I am going to try not to make this one very long but I have a lot to say. It is so ironic that my favorite show, Tyler Perry’s Sistas, returns tonight for its sixth season and the caption on the trailer is, “A new day brings a new beginning.” I love the new look. Everything seems so refreshing. Which leads me to what I am about to share in today’s blog. Not sure where to start so I will begin with one of the first “new beginnings” in my 40s. You know I’m about to turn 50, right?! Smile
Today’s date, May 31st, is significant in so many ways. It’s the day before I begin celebrating my birthday month, but it is also the day that marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
On this day in 2014, I was preparing for a trip that I believe changed the entire trajectory of my life. It was definitely a pivotal moment. A couple of days before, a friend reached out and asked if I wanted to attend a chef’s media training in New Orleans on June 1st. Y’all, this kind of thing was no where on my radar. Had never even crossed my mind. Little did I know that my life was about to change. At that time, the only thing I knew was that my marriage was ending; however, I had no idea of what the future held. Well, I accepted the invite, attended the training, connected with people who were where I once dreamed of being, and began living. Accepting that invitation set things in motion. It was a leap that I was afraid of taking but deep down I knew I had to.
When I tell you the rest of that year was indescribable! I would think things and they would happen. For years I wanted Bell Biv Devoe (BBD) and the entire New Edition (NE) to perform at one of my birthday parties. Listen, I was serious! When it didn’t happen on my 35th or 40th, I was crushed. I’m telling y’all, I might be a little crazy because I just KNEW it would happen. Like, how, Shaun? Imagine sitting in Hattiesburg saying… not wishing… but saying BBD and NE are going to perform at my birthday party. Well, this particular year I was fed up with not having them perform for my birthday and had told my daughter I would settle for them performing at my funeral. Listen, if I couldn’t have them perform for my birthday, the least they could do was perform at my funeral. Yes… I was being very dramatic. Y’all, I am so ashamed. It’s all documented in my journal. Anyway, the day before my birthday, I entered a daily drawing for tickets to a Rhythm and Blues festival and was notified that evening that I had won. Y’all, up until that point, I had NEVER won anything outside of door prizes. Baby, when I tell you I was screaming. Guess who was going to be there…. BBD!!!!!! God must have said, “Let me go ahead and give this child what she wants.” It was two months before I actually got to see them, but I knew that was my gift, all mine. Y’all, God did that just for me.
The next unforgettable moment occurred that October. I was attending our national dietetics conference in Atlanta and did not realize I was actually staying in the same hotel as Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Yes… THE Marcus Samuelsson! Y’all, I was sitting outside of the hotel waiting on the airport shuttle and I happened to look up just as these tiny legs (yeah, he’s small) hurried across the driveway and enter a black SUV. All I saw was the socks and my heart leaped. I just knew it was Marcus. Didn’t even have to see his face. A friend of mine confirmed it was actually him with a text, “I just saw your boy. That chef you be talking about.” Hilarious! By that time I was already on the plane. Little did I know, he was doing a cooking demonstration for one of vendors at the conference.
Later that week, I almost missed another opportunity to see him and my other fav, the late Chef Leah Chase, when our department chair called an impromptu meeting. The meeting was scheduled for the same time I was leaving to attend Chef Leah’s dedication ceremony in New Orleans. When I tell you I was so discouraged. Felt so defeated. After the meeting, I heard that still small voice say I could still go. Listen, I was about to go home, then at the last minute I hit the highway and headed to NOLA. When I got there, the event hadn’t even started. I arrived just before Chef Leah did and had time to meet her, have a real conversation with her about my goals as a dietitian, and take pictures. What a year!
Five years later, and four years ago on this day, May 31st, my ex husband finally signed our divorce papers. Tearing up as I write this. I had waited over four years for that divorce. I believe him signing it the day before I entered my birthday month was another gift from God. He knew how badly I wanted to be free. Then, the judge signed the divorce papers exactly one week–SEVEN days–before my birthday. So I entered that next year of my life completely free! What a gift.
Now here I am; another May 31st with a new outlook on life. For a few years now, I have been asking God for a mentor and I believe He has finally sent me one. I have known of her for years but only met her a few months ago. To me she is me, 30 years from now. You heard me. It’s like I am experiencing my future self in real time. She was in the Air Force–retired officer and flight nurse. It’s beautiful because we both understand each other when discussing our former lives and careers. Most Air Force nurses know nothing about the airfield or my career; however, she does. Plus… we are both health professionals. Another thing is she’s that ambassador and liaison I have always longed to be. Over the past two days I have watched her gracefully interact with local leaders and community members.
Yesterday, someone came to her for help because she heard that my mentor could connect her with the right people. Y’all, I feel like a sponge soaking up everything. Believe me, I have been taking notes. I told my daughter I feel like one of those armor bearers in church, following her every move. Oh! And the icing on the cake is her husband was an artist, a real artist. I told her that I drew too. Haaa… That’s when she showed me some of his work. Y’all, I was blown away. His work is incredible! After seeing his art, I vowed to take my journey to becoming an artist seriously. If I desire to be a world renowned artist as well as a global ambassador, it’s time to stop playing. And today is that day.
Tomorrow I begin celebrating my 50th birthday month. I was reading a journal entry from a few years ago where Pastor Cynthia James had mentioned year 49 is considered the year of restoration and year 50 is the year of jubilation. I feel it! A new era is dawning.
Pivotal moments… Year 50 loading.
Have a spectacular day!!♥️