Criticism, Empowerment, Family, Family Values, Women

Cater 2 U

Cater 2 U

You’re likely familiar with the lyrics above and recognize them as the 2004 hit “Cater 2 U” by Destiny’s Child. Although a commercial success, the song was not without criticism for its message of female servitude. Its message was described as everything from “seriously sexist” to “cringe inducing.” While there are those who ranted about the song derailing female empowerment; as with any controversial topic, it also had its supporters. In its defense, author Emma Gannon wrote, “It’s OK to want to be attractive to men AND be considered a feminist.”

Fast forward to 2016 where we revisit this debate anew. This time in the form of an article written by newlywed blogger Amanda Lauren, entitled “Staying Hot For My Husband Is ESSENTIAL To A Successful Marriage.” Amanda, who coincidentally can pass for a “Becky with the good hair,” states, “When my husband gets home from work, I love to make him his favorite cocktail.” She goes on to add, “One of the most important things I do to make him happy is to be the woman of both his fantasies and reality. If my husband wasn’t turned on by me, we couldn’t have essential intimacy.” Yes. ‘Essential intimacy’ is the equivalent of “Drunk in Love.”

Amanda acknowledges that she and her husband are probably not the poster children for millennial marriages, and she’s right, according to a Pew research on millennials’ attitudes about marriage. When asked about what kind of marriage leads to the more satisfying way of life, the Pew found that 72% of Millennials chose the model in which the husband and wife both work and both care for the household and children. It’s unlikely that those who favor this egalitarian model of marriage would support Amanda’s views.

Not surprisingly, Internet bullies crawled out of their holes to tar and feather her with comments that are incredibly too vulgar and cruel to bear repeating. Some of these remarks would have you believe that her article was about the benefits of sacrificing babies, instead of the innocuous thoughts of a woman about failure-proofing HER marriage. Thankfully, there are those who remained civil even in their disagreement. Many of them commented that she was too early in her marriage to understand that this is a simplistic outlook of matrimony.

A famous millennial who might empathize with and support Amanda’s more traditional view of marriage is Ayesha Curry. Ayesha, the wife of NBA superstar Steph Curry, makes no apologies for being her husband’s most vocal supporter, or for her focus on their marriage and their children. In the tweet to launch the greatest feud since the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry of the 90s, Ayesha commented that she keeps her “good stuff” covered for her husband.

AC Tweet

In response, some – a lot – of men on Twitter raised her to the status of black Madonna (Michelangelo’s) and used her as an excuse to crucify women they deemed “hoes” who weren’t “marriage material.” Many women, on the other hand, took offense at being measured by the Ayesha litmus test. Do you cook? No. Are you your man’s loudest cheerleader? Most times, but I’ll let that dummy know when he messes up. Are you willing to be a lady in the street but a freak in the bed? I can dress however I choose to in public and still be considered a lady. A woman with those answers would fail to be an “Ayesha material wife,” which is wholly unfair.

Whether a feminist or a womanist, the backbone of these movements is the ability for women to define themselves how they choose. Women like Amanda and Ayesha can choose to cater to their husbands in a way that others might not, and that’s their prerogative. Just as it’s the right of others to approach their vows differently.

We can make the case that keeping one’s self “tight” does not guarantee a spouse will remain faithful (paging Halle Berry, and, allegedly, Queen Bey). But with the divorce rate in America projected at 40-50 percent for couples entering their first marriage, what does it hurt for Amanda to do what she thinks is right to help ward against that? I don’t know. It’s not my place to make that call. Her marriage. Her approach.

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Bible, Christian, disciples, faith, Family Values, Fellowships, jesus, jesus christ, Marriage, prayer, role model, salvation, value, Women, writing

These Pastors Ain’t Loyal?

I recently penned an article for Jet magazine in response to the Rev. Jamal Bryant who once again finds himself embroiled in marital scandal. Below is the article in its entirety as well as the link: These Pastors Ain’t Loyal? by M. Michelle Derosier for Jet magazine.

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I have an inherent distrust of televangelists and pastors of mega churches.

And it’s not just because they’re stereotyped as snake charmers drawing in millions of followers with the false promise of health and wealth while seducing them out of their life savings. What I find most disconcerting is that oftentimes–and not every time, and not all of them–they’re peddling a gospel that is contradictory to the revealed Word of God. Contradictions that can be so subtle it’s hard to tell the difference until or unless you do as 1 John 4:1 says, “…Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Understanding that I have a tendency to see televangelists as false prophets, I prayed for the ability to step back and approach the story about pastor Jamal Bryant, who faces allegations of fathering a 10-month-old son out-of-wedlock, with unbiased eyes. The Rev. Bryant, leader of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple Church, hasn’t confirmed or denied the allegations, or the paternity test presented by alleged baby-mother Latoya Shawntee Odom suggesting that he is 99.9999 percent the father of her child.

While going down a rabbit hole of research about his ministry, I struggled to find a man who genuinely repented when he “fell short of the glory of God” the first time around: eight years ago when he had an extramarital affair that caused his divorce and brought to light the discrepancy between preaching and living.

Instead, I found a man whose woe-is-me attitude is as evident today as it was when he described, in this Roland Martin interview, his 29-year-old self who had the first affair: “I was quickly becoming a household name. So, nothing in my mind ever said, number one, I would ever get caught; number two, that my wife would ever leave; number three, that my church would tank out.”

After listening to clips of him speak and of his sermons–one of which quotes the lyric “These h-es ain’t loyal,” from the great Old Testament R&B singer Chris “Eat the Cake, Rihanna” Brown–I am saddened that everything screams “my ministry.” Where I was looking for God as the focus, all I saw was Him as a prop to shine the light on Bryant and his destiny. Although Bryant claimed years ago to have “grown a lot”, all I can see is the same sin and same arrogance. Nothing learned.

While he might not have learned anything, I pray his congregation will. As I’ve often asked God, please deliver me from ever setting You aside to follow a religion or a preacher.

 

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america, American, Blogging, BlogHer, Dessert, Dinner, Family, Family Values, grandparents, Growing Up, ice cream, Marriage, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, november

Thanksgiving Manners.

Show me a Haitian without manners and I’ll show you the devastated parents and grandparents wondering where they went wrong.

To “old school” Haitians a person’s manners (or lack of) is a direct reflection on the family that raised him/her. Good manners is indicative of a loving home with parents who cared enough to teach right from wrong. Bad manners…well, bad manners signals a need for pity. It elicits a shake of the head followed by a “podyab” or a “poor baby”. Bad manners is proof that you were dealt an unfair lot in life.

Which is why, even though we’re adults, my mother would still take a switch to our behinds if my siblings and I ever forgot how we were raised. God forbid we should walk into a room without properly greeting those already there, or we should ever stay seated while an elderly person stands nearby. We’d better be quick to explain that we offered and the person declined.

Tomorrow D and I head to my in-laws’ for Thanksgiving, and one of the many things I’m thankful for is my mother teaching me that you don’t visit someone’s home empty handed. So along with cake and ice cream, we are bringing the stuffing. Stuffing that I’m making – and NOT from a box.

O.o

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know this is laughable. Manners I have in abundance, but my cooking skills are in short supply. *Shrugs* I didn’t learn everything my family tried to teach me. We’ll see how this turns out. I’ll post the final product here.

Are you cooking? Share what you’re making. Pictures are always invited.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – and don’t forget the ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’.

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NaBloPoMo_November

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33 Random Things I’m Thankful For.

To cap off my lovely birthday weekend here’s a list of 33 random things I’m thankful for.

1. My salvation. Nothing in life could ever matter without the security of eternal salvation. I’m thankful God used my grandmother to lead me to the church where I eventually came to accept Christ as my personal savior. I am by no means perfect, and in fact I’ve fallen short more times than I’d like to admit, yet I’m blessed to know that nothing can separate me from the love of God. My salvation is because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and not of my own merits.

2. D, who is happy to indulge my desire to jump in the car, pick a direction and see where we end up. In fact, he is a willing participant. Today we ended up in a cute, tiny slice of Americana called Millerton (NY).

3. Great food. Whether it’s a spicy chicken sandwich at a fast food joint or a grilled octopus dish at a Michelin rated restaurant, I’m thankful for the meals that make my stomach happy.

4. Speaking of food, I am ever thankful that even though my family was considered working poor, my siblings and I were always fed. It wasn’t until adulthood I came to realize my mother willingly sacrificed her meals to keep us fed. I don’t ever take for granted a full – heck even a partially full – fridge, and never miss out on an opportunity to feed someone. When 1 in 6 people in this country face hunger, the opportunity is ever present. Feeding America can help you find a food bank near you if you’d like to lend a hand, or if you’re in need of a helping hand.

5. Cheap makeup brands that let me try out red lipsticks. I don’t wear lipstick and never red lipsticks, yet I had an itch to try one recently. NYC 320 Mahogany is a winner.

6. My siblings – both by blood and by marriage. Of course I love them because they’re family, but I also really like them as human beings. Each unique personality brings something of value to this world and to my life.

7. Christmas decorations with lots of lights. I am the weirdo who will stand outside your house taking pictures. Accept it as the compliment that it is.

8. The Internet. In the last few days alone I’ve googled the correct temperature to cook chicken (350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes), the start and end dates of Hanukkah 2014 (Dec 16-24), and Ian Ziering’s age (surprisingly, 50). How is that possible? How old was I when I was watching 90210? Anyway, technology is an amazingly convenient tool.

9. Hairdressers. Making me presentable since 1999.

10. Puppies. All that cuteness just brings a big ol’ smile to my face.

11. Pedicures. Specifically pedis at my favorite salon. Such a great way to relax and hide out from the world for 45 minutes.

12. Working for a company with a mission. With as much time as I spend at work, I’m thankful I can at least say it’s to serve a greater purpose.

13. Sanity. Enough said.

14. Physical health. Enough said.

15. Friends who care about me and my husband. Last year I had a health scare and it was great to see how certain friends rallied to support D knowing he was remaining strong for me. I’ll never forget that.

16. Funky glasses. Fun eyewear helps me make the most of terrible eyesight.

17. Contacts. The next best thing to laser surgery.

18. A love of the written word. Reading and writing.

19. Coffee and tea. Spent some time at a Harney & Sons tasting room today. So good.

20. Spiritual leaders who take seriously the role of shepherd that God has called them to be. Those who know that they will have to give an account to God for the spiritual well-being of everyone He placed in their care. Hebrews 13:17 and James 3:1.

21. A good night’s rest.

22. Coconut and Olive oils. Talk about multipurpose use. Good to eat. Good to moisturize. Best value ever.

23. Pretty/interesting/unique notebooks and journals. I’ve kept a diary since the 5th grade when Ms. Romain gave me Anne Frank’s Diary as a graduation gift. I can never have enough of them.

24. Four seasons. Even winter.

25. A huge big world to explore. So many places to see. So many dishes to try.

26. Smoothies. The best way to get nutrients from all the good-for-you ingredients I’d rather not eat. Although I still can’t bring myself to add bananas. *Shudders at the thought of eating them.*

27. Secret Santas. I’m always excited to participate in SS exchanges and look forward to creating a package that my person will enjoy.

28. Online banking.

29. My mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie. Yum.

30. My mom’s legume – eggplant, chayote, crab, conch and beef – and rice with fresh beans.  Sooo good.

31. Legs that enjoy walking.

32. Protective cases for phones.

33. Love.

Millerton Oblong

Main street

Terni's

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Book drop ted

Book drop blue

Bench

Tasting room

Harney and Sons

Mussels

Dessert menu

Dessert

NaBloPoMo_November

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Losing My “Woman” Crown

Today I brought dishonor and shame to generations of Haitian women – at least the ones in my family. I maligned the good name and character of those who lived long ago and those who live today. I insulted my great-grandmother and the great-grands before her, my grandmother, my aunts, my mother and my older sister (though she’s older by just a couple of years). I disrespected all of my female relatives who pride themselves on caring for their men, their families and their homes.

What’s worst? I don’t care. That’s right. I don’t. I’m free of caring. I’ve agonized over taking this step for the last two years. Vacillating between the stress it would reduce on the one hand and the stress it would cause on the other. Today I decided I can handle the anxiety of not feeling like a loving and caring wife, a nurturer, a potential mother. If it means getting back a few extra hours of precious time, I can forfeit the title of “Proper Haitian Woman”. Not that I was ever really in the running. You can’t be crowned Ms. America without the basics of beauty, talent and poise. And you can’t be crowned Ms. Proper Haitian Woman without the most basic of basics: knowing how to cook a delicious meal.

And you lose any chance of the crown when you do what I did today: hire someone to clean your home.

Well, women of my family, there it is. I’ve failed to be the proper Haitian woman you all worked so hard to make me. While you did it – and did it well – when I was growing up, I’d rather not follow in your footsteps. I don’t want to work 10-12 hours and then come home to cook a fresh meal, scrub, mop and dust. It’s honorable, but it’s not the path for me.

Before you complain that I’m wasting money, may I remind you that the value of time can never be measured. Yes, we’ll have to rearrange our budget to fund a once or twice a month cleaning, but it’s worth it. I am your granddaughter, daughter, sister, and niece. I know how to make a few dollars go a long way. Bring on a week of eating plain spaghetti if it means D and I can spend quality, stress-free time with one another on the weekends. Time we don’t have on weekdays because of our work schedules.

So, family, here’s my crooked ruler. Use it to measure me so I won’t fall so short. Not that I care. Well…maybe a little.

joy-of-cartoon pictures

joy-of-cartoon pictures

NaBloPoMo_November

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#AuthorAndFan, Christian, Christian fiction, Family, Family Values, Fiction, Harlequin, Inspiration, Inspire, Love, Love Inspired, Read, Reader, Romance, Romance novels, Witness Protection

Quick Review: Undercover Marriage (Witness Protection) by Terri Reed

Waited months for their story. It did not disappoint. Their love will grab hold of your heart and that’s just the way you’ll want it to stay.


 

Undercover Marriage

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#AuthorAndFan, Christian, Christian fiction, Family, Family Values, Fiction, Love, Love Inspired, Read, Reader, Romance, Romance novels

Quick Review: The Bachelor Next Door (Castle Falls) by Kathryn Springer

As Christians our lives are not compartmentalized. We aren’t God-fearing in church but God-ignoring in our personal affairs. God is organically woven into every aspect of our lives and we don’t push Him out to accommodate or to fit in. Kathryn Springer is a Love Inspired author who seems to understand that – as evident by this book.

The Kane brothers melt my heart. Can’t wait to read Liam’s and Aiden’s stories in the Castle Falls series.


 

 

The Bachelor Next Door

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