Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I meant to get to the business of enjoying life
But, I found I was too busy.
Busy trying to get it all just right,
Busy trying to make a living.
I couldn't tell you what roses smell like
I never stopped to take a whiff.
But, the latest viral video and sound byte
Always topped my "to-do" list.

I can't remember my children's laughter.
Most often, I hear the cries.
Cries for attention, honorable mentions
Fell on deaf ears, my eyes fixed on the prize.
And so the conversations grew shorter.
Funny, I didn't notice then.
Life transpiring right under my nose
While I was waiting for life to begin.

My timeline is filled with these strangers
From a life I forgot I wanted.
The sincere smiles, the "stay awhile"s,
Rich blessings I never counted.
Radio silence, frozen stills,
ones gone off to meet their maker.
Never once stopping to be grateful
I was barely passed by the undertaker.

I meant to get to the business of enjoying life
But, let it slip right down the drain.
Never once did I ever doubt
That I could do it all again.
Because life can hand you lemons,
Be sure to squeeze out every drop.
Leave here with the satisfaction of knowing
That you gave it all you've got.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays!!

It seems like everywhere I turn, people are up in arms about how holidays should be celebrated and who or what it should or shouldn’t be about…

I seriously thought it was some huge joke that I didn’t understand when I heard that people were upset about the Starbucks cup!

A. Cup.

So, I figured I’d throw my two cents in the cup.

When I was coming up, we didn’t celebrate holidays.  In fact, we spent considerable time, not only learning why we shouldn’t celebrate holidays, but were then encouraged to try convincing others not to celebrate them.

And I get it: the origins of these holidays are much different from the way that they are often celebrated today.

But, here are some conclusions that I have drawn from watching people celebrate the holidays.

           The holidays are a way to spread love and joy. 

Regardless of the practice, at the heart of the holidays is being happy and wanting others to be happy.  I guess for people who are anti-happy, that would present a problem.  But, for everyone else, what is it going to cost to say a sincere “thank you” when wished a happy Hanukkah?

.        In a world where genuine connection is rare, the holidays afford us an opportunity to connect.    
I say we take it!  I have heard some remark that the only time that they see family is on the holidays.  Of course efforts can be made to do more, but why not take advantage of a time where most are not busy since their jobs and school have given them time designated to enjoy the holidays?  Many know the pain that comes from losing family members, so it seems to me that we should get on with the business of enjoying each other where there is still time to make memories.

3     The holidays give an opportunity for reflection and recharging.

Most goal setters use this time of year as a benchmark to see where they were the previous year and where they will be going the next.  The holidays are an easy time to do this because it’s a time where we often are reminded of the things that define our value system.

This year has been an amazing journey for me, so it truly is a time of celebration of things that I have been able to push through and past and now watching everything I have ever wanted literally fall into my lap.  I am excited about what this new year will bring because I am convinced that it will look exceptionally different from the past 30!

The biggest take away for me this year is how much I value life and the people in mine.  And it motivates me to want to do all that I can to add value to the lives of others around me in small and major ways.

I’m trying to make some people cry because they did something they never thought possible or achieved a goal that they’d been unable to.

I want to help more people become free.

To me, that’s what the holidays are really about.

I believe that each person has to search his or her own soul and find and assign meaning to the things that we do.

So, there were children who cried underneath the tree because they didn’t get what they wanted and many a people were trampled at Walmart by others looking for that last deal.


But, the Collins family spent the holiday together in love, creating memories that will make our hearts smile for years to come.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Never Quit on Your Dreams!

It happened again today.

A well-meaning person looked at what they see to be my circumstances from their point-of-view and said, “Why don’t you just quit that and do something else?”

We’re going to pretend that this wasn’t a person who has a lifestyle that I’ve always viewed as sad, at best, but I digress…

This reminded me of when the Apostle Peter told Jesus, “Lord you will not suffer this fate.”
Jesus’ reply?

“Get behind me, Satan!”

When I was younger and first read that account, I thought, “Man, Jesus!  That was harsh!  Satan, though??”

Now, that I’m older and have a deeper understanding of what the account meant, I realized some things.

I started thinking about the behavior patterns of Satan as described in the Bible.

He was the ultimate hater.  His main life goal was throwing shade, tripping people up using things that they liked or felt that they needed. Just all-around negativity. 

Anything leading to death in any form.

Really, isn’t that what saying anything other than something positive would do?  Kill a dream?

But, realize that Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, you trippin’.”

He realized that this was NOT in Peter’s character, so he didn’t speak to Peter; he spoke to the force operating through Peter.

So, don’t blame your loved ones and friends for not understanding.

“They know not what they do.”

I also started thinking about how tempting Jesus should have seemed like an exercise in futility.
He was the Son of God!  Creator of the whole universe!  


Not in the Beyonce kind of way.  But, literally not a single flaw.  

Healer of everyone. 

I bet he was fine, too.

But, nonetheless, he was tried!


To test his resolve.

If ever there was someone committed to a cause, a higher purpose, a necessary evil, it was Jesus. 

So, what makes you think that you and I, with our little dream, will not be tried??

When I was tried this morning, I had an answer right away of why I will NEVER quit.

Do you have your answer readily on the tip of your tongue?

What a lot of people do is listen to and start believing the negativity.

They give up on their dreams, if not wholly, but slowly.

One less phone call made.

One less work of art created.

This is where creative blocks come from many times.

But, why should you stay with it?

Because life is about using every bit of your creativity, talents, skills, and heart to make this world better.  Some way, somehow. 

Because visionaries with follow through are few and far between.

And mostly because the very people who are saying these things are really watching you.

They are only saying what they think they are supposed to say to help you not destroy your life, be irresponsible, etc.

But, deep down, in the person that they truly are, they want you to win.

Remember that the next time someone says something contradictory to where you are going.

Use it as an opportunity to do a checkup from the neck up and be even more relentless.

I believe in you.

I mean, it’s not like you’re saving the world, but you’re saving the world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Number 23

Thinking about the number 23 makes me think about Michael Jordan.

Despite the fact that I am not a sports fan, I have a lot of respect for him.

All the times he failed and could have quit, but didn't.

All of the practing he did, day after day, rain or shine.

And not stopping at basketball, but becoming an entrepreneur, an actor.

I would be hardpressed to find someone who didn't know who he is.

He was the best.

And thinking of him makes me think of a question that my mentor, Brian Carruthers has asked.

"If you became the Michael Jordan of your field, would it afford you your dream lifestyle?"

If the answer is no, then it's time to do something different.

And while I have found something that works for me, I do not assume that it will work for everyone.

But, the fact of the matter is: if you are stuck doing something that is unfulfilling, unsatisfying, and soul-sucking, that the most you get out of it is a meager paycheck, then, sir or madman, you are a slave!

"Well, at least I get paid."

Slaves were paid in food, shelter, clothing, and miscellaneous items. They even got days off to spend with their family and friends to dance, eat, drink moonshine, and hold church services.

But, that was it.

So, my questions are: when is the last time you had enough money left over after paying bills to go on vacation? Buy yourself something really nice?

With most living paycheck to paycheck, the answer is often times rarely ever.

That is the very definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

So, what is the solution.

Open your mind.

Open your mind to new ways of managing money.

Unfortunately, schools do not prepare us for this, so making more money often means being broke at a higher level.

Next, find a plan b outside of your job that will give you the option of choice.

If you only have income from your job, your choices are few.

But, if you have a side business that you can grow to match or exceed your job's income, you can choose to continue working, fully passionate, without finances looming over your head OR you can fire your boss.

That's true freedom.

Will you choose freedom with me?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crisis of Faith

I was walking past a church and they were having a garage sale.  So, I stopped.  I found some great things.

As I was leaving, I saw the mom of a friend that I’d grown up with.

Her eyes were some dim.

When I was getting ready to greet her, she turned and stalked away.

My mind turned in on me.

Did she just ignore me?

I ignored it.

I’ve become accustomed to the people of my former faith ignoring me, giving me what should be withering looks, or in other ways translating that my choice to walk away was “unacceptable”.

As we walked father down the street, one of the women in charge of the sale called after my friend’s mom, but didn’t know her name.

I did.

So, I yelled it out.

She came back.

And then she talked.

She asked me if I had returned to my faith.

I told her I hadn’t.

She asked me if I had planned of returning.

I told her that I didn’t.

She told me that she wanted to go back, but her bad habits made that impossible.

She might as well have been standing there flogging herself because I could see that she had been beating the emotional crap out of herself.

I felt so bad.

But, I could tell that she felt sorry for me.

As she stood there, trying to convince me that I needed to change my mind, I felt deep pity for her.

Too bad that she thought that the only way that she could be happy or acceptable to God is to be accepted by this astringent religion.

Even now, my mind is wondering, “If I post this, who will see it?  What will they say??”

But, that’s just it; it doesn’t matter!

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

Or so I thought.

This philosophy was challenged when my mother confronted me about my choice.

I felt like I was a little kid again, like I was about to get whuppin’.

My first instinct was to lie, to hide my truth.

Since my decision, our relationship has become estranged, at best.

It made my mind go back to the past ten years, where my mother did not speak to me because of my decision as a way to show me love and encourage me to return to my faith.

It worked before.

This time, I have come to such a place of peace and clarity.

For the first time in 30 years, I truly feel God’s love!

And I think about the five times per week that we spent in service my entire life, the countless hours spent “disciple making”, studying the Bible…

And how sad that I never felt God’s love!

All I felt was shame, guilt, fear.


Anger because for a religion that was supposed to be so liberating and paradisiac, my less-than-normal childhood, riddled with abuse of all kinds, did not reflect the goodness that should have been.

After our conversation, I could feel my mother separating herself from me emotionally.

Ironically, her words to me were, “I love you”, but it felt so much like goodbye.


A lifelong struggle.

And here it was rearing its ugly head yet again.

It took everything in me not to break down.

I knew that living a lie any longer was not the answer.

I had to walk my path, live my life authentically.

I talked to one of my enlightened cousins.

She encouraged me to stay the course.

I stepped outside and sat on my porch to get some air and so my children wouldn’t see me upset.

One of my friends and neighbors just happened to be walking by.

He had the same message of encouragement that my cousin did.

One of my best friends then called.

Same message.

Alright, God.  I hear you.

I love my mother.

I wish that we had a better relationship.

But, the fact of the matter is she is blinded by what she believes to be true, so blinded that she can’t see her own children.

I know this.

And as much as I love her, I don’t expect her to change her mind.

I cried.

I mourned my whole life, all the hurt and pain, the trauma, the discord.

And after I cried, the burning pain I’d been feeling in my belly was replaced by a soothing coolness.

I don’t know what it was, but I’m convinced it was related to me letting go of the negative feelings.

But, this was the final frontier.

I realized that she was the only person whose opinion of me I still held in high regard.

Now, I realize that her opinion of me is not her own, but manufactured by dogmatic principles indoctrinated into her after decades of repetition.

So, to be angry at her is like being angry at my son for throwing food from his high chair.

I’m certain that this will be the line drawn in the sand for her.

But, it’s ok, but I truly DO love her.

And I know that God has a plan.

So, I will continue to follow the light.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Big Girls ROCK!

Dance is my first love.

I remember watching music videos (the very first ones) instead of Sesame Street at an early age, getting inspired.

My aunts, cousins, mom, grandma, and anyone else who knew me at a young age still joke how I would dance every house guest into a corner.

It was expected.

It was entertaining.

As the years went on, I began to gain weight.

I started noticing that I was bigger than a lot of other girls my age, so I have many pictures of myself in my teenage years where I am visibly uncomfortable.

So, I let my love for dance be something secretive or something I’d do in a dark nightclub where nobody ever really paid attention.

Fast forward to now.

I have made a decision to live my passion.

When I shared this decision with someone close to me, I was met with an incredulous look and laughter.

“I hope you mean you’re going to do dance videos as a joke!”

This response blindsided me.

I mean, I’ve seen the videos of the girl clapping her thighs together.

Is this the way it would be received?

So, I started recording videos.

At first, it was hard for me to watch without passing judgement on myself.

My stomach was too jiggly.

My booty was just a mass of gelatinous fat.

And let’s not even talk about the under arm flags…

But, I did it anyway.

My first video was with my daughter.

She loves dance and likes watching dance videos and learning them.

She is such a chip off the old block and makes my inner child so happy.

She challenged me to record and post a video of us dancing together.

I did it.

And it felt good.

Then, I decided to do a freestyle dance to the song Slow Motion by Trey Songz.

Again, it felt good.

But, nobody responded.

There were no words of encouragement.

Only a few of my friends even responded to it.

My mind starting whirring.

Could the naysayers be right?  Am I just a big joke?  Did I just create a face-palm moment for myself to be immortalized on the unforgiving Internet?

Then, I watched the video over and over again.

And I was filled with this immense feeling of pride and love for myself, something I hadn’t felt before.

Because, see, even when I was younger, my mother told me that I was being “cut off” from music videos, discouraging me from dancing. 

She said I was being “too fast at a young age”.

Now, I can say that what anyone else thinks about my dancing does not matter.

I love it.

I love me.

And I am taking a stand for other women, big or small, who are being told or telling themselves that they are not beautiful, sexy, and talented.

We matter.

And no one can take that away from us.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

God's Love

It burns to feel like you are outside of God’s love.

People spend their whole lives afraid of a place burning with fire.

I say, bring on the fire.

If it means putting an end to this hell on earth.

And it’s not just hard times.

It’s not just pain, sadness.



It’s all of it all at the same time.

Making no room for escape.

You try to shift your butt cheek to relieve the pressure from sitting wrong, but bam!

Another type of pain.

And you can’t really compare one to another

Because it’s its own distinct pain, different from all others.

To feel unwanted, unlovable…

Because if God doesn’t love us, why would anyone else??

Why should I love me if God doesn’t even see fit to love me??

But, every day, I see signs of His love, if only I pay attention.

In the light from the sun, the air in my lungs.

The ability and agility of my mind and body.

The laughter of my children.


My unique beauty.

All my gifts, talents, abilities.

My sense of humor.

My sensuality, sexuality.

My quirks that are only mine.

And I think, if God took the time to handcraft me,

Make me the way that I am, I should show my thanks.

I should live the way that He wants me to be.

You listen to Mr. Ford when He tells you how best to run that truck, don’t you?

And not based on a man telling me.

Not based on a book.

Based on GOD.

I began to understand that loving me IS loving God!

And despite what people may say, He doesn’t get mad when you do it right.

Go to high, He will knock you down.

But, that’s just a natural law.

“Taste and see that God is good.”

He’s like that lady at the grocery store offering free samples.

Except God isn’t reeling us in to buy crap.

He is trying to find a way to sell us on our own happiness.

Because, for some of us, the pain is comfort.

If your child was holding a knife that was cutting them, they were bleeding everywhere,

What would you do?

Seeing your child crying, begging for you help,

But not wanting to let go of the knife.

We do that with God.

And just like it would hurt you to see your child that way

It hurts God.



And then you will fly.

Bask in the warmth that is God’s love.

Love you the way God loves you more and more every day.

Have your greatest love affair with yourself.

And, if you get it right, life will feel like a hallelujah chorus.

Whenever you lose your way, listen to this: