#AGGC is looking for Unsung Community Heroes

Do you know of someone doing amazing things in their church, community and business but rarely gets any recognition?

The 11th Annual A.G. Gaston Conference will award its first A.G. Gaston Community Service Award to a deserving indivdidual who exhibits the characteristics of A.G. Gaston.

Haven’t heard of A.G. Gaston? Read about him here -> READ MORE! and while you’re on the site, complete the form to nominate someone that Gaston would be proud to honor.

Community Award Nominate Now

Submit your nomination today!  

The deadline is Sunday, January 25th.  Recipient must be registered and present to receive the award.  Finalists will be notified by February 1st.

Welcome to #2015 – What are you adding, keeping and getting rid of?

As you welcome the change of a calendar year, you may also be reflecting on the changes that you want to make in your life.  Some question why you should wait until the calendar changes to make these changes. Honestly, I have no answer because I believe in constant self evaluation but it seems like January 1st is the perfect day for the big evaluation.

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Most of you who follow this blog have read about the Add, Keep, Get Rid Of list in the past.  Rather than making a bunch of promises or resolutions, take some time to consider:

What do I want to add to my life? Be intentional about some of the things that are missing.  You may not be able to make the change today but create a plan for the year that will allow you to integrate those changes into your routine so that it becomes a lifestyle change and not for the moment.  For me, I want to add sightseeing… Ok, I know that may sound a little crazy but I visit so many cities for a variety of reasons but I usually focus on the business of my trip and neglect carving out a few hours for myself to experience the city, even some familiar cities.  So I plan to become intentional about sightseeing when I travel.

What do I want to keep in my life? Not everything has to go.  Take some time to think about what is important to you, what do you want to preserve in your life.  I’m a firm believer in living your priorities.  This one requires that you think about your top three priorities and evaluate your resources – time and money.  Are you making the time commitment and using your financial resources to keep those priorities at the top of your list? It goes without saying that my ministry, being a mom, studying and building my business are at the top of my list.  Today, as I work on my budget for the upcoming year and evaluate my back to school schedule, I will be seeing ways to ensure those things are kept at the forefront so I don’t get caught up with busy work that isn’t important to me.

Finally, what do I want to get rid of?  Admit it.  We all have some habits that we need to get rid of.  Some of us have some people in our lives that we need to get rid of.  Think about those things and/or people that kept you from achieving your goals in the past, that prevented you from being the person you want to be.  As I get this seminary thing under control, I need to get rid of procrastination.  I want to be more proactive about reading, completing my assignments and writing my papers.  I got the job done last semester but I definitely see some areas for improvement.

Being the person you want to be, most importantly – the person God created you to be, is hard because it requires that you live at a higher standard than just existing and going through the motions.  However you choose to chart your course forward, be intentional about the type of life that you want to live.

#GuestPost Finding the Perfect Holiday Gift

xmas gift 2The holidays, as happy as they can be, tend to be a stressful time of year. After all, on top of the normal obligations of daily life, there’s bound to be a slew of festivities to attend or prepare for. Between trimming the tree, baking cookies for Santa, and attending ugly sweater parties, things can get a little hectic. Top it all off with needing to find that perfect gift for your special someone and you’re likely to throw in the towel and curl up by the fire with a glass of eggnog. But finding just the right present for your significant other doesn’t have to be taxing. Take a peek at these fun (and easy!) ideas and before you know it, you’ll have that perfect gift checked off your list.

Something you can do together

Though you and your partner probably see each other quite often, devoting hours each day to just the two of you is unrealistic and often unattainable in today’s world, especially during the busy holiday season. But as Real Simple Magazine points out, getting enough couple time builds intimacy, opens communication, and strengthens your bond, all important factors for fostering a successful relationship.

A gift that allows you and your significant other to enjoy an activity together is two-fold in its purpose: carving out time for just the two of you to reconnect while doing something you wouldn’t usually do. Never got around to taking those ballroom dance lessons you always talked about? Have you always wanted to learn how to make a gourmet meal that would put a world-renowned chef to shame? Sign you and your partner up for a class that provides an exciting experience and a new skill you can learn together.

Something to enhance your love life

They say variety is the spice of life, and that couldn’t be truer than when it comes to how you and your partner spend your time between the sheets. The holidays are about family and togetherness, which often means you and your significant other struggle to get a moment alone. Give him a gift that you’ll both have fun with when you finally escape to the privacy of your bedroom. A special piece of lingerie is a great way to make any night with your other half feel even more memorable. For a holiday twist on things, Adam & Eve suggests donning a sexy Santa Claus-inspired outfit, sure to get both you and your partner in the festive spirit. With so many options designed specifically with couples in minds, a gift that will enhance your love life is sure to make the rare time you and your significant other have alone during the holiday season that much more amazing.

Something you can enjoy separately of one another

As noted before, spending time with your significant other is important. However, with life moving a mile a minute, it’s essential that you both have time alone in order to relax, recharge, and bring the best version of yourself to the relationship. According to Psychology Today, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone, including enhancing the quality of your relationships with others.

You and your sweetie may have a ton of common interests, but chances are there’s at least one thing he loves to do that you merely tolerate, and vice versa. So why not take advantage of your differences and gift him something he would enjoy—without you? Maybe that means setting up an afternoon of paintball for him and his friends, or surprising him with an hour-long rental of the car of his dreams. He’ll appreciate how much thought you put into the planning and you’ll appreciate the free time his golf trip gives you to settle in to a much-needed Netflix marathon. It’s a win-win!

When the idea of finding the perfect gift for the perfect person in your life seems a little too overwhelming, use these ideas as jumping off points to holiday present bliss. Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be complicated or filled to the brim with all the bells and whistles. As long as it’s given with love, your significant other is sure to love it, too.

Intentional Friendship.

LaKesha Womack:

There are not many people that I can truly consider a friend but this little lady is definitely number one on the list!

Originally posted on I go by shy:

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If I told you how my best friend and I became friends you would think we were both crazy.

Real quick. We started communicating on Twitter she ended up being my business coach, we finally got to meet in Atlanta briefly because we both were there on business we planned a family trip to Florida and the rest is history. Oh and I got an amazing God Son out the deal too. Yeah weird I know.

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So the other day I posted a picture (see above– no I don’t own this picture or know who does) and tagged Kesha in it because it reminded me of us.

After laughing about the picture she came up with the great idea that we should have a friend bucket list. I think after the suggestion she got nervous because she knows I will pick something extreme.

But the reason why this is so…

View original 255 more words

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Join @palitcafe for Speak Out Against HIV & AIDS on World AIDS Day!

world aids day

Join the Pure Artistry Literary Cafe on December 1st as we speak out against HIV and AIDS!  Your support is needed to help make this event a success in the Montgomery community.  Among the activities for the day long observance will be the viewing of the documentary 25 to LIFE, which chronicles the story of William Brawner, a young man who kept his HIV positive status a secret for over twenty-five years. Now, William seeks redemption from his promiscuous past as he embarks on a new phase of life with his wife who is HIV Negative. We journey with William and his family as he struggles to carve out an open and honest future. 25 TO LIFE is the 2014 American Black Film Festival Grand Prize Jury winner.

Make a donation – http://www.gofundme.com/SpeakOutHIV-AIDS – to help support this free community event (we need money so that the people who need this information won’t have to pay for it) and make plans to attend on December 1st.

Let’s talk about… Insulin

Lindsey Caldwell, the Community Awareness Coordinator with the American Recall Center, contacted me and asked if I would be willing to “talk about my medicine” for Talk About Medicines Month.

As an insulin dependent diabetic, there are a million things that I wish I had known before my diagnosis.  Unfortunately, blogs were not as popular at the time so I felt somewhat clueless and helpless about navigating a my path.  

Once the doctors determined that my body had stopped producing insulin, I was sent home with a vial of insulin, some syringes and a good luck slap on the back (not literally but that’s how it felt).  The nurse did schedule me for a Diabetes Education class a week later but that first night was scary.  I remember sitting on my sofa with one of my friends, looking at the little bottle and needles and crying as I tried to imagine how I was going to manage this for the rest of my life.  How was I going to inject myself EVERY DAY???  

Well, it doesn’t get easier but you will get stronger.

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known

  1. Your body really does need insulin.  I know that sounds crazy but I went through periods when I was first diagnosed of not taking my meds thinking that it might have been a mistake or that my body would be fine without the shots.  Wrong answer!  Your body really does need insulin so skip the denial and move to acceptance as quickly as possible.
  2. Create a system and stick with it.  If you are super busy like me, this may be one of your biggest challenges but you have to set an alarm or determine what times of day you are going to take your meds and stick with it.  I still struggle in this department but having a consistent flow of insulin in your body is better than erratic doses.
  3. FlexPens are awesome!!  Not only do you not have to refrigerate them but they are easy to stick in your bag with a few needles and go.  If you find that they are more expensive than the vials, consider getting a FlexPen to use during the day when you are at work/school and keep the vials refrigerated at home.  (Of course you need to talk to your doctor about which FlexPen is right for you.)
  4. Taking insulin doesn’t give you permission to eat whatever you want.  If can be very tempting to just increase your insulin dose and eat that extra piece of cake or pie but you will be better in the long run if you stick with a low sugar, low carb diet.
  5. Take your diagnosis seriously.  I can’t stress to people enough how serious diabetes is.  It is a silent killer because the effects don’t often show externally but high blood sugars can reek havoc on your internal organs including your kidneys, heart and nervous system.  Whatever your doctor tells you to do, do it.  It may be a pain or inconvenient but it will be much better than being dead.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for someone who may be newly diagnosed and trying to figure out how they are going to live with their new reality.  It has been ten years for me and it hasn’t gotten easy but I have definitely gotten stronger in how I deal with taking my meds, staying active and trying to eat the right foods.