Category Archives: Parenting

Understanding My Father’s Love & Vision

Hello Family! I have not written a post in a little while, but I can definitely tell you I have been working on soooooo many things involving my VISION for “The Vision Blogger” Companies so be on the lookout. BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING!!! (My team tells me I need to focus on one thing, but I can’t. LOL.)

At the end of August, my daughter, Mya, and I went to support one of my church sisters, Rhoshonda Adkison’s, event “Breakfast with Daddy’s Girl”. The event was located at Hanz’s Diner in North Houston where in the provided area, the women and young girls sat on the outside of the tables, while men sat in the middle. Each man represented that day was the “Dad” for about three or four ladies or young girls and became responsible for them for the time given. After our informal meet and greet, we all wrote out the letters to spell father on the sheet of paper given and were asked to describe what a father is using each letter. As we formulated our list, Mya started to remember her dad and came up with words with that glee and smile in her eyes I hadn’t seen in a long while. Most of the words did not start with the letters provided, but it was amazing to hear her just describe him. That moment caused me to step back and truly think about my father and how our relationship and his passing affected me.

Mya was SPOILED with a capital “S”. Now the word “spoiled” is often used as a derogatory term, but in my eyes, if a child or teenager was spoiled, they often got mostly everything they wanted and were not punished for things you might have received a punishment for. As a child, growing up, I confused being spoiled with being more loved. One day, I actually told my dad I felt he loved my sisters more than me because they were always getting what they wanted from him. His words to me were, “You have the same opportunities to get what you want and need from me, but you don’t ask.” He was right. In my mind, at the time I felt like it was wrong of me to always go and ask my dad for anything when my little sister was always going to him already for everything. I also felt like I didn’t call him enough or spent enough time with him to ask him for things I wanted or needed. I just never wanted my dad to feel like I only called him for those reasons. Looking back on this now, I am the same way with God. I know He is absolutely everything and He can do what I can’t, but I never want it to seem like I only talk to Him when I need Him. After the conversation with my dad, I realized it was my fault I felt the way I did. Point blank, I never in no shape, form, or fashion, felt unloved by my father, but as a young girl, I never knew how and what it meant for a father to show real love without having gifts and things I desired. As a teenager, as I grasped the concept of what a father’s love should consist of, I realized I looked forward to meals with my dad, going to church with him, and laughing with him until my stomach hurt more than having the materialistic things.  Thankfully, I learned this early on where that perception of love would not boil over into my relationships as an adult. I was proud to say that my daughter experienced love from her father different than how I felt as a young girl. Her father wasn’t fully in a position to give her everything she wanted. Honestly at three years old, she really didn’t ask for much of anything. She knew her father loved her by the time spent with her, the hugs and kisses he gave, and the compliments of how beautiful she is. That’s the love she experienced in only three years that she still thinks about almost five years later.

Losing my father at 22 was TOUGH for two reasons. One, I had just left my home church a year before and he had become my pastor and baptized me. As my pastor, our relationship grew stronger than I could’ve ever imagined. I saw my father in a different light and didn’t want that light to dim from my life. The second reason was, two months to the day of his passing, I had just given birth to my first child, Elijah. I remember the day I had him. The look in his eyes was unexplainable. He kept coming in the recovery room with me and going right back out to check on my son. The next day, he came back to the hospital and just held him for hours. My sister told me he preached about Elijah from the Bible for three weeks straight. When we came back to church, after service was over, he prayed and said, “Bring me my grandson.” You could see the joy in his eyes and hear it in his smile when he called. It pained me to come to grips with him not being able to see him and the other grandchildren grow up. Even now, it hurts sometimes to think about how he never got a chance to meet all the other grandkids who have been born since his passing. 

The final activity of the event was writing a letter to our fathers. I truly thought the activity was going to be an emotional one for myself and Mya but it was actually relieving. In Mya’s letter, she wrote about everything she missed about him being here on earth with her. As we finished, I started to ask myself, “What do you want to say that you never got a chance to say?” One thing was how much I loved and appreciated him as my father and at that time, as my Pastor. My father would move the moon and stars for his wife, his girls, his family, his friends and God’s people. He was a true servant. It was a blessing to see him sick, well, happy, or sad serve. That’s why when I saw the flyer where my father’s church, True Praise Missionary Baptist Church, under Pastor Earnest Helaire, Jr., was having their opening service for the new building, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have missed it. My father’s VISION had come to pass. I didn’t know everything True Praise had to go through to get the building but I knew there were obstacles. Before and even during the opening service, they continued to face opposition when the air conditioner went out. That didn’t stop them from giving God praise and honor for what He had done for them as a church. First Lady Sha Helaire and other members served the members and guests ice water because of the heat. I just believed just as she served in that moment, it was a direct representation of True Praise and what they had to endure as they waited for the vision to come to pass. They continued to serve. They didn’t quit. They didn’t allow road blocks to hinder the process of moving forward.Passing by my grandparents’ house, I had seen the pieces for the building many times, but to see all the pieces together to create the beautiful edifice was encouraging. My vision is written ALL OVER on many sheets of paper in my journal, sticky notes on my desk, and even notes in my phone, in pieces. My pieces can and will come to pass just like my father’s vision did. “And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” My father wrote the vision and made it plain. His church, now under the leadership of Pastor Helaire, continued on even in the midst of the heartbreak of losing their child, brother, friend, and pastor. They are running with what was written.

Every single person in this world has had their own experience with love from their birth fathers whether it was existent or non-existent. Some people don’t or didn’t have the luxury of even having their father in their lives at all or only in bits and pieces of it. What I have always found throughout my life and even through others’ testimonies, whatever you may have felt about your father, whether he was there or not, God is the only one who can fill any void you may have from not having your father around or not receiving what you needed from him. I love the idea of the “Daddy’s Girls” Ministry because Rhoshonda brings teenage girls together, which I believe the teen years are a pivotal stage in life, to minister to them about the love of Christ and building an unimaginable bond with Him. As great as my biological father was to me and as much love I am surrounded by from my family and friends, I could never live without the love of God and wouldn’t be able to understand life at times without having that relationship with Him.  

With this post, I honor my father, Pastor Jim Miles, Jr. and True Praise Missionary Baptist Church. I love you guys tremendously. Keep up the good work. Be Blessed.

MY TESTIMONY-GOD HAS DONE IT AGAIN

First, I have to say, God is absolutely AMAZING & FAITHFUL. He does just what He says He’ll do. He’s never short in His promises. When I declared “Today is going to be a GREAT day” on yesterday, I never fathomed what God was going to do for me. I’m still in amazement and in awe of who He is in my life. I love God! He is EVERYTHING to me and I am FOREVER His servant. Not for what He does only but for who HE is.

Second, God has revealed soooo much to me about myself in the last four years, I’ll never be able to fully explain it. I learned who I truly was in Him and He strategically placed many people in my life to keep me going and growing in Him and through my VISION. So, it was somewhat hard for me to leave my last job at the Tax Office because I knew I was comfortable. I was also working towards being a Lead Clerk, but there, you had to really be in good with the right people to be promoted.

I left there and went to work with my mom in the Justice Courts, where I had volunteered periodically since high school. Little did I know, 3 months after starting the job, my children’s father would pass leaving me heartbroken and somewhat confused about what God was actually doing in my life. At the same time I felt relieved. My children’s father was my entire life. I loved him with everything in me, but losing him drew me even more closer to God. Also, at the new job I was able to take the time I needed to truly heal and grieve at my leisure. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at the Tax Office.

As time went on, I began to learn almost every aspect of the Courts. I worked hard with truly no intention of ever being promoted maybe for years to come. I knew I would be qualified because of what I knew and my work ethics, but set my mind and heart to believe I wouldn’t be able to be promoted. Not only because the current Supervisors didn’t plan on retiring for years, but because people would believe my mother, who is the chief clerk, would only give me the position because I was her daughter, not because I knew the job and worked hard at it.

In the previous school year, Edwin, Jr. starts kindergarten and begins having issues EVERYDAY. He is later diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Behavior. You can read more about that process in the following link: https://thevisionblogger.com/2019/02/07/yesterday-was-tough/ During the school year, I had a bit of relief because there were people in place at his school to help redirect him if need be, being that the medicine only did so much.

The summer didn’t start off so great. He was getting ready to be removed from the summer program. Just days ago, we started a new medication along with what he’s already taking. It looks like things are much better for now and I believe God is working on that as well. I’m grateful and relieved because in two weeks I will be starting a new position as the new “Traffic Department Supervisor” in another Justice of the Peace Court.

I was interviewed along with others for the position and found myself just happy to even be considered for the opportunity to have an interview. I started the process with the mindset, “God, if it’s for me, it’s for me. If it’s not, it’s not and I’m okay with that.” But God knew what I wanted and He knew exactly what I needed to provide fully for myself and my children. Even after having what was intended for my children be stolen by someone who was connected to their father, God has replaced that and more.

Things I’ve learned through this process:

  • I will never underestimate what God can and will do for me. He has a Will and it’s all I want.
  • I will never underestimate myself or count myself out and make myself believe outside of what God has promised. He is faithful and if He promised it, I dare not allow the enemy or even myself to make me believe His promise won’t be manifested.
  • I will never apologize for what God has placed on the inside of me to fulfill work in the Kingdom and the World. I love me and the way God has made and molded me. I am yet and still on the potter’s wheel and will never be unreachable or unteachable.

I am a witness. God never puts more on you than you can bear. If He allows you to go through it, He’s equipped you with what you need to stand any test or trial. I am ELATED to learn what’s next to come in this journey of life. This short story had to be told to help someone understand and witness through me that God is strategic in everything he does. He has a plan. Don’t be distracted by the pain and short detours. Don’t allow them to make you miss the moment God is using to show you what He wants to do in your life. You may not even understand it all, but find solitude in the fact that He understands it all. He has a plan and purpose. He’s GOD! My prayer DAILY is for someone to be blessed in what God has taken me through, favored me with, and endowed me to do with my hands. Check out my previous post as well with my top 13 Motivational Quotes for moving forward here: https://thevisionblogger.com/2019/06/20/motivational-quotes-for-moving-forward/

Be Blessed.

The central park five: when they see us (review)

Disclaimer~This posts gives some details about the movie that may be unwanted. I would advise you to watch, if you please, before reading. If you choose to continue, enjoy.

Central Park Five ~ The Story

Jonathan P Hicks|Amsterdam News

On the night of April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, at the time, a 28-year-old investment banker, was found brutally beaten and raped in Central Park, New York City while on her nightly jog. Police found themselves attempting to do their job by searching for the people responsible for the attack against Meili, who suffered from skull fractures among other life-threatening injuries.

911 calls were made reporting a group of about 30 teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 17, “wilding” through the park harassing people. The police decided to link the group of teens to the attack. Among the group were, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Jr., Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Kharey Wise, who would later change his name to Korey Wise.

These young men, who ranged from the ages of 14 and 16, went through HOURS of interrogation. Claims from the men included the interrogators not providing them with food, water, or sleep during that time. To top off the investigation, the police questioned these minors without their parents or legal guardian present. In the end, they confessed to the crime.

A trial was held with the videotaped and written confessions being inconsistent, without any physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, and no DNA matches connecting them to the attack. The trial was split between the five of them.

During the trials, Meili took the stand and stated she had no recollection of what happened to her. Yet and still, the boys were found guilty, collectively, of rape, assault, robbery, riot, attempted murder, sodomy, and sexual abuse. McCray, Santana, Salaam, and Richardson were all sentenced to 5 to 10 in a juvenile facility, being they were under the age of 16. Wise was tried as an adult and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in state prison.

In 2002, after 4 of the 5 young men completed their time, Matias Reyes, an already convicted murderer and rapist, confessed to the assault against Meili, after finding Jesus and wanting to confess his sins. Wise was still serving his time sentence and was released after Reyes gave details of the brutal attack. Reyes’ DNA was also tested and found to be a match taken from the crime scene. He could not be tried for the case because the statute of limitations had expired.

After the confession and findings regarding Reyes and the attack against Meili, the, now, men who were known as the “Central Park Five” were exonerated from the charges placed on them 12 years prior.

“When They See Us” ~ The Movie

Part One of the series on Netflix, directed by Ava DuVernay, opened with different accounts of the five young men and how they became mixed in with a crowd of 30 teenagers reported “wilding out” through the neighborhood and Central Park. Some of the teenagers were picked up after they were found assaulting a man under a bridge.

The scene is moved to the crime scene of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili. During a briefing at the precinct, Linda Fairstein, who was head of the investigation, called for the team to not only get any kind of information they could from the teenagers already held in custody, but to flood the streets to find all the boys out in the park the previous night.

There were many hard scenes to watch in this series, but the first scenes on my list was when the interrogations from the detectives. The actors portrayed the “Central Park Five” excellently. You could tell these young men were terrified and just wanted to go home and were willing to do whatever necessary to do so. From the interrogations, I started to not finish the series and this was in the first thirty minutes. I continued because I had already done research on the case and formed in my mind what happens in the end. But what was hard to witness was the process they had to go through.

Part Two of the series, showed the trial and how it not only affected the boys, but the people connected to them, who stood behind them the most, their family. It even showed an encounter between Antron McCray and his father after he showed up to the trial for the first time since it started. It was hard to see their relationship unfold after the detectives somewhat threaten McCray’s father into pushing his son to just confess and “tell them what they want to hear”. The father even takes the stand in court and explains the incident.

In the end, all of the young men are found guilty and sentenced. The series illustrated the boys reactions as well as their families outstandingly. I could already feel for them, but those scenes made me feel for them even more. It was literally heart-wrenching and brought me to tears.

Part Three focused on Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Jr., Yusef Salaam, and Kevin Richardson. It depicted their lives in the juvenile center and after they are released. It showed these men, who spent an ample amount of time in jail, attempt to live life somewhat normally. They aim to get jobs, repair and form new relationships, and continue life in the free world. I believe all of them knew it was not going to be easy, but they survived and strived to conquer it.

Part Four, to me, was the toughest part to watch of them all. It focused on Korey Wise as he is tried at 16 as an adult and sent through the adult prison system. Not saying any of their situations were better or worse than the other, but the way this series took us down his road, particularly, was heartbreaking. It took us through every emotion, horrendous act against him, death of his brother, and, eventually, his release after Matias Reyes confessed to the crime he spent 12 years in jail for. It also made me ultimately wonder about the prison systems around the world and how it takes a toil on these men and women, boys and girls, young and old.

Getty Images

How It Affected Me

When I saw the trailer for this series, I started to research the story so I could dive in already knowing the main pieces of the case. My research would never prepare me for the visual of what these men went through before the conviction and even after being exonerated. I feel like I cried through this entire series and that’s something I can truly say I have never done in any movie.

I precisely placed myself in the shoes of everyone depicted from the boys, to their mothers, to the court system, to the jury, to the detectives. It was almost impossible not to think about my boys being in the shoes of the young boys of the “Central Park Five”. It pained me to even remotely think about my boys being teenagers and deciding to just hang out with their friends in a park to being convicted of rape, assault, robbery, riot, attempted murder, sodomy, and sexual abuse. It hurt me to think about men and women in the legal system, who I advise my children to trust and believe in to protect them to accuse them of crimes they did not commit and coerce them into making false statements against themselves, their friends, and boys they didn’t even know.

After the men are exonerated, in a civil suit, they are awarded, among them, 41 million dollars, which I believe there is no amount of money to cover the time they spent away from their families, the lies told on them, the looks people gave them, and the paid ads placed to “Bring Back The Death Penalty”. I’m happy the men were cleared of all charges for crimes they did not commit, but why did it take 12 years? The statistics for exonerated cases in the US are extremely high in numbers. “The Innocence Project” gives fast facts for these cases here.

This series was a wake-up call for me to be even more mindful of our world, the judicial system, and the future of our children, my children. There’s already so many other things going on in the world with young and old being murdered or killed by the people who take the oath to protect us. I work as part of that same judicial system everyday and know for a fact every member of the system is not the same, but what do we do when we encounter someone who takes that oath of protection and use it against the people they are to protect. What do I tell my children besides, “just do what they say” and how do I know someone will not use that same phrase against them to win in the end? What do I tell them? All I can do is pray.

What were your thoughts on the movie? Did they do a good job in visualizing the story?

It’s A Celebration!!!

“The Klein ISD Family Engagement Program empowers families to actively participate in their student’s education by engaging in meaningful partnerships with the schools to support the Klein ISD vision:

“In Klein ISD every student enters with a promise, and exits with a purpose!””

-Klein ISD

Graduation InvitationMy children attend Klein Independent School District and have since Elijah started kindergarten back in 2015. Since then, it seemed like everyone in the school from the front office to the cafeteria workers knew the Sauls kids. As a working single mother, it became hard for me to attend certain events during school hours and sometimes even after-school because I would be so tired. Klein Intermediate started “Parent University” in the 2013-2014 school year through the Family Engagement Program. It was established to provide a way for parents to become more involved with the school. This would lead to better relationships between the school and parents, as well as, parents and their children, which would ultimately lead to better grades for the students. This school year, I had no other choice but to be more involved after having to deal with Edwin Jr., and his diagnosis of ADHD, which I have spoken up about recently. I went to the school several times and actively attended the programs they provided. The first program of the school year I attended was “Kindergarten Camp”, where myself and other parents brought their new kindergarteners for a few hours to the school for three nights. The camp was put together to provide a smooth transition for their students starting a big school. Edwin, of course, had already been to the school many times previously with his brother and sister so the only new thing we had to face was leaving him in a classroom by himself. During this camp, the kindergarteners left the parents and went into the classrooms while the parents interacted with each other. I believed this was an awesome way for the students to feel a little more comfortable before the first day of school. This was also a great way to meet parents who were all experiencing their babies going to school for the first time. This was only one of the five programs I attended provided by the Family Engagement Program allowing me to be a part of the Parent University’s Class of 2019.

Parent University Diploma

This year’s graduating class consisted of myself and 267 other parents from Klein ISD. As I entered the building with my cap and gown in hand, there were greeters everywhere I turned. I think I heard “Congratulations” almost a hundred times that day. I entered a huge room which served as a holding area for all the graduates. Some of the parents included teachers and staff from my children’s school. Everyone had big smiles on their faces as they took pictures with their friends and even meeting other parents in their line. You could see and feel the excitement in the room. We stood in alphabetical order until they were ready for us to make our grand entrance where family, friends, and some of the districts’ staff awaited. We took our seats and the program began. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Bob Anderson, who is the Founding Principal of Parent University. He spoke on the journey Klein encountered in creating this program to form more parent activity in the schools. The graduation, to me, was just one of the “fruits of their labor”.

47073249064_b756cf7399_zClick Here to view photos from the Graduation along with the one above provided by Klein Independent School District.

The key people to making the Family Engagement Program a success in each Klein ISD’s schools individually are the Parent Liaisons. Ms. Simon, who you see helping me get my cap on over this head, and Ms. Sanchez are the heads of this operation at Nistch Elementary.  I remembered at the beginning of the school year Ms. Sanchez spoke about how memorable the graduations were and she would tell you every chance she got. She has been one of the main people to push me to complete the programs to become a graduate. She even brought me in the “Parent Center”, during one of my many visits, to make sure I had enough credits to become eligible. When she saw I only had one more program to go, she immediately went into the upcoming programs that would be held for me to earn my credit. We, then, started discussing the upcoming STAAR test. She printed off practice sheets for me to work on with the kids to help them better prepare at home. This is another example of the school helping the parents engage in their students success. Ms. Simon has been my listener, helper, and even my shoulder to cry on. Anytime she would come across valuable information or programs to help me out financially, she would call me. Anytime they offered help during Christmas time or throughout the year with essential items and uniforms at times, I knew about it. Doing this helped me to stress less and focus more on what was even more important, my children’s education. These women, along with so many other staff members, help create a safe and productive environment for the children of Nitsch Elementary while creating the same type of relationship with the parents.

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When my children’s father passed, I moved out of my mom’s house about two months later alone with my children.  I say all the time I felt like I had to learn them all over again. Even though I gave birth to them and were with them everyday, I started to view life with my children differently because I was now doing it alone. I had no idea what was in store for this journey. Even after watching my mother, a single parent of three, work multiple jobs to provide and do all she possibly could, it still would never prepare me for this endeavor. To this day, I sometimes feel like I’m sucking at it, but the staff of Nistch Elementary and a host of family and friends, help me daily to not suck at this parenting thing so much. I never had to have accolades for simply being a parent, but it felt good to be celebrated. The Parent University did just that. They showed me I’m doing my very best with what I am given and have provided many avenues to complete the VISION of the district, for every student to enter with a promise and exit with a purpose.

My Children Are My World

My children are my world! They mean everything to mechildren1 and I wouldn’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them in my life. They are, truly, my blessings from God. Now, it took me a long time to realize why God made me a mother. When I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son, Elijah, I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. I felt the same way when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Emiyah, when Elijah was just five months old. When I was pregnant with my youngest son, Edwin Jr., I was, literally, in denial for months because of these same exact feelings. My children’s father found out he had Congestive Heart Failure two weeks before I had Elijah. We made the decision, from there, that I would work, and he would stay home and take care of Elijah, then Emiyah, and then Edwin Jr. After all of my pregnancies, because I was the only one working, and I was on a temporary job status with the county, they held my job, until I was able to come back. I went back to work after being out four weeks with all of my children. This was a decision I made on my own, even though at times my children’s father would beg me to wait longer, but I knew what had to be done. During this time, I only had a short time to bond, fully, with my children. I worked long hours and after getting home so late, I was so tired. Over the years, I’ve tried to build a better bond with my children, even while working to provide. Especially, now, with their father not here, I feel I have had to love them deeper and more wisely.

Last week, Emiyah’s allergies started to make her sick. She kept a fever, continuously sneezed, and had very puffy, watery eyes. With her not feeling well, I tried to console her as best I knew how, but she would look me in my eyes and tell me, “I want my daddy.” Every time she said these words, it hurt a little more and more each time. I know that it wasn’t her fault, but it made me reevaluate my relationships with my children, especially her, being that I always wanted to have a special relationship with her like I had, and still have, with my mother. Her wanting her father made me think about how many times I took off work to take care of them or how many nights I stayed up to watch over them while they were sick. To tell you the truth, I could not think of many. Their father was there through it all, and not only because he had to be, but he really wanted to be.

Now, their father’s parenting skills were a lot different than mine. He believed in training his boys to be strong men, which often meant being a lot harder on them to get them to understand certain things. But, on the other hand, he treated his girls like princesses. He believed that if he did this, they would not allow just any man to come in their lives and treat them any less than what they deserve. I believe in treating all of my children the same. I know that it’s not achildren3lways possible, but I try my best to never allow myself to show favoritism towards my children. I grew up, and even still today, seeing almost every day the boys being treated like princes and the girls being placed behind, almost nonexistent. I promised myself, to eliminate me treating one better than the other, I would do the same for all. Now, don’t think that I am bashing their father’s parenting skills, but with now having to raise them alone, I’m looking for the best ways to teach them certain things. I believe, solely, in the statement, “it takes a village”, but everybody’s way may not be the right way or the way that works for your child. There are some children who require other reinforcements or care, so to speak.

This process is a learning process for me. I’ve learned so much in the past few months about myself and my children to last me a lifetime, but I know that there is still room to grow and learn. My biggest prayer in life, involving my children, is for them to grow in God and never limit themselves. And I, also, want them to always remember that their father loved them so much more than they could ever know. This world is so unpredictable and your life can change in a matter of seconds. I am thankful to have a second (or thousandth) chance at life as a mother and as a person. As I stated before, and I will always say, I’m following God with my children in tow.