So, You’re On the Fence…


On February 19, 2021, I decided to do a thing — “that thing” was to go “natural.” Prior to that, I had been perming my hair ever since I was approximately 16 or 18 years of age with only one break in between then and now (about 40+ years).

You see, I loved the short, sassy hair cuts because I felt they were extremely feminine, and super cute. However, to be quite honest, my hair never grew extremely long anyway. In 2018, I decided to make an “attempt” for my hair to grow out, and started wearing pin ups. I’m not even going to tell you what my best friend thought about that look; however, I’m sure she’d be just dying to tell you. LOL! In 2020, I wore braids the entire year, and had never done so until once, which was in 2019. From 2018 to 2020, my hair had grown out with the perm being mainly on the ends. My plan, at that time, was to get my hair cut and styled into a bob; however, there were a number of issues why that that wasn’t going to work out. First, my hair was pretty much paper thin. Second, I had thinning in the center of my head which had been going on for a number of years that we tried addressing although to no avail. My friend, and colorist, avoided perming that area for a bit, but that was pretty unsuccessful as well.

I always felt that natural hair just wasn’t my look. Personally, I didn’t think it was soft enough for me, but boy was I ever wrong. I love “rocking” my short natural hair. Someone once told me I looked “regal.” Hot diggity dog! LOL!

When I started this journey, I have to admit that my friend and colorist put in a texturizer. This made my hair pretty manageable, and made the transition a lot easier. I had no clue, though, in terms of what products to use. I didn’t do the necessary research; I just dived in head first. The reason being was out of fear. I was afraid if I thought about it too much that I would ultimately change my mind. I didn’t give myself much time to process what I was about to do before having my hair “chopped” off.

On the ride home from the salon, I sent my best friend a picture of my “new look,” as we besties generally do. She had been natural for eight years then, and was like “girl, let me help you out.” Thankfully, she took me under her wings. She had tons of products and we sampled a couple of them to see what worked best for my hair type. The Cantu products made a tremendous difference and the look was extremely transforming. She told me that I would be a “product junkie” because after a while, the products don’t always work the same. She was 100% correct. After about six months or so, I switched to another set of products that one of my other friends told me about. So far, so good!

The maintenance piece of it all was a little tricky as I was washing my hair ever other day and that was way too often. Doing so, left my hair extremely dry, even though I was using leave in moisturizers. I now wash my hair about every two weeks or so. I haven’t figured out a way yet, though, so that my hair isn’t “crunchy” for the first day or day and a half afterwards (i.e., if I wash my hair on a Friday night, by Sunday the moisture is locked in and I have the desired look I want to achieve). Oh, and let me just say this, “the shrinkage is real.” However, what I have learned is that if I put oil on my hair first, followed by the leave in conditioner and last the curl activator, my hair doesn’t shrink nearly as much. It’s a lot more manageable, has a sheen, and the front even has a little bounce to it.

My friend and colorist (who I might add is the best colorist in the world, and no this is not up for debate, LOL!) keeps my colors fresh. My friend has been coloring my hair for twelve years. Trust me, when I tell you, that I will not allow anyone else to do so and have told him that we are going to grow old together. He simply laughed, but agreed wholeheartedly. He is a “creative” genius, when it comes to color, and looks at my hair as an art canvas. He always gets the colors right (except the two times I asked for a color, which was too close to my skin tone); hence, I have “learned” to give him free rein. I did, however, request purple last year. I almost gave him a heart attack because he knows how conservative I am. He put the two shades on a napkin and said, “this is what it’s going to look like,” and then asked me was I sure. My response was “absolutely.” Purple has been my favorite color since I was twelve years old and, in my mind, there was no time like the present to try something new and fun. I got a wealth of compliments everywhere I went. The saying is “blondes have more fun,” but he came back with “and purple gets it done.” I couldn’t agree with him more although I’m currently blonde for the summer. LOL! What I also love about my colors is that after shampooing my hair a few times or so, they fade into another beautiful color, thereby, giving me two colors before my next color change.

I now realize that going natural is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I have no idea what I was afraid of. I love the look, and the ease of dealing with my hair, which has certainly thickened up as a result of being chemical free. The area that was problematic has even gotten better.

So, if you are fearful, as I was with going natural, don’t be. However, I suggest that you do your research. Natural hair is very liberating, but it’s not for everyone. If you like color, experiment with a variety of them. Color gives me life, and each one brings out a different personality in me. You just never know which version of me you’re going to meet. No, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. LOL!

I’ve added pictures, so you can see the various stages of before and after as well as my magnificent colors. I must say that I am truly enjoying my journey at this juncture of life!

December 2015
February 2021
February 2021
February 2021
February 2021
May 2021
May 2021
July 2021
July 2021
September 2021
October 2021
November 2021
January 2022
February 2022
February 2022
April 2022
May 2022
July 2022
February 2021
October 2021

No matter your look, always remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Million Dollar Question – Who’s Caring for and Protecting Our Children?

Today’s kids are faced with some pretty rough challenges. Some are not having the time of their lives and they should be. We have children at the age of 10 who are committing suicide because they are so stressed out with the cares of this life. They are babies! What would drive them to think they have no reason to live?

When I was ten, I was running around in the neighborhood with kids my age, and played with dolls up until I was 12 years old. During that time, I was living in the age of innocence except for a neighborhood boy who was a little older that tried robbing us younger girls of it (I will share this in another post). We rode our bikes through the neighborhood, played in the alley, and just had some good old-fashioned fun. I remember vividly jumping rope (none of that fancy double-dutch stuff as I wasn’t coordinated enough, LOL), playing hopscotch and jacks just to name a few things I did many moons ago. During that time, the neighbors took care to keep an eye out for each others children (trust me, they took that task extremely seriously). We had no cell phones, no internet, no type of social media. There used to be three TV stations that went off at 11:00 p.m., and I remember shows when they were in black and white only and family friendly.

My grandmother was a self-taught seamstress, so she made our Barbie doll dresses. It was pretty cool because you wouldn’t find them in the stores as they were her own designs. I thought I was hot stuff because I had designer originals and would often brag about the articles of clothing my grandmother made. Playing with paper dolls was even a boatload of fun, even though the outfits didn’t always stay on securely. My sister and I would play board games as well as paper games. Ahh, the days of old!

Let’s fast forward 50 years. My how time has changed! Gone are the days when kids knew what being outside playing with friends was like. Gone are the recreation centers where the neighborhood boys would often go to play sports. Gone are the days when grandparents were involved in the day to day lives of their grandchildren and all the parents had to do was say “I’m going to call grandmother so and so or grandfather so and so” and the kids would straighten right up.

What happened to us as a society? Where has the love, compassion, and respect gone for our fellow man? When was it replaced with so much hatred? When did greeting strangers with a friendly smile or a warm hello become obsolete? I have passed people and seen them intentionally turn their heads or look down so they wouldn’t have to make eye contact with me or greet me as we passed each other. It’s not like I’m asking them to come home for dinner or be my best friend, geesh! Whenever I encounter this type of behavior, I usually shake my head in disbelief. One of my grandmothers’ favorite lines was, “manners don’t cost you nothing,” and she was absolutely correct.

Honestly, I feel so sorry for kids growing up in today’s generation. They are being bombarded on every side – from peer pressure to bullying to being physically, mentally and emotionally abused to not knowing who they are to being neglected to being made to feel like an outcast, and the list could go on and on. Whatever happened to “it takes a village?” Some of our children are so misguided because they don’t have any type of mentorship or role model to pattern their lives after. It’s so unfortunate that some parents have to work their fingers to the bone just to make ends meet, which leaves the children unsupervised because they don’t have any type of assistance to help fill in the holes. There are other parents who are overwhelmed, themselves, by the cares of life so they are emotionally unavailable for their children and for them, it’s so much easier to let the children do whatever they want to.

What happened to family dinners when everyone sat down at the same time to eat and talk about their day? The parents would be interested in hearing about what was going on in the lives and minds of their kids. Lines of communication were left open so that the children would feel comfortable in going to their parents with any issue or concern they may have had.

Now, sadly, you have kids holed up in their rooms with their phones, laptops, iPad’s, etc., totally and completely unsupervised. The parents don’t check to see what they are watching or who they might be spending time chatting with. Unfortunately, technology has become the babysitter for our children. I know we are all busy, but we have to check on our precious gems. For a fair number of children, they are missing the social aspect. Because of that, they have no idea how to interact with their peers. They don’t know how to make eye contact or verbalize their feelings, and so forth and so on.

I’m currently raising my 6-year-old granddaughter, and I am careful about what she’s watching on her Ipad. She knows to ask me if it’s something new she just discovered. I have to admit that I learned that the hard way. When she was roughly 3 years of age, she was watching those cute little “Play Doh” shows. One day, she said something to her mother about “peeing outside behind the tree.” I was like where did she get that from. I knew it didn’t happen on my watch because I don’t play that. She wasn’t exposed to anyone who would or could have done something like that. A few weeks went by and lo and behold that episode aired on one of the “Play Doh” channels. I was relieved that the mystery had been solved. I, then, watched a fair number of those episodes and some were absolutely disgusting. I was completely mortified as I sat there completely and utterly shocked. What type of person would create something so terrible and inappropriate for our babies and young children to see? In my opinion, that’s one of the gateways that’s being used to get into their innocent little minds. Needless to say, she has since been banned from watching “Play Doh.”

Kids are being bullied in and out of school and, in some instances, the parents are completely unaware of it until they go into their babies room and find them gone. Can you imagine the devastation they feel at that moment because they had no idea their child was so distraught? The flip side of the coin is that sometimes the kids communicate to the parents about what’s going on at school. The parents reach out to the teachers and administrators but sometimes they are dismissed. They are told there isn’t really a problem or they are handling it. However, the truth of the matter is, that there are times when nothing is being done — that is, until tragedy strikes. Then, an apology is offered. Well, that’s just not good enough!

We have all heard about these senseless school shootings that are claiming the lives of children and adults alike — the latest being in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen babies and two teachers were murdered. How are these parents supposed to cope? What about the other kids who were in the school at the time who will need therapy, upon therapy, upon therapy probably for the rest of their lives. Not to mention that no parent should ever have to endure this type of horror. Parents stood outside helpless. They couldn’t get to their children to shield them from the bullets as they pierced their young bodies. They weren’t able to hug them or kiss them and never will be able to do so again because someone planned this attack. These parents will need therapy too because they were outside while their children were being murdered or lay dying. There are varying reports as to what happened on this fateful day and we may never really know what happened. However, what we do know is that a total of twenty-one people lost their lives for no reason!

Why isn’t something being done about gun control? Does it have to hit home before the powers that be agree to do something? How many more innocent lives will have to be lost before something is done? My heart is torn into so many pieces when I read story after story about these gun toting evil-doers (that’s the nice version). Why can’t we build an island for those people who want to act like this is the O.K. Corral and let them destroy one another. Trust me, I’d give up my few coins if it would make our society a safer place to live. Doing nothing is absolutely unacceptable! When and where does it end!!???

For these young people who are so angry that they going on a killing rampage, did we fail them some how? Did we drop the ball? How did they fly under the radar? Why didn’t someone see the killer that lurked inside of them? Why didn’t anyone see that they needed help? I don’t know who’s to blame and honestly it’s not about pointing fingers, but this has to stop and NOW!!!!

Parents, please, please advocate for your child. I implore you to be their voice. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be dismissed by anyone when your child tells you there is a problem. If we don’t cover our children and stand up for them, then who will? If you see your kids struggling with life, get help for them immediately. Talk to them regularly to find out what’s going on with them. Spending quality time with them is also essential.

If you have school aged children, get to know their teachers and become familiar with the principal and staff at the school. Get involved and make yourself known. Who are their friends and their friends parents? If they don’t have friends, question why.

We have to protect our children at all costs. They deserve a fighting chance. Their lives should not be snuffed out before they’ve had a chance to live. The only real weapon we have is prayer. Let’s pray without ceasing for our society as a whole.

Our Children Are Our Future!

Let’s Work Together to Build A Safe Environment for Our Precious Gems!

Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Our Kids/Grandkids, School and COVID-19…

This year, my 6-year-old granddaughter will actually be attending school as a first-grader. I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous because COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and the rules are changing regularly – wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. For the first six months of the pandemic, she was with family members and is currently at a center where there is a minimal amount of children and staff members alike. Now, she’s going to be exposed to hundreds of children daily. Unfortunately, she is not at the age wherein she can be vaccinated, so my anxiousness will definitely be heightened, particularly with the number of positive pediatric cases on the rise.

I’m going to have to lean on my faith like never before because outside of the necessary precautions that I’m currently taking there is nothing else that I can do except pray. I have no idea how the schools are going to be able to keep the children socially distanced, have them keep their hands clean, and wear their masks, etc. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with three teachers on separate occasions who are just as scared as some of us parents/grandparents. They each shared their concerns about possibly contracting COVID and potentially taking it home to their families. Honestly, my heart and prayers go out to all of the teachers and administrators because their job is going to be anything but easy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, I have tried my best to protect my granddaughter by not exposing her to many people. Even when it was considered safe to don our masks for indoor activities, we continued to wear ours. Side note here…when we were on vacation and had dinner at one of the local restaurants there, one of the waitresses gave me a dirty look because we were the only ones in the establishment wearing a mask. That didn’t bother me in the least because I know who I am and will always do what I think is best for me and mine.

Some leaders in various states are against our kids wearing masks and some of the parents are in total agreement with them. What kind of bafoonery is this? What planet are people living on? Who wouldn’t want a mask mandate to keep our precious gems safe? Don’t they read the headlines? Aren’t they aware that pediatric cases are on the uptake? Are they living underneath a rock? Honestly, every time I think about this complete, utter nonsense my blood begins to boil!

I read an article that a parent in some state ripped a teacher’s mask off. There was yet another article wherein a teacher demanded that a child remove their mask. The only thing I can say is “just wow!”

I was happy to see that the school board in Florida has voted to maintain a mask mandate despite the executive order from their Governor, even though the amount of COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed there. Thank God!

Let’s pray for our children as they return to school, the teachers, the staff and for those who are in authority making decisions that affect us all. We must not just be vigilant but held accountable as we do our part to get on the other side of this pandemic.

Let me say it a little louder for the folks in the back, COVID-19 IS NOT A HOAX!




Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

To Get Vaccinated or Not — That Is the Question…

Bangladesh says COVID-19 vaccines to run out in 1 week
An illustration of a vaccine needle and the word “No.”

Let me start off my saying that I am fully vaccinated, and I don’t regret my decision for a minute. It took me months to arrive at that conclusion. Why? I wasn’t sure how my body would react to the vaccine since I had always gotten sick the first several years that I received the flu shot, so you can just imagine my trepidation. Not only that, it wasn’t approved by the FDA. However, after careful deliberation, I decided that the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweighed the risks.

Some of the people whom I knew that were vaccinated encouraged me to do so, but I always “politely declined.” I read article upon article on the effectiveness of each vaccine as well as any potential side effects as I wanted to be sure I was armed with all available information in order to make the best decision for me. I began to ask those who were vaccinated about any issues they might have had afterwards. Some had no side effects whatsoever while some had mild symptoms such as headache or injection site soreness. I don’t know anyone who had a severe reaction, thank God.

I remember sitting at work one day when I “suddenly” decided to take the “leap of faith.” I was able to get an appointment the very next day. I was anxious as all get out. I prayed and made sure that I had eaten and was hydrated as some had suggested. After receiving my shot, I had mild arm pain at the injection site and my entire shoulder was sore at the end of the night after receiving my second dose. I took Tylenol for the pain after both doses and no other problems. The vaccine was the right choice for me as I see my elderly parents regularly and am raising my granddaughter. I would feel really horrible if I contracted the coronavirus and spread it to any of them or anyone else for that matter.

Recently, I read an article that was rather disturbing. In the state of Missouri, some people were being vaccinated in “secret” because they didn’t want backlash from their families and/or friends after they had changed their minds to do so. I have a huge issue with this as no one should have to “sneak around like a thief in the night” because of their choice to do what they deem is best for them. Just like those of us who are vaccinated shouldn’t come at those who are unvaccinated sideways, no matter our stance on the matter.

I have to admit that I’m still in disbelief that there are those who are under the “foolish” assumption that this pandemic is a “hoax.” I wonder how they account for all of the deaths? Unfortunately, some aren’t believers until they or someone close to them contracts the virus and either gets deathly ill or actually passes away, which in some cases could have been avoided.

Sadly, we are still in a pandemic and, as we all know, the numbers are on the uptake. Some states are again mandating the use of masks for all indoor activities which, in my opinion, was stopped way too soon. Whether or not we are vaccinated, we must still exercise safety and take every precaution necessary for our personal safety and that of others. I, for one, have no plans on ditching my mask any time soon, and will continue wearing it indoors no matter what the CDC or anyone else says. I’d rather err on the side of safety. Do I enjoy wearing my mask? Of course not. Sometimes, it’s rather hot, but what alternative do we really have? We are all tired of these masks and most are ready to don them, but now is not the time to run around carelessly or recklessly, particularly with new variants on the horizon.

At the end of the day, it’s your choice to do what is right for you. However, I, respectfully, ask you that you consider others by continuing to practice safety measures (wearing of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, etc.).

I want us all to remain safe as we continue to be plagued by this horrible pandemic that has claimed the lives of so many this past year and a half. Don’t you?

Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Today, I Celebrate These Phenomenal Women…

Women’s History Month

March 2021

The month of March has been set aside as Women’s History Month.  Honestly, I don’t remember in years past hearing much about it, but this year it seems to be pretty big.  For those of you who are unaware, we celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th.

We all know of celebrities who are game changers.  We read or hear about their achievements/accomplishments regularly.  As a woman, I am proud of the moves they are making and the impact they are not only making in their communities but on society as a whole.  However, when I thought about women who should be celebrated, I wanted to bring it up close and personal by spotlighting those women that I, personally, know who are transforming lives daily.  All four of these women have impacted my life in some form or fashion, and they are “phenomenal” women, “handling their business.”

SHIRLEY CONNOR:  I’m going to start my list with this “phenomenal” woman and, yes, I’m just a “wee bit” biased because she’s my mom.  Eighty years and 11 months ago, this “young” lady was born.  My mother was the eldest of five children and took her role seriously and, thus, was given the nickname “Louise, Jr.” by her youngest brother because she acted like their mom.

When I was growing up, my mom and I didn’t have the best relationship.  However, today I can say with pride that  we have “mended the fences” and put our differences aside as we have both grown and have come to not only respect but understand each other on an entirely different level.  Now, I have to admit I was the most stubborn of her three children.  If she said go right, I was going left just because I could.  I can still hear her saying now, “I can’t wait for you to have kids so that they can do the same things to you that you did to me.”  Well, mom, that day came and, as I was going through it, my kids were more stubborn than I ever was.  Boy, oh boy, did you get your wish.  LOL!

In my 30’s and 40’s, life was extremely difficult for me as I was going through a bad marriage and my daughters were completely off the chain.  I would often call my mom to vent because I needed someone to talk to.  As I shared my trials and tribulations with her, she would often say, “You’re a stronger woman than I am; I don’t know how you haven’t lost your mind.”  What she didn’t know was that not only was prayer sustaining me but being able to vent to her kept me sane, even on those days that I felt I was losing it.  Thank God she made and took time to be there fore me although there were moments we were on opposite ends of the spectrum and had to “agree to disagree” because she couldn’t understand some of the things that I was experiencing firsthand. 

When I speak with my mom she admits that she didn’t know as much as she does now when she was raising my two siblings and I. Today, her mantra is “When you know better, you do better.” She also says, “I’ve learned a lot over the years, and now I see things differently because I’m a lot wiser,” and she is always eager to share that wisdom with those she comes in contact with, including her 5-year-old great granddaughter.

My mom says regularly, “Don’t get old. This 80 years is kicking my butt. I can’t remember anything.” I always remind her that, at her age, she shouldn’t expect to remember everything. I’m twenty years her junior, and have to make notes sometimes, so I totally get it. However, she remembers those things that are extremely important to her such as my favorite color, the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and even remembers the plot of the first full unpublished manuscript that I wrote about eight years ago. Now, that really blew me away and warmed my heart. She not only listened but remembered because it was important to me. From time to time, she asks me when my novel is going to be published as she wants to see my books in print while she can appreciate them.

I’d like to think of my mother as a “world class traveler.”  Pre-pandemic, she and my dad would take two cruises a year.  She would often say she wants me to be married to someone that we could all travel together, which is one of the things she is really looking forward to.  Mom, I’m working on it but no one will have me.  Just kidding — all in time.  

Mom, thank you for being there.  Even though we still bump heads every now and again, I have nothing but mad love for you.  Each of our calls end with, “I love you” and it feels so good to hear those words!  Mom, I love you to the moon and back!

ELDER MARY JACKSON: Mother, as I call her, is 91 years young. I have known her for 42 years. She has always been extremely kind, caring, loving, and encouraging, and very amiable towards me.

This woman of God’s mind is as sharp as someone who is much younger than her stated age.  I’m always amazed by those things she remembers and pray that if I should live to be her age that God will bless me to have all of my faculties.  Mother is so with it, that she has an iPad and knows how to use it. Now, you tell me that she doesn’t have it going on!

Whenever you speak with Mother, you can always expect to receive honesty.  If you want your ego stroked or want someone just to go along with you, then this is not the person to call as she is going to give you the pure unadulterated truth.  She doesn’t mince words and gives it to you straight as she “tells it like it is.”

Even though she is an ordained Elder, she is far from judgmental. I remember once, when I shared something with her, she responded, “How can I judge you.” That statement alone confirmed that I could go to her with anything and she wouldn’t look at me “sideways,” but rather hold it in confidence and pray for me.

She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s not perfect and is “still learning and growing in the ways of the Lord.”  Mother is extremely humble and says that she is just a “vessel that God uses,” and on any given day, you will find her spreading the Good News to the various people who call her.  I, for one, look forward to our talks because they are always thought provoking as she gives me the Word of God, mixes it with the natural and sprinkles it with humor.  Mother is the epitome the virtuous woman found in Proverbs 31 (Strength and honor are her clothing – Proverbs 31:25).

Mother has told me on more than one occasion that I’ve added to her life. I’m still trying to figure that out because I learn so much from this wise woman of God that I can’t begin to imagine what that could be; however, it touches my heart that she feels that way.   The last conversation that we had she told me that she was glad I was a part of her life just before we ended our call with “I love you.”

Thank you Mother for being “you” and for letting your “light shine before men.” May God continue to bless, strengthen and keep you!

RENITA CARTER: This woman right here, I met 14 years ago at my place of employment. Who knew, at that time, we would have become friends for life.

Renita has had her share of health scares/challenges, but she has persevered through every single one of them through prayer and tons of research; she is the Google Queen. Her mindset is one of which “I’m not going to sit around and do nothing.” She absolutely does not believe in defeat; the word is simply not in her vocabulary. She is relentless in her pursuit of seeking answers, and doesn’t play when it comes to her health and the health of others. Thus, she started a FaceBook page entitled, “Eat to Live Not Live to Eat” wherein she not only shares information on how to eat clean and healthy, but how doing so has changed her life. When I first met Renita, she was heavier than she wanted to be, but has made great strides to accomplish her weight loss goals and might I add, she looks fabulous! Renita is truly an inspiration and is extremely transparent about the challenges that she has faced. Her journey hasn’t been an easy one, but she never gave up because at the end of the day, she knows that God is the source of her strength.

Renita is one hard working woman. We worked together on a number of Blood Drives in the past. I watched as she was extremely organized and methodical in her approach. She was a true salesman at heart and often got people to donate blood, even when they were shaking their heads no. Because of her commitment, dedication, and passion toward her fellow man, the hospital was blessed to be able to have blood to give its patients. She could sell you anything and you would thank her profusely for doing so. LOL!

Over the years, Renita and I have shared many laughs, but one conversation in particular comes to mind. I was going through something pretty heavy at the time and was completely honest about it and my reaction toward the situation. She said something to me and then backed it up with “You know only a real friend could say that, right?” We laughed and continued our conversation. She knew me well enough to understand that just anybody couldn’t say certain things to me in the way in which she did, but knew we were close enough that she could. Whenever I think about that conversation today, I still laugh.

Renita, I’m glad that God placed you in my life. Thank you for your listening ears, your compassion, and your prayers. You, my friend, are a true gem!

LAVERNE O’BANNON: Laverne is not just my coworker, but my friend as well. I don’t remember exactly how long we’ve known each other, but for the past several years or so, we have shared all sorts of conversations — some deep and some just shooting the breeze.

One of her many gifts is working with her “old people” as she affectionally calls them. She often shares with me stories of her aunts and uncles who are now up in age and, boy, are they hilarious. I love hearing her memories of growing up with them and the phrases that only people born during that era would use. Young people don’t know nothing about that! She makes sure that they are good by not only calling and visiting them, but cooks for them as well. When I tell you she can “burn,” that’s stating it mildly. One of my favorite dishes is her shrimp and grits. Mmm mmm good! Once I said to her, “If I lived with you, I wouldn’t be able to fit through the door.”

Laverne doesn’t shy away from any topic of conversation and, if you go to her, she always has an answer and “keeps it real.” She is a no nonsense person and you get that right away if you try to come to her with any type of foolishness. She ain’t having it and her entire countenance changes as she shuts it right down. At that point, you know “that was the wrong thing to say.” Thankfully, I’ve never been on that side of her. Whew Chile!

Laverne has a willing heart to help anyone who needs her assistance and doesn’t mind going the extra mile. She is extremely thoughtful and always offers suggestions to help you. She will say, “Karen, I was thinking…” and it goes on from there.

She and I serve on the Activities Committee at our place of employment. Prior to her becoming a member, we had the same four people for years. However, Laverne went around and recruited at least eight more members; she is very persuasive in nature and it’s difficult to say “no” to her. Because she didn’t want the Lab to be merely “all business,” the Committee flourished to twelve members strong. Her idea was to boost moral, have fun, and raise money for various activities as we gave back to our coworkers. Her ideas were brilliant. The committee not only piggybacked off them but for the first time in years, we were all able to come up with fresh ideas. Our peers genuinely loved what we were doing, and couldn’t wait to see what we were going to do next.

Here is a personal example of Laverne’s gift of helps. I had written a second full length manuscript and was trying to find someone who could edit it for “fairly reasonable.” I was sitting at my desk one day and she popped into my head. I know she networks with a ton of people, so I asked her if she knew anyone who would be willing to help me. Immediately, she sprang into action and said, “I have two friends who are school teachers, and I will ask them. Within several days, she had gotten back to me and said, “Print out three copies – one for me and one for each of my two friends.” I asked her what would they charge. You know what her response was? “Nothing. We are doing this for free because that’s what we do.” I was absolutely flabbergasted. Can you imagine my delight? Not only did she edit my manuscript, she got it back to me within 30 days and gave me some great commentary and critique as to the things I needed to change/and or add. Now, that’s a friend!

Thank you my “sista friend” for always making yourself available!! Laverne, you totally rock! You’re a tough cookie, but I wouldn’t have you any other way!


My life has not only been enriched, but blessed because of these four women, and I am forever grateful. I love each of you from the bottom of my heart!

If there are women who have impacted your life, let them know. Believe it or not, even the strongest of women need encouragement too. Sometimes, they wonder if they are truly serving their God-given purpose. They often pour so much into people and ask for nothing in return. We don’t have to be envious of another woman’s gifts and/or talents because they differ from ours. Let’s use the gifts that we’ve been given to the fullest. When we see a woman that’s down, let’s extend our hand and lift her up. Let’s help her “adjust her crown” as she dusts herself off, and carries on. We need each other. As the poem that John Donne wrote in 1624 states, “No man is an island.” Be blessed!!!


Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊


Addressing The Bargaining Stage of Grief as a Caregiver

The word “grief” is only five letters long but it is packed with so much hurt and pain.  

The definition of “grief” is:  deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.

When we lose a friend or loved one to death, most people go through what is known as a period of “grieving.” For some, the “grieving” process might last a few months but, for others, it may take longer — years, in fact. No one can anticipate how long they will “grieve” nor should they. “Grieving” is different for everyone because no two people are alike.

My aunt died a little over a year ago, and my 5-year-old granddaughter, at random times, becomes overwhelmed when she thinks about her death. She’ll start crying and say, “I miss Aunt Jeanette.” The funny thing is Jordyn-Marie only saw her a handful of times but my aunt (her great great aunt) made a huge impression on her young life. When her room was being done, I printed out some pictures of her with her immediate family that I hung on her wall, but I also printed a stand alone picture of my aunt, which is sitting on her dresser. She told me recently, “When I move, I’m taking my picture of Aunt Jeanette with me.” My response was “It’s perfectly fine because it’s your picture.” This put a huge smile on her face. So you see, “grief” doesn’t discriminate as, sadly, even children are plagued by it.

How many of you have lost loved ones and feel the same way as my granddaughter? Losing a loved one is certainly life changing, but thank God for the memories you made with them. You may remember a meaningful or silly conversation or are surrounded by gifts they’ve given you or maybe you’ve come across pictures you took together that you had forgotten about. Even though you’re “grieving,” these are the memories that put a smile on your face — at least temporarily.

Perhaps, you’re in the group of people that didn’t have a great relationship with your loved one before they passed, and you never had a chance to “mend the fence.” Now, you’re carrying a burden of guilt because you didn’t take the high road and attempt to repair the relationship before it was too late. “If you only had one more day, you’d make it right,” you tell yourself. At this point, you don’t care what the argument or disagreement was about; you just want to be able to spend more time with them. Please stop beating yourself up. You had no idea they were going to leave you. Forgive yourself so that the healing can begin.

How many times have you wanted to pick up the phone to say hello only to remember they are no longer here with you. Maybe you wanted to share a funny story with them because you knew they’d be the only one who’d get it. Then, there are the dreaded first holidays after their passing that puts you on the road of depression as you attempt to celebrate without them. Alas, you are left with a huge whole in your hearts that may diminish in size over time but will never go away.

I, too, have suffered grief but mine didn’t come from losing anyone that I shared a relationship with. I’ve lost a number of loved ones that I sorely miss, but the only time I’ve actually experienced “deep grief” was when I couldn’t have kids. Growing up, the only thing I could think of was getting married and starting a family. I’ve always loved children and, as most young girls did back then, I came up with all sorts of names for them (none of which I used, by the way). I had two tubal pregnancies (the last one could have taken me out), and one miscarriage, possibly two (this one wasn’t confirmed). When I found out I was pregnant I was actually miscarrying. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was pregnant, and in my uterus this time, but it didn’t happen. I was absolutely devastated. How could this be happening to me. It wasn’t fair. I cried when no one saw me. I screamed when no one was around. I was on an emotional rollercoaster ride each and every month for years as “Susie” always made her grand entrance, even though I “begged and pleaded with her not to.”

As I looked around me, it seemed as though every woman was pregnant or had no difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Of course this wasn’t true, but it sure seemed that way to me. I would get all worked up every time I thought about those women who didn’t even want children but were able to conceive. I felt like I was less than a woman and certainly didn’t feel like I was whole. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I being punished? Am I cursed,” I used to ask myself.

I “grieved” the tubal pregnancies. I “grieved” the miscarriage(s) as they were indicators that I would never be a mother in the sense of carrying a child in my womb. For a while, after each loss, every time I saw a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby, I felt like I was dying inside and had to hold back the tears that threatened to roll down my face. Even after I had a half of tube left, I figured it was enough to get pregnant although my gynecologist told me there was only a 5% chance. In my mind, a slim chance was better than none at all and I continued to hold on to faith and hope.

This was another one of those instances wherein I “painted” on my happy face and suffered in silence. The women who were able to bear children couldn’t have possibly understood my pain, and I didn’t want their pity. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best idea because everyone needs someone to talk to. Then to add to my pain, people would ask me when was I going to have children. This cut deep to the core, but I smiled and simply responded, “I don’t know.”

I can’t tell you how long I “grieved” but it seemed like forever. However, at some point or another I got over it but was still hurt because I didn’t understand why this had to be my plight. I kept hoping and praying and even bargained with God hoping that it would be my turn, but it never happened. At one point, I had to accept this reality; however, it wasn’t until I went into menopause. On the one hand, I was happy that my cycle days were over because then I wouldn’t have to deal with my “mind” every month but, on the other hand, it was a reminder of what was never going to be. As I type this article, my emotions are very raw as tears escape my eyes as the pain that I haven’t felt in years rises to the surface. It caught me completely off guard and hit me like a ton of bricks. In the end, however, God blessed me with three beautiful children.

I read on FaceBook recently: “Grief is like living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is okay, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.” This speaks volumes. People say that, “time heals all wounds,” but does it really? My take on it is that we get better over time, but there are random moments when the wounds reopen without warning. The only thing I can say is thank God for the power of prayer because, honestly, that is the only thing that kept me sane when I was at my lowest.

If your feelings of “grief” are all consuming, it’s okay to seek out a “grief” support group or talk to a therapist. Sometimes, you need extra supports in place to help you get through the difficulties you’re facing. You’re human…

It’s okay to feel.

It’s okay to be angry.

It’s okay to question.

What you’re experiencing is normal.

Today is not the end, even though it may feel like it.

You will be able to go on.

Know that you’re not alone.


Love ya,

Grace ❤️

I didn’t plan on sharing my personal story of “grief” but this article seemed to have taken on a life form of it’s own. I pray it blesses someone who may have needed to hear it.

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Living With Depression During the Pandemic

diverse group of people hugging

This pandemic has changed all of our lives as none of us could have ever imagined, even the elderly generation, has stated that they have never witnessed anything like this in their lifetimes.  Who would have thought that the entire world would have been shut down at one point?  The fact that we haven’t been able to see our loved ones, hug people, unable to visit our sick family and friends who are hospitalized, and our kids/grandkids not being able to socialize with their friends has been extremely difficult for most.

For those people who are already suffering with depression, the pandemic has made them sink further into that dark hole, particularly, if they live alone.  They have nothing but time on their hands other than to think, think, think.  They shut down and shut people out and the people, who have been locked out, have no idea as to why; therefore, they are left scratching their heads and wondering what they could have possibly done to offend them.  Those who are depressed may be ashamed to tell their friends and family members why they are so distant, but they shouldn’t be.  We all have our struggles.  At least in communicating that you need space, they will understand that it’s not them and, who knows, you might just find out they can be a great listener or pray along with you.  Depression is real in itself but coupled with this pandemic, it’s an absolute beast.  

I have been afforded the opportunity to spend time with a few folk, which includes my parents and I’m grateful for that.  While I miss being out and about as well as missing the human touch (hugging), I haven’t been depressed although I suffered with it and through it in the past.  Perhaps, it’s because my 5-year-old granddaughter lives with me and keeps me quite busy, which is a blessing in of itself.  I can say that I’ve appreciated the shut down because it has allowed me to slow down.  I didn’t realize just how busy I was until there was nothing that I could do.

Two kids hugging on a beach (Imago/Westend61)My granddaughter, on the other hand, misses her friends terribly and will say to me from time to time that I get to see my “friends” meaning my coworkers.  Even though she and I talk about the coronavirus and why I have to keep her safe, she doesn’t understand why her life has been turned upside down and disrupted the way it has been.  She is a social butterfly and enjoys playing with and talking to her friends.  I try and keep her busy by doing various activities with her and one of my best friends will come by sometimes to join us in our fun or we will visit them, which is something she always looks forward to.


Caring for a Parent From Far Away | KiplingerI haven’t hugged my parents in months and trust me I miss not being able to do so when I visit them occasionally.  I’m a very huggy, feely type person and I love giving and receiving hugs.  I have to admit this is the piece that is really difficult for me.


As we all try to adjust to this “new” norm, please don’t allow yourself to shut down mentally, physically or emotionally.  When you find yourself depressed, think of things that you can do to put your mind at ease, i.e., praying, taking a walk through your neighborhood, calling a friend, writing, exercising, reading, etc.  Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what you’re dealing with; it’s a tough load to carry singlehandedly.  I know about depression and it’s all consuming manner, as I lived that for many a years alone because I was too embarrassed to talk about it.  Just to think I would have taken my life had I not been afraid of what people would think of me.  During this pandemic, there have been those who have committed suicide because the pressure of being alone was just too great for them to bear.  Please don’t let this be you.  Depression is no joke!

Don’t be embarrassed

You’re not alone

Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Quit Your Belly-Aching and Just Wear the “Dang” Mask…


Honestly, I’m quite tired of poring article after article and watching video after video of people who are just so “inconsiderate” of others by being rebellious and downright defiant when it comes to wearing their mask.

Let’s face it, none of us enjoy wearing them.  They are hot as the dickens and, if you’re going through menopause like I am, they are even hotter.  There are days that I feel a little claustrophobic and find the need to get a little air.  However, I refuse to jeopardize myself and others by not wearing one.  Even my 5-year-old granddaughter understands the dangers of not wearing a mask.  It’s for safety reasons, for heavens sake!

There have been those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, even though they were asymptomatic at the time.  Just imagine how many people they could have potentially come in contact with and affected by their poor choice if they weren’t wearing “the mask.”

Let me ask you this, how would you like it if some “insensitive” person (and I’m being nice here) gave the virus to your loved one?  Let’s take it even a step further.  Suppose your loved one expired (passed away) because of the person’s rebellious nature and downright refusal to wear the mask.  To me, these people are being a rebel “WITHOUT” a cause.  You complain that you are exercising your “first amendment right”.  How about “potentially” causing harm to your fellow man?  Where does that fit into your thought process or do you possess an “I don’t care attitude”?

F4ECC4F2-B9FC-4F82-9B4E-20B977FA350CFor those of you who are fashionista’s, there are masks in all styles and colors.  However, if you prefer, there are the disposal ones as well.  No matter your taste, I implore you to wear one and stop fighting with people.  Stop going into the stores and behaving like “A Karen” as you argue with employees who are only there to perform their job as they attempt to keep everyone safe and protect them from you, “Karen”.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term (as I was until recently), here you go, lol:

What is “A Karen”:  The stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable.

Karen’s take everything wrong and crank it up by several thousand percent. It has been said that they have a short temper, etc.  They make life a nightmare for retail workers by demanding to “speak to the manager”, threaten to sue someone for a minor misdemeanor they may or may not have committed and may or may not have even involved Karen at all.  There is so much more, but you get the picture.  If this is you, then you are “A Karen”.  Stop walking around feeling like you’re entitled and making people’s lives absolutely miserable.

As an aside, on June 12, 2020, there was a woman who pulled down her mask and maliciously coughed on a woman’s 1-year-old son (who was in his stroller), at least two or three times, because she felt the mother wasn’t practicing proper social distancing.  Afterwards, the mother of the baby said that he had a mild temperature and hoped it wouldn’t turn into anything further.  They found out who this “heartless” woman was and, according to CNN, she is no longer employed by the company that she worked for.  It was unclear if she was fired or quit.  In any event, her behavior wasn’t tolerated.  There should be a place for people like her.  As far as I know, the investigation is still ongoing.  What she did was not only low and cruel, but she intentionally endangered someone’s child; she totally crossed the line!  My feathers are really ruffled because supposed that had been one of my grandkids.  Hopefully, she has had time to cool down and think about the ramifications of her actions!

At the end of the day, by wearing your mask, you just might be saving your own life!


As always, remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

Elder Abuse…

One of my best friends sent me two separate articles/videos about Elder abuse that absolutely broke my heart. These are our parents, our grandparents and, for some, great grandparents. Why does this go on? How can it happen time and time again? How can we prevent it?

The first article was about a 20-year-old who physically abused a 70-something year old in a nursing home where they were both residents. He absolutely beat the stuffings out of the elder gentleman, and was “bold” enough to record himself while doing so. Thank God he did or this could have gone on for a minute or, perhaps, he would have abused other patients at that facility. The other video was of a granddaughter who spanked her grandmother (with her pants pulled down) for falling asleep holding her baby. The person who was recording the beating, then went over and showed the grandmother how to bend over the chair so that she could be spanked, and it went on from there. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I was so angry and so hurt. How could someone do such a horrible thing? At no point did their minds tell them this was wrong? After all, this was their family! Forgive me, but this really bothers me and I feel like these people should be thrown under the jail. I don’t care what these two people did, there was no reason for them to be treated the way they were!

Sometime later, I was told a story about someone who actually witnessed a staff member beating one of the patients while bathing them. She was afraid to say something for fear of retaliation against her friend, who was a resident, so she said nothing and just turned a blind eye.

I remember an incident when my grandfather was in an assisted living facility. He had to go to the restroom and asked one of the staff to assist him in getting there (he had a walker and wasn’t supposed to walk a distance unassisted). He was told “You have a diaper on, just go on yourself.” My grandfather wasn’t having it and said to her, “If you don’t take me to the bathroom, I’m going to pee on this floor,” and the thing was he absolutely meant it. Why encourage him to wet himself? Then, how long would he have had to sit in his wet, soggy diaper?  He had lost everything else in terms of being able to live alone. Why should he have been robbed of his dignity as well? I’m grateful that he spoke up for himself.

Also, our elderly are being raped in some facilities. Are you serious? Can you imagine the absolute fear and horror of these patients who are not “asking for it?”  I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it.

Then, you have some families who take in their elderly family members just for the money but are neglecting them by not keeping them properly bathed, clothed or fed. They don’t communicate with them or take them out and about to get some much needed exercise.  These are people who have lived their lives, most probably taking care of people during their lifetimes, and now have to depend on those who don’t give two woodles of the dickens about them.  

There are families who put their loved ones in nursing homes, and never visit them. Some families feel their “elders” are a nuisance, so they just place them in a facility and go on with their lives never giving care or concern for them. They are just forgotten about. I remember once when I was in my late 20’s and one of my friends’ mother was placed. We were in the area where guests could visit and one of the patient’s was blind. She was asking us questions just to make conversation because she had no one to visit her. The staff member asked her why she was questioning us and then further asked, “Are you writing an article? Why do you need to know?” Well, that ticked me off because we didn’t mind talking to her. What was the harm? Shouldn’t she have been allowed the freedom to talk? I could see if we looked as though we were bothered, but we weren’t.

Now that we’re in a pandemic, people aren’t allowed to visit their loved ones who are in various facilities, and that has to be extremely difficult for them and their family member(s) because they can’t really check on them. They don’t know if they are being treated properly and that has to be worrisome. Honestly, I can’t imagine.

Let me say this, taking care of the elderly is not always an easy task, and it’s not for everyone. However, they don’t deserve to be mistreated. If it’s a family member and you find you can’t take care of them, please say so rather than abusing them. Perhaps, you work at a nursing home facility and are in over your head, please be honest enough with yourself to find a job that you’re more suited for. It could be you or one of your family members being abused.

Even though most families do their best to find great nursing homes for their loved ones, you never know what goes on when you’re not around. Please make yourselves visible. Show them that you didn’t just dump your family member off and ride off into the sunset, but that you do care about them.

My nearly five-year-old granddaughter asked me on yesterday, when we were walking, where was I going to live when I got “old”. I told her that I had no idea. She then asked, “In a hospital” (I’m guessing she was thinking about her great aunt when she asked that question). My response was, “I certainly hope not.” We will all reach that point in life should we live that long wherein that may be a possibility, particularly, if our health is such that our family members can no longer care for us. Honestly, it’s pretty scary when you think about it. 

When this pandemic is over, please, please, please go to the nursing homes and assisted living facilities to check on your loved ones to make sure they’re okay.  





Love ya, 

Grace ❤️

P.S.:  I now have a podcast that is featured on Spotify, Anchor as well as Apple Podcasts and a few others, which you may find under Grace Deveraux or “Take A Leap With Grace.”  Also, videos and other “tidbits” are uploaded to my Instagram account, @Gracedeveraux, or my Facebook page, Grace Deveraux, each Friday afternoon.  Please stop by and check out what I’ve been up to. 😊

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