Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man? -The Book

Written as a poignant response to the male-tainted advice in Steve Harvey’s best-selling relationship hit Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, this revised and updated book is a fitting rebuttal on men, sex, relationships and women getting what they really “reeeeally” want. As a current CBS Personality on Atlanta’s V103 and Former Sirius Radio host on Jaime Foxx’s ‘Foxxhole’, former NFL wife Shanae Hall does not shy away from the difficult conversations in life. In her own funny, fresh, and bold way Shanae prides herself in telling it like it is. In Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man?, which is co-written with her mother Rhonda Frost, the two women hilariously chronicle their experiences of marriage, divorce, and the dating pool, which has included bad boys, professional athletes, ‘the nice guy,’ the married guy, and powerful businessmen. You can get your copy by clicking on the link below!

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An Open Letter to Usher Raymond…I am Sorry

By Rhonda E. Frost

Usher, I am sure this is likely one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to endure. Confessions must pale in comparison. The past two weeks have had to be hell for you and your family. To have a deeply personal incident with your medical privacy violated and a previously settled lawsuit plastered all over the news, on social media, blog posts and gossip outlets, is unfathomable. My heart breaks watching it unfold.

I read one of the first stories to get the gist of it and then I saw the memes that were meant to be jokes, pour in on my social media feed. I read one or two of the comments with tears in my eyes. I simply couldn’t read them anymore.

I am ashamed that people turned this life altering situation, involving real people and a real disease into something entertaining. For that, I apologize to you. I apologize for the judgement, harsh words, the jokes and insensitivity. This story hurts my soul on many levels.

On behalf of our people, I am sorry.

I am sorry that its unfolding like this. I am sorry that someone gave herpes to you. I am sorry for the woman(or alleged women) who you exposed to it (knowing or not). I am sorry you couldn’t find the courage to tell them. I am sorry that now they want your money and that you will likely pay the hefty price for that secret. And I am sorry for the millions of people who have herpes and other STD’s that they have to live with, and who fear what you are going through.

Too many black folk in particular find this situation joke worthy. I apologize that our community finds humor in disease and in stories that hurt others. I am sorry that we have become disconnected to the point where we don’t stop to think before we pass along hurtful memes, videos or news clips that expose our people suffering. I apologize that basic humanity is no longer present in this social media, disconnected world that we live in. It’s all about the “comments”, “likes” and the “check” one can potentially get from a story.

Do the sharers of this news not realize that 1 in 6 Americans have herpes and that anyone can have it and not know because they are asymptomatic? Do they not know that statistics show almost forty percent of African Americans have this disease and that almost fifty percent of black women have it? Someone else gave it to these people too. Do they not realize that if these numbers are true(and apparently they are), that when they post these articles and jokes on their page, they are shaming and making fun not just of you, but also some of their own friends and family members who are also suffering? These millions of sufferers didn’t get a million dollar check when it was given to them, they simply had to keep it moving and figure out how to live with it. The lack of connection is mind-boggling.

And although not the same circumstance, I am reminded that just a week or two ago our people did the same with the Maia Campbell situation. Some clown(for lack of a better word) made a video recording of her at a gas station here in Atlanta, exposing her in one of her low moments. In the video, she is seen talking to the man recording and she tells him she wanted some “crack”. She looked disheveled, she was missing a tooth and was in a bra and panties(shorts?) at a gas station. It was painful to watch. The “brotha”(dubbed a “male friend” in one article),  added further insult to injury and said to Maia, “pump my gas” in pimp-like fashion, disparaging her further while continuing to record and mock her broken state. This black man thought it necessary to post this event on social media, I suppose in an effort to become relevant. The video went viral. It was shared thousands of times amongst our own. People thought it funny. According to reports, she has a crack addiction and suffers from mental illness. How the f*ck is addiction and mental illness funny? Shame on us! Shame on the man who made the video.  And shame on everyone who shared it to get a “like”. But I digress…

The callousness in our people at times is baffling. Did slavery, Jim Crow, lack of opportunity, lack of education, lack of nurturing and poverty make us into insensitive human beings? Can we blame those real conditions on our current spirit? As if we don’t have enough issues and obstacles to fight, we have to deal with our own village frenemies as well. These are the same people(your fans), same magazines and news papers that applaud your music and talent, that showcase your success as an artist, your love as a father and who have honored you as a member of the black community. And poof! Just like that, you are reduced to simply a story line, and your business is all in the streets. Oh, what a fickle world we live in!

Social media can be like shark infested water, all they need is a little “chum” or for someone to fall off the boat, and the mindless feeding frenzy begins. Black folks in particular feed off of this kind of thing. We always have. We are the kings and queens of tear downs, demonstratively hateful gossip, and finding ways to shame one another or point out our brothers and sisters mistakes and missteps. I believe it gives those telling someone else’s news, a moment where they don’t have to think about their own misery, ugliness, vulnerability or pain.

Confessing an incurable disease is risky for anyone, but exposing it as a celebrity has to be the scariest thing ever. It’s another level of risk. People pay money for that kind of news story, whether you’ve infected someone or not in today’s “sell a celebrity story to TMZ for a check” climate. I am not excusing failure to disclose, I am simply pointing out the obvious. All of that aside, disclosing isn’t an option.

Living with disease, navigating dating and relationships with a diagnosis and trusting someone with that information has to be the highest level of risk out there. But to be clear, numbers don’t lie. Others are also keeping the secret for whatever reason and by doing so, are infecting other people in our community at an extremely high rate. We cannot continue like this! We have to find the courage to share the news. We have to talk about it openly and do forums that help ease the stigma and that provide a way to share the news safely. Millions of people carry this STI. You, Usher, have an opportunity, like Magic Johnson did back in the day with his HIV diagnosis, to make people aware of the disease and impact lives. The conversation has already started. It’s a wide open opportunity. You have this difficult moment to reflect and teach. Use it to be brave, to stand up and to create something meaningful. I will be happy to help you.

The good news is, herpes is not life threatening. All involved will find a way to keep going forward. You and all involved will bounce back and keep living. You must. Life surely goes on. The victims in your case will be a little more financially secure at your expense and though that doesn’t fix the life long condition, it certainly makes life a little easier for them. Again, millions upon millions of people have it, who never were given money to ease the pain or shame or give them the means to buy medications, pay bills or take a vacation to clear their head.

The statistics with STD’s and it’s impact on our community are real. We have to care enough about each other to have the honest discussion. We have to get tested. We have to set aside our own discomfort to protect others. And we have to hold those discussions in confidence on both sides. We have to care enough about our bodies to use protection especially, if we aren’t brave enough to talk about the elephant in the living room or ask for test results. We also have to do better at becoming caring human beings and not using these stories to bolster our own numbers(“likes”, “friends”), or to gain notoriety by furthering the pain.

The moral to the story is: if you have a disease and you don’t tell someone, you put them at risk, and they don’t get to decide on the act or relationship with all the facts. That is a costly decision. And this applies to every aspect of our dating lives, not just STD’s. We have to have the conversation(s) about things that aren’t pleasant as well. It’s the only way to know if what you share is real. It’s what grown people who care, do.

At the end of the day, this story will give way to the next big news story. Soon and very soon, it will become just another blurb in the social media news spectrum and the sting of the jokes and the headlines for this will fade. Let this be a wake up call about dating, relationships and our sex lives. This isn’t so much about you as a celebrity, as it is the cost of not speaking up and the reality of how hard it is for us to talk about issues to our own people.

And for the people with all the comments and jokes, let this be a reminder to return to compassion and to remember that just because something hasn’t affected us yet, doesn’t make us exempt and that we need to be mindful that even though we may not be impacted, we might have a friend, or family member who is(go back and look at the statistics then look at how many “followers” you have, it’s a given that some of them have it). Words are powerful. Use them to uplift, to improve your people, to offer guidance and advice, to make positive change, not to be the antithesis to that. We have enough mess in our community to overcome, let’s not add to it by jumping on the popular mean-spirited bandwagon.

Usher, my sincere hope is that you will rise from this moment better than you were before, to care more about the people in your life, to protect women and to be open and honest. My hope is that you and the women involved in this unfolding story will all be able to live happy and full lives and that when it’s all said and done, our people will do better.

Let this be our Magic Johnson moment of truth on this topic. Let us be brave enough to keep the conversation at the forefront in an enlightening and honest way and let us be better for it.

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An Open Letter to the Man Who Asked “Why We Women Celebrate Being Single, Knowing We Want a Relationship”

I read a post the other day from one of my male Facebook friends who asked “Why do you single women celebrate being single, knowing you want to be in a relationship?” Then he mentioned Beyoncé songs having us “messed up”.

Well the long and short answer is: Even though we women are plenty powerful, we can’t make someone be in a committed relationship with us, last time I checked, it takes two. Regarding “celebrating being single” well yes, of course. If I wake up and I’m single, I celebrate my life as it is. I enjoy my moments, hours, days and years as they are, not as I wish they were. To that point, I want 10 million in my bank account, but since it’s not there (yet), I celebrate the $100(give or take a few dollars) that’s left over after my bills are paid. And I want a baby blue Continental GT V8 convertible Bentley, but since I don’t have it, am I not to celebrate the great car I have? How should we live our lives when we don’t have exactly what we want? Should we be unhappy, angry, sad, miserable and bitter?

To your point, yes, of course many of us want to be in committed, loving, supportive relationships or even married, but it’s not about us and what we want. We can only manifest so much on our own.

Shall we talk?

Let’s keep it 100. There are so many men playing games and playing house, that it will make your head spin. Some men are maximizing their social media outlets, dating apps, work relationships and social outings using them as springboards into new vaginas. They go from one woman to the next, like a honey bee pollinating flowers. It’s not an easy task to have a man see the value in loyalty, love and commitment with one amazing woman, when his options are wide open and each day adds new forums that allow him to dabble in something new.

Today even men in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are still “sewing their wild oats” like a boy in high school. No, not all. There are some men who are seeking marriage and commitment. There are faithful, committed and happily involved men who lead their households and take care of their women and children, men who show love and appreciation for the women in their lives. I personally know a few. But this isn’t about those men. This is about the “others”.

As for me, when I think about spending the “rest of my life” with someone, I don’t want to settle for just OK. I want it to feel right, not just in the bed, but after the “nut” too (yeah I said it!). The next morning and throughout each day, I want my spirit to feel good about my life with him. I need him to be my friend, the keeper of my secrets, the one I trust with my heart and time. The one I can watch Steeler football with and share laughs.  A partner who will love me, care about my family and perhaps teach me something. And to be clear, yes, I’ve had people want to commit to me and I’ve had a person or two since my divorce, that I cared enough to commit to, but the Universe, timing and fate had other plans. So “single” it is for now.

And finally, can we go there? Can we talk about the millions of married people and people in “relationships” who are miserable and barely holding on? Can we talk about the men and women who cheat to augment their unhappy “couple” lives? The ones who tell their friends and loved ones how miserable they are? The ones who hate to go home after work because they aren’t in love or they argue all the time? The ones who are in relationships but bored to death and lonelier than many single folks. Can we talk about that? Dare I say, they (you) should probably celebrate in our joy, peace and freedom.  Note: All single people aren’t unhappy and all coupled people aren’t happy and in love.

Regarding music and it’s impact…though I am not a Beyoncé record buyer per se, I do love some of her music. And a few of them do resonate. One of them is called Best Thing I Never Had“, when I hear  this song, it makes me feel grateful for the ones that got away. And then there’s Irreplaceable that song that too many of us can relate to and there’s If I Were a Boy that reminds us of all the things you do that we put up with. I could go on but you get the point. Settling is not an option, not anymore. Don’t hate on Beyoncé. Trust that when we have a good man, we will take care of him and we will ensure he knows we have his back and his front. We got this! In the spirit of songs, what we need from you is to say Never Felt This Way and Spend my Life With You and then we will be able to say I Know.

So do us a favor, don’t ask us “why we celebrate being single”. We celebrate life with or without a man because that’s exactly what we are supposed to do until we find the one person who is ready, willing and able to add value, stability, peace and joy to our lives.

Now back to my life. As you were.

Rhonda E. Frost

 

New Day, New Year: Time to Reflect

There comes a time in every adults life when you have to do what’s best for you. Sometimes that means letting go of who you love and what you have always known. Sometimes it’s saying “no” to that which no longer serves your greater good, or saying “yes” to new opportunities and adventures that take you out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes it entails releasing hurtful memories and people. Sometimes it means being present with “silence” and being alone, because it’s in those quiet moments when our soul is fully present, not distracted by anxiety or chaos. Realize there is value in the “valley”. I am learning this, each day that I live.

It’s a new day and a new year and with that comes new opportunity to change direction-as long as you keep breathing and your mind is clear, anything can happen.

Trust God, trust the journey and the process. Know that what is for you, is for you.

~Rhonda E. Frost
A updated re-post from 2016

10 Reasons Why I am Still Single

By Rhonda E. Frost

1/7/2017

The other day, I posted a quote on my Facebook page that said something like “humble enough to know I have a ton of flaws, but wise enough to know my heart is pure and my soul is as dope as they come”~Author Unknown. To that, one of my 4800 male followers said “why are you still single then?”. Mind you, I get that question often(as if they just don’t understand why I am single) and usually I dismiss it lightly or ignore it completely, but for whatever reason, I decided to respond to him. And I did so with this:

Not sure how that applies but to oblige you, here’s my answer: Finding love, and a person to spend the rest of your life with isn’t something to take lightly and it’s not easy. It’s magical…it’s serendipity. One day, he will appear and I’ll know he’s the one. I won’t force it, nor will I settle. I’m OK with being single vs just being in a relationship to say “I’m in a relationship”. I go on plenty of dates and I actually have pretty good offers out there but in due time…”

That response seemed to work and he politely thanked me and wished me the best in my love/dating journey.

Now, having said that,to be clear, that is one of the most insensitive and ridiculous questions to ever ask a single woman! And by design (or at least it sounds like), the person asking, is insinuating that something might be wrong with the unattached woman. Maybe I have it all wrong, but it sounds like it. For an analogy, it’s like asking a woman who wants to get pregnant, and who is doing all the things it takes to have a baby(regular sex, good health, a willing partner, etc.) and saying “why haven’t you gotten pregnant yet?”. Really?

I wonder if men ask other single men, “hey man, why aren’t you married yet?”, or “why are you still single?”. Or if these same men ask unhappily married folks “why are you still in that f*cked up marriage?”(yeah there are lots of those too). I bet not! Yet, they look at single women like she must be “crazy” or must be lacking something wifey pertinent, otherwise they’d be married. Hmmmm…And if a woman is in decent shape, fairly attractive and half-way smart, the questions are even more incredulous.Smdh! By the way, half the country is single-that means, there are millions of single men and women. Millions! The reasons are boundless.

So for all those men, who take the time to ask single women this insane question or who judge women in some way due to her “unmarried” status, consider these 10 reasons that I/we might be single:

  1. No one has proposed! News flash! Yeah the guy we are dating, has to ask us to marry him!
  2. We haven’t met the man who is “ready, willing and able” to be a loyal, monogamous, and a provider husband(yes, I am old skool to a degree). A man who we have a mutual attraction, respect and connection with to accept as our life partner. Yeah, that guy…he hasn’t arrived yet.
  3. Too many men are maximizing their options on social media, dating sites, and in these streets-one good woman, won’t do-they are swapping bed partners like a game of musical chairs, and changing women, like people change their underwear.
  4. Married men who want to date us, can’t marry two women at the same time. There are laws against it in the United States.
  5. Too many men show up with just a “dick pic”, a dinner offer, some “hey beautiful” compliments and think they can sell women the dream. They don’t bring a plan, they lie, actions don’t follow the offers or promises, they don’t know what to do when they get the woman they chased, and their sexual prowess is underwhelming.
  6. Some women like being single and aren’t ready to give up their comfortable life, to rush to be in a lackluster, unfulfilling, anxiety producing situation, just to say she’s in one.
  7.  We are working on self. We realize we are broken and are taking the time to review our relationship choices, get ourselves together(credit scores, health, mind), examine the lessons learned, and the mistakes made in the past, before opening the door.
  8. Not enough quality choices to go around-(gay, incarcerated, broken spirits, broken morals, broken lives, nothing to offer, selfish, unromantic, etc.etc.).
  9. Societal norms have changed-We’ve gotten away from basic dignity, respect, and loyalty in the courting process-dating with a long term purpose is no longer the priority-everything is game and fast.
  10. Timing-everything is about timing and fate. Two people meeting at the same time, who are “ready, willing and able” to be in a committed relationship, do the work, who communicate openly, genuinely like each other, and who have good chemistry-is about timing. That isn’t something that can be forced or cajoled. It happens organically. Humans have zero control over timing or fate. All one can do, is be ready when the “magic of timing” happens.

I am still single for all of the reasons above. Are there lonely nights on this journey? Oh my goodness, yes! But are there also weeks of endless dating and fun conversations with new people? Absolutely! Have I had people love me and want to be in a relationship? Yes! And yes, I’ve had my heart open to a select few and have had it bruised. And I’ve had high hopes with a few who showed their character in short order and those hopes were dashed. It’s all part of the process until one day everything changes. Love is still out there and I will have it, but not at the sacrifice of being treated less than what I deserve just to have a piece of something. Nahhh, that won’t work.

So the next time you get ready to ask a woman, “why are you still single?”, just don’t. Put this list in your pocket or frame it and hang it on the wall in your home, and memorize it. And do women a favor, come up with better questions or better yet, bring more to the table and deliver it with good intention, and perhaps you won’t have to ask that question at all.

My PSA for today.

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Dear Future Husband: I Can’t Love You Like This

 

Dear Future Husband,

If I am to love you, and give myself to you…if I am to trust you, and we are to have a future together, some things have to change. I can’t love you like this.

If every woman you meet is introduced to your false narrative and your soulless accosting of her gifts (both physical and emotional), how then will any relationship flourish?  If deliberate truth isn’t your M.O., how will we move forward as a unit or a culture? If you lack integrity, how can you be respected? If you don’t share your real feelings or intentions, how do we get beyond silly games?

And if one good woman is never enough for you, how will we ever get to “I do?”

Social media, the perceived(and real) male/female ratios, greed and overall nonchalance about commitment, have changed the dating game. Things seem out of control! The rotating bed partner effect, is real. They say, “why settle for one, when you have options galore at your fingertips?”-And that’s a literal statement. Literally, within minutes, and with little to no effort, a man can have a new body in front of him with just a swipe to the left or right or the right mix of words in a message said to a woman in need. Sheesh! How do we compete with the feeding frenzy and seemingly insatiable appetite of your world?

When and how can we ever heal from this relationship abyss of the 21st century, if nothing ever changes in you?

To the social media point-my Facebook (FB) “inbox” stays full. I could literally go on a date every other night, and take several trips a month, hell, I could even get married, if I acted on the messages, requests and offers presented to me weekly. So this isn’t speculation, it’s fact. I’ve been proposed to at least 4 times in 3 months. More proposals than any woman should have. But I am not naive, I don’t look at any of this as real(though my future husband may be in one of those offers). I look at it as a game for most. There are serial social media predators. No, not all. But many. They use the same lines, and offer the same prizes, they inform you of their cars and wealth, they send you the daily “hey beautiful” messages. No, I am not saying some aren’t genuine, I would imagine some of you are actually looking for me(a wife) just like I am looking for you(a husband). But most, aren’t. Most are looking to score some a** and a notch. Some of that “good, good” as the young hip folks call it.

I am a realist, my “inbox” isn’t the only one with options. Some of my female friends have told me that a few of the male folks from my page, have trickled on to theirs and that they also get some offers and these same men use similar catch phrases with them. Hell, a few of my friends send me the pictures of him and ask “what’s this guys story, he is getting at me hard”, it’s laughable and sad. And there’s no doubt men are getting their fair share of direct messages from the more aggressive women as well.

But back to the point. It’s like asking a shark, not to follow the bloody chum trail. It’s not possible! Once they smell blood, they must have it-they want the meat. So is that where you are? And if so, how much of it do you need, before you are full and ready?

The lies, the hustle, the games. Aren’t we all too grown for that? I am privy to too many broken dating and relationship stories. Single women dating men who send their representative to meet them, reps who sell women the “I am single, ready and I have it all together” dream, they get her to buy into it and sign the contract, only to find the product he was peddling was a lemon, it didn’t work as promised, the quality or size  of the parts were not up to par, or the entire product was broken inside and out and rendered unusable for the long haul. And no refunds are ever given.

Or they come in like a wolf in the “Little Red Riding Hood” story, covered in false clothing, with false story’s and bad intentions (sharp teeth and all), ready to shred the unsuspecting female soul and take everything they can take from her. It’s enough to drive single women into the monastery! Oh the stories!

And so future husband, I have some questions…

I want to know: When did you learn to lie? When did you become a predator of sorts? And when did taking advantage of those who love you, and hurting them without basic human regard, become your “standard operating procedure”? How is it that you became a taker and not a giver? What pushed you to that?

I want to know: And to those whom this applies, how do you look yourself in the mirror after each sexual conquest and each “come up”? Do you beam with pride, like a college student when they get an “A” on a Final exam? Do you feel relieved and excited, like a runner who trained for months and then took 1st place in a marathon?

How do you reward yourself as you add to the trail of cracked hearts and to the unhealthy experiences and bitterness of women?

Where exactly are you going with all of that jive?

And who taught you that was OK?

Did you witness abuse and disrespect in your home? Did you see men hitting women, calling them “b*tches and h*es, and taking money from them and their children? Did the men in your life operate in infidelity? Or worse…did someone take your virginity against your will like the Antwone Fisher story? I want to know when callousness set in?

What created the anger and disconnect in you? Are your walls built from eye-witness pain? Did your Mom abuse you? Was she on crack and abandon you? Did your father fail to show up to your basketball games, give you a hug or provide financial support? Were you raised by pimps, gang bangers and pushers who taught you disdain for women and that it’s best to “get them before they get you?”

I need to know: When you are home on quiet evenings, do you sit on your couch for hours with a note pad and pen writing out the stories, compliments and promises to say to the next woman you meet on Facebook or in the club, or are you a natural wordsmith, freelancing and spitting compelling words with ease, like Pac, or J.Cole?

Do you use the same set of phrases and words on everyone? You know like these for instance…”good morning beautiful”, “baby I can’t wait to see you”, “call me, I miss you”, or “let’s put some stamps in your passport”-I could go on, but you get the point.  If these are standard, then what words are “special” for the people who matter for real?

I need to know: When does it stop? When is enough new p*ssy enough? Is it really that hard to be committed and honest?

Are the fast paced offerings of the next “best thing” or “greener grass” (aka better ass) that tempting and so out of control that you don’t know how to stop the runaway train and just love someone?  Hasn’t enough damage already been done to us, to you and the culture?

My dearest future husband, we need you and we want you. But we can’t keep up with this perpetual game of nothingness. We don’t have time for it. It’s making us bitter and cold.

We can’t love you like this. Something has to change.

A strong, loving and committed man, makes a formidable marriage and home.

If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

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Dear Future Husband: A Grown Woman’s Thoughts on Dating

I don’t necessarily want to know what college you went to and what degree you obtained, I need to know if you can communicate in good and bad times in the wee hours of the morning and late at night, about things that matter.

I don’t care how many S550s, Bugatti’s, BMW M6 special edition cars you have, what your 401K balance is or where you go for vacation; I need to know if you will be there when I call, to make sure I’m OK. I need to know if your word is “bond”, if I can trust you to protect my heart and if you care enough to be fully present when we spend time.

I’m no longer impressed by titles and the extras after your name, (Dr. MA, Ph.d, VP, or President of so and so- I’ve dated them). I need to know if you are kind and affectionate, if you will care for me if I become sick and pray for me when I can’t pray for myself.

I need to know what makes you feel alive, your fears and your back story. I want to know the parts of you, you’ve never told anyone. I need to know how you treat your Mama, your kids, and those you say you love.

I don’t need to hear another promise, or necessarily be told how beautiful I am (though that is always nice ), I need to know that you see my inner being, my scars and stretch-marks and the beauty and grace of my soul and in my story.

I don’t need to spend weekend after weekend on another pointless date hanging out with you at the “spot” or making love without purpose or meaning (that’s something I don’t need to practice, I’m good at that); I need to know what you want to do and where you want to go…with us.

I don’t really care how much “swag” you have, how many Purple Label fine suits you can pull out of the closet, or how many Gucci driving loafers and silk ties you can rock on any given day. I need to know who you are when I am not looking and who you are when I am.

Your fine-ness, collegiate accomplishments, snazzy cars, credit score and dollars in your bank are icing on the cake-of-you. If the rest of the above is missing, we won’t make it.

Let me love you, laugh with you, be with you and move towards eternity with you. That’s where this grown woman is today.

 

by Rhonda E. Frost