Monday, July 30, 2012

Playing House by Tiffany Braxton Belvin

I refer to unmarried couples living together as "playing house". Each person has the benefit of virtually going through the marital routine, but there is no legal commitment or obligation. There are also no entitlements. (Only 16 states have common law marriages and in some of those states the union had to be created prior to a certain date) 

This came to mind this morning because on yesterday KL's family had to make a difficult decision of taking a member of the family off life support. I don't know what her martial status was, but it made me think how complicated things can get.

Prior to getting married KL and I played house. I remember having a discussion on this very topic of what we would do if either one of us were faced with this same difficult decision. Each of us agreed that we would not want to be on life-sustaining equipment, however imagine if our families felt different.

A situation that is already emotionally taxing is amplified by having to possibly go through litigation to carry out your partner's final requests. Or, Imagine not having any input on a final resting place. Things as simple as what the deceased will wear before they are laid to rest. Maybe, you both talked about sharing a burial plot. Now, because you're technically not family it's decided that you don't get to "rest in peace" with your loved one in the "family's" plot.

I'm throwing some things out there because I know we all have heard our share of horror stories when it comes to playing house. Custody battles. Financial and property wars. Imagine being told you're not his wife/husband you have no say in the matter; family will take care of it.

Yes, you and your partner's family may be on good terms, now, but let your partner have a lucrative income or property assets at the time of their death and see what part of the family tree you sit on.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Growing as a Business Woman and Wife.

Our trip to North Carolina made me realize that God has been preparing me for my path for some time and I didn't even realize it. Author Stacey Harris was the keynote speaker of the event and something she discussed spoke volumes to me. Each of us has our own flame, our purpose in life. Even when we don't recognize it, use it, or even try to put it out God will reignite that flame. Never did I think I would be where I am today. Co-hosting a radio show, conducting seminars, and traveling the country trying to "Make Marriage Cool Again".

Growing up I was extremely shy. It was difficult for me to stand in front of an audience and have all eyes on me. It terrified me. It still does. I remember the very exact day I needed to take control of my fear. It was in middle school. Each student was required to make a presentation in front of the class. It would take a couple of days to get through every student, but I was so happy that I wasn't among the first to be called on. During the first day's presentation I witnessed something I'd never seen before. As one of my classmates began her presentation she stopped mid sentence. I thought she was trying to collect her thoughts, however she began to hyperventilate and she started crying. The teacher took her out of the classroom and when he came back he explained that what we saw was a panic attack. I went home that day thinking to myself I don't ever want that to happen to me.

I had no idea of how to get rid of my fear of public speaking and I was too embarrassed to ask for help. It would be years later, in college, that I would learn how debilitating that fear could be. During a required speech class which I left for the very last of my liberal arts classes a fellow classmate visibly trembled as she gave her presentation. Our instructor later advised us the ability or inability to speak in front of large groups of people will separate the successful from the unsuccessful when we got into "the real world". She said many high paying jobs required you to be able to give presentations, conduct seminars, pitch ideas, and basically try to sell people you by what you are saying. That struck a nerve. I wouldn't be successful if I didn't get over my fear.

It wasn't until I was working for a major telecommunications company that I was forced to confront my fear. Imagine working for a company where its survival is based on communications and I'm afraid to do so. My responsibility was providing customers information over the phone. That was easy. I couldn't see them. They couldn't see me.

I was in the company for three years when an opportunity was presented for anyone who wanted it. The managers needed a new support team. That meant you learned the management job while still in your current title which would help you if you wanted to take on a management role in the future. The interviews were conducted in a glass partitioned office right near my desk. Afraid to put my own name in the pool I watched as each potential candidate went in to have a meeting with the call center manager. Within a week the management team had chosen the select few for their new Acting Management Team.

About a month later, after both the management and acting management team were getting acclimated, my supervisor came to me and told me she wanted to me to begin learning something new in the office. She began showing me the duties of the acting management team. Even though I had not interviewed for the position my supervisor felt that I should be on the team because of my work perfomance. I put the flame out. She reignited it.

I was in the company a total of 12 years and this was an ongoing cycle. I tried to put the flame out and God would reignite it. I was asked to be a co-facilitator for a workshop that would address team dynamics in corporate environments. Then I was asked to be on a committee to improve employee relations which required me to convince my peers to complete a survey which usually had a response rate of less than 50%. I helped improve it to more than 90%. One of my final tasks was when I was asked to conduct a workshop on personal development based on the best-selling book "Who Moved My Cheese?" Every time I was asked to do one of these projects there was a battle inside my head. I knew it would benefit me in the long run, but I was scared out of my wits to have to stand in front of any group of people. I was also scared to say no because it was always in the back of my mind that I would not be successful if I didn't get over my fear.

You would think that after all of that I would have mastered this by now. No. Two years ago I was presented with an opportunity to co-host a radio show with KL. What do you think I did? Of course, I put out my flame. Instead, for almost two months, I sat back and watched as he and his two co-host did their weekly show and I would make notes of what they could do to improve the show. They gave me the unofficial "manager" title. I still don't know when I got sucked into be on air regularly, but it happened. Flame reignited.

Due to circumstance beyond our control the show was cancelled after about six months. A few months later KL and I were presented with the opportunity to do our own show about relationships. My first thought was to say no. There was no way I could co-host a radio show. I thought about it for a couple of days and realized it was time to ignite my own flame. Black Love Radio was born.

Over the years people have seen in me something I thought I was hiding. My flame. My purpose. I have to laugh sometimes because no matter how many times I try to avoid it I was put in a position to have to speak in front of an audience. Even when KL and I were asked to host a Valentine's event at a church in Delaware KL did most of the talking. The pastor said to me you are quiet, but people need to hear from you. Before that night was over a young woman came to me in tears because she said my testimony was helping her.

Although it has improved considerably, I still have trepidation about public speaking. I have to mentally prepare myself, days in advance, when I have a speaking engagement. There are times when I am at an event and I am asked to speak and I wasn't expecting it. It causes some anxiety, however I no longer try to put my flame out. I allow it to glow because I realize it is the purpose that God has given me in life and I understand that my flame may ignite the flame in someone else.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gift Giving & The Art Work We've Had Done By JNess

As a married couple much of the success Tiffany and I have in marriage started in dating. With our gift giving we decided not to give gifts just because something was new, hot or considered the next best thing. We gave gifts because of the connection to the gift and to each other.

In dating I loved to see my wife smile so I loved surprising her. I knew of a talented designer who created works for full figured women. His name is JNess. Because of he fondness of creating fantastic depictions of full figured women, I had came to enjoy his work. After sending him the pictures I wanted him to work with he created these two pictures for me,,

Tiff was blown away when she received the gift. I loved the way JNess captures her beauty. These were the first in our personal art collection. Well, my vanity wouldn't allow me to stand on the outside looking in. So I contacted JNess again, this time it was for selfish reason. I commissioned Brother Jean again to do some work on a picture of myself. My only fear was I hadn't see any pictures Jness had done of men.. But I trusted his talents. Here is the design he created from the picture I sent him.. I loved the look..

You see when you send JNess the photo he then creates his version of what he sees from your picture. He might change the background add a touch of his talent here and there but all for a positive outcome. When he's done you'll be blow away as  Tiff and I had been.

In 2007 when Tiff and I got married. We decided we weren't going to tell each other what we were giving as marriage gifts. In thinking hard about what to get the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I decided to contact JNess again. This time on a very important project. He had come through before so I figured it can't hurt to trust him again. I sent him a picture Tiff and I had taken at a wedding of friend. Well, with a few changes to the background, JNess hit another home run,, Here is the work he completed for me to give to my brand new wife... 

As you see his work was on point. Now here is the kicker; the original background was on a roof since that is where the wedding was. JNess created the Italy background on his own and it looked tremendous. His talent is unquestionable. JNess has been a major part of our relationship and we offer his services to anyone looking to have great work done. 

In any relationship there are things which will mean more to you and your partner than anyone on the planet. To Tiff and I these portraits are a creative look to our love for each other to enjoy. 

Please remember to contact JNess and Tell hime Tiff and I refered you.

God Bless. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

In Marriage attacks will come.

In a Godly marriage attacks are going to come in many forms. Spiritual and personal attacks will test the faith and reolve of any marriage. The two of you have to turn to God together and ride out the rough waves. Cling to God and each other and wait on the Lord to whisper the answers to one or both of you. Trust your faith its in place for a reason. God loves everyone and smiles on marriages.

1 Corinthians 11:11-12 (NIV) 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My wife and I are working hard at setting up engagements to do our seminar on Making Marriage Cool Again.

We want to see married folks as happy as they can be. In our seminar we cover many topics and sub-topics needed to understand what goes into a great Godly marriage,

Here is a segment of the seminar, on Communication,, Please enjoy the video is from our seminar we did in Charlotte, NC July 9th 2012

If you want Tiff and I to come to your church or take part in your event please let us know send inquirers to 

Enjoy God Bless.

MAKING MARRIAGE COOL AGAIN  (the former home of Black Love Radio NY) is up and running.

Tiff and I  may not be on the air at the moment but we will continue with helping couples have the best relationships possible. Our radio show is on temporary hiatus but we have not stopped pursuing the fire God has placed in our hearts.

We are going to do all we can to help everyone reach the highest state of happiness in their relationships. By using our knowledge and experiences from our marriage we are going to cover a multitude of subjects.

For this to work, it requires a back and forth. We want to read your comments and thoughts on all that we post.

Also coming soon is our new book "Making Marriage Cool Again" to accompany of current seminar.

We appreciate and love your support. God Bless

K. L. and Tiffany Braxton Belvin founders of Bravin Publishing LLC