OWN ‘Greenleaf’s’ Deborah Joy Winans Stars in DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY on TV One on Sunday, Feb. 28


Hello World,

Although I’m still sad that OWN’s Greenleaf has ended, I’m happy that the actors from the show are being featured in other projects. Deborah Joy Winans aka Charity is one of the stars in the upcoming movie DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY, which will be on TV One on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 8 P.M./7C. Below is the synopsis:

DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY follows a group of tightly knit friends as they sort out their turbulent life issues and love lives – always turning to one another to figure out their next move when jobs, romance or family interactions prove more complicated than they had ever anticipated. The film is based on the eponymous novel penned by award-winning author and media personality Demetria L. Lucas. The cast of DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY includes Keri Hilson (“Think Like A Man,” “Almost Christmas”), Redaric Williams (“The Yard,” “The Young And The Restless”), Deborah Joy Winans (“Greenleaf”), Jasmine Burke (“Saints & Sinners”), Kaye Singleton (“American Soul”) and Rainey Branch (“Being Mary Jane,” “Grey’s Anatomy”).

Check out the trailer below: (Y’all Charity is wearing a septum ring!)

Any thoughts?

Married as Teenagers, The Marriage Club of Facebook Founders Pastors Mauricio & Kris Sony Celebrate 25 Years of Marriage on Valentine’s Day!

Hello World,

I probably spend way too much time on Facebook, but one of my favorite places on Facebook is The Marriage Club, a group that has amassed 951.7k members! In this group, people post positive, uplifting and heartfelt messages in addition to pictures, videos, etc. about marriage. The Marriage Club was founded by Pastors Mauricio and Kris Sonny, who also founded The Life House Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. See their biographies below:

Pastor Mauricio Sonny moved to Georgia at the age of 11. He is a product of the Atlanta Public School System, graduating from Crim High School in 1994. He earned a masters of business administration degree in organizational psychology and development in 2008. He has been married 20-plus years to his high school sweetheart and First Lady, Kris Sonny. Although they have three biological children, they also have many spiritual sons and daughters. 

Affectionately know as Lady Kris, a native of California, she moved to Atlanta the same year as Pastor Sonny and even attended the same high school. Pastor Kris Sonny is a woman who loves GOD dearly. She does an amazing job co-pastoring The Life House. Pastor Kris and Pastor Sonny have been together for over 20 years. As high school sweethearts, their relationship has played a major role in where they are today in ministry. Pastor Sonny often attributes who he is  to the support and shared guidance Pastor Kris has given. 

Additionally, the couple are founding members of the groundbreaking Freedom Georgia Initiative in which 19 black families raised $1.7 million to buy 96.71 acres in Wilkinson County, Georgia. Read all about this initiative HERE. 

1.How did the two of you meet?

Pastor Mauricio: We met actually in high school. It was in our 11th grade and 12th grade year. We were both in the band. We just knew each other in passing in the band before then. But in my 12th grade year, her 11th grade year, I made drum major, and she was the majorette captain. This was 1993-1994. I graduated in 1994. I said, ‘Hey shawty, what’s your name (singing like the rapper T-Pain)?’ Actually, we didn’t like each other. She had someone else in mind who she wanted to be drum major. And the way the band was positioned at the time, there was the drum major and then there was the majorette captain so she literally stood right behind me. And the majorettes were always giving me trouble so I would make them do run-ups and different exercises like that. But they didn’t care because they were in such good shape.

Everybody saw our tension and our problems, and one day, my band director came to me and said, ‘I heard that you and my majorette captain are having some problems. I was like, ‘Yeah, she never does anything I ask. And they be actin’ funny and all kinds of stuff. Yada, yada, yada.’ He said, ‘That’s not good leadership for my two leaders to be fighting all of the time. I heard you blow at her on your way to your house, and you know she stays down the street from you.’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was pretty upset and told me that was unacceptable. So he forced me to start giving her a ride home because she was catching the bus and he didn’t think that was safe. He was trying to make us kiss and make up. The first few weeks were pretty rough. And I didn’t say anything to her. I would speed all the way to her house, slam my brakes and put her out at the door.

What’s your side of the story?

Pastor Kris: So let’s back up. Even before he tried out for drum major, he played the saxophone in the band. And one day, I got on the bus. We’re talking about a bus with instruments and people. I knocked over his instrument, he said, and he gave me a few choice words! Therefore, he was not my favorite. And I did not like him because of that. So after that, when he became drum major, it was a no for me. (Laughter)

So what happened after that?

Pastor Mauricio: Like I said, the first few weeks, we never spoke a mumbling word to each other. And then one day, we opened up the line of communication, and we started joking and laughing.  And a few weeks in, because this is summer band camp, we started to enjoy each other’s company but no one wanted to admit it. So one day, I just broke the ice and said, ‘You know what you would probably make a good summer time girlfriend.’ She said, ‘Oh, I’m just good enough for the summer?’ And that’s when I knew she wanted me. 27 summers later, she is still kicking it with the same guy!

2. Being a boyfriend and girlfriend is a long way from being a husband and wife, how did you decide that you wanted to get married?

Pastor Mauricio: That’s a good question. She was my rock. I could tell her anything. And we were inseparable. We would do crazy stuff, break up and get right back together. High school stuff. But we knew it was love. We got married when we were 18 and 19 years old. I popped the question at Red Lobster.

Pastor Kriss: We thought we were doing something at Red Lobster! I said, ‘Yes’ and we got married on Valentine’s Day 1996. We eloped. We got married at the Ringgold Wedding Chapel in Ringgold, Georgia. My baby planned everything. I think Dolly Parton got married in that little chapel too.

3. You got married at teenagers. Was that difficult?

Pastor Kris: The enemy was against us. On our way home from the chapel, it started snowing and before we could make it back to Atlanta, we got into a car accident. Our car broke down in the middle of 85. It was an attack.

Pastor Mauricio: In the beginning, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be married. And we failed a lot. In the first few years, we had a lot of trials and sometimes we were ready to give up. But God gave us the grace to keep going.  And we had two sons that we had in high school. Our youngest, our daughter, came later in life.

Pastor Kris: I had our daughter when I was 22 years old. Our children were a good anchor for us. We were always determined to be good parents. I really enjoyed raising our kids. I remember being pregnant with my first son, and I knew that I would be a teenage mom. I was crying and I said,’ How in the world are we going to take care of this child and our children?’ But God made a way. We were never on welfare. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we were blessed to be able to take care of our kids. I think our mindset was to stay together and raise our family.

But there was a point where we almost divorced.

Pastor Mauricio: She wanted to leave me.

Pastor Kris: Yeah, I did.

Pastor Mauricio: There was a season that we functioned almost like roommates.

Pastor Kris: But we had a lot of people in our corner. Pastors in our corner. Pastors David & Bonnie Johnson. And they became our mentors. They were at Atlanta Metro then and they came and took us to church. And also Dennis Pete at Young Life who would pick us up for church. And they had a major impact on our marriage.

Pastor Mauricio: They showed us how to have heated fellowship. And we kind of modeled our relationship in their shadow.

Pastor Kris: And maybe I will put this in a book some day, but I always talk about my Christmas miracle. A lot of people either receive this Christmas miracle or they do not. I remember thinking to myself, ‘After Christmas, I’m going to make sure that my children have a good Christmas, and after Christmas, I’m leaving, and I’m getting a divorce.’ In between that time, we had something that we call an encounter, a retreat held by our church. It was a time when you have a meeting with Jesus up on a hillside or something. The ladies went separately from the guys and there were spiritual counselors there. My husband went first, and he came back all in love and ready to forgive. And I was like, ‘Whatever. But after Christmas, I’m outta here.’ He didn’t know that, but that’s what I had in my mind. A few weeks later, I went to this same kind of encounter or retreat. And in that moment, I forgave not only him but my father, my grandfather. It was a whole lot of restoration that took place, and I really believe it was a Christmas miracle that saved our marriage. I think this all took place between October and Christmas.

How were you able to navigate marriage after that?

Pastor Kris: By the time we were in our 30s, we had matured. We were doing a lot of ministry. My husband volunteered with a group called Young Life for 10 years and was able to mentor a lot of kids. We spent a lot of our anniversaries and summers at camps with kids. But the good thing about these camps is that they were super dope. They were like retreats. We had our own chalets. At one point, we moved away to Memphis to do ministry and mentor kids and that brought us even closer because we didn’t know anyone else. So that was our 30s.

4. How did the two of you decide to start your own church?

Pastor Mauricio: We were sitting in a church, and we were asking God about what was next for us. And there was an altar call. And the pastor said, ‘You’ve got to stop wasting God’s time. He’s called you to something and it’s time to do it. I started crying. I was like, ‘Lord Jesus. No. No.’ So I went back to my seat. And my wife was like, ‘Are you okay?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah. God told me it’s time to start a ministry. He said start it on 10/10/10.’ And I told my wife, ‘But if that’s not on a Sunday, then it’s not God.’  Sure enough, she went to her calendar and started flipping real slow. And it was on a Sunday. So I obeyed the call, but it wasn’t easy.

5. How did you start The Marriage Club on Facebook and why?

Pastor Kris: Well, The Marriage Club honestly started as a group of friends who held each other accountable. And before it became The Marriage Club, we would do date nights together. When we had marital issues, we would come to each other and people started coming to Sonny and I. It’s something that evolved. I think because we had gone through so much, we had experienced so much, I think by the time I was 25, I could have written the book and sold a t-shirt. We were able to help other people like we had been helped early in our marriage. And that’s how it started. Then one day, I had this epiphany about opening it up to more than just us. That was about six years ago.

One thing that I like about the group is that it’s interracial. Black couples. White couples. Hispanic couples. Interracial, etc. How did you attract a multicultural following?

Pastor Mauricio: I think our diversity comes from the fact that we don’t shun people from other groups of folk. One of my friends is Indian, and he’s in the group with us. He posts pictures of his family and encouraging words. And the core of the group is marriage. We don’t allow debates. Religious debates. We are God-fearing people. We believe God is our rock, but we’re not going to shun a person who is Islamic and they’re putting up pictures of them and their wife. Or Hindu or anything like that. We’re going to let celebrate their marriage because that’s what the group is about.

Have y’all been surprised by the growth of the group. It’s up to almost a million members, right?

Pastor Mauricio: Yes, we’re very close. We’re just humbled by the growth. It’s nothing but God. There were other groups that started around the same time, and they have asked, ‘What did y’all do different?’ And we were like, ‘Absolutely nothing.’

6. I’ve seen so many posts that inspired me, but what posts have inspired you?

Pastor Mauricio: I really like Darnell. He’s a rapper from Chicago. He always posts cool raps for his wife. I really like the posts from Married For Real. They’ve got a dope marriage.

Pastor Kris: I get excited about the men in the group because we just don’t have ladies participating. I love to see when the men can love on their wives and their children. And they post pictures. I love when we do challenges and the couples get excited. And some of the pictures are so amazing and the effort that they put into those pictures to show love and family. I absolutely love that!

Pastor Mauricio: It’s been a been a place of peace online for me. There are so many sites that were blowing up, and they were so negative. It gives a people an outlet to be nothing but positive. Some people who were near suicide have found refuge in The Marriage Club.

Pastor Kris: We’ve seen marriages go from the brink of almost divorce to now they’re happy and they’re thriving. To know that you’re a part of that impact is amazing. These people have sent us inbox messages. And we have spiritual guidance available to couples. And we’re not just on Facebook. We have marriage retreats.

7. What is the key to stay married and be happily married for 25 years? 

Pastor Mauricio: We have just kept going.

Pastor Kris: And we have literally said, ‘Divorce is not an option.’ When you have that determination, it really doesn’t matter what comes. And you have to think about what you said in the presence of God. Those vows. And I always say, ‘Be friends.’ How do you treat your friends? You treat your friends with the utmost respect. You don’t get into a lot of arguments with your friends. You are just there for each other. We are friends. We laugh together. We date each other every Monday. We are intentional about our relationship – learning about our past, thinking about our future. Continuing to learn about each other because we are always evolving. So the things I wanted at 18 are different from what I want now.

Pastor Mauricio: And another thing that my girl always says so I’m stealing it from her, every marriage has a purpose. You have to figure out what the purpose of your marriage is. Because we have a purpose-drive marriage, it helps us to focus and stay on course. Our purpose is to help people develop people and get them in a closer relationship with Christ and help married folks stay married.

Pastor Kris: Our purpose is marriage.

Any thoughts?

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A 31-Year-Old Virgin When She Married, Kim Wilson Promotes Sexual Abstinence as a Way to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus!

Hello World,

As TODAY is Valentine’s Day, I think this sponsored post is very timely!

Below is my interview with Kim Wilson, founder of The Loretta Johnson Global Abstinence Movement and God’s Active People/G.A.P Ministries.

Through The Loretta Johnson Global Abstinence Movement, Kim focuses on the urgency of promoting abstinence especially to black and Hispanic women and girls, who need it the most, but receive it the least. She also develops and presents specific workshops and seminars, such as “Experiencing God’s Best for Your Life through Abstinence” (for women and girls), “Abstinence is the Cure” (for leaders and parents) and “Making Money God’s Way” (for women and girls). The information from these workshops and seminar has been presented throughout the United States and in over 20 countries on 3 continents, to approximately tens of thousands of women and girls.

Her “The ABSTINENCE Handbook: For Women and Girls Throughout the World” is available in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Kiswahili and is in a FREE audiobook format as well! Click HERE to listen. Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and an MBA in Marketing from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. She lives with her husband in Peachtree City, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) and has one son.

1.Why did you create The Loretta Johnson Global Abstinence Movement?

First of all, The Loretta Johnson Abstinence Movement started 11 years ago in 2010 and is named after my late mother, who was a nurse. So, I’m really carrying on her legacy too. My mother did a lot to help women – single women who could barely feed their children by the end of the month. She would take part of her checks and give them money to buy food for their kids. I saw that growing up. I remember when my mother was in nursing school, and I was a little girl of about eight or nine years old, I would actually go around with her, through a program she was involved in,  to very low-income areas, the projects, and provide healthcare for young girls who were pregnant and only about 12 and 13 years old. I saw that and it just impacted me a great deal.

And now as an adult, I see the consequences of not being abstinent and premarital sex. And how it was destroying the Black family and Black kids and all of the issues that come along with it. (According to a 2020 report from the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home, “although unwed childbearing has increased a great deal across all racial groups, it is higher among Black and Hispanic women than White women. Over two-thirds of births to Black women (69 percent) are to unwed mothers, and over half (52 percent) of births to Hispanic women are. Among non-Hispanic White women, the figure is just 28 percent, though that was up from only 2 percent in 1960.”)

2.What have you done to promote the movement?

I have done a lot of traveling and seminars for women’s groups and youth and leadership groups. My book is a key part of what I’ve done.  Because the book is written in Kiswahili and French, we have a huge following in Africa. And we started what we call The Loretta Johnson Abstinence Center, so we give the women over there the option of not having to do ungodly things such as prostitution in order to make a living. And to be able to abstain from sex before marriage and to be able to learn different vocational skills. There are several leaders over there who promote abstinence, and we call them Abstinence Ambassadors. My book has sold thousands of copies, but I also promote promote it by giving away thousands of copies. And we’re in six different continents. All except Antarctica.

3.Your mother advocated for sexual abstinence with the young women that she cared for as a nurse. Did she communicate that same message to you?

I married as a virgin at 31 years old.

4. How were you able to remain abstinent?

Honestly, my love for my mother first. And my commitment to her because she sacrificed so much for me to have a good education and to go to top colleges and get my MBA and so forth. I had an intense love for her. And she passed on to me her love for Jesus. That’s what I saw in her. So, it was for my mother at first. I didn’t want to bring home any baggage, any unwanted babies. Or put any stress on her because she had already sacrificed so much for me. And once I actually developed a personal relationship with Christ, that’s when I began to do it for Jesus, which I did up until the time I got married.

Did your father influence you in this decision at all?

Although I wish my father had been there more for me during my childhood, I love him very much, and I’m happy to say that he did accept Christ and became a Christian when he was in his 50s, way after my mother did.But he did sit me down as a young teenage girl and taught me how men think or how boys think and how their bodies work differently than girls’ bodies. I was just beginning to obviously like boys. I’m originally from Alabama, but I grew up in Nashville and I finished high school in Atlanta at St. Pius. We moved here in my junior year. Men don’t have the same emotions or feelings or attachments as women. They can actually have sex with you and then just cut it off. They don’t have that connection or emotional attachment. They can just walk away and many of them do, especially if that’s all they wanted. And if you have a child from that, you’re stuck. So that was a lesson that he taught me, that I understood. And it helped  me to say no because usually that person was not interested in loving me. They just wanted sex to meet their physical need.

5. You wrote“The ABSTINENCE Handbook: For Women and Girls Throughout the World” Why? And tell me more about what will readers will learn.

It’s based on Christianity. First of all, I tell them that premarital sex is wrong in the sight of God. Teenagers and even grown women don’t know that premarital sex or sex outside of marriage is wrong. They have no idea. And they’re Christians. Many of them I’ve met at Christian conventions. Many pastors at black churches and Hispanic churches won’t address this issue because it drives away people. Many of these women, if not the majority, who have had children outside of wedlock, they are also at church. A black church is typically about 80 percent women so the women run the church and fund the church, even if the pastor is male. So, a lot of the pastors don’t want to lose the majority of their congregation. The typical church is only about 90 people.  About half of those show up on a Sunday and even fewer than that are involved. If you’re a pastor of a small church, about 80 of the people in a church of  100 people are women. And a large number of those women are having sex outside of marriage.

So, when you tell them that premarital sex is a sin, and you go to hell because of this sin like what is said in Galatians 5 and Revelation 21, they don’t want to hear that. So that’s when many of them will leave or they will stop giving the money. And the church won’t be able to survive. And the black church is not dealing with this like they should. But what they should understand is that if this issue is not addressed, these same women and girls in their church could die from HIV or AIDs and will never be able to attend church again. And black men aren’t going to church. We’ve probably reached more of them online since COVID-19 than we have for years.

6. You believe that two-parent black households are expected to continue to decrease. Why?

I’m a marketing person and I don’t just look at what I read. When I’m out and about, I do a lot of observation. Around Father’s Day, I look and see how many black kids are buying Father’s Day cards. I don’t see that many. At Christmas time, I don’t see that many black families with a mother and father and kids going to shop. I only see the mother and the kids. I only see the mother typically with a grandmother or whatever. When I go to restaurants around Peachtree City or Fayetteville or Atlanta or throughout the U.S, you don’t see black families. You may see a woman and man together but when it comes to a mother and father, who are married with kids, you don’t see it. It’s almost like they’ve become celebrities.

I’ve experienced that myself. With my husband and my son, we do volunteer work at my church, which is out in Fairburn. We do it in a pantry, giving out food. Sometimes, we come together, but sometimes we go individually. My son is a senior in college so he’s grown and so forth. And one time, there was this particular man who saw us, and he had no idea we were married. But one day, all three of us were together. So he just exploded with joy. He said, ‘So you guys are married and this is your son?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and he was like ‘Wow, that’s great!’ That should not be this rare. It’s almost like you become a celebrity. And I often feel the same when I see or meet a Black or Hispanic family with children with 2 married parents.

7. Why do you feel that the coronavirus pandemic has made your work more critical?

When I started hearing those percentages of Blacks and Hispanics dying the fastest. (According to The Brookings Institution, “COVID-19 is currently the third leading cause of death for Black Americans” in the Racial Economic Inequality Amid the COVID-19 Crisis Report.) We’re talking about days. And then it got closer and closer to home for me. Relatives being affected. I look at the overall picture. What I do is very global. So I began to do some research. And I said, I know we’re frontline workers, but it’s something else that’s got this going. I researched through the CDC and I saw that premarital sex breaks every rule that they tell you to do to stay safe or to keep from getting infected. I have been promoting abstinence for all of these years based on avoiding HIV and AIDS because of the high number of Black and Hispanic people who die from that.  (According to a 2019 report from the CDC, Disparities in Incidence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Among Black and White Women — United States, 2010–2016, “although Black women accounted for 13% of the U.S. female population, 60% of new HIV infections among women were in Black women.”) And they can die in about two years or so from that. But with COVID, you can die in two days.

For more information about The Loretta Johnson Global Abstinence Movement & G.A.P. Ministries and Founder, Kim Wilson, visit the website at www.gapmovement.net or contact us by phone/text at 678-491-8583 or email at kimwilson125@att.net.

Any thoughts?