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Wednesday

This Is Your Time!

By Ruthann Mckenzie


I love the story of Esther in the Bible. There is so much to be gained from this book of the Bible.  My favorite verse comes from Esther 4:14.  The part that stands out to me the most is, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

The phrase “for such a time as this” could be applied differently for each individual.  God wants to use you and the time of your calling may be different than the person next to you.  You may look at yourself as inadequate to be used by God.  You may feel like your past situations have disqualified you from God using you. However, when the time comes, when we are thrust into greatness like Esther, we can take courage that God can use us where we are.  We do not have to be higher educated, better dressed, or more qualified. When God wants to use you, He will use you so that all glory will be given to Him.

Esther, like so many of us, had her own baggage that she felt disqualified her to become queen.  She was an orphan, she was captive in a foreign country, she did not know if the king would actually choose her to be queen, and I doubt she truly wanted to be queen. Despite her circumstances, God still wanted to use Esther. But why? He could have picked anyone more willing, anyone more qualified, He could have chosen anyone else.  However, would it have made the same impact? The gifts and purpose God placed on Esther’s life was designed for that moment, which would impact the future. Trust that God created each of us with our different gifts and  purpose to be used to impact the future.

Esther’s natural response when being told by Mordecai that God placed her in the palace for such a time as this was to make excuses out of fear. It is natural to have that response and God knows this, but Esther surrendered her will to the Lord’s to be used. The fact that Esther surrendered and put her confidence in God that His will be done instead of her own is the best part of this story.  She was thrown into the situation, but she did not let that stop her from being used.

Perhaps you are here for such a time as this and you too have been thrown into a situation, whatever it may be.  That does not mean you cannot be used by the Lord. God wants to use you…yes, YOU!  Surrender fully to His will.  Allow His love to flood your life and you will see that through our weakness His strength can be made perfect. Be used by God, for this is the time.

Monday

How To Fulfill Your Destiny

By: Ruthann Mckenzie


I used to think that I had to be the absolute best at everything before I could commit to one thing. Everyone always seemed so much better at their talent or gift than me and I envied it. As a result I would quit what I may have enjoyed because I wasn't good enough in my own eyes at it. However, I was comparing my uncommitted beginner level to what someone put time and dedication into. I compared my progress to theirs and then quit. I never thought to keep going or perfect my skill or even learn from others. I would just quit and make the excuse that I wasn't good enough.

I've never really taken the time to examine why commitment was so important until I was listening to a sermon by TD Jakes about our lack of commitment. We have a slew of reasons why we cannot commit to something, our church, our dreams, our partner, the list goes on. What struck me most is we beg for blessings and want good things to happen to us, but we half commit or don't commit at all to what we should. Fear of commitment is an excuse if we are honest with ourselves. If you can't commit to anything, then you are blowing in the wind of indecision. Commitment is not the scariest thing we can do. Losing out on opportunities because of lack of commitment should scare us more.

Comparing what I had against what another person had only made my fear to commit that much stronger. There skills seem perfect, they have it all... And the secret here is that they are committed! I don't know the trials and errors they made prior to gaining the skills they have now. That is not for me to know either. What I should focus on is committing to my skills and making progress on building them. Progress will always beat perfection.



I've learned to follow some simple principles in order to remain committed to my dreams:


  • Become fully committed to God. Whether you think so or not, He has always been fully committed to you. He created you with a great purpose in mind, even if you do not always believe so. If you want to honestly commit to anything fully, like the sermon points out commit to God first.
  • Let go of fear. Fear is the largest hinderance in this life. Fear will always hold us back if we let it.  So if you want to fully commit, then let go of being scared of failure or anything else.
  • Stick with what you are good at and practice making those skills better.  I would love to play the piano, but if I am honest with myself, it is not my talent. I would waste a lot of time trying to build a skill that may amount to me being mediocre at it. However, I am skilled with visual arts, such as photography. I am far better off practicing that skill until I become greater with it. My point? Stick with what you are actually good at instead of trying to do everything.
  • Seek help from those who are more experienced than you. Learn from those who have been where you are and are willing to help. You will gain valuable experience and will be inspired to remain committed when you see your skills improve.
  • Make sensible goals. Have goals that you will actually stick to and are achievable. For instance, if you want to save money for the new year, then that is too general. Take action by making attainable goals, like reading and learning about how to manage your finances, so on and so forth.
I have attached the sermon by TD Jakes I found on YouTube for anyone who wants to listen to fulfilling their destiny through commitment. You can have all the skill and gifts in the world, but if you do not commit to anything, then you are blowing in the wind. You will never achieve your vision if you are not willing to anchor down and commit to it. Commitment is key when making your dreams a reality.




Dream Bigger: See Your Dreams Fulfilled!

By: Ruthann Mckenzie


As I have started to live out my dreams and what I truly want for my life, I have began realizing there are many expenses attached to my dream I did not once realize.  Living out my personhood, my dream, my vision... it is costly, yet I continue to do it daily.  

I am here to inform you that your dream will be costly, too. This is not a negative thing, but it will require you to give more than a hundred percent daily. It will consume much of your waking hours. There will be sleepless nights creating goals and meeting deadlines.  Once you begin to pursue your dream it will be all you think about continuously, almost 24/7.  I have heard that I am border line obsessed with my purpose.  You know what that is okay with me!  The reason why I rather put in the handwork to pursue the dream is how much it will cost if I don't. 

The most costly part of having a dream is if you leave that dream unfulfilled. Unfulfilled dreams will come back to haunt you, because that longing -- that desire placed deep within you -- is not coincidental. The dream deep within your heart is not there to let it slip away.  Your dream will be costly, but the cost to be great far exceeds mediocre



So stick with the sleepless nights and people telling you how saggy your eyes look some days. The goal is not to impress or show off, especially not in the short term. Do not worry about the investment you will have to make and the failures you will endure. Endure the failures and learn lessons from them.  Be creative enough to find more solutions after failures rather than excuses to remain the same. Keep pushing to develop into who God designed you to be. Know that fear is temporary.  We perceive fear to be permanent because we sit there so long, never realizing we can push past it. Failure is not a permanent condition, and neither is fear. 

The greatest injustice we do to ourselves is to talk ourselves out of our dreams because of what it will cost us short term. In all reality, we do not stop and think of how our hard work may pay off. Think to yourself, "what will it look like if I accomplish my dream?"  Your dream may be to lose weight, it may be to open a business, it may be to play an instrument...whatever it is, your dream is valid for you, never discount it.  Pay into your future investments and make the dream a reality. Do what it takes today so you will not pay for your excuses of putting off your dreams tomorrow. 

It Is worth it!



Friday

SHE Created iT SPOTLIGHT: Grace Kisa

Happy October! B.O.L.D is happy to share She Created iT's monthly artists spotlight and celebrate female artists and entrepreneurs. She Created iT is a platform to Promote, Produce and Educate Female Artists.

Every month She Created iT Highlights a phenomenal female artist. For the month of October the She Created iT Artist Spotlight is on Grace Kisa.


GRACE KISA is a native of Nairobi, Kenya. She  moved with her family to the United States in  1978. Grace was educated at The Art Institute in Atlanta, where she received an Associates in Art Degree. She currently lives and works in Atlanta.
        


" Making art for me is a journey of exploration, both inward and outwardly. This voyage of discovery often leads me to places I could not initially have predicted I would end up." I work on two dimensional, and three dimensional pieces, and the materials that I use vary just as greatly. Often the work is referenced  from my own experiences. From the movies that I see to the music that I listen to. From the books that I read, to the places that I travel to. These elements and many others become the basis for my reinterpretation of the world around us. By taking what is familiar and making it new, I am attempting to create a narrative that engages history, myth, social awareness, and a touch of whimsy."
                                   
         


More art work from Grace's collection can be found HERE On Flickr.



 Grace's Exhibitions include:

       1994-M-Print Fine Art- Atlanta Georgia
         1995-Tina’s Gallery-Potomac, Maryland
         1996-Diaspora Arts Gallery- Atlanta, Georgia
         1997-Art Station Art Center- Stone Mountain, Georgia
         1998- Emerald City Art- Marietta., Georgia
         1999- Fine Art Images- Richmond, Virginia
         1999-2009- National Black Fine Art Show
         2000- Galerie 500- Washington D.C.
         2001- Carolyn Waller Gallery- Nashville ,Tennessee
         2002- Artist’s Showcase Gallery- Atlanta, Georgia
         2003- The Raiford Gallery- Alpharetta, Georgia
         2006- Just Lookin’ Gallery- Hagerstown, Maryland
         2007- Gallery Serengeti- Capitol Heights, Maryland
         2008- Studio Clout- Atlanta, Georgia
         2009- Stuart McLean Gallery- Atlanta, Georgia         
         2010- Avisca Gallery- Marietta, Georgia
         2012-Contemporaries, Morgan State University-Baltimore Md.
        
Collections include:

           Steed Media Group
           Hartsfield/ Jackson International Airport
            Upscale Magazine Corporate Offices
            Kaiser Permanente
            Southwest Hospital
            Art Station Art Center


You can find out more about Grace, Her work, and the She Created iT organization at shecreatedit.info For exhibition and general inquiries e-mail: info@shecreatedit.info



Wednesday

#Rescue2Restore: An Evening Of Music Event

From $150 to Priceless…
I know a young woman who once believed her value was $150. That’s the amount of money she was paid for 30 minutes of ‘work’. Let’s be clear. She didn’t get to keep the money; she had to give it to her pimp. You see, she was caught in the underground sex trafficking trade. At the time, she was 14 years old.
You may wonder how this sort of thing happens – right here in the U.S. of A. Girls are being approached near schools, at the mall, on social media, in neighborhoods and social circles by predators seeking to build their ‘business’. The story often begins with a cute guy in a smooth ride approaching a pretty girl promising a good time, gifts, freedom, and love. The promises turn out to be nothing but abuse and exploitation.

Often, human trafficking is seen as limited to foreign countries; but it’s a growing epidemic in the United States. You may think it’s not your problem; however, what affects one directly affects another indirectly. You may think that it’s on the ‘other’ side of town; but girls are being lured into the dark underworld of sex trafficking in broad daylight all over town. Pretending the problem doesn’t affect you is short-sided. It can trickle into your neighborhood without the slightest warning. The young woman in this story was able to break free and is now ten years removed. Her passion is to help other girls caught in the trade. She declares, “I used to think my worth was $150; now I know I’m priceless.”
A report, conducted by The Urban Institute for the U.S. Justice Department, looked at the underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) in eight major U.S. – Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, and Washington, DC. They aimed to uncover its magnitude. In their findings, Atlanta was ranked the top city with a $300 million sex trafficking economy. Let’s put it in perspective: that’s more than Atlanta’s illegal drug and gun trade combined. Further, they found on average pimps in Atlanta make $32,833 in cash per week and the average age of girls used in the sex trade is 14.
You can help stop sex trafficking by joining others in the fight. Plan to attend Rescue 2 Restore: An Evening of Music. Grammy, Stellar and Dove award-winning artists Daniel Winans (of the legendary Winans family, singer-songwriter, producer) Billy Dorsey (Outreach Pastor at Lakewood, singer-songwriter, producer with notable recording artists, including Lecrae, 2 Chainz, Pretty Ricky and Day 26); Deborah Hightower (worship leader, singer-songwriter, author); and Dr. David Cooper (Senior Pastor of Mount Paran Church) with Open Door Band will grace the stage in Atlanta on Thursday, October 2, 2014 at Mount Paran Church of God to raise awareness and benefit Wellspring Living (www.wellspringliving.org). Wellspring is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to confront the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation.



Monday

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.

Wednesday

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.