That I Might Have Life

I know a woman, who suffered unspeakable brutality,

in a time when women were but chattel,

at the hands of one who took an oath before God to love, protect and cherish her.

I know a woman, who suffered in silence,

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the indignities caused by a philandering husband

who chose to flaunt rather than hide his indiscretions with different women,

I know a woman who raised five children

all alone

on an income of less than $7000 a year.

I know a woman, who worked three jobs at a time,

who slept on the front porch so her boys and girls could have the two bedrooms.

I know a woman who had a heart large enough to embrace

two more motherless children

when she did not know how she was going to feed her own.

How many of your dreams died daily?

How did you endure the loneliness when it came late at night?

How many times was your hope scattered as disappointment came?

How many prayers did you offer up that seemingly went unanswered?

Where was your peace?

Where was your piece of the American Dream?

I cannot count the cost of my high school graduation party

or my prom dress.

How many shirts and pants did you have to iron?

How many tubes of lipstick did you sell?

How many bottoms did you have to wipe?

For me.

For me.

How do I begin to count the cost of your sacrifice

that I might have life?

How do I begin to say thank you?

Will words do?

For you.

For you.

Momma 2 LR

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I Love the Way You Love Me

Love has no color and it does not respect age; this I know, because my best buddy is a little fireball of a white child named Emma Lee.  She’s eight years old now but we’ve been best buddies since she was two.  No other love can compete with the love of a child.

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If I leave this place and return to Atlanta, it will be because God honored the prayers of Ms. Emma Lee.  Every day this little girl prays that her Grandma or Daddy will hit the lotto so she can buy me a house to return to her.  She’s so bossy she just might convince God to do things her way.

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I have been calling this child “Ms. Emma Lee” since I met her at her Grandmother’s yard sale six years ago when she was two years old.  Now just about everyone else calls her that too, even her teacher at school.

Ms. Emma Lee has never understood that she is a child, she came into the world grown.   When I met her, this two-year old little bundle of energy was riding her tricycle, bossing around her older cousins, five Jack Russell terriers and negotiating the price of the items on display at the yard sale.  She was so cute, with her curly hair framing her face, ponytail swinging back and forth, country accent, and total command of the English language.  I believe I was so drawn to her because she was so like my daughter Shellis at that age.  (I called my child Ms. Ann and had to constantly remind her she was child, too.)

Give me a precocious child and I immediate go into a teaching mode.  Their minds are razor-sharp.  It’s like programming a computer.  I try to input as much good information as I can into them.  They can absorb it, they feed on information, they live to learn and I know that if I engage them at that age, I can plant good seed in good ground.  I love it.

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So I waited for Ms. Emma Lee to turn her attention to me.  I didn’t have to wait too long.  I knew that spending time with her Grandmother was motivation for her to come over and participate ( by this I mean “take over”) in our conversation.  Once we locked horns that day, and Ms. Emma Lee recognized that I was a tree that she either had to cut down or climb to move, she and I became best buddies, we were inseparable up until the day I moved away.

A motherless child, with unlimited energy living with her grandmother and ailing father can take over a home unless definitive limits are established and rules respected and implemented.  Ms. Emma Lee knew no limitations.

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When someone enters my life, I know there’s a reason, a purpose that God intends for me to fulfill.  My job as I perceived it was to prepare her for the real world were children knew how to be a child. To channel her energy and engage her mind with practical and constructive things that would not only occupy her time but give her life skills that would come in handy as time went by.   Our time together was always a learning and training experience that I would masquerade as fun.  By my calculations, I had three years to do this before she entered public school.  If not, Ms. Emma Lee would be teaching the class with the teacher standing on the side lines wondering how this happened.  Ms. Emma Lee was just that smart.

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Baking cakes and cookies was a way to learn patience and cleanliness; arithmetic and time management.  Operating a camera, she learned to respect the property of others, to view the world around her in a different light; to observe the changes in the seasons, the moon and the stars, and identify different animals and insects.

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At my house, she learned there was a place for her toys, books and games.  She learned that she alone would have to clean up after herself.  A trip to the play area in the mall was exciting for Ms. Emma Lee.  She loved children, especially babies.  I would watch as she learned to wait patiently for another to take their turn on the rides.  She would run back to me when things did not go her way on the playground and another opportunity to learn a life lessons presented itself.

In return, Ms. Emma Lee gives me the kind of love that only a child can give.  Unconditional..we love each other because we do.  Simply, easily, beyond color, beyond age, just because.


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We are best buddies.  Ask her who her best buddy is.  She’ll tell you.  Now, six years later, we write to and telephone each other.  When I go back to Atlanta we have an opportunity to be together, it’s a time of sharing and caring, laughing and hugging.

The harmony of life is made up of the memories. we hold dear.  Ms Emma Lee and I have many memorable moments together.  Our lives are intrinsically bound together.  She can not past my former home unless the memories of our time together replay in her mind.  I can not hear country music without recalling that country accent of a little white girl.

Our favorite song is a country tune by John Michael Montgomery.

You should see us together; a black woman and a white child, two peas in a pod singing his song to each other, at the top of our lungs.

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“I Love the Way You Love Me”. 

 …so completely.




For Coffee Man

What does love look like?   It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
 It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.
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If you happen to be on the marina in Bay Shore, please look out for Coffee Man.  Make sure that he has a blanket to keep him warm.  See that he wears a hat and find him a coat that will protect him from the elements.  If you can spare a dollar, buy him a cup of coffee.  He likes coffee, strong with a touch of milk, add plenty of sugar.  He’ll thank you for it.  Don’t worry about feeding him.  He knows the places along Main Street where he can get a meal. He doesn’t eat much.  Besides, his pride won’t allow him to receive a meal from the hands of a stranger. 
Coffee is different.  It warms him up for the day ahead.  He likes coffee.
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Don’t be offended by his appearance.  Living on the street, sleeping on park benches, makes it hard to be presentable, but he keeps his body clean.  It is a source of pride for him. They unlock the bathrooms at the marina at seven o’clock and you can find him there performing his daily ministrations.

You needn’t be concerned that he will harm you.  He won’t.  He’s seen so much pain, been victimized by too many to hurt a fly.

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He has to know the intentions of your heart before he’ll let you help him so be careful how you approach him or he’ll hop on that old bicycle of his and ride away.  It’s best to bring a cup of coffee with you when you come.  Stand about five feet away and softly but casually ask him to join you.  He will watch you carefully.  If you make a sudden move, he’ll be gone.

You won’t get much conversation from Coffee Man.  He’s not the talking kind.  But if he does open up to you, it’s best not to ask too many questions.  He’ll tell you what he wants you to know.

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Early mornings before the sun would rise; Coffee Man and I would be the only ones at the marina.  He would sense my presence and sit up, watching always watching.  I would watch him too after all; it could be a little scary in the predawn hours.  I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me.  But soon, we became comfortable knowing there was another on the bay; watching.  I, for the sun to rise and he for the gatekeeper who would unlock the bathroom door.  Soon, I began bringing an extra cup of coffee.  One for me.  One for him, strong with a touch of milk and plenty of sugar.

When it was time for me to move on, he and I went to the coffee shop he liked. The only shop that would let a man who looked like him stay for a minute.  I gave the old man who ran the shop some money.

“This is for him,” I said.  “Make sure he has a cup of coffee each morning. Make it strong, with a touch of milk and add plenty of sugar.”

I received a text message Christmas Day.  It was sweet but it broke my heart.  I heard from Coffee Man, wishing me and my family a Merry Christmas.

I was glad to hear from him. I wanted to know that he was okay because I want everyone in my world to be happy. That’s naïve. That’s not going to happen.  But that’s what I want.  That’s what I pray for.

Coffee Man is still outside.  He’s sick and he’s lost a lot of weight. He told me that he had been beaten, his front teeth knocked out and his bicycle and his coat stolen.  He told me that he was cold, so cold.


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If you happen to be on the marina in Bay Shore, please look out for Coffee Man.  Make sure that he has a blanket to keep him warm.  See that he wears a hat and find him a coat that will protect him from the elements.  If you can spare a dollar, buy him a cup of coffee.  He likes coffee, strong with a touch of milk, add plenty of sugar.

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I know he needs so much more, but one cup of coffee will warm him up for the day ahead.

God will do the rest, if you pray with me.

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I know He will.

When I lose, I win

I use to be very good at the game of chess.  Winning came naturally.  I did not play chess competitively.  It was a game.  It was fun.  Many would come to play with me.

One day, my cousin brought some friends to my house, to play chess with me.  I beat three of his friends, than I lost to one of them.   He became the crown prince of chess…it was as if he had won the Super Bowl.  Twenty years later, whenever I am in the presence of these gentlemen…they relieve the experience over again…the day Nate beat me in chess.  They laugh…they taunt me…they slap each other on the back…they toast the victor.

Since that day, I refuse to play chess with a man.  It is no longer fun.  It becomes a game of competition that I refuse to compete in.

I am a woman.  I like being a woman.  I love that God has created a man and a woman differently.  I find the differences in the genders fascinating.  I love men simply for who they are. I enjoy them. I want them to enjoy me. I want to be loved for who and what I am.

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I am not in competition with them.  I will never be.  If ego requires they win. They can win.  I don’t mind losing to them; for in losing I win.  I retain me.  The good part of me.   The feminine part of me.  The part of me I like.  The part of me that God made as a compliment for them.

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Life and chess can be similar with the objective being to place the King in a position of powerlessness.  I don’t want to play that game.  There will be no competition.  I need my King to be powerful.  I will use my talent to make him strong or I won’t play.

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I was not created to compete with men; I was made to compliment them.

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We are different.  I like the difference however, do not require me to become less of a woman so you can win.

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I won’t play that game.

Ever again.

When I lose, I win. When I win…you win too.

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Behind every good man; there’s a good woman.  A woman.  Not a competitor.

Different with a Purpose

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

1 Peter 2:9

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I live in a city where people are suspicious of those who are different.

It is churched people that I speak of.

But as a child of God; am I not called to be different?

I declare – for He declares that I am.

I stand as a peculiar person to many.

Proudly.  Gladly.

Peculiar means atypical; uncharacteristic; strange; even weird.

However I am different with a purpose.

The purpose is to call attention to He

whom has brought me from darkness into His light.

I may not do or say the things that make you comfortable.

Did Jesus?

I may not do or say things that ring familiar to you.

Did Paul the Apostle?

He who called me also said “Try the spirit” ….

Use the formula He has given in His word.

Mary, the mother of Christ dared to be different;

in spite of ridicule

and changed the whole world.

Rehab, a harlot, defied a king and saved a nation.

Rebecca and Ruth left all that was familiar

and married into wealth.

Believing is different but with purpose.

I can promise you the end result of

different with a purpose will be love.

For God is Love.

If you need different in your life try God and live with purpose.

I am different.  Glady.  With purpose…

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That purpose is love.

Christmas – A Legacy of Love

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Remember our Christmas brunch at my house?  Andre and I prepared a full course breakfast and served you.  We stood in a circle and held hands.

We made a birthday cake for Jesus and spoke of our blessings remembering the reason for the season. I found gifts at the dollar store and wrapped them so pretty so that of those who had graced our home, none would leave empty-handed.

The eldest among us, would bestow blessings upon us.

We always had the most beautiful Christmas tree, whether we spray painted pine cones or bought ornaments at the store.

One year, Son Son and I stapled lights to a cross we had made of 4 ft boards and erected it in the front yard to remind those passing by that we were a family that observed God’s gift to the world.

Life has driven our family to different parts of the world but it does not alter the legacy of love we have been given.

Wherever we are, among family or friends, alone or together, we are made greater by the memories of love we have shared.

Hold them in your heart.  Never let them go.

Pass it on.

Never forget who you are and of whom you are.

My daughter, my son…you have been given a legacy of love.

Pass it on.

Lovers of the God We Serve.


Of all my accomplishments my greatest by far, is being mother of two very different but amazing children.  It is both a joy and a privilege to answer the phone and one of the two is on the other end.

My daughter is vibrant and colorful. She fills a room with her personality.  Her conversation is stimulating and diverse.  She is also serious, business minded and opinionated.  She is caring and kind insightful, and discerning.  I can never close a conversation with her without reflecting on a poignant thought she has shared on whatever subject we discuss.  I can never anticipate what the conversation will be about when she calls or what direction it might take but I know that it will always end in prayer.

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My son is and always has been a barometer for me; not as a measurement of atmospheric pressure but of life.  As a child, his interests varied, daily.  He would wake with a smile ready to explore the possibilities of the day.  His excitement was contagious and through his eyes, I rediscovered the joy of life’s simplicity. It was innocent and sweet and perfect.  And I so wanted to protect this beautiful part of him.  But life has a way of eroding the simple heart of a child although it is our most precious commodity.

So I watched him grow into the man he has become and I am so proud.  He has allowed me to, not only witness his evolution, but share it with me; am I not the most blessed of woman?

His conversation has changed over the years as he continues to explore life but his character remains intact.  He is easy-going and laid back, introspective and intelligent.  He too is business minded with excellent reasoning powers. He walks as a man among men.  Not arrogantly but with a certain confidence that I have always known to be born of the spirit of God.

This is our conversation now, his discovery of the God in him.

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There is no greater joy for a mother than to witness her children become lovers of the God we serve.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

For Pillow

A woman will relinquish her power for intimacy;

When the intimacy is withheld

She reclaims her power

Given a choice, 

She would rather have intimacy

I  MISS MY PILLOW

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I Need a Helping Hand

 
Wherefore also we pray always for you,
that our God would count you worthy of this calling,
and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness,
and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you,
and ye in him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
2 Thessalonians 1 11-12

 

Who among us is worthy?

Are we not all sinners but for the grace of God?

Do we not all hold on to our little secret desires and fleshly wants?

If we are sinners, if we are covetous, tell “small lies”, occasionally utter a curse word, manipulate others, and speak of the faults of our neighbors; who is worthy of the calling of God?

Who among us is capable of fulfilling the pleasure of His goodness?

Not me.

Not me; but for His grace.

Through faith I receive His power to accomplish His work.

Through faith, with grace, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

I pray that God may be glorified in me.

But I need your prayers.

Always.

I need a helping hand.

Pray for me.

Always.

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Reconnect to the Source

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I am a fixer.  I fix things and I fix people.  I am the one that finds solutions to problems so that others don’t have to.

A fixer is a caretaker.  We care for and fix things for everyone in our circle of influence.  We are the ones that are up at 2 and 3 in the morning interceding for others.  We are the ones that get out of bed at 1 am to go the hospitals. We fix the meals for the homeless.  We take care of men, children, dogs, cats, fish, birds and turtles.  We are servants.

Who fixes the fixer when the fixer is broken?  When there are too many things that need fixing that all the fixing that needs to be fixed cannot be fixed by the fixer.

Short answer?  Christ.

No brainer right?

That’s who I have relied on in the past and whom I must turn to now to fix me so that I can continue to be the fixer of people and things. I know this both in my head and more importantly in my heart.  I have lived my life running to Jesus.

I am a single parent, Christ was all I had.  Christ was sufficient for me.  Yet when I needed to feel the physical representation of Christ, I would reach for the hand of my precious young son.  Holding his hand for a moment rejuvenated and strengthened me.  I knew I could not fail in whatever endeavor I had to face.  I would succeed.  When I needed prayer, I would solicit the pure innocent prayers of my young daughter.  I knew that even if Christ would not respond to my petitions, we would honor the simple petitions of a child.

My children are grown now; they live their own lives far from me.  This is how it should be.   They are good people.  I am blessed.

Yet, as a fixer, a caretaker, there are times when I feel separated from Christ as I do right now.  Overwhelmed, alone, and empty.  It seems that I have nothing left to give because I am an empty vessel.   Who will pray for me?  Who will hold my hand?

When my system of support is removed for whatever reason;  I have to find a way to reconnect.

I must do this quickly.

For me to live independent of Christ is to invite disaster.  It means that the problems that I can fix through Christ cannot be fixed through me.  It means that the burdens of others Christ holds me responsible for and those of my own, I am left to carry on my own slender shoulders.

I cannot.   I was not meant to.  I was created for relationship with Christ.

I of myself am nothing.  I of myself can do nothing.

I must reconnect to the source.  By any means necessary, I must reestablish my relationship with my source. Whether or not any one else is here to stand with or for me, I must reconnect to the source.

My source is Christ.

Help me Lord.

 

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalms 1  1:3

A Gift

Did I tell you I am the most blessed of women? 

Believe it.

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I am excited about the newness of this day. 

It’s better than opening a Christmas present. 

I don’t know what the day will bring…

what I know and therein lays my joy….

is that it is a gift. 

What I know and herein lies my joy…

is that only someone who cares for me…

will present me with a gift.

Who gives the gift of this day?

Someone who loves me.

Thank you Jesus!!!!!

Because I am Chosen I can Promise You This

The first scripture I ever received from the Lord many many years ago was John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,

that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:

that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

One special morning I was lovingly wakened with the words “John 15: 16” playing over and over in my head like a broken record.  I immediately grabbed my bible to find out what accompanying scripture this was.  I wanted to receive the message God was sending me. When I read those wonderful words. I was so excited to know I was chosen of God.  I had no clue what it meant to be chosen until I read the next verse.  It was then I realized that there was a tremendous responsibility in being chosen.

These things I command you,

that ye love one another.

I am chosen for one reason only; To Love You.  Please don’t make my job more difficult than it is.

But just so you know, I’m asking the Father to pollinate the seeds of love that I plant in you, that you might trust the spirit within me, that you will trust my motives, that you receive the gift that I bring, that you will recognize that what I bring is good and that this good gift will bring you joy, and that you too share that which you have been given.

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Listen to my heart as it speaks to you my child.  I am chosen to love you and my love for you will never deceive you.

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I PROMISE.

From my heart to yours,

Mother

We Need the Gift that She Is

Today while in the swimming pool, I met an 87-year-old woman.  If you can believe a woman can be beautiful at that age, believe that she was beautiful.  Snow white hair, a rosy almost wrinkle free complexion, and when she smiled, you just couldn’t help but smile with her. How her face lit up and her eyes danced with joy when she smiled.

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We talked for over an hour. Although both of us came to exercise, she to stimulate legs that refuse to walk without a walker and I to simply enjoy the rejuvenation water always seem to bring to me, we did not.  We talked; rather, she talked, I listened.

She told me about her lovely neighbor who had moved next door to her a few months back and how she cooks dinner for her one or two times a week. She told me about her deceased abusive alcoholic husband that she had married and divorced two times. She told me about the men that had sought her affections since his death and how she resisted their attentions out of fear. She told me about her only grandson that she raised since the age of two when her son and first daughter in law divorced and discarded the child. She spoke with pride of him for he is now a professor of geology in a major university. Then sadly, she told me that for all his achievements and through all the love she gave him, and all the years that has passed; he still suffers from bouts of depression resulting from being abandoned by his parents as a child.

She also told me something else.  She wants to leave this world, she said. It is not that she is tired of living; she simply does not know how to live anymore. No longer can she do the things that she did before. Her legs and her hands refuse to cooperate.

Her son lives less than a mile from her.  Oh he dutifully comes when she calls him.  But she is not comfortable in doing so.  You see his wife, her second daughter in law of thirty years, does not want to compete for her son’s attention.  She and her grandson  might be tolerated on holidays but clearly are and have been an unwanted intrusion in the life the son has carved with his wife of thirty years. Oh the pain in her eyes when she speaks on this can cause a heart to break.

She wants to leave soon she said. She said she has finally come to terms with the limitations of her life.

I watch her carefully and I am afraid for her; there is finality in her voice, determination in the lifting of her chin.

As we prepare to go our separate ways I ask her not to go away yet.  I ask her to stay awhile in this world, in my world.  I tell her of the joy her company meant to me today and what it can mean to others.

I’m not ready for her to leave this world.  I need, no, we need the gift that she is.

Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman retaineth honour:

Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

 

So You Want to Date a Single Mom; No Wimps Need Apply

I was talking to a young man about the problems he was experiencing dating a single mom; after some thought I put together this list and I think I’ll give it to him.   Any other suggestions you want to add?

  • We already have a child we don’t need another one
  • We are usually tired – we work – we cook – we take the kids to soccer games so if we don’t call right back or forget to call and we know you’re gonna have an attitude, we would rather pick up a good book and read  
  • If I call or text you during the work day; I really need to hear your smile; make me laugh
  • If I tell you I have had a bad day, telling you about it only makes me re-live the experience and it takes to much energy to go into all the details; make me laugh and relax first, maybe then I can talk about it
  • We have to make decisions at home and at work by our self– we are not looking to make the simplest decisions; like where should we go to dinner; we are looking for someone to make sound decisions when it comes to us as a couple
  • Send me stress-free texts during the day that will make me smile knowing you are thinking about me – they can be simply sexual but not vulgar; I may be in a meeting and can’t respond but it will make me feel good and I will be smiling all day
  • We don’t want to see you spend a lot of money on us foolishly; we are generally thinking about how many groceries we could buy with that money if you had given it to us instead
  • If you are simply looking for sex I am probably not the one –  Unless it comes completely hassle free and late in the night when the kids are sleep and you are gone before morning – Taking all evidence of your being there with you
  • You have to bring laughter not craziness to me
  • Don’t ask to meet my children, my ex, my family or friends; let me decide where and when after I experience the real you
  • You cannot be the most important person in my life even if I wanted you to
  • Don’t let me see you be cruel to animals because that might mean you will be cruel to my kids
  • Don’t tell me about your problems unless or until you have the solution already in mind or it’s after the fact and you can tell me how you solved the problem.
  • Your needs in my life are probably third or fourth on my lists of priorities
  • Dating me is not going to be the same as dating a single woman so don’t expect it to be
  • Understand that I am both Mommy and Daddy to my kids and I may not be able to come out of character when you come around
  • More than sex, we need to be held and/or hugged
  • We do need to hear that we are beautiful
  • We do need to hear relevant compliments
  • We always need money – we don’t like to ask – we won’t ask cause how come you don’t know that
  • If we do let you in our house and feed you, bring groceries or leave some money
  • If you see something that’s broken fix it.  Don’t ask me just do it.
  • Keep an eye on my car; make sure it’s clean and safe for me and the kids (without me asking)
  • I’m delicate so leave your critic of me at the door
  • My house may not always be in order but it will be clean, do you know the difference?
  • It’s gonna take a lot of time and you’re gonna need to be patient with me –
  • Don’t criticize my children; let me do that. However if I ask for advice please please please think carefully before you provide it.  I need to know that your observations about them are on point
  • Don’t compare my parenting skills with your mother’s or your ex’s
  • Never put me in a position to choose between my children and you.  You lose
  • As often as you can and in as many ways you can, let me know you are in it for the long haul  –  the rewards will be worth the wait.
  • Most importantly, Do show me that you have a reverential knowledge of the God that I serve; The Lord Jesus Christ.  Do show me that you have a personal relationship with Him.  In so doing, I can be assured that my prayers for a “good and godly man” have been answered.