The Spirit Of……

The spirit of hate will not win against the spirit of love; it may appear to be winning according to the media. The spirit of envy will not win against the spirit peace; it may appear to be as we compare ourselves by what we scrolling through the timelines. The spirit of doubt will not win against the spirit of faith; it may appear to be because of the picture that is painted by it’s political artists. I am writing from a place of compassion for every person in this world right now. With everything that we see and hear from the news and water cooler discussions overheard, we can’t help but be affected or just plain bothered. And the human part of us undoubtedly is restless, but the spirit of us knew that life on this earth would be this way. There is nothing new under the sun and the spirit of goodness WILL always win. God will always win no matter what it looks like. The spirit of who we are “SPIRITUALLY” cannot be shaken; the spirit of who we are is moved to pray, love and give. The “spirit” of us is always in faith. The “spirit” of us will disperses peace within us no matter how much confusion is being stirred around. The “spirit” of us is awakened to give to the poor and needy in spirit. Why? Because we can do all things through Christ which strengthens. If He says to do it; best believe you can even when you don’t feel capable.

I had a discussion with Sean the other night about the Bible and religion. He is so inquisitive. He believes that there is so much information missing, leaving it contradicting itself. He showed me pictures and art that reflected people of color actually being Jacob and Joseph. I agreed with him about the discoveries to a certain extent. Some don’t believe in the Bible for that very purpose; but what that said to me was that the Bible must be real if there is missing information. However the “spirit” of who I am now reads from a spirit of faith. I can attest to my bible reading being a religion at a point in my walk, because I thought that I had to read it in order to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. That was my ignorance and only reading from a natural state of mind at the time, because Jesus spoke up against religion. The very words in red I read during that time, I was actually judging the religious leaders. But it wasn’t until now that I am able to see from my spiritual eyes; I was no better than them. We don’t realize that when we are devoted to something that has been taught to us or enforced upon us; it is in fact religion. If and when you limit yourself to “what you know only” it becomes a god; it IS a religion. We have to push pass knowledge and be open to the “spirit” of who we are. Live by the spirit of who we are. The breath of LIFE was breathed into the nostrils of man according to Genesis 1 and that breath is “spirit”. We all possess it, we just have to be awakened to it.

I encourage you today, don’t stop here at fear from the media; push pass and be moved by the spirit of faith to believe that evil will not win. And at that point, from an individual perspective, we are ushered into becoming a corporate nation of “spirit” led people. We move out of compassion for those that are hurting. We move out of a spirit of faith to encourage others that are affected by this “stuff”. What I know about Jesus moves me; but what I have experienced “Spiritually” with Jesus moves me even the more. What I know about Sean and his intellect moves me because we have deep conversations. But what I have experienced with Sean moves me differently. He is gifted with a special love for those that are treated unfairly and unjustly and yep, that love is a spiritual love.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

You Are Full of It

I can’t stress it enough to myself and many that I witness to, we are enough and we measure up! My youngest son and I have deep conversations about his break up from his first love (a girl of course). He comes to me, very transparent about the issues in his mind he battles with about their break up. This is where I too am able to be transparent and do my testifying of the truth. I educate him on the fact that in this life we have things we are delivered from and things that we yet have to battle. One in particular, the insecurities of being accepted. This is a generational battle. It’s one I do not believe we will totally be rid of; Paul calls it the thorn in our flesh. The thorn that will keep us humbled and dependent upon the strength and grace of God. However, with God we will always get the victory. Battles have to be fought; and will continue to have to be. Battles are a part of our life’s order, kingdom order, world order and military order. We won’t totally be done fighting battles until we expire. So you might as well STAND knowing that you will ultimately get the victory; whether it be today, tomorrow or next year. Insecurity, Joshua and Carla will not just die. The spirit of anything, sister or brother, lingers and takes up occupancy in our minds and all around us. In our minds, because we were fashioned in it when we were born, raised, taught, influenced by or if we at some point in our life chose “it”. But the GREAT NEWS is, God knows it and He also is a part of it. I say that because, the devil, the spirit of evil wouldn’t have power, if God had not given it a choice to be evil. Everything that God chose, has a purpose and it serves its purpose. Evil has one, whether we believe it or not; and guess what? Evil is in us. But hold on, before you get offended; God who IS Good all the time and all the time He IS good is also in you. And He is also a part of the choice that He obliged to every human being. Every day, week, month or year we have to battle with our ”it-sue” (issue) we are given the choice at that moment to win or not.

There are “it-sues” that we have truly been delivered from and those are the things we are not forced, any longer, to make a choice about. I was a marijuana smoker in my past and even in the last couple of years I revisited it, but it is something that I can say I have been delivered from. Why? Because I don’t like its affect on me. But at some point in my life, I thought I had to have it. NOT today, therefore I can declare that I have been delivered. But this darn fight with “am I enough“, and the assumptions I make of what others think of me; continues to be a fight that I choose to win by standing and declaring that I AM ENOUGH with God!

This blog is basically to enlighten and encourage you. Now, just because you gave your life to Christ, does not mean you are done fighting. It just means you no longer have to fight this battle alone. He IS in you and IS a very present help in your time of trouble/choosing. STAND believing that you are full of God’s grace, goodness and love and you my friend do not have to be perfect to walk in that truth. Your cup runneth over Psalms 23 says; so believe it, give power to that truth!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

The Four Colored Girls in Harmony

I walked into City View Florist on Saturday, super excited about the arrangement that I created and ordered. This arrangement represents each character in my upcoming novel, “The Wedding Before the Wedding”. When I walked, in my face was already lit up and so was my heart. When Carly brought out the arrangement, I immediately felt my heart drop and it was evident that I was not pleased. But Carly was not going to let me leave without fixing it, absolute GREAT customer service. I already knew we couldn’t add the Iris, because the Texas heat would have devoured the delicate flower. My creation was missing something else; I just wasn’t sure what it was. Carly says, “follow me to the fridge and we can figure it out”. We head back to the fridge but it still takes me a minute, because I wasn’t exactly sure about what was missing. Then I spotted the lilies. It is the flower that represents love in this arrangement as well as the blissfully married character in the novel. If we don’t have Lily, we don’t have the example of a “standing no matter what” kind of love in the midst of all her single friends. Mukiako Wright, who is pictured in the featured photo is not only the face of Lily, but she is a true example of “love in marriage”. She and her husband have been colorfully and harmoniously married for 23 years.

After the florals were revamped perfectly in their vase, I was on to the next mission. The mission of meeting and learning more about the faces that will represent this beautiful bouquet. The bouquet that epitomize passion, strength, courage, love and wisdom. Capricia Bell-Foggle who is 2nd left, is the face of Jade and the true life best friend of Mukiako (Lily). Jade is the succulent, the greenery that balances the novel’s friendship with a delicate strength. Capricia’s beauty, personality and genuine spirit speaks exactly that. She has been given the role of GodMama in Mukiako’s children’s lives; and GodMamas always have an amazing strength. I’m too excited! Tameka Bolton is the face of our dear and wise friend Rose. Tameka took her role very seriously, she wore a red dress with roses on it to our dinner meeting. Absolutely appreciate her for that. Tameka has personally shown me support and love since I’ve met her. She invited me into her life as a sister. Tameka is a phenomenal nurse, (not just saying that) I’ve seen the evidence of how much she genuinely loves her patients and her work. She is the perfect example for the role of Rose. I am so grateful for the connections I’ve made with these ladies. Dahlia is our next character and she is quite intriguing, but that role has not been filled yet. Dahlia is our flower of passion; she loves her monetary status and she is not ashamed to tell the world how she makes her coins; so stay tuned.

Mukiako and Capricia did not show up for our dinner empty handed either. The cup and butterfly ring were such beautiful and heartwarming gestures. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I am thankful for the evident support. My dreams start here! I have butterflies just thinking about it.

I hope this mini synopsis gets you excited about Assistant Principal Iris Jeanine Loda’s and her devoted friends’ journies of excitement, disappointments, marriages and main journey of back to self commitments. Stay tuned October 1st is the expected arrival!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Float Like a Butterfly…Float Like a Butterfly

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love butterflies. I love their grace and I love their delicate yet bold being. I never really embraced my boldness because I was too afraid to be. Others would see the delicate part and of course; I would allow them to take advantage of that. I just didn’t know I could be both; but I Am.

I was born first, so that makes me the eldest; right? Being born first, most people would assume, you take on responsibility with ease and great confidence. So, why in the world has it taken me so darn long to embrace that? I remember one day my “little sister“ making a comment to me that just passionately angered me. It angered me to the point that it made me rise up and take back my authority that was given to me before the foundation of this world. My son made a statement that she and I had the same car and we were living in the same apartment complex at the time. So my little big sister’s response to that was “and all she did was be born first”. I absolutely started to examine myself, my decisions and my life at that point; and I refuse to “Just Be Born First”. I was that “big little sister” that she stood up for against everybody and anybody. When something was unfair to me, I didn’t have enough courage to rise up and speak up for myself.

Since making this drastic decision to move from my homeland of Alabama, get a divorce and reclaim my identity; the challenges of keeping the momentum going are still challenges. I can attest to some of those fights with my past fears of standing up for myself, I‘ve been able to step into the ring and finish with a knockout. Yep, leaving my past fears out for the count. Not to say that all of them have been victories, but in some instances, fear was able to stack up enough points leaving me to stumble out of the ring with a black eye and a bruised jaw. Yep, my Cut Man being God, my Trainer and Assistant Trainer being God; but in some of those fights I was not listening. I would get back into the fight and get smacked around some more.

God has always had a plan for His first born, and I intend to live it out! From now until the day I take my last breath, Carla Dulaney will fight to win and no longer fight to prove anything.

Fighting to win includes confidence and giving more power to who you are and who you were born to be. Muhammad Ali said it best, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was”. Confidence, is an acknowledgement that gives power to what may not be evident at the time. I don’t believe Muhammad tried to prove anything, he just was. Fighting to prove always takes a lot out of you; it takes more energy to prove others wrong than just being. Being is a posture, it is a position that one takes, it is an absolute stance! You are, so therefore BE!

Love You Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

A Camoed Kinda Love

Perfect Love cast out FEAR! A relaxed love. A love without fear and worry. A love that REST on “all things will work for my good”. A patient love. A perfected love knows that it will work out alright. I can just melt and shout all over myself because as a woman whose only experience with love was always based in fear. Fear of what man could do to me, so I was whatever he wanted me to be. Fear of what people would say about me, so I would have been whatever I needed to be to please them. But what I awakened to today is that, I am such a lover of people that I often would love them so much that I would rush in to save them; while never being designated as a saviour. If a person comes into my life (whether I felt it was divine or not) I would take on the responsibility of trying to protect them; so I thought. And when things appeared to be in disarray or they came to me in tears; I wanted to control the outcome of that person’s life. Ooooooo Buddy, I called myself serving someone else’s circumstance notices “I am Carla and I have super powers”. “Girl please, girl bye and bye Felicia” are the notices I serve myself today to remind me that I am not strong enough to live my life and somebody else’s. I came out alright (figuring it all out with the Lord) and they will too.

Revelation came to me today as I was standing at the phone booth to go in and throw on my super cape. CONTROL CAN CAMOUFLAGE ITSELF AS LOVE! According to Wikipedia, there are many reasons a chameleon camouflages itself but more commonly, to regulate their temperatures and for social signaling. It’s like love is the chameleon and fear is the mechanism within us that triggers the desire to control. And really what happens is, it gets out of control. Picture a chameleon overwhelmed with fear, oh my! Think about how many times it will camouflage itself and eventually adapt to fearful conditions but IN FEAR. Fear and survival became a lifestyle for me; I’d become accustomed to fear and worry. Jumping to save a situation because I thought I possessed control. Convincing myself overtime, it was because I was loving others like God says to love them. Love them “assssssssssssssssssssssss” you love yourself.

It is rather disturbing to sit back and watch your loved one go through and all you can do is try to rush in to save them. But I am reminded of God’s love for us; perfect love casts out fear according to John, who was one of the closest to Jesus. So he knew first hand the burden of watching someone he loved suffer so much injustice. Loving someone truly is stepping back and evaluating your OWN perceptions and fears about their suffering. What looks like pain to you may be the very thing that they have chosen to accept and grow through. And yeah, there are those who whine to you about their trial and even try and make you feel guilty for not rushing in. But again, evaluate yourself and if we want it; we’ll develop the boldness to say no.

As mothers, as fathers, as friends, as spouses, as daughters and sons we fear what happens to those we love. But the key word is fear, life is full of the things that grow and develop us. It just is! My babies are adults now and it’s still a challenge accepting what they must develop and grow through. I have to stay upstairs or on my roof to ensure sometimes that I don’t stand at the phone booth and come out caped up or should I say “camouflaged in control“ up! They are going to be alright! Sister those you love so much are going to be alright; KNOW THAT! Brother, I know how much you want to protect them but they will be just fine; KNOW THAT!

We are all infused with love. We were born in it, with it and it flows automatically from us. However, it can be overshadowed by worry and fear and we’ll start to operate from that place; yielding no fruit, only weariness and stress. But love, I’ve found just flows genuinely and smoothly like a river; no force at all. Love bears fruit, fruit of joy and absolute peace.

Living Simply, Without Force & Loving You Always

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Photo by Carla Dulaney @Trinity River Trails

Zero Consumption

I’ve been auditing water consumption accounts for a year now for the city’s water company and it’s been an interesting little ride. I like doing what I do, because I get to investigate whether a customer is having a meter issue or if the patterns of consumption have changed over time in order to determine leaks. As a writer, I’ve come to realize that I am an Investigator. Pretty soon, I’ll be bringing material that I’ve built up enough courage to investigate. Right now though, I’m bringing you the good news of investigating my self and this journey I’ve been privileged to grow in.

The biggest part of the audit is the “Zero Consumption Accounts”. These require me to investigate whether there is lack of communication from the meter and the flow of the water. The house may be vacant or the meter has stopped and I then would create an investigation for our crew to check it out. Well, it got me to thinking today about my life, my former marriage and my future relationships. Something was missing, either I was vacant or my “meter” (motivation to do) had stopped in the marriage. Something was missing in my life, either I was vacant or my “meter” (motivation to do) had stopped to take care of other folk. I refuse to let this pattern continue in my life, in my relationships or in my next marriage/relationship. So I’ve been doing some investigations on this journey and doggone it I’m gonna be honest about everything. It’s always been scarey to be honest because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings or be looked at as a bad christian; so I would just shut up and shut down. And my meter stopped and I would eventually become vacant; if you will. There was always either miscommunication or non at all. I would just pray about it and hope it would JUST CHANGE. As a Deacon’s Wife, I didn’t do what the Bible was saying that “Faith without works is dead”. It didn’t register, I guess because at the same time Jesus in red letters said “if you believe in your heart and not doubt you can have whatever you say”. I was just gone stand on that one and wait for the mountain to move and be casted in the sea.

There is nothing like a two way conversation; being heard and listening. Investigations consist of both asking questions and listening for answers. When the work orders come back from the “Zero Consumption Investigations“, the resolution would be to either change the meter or let it be, since the house is vacant or the meter is not in use. But at least we’ve done our part. When we figure out what’s causing the disturbance in our own lives, create a work order (talk about it), ask questions and come to a resolution to figure out what to DO to fix it. We cannot go back and change what we failed to do, either out of ignorance, fear or stubbornness; but we can make a choice to put in the work necessary to do better in order to be better. And do what John Mayer sang and “say whatcha need to say”, “even if your hands are shaking”; “even if your faith is broken”.

Love Always

Carla Mashell Dulaney.

By Frankie, I Think I’ve Got It!

“There’s a time of the day, when the sun is going down, that’s the golden time of day.“ ‘It’s the time that the sun turns to gold all around.” Frankie says “people let me tell you there’s a time in your life when you find who you are, that’s the golden time of day”. Frankie Beverly and Maze were my step daddy and mama’s favorite to play when we were preparing to head over to Fairhope Beach on a Saturday. We sat on the back of the truck sitting on a backseat that came from someone else’s vehicle; and ironically pops truck was gold. However, that song didn’t bear witness with me until a few years ago, and usually as kids these types of songs don’t register until later in life. It didn’t even dawn on me until now that Joe Lee’s truck was gold too. As I prepare today for the last graduation of the mighty 8; I’m grateful for each and every path I have taken to get where I am right now. I ain’t mad, I ain’t bitter and I ain’t sad; I am what my mama and the Dulaney Family would call GLAD! Me and my golden hair is in our golden time of day; I can see it shining Frankie! I’m gonna shine this love all around because the best is yet to come.

Observing how the group is titled “Maze featuring Frankie Beverly” leads me to believe that life somehow is set up that way too. We are the lead singers of this group, life truly IS what you make it. And it’s never too late for you to get it. It takes longer for some than others, but again; it’s never too late for YOU to write the lyrics to your song. Introducing: “Life featuring Carla Dulaney”. Put your name in there “Life featuring _________”. Doesn’t it have a beautiful ring to it too. Life featuring Carla Mashell wouldn’t be life if it wasn’t for the sad moments that grew me up, those battles that I fought in my mind but had no courage to fight with my hands and those disappointments that I finally got over. And I mean, I got over. I am finally able to say and believe that I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR; I am no longer anybody’s victim is my new song. Even my testament to domestic violence sounds different; it has no lyrics at all, just some waaaaaay in the background music.

I love how Frankie expressed the lyrics; along with the sounds of Maze; “when you feel deep inside, all the love you’re lookin for, don’t it make you feel okay?” My answer is YES Frankie. Yes, all the love you need, is deep inside; you came here with it, you were fashioned it, you were wrought in it; and don’t you forget it. Love and Be Loved Sis; Love and Be Loved Bruh.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Unfinished Crown Business

When we reach that moment that all of the kids are graduated and gone on with their own lives, “what now” is the question that’s asked of many mothers. It’s like, what do I do with myself? I have left a marriage that I just couldn’t find happiness in, my kids have become mothers and fathers, and it’s MY TIME. Really? My time? You have got to be kidding, it’s really “my time”? It is one of the hardest things that I have been able to embrace. What the heck do I do with myself now? I guess since I’m tired of all of this hair, I reckon I’ll cut it off and go blonde. All of those beautiful Pinterest pics are giving me life. The natural TWA (Teeny Weeny Afros) are giving me life. Oh, not to mention the tapered, full curls in the top, absolute LIFE! I was so sure that this would work for me right off the bat. So, bam, I’m doing it. This long thick stuff is too much work anyway. I’m getting too seasoned in my life to wet this stuff every morning and try to figure it out. I do not have the time to roll this every Sunday and wear the curls for about three days and they’re gone. I am done, it’s the summer and besides I am walking everyday to keep myself in shape, hair is the last thing I want to be dealing with. I definitely am not in a place (never was) where I want to pay somebody regularly to maintain what I believe I can do myself. (I may consider it though, lol) These were the sentiments to why I chose to go bald. “Wash and freaking go“ is what I’m aiming for. Little did I know, this was going to be ANOTHER process. I didn’t realize that half of these pictures were professionally twisted and some were probably big chops that went through the whole process to get to that finished place. Deep breaths, many sighs and woosahs. My sweet guy friend always knows just what to say after I said “I should have thought this through”. He makes me feel so much better, “sometimes you can think it through and there would still be issues”. Best friend ever! You’re so right Sean, which brings me to my next point, “Just Do It”. Don’t be scared, work through it and trust the process; you can make it through anything Carla D and you WILL make it through this.

Y’all, when I left that shop, I was naively confident that I had done something. Woke up the next morning and my hair was breaking and I was panicking. I called on the one and only, Angela “Scissorhands“ Craig (Master Cosmetologist) and she didn’t hesitate to educate me on my next steps. The Aphoghee 2 in 1 Protein Treatment, Balancing Moisturizer and the Purple Shampoo got me through. Those steps got me to the next phase, but Lord Jesus, I still have a ways to go.

I so wanted the curls that I “thought” I lost in the process to come back, but what I discovered, is that the crown of my head wasn’t quite finish transforming from perm to natural. So what now? Do I shave it all off and get to the root and do the “big chop” anyway or do I just simply finish this process in spite of the interruption? Nope. How about, just finish the process. You’ve come this “wavy/curly” far and it did’t stop the growth; so keep it moving. Embrace the color, or lack there of and continue the journey happily. Because Lady, you still have a lot of living to do. Despite what you think was a big mistake, you can make the best of it; you are SUPERNATURALLY HUMAN. That’s what we do; we bounce back.

So hun, you are in there! You are still the Queen! You are still the King! I know the kids have their own lives, but use that energy that was for them to devote to the things you’ve always wanted to do. Queen, you’ve given him all of you and he used you; ok turn that pain into a pinnacle. King, that chick you chose would rather have her baby daddy; ok turn that disappointment into discovering the woman that’s for you.

Love Always

Carla Mashell Dulaney

Once a Yoke..Now a Crown

Is it just me or when we as women reach a certain age we cannot stand too much around our neck. I can’t stand to feel like I’m suffocating or getting too hot. Certain scarves are too bulky to wear as fashion or an accessory. I would gladly wear one if I know it’s only purpose is to keep me warm while I’m outside. But to wear one as an accessory to my outfit, I am over it just thinking about it. The turquoise and orange came from a young lady that was a student at Phillips Preparatory School as a thank you. But, I just could never find anything to wear with it and it was so bulky around my neck; so it stayed in my winter box until Thursday, May 7, 2020. The cheetah print scarf came from my bonus daughter Iman, she had great style too and I use to beg for her stuff all of the time. The red and white scarf came from my cousin as a birthday present one year and I also kept trying to wear it, but I could never really find the right thing to wear with it. My sweet cousin Keysha (Lord rest her soul) had a very unique taste and style, but she always wore beautiful things. When I decided to wear this scarf and pair it with my natural puff, it had already been decided that it was “scarf week” by me and my sweet guy friend. The day I wore Keysha’s scarf I got a powerful revelation from Daddy “what use to be a yoke around your neck, now has become a crown upon your head”. I wasn’t for sure what it meant just yet, but before the week was out, I would soon find out.

I didn’t realize that wearing a scarf everyday this week was going to take me wetting my hair each morning and applying Shea Moisture Mousse and the Ecostyle Gel. This quickly opened my eyes to how much work goes into maintaining the natural. But, its absolutely worth it, seeing how what I use to take for granted has now become something I really can appreciate. I was getting my hair washed and pressed every two weeks up until I was 16 years old and just watching the girls in high school rock the stacks, I just had to have it. I got my perm and my short in the top and long in the back from Doretha and it took a long time for my hair to get trained to stack. By a year’s time I was cutting and perming and stacking by myself. Now I’ve come full circle and back to the natural and I see so clearly how amazing the journey is. “Girl you got some beautiful hair”, I tell myself. I have a new appreciation for what came naturally through my heritage as a Grayson/Dulaney. (Heir). But here’s the thing, we get second chances to embrace what we once failed to see before. I was taught tough love by my mama, but I didn’t really see it because I thought she was just mean to me. When I had children, I began to understand her love better. It was difficult at times to be a friend because I always had a wall up, I always had fear and mistrust for people. I’ve only allowed certain people in, but they didn’t even get in all the way. I’ve always had relationships that had conditions and that were based in fear, but to be awarded the chance again; I am absolutely taken. I met the most admirable man two years ago and we have been friends since. He has never changed towards me. Unconditional love is just what it is and I never really got the concept until being alone with God, truly, after the divorce. I didn’t realize that a man could really love a woman unconditionally, because I didn’t love my husband unconditionally. (Yes, I’m being transparent) Experiencing God’s unconditional love took me considering myself, messing up a few times and repenting of my own crap in order to extend grace to others.

All the trying and failing I did to be accepted by God was a yoke around my neck that I was fighting so hard to get off. But all I had to do was stand and be crowned by what was already mine as an heir to His love, grace and favor. True happiness and peace comes from acknowledging that it is already done, because we are heirs to whatever the Kingdom of God has. Matthew 6:33; seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. And it doesn’t take a lifetime either; one choice, one day and an absolute acknowledgement of that truth; and every yoke, blinders and chains will be broken.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney

She Is Her & Her Is She

It’s Earth Day, it’s my Born Day, it’s been a blessed day! A day of reflecting on how much life means to me and how far life has brought me. At 19, it felt like I hitchhiked and jumped in the car with a stranger, not for sure where she was taking me; and me not knowing where I wanted to go. It has been a long, bumpy, chaotic ride but I’ve asked her to drop me off in Texas and I will take it from here. Finally, knowing exactly where I want to be and where I want to go. I started my “bearthday” with tears in my eyes because my sister posted the pic of me wearing the white dress and that made me realize how different I am. I had to get past the disgusted feeling, to be honest, because everything about that picture reminded me of the life I left and how I don’t want to ever see it again. I don’t want the short hair, I despise the big booty, I was absolutely disgusted with the make up; but my way of thinking then is what hurt the most. I even texted my sister and asked her why she chose that picture and she said “because it was the only fabulous one I had in my phone, all of the others were of us in lounge and dress down wear, I thought you shined in that pic”. I love my sister and I am so glad she thought enough to post the most beautiful picture of me that I may shine on my birthday. I kept pondering and my spirit told me “you wouldn’t be her without her”. All the butt and weight I bore was me carrying other peoples issues and trying to be a saviour to everybody else. I wasn’t able to balance it all, so it just sat there. The day I decided I was done with a marriage that was unfruitful, going to church was unfruitful, I was completely over Mobile, Al. Immediately with a mind shift came a booty shift. I was DONE! I cannot be anything else to anybody else until I become it to myself. So I decided that I would start eating, happy!

Yesterday, my spirit served me notice, she is why you are her. So do not despise the big booty, do not despise the short hair; embrace them both. The seeds that were planted on the grounds of my heart at the time, I’ve started to see little sprouts coming up here and there. Where I thought I was unfruitful is actually blessing my transformation today. If I would not have experienced an unfruitful marriage, I wouldn’t be mindful today of what I deserve from a marriage. I refuse to settle for that which is not in line with the great plans that God has for me. My decisions in the white dress, were my decisions and I have to own those. This actually calls for a group hug.

There is so much color in my life today, because of those bad choices. I have on my vest of many colors that my Father has cloaked me with. I am a grandmother of 4 and I can drive to Alabama anytime “I want to” in order to be with them. I love that Texas is home now and I know that, because the minute I see the Sweet Home Alabama Sign, I say to myself “just Alabama”, not sweet and not home. The drive doesn’t even seem very long anymore, because I know where I’m going and I know my purpose when I get there. I use to count the hours spent in each state I passed through and now in the drive my attention is drawn to each little town.

The rest of this life’s journey won’t seem very long either, because when we know where we’re going and we know where we want to be, you can enjoy every “state“ you’re in because we’re learning along the way.

Love Always,

Carla Mashell Dulaney