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In this photo: Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. and his wife, Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church




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OUR STAFF PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tanisha R. Hopson ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER ADVERTISEMENT - SUBSCRIPTIONS - CIRCULATION Christine Davis EDITORS Nichole Stewart Shannon Tyler CONTRIBUTORS Alana B. Rose Belk Deion J. Coleman Rhonda Feimster Christoph Jenkins Jason Alexander Ottley Rosemarie Phipps Rhonda York Yevette Whitehurst PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COURTESY OF: Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church Photography Ministry, 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 Š Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying, electronic retrieval / publication without written permission of the Publisher.






his year, as I walked the streets of Washington, DC, I experienced extremely strong winds on different occasions, regardless of the season. From time to time, as these winds blew in varying levels of strength, I observed that some people were extremely aware, while others ignored them as if they were no big deal. Nevertheless, as I walked and thought on this and the most recent 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook millions of people simultaneously across the United States on August 23rd; I realized that the winds of change are upon us, and it is high time for everyone to get into position for whatever is to come.

Whether good or bad, change has come into our finances, relationships, employment statuses, and even states of mind. Meanwhile, for others, change could have come in the death of a loved one, or in the form of something positive that you never thought would come to pass for you. No matter what form that change has taken, God is speaking, and it is high time that we listen. In this issue, Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr., of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, speaks candidly with us in the feature story titled, “What in the World is Really Going on? I pray that this issue will bless, encourage, and uplift you! With Love, Peace & Blessings!

Tanisha R. Hopson




“Favor ain’t fair!”

PURPOSE DRIVEN LIVING TIPS I WEAR THE CLOAK OF MANY COLORS BY YEVETTE S. WHITEHURST Indeed, favor isn’t fair, and by the same notion, it’s safe to say that favor is also not free. The word itself stirs up positive and encouraging emotion. However, a closer look reveals that most times, when favor presents itself, it comes face-to-face with an adverse circumstance or situation; loudly vocalizing a language contrary to favor on every level. Favor is often sought after, but cannot be found because God is the one that bestows favor on his children! Joseph, a well known Biblical character, easily serves as an example of the turn that one’s life 05



can take when one becomes the target of favor (Genesis 37- 45). Like Joseph, anyone robed in the cloak of many colors will hear the engine of consequences begin to grind, and the choice vehicles begin to move, despite the traveler’s preference or reservation. The masses often believe that favor places a person on the receiving end of all good things; however, as wonderful as the end result may be, the journey to that ultimate blessing can be a winding road fraught with challenges to be endured and obstacles to overcome.

The cloak of favor is made up of many colors that appeal to the visual perception of others. Perception is a tenuous thing; however, it can quickly be altered by situations and circumstances. In other words, it all depends on what an individual sees before them at any particular moment. In one moment, several colors blend together to create a rainbow, yet in another, the same colors combine to form the color black. Joseph experienced the precarious nature of perception when he was chosen to be favored by his father. At a very young age, Joseph received the great news from both his Heavenly and natural fathers that he was destined for greatness. But, what was interpreted by Joseph as colorful and amazing quickly faded to black when his siblings sold him into slavery and made his father believe that he was dead. His awesome day of confirmation turned out to be the beginning of a journey that would usher him into and through the most challenging experiences of his life. He was hated, sold, envied and separated from his family. His attractive physical features caused him to be falsely accused of attempted rape, imprisoned and forgotten by those to whom he showed great kindness to and helped. Throughout this process, however, favor followed Joseph, in every situation and at every level, by the highest of the authorities. Joseph effectively endured a long process of development. During his trials, he held firm to his faith, and eventually, he was appointed as an Egyptian ruler in the house of Pharaoh. Years later, he was afforded the opportunity to serve the same brothers who wished him dead, and instead of rubbing his favor in their faces, he used it to bless them.

others to feel like their own worth has lessened. As fair as it would be for every man to have his opportunity to “shine,” people rarely have that moment at the same time, and someone is always disappointed. Man’s opinion of another man is often based solely on surface clues, however, God’s definition of a man is fairly determined by what is in a man’s heart. Like the true essence of a man, favor is a back stage act. It remains behind the scenes and is not observed easily, but without it the main character would flop! When we’re faced with harsh treatment, ostracized, and ignored, or when we become the victims of a series of unfortunate events, we often determine that we’re being dealt an unfair hand. However, a broader perspective might bring us to realize that favor is hot on our trail and working hard behind the scenes. The circumstances we wish would disappear may actually be the vehicles to our greatest appointment. Recognizing the process of favor, and the divine purpose of life’s trials, can transform our view of a black canvas into an array of colors that speak of promise! God’s presence is forever with us and empowers us, through favor, to reach our ultimate success. YEVETTE WHITEHURST is a freelance writer, based in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Her

church home is Abundant Life Family Worship Church, where her pastors are Bishop George C. Searight and Pastor Mary Searight. She serves as a church mother and intercessor. Ms. Whitehurst’s favorite scripture is: Psalm 116: 6b. …”when I was brought low, he saved me.”

If you look closely at the life of Joseph, you will see that favor breeds accusation, envy, and even hate. The circumstances that spotlight the life or deeds of one individual, seems to cause









atching the evening news these days can evoke many emotions. While some may experience fear, anger, hurt, sympathy, worry, or regret; others may find themselves downright depressed. However, for others like me–-it just makes you wonder, “What in the world is really going on?” It’s only September, and we have had a record number of deadly tornados taking place simultaneously within the United States, and a sudden tsunami in Japan that killed an multitude of people that never saw it coming! This tsunami was so strong that it threatened to affect Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, the entire U.S. western coast, Mexico, Central and South America. In addition to the natural disasters, we have also endured and/or witnessed, in the news, an increase in domestic violence, human sex trafficking, grotesque murders of children, neighbors, and now the threat of our economy headed towards collapse. As the tempo of these events increases, Optimal Living Magazine will present a three part feature story series that will examine the happenings of the world, and how we are to go forth spiritually, to prepare for things to come. In this issue of Optimal Living Magazine, I have had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing one of the most humble and powerful voices in the kingdom of God, Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Washington, DC. Archbishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. is not only a gift to the body of Christ; he is a beacon of wisdom, knowledge and sound judgment to the ninety churches that hold his leadership in high regard in the United States and abroad. In 2008, Bishop Owens was elevated to the position of Presiding Prelate and Senior Bishop of the Mt. Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc., and was consecrated to that position in the summer of 2009. Respectively, his lovely wife, Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens, was elevated to the position of International First Lady. In addition to serving as the Dean of the Joint College of AfricanAmerican Pentecostal Bishops since the year 2000, Bishop Owens; on August 20, 2009; was also elevated to the esteemed position of Archbishop of the Joint College.

On a blazing hot day in the nation’s capital, I sat down with the Archbishop, in his office, and asked the mind-boggling question, “What in the world is really going on?” Without hesitation, and with much certainty, Archbishop Owens said, “The Word of God is being fulfilled. Everything that is happening today goes back to the previews that God shared with us, especially in Matthew 24, where the disciples asked Jesus what would be the signs for the end of the earth. And he said, ‘Earthquakes, pestilence, famines, the love of many waxing cold, wars, rumors of wars, kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation.’ God is honoring His word. You can’t get around what God has said in his Word. God has said in the last days all of these things would happen, including the last fiasco when the man said that the world was coming to an end this year. That same chapter in Matthew says that ‘no man would know the day nor the hour.’ “So, we are living in Bible times, whereby the bible is being fulfilled. The Lord says, ‘When you see these things, rejoice, because you know that your redemption draweth nigh.’ As Christians, we panic and we feel the hurt over the lives that have been lost, but the Word of God is going to be fulfilled, and the presence of evil is very real. In the presence of evil, we should be praying more, turning down our plates, developing our own relationships with the Lord, getting a real foundation in the Word of God, so that we won’t panic like others that don’t know God when they hear these things going on. We should always develop a more personal relationship with the Lord.”

PREPARING OUR FAMILIES The family unit is imperative to our existence in life. For so many reasons, we need each other to survive. As we go through these trying times, we need to keep the family together. According to Archbishop Owens, the best thing we can do for our families is to take them to church. He says, “We need to get back to the place where we pray with family. Get back to the place where we eat with family. Sundays are a good time to get spiritual food, then spend time with family.”




He says, “I teach my grandsons to respect the house of God. When we were growing up, we had such a reverence for God that we set our Sunday best outfits out the night before, and we looked nice. We loved to dress up for the Lord. Times have changed; we need to keep the family in church and in prayer. “I have a sermon that I preached called Whatever happened to Sunday. In the sermon, I talked about whatever happened to the days when we didn’t shop, cook, or iron on Sunday, because that was the Sabbath. Sunday was the Lord’s Day when I was growing up, and now we go to the mall on Sunday and find time to do everything on Sunday. The message may have gone in one ear and out the other, but my congregation has been taught to respect God’s day.” In addition, Archbishop says, “God is faithful and His word is true. No matter how impossible something may seem. If God said it, it will come to pass. Whatever he said in His Word will come to pass. God says he will save you and your family. No matter if you see it or not, it will come to pass. No matter how heathenistic some of them might act, you stand on the Word and believe it. “It is best to keep saying it and believing it. Speak it out, speak the Word.” “One of the tricks of the enemy is for us to doubt God’s Word. The Word says that God can not lie. The enemy wants to make God out of a liar by making us think that His promises are not coming to pass, or making us think that we have waited too long, and that our waiting on the Lord is in vain or out of control. But it’s not, because the scripture says wait on the Lord and be of good courage. One of the principles that I teach my congregation is to continue to trust God and wait with patience, because it will come to pass.”


Archbishop Owens explains, “Waiting on the Lord is hard because sometimes you just don’t know how long you will have to wait. You see other people getting their blessings before you get yours, but you




just need to stand on that Word. You must believe it!” The following is an acronym that Archbishop often uses to encourage his congregation about how to wait on the Lord to fulfill His promises.

Whether the storm. Anchor in Jesus. Your stronghold has to be in Jesus Christ. Get your Spiritual raincoat.


Grab some nspiration! Don’t wait for people to encourage you. Encourage yourself! “Many times, when I was growing this ministry, I would look at myself in the mirror, in the midst of a hard time, and say, ‘Owens – you are going to make it!’ You have to encourage yourself when the times are the darkest. The bible says, ‘He who has begun a good work in you is going to complete it.’ So grab yourself some Inspiration and sing because you’re happy and free! If His eyes are on the sparrow, then He is watching you!” Give God

Time to Move!

“I learned from my mother, give God time to move! He will bring it to pass. I believe it with all of my heart. The bad word seems to be time because we feel like we are running out of time. When I was growing up, I used to say, ‘If God said it, I believe it, that settles it.’ However, as I got older, I took that middle word out and started to say, ‘If God said it, it doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. If God said it, it’s going to happen!’ It’s going to happen because He is not a liar. If He said that it’s going to rain tomorrow, you might not even believe it, because the sun is shining now; but if God said that it is going to rain, it’s going to happen.”

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A HUMBLE SERVANT OF GOD For decades, Archbishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. has had a strong voice in the Washington, DC community, across the United States, and in foreign territories such as Africa, Canada, England, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and the West Indies. Yet, he has

“God is honoring His Word”

always maintained an extremely humble disposition as God has elevated him to higher positions with more responsibility. However, in between the times of positioning and elevation, Archbishop Owens says that he is being challenged more. He explains, “Every higher call presents a higher challenge. My prayer is, ‘Lord, keep me humble. Keep me touchable and reachable. Make me so that I can walk among kings and not lose the common touch.’

This is my 45th year pastoring this church. We started out with 7 people, and now we are up to 7000, and I pray every day, ‘Lord, keep me as a Shepherd that is reachable for the sheep. Let me always recognize that I am feeding sheep and not giraffes. Let me keep the level of the message, so that the most humble person, the meekest of people can receive your Word.’ With the challenge of being promoted from minister, bishop and now Archbishop; my main prayer is, ‘Lord, keep my mind so that I can hold it all together




because it is one major responsibility to pastor a church.’ Now, I am not only accountable to my local church, but I am accountable to ninety pastors, in the Mt. Calvary organization, who believe in me. It is that which keeps me humble and walking the straight and narrow.” Moreover, Archbishop Owens says, “One of my greatest assets has been my wife who walks beside me in ministry. She shares the responsibility of ministry with me, which makes it easier for me to do what I need to do. My motto has always been, ‘God first, family next, ministry third.’ God ordained the family before he ordained the ministry. Therefore, I put God first, then my wife and family.” I’m married to Susie. Christ is married to the church. If I take care of my bride, Christ will take care of His bride. The church is the bride of Christ. A lot of pastors make the mistake of putting the church first, before the family, and God never intended that. This is Christ’s church; I am just on loan to take care of his business.” Archbishop Owens teaches the same principle concerning family ministry, wherever he goes. He says, “So many PKs (or preacher’s kids) felt neglected growing up, because the pastors and wives didn’t spend time with their kids. The primary focus of the pastors and pastors’ wives was church and not the family. As a result, preacher’s kids suffer when their parents neglect them in that way. “I have two biological kids, a son and a daughter, that are grown now and five grandsons. My wife and I have taken into our home 18 foster kids over the 39 years of our marriage. We have had 16 boys and 2 girls that have lived in our home from the time they were 8 -9 years old all the way to adulthood. Many of them are serving in the church now. In those days, we didn’t get monetary aid for them, we just took them in. “I taught school, and I began to serve as a mentor to the kids and take them to church with us. Eventually, they started to spend more time with our

family by spending the night on weekends. I come from a broken home, and I know what it is to not have a father. So, we became surrogates to them.”


For many, the distractions of the world’s current condition have consumed our minds with uncertainty about the future. In times like these, it is important to simply have a relationship with God, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and continue to discover ways to grow in Him. Nevertheless, we can still take steps to re-ignite that sweet, sweet place with Jesus! Archbishop Owens says, “If a person turns to God and asks for help to turn back to God and live according to His Word, it will happen. If you hunger and thirst after doing right, if you want to follow God, you will be filled. I can’t go outside of what the scripture says. The scripture says, ‘If you seek you will find, knock and the door will come open.’ So, there is something lacking with that person’s communication with God if they are asking for God’s presence and help in their lives, yet they are not being filled. If a person sits under the Word of God, and they are in a good church, good teaching, and they are hungry for God, it is impossible to not be filled if you really want Him. If you seek Him, you must believe that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. God will not allow you to want Him, and then hold Himself back from you.”

THE MESSAGE FOR THIS GENERATION “As long as the Bible is the Bible, these things must come to pass. When Pakistan is solved, and Osama Bin-Laden is killed, there is going to be

“Every higher call presents a higher challenge.” 11



another terrorist to emerge. You will always have murders and killings, but as a Christian, you must have a different perspective, because the bible says these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. The end will be when the gospel is preached to every creature. That’s when the end will come. “So, Christians must stay rooted and grounded in the love of God for your personal self. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul and your neighbor as yourself. We must love what God loves and hate what God hates.

to come quicker, so that we won’t have to continue to deal with these things, and so many lives won’t continue to be affected. ‘Lord, come to take us out of these situations,’ is my prayer.” In closing, the promises of God that Christians can depend on in this season are that He is faithful and His Word is true. I pray that Archbishop Owens’ message has been a blessing and a great encouragement to you during this difficult season in our nation’s history.

If you happen to be in the Washington, DC area; you would definitely be in for a treat to visit the “The fact that sin came into the world from Adam beloved “church in the hood that will do you good” and Eve, which caused everything to spiral downward, at 610 Rhode Island Avenue NE, Washington, DC is going to be until Jesus comes. When I watch 20002. You will be sure to get an on-time Word television and see everything going on, I pray for from the pulpit, love from the congregation, and those affected by the disasters and murders. I don’t encouragement from the effectual, fervent prayer that have a nonchalant attitude. Instead, I ask the Lord goes up every Sunday morning in the sanctuary.

“Renew your mind in Christ,

and your life will follow.”

The Publisher of Optimal Living Magazine, Tanisha R. Hopson, is a typical optimist! She believes that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. She also believes that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord, no matter what opposition we face in this life. In sum, she is a firm believer that Jesus is Lord and that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much! Her church home is Alfred Street Baptist Church in northern Virginia, where the pastor is Reverend Dr. Howard-John Wesley.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “What in the World is Really Going On?” in the 2011 November/December issue!




TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A SAVED BLACK MAN WE MET IN THE VINEYARD! BY CHRISTOPH JENKINS Whosoever findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). This passage of scripture defines and sculpts my frame of thinking when I reflect on how God has blessed and favored me by entrusting me with one of his angels… my fiancé. Prayer and preparation ushered her to me. I have found my “good thing,” and I have experienced favor like never before since I met her. 13



People often ask me, “How did you know that she was the one?” As a single, saved man, I’ve learned through life experiences, and by just honing in on the message that is brought forth on Sunday mornings at church, that prayer and preparation are the two practices that need to be utilized when seeking a mate. Prayer produces communication and revelation with God.

To personalize my point of view, I’ll say this…I prayed that God would send me a friend I could call my best friend…not a girlfriend, or a wife. I promised God that I’d take the time to focus on myself and my goals, and that I would make sure they all things concerning me line up with His plans for my life. Once I made this promise, God strategically placed my, now, fiancé in my path. We must learn to realize that there are seasons when it comes to relationships, and the most significant season, in my opinion, is the season when you “pursue yourself!” How many of us can actually say that, at least once in our adult life, we strategically set aside a time period where we ignored the urge(s) to pursue the opposite sex? We must allow God to “prune and prick” us for our next season in life. We need God to prick our bad habits, our lustful thoughts, our prideful ways, our excess baggage! Then, as scripture says, God will prune (cut back) those who are bearing fruit, so that they’ll bear more fruit. John 15:1–4 says, 1

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Pursuing yourself also means to pursue God, because, as you have read in verse 4 of John 15, God states, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” As it relates to relationships, we, men, can’t go out there and “find” a wife, nor can women “be found” by a man, without spending time in the vineyard. In sum, your future husband, or future wife, can ONLY be found being pricked and pruned in the vineyard, so that neither of you will have to carry the excess baggage. You’ll both be able to enjoy the fruit that has been produced as a result

of your submitting yourselves to the pruning process. Thank you, Lord, for the many different processes that we MUST endure in life, but more specifically, the pricking and pruning process we MUST endure to be in the right place (the vineyard) at the right time (your season) to meet the mate you have set aside for us! We step into your vineyard, and we will remain in you as you remain in us, because we know that is the only way we can bear the necessary fruit to be ready to receive the person that you have for us! In submission to your process, we say thank you! AMEN CHRISTOPH JENKINS ( is a writer, tutor, mentor, and entrepreneur. Christoph is now in the process of writing his first book, “Seoul of a Black Man,” chronicling his experiences living and teaching in South Korea. Follow Chris on twitter @ItsChristophJ.






IF YOU DON’T RESPECT HIM, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY LOSE HIM BY ROSE C. BELK “He doesn’t clean up, doesn’t pick up behind himself, doesn’t make enough money, and he is not a good provider.” “He doesn’t know how to do anything – geesh!” “I am just tired of him!” And here is a good one, “He doesn’t cherish me like Christ cherishes the church!” Those are just a few phrases one hears when talking to couples. Both husbands and wives always find something wrong with the other spouse; however, it is usually the wife who has most of the complaints. Some years ago, when my husband and I were struggling with our finances (TRULY struggling), I was so unhappy with our marriage and so unhappy with him. I wanted him to do more and to be more. Things around the house needed to be fixed. We didn’t have the money, and he didn’t have the know-how. I expected him to fix everything–our marriage and our lives. I pushed and pushed and said so many things that I regret TO THIS DAY. I am in no way saying that he was always right about everything; however, things could have gone so much smoother if we both had realized that we were not just married, we were a team and that is how we were supposed to function--as a team! My husband and I have been married (to each other) for 32




years now, and I have come to realize that it is okay if he doesn’t know how to do everything. God didn’t create every man alike. We are all unique in our differences. There are plenty of things my husband knows how to do that others don’t have the skill to do. We learned to do what we know how to do well, and where we lack the ability or skills; we just pay someone and are done with it. If we do not have the funds to hire someone, we just trust God! Wow! What a phenomenal concept!

than themselves.” This scripture does not set boundaries or make distinctions here. It simply says, “Let each esteem the other”. God intended that our mates be highly esteemed and respected. And we, ladies, are REQUIRED to give them that respect.

Respect is lacking in so many marriages today, despite the fact that everyone wants it, and everybody expects it. It seems so easy to give respect to pastors, teachers, managers, and even co-workers, yet we forget that the people who are closest to us deserve respect too.

No man wants to be treated like a little boy. He is not a boy. He is your MAN--the one that God gave to you! He is the King of the castle, the Priest of your home. He deserves to be treated well by you and your children. Love him that way. Encourage him. Let him know you appreciate him by your words and your actions. Do not go one whole week without saying to him, “I really love and appreciate you!” Spend quality time together and respect him–-always. You will reap the rewards of the seeds you plant. I certainly have.

The Word of God clearly says, in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better

(Disclaimer: Listen! Let’s not be ignorant of the fact that not every relationship is a bed of roses. If your marriage is rocky right now, STOP, PRAY,

AND LISTEN for the voice of God to give you direction and insight. Seek godly counsel. Talk to your pastor or a Christian Counselor. Psalm. 1:1). You will be blessed by seeking counseling from a godly source–-one who knows the Lord. ROSE C. BELK

a woman after God’s own heart, is a wife, mother, minister of the Gospel and recording artist. Rose learned through many struggles that God is the true source for victory. Her vast experience as a wife and mother has proven that marriage is still a holy institution, and that godly children can be raised in an ungodly world. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Rose is the founder of Rose Belk Ministries. Rose’s multi-talented abilities have launched her success in music. She has released two CD projects titled, My Song of Praise in 2000 and Simply Rose – Nothing But Praise in 2007. This is Your Season, her first music video, has been released in 2011.




CAREER & LEADERSHIP INSIGHT TAKING AUTHORITY OVER DREADFUL WORKPLACE CONVERSATIONS BY RHONDA YORK Wouldn’t it be great if all conversations were positive and productive? If you knew that the outcome of a prospective conversation would result in a better working relationship, would you hesitate to start that conversation? Most of us avoid conversations because we have convinced ourselves that the process and outcome will be painful and will not end in a positive manner. Do you ever wonder how some people seem to be able to speak their mind, while others avoid difficult conversations like the plague? Being able to speak your mind and have good conversations, in the workplace and in our personal lives, is very important. However, it can be difficult. The success of business and personal relationships is greatly affected by the success of communication. What keeps us from having calm, productive conversations? Why do we avoid the dreaded conversation? We tend to avoid difficult conversations for several reasons. First, our hesitation often is due to the stories we tell ourselves. When we don’t have all the facts, we make up stories and convince ourselves that a negative outcome will occur if we approach this person and have the dreaded conversation. We even look for signs from the other person’s actions or behavior to convince us that we are right. Our interpretations may or may not be true, but we think and operate from that view point that our assumptions are valid. We tell ourselves that if we speak our mind, something negative will happen, and the result will bring us pain and embarrassment. We also have a fear of hurting someone’s feelings and worry that the person will no longer like us. We all want to be liked and have a fear of being rejected. Without really knowing it, we create a variety of different scenarios in our minds. If we think the person we need to talk to will get angry, reject us, or cause us pain and embarrassment; then we will do what we can to avoid the conversation. By avoiding the discussion, we




prevent a strong, workable relationship from taking place. The following are some tips that will empower you to have those dreaded conversations, and help move ourselves, the company, or the relationship forward without losing face. ● Ask yourself if the outcome you imagine is Your Story or a Fact. ● Take care in setting the stage for the conversation. What you do on the front end can affect the attitude and results of the conversation. ● Create a safe environment that welcomes input and feedback. ● Stay on task/topic. Don’t bring up past issues or multiple topics. ● Write out a script to help you establish the desired wording and flow for the conversation. You won’t read this script, but it can help you choose your words and determine if there is a better way to say something before having the real conversation. ● Ask questions that give the other person an opportunity to offer solutions to avoid “selling” your ideas.” Be willing to compromise and negotiate. Seek a win-win solution. Let go of having to be “right”. ● Be very specific about what you are describing and asking for. Ask the person to repeat back to you what they have heard you say. This process helps you ensure that the other person has correctly interpreted your intended message. ● End by summarizing resulting decisions and action steps. Make sure everyone is in agreement.

By following these steps, you can proceed with confidence. You can have a rich conversation without anyone feeling threatened or experiencing the fear of “losing face.” If we passively avoid conversations, we set ourselves up to explode; we may react in an aggressive manner that can permanently damage the relationship. By having these conversations promptly, when needed, we can build strong relationships and establish trust with others. Strong teams and relationships are built on trust. Step out of your comfort zone. Have the conversation and move confidently towards success!


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Your bedroom should be a calm, serene sanctuary in your home, where you can relax and destress. When you get out of bed, do you trip over piles of clothes, boxes, shoes or other items? Do you have stacks of DVDs spilling from your entertainment center? If so, don’t worry, organizing your bedroom doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. You can transform your bedroom from a cluttered mess to a tranquil retreat with these 5 easy tips.

PICK IT UP First, start by picking up clothes, shoes, or other items off of the floor. Return miscellaneous items to the rooms where they belong.

IF IT DOESN’T FIT YOU MUST EVICT The biggest clutter culprit is usually in the closet. Take everything out of your closet and sort the items. If you haven’t worn something in a year or more, and it doesn’t fit or is out of fashion, donate or throw it away. When you have decided on what to keep, arrange items by categories (dresses, skirts, shirts, pants, etc.), then by color, from light to dark. This way you can see what you have and you will save time when getting dressed in the morning. Do you have too many shoes? Place a shoe rack in the closet, hang a shoe bag over the door or use a “shoes under” organizer to store them under the bed. Move out-of-season items to a container or wardrobe in the attic or basement, but be sure to protect the clothes properly.

LESS IS MORE Once you’ve narrowed down your wardrobe, adopt a practice I’ve followed for years. Put a box or container in your closet and label it “donations”. Place a trash bag in the bottom. As soon as you put a new item in the closet, decide what can be purged (e.g., clothing, shoes, etc), and place the item(s) directly into the box or container. When it is full, put everything in the bag and transfer it to your car to drop off at the nearest charity, clothing resale shop, or “yellow donation box”.

item that you bring into your bedroom. You can avoid the problem of clutter by making sure everything has a place. RHONDA FEIMSTER

is the owner of An Eye 4 Order. She believes that the key to becoming organized is remembering that everything has a place, and that your system for organization must be simple and complimentary to your lifestyle. Her company’s philosophy is simple: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40. For more information about her services, visit: www.

NO OFFICE BUSINESS IN THE BEDROOM If you use your bedroom as a home office, issue an eviction notice. Any other place in the house (e.g., kitchen, dining room or guest room) is a better place for your home office.

DAILY RITUALS TO KEEP YOUR BEDROOM CLUTTER FREE: 1. Make your bed as soon as you get up. 2. At the end of the day, hang up your clothes or place them in the laundry basket. Avoid the temptation to drape them on a chair or drop them on the floor. 3. To avoid bedside clutter, keep just one of everything out: the book you’re reading; one bottle of lotion; one pair of slippers. 4. Finally, scrutinize every new









OLM: Your latest single titled, So

Amazing is beautiful! The melodies are soulful, harmonic and extremely uplifting. Please tell our audience more about you and your journey as an artist. Where are you originally from? How did you get your start with singing gospel music?

ROSE BELK: There is a scripture in Proverbs that I have adopted as my own. It’s Proverbs 21:1, and it simply says, “The king’s heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” I believe the roadmap for our lives is established before birth. It is up to us to read it and follow the directions of that roadmap. For me, my parents had a lot to do with where I am today. They gave me Jesus and helped me to build a foundation in God. That was important for my future. My seven siblings and I all sing and were born again at a very early age. I’m a country girl who grew up on a farm in Pineville, NC. Pineville is a small town just outside of Charlotte, NC. My grandfather owned land, and his children built houses and farmed that land. He was a pastor and left a great legacy. We are truly a family who loves God. My first song was released to the airwaves in 1992, when Terence Jones wrote and produced Nailed Scarred Hands. I was a featured artist on his CD. That experience taught me a lot, and I am grateful for Terence giving me my first start. My first full CD My Song of Praise was produced by my brother, Adam Culp, because he believed in me. From there, God blessed my husband and I to be executive producers of Simply Rose – Nothing But Praise and two music videos--This Is Your Season and So Amazing. I am so thankful that the Lord chose me for this

work, and I am excited about what He will do with this single, So Amazing.

in Charlotte, NC. Please tell us more about how you and your family serve God?

OLM: Where did you get the

ROSE BELK: My husband, Rogers, and I are very supportive of our church, Victory Christian Center. While my husband ushers, I work with the praise team. He is also the President of the Blue and Gold Club for our church’s school, Victory Christian Center School. Aside from that, we have a program for single moms called, “IMPACT”. We have our own record label and management company, R. Belk Music Group, LLC, DBA/New Season Records.

motivation from to create the single, So Amazing? What does this single represent to you, as a woman of God?

ROSE BELK: While preparing for rehearsal on a Saturday morning with the young adult praise team that I formed at our church, I was just thinking about the goodness of God and the things He had done for me. That’s when it began. The words began to flow…. “You are worthy, so awesome is our God”. As I continued to sing, more and more words came. By the time I got to rehearsal, I had two good verses and the Chorus. I taught it to the praise team, and we sang it that Sunday morning. There is a miracle in this song. Some years ago, I became very hoarse. I tried singing through my hoarseness , which is the wrong thing to do for a singer. Eventually, I became so hoarse that I could barely talk. After being hoarse for so long, someone suggested I see a doctor. So I did. The doctor informed me that I had two nodules on both sides of my vocal chords. I had two choices-surgery or vocal therapy. I chose the therapy, since surgery could permanently damage my vocal chords. As a result, I lost my vocal range, strength and control; not to mention the raspiness that seemingly would not go away. So, here I was singing So Amazing. For the first time in years, I was able to hit some of my higher notes. That’s why He’s So Amazing!

OLM: Where can our audience go to purchase your single?

ROSE BELK: So Amazing can be purchased at,, Rhapsody, Itunes, CDUniverse,, and other online stores. Google “Rose Belk” to see other sources.

OLM: You and your husband are

involved in several ministry projects






Individuals returning to work after an extended absence from the workforce often find it difficult to get a handle on their finances. Prolonged unemployment can wreak havoc on your savings, credit rating, and retirement resources. Below are a few suggestions about how to begin the process of restabilizing your finances.




REVISIT YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS After experiencing unemployment, it is likely that your financial priorities have changed. Before the layoff, you may have been contemplating a major purchase, such as a larger

house or new car. Afterwards, the focus may be on replenishing savings or paying off credit card debt. The important thing is to establish your priorities and rank them, in order of importance. Create both a short-term and long-term list of goals. Treat your goals as expenses and contribute toward them regularly.

CREATE A NEW BUDGET New positions often come with changes in salary. Has your income increased or decreased, compared to the income from your previous employer? If there has been a change, how will it affect your lifestyle? Add up all sources of income (e.g., job, rental property, child support, etc.), then list all of your expenses. Divide these expenses into three categories: fixed expenses (e.g., housing, food, clothing, utilities, transportation, and student loans), discretionary expenses (e.g., entertainment, vacations, and eating out) and periodic expenses (e.g., insurance premiums, automobile and household maintenance, association/organizational dues, and holiday gifts). Remember to include regular amounts dedicated to rebuilding your savings. After adding up your total income and total expenses, compare the two totals. Ideally, you should be spending less than you earn. If this is the case, then you are on the right track. If your expenses are greater than your income, you will need to make some adjustments. Examine your expenses closely and cut back on discretionary spending. To get an accurate perspective on where your money is going, keep a spending journal. Record every cent that you spend for 14 days, and make sure to include vending machine purchases, tolls, tips, ATM charges, and even change given to panhandlers. After 14 days, review your purchases. You’ll probably be surprised

at what you’ve spent. Monitor your budget periodically and make changes when necessary. Remember to be flexible; any budget that is too rigid is likely to fail. Be prepared for the unexpected (e.g., leaky roof or failed car transmission).

PAY OFF CREDIT CARDS If you have credit card debt, consider directing a larger payment to the card with the highest interest rate. This way, you can pay it off first, while paying the minimum payments on the others. By eliminating the highest rate card first, you reduce the amount of interest that is paid over the long-term. Continue this method with the card having the next highest interest rate until all of your credit cards are paid off. Resist using credit cards for everyday purchases. You’ll end up paying many times the original cost of the purchase, unless balances are paid off each month.

market. Remember, retirement is one of the few financial needs that cannot be financed. Only deliberate planning will allow you to reach your retirement goals. You CAN recover from a period of unemployment. The key is to prioritize your goals and set a reasonable budget. With time and discipline, you will get back on the right financial track. DEION J. COLEMAN

is a Financial Services Representative for the Mid-Atlantic Financial Group, an office of MetLife. Contact her at

SAVING FOR RETIREMENT Saving for retirement should be one of your top priorities. If your new employer has a retirement plan, participate as soon as you are eligible. Contribute up to what your company will match; any less and you’re passing up free money. If your employer does not have a retirement plan, open an IRA or other personal retirement account. If you participated in your former employer’s plan, consider rolling over those funds into an investment account that will protect your income stream from the fluctuations of the stock






Like a whisper on the wind, I am but a whisper away, waiting to hear all you have to say. Like a breeze across the water, I can tell the seas to be still, I am here waiting, live in my will.

Like a hug from a baby, like the giggles of a child,

I will be here for always, not just for a little while.

Like the wisdom of the seniors, words from the wise, I am here in the sunset, the storms and the sunrise.

Like the sky, I am the beginning and the end, unlike any other I am your unconditionally loving friend. Like a whisper on the wind I am always here,

for ever more.. I am God and I love you is that clear?






Ingredients: Fish:

4 firm white fish fillets, preferably whiting 1 cup shredded coconut 2/3 cup flour 1 teaspoon curry powder 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (or to taste) 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 egg

Mango Salsa:

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced 1/4 cup chopped red onion Juice of 1/2 lime 1/4 cup chopped red pepper 1 tablepoon vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 1/2 teaspoon curry powder Salt and pepper taste

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Preparation: 1. Make mango salsa: Stir together the chopped mango, chopped onion, lime juice, chopped pepper, vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil, cilantro, curry powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 2. Mix 1/3 cup flour, coconut, cumin, curry powder, salt and pepper together on a plate. 3. In shallow bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Place the remaining 1/3 cup flour on a second plate. 4. Dredge the fillets first in the plain flour (shaking off excess), then in the egg mixture, and finely in the coconut mixture to coat both sides. 5. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat, then sautĂŠ the fillets until browned on both sides and cooked though on the inside, about 2-3 minutes per side. 6. Serve fillets warm with rice and mango salsa.




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

A TIME OF INTERCESSION Hebrews 4:16 states, So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever-forsake not the works of Your own hands. Psalms 138:8 Father God in Jesus’ name, we come to you right now thanking you for the new mercies that you have bestowed on us this day. Yesterday has past and will take care of itself; yet, in this moment we bless you and give you all the honor, glory and praise due to your name! You are worthy! Father, we repent and ask for your forgiveness right now for sins of omission and commission in our lives. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Father God, we thank you that all things are being made new right now. We ask that as your Word is manifested in the earth that more souls will be saved. We thank you that your Word is settled in heaven and that you are not a man that you should lie, nor the son of a man that you should repent. God, we ask that the happenings of the recent earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes would bring individuals, families, and neighbors together to seek your face. Father, we ask that you would heal families that have lost loved ones in this time. We pray that these families would be comforted and made whole by your sweet Holy Spirit. We thank you for healing and restoring minds, marriages, friendships and finances. We pray that you would heal our land and revive the weary in this time, Father God. Gently remind them that tough times don’t last always, but that you are faithful in all things. Father, we pray for President Barack Obama and all those that are in power all over the world. We ask that you would lead, guide and direct President Obama and all those in power in those private moments with you. Lead them in every decision that they will make in this hour. Refresh their spirits in this time and give them strength to effectively do your will. We plead the blood of Jesus over our children, friends, pastors, bishops, ministers and families. We declare that no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper. God, we thank you for renewed peace and strength right now. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.





I will always put God first in everything I do!


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


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)


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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.





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

MRS. LYDIA McLEOD Ardyss Life Consultant 202-258-1885

DI HOME IMPROVEMENT N General Contracting Services Serving New Jersey, Maryland, DC & Virginia Courteous and Reliable Service 718-355-1366 Email:

MRS. CHARRI PATTON Mary Kay Consultant Office: 301- 906-8559

THE GOSPEL SPREADING BOOKSTORE 2006 Georgia Avenue Northwest Washington D.C., DC 20001-3027 202-745-2665

THE GREATER MOUNT CALVARY HOLY CHURCH BOOKSTORE 616 Rhode Island Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 202-832-4130




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Optimal Living Magazine: 2011 September-October  

Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church talks candidly with Optimal Living Magazine as part of a three part mini...

Optimal Living Magazine: 2011 September-October  

Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church talks candidly with Optimal Living Magazine as part of a three part mini...