Have you had your heart broken and are afraid to love again? Do you feel like you give yourself to others and don’t know how to love yourself? Do you yearn for a surge of passion and romance in your life? Do you love good music and poetry? If you can say yes to any or all of these questions, then do yourself a favor and click the link below to order my debut EP titled “The Restoration”. I intertwine poetry with the brilliant music of Robb McCall to explore all of the above emotions and feelings. As you allow yourself to become immersed in the music and share in my journey, I am confident you will fall in love with love again!
You can purchase the entire EP with the bonus track or download the digital version by clicking the link below:
All CDs, t-shirts and tickets ordered from my site will arrive with a hand written thank you note and autographed as you choose.
The Restoration is my gift to you. I believe we can do nothing without love first. I offer you a chance to release old love, rekindle your current love or to believe that the love you seek will become more than a dream. Get the love you desire today!
I am so excited to announce that my debut poetry EP titled “The Restoration” has gone international! Last week, I was interviewed on the Wayne Boucaud London radio show Black in 3D, and a few of the tracks as well as the fun and engaging interview can be heard by listening to the broadcast below. If you like what you hear, the EP is available for download on iTunes, Amazon Music and CDBaby in addition to other outlets. So don’t delay, press play and enjoy the great music and the love!
I thank you in advance for your support and please comment!
The Collective Open Mic is a warm, encouraging, non-judgmental family of poets, writers and artists and I am so thrilled to be asked to warm up the mic for the featured poets on Friday, August 15th at La Rose Jazz Club. I hope you can come out to support me and support the arts! #loveistheanswer
Yes, that is my left foot in a cast. A little over three and a half months ago I found myself laying flat on my back in the street after I stepped off of the curb onto a sheet of ice and fractured my Fibula (the smaller bone on the outside of my ankle). I thought it was just a sprain, but fortunately a good friend who is also a Registered Nurse found me in the street and urged me to go to the emergency room for an x-ray. I was devastated when the doctor told me I had suffered a fracture. I spent six weeks in a cast and on crutches, three weeks in an ugly, bulky black boot and now I’ve graduated to an ankle brace and running shoes. Thankfully, I’m making progress and I’ve got two more weeks to go before I am finished my physical therapy. It has been extremely challenging to say the least, especially as a self-employed, independent mother with two fairly young children. I am so thankful that the fracture did not warrant surgery and I am thrilled that I did not fracture the Tibia, which is the larger, weight bearing bone in my lower leg. And although it was extremely uncomfortable, frustrating, inconvenient and sometimes painful, I was also very aware and grateful that this was a temporary condition and that one day I would be walking again.
I felt sad and depressed at times but when those feelings started to rise, I reminded myself that there are millions of people who spend a majority of their lives on crutches, in wheelchairs and walkers. Making a mental gratitude list would pull me right out of my pity party. I must say that I learned quite a few things while I was incapacitated; wisdom that you and I have most likely heard somewhere before, but really came into focus during my recovery period and I felt I needed to share them with you:
Don’t mess with Mother Earth. When there is snow and ice on the ground, put your boots on, even if you are just “running” to the store. Your new cross trainers may have traction, but they are no match for snow, and definitely not when it’s laying on top of a thick patch of ice that you can’t see!
Stop trying to do everything all at once. The day I slipped on ice I felt so motivated. Earlier that morning I had a meeting with my friend and marketing consultant about a new business venture, I volunteered at my daughter’s school, went to a clients office, went food shopping, handled one of my duties as PTG (Parent Teacher Group) Treasurer and was on my way to squeeze in the rest of my “to do” list before the kids got in from school when I fell. As the sole caregiver for my seven and twelve year old, as well as a self-employed accountant during tax season (not to mention the volunteer positions and other ways I help my community), my plate was overflowing. I get so exhausted that sometimes I have days when I don’t feel like doing anything at all; then of course my “to do ” list gets backed up and I go into Superwoman mode. A good friend told me just a few days before my fracture, “even Superwoman has to put her cape in the dry cleaners for a few days” but Superwoman didn’t listen. I found out the hard way that when Superwoman is too stubborn to slow down, God sometimes does it for her. I am going to stop volunteering for so many things and am going to selfishly take time more time to focus on what’s most important to me instead of what I do to please others. Lesson learned.
Allowing others to love and care for you is not a sign of weakness. I was overwhelmed by the constant outpouring of love, prayers, text messages, emails, visits and help that I received while I was unable to take care of myself and my children. When you are unable to put any weight on one foot, and are subjected to crutches, it’s impossible to make beds, do laundry, stand at the stove and cook, wash your daughter’s hair, pick up after the kids and even sit down on the side of your child’s bed to give them a kiss goodnight. And since I am used to doing all of that myself, I hadn’t a clue of who, what and where to ask for help. You feel less than a woman because you can’t take care of your children’s needs, you can’t take care of your home and you feel so unattractive add useless. It’s almost depressing, but my reality was that I couldn’t do it and I couldn’t’ let my kids starve because of my pride so I was forced to ask for help. What I found out to my surprise is that my dear friends, my family and even those who were not so close to me were ready and willing to help me and support me in any way that I needed. I felt so loved and appreciated that it was sometimes overwhelming. Today I know just how much I am loved and appreciated.
Your children need to learn how to care for themselves. As a mother, I am so used to doing everything for my children yet I was now forced to start teaching my children how to take care of the household and hence themselves. I guess I thought that if I did everything they would always need me, not realizing that by doing everything, I am not doing my job as a mother, which is to teach them to be self-sufficient. I taught my son how to scramble eggs, make five minute gits and bake turkey bacon in the oven because I got tired of eating cold cereal for breakfast. To my surprise he loved cooking and loved the science behind it all! He also learned how to load the laundry and dryer. My daughter learned how to wash herself up at night and get herself into bed, and was my legs when I needed anything. My son took over my job of reading her a bedtime story. I was upset that I could no longer walk my daughter to school but she was so proud of the fact that she could get across the street and back on her own. Now that I am able, she doesn’t even want me to walk her to school! A mother’s job is to teach her children how to survive in this world without her. I can now take that off of my “to do” list.
Nothing is more important than your health; don’t take it for granted. I believe that if I hadn’t been getting to the gym on a fairly regular basis, staying active with my kids, eating healthy foods (I gave up fast food a few years ago), keeping my weight down, sacrificing to buy organic foods, practicing meditation and maintaining a healthy spiritual life, this recovery would have taken much longer. I am healthier than I thought. I also decided that I had to put my health first even if others (clients) were frustrated, disappointed, pushy, and lacked compassion, I had to take the time to heal and have faith that my needs would be provided for. If I allowed others’ needs to interfere with healing, I was jeopardizing my business anyway. At my age, the doctors were surprised that I did not need to stay in the cast or boot longer than I did. My physical therapists are amazed at the progress and strength I have in this ankle after just a few weeks of PT. I am amazed that after almost two months of not driving, being stuck in the house with two kids, still grieving the passing of my father, with limited connection with the outside world, I still maintained my sanity! All because I focused on my healing and put my needs first for a change. Which leads me to the last lesson…
Everything is temporary. One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from meditation and Buddhist teachings and had to re-learn during this recovery is that everything is temporary. When you are in the midst of a crisis or uncomfortable situation and you feel like you will not last or that it will never end, think of a lightening storm. I remember as a little girl I was taught that instead of just sitting there feeling fear, to count the seconds in between the claps of thunder because the longer the time in between two claps of thunder, the farther away the storm. I would be so focused on counting that it took my mind off of the fear. The storm would move further away and before I realized it, there was no second clap of thunder to count at all, and the storm was over. Even storms pass through. If we remember that things change every single second, then we can focus on what we can do in the moment to enjoy the time and space we have, knowing that even if this moment is difficult we are guaranteed not to be faced with it forever.
When they told me I fractured my ankle, I cried. I couldn’t imagine why God would immobilize me when I had two kids, a household and a business to manage. It seemed so overwhelming and felt like a prison sentence at the time. I imagined at my age that it would take forever for me to get this cast off and get some normalcy in my life. Today as I sit here writing and walking around in my bare feet, I take the time to absorb the lessons I was knocked on my behind to learn. Save your energy on stressing about a situation, because the moments are only temporary. Just let go and allow yourself to embrace the love and joy in the atmosphere because it is there and love is forever.
Here we are a month later and still no return of the yucky head lice or nits (eggs) so I thought it would be helpful to parents like me, who are virgins to this experience, to follow-up my first blog post on March 2nd https://tonitalove.com/2014/03/02/yes-black-girl-you-can-get-head-lice/ about how to eradicate head lice from African-American hair using natural products.
You definitely need to refer to my original blog post where I found out that one of the best ways to kill head lice is heat. After the Rid shampoo that they sell in the drugstores started to take my daughter’s natural hair out on the spot, I searched for an organic remedy. In a few words, the natural remedy is heat to kill them and heavy oil to help loosen the eggs that they leave behind. Both my daughter and I wear our African-American hair in its natural state, but I did invest in a flat-iron for the special occasions when she wants to wear her hair straight or in spiral curls. I never expected to use it for any other reason, but I’m even more thankful now that I have it.
Well, after the first wash and flat-iron, and the use of the Robi Comb that I mentioned in my earlier post, I had killed all of the lice (and yes I did see live lice….ewww!) I could see in her hair. The process was tedious because she has long, thick, wavy hair and you have to comb through it in sections about 1/4th of an inch thick in order to see and remove the lice. They love to hide in the crown of the head as well as the edges (near the ears, forehead and nape of the neck) and will move from one area to the other as you are working through the head. Contrary to popular belief lice are not white; the live adult lice are brown and the eggs (nits) are white. The adult lice are pretty easy to dislodge. It’s the eggs that glue themselves to the hair shaft, that are difficult to remove. I proceeded to get all visible lice and nits eliminated from her hair, then washed and flat ironed it again and sent her to school. It had been a two-day process and I was so proud of myself that I had zapped all of those scalp vultures and that I didn’t see one white speck of anything in her hair. Twenty minutes later I get a call from the nurse that she could not return to her classroom. The reason I didn’t see any white eggs was that the remaining eggs had started to hatch and had turned brown, making it almost impossible to see in a head of sandy brown hair! I was devastated and she was so disappointed that she would miss yet another day of school. The nurse asked if she could snip a strand or her hair with the brown nit on it so that I knew what I was looking for, and I realized this wouldn’t be an easy resolution.
Feeling defeated, I picked up the phone and called my local health food store, Martindale’s Natual Market http://www.martindalesnutrition.com/ to see if they carried a natural head lice removal kit. Hallelujah, they did, and it was surprisingly inexpensive at about $25 for the shampoo, lice oil and nit removal comb kit. It’s a lot less than taking your child to a lice removal salon and paying $100 or more for their services! I was so happy and so relieved, but here I was with a broken ankle, on crutches and didn’t know who I could get to pick it up for me. The staff at Martindale’s is extremely well-informed about holistic and organic foods, nutrition and care and are always so compassionate but it floored me when the woman on the phone said that she would bring it to me when she finished her shift. I almost cried and thanked her a million times when she showed up at my door less than two hours later. Since I had removed the lice I proceeded to use the Safe 4 People “De Bug Lice Oil” http://www.safe4people.com/html/ptotoday.htm which after treatment, makes the hair shaft so oily that the nits are much easier to remove and sometimes slide off by themselves. I’ve heard from other parents that mayonnaise or petroleum jelly work in the same fashion, but none were African-American and I didn’t want to risk taking the chance of it not working in my daughter’s hair. I followed the directions on the oil, once again sectioning the hair and applying this extremely thick castor oil-based solution to her dry hair. It took about an hour to apply, and two more hours of her sitting with a shower cap on her head. Two hours later (less time if you use their shampoo first; I chose not too since the shampoo is for removing that lice and I had done that already), I rinsed her hair in warm water once again went through the tedious process of removing the nits from her hair. Since her hair is so thick and curly, and it’s much easier to use the tiny nit comb on straight hair I had to blow dry and flat-iron her hair once again. I could see that a lot of the nits had washed off with the warm water, but I still needed to section her hair and comb through each section with the nit comb, this time using a flashlight to ensure I could see every little brown nit possible! Two more hours later ( suggest you start this early and not wait until after dinner like I did!) I put a little Jojoba oil in her hair, lightly touched her edges with a bottle of tea tree oil I also purchased from Martindales (I read that lice do not like tea tree oil), and sent her to bed on fresh linens and a brand new pillow. I was taking no chances!
The next morning I checked her hair and scalp again, feeling paranoid with each piece of white lint or dandruff flake I found, and sent her to school. We both prayed that it would be a successful day. About half an hour later it dawned on me that the phone hadn’t rung and it was well past the time that she should be in her classroom. I didn’t want to assume, so I called the school nurse myself. She said “well done, her hair and scalp look great”; I exhaled. “How did you do it without using the drugstore solution?” she asked. I proceeded to give her the short version. She said that she shared my experience with the nurse from the other elementary school because she who was unaware that children of color could even get head lice. She also said she would share it with other parents and I let her know that I’m happy to share my story with any other African-American parents at the school who need this information.
So, yes I am now the head lice removal expert (hahaha) and I am happy to pass on my knowledge to other parents. She will be wearing her hair up and braided if necessary at least during school hours and will not be sharing dress-up wigs or hats with her friends for quite some time. I truly hope I will never have to rely on this information myself ever again, but at least if I have to go through this again, I will grab the Safe4people kit, my Robi Comb and my flat-iron and get to work!
I am writing this to inform not just parents of African-American children, but also School nurses and all those who have spread the myth that it is impossible for African-American hair to become infested with head lice or that black girls cannot get head lice from their non-black friends. I know first hand that it is not true. I found three live lice in my daughter’s hair just a few days ago, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I recalled years ago when there was a case at my son’s Pre-school and his teacher told me that he didn’t need to be checked because head lice do not gravitate towards, nor attach themselves to hair shafts that are not completely straight and that the only lice that would “take” to our hair are African lice. Naively, I believed her and felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to be concerned about that nasty parasite unless maybe in the future when we embarked on a voyage to Africa.
Every time there was an incident of head lice at either of my children’s schools, I would exhale a sigh of relief quietly boasting and feeling sorry for those “others” who had to deal with those horrible parasites. Well, as I pulled out the two nymphs (baby lice) fighting to escape my comb and put them on a napkin, I became one of those “others”. I immediately screamed for my son, the resident insect expert; “Frankie!!! Is this an ant or head lice??” He is fascinated by and has an innate knowledge of anything relating to science and earth and affirmed what I feared. As if he thought I didn’t believe him, he Googled lice, and quickly printed out a picture that matched my specimen exactly. I was shocked. I thought, how could this happen? Is it because her hair is not as tight and kinky as mine?? My daughter has always worn her hair natural (meaning braided, afro puffs, two strand twists or an all out natural afro) and only three times in her six years have I ever straightened it.
After I shook the shock from my face, I called a friend to purchase the recommended shampoo because I didn’t want to these little critters to multiply. While waiting, and doing the necessary stripping of beds, and cleaning of pillows, stuffed animals, coats etc. I did some research that I wanted to share with anyone looking for accurate information about head lice in African-Americans as well as the most natural, painless and effective process I found in removing them. Keep in mind, my daughter’s hair is not chemically processed so I have not researched the best method for anything other than black hair in its natural state.
Most of the sites that I reviewed stated that African-Americans are less likely to attract lice and have had fewer occurrences of head lice because prior to the return of natural (meaning not chemically processed) hair styles in the past decade or so, the majority would chemically process the hair to straighten it or subject it to extreme amounts of heat by blow drying and straightening the hair. If your normal routine involved either of these things, you can be sure that the lice (singular, louse) would not survive. I never remember anyone during my school years contracting lice, but we were always applying heat to straighten our hair and suffocating our scalps with petroleum jelly and other thick hair pomade in order to keep the sheen and texture and from everything I’ve read, if we did have lice, it would not have survived.
This article from the natural hair blog blackgirllonghair.com http://blackgirllonghair.com/2013/06/4-reasons-natural-hair-is-more-susceptible-to-lice/ was extremely helpful and confirmed the information I found from the Centers for Disease Control which never stated that African-Americans could not get head lice, just that they were less likely. Once I calmed down and accepted that we had to deal with this infestation, I applied the recommended drug store lice shampoo. Never again! My daughter’s hair started coming out in small clumps on my finger tips as I applied it and once again I asked my son to google a natural remedy for removing head lice in African-American hair. Thank God for technology! There were suggestions from other sites such as using a heavy substance like mayonnaise, petroleum jelly or tea tree oil to suffocate the lice on the scalp which all seemed like it would take too long. He eventually found a You Tube video produced by http://www.elimilice.com, a salon in Atlanta that specializes in the natural removal of head lice. In this particular video they demonstrate the process they utilize to remove lice from African-American girls that wear their natural hair. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEPj0vrwygw. Hallelujah! I had purchased a flat-iron last summer and I knew that it exceeded 200 degrees, which would be more than enough heat to kill the lice. I was so thrilled that I didn’t have to put more of that toxic “lice removal” shampoo in her hair over and over again and could most likely exterminate all of them by heat. I throughly washed out the shampoo, sectioned her hair, and as she watched a movie on her Kindle Fire, I went through the process of blow drying, flat ironing and using a fine-tooth comb to rid each section of hair of any eggs I could see. It was a long process but it killed the lice and she was thrilled to have a new hair style.
The next day I spoke to the school nurse and she told me that she uses a “Robi” lice removal comb (picture below) http://www.robicomb.com/ that she would need to use on my daughter before she is able to return to her classroom. It’s an electronic comb that zaps (kills) any lice it comes into contact with, and is a safe and painless way to get rid of the lice and check the hair at any time after the initial infestation to make sure you eliminated all of the parasites. It’s about $30 at the local drugstore but I think it’s well worth the cost since I will be using it often to follow-up the initial treatment and from time to time to confirm their removal. It’s also FSA approved, so it’s a deductible medical expense or can be reimbursed through your HSA or MSA (medical savings account). I did use it the day after I did the flat-iron process and the Robi comb did find and kill one louse right there on the spot. What a life-saver! I’ve checked her hair several times since and have not seen any lice or eggs in her hair.
In addition to the hair, anything that may have been near or come in contact with their head must be bagged up tightly for about four or more days so the lice can suffocate. Or if you have a sanitize cycle on your washer like myself which allows the temperature to reach 180 degrees, you can wash everything. Bed sheets, pillows, stuffed animals, pajamas, clothing, coats, hats, towels, couch pillows and even your clothing and your bed sheets if your child crawled into bed with you recently.
All I can say is thank goodness, my son wears his hair extremely close to his head or I would have had two heads to process! My daughter’s hair is thick and curly and half way down her back when it is wet, so it is not something I ever want to do again. But the reality is that she does have a few more years of elementary school, and being the huggy, touch-feely lovable kid that she is, I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened again one day. I will however, be much more informed and prepared. I hope this post helps another parent to have that confidence too.
Well, it’s day two of this winter blizzard, and the schools have been closed both days. When you’re homebound with two young, energetic kids you have to keep a sense of humor and an attitude of faith and hope! I enjoy sleeping in, and I love my kids dearly, but boy am I looking forward to the dog days of summer! I wrote this poem for fun. It’s titled “A Snowbound Single-Mom’s Prayer”. Hope you like it:
Now I come in from the cold No help with groceries Nor hand to hold The kids are excited about the snow And my only prayer is that the lights won’t blow Please keep the heat and the television going So I’ll have a little peace and work flow while it’s snowing And after movies, popcorn and snuggling of course And the kids are finally tucked in their bed May a handsome and thoughtful neighbor arrive To lay my salt and shovel a path around my…shed.
Well, today’ it’s back to school for the kids, and getting back to the mindset of prosperity, writing and productive work for me! This year was the first year that I stayed home with the kids for their entire winter break and did not schedule them for day camp at the Y or any other place. I thought that I deserved to have just one day to myself during their ten day break, but intuition told me to just enjoy them. Sometimes when I hear that voice that whispers to me to take time out for them, I can become fearful that I’m getting a message that something may happen to them or me and that is the reason we should cherish this time. But then I realize that sometimes it may just be their subconscious speaking to mine and they just need more mommy time. So, I made sure we had groceries and that the cable bill was paid and made no plans other than to attend a local Kwanzaa celebration and enjoy our family and friends during the holidays. We had a few impromptu yet fulfilling lunch and dinner gatherings with friends, some football, board games, reading, lots of movie time on the couch, a few pajama days and even some days that they were both not feeling well, and recovering. It was the first time that I purposely chose not to try and “use” the time to cram in every library, museum or other extra curricular event that looked exciting and intriguing during the holiday break. They both get so over-worked (in my opinion) at school that I wanted them to just do nothing for a change. Yes we may have put on a pound or two and the kids may be raddled due to the relaxed sleep schedules, but their bodies are healed, they got lots of love, snuggles, family time and cultural enrichment, and most of all a break from the day to day stress of school and extra-curricular activities.
They are not over-scheduled like many suburban kids I know of these days, but I do try to balance the lack
of gross motor activities in the schools with sports and dance and other physical recreation. Aside from the recreation, they both will be taking Mandarin Chinese this semester on Saturday mornings (my son is in his sixth year, and my daughter wants to do whatever her big brother does), so we have a few commitments but not excessive. I don’t do more than one sport in a season unless it’s swimming lessons, and unless they are with their father for the weekend, or beg me to see the latest Disney movie, we spend Friday and Sunday nights at home. Even energetic and/or brilliant kids need down time too. They need time to relax and release and not worry about time and schedules and assignments. And for this reason Friday nights at our house are sacred. They are almost always reserved for what the kids refer to as “movie night”. We get early showers, get in our pajamas, pull out the fleece blankets, search for a great family movie, pop some popcorn (or grab a bag from the Wawa) and head to the couch for snuggle time. It’s the most inexpensive way to treat them to a special night and after all of these years it’s still their favorite night of the week. They love it because they get uninterrupted quality time with me and I love it because I know there will soon be a day when Friday nights will be spent with a blanket, myself and a good book because they’ll be at the mall, going to a movie or a party with their friends. So for now, for reasons I don’t necessarily share with them, it’s my favorite night of the week too!