Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Stand No Matter The Weather

By Karen Ricketts

I know I need to stand
Stand no matter the weather
Planting each foot firmly against the storms of life
Staying awake and alert no matter

Eyes, ears and heart open wide to you each day
Seeking a wind of change to blow my way
To stand when my tomorrow is uncertain
Knowing your love is steadfast and unchanging 

Stand I must on His Word and promises
Discarding disobedience and denial - hindrances
Truth is, the fight is internal as well
But always in faithfulness and truth, seek to excel
Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord
For by your strength I can do all things
Though I often stumble and waver

With just a mustard seed size of faith oh the wonders

Monday, October 24, 2016

Baggage Claim

By Patricia McKinney 

Have you ever had a dream or envisioned yourself accomplishing a goal, but the odds of fulfilling it seemed virtually impossible? Many times people weigh in on all the wrong factors that prevent them from fulfilling their desired accomplishments.  

They'll rule money as the number one factor that prevents them from moving to a place of fulfillment.  Even though money is high on the chart of necessity, there's also other issues that weigh in on our advancement.  They're like "blockers" to success and fulfillment, and a hindrance to us in more ways than one.

Our emotions and the wrong ties with people can be some of the biggest hindrances that keep us from moving forward.  People fear traveling life's journey without the company and approval of people they know. They'll even compromise their own beliefs just to appease someone else. I've heard stories from women that desired to move out of state, or embark on a new journey, but chose not too, based off of  the influence and control that family members had on them.  They'd use guilt trips to justify why they weren't in agreement with their idea's. Because of their own selfish needs, accompanied by the fact they've never done anything of merit, they were hindrances instead of  helpers.  So these people never move on,  and never venture into territory unknown, because they allow "dream killers" to stop them.  As a result they remain under the control of someone else, aging, but never moving.

I've learned that every one's not going to be a fan or sing praises because of your accomplishments.   Reason being, many people are focused on their own personal/ family needs, while others aren't working on any accomplishment for themselves, so of course their not going to celebrate yours.

In order to move forward in life , you have to make some tough decisions, and separate your emotions from what is fact.  I had to cut off unhealthy relationships so I could move forward, and have a peace of mind. I also had to free myself from the negative opinions of others that are toxic to the soul. When you have a peace of mind, you can see and think more clearly.  There's nothing like being free of constant worry, frustration, and stress. To have peace is liberating, and you'll do everything in your power to keep it, especially if you've broken free from unhealthy relationships loaded with baggage.  I've discovered that it's mentally and emotionally draining to hold onto unhealthy relationships that attempt to keep you in guilt mode, or make you feel that you're not capable, or worthy enough to have or become the best at what you do. It's like an internally pull in your soul that keeps you weighed down, preoccupied with negativity. They're a hindrance to your well being, and it can be compared to carrying someone else's weight. 

If you're not careful,  you can become like the "Baggage Claim" at the airport, loaded down with other peoples problems and the negative opinions of others.   Usually people that carry baggage tend to dwell in negative mode, while living in the past and soaking in their own issues.  In order to advance, you have to use discretion by choosing wisely whom you choose to keep company with, and try to stay clear of the negative opinions of others.  It's also healthy to have relationships with people that are on the move, that help to motivate and inspire you, or esteem and encourage you to keep going.Therefore, you must weigh out all factors that can prevent you from moving forward. You must keep in view both relationships and the voices (opinions) that you give way to. Ask yourself the question, are the relationships and people that I'm surrounded with healthy? Is the relationship one sided, and imbalanced, full of double standards? Are they concerned with only their own needs, but don't show support for my ideas?  Is it beneficial to my mental/emotional, spiritual, or physical well being?

You must also pay attention to the voices (opinions) that are around you. One thing that I've noticed about celebrities and people in high position is this, they don't give ear to "Nay Sayers".  If they stopped to look at what the tabloids or what the negative press had to say about them, they'd stay in negative mode, or go into hiding!  You can't let the opinions of other's stop you either. There's always going to be someone around that will try to rain on your parade simply because they don't have better things to do with their time.  Like the old saying goes, "misery loves company".

If you find that these are issues that keep you from moving forward (aside from ones own laziness), it's time to make some tough decisions, and it may require you to bring about a separation. It's time to close the doors of access to people spewing negativity (whether in person or on social media).  Be like the celebrities that don't respond to the tabloids, or negative press and keep on moving instead.   You have to guard the gates of your soul and mind to keep the river of peace flowing.  Remember that you are what you eat! (whatever you take in, becomes a part of you) and you can be influenced by associations, so choose your surroundings wisely.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Grace & Reality

By Angela Cox

Have you ever met someone that seemed like they had all their stuff together, or their "ducks in a row" and didnt have any inkling of struggles? By the visual, their car was tight and appeareance just right, and they lived life on top of the pile? 

Its become common to see people depicted this way, but in reality,and more times than not, they're just portraying a picture perfect image for the world to see. Realistically, we live in a world of butt jobs, boob jobs and every kind of plastic surgery you can think of, or just people pretending to be more than who they really are, and possess more than what they actually have, or some hyped up flawless being that doesnt have a care in the world. 

But really theyre trying to fix things they dont like or feel they dont measure up too, so they'll put in the extra time money and effort to change it out of fear that they wont be accepted or loved unless they're perfect". They live their life constantly bound,  unable to express whats really going on in their hearts and minds.   They'll do this not knowing that theyre loved by God in spite of it all and that every human being on earth was born with flaws.  Ive heard the saying that "sometimes the grass seems greenier in somenone elses yard because its fake" and I find it to be a True Statement.

Sometime ago, I recall having a conversation with a former co worker that asked me if Id be joining our colleagues for a "drink" at a local bar to celebrate the success of the company, I replied no thank you, I dont drink. Not knowing that he was speaking from on flawed being to another, that at a point in my life I had the same issue that could only be conquered by Gods love and the love of others. He responded, You're better than me, I drink all the time and he didnt sound proud of it. 

But I said, No Im not better than you, I expressed that I have flaws too, and I told him that you may have areas in your life that you are great at and mastered, that im not able to do at all and vise versa.  I noticed not long after that he was no longer curtly cordial but more relaxed because he felt accepted, which in turn could cause him to opened to hear how its God that helps use through these things. He also ended up being a blessing to me in return.

You see, we were all born in need of Gods grace, and no one is perfect. If we live with the reality that we are flawed beings always striving to be perfected in areas where we are weak or lack, and knowing with a little effort and strength from God alone, who's arms are opened wide to those that will receive Him, then we can overcome and conquer our flaws and help someone else. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Double Standards

By Angela Cox

Have you ever been in a position where you've worked your fingers to the bone or tried your hardest to do things right, only to be reprimanded for your slightest mistakes? All the while you sat back and watched "Slackers" receive accolades and be esteemed while their mistakes go unnoticed, and unchecked? Better yet, have you ever sat back and listened to someone give you advise, but yet they did not stand by or even live by the very thing that they told you? Unfortunately this is the world we live in, and it happens all the time. In the workplace, among peers, and in relationships. It doesn't matter. Very few people are able to own up to their own errors, or even admit that they've ever erred in their own life, but expect perfection in you. 

That's what you call a "Double Standard".  A double standard is defined as any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people and not the other. It functions in an imbalanced, and unfair way.  It's like penalizing someone that's innocent but letting the guilty go free.

Several years ago, I watched a talk show host that also acted as a Psychologist/Counselor by profession. He'd invite troubled celebrities, families, and couples on his show, and they'd discuss many personal issues on television "for all the world to see".  I'd sit back and witness how the talk show guest would spill information about their private life in front of a studio audience, and watch this psychologist/counselor intrusively asked them personal questions, and follow up by pin-pointing their wrong doings and how they planned to fix it. I notice that he never really provided them with a real resolution to their problem or even compassionately, place himself in their shoes to show them that , yes we are human and are capable of making mistakes, but he aired their dirty laundry instead. He seemed to be the epitome of perfection to some, he seemed like he had his act together with me too, until I stumbled upon a documentary about him, and saw that he had just as many issues as the people that were on the show.  It wasn't so much that he had the issues that was the problem, because we all make mistakes, but he was hypocritical and he didn't even try to fix his own, but went on with life as usual,  arrogantly dealing with others. He didn't practice what he preached himself.  

As I continued to follow him, I noticed that many of his fan base became his critics, and instead of applauding him, they're were turned off by him instead. He lost popularity because of how he dealt with others, and some saw that he didn't care a bit about those he used to make himself look good. He demonstrated fully that he didn't have a clue about looking in the mirror himself so he could identify with others, and deal more compassionately with them.  Too many times people operate out of double standards, and no matter how hard you try to please them, it's all in vain. Too many times we're like the guest on the talk show pouring our hearts out, explaining ourselves, even beating ourselves up, and putting forth all this effort while dealing with people that arrogantly, deal with us (whether its in the workplace, among peers/family, acquaintances), but the same thing can happen with us if we operate with others that way.

Remember God is always watching, and it's mentioned in the scripture that He does not approve of double standards either, so nor should we (Proverbs 20:10) . But just like the talk show hosts fan base became his critics, the same thing happens to those that arrogantly and unfairly deal with others. It's important to guard your heart in the process  when dealing with this kind. Ask yourself the question, when I come away from this person or group, do I feel worse now, than I did before? Do I always feel sad, guilty, ashamed, after dealing with them? Do I have a clearer sense of direction, even if its uncomfortable for me? It's important to guard your heart in the process, and check those that you entrust yourself with. What and who you allow in, will affect everything about you and around you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Journey Of Life

By Karen Ricketts

Often times we wish to escape the bad aspects of live, but life is both good times and trying times. The trying times serves a purpose in our development and in our making. It is during difficult situations that we are forced to dig deep and go beyond the limit we placed on ourselves. It’s similar to exercising and working out that targets certain muscles causing your body to hurt in places you didn’t think you had muscles. So too difficult times allowyou to learn, grow and gain knowledge in areas that build you up as an individuals making you stronger and more resilient to the storms of life. The situation you went through today can one day be a tool used to help someone else. The reality of life is that it’s a journey full of ups and downs. And because it’s a journey you will encounter pitfalls and rest stops, mountains and valleys. We can’t wish life situations away but we can ask the Lord to give us the strength and wisdom we need to navigate and get through them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Rose Birthed Through Concrete

By Keesah Pelzer

Everyday since the creation of our being, we've been exposed to persistent forms of trauma that result from lack of knowledge, lies, violence, unstable housing, and everything else that was designed to stagnate us from moving forward, and whether the color of your skin is black, white, or in between, struggle doesn't discriminate against skin tones. 

We always seem to think that because we are face with adversities, we have to take what has been handed down to us from generation to generation, and that's far from the truth. We accept the fact that we're poor mentally, we're ok with being in bad shape naturally, and we sit back and watch others prosper, and think that it could never happen to us, because we just can't seem to catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, and when we do, the cares of life swiftly drowns out any thought of the impossible being made possible in our lives, but the key is not to give up. 

We think that our trials and tribulations are set in place to make us stumble and fall when in all actuality they're designed to make us Teflon tough, and to bring us to another level of faith and understanding. I learned that everything we go through in life, once conquered, can be used to help someone else. 

A concrete rose is a woman who grows through those trials that life brings us that sometimes may seem unfair. She rises above the odds that were planted against her, and instead of her using her testimony to cry "victim" she uses it as a stepping stone to inspire, and empower others that have been faced with the same oppositions. 

With them help from the Most High, she is strong, she is healed, she is rare, and ever so beautiful. One would think how could something so unique and delicate come from something so hard, but sometimes some of the most beautiful things grow from the roughest places in life.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Freedom In The Way You Think

By Patricia McKinney 

Have you ever desired to try something out of the ordinary, like take a trip to an exotic place, go to an unusual restaurant, or try a new style, but because someone bashed it before you tried it, you changed your mind and didn't do it? Maybe your dream didn't seem popular with a large group of people, which made you feel like an odd-ball, and to save face from being rejected, you changed your mind about the situation all together?

Better yet, have you ever wanted to voice your opinion on an issue, or vote for someone that wasn't an ideal candidate or popular in the eyes of others, but you held back because you feared what someone else might think about it? So you went along with the opinion of the masses, but later, you lived to regret it?  

I find in today's society, people lack the ability to think for themselves and be who they are, which means many are being influences or even controlled by others, be it friends, family, or majority ruling.  They feel the need to get the approval of others in order to make decisions even in small things, because they feel their opinion or thoughts are not important.  

Why, because they haven't been taught to think for themselves, or have been given the liberty to make decisions, which is the perfect recipe for abuse, control, and manipulation, and they'll never step into the fullness of who they were meant to be.

My own experiences in life taught me to think for myself and be who I am.  Reason being, I discovered by spending time with people, they don't always have all of the answers, which means they'll give you the wrong answer in a dire situation, which will lead you astray. I also discovered they're not always 100% honest about who they are as a person, and the type of lifestyle they live behind closed doors. (They say one thing, but live another)

During the course of my own transition from the street life to walking a straight and narrow path, I myself had several mentors that I met along the way, all in a leadership role or position. By spending time with them, it gave me the opportunity to get to know who they were on a more personal level.  I had a chance to see the type of character they possessed outside of the public (behind the curtain) and compared it to the image that they portrayed while in the public eye.  I noticed they'd dressed up their external and covered up their internal. 

While they were in the public, they were portrayed as well respected, "images of perfection".  Some were good spokesmen/women, very articulate, well dressed, authoritative, organized, and seemed to have it all together. While on the other hand, they held back the fact that they had flaws, internal injuries, and habits that they had to overcome (or still struggling with). So they opted out of realism to become a hypocrite, out of fear that it would ruin the plastic image they set up to save themselves any shame or embarrassment.

I noticed down the line, they were not as effective in dealing with people they tried to impact, because the very ones that they were "hiding from" needed help from someone that was less than perfect that could identify with them.  Eventually, certain things about them became a turn off to me as well, because I was a "real person" and loved truth and honesty, which is a very effective tool in dealing with people that cross my path today.

I believe that a person's greatest story is their own life experience, all wrapped up in the good, the bad and the ugly.  I always teach those that I mentor, to "never be a hypocrite" by hiding who you are. Be yourself, think for yourself.  You never know, that by telling your story and expressing who you are, how effective you can be by touching the life of another.
Besides, if all people were perfect, they would have no need for God and his loving mercy. If they were perfect, they'd have no need for compassion, and they would not be able to help anyone else because they'd be too judgmental.

Friday, October 14, 2016


By Keesah Pelzer

Sometimes we try to plot and plan things that are not in the will of the Most High, and somehow we think the joy that we've been trying to craft and cultivate in our own lives, will supersede what He has in store for us and will bring forth the TRUE happiness and peace that we've been longing for, as opposed to allowing Him to fill the voids where it's needed the most.

Yes, faith without works is dead. So that means there a requirement for us to walk, go, do, and believe without insight as to how it's going to turn out, not mapping things out and making them happen with our own strength and understanding. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Times We're Living In Requires Wisdom

By Patricia McKinney 

We're living in a time now when deception and evil is at an all time high because people have done away with morals that promote brotherly love, natural affection, consideration for others, integrity, or just common courtesy, and because of that it requires caution and wisdom on our part. We as women can be especially vulnerable and need to use discernment and caution in our dealings because of our emotions.

Many times we ignore warning because we minimize the effects that their behavior could have on us in the long-run.   But the times we live in now requires more "vigilance" and attentiveness on our part, because we're dealing with "Pros" who could win an Grammy Award in a leading role or best supporting actor or actress, but not in a movie, in the game of life.

It's time to take on a realistic view of the days we live in, and use wisdom (learned knowledge applied). But most of all we need The Most High to give us the extra help sometime called discernment, because it's not alway easy to read past an innocent face, whether young or old, or hear through the smooth sounding words of an enemy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Seize Every Opportunity

By Karen Ricketts

When your situation and circumstances in life change, it can be an opportunity for personal growth. The Lord’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, so we might never completely understand the "whys" in life. Why did this have to happen to me or why didn’t that happen for me? Our Heavenly Father can use the adversity and situations in our lives to demonstrate His realness, power and strength, and to highlight our faults and failures in order to give us the opportunity to come in closer to Him.

We are much more than the material things we own and possess. While they’re good to have, the type of person you are, those qualities that make you unique are much more important to cultivate, prune and grow than any material possession. It’s an on-going process that requires honesty, commitment and dedication, if only you're able to recognize and seize the opportunity.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Best Kept Secret

By Patricia McKinney

In the 1960's and 1970's people had a better system of values and morals unlike that of modern society. They would take interest in the welfare of their neighbors and keep a watchful on their property as well as their children. They'd even go to the extent of scolding or lecturing a child if they were wrong, or saw they were going down the wrong path of decision and this was approved by parents.  They had better sense of community back then and if something happened in the neighborhood out of the ordinary everyone knew about it.  They'd also share what they had and invite friends or family to dinner.  But most of all they would share pebbles of wisdom with the young.

I will never forget the pebble of wisdom passed down to me from the father of my childhood friend.  He took me under his wing as if he were my own father.  One day he and my best friend came to visit after several years had past, and like the days of old he still had an interest in me as if I were a child.  He asked me what my goals were and I began to share them.  Then he opened his mouth with a pebble of wisdom and said, " Whatever you do in life, unless someone is helping you reach your goals, don't tell anybody what your doing until you get there. Keep it a secret until it come to pass. 

He told me these things because he had gained wealth after a long struggle of hard work and hardship taking care of his wife and five children. He also shared how things changed when he became successful, and in a prosperous place in life, and how people wanted a piece of the pie (his financial assets). One of the important things he mentioned was that people that had no involvement in his climb  to success were the ones wanting to share it and know all of the details of his personal life.

His words still ring true until this day.  As an adult, I've learned over the years that people are still the same. As a pebble of wisdom I will say to you, if you have goals you desire to fulfill, or you'd like to start a business, or venture that will bring fulfillment and long-term success. Remember this, unless someone is helping you arrive at your destination with a good heart,  "keep it a secret until it comes to pass".  Not everyone one will share in your happiness or success and there are plenty of people who are naysayers that help destroy dreams.

Monday, October 10, 2016


By Patricia McKinney 

In order to advance to a higher dimension, you have to be willing to expand your horizons and expose yourself to new people, places and things, outside of your normal setting.  You have to rid yourself of old mindsets, your normal routine, and go where you've never gone, and do what you've never done.  You have to rid yourself of stereotypical views, toxic people, and open yourself up to new connections outside of your own comfortable circle of familiar friends and acquaintances,and embrace cultures, and ethnic groups, and people of another status other than your own.  You have to access relationships and determine if they're worth the time, effort and energy that you're putting into them, and weigh if it's truly benefiting where you're trying to go in life.

I'm advancing into new territory and having a wonderful time doing it.  I'm meeting new people of all cultures and walks of life, and a beauty that I would not have experienced had I stayed around the familiar.  I outgrew my prior surroundings because I'm a Visionary, and I see much bigger and broader than my prior surroundings allowed.  In order to advance,  you can't be afraid of making mistakes or taking a risk.  Usually risk takers gain wisdom, a wealth of experience, and a lifetime of fulfillment.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kept By God

By Patricia McKinney 

The increase in criminal activity, sexual crimes and other wrong doings, along with ethic violations from both organizations and individuals alike indicates how deep morality continues to decline in today's world. Whatever region of the world you're from chances are that you have developed and practiced the same moral standards and guidelines based on how you were raised. 

We adopt the cultural practices of our ancestors and are influenced by what we observe from others around us. The vast majority of people for generations have strayed away from the way the Lord truly intended for us to live our everyday life. I realize from the many things I've done in my life both the good and bad, that my decisions were guided and influenced by my culture, experience, emotions, and everything else devoid of Godly influence. I went to church infrequently, but I knew there was a God and heard about his commandments many times. However, there were no righteous role models that I saw. What I did see were people doing good some of the time and doing wrong some of the time as man continued to tweak, bend and break God's rules to suit his own purpose. 

It wasn't until I came into the knowledge of The Most High and began to believe his word that I was able to see how deep in sin I was. I stole, lied, cheated, fornicated, drank, partied, was in adulterous relations, and the list goes on and on. All I did was indicative of even deeper internal issues and a messed up internal dialogue. Without Yeshua I would have continued to live my life how I deemed fit, making decisions I wanted to make, without realizing there is a right and a wrong way to live. 

Even some of the decisions I made, might be right in man's eye but to the Lord they completely went against his laws, ordinances and teachings. God kept me in my ignorance, and even while I was deliberately sinning in so many different ways, and he continues to keep me today. He strengthens me to fight against the cultural and internal wrongs or darkness that seeks to lead me astray. 

The Most High can and will keep you regardless of whatever cultural or personal moral standards you were once a part of when you truly seek to live his way and to do your best to uphold and follow his laws. He will strengthen and guide you through life's issues, giving you hope, peace and joy that no one else can give you even in tough times.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


By Karen Ricketts 

Love's impact on hearts
A medicine immeasurable by charts
Given and received freely if so desire
That more hearts will aspire

Love is affection, understanding, sacrifice
Starts with self then exercise
Can become contaminated easily 
Loses purity circumstantially

Greed, loneliness, selfishness
Love has its perpetrators and imitators
Masqueraders cloaked in lust
Leading many to distrust

Christ, love so pure and true 
Commanded us anew 
Love your neighbor as yourself
A boost to health if taken off the shelve

He promised to see us through
Christ says love and trust me and I'll teach you
A open heart and mind with much to lose
I'll try you Lord cause you heal all wounds

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


By Keesah Pelzer 

How many times do we wake up, and roll out of the bed feeling discouraged and defeated? We feel like things are never going to get done when it comes to our personal lives, it feels like we just don't have the strength to hang in there, and sometimes it even feels like our prayers are being discarded. There are countless times that these feelings have surfaced in my life, and I'm sure I'm not alone. At times it gets hard to look at things on the bright side and see past the microscopic issues that we're dealing with, even though they sometimes seem as big as a mountain.

You hear people all the time telling you "its going to be ok, you're strong, and the Lord gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. Gods got you!" Don't get me wrong, its awesome to hear inspiration from elsewhere, and those words may even hold some truth, but the reality of it is that we feel the complete opposite sometimes. There's nothing wrong with someone else giving words of encouragement to us, but what I found is that we become dependent on others to lift us up when we're feeling down. We look to others in hopes that perhaps they'd give us a divine message from above, or will pray for us when we can pray for ourselves. We rely on and find comfort in their words instead of the words from the Almighty.

Everyone needs to be uplifted from time to time, but it has gotten to a point where we cant just wait for others to encourage us, we have to encourage ourselves as well. We have to remember that we're not going to get set up so we can fall, no matter what the case is. We have to remember how far we came, and how much of a struggle it was, whether it was from losing weight, battling addiction, leaving someone that you thought you couldn't live without, or entering into a different phase in life, but nonetheless it can be done. We didn't make it this far by the grace of God to give up, and go back to the dyer circumstances that we were in before we met him. All of these things should be a form of ammunition to keep us going when life gets hard and we don't have the strength to go on ourselves. After all its not our strength that we're relying on, its The Most High's strength.

Life is always going to be a battle and its like every man for themselves, but through the mental, physical, emotional, natural, and spiritual struggle, remember why we're fighting, and not to always wait for someone else to reassure us and tell us things are going to be ok. We have to continue to fight daily, especially when we reach a place where we're strong enough to do so on our own.

We have to keep contending...even when it feels like we're being defeated.