“I watched women all over the world having to reinvent themselves due to them losing their jobs and I realized that I could do the same. Every one of our lines are sourced from women and minority-owned companies. That to me is huge. My ability to purposefully impact those businesses with my wallet is powerful.”
Joining the rest of us in a world of change due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mari Rains felt the time was right to renew herself and share her love of fashion with the opening of the stylish new Ella + Orchid Clothing Company.
With the company, Rains brings forth a line of well-made, classic pieces to add to your closets. “I don’t purchase anything for the store without touching it, trying it on and really being sure of the quality. We have a denim line out of LA that are as forgiving as they are flattering. We have a lot of bodysuits and blazers for the fall currently. They are extremely sexy and look great on anyone.”
Having found herself in a career in her 20’s and 30’s that did not bring her joy, Mari didn’t have to look far to find the inspiration for change and chasing new goals, wanting those closest to her to know that we are never confined to only doing one thing in this world. “I love being able to lead by example for my daughters and granddaughters. Showing them that they can do it all is pretty cool.”
Following that same idea of “doing it all,” Rains quotes being resourceful as her biggest asset and claims it as her best advice to those wanting to start up their own businesses or chase new goals. “Don’t let anyone tell you no. There is always a way to get something done.” (This might also be why Hans Solo’s “Never tell me the odds” line is one of her favorites.)
When she’s not working, Mari can be found traveling and spending time with those she cherishes the most. “I have a new husband, a daughter, two granddaughters that I can’t get enough of and a really amazing circle of friends…I spend all of my free time being really thankful for my relationships with them.”
If you are local to the Tulsa, OK area you can check out the Ella + Orchid storefront at 6010 South Yale Avenue, or you can shop online at https://www.ellaandorchid.com/ .
Keep it up, sister, I’m cheering you on….
(and getting ready to fill up my shopping cart!) #SheWhoDares
My media intake lately has followed a pattern. I’ve been viewing, reading, listening to, studying things with a purpose of trying to find something relatable to refuel my spirit, because, frankly, it’s been sucked dry. One red line away from stopping in the middle of the road because I’ve run out of gas. So whether my fuel comes from my Bible, podcasts, self-help books, music, or even sometimes, social media, it all follows that same pattern.
I’ve been taking notes on things as I come across them, and several times I’ve thought, “that’s a good starting point for a blog,” however, I’ve heard the whisper of “Holly, everyone is more than tired of some girl who can’t keep a relationship (whether that’s romantic or friendships honestly) giving them advice on the topic.”
Well, this morning I read a post on Instagram that I really liked. I then surfed over to my Facebook and was appalled at the comments I read in regards to the same post. So, I couldn’t sit silent anymore….and if you’re tired of reading my relationship talks, you can go ahead and stop right here. 😉
We’ll start with a little excerpt of the post I read this morning:
“I love to give my wife flowers, for no particular reason….maybe a little too much!!!! But one of the things I’ve discovered recently is that appreciation is far more valuable than flowers. While I love to tell my wife how beautiful I think she is…because she is…it is always better for me to tell her how much I appreciate what she does for me, for our family, for our home….every day.” (Instagram – @isaachanson)
He also shared another (which I discovered after confirming that we were talking about the same post, with totally different thoughts towards them.) That post made this statement:
“Love people, not things, not adoration, not popularity, not social status.”
There was one more with the same general idea, in relation to his children I believe, but, I think you get the gist. He always posts things with this same kind of notion. Part of me thinks (and hopes) he is writing a book and these are all just little bits leading up.
Anyway, before I get off topic like a small town Pastor telling stories about their childhood (*not that that’s a bad thing*) , let me reel it back in.
Here is what I read in relation to the above mentioned posts. I can only share what I quickly got in a screenshot as a notetake, because it appears the intensity of the gross comments already led to deletion.
Comment: “What he posted last night was not meaning well for anyone unless they support women barefoot in the kitchen making him a sammich– even if they’re miserable about it.”
What? I’m sorry? Come again.
So, APPRECIATING YOUR WIFE is demeaning and old school?
Listen. I’m all about gift giving, it’s one of my top love languages. I’m also all about strong females doing their own thing…the greatest part of this blog is my She Who Dares Project. I get being independent, doing your own thing. I don’t know his wife, but I would imagine her to be pretty intelligent, worldly, and comfortable in her own skin.
One thing I don’t imagine is her being appalled by his appreciation.
Listen, again, to not seem insensitive or to even begin to make this political, I am open and here for all the strong female leads we are seeing in our world today. Who run the world….girl, girls! Right? But that does not take away the need for the way we should be treated in our homes, by our spouses, or boyfriends, or those around us.
Allowing ourselves to be appreciated and recognized for all of our roles (even when those roles are wife, mother, caretaker…especially so) does not make us the barefoot ladies in the kitchen back in the day before we could be Vice President. I will not apologize for saying that. This idea that we cannot be successful and still appreciated and loved and TAKEN CARE OF by our spouse is sickening to me.
I’m confused, honestly. I don’t get it.
I was watching this video by Mark Groves (Instagram – @createthelove) and a follower had asked this question about how she could move on from the feelings she had developed after casually dating someone for nine months. First off, I was happy that his initial response was the same as I was thinking, “casually” dating for nine months?! But, he went on further to say that we seem to live in this society today where we want something so bad that we just “make it work.”
“I’ll just date enough and then eventually this “casual” relationship will turn into the one I want.”
Which I read as, and speak from experience in saying, “He’ll eventually APPRECIATE ME. Show up for me, acknowledge me.”
Mark said, sister, we live in a world in which we “set the accountability so low so we can maintain a connection.”
It’s not real, you’re not APPRECIATED , you’re not acknowledged…but maybe one day you will be.
And hey, AT LEAST YOU’RE NOT BAREFOOT IN THE KITCHEN MAKING A SANDWICH.
I can’t, people. I just can’t.
If appreciation appals us. God bless, we’re doomed.
Well, it’s the day. The best day, the dreaded day, just another day….Valentines Day.
I’ve been reading through several posts the last couple of days in social media land. The #ValentinesDayChallenge survey has been a fun one to follow. All of the love stories, and milestones of my friends are so fun to read. (How are we old enough that some of you have been married for going on 15 years? That can’t be right.) Then there’s some of my favorite of the surveys….the love stories with your pets….I’ll never scroll past a cute puppy.
But, as the day itself has arrived, I’ve seen so many disheartening posts. Ones that go beyond being funny or poking a little fun to really being mean to yourself, or discrediting your value. I know this is a little deep, but, my book selection in the last several months has been straight up self-help, life lessons, forgive it all, “love you for you” kinda stuff. And, though I still struggle with self-love sometimes, these books have been eye openers.
I am admittedly a jokester and one who tends to discredit myself when it comes to the subject of love…hence my book selections. It’s just easier to be funny than to really dig deep and sort it out. After some of the stuff I’ve read today, I keep coming back to the question we often hear, “would you talk to your best friend (or sister, mom, daughter) the way you are talking to yourself when you look in the mirror?” Even in that joking manner, when you tell yourself you are not good enough, or you are a failure at love, or convince yourself that you don’t deserve a seat at the table….well, you might as well be spooning yourself dirt, because that’s the taste you are going to leave.
In her latest book, Lysa Terkeurst puts it this way, “What we experience all throughout life impacts the perceptions we carry. The longer we carry those perceptions, the more they become the truths we believe, live by, operate under, and use to help us navigate life today.”
So when you’re constantly spooning a convincing bite of low worth, then that becomes how you perceive yourself. Sadly, the way we feel about all of this often comes from how another person made us feel at some point in our life. Rather than just getting a new spoon, we keep hold of the dirty one, bringing it along to the next table, so with each bite, rather than letting in potential sugar, we just keep tasting the yuck.
When I see you all, my friends, constantly feeding on the dirt that someone not worthy of your time left for you (and me…all of us at times) it breaks my heart. Or even if it’s not any person specifically, but rather an idea you’ve fed yourself because you’ve never spent it with someone else, so suddenly it’s because something is wrong with you, or you’re not good enough.
I’m just asking you all now to please LEAVE THAT TABLE. Whether you are sitting at it alone, or with someone who makes you feel like you deserve dirt over sugar…get up and go. Come to my table….I’ll provide the new spoons….and the martinis.
I’m a hopeless romantic, and a sucker for an excuse to be celebrated…there is nothing wrong with that. It’s just “another day” but, it’s one that exists, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to share it with someone. But, don’t let it get in your head and make you feel less than enough. Last year I shared a small sentiment that simply said:
Happy Valentines Day! Whether you are celebrating with your significant other, your best gals, or your good pals, take today to embrace LOVE a little extra!
Embrace love a little extra. Embrace it all around you, and within you….and when you feel like there’s none to be given, look at yourself in the mirror and do that silly thing that always makes you feel uncomfortable…stare her right in the eyes and say “I love you. You are enough.”
Last year, in saying goodbye to 2019, I pledged to a year of “never forgetting the most important things in life. A new year full of laughs, love, opportunity, taking care of others, and taking care of ourselves.” And though 2020 was a rough one, (I think most of us could sum it up with that one liner) I also think in hindsight, I accomplished those things. I think finding love and laughter in the smallest of things is probably the biggest thing that got us through. I experienced many moments of just stepping outside of myself and watching in pure awe at the blessing I have in close relationships with my family. These hard months were such a reminder that a lot of people don’t have that, and that this year really brought for them an isolation period with no one there to support them. I realized that my group of friends is small, and only seems smaller each year, but that the quality and outpouring of their love is more than enough. That all being said, I’m more than ready to say goodbye to this year… “thank you for your time, but, I’m no longer interested.” (I said that in my dating life a few times this year too…har de har)
In the last few days, I’ve really been starting to look ahead and think about what mindset I want to go into 2021 with. What word I’m going to choose to center in and focus on. I read a lot of books this last year, many of those in the memoir, self-help category, and I’ve been thinking about some of the passages that stood out to me. One in particular has really been hanging over me for the last several days, and I’ve decided to adopt it for the year…
From Untamed by Glennon Doyle:
“Take good care of all of your selves. Fight like hell to keep yourself, and when you lose her, do whatever it takes to return to her.”
These words come in a chapter titled “Invaders” which focuses primarily on anxiety and depression. If you know me, you know I’ve had my fair share of struggles with this. I’m a deep, deep “feeler” but, this chapter talks about how these things are not feelings so much as they are “body snatchers” or as I like to refer to them, thieves of joy. These snatchers are so perfectly described in a way that I couldn’t explain any better in trying to get someone to understand. She says living with these things, “makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I’m too afraid of what the next moment will bring. I have to be ready.”
Stewing these words over has led me to three words of focus for the upcoming year: Protection, Presence, and Prayer.
For the worry wart that I am, one would assume that I would be quite guarded. In reality, I’m more of the “welcome, welcome” type, opening up my heart to all. That’s not necessarily a bad quality, but when it comes to the body snatchers, too easily opening a door can very much lead to destruction. So, I choose protection. When you love and value yourself, you begin to realize that not everyone deserves a seat at your table. There will be a lot more ‘no thank you’s” at my table this year. Sorry, this seat is reserved for my sanity.
Next up is presence. “the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.” That thing I shared earlier about the impossibility of being able to just enter into a moment and land there, that poses a problem here. But, I’m going to lean on another P and say that it is possible. My life is full of amazing moments but sometimes I can’t see them because I’m too worried about what may or may not happen next. What the year ahead may or may not hold. My goal is just to live in the moment while it’s happening.
And when those two things feel impossible, there comes the most important of the three: prayer. I pray a lot, but not enough. If anything is to overtake my year, I want it to be prayer. Feeling anxious? Pray. Feeling overwhelmed? Pray. Feeling thankful for new opportunities? Pray. Want someone to sit at my table? Let me first have a conversation in prayer with the guy who is always in the chair beside me. In those moments that I lose myself…pray. In every single thing, pray. The snatcher can’t steal from you if you hold up your weapon of prayer.
As much as we’d like to believe it, 2021 isn’t going to put an end to the things we’ve been living through this past year. But, I know that with the right perspective (another P) we can do more than just survive, we can shine.
I love the holidays. I love that frothy, steaming cup of seasonally flavored coffee, that we rush to get as if we can only have it during this time of year….like “Thank God! Gingerbread and Peppermint exist again, all hail!” I love an excuse to buy gifts for my family and friends. I love that it is a time that despite our differing schedules, we make time to sit around the table together. (Although with 2020 the tables may be smaller, the dinners might even be virtual, now that we’ve all had to learn the world of Zoom and Google Meet, but nonetheless, we will make time.) I love cheesy Christmas movies, and family traditions. I love all the warm and fuzzy that it brings.
But, then there’s that ache. That tiny little hole, as I’m standing alone under the mistletoe. And I do, every year. I find mistletoe hanging, and I stand under it, one foot propped, kissing the air, as if to make a joke of the fact that, here I am again. But, it’s not a joke, and frankly as year after year passes the joke has turned into total loss of hope at times.
I don’t know why it is that the holidays amplify this feeling, as if it’s any different to be alone in September than it is in December, but somehow it feels much worse. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times we hear a plethora of pop queens singing “Santa Baby, I forgot to mention one little thing…a ring” paired with a social media feed showcasing the list of all the good girls who got that ring this year. Knowing Jesus and Santa are both watching I hit the “love” button, because I am happy for my loved ones. But, it still hurts.
I don’t know where to go with the feeling anymore. Most times the joking is easier, because everyone can laugh and understand that. When joining friends for a festive dinner and the waitress removes the extra plate, looking at me like, “oh, you’re by yourself,” I order the drink named “The Dirty Uncle” and laugh saying, well, the uncle is my date. Or there’s the pointing to random bypassers, suggesting that maybe they could be the one.
I think about all those Hallmark movies and wonder if maybe I should slip on the ice and knock myself out, only to wake up in a new reality of Mr.Wonderful sweeping me off of my feet, literally, and inviting me to Christmas dinner with his family.
The thing about movies and social media is that people always say, “that stuff isn’t real, love isn’t like that, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you’re looking for that.” But, I refuse to believe in that notion. Even in losing hope, I still see the happiness of my friends when I’m playing the “extra wheel,” and though their love might not be quite so dramatic as those holiday rom coms, it is still very real. And there is hope in that.
I guess what I want to say to those of you who are living in the seasons you’ve spent dreaming of when ‘Tis the Season rolls around, please be mindful of your friends or family that aren’t quite there yet. I don’t mean that in a “lessen your glow” sort of way. Please keep your lights shining bright, I truly am happy to see you shining, and to be a part of it. But, maybe stop the jokes, when your friends in the dry season make fun of themselves, tell them not to do that. Remind them how wonderful they are. Remind them that their plate at the table isn’t an extra, or missing another half, but that their presence is what makes your group whole. Remind them that this isn’t forever, that their season is coming, and pray daily that it does.
I’m thankful to have a group of friends that do all of those things. I have prayed hard for them to be living in their current seasons that they have so desired. And you know what? I’ve seen those prayers answered, so I can testify that it works.
To my friends that are not quite ready for this “Tis the Season time of year, I want you to know that it’s okay if it’s not your season. It’s okay to be happy and sad at the same time, (thanks Kacey Musgraves.) I pray that your cheer is greater than your ache, and that this time next year we’re writing a totally different story.
I feel pretty safe in saying that growing up as young girls, watching our parents, grandparents, and those around us, we develop a pretty vivid picture of the things we hope for as adults. Namely here, I’m talking about things in the romantic realm. Now, of course, as children and young adults, we don’t think of these things as romantical, more so we develop admiration in the small things, although most often unaware of such admiration, if that makes sense.
My family is not known much for affection. I never saw my parents sneaking a kiss in the kitchen, or holding hands while at the grocery store. But, I remember my mom waking us up super early in the morning to surprise my dad with a big gift on his birthday, because it was something he would enjoy. Now, as an adult I see my dad going hog wild with lights and inflatables in the yard for every holiday, because my mom loves it. (Granted, I think he might love it just as much now as well.) But, he does it because it makes her smile.
Growing up, I remember my Nan always packing my Poppy’s lunch for him. As I got older, I started to notice those lunches consisted of Little Debbies, chips, and pop…and I wonder how my Poppy stayed so skinny. HAHA. But, that’s neither here nor there, it’s an act of kindness, a gesture of love I now realize. It is, in fact, a recent conversation with my Nan that sparked this story of the cashews, so here we go.
When we get the chance, Nan and I play Yahtzee, and we carry on conversation that is all over the place in the process. Usually as we are playing, Poppy will ask us if we want him to make us popcorn, or ice cream, or serve us up a tall glass of pop. We usually oblige to one of the things, but regardless of our answer, he always takes himself up on the offer…generally to all three. So, Nan and I laugh at how funny it is that he basically eats the entire time we play. Recently in the process of all of this, she tells me that she had bought cashews and left them on the counter, and by the time she came home from work the next day, they were all gone. She said, “Holly, he ate every one of those cashews, so yesterday, I bought some more, and I left them in the sack and hid them, and you know what, he found them and ate half the can…after I HID them.” We laughed so hard, as he aimlessly played Solitaire in the living room. She very well knows he will eat them when she buys them for “herself.” Yet again, it’s an often unnoticed act of love.
When I was 10 years old, I just knew I needed a “man” like Taylor Hanson. At 16, I was convinced my future spouse had to have the jawline of Joe Don Rooney. In my 20s I leaned more towards the Paul Rudd and Topher Grace types. Now, into my 30’s, I’m amused at the fact that I have given every version of a man you could imagine the chance to play the part.
On my drive home, I began thinking about this some more, and giggled to myself. Because now, all I know is that he better like cashews.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years (and continue to learn as a woman) is to create boundaries. I used to care about what others thought of me. I would make decisions that directly affected me based on how I thought others would feel about them. But place firm boundaries around you. Say no if something isn’t right for you. Don’t be a people-pleaser and come to terms with the fact that you can’t make everyone happy at the price of your own self.”
Wise words spoken by Jax Miller, author of ‘Hell In The Heartland’, a grueling, true crime story currently topping Oklahoma’s bestsellers list. Miller, who has a couple of fiction books under her belt, switched gears to tell the story of two-decade-old murder case in smalltown Welch, Oklahoma, that is yet to be solved today. Though never having written nonfiction, or true crime, the genre wasn’t exactly new to Jax, who’d grown interest into the scene at the young age of 12, having discovered ‘Helter Skelter’ on her Papa Glenn’s bookshelf. “It terrified me, but in a great way. I wouldn’t go so far as to refer to myself as a Murderino, but I’ve always been interested. I think the genre meant very little to me when I first came to ‘Hell in The Heartland,’ instead, I was attracted to the story. Had this story taken place on Mars, I’d be entering the Sci-Fi genre. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice of “Hmm, I think I want to switch from fiction to nonfiction,” but more of “I want to tell this family’s story.”
Miller doesn’t have an exact recollection of how she heard the story of the murders and the missing girls, but notes that her closeness in age to Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible initially grabbed her attention, and the rest followed. “From strictly a storytelling point of view, it was an incredibly appealing story anyway. The backdrop of abandoned lead-mining towns, the (dare I say?) characters, the plot twists and jaw-dropping moments that were stranger than fiction- all were very engaging. There was a naiveté on my part when entering this story, though, and it didn’t take long to really become immersed. I’m a passionate and rather single-minded person anyway. Soon, the relationships between the missing girls’ relatives and myself began”
Having spent several years working on ‘Hell In The Heartland’, those relationships, in time, became much more than only professional. When asked about the women in her life who have inspired her throughout the journey, Miller cites her late grandmother, as being her rock, and the most influential woman in her life, “My penname, Jax Miller, is named after her. She had that Brooklyn brash attitude, like Sophia from The Golden Girls, but had a heart of gold. My mother didn’t raise me, so she was the most important woman in my life, and I miss her every day.”
She follows by sharing the special relationship she has gained with Lorene; “Lorene Bible is a force to be reckoned with, and she taught me so much about the woman I wish I was and the woman that I hope to one day be. In fact, she was what sealed my commitment to her daughter’s story- I was struck by her, impressed at how she’d handled herself and how she still carries herself. Through her, I’ve learned to listen more than I speak and not react. I’m a New Yorker, reacting is what I do. But she’s truly the strongest woman I’ve ever met, and I’m still in awe of her.”
Even with a great passion to tell this story and the support of these families, and new friends, there were still moments of crippling fear and anxiety, which Jax details throughout the book, as well as in our conversation. She recalls a time that with a plane ticket in her hand, she almost called it quits; it was only the strength of those mentioned above that kept her afloat.
“There were a million times when I wanted to run away from this book. It wasn’t the story so much, but that self-doubt that plagues many authors and artists. On one specific trip, and I think I mention this in the book, I bought a plane ticket, ready to haul ass back to Ireland. While sitting there, the notion dawned on me: that these families didn’t have the luxury of walking away, so why should I? That really pushed me to stay, and from then on, I swore to myself that I was seeing this story through with them, as long as they let me. Lorene Bible can’t walk away from this. In a way, I felt that my leaving would have meant abandoning her, abandoning the girls, abandoning their families. I feel a certain sense of loyalty to them; Lorene, especially since she has the biggest horse in the race as the only mother left.”
Jax Miller radiates with a passion that is hard to miss. While reading ‘Hell In The Heartland’, I often found myself in awe of the measures taken to make sure this story was told as accurately as possible, from every angle. I sat in amazement at the many hats worn by Miller and the Bible/Freeman families as they sought to find justice. But, as she puts it, that passion is just who she is:
“I put all my passion in whatever I do, so if a story requires sitting with a killer, I’ll sit with a killer. If it requires learning how to make candy (as was the case in a French-language fiction I wrote about a confectioner), I’ll do that. My desire to work in true crime has neither increased nor decreased- my passion is still with me. It’s who I am.”
When asked what we can expect next, Jax notes that with active news surrounding the case, and a sentencing only weeks away, she intends to keep her focus on Lauria and Ashley for as long as she can.
A book signing is scheduled at Paul Thomas Family Center, 1527 North Main, in Miami, OK on Sunday August 16th from 2:00 to 4:00. Books will not be available at the event, so you must bring your own copy, wearing a mask is required.
When she’s not writing, Miller enjoys tending to her homegrown pumpkin patch, listening to rock and roll, and loves all things Halloween! She started her writing career while living in Ireland, where her spouse is from, for a decade, but considers herself a bit nomadic, calling many places home. She has found a big love for biscuits and gravy during her stay in Oklahoma!
“It is important for the next generation behind me, those young artists ( black, white,indigenous, people of color) to know within their power, with all their might, always try to “Do the Right thing” Stand up for yourselves; even if you have to stand alone.”
Words spoken with much conviction by Anita White, a name you may have not recognized until very recently, when a name change by country group Lady Antebellum sparked flames with White, known by her music family as Lady A.
Before going any further into that, I want to back up a little bit and introduce you to Anita, prior to this lawsuit.
Coming from a musical family, White began singing in the church choir at age 5, sticking around to become the Choir Director by age 16. “My mother is a gospel singer, my father was a drummer, my grandmother loved blues, my brother plays the drums and my niece is an amazing artist in her own right, her name is Umi. She is amazing. So I come from a musical family.” This passion found a home in Anita’s heart, and led her to continue pursuing music, finding herself as a karaoke singer in the 80’s, and later joining the Sonny Byers Motown Revue as a back-up singer.
Though the passion was there, White admits that the jitters still resided in her as well, actually playing a part in her stage name; “I wasn’t that confident about singing and didn’t want anyone to know my name so I went by Lady A. I married and moved to Florida and began singing Karaoke again and one of my sista-friends would call me Miss A, I told her, I’m married, you can’t call me Miss… I’m Lady A… so she said, you’ll always be Lady A.. and it stuck with me.”
In the early 90’s Anita found her way back to Seattle, where she was asked to sing by Louie Thompson of Thompson’s Point of View. “I didn’t have a band at the time, so I asked my friends in the Motown Revue to play for me… and we became Lady A & the Baby Blues Funk Band.”
Though the band was born that day, it wasn’t a quick climb to success, White and the guys stepped right in with the working class, paid their dues, and found inspiration and meaning along the way. “My career was very gradual… out of Lady A & the Baby Blues Funk Band we played many clubs and have done loads of weddings. We used to perform at the Paragon on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle for many years… The original Scarlet Tree in University district, the Esquire Club. So many festivals. It led me to be able to work in Europe with United by Music Europe as a mentor for the intellectually disabled, teaching stage presence and Gospel music. It has led me to be able to sing gospel at festivals as well as blues, which brings me the ultimate joy. It has led me to meet so many amazing people and artists along the way who have inspired me, or whom have told me I inspired.”
With the experience and inspiration comes great confidence, and brings us back, in a way, to where we started; “I’ve become confident in what I do, more intentional about the lyrics I write and the people I interact with. I have discovered that I should have trademarked my name…” White explains with a slight chuckle, though well aware that it is no laughing matter.
“Lady Antebellum came out and said Black Lives Matter ( I didn’t say that, no one forced them to make those statements); then thought that shortening their name to “their nick-name” made it ok and Woke. I said, I work in Race and Social Justice, so if you say Black Lives Matter, mean it or say you made a mistake. They really don’t, and kept the name Lady A because Lady Antebellum, you said “ Black Lives Matter”, you said “Your hearts have been stirred with conviction about the injustices and inequalities of Black people” You said that,… so if that is true, shortening your name is still racist . Performative Wokeness is not Allyship.”
Anita recognizes that this not only personally affects her career, but sets the stage for future injustices, so she stands tall, and she fights.
“They have affected not only myself, but all those Black, Indeginous people of this land, and People of color (BIPOC) by attempting to insult our intelligence. Either you are an ally or you are not. Either change your name or go back to being Lady Antebellum, as until the week before I released The Truth is Loud under my moniker – Lady A – you had not released any music under Lady A – and just as I told the lawyers and the artist; “The moment you release something as Lady A you will wipe me off all the social platforms, ITunes, Amazon and Spotify” which is exactly what happened, even though you ( Lady Antebellum) said it wouldn’t or you would give your best efforts (per the 2 contracts you sent which had no substance and only helped you not me.) So where was the allyship?”
White hopes that by speaking up, she can help the generations to come, “It’s important for independent artists to know that big business does not always have to win out… hold people accountable for their words, for their actions. Yes, I’m tired, yes I’m exhausted, yes, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired … but I will not give up, nor will I give in. God is with me.. I trust Him.”
Anita White’s heart accommodates many things, but there are two things it holds quite dearly; a love for music, and a love for being a blessing to others. Long before her name was known by millions, she has practiced these things with all of her being, and truly hopes everyone can find their place in this world with confidence and compassion.
“Learn who you are, focus on what you want, stay positive even when it gets hard, know that you are called to do whatever it is you want to do in life and most importantly know that you are not here on this planet just for yourself, but to serve and help others as you make your way thru the journey of life. You will find the more you give others, the more comes back to you in unexpected ways.”
What to expect next from Lady A?
“I’m still writing music for an upcoming CD project for 2021, The Truth is Loud – Ally Roles in 2020. My Life, Love and Laughter series on YouTube just launched last week, you can find it on our Couch Concerts Facebook page. It’s a late night YouTube talk show with musical artists, Bakers/Cooks in the Seattle area, Gardners, etc. . I write with a great writer Roz Royster McCommon who is also an amazing videographer and we’ve been working on that series, it airs every Friday night on Couch Concerts YouTube page at 10pm PST.”
White’s website slogan reads, “Be Blessed and Be a Blessing”. What a blessing it has been to share this story! She Who Dares!
As I stared at that reflection the pain and realization hit hard. Who was this frail, fragile woman? When had those dark circles and sunken cheek bones taken over the cheerful, rosy cheeks, and bright eyes of the me I once knew? When had I let myself go? It didn’t take me long to realize that despite how I got here, I had to find the road out. The answer came pretty easy, I needed one thing…
Nourishment for my body, my mind and my spirit. The simplest, most well-known of prayers came to my heart and I began saying it over and over again. I think you might find it familiar, a little verse in Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one…”
This verse is familiar to many of us, known as the Lord’s Prayer. I remember truly learning this and memorizing it during junior high basketball, saying it as a team before every game. I had been saying it for years before those ballgames and as part of church services, but had I ever really taken the time to break down each element and understand in whole what this simple prayer means to us and for us?
Our Father has a life already prepared for us, things he has set out in order to bless us…and to feed us. To nourish us. We have a daily meal already prepared in the word of God, but we have to be willing to allow the feeding. That bread can multiply beyond all measure if we are willing to receive it. But in order to receive it fully we can’t just skip past that part about forgiveness and forgiving. That’s a big one, we are always forgiven by God, but do we always forgive ourselves and those placed in our lives? Had I truly in my heart forgiven all those who had wronged me? Had I even began to forgive Mr. Walkaway Joe introduced in the beginning of this story? Was I still allowing that bitterness to overcome the bread? Was temptation and evil taking place of my healthy supply?
Sadly in standing back and looking at that reflection again, the answer was a clear yes. I was opening up dating apps more than I was opening my Bible. Trying so quickly just to replace him to feel that spot I thought I needed in my life. I was continually swiping left and right, receiving “flirts” and “winks” more than I was receiving the Holy Spirit into my heart. I was ignoring that voice telling me that this wasn’t right, and those men weren’t the answer. I was continuing to let temptation and lack of patience take over God’s timing for my life and for my future. And it kept leading to the same dead end.
I kept staring at the same frail woman in the mirror. She was confused, hurt and lost. And she was tired of waiting. She was hungry for love and a life out of the fairy tales.
Although my heart felt so broken, I continually kept yearning for the feeding and nourishment to come from a man of this world. I want to say I was strong and it all came so easy in letting that guy go. That the moment I realized God had given me closure, I had received it and closed the book. But, the truth of the matter was, I’d opened up that guys phone number one to many times, trying to think of anything to get a response. Silence.
Eventually it was in the silence that I started to hear God more. It was as if the headphones of temptation had been removed from my ears, and replaced with a soft voice saying, “Let me feed you. Hear my Word. Accept this bread. Take this journey with me.”
And the clearest sentence of all. “Forgive him.”
But, but, but….
This is when I started to really receive the bread. It tasted much better than the bitter, and the sugar coated. And the reflection started to look a little better too. I had found faith in finding the filling. In filling the void.
And then it all happened again. I was back to going through the motions, losing myself as I searched for fulfillment from someone else.
God let me do it, and then He showed up like He always does, full of grace…and more bread.