Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When Honeysuckles Fall by @Carmen_Hendrix #BookReview

Get your copy of Carmen Hendrix's book here!
I had the pleasure of reading "When Honeysuckles Fall" and to be honest, I didn't know what to expect.  The title doesn't necessarily describe the book is about, but it piques one's curiosity.

The three stories in the book are extremely different, so you get treated to a triple-header of sorts.  It's far from the same story being told three times.  It's an interesting variety that invoked a wide gamut of feelings out of me.

Carmen did a wonderful job of making me feel each character's emotional state.  Some characters filled me with so much sorrow that I found myself wanting to apologize to someone I may have wronged in life.  I found myself asking, "How can something so bad happen to someone just trying to live life?"

Other characters angered me to the point of a throbbing vein in my forehead.  The level of selfishness and ungodliness in some of them left me astounded.  I literally found myself hating some of the characters because I was so appalled at their actions.

Having said all of that, the thing that I think that I enjoyed the most about Carmen's book was the level of details she gave throughout.  She painted a visual picture that any artist would envy.  She especially did that for me in the 3rd story with the character named Chase.  With each paragraph, I felt as if I was there watching everything unfold.  The way she described everything happening around Chase made me feel as if I was really getting a sneak peek into someone's life.  Carmen has a way with words that will have you smelling the honeysuckles before you're done with the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  This book contains stories of deceit, perseverance, revenge, tragedy, triumph, and more.  As I finished the final page and thought back over what I'd read, I thought about the emotional rollercoaster I'd experienced.  I thought about how there were times I caught myself smiling as I read some parts of the book to times where I felt empty inside as some of the characters suffered through something.

The only emotion that I absolutely did not feel after reading this book was regret.

From the www.WhenHoneysucklesFall.com website:

Follow the women of "When Honeysuckles Fall," a short story collection that serves as a memorial to real life issues and relationships.

Michelle is a Bayou Belle from New Orleans, who is an ambitious lawyer that quickly finds out everything is not what it seems in her world. Donna is a Georgia peach at heart who transplanted to Texas, where everything is bigger, including the lies. Finally, Chase is a savvy southern belle and realtor who nestled in Miami, and the arms of a man whose indiscretions send her back to her home town in Mississippi and forces her to face her past.

Exploring issues ranging from infidelity to overcoming childhood abuse, Carmen Hendrix digs deep into her personal life to form the characters in "When Honeysuckles Fall" and promises to keep you on the edge of your seat. Read on as each character develops while struggling to find their truth.


WHF book signing in Houston, TX

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Where is the Love?

A friend of mine is an artist.  He is a very skilled painter and he puts on an art display every December.  Yesterday was the 14th year he's had his show.  I've been to 13 of them.  Not only do I enjoy the art, but I enjoy the story behind each piece.  The artist loves to allow people into his mind as he discusses the inspiration and meaning to each piece.  It's probably the most enjoyable part of the showing, if you ask me.

However, this year wasn't the turnout that I expected.  I'm not sure what his expectations were, but they were definitely below mine.  There could have been a lot of contributing factors to that like low temperatures or whatnot, but I won't go through all of them.  

None of that matters to me because barring a blizzard, I just expected more people to come and enjoy themselves.  And to the people who didn't, I ask: where is the love?

Each and everyone of us has a talent.  If we're fortunate enough, someone is able to discover it early enough in life for us to perfect it.  For those who have discovered these talents, it's important that others support them.  And for the life of me, I can't understand why some of us choose to not do that.

My blog started almost 7 years ago.  No one knew about it, so I told some of my Facebook friends.  Over the course of a year or two, people started reading and commenting on my blog posts, but they were people I'd never met.  My biggest supporters were not my Facebook friends, but strangers.  

Don't get me wrong.  A few of my friends read my blog regularly (or did at one time).  But, it was the people from all over the world, that I'd never met, who were commenting and circulating my material.  Why weren't my friends doing the same?  Why were my emails and inbox messages to them to "Like" my fan page sometimes not even being met with a reply?  Why were some of the women I was dating not reading or supporting my blog?  It made me ask myself over again, "where is the love?"  Why is it that strangers propel you to fame while friends wait to claim you afterwards?  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  

My homie put on a really good art show this year.  He always does, but he was feeling it this year.  He had a lot of new pieces that were making their debut.  I even bought one of those pieces to give to my brother and his wife for Christmas.  It's the first piece of art I've ever bought from him.  I also brought someone with me to see his show for their first time.  To me, that's what "showing love" is all about.  You not only show up yourself, but you expose others as well.  That's how you help to grow the fan base.

I have always supported his talents and he's always supported mine by passing on my blog posts to some of his followers.  I know that he will read this post and agree with me about how support is so hard to come by these days.  Despite that, he will keep doing his thing and I will keep doing mine.  And if it takes a bunch of strangers to make it feel all worthwhile, then so be it.  We'll take the love however we can get it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Dropped The Ball

I made a mistake.  I bobbed when I should have weaved.  I  leapt when I should have ducked.  I felt that being comfortable was more favorable than trying something new and now I'm kicking myself.  I let a woman get away from me because I was distracted by someone who didn't really want me.

I met a really nice woman quite some time ago.  I'll refer to her "Woman A."  We usually only saw each other in passing, so our conversations were always limited.  Most of the time she was with her mom or her daughter, so it's not like I really had opportunity to get her know her on a more intimate level.  But I had chances to at least try and secure a date with her.  I just never did.

There was another young lady who was very much pursuing me that I'll refer to as "Woman B."  Her and I had known each other for a very long time and had actually stolen some kisses here and there in the recent past.  She wasn't trustworthy though.  In my mind I knew that she wasn't, but I was mesmerized at the thought of ultimately being with her because she had a lot of qualities that I liked.

My mistake.

So when I finally decided that I was going to ask Woman A to go out on a date the next time that I saw her, I got distracted by Woman B asking me to give her a chance to show she could be all that I needed.  I thought about it: do I try something new with someone who appears to be made for me or do I go with someone who really isn't my type, but I'm very familiar with her?

I thought that fate had made the decision for me.  I didn't see Woman A again for over a month.  We used to run into each other at least one a week, but her routine changed and I went a very long time without seeing her.  I thought about reaching out to her on Facebook, but I didn't want to come off as "that inbox guy," so I didn't.  I went with Woman B.

My mistake.

I wound up in a very unfulfilling relationship for a few months with Woman B.  Things were awesome for a month or so and then the real untrustworthy side finally showed up.  I eventually found myself single again and I can only assume that she moved on to the man she had waiting for her.

But I wasn't sad by any means.  True, I wasted my time, but it wasn't a big deal.  I'd lost what I'd felt for her and it was clear that she didn't care if I was with her or not, so I didn't sweat bailing on the relationship.

Unfortunately, I've had to bail on quite a few relationships in the past year or so.  I know that I have issues with being patient with people, but sometimes people do immature things that are hard for me to overlook.  Once I see immaturity in conflict resolution or acts of selfishness then I'm probably going to emotionally check out at that point.  Is it fair?  Some may not think so, but having immature conflict resolution techniques and/or being selfish is a deal-breaker for me.  Communicate with me like an adult or leave me alone.

Anyhoo, I was more determined to reach out to Woman A and ask her out after failing with Woman B.  I decided to go ahead and request friendship on Facebook and she accepted within just a few minutes.  I got ready to start my inbox message to her to ask for her number to call and I decided, "Well, let me look at her page first."

I was never sure of her age, so I wanted to check her "About" section to make sure she was within my preferred range and then I saw it.  "In a relationship with (Dude)."

"Oh," I thought as I slumped into my seat.  "I never knew she had someone already."

Then I continued to read the next line to see the start date of their relationship.  It was a month after I'd decided to give Woman B a try.  Woman A was available when I wanted her, but now she's not.  Not only is she not as of now, she's been in a relationship with this dude for months now.

Good for her.  I'm actually happy that she found someone who appears to be treating her right.  Not so good for me though.  I chose comfort over something new and I guessed wrong.  For someone who believes in strategy and planning, I didn't do either when I made my decision on who to try.

And don't get me wrong.  It's not like I'm sitting home depressed over this.  It does suck, but this is just a part of life I wanted to share and a tough lesson for me to learn.  Lord knows that I've encountered quite a few liars.  I've crossed paths with so many girls masquerading as women.  And I've unfortunately dealt with so many indecisive females who have successfully discouraged me from ever leading with kindness again.

Dating was not this crazy in the 90's.

But I still go out on dates regularly and I enjoy myself when I do.  I just haven't found someone who I'm interested in long-term or who is interested in me long-term.  I find myself attracting 20-somethings who are intrigued by my perceived financial stability and potential travel opportunities or 40-somethings who spent the last 20+ years making bad decisions and are needing yet another do-over.

I don't have time for either.  But I don't want to date just to be dating.  I actually want to be married.  I know that sounds odd for a guy to say, but I'm serious.  I love having someone to come home to every night who will give me a big hug and kiss upon seeing me.  That's where I am at 45 years old.  All I can do is pray that God sends one my way who is actually on the same page that I am.  I'll be patient and focus on other things I need to work on (like my patience) in the meantime.

Woman B is engaged from what I've heard and I wouldn't be surprised if I see that FB status update on Woman A being engaged at some point in the future, too.  Although I had no way of truly knowing if Woman A would have even given me a shot back then, I should have listened to my heart instead of taking the easy way out.  Now I'll never know.

For someone who is a firm believer of "a closed mouth never gets fed," I ended up starving to death before I decided to open mine.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hearing "No" Is Sometimes Helpful

As a 45-year old guy, I've heard the word "no" so many times in my life that it's not even funny.  I heard it from my parents.  I heard it from my teachers.  And I've definitely heard it from the opposite sex.

Despite all of that, I didn't die.  I was able to move on with my life and get past it.

Some "no's" came with an explanation.  Some came with a lie.  Some didn't come with anything after it at all.  Yet, I'm still here.

However, there are so many people in the world who are afraid to hear the word "no".  Why is that?

Is it parenting?  Because I've stated time-and-time again on this blog that 70's babies dropped the ball on parenting.  Especially in the black community.  We spend so much time trying to please our children that we fail to teach them anything.  "I want my kid to have the things that I didn't have."

But at what cost?  To the point that they don't know how to handle rejection?

Hearing the word "no" is the best thing for any child to hear.  It teaches them patience.  It teaches them restraint.  It teaches them that you can't have everything you want no matter how much you want it.  No matter much you think you deserve it.  Not hearing "no" breeds entitlement.  Why do you think people like the Donald Trump feel as if they can "grab" what they want?  It's not his money that makes him a jerk.  It's not learning restraint that makes him one.

And the only adults worse than those who can't accept "no" are the parents who are afraid to say the word "no".  You cannot be your child's friend.  I've encountered so many parents who allow their children to run their households.  I know a kid who is in elementary school with an 11 PM bedtime on a school night because her mother wouldn't "make" him go to bed.  Or a set of parents I know who are basically a taxi service for their daughter who participates in almost every existing activity there is.  She plays soccer, she's a cheerleader, a gymnast, and a girl scout.  Her dad complains all of the time that he and his wife don't even have time for basic things, but neither of them wants to "disappoint" their little lady.


I'm not a parent.  Because of that, people tend to dismiss what I say when it comes to parenting.  However, getting / getting someone pregnant doesn't make one an expert either.  Parenting skills come from paying attention.

It's true that experience is the best teacher, but who says that it has to be your experience?

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