“Salon Talk with emPOWERed Women: TammEy Holley & Genise Williams talk everything Love, Laughter & Tears and everything in Between”…Episode 32

Sometimes the best conversations come straight from the beauty salon! Listen in on this podcast epsisode as TammEY Holley and Genise Williams talk about being wives, mothers and friends all while remembering to put GOD first in it all!

 

To hear part 1, click the media link below:

 

“Deitrick Haddon: Out of the black and in the R.E.D. GOD’s Masterpiece Revealed to a City of A Billion People…” Episode 29

Check out Tales from a Butterfly podcast episode 29:
“Deitrick Haddon: Out of the black and in the R.E.D. GOD’s Masterpiece Revealed to a City of A Billion People…”
What an honor and priviledge to interview Pastor Deitrick Haddon.

The word Masterpiece is defined as “a work done with extraordinary skill; especially, a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement.” Deitrick Haddon is the masterpiece and mouthpiece that GOD is using to challenge, change and stretch the traditional religious paradigms. And although he has been through his own personal storms, through his music, he helps others move into their sunshine. And now, GOD is revealing the Masterpiece known as Deitrick Haddon, to a Billion People in Hill City… Make SURE you go to iTunes, Amazon, Google Play Music or wherever it is you listen to music and download the song “A Billion People”…It will change the way you worship!

Take a look at the video and then click the MP3 link below to listen to the Tales from A Butterfly interview with Pastor Deitrick!


Make sure, if you are not already go and follow Deitrick on Twitter @DeitrickHaddon, On Instagram @dhaddy and @DeitrickTV, your number 1 source for gospel news, fashion and kingdom lifestyle worldwide! And after you follow him go and subscribe, comment, and rate the podcast, by going to either iTunes, Blubrry, Stitcher, Podbean or SoundCloud, and type in “Tales from A Butterfly.” The more ratings I get on iTunes, the more visible the podcast, which will in turn bring in more sponsors and that is really important guys.

You can follow me on Twitter @tsfaison on Instagram @tsfaison and on Facebook at Tales from A Butterfly.

And guys, no matter what it is you go through this week, no matter what situations you may find yourself in, remember the same GOD who created you is the SAME GOD who has already said that he will never leave you nor forsake you! And remember, your current caterpillar will one day become your future BUTTERFLY!

Fly on Butterflies! I love you guys…and thanks for watching/reading and listening!

“Dear Taria, I forgive you. Love, Taria…” Episode 28

Have you ever felt like you needed to forgive yourself for some things that you did to yourself or that you allowed to happen to you??? I have too! But guess what? You don’t have to remain in that place. I mean if GOD has already forgiven you, who are YOU to still hold yourself hostage? Take a look at the process I went through to forgive myself and to allow myself to live free in Christ!
First, let’s define the word forgiveness. According to Merriam-Webster, forgiveness is defined as:
*to give up resentment of or claim to requital; forgive an insult
*to grant relief from payment of
*to cease to feel resentment against (an offender)

So now lets start the process:
1-You need to identify the hurt that you have caused yourself. Stop sweeping it under the rug and look it square in the eye so that you can see what you are about to let go and get rid of.

2- Understand that forgiving yourself is not about forgetting. It is about not bringing the offense up to yourself in negative ways. Forgiving yourself is simply letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can move on with God. If God has moved on, shouldn’t we do the same? And to add to that, don’t allow others who may know of the decisions you have made that weren’t so great, continue to bring them up! Let them know that if they want to stay stuck in your pass mistakes that is there business, however, you have chosen to move forward and will no longer participate in the conversation with them.

3-
 Knowing that forgiving yourself is a PERSONAL ACTION. The energy it takes to harbor anger, hatred, and resentment towards yourself is exhaustive. Every bit of energy we give to negative activities and dwelling on regrets, robs us of the energy we need to become the person God wants us to be. Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, self-forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.

4-
Forgiving Yourself is Helping Others and yourself. The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor the feelings that you deserve to suffer for what you did, the more explosive you will become and, therefore, the more apt you are to hurt others. You have to, again, remember that while you cannot change what has happened and the decisions you have made in the past, forgiving yourself will allow you to truly heal from the inside out change the direction of your life. And remember this: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1 vs. 7 NIV

5-Remember that even though 
you made decisions that were different from the path that GOD has for you and even though you may have had to deal with the consequences of those actions, you are still GOD’s child. And he still loves you. Isaiah 43:1 NIV reads, “…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Those words weren’t just for Isaiah, they are meant for you too!

These are some notes that I wanted to share from my podcast episode titled: “Dear Taria…I forgive you. Love, Taria…” Episode 28.
To listen to the full podcast episode on how to forgive yourself and hear my letter of forgiveness to myself, click the media player below.

 

 

A Monarch…The Weight of my Wings…

Hello Butterflies! It has been a whirlwind week, and quite honestly, I am not sure why. It has been a week of me feeling like Spring has SPRUNG, yet there is still a Winter chill. Feeling like the world is out here, just mine for the taking, yet stagnancy is trying to keep me tied up and weighted down. Off and on and on and off. Feeling like I am flying with the lightest of butterfly wings… and yet, the wings feel heavy. And it’s funny how people will see things moving ahead for you, like the little engine that could, and yet, they don’t know that the more things move ahead, the heavier the weight of wanting to succeed, of having to succeed of needing to succeed seems to almost lay itself on your wings. And every Butterfly doesn’t make it, every Butterfly can’t fly with weight, because every Butterfly isn’t the same. And sometimes, this Butterfly wonders if will she able to carry the gift of her wings, wings that bare the weight of her gift.

As I was thinking about this, I decided to do some research about the culture of the Butterfly. And I learned four things about Butterflies that I need to keep in mind when fighting the “good fight of faith” in this life…

1-Scientists have proven that Monarch Butterflies are the strongest with a range that is worldwide.
Monarchs are the only Butterflies that perform an annual migration across North America which has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world.” Starting in September and October, eastern/northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle. Something interesting to note is not all monarchs migrate BUT migrating populations and non-migrating populations coexist in many areas.

After learning all of that, I made up in my mind that I was indeed born to be a Monarch. But with being a Monarch came great responsibility. See it’s not just about being strong for myself, but I have to be strong enough to go the distance to make sure that the generation after me is birthed in a place that will nurture them and allow them to pick up the Mantle of the Monarchs and continue the journey, just like with actual Butterflies. And I had to understand that there are other Monarchs who, although they possess the same strength, and serve the same GOD as me, we may not have the same gifts. Their Kingdom assignment may not be to make the global trip nor carry the responsibility of birthing the next generation, but it is ok, because we all carry the Monarch name and therefore should be able to dwell together peacefully. 1st Corinthians 12 vs. 4-6 NIV reads, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
I am a Monarch.

2-The gifts that I have been given will attract prey, but it is the gifts that I have been given that will be my way of escape.
Most butterflies are brightly colored, which would seem to counter their evasiveness by making them easier to spot and track. A report in the October 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences done by Biologist Thomas Eisner and Benjamin Jantzen states, “a butterfly’s ability to evade AND its blatant pigmentation may go hand in hand. Daytime butterflies are large and visible to birds. Since they are going to be spotted in any case, being showy about it isn’t a drawback, but is potentially a defensive maneuver—to advertise that they are difficult to catch. Butterflies, “have giant wings that are just so brightly colored,” says Jantzen, “and those are exactly what make it hard to get hold of them.”

I have been told that I have a bright and colorful personality. And at times, I have felt that, because of my colors, I became the prey, just like the Butterfly. I became an easy target to hunt and hang out to dry, BECAUSE my color was so noticeable. Times I felt like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t tone down who I was, my coat had too many colors. I noticed it was ok when people wanted to be entertained, but to continuously be colorful…that was just too much. I remember back in 2011, I was told by a Vice President that people’s perception of me, was reality. In other words, whatever someone thought about me, was true. And that shook me up, because there was a point when she told me that I was too social (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well) and another time when she said I was basically not social enough, always in my office space (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well.) So, what perception should I fight to change??? None…I decided to dilute my colors and shorten my wingspan. But then GOD reminded me how far I had come in him and how it was his power at work in me that people needed to see. He reminded me by way of Matthew 15 vs. 14-16 NIV. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” And by totally and completely surrending myself over to GOD and his will for my life, and allowing my life to reflect HIM, no matter how many times my colors alerted the enemy that I was on the move, light cancels out darkness, so as long as I kept shining, no predator devil in hell would be able to get ahold of me!
 I am a Monarch.

3- I can still fly with clipped or broken wings, albeit a bit slower, but I will still get to my destination.
A Butterfly has 4 wings, two front wings and 2 hind-wings. The front wings in butterflies are the ones driven by the insect’s muscles; the hind wings are passively coupled to the front ones. A biologist, Thomas Eisner (the same Thomas Eisner I write about above under number 2,) decided to investigate just what the back wings were doing by trimming them away bit by bit and found that if he removed the entire hind wing, the insects could still fly the same trajectory path but they tend to fly a little slower.  He also realized that wing breakage is very common in natural circumstances.

When I read that the Butterfly could still make it to its destination with wings that were imperfect, wings that may be deformed, I took a hard look at my own wings and some of the traumas they have suffered at the hands of others and also at my own hands. I looked at my wings in their weakened state, feeling heavy under the weight of life, and it became even clearer to me that I had no excuse not to move forward in what it was that GOD was calling me to do. See, even when my wings weren’t perfect, and even when people wanted to see if I could really survive and fly by clipping away the thing they THOUGHT I needed, I still had to trust GOD in the ability to be able still move forward. I needed to make sure that I had the strength to power forward through my journey and SURVIVE. And the only way to do that was to keep my Hope in the LORD. Isaiah 40 vs. 29-31 NIV tells me, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I fly with the strength of Monarchs.

4-I need to be aware of who I let touch my wings…if not, it could kill me.
Inside of a Butterflies wings are vessels of fluid. Because of these vessels, if the wings are touched, the butterfly will know because the pressure will transfer to their bodies where the wings are attached. On the outside of the wings are colored scales so small, they appear as powder. These colored scales regulate the heat in a Butterflies body, and any contact with another creature that rubs off these scales, can quite easily kill the Butterfly, since they are cold-blooded and need that thermostat function of the scales.

I remember training for my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and someone told me, “Oh you will never be able to do that.” And I have RAN two since that first one. I remember wanting to start a Facebook page for my Tales from A Butterfly blog and podcast, and I myself said, “No one will probably like it” and someone else said, “you’re probably right” and yet it is growing little by little. I have many more times like these when people (myself included, because sometimes we are our own silent killers) have almost mishandled my wings and could have contaminated my scales and caused death to kill my future and destiny. Proverbs 18 vs. 21 KJV reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” If I was to move forward into the life I was truly supposed to live, I could not allow the wrong words or actions of people to touch me. I couldn’t allow other people to be the thermostat I used to regulate the temperature of the call GOD placed on my life. And while I know there will be times when I will have to go through life situations that seem to weaken me and forcibly drag down my wings while I’m trying to dodge the predator that has come to kill, steal and destroy, I can take comfort that I WILL not fall into the enemy’s hands. 2 Thessalonians 3 vs. 3 NIV tells me, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

I want to encourage all of you, Butterflies to keep moving, keep flying and keep believing that the same GOD who created you and gifted you is the same GOD that will uphold you and protect you. And he won’t let ANYONE take your strength and dull your colors!
I love you guys…and thanks for Reading!

 

40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know…pt. 2

Hi guys! Well here we are, part 2 of my blog post from last week, 40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know… sooooo here we go:

22-Unless I have expressed that I feel like I am in a style rut, I will not be changing my hair, make up, clothes, etc…to suit what someone else wants to see on me. I know what makes me feel good, so if I want to wear straight hair, straight hair it is or curly hair, curly hair it is. Whatever makes ME feel good.
23-If the Lord speaks to me in regard to praying with or for someone, I need to do it, regardless of what I am personally feeling.
24-
I do not like seafood and I mean NO seafood! It does not matter how it’s cooked.
25-
I don’t like watermelon or bananas either… yuck!
26-S
ometimes I may be a little harder on my kids in certain things than I should, because I see a little bit of me in them… but I want them to be better than me.
27-If you’re taking a test with multiple choice, when in doubt, choose C. “:)
28-S
ometimes the reason I don’t necessarily like to hang out, is because I feel like I have to be “ON.” When people think you are funny, sometimes, they want you to entertain them and that takes a lot of work. And believe it or not, sometimes I just want to be quiet and enjoy the atmosphere.
29-
I no longer hate running.
30-It now irritates me when people discredit Kim Kardashian’s CURRENT legitimate businesses based on the fact that she put out a sex tape years ago. And I think what is especially irritating is that some of these people that do this are Christians and yet they are THE FIRST ones to say, “That’s in my past or God has forgiven me,” when they want you to stay out of their past! So why can’t that be in her past and they stay out of it! And although she may post selfies that people consider to be naked, to my knowledge she has not put out a sex tape recently…She’s moved on…so, why don’t you???
31-
I give myself permission to be excited about my hearts desires and dreams and goals coming to pass. I give myself permission to celebrate them, without the fear of someone else feeling bad about themselves, because they’ve yet to achieve theirs. And I do not mean in a bragging or insensitive way. But I will NO LONGER shrink to make others comfortable. That is an issue that they need to work on within themselves.
32-W
hen in Rome… I’m doing something different!
33-W
hen I wake up every morning, I wake up thinking that today is the day that everything I’ve asked for, prayed for, sowed a seed for in terms of career and family, that will be the day that it all comes together. And that’s what keeps me going every day.
34-I watch reality TV…and some of it, I like!
35-While I do want to know what others’ think of me, as it relates to business, I will not WEAR the opinions that others have of me, as a burden. As Michele Thornton said in her book Stratechic, “…
we’ve been told over and over again that you shouldn’t care what other people think. That’s partially true. You can’t win unless you know what others think— not knowing puts you at a disadvantage. The winner of the game understands that you can’t give energy to the process. I don’t own what people think of me; I own having the knowledge so I can leverage that knowledge to my benefit. Knowledge is definitely power!”
36-I am really, really, really content with being by myself and I am loving my own company.
37-There are going to be times as I am going through life that I going to ask, OUT LOUD, “Are you THERE GOD?!”  Times that I will FEEL alone, that I will FEEL like GOD is not hearing or answering my prayers, that I will FEEL like the one who created me and GAVE me a purpose, has left me alone. But then I have to look back over my life and think on his word and his promises to me and remember that HE IS right there with me. And that all though I may FALL down, GOD will not let me STAY down.
38-That to live in REAL transparency, it takes strength, courage and honesty about yourself and your own mess you may be in. It is not just talking about being honest about what other people have done to you or how you think other people have hurt you.
39-I love who Taria is now…
40-I love where Taria is going…

Until next week Butterflies…Please know that even with a BROKEN wing…Butterflies can still fly forward!

Love you guys, and thanks for listening!

 

40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know…

Hi guys! WOW! It has been a minute since I last did a blog post. I have been so focused on my podcast, “Tales from A Butterfly” that I let the blog fall off a little…BUT I’m back! 🙂 And I have “come back” if you will at a significant time for me…I started this blog post right after my 39th birthday last year…and as of April 4th, 2017, I am now 40! So much has happened before 40, including the blog and the podcast, that I am SUPER excited to see what is going to happen from here on out. Because I believe it will ONLY get better!

40 is a pretty big number and there are so many things that I have learned in life, about myself, so many times that I had denied myself THE RIGHT to live and enjoy the things that I had learned about myself, just so I wouldn’t offend other people. But I have truly decided to live my life ON PURPOSE and not according to someone else’s purpose, no matter how big or small. I decided to embrace the things that I have learned about myself, and to let you guys in on some too. Some are pretty simple and some are pretty complex, but they all make up who I am. So here we go…

1-To say no, just because I don’t want to go. Because sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. There is no rhyme or reason and I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
2-When people want to remind me of what I “used” to do, with a negative connotation…I need to let them know that I am no longer there. And would no longer take that trip with them. If they want to remain in the past…that is there business…not mine.
3-To take the support that I am offered, even if it is not in the way that I expected or wanted. People will text and call me to tell me that they are proud of me for starting the podcast and blog and have yet to listen to an episode, read a blog post or subscribe to either one. I need to take the support I am given and be ok with that from those people.
4-I am allowed to redefine my relationship with someone who has betrayed me, lied on me or is simply not being a friend to me. Being Christ like means I forgive the person, that does not mean that I have to put myself in the same situation. GOD created Adam and gave him dominion over everything. And Adam lived in paradise, in the Garden of Eden, naked and unashamed before GOD. However, as soon as he betrayed GOD by eating the forbidden fruit, although GOD still loved him, he had to put him out of the Garden, causing them to never walk the same together again.
5-When in a relationship with people, whether husband or friends, I need to give what the other person needs, not what I need, because it may not be the same thing.
6-I will share my life story with you, and don’t mind being transparent, but I DO NOT want to share a bathroom with you when getting ready to go out, whether it be my husband or friends.
7-It is OK to not like surprises, (most times I do not), however it is NOT OK for me to ruin it for the person that is trying to give me the surprise.
8-Being a Christian and serving God does not mean that I no longer have a voice. As a matter of fact, it means that not only do I have a voice but I have a responsibility to speak the truth, no matter who it offends.
9-I expect my children to conduct themselves and to control themselves when they are confronted with ignorance. For instance, if their teacher said something to them out of the way, I always tell them they need to text or call me immediately and I will handle it. What they are not to do is to go off because they need to learn self-control. Even, at times, with friends. So how in the world can I, as a 40-year-old woman, allow myself to get out of control when someone approaches me with ignorance? And then I want to justify cursing someone out or throwing things or having an attitude based on the excuse “GOD is not through with me.” But if my children tried to use the same excuse to justify certain behaviors, I would not except that. (Proverbs 25 vs.28 reads “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”)
10-If I am not getting something positive from the people I am around, I need to rethink who I am around… because those around you, influence you…
11-I am learning to freely accept love from others and not feel pressure because of the love I get from others.
12-I have more than adapted to the text message society. The phone ringing seems almost aggressive. But I wish I hadn’t…
13-The Golden Rule never goes out of style…Do unto others…
14-My kids don’t have to be the best at everything… just the best at being them.
15-It is ok to treat myself…as long as it is a real treat.
16-I use a mouse with my computer…and I am ok with that. I don’t like the laptop pad thingy…
17-Time is not my enemy…so I decided to make it my advocate and my friend by learning to use it wisely.
18-When I go to a restaurant, there is no need to announce to the table, “I shouldn’t be eating this cause of my work out or my diet….and it annoys me when others do it…either eat it…or shut up…
19-Sometimes I cry when I am happy and sometimes I cry when I am sad. Crying can be a physical relief to me at times.
20-I don’t owe anyone an explanation on my parenting.
21-In terms of my hair, I may not stay natural…and that’s OK… there is no right or wrong. People need to stop bullying other people for getting a perm or going natural. PERIOD!

Ok! WHEW! Those are just some of the things I learned about myself…and have come to accept about me. I’ll give you the other 19…in my next blog post!

 I hope this has encouraged you to learn some things about yourself and to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are, and if changes need to be made, make them for YOU… to be a better YOU… and no one else!
Love you guys! And don’t be afraid to take flight! Just trust your wings and fly on Butterflies…

Well, Hello there Butterfly…letter to my FUTURE self…

well-hello-butterfly-blog-post-picture
Wow! Can you believe that half of October is already passed and we have officially moved into a new season of life? This is the time of year when we realize that the year is, in fact, almost over and while some of us are giddy with anticipation of making New Year’s resolutions, others of us are filled with regret thinking about the New Year’s resolutions of our past that we did not keep. And we begin to beat ourselves up about the things we did not change, do, or accomplish…And for me, I start to think, “If I could just go back and change it. If I could just rewind time, and talk to that Taria, I would make sure I did everything I set out to do.” And there are moments when I have become so discouraged over a space in time that is no longer available for me to occupy, that I ignored the beauty in the time that I have right now and the time I hopefully have ahead of me. And during those moments, I would start to think about all the things I messed up in my past, all the ways I let others influence certain decisions and all the opportunities that I didn’t fight for and just procrastinated away. I felt like I had to do something to clear the cobwebs of past “failures” out of my head so that I could feel like I had a clean slate, and THEN I would be able to reach all my goals and fulfill my God-given purpose. So, I decided the way to do this was to write a letter to my past self. To tell her it is ok if she falls and stumbles. That she will get back up. That the hurt she experiences, whether by someone else, or by her own hand, she WILL make it.

So, here we go…

Dear 13- year- old Taria,… Wait! Wait! Wait! What am I doing? At 13 I might not be ready for the advice I am about to give. So, let’s try……16. Ok. Dear 16- year- old Taria,… Wait a minute! I don’t know if 16- year- old Taria was ready either. Then it dawned on me. I am attempting to write a letter to a past self that no longer exists, while in a present state of mind, to inspire a future that I longed for and yet wasn’t sure about how to achieve, because I kept reflecting on my past. And I just couldn’t think of anything to say to her, to that Taria, my past self. There is nothing I can say that would change the different situations that she experienced, both happy and not happy, both fulfilling and unfulfilling, both hurtful and life changing. No warning I could give her to just hold on and keep going…to not give up because hope and faith lie beneath the surface of her heart, etched into her DNA. And while I know writing a letter to my past self could be therapeutic, I also understood that I needed to embrace the new seasons in my life without trying to wear last season’s clothes. To not birth my past failures and disappointments in my present and allow it to miscarry my future. To not use my past as an excuse for current behaviors that would forfeit my future. And the scripture came to mind: “…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3 vs. 13 NIV and in that moment, I made up my mind to use my past as a step stool and prophesy to my future.

Dear Future Taria,
You did it! You made it to 40! Remember when 40 seemed so far away? And now you are here! Healthy, happy and whole! And I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished! I am proud of the way you decided to pursue every dream that GOD showed you and to drive every gift that GOD gave you with faith being your only method of transportation. I am proud of you for understanding that in this life, it is not always about you. That your gifts, your faith and your obedience to GOD are not always for you and you alone. That sometimes, GOD will use your gifts to encourage someone else, your faith to inspire someone else and your obedience to bless someone else. And to not immediately ask what you are getting out of it, but to remember that it is about building up GODs’ kingdom by edifying the body.

And how about that Podcast and your blog, Tales of a Butterfly?!?! You DID it! You jumped, feet first into a pool of dreams, wading through a little self- doubt, a little fear and a little uncertainty…unsure of whether you could do it… but with GOD as your life vest, you made it through to the other side! And I am depending on you to keep going, to keep pressing toward the mark of the “higher calling”, because there are people you don’t even know who are depending on you. And the people that you envisioned that would say yes to being a guest on the podcast, you interviewed THEM ALL! I would tell you who they are, but you will find out soon enough, in our future:)

I am so proud of you for becoming the person, the woman who you were looking for. For becoming the person, you needed in your life, knowing that one day, someone will need a you…and you will be ready. For understanding that the words you spoke would either be the breath of life that sustained you to the future you, or cause you to choke and your dreams to die by asphyxiation, never moving beyond the past you.

I am proud of the woman you have become. A woman who knows her worth is far above rubies and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to make her feel less then. A woman who chooses to recognize her strength as a mother, while knowing GOD’s power is made perfect in her weakness. I am proud of you Taria, for recognizing what you bring to the table of friendship, although not perfect, you sit in love and at the same time you are willing to lay your fork down, turn your plate down and walk away in grace, when what is being served has been contaminated, whether by another table guest, or yourself. I am proud of you for no longer defending yourself or apologizing for the type of friend you are. For understanding that although you may have experienced hurt at the hand of a friend, you have probably caused that same hurt in someone else and have chosen to forgive yourself and to continue to strive to be a better person, not for people, but for GOD and for yourself.

I am proud of you for acknowledging that while the sum total of your PAST experiences adds up to the person you used to be, on this forward moving journey of your life, you understand the price of taking extra bags would cost your future too much. So, you decided to exercise your right to hand over all over your past baggage to a GOD whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. And although you appreciate and recognize the important life lessons that you learned from a past Taria, you made the decision that she could no longer dictate your future…to you. So, I celebrate this Taria today, and the way you have chosen to submit your heart fully and completely to GOD, choosing to follow him at all costs and allowing HIM to define who you are.

I bid adieu to the caterpillar of the past who had to fight to survive the process of metamorphosis and I say hello to the beautiful butterfly that has come forth as strong, powerful, bold and free…Well, Hello there Taria Shondell and welcome to your future…
Love, Taria…

I want to encourage anyone who is struggling with a past that seems to want to keep a hold on you. A past that may seem insurmountable. A past that seems to have a foot hold on your present with the intent of strangling your future. You CAN make it. You CAN be a success. Every plan that GOD has for your life will come to fruition. Every promise he made to you, will come to pass. All you have to do is lay your burdens/baggage down, and he will pick it up. Submit yourself completely and fully to HIS will. Start speaking his word into your life, start speaking to the future self you want to be…Write a letter to your future self, declaring what you WILL be! Habakkuk 2 vs. 2 KJV says, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” And I promise you, you will not fail…because in him there is no failure.

I love you guys and thank you for reading!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29 vs. 11 NIV

 

 

 

Dear Donald Trump Supporters…

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Dear Donald Trump supporters,
Although I am not confined to a Birmingham City Jail, when I happened upon the following Facebook post multiple times by multiple Trump supporters, I decided to write an open letter of my own to you, with the hopes of opening any closed eyes and exposing any hidden hearts to a different narrative, even when there is a chance the narrator doesn’t look like you.


When I came across this post for the third time, I had to pause and wonder if I was having a case of deja vu. And I realized, deja vu it was not. Now, I will be honest with you and say that initially, I felt feelings of irritation and anger, especially after reading some of the comments underneath of this post. But the more I thought about it, the more the anger seeped away and turned into a little sadness. I was saddened at the way some will try to white wash the disturbing things that are happening in this country, because the issues seem too black to see through. I was saddened at what seemed to be the absence of empathy from human to human and the masks that some had in place for so long, were now slowly coming off.  To me, in  an almost poetic way, the lyrics to Alanis Morissettes’ song “Empathy” seemed to be the anthem of Mr. Trumps election campaign:

“There are so many colors that I still try to hide while I paint
And there are so many tunes that I secretly sing as I wait
You come along and invite these parts out of hiding
This invitation is the one that I’ve stopped fighting….”

It seems that Mr. Donald Trump, with all of his brashness and bold, blatant disregard and disrespect for certain cultures and the female gender, along with his lack of self-control, has invited those that were hiding behind masks of humanity, equality and love, to come out of hiding…and to stop fighting their true feelings. And after reading the comments under this supporting post in direct relation to non Trump supporters such as, “the hate was ridiculous,” “no reason for personal attacks,” “we need to talk about the candidates instead of making judgments about the people voting for them,” and a response to those comments that said,  “Truly heartbreaking! We should embrace the differences,” I decided to address the post because  I could no longer be silent in the face of irony.

I know the speech and feelings of non Trump supporters is seen as aggressive, however, speaking as a non Trump supporter that is a BLACK WOMAN in America (which clearly makes me a double jeopardy in Trumps eyes) that has experienced racism first hand, whose husband has experienced racism first hand, whose grandparents LIVED through segregation, to have a candidate that is campaigning to become the President of the UNITED States of America be able to cause such DIVISION, even among his own party, just by his speech, speaks volumes about his misguidance and causes me to do a double take at his supporters. To support a man so out of touch and ignorant of reality that he truly believes that “blacks” are living in  neighborhoods that are “war zones.” And that we “struggle to get by on food stamps.”  And that we see “nothing but failure” around us??? When a candidate makes the following statement addressing African Americans, albeit in front of a mostly white audience, without any statistical data to back him up, “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed —…” Have you considered what that must feel like? For the person that you are supporting because you believe he will do “the best job for this country” to have such a narrow scope of an entire race doesn’t concern you at all??? Not to mention, Mr. Trump says that, “ stop-and-frisk could help in cities like Chicago where crime is rising,” even though a federal judge found that the strategy as used in New York broke the law.  Oh well, maybe you’re just focused on the “issues…”

I also wonder about the supporters that have little girls such as I, that will one day grow up to be women? Does it bother you that the candidate you are backing seemingly has no respect for women in general? There are all types of campaigns today about being strong girls and girls standing up for themselves…But what happens if  heaven forbid, when they become women, they were to be sexually harassed at their place of employment? Do we tell them what Mr. Trump would tell his daughter to do? Not to stay and fight for their rights…but to “move on” or “ find another career or find another company if that was the case.” Oh and that she must be pretty and thin other wise she could be referred to as a “fat pig” ala Rosie O’Donnell. Or that she can grow up and become the President of the United States, as long as she doesn’t look like Carly Fiorona because as Mr. Trump stated in reference to Ms. Fiorona being president, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Is this the type of man you want to model the role of the president? A human dichotomy whose DNA carries irony that seems to be pour out of him whenever he speaks. 

And speaking of irony, I cannot help but to find the Facebook post by Donald Trump supporters and the comments that I mentioned that went along with said post, to be ironic. In the post you state to non Trump supporters, “If your dislike of a candidate (Trump) causes you to speak in a condescending and downright hateful way to their (Trump) supporters, many of whom you call “friends”, then maybe you should reevaluate your approach.” However, Mr. Trump, who you support and believe will “Make America great again” has seemed to build his entire campaign with hateful, condescending, racist diatribe, with personal attacks as his platform. Lest we forget how  Mr. Trump spoke of Ben Carson and compared his “pathological temper” to the condition of a child molester. Or when he said “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” And how about when asked a press conference about the Black Lives Matter movement and the threat of possible violence at his rally, he said among other things, “…If black lives don’t matter, then go back to Africa. We’ll see how much they matter there.” This candidate whom you support as the best person for the job, displays the same behavior as the people you think should “re-evaluate” their approach. And yet you are willing to have him hold the highest office in the land and represent the United States of America.

I ask you to think back to the very first person who you were counting on and they disappointed you. Think back to the first time your heart was broken. How it felt like your heart was physically being broken, piece by piece. The pain so sharp and deep that it runs down into your epidermis, the deepest part of your skin and wraps itself around your joints as it makes it’s way up to grab a hold of your heart while simultaneously bumping into your lungs as it squeezes the larynx in a death grip, effectively cutting off the air supply to your vocal words so that you can’t speak. And your voice has been lost. Experiencing racism and prejudice for the first time and every time after, feels just like this… times 10. And it affects and effects a person to the core and their view of the world is forever changedAnd it gets harder and harder to believe in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And yet, we have to march on.
My husband and I have three children, one of which is 19 years old and is currently serving in the United States Air Force and this will be the first election she votes in. And someday, our two youngest will have to cast a ballot. We strive to teach our children about the inclusion of all man kind and not division… and yet the potential leader of the free world, the man who is asking African Americans like my family, to vote for him, is exclusionary in thinking. So what do we do? What do you propose we tell our children?

In your post you say that after this election, you will just “move on, as you have always done.” And that we are “luckier than most citizens of the world.” So I ask you, are “YOU” apart of the “WE” that prays in earnest everyday asking GOD to protect your husband and son? To keep them alive and to bring them back home safely to you?  To remove any target that is on their back because it seems as if it is open season on the men and boys of your ethnicity and they seem to be hunted like animals? Because I do. And if you don’t, please understand that I am initially going to feel a certain something when I see the very people that engage with me and laugh with me and talk with me, supporting a candidate that has time and time again displayed without hesitation, his intolerance of other cultures and the female gender.

And while you will seamlessly move on with your life no matter the outcome of the election, it will not be so easy for others to just move on. Donald Trump has opened a political Pandora’s box that has long held secrets of discontent, racism and sexism. Only now it has been released and allowed to spill into many different communities and to remain, instead of coming together to clean it up.

I hope you receive this letter with the heart in which I have sent it. A heart that is filled with love for all people and beats with faith and hope for a better future…a hope that one day, all of mankind will stand together united and knit by love…giving hope  to generations to come that America truly is the ties that bind…

Sincerely,
Taria…

Sometimes a Beautiful Bride… can become an Ugly wife…

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I remember that beautiful, sunny, perfect weather September morning like it was yesterday. My bridesmaids and I, walking out of my Grand mom Mattie’s front door, and stepping ever so gently off of the low porch step toward the two beautiful white stallions that had taken the form of shiny white limos, waiting to take me down a road that would lead me from bride…to wife. And I remember my mom saying, “You look so pretty Taria.” I remember at our reception, while floating on a cloud of white satin and tulle happiness, guests would say, “You are a beautiful bride.” And I felt like a Princess wife. And I remember thinking to myself, “If I make a beautiful bride, I’m definitely going to be a beautiful wife.” And I have to say that 15 years later, through trials and many errors, I am finally on my way to becoming that beautiful wife that I was meant to be. I am finally on my way to being the kind of wife whose actions make my husband a king. Proverbs 12vs. 4 KJV  says, “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband…” But before I could even begin to travel down this road of beauty, away from ashes, there were 2 big lessons that GOD had to take me through (some of them multiple times), to teach me how to be the kind of wife that reflected him…

 

1-I have to protect the heart of the matter…

“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2 vs. 22 KJV I have read this verse many times and never really thought too much of it, other than the fact that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. But one day, as I was reading (probably for the 100th time) about this Proverbs 31 woman, verse 11 literally jumped off the page to me. It says, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…” The Amplified (AMPC version) says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely…” I started really meditating on this verse while at the same time, thinking about Eve, (the mother of all) and how she, the 1st woman, was made out of Adams’ rib. I became curious as to what the function of a rib actually is (human anatomy was mannnnyy moons ago for me, and one that I was never really interested in, as it relates to science anyway.) I read that the ribs have three important functions: support, respiration and protection. One of the main things the rib does is encloses and protects the heart from external injury. In that moment of reflection, I realized that as a wife, I needed to make sure that my husband could trust me to protect his heart from anything outside of our marriage. I needed him to be able to tell me the things in his heart, his worries, fears, his weaknesses along with his hopes and dreams, confident that I would hold these things safely and securely at all times, even in the midst of tension and strife between us. I also realized, that no matter how frustrated I was with him, outside of GODLY counsel, I should only be speaking about these things, to GOD, in prayer for my husband…I understood that just like in the natural body, if I didn’t protect the heart of my marriage, if I allowed external entities to get past the rib (me) and reach his heart, if I injured his heart, I risked my marriage suffering cardiac arrest… and not recovering. I had to protect his heart…

2-Misuse of my wifely influence can cause my family dire consequences…just ask my Great Great Great Great Great Grandmothers…Eve and Sarai/Sarah…to name a few…

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3 vs. 6 KJV Although Eve knew which tree they were not supposed to eat from, because GOD had spoken that to her husband, Adam, she thought it looked good and ate it, and then just gave it to Adam who ate it…Talk about the power of persuasion…without saying a word…

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. Genesis 16 vs. 1-2 NIV Sarai’s slave Hagar ends up giving birth to a son, but something else was also birthed, jealousy, envy and division on Sarai’s behalf. Sarai ends up being blessed to birth her own son, but the two brothers are divided into separate nations. After reading these two stories, I was struck by the fact that both of these women were clearly able to persuade their husbands into following their plan, because in their minds the end result would turn out great for their family.

After giving the side eye to Eve and Sarai, GOD clearly reminded me of times when I was able to persuade my husband to do what I, Taria thought was best for the family, even though he had already told me how he felt about the matter. This is not to say we don’t have a discussion on the matter and that I don’t have a voice because I definitely do, and there are times when he says, “What do you think we should do?” But I am speaking about the times when different things would come up as it relates to the household and my husband was very clear in his position as to how he felt led to handle things. BUT, because I felt like we could handle things a different way, I would lay out a plan of what I needed to say to get him to just agree with me and do it my way, with no consideration to how that made him feel.  And I admit shamefully, there were also times when I went ahead and followed MY plan first, and then laid it out to him after. As different scenarios throughout our marriage flooded my mind, GOD showed me that I couldn’t continue to look to HIS word as the blue print for how to be a GODLY wife and how to build a strong marriage if I was going to constantly write my own plans in the “revision block” and consistently try to reestablish the scales of the blue print, that GOD had already laid out, when I felt like it. GODs word is very clear, “And the Lord GOD said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2 vs. 18 So whether he wants to save up a certain amount of money for retirement, put extra money towards a college fund or pay off a particular bill, I will meet him at that area and be a help, not become a hindrance and cause a divide.

I want to encourage all of you beautiful wives reading this to remember, your power doesn’t come from being the “perfect wife” or the “pretty wife”…your power comes from being a “Praying wife”…

I love you and thank you for reading…

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31 vs. 30 NIV

P.S. “A Handsome Groom can also become an Ugly Husband”…But I’ll save that topic for my husband…he may want to tackle that in a guest blog post 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi! My name is Taria…and I am a member of Empowerment Temple Church and Jamal Bryant is my Pastor…

WOW! It feels like forever since I sat down at my computer and put into words the thoughts that have been stampeding through my head. My thoughts, my opinions, my questions, about the headlines and stories we have read all over Social Media…namely the ones about the church. And quite honestly I have been feeling frustrated because I felt like I was stuck; stuck between a rock and a hard place called transparency. Real, raw, uncut, no holds barred transparency. The type of transparency the church folks “talk” about. And so I have gone around and around in my head, trying to figure out how to create words that tell a true story while at the same time carrying a certain level of anonymity and censorship to them…And I have been asking GOD to come on and just give me the “proper words”, for what I wanted to say…But he had already given them to me…I was just trying to water them down. But no more…

I am a member of Empowerment Temple AME church in Baltimore, MD and my pastor is Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant. YES… I am a member of THAT church, and before some of you wrinkle your nose or furrow your brow any further (that causes wrinkles…and quite possibly the need for botox) let me remind you that while my membership is with Empowerment Temple, I am APART of the body of Christ…And the two are not mutually exclusive as some may think. And I know that there are some that do think the two are, considering the numerous articles and social media posts/comments in reference to Pastor Bryant…and his congregation. As I started seeing more and more posts and reposts and articles being published about Pastor Bryant, I was taken aback to see the ease and comfortability at which fellow clergymen, fellow prayer warriors, fellow intercessors, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, could use the same lips that we use to offer up worship to our GOD, now use those same lips to remind everyone that we need to do better and this pastor is the reason why. I was taken aback to see the same hands that we lift in surrender to worship our GOD, are the same hands that glide recklessly across a loaded keyboard attached to a desktop, MacPro, Android or Iphone waiting for the right time to pull the trigger and propel the “holding him accountable” bullets into a body that has already been ridden with bullets…Multiple times… And some may say, “Well he did it to himself… He shot himself.” And they would be right… But I don’t want my fingerprints on that gun….anymore…

There was a time before, not that long ago, that I was a sharp shooter, my mouth the smoking gun. And I felt like I had every right to speak what I felt, what I saw to be wrong and what could be done to fix it. I spoke about MY personal experiences with other church folks…and I felt like I COULD speak on it, because they were MY experiences! Simple right?! Nope! Not simple… And I thank GOD that he used my husband to shift my perspective and to really take a deeper look into myself and to recognize that without meaning to, my words were doing more harm then good, to the body…not my body… But the church body…

I had become frustrated with certain things and I was venting them to my husband and close friends…repeatedly, whenever these issues came up in conversation, even when I wasn’t the one to initially bring it up. Then one night when my frustration level was at an all time high and I’m saying, “Isn’t GOD going to DO something??? Is he going to continue to let certain things take place in his house???” And my husband said to me, “If you are so upset and disgusted, why are we still attending church? Why are we going and then talking about the issues?” And he basically told me in so many words, I needed to be praying…And of course I wanted to run back down everything that we had experienced personally at church, not to mention what was going on in the media, and list them as the reasons why I had a RIGHT to feel the way that I did. And I wanted to say, “and why are you not as upset as me???” BUT I didn’t…because his words really pierced my insides…and I felt ashamed. Ashamed at the way I had allowed what I SAW and EXPERIENCED, to have an affect on what I said, on what I spoke. And to who I spoke those things to. Those that know me, know how I am about words. I was raised in a Christian home and was taught early on by my parents that the power of death and life are in the tongue (Proverbs 18 vs.21 KJV). So although I had every right to FEEL the way I did, what I didn’t have was the right to speak vacuous words and I knew better… Matthew 12 vs. 36  NIV tells me, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  And again…I knew better…

That was a sobering moment for me…sobering because I realized that I am supposed to be a reflection of Christ..to the world. I am supposed to be a light that sits on a hill, but my actions were like the worlds’ in a valley. Now please understand that I am in NO WAY defending or okaying or pacifying any actions or behaviors that are contradictory to GODs word, whether they are done by my pastor or any other pastor. I firmly believe that there ought to be sanctions and repercussions and accountability to be had by Pastors, Elders and anyone who holds a positon of leadership in the church, who continually commits grievous sins. 1st Timothy 3 v. 2 tells us that an “overseer should be above reproach…” And I know that there comes a time when a rebuke/reproach is necessary…1st Timothy 5 vs. 20 tells us, “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” And I had to ask myself,  how can this be done if I am not praying in earnest for my fallen brother or sister? How can I quote scripture in self righteous indignation concerning the actions of leadership and as a reminder of where they are falling short, and yet not follow the steps that scripture says we should be taking when it comes to a leader that has fallen?  How am I conducting and carrying myself in the midst of what is going on? Are my words and actions still pleasing to GOD while demonstrating his Grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?  Am I praying and fasting not just for my church home but for the body as a whole? Am I petitioning the heavens on behalf of leadership across the nations, going into warfare so that strongholds can be broken because “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” (Ephesians 6 vs. 12 KJVAnd how effective can we as a body be if our form of “reproach” is using various social media sites to call someone out, that 9 times out of 10 doesn’t follow you and will never see it anyway. Not to mention, everyone that follows us on these social media sites are not believers. What are we showing them? How are we reflecting the love of the GOD we claim to serve if our cyber conversations lack grace and are not seasoned with salt? How can we truly unite as a body if our words are inciting division amongst each other?  We should know a house divided against itself cannot stand. How can I pray for a shifting in the spirit, how can my prayers be effective for the body if I continue to attend a place of worship with a less then pleasing attitude and a stiff neck, making it difficult to hear GOD and ultimately difficult for him to hear me?

“…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12 vs. 48 KJV) Leaders of the church do need to understand that as your sheep, we are counting on you to honor the position that GOD placed you in and to truly respect and not pervert the influence you have over your congregants life. And at the same time, I know that even in the positon of leadership, you are also my brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is my responsibility as a child of GOD to pray for you, not post about you. To go to spiritual warfare on your behalf while not ignoring the need for  natural consequences. And I realize that change can only come with Holy Spirit conviction, not unholy conversation, whether it be in the company of friends or in the privacy of my home.

Please pray for me as I pray for you

Thank you for reading!

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

Galatians 6 vs. 1 NIV