Embracing Me is an opportunity for us to connect with ourselves...learning to embrace the God within. The post that I share with you are very real. The experiences of my life (whether good, bad or indifferent) sought to develop me into a Woman who honors the God that dwells inside of me.

For over 10 years I fought against sharing my life's experiences with the world but I also neglected to fully share my gifts. You may ask why I denied myself to live and the answer is fear! After relinquishing the fear of my own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others I have decided to do and be all that God has ordained. He chose me to share my testimonies through songs, poetry, short stories and encouraging words.

I invite you to travel with me as I journey into yet another fearful place, seeking to please the Father while providing healing, restoration and inspiration as chosen. It is my hope that these words will improve your daily living.

My charge to you: Think Well. Do Well. Speak Well. Be Well. Live Well.

"For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snapshot of What's Coming

As we prepare for the release of the remaining three books in The Embracing Me Memoir Series, let's revisit Book I of the series, "Hell & Heaven at 8".  In the coming weeks, I will provide a platform for questions and open discussion from the 20 chapters. Regardless of whether you purchased the book in the past or not, you can still contribute. 

If you are asking how, it's easy, I will post each chapter, and later post the discussion questions. 

What To Look Forward To:

Embracing Me Memoir Book II: "16 Tears"

SNAPSHOT: As a growing teenager I finally asserted myself against my sexual and physical abuser, only to find I was a highly vulnerable and extremely naive little girl. Becoming a prostitute was not an option, yet I searched for love in all the wrong places, landing myself in unusual circumstances. Quite often I entertained the thought of suicide. Just at the point of giving up on life, I found out I was pregnant. My tears were endless but somehow I found the courage, strength, and faith to go on. I mean, killing myself was one thing, but taking the life of a baby - I could not bring myself to that.

Embracing Me Memoir Book III: "Death At 24"

SNAPSHOT: All grown up now - developing a growing relationship with my former abuser, beating the odds against a debilitating chronic illness, in love, married with three beautiful jewels, working hard, in college, contemplating home ownership as well as entrepreneurship and then, the unthinkable happened - My mother died from a heart attack. How could this be - orphaned at age 24. When she died, a part of me died too.

Embracing Me Memoir Book IV: "32 The Awakening"

SNAPSHOT: After much trauma, a failed marriage, broken friendships and relationships, losing EVERYTHING - I woke up to some harsh, but very true realities. Sex and food had been my vices - some might even call them addictions. I realized why I felt stuck and what was necessary to change the perpetuated cycle for not just myself, but for generations to come. The awakening caused an internal implosion and the fight for restoration began IN me but most assuredly was no easy task.


"In order to know who you really are, 
In order to know the power which you possess, In order to grow, 
In order to live and be free, 
You must first be willing to embrace every moment…
The days before your existence, 
The days when you came to be and the legacy that you will leave behind… 
Know thyself, Embrace who you are"

~ Stacie J Whitaker-Harris

Friday, December 26, 2014

I Had A Plan

Before I share my plan, I would like to extend seasons greetings to you and your family!

Once upon a time I had a plan. One filled with big dreams, high hopes, major expectations, fulfillment and excitement. This plan included a very rigid and structured outline regarding the precise process as well as the most direct route to accomplish each step. First of all, it took a big heart, courage, and bold faith to set out on roads unknown to me, but I was determined to do what my heart desired to fulfill each vision as well as my purpose.

I mean, who sets out to be a first generation college graduate when statistics (and people) say it's highly unlikely given that I was a teenage mother? Who helps those in need regardless of their own needs? Who mentors girls and boys alike because they believe in them? Who studies multiple languages because they enjoy both communication and learning other cultures? Who advocates for the least vigorously, when they themselves are deemed least? Who fights injustices ferociously with limited resources? Who goes against what is popular to institute what is right? Who boost the morale of those considered outcast in order to encourage them as well as remind them, they too are an intricate part of society - no matter their past.

You guessed it - ME, Stacie Joyce Whitaker-Harris. I had intentional plans to participate in the unpopular with no other motive than to help make the world a little better simply by doing my small part. 

With twist, turns, ups, downs, sickness, death, disappointment, and so often, very few in my corner to lift me when I found myself lacking that "self-starter - go-get-it" drive most are accustomed to seeing me function from, I lost sight of the plan. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I found myself trapped in a past plan...looking for a route back to that road. My mentor would often remind me that I could just start a new road, but being the stubborn, often "one-track-minded" person I am, I grimaced at the thought. 

Now today, after many months of trying to get back to a past desired path (plan), I've finally realized how critical my elders advice was to my progression as well as the fulfillment of my prior vision. The dips, curves, and sink holes in life were simply there for continued guidance. Once I stopped looking at the changes as "bad" I realized I was actually still on course with my plan. 

Albert Einstein's quote, "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change" basically says, be flexible and change will happen smoothly and that my friend, is SMART! With that said, I leave you all who much like myself, have plans, with this final quote by Kevin Thoman, "I want to caution you against the idea that balance has to be a routine that looks the same week in and week out".

New Year's resolutions are meant to improve moment by moment, be flexible to the change that is happening both, within and outwardly. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

30 Years of Falling

Although not funny to me, my children still laugh about me falling a few years ago while I was out running. They more or less laugh at the circumstance by which I fell not really that I hurt myself but nevertheless, I was devastated by this particular incident. The fall actually created an avalanche in my life - a sort of domino effect.


Falling created physical pain. The pain stifled my ability as well as my desire to walk. Not walking (running) caused anxiety, worry, doubt and fear. The anxiety, worry, doubt and fear led to a road of hopelessness. That road of hopelessness funneled into severe depression. Severe depression left me stuck and essentially incapable of caring for myself or my family, be it physical, mental, or emotionally, but especially financially. 


That fall was the last thing I needed after struggling for several years to regain balance from losing EVERYTHING. However, today was a  day of reflection but not just regarding how often I've fallen down over the course of my life, but about how I have been able to climb out of pits of despair. My faith in God and love constantly served as anchors over the course of my life.

Today a young man asked me, "Well, how did you recover after falling down?" and I told him that at the moment I decided not to focus on my circumstances, the false burden of hopelessness lifted from my shoulders allowing me to once again, soar.

If and/or when you too find yourself led astray by circumstances and situations, use the following quotes as a guide back to your wings which lead to peace, serenity, faith, triumph and a renewed hope:
"Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer" (Denis Waitley)

"Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness" (Susan Gale) 

"Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you" (Unknown) 

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose" (Lyndon B. Johnson) 

"Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go but rather learning to start over" (Nicole Sobon) 

"The strongest of all warriors are these two - Time and Patience" (Leo Tolstoy) 

 "Achievement is conquering even the coldest of nights by creating heat with constant movement" (Stacie J. Whitaker-Harris)

May the falls in your life become springs ever blossoming!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Beautiful Flaw

My children often accuse me of searching for, seeking, finding and seeing the good in bad situations, in people, in places, and in things - especially, life events. 

Well, as I sit reminiscing about my dearly departed mother, I am reminded of her constant teaching regarding optimism. At an early age she recognized my tender heart and began cultivating me.

Her words resonate throughout my being this morning as I sit faced with a few of life's challenges. I hear her words, "Stacie, you are so soft and the more I try to get you to become tougher all I see is your heart in your eyes. If this is who you are than you may as well get ready for the twist and turns in life. Be able to find the good so that you can stay motivated with that same zeal, enthusiasm, magnetic, bubbly personality."

These words shaped me in so many ways. Today I encourage you to make fresh, sweet tasting orange juice out of rotten sour lemons. Sounds crazy but it's possible!
"There are always flowers for those who want to see them" (Henri Matisse)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I hear her voice

Today I hear the beautiful melodious voice of Ella Fitzgerald - she's not singing, but rather, she's talking to me. Her words:
"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration I don't think you can go wrong"
See, I've spent my lifetime dreaming of the future, not just my own, but the future of the world. Constantly I drift off into a world of peace, unity, and love. A world where starvation is a thing of the past. A world where a loving two-parent household serves as example and instruction for our youth to follow. A world where the village is unselfish and supportive. A world without worry or care for the life of our sons for they are shielded by the love of both the two-parent household and the villagers. 

I dream of a world without sickness and disease. One void of oppression and political schemes. A world with coexistence, harmony, and all committed to the preservation of life. I see beyond the now, embracing the healing of nations beginning with me.

See, I am a dreamer. And therefore, I hear the voices of my distant relatives constantly nudging me to be exactly who I am created to be - a light a midst darkness. I am a revived hope and so today I soak up the beautiful, courageous, example through the words of Ella and am reminded to stay the course for humanities sake.

I too encourage you to BE, and never stop believing in the beauty of the world and in each person you encounter regardless of it's fading...regardless of it's blemishes...regardless of it's sunken hope - BE the gift of God's presence in the earth. Be love, Be light, Be laughter. The world needs you to carry on!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Holidays

Holiday Sales
Discounts for Bookworms - Up to 30% off
 Hell & Heaven at 8 chronicles the first eight years of my life, telling an all to familiar story of tragedy, torture, and trials but ultimately, my determination to live triumphantly. Dedicated to every young girl, woman and any male who experienced the discomforts and humiliation of watching family members, especially fathers and mothers, waste away, being consumed by drugs and alcohol. Equally, the book is dedicated to the neglected, abandoned and anyone who has ever suffered from sexual, physical, mental or verbal abuse.
Purchase your book today and be ready for the release of the final three books in the Embracing Me Memoir Series June 2015: 16 Tears, Death at 24, & 32 The Awakening

The Whitaker Book of Poetry is a collection of poems written by the seven oldest of my mother's grandchildren and three of her five children, including myself. We are indeed sharing our legacy with you through the collective strokes of our pens. A percentage of each sale helps us with the creation of a foundation in honor of our parents in order that we may give scholarships and other grants for the development of young entrepreneurs.


My Now for the College Grad features the collaboration of twenty-six college graduates from around the country, which includes me (Stacie J. Whitaker-Harris), who have used their educational success to achieve life success. It is intended to provide readers with the motivation needed to take action in achieving success after college and to make the most of each life choice. Filled with stories, tips, and  techniques that will inspire readers to seize the moment - NOW!


More BANG for your buck...
The more you buy, the more you save


Thank you in advance for your purchase!
Thank you for visiting!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Our Deepest Fear

Yesterday I did something I rarely do. I sat still for two hours watching television, more specifically, the movie Coach Carter. For me, it was a well deserved break from the current duties and responsibilities of reading (A LOT), writing, and researching. Equally, that two hours served as not only relaxation but also motivation and an urgent reminder of the WHY I dedicate my time to this particular project.

Here are some of the nuggets or motivational reminders I acquired from watching Coach Carter
  • Be committed
  • Go the extra mile
  • Never stop believing
  • Consistency matters
  • Teams are powerful when they realize the power of unity
  • Focus your attention on what you want until you achieve it, and then, surpass even that
  • Other people's expectations of you have nothing to do with what you expect of yourself
But the greatest lesson/reminder of all was the sharing of Marianne Williamson's powerful quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
Reflect on this beautifully written quote. Consider your deepest fears and then let them all go, move forward, and keep shining. I believe in the powerful light that is within you. Now, I pray, YOU believe!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I am not average. Never have been. Can't be
Don't desire to be. I wasn't built, created, or made averagely

My expectations are through the roof
My faith is bigger than the universe
My love is forgiving and kind...
...it is enormous beyond eternity
My heart is warm, inviting, and accepting
My strength is greater than what's seen by the naked eye

Yes, I cry...
I cry for the wounded,
...for the lost
...for the sick
...for the weary
...for the empty
...for the hungry
...for the homeless
...for the closed minded
...for sons and daughters
...for sisters and brothers
...for mothers and fathers
...for the ones lacking peace
...for drug users and pushers
...for the abused and abusers
...for the hopeless and suicidal
...for the ones seeking revenge
...for the deprived and rejected
...for the mentally incapacitated
...for broken, segmented families
...for the lack of love of human life
...for the deceived as well as the deceivers
...for the murdered as well as the murderous
...for leaders exploiting those whom they were sent to serve
...for the ones being pimped, prostituted, probed and left for dead

I am UnCommon because I live...
...live through pain, strain, stains and somehow manage to remain sane

I am UnCommon because I survived...
...survived and yet still thrive beyond all that seeks to snuff out life

I am UnCommon because I emanate light...
...though it dims at times, it never quite blows out

I am UnCommon because I am resilient...
...Elastic, durable, bendable, but simply unbreakable

I Am UnCommonly Me!!!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Running Slowly

As I reflect over the course of the last year, the last few months, and especially over the last few days; I am at peace with my overall development. In almost 40 years and throughout the course of my life's journey I learned NOTHING is at it appears. I am humbled and honored that God trust me enough to grant me longer life, deeper, more passionate purpose to fulfill.

During the past year, my faith was challenged and I learned that mustard seed faith grows faith and requires greater faith in both God and the God within self. I woke up to what keeps me motivated, positive, and strong and released what paralyzes, demobilizes, and stifles my God-given talent, abilities, gifts and focus.

In all these things, the most important thing I learned is that baby steps matter! Movement is still movement even if it's slow. So, I am running slowly - or as some may say: "I am learning to run the race at a slower pace with crisp, clear, concise vision on not only the end result (outcome) but with intense passion for the purpose in which I began running!"

As I continue to Embrace Me, knowing every step matters, I encourage you to RUN, but do it slowly. Be Bold! Be Consistent! Be Brave! Be Energetic! Be Resilient!

Be ALIVE in every moment of your life, embracing every outcome!
May you run and not grow weary
May you run and not faint
May you run and keep pace
May you run and win because you simply stayed the course

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adventures of the bold, faith-filled & chosen

Happy Wednesday World!

As I sit here considering the day's journey, I am reminded of the following:

1. To EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven
( Ecclesiastes 3 : 1 AMP )

2. I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
( Ecclesiastes 9 : 11 NIV )

3. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things.

They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it...
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 AMP)

4. We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.
( 2 Corinthians 4 : 8 - 9 CEB )

5. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people. We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.

They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so his Son would be the first of many children. God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.

What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed!

Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us. Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?

I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
( Romans 8 : 27 - 35, 38 - 39 CEVDCUS06)

6. His anger lasts for only a second, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay all night, but by morning, joy! You changed my mourning into dancing. You took off my funeral clothes and dressed me up in joy so that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop. Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
( Psalms 30 : 5, 11 - 12 CEB )

7. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord , And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
( Isaiah 54 : 17 NKJV )

As peaceful as the day began, does the night conclude. May you reflect upon these words as I have done, remembering, you are not alone and you are greatly loved!

Blessings of love,



Sunday, August 24, 2014


Great day & happy Sunday!

I've been launched into something greater!

I am embedded in the heart of God. He is my shield. He is my strength. And just as I am in Him, He also abides within me. He is my core.

I don't regret one moment of the life I've lived thus far because all my bad behaviors, foul attitudes, poor choices, ill thinking, bad language - EVERYTHING, all reminds me I am still a work in progress and I can see where I need work.

Today I am full of peace a midst yesterday's dreary gloom. There is still hope and a rainbow at the end of the tunnel for both, you and I.

Many blessings for a bright day filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and faith for the changes that are taking place...even when we cannot see them.

Blessings With Love,



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Just Life

I have all these post just waiting to be written, completed and published on this site. I am certain that so many others will identify with many if not most of them but it seems, life just keeps happening. Maybe the title of this post reads as if I am going to discuss or teach on living a just life, but that is not my thought for today. I simple want to say, no matter who you are, what degrees you have obtained, how many countries you've traveled to, what position you hold at your job, church or community, it is inevitable that life will just keep happening.

What do I mean by that? I mean as a loving Mother of three of God's greatest gifts to me (my Jewels), as a Minister, Teacher, Preacher, leader, servant, friend and all the other hats I wear, there comes great responsibility. Regardless of whatever "monkey wrenches" are thrown my way I have to remind myself that it's just life and because life will keep happening I must not get stuck in the twist of "the monkey wrenches".

Sometimes that's easier said than done...at least initially anyway! Listen, I had to go through some tough courses simply so I could be an example of just living so I can just live a just life! So I am ready to share through this blog the many lessons I've learned during my writing sabbatical (definition: extended period of leave from ones normal work) Why? Because:

Somebody's freedom is contingent upon my ability to break free & remain free!

Somebody's hope is reliant on my hope!

Somebody's press depends on my press!

Somebody's breakthrough needs my breakout!

Somebody's healing is tied to my healing!

Somebody's heart needs my heart in order to live!

I am NOT an island but I AM CHOSEN TO JUST BE!

I am the apple of God's eye (by the way, so are you!)

Stand firm in what you believe regardless of a life that is sure and certain to keep being.

Remember, I love you, I truly love you, but God will always love you best. I'm praying for you!

Blessings in abundance,


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Moment by Moment

Today's scriptures:
Philippians 4:6-7 Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Proverbs 3:5

TODAY'S WORD:  Title: Moment by Moment

January 23, 2014, I went to the hospital due to excruciating pain. Being pregnant, my concern was that of my unborn son. I tried not to be nervous or anxious so I prayed silently but once I saw blood I must admit, I freaked out.

After settling into a room the nurse checked my blood pressure which was sky high. Next she checked for the babies heartbeat, finding none. With both a sense of confusion and a remorseful look on her face she tried telling me that the equipment was a little faulty. She tried reassuring me letting me know the doctor would be in to check behind her. Upon the doctors arrival, inspection, exam and a zillion questions - many of which I don't even know if I answered; the doctor confirmed my fear, I miscarried.

Instantly, I began to wail. My Sister and sons father tried comforting me but all I could do was think about how attached I'd become with this little being growing in my womb. I thought of all I did, possibly right, but certainly I thought of what I could have done wrong to cause this devastation.

I cried for three days straight. (And I still weep, some days more than others). Blood pressure remained elevated. Head ached. Womb ached. Heart ached. Mind blown.

As I shared the news with those closes to me, they too grieved. Some prayed for me. Some sat with me in silence just holding my hand. Some held me and allowed me to cry. Others encouraged me to keep pushing. "Go back to work," they said, "being busy will take your mind off of it."

Others insisted that God knows best. They quoted scriptures and told me to lean on God. Some even encouraged me to praise and worship God in the midst of my sorrows. While others explained that I had no reason to be filled with sadness.

Today, I would like to remind everyone to live each day to the fullest. Appreciate good times as well as the not so good times. Allow yourself to go through whatever process presenting itself at the time it comes, for the word tells me that there is a time, season, and purpose for all things.

Don't rush. Don't try busying yourself. Don't suppress how you feel. Go through your process. Cry, scream, holler if necessary but equally, be vigilant to listen to the still soft voice of God and know when your grieving period has come to a conclusion. Maybe some of the pains and thoughts of what could have been will still come but depression is NOT an option.

Let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Allow God to hold you in His loving and nurturing arms because no matter who you are surrounded by or what their experiences have been, no one will know exactly where you are or how you feel at the core of your being but God. As my Pastor always says, "each trial comes to develop you not to destroy you"

Be still in times of regret, pain, sorrow and contemplation knowing, God is GOD!

May you surrender every care and concern to God.
May you be tried and proven as a faithful believer knowing, God does all things well.
May you be renewed and strengthened.
May you recovery expeditiously.
May you have a peace that surpasses all understanding.
May you come out as the victorious conqueror God already deemed you to be!
May you remain hopeful, bold, and fearless as you are being groomed for the next magnificent portion of your journey.

Remember this as well, everything is not about the enemy or punishment for some wrong - plenty of what happens in our lives (EVERYTHING),  is simply the will of God for He does truly know, care and does ALL things well. If there is ever any example of God's testing, Job is the perfect candidate to examine. God allowed everything that happened in his life simply to prove that he was a righteous man. He (Job) did NOT blame God for his loses, hurt or pain but instead he humbled himself in prayer, rebuking even his wife.

Trust God moment by moment my friend! This is NOT the end but a stepping stone to a vibrant new beginning.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reflections of my heart

First I would like to take a moment and give greetings to each of you for a new, healthy (mentally, physically, & spiritually) year of growth, love that is pure, compassion, creativity, centered with peace, joy, happiness and altogether, wellness and abundance!

Last year, 2013 was full of surprises and difficulties ranging from broken relationships to challenges related to my health, financial woes as well as decline in business growth  which in turn, weighed heavy on my mind as well as my spirit. What's amazing to me is though I claim to be a woman of great faith, and I am, I found myself in a weakened state which brought me to question my own faith. I found myself unable to write or blog which is evident in the decline of blogs posted from 2011 & 2012 where I posted, on average, about 50 post per year to less than 20 post for 2013.

Well, November 23, 2013, the day before my 38th birthday, I was sitting in a cafe sipping hot and energizing mint tea. I had been in prayer all morning, as I was soul searching what I needed to do to get back on track - not just with writing, but developing and especially living. I needed to find peace again which somehow had slipped away. I needed to regain my confidence in love, purpose in living, insistence in giving, growing and thriving. I needed to find a reason to laugh from the core of my belly.

Sitting there, sipping, thinking, praying and at times, wiping the few tears as they trickled down my face, someone sent me a video about dreaming, purpose and getting unstuck. The spirit of the words resonated at the core of my being. I realized I was doing the very thing I speak against in ministry and in life - I was acting, moving, functioning as and being a product of my circumstance.

At that moment I took a deep breath remembering the final lesson from the previous year's teaching on blessings and curses (per the daily prayer call). The object of the enemy is to steal, kill, and ultimately destroy - but, what exactly is it that is subject to being stolen, murdered and brought to destruction? The object of the enemy is to make you question yourself to a point where he injects mental confusion, fear, self-destructive attitudes which lead to destructive behaviors. He sends distractions like the wolves in sheeps clothing. He desires to disrupt peace. He gives the illusion of a thing being "good" - you know, "the grass being greener on the other side" sort of picture. He wants us impatient and anxious. He wants us void of hope and desolate of faith.

Why? So he can let his decoys in to lead us astray. He feeds off of our "flesh" desires. He is the master of trickery. Thus, his main goal is to get us so wrapped up in pity, anger, hate, lust, money - essentially, the "feel goods" - over indulging in anything that makes us "feel good" even if we know better.  He then wants our lack of self-control to weigh on our minds (emotions/feelings) so we can feel guilty, unworthy, useless - you know BAD about who we are and to whom we belong. He would love nothing more if we would simply quit believing in God. In fact, he wants us to denounce God.

As I reflected in the cafe and as I reflect at this moment I am determined to not only say I am fully armed each day but to be prepared beginning with guarding my mind - my own thoughts. I now know that I must use not only discernment but wisdom, which includes the advice and counsel of the Elders. I cannot allow myself to sink into situations and circumstances, but instead, use them as tools for growth. In other words, take the lessons and leave the junk and clutter that tries to invade my mental space, heart and spirit. Besides, God's word says He wishes for us to be in good health and to prosper. He makes ways of escape and we must be willing to crucify the flesh for different, greater and more rewarding outcomes when we do not yield to the mind of the flesh.

As I reflect, I remember every point where I felt low, alone, forgotten, unwanted and even stupid for loving people and not prejudging who I think they are based on my past experiences. And though we should love and give and be kind and NOT prejudge, we still cannot just connect with everybody because "we feel" it's what we are supposed to do.

I am learning to listen to the heart, voice and word of God more intently. I realize I've done so much out of the spirit of "do-good" and left God out of my initial decisions to engage.

This year I made no resolutions. I simply set my heart to work diligently on what I already know I should be doing. I could bombard this page with a zillion scriptures to support various places where I've grown but for now, I simply want to share my heart and thank the many people who support and encourage me as I push forward in this journey called life. Be well and may God shed light in your heart and through your circumstances so you can be at peace with YOU!