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?

 

Rapper Snoop Dogg Debuts Sample of His New Gospel Album! (VIDEO)

Hello World,

Back in May, Rapper Snoop Dogg announced that he would be releasing a gospel album. For those of you who are familiar with Uncle Snoop, as he is known to millennials, and his music, the gospel is the last thing I would imagine he would choose to highlight in his music. I’m not gon lie and act like I’m not a fan of Snoop Dogg. I’ve liked his music since he was a debut artist back in the ’90s. And that’s the thing…if you came of age when I came of age, back in the ’90s, as Snoop Dogg and I did, we have all evolved since then — and that includes our musical tastes.  Back then, I wasn’t necessarily listening to gospel music, but now, gospel music is the music I rely on to give praise to my Father in Heaven. With that said, I can understand why Snoop Dogg now enjoys a good gospel groove! (I mean Snoop has a cooking show with Martha Stewart! Dude has undeniably evolved!)

But should he be making gospel music?  I know a lot of people don’t think so. Here is what one of my friends said…

“You don’t find that just a little bit creepy? ‘Rev. Snoop?'”

LOL.  The answer is “No.” I don’t think he is necessarily trying to save anyone per se through this gospel album ( I don’t even know if he is saved), but you never know how God can speak through somebody. I always say if God can speak through a donkey in the Bible, then God can speak through anybody! I simply think he enjoys gospel music and wants to express his affinity for the genre in his own album (and likely make some money too). That’s it and that’s all. I don’t know that I will look for his gospel album when it comes out, but if I happen to hear a song from the album, I will definitely listen to what he has to say. I’m not saying I want Snoop to be my pastor, but I think all music is for everyone. Snoop recently posted a snippet of his upcoming gospel album, which is reportedly almost done…Take a listen and let me know what you think…It’s rockin’ ta me!

Are you going to buy Snoop Dogg’s gospel album when it drops?

Any thoughts?

Bossed Up: 100 Truths to Becoming Your Own Boss God’s Way – NEW BOOK ALERT!!!

Hello World,

I have yet to visit Canada, but it is definitely one of my list of countries to visit in the not-so-distant future! But in the mean time, in between time, I’m taking us to Canada today via my interview with Tamar Huggins, a Canadian-based and award-winning serial entrepreneur who has been featured exclusively in media outlets around the world including Black Entertainment Television, Canadian Living, and The Huffington Post! Tamar is also the author of “Bossed Up: 100 Truths to Becoming Your Own Boss God’s Way,” which is available TODAY! Check out my interview with Tamar about “Bossed Up.”

1. Why did you decide to write Bossed Up: 100 Truths to Becoming Your Own Boss God’s Way?”

Seven years ago, my spiritual mother prophesied to me that God wanted me to write a book about business to help other women achieve success. I wrote Bossed Up” as a guide for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs alike – to help them navigate the challenges and successes they would encounter on their journey.

2. Your book incorporates biblical stories and how they relate to modern day entrepreneurship. What is your favorite biblical story in your book and how does it relate to modern day entrepreneurship?

In the God chapter, I referenced 2 Kings 3 – the story of King Jehoshaphat and his army digging ditches in the desert. As they marched for seven days to get to Moab, they became tired and thirsty. King Jehoshaphat went to the Prophet Elisha to ask for guidance. The Lord spoke and said ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink. And this is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand.’

As entrepreneurs, we must prepare ourselves to receive God’s blessings before they arrive, even if the blessing doesn’t make sense to us. In the case of 2 Kings 3, it didn’t make sense for the men to see rain in the desert – but it’s what they needed – and it was easy for God to do. If you ask God to increase your finances, for example, you need to take the necessary steps to prepare yourself to receive the blessing, otherwise you may risk losing your opportunity. 

3. Your book addresses business challenges that entrepreneurs may face such as family time management. How do you address this challenge in your book and in your own life?

In the Balance chapter, I provide several references for work-life balance. My favorite is Boss Truth #85 – Prioritize Your Family. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us that if we don’t provide for our families, we are worse than an unbeliever. Our #1 ministry as entrepreneurs isn’t our business – it’s our families. It is with that mindset that I prioritize spending time and pouring into my husband and my daughter because at the end of the day, I am building my legacy for them. I tell myself I am not an ER doctor, I am an entrepreneur, so I can afford to take time away from work to be with my family. 

4. Tell me about the writing process for Bossed Up.” How long did it take for you to write the book? Was it easy or difficult to write the book? Did you learn anything from writing the book?

God planted the seed to write Bossed Up” within me 7 years ago, but it only took me 9 months to complete the manuscript in 2016. Spiritually, I grew a lot and my perseverance definitely increased. I truly experienced how creative the Holy Spirit really is when we allow Him to work through us. 

5. Many adult entrepreneurs show an interest in business as children. Tell me about your interest in business as a child and how it led to officially becoming an entrepreneur at 23 years old.

I always loved the idea of being a boss and that’s probably why I was a bossy child! My teachers always told my parents that I was a natural leader, independent, and charismatic. God built me this way because He knew what He wanted me to become. As a result, I naturally gravitated to opportunities that allowed me to operate in my gifts. It wasn’t until I lost my advertising job during the recession of 2009 that I accepted my calling as an entrepreneur. I was fearful of the unknown, yet optimistic about the freedom and possibilities that entrepreneurship was able to provide, especially during such a chaotic time. 

6. You live in Canada. Tell me a little about living life in Canada as a black woman and how it may differ from living in the United States as a black woman.

There is something to admire about the black business community in the United States – something that we just don’t have here in Canada. The level of support that black female entrepreneurs have in the States, whether financial or community-based, is much stronger than it is here. I believe this is due to a difference in our cultural mindsets. I always admired the black business communities in Atlanta and desperately wish people in Toronto had the same collaborative and supportive mindset.

7. Finally, how and when did you become a Christian and how has it impacted your life?

I was christened as a Catholic and went to Catholic school, so Christianity was always a part of my life. It wasn’t until about 15 or 16 years old that I gave my life to the Lord, and I was baptized in the Pentecostal church in my early 20s. I wouldn’t be where I am today without God as an active part of my life. I cannot take credit for any of my ideas or accomplishments because they all came from Him. God is truly the CEO of my business and my life. When you have the Creator in control, you can expect nothing but success and happiness.

For more information about Tamar, go to her website, tamarhuggins.com, and to buy “Bossed Up: 100 Truths to Becoming Your Own Boss God’s Way,” go to  Amazon.com.

Any thoughts?