Merry Christmas!

I still love Christmas.

I love the preparation, the fussing and even gift wrapping. I love still being able to see my mother’s face light up when her tree is up, and the my kids visit her, and my husband drinking coffee as I cook.

I still love Christmas.

This year I’m in a space of realizing my mortality and my worth. I know I have less holidays with my children than I do with them. I know that there will be a time where my children will have their own families and traditions–and those may or may not include time with me.

I value the time now…

I value this time, remembering I don’t have to be perfect, but present. I understand how important it is for me to appreciate time-now rather than time-future.

The day is for celebrating, for love, for family, for those of a faith tradition, it’s a sacred time of reflection and humility. I encourage you to remember the same: strive not to be perfect, but present. The people you love will remember that more.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Ideal Firestarter!

(Besides, when my kids move out, I can have my tree the way I want it. And not worry about lights, bulbs or it being pulled over by dogs or children. My mom said the same thing when we were little.)

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Evernight

Nights are long without him

Because he is the lingering

Everywhere.

I close my eyes

so the dark envelopes,

but never quiets.

When I wake, the light

Will kiss me as he should.

As I have lived one more

Day without him.

(c)JBHarris, December 12/23/17

RUNITBACK FRIDAY-12/22/17

Holiday is in three days! Get these hams, turkeys and yams!

Or beans, greens, potatoes and tomatoes! YOU NAME IT!

#LaVarBall #NCAA #NCAAAthletes #NCAABasketball #HoopDreams

We know the NCAA is a hustle. We all know that. We see the popularity of certain universities to the point cult worship. For starters, Duke, Louisiana State University, University of Missouri-Columbia (affectionally known as Mizzou), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Georgetown University.

Universities have been making crazy stupid money with athletic programs. That includes apparel sold and television network broadcasts. The argument of playing NCAA athletes is not new. However, the JBA is. Allow Mr. LaVar Ball (yes, that LaVar Ball) to explain via Shaun King from The Intercept:

On Tuesday, Ball announced his intentions to start the Junior Basketball Association or JBA. A league with 10 teams of eight young players each, salaries for each player would range from $3,000 to $10,000 per month. It’s a brilliant gambit. High school basketball is already so popular that some high school stars, including Ball’s own children, have hundreds of thousands — and sometimes millions — of followers on social media. Highlight videos regularly have millions of views on YouTube, and bootleg livestreams of competitive games featuring emerging stars regularly go viral.

Because of an agreement between the NBA and the NCAA, high school athletes are no longer allowed to do what Kobe Bryant or LeBron James did and go pro straight out of high school. They must play a year of college or overseas basketball before they can be drafted. Only a tiny percentage of American high schoolers take the overseas route first. Instead, they are doing something that is now routinely called the “one and done.” This is when high school stars go to college where they attend for a year – playing basketball – then declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft.

It’s brilliant. Say what you want, it’s brilliant. Pay the athletes. The common argument is the players are students first and are athletes second.

I’m old enough to remember when Kobe got drafted, Kevin Garnett got drafted, hometown dude and SLU (St. Louis University) student, Larry Hughes. In The Saint Louis Post Dispatch there was reporting of the debate he had between going pro and finishing his degree at SLU. The crux? His mother was ill and he wanted take care of her.

College students are real people with real problems that require real money. If they can become self-sufficient and in charge of their own destinies, why not?

As a side note: Aight. 😒 don’t like him.

Y’all just made he’s black, loud and thought of in first. Gon’head, Mr. Ball. Make and sign the checks.

#Panthers #NFL #FireSale #SeanCombs #OwnersBox #Affiliated #7 #CarolinaPanthers #SitWithColin #StillWithColin #TeamBlackout #Diddy #DiddyDoesIt

So…more owners are getting caught doing what they believe other people can’t see them doing. This week it was Carolina Panthers owner, Jerry Richardson, has his hand slapped from the cookie jar to the point he has to sell his team!

Dig this from The Bleacher Report:<<
st-forward to now and the devastating report from Sports Illustrated that stated Richardson, on at least four occasions, reached significant monetary settlements for inappropriate workplace comments to female employees, and in at least one instance directed a racial slur to a black scout.

The NFL is investigating, and the Panthers have announced that Richardson will sell the team.

Men are who are used to buying everything, trying to buy everything.

< strong>I’m not surprised. At all.<

ut here comes brash Howard alum, Sean Combs. He and Colin Kaepernick are trying to recruit buyers for the Carolina Panthers.

Thing of what this would mean?! It would be reminiscent of the ABA! This needs to happen. The NFL/NBA boast of greater than 70% African-American athletes, but no owners to whom represent players. I’m praying this occurs, dear ones.

I really am.

Influence was the theme this month, but nothing influences like money, shug.

Nothing.

He Called Me A Storm…

He told me I was a storm.

He told me my eyes always gave that away. He said  there was depth to me he found intriguing and sensual and irresistible. With that, in 2003, my 22 year-old-self was all his. *Alejandro told me this exact quote,

Being from Florida, I weathered many a hurricane. I know a storm when I see one.”

Matter of fact, this was one of his nicknames for me:  Hurricane.

Why? He called me a force of nature.

Furious.

Strong.

Beautiful.

Leaving nothing untouched after I’m noticed.

Effects long lasting after I’m gone.

In the years which have followed, I’ve thought about this, what it means to be a storm, and  how I embody this. I took notice of the young men that showed interest in me, after Alejandro, as well whom I showed interest in. I noticed how these potential suitors and paramours spoke to me, treated me, and when they couldn’t keep pace, I coined the phrase, “Don’t chase what you can’t catch.”

I still stay that, and even told it to my current husband. I still remember him staring at me like I was slightly off-kilter. But, I am slightly off-kilter.

Storms are powerful, beautiful and needed. They display this power, raw and unyielding having a charge to the very  air in  the existence indeed shows why people chase them.

There’s a mystic nature to storms; how this power channels things around their forming–it details, its direction, strength and ones preparedness.

Alejandro spoke to that…even in my new 22-year-old broken heartedness, I heard him.

Even thinking about it now, I grin. It spoke strength back into me from a place of utter despair, depression and self-doubt. His presence in my life pulled me back together, his voice was anchor when the words I had so easily written before didn’t come back as I commanded so then.

For him to see that in me, among  that space of believing I was beautiful or brilliant, with every door I threw up (and lock he picked), wall I built (which he walked around), let me know indeed I was worth all good things, including love.

In the now 15 years I have known of his heart beating somewhere in the wide world, I smile when it storms. I know that he thinks of me on those days–just as I think of him when the sky is clear. Why? His eyes are blue.

Thank you, *Alejandro.

*-Not his real name. If you want to know more, see Able Unshakeable.

You Matter

I implore you to remember what you want and who you are.

In a world at present where the idea of being yourself in the face of the onslaught of not being good enough, is monumental. In a world where you are shown who you are versus who you should be is normal, there must be a point in which you become able to sift what you allow to effect you, or allow into your space. If you allow your life to be determined by the sole influence of other people, you will have a life solely dependent upon the whims and voices of other people.

The inner voice you develop is strengthened when it is challenged, not suffocated. You must develop respect for yourself which will allow you to give weight to your own thoughts or opinions. This comes with time, life and trail-error situations. In this life, more is caught than taught. You may glean and use the experience of other people just for the moment, to see if it works—however, with every situation, you determine how you react to it.

You matter, dearest one. You matter. Your voice, your presence, your mark upon, in, after the world is important. You will be tempted to give up portions of your self to louder conveniences, and even succumb for a while. It may even be comfortable. But eventually, what is within you will either die or awaken.

In allowing it to die, you have in effect declared yourself unimportant and property of other people to be discarded by other people. In allowing what is within you to speak, you have make the decision to have this life be your own. Win. Lose. Or Draw. Don’t fear that.

Don’t fear your past, the things that challenged or harmed you or didn’t turn out as planned. The beautiful thing about this life is it is ever dynamic, and from that, is the capacity to and for change. In that change, the resolute of you, the unchanged pieces, that core self, will always speak. Even if you have to say, “No. Not ever again.”

Pretty, Petty & Black (1808)

(1808-This is going to be NSFW. Fair warning.)

Brianna Brochu put a toothbrush in her ass and gave it back to her roommate.

Let that shit sink in. The reach of white supremacy and privilege is mind-boggling.

She smeared used tampons on her roommate’s bookbag, put old food in her toiletries, even going the extra step of being beyond trifling, and spit in her coconut oil.

Now, this silly white girl bragged about this mayhem on the ‘Gram and called her roommate Jamaican Barbie. This is sh she got caught. But she swears up and down she’s not a racist. So she just trifling and evil?! That makes this better.

She wasn’t charged with a hate crime, but with, lemme get it right, it reads in part from NBC News:

Civil rights advocates had asked the state to add a hate crime charge to the criminal mischief and breach of peace counts Brochu faces. NAACP Greater Hartford Branch President Imam Abdul-Shahid Muhammad Ansari attended the hearing and said that he, along with other NAACP members, are not pleased with the decision.

Allow me to translate:

“This is some absolute bullshit.”

This girl got expelled from University of Hartford, and assaulted her roommate but people want to shift this as “an ill-suited dorm assignment.” Nall. She clearly don’t need to be on anyone’s dorm–she ain’t been taught nothing!

There are RAs, and Housing Directors for “ill-suited dorm assignments.” She’s smart enough to get into college but can’t fill out a form to change her dorm assignment? And she says she’s not a racist…

Nall.

If you put my toothbrush in your ass, imma whup yours. Flat out.

The killer part? Peep what she called, Sis, doe! Jamaican Barbie. I don’t know what it is about white women whom see black women as pretty. Like you hate us…but wanna be us ala GET OUT?!

The reason why this angers me so is I’m a sister, a godmother, mother and a black woman all my life, with a black mother and father whom told me I was pretty–and never be ashamed of who I was.

This broad assaulted her black roommate, bragged about it in detail to the world, but doesn’t want to be seen or labeled a racist.

Tough.

She is.

The reason she gave as to why she did what she did was this (from the Hartford Courant):

Brochu, who is white, told police that she did not have a good relationship with her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, who is black. Brochu claimed Rowe was rude to her and posted videos online of her snoring to make fun of her.

I’m not even amazed. But this being the Christmas season, the one piece of advice to give to the young woman this happened to, Chennel Rowe aka Jazzy, is this:

Shine.

Get this degree. Make your money. Make this system work for you. This trollop, this school may never apologize or recognize you for all that has happened to you. However, don’t let one silly (bleep) who couldn’t be you, or like you, stop you. This broad will ever be famous for what she did to you–but that won’t define you. You can be mad, embarrassed and ready to fight. You’re entitled. But also know what the real enemy is.

We got you.