How Not to Lose Yourself in LOVE

As you know, Femmes Faithful started a series called “Portraits of Love”. We sat down to interview Kevin and Ericka Arthur for their 17th Anniversary and hopefully get beyond the fluff that magazine cover lines would lead you to believe is life-changing, to discover what really (on the real) makes a marriage endure and Love last for 21 years. Get to know the couple and what started the series in Love: Not A Game…But A Lifetime. But for now, READ the 3rd installment of their interview below including a few responses captured on video.

FF: When, where and how did the two of you first meet?

Kevin + Ericka: We met at church and were introduced by a mutual friend. That was 21 yrs. ago… started dating about a month after we met.

Ericka: I can not believe its been that long! LOL.

FF: Admit two unlovable traits about yourself that you love each other past.

K: My moodiness and my stubbornness.

FF: Well, Kevin got right to the point! What about you, Ericka?

E: Hmmm… only two?! I have sooooo many. LOL! I would say my impeccable memory. It’s a blessing and a curse. The other is I’m all heart. Also a blessing and a curse.

FF: Kevin, I recall you mentioning that one of the things you love most about Ericka is her loyalty, but that she can be loyal to a fault! Based on the book “The 5 Love Languages,” which language–Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch–what do you think your wife’s love language is?

K: Words of affirmation and physical touch.

E: Funny you should ask because we were just talking about Love Languages a few weeks ago. Mine IS physical touch and words of affirmation but with a twist. Some may feel as though it goes without saying but it has to come from a genuine space. Flattery which is defined as insincere praise coupled with ulterior motives is offensive. So the combination of genuine words of affirmation and physical touch is rare and beautiful.

FF: Do you know your husband’s love language without having to ask? What do you think it is?

E: I believe he would say his is physical touch and quality time, though his demonstration of acts and service is quite dominant. He takes providing for our family and making sure we’re ok very seriously. It is extremely important to him.

FF: Seems like there’s always a place of discovery in marriage no matter how long you’ve been together, correct? Isn’t that what makes it exciting?! Speaking of surprises…. After 17 years, what has surprised you the most about love/marriage? What would you tell yourselves, the bride and groom at the altar all those 17 years ago?

Kevin + Ericka’s VIDEO RESPONSE: 

I had such a great time interviewing Kevin and Ericka. Stay connected for more lovely gleanings from this couple. We have so much to learn from one another.

Portraits of Love – Ericka

In our externally and surface-obsessed culture, too often, we miss what matters in love–what will last and endure a lifetime. Ericka makes me laugh and entertains as she shares the moment she fell  in love with Kevin. Watch, listen and swoon as Ericka recounts the tale of what Kevin did that proved his true love for her:

During the interview, I also asked Erica how worshiping God as a couple impacts them? Read what she had to say:

“I love the fact that Kevin has his own relationship with God. I love to overhear him praying in the other room or watch him lead family devotion with our kids hanging on to his every word. With his being a musician, the majority of time he’s in the band at church, so I cherish the few times we can sit next to each other in church and hold hands. Kevin’s a man’s man and I love hearing his unpolished, unrehearsed “Yeahs!” and “Hallelujahs!”. I love seeing him lift his hands in worship or even kneel by his seat in the sanctuary. All that however would be incredibly repulsive if that wasn’t who he was at home. So when we sing and worship publicly it’s a healing balm and a garment of praise over us because it’s actually our experience at home too. Worshiping together helps us spiritually because God is our common denominator, always has been. There is no us without Him.”              ~ Ericka (wife)

How would you be able to tell for sure that someone loves you? Share in the comments below.

Portraits of Love, the Femmes Faithful multimedia series, include blog posts and video interviews of Kevin + Ericka Arthur. One couple. Married 17 years. Answering 12 questions. We get beyond the fluff that magazine cover lines would lead you to believe is life-changing, to discover what really (on the real) makes a marriage endure. Get to know the couple and what started the series in Love: Not A Game…But A Lifetime.


Lessons From Ledisi: How High Performers Handle Being Overlooked

Have you ever felt shaded? The icy breeze of a cold and aloof welcome? I’m talkledisi-press-2015-billboard-650ing palm tree shade, but not the tropics. The kind you feel when you’re not the top pick… for that opportunity you’re qualified for, worked hard for. How does it feel to be overlooked? Has it ever happened to you? Do you pout, cry, complain, or rise above? This blogger, who happens to be my husband, lists 3 ways high-level performers with great character handle the cold shoulder. And what better example than the recent Grammy performance snafu. Read on….


Take Care & Live!

I’m sure I’m not the first person to write about this over the past several days and neither will I be the last. But if you know anything about R&B music, you know that Ledisi is one of the most prolific vocalists of our time. Before she garnished praise as a major record label artist, Ledisi was labeling the rhythm and blues movement as an independent artist with vocal tones that made most men beg for more and most women bow in awe. So, it’s no surprise her being passed over for singing her motion picture, Grammy nominated rendition of a famed Mahalia Jackson song created quite a stir!…Beyoncé was the prescribed alternative. Know, I have less of a perspective on Beyoncé’s onstage performance than on the one exceptionally offered by Ledisi off-stage. If you didn’t know Ledisi before, it would serve you well to know her now.

With plenty…

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Portraits of Love – Kevin

Portraits of Love – Kevin from April Peters on Vimeo.

“Ericka and I met at Sharon Baptist Church in March of ’94. The moment I knew I was in love was probably a year later. We were spending a lot of time together…. I was thinking of her a lot.”              ~ Kevin (husband)

Portraits of Love, the Femmes Faithful multimedia series, include blog posts and video interviews of Kevin + Ericka Arthur. One couple. Married 17 years. Answering 12 questions. Watch the video and listen as Kevin weighs in on his love for Ericka. BTW, the couple has NO idea what the other said in these interviews, so each post will be like unwrapping a gift!

Femmes Faithful sat down to interview the Arthurs and hopefully get beyond the fluff that magazine cover lines would lead you to believe is life-changing, to discover what really (on the real) makes a marriage endure. Get to know the couple and what started the series in Love: Not A Game…But A Lifetime.

What’s the most important trait you cherish in a spouse? Share in the comments below.

Love: Not a Game… But a Lifetime

Kevin and Ericka Arthur. One Couple. In Marriage. 17 Years. 2 Children. 12 Questions.

I sat down to interview the Arthurs and hopefully get beyond the fluff that magazine cover lines would lead you to believe is life-changing, to discover what really (on the real) makes a marriage endure. Their unloveable traits, the moment each knew it was love, the biggest surprises about marriage, lessons to their younger selves, how tragedy shaped them, what gets them through, how their children would describe them, and their love story in 5 words.

At first, I thought this would be a great blog post. But I was totally wrong. This interview won’t make a great blog post, but it WILL make an excellent series! How many posts? I’m not certain yet, but I have multimedia treats up my sleeve, including video footage from the interview. You’ll not only read, you’ll see and hear from the couple as they each weigh in on their marriage from their own perspective and how they’ve reached 21 years of friendship. And because I interviewed them separately, the couple will be just as surprised as you to discover each other’s answers for the very first time!


Get to know them…

Ericka: Blogger from Brooklyn – Ericka’s devotion to helping people resulted in her launching a blog–authenticitee: inspiration without the other stuff— in January of 2015, and being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. Ericka is a singer/songwriter, worship leader, and minister with experience as a Volunteer Counselor in Suicide, Crisis and Rape Intervention. Tweet @IndigoInterlude

Kevin: Grammy-nominated Prodigy from Philly – Kevin’s genius led him to playing an integral role as a musician in early Christian Hip Hop with Grammy-nominated group The Cross Movement, followed by playing as a bassist and/or musical director for internationally acclaimed artists Christina Aguilera, Les Nubians, and Common. His debut album MERGE is available on iTunes. Tweet @KevinDArthur

Check out Ericka’s Anniversary tweet:

Prepare yourself for candor and “homegirl” insight from beautiful Brooklyn-bred beauty Ericka. She’s an open and honest woman of faith–no masks. Kevin shoots straight and, in stark contrast to his wife, does it with brevity. Both keep it real. This series will serve up bite-sized tidbits of their love story–let’s call them “love bites”–throughout March. I’m willing to bet you’ll find your story here, something to inspire you, warn you, help you. That’s the goal. It’s not a game, but love is meant for a lifetime.


“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3 NLT

The Bible 02

This made me think about what it must have been like to hang with Jesus. Loads of fun! Yea, He was unpopular with the legalists and the power hungry, but everyone else just wanted to BE with Him…all the time.

Think about it! The disciples dropped everything to become his entourage, women grabbed at the hem of His garment for healing, drew water for Him and ended up with true life. When the threat of danger came and Jesus was taken away (He went willingly because His time to sacrifice His life had come), the disciples were in a tizzy. They had experienced Jesus face to face, they more than enjoyed His company, they were changed by Him, they loved Him.

So when YOU read this passage, imagine what it must feel like to hear directly from Jesus that there’s room for you in his entourage, that he’s going to prepare a place for you, and not only that, will come and pick you up when it’s ready so you can be with Him always. Sounds like heaven to me!

Return My Love (Video)

This song sweeps me up in God’s passionate, powerful love and grace, while reminding me of my stubborn rebelliousness. Güngör does an excellent job helping me envision the grime, the sick addiction of returning to ones mess as a dog to its vomit, when a King, a lover, has done but one thing… rescue His maidservant from danger, abuse, slavery, prostitution, married her and given her a fresh start, freedom, unconditional love. He’s calling to you and I, “Come back…“. So does this passage of scripture below….

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 VOICE emphasis mine)gungor

Thank God We Got Out


I lived here briefly. My mom escaped this place and years of physical abuse, taking me (when I was aged 7) and my brother with her. Up until then, my memories of this place were good. Digging earthworms from the soil and cutting them in half on the front steps, hiking through the wooded area several yards away, skipping rocks on the pond and enjoying the tree fresh air. Walking to the local co-op grocer for whole foods and healthy fair. Attending a good elementary school with a diverse melée of friends in an emerging suburb….

Yes, my memories were good. Meanwhile, hers were not. Funny, the ignorance of a child. Now looking back, I see what was once hidden. The bruises, the scars, the pain. I’ll never forget that day I came home from school to find a truck filling up with our possessions and a couple of family members making it happen–“it” being our freedom. A calculated and quick escape before he came home that evening. Thank God we got out!

But I’m not alone. You might’ve been ignorant of your struggles, your pain, your need for freedom. You might’ve thought it was all good, until He showed you differently, until He showed you His best. God got you out! You made it. You’re alive. And you’re here to tell your story.   So thank God you got out. Thank God we all did!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Lip Service

“Do you really care or do you just want to makeout with me?” I asked as I sat in the front seat of the car.

“Both.” He looked at me hoping that was the right answer.

It wasn’t.

“Look, I’m trying to talk to you about my life, and all you want to do is kiss me.”

“I should be hung,” he said. Usually I enjoy his British accent, but today I want to deck him.

“Mature.” I roll my eyes.

“Says the high school girl,” He snapped back.


I want to say that as I got older, my relationships got better and I didn’t choose so poorly, but that would be lying. It seems like there is this defect in all my ex boyfriends that they couldn’t understand me at all.

I often wondered if I was really that complex. Likes cereal, hates raw veggies. Enjoys dancing, often in nothing but underwear. My emotional stats are not much more complicated. Enjoys laughing, finds it difficult to cry about things that are happening in real time. Can cry while watching a pixar movie.

Why is it so hard to find someone who understands me? I think my added frustration comes from the fact that I can easily read people. I have a high EQ and can understand and empathize with just about anyone… in the first five minutes of meeting them. So when I am in a relationship, I am always the one who knows where the other is coming from. I am always the one who can finish the other’s sentences. While my exes could barely play the newlywed game. My favorite food is NOT spaghetti! Geez…

But now I know that I don’t have to be frustrated anymore, because God knows me better than I know myself.


Psalm 139:3-4 says,  You discern my going out  and my lying down;  you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue  you,  Lord, know it completely.

He is familiar with all the miniscule details of my life. He knows my favorite television show, he knows what type of shampoo I use, and he knows what hurts my feelings. God listens when I speak (and not just to get  me to makeout with him). He can finish my sentences because he created them.

God doesn’t try to strike up a deal with me, because he knows I’ll always come up short. He loves me perfectly and is always faithful, even though I constantly cheat on him with anything that is shiny. God knows who I am, yet he still thinks I’m worth loving. It’s easy to watch TV and movies, and long for the earthly romance, but I know from experience that I will never be satisfied until I return to my first love. The great I AM.

Janine James aka “Miss Mariposa” is a reader, blogger, artist, nanny, and follower of Christ. If you like what you read here, follow her blog @  She’ll be happy to see you dropped in. 

Why wait to love your body when it’s “perfect?”

Thanks to fellow blogger Limarie for reminding us to “stop waiting to love our bodies”. So what are you waiting for? Read on…

Her Breaking Point

As women we have all been there!  We can be our worst critics when it comes to our bodies and no matter what quote or inspirational photo we may come across there are still those days when we may feel like we are “waiting” to love our bodies.   What do you mean by all this, you ask?  What are we waiting for?  Is it validation from others, or is it something different?   We scroll through Instagram feeds, Facebook posts, Tumblr pics, fashion websites and Google images only to see that we are being fed an idea of what a “beautiful” body should look like.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The thought or notion that I have to have curvier hips and a flatter tummy to love myself  is never going to help me love my body just as it is now, beautiful in all of its perceived imperfections.

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