LIVE and LOVE HARD!! Follow Your Dreams! 

Time is precious… DON’T WASTE IT!

Friday, 31 January 2020

Family,

It took me some time to make this post. I needed to take stock of my own emotions regarding the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. I needed to make sure what I wanted to say was not stated with too much emotion. I wanted to write a sound commentary.

I am reminded of a scripture that Morgan’s Sorority sisters gave to her when her dad passed. This scripture became one that I have stood on. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).

I can’t say that I have followed Kobe’s career like some, but have sports fanatics in my family, so I definitely know who he was. I cannot even start to say, and I know Vanessa’s pain because I have both my daughters. However, for many widows, when you hear of another sister losing her husband, you can help but feel a stab in your own heart. I felt the need to say something to my circle, by my base, my family, to the people who I think listen to me.

It does not matter who the person is, or their celebrity status, or how much money a person has. This does not negate the fact that Vanessa Bryant lost TWO people that she loved with her heart and soul. She is grieving, and she is still going to be strong and present for her daughters because that’s what mothers do.

Let me tell you this, death and grief cross every ethnic, economic, religious, social, background in this universe! Can you name me one area, person, nation, or community that has not been affected by death?

Do you really think that because someone has money that their grief is less than anyone else?

Do you really think that because a person is famous that their grief is different?

Please tell me how their pain and grief are different? IT IS NOT!

If anything, it can be worse. They are forced to grieve and process their loss in the eye of the hypocritical, insincere, and unforgiving public!

I would love to say I am surprised and shocked by the many negatives posts and comments I have read since Sunday afternoon. However, I sadden to say that I am not. Everything from TMZ releasing information before the families were informed, the misinformation regarding who was on the helicopter, the reporter who felt the need to bring up his past just 2 HOURS after his death, to people and their insensitive comments, was insensitive and morally wrong!

I am sick of all of the negativity in our country!!

You can’t compare death or how the world responds to the death of someone who is well known by the world. The climate of the world we live in today and the spitefulness of our country leaders has made it acceptable for people to “tell it like it is,” regardless of how it could affect someone else.

I wish I could say I have never seen so much disrespect in this country. That would be a lie. For many of us, it has been going on for years, but social media has just elevated the cruelty to the front lines.

To those of us that may have widows or widowers in our communities, it is my prayer that you not only think before you attempt of comfort, but please pray first. You would not believe the many messages I have received, or things said to me in person about how they feel I should grieve, survive, live my life, and other ill-advised advice. I am not trying to be ungrateful or seem unappreciative, but no one other than the LORD can look out for my children and me better than me. I truly thank God every day for the genuine, sincere people in my village.

Just a simple statement of “I am praying for you,” or you are in my thoughts and prayer,” will go a long way.

People who are grieving all grieve differently and time is NOT a factor. It is not up to us to decide when it is time for them to “get over it or move on.” That is their OWN process, and it is not determined by time. It is between them and God.

Vanessa and her family will need her time to process all of this. They have a long road ahead of them. What little I do know about Kobe and Vanessa is that they were believers, and they were raising their daughters to have faith in God. I am sure Vanessa has a great support system with family and friends and their church. God, faith, family, friends, and church are the components in my life that are seeing me through. I am sure that she will lean on those elements to see her and her daughters through this.

This will not be easy, and this phase of her life is probably the most challenging she has ever had to deal with. More importantly, in time, she will get through this.

In time she will find it easier to wake up every day with promise.

In time she will look into the eyes of her babies and not break out into tears.

In time she will find her new purpose for her life and walk in that purpose.

In time as time and life move on, she will learn to move forward.

In time she will become stronger, and she is now gaining strength every day!

But in the meantime, my prayer for the Bryant family is that they stay close to God. I pray that they reach out when they have a need, and trust God to get them thought this. He is there, He has always been there, and he will NEVER leave their sides.

For those of us who are watching and praying… LIVE and LOVE HARD!! Follow your dreams! 

You are NEVER too old to dream!

Live and love those around you!

Tell them you love them and that you appreciate them EVERY DAY!!

LOVE
FORGIVE
LOVE
LIVE

Live life with no regrets!

We don’t know how much time we have left on this earth, but I do know that that time is precious!

DON’T WASTE IT!

Day 8 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Survival (continued existence)

Day 8

October 23, 2019

Survival (continued existence)

On Day 8, three years ago, as I sat and watched a beautiful, well-lived life diminish from this reality, I could not help but think about my own existence. When you are faced with someone else’s mortality, you can’t help but think about your own.

However, on day 8 today, we are faced with another life gone too soon by their own hands. Another mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends left in the aftermath. I have always been very intentional and upfront about my own experiences with suicide and depression, and I have promised that I will tell my testimony when it is needed and requested.

I am so glad that on the night I was home alone and I was faced with the agonizing decision if I wanted to end my life that Lord inserted into my head visions of my babies, and not just my babies I gave birth to. Still, my babies, I have adopted into my life over the years.

What would life be for them if I took my own life?

Would my daughters survive my death after their father’s death?

How could I have preached and taught that the love of Christ is there for everyone who accepts it, and I did not?

How could I have said all these years, God can get you through anything if you only trust him, and I did not?

”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John: 10:10)

That night I had the potential to burst every dream, turn hope into despair, betray love, and turn trust into doubt in the minds of young people God had allowed into my life. God trusted me with their minds, hearts, and souls, and I was about to betray them and the LORD. I cried and cried that night and then the next day when I went to Munson Army Health Center, for a doctor’s appointment. I checked the, “Yes, I have thoughts of suicide in the past months” That statement was not looked over, actions were taken that day, and I was sitting before a clinical social worker to get evaluated. Within the next few weeks, God led me to an excellent Christian therapist.

Disclaimer: (as I have said many times)

I do not doubt that God can and will get you through anything, even suicide. HOWEVER, for me, my heart and my mind is so clouded with sadness, anger, and hurt, I could not hear from God. I was in a deep depression.

But, he heard me, and he pulled me through darkness into His light. Once I was able to deal with my depression, I was able to handle the guilt, sadness, hurt, and anger. I was then able to hear from God clearly.

Depression is not a fad that will go away. Depression is real and very prevalent in our society, including young people and the African American community, whether they want to admit to it or not!

We can no longer sit idly by and say they are too young to have those feelings or thoughts or black people don’t go to therapy, or you are weak if you go to therapy!

IT HAS TO STOP!!

We are losing too many of our young people to suicides!!

If you are having feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness

If you are feeling angry, of frustrated of small things

If you are having a loss of interest in your normal activates

If you lack energy or you are tired all the time

IF YOU ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF DEATH AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

I BEG YOU… PLEASE SEEK HELP

See your family doctor, clinic of a mental health professional as soon as possible!

If you are reluctant, see any of the above. PLEASE talk to a friend, loved one, your pastor, or anyone you can trust!

Call the suicide hotline number:

‪1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)‬

IF you are a VETERAN use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line

FRIENDS, FAMILY, and LOVED ONES:

If someone tells you they are contemplating suicide if they say they are hurting and the pain won’t go away, PLEASE take them seriously!

Stay with them until you can get them to a mental health professional, the ER, if you can’t, do not hesitate or call ‪911‬.

We need you!

The world needs you!

I chose to live, and so can YOU!

I love you all with all the love that Jesus has for you!

😘♥️😘

Purging my Life 5.2 Purging the House Making my House into a Home “Meet My Dream Team”

September 2, 2019

My Dream Team

Now before I get further into this part of the Blog, you must know that I did not do this by myself.  Remember I said above I tried and tried to do this. But we (my daughters and I) were paralyzed and overwhelmed.  We could not do anything but survive the pain that consumes our heart.  We knew that this was not the way to live, nor was it the way we wanted to live.  Our house was not nasty by any means. It was just cluttered and unorganized.  I have to give you the back story about who we call our Dream Team and our deep connection to them.

IMG_5897

Meet my organizers Lauren Poe & Kike Ojo, Clutter to Clean.

LPMuvhcuT0m940NTMUeMwA

Jose and Elaine Belardo

Elaine Belardo (also my one of Spiritual Advisor) will beautify, and turn your house into a home by making it a cozy, warm, oasis. She is also the founder of the “Deeper Windows Project” that she founded when her husband Jose’ Belardo, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Ironically he was diagnosed around the same time Michael was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in 2016.

fullsizeoutput_11941

Elaine, Mike, and Jose

I want to tell you how God works in our lives.  I know for a fact that He knows what we need before we know we will need it. He prepares us for things that we are going to go through in our future, and he places the people you will need to lean on and glean from in your life and specific times.  Only God can orchestrate our lives like this.

IMG_5863

The book of Jeremiah states, “For I know that plans I have for you. Declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a home and a future.”   God knew what was ahead for my life from the moment I was born, and when I looked back on my life, I can see where God was preparing me for such a time.  He has always had, and He still does have my best interest always in mind. I prayed for a way out and trusted in the LORD, and He answered my prayers!

IMG_5576

Tragedies can pull people apart, but they can also bond you for life!

When I met Elaine, her daughter Lauren was in high school. Looking back, both of our families were in a high season of our lives.  Michael was retired after 21 years in the military and had a good after the military carrier going and Jose’ was a distinguished officer with U.S. Public Health Service.  We were all very active in our churches and communities.  Elaine was in charge of one of our Chapels Women’s group here at Fort Leavenworth, where we became friends.  When our husbands were diagnosed with their respective debilitating diseases, we shared the bond of becoming caregivers to our husbands who were both the STRONG head of their household, something at our age we were not expecting!

Unfortunately, as you know, Michael made his transition home to be with God, but we both soon discovered that we were both grieving what was to be our future and we became each other’s shoulders to lean on. She has been there for me even though all of the work, pain, and grief she is going through.  We have been each other’s sounding boards because some people, as well-meaning as they are, do not understand this type of grief and what it takes to keep going day by day.  She has helped my girls and me through some of our darkest days and is always there to help us celebrate the good times in this new normal of our lives. I hope I am doing the same for her. I am proud to not only call her a part of our village, but she and our dream team are a part of our family. (I am still waiting on my adoption papers to come through)

So, to have them come in a do a total overhaul on our house was more comfortable than having strangers in my home.  They had stock in our memories and an investment in our lives. Because they knew us personally, they knew how difficult this was and would be.  They were very gentle and loving throughout the entire process, which took a couple of months.  If the girls and I had to do this on our own, it would have taken us years to complete this type of project.  Lauren and Kike kindly encouraged us to purge and did not push if something was too difficult to process or get rid of; they just found a way to organize it.  Wait, now I am getting ahead of myself.  Purging and reorganizing in the middle of a difficult situation is very hard and can be excruciating.  But our Dream Team made the task bearable and yes, sometimes even fun!

I love you all

Have a blessed and Amazing Day

 

The Road to Restoration

Friday, August 30, 2019

My word for this Friday is Restoration. 

Restoration means a lot of things:

Refurbishment

Repair

Renewal

Rebuilding

Transformation 

Rejuvenation 

Reconstructing 

Restoring

For me, restoration means reestablishing and discovering who I am outside of who I was. I am learning to find my own way with my rules.  I can tell you in the past three years I have made tons and tons of mistakes.  There were so many things I was not aware of or had never done.  You must realize I went from my grandmother’s home to my husband’s house. My life was completely turned upside down in every single area! There are things I wish I knew, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, and many there are many things that I have done that I am very proud of. But…

 

For a while, I did whatever I wanted because I seriously was not planning on living for long.  (Don’t be surprised or shocked... depression and grief are real, and I was suffering!) But then after hours of prayer and therapy, God convinced me of my worth on my own and that I was NOT going anywhere! He said He had somethings I needed to do; He was not finish with me. Now I needed to get my act together! I do have some major cleaning up in my life to do, but I know that I am not alone! 

 

My life now is nothing like I thought it would be.  Nothing worked out the way I wanted or the way I planned. However, my life is not bad, it’s not easy, it’s pretty good, but I am also learning every day how to move forward with the hand I have been given. God has placed some extraordinary people in my life that pray for me, check on me, and will continue to love me in spite of my defects, flaws, and imperfections.  

They are my…

Let me leave you with this: Mostly we must know that God will love us, forgive us, never leave us, and guide us no matter what we do. He will always be there for us.  Believe me; it took me a while to get back to this frame of mind and way of thinking. 

What is left now… I continue to move forward, learn from my mistakes, and operate in the attitude of restoration. Meaning I will not be hard on myself for living and making mistakes. I am thankful to be alive, breathing, walking, testimony of HIS great love for me.  I am a mess, but, HE will take this mess and turn it into a great message!

I love you all

Have a blessed an Amazing Weekend!

 

It’s A New Season

January 4, 2019

There is a song that my teen choir sings called, “It’s A New Season”

“It’s a new season, it’s a new day
A fresh anointing is flowing my way
It’s a season of power and prosperity
It’s a new season coming to me”

When Michael passed, it left a tremendous void in my life. For a while, I did not know what I was going to do or how I was going to survive the next second.  Every aspect of my life totally changed.  Every dream, every goal, my future plans, even my own purpose had to be reconfirmed, redefined, and reevaluated.

When tragedy strikes in your life, we have to take the time to reevaluate our lives.  While I was learning to live through my worst nightmare, I still had to learn who I was without him, and rediscover who I am with GOD.

The year of 2016 was the worst her of my entire life.  We went from diagnoses, treatment, and then death.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

The year of 2017 was a year of crying, anger, sadness, depression, love, connection, healing, learning, prayer, and trusting in GOD.
“Weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

SO, last year, 2018, was a season of rediscovery, redefining who I am, and who GOD is now molding me to become.  The LORD helped me to make some dreams a reality.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

This year, 2019 is a new year and a brand new season.
BUT, let me tell you what is NOT going to happen.
There will be…

No fear
No hesitation
No room for regrets
No negativity
No doubts
No limits
No boundaries
No running
No excuses
No attitudes
No anger
No hate
No darkness
No worries

This Year…
I will let my faith be bigger than my fears.
I will continue to trust in GOD.
I will be stronger
I will be braver
I will love and love hard
I will be happy
I will serve
I will grow
I will live my life with purpose
I will worry less and pray more
I will expect the unexpected
I will be persistent in my dreams and goals
I will NOT GIVE UP!
I will NOT GIVE IN!

I am not sure what you are going through in this phase of your life but know this… GOD is always in control and he is only a prayer away.  Maybe this is your year for rediscovery, growth, or increase.
Is this your year to not only step outside of box but to crush the box?
Only you can look deep into yourself and determine this.

My prayer is, LORD, I know you are always by my side and I know I have a fresh anointing coming!
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Lord I am ready to move to the next level.
Lord, I am ready to CRUSH the BOX!


In JESUS NAME… AMEN

I Love you all
Have an Amazing and Blessed Day!

Good Bye 2018: My Year of Discovery

December 31, 2018

As I bid goodbye to 2018, I thank GOD and I look back on lessons learned and the accomplishments I have made.

I have accomplished some lifelong goal in the past two years.  God has blessed my girls and myself with some wonderful people in our lives who have become our “Village” and “Our Tribe.”  In 2018, they have seen us through and prayed with us through some tough times in our life. They have also celebrated, applauded, remembered, and honored along with us. Never any judgment only love.

fullsizeoutput_f26c

We celebrated Michael’s 50th Birthday with a “Thank You Dinner” for our village.

In 2018, I have stepped out on faith and started some new and wonderful journeys. I have discovered my own voice, navigating, and finding my way as the LORD plans the course for the rest of my life. I have said good-bye to more friends and family than I wanted too, but I take joy and I praise GOD knowing they are all in capable hands.

I have also added to my family when my 13 Line Sisters (14 M.I.L.E.S To The Crimson DynaSTy) and I were initiated into the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Therefore, it is with bittersweet regrets that I bid adieu to 2018, but I cannot leave without mentioning some of the “Blessings in the Storm” I have navigated in 2018…

In 2018, I have discovered that:

I have chosen to come “Out of the Darkness”and live in and with the LIGHT.

I will “Never Ever, Give Up”, because God is in control and HIS grace and mercy surroundsimg_0898 me.

“There is Good News” I have the joy of the LORD in my heart and I am never alone.

Because the LORD is in my life and my heart, I know that “It Is Well with My Soul”

Life is so short, and tomorrow is not promised to any of us so don’t live in regrets, “Love Hard”

God is amazing and His love is unconditional “He Is a Mighty God”

God has great things planned for me and I am ready, so “Fear is Not in My Vocabulary”

img_1181

I am learning to overcome the obstacles of my life and my past because I know that “I Am a Survivor,” and I know that with GOD I can do anything because Christ gives me the strength.

“Dear Future, I am ready” I can, and I have the right to be excited for the next phase in my life.

“God is in Control” of my life and I have no reason to fear it!

fullsizeoutput_d4ca

WELCOME 2019

We have taken some knocks and obtained some bumps and bruises along this life’s road, but we still stand strong.                                         

We have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but we continue to be victorious because, we know to whom we belong.

We will never give in and never give up on what the Lord has planned. We have given HIM all things and placed them under his command.

So come on in 2019 we are not afraid of you,                                                                        We will wait, watch, fast, and pray to see what the Lord will do.                                                          

Family and Friends, all the ones we hold dear,                                                                     We pray that you have a Very Merry Christmas and a God Blessed New Year! (LJL)

 

I love you all

Have a Blessed and Prosperous 2019!

It Takes a Village

November 8, 2018

An African Proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I think it takes a village to raise a child, to live life, and to survive.  I have the best village ever!!  They are my tribe!  My peeps! My Family!!  However, you may wonder, “What is a village?  What does a village consist of?”  For my purposes, my village is something else.  It is something very special.  It may be easier for me to tell you what a village is not.  My village is not as the dictionary describes it, “A group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area. Nor is it a self-contained district or community with in a town or city.”

My village
They are the people who are important to my family and me.

They are of many backgrounds, nationalities, and religions.
They are the closest to my heart.
They love me fiercely as I love them.
They belong to me even though we are not blood related.
They have celebrated and laughed with us during our happy times/strong>
They have comforted & cried with us during our times of sorrow, grief, & despair.  I love them with all of my heart!
They are my family!

On the night of Thursday, October 25, my daughters and I decided to celebrate Michael’s 50th birthday (which was September 16), with a small thank you dinner to our village and a candle light prayer.  Pop Skipp, my Father-in-love was in town for Morgan, my youngest daughter’s, homecoming and it just happens to be what we call, Michael’s Angel Anniversary. This is the day he made his transition from earth to heaven.

It was fun to gather with our family and reminisce about Michael, and what was going on in our lives.  It also gave us a chance to spoil them a little.  We had some of what has become known as my famous Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens, Chicken, Brisket and of course cake.  We sang happy birthday to Michael and we just loved on each other.  The only thing missing was his voice and his laugh.  We know that Michael had an amazing time celebrating his birthday in Heaven, but we celebrated as if he was there.  (He was there in there in the spirit)

Everyone that attended this celebration is special to my girls and me.  We love them, with all of my heart, and I know that we could not have made it through the last couple of years without them and I thank GOD they are forever in my life.

Whom do you consider your village?  Who is your tribe?  There is a quote from Danielle Laporte states, “Find your tribe. Love them Hard”

Consider this…

My Tribe
Women Who Adventure with GOD
Be Around the Light Bringers
The Magic Makers, The World Shifters
The Game Shakers,
They Challenge You, Break you Open,
Uplift and Expand You.
They don’t let you play Small with your Life
These Heartbeats are your People.
These People are your Tribe
(desertoutpouring.com)

I love you all!
Have an Amazing Day!!