided perception and nearly impossible for most of us. We need to remind our kids and remind ourselves that it’s about what we do with the information that we take in and about our Integrity & our Character.

I see you and I love you!

With Grace & Love,

LaVonda Marie

 

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Daddy’s Girl

“We live in a world where people look towards the Christian instead of the Cross to define who God is.”

I am NOT perfect. I feel the need to say this now so you can read this with an open heart and an open mind. I am not perfect; nor am I encouraging you to be perfect or strive to be perfect. This isn’t about perfections its about definition and relationship. One of the ways I proudly define myself is that I’m a Daddy’s girl. I’m a daddy’s girl to both my earthly and heavenly father! I can remember when my dad and stepmom first met. After a few years my youngest stepbrother began calling my dad, “dad”. As a 6/7 year old I wanted to punch him in the face. See I’m not perfect; that doesn’t sound so Christian. Boy was he stepping on my territory! He was claiming my father! Eventually though I realized that he was a son. He loved my father, he and my dad had a great relationship, and he respected him as a son should. He really didn’t need my permission be my father’s son; he proved that he could fulfill that role based on his actions. After a while, a long while :-), it didn’t bother me so much because I saw their relationship reflect the titles that they shared with each other. Father and son. Besides, I’ve got a pretty awesome dad it would be selfish of me to try and keep him all to myself!

Lately I find myself entering back into this territorial state of mind. But with stakes that are eternally high! This daddy’s girls feels pretty territorial over her heavenly father. Let me explain. We live in a world where you simply have to define yourself as a Christian and anything you say or do can be used against Christ in a court of law. Excuse me if it angers me that someone can simply claim my Father’s name and then proceed to drag it through the mud. It’s the same reason I get upset with myself when I go against his ways. I feel ashamed but I turn towards repentance because I know I carry his name and in this world the things I say and do are going to reflect on Him.  I am NOT without sin; and because of this truth my life is not without repentance, my life is not without the word of God, and my life is not without prayer and communication with my father. We live in a world where people look towards the Christians instead of the Cross to define who God is. So, I was angry. Angry at the news stations, papers, media, social media… but I never stopped to think of OUR responsibility in it all. Yes the media is full of uneducated individuals who are more than willing to drown the name of the Lord into a red cup just for ratings and to stir up attention and controversy. We feed into it. We calls ourselves Christians without ever walking into the relationship of what that actually means!

These Four words have made one of the biggest impacts on my life: “I never knew you.”

 What Christians, those in relationship with Christ, have realized and what the rest of the world needs to realize is that it doesn’t matter what the cup we bring to the table looks like; if we don’t have a relationship with our father who sits at the head of our table then we are drinking our own poison. So, what’s my point here? We need to enter in to a relationship with Christ as we choose to identify with him. Unfortunately the world has so many views of Christ from Christians who have never spend time in his word, who do not enter in to prayer and communication with him, and those who don’t live their life with eternity in mind. Christianity isn’t clean or perfect. Think of the greatest example of a Christian in your life today…got their face in your head? My dear madam/sir you have surely met a sinner. I am a sinner. No one is perfect and their isn’t a perfect model for Christianity. But I can tell you for certain a life without relationship with the Lord is not the life of a Christian. So how can the world speak on what upsets Christians without even having a grasp or definition of what being Christian really means. I am a Downard because I have entered into a relationship with my husband and taken on his name. Not just because I like the idea of him, but because I am engaged in an on going relationship with him. Our society even deems that when you are married but are no longer engaged, no longer living together or participating in an on going relationship, you are separated. Want to be a Christian? Engage with the Lord. When you take on His name remember that you are now a child of God. You are not of this world.

for blogSo what’s the answer? If you want to define yourself as a Christian enter into a relationship with Him. If you want to know who He is read His word. Then… go out into the world and be fishers of men for His name sake.

Now put that in your Red cup and drink it!

With Grace & Love,

LaVondaMarie

Beautiful You ~ Beautiful Me

More and more lately people have been saying that my son Traecee  looks just like me. A spitting  image of his father, but a reflection of me as well. I’m not always the most confident of people; but I’ve started to wonder what that really means for my Traecee. When those words, “you look just like your momma”, fall on his ears what will that mean to him as his understanding grows? Will he think to himself, “well mommy doesn’t think much of her appearance so what does that say about me?” Or, will he be assured in the fact that I’ve excepted the truth that I, like us all, was made in the image of God and my purpose along with my image is beautiful!

Beautiful you beautiful me

Beautiful you beautiful me

I won’t pretend that physical appearance isn’t important, because it clearly is in our society. But I’ll tell you one thing, the way you feel about yourself will have a big impact on how the world treats you. One of my good friends shared this quote with me the other day: ” wherever you go, there you are”. You are the one person who has to spend the most time with you. I notice a greater aspect of mental positivity when Me, Myself, and I are all getting along. The beautiful thing about not liking who you are is that you’re the one who can change it. I recently got my braces off after two years. I am much more confident now because my smile is so important to me. I’m much happier now and I’m thankful for that; but sometimes I wonder if I wasted 2 years hiding my smile. There are probably only a dozen pics of me in the past two years showing teeth. I wonder what if I had focused more on the opportunity to laugh than the outward appearance of my smile? What if I let the beauty of the moment outweigh my negative opinions of my smile.  I can tell you that there would be many more memories to share.

When it was just about me I was much more stubborn with changing. Now, after praying to God to help me see myself through His eyes, and realizing that my acceptance of myself  is about more than just me; I decided to accept to truth about my image. First what I was made to do is far more important than what I was made to look like. Second, my acceptance of myself is much more necessary than the world’s acceptance of me. When I accept myself I am saying to God “I appreciate your works and believe that you are purposeful and make no mistakes.” Third, as a mother my Christ – Confidence allows my child to say “I understand I was made in His image and I will always be beautiful to Him and that’s enough.” It’s more than enough. Traecee you are more than enough! You are beautiful and so am I. Not because of who or what we look like, but because of whose we are. We are His; you and I. Beautiful YOU; beautiful ME.

With Grace&Love,

LaVonda

 

Dear Traecee,

When I think of you I think to myself “what a wonderful world”

-Mommy

Here’s Why I Blog

why i blog imageHere is why I blog

Number 1: Words are beautiful! There seems to be a million places for words; street signs, billboards, social media, and of course books. I just wanted to create an oasis of beautiful words linked together to create a greater meaning.

Number 2: Because I have something to say.

Number 3: Because I’m not alone and neither are you, and sometimes it just takes a bold statement for us to know that we’re not alone.

Number 4: I’ve been asked to. I’ve been told by more than one person to keep writing. When I first started this blog my goal was to have at least one reader; an as long as there is one person reading my blog and gaining something positive from it, I’ll keep going.

Number 5: It’s therapeutic.

Number 6: It’s purposeful. I like that I’m able to categorize my writings. I’m not just saying anything, I’m saying it with a purpose. I always think of how the words that I put out there will affect the minds and hearts and spirituality of the person receiving my words.

Number 7: Because it makes me happy! When you can find something that makes you happy and glorifies God at the same time, then by all means, GO FOR IT!

 

Thank you to every one of my supporters bother known and unknown.

With Grace&Love,

LaVondaMarie

PCOS Update: February

Many of you followed my last post about my new journey with PCOS. Honestly I’ve been doing pretty good with the situation since then. Thank you to everyone who has surrounded me with such love, understanding, and guidance. Your willingness to pray and reach out with love means more than you’ll ever know. I’m doing good but to be honest I do have my moments.

Yesterday at a birthday party the kids went around playing. Our son Traecee is very into trains, trucks, actions figures, and all things paw patrol right now; but at this party he gravitated towards a toy he’d never really played with in front of me before. Maybe he just didn’t have the chance… Maybe I just never noticed… Maybe it wasn’t even that big of a deal. But, as he pushed that little baby doll stroller all around the party my heart ached a little. I wanted so bad to know if I’d be able to place a sibling in a stroller for him one day and allow him to push him/her around in a fun, caring,  protective older brother way. He wouldn’t put it down. Even as he ran over a few toes and we tried to take it from him and get him to play with a smaller toy he wouldn’t budge. He wanted to play with that stroller for the moment. I didn’t want to dwell on it so I simply whispered to my husband about the moment and moved on.

Yes for a second it broke my heart; but I believe our hearts were made to withstand the breaking.  Christ is within me and as I break he is the anchor that holds me steady. He holds me and allows me time to reposition my feet to stand firm in his truth. He extends grace to every piece of my heart. He knows every piece of my heart well and his love makes me whole. Today I’m better. I’ll have these moments and they’re expected; but I know I can also expect that where he leads me I will not be forsaken. He has purpose for everything and I will lay at his feet the worries that do not align my heart with trust in him.

IMG_69126888171343So, I don’t have any doctor’s appointments for a few months (which is teaching me how to be patient); in the meantime I’m focusing on getting to know my heavenly father a bit better. He desired each and every one of us as His own. He even sent his son to die so we would each have the opportunity to spend eternity with him. Us. His children.  I’m learning to end my prayers with, “I will praise you anyway”. I’m learning to be honest with myself and my Christian brothers and sisters. So to be honest, I’m doing okay and your continued prayer is appreciated.

With Grace&Love,

LaVondaMarie

Dear PCOS,

pcos awareness ribbonString of Pearls. It sounded so beautiful when she said it. And really, it probably would have been if I wasn’t in a doctor’s office looking at a screen. String of Pearls. As I was sent to the waiting room while my results were analyzed, impatience consumed me and with technology at my hands I Googled “String of Pearls”. I wish I hadn’t. As quickly as I had typed and hit send, my chest tightened at the countless results laid out on the screen in my hands. I soon realized my hands were shaking and I wondered if the couple next to me could hear my heart beating. I now knew what it meant and as the nice lady called me back my doctor confirmed what I had already read.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); are the three words that I heard. Very alert I could see her lips move to form every syllable of the words. I truly have a great doctor and I am so thankful to have the privilege of having health care. As the tears spilled over she quickly handed me a tissue, placed her hand on me (honestly an understanding hand is exactly what I needed), and said 5 words that confused me at first but then became encouraging; “This is a good thing.”

I knew it had to be good in a way. After all, I came here seeking answers and there it was; my answer. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS means different things for different women. For me I have a mild case and it means that we now know what we are working with. It also means that I can control my health and have planned out the best options for my family and I. It means that having another child will, again, be very difficult, but again, NOT impossible. We know that I have healthy eggs in my ovaries; but they stack up like a “String of Pearls” and we are unsure as to whether or not I am ovulating (which makes becoming pregnant more difficult). It also means that I had this with Traecee which would explain the difficulty getting pregnant there.

So, why would I share something so personal like this? If you’ve read my blog before you know that I have no problems with be transparent. Being open throughout my life and carrying an open heart has allowed me to turn my trials into testimonies. Also, because, although I’ll admit I felt many emotions when I heard this, what began to awaken my heart were the stories of women who promised to help educate and encourage other women with PCOS. As I read story after story, and even victory after victory; that invisible cloak of shame that I placed upon myself began to slowly deteriorate. I realized in fact, this is a good thing. I struggled with uncertainty, and now I have answers. I sometimes struggle with my eating and fitness, and now I have even more reason to fight through my weak moments. I am thankful for my son, and now… well I am just even more thankful for my little precious gift. This means that PCOS awareness will be even greater because God allowed his daughter to experience this so that others can become empowered. I promise to be empowering. I promise to encourage. And in the end I promise to rejoice no matter what. Through every tear I will praise His name. Through every test I will allow God’s truth to shine through so that others will see my faithful reactions and understand how good God truly is.

I talked to a friend about this today and she was surprised by how well I was responding. Well the truth is Thursday and Friday saw a flood of tears. But… Thursday directly after hearing this news I had to pick up my son from school. I thought I had wiped away all traces of tears from my eyes and cheeks. I practiced my smile in the mirror before I walked in to the checkout desk. But… the moment Mrs. Sara looked at me and said “You alright?” it was as if someone turned the faucet to high and removed the knobs. Mrs. Tabby (Traecee’s teacher) saw the tears pouring and held Traecee back a second while I received prayer. My good friend Hannah, who is also a nurse, talked to me for a long while because she knew what PCOS was and that I have a great doctor. She gave me lots of resources and answered even more questions about my options and how to respond faithfully. My Mom2Mom group has made the presence of their prayers for me very well-known and I can feel God working on me. Mrs. Michelle reminded me Friday that Satan whispers lies and I have to choose to fight. She even sent me some motivational scripture and Pinterest.

michelles motivation

And my husband, well he has been everything that he always has been. He’s been exceptional. He’s educated himself so that he can know exactly what is happening in my body. He educated himself on all available options. He read the “homework’ from the doctor’s office as well. He has held me tighter these last few days. I am so thankful for the heart that beats within him and the soul that lives there. This is a good thing. This is not an impossible thing. Something extraordinary will happen if I choose to respond faithfully. I choose to respond faithfully!

Dear PCOS,
My name is LaVonda. I understand that you’ve made your presence known and gotten comfortable there in my ovaries. Well, I consider this trespassing! I plan to kick your butt and make MY presence known.
Sincerely,
          Your Landlord