Living for Today

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In the recent tragedy and untimely passing of Nipsey Hussle, a friend of mine sent me a note about death and how regrettably, we don’t show our true admiration or love for each other until it’s too late.  That got me to thinking about how we live each day; ignoring that we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow.  Most of us have this false sense of security that we have more time.  Going through the day unknowingly telling ourselves that we have more time and unintentionally taking for granted that today could be our last day here.  I thought to myself, what if I started each day with the question, if today was my last day here?  How would I live it?  What would I want to do?  What would I want to say?  How could I make the most of it?  How can I make the greatest impact on the lives of others, specifically those around me?  Do the people I love know that I love them?  This message is not meant to bring you down or fear death.  It’s meant to inspire all of us to think and live differently.

Can we take a minute to let that marinade?  If we all lived each day as if it were are last, how different would our day be and our encounter with those around us?  Would we stay in the same routine?  Would we still work the same job? Make the same decisions/choices?  Would we encounter people and situations the same way?  I don’t think so.  I would step out of the fear that holds me back from so much.  I wouldn’t get caught up on the little things like running a few minutes late (which typically drives me crazy lol).  I would embrace people and experiences differently.  I would live truer to myself, my most authentic self.  I would ask myself more questions throughout the day to make sure I was making the most of my day, encounters and interactions with others.  I would take advantage of opportunities.  I would take my time.  I would smile more.  I would worry less.  I would make sure to tell the people I care about that I care about them.  I would check on the people that I care about.  I would be kinder to people even when they aren’t kind to me.  I would care less about what I was wearing.  I would care more about what I was doing that day to make a difference.  I would care less about what people think.  I would speak up when I felt inclined to instead of quieting my voice for fear of being rejected or misunderstood.  I would be kinder to myself and less hard on myself.  I would enjoy as much as I could; that piece of cake, the fresh air that I’m breathing in, the warmth of the sun shining on my face, the smiling face of a passing stranger, my feet hitting the ground as I walk.  I would stop and help that person I may have felt too hurried to stop for.  I would pick up the phone to clear up any unrest in my heart or the hearts of anyone I’ve loved.  I would stop doing things that I didn’t want to do.  I would stop feeling sorry for myself.  I would stop focusing on what I don’t have and count the blessings that I do.  I would get rid of the things and people that no longer belong in my life or deserve my attention any longer.  I would be very clear and intentional about my day, my time, my pursuits, my hopes, my dreams.  I would not be afraid to speak and be heard.  I would speak up and out more.  I would try something new.  I would take a different route home.  I would talk to a stranger.  I would compliment more.  I would speak from my heart more.  I would encourage someone.  I would stop worrying about being rejected.  I would stop taking things personally.  I would not be afraid of the what ifs.  I would not be afraid to be myself and to be true to my beliefs.  I would stand taller, humbly and confidently.  I would give more; more love, more money, more of me.  I would not hide behind me.  I wouldn’t water myself down so you can handle me.  You may be judging me right now or thinking you can’t relate, but we all can to some degree.  Even if we think we are living our best life, there are things we would do differently if we knew today would be our last.

This has inspired me to challenge myself to truly live each day as if it was my last.  I’m sure I will need reminders.  I challenge you to do the same.  Forgive that person, call your loved one, write the book, join the group, step out of your routine and comfort, quit the job, start the business, buy the house, follow your heart, believe in your dreams and pursue it, be there for someone.  Whatever those things are for you, do them and do them for as long as we are given the gift to do so!  Better to have lived life fully to your greatest and truest potential and have learned than to have not lived enough and regret it!

Start each day with the question, if today were my last day here, how would I live it?  What would I do differently?  What will I do differently?  I will start by changing all my I woulds to I wills.

Unstoppable-The story of me

I’m On Fire!

I’m on fire!
I have something to say but I am afraid to speak.
Afraid of being heard, seen, judged, even listened to.
Afraid to fail but dying a little every day that I’m not trying.
Ever since I was a little girl, I had this passion for equal justice, this desire to make an impact and make this world better. But I can’t do that alone.
Every experience has helped to shape me into the woman I am today. I’ve made choices, some things were decided for me. I decided what to do from there.
Growing up, moving a lot, initially having financial stability and access to things such as basic needs, performing arts and outlets only to be torn out of one life and dropped into another, becoming homeless at 11, then being dumped into the projects in the hood, growing up without father or role models, mother being mentally ill and declining and addicted to drugs, being poor, desolate, forgotten, broken, confused. Finding my place selling drugs and hanging with gang bangers, having a child alone at 14, his father being incarcerated most of his life and inevitably being brutally murdered in the middle of the street in front of his aunt’s house.
Being somebody’s statistic, finding myself raising not 1 but 2 children alone after finally leaving an abusive relationship that I was so broken, I didn’t even realize until I got out and began healing. Having to fight to prove myself and twice as hard as people with certain advantages/privileges says a lot about me but it doesn’t define me. It doesn’t paint a picture of the woman I am today. But it has made me aware of things that otherwise, I may not know exist. It has made me want to fight to make a better life for my children and one day their children.
I remember growing up, all I wanted was to make it, to make it out alive and just make a life for my family. That is true for so many young people growing up in poverty or unpleasant circumstances. But that’s not enough. We were taught that life was hard and not to help pull each other up. We were taught to tear each other down. We were made to believe that we didn’t deserve better and if by some chance, we found a way, just go! I have also, through the grace of God and a spirit to prove authority wrong (make people think differently), had an unwavering determination to succeed.
I left high school in the ninth grade to pursue being an adult. I had a child, worked full time and school was holding me back. I met with the superintendent to request permission due to special circumstances to test for my GED. He complied but I don’t know that he thought I would pass. I did, my first try without any preparation. I was embarrassed by that for a long time. Who knew I would sit in a meeting with that same man years later? Shaking, I reminded him of what his small choice allowed and made an impact on my life forever. I was able to start college, I took my first college class at age 15 at the urban center for $10 a credit hour. Enrolled in the local University at 16 and competed at 21. I was the first in my family to go and graduate from college. I bought my first home at 27. Became Vice President at 30.
All of these things have been preparing me to live my purpose (empower, educate and challenge). It has taken me a long time to realize that these events have everything to do with me and nothing to do with me. I’ve lived through this so someone else doesn’t have to. So that I can be angry enough to use my voice to ignite at the very least a discussion and God willing, a movement. I’ve had these experiences so that I can reach people that don’t look like me and people that do. If you were to see me, you would never think or even believe my upbringing or what I’ve lived through. Thank God, I don’t look like my struggle. I can escape it, hiding behind my privileged appearance. But what about the rest of the world, the people who can’t?
It is our responsibility to make the world listen. It is our job to educate, empower and challenge individuals and organizations to do better, to think and live differently. Where does that begin? It starts with you, the choices you make every day. Where you choose to live, go to or send your kids to school, socialize, worship matters. We can’t continue to segregate people in communities and expect real change. Where does change in a community happen? It happens in the community with the people who live, work and go to school in those communities. How do you add diversity of thought, diversity of experience, race, gender, socioeconomic status? By moving into these communities and becoming active on councils and boards, by going into the streets with a broom and trash can to clean with a group of friends, by mentoring, speaking to youth and adults, educating them, connecting them to available resources to help them become more self-sustaining.
It can also be speaking up, advocating for others that don’t have a seat at the table and making room when there is an opportunity for them to sit at the table. Taking risks with people who don’t look and think like you. Caring enough to ask questions and be vulnerable about your lives. Apologizing for things we may or may not have done. Asking how we can start to make it up and heal together. Realizing that we can’t put a band-aid on this wound any longer. We need to organize/orchestrate and create real solutions with everyone at the table. We as nonprofits need to discuss what’s best for the individuals, we serve by including them in the conversation and hearing their perspectives.
The system is flawed…No, the system is broken. It was designed and has successfully continued to increase the gap; segregating our communities, lending itself to keeping the oppressed, oppressed. We must be willing to make radical changes if we want to see a radically different reality.
Creating social change, social impact through awareness. Having the conversation, acknowledging that others may have a different experience in than you do and embrace them.
Identifying the social challenges, we are facing and developing innovative and strategic solutions to make an impact, quality of life overall for all, better/stronger economic and workforce development opportunities.
Bringing people and communities together, not just to share a meal. We must be willing to take risks together.
Stop sending our children to private schools and instead invest in bettering our public-school system.
Start moving into neighborhoods that are less than desirable and bring others with you. Than create opportunities together to improve the neighborhood and its quality of life.
I don’t have this all figured out. But I do know, it is up to us to make changes today not only to change our reality but to change future generations to comes reality.
So, I ask you, how will you start?
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Life hacks, Motivation

21 Day Fast

After time off and traveling for the Holidays, I got off my normal routine and regimen.  I returned home feeling uncentered and off course.  Coincidentally, I’m also in the midst of making some pretty significant decisions.  So, I thought, what better way to proceed with 2019, to recenter and connect with God than a fast?!  As I began researching Daniel’s 21-day fast, it was a bit overwhelming.  So I broke it down in my notes to make it easier to reference and process. I listed key components to remember and to keep me on track.  I thought it may be helpful to share my summary with others that are interested in Daniel’s 21-day fast.  I am not a health professional.  I also think it is important to research and consult a doctor about what is best and/or healthy for you.  I plan to begin on Sunday with 3-day water fast and prayer and finish the remaining days following the Daniel fast.  I also plan to continue a Mediterranean/pescatarian diet after completing because I think that is healthiest for my body, lifestyle, and health goals.  Here are my notes/summary of information I felt most helpful in preparing for my fast (taking bits and pieces from several places to make it easiest to understand and share:

As we join together in a corporate time of fasting, we are positioning ourselves and believing for two key goals overall for our body at Good Ground Family Church:

A) We are seeking to connect with Jesus in a more personal, deeper, dynamic and practical way

B) To have that relationship with Christ become a true and sustainable lifestyle for each of us

Think about the top two or three things most pressing on your heart and zone in on those with God. Write these down in the space provided below, and be open to hearing what God wants to show you in those areas. The breakthroughs, miracles, and answers to your prayers will be byproducts of drawing closer to Jesus.

When praying, make your primary goal to know Jesus more and experience Him. Pray prayers of total surrender, and aim to glorify God with your life. Focus first on what’s right about Him, such as his goodness and His greatness, and see everything else through that filter.

And most simply, make time to pray daily. Don’t overcomplicate this! Just talk to God. Have that place and time where you can seek Him every day. If you don’t plan to pray, you won’t. If you find it a challenge to disconnect from the busyness of your day, engaging in worship music is a great way to prepare your heart for prayer.

I am personally believing for a breakthrough in _________________________________________________________

Think about opening your heart to God and partnering with Him for the fast.

Plan your start date for the fast . . . and your conclusion date.

Think about your purpose for fasting and why it’s so important for your successful Daniel Fast.

Gather the resources and plans for your study during your Daniel Fast.

Plan simple and nutritious meals and why this step is essential if you want a spiritual experience rather than focusing on the food and satisfying the flesh (instead of feeding your soul and receiving from God).

Prepare and think about how to sanctify yourself for 21 days and grow in your faith during this powerful spiritual discipline.

Personal Devotions
Just like prayer and fasting, reading your Bible is about connecting to God in a more powerful way. It is not about duty but about relationship. When we engage God through reading His Word, we engage the very presence of God. His Word is living and active! As we read our Bible, we are drawing closer to God and positioning ourselves to hear from Him in particular ways.

Once again, as with prayer, choose the time and the place where you are going to read your Bible and devotional every single day, and come prepared to hear what He wants to tell you.

Here are three quick things we’d like to share with you about how to get the most out of your devotional time with God.

1. Read Consistently
It is better to read a little every day than to try and knock out two hours of Bible reading or devotions in one sitting. It is so important to digest the Word in absorbable chunks. In this guide, we have included a Bible reading plan that helps with that, as it leads you through about a chapter a day. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and certainly don’t compare your “performance” with that of others. If you miss a few days, pick up at the next reading, but stay with it and don’t give up. The key is to keep this simple and make it sustainable.

2. Read Prayerfully
Talk to God as you’re reading. Don’t rush through. If you come across something you don’t understand, pause for a moment and ask God about it. Reading prayerfully is making space and time to talk to God and giving Him time and space to talk to you. Taking time to meditate on God’s Word is just as important as reading it.

3. Read Expectantly
You are about to partake of the bread of life, so foster an attitude of expectancy. Believe that God is going to speak to you through His Word. With meditation on the ideas and thoughts recorded in your journal, be prepared to do something with what He shows you. A great, simple way to journal your devotionals is to use the SOAP method. (Wayne Cordeiro has some great material about this that we highly recommend in his book DivineMentor.)

SOAP stands for: Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

The SOAP method works like this:

S for Scripture. Read prayerfully. Take notice of which scripture(s) catches your attention and mark it in your Bible. When you’re done, reread the verse(s) you marked and look for one that particularly speaks to you. Write it in your journal.

O for Observation. Focusing on that scripture, tune in and listen to what God is saying to you through His Word. What is it about this scripture that specifically stands out? What does God want to reveal to you or teach you? Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and show you what God is saying.

A for Application. Think of how this verse(s) applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or correction for a particular area of your life. Use your journal to write how this scripture applies to you today.

P for Prayer. Wrap up your SOAP time in prayer. Talk to God about what you’ve just read. This can be as simple as thanking Him for revealing a truth from the scripture, or it may be asking Him for greater insight or wisdom as to how it applies to your life.

Remember, prayer is all about relationship. It’s a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say.

Mixing things up a bit during a fast is what typically works best for people. For example, do a fruits and vegetables fast for a week. Then do all liquids for a while. Maybe even mix in a few days of only water if you think you are ready for that. Then go back to fruits and vegetables for a few days.

Allowable Food options
All fruits: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch for added sugar).
Apples, Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Berries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Breadfruit, Coconuts, Cranberries, Dates, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Grenadine, Guava, Honeydew melons, Kiwi, Lemons,
Cantaloupe, Cherries, Limes, Mangoes, Melons, Mulberry, Nectarines, Oats, Olives, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon

Vegetables: These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned (watch salt content).
Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili peppers, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger root, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini

Dried beans, Black beans, Cannellini, Pinto beans, Split peas, Lentils, Black eyed peas, Green beans, Green peas, Kidney beans, Peanuts (includes Natural peanut butter), Beans, Lentils, Lupines, White, Peas

Seeds: All nuts (raw, unsalted)
Sprouts, Ground flax, Cashews, Walnuts, Sunflower, Sesame, Almonds, Natural Almond Butter

Whole Grains:
Whole wheat, Brown rice, Millet, Quinoa, Oats, Rolled Oats, Plain Oatmeal (not instant) Barley, Grits (no butter), Whole wheat pasta, Whole wheat tortillas, Plain Rice cakes, Popcorn

Water (spring, distilled, filtered), Unsweetened Soy Milk, Herbal (caffeine free) Tea, 100% Fruit/Vegetable Juice (no added sugar)

Tofu, Soy products, Herbs, Small amounts of Honey, Small amounts of Sea Salt, Small amounts of Ezekiel Bread, Small amounts of Olive Oil
Spices (read the label to be sure there are no Preservative)

Hope this helps.  See you in 21 days!

A Mothers thoughts, Life hacks, Motivation

Day 1 of Gratitude

Gratitude is so important…  When you start your day with gratitude, it makes your whole day better.  Last year, I started a gratitude journal but after a while, I stopped practicing the daily ritual.  This year to hold myself accountable, I’ve recruited a few friends and my kids to practice this with me via text.  Each morning, we will share 1 thing we are grateful for and a word we would like to define or set the tone for our day.  In addition to being a great practice to start the day, it will hold us accountable and keep us connected.  Win, win, win!

Day of 1

Today I am grateful for…my children

Word to set the precedent for the day…Hopeful

What is one thing you are grateful for and your word for today?

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Life hacks, Motivation

January Intentions


As we rolled into 2019, I took some time to reflect on what I wanted this year to be like, to mean?  What I want to accomplish?  What is important to me?  What I wanted to be like?  What changes I want/need to make?  I started thinking about my word for 2019.  That was much harder than I thought it would be.  My friend shared she chose her word/theme by quarters.  I liked that because in life, we go through many different seasons.  So I decided to choose my overall word for the year but also themes for the 4 quarters in the year.  I broke down what was most important to me, what I hoped/dreamed for the year and what I wanted to accomplish in 2019.

For my overarching word/theme for 2019, I chose THRIVE.  I chose THRIVE because I want to prosper, flourish and grow in every aspect of my life.  I want to be who God created me to be fully and with confidence.  I want to walk in my purpose every day for the rest of my life.

Once I determined my main theme for 2019, it was easier to select my themes for each quarter.  Here are the words/themes that I felt best reflected what I aspire to in 2019.  (January-March) TRUST, (April-June) LIVE, (July-August) PEACE, and (September-December) DELIGHT.  For my 1st quarter, I chose TRUST because I need to trust more in general but more importantly because I want to TRUST in the Lord always and with all my heart.  He hasn’t let me down yet, so why do I have moments where I feel like I just can’t?  He is my guide.  For my 2nd quarter, I chose LIVE because I want to LIVE everyday like I’ve never LIVED before and like it is my last.  I would not allow people or things to frustrate me, waste my time or distract me  from what’s important and living fully if it was my last day here.  So let’s stop now.  For my 3rd quarter, I chose PEACE because I want, need and deserve PEACE.  Something will always come up, good and bad; I just want PEACE no matter what.  PEACE that it will all work out and serve a purpose.  For my 4th quarter, I chose DELIGHT because I want to DELIGHT in all that the Lord has for me and has given me thus far.  I want to be joyful and grateful each day.  In tandem, I wrote my GOALS out for 2019.  I’m sure I will add to the list but got a good start on what I want for my life and hope to accomplish in 2019.

While researching my words/themes for 2019, I found an article about writing intentions each month.  Writing intentions for each month is more about taking time to reflect, plan and reset for the month ahead.  It’s not just goals, it is steps/a guide toward being the best you with gentle reminders  along the way and fun art!  Reminding you of what you’re working towards, what you need to work on but also what you have to look forward to and what you have to be grateful for.  Here is my 1st one, JANUARY INTENTIONS.  It was fun and felt like a great way to kick off 2019.  Please share your intentions or themes for 2019.