Leading up to and throughout this road trip, I told myself and others that I was going to watch the sun rise over the Grand Canyon. Well, I woke up just shy of 6:30am and I looked at my weather app just to discover that it was 30-something degrees outside. I cleared my throat, pulled my weighted blanket (that I traveled with) up over my shoulders, and watched the sun rise through my daggum hotel window. Yep, I wasn’t having it. No way no how. I hadn’t packed cold weather gear so I was definitely not about to try and freeze the last bit of sense I had left in my brain.

Uncle Michael told me that he was going to get himself some breakfast. I continued relaxing a bit and after I showered and dressed, I made my way down to grub on some hotel food. As we were passing each other, my uncle said, “heads up” and I remember him telling me that the eggs on one side was hotter than the other, but I had forgotten which side by the time I got out of the elevator. I just wanted food.

I spent some quality time eating and people watching, enjoying the amazing energy of one of the hotel workers who went above and beyond to help guests (and reduce the amount of people crammed together trying to get certain food items). It was awesome seeing so many people there, clearly visiting for the same reason I was there, to take in as much of that majestic energy that the Grand Canyon harnessed. There were families visiting, casual hikers, and extreme hikers (or at least they had extreme gear strapped to them). Once I was done eating and taking in all of the busyness, I went to my room, gathered my stuff and headed to the front desk to check out.

Grand Canyon

My uncle and I drove the short one mile to the entry gate and was pleasantly surprised that not only would we receive a discount to enter, thanks to his Veteran’s status, but he got a free pass to all of the National Parks for an entire year. Isn’t that awesome?!? I asked him if he would be ready for some road trips come spring time.

After parking and wondering why people brought their small dogs with them—ummm can you say wild animal snacks?— we decided on the route we wanted to take.

I called my mom and she said, “Oh you guys are actually at the Grand Canyon? I thought you were just driving by”. I looked at my phone and I was like, “ummm how do you just drive by?” and then quickly pivoted the conversation before she went off on me. After a few laughs I got off of the phone and uncle Michael and I hopped on the orange shuttle, and oh my goodness, only God could have created something as beautiful as what we took in that day. It’s one thing to see pictures and videos of the Grand Canyon, it’s something totally different, soul-stirring, a song to your spirit, when you see it in person.

Oh and for clarification, all of those jaw-dropping images you see online and in books, are of the south part of the Grand Canyon, the South Rim, which is in Arizona. Not the Nevada side. No knock to Nevada, it’s just a different topography up that-a-which-away. The North Rim is less accessible because it’s like 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim. It’s also not open year-round like the South Rim, and that’s because it snows like crazy in the North Rim.You can access it if you’re a hiker or cross country skier, and have a backcountry permit.

We took a shuttle to see South Kaibab Trail. It begins with a series of switchbacks called “the chimney”. During the winter months you can find ice in this area. What I didn’t know, until after I had made it home with my postcard that I had purchased is that there are Zoroaster and Brama temples perched majestically across from the Mormon Flats on the South Kaibab Trail. The Grand Canyon is hundreds of millions of years old with just as many mysteries nestled in those nooks and crannies.

After spending some quality time at South Kaibab Trail, we hopped on another shuttle and went to Yaki Point.

Now, if I had been there for a hiking trip, I would have hiked to all of these stops. Oh and if I was traveling with someone other than my uncle. He’s not the hiking type. Take him fishing or camping in a controlled-environment (not something as open and wild as the Grand Canyon, for instance) and he’s in his element. He wasn’t playing with these wild animals. Arizona has mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, bats, elk (as I mentioned yesterday), bison, condors, deer, and big horn sheep.

And the most dangerous animals happen to be some of the smallest, those rock squirrels will take you out. You can think they’re cute all you want, you might find yourself cliff-diving without a parachute or in a social media video that’s gone viral because you’re battling Rocky from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Uncle Michael and I were looking at people like they had a death wish. One woman kept trying to get as close to the edge of the cliff and the other women that were with her kept saying, “Okay stop you have gone far enough” and she kept saying, “I’m fine it’s okay, I’ve got this”. My uncle and I turned around and walked away, both agreeing that if her silly butt got snatched by a gust of wind, we didn’t want to be there to witness the horror.

Epic Fail Falling GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We rolled our eyes when we saw people with their cameras say, “Ooh look at that” and they were trying to get close enough to take photos of animals. I just knew that one of them was going to say “Ooh I wonder if it will let me pet it”. It never fails. There’s always one who wants to take things to the extreme, like they’re gonna get a show with National Geographic or something.

Uncle Michael and I took plenty of pictures and he even had his fancy camera, snapping away and capturing some beautiful images. The photos you see here are all taken by me with my iPhone. I recorded videos and even tried to FaceTime and WhatsApp video call with my mom and sister, so they could get a sneak peek, but no can do. It was as though the canyon said, “Naw sista, not here”. When I was able to call them later, my mom said, “They probably block service so folks can’t see the Grand Canyon for free”. Haaa my mom is hilarious.

We took one more shuttle and visited Pipecreek Vista. I did want to make two more stops but being mindful of the time and how long we still had left of our road trip, we caught another shuttle back to the visitor’s center. Then we went to the conservatory gift shop.

There I bought a postcard (that I mentioned earlier) and a National Parks passport book. I felt like a big kid when my passport got stamped, marking my visit. My uncle purchased these cool wooden walking sticks for my mom and my aunt Valerie (their sister). The sticks disassemble into three pieces that simply attach my screwing them together. So it made it possible to travel with them. Pretty cool! He also purchased my sister something and got me the Adventure Edition of the Road Atlas. It has all of the state and national parks, and national monuments highlighted. I can’t wait for my next adventure. Oh yeah!

Leaving the Grand Canyon

I won’t lie, I wish I could have stayed there the entire day. Before leaving I had already planned in my mind a return trip next year. I’m thinking that three or four days would do the trick.

I have one other place in Flagstaff I want to spend several hours visiting, so I want to spread my trip out so that it’s not rushed. It’s roughly a seven-hour drive from southern California.

Even if I flew into Flagstaff that would still require renting a car and driving 81 miles. That’s the closest option because I don’t think there is an airport in Williams, which is 60 miles away. The Flagstaff flight could work if I wanted to spend more time at the Grand Canyon and in Arizona, and I wasn’t doing an all-out multi-state road trip. Hmmm…this travel option is sounding better and better the more I think about it.

Cali-bound

I hopped behind the wheel of my SUV and we moseyed down the road, hopped on the highway, refueled at a trucker’s stop, and grabbed something to eat. We were slated to reach sunny southern California later that evening. My uncle took some awesome photos as I drove through Arizona and into California.

Once we crossed that California border we had 346 miles until we reached our destination. I got excited when when hit I-15 South because I knew we were roughly two hours away home. We pulled in around 8:45pm, tired and hungry, Thankfully, my sister had prepared us a meal that had me salivating like crazy.

Reflection

I enjoyed this road trip. Even the rough parts that had me nervous and at times scared of becoming a road bump for a big rig. Would I do it again? Yes. I’m not sure what has changed within me, but I went from declaring in 2012 “No more road trips longer than eight hours” to saying in 2021, “Okay let’s do this!” So here’s to my next road trip. Stay tuned, one’s coming soon. You will never believe where I’m headed to next!

~Natasha

Copyright 2021. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Okay so picking up on where we left off on this cross-country road trip from Georgia to California, I left Georgia listening to my Sirius XM channel 50, and I was doing great on time. I was hitting my miles and reaching my state targets right on time. I kept my weather app accessible and I ensured I had written directions, in case I hit a dead zone with my cell phone. I was glad that I waited to leave Atlanta at 7:30am because Alabama did have some high winds and I wouldn’t have been able to see debris on the roads and highways in the darkness.

I hit Birmingham right on time, snapped a photo of the rain hitting my windshield in Winfield, the highway signs below the dark clouds in Tupelo, and it was soon after that photo that one of my jams came cranking through my car speakers. It’s interesting how many cities and towns throughout the US are named after Biblical places, such as Corinth.

About an hour later I was in Byhalia, never heard of it, but I knew that keeping straight was leading me to Memphis.

Memphis

I thought that I would stop and have lunch at a restaurant on Beale Street. So I hopped off the highway and cruised over to Beale Street. I snapped some photos because you never know what changes can take place in a short period of time. What I didn’t factor into this great detour idea of mine, was the yucky weather and having to park my car and walk in the rain, in pursuit of some yummy food that this newly-converted vegetarian would have to track down. It was just too much going on so I scrapped the idea and convinced myself to grab something in Arkansas. So I hopped back on the highway. drove over the Mississippi River and crossed into Arkansas. I knew that I had 123 miles to get to Little Rock.

Arkansas

I’m really not sure what I thought I was going to find in Arkansas. What are they known for, food-wise? Heck if I know, and guess what? Once you leave Memphis, the next McDonald’s isn’t along that route for another whopping 25+ miles. I knew I wasn’t going to stop at Subway and soon I realized I done messed up now. But I kept driving and kept singing with channel 50. I arrived in Forrest City and saw the Mc D’s on N. Washington Street, across the street from the gas station I had eyeballed.

What in the world??? That’s all I can really say. They didn’t even put a full slice of cheese on my sandwich. I mean it’s not like they had to rush or anything. There was only one car in front of me when I pulled up and no cars behind me when I ordered, paid at the first window, and collected my food at the second window. It was 3:30 pm local time and my sandwich said to me, “Howdy, I’ve been waiting for you!” because that is exactly what it tasted like. My fries were okay. I decided to do something I rarely do, I completed one of their online surveys, explaining my disappointment.

After leaving there and filling up my tank, sticking to my routine of not letting the gas level drop below half a tank, I got back on the highway. I noticed that I lost some time with my shenanigans. Now it was no longer saying that I would arrive in Oklahoma City by 8pm local time. The clock was inching up and now saying 10pm. Yikes, how in the world did I lose two hours? I hadn’t been sitting there for that long. Uugh, the Beale Street loop-da-loop coupled with this stop, and it factored in something I didn’t see coming.

Traffic Jam Parking Lot

Thank goodness for my Waze app for alerting me to a major traffic jam on I-40. I guess there was construction and looky-loos, and a bunch of fools on the highway, because the re-route that Waze provided was roughly 12 miles long. It wasn’t a quick re-route, but thankfully it took me through a really beautiful community in Arkansas. I was too busy chatting it up on the phone with my aunt Valerie to remember to take some photos, or note my location. Just know that it was the perfect detour. At first it had me and my aunt nervous, thinking that I was about to take a scenic drive through no-man’s land. If I hadn’t paid attention to the detour alert I would have been stuck in that traffic jam (that looked like a parking lot on Black Friday) for a long time. It was over 10 miles deep according to the alerts on Waze. I felt sorry for anyone stuck in the middle and running low on fuel or in need of a restroom.

Crazy Weather

The weather in Arkansas had gotten rough at times, the winds were intense, and anyone who has driven a high profile vehicle, you know the more exposed surface you have the more you’re risking with crosswinds, etc. Those little cars were just zooming by and I knew why. They have a lower center of gravity and a smaller surface area. I was watching huge trucks, big rigs and other high profile vehicles swaying and drifting across lanes, and that meant I was going to have to slow myself down big time to keep a safe distance from them. When the sun set things really started to get intense and I found myself dropping my speed down to 40 mph in some areas.

Ft. Smith

After passing Little Rock Arkansas I had 313 miles to Ft. Smith. I knew that the closer I got to Ft. Smith that I was closer to Oklahoma City, because Ft. Smith is near the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma

I started driving past highway exits with names I recognized, and when I saw the Indian Nation Turnpike, I knew that I was near the towns my maternal grandparents were born and raised. I knew I only had 1.5 hours to get to my aunt’s house. You would think that once I reached that point that it would be smooth sailing into Oklahoma City. But it wasn’t. It was dark. I mean real dark. And the wind and rain decided to play tag with me. All while I’m navigating the construction zones that they don’t ever seem done improving. It started feeling like I was in an old school pinball machine, just zigging left and right, on pavement then off, with the blinding headlights of vehicles and big rigs zooming by on the other side of the highway.

It also didn’t help that I got on the phone with my maternal grand aunt, Mary, and told her that although I planned to surprise her that day, I was now four hours behind my initial planned arrival time. It would be too late to swing by her house and even if I did, I knew I wouldn’t have enough energy to then backtrack to my aunt Valerie’s house. It wasn’t telling aunt Mary this that made this final stretch of the trip difficult. It was the fact that my aunt Mary has one of the most soothing voices I’ve ever heard, and after an hour of chatting with her on the phone, I found myself getting too relaxed and I thought I would fall asleep. I had to tell my beloved aunt that I had to get off of the phone. As soon as I did, I cranked up the music and told my body to get it together. I pulled up to my aunt Valerie’s at 11:55pm.

Day 2

The next day I had a companion. My maternal uncle, Michael. Yep, he was riding with me the rest of the way to California and was down for whatever. So after a stop at Dunkin Donuts and then the gas station to refuel, we hit I-40 heading for Amarillo, Texas. I no longer eat steak, but I had to snap a photo of “The Big Texan Steak Ranch” that had a full parking lot at almost 3pm. My uncle Michael drove and I rode shotgun.

New Mexico

We crossed the Texas-New Mexico border, entering Hereford. Did you know that New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment”? I know one thing, it’s a heck of a drive, because you’re going across the entire width of the state. That’s what zapped me when driving through Arkansas. It’s different when you’re clipping parts of state. Cutting straight across or down, depending on the side of the state, can feel brutal. Once you enter New Mexico it’s 529 miles of desert. 

After my uncle had made it a “good ways” into Albuquerque, I convinced him that I knew how to drive, and that he could pull off and switch places. He had driven all day and I wanted to ensure he wasn’t taking his road warrior status too far. He clearly still saw me as a young teenager, because not only did he pass up several nearby gas stations and parking lots to pull over, he drove one mile off the highway, and turned into the parking lot of a mall, then positioned my SUV so that it was pointing in the direction of the highway, and then proceeded to tell me how to leave the parking lot. Like we were out there doing a behind-the-wheel driving session. I had to remind him that I had been driving for decades. Hilarious!

Arizona

Once entering Arizona I knew I had 348 miles before I would reach the exit that I needed to head to our hotel at the Grand Canyon. In your mind, you see the signs and you tell yourself, “I will be there soon” but boy howdy, if you have never driven to the Grand Canyon, let me tell you, oooh wee, do it during the daytime because at night it was cuh-razy!

I took SR-64 drove 28 miles then another 22 miles on US-180. Ummm yeah, so several miles before reaching the Grand Canyon village, you forget that you’re out there with some real animals, I mean like more than snakes and coyotes. We drove by something that was grazing by the roadside. At first my uncle said it was a moose and then he was like, wait that couldn’t have been a moose. Then it was like one minute later and why did we see a huge elk? I mean huge. I mean, it was so huge that if it had changed it’s mind about hopping up the side of the embankment, and instead decided to turn around and charge at my SUV for being a nuisance, it could have knocked us clear off the road. It’s antlers looked to be as wide as the front of my car. And before you ask, heck no we didn’t stop to take a photo. I will say, the elk in Arizona are eating well and living good.

We pulled up to our hotel at 11:55pm beating the 12am cut-off which would have been a late check-in headache of sorts. Not sure what exactly, I’m just glad that I didn’t have to deal with it. I’m also glad that they honored my uncle’s Veteran status and gave us a discounted rate. Hey now!

Tomorrow I will share photos from the Grand Canyon, and then my reflection of the final leg of this three-day trip.

~Natasha

Copyright 2021. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been too long since I last had something to say, something to share with all of you. Sure, I post to social media, but it’s not the same as engaging with you through this blog. I apologize for my lack of presence. This year has been troubling, scary, rocky, and at times extremely chaotic for me. I have been split between two coasts since March of this year.

I won’t divulge my personal situation and drama here, just know that I haven’t been missing because I lost my zest for blogging. If you follow my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog, you already know that Monday through Friday you can find a post from me. That blog has helped me through my spiritual battles along this rugged path. I haven’t resumed hosting my Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast, as I had intended to do this past summer. But thanks to God, giving Him credit for what I’m about to do, I have found the time and space to get back on this saddle and return to regularly blogging and podcasting each week.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of today’s message? Well, let me share…

Last month was my birthday month. Woot woot! Yeah, I didn’t do anything big and fancy, but I did enjoy myself. I flew from California to Atlanta, two days before my birthday. I could only be in Atlanta until Wednesday evening, because I needed to ensure I was back in California by Saturday to celebrate my nephew’s birthday and my favorite holiday, Halloween. I keep my promises and nothing was going to keep me from getting back in time.

The travel to Atlanta wasn’t that bad. I met some pretty interesting people on both flights. On my first leg, I met a gentleman from Scotland, who I told we’re probably related, only because I have Scottish and Irish heritage. We chatted a bit before we both settled into our in-flight routines. Before getting off the plane we exchanged contact information. I’m hoping he will give me some historical and archival insights to better assist me with my genealogical journey. I had a quick layover in Houston and then hopped on my final leg to Atlanta. On that flight I sat next to two women, one a student who graduated from the University of Southern California, and is pursuing her Master’s degree at Emory University (which I excitedly shared that I taught there in 2014) and the other woman was in marketing, from the looks of her work deliverables she was cranking through.

At the end of the flight, the Emory student said that she was inspired sitting between two professional Black women, doing their thing, working passionately. That touched my heart. I wished her the best and I silently said a prayer for her. She is still trying to determine if she wants to pursue her MD or PhD, and I hope that whichever path she chooses, that she is positioned to give fully and passionately to help others.

I landed in Atlanta late that evening, wondering why I didn’t take the earlier non-stop flight, but then reminding myself of the people I met and connected with that day. I spent the next day running errands and stopping by to see a few friends, having lunch with two of my buddies who treated me to one of my favs, IHOP, and I had a quick catch-up session with another. Sadly, I had to reschedule with one of my friends because my day slipped by and we were playing tag-you’re-it.

Day three was my birthday and I won’t lie, it did not go as planned. Like nothing, absolutely nothing went as I had planned. I know what I had written down on my list and my well-mapped out plan, but Murphy’s Law decided to make a believer out of me in a real way. A friend of mine had gone with me to take my SUV to a mechanic and I was told that I needed a new tire for the front passenger side. See, I had a road trip planned for the next day, and I needed to ensure that my SUV was ready for the long ride. I rushed to get my tire replaced and found that some locations didn’t have mine in stock. I had a lunch scheduled with one of my friends and I had promised a friend (the one who followed me to the mechanic) that I would drop them off at the airport, because they were heading overseas for a month. Now this tire situation was causing issues. I had to cancel lunch and then was absolutely heartbroken to find out that I wasn’t just cancelling on my dear friend, but on three dear friends. Yep, she was surprising me with two other friends who were eager to see me.

My birthday was really sucking. Like, seriously.

I started reaching out to friends to see if anyone had connections with tire places, as my mind was all over the place. When you leave home for several months it’s definitely weird when you return, so much is familiar, yet much more leaves you dazed and confused. It didn’t take long to receive a return call telling me to head to Decatur and get there no later than 3:45pm to get my tire. Thank God for great friends. After dropping off one friend at the airport I rushed to Decatur and there I was planted for almost three hours. I was a walk-in so I knew the wait was inevitable. I was okay with that. But unfortunately, that meant cancelling meet-ups with one, two, three, and then four friends. It also meant cancelling swinging by the after school program I used to work for, as I really wanted to see my team members and the kiddies. But there just wasn’t enough time in my day.

It was 5:15pm and I was already exhausted, but determined!

Here’s a picture that I sent in my group text to my three gal pals, as I waited for my tire to be swapped out. I told them I was tired and a picture rarely lies!

One of the many things I love about one of my friends is their ability to find workarounds to situations. Since our original meet-up didn’t pan out, they drove to the tire center to meet me. That was the same friend that connected me with the tire center. What was their birthday gift to me? The new tire. Yes indeed. I was so happy. You can have the fancy, I will drive past you with my new tire, thank you very much! Standing outside we pondered how long it had been since we had seen each other, and were shocked that it had been some time early last year. I started thinking about my other friends, and this was the truth for many of them. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in person since 2019, because this pandemic put a stop to the in-person connection at the start of 2020. That made cancelling on them suck even worse.

After my tire was swapped out I rushed into Atlanta to visit the mother of one of my friends. She and I had spoken by phone from time to time, but we hadn’t seen each other since February. I’ve grown extremely close to her over the years and we adopted each other, in a sense. She’s like another mother. I was determined that I would see and hug her, so I made it happen. There’s something super special about mothers, wouldn’t you agree?

After leaving her house with a bag filled with pastries (because she wasn’t going to let me not have cake for my birthday) I floored it to southwest Atlanta, rushing into the home of my friend and hairstylist, where she had dinner waiting and ready. We laughed and gossiped (ssssh don’t tell anyone) as I scarfed down my food. I couldn’t stay long because I had an online class to teach at 9pm and I couldn’t be late. Well needless to say, I was about five minutes late because she also surprised me with a birthday brownie and ice cream. It’s a tad bit difficult to scarf that down, but my students were more than accommodating because they knew it was my birthday. Class wrapped up at 10pm and I won’t lie, I was exhausted. I gave them my all. I poured every ounce of energy I had left into that class period. I was super hyped and they thanked me repeatedly for loving them enough to leave it all on the mat, as the saying goes. But I couldn’t afford to go straight to sleep after class, because I wasn’t done packing.

See, I had convinced myself to stick to my initial plan to hit the highway no later than 4:30am the next morning. I thought that if I left out at 4:30am I would arrive in Memphis in time for breakfast, relax and chill for a bit, and then get back on the highway. But as I just stated, I still hadn’t finished sorting and packing for the trip. The night before I had created my pack, donate, trash, storage piles, and because of the tire fiasco, it took longer than I anticipated to complete this task. That’s probably because I didn’t originally plan to be as aggressive with the sorting as I found myself being a few hours in to the process, the night before. I actually did more than what I imagined and I’m grateful that I did. I know that when I do return to Atlanta I will be in a better position to pack up and move to wherever, with little to no time—I just need to grab and load, and then go. All of my furniture and other items are waiting for me in storage. Oh yeah that is a long story I won’t be sharing anytime soon. Maybe in a future post or even in a book. Maybe.

So what time do you think I finally climbed into bed, knowing I needed to be on the road at 4:30am?

If you said around 2:30am, you’re right. I made some adjustments in my thinking. I looked at the weather reports again and noticed that Alabama was going to be clobbered by stupid weather and both Alabama and Georgia were having later sunrises, like after 7:30am. My common sense kicked in and I made the decision that it wasn’t wise to drive in the dark, with high winds, and rain. Yep, it was scheduled to rain, which I already knew, but what I hadn’t planned for was the 40-plus miles per hour winds that were zooming through Alabama. I also decided that it would not be cool to start this road trip with soaking clothes, so instead of waiting until I was leaving out to load the car, I made the decision to do everything then and there.

I hauled all of the trash bags outside, packed my SUV, and then hopped in the shower, bypassing my original plan to relax in a tub filled with hot water and this cool muscle soak I bought days earlier. I need to have a long talk with Murphy, because this fool has a habit of ruining plans. Since my plans to drop off my donation bags were derailed, I labeled the bags, and left them for my friend to drop off for me when they return from their trip later this month. My “welcome home” gift to them. Not really, but that’s what I’m going to say when they ask me about those two huge black trash bags in their guest room. I’m giggling now just thinking about that future conversation.

Okay, so back to this trip. I caught a few zzz’s and after sending out my massive text messages to friends and family (and a link for my family to track me), I was on the road at 7:30am, chatting on the phone with one of the friends that I couldn’t squeeze a visit in with the day before. I stopped by Dunkin Donuts and then refueled at a gas station, and after that it was just my Sirius XM rolling with me. If you’re wondering if I was driving by myself, I will tell you what I told friends and family that asked the same question: No, I had “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit rolling with me. Jesus said he was gonna rest at the half-way point of our journey, so I would pick up my maternal uncle, Michael, to ride with me the rest of the way”. This, my friends, was the start of my first cross-country road trip all by myself. Well, at least the first five states were all by myself. I’ve driven plenty of times on long road trips, but never alone.

There I was, leaving Atlanta, my SUV packed with snacks, bottled water, tire kit, beat-you-down flashlight (one of those huge ones), two cans of wasp spray (just in case pepper spray and mace were illegal in some states), written directions in case my GPS went on the blitz, and just enough clothing and supplies to make my current stay comfortable. Thanks to my aunt Debbie, I renewed my AAA. I had totally forgotten that I hadn’t renewed in forever. Thanks Debbie for that. Whew!

Next week, I will share more about this amazing road trip and even share some photos. If you’re wondering which Sirius XM channel I was jamming to, it was channel 50, “The Groove”. Yes indeed, the best of 70s and 80s R&B music. It was like a nonstop concert and I loved every minute of it. I even have a video or two to share with you of me lip-syncing some songs. I cracked myself up. Be prepared to laugh with me folks. Chat soon!

~Natasha

Copyright 2021. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

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