Welcome to Day 18 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 18

To Anyone Needing Strength

The vintage piece I’ve selected for today’s prompt is entitled: When You Regret An Answered Prayer.

Be encouraged…so glad you’re here💫e

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits: Adrian via Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.

*ROMANCE Q & A*| MARRIED TO A MAN IN PRISON | EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW | FINAL SEGMENT

Click Here For Part 1

Click Here For Part 2

How do you end a book that’s still being written? You don’t. You simply turn the page. Turn the page with me as *Dear Him and *Dear Her of Married Behind the Glass Wall, graciously yet scrupulously open the floor for dialogue! Here’s their responses to a few of your finely tuned inquires below…

What do you admire most about your spouse?

Dear Her: His Joy in the LORD and his freedom that he walks in; he does not have an incarcerated mind. His smile (that is encased with deep dimples omgosh). His touch, yes his hands are wonderful (Lawd have mercy,his amazing touch), his hugs are oooh wee good and safe!

Dear Him: The fact that she is sold out for Jesus, the way she treats people (even other than myself), her tenacity, touch, and BAM!!! That walk!!!


How do you handle disagreements?

Dear Her: Just like the typical married couple. We talk, we pray…I get mad (yes I do, I have even slammed a phone down). But he stayed calm and reminded me that I was not his girlfriend, I was his wife and he was my husband. When this reminder came I regained my composure. Oh yes we do get the chance to make up too (the best part).

Dear Him: I try to keep our goals as a couple in mind, respecting her feelings and point of view. I try to be assertive and pragmatic and listen to what’s being told to me and not necessarily what’s being said to me. I have to keep in mind that men that she has dealt with in the past, have possibly had ulterior motives (read self-serving) which makes her have knee jerk defensive reactions. So I try to do my best to ground and remind her (and myself) of our purpose, goals and that even though we may have a different perspective we are both striving for the best for our team. Outside of that, I say “Yes dear” and then walk it out.


Though your situation is not uncommon, it is untraditional. Would you recommend this path to others?

Dear Her: I recommend to follow whatever the LORD is leading you to do in Jesus Name! Marriage for man and woman has always been traditional. I read a story about a couple who got married in a garden years ago (hint: the book of Genesis) and guess what? The only person that we heard attended was God. So perhaps our location was nontraditional but honey our marriage is more traditional than most these days.

Dear Him: I would recommend that you don’t have any preconceptions as to how God will work in your life.
 As a result of your not being able to express your love physically, how would you describe intimacy and how do you attain it?

Dear Her: I am sure y’all want the scoop but in an effort to guard our marriage (as we all should be doing) I will leave HOW we do this for our knowledge only (sorry you’re not invited to this area). I will say this; couples who KNOW how to express their love understand that true intimacy NEVER starts physically. I will leave it at that and hope that it will encourage readers to study this subject to find out what TRUE intimacy and physical expressions are. With this understanding your physical can be off the chain!! (An excellent book to read is – Song of Solomon)

Dear Him: I believe intimacy is something that you achieve before you attempt to relate on a physical level. See so many people go from relationship to relationship and in this they lose themselves. They can’t share on that intimate level until they take the time to know themselves. Once this occurs your intimacy will have substance and it will be effective (this brings out the intimacy in a natural way not forced).

Upon being released, there will be several “firsts” that await both of you. What do you most look forward to? What are you most apprehensive about?

Dear Her: I look forward to no interruptions in our shared time. I am most apprehensive about wearing the right outfit during our “praise and worship session” so he does not ruin it trying to get to me! (oops was that too much? It’s just real talk).

Dear Him: I look most to the time we have to talk and share without the rules and regulations. Time to be intimate together, in regards to sharing the same time and space, No, not necessarily doing the first thing that crosses everyone’s mind, because there is no rush. Some things just can’t be rushed, i.e. a fine dining experience, good Merlot, and an honest lovemaking session. I would be apprehensive about not savoring every moment of our intimacy, and not allowing me to blow her mind so she can see herself, love, and sexual expression in a new light, giving her a refreshing perspective.


Have either of you been married before?


Dear Her
: Nope

Dear Him
: No


Do either of you have children? If so, how are they handling your marriage?


Dear Her
: Yes we have children, they handle it well. The marriage is not the challenge, they are ready for him to be home and they enjoy his qualities just as I do.

Dear Him: My wife answered perfectly.

How do you keep the romance alive?


Dear Her
: Always surprising each other with something; he is VERY creative in all situations.

Dear Him: I think romance and a happy marriage are inseparable. If you love someone you want them to feel it, when you are a considerate person, spouse, and lover, you are going to want to give. So I give to her as much as I can even in this temporary circumstance. Now if you are stuck thinking that what you have going on between your legs are the end all and be all of a romance, then you are always going to be lacking. So you need to see your spouse as an instrument and pay close attention so that you will understand the music that they are making. Its a beautiful thing. These are just a few of the little ways that I show her that she is love and desired.

 

What does your support network look like?


Dear Her
: It has been built over time as people have realized that this is real. But its not a very big circle which is not a bad thing either. Our church has always supported us. Our true friends stood out during this time, you can tell because they are the ones still standing with us! I am glad for the shaking up because it reveals who really has your best interest in mind. The praying folks are the best supportive network we could ever ask for!!!

Dear Him: My wife jockeyed that answer, thank you baby well said.


How does your faith play a role in marriage?


Dear Her
: HUGE!!! Can’t do marriage without my trust in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you are free or locked up…gotta have faith no matter what.

Dear Him
: This is probably my favorite question thus far because without Christ, there would not be us (for real). I want to give HIM all the praise right now!!! Thank you Father!!!!!


Do you plan to have a wedding ceremony upon release?

Dear Her: Yes we are planning it.

Dear Him: Yes.


How have you changed or perhaps grown as a person since being married?


Dear Her
: I have grown deeper in my faith and I “see” people now for who they are by looking at what they do not just what they say.


Dear Him
: Wow, I have learned how to listen better without defense. I can see how I have become more compassionate, empathic, and patient. I can honesty say marriage is NOT FOR BOYS. This is a grown mans lane. Believe you…me…wifey will remind me (If I happen to forget).


Did the type of infraction Dear Him was convicted for play a role in your decision to marry him?

Dear Her: No, I married him for similar reasons people get married for (prayed about it, loved him, wanted to spend my life with him).


Was there correspondence with other women prior to meeting Dear Her and if so what made her different?

Dear Him: Yes there were two others that I knew before being locked up. We tried for a while but it didn’t work. However after Christ impacted my life I really became so deep in the word that I honestly saw myself following the foot steps of the apostle Paul – no wife. I had been wrung out by the women I had been trying to work things out with. It was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole situation because see, she (they) were not my wife, so they didn’t work because they didn’t fit.

There is a Bible verse in Joel chapter 2 that speaks of God restoring our years. What comes to mind when you think about the phrase “restoration of years”?

Dear Her: I will let my the head of my home answer this one for us.

Dear Him
: Sacrifice is for purpose!! Wow, many others verses come to mind for cross reference in the terms of struggle and renewal also. There are a few things that come to mind. First it exposes the position of favor. Second, the struggle that we had to endure was to season us so we can travail in our renewal in a more profound way. Finally after the struggle, we are new people with a new dynamic in life.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?


Dear Her
: I again turn it to my husband.

Dear Him
: I would like to thank Mrs. Ericka Arthur of authenticitee for the opportunity to share (speak) on not only my struggle but my blessing (marriage). It is my hope that by chance someone reads these words and perhaps find God, sees God in a new light, and or allows God to reveal his Son in a new and abstract way in their lives. I pray that you will read the light (of Christ) in between these words. That you will be renewed, encouraged, and restored. Thank you.


+++ S E L A H+++

e: Whew! (Exhales) Talk about authenticity?! LOVED IT! Honored, humbled and again beyond grateful to have been entrusted with this real life page turner. Thank you Dear Him and Dear Her for exclusively and transparently sharing your story in this space!

Till next time authenticitee family…

Peace,

e


* Dear Him and Dear Her used to protect their identities.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photos submitted by Dear Her.

Photo credits: https://unsplash.com/

http://www.123rf.com

http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP634/k21315170/

This true story continues when the husband speaks from his side of the glass wall and its unfolding in real time…


Click Here for PART 1 


e Speaks

On the heels of an overwhelming response to Dear Her Speaks, we now get to hear from the heart and mind of Dear Him! In the first segment of this exclusive 3 tiered true story unfolding in real time, we heard from Dear Her. She used an “old friends catching up” approach in sharing the genesis of their relationship. Dear Him on the other hand, has taken a different approach. His signature style is as though he’s in mid conversation, answering questions I’ve not yet asked.

His voice is a passionate, clear response to those who have formed an opinion about their journey to marriage…in ignorance. He continues the dialogue with the photos (credit noted below) he submitted to be included in this segment. They are wonderful original pieces of his art that also speak volumes!

To have him share here at authenticitee, from the other side of the glass wall, in his own words, is priceless. So without further ado, I’ll pass the mic to him…

Dear Him Speaks

Is a vessel that is filled half way with water really half full? Or is it half empty? Or is there possibly a third option that we often overlook? What would that third option be? Let me explain. There have been times in my life where I felt as if my vessel was completely empty. At times I even wished for my vessel to be even a quarter “full” but even as I was going through those times without me even knowing, there were things at work that I could not see. I didn’t even realize that certain things had to take place in order for my vessel to be “filled up”, like accepting Christ as my Savior.

See all the while the cup was already full. Yep, there was air, one of the three atoms that comprise the molecule water. The air that we easily overlook and take for granted, is the same air that fills up the lungs possessed by the people who are assigned by God to help season us, teach us, strengthen us, and yes love us.

This was the conundrum I was going through when I met my wife; learning about the “air” in my vessel. By the way, it trips me out that my wife knew me and had been praying for me long before I was aware she was even alive! Today I realize everything I had been going through was for a purpose. This purpose is also evident by way of the dynamic my wife and I share. This was all in order to build my “wind” up for what God had and has in store for me (us). Things that I never knew that I would need that I could not see at that time.

Realizing through my struggle, that some things you can’t see are going to be the most important aspects of allowing us to appreciate, understand, emerge correctly into the things we eventually will become. I now understand from all of this that our todays’ are a sum total of everything that we did yesterday for today. Our tomorrows are a sum total of what we did today. Now I realize my true answer to the half full/ half empty question…well it has always been overflowing. I just had to accept it.

Yes, I understand, I get it. Our decision to marry can not be understood by many. I’ve come to realize that perhaps it is (hard to COMPREHEND), because this is not THEIR CALLING, IT IS NOT THEIR STRUGGLE! When we first started corresponding did I think, “I am going to marry this woman”, No! I was at the point in my life to where I know I couldn’t have a paramour, girlfriend, fling or any of those things. Really, I was tired of playing the games people play for the sake of “love”, so really it came to the point where there was an attraction to things I COULD NOT SEE OR even hold. Her mind, her drive, how she inspired me to see myself as more than I ever saw myself.

Dear Her gave me a peek through her eyes and for the first time I saw myself in a light that I never had. I felt like it would be a disservice to us, if I allowed this undercurrent to simmer and come to an uncontrollable rolling boil, so that when I returned to the old cycle and I may have lost her. I may be crazy (as my wife sometimes says) but I am not dumb. So when we were in the cat and mouse chase stage, the LAST thing on my mind was what we have evolved into today.

Most people focus on position, or possessions, but the time was just right. The cold part was, I hadn’t even laid eyes on her yet when I knew! No not even a picture! So ladies if you take anything away from this in terms of relationships take these two things to heart: first if the timing is wrong, I don’t care if you have the looks to make the greatest artists cry, it will not work. A man has to have had enough of what boys do and has begun to look for more from himself, more from life, and more from relationships. I don’t care if he is locked up, in the federal reserve, or if he is free as a song bird. This is what it is and you ain’t changing that – nuff said. 2nd, when he has decided he wants more you will know it. There won’t be any “HMMMM” moments. You will know when you are cherished, loved, and wanted. If you don’t you are delusional.

As for Dear Her and I, I feel we have an advantage to a certain degree. See ours is a courtship that I feel will last until the end of time, due to the fact that we have been given an opportunity to really get to know each other from the inside out, in a way that has been dead for generations. Without the bells and whistles that delude us from seeing people for who they are and not what they have. Knowing and growing with my wife in this manner I can honestly say that I enjoy being with and around my wife. The world stops spinning on its axis whenever she is near. I also genuinely LIKE her as well, as a person. Really I should use a word more intense than LIKE, but because its so simple and uncomplicated in its demeanor, its appropriate in regards to how simply we flow together. Really its crazy, sexy, cool. She’s my BABY!!!  I will give her the “world” with the sweep of her hand!

Do I recommend this for everybody? NO, because it is not for everybody! Everyone has their mental picture of what marrying a “Convict” looks like. I can honestly say that I don’t regret any of this nor my incarceration. It has matured me and helped me NOT to take for granted, what a lot of  “free world” men do. As a matter of fact, my wife tells me all of the time I am the freest man she knows, and everyone in her circle that I have spoken to, say the same. It’s never where you are or what you are going through (unless you don’t plan on moving along) but its where you are going.

I do want to address one other thing. Do we ever really know any body to the degree that we should in relationships? Or do we go on faith that people are who they say they are? Dear Her knows me better than I know myself. Especially with her C.I.A skills. And through all of the crazy questions about my crazy past that she asked before we were married, I faired it because I knew she was worth it. And let me tell you I was sometimes embarrassed by my antics and etc even right now I am shaking my head. She is also assured of where my heart stands (physically, mentally and spiritually). God works in so many ways to make us complete.

I have the most beautiful, God fearing, abstract thinking, smart, driven, caring, and compassionate wife in this world. Man watch out now, I have a blessing called Dear Her, it is a blessing to love her and be loved by her. Guess what? I don’t care HOW it came about, she’s mine. So when you ask me if my glass is half empty or half full, you already know it is overflowing , and when I get home shortly, we will share in getting drunk from our glass!

+++Thank you so much to *Dear Him and *Dear Her for granting me this exclusive interview. Tune in to the third and final segment where I got to ask the questions a lot of you may also have.  Much love & thanks for reading!
e

*Used to protect their identity.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credit: ORIGINAL Art by “Dear Him”. Used with permission. No copyright infringement intended

 

Self-described as an enigmatic, quiet, complicated loner, I first met this majestic Sistah in the Summer of 2000. Our husbands were working together on a show and amidst the usual sound check attendees (artist, engineer, lighting director, venue staff etc.) were wives, girlfriends and side chicks all accounted for! I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful face, flawless smile and fierce sense of fashion. While working on this piece she told me that when she first met me, I was dressed like Queen Latifah!  I cracked up and then paused…wait a minute now! Did I look like “Cover Girl Latifah”, “Set It Off Latifah” or “Ladies First Latifah?!” She responded with laughter, “Definitely Ladies First!” Hilarious! Mark of a true fan!

 

She and I had so much fun reminiscing. Either way, it was a first impression and moment in time neither of us could ever get back! I greeted her that day with one of my famous and (highly acclaimed) “Ericka Anointed Bear Hugs” and then proceeded to engage her in probably the most conversation she had ever had, in all her natural born days.

 

Ok, ok… safe to say I talked the quiet girl’s ears off.


Fast forward to 2015. Not only has our connection blossomed over the years into friendship, it has survived the shade that can come with meeting other women. The industry that our husbands work in as entertainers, can be pretty challenging for their significant others. The first thing most fans tend to Google is whether or not the artist/musician is married and if so, what does their wife/girlfriend look like. This information is used to determine more often than not: 1– the type of woman he likes and 2– whether or not they feel she is worthy of winning his allegiance!  If they do not approve, the comments are brutal. They slam her hair, nails, clothes, shoes, make up, teeth, weight and accessories worse than any red carpet critic and then seal it with the infamous question, “How did she pull him!” 

 

It reminds me of this lovely gem I found online:

 


 

So I thought it be cool to use authenticitee as a space to celebrate other musician/industry wives from time to time! There is so much more to us than meets the eye! Very few get to know the real us and very few have pure motives in wanting to get to know us at all! Real talk.

 

 

Meet Eloria Smith

 

Hey Momma!

 

Hey e!

 

Tell us about yourself!

 

Well…I’m in my late thirties. I was born and raised in New York City and now reside on Long Island, NY with my husband, whose stage name is DJ DUMMY and our twin teenage sons. I am a full-time Visual Merchandiser. (10 points for whoever knows what that is, because not once have I ever not had to explain what it is I do). In my line of work, I am responsible for the aesthetics of a department store. Imagine walking into Macy’s and seeing all white walls. No logos or signs. No displays. No mannequins. No platforms. No giant posters or picture frames. No dangly stuff from the ceilings. Well, I’m the reason why you can’t (imagine that). I get to express my creative side by making your shopping experience visually impactful! 

 

Awesomeness! And no…I can’t say I would’ve have known what a Visual Merchandiser was prior to meeting you. Sounds like a fun gig! After all these years, I am amazed at how different we are but how well we genuinely get along. I often describe myself as an extrovert with strong introvert tendencies, but you can be pretty withdrawn! Has this always been the case?


Yes, I am pretty quiet and I generally keep to myself. I am definitely a loner. Unfortunately, it is common (for those who don’t know me), to label me as mean. I get that much more often than not. Not that it’s much better but…I’d prefer the term ‘guarded’ as opposed to being called mean. Considering that I am very sensitive and very emotional, it’s an unfair assumption. I do admit that I can be pretty hard to penetrate, but once a connection is established, I am a pretty cool person to know. I am a good friend, who can be generous as needed and extremely loyal.


I can certainly attest to your being, generous, loyal and very cool!  Tell me more about your gifts, talents, hobbies, business…

 

Being a full time mother of two teenagers should be enough to tell you about my gifts and talents lol! I can juggle like I graduated from Ringling Brothers University! My agility. My crisis management skills. My interpersonal skills with a collaborative approach. My ability to improvise, multitask, and coordinate conflicting schedules are a few of the gifts and talents I have been blessed with. Outside of the business of Visual Merchandising, I haven’t had much time for hobbies.

 

So let’s talk a little bit about your husband and married life.  Can you introduce him to those who may not be familiar with his work?

 


Photo Credit: Jai Nima Idowu of JADO Images

 

If you have ever seen a J. Cole concert or a full stage show by Common (in the last 13-14 years) then you may be more familiar with his work than you think. He is the MD (Musical Director) who puts together those entire experiences. And if you’ve never been to one of his parties…well…then you’ve never really been to a party! If you’ve ever heard Right Now by Kim Hill, or I Love You In Every Way by Maimouna Yousef (aka Mumu Fresh), or the Fine China Remix by Chris Brown & Common, then you’ve heard his work as a producer. He is also the mastermind behind WVLM’s VusicLive.com the total online video/music station. It “ain’t your regular radio”.

 

Wow he is multi-talented and by far one of the most entertaining DJ’s to watch onstage! I’ve actually peeped him spin on his live internet video show. I love how he interacts with his audience! How’d you guys actually meet?

 

We met (verbally) through a family member via telephone at first but didn’t actually meet face to face until 5 months later!

 

Soooo was it love at first sight when you finally met? 

 

No. We were teens and dated for 6 years before we got married.

 

And how long have you been married?

 

15 years

 

Standing the test of time! Were you prepared to be married to someone in the entertainment industry? If not, how did you adjust?

 

Sort of. I was prepared to marry a DJ because that’s who he was when we first met. What I…well neither one of us for that matter, were prepared for the capacity in which his career would reach. It didn’t take so much “adjusting” per se because it started early on. There was nothing ever to compare it to…it’s all I know.

 

Based on what you’ve shared so far I can only imagine how much traveling he does. How often is he on the road?

 


 Photo Credit: Unknown

 

 

There is no set amount of time. If I had to combine all the time and average it out, I would say maybe 4-6 months or so out of the year. It varies. Sometimes he’s out for months at a time. Then there are times when he just goes out 2-3 days each week.

 

Wow! How has his schedule impacted your marriage?

 

The biggest impact is on the shifting of responsibility. When he’s away, there is an added stress of pulling my weight in addition to what he would be doing if he were home. It is never convenient to have to maneuver plans based upon last minute schedule changes – which is his constant. Married life is kind of like college. No matter what, it’s hard work. You can fool around if you want to – but it will catch up to you and you’ll have to get your s••• together, fast. It can be fun. Overwhelming at times and expensive. (…oh…wait…that’s the kids’ part. Never mind. That’s the grad school edition).

 

How has his line of work impacted your parenting?

 

I am not sure how to answer this question because our children are not really exposed to the industry side of his work. They know what their Dad does and they’ve even seen him at work. They are aware of the pros and cons. I would say my parenting includes educating them and reflecting the importance of shared responsibility between parents. Especially when one is often away from home. But as I stated before, I, as well as our sons have nothing to compare our lifestyle to because we don’t know anything else or any other way.

 

You mentioned pros and cons. What would you say are your favorite things about being married to someone in the industry? What about your pet peeves?

 

Favorite things? The perks of course. Free stuff! Who doesn’t like free stuff? Lol! Traveling and getting to meet people you would never meet under ordinary circumstances. Let me be clear, that is not limited to celebrities or those with major wealth. Just great people I would never had met! Pet Peeves? The constant schedule changes. It is very hard to plan things with your family and in your personal life. When nothing is ever concrete until the actual time it occurs…or doesn’t occur. Another Pet Peeve would be the lack of respect for marriage or any serious relationship (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog).

 

Oh yes Ma’am…roger that! You covered a lot! I really appreciate your keeping it 100 because it’s not all glam and lights for sure. What inspires you?

 

I am inspired by beautiful, strong, intelligent women. My sons. My Mom. My cousin. My bestest girlfriend. I guess that’s more of “who” than “what” huh? I guess I’m inspired by creativity and seeing results.

 

If you could do anything differently, what would it be?

 

I would’ve allowed more time to pass before getting married and having children so soon after.

 

So is there any advice you can give to an engaged or newly married couple where one spouse is involved in the industry and the other is not?

 

If it is his/her passion, be supportive. Actively help them reach their goals. Communicate. Keep your individuality. Do not lose yourself.

 

YES! I was just talking about that a few weeks ago. Don’t lose yourself in the process! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

 

The Laundry List of Necessities for Being Married to Someone in the Industry:

  • Security (meaning the opposite of having insecurities)
  • Self-assurance
  • Patience
  • Patience (yes I said it twice)
  • Individuality
  • Independence
  • A willingness to compromise and be flexible. (Be careful and make sure that compromise is for you and your partner. Not to be confused with compromising yourself for the industry)

 

Being married in the entertainment/music industry is like having a double major in engineering and physics with two minors in math and psychology. You got it coming at you from all directions and you can’t drop the ball on any of them, or else it will be a domino effect. But…

  • It’s worth the experience.
  • It’s gratifying in the long run when you look back and see ‘how in the world did we get through that?’ 
  • It’s gratifying when you look back at the work you produced.
  • It’s gratifying when you have something tangible to show for it.
  • It’s gratifying when you know you are doing it with your best friend as your partner.

 


 

 OH! Good stuff! Seasoned wisdom from someone who has been in the trenches, through thick and thin! I love it. Eloria thanks so much for taking time out your hectic schedule to be authentic here at authenticitee! You have blessed my space Momma! How can people get in touch with you?

 

EloriaSmith@yahoo.com or on Instagram: @EMPRESSSMITTY

 

And if someone were interested in booking your husband, how can he be reached?

 

 

 

Stellar! Thanks again!

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
**DJ DUMMY PHOTO CREDITS: All photos submitted by Eloria Smith. No copyright infringement intended**