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.

Follow her on Social media and visit her websites:

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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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Humbly Yours - by Valerie Crawford, Contributing Writer

LORD allow me to decrease and YOU to increase and receive all the Glory here on these pages. Let the words that flow from and through this writing serve to provide strength, peace, and hope for another. Edify and strengthen them and me and we will continue to give YOU all the Honor and all the Glory and all the Praise, in the Matchless Name LORD JESUS.

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River … 5(b) As I was with Moses so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:1, 2, 5(b)

A couple of weeks ago, as I was preparing for work, I heard the tear-jerking news of 15-year-old Jason Lockhart, who was hit in the face by a baseball and had been placed on life-support. I have been following his progress ever since I heard his story. My heart went out to the family of this young man in an extremely personal way. 

My youngest son David is a baseball player and has held a ball in his hand since – forever. When he discovered that there was a thing called “Little League” he would not stop asking until we found a team for him to play on. He loves baseball. David has played Little League, high school, and travel baseball. But when he was a Junior in high school, something happened that rocked our family to the core.

On David’s 17th birthday, I was home helping my other son, Daniel get ready for prom. I was beginning to wonder what was taking David so long. He had a ball game in Baltimore, MD but was supposed to be on his way home to get ready for prom. Certainly, that coach knew how important prom was! He needed to get those boys back home so they could get ready. They were teetering dangerously close to being late to pick up their dates.

Then my phone rang. It was David’s Dad. “Hey – I’m here at the school picking David up. We’re on our way, but I need to let you know, he’s had a little accident.” I remember a long pause – the kind that comes anytime someone mentions the words “accident” and “your child” in the same sentence. I started blinking really hard and really fast and I declare, I felt the top of my head pop off and flip over!

“What? What do you mean – accident? Is he okay?”

“He’s fine”, Dad said, “but he took a ball to the face and he has a black eye, but I knew I couldn’t bring him home like this without warning you first.”

Apparently, the catcher had gunned the ball to stop the runner at second base and David, at shortstop, was covering second base (oh, yes – Mommy knows baseball, too). That ball, which was traveling at about 60 miles an hour, tipped off of David’s glove and hit him in the face between his nose and his right eye. I recall my father once explaining to me that the windows at the top of the Washington Monument are sealed shut because if someone got it in their head to drop a penny (or a pebble) from the window, the speed/motion of that object could crack the concrete below. That said, anything traveling at 60+ miles an hour, and certainly a professional grade baseball, is going to leave a mark. 

Instead of the “black eye” David’s Dad told me that he was bringing home to me, I opened my door to orbital fractures, a broken nose, and a possible concussion! 

I took one look at my son and almost screamed. I couldn’t though because as soon as he saw me, David did what a real man is allowed to do when he gets to the safety of his Mother’s arms. He let his guard down and cried. And I did what any real baseball Mom would do to try and let him know everything was going to be okay. I asked him, “Did you tag the boy out? No? Okay – let’s get some ice and clean you up. You can’t cry anymore – it will make your headache worse.”

I called my health plan and the on-call doctor allowed him to go to the prom where his brother and girlfriend kept a close eye on him and immediately after, we spent the rest of the night in urgent care completing X-rays, MRI’s and CT-scans. The rest of the weekend 
 indeed, the rest of the following week, I kept peeking in his room, making sure he was breathing; whispering his name to make sure he would stir for me. With every deep breath and every slight motion my son made, I had to thank GOD again. The ball “tipped the glove.” And that slowed it down – just enough.

Monday morning we started the intense doctor appointments. He had to see an Ear-Nose-and-Throat Specialist, an Ophthalmologist, and a Surgeon. They had to make sure that the orbital bones surrounding his eye had not shattered 
 which would require reconstructive surgery; they had to make sure that the socket had not been displaced which would require reattachment surgery.

Now, of course, I had been praying since before I heard “little accident.” But when we went on Monday and they had all the specialists lined up, I looked at my son and said, “You know Mom is always praying for you, right?” When he replied "Yes." I told him, "Okay – good. Now it’s time for you to pray for yourself.”

It is good, so good to have prayer warriors that will stand in the gap with and sometimes for you. But it is so important to have your own relationship with the FATHER.

I wasn’t there, but I can imagine that even though Joshua was a fighter, it had to be a bit overwhelming when Moses died. His leader – was gone. The one he had followed out of Egypt – was gone. The one who had trained him and encouraged him and had gone to GOD on his behalf and gotten results – was gone. And I wasn’t there, but I can imagine how comforting and what a relief it must have been when GOD the FATHER told Joshua, “Yes – Moses is gone, but the same way I was with him, I will be with you also!” How reassuring and encouraging it must have been when GOD kept HIS promise to be with Joshua and rolled the waters of the Jordan River back, just as HE had for Moses.

David knows Mom can get a prayer through. He'd seen the results of her prayers answered. But now it was time for his own relationship with the FATHER to be tapped. Of course, I was praying for my baby. I was praying hard. But I couldn’t pray the concerns that were in my son’s mind. It was time for David to KNOW GOD for himself. It was time for David to recognize for himself that GOD not only knows how many hairs are on his head, but that HE has numbered each one. David needed to realize that, not only can GOD call him by name, but that HE recognizes his ‘voice.’ My son needed to come to the reassuring realization that, “The same way I am with your mother, I am also with you, David.”

In the days following my son’s accident, we got several call-backs from each doctor’s office. Each call was similar to the previous one: “No surgery will be necessary.” When that last office called and I shared the news with my child, I watched that familiar expression of “a Peace that passes all understanding” come over my son’s face. And I couldn’t resist asking him, “How does it feel to get a personal response to your own request from GOD?” He just smiled and shook his head. And I smiled, too. He had no words, but I understood. What do you say when you find out that GOD really does recognize your voice? Nothing. You just smile and shake your head in awe … or dance … or take a lap. My David had learned that the same way that GOD was with Moses (and Mom) HE is also with him … because HE promised.

**Let’s not forget to remain in the gap for Jason and his family. Because contrary to what some may think – baseball is a contact sport!**

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Traci A. Fonville

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Traci A. Fonville, who joined my team as a Contributing Writer.

Traci A. Fonville was born in Bethpage, New York and was raised in Amityville, Long Island. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts in 1986 from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia. She is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Human Services for the Town of Babylon and has served her community in this capacity for the past eight years.

In 2011, Traci obtained certification as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and in 2013, she became a Registered Yoga Teacher.

Additionally, Traci is a Brand Ambassador for It Works, a company specializing in health and wellness products such as nutritional supplements, weight loss products, and skin care.
She is also a Wellness Advocate with doTERRA Essential Oils which she shares with her yoga students. Traci has been married to her husband Kelvin for 26 years and they have two children, Brandon (22) and Sydni (12). Traci looks forward to bringing yoga, health and wellness programs to her community.

Traci will write with her own creative style and flow on Health and Nutrition. Please help me welcome Traci to the Simply Cindy Blog team and to our blogging community!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Tracey

My name is Tracey Hope Johnson. I am a 44-year-old single divorced twice, mother of 10. 

I was in a foster home at the age of 10, separated from my siblings to be reunited with them at the age of 12 but not my choice. I wanted to stay with my foster family. I met the best sister in the world while there. She is still with me and my kids call her Nana; she never left my side. 

I was beaten with extension cords for things I felt were minor because I hadn't been taught what my Mom had expected from me. I ran away, dropped out of high school, slept in cars, and was beaten up while in the streets. I didn't know what to do and nobody even asked. I had a individual attempt to rape me but I fought my way out and that was taught to me by my Mom. 

I was given eight years of common sense training from my Mother and she would pass away from AIDS in '93, while I was pregnant with my first daughter, right after her Dad was killed in '92; she was born a week after. 

Oh I didn't say, while I was in the foster home, my Dad lived two streets over and never acknowledged me. I stayed with my foster sister for a while until I became homeless in order to get my own housing for my baby. In '94 I married my high school sweetheart and we had our first baby that year; it was great. 

In '95 I had Jazmin; the physical abuse and degrading comments started and we fought like hell almost everyday. I was introduced to marijuana and cocaine by my husband, something I never did while in the streets. Here comes baby number three; my first son whom I was asked by my husband to abort. I actually called, hung up the phone and cried. He is the spitting image of him. 

In '98 I welcomed my second son and moved in with my foster sister; due to the fights, we were evicted. My sister didn't want him there so I kept the kids in the house and slept in the car. I worked since the age of 17 and with every baby their biological Grandma watched them and I paid her every two weeks. 

My sister allowed my husband to move in and the fights started back up and the putting him out happened almost every day. In '96 I did cheat on my husband and fell for another gentleman but couldn't leave him. 2001 my third son, 2004 daughter, 2005 I was pregnant and my divorce was finalized while he was cheating. In 2006 I was pregnant again thinking we could fix this. God carried me and I finally placed my Faith in his hands and left my ex-husband to never return. Oh he had another child in 2007 with the other young lady and treated us like we didn't exist. I cried everyday and prayed. 

In 2010 I found out my daughter was pregnant and I cried and she had my first grandson. The next month I lost my 14 year old daughter and my faith had turned to depression. This is a snippet of my life God knows it's so much more but My journey will be my testimony for others. #Faith

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Nakesha Lewis


Nakesha Lewis is the founder of Kesha Lewis The Voice of Hope. She began her coaching business after losing her husband of 17 years suddenly in a tragic accident.

Her life's purpose became very clear and she became more compassionate for those experiencing tragic, life altering situations. God pulled her out of her pain and launched her into her purpose of Empowering, Inspiring and Motivating others to live their best life.

Through her coaching, others are empowered with tools that change their mindset into a more optimistic one, inspired to live an abundant filled life and motivated to exhibit new behaviors that align with their new mindset. Kesha is called to show others that they can survive anything that comes their way, no matter how devastating or tragic it may be. "It is fulfilling for me when my clients develop a more positive mindset that encourages them to utilize their power within." 

Kesha offers solutions that will ignite the power of change and drive others into their higher purpose. She's the coach to have in your corner as she is a living example of God's ability to turn ashes into beauty. Her motto is Let's Live! because she wants everyone to experience all the great things life has to offer. The scripture that inspires her the most is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Trinette L. Collier!

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Trinette L. Collier who joined my team as a Contributing Writer.

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

Trinette will be writing a feature once monthly with her very own creative style and flow. "Sticky Notes" will go live at the end of August so please help me welcome Trinette to the Simply Cindy team and to our blogging community!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Beverly Branch!

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Beverly Branch who joined my team as a Contributing Writer. 

Beverly, born and raised in New Brunswick, NJ, later migrated to the DC, MD area in 1988. A single parent of three beautiful grown children; two daughters 27, 28, and a son, 20, and a God sent daughter 30 that she adopted into her family.  She has seven beautiful grandchildren, as well as a Mom and NanNan to many. 

Beverly received the Lord as her Savior and was Baptized at First Baptist Church in Somerset NJ at the tender age of 10. She is the Founder of Women In Fellowship Ministries," WIF", a ministry that the Lord gave to her in 2004. She is a writer, encourager, and intercessor by nature. She loves helping others, traveling, being a caretaker to the elderly, troubled teens, single parents and following whatever direction God leads her.

Beverly will be writing a feature once monthly with her very own creative style and flow. "Beverly's Beatitudes" will go live within the next few days so please help me welcome Beverly to the Simply Cindy team and to our blogging community!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Terrie Jackson!

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Terrie Jackson who joined my team as Lead Recruiter. 

Terrie is a native of Severn, MD, born in Baltimore City, now residing in Glen Burnie, MD. 

Terrie has three beautiful children, two girls, a son, and one grandchild. She works for the United States Postal Service for 14 years. She's a member of Mount Lebanon Baptise Church, where Dr. Franklin Lance is Pastor, Minister of Divinity. Terrie has a love for tigers and most big cats. She loves spending time with family and friends.

Terrie will be marketing/soliciting for our weekly features - "Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week" and "Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday", along with a host of upcoming features. Please help me welcome Terrie to the Simply Cindy team and to our blogging community!

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Edwin

Hi, my name is Edwin Kline and I am honored to share a testimony of The power of the most-high God. I trust and believe that my experience will one day encourage someone who is in over their head and ready to give up on life. 

I used to be a drug dealer. I was also a gang member, running the streets selling crack and living the kind of life that would eventually land me in jail facing the rest of my life. I was arrested in North Carolina for drug trafficking, possession of weapons of mass destruction, also with the intent to sell. 

Prior to my arrest, God gave me a warning sign through a woman; not just any woman, this woman was the owner of one of the trap houses I used to stash and sell product from. She was also a pastor. When she heard what I was doing she chose to invite me to her home instead of calling the cops. I accepted the invitation to dinner and when I walked in her home, her entire family sat a the table for dinner, unlike anything I'd ever experienced in my life. 

Before we began eating she prayed then looked my way and said God gave her a vision of my future. She saw me preaching and helping others find their way back to Christ. At the time I couldn't believe her nor did I understand what was happening. She then said, "...but you're going through some things and God is going to reveal himself to you." Fast forward and here I am, locked up, in way over my head, facing the rest of my life so I called the woman who raised me. She was a minister and she told me God spoke to her and said, whenever she speaks to me to say I must read the entire book of psalms until God speaks to me and I just knew I wasn't ever coming home. She couldn't be serious, (is what I was saying to myself) but hey, what's the worst that could happen? So I got off the phone, went to my cell and began reading. I repeated that all day and night. I attached myself to the cries of David, the cries for help, for forgiveness. I promised to change as I read and one night as I slept, a voice called my name.

I woke up still in a dream and was kneeling before God crying my heart out asking for forgiveness and He spoke and told me how much He loved me then He showed me two people that were going to help me get out of jail. One was a stranger, the other was the stranger's lawyer. After my dream, I woke up feeling better than ever. I felt free. I felt like all the time I thought I was all alone, wow, I wasn't - He was there. I couldn't explain what happened to me to just anybody so I called my Aunt the one who gave me the message. She wasn't surprised at all - although happy, she always read that bible and now I understood why. 

A few days later I met a new inmate that grew up not too far from me so we became cool, then he began telling of this great lawyer he had and right then I thought of the dream I dreamt. When I called the lawyer and explained my case to him, what he'd say next confirmed the Greatness of God! Each word he said is exactly what God said he would say when I met him. I was released and all the charges were dismissed except for a minor offense which I already had enough time in for, so I say to anyone that doesn't believe God is there - He is!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Humbly Yours - by Valerie Crawford

1 How well God must like you—…

3You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

Psalm 1:1a; 3 The Message (MSG)

I’d like to start where the preachers in my life have almost always begun:

LORD – let me decrease now as YOU increase and receive Glory here. Let the words that flow from this pen serve to provide edification for another, to give strength, peace, and hope where needed – in the Matchless Name LORD JESUS!

I’m growing this tree. You may call it my “Promise” Tree, my “After This” Tree or my “Tree for every Season.” Whatever you decide to call it.

Many years ago, my Bishop preached a Word about that “… tree planted by the rivers of water …” The Message Bible says that ‘I’ am that ”… tree replanted in Eden…” That excites me and I’ll explain why. I had expected to be a little further ahead than I currently find myself. However, I have learned the “Secret of the Properly-Placed BUT”! The secret is this: When placed properly in a sentence, the word ‘but’ negates whatever has been previously said or written (exclamation point because that is exciting news!).

Psalm 1 is my “properly placed but!” And the reason I am growing my tree! Verse 1 (in the Message Bible) starts off by saying that “GOD must really like…” [me]. And when I give it a moment of thought, I think, “Yeaaahhh!! HE does.” There’s a gospel song that goes, “As I look back over my life, I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed! I have a testimony!” And while I unpretentiously admit that, no – everything is not perfect, All IS well, and what is not, will be! How do I know? Because GOD Promised. I get so excited about the “replanted” tree because, truth be known, as ‘trees’ go, I had been uprooted. I was jobless and believed that after my divorce, I couldn’t minister to anyone. Uprooted.

I live in a community that is situated within a regional park and there are trees everywhere. In some instances, due to the weather patterns of the Mid-Atlantic region, I notice that sometimes the trees that live in my park have fallen. I don’t mean that the leaves fall because it is autumn. It’s a combination of things. First, there is the weight of the ice in January plus the snow in February. Add to that the harsh rains of April and the winds of May. Before you know it, the vicissitudes of life can cause an entire tree to lift, from its roots, completely out of the ground. Never have I ever seen the park stewards come down to raise an uprooted tree and prop it up with sticks and ropes until the roots find their way back into the soil. What happens is, the overseers come out, pull the saw off the back of the truck and start cutting, from the trunk to the branches, and what may have once been a lovely and productive tree, no longer yields seeds that produce fruit to sustain area critters or blown in different directions to grow new trees or even shade on a warm summer day - all that potential - uprooted.

BUT – then I read verse 3 and became encouraged! Verse 3 points out that the tree (me) has been RE-Planted! And not only RE-Planted but Re-Planted in EDEN! Reeaalllyy? Eden? That beautiful place? That flourishing place? GOD is telling me that after all the things I’ve been through, I still get to have Joy! This IS Good News!

When I read that, I felt as if someone had poured ‘Miracle-Gro’ all over me! Which brings us to my tree! As I have felt my own roots digging deeper, I wanted a visual aide so I started saving seeds from an assortment of different fruit trees; apples, oranges, avocados, peaches, and plums! I planted them all together as a physical reminder of ‘my’ tree that will very soon, bear fruit and always blossom, never losing a leaf!!! I will NOT wither! I have a purpose! I am a Royal Priesthood and Chosen Generation! Because GOD promised! Yes and Amen!!!

I’m growing this tree. You can call it my “Promise” Tree, my “After This” Tree, or my “Tree for every Season.” Whatever you decide, you may call it.

Valerie Crawford
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Stephanie

I didn’t grow up in a religious home. Sure, we went to Catholic church. We learned how to use the rosary, go to the confessional, and make a habit of attending church. It was always more about the action itself as if to mark it off a checklist rather than the importance of a relationship with God. 

We strayed away from the church because my parents believed in giving us the option to go if we so chose. I did not too often go back to church, but periodically as I grew into adulthood, I would find myself desiring to go. I would go by choice in college from time to time with different friends, but I then strayed away from it all over again. I began this journey into adulthood, so lost and confused. I went from an academic superstar (all of my life) to being politely told that because of the decline of my GPA and my lack of ability to bring it up to college level standards, I was not allowed to continue on my journey for at least a year. I was devastated. This is not who I was and I somehow failed. I somehow let other things define me and I forgot how to be successful. I simply didn’t know how. In hindsight, I realize it was because I had lost my flame. I lost my direction. I tried to fulfill a role others wanted for me and not the one God created. I looked to others for my direction not realizing it is not for them, it is for HIM. I decided to work full time. I got involved in not one, but two unhealthy relationships back to back. I somehow could never get back on the path to a bright future like everyone believed I had. I let myself down and let down those who believed in me. Most of all, I think even though I didn’t really have a relationship with God, in some ways, I believed I let Him down too. How can someone like HIM love me with all of my imperfections and mistakes?

This path I unknowingly continued on was so dark while disguised by what I thought was fun and popularity. I became something based on a completely different set of values than what I knew. It was more of how people around me approved of me. I was not proud of this person because I knew I was deserving and better than what I allowed myself to be. Somehow, when you get wrapped up in the world, you lose yourself. One day, something happens and it hits you. Suddenly, you’re in the pits and there’s no one (at least it feels like it) to save you from yourself.

I reached rock bottom, I had sabotaged all of my good relationships with people; I was depressed, full of anxiety, ashamed, and felt entirely alone. I was ashamed of who I had become. I was giving up on myself and I was entirely hopeless. It’s not like I was engaged in drugs or alcoholism. It was my dependency on the world that didn’t sit right in my spirit. It was my dependency on people. I only had one thing left to try before I gave up completely. See, I heard once if you are still here on Earth, God has a purpose or plan for you to fulfill. So one night on a drive home, completely heartbroken and sobbing out of control, I yelled at God so angry and hurt. “Why am I here???? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?? IF I’M STILL HERE, PLEASE TELL ME. PLEASE SHOW ME WHAT IT IS YOU WANT ME TO DO AND I’LL DO IT.” I pleaded with God to show it to me because I knew if I was here, I had a purpose. I just had not found it yet. If God really wanted me to be here, surely He would guide me.

After my plea to God, I didn’t give it much thought. I just continued on as I usually did and marked that moment off as one of those desperate, sad moments I often faced around that time. Except for this time, I actually reached out to something/someone I wasn’t entirely sure I believed in.

A few weeks later, I went to a musical. Anyone who knows me, knows I come from a military family. My father served 22 years in the Army as an infantryman. I’ve always been proud of that. This particular musical was performed by active duty military members. With eagerness, I attended the show to support the subculture I grew up in. Before the show, a gentleman spoke to the crowd and gave his appreciation for the community’s support. He had severe physical injuries, a result from a deployment overseas. When I saw him, I remember the overwhelming feeling of wanting to help him and people like him. I knew at that moment, I wanted to work with military members and Veterans and provide them the help they needed to overcome the repercussions of sacrifice to our country. I wanted to help military kids like me who don’t understand why our parents are the way they are sometimes, this time from invisible injuries we can’t quite comprehend.

I decided to speak to my college mentor/ advisor. At that time, I was completing my last year of my undergrad degree. I said, “I want to help military people. I want to be a counselor for them. What can I do?” My advisor said, “It’s funny you say that. USC just announced their Masters of Social Work program will have a military specialization program they are starting soon. You should really look into it.” Upon further research, USC Columbia was one of the only few Social Work programs that offered a Military specialization. ONLY A FEW in the entire NATION and one of them so happened to be in the city I lived. I thought to myself, “This surely is a sign”.

I knew from the depths of my heart, THIS WAS IT. After all, I asked HIM. For once, I believed in HIS power to show me something I had been missing and here it was. I didn’t go into this prayer thinking He’d actually answer it, but the special part about it is I knew it took my darkest days to try to believe in Him. He already knew this though.

Two years later, I applied to graduate school and to the very program, my mentor told me about. I took a leap of faith and reminded myself, if this is what HE wants for me, it will happen. I was accepted. I’m in my last year of the Social Work program (my program is 3 years long). During our program, we are required to fulfill two years of field practice. Similar to a residency for doctors. Our last year, we get to choose where we would like to do our internship. Just like a job, we had to be interviewed and go through a rigorous process to be selected. I just got offered my dream internship working directly with our Nation’s Veterans.

I applied for many internships, and this by far is the most competitive. It is the most difficult internship to get into. I knew He would take me where He wanted me to go. I just needed to have faith. The day I received the offer was by far one of the most overwhelming days of my life (in a good way). I didn’t get in because I was smart, or I have maintained a 3.9 GPA in graduate school. I didn’t get in because I knew someone. I didn’t get in because of ME. I got in because of HIM. I cried so much because I knew everything I had been through had brought me to this moment. I felt so loved because He made a promise and He kept it. My purpose, my calling, had quickly turned into my dream because I knew there was no greater love than His and because of His love, He grants you these promises. I knew if I followed Him, He would give me something far more than I could ever imagine. That’s why His purpose for me became my dream.

The best part about all of this is no matter how many times I failed, no matter how many times I wanted to give up, no matter how many times I lost hope, or lost my way, God always waited for me. He always received me lovingly, and HE always always showed me grace. I, for the first time in my life, felt a love so unconditional and surreal. I was a mess and He still loved me in all of my messiness. He still loved me even in my brokenness. That is something I can never completely understand, especially when there are days where I can hardly love myself. But there are these small, special moments where I feel Him remind me not who I am, but WHOSE I am, and I remember that it is beyond an honor to be loved by HIM. But to be loved by Him is not some privilege only the special among us can have. It is for everyone. No matter where you are, who you are, or what you have done, He waits for you TOO. Sometimes this world is so ugly and sometimes people make us believe we aren’t worthy of love. I can assure you, HE LOVES YOU TOO. Just reach for Him, and he will receive you too. He’s waiting for you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Sylvia


Sylvia Williams is an enthusiastic 28 years old native of Columbia, South Carolina. She has always had a passion for the Arts. Whether it was dancing, singing, story writing or arts and crafts, Sylvia always had something creative going on.

After attending Columbia High and A.C. Flora High Schools in her home state, Sylvia decided to attend Brenau University in Gainesville, GA to pursue a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts for Graphic Design.

Currently, Sylvia provides freelance graphic and studio art services through her small business "SPW Creations". As a freelancer, Sylvia has completed projects of varied levels, including; logo/ identity designs, event flyers, brochures, menus, personal paintings, and much more. With a collection of poems, drawings, photographs, paintings, and digital graphics, she aspires to produce her own art exhibits worldwide as well as owning a prominent design firm.

Putting God first and being involved in the community is also important to Sylvia. As a young African American female, Sylvia pushes to impact others who surround her with positivity and a seed of encouragement. She believes that it is not where you come from, but who you become in life.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing Simply Cindy's Newest Team Member - Valerie Crawford!

It's my pleasure and honor to introduce Valerie Crawford who joined my team as a Contributing Writer. 

Valerie is a native of Washington, DC where she attended the DC Public Schools and the Georgetown School of Science and Arts for Applied Healthcare. She began her career in the Federal Government in 1984 serving with the USDA, Dept. of Commerce and most recently at the Dept. of Veteran Affairs.

Valerie is a member of The Sanctuary@Kingdom Square (TSAKS) where Anthony G. Maclin is the Pastor. There, she has served on various ministries including Sunday School Teacher and A Company of Saints Drama Ministry.

She currently resides in Southern Maryland and is the mother of three Eagle Scouts.

Valerie will be writing a feature twice monthly with her very own creative style and flow. "Humbly Yours" will go live within the next few days so please help me welcome Valerie to the Simply Cindy team and to the blogging community!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Raise 'Em and Praise Him - Testimony Tuesday! Sabrina St. Rose


I Controlled My Own Destiny by Sabrina St. Rose

What do you do when you have wept and cannot weep anymore? What do you do when everything crumbles and falls right in front of you? Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time I fell and had to get back up in my life I'd be rich by now!

I knew the Scriptures. I knew that my creator was, " A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.(Psalms 68 v5). But I wrestled with that reality in so many of my dark moments. I felt that I wasn't important enough for anyone to listen to and why would God listen to me? I really struggled my entire life being that painfully quiet person who didn't feel worthy of being listened to and it's difficult to write about this but many times I wrestled in my solitude, alone in these self-hating thoughts. I believed these lies that were seeded in me from the dark side of not having faith and left open and vulnerable in my heart to self-deprecating behavior and thoughts. I was so low that I didn’t know that I didn’t have to carry this burden alone.
God Wanted My Pain

I remember that inevitable moment thinking I can't do this thing called life alone! Somebody so perfect created me to do amazing things and I have not only thought he let me down but all along it's been me not being present for my Master and Father.

I won't state how old this happened but I felt certain it was late in the game of life to wake up and smell the coffee. I realized that there was greater meaning for my life too and that I couldn't figure it out because I hadn't surrendered -dedicated my life to serving God.

I was too busy as a young woman trying to please everyone else, trying to make my relationships work, so much so that I had factored little time in if any, for God and me to be the first relationship and main priority.

I remember one lonely night hugging my daughter at the time only about three and realizing we had nothing but one another. I felt like a failure but along with everything else in my life, God wanted me to trust him with my pain. I kept thinking if God lead me here it's for a reason and he wanted me to trust in him enough that he would deliver me out of my despair. I asked God to please take all of my problems from me and let me focus on being a good Mom and a solid provider to her. And so God provided soon from the wreckage. I rebuilt my life yet again, worked two jobs saved and paid for her to go to a Christian school as a thank-you to my creator and yet again move along his path.

So I am the first to say that I am spreading the fabulous news that being strong is not exclusive to anyone special. Plain and simple I train for God, I am his humble servant, I have made my temple a celebration and praise to the gift of health he has given me not a tomb anymore to hurt myself or wallow in despair.

My testimonial is that to feel strong, to be healthy you need to give ALL your PAIN to God. Everyone has been hurt and tomorrow doesn't promise you a future without pain or hurt from people that come into your life but how you manage that with God in your life is critical for your overall harmony and further deepening of love with your own creator.

To be harmonious and happy you need to forgive yourself first and then forgive anyone who has hurt you, it's impossible to move on to positive energy while festering in a drop of darkness; it just doesn't work for the work that you have ahead in serving God. Remember as in your trials and tribulations Luke 6: 27-28 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.



Coach Sabrina St. Rose
Certified NESTA Personal Trainer
Faith In You Fitness LLC

Phone Number: (410) 417-8742.
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