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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My (Short) Journey to the Alter - Part 3: He's Got a Temper

We met a couple of months ago. We were engaged before I had the directions to his house down. We're less than 2 months from tying the knot - if he gets his way - but I will NOT forget that we are still in rehearsal. . But he did. I'm in this. . don't get me wrong. . I've committed to the idea of tying myself to another human being for a lifetime. . But I'm no fool. I'm not going to tie myself to some crazy lunatic who does not have his shit together. ' This evening I saw some qualities that I didn't like. He has a temper. And I don't think I saw all of it. I think he checked himself because (at the last minute) he realized that he was in rehearsal, and had lost some cool points. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, yeah Dude. He left. . hopefully to get his head together. When he returns we'll pull it together and get back to this rehearsal. No harm no foul if he plays his cards right. . But these are the moments we need to have because if he was perfect for four months I'd probably chicken out. So, this is good. . I'm OK. But you better believe I'm going to work this incident for all it's worth. . LOL. . Back to rehearsing my lines. . Life is lovely!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My (Short) Journey to the Altar - Part 2: Frank Pops the Question

So, where did I leave off? I was having a bad day, week, month; so I stepped out to Jazzie's my favorite club. I met a jerk who after a few drinks and an apology for being a jerk, actually turned out not to be so bad. And here we go with the rest of the quick timeline recap:

I ended up giving the guy, Frank, my phone number because over the course of the night, he actually turned out to be a gentleman. I gave him a quick interview and determined that he didn't exhibit any stalker tendencies, so that was cool, too.

We met on Saturday (the 1st)- late; and by the end of the night. . or the beginning of the morning (since we met about midnight), Frank professed that he loved me. "Agape love" was how he described it. . and wanted me to be his wife. HA! HA! HA!

Now, I've had guys at the club throw some pretty strong game at me, but seriously. You want to marry me? Well, OK.

We spoke on Sunday, but I limited the discussions because that whole I love you and want to marry you within a couple of hours of meeting you was a bit much.

11/03/11 By Monday, Frank had gotten the message, and backed off on the serious stuff. He went another direction. Since I told him I was going to be rushing home from work to bring my son to baseball practice, he called me on the way home, and told me that he had picked up pizzas for my kids and wanted me to grab them before I headed home.

I swung by Frank's place and picked up the pizza, and he had another surprise: he had purchased an engagement ring, went down on one knee, and proposed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!

You want to push me into freak out mode? Propose one day after I meet you.

But that's Frank. That's how he rolls.. He did that. I was shocked, but I've recovered. . And, now we're engaged. . 7 weeks now. .

Wedding ceremony is scheduled for my birthday next year: October 27, 2012.

But Frank is filled with surprises.. Surprise! We are planning to elope on Valentine's Day: February 14, 2012. More to come on that one. . More to come on this whole journey as it un-folds.

My (Short) Journey to the Altar - Part 1: Meeting Frank

At a point in my life when I wasn't even looking, I met the man that I'm now engaged to. ENGAGED to a man I met about 6 weeks ago. 6 weeks!!! I feel really confident that at some point I'm going to take a breather, and for whatever reason, reflect back on this experience to see exactly how it evolved. So, I'm forcing myself to take a long enough break from working through this situation to actually document my course. Here's a quick timeline recap:


Having a bad day, week, month, I decided to get all sexy and step out to Jazzie's. I needed a drink. I needed a self-esteem booster. I just needed to interact with adults.

As soon as I pulled into a parking spot, the guy with the BMW parked next to me shouted, "Do NOT scratch my car!" I was having a bad day, but decided that it was probably better to bite my tongue until I got a drink, so I let the guy make it. I got out of my car, and went around to the other side to retrieve my trench coat and purse, and again, the guy shouted out, "Do NOT scratch my car!". . Now, I'm agitated.. I mean, I just let him make it.. But, again, I held my tongue, got my stuff out of the car, and walked up to the door of the club. . with this guy right behind me. .

When I had approached the door, I stood there for a second waiting for this guy to do what I was accustomed to doing - hold the door, so I could walk in - and after about 15 awkward seconds, I realized that he wouldn't. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh, is he insane? Ok. Well whatever.

As soon as I got into the club, I told James Hill, the guy who worked the door about the jerk who was tripping over his car AND did not hold the door. I was SO pisst.

Well, anyway, the jerk went his way and I went mine. . My way was near the door, in the corner. I vented to James about how crappy my day, week, month was and he started sending me drinks. . strawberry daiquiris. . lots and lots of strawberry daiquiris.. that I sipped on all night. Before I could even drink a whole one, another one would come, so I really could not tell you how many I drank. Pretty quickly, I forgot about how badly my day, week, month had been or how big of a jerk the guy I met in the parking lot was. The night was going much better. . So, at some point I decided to head out to the dance floor.

And then it happened, I was approached by the jerk from the parking lot. Of course, at this point, he didn't look so jerky. He actually looked pretty nice looking. But that was not going to stop this me from getting an apology. I would get an apology. I was on tonight, and he approached me like it didn't matter.

So, jerk asked me to dance.. But before he would, I made him apologize. "So, you're the guy who was tripping in the parking lot, and then did not hold the door?!! Are you kidding me?!!" He apologized, and it was over. Well, sort of..

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Most Difficult Conversation with a 10 year old: Why Daddy had to leave

Three years ago I made the decision to let go of the man I had spent 14 years building a life with. It was a decision I made over the course of two years; battling with myself and those close to me who saw the destruction the relationship was creating in my life and in my spirit. It was really awful in the end. But it's over, and I'm happier.

But my children are not.

In fact, for 3 years, my 10 year old son has been unhappy, frustrated, violent, ill-mannered. I have gone through bouts of worrying and praying, that still have not ended.

But on Monday, I made some gains.

I dropped Jordan off at basedball practice at 6pm. He struggled with his huge bag of bats, balls, gloves, and stuff. But insisted on getting to the field with all his stuff all by himself. Ok, that's usual.

At 6:30pm, Jordan called and said he was ready to be picked up from practice. . Hmmmmmmmmmm. short practice, but OK.

I picked Jordan up, but noticed that the other kids and coaches were still on the field, so I asked Jordan what the deal was. He started to cry and told me that the coach made him sit in the dugout because his attitude was bad. {This is a very familiar and long story.} I started to just nod my head and drive off, but couldn't resist digging deeper. I pulled my car into the nearest parking lot and started tallking to Jordan about what happened, and ended up insisting that he go back to the coach and give him a heartfelt apology.

Well, when you're young, and hot-headed, that's pretty much the last thing you wanna do. But I stood my ground, and I made him do it. Then, he returned to the car, stone faced and stared out the window.

I'm desperate to figure out how to get through my son, so I started asking him questions: "What's wrong?" Nothing. "Are you sad?" Yes. "Did someone hurt you?" No. "You know you can talk to me, right?" Yes. "Did someone touch you." No. "Do you need more attention?" No. "You know I love you right?" No.

OK. This is madness. I was determined to get to the root of why my sweet boy was so sad and mean right now.

I drove the remaining 1.5 minute to the house in silence. But as soon as we arrived at the house, I told Jordan to come to my room and closed the door. I sat him on the bed, forced him to look me in the eye, and asked him the question I've avoided asking for three years. "Are you sad that your Daddy is not here?"

And then it happened. He cracked. He started crying. . softy at first. . then he started to moan. . and rolled up inyp the fetal position on the floor. . moaning. . as if I had kicked him in the gut really hard.

I melted to the floor beside Jordan, picked him up in my arms, stroked his hair, held him close to me, and we cried. . for about 30 minutes. . We both cried. . Once he stopped moaning and starting sobbing, and I had caught my breath enough to complete a sentence, I asked my 10 year old if I could talk to him like a big boy.

When he agreed, I told him the best way I knew how that me and his dad were really sad when we were together. He was a good boy, and had nothing to do with our decision to part ways. And that we were sad that we couldn't make things work just for him, because we loved him SO much, but we couldn't. And that sometimes, I'm sad that his dad is not there, too.

That discussion took so much out of me. It was so hard to hear in my child's voice the pain our decision had caused him. This was the opposite of what I wanted to accomplish by the split. I hoped and prayed that we split in time to protect our kids from the hurt, sadness, and meanness that we were wrapped up in at the end. But it appears that I failed.

After I gave Jordan the big boy talk, I asked him if it would be OK if he, me and his Dad sat down this week and talked through what we could do to make his life better. And he smiled. He smiled! This child who had not really smiled from ANYTHING I had said for 3 years, looked at me with tears in his eyes and the most genuine smile I had ever seen. . Again, I cried because in that smile I felt joy.

I called The Ex, and I told him about my convo with Jordan, and he's a good Dad, so he said all the right things. I'm going to continue to pray - I'll never stop. And now I already feel like God has started changing things for the best. I feel like I've gotten my son back.

Jordan didn't just smile when I told him about the Big Boy talk we would have with his dad, he's been smiling ever since. He's 10. I know he will not hold on to this smile for much longer. But God got me through the most difficult conversation you can have with a 10 year old boy: why daddy had to leave, and I know he won't fail me now.

Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just Wow! What did I do to deserve this child?

The last time I blogged I was in so much pain. . I did not know another way to lay down my cross than to blog, pray, cry, wake up, and continue on with my day.

It was so painful, I hadn't even been able to return to my own blog for fear I would see the post. But I've been inspired by the most beautiful essay I've ever read. This essay is the result of an assignment my teenage daughter was working on. She used my work computer to type it, so I found it as I was shutting down for the day, saved in a folder that I never use.

I read it and cried because I was so touched. I thought I would share it to give hope to other parents raising children, who aren't sure whether their child knows how hard they're working to do right by them. . Here goes:

The Strength of My Mother
Never have I claimed to be a perfect daughter, because God certainly didn’t make me that way, but I haven’t always strived to be either. I wake up every day asking “How has my mother had so much patience with raising me as a single mother over these years?” My mother is defined by me as my heart. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for her. Unfortunately, I know I haven’t been easy to raise. I’ve watched her cry, scream, and hurt because of me, and I live with the fact that I can never take any of that back.
My mother’s name is Anasthia Johnson. She became a single mother at the age of barely eighteen. She moved to Arkansas from where she was originally from, Texas, fear of my father finding out a bad decision she’d made while he was in prison when I was only one. With intensions on starting a better life for me, she’d planned on going to the Air Force, but soon changed her mind once she realized how long she would be away from me for basic training. She worked at McDonalds, Sam’s, and other hourly jobs years before enrolling into college and earning two degrees. My mother did her best to spoil me throughout my life, before and after she earned her degrees and career.

Johnson 2
My mother has obviously always been hard-working and dedicated. She has the same worth ethic when it comes to raising her children. Before I entered into this world, she promised me she would never give up on me, and still she hasn’t. I’ve literally given her hell, and she still sticks by my side, and supports me-flaws and all. My mother has always seen what I can become. She’s always loved me for me, even when I didn’t love myself. She’s pushed me to be the greatest I can be in every aspect. I haven’t always understood the punishments she’s bestowed upon me, but they always have a positive outcome because she understands me and knows what’s best.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, just in the past three years, I don’t blame my mother is she disowned me today, but I know that she loves me enough to never leave me. She’s has taken and hidden so much pain from me, and I have caused so much pain to her, it makes me ashamed. I hate to her cry, but I’ve been the cause of her crying repeatedly. The first time I hurt her, I was caught with a boy in the house. I took me over a year to understand why she was “tripping” so much over it, but I came to understand that I had brought a stranger, to her comfort area, the place where she pays bills, and controls every aspect of living. It took months, years for her to forgive me, but still she did.
My mother is the most passionate woman I know. She loved me so deeply, when she tells me, my heart melts, because I know she means it and shows it every day. I know one of us will have to let each other go when God calls us home, so I hope it’ll be me letting her go because I would hate for her to be on this earth without her seed. No more will she shed a tear from my ignorance. “Mother, you’re everything love can give to a child.”- Erica Johnson

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Story With No Ending (Yet)

I don't know why my spirit chose tonight as the night that I would have to record this story, but it did. I went to bed at 10 pm, but could not get rest. I've tossed and turned, and tried to get some rest, but I can't. Here it is 3:30 am, and I'm giving in to the direction of the spirit. For those that may be hurt by this story, my apologies. Here goes.

There once was a little girl named.. hmm. . Anna that lived in a home with a mother (Eliza), step-father (James), and 5 siblings that she loved. Life was not perfect, a life of poverty never is, but there was a lot of love, and the girl lived a happy life.. for a while. .

Then, one day, when Anna was very young - maybe 7 or 8, life got really "scary." It started, when she watched a scary vampire movie with her parents and siblings, fell asleep and had terrible dreams. Anna dreamed of people trying to hurt her. The dreams were so bad, she eventually got out of bed and went into her parents room to find comfort. She did. Eliza was sleepy, but James woke up to care for the girl and made her feel safe. By the end of the night, James had really hurt Anna, but he blamed it all on the monsters. He promised that if the girl loved him, he would keep the monsters on TV away.

The vampire movie that scared Anna became made for TV Series (Go figure!). And Anna's family loved it so much they watched it every week. So, Anna stopped trying to enjoy the movies with her family. That particular movie brought Anna a wealth of pain that as a child she could not even understand. So, when it came on, Anna would go play with her toys instead. But she could still hear the terrible screams from the TV, and when the movie was over, James would tuck Anna into bed, describe the goriest of scenes and leave her with even more scary and painful thoughts to deal with when she finally went to sleep. The nightmares just wouldn't go away.

Things went on this way for a really long time. But one day, for some reason Eliza and James grew apart. Then, they lived apart. Should've been great for Anna, right? Well, no, because Anna was now stuck with her nightmares even more then the movie provided, and the only person she knew how to protect her was James (or at least that's what he said). Anna just could not work up the courage to tell anyone about the monsters that haunted her in her sleep, so she had to learn how to "buck up."

Anna bucked up, but the monsters never ever went away. Ever. Anna grew into a young woman, and decided that if the monsters would not go away, she would go away from the monsters. So, she caught the first train out of her hometown, to start anew: her and her little bundle of joy Erin.

Life got better for Anna. Her visions of the monsters got manageable. Anna met a handsome young man named Elton that was so brave, and so kind, he made the monsters almost disappear. And Elton was smart. He got Anna to trust him enough to tell him about the scariest of monsters.

It felt so good to tell someone. And Anna felt immediately better because Elton promised that he would never let the monsters hurt Anna again. Life got better for awhile. .

Then, Elton forgot his promise. Elton forgot he was one of the good guys. At some point, Elton stopped caring that he was Anna's hero, and starting being a pretty monstrous fellow himself.

But Anna couldn't run becuase she had shared this secret with Elton that she thought she'd never share, and did not want to share again. So, Anna "bucked up" again. She focused on protecting her baby Erin from monsters. She focused on protecting the new babies she had with Elton from monsters. She honed in on the idea that she could be her own hero.

And one day, somehow it happened. Anna woke up and realized that she would buck up on her own. She got rid of Elton. And I'm pretty sure she decided that the easiest way of keeping the monsters away, was to keep everyone away. And she was good at it. She got tired one time, and let a really sweet person into her life, but he wasn't committed to helping her keep the monsters out, so Anna bucked up again.

One day something downright amazing happened. Anna's sister called and told her that James had died. The source of all the monsters was gone. Anna could be happy again. But she wasn't. She was sad, really sad; maybe even moreso than she had ever been. She did not understand why because this was the type of windfall Anna had been hoping for. But She felt like she was stuck with this memory of monsters that would never go away.

Then, one night Anna woke up to this dream about monsters that left her in tears because it was not the monsters from the vampire movie: She recounted the real-life monsters that had preyed upon her. And then, Anna realized that while she was bucking up to get some relief from the monsters, she had become one herself.

She was not the James variety of monster, oh no. She was worse. Because she was a monster that focused on slaying those that are good. Anna shook the monsters, but never the hurt. She hurt so much from her memories of the monsters and the few people who broke their vows to protect her that she hurt people who wanted to help. . over and over. . over and over. . Still today, Anna does now know how to stop. .

I did say this story had no ending, right?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Mayhem in Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee has now become the place I want to go when I want to just kick back and relax. That fact alone is not really new. I guess it's the HOW I've now started to relax that's so different. That I won't divulge.

I will say this, though. I'm at a point where I'm challenging some of the restrictiction I've placed on myself; whether they were taught, accepted from society, or just self-inflicted because of my conscience.

However, it's not like me to do anything in your face. I'm too discrete for that. But when I'm ready to go a little wild (a little?), I pack my sexy clothes and attitude, and shoot for that bridge to Memphis. Once I'm there, well again, I won't divulge. What happens in Memphis.. Well, you get it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On My Own Island

I heard myself admit to something that I thought I had forever trapped in my subconscious, and it scared me.

Fred and I were sitting in my driveway on Saturday evening, just enjoying the weather and waiting for the sun go down. There was not a lot of talking going on, and I'm not sure how we even got on this subject. But I heard myself say, "I'm at a place where I've isolated myself from my family and friends because I've lost SO much that I want to do what I can to avoid that level of loss again. And I don't want to let anyone else in my inner circle because I'm afraid that I'm going to lose them too. I hold my kids close, but that's it."

Wow! That scared the crap of me.

I occasionally feel alone. Let me be honest, a lot more than occasionally. I don't have a friend I can just call up and ask to come over for dinner. If I want to have a get-together, I really have to think about who I'm willing to invite over to my home. There's no friend list on my mind.

I have no friends in Arkansas. I have a bunch of associates.

When people ask me if I have family here, I usually say no. Sad. Sad.

I have a sister, nieces, nephew, uncles, cousins, great-nieces; they all live within about 20 miles of my home. But I make no attempt at visiting.

I know what the problem is: I've built an island just for myself and my children. I just don't know how to create a bridge.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why Make Momma Proud?

I'm in a weird place. Questioning a lot of things that I've done. . a lot of things I've learned. . I can't seem to find comfort.

It occurred to me, out of the blue, that just lately, I've completely changed the way I parent to shift the focus from what I desire of my children to what they desire of themselves. At first, I began to morph into this parenting style as I tried to motivate my teenager to excel by reminding her that some of her choices in life were making me really unhappy. Wasn't working.. at all.

I mean, honestly, teenagers don't give a damn about what makes their parents happy. They are, and should be, totally self-involved and self-centered. If it does not totally serve their purpose, scheme, or grand idea of life and their participation in it, they ain't going for it.

So, I've stopped the disapproving glares, remarks, and outward frustration when my daughter heads down the wrong path. Instead, I delve into where the behavior she's exhibiting will get her.

"So, you skipped school. And now your grades are suffering. Hmmmmm, you know you can't get enough financial aid to attend college with bad grades, right? Since I've already told you I'm not footing the entire bill. What are you going to do?"

If she continues to skip school, at 17, I think she'll become hook to the cause and effect relationship when she finds herself sitting around the house with me when the other kids have gone off to college.

But my Teenager Issues did not inspire my change in parenting style. It only gave me a vehicle for displaying the change I'd already been going through for some time.

Before I figured out how to apply this thinking with Erica, I realized that for a long time the only reason I was making decisions in my life was becuase I knew it would make my parents happy. I'm at a place where I find it hard to motivate myself anymore to do or even strive to do those things anymore: get married, stay in touch with other family members, attend church. These are the majors.

Lizzie and Joe are GONE! GONE! GONE! They are in heaven with Christ. I just cannot convince myself that they still care about these things.

So, I am living a life that I know would not be pleasing to them, but it suits me just fine because I have noone to answer to but God. And if I'm not sinning, I think he's OK with what I'm doing, too. . I guess.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

He said he still loves me

Now, what am I sposed to do with that?

I've yearned to hear him say those words for SO long! Every day, I smile at the photos of him I have saved on my computer. I can't remember a day that's passed that I haven't called him, sent him a text, or at least started a text to him that I caught myself before sending.

I'm still SO in love with this man. I can't even put it into words.

But he let go.

People don't understand me. They don't understand the things I cherish to the core: family, wisdom, honesty, LOYALTY. It is a quality that can never be over-stated. I am loyal to a fault, and I NEED that.

I did him wrong. . or did I? Well, I broke up with him. But those are just words. Angry words tossed around to get a reaction.

I NEVER let go. Even in my anger, I still made it clear that I was still in it. I NEEDED him.

It's not that I don't spend every night laying in bed thinking of how much I enjoy the way he touches me, kisses me, talks to me.. Uuuugh, I LOVE this man!But life is weird. It's so weird. I'm SO deep in love with THIS man while there's another man that is SO deep in love with me. And he is loyal.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh, but I LOVE this man!

God, it's your call. I need you to overrule my heart and help me to submit to what it truly your will. Right now all I know is what the heart desires.

And that, with all my being, I LOVE this man!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

God's Love for Me, My Love for God

Here's how I see it. I have this personal relationship with God that started way before I was born; or my mother was born; or my great-great-great grandmother was born. It started when I was only a figment of God's boundless imagination.

He loved me first. He loved me so much that when he looked down generation after generation, and saw that one day I would walk this Earth alone, and be disheartend by the fact that I was not quite sure if there was a place for me, he decided that he would do something over-the-top, completely amazing, and not even deserved. He let his ONLY begotten son die on the cross for me, so that one day, when my days on this earth were over, I would not perish. Instead, I'd be able to return to glory. . in HIS house. . and enjoy eternity with the people I love: My Momma Lizzie, My Dad Joe, My Uncle Austin, My crazy cousin Murray, and all those people that he placed in my life from day one that I somehow fell in love with - who somehow make it over there before me.

So, why would I worry about what I owe to the US on taxes? Why would I lose sleep over the cost of replacing the roof in this old house? Why would I sob about how hard it is to be a single parent of 3 kids? Why?

He's already given me the ultimate gift? I do not doubt for a second that all of these other desires of my heart will be taken care of.

And even if he does not take care of all this little stuff, I still benefit from the overflow of love God shows me because one day I won't have to worry about all the worries of life. I will not have to cry or feel alone. One day I will wake up on the other side in glory, and spend eternity showing God the love he has shown me.

But until then, I have an amazing opportunity. I can share all of this love, and joy, and contentment God has given me with those around me. I'll start with you.

GOD loves you. . and SO DO I.