Part Of The Black Experience!

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On this, another Black History Month, being a part of the Black experience, which I am. I am vividly aware of my history, our stories then, and the daily making of new ones, which fill me with trepidations. Yes, the fear of my loved ones, especially my grandsons, brothers, and other male figures who have to engage in life daily while being Black and crossing paths with someone who has no value for their life, keeps me on my knees, ever prayerful! The continued, mindless, senseless killings of men of color seem to have no season of it coming to an end! How can women of color and women who aren’t but are mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives, and friends not be adversely affected by this social ill? The blatant disregard for the lives of our sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, nephews, and friends rips at the soul of a people. How can we move forward with assurance that our past is behind us and the future is ours to embrace optimistically when the head of our family, our men, is constantly under attack? We don’t have to know a family affected by such losses to identify with their pain?! Enough already! I lost a brother to gun violence, and time doesn’t heal that wound; it just helps in coping with the pain of such a loss. So, as we celebrate those whose sacrifices have enabled us to be where we are today, this Black History Month, it’s also should be about preserving our rights to co-exist and be allowed to live as God intended for us without this constant fear of “My God, who will be next?” This continued killings of Black men is a blight upon the moral fabric of our society and should be stopped if we are to come to that place where we can truly say we are all God’s children! This may be a pessimistic approach to seeing the future, but the reality of what seems like weekly, if not daily, occurrences deprives me of feeling otherwise. I pray and believe in God, but I am also aware of evil and its ever-present devastating effects on us all. Peace!!

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Something To Think About!

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As January of 2023 ends, we have eleven months to decide wherever we deem necessary for our advancements and do so effectively from the lessons of yesterday. Of course, we can only do what we can, but in the scheme of things, the measuring stick of one’s achievements shouldn’t be hinged on others’ input or lack thereof but more on how those decisions affect us. Of course, our social influence and norms can add pressure to our approach and how we decide. However, realizing that at the end of the day, the person we look at in the mirror takes precedence over everyone and everything else, it would be beneficial to determine where our loyalty lies. It’s not about being self-centered or insensitive to others but rather exhibiting self-preservation, having peace with our choices, and knowing that we didn’t place ourselves or our well-being at risk at the convenience of others. Stay in the light! Peace!

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Mistakes To Avoid!

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To see someone’s humility or quiet strength shouldn’t be perceived as a weakness to be taken advantage of; this is a mistake to avoid. Not because they are soft-spoken means they have a personality flaw; aggressive behavior is a giveaway of being scared and even a sign of weakness. One can get their point across without attacking the other. This wasn’t the case with Cheryl and her relative. Like me, this woman is faith-driven, and anyone who knows Cheryl knows her faith is the central theme of her life. However, to her dismay voicing those opinions, which she thought was safe to do in the confines of her home, placed her under verbal attack by a family member visiting. Startled by her family member’s outburst, she walked away in utter disbelief. This is who Cheryl is, a woman I know and like, and she shouldn’t be underestimated or trifled with, which was what happened recently.

I witnessed an exchange between family members, and her that caused me concern. Cheryl, the elder of the group, is disabled. She was happy to have her relatives visiting, especially during times of need, and she needed them to be with her. They cared for her environmental conditions and social needs but failed to meet her emotional needs. Unfortunately, her remaining silent after that exchange was perceived as a weakness; confrontation is something Cheryl avoid at all cost. Later, other factors came into play to her disadvantage, and she never complained. She shared why she didn’t want another argument: ‘ Words are like darts, they can enter deep within the soul, there they can leave permanent damage, and she loves them too much to allow the possibility of that happening.

On observation, I’m sad for them because, in such a dynamic, there are no winners or losers; family is essential; they contribute to a person’s identity and are emotionally invested. Everyone has good and bad days, but when someone is vulnerable, that shouldn’t be perceived or mistaken as a weakness to make them feel threatened. Cheryl lived almost twice their lifetime through extreme challenges which she overcame. They would have found her in a very different situation if she was stupid or weak and lacked faith in God coupled with working hard. So, she was saddened by the behavior and, at times, taken aback by it. However, she has no regrets, she told me.

A part of experiencing joy or pain is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, and real strength is realized through those experiences. As an observer who has lived, I encouraged young people who are involved with elder relatives that respect isn’t obsolete. We don’t have to have the last word because each person has the right to express their feelings without feeling they are being attacked. No matter how out-of-touch those expressed feelings might sound! Elders have earned the right to be themselves without being shouted at, especially where they believed it should be safe to do so, in their homes. Getting old or ill isn’t by choice; it’s a compliment of life, and if we keep on living, who knows what tomorrow holds for any of us? Until then, all we can do is strive to be our best while preparing for the unexpected, which could be detrimental. I pray for healing for those who are hurting. What do you think? Peace!!

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Forgiveness Heals!

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Forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving or being given. This process, for some of us, can be difficult. Ephesians 4: 32. Tells us, “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as God for Christ hath forgiven you!” This Bible passage is one of several Bible passages that speak on forgiveness. However, in reality, this isn’t easy; when people inflict emotional wounds that shake you to the core, it isn’t easy, but it should become less about them and more about becoming whole. As such, the objective is to heal, progress, and prosper as intended by our Creator.

However, what do we do… when we forgive repeatedly, and offenses continue that are even worse than the previous ones? What do you do? It is expected of us to forgive, but using common sense, we should learn to love from a distance. As children of light and love, there shouldn’t be hatred for another; we can be disappointed and disapproved of them, but we must honor ourselves as beings of love. The power of forgiveness lies with the victim rather than the offender! How so? Letting the love of God in helps to release all the hurt and negative energy bottled up inside, which robs us of living our lives to the fullest. In so doing, it’s liberating and opens us to bigger and better experiences, and as a result, we can have joy and a richness of life.

Look at it this way, by holding on to the offenses that were done, we have allowed ourselves to be prisoners of others! Peace and anger cannot co-exist in the same place, and we want peace! Harboring one excludes the other; as a product of God’s love, which we all are, it’s an injustice to allow unforgiveness to rob us of being whole. The worst unforgiveness is holding on to negative feelings towards others who don’t even remember what they did and are going about their lives without a thought of their victims. Why give another like that power by giving them space in our heads? We have given them the ultimate control through unforgiveness, and no one deserves such power over another! So, please, let us forgive not for the offender’s benefit but for us to be free and emotionally well because forgiveness heals, and it’s hard to receive what’s needed when the space is occupied by yesterday’s hurts. So, love, laugh, live and let the light of life shines through; forgive! Peace!

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There Is No Excuse!

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Childhood should be the best time of one’s life and, as such, protected, provided for, and nurtured. However, in the real world, this depends on geographical location, culture, economics, and other ingrained issues that have plaques humanity since the beginning of time. For those who feel strongly about the well-being of children, there are no excuses not to address those needs whenever or wherever they arise, which goes beyond our immediate households or surroundings.

The most painful experience is seeing adults exploit and harm children, the worst of which is when their caregivers do it. How could parents, relatives, neighbors, and others be so depraved as to inflict harm and destroy the innocent lives of children? Don’t they realize these children grow up to be adults? Then what? I’ve heard it said there are no blueprints for rearing children successfully. There is a level of truth to that. However, some basic human goodness doesn’t require instructions. It requires common decency, a value of life, and the good sense of knowing the child abused today could become the one that will be a world changer and be instrumental to improving the lives of their abusers.

I visit this issue as one with firsthand knowledge of people now aged and in poor health, and the children they abused and discarded are successful adults today. It is a tragedy to destroy one’s future by discarding the gifts of lives given by God, fragile lives that years later would replace what those earlier years had denied. In observation, credence is given to the saying “Children are the future” for some poor people; it takes on a more profound meaning; the children are their future.

All children should be protected, valued, and allowed to thrive. Every child should be seen as tomorrow’s world changer; once we keep that at the forefront of our minds, the chance of indulging in adverse behavior toward a child will be reconsidered. Those effects might affect the abusers the most; unfortunately, those golden years will not be so golden then. So save our children and ensure a better tomorrow for us! There is no excuse for not doing what is right and profitable for all; saving children is saving oneself! Peace!

Words!

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Words are a single element of speech or writing used to express or form sentences. In the Bible, John chapter 1: 1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God” Verses 3, and 4 further qualified the power and presence of God in His Word: (3) He made all things; and without Him was nothing made that is made. (4) In Him was life; and the life was light of men.” From a layperson’s perspective, one who is a believer, which I am. I take a thoughtful approach to the power and meaning of words, even more so as I have entered a time of wanting to get life right in the second half of my life, which is where I am now.

Overall, the impact of the power of Words has shaped and advanced our societies moving us into realities we thought once were never possible. Today, we live longer and have accessed social platforms to express our thoughts on a scale like never before. Yet, the school is out on how better we are to each other in light of these advancements? Countless positives are around us, but unfortunately, the negatives overshadow those positives. However, we are still in control of deciding where we all end up as a whole, dictated by our interactions. Understanding and accepting each other despite our differences within our exchange can advance the value of life, giving light to us as a people, and our possibilities are endless. However, we are in the control seat of influence by our Words chosen, which drive everything we do! On another front, within our communications, there will be disagreements.

It is easy to say or write what we think without much consideration of their impact or outcome on others, especially when we are angry at them. During those moments of anger, words are commonly used, like missiles’ to cause maximum hurt. This occurrence is quite common among the ill-informed, socially maladjusted, or arrogant with a disregard for the feelings of others. I once fell into one or two of those categories. However, going back to the beginning and knowing that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God, who is light and life, my view and approach to using my words today takes on a whole new meaning. It is difficult to function from a place aligned with God in meanness or having a destructive spirit. In light of the realities of life and the accountability expected of us at some point in time, I do not see any other option but to use Words with kindness. To disregard the outcome of such behavior by self-indulging, irrespective of those who get harmed, cannot be good and nothing happens in a vacuum because it usually comes back at us with time. Therefore, temporary gratifications aren’t worth the payoff of being in endless miseries highlighted and explained through scriptures. What are your views on the power of words from the viewpoint of the scriptures? Peace! Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

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A life Reflective Of Its Possibilities!

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An effort to arrive at our station gives us a sense of accomplishment; it is a process framed by what we want for our lives and how we see ourselves and others. No external force can completely dictate or eradicate our possibilities to realize our better selves in today’s free society. If we choose not to surrender to those forces stemming from fear or hopelessness, anything is possible. It might seem unattainable during life’s delays, detours, and distractions. However, suppose we embraced free thinking and available information, which is at our fingertips, once we desire to know better and be better. In that case, roadblocks can be removed in time with diligent efforts.

 Most of us desire a life reflective of possibilities that will serve us best within the options of our endeavors. We usually learn to stay grounded while sustaining and maintaining our authenticity; our culture, faith, resilience, and social expectations are decisive factors. I believe each of us is uniquely equipped for a specific purpose. Whenever given the right situation, some of us apply ourselves toward accomplishing our goals successfully.

People like Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and many others beat the odds and became world changers. While equally, countless others are swallowed up by the circumstances of life and sadly are viewed as nonentities. In contrast, another group gives completely of themselves without being noticed or appreciated. Yet, they give willingly, having hope in God’s wisdom and promises, honoring His words by doing good deeds without any hidden agenda. So my friend, whatever the spectrum of life we may fall in, no matter the path traveled or position held, standing the test of time empowers us as we aim to finish well. It shouldn’t be about the quantity, but the quality of our lives and gains will be made that we deem worthwhile. Peace!!

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Transformation!

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Human transformation is at the center of what aligns us with our highest potential. It is the heart of every major aspect of our lives, which affects our view and how we relate to others. Also, how we see ourselves in the world. Several factors can initiate transformation in our lives, but the one I will speak on it’s from a spiritual awakening. Therefore, I couldn’t address the subject without looking at the condemnation often experienced by some of us during the process.

Galatians 5:22-23 of the KJV Bible states, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such, there is no law.”

Romans 12: 2 further tells us, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” These are two of many Bible passages that deal with transformation.

Through the processes of life, transformation usually comes to us differently. Time and change dictated by God decide when and how some of us transformed. Those changes are pivotal to advancing a greater good beyond our norm and taking us to our highest potential. Those who have gone through what are extraordinary changes usually act as destiny helpers and world changers, such as Oprah Winfrey and many others across the spectrum like her.

 As we all know, the social level we were born into can influence or hinder one’s transformation. However, how we see ourselves to others can activate or suppresses those changes, but God has that final say. When we see ourselves through the eyes of God, barriers are stepping stones, and breakthroughs become realized, thrusting us into what we so yearned for, and the essence of the fruits of the spirit becomes a reality. Those fruits of love, joy, peace, and fullness of life are meant for us. Sometimes what it takes to arrive here is met with condemnation, but that shouldn’t be reason enough to abandon reaching our highest potential. The process could get messy for some of us, which causes misunderstanding leading to condemnation. We are apt to be revile when others don’t understand or pigeonhole us into what they expect of us, especially if they have already given up on their life. However, the path some of us have to take isn’t optional; it is the only way, and the desire to be transformed outweighs the negative reactions of others. One’s overall well-being shouldn’t be negotiable, therefore, embracing and initiating transformation honors God, and at the end of the day, what God thinks of us is of utmost importance. I pray this is the year of transformations that honors God, and we’ll live our best lives by being transformed! Have a blessed weekend! Peace!

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Securing Tomorrow!

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To fully grasp life as a whole sometimes means lessening the control we seek to exert over what we are limited to. Why? The real power is beyond us and should be seen for where it lies: with God! So, the acceptance of this truth is not only humbling, but it can be empowering.

We might ask ourselves during our frustration, what is life? Presenting this question to different people will not yield the same answers. However, the common theme is unanimous in our approach. Life is precious, it has meaning, and we are the center of life! Observing the daily occurrences can leave us feeling helpless and can be daunting. However, we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture and the power that causes us to be God in His infinite powers! He empowered us with all we needed to make life fulfilling, but the fall of early man “Adam” saddled us with issues that seemed to worsen over time. However, by staying engaged and aware of the daily changes around us, we cannot but seek ways to stem the tide of such changes that seem aimed to devalue and deplete us if we are not careful. We should remember that God gave us dominion over everything in His universe. Therefore, it is not the time to panic, submit, or suppress the reality that faces us, which needs to be reversed.

In recent hours we got another stark reminder of where we are by a six-year child shooting of a school teacher. This shooting is alarming and yet sobering. It should be unthinkable that this could happen, yet it would be naive not to in this climate which has become the new norm. To fully grasp life, one must embrace all of it, its beauty and its pain. The collapse of Damar Hamlin, an American football player whose heart stopped, recently pulled people from all walks of life into collective prayers for his recovery. Here lies a reminder of the good in us and the capacity to rise to the occasion for the good of what we aimed for. Today, Mr. Hamlin has recovered and exhibited signs of total recovery. This shows that whatever goal we set our minds to, we can do and the outcome we sought becomes realized! Unfortunately, it appears on another front, indifference, and apathy easily set up roadblocks preventing what is obvious, a collective power to change things that threatens us.

Changing things goes beyond familiarity, favorites, families, friends, or acquaintances; it is about preserving lives, yours and mine. Nothing stays in a vacuum, and eventually, it will be upon us. If someone had told me years earlier that my brother would be murdered, I would not have believed it. After his murder, I was almost kidnapped in the streets of New York City and was later attacked again on my way to work. None of us is immune from the harsh reality that confronts us, but we must stay engaged through conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. We can agree to disagree respectfully. However, we cannot lose sight of the power in securing tomorrow for our loved ones; if not for ourselves, meaningful change lies with what we do or don’t do now; because either way, we’ve made a decision! Peace!

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A Makeover From The Inside Out!

At times, the prism through which we see others at their place of weakness is approached with sarcasm or intolerance. Yet, we forget we are wired as humans with defects to make mistakes. Based on our backgrounds, such as family traits and a host of conditions to which we are predisposed, it’s through those lenses we exhibit, decide, and carry out choices considered to be the best at the time. Only to later realize we made a mistake.

The advancement of technology has allowed us to interact almost at the speed of light through an array of communicative devices available at our fingertips. However, the chasm between us has never been wider, and raising the bar for the perfection of others when we are not is one of our biggest mistakes. Sadly, the threshold of sensitivity has become vainly thin and tolerance muted. Therefore, it has become so easy to highlight the negativities of others while engaging in the same ourselves, and no one knows but God, which is hardly a consideration or concern for us. Why? We know God is forgiving, and He knows we are imperfect.

I also am guilty of such hypocrisy, but through reading the word of God and making it become a part of my daily diet, yes, diet, food for the soul, I’ve evolved into a kinder, more patient, and more accepting of the weaknesses of others. The transformation is through spiritual growth, which is quite empowering! Creating a change in not only my demeanor but also my appearance. What’s now on the inside shows on the outside. This personal journey through God’s words is the best gift that can be given or obtained. I highly recommend it! This evolution’s best part is accepting, forgiving, and caring for others without misgivings or expectations. When we arrive at this place, disappointment will become a thing of the past. God’s promises are unbroken, and He gives only the best! So this is a good time, at the beginning of the year, to embark upon a makeover from the inside out. Peace!

Have a safe and blessed weekend!

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