A Gift that Keeps on Giving by Vanessa Davis Griggs

 A Gift that Keeps on Giving
by Vanessa Davis Griggs

To have a wonderful, loving mother is a blessing indeed. I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to say this. A mother who gives birth to a child gives that child the gift of life. Then there are those mothers who may not physically carry a child in their womb, but through adoption, foster care, becoming a stepmom, or one who just steps up to take on the role without any special title, they carry that child in their hearts. No, mothers don’t always have the right answers nor will she always do every single thing right. But a good mother will strive to do her best.

I have the privilege of being on both ends of the motherhood spectrum. I am the daughter of Josephine Davis and the mother of Jeffery, Jeremy, and Johnathan. As hard as life may have appeared at times growing up, when you become a mother, you quickly learn it’s no cakewalk. But the joy that lay before you, once you give your heart away to that child is worth whatever you may have to do or go through.

From the sixth grade to the eleventh grade, I tried out for cheerleader. Mid-February in my fifth grade year, we (meaning the black children from Village Springs, Alabama and other surrounding black communities) “integrated” into the white schools under the term “busing.” It was a strange term when you consider that prior to that time we were being bused to a black school a greater distance away. In any event, we had now entered into the era of integration. Being a young child, I didn’t know what any of that meant. I never thought of black and white as being separate. I never really thought of black and white in any way. I never realized we were going in through the back door when we visited the local white doctor in Pinson. In truth, I never even knew we were (by the country’s definition) “poor.” I never knew I was supposed to be inferior to anyone else. I never knew there were things I couldn’t or shouldn’t be able to do in life. And I credit a lot of this to my wonderful mother.

You see, my mother made sure that we knew we were rich and could do anything in life if we worked hard for it (I’d also add my father, but we’re talking about mothers here). Growing up with our mother, we felt rich because, in all that ever mattered in life, we were. We had love, a mother who worked hard to be sure we had what we needed; but most of all, a mother who introduced us to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. After the introduction, she guaranteed we continued our relationship, ensuring we not only maintained Sunday visits (and I mean every Sunday, sometimes twice that same day when there were afternoon programs) to deepen our knowledge and give God praise, but to keep every day holy.

I mentioned me trying out for cheerleader because my mother was right there each and every year supporting me. Each year, I really should have made the squad, but I didn’t know (although my mother did) that the color of my skin was what kept me from being chosen. When I look back over those years, I see how each year when those in position saw I’d made it (determined they weren’t going to allow a black person to represent the school), they would take it from me, then change the rules to hopefully not have that problem the next time. 

But the next time, I still prevailed (and they knew it). Still, they never gave it to me. My mother never said or did anything to discourage me from trying out the next year. I remember one white male schoolmate coming to me (when the students were to vote) and telling me that someone said they would have voted for me, but that I was too dark. My beautiful God-given tan was too dark! That would be funny if it wasn’t sad. But my mother stood by me every step of the way. And the last time I was denied and there would be no more times for me to try out, my mother wrote me a beautiful letter telling me how proud she was of me…that I was like Moses who only got to look over into the Promised Land but had made it possible for others to reach it someday. It was true. Pinson did get a few black cheerleaders for both the high school and the middle school. And in the middle school, one of those cheerleaders turned out to be my sister.

So I conclude by saying that I wanted to be a cheerleader. But my mother has always been a cheerleader to and for me. Even today, she cheers me on. So to the mothers out there who cheer your children on, allow me to say: Thank you. It means more than you’ll ever know.  

Meet the Author
Vanessa Davis Griggs
is the author of 15 novels (which includes The Blessed Trinity Series) with number 16, The Other Side of Divine, releasing July 30, 2013. She also contributed ten devotional to the Sisters in Faith Holy Bible released by Thomas Nelson. To visit her Web site: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com

Website: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/vanessadavisgriggs
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/vanessagriggs
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/vanessadavisgriggs

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Life’s Special GIFT A Mother by Jamesina Greene

 Life’s Special GIFT…A Mother

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”
Proverbs 31:28

There is NO gift like that of a Mother.  A Mother is the Voice of her children.  She is the pride and honor badge of her husband.  In many communities, a Mother is the celebrated entity that garners immeasurable respect from everyone within.  A Mother’s voice trumpets causes on the behalf of her children, whether she physically birthed them or not.  There is no greater champion than that a Mother.

As children, it is to Mother that we run when our antics have caused us to be hurt.  When we fall off of our bicycles, or tumble out of bed, we scream for our Mother.  When other children make fun of us or push us to the ground, we scream for our Mother.

I have learned first-hand that this “screaming for our Mother” doesn’t end with childhood.  Throughout our lives, we face challenges that may bring us to our knees in submission.  We face obstacles that may place us flat on our backs in pain.  Whatever the case, we want our Mother.  Even when we ourselves became Mothers, we still want our Mothers.  During the most painful experience of my life, childbirth, it was much more bearable because my Mother was present.

A real mother never ceases to protect her children.  No matter what life brings our way, we can rest in knowing that “Mom’s got my back.”  I personally believe that there is an eternal connection between a Mother and her children.  The bond that occurs in the womb continues throughout life’s Journey.  When a child is in pain, so is the Mother.  Wow!  What a precious gift!

As a Mother, I have made many sacrifices to ensure the safety and comfort of my children.  I have gone without to make sure that they did not.  I have cried in secret so that my children would only experience my smile.  I have covered my pain so that my children would not experience the same.  However, I came to understand that I was the first person to teach my children and it is my job to continue teaching them as long as I live.  I will continue to speak “life” into their lives and tell them of God’s unconditional love for them.

My faith in my God has sustained me in those times of uncertainty.  I believe that one of my jobs as a Mother is to show to my children, the God in whom I believe.  Therefore, as my children grew, I allowed them to see and know the times that we struggled and were without.  It is during these times that the God of their Mother showed up.  This allowed them to witness the Hand of God for themselves.

If you do not have a positive relationship with your Mother, you do not have to fret. Our God is so amazing that He will place in your path, women who will “mother” you according to His divine plan.  Make sure that you are open to receiving these women into your life.  They will bring with them nurturing and healing that will touch you in just the right place at the right time.

There is nothing about your life journey that the Father is not aware of.  He knows exactly who and what you need, exactly when you need it.  That includes godly mothering.

This month we have set aside a special day to honor our Mothers.  Children will make passage from all across the globe to pay homage to this phenomenal woman.  Multiple sacrifices will be made to secure her smile.  Today I encourage you not to wait for one special day to saturate your Mother with love.  Every day that you have breath, you must salute and honor this magnificent gift.  You must never allow yourself to de-value this gift and forget to appreciate it.  There is NO gift like that of a Mother.


Meet Jamesina Greene
Jamesina Greene manages more than speaking engagements as the owner of DESTNE Enterprises. Jamesina’s commitment to leading her fan-base with thought-provoking inspiration stems from her experience in helping others in transition.

Jamesina began her journey towards motivation at the age of 17. While most teens made the usual high school memories, Jamesina became an ordained minister, writer and speaker. After building an early foundation, she immediately created  a platform which allowed her to share the gospel to others.  With years of entrepreneurship already under her belt, Jamesina expanded her brand, through singing, songwriting, authoring and other avenues.  A former residential counselor and mentor, Jamesina leverages over 30 years of knowledge of Christianity to bring Destine Enterprises to God's people throughout the world – as an ordained minister.

It is Jamesina's literary work which has earned her numerous recognition: she is the author of  Help, I Don't Like Myself!, the true story of her escape from depression, and A Mother's Cry: A Mini Book for Mom, for busy mothers who could use a loving nudge.

Born in Delaware and raised in Maryland, Jamesina now resides in Virginia, where she is a devoted mother to two sons and grandmother to four children. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Theological Studies  Christian Counseling from LOGOS Bible Institute.  In addition to praising God through her talents, Jamesina is the founder of A Mother’s Cry in which she hosts an annual conference, “Gathering the Fragments” to  encourage the hurt, wounded and broken.  Her latest publication, My Journey, a daily journal, and her debut novel dedicated to her late father,  will be available this year.

Learn more about how Jamesina is leaving her mark by visiting www.jamee2001.wordpress.com, www.jamigreeneministries.com, on Facebook and Twitter @msdestne61.  To schedule an interview with Jamesina,  send an email to destne61@gmail.com.


J. E. Greene, President & Founder

Destne Enterprises/A Mother's Cry
Facebook and Twitter @msdestne61
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Always Love & Respect Your Mama By Brooklen Borne


Always Love & Respect Your Mama
By Brooklen Borne
 The song, ‘I’ll Always Love My Mama’ by The Intruders, is one of my all times favorites.  That song along with other like lyrics, remind me how strong a mother’s love is for her child/children.  Having a daily dose of that unconditional love can get you through the roughest of times and savior the sweetest of times.

On December 24th at the age of eleven, that daily dose of love that I was use to receiving from my mother; came to a screeching halt.  Not because she didn’t want to give it to me, but because she no longer had the capability of doing so.  A capability of hers that I truly didn’t understand how important it was to me until it wasn’t there any longer for me to have.

When my brother who was sixteen at the time, looked in my direction after trying to give our mother mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; in which neither one of us was trained to do, said to me “I think mama’s gone.”  His words confirmed what I already knew, but I still couldn’t believe what was really going on or should I say wanted to accept it.  I remained calm as I told him we need to call family.  My brother leaped from my mother’s bed and ran to the phone; picking up the receiver.  I began to rattle off numbers from memory of family members to call.  As soon as he hung up from one call, I gave him another set of numbers to call. This went on to all the important calls were made.

I stood there saying to myself …mama wake up please. I’m lost without you.  I’m scared; I don’t know what to do without you. Please mama, get up; I need you! I stood there frozen in time wondering what is going to happen to me and my brother. To utter the words mama, mother or mom would never again be the same.  It all seemed surreal.

There are many days I reminisce about my mother; appreciating the many things she had taught me in the eleven short years we had together.  Things like manners, what is right from wrong, how to tie my shoes, how to conduct myself in public, how to treat others with respect, how to hold and eat with a spoon/fork and let me not forget the infamous potty training...LOL. The little things we take for granted; you know what I mean. 

I wrote this piece to remind some people, how precious it is to still have a mother and to enjoy her unconditional gift of love.  Because my brother’s and I will never experience that kind of love again nor did we get the chance to say good-bye to her.  My mother died from the flu she caught on December 22nd and passed away in her sleep two days later on the 24th.  I didn’t know until that Christmas Eve Day, how proficient my brother and I had been taught by her; in case of such an emergency of this magnitude should occur.  She was the greatest teacher in the world.  Lessons she taught that would prepare me for the unknown journey of life; I would embark upon.  I also would like to reiterate that all women that gave birth are not necessarily a mother; she could be just an egg donor.  The same way some women classify men as sperm donors.  It takes a true woman, along with the sacrifice of commitment for her child or children on a biblical scale; to be called a mother.  So you first time mothers-to-be, please take heed to the words in this story.  There are many people that are reading this, wishing they could get a taste of that unconditional love from their mother just one more time.

Please, don’t be disrespectful towards your mother; don’t take your mother presence for granted, because when the Lord calls your mother home, there is no rewind button to press to do over again.  Let’s honor, cherish and love our dear mother’s because like The Intruder’s lyrics say, “I’ll always love my mama, she’s my favorite girl; you only get one, you only get one yeah. I’ll always love my mama; she brought me in this world.  I’m talking about mama……

I dedicate this piece to my mother, also to the women who are exercising a mother’s position, the adoptive mothers, and to all the mothers, around the world. 

Brooklen Borne © 2013


Meet the Author
Brooklen Borne
was raised in New York City, where he lived with his mother and four older brothers, in the Van Dyke projects in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.  He began writing short stories in high school, based on his street experiences.  His high school English teacher enjoyed his stories and advised him that he should enter his writings in the state wide writing contest.  He didn’t follow through with her suggestions, because the streets were more appealing.

After graduating from August Martin High School, in Jamaica, Queens, Mr. Borne entered into the Marine Corps; in the Aviation Supply field.  As a Marine, he served as a Drill Instructor, Anti-Terrorist Instructor, and before retiring from the United States Marine Corps, achieved the rank of Master Sergeant.

Years later a tragic event in Mr. Borne’s life, became a pivotal point, leading him back to embrace his passion for writing.  He has written for Imagine Us Magazine, The Writer’s POV and The Village Groit; they are online magazines.  He’s also collaborated with fellow authors; Savannah Jackson on a short story titled: ‘The Coffee Shop’, Essence Best Selling Author Donna Michele Ramos on a series of novellas titled: ‘ABSORPTION’ and a novel with Anthony Pathfinder titled: ‘5ive Boroughs’.

Brooklen Borne
has completed four novellas titled: ‘Savannah’, ‘Interrogators’, ‘Malefactors’ and ‘Being Homeless Is Not an Option.’  From his raw manuscripts, Mr. Borne has created a fan base not only in the United States, but in South Africa, Europe and Japan.  He is currently working on five books to be release later this year.

Mr. Borne holds an Associate’s Degree from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii in Criminal Law and a Bachelors Degree from National University, in La Jolla, California in Criminal Justice with a minor in Behavioral Science.

Brooklen Borne
"Bringing Thoughts 2 Life"

Website:  www.authorbrooklenborne.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/brooklenborne.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brooklen.borne



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Sneak Peek: The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale by J.M. Lominy


The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale
by J.M. Lominy


Pierre-André François is handsome, intelligent, and the greatest soccer player in Haitian history.  He also has a well-kept secret; he is an assassin. In fact, Pierre-André François is the vile and feared Haitian assassin known as The Little Rose.  Like a skilled painter, he kills with style and finesse, bringing death in broad purposeful strokes and sweeps of red.  Signing each piece of work with a fragrant red rose.

The year is 1957 and Haiti is in turmoil. Political wrangling has kept the presidency vacant and the country is ripe with civil unrest and upheaval. Political positions are up for grabs and anyone with power, money and courage are out to claim them.  Turmoil, conflict and distrust, the ideal environment for a skilled assassin to leave his mark!

However, the Little Rose is not alone.  After he assassinates a popular senator, he finds himself hunted by an unknown depraved psychopath.  Ever confident in his deadly skills, the Little Rose is put to the test when he comes face to face with the machete-carrying killer.


Excerpt from CHAPTER TWO

At five minutes after ten, a woman’s scream sounded, one so true and so frightening that neighbors two streets over came out to investigate.  The scream came from the home of Laplace.

Laplace’s great wealth of a house stood sturdy and strong among beautiful homes in the heart of Pétion-Ville, on a hillside off of Rue Louverture.  It faced west, smiling in the direction of the capital, with darling green paint and a grand balcony gracefully overlooking a beautiful front yard garden.  On a clear sunny day, the garden’s colorful collage could be seen from Port-au-Prince, its carpet of roses and lilies planted and maintained by Mr. Laplace himself.  A new seven-foot, decorative, cinder-block wall stood erect, forming a perfect rectangle around the perimeter of the property.  It was the only house in the neighborhood to be so screened-in, a recent security measure undertaken because of the increasing political turmoil.

Minutes before she took claim to her screams, Madame Laplace was sound asleep, serenaded by crickets under a cool, soft, and steady breeze–a paradise she gladly welcomed.  Life could not have been any better.  She was dreadfully awakened by two thundering sounds, wondering if cannons had been fired outside her window.  The sounds put a momentary pause to her heart, then a terrifying gallop.

Afraid to open her eyes, she fumbled over pillows in the dark and found her husband inches away.  “Theodore wake up!  They’re shooting outside,” Madame Laplace said scared and shaken.  Mr. Laplace answered with silence.     Their second floor bedroom faced a courtyard that led to a back entrance.  That same passageway was now crowded with two dead bodies, men who were charged with their safety.

“Theodore didn’t you hear me? They’re shooting outside.”  Madame Laplace repeated as she shook Theodore Laplace by the shoulder, still no answer.

An uncomfortable silence ensued, if only for a second.  To Madame Laplace it seemed an eternity.  Tightness crept up her chest.  Suspicion lingered in the back of her thoughts.  He was never difficult to awaken and rarely silent, even as he slept.  Just minutes ago, it seemed, his snoring was a continuous humming that kept cadence with the crickets.

Gradually she opened her eyes, withdrawing her ivory hand from his broad shoulder.  A thick warm liquid caked her hand.  With controlled panic, she fumbled for the matches.  With shaking hands she struck the box of matches, almost too petrified to look, but knowing she had to.  

The fire took hold of the match with a bang, sending sparks of light everywhere, exposing the red liquid covering her delicate fingers.  Through a haze of fear and the onset of nausea, she saw.  Blood, the life force—as red as it was thick and still warm to the touch—was undeniably present.

Madame Laplace couldn’t believe what she saw, but at the same time it was indisputable.   It must be a trick, a lie, a mirage, she thought.  She blinked as if to clear her vision and wish the blood away.  Her head started to spin out of control like a coconut tumbling down a tree, in a hurry to meet earth.

 “My God,” escaped from her quivering lips.  She turned pale as the meat in the center of a coconut and shook uncontrollably.  She knew before she saw, deep down in her soul, she knew.   Her innards twisted into cramping knots.  Her suspicion was to be proven accurate.  She knew that Theodore Vladimir Laplace had walked through the gates manned by Ghede, the voodoo god of the dead.

She stared at her own fingers caked with the congealed blood, wishing it were the past or a dream or even a crude joke by a malevolent spirit. Her small-reddened lips curled like a slingshot, stretched thin, ready to be released.  With tears already forming in her eyes and her chest aching, she suddenly found it difficult to breathe, to think, when only moments ago it came so easily. 

Time seemed to have slowed as she faced her husband of twenty-five years. Through blurred vision produced by rain-sized tears, she saw, paused, and gasped.  The ghostly portrait of the former Theodore Laplace was smiling at her.  His mouth was stuffed with a dirty rag, causing his already corpulent cheeks to spread out.  His eyes stared up at heaven as if questioning God “Why now? Why me?”  His neck sported a gaping V-shaped smile, the traditional bowtie cut left behind by a taker of souls, a Haitian assassin—the assassin’s baptism, as it was known amongst criminals.  Only the cruelest of assassins can cut a man’s throat, leaving him with a flowing, red grin that mocked the living, as if to say death was not so bad.

( Continued... )

© 2013 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, J.M. Lominy.  This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.


Pre-order from the J.M. Lominy website: http://jmlominy.com 

 


The Deadly Rose, An Assassin's Tale
Available on Kindle and Nook
Genre:  Historical Fiction.  Family, Religion, and Politics
ISBN-10: 0988827719 ebook           13: 978-0-9888277-1-4 ebook
ISBN-10: 0988827700 paperback     13: 978-0-9888277-07 paperback


Meet the Author

Life began for J.M. Lominy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  As a husband, father, nurse and veteran Lominy has been making room to write since 2000.  Specializing in Historical Fiction, he is the author of the upcoming book, The Deadly Rose, An Assassin’s Tale.

His work, both poetic and determined in voice, places an emphasis on the Haitian experience as witnessed through the life of passionate characters.  Mr. Lominy currently resides in Georgia with his wife and his three sons.  Visit J.M. Lominy at:  http://jmlominy.com 



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Temptation-Proof Your Marriage by Jewell R. Powell

Temptation-Proof. That's a mouthful!  But it is important for us all to stop and consider whether our marriages are truly protected against the threat of temptation. The recent Tyler Perry movie, "Temptation" brought light to an all-too-common scenario in marriages, even in Christian marriages. When needs aren't met in a marriage (and I'm not talking about JUST physical), it opens to door to dangerous temptation that can be extremely detrimental.

This  article borrowed from the Happily Ever After newsletter is dedicated to teaching you how to temptation-proof your marriage. It is my prayer that you will grow closer to God and to your spouse as you strive to protect your marital relationship.



Temptation in Marriage:  
Bringing a Taboo Topic to Light for a Healthy Marriage


For many couples, the topic of temptation in marriage, which involves discussion of sex, intimacy, attraction, and faithfulness, is not a popular subject. Some feel too embarrassed. Others feel too insecure. Still others think it could never been an issue in "MY marriage," so they go on their merry, oblivious way until they are faced with the heart-breaking reality that temptation IS indeed an issue for their marriage.  

The truth is that temptation is an issue for every marriage and every human being. No human is perfect, except for Jesus Christ, and even HE faced temptation in the dessert! (Matthew 4:1) So what makes us think that we will walk through life without facing it, or without having our spouse face it?
 
Acknowledge Temptation Exists and Deal with It

In order to ensure our marriage relationships are protected and honored, we must bring this taboo topic to light. Ignoring an issue doesn't make it go away, but discussing an issue can make a big difference, especially if one or both spouses love God and want to honor him with their marriage.  

When we think of temptation, we typically think it involves sexual attraction and infidelity. This is true in some cases, but in others it can be an emotional temptation-connecting your heart and emotions intimately with someone other than your spouse.
 
Being disconnected as a couple, such as living separate social lives, or even being together but not really sharing intimacy emotionally and/or sexually, leaves each spouse vulnerable to both sexual and emotional temptation. Tyler Perry's recent move "Temptation" addressed this issue in an interesting way-a husband and wife over the years developed a distant relationship, enabling the wife to be tempted and leading to an enormous amount of hurt and destruction. Of course, that was Hollywood's version, but similar scenarios happen all around us and, at times, right under our noses.
   
God Gives Us the Tools to Stop Temptation in Its Tracks

The good news in all of this is: we are not powerless in these situations. By bringing light to this issue, and removing the feelings of fear and inadequacy, we can all admit that temptation exists in the world, and we can tap into the power of Christ and the truths He gives us in the Bible to strengthen our marriages, reestablishing intimacy and love, so we protect the marital relationship from outside threats all the while experiencing a deeper connection with our spouse and with God.
  
13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), no matter how it comes or where it leads has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear.  But God is faithful to His Word and to His compassionate nature, and He can be trusted not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will always also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. -- 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP


As you move forward to strengthen your marriage and protect it from temptation, here are some resources I recommend to feed your mind and spirit:        
  • "The Language of Sex: Experiencing the Beauty of Sexual Intimacy" by Ted Cunningham
  • "Open Hearts: Renewing Relationships with Recovery, Romance and Reality" by Patrick Carnes
  • "Naked & Unashamed: The Journey Toward Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage" by Dr. Stacy L. Spencer
  • "Marriage 101: Sex & Intimacy" by Jewell R. Powell

© 2010 by Jewell R. Powell, Marriage Coach and Author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith,
visit us at www.marriage101.us.




3 Big Steps to Temptation-Proof Your Marriage


It makes sense that people don't like to think about temptation from people outside of the marriage relationship. It's an uncomfortable thought, and it really isn't something you should dwell upon, but it is important for you to make your marriage a priority so the risk of temptation is eliminated or at least reduced significantly.  

Admitting that all people are susceptible to temptation is a great first step. Acknowledging your marriage needs strengthening is also important, but then following through with the steps to protect your marriage is essential. You can do all the talking and thinking in the world, but unless you take action, it is all in vain.  

Are you ready to dig your heels into the ground and get down to business to create a marriage that can stand the test of time while bringing greater honor to God? It may not always be easy. You may sometimes feel like you are the one putting in all the effort. But it WILL be worth it in the end, because you are honoring your covenant with your husband and with your God.  

Here we go:

Step One: Spend time together. 
 

Not doing the bills, or eating a meal with the family, or sitting on the couch with your individual electronic devices. Do something with just the two of you where you can be present, able to listen and communicate while looking at your spouse. Take a walk. Play a game (i.e. strip words with friends) together. Sit on the porch/deck and share your favorite drink/dessert. Pray together. Of course, making sure to have time for sexual intimacy is also incredibly important. This is where the Bible clearly tells us that the enemy will come to destroy a marriage if there is no sexual intimacy.  First Corinthians 7:2-5 tells us:
 
It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality-the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting-but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. (MSG)   

Schedule it in if necessary. Discuss this part of your relationship together and decide on a number of times each week you should be sexually intimate to meet each others physical needs.  Physically connecting with your spouse is essential to a healthy, happy marriage.


Step Two: Pick a hobby to do together.
 
It is very common for husband and wife to have different interests and hobbies, and that is perfectly healthy and normal. However, determining to share a hobby together will create a deeper intimacy. When you have fun together, this is solidifying your bond. You learn to enjoy time together even more, which goes a long way toward fighting off temptation from the outside world! Whether it is playing a sport together, working toward a fitness goal, listening to music, going to concerts or theater, or cooking up new recipes together, find a hobby you can do to bring some fun into your relationship. This type of togetherness will help you both to stay emotionally connected to one another.

 
Step Three: Honor one another.

Do you respect your spouse? Do you feel honored by your spouse? By taking action to make your spouse feel honored, you can create an atmosphere of love and respect in your relationship. What does this look like? Place value on your spouse...how he feels...what she says...what his hopes and dreams are. Don't just say he is most important and the #1 priority but then put everything, including children, in your life before him! Take action. Put his needs first, even before your own. Do something he likes to do. Value his opinion. When you dishonor your spouse, you dishonor God. But when you honor your spouse, you bring massive honor to your Heavenly Father. Spiritual intimacy is lacking in most relationships yet is so important because marriage is built on spiritual principles.

Follow these three steps in your marriage on purpose and you will be amazed by how God will bring the two of you closer. In Genesis 2:18, we know that God himself said that it is not good for man to be alone. It is for this reason, He created woman. This is the design for your marriage, so focus on building unity and it will be a natural antidote for temptation.


© 2010 by Jewell R. Powell, Marriage Coach and Author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith, visit us at www.marriage101.us


Nuggets for All Couples
 

Engaged Couples

For couples who are engaged, it is important to begin now, temptation-proofing your future marriage by building a foundation of holiness and purity in your relationship today. It isn't always easy as an engaged couple, waiting to enjoy sexual intimacy until you are married, but God has created a beautiful thing for you to experience as husband and wife, and it is important not to short-change yourselves by becoming intimate too soon, making your relationship impure. Hebrews 13:4 explains: "Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex" (Message). God will give you strength to remain holy and pure and will help you to build a strong foundation for your future marriage if only you ask. Pray together, and seek His strength! It is well worth it.  

Newlyweds

While the common idea is that newlywed time is a time of bliss, many of us who have been there can attest that it isn't always blissful! Just because you are newlyweds doesn't mean that temptations will not touch your relationship. Fight against possible temptations by devoting yourselves to God and to each other, solidifying the union you have on a daily basis. Proverbs 5:15-17 gives advice on establishing a temptation-proof marriage: "Drink water from your own well-share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don't share it with strangers..." 

Couples Being Challenged


Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer."  Hard times inevitably come in your marriage, and this may leave you or your spouse more vulnerable to temptation. What can you do to protect yourselves during these challenging times? Pray, be together even when it is hard, and continue to meet each others needs for intimacy. The world around you may seem to be crumbling, but you can remain a safe place for each other. In 1 Corinthians 7, God gives us clear instructions on what our sexual intimacy should look like and how essential it is to meet each others needs at all times, and this remains true during times of crisis or challenge: "...Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband...the wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 


Seasoned Couples


The Bible provides evidence that in biblical times some couples were sexually active in their later years. For example, we read in Genesis, "Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?'" (Genesis 18:11-12). Communication is so vital to seasoned couples trying to work out sexual intimacy issues. Pray together and discuss what your desires are for sexual intimacy. Continue to temptation-proof your marriage by meeting each other's needs and maintaining intimacy.



Picture of me and lewis

Lewis & Jewell R. Powell

You and your spouse are in my prayers as you work together with God to temptation-proof your marriage. Although we live in a world where marriage is devalued and temptation is seemingly at every turn, with God's help we can keep our marriage bed's pure by establishing and maintaining true intimacy with our spouses. God will honor our efforts and send the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us strength to do what He has asked of us in our relationships!  

In His Service,
Jewell R. Powell

The Marriage Coach

Originally posted in the

'Happily Ever After' Newsletter


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I'll Always Love Momma, Sheila Dodson-Ingram

I'll Always Love Momma, Sheila Dodson-Ingram

The bible says, "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 NIV"  Therefore, I take this time to honor my mother Sheila Dodson-Ingram.    Therefore, I take this time to honor my mother Sheila Dodson-Ingram.

My mother is a strong black woman who rocks.
She is beautiful, hardworking, and possesses a sense of humor that only she finds funny. She instilled in me at a young age the value of hard work. She worked two jobs most of her life. My sister and I didn’t have everything that we wanted, but she always made sure we had what we needed. I have always admired my mother’s strength and determination to succeed. 

When I was a child, I did not understand why she was so hard on me. When, I became a woman it all made sense. I appreciate the tough love. I credit her for helping me to become the woman I am today.  These are a few of the reasons why I will always love you Sheila Dodson-Ingram!

Love you momma,
Shaneisha Dodson, Owner Black Girlz Productions, LLC


S.Dodson
is originally from Arkansas and currently resides in Northern Virginia. She is pursuing her doctorate in Education specializing in Adult Learning and Higher Education. She holds a BA in Psychology from Grambling State University and a MA in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University.

S.Dodson is the owner of Mahogney Ink Publications. She is a member of the 2010 Literary Sistahs tour group, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, Kappa Delta Pi honor’s society, and the American Management Association. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, cooking and spending time with loved ones.  Website:   http://www.mahogneyinkpublication.com
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Mother's Day Salute:Her Hands by G.P.A.

Mother's Salute:  Her Hands by G.P.A.

School just let out, and I did not know where my gloves were.  My hands were freezing, nearing frozen. Whether lost or stolen, my hands were without them, and it was freezing outside.  I was a fourth grader not accustomed to being outside in these temperatures. So in the middle of Bradwell Elementary School's giant playground, I cried.

Out of nowhere, my mother arrived and immediately placed her arms around me. With her hands, she wiped my tears from my face.  With her hands, she rubbed my shoulders to calm me. My mother then placed one then another glove on my hands.  And as we walked home, I looked over at my mother smiling.  It wasn't until she asked for them later that I realized the gloves she placed on my hands, were from her hands.
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Ma, Mom, and Momma by Minolta White

Ma, Mom, and Momma
by Minolta White

My momma was eighteen when she had me. Daddy said I almost killed her coming into the world.  As tiny and fragile as a sunflower seed. I lay inside of an incubator prematurely fighting for my life. Daddy said momma never left my side. It was the sound of her voice, the purity of her touch, and sheer presence of God that helped us walk out of that hospital. For three days I was just the baby Walker without a first name. Daddy and Momma compromised and met in the middle. The M in my name would represent my father Marvin and C would represent Connie. From that day forward I would be known as Minolta Cherquita Walker.  School children would mimic my name for years to come and I cry in a pillow with confusion.

For two years I was the only child until my sister and two brothers would come along. Even to this day those were the two best years of my life. Connie, was just MY momma, she belonged only to me and I to her. Yes, first birthdays will always be memorized through photos and year old conversations. However, I’ll always remember the first time my momma straightened my hair with a hot comb on Easter Sunday morning. The first time I scooped the pudding out of the cake bowl as my momma baked me a pink cake for my fifth birthday. I’ll always remember the day I crossed the line and called my momma by her first name and how she hit me so hard that I saw rainbows for days. She forewarned with a firm index finger that I shall never call her anything except momma. That was a lesson I will never forget as long as I live.

Over the years I’ve watched my momma age as gracefully with time as good wine does. She was just a fresh faced young girl with olive skin, big brown eyes, a Kool-Aid smile, womanly hips, and a heart made of gold. In my eyes she was a hero that could conquer any and all things. I only knew her as momma. The world knew more.

Childhood days became vivid memories of progression into the inevitable adolescence and womanhood. I remember my first day of school like it was yesterday. Believing in my heart of hearts that school was only a temporary situation until my momma could spend more time with me. School wasn’t for me. I wanted to be at home with momma eating vanilla wafers, playing go fish, running around in the backyard barefoot, and combing momma’s hair.  Several butt whippings later my hopes of staying at home diminished. Momma went to work and these other people started showing up in our group. First my sister and two boys behind her.  I quickly learned the meaning of sharing. 

The older I became the more I wanted to be like momma. Momma wore her hair down, wore red lipstick, plum red polish, and high heeled shoes and I wanted to too. Well, over the years I quickly learned that I couldn’t do everything momma did and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t beat momma at her own game. I remember momma buying me my first bra and showing me how to put the bra on. You wouldn’t believe how many times I forgot to put a bra on. Momma would yell and I’d give her a look of confusion. After a few slaps against the head I finally figured it out. My body changed, hormones flared, and teenage adolescence became a territorial war between momma and I. Many days I’m sure she rolled her eyes and prayed to God to give her the strength to raise a woman child. Daddy was dead but I’m sure if he wasn’t, momma would’ve killed him dead many days before.  Many boyfriends, headaches, backslap, and curse words later my momma and I are like best friends again. 

In 2005, I gave birth to my first born son. During the delivery my momma held my hand, wiped my tears, and kissed my cheek as I brought my child in the world. I was scared. There was no one else in the world I wanted by my side other than my momma. We’ve laughed argued, exchanged gifts, bonded, and even shared a couple of recipes on keeping a man over the years. I love my momma because she’s a woman of strength, stature, love, resilience, and beauty. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t get on my nerves. It’s only payback.  I call often and sometimes too much because momma’s got a life too. You only get one momma and I’m glad Connie Mary Walker is mine.

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Mama B - A Time to Speak by Michelle Stimpson

Mama B - A Time to Speak (Book 1)
by Michelle Stimpson


The good folks at Mt. Zion Baptist are doing their best to keep the church flowing smoothly while Pastor Phillips takes time off to be with his wife in her final days. Beatrice "Mama B" Jackson even opens her home so that the women's groups can continue to meet faithfully after some “rascal” stole the copper from the church’s air conditioning unit. With her semi-estranged granddaughter and great-grandson staying in the guest room, Mama B soon has a full house.

When the interim preacher, Pastor Dukes and his wife start touting messages that don’t line up with the Bible, Mama B wonders how and if she can intervene without causing strife in the congregation or discouraging the young couple.

However, Mama B can only take so much of this foolishness. Though her own faith might be intact, she can’t have her great-grandson believing that God is a Sugar Daddy in the sky. Soon enough, Mama B will realize that there is much more at stake than she or anyone else at Mt. Zion ever imagined. And it’s time to speak.

Mama B - A Time to Speak is a novella (a short novel) full of godly wisdom and humor that will make you take a deep breath after that last page and smile from the inside out.

Purchase your copy here today:
http://www.amazon.com/Mama-Time-Speak-ebook/dp/B0097G7FUG



Mama B - A Time to Dance (Book 2)
by Michelle Stimpson


Mama B thought her life would return to normal, but when her nephew, Derrick, comes knocking on her door, she has to reconsider. Though she’s not known for housing marital fugitives, she realizes Derrick is looking for more than a place to stay; he needs help finding his way back to God.

Of course, help is almost Mama B’s middle name until Henrietta crosses the line with her accusations about Mama B’s intentions with the recently widowed pastor. Mama B isn’t looking for romance with either the pastor or her suitor, Dr. Wilson—but will love come looking for her?

Purchase your copy here today:
http://www.amazon.com/Mama-Time-Dance-Book-ebook/dp/B00C11PGNW



Meet the Author
Michelle Stimpson is a national bestselling author, a speaker, and an educator. She loves the Lord and loves sharing His wisdom through fiction. Listen to an in-depth interview with Michelle and Ella Curry, BAN Radio Show, go.

In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle Stimpson ministers through writing and public speaking.  Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Falling Into Grace (which has been optioned for a movie).  She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at www.wegottaread.com. 

Michelle Stimpson  is also a "wife coach" through her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. She and her husband, Stevie, have raised two wonderful young adults.
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Intimate Conversation with Patricia Anne Phillips

Intimate Conversation with Patricia Anne Phillips


Patricia Anne Phillips resides in Los Angeles, California. She has written nine romance novels. Her first novel Something In Common was self-published. June In Winter, her second novel was published at Kensington Publishing and was featured in Romance Times Magazine as Best Multicultural and best first time Multicultural Romance. As an enthusiastic fan of the romance genre, Patricia was inspired to begin writing her own romance novels.

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
When I started reading novels I think I always knew that one day I would write a book of my own.  It was just time for me to stop procrastinating and do something about it. Now, I wish I would have years earlier.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book and the primary topics. What makes each one special?
Baldwin Hills Housewives is a story of five women. There is a vast audience that watches OC Housewives, Beverly Hills Housewives, and Atlanta Housewives but there are no housewives in Los Angeles. So I thought it was a good time to write my book.

As for Falling In The Deep, it’s a story that will give readers the real meaning of their marriage vows, a sense of commitment and responsibility.

BPM:  What are you most thankful for right now, today?
I am most thankful that every day when I wake up I can open my eyes and get out of bed.

BPM:  Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?  When someone finishes your book, what would you like for them to do?
I want readers to be entertained by reading Baldwin Hills Housewives, and for Falling In The Deep, get more knowledge of Multiple Sclerosis and be deeper commented to their marriage and spouse.

BPM:  What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate? Entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
I write novels that will inspire women so they can understand that whatever problems or unhappiness in their lives, life can be better tomorrow than it is today. 

Baldwin Hills Housewives by Patricia Anne Phillips
ISBN-10: 0989184706;   ISBN-13: 978-0989184700
http://www.amazon.com/Baldwin-Hills-House-Patricia-Phillips/dp/0989184706

Falling In The Deep by Patricia Anne Phillips
Kindle Edition;  ASIN: B00CLVGHOE
http://www.amazon.com/Falling-In-The-Deep-ebook/dp/B00CLVGHOE

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Intimate Conversation with Missy B. Salick


Intimate Conversation with Missy B. Salick


Missy B. Salick is a new author who has written her first novel, Claiming Jeremiah. Her fictional memoir on foster adoption is drawing a hefty buzz around the sensitive topic.  The novel is small in size, but contains a powerful message. "Children in foster care need a place to call home."  Salick, a foster care advocate, wrote this book based on her personal journey of foster adopting her four-year-old son.

Before self-publishing, Claiming Jeremiah, Salick spent several years as a freelance business writer for Fortune 500 companies such as: Shearman & Sterling, KPMG, Deloitte and many more. She also had a stint with song ghost writing. Salick's experience in the entertainment industry stems from working with entertainment companies and media including Violator, MBK, Village Voice and more. As the founder of J.J. Autumn Publishing, her publishing company is geared towards highlighting urban fiction dedicated to special causes and community awareness projects.

When Missy is not promoting foster adoption, she can be found volunteering at Junior Achievement, being a Big Sister and counseling young girls through Journal Writing or helping to save the Polar Bears with WWF.


Featured Book: Claiming Jeremiah by Missy B. Salick
On the same night that twenty four-year-old Jordyn Sims has a miscarriage, her sister-in-law Tori Sims conceives a child. Nine months later, Tori, a long term heroin addict, abandons her two-hour-old drug addicted newborn Jeremiah, in a hospital stairwell. Jordyn receives the news and pursues foster adoption.

However, Oscar, Tori's possessive drug-addicted boyfriend, is not about to give Jeremiah up so easily. While in confrontation with Tori and Oscar, Jordyn seeks help from the Administration of Children Services (ACS), only to discover she is faced with a maze of departments, regulations, legalities and overworked social workers. Jordyn, however, remains strong and continues to push through the uphill battle, even after she discovers she's pregnant.

With all odds against her adoption of Jeremiah, and her pregnancy at high risk from increasing stress, will Jordyn win this tough battle, or will her world crumble before her?


Book Review by Mary King
Missy really went under cover and described the nitty gritty of dealing with the foster care system in a whole. She has written an intriguing story giving you the facts from A-Z. The story became more personable once I learned she based the story off her own experience. Everything you have wanted to know about the system but afraid to ask is here. From page 1 you are introduced to the realness of the characters. There are no cut cards. You get the real, raw, emotions of two women's journey. Jordyn tells you the story of how to foster adopt, remain focused and never give up. Then you will follow Tori on her journey of coping with the reality of her child in care and heavy drug use.

With the adoption subject it can often be portrayed as boring, however, Missy does a wonderful job at keeping you entertained with dramatic scenes throughout the book. I am recommending this book to all my family and friends. Its an eye opener!

Book Review by Toni Mar'
This novel is amazing. I was looking for a story that would tell me more about the foster care system. This book not only gave me all the resource information but also helped me understand the birth parents perspective. I always wandered who were the parents behind the children in care. Why do they end up there? Why do the parents leave them behind? This books gives you great answers to the what ifs? It also gives you true facts behind the children awaiting adoption. I can't wait for the sequel.


BPM:    What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write Claiming Jeremiah after dealing with experiences in my foster adoption. During, my journey there were limited resources that included a how-to-guide full of facts, along with a story line giving you the - who, what, why? There are a lot of different terms and avenues you will face and may not clearly understand while dealing with a foster agency. This book was important to me, to not only to share the story, but to give (potential) foster parents fundamental facts about the process.

BPM:    Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. There are over 400,000 children in care today needing a place to call home. More than 60,000 are free to be adopted. While foster adoption is not for everyone – please take the time to research, find out information and if you can, open your heart and home. Also, I wanted to give readers a glimpse of the birth parents side, whose children end up in care from substance abuse parents. 

BPM:    Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging for me with writing, is finding a “designated time.”  I tend to only write when I have a million other things happening. In the midst of my kids playing with their toys and screaming to the top of their lungs or while I’m out and about running errands – the urge to write will consume me and I have to stop where I am and write.

BPM:    What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing this book was dealing with the aftermath of a lot of emotions I had buried long ago. Claiming Jeremiah was birthed from several journals I had kept over the course of a few years. After I wrote down certain feelings in my journals they were forgotten, lost in the pages. Until I decided to write this book and the feelings resurfaced. 

BPM:     Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The learning experience was incredible and I learned so much that I would be here all day if I told you everything. The most important I learned was patience. For me I was very use to writing articles, interviews or other short pieces. Writing a full length book is very time consuming and tedious. Patience is the key to finishing the book and having a successful outcome.

BPM:    If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
For your first novel, I think there is always something you would want to change or would have done differently. However, unless you want it to stay saved on your hard drive, you have to get to a comfortable place and learn to “let it go”. 

BPM:    Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current piece is a romantic comedy novella, Untitled, about a young woman who has been married to her high school boyfriend for the past ten years. Tired of feeling neglected and unappreciated, she moves his stuff into the basement and decides to start over by dating him.

Connect with Missy B. Salick

Website:  http://www.meetmissy.com
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/meetmissy24
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/meetmissy24/#
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/meetmissy24


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