Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Reflection Of Beauty


By Karen Ricketts

As people we tend to judge others based on their outer appearance as an indication of the type of person they are. While outer appearances may say a lot about an individual, the true character of the individual might not be so easily seen. The saying, “Beauty is only skin deep” means just that. Society tends to label beauty based on looks only. It’s like the celebrities who pay a lot to makeup artists, designers, and stylist so the skin deep beauty they put forward is top notch.

True beauty, however, penetrates the surface of the skin and is revealed through the heart and mind of an individual. Beauty is reflected in how we think and how we treat others. Beauty is reflected in unselfish love and giving, wisdom, realness, being considerate of others, having the ability to forgive, strength, patience, endurance, and a sound mind. Of course we all like to look good on the outside and there’s nothing wrong with that. For us to be a true reflection of beauty takes willingness and time because healing takes time. Our true beauty is revealed more and more as we seek to confront and deal with life's situations that caused us hurt and pain. It comes with a willingness to be open and honest about our struggles.

 As I continue to learn and grow in serving the Most High, I have to acknowledge and recognize the layers of me that has to be peeled away so I can be a reflection of beauty, which is a reflection of Him. While, it’s not an easy process and doesn’t happen overnight, it’s vitally necessary and will be worth the effort. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Keeping It Real

By Keesah Pelzer 

Ever met someone who wasn't transparent about the life they live? When I say transparent I mean real, upfront or fourth coming about their challenges, struggles and realistic life events. 

Much like the rest of the world, we each are battling our way through adversity, but sometimes when we go through things we're not as honest with ourselves as we should be. I recently got a chance to sit down with one of my sisters for a good heart to heart conversation. We both kept it real with each other about our flaws and how we see some internal things that we don't like about ourselves. As we proceeded to talk about the continuous process of seeking our Heavenly Father for change, I began to see that there was a jewel in the midst of this. 

When you keep it real with yourself and realize what your struggles are, and the areas in which you need to be built up in, you have a better chance at fighting, rather than denying it all, and sweeping it under the rug. Even after the given revelation of the issues within, we still have to take every precaution to ensure our hearts are guarded. 

Truth is we all have something that we need to stay in the Lords face about. Our struggles and flaws all come to humble us, but the issue is we've been taught to cover things up and carry on as if there's nothing wrong with us (internally), which has us walking around hostage-like, and bound up. We're all flawed beings, but one of the beautiful things about being able to identifying our own flaws and keeping it real with ourselves, is having the ability to see things for what they really are. 

Though recognition is one aspect, It still takes more than humanetics to bring forth deliverance. It  takes the power of the Most High, and diligence and much submission to our process, on our part, to be healed, delivered and set free in our hearts. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Return On Investment

By Karen Ricketts 

There’s a term used in the investment world called ROI or Return on Investment. It is basically the profit you gain from whatever investments you make, and it can be positive, negative, or even no gain at all.

Similarly, as individuals we invest in many things in our lifetime. Our investments take the form of relationships, education, lotto, all activities, people, and whatever else we choose. Investing in these things don’t always have to do with how much money you spend, but also comes in your commitment to the activity or person including your loyalty, dedication, time spent and your emotional involvement. Likewise you expect to get something back from these investments. For example, if you have a good friend you care about, you spend time together, you’re there for your friend and you expect in return for your friend to be there for you.

You may also experience periods of gain in your life. For example, you graduate, meet someone special, learn a new skill or get a new job, etc. But just like the stock market your relationships, friendships, and other lifestyle investments can bottom out and crash causing you to lose everything. 

Did you know that our heavenly father invested heavily in you, all of you. Your mind body soul and spirit, and it is his will that you should prosper and have peace and stability in your life. Christ invested in us by giving his life for us. And likewise because of his investment, the return he’s asking for is for our souls to prosper and for us to live eternally with him. He’s an unselfish investor because we benefit greatly from the price he paid.

Do your best to invest back into the Lord, to follow his laws and commandments, to seek him always and to serve him on a daily basis. As he invest in us we likewise should investment back in him. The return on investment is great and this investment is well worth the risk. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Loyalty

By Keesah Pelzer 


Today the word loyalty has taken on an entirely new meaning and depending on who you ask, you may get several different answers. 

So what is loyalty? Most of us have been taught that being devoted consists of pledging our allegiance to the point where it can sometimes hurt us, and in the midst of that, we lose the essence of who we are. 

I, being the first partaker, know exactly what it feels like to religiously display such faithfulness, only to get not even get a fraction of loyalty in return. And by that I mean sticking up for people, inheriting their personal problems, lending money, valuable time and other things that I can't get back. Though it was painful, It taught me a valuable lesson; In order to show loyalty, you must first value the relationship at hand. I didn't get what I was looking for, because those individuals didn't value me nor our relationship. 

Overall, loyalty is something that happens over a period of time, and in that time we have to use the discernment of the Most High and be conscience of who we share that loyalty with, and how much of it they get. I was always taught that not everyone is worthy to break bread with you, sit down to eat with you, or even get too personal to where you're telling them your business. Loyalty is a privilege and a treasure, and should be treated as such. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

More Than Money Can Buy

By Angela Cox


There's nothing that compares to the value of a human life, and nothing can ever replace it. A word that comforts when we need it the most and the natural affection that comes from a hug or kiss, carries it's weight in gold, far beyond monetary value. A healthy body, and the use of ones limbs were created far beyond human ability but are a Gift from God Almighty. I once read a line written by a King named David that recognized God's handiwork and he expressed it by saying that "he was fearfully and wonderfully made". Nonetheless, the things that don't require financial exchange go ignored, and great emphasis has been placed on everything of monetary value alone.



Although money is a defense and a necessary tool for daily living and enjoyment, it was never meant to take the place of relationships, or cause people to kill and sell their soul to get it. Some will marry someone with plenty of "loot" for the sole purpose of convenience & security, but love has nothing to do with it. I've found that some of the wealthiest people are the most miserable and lonely, because they only have tangible things without the riches on the inside like joy, peace and love, or people around them that have a genuine heartfelt connection to them. So they experience one side of life without the other.


When I was growing up, I didn't have a father around and I lived with my mother only until the age of five, but was still able to have periodic visits with her until she passed away. Back then, I'd give anything to have them both and all the love and security that came with it. Even though life didn't turn out that way, I learned in the process, that money can't take the place of genuine relationships. It wasn't until I became an adult that I developed a relationship with my father and no money or gift could take the place of spending time with him or having an opened invitation to be a part of his life. The value of spending time laughing, learning, and being esteemed by him was priceless. As a result of spending time, forgiveness and understanding took place.

Sometimes when a parent is absent or not physically present, we as the child or adult will become filled with animosity and the wrong motive and intentions in our heart, especially if we had adults in our life that planted negative seeds in us about them. We'll expect material things from them and could care less about a relationship. But in that, you rob yourself of treasure's made without hands, like inner healing, and restoring of the heart that only God can give, freed from hatred and bitterness.


This scenario is the same when it comes to having a relationship with God. There's things that only He can give that money just can't buy. Like love in your heart, a peace of mind, strength at times when we are weak and feel helpless, relief when we feel distressed, and His protective hand when we're surrounded by danger. He holds the key to the treasures made without hands, and no price tag can be placed on that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Proven Success

By Patricia McKinney 


 In order to have anything worth value in life, whether it be a business, organization, group, etc., it not only takes hard work, but also a spirit of excellence to draw people.  As a business owner, CEO and President of my own Private Foundation and businesses, I can honestly say that it's both the professionalism and excellence spirit that draws people.  What is an excellent spirit?  It's good character, and professionalism in how you deal with people, and how you operate as a business.  One with an excellent spirit takes pride in what they do, and their presentation is at it's highest standard.  When a prospect, customer, or client comes to you, they'll know that they'll get good quality service and the best of care because of your level of expertise. 

The key to success lies in the path of newness, by  trying something that's unfamiliar and getting your feet wet in an area that's never been discovered before. Sometimes this is the only way to find your niche, and where you best fit. It's the way to find your true God given gift or talent that leads to success, and helps others also.  As long as we live on this earth, change always presents itself but it's up to you to step into it, and stop "chasing the wind." Besides, who wants to be "critically acclaimed" or best known for cheap talk without the evidence of proven success?" 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Use Wisdom


By Karen Ricketts 


There are times in life when people will look to us for help, but we have to be wise in realizing the extent and limitations in the type of help we can offer to others. Whether it’s financial, emotional, being a listening ear or offering advice, we must use wisdom. 

Recently my daughter gave a homeless man ten dollars. I was not pleased at all. I explained to her that ten dollars is a lot of money to give to someone that number one, didn't ask for it, and number two, she didn't know if he even knew the value of money. While her heart and intentions were right, the method or way she choose to help this individual was wrong. I say this because this individual is only on the streets during the day and is never seen begging. It appears to me that the help this man needed has more to do with his psychological state of mind rather than his finances and a dollar or two would have been ok.

Similarly, when we are going through rough patches in life we will most often look for a monetary or financial fix to our problems when it goes deeper than that. We often pray for finances or money, when we should be praying for strength, guidance, and direction to successfully make it through the situation we are in. It's these trials and set backs that mold, shape, and make us into better individuals with the help of our Lord and Savior. While we may look to family, friends, and organizations for help and support only he knows exactly what we need for the situation we are in. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Modesty

By Keesah Pelzer 


If you look up the word modesty, you'll more than likely find images of men and women draped in mother Teresa like clothing, long conservative dresses or a casual suit and tie. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with adorning ourselves in such attire, I believe that there has to be a deeper meaning than what we're being shown. 

For decades we have been given these images as a rule of thumb to depict what it means to be a modest or holy women and men of the Most High, but what I'm finding out is that there are so many individuals who look just like ordinary people, who are rough around the edges, who wear hoodies and Timberland boots, or women who wear nice fitted dresses that compliments their curves, who love God! And guess what? He loves us too! 

Society has a way of painting a picture of what they think godliness should look like, but from what I'm experiencing, modesty and holiness is a way of life. Its living right and keeping the commandments of our Heavenly Father, to the best of our ability. It's being an example, and going against the grain of tradition. It's being set apart, and even though the world tells us something completely different, modesty and holiness is still the right way to live. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Open Your Mind

By Karen Ricketts

Coming to Christ means you have to be willing to put to the side almost everything You were taught and be open minded to learning God's way. It's not an easy thing to unlearn a behavior or a way of thinking, but Christ in your life will lead you, guide you and give you the strength you need. 

In the Most High there is a process. We get practical lessons where we're tested and challenged in the areas in our heart and life, because the Lord wants to bring change, healing and deliverance. Just like learning to tie my shoelaces, I have failed lessons, tests and challenges over and over again. But I refuse to give up and have asked the Lord to take away the shame and embarrassment I felt. Like a toddler you have to grow and be able to do certain task on your own, and so it is in Christ as well. 

The saying, "Growing up is hard to do" comes to mind, but it is essential. The Bible tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). "Through Christ" is the key, and as I continue to learn from God, I also hope to advance in my development.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Standing Under Correction

By Keesah Pelzer 

Millions of people walk around everyday thinking that being corrected is completely unacceptable. People will go through all kinds of depths just to avoid admitting their mistakes, and some even go as far as covering things up. Some find fault in one another, while others blame someone else or deny that the event has ever taken place. Although being mistaken can be a bad thing, who is to say that it doesn't have its benefits? 


Believe it or not, I used to be extremely embarrassed of being wrong, and most of the time, I still have my days, but all in all, there's actually nothing wrong with being inaccurate, as long as we don't make a habit out of it, or keep repeating the same mistakes. How else are we supposed to learn if we never get corrected, and never open up to the possibilities of what may really be? 


One of the most awesome things about not being right is that it can somewhat be liberating. It gives us a chance to stop and re-evaluate our situation through the help of the Most High, so that we can actually move towards a more beneficial direction in life, or our next opportunity to get it right. 


There are tons of things that I'm just now learning after being in error or without understanding for almost three decades. A lot of things I thought I knew the answers to, but I soon found out through my own personal experience's, that I was completely off. 


In no way am I glorifying a habitual case of falsehood, because there's a difference between a person who stays stuck repeating the same error over and over because they never fix the underlying cause, VS the person who is able to move past it and grow from it, because they acknowledged their mistakes and want to get it right if granted with a second opportunity. You get to choose whether being wrong holds you back , or if it helps you grow and succeed. 


Though standing under correction can be tough at times, and even frustrating, and frightening, we cant allow that to stop us, because our Heavenly Father corrects those that he loves. If he didn't love us, he would just continue to allow us to walk around in error, leaving us wit no chance at all to beat the odds that are against us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Out Of My Comfort Zone

By Karen Ricketts


I have been living in the United States now for over thirty years, coming here when I was around fourteen years old. While I was happy to reunite with my mother after over five years living in Jamaica away from her, I wasn't quite ready for a permanent stay in the US. As human beings, we become comfortable with the people, places and things that are familiar to us, so change can be difficult. 


I was thrown into a whole new language, people, and culture and had to quickly adjust. My plans to return to high school, and re-unite with my friends was thrown out the door unexpectedly. Often times, we have plans for our lives but then someone or something will come along to detour us. Or the plans we have, don't line up with the plan God has for us and we find ourselves in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar place. 

What was also evident to me was that my mother didn't respect or value me enough as an individual to discuss her plans with me ahead of time . You can always tell your value or worth to someone base on how they treat you. People are opportunist, and they'll take advantage of you based on your situation or ignorance, family included. She continued to inform me of life changing news at the last minute. We moved out of that State only a few days before I was informed, and moved again two other times after that.

Being a teenager and a recent immigrant to this country made my situation very difficult. I had no one to talk to or seek advice from. I realized that this was an advantage for my mother in many ways. It kept me off balance and gave her almost complete control over me. It also kept me from forming really close friendships due to the uncertainty. 

After high school, I learned some hard lessons in surviving and staying afloat on my own. I made many mistakes and missed out on opportunities due to my ignorance and lack of guidance. But it is only through adversity, circumstances and situations can you know what you're made of. That can only happen when you're taken out of your comfort zone. 

God uses adversity to build us up and to even get us to move from one place to the next. Your past is an important part of who you are today. I value those experiences because not only did I make it through, but I also learned a lot from them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pearls

By Patricia McKinney

A pearl is known as a gemstone that is very rare, and beautiful, made without human intervention, and not easy to come by.  In order to obtain a pearl, divers would have to go deep into the oceans floor to retrieve them from the oyster. 

The key here is that a pearl is a representation of something that has value. Be it wisdom, knowledge, or something that you treasure that is of value to you. It can also be something material, or of monetary value, even your physical being.

(Here's a few examples)

Have you ever had a friend that came to you in a flood of tears, crying about an abusive relationship that they're in, and they needed to know what to do about it? In turn,  you sat with them for hours on end, and explained to them  how it was tearing them down, but they went right back to it, as if you said nothing at all?
 
Have you ever given your all to a family member in a crisis, only to have them turn on you like a pit bull pulled by the ear, at the slightest whim?  Better yet, have you ever extended your mercies to a stranger that asked " if you could spare a few dollars for something to eat", but they took the money, and bought alcohol or cigarettes with it instead, and did the same thing to everyone else that crossed their path? Or, have you ever fallen in love with someone, only to find out that you were "the other woman" and not high on his priority list like you thought, and you were crushed because he wasn't in love with you?

Though these are just a few  case scenario's that I'm sure we can all identify with,  it doesn't minimize the fact that we still have to value what we have, and that everyone that comes as a water log in tears, or sadden countenance, and sob stories will value what you give them. In order to know that, we need help from God, and we have to learn from our mistakes, and where we've lacked boundaries in the past. 

In fact some people come to you seeking temporary relief for a period of time, others come to receive, while some may have ill intentions altogether.  Not everyone that crosses your path is going to be on the sidelines cheering you on as you run this race in life. Sometime, what we have is not for everyone else but for us from God so we can live, have peace, thrive, and survive in this lifetime.  

Therefore,  we have to learn not to cast our pearls before swine. This is not to say that the person that comes to you for love, affection, advise, time, or something of material value is a "swine", that's not what's being said here at all. Neither does it say to stop the good that you do, or withhold the love you have to give. 

But this phrase was advise given by the Most High Himself, in a parable of wisdom, and instruction that still holds true today.  This teaches us to have wisdom in dealing with people, and to use good judgment and caution so we can guard what we have, because some people will only come to drain you and continue to live how they want to without change, while others are looking for temporary emotional, material or physical relief at your expense.




Monday, November 21, 2016

Trials & Wisdom

By Patricia McKinney 


What are trials?  Part of the meaning of the word in relation to my topic refers to an affliction or trouble, subject to suffering or grief and distress, the state or position of a person being tried or tested, the act of trying, testing or putting to the proof. (Random House Webster's Dictionary)


The trials of life can take an unequivocal toll on your faith, and you never know where you'll end up or how things will pan out. Especially if there's nothing tangible to hold onto or any visible sign to provide the proof that things will go as planned.

Over the past ten years, I've had my share of ups and downs, set backs and disappointments. In the process, I've learned to live and be grateful with a little as well as alot, and I gained a wealth of knowledge as a result. There were many postponements, trips I had to cancel, purchases that I couldn't make, people that I had to separate from, business set backs, and those that supported me before, decided that they wanted to march to the beat of a different drum and do a 360 degree turn.

One of the hardest parts of my trial was dealing with people that fit the bill perfectly to the Proverb of Solomon 25:19, "confidence in an unfaithful man in a time of trouble is like like a broken tooth, and a foot out joint", causing pain instead of pleasure, while others were around for a brief period of time. Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners can identify with set backs. You know how the story goes, when you have to revamp with new ideas, and you discover that people were not as reliable as you thought, when bills mount up like Mount Everest, and your funds and plans don't align up, so you have to be resourceful, sound familiar? No one ever starts off at the top.  Even the most prestigious business moguls know that to be a fact. (example Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump)

Remember the poem by Langston Hughes, "A Raisin In the Sun?" At times I felt like my dream had been deferred. Especially when it seemed like it was right at the brink of success, only to have things come to a complete halt.

In all these things I've learned  to never give up, but to be persistent. Just because your dream is deferred, does not mean that it's been denied. But the key is to be persistent, and keep the faith. Don't give up because you don't see things materialize right away. I'm glad, I kept moving and didn't let the visual of what seemed bleak, keep me from pursuing my blessing. I've learned to reflect on things that happened for me before, and how things worked out when I thought they wouldn't. I've learned to keep my focus on God and how he never let me down.  I'm glad I did, because now, I've made a come back.  Opportunity presents itself when you keep going. You have to continue to develop new relationships, and meet new people, while maintaining a positive attitude, stay prayerful, and notice the blessings in small things. Now I'm able to do the things that I had to put off before, and go places where I've never been. Remember that a dream deferred does not mean that it's been denied, but you have to be persistent.

Our trials are there to give us wisdom and make us resilient, they give us staying power. Have you ever thought that when things don't work out right away, or go as planned that there's more knowledge to be gained, or lessons to learn? So many people make the mistake of wanting to own a corporation without the footwork, and are not willing to start off small and work their way up.  Have you ever met a person that wouldn't be caught dead working  as a cashier at a grocery store, but they claimed they wanted to own their own business? The best things start from humble beginnings, and you're more appreciative if things aren't handed to you on a silver platter.



So think before you throw in the towel, I did.  Sometimes things may not happen right way and are deferred because God has another plan in store for you. It can also mean that things need restructuring to provide you with longevity? Longevity is usually stemmed from time invested and cannot be compared to an overnight sensation that doesn't last long. Anything worth having is cultivated over time, and doesn't happen overnight. If it does, watch out! You can bet your bottom dollar it won't be around for long. You'll end up like a one hit wonder, here today, and gone tomorrow.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Karma

By Patricia McKinney 


Just as God created gravity to bring order to the physical world, there's also a thing called "karma" that some say is a divine system of justice that is self-governing and infinitely fair and to every action, there is a reaction.

Karma is also known as the universal law of sowing and reaping, in other words, what ever you put out will surely come back to you.  I believe that if more people realized that they would be rewarded for their actions both good and bad, then they'd be more mindful of how they treat others, and how they conduct themselves. 

Sometimes it seems that those inflicting pain, heart ache or grief never get in turn what we feel they deserve, that they've gotten away with "murder" or some heinous act, or it takes forever for them to reap. Or when we witness unfair treatment or injustices occurring in the lives of others,  it seems that justice is never served, or the sentence is heartbreaking and so minimal that it seems that they aren't even being punished at all. 

Sometimes it seem like the wicked are prolonging their days, living it up, enjoying life while they hurt or disrespect others, and the innocent suffer at their relentless hands.  But just like the earth turns at rapid speed, so fast that the physical eye is unable to see its movement, people are beginning to reap the things that they've sown at rapid speed. 

People that were once wealthy are losing their homes, wealth, and livelihood. Those that were once living on top of the world, including the celebrity world, the corporate world, the sharks pool (you name it) are watching what they've worked so hard for, slip through their fingers. Those that repaid love with disrespect and hateful acts are reaping the "coldness of winter" from the personalities of people, and finding it hard to feel the warmth of love to cover them in hard times. High school class mates and the most popular, and attractive, that lived the fast life, partied all the time, consumed alcohol, drugs, and mistreated their bodies, are reaping the error of their ways. Now they look old and worn down, their once beautiful shine has faded,and what used to be a sculpted body has lost it's shape and has succumb to a "gravitational pull", and they're no longer that attractive man or woman that they used to be.

What used to take forever to unfold, or be exposed is now happening much more quickly because of the times that we live in. I personally believe that God created life and all life forms to live in harmony with each other, and human beings have lost their way in a sense of morality, love for one another, the appreciation for human life,  the beauty that God has created, and respect for Him overall. 

The Most High has given us all the responsibility as human beings, to be good stewards (care takers) of what he's given us. Sometimes we tend to forget that God set these laws in place as a governing factor to help us human beings live among one another to the best of our ability and as peaceably as we know how. This universal law was set in place as a reminder that "what we do unto others will also be done unto us".  It was given to us as a preventive measure, so we can avoid unnecessary problems that "we"  ourselves create. This law was created so that we can take others into consideration, and not just think of ourselves.

But now because people have sown "bad seeds" in the lives of others through immorality, greed, lust for power and control, cheating, manipulation, mistreating others, the disregard for innocent life, and they call "evil"good, they're being made as examples that a harvest comes around in its due season, whether good or bad in the form of "Karma".

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fathers & Men... From A Woman's Perspective

By Angela Cox  


I grew up in the flatland of the mid-west during the 1970's genre of Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, Rick James and the style of Afro's and the huge Cadillac's. Family gatherings were the norm then, and people were more in touch with their ethnicity.  During this time the new generation of black people changed quit a bit.  The young black man became more carefree although you still had those that were more productive during this era, but as time  progressed, it became common place for black families to be raised by one parent, their mothers.  

Normally people have the perception that men are usually the only ones effected by the lack of a fathers presence in the home and this is partly true.  But women also suffer in the long run when their father is not present in the home.  From my own experience, as well as viewing the issue on a broader scale,  the majority of black women, are raised in single family homes and during the course of their lifetime, their choice in men reflects the lack of a relationship that they've had with or without a father during their early years.  A man in the home is like a security blanket for the whole family.  His role of dominion speaks volume, and his presence alone can bring order to a home.   A mother of six children can warn her children many times before she has to take drastic measures in comparisons to a fathers stern look or raised voice.  A father's presence can provide a young male with a life giving role model that  helps to shape him as an individual and show him the model of what a man should be.  There are many men in the world who have awesome potential but never tapped into because they didn't have a visual to follow.     

Usually women will choose a man based off of the type of male role model set before her (both good or bad).  If that father or man in her life was neglectful or abusive, or a bad boy, more times that not she'll draw to that type in her later years. Sadly enough to say, most black women do, unless they're strong enough to stray away from the negative example set before them.  Growing up as a young girl,  many men in the family were teaching me without even realizing that they were leading by their example.  As children, we don't know were being trained by a persons actions, and that we attract to things we see. Men don't realize the impact that they have as figures and the authority that they have that's been given to them by God.  Father's are extremely important because they play a vital role in society as well as the family.  As a woman among the population of other women,  I made unhealthy choices in man partly due to a lack of good male role models, but mainly the lack of a father. But as time passed, I bounced back from my errors.   I've also taken in view, that  there are still a few good men and fathers that are standing their ground as manly men and it's a beautiful thing to see.  Men that are still standing are deserving of much respect,  esteeming and encouragement because the times are changing and many men have lost their place.  My prayer is that those men standing their ground will stay strong and set the example to those younger that will take heed to their example.  A real man's voice and stature always has an impact on others.