Sunday, January 31

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Barb Wade

Wherever You Go, There You Are
by Barb Wade

OK, I’m going to tell it to you straight.  The biggest impediment to achieving what’s most important to you is between your ears.
The self-talk that we give ourselves is a running dialogue that is the most significant influence with regards to what we accomplish, and ALSO our entire quality of life.
I used to give myself constant messages of fear and “not enough.”  I remember being an actress and starring on an NBC sitcom in my 20s, and even then I was always in fear about whether I was good enough, whether they were regretful they hired me, and when the other shoe was going to drop and I would be released from my contract.
What kind of a way was that to live when I was doing something many people would die for?
But no amount of externals can override what we tell ourselves internally.  It’s a fact.  Even if you change your circumstances (new job, new mate, etc.) your mind and the way it operates is still right there.
And how do you suppose you show up in life when your running dialogue is “you’re not (good, smart, worthy) enough, you’re not loveable, you’re behind in what you’re accomplishing, you never get things right, you’re going to be ‘found out’ and rejected,” etc. etc.?
I’ll tell you.  You show up on shaky ground.  You show up trying to pull off a persona that other people will approve of – convinced the real you will lead to disaster.  You show up insecure, riddled with fear, and giving your power away to everyone else to decide if you’re worthy.
UGH.  It’s painful just to type that because I remember that phase of my life so viscerally. (Deep breath…).
So what’s the answer?  Well, let me warn you first that it takes practice.  You didn’t learn to be so self-critical overnight, and rewiring that takes a commitment.  But it will absolutely change your life – I know it did mine.
The solution, of course, is to develop self-compassion. 

To cultivate a loving inner voice to be your ally when you need to feel uncomfortable feelings (sadness, regret, fear) so that those can pass through you.

To develop a fierce inner advocate when you need to speak your truth and take risks.
The easiest way to start is to think of someone dearly whom you love more than you can put into words (a child in your life is very effective).  Imagine this child grown up and coming to you with the same messages “I really screwed up today, I’m so angry at myself, maybe I’m just not cut out for this (their dream), now people are going to think (fill in the blank).”
I KNOW without a doubt that you would give them messages of soothing.  You’d remind them the truth of who they are. You’d be present for their disappointment, but with unconditional love.  And you’d tell them that those thoughts are not true – they can and will achieve what they want.  They’re beautiful, inside and out.  They’re immensely capable. You’d prize their courage and tenacity. 
Now the thing you have to practice is saying these messages to yourself – because that’s what you deserve, too (even ask yourself what you’d say to ____ in the same situation).  You can imagine these messages of unbounded support for yourself as coming from a deep inner wisdom or what you might call your “higher self.”  However you conceptualize it is fine.
At first, expect the negative voices to come up, because that’s what you’re used to.  But as soon as you notice, ask yourself “what would love say?” as I’ve described above. The more and more you practice, the shorter the time will become between the negative voice and replacing it.  Eventually, the negative voice will actually arise fairly rarely in the first place, and the messages of self-love and support will be your default!

Commit to trying this the very next time you’re in self-shaming and fear. (Even committing to this new practice is already an act of self-support).   And then really do it. I mean really do it as if your life depended on it.
Because it actually does.

Business Coach & Mentor Barb Wade specializes in teaching entrepreneurs how to make more money more easily while enjoying a business and lifestyle that reflects their priorities. Download Barb's "Word-for-Word Scripts To Overcome Objections" and book more high-paying clients now at   

Monday, January 25

Marriage Self Help - When You Feel Like You're in it Alone By R P Smith

Marriage Self Help - When You Feel Like You're in it Alone
By R P Smith

Very few marriages exist without reaching a crucial fork in the road at some point and a marriage self help strategy can be very effective when this happens. Many marriages have reached the point where separation and possibly even divorce begin to seem like the only option. Often times, one spouse remains committed to the marriage despite his or her unhappiness and the other spouse seems ambivalent or even unaware that there is a problem.

The following marriage self help strategies can be extremely effective even if you feel like you are in this thing alone:

1. Heal your self - This is not a suggestion to enter marriage counseling. Often times these so-called "marriage counselors" are nothing more than licensed therapists with little or no actual training in how to save a marriage. I'm talking about individual counseling to help you sort through your own issues.

2. Worry about yourself -  Do not engage in personal attacks on your spouse. Do not be critical of them. Stay positive and worry about your own words and actions. Take ownership for what you do and say, regardless of what you may think or feel about the other person.

3. Make time for yourself - Do what you love! Engage in hobbies or activities that make you happy. Involve your spouse if it makes sense and he or she is interested but make time for yourself to pursue what you enjoy doing.

4. Take care of yourself -  Regardless of how lousy you may be feeling in this marriage, better diet and exercise are bound to help. You'll feel better and be in a much more resourceful state to handle the adversity.

Marriage self help, as I'm talking about here, is about working on yourself to improve your marriage. This will pay dividends regardless of what your spouse's role is in all this. You can still save your marriage even if your partner is not willing to try.

Improving yourself to save your marriage is just a beginning. I have so much more stuff I want to share with you at Marriage Self Help that will help you make your marriage even better than it ever has been. And yes, even if your spouse wants a divorce, you can save the marriage!     Article Source  


by D.A. Sears

A nonprofit is a corporation or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive. Nonprofits are also called not-for-profit corporations. A vast number of organizations qualify for nonprofit status. Nonprofit organizations include organized book clubs, churches, soup kitchens, charities, political associations, business leagues, fraternities, sororities, sports leagues, Colleges and Universities, hospitals, museums, television stations, symphonies, and public interest law firms.

The number of nonprofit corporations in the United States continued to increase into the twenty-first century. Although nonprofit corporations cannot produce dividends for investors, they provide income for the employees, and they foster work that benefits the public. Are you ready to serve the people as a nonprofit?

In the world of business, only three things matter:
1. What do you know?
2. What do you have to offer?
3. Can you be trusted?

Being brilliant and possessing top notch skills and a track record of producing high quality goods and services are a few "pieces of the puzzle" to succeeding in the business world. But it is not enough. Whether you are the CEO of a for-profit or not for profit organization, your intellectual capital, skills, and ability to produce high quality goods and services will not do you much good if you cannot be trusted. Why? Because the world of business runs on trust!

How does the world determine whether or not you can be trusted?
Your adherence to the unwritten rules of etiquette is the yardstick the world of business utilizes to determine if you are trustworthy. Your professional reputation and success and that of your organization is directly tied to whether you abide by or violate the written and unwritten rules of etiquette. While the world listens to what you have to say, it pays very critical attention to what you do and what you don't do.

When you commit an offense, the world will not confront you, tap you on the shoulder, and say:  "Hey! You committed a breach of etiquette. This is what you did wrong. Here is what you should have done and this is how you should correct it." Instead, the world watches silently, makes note of your offense(s), and decides whether it will do business with you and whether it will tell others in the business world not to do business with you or provide you with critical resources -- such as funding -- based on the severity of the breach of etiquette you have committed.

Now, why would the world sit back and watch you commit a breach of etiquette and not tell you? Because the world of business implicitly expects you to know and understand etiquette. The business world takes the view that if you have reached the pinnacle of owning or running a company -- be it a "for profit" or "not for profit" organization -- surely, you must know the rules of engagement. Surely, somewhere along the way, someone mentored you and taught you etiquette.

What exactly is "etiquette"?  Some refer to it as "manners." While others refer to it as "protocol" or "home training". For those of us who were raised by the village, as we made our journey from childhood to adulthood, our parents, family members, and Elders in our communities taught us "etiquette". We were taught to say "Thank you"; "Please"; "Excuse me"; and "You are welcome". We were taught to always be punctual for an appointment -- tardiness was inexcusable. And we were also taught to honor our commitments -- that our word should be our bond.

In other words, if you say you are going to do something, do it!  In retrospect, in their infinite wisdom, our parents, family members, and Elders in our communities were providing us with the rules of engagement to successfully navigate the environment outside of our immediate environment. We were given the fundamentals of business etiquette.

Philanthropists, foundations and Fortune 500 corporations are constantly searching for non-profit organizations that need funding and with whom they can develop and maintain mutually beneficial strategic alliances. Why? It makes good business sense for Fortune 500 corporations to fund and form mutually beneficial collaborations with non-profit organizations that are empowering the communities in which their clients and prospective clients live and work. But philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will receive a return on their investment.

And providing a non-profit organization with funding or engaging a non-profit organization in a strategic alliance is, in the eyes of philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations, an investment. Key officers of a non-profit organization who engage in the types of behavior described below run the risk of having their organizations characterized as "bad investments" by philanthropists, foundations, and Fortune 500 corporations:

1. Scheduling meetings with individuals and organizations and not bothering to show up or calling in advance to advise the individuals and organizations in question that the meeting has been canceled.

2. Scheduling telephone conference calls which you say you are going to initiate and not making the conference calls and not notifying the participants that the conference calls will not take place.

3. Failing to return telephone calls from clients, prospective clients, vendors, colleagues, etc.

4. Failing to respond to e-mail communications from clients, prospective, vendors, colleagues, etc.

The types of behavior that I have just described are, in fact, breaches of etiquette.  Would you do business with an individual or organization that exhibited any of the behaviors I have just described? Would you have confidence in an individual or organization that engaged in any of the behaviors I just described?

Think about it!

About the Author

Diane A. Sears is the Managing Editor of a quarterly international male parenting journal -- IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) Forum For and About the Fathers of the World and a member of the University Council for Akamai University in connection with its Fatherhood and Men's Studies program. Ms. Sears has published interviews of more than 100 Men who are Fathers.

She has authored and published reviews of numerous books which explore Fatherhood and men's rights issues, including "Father And Child Reunion" by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.; "Swallowed By A Snake: The Gift Of The Masculine Side Of Healing," by Thomas R. Golden, LCSW; and "The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Single Father" by Thomas Hoerner.  Sears is featured in the 2003-2004 National Register's Who's Who In Professionals and Executives and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.



by  D.A. Sears

Our communities have become spiritually and psychologically toxic environments. How did our communities get this way? Chaos abounds. Why? Emotional baggage!

Let's go back to the day that you were born.
When you emerged from the womb and entered the space and place we know as Planet Earth -- our global village -- your soul and your spirit were pure . . . intact . . . You were a whole person. You were a sensitive, trusting, compassionate and loving soul. You were curious about the new world you found yourself in. You gurgled with joy and laughter when you were happy and amused. You cried when you were hungry, angry or lonely in the hopes of getting the attention of the adults who were in your world so that you could get what you needed for your intellectual, physical, and emotional development. As time progressed, you developed a vocabulary.
 You began to speak -- first in words -- then in full sentences.  You reached a point where you could clearly articulate what you needed and wanted. You learned these words and sentences from the adults in your immediate environment and from other children. You asked questions about everything you saw, heard, and did not understand. Your eyes sparkled with delight as you made new discoveries about the world inside and outside of your immediate environment. You sang when you were happy. You were resilient, enthusiastic, spontaneous, energetic, and so very imaginative.

And then somewhere during your journey from childhood to adulthood something happened. Maybe it was something that someone you trusted said to you. Maybe he or she told you that you weren't smart or talented or worthy or pretty or handsome. Perhaps when you shared your dreams -- dreams of your future -- with this person, he or she told you that you were not capable of accomplishing what you dreamed about because you weren't smart enough, worthy enough, pretty or handsome enough. What you heard hurt you . . . crushed your spirit and and shook your soul to its core. The pain was too great.

You were too young to learn how to effectively and correctly deal with emotional and psychological pain, disappointment, rejection, and humiliation. No one provided you with the correct "coping tools" that you needed which would have helped you deal with your emotional and psychological pain. So, for your own sanity and survival, you found a way to numb the pain. You kept your ambitions and dreams to yourself. You hid your real emotions. You had to protect yourself.
You were not going to "put yourself out there" ever again and get smacked around. You pretended to yourself that you didn't feel the pain of ridicule, rejection, disappointment and humiliation. You silently told yourself, "I don't feel this pain -- this disappointment -- this humiliation -- this rejection." 

And on the conscious level, perhaps you were able to numb the pain.
But you can never fool your soul and your spirit. So, what happened to the pain? It made its way to the floor of your soul. Throughout your journey from childhood to adulthood, every disappointment, every rejection, every humiliation made its way to the floor of your soul. The floor of your soul is cluttered with layers upon layers of pain from disappointments, rejections, scorn, and humiliation. These layers of pain are "clutter". And the "clutter" that resides on the floor of your soul that is choking the life out of your spirit is "emotional baggage". This emotional baggage drives every decision that you make.

You cannot separate yourself from your emotional baggage.
You drag it to work, to school, into your marriage or your relationship with your significant other, into your parenting, into your children's lives, and into the lives of your friends and neighbors. Everywhere you go, your emotional baggage follows. It is the reason you are unhappy, unmotivated, unproductive, unsuccessful, angry, and violent. It is the reason that you feel abandoned, unloved, and unworthy. It is the reason that you are a bully or an abuser. It is the reason that you allow yourself to be abused or bullied. 
It is the reason you allow the wrong people to enter and share your most intimate and sacred place. It is the reason that you are unable to and cannot fulfill your destiny and do the work that you were here on Earth to do. It is the reason you do not understand that you have an obligation to overcome the environment that you were born into. It is the reason that you are self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, food, or sex. It is the reason why you are in a prison cell.

Emotional baggage distorts your reality.
Having said that, is there any wonder why there is so much chaos and drama in our communities? While "emotional baggage' may act as a cushion for pain, it prevents you from being the joyful, unconditionally loving, compassionate, and trusting person that you were when you emerged from the womb.

No one may have given the emotional and psychological tools that you needed to resolve in a healthy manner the pain, disappointments, humiliation, and rejection that one experiences in life when you were a child. It may have been because no one had these tools to give or teach you. But that was the past. Let's look at the present and the future. You are an adult and can make decisions for yourself. You can get the emotional and psychological tools that you need to remove the layers of "clutter" on the floor of your soul. It is safe to give yourself permission to lay your burden down. Think of it as an investment in yourself, your family, your community, and the world.

About the Author
Diane A. Sears
is the Managing Editor of a quarterly international male parenting journal -- IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) Forum For and About the Fathers of the World and a member of the University Council for Akamai University in connection with its Fatherhood and Men's Studies program. Ms. Sears has published interviews of more than 100 Men who are Fathers.

She has authored and published reviews of numerous books which explore Fatherhood and men's rights issues, including "Father And Child Reunion" by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.; "Swallowed By A Snake: The Gift Of The Masculine Side Of Healing," by Thomas R. Golden, LCSW; and "The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Single Father" by Thomas Hoerner.

Sears is featured in the 2003-2004 National Register's Who's Who In Professionals and Executives and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Diane A. Sears
Twitter: @DASears


Order The Book:  IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) facilitates a Global Dialogue on Fatherhood and Men's Issues and brings together stakeholders from all Walks of Life throughout our global village who offer key "pieces of the puzzle" to empowering Fathers; strengthening and healing our families and our communities; and creating a better and safer world for our children.  In Search Of Fatherhood by D. A. Sears. Amazon Link:

Un-forgiveness: A Deadly Force to Resist If You Want a Fulfilling Future

Un-forgiveness: A Deadly Force
to Resist If You Want a Fulfilling Future 

by Ngozi Nwoke

Everyone often gets the opportunity to be mistreated, hurt, annoyed but what you do afterwards is what matters. Life is too short to allow this deadly force called un-forgiveness to ruin it for you.  "The hatred you're carrying is a live coal in your heart - far more damaging to yourself than to them."   --Lawana Blackwell

To err is human; to forgive is divine, they say. But we have been given the power to forgive. The power of forgiveness is awesome because of the immense benefits to the one who forgives. It is all about what you want in life and how far you want to go. Un-forgiveness is a force that has the power to influence, affect or control you and your future negatively.  When a person understands the effect of this deadly force, a red light flashes on the heart when un-forgiveness comes knocking on the door. This force is so deadly that it has ruined many relationships, careers, businesses, led many to their sick beds and many to their early graves.

Why you must resist un-forgiveness
It gives your offender the power to hurt you-Any time you remember the offence or see the person or even hear his/her name mentioned, you will get angry or be emotionally worked up. And if the offender is aware of this effect on you and he is a bad one, he may choose to add to the injury with more offenses.

Your health is affected-  When your anger is boiling; it increases your heartbeat, tightens your muscles, and causes aches and pains. And may lead to more serious medical issues if not checked on time.

Reduces your ability to focus-  Un-forgiveness has the power to disrupt the harmony of the brain waves, making you less able to focus and think clearly. This can lead to poor decision-making, which is not good for your future!

It impedes your progress in life-  When you are holding down someone, you too will go nowhere. This is the case with this deadly force. When you hold someone down in your heart, you are actually imprisoning yourself too.

It plants a seed of what you hate-  A seed planted will produce fruit after sometime. Un-forgiveness harbored within you will grow to produce same in you. You will find yourself doing exactly the very thing that was done to you (that you hated) to someone else.

This deadly force drains your energy, wastes your time for more profitable ventures. Un-forgiveness shows you are weak because forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Embrace the power of forgiveness and avoid the effects of this deadly force. Why give yourself all the stress for something or somebody that is not worth it.

"It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on."  -- Real Live Preacher!

What other reasons do you have for resisting un-forgiveness?

About the Author
Ngozi Nwoke
is a teacher and a counselor. A product and distributor of love. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy God's love and fellowship for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? subscribe for free email updates today. Original Article Source, FaithWriters Site here. 

How to Increase Your Credit Score by Harrine Freeman

How to Increase Your Credit Score
by Harrine Freeman

Credit scores are used to determine: if you will be hired for a job, approval for credit, interest rates, terms and conditions, down payment costs, rates for medical and other insurance coverage, approval for cable and internet service and more.

A credit score ranges from 300-850 with 850 being the highest score and 300 being the lowest core. A good credit score is 700 or above. Here are 6 things you can do to increase credit score:

1.    Review. Review your credit reports at least once a year at and fix any errors on your credit reports.

2.    Balances. Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit.

3.    New Accounts. Don’t open more than one new account every 2 years.

4.    Payments. Pay all your bills on time. Get current on any late accounts.

5.    Credit. If you have bad credit open a secured credit card to help reestablish your credit history.

6.    Purchase the book How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free
Can you imagine how your life would change if you had good credit? Imagine the relief? Less stress, not worrying about bill collectors calling you at home or at work, and putting an end to your fights with your partner, spouse or children that are caused by not having any money. You would be able to buy things that you needed or wanted, and get a great interest rate for a home or car loan. These are just some of the many benefits of having good credit and using this book can help you reach that important financial goal.

My own story begins my sophomore year in college. At $19,000 in debt, I knew I was in deep trouble and had to dramatically change my life and spending habits.

This comprehensive self-help book provides step by step details on how to repair your credit, get out of debt, create your own flexible spending plan and maintain your good credit without having to go to a credit counseling agency or file for bankruptcy.

Available on iTunes:

Order print or ebook here:

Harrine Freeman, Speaker, Financial Planner/Coach, Freelance Writer, Author
As Seen is Forbes, Market Watch, MSN Money,, NASDAQ, Yahoo

Connect with Harrine Online:

Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free [Kindle Edition]

Who Should You Hire to File Your Taxes by Harrine Freeman

Who Should You Hire to File Your Taxes
by Harrine Freeman

They are several types of tax professionals who prepare taxes. Perform an assessment to see what type of tax professional you need or if you can file your taxes on your own. 

Accountant vs CPA
CPA's are accountants who go through a stricter process to conduct business and have to pass a licensing examination in their state. All CPA's are accountants, but not all accountants are CPA's.

Tax Preparation Companies
Some tax preparations companies recruit students, stay-at-home moms or retirees to help them during tax season simply take a 1 day or 1 week course to get hired. Some tax preparations companies charging per hour or per form. No one can guarantee when you will get your tax return back, not even the IRS.

Tax Lawyer
You should hire a tax lawyer if you have received any notices from the IRS to appear in court, a lien or judgment has been filed against you by a tax authority, you owe a large sum of money to the IRS, you are a business owner with partners or investors, or you founded a non-profit company.

Here are some helpful links regarding personal finance:

Meet the Author
Harrine Freeman
is an authority on personal finance with over 10 years of experience under her belt. Freeman is a financial counselor, CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises and Author of "How to Get out of Debt: Get An “A” Credit Rating for Free," a self-help book on credit repair that provides consumers with a step by step plan on how to get out of debt, increase their credit rating and plan for the future. 

She has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the United States through public speaking engagements and financial counseling. She is called upon by business owners, CEO’s, celebrities, students, teachers, sororities, fraternities, displaced workers, veterans and families. She helps client's prepare for financial freedom, by providing useful advice, resources and the tricks of the trade to ease concerns and really steer clients in the right financial direction. 

She is a member of Credit Professionals International, American Association of Daily Money Managers, American Association of Individual Investors and National Speakers Association.

She has been featured in: Featured in Market Watch, Wall Street Journal, Forbes,The Washington Post, NASDAQ, Huffington Post, MSN Money, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Woman’s Day magazines.

Connect with Harrine Online:

Purchase How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free [Kindle Edition]

Reflections on Selma by Lydia E. Brew

Reflections on Selma by Lydia E. Brew

Seeing the movie Selma made me realize that racism is something that all people have to deal with in one form of another. A few weeks ago, we talked about the Racial Lens. The racial problem is a human condition and it affects everybody in a different way.  I have Cerebral Palsy. I can walk and talk, but people have a hard time understanding me. There are others who have cerebral palsy and are affected differently.

When Selma made the national news, Dr. King saw the nation needed to be involved in movement. Now movies like Selma tend to make-up minor details, but I know the story of Viola Liuzzo from Detroit who came to help and never went home.

The worst injured from the movement in Selma was James Reeb, a white Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston. Selma’s public hospital refused to treat Rev. Reeb, who had to be taken to Birmingham’s University Hospital which was two hours away. Reeb died on Thursday, March 11 at University Hospital, with his wife by his side. It is extremely important to realize that racism is a human problem.

About the Author
Lydia E. Brew
was born with cerebral palsy but has not allowed her physical limitations to stand in her way. Her writing provides insights into the world of the physically challenged. She graduated from Texas Southern University where she received The Society of Professional Journalist Sigma Chi Citation for Achievement.  She was a member of the drama club and pledged Alpha0 Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Under the leadership of one of her journalism professors, Miss Brew penned her first book Edith, The Story of Edith Irby Jones, M.D. about the first African-American to graduate from The Arkansas School of Medicine.  Upon finishing college, Miss Brew worked with the Houston Association of Black Journalists. She is a Christian and attends St. Stevens United Methodist Church.

Miss Brew founded Lydia’s Educational and Charitable Organization (LECO) when she decided to encourage young people to write.  LECO did this by sponsoring a yearly contest in which the contestant had to write about positive role models who were alive and from the Houston area. Each student who wrote an eligible essay was given a certificate of participation.  Winning writers received cash prizes.

Her second book titled Our Learn Together Book is a book for young readers based on the biography of Dr. Jones. It tells her story in a simplified format on one page and allows the reader to write their own biography on the other. There are activities in the back where younger children can learn developmental skills and older children can learn to do research.

Purchase Ungolden Silence by Lydia E. Brew

Not Enough Hours In The Writer's Day by Sheryl Lister

Not Enough Hours In The Writer's Day
by Sheryl Lister

Am I the only one? Some days, I feel there aren’t enough hours for me to accomplish my goals…especially as it pertains to my writing. Between my day job, shuttling my daughter to her various band activities and spending time with my husband, the day is over before I know it. That three-hour chunk of writing time I’d planned goes down the drain. Since beginning this writing journey, I’m learning to get my writing time in when I can. Are there days when I can write for three or four hours, or longer? Definitely. But on those crazy busy days when I can’t, my laptop follows me. Thirty minutes while waiting to pick up my daughter…in the kitchen when I’m cooking… At the end of the day, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve written 500-1000 words, sometimes more.

So, a little tidbit I’d like to pass along: Set realistic goals and understand you may not have the luxury to write for hours at a time, or be able to write the same number of words each day. The goal is to write every day. Don’t be discouraged. Keep writing and soon you’ll type those two blessed words, “The End.”

Meet the Author
Sheryl Lister
has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist.

Twitter:  @1slynne

Benefits of Attending Literary Events by Sheryl Lister

Benefits of Attending Literary Events
by Sheryl Lister

Imagine standing in a large ballroom filled with over 2,000 agents, editors, authors and aspiring authors. Sound overwhelming? It definitely was for me when I attended my first literary conference. But, if you are an author or aspiring to be one, attending a literary conference is one of the best investments you can make in your career for several reasons. I’ll highlight a few:

1.     Networking – From agents, editors, publishers and other industry professionals, you won’t find a better opportunity to meet them in person. They want to talk to attendees and, who knows, one of them may discover you and your talent. But beware, it’s probably not a good idea to approach them about your book while they’re in the restroom, standing in the buffet line or working out in a gym. Just like you, they need privacy and doing this will most likely get you a rejection on the spot.

2.     Building Relationships – Let’s face it, writing is a solitary endeavor and many writers (yours truly included) are introverts. We are also misunderstood. How many of you have said to family members, “I can’t believe my secondary character is trying to take over the story,” or “These characters kept me up all night talking” and got a blank stare? Take heart, at a literary conference you will meet others just like you who ‘get it’. You’ll laugh and swap stories, but the best part is some of these encounters turn into lifelong friendships.

 3.     Improving Your Craft – Whether you’re just starting out as a writer, have a few books under your belt, or are trying to figure out this thing called self-publishing, most conferences have speakers who are working professionals ready to teach. They can be pretty pricey, so be sure to attend the conference(s) that fit you, even if it’s only one per year. Topics range from plotting, characterization, marketing and publishing, to getting that novella paced just right and writing the dreaded query letter and synopsis (shudders).

A word of caution: Don’t try to attend everything…you won’t be able to. Remember those relationships from number two, above? If you find two workshops you want to attend being held at the same time, you might try attending one and approaching a fellow writer and asking them to record the other one for you.

Another great investment is attending reader-based events. These retreats give readers a chance to meet and interact with authors, as well as ask those burning questions about characters you’ve always wanted to know. As an author, you get an opportunity to connect with your fans and, hopefully, make some new ones.

So, are you ready to grab a notebook, pack your suitcase and head to a conference? Good! Hope to see you there.

Meet the Author
Sheryl Lister
has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year. When she's not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three and pediatric occupational therapist.

Twitter:  @1slynne

Photo from a Sept. 2015 book signing. Got to hang out with my BRAB sisters, Sharon Blount and Poetry Is My Passion. A special shoutout to Gary Shumlai.

Money Tips to Thrive!...Affordably! by Jennifer Streaks

Money Tips to Thrive!...Affordably!
by Jennifer Streaks

It is a New Year and that means a fresh start and a great time to get your money under control! Follow these tips to take charge of your finances in 2016!

1.) Write it all down!  Figure out where your money is going. I can’t tell you how many people get to the end of the week or the end of the month and don’t know why they don’t have any money left. Get out all of your bills and expenses and learn how you spend your money!

2.) Get that emergency fund started.  Now is the time to start putting away money in case something like a job loss or illness strikes. I always recommend having at least 8 months worth of expenses saved in case of emergency.

3.) Get a free copy of your credit report.  Know where you stand with your credit going into the new year and if there are issues to be handled, get started. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year.

4.) Trim the fat.  This tip refers back to tip #1, when you grab all of your household bills to see where your money is going, you can also see where you can cut expenses.  You can reduce the cable bill, your cell phone bill, even electric and gas bills.

5.) Get a side hustle!  Do it now! We all have talents we can turn into income. Editing manuscripts, updating resumes, telemarketing from home. Find a way to get another stream of income in 2016!

6.) Keep a money journal.  Write down what you spend your money on and try to keep receipts. You can do it by the week or by the month. This will let you know in black and white where your money is going; 3pm coffee, happy hour, too many “quick” shopping trips, then you will be able to see where you need to make changes.


Thrive!...Affordably by Jennifer Streaks

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but let’s be honest: It’s almost impossible to live a life of abundance when you are drowning in a sea of debt and suffering under the strain of financial struggle. So many people are not free to enjoy life simply because they don’t have control over their finances. As a result, they go through life surviving and not truly living.

Thrive!...Affordably, takes the headache and the guesswork out of financial management. It is a monthly “how-to” designed to help the reader meet financial goals one step at a time. The book offers tips, advice, and basic financial management lessons geared towards helping the reader highlight strengths, identify missteps, and take control over finances. If you are looking for a way to permanently free yourself from debt, this book is for you. Jennifer Streaks takes the mystery out of management, making financial freedom attainable for anyone willing to do the work.

You deserve to live your best life. Don’t just survive...Thrive!

About the Author
Jennifer Streak
s is a smart and savvy journalist that covers personal finance issues and lifestyle topics. Her byline has appeared in Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, the Motley Fool, Women & Co. & Yahoo!Finance to name a few. Her new book Thrive!...Affordably, will be out in February, 2016!  She tweets @jstreaks and her website is

Sunday, January 17

What’s in Your Mouth by Hazel Mills

What’s in Your Mouth by Hazel Mills

The New Year is an opportunity for creating a new life. Commercials, talk shows and even social media will have us thinking that the yellow brick road to that new life is paved with weight loss, making more money and even finding love. However, one of the most important bricks is often overlooked. The words we speak to ourselves along the journey is just as critical as the journey itself. “What’s in Your Mouth” seeks to inform the reader of the important role words play in the life we seek to create and in how we relate to those around us. The article offers tips on how to begin to change your words to change your life. I believe this article embodies Morning Tea’s mission to encourage, uplift and inspire people from all walks of life.

The late great author and poet, Maya Angelou once said, “Words are things.” You can put certain words together and cause someone to fall in love with you. String another set of words together and you can start a war. The Bible teaches us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Words are things. Powerful things. As we begin a new year, we are resolving to lose weight, make more money and maybe find love. But perhaps the most critical change we can make is one that can have the most prolific and valuable effect on every area of our lives. We should begin to pay more attention to what comes out of our mouths instead of focusing on what we put in it. The old adage we were all taught as children that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” is not true. Words hurt. Words can cut deeper than any knife; inflicting wounds that can last a lifetime. Want to change your life? There are three ways changing what you say can bring about the transformation you desire.

* BECOME AN ENCOURAGER. The first place to practice being an encourager is with yourself. When faced with a challenging task, pay attention to what you say about yourself to yourself. Instead of saying, “this is too hard for me” or “I can’t do this,” say “this may be hard but I can do it.” Often times we defeat ourselves with words before we have even begun the work at hand. Encouraging is simply a pep talk to inspire courage. It doesn’t require a lot but it could mean the world to you or to someone who is doubting themselves or their abilities. Another way to practice being an encourager is to give compliments. Complimenting someone on their hair or verbally admiring their shoes can go a long way to make them feel good and you may find it gives you a mood boost as well.

* EMPATHIZE. To be an effective encourager, you must develop empathy for the other person. Seeing a situation from another’s perspective will help you learn what is important to them; what they value. Once you learn this, you can offer verbal encouragement to communicate that you care and understand how they feel. This is not the time to be critical, condescending and condemning. Your positive and inspiring words may be just the catalyst someone needs to change direction in life and reach their full potential.

Have you heard that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Absolutely true. It is not what you say, it is how you say it. A scowl on your face and a grunt in your voice can turn even the sweetest phrase sour. You may have the other person’s best interest at heart but the message gets lost in the nasty translation. Most often, people hear and interpret the message based on the tone in which it was delivered. The way you express your feelings and desires is very important. No one responds well to harsh language and demands. The goal is to draw people to you and create healthy, meaningful and positive relationships.

Don’t get discouraged if none of the above comes naturally to you. It’s okay. We are all shaped by our experiences and unfortunately, everyone has not had the experience of being encouraged, receiving empathy or being spoken to sweetly. These concepts may appear foreign and seem impossible to some. The good news is you can learn! All that is required is a willing spirit and practice.

Meet the Author
Author Hazel Mills
, has written several short stories, novels and articles for publication. Hazel has been recognized as a part of Who’s Who in Black Birmingham (2009) and Who’s Who in Black Alabama (2014). She was the recipient of an AAMBC Literary Award in 2009 and was a contributor to the African American Literary Award winning anthology, Mocha Chocolate: Taste a Piece of Ecstasy, as well as a nominee for her own book(2008). Hazel’s latest novel series, Mr. Wrong After All and Mr. Wrong After All: Second Chances, was released in 2015 by Mahogany Red Books. She enjoys writing and being a wife and mother of three sons.

Just Traveling Through by Kesha Redmon

Just Traveling Through by Kesha Redmon

Life can be very daunting at times; with its up and downs, twists and turns, and endless barrage of sad and depressing news. We should wonder how we dare to face the outside world on a daily basis. To think about it- some do not have the strength to carry on because life has beaten them down to where there will to survive is nonexistent.

How do we handle life’s disappointments? How do we garner the strength to face the challenges that seem to appear at every idle and waking moment? How do we find the courage to help others in their time of need, when we ourselves are standing in the same spot?

As puzzling as these questions are, there is an answer. Actually, it’s a learned behavior. We get through all these things with the grace and mercy of a higher power. Two magnificent acts working together in our favor. We learn over time that nothing lasts forever. With bad times, there are good times. With sad times, there are happy times. This life is a journey. Each day we continue on our own separate roads. Sometimes our roads crosses path with others and sometimes our paths end.

Through every difficult circumstance, every brow beating trial, every breath taking moment; life is just a journey and we’re just traveling through. The marvelous thing about this journey and the road we use to navigate it is the fact that if we don’t like the road we’re traveling on; we are free to get off at the next intersection, or turn down a different street. So although in the grand scheme of life, we have a limited control of the bumps and bruises that come our way; we can however change our paths. We can decide if we want to make a change. We don’t have to stay in abusive relationships, unhappy jobs, or depressing moments. This life is full of possibilities and potential. Let’s choose to make the best of it. We only get one life and one journey. Let’s travel through it well.

Matters of the Heart by Chantea M. Williams

Matters of the Heart by Chantea M. Williams

Focus:   Joel 2:12-13 (NLT)

12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

Have you checked your heart lately? Do you ever wonder why it seems like you do so much but still don’t get anywhere? Have we truly given our hearts to God or are we just doing what needs to be done so that it looks like we love God?

It’s sad to say but we have gotten so caught up in church work that we are far from doing ministry. There is a difference. Church work can become busy work while ministry is solely focused on honoring God. Church work can become self-centered while ministry is serving God by serving others. Ministry can go unseen but still reach the heart of God while church work must be acknowledged and seen at all times. It’s a matter of the heart!

The children of Israel had the same problem. They did their own thing (church work) but God wanted their hearts (ministry). He’s asking us the same thing today. What has your heart been saying lately?

He doesn’t want us to look churchy but He wants our hearts. Our hearts are the core of our being. Our hearts determine our actions. Out of the heart flow the issues of life. (Prov 4:23) If you really want to know about a person, examine their actions because it is a reflection of what is already in their heart.

As we are in the Holy Week, let us rend our hearts to the Lord. Let us not get so familiar with the Easter celebration that we lose sight of the real meaning. The power of the cross is still evident in our lives today. If you don’t still get excited about the cross, then check the matters of your heart.

Father, search the matters of my heart. Heal me of my issues. Let my heart be a true reflection of who You are. I want my heart to be your dwelling place. Help me to release everything that does not honor You. Help me to hide Your word in my heart so that when things arise that should not be, I can speak Your word and overcome it. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

About the Author

Chantea M. Williams
is a Christian writer, Bible teacher and speaker who loves encouraging women to become greater through the word of God. Through her gifts, God created the Greater Working Women Ministries. They strive to encourage, empower and equip women from all walks of life to live out their God-given purpose with holy boldness.

She has also launched her teen mom mentoring program, I Am Still Somebody™. One of her many passions is baking, especially during the holidays. Check out her newly released book The Greater Working Woman Prayer Book, Volume 1 and The Greater Working Woman Prayer Devotional, Volume 1. Don't miss her upcoming book series for teen mothers.

Chantea M. Williams, Ministry Leader Greater Working Women Ministries


The Princess Within by Tumika Patrice Cain

The Princess Within by Tumika Patrice Cain

Inside every woman is an inner princess. That place which beckons to be pampered, adored, adorned, and treated with the kidskin gloves of royalty. It is not in the fantasies of little girls because Disney created Cinderella and a host of princesses thereafter. Instead it stems from a reality that we are from the stock of true royalty. Divinity, even. We are the result of having been created from the ultimate King. The Most High, the most royal, the most divine is our Father. 

 And just like in the fairytales, we earthly princesses have come across evil witches, possessed octopuses, and bitten into poisonous apples given by beguiling serpents who have planned our demise. All in an attempt to strip us from our rightful place in the kingdom. All in an attempt to convince us that we are not who we were born to be; created to be. All in an attempt to persuade us that the only life that lies ahead for us is that of a pauper.

And for many years, many of us choose to believe these lies. We begin to attract men who tear us down with their harsh words, hard hands and complete ignoring of our needs. In our attempts to get our needs met, we chase them. Chase them hard. We think, I don't want him to forget me. Maybe if I call him more, buy him what he wants, make myself available to his beck and call, then he will be willing to stand up and be the prince I know I need. It is with each attempt that we lose more and more of our layers of divinity. No longer do we walk with our heads held high. The straight ramrod posture we used to have is replaced with slumped shoulders. 

 The princess has begun to carry burdens she doesn't have the strength, the stamina or the stature to hold. She wasn't created to; we weren't created to. What was once a sparkle in her eyes falls away to a dull glimmer and eventually the light extinguishes altogether. In the midst of all of this, she has forgotten who she is; we have forgotten who we are. She doesn't dress the same, walk, talk or move the same.

Meanwhile the evil one plotting her demise sits along the sidelines laughing, convinced she will lay down and die. Convinced we will lie down and die. But princesses are strong. We are made that way. For how can you care for the needs of others and make life better for those who haven't tapped into their inner power if we are weaklings. No, the call of a princess is to offer a better chance for those who have not yet found their way. Truly things look as if there is no answer in sight. 

 There appears to be no knight in shining armor or prince whose kiss is so potent it can withstand the walls of darkness, but I remind you again that we come from the root of all royalty. And our champion is there to save, to heal, to rescue and to set us on the right course leading back to our rightful place. That is, if we are willing to do the work.

This is the piece the fairytales fail to mention. There is work involved in getting back to a place of wholeness. But as the old adage goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." There are times it feels we will never reach the end from all the damage that has been done. But truly we are able. One step at a time, albeit however slow those steps might be. Slow and steady. That is the key. And, of course, obedience to the One who knows the very path we need to take in order to get out of the enchanted forest and back onto the palace grounds.

Like Esther who went through a year of beauty treatments before being presented to the king, our lives should reflect that same level of care. Our skin should glow from the delicious, healthy foods that have been placed on the earth for us to eat. We should be rubbed with the finest oils as the tension is massaged out of our bodies. Our teeth should gleam because we take the time to take care of them. There should be so much bounce in our hair that a slight breeze causes it to lift and fall right back into place. And our eyes should sparkle like starlight because we get enough rest. As daughters of the King, it is important for us to take time to reflect; to figure out if we are on course, and if not, design a plan to get us where we want to go. 

Everything in the universe was designed to help us maximize our life's experience. It is not for the kingdom princesses to be burdened down with relationships with those who cause stress, discord and unrest. The life of a princess should be easy. Easy on the eyes, easy on the mind, easy on the body, easy on the spirit. And of the ladies in waiting, we have no time for jealousy, backbiting, or rude attempts to tear down. Not everyone will be where we are and that is okay. 

But it is not for us to sacrifice the life we are destined to have to those who have not stepped into their own kingdom position. Living the life of a princess means embracing who we were created to be. It may be necessary to cut some people loose, but don't lose heart, dear one. He who sees all, created all, will send others to fill that place. Keeping our hearts open and full of light is our only job as it pertains to this part of life.

Love those who have hurt us - even if we have to love them enough to let them go and love them from a distance. Whatever was done isn't worth the turmoil and lack of peace it takes to keep reliving the experience. Hurting people hurt people...and they hurt themselves, too. Since we know who we are and we know what we give, it is a hurt to their own selves when they mistreat us and have the access to our lives severed. Their leaving is not a reflection on us, no matter what evil words they let spew from their own mouths. It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. 

So we love them and pray blessings of healing and love, direction and deliverance, health and prosperity into their lives - never forgetting the kiss that woke us up out of a terrible slumber and started us on the road to our own place in the kingdom. We don't forget, but we don't have to be part of everyone's journey either.

So, today go and get pedicures, after all we cannot have chipped toenails while wearing glass slippers. And when we step out, it is with confidence and assurance in who we are and what we deserve. We are daughters of the Most High, princesses in our own right. If perhaps we have not been willing to truly accept our role, today we make the decision to step into our rightful place. If we have accepted that we are princesses, then we take some time to reflect to make sure all is as it should be. Either way, there is an amazing life awaiting each one of us. 

 Today is the day we decide will not live beneath our privilege. Others are waiting on us to take our rightful place to see by example that they can do it too. This is our role as princesses: to encourage, uplift and help others realize their own potential for greatness.

Changing lives one word at a time...Tumika Patrice Cain

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author, media personality and publisher whose works centers around uplifting, encouraging and empowering others to live the abundant life. 

 She is also an accomplished poet; founder of the Say What?? Book Club; and host of the internet radio shows Living Abundantly with Tumika Patrice Cain, In The Spotlight, and Say What?? Author Spotlights. 

In addition, she is a respected book reviewer and columnist for PEN’Ashe Magazine, a contributing writer for BLOG and Belief Magazines, and editor for two smaller publishing companies. 

A champion for indie authors, she works tirelessly to level the playing field to bring exposure to those authors who excel at their craft, but whose marketing budgets are limited. Inkscriptions, her publishing company, offers a myriad of book publishing services. 

Living by the motto of each one reach one, each one teach one, Tumika shares her passion for purpose and for life with all who cross her path. She is the 2013 recipient of a Spoken Word Billboard award for her debut novel, Season of Change (December 2012), a novel that has since been picked up by Shan Presents and will be re-released as When a Man Loves a Woman – A Season of Change in December 2015. 

To her publishing credit, she is also the author of After the Rain…a Poetry Collective (March 2014) and The Heart of a Woman (August 2015). Tumika’s works have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, newsletters and periodicals.

Photo by Torrence Allison Photography