“(Un)Social Media”

My husband and I were enjoying an evening out to dinner recently and I noticed an older couple sitting a few tables from us. It warmed my heart to see that they were enjoying one another’s company and weren’t spending their golden years watching television and letting the world pass them by. A few minutes later I glanced at them again and noticed that they both had their iPhones in hand and they were totally oblivious to one another and to their surroundings!

It is no secret that we are in the information age and I realize that a lot of people use their phones to keep up with how the stock market is doing or to conduct business (and virtual meetings) and to keep an eye on the score of their favorite athletic team, but there seems to be more emphasis today on being in the know rather than being in the now!  Facebook seems to have taken the place of face  time (spending uninterrupted time together). I like to people watch and I pay close attention to those around me and I’ve come to the conclusion that people are addicted to information. They are constantly looking at their phones and it doesn’t matter if they are driving or walking or at even at church! The subtle vibration or chirp indicating an incoming message, alert or email seems to be the equivalent of oxygen to many people. If a person loses his or her phone, everything comes to a halt until they get it replaced.

Many friends have said that they feel “lost” if they are separated from their phone for any reason (whether they lost their phone or if they accidentally left it at home). I guess I’m not addicted to mine because on the weekends I may not look at my phone until Sunday afternoon, because the weekends are an opportunity for me to reconnect with God, my family/friends and myself…everything else can wait.

Take action now: Meditate on Psalm 119:105 : Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.. (NIV)

Embrace this truth:  Focus on what’s important – spending quality time with friends and / or loved ones.

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“Know Your Value”

I’ve talked with countless young women who have experienced different types of abuse at some point in their lives: mental, verbal, emotional and physical. The abusers vary as well. They can be parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and lovers. I’ve come to realize that when a young woman doesn’t realize her value or worth, she may feel that she doesn’t have any option other than to deal with the abuse and suffer in silence. For younger women, the abuse is sometimes as subtle as a young man raising his voice or taking her cell phone from her and keeping it in order to find out if the young woman is receiving texts or calls from other guys.

Tragically, non-physical abuse can quickly escalate to physical abuse (and domestic violence) with sometimes deadly results. I still have memories of the untimely death of a family friend, who was in her early 20’s when she was killed by her estranged husband. She had begun to make preparations to live her life on her own terms and had moved out of the home that they shared, but her estranged husband’s quest for control led him to take her life and then end his.

Many people (young and old) are looking for acceptance and will sometimes forsake who they are in order to receive the acceptance that they seek. Some people prey on those who are weak or don’t speak up for themselves. Speaking up and letting your voice be heard is critical for your sanity and for your survival. Standing up for what is right doesn’t have to be confrontational, but at the first sign of abuse, run, don’t walk to the nearest exit.

Not having a father in the home can be a factor in the high number of incidences of domestic violence among young people. A young man who hasn’t seen his father treat his mother with love and respect won’t know how to do so in his own relationships with the opposite sex. The flipside is that young women being raised without a father in the home may think that being controlled by someone of the opposite sex is a sign of love. Love is gentle and love is kind. Love doesn’t leave scars (on the heart nor on the body).

Take action now: Meditate on Proverbs 11:16a – “A gracious woman retains honor” (New King James Version).

Embrace this truth: When you realize your true value, no one can diminish it.

“Know Your Value” is the topic that will be discussed in-depth by Rev. Gail Burks-Stansell and Kandee Lewis will shed light on the subject of “Teen Dating Violence and Bullying” onSaturday, March 29, 2014 at the “Daddy’s Girl Empowerment Summit”, a FREE conference for teen girls who are being raised without their fathers. It will be a day of inspiration, empowerment and encouragement.

Mothers are welcome and encouraged to attend. Breakfast and lunch included. Register today at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/daddys-girl-empowerment-summit-registration-10339821685 or by calling (310) 818-3662.

Location: Hope in Christ Community Church, 1019 N. Harris Ave., Compton (8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

“Can You Hear Me Now?”

A popular wireless provider used to air a commercial that featured a guy who uttered the catchphrase, “Can you hear me now?” to convince potential customers of the company’s reliability and reputation for fewer dropped calls. Personally speaking, nothing is more annoying than either not being able to make a call due to bad reception or dropping a call.

It’s difficult to believe that less than 20 years ago cellphones were just becoming popular and if we wanted to talk to someone, we either had to use a pay phone or wait until we arrived at our destination and use the home phone to make our calls (if no one else was already using it). Answering machines recorded missed calls for us and we retrieved our messages at our convenience. How times have changed…or have they?

GOOD Communication is vital to any relationship (whether the relationship is personal or business). I remember how much fun it was to play the “Telephone Game”, where someone would whisper a phrase in his neighbor’s ear and the neighbor would then whisper what he heard to the next person and each person would continue whispering to the person next to them until everyone had a chance to hear what had been said. It was funny to hear the last person repeat what he had heard and how different it was from what was originally said by the first participant. That game is a good lesson in listening skills. Parents and children often have difficulty communicating because they sometimes hear something different than what was said.

A parent might tell a child, “no, you can’t go”, when asking for permission to go out. What the child surmises the parent means is, “I don’t trust you to make good decisions while you’re out of my sight”. This difference of understanding is the reality of what many parents and teens experience each day – the inability to effectively communicate for understanding. Think about this, a man might tell a woman, “I think we’re moving too fast” and the woman may hear, “I want to date others and see what options I have available before I commit exclusively to you”. As I get older, I know that it is just as important to listen as it is to talk and I think that we often forget that listening IS communicating. I was raised in the era, where children were “seen and not heard”. Children didn’t have a voice nor an opinion. Thankfully parents are now allowing children to speak up and although parents may not agree with what their kids are saying, at least the children are able to make their voices heard. Being open and honest when communicating will be a good tool for the child to take into their own marriages and will be helpful when they have their own children. I encourage you to put on your listening ears the next time someone wants to talk to you.

Take action now: Meditate on Isaiah 65:24 – “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (King James Version).

Embrace this truth: Listen for understanding rather than for an opportunity to give your opinion.

“Communications 101” is a topic that will be discussed in-depth by Rev. Patrice Morris on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the “Daddy’s Girl Empowerment Summit”, a FREE conference for teen girls who are being raised without their fathers. It will be a day of inspiration, empowerment, fun and encouragement. Mothers are welcome and encouraged to attend. Breakfast and lunch included. Register today at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/daddys-girl-empowerment-summit-registration-10339821685

Location: Hope in Christ Community Church, 1019 N. Harris Ave., Compton ( 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

“A Designer’s Original”

A well-known designer recently distributed a press release, a photograph and a blog bragging that a Hollywood actress was seen carrying one of the said designer’s handbags . Unfortunately the photo was taken at the wake for another actor. The designer’s attempt to bring attention to the popularity of the prized handbag backfired as critics called the designer “insensitive” because of the circumstances under which the photograph was taken. The designer received a lot of publicity for the error in judgment.

Photo opportunities abound for award show attendees as interviewers ask who designed their outfits. Simply mentioning a designer at a special event can result in more business for the designer. I’m often shocked by the price tags of many of the name brand purses, shoes and accessories. Unfortunately a person’s status (or lack of) is often defined or determined by the designer’s label or insignia that the person is wearing.

I worked in the fast food industry as a young teenager and I once saved all of my allowance to buy my first pair of popular (brand name) athletic shoes. I was so proud to finally feel like I was part of the in crowd. My shoes looked the same as everyone’s shoes and I felt a sense of belonging. However, before I had saved enough money to buy another pair, the shoes were no longer popular and just like that, I was being teased because the shoes that I had recently purchased were then considered old! I couldn’t keep up with the changing trends and being accepted by peers is of the utmost importance to teens.

In my late teens, I realized that being popular or part of the in crowd was not as important as it once was to me. I started embracing my inner beauty and looking for the inner beauty of those around me. Some of the mean girls were quick to point out outward differences and it bothered me until I realized that regardless of what others think, I am beautiful. I am intelligent. I am a good friend and I love others and treat others with respect and kindness. Those characteristics never go out of style.

I may not ever be able to afford a handbag valued at $1500 or more (nor do I think I would ever want one), but knowing my self-worth is priceless. Having good character and integrity are what matter at the end of the day.

Take action now: Meditate on Proverbs 31:10 – “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (King James Version).

Embrace this truth: You are a designer’s original.

“A Designer’s Original” is a topic that will be discussed in-depth by Rev. Sharon Gray on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the “Daddy’s Girl Empowerment Summit”, a FREE conference for teen girls who are being raised without their fathers. It will be a day of inspiration, empowerment, fun and encouragement. Mothers are welcome and encouraged to attend. Breakfast and lunch included. Register today at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/daddys-girl-empowerment-summit-registration-10339821685

Location: Hope in Christ Community Church, 1019 N. Harris Ave., Compton ( 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

“When Super Woman Gets Tired”

The challenges and struggles faced by single mothers can be opportunities for them to realize just how strong and resourceful they are. Have you ever stopped to consider the many hats that mothers are called on to wear? Here are a few: they are educators (they help their children with mounds of homework — I hate fractions!), doctors (they have to tend to their sick children 24/7, sometimes operating on a few hours of sleep), chauffeurs (they shuttle their kids to and from school and extra-curricular activities, regardless of the weather), CFO’s (sometimes having to use “creative financing” to pay for field trips, athletic uniforms, tuition, etc.) and relationship coaches (sometimes they have to comfort a broken-hearted child who just broke up with the boy or girl of their dreams – sometimes on more than one occasion!). Mom a.k.a. Super Woman does all these things without complaining, without any fanfare and often without thanks from the recipients of her graciousness… but what happens When Super Woman Gets Tired?

Most businesses close for major holidays or on weekends. But a mother’s work is never done. It sounds cliché, but it is true. A mother is called on all day, every day to be available for everything and if the truth is told, she is called on to be available for everybody — even when she has nothing left to give. Who tends to her when she is tired or sick? Who reassures her when she is worried that her paycheck may not cover every bill that is due? Who does she turn to when she would rather scream than smile? A few close friends will stay close through the good, the bad and the ugly, but because of the façade or mask that says “everything is fine”, Super Woman doesn’t get many chances to just be. A friend of mine shared her mantra with me that helped me put things in perspective and I’d like to share it with you: the line forms behind me. In other words, take care of yourself and get yourself together and then take care of whatever else needs to be taken care of.

The next time you’re on an airplane, pay close attention to the pre-flight instructions from the flight attendant: “In the event of an emergency, first put on your oxygen mask, then help your child.” Taking care of yourself first is key to taking care of others.

Take action now: Meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (New Revised Standard Version).

Embrace this truth: The line forms behind you.

“When Super Woman Gets Tired” is a topic that will be discussed in-depth by Denise Busby on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the “Daddy’s Girl Empowerment Summit”, a FREE conference for teen girls who are being raised without their fathers. It will be a day of inspiration, empowerment, fun and encouragement. Mothers are welcome and encouraged to attend. Breakfast and lunch included. Register today at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/daddys-girl-empowerment-summit-registration-10339821685

Location: Hope in Christ Community Church, 1019 N. Harris Ave., Compton ( 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)