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