The Season of Advent 2022

HOPE

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent (coming). This is the time of year when we prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus’s birth. 

“The promise for Israel and the church is Jesus Christ. 

The Lord has come to hear and will arrive again. 

This is the essence of Advent.”

The Advent Wreath is usually made of evergreens wrapped around a ring. The wreath has candles placed around the circle surrounded by evergreens.

There are three purple and one pink candle.

Those candles represent HOPE, FAITH, JOY, and PEACE.

There is a fifth white candle inside the ring, and it is lit on Christmas day to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

The evergreens of the wreath symbolize everlasting life during winter and death.

The ring’s circular shape symbolizes God’s never-ending love and eternal life HE makes possible.

This past Sunday, we started our Advent season. A family is chosen or volunteers to share a devotion and lite the candle.  We lit the first purple candle, which symbolizes HOPE, sometimes called the Prophecy Candle. It represents the HOPE felt in expectation of the coming Messiah.

The Bible: Isaiah 40:31

“But those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” 

The Dictionary describes HOPE:

“HOPE is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu said:

“HOPE is seeing the light despite all of the darkness.”

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
 And ransom captive Israel,
 That mourns in lonely exile here.
 Until the Son of God appears.
 Rejoice! Rejoice!
 Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

I have thought a lot about HOPE over the years, especially in this current season of my life. Sometimes I had to dig deep to find reasons to HOPE, continue living, and come out of the pit. 

Jesus was the HOPE I had to re-embrace to survive. I said re-embrace because I had let go of all HOPE and had nothing to cling to but pain, grief, suffering, and deep sadness. Ironically, I saw my most significant turnaround during the Advent season.  Toward the end of the Advent season in 2016, I saw a light of HOPE at the end of the tunnel. It took a year of HOPE, prayer, God’s word, and therapy to get into a good head space. I knew that I could not bear my burdens alone, and I desperately needed Jesus if I was going to survive.

During the Advent season of 2017, I started to find my way back to my first love.

Back to HOPE.

Back to Living.

Back to Christ.

I have rediscovered my HOPE again, and I don‘t intend on letting my HOPE or my GOD go again!

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Fall: The Season of Transformations

Fall is finally here!

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. Emily Brontë’s poem, “Fall, Leaves, Fall,” tells of her love of fall:  

“Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen day and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me.
Fluttering from the autumn tree.”

When I was a little girl, I used to love to rake the leaves into huge piles and fall into the beautiful bundle of orange, red, green, and yellow leaves. The enemy would like me to continue associating one of my favorite times of the year with sorrow, grief, and pain.

I choose to celebrate the Fall that I love. The Fall that God created.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

2 Corinthians 9:10

God, the ultimate Master Artist, has beautifully designed the fall season. Unlike the green trees of spring:

I love the color palette of red, orange, and yellows of fall leaves.

The crunching sound of the fallen leaves as I walk is like music.

The refreshing feel of the crisp cool air upon my face slightly tingles my cheeks.

The warmth of the nighttime bond fires and the crackling sounds of the fire burning.

I cannot forget it; it’s boots and sweater weather.

 

Fall is a season of transformation. We are transforming from the seasons of new beginnings to the seasons of contemplation and reflection. It is a season for thanks, giving, and gratitude that will lead us into the season of faith, hope, and giving. 

Let’s not allow ourselves to fall into a season of despair and hopelessness. Let us CHOOSE to focus on what is good in our lives. The good things that God has done and will continue to do in our lives. My brother/Pastor said,

“The Lord has written the full chapters of our lives.

We need to walk in the good that He has already done.

We need to have that right now, faith. Jesus is trustworthy.”

Minister Kai Brown

Every season presents its challenges, the storms of Spring, the unbearable heat of Summer, and the cold, snow, and ice of Winter. However, the beauty of fall gives me hope. Fall is not dead or dying; Fall is a beginning as the sun rises and sets on picturesque views of the season. We will reflect on the past year and determine where we need to adjust our focus for the following year.

Enjoy this beautiful Fall season of transformation and reflect on what’s good in your life.

I love you all!

Curveball

June 7, 2022

I wrote this blog a few months ago, but I felt the need to share. One night, I remembered my grandfather sitting on our front porch watching the Detroit Tigers game on television. Yes, we were on the front porch.

The Tiger Stadium (Getty Images)

He took me to my first Detroit Tigers game at Tiger Stadium in the ’70s. I can still feel the heat and smell the hot dogs my grandfather bought from the “Hot Dog Guy.”  We ate popcorn, peanuts, and yes, Cracker Jacks! I would listen intently as he explained what was going on during the game. I remember one particular pitch.

He yelled, “Curveball.”  

All these years later, I remember my grandfather explaining that pitch.

What is a curve ball?

A curveball is a ball that was thrown off course. The dictionary explains that a curveball is a ball thrown hard in a downward motion that caused the ball to go to one side as it reached Homeplate. 

A curveball is also something surprising, unexpected, or disruptive. (Dictonary.com)

In our life, we are thrown many curveballs.

I was looking for my life to go in one direction, but… 
I was thrown a curveball.

That ball took me by surprise.
That ball took me off course.
That ball sent my life into a tailspin.
That ball shook my foundation.

But…

That ball did not break me.
I was cracked and even fractured.
But my foundation was fixed and welded together.
It was not going anywhere!

Why?

Because my foundation was not built by brick and mortar, not by sand or dirt.

My foundation was FIRM!

My foundation was built by the Word of God.
My foundation was built by the Blessings of God.
My foundation was built by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This foundation was built by the prayer of the saints in my life.

God’s Promises

I did not go crazy
I did not stay in depression obsessed with suicidal thoughts.
I remembered HIS Hope
I remembered HIS Promises
I remembered that HE is a man of HIS WORD!

I was lifted up and out of my pit and into the arms of JESUS.

I will continue to write about what God has done for me
because someone needs to hear that they are never alone.

They need to hear, don’t give up on what God has for you.
They need to hear, don’t give in because God has enormous plans for you.
They need to hear that they are worthy of love and so much more.
They need to know that GOD is able.
They need to know that HE has forgiven them.
They need to know that HE loves them with an agape kind of love.

Don’t give up because God will never give up on you!
So, when life throws you a curveball…
HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!

Letter To My Enemy

devil,

I am sure you meant to destroy me… but you did not!

I will never understand the reason behind your actions.

But know part of me died that day

Too young to realize…

That my opened mind and led to a world of…

Emotions…

Experiences…

Things not for a young girl…

Forever changed…

***

Did you know what your actions would cost me?!

A lifetime of mistrust…

A lifetime of insecurities…

A lifetime of self-hate…

A lifetime of doubt…

A lifetime of pain…

A lifetime of shame…

Secrets destroy!

********

What I could have been…

The things I could have done…

The places I could have went..

Dreams killed and destroyed

Paralyzed in a life that was not my own…

From the inside, looking out the window…

Screaming…

Yearning…

For the innocence lingering outside my view

********

Then I heard you died…

********

Emptiness inside…

Nothing to fill the hole

Engulfed in the darkness of the pit

********

Did you go to Heaven or hell?

How many others suffered because of you?

What about my retribution…

What about my retaliation…

What about your punishment…

What about me, them, all of us…

Does it even matter?

********

You see, you took NOTHING from me.

You may have delayed

You may have stalled

You tried it…

********

A coward

A pawn

A cast-off

You allowed the devil to use you…

To steal, kill, destroy

Because HE loves me so much… I can finally forgive you!

********

your glory, your control… stops here!

********

No worries…

No worries???

Yes, no worries!

*********

Because I know a MAN…

HE loved me…

HE loved me before I knew me…

HE loved me before the foundations of the earth

HE loved me, and HE knows the number of hairs on my head

JESUS LOVES ME!

*********

Because of JESUS, I learned to TRUST!

Because of JESUS, I am SECURE!

Because of JESUS, I LOVE myself!

Because of JESUS, I have FAITH!

Because of JESUS, I have JOY!

Because of JESUS, I am BLESSED because HE is in me!

********

Because of HIM, my dream delayed is NOT my dream denied!

Just another Blessing in the storm

I love you, JESUS!

Because of YOU, I live to dream again…

A Daughter of a KING

Farewell 2021!! Don’t Take the Bait!

Dear Hearts,

As we bid 2021 farewell, I look back on this year, and I have relished in Jesus Joy. I have experienced love and happiness, and I have laughed a lot. I have experienced some success and overcome some obstacles. There were also moments of loss that produced sadness and crying. But through it all, I kept my faith and trusted in GOD for every and anything. 

This year was not easy. We have continued to battle a global epidemic, personal distresses, and a volatile political climate as a country. There is so much in the news and our world that makes us angry, upset, and disappointed. However,…

God still sits on the throne, and if you proclaim to be a faithful follower of Christ, I tell you… DON’T TAKE THE BAIT!! 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

Don’t take the bait of the enemy and have a hardened heart. I will tell you to trust God and keep your hope alive in your heart, home, and community. It will have to start from within ourselves. We have to radiate love and respect from our hearts to our communities. But that love and respect must begin with showing love and grace to our families, and then we can reach out to our communities.

I don’t know how often I can say this, but I will keep saying this statement to everyone who wants to hear it. “Life is way too short for/to ….” (Fill in the blank)

Life is too short to bear grudges against one another going into 2022

Life is too short to hold anger in our hearts going into 2022

Life is too short to hold on to resentment and jealousy, into 2022

Life is too short to hold on to unforgiveness into 2022

Don’t take the enemy’s bait and enter into the new year with the old year’s mindset.

I believe that God has a perfect plan for my life and your life. We just need to trust HIM

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I love you all with the love of Christ

Be Blessed!

My moments of joy in the midst of Sadness

December 12, 2021

God will always give us moments of joy in the midst of sadness if we look for them and embrace them.

It is a definite choice that we make each day when we get up from our beds. That joy is not dependent on people speaking into our lives, what they can do for us., or their acceptance of us. Yes, it is an added bonus, the icing on the cake. However, that type of joy is fleeting and temporary.
But the JOY that I have in Jesus is strong, enduring, and everlasting!

It’s the Joy that I choose when I decide to laugh instead of cry…
When I decide to smile instead of yell…
When I decide to stand instead of living in defeat…
When I decided to grieve God’s way instead of the enemy’s way…
Meaning, I will continue to give God praise through every obstacle, barrier, detour, and roadblock even when I don’t feel like it.


I said all this to say even though I am grieving another significant loss in my life, I will still find times to have JOY and experience happiness and laughter in my life.
There is always a blessing in every storm.
I love you all
😘♥️😘

Season of Grief

How I Fought to Reclaim My Favorite Season

September 23, 2021

Yesterday, September 22, 2021, was the first day of Fall, my favorite time of the year.  Anyone who knows me knows that I started talking about missing my boots, sweaters, and fall weather in late August.  (Yes, they do speak to me and call my name… lol) Just kidding!  I love the cool air, the changing colors of the trees, yes, the time to wear my boots and sweaters.  I allowed the enemy to use my grief and depression to control everything I loved for a few years.  

From the middle of September to November, I used to call it my dark season.  During this time, five years ago, my life took a turn for the worse when my late husband passed.  I don’t need to tell you the pain and distress I felt deep in my soul.  The enemy tried to take over my existence with thoughts of suicide and depression.  He tried to take my family’s way, and he almost succeeded in taking away my favorite season and turned it into a gloomy and miserable reality. 

But because I am the daughter of the King and He loves me beyond anything, I could even imagine.

He pull me out of that existence back into His presence of Joy, Love, and Peace. It was a tough uphill battle, but I prayed, and others prayed along with me along the way.  I had to allow Jesus to minister to the Holy Spirit and guide me to get the help that I so desperately needed to combat this way of feeling and thinking.  I could not and cannot fight this war alone; I had to be honest with myself and those around me. I had to make some tough decisions, and I still make them every single day.  This new normal that I live is not easy, but when I get up and breathe and live on this side of the earth, I know that God still has a purpose for my life.

Jesus, my family, my village, and my therapist, helped me to win the battle for my insanity, peace, and mental health.  The war is still raging every second, but now I am one step ahead of the enemy.  Why?  I have a village of people across the world who will lift my name and my family’s name in their prayers: my friends, like sisters, and sorority sisters who encourage and support me. 

 My daughters ShaRonda and Morgan keep me on my toes, and their love and encouragement mean the world to me.  I want to be an example of a strong woman who is not afraid to take risks or reach out for help.  I want them to be proud of me.  

My longtime brother, Minster Kai Brown, told me, “Don’t Worry, Pray.”  

In every sense of the word except by physical blood, my sisters Laura Coaxum always told me to “Stay Close.” And Sharron Williams said, “Lo, Trust God.” 

My spiritual mentor Elaine Belardo has encouraged me when she is dealing with her struggles that God is at work in the detours and roadblocks of my life.  

My heart, my Chapter 2, Sam Moore, through his love and encouragement he tells me that I can do anything I put my mind to do.  

My therapist Dr. Phifer, when I first sat down in her office, told me that God loved me, and he had never left me.  She has given me the tools to keep me mentally healthy and my head clear so I can clearly hear from God. 

I stayed ahead of the enemy, not by my might or any power I could have, but it is the power of Jesus that is at work through me.  

I am not perfect, nor is my life perfect, and I still make mistakes every day.  However, I so serve and worship a perfect God who not only loves me unconditionally, but HE loves you just as much! 

Whatever the devil has stolen from you, tap into the power of Jesus that resides in you and reclaim it back!

Reclaim your Peace, Joy, and the Love that the Father has for you!

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

If I can do it, so can you!!

I love you all with the love of Christ!

My Faith Is Tested, But I Still Trust GOD!

31 August 2021

The book of James tells us,  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).What Does James 1:2 Mean?

I can testify that in my lifetime, my faith has been tested many times.  Sometimes I have passed, and sometimes I had a lesson I needed to learn.  On-time I was utterly destroyed, but yet I still stand. The lesson I learned from this test was that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

It was never my fear that controlled anything good in my life.

It was the Joy of the Lord that was deeply embedded in my soul.

It is the Sound Mind that God has given me.

It is the His Power that I will draw from when I am in despair

It is the Love of the special people in my life that will see me through.

But most of all, it is my faith in God that no matter what is happening around me, in my life, or this world, HE will always be with me.

Even as the enemy tries to drag me back to the brinks of depression, I know that the light of the Lord is a bubble of protection around me, and I will NOT be afraid.

He keeps me protected

He keeps me in my right mind

He keeps me surrounded in love

Even with what I am facing, My God is still a Way Maker

He is still a Miracle Worker

He is still a Promise Keeper

He is still the Light in the darkness

That’s who my GOD is!  (Way Maker)

My God is the Joy of my soul, and I will continue to trust Him in all things

My dear hearts, I pray that you also continue to trust GOD in every area of your life.  No matter what the circumstances are, above all, trust HIM.   Never Never, Never give up!!

God loves you, and so do I!

Be Blessed in the Lord!

Purging My Life (The Physical Edition) We can do hard things Pt.2 (Adjust My Focus)

May 29, 2021

The Lord has told me it is time to adjust my focus.  I talk a lot about my journey with grief and depression, but I want to adjust my focus.  While those issues are still at the forefront of my mind, there is more for me to continue telling you how I survived, how I have overcome, and how I am not just alive but living. 

In previous blog posts, I have talked about purging my life. 

Purging my Life “It’s Time for a New Thing” From Greif & Clutter to Joy & Tranquility

Purging my Life 4: Physically Purging the house and the Body Purge/ Heart Matters.

My home, my mental health, and now it is time for my physical health. 

Yes, I have accomplished some hard things, but there is so much more!  In our mental health wellness journey, we cannot forget about our physical health.  I knew that I could not do anything about my physical health until I handled the thingse going on in my head. Now that I am doing well in that area, it is time to move forward.

I received some numbers from my doctor that I did not like.  It has taken me two years and a global pandemic to face that diagnosis.  I was told that my blood sugar levels were elevated.  I knew that I needed to take action to bring those numbers back down so I don’t develop diabetes.  Whenever I went to the doctor, my numbers were perfect, so I was in shock.  In all honesty, I shouldn’t be shocked.  I did not have the best diet, and I did not stick to an exercise program long enough to make a difference, not to mention that I was grieving a significant loss and COVID-19 25.  (I equate this to the Freshman 15).

I can do hard things!

I did not want to end up with diabetes, so I decided to take charge of my physical health, make significant changes, and fight against it.  I knew I needed to change my diet, but I also needed some physical exercise.  I decided to invest in myself and made a mini gym in my home, including the little bike that goes nowhere, a Peloton Bike.  It is nothing fancy, but I can get up every morning and work out for at least 30-45 minutes and again in the evening. 

Now, when I first received my bike, it sat for a while unused.  I kept thinking about what I have gotten myself into!  I completed my first ride, and my behind was sore. I was breathing breaths I had never breathed before.  I had to call on the name of JESUS to finish that ride!  Then I stopped for a few more weeks thinking, what in the world are you doing!!!  LOL.  I eventually got back in the sandal and found some wonderful support groups through Facebook, and I have completed 65 bike rides and a few boot camps! 

I can do hard things!

Now I have started to attack my diet.  I needed to make significant changes because any fitness and nutrition expert will tell you that you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.  So, it did not matter how many miles I rode, how high my cadence was, or the level of my resistance; I was never going to be successful without changing what goes into my mouth.  So, this is where I am now in this next phase of my journey.  I will keep you posted about my progress. 

Just know that GOD is GOOD, and he has equipped us to do the hard thingsFaithe faith in God, and theFaithe Faith in yourself.

I love you all with the love of Jesus Christ!

 

We All Can Do Hard Things

May 24, 2021

Hello, my lovelies!!

My graduate studies are winding down as I work on my thesis project. I have had some time to reflect on my last 5 years. I look at the woman that I am now versus the woman that I was then, and I realized that I not only like her, but I also love her. But at one time, I did not like her, and I even hated her. I went through all the what-ifs…

If I had done this or that…

If I was better prepared…

If… If… IF

People tell me I have changed. I don’t think that I have changed; I believe that THEIR attitudes and perceptions of me have changed. I know some people don’t like who I have become. Their problem, not mine….

Okay, to be honest, I guess I have changed. I mean, how could I have not changed? I lost and have gone through so much over the past 5 years. That type of grief, depression, and loss will change anyone know. However, I have gained and learn so much more. I have become stronger, a little wiser, and more independent. I have gained confidence in who I am as a woman, my purpose, and I have learned to put my trust more in God and not people. God will never disappoint me. NEVER!

I have learned that I can do some hard things, and if I can do them, so can YOU!!

No one and I do mean NO ONE gets to tell you what you can and can’t do with your life.

At the age of 50, after going through a devastating loss, I still managed to finish my Bachelor’s Degree less than a year later, and if I can do it, so can YOU!

At the age of 51, I was granted membership into the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a goal of mine for over 30 years. If I can do it, so can YOU!

I was not a very good student in high school, and I struggled to get a C. Now I am working on finishing my Master’s Degree while holding a 3.8 GPA, working a full-time job, serving in church, community, and sorority obligations.

IF I CAN… SO CAN YOU!

However, none of the accomplishments above or anything in my future would be possible with my Daddy GOD. He saw something in me that I could not see in myself!

When God told me that I still had a purpose, it was up to me to do the hard thing, step out on faith, and trust God to lead and guide me.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

I also believe that God will give you the desires of your heart when your desires line up with the purpose He created you to accomplish.

If you are unsure of your purpose or your next move, pray to the Lord for guidance and then watch and listen for an answer.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Strength through Christ will enable you to do the hard things. Trust me. He has already equipped you to do hard things.

I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and take charge of your hopes and dreams.

IF you are afraid… do it anyway!!

My sister and brother, you can do this! Let’s live a life full of regrets.

Live Again

Dream Again

Accomplish your Goals

Love Again

Yes, it will not be easy, but anything worth having is worth the work and fighting for.

YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH HARD THINGS!

Now, let’s not get it twisted; my life is far from perfect, and God is continually working on me and my imperfections. But my imperfections make me the woman I am today, and I love her and am very proud of her.

I love you all!