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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Prayer


By: Karen Ricketts

At points in our lives we have prayed to our Heavenly Father to get us out of situations and circumstances we found ourselves in. These situations could have been toxic, abusive, financially lacking, life threatening, caused us hurt, pain, to worry, be fearful, be anxious, or have us wishing life was more fair.
We pray more fervently or passionately when forced with problems or situations we need relief from or to get out of. Typically our prayers consist of asking the Most High for the thing we lack or to get us out of the trouble we are in. This is a logical request because we are hurting and emotional, just wanting the situation to end.  Speaking from experience and what I’ve learned is that we can spend years praying to the Lord for “our will to be done” whenever we find ourselves in such circumstances.
We pray and basically tell the Lord what we want him to do. We pray based off our emotions and so we ask for tangible relief, or relief that is physical in nature only. I’m learning to not only pray for physical relief but to also pray for strength, guidance, to have a forgiving heart and to not grow revengeful, angry or bitter from whatever I am going through or went through. I want the Lord to use those situations whether from the past or more recent to help me to grow, gain strength, and to become a wiser and better person like he would like me to be and for “his will” to be accomplished.
Whatever you have been through or experiencing now seek the Most High for understanding, and ask him what he’s trying to teach you, get you to change or to acknowledge about yourself. Don’t focus on the other individuals involve, or how “you” would like the situation handled. This takes practice because it is easy to get caught up in our emotions, but we should always desire to have the will of the Lord fulfilled in our lives even when we don’t understand. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Growing Up With Light Skin


By: Pilar Spears


Growing up I hated being light skin. People would ask me all the time, "What are you?". I would say, "black" and they would say "No you're not! Well what are you mixed with?".  I identified as only black because I didn't grow up around the Cuban side of my family at all. All I knew was black. But I never felt like I fit in growing up because of my skin complexion. I never felt like I was black enough to be accepted by the black kids. Like I wasn't cool enough.
I wished so bad that my skin was dark. Then I would be cool. Then I would be pretty.

 Many Spanish people that I knew & even strangers use to say to me "Why don't you speak Spanish? That's a shame your Spanish and don't even speak it. You need to learn Spanish!"  I was black and wanted to be black. Black people didn't need to speak Spanish is how I really felt. People that didn't know and even people that did know my story of how I was raised couldn't grasp why I couldn't gravitate to a culture that I just couldn't recognize. How could I be proud of being a nationality of a mother that left me? My mother was Cuban but I never knew her or her family. I had no interest in being Cuban. 

As I got older I learned to accept my light skin and I lost the urge to have to prove my blackness. Through the years I've learned to embrace being Cuban. I even connected with some of my Cuban family which Im thankful for. But I'm always going to be a black women and I'm so very proud of that.  

I've learned that the tone of my skin doesn't define me. I love my black and brown people. We are the most beautiful people on the planet. Let's teach our children to love themselves & one another. Let's spread love as our Heavenly Father loves us. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Set In Your Own Ways


By: Keesah Pelzer 

We’ve all been given something called free will, but when we’re not open to new ways of doing things, we potentially miss out on awesome experiences. That mindset can be compared to doing the same exact thing, every single day of your life without establishing a new routine. Or better yet, being around the same friends for ages and never venturing out to meet new people. Either way, we’d be doing ourselves a tremendous amount of injustice by staying stuck in our own ways.
It’s been said that the more maturer you are in age, the more reluctant you become to step outside of the norm. Take the elderly for example. Not many of them are receptive to branch out of their comfort zones. Some of them use the excuse that their parents have done it a certain way, and it works just fine, while others, even if hard core evidence were right before them, they’d still reject a more feasible approach. The bottom line is, some of them are just not willing to do things differently. 
Needless to say, many of us are just like that, and in doing so, we open ourselves up to being disobedient to the Most High God. Majority of the time He’ll tell us to do something. It could be to give up people, places or things, maybe to help someone, or challenge us to think differently, but because we flat out don’t want to do it or we don’t see any benefit from it, we ignore the unction. I would always hear my sister say, “The Most High is a gentleman”. And no, that doesn’t mean He walks around with a suit and tie, a top hat, and a fashionable cane, It means He does not force Himself on anyone. So after a while, if we continue to block his voice and, kick, scream & scratch against Him, then eventually, He’ll stop trying. 
None of us know everything, but you have to ask yourself this: what can you possibly lose by opening your mind, and trying something different? We’re never too old to learn and through those experiences, our minds become broadened and we can get out of our own way.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Plan.


By: Karen Ricketts 


For most of us the planning of our future and adulthood began as soon as we got into high school. It seems we were bombarded everyday with messages of stay in school, go to college and geta good jobAs if these chain of events would line up perfectly in everyone’s life and came with a guaranteed if you followed that plan. Reality is, there are going to be a percentage of high schoolers who will drop out of school, a percentage that can’t see themselves going to college or don’t want toand others thatwill latch on to this plan fed to them as a guaranteed reality.
This is the American dream that so many even after high school, in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even older still hold dear to their hearts. This is evident in the number of older individuals going back to school to get a degree in order to move up in the ranks or to get a good paying job. We have been programmed to believe that having a degree automatically entitles you to a good paying job. 
Oone hand also, you have individuals that don’t want to get ahead at all and are raising future generations to becomedependent and comfortable on government handouts. While on the other hand, there are many who are watching their American dream dissipate into thin air. Both these groups had their future figured out. I was one with the mindset as I was programmed to think, stay in school, get your degree and get a good paying job. I had it all figured out. What I didn’t have figured out was the expense, hardships, sacrifice, oppositions and the interruption of life on my plans.
The fact of the matter is, we can plan how we want our life to go and the steps we are going to take to get there. Your plans may not even involve going back to school. It could be to start your own business, to get a good paying job, to get a certificate, to get married, to get promoted at your current job, to invest in your children’s future and the list goes on and on. I have learned that when we operate from our own strength and intellect hoping for the best we will often find ourselves climbing a sleek slippery slope while investing time, effort and money in order to receive a return in financial stability, peace of mind and joy. 
You’re not a failure. The percentage of those who succeed long term with this particular plan is slim. Commend yourself for trying and the effort you have put forth. With the economy today and the uncertainty it brings we are in a time where we have to seek the Most High for guidance before planning ahead and investing all our hopes and dreams into something that might not be for us. In him also will we find those intangible things that no amount of money can buy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Changing Thought Patterns


By: Jateia Rushing


The way we think and the things that crowd our minds daily can consume us and become our reality. If negative thoughts come frequently, then you speak them into existence, these simple thoughts that had no power turn into monsters that cause a lot of damage. It’s like when you decide to go on a diet or a healthy eating lifestyle change and you have a thought about eating ice cream and cake and everything else you’ve said you are doing away with or having a song you can’t stand play over and over in your head. If you allow the thoughts to continue to have room in your mind, then soon it turns into a craving that you most likely will verbally express and give in to physically. You’ll go get some ice cream or end up playing the song and begin to like it. All in a nut shell, thoughts are now manipulating and controlling your actions. To overcome these things and you have to put the simple harmless thoughts under subjection by rising up against them. Mentally and verbally you have to come against them to build a barrier wall up against these thoughts. And then reinforce your walls with actions. Your actions have the power to control your thoughts. If you smoke, you will think about smoking when your not smoking. If you stick to eating healthy, you will think about healthier snacks. Your actions program your thought channels. To truly defeat unwanted thoughts you must be diligent in your fight and endure. Enduring the fiery trial wins the battle. So in your journey to a better you and the course of changing your old thought patterns speak against the old you and your old desires and thoughts and hold on until the end, you will overcome. Light your fire and fight to keep it lit.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Challenge Your Fear


By: Pilar Spears


Sometimes we disguise our fear as strength. We feel we don’t need anyone or anything that can help us because we’re strong and can do it on our own. But we’re really scared to ask and except help because we fear that we will look weak. We often pretend our fear is swag.  Oh, we’re too cool to do or say certain things. But we really fear rejection and judgements from others. “What if they don’t like me?”  “What if they think I’m not good enough?” I rather had people just think that I was shy or quiet than to get to know me and judge me for what they didn’t like about me. But the whole time I always told myself that I didn’t care what people thought.

What I didn’t realize all this time was that being in denial about my fears was hindering me. I’m beginning to face these fears now and it feels great.  Yes, at times its uncomfortable but that’s what growth is. The more I submit myself to the Most High the more confident I become in facing my fears.  I was living my life closed off because I felt like I couldn’t put myself out there. If you could even find me at all it would always be in the background somewhere out of the way. I never liked attention because I was afraid of it. I felt I had to know you for a long time or I had to really trust you before allowing you to see the entire me. Living that way, I was missing out on blessings. Don’t continue to block your blessings, face your fears. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. When you begin to walk in faith you won’t be concerned with what others think. And this time you wont just be telling yourself that because it makes you feel good, it will be the truth.

Challenge yourself today to recognize and admit your own fears. Ask the Most High for strength to get pass them. Don’t hinder yourself. Allow yourself to shine. You don’t know what you possess that can help others in a great way. Do something today that’s outside of your comfort zone. Even if it’s something small because it can lead into endless possibilities. Be inspired, be encouraged because you can do it!

Prayer

By: Karen Ricketts At points in our lives we have prayed to our Heavenly Father to get us out of situations and circumstances we fo...