Friday, November 9, 2012

Dear Ikaia...

Dear IKAIA, Nae, Jazmyn, Jalynn and Jada,

Here are some things I’ve always wanted to tell you. Please only use this information for good, there is enough evil already in the world. Some of these are just a few secrets to life I hope you figure out and that I can’t just outright tell you because as a mom, it feels like TOP SECRET information. “If I told you, I’d have to…”  The others are life’s truths that I try to teach you, but only really can be learned from the heart, not from my motherly rants that you never really hear. “I can see your faces, I know you’re not listening to me.”

All the same, I wish I could post them as a refrigerator memo, but being children, you only read the things you’re not supposed to and barely acknowledge the things left for you to read… it would do me no good.

Here’s my list:

10. I truly hate any and all confrontation with you. I know it is for the greater good, essential to your growth and development and pretty much a way for me to prove I am smarter. Moreso, I like our happy days when we all agree, don’t fight and have good wholesome, talks and fun. To add, if you were to NEVER argue with me again, I’d buy each of you a puppy, or a pony, or shopping spree the mall out. Your choice.

9. The girls at school who are mean and bully you (hopefully you aren't those girls), will one day feel stupid for being that kinda kid. Eventually they will figure it out and maybe end up being your friend. Be patient with them, you never know what people are going through. Have some compassion, be nice anyway. Maybe they will be a good friend to you one day.

8. You are capable. Some things may come harder to you than others, but it’s good for you. The earlier in life you realize everything doesn’t come easy, anything that you have to work hard for is worth the work, and the REALLY rewarding things in life didn’t come free… the better, stronger and farther ahead in life you’ll be. Some learn this… Whatever it is, you can do it! I believe in you.

7. I have a confession: I wait til you go to bed to eat all the good things in the house. I hide most of my favorite things so I don’t have to share them with you. I know it isn’t fair, but I think we would all agree that it would be meaner to eat it right in front of you. It is a sneaky act of love, I love you that much I don’t want you to have to suffer watching me eat it ;)

6. All fights can be worked out, but it will take someone being the bigger person, some humility, and an apology… even if you don’t think you’re wrong. What does it really matter in the end? Hopefully, eventually you’ll make up anyway… why wait it out? Be humble and fix it! You will need humility to lead a good, productive life anyway, so it’s better to just embrace it now. Learn to apologize early and forgive quickly, it will save you a lot of time and trouble.

5. I don’t really care if you’re not sleep and in bed at bedtime, just go in your room and leave me alone for a few hours. I just want the little moment of peace before I go to bed myself.

4. There is no power so precious, no possession so valuable, and no achievement as glorious as the love you can give to each other. A sister (SISTER-aunt, step-SISTER) is an amazing gift; God put you together for a reason. You will need one another in ways you can’t see now. Handle one another with care. Trust me, I know this for certain!

3. I love you a lot, I would do anything to protect you. But God loves you at least a million more times than that. Trust Him, cling to Him, follow Him, run to Him! I don’t always have the answers, He does

2. I am not out to stunt your fun. My goal in a day is not to see how I can ruin your life. I just want the best for you. If I object to something, it’s because God gave me the ability to foresee the harm in it that you can’t even begin to imagine. I just want to protect you and be there to help you avoid people, places and situations that mean you no good.

1. I know I am not the perfect mom. You are old enough to see and notice some of the mistakes I make, yet still you love me and think highly of me. Just remember that my victories are only because of Jesus, and my failures are just proof of my great need for Him. Really and truly, I always work hard at being your mom; you are my most precious assignment from God. I want to do well. I anticipate the reward in it. (You are my #8… so worth it)


my sister-daughter and my mini me... my first loves!
my 3 J's...
Girls gone wild!



I just love you! And I want the best for all of you. I'm doing my best as a mom to you, I hope one day you take note of the effort. It's like I'm running a zoo! Pray for me :)


You are my bits of peace! Love, Mommy (Tamika) 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#YOTTO :)

Happy almost Friday! Today is Thursday, October 25th, 2012... exactly 2 months before my huge leap into thirtyhood. And I have to say I am excited about it. I am usually the anxiety queen, a lot of situations make me anxious. Especially the ones that have to do with commitment. I try to keep this little known fact about me just that, little known. But why not put it out there? I am always anxious. Public speaking, crowds, walking into a room after other people are already settled... I just don't like the experience of all eyes on me. I am sure to trip over my own feet, the curb, or any non thing. It's just me, clumsy Tam! But as I've gotten older, I no longer feel embarrassment. So what I tripped, I'm still awesome! :) If only anxiousness and embarrassment went hand in hand. These situations still cause me great anxiety. I nearly hyperventilated changing my facebook page to "in a relationship with..." And the walk to the post office to mail off my wedding invitations was like the longest walk across the street ever! I overreacted on all  these "no backsies" moments that come to mind. Poor Mr. Brawner thought I didn't want to marry him, I was seriously having the shakes standing up there. But sorry boo, it wasn't you... it was all those other people who were staring into my back. I could barely feel my legs underneath me. I am thankful I didn't fall over, and even more thankful I was able to get through my vows. Talk about public speaking... *wipes forehead* But as I hear, I pulled it off without a hitch! I don't think anyone (but Jerry) knew I was shaking uncontrollably. Yay me!

But alas, here it is... 30 staring me straight in the face. I refuse to be anxious about this, though. No matter the situation, I realize I always get through them. Often so glamorously, I have to wonder why I even got myself so worked up to begin with. So here I am. Awesome me, good life, loving family, great friends... my husband is amazing, my kids are as good as you can really expect kids to be. Life is just as it should be. Who am I to question or be anxious about 30? I am excited for it! I can't wait for 30 to come... I have this feeling it's gonna be the best year for me and I don't even know why. I just feel really good about it. I don't know what more I can ask for from my life right now. I am living my peace!
this is my fav sweater that Angie P gave me for
my Christmas Birthday 2 years ago!

So I am going to coin this term for you right here, right now... #YOTTO! You Only Turn Thirty Once! I gotta make it good. LOL! When am I ever going to be at this place in my life again? When am I gonna be this moment's Tam? Never again! So YOTTO it is! I promise not to get too out of control for this birthday! Just some good ole classic 30 year old fun. My sis and I have a little something coming up for a few of my lady friends. It's sure to be a good time. I'll let you in on it a little later... but the invitations should be going out pretty soon! I am so excited about everything that has to do with my turning thirty. I'm plotting a ladies' night in, brunch, a dinner and maybe a game party or something to bring it all together. Not too much, right? Then I'm going to make my husband take me on a MUCH DESERVED vacation! #YOTTO for sure!
I promise to keep you all updated on all that's going down. I try to pic document in the process.


I love this skirt, I got it from a consignment shop
in Bethesda, MD... perfect summer/fall skirt!

Part of my turning 30, was looking more put together. I never go around looking like any old thing, but some mornings when I get dressed for work I really don't care. No face, barely matching, no real accessorizing.... but that life is for the birds! I can't start falling apart now, life is just beginning for me. 30 is when I should be having it together and looking like it. So I have been making it a point to look like my true, mature woman self in the work place. Can't have the office thinking they better than me just cause I look only half decent. I am doing them a disservice not showing them my awesome self, but I feel like I have been doing better as of late. No more walking out the house "faceless" (except yesterday, when I was pretty much running away from Kai in the house... had to get out of there fo" I did her in!) shame I had to sacrifice my face cause that girl was driving me crazy, but I survived it and thankfully so did she. But yea, work Tam has been doing better...
animal print is one of my
favorite things. I have to work
on not overdoing it


this is Me today! (that's a lot of leg out),
Mr. Brawner bought me these gray booties
last Fall! I actually wrote a blog about
them! Shoe Dreams Come True :)

minimal animal print scarf, with my fav boots and
a skirt I borrowed from my mom years ago!
Never getting this back Gigi! :)


As you can see I LOVE my cognac Aldo boots... I actually bought those October 25, 2008! Can you believe that? I've had those boots for exactly 4 years and they are stick pushing! :)

Here's to aging gracefully like my Aldo boots! #YOTTO!

That's my "30" peace! Love, Tam :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Than I Can Bear?

Hello beautiful people! I am trying to recover my bad morning, with some therapeutic blogging. :) There was nothing life and death about my morning... just too much "not right". My kid is crazy (as always), I missed my bus (another one came in 30 minutes, I survived) and my husband stole my lunch (completely accidental I'm sure, so I forgive him). But a bunch of foolishness isn't how a morning should start, right? (this was yesterday... this morning was better, except my kid was even crazier today). Lord, help me bear it!
I'll get to why we're here today...

Often when we are going through something, some kind of tribulation, worry, stress... and someone will offer a word of encouragement and tell us "God doesn't put more on you than you can bear." Aww, how comforting, right? "God knows I can handle it, so he put this on me. I'll get through it." That all sounds fine and good, but I'd like to challenge this concept if you'll indulge me.
One day, I needed to encourage myself. I was thinking "I can not bear this Lord, you said you wouldn't put more on me than I can bear..." *revelation* I had to go find this scripture myself, for my own sake...
Did I ever find it? No. I'd like to acknowledge that this much repeated "quote" is not even in the Bible, go figure? (If you find it, please tell me) Do we have Kirk Franklin's song to thank for the confusion?

I've gone through the fire
And I've been through the flood
I've been broken into pieces
Seen lightnin' flashin' from above
But through it all I remember
That He loves me
And He cares
And He'll never put more on me
Than I can bear

It is a lovely song, nice message... but it isn't really biblically correct. I assume the message comes from the scripture I Corinthians 10:13:
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
This scripture is specifically speaking on temptation, not trials, fires, floods... God knows that here on Earth we will be tempted, but never beyond what we can handle. And when we are tempted, He is faithful to provide a way out of it. It's not saying we will never have hardships that we can't handle... what would we need Him for if nothing beyond what we could bear was laid on us? That just doesn't make sense. God is not the source of our temptations and trials, he allows them but He didn't "put" them on us. This whole song is backwards and shame on Kirk Franklin. Yes, the message is uplifting. I've even said it a time or two to encourage someone. Then one day, I needed it for myself... "Lord, I can't bear this. I thought you wouldn't give me more than I could bear." Then, in realization, I asked "Lord, help me bear this!" Of course He puts more on us than we can bear! Why else would we call on Him if we could bear it all without Him? So while the song is sweet... it's a FAIL! LOL! God's prob up there chuckling every time someone says that ridiculous quote.

Also...
The scripture previously mentioned at 1 Corinthians 10:13 highlights that God will not allow a Christian to be tempted beyond what he can bear, but it does not say that he is the source of the temptation or trial. James 1:13 says, "When under trial, let no one say: "I am being tried by God." For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone."

So God isn't putting anything on you, and when you are going through something it most likely will be more than you can bear... but ask God to help you bear it. He does love you, and He does care that's why He is faithful to provide a way out so you can stand up under it. :)

Just thought if we were going to be encouraging one another, we should do it right! I pray the Lord helps you bear anything you may be going through.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." ~Romans 8:35-37

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" ~Jeremiah 29:11
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." ~Ephesians 6:10-12
"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." ~1John 5:4

“Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22-23

...there's some real encouragement for you! ;)


Happy Hump Day! That's my peace. Love, Tam




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Foolishness!

Hey y'all! What's going on? You know sometimes I start off a post having no clue what I'm going to discuss... well, this is one of those times.

I have since gone and read a friend of mine's blog, where she discussed the incident on the bus when a bus driver uppercuts a young woman who he was having a verbal altercation with. I have avoided looking at this video since last week, but MissKi had it right there and my brother was talking about it last night. So I could no longer resist... I should have!

I commented my feelings about the video on MissKi's post, but I want to elaborate a little...
 She was definitely doing too much! She was wrong on so many levels. What woman? (if we can even call her that) acts like that? People (especially females) like that, bug the heck out of me. Go sit down somewhere. What's going on in your life that the spotlight, ugly or not, needs to be on you? (this past Sunday's message on PRIDE is ringing loudly in my mind, a blog for another day maybe). What can someone say to get that kind of reaction out of you? Why aren't people taught to walk away from such situations? And especially in her case... Be a lady, act like a lady, speak like a lady! I reiterate to my daughter all the time, that if nothing else... (second to being a child of God) carry yourself like a lady! Especially out in public. I am worried for our future, that a woman thinks it's ok to act like this on a bus. Where was her class, standards for herself?

But aside from her behavior... He was DEAD wrong! He is a man and the same advice goes to him. Be a man! A grown one... ignore foolishness, be mature. She appeared to be a child, (I've since found out she was 25) but he should've been the bigger person. In actuality he was the, literal, bigger person. He was a man, she was a woman. And although she appeared to put her hands on him, she was in no way a physical threat to him. Yes, she was wrong. Yes, she got what she deserved. But he should've been more mature, ignored her, offered her some grace. Also, like a tell my daughter (and if I'm honest, I am working on myself)... Someone in the situation HAS to do the right thing. You can't count on the other person to be more mature, to do the right thing, to be responsible, so guess what? It's your responsibility! He's just as wrong as she was. It could've been handled better, it should've been. And as the authority, it was his responsibility. Just imagine how he would look if in that same situation, he would've practiced some restraint. Had she been the only one going off and being foolish, he would look like a saint right now. But no, he acted a fool as well. Now, he is suspended from his job all because he argued with a fool. He could have easily pulled the bus over, called the police. She was being a clear danger to the bus, it's driver and the passengers. Had he been responsible, she really would have been going to jail... all by herself. But now, he has to defend his actions and try to come out looking innocent. What she did is no longer the real issue, just his "over" reaction. And yes, I say OVER... it wasn't necessary. Was it warranted and justified? Maybe. But that doesn't take away from it being crazy, ridiculous and wrong. :( 

“Never argue with a fool.  Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference “ –Mark Twain. Which one of them is the fool in this situation?

I always think to myself, if someone recorded my actions, reactions, and responses every day and then played them back to me at the end of the day, would I be ashamed of what I saw? Would I be disappointed in the Tam I carried myself as? They are going to look back at this, and have to account for their actions... sad, sad day.

What say you?

That's my peace! Love, Tam

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"S"eeking Peace

Is it safe in this bubble? Cause I am not having a good week and I need to talk about it...

I am so thankful that it is almost the weekend, I need this weekend like I need air. Seriously. I so desperately wanted to take a mental health day this week. I need some time where I can just lay and cry and get it all out FREELY. I have been feeling so overwhelmed and mentally drained... and the little relief that helps me survive isn't even relief right now. It's like my problems are causing more problems... like I'm so frustrated about home that now I'm struggling focusing on work...like the kids are driving me so crazy that now I really am just crazy and other relationships are becoming affected. It's the worse, and I haven't felt how I feel right now in a very long time. I usually handle this better. What's different this time? I feel like a team of 1 right now. These are the people I count on for my daily joy, making me feel miserable. All of a sudden, I'm the bad guy everywhere. At work, I'm not friendly enough, too quiet, not enough this, too much that. At home I'm too opinionated, never fair, too tough, blah blah blah blah blah... I feel so by myself, unsupported, unappreciated... and I want to scream "it's not fair!" But no, #16 beat me to it. And I am already aware that life isn't going to be fair. Still, I expect to get a little something good in return. I gotta keep it together though, I gotta remain rational and composed and prepared and still be responsible and functioning and loving. When do I get a break? Do I even get one? I'm about to claim injured and bench myself! Snatch this "S" right off my chest and quit. Then, everyone will be looking at me sideways. They'll forget all about the actual problems and the cause and just focus on the effect... "Tam just brokedown, quit on her responsibilities." So what they all drove me to it! I'd be the one in the wrong. Can't win for losing... smh. I need a real solution, one that doesn't involve me throwing a major tantrum and giving up.
I need a good, long, deep, uninhibited cry. I need to release this frustration and guilt and worry and... I can't even type this blog at work because all the hurt, fear, and disappointment is surfacing. This is no way to feel at work. This is no way to feel period! But, alas, just one more day, then it's the weekend. Grant it, I have a million things to do. But thankfully, hopefully, a few of my problems will give me a small break, long enough for me to recuperate and power back up, recharge enough to face them again. Hopefully my work bff doesn't try to hug me today, I will have a complete breakdown if she does. Who am I kidding? I'll be lucky to make it to lunch time... hug or not.
I really should've seen this coming, it was all going too smooth. Happy, behaved children. Loving, supportive husband. Calm, productive work environment. The devil was not pleased. I refuse to let him have any authority over my life. Jesus be a fence...

...Romans 8 ministered to my soul! God will put more on us than we can bear, but he's faithful to help us bear it and see us through it! I am more than conquerer through Him who loves me. (New American Standard, "But in all these things we OVERWHELMINGLY conquer through Him who loved us.") So, I'm going to keep the "S" on for now, but for the peace I'm still seeking... realizing without God, there is nothing really Super about me.

My play cousin Alicia is messing it up for all of us...

"Even when I'm a mess, I still put on my vest, with an "S" on my chest. Oh yes! I'm a Superwoman"
~she just forgot to add, "through Christ Jesus"

"seek peace and pursue it." Love, Tam

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sharing Peace

This year is just flying by! It is already October... can you believe it? As much as I would appreciate time slowing down a bit, I'm glad Fall is here. Sorry to all you Summer lovers, I appreciate the Summer fun but my heart belongs to Fall. It's just something about the Fall season and all the accessorizing options it offers. Hats, scarves, tights, boots, jackets, oh the colors... everything! I just love the whole season!
If you know me, you also know how much I LOVE accessories. Earrings, bracelets, rings (my ring wearing has kinda fallen off since I got engaged/married, but I still love them just the same). Accessories just put the finishing touch on any outfit. A great blinged out stud earring can turn a jeans and a tee outfit from drab to fab! Add awesome bangles to it and... well, do you wanna be the girl with bangles or without them? lol, I can't even leave the house without earrings on. More often than not, I keep them on in the house until bedtime. And just as much as I love Fall and accessories, I LOVE to share. I grew up with a sister, so sharing has never been a problem for me. Even now, my sisters and I share all the time (Jules has the best stuff! She is like the Queen of Awesome Shoes). I can't even begin to count the number of times I've visited the Jules' Boutique and borrowed something fabulous. And Nae's Boutique is getting much better as she gets older. Isn't is just awesome that I wear the same size shoe as both my sisters? Lucky me! And let Jules or Nae or Angie covet something I have... just that simple, I can take it off and part with it and vice versa. With Jules and Nae, I can count on getting it back one day though...
(Sidenote: I am so proud of Angie's recent display of giving. She had on a gold bangle that I admired and she took it off and gave it to me. This is a big step for Angie the Indian (no offense to the Indians) giver. She was an only child growing up, sharing is tough for her. Let's pray for her and also congratulate her on her growth.)
Anywhoozle... I find joy in seeing someone love and appreciate something I've given them. And it really makes me smile when someone compliments something I have. What's that called? It's not bad, is it? I wouldn't consider it vain though, right? It's normal, who wouldn't like being complimented? It just makes me feel some kinda good to hear "I love your earrings!" "Your bracelet is just too cute!" And I am not one to keep all the goodies to myself. If I find something awesome, I am going to share it. Although I don't want the world to know all my trade secrets, but I am a frugal accessory shopper and I find good things for the low. I don't need it to have any one's name on it, I just need it to be hot. And tell me it doesn't feel ultra good when someone admires something you have, knowing you got the best deal??? Is it just me? "Oooh, girl! I got this for the low! You like it? Me too!" ;)

Lately, I've been coming across a lot of good finds. Yes, I have a shload of amazing friends that I could share these treasures with... but I'd like to think a friendship with me is a gift in itself... (lol maybe that was kinda vain, I kid). I'd also like to think all of you are my friends now too. I pour my heart, my life, my all into A Peace of Tam and I appreciate you being here with me, sharing in my peace. So seeing as how it is in my nature to share with my friends, I'd like to share something with one of you as well.


here's me wearing the bracelet
I gave to Jules!

I love my newest addition to my bracelet collection. I recently found these cross bracelets, and I bought a couple for myself... but how many cross bracelets does one girl need, really? I recently let one go to Jules, she happened to come over the day it arrived at my house. It came, she saw, she admired... I parted with it. I did wear it around the house for an hour or two before I gave it away, but I know it's in a better place now. It has a good home and I know she's taking extra good care of it, so I'm happy.


Here is the pretty new colorful beaded cross bracelet just
for you! Good luck!!!
But... I have another one I love too! And I'd like to have a giveaway for one of my readers. I want to share my peace all around, and today that includes sharing a piece of something I love. If you'd like to win my other new cross bracelet, just simply "Like" my NEW page A Peace of Tam on Facebook (click on the link). Also, comment here or on this post on A Peace of Tam's FB wall telling me some thing you love to share and why. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 10th.

That's my "first giveaway" peace! Love, Tam

Good Luck!

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." ~Hebrews 13:16


Monday, October 1, 2012

Not Like My Mother

Mondays... I got nothing nice to say about Mondays, so I'll say nothing!


I really did read the Kindle edition from my Kindle app
on my iphone. I appreciated this method, it allowed
me to highlight and go back to my (much needed)
highlights and notes easily.

I just finished reading this book (sister recommended), Not Like My Mother: Becoming a sane Parent after Growing up in a Crazy family. I laughed, I teared... I enjoyed the read. Not to take anything away from my mother, she was a good parent. But still... life happens. And not to speak for her, but I'm sure some of her own childhood issues spilled into her parenting decisions and choices she made with us. No matter what the parenting, I'm sure all of us can connect to the moment we felt as children when we thought "when I'm a mom/dad, I'll never___". I often find myself parenting and thinking, "not like my mother did!" or "I won't make my children do that" and "when I have kids, I won't ever___" The book tries to show you that having a plan of what you're NOT going to do isn't a plan at all. And the parent you wanted isn't necessarily the parent your children need. Stop parenting your inner, disappointed child and parent your children based on the lives they are experiencing. Your children were not there with you when you were hurt by something your parents did or didn't do to you. They don't feel the same void or need that you did.The book tries to get you recognize what your childhood disappointments, tragedies, and shames were then detect how they are showing up and expressing themselves in your life today. 
I felt absolutely convicted in reading through this book. There were many "oh no, is that what I'm doing?" moments. It also helped me to acknowledge the growth I have already experienced even before I read this book. In the book there is a chapter on denial and it's stages (minimizing, diversion, anger and refusal). My name must be Tam "Minimizing" Brawner, because that whole section was screaming to me. I am good at empathizing with everyone, but myself. I need to be present with my own feelings and experiences. What happens to me does matter, it counts. I am allowed to be affected. I'd like to think I am getting better with it, but I think I tear-read through this whole section. I felt pain while reading the words, sensing like it was exactly me. Someone will always have it worse than me, that does not make it ok for me to have to go through this situation and disregard the pain it is (was) causing.

"We become so good at protecting ourselves that we don't know how to just be ourselves."

This woman's story of never feeling safe in her home, it wasn't my story. I never recall feeling unsafe, in a physical sense, living with my mother. But the absence of a father, not feeling like I had that protection is absolutely my story. My whole life has been a longing to feel loved and protected by my dad. Every bad life choice I made, was in a search to fill that void. There was nothing my mother could do to change that. After I recognized this void and allowed myself to mourn that experience and  forgive myself for the choices I made because of it, I was able release to grief and sadness that I'd been holding on to. Holding in all that hurt, turned me into one angry, defensive woman. I think I may have hated people for awhile, men especially. I am surprised Mr. Brawner married me! lol, I'd like to think I've experienced a huge bit of growth since we've met. I had "to put my anger and hurt where it belonged- in my history" and realize he was on my side and not out to hurt me. I don't have to be this defensive woman, everything is not a battle. It's ok to relax, put the gloves down and just be Tam. Not Like My Mother, also made me conscious of the growing I still need to do. I realize I am often parenting Kai based on the hurt I felt, not as a child, but as a abused, adult woman. I want her to be expressive of her feelings, not minimize. I'm not sure I allow her the platform or set the example for her to do this. "Why are you crying? That's no reason to cry." It's her pain, however she feels it, she should be able to express it. I don't want her to minimize her experiences. I am still a work in progress (pray for me), but I definitely appreciate the lessons this book taught... I highly recommend this read!

I wish this would have been a book club read because I really want to talk about it with a group, I think it'll make for great discussion. But I don't want to impose too much of my "self help" reading on everyone else. Even though I'm sure we could all benefit from it... *sighs* But!!! BYOB for Straight Talk, No Chaser by Steve Harvey is on the horizons. There is still time to get the read and join in on the discussion. I think I need a refresher, I'm too many books in!

I'll try to come with something a little lighter next time...

That's my peace! Love, Tam

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

BYOB- Members Only

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day!

I wish I could blog something everyday, but this whole work thing gets in the way sometimes. At least once a day, I think... "I should blog that!" But the day gets away from me, I lose the train of thought and it's another blog down the drain. Today I decided I was just going to start typing and see what comes of it... lol. Luck!

It's not really much going on in Tam World right now (maybe I should take that back after spending a few seconds thinking on it). There are quite a few important family birthdays this month. J's oldest, Jaz turned 13 just yesterday, J has a bday coming up next week, and my SWEET Nae will officially be 16. That in itself is A LOT... but other than that, (and all the thinking and planning that goes into making every one's birthday a joy), I'm just working, loving home, considering a few new crafts, ebay shopping my head off, party planning, reading (as always) *just now I wanted to insert Reading Rainbow theme song here* (so I did, lol). But yea, I am enjoying the direction BYOB (book club) is going in. I love book club! I love the ladies that come and discuss, I love watching it grow, I love the new ideas, the books... everything. I have watched it grow from a small group, sometimes just Jules and I and maybe one other, to filling my living room. But even in the beginning, no matter how many showed up, it was a good time. I am proud of it. And I thank everyone for their commitment to it.
A special shout out to Jules (my partner in BYOB crime), she has always supported it, shown up for it and contributed much to it. I can't even count the number of times I'd forgotten all about discussion questions, but of course... Jules :), always on top of EVERYTHANG! *sighs* And then there's "Bobby", she hasn't missed a meeting since she's started. She's so dedicated to READ or Die (trying)!!! Her commitment to it makes my heart smile. I appreciate everyone who's ever, even if it were just once, shown up to be a part of BYOB. We've lost a few along the way :(, but we're still going strong and I welcome every single last one of you back. To my regulars, those that come when they can, and even those that never read and just show up for the cupcakes... I appreciate ALL of you! And to my newest members, I hope you all enjoy and stay! Everyone has been a welcome addition to the group. I don't think anyone could grasp just how important BYOB is to me. Something I started and it's growing... it's like my baby! :) I just went back to old emails and learned the very 1st book club was December 4th, 2010... we must celebrate our 2 year anniversary this year! Oh, the wheels are turning!

I seriously need to consider making BYOB exclusive, and not continue to allow anymore newbies. I loved seeing it grow, but we are starting to run out of space. I am not against having rotating members, I am aware every one's schedule will not allow them to make every meeting. But I can only imagine the day when more than 15 people show and I wonder just how and where I am going to fit all these folk!  I don't want BYOB to become some Bourgeois "Members Only" club,  but it's looking like it may have to. My manager at work has been in a book club for 15 years, and hers doesn't allow any new attendees unless they vote them in. Maybe I should be on that level LOL! So I really do suggest you get in while you fit in and claim your spot.

Right now we are reading Steve Harvey's Straight Talk, No Chaser. As I'm reading it, I am trying to see if there was any parallels to my dating J. Cause clearly, I found, kept, and (not sure I) understand that man. I plan to interview him before book club meeting on October 13th, just to see what he thinks about Mr. Harvey's take on what all men are thinking.

I hope you all get a chance to experience BYOB in all it's glory... once you go BYOB, you never go back! Maybe that isn't worded too well... LOLOLOLOLOL!!! Ya'll get what I'm saying. Until next time... READ or Die (trying)!!!

That's my (book club) peace! Love, Tam


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spotlight on L.O.V.E.

Hello! And Happy Wednesday World!!! :)

I've decided to do something new... I am going to start "Spotlighting" my friends. A lot of my friends are doing major things. I often sit back and watch in wonderment all the many things people I know are involved in and doing. And although I am admiring from afar, sometimes certain accomplishments, deeds, services, acts (random or otherwise) should go more than noticed... they should be spotlighted! :)

The Ladies of Valor & Excellence Academy, Inc 

Jamel Harris is involved with an organization, The Ladies of Valor and Excellence Academy, Inc. (L.O.V.E.),  a mentoring program for young girls ages 11-18. "The L.O.V.E. Academy's goal is to foster a commitment to young ladies that will promote pro-social friendships, strong interpersonal skills, reassert a sense of self-love and class."
Being a woman and mom of 5 girls, I am well aware of the pressures, issues and concerns young women face through out daily living. From school work, to friendships, to hygiene, and etiquette... overall, learning how to be, and growing into a successful woman is a task in itself. The L.O.V.E. Academy is designed to cover all the bases. They have programs that focus on Life & Social Skills, Cultural Awareness, Community Involvement, Academic Enhancement, Mentoring and Tutoring. It is the perfect opportunity and outlet for a maturing, young lady. Spending time with like minded, growing young ladies, volunteering in the community, exposure to cultural and international differences, strong commitments to learning and central focuses on mentoring and tutoring are all key components of  The L.O.V.E. Academy experience.It is imperative that we sow good seeds into our youth, especially our young women. Too many of our young girls are being mislead by current pop culture on what it means to really be a lady. We need to make sure they are being impacted more positively to counteract today's growing influence on them. We have to take the initiative and guide them in the right direction. I have not had the opportunity to join in any L.O.V.E. activities, but I hope to have the opportunity to support them in the future.
It is programs like these, that young girls need in place to help them succeed in the world today and assist them in becoming "thriving, self-reliant young ladies". I commend Jamel, and all the women involved, for their dedication and sacrifice to these young ladies.


 If you are interested in becoming a member of The L.O.V.E. Academy, or interested in volunteering your time to mentor a young girl, please feel free to visit their website http://www.theloveacademy.org. They are currently reviewing applications for membership... so go sign up! If you know a young girl who you think may be interested in being a part of this incredible organization, please pass on the information.

Visit the website and support this group!

I hope you seriously take a look into The L.O.V.E. Academy, they really deserve this (my very first) "Spotlight". If you SPOT a group or someone making positive changes in the community (big or small, locally or internationally, in private or from the rooftops) let me know and I will be sure to help shine the LIGHT on them...

til next time,, that's my peace!

Love, Tam

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Only God

Ever just KNOW God is working? Have you ever just had something happen (big or small), and at the end of it all you could only account it to God?

This has been me a number of times. Thanks to certain conversations with my daughter, I've been ("forced" just doesn't seem like the right word)... I've had the opportunity to reflect on certain situations when I've been in the pit of myself and the only thing left to do was trust God. Then when it all seemed to work out, knowing it just couldn't have worked itself out, I was left saying "only God".
I am trying to teach my daughter early that most situations in life are just God's opportunity to teach us to trust Him. It is my hope that she will learn it much sooner in life than I did. I can't just tell her to do it, I have to show her. I have to be the example of a woman trusting God, having peace and being delivered. And at the same time, I need to tell her every single time it's worked out in my favor... just so she really KNOWS

For those who don't know (I refuse to feel shame), I was in a long term, abusive relationship. When it wasn't mental abuse, it was verbal and when it wasn't verbal abuse, it was physical. When it wasn't either of those, it was me living as a shell of myself, trying my hardest to appear happy. It was a horrible way to live, I would not prescribe it to my worst enemy. Every thought, word and step was like walking on egg shells. There is no words to describe just how awful it was. I was so afraid to live, the slightest glimpse of my happiness somehow made him angry. I am not going to place the blame of my choices on anyone, but it takes a really lost, hurting and insecure woman to accept the treatment that I did. Despite how angry, controlling and abusive he was, I stayed because he filled a void. He served a place in my life that someone else wasn't, and that I needed. And because he did certain things... ran to my rescue, taught me how to cook, drive, speak up for myself, take responsibility for my choices, respect myself, have fun... I accepted that as "love" and overlooked all the foolishness. Although he took so much from me, he filled the spaces of the things I was missing so much so that I felt like I needed him.
I feel like this story has so many lessons it in, idk which to focus on... be a good father, so your daughters don't run to foolishness, find the good in and learn from every situation (seeing as how I am now the bomb.com driver, cook and ruler of all things fun... clearly he taught me alot), but mainly... trust God, he is a deliverer. One day, I felt at the lowest point of low and I prayed to God to deliver me from it. I told Him that from now on, I was going to trust Him to take care of me, and that I wanted peace. I didn't know how to get out of that relationship, any attempt at putting him out would turn into violence, any sign of me not looking happy would just anger him... I didn't know how to free myself without jeopardizing my life and my children in the process. So for awhile, I just prayed for peace and deliverance and refused to be afraid. I stopped walking on eggshells, I stopped being afraid, I decided to live as though God had me covered. I chose to fully trust God. "no weapon formed against me shall prosper, I am more than conquerer through Christ Jesus." On one of my worst days, I decided to tell my mom what was going on. This led to the kids staying with her more so as not to be around his crazy. Oneday when they weren't home so I knew they'd be safe, I fought back. After he had enough of breaking me down, he said "I am going to leave right now, because if I stay here I will kill you." He did leave. "Only God"... but of course it didn't end there. He went to stay with his mom as punishment to me, thinking I still needed him (pppssshhhhhh!) The peace I felt, if he only knew.... I'm sure he would've come back, just to steal the joy I was feeling. I had to pretend like I was hurt that he was gone, just so he would still feel like he was hurting me by being away. (Lord am I glad that didn't backfire). All the while, I am plotting my next move forreals. Come back here if you wanna! Won't find me! But he did call, almost daily and almost daily, I played the miserable act just to hold him off. He'd been "my friend" for 10 years and our children were friends, so he'd use that to see me every once in awhile. And for a minute, he looked like the decent person I'd first met (the one before life and liquor happened...) Oh, don't be fooled Tamika! It didn't take long for the bad guy to come back and boy did he come back with a vengeance! I'm talking about a black eye, bruised body vengeance... there could be no going back EVER, not as friends, not as acquaintances. NOTHING! Our children would have to learn to live without each other. "I hate you, I can't live like this anymore, I can't take another moment of this life! I AM DONE!" And that is just what I said, no more "I love yous, I forgive yous, I know you didn't mean its..." For once he heard me, there wasn't anything left to be said. I moved, I'm free... only God!
Who else can I account this to? Knowing the person he is, seeing him operate for 10 years, watching him stalk and torment people that hurt him, seeing him physically and mentally hurt other people long after incidence, watching him never forgive or let anything go the whole 10 years I knew him... it just doesn't make sense. He remembers everything, he couldn't sleep at night after feeling like someone wronged him, he was a revenge seeker to everyone... it just doesn't fit. Only God! For maybe a year, I looked over my shoulder everywhere I went, especially familiar territory. I never changed my number, I work the same place, most of my family still live in the same homes, my daughter went to the same school that first year. And for a year, I admit, I was worried and anxious. I moved fast and watched everyone. He called only once that I know of since I told him I was done. "Hey baby it's me, I'm not mad anymore. I was just calling to check on you. If you see me, you don't have to be afraid.... call me back." Yea right! Then a year later, I was in a store and he was walking right towards me. At first he didn't see me, acknowledged my friend whom he noticed, then spotted me... Idk what the expression on my face was, alarm? fear? discomfort? But he just simply raised both hands in surrender, "I don't want no trouble" and moved to the side so I could pass. Only God! And only God kept me together as I marched to the fitting room to let out the cry of anxiety. That was hard, still feeling something, realizing I still wasn't ok. But I was definitely on the road to healing. Thank you Jesus for deliverance. Since then I haven't heard not one peep from him. My brother ran into him recently... "how's your sister doing? Tell her I said what's up and I still love her." Interesting, yet unfazed. Only God. Only God would send Jerry after I said Lord, I am trusting you. No more dating for awhile I need to focus on our relationship. Only God would send patient, loving Jerry to show me just how love should really look. "But Tamika, I have something good for you. Keep trusting me." and trust Him, I did. Always and forever. I'd written this in my journal on April 26, 2010

"Because the man God has for me knows it. That man... nothing would keep him from me. The man God has for me isn’t going to compare me to some other woman. That man is gonna accept me as I am, flaws and all. That man will come when I am ready and capable of loving someone correctly and won’t leave me just because I mess up. That man is out there and I am going to wait until God sends him. I deserve that, I think. I just gotta stop trying to make it happen on my own and rely on God. That is going to be a challenge for me, don’t think I’ve ever been “alone” but I have to do this in order to get what God has for me...."

I met Jerry in May of 2010 and fought it with everything in me because I was focused on trusting God. And I just knew Jerry was another distraction set up to steer me from my plans, God's plan. Only God had something else in mind this time... and oh that man is a patient and persistent one! He had to be straight from God, cause he knew exactly what to say and do to break down my Jericho walls. :)

Today, I am happy, free, loved, peace and joy overflowing even in the hard times because I've finally figured out how to trust God. I pray that my Kai learns this lesson early. I am trying to prevent her from facing some of the heartache I've faced. Experience is the best teacher, but it's also the dumbest if someone already told you what was gonna happen.
Only God would know just the crazy light skin mother to provide a lesser crazy dark skin girl. Only God knew to provide a sister who "understands my soul" and only God knew just the friend I needed to support me through it all.

Much shorter story: that same God knew to provide unexplained traffic on the beltway one Sunday afternoon, to stop me in my tracks. Because of the mystery traffic, instead of going to Laurel, I turned around and went to visit a friend that I didn't know needed me in that moment, but did. ONLY GOD!

And that is just how he works (big and small)... I am TRUSTING!!! Are you?

That's my peace!
~ love, Tam Brawner

feel free to reference A Piece of My Peace, my post on this past relationship, that references a number of helpful scriptures on PEACE  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Clever Parenting 101

Happy Monday!

I am often over talking to my kids (I say over because, I know sometimes they long ago stop listening and I have just become the Charlie Brown "whomp, whomp, whomp" adult). It sucks, I know! But they are teen aged children, it happens and I am aware of when it starts. I can see your faces!! I am convinced they think I am less smart than I really am, but every once in awhile I surprise even myself with how clever I become in talking to them... and maybe it should be shared with you.

This one time (not at band camp), I was in the car just me and Kai. Idk where we were going, where we were coming from but it was just us... a rarity, and she asked me "you want to talk?" To which I respond "sure, what do you want to talk about?" Her, thinking she is smarter than me, acts as though she didn't have a set topic already running in her mind and leaves the convo completely open to me. So I simply ask her, "is there anything you've been wanting to tell me but never had the chance? or felt you couldn't talk to me about? I am ALL ears now. Go ahead."

Kai: Well, my friend David (boyfriend, yes) asks me to go places sometimes and I never ask you because I just know you're going to say no. But sometimes I really do want to go, are you ever going to let me? I think it isn't fair that you never even think about it, you just say no.

Now, did MY 12 year old daughter just ask to go on a date with a boy and expect me to just say yes and be ok with it? I'm losing my mind, right? This all started when I allowed Nae to go out (that's a WHOLE nother story, for a whole nother day... remind me!), now they think they all can. SMH! So I was about to just give one of those 1996 Gigi responses, where I am the mom and I have the right to veto whatever I want and just say "no, because I said so!" But I recall that never really working out in my 13, 14, 15 year old mind. As children, we don't really understand parent reasoning. No matter how much sense it makes to us now, back then life just wasn't fair. So I didn't want to give her that, even though I could have justifiably done so... I am the mom! I know what's best! NO! So instead of that response, I was so impressed with myself for the response that came to me in a matter of moments... here goes just for you!

Me: "Kai, you know how you feel about your new ipod (she'd just about a month ago gotten a 32gb 4th gen ipod, loves it, sleeps with it, doesn't let it out of her sight)? You love that gift, it means a lot to you, you really wanted it, weren't expecting to get it but you did and it was the one better than the 8gb you expected? You don't let anyone else see it, why?"

Kai: Because it's expensive and I don't trust anyone else with it. I know that if they drop it or break it, you're not going to just buy me another one. And I'd be really mad I let someone else ruin something of mine, I dont trust them.

Me: :) that's right! It's important to you, you know you'll take better care of it than anyone else would and you'd rather keep it near you, in your sight than to trust it with someone else? Well... (and here comes the lesson!) You are my ipod nano, except you are waaaayyyy more than that to me. I don't trust David, or his parents really . None of them feel about you the way I do. They don't  love, cherish or respect you and they won't take as good of care of you as I would. I just need to keep you by me where I know you're safe and well taken care of. What if you did let JJ (her least trusted sister at the moment) see it and she dropped it and it cracked? You'd be more mad at yourself that you even let her see it, right? Well I don't want to be mad at myself for giving someone the opportunity to even scratch (rape, molest, take advantage of, coerce into some foolishness) my ipod, or in this case my precious daughter. One day, after you've super locked, password protected and app'd up your ipod, after you've got the best protective case on it and feel like it can stand it... and you feel JJ has been more reliable, maybe you'll consider letting her sit and use it for a sec. But even then, you're going to keep a watchful eye on her and not let her out of your sight with it. I need to finish password protecting you, make sure you're prepared enough to be held by someone else other than me. I need to know that you're in the best shape to handle any situation that may happen when I'm not around to protect you and that only comes with time and trust. Right now, you're not there. You barely tell me everything now and that lets me know you're not ready to be out with anyone without me. Cause if they drop you, just like if JJ dropped your ipod... I'm going to want to kill them. And all damages, drops, and scratches can't be undone. So you're just better off with me!

And you better believe she understood that analogy. Now this is NOT verbatim and I'm sure I went on and on and over talked til it became a whomp whomp whomp, but you BEST believe she heard me, she got it, she understood and she likely appreciated the response more than the "I'm the mom and I said so". I made it real for her! Trust me when I tell you, I am beyond open and vocal with Kai... that "drop you" was prob a "rape, kill, touch or hurt you" in my convo with her. I am prob too hardcore with her when it comes to our convos but I can't/won't sugarcoat it for her. It's real out here in these streets!

This is just one of the many examples of my clever parenting responses... I just figured I'd share it because I was chuckling to myself about it just yesterday. "You not smarter than me, I got an answer for everything!" Just wait and let me think of something. LOL!

I am preparing my thoughts for a sex talk with 4 of my 5 girls soon... so stay tuned! I got an analogy fitting the talk from church yesterday and I'm gonna run with it.

Hope this blessed someone. I pray when these scary talks come up for someone else, you'll remember this and feel better prepared...

That's my peace! Love, Tam

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Tam I Am

good morning and Hallelujah Friday! Sorry I've been gone for so long, but I've had a lot going on and sometimes I need to deal privately... but I always miss you when I'm gone. Do you even notice? o_O lol

Anywhoozle, what's been going on? I have been spending alot of time as a newlywed *cheesy face*. Summers, my girls are at camp so we've had an opportunity for a bit of quality time. It was soo nice... while it lasted! Now we're back to being full time parents during the week because our other 3 girls are staying with us. Fun, fun! I love our girls, but I would be lying if I didn't say I enjoy the time alone with my husband. I love that man!!!! But alas, it has come to an end. Soon the summer will be over, school will be back in full swing... I am trying to soak in the last of this little bit of calm before it gets CRAZY! and trust, it will get crazy. But it's all good, I would go crazy if there wasn't at least some madness. I relish in it, I am prepared.

What's been going on in my head? 1. I am loving my natural hair. J pointed it out the other day that he hasn't heard me complain about my hair in awhile. I had to nod, think on it and then majorly agree... I have been LOVING it! I don't claim to have it completely figured out (even after.. WOW 7 years!), but I am at a point where I am really appreciating it. J is still looking forward to my Winter straight hair, it's our compromise... but I am going to appreciate this last 2 months of heat/humidity and rock my fro!


another thing on my mind... all around me, my peers are turning 30. Revelation? I will be 30 in 5 months! OMG!!! I've kinda been ignoring it because I was feeling like I just turned 29... having a December Birthday does have it's perks. (Took me 29 years to find that one, lol). But I will be 30 soon. It has made me think of the Tam I Am (unintentional rhyme, but I'm gonna go with it). Who am I? I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an almost 30 Christian woman... am I ok with the Tam I am? I know, for certain, I can improve in most, if not all of these areas and aside from being those things, who am I for myself? I am a woman who loves herself, (recently.currently) loving her hair, wishing I loved my body more, and hoping to age more stylishly and gracefully. I think alot of my style issues factor in with my body issues, but going into 30 I want to feel better about both. Now, don't get me wrong... I'm not walking around looking like any body's bum. I love me some Tam! But I am a woman, of course there is some insecurity there. I just want to spice Tam up a little. I want to be the Tam I see in my head, a little more refined, a little more attention to the details. I have this style in my head, but I don't carry it out. (And I won't blame it on J trying to constantly dress me like a little boy, he claims he is just appreciating my natural beauty... how can a girl not love that?) These things are things I can alter, work on. I want to go into 30 Loving the Tam I Am in all facets of my life. Let's make it happen! I feel like turning 30 is giving me this new motivation... I am excited! :)

I am also excited about BYOB (book club) tomorrow! woohooo!!!! I had to put BYOB on hold for a few months to get through the wedding and all it's foolishness, but now that all that is over... BYOB in the house! I love reading, I love the book discussion with my lady pals, I love the time away from life and everything. It just feels so mature and classy. Maybe I need to give BYOB a makeover too! I am going to research book clubs, see what other clubbers are doing... Right now we read (sometimes getting folk to read the book is a challenge in itself), meet, snack, talk, talk... maybe I should consider themes and such. We'll see, all in due time. I hope BYOB continues on for years to come, it is my therapy. I appreciate every one's dedication to it. READ or Die (trying)!! Maybe 1st step should be to come up with a less "hood" slogan, ha!

I am going to leave you all for now, but I hope to see you all again soon. Maybe at book club tomorrow? ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Inspiration Gospel Tour Blessings!

Happy Tuesday! Happy 4th of July Eve! I am excited for the holiday. A day off in the middle of the week? Hallelujah! I'll take it. These last few days have just been filled with blessings...


This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity, thanks to Mocha Moms Inc. Blogger Network, of attending the McDonald’s Annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour at at Ebenezer AME Church in Ft. Washington, MD. The concert featured the Grammy Award winning gospel singer Fred Hammond with special guests Byron Cage and the Stellar Award-winning gospel threesome 21:03.

in line treat
 
Cherry Berry chiller!

I brought along my lovely little sister, Nae, to enjoy the show with me (after Gigi stood me up, lol). We arrived, what we thought would be, early only to have to stand in a line that wrapped around the building. It was ridiculous, but that is just a testament to how amazing everyone KNEW this show was going to be. As Nae and I stood in line, in the blazing heat, McDonald's representatives walked through the line passing out free samples of the new Cherry Berry Chiller from their McCafe line. Talk about relief! It was 100 degrees outside and that seriously hit the spot... blessing!


The show was hosted by Praise 104.1 personality "JC", funny guy. He really kept the crowd entertained between the performances. Mary Hopkins-Navies, spokesperson for Ronald McDonald House charities came up and said a few words about the work of the charity and how the charity works to improve the lives of children and their families in our communities.


The show got started with (2 members of) the group 21:03, talk about a party! I'd heard of them, heard their songs on the radio, but have never seen them perform live. I would not have known what they looked like before I saw them this past Saturday. And truthfully, I would not have expected what I did see. Two young, black men with "snap-backs and tattoos", sold out for Christ! They sounded so good, and started the show off nicely, had kids up front dancing. And of course (I hope I don't get in any trouble for saying so, but...) Nae thought Torrance of 21:03 was nice looking. "Make sure you get a picture of just him." Really Nae? Focus! 


Byron Cage

Byron Cage followed 21:03, pure worship experience. I wish I would've thought to take notes on the names of all the songs performed, but I was way too busy enjoying myself and worshipping. Byron Cage did sing "Great and Mighty", I love that song. He covered some of his new songs and also older songs. He did not do "Breathe", which is one of my favorite songs. I am not complaining though, or am I? :)

Headlining the tour was FRED HAMMOND! I have loved Fred Hammond since I was a child. My mom played Fred Hammond in the car often, she had ALL of his cd's, and he is just my go-to source of Gospel music. He has a song for every need and I feel like he played a portion of all of them on this night. It was so amazing! Gigi says "it was the best Fred Hammond concert I have ever been to." I always enjoy Fred's performances live, and this one was no different! I smiled, teared up or sang through every song. A blessing forreals! :)
"Prodigal son come back to my love, you are the one that my heart seeks for..."
"no weapon formed against me..."
and any other song you know and love... I feel like he performed it! Ok, maybe not all of them (he has a lot of greats), but it was an awesome time, praise happened, worship ensued... Blessings! I felt good. He took some time to talk about the work of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
He performed songs from his new love songs album God, Love and Romance. Before he performed, he put the scripture Ephesians 5:22-28 on the screen. We've all heard this scripture, but I've never read it before in the Message Bible Version.

22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.

On this particular day, my husband and I were not having a "good day". We did semi make up before I left for the concert, but Fred Hammond and this scripture right here... conviction! I felt so called out and guilty, but I took is as a Holy Spirit tap on the shoulder reminder to go home and LOVE, and more importantly, respect MY HUSBAND.

I think Fred Hammond played a little Chuck Brown, a little Frankie Bev and Maze and then he sent us home BLESSED! I am glad I got the opportunity to attend this concert, it was right on time.

All my followers. friends and family, make sure you to go The Ronald McDonald House of Greater Washington, DC 's page on Facebook and hit the "Like" button. Special thanks to McDonald's for sponsoring the event and to all the McDonald's volunteers who helped make it a success!

And on top of being blessed all night by some Gospel music greats, I ran into an old friend of mine, Christina, along with her aunt Beverly and her new fiance (shame on me, I don't even know his name). Now wasn't this just a good night!? :)

That's my (Gospel partying) peace!

Love, Tam





Nae and Tam enjoying McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour




Fred Hammond's "All of the Lights!"



Specifically for Nae, photo of Torrance of 21:03

Praise 104.1's JC and MC for the evening
Kids having fun!
The McCafe Cherry Berry Chiller guy :)