Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Their Deepest Fear

With a myriad of emotions I read an article in the Washington Post regarding Michelle Obama.

When Senator Obama entered the presidential race I shared with my husband my opinion of the near future. That opinion rested in the fact that one of the tactics employed in an effort to defame the character of this couple would primarily be focused upon Michelle Obama.

Why do I feel this way? Reality.

As educated women, shoot, let's be real – as women of color from all walks of life, by embracing our uniqueness without apology, we are daily faced with the bluntness of the reality of the 'Two America's'. There are those who may beg to differ, but fact is fact and I live on purpose and in reality, therefore I know first hand of what I speak.

What I'm confident of in the case of Mrs. Obama is that she did not enter this ring wearing blinders. I do not say that she has not been unscathed by public assaults. I do however commend her for how she has handled each attempt at assassinating the character of her and her husband with the grace, style and intellect that she possesses in abundance. As she has, the level of their opponents fear is continually being exposed with the intensity and absurdity of each subsequent attack.

In my opinion Mrs. Obama is the recipient of the meaning a of a passage from the novel Business Unusual that is a play on words taken from Marianne Williamson's work -- Our Deepest Fear.

“Their deepest fear is not a belief in our inadequacies, but the knowledge of our power. It is our light, not their belief in our inadequacies that they fear.”

To Mrs. Obama and all my sisters I encourage you to go forth being the woman you were predestined to be. Go forth with confidence, grace and above all, without apology.

Until next time remember -- There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God's Kingdom!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Reclamation: The act or process of reclaiming. A restoration, as to productivity, usefulness, or morality.

Over the past weeks I have participated in many discussions regarding the unsavory shadow that is being cast over AA Christian fiction.

Every genre, to a degree has its questionable offerings however, this should not be for Christians. Sad is the commentary that sees books from publishing houses and independents being falsely marketed as Christian. A sadder state of affairs are 'Christian' submissions needing to be screened by event coordinators before acceptance for public offering. The saddest is works of standards being bypassed because their predecessors have so offended booksellers and the reading public.

Discussions have revealed mindsets believing that the questionable cloud preceding AA authors of standard are filled with: 1) Lack of knowledge of what true Christian fiction is; 2) Double-dipping marketing strategies and most harmful, 3) We who applaud works/authors masquerading as Christian rather than calling it what it really is.

Content of what you write comes with the option of choice. Marketing the work does too. My questions today are simple:

1. Why do some choose to erroneously market in the Christian genre?
2. Is it a ploy to increase sales?
3. Is it an orchestrated ploy to operate under the guise of propriety while attempting to serve two masters?

President John F. Kennedy had a vision for the nation he was elected to guide. Without hesitancy he made a very candid statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your county.” I ask those of us who have been blessed with the gift of writing for the Kingdom to consider looking inward and apply the aforementioned in a similar way. Ask not what popularity and abundant cash receipts can do for you -- ask what obedience to the gift entrusted to you can do for the Kingdom.

I leave you with these questions:

1. What is it you are willing to do to reclaim the Christian genre?
2. Are you willing to look beyond notoriety in order to be true to what it is that you write?
3. Will you honestly seek to understand what is and what is not Christian?
4. Are you willing to pull your friend’s/peer’s coattail to let them know, you love them, appreciate what they have extended to you, but you will no longer support their contribution(s) that taint the genre?
5. Are you willing to disciple those who are seeking to make a change?
6. If you are seeking transition, will you commit to being teachable?
7. Are you willing to pay the price for your stance for the Cross?

Until next time remember -- There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God's Kingdom!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Comapny We Keep

There is an adage that says ‘you are known by the company you keep’.

When I was growing up these words were a warning given by my mother and others concerned about the purity of my reputation. As I grew older the words became conflicting to me. I was friends with those who went to church, then broke a majority of the Commandments on a daily basis. I had friends who did not go to church that I was very close to. Being honest I will say that I preferred the company of the non-church attending friends.

Did the choice tarnish my reputation? I can’t really say if it did or did not at that time. What I can say is that I felt a kinship to them that did not develop with many of my Sunday friends.

As I have grown I have developed friendships and associations with those considered odd for a Christian woman. Many saints have voiced their concern when I have accepted the opportunity to attend and/or teach at non-Christian conferences.

I found it odd that they were so concerned. In fact, I must say that I was very comfortable with the attendees and learned much from the sessions I attended. I mentioned this to a friend and her response was so on point. She said, “The world is comfortable with who they are. It is many Christians struggling with who they want others to believe they are that puts others off.”

Her words brought this scripture to mind: “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8b

My question to you today is -- have you refrained from being the light in darkness simply because of what others might think of you? If so I encourage you to examine the gift entrusted to you. Why was it given and who is it to be given to? You have to be comfortable with who you have been called to be and trust that God knows what He is doing with your life. Going to Canaan is not the issue, becoming a Canaanite is. Each of us has been chosen and ordained to go forth to bring forth fruit that should remain. Prayerfully the company you keep will be the evidence of a good harvest.

Until next time remember -- There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God's Kingdom!


Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To those who are mothers.
To those who are to experience motherhood for the first time.
To those who have lost a child/children.
To those who placed their children in the best care they could.
To those who are praying for the reuniting with an absent child.
To those who have been given the assignment to raise those not from your womb.

Happy Mother’s Day!

You don’t always get it right. Out of fear, anger and stupidity someone may have suggested that by virtue of your being you:
Have ruined their lives
Are too bossy
Are too nosyAre too old fashioned
Are not cool enough
Shouldn’t have been allowed to be a mother

To you I say -- Happy Mothers Day!

In that secret place where you steal away for a moment you might cry and anguish over harsh words or the lack of kind words spoken in reference to you.

What we do as mothers seems to never be enough for the one’s who slept while we:
Stayed up till the wee hours holding them while they slept to ensure that they were breathing properly
Baked cookies for the party they forgot to tell us about last week
Pulled together costumes for parties
Proudly wore their macaroni necklaces to business meetings and formal affairs
Went without a facial, manicure and pedicure so that theywould have decent shoes and clothing
Worked extra hours and/or extra jobs so that finances for college were available when the time arose
Walked the floor and rubbed aching knees as we prayed for their salvation, health, protection, deliverance and fulfillment of purpose

To you I say -- Happy Mother’s Day!

To you who have been applauded, mistreated, abandoned and unknown by your children, the fact remains – you are still a mother.

We don’t always get it right and there will be those who will agree. Regardless of their point of view there is one who knows you and has been with you every step of this journey called motherhood.

It is God who ordained your path and allowed life to enter this world via the conduit of your birth canal. He is Love and He is the giver of life.I encourage you to look upon this day with joy and be thankful for the life He gave you and the lives that came through you body.

If you are estranged from your mother, consider using this day as a new beginning. If you are blessed to have your mother with you, let her know that you appreciate her. Do not allow another day to go by looking back. Look forward to the blessings in your life.

Have a blessed day remembering this: There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God's Kingdom! You are so valuable to God. There is no stumble or mistake you may have made that will change the plans He has for your life.

Happy Mother’s Day -- Linda!

Monday, April 7, 2008


Due to Amazon’s much publicized notice to their POD customers, much concern is being voiced regarding the validity of POD publishing.

Rather than brow-beat various entities I felt it better to present facts as to what POD is. Please note that this is general information. Any person opting to pursue this avenue for publishing should thoroughly research for themselves.

Due to the rising number of authors submitting books, limitations of what publishing houses can take in and a garden variety of other reasons, chief among them being finances; authors are looking for economical ways to publish. Print On Demand companies are advertising themselves as a viable answer to a need. For a certain fee they will assist you with publishing your book.

We are all looking for the better/best option for our situation. In this case I can only say – Buyer Beware. As with any business you must research the market, know its trends and most of all what predatory practices are legally in place to relieve you of your investment.

From a variety of conversations I have had with POD authors and through my own experience of being courted by such entities, few experiences have been positive. As a firm believer is sharing knowledge I have briefly outlined a bit of information for you.

About Print on Demand/Vanity Presses (POD)

It is not true independent publishing in that you are paying an entity a fee for services to have your book published. What is included in that fee varies from company to company

Via the POD route you may or may not be required to purchase ala carte services such as the purchase of your copyright and/or ISBN number. Check your sources. You may be better off purchasing independently.

What has been the most alarming complaint of POD authors has been:

Additional charges – Exorbitant fees being assessed to editing, typesetting, proof reading and other miscellaneous needs associated with the publishing of your book.

The Royalty Program – One of the top pitches given to me by a variety of POD representatives seeking my business is the – Royalty program. In a variety of ways they try to sway you into believing that you are in control of your profit margin. To a degree you are, but more often than not, in a self-defeating way.

Example: The average 300 page novel retails between $15 and $17. Your POD company charges you $10.00 to purchase from them (yes you must purchase your inventory from them – at the price they set). Taking the middle road you charge $16 retail, you are left with $6. This is what is in hand prior to deducting shipping and handling and the ever present tax liability. You are working at a constant deficit should you follow this plan.

With the Royalty Program you are at liberty to set your retail price highter. However, be aware that few people are willing to purchase a paperback book for $20 or more.

Non Returnable Items – Another concern you must consider is the returnability (I just made this word up) of your product. Most POD books are not returnable, this is a red flag booksellers. Most will not purchase inventory that cannot be returned.

I reiterate that the option of choice is yours. The information above is for those entertaining the option of Print on Demand. I recommend speaking to others who have used this service, researching a variety of companies offering this service and checking literary ‘watchdog’ services.

When I teach at writing events one thing I constant stress to aspiring and novice writers is this – Once you put the last punctuation on the page you must put on your business hat. If you have been called to write, there is a purpose behind it. You will know it all right out of the gate and you will make a few mistakes along the way. Determine to minimize those stumbles by purposing to know all you can about YOUR business.

Until next time, remember – There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God’s Kingdom!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Striving For The Mountaintop

“Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 3, 1968

Few of us will be in the position of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in terms of public dedication and service. We do however share with Dr. King a heavenly responsibility.

What we have been set on this earth to do is challenged on a daily basis. Choices consistently presented to us must not be rashly made for sake of convenience.

We say our life is our own. What I do is my business. Despite the convenient mantra used as a shield to cover our selfish acts, there is nothing we do that does not touch another in some way. When God looks at us He never sees an individual, He sees generations – your generations and mine.

On this day that we observe the fortieth anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we would be remiss if we did not take the time to reflect upon our own lives. What are we are doing to better ourselves, our families, our community and our country? Are we throwing away the gains of the past? Are we striving for that mountaintop experience?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Are You Willing To Pay?

“Hate on me, hater, Now or later, 'Cuz I'm gonna do me, You'll be mad, baby(Go 'head and hate) Go 'head and hate on me, hate on 'Cuz I'm not afraid of it What I got I paid for You can hate on me.”

These words are from the chorus of Jill Scott’s song, ‘Hate On Me’. From the first time I heard them they left an impression and ignited a new fire under a somewhat controlled flame in my spirit.

The journey that has brought me to today has not been one littered with sunshine and rose petals. Stony was the path I followed. Along the way I endured much heartache in terms of the loss of friends, being misunderstood by family and just outright haters.

Those so-called friends, family members and others almost did me in with their nice/nasty ways. Initially the pain was much more than I wanted to endure. Note that I said “more than I wanted to endure.” Choosing to forge ahead with or without those once inside my inner circle caused me to depend on God more than I ever had. I wanted to take the easy road, but that was not to be. The closer I drew to Him the more I realized this journey would not be sustained by my might or power, but by His Spirit. Entering into that special place of His presence allowed me to glimpse a small portion of what was ahead. Relying upon His Word, I had choices to make. Not all were to my liking.

Choices are not without attachments. They come with responsibility of our selection and with consequence. Either can be positive or negative.

Can the option of choice be hard? Yes. Can it be easy? Yes. Can it be ignored? Absolutely. Regardless the option, choosing is a part of the growth process. You can choose to embrace change (your growth) in order to seek, apprehend and walk in purpose. Or, you can choose to remain complacent, comfortable where you are, embracing what is familiar. Doing so may seem the best choice, but know this, that which does not grow does not reach its full potential.

Choices, growth, fulfilling purpose come with a price. My question(s) today is:
Do you know what your purpose is?
Do you know but are holding back?
Are you willing to do what it takes discover Purpose?
Will you walk the path despite obstacles known?

I leave you with words that to some may seem an odd choice. Just listen: Jill Scott

Looking forward to hearing from you – Linda!

‘There is no such thing as an acceptable loss in God’s Kingdom!