The Falcons season reminds me of a 2006 movie, "Facing the Giants" that was written, produced and directed by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the same directors who brought you the Box Office hit, "War Room." If you are not familiar with the movie, it's about a HS football coach (Grant Taylor), who through a set of almost insurmountable odds, led and coached his team to win the high school state football championship against a team that was in physical terms, bigger and stronger than his team. What made all the difference is that when Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team. He dares to challenge his players to believe God for the impossible on and off the field. When faced with unbelievable odds, the team must step-up to their greatest test of strength and courage.
The Falcons coach, Dan Quinn, took a similar route in that he searched for a stronger purpose when he challenged his team to stand together as brothers as they faced their giants week after week. The result was that you started seeing the Falcons "In Brotherhood" movement start to take on a life of its own! It is my prayer that as the Falcons stand strong together as brothers on Super Bowl Sunday, they continue to trust God and know that He is with them! After all, Jesus was a Falcon fan...on the third day He ROSE UP!
I would definitely be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to celebrate and congratulate our Atlanta Falcons on their NFC Championship win! With their impressive win against the Green Bay Packers, they secured and earned the right to play in Super Bowl LI. This is only the second Super Bowl appearance in the 51 year history of the franchise. Their first appearance was in 1999 against the Denver Broncos which ended in defeat. NOT THIS TIME!
This season I have heard countless analysts and so called experts comment about how the Falcons were not a playoff contender let alone Super Bowl material. Well, as we can all see, they were wrong!
I started the journey of writing this book approximately 2 years ago after God spoke the vision for it into my spirit. It was not the first time that He spoke "Vision" into me. Matter of fact, God shares the plans and purpose that He has for me quite often. But He always leaves it up to me whether or not I am going to obey. After discovering the scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 and studying and understanding the depth of it's meaning...why wouldn't I obey? The central theme throughout the book of Jeremiah focuses on reminding us that we are all born with a purpose and as long as we stay focused on God, despite any opposition that we may encounter; you will prevail in fulfilling your God ordained purpose.
Don't get me wrong, by no means am I remotely suggesting that this is easy to do because nothing can be farther from the truth. If I am being honest with you and myself, at times it can be an almost insurmountable task to look fear in the face and keep moving forward! Lord knows I know this feeling all too well! But, it was during my most challenging times that I was reminded about the promises of Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." WOW!
Throughout this journey of discovery and following my life's purpose, God has revealed to me some valuable lessons. One of the most important lessons that He has taught me is that I should not work harder at accomplishing the dreams of others. This was a hard one for me because of the uncertainly that I felt about my own gifts and talents. We often don't see in ourselves the gifts that God has blessed us with and so we allow this uncertainty to distract us from following the dreams and plans that God has purposed for our lives out of fear. I will admit thatI was afraid, but of what? Author Steven Pressfield described it best when he said, "We fear that we will succeed. We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us." Because of this fear, I allowed myself to start following and working harder at fulfilling the dreams of others. So how do you break free from this self-defeating mindset? Simply put, start following your heart because the heart is where the Holy Spirit lives.
As we enter into another new year, let God lead you into fulfilling the purpose that He has detined for your life. Know that He has put you on this earth for a specific reason and purpose. Don't allow others to distract you from using your gifts in the way that God has ordained for you to use them. In doing so, this might mean that you may have to set some boundaries and close the doors on some opportunities that have run their course. Don't be afraid to step out on faith. If God led you to it He will see you through it! Let go and let God lead you into your season of prosperity! In other wordsd don't fall for the "okey-doke!"
Happy New Year!
It is with a grateful heart that I officially announce the completion of my first book, "There is Life After Layoff-Rediscovery and Empowerment Journal!" I have to admit that I have been filled with a multitude of emotions because without a doubt, this is one of the most significant accomplishments of my life! I am so humbled and grateful to God for seeing in me what I did not see in myself. I am humbled and grateful that He trusted me with the gift to inspire others through my journey. I am grateful and humbled that during the times when life distracted me He guided and allowed me to meet and build a relationship with someone who helped to hold me accountable and get me back on track. He always knows what we need when we need it! During those times when I didn't know where the resources would come from, He opened up a window or door of opportunity for me to be able to earn just what I needed! It was during these times that I realized that not only was this journey a divinely inspired one but also a divinely funded one!
Words do not seem to be enough for me to express the gratitude that I feel to all of the people who believed in me and encouraged me along the way. Thank you for sowing a seed of love into this journey! You know who you are! Now that I have birthed this baby, it's time for me to hear from God regarding the next step in my journey! Yes, I'm planning to get pregnant with a purpose again ya'll! When you are living a life honoring and in relationship with God, there is no such thing as getting your tubes tied! Ready for the next baby! Online Store
It has been a long journey towards fulfilling this part of my God-ordained destiny! Yes, it is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I share with you the "World Premier" of the trailer for my first book, There is Life After Layoff-Rediscovery and Empowerment Journal! Stay tuned for the official publication announcement! God is so good!
If you think about it, this is a very powerful and thought provoking question for so many reasons. Seriously, it's a simple question that required me to do some really serious soul searching. With that said, I ask, "Are you one of those people who hold other people responsible for your happiness? Are you one of those people who blame others for why you are not where you want to be in your life? Are you one of those people who make up all kinds of excuses for why you can't accomplish or pursue your dreams? Are you one of those people who look to others for accolades and validation?" Things that make you say "hummm!"
If I asked myself these questions early on in my journey, I would have to answer "Yes" to all of the above. But why? After giving this some thought, I was taken back to my childhood. Taken back to a time when I was never really comfortable in my own skin. I was made to feel this way by others who said things to me like; "You think that you are cute because you are light skinned and have long hair!" WHAT??? Crazy right? Because of this narrow minded way of thinking by others, who I now recognize as having had their own personal insecurities; I was bullied and picked on often. It left me feeling ashamed of who I was. As a child, this can be a very tormented and lonely existence. Thankfully I had a loving family who supported and loved me through this torment. Funny thing though, I never actually shared how I felt with anyone. But God knew.
Growing up with this type of mindset proved to be detrimental for me in the area of relationships. Mainly because I did not fully love myself, plus at the time I did not have a personal relationship with God, so I searched for and settled for love in all the wrong places. I didn't realize that the love that I was seeking and longing for was always readily available and not from a "MAN." The way that I look at it, God was preparing me for something and He needed me to learn "whose and who" I am by going through the struggles and trials that resulted from the choices that I made. I can even remember, when the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me in a particular situation but I didn't listen and the result was almost always one that ended in heartbreak.
I am so grateful that I finally woke up and realized that God is the source, the author and the finisher of all things! My relationship with God is more important than anyone or anything on this earth! Jesus I want you!
It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a Rhodes Scholar to figure the terrible state that the world is in at this present time. All you have to do is turn on the TV news, listen to the radio in your car, oh and let's not forget social media, to hear about all of the spew of hatred that is going on! I don't usually get involved with sharing my opinion about such things publically, but I would definitely be remiss if I didn't share thoughts about the social injustices and senseless violence going on in this country and abroad.
It is really scary to say the least! Just the week before last, we were notified by a neighbor about a man shooting people in a nearby neighborhood that is located on the street that our subdivision is on. For this reason, police had our street blocked off at certain points and had to even evacuate a specified area. Sadly, one person died and another was seriously injured before the perpetrator eventually ended his own life. I don't know about you but, this was a little bit to close to home for me! It saddens me that in 2016, innocent people are being senselessly killed on the basis of race or socio-economic background, over money, greed, jealousy and the list goes on and on. What happened to LOVE?
It wasn't until the other day, when I was out enjoying my morning run, that I heard this song on Pandora and it made me realize something that I had forgotten. The title of the song says it all, "There's Hope!" As I listened to the words of this very powerful and beautifully written song by India Arie, I was reminded of who's ultimately in control. The song hits the nail on the head about the power of HOPE! Taking it one step further, I was also reminded about an acronym:
He Offers Peace Everyday!
So although I am saddened by the state of our world, I continue to pray and I have HOPE! It's a mindset and a choice that we have to make everyday. Therefore, I choose, PEACE, I choose HOPE but more importantly, I choose GOD! He is the author and the finisher of all! This is the day that He has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! Get in line with His word and it just migh change your life!
In recent months past, the world has lost two iconic legends of enormous stature. Although different in relation to the gifts and talents that they shared with the world, they were alike in more ways than you think. A few attributes that these men of great talent shared were that they are both great men of faith and vision - who changed the world and served as innovators in their respective crafts, inspiring millions across the globe. Both were also prodigy's at a young age. Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) at age of 12, was introduced to the sport of boxing by a neighborhood cop.
In 1960 he won the Gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics and then later at the age of 22, he secured the world heavyweight championship by defeating Sonny Liston in a stunning upset. This was only the beginning of what would become a historic career leading to 3-World Heavyweight championships not to mention becoming one of the most successful and celebrated public figures in history.
Prince Rogers Nelson displayed remarkable musical talent as early as the young age of 7 when he penned his first song. As a teenager he was successful in landing a groundbreaking recording deal. On his first project Prince is to have played all 27 instruments, in addition to producing, arranging, composing and performing all of the tracks. Prince earned some of the highest musical honors, including seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for the Purple Rain soundtrack and so much more.
Despite their young age, both Muhammad Ali and Prince did not let youth prevent them from pursuing their passion
Another major similarity between these two great men, is that they took a stance for what they believed in even though the personal and professional losses were great. It was Muhammad Ali who back in 1967 took a stance against the Vietnam War based on his religious convictions, by refusing to allow himself to be drafted to fight in a war he did not believe in. As a result he was stripped of his heavy weight titles, banished from boxing for 3 years as well as facing 5 years of imprisonment.
Just like Muhammad Ali, in 1993, Prince took a stance against his record label Warner Brothers and launched a 7 year battle when he protested against the lack of artistic control and ownership of his music. During this time Prince displayed the word "SLAVE" on the side of his face and even went so far as to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol to prove a point.
,They are also alike in that they both bear the scars of giving their all to their respective careers and having done so, suffered in later years as a result. Muhammad's battle with Parkinson's Disease was reportedly an outcome from all of the head blows that he endured throughout his boxing career. He struggle with the disease helped to shed new light and add a face of dignity for all those who suffer from this oftentimes debilitating disease. Something that I know on a personal level, having a father who has been living with the disease for a couple of years now. Prince had his own struggles as a result of years of performing in high heels which eventually led to hip replacement surgery and a suspected addiction to pain killers. Both made sacrifices all for the love of their loyal fans and their careers.
I can go on and on about just how similar these two "unapologetically proud" men were but what resonates the most in my mind about them is their willingness to take a stand for what they believe in and for what was right for others, regardless of the costs. Standing firm in your belief and doing what you feel is right, is not always the popular or easy thing to do. It certainly takes courage and integrity but more importantly it takes "character." With that said, I would like to leave you with this quote made by American Football Player and Coach John Wooden:
Rest in Peace Prince and Muhammad Ali. Thank you for your contributions towards making this world a better place. Most of all, thank you for being a shining example of what "COURAGE" really looks like.
Just recently I was blessed to celebrate another year of life! Not only am I grateful but humbled that God has continued to use me as a "vessel of change" to make a difference in the lives of others. When I think about it, I get emotional that He is using my journey to inspire and uplift others out of their difficult life circumstances. Yes, little ole me! There was a time when the voices in my ear whispered "You are not worthy, nobody wants to listen to what a laid-off wife and mother of two has to say!" Fortunately, I did not listen to those negative voices and continued to allow God to use me to bless others.
It is the enemy's job to try to distract you from accomplishing what it is God has planned for your life. He will throw everything at you but the kitchen sink, (and sometimes the sink) to try to cause you from pursuing your purpose. It is up to us to recognize these distractions at their onset. The tough part is being able to recognize a distraction because they come disguised in many ways. It wasn't until I read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield that I was able to recognize them in their many forms.
Now armed with a new found awareness, I am more determined to not give in to the tricks of the enemy and to complete and accomplish all that God has purposed for my life. I look forward to another year of Purpose and Plenty as I continue my journey in this thing called life!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
Just recently a good friend of mine, Ryan Kilgore, shared a YouTube video with me, that touched my heart to the core. It was a "Thank You" video that was created for him by Gary, a Quality Life Coach along with a young man named Jason who has cerebral palsy. Jason wanted to send a word of "Thanks" to Ryan, a very talented saxophonist who recently toured with Stevie Wonder on his "Songs in the Key of Life" Tour. Jason wrote a song to thank him for taking time to meet with him (along with one of the background singers) to give personalized attention and encouragement after Jason (a lifelong Stevie Wonder fan) attended a concert in Buffalo last year.
After watching the video and wiping the tears that flowed, it made me realize that God is the great orchestrator of life and that nothing happens by accident! I firmly believe that God orchestrated Jason's meeting with Ryan and knew the blessing and impact that it would leave on Jason's life. Since starting this journey, God has orchestrated and provided me with the opportunity to meet, connect, network and build friendships with so many inspiring people of purpose! It never ceases to amaze me how He always know when to send just the right people into my life at just the right time! He knows what I need before I even know what I need!
But then again.....He is GOD!
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Wife and mother of two, who unexpectedly found herself being laid off for the 2nd time in her professional career. (Read more in About Me)
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