Women’s Month: Wanika Hightower-Scott

These series have opened up the discussion for various topics.  Your feedback has been incredible.  I would like to introduce you to Wanika Hightower-Scott, a married mom of 2.

Being married usually is the marrying of two families together.  In an ideal world, both families blend well.  There are cookouts, birthday parties, holidays, etc but what happens when your village has to be cut? 

When you get married one of the phrases you hear is that the married couple is to leave and cleave.  However like most couples you don’t cut your family off.  You want to bring your family into your beautiful union.  At 24 Wanika had found the love of her life.  She had a baby and of course through persuasion of others marriage seemed like the natural step.

Ladies, I’ve always caution couples from marrying for the children’s sake.  Marry because you love your mate, willing to make your commitment work, and desire marriage.  Wanika found herself in a whirlwind of persuasion.  Now don’t read into this she loved and still loves her husband.

Balance in marriage is always hard.  To know how much you let others into your union is tricky no matter what.  After a few drama filled issues the stand that Wanika and her husband took to eliminate the village completley was hard.  Can you imagine the ones that you thought was in your corner having to say wait, let’s re-evaluate this?!  That’s what they did as a couple. 

Cutting out all voices and hands in the pot allowed her to know as a wife that she could make decisions and support her own family without influence.  She and her husband realized that they were strong enough to survive.  Her motto is “us against the world.” 

If you’re reading this and thinking that you couldn’t take that step that’s fine but consider this point, if anyone’s voice is stronger in your union than you and your mate’s than you need to cleave to your mate.  We all need support from time to time but a crutch in your marriage is actually more hurtful than you can ever know.

You made a vow between you, God, and your mate and if the ship sinks or fails it’s up to you and your mate to see it through.  It’s not that family or friends are a cancer to a marriage but it can be if you give them too much say.  No one should be involved with the intimate part of your marriage. 

Here are my suggestions to keep your marriage stronger:

1. Never tell family and friends pillow talk shared between you and your mate

2. Keep your mate first and make others respect it yes even your parents need to know this as well

3. Make your own traditions with your new family

4. Keep venting about your mate’s negative traits to a minimal, people don’t forgive as quickly as you

If you have a village that supports you consider yourself blessed.  In this age not all families are able to support without feeling as if they should have control.  I’m not against villages at all.  Some villages are a great tool to support a budding marriage.  However trust your instincts and always make you and your husband the priority. 

Lastly after talking to Wanika I wanted to know with all the things that took place in her marriage did she have any regrets?  Her regret isn’t in marrying her husband but in how early they married.  Marriage is hard already one and then marrying young isn’t for everybody because you need to know yourself.  Wanika would love for people to slow things down. 

I know many women who are in the same situation as Wanika.  I also know marriages who have fallen apart because of people becoming too involved.  It’s up to you and your mate to make the lines between you first and then make others respect it as well.  Sometimes people’s feelings will be hurt but if genuine respect can’t be given, you have to do what’s best for your family.

Ladies, what do you think is a parent, family or friend worth your relationship?

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Women’s Month: Enjolii Gantz

I’m sure you have already been getting your fill of these beautiful women.  It’s time to highlight another woman.

Enjolii Gantz is married and a mother of two, a daughter who is almost 5 and an eleven year old son.  She is ambitious and hardworking.  She takes being a mother and wife serious.  She jokes that in her circle often times she comes off as too real or harsh but that when you are a real friend if you can’t have truth amongst friends what do you really have?!

Had a recent chat with her about womanhood and the one thing that stuck out was woman being confident in themselves regardless if they have someone or not.  It’s no secret that most women crave relationship or companionship. It should come as to no surprise either the lengths women will go to obtain it.

Look at most of the reality shows today and most are based on obtaining a man even if the man isn’t yours to begin with.  Enjolii’s hope is for women to see the value in themselves instead of placing a high value in having a man by their side. 

Again you know I there are women reading this and thinking that it’s easy for Enjolii to say because she’s married.  It goes back to the themes I’ve used consistently that just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have hit the ceiling of life.  You can be single at any moment.  Enjolii wasn’t always married.  There were moments where you want to be a wife but it shouldn’t over shadow you that you can’t function outside of your marriage.

The other issue is even in marriage people have it pinned that the wife is supposed to do it all.  That means take care of the kids, run the house, and tend to their husbands.  Women are changing what it means to be a wife but the burden sometimes is on the woman.

What happens when you aren’t confident in what you bring to the table?  What about if you get married but you aren’t fulfilled as a person?  Make sure that you are where you need to be before you bring someonelse into your life. A confident woman who is secure in herself won’t allow herself to accept some of the games that men play because instead of just settling, they inquire more.  You take the rush out of getting any person when you are satisfied.  Being satisfied single doesn’t always mean you have to like being single either.  It means you are okay until the right one comes along.

Also we have to instill confidence in our daughters.  They are growing up emulating what we do.  If they see you bouncing from man to man it will be common place for them to do the same.  Set goals, set standards on love and relationship.  Be clear on good examples of healthy relationships so they can emulate it in their own lives.

I for one applaud a woman who can recognize that it takes more than a wedding gown and ring to be satisfied.  Many women are chasing after the wedding, but what about the marriage?! Preparing for marriage happens in your single days.  It takes confidence to make a great sacrifice and it takes will to make it work.  Marriage isn’t all glamorous like others would paint it so don’t enter it likely.

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Women’s Month: Zanika Hightower

So this month we will be highlighting women from all walks of life.  I want to showcase women from every age, and stage with different ideas, thoughts and views.

Today I want to highlight Zanika Hightower.  Zanika is a 27 year old office manager for a medical office.  She is also a mother to an almost 6 year old daughter.  I had the opportunity to speak to her about what she felt she wanted people to know about her. 

I personally met Zanika when she and her family came to my home church in Lancaster, PA.  She is a twin it’s definitely one of the first things I knew about her. I’ve worked with her during various events at our church.  She’s definitely grown up now. Zanika is definitely a go getter.  She strives to provide for her daughter.   She’s serious about her career.  At 27, her wisdom  definitely surpasses her years.

During our conversation the one thing that struck out to me was her desire to be celibate.  Yes you read correctly.  Celibate.  Think about that for just a second.  No sex and you’re in your 20s?!  In this day and age I don’t know many women taking that type of stand.  Her reasoning was because she didn’t want to bring another person into her circle. Think about it when you have sex with someone anything can happen, STDs, pregnancy, feelings, etc.  She’s not ready to entertain the idea. 

She also didn’t want to keep giving herself to someone in hopes for a title.  I personally know many women who sleep with men just to get a man to love them, date them, or marry them.  Sex clouds the reality of the situation.   And in case you are wondering she’s been doing this now for 3 years.  Impressive since some folks can’t go days let alone years without sex.

Now before you start giving the side eye to the idea, yes she has a child.  That alone we know she’s not a virgin but it reminds me of the group City High’s lyric from the song Caramel “just because I’m not a virgin don’t mean I’m having sex with you.”  A baby doesn’t knock you out the game of regaining your sexuality.  You had sex and had a baby but that doesn’t mean you have to keep giving sex to a man.  It’s your body, and your choice and Zanika chooses to abstain. Zanika is definitely focused on raising an articulate little girl who is strong and able to make her mark and defy stereotypes. 

If there’s a young lady reading this on the brink of thinking thag they have to sex for a man and you don’t want to, then don’t.  You aren’t alone.  Your body is for you and only you should decide to give it.  Its one thing to have never given into sex, but an even greater challenge to withhold it after you have experienced it.  For that I applaud Zanika. Obviously she’s not the only woman who has done it, but how many stories do you hear in today’s sexed up society?  Ladies as we celebrate woman’s month, let’s embrace all women who are doing something positive.  What’s more positive than the message of loving yourself. 

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Women’s Month-Let’s celebrate some awesome women

To start this week’s salute to awesome women, I have to start by acknowledging the women that have influenced my existence.

Let’s start with my great grandmother, Olivia Sims known as Mommo.  She is the mother of 12 children and no that isn’t a typo.  She was 95 years young.  One of my fondest memories of her was when I was about 11 and my parents sent my twin and I down south to spend a summer with her and my late great grandfather.  They have a lot of land and many gardens.  We learned how to fish, plant and cook.  It was one of the trips where I got to sit and talk to her about things that I didn’t understand until I was an adult.  Mommo is one of the most sweetest women I know that has love for each and everyone she comes in contact.  She’s is full of life and her legacy is definitely one that every women should have.  She is an amazing caregiver.  She loves God and that has been one of the things I love about her.  She is unwavering in her faith.  She’s been through so much but the grace she has is unexplainable.

Next is my grandmother Savannah Steward.  She is the mother of 2, Starlett McGinnis and Rhonda Allen who is my mother.  Savannah or grandma from Ohio as we called her growing up is a fighter.  She was in an abusive relationship and with nothing worked hard and provided for her daughters.  She has shown me how to depend on myself and be confident that with or without a man life goes on.  She is strength.  She is one that I literally can talk about anything.  Nothing I’ve ever told her has caught her off guard.  She grew up in church and her faith is strong.  Growing up my mother would play the Winans “Ain’t no need to worry” as we got closer to her house and now everytime I hear it, makes me think of her.

My other grandma, Barbara Allen Sr. is a woman of faith as well.  She is the mother of 6.  She is one that is always thinking of others.  I remember growing up and during the holidays she made sure everyone was thought of.  If you know her she shops all year long.  So when even an unexpected guest stops by there’s something for them as well.  She loves her family there’s no denying that.  She sings with her children, the Allen Family Singers at various churches all over with her husband Curtis.  She is affectionately called mother Allen at church where she’s held many positions.

Lastly but not least is my mother Rhonda Allen.  This is one strong woman.  She had me at the age of 18 with my twin.  I also have a brother as well.  Growing up I was always called little Rhonda.  I look just like her although she denies it often.  Being that she had us young never stopped her from accomplishing her goals.  I remember many days she walked us back and forth to the sitter and was never late to work.  Whether she was single or married she always made sure she let us know by her words and actions to take care of ourselves.  One rule she always stated, “pay your sitter and your rent because you gonna need both.”  She always stressed that while you are taking care of others, take care of you.  My mother also showed me to always have a relationship with God. I’ve seen her in some tests I know I wouldn’t have passed but with tears streaming down her face, she never gives up.

These beautiful women literally are my foundation.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking little pieces, from each of them.  Who are your foundation?  Let them know you love them.  Happy women’s month.  Look for more featured women.

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Ask Toi: My boyfriend is in love with his ex

Now to clue my readers in, she thinks that her boyfriend is in love with his ex and his behavior is very suggestive.

You say that he goes out with the ex and calls and talks to her regularly. That’s an immediate red flag for me.  It’s one thing to be in a good place with an ex but it’s not cool to hang out and call frequently unless you have kids together which they do not.  Even with kids there still needs to be distinct lines.

My suggestion would be to bring it to his immediate attention.  Let him know that his behavior is disrespectful and ask him why he feels the need to act in this manner.  After you heard what he’s had to say let him know that you aren’t comfortable.  If he continues I wouldn’t waste your time with a bunch of back and forth.  He heard you state how you felt and trust me he gets it. 

Do not give an ultimatum because you are making it about his ex.  If his behavior is less than stellar make it about him and you.  He didn’t respect your feelings or respect you enough to end this relationship.  Do not sit around hoping that your love will be strong enough to end it.  If it was he wouldn’t have engaged in this behavior.  No man can honestly feel it’s okay to hang and go out on dates with his ex and a current girlfriend be okay with that. 

No woman should have to play second fiddle either.  He either gives you what you deserve and be committed or move on to someone who will.

I wish you luck.

All in the Design

Did you know that you have the power?  No I’m not talking about He-Man.  You actually have the power.

Situations and people can only be moved by your reactions to them.  We give up our power every time we allow our reaction to be the fuel.  Now listen it’s not always easy.  I’m a reaction type person and I’m definitely working on it, but the times when I haven’t reacted I’ve gained more ground.

Just a few weeks ago I was so upset cause I allowed another person and situation frustrate me to the point to where I went Katie Kaboom.  I’m talking about the type of go off to let you know you are meaningless, and storm off type of kaboom.  Sad part is that it only perpetuated what the other person had thought, said, and felt about me.  Me giving a piece of my mind didn’t change the other person to apologize and change how they treated me.  Let’s be honest I need all of my mind I can.

After I got over the guilt of the “I blew it again” thinking I sat for moments in time thinking of what to do going forward.  I came to the conclusion that since I was in control of myself than I would be the change I wanted to see.  First thing was for me to shut up.  Omg, did I just say that? Yes, shut up.  I had to stop trying to defend myself against folks who are going to hold their position about me no matter how hard I tried to change their perception of me.  No more need to prove myself.  If that was the case, the fight was over.

At this point in time I had to think what was more important and change the game.  No more fueling folks.  Give it up.  You won’t win the battle but you can have peace.  Peace is way more important than anything.  Even though I had to go off it was designed to help me.  Yes, the negative didn’t need to stay that way unless I allowed it.  I was super glad looking back.

I’m not perfect and just like most people insecurities, and the need to be right, or the need to be in control can be overwhelming.  Take the high road.  Learn to put your own boundaries.  Learn to put stops on the inside that guards your heart, mind, and your emotional health.  See I said learn, so you don’t let failure hold you down.   Trust in the process.

Don’t keep doing the same thing and look for a different response.   Take the time to stop yourself from becoming your own pit stop.  Own your responsibility and behavior.  Take the moment to acknowledge your flaws that way no one else can use them against you.  Change you and only you because you own the power of self.

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Speak Life

There is so much power in your tongue.  You have the power to help or hinder growth.  What power are you using?

Today I had an opportunity to speak to a friend.  This friend has been going through some trials.  She has been able to appear that she is doing okay however the trimble in her voice let me know she wasn’t.  Do you know how many times I’ve called someone for one thing and I’m lead to speak to them about something totally unrelated?  Very often.

Someone needs your hello, your smile, your love.  I was asked why do I speak so much positivity in my blogs? My answer is I speak the truth.  Some people reading may really need to hear positivity.  Just like you I have  days, weeks, months at a time where literally all Hell breaks loose.  I’m not living on some planet.  I’ve been a reader and read something that literally was the defining moment between losing my mind and despair.

So yes I’ll use this platform to speak life.  I’ve had letters to my emails many times stating that something they read saved them from a bad decision, bad relationship, or even just a bad friendship.  Those are the moments that I use as fuel to keep me going.

Ever talk to someone who seemed to smile and then after a few words, they break into tears.  It’s usually because they were hurting and needed you to be there.  Listen people are cruel.  People are negative.  People are disheartening.  Why not be a breath of fresh air?

Speak life where death is.  Speak life where confusion is.  Take the time to make someone happy even when you are holding on by a string.  Smile.  Spread love.  Now that doesn’t mean I won’t still serve truth, cause that’s what I do but it’s still in love to help and not hinder.

Take my #spreadlove challenge.  Use the hashtag whenever you do something to make someone’s day.  It’s not to get recognition but to increase awareness that life isn’t about you, help someone today

Will you join?

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