Ready to Soar!

By: Toni Tucker

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This is one of the pictures of me that was on the wall at CBS-WBBM-TV, Channel 2, in Chicago.Me and a kid in the audience on Interracial Dating    Back of Julienne Barbarrie's head at a finale taping of American Idol in LA at the Kodak TheaterJustin Guarini's (first season American Idol, runner-up with Kelly Clarkson) dad, me, and the dawg, Randy Jackson, American Idol, talking before the first finale at Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California  Tori Spelling and me, at American Idol Party  The famous "Home of the Hoagy" on 111th street, in the Morgan Park community, in Chi-town.  Love those steak-sweets, fries with steak sauce and yummy hoagies!Me in Cancun in 1988 at the Hotel-InterContinnental with mom, (Anna)and younger sister, Keshia. They are nin this picture.Back in the late 1980's when I first started really Hosting Differen Drummers regularly.  The photo was taken in black and white.  We did have color back then. LOLIn Florida at Olive Garden Celebrating one of my birthdays with my granddad and mother who are now with Jesus!Back in 1998!  I moderated a Nigerian Banquet and this is my older sister Lori to your left, and younger sister, Keshia, in the middle.  I am holding yet another beautiful Plaque I was given by the Nigerians for speaking at their event.2013Me chillin' at a McDonald's 2013Me, 2013My mother and I at a wedding back in late 90's or very early 2000's. ChicagoMe, 2013My little sister Keshia about 9 and me about 20!Me, May 2013My mother when she was late teens!Me, Hosting Diff. Drums. CBS -TV Chgo.Me Hosting on WVON Radio, Chicago early 90's the night of the Rodney King verdictMe Hosting an Easter Special on Different Drummers with guest, Father Kris Kahulis mid-90's.My mother and stepdad, many moons agoMy little sister Keshia and I waiting of the CTA, bus, on 103rd street in Chgo.  I was 20, Keshia 9I relaxing under a beach umbrella with a family friend at Clearwater Beach, Fl  May 2013Different Drummers, WBBM-TV very late 80's or early 90'sI'm Hosting a Christmas Special on Drummers mid to late 90'sThat's me waiting on my Aunt at a Dentist office, 2012That's me modeling at a 'celebrity' fashion show at the State of Illinois building back in the early 90's.
This is one of the pictures of me that was on the wall at CBS-WBBM-TV, Channel 2, in Chicago.
This is one of the pictures of me that was on the wall at CBS-WBBM-TV, Channel 2, in Chicago.
Me and a kid in the audience on Interracial Dating
Me and a kid in the audience on Interracial Dating
Back of Julienne Barbarrie's head at a finale taping of American Idol in LA at the Kodak Theater
Back of Julienne Barbarrie's head at a finale taping of American Idol in LA at the Kodak Theater
Justin Guarini's (first season American Idol, runner-up with Kelly Clarkson) dad, me, and the dawg, Randy Jackson, American Idol, talking before the first finale at Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California
Justin Guarini's (first season American Idol, runner-up with Kelly Clarkson) dad, me, and the dawg, Randy Jackson, American Idol, talking before the first finale at Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California
Tori Spelling and me, at American Idol Party
Tori Spelling and me, at American Idol Party
The famous "Home of the Hoagy" on 111th street, in the Morgan Park community, in Chi-town.  Love those steak-sweets, fries with steak sauce and yummy hoagies!
The famous "Home of the Hoagy" on 111th street, in the Morgan Park community, in Chi-town. Love those steak-sweets, fries with steak sauce and yummy hoagies!
Me in Cancun in 1988 at the Hotel-InterContinnental with mom, (Anna)and younger sister, Keshia. They are nin this picture.
Me in Cancun in 1988 at the Hotel-InterContinnental with mom, (Anna)and younger sister, Keshia. They are nin this picture.
Back in the late 1980's when I first started really Hosting Differen Drummers regularly.  The photo was taken in black and white.  We did have color back then. LOL
Back in the late 1980's when I first started really Hosting Differen Drummers regularly. The photo was taken in black and white. We did have color back then. LOL
In Florida at Olive Garden Celebrating one of my birthdays with my granddad and mother who are now with Jesus!
In Florida at Olive Garden Celebrating one of my birthdays with my granddad and mother who are now with Jesus!
Back in 1998!  I moderated a Nigerian Banquet and this is my older sister Lori to your left, and younger sister, Keshia, in the middle.  I am holding yet another beautiful Plaque I was given by the Nigerians for speaking at their event.
Back in 1998! I moderated a Nigerian Banquet and this is my older sister Lori to your left, and younger sister, Keshia, in the middle. I am holding yet another beautiful Plaque I was given by the Nigerians for speaking at their event.
2013
2013
Me chillin' at a McDonald's 2013
Me chillin' at a McDonald's 2013
Me, 2013
Me, 2013
My mother and I at a wedding back in late 90's or very early 2000's. Chicago
My mother and I at a wedding back in late 90's or very early 2000's. Chicago
Me, 2013
Me, 2013
My little sister Keshia about 9 and me about 20!
My little sister Keshia about 9 and me about 20!
Me, May 2013
Me, May 2013
My mother when she was late teens!
My mother when she was late teens!
Me, Hosting Diff. Drums. CBS -TV Chgo.
Me, Hosting Diff. Drums. CBS -TV Chgo.
Me Hosting on WVON Radio, Chicago early 90's the night of the Rodney King verdict
Me Hosting on WVON Radio, Chicago early 90's the night of the Rodney King verdict
Me Hosting an Easter Special on Different Drummers with guest, Father Kris Kahulis mid-90's.
Me Hosting an Easter Special on Different Drummers with guest, Father Kris Kahulis mid-90's.
My mother and stepdad, many moons ago
My mother and stepdad, many moons ago
My little sister Keshia and I waiting of the CTA, bus, on 103rd street in Chgo.  I was 20, Keshia 9
My little sister Keshia and I waiting of the CTA, bus, on 103rd street in Chgo. I was 20, Keshia 9
I relaxing under a beach umbrella with a family friend at Clearwater Beach, Fl  May 2013
I relaxing under a beach umbrella with a family friend at Clearwater Beach, Fl May 2013
Different Drummers, WBBM-TV very late 80's or early 90's
Different Drummers, WBBM-TV very late 80's or early 90's
I'm Hosting a Christmas Special on Drummers mid to late 90's
I'm Hosting a Christmas Special on Drummers mid to late 90's
That's me waiting on my Aunt at a Dentist office, 2012
That's me waiting on my Aunt at a Dentist office, 2012
That's me modeling at a 'celebrity' fashion show at the State of Illinois building back in the early 90's.
That's me modeling at a 'celebrity' fashion show at the State of Illinois building back in the early 90's.

Ready to Soar

Cobbled-stoned streets, candy stores, a steak and hoagie joint, barber shops, hair salons, dry-cleaners, churches, a barbecue place, 111th Street, Kathleen Bates grade school, John D. Shoop Jr. High, all centered in Morgan Park...That's where I grew up...In the city with big shoulders...Chicago, the windy city, better known as Chi-Town to many...In a major metropolitan city, yet tucked away in a quaint community located on the far south-side. A town within a town, where everybody knew of everyone at least they thought they had you pegged by nine degrees of separation

It was and by all accounts still is, a rock of stability, a microcosm of the American dream, where families survived, schools educated, shops sold, churches saved, and ordinary citizens lived the simple life. An area once divided by a conspicuous color line...Railroad tracks...Tracks that ran north and south above Hwy 57, just west of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

I grew up in the church, not literally, but, figuratively speaking, and I was a faithful active member and participant. I was excited about it! Mount Calvary, a pillar in the community and a model Missionary Baptist Church not only in the community, but throughout the nation. At least for those in the Baptist Convention sector. I remember the sermons from the well known's who frequented Mt. Calvary, like, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Henry Reed, a former outstanding announcer and speaker who passed away in the early 90's, and the prolific female dynamo, Rev. Willie Barrow, all part of Operation Push. I particularly recall a sermon from a Reverend by the name of Thomas Todd called, "Dare to be Different." Well I dared to be different, but not weird.

I excelled in school with a focus on English and grammar. Considering that I wanted to excel in Broadcasting, I did not want to "axe" people questions but, "ask" them questions. Also, I did not want to ever present myself to anyone in the 'first person' verb vernacular or semantic which is often mis-expressed in the African American community by some African American youth; and too often misrepresented by reinforced stereotypes of bad grammar - systematically captured on the evening news, by saying the words, "I be" in a sentence. I wanted to master King James' English, and to use correct subject and verb agreement for myself, and for what I had in mind for my career. Not to knock anyone or to correct anyone, but to understand grammar, learn it, and to speak it extremely well.

I joined the Drama Club at George Henry Corliss High School and subsequently won numerous state awards for my renditions of James Weldon Johnson's, "The Creation" and "The Judgment Day." I excelled in television courses offered at my High school including drama and the stage crew, which ultimately led me to being able to venture beyond a humdrum high school experience where I met local and national celebrities. I recall going to a taping of the Phil Donahue Show at CBS (where I ended up Hosting and Producing an Emmy Award winning program for nearly 14 years in the same studio where Donahue's show was taped). At the Donahue taping Muhammad Ali was the guest and I asked him a question on national television about what lead to his start in boxing, Ali responded by, "I knew you were going to ask me a question."

I was the President of the Young Women's Auxiliary on all levels, at my local church, for the state district, and all the way to the National Baptist Convention hierarchy. I was voted Miss Congeniality and crowned Queen at my church Cotillion. I was listed among "Who's Who in American Women" back in 1986, where they sent me a thick book embossed with gold page edges which listed all the girls on the up and up. Yeah, yeah, I was an overachiever. A's and B's, and community service, that was my deal. Not boasting, I was just trying to fulfill my destiny and make my family, community, and self, proud.

I also spoke several times at local, state and National Baptist Convention youth nights, where I also performed various oratorical dramatic skits, including "The Creation" and "The Judgment Day." The National Convention allowed my gifts to inspire literally thirty-thousand or more Baptist conventioneers. In other words, they "Got Happy" when I was on stage. It also bolstered my confidence and brought out all the talents and gifts God gave me. Years of Powerful sermons by gifted men and women coupled with being asked to speak by an array of people, helped lead to my confidence to even knock on the doors of the former AM Chicago show which was taped and aired on WLS-TV channel 7, an owned and operated ABC affiliate.

I remember going to the Oprah Winfrey show for the first time...

My ex-fiance' accompanied me. Before I left home my mother prayed that God would speak through me..."For the Oprah show ma?" But you didn't know my mother, Anna. She was a strong woman of God, a Prophetess, although I thought her praying for me was a little over doing it. In retrospect, she was so on point, after all, she was a Prophetess.

It was back in 1983, I was a Jr. at Columbia College in Chicago, majoring in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Journalism, Black History month in February was a month away and it was time for me to make my rounds for speaking engagements and performances. I made connections with the Museum of Science and Industry, The Dusable Museum in Hyde Park, Different Drummers on WBBM-TV channel-2, CBS, another owned and operated TV station where young talent was featured regularly on the public affairs show.

By the way, Different Drummers was produced by an outside entity, yet CBS paid for the show's production and promotion. And yes, I even called AM Chicago, where Oprah, fresh to the mid-west and Chicago was hired to save the once faltering show. I left a message on her then Producers voice mail, explaining who I was and that I understood Oprah mentioned on a recent show that she too performed oratorical renditions of "The Creation" and "The Judgment Day." I suggested that we perform together for black history month on her show. Oh, yes I did! For I had performed at least "The Judgment" day several times before thousands at the National Baptist Convention. I was excited, eager, optimistic, vulnerable, and naive, all rolled up in one, to say the least. Ya think!

Meeting Oprah at the taping of AM Chicago...

I felt hypnotized...Meeting Oprah for the first time...It was magic, like Christmas and my birthday combined in one blissful celebration. The topic was "Aliens on Earth" back in 1983. The camera stayed on me, close-up, after close-up, according to my mom and others who watched the show. My mother said I kept winking and flirting with the camera, giving come-hither looks. What? Unabashedly giving sexy looks with my eyes! I was just glad to be in the audience amongst the 300 or so on the local TV show. I was especially glad to be in the presence of Oprah Winfrey. Right after the taping when most had cleared the studio, I just sat there taking it all in. Oprah...AM Chicago...WLS-TV...mics...lights...camera...action!

My ex-fiance', got up to exit the studio and I was still in awe. "Toni...Toni...Toni! Come on, let's go!" Somewhere in the distance I heard his faint voice trying to capture my attention. My mind was long gone. "Toni, back to earth!" I finally came back from Wow-land. Before leaving the station, I stopped and visited the ladies room and couldn't help but listen to several upscale looking women praising the topic, taping, and Oprah. While I washed my hands I saw one woman retouching her red lipstick in the mirror. When I reached for mine I suddenly discovered that my navy leather handbag was MIA! Quickly I left the restroom to see if I had left my purse with my bo' to dutifully hold. But he didn't have my purse. Back through the black double doors I went where I immediately spotted my bag underneath the seat where I sat. Prior to the taping the Production assistant told us to place our purses and coats under our chairs. I just forgot. I retrieved my leather bag, checked it, and found my wallet and things intact. All seemed well.

I then noticed, really NOTICED that Oprah was still sitting on the stage, kinda in the dark, discussing the taping with a young woman who was one of her Assistant Producers. I glanced at my ex, and in less than two seconds I had walked over to Oprah and introduced myself by outstretching my hand. The conversation went like this. "Hello Oprah, I'm Toni Tucker, and I really enjoyed your show, as a matter of fact I just called your Producer and left a message with her. You see, I saw the show where you said you performed dramatic readings by James Weldon Johnson. I also perform his poetry, especially "The Creation" and "The Judgment Day." I continued..."I have performed in front of more than thirty-thousand at the National Baptist Convention several times and Oprah, Black History Month is approaching and I think it would be great if the two of us performed together." I said this in one breath with all the enthusiasm, anxiousness, and naivete one assured soul could muster!

Oprah responded, "I do all that stuff Toni Tucker." She proceeded to slap me on my butt. Oprah's assistant also vouched for her proclaiming that she once performed for the staff. While I was grinning from ear to ear and thinking that I was going to perform "The Judgment Day" or "The Creation" with Oprah, and be seen by countless viewers in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs; retrospectively, Oprah was more than likely thinking, "Security! There's a star-crazed college girl in here insisting that we perform a poetic duet together, get her outta here!"

I was relentless. I reminded Oprah of my call to her Producer, and that this would be the greatest thing to happen on TV. I also informed her of my calls to The Field Museum, The Du sable Museum, and CBS's "Different Drummers." A local public affairs show which featured local talent and national celebrities on occasion. I'll never forget what I wore on that Alien topic show. Cinnamon colored corduroy pants cuffed at the bottom along with a cream argyle cow-neck sweater. I also sported a long pony-tail, my real hair, which I to this day attribute as the reason Oprah slapped me on the butt. I was 20 years old at the time, I just looked so much younger with that long braid, yeah, that's it. That's how I rationalized the butt slap. It didn't dawn on me then that it could of meant she was giving me the "I wish you well" brush off. Oprah told me to call her when my appearance of The Creation would air on Different Drummers. You know I called her back, only to leave a message on a voice-mail service.

A few years after my Oprah encounter, which was kinda like an 'alien' meeting, I was an audience participant on the now, Oprah Winfrey Show. It was back in 1986, during a live broadcast of the syndicated program, the topic, "Black English." Black English pre-dates what has been since coined as "Ebonics." Oprah remembered me and came right over to me as she worked the audience. During the live show, I acknowledged her 'renowned prominence' as a communicator and how important the use of correct subject/verb agreement is for all people, especially for those in Broadcasting and interested in pursuing careers as Broadcasters. I mentioned that Oprah was a prime example of excellence - particularly as a 'representative' from the Black community. The mostly African American audience applauded for her. I then continued to say that even I, would not be able to Host a local public affairs teen show called, "Different Drummers," had I not strived to speak correct English. Oprah then put the wand (mic) to her mouth and said, plug, plug, plug!

I wasn't trying to 'plug' my show, really, that was not my intention. I was trying to encourage others about the importance of communicating effectively with authority and command of the King James English.

Somewhere in that two-minute discourse things may have been misinterpreted. That's what happened. The show aired at 9:00am central time, and normally re-aired later in the day. For some reason, it never re-aired. It's the truth. I anxiously waited to watch it later that day and a different Oprah show aired. To this day, I would love to see that program, and our little banter .

I continually pray that Oprah's eyes will be opened to the majesty of who Jesus is. That Oprah will come to really know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. I'll tell you about my experience as a Host and Producer of Drummers later...

It only gets better, at least for a while...

There's no such thing as "Absolutism" is what the Director of Communications of the former Church Federation of Greater Chicago, now, The Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries, along with a Lutheran and a United Methodist minister all seemed to absolutely agree on as they exited the office. I was sitting right outside the Director's office at my intern desk when their contrasting views were expressed. One minister gave testimony as to how he 'felt so focused' and 'ready to do things without procrastinating' they had just been hypnotized. If I had known that the CBS TV show I interned for was really produced by an outside religious group with a totally different spin on Christianity and doctrine which I grew up believing to be sound and Biblical and as the sole word of God; I would never have gotten involved with the show. However, God allowed it to happen for a reason.

My colleague and I took turns Producing "Drummers." I produced one week and vice-versa. If we needed to help one another it was team work personified. We also had interns to assist us. Well, this week was my Co-Producer's week to produce, and the topic was on "The Parliament of World's Religions." There were approximately 350 teens from all over and every, I mean from every conceivable religion and pagan religion one could invite to a 2-part 30-minute show! The only panel member was the Chicago based Head of the Parliament, and as Host, I went from person to person quickly as usual. I got them talking about their religion and there weren't any 'absolutist' in the audience. And as a balanced Journalist, I took the jabs about 'Christian teens' who said they wouldn't date out of their faith. At some point the conversation seemed to bash Christians who weren't 'opened-minded' about other faiths and inter-dating. I took it all in and I was led at the end of the show to pose this question to the solo guest panelist. "Jesus said that I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father, except through me," is this inclusive, exclusive, or all encompassing?" The panelist had a hissy fit about my question as I was later told by the Executive Director. They also considered editing my final question out of the show, but after intercessory prayer and God's divine intervention, it all aired.

I believe in Absolutism...

I believe in Jesus as the only way to God, through salvation. Jesus is God, I believe in the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, all three are one. The Trinity. The religious ministry I worked for didn't believe what I believed in fundamentally then and they don't now. They host the world-wide Parliament of The World's Religion's which is diametrically opposed to Biblical teaching. Just explain to me, how in the world can Satanists and Christians co-worship? The Parliament brings 'all religions' together. I know we can co-exists, but Zoroastrians and Jews, peppered with Christianity as one truth? It's screams of one-world religion and new age philosophy.

I believe in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit which is where the church of Christ is now, prior to the rapture of believers and the revealing of the anti-Christ. The Parliament and GCBM all just worked against the grain - which I know to be absolute truth. That's why I left the GCBM in 1998.

Back in February 1983, I performed "The Creation" on CBS's Different Drummers. As I looked at the lights, the cameras, and the many cords on the floor, I just knew I had to ask the approachable producer if I could intern. Although I was in the middle of my Junior year in college and the possibility of getting college credits was way too late, I just knew I had to give it a try. My foot was in the door, the taste of the Oprah experience was still on my breath. I was at CBS-TV! I knew somehow I could shine and be my effervescent self if they only gave me a chance. As you've already discovered, I got the internship, initially I volunteered, later, I became a paid staff member.

Holding on and holding out...

There are several tenants of faith I hold to be true...Jesus as the only way to salvation and as the only way to God. Without the Lord as Savior you are destined to hell and with Jesus you are guaranteed eternal salvation. At the time I had no idea what I was getting into. I had been engaged before to a minister for nearly four years by then. We may have done things not pleasing to the Lord involving heavy petting, but I was obstinate about not having sexual intercourse before marriage and I held to my guns. Only once did I want to finally do it after three years and that was immediately stopped when my former future father-in-law came home unexpectedly. That put a permanent ice on things all the way until my ex and I broke up.

I was hurt by the break up, for I had just gotten my engagement ring which I waited for a few years. It was my ex who pushed for the breakup, and at the encouragement of my step-dad and step-brother I was told to give the ring back and reluctantly I did. I didn't learn until later that when the man calls it off it is proper to keep it and pawn it or whatever. My step-dad told me it would make it seem like I still wanted the man, giving him the upper hand in some way. I should have keep that ring and sold it. It was 2 carats with three little diamonds on either side. The matching band had about six little diamonds across, it was so pretty. But, sometimes it looked fake. Just as 'fake' as our relationship turned out. My ex gave that ring to another girl he married only later to find out he was battling with his sexuality. He did have a lot of close gay friends in the church. One guy told me he had a crush on him. Oh well, it worked out for the best!

After four years of wanting to get married so badly, it just took three weeks for me to get over him. It was more embarrassing to me because so many people in different churches knew of us all the way up to the state and national levels in-terms of Baptist connections. Plus, I missed out on someone else who turned out pretty good, no rotten teeth, no overtly gay tendencies, and a real go-getter. He married someone else, and built a large church in Dallas Texas, but in retrospect, I realize he would not have been good for me either, nor I for him.

I got engaged to another guy and because of him learned all about manic depression and bipolar behavior. It was short lived, three months to be exact. As a matter of fact, the ring he gave me on my birthday, he took off my finger three months later while on his knees as if proposing but un-proposing at the same time. He just, out of the blue, slipped it off my finger as if he knew deep down I'd accept it. However, slimy and uncouth-ed. What a sicko. Truth be told he borrowed the money for that dinky ring from a female friend of ours, especially his, who was an Emmy award winning Chicago Producer who frequented the same church as he did back in the day. The only reason I was interested in him is that during his manic mood he was a great stage performer, and, the two of us performed in front of all types of people and ages well together. That soon wore off when his evil depressive ways set in. I also felt sorry for him. He later called me and apologized and I accepted his apology. And that's the last I heard from him back when I was 23 years old in 1986. I am also glad that I held out with him too. I would have been so angry with myself had I given myself totally to him, before he married me and sealed the deal. And, if that was the issue, great! Well, I wish and pray only good for him to this day, wherever he might be in life.

It's been 23 years since I have been in a relationship, for two good reasons, I didn't expect it to take so long, and the hand of God intervened so I would be a "kept woman" whether I wanted to be or not. Just put it this way, at 47 years old, if I offered myself to someone that I felt strongly attracted to in desperation and out of the will of God, no matter how much the man may have wanted me, he refused me. There weren't many that I offered myself to, just three while I've been in Florida during the past 6 yrs. I started to feel anxious down here. Especially after my mother died. It was all at different times at different jobs. One crush that really lasted for a few years was where I fell for a blond, blue-eyed charismatic Director at one of my jobs. He was beautiful and he really liked me. But he told me, even though he didn't have a close walk with the Lord, that he saw the anointing on my life, and was scared to touch me. And he was a charmer of women, he just wasn't gonna try to 'charm' me.

I also fell for a guy who was a roommate. When I moved in to rent his house, he was married and lived with his fourth wife somewhere else. Now, I did not know this person prior to renting his home, I just developed a crush on him...There was a female roommate who lived there a month prior to my moving in. She had a married boyfriend who visited her often, and I guess my loneliness and need to get in on what I felt I was missing and was 'long over-due' hit me hard. The male who owned the house left his wife, again wife number four, eight months after I settled in. The night before he intruded on my roommate and myself, I was up praying, and it was right before hurricane Hugo hit some parts of Florida. During my prayer, the Lord told me "____ is moving in" I thought I was crazy and sleepy. Well, that was at 4am when I got the word, at 9am he moved in on us. The Holy Spirit warned me that the owner was going to move in on us! We could have sought legal help at the time, but, he had some sad story to share with us about being beat up by his stepson. And, I knew it was a farce, but, there were four bedrooms and plenty of space. So, I rationalized, so what. We'll have male protection if we need it.

In my mind, I thought the set-up was being made easy for me by God to 'already be living at my future husbands home' with no hanky-panky. God was just making it easy for me to get to know my husband, since I waited so long, right? WRONG! Shortly thereafter my female roomy moved out, because she had the master bedroom and did not want a smaller room. I stayed longer because I didn't have a new place yet, and had just lost my job. So the owner and I were there together for several months alone. Well, not really, to my surprise, he had a girlfriend who he was already seeing from work who frequented him daily. So that put an immediate halt to my thinking this was a 'set up' from God, for sure!

Thank God. I did however develop a 'crush' on this man. He was a handsome Irish guy. It was only my lonely flesh speaking though. In retrospect, both guys liked me, but didn't want me. And any other woman might have had her carnal desires fulfilled, but I thank Jesus till this day that he has kept me. Kept me if not, super-naturally from hurt, unnecessary loss of innocence, and virtue. I do believe my feelings and longing for a husband are natural. I just want the right one, no matter how long it takes. Thank God he is honoring my prayer to 'wait', even if it means or looks like rejection. I know that I am beautiful, smart, different, special, and blessed. I am not desperate, 23 plus years of waiting proves that. I'm a daughter in waiting and preserved by God - who has my best interest in mind.

At the time it all felt like overbearing rejection...

Even in my temporary carnal-sin-state of mind, when I wanted to just give in and give it up, God had his protective hand on my life. He completely turned off any sexual activity from ever happening in my life - until marriage. I am a kept woman, KEPT for someone special, God's way of keeping me, clean.

Just who is this man, I've had several words from different men and women of God 15-20 years ago, who have never met, and prophesied the same thing by the Spirit of the Lord! I feel he's close...Finally!

Lesson learned, let patience have her perfect work, no matter how old you might be, and no matter what everyone else seems to be doing irrespective of God's word. Let him keep you Holy. He has kept me, and I am so glad!

Back to Different Drummers...

The current host really didn't hold back his dislike for me. He tried to correct me at every end, every moment. Including the way I crossed my legs on the set. For instance, if we were hosting a segment together, and our legs were crossed in different directions, he'd say, the body language indicated some sort of dislike. He was right on the money. I tried to like him and he fought me on every side. I just wanted to get along on the set. He wanted me to un-cross my legs and re-cross them facing the direction his legs were in. Well, he should have un-crossed his legs and followed in my direction if he was so dogmatic about that stupid stuff. This dude was a real jerk! He finally stormed off the set after a couple of years. He got especially irritated when I got a lot of attention from my co-Producer, crew, guests, and viewers. Good riddance! And I say this with all humility. It was so stupid, so childish, so unbelievable! Yet it happened. I know it happens all the time, ego's get in the way, the old doesn't like the new, and eventually something's gotta give.

I worked that show in so many ways, I poured my soul into it...I booked audiences of up to 500 from both city and suburban areas weekly...Booked the panel of up to five with contrasting views on given Young adult issues. Pre-produced video segments to run during the shows. I was a busy-bee indeed. Some of my favorite interviews were with, Rosa Parks, Mammie Till, Emmett Till's mom. Shaun Gayle and Chris Zorich from the champions years of the Chicago Bears several times. Bill Kurtis, Lester Holt, other Radio personalities from top radio stations, politicians, role-models, and everyday people. I am proud and humbled to say that I put that unknown public affairs show on the Map in Chicago, and it was nominated yearly for the Chicago Emmy's and the National Gabriel Awards, the Chicago Emmy was finally awarded.

Juggling Producing and Hosting for TV and Radio, and Reporting for BET News...

Being a Host, I felt compelled to join the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Which ultimately lead to my being voted in as a Board-Member-At-Large. Also, during one of our regular CABJ meetings at NBC studios in Chicago, A Black Entertainment Television recruiter visited our meeting and I just happened to have several audition tapes in my car which I secured and passed on to him during the meeting. It took almost a year to hear from BET, but I made a quick call to one of the then producers and she claimed she had never seen my tape. She looked for it and found it and apparently liked what she saw and I was then hired to serve as the Chicago Reporter for BET News. It lasted nearly three years. I covered an array of stories from the nomination and subsequent election of Senator Carol Mosley Braun, the first African American Female voted to the US Senate, to horrific stories like the Jeffrey Dahmer murders.

At one time I was producing the weekly TV show on CBS and Hosting it, Hosting my own radio show "Talking with Toni Tucker" on WVON, and covering stories for BET. That was an honor. The public life meant that I was consistently asked to host banquets, give graduation speeches, moderate panel discussions, and MC church and secular events. Needless to say, I was very busy and didn't even recognize it. No wonder I didn't date much, almost not at all, during those 14 years of working in Broadcasting. LOL!

Spiritual Awakening, beyond Baptist Foundational teaching...

I was baptized with the Holy Spirit when I was 26 years old. Yes, I speak in Tongues by way of the Holy Spirit! I moved from a Baptist church, to a non-denominational church in Chicago, Crusaders is the name. That's where I learned more about the Bible's teaching on Tongues, Prophesy, Casting out Demons, Deliverance for the Saints, and so many other spiritual gifts including the five-fold ministry, all according to New Testament teachings. I've always had a boldness in telling the unsaved about Christ when the opportunity presented itself. Sometimes it didn't matter, I was just on-fire for Christ. All those early Baptist Youth meetings got me going!

I later joined a great body of believers that was a part of the 5 Fold ministry. There, I swam in the deep waters of understanding deliverance, the spirit realm, tongues, and boldness in the Holy Spirit!

My Grandparents and most of my family ministered to the Homeless and prepared food and distributed it on the streets of Chicago. We witnessed the Gospel and some came to Christ. That's what it is all about!

Then, I moved to Florida...

The promise of Hope during disparaging times and my prayer...

I'm lost. I try to do the right thing to make a better life for me, but I just keep running into brick walls. Walls, walls to work in TV, walls to work on-line as a writer. Walls, walls to invest in options and puts. Walls, walls in getting to meet a decent great Godly man...Walls, even in telemarketing jobs. I feel like I've hit rock bottom. Unemployment since Jan. 21, 2009. From a 2500 square foot home with a pool to the tackiest looking place on the outside. A broke down car. Yet, I thank you daddy God.

I love my new church, and I need to make new friends. The right friends are there. Should I stay or should I go. Florida, some love it. Some hate it. I'm trying to deal with it. And I need to find out what God has in store for me.

I miss my mother. I'm so lonely. Yet, I'm happy. Yet, I'm sad. My grandma passed away back in 2002, after being paralyzed after falling down a flight of stairs at her home when she was 64. For sixteen years, my aunt, mother, my granddad, and myself took turns taking care of my Grandmother. Changing her, ministering to her, and yes, getting frustrated by the situation. Other family helped also, including nurses we hired, etc. My mom and aunt were determined not to put Miss Love, as we all affectionately called her, in a nursing home. We believed that God would heal her, until he took her home at the age of 80.

Then in 2005. I suddenly lost my mom, then my granddad, then my oldest cousin in a freak accident while on his job, and my closest aunt, Brenda, with whom I spent almost everyday for the past seventeen years, all while down in Florida. The grief is real...but, happiness is at my doorstep, and I think I'll let it in. They are are resting with Jesus. That is my peace. That is my faith. What happened to my glorious life? Where's my husband, God promised me? Where's my children? Why am I crying. The tears are rolling down my cheeks. Is it deliverance?

Why are there so many charlatans in church? The black liberationists, the charismatics, the Holy men who are even going off the road and turning around and intersecting with New World, New Age philosophy. Jesus...I really need you to move in my life. I tell you, you are my only Hope. Hope, faith, trust for a better day. A better life. The introduction of my soul-mate. The right job, career. The proper ministry. Forgive me for my sins Dear Lord. Wipe my selfishness away. Dry my weeping eyes. Cleanse me from all my unrighteous ways. Envelope me with your presence. Stay with me. Talk to me... Let me hear your sure voice dear God...I love you. I know you love me. Be here in my existence.

Let me not self-loathe wallow in my sorrows. Keep me...Take my anger away from you. Take the bitterness away. Purify my thoughts...my deeds, my actions, my intentions... Visit me now Dear Lord. Let me welcome you and hold me, and love me as only you can do. You are beautiful, I stink. Wash me with your sweet Holy Spirit. Bathe me with your guidance. Hold me strong, hold me tight, hold me close to your heart. Let me let you hold me strong, tight, close...Redirect my thoughts, my angst, my lack of understanding, to understanding, seeing, hearing, knowing...You are Excellent, superior, awesome, loving and forgiving. Forgive me as I forgive others. The no's, the slammed doors, the mockery, the deception, the manipulation. Change this now spiritually and in the natural.

Taking a stand against what's popular...

Oprah made gazillions of dollars, I didn't. So what! I took a stand for what is Biblically solid and pleasing to God. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I just happened to be an absolutist, if you will. I took a strong stand against abortions on the radio, the sin of homosexuality, although God loves us all, just not the act, according to his word. I also stood for justice and love. I don't hate now, and didn't hate then, I just prayed and pushed for those confused or in darkness would see God's redeeming light and seek his answers by reading his word daily, and trusting in him. No matter what the dilemma. I have had and still have gays and lesbians to ask me to pray for them. A little white lie is a sin, we all need prayer and salvation.

I think in retrospect, that I took the high road, even if it meant, some hatred was directed my way. Brick walls, closed-doors, rejection... It's made me stronger now than ever before. If I had it to do all again, I would just be a little wiser, who wouldn't? But, I'd still take the same stance on my firm beliefs on how the Bible informs us all on debatable issues, like abortion and sexuality. Matters of abortion and homosexuality are both extremely politically charged hot-potato issues! Issues like these really yank peoples spiritual and political chains.

Who's that girl in the mirror?

About a year ago, I was dinning alone at a popular buffet in the Tampa Bay area, mining my own business and enjoying my meal. An assured looking, yet, soft spoken man interrupted me and asked me this question. "When you look in the mirror, who do you see?" I was almost insulted at first, then I realized that this stranger might have been led by God to stop by my table close enough, but not too close, to poise this introspective question. He wasn't commenting on my weight, at least I hope not! At first, I was caught off guard by this question. It crossed my mind to say something smart and quick witted. But I didn't. I really don't recall how I responded. Till this day I continue to think deeply about that question and why he asked that of me? It has prompted me to take a good look in the mirror and an even deeper look at my soul. Was he an angel sent by God or a smart aleck? I don't know, but, the relevance of the question is thought provoking and challenging. It makes me look at my character, motives, interactions with others, and mostly, my relationship with the Lord. Maybe that was his point.

My time to Soar...

I thank God for my upbringing in the Morgan Park community. The cobbled-stoned streets, schools, churches, people, and famous 'Home of the Hoagy' shop that has satisfied hungry folks from across the country. I thank him for the learning experiences, face to face hypocrisy, the waiting period to meet my soul mate, which was the hardest thing to do. But God is faithful. And I see his reason for the wait, it has worked patience in my spirit and maturity in my ways. His word has fed me in my darkest hour and satisfy's my hunger.

It is now my time to soar! To soar for Christ, to minister love and deliverance and salvation with vigor and joy. All for the sake of Christ. To first honor my Savior and Lord in all that I seek and do. To be fruitful and impart wisdom to new generations of souls that he presents in my life, and to live a prosperous, consecrated life, in order to bring forth good fruit. And when I finally say, "I Do" to that special Holy man God has been grooming me for, to be the best friend, wife, lover, and mother, I can possibly be.

I am ready to Soar!

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Comments 31 comments

cristina327 profile image

cristina327 7 years ago from Manila

This is indeed a very excellent hub. What a great testimony of God's never ending persevering love. I am greatly blessed by this testimony. Thank you for sharing it.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you for a very well written informative and very enlightening hub. Thanks you for sharing. creativeone59


BL Tween profile image

BL Tween 7 years ago

It is not us personally that are hated. Its when others see Jesus in us. We should rejoice that they do see Jesus in us. It is Jesus they hate.

They only hate Him because they do not know Him.

Love will win them over, Jesus love!

Let us keep on loving them!

He did not give up on us, let us not give up on them.

I am talking to myself here too.

SOAR LIKE THE EAGLE YOU ARE! BL


Lindell09 profile image

Lindell09 7 years ago from Charlotte NC

Beautiful testimony of your deliverance.


Rob-Jr profile image

Rob-Jr 7 years ago from Warrensburg, Mo.

All I can say is Wow! and God bless you.


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 7 years ago Author

Thank You for your kind words, and may our Father continue to bless you!!!


create a page profile image

create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

This is another great testimony. We go through seasons in our lives. Sometimes everything seems to be going well, but there will always be the valley experiences. You have not mentioned much about your sister. What happened to her?


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 7 years ago Author

Thank you creat a page for your encouragement and kind words. Our lives are designed to be testimonies not only for the saved but the lost!

My older sister (smile) by 11 months is great! She got married some 20 plus yrs ago. She now has two lovely daughters, one 12, the other 7. I also have a younger sister by 11 years. They all confess Jesus as Lord and are busy in both their respective churches and ministries! I had the priviledge of baby-sitting my two nieces for 3 months down here in Florida. It was a great experience for us all.


Teresa Laurente profile image

Teresa Laurente 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Beautiful story here you've got. I am happy for you. I like your hubs sharing. Thank you for sharing to the world about your dreams and true life encounters. You are blessed. Thank you for following as well. Take care and God bless.


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment Teresa, it is a privilege to share, and grow. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Heavensgate, Wonderful testimony! As you stated: "I think in retrospect, that I took the high road, even if it meant, some hatred was directed my way. Brick walls, closed-doors, rejection... It's made me stronger now than ever before. If I had it to do all again, I would just be a little wiser, who wouldn't? But, I'd still take the same stance on my firm beliefs on how the Bible informs us all on debatable issues, like abortion and sexuality. Matters of abortion and homosexuality are both extremely politically charged hot-potato issues! Issues like these really yank peoples spiritual and political chains..." Amen!

In God's time He will reward you for your Faithfulness to HIS WILL & HIS WAY! His Word will not return void! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans, thank you again, for your timely encouraging words and your spirit of love and of Christ comes across these comments and touches me in a great way! Yes, learning God's will and his way and his timing is a faith walk indeed. His word will not return void, so true, thank you for the reminder. I also read your hub on Soaring and was uplifted! I just thank God that you are on these hubpages...Happy New Year, and a toast to even more inspired writings!!! (Smile)


Margaret Clemons-Sewell 6 years ago

Toni how are you? I remember when you had your talk show in Chicago. I watched faithfully. You are one of our own. You and I grew up and went to school in Morgan Park neighborhood and attended Corliss High School. I was in the same class as Lori. I am so proud of your accomplishments. I will be seeing and reading about you in print or on screen. To God Be The Glory!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Margaret, so nice to hear from you after all this time! To God be the Glory for his love and grace towards us. Thank you so very much for the comment and for reading my hub (book sample, LoL!) It sounds like you're doing wonderful in the Lord and may 2010 be a super year and blessing for you and your family like never before. Thanks for the past and present and any future encouragement. In Christ, TT


Sinner 6 years ago

I am ready to soar into Heaven!! I cant wait til Jesus comes back!! I am tired of my trials and tribulations!!!! Im ready for Jesus to give me my wings so that I can soar into His loving arms!!!!


Heavensgates/aka, Toni Tucker 6 years ago

Sinner, we are all tired of our individual trials and tribulations, but God gives us the strenght, even at our lowest point and darkest hour, to hang in there! Now, that's supernatural power from above. Jesus is coming back, but in the meantime sinner, we have missions and assignments to do here on earth for the glory of God! Right, and Amen!!! Be encouraged...I love you, and most importantly, God loves you.


Post 6 years ago

I want to soar but I think the devil has clipped my wings. I am starting to become depressed. I hate my life and I am sick of it!!! I need a shoulder to lean on and cry. I have no one but Jesus.


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Whoa Post,

I felt the same way for some reason just the other day. It must be an attack on the saints. We're not aints, we are Jesus' Children and although you may feel really bad for whatever reason or reasons, know that "The Joy of The Lord is Your Strength!" That's what has sustained me recently, I felt like God didn't even love me anymore. Where else and who else would taunt us with such lies but Satan! I was feeling ridculously depressed and I think it was preM, TMI, coupled with not having in my life a hubby, children, and the right career at the moment. But, My Heavenly Father is faithful, and will deliver. I was blessed so much at my church recently and received deliverance from satanic attacks of repression, oppression, and depression. Whom the Sun has set free, is free indeed! Just pray. Silence yourself and get before the Lord, again and pray and wait unto you hear God's voice and listen to him. He loves you so very much. Read his word on his promises and read in the Gospels how Jesus prayed for us in the Garden of Gathsemane. Jesus, is the best shoulder for you to lean on.

I wish I could give you a big hug and my shoulder to lean on. And you could let it all out and let it all go. We all need love and hugs. I pray God sends you someone you love and trust to hug you in the natural. In the meantime, in the spirit you have my hugs and love in Christ. Be encouraged!!!


Healed Poster 6 years ago

Thank you Heavensgates. I have been healed and I feel much better. I had to confess some unforgiven sin in my life which was doubting the Lord. But thank Him for His Son, Blood, and Mercy. W/out His Son we could never be Christians. But I'm good now.

PS. Jesus has given me my wings back. He had to snatch them from that blasted thief satan!!!!!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Amen and Amen Healed Poster! I prayed for you and I believe God showed me your face when in distress and when the depression was lifted, only in the spirit will the Holy Spirit reveal such intricacy. He is so awesome. I am so happy for you. And, your wings weren't snatched, I don't know that we have them. I know what you mean, your spiritual closeness with the Lord felt distant. And you got your groove back with God through renewed fellowship! Keep being strong and helping others, that's your gift. Resist satan and he will flee from you, draw closer to God and he will draw closer to you!!! Amen


herta 6 years ago

He leído los comentarios son buenos ya que cada experiencia es diferente.

No hay problema tan grande que Dios no resuelva,

No hay enfermedad o angustia que Dios no la sane.

Hace seis meses un voraz incendio destruyo totalmente mi casa habitación.

Era de madrugada, dormíamos mi esposo, yo y mi hija(25 años),

Gracias a Dios unas vecinas nos despertaron.

Angustia, dolor, amargura, impotencia.

Nos aferramos el Señor y dejamos que El hiciera misericordia, estamos aun muy dolidos pero no derrotados, seguimos a la sombra del omnipotente, DIOS es nuestro amparo y fortaleza.

El nos dará nuestra casa nuevamente lo sabemos muy bien, quise compartir con Uds. Parte de mi experiencia espero que sea útil en parte a los que estén pasando problemas, hay que tomar la mano

del Señor y caminar con el, nada mas.


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Mucho Gracias herta!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

This is the English translation of Herta's comment on my hub, I thought you might like it if you don't know Spanish.

I read the comments are good as each experience is different.

No problem so great that God does not resolve,

No illness or distress that God does not heal.

Six months ago a devastating fire completely destroyed my household.

It was dawn, my husband slept, me and my daughter (25 years),

Thank God some neighbors woke us up.

Anguish, pain, bitterness and powerlessness.

We hold the Lord and let him do mercy, we are still very hurt but not defeated, still in the shadow of the Almighty God is our refuge and strength.

He will give us our new house we know it very well, I wanted to share with you part of my experience I hope will be useful in part to problems that are going on, take my hand


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

I know that some one posted the goggle ad about eckantar, purposely on my hubpage because of my Christian only views. I do not, repeat, do not support that false religion!!!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 6 years ago Author

Hey, if you've just read this hub as of May 19th, 2010, I am still living for God and not as up-tight or concerned about getting married! If it happens it will. Enough said, I'm enjoying life and reaching out to help others and witnessing the Gospel of Christ, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Being a Godly, virtuous woman! Single or married!!!


denise mohan profile image

denise mohan 6 years ago from California

Thnx for sharing your life so publicly. I have a hard time sharing myself. thnx


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 5 years ago Author

Thanks for reading this and for the comment Denise!

Writing this was cathartic for me...I was lead by God to write this. It might encourage other women and even some men going through "the waiting period" for their mate. My experience is super-natural. And carnal minded people might not get it. His divine hand protects me from messing up. Even when I wanted to. Blessings!


Teresa 5 years ago

I want you to know that you are a wonderful person. And your smile is bright and contagious. You are truly loved by the Lord!!


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 3 years ago Author

Thank You Teresa God bless you year so later when I saw this


Heavensgates profile image

Heavensgates 3 years ago Author

Update everyone! I am 51 years old and still waiting on the Lord...no one has come into my life as the man God has for me where I have actually and finally dated and married...still waiting at 51...still living a pure life before the Lord...still trusting in him...sometimes getting upset...yet, I believe he is near (the human husband) God just hasn't totally revealed him...moral of my story...I know you don't want to be an old maid...nor do I...but, after you have prayed for decades...let it rest...get busy for the Lord...and one year he will bring you your mate...if you still want him by then...LoL!


Heavensgates 2 years ago

Most say marriage is not "cracked up to be all that they say it is." Ummm...even those in the church...

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