Respect Me

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I pray that you are starting to see that God had an important, specific reason in mind for creating male and female, and the reason had little to do with men or women and much to do with God!

Males display the glory of God in a unique masculine way. Females display the glory of God in a unique feminine way. Each sex bears the image of God, but together they display deep important truths about God in relationship- God the Father in relationship with the Son of God, and the Son of God in relationship with his bride.

When God stamped his image on us. He crowned us with unsurpassed dignity and worth. Because of this, men and women should treat each other with deep respect. Unfortunately, since sin entered the picture, this doesn’t always happen!  However we should be treating each other with the respect that flows out of our equal standings as image bearers of God.

The first chapter of Genesis contains twelve indicators that confirm the profound significance and the equal worth of male and females. They remind us that God does not favor or value one sex over the other!

Both are created for God’s glory (Gen 1:26) Both are named “adam” (Gen 1:26-27)

Both are created by the hand of God (1:27) Both are created in the image of God (1:26-27)

Both are blessed by God (1:28) Both are charged to be fruitful and multiply (1:28)

Both are given dominion over the earth (1:26, 28) Both are recipients of God’s provision (1:29)

Both have a personal relationship with God (1:28, Gen  3:8-13) Both are accountable to God (1:28, Gen 3:11-13)

Both are heirs of the grace of life (1:27, Gen 3:15, 1 Peter 3:7)

So many women struggle with their sense of worth, our self esteem. The world tries to convince us that we need to draw worth from our looks, education, careers, possessions, relationships and their individual personalities and abilities. However, the Bible’s view is much different. It teaches us that we don’t need a greater sense of self worth…what we desperately need is a greater sense of “His worth!”

When we really see God as He is- in his awesome greatness, majesty, goodness and love- we will have a proper perspective on ourselves!

When we are looking for a Godly man, one who treats us as our worth truly is. Its important to look for certain qualities that shine as a beacon to let us know, HE IS TRULY the King I have been looking for.

There’s more to come on this subject! Stay tuned!

Stephanie

Additional Readings: Psalm 8:4-6

Flirting….

black_and_white_eyes_art_beautiful_cute_drawing-a5b0899f63bd1ae4319e202f155f4377_hWords left unspoken

Only gave you a token of my love~ Miki Howard

Flirting

His eyes spoke to me from across the room.

Filled with anticipation, they beckoned me and soon I answered.

He winked, I smiled.

He winked and then I laughed aloud.

This brother must think he truly got it going on?

The lights were dim and the aura was strong and the DJ was jamming my favorite song.

Keith Sweat serenaded my heart, stringing me along….and this guy just kept winking.

I slowly walked over and shyly smiled, I guess I will make the first move.

I asked sweetly, “Were you beckoning me?”

He looked at me a little confused. I noticed his dimples and thought to myself, boy this chocolate brother is too fly.

He laughed aloud and finally said, “Okay, I cannot tell a lie, your beauty is something a man can’t ignore. Your body, like a diamond it shines. Your eyes are like rubies, they open your soul, and now that I know what’s inside, I am truly enchanted, he sighed.

Because I really wasn’t trying to pick you up, there was just something in my eye.”

Peace, Love & Empowerment

“V”

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

My Muse is dancing…again.

10896868_10153448060554638_1964738172058921800_nAt the end of 2014, I was privileged to attend The Watering Hole’s 2nd Annual Writing Retreat. The Watering Hole is an online community dedicated to supporting and inspiring poets of color. I was privileged to be a part of the genesis, the 2010 Cave Canem South workshop in Columbia, SC, which were hosted by poets Nikky Finney, Kwame Dawes, Patricia Smith, and Frank Walker. Watering Hole co-founders Candace Wiley and Monifa Lemons envisioned a community of African American writers and sprinted like relay runners! They ran with fervor, passing the baton back and forth when needed, yet never allowing it to touch the ground. Dedicated and committed to their mission, I am humbled and blessed to be privy to their synergy.

I was honored to be among such a diverse group of poets from all over the world in such a sacred spot in Santee SC.  I made the drive from Columbia SC, excited, anxious and full of apprehension.  I wondered if this retreat would be beneficial or just another mundane vacation of sorts.

After depositing my bags in my cabin, I looked out across the lake and exhaled… something I had not done in a long time.  You see I was dangerously close to falling off the edge, giving up everything.  Life really meant nothing to me. I was just going through the motions of existing I was tired, trying to think of a way of escape.   Writing was missing, my muse was gone…my words didn’t talk back to me…my pen didn’t move. Depression had sunk in and it was dragging me overboard.

You see I have always been a person who lives through my pen. As a writer of poetry and short stories, my escape from life is my words…my characters embrace me…without them I feel dead…literally.

On the first day, I walked down the pier to the lake with pen and paper in hand determined to write. After that moment, every free moment was spent writing. I was afraid to put down my pen in fear of losing the momentum and energy. These frequent trips to the lake between the awesome workshops were beneficial to my process of becoming full circle. One of my fellow tribe members noticed I had missed one of the workshops and she asked, “Where were you?” Embarrassed by my noticed absenteeism, I explained time had slipped away from me on the pier. Her nonchalant response shifted a change of mindset for me.

“Girl I understand, I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Do you. That’s what we’re here for. Shoot do you!”

Do you!

Do me?

I must admit it was exactly what I needed to hear. Once I begin to do me, I begin to reclaim what was once mine. I dug in for dear life.

The workshop facilitators pushed me into a space of my life that was uncomfortable, but familiar…

NAACP Image Award winner and Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker, told me to write from the place that I viewed as bitter. A recent divorce only allowed me to spill blood and words of rage upon paper. Scribbled up pieces of papers lined my bedroom floor and each poem seemed only to bridge the last.   I told him, I didn’t want to be a bitter poet and I couldn’t get past the hate. “Someone needs to hear that pain,  that hate, that frustration…so they can heal. Sometimes people need a blueprint, you’ve experienced it. Perhaps you should give others something to go by.”  I was never lost to the fact that someone else’s pain could heal another….I just never envisioned my type of pain as useful.

Editor, Author and Poet Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie ignited my senses. She used my sense of smell and touch to pull the unfamiliar words from my psyche. She pushed me into nature, a place where I have always been able to hear God’s unmistakable voice. While standing at the water’s edge, God and my mother spoke to me. My mother visited me several times at Lake Santee in the form of a redbird, once greeting me good morning when I opened the blinds in my cabin.  Her voice was clearer than I’ve ever heard it before. She constantly reminded me that she was enjoying her time there at Santee as well, appreciative that my mind was clear enough to enjoy her memory …without tears.

National Poetry Slam Champion and  HBO Def Poet Roger Bonair-Agard took me back to my childhood, a time when I would sit under the kitchen table in my grandmother’s Philadelphia home…listening and writing…watching and writing. Characters would speak to me and tell me their stories.  Lately, they were disappointed in me, “Why aren’t you writing?” they would ask.  “You’ve summoned us here, yet you just sit there, ignoring us.”   When they arrived at Santee, they were overjoyed to hear the scribble of my pen on paper. “She’s writing again” I heard one of them faintly whisper.  I settled in one night in the cabin and they told me some remarkable tales.

And alas Nikki Finney, National Book Award Winner, writer, motivator and the list continues. She simply summed up the why of my existence,  the “why” of my work, the “why” I must continue to write.  Assuring me my desires to be different were normal.  Alas, for poets…different is who we are. Dfferent is who I am!

I embraced Monifa on the last day of the retreat and informed her that I had returned from the edge. My life was now back spinning on its axis…turning in rhythm…not dancing to some foreign tune  like before.

On Tuesday when I packed to leave, I was sad. I didn’t believe I could keep or reclaim the energy and momentum from Santee once I left the campground. I gathered dirt, and rocks, believing that somehow this would make the difference.

If I could just take some of it with me…

I arrived home, unpacked and lay across my bed.

It was then my muse tapped me on my shoulder and said ,  “Awesome trip…let’s get to writing.”

I cried, thinking I had left it all in Santee SC.

Monifa and Candace will never know how beneficial the Watering Hole Retreat was to me. I just pray they never stop running.

I’m grateful for the experience and the tribe of poets whose souls and spirits resounded loud and clear throughout each workshop. Traveling through the rustle of leaves, flowing through the breeze.  I heard each and every word with clarity.

I’m just grateful to be back on solid ground, thankful to be back on beat.. literally.

Peace, Love & Empowerment

V

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Identity….

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A little Monday Morning poetic pleasure…enjoy!

Identity

I am not my hair, I am not this skin

I am not your expectations

I am not my hair, I am not this skin

I am a soul that lives within ~ India Arie

 

“You are my Nubian Queen” he said.

Eyes shown deep like oceans blue, knowledge vast, unlimited and so well beyond his ordinary, that he could not even describe the heights .

“You are one of a kind, a diamond in the raw, and whatever you do, I will always love you because you are my superstar!”

Whew, this man was off the meter and I too was memorized by his depth. His deep abyss of thinking had me on that trip and only a sistah who had experienced this, could possibly understand.

“I love you for your uniqueness” was his trademark statement and I soaked up his melodic presence like honey on sun kissed lips.

Until the day he started to trip.

Replying after my visit to the salon, “Baby what’s up with the afro centric doo, it’s really different and truly does not define you.”

Aghast and somehow relieved, because I had already started to see the signs. I simply smiled and replied,

“My appearance does not justify or solidify my soul. This centric mode is not to be defined by you or anyone else. It’s simply my way of being myself.

…and if you don’t like it, you can find someone else!”

Peace, Love & Empowerment

“V”

The Colors of Hope…

 

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The Colors Of Hope

The last blog for “31 Days of Estrogen comes from such a awesome, talented and wonderful sister that words cannot describe her! You simply must get to know her for yourself. So please visit her website and her blog! Follow her everywhere…you will not be disappointed! Jhae Small, known artistically as Mo’kha, is a supernova of sorts!  I met Mo’kha online several years back…she inspired me to write and write some more…her persona was amazing. We were poetic princesses on “Poetic Mic” and we formed a cypher sisterhood with Sadie Collier, whom you heard from earlier this month and Gina Rene.  She shares a heartfelt testimony and piece of her soul. One that is near and dear to my heart. Thank you Mo’kha for lending your voice!

Two and a half years ago I began a journey that would take me from the grip of darkness into the brilliance of light. It was by no means pretty or perfect. I stumbled many times and at one point I fell so far down, I thought it would be impossible to get back up again. But God’s unflinching mercy, enduring love and limitless grace filtered through my core being and made me whole.

On September 9th, 2011, my goddaughter took her life. As I watched the aftermath of her choice wreak havoc on my best friend and her family, my children, husband, and myself, I knew that was a fate I’d never meet. Before that day, my life had been consumed with thoughts of suicide; having two failed attempts under my belt, it seemed my destiny to die by my own hands, though I’d plan to unintentionally take my life.

I spent countless days trying to figure out how to end my earthly life, without damming my eternal soul to hell. In the meantime, I drank too much and participated in behavior that I knew would eventually cause my demise. Even after meeting my second husband, who I believed was God sent, I was miserable and concluded that surely I was undeserving of unconditional love and shackled to a life of discontentment.

The week before her death, I had been battling with those demonic voices again. This time no amount of alcohol or sleeping aids could quiet these voices. Still I continued to ignore the very being who could save me. I’d become set on blaming God for every misfortune in my life; accepting every horrific encounter that transpired as punishment for something I’d done or a generational crime committed by my ancestors. I thought it was my destiny to suffer.

I’m so grateful God had a bigger plan for my life. One day while standing in front of my bathroom mirror, I finally cried out to Him. And like a gallant white knight, he rushed in and saved me. Not only did he rescue me, but he showed me what true love really looked like. How it felt and acted. He also helped me to see myself as He saw me. The greatest gift however, was a ministry of HOPE and an unrelenting desire to share it with as many people as I can.

My life is now filled with joy and peace, in my heart, mind and soul. I am truly content with any situation I find myself faced with and I know, without a shadow of a doubt I’m not alone and I’m worthy of treasures on earth and in Heaven.

~Mo’Kha Uzuri~

http://mzmokha.wix.com/mokha-uzuri#

 

Letter to a Dying Woman

Dear Woman,

I want to tell you how courageous you are,

and how graciously you approach your end.

Though you may not believe it to be true

your ending is also your beginning.

Dying now brings new life later,

And is far greater than the eternal dance

With darkness you’ve been contemplating.

Freshly awaken, I know that from the moment you took your first breath

until this moment we’re in right now, our lives have purpose;

we’re created with Divine intention.

I also know, paralyzed from years of self-loathing and fear

you’re breathlessly anticipating the next line,

further emphasizing you have just lost your way.

I know because once upon a time

I was just like you…Sleeping.

Dying piece by piece, breath to breath,

from color to grey.

And just like you, I too had lost my way.

Wandering through the murky, dismal

darkness of immorality,

Filling my discontentment with lascivious libations

and bread that never made me feel full.

Making bedfellows with sorrow that consumed me

and a fiery presence that seemed uncontrollable.

It burned every good thing and

my aching for release couldn’t be contained.

I spent my days substituting fruit

with color coated circles and embossed oblongs

that hushed my soul and stilled my higher aspirations.

Weighted down by my regrets and insecurities,

death had me firmly secured in its grasp.

My soul was parched; thirsty for righteousness.

And like you,

Weary from driving this

winding road alone, I cried out.

In the clutches of my despair

my soul prayed for salvation.

And He heard my cry,

wrapped me in His beauty

and hid me safely in His arms.

And just like me, He will restore you.

Back to that quiet existence in your mother’s womb.

For in the midst of my desolation,

hope came to my rescue, loosed my shackles,

filtered light into the core of my being

and colored me with Joy.

He claimed me a daughter and clothed me

with Grace, Virtue and Humility.

And just like me, you too

can be free.

Mo’Kha Uzuri

 

 

 

I’m Breaking The Silence…all month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month…a month near and dear to my heart…Ovarian-Cancer-Header

Ovarian cancer is one of the five leading causes of cancer death in American women. Ovarian cancer occurs in approximately one in 72 women. Each year, over 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 15,000 women die.

Both my Grandmother and Mother lost their battle to this deadly disease, so I dedicate my time to promoting awareness during this month. There was time when I adamantly and publicly promoted all year, however it drained me. I think of both of them daily and talking about them…only added to my distress.

This month I will post information, updates and poetry in celebration of the two women who taught me everything I know. I hope it educates someone on the importance of taking care of themselves and also loving the ones you hold dear, while they are still here…although it can be done, its hard to love a memory.

. Enjoy “Wishes,” the first piece I wrote in dedication to my Mother. Please interact, post, share your thoughts and stories…it will make my journey  a little easier this month….

Wishes

Sometimes I wish I could kiss the sky

Leaving traces of my favorite color lipstick, honey blonde, burnt auburn or bronze

Careful not to smear

I want to slide down the curve of the moon

Holding the hand of Venus and Mars

Taste the Milky Way and play hide and go seek with the stars

Sleep in the craters of the sun

Wake to the tune of the wind as it dances across the sky

Bow to the big dipper and play “Mother May I” with the galaxy

Asking permission to partake of its pleasures

Perhaps me and Mother Nature can drink tea and reminisce on days gone by

She can share her beauty secrets and I can give her pointers on life

We can play dodge ball with Saturn or engage in a game of spades

I can show her pictures of my kids and she can teach me how to turn the leaves brown, make the flowers grow

I may even bargain for snow

I want to dance to the drums of the thunder and lull discretely with the rain

Sending beautiful rainbow drops of water to kiss earth’s windowpanes

If time permits I just might knock on Heaven and ask God if I can see my mother

Perhaps if I’m lucky, she will answer the door

Peace, Love & Empowerment

V

Sista, I’m keeping my eye on you…

393131_517229678317761_1809405590_nI lost a little of my sparkle this week. It was snatched away by a label, an inaccurate opinion, an untrue accusation that caused me to reevaluate my inner circle. Something we must do at least once a month, if we want to maintain our sanity!  It took a minute for me to bounce back, but I did…stronger than ever!

Men tend to argue, cuss at each other and still remain “boys,” but women…well I have honestly exhausted all means of trying to understand what makes women do and say the things we do! Our hormones are winning and its time we took back the lead, because they are making us do and say things that have us looking hopelessly desperate for attention and utterly foolish! We have to do better!  Men have the upper hand on us when it comes to genuine friendship and Lord knows we can’t let them have any bragging rights!

The constant comparison trap we find ourselves in, is destroying us as a sisterhood! Our inability to be happy for or edify our fellow sister only shows the lack in ourselves!  There is truly enough happiness and joy out there for everyone. Some of us are just quicker on the draw than others, but that doesn’t keep you from getting your fair share of the pie.

We are all beautiful in our own way…our own style makes each of us unique. Truly what we do  lack, our fellow sister is sure to bring to the table. Don’t throw your coat over the chair when she enters the room!

Many women throw around the “sister” title at a whim, smiling in your face…”keeping it real” as many like to add. When in essence they are backstabbing you at every opportunity.   Harboring ill will simply because…

I don’t try to figure out why women talk about, gossip, hate, spread rumours, lies or even neglect to call or keep in touch with their so called “sisters.” I just chalk it up to our mood swings.  Perhaps some women think, a genuine compliment will distract from their own personality or beauty…

I’ve come a long way from caring about what other’s say or feel about me, however I still reflect when it happens.  I have garnered an attitude of keeping it moving….it helps when I feel the need to reach back in my past!

So I urge you to do your part to keep the word “sister” legit this month! Give a fellow sister a compliment this week! Support her business…buy her jewelry…read her book…promote her brand. Tell her she is beautiful and her make up is flawless and when you do, whip out your compact and check your appearance. I bet it didn’t detract from YOUR beauty at all!

Its time we stop using the term “sister” so loosely and really mean it when we  say it…some of us can tell the difference!

Peace, Love & Empowerment

~V~

P.S. Oh yeah here’s a poem…

 Cheap Talk

I hear you chirping,

Squawking,

Creeping,

Comparing your life to mine

Hanging outside my house

Propped up on a branch of inadequacy

Complacency

Coming by daily

Peeking in my window

Taking notes on my life

Sending signals to the other birds

Who join you only on sunny days

Won’t be too long before they fly away

Leave you sitting in the rain

Then you’ll be seeking my companionship

Tapping on my windowpane