Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy Kwanzaa - Nia - Purpose




Purpose – Nia – To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Today’s Kwanzaa reflection is fitting for this time of the year. With one day left in 2015, many are thinking and planning their next move going into 2016.

Purpose. Are you living in the purpose and vision that God has given you? Are you currently in a place of employment where you no longer belong? Have you achieved your goals in any way? These are very important questions to ask yourself.

Many are content and more complacent in their living, not listening or understanding the call of God to do more, to do His will, to come out of a land that He has said is dry and barren. Fear of the unknown will paralyze, but faith and assurance will drive you to the next level. Today is December 30, 2015. Will you remain focused on that which no longer serves you, or will you focus on God’s voice and rise up to the occasion of doing what He has asked you to do?

My brothers and sisters, Merriam-Webster defines purpose as this, the reason why something is done or used; the aim or intention of something; the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something; the aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do or become.

Purpose is doing – we cannot think our way into a purpose, it takes action. We must actively work towards a goal that will build community and unite the divided. God has placed in us everything that we need to carry our His will, His purpose specifically for Him and until we line up with Him, all else is meaningless and will not last.

Take some time now to start preparing on how you will step into that great purpose. Take action.

Be Blessed

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy Kwanzaa - Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics



Cooperative Economics – Ujamaa – To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Statistics are showing that the black owned business is far, few and in between.  Many businesses have closed their doors due to the lack of support from their communities. Dreams deferred but surely not denied.

You can walk around the neighborhood and see the success of the corner stores owned by families that have put their minds, money and physical abilities together. I have heard the conversations such as, why are those people coming over here and opening businesses? Those people? Before I educated myself on the dynamics, I too use to say those very same words. Those people are our Asian, Indian, Ethiopian and Sudanese brothers and sisters. Those people, are families who have banded together to create. They have stepped out of the box of just dreaming and talking, they are doing. Even if they did it and it failed, they did it and most likely will do it again. You see, when you have a desire to create a legacy, you will do whatever it takes to see that legacy come to fruition.

We need our black business back. We need to come together for a greater good so that we can bring others with us. We need to stop sitting on the sidelines pointing fingers and casting shade at the next man or woman who has taken the risk to create no matter who they may be or where they are from.

Today’s Kwanzaa reflection is about creating businesses and opening up the pathway for those behind us. This reflection hits home for me as I too prepare to step into the world of entrepreneurship. Am I alone? You have a service that is required.

Be Blessed


Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Kwanzaa - Ujima -Collective Work & Responsibility



UJIMA– Collective Work & Responsibility. To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers and sisters problems our problems and solve them.
When I was growing up, all neighbors had a say in my well-being. If I got caught doing something I had no business, or was in a place I shouldn’t have been trust me, I got got. LOL. Then I was marched home if the offense was bad enough, and you know what that meant right? Yep! I got got again. This does not happen much today.

As a child in the late 60’s and early 70’s, because of the relationship my parents built in the community, I was given notes to take to the corner store and whatever was on that note, I was given to take to my mother. One of the big stores was Safeway and the manager’s name was, Mr. Black. I remember because this was part of my upbringing and it taught me about relationship and trust. I watched my mother as she talked with those store managers and built relationships. My mother was trusted based on her word. That was community. If a neighbor was ill, the whole block knew about it and helped out as best they could. My mother had gotten ill many times, we did not have a telephone so I had to go to the neighbors at any given time of the night to call the fire department for help. They all knew me and I was safe.  Everyone in a 10 block radius knew my parents and kinfolk. This was community.

Today, the landscape is much different. Many remain silent. Many stay in their homes not wanting to get involved. Not because they don’t want to, but because taking a stand could get them killed. Gang violence has caused many to be cautious about their participation. There are many who will raise their voices in protest to wrongs, these are the older seasoned men and women who have stood the tests of time and lived out the changes in their neighborhoods. These are the village keepers of today.
Today’s Kwanzaa reflection is about community, work and responsibility, being an active participant in the community. Taking notice, interest, and doing something to make a difference. Taking on the responsibility to bring about change one small step at a time. One person at a time. One gesture at a time. Doing. Something.

My brothers and sisters, take inventory of your community. Get involved. Rake some leaves for an unsuspecting neighbor during the summertime. Offer a ride to the grocery store. Prune some trees and shrubs. Do you know someone personally or know of your neighbors in your block or even on the next block? Knock on a door of someone you really don’t know in your community and introduce yourself with a smile. Volunteer, collect, and donate needed items. I am sure by the end of this post, you have gotten some lightbulb ideas.  You are needed.
To those of you who are on the grind and being present and active in your community, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are appreciated.

Be Blessed




Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy Kwanzaa - Kujichagulia - Self-Determination



Self-Determination – Kujichagulia – To define ourselves, name ourselves, to create ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Today’s reflection for Kwanzaa is, Self-Determination, in Swahili it is called Kujichagulia.

Self determination to me is just like empowering self. Many wait on someone or something to get them in motion. Many wait for a word from someone, or wait on a devastating event to push them to do something they should have been doing all along. This type of mindset is stagnating and debilitating.
Yes, there are countless ways to get motivation, but the best way to rise up is to be determined. We must continuously evaluate, remind, and speak into ourselves. We must pray for godly wisdom and direction. We must be humble enough to understand what God is saying to us, and to do what He has asked us to do. God has already ordered out steps. We must know where we are and know exactly where we desire to go. We must shed the weight of waiting. We must stop talking ourselves out of the gifts that must be shared with others. We must stop the negative chatter, we must remove ourselves from those who do not have the capacity to speak life. We must also stop blocking the wisdom of others because the speaker is not dressed how we think they should be dressed. Wisdom does not come from a look, it garners from experiences.
My brothers and sisters, there is power in you. You hold valuable gifts that the world is need of. Don’t allow your inspiration to only come from outside forces, you have been blessed with God’s gifts that are not for you alone, they are for someone who is in need of hearing or seeing what you have to offer. Speak life into your soul. Speak love into your heart.  Be specific of what you say, what you think, and what by all means, what you participate in. Remember, what you send out into the atmosphere comes right back to you. We are what we think. We are what we do. We are what we say. Be specific about the colors you use to paint on your soul’s canvas.
Be Blessed

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Kwanzaa - Umoja - Unity



Unity – Umoja – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa. Many around the African American community are celebrating this beautiful time of reflection, preparing to get centered, and grounded in the principles that has created a living foundation of life and love.
Today is a day of Unity in the English language, Umoja in the Swahili language.

Merriam Webster defines unity as:  A quality or state of not being multiple: oneness. A condition of harmony: accord. A totality of related parts: an entity that is a complex or systematic whole.

Unity. What is it? Looking back over the past 11 months of 2015, do we see unity? Can we look back even further and see this thing called unity? Do we see unity with the multiple killings of men, women, and children? Do we see unity when it appears that division is more powerful? Unity, how can we hold tight to this principle and really live it? Though many devastating events have taken place we still have unity and we must rise up even higher, grabbing hold of the many hands and hearts that are starving for such a grand gesture, to be united.

Generational curses have all but destroyed families. Abuse and neglect has taken the joy out of family gatherings. Mass killings have caused many to pause when it comes to attending a community function. The nation, is on high alert due to terrorist’s attacks, and the nasty hateful reality of race, has raised its ugly head even higher to divide and conquer.

My brothers and sisters, I don’t have all of the answers as to how we can get back to a place where unity is a village. I cannot give you a step-by-step process on how to keep unity in your eyegate. What I can share is that my heart is saddened by our lack of unity. I personally know what it is like to not be united with family, so called friends, and even acquaintances. I can share that my heart is saddened that for many, it is better to hold on to the hood mentality, the government system handouts, the pain of the past that has caused many to resign from growth and living.  For most it is better to remain in illusion of unity than to be present in the actuality of being untied.
Today, stop and mediate on unity and what it means to you. Take a good look around you and within you and acknowledge your addition or subtraction to being united. Stand up and take responsibility for your lack of participation and then, participate. Find one cause, one person, one event that you can support, encourage, and motive, and if you cannot find a cause, create one.  It is that simple.

Be Blessed in Unity.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Running Won't Bless You



None of us are exempt from the consequences God will place before us for the disobedience we as His children walk in. For every action there is a consequence. We may suffer immediately or it may take years, but it will come back to us. We all have choices, but God desires that we seek Him fully and completely. As we give our lives to God, we have a daily chore to walk right, talk right, and think right. We are to do good things and point others to Him. How are we to do so good in a world full of hate and anger? Though we will find our fleshly selves getting involved in things that do not concern us out of passion, anger or even love, how do we discern what steps to take or not? Prayerfully and on purpose.  
I have attended church, Sunday school, bible study, and many other events geared towards the edification of Christ like living.  I have spoken before woman, sharing what thus says the Lord. As of late, I have not been in fellowship as in going to church. I have been a member of my church for many years, I know the members, and I have a few beautiful woman that speak life into me when needed. But going to service has bored me to no end. The rituals and performances have left me empty and questioning. Because of my constant study of God’s word, I know that there is more. There is a greater message that is not being shared from many pulpits. And this is my dilemma. I have always said, if you come out of service the same way you went in, something is missing. Be it the message is not fitting for today’s crisis or the spirit is under attack. I know both. I thank God for divine connections who do not judge me or speak ill will of me as if I am committing the ultimate sin and should be nailed to a cross myself. No, I am understood and prayed for. I am encouraged and also admonished. Wisdom and experience is the best teachers.

I cannot pretend or put on a show when it comes to the many souls that are lost, broken, and hungry. I cannot pretend that with all that is going on around us in the world, that we somehow have missed the mark and for that, I take a back seat to surrender. I seek God in prayer for direction and guidance. I surrender my desire asking God to replace them with His. This is the mandate. Thy will be done Lord, not mine. In that surrender, I see and feel the turning of the winds, the grinding of teeth, and the pain of many hearts who are asking, where is God in all of the adversities? Where is God in the senseless killings of innocent and not so innocent? Where is God for the homeless and hungry? Is there a message in all of it? I say yes. As I read God’s word, I hear the call for repentance. I hear the call to lift up the down trodden. I hear the call to obedience or else. I hear the sounding of the gong sending the alarm to mount up and be ready. I hear the cries and I hear the joy of victory because victory is already ours. We just have to stand up to the tests with our heads high and hearts open, not with closed minds.
Jonah is a prime example of a disobedient spirit. He refused to do what God asked him to do, he ran to only end up tossed into the ocean and ending up in the belly of a whale, suffering and in horrific agony because of his disobedience. Read the book of Jonah to learn more about his story. This is how many of us are living right now, in disobedience. We are running away ending up in hardship , confusion, and despair. We are running ending up deeper in the muck of life when it is more pleasing to God to do what He has asked us to do, trust Him and follow Him, in spirit and in truth. Denying our fleshly desires and taking on the peace that does pass all understanding. We remain connected to people God is telling us to let go of. We continue to do things and go to places He is saying to us, not that. We are having conversations that God is whispering to us to end, and the list goes on. We remain in disobedience expecting blessings when it is evident of the pain either mental or physical. It is like pulling a scab off a scar expecting it to heal when all it is doing is bleeding. I have been there.

My brothers and sisters, there is no easy way to walk in Christ, but there is a manual that will give us the tools we need to do our best to stand up right. We will fail at it many times over. Though we will be persecuted, judged, ignored, and as of late killed for standing on God’s side, we must stand. Though many will turn their backs on us, talk about us, and even say we are hypocritical, we must continue to speak out and against that which is unpleasing to God, and in doing so we must count it all joy, the testing our faith, and know that in the end, who can be against us when God is for us. One day at a time, one prayer at a time, one request for forgiveness and the offering of that same forgiveness to others is a start. Though the wicked appear to outnumber the righteous, as in Ezekiel, the dry bones will connect and become united to fight along with you, the good fight. And fight you must.

Be Blessed


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Embracing



For many years I have dreaded this time of the year. Christmas. Since 1979, December has been one of the most depressing months of all. December is the month in which my mother was called home. The month where all of my dreams were shattered. How can a 16 year old girl within 2 months of delivery of her own child grasp the magnitude of such a horrific crushing of the soul? The month I wanted to sleep away like a bear who makes its way into a cave for that great hibernation. No, I did not leap with joy for the Christmas season to begin, it was a month that I desired desperately to escape without notice.
After much prayer and many tears, I have long since come out on the other side of that dread. I have long since learned to embrace this time as with all time, for no day is promised us. Though my flesh and selfish nature would rather have my mother here with me regardless of her state of being, I am thankful to know where she is and that I will one day see her again. On that glorious day, I will be able to look into her eyes and feel her embrace.

One of my fondest memories of my mother was at Christmas time. I found all of the toys stashed in a closet. I went into that closet, shut the door, and played my little heart out. I don’t remember the exact age, but I guess I may have been around 4 or 5 years old. My mother did not shout or scream when she found me enthralled in toy heaven. She just grabbed my hand, brought me out the closet. I was still happy on that Christmas day playing with those same toys, and just like that day, today I celebrate the reason for the season. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
Many are in that same space of pain and heartache of loved ones gone home. Many have abandoned the idea of celebrating and have taken up a weeping and mourning journey for the loss of their loved ones. To have this pain thrust upon them at a time such is this can and will leave many emotionally vacant. Some will go into anger, depression, blame, and hostility wanting only to use their hands to beat out the rage stirring in their souls. Some will have found their happy space knowing that living is better than being the walking dead. This was my resolve. To embrace the hour and to celebrate my mother’s life instead of creating my own torment.

My brothers and sisters, I have been there and I know well the sour taste in the pit of the soul. Let me share this with you. Jesus is the great comforter. Jesus is that great strength and power when you have none. In Matthew chapter 5 and verse 4, Jesus said this, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I encourage you to rest in that, trust it, believe it, and know without a shadow of doubt, that rest IS yours in the midst of all sorrow.

Be Blessed

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spectators Never Win


 
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 in the NLV Paul tells us, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing”.
I am reminded with every breath, the race I am running. I know that God has given me the vision and because He alone is omnipotent, having unlimited power, I have won, I just have to run. I may stumble and fall, I may get scratched up and bruised, but run I must.  An athlete does not go into a race with doubt and fear. They are not concerned with who is cheering them on. A runner cannot focus on the runner next to them thought they are aware that they are there. A runner is focused on the run, the finish line, and the score board that tells them if they have beaten a previous record for the win.  Being a runner on the track is the same as being the runner of the vision that God has imparted into you.

All that happens in our lives is related to that which we have trained ourselves to accomplish. Some are trained to doubt, complain, and blame, to just sit back and have a wait and see attitude. Millions have given up settling for less than they need or want because they refuse to get on the track and run. These people will no doubt take their gifts with them to the grave of should have, could have, and would have. If you spend enough time in conversation with someone, you will know exactly where their head is. Their conversation will tell you what race they are running. It does not take a rocket engineer to see that many have no capacity of endurance.  Many think that they have all of the answers and know everything. These are the spectators and spectators never win. Are you a runner or a spectator?
Look at the Tiger. Once it has it’s eye locked on the prey, it focuses and never loses sight.  It may have been tracking this prey for some time, may have attempted to capture it and failed.  A Tiger will not give up when it knows that with patience and endurance, the prey will be caught. Moving in stealth mode, pausing when needed and advancing when necessary, the prey is always in sight. Running with lighting speed it moves to the left, moves to the right and then, victory. All of the panting, all of the patience and skill has been rewarding with the win.

My brother’s and sister’s, you have a race to run. It can be a business to launch, a book to write, weight to shed, or a habit to break, you can do it with precision. You may have been told no many times, don’t stop running. You may feel like you are spinning your wheels because you have not reached any parts of the goal, do not quit. You may feel alone in your race, know this, you are never alone. God is where you are and He has given you all that you need to win. Take some time to evaluate and study the training manual for your life, seek God and His word for wisdom and watch Him give you wings like an eagle. Know this, if you know without a doubt that God has given you the vision then you have already won, you just have to stay in the race and not quit. You are the tiger. Remember this, spectators never win.

Be Blessed

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In The Silence


 
 
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest for truth. –Mahatma Gandhi
Silence to the mind is just as important as sleep is to the body. There are at least 3 stages of sleep. Stage 1, is that state of drowsiness. Stage 2, is where you are close to a state of relaxation, and stage 3, is where your body has totally relaxed and is now in rejuvenation mode. Silence can affect our bodies in the same fashion. Being in silence opens up the way for clarity and peace.

My internal clock dings way before the crack of dawn and I love the early morning hours. This is where I find my clarity. I appreciate the world outside stopping, the chatter ceasing, and most of all, I appreciate being able to hear clearly what my soul has to say, and to hear clearly what my heavenly Father has to say. It is in the silence that I reign in my thoughts and appreciate the quietness of my spirit. Silence is a healing in its own right. Silence is truly golden.

With the influx of technology, everyone is connected to something. I find it amazing that you can walk down the street and almost everyone you walk past is looking at their cell phones. I encounter people walking up and down stairs connected to their cell phones. My inner child wants to intentionally bump into these people to see their reaction. I find it annoying to be in the company of others and they are connected to their cell phones. It annoys me that instead of human contact and conversation, the cell phone has become a life line. When will it stop? When will we get back to being personable with each other? Yet, we tell our children to read their books, do their homework, and wonder why their verbal communication skills and grades are way past poor.
My brothers and sisters, take a step back and disconnect to reconnect. Shut it all down and appreciate the silence around you and within. Connect with your soul and the souls around you. Make the phone call instead of texting and emailing. Reduce the noise and listen to your inner voice. God cannot speak to us if we are not able to hear Him. Spend quality time with your children by talking to them. Make a connection with those who starve for your undivided attention. It takes only one act of direct eye contact to open up a true and meaningful conversation that you can hear within your spirt. Let’s get back to the basics.

Be Blessed

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Your Destiny Awaits



The past 6 months have been absolutely aggravating. I suffer from Cervical Spinal Stenosis and let me tell you, when things flare up in the physically body, it is like the 4th of July in the sky. Though I have been walking with this for a few years, the last few months have been different with new symptoms and increased pain. Not good. This past Monday and Tuesday it felt like every bone in my body, eye balls and fingernails hurt and I wanted to crawl under any rock that could cover me completely. Instead I got my Bible and daily devotional and started in with prayer and praise.  Just know, God will use any situation to get your attention and my attention He did receive.  
 
I have two mandates on my life and I am very clear on what they are. My mistake has been desiring support from those who have no capacity. I have reached out to many with no reply and if I did receive a reply, it was a negative one.  I encounter more negative people than I do the positive. I hear the word “can’t” so often I start to believe it myself. I start to question the vision God has given me. I become more discouraged and doubtful, and then I was reminded of a Jeremiah 29:11 in the NLT where God says, I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. God said that, not man. God knows who He wants to be involved in His plans concerning you. Trust me, if it is not God’s will, He will block it every time. Block that. Block that. Block that.  LOL. I am reminded that the plans God has is about pointing others to Him. There will be those who only see from the compartmentalized box in which they reside. I call them the “can’t brigade”. They do not have the capacity to see past the edge of that box. They have forgotten the God of blessings, or they do not believe that there is a God of many blessings.

As of late I have become a victim of the “can’t brigade”. A victim of the many voices of doubt and discouragement, loneliness and sadness, disconnected and ignored. A victim of hearing more of what others have to say rather than listening fully and completely to what God has already said. I took my eyes off of the purpose and plan and I also took my eyes off of Him. My faith has been on a tidal wave. In knowing this, I have taken the first of many steps in getting back in line to the purpose and the plan. I am not entertaining anyone that has a need to darken the spotlight. God had to get me in a place where He could speak and where I would listen. What I understand is this, I can care less if anyone believes that I can, because I KNOW that I can. You have to know it too. You have to KNOW deep down in your soul that you were called to do it, and do it you will.

My brothers and sisters, the vision and dream was given to you by the Father, not man. None of what has been placed in your spirit is contingent on you believing the “can’t brigade”, it is contingent on you believing completely on what the Father has already said. People pleasers seek to please people and God pleasers seek to please God. Where are you? Say this, not my will Lord, but Your will. Knowing that alone should be your spring board into the purpose and plan that the Holy Spirit is consistently nudging you to move towards. So get in line and eliminate the “can’t brigade” and step into the blessings. And while you are stepping, know that the blessing is sure.

Thank you so much Bridgett Washington for that nugget, I absolutely love it and shout it from the roof top. Visit https://www.facebook.com/BridgettWashingtonMinistries. Bridgett will bless, encouraged and motivate you to step into the blessing, God’s Blessing. THE BLESSING IS SURE!

Be Blessed                                                                             

 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Everlasting Peace


 
 
I make a conscious effort in finding and keeping peace within my spirit and around me. I can feel negative spirits fast and let me tell you, I try to avoid it at all cost. With everything that can and will take place in a day, it is easy to get angry, frustrated, speak ill will, and even want to physically harm someone. Go ahead and be honest. I know I am guilty. I can go back to childhood and fast forward to today, and see many areas where there was no peace. In doing so, I am reminded of all of the many, many blessings that God has placed in my life, and for those blessings, I am forever grateful.
In John 14:27 NLT, Jesus says this, I am leaving you a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.

I spent many years self-medicating with alcohol and other substances. I had come to many close calls of my life being a vapor, either by my own choice or by getting to close to someone who meant me no good. I tried to fit into other people’s ideals as to who I was. I wanted to fit in to some groups that God clearly said, NO. There was a point in my life where I gave up. I wanting to die and be done with it all, but God. I even made one deliberate attempt at ending my life in 2007 after my oldest sister Leslie passed away, but God and the Holy Spirit was right there in my car as I travelled down a hill at over 70 miles an hour in a 35 miles an hour zone, heading for a cliff, yes I was there. Again, I have to say, but God. I felt unloved, unappreciated, not respected, and the list goes on as to all of the emotional destruction I inflicted on myself. I never thought myself to be pretty or even worthy, just okay. Oh, but God fixed that and let me tell you, low self-esteem is not in my vocabulary. I no longer look for validation or acceptance from anyone or anything thing for that matter. God and the amazing Iyanla Vanzant helped me with reconstructing my emotional house.
As I read God’s word, I am reminded and comforted. There are many who do not have a choice. Millions in the prison system are a prime example of those who do not have a choice or voice. There are many who are living free, but also living in emotional bondage. Domestic Violence is an example where often the woman’s voice and freedom have been stripped from her by an abusive mate. I have not heard of many instances where a male has been in this position, but I know it is possible. 

I have learned through much prayer and evaluation, that the road of life will be rocky with many potholes. The suspension we need is prayer and faith. Prayer that connects us to the Father, and faith believing that the Father will do just what He said he will do, give us peace of mind and of heart. With that, we must be prepared and in that preparation, we must be ready, willing, and with much ability, to withstand all that will come our way. Victory is in the believer. Power was given from our Victorious Lord and Savior.
You my brothers and sisters can have that same peace. You can make an active choice to either fall into the potholes, or hold firm to the steering wheel of God’s word regardless of what road you travel. You have been given authority to stand firm on the truth of God and the still waters of His ever present help. 

Take some time every day to see how you can walk in ultimate peace. Spend some time with yourself and in God’s word, the answers are there, He is waiting for you. God is willing and able, and you can rest assured that He will do just what He said He will do. The choice is yours to grab hold of all peace in your storm.
 
Be Blessed

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Be Not Moved



Today, the world is experiencing another tragedy. Paris, France was shaken by multiple bombings with the killing of over 100 people. This latest event marks the worst this country has experienced in decades. Is it the last? No. Can Paris recover? Yes, and recover they will.
Nowhere in God’s word does it tell us that we won’t face persecution, but to the contrary, it tells us that we will. The persecution that has taken place not only in Paris, but in the United States, Africa, in Europe just to name a few, should not be looked at as some fly by night event. No, we should be reminded that evil is everywhere and death follows evil. We must remember that our will and resolve will continuously be tested, and in that testing, our faith will be shaken. A test of wills, a test of the fight to stand naked amongst those whose soul desire is to annihilate and destroy the peace and freedom that so many of us have taken for granted.

For those of us who read and study God’s word, this sad event should not be of surprise. We know that death is a self-imposed birth right if you will for many who claim that their higher power demands it.  There are many who seek to steal the joy, kill as many, and destroy any semblance of freedom. Going to the movies has taken on a new awareness, fear. Children going to school no longer feel free to dream as once before, now wake to a new fear. The military uniform is no longer looked upon as a badge of honor, but of disdain and fear.

I am reminded yet still in all things even in disaster to give praise. In all things give a resounding shout of faith because the storm will be calmed when Jesus Christ returns. Prayer and preparation are the tools for peace in our spirit man. We cannot give a continuous voice to all that the enemy is doing and will continue to do. We as God’s children must stay battle ready. We must gird up our loin clothes and bow down to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit knowing that this too shall pass. 

We must stand like the trees planted by the waters, not moved.
Be Blessed

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Catch Your Wind



The wind is a mysterious force, a stirring of the air by nature. When the winds blow nothing can remain still.
Today I am reminded that the dreams and visions God gives to us are of no surprise. Every goal, every step towards that goal was spoken into existence long before we were birthed.  Our goals have life because God has blown the wind of creativity from His heart into ours for such a time as right now.  
For the past month, I have been in a major slump, physically and emotionally. I have not been able to focus on anything that God has set in place for me to do. The Holy Spirit speaks to me, ushering me to move, to take action, but I feel blocked by the sudden winds of life. Blocked due to brokenness and dread. Blocked due to fear and uncertainty. Blocked by my own thoughts and even the lack of thought. What I do know is that God did not give me a spirit of fear and for that reason alone, I must get up and show up.  As hard as it has been, I dredge along, taking small steps in the direction I am directed to travel.  I keep before me God and behind me, God. I speak into my own spirit by letting myself know that this windy season will suddenly pass.  And that alone is enough to renew my spirit.

We all face storms and what we must be reminded of is that, all storms have an end.  So, we must be in position to move. We must be in position to take by force the goals and dreams that God has placed in our hearts and fight like gladiators in the middle of the arena, fight to the death. What is fact is that we have all that we need to do that which we have been given to do, what God has told us to do, and we have to listen to Him. When Jesus said, another will come, he meant the Holy Spirit will come as a helper, a comforter, an ambassador. And with that right there, that should be enough to cause us to get up and catch our wind.
Take some time to get lifted. Play some music and dance around your living room. Let go of everything you cannot control. Give yourself permission to be free and when you do that, be free. Pamper yourself with something you enjoy. Give God praise that He is right there with you rooting you on. Praise God that today and just for today, you have caught your wind.

Be Blessed

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Mothers Fear



September 24, 2015 started out like the previous days. Got up, said my prayers, and started my day.  I sat at my desk and wrote in my prayer journal as I do every day.  The email notification read emergency call. I read the email. My heart leaped just a little. The email read, emergency phone call from your son Sean please call right away. My heart raced. Immediately I took my break and made the call. Oh hell is all I could say, when I heard the words from my son that my youngest son Marcus was in an accident. I stopped breathing and my son must have known it, he said mom breath, he is alright. In my head, I knew he was only saying that so I would not freak out. I gathered my things and jetted out. 15 miles away by freeway, I hit the exit and connected with the middle lane and drove as if there were blinking lights and sirens on my car and a loud speaker announcing, GET OUT OF THE WAY. While driving all I could say is, Jesus you got this. Jesus you got this.
I arrived at the emergency room not sure what I was walking into. My mind went back to this same son’s accident when he was hit by a car and on life support for 3 days, broken leg in two places, brain swelling, and a probe in his head. His body swollen beyond recognition. Needless to say these calls are not the calls a mother wants or needs to receive even if they are grown. I dragged my brain back to the present. Can’t be. But oh it can be, the man was on his Harley so imagine a motorcycle accident on a busy early morning mass exodus packed freeway. Yes, imagine the many horrific deaths of victims of motorcycle accidents. I parked my car in the emergency parking lot and got out in a daze trying to keep it together and not go ballistic. Walking through the emergency room doors, I asked for my son’s room trying to get my face to once again betray my brain to not think the worse. Wondering how my oldest son was holding up, he can be so calm about things.
One of my son biker brothers was walking to the same room, I am sure he saw the horror written all over my face and in the way I walked with a shear warrior stride.  Entering the room, I stopped breathing. He was laying there, left arm in a sling, right leg in traction. My eyes scanned him, I look under blankets, I am sure he thought I was going to see his man hood. I did not care, I needed to see the extent of all visible injuries. A mother needs to always investigate even if it embarrasses their children.  My son spoke, hey mom. I said hey. He says, I am fine, I looked at him as I said to myself, hell you are. His injuries were a dislocated shoulder and broken femur. Took the CAT scan and other scans, morphine was running wild in his veins. My concern was his head, a previous severe head injury could be catastrophic if hit again. All was good there and no internal injuries. Praise God.
The first night for him and all of us was horrifying. As a mother I felt totally helpless. My son in pain, unable to move, screaming for help and call buttons not being answered. I walked the halls looking for help. I find a nurse only to be told that it was not her section. Dragon fire and some choice words. Horrifying. My heart broke every time the pain took his breath away and brought him to tears. Screams for help. I could not help him. Horrifying. After all was screamed and understood to the head RN on duty, they gave him a pump to control his medication. She tried to adjust my son’s body in the bed because he became twisted in his bed which caused more extreme pain. Thank God for my son and nephew who knew what to do and helped get him positioned correctly. 

The next morning the director came in and she got a verbal lashing by both myself and my oldest son. We expressed how unacceptable this whole ordeal has been handled by her staff.  I advised her that the morning nurse was combative and rude, she was not listening to understand but to respond. She was apparently more concerned with losing her license as if we asked her to do something illegal. I asked that she be removed from his care. The previous night nurse was no better, she basically ignored many requests by a call button from her patient. I am honestly glad that she was behind a locked glass door because rage was in my veins and jail would have been the destination. We also learned that morning that the dosage of pain medication was reduced and this is why the pain was still unbearable. I tell you that this whole ordeal was gut wrenching dreadful.
I and my oldest son were shaken to the core. For me it is like shaking leaves off of a tree, the limbs are bare and exposed. It felt like the world stopped and I was the only person moving. There is something within me that is no longer the same. I trust God so I know that whatever the shift is, it is for His glory. I have become more selective and also less engaged. It is like having blurred vision for so long and then all of a sudden crystal clear vision. I have not been able to focus on much at all. I know it’s a shift because I love motorcycles and I love the sound of them, but now the sound is not the same.
Fast forward to today, October 23, 2015 he is home, in rehabilitation, and doing well. For a man who is always on the go to be reduced to being unable to go is a struggle and a blessing. God uses all situations to get our attention. To get us to listen to His voice. To cause us to really think about our lives and what and who is important. During that stressful time his son, Marcus II was born on October 6, 2015 and that in and of itself was an ordeal with my getting that emergency call. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God. No matter what, if I am able I will be there for my family even if I have to crawl and or be dragged.


We only get this one life. We only have those in our lives who wish to be there and be present. To walk with us hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. To be of some support. They are the diamonds that will shine bright. God requires His children to show love. You do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I thank God for His divine hands on my son’s life.  



Be Blessed

Saturday, September 19, 2015

You Are Your Choices - Choose Wisely


 

For the past few months I have not been myself. This is not a bad thing for I see that God is doing a mighty work in me. Things that used to bother me no longer matter. Things that I thought to be important feel like a waste of time. I find myself totally content with my life instead of being aggravated by life. Does this mean that I am happy? No. It means that I am aware that each day I must make the choice to keep moving towards the goal. I must keep rising and pressing towards the goal. I am finding my focus and learning to be more specific about my choices. I have learned that not everything or everyone for that matter needs my attention.

Martha was wound up. I am sure she wanted to snatch her sister Mary up by the collar. Jesus and his disciples stopped by for a visit and she was busy in the kitchen preparing a meal, a meal she no doubt made the choice to make. She was not happy at all because Mary was not helping her prepare this meal. Mary made the choice to sit at the feet of Jesus in the living room and pay attention to his every word. Both Mary and Martha made their individual choice as to what was important to them. I am sure Martha had that internal grumbling going on. I am in this kitchen doing all of the work and you are out there doing nothing. I am slaving in this kitchen and you act like you can’t help me.  Oh yes, I am sure she was fuming. Martha even went to Jesus and complained about Mary, stating that it was unfair for her to be doing all of the work, and told him to tell Mary to come and help her. Guess what Jesus said, Luke 10:41-42 NLT - But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We all have the ability to make choices. No matter how we were raised or what life has thrown at us, we have the absolute ability to determine our choice and it is no one’s fault if we have chosen incorrectly. We must live with and learn from every choice, or not. Some choices we need to prayerfully not make again, but we do. We make those life altering choices based on emotion and intellect, not common sense. We make choices based on what Sally did or Sam did. We make choices based off of the hype of television ratings and reality television. We even make the choice to not make a choice by letting someone else make the choice for us and not speaking up for what we believe or stand for.

I encourage you to examine your life and the choices you have made. If you are blaming another, stop it, you made the choices. Own it. All choices are lessons and if studied with intention, will result in you going to the next level. Now, this does not mean that all choices will be positive, if life could be so easy. Making choices are a part of life, growth and awareness. The key here is discernment and you can only get that from our Father in heaven. If we meditate on His word day and night, we will eventually learn how to make more good choices than bad. If we step away from toxic environments and people, we will learn. If we watch what others say and listen to what they do, we will learn. It is about learning and in that learning, you will have made the choice.

Be Blessed

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meet Vanessa Davis Griggs


Welcome to September's author of the month, Vanessa Davis Griggs. I read, Redeeming Waters and let me say, the book was a blessing to me in so many ways. The one thing that spoke was the significance of water. Water is a powerful force and when acknowledged, can bring great peace and clarity. At the end of her book I came away with a powerful message. I am not going to hold you. Meet Vanessa Davis Griggs.

Bio:

Vanessa Davis Griggs is a motivational speaker and author of 18 novels, two that were published by BET BOOKS/New Spirit (Promises Beyond Jordan and Wings of Grace) now e-books; twelve published by Kensington/Dafina (Blessed Trinity, Strongholds, If Memory Serves, Practicing What You Preach, Goodness and Mercy, The Truth Is the Light, The Other Side of Goodness, The Other Side of Dare, The Other Side of Divine, Ray of Hope, Redeeming Waters, Forever Soul Ties); the others self-published and/e-book only (Destiny Unlimited, The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, Wings of Grace, Steely Gray, Countless Blessings). Vanessa is also a contributor of ten devotionals in the Sisters In Faith Holy Bible published by Thomas Nelson.
I asked Vanessa some questions, here is what she has shared:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
An interesting question. I first considered myself a writer when I finally had a traditional publisher officially acquire my novel. Even though I’d been writing prior to that (as early as elementary school) and had a few self-published books, there was just something about a noted publishing company with its traditional editor that knighted me indeed as a writer. However, I express to writers to speak that you’re a writer/author when you find yourself writing.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say that I love writing with an idea and have my characters to take the story and run with it as they give input. I’ve had to create outlines (not too overly detailed though) for publishers that need to know what I’m going to write before I write it. I’m not awfully fond of outlines for my stories because then I end up knowing everything that’s going to happen and it ruins the surprises/twists/turns for me. LOL.  

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their writing?
My favorite author was Og Mandino. I loved the way he put a story together with a touching message. I love how he incorporated Biblical messages into his compelling stories. I do like some other authors, especially those that truly work their craft and it’s obvious in the finished product.

What do you enjoy most about connecting with your readers?
Oh, I love my readers! I love hearing how something God has given me has blessed them. I love hearing about people who have felt they were freed following reading one of my books. I love meeting them when I’m out speaking or doing a book signing or just wherever. I love knowing that they’re walking in their own dreams and destiny.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
For a long time, there didn’t seem to be a lot of not writing time. Specifically when I had two books releasing each year. But I really do enjoy my children and grandchildren. I love playing games and doing all kinds of things with them.

What inspired you to write your novel Redeeming Waters?
At the time, I was on schedule to write three stand-alone novels based on Biblical stories. This was to be the second book. I was thinking about David and Bathsheba and was asking God what really happened there with them. Why was Bathsheba outside bathing? I told God that He was there, He knew the answer, and I asked Him to tell/show me. And boy, did God ever show me! I then wrote a contemporary story based on this Biblical story and entitled it Redeeming Waters. 

Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, this novel was inspired by God. I loved that I didn’t take the easy route in writing this story and came up with what my character was to do as an occupation different from the obvious conclusion. King d.Avid is a mega gospel recording artist who meets Brianna Waters and things become “complicated.”

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I presently have 18 novels and in each of them, I want people to be encouraged. That’s what I believe is one of my purposes on this earth: to encourage. I also want people to have hope and to keep the faith no matter what they may be dealing with or going through. In addition, I want to tell great, compelling stories. If I can make all of these things work, then I’m a happy camper!

Will there be a book two?
I don’t think there will be a sequel to this particular book although I’ve been asked for another by readers. If I don’t feel there’s an interesting story to tell, I won’t do a book just to keep a story going.

What would you say is the hardest part of writing your books?
The writing is never hard for me. I don’t get writer’s block. But I won’t begin writing a book unless I have it deep in my soul waiting to bleed out on the paper. The hardest part in writing lately is how the economy slowed things down in book buying. E-books also changed the landscape somewhat. Many bookstores aren’t bringing authors in stores because people were coming to see an author but stating they had the book on an e-reader. Some readers would go to book signing at bookstores with their Kindles or Nooks and ask the author to sign their devices since they didn’t have physical books (and wouldn’t be buying one) to autograph. Many authors have decided it’s not worth it to do book signings if people aren’t going to attend them.    

How do you balance writing and family?
My children were grown when I got into this full time so I didn’t have to worry about that part too much like some may. I do like to give my undivided attention to my family, specifically my grandchildren when they’re visiting me. So I try to get things out of the way so I can spend present-attention time with them.

What are you currently working on and when can we expect to read it?
I have a few things I’m writing or have completed, and I’m working on finding them proper homes. So stay tuned… 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t try to be someone else. Do study and learn your craft. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having a hard time acquiring an agent or legitimate publisher. Don’t pay someone to publish your book and think that means a “mainstream” publisher is interested in your work (traditional/mainstream publishers don’t charge you; they pay you an advance or publish the work without charge). Don’t get discouraged—this is a marathon not a sprint. Do write and don’t just talk about writing. Write and write and write, and repeat.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
I really appreciate each person who has read any of my novels. I thank you so much for your support! Thanks, Lynette for this awesome interview. If people would like more information about me and my books, my Web site is: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com. I’m also on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/vanessadavisgriggs.  Twitter: www.Twitter.com/vanessagriggs

Excerpt from Redeeming Waters a novel by Vanessa Davis Griggs. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved



                           Chapter 1                              

The waters wear the stones; thou washes
away the things which grow out of the dust
of the earth; and thou destroyest the
hope of man. - Job 14:19



Brianna Bathsheba (Wright) Waters looked out of the window of their three-bedroom, one-and-a-half
bath house, at the rain. “A starter home” is what her twenty-three-year-old (three years her senior) husband of eight months, Unzell Michael Waters, told her over two months ago when they bought it.
“Baby, I promise you, things are going to get better for us down the road,” Unzell had said after they officially moved in. “I know this is not what either of us envisioned we’d be doing right about now. But I promise you, I’m going to get us into that mansion we talked about. I am.”
She’d married Unzell at age nineteen, a year and a half after her high school graduation, as Unzell was finishing his final year at the University of Michigan. Unlike most women she knew, Brianna wanted to marry in December. The wintertime was her favorite time of the year. She loved everything about winter. It wasn’t a dead period as far as she was concerned. To her, that was the time of rest, renewal, anticipation, and miracles taking place that the eyes weren’t always privy to see. Winter was the time when flower bulbs, trees, and other plants could establish themselves underground; developing better and stronger roots. Winter was the time when various pests and bugs were killed off; otherwise the world would be overrun with them. Brianna loved the rich colors she would be able to use in a winter wedding—deep reds and dark greens.
But she equally loved summertime. Summer was a reminder of life bursting forth in its fullness and full potential after all seemed dead not so long ago. Summer now reminded her of her days of playing carefree outside, truly without a care in the world.
So she and Unzell married the Saturday before Christmas. It was a beautiful ceremony; her parents had spared no expense. After all, this would be the only time they would be the parents of the bride. Her older brother, Mack, might settle down someday. But even if he did, they would merely be the parents of the groom, which was a totally different expense, experience, and responsibility.
Unzell Waters was already pretty famous, so everybody and his brother wanted to be invited to the invitation-only wedding ceremony. Unzell was the star football player at the University of Michigan and a shoo-in for the NFL. As a running back, he’d broken all kinds of records, and the only question most had was whether he would be the number one or number two pick in the first round of the NFL draft the last Saturday in April. Unzell was on track to make millions—more millions than either he or Brianna could fathom ever being able to spend in several lifetimes.
Still best friends, Alana Norwood had been Brianna’s maid of honor. Alana had grown wilder than Brianna, but Brianna understood Alana…and Alana understood her.
“Girlfriend, I’m glad you’re settling down so early, if that’s what you want,” Alana had said when Brianna first told her she and Unzell were getting married in a year. “But I plan on seeing all that the world has to offer me before my life becomes dedicated to any one person like that.”
Of course, when Alana learned just how famous Unzell was even before he was to go pro, then heard about the millions of dollars sports commentators were predicting he’d likely get when he signed—no matter which team he signed with—she said to Brianna, “God really does look after you! Of course, He’s always looked after you. People on TV are talking eighty-six million dollars, over five years, just for one man to play…one man, to play. And you’re going to be his wife? I know you used to say all the time that you were God’s favorite. Well, I’m starting to believe maybe you really are.” “Alana, now you know I used to just say things like that. I don’t really believe God has favorites,” Brianna said. “The Bible tells us that God is no respecter of persons. We’re all equal in His sight.”
“Well, we may have the opportunity to be equal, but it’s obvious that not all of us are walking in our opportunities. Not the way you do, anyway. So you’re definitely ahead of a lot of us, not equal by any means. All I know is that you spoke that Word of Favor with a capital F over your life, and look what’s happening with you so far.”
The wedding was absolutely beautiful, every single detail and moment of it. But with the championship game being played the first week in January, Brianna and Unzell were only able to spend one day of a honeymoon before Unzell was off again to practice.

Michigan’s team was the team to beat with #22, Unzell Waters, being one of the main obstacles standing between the other team having even a semblance of a chance. Brianna was at the game in Miami watching it along with her family. With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Michigan was already a comfortable three touchdowns ahead. In Brianna’s opinion, there really was no reason for Unzell to even be on the field. She, her grandfather Pearson Wright, and father Amos Wright were saying as much when that play happened—the play that would alter Unzell’s career and life. One of the other team’s players grabbed Unzell by the leg, as he ran full speed, and yanked him down—pulling his leg totally out of joint. With him being down, everybody on the other team (it appeared to Brianna) piled on him (truly unnecessary roughness), merely for piling on sake. Unzell was badly hurt. Instantly, his prospective stock for the NFL plummeted. Then came the doctor’s prognosis. Even with the two necessary surgeries, Unzell would never be able to play football at that level again.
Brianna assured him things would be all right. “God still has you, Unzell.”
“Yeah, but if God had me in the first place, then why would He allow something like this to happen to me…happen to us?” Unzell said as he lay in that hospital bed. “God knows both of us. He knows us, Brianna. He knows our hearts. God knows we would have done right when it came to me being in the NFL. So why? Why did this happen? And if God is a healer, then why can’t He heal my leg completely? Why can’t He make me whole again?”
“I believe that God can heal your leg, Unzell,” Brianna said. “But right now we have to deal with reality. And from all that the doctors are saying, football is out for you, at least for now. So you and I need a new direction, that’s all. We’re going to be all right though.” She lovingly took hold of his hand, then squeezed it. “We are.” She smiled.
“So, you’re not going to leave me?”
Brianna frowned as she first jerked her head back, then primped her lips before forcing a smile. “Leave you? Where did that come from?”
“Face it; I’m not going to be making millions now. In fact, I’ll be doing well just to find a job, any job, at all in this economy.”
“First of all, Mister Waters, I did not marry you for your money or your potential money. I’ve known you since we were in high school. You were in the twelfth grade; I was in the ninth. You didn’t have any money then and I fell in love with you. So if you think I married you for your money, then maybe I should leave you.” Brianna put her hand on her hip.
“I know, Bree-Bath-she,” he said, calling her by the pet name he sometimes called her. “But do you know how many women wanted me because they saw dollar signs?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m not stupid. I even think you thought about getting with a few of them. In fact, who knows, maybe you did. But still, I married you for you. And I married you for better or worse; for richer or poorer.”
“Come on, Brianna. Nobody really means that part when they say it. Who truly wants to be with someone poor? Sure, we may feel that’s where we are at the time, but all of us believe our lives are going to get to the better and the richer at some point—sooner rather than later, not worse or poorer.”
“Well, if me staying with you now after you’ve lost millions of dollars—that if I’m not mistaken, you never really had anyway—means I meant what I was vowing when I said those words, then please know: I meant them when I said them. Okay, so those in the know were saying you’d likely get a contract worth eight-six million dollars over five years with a guaranteed fifty million and now it looks like you won’t. So be it. I’m just glad you’re okay. You could have been paralyzed on that play. You and I will do what we need, to be all right. Besides, you’re graduating in May. You’ll get your Electrical Computer Engineering degree. Do like most folks and either get a job or start your own business. Regardless, Unzell, I’m here to stay. So deal with it.” Brianna flicked her head.
Unzell smiled, then looked down at his hand. “God has certainly blessed me richly.” He looked up. “God gave me you.”
“Oh,” Brianna said all mushy as she kissed him. “That was so sweet.”
Brianna couldn’t help but think about how far she and Unzell had come since that fateful day. Following Unzell’s two surgeries and the rehabilitation period, she’d suspended attending college and gotten a job as a secretary, living with her parents while he finished his final months of college in Ann Arbor. After Unzell graduated, he moved back to Montgomery, Alabama. He was relentless about getting a job, even when it felt like no one was hiring. He was diligent, beating the pavement and searching the Internet. In four weeks, he landed a job as an assistant stage manager setting up stages for music concerts, but was told if he wanted to excel in this business, he needed to be in Atlanta. So that’s what he and Brianna did; moved to Georgia.


Thank you for stopping by and getting to know Vanessa. Make sure to visit her website and follow her on Twitter. You can also find Vanessa's books at www.Amazon.com wwwBarneandnoblecom.