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CONTENTS

No.08 | FALL 2014

OH YEA, let my Re-invention

EDITOR’S NOTES

EDITOR Bianca Thomas PUBLISHER Women Ablaze Intl. Min. Co EDITOR In CHIEF/weShine Terry Briggs PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT Rosey Slocum~cover/ Conference ART & LAY OUT Bianca Thomas COVER DESIGN James Ramseur CONTRIBUTORS Theresa Gee Maria Chevelle Tanyka Gilbert Zenita Askew Sited RESOURCES USED http://billygraham.org/story/how-to-bethankful-in-all-things

E-MAIL info@wesparklemagazine.com For Ministry info; womenablazeim@hotmail.com

A Sincere

Thank You! To all our faithful Advertisers, Supporters & our Amazing Readers 2

begin. I am suited up , armed with faith, overflowing with excitement and filled with joy.

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I am so ready for this long

awaited opportunity to invest more TIME into my MARRIAGE , focus on my DREAMS and walk out my PURPOSE, IGNITING FAITH into the Hearts of Women, causing them to Fall MADLY in LOVE with GOD and BELIEVE in themselves and be WHOLE”. Bianca Thomas COVER STORY

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“1. I believe that, I was delivered from my past to glorify God, and no matter how bad my circumstances may get, I trust God’s love for me and whatever way HE chooses to use me to bring HIM Glory, it is His business! 2. Knowing that, no matter how uncomfortable I may become, whether things that happen are good or bad, it all has to go through HIM first, so, I just continue to praise God, quoting his word as I remind myself that, He Died for Me, Loves Me and HE is Responsible for my life. 3. Knowing that My responsibility is, to Listen, Obey and trust GOD, and as long as I practice this, as well as keeping my mind on my assignment and purpose for being, I am so, so Good! ~ Bianca

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CONTENTS 20 28 06 INTERVIEW with

Miranda Burton Founder, Marion’s House

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS “B Beautiful You” Red Carpet Gala

08 FREEDOM OF FORGIVENESS The Power of Letting Go!

10 BEING A WOMAN FIRST By Chiquana Le’ Naie

16 POSITIVE PREDICTIONS By Theresa Gee

18 SEX ADDICTIONS 101 There is hope and help!

23WHO IS THE JAMES HOUSE What do they offer?

24 INTERVIEW with Lakeisha Holiday Founder, L.I.F.T.

30 THANKSGIVING

Devotional By Billy Graham

ROSEY SLOCUM

Owner of Vision Of Rose Photography WAIM/weSPARKLE’S Photographer

ZENITA ASKEW

Askew Art & Graphic Design WAIM/weSPARKLE’S Photographer

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INTERVIEW MEET SHAKIA Founder, Bare Bold &Beautiful

weSHINE’S COVER STORY

Losing 128 lbs in 8 months By Matt Eggleston

READY TO TIE THE KNOT?

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A NOTE FROM

weSHINE Co-EDITOR Terry Briggs

42 MY FAVORITE THINGS

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“My mother is the happiest though. She raised 4 kids, two boys and two girls. We all are doing well for ourselves especially being raised by a strong single parent. The look in her eyes when I tell her something new I’ve done or someone I’ve met is priceless.” “When I told her I was in Nelson Mandela’s house in South Africa she cried. Her favorite saying is “you either stand for something or fall for anything”. Growing up, she use to teach us about Mr. Mandela, what he stood for and why he was jailed. So when she got weSHINE’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW KEITH PERRIN Jr. that call from me, she was proud that I made it and was going places she had only Co-Owner FUBU The Collection and Shark Tank Brand Manager of dreamed for me” ~Keith Perrin JR.

Contributors JAMES RAMSEUR

Celebrity Integration

TERRY BRIGGS

Cover Designer for weSPARKLE & weSHINE warriors edition

Author & Motivational Speaker, Business Coach & weSHINE warriors editor

THERESA GEE

TANYKA GILBERT

Sword and The Spirit Monthly Contributor

Family and Relationships Monthly Contributor

No.08 | FALL 2014

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EDITOR’S NOTES

JOIN ME as I INSPIRE the WORLD!

I have also had the honor of meeting some AMAZING men who are holding down their own and have stepped up to the plate to be the dad, provider and the husband they were created to be, yes we have some DADPRENEURS on board so watch out they are pure Warriors, “SHINING” all over the place letting us women know, all men are not, “No Good Dogs or Deadbeat Dads”. Well this is our RELAUNCH issue and I am supper hyped WHY? because we are not only are we relaunching our magazine but, Re-inventing my life.

W

OW! October is over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I don’t know about you but, does it seem like this year has gone by super fast? And for a procrastinator like me, that means I still have a lot of unfinished projects that I may need to carry over to next year or stay up extremely late a few nights to get it done, YEP, unfortunately, the story of my life, but I’m being perfected day by day! LOL. Well Sadly, I didn’t make my planned relaunched date because of some unforeseen circumstances yet, I am truly thankful that God has once again been extremely faithful to bring me through but, with a LOT of lessons learned! Anyway, a few things have taken place since our last issue, new contributors, WAIM had a two day conference in August called “B Beautiful You” I Love being Me, that was a life changing event for me and I’m sure for a few other local women also, and weSPARKLE had our one year celebration and relaunch party with some AMAZING guest. But, what I’m really excited about is, the Beautiful women that I have met through my conferences, Networking meetings, Facebook groups and Kiaros, which is a prison ministry that I have been blessed to be apart of. In this issue and future ones, you will get to meet some of these AMAZING people, Authors, Doctors, Entrepreneurs, Mompreneurs, women that are SPARKLING all over the place and believe me you will see why I am so excited to share them with you in our issues. 4

No.08| FALL 2014

I’m no longer MOTHERING in the sense of the word for all my sons are all legally adults and my baby boy is 18! WHAT? That just hit me, Hold on while I jump up for a minute and do the Moon Walk and a Happy Dance. What does that mean to me? I don’t have to wash and fold my son’s clothes, COOK everday unless my husbands home, I can travel spending more time ALONE with my hubby, I can go where ever I want without worrying about a sitter and I can now foucus on ME! Now please don’t get me wrong, I loved doing those things when I had to but, when you have been mothering children for 35 years thats way past retirement and I think I worked for this break. I’ve home-schooled all my wonderful sons one time or another, my eldest for two years when it really wasn’t that popular and my two youngest one for two years and another for 6 years, Plus most of the time I was a stay at home MOMPRENEUR. OH YEA, it’s on a popping, let my Life Re-invention begin. I am suited up , armed with faith, overflowing with excitement and filled with joy. I am so ready for this long awaited opportunity to enjoy my WONDERFUL, LOVING HUSBAND, invest more TIME into my MARRIAGE , focus on my DREAMS and walk out my PURPOSE, IGNITING FAITH into the Hearts of Women, causing them to Fall MADLY in LOVE with GOD, BELIEVE in themselves and be MADE WHOLE”.

Join me, as I INSPIRE THE WORLD, one story at a time!

Bianca Thomas

~THappy Thanksgiving


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No.08| FALL 2014

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Meet FOUNDER

Miranda Burton

Marion’s House

I’m so excited to be sharing the interview of this amazing Hero of a women and what she is doing to help save lives, please meet Miss. Miranda Burton

I enjoy knowing that I am able to touch lives of all ages. This mission allows me to work with parents, so that they stay informed. But also allows me to work with the youth

Hello Miranda, will you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

building their self esteem or knowing when they are at risk.

I was born in Louisiana August 1984. I am the School Liaison/Advocate of a non-profit organization in Charleston, SC, a Coker College Graduate, and the Founder/Creator of a new organization called Marion`s House.

Who are your biggest encourager’s and supporters?

I am a 2 time survivor of Child sexual abuse by both a male and a female, it is important to me to help in protecting kids from becoming preyed upon and also making adults aware that it is there duty to protect a child. Was this the inspiration for your work? Being a survivor definitely helps me to be more aware of the signs and the affects that child sexual abuse can have on a person’s life. Marion’s House is named after Marion Burton, a powerful matriarch who constantly housed and provided emotional security for those damaged by the ill-effects of life. Marion was committed to doing this work with a level of vigor, intention, and benevolence that far surpassed her time. Did you have any formal training for what you are doing? I am a certified Facilitator through Darkness to Light and I have worked with youth in the school system and through non Profits for over 6 years. So what do you enjoy most about the work you do and why did you choose it in the first place? 6

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My mother will always be my biggest supporter and encourager. Through this mission I have gained the support of people from all over. I have supporters from all over, from Arizona to Louisiana. This really has been a life changing mission. Do you have any new projects or workshops that you have coming up or recently completed? The most recent activity was the back to school gift cards. Through donations, I was able to send gift cards to help 6 youth ages 6-17. Have you received any awards/ acknowledgements or media attention for your work with the Marion’s House? I was featured in a Florence, SC magazine January 2013, awarded a survivors trophy November 2013 and I was interviewed for a live podcast (http://www.spreaker.com/user/ sherekadunston/episode-20-what-parentsshould-know) February 2014. What do your family or friends think about this great work? My mother is my biggest family support, but all of my family has expressed how proud they are about what I am trying to do. What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?


I think anytime I am able to share the knowledge I have to help any parent or child, I fill like I have done my part. I get emails and phone calls from parents asking for advice, as well as adults wanting me to mentor and help youth in the community. Who have been your role models? My mother, Brenda Burton is definitely my Role Model. She is an Author and Motivational speaker. She does not mind putting her business in the open if it means she can help someone else. What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/work/business? The biggest step I took was doing the live interview. I was terrified to share my story, in a way that could potentially expose others. What one thing would you like to learn/ do this year? By the end this year I would like to have all of my board members set, so that we can go into the next level, with Marion’s House. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I hope five years from now I am able to run Marion’s house full-time and can say that I have a physical building. I want Marion’s house to be more than just a name and way of thinking. Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity? I would love to meet Mariska Hargitay. She is one of the characters on Law and Order SVU. She went from just acting to actually starting Joyful Heart Foundation. She truly inspires me. What are some of your favorite ways to network?

Social Media and conferences. Do you have any mentors – if so why did you choose them? My mentor is Sandy Johnson. She was over my childhood step team and basically took me in as if I was her child and little sister. I watched her work her way up at a well-known company and continues to grow in her success with her family. What have you learned from your mentor? She has taught me with time and diligence, no matter what I want to do and accomplish I can do anything. What do you hope to learn from her? I hope to learn how to run Marion’s house full-time as well as how to be a great mother, when I am ready for children. What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your work? Being given a trophy and being recognized as a survivor and not a victim. What have been some of the responses or testimonies you’ve received from those who have come in contact with your work? I have had several people tell me that from my reading sessions, they are now fully prepared to protect their children. There was also a time when I was doing a book reading with a family and the mother realized that she had been a previous victim. She did not know that there were several aspects of child sexual abuse. Continued on page 11 No.08| FALL 2014

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ENCOURAGEMENT

Freedom of Forgiveness The Power Of Letting Go “My refusal to extend the same mercy and forgiveness that God had given me was preventing me from living out the life God was calling me to. He wanted so much more for me.”

Secrets! That’s how my family lived. I was a wounded child within the body of an adult, and was overwhelmed with where to begin putting the pieces back together of my broken life. God opened the door for me to talk with a counselor who spent the next several years coaxing that angry, frightened little girl out from hiding, bringing her into exual abuse from my earliest adulthood. I talked about everything for the childhood memories to attempts made first time in my life. Slowly I moved from self well into adulthood, sent me on a path condemnation, fear, anger and hate to being of destruction in life. Fear and anger strong enough to want to have a conversation became a way of life. A self image of shame, with my parents with hopes of closure and damaged goods, and being completely forgiveness. Jesus ministered to my broken unlovable sent me on a downward spiral as I spirit, helping me see myself through His eyes grew into a young woman. Inappropriate and – beautiful and VERY much loved. It was abusive relationships, self abuse by various time to move on to forgiveness. Eventually means was my life. Words spoken when I I had enough courage to ask my parents if I sought help, echoed in my head could talk with them. The visit didn’t go as I constantly – “It must have been something had hoped. I was told that I was evil and was you did.” Nothing mattered and I trusted no asked to leave; I was no longer welcome in one. After all, if you couldn’t trust your own their home. I cried and gave God all the father and mother, who could you trust? excuses that this was proof that I had a right to my “unforgiveness” and I began to move Having been brought up in church, I knew back into self-condemnation. God gently who Jesus was and believed that He was out reminded me that because of what Jesus did there somewhere. How disgusted He must have been with me; but nonetheless, I talked for ME, I was like a priceless gem, a beautiful daughter of the King, clothed in to Him often. I had no one else. He was like pure white. My refusal to extend the same my imaginary friend. I remember shouting mercy and forgiveness that God had given at Him at one point “How can you stand to me was preventing me from living out the life look at me? Why are you still here?”, and this time I actually got an answer. Way down God was calling me to. He wanted so much more for me. deep inside, almost as if an audible voice spoke, I heard these words ----- “Because Little by little over the next several years we I love you ………. just the way you are.” I interacted as a family again. Everything was began to cry. My prayer was simple….”Help fine as long as I remembered what was taboo. me.”

S

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No.08 | FALL 2014

Photo Credit~ Rosey Slocum


Forgiveness brings freedom

~ Freedom from being controlled by the past, freedom from the emotional ties to the offender, freedom from the continual inner conflicts of bitterness and hate, freedom to become whole and enjoy the fullness of life ~ I accepted that, and we all moved on, acting like many things just simply never happened. It was never talked about again. My relationship with God continued to grow, but something was missing. There seemed to be a barrier. Periodically situations would arise again within the family that left a huge cold rock in the pit of my stomach, and I felt fear and anger rising again. As the years went on, those times became more frequent. Finally everything came to a head, and it was the HUGE turning point that changed my life forever. I was asked to take a Walk to Emmaus. Several weeks before the Walk, we had our annual family reunion, and it was disastrous. I cried all the way home. My Emmaus Walk was exactly what I needed at that point in my life and it was then that the Lord showed me where I was not “ok”. For years I was under the impression that I had a good handle on all the past, had forgiven my Dad, and was over all the residual effects of the damage done. God helped me see that I had forgiven with words but not completely with my heart. It was easier to tuck it all away and act like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand --- just like I had learned to do all my life. Let’s pretend nothing happened!!! I realized that I was still holding out for that admission of guilt, that apology, that asking ME for forgiveness. Even more surprising was the discovery of how angry I was with my Mom, and that I had never even begun to address forgiving her. Instead,

I spent a lifetime trying to make up for her words that echoed in my mind over and over and over --- “it must have been something you did”. I discovered that I seriously mourned that she was never the big she bear, that mama bear, that protected and rescued me. I was like a huge, dried up sponge, and for 3 days I soaked up every drop of all the Agape Love shown me. It was like an invigorating, refreshing waterfall. For the first time in 55 years, I shared the story of my life with someone other than my therapist. I felt safe. My new sisters in Christ prayed for me, over me, held me while I cried, encouraged and comforted. And I let it all go. By the end of the weekend, I KNEW what it was to walk in the FREEDOM of forgiveness for the first time in my life. God wanted to be my ALL --my father, my mother, my “she-bear”, my hero…………….all the things I never had. He also wanted me to know that true forgiveness comes only in and through Him. God wanted me to depend on HIM, not what that apology may do for me or how it would make me feel better, and He wanted me to know what the obedience of forgiveness does for me ------FREEDOM. Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free…………and realizing YOU were the prisoner. ~ Anonymous ~ No.08 | FALL 2014

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Meet MOMPRENEUR

Being a Woman First

T

he most fascinating thing in the world is motherhood! There is no degree that can qualify you for a salary, no school of higher learning that can teach you

About Chiquana

Chiquana, is a divorced single mother of 5 sons. For over 21 years, she’s owed, operated and staffed many businesses, which presently includes a Credit Repair and Health Care staffing service, Online Boutique, Business Funding and Real-Estate investments. She is a truly a Multi-facet MomPreneur.

experienced that journey as previously stated and  I have learned that the one thing I was lacking as a mother, business owner, mentor, minister and empowerment speaker was ME being my OWN WOMAN!! everything that you need to know, and no Dr. I lost me in the midst of being someone for that can cure any ailments on the days that everyone else so I had to be honest you seem the most stressed. within and admit that my children was not getting all of me because I was so overMotherhood is an honor that is earned whelmed I could only offer them a piece of through a lot of mistakes, forgiveness, love me. Even though they never realized it, I did understanding and patience…. and I had to take control of who I was and OF ONESELF!!   step back from it all and build ME, the As a mother it “I am often asked how did I, or rather how do Iwoman not by my is our intuition do it? For a long time my answer was I just do classifications or my to put ourselves duties that others what I have to do. Now, that answer is last, we make expected out of I invest in me first! Does that sound Selfish? me, but ME for the sure that YES, is it necessary? YES” everyone is live WOMAN that I was and well, the purposed and called to be. kids are taken care This started as a process in my evolution that of and for some we have to support our I never expected and it opened up my being husbands in his stance as a man, but to enjoy who I am as a woman, mother and somewhere along the way we relinquish our all of the other roles that I fill. title as a woman first to the title of mother I am often asked how did I, or rather how do and allowing that to be what defines us. I do it? For a long time my answer was “ I just This is so often the case for so many do what I have to do!” Now, that answer is “ women because we do not understand the I invest in me first!” Does that sound selfish? importance of being a whole woman before YES, is it necessary? YES! we fulfill any other role in our lives. Being a How do you do it without feeling guilty? mother is one of the most challenging pairs of Forgive yourself for allowing you to neglect stilettos to fill in today’s world because with yourself, love yourself enough to want to everything in fast motion we try to make sure give your family the best and realize that you our children are never compromised or can only do that if you are complete in your challenged in the painful areas that we had to being, create balance and purposely schedule face in our childhood. time in for you to do something small that Often we beat ourselves up and try to over you enjoy on a regular basis and learn that compensate them in many areas to fulfill our it is ok to say no so that you will not stretch voids that we have within, this is where yourself thin. We have to realize there is no reality sets in an we must realize that we right or wrong way; you have to embrace the need to give them all of  us on a fair and best way that works for you while loving and neutral platform without adding our embracing you first!  ~Chiquana Le’ Naie personal and hidden stresses to their lives.  www.facebook.com/Chiquana.Chozenwoman As a divorced mom with five kids I have 10

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Continued from page 7

What do you like to do for fun, relaxation or entertainment?

abuse and the goal of preventing child sexual abuse today.

I love Karaoke. I can do it at home or go out to a place that has it.

We also facilitate child sexual abuse prevention training session with adults by presenting Darkness 2 light`s, Stewards of Children Curriculum to them as well as read awareness books to the children and have plenty fund-raisers to continue the work.

What does Miranda’s typical day look like? Depending on the day, I am at work until 6:00 PM, but then I go home and work on post or ideas for Marion’s House.

About Founder

Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps or pursue their dreams?

Be Patient, don’t give up, and understand that you could have people that will not support your cause. Not everyone is comfortable Miranda Burton, was born in Louisiana talking about Child Sexual Abuse. August 1984. She is the School Liaison/ Advocate of a non-profit organization in What is the Mission of Marion’s House? Charleston, SC, she is also a Coker College The Mission and vision of Marion`s House is Graduate, and in August 2012, Founded to: Interrupt the cycles of Child Sexual Abuse Marion`s House. She is also a 2 time survivor of Child sexual abuse by both a male and a with urgency, dignity, and compassion. female and she states, Marion’s House, a premier anti-violence organization, seeks to accomplish this “It is important to me to help in protecting kids mission through revolutionary activities that from becoming preyed upon and also making promote academic and emotional success. adults aware that it is there duty to protect a As a non-traditional organization providing revolutionary services to those impacted by cycles of child sexual abuse, Marion’s House firmly believes that holistic care includes outreach and compassion for all. These avant-garde activities include but are not limited to: music therapy, rhythmic stepping, creative arts therapy, poetry facilitation, basic computer instruction, tutoring, and group therapy sessions. These activities are specialized to provide survivors, non-victims, and parents with safe spaces to express the emotional effects of being impacted by these cycles in constructive and healing ways as well as provide them with the knowledge that they are not alone in their social position and their circumstances do not have to consume their lives. Currently, the activities are more focused on the awareness of child sexual

child”.

We at weSPARKLE magazine, would like to thank Ms. Miranda for her dedication to educate more adults on sexual abuse and for creating an organization to educate and protect our children, as well as taking the time to share her wonderful story and mission with us. For more Information about Marion’s House or If you would like to have her conduct a session in your area for 10 or more adults or would like to donate to the mission of Marion`s House, please contact her at; Phone: (336)508-8917 Email: Miranda.burton24@yahoo.com Donate: http://www.gofundme.com/6jxe84 FBGroup: Start preventing Child Sexual Abuse Today. FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/MarionsHousePCSA No.08 | FALL 2014

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COVER STORY

MEET

Editor N Chief of

weSPARKLE magazine.

Bianca thomas

M

aria Chevelle~I am so excited to interview, the amazing Mrs. Bianca Thomas of weSparkle magazine... She is on the move with her international ministry and like myself, I’m sure you would love to know more about her so without further delay, Who is Bianca Thomas? Well, for right now, I am a wife, Daughter, Sister Mother, Grandmother, Friend, License minister, Christian growth Coach, Founder of Women Ablaze International Ministry, Visionary, Creative director and Editor N Chief of weSPARKLE magazine. I consider myself a spiritual heart surgeon that helps mend women broken hearts as well as a Encourager that will inspire and motivate others to believe in themselves and persue their dreams. I say for right now because I don’t know who I am sometimes, I just try to be who God needs me to be. I am on a road of becoming! LOL. Maria C~Wife, Mother,daughter,mentor, friend... Just to name a few Bianca, you wear so many hats how do you balance all that God has blessed you to be? Honestly, I really don’t, but I’m always praying, looking for ways and seeking advice on how to.

Sincerely Loves God, her Family, her Church the Lost and those who are Hurting. A successful, business women and a Commercial Fisher of Men! Maria C~What is women Ablaze International Ministry and its vision and mission? Women Ablaze International Ministry’s mission is , to change lives and restore Hope and Healing to the hearts of Women.

We are a Network of Women serving Women, from different backgrounds who unselfishly come together creating a Maria C~What is your greatest desire and “Sisterhood Empowerment Team” what do you want to be known for? without competition, use our gifts and talents My greatest desire is to be empty of what God to provide effective resources to equip the has commissioned me to do while I’m here on women to positively influence earth, as well as, Ignite Faith and Hope in the others in her life. Hearts and Lives of all those I come in contact with. When others think about me I want WAIM’S vision is to inspire and assist women in discovering their spiritual and to be known as a woman who enjoys life, personal life calling, live a life filled with joy, don’t care about others opinion of her, a real excitement and experience complete Friend but most of all, a women who 12

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COVER STORY

“Because of my past, I am very passionate about helping women feel loved, affirm themselves, build healthy relationships and provide them with the tools and resources that will assist them live a more authentic, rewarding purpose filled life”. wholeness, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Our goal is to change lives by exposing women to the Love and the Greatness of God through our local events, retreats,workshops, conferences, videos and connecting with other organizations like, Havah Women of Faith Ministries, Courtney House, Grace Home, The James House, Marion’s House and others, that are doing similar work, as well as provide friendship and a listening ear to the hurting hearts and the unheard voices. I also would love to have my own television show sharing Empowering stories and doing secret makeovers. Also, I would love to have chapters of Women Ablaze Intl. Ministries, in other cities, states and countries and every year have a big conference sharing inspirational and motivational stories, celebrating women that are impacting their world and to hear stories of how women lives were changed through our ministry. Because of my past, I am very passionate about helping women feel loved, affirm themselves, build healthy relationships and provide them with the tools and resources that will assist them live a more authentic, rewarding purpose filled life. I encourage women to move beyond their past and forward in faith towards TRUE FREEDOM, which I believe, can only be experienced through a personal encounter with God.

which reads, ”Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12”Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13”Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.… I love this one because It helps me focus on the greatness of God and it always leads me into a personal time of worship and praise whenever I read it. Proverbs 3:3-6 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. This is the one I use most often because I am always presented with opportunities to get angry, hurt, offended, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed or be unkind, so this has been my anchor to keep me focused and trust God’s guidance and provision.

When we commit to live for Him,“Nothing is impossible for us, as long as we keep our faith in God and trust the ABILITIES and the GREATNESS HE has put inside each of us.

Sometimes my emotions start screaming and wants to take control but I am convince that because of my MUCH use of this verse, my continuously quoting and meditating on it, God has always came through without fail.

Maria C ~What is Your favorite scripture and why?

Whew! Thank You Jesus, but don’t get me wrong, It does gets rough sometimes.

I have a few but I love, 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 No.08 | FALL 2014

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Continued from pg 13

“My responsibility is, to Listen, Obey and Trust GOD, and as long as I practice this as well as keeping my mind on my assignment and purpose for being, I am so, so Good”!

Maria C~What is the secret behind your smile and consistent joy?

1.The realization and accepting that my life doesn’t belong to me. I believe that, I was delivered from my past to glorify God, and no matter how bad my circumstances may get, I trust God’s love for me and whatever way HE chooses to use me to bring HIM Glory, it is His business! 2. Knowing that, no matter how uncomfortable I may become, whether things that happen are good or bad, it all has to go through HIM first, so, I just continue to praise God, quoting his word as I remind myself that, He Died for Me, Loves Me and HE is Responsible for my life. 3. Knowing that My responsibility is, to Listen, Obey and trust GOD, and as long as I practice this, as well as keeping my mind on my assignment and purpose for being, I am so, so Good!

also enjoys spending time with her family but most of all excited about his new chapter in her life and being able to spend more time with her husband now that their children have all graduated from school.

With more than 25 years of experience teaching and ministering God’s word, along with her charismatic style, bubbly personality, past experience with drugs and overcoming the pain of sexual, mental as well as physical abuse, Bianca has a long history of helping other women become liberated from their past. By encouraging women to walk in forgiveness, loving themselves and believing that “God has Destined them for Greatness” she has enjoyed the fruits of her labor. Touching lives Internationally, through her magazine, she hopes to Empower, Encourage and Inspire the WORLD, one story at a time.

Oh yes! I do believe, I am definitely “Destined for Greatness”

In the next issue of weSPARKLE magazine, we will hear what our Publisher’s family has to say about her as a wife, mother daughter and her global mission.. You can follow her on

Here are My final thoughts Bianca, loves to worship God and boldly proclaims her savior when ever she sees an door of opportunity open and is not ashamed nor embarrassed to pray for a complete stranger where ever she is, actually she says she looks for opportunities to pray for people. Whether shes in the grocery store, restaurant, parking lot or a public bathroom she is always ready to pray. She believes people are hurting and they are just waiting for God to truly show up where they are, manifesting His love towards them, proving that they are on His mind. Bianca 14

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Instagram @3WAIM Twitter Bianca@WomenAblazeim Facebook.com/Bianca. Thomas.129

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he beautiful face on weSPARKLE’’S first issue in October 2013, MARIA CEVELLE, is the Founder of Chevelle & Co., LLC, a Motivational Speaker, Business Mentor, Mother & Author of “Unbreakable Destiny”, which is available NOW on Amazon.com. Visit her website for more information at http://www.mariachevelle.

~Maria Chevelle


Women Ablaze Intl. Ministry,

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No.08 |FALL 2014

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INSPIRATIONAL

The Pen an “Positive Predictions” By Theresa G

One day I was standing in a convenience

Ancient cultures used to wisely predict what profession their child would store when I over heard a doting mother ask accomplish by giving them specific names. her daughter, “Are you in here, Baby?” Translated, their names could mean doctor or lawyer or someone successful. When all “No,” the little girl answered. grown up, often the adult would fulfill their “You will be,” the mother said. “name destiny” by becoming the profession I looked down at the little girl. Is this a child or name they were given when they were prodigy? I wondered? A budding sports star, born. maybe? I thought. What this poor mother was doing was the Curious, I glanced over the mother’s opposite. She was unknowingly shoulder to see what newspaper she had just predicting her child would be headed for a picked up from the stand. I had a sharp inlife of crime. It sounded so simple and so intake of breath that I hoped neither nocent, but the mother had just heaped a pile mother nor daughter heard. I couldn’t of coals on the child’s head. believe what I was seeing. Lord forbid, words have power. They have The paper in question is called, Gotcha. It is meaning. a paper that shows mug shots of Proverbs 18:21 teaches us, the issues of “death criminals who are wanted by the police. and life are in the power of the tongue”. We must be careful what we say and what “How horrible,” I thought. “Doesn’t this unwitting predictions we place on our mother know what she is putting on her children. child?” 16

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“As a culture, we need to learn to make positive predictions over our

children. Lay hands on them and tell them early they will be above, not beneath; the head not the tail. Tell them they will be blessed and prosperous. Speak the word of God over them and to them. Pray for a hedge of protection around them”.

nd the Sword

Instead of picking up a newspaper full of mug shots, this mother should have pulled out the sports page or the entertainment section and asked her child if she were in that article.

prosperous. Speak the word of God over them and to them. Pray for a hedge of protection around them.

Instead of asking children if their picture is in the latest magazine that features criminals, She could have pointed to a picture of concert show them positive publications they will pianist and former Secretary of State, appear in if Condoleezza they apply Rice, tell the themselves. ‘ child she could If we learn to be like her. sow this now, Or look at we will reap a current Secrefuture gentary of State, eration of Hilary Clinton; children who tell the child not only love she could the Lord, follow her they will have example. strong self esteems, and they will by labeling Anything. of their names, accomplish great success.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11 -

Anything positive, that is. As a culture, we need to learn to make positive predictions over our children. Lay hands on them and tell them early they will be above, not beneath; the head not the tail. Tell them they will be blessed and

T

he Gorgeous, Miss. Theresa Gee, is one of our Celebrity Inspirational Writers. She is also a speaker, minister and an actress. She can be contacted for bookings at, mssg823@aol. No.08 | FALL 2014

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ENCOURAGEMENT

Sex

ADDICTION

W

101

There is hope and help!

hen I was asked to write about sexual addiction, there were many thoughts that came to mind.  There is so much to say and to understand on this topic that I am confident everything will not be addressed in this one article. 

compulsive masturbation, engaging in pornography (which is a gateway to sexual addiction), or engaging in chronic affairs, just to name a few.    There is hope and help…   If you believe that your behaviors may be an With that being said, this article will be an indicator of being sexually addicted, or if you introduction; SEX ADDICTION 101. know of someone who may engage in these    types of behaviors, THERE IS HOPE.  The The National Council on Sexual Addiction first step is recognizing that there may be a Compulsivity reported that from 6% to 8% of problem and then taking the necessary steps Americans can be classified as a sex addict.  to seek help. MSNBC reported on a study done by      Stanford University which found that 25 There are therapists, community support million Americans spend between 1 to 10 groups and even telephone and online hours a week looking at some form of counseling services available. If you are in pornographic material online, and 4.7 million question, take the following survey.  The people spend over 11 hours per week on porn survey is not designed to make a diagnosis of sites (MSNBC/Stanford/Duquesne Study, sexual addiction or take the place of a Washington Times, 1/26/2000). professional diagnosis, but rather is a      screening measure to help you determine Dr. Patrick Carnes, Founder of the whether you may have a problem with sexual International Institute for Trauma and addiction that needs professional attention. Addiction, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on sexual addiction, defines The survey can be found at the following sexual addiction as any sexually-related, site: www.freedomeveryday.org/am-i-asexcompulsive behavior which interferes with addict/sexual-addiction-test-women.php normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work Additional resources include:    environment.   Celebrate Recovery  http://grouplocator.crgroups.info/     In its simplest form, sexual addiction is a Sex Addicts Anonymous: progressive, compulsive pattern of sexually https://saa-recovery.org/   acting out behaviors.  It manifests itself as a loss of control over one’s sexual behaviors, where one is powerless to independently stop In the next article we will take a more in depth look at sexual addiction as it relates to their sexual acting out, despite adverse consequences, as well as a sincere desire and women, the impact as partner/spouse as well as when the woman is the one with the efforts to stop.  struggle.   There are triggers which lead to the acting Ms. Tanyka Gilbert out behaviors.  These triggers can be such things as stress, fear of abandonment, is this issue’s contributor writer, experiencing a loss, anxiety, etc.       She is also the founder of Sexual addiction exhibits a pattern of Behind The Veil Consultations, PLLC behavior that take over one’s life and these 11923 Centre Street behaviors become unmanageable. Examples Suite D3 Chester, VA 23831 of behaviors that can be an indicator of (804) 536-7232 Office www.btvconsultations.com sexual addiction can include compulsive “Impacting the mind, body, spirit and soul” sexual episodes with multiple partners,

“Our experience of healing can only be as deep as our awareness of the need for it.”

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As we are preparing for Thanksgiving Day dinner, Here are a few ideas for a Great Breakfast.

Healthy Hearty Breakfast Casserole TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. MAKES: 8 servings Ingredients 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and diced 1/2 cup water 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, thawed 6 green onions, thinly sliced 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped 6 Eggland’s Best® Eggs 8 egg whites 1 cup (8 ounces) 1% cottage cheese 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup fat-free milk 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 7 minutes or until tender; drain. Spread potatoes in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with the broccoli, onions and red pepper. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until center is set. Yield: 8 servings. Originally published as Potato Egg Bake in Healthy Cooking June/July 2009, Potato Egg Bake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Nutritional Facts 1 piece equals 235 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 174 mg cholesterol, 555 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein.

Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. MAKES: 12 servings Ingredients 12 slices white bread, cubed. Leave on crust. 2 (8 ounce) packages cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed and drained) 2 cups milk. (I use silk sweet almond) 12 large eggs 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 1teaspoon Vanilla Homemade Strawberry Sauce: 1 cup white sugar 1 cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries 1/2 stick butter Directions Generously grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Evenly distribute cream cheese cubes over the bread cube layer; sprinkle 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries atop cream cheese layer. Layer the remaining bread cubes over strawberry layer.

Mix in separate bowl 12 eggs 2c milk Add 1/3 maple syrup and 1 tea vanilla, blend well. Pour mixture evenly over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove baking dish from refrigerator 45 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the covered casserole in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until French toast is puffed and golden brown, about 30 more minutes. For sauce, Stir sugar, water, and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Mix 1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries into the sugar mixture; cook and stir until strawberries are softened, about 10 minutes. Add butter and stir sauce until butter is melted.

Please send in Your favorite Easy Meals to be feature in one of our issues to submission@wesparklemagazine.com No.08 | FALL 2014

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AUGUST 15-16

HIGHLIGHTS

Catherine Wiley

Celebrity Make Up Artist

Shirley Richardson Building the Fire

SPEAKERS

Catherine S Boyle Author & Speaker

Rev Lou Ann Moore The Gathering Place

Tanyka Gilbert Behind the Veil Min-

Gayle Nicholas Min. & Business owner

Christina Miner Remember The Face

THERESA GEE

Min., Actress, Speaker

WOMEN ABLAZE INTL. MINISTRIES’

B Beautiful You FIRST ANNUAL

“I LOVE BEING ME”

RED CARPET GALA & CONFERENCE

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR OUR CONFERENCES UPDATES FOR 2015 20

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www.facebook.com/WOMENABLAZEIM Bianca@womenablazeim No.08 | FALL 2014

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Event HIGHLIGHTS Part 1

F

riday night, the beautiful Miss. Theresa Gee, graced us with her presence and soft anointed voice as MC for the weekend. From the first time I heard her on am1240 radio station years ago, I knew she was special. She is an amazing speaker and anointed woman, that can really get you fired up for God.

I don’t know what to say but, WOW!!! Miss. Akilah Walker, is surely anointed and would bless any ministry that has her perform at their event. She had us in tears and on our feet in praise!

Funny Man, KD The Comic (Kelley Doane) from the Last Comic Standing, had us crying with laughter. Some of us almost laughed right out of our seats. Yes, “laughter does good like medicine” Do you need some laughter at your event? He is your man!

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He has been my mentor, encourager and enthusiastically supported every conference I had. The VERY anointed, Pastor Demetric Phillips, is the worship leader at Destination Church and he continuously brings us into the presence of God.

The awesome, talented and anointed, Ms. Catherine Wiley and her worship team from Blessed Hope, stirred our hearts to worship with a song.

The Beautiful Catherine Wiley and Miss. Tonji Cooke, blessed us with a life changing word of encouragement about “True Beauty” All it takes is just one negative word spoken to a child to hurt their self esteem and affect their lives into adulthood. (Next issue Pt 2)

PART 2 of B Beautiful You conference Highlights will Continue in our Winter issue


Fall issue’s SPONSORS

A Special

Thank You To our “B Beautiful You” How was The James House (TJH) started? TJH was founded in 1989 on the belief that all people deserve a life free from interpersonal violence. We began as the Survivor’s Outreach Center serving people affected by sexual violence. We later became the Sexual Assault Outreach Program, and when we obtained funding to begin providing services for those affected by domestic violence and stalking as well, we became The James House. Do you offer outreach services, residential programs or both? We do not provide residential services. Our outreach services are geared towards raising awareness about the issues surrounding interpersonal violence. Our direct services include a 24-hour hotline, safe shelter, safety planning, individual counseling, support group, case management, food pantry, clothes closet, community referrals, court accompaniment, and hospital accompaniment. “All of our services are cost-free

enforcement/social services to follow before a victim can be placed into your program? Anyone can make a referral to our agency. We then talk with/meet with the person to do an extensive intake/needs assessment to determine if they are eligible for our services. If someone is not eligible for our services, we make referrals to community agencies that may be more appropriate. How can the public help you with your plight?

If you offer housing, how many individuals are you able to accommodate? Which ages/ genders are qualified for housing? Are you able to house mothers with children? We offer safe shelter for anyone who is in imminent danger from sexual or domestic violence. This service is available to women, men, transgender, and children under 18 if accompanied by an adult. Do you have any programs / curricula that are specific to victims of sex trafficking or other forms of human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, or sexual abuse / exploitation? If so, please describe.

Our Board of Directors is also made up of volunteers as are our board sub-committees. We are always on the lookout for passionate, motivated, committed people willing to donate their time. We collect used cell phones and ink cartridges and we always have a need to small denomination gift cards to gas stations and stores such as Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc.

and confidential”.

We provide services for people affected by any kind of sexual violence. We do use “The Courage to Heal Workbook” with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We do not have curricula specific to human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation. What is the best way for victims or for first responders to reach you for services? Our 24-hour crisis line number is (804) 458-2840. We can also be reached at helpline@ejameshouse.org or through our website: www.TheJamesHouse.com. Are there necessary avenues for law

TJH relies heavily upon individual and corporate monetary donations. We receive grant funding for a great deal of our direct service work, but we need to raise approximately $100,000 a year to meet our budget. We also have a solid group of community volunteers who assist us with things such as answering our hotline, co-facilitating support groups, providing accompaniment to court/hospital, sorting donations, attending community events to raise awareness, etc.

To learn more, call 458-2704, visit www.thejameshouse.org; or email helpline@thejameshouse.org. Their new online video series, The 26th Story, commissioned for our 25th anniversary, will tell 25 stories from survivors that they have helped and community members who have helped them to make a difference. They will release a new video on YouTube every 2 weeks throughout 2014. What will the 26th story be? Stay tuned to The James House YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/thejameshousehelps and Facebook page to find out. No.08 | FALL 2014

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Ms. Lakesha Holiday

Visionary and Founder of L.I.F.T

boyfriend. Then IT happened. It was a hot summer day and the guy I was dating told me he had contracted an STD. “Surely he’s been unfaithful,” I thought. I scheduled an appointment to get tested and the results revealed I had Chlamydia as well. According to womenshealth.gov, Chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease because 75 percent of infected women have no symptoms.

I

am so thankful and honored to be able to interview Lakesha and share her inspirational story with you. I never met her personally, not yet anyway, but her story and ministry has really inspired me to want to. I know you will be blessed by this beautiful SPARKLING jewel, even as I have.

I was given antibiotics to treat the infection. Thank God it was curable. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the situation. How did this disease lay dormant in my body for three years with NO symptoms? I felt fine! The hydrosalpinx developed as a result of the Chlamydia being left untreated.

As you can imagine, I was devastated. The worst was still to come. People found out and treated me differently. I felt like an outcast. Along with being angry, fear began to me. I would constantly think about weSparkle~Tell us a little bit about consume the opinions of others. This forced me to be yourself and your story. silent. I created my own little bubble. My I was born and raised in Jacksonville, NC. I’m healing process was far from easy. There were good days and there were bad days, but one a country girl indeed! My parents divorced thing remained; God was there with me. when I was two years old; however, they did a phenomenal job in co-parenting. Proverbs He mended every broken part of me! How 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he did I know I was healed? I was able to share should go: and when he is old, he will not my story. For 5 years, I was silent. So, I want depart from it. to encourage you. My parents and extended family reared me Understand that many infections and in the admonition of this very verse. Howdiseases can lay dormant in your body, so get ever, my life is a sum total of the decisions tested regularly. Secondly, when you make any I’ve made, both good, and well, seemingly bad (Romans 8:28…but that’s another article, type of vow between yourself and God, don’t be afraid of accountability. Lastly, be whew!) I made the decision to abstain from HONEST with Jesus. A part of the healing sex until marriage in November 2009. process is being honest with yourself, so that you are able to be honest with Him, about In March 2010, I began to experience what is broken. abdominal pain that would increase daily. I eventually scheduled an appointment with WOW! Was this the inspiration my physician. After my examination, I was for your ministry? diagnosed with a hydrosalpinx. A hydrosalpinx occurs when a fallopian tube Absolutely! There are so many facets to that becomes filled with fluid due to injury or infection. I was given a prescription for pain, season of my life. Consequently, I plummeted to an all-time low. Everything about me was and was told the fluid would drain. down except my weight! Because there were so many pieces to the puzzle of what I was It seemed the medicine worked because the dealing with, I felt like I had no one to talk pain had vanished. Almost three years later, I faltered on my decision to remain abstinent to. I needed to be lifted from that place and I didn’t know where to begin seeking help. and became sexually involved with my then 24

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ENCOURAGEMENT

What do you enjoy most about the work you do and why did you choose it in the first place? I enjoy living out my purpose, which is being a voice for the voiceless. A great deal of what I’ve experienced in my life is things that are not commonly addressed; issues that are not widespread in popularity or discussion. I don’t only empathize with those who suffer in silence, but I sympathize with them as well. We struggle with the very issues shunned by society. We’ve mastered suppressing our issues because of the fear of the opinions of others. What will they think? How will they treat me after they find out? Will I be accepted? As a result, the voice within shuts down, and the now ‘voiceless’ suffer in silence. L.I.F.T. serves as the foundation to which people can voice what they are dealing with…which in turn leads to their healing.

Tell us about any new projects you have coming up or recently completed.

and have had private one on one conversations with women, and men, who have been blessed by the ministry God placed on the inside of me; even before it had a name. Also, I shared with a group of men and women one day my journey and process of celibacy, at the end of that meeting, a young lady came up to me and shared that she had slept with so many men, she had lost count. She elaborated on the consequences of her decisions. She stated that because of what I said, she had hope that she could do better and live better. This not only stands out to me for reasons of the obvious, but perhaps most importantly, this happened before my ministry had a name. God was preparing me for it and I didn’t even know it.

What do your family or friends think about your ministry?

HUMM! A Moment of honesty, I have not gotten a great deal of feedback or support from my family and friends, with the exception of my parents, some immediate family For the month of October, L.I.F.T. volunteered its time and resources in honor of Na- members, and a few others of those I tional Domestic Violence Awareness month. consider family. Early on, I was very discourThis is our second year doing so. We prepare aged by that; but, I’ve received support and home cooked meals to deliver to the women’s encouragement from those I’ve needed to shelter every week, as well as, donate supplies. hear it from the most…and believe it or not, it’s more so from those I don’t know versus The organization has two projects in the works. One is a uniquely themed networking the ones I do. How about that! event that will lift and boost our economy. A What are some of the most fulfilling part of the organization’s vision is to promote projects you have been involved balance and practicality. It is not our desire to with so far? see individuals thrive in one area of their life, but lack in another. I AM a project! My life up until this very moment has been a roller coaster ride. The second project is, whew, going to ruffle There have been highs, lows, dips, loops, and some feathers for sure, but it has to be done. unexpected curves; but God has graced me I’ve struggled with working on it for years to live to this moment; and He’s been hands because of the sensitivity of it; but I’ve pushed on in this project every step of the way. Other past the fear and have started the planning than that, I enjoy working on projects that process. The event will consist of singles, help build in the areas of administration… married folks, and the ‘other woman/man’… which is another passion of mine. yes the Olivia Pope’s!

Have you received any awards or testimonies as a result of your ministry?

I have not received any public awards on behalf of L.I.F.T. However, over the years, I have received countless phone calls, e-mails,

What excites you or motivates you the most about the work you do?

When I’m no longer fearful in sharing an intimate piece of my life. In that moment, I feel like there’s nothing I can’t accomplish. No.08 | FALL 2014

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I feel like no one can tell me I don’t matter and I don’t have a purpose. In those moments, my creative juices immediately begin to flow. I begin to prepare for ‘my moment’; that moment when God would have me to speak and share what has been on the inside.

What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome pursuing your vision?

The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome in pursuing my vision is sharing my story with my parents. Oh my gosh! That was by far one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It’s difficult to even put into words. Simply put, I was just scared; but in telling them, another piece of me was healed even the more; and I just felt better.

From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

I draw inspiration from studying the lives of others; and that list is innumerable. At the top of my list are my mother and father. My mom is just a great woman who has endured so much, has given up much, and has given so much. She’s amazing! She’s one of the most selfless people I know. As an only child, I was naturally selfish growing up; even into my adulthood. I’ve looked to my mom’s life to aide me in beginning a more selfless person. So far, I’m on the right track! I am the epitome of a daddy’s girl! My dad has supported me in all of my personal and professional endeavors; even when I’ve made it difficult for him to do so. He has such a heart for helping people. He’s always doing the unexpected just to bring a smile to someone’s face. I strive to be like that in my life. My celebrity inspiration, one that I constantly draw from; so much so that my friends and family make fun of me, is R&B singer, Monica. That’s my BFF, sister, shopping partner and prayer partner…in my head! But seriously, her life truly inspires me.

peace, and a renewed mind that there’s nothing I can’t do with God in my corner…and that includes, sharing my life with people I don’t even know!

What one thing would you like to learn to do this year? I would like to Sky dive.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself in five years with these titles. College graduate. Author. Motivational Speaker. Branding and Marketing Strategist.

Are there any people in your field you would like to meet or work with and have not yet had the opportunity? I believe in having multiple streams of income. One of my goals is to become an Interior Decorator. That is a passion I once had, that as we speak, is being reignited. I would love to work with Interior Designer, Candice Olson; and yes, there is a difference between a decorator and designer. If Candice and I meet one day, maybe we could break it down for you! As it relates to the non-profit sector, I would love to meet and work with Mariska Hargitay.

What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your Ministry?

Men telling me how my ministry has helped them. Initially, I thought it was designed to cater to women only; but God has proved me wrong and has proven time and time again that wasn’t the case.

What do you do for fun and relaxation?

I love to watch re-runs of my favorite shows. I also enjoy going for rides…literally; just getting in the car and driving…with no destination in mind.

What one thing have you done in the What does your typical day look past year that has made a like? significant difference in your life and ministry? It’s pretty basic. Wake up. Read and study my Oh that’s simple. Doing this interview! Doing this interview has given me a sense of hope, 26

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Bible. Pray. Cook breakfast. Check social media. Excuse my vernacular, but I love me


some Instagram! I either do something spontaneous or begin working on projects, or get ready for work. If I don’t read and study my Bible in the morning, I try my best to do it at night. Classes will be starting soon, so I’ll be incorporating homework into my schedule.

Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t allow your testimony to intimidate you so much so that you refrain from sharing it altogether. One important piece of wisdom I received is this: You don’t have to share your entire testimony all at one time. In fact, that can be extremely overwhelming for yourself and others. Be okay with sharing your testimony in portions, as God releases you to do so. Lastly, be proactive with your health. Don’t wait until something is wrong to go to the doctor. Get annual tests done. If you’re a woman, get a pap smear regularly; and if you’ve been sexually active, even once, regularly get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Some diseases can lay dormant your body, and while they do, you’ll feel perfectly fine, with no symptoms at all.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? L.I.F.T. will be launching our “I had to go down to know how to lift” shirts this month. Be on the lookout so that you can place an order for yourself and all of your girlfriends! They will be super cute and stylish. Also, I am designing custom wreaths and centerpieces for the Holidays you can veiw them at, www.facebook.com/interiorbyyou or email me at, interiorbyyou@gmail.com for more information. We at weSPARKLE magazine, would like to thank the lovely Ms. Lakesha Holiday for taking time out her day to share her life and minstry with our amazing readers. Please visit her website at, www.whatislift.org. Their e-mail is info@whatislift.org You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram. www.facebook.com/whatislift. @whatislift Advertisement

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M

eet Miss. Shakia, founder of Bare. Bold. & Beautiful, a movement that strives to inspire ladies to reduce how often they wear make-up, to recognize the beauty in their “flaws”, and to define their own beauty! I ran across this AMAZING young lady a few months ago as I was admiring some beautiful photos on facebook. We talked on the phoned and I immediately feel in love with her. As I followed her these past months, she has become MY inspiration as I watched her and a friend, Leanna Calvin, on youtube, cut off ALL their hair, before traveling across country for 3 weeks. From Connecticut to California they talked with complete strangers, to film a documentary to promote, inspire and step into a definition of beauty that is not dependent on exterior adornments. They did so by abstaining from jewelry, make-up, fancy clothing and buzzing off their beautiful hair. They were also on a quest to discover if the definition of beauty varies from state to state. They gauge this by conducting street interviews with a variety of people. The ladies additionally stopped in various states to interview and film specific ladies. Ladies who once did not see themselves as beautiful because of their visible scars, vitiligo, albinism, bell’s palsy, cleft lip and burn scars, but are now able to see their beauty. Shakia and Leanna also challenged strangers on the streets in various cities to define their beauty by finishing the sentence, “My Beauty Is” in writing on their hand held white board. These ladies were on a journey that was bound to change lives, uplift self esteems and broaden peoples definition of beauty. I had to share her story with you because I know she will INSPIRE you as she continually inspires me.

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Not only will you will fall in love with her and her mission, because not only does her smile light up a room, but her story will ignite a BIG SPARK in your heart and challenge your faith. SHAKIA is truly A BRILLIANT SPARKLING JEWEL that can not be hidden. fter returning from their cross country trip, we were able to catch up with Shakia and ask her about what she discovered and learned from the trip and a few personal questions (which we will share in another issue) and this is what she shared with us. Shakia~ I had dreamed of taking this trip for a while, so for it to actually come to fruition was indeed a dream come true. I had three goals when I set out on this journey. 1. To find out how people define beauty. 2. To provide the ladies a platform to tell their story. 3. To find confidence in my beauty beyond my jewelry, make-up, fancy clothing, and hair. I can proudly say that all three goals were fulfilled. I was exposed to many people of all ages, races, ethnicities and beliefs who shared their definition of beauty through words, songs, poems and dance. Each lady that we were able to interview was able to open up and go into depth of their upbringing and the story behind their scars, diagnosis, burns, etc. Some shared some very dark and vulnerable times in their life; even as far as contemplating suicide. These ladies were able to share their struggles and how they overcame them in hopes that their story will be a guide for ladies who are in similar situations. Lastly, trying to be a confident in my new look was very difficult. I initially was sad at the removal of many of the things that I believed made me beautiful. After the sadness subsided I began to ignore my external beauty by avoiding mirrors. However, as the journey progressed my beauty blossomed into something that was so much more than the external.

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COVER STORY

My beauty was putting a genuine smile on someones face, complimenting a stranger which made them feel good and giving a voice to someones story. Before I set out on this journey I interviewed a young lady for my website, who had lost all her hair due to cancer. I took her insightful words : “ If you really want to know who you are shave your heard, embrace it, smile, laugh, take a million pictures and share your story” and took it on this journey with me, I look forward to working diligently on editing the footage for this documentary so I can do just that, share this story.

The scripture that is aligned with the movement is, Psalms 139: 14 “I praise you

because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”

I want ladies to not only read this scripture, but to internalize it and speak it with full confidence! join us as we set out to redefine beauty! I invite you to join us in the ‘Barely Beautiful’ facebook group, also you can visit us at, www.bareboldbeautiful.com for more information. This Beauty has bell Palsy

This Beauty has Vitiligo

Times Square

Philadelphia

“No longer will we use others opinions to gauge our beauty, instead we will DEFINE our beauty! Stay tuned as we challenge ourselves and other ladies to Be Bare, Be Bold and Be Beautiful.”- Shakia No.08 | FALL 2014

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Be HAPPY with THANKSGIVING!

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e are already into November, Christmas music is playing, decorations and trees are displayed in the stores. With excitement, many are preparing with anticipation for the special day to arrive, Pre Black Friday! Yes, the day that put a damper on my Thanksgiving’s Day last year, as my sisters and nieces frantically rushed to get in line and purchase there discounted Christmas gifts at wal-mart on that very day that was set apart for our family. Am I complaining? UMMM, no LOL. but it really made me see how I can be a little selfish sometimes, HOW dare they leave and disrupt my family day that I planned for or rather sacrificed my “just me and my four and no more time to make everyone else happy”. SHAME ON ME! But, thank God, I have grown a little since last year and have learned to be thankful in ALL THINGS for what seemed to be a Thanksgiving Dinner disaster, turned out to be a blessing; guest gone home much earlier than in the past, more time to spend alone with hubby and I even got to go to bed a little earlier. :) For that, I am REALLY THANKFUL!!! But for some the holidays are not anticipated, some have lost loved one, jobs or their finances are not what they would like it to be. Many parents also have emotional stress during this time with a lot of guilt. For as Thanksgiving is 30

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approaching, so is Christmas, meaning, going into deeper debt purchasing toys and gifts for their children with the credit card that they are still making payments on from last year. I know, I’ve been there and still trying to recover financially from years of doing it. But still I am Thankful and as long I remain in the attitude of thankfulness, I will continue to live a life of God’s peace, filled with joy and I love living a life of joy. I once read a book call “ If Satan can’t steal your Joy he can’t KEEP your goods” PRAISE GOD! I’m going to do everything I can do to maintain my JOY because I have something stolen from me that has to be returned! What about you? Do you need somethings returned to you? Perhaps you have lost your job recently, as the economy has continued to struggle. Or you may have lost a loved one your health, a experience a divorce or infidelity in your marriage or have a child who gives you sleepless nights and and you JUST WANT YOUR PEACE and JOY BACK! Such circumstances can be tremendously difficult and seemingly zap all joy from you. But even so, we all have much to be thankful for and I’m here to encourage you and help you get it back. ~ Bianca


DEVOTIONS

Did you know that,

Your JOY can be regained when “YOU CHOOSE to be thankful no matter what?” Please Read this devotion with me, written by Billy Graham. There is a story of a man who had every right to be bitter—but wasn’t. The next footsteps in the corridor, he knew, might be those of the guards taking him away to his execution. His only bed was the hard, cold stone floor of the dank, cramped prison cell. Not an hour passed when he was free from the constant irritation of the chains and the pain of the iron manacles cutting into his wrists and legs. Separated from friends, unjustly accused, brutally treated—if ever a person had a right to complain, it was this man, languishing almost forgotten in a harsh Roman prison. But instead of complaints, his lips rang with words of praise and thanksgiving! The man was the Apostle Paul—a man who had learned the meaning of true thanksgiving, even in the midst of great adversity. Earlier, when he had been imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV). Think of it: Always giving thanks for everything—no matter the circumstances! Thanksgiving for the Apostle Paul was not a once-a-year celebration, but a daily reality that changed his life and made him a joyful person in every situation. Thanksgiving—the giving of thanks—to God for all His blessings should be one of the most distinctive marks of the believer in Jesus Christ. We must not allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden our heart and chill our relationship with God and with others. Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more

to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness. In the ancient world, leprosy was a terrible disease. It hopelessly disfigured those who had it, and it permanently cut them off from normal society. Without exception, every leper yearned for one thing: To be healed. One day 10 lepers approached Jesus outside a village, loudly pleading with Him to heal them. In an instant He restored them all to perfect health—but only one came back and thanked Him. All the rest left without a word of thanks, their minds preoccupied only with themselves, gripped with a spirit of ingratitude. Today, too, ingratitude and thanklessness are far too common. Children forget to thank their parents for all that they do. Common courtesy is scorned. We take for granted the ways that others help us. Above all, we fail to thank God for His blessings. Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible. One of the Bible’s indictments against rebellious humanity is that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Romans 1:21, NIV). An ungrateful heart is a heart that is cold toward God and indifferent to His mercy and love. It is a heart that has forgotten how dependent we are on God for everything. From one end of the Bible to the other, we are commanded to be thankful. In fact, thankfulness is the natural outflowing of a heart that is attuned to God. The psalmist declared, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 147:7, NIV). Paul wrote, “Be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NIV). A spirit of thanksgiving is always the mark of a joyous Christian. Why should we be thankful?

Because God has blessed us, and we should be thankful for each blessing.

http://billygraham.org/story/how-to-be-thankful-in-all-things

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Continued from Page 31

T

hank God for the Material Blessings That He Gives You We seem never to be satisfied with what we have—rich or poor, healthy or sick. But what a difference it makes when we realize that everything we have has been given to us by God! King David prayed, “Wealth and honor come from you We give you thanks, and praise your glorious name Everything comes from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12-14, NIV). Some years ago I visited a man who was wealthy and successful. He was the envy of all his friends and business associates. But as we talked, he broke down in tears, confessing that he was miserable inside. Wealth had not been able to fill the empty place in his heart. A few hours later I visited another man only a short distance away. His cottage was humble, and he had almost nothing in the way of this world’s possessions. And yet his face was radiant as he told me about the work he was doing for Christ and how Christ had filled his life with meaning and purpose. I am convinced that the second man was really the rich man. Although he didn’t have much, he had learned to be thankful for everything that God had given him. Paul declared, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12, NIV). A spirit of thankfulness makes all the difference. Are you constantly preoccupied with what you do not have? Or have you learned to thank God for what you do have? Thank God for the People in Your Life It is so easy to take people for granted, or even to complain and become angry because they do not meet our every wish. But we need to give thanks for those around us—our spouses, our children, our relatives, our friends and others who help us in some way. I once received a letter from a woman who began by telling me how fortunate she was to have a kind, considerate husband. She then used four pages to list 32

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all his faults! How many marriages and other relationships grow cold and eventually are shattered because of the sin of ingratitude? Do you let others know that you appreciate them and are thankful for them? The Christians in Corinth were far from perfect, but Paul began his first letter to them by saying, “I always thank God for you” (1 Corinthians 1:4, NIV). When a group of believers (whom Paul had never met) came out to greet him as he approached Rome, we read that “at the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged” (Acts 28:15, NIV). Thank God for those who touch your life. Thank God in the Midst of Trials and Even Persecution We draw back from difficulties, yet not one of us is exempt from some kind of trouble. In many parts of the world it is dangerous even to be a Christian because of persecution. And yet in the midst of those trials we can thank God, because we know that He has promised to be with us and that He will help us. We know that He can use times of suffering to draw us closer to Himself: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV). When the prophet Daniel learned that evil men were plotting against him to destroy him, “he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10, NIV). The Bible commands, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV). Paul declared, “You will even be able to thank God in the midst of pain and distress because you are privileged to share the lot of those who are living in the light” (Colossians 1:12, Phillips). I don’t know what trials you may be facing right now, but God does, and He loves you and is with you by His Holy Spirit. Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness even in the midst of trials and heartaches.


“God has given us the greatest Gift of all—His Son, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven.” Thank God Especially for His Salvation in Jesus Christ God has given us the greatest Gift of all—His Son, who died on the cross and rose again so that we can know Him personally and spend eternity with Him in heaven: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV). The Bible tells us that we are separated from God because we have sinned. But God loves us—He loves you, He loves me—and He wants us to be part of His family forever. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son into the world to die as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. All we need to do is reach out in faith and accept Christ as our Savior and Lord: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). Have you opened your heart to Jesus Christ? If not, turn to Him with a simple prayer of repentance and faith, and thank Him for what He has done for you. And if you do know Christ, how long has it been since you thanked God for your salvation? We should not let a day go by without thanking God for His mercy and His grace to us in Jesus Christ. Thank God for His Continued Presence and Power in Your Life When we come to Christ, it is not the

end but the beginning of a whole new life! He is with us, and He wants to help us follow Him and His Word. In ourselves we do not have the strength that we need to live the way God wants us to live. But when we turn to Him, we discover that “it is God who works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV). Jesus promised His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18, 20, NIV). In many countries a special day is set aside each year for thanksgiving. But for the Christian every day can be a day of thanksgiving, as we are “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV). Do you know the joy of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ? If you’ll turn to God, He can take away your bitterness and give you the spirit of true thankfulness. Ask Him today to come into life, help you to know Him and God’s plan for your life, fill you with His perfect peace and Joy, THEN, CHOOSE to give THANKS with a grateful heart!!!

This this Holiday,

CHOOSE TO “BE HAPPY WITH THANKSGIVING”, HAVING PEACE OVERFILLED WITH GREAT JOY!

“It’s not Happy People who are Thankful, It’s Thankful People who are Happy” No.08 | FALL 2014

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A NOTE FROM weSHINE CO-EDITOR

H

ello everyone. Welcome to this issue of weShine warriors edition. We have a lot of exciting stories that we’ve planned to share with you in this edition and in our 2015 issues. Since our last edition,we’ve met more amazing people and have been greatly motivated, inspired and challenged by their determination, commitment and strength. We’ve also learned that many of them overcame their fears and insecurities by their relentless faith which helped them overcome obstacles and welcome their fears and failures as teachers. Teachers that gave them knowledge and wisdom, causing them to have greater success, and victories in their families, relationships and careers. In celebration of our magazine’s relaunch, in 2015, we will be featuring more motivational, empowering, and inspiring stories and interviews, from World Changers, Financial Gurus, Seasoned and Aspiring Entrepreneurs and the Everyday Man who is Fighting for His Dreams. I’m personally really excited about the feature of my good friend, street apparel fashion icon, Keith Perrin, Co-Founder of FUBU apparel. In their prime, FUBU generated revenues of over six billion dollars in worldwide retail sales. Yes I said, SIX BILLION. You may be more familiar with his partner Damon John from the hit show, Shark Tank, but Keith has a huge storage of wisdom and experience to share with us. His story is a BIG inspiration to myself and those who are dreaming and working towards doing their own thing, Why? Because he is a BIG Dreamer,

seasoned Entrepreneur and a great Businessman. We will be working on a video interview with him soon on our upcoming, B~Inspired Network Show, but in the meantime, make sure you take some notes from his interview. weShine readers, now it’s time to start preparing for 2015. It’s time to start setting our goals and strategizing to capture our dreams. In the next issue we will spend more time discussing goals, planning for success in 2015, and how to raise the funding you need to launch and grow that business, product, or dream you’ve always wanted. Please also keep me in your thoughts as well as I’m launching a few new ventures and working on my next two books! I’m so excited! My last words: Don’t be satisfied where you are. Be determined. Be committed. Be a dreamer. Be a doer. Be happy. Be all you that you were sent here in the earth to be, do, and achieve. Know that the only person that can stop you from achieving your dreams is you. More importantly, know while many people are walking in darkness... weShine! I hope enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!. NOTE: While finalizing my notes I heard of the tragic loss to the Christian Community, so weSHINE warriors would like to take a moment with prayer and acknowledge Dr. Myles Monroe and his wife, who both went home to be with the Lord in a fatal accident along seven others on November 9th, 2014. Our hearts are saddened at the tragic loss of such a anointed woman and man of God as well a great Christian leader. Dr. Monroe’s teachings, books, conferences, commitment to truth, and legacy will be in the hearts of thousands for years to come. We send our love and prayers to his family and those who were involved. ~Terry

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COVER STORY

How this dad lost 125 in 8 months! The short version, in laymans terms

I

met Matt for the first time he can into my home to install a special phone for my mom, he was very friendly and talkative as if we were old friends, so in the back of my mind I was thinking “how I may open up a conversation with him to talk about God , my church , my magazine or possibly get to pray with him”. I quickly went to get my business cards to hand it to him before he left which opened up an avenue to talk about my ministry, church, magazine and wieghtloss. I not quite sure how we really got on the subject of weightloss, I think it was because he said he had some stories he could share but anyway, it proceeded to talk and a flood gate of knowledge came out of his mouth about the science behind it that almost short circuited my brain . But, like a eager student there I stood leaning against my mom’s wall asking questions, occasionally my mother would interrupt with, “Bianca , let this man go, he has work to do”, But I could tell he was enjoying the conversation as much as I was, so we continued on. Until, until my head started hurting as I began to get overloaded with so much information that I thought my head was about to explode. I just polity ask him if he could he explain it in a way that a lay person would understand like weight-loss for 36

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dummies? He smiled and said “I’m sorry I’m a kinda geek when it comes to things like this”. But, he agreed to write a story to inspire us, in layman’s terms. He has a very pleasant and witty way of saying things, a person whom you could literally sit with, listening, talking, learning and being entertained for hours, Enjoy! “You have bones near your neck!” With a six-year old unconscious honesty, Sarah complained I wasn’t so comfortable to hug on anymore since losing more than a third of my body weight. My collar bone was hard against her cheek. It was a big deal for a kid who went to sleep on my shoulder every night until she grew too big for me to carry to bed. Before that I had been the guy who struggled his weight down to 365 pounds. I could gain weight on 1500 calories. 1200 calories brought the “success” of a 55.5 BMI. I had a belly that looked like I was about to become the father (mother?) of my country. I was working hard at a print shop moving cases of paper all day. Not long before that I was big enough I literally folded a men’s bicycle while riding it. Hopefully none of this sounds familiar to you, other than the little girl’s love of her Daddy. If it does, though, maybe my story can help. Countless people have certainly helped me.


A coworker asked if I would support another coworker in “going back on Atkins” by doing the first two weeks with them. I said all the things you aren’t supposed to say going on a diet. “Diets don’t work for me.” “I’ll try the first two weeks, but that’s it.” “If it’s too big a pain, I’m out.” Real commitment, huh? I stuck it out for the first two and a half days in spite of the fact you would have thought I had the Spanish flu. Then suddenly on the third day about lunch time, I was fine! I felt good. After that it was easy. Well, easier. Losing two pounds the first week was miracle to me. By the end of the second week everyone in the office hated me for losing as much as the rest of them put together. I’m a reader, so as soon as I found it was working for me, I bought one of the books and found out we weren't even doing it right: Eat as much as you like, just eat what you’re supposed to. I took them at their word. No soda, no sugar, no starchy, bready stuff, no juice. Treat fruit like desert. Eat real vegetables with every meal. Full-fat dairy is okay in small amounts. Cream and cheese are better. Butter and eggs are great. Eat meat with every meal if you can. I ended up eating about 3000 calories a day at first. Oddly, I lost weight faster: 125 pounds in 8 months. I’ve kept it off for ten years, too. By not going hungry? How can that be? It turns out that the experts in the media and government hearings are more expert on getting publicity and sounding scientific than they are at learning biology. The actual science has been observed so many times by weight-conscious women they used it on sitcoms. “I ate half a pound of candy and gained five pounds.” Hormones turn out to be the answer. Sugars and starches raise blood sugar, the body releases the hormone insulin to clear away the extra and sends it to the fat. It can also release too much insulin and leave you with too little blood sugar and leave you

hungry. Ever eat a piece of chocolate or a cracker and wonder why it made you hungrier? That’s why. My daughter, now sixteen, found this old picture for this article. She still hugs on me. She can reach all the way around me, too.

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So Now you’re ready to

TIE THE KNOT?

N

Choosing the Right Knot for the Job

ot all knots are created equal. Size, symmetry and shape can vary greatly from knot to knot and all should be taken into consideration. Thick ties often necessitate the use of smaller knots like the Four-in-Hand or the Simple knot. Thin ties generally benefit from larger knots like the Pratt or Windsor. Every knot has a distinct character. The Prince Albert swaggers with a refined elegance. The Kelvin throws caution to the wind. The Murrell grins like a Cheshire Cat. The Van Wijk winks like a scoundrel with a secret. The Eldredge and Trinity knots twirl and fold like futuristic necktie origami. Every knot serves its master differently. Try a few knots. Experiment. Play. Your necktie will thank you.

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MEN’S LIFESTYLE AND FASHION Eldredge

Trinity

Four in Hand Simple

Balthus

Windsor Van Wijk

Murrell

Prince Albert No.08 | FALL 2014

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Meet Entrepreneur

Keith Perrin Jr.

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Co-Owner FUBU The Collection and Shark Tank Brand Manager of Celebrity Integration

took my mother Bianca, founder of weSPARKLE, magazine, to meet and connect with my long time friend Keith Perrin, at the FUBU office located in the Empire State Building in NY, as always, he was very down to earth and gave her the grand tour, boy was she excited and the questions started coming.

Because she really felt that he was an “amazing” man with a lot of wisdom to offer her, along with our readers, without any hesitation, she asked him would he be willing to share his story and the beginning of FUBU, with you all, as you see, Keith gladly accepted her request. Thanks Keith, for taking the time out your busy schedule to share with our weShine readers. Now WS warriors, get your pad and pencil out and take some good notes!

Hi Keith, can you please Tell us how the company you co-founded was started and what your responsibilities were?

I

n 1992 Daymond came to me with an idea for producing hats.  He said I need your help and I feel this could be a good way to make extra money.  At the time I was a Property Manager for NHP Housing Corp. I had 200 apartments that I was responsible for in Harlem NY.  I had just got a promotion 2 years earlier from Assistant manager and I was only 20 years old at the time. I asked my sister to model the hats for an ad we were putting out and after that we got calls from Japan.

After a few years of going through funds and having to put things on hold we finally decided to go to the Magic show in Vegas.  I couldn’t make that show because I could not take off a week from work so I sent my cousin with them to help.  When they got back we had over 300k in orders.  My duty at that time was to help in any way I could.  That included packing boxes, help with shipping orders and whatever else needed to be done.  We had no official titles at that time.

What are some of the challenges one face when co founding a business with someone. I think the challenges you face when co founding a company with someone is that, everyone has to be on the same page for it to work. Early on we knew we had something but it wasn’t clear what we had.  We were selling out everywhere we went so we knew something was working in our favor. Our friends would laugh and say “you guys would never have a real clothing company” but we knew otherwise.  If we stuck to our beliefs this was going to take off.  We had no experience in designing clothes but something in our gut said “keep going”. 

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Daymond read a book called “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill” and bought several copies for everyone to read.  That book changed our lives forever!  There was a line in there that said “Some people don’t know how close they come to success because they often quit and fail” That was all the motivation we needed. Do you have a mentor? If not, is this something you think would benefit your career and is there anyone you would like to have as a mentor?

No, I don’t have a mentor but I looked at people like Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, Run-DMC and other local artists in our community as mentors and for my motivation.  They didn’t know it at the time but I wanted to be an entrepreneur or business man like they were.  Years later I would get to know all these guys on a personal level.  I do think now that I can still benefit from learning from a mentor because as I’ve grown business wise there are still things I can be taught.  You never stop learning.  But exactly who that will be, I don’t know yet. What are some of the greatest advice you were given or lessons learned through the years?

The greatest advice I’ve received was to never let anyone deter you from your goals.  If you believe in something, see it through.  One of the best lessons I’ve learned was to never count your chickens before they hatch.  Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and think we’re a few steps ahead of where we actually are and that never works.  Think big but take it one day at a time. Are there any people in your field you would like to meet or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?


I’ve worked with a lot of people in and out of my industry so that’s a hard one for me.  I’ve been blessed to work with and meet people like Janet Jackson, J-LO, Nelson Mandela, Elizabeth Taylor, Magic Johnson, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Mayor Dinkins and Mary J Blige just to name a few.  I also have keys to the cities of Miami, Las Vegas and New York What do you do for fun/relaxation? I have fun spending time with my family which is very important for me.  I also enjoy riding motorcycles, jet skis, acting, traveling, basketball and football. What does your typical day looks like?

My typical day consists of getting up at 5:30 am every morning. Once I get to work, I check my business emails and respond.  I start going through all my notes I jotted down the day before and began to follow up on any calls or unfinished business not completed the day before.  Once everything is caught up I go through my list of celebrities to see who I can contact to get our Shark Tank products to.  I have a few meetings throughout the day then It’s time to browse through my social media to see whats going on in that world.  I’ll make a few calls regarding my production company and handle any business I have regarding that. This is a typical day but not an everyday occurrence.  Being in my industry things come up on the fly.  I might be in the office or out depending on whats going on. What does your family think of your career?

My family is very proud of what I’ve done for myself.  Being the oldest in my family, all my siblings and cousins look up to me and constantly remind me how proud they are of me and the example I’ve set for the rest of them.  My mother is the happiest though.  She raised 4 kids, two boys and two girls.  We all are doing well for ourselves especially being raised by a strong single parent. The look in her eyes when I tell her something new I’ve done or someone I’ve met is priceless. 

When I told her I was in Nelson Mandela’s house in South Africa she cried.  Her favorite saying is “You either stand for something or fall for anything”.  Growing up she used to teach us about Mr. Mandela, what he stood for and why he was jailed.  So when she got that call from me she was proud that I made it and was going places she only dreamed of for me. What are some of your favorite ways to network?

I’m old school.  I like to talk to people face to face.  You get a good sense about a person when you look them in their eye.  I think in today’s world people prefer to text or email but I still like networking face to face. Are you working on any other projects outside of the company?

Yes.  I have a music production company that I’ve been working on for the past 6 months called “Vous Ego” which means “No Ego”.  I have two partners

Jay and Bravo and we are working on everything from Hip Hop, House to EDM music.  At the moment we have a DJ named, Dahvee D’ape and he performs all over.  We’re working on making him a household name in the EDM market.  I’m also working on my acting skills which I began back in 2000.  Now that I have more free time I’m exploring my options.  I would love to get that part of my life going.  We’ll see soon.  Look out for me. What else can we expect from you in the next few months or years? You can look forward to me working on the relaunch of Fubu with my partners, Daymond John, Carl Brown and J. Alexander Martin.  We have our new hair products out right now and its doing very well.  You can find our Natural Style by Fubu products in Walgreen’s and Rite Aid.  Also look out for my production company to do big things in the near future and watch out for me on the big screen. Any advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?

My advice for anyone looking to get into my line of work is, do your homework.  By that I mean, research the market you’re looking to get into, know your lane, recognize what’s not out there but needed, get financing prior to getting in the business and know your worth.  The reason I mentioned finances is the business has changed.  When we came up, there were people waiting for people like us to come up with the next big thing. Today that is no longer the case.  Investors want to know that they will have to do minimal work with great returns.  They want to see sales. You’re not guaranteed any success.  I’ve seen people with the whole package together and everything clicking and still go out of business.  Things come up that you don’t realize could happen, like a storm in the MediterraneanSea that can delay your boat a few weeks and your goods come in late. 

This is a disaster because all the hard work you put in to launch your brand goes down the drain all because you’re late and you didn’t deliver in time and the stores have to fill your product’s allotted space with some other vendors merchandise. Now the goods you spent a million dollars on, you have to discount them to stores like Burlington and Marshall’s because that’s the only stores that will take it. 

Your million dollars now only netted you 200k.  Your investor is pissed and you’re off to a bad start and not too many people recover from that.  Know what you’re in for by doing your homework.  Lucky for us we were backed by Samsung America so we never had those problems but they do happen. ~ Keith

“Some people don’t know how close they come to success because they often quit and fail”

No.08 | FALL 2014

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