I’m Divorced: I’m Only Saying This Once , There Are No Re-Do’s 😉

I’ve been divorced for 9 months.

Most of you are shocked to read those words. But they are true no matter how many times you re-read them.

This message has been sitting as a draft on my phone for six months. I wasn’t ready to share this at that time. I thought I could three months ago, but I still wasn’t ready. I made the decision that I would share in December. Symbolic for many reasons. Year-end, holiday cheer, families together, and because I hoped that this December would feel and be better than last year.

So today I share the life-altering news with all of you—family, friends, associates, students, and strangers.

No, I will not share details.

I didn’t share intimate details of our courtship, engagement, wedding, and married life. I didn’t even rush to let people know I was dating, engaged, or married. That’s because I value and wanted privacy. I wanted to protect my man, my life, and what we had together. I didn’t want a bunch of folks all in our “mix” because I know that there are twice as many people hating on you than loving you. So I did my best to protect one of the most valuable relationships I had second to my relationship with God.

You got a highlight reel of my life. So guess what?

I won’t be sharing details about how we got to this point. Because plain and simply, it’s my life, and I value and want privacy.

No, I won’t feed your need to gossip at my expense. Even though some of you will most likely materialize your own content to feed upon. *smile*

We do like “tea” don’t we?

You can ponder and speculate but the end result will remain the same…

What once was is no longer.

I’m only making this statement because I’m frequently receiving emails and comments on my websites, messages through social media, and being approached in public by people who joyfully praise me, him, and us. People make comments about “#MarriageGoals” and I slightly cringe because they haven’t a clue.

Countless times this year I’ve spoken with people who have expressed a level of pride from looking at my marriage, the image that was publicly portrayed and lived, and seeing us over the years at various events. I’ve had people contact me to let me know that they pray for our marriage and the work that we do in the community. I couldn’t bring myself to tell these strangers, “thanks but he’s my ex husband now”. So I always find discreet ways to thank them for their kind and loving words and prayers, and then I leave the rest alone.

I’ve discreetly removed myself from so much but clearly it hasn’t been enough. My absence hasn’t made clear my current status, it’s only made me less visible. People assume they don’t see me somewhere because I’m busy.

There’s so much content of us online that all online searches express and imply the same “message”–that we’re still this visionary powerhouse couple. When the truth is, we used to be but now we are merely two visionary, powerhouse individuals focused on our own separate missions. We are on separate paths. We are no longer a couple. There is no “we”. We can’t erase or rewrite our past, and why would we? It was ours and we lived it boldly and I have no regrets. At the same time we must move forward to what is now the present.

I will not clarify what is most clear. The first sentence of this post can’t get any clearer.

Many who know us personally, professionally, or indirectly through our very public work are or will be shocked by this admission. But just as everything else in life, this too you will get over, get past, and it will soon become a distant memory that resurfaces in random moments and even more random online searches.

But your life will go on, move forward, unscathed, uninterrupted, unbothered—and for those and other more important reasons, I ask that you refrain from further inquiry. There’s no need to dig for what is already at surface level.

If you know me and didn’t already know this big shocker then you should be able to answer your own question as to why you didn’t know my reality months ago.

No offense. I’m good. Really I am. I’m strong. I’ve “got this”—well, God has this and I’m rolling with Him.

Thank you. I love you.

All I want and need right now is peace and the clear space to hear and act on what God is calling me to move forward on. I want to be free to embrace the opportunities that come my way. God has huge things planned for me and I can’t waste His time or mine, because He’s not giving me forever to get these things accomplished.

Please respect me, respect my former husband, respect what once was, and respect what God has planned for our individual and separate futures. Our union is no longer. A seven-year history has ended. Lessons learned, experiences shared, milestones reached, and excellence attained. We built some amazing ideas into real masterpieces.

I’m honored to have served in many roles through Operation HOPE. I’m proud of the work I accomplished, the tireless commitment and sacrifice to seeing an idea become a reality with HOPE Business In A Box, my 7 years as a HOPE Corp volunteer sharing Banking on Our Future with students all over, and my life will forever be changed by the lives that I encountered and embraced over 7 amazing years. Being away from both programs, away from the students and the pitch competitions feels awkward, abnormal, and like a huge void. But I will just have to find a new “home” to connect with, serve, and share my gifts.

I’m glad that my advice and suggestions have led to the start of other programs, technologies, organizational practices, social groups, and organizations over the past few years. No one and nothing can change that. It was, it is, and it forever will be a part of my legacy and the legacy of this great organization and those affiliates that have launched in the past two years. May they all thrive and be successful. I’ve done what I was supposed to and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

If you’re a supporter of the work then increase your level of support, there’s a global mission to fulfill. If you’re not a supporter then consider being one. Support their efforts—or support another organization’s efforts, just do something. Don’t just be a spectator, be a positive change agent.

My job there is done. Sooner than I thought. I wanted to do so much more. But that’s an “oh well”. The season is over and it’s time to move forward.

Now it’s time to end one chapter and begin a new one. Well I’ve already started on my new chapter, I’m just telling you so that you can catch up (*smile*). You can’t keep holding on to the page of this book trying to re-read the sentences, and I won’t entertain you as you attempt to stall. The story doesn’t just pause or remain in your fragmented happy-limbo state simply because you don’t move forward. It’s time to turn the page….

As the saying goes, “people are in your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime” and the latter just wasn’t in the cards for us. The “reason” for me was and is clear—to see and feel the possibility of giving, sharing, supporting, and believing in someone else as much and in many ways more than myself. I supported the man and his mission while focused on my own. I made it “look easy” (as some have said) because it wasn’t “work” in my mind, for me I was doing my part as a partner, I was doing what it took to help a man fulfill his mission.

Was I perfect and flawless? Heck no. I’m imperfect and have numerous flaws. I did the best I could with the resources that I had. Could’ve done more. Could’ve said more. But coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn’t matter.

For seven years I loved and sacrificed for a man, and I have absolutely no regrets. I was blessed to love so deeply and for as long as I did. If I couldn’t say that, then I would have to question a great deal about myself and my relationship. I put my trust in God and He never fails me. My hurt and disappointment will be temporary because what I have with God is eternal. I keep my eyes, ears, and heart tuned into His station.

For me, my marriage was the commitment to be selfless and to dive in with both feet, dedicated to fulfilling my vows in all ways. I’ve grown tremendously, learned a great deal, and seen (and felt) the joy of giving myself to another while pushing and praying for that person so that they might reach every goal and overcome every obstacle. I did all that I could to protect him, the organization, and the mission.

Marriage is a wonderful union and commitment. I will always honor what it means to be married and to be a wife—both in the spiritual and literal sense.

My ex-husband taught me a lot about life, business, entrepreneurship, perseverance, overcoming adversity, facing fears, the value of building relationships not just networking, having the courage to try anything at least once and to ask for what you want in business—as he always says, “you walked in with a “no” it’s your goal to turn that “no” to a “yes”, if you don’t then it doesn’t matter, you had “no” coming in….”. Those are wise words that I recite when I need a pep talk.

I will take some of the lessons that I learned from observing, listening, and being guided by him, and I will build upon them as I climb to goals yet achieved. I will reattempt things that I failed at, like scuba diving (my deep sea experience was too much for a beginner) and getting back on a scooter (after falling and getting second degree burns from the motor—two weeks before our wedding).

I’m focused on being a better person, servant, woman, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, educator, and entrepreneur. I’m focused on preparing myself as a mother and maybe one day, even a wife again—well, the latter isn’t my focus, but as the saying goes, “never say never” and since I’ve been wrong about my “never’s” before, I will let God guide me.

Let me stop you now—no, I’m not in a relationship. I’m taking this time to focus on healing, praying, and getting stronger spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It would be unfair of me to subject a new person to my post-divorce life. I still have “muscle memory” of living with and sharing life with one man for seven years. I can’t just abruptly jump into a new relationship as though I’m healed, good, and ready to move into something with a new person. That would mean that I didn’t value my marriage and my role in it. That would mean that I had and have no feelings for him and for what we shared and built together. That would be a lie.

It would be cruel and disrespectful to subject someone to that space in my life, when I need to be open and free to give myself without reservations. I’ve grown accustomed to a routine with one person for seven years. That’s not easy to unwind and realign. I’m in no rush.

I need to feel and experience all that God needs me to realize, so that I can embrace, learn, and grow into the well-rounded woman He needs me to be. I can’t be the woman that a new man needs if I’m still wired to what my last man needed. And a new man shouldn’t be compared and contrasted to my last one. I need time and space for a clean slate—or as clean as can be expected.

I’ve spent this year working on me and learning what I want and don’t want, and what I need and don’t need in both my personal and professional lives. I have to work through and push past some fears and doubts. I have to walk the walk as it relates to my faith in God. If I say I know He has me, then I have to walk with my head up and eyes focused with the confidence in knowing that God has already taken care of my needs—He’s just waiting on me to catch up.

All that I want for Christmas is to be surrounded by my family and the peace that comes from knowing “all will be well because I walk with the Lord”. I asked my family for onesie pajamas and a $40 Atari classic game set. I’ve never been about the big, pricey gifts. I’m sentimental, so what is “small” to you is huge to me.

Some of you may be shocked to read this. Shouldn’t I be bitter and enraged? No, not at all. God is constantly blessing me and how ungrateful would I be to wallow in anger and misery when He has blessed me even through this transition. I’m saddened to see a relationship that I valued greatly come to an end—I planned to grow old with this man, and die loving and committed to him— but I know that God has other plans and He has never left or forsaken me. I’m not being punished. I’m being molded, strengthened, focused, and prepared by God. I accept what has happened because I know that if God intended for it to be it would still be.

So although I’m no longer married I am not broken. I am not alone or lonely. God has me in His Hands. I’m surrounded by family and my true friends. My cup runneth over. That brings me absolute joy!

It’s difficult to balance a private-public life and I’ve done a pretty good job with it for several years. I yearn to continue maintaining a semblance of privacy as I look forward on the path God has placed before me. It’s already difficult to remain focused with life’s distractions, I don’t need anything extra coming my way through rumors, declarations, or inquiries. Of course you will see my highlight reels, but the full and complete story of my life is reserved exclusively for me.

Just consider if you were me–try walking in my shoes for a moment and consider how you would want to be treated, and then please try your best to walk, act, and speak accordingly.

Please don’t attempt to be a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys new-age sleuth intrigued by missing puzzle pieces. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the how, who, when, why, and where. You won’t have time to focus on your own life. Just let us move on with dignity. Please.

Thank you to those of you who have prayed with and for me, been supportive, a shoulder and a sounding board, wiping my tears and holding my hand, and never wavering a moment as my truest of friends. Thank you for never altering your relationship with me, but remaining the same as you have always been. Solid and true to your word. I love, value, and respect you.

Now let’s all get up, get out, and do what God has called us to do!

May He bless each of us abundantly and I pray that we are prepared and ready to embrace those blessings. May your year end better than it started, and may your New Year be better than this year. I know mine will be!

Warmest wishes and deepest respect,

Natasha

Copyright 2017. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Prioritizing Marriage, Family, and Career

balance-work-family

Three years ago I ran across this Facebook post, “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married” written by Admin khuy, and I read it, before I got married.

What is interesting is reading it three years later and my mouth kept dropping, because it felt like I was reading it for the very first time. It’s been 6 years into a relationship, three of those years have been as a married couple—and I think this is a great article for those individuals who are career driven and/or mission driven, and think they “got it handled” when it comes to marriage and family.

Today I share this post with those of you contemplating marriage, engaged to be married, newlyweds, and even those of you married 8-40 years. I share this with the married ones who place their careers before their marriage (knowingly or unknowingly), and ignorantly think there will be harmony in that arrangement.

I share this with those of you planning to start a family, currently pregnant, have a newborn, and of course to those of you with multiple children of various ages. I share this with those of you who put your children first and your marriage second, or even last. Before your first child is born, it’s just you and your spouse. When your last child leaves the nest, guess what? It will just be you and your spouse. Your partnership deserves more than being placed second or worse, last to anything and anyone.

These three things that Admin khuy writes about sound simple, but oddly enough, many couples aren’t doing these things and that’s why current statistics are showing high divorce rates by or before year 8 in the marriage. It’s not money causing divorce, it’s disconnection, and as khuy wrote, “unawareness” that is the root cause. The byproduct ends up being money, adultery, abuse, neglect, etc. But before these things took place the roots were formed by one or both people being unaware of what marriage requires, and then the two who were once connected became disconnected—and as they grew farther apart the “issues” took center stage.

Please read this husband’s post (below) and try these three things for at least one month, and see how it can positively change your life, your marriage, your family, and even your community. If you can then see the possibility, maybe then you will embrace it as your way of life.

Marriage isn’t about living happily ever after with that one person who “completes” you, it’s about the journey of transitioning into a better, more selfless you.

Read Admin khuy’ post and then share your thoughts in my comments section…

Continue reading

Janay and Ray Rice: The Vicious Cycle of Abuse

I’ve read, watched video footage, and viewed images of two people, Ray and Janay Rice, both working very hard to protect the one they love the most, Ray Rice. I won’t join the voices of thousands who cry out to Janay warning her of what’s to come, or trying to convince her to leave her now-husband. I won’t join those voices because I know that our voices don’t matter to Janay, not in the way we would hope, and especially not right now. Right now the only thing she is focused on is protecting Ray and trying to lessen the blow that he has now received after his heinous attack on her. She’s trying to help him with his self-inflicted wounds. I won’t even join any of the voices that criticize her for doing so. See I understand the place and space she’s in right now. She’s both in survival and denial mode. You can’t fault her for that. Look at the symptoms and not the person.

Look at the symptoms of a Floyd Mayweather who thought it wise to add his voice to the mix and say, “I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households…it’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.” Floyd Mayweather believes that the NFL was too harsh with their sentence against Ray Rice, and that they should have stuck with their original two-game suspension. Interesting…especially since Mayweather had to serve time,  plead to reduced charges in a domestic violence case involving his ex-girlfriend, and is now involved in a civil lawsuit brought on by his former fiancee. Um, Mayweather, you might want to self-impose a gag order on yourself right about now. It’s amazing how Mayweather found a way to turn Ray into the victim here as though Ray got knocked out in the elevator.

Look at the symptoms and not the person. Let’s take Ray and Janay (and definitely Floyd) out of the equation and look at the symptoms of the disease. Abuse is a disease. For the balance of this post I will use their names, but I want you to simply visualize Janay and Ray as just random people that you just saw on the street, and not a pro football player and his wife highlighted in the news. Are you ready? Okay let’s do this…

Continue reading

Marriage Cruise to Honduras and Mexico–Just What Your Marriage Needs?

The site/group Black and Married with Kids (BMWK) responded to a survey of more than 1,500 couples who said they would love to go on a cruise and participate in a marriage retreat/seminar with 5 leading experts to build or help rebuild their relationships.

Here’s some details from their website if you are interested:

The Cruise is for:
Newlyweds
Couples Celebrating Anniversaries
Couples Who Need a Break
Marriage Ministries
Couples Who Want a Better Marriage

Only 52 Cabins Are Currently Available!

Put a Deposit On Your Cabin Today To Reserve Your Spot!
Get over $300 worth of bonuses if you place your deposit before 11:59PM on Monday August 26th, 2013! (Details Below)

You will learn…
– Better Communication Skills
– How to Handle Money & Marriage
– Tips for Physical, Spiritual & Emotional Intimacy
– Experience From Other Couples
– & Much, Much, More!

For more details or to book your trip visit:
http://bmwkmarriagecruise.com/

The Hotel Bill

I received this earlier today and just had to share it with all of you. This message has many lessons, especially in financial literacy and dignity. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did! Feel free to share it with others, and bring a smile to their face as it hopefully brings one to yours.
-Natasha
A married couple are traveling by car from Victoria to Prince George . 
Being Seniors, after almost eleven hours on the road, they were too
tired to continue, and decided to take a room. But, they only planned
to sleep for four hours and then get back on the road. When they
checked out four hours later, the desk clerk handed them a bill for $350.00.
The man explodes and demands to know why the charge is so high.
He told the clerk although it’s a nice hotel; the rooms certainly aren’t
worth $350.00 for four hours. Then the clerk tells him that $350.00 is
the ‘standard rate’. He insisted on speaking to the Manager.
The Manager appears, listens to him, and then explains that the hotel has
an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center that were available
for us to use.
“But we didn’t use them,” the husband said.
”Well, they are here, and you could have,” explained the Manager.
The Manager went on to explain that the couple could also have taken in
one of the shows for which the hotel is famous. “We have the best
entertainers from New York , Hollywood , and Las Vegas perform here”, the Manager
says.
“But we didn’t go to any of those shows,” the husband said.
“Well, we have them, and you could have,” the Manager replied.
No matter what amenity the Manager mentioned, the husband replied,
“But we didn’t use it!”
The Manager is unmoved, and eventually the husband gave up and agreed
to pay. As he didn’t have the check book he asked his wife to write the
check. She did and gave it to the Manager.
The Manager is surprised when he looks at the check. “But ma’am, this is
only made out for $50.00.”
”That’s correct. I charged you $300.00 for sleeping with me,” she replied.
“But I didn’t!” exclaims the Manager..
“Well, too bad, I was here, and you could have.”
Don’t mess with senior citizens. They didn’t get there by being stupid!

Men Can Soon Experience Motherhood in a Unique Way

Ladies, wouldn’t it be nice to share every aspect of your pregnancy experience with your husband/boyfriend? Men, aren’t you interested in connecting with the mother of your child on a unique level where you can feel the discomfort, weight gain, imbalance,  joint pressure, fetal kicks, etc? Now it’s possible with Takayuki Kosaka’s “Mommy Tummy” pregnancy suit. Yes, you read that right.

The suit was designed at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology (KAIT) in Atsugi, Japan, and some says it resembles a bullet proof vest or the heavy vest that is used when you have dental X-rays.  It even has a bladder in the belly that fills up with water, simulating the growth and average weight of Japanese babies. Similar pockets in the chest expand to simulate breasts filling with milk, and yes, there is simulated technology in the stomach that produce the feeling of a kicking baby (which can be calmed by gently rubbing the stomach).

This is definitely an advancement in technology from earlier models by other designers who merely replicated the increasing weight gain mothers undergo. This suit goes for the gusto, and they hope to eventually create a remote device that will allow men to feel the baby kick at the same time mommy does. Isn’t that a cool concept?

Now all they need is to develop a way to share with men the feelings of nausea, those crazy cravings like sardines and peanut butter, starch and chalk, and what’s a pregnancy suit without experiencing the big one…labor?!? To seal the deal, if men can begin to empathize with pregnant women and the ups and downs of carrying one or more babies at one time in a compact space that keeps stretching until it feels like there’s no more room to grow, then those nine months probably wouldn’t feel as bad…probably!

Check out the full story and see pictures of the “Mommy Tummy” for yourself:  http://www.livescience.com/15526-mommy-suit-pregnancy-siggraph-2011.html

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Paradigm Life.

 

 

 

Some of our Leaders Seem to Have a Problem with “Brain-Mouth Disconnect Syndrome”

By Natasha L. Foreman

Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.


This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.

Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.

We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.

But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…

Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?

Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”

See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:

I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?

If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?

What are your thoughts?

Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo

And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Natasha’s Love and Life Thought of the Day for 2.8.11

>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Some of us strive for excellence only in our personal lives content with the belief that at least there we have some control, since we have none at out Just-Over-Broke Situations. Then there are those of us who are more focused on prosperous careers and we could care less if we have a hodge-podge relationship, dating a handful of people (and probably being dishonest to all of them), or running through life single and alone.

I believe that you can be successful in both love/family and career.

What’s the sense in having a prosperous career and you have no one worthy to share your accomplishments and setbacks with, how is that a successful life?

I strive for excellence in every aspect of my life and I truly believe that I can have both a successful personal life and career as long as there are two things constantly present that I’m focused on: God, and that I BELIEVE even when I’m scared, and especially when no one else does (or they are too self-absorbed to care).


I believe that I can be the wife who cooks, cleans, stays up late helping my husband meet deadlines or work through issues; the wife who loves him to the level (and intensity) that makes others jealous; that I can be the mother that other children wish were theirs (and my children soak it up); that I can have the loving, respectful, supportive husband, and the well-mannered, giving, caring, highly intelligent and gifted children- all nestled in our warm, inviting and beautiful home (with a well-manicured lawn, my Land Rover LR4, and a happy dog). Yes, I believe this with every fiber of my body.

At the same time I believe that I can have that demanding yet rewarding career doing all of the things that I love doing, and getting paid handsomely. I also believe that I can do all of this and still serve the least of God’s children around the world…


…while still having precious alone time to do whatever I want to do for me- even if it’s a two-hour bath with tons of candles surrounding the tub, or taking the time to read and reflect on the Word!


It all requires balance. It requires believing in myself and believing that I’m NOT doing this alone. There is a greater power out there- God- helping me along the way- opening doors, windows, vents, and more so that I can walk, jump, crawl, or wiggle inside and make a difference in my life and the lives of others.

We must be about action. There is no limit to what we can or can’t do. We can either make things happen and DO something, or we can spend our lives coasting by TALKING about our dreams. You can find your calling at any age between 20 and 90, but it is up to you whether you do what you are called to do or waste the time making excuses why mediocrity is the best you can produce.

We must remember that there IS a time limit on life; tomorrow is not promised- so we have to seize the moment and learn each day to LIVE OUR DREAMS!


Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Lessons Learned Now Move Forward

>I had a conversation with a dear friend Tuesday night while we ate dinner. We were discussing my past, past loves, past hurt, the lessons learned and the blessing of humor that helped keep me sane- without it I’m sure I would have been on the first episode of the show “Snapped“.

He told me, “wow Tasha you have been through a lot“. That would definitely be an understatement. One thing I can say after years of much-needed healing, and through this process of growth and rebuilding- I don’t regret what I have gone through because it has definitely made me stronger and wiser. It has also made me more conscientious in my dealings with others and with how intentional I am in my commitments- in thought and deed. When you have been duped once it’s a “shame on them” moment, but as many of us soon realize- the second time is a definite “shame on me“. So the third time you get played (or play yourself) you need a psych evaluation…and in a hurry!

Photo Credit: marriedmysugardaddy.com

In these short 35-years I have lived an oxymoronic ‘long life’ as I grew up very fast; partly because of circumstances and partly because I wanted to be “grown” so I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Lord, God has an amazing sense of humor because not only do I miss my childhood and the freedom I took for granted, but I have grown to learn that I can’t do what I want whenever I want- those darn things called bills and obligations keep pestering me. I have also learned as my friend John Hope Bryant frequently is heard saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans…” and with that I have spent more than 30 years telling God what I was going to do, who I was going to be with, when I would marry and have children, when I would have a successful career and personal life, and a long laundry list of other things I thought I could naively control.

An amazing thing through this journey that I have also stood firmly in is my reality that I am not damaged goods. I am not hopeless or helpless. I am not a victim. Hard-headed…yes, but I don’t need rescuing. In my strength there is a vulnerability. Inside of me is a desire to love and be loved fully and intentionally. Inside of me is a warrior princess looking for the opportunity to help the masses of people whose hope is waning. I want to help those both inside and outside of my culture  and community; the voiceless, the fearful, the wise who are overlooked and overshadowed; and the disenfranchised, under-served and underrepresented. I want to be a true ambassador of goodness and dignity. I want to give more because I have been given so much from God. I want to teach others to ‘fish’ and bake, and not simply give them fish and loaves of bread.

Since I was a small child it has been my lifelong mission to save the world one person at a time. I have never been concerned with how I could benefit from a transaction, deal, or experience – I always wondered how I could help others in the process. It is not my desire to acquire wealth just for self- but to find ways to provide resources for others to learn, grow, and then pay it forward. I don’t want to rule over others and call myself a ‘public servant’- no offense to politicians- but I would rather continue serving the least of God’s children for free and be wealthier, wiser, and more powerful than any government official could ever be…and sleep with a clear conscious each night!

Image Credit: Matt Groening
Source: Irishtimes.com

I have worked hard and diligently as a Business and Entertainment Consultant, a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, a PhD student, and as a child of God who happens to be a woman and Black. There is only one source for these successes (and the others I humbly and modestly refrain from listing) and that is God. Call Him what you want- He knows who He is and His role in your life (or lack thereof). We all should be putting our faith in something greater and better than us and that is what matters most. In this new year my focus is on Him first, and keeping my ears, eyes and heart open to the possibilities and opportunities He has planned for me- because I realized something- I have not pushed myself through the threshold, and through hell and back in a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have worked hard- but I haven’t worked to exhaustion and then kept going. I know how this feels and last year I didn’t reach that point. My knuckles, face and knees weren’t bloodied, and because of that I didn’t see the pay off I should have. Lesson learned.

Photo Credit: zazzle.com

This year I must face my fears in business and in my personal life, and shatter the lies that I have allowed to hold me hostage. I want to give my all in everything; no half-stepping, no game playing, no rationing or rationalizing. I want to see things through and give 100% effort  in every aspect of my life. When we learn life’s lessons the purpose is to then move forward to the next lesson, not sit back and ponder endlessly the how’s, when’s, why’s, and what’s. I have also surmised that the people we have in our lives is an important factor in our overall success- because let’s be honest…most people who are successful in business suck rotten lemons in their personal lives. Show me 10 successful business people who have successful marriages, families, and personal lives. I will wait….

It is possible to have a successful career and personal life. It is possible to be an incredible business person, husband/wife, parent, and friend. But do you know what the majority of people are missing? What we are missing is the valuable link of a spiritual foundation. Not religion- but spirituality. Take out the formalities, the rituals and traditions- and get to the root- your Creator. When you put Him first in all decision-making, in all relationships, and situations then you are no longer thinking of self first, you are surrendering all to a higher power. When you put Him first you never think twice about emotionally or sexually cheating, juggling multiple partners, misrepresenting yourself to others, or playing games when it comes to matters of the heart. When you put Him first you never walk over business associates, or casually evict a struggling family trying to live paycheck to paycheck.

Get past the simple thinking of ritualistic prayer (and at convenient times only) and get centered on having a spiritual foundation and reference point every second of every day. When we realize that we can’t control much of anything and finally let go of the ‘steering wheel’ and focus on our roles and responsibilities, we will be able to clearly see how to balance our segmented ‘worlds’ within the grand scheme.

This year I will let go and move forward. This year I stop trying to prove myself to people who really don’t matter (when you think about it) and just express myself genuinely and humbly. The rest will always work itself out- and with it will come the balance we all truly want and need. With that comes a successful, honest, loving, and real marriage and family. With that comes a successful career surrounded by people who respect you for how you treat them not just because of your title and the perceived power you have over them, or because of what you can give them (or help them get). With that comes people who know that I am more than a pretty face with a cute figure. This is something many women are struggling to overcome- the ‘brains over beauty’ battle. We have grown to find our best assets aren’t the ones tucked away in our heads, but rather the ones that should be tucked away under clothes.

So this year I will continue weeding out those people who are only leaches. I will weed out those people who want to hold on to me but don’t want to be loyal to me. I will avoid relationships with people who don’t walk in the light that brings healthy growth and spiritual prosperity. I will avoid people who would have me compromise my morals and values to satisfy their selfish needs. I will remove myself from situations that are infectious, and I will only associate with those people who truly want the best for and from me, who bring out the best in me, and give me their best for no other reason than because they are revealing what is inside of them- goodness, dignity, honor, and love.

What will you do with the lessons you have learned thus far? What values are you representing and standing firmly within? To paraphrase an old saying, “a person who won’t stand for something will fall for anything“. This is your moment so seize it!

Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Going Against the Grain: My Pre-Marital Insight- Part 2

>So yesterday I was a potty-mouth and had the audacity to mention the dreaded “P” word…prenup! But let’s get past the stigma of prenuptial agreements- as the majority of the U.S. has gotten past the stigma of divorce (latest stats prove this point). I ran across the website divorcerate.org that cited, “50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”

Now after reading those startling figures, can we get back to the topic at hand?

A prenup basically removes the money from the equation- the money you would be shelling out to lawyers who are going to rake up enough hours that they can buy one or more homes; and the money that you will be fighting to keep your spouse from feeling entitled to collect; it allows you to truly focus on what is supposed to be the most important thing in your relationship and pending marriage…the two of you! It keeps a couple who started out lovey dovey and inseparable from turning into Michael Douglass and Kathleen Turner in the 1989 movie “The War of the Roses”! It leaves one less thing to focus on or argue about.

How many of us gasped loudly at the amounts in divorce settlements where both men and women are walking away with millions of dollars? Although people always think of prenups as benefitting men, ladies, they can protect you also. How many of you worked hard to push your way up the career ladder, earned or are earning your position and title ethically, have or intend to own a home? How devastated would you be if the man you love filed for divorce and said, “oh and by the way I want half of everything you own“? Funny how things quickly go from “ours” back to “mine”. A prenup allows you to determine and designate how ‘mine’, ‘ours’, and ‘theirs’ is distributed and maintained.

Prenups aren’t for everyone- they are however my preferred tool to cut through the ‘bull’ in a relationship. I did have issues with an ex who refused to enter a prenuptial agreement with me- and the crazy thing is he made considerably more money than I did, but was insulted that I wanted a prenup. He argued that “…you’re not the type of woman who would go after my money, so why would I want a prenup to protect it? What’s mine is yours. You helped me get to where I am in my career….” Yes, he was right about the type of woman I am, just as he was right that I helped in building his career- but I still knew the realities that money somehow always becomes an issue in relationships, and I didn’t want that to be one of our issues.

Funny thing, money didn’t cause me to call off our engagement- his wandering eye and loose zipper did…but can you see how a prenup would have spared an emotional roller coaster had we married and he got busted cheating?

So are your shoulders still smashed up to your ears? Are your nostrils still flared? Are you still trying to find my email or phone number to give me a piece of your mind? I want you to think of the celebrities, public and private figures who have had or are going through ugly divorces all because they are fighting over money and property- couples fighting over custody of children and pets- then ask yourself would you want to be in their shoes?

Am I still crazy for wanting a prenup? If I am, then I embrace my craziness. Heaven forbid I ever marry and it fails, but while everyone else is stewing through a nasty divorce, I would have peace of mind as I sipped on an icy drink during a cruise- knowing that everything my husband and I agreed upon on day one was honored, and we respectfully and lovingly went our separate ways.

Just like I said in my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog the other day, “do everything in love“.

Well that’s my two cents on marriage, premarital considerations, divorce, and the dreaded “P” word. That is the end of this series. As promised, I did not subject you to a long, drawn-out analysis or reflection- and hopefully this series will spark some insightful and interesting dialogue amongst us. I look forward to your thoughts, reactions, comments, and respectful rantings!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com