Just recently a good friend of mine, Ryan Kilgore, shared a YouTube video with me, that touched my heart to the core. It was a "Thank You" video that was created for him by Gary, a Quality Life Coach along with a young man named Jason who has cerebral palsy. Jason wanted to send a word of "Thanks" to Ryan, a very talented saxophonist who recently toured with Stevie Wonder on his "Songs in the Key of Life" Tour. Jason wrote a song to thank him for taking time to meet with him (along with one of the background singers) to give personalized attention and encouragement after Jason (a lifelong Stevie Wonder fan) attended a concert in Buffalo last year.
After watching the video and wiping the tears that flowed, it made me realize that God is the great orchestrator of life and that nothing happens by accident! I firmly believe that God orchestrated Jason's meeting with Ryan and knew the blessing and impact that it would leave on Jason's life. Since starting this journey, God has orchestrated and provided me with the opportunity to meet, connect, network and build friendships with so many inspiring people of purpose! It never ceases to amaze me how He always know when to send just the right people into my life at just the right time! He knows what I need before I even know what I need!
But then again.....He is GOD!
What does it mean to surrender all? The process of surrendering to God is in reality the process of tearing down thought patterns (strongholds) that keep me from yielding to God. In II Corinthians 10:5, it tells me exactly what I am doing when I surrender to God:
“I am destroying speculations, and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and I am taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.”
The truth of it all is that as God's creation, I was not put here on earth to fend for myself. It was not until I discovered this reality, and started to believe it, that I am able to surrender every facet of my life to Him. This is no easy task and one that requires me to work on every day, all day. Because if I don't my thoughts will start to take over and I am no longer trusting God to see me through the struggles and challenges of life.
Recently, I sat down with one of my spiritual mentors to discuss this very topic. Take a listen as my special guest, Maura Gale, Actress, Author, Spiritual midwife, and motivational speaker, had a candid and revealing conversation about what it means to "Surrender All" in your life. You will be blessed!
First things first, Happy New Year! Hear we are once again at the start of another new year. Just like in years past, it is the time when most people set out to make "New Year's Resolutions" in hopes of making a positive change in one area or another. Let's be honest, how many of you actually keep these resolutions past the first month or two? If I had to make an educated guess, I would have to say that not many of us stick to the resolutions we set for ourselves.
How many of you start out the new year with the goal of making a career change? I guess a better question to ask would be "How many of you are stuck in a "dead-end" job or career and need to make a change?" Only to find yourself at the end of the year, incarcerated and in the same position?
If you are one of the many people who are unfulfilled in your career or job,
IT'S TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE!
Listen to my recent interview with Career Strategist, Nickquolette Barrett, as she shares with you practical ways that you can land the job of your dreams in 2016!
We are once again in the midst of the holiday season, a time for enjoying time with family and friends. It is also during this time that most of us get into the spirit of giving. Although the holiday season is the opportune time to be a blessing to those who are less fortunate, I can't help but think about why we don't often maintain this spirit throughout the entire year. Yes, the need is great during this time of year, however, it does not disappear after we ring in the new year.
When you give this some serious thought, don't we pray and ask God to supply our needs throughout the year? I know that I rely on Him and stand on His promises for my life each and every day! I am everything with Him and nothing without Him! So why then should we only consider giving to others at a specific time of year? I don't know about you, but I am certainly glad that God doesn't pick and choose when He wants to bless us! We have to get out of the mindset that in order to be a blessing to others, we have to always give monetarily. Not true. You can bless others by giving your time. Their are so many volunteer opportunities throughout the community that are critical to meeting the needs of others. All it takes is a willing heart to serve.
One such organization that I have had the privilege of connecting with is MUST Ministries (www.mustministries.org). Just recently I was honored to interview the CEO of this great organization, Rev. Dr. Dwight "Ike" Reighard on my weekly radio show and I wanted to share that interview with you. It's interesting how God allowed us to connect and little did I know, Ike's journey involved his being laid-off from his corporate job too! He has a phenomenal testimony of how that eventually led to his role as CEO of MUST Ministries.
So throughout this holiday season and beyond, please consider what it means to give back. Connect with an organization and give of yourself if you don't have the financial resources. After all, the best gift that you could ever give to someone is your time.
Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!
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Without a doubt, forgiveness is one the largest struggles that we face. Why is it so hard for people to forgive? In my opinion, I think that it is largely due to the fact that when our pride or self-esteem gets injured, the result can be that our dreams are crushed leaving us hurt and disappointed. It is part of our human nature to seek vindication. This was challenging for me because I am an emotionally driven person by nature and struggled with the need to have the last word. I have since been delivered from this and know that it should not be my goal to return "evil for evil." After all God is a defender of those who choose not to defend themselves. I learned that there is a blessing in the persecution that we receive from others. When we are persecuted for righteousness sake, and allow God to defend for us, we set ourselves up to receive the blessings that God has for us. Do yourself a favor and let go and let God! Don't block your blessings by holding onto bitterness and anger from past experiences that have long been forgotten by the perpetrator.
Allow your heart to forgive and live free from the pain of the past.
I know that what I am asking you to do is a lot easier said than done. Believe me I am not asking you to do something that I have not been challenged to do in my own journey. Let me share my most recent personal testimony with forgiveness. Just recently, I was given the opportunity to create an additional stream of income (or so I thought) in the course of performing specific tasks that I was asked to do, suddenly I could feel a shift in the atmosphere. I guess the best way that I can explain it is that at a certain point it felt as though I had a target on my back. Long story short, the individuals who hired me tried to push every button that I had to get me to respond ugly for ugly. Let's just say that in all my years of working, I have never been spoken to or treated this way! Now for those of you who know me, there was a time when I would have gone off! Everyone knows that I have never been one with a shortage of words! LOL! However, in this particular situation, something in my spirit said "No, I got this." I knew that it was God speaking peace into my spirt. I had to allow Him to work. To tell you the truth, I feel as though it was a test to see if He could trust me with what He has for me.
I will be the first one to admit that I felt like I had the wind knocked out of my sails and it affected me emotionally because I did not deserve the treatment that I was getting. My integrity and character had been challenged by people who really didn't know me. Although the old me would have retaliated with a vengeance and held on to the bitterness, somehow I felt a need to pray for these people and forgive them for the pain and hardship they had caused. Let me just say that I made the right choice because God ended up turning what the enemy meant for harm, into good.
Join me on There is Life After Layoff Radio tomorrow evening (9/15/15) as we discuss this powerful movie and the power of prayer in our lives! Tune in 7-8pm through www.atlantaliferadio.com/programming or call in to listen or join the conversation at (347) 324-5246!
On August 28th, the movie "War Room" was released in theaters nationwide. What's so special about this? I'll tell you, although the movie was showing in fewer theaters than its counterparts it was successful in skyrocketing to the #1 spot in the box office during it's first week of release! This relatively small budget movie ($3 million production), courtesy of brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, took in $12.6 million over the four-day weekend. The film has earned $27.9 million and, if projections are accurate, it just may be the biggest hit of the Kendricks’ careers, outperforming Courageous (2011, $34.5 million) and Fireproof (2008, $33.4 million).
What is it about this movie that has people rushing to the theaters to see it? WAR ROOM is a compelling drama filled with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives. Simply put it is a movie about the power of prayer and the role that it should play in our lives. Truth be told, while I was sitting there with my husband watching the movie, I can remember thinking to myself, WOW, that's me!
Frankly speaking, I am thrilled but certainly not surprised that brothers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick made a movie about prayer after all they are the award-winning creators of such faith-based films as Fireproof and Courageous. The brothers are however ready to admit that "We didn't wake up one day wanting to make a movie about a 75-year old woman's prayer closet, we asked God to order our steps and the ideas came. As filmmakers, we're laying tracks before a moving train, said producer/co-writer Stephen Kendrick. The other half of this dynamic filmmaking team, Alex Kendrick said, "We want to inspire, challenge and motivate families to not just react but plan through the right kind of battles--and to use the best resources possible."
WAR ROOM is about fighting the good fight and relying on the right resources to do it!
For me this movie confirmed something that I already knew and that was that PRAYER is one of the most powerful and transformative tools that a believer can use to "War" against the challenges and negative life circumstances that we face on a daily basis. To be transformed means that you are changed from the inside out. That spoke volumes because it confirmed the fact that you can't change others but what you can do is change yourself and let God work on the rest! In other words, stop trying and surrender!
Do yourself and your family a favor and go to see "War Room" and I promise you that you won't leave the same way you came!
There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss my mother! Although it has been several years since she made her transition to Heaven, I still feel the void of her loss. Truth be told, I don't think that I will ever be able to get over her loss but only that as time passes, it gets easier to face each day without her presence in my life. But then again, there are those times that I wish I could just pick up the phone and hear her voice once again on the other end of the line. I especially miss her during those times when I need the type of advice that only a mother can give.
The month of July is always difficult for me and my family because it brings to mind my mother's birthday which we celebrate on the 29th. No so much that we have an actual "celebration" but more that my siblings and I along with my dad reminisce about the good times that we had as a family and about how much she added to all of our lives. I especially take time t o share stories with my two children who did not get the opportunity to personally know their "Grandma Mary" and have to settle for the stories that I share with them.
I don't have many regrets in my life because I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God uses the decisions that we make (the good and the bad) as teaching tools in our lives. But in this case, I regret that my children will never know their maternal grandmother and the feel the love that she shared so freely. The best that I can do is to share the same type of love with them that she gave to me and to make sure that I keep her spirit alive in me as I continue to strive towards being the best mother that I can be.
Happy Birthday to the best mother a girl could ever have! I love you and miss you with all my heart. I strive to live my life so that one day we will meet once again in Heaven. RIP from your baby girl.
Yes, it's true, I recently turned fifty in May and just like the image here says, " I look 30, and feel like 20!" Age is nothing but a number and is a state of mind and heart. Which immediately reminds me of the scripture Proverbs 23:7 which states; "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..." It is surreal that I had to come to the realization that I have actually lived half a century already! If I am honest, it is actually a little mind blowing! Truth be told though, I am okay with it because I have my health and as I told both of my children, "as long as I can still outrun you, I'm not doing to bad!" LOL! It's true I can outrun them!
Not only will this year (2015) mark a major milestone for me personally as I hit the "Big 50," but professionally too, because it will also commemorate the publication of my first book! For those of you who have been followers of my journey since it's inception, you know that I have strived to inspire and empower others towards walking in their purpose which has ultimately led to the writing of this book. It is purposed to be an extension of the blog that will provide you with a practical guide and useful resource, full of real-life experiences, thought provoking questions and helpful tools, all of which will inspire you on your way to discovering all that God has purposed for your life.
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to sow a seed into your life and I do not take it for granted that you have trusted me to do so. It is my hopes to guide and uplift you where you on your way to where God is taking you. Thank you for being a part of my journey!
If a picture could speak a thousand words....
If ever a picture could speak a thousand words, then the one above, would be one such a picture. Today on the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," a day that will forever live in infamy, in looking at this picture, I am reminded about all the countless sacrifices that were made and lives that were lost all in the name of equality! In looking at this picture, I am also reminded that were it not for those sacrifices, it would have not been possible for this country to even have been at a point where the racial climate, allowed for the election of its first African American president! Just pause and think about that for a moment. Notice the "Smiles" on the faces of many of the elderly marchers, who no doubt, probably were a part of the original marchers some 50 years ago. I can't help but think that the smiles on their faces, represent feelings of a victory in a long fought battle, that has finally led to the day when they can proudly join hands with this country's First (TWO TERM), African American President!
In looking at this picture, I see the courage and strength of a generation, who despite the threat of violence and even death, were willing to push on in the face of fear. In looking at this picture, I am reminded about the severe beating that was inflicted on Congressman John Lewis on that day. Yet today, even after 50 years, he continues to work tirelessly in the name of justice and equality. In looking at this picture, I see the youth and future of tomorrow, joining with the pioneers of yesterday walking towards what might have never been had it not been for the tragedies of the past.
In Dr. Martin Luther King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, which for those of you who don't know, happened to be his last speech before he was assassinated, he talked about seeing the future of the Civil Rights Movement from the top of a mountain where the movement has succeeded through the power of non-violence and love. In my opinion, as a country, we still have not quite achieved making it to the mountain top as referenced by Dr. King, however, if we continue to make LOVE the rule and not the exception, then maybe one day we can all see "The Promised Land."
Photos courtesy of: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/selma-marks-50th-anniversary-of-march-across-the-edmund-pettus-bridge-1425711535-slideshow/president-barack-obama-speaks-near-edmund-pettus-bridge-photo-214356557.html
On this day, that we honor the legacy of a man who stood for peace and for what was right, I am also reminded of all the sacrifices that were made not only by Dr. King, but also by the many men and women of the Civil Rights Movement. People such as, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Rosa Parks, Ralph D. Abernathy, Diane Nash and Dr. C.T. Vivian, just to name a few. Many of these young men and women made a conscious choice to stand against what was wrong even if it meant risking physical harm or even faced with death. Can you imagine the type of courage that it took? Dr. King is quoted as saying that, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." This resonates with me, as being a very poignant and thought provoking question given the racial climate that we live in today. This is also a question for our everyday lives. I myself, am challenged on a daily basis and how I choose to respond in the face of those challenges, can make all the difference with regards to walking in peace or in constant turmoil.
Evidence of just how this challenge was faced, can be seen played out in real life, during the Civil Rights Movement. Just this past weekend, I had the pleasure of viewing the movie "Selma" that was inspired by and based on the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights, which is known as a pivotal and emotional peak of the Civil Rights Movement. The three marches that took place, in an effort to gain the right to vote for Black Americans, is a powerful testimony in which the challenges of hatred were met with PEACE! Although, there were moments that were difficult and upsetting to watch, I found the movie to be enlightening as well as educational. I must applaud the writers and the especially the director, Ava DuVernay, for her vision, but more importantly for her courage to present, the sometimes ugly truth about the journey and the struggle, that eventually led to the passing of the Voters Right Act of 1965.
What I also loved about the movie, that it pointed out the human side of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his personal and emotional struggles. What do I mean? Well, I am not disputing the fact, that Dr. King is one of the greatest moral leaders of our time, however, we often times forget that he was a man with the same imperfections that we all struggle with from time to time. He was a man that wanted to do God's will but needed God's help to do it. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of emotional and personal struggles that he and his family had to endure, all in the name of justice and freedom.
This movie also educated us, about some of the other key players or unsung heroes in the struggle, that were instrumental in bringing about change along side of Dr. King. It solidified in my mind, that had it not been for many of these men and women of courage, and their willingness to stand side by side with Dr. King, many of the rights and freedoms that we have come to often take for granted today, would not have come to pass. One of those individuals, portrayed in the movie, is Civil Rights Living Legend, Dr. C.T. Vivian. In early 2013, my partners and I, had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dr. Vivian in his Atlanta home. It is a moment that I will not forget! I can not begin to tell you how profound and sharp (not to mention handsome) he is! His spirit exudes a type of peace that can't be explained in words. I did my best to soak up the knowledge and wisdom that he shared with me during the interview. So just imagine how humbled I felt, when Dr. Vivian complimented me on the creation of "There is Life After Layoff" and the fact that it is a much needed forum! All glory goes to God, which is what I shared with Dr. Vivian, for trusting me with the vision. Nonetheless, Dr. Vivian's kind words of encouragement also gave me an extra boost of confidence in knowing that I too have a responsibility. That responsibility is to choose to live a life of "Peace" even in the face of adversity and challenge while fulfilling my destiny by inspiring others to discover and walk in their purpose!
Thank you for your sacrifices!
First and foremost, my sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Stuart Scott, who succumbed this morning (1/4/15) to the disease of cancer. Many of you may know him best as the ever vocal ESPN Sports Anchor with the gift for spinning the vernacular. But, he was so much more than that. His life was a shining example of what it meant to truly persevere.
Just recently he was awarded with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYS this past year, where he referenced a 1993 speech given by Jimmy Valvano, that urged others to "Never Give Up!" This took on a whole new meaning after Mr. Scott explained that he had just spent several days in the hospital in which he had endured several surgeries, kidney failure and numerous other issues, yet because of his will to fight, and never give up,he was able to stand and accept his award. Talk about perseverance!
Having lost my mother to lung cancer at the young age of 57, I know all too well how it feels to loose a parent to this deadly disease. My mother was one of those people who never gave up and was determined to have "quality of life" as long as she remained on this earth. Because of her will to live, she out-lived the prognosis that the doctors had originally given her by several years. It is my belief that because she had such a strong will to live, she was able to fight and persevere through even the toughest of life threatening circumstances.
"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live." -Stuart Scott
So the next time you are faced with life's challenges, and you feel like giving up, DON'T! It's during the journey that you grow and learn the most. Think about the people who love and care about you and who are depending on you to push your way through. "Thank you" Mr. Scott for setting such a good example and for living in a manner that will serve as a constant reminder of what it truly means to persevere even in the face of the worst of circumstances. Thank you for setting the bar high. RIP Mr. Scott.
With the start of the new year, most of us set out with the best of intentions and set so-called resolutions for a better year. Personally speaking I look at setting goals rather than resolutions for the mere fact that, how many of us actually accomplish, the oftentimes unrealistic resolutions that we set for ourselves? I mean, let's just keep it real for a moment. I myself have been guilty of this in the past, until I realized that all I was doing was setting myself up for failure. To know that this is true, all you have to do is look at the definition of the word resolution which according to Oxford Dictionary is : "a firm decision to do or not to do something." Enough said.
As I said earlier, instead of making resolutions, I have decided instead, to set goals for myself. Setting the goals is the easy part, but in and of itself, it's is not enough either. How many times have you set a goal to accomplish or do something and for one reason or another, you always seem to fall short? Join the crowd! Been there, done that "wrote a song about it, like to hear it? Here we go!" (for those of you who remember the show "In Living Color") Let's face it, we all lead hectic and busy lives. But let me let you in on a little secret, God calls us to live "Fruitful" lives not "Busy" lives! Think about that for a minute. I don't think that there is one of us, (present company included) that hasn't said at one time or another, "I'm too busy!" What I have learned, is that the truth of that statement is, that I'm just not using my time wisely. Ouch! That's a post for another day! LOL!
Back to the subject of setting goals instead of making resolutions. Make the decision to start the new year off by setting goals that are S-M-A-R-T (Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Realistic-Time Bound) The S.M.A.R.T. goals technique is the most popular method used for goal setting in the world today. It allows you to set realistic goals that you can achieve. In addition to setting goals, understand that it's not enough to simply set them, but you must also develop a plan for achieving them, and to follow through with those plans.
Which finally brings me to the main focus of this post. So now that you have set your goals, have a plan in place for achieving and following through with them, who is going to help to hold you accountable so that you don't loose momentum? Everybody is excited and gung-ho in the beginning, but then somehow or another, the excitement starts to fade. This is when you need an accountability partner or group of partners who will encourage you to not give up when those naysayers or negative minded people (yes we all know a few in our lives), try to discourage or as they say "hate" on your dreams or goals! When this happens, this is the time to call upon those likeminded individuals who are generally happy for and support your success.
So on this last day of 2014, I challenge you to not only make a list of S.M.A.R.T. goals, develop a plan for achieving and following through with them, but most importantly, make a list of individuals who you can count on to fill your tank and inspire you take it to the next level "when your get up and go has got up and gone" (as stated by Joyce Meyer)! They will help you get it back! Much success to you in 2015 on reaching your goals! I believe in you!
LET'S DO THIS!
Happy New Year and thank you for your support!
We find ourselves once again in full swing of the holiday season. A time when most people think about giving or helping others. For me, it is a time of reflection and a time to really think about all the many blessings in my life. What does it mean to be thankful? By definition, it means: "It is a time to be aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful." Simple enough right? Wrong! I say that because although it may sound simple, in my personal opinion, there is a serious lack of gratitude not only in the world but also in our everyday lives. I'm guilty too of not taking the time to stop and smell the roses from time to time and complaining about what I don't have verses what I have already been blessed with. Shame on me.
I truly believe that it's just part of human nature for us to from time to time, want more than what we already have or to want what somebody else has. But that doesn't make it right. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but it becomes a problem when we allow that desire or want to consume us and to steal our happiness if we don't get what we want. I came across this quote which seems to sum up everything that I am trying to say here that I want to share with you. It simply states that , "Happiness isn't about getting what you want all the time. It's about loving what you have and being grateful for it." Bam! There it is in a nutshell! I mean just stop and think about that for a moment and what it means. When you think about it, this is a reality check and a very powerful statement!
In my heart I believe that we block our own blessings because we don't know how to appreciate what we do have. This is a life lesson that parents, including me, oftentimes struggle to teach their children. Largely because we want to give them all of the things that we didn't have growing up which then leads to over indulgence. So what I'm saying is that we can't blame our children for something that we allowed to happen. Ouch, that one hurt! But it's not too late to turn it around, especially if you have young children.
One sure fire way, of teaching yourself and your children, to learn to appreciate and be thankful for what you have, is by reaching out and helping others. Just recently I was blessed to meet a young woman who like me, has unfortunately been affected by a layoff. Although, she has struggled with dealing with the emotional impact that this life altering event can have on and individual, she has not allowed it to change her heart for wanting to serve and help others. In the short time that I have been privileged to know her, she has had such a profound impact on my life with regards to what community outreach really means. Her life is a shining example of how, despite her personal circumstances, helping others has opened up a window of opportunity, that I personally feel is leading her towards her God ordained purpose and destiny! "Thank You" for inspiring me to be a better me in the upcoming new year!
I had the fortunate opportunity to share her story on my talk radio show and I would like to share it with you. So please take a listen!
Wife and mother of two, pursuing my life purpose after getting laid off! Read more on my About Me page.
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