Friday, April 28, 2006

aaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - tia

That was pretty much my reaction when I saw this picture.

Lord Jesus, draw me nigh...DRAW ME NIGH!!!!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why we love Bob - tia

Now, I have known for a while that Robert DeNiro (or Bob as we call him) has a black wife. But I can't tell you how happy I am to see her.

This is Bob and the Mrs. (Grace Hightower) at the Tribeca Film Festival.


I'm just saying.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Be Still My Beating Heart-Toya

A friend of mine told me that she saw this video and thought of me...because it was about brothas skateboarding....*Sigh* Jesus loves me, this I know...


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Countdown to Armegeddon-Toya

Look man, they gotta eat too. I am not mad at this, just in shock. When I am able to actually get my chin up off of the floor, maybe I will be able to engage in conversation about this. Until I can collect myself, feel free to discuss this amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Coloured People - Tia

Lord have mercy I miss black people.

Don't get me wrong. I like everybody. I don't understand people who are racist. It just makes no sense to me to not like someone because of the color of their skin. HOWEVER, just because I like everybody doesn't mean I don't LOVE my people. Yeah, we do some foolish stuff sometimes (if I sat here and named it all I would never finish this post) but I still LOVE my folks. And recently I have been missing my people.

I live in Nashville. Not the pinnacle of black folks believe it or not. And I don't know if it's the frequent trips to Atlanta I have been making or what, but every time I come back to N'Vegas I realize that I really don't know a lot of brown folks and it's really beginning to bother me.

There is nothing like being black. I would have it no other way. If I had to be anything else, I don't know what I would do. (Rican would be okay I guess, but that's about it.) There is a love amongst black people that I don't know exist among any other race. Maybe it's because I'm not another race, but I don't see other people kickin' it like we do.

I mean, do white people "hook each other up?" I know you're trying to buy a fridge today. But if you wait until tomorrow all of these are going to be 50% off. But you didn't hear it from me. (Said to me by a sistah sales associate at the Sears Outlet) Do Asian people "feel it" when a classic song comes on? (Between Toya and I there are so many "aww shoot"s when we listen to music. I mean, if The Gap Band, Jeffrey Osborne and LTD, and Stevie Wonder don't move you, then you may want to check your pulse because you're dead inside.) Can Ricans communicate with nothing more than a head nod and a look? (If you've never given anyone the silent "what's up?" then you ain't down)

I love my folks. It's like a family. Everybody has that crazy uncle that don't act right but you still love him. And for some reason lately I have not been feeling the love. I need more black people in my life. The thing is I don't know how to rectify the situation.

Where does one go to get more brown folks in their world? Nashville got a little something something for the coulored folks on Sunday nights but I can rarely ever make it. Plus I don't do late nights on school nights. I have a grown up job with grown up hours. And though I've heard that the grown and sexy (G&S for short) are out and about on Sunday nights, this G&S doesn't like being tired at work.

But is there a club...a website or something? I want to be down. I want to sit with some G&S brown folks around a nice dinner with some good wine discussing any and everything. I want to listen to Outstanding while playing dominoes at a barbeque. I don't want to have to explain why my hands are in the air, my eyes are closed and I'm swaying when Where Did We Go Wrong? comes on. I want people around me who understand why movies like The Color Purple, Friday, The Wiz, and Soul Food are instant classics. (You know a movie is a classic when someone can mention the title and a line from the movie immediately pops into your head. In order: "All my life I had to fight." "What's up Big Perm, I mean Big Worm." "You can't win." I can't mention the line from Soul Food that I know. It's profane. Period.) I...I just need my people.

And for the record
There are limited spots for those down with my people. (You know who you are.) More spots are likely to open up as the number of brown folks increases. Right now there must be a distinct brown folks to non-brown folks ratio. So some of y'all might not make it to the first round of barbeques. But I'll put you on the list.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

OMG - tia

My friend Taryn is over and we're watching a Bollywood film. Somehow we went from the hot guy with 3 thumbs to the Mr. T rap. Yes, you heard me....the Mr. T rap. You can head on over to her site to see the hot 3 thumbed guy. But because I love you I figured I would post the Mr. T rap here. I just love you guys so much.

(If for some reason you can't see the video, click the screen and play it directly from ifilm. It's a good time I promise.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Living On the Edge-Toya
There really is such a thing as "good ugly". For instance, Joe Perry from Aerosmith (who did Living on the Edge) is good ugly. Dave Grohl is good ugly. This is why Tia and I were meant to be friends. She feels the same way. Pretty boys? Uh uh. Give me one with a snarl and scar on his cheek any day of the week.

Me:"You know I am really on the edge when I start twitchin"
Tia: " Oh. I didn't want to say anything cause I thought something was in your eye but Tuesday? Yeah, your right eye was twitching."

Nervous twitching started when I was at that one job that drove me crazy and I wound up not getting fired but "let go" cause it wasn't a "good fit". Not that job, the one before that. The last time I remember twitching was when I found out that Gloria, the co-worker from hell (much like the one that initiated the first episode of twitching) was only going to get off with a warning after being completely insubordinate to me, the manager, in front of numerous customers. So it was no surprise really that I started to twitch on Tuesday because it was Tuesday that I found out that our lead singer had quit the group with no warning whatsoever.

It's been a long two weeks. I have had to deal with some crazy stuff. We all have. One day, I walked into a lobby to use the phone and turned around to find that I was standing in front of a huge poster with my face (as well as the other girls' faces) blown up on it. Feeling like I was on Punk'd, I walked around on the other side only to see another picture of us. I quickly hung up the phone and walked out of the room to go collect myself because it was too surreal. There have been some fun times, some difficult adjustments, some great fans, some miscommunication and some great food (note:impossible to low carb on the road. Hellooooo Slim Fast bars.) Even with all of the pressure we have had to endure, I never thought that one of us would up and quit, especially not now. Our record is (was) due out this Summer. Now, we aren't so sure.

There is a lot of tension right now. So much so that my anger went from 0-120 in about .0008 seconds with another girl in the group some time today. I had every rite to be mad, that wasn't the problem. What worried me was how angry I got in such a short amount of time. In discussing it with Tia, it was then I realized that with all of the stress of my job (and trying to keep one), finances, adjusting to life as an artist while learning the business, feeling like I am married to 3 other people and going to bed late in a room that never manages to stay clean that it is safe to say that I am officially on the edge.

But there is a peace I have about everything. Unlike our singer that left, I am fully persuaded that I am where I am supposed to be. I know that it was God that has allowed me to be in the position I am in with very little doing on my own. The pressure is not on me to make things right, the pressure is on His promises. Since God feels no pressure in being God, things will be okay. However, I am not an android and sometimes stress takes its toll.

This weekend we have no shows but I do have a wedding to go to where all of the members (including the ex-member) will be present and together for the first time since the shocking news. One thing about being in a Christian music group: you better try your best to walk the talk with all of the humility, forgiveness and love that a human being can muster when you publicly claim that you are a follower of the greatest forgiver to ever walk the earth and endured the sins of all mankind; a level of stress that I could not even to begin to imagine.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I’ve got the victory..Yeah, Yeah….YEEAAAHHH – Tia
(see Yolanda Adam’s Victory for the reference)

I have been gone a while. I realized it when I noticed that I hadn’t posted anything of substance since last year. Writing used to be cathartic. It became something I just didn’t feel like doing. It was a lot like everything else.

I’m not sure when it happened but life just seemed to take a downward spiral. My mother, my ex-, my life seemed to be more than I could handle. So I just shut down. No writing. No activities. No life. I spent days on end wondering why I was even alive. Nothing seemed to be going well. I couldn’t be bothered to write….or anything else for that matter. I put on weight. I just stopped caring. A day consisted of work and crying. I even stopped believing that God cared. “How could a God who cared about me allow my life to become this bad?” It was a struggle just to get out of bed.

I was diagnosed with situational depression. “But Christians don’t get depressed”, I thought. And surely black women don’t get depressed. As much as we’ve gone through since…well since forever, black women have been the strong ones. I fought it off. I was strong. I was a BLACK WOMAN. I was FINE. I wasn’t fine. Far from it. I was sad. I was lonely. I was bruised. My SPIRIT was weary. (That last statement has to be said like the Jail Bird twins from IDOL.) I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel because in my mind there was no end. Confusion, fear, depression had me gripped up and I’d lost the will to try to fight anymore.

I had never been a place that dark before in my entire life. And there seemed to be nothing that I could do about it. It was when I finally just gave up that I began to see.

I am the oldest of 3 and have been through more than the average person. Because of circumstance I grew up believing that I had to do it all on my own. I had to fix everyone and everything around me. The need for control was stifling at times. I knew I was anal (my cds were alphabetized by artist and then release date, my DVDs are alphabetized and my closet is in order by the ROYGBIV color scheme.) I just didn’t know why. What I’ve come to realize is that I felt the need to control everything and sometimes everyone around me because there were so many things that I couldn’t control in the past and can’t control now.

But see the thing about God is HE wants the control. Not because he is an evil dictator, but because he knows what’s going on. He can see the big picture while we can only see in real time. Being the loving God that he is he gave us free will. But I’ve come to realize that free will can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you use it. And I had allowed my will to trump letting God lead. I was a petulant child; my will grasp tightly in my sweaty little palm. I can control it because I’m holding it so tightly…right…Right…RIGHT?!?!?


I was MISERABLE. And I didn’t know what to do. It was as I lay on my bed in a ball of tears and despair that I finally gave up. And in that moment of repentance and surrender I felt like God said, “I got you.” I finally realized, HE GOT THIS!!!

I began to realize that I didn’t have to walk in fear of the future, of the unknown, of failure. Because as I surrendered to him he would lead me. I began to understand that even though I thought I had to fix my mother, it really wasn’t my job. God got that, too. I began to see that forgiveness was not a one time thing, but something that I had to choose to walk in daily. (I’m still working on that. My ex’s wife called me and acted a fool. That’s some –ish that I can’t soon forgive or forget. But I’m working on it. ) And most of all I realized that healing is not an instance thing. It is a lifetime journey. There are ups and downs. There days when you will feel completely free and others when you won’t. But on the days that I don’t I now know that God’s got me. Because I’m free. Even though I may not feel it, I believe. He said it

So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

I know that God is leading me. I know that he has a plan for me. And I’m learning to not be afraid, to not let circumstances define me. I’m realizing my past does not dictate my future. Sure, there are things in my past that have scarred and still hurt, but I know that God is healing me. Who I was then does not have to be who I will become. What has happened to me may have shaped me (because no matter what, life shapes you whether you want it to or not) but I don’t have to allow to keep forming. If I will allow him, God will do great things in and through me. My will may seem like the best way, but I now know that his will is the only way.

He doesn’t want a mindless drone that is incapable of making decisions. Nor does he want a control freak whose every choice is dictated by a broken wounded self. He wants his beloved daughter to seek his face and his kingdom because she knows HE GOT THAT. And because she knows that in doing so, everything else will be added: career, husband, finances…PEACE.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

God’s shaping me. I hate that it took me having to reach the lowest point in my human existence before I would give up my will. But hey, sistahs ain’t perfect. And I know that at the end of this when it is time for my voice to be heard, I’m gonna have a helluva story to tell.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

Sunday, April 9, 2006

So Much to Say, So Much to Say- Toya

I have no idea how we are going to keep up with this blog with everything going on. I totally intended on writing something for the third anniversary of this blog which was on the 3rd but I couldn't. I LOVE writing and I love getting feedback from everyone who reads this so I will make more of an effort to write often. It's just one of the many sacrifices that I have to start making.

Did I mention that I lost my job...AGAIN!? I don't recall if I wrote this in my last post but after telling me that my schedule which had me working 10 hour days Monday-Thursday so I can do shows on weekends (which we already have a ton of. This is all moving so fast) was alright, they renigged and said that it was impossible. However, I did get yet another going away party.

God is faithful. This is evident. It's been evident. I can look over the past few years now and let out a big "Oooooooh, I see" when I think of so many things that have changed in my life. It's evident in the warning signs He has given me to not do some really stupid things, all the while showing me grace as I dare to test the waters. It's been evident in when I have nothing else to depend on but His faithfulness and then He provides in miraculous ways. But most of all, and this is one of my favorite things about God, is the that He is faithful to ""discipline those He loves. It used to be when I thought about this verse, I equated discipline with punishment. That's not true really.

Discipline includes strengthening and testing. For example, I have been getting disciplined all week. This past week for me has been artist boot camp: countless interviews, shows, meet and greets, traveling, you name it. I really don't know if anyone can be prepared for this even if they have wanted to do this their entire life, which I have not. I have learned so much in just a week about myself, the other girls in the group, the industry, and life in general. Here are just a a few things I have learned thus far:

1. Because It's Really Love
I always thought that I was really good at loving others. I am all hugs, all encouragement, and often very thoughtful when it comes to making others feel loved. However, I have found that I am only good at making others feel loved MY way. For instance, Tia loves when things are clean and orderly. When trying to grasp this one Valentine's Day, I cleaned her bathroom for her. She was elated. In seeing how elated she was over that it made me ask myself if I truly do a good job in serving others and loving them sacrificially. Loving people and having happy feelings about them are two completely different things. Loving Tia my way is putting a note on the fridge that says "Have a Stellar Day! Love Ya Bunches" and she appreciates that. However, making her life a little easier and less stressful when she comes home would take me maybe putting all my shoes and laundry upstairs instead of leaving them downstairs. See the difference? People often have different love languages and you can either love them in a way that makes you most comfortable or in a way where that person knows that they are truly loved. Because I am a follower of Christ, I aim to do it His way: He could've easily written me a nice long letter expressing His love for me but instead He gave His life. There is no greater love or sacrifice and that is NOT comfortable.

2. The Man in the Mirror
Being in a music group and being a roommate is a lot like marriage. It involves commitment and sacrifice. Another thing is that it stretches you because you often see your faults magnified about 20x because you are constantly around another person or in my case, 3. I got furious with one of the girls one day and have not said a word about it yet. I am not one to shirk from confrontation by any means but I did not have peace about approaching her because I realized that I needed to remove the telephone pole out of my eye before attempting to talk about the splinter in hers. Was she dead wrong? OH yes. But she would have had every rite in the free world to turn the situation on me because my attitude this week has not been all that peachy either. I need to ask for some forgiveness before I check somebody else and when I do it, it has to be in love. This gives me a headache like you would not believe.

3. Leave Me Alone
I was in the car coming home from our fifth show this week, praising God that I am not married or dating. Truth be told, and no need to look out of your window for flying swine, I don't want to date anyone right now. I REALLY don't. My life is a whirlwind and I am learning so much about myself that I am coming to realize who I truly am. Not that I have never been real, but I am growing into a new person and I need to find out who that is.

And it's a daggone shame too cause I have been around more cute guys that love Jesus this week than I have been in months! If they aren't married, I don't really talk to them much. The main reason for that is that even though I wrote a goodbye letter to every guy in my past (see New Year's Eve post) there is one (I won't mention) guy who I have seriously had a hard time letting go and I am still pretty bruised because of it. So it's best for me to just be cordial and I am fine with that. I have prayed and cried and prayed and cried and have finally told God that I am no longer praying about my husband. I have put in various requests, made notes, torn out magazine pictures and written umpteen lists to make sure that God knew exactly what I was looking for. And then I met him and realized he wasn't it. LOL! There's nothing else to do but live my life and leave it up to God.

That's it in a nutshell. I know there is more but I just got off the road and am exhausted. Real life starts back tomorrow and I need to find yet another job.