Who’s The Greatest of Them All

There is an old discussion whether greatness is born or made? There are beliefs that greatness equates to popularity. Psychologists are enchanted with dissecting great minds attempting to identify the roots of someone’s greatness. According to many societal standards, greatness is based on how much one possesses, their level of education or the status one has garnered. Others measure greatness by accolades and rewards but Jesus stated in Matthew 5:19, Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Friends, I write to encourage you that the best is yet to come for you. In order to be considered great in the Kingdom of God, you must serve others. Comparing self against another’s talent, is vanity, empty and worthless. We must cultivate our own gifting because we too, have potential deposited within us by God. Potential is that which you are capable of, and have not yet accomplished. That cultivation comes through education, training, and life experiences. Those experiences activate our Purpose. Stir up your gifts, they will make room for you and place you before great men. Rest in God, meaning freedom from anxieties, if you find yourself in turmoil, let it go.

A stanza from my signature writing, Purpose, states, “There are copies, similarities, but you are authentic, If you don’t act on it, you will prevent it.

You are GREAT if you live out Matthew 5:19. It has already been establish what true greatness is, fulfill that commandment then you will be called great in the kingdom.

So the discussion whether greatness is born or made is irrelevant!

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Begin Again

fresh-start“Three, Two, One…Happy New Year!”  The clocks strike midnight, a variation of corks are popped and, depending on the culture, many are caught up in exuberant exclamations of “Halleluiahs” in the apostolic tradition of Watch Night service.  Another year has indiscreetly enter into time and resolutions of change are written, spoken and thought. Frequently this yearly ritual, results in a high rush of serotonin leading to an elation of overcoming and beginning again. Whatever the obstacle hoping to be resolved, there is a feeling of conquering or a strong desire to do so.

Whether you are an overachiever, a late bloomer, or that person who always seems to fall just short of the mark, accomplishing your goals are pertinent because they bring you closer to your victory and prove the value of discipline. So what did you write regarding your New Year’s resolution? Have you vowed to make a change during a popular vision board party which felt right at the time? Or do you feel defeated because you have not been able to remain consistent with your plans?

According to University of Scranton, 40% of people set resolutions but only 8% complete them. Regardless of how many times you’ve found yourself among the 92% who fail to complete their resolutions, I want to encourage you to begin again. Failure does not have to be permanent, but you can use it as a springboard to get up, dust yourself off, and try again with more knowledge and more experience to apply to the task.  Every day is another opportunity to begin again.

Often times we create a bucket list instead of resolutions. Though the two are similar, they are different. A bucket list itemizes a litany of things you desire to do or experience.  A resolution is your steadfast commitment to make a change.  Be specific.

Whatever you’ve identified as your New Year’s resolution, you can do it! The obstacle which you are going to change and overcome takes one step and one day at a time. Here’s how:

  1. Get a calendar and identify dates for small milestones that will create a timeline to reach your ultimate goal.
  2. Read and reread your calendar daily, thereby creating a subliminal message and allowing the resolution to become engrained in your psyche.
  3. Remove anything that has the ability to hinder your progress. If there is a trigger which prevents you from completing your goal, identify, pin-point the cause/root, then resolve it.
  4. Create a support system; in the multitude of counsel, there is safety.
  5. Take time to review your progress and celebrate small victories. This will motivate you to keep going as you can see yourself moving closer to your goal.
  6. Repeat this process until your goal is manifested.

Begin Again!

Take your time and complete your resolution. Resolve to be in the 8 percent.

I am excited for you because you will win this time!  Quitting is not an option. Begin Again.

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“Injury Prevention – to Real Key Victory in Youth Sports”

Cari Champion, ESPN’s First Take, Rashan Ali, CBS sideline reporter, C Harper and Aja Evans, Bronze Medalist — at Loudermilk Conference Center.

Cari Champion, ESPN’s First Take, Rashan Ali, CBS sideline reporter, C Harper and Aja Evans, Bronze Medalist — at Loudermilk Conference Center.

There are multiple reasons why I love the secondary color, purple.  Prior to my discovery of other significant meanings of purple, I had developed an affinity for it, as it was the primary color at my junior high, Memorial Middle School. Memorial was a neighborhood school, in which the community took great pride.  My true desire as a child, to run track for Memorial as I proudly donned the purple uniform, was unrealized due to my being plagued with chronic asthma.  Not only was I afraid of what could’ve happened if I ran, my family knew all too well the risks that it would pose. Therefore, my aspiration was but a vapor.

While I will never know if I had the skill, agility, or speed to become a top competitor in track and field, my passion for athleticism remains extremely great. The endurance of athletes to push beyond their natural abilities enamors me, as I’ve observed many noted sportspersons play through pain.  So, when I was invited to participate in the PASS national tour, I happily accepted.

PASS, Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety, is a program recently launched by the National Council on Youth Sports Safety (NCYSS).  Atlanta was the first stop of PASS’s eleven-city tour focused on educating communities on sports safety and various injury-related topics.

NCYSS co-chairs, Dr. David Satcher, director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and Dr. Eliot Sorel, educator at George Washington University, opened the event with a town-hall meeting.  Dr. Sorel raised the awareness of brain issues caused by concussions (according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 248,000 children under age 19 are treated for traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussions related to sports annually).  Dr. Sorel publically thanked President Obama, whom he applauded for announcing BRAIN Initiative, a white house’s new research effort to increase the country’s understanding of the human mind and develop new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

Statistics from the CDC report that in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.  Increasing concern for youth sports-related injuries, Dr. Satcher pointed out during the town-hall, poses a threat to promoting and encouraging the exercise and physical activity that is “critical to reversing the obesity epidemic”.

The inaugural stop of the PASS tour also featured sessions hosted by an impressive list of sports enthusiasts focusing on brain injuries, injury prevention, equipment certification and diagnostics devices, concussion legislation and the link between physical activity and academic achievement. Each session offered cutting edge information that attendees could take away and incorporate into their own sports and exercise activities.

The closing panel, hosted by Cari Champion, moderator of ESPN’s First take, was comprised of some of the country’s top athletes and sports personalities. Featured speakers included Aja Evans, bronze medalist (Sochi) and bobsledder, Michael Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, and Charles “Chuck” Smith, former Atlanta Falcons defensive end. Ms. Champion facilitated the group with questions centered on sports safety. With an attentive audience, the panelist elaborated on life as a professional athlete, injuries and proper training.

One of the most memorable statements of the day came from Michael Johnson, who once posed to his mother, “Mama how will they find me here in Selma, Alabama?” To which she replied, “If you are good, they will come looking for you.” And for many athletes, when they are found, the love that they have for their sport and their supporters compels them to play, even if injured.

While my track and field aspirations were never realized, I am glad to have been a part of this event and to have participated in the education of young athletes to ensure that another young person who dreams of taking to the track, the field, the court, the diamond, or other sports arenas can so proudly wear their team colors with minimized risks of injury.  That, for me, may even be sweeter than had I worn my beloved purple at Memorial Middle School.

If you desire information on PASS, contact Ashlyn Shockley, Executive Director, www.youthsportssafety.org.

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Trading Rocks for Royalty

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Royal Retreat Candid Shot with Natalie Morman, Reese Phillips and Cynthia Harper

Have you ever wondered how royalty really lives? For many people, there has been an age-old fascination with monarchs; the lavish lifestyle of guarded gates, elaborate mansions, servants and the selection of their elite guest lists for their ostentatious occasions. I am not sure if it’s a sheer mystique of knowing or a desire to live the perceived lifestyle? Either way, I have consciously decided not to covet someone else’s identity, but rather,  to embrace my own.

To discover that I was adopted by the King of Kings, that I was chosen, handpicked and deliberately selected to be his daughter, possessing rights to the royal throne gives me an unshakable confidence to live a life of Purpose. He’s promised me a mansion, which is guarded by heavenly beings-angels specifically assigned to protect me. He has given me authority and dominion to rule over things and much, much more. As a Certified Life Coach, I am compelled to share my experiences for the sake of inspiring and encouraging others, who might need a pick- me-up.

Recently I had the awesome pleasure of being invited to the Royal Retreat, sponsored by Diamond in the Rough,(DITR) and Gem Makers, LLC, http://www.thepricelessprincess.net. Upon arrival at this luxurious resort, the other women and I were greeted with warm salutations and crowns, reminding us of our royal status. Though the crowns were symbolic, they were of upmost relevance as tangible representations of the position, significance, and authority we possess as daughters of the King.  We were encouraged by conference host, that our crowns were to be worn at all times and that we should, for the duration of the event, expect Gods favor.

I was faced with the daunting thought, “how many times, had I taken my crown off in life and forfeited my Purpose.” Had I forgotten that I was royalty and the lives of others depended on me completing my task? Had I become complacent and began to walk in mediocrity? Was I going to settle for less because the best has yet to come?

Are you guilty of taking your crown off as well? Have you become content immersing in a self-absorbed victim mentality as a subject, or worse, a pauper? Have your frustrations led to you putting limits on your King’s authority? If so, please renounce those actions. I would like to suggest one of the many exercises we were employed to carry out at the conference.

We were each given three rocks and instructed to list on each rock something that we vowed to change in our lives and by which we would no longer be hindered..  Many of the rocks displayed words such as depression, discouragement, procrastination, laziness, and so many more that had for weeks, months, or even years had weighed us down and blinded us to our true beauty and worth. As an illustration of permanent removal, we cast them into the lake, trading our rocks to reclaim our royalty.

I am not certain how the hierarchy is established or maintained for royalty in the world, but I do know that I was adopted by God into a royal family.

Will you join me in trading your rocks for royalty?

Thanks DITR and Gem Makers for reminding us that we are princesses.

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Tappin Thru Life

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Maurice Hines

Have you heard the No. 1 song, “Happy” by multi-talented artist, Pharell Williams? If you have not, I would like to suggest that you do. It has the potential to raise your spirit and make you jitter bug all over the place. Well another legendary phenomenon did just that in his performance.

The stellar, Maurice Hines of the dynamic duo, Hines & Hines, brother of Gregory Hines legendary tap dancer, was light-footed, smooth and red-carpet sharp as he danced and tapped across the stage at the Woodruff Alliance Theatre. While it was not a one man show, it was obvious the audience had come to see the vibrant, class-act, when he opened up with the classic , Duke Ellington tune, (It Don’t Mean a Thing, It If Aint Got That Swing).

Tappin Thru Life, is the name and the story of the energetic Hines Brothers reminisce from the days of obscurity to opportunity. Growing up in an hard-pressed era when African Americans had the enter through the rear, sleep in sub-standard hotels and often received their food through windows; Mr. Hines stated, “Through it All, They Smiled!” He paid homage to greats like Sammy Davis Jr., who introduced he and his brother to old blues-eyes himself, Frank Sinatra and the cool Dean Martin. He spoke of extra-ordinary talent, Ms. Judy Garland, who gave them an opportunity to dance with her. Amazingly, she did not rehearse however she never missed a beat. Just raw talent! There were many others who he thanked alone the way.

I was most encouraged when he shared his big break story. After auditioning eleven times and being rejected by the gate-keepers of The Johnny Carson show, in walks the great himself. After watching them perform, he extended the duo an opportunity to appear on his program. That performance lead to 27 additional appearances and eventually they received what many desired in that era, an invitation to grace the couch with Johnny and Ed McMahon.

It was a walk down memory lane nevertheless he added a pleasant surprise, The Manzari Brothers; who recently appeared on, “So You Think You Can Dance” and countless national engagements with an extra special package, young Maika Takemoto.

Maurice tapped and entertained with elegance but all who have ever seen or heard him will always remember the love he has for his dear mother. He honored and credited her in every scene, for fostering the gift of him and his brother.

I left as came, feeling happy and encouraged to fulfill my Purpose!

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SisterTalk, A Gathering to Reclaim Womenhood

On November 2, 2013, a movement was birth by the judge who doesn’t judge, Judge Penny Brown Reynolds. From the beginning to the end, excellence was exemplified as women and their daughters along with some distinguished men convened at the Georgia International Convention Center. Women were greeted by an organization founded by Mr. Derek Bozeman, Let us Make Man, as well as men from Midway Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Edwards Reynolds, husband of Judge Reynolds with genuine, heartfelt salutations.

Women gathered from near and far with expectancy as they filled the hallways of the coliseum.  Volunteers demonstrated the fruit of preparation and executed the agenda with skill and precision preparing for the opening session of SisterTalk. Plus Judge Penny herself was meeting and greeting as she strolled through the crowd of thousands, setting the atmosphere.

It was just about time for the ladies to enter the main ballroom for the Town Hall meeting and experience the ambiance of the stage, which was so elegantly set. Gleaning at the stage, I concurred with the saying, “Less is more” it was simple but strikingly beautiful. The platform was adorned with white love seats and a hint of lavender lighting and 6 additional humble, God-fearing women- who spoke with clarity and dignity. The Gathering of Women was proven to be off to a great start, flowing in worship and unity.

Holding fast to the theme, SisterTalk, Judge Penny Brown Reynolds began to pose difficult questions regarding sisterhood which provoked an environment for the exchange of real dialogue. The questions were confrontational, timely and made us think. A few of the questions were;

1.  What is the state of the Black Family; why are women rearing children without fathers and why is there so much promiscuity among black women?

2.  Why are there so many cases of HIV and Herpes among black professional women?

3.  Why do women allow people to dictate their careers, both in ministry or professional?

4. Why can’t black women support each other and not be envious of each other’s successes?

Looking at the crowd’s responses to the Q & A, it appeared they were in agreement. As this portion of the conference came to a close, people were surveyed and the overwhelming response was positive. While the take-a ways were different they appeared to have brought comfort to those who shared.

Next on the schedule was a delectable luncheon honoring women in media. Thus far it was a power packed event from free legal advice, housing consultancy, medical check ups and a plethora of other services.  Although, this was the first conference of this magnitude for Judge Penny Brown, it certainly did not have the appeal of a freshman touch. Per the host, the planning took a year and as stated earlier the staff, volunteers, guest and all who served, exuded with excellence.

What appeared to be smaller crowds were SisterTalk attendees in workshops ranging from youth to adult topics. Several of the rooms were filled to capacity with engaging conversation from dynamic guest speakers to participants. Simply put, women were embracing what they had experienced and received some sort of freedom from the anxieties they were living with.

Whereas the Town Hall meeting was thought-provoking, the luncheon-rewarding, the sessions, encouraging, it was the closing service which was life-changing.  The service initiated with a praise team, liturgical dancers, soloist and Judge Penny Brown Reynolds herself powerfully unleashing from the New Testament teaching, Alabaster box. The message was clear that all sins were forgiven and we could be free. She reminded us to empty our boxes and refill with fresh oil. The petite ordained minister started and ended strong. She was supported by both professional and personal allies as they shouted praises along with the spirit-filled audience. Cries of thank you, and halleluiahs rippled the coliseum and the message of God’s grace was again, declared.

Traditionally, the benediction is the next step for congregants however parting did not seem to be relevant at SisterTalk. Women lined up for prayer and laying on of hands and participated in a holy cross ceremony, leaving there woes pinned to it.

Until next year, we wait with great anticipation for Judge Penny Brown Reynolds, SisterTalk conference!

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Regroup and Focus

Have you ever looked back over your life and wondered, “Where did I loose my focus? Why did I give up on the plan for my life? And did I settle for less?

October began the 4th quarter of the year and a reminder to finish strong. As an advocate of the Holy Bible, I adhere to 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 hope and a future. This scripture exemplifies the predestination of God’s will for our lives. Prior to the introduction to the natural world we live in, God created a narrow path for great prosperity for those who walk in obedience.

While it appears that getting off focus is not disobedience, it certainly is. When you are assigned a task, pertaining to your life, no excuse is acceptable for you not to complete it. We cannot be moved by any wind or doctrine that comes along, we must stay focus! Regardless to how miniscule you feel your plan is stay true to it. You plan matters and you must keep your eyes on the prize. Great ideas are a dime a dozen but only those who complete the ideas get to enjoy the finish product.

Ask yourself today, what am I really called too? Am I working towards my Purpose and what I am doing, does it bring me unspeakable joy? Could I do this for the rest of my life and wake up with a smile on my face?

This past weekend, I was privileged to be a part of a panel at the Christian Women in Training shut in hosted by Dr. Linda Chinn at Fully Rely on God Church. I was equally honored to expose a select group of young women to this occasion from my ministry, My Favorite Charities. The theme was Regroup, (“Reaching Every Goal Regardless of Unseen Problems”. It catered to young girls from 13-22. Through every line of pain and glory, Dr. Chinn resounded with a loud voice, “ladies Regroup.” She explicitly defined the meaning of passion, which means pain and the word crucifixion, which means to be delivered from excruciating pain. She and the other women poured out their hearts expressing Jesus death represented his passion for them and their individuality.

I adopt and express the sentiments of Dr. Chinn, let’s Regroup and Focus. It is time to occupy the space you were created for. No-one can stop you but you. It’s time to Regroup!

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