How To Develop A Winning Attitude

By: Ruthann Mckenzie

I am what I speak...

Sunday afternoons are typically my unwinding time to relax with my daughter and watch a movie.  Not really paying attention to the Olympic games, but remembering the huge buzz about Gabrielle Douglass, I decided I would watch her documentary.  It was definitely uplifting and motivating.  Even though I knew the end of the story, watching all that led up to her gold medals made the movie amazing.

There are a few points I took away from watching the story of this young ladies life.  I will share them below:

You are what you speak.  Her situation may have looked hopeless, but she was filled with hope. She spoke and believed her vision.  Even when others around her doubted, her speech was filled with life.

Have a grand vision for your life. This is no time or place to dream small. It does not matter your situation or the obstacles you face.  If you truly want the gold in your life, then you have to envision something so grand, it sounds almost crazy.  If it aligns with God's will, then not even the sky will be a limit.

Have determination and grit.  The motivation and determination of young Gabby made me really think about my own life.  No, I was not born to be an Olympic gold medalist, but I was born to be greatness.  Yet, have I given it my all even when I wanted to quit?  Determination is so crucial in life if you really want to obtain your dreams. It takes a certain grit and soul, a longing, that brings that vision to fruition.

The main theme I consistently noticed in the movie was believing. She believed she could accomplish her dreams and goals so she spoke about it constantly. She placed affirming visuals around her at all times. Her family, her team, and her coach all believed what she knew to be true for herself. You need a winning team to continue winning. Yet, it all starts with you speaking over your life what you see as your vision.

Proverbs 18:21 states, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruits."  So what are you saying about yourself? What dreams are you speaking life into? Do not just let your dreams die and do not speak less about yourself. I am what I speak. I choose to speak life into existence. I choose to believe and dream bigger, because even my wildest dreams are possible with God.


There Is Purpose In Your Pain

By: Carla Marcelle

 Sometimes our pain and hurt can seem as if it too much to handle. Life can seem so unfair, hurtful, and down right miserable. When we think of all the trails and tribulations that seem to plague our lives, it is no wonder why sometimes all we can do is cry.

     Last week I found myself in a very low place-mentally, financially, and physically. What made it even worst was that I was in an environment that only seemed to enhance what I was feeling. In my self misery, I begin to think of all the trails I endured throughout my life, and how despite all of it I have never given up. I always had a positive attitude, I always set goals for myself and achieve them, I trust God when I don't feel like he is here, and I am a genuinely good person. Yet still, it seems like I cannot catch a break.

      A few of the obstacles I faced last week included I have no money, my car broke down, I had to stay somewhere that just made me utterly uncomfortable, I started a job that depresses me so bad, and worst of all I was really missing the one person in the whole world that really brightens my day- my daughter. Then different scenarios from past began to replay in my heard, and in combined with all that I was currently feeling, I broke down. I began to sob, and I ask God why cant you be God and make everything better? Why can't you provide the opportunities for me that I deserve. I began to to run down my list of accomplishments, all the good I do, and the pain that I endured throughout life to God (as if he did not already know).  I was upset with God, I was mad. Then after a while, as I began to calm down God started to speak to my spirit. He said:
                " Listen, It is Not in vain."

I began to feel a shift in my atmosphere, a purging in my spirit, and a peace that said "Hold on".

As I sat in stillness just to vibe in  my spirit for a little while, I begin to hear from God that my testimony is going to be so great. I began to see in my spirit how what I have endured will break chains for people, and how free they will become free because of what I have experienced.

     It was at that moment, I realized that it was my carnality, my pride, my flesh that made me think that I was entitled to something from God because I deemed myself Good. I deemed myself worthy of what the world seeks it pleasures in. Just that quick I realized that my fulfillment and satisfaction in life was not what God had destined  for me, but what I destined for myself. That being said, if I chose to trust God, I trust his plans for my life. If he designed a plan for my life, whatever I encounter in this life has been cleared with God. Therefore who am I to say I did not need to encounter these trails and tribulations. There is a purpose for all that I have been through. Though I may not understand while I am going through, if I truly trust God I know my best interest is at hand.

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. -1 Peter 1:7 NLT

So these trials, pain, tears, heartache are all lessons to show us what we need to learn.  I cannot say what each individual has to learn from their trails, but what I can say is that they purify us, and test us to show our strength and our faith. We all know there is no growth without pain and discomfort. In order to grow and mature, to experience greater, we sometimes have to know what it is like to experience less. Sometimes in order to get things right, we have to get them wrong.   The one thing we cannot do is give up on ourselves no matter how hard the obstacles are that we face. We have to keep striving. Nothing you go through is in vain. Eventually we will see that there was a purpose for it all. There is a purpose in your pain. Do not give up your fight.




The Power Of Legacy After Loss

By: Ruthann Mckenzie

Pain Is Inevitable, But Misery Is Optional.

Today marks the six year anniversary since I lost my grandmother.  She was the love of my life; a woman of God that I looked up to and strongly admired.  She had grit and soul.  Her life was turbulent, yet she not only survived, but was more than victorious.  My grandmother was a helper, a friend, hardworking, beautiful, intelligent, meek and kind. Not only did she take part in helping to raise myself and my other two siblings, but countless other grandchildren, children from other parents, her own, basically a village.  I always looked at her in amazement that such a petite little lady could birth 11 children, survive after losing two of them, work a lifetime with her hands, yet never complain.  This is a tiny snippet of my great admiration for her and I am proud her legacy lives on within me today.

Losing someone you love makes your world crumble.  All that you had with that person is now past tense, a memory. The comfort of others in that moment is nice, but slightly useless as it does not change the reality.  The pain is so real.  Yet, something can be gained from the legacy one leaves when they pass on.

The legacy far surpasses the memories. Memories soon fade, but you can carry on the persons legacy with the good works they accomplished, not letting those go when they pass on. For myself, I have taken on the good work my grandmother began by helping others around me.  It may not be in the same capacity that she worked, but it is her legacy within me.  In addition, her legacy for education has been passed down.  One would have never known without her telling them that she had a fourth grade education. Yet, she instilled within her kids to do well in school, and my mother did the same for us.  Due to her diligence with us working on our education, many of her grandchildren are educated and carry on her strong work ethics.  The epitome of legacy.

I can only imagine, that if she could see who I became as a result of her love and care towards me, she would smile enormously. Six years later, I still want to cry. The pain of losing a loved one is inevitable, but misery is optional.  It has taken much time to grieve and I have my days I just sit in her loving memory.  I am blessed to have known such a wonderful person and having that person shape my life in so many ways.  Her legacy continues on.

So today, if you are heartbroken in any way by the loss of someone you love, remember their legacy.   Know that their life served a great purpose.  Focus your energy on being better because of the one(s) you have lost.  Live a life of hope and great expectancy, knowing that you can be reunited with them once more with the return of Christ. I trust that my grandmother would not have it any other way with me. She would rather me live life abundantly as she taught me to with hope, than have my soul die when she did. I have chosen to live with her legacy.  I pray this comforts and motivates someone to live in hope and carry on their loved ones legacy.  The passing is not the end, at times it can be the beginning.  Time will heal and wounds will close.  Let the legacy live on.


Why Anomaly By Lecrae Is The Top Album in America

by: April D. Byrd

Lecrae is on the Billboard Charts with the top album in America. Lecrae is clearly unashamed to talk about being a Christian rapper, So a lot of secular outlets are shocked. 

However, that's seemingly the point of his seventh studio Album "Anomaly". The rapper describes in his definition  video for the project that he's ok with not fitting "the mold" or being placed in a box.

Is it really abnormal that professed Christians can actually be talented and widely successful? It's really not. However, I do love that Lecrae honors the power of Christ unashamed. He is a christian and He is very skillful in his craft. 

Church Clothes 2 is one of the LP's that stay on frequent rotation in my car now and my young cousin who's not so christian was thoroughly impressed. Being that He mostly identifies with the rap that's full of cursing and destruction that's a good thing. Lecrae probably can be confusing to some Christians because he takes the same formula with perhaps an even greater amount of talent and switches the lyrics. Hopefully in that he will reach even more lost people.

His music is more than conscious, it's undoubtedly Christian. Honestly Lecrae's album is number one because of his skill which He honors God in, but also because people are tired of hearing lyrics that don't give life! Lyrics which as Lecrae raps on his new album "Ain't Talkin Bout Nothin". This could be the start of something good. Hopefully it's no longer an anomaly to be "different", but more of us will be the change that we want to see...In whatever field God has called us in. It's imperative to keep God's purpose for us as the lead in our be BOLD!

Check out The Lyric Video for "Nuthin". Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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How Sheryl Underwood Turned A Secret Into Success

by: April D. Byrd

When was the last time you shared a secret and got a standing ovation for it? Never! Me either. We can all take notes from Sheryl Underwood.
"I was bruised, but I wasn't Broken"!  We've all been there. The Powerful words came from "The Talk"  Co-Host  when she revealed a juicy secret on the show.

Sheryl's presentation of her truth turned out to be one of the most absolute boss moves I've ever seen on TV. and I didn't actually see it on a TV, but of course #SherylUnderwood was trending, because that's how BOSS it was!

If you haven't seen the video already you might want to check it out! (Below):
Share your thoughts about it in the comments section. 

There is a lot of speculation but seemingly Sheryl handled the situation with eloquence!
What did you think about Sheryl's share? Do you think it was appropriate? Would you have done it?


Nothing You Go Through Or Have Experienced Is In Vain.

By: April D. Byrd

Very early this morning someone decided to message Breath Of Life Daily's Facebook page to say Jesus was not the truth... as normal and probably expected I threw my scriptures out there and said no thanks to whatever God the person was trying to offer. The person was nice enough in the end to stop taunting the page after no further response.

However, after the fact my spirit was uneasy. "Why do people have to make a big deal about it?" "Why is it something that needs to be debated over or disowned"? There is of course research that needs to be done to stand firmly in our faith. I do agree there. Anyway, I sat for a while in my car uninspired for my Wednesday run, in a bit of anger and contempt for the Jesus debate. I got out of the car and went running anyway.

not before I posted to the Facebook page:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
-Luke 4:18
I believe powerfully in spreading good news and message of love. This is the spirit I think on when I think of Jesus, I think of him as the embodiment of purpose, definitively, and for everyone. To be so strongly committed to a cause, that you're willing to give it all!

At times we're saved, we get inspiration and revelation from God, but there is opposition in the world. Life is a daily activity and suicide is an issue. A spirit of depression, being beat down, feeling devalued and useless does not have to consume lives.

When we're  "Saved"... and that's through Jesus, we know it and we feel it... the story doesn't end and in one shot we're happy, Life is a daily struggle. Daily inspiration is needed. I was wondering why. why do we have to suffer for following Jesus? why do we have to be persecuted because of him? before I got out of the car. 

But as I was running I looked over and I saw a glimpse of a rainbow in the Lake's fountain God has a promise, a covenant with us and all the earth...( that means He's our Bestie!), I looked over there were two trees intertwined as if they were hugging, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." We are a body in Christ. then I looked up and saw birds flying freely in the air over my head. and heard "look at my creation." We shouldn't be worried for anything, but relaxed and at peace to just live. God's got us. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Overall I realized that It's not about focusing on who's against us, but the support we have behind us. that's where the life comes from. Go Forward keep running. As you do let your eyes be stayed on God's glory. God's goodness. the pure love offered through Jesus Christ. Keep running! Keep focused on God!

I believe these occurrences happen for a reason. Nothing we go through or experience is in vain. 


I Am Janay Rice...

by: Ruthann Mckenzie

"...we call it domestic violence as if it is a domesticated cat.  It is the most vicious form of violence there is, because not only the physical scars are left, the psychological scars that are left" - VP Joe Biden

She's laying on the bed, curled in a ball. After their last fight she's experiencing severe contractions. Her daughter isn't due for another two months. She's crying. Now he consoles her, kissing her forehead and telling her to calm down. He's sorry. He was drunk and didn't mean anything he said when they got into an argument. Of course he loves her. Of course he wouldn't want anything to happen to his child. That is his blood and his DNA flowing through the unborn's veins. He'll change, he promised. He doesn't want his child to live without him and he won't allow it any other way. That's why earlier he would have rather killed them all rather than watch her walk away. But he promises that was just a scare tactic. Besides, she said some rather hurtful things too.  She should know he's doing the best he can, he's been through so much. The pain subsided in the morning and it was a better day. He cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  He even went out in the cold to buy flowers.

Each morning he made the lunches. Each night after work he cooked the dinners. Each Saturday morning, they went as a family to church. On the outside they were adorable together. They received nothing but compliments on the love they seemed to share.  Yet on the inside she feared for her life. She was forcing a square peg and she knew it, but she stayed. She loved him. He loved her....Besides, she hit him too, he'd provoke, but she'd retaliate. She deserved what came during their fights. The baby was protected by the womb. Never mind, the umbilical cord wrapping around the fetus neck three time unbeknownst to her. Never mind the extreme stress and pressure it placed on the unborn child. That was the least of her concern.

This is not where the story begins though.  She came into this world that was already broken. Her first incident with domestic violence was at the age of three. The very first man she'd ever known to love had no real regards for the woman who carried her. She can still recall that night hearing her parents fight. She can still recall seeing how broken her mother was and not knowing what to do. She was three.  How would she know as an adult she would go through the same or have her child experience such tragedies?

I am Janay Rice. I am the countless women and men who have experienced fear in relationships.  Although I've left my abusers, yes multiple abusers, I'm no better than the next person. I have no greater worth than anyone else. We are all equal because we were created equal. We only share a common thread through the scarlet strain of violence. I am her. I also do not want to acknowledge it as being so serious. Yet, it is that serious.

With each story I read, with each news story I try to avoid listening to, I see my own story replaying. Writing this is not easy. It is a trauma that some of us endure in the warped view of love, not realizing love never will hurt. Perhaps I'm writing this from my heightened sense of sensitivity towards the situation. Nonetheless, more of us need to shine light on something painful in hopes to bring meaningful change. That change does not have to be legislation.  It can be education to those who are ignorant to the facts.  Most of all, it could be compassion and love to those who stay in the situation or who choose to leave.

Education on any subject leads to liberation. Yet, all the education cannot give you a crucial piece, compassion and love. There cannot be judgment as each situation is different. It is never okay to judge, especially when you are cyber bullying, that helps no one. Become educated and be compassionate.  This could be your life. This could be your daughter or son.

Here are a few facts in regards to domestic violence are as follows:

  • World wide, one in three women experience a form of domestic abuse.
  • Domestic abuse can include verbal, sexual, economic, emotional, and uses denial, blame, control, and isolation to manipulate the victim. 
  • One in five men world wide also experience a form of domestic abuse. (This isn't just affecting women.)
  • Women are more likely to be victims of sexual and domestic abuse at the hands of a partner.
  • One in six women in America have been stalked.
  • One in five women have been raped.
  • One in four women in the US has been physically assaulted.
These are just a few of the many statistics for domestic and sexual violence. Some of the negative impacts of domestic and sexual violence includes; being fearful, one or more PTSD symptom, concern for safety, missing work, needing legal services, needing medical services, needing housing services.  I must admit, just watching the news broadcast play over again has evoked some symptoms of my post traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD). 

Most of this happens prior to ones 25th birthday! The saddest thing is I have lived these experiences prior to my 25th birthday. The younger crowd experiences this and then have a warped idea of what is normal and how to enter into a healthy living relationship.

We cannot be naive and believe that violence will end magically. However speaking out and empowering all victims to realize they are victors is a start. Breaking the stigma and ignorance is a start. If this encourages one woman to know they are not alone, it was worth sharing my pain.  If it leads one more to being compassionate and not victimizing someone already mentally and verbally attacked, then it was worth reliving. You can be a light.  You can break free. There is hope and freedom in Christ and that can never be taken away. It is possible to receive help from others and it is possible to give a helping hand to those who need it most.