Mary Memories

Mary Mary Mary!

Today is Mary J. Blige’s birthday, and I have many memories of Mary over the years.  Like Whitney, she is the musical voice of my generation, ever since she came on the scene singing backup for Father MC (do you know him?) on his song, I’ll Do 4 U.

There’s so many memories that come to mind when I think about her first few albums, especially My Life. I was dating my first boyfriend at the time (1994/5). But the funniest memory was in the 9th grade. A boy cousin of one of my friends liked me, but I didn’t like him. She could barely contain her laughter one day at our lockers when she passed me a cassette tape of What’s the 411? (which I already had).  “He said to listen to these songs and you’ll see exactly how he feels about you.”  What the ???

As a sophomore in college, I dyed my hair blonde in the early 90’s, not realizing she, Faith and many others used weave to get that perfect platinum look. That same year, 1995, I saw her perform during the Bad Boy tour with Biggie, Faith, Total, Craig Mack, and Puffy.

Whenever people ask Mary what her favorite song of her is, I have to agree. My fave song of hers is Love No Limit.  However, to be fair, my “unfave” song of her is when she covered Soul II Soul’s Back to Life.  She’s done many great covers over the years but that was just not one of them IMO, especially when she tried to reach the same notes as Caron Wheeler in the original–it didn’t work. I also did not care for her albums No Drama nor Love and Life overall. To me, although she has hits no matter what, her first few albums were her best by far.


She’s come a long way, from domestic, sexual and drug abuse to be an empowered example of what it means to be a strong woman in the 21st century. There’s always a test before you have a testimony, and she’s using hers for good.
Happy birthday Mary!

Ladies: You Have the Right to Remain Childless

Source: UltraViolet

I am the single mother of a 9-year-old, through divorce, who never wanted to be a single parent or divorced. If you asked me as a teen or in my 20s, I’d tell you that I would NEVER have children.

As I wrote in my journal as a girl, I didn’t want to pass on/expose the negativity I felt in my life to another generation. I had different ideas of motherhood then, and couldn’t imagine what my friends who were teen moms were dealing with physically, emotionally, or mentally.

I don’t know where it comes from, but there’s a strong sentiment that something is wrong with a woman who doesn’t bear children by a certain age–or ever. Well-meaning and nosy parents and grandparents, friends and even acquaintances regularly weigh in on when a couple should have their first or subsequent children.

I know a lot of people with my situational status who find love again and start a new family, even though their present children may be in high school or college, but I don’t want to start over. Honestly, the primary reason that I consented to pregnancy and parenting is because my then-husband desperately wanted to actively raise a child of his own. We mutually agreed that I stop taking my (very effective) birth control and I got pregnant the following year. My main reasoning then–in my early 20s–was, “A wife is supposed to have children [if her husband wants them].”

We’re supposed to?

Continue reading “Ladies: You Have the Right to Remain Childless”

Announcing… Kharacter Distinction Books!

I’ve established a new publishing imprint, Kharacter Distinction Books, with the objective of publishing inspirational books to empower young and old alike. Here is the mission statement:

“Kharacter Distinction Books was established with the objective of publishing inspirational books to empower young and old alike. Our purpose is to shed light on the written works of talented authors of color that deserve attention from the readers they serve to enrich and enlighten. We strive to publish works by authors who have a unique perspective, a story to tell, and need a positive vehicle in which to drive their message home with compelling authority. We aim to establish collective conversation and theories that provoke thought. We advocate works that explain our culture; that illuminate, inspire, challenge us to pursue and draw closer to God. ”

Tagline: “Not a publishing minority”

I will soon post short videos on my new YouTube channel to summarize the various topics in my forthcoming book, “What’s Wrong With Me?,” coming in October 2011.  Please subscribe to the KharacterDistinction channel for updates!

Give Him a Chance, or Let Him Pass You By?

There are many opinions among singles about who should make the first move: should the man approach a woman first, or is it ok for a woman to express interest first? I believe the answer lies in not WHO, but HOW.

I am very proud of my friend, author and filmmaker Tomeka Winborne, who just released her first short film, “Pass Me By,” about a woman who almost lets a nice guy get away because of her attitude. Check it out and let us know what you think!

First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Conclusion)

Lost? This post is part 4 of a series. (Start here to catch up.)

Women Are Called to Ministry, Too

The controversy about women in the pulpit continues to pervade Christian society in America. The September 2008 issue of the Fayetteville, GA-based Gospel Today magazine featured five female pastors for its cover story, but Lifeway, a Christian bookstore affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled this issue from their magazine displays. Their decision to do so is based on the scripture passage 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

Continue reading “First Ladies: The Unsung Pulpit Partners (Conclusion)”

Take Back Your Time!: How to Start Unitasking in 8 Steps

The scattered piles of books and papers on my floor, across my desks, and on top of my dressers makes it clear that I have too many things going on at once. Because I can’t process all of it in an orderly fashion, this clutter is also transferred to my mind, which leads me to procrastinate or just give up.

I have a variety of interests and personal goals. I am involved in an active set of ministries at church, work full-time, do public speaking and freelance writing and above all, am a single parent of a little one, and I’ve started a new business I’m excited about. With all I’ve got going on in my life, and without giving priorities to my tasks and goals, everything becomes an overwhelming glob of to-dos. Something has got to give.

cluttered bulletin board
Courtesy of John Lawton

When crunch time comes along, we find out what the real priorities are in our lives. We’re all so busy, but busy doing what? Saying “Yes” to too many activities and too many people leaves no room for “me” time or family priorities, and we get worn out. Are ALL of our obligations really THAT important? Do we know when to say “No”?

Don’t have to wait until you “get around to it.” Decide now, from this day forward, that you will STOP MULTITASKING.


1. Multitasking wastes time because it slows you down.

Our minds can’t handle too many demanding things simultaneously. I’m not talking about combining little tasks such as running the washing machine while you watch TV or skim a magazine, or listening to an mp3 while you exercise. I’m talking about productive, cognitive tasks that require you to concentrate and process information, whether it be reading, writing, or driving. Think about it: you really can’t check your email and do your homework at the same time. You can have both in front of you while you take turns studying, and then take breaks to read emails. Switching back and forth between tasks is not efficient. You cannot truly multitask because your brain does not process information that way.


Continue reading “Take Back Your Time!: How to Start Unitasking in 8 Steps”

Not All Popular Preachers Are Pimpin’

Are you so jaded to think that every preacher on TV is tryin’ to pimp you out of your money or your clothes? [In my Bill Cosby voice] C’mon people!

It annoys me when I read or hear comments about credible people who I have learned from, saying that they are ‘nothing but false preachers.’

Nothing but?!

Is that simple? Can you really discount everything about the person’s message (that’s what nothing but does)? Do you have inside ties or information about this person to back up what you’re saying? Even if you do, one person doesn’t qualify to give the rest–or Christianity–a bad name.

And are tithers really stupid to give their hard-earned money to a preacher? Well I don’t look at like that at all. Do you know the average pastor’s salary? I choose to tithe out of obedience to and faith in God, because I have to answer to Him–not anyone down here.

Now I can agree that there ARE false preachers out there (Matthew 7:15, 1 Timothy 1:3, 4 and chapter 4). But not every preacher on TV is necessarily a ‘prosperity preacher’. There is a balance between teaching people how to live the life Christ died to give them–a more abundant life (John 10:10; 3 John 1:2)–and being meek, humble and holy. Everyone perceives humility and holiness differently, but I don’t think you should totally discredit a preacher because s/he likes nice things. Whose to say those funds came from the church?

I worship in my local community and occasionally watch preachers on TV and read their books. Because I have read the Bible for myself, and continue to study it, I know if someone’s message is coming from God’s heart or from their own personal gospel and opinions. You have to know the Word for yourself before you can discern others’ motives. Please believe it.

What kind of fruit does this person’s ministry (and their life) produce (Luke 6:44; Matthew 21:18-19)? Is the person’s own immediate family on the up and up? Are lives being changed for the better as a result of their efforts? Are people coming to Christ and learning how to live their lives to be more like Him (their character, attitude, and integrity)?

I agree that people in positions of leadership are called to a higher standard (1 Timothy 3), but I say don’t let someone’s bankroll, clothing, or vehicle of choice dissuade you from ministers who are popular. They’re not perfect, and as humans they may stumble, but they’re not necessarily crooks trying to prey on those who are already down. Infighting only weakens our cause.

There are thousands, millions, zillions of preachers and teachers of God’s Word that are not out to get you. They really love the Lord and have committed their lives to doing His work, spreading the gospel (that is, the Good News of Jesus Christ– Matthew 28:16-20), and are active servant leaders helping their communities. Please back up off of these, my sisters and brothers in Christ who are trying to do the right thing and making a great impact.


“Touch not my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”– 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15

P.S.- If you want to quickly look up the above-mentioned scriptures or any others in your favorite Bible version, go to or your favorite online Bible resource. And if I’ve missed the mark, give me some food for thought–I don’t have all the answers.