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Subscribe Today! Real Women Real Stories Real Praise For the Everyday Woman

Digital Magazine Posted on website pdwmag.com

Quarterly Digital Christian Magazine for Women Spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, Encouraging Women to Connect to Their Purpose

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January 2018 Winter Issue PUBLISHER and EDITOR IN CHIEF Kimi Johnson VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Kayla Nickles Purpose Driven Women Magazine pdwmag.com 850-300-9728 pdwmailus@gmail.com ADVERTISING For more information on advertising, call 850-300-9728 or email pdwmailus@gmail.com Purpose Driven Women Magazine is published 4 times a year and is available in digital format at pdwmag.com. The information in this publication is presented in good faith. The editor in chief does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions. Purpose Driven Women Magazine, LLC may not be reproduced without permission form the publisher.

pdwmag.com


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Contents

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Share My Story

Women who are thriving in their purpose share their testimonies

Editor in Chief Kimi Johnson

4 Letter from the Editor

Kimi Johnson shares why she started Purpose Driven Women Magazine

12 Tonier Cain: Celebrating Life

Committed to crack cocaine for 19 years, arrested 83 times with 66 convictions, now she is living life and is enjoying every minute of it

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Real Talk with Judy

Radio talk show host on Tallahassee's number one gospel station, Heaven 98.3 Judy Mandrel

Cover Feature Tonier Cain

As long as there is breathe there is hope!

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In This Issue 20 Spiritual 36 Family 40 Share My Story

38 Educator's Corner

50 Love and Relationships 60 I am a Purpose Driven Woman 70 Success Tools

Cover Feature Judy Mandrell

50 Just Simply Saying

Positive Parenting for Blended Families p. 50 ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7


Our Contributors La Shae Roberts is a life coach who desires to restore broken and strained families, especially women. Through her mentoring, she has learned that every woman has a story and seeks to empower them so they can live their best lives. You can read more of her writings at Robertsons.com.

Rhoda Whitfield graduated from Florida A&M University in education and is a retired educator that has a deep passion for marriage. She believes in order to maintain a successful marriage you have to nurture your marriage daily. She is a Co-host of Women of Wisdom Marriage Empowerment and the columnist for "Just Simply Saying," a tell it like it is column in Purpose Driven Women Magazine for married couples. Learn more about Rhoda at www.dannyandrhodawhitfield.com Ishah Whipple is a wife, mother, student, logger and newly published author of the book Hearts Flow. Originally from New York City, she now calls the Upstate of South Carolina home for her, her husband, and their 4 children. A worshiper at heart, Shah loves to sing, read, write and do pretty much anything with her tribe. She lives a life of transparency and boldness as she knows she has only scratched the surface of what God has in store for her. Keep your eyes peeled for her and her family. Great things to come! www.heartsflowblog.wordpress.com Alana McClendon is a Michelle Cook- Hall born a Kid, Motivational, Inspirational and an quickly learned the importance Empowerment Speaker. Alana is of being a servant to the body of known for her smile, joyful Christ. She served as Director of demeanor and constantly the Youth Choir and eventually encouraging others to see the served as Minister of Music. She good in every situation. Alana is is the founder of Prayer Warriors also very transparent in sharing Church Drama Club providing her story with others in her opportunities of expression and transition of being homeless, faith in the form of stage plays. living in a shelter with her three Briefly she worked as a writer children, and moving forward to for Urban Ministries Young Adult obtaining permanent housing, Sunday School books. and full time permanent employment. 8


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Betty Predmore is a writer, blogger, speaker, and ministry leader. She is Co-founder of the Women of Virtue Empowerment Network, which is a faith-based non profit organization created for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging women to find help and hope in Jesus Christ.

Lacey Rivers has been a Freelance Writer and Blogger for 3 years. Before launching her own Christian Online Magazine in July 2017, she was a volunteer Blogger/ Writer for Living Witness TV, Rap Resurrection, and Epic Happy News.

Trecia “T. Renee” Miller is a God-fearing wife, mother, author and entrepreneur. Through her first publication, “Journey to I Am: An Affirmation Journal” and the founding of “The F.I.T. Diva’s Society” a women’s empowerment organization, she strives to fulfill her purpose to inspire and encourage women to live FIERCE.INSPIRED.TRANSFORMED in all areas of their life.

Kellie Watkins is the author of If These Shoes Could Talk: The Awakening and Savvy Diva’s Take On…44 Days of Random Thoughts and Observations, under her pen name, Jahzara the Savvy Diva. The jaw-dropping novel and quirky collection of short stories were birthed from her unique outlook on life and her dramatic pursuit of happiness.

Danielle Lyles, God’s Baby girl, Navy wife and Momma to 4 amazing kids, discovered her love for writing in 2008. A screenwriter and freelance writer, she enjoys the faithbased genre but has also worked on musicals, sci-if and television.

Brandi Demetria Marsh; the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Ebony and Pink Pearls. This amazing faith-based non-profit organization serves to promote and encourage young women ages 13-25 to live a life passionately pursuing their purpose. The overall mission is to empower women to walk in their purpose, pursue God in prayer daily, and honor God by living a lifestyle of purity.

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Caprice Smith is the host of Women Uncuffed TV, a YouTube based show that

originated on Women's Broadcast Television Network in 2017. She launched it to train women to uncuff in their lives and businesses. Caprice is an award winning business owner and wears many hats. As seen on the hit ABC Shows in multiple appearances on Dr. Oz, The Match Game and The Chew, Caprice Smith is a national motivator. She has been interviewed locally on Fox 45 and Channel 11, WEAA, WHUR, BMore new and a host of other media outlets.

Arnitris Strong is the founding editor of Blessed be the Tie, a site dedicated to strengthening the ties that bind busy working moms to their children. Blessed Be the Tie's mission is to ensure mothers are empowered to incorporate creative mommy and me time into each day. She has recently embarked on a journey of intentional dating in preparation for being the good thing her future husband was promised in Proverbs 18:22, follow her journey in the Blessed Dating Chronicles. Arnitris is also the owner of A Strong Visual, a boutique branding firm that supports the success and excellence of womenpreneurs by creating out of the box branding experiences that increase their visibility, credibility and profitability. Rhovonda Brown is the co-founder and co-pastor of The Sanctuary Christian Fellowship Church located in Houston, Texas where her husband, Jeffrey, is the founder and senior pastor. She is the founder and executive director of Martha & Mary Ministries, Walking in Freedom ™. Rhovonda is the creator and host of the Walking in Freedom! Retreat and Workshop that brings women together from all walks of life to be equipped and empowered. Rhovonda’s newest project is The Pillar of Hope, a nonprofit organization created to meet the needs of the community.

Prophetess Vicki L. Olton, is an international Christian author and speaker from

Barbados. She is also the founder & president of Mission Inside Out (Barbados). Through the Mission, Vicki’s aim is to help persons find hope through Christ in order to live a more purpose-driven life.

Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is a sum-ma cum laude graduate from Christian Bible College and Seminary with a G.P.A of 4.0. She currently holds a bachelor degree of Christian education, masters of Christian education, and a doctors of Christian education. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is certified to educate children and adults. She is proud to be a graduate of Christian education. 11


My life is a celebration of what my Lord and Savior can and will do.

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Celebrating Life Tonier Cain

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listen and equipped to handle everything she was about to say this encounter was the beginning of a new life, one that still takes Tonier by surprise. From pain to joy, she is living a fulfilled life and enjoying every minute of it! Check out her interview below.

by: Kimi Johnson

Committed to crack cocaine for 19 years, Tonier Cain was arrested 83 times with 66 convictions. She lost custody of four children and lived on the streets, homeless for years. Friends and family thought there was no hope for a person with a past like Tonier. But the Lord had other plans. After being asked, "What's wrong with you?" all her life, someone finally expressed compassion and asked, "What happened?" Prepared to

PDWM: When I hear your testimony, I am amazed by the joy and excitement that you carry. How has life become a celebration for you? TC: My life is definitely a celebration of what our Lord and Savior can and will do. I look at my life as being a vessel for God to show his powers through. So for me, I celebrate the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ not so much me. Through that power I was set free, and whom the son sets free is free indeed.

PDWM: Did you ever imagine yourself walking the journey that God has placed before you? TC: No way!!! Did I ever imagine my life as this? It still blows my mind. It just shows that God truly has a purpose, regardless of our past!!! His word is true; he works it all out for the good!! PDWM: What are some hard earned lessons you have learned through your life? TC: I learned a lot of lesson, I learned that life is going to bring trials and tribulations, life will be hard, and some live a harder life than others. My life was extremely hard, but the lessons I learned from life is that, in our trials we are given strength to endure, and its up to us to utilize that strength. God gives us all we need to survivor, He is with us always, waiting for us to cry out to

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Tonier Cain with her husband Adrian Muldrow Him. He loved me in my mess, my worst, and in my darkness. It was when I cried out to Him, that He gave me light to outshine my darkness. I also learned that God is our Good Shepherd, the world is the hired hands, and doesn’t care to fight when we are attacked. So we must look toward the Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep because we belong to him. We don’t belong to the world. The world will give up on us and not fight hard for us. I also learned to trust without doubting and that has been my greatest victory. I place all my trust and confidence in God alone.

PDWM: What are the three top things you are most thankful for? TC: I have everything to be thankful for, but my top three things are to be able to watch my daughter grow up, I am always thankful for that. I am thankful that God is using me more for His glory and for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and finally I am grateful to be set free and delivered, so I can walk in the fullness of my purpose. PDW: You have traveled around the world, touching ground in over half of the seven continents, speaking to people from many different walks of life. People

Through God's

power I am free and who the Son sets free is free indeed.

across the globe listen to your story and are left in pure amazement. Some people have even call you a miracle, Tonier, how would you define a miracle? TC: Most of my worldly travels have been by the film Healing Neen. God has allowed the documentary about my life travels on five continents, that’s’ amazing to me. People do seem to think I am a miracle…I AM NOT A MIRACLE, I tell them.

It’s not a miracle that I don’t smoke crack anymore, it’s not a miracle that I don’t prostitute anymore, it’s not a miracle that I didn’t loose another child, or that I’m not homeless anymore. It’s not a miracle!! It’s just the promises of God. His word tells us that he came that we may have life more abundantly, to experience the fruit of the spirit. He place his very own spirit in me, so no ma’am, I am not a miracle, I am living the

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promises of the true living GOD!!! PDW: When you wake up in the morning how do you approach your day?

TC: Every morning I do several things, once I open my eyes, I thank God, then once I hit the floor I pray the Lord’s Prayer, then coffee!!!! After coffee I read two daily devotions, then I write to God, I write a letter of gratitude and love to God every morning. Then I wrap a silk scarf (with people names on it) around my neck and go boldly to the throne in the name of Jesus Christ, standing in the gap, lifting everyone up to God on the scarf. Once I am done interceeding for the people on my scarf I present myself in submission form to God, asking him to have his way in my life that day, to help me to walk in the fullness of my purpose. I ask Him to go where He wants me to come and call out to me and as His sheep I will know His voice and run (be obedience) to His call. I also pray every morning that each step is guided by Him. I pray for the faith of Abraham, the wisdom of Solomon, the confidence of Job and the boldness of Paul, because I know if I receive all of that I will be pleasing in His eyes. That’s what I strive for everyday to please him alone. I pray for protection for my husband, our children and grandchildren. I go into another prayer lifting up visions, dreams,

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goals, and my family. In this prayer I remind the Lord of his work, that anything we ask for in faith and believe for will happen. My final morning prayer is the Lord’s Prayer again. That’s how I start every morning. PDWM: What does a fun day look like for you? TC: My fun these days are to snuggle in a bathrobe, with hot tea and watch a funny movie, to hear my family in the home laughing brings me great joy. There’s nothing more enjoyable to me then that. PDW: Your life is a perfect example of the Lord turning a bad situation into a marvelous testimony. You have embraced your story unashamed, using it to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. What would you say to women who are still lost in their story, unable to find a way out? TC: I always tell them, as long as there’s breathe there’s hope!!! The hope is in Jesus Christ. He loves us desperately and he’s waiting at the door knocking. Open the door, let him in, and watch how he will move on your behalf. No matter what it looks like, what it feels like, as long as there’s breathe, there’s hope!!!


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spiritual

Are You His Daughter by: Betty Predmore

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“Are you his daughter?” the nurse asked me as I walked into the hospital room. I nodded “yes” as my eyes fell to his weak body, trapped by the tubes and machines that kept him alive. There lay my beloved dad, facing his eternity. And there I stood, his daughter, watching as a huge piece of my history, an enormous piece of who I was, slowly faded away. How many times over the last couple of years had I answered that question… "Are you his daughter?" Numerous doctor appointments, hospital stays, pharmacy visits required that question time and time again. And as I proudly answered, time and time again, with a resounding "Yes," it occurred to me that it should be evident to those asking that I was his daughter. Didn't they see the resemblance? I wanted them all to stop asking me and to simply KNOW that I was his daughter. I was so honored to say that I belong to this man that was larger than life to me and such a huge part of who I am. Likewise, I am even more honored to be a child of my Father in heaven. To be loved, guided, and forgiven by the One who formed me and created me for his specific purpose...what a treasure that is! As I pondered the thought, it occurred to me to ask myself this question, "Will they know I am His daughter?" Is there any resemblance in my words and actions? Think about it for a minute. Is our heritage to the Kingdom of God evident in our lives? There are three things that come to mind when I think of reflecting the image of my Father in heaven. These are necessary attributes if we want others to see that we are daughters of the Almighty. 1. LOVE. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12 KJV). We are called to love like He loved, not to put conditions on our love but to love despite conditions. God expects us to love even those who persecute us. Loving those who love us is so much easier than loving those who come against us. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44 KJV). God, you want me to love THEM? His answer… "Absolutely!" Do you love as the Father loves?

2. FORGIVENESS. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV) Daily we seek forgiveness from God and others. Big or small, we mess up each and every day. And when we ask for forgiveness, we want to receive it. But the question is…are you giving it? We should not ask for that which we are unwilling to give. Jesus died so that we could all experience forgiveness. There is no picking and choosing when it comes to God’s forgiveness of our sins. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV). Are you living life with a heart of forgiveness? 3. COMPASSION. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 KJV). When Jesus walked the earth, he did so with compassion. He noticed the needs of others and lent his helping hand. Are you willing to take a moment or two of your time to help someone in need? Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. (1 Corinthians 10:24 KJV). Reaching out, lending a hand to those in need, and making a difference for others is true Christ-like behavior. Is there evidence of compassion in your life? As I live out the rest of the time God has allotted me, I will strive to live a life that is pleasing to Him. I will do my best each day to live in love, forgiveness, and compassion. It is my wish that many won't have to ask me, "Are you His daughter?" Hopefully, they will simply know.

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Hair Roll "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

Hair

I sat in the library with my study

activities, and much more I have

completing a test review or setting

tools spread around me, my hair

to admit that implementing self

an appointment for the next online

au naturale hair was pushed back,

care has become one of my

feature in my publication. I used to

I wore an oversized t-shirt with a

greatest struggles. I'm single, no

think that self-care was a costly,

pair of dark denim slim-fit Forver

kids, and haven't hit my "dirty

selfish act, perhaps because I

21 jeans, and a pair of sandals

thirthy" yet, so I should have no

didn't see much self-care

affirming that I hadn't received a

excuse right? Wrong! As a young

implemented in my childhood

pedicure in over a month. I

woman who is relentlessly on a

years. My mom was always on the

purposefuly positioned myself in a

purpose-filled journey, and eager

go, going to Church, going to

corner near a window. I kept quiet

for growth and success, I often

work, going to track meets, dance

and did my work, doing my best to

find myself fiercely searching for

recitals, and cheer camps. While

remain invisible from everyone. I

the time to deep condition my hair,

there were times that she went to

know I looked a mess, I hadn't

join my cousin for lunch, read my

the salon and the nail shop even

found the time to take care of

Bible, water my Zinnias, or watch

then her time to self always

myself because I was busy

a funny film. Polishing my toes,

seemed limited.

building a business, and trying to

taking a brisk walk through the

become a better me.

neighborhood, or piecing together a jigsaw puzzle are tasks that once

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Between full-time school, building

were an easy feat but now seem to

a start-up business,Church

require even more energy than

I've recently come to the understanding of TRUE self-care and why it's so important for a busy purpose-driven woman such


lers

&

r Pins

by: Lacey Rivers

time to do so because of my busy schedule. Blocking off time to pull out my cutting board, fresh herbs, and favorite foods creates a sense of warmth and ease. Certain smells emanating from the kitchen bring back

as myself. After all, how can I

about proper care of

do any of the work that Christ

yourself and treating

has placed before me if I'm

yourself as kindly as you

tired, worn out, and stressed. I

treat others."

know for a fact that while in the library I was looking

Here a few of my easy-to-

exactly how I felt; horrible!

do self-care tactics that are

Gods will is for me to live in

cost efficient and effective

good health, "Beloved, I wish

for the everyday purpose-

above all things that thou

driven woman:

mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul

Visit nature - I love

prospereth." (KJV)

everything about nature! A

Fort Garry Women's

neighborhood with the sun

Resource Center defines selfcare as "care provided for you, by you. It is identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is

nice walk through my beaming down on me breaks down much tension and stress that builds throughout my busy day. Call on the Chef - I love to cook, but I don't have much

healthy moments and memories. Get the tea - After an exhausting day I enjoy a cup of tea (preferably chamomile) with a good book. Get creative - An adult coloring book, or acrylic on canvas makes me feel happy and confident. I never paint with an intention in mind other than fun relaxation. I've learned that there are no specific ways to implement self care. I focus on what makes me happy and adds healthy energy to my life and atmosphere. Sometimes just sitting in silence or a 5 minute prayer to God brings me back to normal and realigns my focus with my purpose. I know I can always rely on hair rollers and hair pins. 23


Remember Who You Are by: Rhovonda Brown

The Lion King is such a great movie. I remember watching it for the first time. I didn't have any children, but I thought to myself, I can't wait to have kids so we can watch it together! The movie was masterfully written, teaching many lessons to children. They learned about love, hate, jealousy, life, death, courage, fear, obedience, disobedience, relationships, leadership, evil and good. One valuable lesson The Lion King teaches is: You can't run from the person you were born to be. Simba, for example, allows his uncle to convince him to leave his home. In fear, he runs away from the person he was created to be. After running from his purpose for many years, Simba's father appears to him in a vision encouraging him to return to his purpose and be who he was born to be, a king.

When I think about Simba's journey, I think of how we, as Christians, run away from our purpose. In fear, we allow the enemy to push us away from being who God called us to be, great. We allow the thoughts of others to dictate how we see ourselves. We allow the words of people and the lies of Satan to become our reality, or how we think God sees us. We allow the mistakes of our past to guide us into a future of uncertainties, where we're distrustful, doubtful, hesitant, fearful, unstable, anxious and cowardly. We're so afraid to take a leap of faith because we worry about the "what ifs." What if I fail? What if I don't succeed? What if I mess up, again? What if. We're terrified to try, even though God's word empowers us to believe that we can do anything through Christ (Phil. 4:13). God is compelling us to rise up, walk on

WRITTEN BY AUTHOR’S NAME PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME

water (Matt. 14:25-29) and trust Him at His word. He's urging us to launch out into the deep (Luke 5:4-10), leave the familiar and follow His directions. But somehow, we are too frightened to move. So we stay stuck, comfortable with being stagnant and unproductive. We've forgotten to be who God says we are. My sister, I want to encourage us to remember who we are. Below are 3 biblical principles to motivate us to confidently be who God created us to be. We are heirs to the King of Glory (Rom.8:17). 1. We are God's instrument. The Father has brilliantly and specifically selected us for His kingdom. Therefore, be His instrument without fear or apprehension.

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lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

For God is with us!

3. We are EXTRA-ordinary. We're unique and special, a peculiar people (1 Pet. 2:9). The world doesn't get us and it never will! The ungodly don't understand why we do what we do. They do not understand why we worship and serve a God we've never seen before. They cannot apprehend why we're willing to die for Him. They can't comprehend why you and I praise the Creator and rejoice in the midst of sufferings. They simply cannot grasp this! To them, we look and sound crazy. But the only thing that matters is God. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14 (KJV) As Christians, we're mistreated and misunderstood. We face challenges daily; however, we mustn't forget that Jesus is alive in us and God's glorious power abides inside of us (Rom. 8:11). Our Father has chosen you and me to be great for Him. Now then, let us fill our minds with good thoughts. Trusting God every step of the way and be who we were born to be: extraordinary heirs to the King.

"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.'" Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV) 2. No stinking thinking. Any negative thoughts or beliefs, anything that goes against the powerful word of God and His character, pull them down (2 Cor. 10:3-5)! Replace them with good thoughts. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are

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Faith it Out by: Michelle Cook-Hall

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV). How do you fight the good fight of faith? The walk of faith requires an aggressive attitude. Fight and Faith work together regarding an enemy that desires to bring discouragement. The enemy's desire is to persuade you not to believe and apply the word of God concerning your life. You can't swing hard enough or punch firm enough even to nick the enemy that you face. You will completely diminish your physical, emotional and spiritual strength, try to fight with natural strength, the things of the spirit. The enemy plans to have you so worn out fighting, that you lose heart. If you lose heart, you lose hope. He plans to rob you of your future and tarnish your testimony. It is important to understand the truth regarding the "good fight." A "good fight" is one you win, one that you are victorious. God encourages us to stand strong in faith, knowing that He is backing us and the faith that He has placed within us is a victory waiting to happen. That's why the Word of God calls it a good fight - because we were destined, as children of God to win. It's a fixed fight, but our stance and position are imperative in seeing its manifestation in our lives.

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I have watched many championship fights, and it's very interesting to see the champion attempt to intimidate the competitor before the fight and during the actual fight. He uses his experience and prior victories to intimidate the competitor. Some fighters are very lively, dancing around their competitor in an attempt to get in his head. But some of the best fights I have ever seen is when the current champion underestimates the hunger and desperation of their competitor. And when they have exhausted their normal routines to gain the victory, they begin to lose heart. The worst thing a fighter can do during a fight is lose heart. When a fighter loses heart in a fight, he loses strength and ability to focus. I've seen fighters who have lost heart in a fight, grab and hold on to their competitor. They are no longer practicing any of their training moves or punching techniques. They are just trying to make it through the round without going down. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9 (KJV) Faith is our stance during battle. Don't lose heart but stand firm on the promises of God concerning you.


Are You Your Sister's Keeper by: Arnitirs Strong

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. Log into any social media platform on any given day, and you will find countless articles and posts about celebrity relationships that have gone awry. If you take the time to read the comments, you will find that they range from the typical- " I would have left him a long time ago" to " All men cheat, you just have to find the one worth sticking in there for." Not only is this line of rhetoric detrimental to the body of Christ, but it also is not supportive of the women who are stuck in the throes of relationships that aren't fulfilling their needs. It is no wonder that so many of our sisters are suffering silently in loveless relationships. Dating is hard in itself, but there can be added stress when dating as a believer. Navigating through the pitfalls of whether to date online or not, whether to pursue the man or even whether we should date at all can leave the strongest woman wondering what her next steps should be. There are also times when we wonder whether it is worth it to continue in a relationship that is not fulfilling all of our needs. Women are emotional beings, and we need to be reassured that our partners are committed - emotionally, mentally and yes physically. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: It is important that we provide a safe space for our sisters to talk about the issues they are facing with dating and in relationships- without judgment. It's easy to say what we would do in any given situation, but so much more difficult to make those decisions when we are faced with the prospect of walking away from a relationship that we have grown to depend upon. Being our sister's keeper means having the difficult conversations in the spirit of love, not condemnation or judgment. As much as possible extend grace to your sister, even if you don't think she is making the best decisions. Sometimes advice isn't needed, just the simple act of talking about the issues out loud will sometimes give us the answers we seek. It is always a good idea to ask before offering unsolicited advice. But woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Eccl 4: 9-10, KJV When we are facing problems in our relationships, it is easy to think that we are the only ones who are experiencing troubles. The mere thought that we are alone causes us to withdraw from interacting with others in fear that they may see our secret shame. Do you know a woman that you suspect may be suffering silently in her relationship? Extend an invitation for coffee or dinner and simply ask how I can support you. That seemingly small gesture could open the door for you to share the love of Christ with her and help her to see her the way that God sees her- as a precious jewel that is worth more than any man could ever desire. When we see ourselves and our sisters in this manner, we will begin to demand that everyone treats us with extreme care.

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Why a Healthy Dose of Jealousy is Good for the Creative Soul by: Kellie Waktins

"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy." 2 Corinthians – 11:2 It's very rare someone outwardly admits the misplaced emotions and perceptions they're feeling about another person is a classic case of jealousy. The word itself, spoken loudly can make someone shriek in disagreement and denial because one doesn't want to be labeled as a jealous person. I'm a grown woman trying to make an imprint on the world while raising a teenage male version of myself, focused on being an entrepreneur while maneuvering through the hiccups of financial strains. I use all of my energy on morning commutes, afternoon physical therapy appointments for the puppy recovering from a broken kneecap, evening basketball practices, and writing great content to engage readers. I have no time in between to breathe for myself, so the mere thought of being jealous of another woman, either in my circle or a complete stranger, would imply I had extra energy to give. This past summer I found myself digesting high doses of jealousy. The loss of my job, the refocused energy into my divine purpose, and the depletion of my savings

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forced me to sit still – in the center of everyone's progress and productivity. The deeper I fell into self-doubt about my purpose, the more entranced I became with the activity of others. I spiraled out of control, ignoring the real lesson behind surviving off of the bare minimum. I focused more on what friends were doing and posting online than staying focused on my craft. Random outbursts of anger, envy, sadness, and sometimes rage enveloped me when receiving alerts from friends hanging out, enjoying food at new restaurants, going on vacation, or launching new businesses. I felt abandoned, betrayed, cropped out of their lives and picked over – leaving myself physically vulnerable and victimized by dozens of cupcakes for comfort. My idle mind caused me to fall victim to outrageous scenarios I'd create about my best friends replacing me because I was financially paralyzed, with new friends that could spend thousands of unplanned dollars on vacations, clothes, and weekly happy hour outings. I secretly turned them into rivals. I secluded myself from their presence, lessening our engagement and interaction -- thus leaving space for unspoken awkwardness and misconceptions.

As I watched my life unravel financially and socially, I began to meditate. I figured I was already sitting still surrounded by scented candles, so why not reacquaint myself with my spirit. She's always been there, whispering inspirational thoughts and suggestions in the morning and midnight air, but I was caught up in the busyness of worldly thoughts to listen. One evening, I heard her ask in a whisper, "Why are you jealous? What are you going to do about it?" It took me a while to discover the answers as I fought diligently through the summer to avoid foreclosure with depleted resources. I dug deep into my soul past the struggles I endured, discovering I was insecure and lacked creativity; thus leaving me feeling unappreciated and less valued as a friend. The more honest I was with myself, the clearer it became the jealous emotions weren't about my friends or their progression, but that the progress didn't include me. The best friend I was supposed to travel with to the Caribbean, instead basked in the sun with my replacement; and the friend who I shared the same unique ideas for business ventures launched her new business –without me. I began writing down the emotions I felt

when reading or hearing about their victories, and realized jealousy is natural, even healthy in small doses – as long as you can be honest about the emotional discomfort. Then the spirit whispered, "So what are you going to do about it?" I answered by becoming transparent about my emotions, by slaying the imaginary rivalry and transformed my negative thoughts into positive actions. I rallied for those progressing, used their energy to reignite mine, and became submissive to my creative mind. Soon, the creative block was lifted, and an influx of engaging content spilled out of me consistently. The creative soul living inside me was reawakened from the overdose of healthy jealousy, bred silently between friends.

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5 Keys to Succeed in Prosperity or Adversity by: Kristie Kennedy

I recently read a quote by Heather Dominick who stated,

love of my life, heartache and pain…I think you get

“A shift in perception leads to a shift in action. A shift in

the picture.

action leads to a shift in results.” Are you aware of the power embedded deeply in your subconscious? What

If you desire the type of success that is lasting, it is

good can a new tube of ruby red lipstick do if you fail to

imperative that you strengthen your internal stance

harness the greatness residing within you?

especially in seasons of struggle. The definition of stance is, a person’s posture, a mental or emotional

Listen, advertisers specialize in selling you a fantasy that

position, a rationalized intellectual attitude or the

is so enticing you are willing to move heaven and earth to

position assumed by an athlete preparing for action.

obtain it. This is one of the primary reasons individuals quit in business because they are not mentally prepared to

Let’s look at the fab four keys to succeed during

endure the hardships rarely seen on the social media

prosperity or adversity:

highlight reel. Focus: Never lose sight of what you are aiming for. I am all for pursuing dreams, my accomplishments

On a daily basis you will be enamored with

demonstrate that I have captured many. More

distractions. I keep a productivity journal that I use a

importantly, what my achievements will not reveal to the

personal accountability log. In fact I am currently

naked eye are the ups and downs I have encountered, the

utilizing about nine journals to chronicle the various

endless nights of toiling, the stopping and starting over,

areas of my life. I study myself more than anyone

the beautiful people I have met along the way, the fears

else. If someone were to ask you pertinent questions

that were crushed to become who I desired to be, the six

about your position as it relates to who you are and

vision boards in my office surrounding me, marrying the

what you do, would you reply hesitantly or

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confidently? Daily I reaffirm within

defeat and if you speak positive words

that I am called to be a voice not an

you fortify emotions of victory. Even if

echo.

you are feeling low in spirit, don’t you dare change your confession to fit your

Fortify: As a mindset coach I can

condition! Challenge and change your

identify immediately the mental and

condition with the power of your

emotional state of the individual I am

confession. How do you fortify your

speaking to. Our words often mirror

mind? Infuse it with life empowering

our internal positioning. If I ask you

words.

how are you doing and you respond,

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“I’m barely making it”, “just

Fight: It has been said, “Anything

exhausted”, “seems like I can’t catch a

worth having is worth fighting for!”

break”, or “I am beyond stoked about

Launching out into the deep to discover

countless new opportunities”, “I say

a treasure that you care enough to

yes to success!” The latter responses

prove exists will require some good

evoke a different kind of energy. Which

ole’ fashioned grit. You can throw in

statements do you think an ideal client

the towel or you can use it to wipe the

would be attracted to? If you speak

sweat off your face. I am not here to

negative words you fortify feelings of

cosign on your insecurities. There will


be days when doubt will assail your

happen or the one who leaves her work

mind and you must be willing to fight

undone with everyone asking where

with all your might. Either you are a

has she gone? In the words of Henry

flame of fire or a fading fizzle pop that

Ford, “You can’t build a reputation on

lacks the stamina to stay the course.

what you are going to do!”

You determine how you show up in your own life! The wall of opposition

Lastly, you have what it takes, but it

will erect but you are more than

will take everything you’ve got! I

equipped to tear it down brick by brick.

challenge you to commit to finding out

A true fighter does not run from

who you have not yet become. Dare to

problems they run through problems

shift and shine!

with answers to solve them. Finish: How often have you allowed the start to stop you? Cultivating a track record of success requires an ability to follow through until completion. Are you going to be known as the person who can make it

Owner of Kristie Kennedy Empowerment Enterprises, LLC ( KKEE, LLC) located in Tallahassee, FL., Kristie Kennedy is women's empowerment speaker, entrepreneurial leadership coach and highly accomplished author. She is skilled in four areas of personal development: mindset, momentum, motivation and potential maximization. Mrs. Kennedy has a passion for helping leaders who have reached a plateau with the ability to turn their cant's into cans and their dreams into plans. Her life is a testament that you can shift from mediocrity to magnificence one bold step at a time. Specializing in potential maximization and entrepreneurial leadership development, Kristie has been offering services ranging from image and business consulting, confidence and clarity coaching, to public presentations (keynote, training, workshop facilitation, vocal performance, event hosting and panel discussion) for 16 years. 33


Dr. Judy Mandrell has grace for ministry everywhere she goes. With a personal interest in empowering the lives of everyone that crosses her path, Dr. Judy takes no credit for her accomplishments. Without the Lord and the help of the Holy Spirit she simply would not be the woman, she is today. In addition to being the co-pastor of Life Changers COGIC church with her husband Pastor Gerald Mandrell, Dr. Judy is an advocate for togetherness, discussion, and change within her community. Balancing out family, ministry and business, Dr. Judy is the founder of Dream Builders Greatness Center (Childcare Center, After School and Summer Camp), Dream Builders Leaders and Navigators Academy, and the host of her very own live radio talk show, "Real Talk with Judy" which airs every Tuesday at 12 pm EST on Tallahassee's number one gospel station, Heaven

Real Talk with Judy

by: Kimi Johnson 34


“If I can help somebody as I travel along then my living will not be in vain.” -Dr. Judy Mandrell 98.3.FM & Heaven 1410 AM. Internationally known from the United States all the way over to London, Scotland and Paris, her radio show guests range from 12year-old entrepreneurs to some of the most well-known MVPs in the community and business arena. What listeners can expect to gain from "Real Talk with Judy" is simple: the ability to see their fullest potential, the desire to keep going, and the strength to live a life of greatness. "I am a people builder. I build people. So, I prepare under the guideline of an architect. My show is designed to build people. I look at the news; I look at people; I talk to people. When I am preparing for my show, I'm thinking about topics or issues I can discuss to strengthen the listeners. I am constantly looking for a good story. My job on the Real Talk with Judy Show is to help listeners see the greatness inside of them and help them bring that

greatness out. I have had people to approach me saying that their life has become better because of something they heard on the show. That is rewarding. When people listen to my show, they feel like they can try again. My show is all about encouraging the listeners to believe in themselves; not to be afraid to fail, mess up and do it again; to ‘show up for themselves." Unlike a traditional radio show, when guests are on Real Talk with Judy Show, interviews are very conversational. "I don't do all of the talking. I want my guests to talk because I want them to share their story, to speak to the heart of people who are waiting to hear the word of faith to lift them” says Dr. Judy. When asked who she would like to be a guest on her show Dr. Judy says, “My greatest desired guests are ordinary people who have done extra ordinary things, who have

overcome some serious obstacles and turned their life into triumph; people who were counted out and the Lord counted them in.. Those are the people I would like to have on my show. I would love to have Bishop T.D. Jakes, Les Brown, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, John Maxwell, Cicely Tyson, and a few others I admire them all.” I have had my god daughter, Kameryn, come on the show. She is 14 years old. She designed my t-shirt and notebook that says, "Show Up for You." Several people have contacted her to design logos for their business. I have had one of my mentees, 12 year-old Kaylin Jean-Louis, founder of Kaylin’s Caring Konnection (PLEASE CONFIRM SPELLING OF BUSINESS AND NAME), She collects toys for the Tallahassee Memorial Children Center. This is what I built in these young ladies, so to see them doing great things is amazing. One of my first guests was Paloma, 10 years old, who is the

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"My life has been a life of boundless joy." founder of Paloma’s Dream. My mother, Dr. Irma Hunter Wesley, who is the greatest influencer in my life, Florida State President, President John Thrasher, Former Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University President, President Elmira Magnum, Tallahassee, Florida’s Mayor’s wife, R Jai Gillum, Vice President of Marketing for Cumulus Broadcasting, Mrs. Dot Ealy, just to name a few of the amazing guests who have been on my show. However, I wouldn't mind having Oprah, John Maxwell, Tyler Perry and others to be on my show. I want to meet them, sit down and ask questions about their start, failures, disappointing moments and even things they are doing now. But it's those ordinary people that are doing extraordinary things that I would like to have as a guest on my show the most." "My life has been a life of boundless joy, happiness, excitement and love. My siblings and I, thought we were rich when we were growing up. I took my mom’s clothes, shoes , and food from our house and gave them to people I thought needed them. I believed we

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could just buy more with no problem. Allowing her light to brighten up the life of others may be the heart of what Dr. Judy enjoys to do most, but unfortunately, her life wasn't always so bright. There was a time when she faced several difficult situations that forced her to decide to stay focused on God and ignore negativity. I have had 2 major tough times in my life other than our daughter’s death, my nephew and grandmother dying, and the death of three Life Changers members. Those were life challenges for sure. My dad was my superhero, and my grandmother was one of my greatest advisors, my encourager and supporter. The first was, preaching my dad’s eulogy because that was something he wrote in his will. But the most difficult thing I had to get through I would say happened back in the 80s. A young man spread rumors about me, and it was kind of devastating for my mind and ruined my reputation a little bit. I wanted to get him back so bad. I really could have gotten him and countless of others, but God. My lawyer told me to file a law suit,


and I wanted to, but down on the inside I felt like God did not want me to retaliate." Obeying the unction of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Judy decided to take the high road. Instead of letting the world see her pain. She dressed up every day, making sure she put her best foot forward. "I didn't let others know how hard it got for me. It happened right here in Tallahassee. I had to walk through all the whispers with my head held high. My family, my pastor at the time, and my husband thought I was so strong. They didn't know the shower was the place where I let everything out. Through it all, I stayed focused on God. That's what helped me make it through." "While I was dealing with all the rumors one of my cousins died. I went to my cousin's funeral, and I cried the whole time. I cried like I was a baby. It was funny because the entire family kept looking at me, wondering if we were that close. For me, it was a safe place to cry and release. I cried my heart out." "I watch my mom, Oprah, and Tyler Perry; they never come back and entertain anything negative that is said about them. They never entertain the rumors. They are so focused. And that's how I practice living my life. I don't entertain negativity. I keep it moving. I don't operate in jealousy. I always want to know how I can help someone else." Learning that some things are out of her control, losing the life of her newborn

"I watch my mom, Oprah, and Tyler Perry; they never come back and entertain anything negative that is said about them." daughter was something she couldn't quite understand, but she trusted the will of her Heavenly Father. "I really wanted a baby. I wanted a boy, but the Lord blessed me with a baby girl instead. She lived 3.5 hours. I never had another biological child but now I have 14 Godchildren, and countless of spiritual children. I enjoy every minute of it." "When I am having a bad day, I pull away. I watch Scarface or New Jack City to digress. I work hard not to be up and down in my attitude, my demeanor, or in the way I give of myself. Whenever I am having a bad day, I'm not going to bring it to other people. I get in a place by myself and write, let it out. I talk to someone about it. I give people my best at all time, and when I don't feel like giving my best, which is rare, I pull back. I'm always striving to build people, so I don't want to tear them down. Everyone deserves respect and my best." Drawing from her own experience, Dr. Judy's encouraging words to women who have yet to discover the greatness of who

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they were created to be is, "People are waiting for your arrival. They are waiting for you to take the stage. There is a certain element in you that people are waiting for. So, show up for you and make you proud. Take the stage. You are the author of your life. Show up for you, if no one else shows up you must show up. Sometimes you have to be the audience, the one that cheers you on, the announcer, and the performer. But by the time you keep showing up for you, you will attract others who will find your show worth watching. You are the only person that will be with you always other than God so why not make you proud!" To the discouraged business owner: "Success is a continual process. Sometimes we want our business to grow fast, but it doesn't always happen that way. It's a wax on, wax off process. Some people see the vision, and they want to start at the finish line, but it doesn't work that way. You can't start at the finish line. You must prepare. Sometimes we have to revamp and start again. Strengthen your strength, and your strength will override your weakness. Going back to the drawing board doesn't mean that you failed. If the Lord gave you the vision don't let it go, you have to hold on to it. Don't stop; you must keep going. Measuring her influence based on the number of souls she touches and the lives that are changed, money has no value in her definition of success. "I don't measure my success based on the amount of money I have or if I drive a certain type of car. I measure my success based on if I have encouraged others. If I work, I can get a car. That doesn't mean I'm successful. It just means I had enough money to buy a car. If the lives of the

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people I have touched are better because of me than I am successful." The keys to her success are all wrapped up in Joshua 1:8, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." KJV It is upon this scripture Dr. Judy bases her success journey on. Referring to the greatest commandment from Jesus in Luke 10:28-28 Judy says, "I believe if I love the Lord and my neighbor, and people with everything in me I have fulfilled the whole law. That's what I set out to do. I read and study the word. I love people, I love Jesus, and I have faith. I work hard and believe I can do all things according to Philippians 4:13." When asked how she defines purpose Dr. Judy summed it up eloquently, "Purpose is why we are created. When you find your why that's your purpose. My why is building people. Making sure people find their why and not be afraid to live their why out. I am passionate about what I do." Undoubtedly, her passion beams bright in everyone connected to her. Being a woman of purpose herself, Dr. Judy did not find it difficult to define what a purpose driven woman means, "Building a community, that's what it means to be a purpose driven woman. Giving and receiving synergy. Exchanging energy that builds a person up, helping others discover their why, and giving others a charge to be great, that's how I would define a purpose driven woman."


Careful to surround herself with positive people at all times, there have been some very influential people in her life that played a crucial part in her accomplishment. Above all else, she gives credit the Lord, her husband of 36 years, Gerald Mandrell, her parents, mom, Irma Hunter Wesley and her late father, Sylvester Wesley, Sr. who are her heroes and mentor, her sisters, Robin, Cindy, Tonya and Carolyn, and brothers, Sylvester ‘Chico’ Wesley, Jr, and Doug Waddell, personal assistant, Danette McBride and other influential people in her life such as: Antonio Witherspoon, Priscilla Jean-Louis, Dr Towanda Davila-Davis, Dr. Marcella Torres, Dr. Dawnette Banks, Wayne Salter, Tabetha Salter, Ronterrious Green, Denard Huggins, Pastor Clarence Jackson, Pastor Joseph Davis, Pastor Darrick McGhee, Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, Chief Argatha Gilmore, Darius ‘Doc “D Baker, Pastor Elliott Sheppard, Joe Bullard, Pastor Greg James, Apostles Janet Clary, Mother Ruby Williams, Bishop Larry Perkins, Mother JoAnn Hill, Sharon Sheppard, Dianne Williams Cox, Roosevelt Rogers, Tena Pate, Mayor Andrew Gillum, Darryl Jones, Agnes Furey, Joan Sidney Thomas, Dr. Yaquanna McCall, Mother Vanessa Winbush Gatlin, Mother Lee Van Zandt, Bishops Drew Sheard, Matthew Williams, Willie C. Green, John Wesley Pace, Joseph Henderson, Pastor Nicky Collins, Lady Dee Jackson, Chris Lowe, Jeffrey Chambers, and the countless of others too many to name who have encouraged her along the way. - For more about Dr. Judy Mandrell follow her on Facebook: Gerald-Judy Mandrell and Real talk with Judy. You can also follow her on

Twitter: @RealTalkJudy Listen to her show every Tuesday at 12 pm EST on Heaven 98.3 FM; Heaven 1410 AM, www.Heaven983.com and on iHeart Radio Heaven 1410. You may download the Heaven 1410 app or the iHeartRadio app. - And don't forget to check out her Dream Builders Leaders and Navigators Academy at www.dreambuildersgreatnesscenter.com. Her life’s motto is, “If I can help somebody as I travel along then my living will not be in vain.”

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family

The Educator's Corner with Dr. Moneisha

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On February 14, 2013; Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was united in matrimony to her loving and caring husband; none other than Charles Dashiell. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was born in Atlanta, GA November 18. She graduated from Albany Technical College May 11, 2007. She received her degree in early childhood care and education. She was on the Presidents List for obtaining a GPA of 4.0 in her major. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was nominated and awarded as a life time biographical candidate with Cambridge Who's Who organization among Female Christian Leaders, Professionals, Executives, and Entrepreneurs, in 2008- life Honors Edition for demonstrating leadership skills and achievement in her profession. She was also named and awarded as a VIP in the 2010-2011 Honors Edition for her high level of accomplishments, contributions, and actions that have strongly influenced the course of events. Additionally, she was nominated and awarded as a professional of the year for 2011-2012 honors edition because of her accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership and services. She is listed with her photo and biography among thousands of accomplished professional women in the Cambridge Who's Who organization. She was nominated and awarded for the Cambridge Who's Who Hall of Fame in 2011. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was nominated and awarded 2015 The International Women’s Leadership Association award for her career, community and children’s author

Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was nominated for the BLACK ESSENCE AWARD in Global Leadership the early part of June 2013. She received the BLACK ESSENCE AWARD October 5, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. Recently Dr. Moneshia Dashiell was nominated for THE 2014 BLACK ESSENCE AWARD for international author, children’s author, and solo gospel artist of the year. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is currently a Child Development Specialist for Anne Arundel County Public school in Glen Burnie, Maryland where she is honored to educate children with learning disabilities, manage student’s behavior in the classroom by establishing and enforcing rules and procedures. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is available for all of your authors events, educational events, college career day events & all children events. All of her books are available to you at www.amazon.com and other online media outlets.

As time passed Dr. Moneshia Dashiell decided to further her education at Albany Technical College where her exciting future was waiting for her. In 2004, she received her infant toddler childcare specialist degree and in 2005 she received her degree as a child development specialist. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is a summa cum laude graduate from Christian Bible College and Seminary with a G.P.A of 4.0. She currently holds a bachelor degree of Christian education, masters of Christian education, and a doctor of Christian education. Dr. Moneshia Dashiell is certified to educate children and adults. She is proud to be a graduate of Christian education. Above Photo: Dr. Moneshia Dashiell

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What Your Child Can Learn From Constructive Play print, scribble on their own or have their parents write for them. Educators can also video or tape record what the children are sating during constructive play and write down what they have forenamed, then play it back for the children to see and then connect to printed words. Children who are English language learners have real experiences in active learning and will help by advancing meaningful environment for their language learning. In doing so, English language learners can socially interact, learn new words, and have fun with language through an activity that children will benefit from and find exciting. Above Photo: Dr. Moneshia Dashiell

What is constructive play? In this kind of play, children create things. Constructive play starts in infancy and becomes more compound as your child progress. This kind of play begins with your infant placing things in his or her mouth to see how they sense or taste. As a toddler children begin building with blocks, playing in dirt and drawing. Constructive play will give permission to children to explore commodity and discover patterns to find what works and what does not work. The children gain self esteem when achieving a task during constructive play. Children who gain confidence manipulating items become good at generating ideas and working with numbers and concepts.

What can my child learn from constructive play? Your children will learn language through constructive play. Children will learn a new language and will interpret how to use in proper ways. Constructive play will also increase the diversity of language through social interactions and will give the children experiences making correspondence between spoken and printed words. In constructive play, parents can support word knowledge by writing down what their children may say and providing original and rich correspondence between spoken language and print. Children may also have the opportunity to experience with writing materials and learn to impart their own ideas with parent support. Children can attempt to

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share my story Affirmed by God by: Brandi Marsh

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So much of our identity today is packaged and defined by what we do or the roles we possess; (i.e.; our profession, relationship status, or even now one’s sexual orientation. It is my Christian belief that what you do in life is totally separate from who you are. I strongly believe my identity is affirmed by God. The scripture Psalm 139:14 says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (It definitely took me a long time to get to this resolve). But I have learned to break away from titles and stand on the knowledge of truth (GOD’s WORD) that emphatically defines and shapes the character of who I am. NOT the roles and positions I may accomplish in life. I was born on February 14th, yes! Valentine’s Day, the day I consider the best day ever! But who wouldn’t think their birth is special; but I believe my day is extra extraordinary because on the day of my birth two babies born; yep you guess it, I am a twin. I feel truly blessed to have my twin sister, it’s like having a built in best friend. In the same breadth, there were times growing up that being a twin was difficult. Why? Because it felt like people did not want us to be a separate entity. So, instead of calling us by our names (Candi or Brandi); yes, we have those classic twin names that rhyme, we were identified as TWIN! (we absolutely hated that). So, for a long time, I allowed other people affirm my Identity. Going along with just being the twin and got lost in the shadow of it. I love my sister and being a twin dearly but I wanted to have my own persona. And for people just to know ME! Brandi only. (can any other twin relate?) So, I slowly begin to learn, that from birth my title given as TWIN. And being a twin is kind of a big deal, some may consider a phenomenon, and that was why people just wanted to admire us in that form. but what God showed me outside of being a twin sister, I was created by GOD do great works (Ephesians 2:10). And that work was specifically for Brandi alone, to advance the kingdom of GOD! And in 2015, I began the birthing process of Ebony and Pink Pearls (EAPP); a ministry that God gave me. The core values of EAPP are to empower women in purpose, purity and prayer! (check out my Instagram page @ebonyandpinkpearls) to learn more about the ministry.

should not place your identity in roles and positions; but allow GOD to affirm and define your identity! How? by memorizing scriptures in God’s word that affirms who you are no matter if you are married, single, a high-profile business owner or a home owner. IDENTITY AFFIRMED BY GOD Matthew 5:13 KJV Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Colossians 3:1-4 KJV If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Jeremiah 1:5 KJV Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Okay, okay! enough about me, what about YOU? WHO or WHAT is AFFIRMING YOUR IDENTITY! Is it your job, relationship status, financial status, the business or home you own, the joy of being a parent, ministry leader position you hold or is it the that you are a vice president of a major corporation? Do, I think there is anything wrong with holding these positions or titles, absolutely NOT. However, when these position and titles take ownership of who you are; I wholeheartedly believe; what you Do does not define who you ARE in God. It is God that gave you the job, the house, the husband, business etc., and the same God that can give it He can take it away. So, you

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God's Power to Overcome the Pain of Stillbirth Share My Story by Vicki Olton

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"Suddenly in a very emotionless tone, he said, "Your baby has no heartbeat." " (LIVE And Not Die

by Vicki L. Olton, p.12) These are no words that a pregnant mother wants to hear. At five months of pregnancy, my world of great expectation of becoming a mother was abruptly crushed when the doctor informed that my baby had no heartbeat. "‌all my joy was destroyed. I was now devastated beyond description. It felt like two walls just came in from nowhere and squeezed all life and hope out of me." (LIVE And Not Die by Vicki L. Olton, p. 14) This was the beginning of great emotional, mental and spiritual turmoil. I needed a solution. I needed help and deliverance from all the pain. I knew about God from young. I read Bible stories from a child, and I knew of the capabilities of God, but I had never experienced them. My only rescue was the try Him in order see if it was true I was at a point where no man that could help me. The doctors and their medication just offered no solution to the anxiety that I was experiencing. If you have experienced a stillbirth and you have experienced or are experiencing all or some of the torment and hurt that I have described, there is help for you. You don't have to do it alone. Cry and grieve your loss because this is very important to your healing process. It will hurt, and people around you may sometimes not understand why you are crying so much, but be reassured that God does understand. God wants you to hold on to the words of this Scripture; all will be well: Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 (KJV)

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When you commit your ways into the hands of God, here are some things that He will do for you: Heal you spiritually from all the stress surrounding your loss - Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22 (KJV)

Send you to or send to you the right people who He will use as vessels to minister healing into your life and to help you go through the process Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." James 5:14 (KJV)

Heal you from any sicknesses or spiritual attacks, which may have caused the stillbirth But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)

Make you whole so that you can - "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

Deliver us from fear - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) Heal you physically from any pain – "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2 (KJV) Turn your ashes into beauty - God's role is to "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3 (KJV)

Use your testimony of healing to bring healing to others who will go through the same thing that you have been through. You can be made whole. You do not have to carry to load on your own. As you commit all into the hands of God and accept Christ as the one who will help, great changes shall be seen in your life and what you believe to have the power to kill you and destroy you in your sorrow, will be destroyed by the power of God. He did it for me, and He will do it for you too.

Turn your sorrow into dancing - Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; Psalm 30:11 (KJV) Give you peace – "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," Galatians 5:22 (KJV)

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One Day at a Time Share My Story by Ishah Whipple

This past June my family and I made the decision to be obedient to God's call and move from South Carolina to Arizona. It was not a light decision by far, and it took a lot out of us. We lived in South Carolina for over 2 years and we loved it. We already could see our children growing up there and us growing old in a beautiful home surrounded by mountains and colorful trees. When we made the transition to Arizona, we thought it would all be setup for us. I mean, we obeyed God, so we should have the red carpet rolled out for us and since this wasn't our first transition, we would have a smoother ride than the last one. Yea.....I guess God had other plans! We got to Arizona with a lot of expectations and none of them were fulfilled. We dealt with disappointment and anger daily. We

went from a small town where everyone was friendly and loving, to a large metropolis where we were surrounded by a whole new breed of people. I cried every morning for the first two weeks. I'm serious! I would literally wake up and take a breath and just start crying. First off, we moved in the middle of a heat wave where lows were in the 80's and highs in the 120's. How is that even possible?! As time went by, we ended up staying with someone with whom we're still staying now. It hasn't been perfect. We're a family of 6. It's never comfortable on any side for a family of 6 to live with anyone in their home. Add on top of that the fact that my health went haywire the moment we got here and I went from no doctor to five doctors within a month's time.

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I felt useless, hopeless, and flat out angry. The last few months have felt like the hardest months of my life. I had days that were bearable and others that felt like I was one step away from walking away from it all. I've cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to admit. I've screamed and cried to God asking why we're still here and not in our own place. Why I have to explain to my kids why we have to live with someone under their rules and not in our own place. Having to explain and even try to understand for myself why things have gone the way they have when we were obedient to the call of God. Things should have gone a lot smoother right? As I sat in bed last night crying and talking to God about my disappointments and frustrations, He began to take me down memory lane. This time, from a different perspective. He showed me the van that had given us so much trouble in South Carolina that miraculously took me, my husband, and our 4 kids across the country with not one issue. He showed me the church member who just so happened to be a manager at a resort that hooked us up with a ridiculous discount to stay there the first two weeks in Arizona. Did I mention they had a pool, hot tub, laundry area, and complementary breakfast and dinner buffets? He reminded me of the fact that a total stranger opened his home (and continues to do so) to a family of 6 which is something not many people will do. Did I mention this guy lives in what's known as the hidden gem of Phoenix in a Title 1 level school district? He also reminded me of the mere fact that even though we only have one income, we've never gone without food, gas for my husband to get to work, and clothes and shoes for our children. I sat there like a child, "But God...when will we have our own? When can we actually get settled?" His answer was simple....a bit annoying to be honest, but one I can understand.

He said, "One day at a time. There are things you and your family need to learn in this season in preparation for what's to come. If I gave you everything you wanted right now, you would break. You wouldn't be able to handle what I have for you now. There are things, like your attitude and emotions that need to get under control so you can be ready for the ministry and people I have coming your way. Great responsibility requires an even greater level of maturity. As Your Father, I can't release these things to you prematurely. I created you to be victorious and you can't be that if you haven't gone through the tests. I know it's hard, but these tests are meant to grow you and prepare you for something greater than you can imagine. Pass the tests and trust that I have the best in store for you. When it's all said and done, these trials will be but a distant memory." You see, the Lord had to remind me that He's been here all along. We're so used to getting things quick and easy. When things don't happen as soon as we expect them to, we think it's never going to happen or something must have went wrong. The Lord had to show me it was neither of the two. Things have actually been just how they needed to be. God has done things little by little all while teaching me some life lessons and showing me, ME. I've learned a lot about myself and people in general since being here. My husband and I have grown closer and have learned to respond differently than what we used to. The greatest blessing is that our kids have had a front row seat in it all. They're getting older now and are coming to understand who God is for themselves. They've seen our ups and downs and have had a few of those themselves. However there's something so great about it all. What's great about it all is that when it's all said and done, my husband and I will not be the only one with an amazing testimony. Our marriage will be stronger because we made it through this ordeal and grew closer together as opposed to breaking. Our family will be closer because we chose to be honest and talk through our frustrations. Our children will be wiser because they've seen for themselves what it is to be kept and sustained by God in the midst of our greatest struggle both financially and emotionally.

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From Pain to Purpose Share My Story by NurJehan Abdellah Al-Haqq

o My name is NurJehan Abdellah Al-Haqq which

stands for Light of the World Servant of the True God in Arabic. I was born on Aug 9, 1975 in Detroit, Mi. I was raised under the Islamic faith until I was 20 years old. I gave my life to the Lord in June of 1996 and have been following Jesus ever since. I became a mother at the age of 18 and I gave birth to a beautiful son. His father and I didn't stay together and I was a single mother. During the times we were together he became very abusive and I lost myself in the process. My identity and self worth were stolen from me and I no longer had my selfesteem. My story begins on Oct 19, 1997. My son was 3 years old, his father and I got into a disagreement of the way he was disciplining him and we got into a tussle. My anger had me to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore and I lost it and told him to leave my son alone. He put his fingers in my face and I shoved him on the side of

his head because I felt like he was violating my space. He retaliated and put me in a "full nelson" wrestling move where my arms were behind my back and his hands were around my neck. I tried to wiggle myself out of that position then we slipped on the blanket and fell to the floor. At this point he now had full control of his next move. So while we were on the floor he re positioned his hands around my neck and started to choke me. I told him that I couldn't breathe but he wouldn't stop. He kept saying "why did you hit me?" I kept telling him "I was sorry". He just kept getting stronger with his grip until he did the ultimate betrayal and twisted my neck until it was broken. I thought I was dead! However I was still here and God had spared my life. My neck was fractured at the C6 and C7 vertebrae and I had surgery on Oct 21, 1997. I wore a halo for 6 weeks and was paralyzed from the chest down. I was considered to be an incomplete quadriplegic and was in a wheelchair. During my recovery I had to learn how to do everything all over again this time with my left hand because the surgery affected the right side of my body and I lost the use of my right hand. It took me months through physical therapy and by the grace of God to be able to walk again. Once I was independent enough to be on my own and no longer under the care of my mother I started working again and I held my last job as a customer service rep for 11 years until I

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was terminated on Sep 13, 2011. I went back to school in Aug of 2007 while I was still working and received my BS in psychology on Dec 12, 2014. I became a motivational speaker and a domestic violence advocate once I realized what my purpose was. I answered to my calling after I had gone public with my story in Oct 2014 during domestic violence awareness month. My first appearance was on a TV show. My story inspired so many people and I was told to continue to share it because it has helped others. My goal is to win as many people as I can to Christ through my story. I like to help people which is the reason I chose psychology and I wanted to be a counselor, but God had other plans for my life. My tragedy has made me stronger and has given me a new identity. Besides being an advocate and motivational speaker I am also an Entrepreneur, model, poet and a co author. I am working on my book to share my story in full details because I have a short version of my story in a collaboration piece with 19 other survivors called Wounded Women Warriors by Cassandra Bryant Johnson. My book will be called "Broken but not Destroyed" and I hope to have it published in the beginning of 2018. I am also a wellness and awareness expert and plan to start a ministry called S.O.W. (save our wombs) which is another vision God has given me to go along with the Now We No movement from one of the current businesses I am in. I plan to impact and save as many lives as I can and continue to have a relationship with my son and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. NurJehan Al-Haqq

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Can we all just get alone for the sake of the kids?

Just Simply Saying with Rhoda WhitďŹ eld

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Dear Rhoda, My children have always loved my husband even while we were dating. But since their father has returned from the military, he has tried to make their lives a living hell. He is constantly filling their heads with negative things. My husband loves them as though they were his children and he is always showing them how much he cares for them. That's where the problem begins. My kids are still young, and they share with their father the things my husband does for and with them. However, their dad is determined to remind them my husband is not their father. I as well as my children know who their biological father is. However, in our home, my husband is the father figure. My husband is not trying to take his place. He's only showing them that he loves them too. I still believe in the concept that it takes a whole village to raise a child. My question is how can you get an insecure parent to understand that we all can love the children and work together in parenting them?

Dear Frustrated Parent, Whether you are divorced or a couple that dated and conceived a child and parted ways, this situation can be traumatic for the child or children if not handled carefully. When children are accustom to living in the home with both parents and now have to adjust to only being with one parent at a time can be an emotional stressor for them. Things can be moving along smoothly until one parent moves on with someone else. How things are handled now, can determine whether the children have a life of stability or constant discord. Keep in mind what the children are taught during this time will follow them into adulthood. That means when negative things are instilled in them as a child that they can only love and be loyal to you, will cause them to forever have a wall up to people that have demonstrated love for them. When this kind of stressors is put upon a child, it's during their adult life that they will probably need to seek counseling to help them with issues from their childhood. I guess by now you are wondering "what am I saying?" I'm simply saying, that when children are forbidden to

show love to someone in their childhood when they become adults, they are still for some reason afraid to love them. Don't allow divorce or parental separation to affect your children in such a detrimental manner that they are unable to love. If we are Bible believers, it is our responsibility to teach our children to love not hate. I want to share some things with you before I give some tips. Romans 12:9 says "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil: Cling to what is good. Children are innocent willing to love and cling to anyone that treats them right. What they need is for you to keep the negativity and hatred out so that they can have a normal viable relationship with everyone that loves them. Some of the biggest obstacles in co-parenting are negative emotions such as anger, resentment, and jealousy when your ex-takes on a new relationship or spouse. Your focus now should be the children and their lives being as normal as possible. There's nothing wrong with you feeling a certain way after the separation of you and your ex. By all means, take some time to deal with your emotions, but don't infringe your feelings of 57


relationship is strained between you and your exhas a high possibility. Therefore, it will take a conscious decision to be willing to co-parent constructively. To put it simply, it comes down to loving your child more than you hate or dislike your ex and their new love. If putting things in writing to make the arrangements clear, then do so. But don't be so rigid where you can't work together on changes or adjustments.

dislike of your ex-new relationship upon the children. Children should only have to deal with children issues, not adult issues. Therefore, don't talk negative around your children about their other parent's new life, that doesn't include you. As long as the new person does not mistreat your child, you should not have a problem with them being in their lives. Last year my oldest grandson's mother gave a thank you shout out to my daughter-in-law, telling her she could not have chosen a better to be in her son's life. You see, it was my daughter-in-law's addition to the equation that made it possible for my son and his son's mother even to consider coparenting in a positive manner. I'm not saying deny or dismiss how you are feeling, but face them head-on so that you can focus on the fact that these emotions, if not dealt with, can interfere with you being a good co-parent. Making an assertive effort to cooperate with your ex, does not necessarily mean you have to be friends. However, can we at least be cordial for the sake of the children? Based on the separation cause, the likelihood the

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1 John 4:18-19 say that "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us". Continue to promote love with your children. In doing so will give them the security in the separation of their parents has nothing to do with them. Reassure them that they are not the cause. The mind of a child is very strange, and if you allow hate to seap into the separation, you could cause them to become insecure because of the mixed love and hate emotions in the air. Think of it as a new beginning and not one where you have ruined your child's life. For many children, life after divorce can be better that the constant stress, tension, and adult daily conflicts. If everything is handled correctly, the children can now enjoy the quality time spent with both parents in a stress-free environment. I look at that as a double blessing for the children. Don't harbor on the past of how you and your ex got where you are. But embrace this new beginning and continue to impart love into the impressionable lives that you are responsible for raising. Moving forward and not allowing yourself to be stuck in the past is the best option now for the children as you work toward co-parenting. You


and your ex will need to be respectful and maintain control especially in front of the children. This even includes what you say even in the absence of your ex. Remember, your children love both of you. If your ex is in a new relationship or has remarried, this person will be spending a significant amount of time with the children. This is probably one of the most difficult things to accept in co-parenting. Subsequently, when this happens, it will be in the best interest of the children to make an effort to communicate with this person. No one said you have to be best friends, but put yourself in a position where you can share your concerns and expectations for the children without becoming defensive. This will help your children feel comfortable regarding you and your ex separation knowing that you all are trying to get along. You should want this life your children are living to be as healthy and normal as possible with both their parents. If it isn't your child/children could be at risk of having some developmental issues. That's why I can't stress the importance in placing the sole focus on the children and their rearing in happy homes.

Are you and your ex raising the children in the same manner? Definitely not. But guess what? You weren't when you were in the same house. One was the disciplinarian; the other may have been more permissive. Therefore, it's going to be that way in a different household. It just means you are going to have to communicate more. Commit to positive talk around the house. Don't let your children hear you bad mouthing their other parent or the new spouse and don't allow your children to do it either. Finally, here are some vital tips for co-parenting: Don't burden your children or sabotage their relationship with your ex Don't use your child to gain information Don't expose your child to unnecessary conflict Don't make them feel they are betraying you if they love and receive love from your ex new spouse Don't jump to conclusion about everything your child says that happens in your ex house Don't do things in the eye of the child to their other parent that will backfire on you Be an encourager to your child regarding the other parent Work hard on not being a hater during this time. Remember, you can't receive the blessing that's in store for you with a heart filled and consumed with contempt and malice. Though this situation may be hard, look through your child's eyes, you can learn from their innocence. I'm Just Simply Saying. If you have a topic or a question, you would like to have answered email: oversimplifying@gmail.com. Blessings and Much Love,

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love & relationships 10 Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas by:Danielle Lyles

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My husband and I just celebrated our 19th Wedding

Anniversary. It’s actually 16 years because we divorced for 3 and then remarried but that’s another blog topic. Anyway, being a Military family of 6, means we live on a budget. This budget is so tight sometimes I can hear money screaming as it comes out of our joint account. We didn't want this to stop us from having a date night every two weeks, so we sat down and came up with some ideas that are budget-friendly. Here are a few ideas we came up with… 1. Test drive your dream car This is my all-time favorite. So far I’ve test driven an Audi 6, BMW 535i and a Cadillac Escalade. Once we even found a dealership that was having a Customer Appreciation Barbeque and we turned the test drive into a lunch date. 2. A coffee date As simple as it sounds, we drove to our local coffee shop, ordered drinks and sat at the table and talked about everything but the kids and work. 3. Free movie tickets Living in California truly has its perks. The moment I found out about free tickets to advanced movie screenings I signed up for the email blasts. They come one to two days before the screening, and the tickets go quickly, but so far, we've been able to see films before they hit the national market. 4. Go for a walk I love the idea of fresh air and good conversation. Sometimes our best conversations are during our neighborhood walks. 5. Window Shopping You're probably thinking I drag my husband along for this, but I don't. The good Lord actually blessed me with a man who loves to shop just as much as I do. We don't always buy something, but we do rack up on as many cologne and perfume samples as possible. 6. What’s that song? This is something we made up one night while surfing the web. My husband started playing songs, and I had to guess what it was before the singing began. One night we actually played this for hours, and it was a lot of fun trying to stump each other.

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1 7. Netflix and Chill We are always on the lookout for new series to binge watch on the weekends when my husband is off work. I know that sounds lazy, but we work hard, some weekends being lazy is warranted. 8. Groupon I love Groupon because they have so many great deals-dance lessons, cheap movie tickets, painting classes, cooking classes, you name it! 9. Local Free Events Most newspapers and news websites list local events in our area. A lot of them believe it or not are free. Another good resource is the local library. Here they post a lot of events around town at the different libraries that are free and open to the public. 10. Memory Lane Spend the evening watching your wedding video, looking through old photo albums or whatever you have that will remind you of why you fell in love in the first place. While I only listed ten things I'm sure there are hundreds of ideas floating around out there.

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Imperfection or Nothing

by: LaShae Roberts

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When it comes to love, some people will do anything to acquire it, while others will do everything to avoid it. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, ask yourself, what kind of love do I want? It’s very often assumed that love is universal and everyone who actively participates in its magic change forever. Well ladies, that’s not true. The idea of the word love is universal, but the experience and deliverables are vast. Love can show up in kindness, selflessness, chivalry (opening doors, pulling out chairs), or it can be that sense of humor that makes you smile in those moments when you need it most. Love can also be abusive and overwhelming, consider the many times you heard of a batterer telling their significant other that they loved them. If I may, let me brag about my husband for a second. Not only is he handsome, but he is also kind, funny, outgoing, spontaneous, attentive, and impatient. No, that’s not a typo, he’s impatient. He’s also impulsive sometimes, hogs the remote and may move my stuff without telling me on occasion which makes me late for work. His love is all of those things and more. He encourages me when I feel like I can’t make it, he’ll instantly fulfill a request as long as it doesn’t interfere with football or bro-time, and he'll make me laugh when I’m frustrated with something he did. His love is not perfect, but it’s perfect for me. I heard a professor ask if what we have is imperfect, is it better to have the imperfection, or to have nothing at all? He concluded that he’d rather have something. Initially, I did not agree with him. I thought, why would anyone want something that is not complete or

comprehensive? I sat in class and pondered on this, and then I thought about the concept of love. Is it best for us to have imperfect love, or to have nothing at all? Of course, I can’t answer that for you, but I can answer it for myself. I considered where I am currently in life, where I want to be, and how I want love to be a vehicle to get me there. You see, my husband’s love for me is just as imperfect as my love for him. However, our love is mobile because it carries us from one goal to the next, one vision to the next, and one season to the next. We have accepted that we are incapable of giving perfect love because only God can provide that. We have learned to use God’s love as glue to hold us together and protect us from external attacks. So, what kind of love do you desire? Do you want imperfect love, or do you want nothing? Rest assured, if you chose nothing, that is fine too. There are some seasons in life where God wants us all to Himself, so He can show us who He is to us. Those are the seasons where we fall deeper in love with ourselves so that we know what love is acceptable from others. If you chose imperfect love, it doesn’t mean you’re settling, but it also doesn’t mean you should accept anything. Think about what you need from love – what do you need to get you from where you are now to where purpose is taking you? Once you know, you can unapologetically request the love you need from those you love.

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I am a

purpose driven woman 66

Real Stories Real Women Real Praise


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Flowing on Purpose

Anissa Stewart

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nointed, talented, versatile, dedicated & woman of God are just a few words used to describe this local gospel recording artist. describe this local gospel recording artist. This native New Yorker started singing at the age of 4. She sang her first church solo at her grandfather’s church at 8 years old. “Aunt Shelia”, a choir director, further cultivated her gift by making her one of the lead soloists in the Free & Independent Church Choir in New York. Anissa has sung with a host of ensembles, praise teams & church choirs. Anissa currently serves as a Youth Minister, church soloist and Praise Team member at One Accord Apostolic Church. In her quest to further her music ministry, she sings locally at various concerts, conferences and events in the DMV area. She has performed or shared the stage with such artists as Peggy Britt of Virginia, Men of Standard, J. Moss, Kevin Levar, and her cousin, Lil’ Mo. Anissa has also graced the stage singing and acting in 4 plays. She has solo project entitled “Anissa’s 42nd Chapter”, was featured on a compilation CD, and has released 2 singles. Anissa was also featured in the "Afro Magazine” and was a featured artist on 106.1 FM’s Fresh Faces of Gospel. Personally, Anissa is married and has two wonderful sons, ages 22 and 5. Anissa has been a School Teacher for 20 years. She is an Evangelist & the Youth Minister in her church. She is also the Content Editor for “His Favor ” magazine.

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How would you define your purpose? I would define my purpose as one of many facets, with one core The intro, or kicker, is the body of motive. I now define my purpose based on my belief that I was copy that follows a headline. created to worship and praise God, honoring Him with my life; using my gifts and talents to ultimately to bring Him glory. What does being a purpose driven woman mean to you? Being a purpose driven woman means that, every day I wake up, I can fulfill God’s purpose for my life. It is not contingent upon how much money I have in my bank account, who knows me, and what material things I possess. But, it is based on my relationship and love for God, and my desire to be intentional with my obedience. As long as God knows me, He will perfect that concerning me. Being “purpose driven,” I have learned to live in a yielding and available state. My will for my life is to do the will of the Father. I don’t really have any other agenda, accept to do His will. I want to go where God leads me and move with “ordered” steps. I can truly say that I am a “Jane of many trades…” All of the things that I am involved in have to do with “Service/Ministry”. What makes me unique is that I am a Wife of 24 years, Mother of 2 sons, School Teacher by profession, a Gospel Recording Artist (Songwriter), an Evangelist, Praise and Worship Leader, a Content Editor for “His Favor” Magazine, a Graphic Artist, and an Actress. And, I recently directed my first Stage Play in 2017. I love that I can reach God’s people on so many levels… People can contact me for any of the above through my social media. God has blessed me to record music that can be purchased on major digital outlets and through my website. My website is www.stewartdhe.wix.com/anissastewartmusic. I am also on Facebook: Anissa Campbell-Stewart or Anissa Stewart Music Fan Page. IG: @anissastewartmusic, Twitter: anissa_stewart Describe the moment when you realized you were connected to your purpose. I knew at an early age of 8 the importance of finding my purpose in God. I accepted Jesus as my savior and was baptized in His name (Acts 2:38) at the age of 9, and took my relationship with God very seriously. I developed a love for singing in church at the age of 8, when I sang my first church solo, making up the words as I went along. So, I would say that that was my first experience with early-stage songwriting; the congregation loved it! I can still remember the feeling that their responses gave me. I’ve always wanted to be a recording artist WRITTEN BY AUTHOR’S NAME PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHOTOGRAPHER'S NAME

and really tried to pursue that for many YEARS. However, something that is amazing to me is how in my latter years, God has decided to use me even more, now! It is like He allowed me to feel overlooked or hidden for many years. Laboring, suffering, and waiting for things to manifest in my favor, I learned that God had an appointed time! I was finally blessed to complete my first CD project at the age of 42, after 20 years of many disappointments; praying, trying and working with independent labels, groups, writing material, etc.!!! It was fitting to call it, "Anissa's 42nd Chapter" because it was in the 42nd chapter of Job when God restored or replaced all that he lost, giving him double for his trouble! Well, it was a selffulfilling prophesy for me too because, around the time of my CD release, God began to restore some of the things that I had lost... Blessings began to flow in my life and things were finally moving in the direction of destiny and purpose, regarding my music ministry and other areas of my life. I call this my “Joblike Experience”. Despite being an Indie Gospel Artist without a manager, I am amazed at the doors that God has opened for me, at this late stage in my life, providing me with the testimony that ‘God’s timing is not always our timing, and it’s not over until He says it’s over! He can use you at any time.’ So many doors have just flung open for me to humbly and gratefully walk through! So, the moment I began to realize that I was connected to my purpose was liberating, providing me with a greater sense of self-worth coupled with feelings of “accomplishment, value, and FAVOR.” How has your life changed since you committed to being purpose driven? The changes that have taken place in my life as I truly began to understand my purpose, and committed to walking in it, came at a time that I felt I was at one of my lowest points! It was at a “breaking point” because that is when I got my “breakthrough.” During this time, my family and I found ourselves homeless, in 2013. What was supposed to be a two week stay, turned into five months! I didn’t understand it… I was like, “God! I thought this was not supposed to happen to me! My latter was supposed to be greater than my past!?!” I was working, had just had a son, still serving faithfully in the church, preaching and singing the Gospel… But, living in a hotel with my family and driving a rental car, because my car had been repossessed. At one point, I didn’t even want to live anymore, for fear of “life” and the “what next”!! However, God was doing something spiritually! It is there that I had to rely on all the years of being saved! I began to say, “God, whatever you want to do in my life, fix me from the inside out! I don’t want just a temporary fix!” I had to trust in God’s word, meditating on Romans 8:28,

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“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his PURPOSE.” It was then that I began to fully understand that my purpose was to love and worship God daily trusting that no matter what I went through, Jesus would cover me and strengthen me! I was like “Lord, I love you and I believe that I am called and chosen. So it’s got to all be working for my good…” Someone prophesied to me and said that “God’s going to deliver you, but He wants to see if you will still praise Him…” Well, while I waited for God to bless us with a place of your own, I tried to draw as closer to the Lord! I told Him that when He delivered us, I would share my testimony! Well, God had an appointed time for our release. No matter what we tried, we just could not find a place to live... It was the strangest thing! When God decided it was time for my breakthrough, He spoke to me and said, “I’ll be a God in the midst!” Well, that week I drove my new car to our new apartment, on the SAME day! JESUS DELIVERED US!!! Oh, the JOY that flooded my soul! After that, I really realized that part of the reason that I had to go through that traumatic situation was so that I could use it to BRING GOD GLORY through my TESTIMONY! It was from that season in my life that my single, “This Joy” was written and produced. I sold 100 downloads in 2 weeks! God allowed my trials to work for my good! My single is now available in major digital outlets. What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy so much of what I do, but my passion is working in the Arts. I have recently been acting and singing in Gospel stage plays, where my original music has been featured; something that was a dream of mines. God gave me the desire of my heart. It just happened. I have performed in about 5 stage plays and directed my first play in 2017. What an amazing opportunity! But what brings me the greatest feeling of gratification is singing for God under the anointing! I may not be the best singer or songwriter, but I want to create a worship experience every time I sing for Jesus. And, it is imperative that I live the life I sing and preach about, representing God correctly through my life’s journey, while fulfilling His purpose for my life! When I finish ministering in song, and someone from the audience comes up to me and says “You have such an anointed voice,” it confirms that I am walking in God’s purpose, because the anointing is a gift from God. I cannot make the anointing fall… I can only be a conduit or vessel to carry it. God transmits it to meet the individual needs of the listeners, and He meets them right where they are…. So, I am honored that God has chosen to use me to reach His people with my voice, at such a time as this! God blessed me to release my

second single entitled, “Live Through Me” written and produced by Ben Johnson, in December 2017. What encouraging words would you share with our readers? I want to just encourage someone that might be in their waiting period wondering, “Why Lord? When is it going to be my time?” A lot of times we let the discouragement and fear of the unknown hinder us from pursuing our dreams or reaching our goals. We are of afraid of something that has not happened yet, and probably won’t happen, with proper planning. So, you have to stand on the love and word of God more, because His love is perfect, and perfect love casts out fears! I am a witness that “what God has for you, it’s for you”! If He is blessing me at this last stage of my life (My Sarah-Experience), He can do the same or GREATER for you. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen for you! Just know that He works in His OWN timing… Know that He has a plan for you. HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH… Trust God with your desires, and actively PURSUE your blessings. The Bible says, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry..” THE CAPTION INTRODUCTION should give the reader a Jesus will blow your mind! quick description of the photograph.

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Frelandre Knight

Answering the Call

Born in Gretna Florida and a 2003 graduate of James A. Shanks High school, Frelandre Knight is holding nothing back in the world of make-up. Frelandre has a beautiful daughter name Azariah who is her daily motivation to obtain everything God as for her and her family. Currently based in Tallahassee, Florida, Frelandre embarked on her make-up artistry journey four years ago developing a very lucrative cliental around Tallahassee and surrounding areas. Doing more than 25 faces along with 3 to 4 weddings per month, being purpose-driven has been very beneficial in more ways than one. Over the years she has developed the skills necessary to maintain a clean and organized business servicing the makeup world and enjoying every minute of it. Traveling to some parts of Georgia and all of Florida for make-up requests and Bridal services, Frelandre is open to what the year 2018 has in store for her. Adding educational training to her list of services has opened up countless doors for her business. Frelandre is hopeful that by Spring/Summer 2018 she will be debuting a new skincare line and some make-up products so stay tuned. This make-up artist is on the rise, connected to purpose, and destined for success!

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Makeup by Fre offer makeovers for birthdays, weddings and special occasions. The way I paint faces is by tapping into the person’s inner beauty. I enhance the outer beauty by creating natural glam looks that fit my client and their needs. I also inform my clients on the significance of skin care based on their issues and concerns. This is what makes my business different from others. Starting Spring 2018, I will be offering facials, and by the Summer of 2018, I plan to launch skin care products. I can be found on Instagram: Makeup_by_Fre83, Facebook: Frelandre’ Knight, Phone number: 850-792-0841 and Email: Makeupbyfre83@gmail.com How would you define your purpose? I define my purpose as seeing beauty the way god see it. I feel that my talent is like no other and was designed solely for me. Also, I feel I’m here to inform others about skin care and its significance.


What does being a purpose driven woman mean to you? Stopping at nothing or no one to finish, doing whatever it takes to complete your dream but not jeopardizing your morals. Being purpose driven means having more faith in God and less faith in yourself. Describe the moment when you realized you were connected to your purpose. It was in November of 2013, I had just had surgery due to a loss of a child and while home from work I was full of pain, anger and uncertain about my life or what was next. I heard this calming but powerful voice say, "Makeup." I instantly jumped up looking around and thinking maybe it’s this strong medication the doctor has me open (lol). I heard it once more with my name but very persistent saying, “Frelandre makeup.” After hearing it again, I said: "God if this is you I promise once I wake up from this nap if makeup is the first thought I have I will go for it with everything in me." Every time I tell someone this story I think back to my early years in middle school when my teachers would always get on me about makeup. Even my mother has stories of me messing around with her makeup. How has your life changed since you committed to being purpose driven? My life is full of meaning. I'm not saying it wasn’t before, but I fill complete. Being a purpose driven woman is following God's plan and feeling good about every decision you make along the way. I’ve learned so much about myself and this new position my life is in. The process makes me humble for the up and down moments I face. My purpose is why something is why I do what I do; it's why I exist. Driven is my motivation and determination caused by the specific factors or feelings I have for makeup and skin care. What do you enjoy most about what you do? Meeting new people and learning something new every day. Also, seeing my clients reaction after receiving Makeupbyfre's touch is priceless. What encouraging words would you share with our readers? Always put God first with everything you have and never allow a person that walk and talk as you decide for you. Life doesn’t wait for no man so run with it and try not to trip on the negative but grow on the positive. 73


the direction that He wants you to go. He is the reason why we as women are able to achieve to whatever it is that we set out to do. We can't start something and think that it will flourish without Him. Trust me, I have tried it before and was not successful lol. Describe the moment when you realized you were connected to you purpose.

Following the Lord: Sh'Kayla Jackson Sh’Kayla Jackson is a born and raised Floridian. She was born in Marianna, FL and grew up in Blountstown, FL where she was raised by her great aunt and uncle. She graduated from Blountstown High School in 2001. She attended Florida A&M University where she received her Bachelors degree in Health Informatics and Information Management. After graduation, she worked for Bond Community Health Center for five years as a Health Information Specialist. During her time working for Bond Community Health Center, she was able to put her degree to work and learn a lot that she will carry with her for years to some. In her spare time she like to curl up on the couch and read a good book! One of her favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” This Bible verse has gotten her through a lot of tough times! Today she currently resides in Jacksonville where she is the Health Informatics Analyst for Agape Community Health Center. How would you define your purpose? I define my purpose by setting forth what God has placed on my heart to do! Whether it be giving advice to someone, helping someone out, or just by being myself and not changing for anyone. What does being a purpose driven woman mean to you? Being a purpose driven woman to me means allowing God to be the first in every aspect of your life and allowing Him to guide you in 74

The moment I realized that I was connected to my purpose is when a friend of mine always asked me for my advice on something that she was doing. I would first do my research before giving her my answer just to make sure that I was on the right path for what she was asking. I'm really not the type to try and give advice or my opinion because I don't want people to think I am being harsh, but I'm just a very honest, blunt person lol. But after she kept asking for my opinion/advice I knew right then that she trusted what I said and knew that I wouldn't steer her in the wrong direction. How has your life changed since you committed to being purpose driven? My life has changed so much since I have committed to being purpose driven! I have learned that it is okay to fail at things because that only drives you more to better prepare yourself to tackle it again and achieve it. I always look at FAIL as First Attempt In Learning. If we don't learn from something that we have failed at, then how are we supposed to succeed? I have also learned that it is okay to say no. Your answer doesn't always have to be yes to everything. We get so caught up in trying to please everyone at times that we forget that self comes first. In order for you to really help someone, you have to be in the right state of mind to do so. That starts with making sure you are taken care of first before anyone else! What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy being able to help where the help is really needed. I can't put my all into something if I'm not mentally there. I love to smile, and knowing that I can put a smile on someone's face after I have helped them just makes my smile even wider. What encouraging words would you share with our readers? I would say allow God to use you. You never know how big of a blessing you can be to someone until you allow Him to use you. There is always someone watching you. All it takes is that one thing that you have done....that you don't even realize....that can truly bless someone. And always walk in your TRUE, DIVINE PURPOSE!!


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success tools

Cracking the Code to Living Your Best Life by:Trecia Miller

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It's the top of the year, goals have been set, resolutions have been made, and you're full of momentum. After all, that's what we're supposed to do when the clock strikes 12 AM on January 1 right?!? Declare all things are new. Make some changes to make this your best year yet they say, but what they didn't tell you is how to do it. To see any lasting changes, to make a true transformation, you must first crack the code. Cracking the code requires one thing, your MIND. Mindset is everything. If you truly want to change your life, you must first change your mind. Living your best life will require you to confront yourself. It will require you to have a radical shift in your thought process. It will require more than you just saying you will change your mind, it going to require work!!! Work like affirming yourself daily; meditating on who you are and whose you are; protecting your space to limit the negativity that can penetrate from the world around you. If you really want to change your mind, you're going to have to go after it daily, giving it your all because it really is a daily practice. Train your mind so you can change your mind.

and go after it with all you have no matter what. Repeating this every day will have you living your best life! Establish your non-negotiables. Stand firm on your standards and set boundaries. If you haven't identified those things that you are not willing to negotiate on, take some time now to really figure them out. You are the one who determines what's best for you and that includes what you will and won't accept into your life. If you're committed to living your best life, that means you are expecting the best, accepting the best and being your best self. Making conscious decisions is what brings it all together. When you're set on living your best life, the decisions you make will be a reflection of that choice. Every day you will have to decide if you are going to stay the course of cultivating the life of your dreams or if you're going to waiver. Don't get me wrong; every day won't be easy. Sometimes you may not feel up to it, but you have to keep your goal in mind. Living your best life, on your terms.

The intention is part of cracking the code. You have got to be intentional day in and day out. Intentional living means you put thought into everything you do, and your actions are tied to a purpose. Every morning, set the tone for your day

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Examine the Anchors Its Time to Living an Uncuffed Life in 2018 by Caprice Smith Examine The Anchors While women are dominating this time in politics, business, education and pretty much every platform, there are common mistakes that many women continue to make. These mistakes are damaging because it can delay great rewards and slow down their paths to real success. Many women fail to leverage their experiences, their innate sense of discernment and natural ability to problem-solve. With this, women fail to sustain lucrative businesses that often lead to feelings of inadequacy. They resort to pushing everyone else's agenda and needs to the forefront, while pushing themselves to the background. There are DEAD anchors that need to be examined in 2018 if you truly want to uncuff. D-LEAVE THE DREAM TO Dr. KING The first that needs to go is the Dream. While The Honorable Dr. Martin Luther king had a great dream that would rock history, few people have poured their soul into actualizing their dreams, like Dr. King. It is dangerous to get stuck in nap time. Unless you work and dream, you are napping. Make a decision to wake up and take at least one step toward your dreams daily. E-EMPTY SMILES HURT The next big anchor is the Empty smile. Women are still grinning and bearing things they should have released years ago. Women are hiding behind the chores, the Little League, the Boy Scouts, meetings, the PTA, the church functions, which are all positive, but can lead to empty smiles if we aren't careful. Believe it or not other people

are capable of helping. Serving family and God is necessary, but there has be balance. Women's lives could be much more fulfilling, if they stopped stacking on things that do not bring them 100% enjoyment. It is important to nurture and love the ones under your purview and it is most important to serve the heavenly father, but you cannot help anyone with an empty smile. You can easily recognize empty smiles, the ones that have an opinion but don’t ever express them, the ones that don't agree with things but never say anything, the ones that just simply go along with everything and the ones that live vicariously through others. Empty smiles are dangerous to the soul. If that was ever a year to make yours it is 2018 there at least 365 days this year for at least 365 women to completely rock it out. Get your smile back, just like Stella got her groove. Reconnect with the things that make you happy, smile and laugh. Go ahead fill up your smile. A-ASK TO HELP Many times, we are told to ask for help, but let's try a new approach. Let's try and Help others. It is essential to help other women. You must do this, because when one shines, we all shines. As a retired police detective, I know all too well about the acronym CDS. In the police world it's a controlled dangerous substance. Today it stands for caring deep for sisters and it's a priority. You will feel better AND look better because you're serving one of your purposes, since it's every woman’s job to be

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their sister’s keeper. When we began to practice helping others, we will attract the same from others. D-DARE TO MEET Call an old friend or make a new one and meet. Go eat or enjoy a glass of wine. Don’t over indulge but leave the inboxes, and text for teens. Meet colleagues out and eat together. Laugh at an awkward statement or displaced napkin, the organic things that technology robs us of. Smell the onion breathe, offer gum, get up close and personal, the way we used to. Have actual conversations. Make it a habit to invite a power chat from at least three new people every week, no matter how busy you are. It will help to connect with people in their natural environment and things that are real. Go LIVE! The opposite of that is dead is live. We see this four letter word all the time with people inviting us to watch them as they go live on social media, but I'm telling you to go live in real time. Go live! Fulfill every dream you ever wanted to do and do everything you thought you couldn't. Amidst a government shutdown and so much political turmoil, there is still flickering lights women rising up, beginning movements. Launching game changers, like the Women's March, Oprah's abridging the “me to” movement with her “time is up.” What an amazing capstone to a movement that is still in the infancy stage. It is important to always stand from a position of empowerment, even in the darkest hours. You must focus on your goals, your life’s God ordained purpose and your overall uncuffing process. Please stay tuned for future uncuffing articles and visit www.womenuncuffed.com if you cannot wait until the next one. Caprice Smith

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Tools for Success by Alana McClendon The result of success is a series of repetitive trial and error. Everyone

desires to be successful with something or someone. Many people view success as having a wealth of money, houses, cars, and pleater of friends, not to mention several degrees and businesses. There maybe loved ones who unhealthy, and desire to successfully live a healthy lifestyle. No matter what your goals are in life, to be successful, there are tools needed to be successful. Read about other successful people. If you desire to one day become a successful Public Speaker, read about Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, and Steve Harvey. Research information available about your goals. Find out what it takes to begin the process to reach your goals. Be Realistic: Be true to yourself. If you are trying to start exercising every day, start at a beginners level. Work your way up to the next level gradually.

Prepare to be uncomfortable. If you want to go back to school as an adult, it takes a lot of discipline to push through a long day at work to complete your assignments. Create your support circle. People you have known to support you through the good and bad times would be great candidates to explain your goals too. Set aside time to rest. Rest is essential to mental clarity. Rome was not built in one day. Dehydration can cause irritability! Meditate, Diet, and Exercise. Meditation includes improving your mindset. Eating healthy promotes physically feeling better, and exercising helps to you to release stress! Laugh often. Laughing releases a chemical call Endorphins, which also causes us to think in a more positive setting. Do not quit or be discouraged. Your idea was not accepted right away, or you did not reach your goal the first time! Don't stop. Keep moving forward. Be prepared to hear from your hecklers or haters. There will be people who will tell you your goals are impossible. Let them talk. Just listen. Thank them for their criticism, and move on. Family, those are my personal tools for success! I 81


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Purpose Driven Women Magazine 2018 Winter Issue  

Purpose Driven Women Magazine is a free quarterly Christian digital magazine for women whose mission is to spread the good news of Jesus Chr...

Purpose Driven Women Magazine 2018 Winter Issue  

Purpose Driven Women Magazine is a free quarterly Christian digital magazine for women whose mission is to spread the good news of Jesus Chr...

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