Black Love is Real!

Black Love new cover twitter 92117

I woke up one morning a few months ago and for once I could remember my dream. That doesn’t happen often, so I was excited. I jumped up from the bed, grabbed a pen and paper and started writing like crazy. My mind was working faster than my fingers could go. I don’t know why I didn’t head to my computer, but it was on another level of my house and I didn’t want to lose what I could remember.

The night before, I was in a group chat on Facebook and women were talking about how much their men loved them and all they ways they prove it everyday. It was refreshing to read their posts because a lot of times men get a bad rep and in particular, black men. I’ve seen people who say that so many black men grew up in homes without fathers that they never saw their mother getting the royal treatment by a man and from that, they never learn how to really love a woman. Do I think that’s true? Absolutely not.

Any man can love when it’s in his heart to do so. If a man cheats does that mean he doesn’t love their woman? No, I don’t believe it does. Recently, there was speculation that Kevin Hart cheated on his wife and when he gave a public apology on social media, that was his way of deflecting responsibility for the fact that he didn’t mess up, he made a conscious choice to do whatever he felt the need to apologize to his wife and children for. That’s between Kevin Hart and his family though he made us all a part of it because he took it to the internet. Whatever he did, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his wife or that he doesn’t know how to love her. Whatever he did, I can equate to disrespecting and dishonoring his wife, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her.

Black love is something special. I say that because I’m black and I can’t account for love for a race that I have no experience being. I believe in love and I believe that no matter what anyone has gone through in life, if you want real love, don’t stop until you find it or until it finds you. The love between a black man and a black woman goes back to a time in our history when our men had to stand by and watch white men rape and molest our women during slavery. They had to deal though they were broken. When they had a chance to love their women, they loved them deeply because they know what our women had to experience every day.  As centuries go by, that deep love is still there because of the past and history of our women. Even today, our women still have to struggle to be taken seriously and seen as equals, so when a man encounters a black woman and sees her out here doing everything in her power to survive, he should want to love her and be that rock she needs at the end of the day. There is nothing like coming home to a man who loves you unconditionally. There are other options out there, but seek out that love that is all about you everyday, all day.

I tried to tell a story of unconditional love in my new book, “Black Love”. In this story a woman loves a man with all that’s in her only to find that on her wedding day, he doesn’t show up. He is, in fact, away on a romantic trip with another woman. The bride-to-be was so hurt that a year later, when a real, good man wants to love her like she should be loved, she can’t let herself let go of her past treatment. She’s afraid she doesn’t know how to give and receive love because her heart is still broken. The hero of the story is a patient and loving man and he knows that all it takes is a little time and patience because a black woman, a good black woman is a delicate specimen and if he’s lucky enough, she’ll want him and will be open to letting him treat her right. Invest in real love and in this book, “Black Love” and experience what its like when a man really loves a woman and he does it, unconditionally!

Love matters, especially black love – it’s real love!

Happy Loving!!

Cheryl  www.amazon.com/author/cherylbarton      www.cherylbarton.net

Advertisements

The Death of a Powerful Man: Bishop Eddie Long

long Yesterday I was sitting in worship service and my cellphone vibrated and when I checked, it was a news highlight that Bishop Eddie Long had passed away. I didn’t know if it was true or not, so I took a few minutes and checked a few other sites and sure enough, he had died sometime early Sunday morning. I shared that information with my parents who I was in worship service with and both had a look of total surprise on their faces; I did not. I’m no psychic, able to foretell coming events, but the last time I set eyes via the internet on Bishop Eddie Long, he didn’t look well. At that point, while others checked out the same photos of him that I had seen, I saw a lot of social media posts about what could have been the cause and I remained quiet. I had read stories over the past several years about possible indiscretions regarding Bishop Long and again, I didn’t comment and I decided to not play judge or jury because it wasn’t my place and its not anyone else’s place either. It is our place to pray for a family who has lost a loved one. It is our place to pray for a congregation that is now in mourning over the loss of a man they didn’t hold judgement against. Despite what the headlines had been saying over the years, some did what the Bible said and they prayed and forgave in order for them to be able to move on and continue the work of the Lord. Isn’t that what churches are supposed to do? Its what I thought.

I’ve never been to New Birth in Atlanta, but I had heard about all of the great things they were and are doing for the community. A lot of that started with Bishop Eddie Long and his heart for the people. The things I could see and witness are the only things I am able to give response to. Those crimes he was accused of committing happened behind closed doors and what it did was pit one man’s story against another. People chose who they wanted to believe in based on what they read in the media as if they were actually there and saw it happen. Now, I’m not proclaiming guilt or innocence and I don’t know everyone involved stories, but I don’t need to know. All I need to do is pray for the situation and pray for healing of those involved. Social media though, has allowed people to become judge and jury and as their opinions spread, so do lies that then are exacerbated to the point that someone in another state or country reading the stories on the internet become angry, vengeful and yes, judgmental. I, again, chose not to take that route. I could have an opinion about what I read and share it on the internet helping to fuel the fire of anger that spread across the world. I didn’t because in the quiet of my own space, I prayed that God would heal a people; heal a nation. This wasn’t the first of this kind of story and it wouldn’t be the last. Throwing social media stones at a situation that I’m not involved with or getting angry at the church over it would not be the best decision. I didn’t want to carry hate or hurt in my heart about another person’s dilemma; trust, I have enough of my own issues going on  that I don’t need to focus on someone else’s and I believe we all do.

Bishop Long may have had issues and personal demons, but who doesn’t. Is it our place to judge and jury? No. Lots of people benefited financially from the settlement, but did it take the hurt and pain away? No. Are those who are in leadership positions in churches perfect people without demons and vices? No. Is Bishop Long’s death some sort of karma coming back on him to extract a price for his wrongdoings in life? No. None of us knows what karma looks, feels or acts like. We’re going by what we think and not by what we know. The bottom line is, Bishop Long was a man with a title, held high up on a pedestal and if it were you or I, people would gasp at our secrets as well and then judge and jury us. I believer in God’s Word and I believe that He is the only TRUE judge and jury and I don’t care what any court says. In the end, God will have the final say when we all stand in judgement alone to answer for what we’ve done in our lives from the day God breathed life into us, until the day he took that last breath away and said your will is now done. The life Bishop Long led is more than the bits and pieces we all know about, not personally, but through the words we read on the internet, in a news or magazine article. I understand he did some great things to help where no other help was on the horizon.

There were recipients of cars, houses, bills being paid, prayers and words of comfort that none of us no all about. Those are the deeds of a powerful man. I have had struggles in my life and though I didn’t turn to a church for help, I turned to my parents who have always been there with their trusty safety net. Because of them, I made it through and because of Bishop Eddie Long, there is another person someplace who survived and can proclaim they made it because of his helping hand, words of encouragement and whispers of prayer. Anyone who can touch a life and provide a need is a powerful person and that, too, was Bishop Long. I’m not condoning anything he did in his private life, but we don’t have access to that other than what we hear about third, fourth and fifth-hand. I could believe those or I could believe him, but I chose to not do either. I chose to mind my business, let those people handle their business and in turn, I sat back and prayed that they would all survive and get back some semblance of life. If not, there are other powerful people that God has raised up in the form of doctors and counselors and it is my prayer that those who need it will take advantage of it and begin to heal. There is a lot of healing that needs to take place and it’s not a time to throw stones at a man who is no longer here to see and hear it. Who is left are his wife, children and congregation and what they need from us most right now is their prayers. Pray that his wife finds comfort in knowing that God knew what was best. Pray that she is comforted knowing that her husband of many years is no longer in pain. Pray that she has the strength to comfort her children who lost their father. Did you not have a father that you wished could be around you to console you, place his arms around you, give you advice, smile at you, laugh at your jokes and love you with all of his heart? His children did and right now, they don’t need people playing judge and jury about what their father may have done; they need a people who understand what it means to lose someone and can offer words of comfort and prayer as they go through. There is a congregation that despite the cloud that hung over Bishop Long for years, they still believed in him because they believed that God uses all kinds of people to bring His Word to the masses and in this situation, He used New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long. We may not like what we have read, but were you there? If not, pray for those who were. Find compassion for the situation for everyone involved and not get excited over your chance to jump on a bandwagon of vile words and hatred. You may not have had Bishop Long’s issues, but there are issues and if there was a spotlight shown on the skeletons in your closet, I hope you would want to find comfort in a world of people who understand that none of us are perfect. We al have problems and I’m sure, so did Bishop Long.

Problems or no problems, it didn’t take away from the fact that some people did and still do consider Bishop Long a great and powerful man. He may have done wrong, but he also did good and if one life was blessed because of the life he led, then he did what the Lord told him to do. I know I go about my life everyday and there are things that I do that don’t glorify God and His plan for my life and the lives around me, but I try and that’s all each of us can do. While some sit around and persecute Bishop Eddie Long, someone else is saying a prayer of thanks because they lived another day not starving, not out in the cold or jobless, unable to feed their children. If in your life you touch one person and because of you their lives changed for the better, then I consider you a great and powerful person because you made at least one positive difference. Through his good and his bad, Bishop Eddie Long did that and for that, I consider him a powerful man. I choose to let God deal with the wrong Bishop Long may have done in life and while I can still pray, my prayers go up and out for the family, congregation and friends he left behind. They are the only ones who are left to deal with the aftermath of his passing. I don’t know what he died from and I don’t care. What I do know is that there is a large group of people who need my support and prayer today and I choose to give that instead of spreading hatred because there is already enough of that going around.

Peace!

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

 

 

 

I Want More

Down,_But_Not_Out_Cover_for_NookMy name is Karina and for now I’ll leave my last name a mystery just in case someone who knows me is reading this. I’m a young mother of two of the best kids in the world. How did I end of being blessed enough to be a mother to two such wonderful kids. I haven’t lived a life deserving of such an honor. I’ve done some terrible things and I have justified doing them by convincing myself that I didn’t know any better, but deep down I did. Sometimes I watch my kids sleep and I wonder if they deserve a different mother, someone better than me who can give them much more that I can. They are the only reason I wake up each day still in this trap, struggling to find my way out.

My plight started back in high school when I fell for the hottest boy in school. That led to a teenage pregnancy, his dreams of a career in professional sports flushed down the drain and my lack of self-esteem and self-respect. How could things have gone so wrong? I could blame it on my upbringing because my mother didn’t work hard enough to keep us from staying in the hood where all I ever learned to do was survive by taking advantage of others. I could blame it on the friends I had who never wanted anything for themselves so I followed the crowd instead of becoming a leader. Perhaps I could blame it on the system that keeps us down by giving us the bare minimum to survive, but not enough to get out of the downward spiral that is living in the hood. Who or what is the blame? Perhaps it’s me? Perhaps it’s the father of my children who I couldn’t seem to break away from even when I knew he was doing things that would either land him in jail or the grave. Perhaps I’m just someone who doesn’t deserve anything more than what I have.

There are many like me who wonder whether or not the hand we have been dealt is the only hand available to us. We all, at one time or another, have encountered others who were able to get out and now live in big houses, driving fancy cars and have careers and not just jobs. How did they make it yet I’m still here? I’m young, I have two children, I don’t work and though a high school education was free, I turned my back on that and figured, I’m fine, I’m sexy so some guy with lots of money will want me and once I give myself to him, he give me the world because after all, the only way I know to survive is to use what I have to get what I want. What does someone like me have? Only what I see in the mirror so that means I have to keep it tight and right and make sure it’s the first thing everyone notices about me. Should I care that all they’ll want is my body? I should, but I don’t because that’s just the hood where I came from and that’s all I know.

I’m going to take another look at my children while they are sleeping and I’ll dream of a better life for them even if I can’t have it. A dream, is a dream is a dream and that’s all some of us have to live on. There’s no prince charming who will come and rescue me from this life because they don’t want to come to the village and get themselves a slave girl living life on a wing and a prayer when they can have a queen who brings as much to the table as they do and not just what’s between her legs.

As I once again look at my beautiful children sleeping, I realize I have my motivation to do better and be better right before my eyes. They deserve me just as much as I deserve them and we all deserve so much more. I stand up straight, hold my head up high and decide at this very moment that I may be down, but I don’t want the world to count me out because I want, need and deserve to have it all and I’m going to get it. I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and walk my way into my new destiny and that starts with loving myself enough to know that I can get out because I’m better than my situation. Being down, but not out is who Karina will be.

Come read more of my story in Down, But Not Out: Breaking Chains. I am no longer my situation. I’m Karina Joseph and I’m breaking out of here!!

http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylbarton

http://www.cherylbarton.net

Death, I Feel Your Sting

miss.gif

I don’t know if there was this much death all around me when I was younger. I can’t remember so many people passing away that I actually know. Is it that because I’m getting older, those I know are getting older as well and death has been coming for people in large numbers?  I’ve gone to so many funerals in the past few years that I’ve lost count and I feel like I’m always waiting to hear about the next person gone, but never to be forgotten.

Recently my cousin passed away and he wasn’t too many years older than me. We pretty much grew up together always going to a lot of family functions, road trips and hanging at each other’s houses. He was best friends with my oldest brother who passed away a few years ago. I remember when my brother passed, my cousin mentioned how lonely he had become since my brother was gone. They did a lot together and what they liked to do the most was watch sports together and if they weren’t watching together, they would call each other on the phone and talk about a play they’d just seen in one game or another. They had become so much more than just cousins, they were brothers from different mothers. That’s a very special title that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Years ago I lost another cousin who was the sister to the cousin who recently passed away and I used to call her my sister from another mother because I felt that even though we were not sisters, we were as close as two sisters could be. We shared everything and I remember telling her secrets that I’ve never told another person. We shared our good and our very bad and never judged each other. I remember times we would sit in my apartment back in the 80’s and we’d sit up all night just talking and I mean the sun would literally come up and we would still be talking from the night before. I still have letters from her that she wrote me when she was away at college. My connection to her was strong and when her brother passed away recently the first thing I thought was, “Death I feel your sting.”

By that I mean everyday I feel the hurt and the pain of the loss of a family member or friend, but it really stings when another person around you passes away. I think about my cousin and all the dreams she had that never happened and over the past few days, she’s been on my mind heavily and I feel the hurt as if she just died. My thoughts turned from her to my brother whom I think about every single day and the pain of that never seems to go away. That is a daily sting and on days when it gets extremely overwhelming, I cry through the hurt wishing it would help ease the pain a little. Then there is my nephew who I didn’t talk to everyday, but when I did, I loved hearing him call me Aunt Cheryl. I miss him everyday and I feel that he didn’t get enough time to really get a grasp on how great life could have been for him as an adult. Leaving this life so early, having so much more he should have done is another sting that pierces my heart.

Death I feel your sting when I think of the years I lived with my grandmother and though I always thought we were close, we were really close after that. When my daughter was born, it was she who cut the cord and that was just as special to her as it was to me. I always told her that and it would make her smile. I feel the sting when I realize there is so much about my life that she has missed and I know she’d be proud of me. My thoughts of her take me to remembrances of my grandfather who was my main man. He always made me feel special and there was always a joke in my family about how whenever my grandparents needed to change the locks on their door, I always got my key first before their children. I was the only grandchild who had a key to their house and yes, I felt extra special. I spent a lot of time with them, time that I still remember as if it were yesterday. I remember the sting of losing him and that still lives with me today.

So many have gone on that I remember and lots over the past several years. Does the sting of the loss ever go away? Will I ever truly be able to rejoice knowing they are in a place of peace, with no pain and no worries? People believe or don’t believe in a lot of things and I believe there is a place where our spirits go and when I pass on, I will be reunited in spirit with those who have gone on home. I can’t say that right now it eases the pain of the sting of losing them, but my faith tells me to believe that the love I have for them will keep me connected to them forever, even in eternity.

Death, I feel your sting and it’s all around. The pain gets larger and spreads wider with each loss of a family member or friend. I want you to know I feel it and I’m thankful for it because it’s also a sign that I love and when I do, I love hard because if I didn’t, that sting would probably feel more like a prick.

Live and Let Live – Again

Why must people try and shame and slam a woman for having a life and moving on? If you don’t want your son to connect and be taken care of by another man, then make sure there is no room for him to do so because you are there. You move on yet the woman is not suppose to? Time waits for no one and neither does a male figure in a boy’s life. You can choose to step up and do what you should or you can go to social media and complain about a man who chooses to step in where you falter. The choice is yours. The sentiment actually goes both ways..either you do it or sit down, shut up and be jealous of the ex’s life in quiet. Getting someone pregnant and thinking you have them on lock down from other men when you want to go back to doing you, is wishful thinking and not a reality when it comes to strong women. You want it, put a ring on it otherwise, you have no claim.

I like that Ciara didn’t let grass grow under her feet and she got right back out there and found someone that is clearly for and about her.  The issue, it seems, is that some think she moved too fast simply because she has a son by someone else.  Who sets the time-frame for finding happiness?  I’m sure her significant ex wasted no time in doing so.  Can you imagine waiting around for the perfect time to move on?  It doesn’t exist.  Your life is  your own and how you choose to live it whether it be in private or in the public eye is your business.  I respect celebrities and all they go through having every aspect of their lives out in the open to be scrutinized.  That shouldn’t have an impact on your choices and decisions.  As I stated, Do You!!

Having a child with someone doesn’t lead to someone controlling your every action or having a say in what you do.  It means you have a child together and the idea at that point should be how do you co-parent together.  If our heart is pricked because you see your child embracing and hugging the new man in his mother’s life, don’t try to social media shame, but get up and make sure you are just a much a presence in your own son/daughter’s life.  It’s up to YOU to stake your claim and be the father you should be.  No one cane take your place if you don’t leave a space to be taken.  Working together is what will secure that your child has no doubt about who you are!