Grief lessons: Love is intentional.

Grief is uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to be around someone that is grieving and it’s without a doubt uncomfortable to be the one grieving. Many parents of loss testify that their friends and family give them the cold shoulder when they have a miscarriage, stillbirth, or experience infant loss. Why is this? Is it that they no longer love the family member who experienced the loss (or never did)? No, I imagine that more than likely the miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of a child shortly after birth made them feel too uncomfortable to show their love.

But, true love-the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love-is sacrificial. It means I’m willing to sacrifice being uncomfortable in order to show YOU that I love you and that I care. It’s not thinking about myself for a minute, but putting your possible needs first.

On this grief journey over the past year, I have learned that many people will say that they love you and that they support you, but few people are willing to sacrifice their time, money, or personal comfort to put action behind their words. I spent a good chunk of the past year angry, disappointed, and hurt. But the beauty of it all was when I began to focus on what my experience could teach me about being more loving.

I was forced to do some serious introspection and asked myself whether or not I really show people that I care about that I love them. The answer is most of the time-No. I, like most of the human population, am addicted to my personal comfort and rarely do anything that requires me to sacrifice my own comfort.

This is where intentionality comes in. What does it matter if I tell my daughter that I love her over and over again, but don’t spend quality time with her doing her favorite things? My love for her requires personal sacrifice on pretty much a daily basis-meaning that even if mommy is tired and had a really long day, I’m going to do my best to make sure we read a story before bedtime. It means that even though I have literally ten billion things to do, I’m going to stop and listen when my husband needs to talk about something that’s bothering him. Love requires sacrifice. Love is intentional.

None of us will love perfectly all the time, but I think if we’re intentional about loving, our relationships will thrive and the people we love will feel that we truly care for them.

My family and I will be walking in the March of Dimes March for Babies on Sunday, April 30, 2017 in honor of our angel. We’d love for you to donate to our campaign! Any amount no matter how small may help other families of premature infants. Click here and know that we’re so thankful for you!

On Bloggers: An Interview with Popped Black Woman

PBWB Fam, I’m so happy to announce that yours truly has been featured on the Properly Improper blog in the series “On Bloggers.” Please stop by there and read about me rambling about all things POP!

The founder of this blog is the wonderful Shahidah Ali whom you may remember from our February P.O.P. Women feature. Also check that feature out if you haven’t done so already. Shahidah’s spirit inspires me every time I read her words. Much love to you all and keep it poppin’ 😉

Properly Improper

One of the best things about these internets are the many opportunities we get to ‘meet’ new people, read different perspectives and broaden our little bit of the world. I am very happy to have come across Popped Black Woman one day in my WordPress feed and have been hooked on her positivity and good nature ever since. I’m encouraged by her spirit and I’d like to pass that on to all the wonderful folks who follow my blog…we all need a positive, optimistic, and powerful woman in our blogosphere…

Please enjoy getting to know Carla of the Popped Black Woman Blog!

Carla Duckface

I’ve come across some very interesting blog names and I really like yours. How did you come up with Popped Black Woman and what does it mean?

I wanted to choose a name that would be different and memorable. Since my blog is all about empowerment for women…

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Six whole days and not a word from me. Six whole nights and I know you’re just about through. Only my true 90’s R&B fans will appreciate the reference I just made there.

Get it tight, Get it right!

Get it tight, Get it right!

So I’ve been a bit of a gym rat lately. For the past few weeks, the only thing besides my normal day-to-day tasks that I could think about have been getting to the gym, feeling that burn, and wishing that I didn’t feel the burn anymore lol. Last night, as I was lying in bed thinking about how I was going to the gym this morning, I began to think about why I’ve been so into working out lately. The best thing I could come up with besides for trying to get it right and get it tight for the summer is the fact that working out makes me feel like I have control over my body. Last month, I had some things going on with my body that made me feel powerless. Actually, my whole life has been this search for control in some way or another when so often I felt sort of powerless.

I think my thirst for control really hit me when I was telling my uncle about something that I didn’t feel like I had control over and he was like, “Yes, I believe you honey because you love to be in control.” He said some other things too that made me kinda go, “So you’re really in the mood to tell me about myself today huh…” but I guess once you’re over 60, you can say what you want to whomever you want whenever you want to say it. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

While working out has given me a sense of control over my body, I’ve realized these last couple of weeks that there are some things in life that we simply don’t have control over. And maybe that’s a good thing. While there are a lot of things outside of my grasp, I realize that I have to take charge on the things that I can and let go of the others. I guess that’s why the beginning of the serenity prayer says:

“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

While we’re talking about control, I thought I’d throw in a little 80’s Janet for all of you other control freaks out there. Keep it poppin’ folks;)

HVD! And 3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Marriage

Happy Valentine’s Day from the PBWB!

First off, I’m sorry about lacking in the number of posts this week. You know how Monica was having “Just One of Dem Days” in the 90s? (see video below) I think I’ve been having one of dem weeks. But, I know being the positively optimistic and powerful woman that I strive to be that I have to push through it. One of my biggest weaknesses is seeing things through, so I need you all to hold me accountable on seeing the PBWB through. The love and feedback from the blog have been great, but I think that I tend to give up on things before they have a chance to fail. I can’t be afraid of failure anymore. The only failure is not trying and giving up without a good fight.

With it being Valentine’s Day and all, I figured I should reflect on love and relationships a bit. I just want to share three major lessons that my short, 2 years of marriage have taught me about life.

1) Nothing worthwhile comes easy.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on being able to push through all those yucky feelings of anxiety, fear, and doubt to see my goals become a reality. Likewise, there’s a lot of muck to get through in the journey of marriage. Nothing about marriage is easy. It’s not easy to be vulnerable and trust that another person wishes the best for you. It’s not easy to set your own wants aside for the sake of the family’s needs. It’s not easy to have the courage to be led when every part of you wants to lead. All of this have taught me that every goal that I have will require a trade-off. I can’t have a successful blog if I don’t put it in the time to write even when I would rather waste time surfing gossip websites.

2) I can only be my best self if I deal with my baggage.
Anyone in a serious relationship, or maybe not so serious, knows when previous baggage is ruining their relationship. For me, I had to do a lot of soul-searching on how my perceptions about men, myself, and marriage were affected by what I saw growing up. I had to stop ignoring the pain of my past and confront it. I realized that by only rejecting it without dissecting it, I was unconsciously perpetuating certain attitudes and behaviors without even thinking about it. I had to pull the baggage out, unpack it, save anything worth saving, and throw out the rest. The same is true in my personal development journey. I got to a point when I had to stop and reflect on negative opinions that came in my head and ask myself where they came from. I had to understand where all those self-defeating hang-ups came from in order to truly reject them and start believing that I can really do anything that I set my mind to and work hard at. IMG_1609

3) Everything has a season.
I don’t say this as a cop out from taking action. Sometimes, you gotta make stuff happen, but I do feel like as Ecclesiastes 3 says

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭1-2‬ ESV)

Like life, marriage has its seasons. Most couples repeat the vows “for better or for worse, through sickness and in health” because marriage will have its seasons. We are still at the start of the journey, but we’ve already had highs and lows. I see this concept of seasons clearly in my personal life. I’ve had times when I felt accomplished and times when I felt disappointed in the course of my life. Right now, I strongly feel is a time to “plant” so that I can “pluck up what is planted” when the time comes. It is a time to invest in my daughter’s early development so that I can say, “Look at the confident and secure daughter I have helped raise.” It is a season to invest my time and heart into my writing in the hopes that one day this effort will help put coins in my coffer. This season requires hard work without the reward. This season is about preparation so that when the harvest comes, I will be content with what is produced. My efforts now will determine my sense of accomplishment later.

Can you all think of any other life lessons that you’ve learned from current or past relationships? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Hugs and kisses 😘,

I’m Not Sorry No More

mellodyhobsonccEarlier this month, my husband sent me an article by Beth Kowitt from featuring two videos about a woman that I really look up to, Mellody Hobson. Hobson is the President of a Chicago-based mutual fund company and investment management firm known as Ariel Capital Management, LLC and is pretty much a boss in every conceivable way. One of the many things I love about her is that she isn’t afraid to discuss the challenges caused by race and gender in corporate America.

In the first video (found here), Hobson boldly proclaims that she has stopped apologizing for being black or for being female. I’m sure that any black woman that has been in either spaces where you were the only black person or the only woman or maybe the only black woman, you can relate to not wanting to make other people uncomfortable by pointing out your otherness. When I first saw this video, I nearly cried because it made me realize how I’d been apologizing not only for my race and gender, but for every part of me that made me different from those around me.

Growing up, I loved to read and write, and I simply just loved the sound of the English language. Certain black people would say that I talked too “proper,” or talked “white.” Certain non-black people would say, “She’s so articulate” as if I was not expected to be articulate. The moment that I got POPPED (positively optimistic and powerful), I stopped apologizing or feeling guilty for talking in a way that felt natural to me because of someone else’s insecurity. I realized that living in purpose and on purpose is about being bold about who I am. No one can happily reach their version of success by apologizing for who they are. Simply, “I’m not sorry no more.”

In the second video of the article, Hobson talks about something that everyone can relate to, no matter your race or gender, which is the company you keep. Hobson talks about how the people around her make her want to be better, work harder, and think bigger. Everyone can relate to having at least 1 person (or several) around you that always has something negative to say whether it’s criticism of what you’re doing or complaining about their situation (without taking any responsibility for their own hand in it). For every two steps that you take forward, these type of people will pull you one step back. When I decided to be positively optimistic and powerful, I made a pledge to myself to be the type of friend that I want to attract and to put myself in social environments with people that I want to be like. It is up to us to become the type of people that we can be, but we can’t do it surrounded by people that want us to stay the same.

My (imaginary) mentor talked about a host of other things in this article so I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but that’s all I got so until next time, stay POPPED and hold it down.