Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Couple Highlights: Dakerri and Sondra


Dakerri & Sondra
Barber-Rhone
Nashville, Tn.
 
How long have you been together? Dakerri  & Sondra: We’ve been together since March 7, 2003.  We were married in Washington DC on September 14, 2012.

Congrats! Tell me, how did you get together/meet? Dakerri & Sondra: It seems strange to us now, but we actually met online.  We met on a website called collegeclub.com which isn’t even in existence anymore, but back then it was the place to be for college students.

When you met her, what was the initial attraction?  Dakerri: I hadn’t seen any pictures prior to meeting Sondra so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into or what to expect.  I’d never dated a “soft-stud” before.  From our phone conversations she didn’t sound like what I was used to hearing from studs.  She has an ultra-feminine, very sexy voice.  When we did meet I was instantly attracted to her.  She was beautiful.   She had all the “swagger” of a stud, but embraced her femininity as well.

Sondra: I have a running joke about me being”catfished” by her.  For those unfamiliar with the show Catfish, it’s about online dating and one of the parties fibs about who they are.  Dakerri scanned her high school senior picture where her complexion was much darker due to it being taken in the summer months and she was wearing her natural hair.  When we agreed to meet up at a gas station close to my college, there stood this lighter complexion woman with long hair smiling this big beautiful yet warming smile.  At first I was unsure if she was the girl from the picture, but I eventually realized that I was staring at my future.  In other words, I was very attracted to her; even more so in person.

***Interviewer Moment: I just loved how you said that you were staring at your future…. J

12 years is a long time, espcailly since you started so young. What would you say is the key to the success of your relationship? Dakerri: Compromise/Consideration – We take the other into consideration with anything that we do or say. Sondra: I agree with Dakerri and also say communication and trust.  No relationship can withstand without that. 
 
Over the years, how have you learned to deal with adversity? How do you deal with and face challenges that might come up in your relationship? Sondra: Honestly I take challenges as they arise.  I believe in taking things day by day and work them out thoughtfully when they occur. Dakerri: We keep our personal business between just us.  We keep open communication and try to think outside our “box” to understand why the other feels the way they do.

What role does spirituality play in your relationship? Dakerri: I was baptized at 10 and grew up in church, but we’ve both realized over time that we are not big on organized religion.  We are very spiritual.  We both pray, but we focus on our own personal relationship with God. Sondra: Spirituality plays a major part in our relationship.  We both pray and believe in God and that we were created in his image.  We however have both agreed that organized religion is not something that we would like to continue attending.  With so much backlash from a vast majority of the Christian community, we prefer a more intimate relationship with God.
 
What role does sensuality play in your relationship? Dakerri: Sensuality plays a big role.  The art of touching, not always in a sexual manner and mind stimulation. Sondra: Sensuality plays a very big role in our relationship.  We are sensual with each other as humanly possible physically and mentally, majority of the time privately.  We are not too fond of PDA.
 
After 12 years together, I believe that couples can benefit from your success. What advice would you give other couples? Sondra: Communicate, communicate, communicate!  The biggest mistake that I see most people make in relationships is not communicating with their partners.  Instead they go online and vent to the World Wide Web, to friends, past lovers, etc. which just opens the door to even more issues.  This was something even I had to learn over time in our relationship.  Dakerri and I talk about any and everything and continue to encourage each other to keep our business between us.

Dakerri: Advice I’d give to other couples is be considerate of the other.  A relationship is a partnership and one must remember that.  You have to make decisions that benefit you both.  Also pick your battles.  With two people, two personalities, two ways of thinking, there are going to be things you don’t see eye to eye on.  Every disagreement should not be a huge blow out.  Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and take one for the team.

What specific “relationship rules” support your union? Dakerri: Sounds cliché, but treat her how I would want to be treated.  Also communication is key. Sondra: The only “relationship rule” that supports our union is to remain completely honest with another and understanding. 

When you think about loving her, what did you have to learn and un-learn to love her fully? Dakerri: I’m going to have to go back to my answer to #8 and say pick my battles.  We got together at such a young age and were both hot headed.  Over the years we’ve learned how to deal with issues that arise and we have far less disagreements.  This has brought such closeness and understanding to our relationship. 

Sondra: When I met Dakerri I was still living in the closet and lived what I considered a double life.  I was a stud at night and fem by day.  I had to un-learn that being homosexual was wrong.  She didn’t know at the time, but she helped me find myself and seeing how carefree she was helped me. 

What has your relationship taught you most about yourself? Sondra: That I can be in one and be absolutely happy!  That one person is amazing enough to deal with a handful (me) and in the same token make me the happiest person in the universe.  Dakerri: That I am strong.  With my wife by my side I know I can face anything.  I used to be very shy and not assertive at all.  She taught me it was ok to say no.  She has helped me to find my inner strength.

When you think about loving her, what 1 word most captures her essence and your love? Dakerri: Sincerity. Sondra: Consideration.


You can find more information about this wonderful couple at: YouTube channel Two Mom Diaries. It's www.youtube.com/2momdiaries

 
We thank you for sharing your love with us at Create Love! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other couples. We wish you continued success and happiness.www.createloveforwomen.com


 Create Love Founders


Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison
 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Create Love Game Night - April 18th

Come play with us! 

Imani and SharRon are inviting you out for a night of fun just because we want to play with you...no, not like that. lol. We really want to just hang out with you and let our inner child out to mix and mingle. 

We love it when grown folks work hard and play even harder. Grab your bestie or boi..or both...and join us on April 18, 2015 Saturday at the Little 5 Points Community Center in the Cafe. $5 entry at the door. Snacks will be provided. BYOB (beer and wine permitted in moderation) We shall see you then for the fun!!!

404.944.6409




Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Couple Highlights: Bah'Dori and Lynda

Bah'Dori Oyanna
&
Lynda Harris
Atlanta, Ga.

I am always fascinated by how relationships begin. Where did you meet and what were the initial attractions?  Bah’Dori Oyanna: We met at a church conference in Winston Salem North Carolina given by TFAM( The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries . Lynda came and spoke to me given a word and my first thought was she was a really sweet older lady and definitely a potential friend.  Lynda:   We meet at a church conference in Winston Salem North Carolina given by TFAM( The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. The word, Spirit gave me for her was, “You are different and you’re not understood… from both sides… family/church. Don’t change for no one. (WOW! That was on point).  Bah’Dori was working in the Spirit, healing someone’s leg and I saw such caring and attention given.

You have been together for 4 ½ years. First, Congratulations. What advice would you give to other couples and why? Lynda:  Talk about the little things… all the way out. Hold space for everything that comes up. Laugh and have fun as much as possible and remember those times.  Bah’Dori:  It is imperative that you have a good understanding of self-first before entering a relationship and your willingness to learn more about yourself by the reflections of your partner. We attract to us people who show us our light as well as our shadows. It is important to always ask, what is this and why is the energy here and what has it come to teach me.

Getting together is easy. Staying together is difficult. I am sure that your have weathered many transitions and storms? How did you manage and what was the hardest part?   Bah’Dori: For me it was identifying and understanding some of my defense mechanisms I had adopted to protect myself emotionally and how those mechanisms really became more of a hindrance to my growth and my desire to have an authentic connection. I had to take a really good look at myself and begin the work in trusting my energy and choices. Lynda:  Recognizing what is/was mine and working on myself and trust Spirit will give the true answers.

Our personal histories greatly influence and inform our lives and determine how we deal with adversity. So how have your personal histories affected how you deal with and face challenges (family acceptance, money differences, etc.) as a coupe? What is your strategy? Lynda:  Revealing (being vulnerable) about what’s really going with me. Having courage to face what I see in myself and asking for help with understanding the wounds that come to be healed.  Bah’Dori: We do a lot of sharing our stories, analyzing of self and going down the rabbit hole on the whys. We also practice listening to each other’s heart which requires understanding how to hold sacred space, allowing the other to speak and to listen without ego attachment. This is definitely requires us to be very conscious and intentional. 

I know faith is important to both of you. How do you practice your faith as a couple and what role does spirituality play in your relationship?  Bah’Dori: Coming from a non-religious but spiritual in nature family, I had a wonderful opportunity to be able to experience various religious and spiritual belief systems and develop a very intimate and unique relationship with Source and do what honors the Spirit that exists in me as me. Lynda is very spiritual as well and very much a justice for Jesus person. We enjoy praying and mediating together as well as honoring those who shoulders on which we stand our ancestors. We study and practice various forms of African spirituality and Metaphysics which has really created a deep spiritual intimacy between us and our relationship is overall enriched by the energy of it all.  Lynda:  I relay on Spirit to guide my walk each day. With a Pentecostal background, I had to un-learn a lot and re-learn so much more as I see Bah’Dori walk-out her beliefs and path. No judgments.  

After ­­­ years, how do you keep the fires burning? What role does sensuality play in your relationship? And how do you guard against lesbian bed death?  Bah’Dori: Our Intimacy and the Sex are off the chain! We are intimate daily, since we been together she brings me coffee every morning, runs baths and still puts on my favorite cologne that awakens my Yoni energy. I must admit our energy is very intense together and it really took me a minute to embrace this level of intimacy. It took me trusting myself to allow someone to love me fully and authentically. I prayed that Source would allow me to experience this kind of Love and I am definitely blessed by the experience.  Lynda:  The sex (love making) is WONDERFUL; however the sensuality is the best EVER!  Bah’Dori will catch me lustfully looking at her and she will blush like a school girl.

Every relationship develops "Relationship Rules” that support your union? What are your spoken and unspoken rules? And how did those rules form? Lynda:  There are no rules.  The boundaries I have incorporated are based on the values I hold for myself. (Do unto others) Trust and Respect trumps rules… every time.   Bah’Dori: We definitely had conversations about what we expected from ourselves in regards to the kind of quality relationship we desired, and we both have a great understanding of that with one another. We don’t necessarily have Rules because they are too stationary and mostly set out of Fear; we do have our individual and collective boundaries based on our interdependence growth and how the relationship naturally flows and evolves. 

Every relationship challenges us in different way. What did you have to learn and UN-learn to love her fully and faithfully?  Bah’Dori:   Because I am a very passionate person and my energy can be very intense, I had to learn how to channel my energy in a way that does not disrupts or cause imbalances for and around Lynda. She truly assists in keeping me grounded and anchored and I help her to fly and experience her powerful Artistic energies.   Lynda:  Bah’Dori can be ‘fire’ at times (this is not a negative.) I had to un-learn not to take things personal and learn to understand her, struggles – fears – desires – hopes – dreams. 

What has your relationship taught you most about yourself?  And her? Lynda:  I’ve learned my past wounds have influenced many of my choices.  Bah’Dori will hold space for me to work it all out… without judgment.  Bah’Dori: Our relationship has really taught me how to allow love to really love. I learned that my conditions and expectations in my past really came from what was truly voided in me and my need to seek outside of myself for what I thought would be “perfection”. The Love that we share is based on us just showing up as our Best selves for ourselves which is the natural process that we experience with one another in our relationship. I learned that my wife’s core values definitely reflect my core values, and that provides us with a level of quality in our relationship which is the foundation of our growth as individuals and as a couple.  When you experience this Kind of Love it makes you a better person, just because that what love does.

When you think about your relationship, what makes you most grateful that she is in your life? Bah’Dori: I am most grateful for how attentive, kind and truly loving Lynda is. Lynda is truly the kindest person I know. I love how she never meets a stranger and avails herself to assist others; she truly is a wonderful example of the Heart of Source.  Lynda:  When I asked the Universe for a life partner, I requested a woman that was NOT religious. I am most grateful of Bah’Dori ability to feel – hear – see Spirit. I’m so grateful to be a witness to her life.  She is willing to walk-the-talk… she is serious about her connection to Spirit.  

What 1 word most captures her essence and your love?  Bah’Dori: Ascension. Lynda: Gratitude

What will be your legacy as a couple?  Bah’Dori: Our Legacy would be the timeless and selfless love we have for one another transcended any kind compartmentalization and we shared our lives and love with all those who Source allowed us to touch. We exemplify the Energy of Twin Flames, Soul Mates.

Lynda:  1.) They loved each other immensely.  2.) Held space for everyone that showed-up at their door – phone – FaceBook.  3.) Cooked a good pot of beans & rice. 4.) Sheared everything with each other. 5.) Showed others it’s ok to have a soft side and see the POWER they hold.  6.) Use your gifts to heal the community and the world.

Lynda Harris and Bah’Dori Oyanna are the Wisdom Teachers and Spiritual Practitioners at Om Concepts and Provisions and facilitators of the Transformative Light Spiritual Gathering and Meditative Circle. We provide various indigenous and metaphysical holistic and spiritual education, services and products for individuals and couples. www.omconceptsandprovisions.com

Don’t forget to register for the Journey to Wellness Retreat. September will be soon!



 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chapter 24: Stumble but Don't Stop, Success is a Process

I have learned that on your road to success, you will stumble. On your journey to greatness and significance, you will have mishaps, you will make mistakes, and you will make miscalculations. You may slip, trip, and fall even when you have properly planned, prepared, and positioned yourself to win. Unfortunately, you may also lose your balance because of competing demands, and you may lose your footing under the weight of mounting pressures. You may wallow, waver, and wobble privately and occasionally publicly. Stumbling is inevitable when you passionately pursue your dreams.

But it is at those critical times when you are slipping and sliding your way to success that you will be forced to make a critical choice. You will need to decide if you will become discouraged and stop or if you will become courageous and proceed. Both are choices, decisions, and options that only you can make. But remember that your decision will directly determine and/or influence your destiny and the trajectory of your life. Your choice will determine if you move closer to your dream or if you will move further away from your purpose.
So when, not if, you stumble, I hope you will choose to stumble but not stop. I hope you will use your mistakes to help you correct your course and redirect your efforts. I hope you will use your miscalculations to reassess your strategies and reallocate your resources. I pray that you will use your mishaps to consider new ideas and ponder new approaches. I hope that your slips encourage you to reevaluate paradigms and explore creative options. I hope your blunders reveal your true friends and expose your most destructive foes.
What I know for sure is that a stumble is just an event or experience; it is not an ending. It may be a fumble but not a finish. It is an error but not an exit. It is not just a loss but a lesson. It is not a defeat; it’s data. It is not fatal; it is fruitful. Stumbling is a process of small failures that set us up for significant victories. So be encouraged. Never forget that we stumble up to success; we don’t fall to fail.
Stumbling is a critical part of our journey. It plays an important role in our development and refinement processes. That’s good news! So follow your dreams, and don’t worry if you stumble, because the stumbles we make today will prepare us for whatever emerges tomorrow. So stumble but get back up, stand up, move up, and don’t give up, because God will always show up.
Are you ready to stumble? I am. Can’t wait to see where our stumbling leads us.

This is an excerpt from SharRon's newly released book,
I Have Learned A Few Things.
Accepting Pre-orders now...











Blessings!



Don’t forget to register for the Journey to Wellness Retreat. September will be soon!






Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Single Highlight: Kay


Kay Oates
Atlanta, Ga.

Kay, since you have been single, what have you learned about yourself?
Each day, I learn a little more about myself.  If I can say it in one word it would be GROWTH.  I’ve always known my strength, but singlehood allows me to focus on growing more comfortable with my authentic self. I love my “me time”!  I enjoy my company.  I love taking myself on wonderful dates.  I am comfortable going to a nice restaurant, concert, play, and/or movie with myself.  I always so “with myself” and never “by myself”. 

What are you doing now to prepare yourself for a healthy relationship?
In preparation for a healthy relationship?  Honestly, I’m not doing anything different than what I feel I should do day-to-day.  I continually work on loving and treating myself the way I deserve.  I grow in love with myself more and more each minute of the day.  I know that a healthy relationship can only exist if there is self-love.  I pray, mediate, and seeking direction from God.  I have several rituals that I do to make sure that I am centered and emotionally healthy.  Whether it’s the physical or emotional detoxing regiments that I do, I know that I am working on making sure that I am receptive and approachable for what life offers.

In my relationship, I tend to struggle with sharing my inner fears and insecurities. What areas do you tend to struggle with most in relationships? Ouch. Getting out of my own head.  I tend to over think things.  If there’s a problem, the simple thing to do is talk it out…..but NOOOOOO!!!  By the time we sit down and discuss the issue, in my head I’ve figured out what caused it, what the responses will be, and how we are going to handle it….lol.  This is definitely an area which I continue to work on and pray for more understanding.  I’m really focusing on relaxing and accepting that I don’t have to fix everything; you know, getting pass that Superwoman syndrome.    

Since you are spending valuable time by yourself and learning yourself, what characteristics and traits do you now find most compatible? Which ones are most problematic and why?  Honesty, loyalty and trustworthiness, without a doubt, are the traits that I find most compatible.  I am very loyal in ALL of my relationships: friendship, love, business.  I will do my best to make sure I don’t intentionally hurt anyone and if I learn that my actions have caused harm, it bothers me. 

Controlling behavior, lying and cheating are the most problematic traits for me.  Once I learn that someone is lying to me or can’t be trusted, I will question everything they ever said to me.  If there is no trust, we can’t work together. AND….once that line of trust has been breached, I release you!  We’re done!  No go-backs!  No do-overs!  It’s that darn Capricorn trait.

Kay, what do you love about love? TRUE love….EVERYTHING.  I love the openness and the restoration that comes with love.  I love the growth that loves brings.  When I’m truly and honestly loved, I can be free.  I love sharing and creating memories and then smiling and laughing together over those memories.  I love the healing that comes from true love.  I love being comfortable enough to be vulnerable and trusting that my vulnerability will never be used as a weapon.  I just love LOVE.  (Love this Kay)  

Every relationships offers rich lessons about who we are and who we are not. What has being in a relationship taught you about you? Being in a relationship has taught me that I really do love deeply and I will give my all to the RIGHT relationship.  I am a nurturer and once I commit, I will work to make the relationship grow.  I don’t take love or a relationships lightly. 

Additionally, I’ve learn to trust my instinct/my first mind.  If it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t sound right, believe the things that “aren’t being said”.  No more wait it out.  Because of this awareness, I have learned to never settle.  I know my worth and I deserve the best because I will offer my best.  I understand now that the greatest blessings can come after the deepest hurts.

I admire that you are such a gentle, generous spirit who is always ready to offer a kind word to people. What do you admire about yourself? So many things. I admire my strong commitment to family and friendships, my ability to empathize and accept people right where they are without expecting changes to fit my desires.  I also admire my resistance, my ability to give when I don’t necessarily receive, and my strength in the face of some really difficult decisions.    After my last relationship ended, I went through a period of deep sadness and it took me some time to feel comfortable with the thought of allowing anyone in my space.  One day I decided “the pity party is over”.  So, I dried my tears, changed my prayer request, and truly began the healing.  Now, I am at a place of peace and joy.  That’s resistance!!!

How would your friends describe you? Let me think…..funny, caring, loving, moody, trustworthy, a loner at times, loyal, good mom, and deep thinker.  I believe my true friends will say that I’m a mixture of these things.   
If a person wanted to take you out, what would you like to do? What do you like to do for fun and why?  There are so many things that I like to do for fun.  If I tried to list them all, it would take up this entire article.  I love quality with my son.  He inspires me.  I love the beach, music, and traveling.  Now if I can get all of three in one adventure….HOORAY.  I am growing and learning to take chances and I love trying new things.  I will seek opportunities to go horseback riding, skiing, zip-lining, learning to rollerblade, or anything that will make my friends say “girl, you are always doing something different”.  I don’t like complacency, so if it sound like fun, count me in.
How do you experience and receive love? What is your love language and how did you learn that about yourself? My primary love language is Words of Affirmation and secondary if quality time.  I love quite moments together, a “just-because” card, sweet call to find out how my day is going, a simple sticky note that reminds me I’m in someone’s thoughts. 

How did I learn that about myself?  LOL…I realized that I was expressing my love language to my partner and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t reciprocal.  Why?  Because it’s my love language. 

I feel grounded and ready to receive love when I tap into the power and wisdom of a Source. How important is spirituality to you? Spirituality is the essences of my being and the very reason I am alive and well.  I’ve experienced some really difficult situations in my life and I know that had it not been for God’s mercy and grace, I would not have made it.  Even when I didn’t know the words to say or when I didn’t feel I had the strength to make it to the next day, I would utter the simple prayer HELP.  For God, that’s more than enough. 

I constantly remind myself that my current situation is only a chapter of the greater story which God has designed.  Life's circumstances may cause me to be unhappy, but I'm so glad I still have my joy. There is a difference in happiness and joy!  Because of my unwavering faith, I can say that I am deliberately, unapologetically GRATEFUL and full of peace.

Finish this sentence…..before I die I want to _______________________________.
….finally have a relationship with someone who wants and loves me as much as I love and want them. 

What important lesson did you learn from your mother that has helped you in life and in relationships?  I wrote in my journal about this very topic last year when I was dealing with depression, heartbreak and grief.  I will repost my comments. 
“My mother passed away when I was only 13 months. I don’t remember her voice or even her face (I do have pictures). I miss that mother-daughter relationship. There are times when her absence is so overwhelming that I feel numb.  It is those moments when I feel this comforting spirit coming around me and providing this soothing for my troubled spirit. The topic of our mother is somewhat hard for me and my brothers (who were babies when she died, 7 and 3). I finally got my heart and nerve together to ask them questions and I am still in tears from the responses of my oldest brother.

1.    When I am overwhelmed or really lonely, the small sweet odor of vanilla will come to me; didn’t know why. My brother said, our mother would put a dab of vanilla behind her ear as perfume and she often rubbed my body with it when she bathed me.

2.    I will find pennies ANY and EVERYWHERE and always pick them up; didn’t know why. He told me our mother ALWAYS collected pennies and kept them in mason jars around the house.”

My mother is around me constantly and always providing that comfort that I need.  I guess you can say the lesson that I learned from her, even in her absence, is to surround and support those who are close to your heart.



(Interview conducted by SharRon Jamison)

We thank you for sharing your journey of happiness in singlehood! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other singles. We wish you continued success and happiness.www.createloveforwomen.com

Create Love -- Founders

Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison
Don’t forget to register for the Journey to Wellness Retreat. September will be soon!



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happy Couple Highlights: Elle and Tosha

Elle & Tosha
Parker-Meredith
Atlanta, Ga.

 How long have you been together? Elle: Doc and I became girlfriends 2.5 years ago and made it official by tying the knot Oct. 7, 2014. We’ve known one another for almost 3 years. Celebrating 4 happy months married on the 7th of Jan. Tosha: Elle and I have been married for 3 months and have been together for almost 3 years.

I love to hear how couples meet. So, share. How did you get together/meet?
Elle: Doc and I met at the beginning of summer (May to be exact) at a concert, in which I was invited to by her BFF April Girard. I knew April was in the life, a life I had left alone many years ago. Later during the concert…. While playing with my cell phone, I looked up and saw Tosh lying in front of me looking directly at me. In that very moment, I snapped a picture of her (smiled) and looked back at the picture and thought, she is stunning! My heart fluttered for a second!

You see, Doc was wearing a cow boy hat that covered her face, yet in the picture (still wearing the hat) I saw her face! Her light brown eyes were kissed by the sun, her freckles caught my attention and the ever so sexy smirk on her face looked devious. I quickly turned to April showed her the picture and said, ‘She’s Beautiful!’ April said, ‘I can’t believe you took her picture! April looked at her BFF Tosh and gave her this look and smiled. I often wondered what that look was all about. As the summer got under way the love bug struck both of us beyond our control. It’s true, when you least expect it love will find you as long as you’re open to it.

Tosha: Elle and I met through my BFF April Girard. My BFF kept telling me about a woman she wanted me to meet because she thought Elle was “my type” and thought she would be good for me. Because of my prior break up, I really wasn’t interested in meeting anyone. I was honestly dating and very content with being single. That was, until I met Lu’Wana Parker. Smile. We met at the Old School concert a few years back and I immediately asked my BFF, “who is THAT?” lol, my BFF laughed and said, “that’s the lady I’ve been wanting you to meet!” I was like, oh um ok…is she gay? Is she married…you know all the questions you ask when you meeting someone as fine as my wife! My BFF told me Lu’Wana wasn’t gay and I kind of shrugged and kept it moving.

I later sent her a friend request on Facebook and you know, watched her from afar for a few weeks. I saw her again at an “Ink and Whole” party at my BFF’s house at the beginning of that summer. I was amazed and smitten! I kept staring at her and wanted to talk to her but I was afraid. Well, I finally mustered up enough nerve to talk to her (I’ll let her tell that part of the story)! Smile

We didn’t exchange numbers or anything that night; however, I did tell my friends that “she was going to be my wife.” Later, on the ride home, The Lord, told me as clear as day, “that is your wife.” I was like, “big gulp, really?!?!?” And it went on from there….

There is always something that always attracts us to certain people. What was the initial attraction?  Elle: My initial attraction to Doc was her inner sex appeal, beauty & physique underneath the edgy exterior. I was turned on by her arm tattoos, her freckles, her beautiful eyes and her calm spirit. I thought, wow I really like the woman that lives within her androgynous style. Once we started spending time, I found that although many differences between us, our similarities were strong. We were created by God specifically for one another.

Tosha: My initial attraction to Elle was her resemblance to my Mama. Her “jazziness” and “sex appeal” were very familiar to me and I thought she reminded me of my mom in that sense. I was also attracted to her love for her children. I noticed from the very beginning that she talked about her kids a lot and it really showed her concern for them. I loved that.

Congrats on your recent marriage. What did you do to prepare for marriage? And how has being married changed your relationship? Elle: Thank You! My Wife and I went to marriage counseling for 10 months. We learned so much more about one another with mediators present. It allowed for a safe space for us to be free, clear and truly honest about our deepest fears, concerns, desires and expectations towards one another and our relationship. Counseling removed the representative (if you will) and allowed us to think beyond the beginning & in the moment. We were challenged to think FUTURE and how to effectively build together. One thing I learned specifically was how to LISTEN.

Since getting married, I have this overwhelming feeling all of the time that is hard to explain! When I think final...it’s scary yet I feel accomplished! Like I have arrived and joined an elite club. Being married has changed my relationship radically in the area of communication. My Wife and I have come to the consensus, giving up is NOT an option! Through communication, we are committed to doing the work no matter what and that in itself is our growth from past relationships.

Tosha: As Elle mentioned, we did couples counseling for several months and spent time getting to know each other before we were married. It was important to me, personally, that we not live together before we were married. I guess I’m “traditional” in that sense.

Being married has strengthened our relationship. I felt before like “quitting was not an option,” but now I feel that it is not even a thought, really. At the end of the day, we are together for life and that’s the bottom line. I would say marriage has changed us both for the better, as a couple. I don’t feel like we are individuals any longer. Now I really feel that we are one in every aspect of life.

Relationships are not always easy. We want them, but they take work. What would you say is the key to the success of your relationship and why?  Elle: The key to the success in our relationship is definitely communication, compromise & comfort. Early on I was taught that communication is key in everything I do! I work hard at being an effective communicator with everyone in my life. I use communication to teach our children, to lead by example and to express myself with respect and respect to others. Tosh wasn’t used to communicating effectively and in the beginning of our relationship we struggled because of this. We’ve learned that in order to be heard and to listen to one another, we need to talk about it in love. Compromise is equally important because we understand that we’re different. Reaching a compromise is key to settling our differences to keep the peace and love flowing. Comfort is necessary as life is challenging, relationships are challenging and knowing that your spouse/partner will comfort you regardless of any situation will allow you to create space to communicate & compromise.

Tosha: The key to the success of our relationship is communication. I’ve not been a big communicator in my past relationships and I’ve learned (and am learning) the importance of communicating. I’m also learning how to communicate effectively and how to communicate my needs and wants without sounding selfish.

Relationships are wonderful combinations of celebration and challenges. How do you deal with and face challenges that might come up in your relationship?  Elle: We face challenges head on! We acknowledge, we talk and we conquer together right away up front. We understand challenges can and will create space and distance if you allow it, so we choose to breathe and go head on to rid away unnecessary absence between us. Doc and I have dealt with a lot to get where we are today in our relationship, honestly if we didn’t take this approach from the start we would not be married today! We work hard to make our time together most enjoyable, effective and essential. We live by…never go to bed MAD!

Tosha: We face challenges head on. We talk about them. We acknowledge them. And we deal with them. Compromise is probably the other key to the success of our relationship. We have both given a great deal and sacrificed a lot to be together. Learning to compromise has been probably the most essential part of us “staying together” thus far. Because I served in the military for almost 25 years, I grew to be a very independent person. For the past few years it’s just been me and my dogs. I got use to traveling and living out of a suitcase. In fact, I would venture to say that most, if not all, of my relationships even since college, have been long distance relationships because of studies and the military. So living with, and having, a family was a major change for me. I had to quickly learn the importance of compromise and the value it plays in our relationship.

I know one of the challenges that many couples have is blending families. How did you blend the family and what advice would you give to other couples? Elle: Yesssss, blending families can be difficult and challenging to say the least! Tosh and I are still blending. Blending will be ongoing and is a day to day process with us, our girls and the dogs. Honestly, personally this is the hardest part of our relationship for me. I have the girls Kharma 12 and Aje’ 7 yrs. and Tosh has the boys Zeus and Duke (boxers). I also have a toy poodle Princess who runs the house (lol). My struggle is getting used to having what I call outside dogs inside full time. Adjusting to BIG dogs in every aspect of our home (drives me batty). I pray, I deal one day at a time (really minute by minute) and keep things in mind like compromise to get through it. I also consider the situation in reverse with Tosh and the girls. My gaping love for my Wife is what keeps me. Our girls on the other hand have adjusted nicely and rather quickly, surprisingly so.

The advice I would give to other couples is, please know merging two lives takes time. When you add others in the family to the mix, it could take even longer. Have extraordinary patience, communication, exercise your right to vent (in a loving way) and work as a team, none of the, this is mine and that’s yours perspective. Take time for self (just because you’re a couple now doesn’t mean you have to give YOU up), yet be selfless. Tosh and I find it extremely helpful to have another couple you trust to have as an accountability partner(s). There’s something good in hearing another perspective from someone who has/is going through the same thing. Lastly, pray and place God as the head of your home/relationship and follow his word (providing that is your belief/faith).

Tosha: Blending our family has been interesting, to say the least. I think our greatest challenge has been learning to live in the space we’ve been blessed with. Our home is very small, nice, and cozy. Subsequently, we have to learn to live together in a very tight space. I think this has been a blessing in disguise because it forced us to get closer and spend more time together. I’ve personally learned the importance of team work and understanding that life isn’t just about me (and my dogs). Smile. Having children has taken some getting used to. The main challenge for me has been learning that the children’s schedule pretty much dictates our (the adult’s) schedules. Once I realized that, life became a lot easier.

The advice I would give to family blending lives would be to take your time, learn one another, and over communicate (your needs). I often see people give so much of his or herself that they become a different person. Remain true to yourself but remember what brought you together and why you are together. If there are children involved, be cognizant of their feelings, their age, and their other parent. Everything matters, whether stated or not. Additionally, I highly suggest both individual and couples counseling. It’s so important to know yourself and know what you bring to the table. What makes you comfortable and uncomfortable. Knowing this can help you communicate your needs to your mate. Finally, find a group that supports you. Be it friends, other couples, a pastor, or mentor. Surround yourself with like-minded people and set the expectation that “giving up is not an option.” In an effort to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, Elle created an organization called “Healthy Couples – Atlanta.” The group has been very successful and there are couples in the group that have families. We have learned from the other couples and have created a support system as well as accountability partners who help us remain true to our relationship and our family.

I know faith is important to both of you individually. What role does spirituality play in your relationship and how do you celebrate our faith as a couple?  Elle: Spirituality is important! It’s one thing to be spiritual walking your own path and another to be married to a Pastor or someone in Ministry. I’m learning to support and play a role for other people. I’m learning my walk with God and to take on learning what it means to lead at the same time. This has been overwhelming to say the least. I will say this, ‘it’s truly rewarding!’ My reward comes from being obedient to his whisper and not allowing fear to lead me away from our calling to KIMVC. I think it’s safe to say, we are still trying to figure out our way in this area as a unit. We are also growing spiritually together by spending time in prayer and serving through our worship services/experiences. My Pastor, Friend, Confidant and Lover is teaching me and leading me to a more purposeful life…I simply admire, respect & love Dr. Tosha Parker-Meredith!

Tosha: Being a new pastor, I think spirituality is very important. It is one thing to be in ministry and not necessarily play a key role, however it’s totally different to pastor a church and have individuals you are accountable to. Having a spiritual relationship helps with all the challenges that not only come with our relationship but the challenges that come with ministry in general. We are still figuring our way in the area of spirituality. We are also growing in this area to a point of spending time together in prayer as well as our worship experiences.

Tosha, congrats on our new pastorate. How can people learn more about your church and Elle, how are you preparing to be a “pastor’s wife”? Elle: Preparing to be a Pastor’s wife has been seemingly easy for me to do. I’m careful with what I read concerning being a pastor’s wife first and foremost! In the past I found myself side-tracked with worries that I wouldn’t meet people's expectations. However, I find much peace in going back to scripture and reminding myself that my real acceptance and security rest in Christ’s grace, not my performance. I consider it a huge privilege to be married to a woman who preaches God’s Word week after week. I love my wife and am grateful for the ministry the Lord has given us in KIMVC Kingdom International Ministries Virtual Church. Biblically, the role of a pastor’s wife is the same as every wife’s: love your husband/wife and children, manage our home well and be an example to women around me (Titus 2:4-5). I also let my spiritual gifting direct many of my choices. My spiritual gift is serving and outreach, which means much of my involvement is behind the scenes. My main role is to support my wife and here’s how I do that: watch out for her; I provide helpful and honest feedback; stand with her when times are tough; I discern and provide real talk; I never gossip; I ensure both of us grow a thick skin; lastly, I keep the fun alive. I strongly believe, if I continue to do what I’m currently doing and continue to grow in God’s Word, it will allow me to enjoy the role as First Lady.

I feel because I treat my role more as a wife and mother vs. a pastor’s wife makes for any challenges that could occur nonexistent in our relationship. It’s the bond not the title that I/we focus on.

Tosha: Being a pastor is something I kind of fell into. Things happened so fast and changed so drastically that I’m still getting used to it. The church is called Kingdom International Ministries Virtual Church and it’s affectionately known as KIMVC. The web address is KIMVirtualChurch.Org. We started the ministry several months ago for a few reasons. First, we saw a need for integrating technology (social media) with Christ and Christian principles. Our mission is to courageously and intellectually spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world; thereby creating disciples of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28: 19-20). Our vision is to create and provide an international platform through virtual and cyber space for individuals to worship Jesus Christ while transforming their lives (Romans 12:2). I must honestly say many people laughed at the idea initially, however, the response and reception has been phenomenal. We have over 100K Followers on Facebook and almost 300 members around the world in less than 6 months! Our aim is to continue to walk in our gifts and purpose while helping others to do the same. Our ultimate goal is to save souls. 

Sensuality and sexuality are important to relationships. What role does sensuality play in your relationship? And, how are ensuring that the flame stays alive? Elle: Sensuality plays a BIG role in our relationship. I realize this isn’t and shouldn’t be everything about our relationship, but it is high on my list! Being able to spend intimate time with Doc is imperative! Being able to release, relax and relate to tosh keeps our FIRE burning. We need that to feel secure in our relationship. Touch brings out vulnerability, honesty and LOVE! We have to be creative to have this, so it’s not often present, however the creativity makes it more interesting and worth the wait. I love, love, love our moments of togetherness and I appreciate them all the more when we are in the moment.

Tosha: Sensuality is very important. Me being the dominant person in our relationship, I have to remember to be sensual and intimate at times. I sometimes take for granted that need for sensuality and intimacy in our relationship. I’m learning to take time out for “us” and be sensual and intimate for building our relationship. One of our biggest challenges is learning to work around the schedules of our children. Smile. We have to “get it in, when we can!” Lol! (She’s going to get me for saying that). But seriously, any couple with children knows that the kids run the house (not literally) and our schedules fluctuate depending on what’s on their agenda. We also have a child with special needs who is up at “o-dark-thirty!” So we are learning to get sleep when we can (usually when she sleeps). So our sensuality is built around these variables as well. Again, and area we are constantly working on and trying creative things to make it work.

Every relationship has rules that support the union. Even if the rules are not stated, they are understood. What are your Relationship Rules and how do your rules support your relationship? Tosha: I would say the stated (and unstated) rule that guides our relationship is that quitting is not an option. We are in this for the long haul and are committed to making our relationship work. God put us together and that is the basis, the foundation if you will, for our relationship. This helps our relationship because we know that we have one another’s back, no matter what.

Elle: I believe our relationship rules are to set boundaries; give what you expect to get; two heads are better than one; sound it out; laughter is the best medicine; mind your manners; fight right and DATE night. Also, when the going gets tough, the tough get going...to therapy! We are avid believers in therapy…it works!  All of the above support our relationship as guidelines to follow to stay true to ourselves and to one another. For example: sound it out is communication! Talking about the not so fun topics like money, religion, raising kids and fidelity usually end up being the most valuable. Another is mind your manners, ‘Please, Thank you and you’re welcome’ can go a long way in helping your partner remember that you respect and love them and don’t take them for granted.  Date night, is showing subtle ways you love, admire and appreciate them. Quality time spent is mandatory for every couple to connect!!!

What 1 word characterizes your love for her and why? Tosha: The one word that characterizes my love for my baby is Angel. She’s my personal God given angel that God has assigned me to take care of while here on earth. She’s assigned to do the same for me and that is why I love her.  Elle: I have two words…I know the question calls for just one but if it’s ok, I have to give two (smile). One word that characterizes my love for Tosh is ADORE - Why? Because I love, cherish, treasure and consider her to be my PRIZE! The second is ANGEL - because she’s a person of exemplary conduct or virtue. The definition according to google says, ‘an angel is a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God’. I know without a shadow of a doubt my wife is my personal messenger from God. I have grown spiritually simply because she’s in my life.

Relationships teach us so much about partnership. Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to other couples? Tosha: The advice I would give to other couples is to always keep God in your relationship. Stays focused and committed to “not giving up,” and always communicate. Make time for date night. Laugh often, love freely. Finally, keep people out of your business. Elle: The advice I would like to give other couples is to keep our heavenly father first! Stay grounded in his word and a family that prays together stays together. Commit to making it work, giving up is not an option. Love freely, laugh, spend quality time and DATE your spouse/partner. Schedule time to converse, the art of listening goes a very long way. Lastly, keep others out of your RELATIONSHIP!

What has your relationship taught you most about yourself? And were you surprised about what you learned? Elle: My relationship has taught me that it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to relax, take a break and put me first. I’m learning to be patient with adults and to share my feelings. My relationship shows me daily how truly blessed I am. Being married to the busiest woman on the planet has placed me on a fast track to my destiny. Growing in Christ and learning my spiritual gifts through my daily counseling with my Pastor have been the best part of merging our lives together. I believe my wife was created to assist in showing me my life can and will be great as I embark on a new journey. Doc is the missing piece to my puzzle. We fit, work and are greater together. God has blessed us, our union, our children and our footsteps are ordered in his holy name. Who would have thought…ME…a First Lady?! I claim it in the mighty name of Jesus, thanks my love ;)  Tosha: My relationship has taught me that I am capable of being and giving love freely. I’ve learned that I don’t have to do things on my own, and that God created Elle to help me conquer the mighty vision he’s given me for my life. And, I believe I was created to do the same for my wife.

What do you hope your legacy will be as a couple? Tosha: Our legacy will be that our family, the world, and society in general will be better off because of our existence. Our hope is that couples will know there is “hope” for a successful relationship especially in the LBGTQ community. I pray that we will be remembered as having “lived life to the fullest” collectively and that we were the epitome of real love. Elle: We hope our legacy will be that our ‘Healthy Couples’ group, our virtual church KIMVC, our children and families will live productive, healthy and spiritual God fearing lives after us.

Tosha, you are a new author, philanthropist and a radio host? Can you share more about your endeavors? And how can others support your efforts?  Wow, I guess I never looked at myself as a philanthropist; however, it seems that’s what my life and legacy are morphing into. The Dr. Tosha Meredith Foundation exists to provide financial literacy to children between the ages of 5 and 18. The foundation also provides food, clothing, and shelter to needy children and their families internationally, primarily in Africa. The foundation is a passion of mine and collectively Elle and I are looking forward to providing additional resources to the community both nationally and internationally. Elle’s foundation, Aje’s Angels exists to help families with children with special needs identify resources available to them. We are a service driven family and we work very hard to ensure that we give back to our communities both financially and physically.

I’m excited about the books I’ve written and am super excited about my memoir that will be released in a few weeks. My series, “Get In The Flow” is a compilation of short books that help individuals become their best. The first, “Get In the Flow – Seven Principles to Becoming A Wealthy Christian” is my version of a pocket book to spiritual wealth. I wanted to create something that individuals could read on the bus, in the taxi, or on a plane ride across the country. Many people think the book is about getting rich or financial success; however, it’s more about getting spiritually connected to God and utilizing those connections to position yourself for financial increase. The second book, “Get In the Flow – Seven Keys To The Kingdom” is a pocket book, a guide if you will to gaining access to the “Kingdom.” It provides guidance for individuals seeking to gain knowledge on how to live a Kingdom centered life. Both books are biblically based and combine my life stories with scripture, Christ centered principles. The next book in the series, “Get In The Flow – Think Like A Millionaire” is just about complete. This is a combination of “practical” and “spiritual” principles to reduce debt and live financially responsible life while focusing on spiritual principles. I have basically added practicality to the spiritual tools in the first book. Finally, my memoir, “Didn’t Ask, Didn’t Tell – The Life of A Gay Christian Soldier” is about my life of serving in silence in the military for almost 25 years. I discuss my history of molestation, growing up in the black church, and being gay during the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell era. It’s a phenomenal read and I’m so excited to finally complete this work that I’ve been engaged in since 2010.

I do a weekly broadcast on the “Live, Love, Laugh” Network. It’s a Blog Talk radio show where we showcase individuals who are striving to transition to their next level of success, whatever that level is for them. We also discuss current, real world events on our “Tuesday Talk” show. I have a weekly morning show called “Monday Morning Glory” which is a time of prayer, scripture, music, and motivation to get the week started!  It has been a true blessing and I am so humbled by the platform God has given me/us. Elle and I also have a monthly broadcast we do together called “Pillow Talk With Elle and Doc.” This show has gotten very good response and we have a very nice following. We talk all things relationship on this show and we collectively open up and allow our listeners into our personal lives in an effort to help them (couples and singles) grow. The “Live, Love, Laugh” network as grown tremendously over the last year and we are now broadcasting on BlogTalk Radio as well as C.U.R.B. Radio out of Tucson, AZ.

To learn more about Elle and Dr. Tosha, please visit their websites below:
ToshaMeredith.Com
KIMVirtualChurch.Org
BlogTalkRadio.Com/LiveLoveLaugh


Books available for sell:
Get in the Flow: 7 Principles on Becoming a Wealthy Christian
Get In The Flow: 7 Keys To The Kingdom

 
We thank you for sharing your love with us at Create Love! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other couples. We wish you continued success and happiness.www.createloveforwomen.com

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