These 4 Feet!!!


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Today I celebrate the 40th birthday of a genius…my best friend, who I’ve known longer than any other friend! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHILLIS!!!

Those that know me best, know that I love all things dance! This began at a very early age when my mom put me in ballet at 3! It was also at age 3 that I met my best friend at Pat Brown School of Dancing in Jackson, TN!

Since that time, until now, these four feet have been together in the broadest range of settings…

From the halls of Washington Douglas Elementary School when our Kindergarten classes were side by side, to the performance venue of our hometown Civic Center for countless ballets including Swan Lake, Peter and The Wolf, Alice in Wonderland(when there was a fire on stage) and who knows how many Nutcrackers and dance recitals…
To the Kid-n-Play, Naughty by Nature, Geto boys Concerts and high school Proms, these four feet have been a lot of places together. 

Our paths have been divinely and amazingly intertwined whether we lived in the same city or not.

These four feet took on Atlanta as
Phillis graduated from Spelman while I graduated from Clark Atlanta with our undergraduate degrees.

These four feet took on the Midwest, as Phillis graduated from law school in Michigan while I got my graduate degree in Chicago.

These four feet took on Kentucky, while Phillis did a master’s degree and became a college professor in Lexington, KY and I got my doctorate degree in Louisville, KY.

These four feet have been together in the good times and in the bad. I’ve always heard this term, “in the good times and in the bad.” For years I thought this meant that friends are to stick together when they are both having good times and when they are both having bad times.

Today I celebrate my best friend Phillis because our ‘good times’ and ‘bad times’ don’t always line up.
What does that mean? Friendship is when someone is willing to come down from what should be their ‘good time’ and meet you at your ‘bad time.’

This has been the amazing thing about these last 37 years of friendship. When I failed our honors English class in 12th grade and was not allowed to graduate, Phillis was graduating with an honors diploma and one of the highest GPA’s in the school. Instead of relishing in her good time, she was with me in my bad time.These four feet were still walking together.

When Phillis was on a girls’ trip with a group of her friends, and called me and my voice didn’t sound right, instead of enjoying her good time, she came to be by me at a tough time. These four feet were still going forward together.

When Phillis was preparing to pass her 3rd Bar Exam to become licensed to practice law in a third state(I told you she was a genius), she was spending her study time in Chicago, because she knew that our four feet needed to be together in that season. 

I am so grateful today for her 40 years of life. If you have a consistent friend, who’s there in good times and in bad times, even when it doesn’t line up exactly, call them today and thank them. 

Currently, these four feet have on snow boots as Phillis practices law in Maryland and I do ministry in Chicago, but from pointe shoes to tap shoes to jazz shoes to high heels, these four feet will be friends forever!

 

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2015: Monthly Check UP!

Can you believe it? It’s 2015 and the first month of the year is already gone. It feels like we were just saying, “Happy New Year!” to each other at the stroke of midnight on January 1st! 

I don’t know about you, but this year I will turn 40 and I feel like time is moving faster than ever!

What goals have you made for this year? In many instances, New Year’s resolutions have lost their passion, energy, excitement and effort by now.

However, whatever your goal or dream is, it’s not too late, to get reignited about it again. Don’t be discouraged, distracted or self-doubting. You get a new chance every moment to make decisions that will lead you to your dreams/goals list.

It’s just February 1st… So Happy New Month! Congratulations, you’re alive another month to get at it! On you mark, get set, show!

 

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10 Command-ments For Dreamers

For today’s blog entry, I want to post a message that I shared at Governor’s State University’s Celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this new year, I want to invite you to make a new commitment to Dream again!
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It was 51 years, 4 Months, 4 weeks
and 1 day ago today that a then 34-year-old baptist preacher spoke about a life-changing dream!
Today, we celebrate that baptist preacher known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream. Allow his dream to ignite your dreams!
I want to share with you the 10 Commandments For Dreamers…
1. Thou Shall Not Dream Small!
As you go through life and grow through life, your dreams should grow with you.
When I was a child, I could not wait to be a teenager, when I was in middle school, I couldn’t wait to go to high school, when I was in high school I couldn’t wait to graduate! When I failed my honors English class and never had a high school graduation, I couldn’t wait to go to summer school! When I got my A’s in summer school, I couldn’t wait to to get to Clark Atlanta! When I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I couldn’t wait to get my Master’s Degree! When I graduated with my Master’s Degree, I couldn’t wait to finish my Doctorate…thou shall not dream small! Your dreams must grow with you every year of your life and at every stage of your life! Dream bigger and bigger!
2. Thou Shall Not Surround Yourself With Dream Killers!
There’s a well-known story of a man
named Joseph in biblical literature, who dreamed of who he would be and told his jealous brothers about it. They immediately plotted and planned how to kill him and kill the dream that was in him. Thou shall not surround yourself with dream killers! 
Examine your circle and allow the dream killers to exit expeditiously!
3. Thou Shall Identify Your Dream Team!
As we realize that no man or woman is an Island, according to the famous English poet John Donne, we must be honest and recognize  that some dreams will require teamwork.
And for certain dreams, it is teamwork that will make the dream work!
4. Thou Shall Write Your Dreams Down!
Scientific studies show us that by following the simple step of writing your dreams and visions down, you immediately increase its probability for becoming your reality.
Write your dreams down. Create dreams boards and vision boards. Take photos of your dreams visualized and make that visual your screensaver. Change your passwords to words that remind you of your dream!
5. Thou Shall Dream Away…
Dream in a location away from your normal scenery. Find spaces and places that you can identify that heighten your creativity and freedom to think beyond the norm. It could be a park, a museum, a hotel lobby, or a view of the water. Whatever frees your mind to think beyond your now, go there, and visit that specific place regularly.
 
6. Thou Shall Act On Your Dreams!
 
Dreams do not have a same day delivery service. Writing them down is necessary, but not enough! You must take actionable steps in order for your dreams to become a reality.
Today, we celebrate a dreamer who was not just a dreamer but he was also a doer.
As your sit in this academic setting, you are keenly aware that you can’t go straight from registration to graduation, but in between registration and graduation there is matriculation.
Thou shall act on your dreams! what action steps can you take today?
7. Thou Shall Not Contract Comparisonitis! 
 
Comparison is a dream distractor. It can poison your process and delay you on your path. No one else’s dream timeline will look exactly like yours. 
Focus on YOUR focus! If it frustrates you to see others’ progress, keep on your blinders when you are tempted to compare and contrast your own personal progress with others.
Personally, it energizes me to surround myself with individuals who are further in their progress of their dreams. I make it a life requirement to surround myself with go-getters, not go sitters!
8. Thou Shall Make Daily Dream-Driven Decisions!
 
Your dreams for your life should be reflected in your daily decisions and your daily schedule! Make each and every life decision, with your dream in mind! Post every social media post, with your future in mind. You may clear your computer’s history, but the Internet has a long memory!
 
Don’t disqualify yourself for your future dreams through your own posts.
9. Thou Shall Doubt Your Doubts!  
 
You were created with dreams within you. Those dreams were put inside of you to be actualized, realized and to materialize.
Thou shall not doubt your dreams, connect with your Creator to gain the courage, the fearlessness and the chutzpah to believe!
10. Thou Shall Dream Again! 
Perhaps you have already experienced a disappointment in your life that has crippled your ability to dream without automatically self-imposing limits on yourself.
Shake off yesterday’s failures and 
Dream again…
Dust off complacency and comfort and Dream again…
Strip away any shame and pain, and Dream again…
Today we celebrate the success of one man who changed the course of history, redefined norms, because
of a fearless dream! Honor his life and legacy by rediscovering your dream!
Dream Big! Dream Now! 
And Dream again…
and again…
and again…
and again…
and again…
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Gifting The GIFT!

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As the holiday season passes, many parents and grandparents will begin to look at their budgets and see that they spent more than they originally planned. 
 
Extravagant giving can lead to buyer’s remorse and sometimes it leads to many retail returns. 
 
However, there’s a way to insure guilt-free giving. That is to gift THE GIFT!
 
Each of us were born with a God-deposited gift mix! We all have talents and skills and interests that God purposed us to have.
 
The goal to gift-giving is to prayerfully consider what physical gift aligns with an individual’s spiritual gift or natural talent/interest given by God. You may even want to keep notes regarding your closest family and friends regarding their gifts and interests. 
 
I am always amazed at out oldest child’s gift requests. Our 11-year-old always seems to request housewares! She has an unwavering interest in cooking and asked for a standing mixer this year! Her favorite gift last year was an apron filled with cooking utensils. 
 
As she expresses a desire to become a chef, we had no regrets on gifting THE GIFT!
 
Our youngest daughter is 10 and didn’t ask for any big gift specifically. She loves singing and drawing, so all of her gifts were tools that encouraged that talent.
Her favorite gift was the video game for “THE VOICE” which came with a microphone she does not want to put down! Additionally, she talks often about wanting to be a missionary and she wanted to buy blankets to handout to the homeless who are out on the street. 
 
Again, there were no regrets with those purchases because with intentionality we were gifting THE GIFT! 
2 Timothy 1:6 states “ …stir up the gift of God, which is in you!” I believe with our girls, we gave gifts that stirred THE GIFT of God in them.
 
As for our youngest and only son, Christmas was his birthday, so he was just as interested in indoor activity play spaces as gifts. We are still in a journey of discovery of how to best gift his GIFTS!
 
As we continue to celebrate this season, I am not saying that our kids aren’t also walking around with new electronic devices and headphones! They have the best Grandmothers in the world for that! However, our goal is to stay focused on splurging on gifts that STIR their God-given gifts.
As you plan for 2015, you will be inevitably be faced with opportunities to purchase gifts for special occasions. Let this article encourage you to reflect and gift THE GIFT of God in a person. That insures guilt-free giving!

 

Everybody-DANCE-Now!

I’ve been in church all of my life. Simultaneously, I’ve been interested in dance all of my life.

I noticed very early, that in my church experiences, there have were very limited types of dance welcomed in worship experiences. I’ve seen traditional shouting dances, lyrical ballet dances, some miming, but very little of any other type of genre of dance in church settings.

When the bible states, “Praise Him with the timbrel and dance,” there’s not a specific description of what type of genre that is limited to…

This prompted me to wonder…How many individuals are in the pews, that do not use their gifts in church settings because they don’t see a home for their gifts in worship environments?

God can use varying forms of dance to reach others and celebrate HIS name!

When you listen to the song #WAR recorded by Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago(available on iTunes, Google play, Amazon; family plug:)) you’ll notice that the song ends with a unique percussive sound, which is a short tap dance feature. I believe that when the Bible speaks of “A time to Dance,” (Ecclesiastes 3) that includes a time to TAP!

I encourage you to use every gift that God gave you…if it’s FROM Him, then it’s FOR Him!

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Church Clothes

 

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Yesterday, I was walking through a relatively new T.J.Maxx. I went up to a lady and asked her, “Where are housewares?” She gave me the strangest look. I didn’t know why at first. Then I realized, she didn’t work there!!! I was a little embarrassed, then I got over it and continued to look for a person with a T.J.Maxx tag on.

I began to think about the fact that we as believers in Jesus Christ, live in a world among nonbelievers. We don’t have a ‘church clothes’ uniform that we wear everyday that identifies us as Christ followers. We don’t wear name tags that prove our belief in the only living God. So how would a person really know who the believers of Jesus Christ are? How do we stand out? How do we identify ourselves without name tags or uniforms? John 13:35 tells us how people will know who the followers of Jesus Christ are!

John 13:35 states, “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(ISV)

The representatives of Christ’s church on earth are to exhibit love for one another like it is a uniform! I don’t ever want to be mistaken for working for any other team than God’s team. I am challenged to consistently show and share love.

Our ‘church clothes’ are most noticeable as real love….

Click the REAL LOVE link below and hear real love described at its best.

 

REAL LOVE!

 

 

 

FAVOR

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Recently, at church, we have been studying the FAVOR of God based on the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) while also studying Psalm 5:12(NIV) which states,“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your FAVOR as with a shield.”

I want to invite you to pray a prayer that we have been sharing. Pray today for the FAVOR of God to be on you, around you, working in you, working through you and working for you! In Jesus’ name!

With all this FAVOR talk, You may be asking , “What is FAVOR, anyway?”

Here’s a concise poetic definition!

 

What is FAVOR?
 
FAVOR can be defined as double grace. 
It can give you an uncommon blessing in an uncommon place. 
 
FAVOR is a garment that can be worn like a suit, 
It can allow you to minister and bear much fruit. 
 
FAVOR causes blessings to be pulled toward you like a magnet. 
It grants sweatless victories and won’t let you be stagnant. 
 
FAVOR opens doors that no one can shut! 
It can even make you speechless and make others say, “Whaaaat?” 
 
FAVOR is divine help that no man can halt. 
It is more priceless than anything protected by a vault. 
 
FAVOR isn’t earned, deserved, nor fair. 
It works like an elevator, when others must take the stairs. 
 
FAVOR is a force that cannot be explained. 
Thank God that this flow cannot be contained. 
 
FAVOR isn’t temporal, but it is forever. 
And it will become evident on your every endeavor!

 

 

A Time to Sing

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I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I was raised with the rule, ‘no singing at the table.’ I must say that this is a hard rule to follow in a musical (and LOUD) family!

Last year, in November of 2013, while sitting at the dining room table, the aforementioned rule went out of the window when my husband begin to write and sing a song we now call ‘WAR!’

By that Sunday last year in November, we were singing the song in church. Just a few months later, this February, we were recording it as a church.

I want to take the time to post the lyrics of this song, because I don’t know anyone, who has not
dealt with some form of war in their lives; whether it is an attack on their family, on their faith or on their focus on the Father.

I am extremely excited that more will hear this song and be encouraged by it…I also want you to know that sometimes it’s alright to sing at the table!

WAR

“I got joy in my soul,
God is in control.
I got Satan on my trail,
But I’m singing all is well.
He’s attacking everyday,
But I’m watching while I pray.
No matter the attack, I won’t turn back.

‘Cause this means WAR!

I’ve been in the storm and the rain, But the blood still stays the same. Whatever’s going wrong,
my war clothes are on!
I might be in a daze, but you can’t have my praise. No matter the attack, I won’t turn back.

‘Cause This means WAR!

I plead, I plead the blood!

You can’t have my family!
You can’t have my increase!
You can’t have my breakthrough!

‘Cause this means ‘WAR’