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You Decide

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

There is no rhyme or reason as to why things happen in life. In a world that may appear to be chaotic, in the cosmos there is perfect order and a natural flow to any and everything. For example, a woman on one side of the world decides to defer college for a year to travel abroad, and at the exact same moment, a young man decides to remain home to help his parents and finish school. The two meet exactly 6 months later in Manarola, a small town in Italy, and they fall in-love. A woman in her late 30’s decides to have a mammogram early, only to discover that she has breast cancer. The doctor’s advise her that if she would have waited until she was 40, it would have been too late to save her. Each moment you decide, and make decisions about your life. You decide what time to get up in the morning, you decide what to eat, you decide which route to take home, you decide to do your best, you decide to give love, and you decide to trust God in the midst of all those decisions. At this moment, what are you deciding in your life? Are you deciding to remain small? Or have you decided to grow tall and be all that you can be? Do not allow the chaotic moments to thrust you into a shell, where you stop making decisions, living, and trusting God in the process. You hold the power. Decide and trust.

“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.”Jim Rohn

Divine Encounters

Friday, November 6th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago after a very long day, I decided to head over to the gym to work out. It was one of the rare occasions, I was by myself without the little kiddies. With the cares of the day still on my mind, I was eager to shake it off and get the energy moving in my body to relax and de-stress a bit. I checked in at the front desk, strolled into the locker room, put my bag on the bench, walked over to the sauna, and turned it on (nothing feels better than ending a workout relaxing in the sauna). I opened up my gym bag to change into my work out gear, and low and behold I had forgotten to pack my sneakers and workout pants! Noooo! Did I mention I really wanted a few minutes to myself? Going back home was not an option. If I was not going to exercise, I was going to enjoy some quiet time in the sauna. I removed my clothes, grabbed a towel, my kindle, and I headed to the sauna. The quiet space, heat, and silence felt so good that I immediately began to unwind. Five minutes had gone by and a young woman enters the sauna and we greet each other with a sincere “Hi” and I resume enjoying the peaceful solitude of the sauna. The young lady turns to me and asks me a question about the Holy Spirit and God and proceeds to pray with me, over me, and through me. Until this day, I still do not know who she was and I have not seen her again. That evening I walked into the gym fully expecting to work out, instead what I received was a divine encounter with one of Gods messengers encouraging me to keep going and to believe in the gifts and miracles of God in me. During a time in my life, when I feel a bit overwhelmed with family, relationships, and career and wondering about God’s plan, and this particular phase in life, I was encouraged by a complete stranger to press forward. With that being said, it is very easy to get caught up with life and the cares of the day and miss the everyday miracles and blessings. From one woman to another, be encouraged. I thank God for you, and the divine moments in life that remind us that God is and God lives and breathes in each of us. Be a blessing!

Gotta Love Perceptions

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

As you go through life and you experience life’s ups, downs, hills, and valleys, each experience has a way of staying with you, shaping you, and molding you into the person you are today. If you were born into a traditional family, where Mom stayed home, maintained the house,  and prepared dinner every night,  your expectation of what a  “Mother’s role” would be slightly different than someone who grew up in a single family household where their Mom had to work two jobs. The perceptions and views of what you believe to be true would differ dramatically. The older you get, and the more experiences you have in life, shapes how you perceive the world and shifts based on your life encounters. Take for example, an individual born and raised in NY, accustomed to the hustle and grind of city life, may migrate to the South and perceive the area as laid back and such a refreshing change. It is all about perception, how they view and see the world around them. I have been to New York countless times, and even though it may be a busy city, there is a special connection to the city that is unique to me.  The same is true in all different aspects of life for you, and for all of us. How we interact with people, relationships, and even God comes from our perceptions, and how we see the world around us. How are you perceiving the world around you? Are you looking at the world as a safe place? Are you looking at your life as half full or half empty? Have you allowed life’s ups and downs to change the way you see your life? Are you looking at life through God’s eyes or through the eyes of carnal man? These are questions that I have been asking myself and I am asking them to you. Do you need to change your perception on anything in your life? Are you seeing through God’s eyes of the Holy Spirit? Or are you seeing through eyes of man?!

 “Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends upon what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.” Gary Zukov

Keep It Real With Yourself

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

LIB is super excited to share one of the projects we are working on which involves inspirational affirmations for the woman who simply wants to just be! As we roll these out each month, feel free to share your favorite affirmations or quotes and who knows it may be featured in the next newsletter!

Keep It Real With Yourself

Have you ever found yourself questioning the plan and purpose of your life? You may find yourself asking this question, when life throws you a curveball or if you feel like no matter how persistent you, stumbling blocks get in the way, or something happens that completely takes you off course. You may wonder is God saying No? Not now? Or is it a sign you should give up and settle for the status quo? No doubt, I think we have all been there. It’s during these moments where you should stop and shift your focus to love and take an honest assessment of where you are in your thoughts, actions, and life at the moment. For example, What is the true reason why you want to have your own successful business? Is it because you truly want to be your own “Boss”, or do you want to create a legacy and utilize your gifts and talents to serve the world your way? Whatever reason it is, be honest with your intentions and come from an internal place of love and truth. Be real and honest with yourself. In the meantime, if that “something” continually calls your name. Answer the call, openly, honestly and with love. The doors may not open when you want them too, but eventually the light will shine, doors will open, and things will take off for you! Keep moving forward and embracing the process and journey.

Tidbit

“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward in the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence” Og Mandino”

JUSTBe Affirmation
I trust and believe that all is well and working out for my good.

Kristin Clark Taylor Visit

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

 By Cindy Brookshire

 Kristin Clark Taylor inspires students to power down and become memory makers

While Olivia Pope fans were home watching “Scandal” on Feb. 27, I was taking myself on an “author” date to NOVA’s Manassas campus. The Office of Student Life sponsored a free community event with Kristin Clark Taylor – Scandal-inspiration Judy Smith’s real life friend – speaking about her years working in the West Wing.

 Taylor was the first African-American woman to serve as White House director of communications for President George H.W. Bush. She wrote a book about her experiences called “The First to Speak: A Woman of Color inside the White House” (Doubleday, 1993).

  Taylor kept her comments brief so she could interact with the young adults in Colgan Theatre. She shared what it was like to find a job after leaving Michigan State with just an undergrad degree in classical literature. Luckily her byline in the Detroit Free Press caught the eye of the launch team at Gannett, who recruited her to help start the new national daily USA Today. From there she was offered the job as Vice President Bush’s communications strategist, press officer and writer.

  Taylor was proud to bring her mother to the White House one day, and even kept a clump of dirt and grass from the Rose Garden that she cleaned off her high heel as a memento. When her mother died two months before Bush was elected president, her death forged their friendship.

  “Working in the White House was a living history lesson,” said Taylor, who said she always took a moment of reverence before entering the Oval Office. “I was aware of the hands that had polished the doorknobs I touched. The past is a living, breathing thing. We all need to connect with something larger than ourselves.”

  Oh, and those racy (and racing) scenes in “Scandal” in the West Wing? Taylor said it’s more like working in a private home; calm, even in crisis. So she has to laugh when she sees all those extras running in the background on the show.  She said the décor of the HBO TV series Veep is truer to form – she was sure they were filming in her old office!

Taylor encouraged students to be “memory makers” of those we have loved and lost. As an example, she shared the moment she asked her father if he thought there would ever be a black president. He was in the basement of their family home, bent over a fishing tackle box. She watched his shoulders strengthen, and he said, yes – maybe not in his lifetime, or hers, but yes. When that day came, she said, it was in her lifetime, not his; and it was historic, whether you agreed with Barack Obama’s policies or not.

  Taylor focuses her writing on the inspirational. Since “First to Speak” she has published three more books, “Black Mothers: Songs of Praise and Celebration,” (Doubleday, 2000), “Black Fathers: A Call for Healing,” (Doubleday, 2003) and “The Forever Box,” (Berkley, 2011). Currently, she is working on a novel, and is active in a writers group in Great Falls, Va. Her children are grown; she lives with her husband, Lonnie.

  “Prayer is for God to expand the territory of my heart,” said Taylor, who starts each day with an expression of gratitude and Bible reading to “put the rest of the day in perspective and gird myself” for what comes. She practices tai chi, and encouraged students to “power down” and create stillness so that they could allow space to be filled with whatever is waiting to come in.

  Driving home from campus in the extreme winter chill, I turned off the car radio, and created a stillness that allowed peace to enter. I thought about the loved ones who are no longer here, the memories we made together and the times we cherished. I had held them in, protecting them. Now I realize I need to write them down, and share them, as Kristin Clark Taylor has inspired me to do.

 

The Prairie Star – An 1850’s Anthology

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Women’s History Month has me thinking about women, yes, but mainly women writers.  Those of you who know me or are familiar with my writing, know I like to illuminate the stories of everyday people from the past, that so often have parallels with our own.

 

When settlers went west they didn’t leave everything behind.  They brought many cultural traditions to their new communities as a way to socialize with new neighbors and bring some feeling of civilization to newly formed towns.

 

Today I would like to introduce you to the ladies of the Kansas Philomathic Literary Society.  This group, formed in Topeka, Kansas, held its first meeting during the winter of 1855-1856 in Union Hall.  The first Saturday of the month was set aside for lectures, with the other Saturdays for discussion and literary readings.  In 1857, the Society began producing a handwritten “journal” called the Prairie Star, which featured the poetry and prose of its members.  All punctuation and spelling has been left as in the original documents.

 

The “mission statement” of the group is poetical as presented in the prospectus:

 

            We have christened our paper the Prairie Star, Seeking a name synonymous with

our far Western and beautiful land, and from these broad and fair Prairies we will endeavor to send forth Such Sentiments as will serve a beacon light to those

around us, pointing them to all that is Noble, fair, and truthful. 

 

In the January 24, 1857 inaugural issue, Maria Martin, the journal’s editor, opened with reflections on settlers’ perspectives as they huddled inside for the winter:

 

            With the early days of the bright New Year, while the cold searching winds

            Come sweeping o’er these broad prairies, entering every creek and crevice of our Kansas Homes,                                                

We circle round our quiet firesides, each busy with his or her own thoughts, thankful for the measure of peace which now is ours after the distracting Scenes of the past year-

The man of business as he rests from his daily toil, thinks of his prospects, how much the receipts of his last years labors were.  How he will provide and act for the future.  The Mother thinks of the home She has left, of the valuable Schools, the many advantages which formerly surrounded her youthful family and earnest hopes that the Same may ere long Surround her and hers, in this there far Western Home.  The young wife with busy thoughts intent, building up in her imagination her little home with all of Nature and Arts adornments . . . but bright dreams for the future occupy her every thought.  And the young man, and blooming maiden full of gaity and mirth, and bright anticipations, Transplant to there new homes, Some of the Scenes and enjoyments of former homes.  First, and most valued among we consider out “Literary Society” . . .

 

 

Certainly, our writing groups today are different from the Philomathic Society in many ways.  But think about why your own writing group came together – comraderie, a shared interest in writing, and perhaps educating each other and the community.  Consider the Prairie Star as the Society’s anthology, with its goal to enlighten their neighbors.  Unlike many anthologies today, printed on Create Space or other electronic means, each Prairie Star issue, and each copy of each issue, was handwritten.  What an undertaking and what an accomplishment. 

 

The editor expressed the group’s desire to produce a quality journal.  Although, the group was primarily ladies, they did not discriminate in accepting submissions as the editor points out:

 

. . . Our lady friends we hope will rally around aiding us with there contributions of Poetry and Prose, and not only from the ladies but we trust our male friends will lend us the cheering smile, and kindly word, and think it a priviledge to occasionally Send us a few thoughts by the more practicable pens for our mutual benefit and of wit and humour a share to enliven our pages and amuse our

hearers . . .

 

So now on this fourth day of Women’s History Month, let us raise our pens to the ladies  of the Kansas Philomathic Literary Society.

 

 

Writer and artist Linda S. Johnston enjoys combining history, art, and nature in her writing.  She began reading reading pioneer diaries in 1986 and never stopped.  Her first book Hope Amid Hardship: Pioneer Voices from Kansas Territory, is a collection of pioneer writings about the happy side of life in early Kansas and includes watercolor sketches throughout.  To learn more about Linda and her writing, please visit www.lindasjohnston.com

 

Take The High Road

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Have you ever had someone betray your trust, talk behind your back, or wrong you in anyway? At one time or another, we have all have had someone do or say something that went against what we would consider “loyal” or “nice”. Was it a friend, co-worker, partner, or spouse? Your initial reaction may have been to confront the individual, curse, or completely drag their name through the mud. An eye for an eye, right? Not necessarily.  Have you ever heard of the term “take the high road”? If someone hurts you, puts a dagger in your back, or betrays you, in many cases, it’s best to let that individual bring themselves down vs. you seeking revenge. Someone once said “In the long run the person who wronged you, or talked about you, has undoubtedly done it to other people – and the negative energy they have expelled will come around full circle”. Bottom line, keep doing the right thing and life will work out for you and your integrity will be intact.  Lastly, remember you cannot control the actions of other people, or what people say, but you can control how you respond to it.  Make it a daily habit to “take the high” road, stay focused, and keep away from people with toxic thoughts and negative energy.

 

Don’t follow society’s values like sheep. You know if something is ethical by considering if you’d like it done unto you.

 

Bet On YourSelf

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Touchdown!! These are the words that we hear when a team scores a “point” during football or kicks the ball into the field goal (is it obvious I’m not into football). At any rate, all bets are on a specific team to win, and each distinct play brings the team closer to winning or further from it. How does this compare to your life? Better yet, how does this compare to the choices that you have made about yourself? Each distinct choice that you have made whether it was big or small says “I’m betting on me” or “I am betting against me”. To put it in simple terms, you either believe in yourself and your dreams or you don’t. For once in your life bet on yourself and believe in you. A couple of years ago, when I fresh out of college, I had started consulting for a small company and during one of my meetings, one of the guys said to me “Remember to toot your own horn, and applaud your successes, because if you don’t, no one else will”. Well, betting on yourself is simply saying “Yes” to you, your dreams, and life. You only live once and it serves no one to play small and play against yourself, allowing life’s mishaps, and temporary setbacks to win.  To bet on “you” takes courage, “gusto”, and it involves risks but at the end of the day, you will be living life based on your terms, dreams, wants, and desires, instead of living someone else’s. It is time to bet on you, love.

“To be a champ, you have to believe in yourself, even when no one else does” Sugar Ray Robinson

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year! For many individuals a new year means new beginnings, a time of change, transition, continual evolvement and transformation. All in all, as you begin this year, open your heart and mind to all the good things that are happening in this moment in your life and what will happen for you this year. As I reflect over 2013, it was definitely a year of blessings and huge adjustments. As I embark on 2014, there are a few key points that resonate with me that I would like to share with you. Enjoy!
Key Points for 2014
1 Do What Is Right For You
Take an honest assessment of your life, dreams, and goals and follow the path that you desire. It serves no one and hurts you if you go through life chasing someone else’s dream or competing against somebody else’s timeline. Travel your own path, and march to the sound of your own tune.

2.                Believe That You Can
The power to believe in yourself and to believe that anything is possible for you is absolutely essential to moving forward, upward, and on in life. Belief in yourself, coupled with faith and knowing that God desires the best for you in life, will give you the extra nudge to push harder, persist, and to put one foot in front of the other to be the best that you can be and to live on purpose and with purpose.

3.      Get rid of Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
If you spend your life repeatedly telling yourself – “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” more than likely you never will“shoulda, coulda, woulda”. Time waits for no one, so if you waste your time dwelling on what you should have done in 2013, or what you would have done, etc, you will miss the opportunity to do what you have been talking about doing in 2014. Focus on what is important right now in your life. Focus on what you want to achieve right now in your life, set the intention and all else will fall in line. <br><br>

4. Let Go of Expectations
This is one of my personal favorites because it speaks the loudest to my heart. Be willing to let go of personal expectations of how you feel your life should be at this moment in time. Let go of what you thought or perceived your ideal life would look like at 25, 35, 45, or even 55 years of age. The truth is life happens. You have to be able to “Let go” and allow “God In”. What may look like chaos to you, may be order to God. What may look like imperfection to you, may be perfect to God. Trust that God has it all figured out and has already made the crooked places straight. Continue to move forward with plans, desires, dreams, and goals, but when “life happens” and unexpected events occur, simply trust the process and continue to move forward.

5. Take time for You
It is essential for you to take time for yourself this year. In order to build confidence, move forward on your own path, and let go, it is important to take time to cultivate, nourish, and tend to the relationship with the one and only – you. Fall in love with being you, the beautiful, magnificent, gift from God.
Tidbit

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” — Oprah Winfrey

Miracles All Around!

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Do you believe in miracles? The dictionary defines a miracle as “such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God or a wonder; marvel.” To dig a little deeper, miracles can be defined as any event or supernatural occurrence that exceeds natural explanations, into the supernatural realm. With each step we take breathe, and in every encounter, a miracle occurs. Let me share with you, over the last six months or so, I have felt an unbelievable pull in my spirit and soul to simply “be” and be aware of the beautiful miracles that occur in life each and every day. The subject of miracles, literally sends chills up and down my spine, because when we open our mind and spirit to deeper understandings that go beyond the physical, and we allow the Holy Spirit to show us just how magnificently powerful God is and we are…it will truly amaze you. Last month, my family and I went to the beach for the weekend spent some time with the family. One night, my husband and I decided to take a stroll along the beach at around 11pm at night. On this particular night it was unusually dark and the sky was unusually bright, vivid, and filled with what seemed like a gazillion stars. We could not help but to stop and just gaze at the sky above.  I am far from an astronomer but on this particular night the stars radiated through the sky. As we began to gaze at the sky, and talk about the planets, universe, and all that we know and don’t know, we witnessed a shooting star a.k.a small meteor dart across the open sky. It was amazing! I share that story with you, to say this, from the clear blue skies, setting of the sun, whispers of the wind, and sound of the ocean,  miracles can and do occur each and everyday of our lives. Let us be open to not only witness these miracles, but be apart of them, as well.   

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” Paulo Coelho


 
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