Happy birthday Mom!

Today is bittersweet, because it is my amazing mother’s birthday, and her eldest grandson Bishop isn’t here to celebrate her extra special day.

But rather than focus on the gloom and loss, we’re going to focus on the light and blessings.

Our heavenly Father has blessed my mother, Gwendolyn, with some beautiful decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds on this beautiful, big planet. We thank Him for this time and thank Him for each and every additional decade that He blesses her with.

He blessed her and continues to bless her with intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, beauty, humor, creativity, compassion, grace, and so much more. He blesses my mother with excellent health and wellness.

We thank Him now for continued excellence in all areas of her life. We thank Him now for uplifting her in areas where she needs support, correcting what needs mending and fixing, and reinforcing all that He sees necessary for reinforcement. We thank Him now for the abundance of spiritual, mental, physical, financial, and social blessings coming her way.

My mother is a servant leader and she desires to be better in all ways, so that she can glorify God, life her life as He envisions, support her family as needed, and do her part to help and uplift other people.

My mom loves her family. She is usually the first to try and coordinate family gatherings. She has been working hard to spruce up her childhood home, my grandparents house, to make it into a family hang out for holidays and other special occasions. Mom is the solution-finder, fixer, quicker picker upper. She loves planning and attending parties and special events. She’s loyal and when she has your back, she’s got your back!

My mom is a social butterfly and I’ve always teased that she could talk to a tree, she’s just that sociable. It’s no wonder she’s been blessed with opportunities, jobs, and careers working with and serving others.

Even her college degree that she busted her butt and earned several years ago, is in a field that is designed to help others. My mom is a giver, thanks to God’s guiding and molding hand. She could’ve chosen not to be, but I’ve known her my entire life, and that’s just not in her character. Mom’s heart is set on pouring into others. Mom sacrifices self for the benefit of others.

I want to be in the position where I can financially support my mother’s dreams. I thank God now for making these visions a reality so that my mother can serve without question of the financial how-to’s. With God blessing her, me, and my sister, I know that He will make a way.

I’m grateful and blessed to have my mother, mom, confidante, and best friend. My mom was my first friend. The first heart I heard beating. I was nourished by her in her womb. Every emotion she felt I also felt. My first impressions in and of life was thanks to my mother. She has never stopped loving, caring, uplifting, supporting, and blessing me, my sister, our family.

Today and every day I celebrate my mom and thank God for blessing me and this planet with her. She is an amazing mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, and friend.

Mom, I know that today isn’t how you envisioned it last year, the first of this year, last month, or even last week. But I pray that as always, you look closely and see that silver lining, the blessings, and the beauty—and you celebrate it like you’re a big ole’ kid. Smile brightly, laugh hearty, and bust out dancing and singing whenever the Spirit moves you.

Today while at work, treat each person like it is their birthday, and rock this day and the days ahead, like you have the shiniest, sparkliest crown on your head. Because my beloved, you do!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Loving you forever and always,

Natasha

It is with deep sadness, sorrow, and gut-wrenching pain that I share today that yesterday, November 14, 2020, by beloved child, dog, friend, companion, and protector—Bishop Milo Bryant, transitioned from this life.

I struggle to type these words because his presence is so strong, in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul. His presence is so strong in my home, car, and throughout social media—as he has his own IG, FB, and Twitter accounts.

I walk past his bed, cool mat, blanket, water and food area, his toys, and I’m waiting to see him. My heart hurts. My head hurts. My entire body is in agony and I don’t know what else to do except pray for peace within.

I never thought that my initial plans to take him to Lake Lanier for a day out would instead lead to a change of plans the moment we got into my SUV. He was energetic earlier in the day but was lethargic when I returned home with his $19 FreshPet food loaf. I was excited about mixing it up with a sweet potato I cooked him Friday night. I said it had to be yummy if it cost $19. I couldn’t wait to see if Bishop enjoyed it. But Bishop was now lethargic and not interested in food or even his beloved treats.

I thought the drive, good weather, and time at the lake would change his energy. He was excited to go but his energy wasn’t as high as normal.

A family friend had invited us and was waiting in the car when I loaded up the essentials I would need for a day at the lake. Just as I grabbed Bishop’s toys from his cubby in the rear of my SUV, and tossed them in the backseat to entertain and comfort him, my friend told me Bishop’s gums were white. They had been a light pink hours before. Now we were both confused.

No trip to the lake. The only car ride was to the hospital. I jumped in my SUV, told my friend I would keep them posted, and I sped off. I have no clue what they said as I left. My only focus was Bishop.

After not reaching his vet, I called the ER and told them I’m heading their way. Bishop was in the backseat in his hammock, not his normal self. I held one of his paws as I drove. I contacted my sister and friend with updates, and texted our other family friend (and former assistant) to notify him and Bishop’s dad of the latest. I asked my sister to contact my mom to keep her informed.

My friend, who I left waiting outside our home, had pulled up three parking spaces away. There were several cars waiting for care of their beloved pets.

The staff brought me paperwork to complete and then the assistant came and escorted Bishop inside the building, while I followed COVID-19 protocols and waited in my car.

Never did I think this ER visit would be our last together.

I hadn’t contemplated anything as serious as the phone call I received not even 30 minutes later. As I cried on the phone with the doctor, I took detailed notes to share with loved ones who would have questions. I read my notes back to the doctor and she said she couldn’t believe the accuracy of my note-taking. Those kudos only had a light touch because I was being congratulated on my accuracy in a time of duress and horror.

Without sharing the awful diagnosis (and I have no intention in sharing it later, so please don’t ask), I will say that the prognosis shared gave my beloved Bishop Milo 3 to 6 more months of time with me, if (and only if) his surgery and aftercare had no hiccups. The best case scenario was 6 to 12 months, but factoring in his age and breed, the doctor was barely holding on to that level of optimism.

The steps required sounded like anxiety-ridden, stress-inducing, painful moments for my baby. He was already experiencing great anxiety and discomfort every time he returned from the vet and hospital these previous few weeks. It would take days for him to return to normal. I couldn’t fathom what hospitalization, surgery, rehab, and any other procedures would cause his beautiful mind to think and his heart to feel.

My baby is love, light, and high energy. When he’s not feeling good the whole world turns grey around us. Nothing and no one matters during that time except Bishop. My worry and tears would only worry him more. We both leaned on each other for comfort and support. So what would this proposed experience be like for him? For us?

When the doctor warned me of the potential complications during and after surgery, I swear the world stopped rotating for a few moments. I couldn’t comprehend my baby passing away on an operating table, in a recovery crate, on the way home, or any other number of scenarios that were presented. I couldn’t let him think I left him with strangers to experience such traumas.

My son needed to hear, see, feel, and be around his loved ones. My son needed to hear, feel, and know that he is loved, appreciated, and the best son ever. I didn’t want him to leave this level of existence not knowing that he did an amazing job loving on everyone he encountered.

He did an amazing job loving, supporting and protecting me. He did an amazing job caring for me when I was sick, throughout my current and past injuries, and throughout my health scares. When my body doesn’t want to cooperate, Bishop aligns his energy with me and he’s more gentle and patient, as he knows I sometimes struggle to physically interact with him like I normally do. He’s grown to be an awesome support dog, more than I imagined—as most of the things he’s learned to support me have been within the last one to two years.

He did an amazing job learning other new things these past two years, including free walking off leash in crowds, around cars, and while other dogs and cats were in close proximity. Bishop loved chasing cats.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but clearly they didn’t know Bishop Milo. My baby was still learning new things days before this tragedy.

What my baby needed now was to look into our eyes, and we look into his, and know that all would be different, but all would be well. He wouldn’t hurt and suffer anymore. He wouldn’t be subjected to poking and proding, needles and other things being stuck in him. He wouldn’t have to deal with doctors and nurses anymore. No more anxious runs, racing to his mommy trying to break free from the grasp of the attendant walking him out to me.

I sobbed knowing that this was the right decision but wishing I had a better one. I kept hoping for a miracle but one never came.

We were supposed to be at the lake, playing near and in the water, looking at bugs, insects and people. He was supposed to be rolling around in grass and playing catch. We were supposed to have a great Saturday and then plan our Sunday football menu. We were supposed to be planning our road trip for Thanksgiving, and prepping for Christmas.

We were supposed to be getting hyped up for his upcoming, November 25th birthday. My baby Bishop was turning 9 years old and I had already picked out his gift and cake. I even contemplated buying him an outfit to wear.

Now, instead, I was having to make the toughest decision I’ve had to make so far in my life.

I spoke with my friend and my sister, separately and then together. My sister made phone calls to update my mom and to have my ex-husband updated. I called the ER doctor and she walked outside to speak in person. I told her that I didn’t want my baby to hurt anymore, to be scared anymore, to be traumatized anymore, and I couldn’t selfishly intervene knowing that I risked causing all of those things and more to happen to the spirit, energy, light that I love as my very own child.

It wasn’t long after that the assistant guided me and my friend into a private room where Bishop anxiously and lethargically tried to get to us, and convince us to get him out of there. We joined my mom and sister on a video call, where we all grieved together.

I’m grateful to the staff for allowing me to stay with Bishop as long as I wanted. Well, as long as I wanted in that room. Because my heart and mind say he’s supposed to be here beside me right now, as I type these words, he’s supposed to be waiting for today’s adventure to unfold.

I sobbed all yesterday and woke up today crying. All I want is my baby, Bishop. As I drove home I could smell his scent in my car. When I put my key in the lock and opened my front door, I expected for him to be there, high-energy, welcoming me home and asking what I brought back for him. My home is filled with Bishop and all-things Bishop. His toys, bedding, blankets, and clothes. My SUV has two storage cubes filled with Bishop’s things.

Last night, I spent hours on his IG and Facebook, looking at videos and pictures of him over the years, and funny videos of dogs that our family and friends had posted that reminded us of Bishop. For as long as I can, I will keep his social media accounts active. I plan on creating some photo albums and video montages of Bishop.

I want my baby. I miss my baby. Our time together wasn’t long enough. Almost 9 years wasn’t enough. I had travel plans for us. I had plans to find him the perfect sibling or siblings to boss around, and play with. We were supposed to swim in ponds, lakes, and pools together. We still had countless hiking trips to go on, adventures to create.

All of that is gone. So now I hold on dearly to the memories, the pictures, videos, and tangible items that were and are Bishop’s.

I thank my sister for the beautiful message she posted on Facebook yesterday, honoring her nephew. I thank those of you who posted condolences, sent texts, and called. Right now I need some time to cope and go through these grieving and healing steps. Please understand my desire to be antisocial for awhile. For some of you, Bishop was just a dog. For those of you who had Bishop in your life, you know better. You know the loving soul and spirit that rested in that big ole furry body. You know that he was, is, and always will be my child.

I’m contemplating hosting a virtual memorial service for him, on his birthday. If I do, I hope you will attend and share your memories and prayers for Bishop. Unlike my book release party, there won’t be any registration, just show up and share in the love. I’m hurting y’all but I’m also grateful that my baby is at peace. I’m hurting but I only have pain because the love we share is so strong. I’m blessed to know this deepness and purity of love.

Bishop gave and taught me unconditional love. There is no greater gift. I will hold that love in my heart forever.

Love,

Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

So I have a confession, of sorts, well… not really, because I already wrote about this over the years. But let me make it more pointed today. In the past I made it a habit of quickly rebounding from one old relationship into a new one. I convinced myself that the old guy was no longer relevant and it was time to move on.

The reality was and is, I didn’t want to face and deal with the pain of the loss. The rebound was a bandaid, a quick fix, to convince myself and others that I was good, and “I’m over that dude!”.

Those were all lies—in reference to several of the men I had relationships with over the past 25+ years. I don’t count the guys I went on a few dates with or we didn’t last past three months. I truly was over those dudes. But for the real ones, the ones that touched my heart and I cried when we broke up, it’s different but I lied and said it wasn’t. I didn’t want to keep dealing with the pain and shame.

How can I honestly say I’m over a person weeks or months after breaking up, when we were together for months and years longer than the period of time from break-up to rebound? Listening to your friends try to convince you to come party with them, or meet some new man/woman they think you will like, is not what you need fresh out of a relationship. That mindset of “get a new one to get over the old one” is a setup, a trick.

You have to untangle that web. Things have to be realigned and rewired in your mind and heart before you decide to let a new person come take a tour. They have no clue it’s a house of horrors up in there.

I’m sharing this today because I keep seeing folks rebounding left and right, but never healing. It bothers me to see it. It hits close to home because I know how they feel. It’s easy to rebound. Doesn’t take practice or skill. Just leap.

I started rebounding in high school. It never dawned on me that I shouldn’t have hopscotched into a new relationship weeks or months after breaking up with one of my high school loves. It was so casual for me because I wasn’t having sex so I didn’t see it as a big deal. Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean you still aren’t intimately intertwined.

A rebound is a rebound.

That rebound playbook is filled with disaster after disaster. No championships there. Just a trail of broken hearts or a bunch of bruises on yours. And it’s double the pain when you were both rebounding from previous relationships. Two damaged people can’t heal each other. You’re both taking turns putting bandaids on each other to cover the gaping wounds.

Let’s not even go there with the flow-over of one or both of you cheating on your partners and then you end up together. Your relationship is built on lies. Let me stop. That’s for another post.

Here’s a test to see if you’re truly over someone:

  • Do you find yourself mentioning them frequently in conversation with others? Or asking about them to certain people who still associate with your ex?
  • Do other people tell you that you mention that person a lot?
  • Are you still checking their social media and blog posts, and it causes you great discomfort seeing them “go on with their lives”?
  • Do you drive by their home and see if you can see them? 👀
  • Are you intentionally posting pictures and messages on social media aimed at getting a reaction from your ex? Or in hopes that someone will say something to them about your post?
  • Do you explode in rage when their name is mentioned, or does it evolve after a few moments of speaking about them?
  • Can you speak of that person with love in your heart, like that Mother Teresa kinda love? Or do you find yourself still pining for them, wishing they would call or drop by saying they made a mistake?
  • Are you still willing to have sex with them?

Ummm…If you’re down for the booty call then you aren’t over them, you’re just willing to accept whatever scraps you can get. Please know that you deserve better.

If when you think or speak about the person there’s so much venom brewing up inside of you that you could punch someone, you aren’t over them. Matter of fact, it’s the exact opposite, a part of you is consumed by them. You need an exorcism!

You should be able to casually mention an ex without it either appearing that you’re about to Linda Blair the place, or text or call them later hoping to re-engage. Too much talk of them in any of your conversations, with anyone, is a red flag. You aren’t over them. You still haven’t let go and let that chapter close.

Now when it comes to snooping on their social, you have too much time on your hand if you can social media stalk them. I get it, you may have shared connections so occasionally one of their posts may pop on your feed, but if you go from looking at one post and moments later you’re 10-plus posts in, you have gone too far. If you scrolled and found yourself gawking over posts from months ago or as far back as when the two of you were together, my friend you need an intervention. You also need to find a hobby or two!

That leads me to driving by their home. Please stop it. You’re taking creepy and desperate to another level. It doesn’t even matter if you used to live there, you don’t live there now. What do you gain from driving by and maybe seeing them alone, or with their new boo? Most likely you will do something immature and make yourself look silly. If you’re in your twenties this may be a struggle, but get it together. Everyone older than age 29 needs to stop it, and stop it now. You need cleansing, healing, and Jesus.

Some people want to hide behind the excuse of, “Well I broke up with them, so clearly I was done!” First, my response is, “Then why are you obsessed with them?” Second, it didn’t matter if I broke up with the guy or if they broke up with me, and it didn’t matter the reason for the break-up. It’s broken. It’s about how I live my life after the breakup. It’s about how I regard them after the break-up. Time is a precious asset that we cannot reclaim or recycle. How will you invest it?

Oh yeah, and let’s be clear, those of you still dwelling on the cheating partner that you broke up with—they actually broke up with you long before you did, it was just easier to keep you around until one of their “plans” worked in their favor. You made it easy for them by walking away, so get off of that horse and deal with your mess. Heal so that the right person will be perfectly aligned with you in the right ways, at the right time.

Here’s the truth—we shared great times and not-so-great times with our exes, and our souls were intertwined for a period of time. There was intimacy, dreams, goals, and plans. Your families may even be linked through this union. Time and energy were invested in each other, and in this relationship. Then suddenly, it’s over.

Okay, for some of you it was a long lead-up to that death, but once it was done it felt like you were now in a parallel world. While everyone else is living their lives, yours begins to spiral out of control, as your norm is no longer. Even if you argued every day with this person, now you’re not. Whatever your daily routine used to be is no more. You’re not cooking for two, doing laundry for two, planning for two, dreaming of two. Nope. Now it’s just you and that puffy face, snotty nose, red-eyed person staring back at you in the mirror.

The first stage of grief kicks in and you have a choice to accept it and triumphantly push through each stage, or cowardly jump off, and find a pacifier to coddle you. That pacifier is either in the form of partying with your friends (so you can consume as much of your day without being alone), getting stupid drunk (which you already know how that ends each time), or finding another source of body heat to connect with. All three options suck!

Yes, we shouldn’t isolate and turn into a hermit. At the same time, we do need alone time to be with our thoughts, our selves, our fears and issues. No one can fix us. We have to fix ourselves. We have to deal with us before we send some idiot representative to act on our behalf. Let’s keep it real, your friends don’t like that person. They like and prefer YOU, and when you get your life together or start destroying those friendships, they will tell you exactly that!

Some people don’t take the time they TRULY need after a break up to reflect and learn, heal and forgive themselves, release the stranglehold of shame, and ensure that they won’t be dragging baggage from the past into their future. If the issues that broke up your relationship aren’t resolved in your heart and mind, to the point that you can trust and love yourself and trust and love others, then you won’t. You can’t give what you don’t have.

But all of that requires work, and it’s a painful process that many try desperately to avoid.

That’s why we quickly rebound and hop into a fresh relationship where we can play make believe, pretend that we have a fresh slate, pretend that this new person is perfect and flawless, and pretend that we’re healed and whole. You can go on and on about how this new person is nothing like the ex, and how they just “get me”, and how easy it is with them, and blah blah blah…roses never stink thanks to this person, the world is brand new because you have a new love in your life, and “They bake their chicken while my ex roasted it…baked tastes better”. It didn’t matter how much your ex tried to motivate you to eat better and exercise more, now in your new relationship you’re bragging about how this new person has “Helped me get healthier” 🙄😒

And sadly, the suckups and yes people in your life just amen you and your glee, badmouth your ex they were just hanging with, and lie and tell your new love, “I’ve never seen him/her so happy,” knowing they’ve used this tired, recycled line far too many times. Or they’re newly minted friends so they haven’t known all of the other exes from years past. I always smile and nod when I hear this, because I know the truth—we haven’t been hit with life’s storms yet to truly test happiness and joy. I almost burst out laughing when I hear it from someone who never knew the ex, only heard the hearsay after. So you never witnessed an entire relationship, the last one this person was in, and you’re trying to prop me up to believe that my presence and love has overshadowed the ex. Mmkay…tsk tsk…But I exhale and allow everyone to play their parts, and say their lines.

Whatever the scenario, you’re floating on air for weeks or months, until there’s a crack in the facade. Until the past and present have a catastrophic collision 💥

That first real argument is bananas. I’m not talking about the trivial little disagreement. Nope, I’m talking about the rabbit hole of doom that you and this person have ran into like two maniacs. It doesn’t take long for you to slip up and call them your ex’s name.

It doesn’t take long for you to start negatively comparing them to your ex or exes. Yeah, you’re going through the laundry list of offenses that past loves did that resemble what your new love has done (or that you have accused them of doing). Oh yeah, you’re cutting and slashing them to the quick. You have a bloodthirst. You’re going for total annihilation.

That’s because you’re still not healed and over your past. You’re carrying that dead weight around like it’s a championship belt or Flavor Flav’s clock necklace. Visualize his big clock hanging from his neck. Let me help you out…

For you, in your life, this clock represents the past, the time you dwell on, the time that you swear you lost being in that old relationship. Sadly, it also represents the time that you waste dwelling on all of it. If you had invested the time to heal from it, it wouldn’t be dead weight holding you down and keeping you from truly moving forward—in a healthy way. Nope. Instead it would be a joyful reminder to not waste a moment, embrace it, and live fully. But instead you have now gone berserk on the same person who moments ago you swore could do no wrong.

It’s not fair to the new person and it’s not a healthy situation for either of you. It’s a setup for another explosive end. It’s a setup for both of you to be hurt repeatedly. You are a ticking time bomb waiting to be detonated, and this other person is clueless—or if they know, then they are ignorant enough to stand near by to take a direct hit.

Rebounds are only good in sports and in leadership examples, where we bounce back from falling on our face—and in those instances, you’re still expected to reflect on the learned lesson. Rebounds are never healthy in the romance sphere. You’re playing a game and it’s the one that can lead to dire consequences. Relationship rebounds are bandaids. They aren’t cures. You’re just masking the infection underneath. At some point, that nasty bandaid is gonna fall off and expose you.

Clean your wounds, properly bandage things, learn yourself, date yourself, go through the painful healing process. Believe me, it’s less painful than being in a constant cycle of toxic relationships—especially when YOU are the common denominator in those relationships!

If you’re currently in a relationship with a person you rebounded with, you need to work on your self-healing without their involvement. They are not your savior or pacifier. Dig the gunk out of your mind and heart, deal with your issues, be honest with them, admit that you’re still hurting and stress to them that it is not for them to solve, fix, mend, or repair. If they want to walk beside you, thank them but establish clear boundaries. Yes, they should hold you accountable when you blur those lines of past and present, but emotionally and verbally beating you up for not recovering as fast as they like is not acceptable. They should not set the expectations and parameters for your healing. If you can’t do it then you have no business being in a new relationship.

Take your time with them. Don’t rush things. Don’t let them rush you. Savor those moments. Identify truth from fantasy. Find your foundation and be grounded. Be uncomfortable in the unknown, the uncharted. If they can’t handle this truth, if they can’t deal with your slower pace, then give them the option to take a cleansing break for a few months, or lovingly go your separate ways. It’s not punishment. It’s not leverage. It’s about love, healing, growth, maturity, and wisdom. You can’t fully and honestly love them if you’re not positively loving yourself.

I truly hope these words help someone. I know it would’ve saved me years of grief and conflict, relationship after relationship. I would’ve learned to let go of people who couldn’t let go of their exes. I would’ve learned to not enter a relationship when I wasn’t healed from the last one. I would’ve been mature enough to take those cleansing breaks to assess things in a loving way.

We owe it to ourselves and others to do no harm. When we willfully enter a relationship knowing we are damaged, frayed, on edge, and can easily cut and be cut —we are intentionally causing and inviting harm.

It’s time to heal!

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Today is my late great father’s birthday. My mom found this picture of my dad (circa 1971) at her parents home.

I decided to share this picture because it tells a story of a time before I was around. And dad, since 2001 you have been on a new assignment, building a story beyond your life here.

I still struggle, these 19 years later since you transitioned. If I would’ve known that your last birthday was going to be your LAST birthday here, in that body, in this life, I would’ve— well, honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done differently.

We spoke daily and basically saw each other daily. We were gym partners, sports buddies, and business colleagues.

You were and will always be my friend and my first hero (mom’s my first shero). I miss you dad. I miss our talks and even our arguments. I miss you challenging me towards excellence in all things and in all ways.

I wish you were here— like here, here— physically. All I can do is work from my 25 years of memories, look at pictures and mementos, and consider what you would say, do, and ask me. This doesn’t get easier. It just is— an is…

I love you dad. Happy birthday!!! 🥳🎉

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Natasha L. Foreman

Happy Father’s Day to this amazing man who gave his all for his family. Thank you for being an awesome father, dad, daddy, friend, coach, teacher, and protector to and for me and my sister. We love and miss you Dad!

We’ve spent the past 19 Father’s Days without you here. It doesn’t get easier. Just a blend of bland emotion.

We wish you could be here to guide, correct, support, encourage, and protect us. The trips and vacations we planned, just to never take. It hurts to think of it.

We wish you could be here to share your light and wisdom with your grandson. Whisper to him, so he knows you will always be here. Dad, we keep climbing, marching, working, and reaching in your honor.

Loving you always and forever!

~ Natasha

On March 21st I quietly acknowledged my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and told myself to share a memorial post in honor of her, but I got distracted 🤦🏽‍♀️🙈🤦🏽‍♂️

My mom told me today that it’s not too late to give a birthday shout out. I’m so used to having flowers and a gift delivered to my grandmothers, and not having them here, makes birthdays, holidays, and special occasions feel awkward.

Here’s my grandmother pictured between me and my sister. My mom is standing with her hand on my shoulder.

It’s amazing how much I look like both women. Both families genes are STRONG! ☺

Happy belated birthday to my amazing grandmother. Missing you Mama!

~Natasha

The link to the above EUR article can be found here. The original Page Six article is here.

Syleena Johnson is a singer and has even worked with R Kelly on a few songs, early in his career, so she financially benefits from airplay of those songs on radio, the Internet, and through DJs spins. She can convince herself that listening to his music is okay and can be done so guilt-free, because she obviously struggles with her internal monitor that questions why she didn’t know she worked with a predator. And she probably thinks that since, “it didn’t happen to me” and “he never was inappropriate with me”, that somehow it diminishes or dabbles away the offenses he has committed for decades.

You can acknowledge a person’s creative genius while also acknowledging the wrong they’ve done. To say we should ignore the latter because the contributions a person makes is helpful or makes us feel good, is plain ignorance.

This predator wrote and sang about his offenses and crimes. He won awards for songs about seducing, manipulating, abusing, enslaving, and victimizing girls and young women. He’s been raking in millions of dollars through royalties earned on album sales and air time on radio.

Why would you continue to support him just because his music made you rock your shoulders or tap your feet?

I can’t listen to Bump n Grind, 12 Play, Trapped in the Closet, and so many other songs without thinking about the girls and women he took advantage of.

When I saw this article posted on Instagram the words I wrote below in the MuteRKelly IG thread, summarizes what I think of the mindset of Syleena and other R Kelly fans and supporters:

This right here…uugh 🤦🏽‍♀️When we knowingly aid the victimization of those we obviously don’t value, respect, and believe should be protected—we then are no better than the victimizer.

Clearly, the slave mentality sees no color of the master, it just wants to maintain the status quo. Because I can guarantee you there would be Black rage 🤬 across the board if the accused was a white man abusing young girls and women.

We would be picketing with signs that “Black women matter” and “Black girls matter” and the media would flood our airwaves and timelines with images and videos of protests.

But, unfortunately, this savagery by R. Kelly is deemed acceptable because he is also Black, like his victims. If the girls and women were white, oh my white America would be singing a lynching battle cry.

But, be calm America, it’s just Black on Black victimization.

No worries. Don’t fret. Because Black on Black crime is supposed to be the norm?!? Status quo?!?

Oh this sickness permeates so wide and deep. How will we uproot it, pluck it out, and flush it into nothingness? 😫

Change starts with you. Change starts with standing up, speaking out, and doing what’s right. Just because something or someone looks good, doesn’t mean it/they are right.

These are my words and thoughts. I stand by them. I won’t financially or socially support a person, brand, or ideology that victimizes, preys upon, enslaves, abuses, brainwashes, manipulates, rapes, molests, and benefits from the tearing down of one person for the gain of another.

And yes, Syleena, this means I won’t spend a penny that benefits Weinstein or Cosby. Predators don’t get financial passes just because they’re entertaining or inspirational.

#MuteRKelly and all predators!

~Natasha

It brings me joy to say happy birthday to my one and only sister, Alexandra. A decade and a half separate our ages, but through the years, we’ve grown to feel closer in age. I love this woman like I love the air that I breathe.

She’s been through a lot, but still she can find peace and humor to share with others. I chose this picture of her because of the hilarious caption she shared with it. My sister can make me laugh so hard that my head, chest, and sides hurt.

She’s caring, sensitive, and hopeful. She’s a hard worker and will give her last to someone, because that’s her nature.

I’ve seen a huge transformation in her, especially since she became a mom. They say that parenthood brings out all sorts of strengths, characteristics, traits, and more. I look forward to seeing how she blossoms as a woman and mother. I look forward to seeing how she pours into my nephew so that he can shine and thrive in more ways that any of us could ever imagine.

I look forward to seeing the blessings, opportunities, and experiences that my sister will seize and make the most of. I pray that this new decade brings her the strength, courage, discipline, and obedience to do big, bold, and beautiful things—while freeing herself of everything that would restrict, diminish, or weaken her.

Happy Birthday Sis!

I love you with my whole heart ❤

~Tasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

This prayer was sent to me early this morning from my beloved former sister-in-law, Arleen. I call her my sister-in-love. She always has been and always will be. This prayer brought a smile to my face. I received an extra dose of joy.

I pay it forward to you. May these prayers manifest into overflowing blessings. May you bless others even before you realize your blessings. Give thanks before the gift is received.

I love you all!

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman

Today an amazing woman was born into this world. Her parents didn’t know what her future would hold. They just knew that they wanted her to see, experience, and embrace more than they could ever imagine.

She is a mother of three amazing children. It is beautiful watching her children grow and mature over the years. Her two eldest are now taller than their mom, which makes me giggle because you have to do a double-take to notice that she is the mom in the bunch. As you can see in this picture.

It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with her since 2014. Our work relationship and friendship is built on honesty and transparency, which has created a level of trust, that is priceless. Our word is our bond. Truly.

If you listen to the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast, then you know that I mention her frequently. You also know that she joined me for a conversation in Episode 22. She is an awesome woman, mom, friend, and professional.

She enjoys the work she does in the community, her growth as a leader in Toastmasters International, her membership in book clubs and bikers clubs. Yes, she loves motorcycles! One day she will have her own, and then she will be vroom vroom zooming all over the place!

Please join me in wishing Eboni Brown a very happy birthday!

~Natasha

Another person has been promoted. Elevated to his next assignment. His next level of existence. Mr. Stewart is the father of my dear friend, Billie Harris aka @superwife_5 on Instagram.

If you pay attention to my posts and listen to my podcast, then you know I mention Billie a lot. I even interviewed her a few weeks ago. I adore this woman and her family.

Billie and her dad are pictured here.

Her dad has transitioned from this level and although there’s plenty of reasons to celebrate this spiritual promotion, it’s difficult for his loved ones still living on this level. I know this is especially true for Billie.

I know the pain of being “left behind” by a parent. We don’t plan for our parents to transition when they do. Our mental image is always 50+ years later than when it actually happens. That’s how much love we have for them. We can’t see ourselves not celebrating every victory and milestone with them.

We can’t fathom not having the chance to pick up the phone and call them. Holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions aren’t the same when they’re gone. That void can’t be patched up. We don’t want to hear that they’re in a better place. To us, the best place is right by our sides.

Please pray for Billie and her family as they go through their stages of grief and healing. Lift them up with positive words and thoughts. You don’t need to know them to pour love on them! Post a heart in honor of Mr. Stewart. His long legacy will live on for lifetimes!

I salute you sir!

~Natasha

There’s no one in the world like my amazing cousin Princess Chere Peoples, that is her superhuman power!

Today we celebrate her 34th birthday. Although she’s my cousin, our relationship has always been more like big sis and little sis, as I’ve been in her life since she rocked and rolled in her mother’s belly. I gave her the nickname “Retabug” when she was a toddler, and I’ve been calling her that ever since.

For 5 years before my sister was born, it was just me and Princess Chere. It’s weird seeing the two of them all grown up as women.

10 years separate our age, but nothing separates us and our love.
Through her ups and downs, my cousin’s heart has always remained the same.

She smiles through her eyes. She’s often seen at work and at play with a big, beautiful flower in her hair. It is becoming her signature look that she rocks oh so beautifully.

She yearns to do more and give more. She’s eclectic and bold, never understated or to be underestimated.

Since she was a baby I told her she’s a Beautiful Black Nubian Princess, and what makes that extra special is that it’s the truth, not just words or affirmations. But the reminder helps when the world acts ugly.

Our names have meaning and we are guided by them. Her name is Princess and so there’s an expectation that she will live up to the royal moves that her name suggests. I’m proud of her for making moves that provide teachable moments and strengthening lessons, because she will better position herself for the decades ahead of her.

I want Princess to always see herself as God does, at all times, and in all ways—and then nothing and no one can change her, derail her, minimize her, or stop her. Always focused on being the Princess that she is!

Join me in wishing my cousin a very happy 34th birthday. 🎀💝💞💖🎉🎊🎁

I love you Retabug!!!!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman.

Happy Tuesday!

Well if you happened to be on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter late last night, then you may have seen my post announcing that I changed my Instagram handle to match my other social media handles. See the post below.

Earlier in the day I also made an exciting announcement…I received notification that I was granted copyright permission to use various Bible translations in my two books that I’m writing. One is slated for release this year and the other one next year. This is great news because now I can proceed with the next steps. Here’s the announcement that I shared on social media yesterday afternoon…

I can’t wait to finally deliver to you the books that many of you have been waiting years for me to commit to write. It has been a journey indeed. Some people started asking me in 2013 to write a book and I just laughed off the requests. I then took the requests seriously and started writing in August 2016. I stopped and started a few times in 2017 and 2018. Now, after yesterday’s copyright approval, I’m one step closer to crossing the finish line.

So I keep marching, praying, pushing, hustling, and believing!

Be sure to tune in and join me for episode 14 of the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast at 2pm ET. You can listen at ForemanLLC.com/podcast or at Spreaker, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and Castbox.

Oh yeah, and one last thing…

Yep, text don’t call…and only people who are serious about positively contributing to our podcast should invest time in texting questions and suggestions. I thank you now for your contributions!

Well folks, as I say on my podcast, that’s a wrap. Until next time, have a super awesome day and week!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Hi family!

I am checking in. Here’s the latest with me…

My Health

I’m feeling better than last week. I still have a slight cough, but it’s mostly when I’m in AC or under a ceiling fan. My cool air humidifier is helping big time! Thanks to everyone who sent prayers and well wishes. I appreciate it and you!

My Business

I’m all over the place trying to wear many hats, while trying to get things done. Feeling loopy at times. Do you know that feeling?!?

I’m sometimes pulling all-day-all-night sessions cranking out curriculum and videos for upcoming business courses through my company, and doing work for clients, and of course doing what I love as a college professor. It’s 2am as I type this. I just finished grading my college students course work, after teaching a 10pm online class.

I said I would break from work, go relax and read my friend DL White’s new book, before falling asleep. But before I can relax I needed to write this message to you. If I put this off, I will forget, like I did last week….😁

My Webinar Trainings

I’ve learned a lot from the last webinar trainings that I hosted through my company. Thanks to those of you who attended and provided feedback. Thanks to those who are registered for my upcoming courses.

Don’t Call It Small…Business

I’m having a blast with my weekly podcast. My broadcasting dreams made a reality. It’s also helping to challenge and stretch me creatively, while giving me great content for books and courses. If you haven’t heard one of the episodes, check them out here. They air every Wednesday.

You can also listen on Spreaker, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and Castbox. Just search for “Don’t Call It Small...”

My Books

I’m currently outlining two business books, one of which is slated to be released late 2020.

Here’s the latest with my Spiritual books that I’m writing:

  • I’m waiting for copyright approval for using verses from various Bible publishers.

If you didn’t know, most translations that are published, are not public domain and free to use however we see fit. There’s only a handful that are, like the King James Version. However, if you want to freely use NIV, AMP, NKJV, HCSB, and many others—you better check the copyright restrictions before you run amock.

Since my books will be for sale, I’m not going to risk any legal and financial hiccups on my part. So I’m making sure to cover my bases as fully as possible.

  • I had wanted to start the promo this month, but until I gain all clearances, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

I want everyone to have the first book in your hands, to use January 1st. There’s optional bonus content that comes with it, and I’m excited to receive your feedback.

  • I’m on my next round of edits.
  • After this round it will be handed over to a group of pre-selected readers to provide feedback on flow, ease of use, formatting, and readability.
  • Since Book 2 picks up where this first book leaves off, I get the opportunity to make moves for the second book sooner, because now I know the process and what to expect.

I can even submit my copyright requests for Book 2 out sooner because I have a rough idea of how many Bible verses I’m using from each translation.

  • I still don’t have an official title for the book.

I’m using a working title, just for quick reference, but it’s a no-go title to place on the cover of a book. I will be turning to my designated readers for assistance, and then turning to my Breaking Bread readers, and all of you to vote on the titles.

That’s All Folks

There’s some other things going on in my world, but I will share some (that I’m comfortable sharing) another time. In the meantime, feel free to connect with me on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Of course, I hope you will check out the Don’t Call It Small… podcast. It’s accessible at my company website and almost everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Let’s connect soon!

Warmest wishes,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Today would be my maternal grandfather’s 95th birthday. His name is Elisberry and he passed away in 1995, transitioning to his next spiritual assignment. Here’s a picture of him and my grandmother, Maxine, on their wedding day. I absolutely love this photo. They were married over 43 years when my grandfather passed away.

My cousins and I call him “Poppa” (paw-paw), his children call him “daddy”, my grandmother (his wife) called him Elisberry or “E.L.” for short. He was “E.L.” to other family members and friends, and then to his fishing and hunting crew he was “King Fish”.

When I was a small child he gave me the nickname “Yellow Belly”, partly a tie in to a fish reference, and the other part due to my lighter skin complexion. My cousin Princess still calls me by my nickname. It always makes me think of our grandfather.

He was a devoted husband and a proud father of three children—pictured in the collage below and also pictured above with my grandmother and my mother when she was a toddler. Poppa was a super duper awesome grandfather, and a committed provider and protector, who would do anything to help a loved one.

Matter of fact, the asthma attack that he succumbed to was triggered from working on a family member’s property. He ignored the symptoms, not wanting to leave the work unfinished.

Poppa was a hard worker, who sacrified a lot—as he never attended high school because he had to tend to the family farm and help provide for his mother and siblings. Heck, his asthma was a result of poor working conditions doing paint and body work for a Ford Motor Company subsidiary/affiliate. Lousy ventilation, inadequate safety equipment, and probably a lack of knowledge about the health risks as we know now. But he worked in those conditions to provide for his family, and to give them a life better than he had growing up.

That job made it possible for him to ensure that his children could focus on their education and not on working at a job, and he bought all three of his children brand new Ford Mustangs during their senior years in high school. His children never grew up facing the harsh realities he knew as a child and young man.

He and my grandmother worked hard so that their children didn’t experience poverty growing up. They were a part of the middle class. For him, the sacrifices he made were worth it.

Here’s a picture of Poppa, my grandmother Maxine (known as “Mamacine” by her grandchildren), and three of my cousins: Tia, Shalwan, and Michael (the toddler at the bottom). They, along with their youngest sibling Steven (who was born several years after this picture was taken), spent almost every weekend with our grandparents growing up.

Poppa didn’t have formal education, but my grandfather had a PhD in common sense and life. I’ve learned and recall more from this brilliant man than books or teachers ever provided. I continue to reflect upon and apply the lessons and skills that he taught me growing up. He taught me how to just be myself, how to laugh at myself, how to enjoy the quiet and hectic days, and the importance of family.

My grandfather taught me how to fish, hunt, plant and harvest food, survival skills, discipline, humbleness, patience, and forgiveness. Heck, my grandfather forgave his family members that stole land from him. I’m sure that in his mind he probably thought that if they needed it that much to con and steal it from him, then they could have it. He would leave the details to God.

In addition to all of these remarkable things, my Poppa taught me how to always be mindful of my surroundings and to take the life skills of country living and apply it to city life.

You don’t know how valuable those skills have been for this city girl. Growing up using out houses, running through wild country fields, eating the weirdest foods, climbing through bobwire, being almost elbows deep in dirt digging through his amazing garden for the best fruit and vegetables, learning about cars, and experiencing the joys of life with only the bare essentials. All of this equipped me to travel the world and embrace amazing experiences in environments most people would cringe to be in.

Some other things that he taught me— but I didn’t realize it until recently—was he taught me about being a responsible home owner, and how to rewire after retirement. My grandfather made sure that he and my grandmother’s home was paid off and well maintained, and he also ensured that my grandmother (who was an entrepreneur) would be financially cared for if he passed before her. Heck, my grandfather passed in 1995, and he was still taking care of my grandmother financially until she transitioned in 2017. How awesome is that?!?

Poppa remained active in retirement. He showed me the value of keeping your mind and body engaged and active, exercising both your physical and mental muscles. I truly believe that had that asthma attack not gotten over on him, my grandfather would’ve lived another 20-plus years.

I’m so grateful to be the grand daughter of this amazing spirit, this remarkable man, affectionately known as “E.L.”

I love and miss you dearly Poppa!

~Natasha your “Yellow Belly”

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.