It’s that magical time of the year! Christmas carols are playing 24 hours a day. People are shopping nonstop in an effort to supply their loved ones with all the desires of their hearts. Anticipation is building to a fever pitch for that special day! It’s the pivotal day of the year that is designated to give until it hurts. Just what are people giving? Some people are giving toys, others electronics, and the list goes on and on. Everyone is not in a position to give, in fact many of the people who are consumed with giving go out of their financial means to buy trinkets that last as long as the attention span of a toddler which is not too long. The holidays have become so commercialized that they are meaningless to many people. They are just seen as days that you spend money, cook an extravagent meal and participate in gluttony. If one does not take advantage of the true magic of this season they can easily get lost. I agree that is wonderful to give gifts but the what you choose to give is very important. The things that we should be giving are love, joy,peace, forbearance,kindness, goodness,self-control,faithfulness and gentleness. You just might be saying hey those sound familiar and you would be right. The aforementioned are the fruit of the spirit from the book of Galatians in the Holy Bible. We live in a time where mass murders occur, entire families have dinner in soup kitchens, and unwanted children are discarded in trash cans. A toy or a gadget won’t do ! We need to give gifts that will last beyond a short attention span and a selected time of the year. We need to give gifts that will uplift our fellow man and better their quality of life. I know that you’ve heard this all before but these are things that never get old and never go out of date. These are the things that will make earth a better place to live. Instead of spending all of your money on things try giving out some of that free stuff that comes from the heart. Those are just my 2cents! What do you think?
During the course of our lives we are usually consumed with doing two things, building and fighting. We build to create better lives for ourselves. We work on making ourselves better people and building our families and friends up. This takes time and effort and LOTS of energy. Building is not something that can be done on the fly and takes time and planning. Building is a strategic thing, you have to think about location, strengths and weaknesses and many other factors when doing so. In the midst of building you may also have to fight. That may sound strange how could the two go together? How can you build and fight at the same time? The book of Nehemiah contains such a historical account where fighting and building happened at the same time. Nehemiah inquired about his homeland and was disturbed to find out that it lay in ruins. The wall was broken and incomplete and its gates were burned. He felt compelled to do something so he appealed to the king to go home and complete the task of rebuilding the wall. In life when you set out to build something you can be assured that there are those watching who do not want to see you complete your task. Those that heard about the work tried to discourage Nehemiah’s team and when they could not do that they planned to attack them in the midst of their building. Normally when you are putting all of your heart and effort into a project and someone comes along to destroy it two things can happen; you will either freeze in the face of fear or you will take up arms to defend the work that you are doing and that is exactly what happened. Nehemiah and those that he encouraged believed that the work that they were doing was the work of God so they continued to build with one hand and with the other hand they took up weapons to fight! Just imagine having to build with one hand and fight with the other. Do you think that you would be ready for this task? If you answered no it’s time to see how much you want what you are building. Is it worth the cost of a fight? Are you prepared to fight for what you believe in? There may be some work that you have to do to get yourself in shape physically, mentally and spiritually. The most important thing that we must work on is our mindset. Nehemiah 4:6 stated that the people had a mind to work . If your mind is right and the task is of God then nothing can prevent you from doing what you are doing.
Being self sacrificing is a trait that many people have. They are the ones who are always serving at dinner parties, they make sure that everyone is comfortable, they say yes to most of what people ask them and as a result people come to them all the time when they run into a roadblock. This is a wonderful trait to have and in an epistle in the Holy Bible we are encouraged to esteem others better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ) This however can become a problem for a person that does not take the time to do anything for themselves in the process of serving others. Burn out is real! Taking on too many things without replenishing yourself is a recipe for disaster. While serving you need to be adding to yourself spiritually, physically, intellectually. Stay in tune with God he is the center of your strength. Take care of your body which means doing some form of exercise and balancing your eating and visiting the doctor when it’s warranted. In addition you need to do something that will help you grow intellectually; read a book, take a course, watch a documentary. Finally surround yourself with people who are supportive we all need someone to lean on.
Live, Love and Learn
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On Capital Hill EVERYONE is pretending like they have not sold us all out to other countries. Backroom deals with corporations, NAFTA, etc have destroyed the economy of our country. Everything is outsourced and who suffers? The American people have been sold out by its elected officials. Very few major companies make items in the U.S. They say it’s much cheaper over seas but they sell the products to the American people who weren’t good enough to be employed by the companies. This country is in a state of meltdown on all fronts. The housing market crashed, the tech bubble burst, education is a mess but politicians are living on high on the hog! They do very little but have wonderful health packages, salaries, and other perks. Our people could use those jobs, we need to bring the work back to the USA! These companies get many tax benefits but run most of their operations overseas. When are the people of this country going to wake up? When are we going to start making demands of the people who we put into office?
YES WE HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT NOW WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
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Have you ever tried to squeeze into an article of clothing that you know was too small but you thought you would try anyway? Have you ever worn shoes that were too small because you they made your feet look cute but they ended up giving you blisters? That same thing happens everyday when we try to keep things in our lives that just don’t fit. Sometimes we have friends that simply are no good for us but we remain in their company and as a result get hurt and the same thing goes for relationships. When we are willing to go through pain and suffering for something that is not healthy that hinges on insanity. One must begin to ask themselves what am I getting out of this? Why is it that I stay in this relationship even though it hurts? Why do I hang around in that place that I always get in trouble at? The hard questions deserve real answers. If it doesn’t fit and it’s bringing you pain it’s definitely time to give it up.
Mother’s Day is just a blink away! Sunday morning services will be filled, greetings of Happy Mother’s day will fill the air and many women will be on cloud nine. It is the day that has been designated to honor those that play the role of mother; those who cook, clean, nurse their children back to health, issue discipline and encouragement. Even those who don’t do these things will jump on the bandwagon! That leads to the question of what a MOM really is. Being a parent is a hard job especially in times like these. Children have to be taken care of physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially. What makes a mother a MOM?
Bad boys and bad girls are all the rage these days. They are splashed on the covers of magazines, they have invaded prime time television with their fighting and egos and are literally everywhere. Fathers that have daughters have nightmares about their little girls marrying Mr. Wrong. Mothers will fight tooth and nail for their sons not to marry “Bad Girls” In the dating arena no one wants to date or marry a nerd and no one wants to have a homely woman on their arm. The people who fit into these categories are often ignored throughout their school years. Nerds don’t always stay nerds and ugly ducklings often turn into swans. When you decide that you want a bad boy or girl take caution because they may evolve into bad men and women. Once the bad girls and bad boys have taken you for a ride you may end up bitter and worn out. After you’re tired you may realize that Mr and Miss Good weren’t so bad after all but you may have run yourself to the point that they want nothing to do with a person like you. Choose wisely so you don’t end up with a Mr. or Mrs. Wrong.
The CDC estimates 1.1 million people in the U.S are living with HIV the virus that causes Aids.
African Americans represent 59% of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Chicago, Caucasians represent 23% of the newly diagnosed HIV cases in Chicago, and Latinos represented 16% of the newly diagnosed cases of HIV in Chicago according to www.aidschicago.org
With numbers this staggering why so much silence? Why do the discussions occur so infrequently? Is it because of shame? Are people really that out of touch with reality? There has also been a surge of new diagnoses of individuals between the ages of 13&24. Just like violence is attacking our youth so is silence. What can we do to combat this problem? Is it a matter of education or are new people contracting HIV because of deeper issues? It’s time to create healthy conversations and develop plans of action. If we continue this culture of silence the numbers will continue to grow. What’s your opinion? Give us your 2 cents!
For information on HIV & AIDS http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/
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It’s a new year! Get your 2012 started out with the 3 F’s Faith, Family and Finances per Michael Nwoke. Get your houses in order! Faith- Strengthen your relationship with your creator so that when the storms come you won’t fold. If you are unable to stand in your faith you definitely can’t help others. Those who are not sound in faith are easily tossed back and forth. Who can you help with unstable faith? NO ONE! Family- We need to fix relationships that are broken and work on mending them. The family has been divided and torn apart by personality differences, incidents that no one wants to speak on and a lack of passing down generational knowledge. Family members who are out of control need to be reigned in. How many of us see family members that are totally out of control and no one wants to say anything? It seems that we are more concerned with hurting people’s feelings than putting them on the right path. Pinpoint sources of drama and division in your family and deal with them. Begin saving for investment purposes and big ticket items. We must also work on building and repairing our credit. 2012 can be the year you are liberated or it can be more of the same mistakes, it’s totally up to you!
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa! This is my first year celebrating so I am really exciting about learning more about this celebration. Today Umoja is the focus which means unity; to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. As I think about blacks as a people, I know that we have a very rich history and we are a great people. We were stolen from our continent our land was pillaged and taken over we were made slaves when we were brought to America and other countries. The effect of slavery and colonialism has broken our families, our race and our traditions. Today it seems as if we are a people far removed from many of the values and traditions of our Motherland. What has taken place of those traditions? On the surface our traditions have been replaced with those of our captors. Our holidays erased and replaced, our values substituted with those of the slave master and our love for ourselves turned into hate from what we naturally are which is why many industries generate billions of dollars yet we do not have a stake in them. Our families were ripped apart and sold and that has had destructive effects even in 2011. How can we unify our families and our communities today?