Thursday, August 17, 2017

Humbly Yours

Thank YOU, ABBA FATHER for another chance; for the opportunity to reach another. Thank YOU for growing me through and never letting me go! Speak LORD – YOUR servant -daughter is listening! Please use this pen to grow, edify and strengthen another as YOU grow, edify and strengthen me. And we will continue to give YOU all the Glory, all the Honour, and all the Praise, In the Mighty Name LORD JESUS! 

In all honesty, I have been a little apprehensive about this week’s submission. When I accepted this assignment from GOD through Cindy, my greatest concern was that I didn’t want to ‘get in the way’ of the message. Another was that ‘my’ feelings of the moment might not let me see that I am (standing in the way of the message). Then GOD reminded me that HE is using my story to assist in pulling someone else forward. That did not actually relieve my anxiety. But it did bring me face-to-face with the root of my ‘issue.’ My Fear.

Marianne Williamson addresses that topic with decisive firmness in the first lines of her poem entitled “Our Deepest Fear.” The first time I heard the poem was not when Nelson Mandela recited it at his inaugural address in 1994, but in a movie about a little girl winning a bunch of spelling bees. In the poem, Ms. Williamson identifies first, what our greatest fear is not. And for me she is correct. I don’t feel ‘in”-adequate. My son (and several others) can attest to that. When someone has said to me, “You’re a great mom,” I will quickly correct them with, “No – I’m just adequate.” But then I read the “Our Deepest Fear.” And it begs the question, “who am I NOT to be Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented and Fabulous? I read those words and I had to check myself, “As a matter of fact, Valerie – who are you NOT to be!?” I remind people every day that we are, according to 1Peter 2:9, a Royal Priesthood, a Chosen Generation. I am set apart for greatness and great things! Not by my power or my strength but by GOD’s Spirit! HE said so and I believe that! HE Promised!

Recently I was on my way home from work and this man randomly glanced back at me and said, “Hello Black woman.” I smiled because I like the way he called me what I am. But then he stopped and turned to me again and said, “Do not ever lose that strength I see in your eyes.” Then he crossed the street and walked away. “Wow”, I thought to myself, “Strength? In my eyes?” That comment gelled in my heart and mind with the words of the poem and another reading from ‘The Anointing of a Virtuous Woman’ – by Rev. Dr. Haile Lindsay. It is based on Proverbs 31 and inspired by the lives of the most significant women in his life. Day 6 talks about ‘What a Virtuous Woman Wears.’ Verse 25 of Proverbs 31 says that “…Strength and Honor are her clothing…”

Now - I am 99 & ¾ percent certain that I have never seen that gentleman before. Neither have I had the pleasure of meeting Marianne Williamson. But I am grateful to GOD the FATHER that HE took the words of Mr. Random-Guy-on-the-Street, Ms. Williamson, and Rev. Lindsay, bound them together with HIS WORD and used it to remind me that I have NOTHING to fear.

Even, as the Apostle James describes in James 1:4, when I “…fall into various trials…” Broken promises? Count it Joy! You don’t know it yet, but you’re getting Stronger! Broken Relationship? Count it Joy – You’re getting Wiser!

I know that while you are going through the pain of your current ‘issue,’ it doesn’t feel good, but this is when Patience is having “her perfect work.” You will discover that as Patience is working in and on you, your faith muscles are growing. And as you (we) are being perfected, strengthened and restored, you will begin, again, to “… like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m looking in the mirror!” (thank you Mary J.)!!

As I am growing and with each new victory won, I am recognizing the Light, the Power, the Strength that HE is revealing in me and through my testimony! Come grow with me! We are, after All, MORE than Conquerors! And the only fearful thing about us is that we are “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!”

And by the way – We don’t look Nothin’ like what we’ve been through!

Humbly Yours by Valerie Crawford
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Connie

For most of my life, my mother was a highly functioning alcoholic. She owned a home, kept a job and paid her bills. She even maintained a beautiful yard. But inside her neat and tidy home, she unleashed her anger, her hurt and her disappointments on me. Her name calling was a regular part of my day. She told me what I couldn’t do and what I wouldn’t be. Once I was in high school, I usually had to find a way to get myself to work and to meetings and practices. My mother acted as if she wanted me to fail.

When I completed college and law school and received a job offer several states away, I took it. I had no desire to stay close to my mother, physically or relationally.

Once I was a fully independent adult, I confronted my mother about all the awful things she had said to me. She didn’t exactly apologize. She said that if she did it, she must have been drinking.

One day, when I was in my early 30’s, my mother was about to light into me and call me names. I told her that I would no longer stand for it. I told her that if she couldn’t have a conversation with me without calling me names, we would never talk again. She never called me names again. Our relationship remained strained. I forced myself to call her once a month and I visited once a year. I still lived hundreds of miles away. My mother adored my oldest daughter, and I think that’s one of the reasons my mother and I maintained a relationship.

Late in life, my mother was diagnosed with dementia and began living with my brother. I knew my brother was not taking good care of her, and he was isolating her from friends and relatives. Although I became her legal guardian, my brother refused to release her to me, and the authorities would not remove my mother from my brother’s home. I hired a private investigator for protection and kidnapped my mother from my brother’s home. My mother’s dementia had progressed to the point that she didn’t know who I was. Shortly after she came to live with me, she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Once she was on medication for dementia, she recognized me, but she forgot that she couldn’t insult me. I had to establish that our roles had reversed. With excellent medical care, my mother did very well for 18 months. She gained weight while she was on chemotherapy, and she reminded me that I needed to take care of her teeth. One night, I overheard her talking to my oldest daughter about some family business. My mother said, “I know Connie will take care of it.” It warmed my heart to know that she had confidence in me.

My mother seemed to have a conflicted relationship with the Lord. I took her to church a couple of times, but she was not interested. When my mother’s cancer spread to her brain, I asked her if she knew where she would spend eternity. She confirmed that Christ was her savior and that her sins were forgiven. The last few months of her life, she made a point of thanking me for everything I had done for her.

I played Motown music for my mother. Sometimes I would dance to the Supremes, the Temps and the Miracles while she watched with a big grin. She really lit up when I wore red dresses and twirled around her room.

My daughters and I wore red to my mother’s funeral. Taking care of her the last two years of her life was difficult because I had a teenager at home and I was working full time. But I’m glad we had those years of peace and reconciliation. I’m glad she appreciated what I did for her. I’m glad she smiled when I danced.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Letrise


Letrise Carter is the founder and creator of the 2017 Black Excellence Award for Sistah’s Place and business owner of Sistah’s Creative Media launched in February 2016. She has added to her talents published author outside of Chief Editor, freelance writer, and blogger. In 2017, Letrise has taken her platforms to another level by adding Blog Talk Radio Showcase to Sistah’s Place. She is the creator and editor for Maya’s Blog which showcase women expressing their thoughts on various topics.

Her Blog Talk Radio Show titled Sistah’s Place has awarded her opportunities to talk to not just indie artist and authors, but has given her exposure to speak with well-known actors and directors across the sector for African American men and women in the entertainment industry. Letrise is being sought after from agents for shows like Queen Sugar, award winning playwright directors, directors of indie film, and publicist for national best-selling authors, and so many more.

Besides adding Talk Radio Show, she has taken her online entertainment blog converted to an online magazine titled Sistah’s Place Real Talk Magazine that features guest writers and three new editors added to continue to highlight and showcase men and women in the African American community in entertainment, film, theater, music, literature, and small business.

Letrise’s dream has always been to write for film and television. She will be writing her first scripts for television/film with the guidance and direction of a good mentor right here in Chicago. She never imagined writing a book due to being afraid of exposing her creative thoughts to the world. However, through blogging and her interview showcases she was inspired to share her dreams with the world. We all have a story to share and you never know how your story will inspire someone else to follow their dreams.

Letrise Carter is walking into her purpose and allowing God to elevate her dreams and bring forth her vision as a writer with big dreams of writing/producing for film and television. All while running a media business inspired by two of her favorite women in media Cathy Hughes and Oprah Winfrey.

Letrise has taken the first steps of launching her first novella series Deceitful Secrets scheduled for release mid-August 2017 on Amazon. Letrise and her team will be working diligently to get her book in other book stores along with scheduled feature interviews, book signing, and book events are under way. She will be giving away signed copies during her promotional period August 2017 to October 2017. Sign up for her author e-blast to stay on top of what she has coming up with giveaways and appearances.

About Deceitful Secrets:
Secrets have a way of making its way to the surface in the present day. However, when those secrets involve a family member, they’re no longer just secrets instead they are Deceitful Secrets that you take to bed each night. Meet Taylor Jackson whose friendship with her husband’s brother Kelly goes deeper than the eyes. Will Devin find out about his wife’s past? Will Kelly keep his promise to carry their secret to his grave? How will Devin react if he finds out the truth? But wait Devin has some secrets of his own. What’s done in the dark has a way of making its way to the light… but at what costs? Who gets hurt? Deceitful Secrets is filled with drama, lies, and cover ups.

You are never too old to share your story with the world. Dreams require work, dedication, determination, and a big vision that Letrise is willing to do that will breathe life into her dreams.

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Twitter: @AuthorLetrise


Instagram: @Letrisec

Friday, August 11, 2017

Beverly's Beatitudes

Welcome to Beverly’s Beatitudes, where being Godly is the Attitude! I am so happy for the opportunity to sow seeds of LOVE, HOPE, GRACE AND FAITH, that will UPLIFT, ENCOURAGE, MOTIVATE and RE-CREATE a new YOU!

Let me start by introducing the Purpose and Meaning of Beatitude. Jesus Christ gave us the Eight Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded for all posterity in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus offers us a way of life that promises eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven. The message of Jesus is one of humility, charity, and brotherly love. He teaches transformation of the inner person. Jesus presents the Beatitudes in a positive sense, virtues in life which will ultimately lead to reward. Love becomes the motivation for the Christian. While the Beatitudes of Jesus provide a way of life that promises salvation, they also provide peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations on this earth. 

In contrast, The Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai, in the Old Testament Book of Exodus, related a series of "Thou shalt not" phrases, evils one must avoid in daily life on earth; which seemed to be a heavy or harsh judgment or declaration that came down like a hammer. When Jesus came on the scene He offered up Mercy, and Grace, and a softer tone, which were a little less edgy and more loving, supporting and encouraging, that would Uplift us and give us Hope!

So let me ask... Have you ever had a time in your life where people, things, situations or circumstances were rough, harsh or seemed to be coming down on you like a hammer, for whatever reason, deserving or not? Can you remember what that felt like, and the anger, pain, shame, or blame it caused or that you endured at that time? Can you take a QUICK glimpse back at those memories or moments in your life that seemed deadening, horrid, or down right hopeless? {Now make sure you take a HEALTHY glimpse back, lol, because I don’t want anyone to get stuck in the past!} Sometimes when we look back and see things, it stirs up old feelings and emotions and we find ourselves right back there tapping into those old feelings and emotions and mindset. Before you know it you are tangled up, back in that moment and have opened up that old door and a new found anger.

Ok, now let’s come back, lol, how was it? How did it make you feel? If you got caught up in it then ask God to continue to show you, YOU! To expose and deliver what you thought was gone and now you see may have been lying dormant on the inside. Repent and ask God to close every door that you may have opened, known or unknown, willingly or unwillingly. Now if that wasn’t the case for you, then give God the praise for your testimony and for delivering you out of the hand of the enemy in that area of your life! Either way, God has His hand on us all, and all of our struggles and accomplishments are a process.

I said all of this to say, God has brought us all from somewhere, from gross to GREAT! From failure to FULLNESS! From lost to FOUND! We should all have something to be grateful and thankful for! I just want to encourage you today, NO MATTER what you are going through right now, GOD has NOT turned HIS face from YOU! HE knows the plans that HE has for YOU and ME! No matter what any of us are going through right now, let’s stop and give HIM a praise! Let’s stop and thank HIM! Let’s stop and ask for forgiveness! Let’s just STOP, take a moment with HIM and then GO in Peace! Let’s not get distracted by the attitudes or words of others that are not speaking life, edifying, encouraging, and motivating us in a POSITIVE, PEACEFUL and PRODUCTIVE way! Get yourself a positive circle of people or friends and an accountability partner to help you get in, over and through all that GOD has DESTINED for you; and remember, IT’S NOT OVER! YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! THE WORK GOD STARTED IN YOU HE WILL COMPLETE! STAY FOCUSED ON FAITH AND FAVOR IN LOVE!


"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

Beverly's Beatitudes by Beverly Branch
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Dexter

My name is Dexter and I'm not much of a talker but I wanted to share my testimony.

God blessed me to have four ministers in my family. My wife is a Cancer survivor and  I have 3 daughters that are in the ministry. I have 10 children, 8 girls, 2 sons.

God gave me the talent to play the guitar and I've been blessed to travel across the country, spreading the news about His greatness! He keeps opening doors for me, even when I don't deserve it; HE IS AN AWESOME GOD!

He delivered me from cigarettes and drugs. I'm 29 years free, no treatment required. God did it all at one time! He opened doors for me on my job where I beat out a lot of qualified people to become a lead person for the entire shift! God is showing me that if you TITHE the 10%, He will stretch the 90%! If I had 10,000 tongues I could tell it all, but like I stated, I'm not a talker.

Keep the FAITH ALWAYS, Psalms 91/92

Monday, August 7, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Cassandra Williams-Herbert

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Cassandra Williams-Herbert, who joined my team as a Contributing Writer.

In 2004, Cassandra became the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit organization that started in her home called the POW-WOW Inc. (People Often Wonder What? or Why?). This became a support group for the people in her community to help guide them in the goal/career direction, conflict resolution, team affectedness, and most important, living an essential lifestyle. This movement helped Cassandra achieve all that she could, and it began to show individuals just what it takes to reach their goals and desires in life. She then started support group sessions, workshops, conferences, and vision board socials. She also developed a workshop called “Dream Builder”. 

Cassandra earned a Master’s degree of Arts in Theology Practical from Bible Faith Seminary College (Leadership Training) and two Associate degrees of Arts/General Education from Johnston Community College, along with numerous certifications and training. Cassandra Williams-Herbert became a motivational speaker and educator from Clayton, North Carolina. She is a Master Life Coach in Self Awareness and Personal Development (Handle your Business Girl Empowerment Zone).

She also serves as a Certified Recovery Coach with Recovery Coach Academy; Co-Author with EYG group; Vision Board Strategist and Level 2 W.R.A.P. Facilitator of the (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) program, developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and L2 Learn and Lead simulcast events featuring John C Maxwell and his team members Linda Kaplan Thaler, Tim Sanders.

Cassandra believes and lives by her powerful speeches “The Power of the Letter E” and “The Y in You”. Although we all have big dreams and goals she was given the opportunity to give back to the community agency (Community Action of Johnston- Lee- Harnett Co.) that opened the doors to one of her greatest passions, speaking to individuals about designing their Life Plan, sharing her own personal experiences in designing and pursuing living a life of her own dreams. One of the best topics she speaks on is - “It Matters What You Think” - that’s because she knows firsthand that mindset is key and essential to your growth.

On top of the many things Cassandra has accomplished in life, one of the biggest moments in her life was when she became a Self-Published Author of “The Directional Organizer.” Creating this tool helped a vast number of individuals build an organized space/atmosphere for their peace of mind. She also wrote and produced her first skit called “Sweet Potatoes” featuring Julie McKnight, McKnight Boys, and other cast members. Cassandra was birthed with many gifts and talents as an individual who not only touches people through her motivational speeches but also through her skilled freehand nail art and signature line of crafts.

Cassandra Williams-Herbert is also a wife and mother.

Please help me welcome Cassandra to the Simply Cindy Blog team and to our blogging community!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Trinette


Trinette, a native of Los Angeles, California is a nationally renewed educator, entrepreneur, and author.

She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia and her M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction from Coppin State University. She is currently an educator with the Atlanta Public Schools system.

In 2013, Trinette became a published author debuting her award-winning book Woman On Fire. In 2016, she added to her success the release of her second book entitled Sticky Note: Volume 1. Her latest book is titled - 
Sticky Notes...They Said What?!?! ©™  Trinette is also a certified relationship coach and has coined the title of “Inspirationalist”.

She is the owner of Trinette L. Collier, LLC which provides workshops and ideas for groups and individuals. She is a member of Strong Tower Christian Life Ministries. Trinette resides in Atlanta and enjoys being with her family, husband, and friends. She loves helping others, learning, spoken word, music, and danc
ing! She's also a Contributing Writer for Simply Cindy Blog.

Facebook: I Am Trinette L. Collier
Twitter: @Trinette Collier
Instagram: Trinette Collier