Kite Hill.

I am far from perfect, believe me. In so many areas of life. But right now, let's dive into healthy eating habits. Remember what I said, I'm not perfect. But I'm striving for better and better each day. 

First off, I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. I will take a piece of cake over a steak any day. I love sweets. And when I was pregnant like... every single year, it began to catch up with me. I started learning about clean eating. I began to make healthier eating choices. My portion sizes were controlled and what I was putting in my body was giving me nutrients and vitamins. Not just empty plastic calories.

 
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Through my lifestyle change, I began transitioning more and more of my toxic foods to foods that are nutrient dense and help my body thrive. And I became more knowledgeable about the importance of what we put in and on our bodies. And I really wanted that for my whole family.

I learned what is in actual milk. Like the gallons of cows milk my kids and I were guzzling each week. Yah... did you know? It's not just freakin' milk from a cows udder anymore folks... oh, heck no. They let a whole buttload of crap in there now. And freely for us to drink down.

It sickens me really. Just SOME of the ingredients put into cow's milk are:

1. Pus

2. Blood cells

3. Hormones

4. Antibiotics

5. Steroids

You can find all the nitty gritty disgustingness of it here. 

And with that, we no longer drink cows milk in our house. Almond milk to the rescue!

 

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And more recently, I watched the documentary What the Health (it is currently on Netflix and I highly recommend checking it out!) And after that... yah... I was weary of a lot of other things I was allowing in our mouths and stomachs. The short term and long term affects of the food we are taking in is alarming. 

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I have been on a journey to replace more and more of our food products with good, healthy, natural options. And it's really been a fun venture. And rewarding, knowing that I am benefiting my children's health and their futures. 

Truthfully, there are just so many improper ways that our society treats food. So many hormones and antibiotics pumped into animals and so many pesticides sprayed into our fields, that the quality of food is completely ruined. Instead of fueling our bodies, they are being poisoned. Slowly and silently.

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Now imagine my delight when I happened upon Kite Hill. They make artisan almond milk foods, which is basically a dream come true. They make cheeses, and yogurts, and desserts and drinks and cream cheese. Pure deliciousness that is good for you! Made ethically and with integrity.

They use traditional cheese-making techniques but create their dishes with nut milk instead of dairy milk. It is the best alternative if you love those dairy foods but either can't tolerate dairy or choose a more Vegan led lifestyle. No matter what, Kite Hill is an extraordinary company with some stellar products.

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We got the strawberry banana and wild berry yogurt and HOLY NO COW (pun intended)! It was extraordinary. And there was just something about it, I felt so good eating it. And dare I say, AFTER eating it. Cause ya'll know some of that other dairy stuff just don't sit right. 

No joke, my girls LOVED it too. I had to hide them in the back of the fridge for a few days because they constantly were asking for more "healthy yogurt." It is SO GOOD!

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At this point, I'm just going to dive head first in. I need to try the cheeses, drinkable yogurts, raviolis, cream cheese and so much more! How can you not when you find such a great dairy alternative? This is good stuff, people! 

All that being said, I'll fill you in on my Kite Hill adventures as we experience some new foods that are nourishing for our bodies and fuel for our minds. Check back in next month for another review on some of their great products, I cannot wait to share with you!

And don't just take my word for it. Do your own research. Check out the ingredients that are in the foods you eat. Research the process of how your foods are made and what goes into them. And check out the awesomeness of Kite Hill and companies that truly care about your health, just as much as you do. 

Scatter Joy.

You've heard the little sayings before:

Throw kindness around like confetti.

Make today great.

Punch today in the face.

 

Well... that escalated quickly.

Back to my point, I'm a sucker for a good motivational saying. And for me, there are so many signs hanging around my house and so many shirts hanging in my closet that express how I want my attitude to be each day.

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know that my whole message is about living for today and finding joy in your extraordinary ordinary life.

I am ridiculously excited to be launching a Limited Edition one-of-a-kind t-shirt campaign that will only be available for the next two weeks and then they will be gone forever!

There are 3 different styles and colors to choose from with our signature phrase of Scatter Joy!

They are quite true to size and ridiculously comfortable. I'm so excited to offer this exclusive design for anyone looking to live their life with more joy and to spread it around wherever you go!

When you get your shirt, I would LOVE to see if on social media! Just post your pic wearing your shirt and use the hashtag #scatterjoy! And tag me @meghanjoytoday, I would love to join you on your own journey of scattering joy!

You can order your choice of shirts here and feel free to share this link with friends and family who would also love to spread the joy!

Friends, I hope you feel so much love today. I pray you are filled with JOY today. I hope that as you go throughout your day, you experience delightful surprises and strive to bring a smile to someone else's face. Whether that be holding a door for someone, complimenting a stranger or paying for a friends meal. Go out of your way to make someones' day brighter. Scatter Joy.

These exclusive signature shirts are only available for the next 2 weeks so grab one right now before they are gone! Have a joy-filled day, my loved ones!

You can purchase your Limited Edition Scatter Joy shirt RIGHT HERE.

Loving your Lines.

Let's talk about it. A woman's body. The most dissected, criticized subject on the planet. By us truly (women). Yes. We create the perfect image we are supposed to be. In our own minds. Of course, social media and Hollywood play a factor in what we measure ourselves up to. But at the end of the day, we are our own worst enemies. 

I've spent the last few months learning how to respect my body. Reminding myself that it's insanely strong. It has carried 3 babies full term and lost one angel baby. It has survived a vehicle hitting it at 50+ miles per hour, crushing many bones on the right side of my body. My body has endured several serious surgeries over the last decade. And let's not forget, the 120+ pounds of weight gain and loss from the childbearing years. It has repaired itself time and time again. Yet, I was picking it apart day in and day out. 

Well, I've been taking extra good care of it lately. I exercise several times a week, I eat pretty healthy (but absolutely do not deprive myself of goodies from time to time) and I also have done something I never thought I would ever do again in my life. I wear a bikini whenever I take my kids to the pool. Do I have a flat tummy? Absolutely not! in fact, I have skin that hangs over my cesarean scar, which will never go away naturally. Am I cellulite free? Hell-to-the-no. My thighs are dimpled all over. Does everything jiggle a little when I walk? 100% yes it does! Guess what.... no one cares. But more importantly, I no longer care! Do you know what I do at the pool in my bikini? I play with my kids and I sprawl out on the tanning chair and I enjoy myself because I love getting my tummy tan. I don't think about the way I look. I decided it's time to be proud of the scars and the stretched out skin. They are the most amazing stories I have to tell about myself. Why on earth would I be ashamed of it? I look at other moms at the pool or beach and I think they are gorgeous. I see their stretch marks and baby bellies and I feel like I'm with a sisterhood. I feel the normality of it and I'm reminded, that is what we are supposed to look like. 

I WANT to see more scars. I want to see women show them off like they are tattoos. Because that's what they are. They are permanent stories and pieces of art that say something about you. Don't be ashamed of them. 

So what you've got an extra 20 pounds thats hard to lose after that baby. Guess what?! You grew a HUMAN. An actual full person. And you either pushed them out of your body which tore and stretched to its full capacity. Or got cut open to get them out through layers and layers of muscle. So, stop being so hard on yourself for not looking the way you did when you were 15 years old and 5 sizes smaller, with no curves. You are a woman, not a teenage girl. You've earned the body you have today- no matter what size the tag on your jeans say.  Be proud of it! It has been on quite the journey. 

Here are just some of my favorite "scars" that tell my best stories (and I have a lot more!). My baby stretch marks on my belly and my femur scars from the car accident that I survived. They created the fierce creature that I am today.  

 

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They are perfect, they are me.

 

Show yours off. Get comfortable with them. I personally love seeing others flaunt them! Chances are, other women do too. You're in good company. 

You can follow along with the daily life of Raquel over on Instagram.

Wait for hope to appear.

It was July 13th. It was the night before the morning I was going to take a pregnancy test.

I had weaned my son from breastfeeding on April 5, 2017 when he was 15 months old. We would have kept nursing but I was ready for the next baby.

Tomorrow was the day I would take the test and wasn't confident we were pregnant, but I was hopeful. But before I could even reach that point in time, before bed that evening, I got my period. And I felt my dreams crash.

This was my 3rd cycle since weaning my son. I realize that's not a long time in comparison to what some women go through but each period that arrives means another month to await the possible expectation of a baby.

I crawled up into the bed by my husband and cried while he comforted me. I was sad. I needed to feel the emotions. Part of me wanted to question God, "Why?" but that question is pointless. It isn't productive. I needed to grieve for a moment and that was purely it. And I prayed and I told God that I will trust in Him.

The next morning, my pregnancy test sat, unopened. I set my alarm for 5:40am (snoozed it for 10 minutes) and then put on my sneakers and went for an early morning jog while the rest of the house slept. I put on the song, "Do it Again" by Elevation Worship and cried as I ran. Halfway through the song, I stopped and looked into the sky for a moment before heading back in the direction of home. This time, I was smiling. I soaked in the words of the song and sang them as a prayer to God.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they'd fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle's won
For You have never failed me yet

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You've never failed me yet

I know the night won't last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus You're still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

I've seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I'll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I'll see You do it again

And You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
I never will forget

I wasn't going to stay in that place of despair. I'm going to choose joy and know that God is so faithful. He has a plan and a purpose and He will never fail me.

I read in Lamentations that morning from the Message Bible (Chapter 3, Verse 19-30):

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

Whatever you are going through today, family relationships, maybe your 18th try at getting pregnant, a death of a friend, turmoil at work, whatever it is, know that GOD IS FOR YOU. And your hope is in Him.

Do not be despaired.

Wait for hope to appear.

 

 

 

Race: Ana Nelson

It's skin deep.

June 30th, 2007 wedding bells rang and a new life of marriage was created. A decade. 10 whole years. That's how long we've been married since then, I was 16 years old and my husband was 19... yeah I know we were young but can you believe we're still together and madly in love? Thank you Jesus. 


This year we celebrated this wonderful event and we stayed up late night thinking back on the last years and how much we have grown as a married couple and as individuals. As we stayed up thinking, many memories ran through my mind and I started remembering all the hardships, (not sure why such sad things came to mind on such a happy day) I guess it was just years that created this life. The hardships that created the bond we have.

I'm Mexican, as in born in Mexico and my husband is white he was born in the Northwest. We met in Highschool my Jr year and we got married that same year. So you could say we are Highschool sweethearts. 

Being married to a "white boy" was such a huge deal on my side because everybody knows white peoples are rich. Sarcasm. So many family members asked how much money my 19 year old husband had, we lived in a basement then. Hint hint. None the less the remarks that I had married my white husband for a green card or his huge mansion I had yet to see we're coming in loads and to this day come without warning. To make things worse my husband had to endure some things on his side not only claiming he had mixed his blood with something equal to a dog but he was given the advise to sign a prenuptial agreement. Again we lived in a basement at the time, not sure what they were fighting over. I was constantly asked if I married him for money or a green card. I was advised to not have the child I was carrying. He was constantly asked why he even married outside his race. Being married to someone of another race is hard.. if you allow their words to penetrate your heart and marriage. We quickly realized that if we wanted our marriage to work we just had to ignore them. Between my husband and I it wasn't a huge deal, I mean sure there were tons of cultural differences but nothing that we fought over. We thought all the remarks were over and done with, until we had children. 

The following year we welcomed a baby girl. 

I remembered the time that I was eight months pregnant with her, my husband and I walked in to an arcade and an elderly white woman frowned at me (not only because I was 16 and pregnant) she looked at my husband and said,     " how dare you mix your race like a dog". Nope, I'm not kidding and yes those word hurt. All I remember was crying my eyes out. I remember a few days before we had our first daughter a family member said, "I hope she takes after our families skin color". On my side many relatives prayed, no joke that my daughter looked white because white is prettier. Almost every time we had family gatherings someone made commmet about how much lighter my daughter was getting and how pretty it was, and they always said, "maybe your next child will have colored eyes and white skin". 

Two years later we decided to have our second baby. 


we were told, " you guys are having to many mixed kids, mixed children get confused". Ummm ok as if I could choose what one would be full Mexican and what one should be all white. My second daughter looking even more Mexican, her skin color was significantly darker and my husband loved it and did I. We got a "maybe the next time you will get lucky", comment.  I'm not sure if it's a cultural Hispanic thing or just the crazies that surrounded me but in the Hispanic culture there is an obsession with having fair skin and light eyes. I had an uncle once tell me that he was glad I married white because my kids will be better looking. I'm one of three dark skinned children in the whole family on my mother's side and we were constantly told we were to dark... the fair skinned cousins were the "prettiest" and the adults weren't afraid to say it outloud. So this whole white skin thing isn't new to me. Regardless of their ignorance we tried for baby number 3. 

Years passed and we had our third baby and this time, according to them; we got lucky. 

 

Many times I'm asked how it feels to have a "white" baby. I'm never sure how to answer this question because to me he's my baby who happens to take after his father. Just like our two daughters took after me. If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if he was my son, I'd be rich and he's only three months old. Many times I'm asked if my husband was my daughters step father and our son his bio child. 

I never want my children to feel that their skin color is ugly because someone decided it was. I never again cried due to other people's comments about being married to a white man for his money or green card. My husband proudly shred pictures of all 3 of his children with all different shades of color. Now as an adult I educate those who have things to say about dark skin on the works of skin pigmentation and genes. I proudly teach my children about the beauty of being a family with two cultures. 

So that night I layed there thinking on the things we've had to hear and the actions of people due to our mixed marriage and after it was all said and done I smiled and looked at my husband and he said, "let's have one more baby" and I said, "maybe this one will come out in a different shade of brown".  


We both laughed and went on with our night as we celebrated 10 amazing/ difficult years of mixed marriage. 

Race: Kinya Shakur Travis

Same Story Different Decade

Why I Wrote Victorianne Phoenix

 

                She watched the DVD again and again each time with the same vigor and look of wonder until I had the songs stitched in my very own head.  Mothers know this all too well when their precious little one enjoys something so much, and they look to you to perform the wondrous miracle with their newly found word – again in that tiny hopeful voice that melts your heart and prompts you to do it – yet again.  Why shouldn’t I?  After all it’s just a DVD, and although my daughter loved the main character and she looked different, I’ve done my best to surround her with a number of relatable visions of beauty (ie. while pregnant I lost my mind on EBAY and invested in some of the most rare and expensive collectible Black Barbie dolls to display in her room).  They lived on her shelves ever since she was born.  However, as soon as I heard her ask, “Mommy can you do my hair like this?” pointing to the DVD cover, my mind went blank. 

Houston, we have a problem.

            There was no particular hairstyle on the cover, that I could tell.  The main character’s hair was simply out, flowing in the wind, and she wore a crown.  Simple enough.  I released my daughter’s hair from their braids, finger fluffed it, then squeezed her tiny diamond tiara onto her perfectly gorgeous head full of kinks and curls and held my breath.  With anticipation, she ran to the mirror then stared blankly, the stare soon turned into a frown.  “This isn’t it, it’s not the same.  Can you do it like this?” she said, again pointing to the picture.  At that moment, I knew what she was referring to and now it was my turn to say, AGAIN?!  Instead it was a painful question instead of a request.  The reason why I understood my little one is because when I was her age I felt the exact same way.  Even though my parents gave me the gift of self-love and surrounded me with images and history of our beautiful race, it was not enough against the power of the media and its clear vision of beauty, grace and talent that seemed to be the opposite of me.  Although it took several discussions, long talks and information sessions, it is a lesson that never ends.  We live in a pretty diverse neighborhood with a wide range of culture and races from African American, Asian, Mexican, Polish, Middle Eastern, African and more.  If you noticed I made a distinction between African and African American, that was intentional.  As my daughter got older she became fascinated with the different cultures around her and she discovered the Africans in our community and she gravitated to them.  She understood that African Americans have a home base too.  A motherland with languages, customs and cultures of their own and it meant something.  It meant a connection to something greater, it meant we had roots, and it was profound for her! 

            It was important to introduce and explore this eye-opening moment and include it in my storybook for other African American and children of African descent.  However, as I marketed my book and visited schools, it became apparent that educators and students of other races found relevance in the humanity of the story.  They understood what it meant to walk in the shoes of a little black girl and how life appeared through her eyes.  My goodness a humanities curriculum brought into the elementary school classroom, and not through talking animals - go figure!

            Today my daughter is a strong, proud African American preteen.  She is dealing with so many other issues, the very last thing I want her to feel is unpretty.  I continue to talk to her because the lessons cannot end here, and I contribute to those lessons with examples of how I carry myself.  She’s never seen me with straight flowing hair because my hair is natural and although it’s beautiful, it is not straight.  I work hard to show her hair styles and women in main stream media rocking looks with a natural hair texture similar to their own.  This is how I know the influence of the media.  This book is a powerful lesson in self-love for the early ages and it is one we all face no matter the race or culture.  I am so proud every time a parent tells me what the book means to their little one, and I hope to continue the journey of self-love for the little ones through Victorianne’s eyes, in book number two!

Websites:    www.victoriannephoenix.com

                 www.kinyashakur.com

Email:          info@victoriannephoenix.com

Linkedin:    www.linkedin.com/in/kinyashakurtravis

Twitter:        @VictoriannePhnx

Instagram:  @Victorianne_Phoenix

 

Race: Brownicity

From ‘Black and Whiteto Brownicity: Our story of disrupting race.

by Lucretia Carter Berry and Nathan Berry

 

 

 

Brownicity /brounˈ isədē/

pronounced like ‘“ethnicity”

noun. A combination of the words “brown” and “ethnicity.” Brown represents melanin, the pigment we all have. Ethnicity means “that which we have in common.” Essentially, we are all hues of brown.

 

Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living & Loving Beyond Race is our platform for disrupting the race narrative and its legacy of racism. We are family-focused and dedicated to advocacy, education and support for racial healing and anti-racism.

 

Evolving from a family-focused conversation, Brownicity emerged from our desire to equip and empower our children with language and substance that would inform their true identities which transcend the social and political construct of race. Our children bare the image of God. Essentially, they are creators, light, life, beautiful, gifted, talented, kind, loving, forgiving, sensitive, brave…we could go on and on. But unfortunately, in our hyper-racialized society, the race narrative will try to inform who they are; race will try to dictate their future.

 

With our first child, we searched for ways to give our then four year old a framework for conversations about skin tone and race that were age appropriate and that met our objectives of not centralizing our identities around race (the socio-political construct). We needed to be able to talk about daddys light skin and black straight hair, mommys deep brown skin and infinitely curly hair and her slightly tan skin and black, big-curly hair. One day, she came home from preschool where they had read, ‘The Colors of Us’ and painted their portraits. She said, “we are all shades of brown. Daddy is really light brown. I am a little bit brown and mommy is a lot brown.” We loved it! We affirmed her observation and words! We took that and ran with it. Our four year old understood how melanin works and had deduced a unifying truth from it: We are all shades of brown.

 

Equipping, empowering, encouraging and inspiring our children to live life outside of the race lie has opened the door for us to do the same for many other multi-ethnic families, people and communities. So, it is truly ironic that before the beginning of ‘us becoming one,our lives were very exclusively ‘black and white.

 

Lucretia:  Born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC in the 70s, a second generation integrated community had impressed upon me the significance, or rather insignificance, of being black in a white majority. Some of the lies race taught were easy to reject. Other lies were subconsciously internalized. But, the uprooting of the race ideology would soon begin my journey of healing and liberty in of all places, Iowa…talk about a white majority. Iowa State University was my home for several years while I completed my graduate work. I managed to find a black church on campus that seemed to serve as my spiritual and cultural oasis.

 

The authenticity and kindness of that church resurrected my life. I believe that God guided me all the way to Iowa to experience the growth, encouragement and connection I experienced as a part of that faith community.

 

One Sunday, the pastor laid out a vision for a multi-ethnic ministry. “We will no longer be a black church,” he said. “We will be a reflection of heaven. We are Becoming Interracially One…BIO!” I wish that I could say that my heart leapt with excitement about BIO. But, the pastors words felt like a punch in the face. Betrayal. Those words stung like salt in a 400 year old racial wound!

 

‘How could he destroy my oasis?I lamented. My thoughts turned to how much ‘blackness’ Id have to sacrifice, allow to die, in order to welcome white people into my faith community. While my emotions responded to the painful history of racial injustice, my spirit seemed to know that there was a greater work in the making. I aligned myself with the vision of becoming a multi-ethnic church. I opened myself to change. It was complicated and uncomfortable. My emotions and thinking were in constant contention.

 

But, I did the work of change. Change allowed me to meet Nathan.

 

Nathan: I was born and raised in Indianola, Iowa,  a small community known for farming and hot air balloons. Growing up, I knew less than a hand full of people who were not white. As a small child, my father was the pastor of a country church that literally had corn growing on three sides of the building. About the time I finished elementary school we were moving so that my dad could begin pastoring a church in Des Moines that would have a focus on ethnic diversity. At the time, I didnt know what ethnic or diversity even meant.

 

In the fall of 1996, I began my freshman year at Iowa State University. My “churched” background required that I attend a campus ministry weekly–even though like most 18 year olds, I had no desire to attend a church service every Sunday morning. Fortunately, I found one that started at noon, so I could recover from the activities of Saturday night and still make it to church on time. I attended this traditionally black church for an entire semester, sat in the back and no one ever spoke to me. By the time my second semester began, the pastor began to engage with me about an idea to create a church that could reach people of any ethnic background. Two things connected me to this idea, (1) the pastors passion and (2) he wanted me to help.

 

Nathan & Lucretia: Serving together to realize the pastors vision demolished all kinds of racial, cultural, and religious barriers in our faith community and within ourselves. The churchs transformation was a chrysalis for personal transformation. Post graduation, our professions took us to two different regions of the country. But, we kept in touch and the rest is history. Striving toward a common goal solidified our friendship and gave us a unique and dynamic foundation–a foundation and a story that continues to speak through our family. In June, we will celebrate 15 years of marriage and have three beautiful little girls.  Its humbling to reflect on the now 20 year old ripple effect caused by a few college students doing the work of change.

We have created and offer resources, classes and 'fun'-shops to help folks put change into practice. Our Color Conversations 'fun'-shops help caregivers navigate skin tone and race conversations with children. Our curriculum, 'What LIES Between Us' guides learners through educational resources, reflective journaling and engaging exercises that equip them for racial healing and antiracism.

 

Join us at brownicity.com or on FB, IG, & Twitter @brownicity or @lucretiaberry

 

Subscribe to get event details.

 

What LIES Between Us Journal & Guide: Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing can be purchased through Amazon.

 

Learn more at Brownicity.com

Follow along on Instagram here.

Nathan and Lucretia Berry are the founders of Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living and Loving Beyond Race, their platform for equipping and empowering families for racial healing and antiracism.  Nathan Berry serves as RVP of Regional Sales for Passport. He received his bachelors from the Iowa State University School of Business and received his M. Div from Wake Forest University. Nathan is an ordained minister. Lucretia is an author and speaker. She received her Ph.D. in Education (Curriculum & Instruction) from Iowa State University. Nathan and Lucretia have three little girls who are the inspiration for their work through Brownicity.

 

 

Race: Life of a Minister Mom

"Why I Really Married My White Husband"....

 

 

"If you go back to California and marry a white man, I know it will be for his money!!"

Whoa. Full stop.

As my friend got lost in her own uproarious laughter, I struggled to force out a chuckle behind my now fake smile. As we talked about what the future held, this was the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth.

I wanted to be married. As single ladies, we both did. As far as race, I was always open to whomever that person would one day be. It never occurred to me that if he were white, my motives (and his) might be questioned in that way.

Whether meant to be a joke or not, what this friend said to me over a decade ago sticks. It sticks because I've encountered individuals who believe this and other lies to be true.

 

Growing up in a predominately Asian and Caucasian suburb of California, I quickly became accustomed to being the token black girl in all of my classes. My first elementary school crush had blonde hair and blue eyes. I didn't think this was strange or abnormal, and no one around me told me it was. Nor was it strange that I would go on to develop a "crush" or interest in the biracial boy whose mom was Mexican and dad was white. Or the young man whose rich chocolate skin was quite a few shades darker than my own.

I admit that I was surely naive to quite a few things, but I wasn't stupid. I knew in the 7th grade that race in a relationship would matter to a number of people after coming home heartbroken for being ignored at a silly school dance. Sure, it was junior high where hormones are high and hearts break every other day, lol, but it was then that my always wise mother told me this:

You are a chocolate chip in a sea of vanilla, and yes, to some, that makes a difference. It does now, and it will later, more than you think...

Fast forward to college and I elected to move across the country to attend a prestigious HBCU. (Historically Black College and University). It took me way out of my comfort zone in location as well as demographics, but it was an incredible experience that I will never forget. This was the first time I'd known what it felt like to be in the majority, and culture shock was an understatement.

So there I was, in the midst of the best and brightest African American women and men, and surely I'd get my degree and find the love of my life among one of these most eligible bachelors.

Well, this is not how that particular story would end, and I came to realize there were those who thought it was their business to take offense.

I guess your own kind isn't good enough for you, huh?

What, did you just get tired of black men?

You are SUCH a white girl.

And of course,

If you go back to California and marry a white man, I know it will be for his money.

Le sigh.

None. Of. The. Above.

 

Perhaps this was part of the thought process behind my friend who made that off-putting comment. I'll never know. But I did return to California from Alabama, still open to whomever the Lord would lead me to.

My life would transform many times and in many ways before I met my husband. We met at a predominately African American church where he was the minority, which was nothing out of the ordinary for him or those who knew him.

His upbringing was nearly the polar opposite of mine. He and his siblings grew up in a primarily black and Latino community, and were, quite literally, the "fairest of them all" in their classes and neighborhood.

In talking looks alone, a curvy black woman is exactly who he prayed he'd marry one day. God came through. Hahaha.

 

While it was never far-fetched, and maybe even expected that I'd end up with a man outside my race, it's not for any of the following reasons:

I didn't get "tired" of black men.

I don't think I'm better than black men.

I don't hate black men.

I did not marry my husband for his money. *insert side eye roll*

Likewise, let me debunk these other myths:

I'm no less of a black woman because I married a white man. 

My husband did not marry me to fulfill some fantasy.

As a white man he CAN "handle" his black wife. (What does that even mean??? What human being wants to be handled??).

As difficult as I am at times (yep babe, you've got that on record ), I don't "run him over" with snapping fingers and hard neck rolls.

He doesn't hate his mother or white women.

So the million dollar question is this:

Why did I marry my white husband?

I married him because he's a man after God's own heart.

He encourages and challenges me in all the areas I need it.

He is the epitome of a servant leader.

He is kind, full of integrity and has a huge heart. 

He's a total stud (of course).

He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.

He never tries to make me fit a mold or be something or someone I'm not.

He fully loves, cherishes, appreciates, and embraces me for me, while helping me shine brighter in my #blackgirlmagic.

The list goes on...

 

And while he asked the question, my husband and I said yes to each other. We said yes to our different skin tones, the different ways we were raised and whatever the future would hold in our multi-racial, multi-faceted family.

We said yes to embracing each others cultural influences and raising our daughters to be confident in the beautiful, God-given skin they're in.

More than anything we said yes to being an example of Christ's love to the world, regardless of what people think, while we do our best to honor the sacred covenant of marriage.

And that's why I married my white husband.

Patricia is a California native making the most of her new roots in Georgia, even in the absence of In-N-Out Burger and her beloved SF Giants. She is the proud wife of an amazing, godly man, and mama to two precious girls. She firmly believes that motherhood, like life, is a journey best shared with others. Her heart’s desire is to cultivate down-to-earth and faith-filled connections while encouraging others on her blog, Life of a Minister Mom. Above all, she wants her faith and obedience to glorify God.

Shirts from Human Citizens

Photograpy from Jessica Whaley Photography

Race: Almost Indian Wife

I've wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. I dreamed about the kids I would have and knew God would bless me with a family one day. 

 

Fast forward a few years later and now I'm married and I have three little boys. These little boys completely changed my life. I've heard moms talk about just how much you fall in love with your babies, but I could never have imagined how it would feel. 

 

Each time I was worried I wouldn't be able to love the next baby as much. Then I'd be in the hospital, looking at their beautiful little face for the first time, and feel my heart expanding. 

 

My whole world is about those little boys.

 

My husband and I are raising them in two cultures. He grew up as a second-generation East Indian man and I grew up living in the US. Our lives looked very different from each others growing up. Now, we get the blessing of raising a multiracial family. Our kids get to navigate through two cultures as they grow up. 

 

There are so many blessings they're going to have as biracial kids. They get to fall deeply in love with Eastern and Western culture, they're getting a passion about different cultures, they get to learn two ways of doing things, and they're blessed with a family that loves them. 

 

As their mom, I see everything they can do in life. I dream about the lives they'll have when they're older, the jobs they'll have, the girls they'll marry, but one thing haunts me. 

 

There's one thing that lingers in the back of my mind at night and I can't shake it. I'm scared that I'm going to fail my kids. I'm scared it will be my fault if they don't experience Indian culture like they should. 

 

As a multiracial family, our world is about blending. My husband and I do the best we can to bring both cultures into our family, daily. We want our kids to be exposed to and also make sure our parenting styles reflect both. 

 

The hard part is that we live in the US. There's only so much we teach them about Indian culture while living so far from India.

 

Even though my husband spent the majority of his life here as well, he still spent time in India. He lived there for a few years, went back to visit for long periods of time, and was raised by first generation East Indian parents. He was able to truly embrace his culture through hands-on experience and learn it from people who were raised in it. 

 

I want my kids to be able to have similar experiences. I know we can visit India as a family and we plan to. The reality is that I won't ever be able to teach them about India the way they're Indian family members can. 

 

Sometimes I lay in bed at night wondering if my kids will resent me for it. 

 

Will they regret not knowing as much as they can about Indian culture? 

 

Will they want to? If they don't have a passion for diving into their East Indian roots, will I blame myself?

 

In the perfect multiracial family, our kids would love both cultures equally and be able to fully experience them. However, we're living in an imperfect world. As much as I would love the "perfect blend" it's not possible. 

 

 Here are two things to keep in mind. 

 

1. I can learn about Indian culture with my kids. There's no rule that says they can only learn about it with their Indian family members. Instead, we can learn together. As they ask me questions, we can find out the answers together. This reminds my kids that I'm on this journey with them and shows them how important it is to me. 

 

2. Every multiracial family looks different. Our multiracial family isn't the same as a traditional East Indian family. My husband and I are teaching our kids about traditions from both of our childhoods, we're raising them in both cultures, and we live in the US. The great part is that our family culture is unique and we should be celebrating it!

 

Being a mother of a multiracial family is truly a blessing. I get to help three beautiful little boys develop their biracial identity and fall in love with a new culture with them. 

 

I think there are a lot of other moms raising biracial kids out there that share my fear. While I can't say I have it all figured out, I can tell you one thing. 

 

All you need to do is be true to yourself and love on your kids. They're going to see all the wonderful things you do for them, but most importantly they're going to see your love and support. Every family blends cultures differently. Stop focusing on the "perfect blend" and spend that energy holding your child's hand and navigating the dynamics of a multiracial family together. 

 

You are enough for your family. You are enough for your kids. Ally you need to do is be true to who you are. 

Race: Human Citizens

Changing division into love is as important in the year 2017 as it was during the 1960's.  Human Citizens aims to give a voice to the people who want to see a better world, not just racially, but emphatically choosing to remove labels by acknowledging our differences as humans, while choosing to embrace love.

Our world is not black and white, but a rainbow of skin tones, hair textures and dialects that make up the world we live in.  I have no doubt that OUR America is much more diverse than it was 50 years ago, however, we have been slow to accept the beauty of our diversity.

Human Citizens is closing that gap each day. 

Our experience living and working in Atlanta for almost 20 years has allowed us to see the beauty of multiple cultures blending together, yet in so many ways it feels so divided.  We are currently looking for a new home, being African American, we have had to rule out certain areas of the “suburbs”.  We are aiming for a diverse neighborhood, that is not primarily one race or another; but we have found the areas we LOVE do not provide an adequate amount of diversity to raise our family.  We of course, want to be in a great school district, but it seems with good schools comes less diversity. Finding both is proving to be difficult. 

So what does that mean for us....we are looking in cities that are further from our jobs, and leaving the city we have established as home the last few years. We have opted to relocate because being the only African American family in a neighborhood would be rather uncomfortable for us.  It's a hard decision, but one we feel is important.  It feels so unfair to find a house in our price range and then think or wonder if we move in how will our neighbors treat us.  Is the neighborhood diverse enough; what about the schools?

We love Atlanta and are so proud of the city we live in (when bridges are not collapsing and snow is not falling.)  However, it feels so confusing to love an area when you don't feel 100% accepted living in it.  

This is only part of the reason that the Human Citizens brand was created. We are not about excluding any race, it's about including love, promoting peace and uniting a diverse America and beyond. 

Our brand is sparking a conversation, and unifying people who believe diversity is a beautiful thing.  We encourage those who think like us; those who have multiracial families, and those that see the value in wearing their truth to improve the current racial divide.  It is our pleasure to inspire our "models" with a voice of love and recognition every time they wear their Human Citizens apparel.

 

We have made it our mission to change racial bias and #RemoveTheLabels.

You can follow Human Citizens on Instagram here.

Use discount code: "meghanjoytoday" for 15% off for all their gear here.