Page 1

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Premiere

Issue

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Helping women’s dreams

Fall 2009 edition

take flight

Featuring

ThelmaWells Get Familiar with CEFL Soul Food Fighting Stress!

Balancing Eating, Exercise, and Rest

Women in Motion Avocado Sopita Anyone? Ingrid Hoffman Shows You How

Wearing your Iron Corsets? Fight for Your Money Making Dollars and Sense

Fight or Die! Thelma Shares How “Winning is Everything” and How to Fight Back


create inspire energize “For over 10 years John Coté and his company, JC Creative Services, has served all of my organizations well. He understands my vision, passion, and budget and I always receive excellent reviews from his work. His eye for design and his heart for people make him a class act. PH/FAX 954 784-7949 JCCreative@comcast.net

When seeking a graphic designer, I highly recommend John Coté.”

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Rios

Catalogs Magazines Multi-Lingual Design Direct Mail Illustration

Photography Display Graphics Printing Mailing Services Copy Writing

{

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Graphic Design Logos/Stationary Brochures Advertising Book Cover Design


Contents

Fall 2009 edition

4

Officers, SOAR Team, Mission

5

Editors Notes

7

Voice it!

8-9 10

Getting Familiar with CEFL Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Rios Soul Food

11-13

Woman in Motion

14-15

Healthy Woman

16-17

Calling All Cooks

19-22

Winning is Everything! Thelma Wells

23

Mom Connection

24-25

Dollars and Sense

26 27-28

Book & Music Review Ladies, Are you wearing your Iron Corsets?

29

Dr. Liz’s Last Word

30

Contact Information

A publication of the Center for Emerging Female Leadership. Visit us at www.cefl.org and www.ceflonline.com

SOAR / 3


L

Listing of Officers Soar Editorial Advisory Board

Dr. Shirley Arnold

Judy Jacobs

Rev. Enid Rios Rivera

Co-Senior Pastor, Tree of Life Family C  hurch www.tlcfamilychurch.org

Psalmist, Minister & Speaker Founder, International Institute of Mentoring www.judyjacobs.com

Executive Pastor, Primitive Christian Church www.primitivechurch.org

CEFL National Board of Reference Rev. Ken Albin Lead Pastor, Save The Nations

Dr. Suzan Johnson Cooke

CEFL Board of Directors Eunice Ayala Morales Rev. Edna R. Quiros, M.Div.

E

SOAR Team Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Rios CEFL Founder/CEO & Soar Publisher

Jennifer Reyes

Founder & Sr. Pastor, Believers Christian Fellowship

Rev. Marcy Ramos

Bishop H. Curtis Douglas

Gladys Rios

Founder & Sr. Pastor, Dabar Worship Center

John Cote of JC Creative Services

Rev. Enid Rios Rivera

Graphic Design

Brian McLaren

Besty Rivera

National Author & Speaker

Rev. Dr. Marc Rivera

Rev. Rachel Chinnery Todman

Sr. Pastor, Primitive Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera Founder/CEO, Latino Pastoral Action Center

Lisa Cummins Trevino

Soar Editor-in-Chief

Raquel Narvaez Ad & Subscription Manager

Sandra Almonte Jessica Gonzalez Rachel Maldonado Rosalind Humphreys Perez Lezette C. Roulhac Contributing Writers

Former White House Strategist

Mission Soar Magazine is a digital publication of the Center for Emerging Female Leadership, Inc (CEFL). The ministry of CEFL seeks to help women live purposefully, learn abundantly and lead excellently. Our mission is to develop leaders of excellence and integrity by providing resources, training and gatherings for personal and professional growth. Soar Magazine targets women influencing others in society be it home, church, government or marketplace who want to lead from a Christian world-view.

4 / SOAR

Soar equips women to recognize, utilize and maximize their unique calling for such a time as this. Soar Magazine is published four times a year and our vision is to help women’s dreams take flight.


E

Editors Notes Dear Sistah, Hello and welcome! I am so happy that you decided to take time out of your busy schedule to peek into the pages of our debut edition of SOAR. I am thrilled about this new venture that God has arranged just for you. With all the wonderful topics we could have chosen for this issue, the theme Fight or Die continued to resonate in our Spirit. We are living in an age where too many of our Sistahs are wounded, scarred, tired, dying and just ready to give up the fight. Are you one of them? If so, it’s no coincidence that you are reading this very issue. For every article was written with you in mind. With SOAR, we want to fill you with the hope that you can and will rise above the circumstances that surround you. So sit back, relax, flip through the virtual pages and take a journey into the lives of women who have been in your shoes and have decided to never give up. Dr. Thelma Wells (formerly

With SOAR, we want to fill you with the hope that you can and will rise above the circumstances that surround you.

of Women of Faith) has stopped by to share her thoughts on fighting and winning. And honey, it doesn’t stop there; you will find yourself dipping into areas of finances, motherhood, health, book reviews and so much more. I pray that SOAR will not be just words but life experiences that will inspire you to not only rise above your situation but to SOAR into the place that has been ordained for you since the beginning of time. Sistah, you have been called for such a time as this. It’s your time to win! Soaring into Destiny, Jen

SOAR / 5


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deep fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?

VO CE it!

V

VOICE IT!

Got something to say?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world!

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us It is in everyone! As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

We want to hear your voice. If an article touched your heart or ministered to you, please tell us about it. Feel free to email us at soarfeedback@cefl.org. Your voice truly matters.

As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

SOAR / 7


G

Get to know CEFL By Dr. Elizabeth Rios

Many of you may have already become acquainted with the Cen-

ter for Emerging Female Leadership (CEFL) through our events in NYC between the period of

1996-2003. Since July 2003 CEFL has been operating from a Florida home base where the founder currently resides. Events are held mainly in NY and South Florida.

“We are a community of sisters who are joined by our common desire to be all God decreed for us to be before we were born...”

Our vision is to become a distinguished leadership development organization for women by supporting, connecting and strength-

We are a learning organization

ening them as they embrace their

that explores leadership through

creative callings in this century.

stories, reflection, prayer, worship and dialogue. We are a commu-

“Our mission is to develop leaders of excellence and integrity”

Our mission is to develop leaders of

nity of sisters who are joined by

excellence and integrity by provid-

our common desire to be all God

ing resources, training and gath-

decreed for us to be before we were

erings for personal and spiritual

born and do all He has purposed

growth.

for us to do before we leave this world! We are a learning community of diverse women for encouragement, challenge, deep inquiry and accelerated development.

8 / SOAR


CEFL wants to help every woman fulfill her God-given destiny in any sector of society.

by Jesus’ servant model; Are you seeking congruence between who you think you are, who God says you are and what you bring to your God-given call. If you are… this organization is for YOU! To get connected immediately

OFFERINGS • E-newsletter

and find out about our upcoming events, visit our online social network site at: www.ceflonline.com

• SOAR Magazine

or visit our official site:

• Monday Mentoring Moment

www.cefl.org.

• Sisterhood Weekend

CEFL wants to help every woman fulfill her God-given destiny in any

• Seminars and Social gatherings in NY and FL

sector of society; church, marketplace, government or home. We

• Christian Women’s Business

believe there is a place for you to

Mastermind Group NEW!!!

learn and grow as well as share and lead within the CEFL com-

• Leadership Development

munity.

Program At present we are looking for • Pulpit Sisterhood Fellowship

Regional Representatives in key

• Online social networking site

areas of the United States and people who want to be involved

• Monthly growth groups in your area

in the only Latina-led, nondenominational, multi-culturally focused women’s organization in

Are you asking questions about

America. Contact our founder, Rev.

identity, meaning and purpose in

Dr. Liz Rios at drliz@cefl.org if you

your life; Are you seeking greater

want to get involved in the areas

wholeness, balance in your every-

of membership, communications,

day commitments as a woman;

and special events.

Are you seeking greater wholeness, balance in your everyday commitments as a woman

Do you strive to be a leader with greater personal power as reflected SOAR / 9


SF W SOULFOOD M By Jessica Gonzalez

ay I confess something to

you? Up until now I have

always hated my middle name.

can gather from the name I once struggled to hide. I never thought I would

I thought it sounded like an “old

move away from New York City. I was born and raised here. I lived four

lady” name and didn’t want any-

houses down from my parents! But circumstances have occurred that have

one to know it. I cringed whenever

necessitated this move to Florida. It seems so far away from my family and

someone asked what that mysteri-

all that I have known. Am I scared? Yes, but I have faith that God is guid-

ous E represented in my name. So

ing me in the right direction. I have to take the strength and courage I have

I kept it a secret. Ladies, my name

learned from Queen Esther to rise up and see that God will always be with

is Jessica Esther Gonzalez and I am

me even when I am hundreds of miles from my loved ones and my life has

about to embark on one of the big-

been turned upside down.

gest journey’s of my life and I will need all the strength and courage I

Esther is a Biblical heroine who chose to “rise and not die.” She was stripped of her comfort zone, forced to move away from her family, and would become became the vessel God would use to save His people, even at the risk of her own life. An incredible woman like that was a woman of God! Women like us! At some point in our lives we will be forced to confront situations where we will not know the outcome. Esther didn’t know how her life was going to end but she took a stand anyway. Now that’s faith in action! She took a stand and made a decision to trust God. And we must do the same in the midst of troubling and uncertain times. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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.” Sistah, this is your moment to remember that no matter what is happening in your home, your marriage, your children, your finances, your ministry, or your health, God knows the beginning and the end. Rest assured that He knows how it will all play out in the end and He will still be right by your side.

“I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 10 / SOAR

Today, I proudly proclaim that my middle name is Esther! Please join me in gathering up that same strength and faith she had. Times may seem tough and the road ahead long but we have our Lord and Savior leading the way.


W

Woman in Motion

Iris DeJesus-Nieves is a woman on the go. With a husband, three kids, work and

by Jennifer Reyes

Surviving the Silence

ministry she rarely has a moment to herself. But the last five years have brought heart-pounding and heartbreaking changes that have impacted her

family and her relationship with God. Her first born son, Joshua Mariani (D-Kid) was born healthy and vibrant. At the age of 15 he was diagnosed with Renal Artery Stenosis, Thrombosis with hypertension. This condition is so rare for someone his age that case studies are very limited, forcing Iris to truly walk by faith. I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED! “One of my greatest regrets occurred around three weeks prior to Joshy being admitted to the hospital when he complained of a headache. I thought it was an excuse for him to try to get out of school. But the headache became so severe that his vision became blurred and he couldn’t walk home from church. I took him to an ophthalmologist believing it had something to do with his retina; little did I know that it was his blood pressure that caused the blurred vision and headache. My son’s blood pressure was so high that when the nurse was taking it, the machines became unreadable. The nurse kept bringing in new machines thinking that they were broken. When the doctor came in, he took Joshy’s pressure manually and that’s when we learned the truth. According to the doctor, Joshy could have had a stroke or died in his sleep. If I could give parents one advice, I would encourage them to take the complaints of their children seriously.”

According to the doctor, Joshy could have had a stroke or died in his sleep.

SOAR / 11


WHEN THERE’S NOTHING BUT SILENCE The three years that followed were one of the most tumultuous times in her life as she struggled to maintain balance while dealing with the barrage of emotions that constantly erupted. “As a mother, I grieve and mourn the loss of my healthy child. There’s the feeling of frustration that one experiences when setting up appointments and procedures, and then waiting on approvals from the insurance company. Then the horror stories of straightening out unpaid bills though we knew that the insurance had already paid. However, nothing compares to the agony of having to see my son endure many hospital stays, painful procedures, and even experience heart failure while taking over 22 pills a day to improve his condition which only got worst with every doctor visit. His

Iris and her son Joshua

organs were failing rapidly.” When it looked like Joshua would be placed on a machine while waiting for a new kidney, Iris became desperate and cried out to God. “I kept saying, ‘God, here I am. I’m coming to church and I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to see my son placed on a machine. You tell me You’re my healer. Lord, it’s hard for me because I’m standing on Your word but You’re not doing anything. I hear what the doctors are saying but I don’t hear You.’” At this point, Iris could have become angry and bitter but instead she found a way to fight through the various emotions that threatened to consume her. She found a way to survive. WORSHIP UNLOCKS SHACKLES When Iris was unable to hear God, she put on worship music. She would soon find herself singing which released Iris to bear her heart to God. Worship unlocked the shackles of fear, pain, and anguish that all too often threatened to take permanent residence in her heart and soul. Not only did worship draw the presence of God but the lyrics often reminded her of the God who can and still works miracles. This eventually brought her to a place of truly learning to trust God.

12 / SOAR

Lord, it’s hard for me because I’m standing on Your word but You’re not doing anything.


Now, I live for today. I can’t worry about tomorrow. I deal with the problem on hand...

“I was a person that used to freak out and worry. When I look back, I see how the load would have been lighter if I would have just trusted God from the get go. Now, I live for today. I can’t worry about tomorrow. I deal with the problem on hand and I’ve learned to accept the things I cannot change. I’m really applying it to my daily living.” CONTINUING THE FIGHT Joshua was recently the recipient of a new kidney. There have been a few bumps along the way but Josh’s complaint-free attitude and faith continue to inspire others. Like his mom, Joshua is a worshiper and refuses to let his condition hinder him from ministering to others through his music. Despite the hardships, Joshua has managed to continue his education and has received acceptance notices from various colleges. In her spare time, Iris can be found participating in the annual National Kidney Foundation Walk. She has also forged relationships with those in the New York Organ Donor Network and The Rogosin Institute. When asked

What is Renal Artery Stenosis? RAS is a condition that occurs when there’s a narrowing of the artery(ies) constricting blood flow to one or both kidneys. The result can severely impact the kidneys, heart and blood pressure. Although this condition is more commonly seen in men between the ages of 50 and 70, younger people have been known to be diagnosed. For more information or for ways you can help, please contact the following organizations: National Kidney Association (www.kidney.org) The Rogosin Institute (www.rogosin.org) The New York Organ Donor Network (www.donatelifeny.org)

how she feels about Joshua’s upcoming trip to Punta Cana, she responds with her signature smile, “Deep down I want to say no but then I ask, will he ever have another opportunity? So I think, let my loved one live. All I can do is let him live.”

SOAR / 13


D D

id you know that women

are more likely to suffer from

stress and depression than men?

In fact, according to a recent USA

Today article, Hispanic women

have the highest rates of depression of all women, period! Sistah, this

is alarming! There’s something we can all do about stress, whether it

be mental or physical. We have the

HEALTHY t WOMAN Fighting Stress!

power to fight back! Let’s look at

three ways we can make a difference. Nutrition: Meal Designing

Did you know that there are foods that heal and foods that kill? Knowing how to make the right food choices gives your body the ability to fight.

What are some foods that heal? For starters, all fresh/organic fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, strawberries, avocados, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage, just to name a few. These foods naturally contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Choosing organic (animals that haven’t been fed antibiotics and get plenty of exercise) whenever possible is the best way

By Sandra Almonte

to go. Your muscles and organs will get the ammunition to func-

and alert (not to mention the

(i.e. Coke, Pepsi, etc.), high fructose

tion as they should. You’ll begin

decreasing waistline). Junk foods

corn syrup, aspartame, and refined

to notice fatigue disappearing

(i.e. hotdogs, nachos, cheeseburg-

sugar put unnecessary stress on the

as you become more energized

ers, all fried foods, etc), soft drinks

body and inhibit the body’s ability

14 / SOAR


to fight. Eliminate these when designing your daily menus.

weights, safely strengthens it (Figure 3). Soleus – This muscle is fully en-

Nutrition Mission: How can you

gaged when the knee is bent: seated

help your body fight? Start by

calf raises, with or without weights,

replacing one food item that inhib-

safely strengthens it. (Figure 4).

its with a food item that heals. An example could be replacing candy bars with fruit. Food coops are an excellent way to buy fresh, organic foods. They are family owned farms that grow organic foods. The following website helps to locate

from physical danger and the stress of not having enough time for a project. To the body, stress is stress. When stressors are experienced for an extended period of time without a break, the body “defends”

Tibilias anterior –Does not need

itself by continuously producing

to be overloaded: walking at a fast

cortisol which can cause unhealthy

pace (making sure the toes point

weight gain (especially around the

upwards as soon as the ball of the

abdominal area) or prevent some-

foot is lifted from the ground) will

one from shedding weight. All of

safely work it. (Figure 5).

these are not things we desire so the goal here would be to reduce stress. Balance Mission: How do you reduce stress? Prayers are not in vain (Jeremiah 33:3). In your quiet time with the Lord, lay everything before

the one nearest you: http://www. localharvest.org/food-coops/. Exercise: Understanding Muscles Exercise is very valuable in helping us deal with general mental stress. Walking/running on a treadmill, jumping rope, getting on a versaclimber, and resistance training for at least 30 minutes a day are great examples. Movement Mission: What’s the best way to exercise these muscles? Gastroc – This muscle is fully engaged when the leg is extended: standing calf raises, with or without

Him. Do you need to let go of Get those muscles working! If you

any grudges? Do you need to “do

don’t use them, you’ll lose them.

less?” Ask the Lord to point out any

Keep in mind that exercising without giving the body time to rest and heal is stressful for your body.

stressors in your life. Let Him help you let go of unnecessary baggage. And don’t take them back!

When starting an exercise program

Are you going to fight by dealing

for the first time or when changing

with stress constructively, or are

an existing program (that’s not a

you going to die by rendering

progression from the current one),

control to them?

always start easy. Give muscles at least 24 hours to recover and repair. Rest & Recovery: Maintaining Balance

1. P  lease consult with your physician before starting an exercise program. *** Clipart courtesy of Physigraphe Clipart http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/200903-11-stress-poll_N.htm

Your body does not know the difference between the stress of running

SOAR / 15


Ingrid Hoffman is the host of Food Network’s “Simply Delicioso.” Her latest book has 125 recipes filled with Latin flavor. We have three recipes for you to try your hand at. Enjoy!

CALLING ALL COOKS! Chipotle Tamale Pie

2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, onion, bell pepper, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the turkey is no longer pink and is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain off any excess fat and sprinkle the meat mixture with the cumin.

Serves 6 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 tablespoon olive oil 3/4 pound ground turkey (preferably white meat) or lean ground beef

3. Add the beans, tomatoes, chiles, and adobo sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and cilantro.

1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed, and diced 2 garlic cloves, finely minced Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 1 8-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and minced, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 8.5 ounce package corn bread mix (plus ingredients needed to make the corn bread batter)

16 / SOAR

If a Mexican and a Southerner got in the kitchen to cook side by side, this is the kind of food that I think they would make: comforting, spicy, and generous enough to feed an army of friends or family. Tamale pie is like corn bread and chili in one—and it’s really satisfying. Kids love this dish, but you might want to omit the chipotle chile if making it for young taste buds! 1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease an 8­inch square baking dish with the butter and set it aside.

4. Spread the turkey mixture in the prepared baking dish, pressing down on it with the back of a spoon to make an even, compact layer. 5. Prepare the corn bread mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spread the corn bread batter over the turkey mixture and bake until the corn bread is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tamale pie stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

“Reprinted from the book Simply Delicioso by Ingrid Hoffman. Copyright © 2008 by Ingrid Hoffman. Photographs copyright © 2008 by Andrew Meade. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.”


Yummy Avocado Sopita

1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the dill and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cream and pour the mixture into a blender.

Serves 4 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 white onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 1/2 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed, and finely ­chopped

2. Add the avocados, milk, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the blender and purée. When the purée is completely smooth, transfer it to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled (the soup can be made up to 1 day in advance).

1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup heavy cream 3 medium Hass avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and coarsely chopped 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons olive oil 16 small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined Fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, for garnish Sesame seeds, for garnish

Latin Elvis Serves 4 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 large, very ripe black skinned plantain, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4inch thick slices 8 slices raisin bread 1/4 to 1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter

I have had a crush on Elvis Presley since I was young, and I was especially intrigued by his obsession with peanut butter and banana sandwiches. If the King were still alive, you can bet I’d make sure he tried my Latin version! I have to confess that I’ve been known to make myself one of those rich, comforting sandwiches late at night and then take it to bed with me, just me, Elvis, and a tall glass of milk.

In the surfer town of Playa del Coco, Costa Rica, there is a cute little restaurant called El Chile Dulce. After a day of sun and sand, nothing was more welcome than this gorgeous pale green soup. Sipping a luscious and silky spoonful is like slipping into something a little more comfortable. I call this a sopita—“little soup”—because it’s so rich you should serve it in small portions.

3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until curled, pink, and opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. To serve, pour the chilled soup into small glasses, add some of the shrimp, and garnish with basil and sesame seeds.

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the plantain slices and sauté until they’re cooked through and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and set aside. 2. Spread each slice of bread with peanut butter, spreading it as thin or thick as you like. Arrange a layer of plantain slices on 4 of the bread slices and cover with the remaining slices. Grill on a panini press until toasted and browned on both sides. You can also cook the sandwich as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, with a little butter in a nonstick pan; press the sandwich down using a spatula as it cooks. Slice in half and serve with a glass of milk.

SIDENOTE Ever tried a recipe that turned into a disaster? Or maybe the recipe didn’t quite match the picture in the cookbook? Ladies, send us your “cooking disaster”story. If chosen your story will be published in the upcoming issue of SOAR! Send your story to: write@cefl. org. We look forward to hearing from you.

SOAR / 17


T Thelma Wells

helma Wells (a.k.a Mama T) is an expert when it comes to fighting…and winning. Born to an unwed severely deformed teenage mother, Thelma was eventually raised by her great-grandmother who introduced her to Jesus. When visiting her grandmother Thelma was tormented and locked in a dark insect filled closet for long hours. Talk about having to fight against fear and bitterness! But that’s exactly what Mama T has done. The seeds of faith that were planted so long ago took root and she has since become a trailblazer. Internationally known speaker and storyteller, Mama T was sought after to be the first African American core speaker for the Women of Faith organization. At the age of 61 she not only earned her Master’s degree but became the first African American professor at the Master’s International School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Honey, you don’t get to this level without fighting a few battles. Mama T was kind enough to speak with us and share some strategies from her latest book titled “Don’t Give In… God Wants you to Win.”

SOAR / 19


What was your inspiration behind the book? My inspiration for this book actually came from my daughter, Vikki Wells. She was relaxing on a beach and thinking about me leaving a very comfortable position with Women of Faith. During her prayer time she actually saw in her mind’s eye the words and thoughts, “Ready To Win.” God gave her a dream about fix your hair, pad your bra, tighten your girdle, put on your stomping shoes and get ready to win over the wiles of the devil. She explained to me that because I have overcome so many obstacles and hardships in my life and won almost every time; that she and her siblings had watched how I handled life’s ups and downs; they had witnessed my faith in action, she knew I was the perfect person to write about being ready to win. I wrote it in three weeks. You tell an interesting story about a childhood experience that illustrates how important it is to know how to fight. Tell us about it. When I was praying early that first morning about writing, God took me back to a fight I had in elementary school. For three days one of my friends broadcasted throughout the school that My great grandmother she was going to beat me up. That was devastating to me because I didn’t know why she wanted to fight me. I said that the only way had never had a fight, did not know how to fight and was to stop a bully is to scared to fight. My great grandmother who raised me fight back and if I did had taught me that nice girls and ladies do not fight. So this was a shocker for me to have to fight. The first and not win the fight the second days of the fight I got hit, ran home, told my great next time she would grandmother and the first day she was convinced that the whip me herself. fighting was over, after all we were friends. The second day when I ran home because I got hit by this girl my great grandmother became indignant and challenged me by reversing what she had taught and she taught me another lesson. She said that the only way to stop a bully is to fight back and if I did not win the fight the next time she would whip me herself. I’d rather have been beaten up by the girl than punished by my great grandmother. That second night was long and bothersome because I was practicing in my mind how I was going to win the fight the next day. I did go to school. I did walk out of the same school door that I had walked out of the first two days, but this time I had a frightened confidence and determination to get her before she got me. I believe my look of confidence caught the girl off guard; I got a good lick and started to fight. She got up and began to run home that day. I went home the victor and my Granny 20 / SOAR


was pleased. To this day I don’t know why she wanted to beat me up. I do know that life is a lot like that. We fight against powers, principalities, authorities, wickedness in high places but we really don’t understand why we have to fight all the time. So the questions of why, what, when, where, how and who are some of the questions we ask in life. We fight an adversary everyday who’s determined to take us out and beat us down. The only way to beat the wiles of the devil is to understand that we live in a fallen world where Satan think he’s in control and where he lies and plays games with our minds, hearts and senses. But, he is the master of lies and will, himself, be the biggest looser at the end time. We don’t have to listen to him or fight him on our own. We have an advocate in Jesus Christ who paid the price on Calvary for us to win. Mama T, so many women have been wounded on the battle field (spiritually, physically and emotionally). What would you say to those women who are on the verge of giving in? God has never given us permission to give up or give in. In fact, in Galatians 5:22 He reminds us that we have the virtue (fruit) of Long Suffering when we accept Jesus as our Savior and live for Him. God speaks from the pages of His word in the pages of my book and reminds us that giving up is not an option, allowing Him to fight for us is the winning option. God loves each of you and has tried to show you from Genesis to the maps in the Bible and He sustains you every day when you let Him. He is the only Person we should listen to and completely rely on His promises to us. He is the only Person who will lift you up when you’re down and God has never given helps you stand when the world is shaky and the battle gets us permission to give unbearable. Allow Him to take your burdens, heal your body, change your relationships for the better, open doors to up or give in. your finances that you did not even know you had, minister to your wayward children as only He can do and redirect your thinking from fear to a wonderful future. There is nothing you can do, have done, will do that God will not forgive you and is not ready, willing and able to help you with. You must call on Him. He is a gentlemen, He will not do anymore than you let Him. If you don’t trust Him, just give Him a chance and see what He will do for you. I completely give myself to him and all that I have, need, want, dream about and do because I trust Him enough to believe that He will never take me on a wild goose chase, deceive me, abandon me, embarrass me, hold me hostage, speak disrespectfully to me, falsely accuse me, hurt me, or withhold any good thing from me because He loves me!! Yes, Jesus loves me and you and there’s nothing we can do about that!

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You have interesting titles, what does it mean to “fix your hair?” Fix your hair is my way of saying put on the Helmet of Salvation (Eph. 6:17) that can help you regulate your mind, watch your thoughts, bring them under captivity to Christ, keep from thinking idol We must thoughts and let your mind be the mind that pleases Jesus. Tell us about “tightening your girdle.”

empty the trash of our thoughts and hearts...

Tightening your girdle is a metaphor for strengthening and supporting your body, mind and soul with the word of Truth spoken only by Jesus. It is tightened by learning the word and applying the word of God for your edification and God’s glory. The scripture says to Gird your Loins (Eph. 6:14) with truth. This is for men and women, boys and girls because we all need to know the Truth so the Truth can set us free. You encourage us to “put on your stomping shoes,” what have shoes got to do with it? In this scripture we are encouraged to STAND (be confident in what we believe and do not be swayed or be double minded). When we put on our stomping shoes we can not only stand secure and stand for right, we can march to victory by staying in shape for the battle. We stay ready to march out any time and anywhere. As we are standing on God’s promises we also hold the enemy back by the word of our testimony. We are marching and telling everyone about the goodness of the Lord and how he delivers us from the snare of the fouler and the noise some pestilence. We demonstrate to the world that we can rejoice in the Lord always and dance for joy because we know in whom we believe and we know that He is able to deliver us. Let your feet be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:14) Throughout the book you ask “Are you ready to win?” Mamas T, in summary tell us how we can be ready. Everybody has the privilege to be Ready To Win against the wiles of the devil. We can win if we have a winning attitude and a willingness to win God’s way. We must empty the trash of our thoughts and hearts and fill our hearts with the righteousness of God. We must study the word of God so we can be braced and strengthened by it when we are in battle. Remember, God is fighting these battles for us if we would just keep our mind on Jesus and be wise in the Lord. We are not wrestling against flesh and blood (human beings or human circumstances) but against Satan himself. He has already been defeated by the seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, Himself. If you want to win every battle everyday, Ephesians 6:10-18 has the sure-fire answers. Follow the directions and you will be Ready to Win. Remember, Don’t Give In – God Wants YOU To Win! 22 / SOAR

Thelma shares in her new book “Don’t Give In…God Wants You to Win” the keys to winning your fight and getting your victory.


M

MOM CONNECTION

You know what?

The love of a mother transcends human emotion. There’s nothing she won’t do to see that her children are not only surviving but also thriving. In a perfect world, we would care for our children, feed them, clothe them, make sure they are safe, rejoice when they find the perfect mate, and take comfort in the knowledge that they will serve the Lord long after we have departed this earth. But this isn’t a perfect world and there are some circumstances that shatter our perfect dream and defy imagination. Disappointment can be one of the most devastating and painful side effects of motherhood. Especially when you have experienced the joy of your child coming to know the Lord and sadly watch them be lured away by temptation, false promises and lies. Mom, it’s a vicious world we live in and the prince of the air will use any measure necessary to steal, kill and destroy. But let me remind you that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16). Mom, also remember Proverbs 22:6, which states that if you train a child in the way he (or she) should go then they will never depart.

First Line of Defense!

Sistah, I can just hear some of you saying “I came to the Lord late in life and lost the opportunity to raise my child in the Lord.” Well my Sistah, God knew the exact moment that you would be saved and with Him nothing is wasted. So you need to wake up each morning and say “this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad.” Mom’s you need to remove any feelings of condemnation that the enemy has tried to use against you to stop you from directing your gaze to God Almighty. Rise up and receive new strength, ask God for a strategy on how to pray and fight for your children. Receive encouragement my Sistah and understand that nothing you do is in

by Jennifer Reyes

vain. Every tear drop, every word uttered in prayer, every groan, every gesture, every action that wages war against the enemy is a step in the right direction. Sometimes, that may include waiting patiently, keeping our advice to ourselves, confronting or intervening for the lives of our precious loved ones. A mother is not just a friend, counselor, or a bank! Nooo, she has become the first line of defense. So while you’re in the trenches my Sistah, know that you are not alone in this battle. You may not see the other soldiers but they are there with you warring and praying in the very same battle. They know what it’s like to be disappointed, to feel hurt, to be wounded on the battle field, and yet have to rise up again. They know what it’s like to wait season after season without the benefit of results. And yet they are with you fighting a war that has already been won. Know today that we are in prayer with you. But most of all know that God and all of heaven goes before you.

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&

DOLLARS Fight for your Money!

SENSE By Lezette C. Roulhac

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you read the phrase “Fight for your Money?” Does your mind immediately go to the raise that you know you deserve yet haven’t received? Are you thinking about the tax bill you had to pay this year? Or maybe even that time where you were unknowingly overcharged for that supermarket item that was supposed to be on sale? Whatever it is that may come to mind, I want to tell you that you can start fighting for your money this very instant!! Yes child! You can stop thinking about how you’re going to ask your boss for that raise and begin to

“It doesn’t matter what you earn, it is what you keep that determines whether you will be financially free.”

fight for your money by learning how to keep the money you already have! How you say? It starts with a change of mentality. New York Times bestselling author David Bach in his book Fight for your Money says “It doesn’t matter what you earn, it is what you keep that determines whether you will be financially free.” I want to highlight a few points from his book on how to fight for your money by keeping more of it in your pocket...

“A War for Your Money Is Raging” Have you ever stopped to notice how long the commercial segments are as you’re watching your favorite show? Or have you been lured into opening a checking account with a new bank because they offered to credit your account $50 if you also opened a credit card? We are attacked daily by companies all battling for the mighty dollars that sit in our purses. Most of these companies are willing to spend BILLIONS of dollars to figure out ways to most easily pluck those dollars right out of our wallets. So if they are willing to spend so much money to gain even more money, what are our next step ladies? Financial knowledge!

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Financial ignorance is now a luxury none of us can afford. “Financial Knowledge Is Power” Financial ignorance is now a luxury none of us can afford. And I’m not just talking about getting a better handle on the stock market or the housing market. I’m talking about being smarter about how you spend money every single day on every single product and service you use. Are you aware of where and how you spend your money each day? Try keeping track of every dollar you spend for one week. Take note of where you can cut back and be a bit more frugal. Also, evaluate your monthly recurring expenses and see where you can get more for your buck.

“Rich or Poor-The Odds Are Against You Until You Fight Back” Until you realize that there is a never ending war for your money the odds will be against you. What we need to recognize is that it’s not necessarily about how much money you have but what is done with the amount you do have. What most people don’t recognize is that the more money we unnecessarily give away, the more time we have to spend working for that money. Have you ever heard the saying “time is money?” Well it’s true, and until we begin to fight back by controlling who gets our money, we work for whoever is robbing us. We all may anticipate or daydream about making more money in the near or distant future, but the important thing to think about is “what can I do with my money today? Who is really in control?” Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have no power, you have more power than you think however, you simply need to get up and FIGHT!

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BOOKS & MUSIC REVIEW “The Shack” by William Paul Young draws you in, breaks your heart and heals it all in one read. It’s hard to put the book down after a certain point. It grips the soul to its very core and the reader is able to relate to the main character throughout the book. I dare say that I actually experienced the emotions and began to ask myself the same question the book tries to answer…‘Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?’

The Shack By William P. Young Review by Roz Humphreys

The book provides a glimpse into the devastation that the main character, Mack, experiences. Although few of us have gone through his tragedy, the raw emotions are relatable. After the loss of his youngest daughter, he cocoons himself into a world of hurt and blames God for all that has occurred. After 3 years, he is challenged when a mysterious note appears in his mailbox signed Papa. This note becomes an intense challenge and struggle because it brings Mack back to the place of his devastation so that he could receive his healing. It reminded me of how often we’d rather run from our hurts, die to our hurts or live with our hurts than face them. From that point on, the process of Mack’s transformation is intense. The Shack has a clear, constant and consistent explanation throughout the book that

The Fight of My Life By Kirk Franklin Reviewed by Jennifer Reyes

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THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE by Kirk Franklin was released in December 2007 and it is still relevant today. So much so, that in early 2009, this album was awarded a Grammy for best contemporary R&B gospel album. Kirk titled this album THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE after one of the most difficult and troubling times of his career. In fact, he seriously contemplated not making this album. He considered giving up but at the right time God stepped in and a slew of songs such as DECLARE IT and HELP ME BELIEVE (another Grammy winner) was eventually created. The Fight of My Life doesn’t cater to the surface issues but rather ministers to those painful areas in our lives that can really make or break us. It’s these lyrics that encourage you to not only worship

echoed God’s love and desire to be relational. It was overwhelming. As I rode home from Tampa up in the clouds somewhere over the Eastern seaboard, I could not help but cry. I cried tears of sadness, tears of joy and tears of gratitude. My heart was just totally consumed with the knowledge of God’s love towards me. The depiction of the relationaltrinity and their love towards humanity will take the reader by surprise. They challenge Mack on different levels, all to get him to the point to trust God once again. There is a word of caution. Although the book is very well written, it should not be taken as gospel. Discernment of what is fact and what is not is important. If in doubt, refer to your Bible or one of your church teachers/leaders. The Shack is a great read that can raise those that are dead at heart and challenge those who have forgotten to live…really live. William Paul Young is married and has 6 children. He wrote The Shack for his children and a few friends and printed 15 copies. His book was rejected by 26 publishers before it was picked up by a newly created publishing company where it eventually hit number one on the New York Times trade paperback fiction best-seller list in June 2008. You can read more about this book here. but to believe that you can make it another day and that God will get you through. Whenever I need a little help coming into agreement with what God’s word says about my situation I put on this album and I get the nudge I need to lift up my hands, sing my heart out, and lift my eyes to my helper, the Lord Jesus Christ! The next time your situation has you exhausted all you need to do is pop this on and listen. You will soon be given the energy to recall that God will make you the winner in the Fight of Your Life.


O

Ladies, Are You Wearing Your Iron Corsets?

ne day as I woke up I had the words “put on the breastplate

By Roz Humphreys

of righteousness” swirling in my head. My first reaction was to think….

ummm…I’m a gal, now why should I want to throw a breastplate on? As I began to read about the history of the breast plate, it further confirmed that it was not exactly a fashionable item. The Roman soldier’s breastplate was made of iron with rings running horizontally around the body. These rings were wired by fabric or leather backing and the breastplate rested from on top of the shoulders to right above the tummy line. To get a better picture in your head, think of it as a corset made out of iron. The purpose of this covering was to protect the soldiers from spears or knives during combat (including surprise attacks). So in essence, the breastplate covered or protected one of the most vital organs within his body – the heart. The heart represents the center of our emotions. Women are accused of being too emotional. This lie has been believed from generation to generation. Over the years, women as a whole have tried to curtail their display of emotions to be better accepted. However, God didn’t create us this way. We represent the emotional side of God our Father. We love deeply. We nurture and we have this innate gift of discernment that a man will never have. To be ashamed or to hide our emotional being, our heart, is to deny God’s manifestation in our lives. Unfortunately some of us have been tainted and we have chosen to live society’s way; we have chosen to harden our hearts because of past hurts; or we have built barriers to protect ourselves from others. This is where most of us miss it. Yes, the battles we face are sometimes fierce and all too often we find that our heart and emotions have once again been slashed and sacrificed. It’s so easy to hide the essence of who we are behind a

Over the years, women as a whole have tried to curtail their display of emotions to be better accepted. However, God didn’t create us this way. SOAR / 27


shroud of hurt and fear. But there will come a time when you will be called upon to come out of hiding. And when you do, you will need one thing: the iron corset. Paul’s recommendation to protect the heart was to put on the iron corset as a continual and routine part of life. The problem is that many of us have it hidden in the corner of the closet. We go into the war of life without it and continue to come back wounded. In the Bible, our iron corset equates to righteousness; right standing with God. When we put in on, it reminds us of the following and changes the way we emotionally live.

1. We are forgiven and therefore have the ability to forgive and move forward.

2. Our identity is in Christ and not based on our own assessment of ourselves.

3. We understand God’s covering and provision despite the present circumstance.

4. We are confident in our ability because we recognize it comes from Him.

5. PMS is containable through prayer and chocolate.

Are you wearing your iron corset? If not, make it part of your daily wardrobe. Be the woman that God called you to be. Use the wardrobe that He has provided so that you can live…really live.

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Paul’s recommendation to protect the heart was to put on the iron corset as a continual and routine part of life.


TLW The Last Word

Grace and Peace Women of God!

So did you like it or love it? I’m super excited that finally this dream has been born. Soar Magazine has been a dream of mine for many years and this month God has allowed me to give birth to it! My ultimate goal is not simply to see my dream come to pass, it’s to hear about yours coming to pass. That is why our slogan is “helping women’s dreams take flight.” The team at Soar are women just like you and I with dreams to dare great things for God and we have made it our mandate on top of the various other endeavors we are involved in to help fan the flame of your dream. Yeah, you!

George Bernard Shaw once said “you see things and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were and I say, “Why not?” Think of Soar as your “Why Not Squad?” In every quarterly issue, you will be stretched to think outside of the box, you will be challenged to risk more than you ever have, to get more than you’ve ever had and your spirit will be stirred by the coaching articles of our Editorial Advisory Board and CEFL Board members as well as other guest columnists.

Our regular columnists have the passion to write and the heart for women, the best combination I could think of as we put this team together. Our Editor-in-Chief is a young woman who I’ve personally seen God do amazing things in and through. She was actually one of my youth leaders when I along with my husband founded a youth group on the Lower East Side of Manhattan called DESTINY. I’ve since moved on, she’s grown up and married and has become quite a woman of God. Only God would mastermind us working together like this! This issue is the work of her vision (as she went after the Thelma Wells interview) and her team’s ideas for articles. I am thrilled by the wonderfully gifted group of writers Soar has been able to gather but the beauty is that this is just the beginning. This is totally why the Center for Emerging Female Leadership was founded to help women emerge into their God-given callings and destinies. Yeah God!

by Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Rios, Founder/CEO & Soar Publisher

In every quarterly issue, you will be stretched to think outside of the box, you will be challenged to risk more than you ever have...

So tell me…did you like it or love it? This magazine is truly a collaborative effort and it’s all about our readers. With literally hundreds of women’s magazines, we want to offer you something more personal, highlighting our women of color who in many cases are bi-cultural. We didn’t want to have to choose so you will see all sides of CEFL women. I’d love to hear your feedback on Soar because at the end of the day, my dream is to help you reach yours. Are you ready to take flight? Fanning your flame, SOAR / 29


Helping women’s dreams take flight

NY Tristate Region Rev. Enid Rios Rivera Northeastern Regional Representative & Board of Directors Member 212-673-7868 • pastore@cefl.org Southern Region Rev. Edna Quiros Southeastern Regional Representative & Board of Directors Member revedna@cefl.org

To write for Soar: write@cefl.org To provide feedback soarfeedback@cefl.org Advertising advertising@cefl.org

CEFL Founder Rev. Dr. Liz Rios drliz@cefl.org Soar Magazine Soar Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Reyes • soareditor@cefl.org

Soar Magazine is a digital publication of the Center for Emerging Female Leadership, Inc (CEFL).

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Soar Magazine Fall 2009 Premiere Issue  

In this premiere issue of the Center for Emerging Female Leadership's premiere digital magazine women will be introduced to Thelma Wells

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