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OPTIMAL-LIVINGMAGAZINE.COM january/february 2012

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A SAVED BLACK MAN HARVEST MATTERS MUCH MORE!

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How One Small Business Grew From the Kitchen to the Warehouse

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Pooka, Pure Simple


CONTENTS

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06 PURPOSE DRIVEN LIVING TIPS 07 HARVEST MATTERS 08 POOKA, PURE & SIMPLE 12 TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A SAVED BLACK MAN 14 THE WIFEY 101 SERIES

16 LIFESTYLES 17 CAREER & LEADERSHIP INSIGHT 18 POETIC MOMENTS 19 THE SPICES OF LIFE RECIPES 20 A TIME OF INTERCESSION 21 OPTIMAL LIVING ABUNDANT LIFE PLEDGE

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OUR STAFF PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tanisha R. Hopson MARKETING National Marketing & Advertisement Director Kerry E. Porter MEDIA LAYOUT DESIGN RNA PRoMOTIONAL DESIGN CONCEPTS EDITORS Roberta J. Shannon CONTRIBUTORS Alana B. Niya Allen Rose Belk Marsha Carroll Rhonda Feimster Christoph Jenkins Rosemarie Phipps Hasani Pettiford Rhonda York PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COURTESY OF: Tamera Fleming, FlemWorks KD Bellz Photography, LLC and Mogul Photography Optimal Living Magazine is published six times per year with a mission is to encourage our readers to live the most abundant life possible as it relates to their spirituality, purpose, careers, finances and relationships. Advertisers who offer products, services and events in support of our mission are encouraged to contact our Advertisement Sales Department at 1-888-876-1722 or adsales@optimal-livingmagazine.com. Š Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying, electronic retrieval of publication without written permission of the Publisher.

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PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE SHAPING YOUR WORLD

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n the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God SAID, Let there be light; and there was light. Genesis 1: 1 - 3 (NIV)

If you take a second to look around in your own space; you will see that everything including

your appearance, relationships with people, material things, and environment are all a product of what you have created. Yes, I said it! You are ultimately responsible for your life. Just think about it...If you walk into a room in your home and you don’t like what you see; you have the power to rearrange things and clean up the space. Likewise, If there is a person in your life that constantly brings drama your way; you can make the choice to love them from a distance, or simply keeps the drama flowing. The choice is really yours to make! Every stage in life can be a beautiful experience filled with growth, celebrated triumphs and amazing peaks to be enjoyed. However, life can also bring on cumbersome challenges, bleak outlooks and hopelessness if we aren’t careful to do the much needed periodic inventory of what must go and stay in our lives. Well, I am glad to report that change is as easy as making a proclamation, working through the process and sticking with the plan. All throughout the bible, God constantly speaks things into existence. This has always been a personal fascination of mine. So just think, if we are His children, made in His image and likeness, why can’t we use the same power to speak things into and out of our lives? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you doing to make your world and your environment a better place? No matter what is going on in the world, you have the power to SHAPE YOUR WORLD. So, the thought of the day is: “If you don’t like the space or situation that you are in, CHANGE IT!” With Love,

Tanisha R. Hopson

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PURPOSE DRIVEN LIVING TIPS How Deep Is Your Well? BY NIYA ALLEN

There’s some truth to the saying, “You don’t miss your water, ‘til your well runs dry.” Pews are filled with saints that have perfected the appearance of wholeness, but are empty of the living water. There’s no Word of God in their hearts and they don’t believe that their realities can be different. Wells are meant to be drawn from. According to the Water Systems Council, wells that don’t produce are dangerous to public safety, the environment, and should be destroyed. If it’s not good for our environment, it shouldn’t be good for God’s children. Not too long ago I sat in my local food stamp office among many young mothers, the middle aged, and seniors who should be enjoying their nest eggs on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. As the stale alcohol stench filled my nostrils, I thought about my life. For most of the year 2011 my life had been flipped upside down. I finally closed the casket on a relationship bearing no good fruit, the home I rented was put up for sale by the owner, and I began living on a friend’s sofa bed temporarily to save money for a new place. However, during that time, I was terminated from one of the largest banks in America. Two months had turned into eight, and my welcome had long been worn.

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So here I was with my intelligent, independent, and college educated self with no man, no permanent home, unemployed, 20 cents in the bank, waiting for a food stamp appointment. God had brought me to a place where I could see nothing, but Him. A place where I had to lower my empty bucket down to my well of wants, needs, and dreams, and fill it with scriptures of how God saw me and my future, not how I saw myself. Only through that did my reality begin to change. What well are you drawing from when life pulls the rug out from under your feet? Are you lowering your bucket into your well of faith? Or, into one filled with negative words and people that are determined to add fuel to your struggling reality? After the tears dry and tantrums are over, your reality will still be the same. The word of God is the only thing that will change the reflection in your spiritual mirror. If you can see it with your eyes, it’s subject to change! In the book of Joshua Chapter One, “be strong and of a good courage” is mentioned four times. Four times! Three times by God himself. That’s not

a coincidence saints! The Message translation of Chapter One verse nine says, “Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Life can get out of control at times. However, you must always make sure to make the right deposits before the storm, so that your well is filled with His wisdom to win every battle.

Niya Allen Originally from San Francisco, California, Niya Allen has been an actress and writer for the last fifteen years. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from Marymount Manhattan College, she focused her talents on local theater productions and short film projects. Shortly thereafter, she decided to follow her first passion of writing freelance articles, theater plays, and screenplays. Currently, Niya enjoys writing informative articles that bring her readers closer to God by enabling them to be transparent before God. She is currently working on her first literary novel.


How One Small Home Business Grew From the Kitchen to the Warehouse BY MARSHA CARROLL

“Sometimes, God uses adversity to send a blessing...”

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s I prepared for my interview with Dawn Fitch, President of Pooka, Pure & Simple bath and body products, those were the words that resonated in my mind. It also doesn’t hurt to remember this lesson from a chapter in her book titled, “Moving Through Opened Doors”. If you spend five minutes with Dawn, you’ll notice her bright smile, and her infectiously fun personality. Because of an undiagnosed illness, Dawn became an “accidental entrepreneur”, eleven years ago. After being sick for so long and going to numerous doctors who initially provided no clear diagnosis, Dawn decided to reassess her lifestyle, and the products that she often used.

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During our conversation, Dawn explained that while evaluating her bath and body products, she realized that most of the items she used every day were made from chemicals that not only defied basic enunciation, but would most likely be detrimental to her long term health. Therefore, armed with information from the internet about the benefits of essentials oils, she forged ahead with making her own body care products and subsequently laying the ground work for her own company. A graphic designer by trade, Dawn went to work in her kitchen, cooking up a bevy of skin care concoctions. Initially, the ‘test market’ consisted of


family and friends. Everyone loved the products that she created and encouraged her to sell them at an upcoming festival. Within hours at the first event, Dawn completely sold out of the products she made. Realizing that a business was born, Dawn enlisted the help of her sister, Donna and two dear friends, April and Tricia. Coming up with a name for the company was the easy part. Originally meant as a term of endearment, Dawn’s mother often referred to her children and their friends as Pookalitas. After some thought about marketing and labeling, the name was shortened and the Pookalitas decided to move forward with Pooka, Pure and Simple.

Dawn recalls that as the business started to take form, she and her partners were worried, nervous, and afraid for a host of different reasons. At the onset, all four Pookalitas were working full time jobs, in addition to trying to launch their new business venture. However, Dawn’s anxiety level increased shortly after the business started because she was laid off. Though job offers were coming in, Dawn reached a crossroad in her life, where she had to decide whether to go back to work full-time, or trust God to see what plans He had in store for her.

cont. >

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TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A SAVED BLACK MAN Conditioning Myself…To Love Unconditionally! BY CHRISTOPH JENKINS “I am 6 months away from entering into the very first institution God, himself, has established… marriage. I’ve been engaged for 8 months and I must say…it has been very rewarding. However, reaching the next level in love and in life, in general, inevitably teaches you how to increase your learning curve. It seems as if I’m taking an accelerated course in how to love my fiancée, my wife-to-be, unconditionally. We all want unconditional love, or Real Love…but do we really know what unconditional love really is??? Paul speaks to the men by saying this…

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that 12

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He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Paul begins with the statement, “Husbands, love your wives.” It sounds like such a simple statement, but what does he mean? What does it mean to love, unconditionally? Personally, when I think of a marriage that is engulfed in unconditional love, I see a man and a woman respectfully and sacrificially striving to make each other happy. Conversely, after really digging into this thing, I found that my concept of love was somewhat wrong. I thought that loving your wife meant sacrificing yourself and your desires to make her happy. You know the saying, “A happy


THE WIFEY

SERIES

For Better or For Worse…Are You Still Down? BY ROSE BELK

The easiest part of a marriage is the wedding ceremony. It does not take much strength to walk down the aisle, repeat the vows and eat the wedding cake afterwards. In fact, the ceremony seems to be over before it starts. That is just how quick it is! Most couples spend their time preparing for the “big day” but not for a lifelong relationship. The wedding vows have become so commonplace that everyone present (with anticipation) can recite each line. Anybody can “repeat after me” but how many really take the time to study those powerful words. I certainly did not. At the time, I truly meant them and felt sure I could and would uphold my vows. Did I think of them as contractual or some part of an agreement? Did I look at us as a “team? No. I had no idea what all of this meant. All I knew was I loved my God, and I loved this man I was marrying. So, when the Pastor asked me to repeat, “I take you to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, or in health, to love and to cherish ‘till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faith”, I did not realize that worse would soon appear.

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SPICES OF LIFE RECIPES

LOW FAT VEGGIE LOVERS LASAGNA

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes

Preparation:

1. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Ingredients: 2 (10 oz pkgs) frozen spinach, thawed and drained 3 cups of sliced zucchini 3 cups fat-free cottage cheese 2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms

2. Place the spinach, zucchini, cottage cheese, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, eggs and Parmesan in a large bowl. Stir gently and set aside. 3. Pour about

1/2

cup of the tomato or pasta

sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.

2 cups grated carrots

4. Lay out 3 noodles on top of the sauce.

1 medium onion, finely chopped

5. Spread half of the veggie mixture over the

1 lg garlic clove, minced 2 eggs, can be substituted with egg beaters 1/4

cup grated Parmesan cheese

31/2 cups tomato sauce or fat-free pasta sauce 9 cooked whole wheat lasagna noodles 4

1/2

ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

noodles. 6. Pour another 1 cup of pasta sauce over the veggies. 7. Repeat the layers, ending with 3 noodles, then the last of the pasta sauce. 8. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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“No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper.”

A TIME OF INTERCESSION Father God in Jesus’ name. We love you, we adore you and we pray for more of you in our lives. As we enter into the year 2012, we ask for Your loving grace, mercy, provision and protection to surround us as an invisible shield that only we know and understand. Keep us from hurt, harm and danger. And, God while we are on the subject, we ask that you would protect our nation from dangers seen and unseen. Lead us all back to your loving arms and show us how to forgive each other, as you have continued to forgive us. Teach them in the way of your Word; give them ears to hear from your throne. Father God, we ask that your hand would rest upon our children wherever they may go. Teach them in the way of your Word; give them ears to hear from your throne. Lead them out of temptations and help them to have wisdom in all things. We pray for peace around the world, as well as, in the gates of our own government. We pray for reconciliation within Congress, the Senate, and in the White House in the United States of America. We ask that peace would walk the halls of all that are in power on Capitol Hill, state governments and local municipalities throughout this land. Father, at the end of the day, we ask that you would keep us in your Word and in your will. Help us not to slip into sin that can surely bring shame to ourselves, our neighbors and families. We can’t afford to live without you. We need you, we love you and we ask that you would simply cover us now. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen. 20

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THE OPTIMAL LIVING ABUNDANT LIFE PLEDGE! 1.

I will always put God first in everything I do!

2.

I will love God & love my neighbor as myself. (Matthew 22: 36-40)

3.

I will keep my vow to pay my tithes, give with a cheerful heart and look for opportunities to bless others as God freely blesses me.

(Nehemiah 10:37; Malachi 3:10)

4.

I will be joyful as I live within my means and not covet my neighbor’s blessings. (Deuteronomy 5:12)

5.

I will study God’s Word daily and make it come alive by living it every day of my life! (Psalm 1: 1-3; Psalm 119:15)

6.

I will honor my mother and father all the days of my life. (Exodus 20:12)

7.

I will learn to forgive others, as God forgives me. (Ephesians 4: 32)

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I will strive to be at peace, as much as possible, and treat others with respect and kindness. (Galatians 5:22-23)

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I will be sure to feed and clothe my brother or sister in their time of need. (Proverbs 19:17)

10.

I will intercede daily for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, those that have not come to Christ yet, the President of the United States of America and all those in power all over the world.

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SPONSORSHIP

MS. MICHELLE WILSON, author of “It’s Already Done!” www.miraclescometrue.com

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Optimal Living Magazine is the premiere Christian lifestyle magazine encouraging readers to live the most abundant life possible as it relates to their spirituality, purpose, careers, and relationships.

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2012 OPTIMAL LIVING MAGAZINE