It is understandable that when a friend needs help that we want to try to be there for them. We say yes when we really don’t have the time. We commit months in advance. Then, we forget either because we didn’t write it down or it just completely slipped our mind (maybe because what they needed wasn’t our top priority). What do you do when you offered to help out with something but now find that you won’t be able keep your word and follow through? It is really simply. Just be up front about it.
There was a project I recently agreed to work on. After getting all the subsequent meeting dates, I realized my current schedule did not allow me to make the commitment needed to complete the project successfully. I wrecked my brain trying to see how I could make it all work. Although I was making real progress in keeping a balanced schedule, I had to come to terms that by agreeing to do this project I had overcommitted. In order to keep my balance I had to pull out of the project. Since I was looking ahead at my schedule I was able to let my friend know up front. If I had not done this early, I would have overexerted myself and disappointed my friend.
Keeping your word is important. It is a matter of showing someone respect for their time and it let’s them to know that they can count on you which in turns builds trust. If you can’t keep your word it is just best to be up front about it and just say it.
In an effort to be cool, many of our teens today are living out their lives on social media. They tag their locations, share provocative photos and share so much more with the world. Although social media providers have privacy settings that can help to limit who views your posts, there is always someone lurking behind the scenes.
I have additional safeguards for my daughter in addition to encouraging her not to tag her locations unless it is with a group or for special events. Some parents may feel their teens should be allowed privacy. I disagree. My daughter will get her privacy when she is living on her own and paying her own bills.
My spirit grieves when I hear the news of young teenage girls who are missing or the news of them being found murdered from a connection they made with someone on social media. This is why it is very important to know who are teens are connecting with on social media. Do you know what their latest posts are on Facebook? Do you know who their streaks are with on Snapchat? Do you know the latest story they are reading on Wattpad?
Wattpad stories and various social media posts can be pretty outrageous and some too much for a teenage mind to comprehend. I would rather my daughter have a conversation with me and ask me questions about what she is reading on social media rather than someone else. I would rather my daughter understand that knowing what she does on social media is a matter of safety and is beyond her personal privacy.
Yesterday I listened in on a youth group discussion and was shocked to hear a guest panelist berate one of the attendees because of where she attended school. As she sat with slumped shoulders, the adults in the room were noticeably uncomfortable with what was said. I made a response which I am sure wasn’t appreciated, but nor did I appreciate the response of the guest panelist. Although I understand the point the guest panelist was trying to make, our points can be made without having to belittle someone else.
Whether you are a guest panelist or motivational speaker, it is important that you know who your audience is. Trying to keep it “real” to make valid points should not be done at the expense of devaluing someone else. When you understand your audience you become sensitive to the needs of your audience and this by no means takes away from the passion you have regarding the topic.
The attendee of the group discussion did not need to be berated about where she attended school. What she needed was encouragement and support on how to approach a challenge she was facing at her school. Thankfully another guest panelist responded to her original question and provided her some guidance.
We can feel very strongly about a topic but we also need to be able keep our cool when giving responses. We can’t inspire our youth by berating them. We inspire them by leaving a positive impression. It would be an impression that leads them to be encouraged that they can make a difference at whatever school they attend. The words we speak should uplift. So the next time you speak, watch the words you speak!
The Lenten season is upon us when we acknowledge in the company of others that we are flawed and only human. By participating in Ash Wednesday services, where our heads are marked with the sign of the cross, we acknowledge that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Also during this time we observe a period of fasting, bible reading, focusing on our spiritual discipline, and praying on one accord with our faith communities.
I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I am a child of God, a believer, and a sinner saved by grace. I am flawed. During this season of Lent, the life changing moments that have occurred for me has caused me to look at things through new eyes from a Lenten perspective. Now, I am asking myself the following questions:
- Why do I focus on my spiritual discipline more during Lent rather any other time of the year?
- Why do I fast longer during Lent rather than any other time of the year?
- Why do I mediate on the word of God, on one accord with with my community of believers, more than any time of the year?
I am charging myself to do more during the year than I do during the season of Lent. From a Lenten perspective I realized I don’t do enough. In the times we are living in now more is required.
When I was little my Mama would tell us that we had to be home before the street lights came on.
“If you come in when the street lights are on, you are late!”
I wasn’t the only one that had to live by this rule. You heard many parents calling their child’s name after the lights came on. Whether you heard your own name being called or a name of a friend, you knew that somebody would be in trouble that evening. On the other side of the threshold was a mother with her hand on her hip and of course you can just imagine the rest.
I didn’t appreciate it back then, but as a parent I understand now. Our parents were protecting us from the foolishness that happens when the sun goes down. They felt it was best to have their children safely at home. That was then when that thought process held to be true. Today, foolishness can take place at anytime of the day. From 8 a.m. when our children arrive to school, to 2:30 p.m. when they leave school, to their afternoon ride on the bus to get home, or even in the car on our way to the grocery store our children can get injured or lose their lives to violence.
Every once in a while I still find myself trying to get in before the street lights come on as I still consider my daughter to be precious cargo as we take our commute home. While I may not always be successful, I pray for my family that God covers our going out and our coming in. I pray that God sends His angels to protect us and blocks anything that tries to rise up against us. I pray God gives us discernment to be cautious of our surroundings and unforeseen dangers. I pray before and after the street lights come on.
In just a few hours most of us will get together to watch Super Bowl LI. It’s a time we gather together around our television screens big, wide, or movie theater size to cheer for our teams. This is the day that we forget our diets and just eat and have a good time.
As the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons take the field, let’s enjoy this moment of togetherness. Let’s enjoy this moment of no politics, good food, and good laughter. Let our hearts and minds be clear of things that distance us and enjoy one of the most watched sports in the world, football.
Prayerfully we can take this togetherness into tomorrow and the next day and if not at least we had today.
This week I have grown quite frustrated with the events throughout our country. The extreme vetting that has occurred for travelers grieves my heart. To hear of a friend of friend being held in customs for hours upon hours saddens me. She has lived in the United States all this time and is now held up in customs. Seriously!
My response to all this is that we must continue to pray. For many of us our faith is being tested. I encourage all of us to remember Matthew 19:26 when Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
These events are our reality of dealing with something impossible (difficult to deal with) where we will see people have to struggle and endure changes that have been imposed.
We must trust that God is going to take this impossible situation and do the possible in only the way that He can. None of this has caught God by surprise but, when we pray we get His attention. Never forget that God always has the final say.
Yesterday, there were hundreds of thousands of participants in the 2017 Women’s March from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to Chicago. These participants came from all walks of life and various socioeconomic backgrounds. Regardless of what made them different, they walked in unity for women’s rights. They walked together making a bold statement that the movement continues.
2017 Women’s March-Chicago, IL
It is a movement that says it is not one gender that makes the difference, it is not one industry that makes the difference, it is not one race that makes the difference. It is a movement that says collectively we all have an impact on the success of society. Yet, how can we know what that success is if groups or individuals, especially women, are pushed out of the equation? Women play a part in making that difference.
As a mother of a growing teenager, I want my daughter to know that she is afforded the same opportunities regardless of her race or gender. I want my daughter to know that if she can’t find opportunities she needs to go out and make opportunities. Why? God has a purpose for her life and He has giving her everything she needs to make opportunities to fulfill her purpose! Roman 8:31 says , “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Absolutely nobody, so let’s keep it moving!
The beginning of 2017 has been busy but fulfilling at the same time! I am sticking to my two event limits per weekend. I am enjoying the power that comes in saying no and making sure that I have time to center myself and pray.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a prayer breakfast held by New Life Believers Church in Chicago. I left feeling renewed and ready to take on whatever God will have me to do. I sat at the table with some amazing women who are mothers (single and married), leaders, and entrepreneurs. They are all women who had a story to tell and had the stature of women who overcame and who are ever so grateful to God for that.
Our time together was a breath of fresh air for me even on a cold wintry day. The time of fellowship, time of reflection, and time of prayer was just what I needed to start this year off right. It gave me comfort as I still come to terms of having to leave relationships behind (both business and personal), starting a new job, and embarking on new projects. I am free of the distractions and I am free to be me. I am sharing the closing song from the prayer breakfast, “Your Love,” by William Murphy. This song truly blessed me and was a reminder that it is because of the unconditional love of God that I can live restored, renewed, and free to be me!
It is a quiet Sunday adding to the end of weekend celebrations, church service and relaxing to watch my favorite T.V. shows. It is also the Golden Globe weekend where movie stars, directors, and musicians will be acknowledged for their work. From the red carpet to inside the theater, stars name who designed their clothing and specifically name the movie or T.V. show they starred in. Yet what happens when the announcer says the wrong name of the movie or the show? Do you correct them or just keep it moving?
Watching the Golden Globes tonight I heard the movie Hidden Figures several times referred to as Hidden Fences. I could not believe that after all the hard work that went into making a movie of three women who helped to impact the work of NASA that the announcers would say the name incorrectly.
I do understand that our work alone can speak for itself but I also believe that credit should be given where credit is due. This includes saying someone’s name correctly or stating the name of their work correctly. When we say a name correctly that means we made an effort to inquire about the person or their work. It shows respect and it’s acknowledging them for who they are. So, it’s o.k. to keep calm and tell them to get your name right-the first time!