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Free to Forgive

Bitter. Angry. Cold. Entitled. All words that infiltrate my thoughts when I think about some of the feelings we battle with when we harvest unforgiveness in our hearts.  I wonder how a moment of hurt could pierce the heart so deeply that it causes a person to shut down, reject love, adopt an unfamiliar character–change who they are, loose peace, paint on artificial happiness, and the list goes on. How could one person, or an encountered experience have enough power to destroy the person God has called each of us to be? I say “us” because I refuse to single you out knowing that I existed in a place of unforgiveness for a long time. Believe it or not, I was comfortable with it! Comfortable in a sense of no matter how much resentment, anxiety, and hurt tortured me, I still refused to let this hardened feeling go all because I felt like I deserved to carry it out full term–forever.  I felt entitled.  My determination to hold people accountable for what they did to me was my way of saying, “you did me wrong and I didn’t expect it, so I’m now authorized to deal with you the way I see fit.” I didn’t expect it! That’s the part that tends to smack us in the face…we trust, they fail.

This feeling of entitlement that I mentioned has nothing to do with the natural expectation that the people we love or simply encounter are supposed to treat us with love, respect, loyalty, courtesy, goodness, kindness, etc.…as they should. But it has everything to do with our belief that if people don’t treat us the right way, we should in return hold them hostage to our despising and sometimes murderous thoughts and actions. We keep ourselves bound by the spirit of rejection, hurt, and even depression. Let’s not forget all of this starts with a decision to hold on to toxicity, simply because our unforgiveness feels justified– justified due to someone else’s lack of good character or inability to meet our expectations. In some cases we carry resentment because we are secretly disappointed in ourselves for our own inability or unwillingness to properly assess the people we allow in our lives…our inability to see people for who they are and who God would have revealed them to be if we would have consulted him first. 

We often misread signals because we “feel” people are put in our lives for a reason. But this common phrase fails to mention that sometimes “the reason” is solely to destroy and delay us! Sometimes people are not sent by God but by the enemy himself. We forget that he too has a mission to knock us off every stepping stone God builds towards our purpose. We fail to guard our hearts with all diligence as the bible encourages us to do, we welcome people into positions they were never supposed to fill. What if the man you made the decision to be in a relationship with was only meant for you to give him a word to lead him to God?  What if the girl you decided to be best friends with was only someone you were supposed to give an encouraging word to and that’s it? What if the man you went on a date with was only a counterfeit sent to block you from the promise God was on His way to deliver to you–– your real husband?  What if the person who abused you was sent to kill you spiritually because you were called to do powerful works for God in the world? All these what-ifs serve as real life examples of how we can easily become a hostage to people who were misidentified or sent to distract us from discovering our true identity and divine purpose.

There are times when we have valid reasons to trust those we love, and then that trust is betrayed in the worst way. Or what about the times when strangers bring unexpected wrath into our paths? In those moments, we are required…commanded to cling onto God and his almighty power, his perfect love and his never-ending strength to forgive.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness, he fights for us in his perfect timing and our enemies become his. God’s love is so full and perfect that he will heal us if we open our hearts and remain rooted and grounded in him. He’ll deliver our enemies right in front of us for them to either see they’ve been defeated, or cause them to glorify the God we serve simply because our forgiveness shed light on their darkness.  Holding on to the pain caused by another person keeps us locked in a time capsule unable to grow, love in fullness or move on. We literally become stuck in a time zone…unable to tap into who God has called us to be and the blessings he has assigned to us.  Making the decision to forgive is about us and our relationship with God, not about focusing on who caused it. It’s about living in our rightful freedom and not allowing anyone to steal our peace and joy. It’s about forgiving others as God forgives our faulty messes. Forgiveness never dismisses the truth that has been revealed about the person who hurt us or replenishes a relationship, but it does give us permission to be let loose from their control and reconciled with the one who is faithful at winning our battles for us––God. It gives us permission to let go of hurt and grab desperately onto God’s love.  If there is any love left in you, which I believe there is, I admonish you to pull from that place where the Spirit of God lives, forgive, and be FREE!

Your Sis,

Jameela

Body Goals, Gyms can Go

WOW, can you believe it?  We are in a new year already!  Where has the time gone? Like most people, the new year brings many resolutions, and one of those is, “I’m going to the gym.”  The first couple of months of the new year all gyms across the world see an increase in membership.  After that time, the number of gym goers dwindles down to the regular members, with only a few of the new members still going.  

Are you tired of buying a gym membership and not following through?  Tired of paying for a gym membership year after year, to find yourself not going after a couple of months?  Are you paying for a gym membership month after month after month and telling yourself, “I’m going tomorrow.  I paid for this membership.” But you never go?  If your answer is YES, keep reading. Here are 3 ways to reach your goals WITHOUT a gym membership.

ONE.

Use social media.  How?, you may ask.  Glad you asked. Social media is a great way to connect with people that are like-minded, people who have been where you are, people who can encourage and motivate you to reach your goals.   The best part of connecting with people through online communities is – IT’S FREE.  Who doesn’t like getting something for free?  You can find advice, encouragement, motivation, recipes, suggested workouts, and a community of people who will not judge you if you fall down.  

TWO.

Workout to videos on YouTube or cable TV stations, which are free and can add variety to your workouts. Consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.

Check out these two YouTube channels that can help you reach your goals:

  • LBX FitnessThis channel has 30-day workouts men and women can do in the privacy of their home. The trainer shows participants how to do modified and full versions of the exercises.  This is one of my favorite channels.
  • Tiffany Rothe WorkoutsTry any of the following videos: Fabulous Fat Burning Workout, Waist Shrinking Tummy Tightening Workout, and Sexy Upper Body Workout.  My personal favorite is the 10-minute Booty Shaking Waist Workout.

THREE.

Start a walking group.  

Here are the steps (pun, intended).

  1. Create and post flyers to announce your meeting (or use social media to reach out).  Include time, location and a telephone number if you don’t mind taking calls.
  2. Get organized at your first meeting. Discuss how often to walk, time of day, days of the week to meet, location route, distance, and amount of time the group will spend per walk.
  3. Maintain your group’s momentum.  As the group leader, encourage the group to have a motivational meeting at least once a month
  4. Enjoy yourself.   The camaraderie you experience in a walking group can help you stay on track with walking for fitness.

Home Exercises

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Complete four times with no rest in between. (If you need to, please rest). After doing 25 high knees, standing in place go right into 25 jumping jacks.

25 jumping jacks

25 standing squats

25 high knees standing in place

 

Tuesday/Thursday

Complete five times with a 30-second rest between sets.  After completing your pushups take a 30-60 second rest and start again from the top. 

45 seconds fast jump rope

25 bicycle crunches (left elbow to right knee, right elbow to left knee = 1)

20 pushups (can be done on your knees or feet)

You can also buy a jump rope, 3-5 pounds (or higher) dumbbells, ankle or wrist weights to add to the video or suggested workouts above for more resistance. 

Now do you see how you can reach your goals without buying a gym membership? You can do this!

Zhivi Williams has over 30 years of experience in fitness. She is the founder of LBX Fitness and author of Who Needs a Gym? Her motto is “Transforming the body starts by renovating the mind.”  Follow her on her website at www.lbxfitness.com and on all social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube – at LBX Fitness.

911…Who’s Saving You?

If your 2017 has been anything like mine, I ran out of the year like a woman with her hair on fire. Now that the year has gotten underway, I don’t know about you, but I am living my BEST life this year! What is the BEST life you say? Your best life is living the life that God has for you. Your best life is the life without and limits that we often place on ourselves because of our past.

As women we are the first ones up in the morning, and the last ones to lay down. By the time we get to ourselves we have nothing left! It would be great if we could wake up tomorrow and already living where we want to live, have the things that we want to have and already making the moves we’ve promised ourselves we would make.

It takes WORK to live your best life! In order to live your best life, you will need a YES, a NO, and a RIGHT NOW. You need to say YES to God’s will for your life! This will be the hardest part. If you can do this, the rest will be easy. When you say yes to God you are openly acknowledging that his will is what’s best for you. You are getting out of the driver’s seat. Ultimately, you are allowing God to lead you and relinquishing your life over to him and trusting that he will get you where you have to go.

You need to say YES to yourself. Saying yes means that you are pulling yourself from the back burner and moving your desires, ideas, hopes and dreams to the front. You are making yourself a priority. Now I know, you have children, maybe grandchildren, and a husband. But let’s put our own oxygen mask on before you worry about putting on someone else’s.

After you have said YES to God and YES to yourself you need to say NO. To who? TO EVERYONE ELSE! We have to learn to say no to the responsibilities and obligations that others try to pass on to us. No, I can’t go to your event. No, I can’t take you to the store. I’m helping ME! Don’t deny yourself so you can feel better about yourself. Now that doesn’t mean we should be rude, offensive, or even dismissive to others. But we should look at the ratio of time we give others in comparison to the time we spend on ourselves. If we spend all of our time helping someone else with their dream when will we have the time, passion, patience or resources to see our dream into fruition?

Once we’ve gotten those out of the way then we can get to work. When will we write out our dreams and goals: RIGHT NOW. When will we put what God told us to do into practice: RIGHT NOW. When will we start the business plan: RIGHT NOW. it won’t happen overnight. It takes time, energy, effort, and patience. If you don’t live your life, it won’t get lived because no one else can live it for you. If you’re scared, so what; do it anyway. Feel like it’s too big, great. It probably is too big and that’s why you will need God’s help. How will you do it? Glad you asked, let me tell you:

 

  1. Spend time in prayer and ask God what his will is for you. When he tells you, write it down.
  2. Pray daily over the plan he gave you for your life. Seek him for how and when.
  3. Give yourself deadlines, this will help you stay on task.
  4. Pray about who you should and shouldn’t share your plans with, some will be encouragers and some will be investors. But be careful of those that are leeches, they only want to siphon the good and leave you with the rest.

It’s your time! 2018 is your year to live! You will love your family more, serve your church more, and love yourself more!

Corner Prayer:

Lord, thank you for bringing me into a new year! Thank you for what you have for me this year. Lord, help me to let go of the things that held me back, disappointed me, or didn’t go my way last year. Lord, renew my passion for the things that you promised me. Help me to seek you in a new way so that I can live my best life. The abundant life that Jesus came to give me. Help me to be a better mother, a better wife, and a better kingdom woman. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Womens Health: Cervical Cancer Awareness

It’s time to get back to some health education! January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month so let’s take some time to learn a little about cervical cancer facts, symptoms, causes and how to prevent it.

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer is a disease that allows the cells in your body to grow more than they normally would.

How is the Type of Cancer Determined?

  • The type of cancer is always named according to the body part that it starts in, even if it spreads to other areas.
    • If one has cervical cancer and it spreads to the lungs, she would say, “I was diagnosed with cervical cancer with metastasis (spread) to the lungs.” This person does not actually have lung cancer.

Facts and Stats:

  • All sexually active women are at risk for cervical cancer
  • Most cervical cancers are seen in women over 30 years of age
  • About 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 die from cervical cancer each year.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

  • Many women don’t have symptoms. Those that do experience vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain/pressure.

Cause of Cervical Cancer:

  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) almost exclusively causes cervical cancer
    • HPV is a virus that is passed from person to person during sexual intercourse.
    • There are many types of HPV, with a handful that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
    • About 70 percent of sexually active individuals will have HPV in their lifetime; however, before it can cause abnormal pap smears or cancer, most women’s immune systems will fight off the virus to clear it from the body, just like a cold.
  • Other things that can increase the risk of cervical cancer
    • Smoking cigarettes
    • Having several sexual partners
    • Having health problems that decrease your immune system’s ability to fight viruses, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Prevention of Cervical Cancer

  • Start young! Get your children vaccinated with the HPV vaccination
    • The vaccine protects from the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical and vaginal cancers.
      • It can be given to girls and women, ages 9-26
      • It’s best given before becoming sexually active
      • There is great controversy about giving this vaccine as some parents believe that it will lead their children to believe they can become sexually active. I advise that you speak to your children about the topic and discuss your expectations. All in all, if a vaccination can prevent future cancer for your child, why not give it to her?
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit your sexual partners and use condoms
  • Get your normally scheduled pap smears (a cervical swab that tests for cells that can lead to cervical cancer) on time and follow up as recommended if you have an abnormal pap.
    • Many of the cervical cancers that I see are in women who haven’t had a GYN visit in 15-20 years.

Speaking of pap smears, are you a person that dreads your annual exams due to pap smears? No worries! They are no longer recommended every year! Checkout the current guidelines!

  • Starting getting pap smears at age 21, Continue every 3 years, until age 30, then every 5 years with HPV testing or you may continue every 3 years with just a pap smear alone.
  • Stop after having a hysterectomy if it is done for benign reasons (can’t be done for cancer or abnormal pap smears) or at the age of 65 if the last 3 paps were negative.

I hope this information finds you better informed. If I had to provide two take home points they would be: 1. Get your pap smears done on time! 2. Get your children the HPV vaccination! If there were a vaccine that could prevent breast, lung or colon cancer, etc, everyone would jump on it! Let’s work towards moving past our fear of the HPV vaccination and protect our youth from cervical cancer!

Until Next Time,

Dr. Jay

Issa Bae Slay

We have something for the guys and girls this issue. Let’s be real, this special day is not only for the ladies. I’m sure, there are just as many men who feel left out when it comes to what to wear on this whirlwind day of love.

Casual Valentine– Meeting a friend or classmate for an early dinner or appetizers? This look is perfect for you. Dressing casual does not mean look boring,  bring your flare in a laid back manner.

 

  • Men- Don’t be afraid of mixing color or patterns!
  • Ladies- Bomber jackets are the bomb.com and add a level of coolness to anything.

 

 

After 5 Valentine– After 5 takes some planning! Maybe this is not the outfit you wore to work, but it’s definitely what you could make a quick change into after work.

 

  • Men- wearing a man’s scarf is super-hot right now! Wear it with a slim fitting shirt. Remove your suit jacket, add the vest and you are set to go.
  • Ladies- If you are pressed for time, black pants, a blouse, and a cute pair of heels are the easiest route to go.

 

 

 

Be Mine Valentine – What more can we say?

 

  • Men- take the time to pay attention to every detail, including your cologne. On this particular night, go for something light and not overwhelming.
  • Ladies- There is nothing classier than a woman who is a minimalist. Let the outfit make the statement, and the accessories and make up compliment it.

 

 

Happy SLAY Year!

by Carla Childs
10, 9, 8, 7…..and the countdown begins! It does not matter where you will be
when the New Year rings in, we have a style for you. I’m not a big fan of New
Year resolutions. I do, however, believe in staying true to yourself and embracing
your creativity and style. Vow this year to SLAY in your lane!
New Year Worship

 Whoever said going to church on New Year’s Eve had to be boring? There is no better way to bring in 2018 than surrounded by your faith based family. Feel free to bring in a little bit of glitter and glam to your NYE church service.
New Year Gala
Is your company having a NYE gala? You will never go wrong in the simple, but classic black dress. Although this gorgeous little black dress has gold accent, it still screams elegance. 
New Year Gathering
This look is perfect for bringing in the New Year with
friends, family or that special someone.
Ladies, accessorize your look! Try not to over do it. You want to be able to keep
everything minimal so your look is not bogged down with heavy jewelry and
an enormous purse. Be sure to bring a pair of flat, fashionable and comfortable shoes. There is nothing worse than ending your evening barely being able to walk.
Happy New Year from your fashionistas here at Nouveau Exposure Magazine!

BreeAnn Hammond: Life with a Legend (Fred Hammond)

 

Just as history was about to be made at Fountain of Praise church in Houston, TX I was privileged to interview the eldest child of gospel legend, Fred Hammond. While being backstage prior to a live recording or concert is based on granted access passes for most, it’s all too familiar for BreeAnn Hammond.

There were people scrambling everywhere making sure everything was just perfect for the live recording that was about to take place and in the midst of all of the action here I was sitting across the table from FRED HAMMOND’S DAUGHTER. I’m sure that many of you, as myself, wonder what it would be like to have parents who are famous. I would want the hook up to every tour and be in on studio recordings.

Well, that’s not technically the life that BreeAnn experienced and thankfully she was willing to share her story.

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Left to right: Editor Sharonda Cawthon, Fred Hammond, BreeAnn Hammond and Pastor Remus Wright

 

Fred Hammond’s My Dad

BreeAnn recalls actually realizing what her father did when she was about five or six years old. To her recollection this was just around the time that Commissioned was very popular. There were occasions when BreeAnn and her mom traveled with her father, but not on a regular basis. To this day, as she travels with her father, she says that people tell her they remember her running around in her dresses when she was a little girl. I had to laugh because shortly after she mentioned this in the interview I literally witnessed someone saying this to her. But, as a young girl she learned that it was going to pretty much be she and her mother at home as she witnessed her father constantly leaving to travel. When she wasn’t able to go along with him, her father would bring back gifts or keepsakes and still does today. (How sweet!)

As any child, she would share with other children that her daddy sings. As she aged, wisdom kicked in and it became more of a need to know basis to protect herself from those who befriended her just because Fred Hammond is her dad.

When generally describing her childhood BreeAnn stated, “my childhood was pretty amazing.” The early years were not as fruitful as the present years. The fame was new. BreeAnn can remember as the financial status of her parent’s changed they were able to move from neighborhood to neighborhood. People have made assumptions about her life because of who her father is but she has an understanding that God has just been good to them over the years. She has counted living in a total of ten or eleven locations. She understands what it takes to live with nothing and appreciates the luxuries that her father’s career has afforded her to have.

breeann and mom oldie
BreeAnn Hammond and her mother, Kimberly. Photo courtesy of BreeAnn

 

Because Mr. Hammond’s career was taking off just as BreeAnn was a young child she was groomed in the environment of a little luxury. “I had grown accustom to studio life and getting on planes. It was definitely exciting because not a lot of my friends were able to have the same experience. Their parents had professions that required them to stay local and at home,” said BreeAnn.

It’s not always glamorous having someone such as Fred Hammond as your father. BreeAnn recalls her twenty-first or twenty-second birthday being a bit un-enjoyable. Her family got together for an evening of fun at Dave & Busters to celebrate. Well, for most families this wouldn’t be much of an issue. In and out without any problem. Well, BreeAnn thought it wouldn’t be too bad. It wasn’t like her dad was on a mainstream platform such as Sean Combs or Beyoncé. Normally people would look as though they recognized her father as Fred Hammond, but would not approach him. Well, this night she was wrong. She recalls people coming up all night asking for autographs and pictures, even while they were sitting at the table with her birthday cake on the table, candles lit and all. As you might have felt as well, she was ready to leave.

BreeAnn has learned that the kindness her father demonstrates as he meets fans who have followed him over the years is truly an example to her of how she should interact with others as she is working to make her imprint in the world of gospel music.

breeann and dad oldie
A young Fred Hammond and BreeAnn Hammond. Photo courtesy of BreeAnn

The Divorce

You may recall over a decade ago the news that Fred Hammond and his wife had divorced and for a teenage girl who knew them as father and mother it was earth shattering. BreeAnn described it as rocking her world.

At first BreeAnn was accepting of the divorce because she was focusing on the benefit of having two separate locations to live. In her mind, if she was upset with her mom it would be cool because she could just go to her dads and vice versa. But, then reality sank in. She began to be angry. She blamed her father for the marriage ending. As a teenager she was under the impression that her mother wanted to stay in the marriage and her father was the one to “pull the trigger on the divorce.”

When asked if the divorce put a strain on her relationship with her father she responded saying, “The strain came as a result of me and my brother primarily living with my mother. To go from living in the same household as one family unit to living in a single parent home and only seeing my dad sparingly was THE strain on the relationship. My dad also relocated to Texas and the distance made it where we only saw each other if someone traveled.”

BreeAnn and her brother lived with their mother in Detroit as she transitioned from being a stay at home mom and involved with the family business to having to manage on her own and join the workforce again. In a declining economy things were difficult and for a while BreeAnn recalls that she blamed her dad for her mother’s struggles. “I changed and started to realize that every individual is responsible for his or her own actions. I believe that if I am struggling, I need to work harder. If I am met with opposition, I need to fight harder for what I want. I started applying that principle to everyone. I was able to resolve that both my mom and dad affected each other’s lives but they were ultimately in control of their own individual lives.”

Several years after the divorce and conversations with both of her parents helped BreeAnn to realize everyone (including herself) on the outside looking into her parent’s marriage would never have a full understanding of how or why the marriage ended in divorce. She stated, “There are three sides to every story, his, hers and then Gods.”

After experiencing married life, herself, BreeAnn feels pretty silly that she had such strong opinions. Now that she has her own personal experience with marriage she says, “It’s no joke!” From her conversations with her parents she has learned from both of them that they are “imperfect human beings who are trying to live right. Nobody is perfect and my parents are able to fall short sometimes just like I can.”

 

My Dad, the Boss

In case you didn’t know, BreeAnn sings background for her father. That’s right! She gets to sing with Fred Hammond! She began singing with her father at the age of 16, on occasion. Due to school schedules she wasn’t always able to travel with him but after completing college several years ago she is able to work with him more.

breeann and dad oldie 2
Fred Hammond and BreeAnn Hammond photo courtesy of BreeAnn.

You might recall the vocals of a female on the hit, I Will Trust. Well, that’s BreeAnn. She not only sings with him but they have written songs together as well.

Not too many family members can work together, but BreeAnn has found that things go pretty well. She definitely wants to make her father proud and realizes that people are watching to see if her sound will be a good follow up to the legacy that her father has laid.

If you attended the Festival of Praise tour in 2014 you may have witnessed BreeAnn singing a single, He Is. This is an example of the type of songs they have created together. The song isn’t available for purchase or download yet but if you give her name a google search you will find YouTube videos.

During the recording Mr. Hammond stated that it would be the end of one phase of his career and the beginning of new ventures announcing that he is putting the mic halfway down, not all the way down, and making room for the next generation. In response BreeAnn said, “I really don’t know how to feel about his announcement. I guess I have mixed emotions because the thought of him putting the mic down is a very foreign concept for me. He’s had “the mic” for longer than I’ve been alive. I do think it’s admirable, however, for him to make room for up and coming artists like myself. Truthfully, I don’t think he’ll ever totally put the mic down though. There are so many legends who continue doing what they love all the way until they transition out of this life. My dad’s career has been part of him for most his life…it’s in his veins and I would be completely shocked if he stopped all together.”

BreeAnn has been working with her father developing a project to make her mark, as time allows. She isn’t on social media as much as her dad, but she dibbles and dabbles a bit. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

She hopes to eventually be in full time ministry in several years. She is definitely someone that you want to keep an eye and ear out for the future.

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Fred Hammond and BreeAnn Hammond posing together after the live recording in Houston.

Encouraging Words

BreeAnn has had ups and downs in her relationship with her father and still today, they are both actively working on healing the relationship and moving forward. When asked what she has to say to encourage those who have shaky relationships or no relationship with fathers she stated that for her, she had to just love him and be determined not to just cast him to the side. There were times that she felt as though she was reaching out more than he at one point.  to the last few years of the relationship changing. She encourages you that if you still want to be your dad’s princess to reach out and remember with love and kindness that you can draw even if you don’t get it back, still give it. If your father is completely unavailable, God will make provision.

 

It’s Tankard Time

You know the old saying, blood is thicker than water? Well, on the reality television show, “Thicker Than Water,” award winning gospel jazz musician Ben Tankard and wife Jewel, along with the rest of the Tankard clan, are showing viewers the true essence of that phrase by allowing Bravo network to capture every moment of their lives. Fans have been waiting and Bravo has answered. The Tankards will be returning for season 3 on Easter Sunday, March 27th at 10 pm EST /9 pm CST.

For those of you who may be asking yourselves, who are the Tankards and why are they famous? Well, haven’t you heard of Ben Tankard? He is a basketball player turned gospel jazz musician, songwriter and now pastor of Destiny Center located in Tennessee. He credits the strong push and encouragement for launching into the music world to the late Darryl Coley, who believed in his gift and talent, along with the likes of Yolanda Adams.  Ben has recently received his 14th Stellar Award at the 31st Annual Stellar Awards adding to his collection of numerous awards and recognition in the music world. He has been in the music industry for over 25 years, so needless to say he IS somebody to the Christian community.

For those of you who are fans of the Tankards and faithfully watch the show, “Thicker Than Water,” you might be wondering what’s been happening with the Tankard family. I won’t blab on everything. We will see Cyrene adjusting to college life at Howard University and the freedom that comes along with it.  Ben Jr and his wife, Shanira, are enjoying their new venture as parents, Brooklyn is beginning to stretch out and make her own mark on the music industry, Brittany is moving forward and starting a new chapter in her life with a growing desire to be a mother and Marcus and his wife, LaTisha, are now leading a second location of the Destiny Center on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, TN. You better believe there will be plenty of gasping moments causing social media to go hashtag crazy when we see how all of these changes affect the family.

Ben and Jewel are experiencing an empty nest and they have been able to ‘fill the void’ with some new experiences. Ben has added author to his list of accomplishments. He has written a self-help book titled “The Full Tank Life” based on his own experiences. Jewel is taking her own path currently working on the second season of her nationally syndicated talk show, “The Jewel Tankard Show.” Jewel’s show is known for approaching issues that most ‘saints’ would consider taboo. But leave it to Jewel and she will get the conversation rolling. During this season of her show she says viewers can look forward to topics such as realistic challenges of maintaining a marriage, teen pregnancy and parent/community involvement for prevention of this epidemic, female entrepreneurs and who have struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide and a host of special guests like Ricky Smiley and more.

It may seem outrageous to some people for cameras to film every waking moment of someone’s life. Ben even expressed that at the beginning of this adventure their family faced ‘religious’ critics who didn’t quite agree with the family being on camera. But let’s keep it real, what family doesn’t have drama?! I’m sure many viewers see themselves in the likes of the Tankard family from the quarrels among siblings to the family secrets. It’s just easier to watch another family experience it and critic them than for others to know what they would see if we were the one in front of the camera.

The Tankards have opened up their lives on a stage for the world with a purpose of ministry. As Ben put it, they want viewers to be able to relate to their family and see how imperfect people, in an imperfect family serve a perfect God.

Be sure to tune in Sunday evenings on Bravo and watch the Tankards as they show just how imperfect they are. In the words of Ben Tankard, “If you thought season one and two was something you haven’t seen anything yet.” Get your hashtags ready because IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN! Tune in on Sunday evenings on Bravo.

 

 

#BlackWomanHeal

For this issue our editor was able to speak with Alexandra Gee-Lewis about her strong desire to help others. That desire began at a young age watching her own mother who was involved in non-profit organizations. When Alexandra was 17 she went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Upon her return she felt a need to become more involved with her mother and work with Lilada’s Livingroom.

Lilada’s Livingroom is an organization that is geared towards working with teenage girls and young adult women. Lilada’s Livingroom was founded by Alexandra’s mother, Lilada Gee. After Lilada battled with overcoming her past life experiences of sexual abuse by her step-father and a difficult marriage Lilada began meeting with other women to share her story to encourage them to leave dangerous situations in their own homes and create a sense of community for single mothers.

Alexandra works alongside her mother in the efforts of the organization. She can be found conducting groups and keeping up with young women who have come through the school programs that are conducted as part of programming for Lilada’s Livingroom. Specifically, those programs are prevention groups with younger girls in elementary, middle and high school that centers around cultural identity.
Quite a bit of the work for Lilada’s Livingroom is Afro-centric. There is a global movement called Black Women Heal Day which began to provide early intervention, healing support and help to equip others to work with a particular population of women. April 1, 2015 was the first year that this was done. In the first year there were black women from 40 states and 12 countries who joined.

Black Woman Heal Day occurs on the first day of April, and how befitting that it does. April is the month for sexual assault awareness. This April you can be apart by hosting a group in your own living room or a small event in your local area for women to come together and share with others to increase the awareness of sexual assault and the grace that God can grant to be able to move forward in life and begin healing. Feel free to make posts on social media sharing your testimony or photos from your group/event using the hashtag #blackwomanheal.

To learn more about the organization visit their website www.lilada.org or on Twitter and Instagram @blackwomenheal at for the organization on all of your social media outlets and their website.

Spring Fashion: Little White Dress

 

With the smell of spring at the tip of our noses, it’s time to toss away the deep Fall and Winter tones, and whip out some light colors. As the old tradition goes, we store our white dresses after Labor Day until Easter Sunday. So let’s reach into our closets and resurrect those white-as-snow, pure white dresses!

Raising Friendlies

by: Esperanza Cherry

 

As parents we try to raise kind and loving children and in return we also want to see our children treated with love and kindness. It breaks our heart to see our children being mistreated or abused. We so quickly turn into Momma Bear to defend our child but do we protect the precious children of others with the same passion from our own kids? Are we more concerned that others are good friends to our children than we are about our children being good friends to them?

So the question is, why isn’t our child’s lack of being a good friend being acknowledged? Maybe the negative behaviors aren’t properly addressed because we think it’s just a phase that will be grown out of instead of developed. It is also possible we don’t see our child’s behavior as “that bad.” Whatever the reason may be, we do our children a great disservice in not addressing their heart.

Here are some ways to help your child be the type of friend you would want them to have:

1) Create a zero tolerance Approach
For some things be sure to create a zero tolerance rule and stick to it each and every time. If you don’t want your child to be hit by other kids, then be the first to immediately take your child out of playtime when you see them hurt another child. Be sure to give them the appropriate discipline for their action and discuss with them why they are receiving this consequence. Remind them that this action is never acceptable and it will always be responded with a consequence. You would want the parents of your child’s friend to respond with the same care.

2) Help create a sincere heart
In a child’s mind it’s hard for them to see past their own needs and wants. They are living in an “it’s all about me” world. It is our job to help them see the rest of the population in that world. Let’s help our child be the caring friend we want them to have. Teach your child to rejoice about the celebrations in their friend’s lives. If their friend is excited to show your child their new shoes, teach your child to rejoice with their friend and take a sincere interest.
Another way to help your child escape the “It’s all about me” world is to help train your child to engage in conversations by asking about the other person and how they are doing and feeling without turning the conversation back on them. Allow opportunities for your child to care completely about the emotions and concerns of others.

3) Avoid the master manipulator
Children are observant and can learn the right words and actions to take to get themselves out of trouble. Remember that the goal is to do our part in raising a kind and loving child, this means that though we may want to believe the “I’m sorry mom” and let it go with a simple apology it must sometimes come with a consequence. Not doing this teaches them that saying just those words allows them to act selfishly and do what they want without repercussion. Be sure your child understands that being sorry means they feel sorrow and regret for how they hurt their friend, it’s not just a statement to get out of trouble. This is your opportunity to teach your child empathy. When your child says sorry even with an insincere heart, be sure to thank your child for saying the words but that their action still means there is a consequence. It is an important life lesson that they will have to learn, you can’t just say sorry and avoid the consequence.

It is important for us, as parents, to love our children enough to help hold them accountable for their actions and help them to act out of a sincere heart to love, feel remorse and empathize with their friends. Let’s help develop our children to be the kind of friends we long for them to have.