The Lola Brown Foundation Continues to Make Strides Against Breast Cancer!

Hello World,

As today is the last Sunday of the month, I could not let the month go by without mentioning that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost two line sisters to this hideous disease so I feel compelled to participate in this advocacy. Unfortunately, I missed walking in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk this year as I and many others who loved Lola Brown, one of those line sisters who passed away, do every year. However, I do want to highlight the work of The Lola Brown Foundation, which was founded by her best friend Jennifer Phillips in her honor. Below is a video in which Lola shares about her passion for breast cancer awareness followed by her bio:

Lola Brown, a native of Denver, Colorado grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. She attended Richland Northeast High School. While in school, she received honors to attend the South Carolina Governor’s School for academics and was named to the South Carolina All-State Band. You could also find Lola on the court scrambling for digs for the volleyball team or shooting hoops with her varsity basketball teammates.

She graduated from Richland Northeast High School with honors and received a music scholarship to attend the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she participated in various community service activities. Lola was talented and musically gifted. She was an accomplished pianist and a faithful Christian. She  served as an active member of First Northeast Baptist Church in Columbia, SC for several years where she played the piano and directed choirs.

Lola, began her professional career as a financial specialist in the banking industry, was promoted to portfolio manager, and later branch manager. In 2003, at the age of 28 years old, Lola discovered a lump in her breast as she conducted a breast-self exam. Doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. She was a newlywed to Gilbert Jamal Brown and a new mother to a toddler, Gilbert Jamal Brown II, affectionately known as Gil.

Despite surgeries and years of chemotherapy, Lola continued to fight. She worked throughout her treatment and emphasized the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. During her spare time she worked as an aerobics instructor. She exemplified the true meaning of strength and courage and inspired others to embrace fitness.

Because of Lola’s generous spirit, passion to help find a cure, and desire to promote awareness about breast cancer to young women, she put together a team of family and friends. Through the years those teams raised more than $10,000 for cancer research, for survivors, and for those she called victors. In Oct. 2013, at 38 years old,  Lola became one of the victors. 

Below are some of the highlights of the foundation’s work to date:

  • As a celebration of her legacy, the South Carolina House of Representatives has recognized Lola Brown and the foundation’s efforts and named October 23, 2017, the official Lola Brown Breast Self-Check Day in the state of South Carolina. Since Lola was diagnosed at 28 years old, Lola stressed the importance of early detection and breast self-exams and wanted to educate young women that they too could be diagnosed with breast cancer even under the age of 40. In honor of her push for awareness, The LBF is currently working with South Carolina lawmakers and school districts to educate high school seniors on the importance of breast self-exams. The goal is to have a certified health professional talk to students about breast self-exams and breast cancer. Those students can only participate in the 30 to 45 minute session if they have signed parental/guardian consent forms. 
  • The LBF Scholarship for high school seniors –

Jennifer Phillips and LBF Scholar….

  • Pampered Pink – The LBF will identify those in need based on financial, or medical hardship through breast cancer organizations and support groups. Once identified, The LBF will pamper and assist women between the ages of 18 to 40 who are affected by breast cancer by donating a Pampered Pink spa gift certificate.

I usually make my donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of breast cancer awareness during the month of October, but I missed doing so this year as I was out of town. However, this year, to support The Lola Brown Foundation, I will be making my donation to the foundation and you can too by clicking on this Paypal link! Although October will be over in a few days, the foundation’s work continues throughout the year so please consider The Lola Brown Foundation as you give to charitable organizations.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Author Carol M. Mackey Thrives After Divorce, Releases ‘Faces of Praise’ Featuring Gospel Greats!

Hello World,

Everyone loves a great comeback story! Well, I’ve got one for you on this Sunday morning, the day of all days to celebrate comebacks!  My sorority sister Carol M. Mackey, who once helped launch the careers of many African American authors as the editor-in-chief of the largest African American book club, Black Expressions Book Club, in the nation, faced a setback when she lost her job and went through a divorce a few years ago. But since then, she has reclaimed her career as an author and is applying the lessons God taught her through her divorce and emotional upheaval. Carol’s latest book, “Faces of Praise!: Photos and Gospel Inspirations to Encourage and Uplift?” which will debut this Tuesday, Oct. 17, is a testimony to that!

This full-color photo gift book that turns chart-topping contemporary gospel music into Bible-based devotions is a three-way blessing for readers: a perfect companion to favorite gospel recordings, an encouraging devotional and a unique photo collection.

FACES OF PRAISE! turns your favorite contemporary gospel songs into Bible-based devotions.

Here are never-before-seen full-color images of 60 top contemporary gospel singers, taken on stage as they led worship concerts. The photos capture the artists as they praise, revealing their passion for God, and inspiring in you the hope, joy, and endurance expressed in their music.

FACES OF PRAISE! pairs the most popular, uplifting songs of these gospel greats with scripture, inspirational text, and prayers.

So get your praise on because this book is a three-way blessing-it’s a perfect companion to your favorite gospel recordings, an encouraging daily devotional, and a unique photo collection. Artists included:

  • Yolanda Adams
  • Shari Addison
  • Crystal Aikin
  • Rance Allen
  • Vanessa Bell Armstrong
  • Amber Bullock
  • Kim Burrell
  • Jonathan Butler
  • Myron Butler
  • Shirley Caesar
  • Byron Cage
  • Erica Campbell
  • Kurt Carr
  • Jacky Clark-Chisholm
  • Dorinda Clark-Cole
  • Tasha Cobbs
  • Joann Rosario Condrey
  • Y’Anna Crawley
  • Andraé Crouch
  • Kirk Franklin
  • Travis Greene
  • Deitrick Haddon
  • J. J. Hairston
  • Fred Hammond
  • Tramaine Hawkins
  • Israel Houghton
  • Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson
  • Le’Andria Johnson
  • Canton Jones
  • John P. Kee
  • Deon Kipping
  • Mary Mary
  • Donnie McClurkin
  • William McDowell
  • VaShawn Mitchell
  • J. Moss
  • William Murphy
  • Jason Nelson
  • Charisse Nelson-McIntosh
  • Smokie Norful
  • Kelly Price
  • Hart Ramsey
  • Marvin Sapp
  • Karen Clark Sheard
  • Kierra Sheard
  • Richard Smallwood
  • Micah Stampley
  • Kathy Taylor
  • Tonéx
  • Tye Tribbett
  • Trin-i-tee 5:7
  • Uncle Reece
  • Hezekiah Walker
  • The Walls Group
  • Melvin Williams
  • Michelle Williams
  • BeBe Winans
  • CeCe Winans
  • Marvin Winans
  • Vickie Winans

Check out my interview with Carol about “Faces of Praise!: Photos and Gospel Inspirations to Encourage and Uplift” below!

1. Your first book “Sistergirl Devotions: Keeping Jesus in the Mix on the Job” included devotional readings focusing on women and the workplace. What inspired you to write “Faces of Praise!: Photos and Gospel Inspirations to Encourage and Uplift?” How did this project come to be?

I met the book’s photographer, Jeff Grant, at a mutual friend’s wedding back in 2012. Our friend knew Jeff wanted to publish a book and I was the editor-in-chief of Black Expressions Book Club at the time. Jeff and I became fast friends and one day over lunch he showed me his photographs on his phone. They were awesome photos of not only gospel artists, but regular church folk in various forms of worship. The first words out of my mouth were, “These are the faces of praise!” I knew he and I would someday do a book together and got the idea to merge my writing talent with his beautiful photographs. But I was in the middle of a bad divorce and knew that wasn’t the time. Too much emotional upheaval. Then one day in April of 2016 I got a call from my friend Adrienne Ingrum asking if I was working on anything new (she knew I’d written “Sistergirl Devotions.”) She was the editorial director over at Faith Words and was looking for new projects. I told her about my idea of merging Jeff’s photos of gospel artists with my my devotionals based on the artists’ songs. She loved it. And “Faces of Praise” was born!

2. In addition to photographs of gospel greats, the book also contains devotionals that express the message of the artists’ songs. Tell me about the creative process in writing these devotionals.

Many of the gospel artists I knew and loved their songs. However, some of them I wasn’t familiar with so I relied on Jeff to give me their most popular songs so I pulled them up on YouTube and gave them a listen. Inspiration came from unexpected places—the Holy Spirit does this often with my writing. I think ‘we’ are going in one direction and He totally flips the script on me and leads me a whole other way. He did that with a few of the songs. I’d write a complete devotion and He led me to scrap it and write something else. God knows what people need better than I do. I was obedient because I know He led me a certain way for a reason. The Father always knows best!

3. What are your favorite photographs and accompanying devotionals and why?

I don’t really have a favorite but some of the devotionals, though hard to write, were powerful paired with Jeff’s images of the artists. A few of the spreads I love are Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile,” Andrae Crouch’s “Through It All,” and Dorinda Clark-Cole’s “I’m Still Here.” The images and the message evoke a feeling. I pray they will bless whoever reads them.

4. Did you get to meet any of the artists in the book, and what was that like? And will the artists featured in the book help to promote it as well? What are the plans for promotion? A book tour?

Unfortunately I haven’t met any of the gospel artists in the book but I’m sure I will at some point. Many of them have already done promo videos on Facebook—Kirk Franklin, Richard Smallwood, Hart Ramsey and a few others. They’re Jeff’s personal friends and are happy to help us out. We’ll be doing signings together and apart in the coming months. No formal tour is planned though.

5. Most authors probably don’t have the opportunity to work with a photographer. How did that element impact the creative process?

Honestly we worked independently of one another. Jeff supplied the artist list based on the photos he had taken over the years and suggestions for song titles. I wrote the devotions based on the songs, and Jeff worked with the publisher to choose the best photos for the book.

6. What do you hope readers will get from “Faces of Praise?” 

I hope and pray they will be encouraged during the hard times. The last several years of my life have been challenging—lots of loss and disappointment. I always tell people it was the worst time in my life but it was the best time in my life. I needed God more than ever and He showed me He was still with me despite the ground crumbling beneath me. I believe in order for wounds to heal, they have to be exposed. That’s why the Bible says to “confess your sins. How can the Lord help you if you keep denying you have a problem? There was no shame in my game. I’m here to tell folks He will deliver you during your stormiest season. You get the lesson and the blessing and He gets the glory. It’s a win-win.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add?

This book was very cathartic for me because I wanted to address real issues that Christians face—illness, divorce, job loss, tragedy and so much more. I mention many of my own failures and disappointments. God never promised us a life free of pain or heartache, but He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. That’s the main takeaway—He’s with you!

Check out the promo for “Faces of Praise!: Photos and Gospel Inspirations to Encourage and Uplift?” with Carol M. Mackey & Jeff Grant below! “Faces of Praise” is available where all books are sold!

To join the “Faces of Praise” Facebook group, click on THIS link!

Any thoughts?

 

Royal Pen Network Host Kendra Norman to Interview ME Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 pm!

Hello World,

As a journalist, I am very comfortable interviewing people (for the most part anyway), but tomorrow night I will be the one being asked questions as Royal Pen Network host Kendra Norman, a national bestselling author, will interview me! Yes, I’m nervous, but I’m curious about what it’s like from the interviewee’s perspective! Check out the flyer above for the details! If you plan to listen, drop a comment below!

Any thoughts?