7 Negative Things I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving Eve…

Hello World,

Y’all, my family is going through a storm, one of those pop thunderstorms that we didn’t see coming… But God is still good, and I know that I know that I know that He will bring good out of bad or positive out of negative as is noted in Romans 8:28! And I’m still thankful! At this time of the year, Thanksgiving Eve, it is appropos to compile the obligatory gratitude list…I am thankful for my health, spouse, family etc….Yes, all of those are definitely true, but according to God’s word we are to:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:1

This means that God expects us to be thankful for even the negative things that He has allowed in our lives, but we have hope in all circumstances, negative and positive, because:

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

So with those two verses in mind, I decided to turn my gratitude list on its head and praise God for what I originally thought was negative, but God it turned into positive (And I need these reminders on today!)…I’m going all the way back to childhood…Come with me 🙂

bible verse1. Not Being a Popular Kid and Bordering on Being Chubby For Most of My Childhood…I guess I’ve always been self-conscious which doesn’t work well on the playground…If someone asks you to play with him or her on the playground, and you rehearse your answer before you reply…You will probably not be the most popular kid…You will be probably be among the weirdo kids…Or if you would rather watch the Brady Bunch [insert whatever show is popular now] with a snack instead of go outside and play kickball, you will probably be among the chubby kids…But not being the most popular, kinda chubby kid made me develop my inner qualities like compassion and kindness because I wanted to be treated without compassion and kindness…AND now that I’m adult, I have no illusion that I can just sit around and preserve my sexy…Good thing to know when you’re over 40…I have to eat right and work out…no excuses…God knows best…

2. Getting Into the Honors Program at Howard University, But Not Receiving Any Scholarship Money…Like many of my friends who spent our high school years watching a “A Different World” or attending Atlanta Football Classic games, I just knew I would be attending an HBCU (historically black college or university)! My chosen HBCU was Howard University in our nation’s capital. I had visited Washington D.C. when I was in the seventh grade, and I vowed I would return there as a college student…But it wasn’t meant to be…Although I got into Howard University and the school’s Honors Program, I didn’t receive any scholarship money…It only made sense that at point to go to the school where I had three scholarships…The University of Georgia…a dreaded HWCU…LOL…To my surprise, I had a blast in college, pledged the most wonderful sorority (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.) in the world and got a great journalism education without worrying about being hampered by the debt I would have surely incurred had I gone to my “dream school.” God knows best…

3. Becoming a Christian, and Then Losing My Friends…When I decided to give my life to Jesus Christ and no longer depend on the fact that my father, my uncles and grandfather were pastors, I expected my life to get better…After all, if I know God, the creator of the universe, how could anything go wrong? We cool like that…I was wrong…so very wrong..Many of my friends didn’t understand why I spent more time than the obligatory Sunday morning in church or chose not to go to certain places…I cried and I cried I felt so alone…But it was during those moments that God got me alone that I got to know Him…Many of those friendships have been restored as time has passed…but I still know how to depend on God alone because of that time…God knows best…

4. Losing My Job Right After I Bought My First Home…I must admit I was frantic when I lost my job at a newspaper months after buying my first home…Up until that time, I had been living with my parents and while I paid for my own bills like for my car, clothes, etc., my parents didn’t force me to pay rent or anything although I was a college graduate…All of a sudden, I had to pay more bills with less money…During that year or so, I was depressed…I ignored some bills…I took some jobs beneath my education just to get by…But I also had time to explore my creativity like taking a class on “The Artist’s Way” and seeing a career counselor…And when it was all over, I learned that God was my resource not that job…I learned that I didn’t even want a traditional newspaper job anymore…God knows best…

5. Wanting to Get Married at 30 Years Old, Only to Get Married a Month Short redof my 40th Birthday…My mom got married when she was 30 years old…Why would my life be any different? Well, chile, what I did I know? As it turns out, nothing at 30 years old…I had to date some good ones, some bad ones, some crazy ones, etc. before I was finally ready for the man God had for me…Those 10 years were heartbreaking, but they were also precious…a gift of human experiences…I wouldn’t want to go through them again, but I learned so many things about myself and other people that only be taught in the classroom of life…Plus, those years fueled my writing life like nothing else…As any writer knows, pain is the best inspiration…God knows best…

6. Taking Seven Years to Get a Book Deal…In 2002, I had an idea to write a memoir about developing a personal relationship with God, and in 2003, I began trying to get a publisher for my book…It wasn’t until 2010 that I got a book deal…Yes, seven years after I started…But it took all of that time to show me the book needed to include other women and not just me…When I became a Christian, I searched bookstores looking for Christian life books written by black women…I found one or two here or there, but I knew there needed to be more…Once I got some Christian living under my belt, I wanted to write one for a black Christian woman who, like me, wanted to know how other black Christian women walked out their faith…What I learned by being rejected over and over again was that I needed more experiences than just mine…My book includes the testimonies of 24 women in ONE book…This is so the book I wanted for myself years ago…God knows best…

7. Taking Seven Years To Get a Book Deal…Yes, I know already wrote that…But I have more to share on this topic…In 2007, my dream publisher (I still walk around with the business card of the acquisitions editor of this company.) at the time was interested in my original memoir, but my book was ultimately rejected because I didn’t have a platform….I.Almost.Died…At least it felt like I was nearing death because I got so close to realizing my dream only to wake up to the cruel reality of life for an unpublished author…But I didn’t let that rejection stop me…I got busy on developing my platform…This blog was birthed as a result of that rejection…This blog has become a way that I connect to others across the nation and the world…a place to dream…a place to vent…an online history…I love it so…And it is one of the reasons that I got a book deal as I met former “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd, one of the women featured in book, because of this blog…

So what “negative” things are you thankful for today? Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

And if you need to praise God while you are going through the storm like I do, here is a song to help us do that!

Any thoughts?

Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 12: Day of Reckoning…

Hello World,

From the moment a “Day of Reckoning” began until the very last second, it was a non-stop thrill ride so I won’t waste another instant in beginning this Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 12: Day of Reckoning…

The Cold Light of Day…

This week’s episode begins where last week’s episode ended. Grace follows her mother, the only definite parent she can claim at this point, outside the sanctuary and continues to question her. “Is Lionel my father or not?” “I told you I don’t know,” Lady Mae screeches. Then in classic Lady Mae fashion rather than owning up to her wrongdoing, the Greenleaf matriarch gets indignant and asks her daughter if she is going to out her at some appointed time in the future. She implores Grace to reveal the secret now rather than have her wait in agony. “Scream it down the halls and save me the circus,” she says. When her daughter tells that she does not intend to out her, she then gives her a command. “I never want to speak about this again.”

Wow, it must be nice to live in Lady Mae’s head! She is incapable it seems of feeling guilt and even responsible for her misdeeds. She has just revealed that she doesn’t know the identity of the father of the daughter she has spurned since she was born it seems and now she is giving that same daughter directives!

In the next scene, we witness another troubled pair – this time it’s Jacob and Kerissa. After Jacob’s showdown with Basie last week, he is frantically trying to call him, mainly to find out if Tasha is safe and get her on their side after the FBI raid also last week. Basie is so unhinged at this point that even his wife would not be spared from his wrath. Kerissa says, “Stop calling Basie and call Tasha.” Jacob replies, “He has has her phone.” As Kerissa watches her husband fret about another woman, she is starting to lose it as well. “One thing you haven’t done since you came home is hug me.” Jacob tries to calm Kerissa down by telling her that he doesn’t care about Tasha that way. “Tasha is our only way out of this. “

The Three Musketeers, Basie, Rochelle & Tasha, are at Tasha’s home (I guess Basie’s home too…at least it used to be before he up and left) discussing what they’ve done so far and their plans now that the Greenleafs are aware of their plans. “I think he half believes he hit this,” Rochelle says with laughter. During last week’s episode, she tried to convince Bishop he slept with her when he knows that he did not. She is a gaslighter of gargantuan proportions. But Basie knows this is not the moment to play. In fact, it’s time to pack. Tasha says, “I’m not going anywhere.” He asks his sister to pack a bag for her. That would be sweet if they weren’t criminals trying to escape from the consequences of their crimes. He opens a suitcase and it’s chock full of money. “Is that the money you were supposed to invest for Bishop?” Tasha asks Rochelle. Basie says they will escape by crossing the border to Mexico. He tells his sister and Tasha to meet him later at a place by the Raceway. “We will be there,” Rochelle says.

Back at the Greenleaf estate, Lady Mae and Maxine are getting prepared for “A Day With Lady Mae” by getting in-house spa services. Clothed in terry cloth bathrobes, they discuss what happened with Grace earlier. “What is she tells Bishop?” Lady Mae says. “What is that old sinner going to do,” says Maxine before she cackles. Lady Mae laughs as well. They sure are smug about sin, right?

Speaking of Grace, she calls Aaron and asks him if he would be willing to take a paternity test. One of the things that I appreciate about Grace is that she is always seeking the truth…even when it could hurt…

Eternity and a Day…

Now that Bishop finally knows that Rochelle is as sinister as a snake, he is finally in position to fight this IRS debacle with his whits about himself or is he? Bishop, Grace and Grace’s attorney friend meet to discuss his options considering that he is up against bank fraud and wire fraud charges. The attorney says that he should claim cognitive dysfunction or in another word senility. Y’all know Bishop aine tryin’ to hear that. He gets up and says that he is about to do a service. “If you haven’t noticed, I don’t have my book of prayer with me,” he says, “because I’ve got the whole service up there.” He points to his head. I get what Bishop is saying. No one wants to claim senility at the age where it really could be a possibility. That’s kind of how I feel about the gray hair craze. It’s cute on girls younger than me. And another thing. Bishop aine tryin’ to give Lady Mae any more ammunition than she already has. “I’m keeping my church. I’m not losing it to my ex-wife.” And thirdly, Bishop does have a direct conduit to his Creator and He told him that everything will be alright in the end. “The Lord gave me a vision of my last moment of life, and it wasn’t in a prison.” When Grace asks him to tell her about the vision in more detail, he asks her does she believe in visions. When she admits that she doesn’t, he says, “I can’t tell you because you wouldn’t believe me anyway.” Do you believe in visions? I do…

Speaking of visions, Zora is finally seeing the light! She tells Isaiah about a promo video she has made for Isaiah’s tour and rather than be appreciative of her efforts, Isaiah seems disinterested. “I shouldn’t care about your tour more than you do.” Instead of addressing what she said, he asks her to pack his clothes for his tour. Since she has performed in so many roles for his profession and was prevented from going to Spelman College, she says, “I want an official title.” He says her title is “my girl.” Bwoi stop. I hope she is hatching a getaway plan like Basie and nem.

Rochelle is trying implement their getaway plan when Coralie Hunter calls her. She is ready to get her children out of foster care and doesn’t want to wait until after her court date. “They are not safe,” she says. She also tells Rochelle that she needs money. That is all Rochelle needs to hear to spring into action as she was once a poor foster child herself.

Back at Calvary, Bishop doesn’t only have to worry about nonbelievers. He has to worry about backstabbers as well. He encounters Deaconness Connie who is meeting with another bishop in charge of Harmony & Hope Ministries. “We have churches in over 100 countries,” he says. “Our next stop is North Korea.” But it’s obvious, he is checking out Calvary too. He questions Bishop’s title at Calvary. “It’s still Bishop and I don’t see that changing any time soon.” He goes on to say “I will leave you two to conspire.” When Bishop Greenleaf walks away, the Harmony & Hope bishop says, “That’s a man who knows his days are numbered.”

Across town, Grace and Jacob are staking out Coralie’s house where they hope to see Rochelle. While in the car, Jacob admits that he kissed Tasha once. “When are you going to grow up?” Grace asks her brother. She asks him if he loves Kerissa. He has to think about it and then says that he does. He describes a bone in her cheek that he feels when he kisses her “Good Morning.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be with a man who has think about if he loves me.

Finally Rochelle along with Tasha show up at Coralie’s house! When the doorbell rings and Grace and Jacob come inside, Rochelle realizes that Coralie set her up. “Grace told me what you did to her family,” Coralie says. Now that her true character has been revealed, Rochelle is no longer holding anything back. She accuses Grace of hypocrisy. “I know that I’m a sinner deserving of hell.” Then she yells, “I know what you did in Phoenix.” Wait. Hold.The.Phone. What did Grace do in Phoenix? Was Faith’s funeral the only reason she came back to Memphis or was she running away from something as well? Y’all know? If so, tell me.

At any rate, Tasha and Jacob go outside by themselves as Grace asked to speak with Coralie alone now that Rochelle has left the building. Tasha refused to go with her by the way. He tells Tasha that their extramarital exploits are over. “I’m a married man, but I hope you will still help us clear this thing up.”

Meanwhile, Zora finally realizes, like Jacob, that her heart is really with her family. “I’m going back to Memphis,” she tells Isaiah. She is tired of the “side chick crap” and all of the other grunt work that she has been doing for Isaiah without getting paid for it. Of course, he attacks her, but this time, she fights back, even knocking him to the floor! And when he gets up and comes at her again, she uses her phone to film what he is doing so he stops. Go girl! Sophia picks up her cousin at the airport. Finally, the prodigal daughter has returned…

Where the Day Takes You…

The time has almost come for a “Day With Lady Mae,” but first Bishop updates Lady Mae on what has been going on. He tells her about Deaconness Connie’s meeting with the Harmony & Hope Ministries Bishop. I think his name is Philip Demars or something like that. But at this point, Lady Mae only has a one-track mind as she is so close to the brass ring that she has been reaching for nearly all of her life. She has a perfect solution that she offers to Bishop. “Why don’t you seal the day with a public announcement that I will be co-pastor.” But Bishop knows his wife.   “I will not be weighed down by you. You are just another sinner. Tell me everything you did.” When Lady Mae acts like she doesn’t know what he is talking about, Bishop says, “Pride goeth before a fall.”

Lady Mae doesn’t have time to consider Bishop’s warning as the time for “A Day With Lady Mae” has finally come. We’ve been hearing about this coming out party I mean service almost since Episode 1 right?! This better be good. Charity and Maxine (Ms. Patti baby) start off the service with a beautiful selection “Change.” (Man, I would be sooo nervous if I had to sing with Patti The LaBelle!!!) Even Cunning Connie, our favorite deaconness, is moved. With the backdrop of photographs of Lady Mae, the duo introduce Lady Mae. “I call her Mama,” Charity says. “And starting today, I call her Pastor Greenleaf,” Maxine says. Looking like a fuchsia flower in bloom, Lady Mae swishes onto the stage. I thought she would be in a power suit to appear more like a pastor, but later on, I realize a feminine dress is most appropriate for her message.

Grace is in the room but she is standing at the back. Just then, she gets the results of the paternity test that she took with Aaron on her phone. She doesn’t look at the results though.  She leaves the service and goes to see Bishop. To make matters worse, Bishop is having a moment. I think it finally hit him that he is in deep trouble and he dug his way there. Grace had his back from the very beginning, although he is just now realizing it. “You never stopped fighting to save us all, and I thank you,” he says. “I treasure you and all you’ve done for me my precious daughter.” He tears up then. Awww, this is going to hurt if Gigi is not Bishop’s baby.

By now, Lady Mae is preaching and has no idea what is going on outside of the sanctuary. She preaches about the “dreaded day of reckoning” she heard about from preachers when she was growing up. Even though she was a little girl who had done no more than stolen a chocolate cookie at that age, she was still convinced that she deserved hell. She said that unlike a male preacher, a female preacher would have spoken about the “undying love of my Lord.” “I’m going to replace all of that fear with love.”

Speaking of love, Jacob, now back with Kerissa at home, tells his wife that he loves her. He says he truly realized it when he was with Gigi the night before. But Kerissa has finally reached her limit. “It’s too late,” she says. “I want a divorce, Jacob.” But before the conversation can continue, Zora shows up! Jacob grabs his daughter and hugs her.

A happy ending is not what Basie has in mind when he shows up in Bishop’s office and points a gun at him. “I didn’t mean to kill your daddy,” Bishop says. He tries to convince Basie to put down the gun, reminding him that he has lost his church, wife and if he kills Bishop, his soul.

And then we are back in the sanctuary with Lady Mae. “The day of reckoning is today. It’s any day that you step out on faith, say thank you Jesus and take what’s yours.”

Basie must have heard that message all the way in Bishop’s office because he is ready to take Bishop’s life. “You’re going to burn just like my daddy.”

And that cliffhanger is where the episode ends…smh…wow…

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Recap Season 3 Episode 12: Day of Reckoning and my other recaps so far. If you would like to keep up with OWN’s “Greenleaf,” and my recaps, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charity Greenleaf aka Deborah Joy Winans’ Real Life Brother Juan Winans & Wife Release Christmas EP ‘A Little Soul for Christmas!’

Doesn’t he look just like his sister?!

Hello World,

I know Thanksgiving is still over a week way and we have over a month till Christmas, but it’s still time to start planning for the “most wonderful time of the year!” One of the ways that I get in the mood for the Christmas season is Christmas music – old and new! Well y’all know that the Winans are a musical dynasty which has resulted in Deborah Joy Winans portraying a musically gifted (although troubled) Charity Greenleaf on my favorite show OWN’s Greenleaf. So guess what? Her real life brother (not Jacob Greenleaf LOL) Juan Winans and his wife Lisa Winans (formerly Lisa Kimmey) are announcing the release of their Christmas EP, “A Little Soul for Christmas,” on Friday, November 16 via Parkside & Papergirl Entertainment.

The EP’s lead singles, “Rest” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” are available for listening now. Juan and Lisa Winans married in 2007. After leading believers in worship for over a decade together, the Grammy nominated couple are returning to their first love as gospel music recording artists.

“We want to combine the platform and expertise we’ve gained from our years as successful recording artists with our understanding of the needs of the church from the context of music and worship. God has anointed us to walk in both for the purpose of advancing His Kingdom in this generation,” says Juan Winans.

Juan Winans began his career with the Billboard #1 Gospel Album, “Winans Phase 2: We Got Next,” which birthed the hit single “It’s Alright (Send Me);” and continued on to write and produce for a myriad of Gospel, Pop and R&B artists including Mary Mary, Lalah Hathaway, Smokie Norful and Michael Bolton. In 2016, Juan Winans and his sister Deborah Joy Winans (“Greenleaf”) began a series of tours in the original musical Born For This: The BeBe Winans Story.

Lisa Winans (formerly Lisa Kimmey) is best known as one third of the trailblazing Contemporary Christian Music trio, Out of Eden. The group was active from 1994 to 2006, producing seven albums through Gotee Records and received two Dove Awards. During Lisa’s tenure with Out of Eden, she appeared on UPN’s 90’s sitcom “Moesha,” and hosted original programming for GMC (Gospel Music Channel). In 2006, Out of Eden retired and released a greatest hits compilation. The trio reunited in 2014 for a special Gotee Records compilation album with a cover of House of Hero’s single “Constant.”

Juan and Lisa are dear friends who will lift and encourage people from all backgrounds through their music. Their devotion to Christ combined with the excellence in their presentation creates a dynamic environment where lives are changed,” says Dr. Rice Brooks, co-Founder Every Nation Churches.

Celebrating the true reason for the season “A Little Soul for Christmas” will fill your holiday with sounds of peace, love and joy. This essential addition to your holiday music collection is available wherever music is digitally sold on Friday, November 16.

Check out  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Juan and Lisa Winans below:

The track listing for “A Little Soul for Christmas” is as follows:

1. Rest

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

3. Piece of My Soul

4. O Come All Ye Faithful

5. More Than Once

Follow Juan Winans on Instagram at @JuanWinans and Lisa Winans on Instagram at @the_papergirl.

#aLittleSoulforChristmas

#JuanAndLisaWinans 

Any thoughts?