Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Being Mary Jane, Olivia Pope, Love & Hip Hop, Real Housewives and Maya Angelou



Heeeeyyyyyyyyyy "brownistas!"

I know. I know. It's been FOREVER!

photo courtesy of babyoffboard.com



I can honestly say that I missed you, and I found out that you missed me too!










SOOOOOOO much has happened! I don't know where to start! Ok. Let's start with the most important. I FINALLY GRADUATED FROM SEMINARY!
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! It was the LONGEST 7 years of my life. This was my second Master's and to say that it kicked my tail would be an understatement! I went into the program single. Along the way, I picked up my wonderful husband, and these three little people who live in our house for free and keep calling me "mommy." (don't know why they think I am here to take care of them... the whole thing is just weird. Wait. I'm just joking. My sister works for Social Services. I don't need a knock on the door following this post.)
Needless to say, it was a true struggle at times trying to balance it all. There were so many times when I wanted to give up.

Ya'll don't hear me.

I was over it.

Look, I graduated from high school, college and already had a Master's. There were so many times when I just wanted to throw my hands up and walk away. Only thing stopping me was not wanting to pay good ole' Sallie Mae back for a degree that I didn't earn. That is the true definition of "not hot."
Seriously, I could not have completed this without God.



I can't do life without God.

As I look back over the years, I handled a lot. (Of course I didn't do it by myself but this is MY blog and I already gave my "thank you" speeches to everyone who contributed! Sheesh!) ANYWHO!
I didn't really know I had so many people watching me, but apparently when I walked across the stage, a whirlwind of emotion took over a lot of people close to me. Everyone just started running down the list of things I was doing, had done, and accomplished. I had to stand back, try to focus and realize they were talking about me! This was a little difficult to do seeing as though I had to decipher what they were saying through sobbing tears.


PAUSE FOR A MOMENT: Do you know how AWESOME you are? Sometimes, you have to have a conversation with someone on the outside to get a good scoop on you. The problem with so many of us is that we are "used to" ourselves. We have become common in our eyes and fail to see our power, potential and progress. It would do you some good to hear about yourself from a trusted source. I'm trying to tell you that you are pretty amazing!





Ok, and we're back from the commercial break.

There was so much in those 7 years. I guess if I had to sum up my journey, the last 7 years was about me truly deciding and walking in the kind of woman I was going to be. According to some biblical scholars, the number 7 represents completion.

How fitting is that?

7 years and I finally settled on what Eboni Akia Blair is going to represent and accomplish in this life.
1. Eboni Blair is going to be woman of God who fulfills her purpose as a messenger of the Gospel and a disciple maker.
2. Eboni Blair is going to be the kind of wife her husband needs.
3. Eboni Blair is going to be the kind of mother her children need.
4. Eboni Blair is going to be a professional, a business woman, an artist and most of all a servant.
5. Eboni Blair will be a woman of her word filled with humility and integrity.
6. Eboni Blair will live an unlimited life and allow God to use her however He sees fit.
7. Eboni Blair will leave a legacy, a proud one, that will impact generations to come.

That's it. That's my mission statement, vision outline, whatever you want to call it.

With the recent death of Maya Angelou, I really began to reflect. She left behind a powerful legacy.
Often we as women quote her renowned poem, "Phenomenal Woman" waving our womanhood banner proudly as we tell the world to hear us roar because we run it on our independent tip.

That's interesting. 

I wonder if we, as women today, can really claim the words in that inspiring literary work. Dr. Angelou wrote some riveting words filled with substance. Language that cries out everything buried deep within passion, life, soul, spirit...you know, the stuff that legendary women are made of.

In a day where we as women have so many choices before us as to what we want to reflect and represent, I am a little fearful of what we are admiring and choosing to adopt as our own identity. Don't worry, I am not going to bash anyone for watching "Scandal," "Being Mary Jane," or any of the Love and Hip-Hops or Real Housewives "reality" (it's not real, ya'll) series. I don't particularly watch them all, and when I do, I am not overtaken by the foolery and debauchery that we have labeled as "entertainment."
I am somewhat thrown off by us taking on these stories as our own, believing that what is portrayed is "real," and replacing our standards with these (fill in the blank because I am at a loss for words) standards. We tell ourselves we can watch religiously without being influenced. Well, I will leave that up to the experts to argue. My point is not to persuade you to change your television viewing schedule. No, beloved, a deeper issue has my attention.

I want you to really ask yourself, "what kind of woman am I called to be?" Dr. Angelou had an assignment that she spent her life fulfilling. Can you and I say the same?

Ahhh, there is so much I want to say to my generation of women!

I want you to examine everything, and I want you to seek God. Ask Him, with all sincerity, what He had in His wonderful mind when He determined the world could not function without your existence for such a time as this. When you have your answer, I want you to embrace it so much so that it pulsates through your blood, flows from your fingertips, leaks from your lips, and creates a fragrance so potent from your pores that it permeates the room long after your presence has departed.

There is a call for us to be more than quotes we repeat with no conviction to live them, Facebook statuses, Instagram pictures, 140 characters worth of empty wisdom on Twitter, cliches, and shadows. We're living in a day where we are believing our own self promotion. (Social networking is making that easy to do.) We are losing substance, the nature of true accomplishments, and the ability to know and establish the right priorities in the process.

You are an amazing creation.
It's simply mind blowing what you can do, and your ability is not even fully maximized.

I have done a lot in these last 7 years, but I can promise you that the next 7 are going to be nothing short of extraordinary.

So, I leave you with this--put your eyebrows on...we have work to do.

Until next time, "brownistas..."












Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Crazy Love

ALRIGHT! It's been awhile. Here is my soapbox.

One of the reasons I press so hard in Seminary is so that I can handle the Gospel, and the Word of God, with precision and care. It always hurts my heart when I see my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ mishandling the Word. It really hurts when I see us becoming distracted & not being about the business of our Heavenly Father.

Do you want to know what separates the believer from the world?
Before it's holiness,before it's righteous living and before it's any kind of religious behavior, if you had to answer the question, do you know?

It's called LOVE.

As a Christian, my love should be so powerful, so crazy that it will make the whole world stop and wonder how is it possible for me to love like that?
How is it that I love my enemies? How is it that I love my neighbor?
How is it that I love those that could never repay me?
How is my love so effective that it changes people's lives?
How does my love do that?

You know who else's love is crazy?...God's.
...for God so LOVED the world...
...the greatest of these is love...
...love covers a multitude of sin...
...they will know you by the love that you have for one another...
...if any man says he loves Me and yet does not love his brother...

Your religion won't help them. Your holiness is at times is an illusion. Your righteousness is as filthy dirty rags and your own standards are often full of contradiction.

Why are we so afraid to love? Love doesn't mean condoning anymore than it means condemning.
The world is hurt enough.
May God deal with us ever so harshly, if we add to it when we distort His Word and fail to keep His command to love.

If you don't have love...love that conquers, heals, restores, then you have nothing. Yes, as Christians we should stand out. We should be separate and matter. But not for the reasons we list.

You want to matter? You still want to stand out? Here is your chance.

Go love like God loves.

If you can't do that, then please try to refrain from doing anything else in His Name.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Faith in action...with eyebrows

"Brow"nistas! It has been awhile!
Oh, how I've missed  you.  I was in the process of writing a ridiculously long Facebook status, and the Spirit was like "ummmm, no. you betta write a blog post!"

So, I logged in after like 1,000 years and decided to reach out to my loves with some encouragement this fine Wednesday mid morning!

 As you know, we have been in the middle of a government shutdown. Yes, go United States!

I find that these times are great for spiritual insight. People are so attuned spiritually when the things in which they have placed their confidence have failed them.

With that being said, I want to offer some encouragement to all of my lovelies who are still attempting to hold it down and keep their head up.
 
Alright my sermon for the week:

We hear all the time that we have to have faith, but many of us don't really know what that means. So, here is some practical understanding and application:

Faith is believing God to be and do all that He says in His Word.

It's not just believing God.

God has a specific way He wants you to know Him. He is intentional about what He wants you to know about Him. There is a Word to address either His actions or His character. If you can't trace what He will do, then you can trace who He has been which never changes.

Sooooo...take this shutdown for example.

God doesn't need to hear about the details of how inconvenient the shutdown has been to compel Him to move.
 

He needs to hear who we believe Him to be according to His character and His Word.

What would happen if we started declaring His Word?
God responds to His Word.
Know His Word.
Know Him.





So, here are some passages to get you off of speaking about your situation and on to speaking what God promises and wants you to know.  I paraphrased, but apart of doing the work (cause the Word works if you work the Word) is actually going to the Bible, looking up the passage, reading it, taking it in, and speaking it until God's truth saturates your soul.

Soooo, here we go:
Phil 4:19 --God is a provider
Psalms 37:25 --God isn't new to providing
Numbers 23:19--God doesn't say one thing and do another.
Psalms 118:8--God is the only One who is trustworthy
Psalms 55:22--God cares and you can give Him your cares and concerns

KEY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
God doesn't empower situations, He empowers people. God gives YOU the help. You helped, will help your situation. God needs you to KNOW this power because YOU can change the world.
To be at the mercy of life's circumstances is cruel. God has given us power over all circumstances. He will not water down life because we are afraid to embrace the power He has given us. No, He will not lessen your greatness. He will show you that you can in fact overcome. So, there is no need to spend countless hours on the details of the storm. At some point, as much as God cares, He will transition you to seek Him for the endurance to come out of the storm and be better than ever!

Here is a question to ask yourself: Do I have enough Word to meet the demands of my life?
Because my life isn't changing on its own, but I can change it if I have enough Word.
My life moves at the sound of the Word of God.
It doesn't move just because of my thoughts, but when I speak the Word, things come into alignment.

Beloved, it may be time to mature beyond one passage of scripture, a gospel song every now then and again, and some church quotes.

This is to encourage you.
Get enough Word to conquer your life.


You can do it.

Oh, put your eyebrows! It is NOT that bad!


Until next time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

EYEBROWS AND ALL DEVOTION: July 1, 2013

Alright, "brow"nistas, I took a stab at a bit of devotional this morning. I had a topic weighing on my heart regarding how we as believers of Christ use social media. It really bothers me some of the things I read. So, I wrote a little blurb, not fussing, but praying that we would be more responsible.
I think I will teach a Bible Study topic on it. (Oh, I had to include the men folk this time. Don't worry, we will be back to it being just the girls...boy, bye!)

So, here it goes...

A discussion on responsible use of SOCIAL MEDIA (not going where you think I am going)

First, let me say this: TO THE WORLD, I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE!!!

Dear brothers & sisters in Christ.

Perhaps all things should not be discussed on Social Media.
My spirit is grieved at times where I read statuses and tweets that irresponsibly introduce topics of deep Biblical truths that can not be adequately explained on these platforms.

Let's be real: you and I know when our messages are laced with judgment however subtle we present them.

"You can do a lot of harm in the name of God." - Bishop Noel Jones
I never forgot that statement.

"9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment" Phil 1:9

Yes, there is no love without truth; however, there is no truth without love.

None of us could bear the reality of our sin, our shortcoming, our distance between God and our failing flesh.
He sent His Son with love, redemption, repentance, reconciliation and hope. Christ spent 33 years walking among us, taking His time that we may know and trust fully the heart of the Father.
God fed us His truth with love. He seasoned it with grace, mercy, understanding & wisdom.

Yet we feed His people harshly.
We force them to swallow what we have had time to digest.
We cast onto FB statuses and expect them to understand and accept in a day what has taken us years.
We take our private revelations, tailor made for us by God, and make them public mandate.

This should not be.

We tell the world they don't want to hear the truth when it is us who have spoken, not being led by the Spirit, but in answer to our swelling egos and self righteousness inclinations.
Just because we can say it, doesn't mean we should say it.
Just because we can type it, doesn't mean we should type it.

I come not to condemn.
I address this publicly because we have offended publicly.
I love each of you.
I only ask that you "love your neighbor as yourself."
Maybe we should all meditate on that for awhile.

When we realize that what we hold as the message of the Gospel is so precious perhaps we will not be so eager to present it in a fashion that results in the greatest message ever shared falling on deaf ears.

Sometimes, it's not that people don't want to hear about God; it's they don't want to hear from us.

Have we forgotten how gentle He was with us?
His truth lives forever.
His Word works whether we shout it or speak it with kindness and a humble heart.

God doesn't need us to defend Him. He needs us to represent Him.

He gave us one approach and one posture to take with the world.
It's the same one He takes.
Love.

"For God so LOVED the world..."
"They will know you by this, how you LOVE one another..."

I leave you with this:

Any man who brings up God in a conversation, or exchange, and does not impart hope and love has failed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A sense of adventure...

What's up "brow"nistas!
It's summer! It's Friday!

Life is great. God is better.

It's summer time and summer is often the season for adventure. This is the time we get out, travel, put the top down on the car, visit restaurants we haven't tried, and spend our days outdoors seeing what we can get into! It's an exciting time! Well, I want to encourage you, my dear "brow"nistas. I want you to spend your summer days trying something new.

Recently my darling husband accompanied me to the hair salon. For months, he has been begging me to change my hair color and try some new looks.


I would have NEVER picked out those shoes #jeffreycampbell
Now, let me tell you about my husband's sense of style. He is bold, daring, and has a keen sense for what stands out. (Could be from his previous days of street hustling that awakens his flare for the extravagant..just saying)  I have to admit that he is responsible for some of my most "adventurous" ensembles. (check out the kicks in the pic on the right)

What I love about him is that he requires me to come out of my comfort zone. On the inside I feel like this "glamazon" who is free and confident. In real life, I tend to play it safe. Yup, I go along with the trend of the moment not straying too far from what is acceptable and comfortable. However, I have always been a free spirited gal who loves to try new things and have artistic expression. This is why I love to play in makeup. It's art for me. I get to create and transform.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program...


So, the husband, who was on his way to the barbershop decided to swing past and add his two cents as to how my hair should look. He even went so far as to walk with the assistant to the beauty store next door so that he could provide his onsite consultant skills as she picked up the necessary products! (really, dude?)

Sooo, we ended up with this...


and I even have on my EYEBROWS!

I absolutely LOVE my new hair! I would have never picked out the color. I would have stayed a bit toned down, but I was sooooo at a loss for words when it was done (big shout out to my stylist Diamond who "smoked my wig, honey!") I left the salon feeling empowered and like a new woman! Now that my husband encouraged me to get out of the box and embrace how I wanted to express myself, I am completely hooked and ready to take on more adventures!

As a wife, mom and more, it can be hard to hold on to your sense of adventure. 

It was all his idea and I found myself getting emotional because my husband has been a huge supporter of me taking the time I need for myself (one of the many reasons I just love him!) He is always encouraging me and speaking life into me when I feel like I am failing. I need that. I need him because, let's face it, sometimes, we can feel very defeated in trying to do everything. I know at times I avoid adventure because I feel consumed believing there is no time for anything outside of the day to day routine.

But, "brow"nistas, if we don't stop, color outside the lines a bit, try something new, seek a new experience, we will die! Life is meant to be lived. God has given us so much to explore. He has given us so much talent. We owe it to God to put forth an effort.

Life is more than bills, recitals, soccer practice, meetings, bath time, dinner, etc. It's more than checklists and to do's. You have to insert a little bit of adventure into your life. As a mom, that's a great lesson to teach your kids! Teach them to live and try new things! (On a personal note, I can't stand to hear a kid tell me what they don't like. HELLO, you haven't been alive long enough to have preferences! You betta eat this and LIKE IT!)

"Brow"nistas, don't let this summer or this life pass you by without you taking some time to have some adventure! It may be a new hairstyle, a trip, a new place in your city that you haven't visited...whatever! Just get out, slap on your brows, and hit the town!

Go ahead...never lose your sense of adventure.

Until next time...







Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Brow" Nista AFFIRMATION

This is for all of my "brow"nistas who from time to time FORGET just how AWESOME you are!
Find yourself a mirror, stepping stool and a "make shift" microphone and repeat after me...



LISTEN: (climbs up on soapbox, taps microphone)

I am a WOMAN. I am a WIFE. I am a MOTHER. I am a PROFESSIONAL. I am a STUDENT. I am a SERVANT. I am a BUSINESS OWNER. I am a DAUGHTER.
I am a SISTER...and more...

But all of this is still only a FRACTION of who I am.

I don't apologize.

I run late. I forget. I get tired, overwhelmed, distracted, burnt out and more.

I wouldn't step down from ANY of my roles.

I don't abandon, pass or hand off, neglect, or regret my roles. I do ALL of them. I answer the call for EVERY one of them. Sometimes, I fail, mess up, drop the ball.

But guess what?
I get back up.

I get dismissed, disregarded, judged, taken for granted.
I also get respected, admired, appreciated, and loved more than you could imagine.
I have good days and bad days.

I love every moment of it.

Because these are MY roles, you can say what you like, have an opinion even share it with a few people if it so pleases you.

I don't, however, give anyone the power or permission to convince me to define myself based on what you say I am.

I am what God says I am.

What you call weak, is actually strength.
You feel sorry because I am so busy? Don't cry for me, Argentina!
My exhaustion has given other people energy. My tears have watered the lives of countless. My sweat and blood have brought forth fruit and life.

My life is more than me.
My wealth wakes up in the lives of many each morning starting with a husband and three kids who carry the proof of my legacy in them each day.

So, I do NOT apologize.
Walk a mile in my shoes?
No, baby, try sitting down in them first.

I am a WOMAN. I am a WIFE. I am a MOTHER. I am a PROFESSIONAL. I am a STUDENT. I am a SERVANT. I am a BUSINESS OWNER. I am a DAUGHTER.
I am a SISTER and more
...and all of this is still only a FRACTION of who I am.

I don't apologize.

I am what God says I am.


(steps down...drops mic)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Portion

Heeeyyyyyyyyy, "brow"nistas!

Ok. I know. I know.
It's been awhile.
Well, you can thank my lovely cousin for inspiring me to get back to the blog. She fussed at me over the Memorial Day weekend.

Truthfully, I didn't realize I was having that much of an impact.

So, I am here.
Sometimes, this is what I don't like about myself. I will start things and not finish them.
Soooooooooo, I is here (yes, I meant to say it JUST like that.)

What have I been up to lately? What has kept me from sharing in the joys and pains of being a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, good girlfriend, servant and more?

LIFE!
photo courtesy of www.fotolia.com



Oh, "brow"nistas, I have NOT heeded my own advice. I have missed so much "brow"time! I had to repent and apologize to God AND my poor husband for how I was walking around looking and feeling.

Can you say BROKE DOWN?
It was a shame unto GAWD, honey!

Well, I am back. And I do mean I am back!
At this stage of my life, these past few months have given me confidence, wisdom, and love. I feel so full and I celebrate that I FINALLY have my portion.

What do I mean by "my portion?"

Well, beloved, I feel as though I have removed the excess from my life and I am concerned and engaged with what God would have me be concerned and engaged. Take a quick evaluation.

Can you say the same?

Today, I had to take a break from reading the news, checking my timeline on Facebook, looking at pics on Instagram and more. Sometimes, especially now that I have children, I get really overwhelmed with what is going on in the world and the lives of people with whom I am acquainted. Sometimes, it's all too much to bear. I get upset when I think about the evil in the world and the fact that my kids have to grow up in this foolishness. I pray over them as I could never protect them, watch over them, keep or love them better than God can.

You know I really do believe we are overly exposed. Grant it, the crazy of this world is not new. I don't believe it has become any more evil than it has been in times prior, I just believe we hear about it more with everything being uploaded in less than 2 seconds.
The world is a constant place and, with technology, it's like we have in some way elevated ourselves to be like God in that we know everything! I mean I know we don't really know everything, but we know way more than we used to or we should.

There is this verse in the Bible that sums it up well for me:

"For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." -Ecclesiastes 1:18 

Sometimes, I know too much. Sometimes, my senses for what is going on in the world is on like a million! At times, I can't take it. I can't take the earthquakes, murders, rapes, missing loved ones, abused children, violence, and the evil common to the human race. Not just that, but in my own life I have felt obligated to consume myself with the bills, day to day hustle and bustle....why are we SO busy?!!! There are times when if I wasn't stressed, I went to find something that was stressful! 

It all had to come to a screaching halt.
I don't know the exact moment. I can't tell you when, but somewhere I believe God said to me in a whisper "cast your cares, leave the heavy lifting to me, think on good, noble and pure things, and be anxious for nothing."

Dears, in this world, most of the time, we feel like we "have to."

I have to watch the news. (like 24/7 especially first thing in the morning)
I have to answer the phone (I mean this call is soooo important)
I have to be there. (afterall, the ENTIRE things revolves around me)
I have to make it. (see what I just said above)
I have to check my email. (all important matters are in my email...ever think of how highly overrated receiving notifications are?)
I have to attend the meeting. (a little self centered?)
I have to sign up. (why? why do they need you? no, why? really?)
I have to ....

One day, I thought "who said I have to?"


Principal Joe Clark and Morgan Freeman
Let me borrow a line from Principal Joe Clark in the classic film "Lean on Me,"

"I don't have to do nothing but stay black and die!"

Now, let me revise that a little for myself: " I don't have to do nothing but love God, be concerned with what He tasks to me, and die...to meet Him face to face and hear 'well done!'"




Over these last months, I have picked up and dropped off so much stuff. (I even started calling people and telling them to meet me to come pick up their baggage.)

I decided to let myself off the hook for knowing everything. 
I started realizing I can't handle knowing everything. 

I wake up to the balance of the bank account, the update to my credit score, the activities for the kids, the upcoming payment, the rescheduling of the meetings, the absurd amount of missed calls, the exam, the traffic jam, the devastation, the pregnant celebrity rumors, the latest health thing, the devotionals (I actually like those), the controversy, the notification that someone saw my notification, the reply to my post, the fact that my post was uploaded and blah, blah, blah!


Why? Why do I have to know? Am I supposed to be concerned with all of that? Are there some things on my plate that I added that may need to be removed? Is something wrong with me if you ask me and I don't know?


Don't get me wrong, I am completely concerned with other people and what they are going through. I care about the world. I care about the oppressed and those who are need of justice or someone to love them. But I understand that God has assigned to me the who, what, when, where, and how so I can carry out His love and compassion where I am needed to serve. I can't save the whole world.  When I take on too much that is exactly what I try to do. When I take on what is not for me, I am not helping, I am hindering. 

God will give me the grace for what He has called me to do. He created a lot of people. He never expected me, or you, to do everything. 

I learned that I have to focus on my portion. 

I have to be able to see God. I have to be able to hear Him. I have to be able to be near Him. Sometimes, I have so much stuff floating around that I can't connect to God. That is a terrible, desperate place. 

I decided to excuse myself from society's norms. I can't know everything.
I may not be up to date on some things.
I certainly don't have to do everything that comes to mind or is suggested.

I just decided to take off my running shoes, go for a stroll, take in the view, really connect instead of just pass through.

I want to live.
Not just exist.
I want to connect.
Not just be in the same space.
I never want to so consumed, that I can't hear His voice.
I don't want to be so wrapped up that I miss valuable time with my family and those He has given me to love.

So, "brow"time is evolving.

I like that word "evolve."

We have the right to evolve. (My boss says that all of the time. I just love it and have adopted it.)
We have a right to say "let's do this another way."

We have the right to grow, change, get smarter, decide what we will and will not allow into our space.

We have the right to slow down, take what belongs to us, release what doesn't, love, be loved, rejoice, mourn, give, sow, thrive and achieve.

We can't do those things being consumed, too busy, wrong priorities, and disconnected from God.

So, evolve, ask God for your portion...and for heaven sake...let's get back to "brow"time.

Good to be back...welcome