Monthly Archives

June 2017

Inspiration and Motivation

America The Beautiful???

June 29, 2017

Yesterday, I was surfing the Internet via Facebook and I came across some appalling things. I stumbled upon a video sponsored by the CNN network that showcased actors, politicians, and other celebrities, who were speaking about the first time that they realized that they were black. Now mind you, all these stories were NEGATIVE. One actor while in college had a bunch of white students spit in his coca cola can when he stepped out of the room and didn’t tell him. Literally, his white female friend broke down crying when they got back on the bus, after the other students revealed to her what they have done. They only let her in on the awful secret because she attempted to sip from the can and was discouraged by them not to.

In a subsequent story, within that same video, another black actor was disclosing a time when he was at camp and was helping to bring out the radio of his white friend. Lo and behold someone called the police on him because they thought that he was stealing the radio. The sadness on his face was so blatant in the video. My heart literally shattered as I watched the piece from beginning to end. This video along with many other stories and articles have been sparked by the recent racist activities happening across our country. Oh America the beautiful, when did you become so ugly again?!?!?! Did you try to fool the American people by altering your outside appearance, when truthfully you were rotten to the core. This is supposed to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. Why are you not living up to your own national anthem?!?!

Later on that evening, I then came across another video that featured, the top ten states within the United States, where the most lynching of blacks took place. That was even more disturbing than the CNN video. I only got to state number 8 and I wanted to vomit. I immediately turned to my husband who was sitting directly across from me with near tears in my eyes and a broken heart and said, “Why is this happening again? Our ancestors fought so hard for our freedom and now it seems as if we are taking steps backwards.” At that moment, the hate crimes against Muslims and Jews also became visible in my mind. All I could say to myself was—“God, please have mercy on us!” What have we become or better yet reverted to as a nation?!?

Leading up to the election of our president elect, we began to see the amount of racial hate crimes increase, and what was truly on the hearts of some Americans. In my opinion, now that our ‘dear’ president in office has started a chain of foolishness— and has turned the Oval Office into the set for his new reality show playground; things have spiraled out of control within our nation. We have Americans that are verbally, emotionally, and physically abusing minorities and immigrants. Hello America, did you not know that this country was built on the backs of slaves (original migrants) and immigrants. We are all human beings, and all bleed red blood. Our skin color, cultural, religion, and etc., are not grounds to discriminate and hate each other. We are to love each other!

My heart is so overwhelmed as I think about my children and the world that they have to now grow up in. America, you have let us down. You are Super World Power, which has such an influence. Is this what you choose to portray us as to the entire world! We all need to stop and re-evaluate our principles, morals, and intrinsic values. If they are laced with hate…we seriously need to take a self- renewal enema, and start a fresh. Honestly, if people stopped being so ignorant and took the time to reflect on America and the country we are—they would see it is the diversity within our walls that makes us so beautiful!

I am literally sick and tired of all that is going on within our country as it pertains to racism and other violent acts (e.g. – police brutality). For a long time I contemplated on speaking out, but I can no longer sit back and not say anything. This has to stop! We all can use a cleansing…starting with Mr. President and his entourage.

Also, how convenient that he pleasantly forgot that his lovely wife (now first lady) was once an immigrant, who we as a country graciously granted naturalization. Hmmm… just let that seep in.

I know that this article may invoke many opinions both good and bad. However, I do not care and in fact want to elicit some sort of stirring within the hearts of all. Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

Yes, how true is that saying. Well, I needed to get this off my chest and it has been a long time coming. Let us stand up for good, and stop the spread of evil racism and hate against ALL people. Such great things can blossom from love. Time to let go and let love reign in our hearts—in such great quantity that our souls become transformed. Life is truly too short, and who wants to really leave behind a legacy of hate and pain?

Stop the madness, and let happiness take its rightful place in making our America The Great, truly beautiful!

~Contessa Thomas

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Thou Art Loosed!

June 25, 2017

No one can ever make the claim that they have lived a perfect life.

No one can ever confess that EVERY decision that they have made equates to ultimate happiness and fulfillment.

No one can ever acclaim to being their best ever because truth is….

We have ALL messed up and have made mistakes at some point in our lives.

Very often, our decisions dictate the way in which our lives unfold, and some of you would agree with me that we are not always happy with the outcome of our choices.

Our choices have a way of haunting us…keeping us in mental captivity… bound…locked up…desolate.

We find ourselves trapped in the same mental cycle, having a pity party…solo.

We become trapped in negative patterns, saying negative things about ourselves…essentially destroying ourselves.

We begin to grow bitter, angry and ugly, lashing out on those who actually do love us.

We feel as if we are the only ones feeling the way we do… the only ones dealing with that current situation.

We keep our “business” in prison because we will be judged if the truth of who we are and the reality of our struggles became known.

We seek to please others as a means to mask our pain… an act of divergence I would call it.

We keep everyone out of the inner circle and place everyone on the outside of our emotional realm…”I have to protect myself…” Sounds familiar? 

Who are you?

Where did you go?

Where’s your smile?

You’ve become a prisoner to yourself and it’s TIME to be set free.

Being set free is an act of healing and restoration. It enables you to move forward being the true YOU; no mask needed. 

For years, I have experienced mental bondage when it came to my relationship with my father.  I needed him but he wasn’t there.  I searched for “him” through relationships, which were epic failures.  My search for “him” set me up for a never-ending emotional roller coaster…what a torturous ride is has been!

I was doomed. I loathed in self pity, living empty, not knowing what to truly expect out of a dating relationship. I kept searching and searching; all of which caused me to sink deeper and deeper into a rut.

I was bound.

Are you bound?

Are you struggling with issues such as acceptance, forgiveness, poor relationships, or low self esteem that is keeping you depressed, and withdrawn?

If this is a truism for you, this is not the end of the road. Make the decision today to be set free.

  1. Accept the events from your past.

We all have scars from events that happened in our past and through repetitiously dwelling on them we are keeping ourselves bound. We are continuously picking the scab off a wound that is trying to heal. Forgiveness will help us to be set free from yesterday’s hurt and pain—and it is only then those battle scars will heal and you will experience true restoration.

THOU ART LOOSED!

  1. Healing Takes Time

No one wakes up from surgery hopping and skipping around. Healing takes time. More often than not we become vulnerable due to our painful experiences, but do not mistake vulnerability for weakness! Being vulnerable is actually a sign of valor. Pretending that your injuries don’t exist is detrimental to your mental health and it only hinders you from showing your TRUE COLORS.  BE YOURSELF!

Facing the reality of your situation and taking the time to heal is what you need to be set free.

THOU ART LOOSED!

A scar is healing. After the injury, a scar is what makes you whole.” – China Mie`ville

  1. Who cares what others think of you?!

Yes, I get it. Everyone wants to be liked and wants to fit in.  However, trying to live up to someone else’s standards or acceptance only prevents you from shining. This behavior of seeking acceptance will destroy you.  This behavior is termed “people pleasing” and this causes you to give power to someone else. Trying to live in someone else’s shoes will make you miserable and depressed.

Remember you were made to shine not to hide your light under a bushel basket (Matthew 5:15,16).

THOU ART LOOSED!

  1. Take charge of your happiness and be set free.

You are the only person that can make YOU happy. Don’t look to others for fulfillment. Love yourself unconditionally; accept who you are, with all the imperfections. Our happiness is dependent on the choices that we make, so think on things that make you happy—even in the midst of chaos.

  1. Stop Comparing.

Facebook is a great social media tool that connects people all over the world.  However, Facebook is also a tool that is destroying some people’s lives.

Listen, we ALL have issues and situations in life, and no matter how good someone else’s life seems to be on Facebook…that is not always the case.

The grass is NOT always greener on the other side.

People only show the better half of themselves.

You have to understand that we all are different, and that’s what makes people beautiful. Every one has a gift that is important. Please do not envy others, but appreciate and value who you are.

Comparing yourself to someone else will destroy who YOU were meant to be.

THOU ART LOOSED!

  1. Bury negative thinking

Words are powerful and you better believe what you say will come to fruition. The words that come out of your mouth are internalized and you begin to reflect what you say. There is power in your thoughts and your words. Stop highlighting the negatives about yourself. Whenever you have the urge to beat yourself up, replace that negative output with a positive input.  By doing this on a continuous basis, you will begin to break the chains of bondage and will eventually be set free.

THOU ART LOOSED!

  1. Be Grateful

There is a joy unspeakable when we live being grateful. Gratefulness acknowledges that we are blessed. Through internalizing this we begin to transform. Being grateful will actually minimize the negative thoughts and keep us highlighting the beautiful and positive things about our lives.

Be Grateful!

Your happiness is only one decision away. Be set free!

THOU ART LOOSED!

~Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

The Gift Of Time

June 22, 2017

Time…an element that we all have had the opportunity to become familiar with. What is time? Time in and of itself has plenty definitions, but these two particular meanings stood out to me:

a:  an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end arrived ahead of time

b:  an opportune or suitable moment decided it was time to retire —often used in the phrase about time about time for a change” (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Based upon these two definitions we can conclude that time is something very precious. It also cannot be reclaimed once it is lost.  

So… if time is such a precious commodity, why do some many of us as individuals waste and/or misuse it? Good question huh? Better yet…how can we effectively utilize and maximize our time in order to showcase its great value?

According to Entrepenuer.com here are 3 ways to maximize your time:

  1. Have A Purpose – to have a purpose means to have direction and clarity. It allots one the energy necessary in order to be productive.
  2. Make Two Lists – Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side of the paper write down the day’s tasks that are important to complete. On the other side of the paper you will list those items that we tend to deem as ‘urgent’. By seeing both lists parallel to each other, you can feel more assured and devote the right amount of time to completing those important things.
  3. Be Predictable – When those so-called ‘urgencies’ disrupt your day like email alerts, or socialization time, the important items get forced into the background of our day. In order to remedy this, it is recommended to make your schedule predictable. Purposefully schedule time in your day to check emails, or to socialize, and etc. This way when those urgent items pop up, you can better know where to place them within your schedule.

This past Tuesday, I had the great pleasure of viewing a movie called “A Family Man”, which starred Gerald Butler. In the movie Gerald Butler, whose character’s name was Dane was one of two top headhunters in a recruiting firm. As the movie progressed, it is revealed to the audience how he misuses his time, and puts all his energy into making monthly sales, instead of allocating that precious commodity of time to his family. He only realizes this almost terrible mistake when his eldest son (he had three children and a wife in the film), falls ill with a very serious illness. It was beautiful how Dane, had to go on a life-altering journey in order to better prioritize his time. I will not give away anymore of the movie, but would definitely recommend you check it out when you get the chance.  

There are a couple of things I have grown to realize about time during my 32 years on this earth:

  1. Time Waits For No One – whether you like it or not, time is going to pass by, and rather quickly. It is up to us as individuals how we will choose to monopolize on that gem of time that we have. Remember, time varies based on the person, so again make it worth your while. None of us know how much time we actually have here on this earth to accomplish the items we categorize as important or urgent.
  2. Time Is More Precious Than Riches – while a person can obtain more riches or money, with time you are not afforded that luxury. Once it is gone…it is GONE like the wind! For my husband and I we both have made a conscious decision to maximize on our time. Time with family, friends, and loved ones. Also the time spent on exploring business ventures and completing goals that we believe are important. If a task appears to be a time waster, we will re-evaluate it to see if it is worth it, and if not we will either outsource it or cancel it.

Time…yes…dear old time—help us all to use you wisely, because you are a limited gift, that we are not sure when you will run out. To everyone reading this article, take “The Time”…to cherish “Time”.   Today is a PRESENT…do not ever forget that important fact. Make it count!

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

Entrepenuer.com (2015). 3 Strategies To Maximize Your Time. Retrieved on June 21, 2017 from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243041

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Courageous

June 18, 2017

Today is the day where we take the time to recognize the men in our lives who stand determined, bold, and courageous to be the best that they can be for their children and families. 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!

I wish all the fathers out there a wonderful day, where you are showered with love and appreciation for all that you do.

Sooooo….

What if today is NOT a happy father’s day for you?

Today’s blog will be addressed from two different perspectives: From the child view and the father view.

Child View

Today may not be a happy father’s day for some children as they may have lost their beloved dad to sickness/disease, or due to fighting in a war, serving on the police force, fire department, or for some other reason not mentioned here.  My condolences and my heart goes out to you and your families on this day.

I would like to encourage you today to REMEMBER your fathers. Remember what they stood for and believed in. Remember the legacy that they left behind. Remember their example and let their legacy live on through you.

For other children who did not physically lose their dads, but they were and still are never present in your lives… I’m sorry.  I can understand the pain that comes from not having your father around. This usually is caused by separation or divorce and the effects are detrimental and life altering. 

I did not grow up with my father. To this day, I do not have a relationship with him.  As a child growing up he lived 5 minutes away from my mother’s house, but we saw him once a month for 1 minute when he dropped off that $300 check for 3 children. Additionally, we also saw him for one weekend during the summer.  His absence has greatly impacted me and I know that the same may apply for other individuals in similar circumstances to mine. Sadly, the effects of this void can persist into adulthood for many.

I want to encourage someone today to hold on. Use the example your dad left to identify what you NEVER want to become (male), or identify the qualities you do not want to see in a man (female). I also want to encourage you to forgive him. It is difficult to let go of the hurt and pain caused by his absence, but speaking from a personal standpoint, holding on to that hurt will only make you bitter. It should be our heart’s desire to get better. So let us forgive our deadbeat dads and seek true freedom from the debilitating effects.

Adult View

To the fathers out there who are not having a happy day, I want to encourage you today. Maybe you lost your child in a tragic accident, or due to sickness, or maybe your child is still alive, but has become wayward, disrespectful, or has been separated from you by divorce.

HOLD ON.

First, I want you to reflect on the fact that you were able to bring forth a child into the world to grant you the title of father. If you lost your child to death— reflect on the memories you shared with them (the good and the bad). See how those moments you had with them has shaped you into who you have become today. If you are separated from your child for known reasons or for reasons beyond your control, do your best to stay connected to them.  Frequent phone calls, random visits, gifts….etc. Whatever it is will make the world of a difference.

It is not easy to live up to that title called “Father”. Being a father is so much more than fertilizing an egg. Fathers are called to be the head of the household, to love and cherish their wives and children, to protect, provide and to persevere.

I challenge all the fathers today to be courageous, to stand strong and to lead your families.

There is a very popular movie on Pure Flix called “Courageous” that talks about the challenges of fatherhood and encourages all men to take a stand through the recitation of “The Resolution”.

Here is “The Resolution” as formatted from the movie “Courageous”:

 

” I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

 

I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.

 

I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

 

I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

 

I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

 

I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

 

I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.

 

I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

 

I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.

 

I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.

 

I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.

 

I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.”

http://www.heartquest101.com/2011/11/15/the-courageous-resolution/

Lastly, I would like to encourage all the men out there who are not yet fathers. When you do become a father, I challenge you to be the best father that you can be. Seek to apply that resolution to your life and learn from those who have gone before you. 

MEN…”You were meant to be courageous!”

~Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

5 Principles To Help You Take That Leap Of Faith And Find Your Purpose

June 15, 2017

Literally, one year ago this month, I left everything that I knew behind in regards to my job, family, and friends in New York City. The time leading up to this major move or what I like to call my BIG LEAP OF FAITH was very challenging. I had to ask myself some very deep soul searching questions. Trust me, I truly did not enjoy this particular period in time, but facing all the pain and disappointment I felt in my life was necessary for self -growth and development. Below I have enlisted 5 steps that helped me to re-evaluate my life and make that huge life-altering jump.

 

  1. Accept Who You Are

We cannot change the past or certain situations we were exposed to. Perfect examples of this would be: elements of abuse, neglect, constant sheltering, and etc. Accept and embrace your past experiences whether good or bad and use them to propel yourself forward. A great analogy is that of a rubber band that is used in the configuration of a slingshot. Most of the time the rubber is not the most attractive element of the slingshot. However, it serves an important purpose. It is used to shoot the rock great distances. If we do not use our pasts to work for us, it will work against us, and we will remain its prisoner.

 

  1. Find Your Inner Peace

Peace…sweet peace. This is one of the most important elements in moving forward and taking that leap of faith. One has to get to a place of solace, and find that calm amidst life’s tumultuous ups and downs.   Finding your inner peace will serve as your anchor. It will keep you grounded and prevent you from being constantly thrown back and forth (e.g. – job stress, family problems, financial difficulties, emotional distress). Pray, meditate, or explore other soul building techniques that will give you the inner foundation of peace that is so essential to achieving that high level of stability.

 

  1. Find What In Life Makes You Truly Happy

Money, fame, great career, and relationships are some of the things on the top of our list as human beings that are supposed to bring us never ending bliss. Reality Check! All those things are fleeting, and can go as quickly as they came. This is seen every day in social media portrayed in the lives of celebrities and other famous individuals. They thought the money and fame would afford them true happiness, but what truly remained behind that door was emptiness and a never-ending quest to search for that contentment. True happiness from my personal experience is often found in things not tangible (Faith, God, Inner Peace, Loving Others Unconditionally, etc.). Yes, family can bring us happiness, but “True” happiness and fulfillment is a different story. When you find bliss and real fulfillment, the kind that does not disappear with hardship and other unrelenting circumstances, your emotional bank will become filled up, so much that you will have plenty to share with your loved ones and the people around you.

 

  1. Embody a Spirit Filled of Courage

As the lion in the movie the “Wizard of Oz”, many of us go through life wishing we had the courage to go after our dreams full steam ahead.   We get up each morning head to work, again secretly wishing for that courage.   Yes, finding that life-altering courage is quite scary.   The famous “What If’s” began to play in our minds like some of the re-runs of our favorite sitcoms, and then fear comes and sticks it’s ugly head in between as the commercials. At the end of this vicious cycle…what do we have—a cowardly lion. Find that much needed strength and courage by constantly speaking to yourself, giving yourself endless pep talks (both mentally and out loud). Looking in the mirror at yourself and saying “Yes I can do this”. The sheer reality of it all is—if we do not believe in ourselves, then who will. So believe, and tell our inner cowardly lion to hit the road, and never come back no more, no more, no more, no more!

 

  1. Adapt the Principle of Tunnel Vision

In high school I was part of the track team. As you could imagine, even though I wished I was…I was not one of the fastest runners on the team. However, I was determined not to be last place in the races all the time. As I practiced, I was able to condition my body to complete training exercises that I never thought was possible. My track coach watched me steadily improve and gave me some valuable advice.   He said, “when you are on the starting line listening for that starting sound, keep your eye on the finish line” (The Prize, The End Goal). He warned me that if I looked to my left or my right at my fellow competitors, there was very high chance of becoming distracted and falling on the track. The end result…a delay to the finish line, or not being able to finish the race at all. As we set out to reach our life’s goals and “Walk in Our Purpose” we have to put on our tunnel vision goggles. If we do not, we run the risk of falling over life circumstances that are always running parallel with us or within our paths. Keep your eyes on the prize at all times (utilization of vision boards, posting goals everywhere around you, personal pep-talks, and etc.). A quick detour can have detrimental effects.

~Now is the time; Tomorrow may be too late.

–Contessa Thomas

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Inspiration and Motivation

Emergency 9-1-1

June 11, 2017

The pain hits you like a ton of bricks…you crouch over in pain that seems to be indescribable. Life’s moments flash before your eyes as you remember each and every time that warning signs came your way. The warning signs seemed so minute and were easily overlooked; only to realize the symptoms were worsening moment by moment… 

The memories of the missed opportunities cause an even deeper pain to permeate your heart and it seems as if you can’t take it anymore. You want to scream…but instead you see white…then black and the last words you hear screamed, ” EMERGENCY…CALL 9-1-1!!!

More often than not,  we are so busy with our day to day lives that we quite often miss the telltale  signs that our lives are falling apart… physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Physically

Our bodies require a great deal in order to function correctly.  Our bodies are complex in nature and it takes the right combinations of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to run this machine. If at any moment, we do not give our bodies the best of the best … we will eventually begin to see a slow break down of it processes. Eating the wrong combination of macronutrients  (carbs, fats, proteins) can cause a host of problems…all of which MAY NOT present itself immediately or all at once. More often than not, it is the repeated patterns of poor eating… poor sleeping…or increased stress levels that causes our bodies to malfunction.  Instead of heeding to the warning signs, we “brush” them off…or we treat the symptoms without dealing with the root of the problem.  Eventually… inevitably… we will find ourselves calling 9-1-1.

Mentally/ emotionally

Our mental health is dependent on so many factors. However, I will highlight 3 areas that can greatly impact our mental state if a crisis arises in these areas:  relationships,  friendships,  and life opportunities 

Relationships 
If you look at the statistics today so many people are getting married only shortly to find out that they are getting divorced. Some of the people also seem to have it all together, (Thanks Facebook!) so when you see a divorce happen between them you wonder what happened?

We don’t know all the details,  but due to the outcome,  it is safe to assume that they had issues that may have been overlooked and was never addressed.  

People don’t get married to get divorced…. So…that means that there must have been symptoms/ signs that required attention between the couple. Unfortunately, they may have been overlooked, downplayed or minimized.

Some signs may include:

Poor communication
Poor sexual relations
Issues with money
Lack of sensitivity

Once issues start to arise, the fire alarm is going off, but it doesn’t mean that the house has burned down.  There’s still time to relinquish the relationship. However,  without the proper counsel… that house eventually will burn down…

Friendships
As was mentioned in our previous blog post , “no man is an island” and everyone needs a friend, even if your friend is a dog. We all seek to attain positive relationships. Relationships where we can talk, hang out, build up each other , pick each other up when we fall and simply just be there for each other.

Many people fall into a severe state of depression due to poor friendships. Nonetheless, people just don’t wake up one morning depressed because they have no friends. There are always signs that show the possibility of rocky relationships that need to be mended but you have to be able to see the imposing issues and repair them before it’s too late.

Are you a selfish kind of friend who always thinks about yourself… only what you want? 

Are you the type of friend to reach out to people only when you need something (a favor) done for you?

Are you a trust worthy friend?  Have you ever broken trust in your friendships?

Do you spend time with your friends?

These are some food for thought questions that can help someone realize the early signs of malfunctioning friendships.  

We occasionally need to do self-checks to make sure we’re not guilty/ or contributing to the eminent failure of friendships

Life opportunities 
It is more common than not for students who are soon to be graduating seniors to be posed with the great question, ” What do you want to be when you grow up? “
Some may take this question lightly,  but it is one that will make or break our future/life-long legacy. 

We must be keen to the choices we make as they will direct the course of our lives.  It’s ok not to be sure of what you want to do in life when you’re young, but at some point a clear path must be delineated. A failed plan can lead to a “failed man” (woman)…
Example: 
One of my good friends expressed being unhappy in her career. She felt stuck and didn’t know how to get out of her rut.  She confessed to me that she never really had a handle on what she wanted to do.  She bounced around from job to job, however she still has not found her niche.  She’s disappointed by her indecisiveness and wanted to quit her job.  
I sought to encourage her to take a moment to reflect on what she enjoyed.  “Think about what makes you happy and let’s go from there”

Today, she has taken steps to get out of her “state of emergency” and refocus her energy on what she loves. She is much happier now.

I want to encourage you today to see the signs. No one wants to venture down a path that will not bring them a sense of happiness or accomplishment in their career path.  Don’t stay stuck in a situation, as this can lead to a state of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and even depression. Think about your passion, your interests and the things YOU love.  Make a plan and go for it.  

Spiritually
Lastly, I want to talk about spirituality. Regardless of what people specifically believe, they believe in something or someone.  In this example I will refer to God, however this can be applied according to your own personal beliefs. In order to maintain a strong, sound relationship with God, you have to spend time cultivating it, as is true with any friendship or love relationship.  Without quality time, the relationship is set up for a big fall.  
You have to keep your eyes out for those signs. 

If you don’t attend a church often enough there’s limited fellowship time with other believers who can help you along your journey.  This limitation of fellowship can impact spiritual growth and development. 

If you find yourself not reading your bible/ studying the word, it is so easy to fall prey to the vices of the enemy as we are unequipped to dodge his fiery darts. 

Feelings of anger or dissatisfaction towards God is another warning sign.  Maybe a prayer doesn’t seem to be answered, or you just don’t feel like God is there. These are warning signs.  
I want to encourage you all today to live life in the healthiest state possible. Take care of yourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We need to see the warning signs and take immediate action before it is too late. Let us never have to call 9-1-1.

 

~ Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

A Friend That Is Closer Than a Brother

June 8, 2017

This week has been such a whirlwind while at the same time being full of blessings. For starters my husband and I celebrated the birth of our third child. What a joyous moment this was for us as the journey getting here was one that tried our faith and tested our values and beliefs. Nonetheless, we persevered through and trusted that God did not bring us this far on our journey to not see us through until the end.

Yesterday was a really emotional day for me as I sat down on my couch holding my newborn son. As my arms wrapped around his little body and as I showered him with a ton of kisses while he slept, my heart became overwhelmed. Once again I was confronted with the reality of just how blessed my family is to finally have him here—healthy, happy, and all that good stuff. So, as the first set of tears began to cease, I thought about my upcoming move back to New York State and all the amazing family and friends that I had the honor to meet and hangout with. These individuals are nothing short of AMAZING! They truly came through for my children and I, as my husband would be away the entire week at work in NY. I must admit this year indeed has been a trying one, but I survived it and have grown into a stronger individual as a result.

Yes, so as the first set of tears stopped—a second set soon pursued as I thought about all the awesome people I will be leaving behind here in Maryland. In my mind I thought about the farewell to my neighbors and my heart literally broke. We have been such a great support to each other and truly we have each other’s back…no matter what. For example, on Tuesday after returning from the store and picking up the children from the bus stop I saw a few of my neighbors standing outside just talking.  As I passed by I softly tooted my horn to say “Hello”.  Instantly, they began to cheer and call my name. They ran over to my van to hug, kiss, and greet me—as they have not seen me for the past few days (In hospital post-birth). Let me repeat, the last FEW DAYS. Not a week or two. That is how much love we share between us. I literally had a welcome home party right there on the spot. Another, example is when my other neighbors ran to my aid as I went into labor in the very early morning hours last Friday. My neighbor literally ran upstairs with her pillow and sheets once I called her to deliver the news that I was in labor, so that she could watch my children. Her husband was right behind her and he was the one who took me to the hospital. They both acted with such a willing and sacrificial heart. These are just two of the many experiences that I hold so dear to my heart. The list then goes on. Our cousins in Maryland and nearby Virginia—oh how they will be missed as they have been so good to us and all around supportive.  I love and thank them so very much for everything.

As I my mind lingered deeper in the thought process I came to this question—Why are farewells so difficult and so unnatural feeling? I believe it is because farewells whether final or temporary was not part of the Creator’s original plan for our lives. However, that is a completely different topic and article.

Again, I am truly happy for the unforgettable experiences we have had living here in Maryland. I think that if we all as people took the time to give a little extra love, more friendships or relationships of this caliber could be developed. With that said, I always have to leave a challenge for my readers to attempt.  

I challenge everyone to work on developing one very meaningful relationship within the next month or two. As my sister and I often include in our articles—“No man is an Island”…go out and work on building that one special friendship. Who knows… it may help to save your life in one way or another. Look at my shared experiences.  All it takes is a little effort on our part to help build these friendships/relationships that can in turn take you a very long way in life.   Yes, we have all encountered those friendships or relationships that have gone sour despite our best efforts to keep them alive or thriving. However, do not let that deter you from the beautiful process of meeting, loving, and helping others.

As it pertains to my current situation—there is a saying that goes, “When one chapter or door closes, another one opens”. Even though this holds some truth, I will never close this chapter of my life, as I will always revisit the great memories and relationships that I have come to build here in Maryland.

Stay strong…Stay positive!

~Contessa Thomas

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Inspiration and Motivation

Afraid of Success?

June 4, 2017

The moment we entered this world from our mother’s womb, the start of our lifelong purpose began.

The parents you were born to, the situations in which you were raised, the experiences you endured all served to fulfill the purpose for your life. 

We each have been given amazing gifts…gifts that we will use to our benefits and gifts that will enhance the lives of others we know or even those whom we do not yet know or may never know. 

In short…we were all born to succeed.  
Why not? Why can’t we have the best of the best….living out our truest potentials?

I  had the privilege to attend school, attend church, or crossed paths with individuals who are living successful lives! 

At the moment of our interactions who would have known success was knocking at their door. 

What makes someone successful?
What qualifies you? 

I always believed that you become what you want to become. When you really want something so bad… you do whatever you have to do to get it.

During my second year of college, I was attending NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) and I needed a job to help offset  the cost of my education.  I sought employment at a Montessori preschool after school program. I recall going in with my resume…confidant and ready, only to be faced with rejection. Unfortunately, at that time they were not hiring.

That definitely dampened my spirit, and crushed my ego. I really wanted to work at a Montessori school, because everything would line up in regards to work and school.  Despite my rejection, I got back up, and I didn’t give up in my pursuit.  I wanted to work there. Every week I would visit the school, seeking employment. My friends advised me to let it go and give up but I couldn’t. I really wanted to work at this school to help my mom financially and I loved working with kids. 

After several weeks of visiting the school, seeking employment…. I decided to make my last visit, and my victory was attained. The principal of the school called me into her office. 
She explained to me that there still were no openings to hire workers at the school. However, because of my persistence, confidence, and perseverance she would create a position for me to work in the afterschool program. 

I was so happy to be afforded the opportunity to help shape the lives of those students but I only achieved my goal because I never stopped aiming for it. 

Last week I was able to see the movie “Everything, Everything”, and an object lesson stuck out to me that I wish to share with you.  I don’t mean to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. 

The young lady in the movie was bound to her home because of an illness.  She was taught by her mother that if she stepped outside the safety of her home it would kill her.  She believed every word her mother said.  She lived in her bubble, never to dare and step outside. Not until one day she had a real reason to.  The young man planted a seed that sprouted a burning desire for her to get out of her bubble and live.  She was willing to take the risk even though she knew she could die.

So many of us are trapped.  We may not be trapped in a house like this girl, but we’re trapped by our fear, failures, and shortcomings.  We don’t want to step outside our place of comfort but in order for us to grow, and lead successful lives we cannot be afraid to go where we want to go.  We have to be willing to take the risk even though we may fail. Our failures will only make us stronger for the next risk we will take.  Eventually we will get to that place that makes us go, “ahhh”  
I want to encourage you today not to be afraid of success. You were born to be great, so go for it. Don’t let your fear of failure stifle you, suppress you, or kill your dream.

You WILL get there…

DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SUCCESS!

 

~ Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

June 1, 2017

Tuesday morning as I pulled into my apartment’s parking lot after a routine run to Trader Joe’s, my phone rang and it was my aunt. Now, the thing about my aunt is that when you speak to her, more than likely she is going to say something to make you think. So, I picked up the phone and we began to converse. As our conversation progressed she asked me to do something.  At that point I didn’t feel like being bothered, but simply responded “yeah okay”. However, I soon became convicted within myself and decided to listen to her, because truly “Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice”.  

As a Christian, the theme of obedience being better than sacrifice is an overarching message that spreads throughout the entire Bible. As it relates to my personal life decisions, I have always tried to keep that in mind. However, there were times in my life where I did make unwise decisions, all in the name of not being obedient. This could have been to God, my parents, my boss, or my teachers. What was the result? It was that I had to pay the price for my actions. What did these consequences include? It included a lot of things like failed tests, almost losing my life, and enduring more hardships than I actually had to—if only I had listened in the first place.

There is one particular moment in my life that I can vividly recall where being disobedient literally almost killed me. I was 9 years old in the 4th grade, and one of my classmates who was a very good friend of mine invited me to her Halloween party. Please keep in the forefront of your thoughts that my mother and stepfather did not believe in the holiday nor celebrate any of its festivities. Nonetheless, due to my constant nagging (it was my secret weapon growing up against my mom…she would cave in to my insane demands usually a majority of the times. I was just that annoying…LOL) my mother said that I could attend the party. I was super excited and started shopping for my costume, which I ended up going to the party as a witch. So, the day of the party rolls around and I’m all dressed up and ready to go.   As I was preparing to walk through the front door with my stepfather who was going to drive me there—my mother says “Tessy, stop you cannot go anymore”.  I was devastated?!?!  I then responded with the following: “But, Mommy you said I could go…that’s not fair”. Oh my goodness, my children use that same line on me now…you see what goes around truly comes around. Okay, back to the story, so I began to cry and throw a major tantrum. After about what seemed to be a half hour, my mother caved in and said “just go!”. Little did I know that later that night I would learn the hard way that: “Obedience was truly better than sacrifice”.

Continuing on, I arrived at the party and I am having such a great time as the evening progresses. Everything was looking up and the party appeared to be a true success. As the evening turned into night, I decided to exit the house and go outside to look for my friend. I only made it a few feet from the door, when something hit me on the right side of my face.  I began to jump up and down and attempted to scream, but I was in such shock that no sound came out. I ran into the house straight to my friend’s mother holding my right eye. When she removed my hand all she saw was blood gushing down my face and then she started to scream “What happened?!?!” At that point I heard someone yell “O my gosh I can see the top of your eyeball from here!!!”. I lost it after that point. Long story short my friend’s older brother and his friends were throwing rocks at each other (deep sigh) and I got caught in the crossfire. It literally almost cost me my life. Once I arrived at the Emergency Room and received treatment the physician was very candid in letting my stepfather and I know that I could have died. He said if the rock had hit me a half of inch higher, it would have ruptured my temple and killed me, and if it had caught me a half of inch lower I would have lost my right eye. Thank God, that it hit me directly on the upper bone of my right eye socket. Truly a divine intervention was to be attributed to my case that night.

What is the moral of my story…”Obedience is so much better than Sacrifice”. If I had only obeyed my mother that evening, I would have been spared from the near death experience and serious injury to my right eye area. The same applies to our lives as a whole. How much unnecessary pain have we endured because of our inability to accept or comply with what was right, or to simply be obedient to moral law? How many times have we just done our ‘own thing’ after repeatedly ignoring our conscience over and over again?

Being obedient from my vantage point is not an easy thing. It is so stress-free at times to do what you want, when you want, and not feel like you have to answer to anyone— when in truth all the red flags are soaring back and forth in front of our eyes. We do not know how each of our life choices will affect us and those around us, but to make nonchalant ones, with little thought can be more detrimental to our lives than we ever could imagine. Not everyone walks away from car accidents unscathed— the same thing I believe applies to our lives and the choices we make.

Let us all remember that “Obedience is TRULY Better Then Sacrifice”, and let us work towards achieving that optimal balance within our lives.

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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