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The Only Commodity That Can’t Be Bought…

imagevia Daily Prompt: Elegant
It’s a fun thing to watch – Oscar or Grammy Awards night ! I’m always both amused and amazed by the spectacle of it. The mad dash of the beautiful people trying to out do each other in their designer fashions and runway outfits- it gets me laughing  every time! The really good laughs come when you see ‘celebrity so and so ‘ wearing something that’s so complicated to wear that their get-up makes it difficult for them to even walk the runway ! All of the best named designers get millions of dollars in free advertising ; and the fashion industry has a real life infomercial to get people like us (normal folks) into a fantasy. They want to entice you and me into the fantasy world of being pretty or glamorous or anything but who we really are. I get it, believe me I do.

Every woman has her own definition of what pretty is. Every woman wants at least one moment of feeling absolutely gorgeous and glamorous if her budget will allow it. That’s why you see people dropping a fortune on a pair of shoes with a red bottom – ha,ha,ha,ha! The so called ‘beauty isles ‘ shelves are full of anti aging products and billions of dollars are spent on cosmetic surgery. There’s a woman somewhere who’s maxed out her credit card to buy the one purse that she had to have. I mean it was in Elle magazine right ?! So yes , the purse was definitely worth the money ! As for the rest of her bills that month , well she’ll just have to be late . Wait , what ?

I wish I had a tip for buying into the hair extensions stocks or all of the other things that make up the beauty market. I’d be a millionaire by now if I’d known to invest in the ‘big butt ‘ or ‘big lips ‘ market. From a African American woman who was ‘born this way ‘ – you can see how funny that is to me! Hmm , if only I could bottle my DNA and sell it…..No offense but I can’t help but laugh when I see the things used to be ‘a joking matter'(or an ethnic insult) become the things that people are paying good money to get ! Oh the money – scratch that – the billions that are spent on it: feeling like you’re a beautiful and glamorous woman .

The businessmen who run companies that sell beauty and glamour have got it all figured out. Theyve made inheritances for their children with what  you (and I) want to see in the mirror !! Because of the worth the we put on the way we look- some people will pay any price . You want a smaller nose? Covered. You want to have a bigger butt and a flatter stomach ? It’s yours if you can afford it . I kid you not , some people have actually died of the ‘I wannabe more…’ disease . Women are literally dying to be pretty  from the complications of cosmetic surgery . What a sad reality. Nevertheless the fact is that women (and even some men) will still risk their lives get a new look and feel better about themselves.

To sum it all up, the most precious commodity in the world is the beauty we want to see in the mirror . Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry in America have helped to drive the up the price of this manufactured beauty . Celebrity A is not what you see in your mirror and so there’s something wrong with you? Wrong. Yeah it’s perfectly normal to want to improve yourself and I agree that some improvements in life are necessary . You can buy almost anything you want to change, correct , enhance or beautify your appearance. But the one thing you won’t find on the rack at Macy’s or Nordstrom is true elegance .

You can get a Versace dress and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and hear someone say, “You look  very elegant tonight , who are you wearing ? Who’s the designer of your dress doesn’t translate into an interest in who you are as a person . No, the true beauty and the true elegance of who you are – you could be wearing a pair of sweatpants and your elegance and beauty would still be on display. Because the truth of a beautiful person has nothing to do with the clothes that they wear . And elegance ? Well being elegant is a design that originates from within . You’ve been in the presence of someone who just stops conversations when they enter a room. These are the people that carry themselves gracefully and have quiet confidence that makes you wonder who they are not who they’re wearing . They are content with who they are – even if they bought their outfit from the consignment shop. This kind of elegance in a woman is not the bling they might wear but it’s the brightness of their spirit; and you can’t help but be drawn to them.

Truly elegant women are elegant with or without a fashion designer’s template. I know about it because that’s how my mom is – early in the morning , without any makeup. I hate to disappoint you but you can’t buy this type of elegance . You have to develop it by cultivating the best of what you already have. The truth is that I have it, you have it and we’ve been covering up our true elegance with a substitute in a mirror. Remember that even celebrities don’t look like celebrities when they’re not on camera ! Dare yourself to go look in your bathroom mirror (or wherever it is) and say ‘I am enough for me ‘. Focusing instead on the elegance of your spirit and not the brand names in your wardrobe !

Fashion trends will continue to change. You’ve got you for the rest of your life.

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Facing The Hardest Things You’ve Ever Had to Face

Let’s be real-being a Christian doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the trials and tribulations of life . As a matter of fact , the Bible says in Psalms 34:19 that “many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all “.   That’s good to know and I got the concept of this scripture a long time ago. However it would take me years before I was able to incorporate it’s meaning to my day to day life. This was never more true than when I lost my husband suddenly to a heart attack. I have faced many physical adversities before I lost Keith. Battling the painful and at times debilitating effects of Severe RA ( Rheumatoid Arthritis) has been a part of my life for decades. So I can honestly tell you that I wasn’t a novice when it comes to the adversities in life. But this time it was different and I felt that not even God could bring me through this one ! Needless to say that I was wrong- I would learn more than I thought about myself and God . I also would meet the same  Lord that David spoke of in Psalms 23:4 :“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff— they protect me.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭CEB‬‬

Facing the hardest parts in your life is difficult to say the least. I have spent three years in a nursing home and all before the age of forty.  I have had at least five hip operations and the first time I had a hip surgery, I was just twenty six years old. During all of my life struggles I was a Christian. I have asked those questions, ‘Lord please tell me what I’m doing wrong ‘ – ‘Why do you allow these things to happen to me?’ , When will you make it stop? 

 Yes I know what it feels like to expect one thing out of my life and to get something else. The funniest thing began to happen though. With every soul crushing experience in my life I started to see the prayers that I prayed in the past produce more fruits of the spirit. In the moments of frustration- I started to develop patience. When I felt totally alone and misunderstood by the people around me – I learned to lean and depend heavily on the One who said that he would never leave or forsake me ! You see the things I thought would surely break me have been the very things that that the Lord used to shape me. Once you get an understanding of how God uses adversity to mold us into what we should be- you’ll learn not to fear those things. 

Facing obstacles and hardship in life is a necessity for our own spiritual development and maturity. My trials brought me closer to the Lord ; I learned how to pray before I panic ! Your faith means nothing if you cannot find any faith in times of trouble. 

I love the books of Psalms because you get to see how David would take the worst circumstances and have enough faith to turn them over to God. For example“My comfort during my suffering is this: your word gives me new life.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:50‬ ‭CEB‬‬ Here’s David in middle of a betrayal and his first inclination is to turn the situation over to the Lord ! Many of the songs (Psalms) David wrote were born out of his pain and suffering. Wouldn’t it make life easier if you and I could have the same unwavering faith ? 

Whether you are facing a hardship in the moment or will dance with a devastation in the future  – understand that the Lord will be with you. Don’t play tug of war with your struggles, let God do the heavy lifting. I have faced some of the worst parts of my life and found Him to be faithful. You too can have that kind of confidence that the Lord will see you through darkest days. Just remember that the choice is yours. You don’t have to face it alone. 

Why I’m a Christian & Pro-Life Democrat!

So much thought goes into one’s decision of what political party to join! Well at least that’s the way it should be. I grew up in a political junkies home and my dad had me watching The McNeil – Lehrer Report on PBS , and before I was even 10 years old! Back then you didn’t have to question the validity of the news media and there was no 24 hr. news cycle. It was that kind of political journalism and ‘spin-free political discussion of the issues that I cut my teeth on. It’s that type of issue oriented political decision making that taught me how to form my  views on a ‘just the facts ‘ basis. Even though I found it extremely boring to watch at times, I’m grateful that McNeil-Lehrer (and others) played a key role in forming the political blueprint for the very views I hold today.

Today I’m 45 years old , can actually vote and the McNeil-Lehrer Report is now called the PBS Newshour. Although Gwen Iffil is the most popular name on PBS , the basic principles of the show hasn’t changed much since the 1970’s. You can still tune in for a spin free hour of coverage and get your political fix without feeling like you need to take a shower afterwards. It’s the kind of issue oriented reporting that any thoughtful voter ( like myself) trusts and frankly needs to form an opinion on the politics of the day. Sure I still watch MSNBC and other news outlets that lean toward my own political affinities because I know that I’ll agree with most of what’s said! Why ? Because today I am a Democrat. I’m a registered Democrat who put a lot of thought into it.

“Why I’m a Democrat Who’s Also Pro-Life and etc. “

Now conventional wisdom is that I should be called ‘a Conservative Republican ‘ and on the surface of it I would agree. I’m Christian (or what some call an Evangelical) , I’m Pro-Life, college educated and I believe in traditional marriage. So I’m really a ‘Conservative right ? Wrong. For one thing I take issue with the label of ‘Evangelical to describe my faith and how it applies to a political party. I’m almost positive that the Bible and Jesus Christ himself would agree with me. But that’s another topic for another day. I’m also an African American and a woman. Some people think that all African Americans born registered Democrats who vote blue without ever being able to consider their own interests. I don’t speak for everybody but I can tell you that’s not true. We’re not born Democrats and like most people we vote in our own interests. Here’s why I vote for Democrats in a nutshell:

I’m Pro-Life and I believe that principle applies to life from the crib to the grave !

Yeah I’m Pro-Life but probably not in the sense that usually applies to the label of Pro-Life. I don’t believe in abortion but I don’t believe that I have a right to force my opinion on another woman. I believe that God has given us all free will and having a baby is a decision best left to the person who has to have that child. Second. I believe that Pro-Life goes further than protecting life from the womb. Don’t get me wrong I value life in the utmost!