Dear Younger Self

“God make me an open vessel through which the waters of your love flow freely.
Let your love move through me and out into my world touching everyone I come in contact with.
Express your joy through the special talents you have given me so that others may come to know your presence in their own lives
by witnessing your presence in mine. Amen”

This is a prayer I say every morning reminding me to watch what I say and do, knowing that sometimes the only church I see is in me.
As my bio says, I have been a teacher for 20 years. I am one of only six black teachers at Warren G. Harding.
There should be more, but not enough of us want to be teachers. Although I liege a pretty good life, it by no means is the path to riches and fame, but it is one of the most important jobs there is.

I love shows were people can go back in time. Shows like Timeless (a newer show), Quantam Leap, the movie Back to the Future, but there is always one problem. Changing the past can alter the future, and I’m super content where I have ended thus far. But these shows have also shown me that no matter how you try to change things, what is meant to be will be, so with that in mind, I would love to go back and help out young Kendra.

Dear 6 year old Kendra,
Don’t worry! You’ll have tons of Christmas gifts. Not one Christmas will ever go by where you won’t receive any. Sometimes you’ll get gifts weeks after Christmas because your mom will forget that she hid them!
And when offered that opportunity to sing that solo, take it. You don’t sound any worse than the others.

Now, mom, Pastor Faulkner, don’t’ go get any ideas about asking 43 year old Kendra to sing no solo. I know my lane and I stay in it!!

Kendra,
You are a rock star. You are a 100 watt bulb and everyone doesn’t appreciate your brightness. For some it might be blinding, but that isn’t your fault. (you are your father’s child Chuckina) misunderstood by many, your passionate nature misunderstood) Never ever ever dull your light. No lamp shade, none of that. And don’t let you others try to turn you down, (except the twin. She’s allowed) If people don’t like your shine, they better wear shades… And don’t you go and give them yours! (you’re also your mother’s child) sometimes giving too much and not keeping any good for yourself.

John 15:18 (with Matta-rephrasing)
There were people who hated Jesus, so what makes you think everybody is gonna like you?! They won’t. And that’s okay. (one less person to invite to the wedding) Everything ain’t for everybody. Don’t try to figure out why. There are people out there who don’t like chocolate. Some things are just beyond comprehension!

I know that you’ve spent so much of your life crippled by anxiety and fear. There are things you’ve wanted to do, but you let fear win. Thank God, you will get help and have overcome all anxiety and fear. There was a time in your life when you would have had an anxiety attack THINKING about standing in front of people, but now you know,
Not to be anxious about anything, but allow the peace of God, to guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
You understand that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
You are strong and courageous. You will NOT be terrified; you will NOT be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherEVER you go. Joshua 1:9

Things will happen to you that were meant to crush you. That would crush the average person. You are not the average person. God got you. Weapons will form. They will not prosper.
As you grow, you will notice that God does hear you when you pray. He does. You will look back on your life and see all of the times your prayers were answered.
Even when you think he’s forgotten you, he will show you that he heard each and prayer. You’re gonna pray about some things and assume that he’s said “no” when he’s really said, “not yet.” It might be years later. I know you’re not the most patient person, but just wait. God has a great sense of humor. You’ll see…
(shout out to King and Zo!)

Like the Langston Hughes poem, Your life will not be no crystal stair,
It will have tacks in it, And splinters,
And boards torn up, but you will be ok. You’ll be surrounded by people who will sweep up those tacks and remove your splinters and fix those boards. He’ll even give you someone to carry you up those stairs. (shout out to Rob)

In your life, you’ll lose a LOT, but you’ll gain even more.

Understand this, every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.

Two words.
Don’t worry.
You’ll be ok.
You’ll be better than ok.
You will be happy.
So Kendra, keep living.
Love you, girl!

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God loves Me

Never is a word that I should probably never use again. I honestly thought life was over at 40. My husband was dead, my son was heading to college, and I was alone. I thought I’d never love again. My how things have changed!

In October of 2014, Good let me know that he’d heard my every prayer. I was shocked to know that at 41 years old , I was going to be a mommy again. It was something that my doctors didn’t even think was possible. On June 2nd, 2015, God gave me a beautiful little girl. A daughter. And guess what she loves to do?! Play mommy to her dolls and stuffed animals and read- just like mommy. I was not forgotten. God even sent me a man, my daughter’s father, who will soon be my husband. God loves me. My life has truly just begun!

 

Today

I miss my husband today.  I miss him everyday,  but today I’m feeling it more that most days.  Holidays are the worst-not that the 4th of July was a big holiday in our home, but he would be here with me on those days.  Tomorrow he’d be promising to watch the grill (he wouldn’t), and telling me how my (insert food here) “hit the spot.”
I have been near tears all day, and now, with my dog on my lap and Family Feud in the background, I’m letting them flow. He loved Family Feud, and he could have easily been a Jeopardy champ. The man knew something about everything, but his most important bit of knowledge was how to love and take care of me.
I miss my husband today.

18

My baby is 18. I am happy about it, but it also makes me sad. He was the sweetest kid at 2 and 3. He loved him some me.  He really did.  I know that he still does, but he just doesn’t let me hold him all day like he used to.  He used to think I was so strong and stable. Now he knows I’m crazy.  He used to think that I was the smartest person around-until he turned 8 or 9- and then I know that he knew that he was the smartest person in the house because he told us so! I see great things in his future as long as he continues to work hard, trust in God- and hug his mommy.

Pieces

I once read that love doesn’t hurt.  Love feels damn good. If it makes you cry,  brings you pain, it isn’t love. Sometimes I feel like we see the L and maybe even the O and assume it is love when it is really LOst. You’re in search of LOVE but you don’t know where to go.  We see the L and the O and we think ahhh this is love, but it is really LOnely. We are so desperate for companionship that we don’t see the whole. We see pieces of a dream and we run full speed ahead.

Things I Lost in the “Fire”

My husband was sick for 13 years- our entire marriage. I miss that man, but sometimes even more than the man, I miss the things that I never got. I never got to do all the fun stuff people get to do with a spouse. I want to hold hands, kiss in public, do all those fun “in love” things. My friend used to have couples parties, but we were never invited because my husband was in a wheel chair and would fall asleep because of his pain meds.
We had a child before our marriage. To be honest, the reason I wanted to get married was because my son already thought my last name was the same as his!  I really wanted to see what it would be like to have a baby by my “husband”. Well, he got sick a month after the wedding and became unable to give me any more children. I loved being pregnant and I looked forward to doing it again. It will never happen.  Never again.  I know there are some people who never had that feeling even once,  but that doesn’t stop my pain. I am now almost 41 years old.  There are so many things I missed!  And maybe this is a selfish-ass blog, but right now I’m in my feelings. His illness stole my youth, my babies, and pieces of my happiness.

I hate “Thug Notes”

During a staff meeting, a colleage of mine wanted to show us something he thought was hilarious.  It was called “Thgu Notes”.  It was a comedian dressed in an A-line t-shirt, a wave cap, and a thick gold chain.  He was portraying a “thug”.  He was going to tell us about Romeo and Juliet using his “thug” voice and language.  I stopped my colleague before the presentation began to let him know that as a black woman, I did not appreciate that depiction of a black man. I know that some may find it amusing, but some people also laughed at Amos & Andy.  That’s fine, but it would not happen in my presence or in my classroom.  I was told that I was being too sensitive and that it was funny. 

(DEEP BREATH). 

As one of five black teachers in a high school that is almost 50% black, I feel obligated to show my students a positive image of black people.  Even though our head principal is a black man, there are only three other black men with degrees in our building, a community solutions employee, two intervention specialists, one of mild to moderate students, and a teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities.  I don’t want a man wearing what they call a “wife-beater” and a wave cap to be the image of my brothers that they take home with them.  I feel that they see enough of that already.  That is how my brothers are portrayed way too often in the media.  It is my responsibility to show the world that we are smart, educated, professionals. 

In the end, I walked out because I refused to watch them laugh at the guy, my colleague showed the group, but I returned to further explain why I would NEVER show it to our students.  Did he understand my point of view? No.  Did he try to understand my point of view? No.  He seemed more offended that I was offended! 

Maybe he will never understand or try to understand, but I promise you this…

If I find out that he shows that video to our kids,  he will understand my fury.

Woman Like Me by Beyoncé

Do you think you could fall for a woman like me?
Cause I find it hard to trust, I need to much, and I really don’t believe in Love.
Do You think that I could be the girl of your dreams?
Sometimes I don’t let things go, get emotional, and sometimes i’m just outta control.

Do you think that I could be the one that you see?
Cause baby i’m one step ahead
Your two steps behind, but baby I don’t mind
Do you think that I could make you real happy, baby?
Just don’t get me wrong
My lovin is so strong, but I ain’t trying to lead you on

You need to stop for a minute.
Before you get to deep up in it.
Everything ain’t what it seems.
It’s hard lovin a woman, a woman like me.
You need to think about it.
Before you get hooked on a venom and can’t live without it.
Can’t believe everything you see.
It’s hard lovin a woman, a woman like me.

Vida Loca

My dog loves me.  I have never seen someone so happy to see me every time I come in the door!  It doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone two hours or two minutes.
I was never a pet person. They always seemed like more work than anything else. You have to clean up the poop and bathe them and feed them, walk them, pet them- but what do they do for you? This was my belief until I met Vida.  It was truly love at first sight. Her eyes… They are captivating. She looked at me and I knew I couldn’t live without her.
In the beginning, she was some work. She peed and pooped everywhere and got into everything. Now, we are a well-oiled machine. She poops and pees outside, but has a pee pad inside for emergencies, and rarely makes an accident. She rest in my bed while I’m at work, and runs to meet me as soon as she hears the keys in the door. She loves being outside, but also loves to cuddle on the couch with me.
This little 8 pound dog is wonderful and I am so happy we have each other.
She is a wonderful parr of mi Vida Loca.