Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Doria Roberts - Perfect (Let's take a picture when everything is perfect)

The morning before the wedding

ESC is playing me love songs. His good underwear are washing. The one that holds my stomach in a little is drying. My overnight bag is almost fully packed. Two more guests have confirmed bringing the total numbers to 7. Seven is a good number.

We were up until 7 am. He came in at 4. We video chatted with Imelda and ran everything by her until we got her "in-charge" approval. Even practiced the kiss that is meant to preserve lipstick and not have him walking around looking like a pansy.

We held each other closer than ever before. We talked. He massaged me and moisturized my AC depleted dry skin. He massaged my feet. Both of us thought of that first foot massage four years and and where it has taken us. We kissed. We knew we made the right choice. We let go everything we had been holding back. We finally, completely really tuned in.

I am wearing a panty that says "Soon to be Mrs" on the back. Tomorrow this time, I will be wearing a much less conservative one that says "Bride" on the front.

He is gone to get us drinking water and a surprise for me. He hasn't been able to withhold surprises before. Just this one.

I am going to take a bath with Imelda's homemade kosher lemon grass soap. And wash mi foot in the tub (chisel down with pumice). He will massage me with olive oil to further moisturize my skin.

I will never forget this morning. We should have taken a picture. Just for us. Now, when everything is just- perfect.

P.S. Yesterday...

The florist at his hotel kept on smiling at him yesterday. Florists are privy to everybody's secrets. Well perhaps only those who say it with flowers. This is his second purchase their. Both have been for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ten years ago in photographs

"From Whence Cometh My Help"

"University Student"



"1000 Words"

Photography by Peter Dean Rickards.

PS... The wonders of youth. I was 19 and fabulous. Just how much, I didn't know. Never mind that though. I know now.

Nina Simone- Here Comes the Sun

This kind of sums up how I feel about being here with ESC...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When life gets sour

Life can be downright difficult sometimes but a so we know who in control, no so? From whence cometh your help? Give thanks even in sorrow farzin to say, no the same thing that sour you did one time sweet you? Joy and sorrow are sides of the same coin (paraphrasing Gibran).

Life is not sour for me right now, but ESC and I do have our patches of sucking salt through wooden spoon [thanks to Imelda for knowing every Jamaican proverb and idiom under the sun]. We have had our differences and confrontations but we have been working them through and getting closer and understanding each other as a result. A relationship is damn hard work. A good relationship is plenty hours of hard algebra and trigonometry homework. I don't like maths... but it is good to find a formula that works and stick to it.

Imelda and I have been chatting online about just how blessed we are in spite our humble means. That likkle story bout silver linings... a true.

Life is what you make it... thunderstorm or not.

I don't know bout you but from I likkle bit dem tell me that life isn't a bed a roses. Well I say... life is just that- a bed of roses...just watch out for the prickles. Somedays it pretty but sometime, everywhere you turn macka (prickle) juk (prick) you. Even in nature, thorns serve their purpose.

On Joy and Sorrow

Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Note from a spinster

I used to hate that word. "Batchelor" conjures all things George Clooney and "Spinster"... my granny's miserable twin sister. "Batchelorette" may be politically correct but I am not certain that the British First Aid in English has made that the official synonym for "unmarried woman."

Then somewhere along the way...through great soul searching, I found my peace with the word, the term, the concept, the existence. I was an unmarried woman, no? A spinster, no less, no more.

I started off my 20s as most of us do questioning everything. God, religion, family, friendship, relationships, people, the opposite sex, the same sex, age, work, love, hope, life, peace, sanity, identity. I started off my 20s depressed.

I remember Azikiwe explaining to me at about 23 years old that my constant doodling of abstract faces and my counter-depressive practice of drawing faces with charcoal in a drawing pad was the revelation that I was questioning my identity. It was subconscious. But I had every right to be doing so.

I had some fundamental paradigm shifts in my last summer of being 19- the one that ushered in twenty. Being born in early August means that I spend two summers at every age. The ushering in...and the fading out.

It was a cathartic point. I made decisions that would forever disrupt my worldview and how I viewed myself in it. Therein lies the conflict. If I no longer knew who I was after 19 years, then who was I really?

That took me years to answer. Almost 10. And it wasn't smooth sailing.

There were some hits and plenty more misses. In the quest for finding out something of which you know the foggiest, there are often times more failures than successes. There were many lessons in that... chief of which was the one taught by the harrowing process itself- resilience. Anyone can fail. Everyone will fail. It is the process of starting over after failure that truly reveals character.

So there were many starts. I started many jobs. Many relationships. Many friendships. Many interests. Many philosophical outlooks. Many self-help projects. Yet, I continued to fail.

And then... as I developed a new language to name this new identity that I was discovering, I began to have a concept of who what where when why and why not.

Fire. Fascinating. Beautiful. Hot. Burns.

Talent. Embedded. Growth. Release.

Work. Love. Visible. Square-peg. Round-hole.

Love. Fascinating. Uplifting. Transforming. Hurts.

Grace. Undeserved. God. Granted. Revealed. Redemptive.

I have been thrashed about on love's floor and broken into pieces. Yet, like the phoenix from the ashes, I rise.

I rise, rose and continue to be risen, pressing on to greater glory higher than my own.

This is a gift...this spinster business... what else could nine years of finding yourself be?

So at the end of it all, on this the twilight of a new day in my journey, I salute the spinster in me, who has helped me to define me.

I walk away from this place whole and into a marriage whole. I am whole on my own. Even in my darkest hour. I am happy on my own. Even in my moments of utter despair. I find my own joy. It lies within when all beauties fade.

I have grown. Leaps and bounds. Ask anyone who truly knows me. But how? Because I have lived in every moment-good and bad and allowed them to take me places hitherto unreachable. In doing so, I discovered my biggest revelation of all time. Grace.

I give thanks.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My last weekend as a bachelorette...

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin',
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues,
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby,
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Soloist

The Soloist is a brilliant film worthy of a second cinema viewing. I laughed. I cried. Joe Wright has done it again. Of course I stayed for the entire credit roll. ASIDE [There is an unexpected but brilliant treat for Jamaicans. ]

I had intended to write a full review here but somehow, I am quieted. That happens sometimes when I encounter something bigger than myself.

A baker is born!

I made my first batch of scones in the wee hours of this morning. Serious business. I went for cheddar scones. ESC approved. His approval never comes easily. Of course there are things to improve but I will work with Master Baker, Imelda on that. But the consistency and taste was right on!

All that is needed is a nice thick slice of bacon or carmelized ham and I am back home in her kitchen.

My kitchen is a hot mess, but hearts and stomachs are full.

Give thanks.

Getting out of my comfort zone

I see withdrawn patterns from Island Behind God's Back re-emerging and I am nipping it in the bud. I cannot afford to go back to that place mentally. So much so that instead of going back to bed after ESC leaves, I am drinking my green tea and making the damn bed and opening the drapes to let some light in.

ESC told me to do something exceptional today.

"Take the train."

Taking the train here is exceptional for a few reasons. The railway is above ground and provides an excellent tour of the city. The second, and more compelling reason is that it is the largest network of unmanned rail in the world. That's the part that is also a little daunting. But yes, I do need to get out more and go far beyond my usual exploit of our neighbourhood mall.

Dubai is not NYC so it means I have to do more and go further to see more.

They are lots of museums and galleries too. Restaurants are among the best in the world but those come with a hefty price tag.

I have books to read and there are free rides to several beach properties from his hotel chain right outside my door.

I have lots of writing to do... and plans to make for me... and I need to get that engine rolling.

Here's that saying again that my granny would tell me as a child.

"Do something before something do you."

There is certainly much more to life in the middle east that sitting at the computer everyday on facebook and allowing precious hours to tick by.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Even Me Lord- My Open Prayer

Father, I am humbled that You have called me by Your spirit and have given me new life through You.

I have sinned and fallen short of Your glory.

I pray dear Lord that I will walk in Your light and the light that You shine through me will be a testimony of Your power, grace and peace.

I pray dear Lord that You will bless everyone I meet and allow me to be a vessel for Your glory.

I pray Dear Lord to be broken and contrite before You, so that Your power may be truly manifested in my life.

I ask for Your continued guidance and for the company of Your Holy Spirit throughout my days and nights. I pray dear Lord that You will use me as a witness to the man You have put in my life and that our union may be pure and holy in Your sight. I ask that Your love will be ours and that we will call upon You in good times and bad as the author and finisher of our faith.

Father, I thank You for providing all that I need, for being to source from whence cometh my help.

I pray dear Lord that You will direct every path and that my steps will continue to be ordered by Your will.

Father I submit all my desires to You and pray that You will grant me those desires that are in accordance with Your will. You have promised that no good thing will You withold from me, so I thank You for giving me all that I truly need.

Father, I pray that I will continue to growth in faith as I grow in age... leaning on Your everlasting arms.

I thank You for my blessings which are too numerous to count and are still new every morning.

Jesus, I thank You for salvation, for Your blood that sets me free from captivity and for Your spirit that guides me back to Your rock when I falter.

I pray dear Lord that You will always make me humble before You and before man, knowing that my life, though mine, is not my own.

I pray dear Lord for the fruits of Your spirit to continue to manifest in my life.

Lord, I thank You for listening to even me.

Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour, Amen.

Happy Birthday ESC

I am an unconventional woman, so I do unconventional things. For his BDay, I bought ESC a URL. He was deeply moved. It was a testimony to the fact that I believe in him and his career aspirations. It couldn't have come at a better time he said... he faced some drama at work yesterday and it was good to come home to such love and support.

I dolled up too... I thought... "What would Marilyn do?"

Remember that racy outfit I bought as a STEAL on sale? Yes hon, that same hot number.

Heels and fishnets to boot. And the shoes. God bless my sprained toe. And the right makeup and fragrance.

He cooked me the best salmon I have ever had (crispy on the outside and melting on the inside).

I needed a strong shot to come out of the bathroom in that getup so he poured me one.

I came out and sang a la marilyn...

We ate.

I put on Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' "Love Potion #9 and did a dance... and removed my robe.

We hugged. And kissed.

He did some work at the desk. I helped him (Imelda would be happy to hear that her dawta suggesting soup recipe for upso stayso restaurant).

He showered.

We hugged. We prayed. He said "Thank You a million times.

We went to sleep.

PS>>>>>ESC is a bigger man than me. As tempted as he was (and beliiiiiiiiiiiiieve me he was), he was very faithful to the chastity. But there was actual something sweet (though mildly frustrating about getting so dolled up and then retreating to bed with just tight hugs)... If ever I doubted just how spiritual and respectful this man was, I can't now. Today is the actual BDay but since he comes in after midnight, we had to celibrate it at the beginning, rather than at the end.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The unbroken circle

These past few weeks since my arrival in Dubai have been somewhat of a crescendo in my life experience. There is a whole lot going on... and in moments like these I tend to be quiet. I have to be quiet because I know God is speaking to me.

I can't say that He speaks in a baritone or a husky English accent or even that He uses the language of Rastafari because I cannot honestly say that I know what His voice sounds like. But I don't limit his ability to communicate with me just through voice anymore. It's being led to read a passage in the bible that is applicable to what you are going through, it's seeing the way ESC looks at me, it is experiencing the fruits of a wholesome, healthy love on a daily basis, it's the small job opportunities that are aligned to where I am and where I want to go; it's leaving home and heading further than I have ever been and knowing deep in my heart that my home is anywhere ESC is; it's realising that for all the good things I see manifest on a daily basis, it is the hand of God that makes it possible.

When I tell people of the good news of our engagement and nuptials, they seem to say in accord "You deserve it." But I don't. There are more "deserving" people walking hungry in the streets. It is by grace that my blessings are given. It is with great humility that I receive.

I know, and have known perhaps forever that I am destined for greatness. Greatness is as you define it. I am realising that the greatest thing of all is to be content in whatever circumstances because "The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need." It is a humbling existence, yes, just sitting back and allowing God to be God rather than running around like a headless chicken profiling as the "in-charge" of my life. My mantra is "Let God be God." Simple but effective.

Simplicity is blissful. Truly. I am certain that I wont always have so much time to myself, but I am reveling in it now. ESC works long hours and that gives me space to do what I need to do.

I have grown. Immensely. I can recognize it. There was a time when the only time I truly acknowledged the power and grace of God was during the bad times. Now the good times are just as humbling. It means that He has sufficiently broken and moulded me to the point where I fall in thanksgiving at the sight of a blessing. I don't believe in luck. Luck is for those who do not believe in anything bigger than themselves. I don't believe in randomness. I believe in order-divine at that. And my life, as haphazard as it may seem at times, is ordered.

I see how things connect. Every conversation, every encounter, every thing I feast my eyes on, everything I listen to, every experience I have had, and even everything I do.

ESC asked me for a facial at 3am this morning and as soon as I touched his face, he began to doze off. When I was through, he hugged me and said "Thank you."

"That's what I am here for," I replied.

And it is.

I am here to love and support and challenge and encourage and give and receive. I am a vessel. My life is not my own. My dreams are a mere fragment of my purpose.

We have decided to be on a sexual fast fast in these two weeks leading up to our wedding- a lesson in restraint, but I felt deeply convicted for us to be prostrate before God alone during this time leading up to such a huge milestone in our journey. It is about us asserting that God is the centre of this union and without Him, we would not have been here, and we cannot make it. It is about seeking his continued blessings for our spiritual, physical, emotional and financial health. It is about praying for the blessings of our unborn children. It is about us individually and collectively aligning ourselves to His will.

This is the biggest step we have both made in our lives and there are lots of emotions that come with such change. This is our time to be still and know who is God, and to let His divine order take up permanent providence in the way we live our lives together.

I have learned a lot about love from ESC. In many ways, he has re-written my book of expectations. My standards we lowered and he raised them up by treating me like his queen. I feel like royalty. I am royalty. Daughter of the Most High... and queen to my earthly king.

All of this makes me humble because I can remember countless nights and days of bawling my heart out to God praying for Him to send me someone who truly loved me in a godly way. Someone to be there for me. A life partner that knew Him and was thirsty for Him.

These were my prayers from over 10 years ago. I have had my heart broken several times since because I was busy doing it on my own and looking for love in the wrong places. A girl gets hurt that way.

I am not saying that I have been a saint-by no means have I- and therein anchors my point. None of this is deserving. I am not getting any of this peace, and joy and spiritual green pasture because of something I did...it's all by grace.

There are two people in my life whom I would have loved to be here with me to experience just how much their baby has grown up- Aunty Bev and my mother's youngest sister, Cover who was more a big sis than an aunt. Both died of cancer. One when I was 11 and the other when I was 24. I know that they have been here with me all the time though, and helping me to fight my battles in the spirit.

I know ESC also wishes his father could be here. He died before he really got a chance to know him after he left his wife with 5 children. I know that ESC wants to draw on his own father's strengths and build on his weaknesses. I know that he will be a better husband and father than his own because he knows what not to do.

I thank God that I have a father who has been a brilliant example even though it hasn't been easy to have a child as fierce as me:). He never gave up on me. And my mother who has made her fair share of mistakes but who has proven to me in so many ways that there is absolutely nothing like a mother's love. For Imelda for being my surrogate... some bonds do not have to be biological to be powerful. And to Rootical Flava who has been there from day 1, through the highs and the crashes and still answers her phone in the middle of the night. I would have had a nervous breakdown or two in my life if God didn't place you all in my life.

I know that the struggles will come. They are part and parcel of the process, but as I have learned form Muslims since I have come, when things are going bad or good, I will "Look up and say 'Thank God.' "
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