Friday, September 30, 2005

(My)Hero- Toya

"Hero" is the title of Kirk Franklin's new cd which will be out this Tuesday, October 4th and you can listen to it in its entirety if you click here. Props to our boy Grant for hipping me to this link and further props from now until eternity for giving me the opportunity to listen to this record weeks ago with about 20 other people and one of my personal heroes, Kirk Franklin himself.

Kirk Franklin has been one of my heroes for years because for one, he is SO not perfect. He has made some big boo boos in the past publicly and that is hard for anyone to recover from. However, to me he possesses a heart of David that says "I may have acted a fool and no one may have forgiven me but God but I am still going to do His will until He calls me home." He has never completely bowed out and I admire that greatly.

Grant works for Kirk Franklin down in Dallas and invited me to go to a private listening party for "Hero" at a studio downtown after I helped him work merch at a show a few weeks back. Mind you, I was hot and sweaty from pushing Cd's and tshirts and was pretty bummed that I could not go change before going but I have waited for this for how long? I was not going to let my vanity get in the way. I freshened up the best I could and got down there.

I met Grant there and followed him up the steps. In the doorway sat Kirk at the mixing board. It's so funny when you meet people in person and they look exactly how they look on TV. Sometimes people don't so it trips me out when they do. Grant leaned over and said something in Kirk's ear about my helping that night and Kirk beckoned me over. I rarely get nervous around famous people because they are famous. I get nervous only around people that have greatly affected my life. Like when I met Jon Foreman from Switchfoot I remember thinking that this is the man that has written the soundtrack of my very life. This is the man that gave me "Learning to Breathe". The gift of musical expression is huge to me; it's incredible to meet someone that has written your very thoughts without even knowing you.All ready to give him a firm handshake, Kirk pulled me closer and gave me a good brotherly hug and said thank you. And what did I do? Only get some black girl makeup on the shoulder of his crisp white tee. "Oh Toya!" I thought. I was nervous enough as it was but this? Oh man! Hoping that no one noticed or knew that I was the culprit, I quickly made my way to the back of the studio, every now and again looking at the brown chin print that I left on his right shoulder. On my way back I passed some of his background singers who are some of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. They truly seem like a family and it was neat to see how they all encouraged each other when each others solos came on. Kirk looked at them all as if he was a proud father. The singing they did on this record is nothing short of phenomenal.

I stood amongst the background singers, studio musicians and other industry types and tried to contain myself as Kirk played the duet "Why" that he recorded with the original genius himself, Stevie Wonder (other guests include, Sonny from P.O.D., Ty Tribbett, J Moss, and Marvin Winans). If this song does not get a Grammy or at least get nominated, I am standing outside of the offices of the RIAA with picket signs in both hands. The entire record is Grammy worthy.

This record is already a part of my life's soundtrack. What makes it different from Room For Squares and Learning to Breathe is that those records described where I am or have been as a person. What is so refreshing about Hero is that it depicts where I want to be. While so many think that Kirk Franklin is only a glorified choir director or the ultimate hype man, he is one of the most prolific songwriters of our generation. On this record I realized that he has a way of articulating and speaking to the hearts of women that is unreal. In particularly, there is a song called "Imagine Me" that thank the Lord I didn't hear while in the studio because when I heard just a clip of it at home, I cried like a baby.

With just women singing on the verses on top of a haunting but beautiful piano driven melody, some of the lyrics are

I imagine me, letting go of all of the ones that hurt me
because they never did deserve me
can you imagine me
Saying no
to thoughts that try to control me
Remembering all you told me
Lord can you imagine me
Over what my mama said and
Healed from what my daddy did and
I want to live and not read that page again
Imagine me being free
trusting you totally
finally I can imagine me
i admit it was hard to see you being in love with someone like me
finally I can imagine me

(I particularly love the LTD throwback at the end of this song. There are some good feeling throwback joints on this record as well).

If you are looking for songs to belt out in praise and worship to the Lord, this is your record. If you are looking for songs to jam to with an uplifting message, this is your record. If you are brokenhearted and are at your wits end, this is DEFINITELY your record. This record not only reminds me of how great God is but just how good music can really be and how it is meant to lift your spirit. Musically it is so solid. I later spoke with him about how sometimes music, particularly some gospel music, misses the mark of just being musically excellent. The lyrics may be sound but the music doesn't move you. This project is an excellent exception.

After we were finished hearing the record, Kirk expressed his heart's desire for God to have His way with what He wants this record to accomplish and we collectively prayed and asked God to do so. It was incredible. I know first hand that God is going to use this record to set a lot of people free; free from shame, free from depression, free from pain, free from religiously thinking that God is all fire and brimstone and not a loving Father who longs to comfort and bless us. There is so much joy in this record that although I was with a lot of people that I did not know while listening to it, I couldn't help but close my eyes and dance. After Tuesday, I don't see this CD leaving my CD player anytime soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Break Up With Him in Your Mind!!!!!!- Toya

This was in my email box today and it has me and Tag written ALL over it. I was like "WHERE WAS THIS THREE MONTHS AGO!!!!???" (Like I would've listened). Maybe I would've. We'll never know but hopefully this will spare some of you some pain.

The Danger of Dating in Your Mind
Carolyn McCulley, Author & Contributing Writer

Here's a typical conversation between two single women:

"So how did it go with [insert guy's name here] the other night?"

"Oh, it was great! It was just the two of us. He picked me up, treated me like a queen. We really clicked. It felt like a date! We had a blast."

It felt like a date. That's a phrase that should set off all kinds of alarm bells among single women. If it "feels" like a date, then no one has said it's a date. It's just two friends hanging out, but one of them wants more. In this scenario, the problem is that while the man may be clear in his own mind about his intentions ("just friends"), the woman is not. She's hoping for more or "dating him in her mind."

This may seem like a harmless distraction, but it's really not.

I have a friend who once observed that our interactions with men should be like a peanut butter sandwich. No one likes to eat a sandwich where the peanut butter is all clumped up in one corner. We like our peanut butter to be evenly spread around. "So, honey, don't get all clumped up in one corner, distracted by one guy," she said. "Spread yourself around! Let him get clumped up around you!" We had a good laugh at that, but there's much truth in this homespun advice. Because our churches often provide the context to get to know single men as friends, we women can start investing more significance in these interactions than is wise. We get all "clumped up" around one guy -- until he says something or does something to make us realize he's not going to pursue. Then comes the disappointment.

In our defense, I have observed when men go through all the motions of dating without declaring their intentions. I've seen men "try on" certain women and then fade away if there wasn't enough spark to attract them to pursue. I've seen men hang out with women for years as extremely good friends, seemingly oblivious to the potential there, while the women struggle to guard their emotions and expectations. While I think we can become wiser about evaluating the men in these situations (which we'll look at next time), all things start with our own hearts. Because I've been "clumped up" far more often than I'd like to admit, I've learned to discern the symptoms of this tendency in my life. Here are some questions I ask myself whenever I think I'm starting to "date someone in my mind":

* Do I talk about him a lot to other people?
* If these other people don't share my enthusiasm, and even caution me to not cultivate expectations, do I feel deflated and resent their input?
* Am I going to this event or meeting primarily because he will be there?
* Am I distracted in church or small-group meetings because of his presence?
* Do I break other commitments because he's invited me to do something spontaneously?
* If he doesn't talk to me or single me out at events, do I go home disappointed?
* Am I jealous of the women he does talk to or serve?
* If he declines one of my invitations, am I tempted to feel rejected?
* When he does pay attention to me, am I so oriented to him in a group setting that I don't consider the needs of others around me?

When we get stuck in a man's orbit like this, typically we're laying claims and forming attachments that are deadly to our spiritual growth and witness. Because these attachments are one-sided, when the relationship doesn't occur in the way or time that we want we usually respond sinfully.

Paul Tripp, author and biblical counselor, explains the pitfalls of this continuum in this way - desire leads to demand, which re-labels itself as a "need" and leads to expectation of fulfillment, which, when unmet, leads to disappointment, and thus ends in punishment. As he writes, "The objects of most of our desires are not evil. The problem is the way they tend to grow, and the control they come to exercise over our hearts. Desires are a part of human existence, but they must be held with an open hand. ... The problem with desire is that in sinners it very quickly morphs into demand ('I must'). Demand is the closing of my fists over a desire. Even though I may be unaware that I have done it, I have left my proper position of submission to God. I have decided that I must have what I have set my heart on and nothing can stand in the way. I am no longer comforted by God's desire for me; I am threatened by it, because God's will potentially stands in the way of my demand. ... There is a direct relationship between expectation and disappointment, and much of our disappointment in relationships is not because people have actually wronged us, but because they have failed to meet our expectations."

When I first read that diagnosis (in his book "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands"), I was stunned. That's exactly what happens when I "date someone in my mind"! One sentence in particular screamed from the page: "There is a direct relationship between expectation and disappointment, and much of our disappointment in relationships is not because people have actually wronged us, but because they have failed to meet our expectations." These are self-induced dings to our hearts! Even more seriously, these acts are seeds we are sowing to future conflict in our own marriages. No husband will meet all of our desires, so we should learn to protect our own hearts and minds in Christ Jesus by not indulging this cycle of idolatry.

So how do we change? Here's something I've been meditating on over the past year. The secret is in the worth of a woman with noble character. The Bible says she is "more precious than jewels." Jewels aren't out on the store's front counter for every passerby to carelessly handle. Precious jewels are guarded in the vault, and are only brought out for consideration by a buyer who has demonstrated serious intentions and the wherewithal to purchase. Costume jewelry attracts casual inspection - and lots of it - by its cheap presentation. But because it's not seen as valuable, it's not treated as such.

We don't have to put our affections and ourselves on display. We can trust our heavenly Father to ward off the casual shoppers and only bring those with serious intentions to consider us. But you need to know that this will mean some "vault time." While you're in the dark, wondering when - and if - you will have a chance to sparkle for an appreciative buyer, you'll be tested. During this time, keep in mind these three reminders:

* Prayer: Take your petitions to God, for He's the only one who can change a man's heart, and this brings His peace to guard our own hearts.
* Pursuit: It's not our job as women. Instead, we should have the joy of being pursued.
* Prevent Disappointment: Check yourself before you head down the slippery slope of desires, demands and expectations that Paul Tripp outlined. When you find your fist closing over good desires and making them demands, stop. Open that clenched fist and hold that desire up in prayer (see point one again).

We have to be very careful about guarding our own hearts. This is a wisdom issue. More importantly, it's a worship issue. The real motivation for guarding our hearts is not to be able to hand our husbands a relatively unscathed heart on our wedding day, as important as that is. The real motivation for guarding our hearts is to preserve our trusting dependence on God with a peaceful spirit, whether we get married or not. It's to keep a Scriptural imperative: "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I DO Care - tia
(I'm not sure how the duel videos work on the site. You may have to scroll down and stop the Anberlin video to watch this one. Y'all will figure it out.)

I have to admit that I haven't felt no kinda way about Ricky Martin in a long time. I was down for the cause in '99 or so. That was when my obsession with the Brits was hitting full stride I couldn't get enough of all things British. This included World Cup Soccer, the theme song for which(The Cup of Life) was sung by none other that Mr. Menudo himself.

Then Ricky was on the Grammys and people started to forget that he was once on SIlver Spoons. But as we are prone to do as a society, we found something wrong with him (the implications of his affinity for the Y-chomosome individuals) and like a shooting star, Ricky burnt out with a quickness.

Fast forward to 2005/09/20 about 12:45 cst. I'm sitting at my dining room table with Toya getting ready to leave and go back to the office when the new Ricky Martin video comes on. Now mind you, I just had LASIK on Friday. I see JUST FINE. Pretty sure I got up and walked closer to the television because I just KNEW my eyes were in some kind of regression or something. There was NO WAY Ricky Martin came back LIKE THAT.

It was on me before I knew what happened. My chest constricted around my sternum and I SCREAMED. I mean I screamed like someone was beating me. Ricky was like, "SCREW ALL THE NAYSAYERS!!" with this video. He is just....whew. He doesn't care what you think. He got his tats, he got his girl Amerie (at least for his video) and he got his bodeqa (sorry if I spelled it wrong. I'm not Puerto Rican) Fat Joe. He don't care what NONE of y'all haters say.

Baby boy, I'm on board like a champ. Yes. Yes. And more Yes. I hope the album is more of the same.

Ricky Martin ft Amerie & Fat Joe - I Don't Care

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Duck and Run - tia

I was fairly subdued. I was tired and still recovering from having a laser on my eyeballs. Then Orlando was standing right in front of us. I found myself screaming, hopping up and down and at one point singing. (I seriously have forgotten the song. For real, my mind can not remember. Shame will do that to you. It's self-preservation, you see.)

Orlando Bloom is fine for no reason whatsoever. He is ignorant fine. He is knuckle-biting fine. He is mighty thin, but he is fine. He is not as tall as I thought he would be, but he is still fine. (Jesus, dry me nigh the cross.) He is FINE. And you know, all he did was further fan my desire to live abroad and marry a European husband.

It was sad and pitiful all at the same time. We were somewhat embarrassed to be there and we didn't want to be seen by anyone that we knew. But if they're there...Nonetheless, every time one of the photographers from The Rage, The Scene or any one of the other papers raised their lens' we were bobbin' and weavin', duckin' and coverin' and doing all things necessary to NOT have our picture taken. But the minute Orly showed up, all shame was thrown to the wind. We ALL (we were there with 4 of our friends who were equally as giddy) morphed into 14-year-old girls. One of my friends almost knocked me to the ground. It's the last time that I will sleep on that chick. I just figured how much damage could a 5'2", 105lbs Asian do? OOOOKAY...

And as with all appearances of celebrities, we were yet again entertained by the antics of the post-adolescent fan. This was a sign made by some...ummm...overzealous fans.

Are those crayons?

I'm thinking that they wanted to use the word "ass" but their moms wouldn't let them. This is when you can imagine me pointing and laughing.

It is his smile that gives me hope. That makes me think,"You too can have a hot European guy for your very own." (many of you may have noticed that I have stopped limiting myself to the Brits. Recently developments have led me to believe that there is a WHOLE continent of options.)

I'm mad at that girl's head. She blocked my view and I was unable to capture the FULL beauty of his smile.

Anyway, I'm fading fast. Just know that we did not wile out. And I have a whole other camera that may contain even more pictures of one of God's greatest creations. Lord if you so desire...

Saturday, September 17, 2005


We just received word that Orlando Bloom will be all but a 20 minute drive from us tomorrow afternoon for the movie premiere of "Elizabethtown". Who decided to do this in Franklin, TN either does not know that Tia and I live here or well...I don't know. We are seriously considering setting up a Paypal account for those that would like to contribute to our bail money because I do not doubt that we will both wile the heck out. I am not saying that we will try to roll up on Orlando but it is Tia and I and well, things tend to "just happen" when we are together. Pics coming soon and hopefully they won't include mugshots.

And when is THIS guy coming to Tennessee???????

They must have warned Mos Def already.
Tag and I sat on the couch for about 4 hours one night watching Def Poetry Jam because much to Tia's regret, she showed me how to work the Comcast HBO on Demand function on our cable. This meant that at anytime at my leisure, I could watch Mos Def. I did not act right. We were all supposed to go to the movies but because I was now aware that I had access to instant Mos Def, I was glued. It has now "mysteriously" disappeared. I'm not saying Tia is to blame for it but if she is, she helped me out because it was surely becoming a problem.

Check out the new issue of Vibe for a tribute to Luther Vandross that is most well deserved. I was pretty dissappointed with how his passing did not get more press in magazines. Maybe it was just a big deal to me. Anyhow, it is a great issue and it has an article on that movie Afro-Punk and the Afro-Punk scene that inspired the movie. I am really going to need this movie to be on DVD REAL soon. The next page after the article has a fashion spread of black skaters. I almost passed out. A brother that skates? Lord, if you so desire to bless me, let it be so, let it be!

Okay, this is just ignorant.

Dear Mr. Mayer,
We don't know who told you to grow your hair out, get some highlights and start using "product" on it but we are for real going to need you to stop. This is unneccessary and making it difficult for us to act accordingly. We suggest that you don't come to Nashville either.

You've been warned,

Friday, September 16, 2005

BGLU News and Randomness-Toya

Tia and I are back from the doctor's office where she just had laser eye surgery. We are so Rachel and Monica, it is hilarious. I was really glad to be there with her because I could not imagine anyone going through this by themselves. I have a CRAZY phobia of anything to do with eyeballs. Like if I am watching a movie and I think someone's eye is going to pop out or get sucked out or stabbed or something, I get ill. Eyeballs make me nervous. So as much as I was trying to be encouraging and make her laugh, when she went under and I saw the surgery on the screen, I quickly regretted having that Otis Spuddermyer cookie a few minutes before.

While in the waiting room, I was reading Entertainment Weekly and they had an article about the new television season. Now I KNOW I just said that I wasn't that interested in television anymore but that was before I found out who the newest cast member of Half and Half is:


Joey Lawrence has been my guiltiest of pleasures since Blossom. Say what you will, when those Disney movies come out with all of the Lawrence brothers, I watch them every time. Don't even begin to ask me about the plot, premise, what have you about them, especially the one where he is on the ranch. Good God Almighty! I WILL be watching this week. Tia would like to add that she loves him as well. She is on the couch with her eyes closed looking like Ray Charles with these crazy glasses she has to wear for 2 days because of her surgery. I love her too much to laugh at her. Well, to continue to laugh at her anyway.

Also, the new GIRLFRIENDS season starts this week!!!! I'm sorry Oilpastels. It's one of our favorites. I love this show so much and I am absolutely crazy about Tracy Ellis Ross and must admit that she is the object of my current "girl crush". Girl crush is a term Tia and I use when we greatly admire another girl, usually a celebrity, and it is completely non-sexual. Tia has a girl crush on Beyonce'. Don't act like we are the only ones to ever have girl crushes! If anyone had tons of pics of Janet Jackson or Debbie Gibson back in the day, guess what? You have had a girl crush. I also love that cute dark skinned girl from the NERD videos "Frontin" and "Maybe".

My favorite new show has GOT to be Nick Cannon's Wildin' Out. I remember getting a text message while at the John Legend concert from a friend saying "Why is Common on the Nick Cannon show breakdancing!??" Just when I thought I couldn't love Common anymore*sigh* This show is HA-LARIOUS and I think Nick Cannon had a great idea with this.

We are watching the video for The Police's "Synchronicity II" ( actually, I am watching and Tia is listening because she has to keep her eyes closed all night) and have pretty much agreed that we would give up one of our toes to see them do a reunion concert. No lie.

I have been so busy as of late and have not been able to blog about so many things that have happened. Like the whole "George Bush does not care about black people" comment that Kanye West made. I was out one night and got a call from Tag who was in total shock. "You will not believe what Kanye did. Oh my gosh!" So when he got to the "and then Kanye said 'blase' blah" and paused for my reaction, I had none. I was truthfully waiting for the rest. "Can you believe that? I can't believe he said that!" Tag's point was that the telethon was to raise money for the Katrina victims and was not a place for one to express their political views. He felt as if though Kanye was being selfish. So I watched the clip on line for myself. First of all, i know that it was not supposed to be REMOTELY funny but Chris Tucker's reaction afterwards was HA-LARIOUS. It was that "Umm er ruh" type of reaction that just made me laugh everytime I watched it. I'm just wrong like that. But with that aside, I really felt for Kanye because I saw and understood his frustration. It wasn't so much a political stance as much as it was something that he took personally. If you notice when he was talking about the soldiers he very emotionally spoke about the military that were sent down to New Orleans to "shoot US". We later discussed it and I told Tag that I was really interested in knowing what transpired before Kanye went on the air because he looked like he was about to pop. It reminded me about the time I was in a meeting at a place I used to work that worked with youth ministries. We would go to youth worker conferences and me, being the token black person there (I can admit it now) would always be the one to talk to the black youth leaders about their concerns. I felt that the company I worked for had the resources to help a lot of these black youth leaders but had no initiative and had made promises upon promises of all we would do to help them but no one would follow through. So one day, after hearing the same crap time and time again about what we did was all about the youth, I spoke up. I was very choked up and could barely get my words out. "You know (insert boss' name here), when you say this is all about the youth, I wonder if you are talking about all youth or just white youth. If it's white youth then tell me so I know where I stand. let me know what I am working with here." Then I added something about what these urban youth workers were up against and how no one there seemed to care about them and then I burst into tears. Was it the most appropriate thing to say in the middle of a company meeting? Probably not. But I had gotten to the point where I was taking their negligence personally. I aint mad at Kanye.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Should've Known Better-Toya
Say what you will, Richard Marx is STILL the man.

Late one night I was checking my email after not being home all day. One of my favorite and most sweet readers sent me this message:

hey hon, so i was reading the latest at BGLU and was totally inspired by the fact that you followed God's will with all that Tag stuff. i've kinda had the same thing goin on with a good friend of mine, and i've been so torn. but you're lil post was such an inspiration on the situation :) .

I felt like crap knowing that that same night she wrote that I was in Tag's car about to make a huge mistake. Would that also be an inspiration? I hope so. Hopefully it would be an inspiration to not make the same mistakes I have.

Before I go into my "See what had happened was..." story let me just say this: I for real, quite honestly did not see this coming. AT ALL. I know that in my posts, crossing the line was something I feared but it was the desire that scared me and not the fact that it could possibly be a reality.

On one particular night we had a blast. We went to a show, we laughed together, we prayed together and we just loved being together. I didn't want to leave. To make a looooong story just long, at the end of the night we hugged a little longer than usual, exchanged I love yous (not our regular "hey love ya's")and almost kissed. Almost. I knew when we hugged that it wasn't our normal hug. I still don't know how it didn't happen. I am not going to lie. Some days I wish we did but every day I am glad we didn't because with us just almost kissing, things got so weird between us that I wish I could take that night back.

I know, I know. I just said the VERY night before that Tag was like my little brother. But as I put it to him the night we finally talked about what was going on between us, he's 20 not 8 and he's beautiful, he loves the Lord and he is one of my closest friends that I unexpectedly had just completely given my heart too. I don't even know when. Neither one of us knows how we got so close this fast. We haven't a clue.

The day after, I spoke with a mentor of mine and we talked about setting boundaries in business relationships. It reminded me that Tag and I needed some boundaries in our friendship. So when he called me late that night, I brought up the fact that maybe we needed to think about setting some boundaries within our friendship because there was a possibility that we were already too close. He was NOT having it. "WHYYYYYY" he interrupted (a funny thing about Tag is that when he gets upset he sounds really country. I told him that the word Why should not have that many syllables.) I couldn't really explain why. He wouldn't let me explain why. He just went clean OFF. He told me that what we had was so beautiful and that things did not need to change. It's not like we've kissed. It's not like he caught feelings for me and I had feelings for him. Right? I started to back down and take back what I meant. I got embarrassed because I was thinking "So I am TOTALLY alone here and what I felt last night was just me?" We got off of the phone and I went upstairs to tell Tia. I was in shock. "He threw a tantrum didn't he?" She asked rather matter of factly, barely looking up from her computer. "Yeah!" I answered, completely puzzled because I felt like I didn't even know the person that I was just on the phone with. "Hmm. Just like my Tag?" OH SNAP. I forgot that when Tia told her Tag that they needed to cool it, he did all but sit in the corner rocking back and forth sucking his thumb. Tia told me flat out that I had to tell him that I almost kissed him. I started getting dressed. "Where are you going?" Tia asked. "Downtown. We have to talk this out. I don't care if it is just me, he needs to know how I feel." I knew I loved him too much as a friend to not tell him the truth. I called him back and said "Our conversation over the phone just now was a train wreck. How long will you be downtown?" "I'll be here" he said. "I"ll be there in 15 minutes", I replied and high tailed it downtown.

We met downtown and we didn't even bring "it" up for almost an hour. He finally brought it up by saying "I am going to miss being here with you. I am gonna miss us chillin' like this. That' s why when you started talking about boundaries and stuff , I panicked." "You never even let me tell you why, Tag".I said. He denied that. I told him that he never let me even say what the boundaries were. He apologized, pulled his cap down over his eyes and told me to go ahead. I asked him to move his hat because I wanted to see his face. He agreed and sat there uncomfortably. I then went into this spiel about how I was older and wiser and knew a little bit more than he did about the hazards in platonic relationships. I said that it would be wise to be proactive...or some crap. Hey it sounded good to me. Evidently, he knew it was crap because this boy started to change on me. He sat straight up and looked me dead in my eye. I think he even grew a little because all of the sudden he just got real, um, manly.

"You know what?" he asserted" Don't sugar coat it Toya, I want you to say it. Say exactly what's on your mind".

"What? I just think that maybe we should be careful." He didn't want me to say IT, did he?

"Just say it, Toya."

Frustrated, I looked at him like I was about to drop the bomb heard around the world and said"You want me to say it? Fine. Fine! I'll say it. I almost kissed you last night and it freaked me out."

He calmly looked at me and said"Well, I almost kissed you last night and it freaked me out too."

Wait, what?

I asked him why he said what he said about neither of us having feelings for one another. "That's because I would have never thought that you would feel the same way." Oh no. How did we get here, I thought. After we both came clean, he went on to say some of the most beautiful things that anyone has ever said about me in my life. "It was inevitable. You're beautiful. You are so much of what I want and if you were any younger I would be absolutely in love with you. I wasn't afraid that if we kissed it would be awkward. I was afraid that if we kissed it would be amazing and I would be jacked up." He then went onto tell me exactly what I meant to him and how much he depended on me. That the reason why he panicked is because he could not imagine his life without me. I have never been so touched in my life.

What has happened within the last few weeks is way too long of a story to tell and I don't really want to relive it. I did that too much after things got squirrelly between us. So instead of writing a novel on the whole situation, I will give some key points on what I have learned.

Every one of my friends asked me "Are you sure that there isn't something a little more going on with you two?" Naaaaah!!! Tag???!! He's practically 12 years old. The age thing was a safe front for the both of us. Even his mom asked. Later, every one of my friends, guy and girl said "You know, I saw this coming." I have been the only one freaked out about this. Even Tag said that he knew the second night we hung out that it was inevitable. He told me"I said to myself 'You are walking in a minefield'". I was in such denial. What I didn't expect was that any sort of feelings would go both ways. Sure I had a little crush on Tag. EVERYBODY who has met Tag has a little crush on Tag! A few of my friends saw us getting too close too soon and I just didn't see how I could put the breaks on us. I didn't want to. I didn't want things to change even though I was starting to wonder if our relationship was becoming an unhealthy one for a man and a woman regardless of age. I am no stranger to hard to break emotional attachments. This is not the first time that one of my friendships have gotten squirrelly and these are the kind of situations that are the hardest and take the longest to get over.

2. Just Because Your Feelings Change about a Situation Does Not Mean that the Situation has Changed and You Should Let Your Guard Down
A very wise friend of mine previously advised me to not be in the car alone with him so late at night. This was when I just had thoughts. I just had "what ifs". But because I felt like things were so different, I thought I was in the clear after just feeling different one day. Not so.

3. Swallow Your Pride or You Will Always Be in Denial
I felt like I had embarrassed myself in front of everyone. I had to force myself to talk about it because I needed to know where the breakdown was. How am I, Toya, wrestling with feelings for this child? Well he's not a child and told me point blank that I hurt his feelings when I say things like "But it's YOU! This is not even supposed to be a problem cause well, it's YOU! Your like my little brother!" No he's not. Because for the first time in our relationship, when we came clean about it all, I realized that he is a man. A man that truly loves me and cherishes me as a woman and as a friend.

However, point 4...

4. Ladies, When Guys Tell You These Beautiful Things About You, Them Saying It Does Not MAKE them True!!!! They (the ones with good intentions anyway)are Saying These Things Because They ARE True. That night when Tag shared with me how much I mean to him, he made me feel like I was the most beautiful girl walking, inside and out. What woman does not want to be told that they are irresistibly beautiful and that a guy just couldn't help himself? Not just that but he told me so many things about me that he cherishes. And those were the things that I know that most women want to hear that they are to a man. However, these are things that God has designed us to be. The very things that make each woman a woman. We can so easily get emotionally attached to a man that tells us how they see us and it shouldn't DEFINE us, it should REMIND us. Heck yeah, I am going to be a great wife because I am supportive and thoughtful, secure, godly and beautiful. I was before Tag and I am without Tag. I can't wish that things were different with him because of a lack of faith that can creep in that no one is ever going to see me how he sees me. That's a lie. We can't let ourselves get sucked into something that we can't get out of because of how someone makes us feel. I love me some Tag but we both know good and well that we do not want to be together. Which leads me to my last point...

5. Let Your Yea Be Your Yea and Your Nay Be Your Nay
The next couple of nights that we hung out together were the hardest even after we set the boundary of no more alone time in the car (for the record, cold showers are not overrated). It seemed that everytime we said goodbye the thought of us finally kissing was in the back of my mind and I played with that thought a bit too much. It was almost like who was going to give in first? We were pretty open about it. TOO OPEN. One night it was definitely me trying to get him to give in and even though he looked at me for a while, he didn't do it. He later told me that that was the hardest time he has had trying to not kiss me. Damn him and his willpower! Why does he respect me so much especially when I am not acting respectable? What kind of man does that? A godly man that loves me and our friendship more than his desire to kiss me and screw it up. So when I realized that, i felt like the biggest horny Jezebel and apologized. I called him freaking out (high drama) "Is this how it is going to be everytime we say goodbye? Is this always going to be an issue?" He was like "I don't know what to tell you, Toya. Do you want me to turn the car around so we can just get it over with?" I was so mad at myself. "NO! I don't. I don't believe this. If this was any other guy there would be no back and forth on this." And it's true. I would have been kissed him if this was almost anyone else. He said the same thing. We just can't. "This is what I don't understand" he confessed. "Why are we going through all of this and we don't even want to be together?" "I KNOW!!!!!" I said. I mean we really don't. It's not just the age thing either. We are not even compatible that way. We are truly like brother and sister. I would STRANGLE him on a DAILY basis. If it was just the age difference this would be harder to deal with.

We are so good now. We are better than back to normal because we are better than where we were. I told him that this has proven how strong our friendship really is. This whole thing has made me officially tired. Has anyone ever felt like they have liked so many guys and have given so much emotionally that they just want to give their heart a rest? It's like you heart is screaming ENOUGH. If anyone has been reading our blog a while, you know that I have gone through my fair share of boy drama. These past two years have been crazy because I went from being totally closed off to the thought of love and commitment to being more vulnerable than I ever could imagine. So while praying the other day after church where I was greeted by Guy A and his new fiance' ("Hey did you get one of our invitations? You look so nice in that color!") I told God that my heart just feels stretched out of shape. I mean it has been beat up and I just want a break. God is truly, truly changing me. I have been spending a lot more time alone reading and watching close to no television. I actually got back on my turntables last night to help me relax. Half of the time I don't answer the phone. I am not depressed at all. I just need to do me right now and make myself available to God so He can change me. Only He can prepare me to not make the same mistakes again.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

honestly if you don't love Stephen and the boys after this then...we don't love you

Friday, September 9, 2005

where were you? - tia

So we’ve been a little pre-occupied as evidenced by our lack of posting. Toya is still trying to work it out. I on the other hand have been too busy to even use my brand new wide screen kick butt Dell Laptop that I acquired at a 40% discount. (Thank you Lord.) I have come to the conclusion that my job is getting in the way of my life. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do about that. But as soon as I figure it out I will let you know. And now…my thoughts

Oh how the mighty have fallen
I think it was last week when I read that Suge Knight had been shot. I know that this is a terrible thought but my first thought was, “Serves him right for what he did to Pac.” If you are still one of the few who think that Suge had NOTHING to do with Pac’s murder then you are in abject denial. I mean for real. Pac got LIT up and one little baby bullet grazed Suge. C’mon man.

Anyway, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little disappointed when I found out that it was only a minor leg wound. I know, I know, it’s a terrible thing to wish harm on any of God’s children regardless of how trifling, despicable, and degenerate that particular child may be. But that’s how I felt and we are nothing else if not honest here. Besides, Suge is going to make a full recovery. So he’ll live to get shot at, I mean, fight another day. But I bet you he will think twice the next time he goes out.

In the sad and tragic vein
This story popped up on my home page and you KNOW I had to read. I mean it’s Bryan Abrams.

Okay, I don’t know what’s worse. The fact that fine as frog’s hair Bryan Abrams may be a deadbeat dad to not one but 2 children. Or the fact that knuckle-biting fine, sing his behind off Bryan Abrams is working at a tire store in Oklahoma City.

Now I have been to Oklahoma City. It’s not that big. In fact, the company I work for has clients out there. If for some reason I should be called upon to go out there for work purposes, don’t think I will not do my VERY best to run up on Bryan Abrams.

And if you were wondering, because I know I was, yes,
Shon Gables is black. She’s cute too.

I got that itch
Reason #297 why my job is getting in my way: I can’t travel like I want. Yes, I get to travel all of the time. But who really wants to go to Rochester or Buffalo? I mean, really. Granted, I do get to go to some fun places, like Philly, but for the most part, I’m in cities like Camp Hill, PA. You don’t even know where that is, do you? Anyway, I love to travel…when it’s not work related. I have been to London twice, Paris, Lucerne, Switzerland, Pisa, Rome, Florence, and Melbourne. So as you can see, I like to get out. The problem is the catch twenty-two. My current job affords me the finances to live the lifestyle that I want. It just does not afford me the time. Now I could leave my job so that I have more time to do the stuff I want (like model) but there is no guarantee that I would be able to afford the affluent travel schedule that I so desire. I gotta say that the work conundrum is bugging the crap out of me.

This guy on myspace tracked me down b/c he said I “sounded interesting.” I usually don’t buy into the Internet stalkers. But his persistence got the better of my curiosity. I emailed him back and we got to talking. He seems like a nice enough guy. But I’m more interested in his location than him. (Although he is mighty fine, but I don’t know him from Adam, so his fineosity REALLY doesn’t matter.) He lives in Germany and has all of these pictures of Germany and Amsterdam on his personal site. I have to say that I never had any interest in going to Amsterdam until I saw those pictures. Now I’ve got the itch. It is so beautiful. I began to have visions of myself walking up and down the canal in the fall in my fashionable pea cot with my very European knock-off handbag. But alas, the reality of my job set in and realized that even if I did decided to go, I couldn’t go until the spring. I guess I just don’t know why I’m not independently wealthy.

Yes, I’m whining. Sorry, I’ll stop. Especially in light of current events…

And speaking of
Am I the only person who is HIGHLY pissed off at the government for the handling of the Katrina disaster?

I wouldn’t in any way say that I’m a racist. In the past I may have had some racist thoughts but God has done a great renewal in my heart. But nonetheless, I am still a black woman. I may have something of a mixed background, but the heart of who I am is a black woman. And when one hurts we all hurt.

I have cried RIVERS of tears in the past week and a half or so. My heart has been repeatedly broken by the images that I’ve seen in the media. And the question that resonates the loudest is, “Why the HELL did it take so long?” The poor, disenfranchised people of the gulf coast, the majority of which were black, were left to drown, starve or dehydrate to death. They were told to evacuate. They were too poor to leave. They were herded to locations of “safety” only to be attacked, starved, and basically left to die. We are so quick to help the poor, impoverished, and disenfranchised of other nations. But we dropped the ball when it came to AMERICANS.

I’ve read reports from the white house calling the claims of racism “disgusting.” But I have to wonder and I know that I’m not the only one, if this had been Maine, Connecticut, or Vermont, would the response time have been as long? If Oprah could make it down to New Orleans in 1 day, why couldn’t FEMA? Was it maybe because it hit a little closer to home for her then it did for some wealthy, safe and well-fed politician on Capital Hill?

We may never know why things went so wrong. But I do know that I’m pissed and hurt. My sense of patriotism has taken a devastating blow. And I wonder if I will ever feel the same about the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Monday, September 5, 2005

I'm sure that like us all of you have been floored by the recent tragedy in New Orleans. It's been a little overwhelming on this end. Toya has relatives in LA (all accounted for) and one of her close friends has family that are still missing. So please pray for the missing, for the families who've lost loved ones and for our government. Pray that they will get their butts up off their shoulders and help those people.

We Love Y'all. We'll be back soon.
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