Women In Transition...Where Change Begins

Women In Transition...Where Change Begins
CEO & PRESIDENT PATRICIA MCKINNEY

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Job Of A Hero

By Patricia McKinney 


A hero is defined as a man or woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble  qualities. A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

Hero's are also leaders, or those in position that set an example for someone else, leaving a trail of courage to follow and a legendary story behind for centuries to come.  A hero's job is not to dwell among the followers forever, but to set an example of strength for the follower to hold dear to their hearts, and pull that strength out when its needed. In turn, they too will be a "hero" to someone else or make an impact in the lives of others.

There were many hero's in the past that left a trail to remember them by. But one does not have to be listed among the famous that are deceased.  A hero can be a mother or father, a community activist, or advocate but possess the courage, bravery, or noble qualities of someone that now has a memorial in their name.  (example Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.).

The job of a hero is to blaze a trail of heroic acts and unseen courage, and while blazing this trail,  they make an  impact by changing the hearts and minds of others, pushing them to their limit for the greater good.  A hero comes to instill bravery, so that those who look up to him/her may one day walk in the courage that they've seen, and maximize their fullest God given potential. 

For example Harriet Tubman lead people out of slavery to freedom through the underground railroad. The key here is that she led them to freedom, and she made a huge impact in their lives. But those who followed had to find their way from there, they had to discover a whole new life outside of the confines of bondage.  Sallie Ride, was the first American female astronaut, and we see because of her act a courage other women have gone to the moon. Abraham Lincoln produced the Emancipation Proclamation, to abolish slavery and was assassinated for it, but he impacted the lives of others, and he's remember until this day.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a hero during the civil rights movement.  His job was not to dwell among the people forever, but to give them the drive, fortitude, and strength to become independent. While he was with them, he stood on his beliefs, leaving an example behind.  However, the follower thought that their  job lied within the lap of the hero,  that they didn't have to do any work, and as a result, they never stepped into their potential.. 

As a leader, I know what its like to be a catalyst for change, and I get pleasure in seeing people step into the fullness of who they are.  Its a good feeling to know that you've set a positive example for someone else to follow, so they too can be a life changer.  But I found that many times, people that look up to other's (hero's) get things misconstrued.  They feel that the hero is supposed to carry or lead them forever. Instead of continuing the journey of discovery, and using the example of courage and strength set before them, they feel that don't have to do any work, therefore they never experience any achievements, that don't fulfill goals, or inspire anyone else.  I believe that God sets  physical examples before us because he knows that we have weakness, and at times we need someone that's gone before us to give us courage, so we can discover who we are, and who He is. ( God is) and the capability that he's placed within us.  I believe that He's put heroic ability within all of us, even if its mere courage. You never know who's watching you, that courage you have can impact the life of someone else and they may see you as a hero too.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A True Believer

By Karen Ricketts 

As individuals we all grow up believing in a myriad of things. Some of us were made to believe when we were small children, in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, only to eventually find out we were lied to. What we believe as individuals shape our everyday lives in how we think, what we give ear to and the things we take part in. 

Some live by a moral code and the code of their affiliations. For example, there's a street code, (eg. no snitching) jails have their own codes, gangs have their codes, organization and even companies have codes set in place for their employees. These codes serve to control and restrict your thoughts and behavior whether good or bad. You'll even find these codes spoken or unspoken in families as well. Observation and adherence to these codes denotes your allegiance, trustworthiness and loyalty to that person or organization. These same principles also apply to the Word of God and to the body of Christ. 

Believing in Christ is much more than lip service. Being a believer, a "true believer" requires everyday action in the individuals life. If you're proclaiming to be a vegetarian for example, people should see your lifestyle lined up with what you proclaim. Is it cruelty to animals, or the health benefits of a meat free diet you're defending. Whatever the case, if someone sees you eating a beef burger, they're gonna question your commitment, your integrity, and your seriousness about what you proclaim. 

This is also true for those of us who profess to be believers in Christ, even going to church faithfully, but then people see us saying and doing things that go against who we are claiming loyalty to. I've been guilty of this myself too many times to count. We know that God is forgiving and merciful, but God also holds us accountable, especially when we know the truth and even so when you're in a leadership position and a position of influence. 

A true believer to me, will always strive to do good in God and not just sit back and accept the status quo. When you stumble, you get back up and work your way back on track. To be a believer is an action word, where you have to work to commit yourself daily to the Lord and to do what is right in His sight. This is the hard part. Like the person claiming vegetarian and eating meat, you can't claim Christ and do everything under the sun. At some point you have to demonstrate your faith, allegiance and loyalty to Christ if He's who you're claiming, even in the small things. 

Being a "believer in Christ", are not words to be taken lightly. I've experienced in my life how easy it is to be a hypocrite and believer in Jesus. His moral code, his teachings and inspired words recorded in the Bible are tough to live by. It is the complete opposite of who we are used to being, even if society considers us "good people". Our flesh and the world are not his allies. That's why it takes his Spirit and strength working through us and us putting our faith and loyalty in practice to even make it day by day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Gift Sent In An Unusual Package

By Patricia McKinney 

Everyday we encounter people that we may see once and never see again.  Normally, we don't think much about a stranger that crosses our path, or even give them a second thought. They don't hold as much significance as someone we've known for a while. Our lives are so busy, and our calendars are so full of our own concerns, that it blocks out even the slightest possibility of developing a new relationship or meeting a new acquaintance.  Time is a very precious commodity that we can't afford to lose. It's constantly moving at rapid speed, and 24 hours a day does not seem like enough time to complete our daily tasks, let alone allow new people into our circle of trust. 

Besides, in this day and age, who can you trust?  It's difficult to give someone the benefit of the doubt if you've been "burned by people" in the past.  It's normal to have a raised eyebrow of suspicion if someone you barely know tries to get too close, way too soon.  Our past experiences teach us to use wisdom and caution, and with the help of God's Spirit,  some of us have been given discernment (some call it intuition), that let's us know when something or someone in our presence is not right.  This discernment acts as a protective defense on our behalf when a persons visual appearance is deceiving us. 

It's normal to feel the need to protect ourselves and our family, because there's always a predator on the loose with a hidden agenda, trying to weasel their way into our lives, only to cause unnecessary disruptions or drama.  But sometimes our caution and defensive edge can prevent us from encountering a blessing if we're not paying attention. That's why it's important to be kind and keep our eyes opened (be aware and alert) when we are in the presence of strangers.  I must admit, there's plenty of people that don't meet the criteria of friendship, but there's also situations when God sends an angel our way to give us encouragement, plant seeds of wisdom, give us direction, show us love, and give us memories that leave a lasting impression in our hearts.  

Over six months ago, I met an angel in the form of an older man. He came to me in an "unusual package".  He wasn't fancy or dressed to a "T".  He didn't try to draw attention to himself or speak with eloquence.  In fact, most of the time he'd come home from work, with a stagger in his walk after a few drinks, taking a pause to catch his breath,  while smoking a cigarette. When I first met him, he was very pleasant but brief in his greeting. He'd give a simple "hello, how are you" and I'd respond the same.  Not long after,  he and I would engage in conversation, and I found that he was a very kind hearted, pleasant, humble man, that was harmless. He'd talk about God, life, love and his own experiences, and he'd always leave my presence with an encouraging word, even though he had no clue of the perplexing times I was going through. He didn't know that  I was waiting to have my prayers answered.  He once told me that he heard me praying when he passed by my door, and he'd encourage me to "keep on praying", and he'd also tell me that " God has your back". He was letting me know that God wouldn't let me down and not to worry. This gave me a glimpse of hope and assurance that there's nothing too hard for God, and that there's  some thing's in life that we don't have control over, but God does.  The words that he deposited, encouraged me to hold onto my faith and Trust in God even when I felt worried and afraid.  

Not too many days ago, my new friend passed away. He was like an angel passing through to give me a message, but the words he shared with me stayed in my heart.  Always remember this,  when God sends you a gift (an angel in disguise), it may not  come in a sparkling package, with all the bells and whistles, but it can come in the most unusual form (a different kind of gift wrap).  It can be someone that may not grab your attention with fancy clothes or a sparkling image, or eloquent speech,  but someone totally opposite indeed. The one that you least expect can be the angel passing by to make a deposit in your life,  leaving a lasting impression in your heart.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Take A Chance



"People that are more open to change tend to have a richer more fulfilling life.  They are like a Chameleon that can adjust with the climate and scenery of their setting.  They are more open minded to the differences of other people and usually have bigger hearts, with more experiences and more stories to tell which makes them more exciting to be around.  Change is good because you discover things about yourself that you didn't know was possible had you not taken the risk.  I found that the biggest problem in the fear of making a mistake, or fear of embarrassment is that you'll never move. Not only will you avoid making a mistake, but you can also miss out on a blessing that God has in store for you. I'm learning that sometimes we are in need of God's guidance to make some moves in life but there are also times when God wants us to open up to change. You never know what blessings lie in store for you when you take a chance."- Angela Cox

Monday, April 13, 2015

Today's Role Model

By Keesah Pelzer


A role model is defined as someone whose behavior is imitated by others, so how is it that one can possibly be a good role model to anyone else and allow their life to be a testimony for change, if they're not living right in God? 

The other day I over heard this young woman that I know talking to one of her friends. She was talking about how she's a single mom, she has a new car, makes great money at work, and just bought a new home, and how she's an excellent example to for her children to follow. That's awesome that she's accomplished those things, but it was kind of hard for me to overlook the fact that she has two smaller daughters, but yet she posses all over social media with her middle finger up, posting video's of girls fighting, and in every picture she's either bent over showing her boobs and butt, half naked, or both. To top it off, she has a filthy mouth, and she curses like a sailor.

That's no role model, at least not a good one, because kids imitate what they see, especially when it comes to their parents. Now in no way am I passing judgment, because a few years ago that was me all the way! I was lacking morals, and taking pictures in my bra (for the world to see), I was bending over in Aeropostale sweatpants talking about "1987 was a good year" with a baby in my belly, but who told me that I was dead wrong? No one did! 

I have three girls that I'm raising on my own with the help of God, and there's no way that I would want them to look up to someone like Rihanna as their primary role model when they have the greatest example right in their own house hold that's been out there, that knows what its like to be in the streets, to be in a gang, and in bad and abusive relationships. I don't want my children to have hoodrat tendencies like I had, and nor do I want them to suffer like I did either, so who better than me to teach them by continuing to allow God to clean me up so that I can be effective in Their lives.

I didn't always see things the way I see them now, because my thoughts were submerged in my own lustful desires. It wasn't until I came into the knowledge and understanding of God, and how he wants me to conduct myself that I began to see things for what they really were since day one. He also has blessed me by placing me under the care of awesome leaders that have submitted to him in order to be qualified to show me the ropes of life. I can't stress enough how gratified I am to have two God given parents that serve as superb role models in my life. They have taught me things both naturally and spiritually that I couldn't get from my biological parents, and that's not to discredit them in any way, but they couldn't give me the jewels of life because they didn't have them their selves. 

My spiritual mom has taught me by example how to be domestic, how to carry myself like a young lady in Christ, and how to get to know the Lord for myself. My spiritual dad is such an awesome man, and if I ever get married, I would want my husband to have the love of God in him just like he does. It's awesome to see how he takes care of his family without someone forcing him to do so, and how he protects them. 

Needless to say, there aren't many effective role models out here today. It takes submission and the spirit of God to bring forth change in someone in order to make them capable of having a positive effect on someone else's life. 

Being a good role model is not about showing someone how to buy a new car, or how to stunt (show off), but it's more about helping and encouraging someone to do better through the light that shines within you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Most Beautiful People

By Patricia McKinney 


Many people are inspired by others base off of their external qualities, how they look, where they live, what they have, and drive as a symbol of iconic beauty.  Not once do they ever think twice or even question the qualities of that person.  Even fans draw to celebrities based off of what they see, the visual aspect of fame and glory, and they're quick to overlook most faults without ever knowing any facts about them.  For example, if a celebrity stars in a Coca-Cola commercial, and tells the viewers of television to "drink Coca-Cola", the fans will  make a mad dash for the store to buy it.  People very rarely take the time to look at quality, because most people are drawn to vain-glory and the superficial, of what appears to be, not the raw essence of beauty expressed through personal qualities.  

Speaking of beautiful people, there are many beautiful or attractive people  appearance  wise, but I find that some of the most beautiful people are the realest of them all. They are people with a colorful past that's not considered perfect, attractive and pretty, and they carry a  wealth of multi-faceted experience. They are the people that are not afraid to open their lives to others like an open book, and share the essence of who they really are and their history. They live their lives free from the bars of falsehood or full frontal mask, covering up, by portraying to be someone they're not. They are the black-sheep and the outcast, rejected, misunderstood, and misjudged.  They are the ones who did not forget where they came from. They have not forgotten how to reach their hand out to help pull someone else up from a pit by using their own life experience, after they've obtained success. They are the most beautiful people, the ones that are not perfect, that use their life as a symbol of beauty to help someone else. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Unchanged

By Karen Ricketts 



Have you ever ran into someone from your past, or reconnected with them via social media or by phone and found out that in all those years they haven't changed one bit. Some people might view this as a good thing that someone has stayed the same, but it all depends on the area in their lives that remained constant and unchanged in all those years. 


Change happens when we pass from one state of mind to the next, in how we act and even in the things we like or dislike. Do you remember when you were a child and how you disliked certain foods, even looking at it made you feel sick, but as you grew older you decided to try it, and realized that you actually liked the taste?

I remember reconnecting with someone I hung out with as a teenager and young adult. We lost contact for many years, then one day we reconnected and after ten years had passed. My first conversation with her felt like we had continued a conversation from where we left off in the past, and it was not a good feeling. Some people can even be married with children, but somehow they manage to stay the same psychologically (their mental and behavioral state) and in their emotionally reactions. 

The memories of the fun times you had are just that, memories that should stay in the past. If your initial conversation with this person left you feeling like you went back in time by having the same type of discussions with no new insight, knowledge, or information about life, and you’re feeling like something’s wrong with this picture, then something is different. You’ve grown and changed and your friend hasn’t. 

There’s nothing wrong with outgrowing  relationships, because as individuals we mature and grow at different rates, but do you want to have that same type of relationship again? Will it benefit you in any way? Is reconnecting with this individual and renewing an old friendship going to help you, hinder you or drag you back five, ten, or fifteen years? 

Most times you have to decline renewing an old relationship and keep moving forward. It’s nothing personal against that individual, you’ve just outgrown them, the things you use to do, and the types of conversations you use to engage in. Hooking back up with them again would yield no beneficial results in your life. It’s not the quantity of people that surround you, but the quality of the character and substance that those around you contribute to your life. 

With all that’s going wrong in the world today, we can’t relive the good ole days by reconnecting with those from our past, they’re unable to fill the void in our lives. The truth is that void can only be filled by letting Christ into your life and heart . He promised to be a true and faithful friend to us.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Friends

By Patricia McKinney 


Have you ever met someone that claimed to have alot of friends?  They'd speak highly about those that they've known for years, and from an outsiders perspective,  they appear to be a bonded together in love and get along quite lovely without any problems. They're always going out to lunch, brunch, or dinner, they talk on the phone for hours on end, take pictures together, hit each up other up on Facebook,  or come together to reminisce on the past.  To a person that doesn't know any better, or have an understanding about the facts of life would think that someone with "alot of friends" is just a social butterfly spreading their wings. 

As I matured, I realized that realistically, there's no such thing as having a lot of friends.   The majority of the time, people misinterpret what friendship really means.  They've butchered the word "friendship" to death, just like they destroyed the word "love". It's important to know  it's meaning, that way you can identify who really fits the bill, and who falls in the category of an acquaintance or associate, and you won't  find yourself disappointed when your "buddy" doesn't live up the expectation of what a friend really is. 

To be a friend has requirements, and not everyone that knows your name, smiles in your face, or hung out with you in the past or present is worthy of being on your "list of friends".  A friendship requires loyalty, respect, trustworthiness, honesty, and dependability.  It means to have respect for one's opinion whether you agree with it or not, or be able to agree to disagree.  To respect each others space, decisions, and most definitely each others spouse! To be honest and tell the truth for the betterment of the other person, even if it hurts, to help save their soul, or  snatch them from the flames of stupidity or to keep them from making an irrational decision.   It means to be loyal without revealing things about them to other people, to help protect their interest, to help them when they need you, or to just do something special because you love them, to be a listening ear, a confidant. 

When you have a clearer picture of what a "friend" is, I'm sure you'll see that you probably have the wrong people on the list. I found that people that feel the need to have a "Posse" of friends usually compromise to keep them, and are always influenced by them in one way or another, because they have an inner lack or low self esteem that requires the approval of others. They'll even tolerate levels of disrespect, jealousy, inconsiderate behavior, and neglect from the other party, just to have their company.  

Now this is understandable if you're still in high school, or even as a young adult because you're still learning, but as you mature you tend to outgrow many of the people that you hung out with, and some that you've known in the past, and if not, then that's usually a sign that you're stuck in several area's of life (mentally, emotionally, even spiritually). Even life itself has a steady flow, and it shifts in different directions with time and experience, which means you don't stay in the same place or around the same setting of people forever unless they were placed in your life by God. (example: a spouse, children,  or a life long friendship which is usually not many) 

Some people come into our lives for a purpose and aren't meant to stay forever. Some come to teach us lessons, to help push us to another dimension mentally, naturally, or spiritually, while some might be placed in our lives 'til death do us part.  Unfortunately people make the mistake of trying to make a temporal relationship permanent, or classify associates and acquaintance's with friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Moving Train

By Keesah Pelzer 

Have you ever noticed when you have somewhere to be and a short amount of time to get there, it seems like everything and everyone is moving in slow motion and won't seem to get out of your way? A certain percentage of people would go home and say, "Forget about it!", but the other half would try to stick it out and maneuver their way through the traffic, even to risk showing up late. There are times I've felt like giving up because the odds were against me, and things weren't going my way. People didn't believe that I was going to change the way I was living , or let alone even make it this far. They would question and criticize my relationship with God, put me down and laugh in my face. 
Although that hurt me, I chose to keep going, because I wanted to see results in my life, and I realized that God is the only one that has the ability to produce these results. Can you imagine if I would have let one monkey stop me from striving to reach my highest potential in God? Where would I be? What would I be doing? I'd be just like the person that tried to take me off coarse, miserable, and disappointed. I've learned throughout the years that people -family included- only throw shade when you're shining. They don't want to see you do better than them, and when you're not just physically, but mentally in a different place in your life, they think that you're being a snob, when really, it's their own insecurities. 
Why should opportunity knock, and we not open the door and go through at full speed? Just because they settled for less, why should we? In God its a constant fight to stay on board, and if that means disconnecting from dead weight, then by any means, do so! Fighting daily to stay focused is the only option. Its like constantly studying for a test that you never feel you're fully prepared for. You think your life is going THIS way, when it's really going THAT way. You think people are going to be happy that you're getting your life together, but they're really not. I say all of that to say this: God is the only train that can carry us safely to our next place in him. Anyone else's approval is inaccurate, and holds no weight. We shouldn't allow set backs or people who don't want to see us succeed, to detour us from getting a seat on the moving train.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I Made A Comeback

By Patricia McKinney 


I've been a fighter since I was a young girl. In fact, I believe that I was given a fighting spirit from God in the womb before the day that I was born.  The reason I say this is because "adversity" reared it's ugly head during early childhood, that presented itself in the form of many blows and wounds that could have left me maimed and stagnated for life if I were not born with the innate ability to bounce back.  Molestation, rape, drug addiction, prostitution, and incarceration (just to name a few) were the catalyst used to cultivate a leader "In her own right", and heroine to many.  I didn't realize that the trials I endured would provide me with an unbreakable determination to ride the waves of life and make it safely back to shore, while preparing me for even greater things.

The reflection of my own life caused me to study the life of iconic figures that went before me.  I discovered that many historical icons and visionaries started from humble beginnings, and faced much adversity, pain and suffering in order to reach their needed destination. They had to go through the fiery flames of critical naysayers that hissed at even the slightest idea of success, and some even dealt with the extreme jealousy of those that claimed to love them. They had to work their way through the words of "fear mongers" that came along to paralyze them, and navigate their way through financial setbacks, and the lack of moral support from those that couldn't see their vision. 

Every great leader has a story to tell of how they endured trials, and weathered storms, failures, and obstacles to ultimately triumph in the end. I know first hand what it's like to climb the ladder, only to revamp and start over again due to those that walk along side you, but leave you because their hearts are not with you.  

I know what its like to  entrust people with something that I've worked so hard for,  only to have them handle my gift with the slightest bit of care.  As a leader, I've learned along life's path, you're sure to meet thieves that come along to steal, kill, and destroy the valuable jewel that God has given you to bring fulfillment in life, while touching the lives of others. Whether it's a business, your marriage and family life, your gift, or anything that will propel you forward, some people won't support you unless they're a part of the equation, or they have a "hater's mentality" that can't stand the sight of you doing something with greater substance than what they're doing.

I've learned that people come with smiling faces, hidden agenda's, and ill intentions that will scandalize your name, use you, abuse you, and reject you when they don't get a piece of the pie, or get their way (with your stuff)!!  Some will even ride the "wave of success" with you as long as they're receiving five minutes of fame, a little bit of notoriety, or personal recognition to market themselves and feed their own ego.  I've experienced all these things and so much more, because I'm a leader with great vision and purpose in life.  I realized that these things were all a part of my process, to make me mentally sharp, and wise, while giving me the resilience to make a come back and prepare me for much greater tasks.  

Today I can say that I'm truly grateful for all of the setbacks, fiery trials and errors, wounds, blows, and people that came in my life to provided me with the tools needed to make me into a wise woman. Though many of the tools that I've gained were birthed from fiery trials and suffering at the hands of others, they provided me with an unbreakable determination that's given me the power to keep moving forward and never give up.  I made an awesome comeback! I was born a fighter, I always was, and always will be.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It Pays To Listen


"It's important in this life to have a teachable spirit, and learn to listen to those that God has placed in our lives that are presented as a voice of reason. Sometimes God can give you a simple word of wisdom from a total stranger, and we'll know when it's right, because it will also make logical sense, and bring peace within, causing you too look at things from a clear perspective, and not your emotions.  They'll tell you to slow down, and pace yourself even if it means that you have to face life's difficulties. I believe it's best that way, so you don't find yourself pulling out your hair later."- Angela Cox

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Would You Do?

By Patricia McKinney 

What would you do if you suddenly went from rags to riches? I'm sure your life would change in the blink of an eye. Of course it would! I don't know any one who wouldn't take advantage of the fact that they can splurge a little, especially if they were scraping to get by before. Unless you were pampered all your life, or born eating from the"silver spoon," you'd beg to differ. Some would go as far as freely sharing their wealth with family members and (so-called) friends only to their own demise.

Do you remember the movie, "Coming to America" featuring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall? To jog your memory, Eddie Murphy played the role of the African Prince "Akeem", that came to America to find himself a wife. He disguised himself as an average guy that lived on a meager income working at "McDowells" instead of McDonalds, and he moved into a rat infested apartment as a part of the scam. To make a long story short, there's a part in the movie where he gave two homeless men a brown paper bag with money in it. They were estatic and went from rags to- riches. (in fact they had money before, but somehow they lost their wealth, ended up homeless,and had to start all over again).

Even though this was a movie  there have been many incidents where people have gained wealth, but squandered it away through mismanagement, or by placing it in the wrong hands. I'm sure we've all had our fair share of watching people that once had a lot, but end up scraping to get by. Do you remember the documentary called the curse of the lottery? It was filled with people that struck it rich, but wasted away their winnings. Some went out and bought 25-35 cadillacs, some where sued by family members, and one man immediately left his wife after his lottery winnings. They provided us with firm examples that not everyone is capable of handling wealth. Another prime example is our poor athletes and celebrities. As soon as they get their hands on their earnings, family members are waiting on the sidelines like vultures to get a piece of the pie. They feel that they have an "entitlement" because they're relatives. 

Unfortunately, these "stars" are overcome by their emotions, or even guilt and become "yes men", in order to please those around them. They thoughtlessly pay for big ticket items like mansions, cars, clothing, jewelry, and vacations, carelessly moving without the least bit of foresight. It doesnt even cross their mind that something could happen to disrupt their financial flow, until an eruption occurs, and after the fact, they find themselves in a mountain of debt. All of a sudden they have an epiphany, and discover that those that "helped themselves to their wallet, are not so quick to bend over backwards to help get them out of debt.

In turn, their lives end up in a down hill spiral, and not just financially, but mentally, and emotionally all because they didn't procede with caution. They didn't protect their investment. We can learn alot from them, as well as our own mistakes in the past. The lesson in this is to protect what you have, guard what you have mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Proceed with caution in your dealings, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

True Beauty


By Karen Ricketts 

If beauty can only be seen through the eyes

Then when does a good heart win the prize?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder they tell me
Then my internal beauty that beholder will never see

Looked down on because of beauty you couldn't see
Unable to perceive the beauty that exist inside me

Beauty is not superficial, it penetrates deep beyond the skin
Though it's cautious, discriminate it won't and all are welcome in

My beauty you will see, if you can get pass the physical me
Though observed as plain and not much to see, the beauty I posses is extraordinary

You seek only for outward beauty and attractiveness to adorn me
But awesome and wonderfully I was made by Him who created me

To behold true beauty requires more than sight
It's a quality found deep inside, my Light

A gift from God, a piece of Him to treasure
More valuable than anything your eyes will ever measure

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Rose Among Thorns

By Patricia McKinney


One of the most fascinating things that I've ever seen is the rose that dwells among thorns. I guess because the two are in such contrast to each other, it raises the question, how can something so beautiful be produced from something that's so rough and thorny? How can  "thorns" that are so harsh in appearance, be benefical to something so delicate?
 
I found upon researching, that thorns (also known as prickles) on a roses stem, though they may be harsh in appearance and are prickly to the touch, serve the wonderful purpose of protecting this delicate flower from predators to extend it's own life, by warding off animals that will destroy the rosebush. 
 
Isn't it amazing how nature can symbolize things that happen in our daily lives? Sometimes God uses the smallest things to teach us life lessons, and serve as reminders that all things serve a purpose. He also shows us the beauty among things that appear to be unappealing, that are opposite and contrary to our own way of thinking. I once heard someone say that they thought life was all about having it all (without the trials), and they never knew what it was like to struggle. But they found that their tough times were beneficial, and they gained insight, courage, and strength during those times. 


I know from my own experience that life may seem to produce "thorns" at times, those things that feel and appear to be harsh and uncomfortable, or contrary to what we're accustomed to, but they're beneficial to our growth and maturity, and they aide in producing the beauty within, like the rose. Sometime, it can be difficult to perceive that a contrary life experience can be beneficial until you meet someone that's in a condition that's worse than your own.
 
During my "thorny" times, I learned the most valuable lessons. I learned the character of people, I learned to count my blessings, and the essence of what life is really all about. During my "thorny" times, I developed good character and strength, and wisdom to protect me from predators (things  and people that were not good for me), like the rose that uses the thorns to protects its own life. I've learned that our thorny times come to develop and preserve us, to give us wisdom, and appreciation for what we do have, and to count our blessings.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Balancing Act


By Keesah Pelzer 




Has someone ever violated you or did something out of order, and you let their unruly behavior slide because you didn't want to step on anyone's toes, or cause conflict? You carried on almost as if nothing even happened, allowing them to offend you yet again. Finding balance in situation like that can be a difficult task, because you have to know when to speak, and when to be quiet, when to approach, and when to fall back.         
                                                                                                                                                 
Lately I've been finding it extremely problematic to gain a steady balance in being blunt without acting out of character, because ever since I can remember, I've struggled with anger, and my way of expressing my frustrations were to black out and fight. If something was said to me that I didn't wholeheartedly agree with, and I felt that it was said in a way to be disrespectful, I would lash out instead of simply saying, "That's not cool!". There were rarely any in between moments, or any grey areas with me. I was either extremely nice, or overly unpleasant. 

When I came into the understanding of God, it was obvious that my attitude had to be reconstructed, and I had to gain that "in between balance" that I've been lacking for years. I didn't realize that he wanted to tweak my attitude, and add restraints, and boundaries, not completely take it away. This is just my opinion, but I truly believe that God does not want us to live life allowing others to walk all over us, or try to pull the covers over our eyes while we just sit there and take it, all because we want to display our Christian like behavior. He knows how cruel, and cold hearted people in this world can be, and if he took that feature away from us, you could only imagine what we'd stand for, and from what I can remember, Jesus didn't walk around timid, and being fearful of putting people in their place. He had balance, and he walked around with authority. 

My spiritual mom always told me, "Being scared to tell people 'No, I'm not doing that', or 'I don't like this', should never be an option". I've experienced it, and I see it happen all the time, People will approach you just to see how far they can go with you. but the thing is, we cant ignore the issues that need to be addressed because ultimately the problem will continue to resurface until its dealt with. Even when it comes to turning someone down when they're trying to make a pass at you, stand your ground and tell them no, because if you entertain their behavior, then they're going to take that as an invitation to come back again. 

I had to learn the hard way by trying to be nice people, and not wanting to sound "catty", or stuck up, but people are bold in this day in age, and although I'm still finding my balancing act, I have a better understanding of how serious this matter can be, because if we don't stand for something, we'll fall for anything.