Monthly Archives: February 2008

"Giving Credit Where Credit is Due"

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This note was originally in response to a note on Facebook by a young lady named Rochelle but after being “checked” by facebook and getting my looong reply shut down, I decided to just write a note myself. And then it turned into a blog!??!?!

This note is not dedicated to only Rochelle, but to anyone who is currently in any sort of “romantic” relationship and if you’re not and you read this, I pray that the words will be useful to your life somewhere in your future…

Rochelle,

First of all, I’d like to commend you for giving credit where credit is due. Our men need to hear us admit that we are wrong (when we are wrong). It takes a strong person to humble themselves and admit when we have hurt someone else, regardless of the reason…I am SO very glad for one line that you said in this note…a lot of it was important, very important, but the number one thing for you to always remember is that you DESERVE to be loved!? No matter what you’ve done, what’s been done to you or even who you give love to, you deserve to be loved, respected, cared for…all of those things that your heart desires and your life needs, you deserve.

Don’t you dare ever settle for anything less…and just like you deserve all of these things, so do our men. Women often get caught up in wanting so much “respect” that we forget to give it. We are used to seeing our mothers, aunts, sisters, friends being the victims of “no good men” that being disrespected has become the expectation. Don’t ever let this be your expectation…but in order to receive, you’ve gotta give.

I wish I could meet this young man…and hope that I can some day…in the meanwhile I pray that you two are walking in God’s will and that you are learning to COMMUNICATE. Communication is the ultimate key to any relationship. People think the key is trust but if you are communicating, the trust will be established. Others think it’s good sex…um…if you’re communicating, the sex will BE. GOOD. (When it’s time of course!!!!??? Ha!)

The only way armies can be effective in war is with open, clear lines of communication. Without communication, there is no unity, without unity, the battle will be lost…Understand that relationships, marriages in particular, are ordained by God and they represent His relationship with us. Anything that looks like God, the enemy wants to destroy. This is why relationships are always attacked. This is why the divorce rate is so high, in this country in particular…because we are at “war”.

I don’t mean to get all “spooky” or “religious” on you but for real, take a look at the relationships of those around you and even your own and ask what is it that causes any drama that we/they encounter? Most times, it will be miscommunication that leads to arguments, fights or whatever…I could go on and on, but I’m tired *looks at clock* so, I’ll leave you with this…

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT) 2 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Humility+Patience+Communication=Peace=Unity

Fathers and Daughters

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I love my father!!! I mean, I REALLY, REALLY love my father! I cannot express how blessed I am to have watched him grow into the man that he is today! I cannot thank God enough for even allowing my father the grace to be in my life the way he is today…it wasn’t always so easy…
…I spent the majority of my life with my father. I have many of his mannerisms and I definitely have his sarcastic sense of humor…my eyes belong to him as well as my forehead…and the afro that forms after I go for even a month without a haircut, that’s all Carl!

This past Saturday, February 16, I had the opportunity to share my life with my father with about 50 middle school students within the Hampton school district as they sat, dressed in their best, having dinner beside their fathers. I commend Valerie Patin, Courtney Fields and the staff of the Northampton Recreation Center for their vision when it comes to the betterment of young people, our little sisters in particular. By hosting events such as their first annual Father/Daughter Banquet at the Northampton Community Center here in Hampton, they are aiding in the continued growth and development of these beautiful girls. It was a delightful time and I am most grateful to have received the opportunity to speak to both fathers and daughters about my relationship with my father, Carl Ligon, and about the importance of the relationship between kings and princesses!

After watching my father struggle over the years with alcoholism, financial irresponsibility and other life changes, I can say that he is one of the greatest influences in my life. His tenacity and strength have afforded me lessons that I have never learned in school and through his interaction with others, including with the police, various women and employers, I’ve learned how to (and how to not) communicate with those that I come into contact with. His honesty and ability to be transparent taught me the importance of the being same. Whether right or wrong, he stood tall. His integrity is matchless and because of his life, I am definitely the woman that I am today.

I can only pray that the young ladies that I spoke with will remember my father and me when they get to be my age. I pray that they recognize the humanness that is within not only their fathers, but mothers as well and all adults as they mature in age and make that they will make allowance for the things that their parents might do that they don’t necessarily agree with.

I pray that these parents can continue to be the leaders in the lives of these young women and that they might be transparent in allowing their children to see that they are indeed human…and not so perfect. I pray that the lines of communication have been opened and will remain open, strengthening the relationships and ultimately strengthening families! Amen!

Discussion: Motivation

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Why have I lacked it? For almost four weeks I have failed. I have failed to wake up before 7am, I have failed to run with my God-given legs. I have failed to complete at least two homework assignments on time…and blogging…ugh…What is it that has caused me to lose my motivation?

It feels like literally from one day to the next, I went from answering 0530 wake up calls from God to finding familiar comfort in the 10 minute snooze of my Blackberry Curve. I have been blessed beyond belief already in 2008 as God CONTINUES to be His merciful, loving self and yet I have again found it difficult to simply get OUT of bed to speak to Him in the mornings…sometimes, I lay in bed at night and chat with Him…I thank Him for another day just as I roll to my right side and fall into a fog of slumber. I speak to Him throughout my day. Sometimes singing to Him, other times, talking to Him about my students or my homework or just sending up a quick, “Lord, help me.”

I speak to Him…but when it comes time to get on my knees…ugh. I long for the days when I could stay up for hours past my “bedtime” and sing and pray and sometimes just lay and listen…I long for the energy (or obedience) to go for a run and interpret every breath as a prayer from the Spirit…”I NEED YOU LORD?!?!!?”

But where is my motivation? Where is my drive to SHOW that I need Him…that I want Him…that I want to walk in His will? Let me step out of this “spiritually” and just ask…where is my motivation? In my natural, womanly body and mind, where is that lil’ something inside of me that moves me to really work to take off the pounds (and inches) where is that part of me that wakes up excited to write what is on my mind? And can I just GET MY HOMEWORK done for cryin’ out loud?!?! Nina, do your homework?! It’s a ROUGH DRAFT!? Write it and post it. Four pages. Boom. You’re done. But nooooo…lol

It’s not even that I’m in a “blah” kind of mood. You know? Sometimes you just have those days where it might be raining out, (ladies) maybe you’re PMSing and every little thing just gets on your nerves and you have no motivation to do anything but sleep…well, that’s not the case this time. Although I do love sleeping, I have simply not utilized every minute of my day to its greatest capacity. But I’ve been in a great mood…I’ve just been unproductive…

What is it that makes us lose our motivation? What is it that makes people want to just “quit” or give up for a while…or forever?

How do you get out of your “rut”?

Blah, blah, blah…I could go on and on but…I’m not motivated! LOL! Tomorrow is a new day and it WILL be productive, “If the Lord see fit to let me live!” © My second stepmother

Protege’ 4:12 Feb 8-9, 2008

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Hampton University’s Student Christian Association is hosting a youth conference called Protege’ 4:12. It is based off of one of my FAVORITE scriptures 1 Timothy 4:12…below is a blog (long but good) that I actually wrote a couple years ago…but I wanted to revisit what 1 Timothy 4:12 means to me…

I remember in 2nd grade, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. When the turn got to me…with my NAPPY hair, tattered clothes and snaggle teefs, I declared loud and proud, “A model” and went on to support my ideas. I thought I was pretty…I longed to grace the covers of fashion magazines and represent for lil’ girls like me! THE CLASS LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHED. The whole class…And the teacher just played it off like…”that’s great Nina” and moved right along…

As years past, I grew thicker ’round the thigh area, my hair went through transformations from jheri curls to press ‘n curls to no curl at all and I continued to grow into the woman that I am today…all the while, the dream of becoming a model was still there but as I got older, it began to dwindle. Most models got their start around age 13/14 and there was no America’s Next Top Model to make the dream of a lil’ girl from Kansas come true. As I studied about various supermodels I discovered that many fell into a life of drugs (Hey Kate!!!), alcohol and self hate because of the pressure to maintain unrealistic standards of beauty. By then, I was about 17/18 and figured my boat had sailed…but my dream of working with models was still somewhere within me.

At age 26, I find that my father’s eyes, my mother’s smile (and somebody’s thighs) could still go a long way. I am considered “over-aged” within the fashion industry but I feel as if there are a lot of people that my life can influence if given the opportunity. I would use modeling as a platform to encourage others to live better lives BEGINNING with self love…

Today’s scripture was given to me as homework by my god-mother whom I am also named after. After meeting her for the first time in my adult life, I shared with this White lady from Kentucky some pics of me and she complimented my style and asked if I knew what attributes a real model should exhibit according to God’s word. I didn’t…but after some reading I’ve seen that by simply being in the will of God, I am on the right track. It is my goal to naturally allow my ENTIRE life to be an example for EVERY person that is exposed to my life, directly or indirectly. Within the ministry, I am an exception because of my youth in the physical and also my newness in the Body. In the fashion industry I would be an exception because of my additional years. Paul’s words to Timothy regarding his place within the ministry rang true to me. 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

In SPEECH: The way I speak as well as the THINGS I say. I am a child of God and the things that come out of my mouth WILL reflect that.

In LIFE: My mere existence WILL be an example to every person that even HEARS about the woman that I was, am and the woman that God is making me to be.

In LOVE: People WILL be able to see God in me by the way I allow HIS love to shine from me. Be it my relationships with my sisters, brothers or even potential mates, I will be the best lover I can be according to 1 Cor 13.

In FAITH: Faith in God…not even the things he CAN do, but HIM. No faith in myself, my beauty, or my abilities…ALL GOD through Christ!

In PURITY: No drunkenness, debauchery, nor fornication, no laziness…nothing will infest my being so that I cannot be used by God. I won’t allow anything to hinder my growth in this world or in the spiritual realm.

Lord, it is always my prayer that your will be done in my life. I pray today that the persons that read this will come to truly understand what it means to be a model and that they will allow you to use their WHOLE life as an example of a true disciple. I pray that you continue to use me the way you’ve been and Lord…do MORE and I gain more of you! I also pray for your success during Protege 4:12 and pray for everyone involved in the conferenc and in the SCA!!! I love you and I praise you Lord, Amen.

Your World Through My Eyes

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Some say this is the time of your life
I agree yet
Wonder if you know it
Do you know that now could make
Or break
Your life
Your will
You
I see how you yearn
You
Long for something more…
…but don’t know what’s missing
And search under sweaty covers
Try to cover the stench of doubt in fragrant oils
Paint over your weary smile
You rock your freak’em dress
Walking around circles
of
confusion
in stilettos
And try to show that you don’t really care
By showing it all
You can’t wash it away…trust me…
I’ve tried
I try…
…I can’t…
I want to tell you that life
Doesn’t have to be this hard
That you are what you are
Who you are
There’s a voice inside
That tells you who
Who has the key to your creation
But you listen to the one that
Lies
“I know what I’m doing…”
You are a woman…
…You are not “in love” with your best friend
You deserve more than what he’s giving
You are more than you can imagine
Do not start this life by
loving
others
More than
You
love
yourself
How can you
Why won’t you
Love yourself
And sometimes
Just listen
I have been in your world with clouded eyes
A broken heart
And a need for more
Now see your world through mine
See what can be
When I tell you that
Life doesn’t have to be so hard
That
The decisions you make now…
That
I love you more than you know
I mean…
…I want you
to
love you
more than you know how
And learn
From the voice in your heart…
…not the one in your mind
the voices of those who
Truly
Love you
Open your eyes
As I pray for your world through mine