Revealing & Healing: 3 Women’s Stories of Survival

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I am so happy and proud of the relationship that I have with my daughters; Brittany and Ana. Brittany and I instantly bonded when she was small but Ana was always with my Uncle and Aunt all of the time. Nana had her when she wasn’t at Auntie and Uncle Sonny’s. We later came together and she learned to trust me at around age 2.

            As the girls grew up and into their teen years, my favorite thing about our time together was laying across their bed and just talking to them about their day, Ana’s sports and Brit’s band stuff. When Brit left  for college Ana and I grew closer and really bonded. She was very popular in high school so she would put together cute outfits and I enjoyed doing her hair in cute styles as she talked to me about the thirsty boys who liked her.
              Now that my girls are adults…well Grown-ish, it’s so much fun to talk to them and go back and forth about politics music and pop culture. I so love our connection of love and honesty and they are both blatantly honest. Over the years I have learned to be honest with them because parents lie a LOT.  When we talk on our conference calls we spent so much time laughing and debating that it became a Sunday ritual for a while, but then they got busy. We still stay in contact through text and when I am annoying they ignore me. They agree that I do too much. For instance Ana told me to write a paragraph and I am on my third or fourth one.
              To sum up the relationship I have with my girls I would say I have homies for life. I have someone I can vent to and  they can vent to me. I also love the closeness that the girls share and I hope I had something to do with that. Ana is understanding to my needs and that is why anything I have or can do for her it’s done. Brittany is my boss and helps me make decisions that are hard, she keeps me in check. So I always encourage her and build her self- esteem.
            I love my girlies with all of my heart. I kind of feel like we are pieces of a beautiful mosaic set of tiles wound together through unconditional love.


Five Embarassing Facts About Me

I wanted to do something fun this time. No heavy blog about mental health or family and relationships. This will make you laugh and I promise these incidents are 100% true. Let’s goooooooo.
1. I don’t know how to make a traditional cup of coffee. Whenever I encounter a coffee pot I either google the brand and model, read the directions before breaking the machine or making the grittiest pot of coffee ever.* I do know how to operate the new Keurig versions.

2. I have broken 3 copiers…yeah I don’t know how to work those either. See #1 if you want to know how I deal with them. It starts real casual, ” Rhasha can you copy those demographic forms and throw them in a file folder.” I walk over to the copier. I look at it; it looks at me. I put the papers in face down. Now this is when the BS starts. The machine blinks, out of paper, out of ink or just plain out of it. One time I hit the wrong button and 97 pages attempted to print out. I ended up unplugging the whole damn thing, looking both ways and walking away.

3. I fall…a lot. Once after a first date, I was walking away from the guy’s car and fell right on my ass. He tried to be nice and asked if I was alright. I quickly ran inside and almost died from embarrassment.Another time I fell on the way into church. My church shoes flew from up under me and splat I hit the ground. So I try to walk slowly, take time when wearing heels and allow my hand to be held if possible.

4. People think I’m cool, but I’m super awkward. When I become nervous in any situation I pick up my phone and pretend to talk on it. If I’m around a group of people I do know and there is a silent moment I become nervous and start to act weird. I will bring up a random conversation about absolutely nothing.

5. I can’t bake for crap. When I was younger my stepmother and grandmother tried to teach me. In my teens I tried to bake a cake from scratch and it tasted like dry stale bread. When I got married I tried to make homemade cornbread which tasted worse than the cake. So now I stick with rolls of ready to bake cookies and boxed cake mix. Now in my 40s I’m gonna take another stab at baking…anyone want to be my test rat? After that I will make you a nice cup of coffee and run off some copies of my favorite recipes.


Home is Where the Hurt Is

Going to my hometown Indianapolis is usually freeing and peaceful. I know where everything is located. I don’t get lost. The traffic is not ridiculous like it is in Dallas where I’ve resided since 2015. I can get the foods I’ve loved since I was young; White Castle, Long’s Donuts, and Mr. Dans. I enjoy worshipping at my childhood church and the church I transitioned to as an adult. I get to hang with my cousins, best friend  and family members. But some things are not as they use to be.

My Nana is getting older and starting to feel like she’s actually 88. She has always been healthy. While others were losing their grandmothers, mine was eating healthy; no diabetes or high blood pressure. Nana’s mind is 100% there and she can debate with the best of them. But her body is not lining up with her mind. Now she is having aches and pains and two doctor appointments a week.  She is sick of visiting different doctors and telling them over and over what is going on. After visiting  with her I asked her if she wants to come to Dallas so I can take care of her. 

My Aunts are also getting older. Aunts are such a blessing. They are like your mom only cooler and they let you get away with everything. My Aunt Beth is my favorite and she so much fun. She always had a nice car and she drove really fast. If anyone cut her off she would quickly yell at them. Aunt Beth loved roller coasters and Dairy Queen dates. She beats the crap outta the kids in board games and is very competitive. I was raised as a only child so when I could spend the night at Auntie’s  with my cousins it was fun times. Whenever my cousins wanted to do something they would say, ” You ask. She can’t say no to you.”   She would always keep me in suspense and then say, “yep.” 

My Aunt is not feeling the way she once did. She is often ill and struggles a lot. When I come home I try to cheer up her with songs and jokes. I always have a story about my grown ass kids. In the past Rhasha the cheerleader could change her mood and make her forget her pain; not as much now. She has been on dialysis for seventeen years and still has strong faith that one day she will be healed. The day after I celebrated her 63rd birthday with her I dreamed she was in Dallas on my back porch eating tacos on Tuesdays. 

So often times coming home hurts. I know that as long as we live we are getting older.  Even at 40 my knees crack and my grays are feisty. I look at Nana and think; her  body is 88 years old. Auntie has lived for 63 years when doctors said she wouldn’t or couldn’t.  Each of these ladies have made an impact on my life and that continues. I see them for who they were then and who they are now. 

I guess the best thing I can do is come home often. Tell them and show them that I love them. Realize that life doesn’t stay the same. Life is about transitions; memories and moments. There are still memories to be made and moments to share with Nana, Auntie and all of my family members. I look forward to coming back home for Thanksgiving to enjoy another precious moment. 


Image St. Joseph’s Cockeysville 


Divorce Made Me Stronger

  There are few things more disappointing then going through a divorce. It’s almost like a death.  It is a death; of a relationship, a partnership, a bond. When children are involved it’s that much harder. Where will I live? Who will move out? Who will have custody of the children.  Who gets the sleeper sofa?

I was married young; at 21. As my mom drove me to the church my stomach was in knots and I asked her if she would just take me to Cincinnati. Not sure if I wanted to go to Kings Island instead of the $10,000 wedding ceremony that my whole family helped pay for. Yeah…bad sign I know. That day in June I was to marry my high school sweetheart. The man I had three children with and who had my heart for six years.

The marriage started out wrong. On our wedding night we rushed through sex and if it was a chore and fell asleep soon after. Wait let me back up. The ring I got for him was too small and during the cake ceremony his finger swelled. The fire department had to come and cut the ring off of his finger and he sat there sweating bullets. Lots of early drama. 

We had the best intentions for our life.  We bought a house, sent our babies to school, went to church every Wednesday night and Sunday, worked, and went on date nights on Fridays. My Dad would keep the kids on weekends and my Mom watched them often. But soon loud voices in my head were telling me how doomed we were. The truth is we NEVER should have been married.

Our divorce was a culmination of my past issues, his frustration, our age and the pressure we put on ourselves to stay in a bad marriage. I was devastated and went through a 6 month depression. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and lonely. This man had been my buddy for so long. Everything I did involved him. But soon I would pick up the pieces and realize just how strong I was. Here are some tips for getting through and over a divorce and moving on in a healthy way.

1. Don’t beat yourself up. You have the right to feel however you feel, no matter what that is.

2. Practice self- care by seeking counseling, journaling and talking to a spiritual advisor.

3. Don’t jump into another relationship. Have a relationship with yourself. Take yourself to dinner, on dates, and pamper you.

4. Seek help for your children if needed. Seek counseling, a spiritual advisor, and allow them to get their feelings out with no judgment.

5. Spend time with those you love. Friends, family and pets are the best to be around.

6. Stay busy. Find a cool hobby, attend festivals, take a class, work out.

7. Gain clarity about what you did right and wrong in the marriage so it won’t happen again. This will help in future relationships when you are ready.

8. LOVE YOURSELF. Take long baths, give yourself actual hugs, and treat yourself with patience and kindness. Watch the things you tell yourself. Lowered feelings and thought can lead to depression.

For me divorce started as a negative and hurtful situation but ended in me learning so much about myself. I learned what I did and didn’t want in future relationships. Five years later I married the man of my dreams. He became a father to my children and a true testament that there is truly someone out there for me who will love me for the crazy, quirky woman that I am.

When I think about divorce the song Stronger by Tank stands out in my head. The song is about the ending of a relationship. The hook or chorus is “Now, look at me  I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Where I am is no longer where I’ve been. I’m stronger and it’s all because of you.” The bridge begins, ” I’m still missing pieces after everything. But I’m stronger! Can’t believe it’s cause she said she’d never leave. But I’m stronger! But if she never left, I would have never seen that I’m stronger.” 

What divorce taught me was, I can stand on my own. I can be a great mother. My children went to therapy  and so did I. I also learned that what you want at 21 is not what you want at 30, or even 40.  Divorce helped me find my identity. I use my voice to encourage other women;  on my blog, on radio I even used it at the Texas legislature this year. I went back to school after my divorce, I reconnected with caring friends. And of course I found love after divorce. 

What could have completely broken me made me stronger.  


Day at a Time

IMG_0469I have been out of the hospital for six weeks. I am feeling more like Rha again. I am back to yoga regularly and biking. Eating three meals a day again and enjoying every minute of that. Getting back on track with my groups, volunteering and working.  There are many exciting things on the horizon. I started getting back to my habits by practicing a little one day at a time.

School starts October 23rd and I’m taking two Sociology classes. I really want to help women who are going through what I have been through. I not only want the testimony; I want the credentials to get paid for doing it. It’s fall and that is a time of transition. The trees change colors and the leaves begin to fall. The weather in Dallas is gorgeous this time of year; not too hot nor too cold. I plan to go to White Rock Lake and see the fall colors. I am slowly starting to enjoy life again and taking each day as it comes. Putting one foot in front of the other. Day by day by day.

I am learning that everything that I need I have been equipped with. I know how to mediate and use a mindfulness app to stop for five minutes daily. I know my triggers for depression and even though I can’t stop the onset, I can minimize the duration and intensity and have done so lately. Self care is so important because life is all about caring for ourselves, and caring for others. I am starting with me and then my husband & children. I am going to visit my family soon and care for them and my friends… I KNOW I CAN DO IT…ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Radical Self Acceptance, love yourself

Radical Other Acceptance, love others

Radical Life Acceptance, love Life.


Girls Trip Review  * Spoiler Alert*

High school was one of best times of my life. I didn’t know it then; but now that I must adult on a regular I am positive it was LIT( to steal a word from my daughter). The highlight of that time was of course friends, your homies, your clique, your crew. For me it was Amanda, Chenelle and Dalisha and on the weekends Bianca, and DeAnna. Girls Trip will have you reminiscing on those times when you and your girls thought you were the ‘ish.

The movie begins by showing the years that have passed since the girls have spent time together. As is life they became busy with work, children, husbands, life in general. Spending time with their girls becomes an afterthought. The “Flossy Posse” consists of Dina( Tiffany Haddish) the wild child who seems to get fired from her job weekly and nonchalantly says, “ See you Tuesday.” Sasha( Queen Latifah) the broke former journalist now gossip blogger. Lisa ( Jada Pinkett Smith) the responsible divorced mother of two and Ryan( Regina Hall) the happily married author, and mogul who has it all….or that’s the way it seems.

The four set off for EssenceFest in New Orleans where they let lose. Ryan is there as the keynote speaker for the event but the girls make sure she has some fun. From the start the girls get into trouble with Dina getting them kicked out of the hotel. Then it’s revealed that Ryan’s husband Stuart(Luke Cage’s Mike Colter) is cheating and the girls seek revenge. Well mostly Dina ( I would have done the same btw). The other girls are angry but take a more rational approach. Ryan acts as if everything is fine to save face.

The male heart throb and my husband on the side Kofi Siriboe played Lisa’s crush. As much as she tried to keep her cool she ended up between the sheets with him. Another handsome actor who is aging gracefully is Larenz Tate who played former classmate Julian. The on camera chemistry between Julian and Ryan was hot and steamy and all they did was look into each other’s eyes. Yet there was still the problem of her husband and the perfect façade she puts on for the world. But Ryan wasn’t the only one with secrets.

Sasha seemed to have a thriving gossip blog that was bringing in big money but in reality her bills were passed due and her advertisers didn’t think she had enough traffic to the site. She was even taking clothes back to the store after wearing them.

This trip starts as big fun with drinking, twerking and turning up in The Big Easy but ends up exposing side chicks and insecurities. But what do friends have that binds them together? Loyalty.

From beating down Stuart’s side chick Simone ( you find out the actresses name. I don’t care) to being there for Ryan when she decides to live in her truth, the girls show true compassion. Herein lies the moral of this story. True friends know when you are hurting. They know when you are frontin’. They are there to pick you up when you fall and to celebrate the successes in your life. This movie truly made me laugh hysterically and blush with some of its crudeness. It also made me sad because all of my childhood friends are thousands of miles away. But no matter how far, I know they would fight the devil himself for me and slap the hell out of a ratchet sidechick.

Tiffany Haddish is the breakout star and has such an endearing quality about her. Her life story is a New York Times Best Seller for sure. She was great in this role and her ad libs were spot on.

Jada was also funny in her quirky bossy momma way. Regina has really evolved and I am loving the woman she is, beautiful and classy. Queen Latifah is simply that- royalty. She did her thing, as always.

If you and your friends thought you were the IT girls in high school go see this movie. If you grew up in the late 80s and 90s go see this movie. If you adore #blackgirlmagic go see this movie. If you are reading this go see this movie. Yes get your ass up and go.