Monday, November 30, 2009
A year ago on this date (well actually it was more like on November 13th), I decided to chop my hair off and start over. Lol. After about 8 months of transitioning (which was suppose to be longer...but I digress), I removed my first set of braids and had at it (with the scissors). Lol.
When I think back to my first initial response to my new look, I remember having thoughts of doubts and even wanting to cry. "What have I done" is a phrase that I remember saying over an over. See like most newbies, I was not totally sure of what I was getting myself into, but couldn't turn back..not now. After the support and love of many of you who follow me AND have their own blog at that, the journey became easier and a very liberating decision. To this date, I don't understand why I even doubted myself AND my natural black beauty.
At first, my family was a little shocked. Some snide comments here and there and a lot staring. Fast forward to the present day...nothing but compliments (even from those none nappy headed lovers). I have even had family members asking me how to help their children hair be as healthy and soft besides using the relaxer/perm method.....for convenience, manageability and cost savings....HA....who would have guest that.
Its amazing how one person can spark a new appreciation of what it means to be black AND what is beauty. This right here is why I decided to let go of the chemicals and heat. To be a beacon of hope and inspiration to all my naturalistas (especially my 4 A/C divas); that its ok to let your TRUE beauty shine threw when it comes to hair AND that you don't need to have it straightened to be accepted.
This journey has been a humbling one for me, and I am so thankful and appreciative that God had me embark on this journey now at this age, versus earlier (or later). Below are more pics I took to commemorate my new hair, looks and length to you...my family.
Monday, November 16, 2009
How Bitterness Affects Us
by: Charles F. Stanley
Do you become critical of certain people the moment their names are mentioned? Is there anyone in your past upon whom you would enjoy taking revenge? Did somebody reject you years ago in such a way that still hurts when you think about it?
If you answered ?yes? to any of these questions, you might be harboring unforgiveness. The Bible warns us not to allow resentment to get a foothold in our lives. The book of Hebrews tells us to ?see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled? (Heb. 12:15).
For the believer, resentment is never the right response to suffering, no matter what people have done to us. We may not even be consciously aware that we are nursing bitterness, but its consequences are subtle and many.
Bitterness is like a continually running machine that uses our bodies for its energy source. Medical professionals consistently are finding links between the way our bodies function and the way we think. Resentment, anger, and other negative emotions have been associated with glandular problems, high blood pressure, cardiac disorders, ulcers and a host of other physical ailments.
I saw this illustrated through some friends of mine whom I will call the Browns. Mrs. Brown had cancer, so she and her husband sought the best medical treatment. Her doctor had been studying the relationship between negative emotions and cancer. Day after day, he went to talk to her about her past. One day, in the midst of their conversation, she began to cry. She confessed bitterness towards her parents that had happened years ago. When she got it all out, she was freed, liberated and forgiven. It is the doctor?s opinion that Mrs. Brown would not have recovered had she not rid herself of that resentment.
Bitterness causes one person trouble and defiles others. As used in Hebrews 12:15, the Greek word for defile (miaino) means ?to stain? or ?to dye.? The resentment we harbor will stain our relationships. This is one reason why there are so many separations, divorces and broken homes.
One couple I counseled illustrates this principle. Despite the wife?s best attempts to love her husband, she couldn?t break through his hardened emotional wall. Through counseling, we discovered that he couldn?t forgive his mother for dying when he was twelve. He was mad at his mother for leaving him, and his anger was staining his marriage.
Bitterness can paralyze us.
Even when we genuinely want to love another person, we can?t. Spouses, parents and children wonder why they can?t break through the barrier and experience genuine love. But deep inside, these people may find themselves infected by roots of anger and resentment, even simmering hatred.
Bitterness has so many little sprouts to it. Distrust is one of them. Insecurity is another. When the Bible says to ?see to it that ? no root of bitterness (springs) up,? it is because the consequences are so awesome and ongoing.
Spiritual Stumbling Blocks
Bitterness creates a cloak of guilt. We know we shouldn?t feel the way we do toward others, and we know God doesn?t want us to be full of resentment. We sense a barrier between God and ourselves and begin to doubt our salvation.
Bitterness also hinders our influence for Christ. What kind of Christian testimony can we have if we are resentful toward God and toward our neighbors? How can we convincingly talk to others about the forgiveness of God when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us? When we allow bitterness to take over our lives, it spills over into the lives of those around us.
Ed and Nancy had a story book wedding, and they excitedly made plans for their family. They would have a boy and a girl. Sure enough, their firstborn was a boy. But the second pregnancy had complications, and the doctor told them this would be their last child. Unfortunately?from Nancy?s point of view?their second child was also a boy. Nancy couldn?t bring herself to love her younger child, blaming him for robbing her of the little girl she always wanted. Eventually, she divorced Ed for not understanding her and declined custody of either son. Her bitterness destroyed their small family.
How many of us harbor offenses? How many of us are angry adults because we don?t feel loved? We need to deal with negative feelings about those who have hurt or wronged us. An unforgiving spirit is a devastating attitude that none of us can afford. Determine today to let go of bitterness, and be set free to enjoy life again.
Adapted from "The Gift of Forgiveness" (1991)
Note: Read our Bible study, Winning over Bitterness, and learn how to find freedom from anger, resentment and unforgiveness.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Take a look and tell me what you think:
Monday, November 9, 2009
After the detangling fiasco of 2009 (lol) from removing those braids, I decided to do a protective style for the month of November and December. I must admit, I freaked out a little when cleansing my hair after having it braided up. I think the issues was the products I use. Luckily I had some of my staple products Karen's Body Beautiful handy to hook me up (look for a future post on my current hair regimen and products I use).
Take a look at the below pics and tell me what you think. The first 3 are of a wet twist set.
I usually wear this style for 1-2 weeks (depending on my schedule), cleansing the the scalp with Sea Breeze. It helps to keep the hair clean so I can wear them longer. So after wards, I untwist my head to get the below (please note no make up so no comments):
The orAKAle has spoken........
Monday, November 2, 2009
By: Jennifer Kennedy Dean
1. “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Prov. 21:1)
If your thoughts wander during your prayer time, instead of trying to force them back into your pre-set agenda, try following them. Perhaps the Lord has another agenda.
2. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6).
Set a time for daily prayer. Consider it an unbreakable commitment. Keep your set appointment every day for one week. For one solid week, let your scheduled prayer time be the centerpiece of your day: arrange everything else to fit around it.
3. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Give God the first fruits of your day. For one week, give the very first 30 minutes of your day to prayer.
4. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
Find a place in your home where you can be alone and undistracted during your prayer time. Keep your Bible, prayer journal, pen, and whatever tools you use in that place so that everything is ready. During your prayer time each day, this is a sacred place.
5. “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah. 6:1)
As you start your prayer time, before you say anything, let your mind’s eye see Him, high and exalted, and yourself in a position of worship before Him. Stay in that inner posture until His glory fills your thoughts as the train of His robe fills the temple.
6. “But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’ (Luke 8:46 )
Take time to become truly alive to His presence with you. Be aware that as you touch Him through prayer, His power is released into your life.
7. “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.” (Ps. 78:1)
Read your Bible this morning with the awareness that you are listening to the words of His mouth. Stop at the first word, phrase, or thought that captures your attention and let the Father speak to you about it and let it shape your prayers.
8. “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isa. 64:8)
This week, practice the prayer of pliability. Instead of focusing on what you want God to do for you, focus on allowing Him to shape your desires until they match His. Accept each situation in your life as His hand shaping your thoughts, character, and longings.
9. “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
This week, let these words be the only prayer you pray about situations that confront you. Focus on relinquishing every situation to Him to be a platform for His power.
10. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD.” (Ps. 77:11)
This week, try writing out your prayers. It will help you stay focused and will create a record of God’s work in your life.
11. “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.” (Ps. 35:28)
This week, practice praying out loud during your private prayer time. It will make your prayer experience more concrete and will help you keep your mind focused.
12. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; …talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 11:18-20)
This week, try walking as you pray. Walk through your neighborhood or around your yard. You will be more able to keep your mind open to new thoughts the Lord might introduce. You are likely to find yourself spending more time with Him.