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We grew up along the Savannah River in a rural part of Georgia where God and family comes first…followed closely by sports, namely football! Spirituality is engrained in your being, so when you find other people with that type of celestial energy, the poles attract. The attractions lead to worlds of positivity and develop into lifelong friendships. As I think of this phenomenon in particular, my Brothers come to mind, and for those who really know me, you know I am referring to my best friends. These friends continue to help guide me spiritually, physically, and mentally, through life’s highs and lows…the good, the bad, and the ugly. God has certainly ordained their presence in my life, whether they are there for me physically or emotionally, in ANY time of need. I have been blessed with several of them; allow me to share some more things about these Brothers.
Most of them were raised by some strong single Mothers, just as I was. In addition, we were surrounded by a host of family that imparted wisdom and positively impacted our value systems in countless ways. Many of our relationships began because key family members of ours knew one another through work or play. My Brothers and I attended church and school together, biked throughout the town, and at times, ventured into places like Nature Park, performing the most daring of stunts. I often think back to where we went, and what we did while there, and immediately believe we were crazier than all-get-out 😅 to have pulled off some of the stuff we did…but oh well, that is what a group of fearless young boys do!
We participated on football, basketball, and track teams on recreational and organized school levels. By the grace of God, we played significant roles in several championships/titles won by those teams. In the midst of this, some of us worked throughout the summers as Playlot Coordinators. This was another element of our upbringing that offered some memorable moments. Additional memories will be shared later via other mediums. I am sitting here laughing just thinking about them! We hung out at places like the Huddle House, the local Hardees as well as a few others to share laughs and break bread. However, NO hangout spot was quite like Ms. Griffin’s home on the hill of the Pecan Orchard. Books and movies can be produced regarding the things that transpired while there. God-willing, we will produce them someday soon 😊…stay tuned.
Today, we are Husbands, Fathers, Coaches, Activists, among a wealth of other titles. We are partly charged with recreating the same type of safe environment for our kids in hopes they will become productive citizens while advancing mankind in some capacity. I am truly blessed to say, “Brothers, we are!!”
*In loving memory of Ms. Josephine Griffin 💝
* All original work attributed to “Chris Jones” © 2021 “Chris Jones”.
Bruin or Mustang? This is the question I asked myself during my freshman year at Broadneck High School. I contemplated if my decision to leave this place will go the way I wanted. I reviewed the opportunities each school offered me and found the pros and cons of both. First, I felt I would consider the things I would miss out on by remaining at Broadneck even though if would probably provide a better education. I would miss out on being involved in athletics and other afterschool activities. “I’m only in high school once and I'll never get the opportunity to really be a part of the school”, I thought. Not being able to connect with the school by participating in those types of activities at Broadneck made me feel like an outsider, figuratively and literally.
Life at Broadneck involved long days and short nights while having to commute back and forth. Then, realizing I was sacrificing all this for something I didn’t truly love to do (participating in the Magnet Performance and Visual Arts Program). In addition, not being able to hang out with classmates after school and such. I remembered a scene from the movie “Freedom Writers” where the black girl switched from her Honors class, which was majority white, to a standard class that was more diverse. Although she wasn’t at the same level as the other students, she built character and comfort, because she could relate to her classmates. Also, given her a grand opportunity to excel. That’s how I see the two schools. One has a slightly better education (Broadneck), but the other one (Meade) will not only offer me a meaningful education, but prepare me for the future when it comes to handling real life problems while helping me find myself.
Now, I’m at Meade High…only six (6) months into the school year, and I’ve been on the soccer and indoor track & field teams. The transition at first was rocky, having to get used to the environment, but I quickly adapted. I learned how and when to focus more on my studies as well as when to socialize. I’ve made lots of new friends and renewed old bonds. The answer is definitely, Mustang!
* All original work attributed to “Kristyn Jones” © 2020 “Kristyn Jones”.
I remember waking up and going through my morning routine.
I remember walking across campus to visit my professor.
I remember my professor said, "Did you hear, there was a terrible accident. A plane flew into one of the twin towers".
I remember walking back to my apartment, not giving it that much thought.
I remember turning on the television and finding that another plane had hit the twin towers.
I remember thinking, "This was no accident".
I remember being glued to the TV and hearing about a plane hitting the Pentagon.
I remember hearing yet another plane had crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.
I remember with horrific awe the sight of the first one, and then the second tower as they fell.
I remember the look of shock, fear, anger, and grief on the faces of those I met that day.
I remember seeing news footage from around the world as many people mourned with us.
I remember seeing footage from the streets of Pakistan as people danced and cheered at the news.
I remember a country that came together in the face of adversity.
I remember people saying that they would never forget.
I remember that time passed and people's spirits began to heal.
I remember that the pettiness of our disparate ideologies began to creep back in.
I remember watching the news and hearing words like "partisan" on a daily basis.
I remember when "I" became "We", and I see that "We" has again become "I".
*All original work attributed to “Justice Smith” © 2010 “Justice Smith”.
Many people in times of turmoil and despair yearn for a better tomorrow and at some point, someone has shared the message “have faith.” It’s amazing how a short sentence can influence a shift in any situation. The shift often takes place in the unseen realm of the spirit and soon visible signs of change begin to manifest. The person receiving the message must have an ear to hear and voice to command it to be so. But what if you’re not a spiritual person and are not used to hearing or applying the term “have faith”? How do you interpret the message; what does it mean? From a spiritual perspective “to have faith” is to believe that things will turn out the way you’ve thought, imagined, and seen it in your mind even when you’re present circumstances appear different.
As I am writing, my brain is causing me to pause and reflect on Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What is substance? Can it be described as the feelings that go into the moments of hoping for a shift; a change. How do we even have the audacity to hope for tomorrow, when we can barely get through today? Yet, there’s something inside of us that pushes us to search for more and it gives us the assurance that there’s better reserved just for us. No matter how dire the circumstances, this thing on the inside doesn’t allow our natural eyes to deceive us and our brain seemingly locks in on the positive images that have danced in our mind. We often find ourselves starting to take the necessary steps to get to the place we’ve believed for. What is hope? Having and possessing an expectation of an experience; an event or a vision to come into fruition. We all have the power of vision that supersedes natural understanding, yet most of us allow this ability to lie dormant; going underutilized for years on end until one day you’re thrust in a position where you almost have to depend solely on a vision opposite of what you see. The circumstances are most likely grim and those around you are ready or already have given up hope, spoken out loud negativity and bonded the ideal that anything opposite of what they see is even possible. 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
You’ve imagined it, you’ve heard it, you’ve felt it stirring in your soul; in your being from head to toe. It’s so real, it hurts to continue to think about it without taking action to bring it forth. Call those things unseen to the natural eye as though they were. You’ve got to demand in the natural out-loud that everything in the spiritual realm that is moving on your behalf to make way for the full manifestation of things you’ve set your heart upon! You’ve heard the voice from within, but who said it? Well I believe that there’s a spiritual being inside of you who is far more powerful than the natural person moving daily in the world. Am I getting too deep? Good, because I’m sure we’ve all heard a voice from the inside of us cry out. Have you never paused to wonder who authorized this voice to speak; who gave this voice authority? In this moment of questioning the spirit brings to my remembrance the scripture Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. You must receive what you’ve heard and put action behind those thoughts. You must get into a space of activation. They say faith without works is dead, so you’ve got to turn the flicker into a flame, you got to shift your jog into a sprint, enhance your sparkle into a shine, you’ve got to go into dark places and bring in the light, you got to smother words of denial and refutation and breathe life with words of declaration and affirmation.
Negativity is a trick of the enemy; it’s used to get you in a space of endless hopelessness and defeat. The enemy is counting on you to give up and give in; to throw in the towel and accept defeat. Faith is a silent yet loud feeling of conviction in your gut and when you get in a place of disobedience and do not pursue wholeheartedly the call upon your life, when your actions demonstrate disbelief in the vision there’s no way you can be left feeling satisfied with your current circumstance. What happens when you declare this is your season to bring everything you have set your sights on and you call it forth? When you recognize and acknowledge that you own, that’s right own, possess, harbor, contain the divine ability to call out the future; to strategize movements to arrive to your destination you become unstoppable. This can become your moment, day, month and year of destiny, to accomplish the things that have been promised to you. Having just the slightest bit of faith, that of a mustard seed will cause you to shift and activate; you will begin the metamorphosis. 2 Corinthians 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak.
Your natural eyes tell the story of what is going on in the moment, they reveal all of the intricate details like the color and hint at the texture of everything around you. Your natural vision is also accompanied by your brain that is working in overtime processing messages of what your eyesight is capturing. There are people who have eyesight yet they lack vision. Vision to see beyond their natural sight. Is it possible to have faith if you lack vision? Blind people have the ability to see things in their mind based off the sound, the vibration, the smell and the feeling that is evoked by the experience. Having suffered temporary blindness, I can absolutely confirm that lacking physical sight heightened my other senses and caused me to rely upon them and my imagination. No matter what things physically looked liked, in my memory I had to exercise patience for the vision of the present. I had to trust that my senses were transmitting truth to my being, that if things smelled and felt pleasurable that surely they were prepared in a manner pleasurable to my sight and would be tasteful to my palate. Matthew 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."
I’d like to demonstrate how I’ve activated faith in my life. So please allow me to take you on a journey. Go to a dark room or use a blindfold so you can block outside images that may permeate your eyelids during this exercise. Ensure the room is also quiet, as you want to be able to hear without distraction. Focus in on how you feel. What’s your breathing like? Are your muscles tense? If so, take a few deep breaths and focus on releasing the tense feeling.
Now close your eyes with the intention of entering a season of enlarged territory, a place where you have access to people and things you’ve not had before. Everyone and everything you encounter brings you joy; they bring a sense of calm, high levels of peace. Sit with this vision for a few minutes. What do you hear? Who is speaking to you? How does the voice make you feel from the inside? The things that you hear are likely going to be so amazing that you are instantly going to doubt that you deserve any of it or that you can even attain it. I need you to understand that you have the power to cease all negativity and can stay in the space of positivity. Begin to pray and meditate on Romans 4:17, recognizing the demonstration of Faith is having the ability to call those things that are not as though they are.
This exercise can be so intense that may suddenly find yourself speaking out loud declaring what you hear on the inside; you may even speak a language foreign to your ear. Do not be afraid or startled. This is your higher self manifesting and confirming your future. Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Congratulations you have set the atmosphere to bring forth your hearts desires! This is your evidence…your natural ear has now heard and as you open your eyes, do so with the confidence and get to work. SEE FAITH, SPEAK FAITH, BELIEVE FAITH, and PURSUE FAITH.
*All original work attributed to “La Ticia "Sunshine" Wilson” © 2019 “La Ticia Sunshine Wilson”.
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