Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's A New Year

As I reflected on the holiday season I found myself viewing it through different eyes. No, I didn’t turn my back on Christmas, but I am blessed to have had the opportunity to share the true meaning of the celebration with friends and family.

Continuing on to Kwanzaa (for those who observe the celebration), focus is placed upon its seven principles:

Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity / Success starts with Unity. Unity of family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination / To be responsible for ourselves. To create your own destiny.

Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility / To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.

Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics / To build, maintain, and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses.

Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose / To restore African American people to their traditional greatness. To be responsible to Those Who Came Before (our ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (our descendants).

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity / Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith / Believing in our people, our families, our educators, our leaders, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.

The principle of Faith – Imani is one that has held my attention for the last few days. As I reflected I thought it ironic that faith was the principle of reflection as we begin our new year. Faith is that thing, that belief, that fire that drives us to believe when all hopes seems gone, when others tell us we cannot make it, it compels and gives the strength to try one more time as you expect a positive result.

So I ask, as you go into this new season, what are you expecting? Do you have the faith to believe you can accomplish more as it pertains to your writing in particular and life in general? Do you have the faith to believe beyond boundaries and limitations set by others, or perhaps, you?

I encourage you to have faith that you will overcome obstacles that have been strongholds. Have faith that through hard work, patience and obedience that you will achieve all that has been ordained for you in this season.

As we head into this new year, my prayer for you is that your faith faileth not.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

This Holiday Season, From Our House To Yours
We Wish You Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Peace In The Midst Of A Thousand Storms 
 Seems like I have had at least a thousand things to worry about over the last four or five years, yet my faith in God has managed to give me some peace in the midst of my challenges, enough peace to get me through.

I read the following passage by the French Jesuit, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. as part of my morning meditation most days, and it serves to calm me. I hope it does the same for you:

I hope that God will supply for everything and I feel a confidence in [Him] which keeps me above all troubles. So I remain clam and in peace in the midst of a thousand worries and complications in which I should have expected, naturally speaking, to be overwhelmed.

When I have done what I think before God I ought to do, the success of the enterprise will be what he chooses: I abandon that question entirely to him and with my whole heart, thanking him for everything in advance, desiring only in everything and everywhere his holy will, because I am convinced by faith and by many personal experiences that everything comes from God, and that he is powerful enough and a good enough Father to bring all issues to the best advantage of his dear children.

As we approach the last week before Christmas with all of the stress the holiday brings especially in this time of financial difficulty in our economy, as we remember and long for loved ones that have gone on, as we settle ourselves in to wait on the New Year ( who would have thought 2010 would come so quickly ) with hope and faith that "the same trouble don't last always" let us be mindful that there is indeed some peace in the storms of life, if we only believe and trust God.

Merry CHRISTmas to you, my friends and believe in a Happy New Year.

Love and Hugz - Idrissa
Idrissa Uqdah's book reviews can be found at -

I really like Christmas music. Don't get me wrong, the lights and aromas of the season are wonderful too but it's the music that puts me in the mood. And it seems there's nothing like hearing the strains of a familiar song, sang A Capella, floating like snow flakes on the night air.

As a kid, I wanted so much to go caroling. If anybody needed to hear the message that rough place could be made smooth it was my poverty-stricken Southern neighborhood, particularly at Christmas when you were lucky to get a charity gift box. Trouble was my family and neighbors thought that going door to door at night, singing Christmas songs was for white folks. So I kept my secret wish to myself.

While in college, I made a point of finding a caroling group each Christmas. Yes, the  group  was  usually  made up  mostly of  white
students. Did  it really matter? We were spreading the Good News
to other students, some of them from lands afar. What better gift could we give the world?

So, these days when carols come to mind, I sing them out loud—night or day. Gloria in excelsis deo, Glory to God in the Highest, to you and yours this blessed season.
Linda L Hargrove -

 A divine revelation or prophetic word is not necessary to know that stress and worry is plaguing households across the country. Christian homes included. Record unemployment and foreclosures along with decreasing salaries have stirred even the “seasoned” saints. The faces of my prayer partners and spiritual advisors are now etched with anxiety instead of joy. I am not exempt. 2009 was a very trying time for me, but I have learned like the Apostle Paul to be content in whatever state I am in. Simply put, I have learned to rest.

My favorite definition of rest is: freedom from mental or emotional anxiety. Freedom is release from captivity or slavery. During the past twelve months I had mental notions of trusting in God’s provisions for my life, but simultaneously outwardly fretting. Through much trial and error, I learned that rest is a choice. Once that choice is made, peace follows.

In 2010, I urge everyone to do as I have: Remove Emotional Stress Tendencies. REST. Learn to trust in the Creator and be not swayed by news reports and bleak economic forecasts. The God who created heaven and earth has promised to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. God doesn’t lie; therefore, if He said it, we can REST.  You can visit Wanda at:

Christmas for me is the best holiday of the year! It is more than a holiday, it is actually a time set aside for me to reflect, remember, and recall the birth of Jesus Christ. I feel so blessed to have a personal relationship with God, my savior and my Father. I pray for each of you who read this to remember that God loves you and there is nothing too hard (or too simple) for Him. Let us give thanks for the one who gave us an opportunity to live our dreams now and eternally.
Stop by and visit Shelia Lipsey at:

As we close out one year and move into the next, may joy and peace reign abundantly in your life. Keep smiling, knowing that the challenges of the past are propelling you into a remarkable future. Miracles and blessings are my hope for all!    

Lynel Johnson Washington can be found on the web at:

Remembering to Give Thanks...   

Throughout this Christmas season where we mark and celebrate the birth of Christ, I encourage you to look beyond any circumstances you may face. Instead be of good cheer as I remind you of a very important fact. God knows our beginnings, our middles and our endings. Rest in the knowledge that our Father cares and loves us enough to sacrifice that same Jesus whose birth we celebrate. It pleases Gowhen we praise Him for that is where He go ahead; praise God and make the devil mad.

Christmas celebrates all that makes life special: love, joy, peace, and the spirit of giving. God gave these treasures to mankind through Jesus' miraculous birth, with no strings attached.

During this holiday season, I pray that you model the Lord's actions by giving and receiving these gifts in abundance, along with material presents.

May you be blessed with good health, great friends, abiding love of family, knowledge of your purpose, the experience of dreams come true, treasured memories of Christmases past, and a deeper connection to God. May you recognize the Creator's affection for you through the birth of His son in a Bethlehem manger. How could we not celebrate a love so strong?

Merry Christmas, friend, and abundant blessings for the New Year!

Stacy would love to hear from you. You will find her at:

Greetings to each of you as we enter into this time of good tidings and great joy! I send my highest wishes to all of you during this holiday season. I’m so excited about what God is doing and for what He has in store for those of us who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. Joyfully, we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. There are some who say Jesus may have been born in March; some say it was most likely sometime in September (because the shepherds were tending flocks in the field and they wouldn’t have been doing that in the month of December). Honestly, the exact date is not as important as the fact that Jesus was born! And because of Jesus’ birth, His life, then death, and the greatest thing of all, His glorious resurrection; we can boldly come to the throne of grace…the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

So as we delight ourselves also in the Lord during this season, I pray you receive all the desires of your heart. And as the New Year approaches, let us direct our minds and our highest praise to God NOW for the best in your life, your family, and your career, is yet to come! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Learn more about Vanessa Davis Griggs at:

Whether times are lean or bountiful I love the holidays. I love Christmas in particular because I am mindful that it is by the grace of God that I exist.

During these days that may seem lean allow your hearts to open to the goodness of God’s greatest gift, His son Jesus. Place focus on Him and not the trappings of the world.

Christ came to us with a predestined purpose. I pray that during this holiday season you will take time to seek/reflect upon the purpose you were born to. Open your heart and soul and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to fill/rerfill you. Give honor, glory, praise and thanksgiving to God for anointing you as an instrument of His will. Dare to be the gift sent from above that extends the boundaries of the the Kingdom.

Until next time - Let Us Bear Fruit that should remain - Linda!