The Mummy *Spoiler Alert*

  

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing The Mummy with my son, Tre’. I wasn’t sure if it was connected with the previous mummy movies but was glad to see it was a standalone. The movie centered around an ancient Eyptian story about the sole heir to the throne turning wicked and being banished to a tomb and buried alive. 

Tom Cruise and  Anabella Wallis play partners who have the misfortune of unearthing this now demon named Ahmanet( Sophia Boutella).  She is one determined, mean, evil spirit…you get my point. The chick is pure terror. As soon as she is awakened by Cruise’s character Nick she starts killing people and turning them into her personal slaves for evil. 

In the meantime Nick and Jenny are trying to uncover more information while not being sucked into Ahmanet’s claws.  There are strong supportive characters like Courtney Vance, Russell Crowe and Jack Johnson who provide comedy and depth to the film. But the plot and characters was not what held my attention . First I have to tell you I’m a very analytical person. I see meaning in most things. I hope I don’t freak you out.

Okay are you still here?  I usually don’t watch thriller movies but with my son I end up with super heroes, fantasy, action or thrillers. In this movie Ahmanet represented the devil. She was an evil spirit who wanted to be worshipped and served. Near the end of the movie she asked Nick to come to her, to succum to her will. She didn’t want to make him or even force him. She wanted him know how it felt to be powerful; to have eternal life. Not the eternal life I think of when referencing God, but the trickery that satan uses to tempt. 

The final test of this film was to see if Nick was a good man, or merely average. But what is a good man and aren’t we all mostly good with a little wickedness?  This movie wasn’t my normal genre but it left me feeling introspective and for that I give it 4 stars. 

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My Name is Rhasha, and I’m a Yogi

In April of 2015 I had the opportunity to participate in a patient hospitalization program. What’s that you ask? Opportunity? Yes it was a strenuous program that ran Monday- Friday from 8am to 4pm. I learned about mood disorders, coping skills and medicine management. I also learned a new word self- care. I had never learned the idea that to eat right, exercise, and work out was a way of caring for my own wellness. I knew how to take care of my children and had done it for eighteen years.

I had a self -care class with a lady named Carla. She was a psychiatric nurse who had survived many traumatic situations as a child and young adult. She showed me the importance of yoga. At first I laughed, “ Yoga is for chicks who go to Starbuck’s daily and put little dogs in their purses.” How the heck could that help me?  

Carla started with easy poses and got us used to the practice. She turned the lights off and started us with mediation. I began to look forward to the quiet time. All of my life I struggled with quieting my spirit and mind; Yoga was a way to calm my mind and to tone my body. I started watching yoga videos at home and making it a way of life. 

In late 2015 we moved to Dallas and left our youngest daughter in Columbus. It was a time of major transition and yoga was something I could count on. At this time I began to meditate and pray to God the Father while I did the poses. I joined a yoga class at the local yogurt shop.  

Now yoga is a part of my daily self- care. I am advanced in the poses and know which regimen to use for tired days, stress, sleep and mornings. I use this as my time of thanksgiving and praise. I go to a gym that offers yoga Tuesday through Thursday. I also teach a yoga class a few times a month at my local mental health organization.  

As a yogi for 2 ½ years I have lost weight, gained muscle in my legs, I am able to root out depression and mania. Yoga has helped me with my singing and jogging. Whenever I am feeling unbalanced I use yoga as a way to stop, gain clarity and meditate while engaging my body. What use to be a joke to me is now something that sustains me and quiets my soul. Namaste & God be with you.  

   
   

Roots & Wings 

Mother’s Day weekend marked my 23rd year being a mother. It’s not always been easy but it was worth it. The early years I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I remember the first night with my oldest I thought there was a cat in the house. I kept hearing a weird noise in a high pitched voice. It was my newborn. I couldn’t put my middle son down at night or he would wail and turn red. I held him all night and no daycare could watch him because he was spoiled. Raising my youngest I needed so much help my grandmother and uncle watched her for the first 6 months. She would come home and look at me like lady who are you?

In their elementary school years, I started to get it right and kept them grounded in church and the values I was taught as a child by my mom. They learned to share, recited scripture, and I started discipline methods. The girls didn’t have to be told to often to shape up but that boy tested me…often. I stressed how important education was by telling them by own story of struggle. I showed them how important their sibling hood was and they promised to always have each other’s back.

In the last five years they have gone off to college, my oldest has graduated college and began working as a teacher; they are all in different chapters of their lives. They don’t need me to do the day to day parenting anymore. I don’t have to make sure I come to their aid with every tear. I can’t hold them throughout the night. Many times they go to each other with their questions and concerns and I don’t hear about the issue until months later. I am content in knowing that they have each other for advice and encouragement just as I taught them.

My youngest is staying in Columbus for the summer and working an internship instead of coming home. As much as I want her here to snuggle at night and make her favorite meals; she needs to start getting into her field and making moves. My son is headed to Morocco a place I don’t know much about but I’m learning. I could tell him that I don’t want him to leave the country right now and to please stay in Cincy this fall but then he couldn’t use his language skills and prepare for the next phase of his life.

My oldest daughter is in Houston and has one of the hardest jobs in the world. I was frightened when she started teaching. I was worried, but she has been teaching all of her life. She is my oldest child. She has been helping me with her siblings and she has always said she wanted to teach. So she has her own beautiful place and is thriving.

As Mothers we want to have our children right there with us forever. We often want to soften the blows of life. I think we are here for two reasons, to give them roots and wings. I have done that, now I am reaping the benefits of watching them soar.

My Girls; True Friends.

imageI spent Cinco De Mayo weekend with my daughters Brittany and Ana. My oldest daughter Brittany celebrated her 23rd birthday. The girls had not seen each other since the holidays. Whenever they are together it’s just fun watching them. We were just sitting around the house and Brit walked in like she came back from grabbing milk. “What’s up y’all?” Ana was so happy and ran up to her big sis. My heart was so warm and full of love. My girls have always been close even if it was shunning their middle brother that brought them together. I remember him driving them crazy and them telling him to get lost when they were young.

As they were growing up they had their normal ups and downs. They got on each other’s nerves just like normal siblings, but they never fought. They never cussed each other out or had any of the drama I saw from sisters on tv. As they grew up Brittany took care of Ana like a little mother. She was there for her emotionally, spiritually,and physically. Often when Ana couldn’t come to me with different issues I knew that Brit would provide sound advice.

Even though Ana is 3 years younger than Brit she also is a listening ear when she’s needed. Brittany was the more patient, kind and tolerable sister and can be taken advantage of. Ana is much more suspicious of people, stands her ground more and is introverted. The older they get, I notice they are interchangeable. Often Brit is outspoken and impatient with mess and Ana tells me how many friends she has made during different events.

During the weekend I could hear them talk for hours in their room until late in the night. Ana would bust out laughing and then Brit would laugh in her high pitched voice. I love the relationship they share, the sisterhood. I hope that one day my relationship with my sis will be just as strong.

My Hoosier Home 

It’s been twelve years since I lived in Indianapolis. In 2005 I moved to Columbus, OH and stayed for ten years. I’ve lived in The Dallas/Ft.Worth area for a little over a year. Last month I turned 40 and I’m not sure if it was the stress from moving and buying a home, growing pains between my husband and I or the kids moving and having an empty nest; but I needed to be at home. I needed familiar people, places and things.  
So there I was at baggage claim #4 and my luggage was the first to shoot down the hatch. Mom and her little blue Honda was right there. “You know where I wanna go, right?” WhiteCastle. We pulled up and I ran in and grabbed our sliders. Same old White Castle, same red pop, same slow service. When I got to Mom’s I realize how exhausted I was. Sometimes you are tired, other times you are completely exhausted. Over the past few months I had been anxious, up and down and walking on egg shells a lot at home. I didn’t feel comfortable or even like my home was home. 

Over the next three days I slept. I ate like maybe three times, but I mostly slept, and thought. I prayed and waited. Then after I was quiet for those three days I got up. It was Mom’s birthday so I took her to dinner and tried out a new Caribbean restaurant. The food was pretty good. I was starting to feel more like myself. I ventured out the next day and walked around the local college area. The weather had finally started to get better and spring was making some noise. I ended up jumping on a city bus, my absolute favorite pastime. 

The fares on the city bus had increased. There were no more transfers, only passes. Much like Dallas you can use your phone to navigate the site and to purchase tickets. I grabbed a pass and headed to The Circle Center Mall. It still had that mall smell even though many of the stores I remembered were gone and replaced by hipster spots. I went to the spa and had my brows done and ventured to find a place to eat. Since 1996 when the mall opened Johnny Rocket burger joint was my go to eatery. I loved it so much back in the day, I started working there in 1997 after my youngest was born. But it had closed and was left by an empty shell.  

I found a pizza spot on Illinois St and filled up on cherry coke and a Stromboli. The sun was blinding and made for a perfect backdrop of downtown Indy. I walked the circle and hung out on the war memorial until the spring break crowd came. I sat down on a bench and just thought. I thought about my life, my beginning, middle and end. I made a mental list of my struggles, my successes, things I could and couldn’t change. After a few hours I felt a peace come over me; I was content with being home. 

The next day I ventured back out by bus to the north side Glendale area. There actually used to be a mall there. So I head up the escalators in Macy’s looking for the way out onto the mall area. An employee looked at me and informed me that it was only the furniture department of Macy’s and that there was no mall. I laughed out loud, literally. I visited Target and sat in the window of Starbuck’s watching rain clouds roll in. I got back on the bus and watched the rain slide down the windows of the bus. This is home. This day reminds me of so many days coming home from work on when the kids were small and we would ride the bus home from school. I would listen to their day and plan what I was going to cook. On the ride home I thought again about change. Life changes; things can’t always go the way we want them to go. Yesterday my favorite restaurant was no longer there. The Glendale Mall is no longer a mall but two stores. The people of Indy have adapted. I need to learn to adapt. I need to learn how to deal with transition and not be negative to it and fight tooth and nail.  

That evening I met with my son and his girlfriend. Our birthdays are in the same week. We are Aries Bulls through and through. We are sensitive, multi-talented, headstrong, passionate and loyal to a fault. We also can be egotistical, vindictive and hold grudges while appearing to be over it. We had a ball eating pizza and talking about their live as 20 somethings and mine as a brand new 40 year old. I can always feel love oozing out whenever I’m around my Aries brethren.  

The next three days were a whirlwind of visits with family members. I spent time with my Aunt, Uncle and baby cousins. I was happy because my aunt was not feeling well so I cheered her up and had her laughing all afternoon. I got to see my brother and sister- in- love and my niece and nephews who are playing sports and getting so big and beautiful. I stayed the night with Nana which was my favorite part of the visit.( check out my Easter with Nana blog)  

The best part was my birthday dinner which all of my close girlfriends came out for. They came out on a Monday night and listened to my struggles with transitions. They gave their honest loving opinions. They entertained my new I’m 40 mantras. They made me feel loved, appreciated, and it was an honor to have them with me . As I flew back to Dallas Forth Worth I felt relaxed, refreshed, rejuvenated.  

I had some decisions to make and I was heading back to do so. Being in my childhood home was a good thing. I needed that time and those places. My mind is now clear and I am focused on the next steps of my life. I know what I have to do and I am prepared to start doing it. Often we have to reconnect with my  past in order to fully see my future. 

   
   

Easter Weekend with Nana

My uncles were out of town for Easter weekend so I had the pleasure of staying with my Nana. Not since the early 2000s have I be able to spend the night with Nana. I use to come over often when I lived in Indianapolis. If I didn’t come to her house she would come to mine. We would spend the weekend eating, watching TV, and of course talking. Nana has always been a talker. She taught me how to form an argument at a young age. She also had a love for reading which we share. To make it plain Nana is my girl, always has been. I called to let her know I was on my way and asked if she needed anything. Sometimes she likes me to bring her ice cream, sometimes a sandwich from Steak N Shake with no slop on it( mayo, mustard, ketchup). This time it was fries. I am glad to do anything for her because I don’t get to see her often like I used to. It brings me joy to take care of her the way she always took care of me.

I got over there and called and she came to the door after a few minutes. As soon as I walked in she started laughing. I had a huge suitcase full of every thing I needed. I had another plastic bag full of all the foods she liked and her fries of course. I settled in my uncle’s room and made myself comfy on Nana’s couch. This is the same couch I slept on many nights throughout my childhood.

Usually when I call we have our marathon conversations on the phone for hours. I grabbed a drink and a burger and we started our in person marathon. We talked about our marriages; both of us were married twice. We talked about raising children; her experience and mine. We talked about the mistakes we made although we tried to do our best. We talked about the current president and current state of politics. We talked racism, celebrities, music, Indianapolis, and everything in between. What I’m saying is we talked about everything.

We planned to watch some movies but that never happened. Nana went to bed and I came and kissed her cheek and told her how much I loved her and goodnight. I slept in my youngest Uncle’s room in the house that held so many memories. In this room I would lay in the floor on the phone for hours. I would hang up clothes for Nana when she used the room to store clothes and things she didn’t wear that often. Nana always changed things due to seasonal changes. In the summer she got out her T-shirts and long shorts and thin sheets; in winter she pulled out sweaters, coats and flannel sheets and heavy blankets.

I remember her teaching me how to cook for a big family. My great grandmother had 12 or 13 kids. My husband and I have blended 9 total children between two marriages and two relationships. At any given time we could have a houseful of 6 all at once; my husband cares for any children who he influenced blood or not. Nana taught me how to make beans and stews, rice and roasts. She also taught me how to bake cakes, pies and cookies but I was never good at it.

She also taught me the small things like washing out the tuna and salmon cans so they don’t stink up your kitchen, and tearing up pizza boxes and food boxes into smaller pieces before throwing them in the trash. At some point after reminiscing I fell asleep.

Nana wakes up at the real crack of dawn. I heard her stirring around at around 5am. Nothing has changed; I still start moving around at 9am and I asked her what she wanted for breakfast. She had a full fridge with all the meats and eggs. She just wanted scrambled eggs and her coffee. Many mornings Nana made me pancakes, eggs, and cream of wheat always. Cream of wheat and toast was my favorite. Now I was privileged to make her coffee.

We got right back into our conversation. We talked about Dallas where I live and the differences between Indy and The Metroplex. I asked her if there was anything she needed me to do for her. I wanted to see if she needed help washing her hair, “ Nope I got it.” I remember she used to paint her nails all of the time and had polishes in every room. “ Girl no. I don’t worry about that stuff anymore.” I laughed cause even though she is the same Nana, she is now turning 88. Matter of fact as I write this blog she is literally turning 88. Today is her birthday. Today is the day my favorite person in the world was born.

Listen I know we all love our grandmothers but this is a story about MY Nana. The strongest, most intelligent woman I know. Nana remembers everything. She remembers the name of a dog that was in the family over 20 years ago. She can tell stories of when she was younger and never has a moment when she forgets a name or event. You could never play her. You know those people who victimize elderly people to steal their social security numbers and information? It will never happen to Nana. NEVER. She doesn’t give folks her personal information. She is smart as a whip. You will not play Nana. And don’t you lie cause Nana remembers what you told her the last time, don’t get caught.

Later that evening I called my cousin B to see if he wanted to come over to and see Nana. Mom came over and my oldest uncle came home. I ordered Easter dinner from my friend a business owner who delivers food. She brought ribs, chicken, mac n cheese, corn , greens and sweet potatoes. We spent the rest of the evening talking and eating. Nana let us know her thoughts on the food and they were respected seeing as she cooked for years.

I thanked my Uncles for allowing me to come over and stay with her. It was my pleasure to spend some time with her. Being around Nana is like doing research or reading a book that schools you on various topics and gives you real talk. The best advice Nana ever gave me was; that when you marry or look for a mate, find someone who will be your friend. People will say I love you and mean it, but it’s better that you like someone. A friend is someone you will spend time with no matter what. You love to be around them. It’s a mutual relationship and even if you fuss and fight you still end up being friends. In my first marriage I didn’t listen but now in my second marriage I may have it right.

Growing up I didn’t have a sibling as a first best friend. I am the only child my mom had. My first best friend was my Grandmother; Nana. I choose to give her the love and admiration while she is here and 88 years strong. I love you Nana but more importantly you are my friend.

My Sister’s Keeper 

I have always been a woman’s woman. Wait well not always, I’ve had my share of girl fights, drama and mess. What I mean is since I’ve matured I have always been dedicated to helping women. It could be working with teen mothers, helping them gain financial freedom, or talking to battered women and telling my story. In my day to day experience I encourage women from small compliments to bold statements of YOU CAN DO IT! YOU MATTER! With all of this love and commitment I have to and for the sistas. I lacked a relationship with my own sister.

Our childhoods were not the best but certainly not the worst. My sister and I share the same dad and different mothers. I am the second child and first girl. I had an older brother name David who passed in 2012. My sister, Janelle was the third child and came right after me. Then we have 3 brothers under us. The relationship with Dad and Janelle’s mother was not all that great. I remember being able to see her on the weekends when Dad would pick us all up but then at some point she stopped coming over.

When I asked about her, Dad would say her mother was trippin’.As a kid I had no idea what that meant. I just knew it wasn’t good. I remember thinking if she’s tripping are her legs broken? When she fell did Janelle fall too? Why can’t you just go and get Janelle since her mother tripped and fell. All through my teens I never saw or heard from my sister. I would see my buddies with their sisters. My friend Keisha and her sister Crystal were so close. DeAnna and Donielle were close even thought they got on each other last nerve. I wanted a sister living with me to get on my nerves. But in my home it was just me and mom. I loved Momma but I wanted a sister I could go to and talk with about “ sister stuff.”

Mom knew where Janelle’s mom worked because it was her doctors office, but mom was not the confronting type. She said, “Rhasha your dad and her mom need to handle that. My concern is you and taking care of you.” I never told her I felt taking care of me was me being raised along with my sister. Years went by. I graduated high school, had three children and was getting married at 21. I looked up and saw the most exquisite cheekbones, full lips, and slanted eyes. She smiled really wide when she saw me. I wished I could run over to her but I was walking down the aisle with my asshole first husband. The wedding ended, the reception was over, and just that quickly she was out of my life again.

Facebook was all the rage in 2009 but it took me a while to want to join. I didn’t want to see any friends from back in the day. I didn’t want to be asked all the bullshit questions. But reluctantly I joined the site and started adding friends. By now I was divorced, remarried, moved to Ohio and had just written a book with two of my closest friends. A friend request popped up; Janelle Halliburton. My heart skipped a beat and I dropped my laptop on the floor.

We quickly started sending message back and forth. We exchanged numbers and the next time I went to Indianapolis for the Holidays we met up at Starbucks for coffee. We texted often and kept up with each other. As time went on she became a first time mother, then a second time mother. I moved to Dallas and all of my children went off to college. We stayed in touch through social media and the phone.

Whenever I come home to visit she comes out even at the last minute. We meet up for dinner and live music. She came to see me with the new babies at the bowling alley during my father-in -laws memorial bowling tournament. This year I celebrated by 40 birthday and who was first to arrive to dinner, my sister. When I planned a birthday event here in Dallas she was there.

This past weekend she came down and we hung out. As I watched her with that same beautiful face; exquisite cheekbones, full lips that people pay for and naturally curly hair I kept thinking man I never had a chance to kiss those cheeks when she was sad. I never burnt her with a curling iron while flat ironing her hair, I never protected her in a fight. Even though she is taller than me and stronger. I was never my sister’s keeper in the real sense.

I have watched my daughters all have each others backs but I was robbed of that chance. But as we talked I realized we are not children anymore;or teens. We are grown women who have been through divorces. We are mothers who are parenting small and adult children. We have been through relationships ups and downs. There are things I can help her with regarding her children. She can provide me with information as I navigate the social work field where she holds a Masters Degree. As adults we can be there for each other and provide support.

Although we didn’t fully have each other then, now we are fully committed to sustaining our relationship no matter the distance. We are sisters. We have a bond, we are each other’s keeper.

Next up Sister Vegas trip 2018.