A weekly blog, by author Leslie K. Howard, filled with spiritual, uplifting thoughts to help you get through your week

Archive for the ‘Kindness’ Category

#RealGirlfriends

#RealGirlfriendsDuring the 2015 Emmy Awards many touching moments occurred: Viola Davis’ speech was phenomenal and seeing Tracy Morgan walk on that stage was inspiring.  But for me, one of the most meaningful moments came during a commercial.  “A commercial”,  you ask?  Yes.

Apple Music did something I had to stand up an applaud.  They showed a commercial featuring powerful African American Women, Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson and Mary J. Blige.  The three Women not cussing out one another, not putting each other down or fighting and pulling out weaves, but they are friends, having fun, singing and dancing.  They are doing what women like to do; laugh, giggle like girls,  having fun and sharing a good thing.

All three women are accomplished in their own right and ought to be celebrated. In an age where social media has been trying its best to pit Washington and Henson against one another It’s good to see them, even if only acting, as friends.

So the Apple commercial inspired me to write this poem titled Real Girlfriends (See video below)

Real girlfriends complement not compete. They celebrate not hate. Real girlfriends lend a shoulder to cry and pull you off the edge when all you want to do is die. Through chemo, they hold your hand with loving care. And when you puke, Real Girlfriends hold your hair. Real Girlfriends stay through good times and bad, thick and thin, happy and sad. They will stand by you through and through. Because… Real Girlfriends are forever true. ~Leslie K. Howard                

Hey Sisters, I’d really like to hear from you. Share your stories and testimonies about your #RealGirlfriends experience. Post them here or  on my Facebook page, Leslie Howard Ministries and I’ll put them on my website. Don’t forget to send a photo of you and your girlfriends. And be sure to (#) hash tag Real Girlfriends.

Check out my site Lesliehowardministries.com for  updates and events. I’ll be working with women and girls in 2015/ 16 celebrating #RealGirlfriends. We’ll start at the Sister Circle Girlfriends Getaway Weekend.  Seats still available. See my website.

“Bow Down”? Only To One!

Bow DownWhen, in our struggle for equal rights with men, did women get to the point that we begin to behave like men?  In the way we live, love and how we treat each other as fellow women.  It saddens me to hear music lyrics that degrade women; and how easily this generation of young women accepts it.  Especially in Hip -Hop culture.

Because in music and in videos, women are objectified and exemplified as pole dancers, strippers, prostitutes and gold-diggers, we have a generation of women who aspire to be just that.  It’s terrible to hear and see degrading words and images produced by men, but when  they come from a woman’s mouth, it enrages me.

This brings me to Beyonce’s latest song. There is a big hoopla going on this morning.  Talk shows, the news, moms and little girls are all talking about the lyrics from a not yet released song. In the song she calls women B**_ches and tells them to “Bow down” to her.   Now I don’t know exactly what’s going on in her personal life and we don’t know if this was a track was leaked by someone.  Perhaps it was something she used to vent out some frustration and it was never meant for the public to hear   After all, artist sometimes write things out of hurt or anger, others  may paint and some sing songs and we never see or hear about it. I don’t know the reasons; all I know is it’s out there for the whole world to hear and I am offended, and ashamed of her.

In all of the fervor over this thing, I don’t want you to miss the spiritual lessons here.  Satan seeks to Distort and Divide.

Beyonce’ is an immensely talented young woman who sings like no one else, and commands the stage with vocals and her energetic dancing (another discussion for another day).  God gives gifts to everyone. Some people, like Beyonce’ gifts are seen from an early age while others discover them when they are older.  But know this,”… every good and perfect gift comes from God” (James 1:17).  Satan will whisper in our ears saying, “I can give you the fast track to success if you just do it my way.”  He will then distort those gifts and we sell out for money prestige and fame and emptiness.  So we have a choice to make. Choose either to use our gifts to bring God glory and thus reaping life long, eternal blessings or we can choose Satan’s way which  pays quickly,  but stings forever. By glorifying ourselves we fall right into Satan’s trap which was  exactly what he wanted Jesus to do.  “Bow Down to Me.”  He couldn’t get Jesus to do it but he sure is working overtime on us.    I don’t know about you but I bow down to no one but my God.  Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He is the only one who deserves all the Honor, all the Glory and all the Praise!

Statements like this cause division among women.  Back biting and cat fighting is what women are supposed known for.  Having a superior “ Diva” attitude of ”I’m higher than you are and you’d better bow down to me”  is a sure ticket to having the legs cut out from under you, and mighty is the fall. Ladies we need to build Godly relationships with our sisters.  Don’t we know we need each other?  We ought to strengthen and encourage one another.  The word says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11.   Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love.   Ephesians 4:29  “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

This is why God has called me to host Sister Circle Girlfriend Getaway Weekends to encourage women in their walk with Jesus.  This year our theme is Women Are Stronger Together Than We Are Apart.”  We are talking friendship and unity here and I hope you’ll join me and my girlfriends May 17-19 in Atlanta Georgia. Follow the link and register and let’s show the whole world what real Godly, Woman Power is all about.

Listen to my sermons and devotions visit my site http://www.lesliehowardministries.com

Purchase my books Sisters With SASS and  my new 40 day devotional,                      Love Letters from God Psalm 23 form Amazon.com. Click picture to purchase

Love Letters Cover

Riding With Ms. Rosie

Blue CarI Don’t Drive.  I admit it.  I don’t drive, don’t judge me.  I am born, bred and  raised  in Newark NJ.  I am a city girl.  I take the 25 and 70 busses.  I ride the city subway (okay that makes it sound bigger than it is.  It’s really The Lite Rail.) I enjoy it.  I like to people watch. I like talking to folks. It’s my thing and I love it. But this day a stranger just wouldn’t do.  I didn’t realize that what I needed was a friendly face and as God would have it, He provided just the right one for me.  Let me explain.

I was called to duty. Jury duty that is.  YaY!  Don’t get me wrong I’m one of those people who really doesn’t mind serving Jury Duty…. if I have to.  Just not right now.  I thought I could do it.  I had all intentions of doing it, but once I got into the courtroom I found I just couldn’t handle it.

My first cousin was in a domestic violent relationship and two years ago around Valentine’s Day, she was murdered.  I’m not at liberty to share details nor am I ready to do so right now.  I along with her brother am representing the family.  We are at the very beginning of court proceedings, and lately I’ve been to that court house more than I care to say.  After being excused from jury duty, I headed home.  I decided to go to Newark Penn Station to grab a slice of pizza (I know, I know. Don’t tell me how fattening it is.  If you felt the way I did you’d have had pizza and a whole lot more.)  So here I am in Penn and who do I run into but the effervescent Ms. Rosie.  It was 2:30 pm….

I met Ms. Rosie some 14 years ago through a mutual friend.  We aren’t real close but I consider her very, very special. She’s one of those people who knows everybody.  She is extremely knowledgeable but not a know it all.  Ever willing to lend a helping hand, if she can’t assist you she certainly knows someone who can.  As always she was a wealth of information about the good things happening in the community.  We talked about health and hot flashes.  (By the time we finished that part I felt real guilty about my pizza- jones.)   After connecting me with a sister who teaches health and wellness, she offered to take me home. I accepted and that’s where our adventure began.

We picked up her vehicle from the parking lot and headed up Market Street. “I’ve got to drop off some mail.” She said.  Parking at the Springfield Avenue Post Office she said “I’ll be right back” I waited in the car wondering what was taking her so long. I had seen the envelope and it was ready to mail. My thought was broken when I saw her walk out the door.  Although she went in the post office alone she returned  with another passenger.  Ms. Rosie ran into another weary traveler and decided to give him a ride home.  It just so happens he lives in a senior building where her mom used to live on Irving Turner Boulevard.  “Come on” she said, waiving me toward the building entrance. She took me on a tour of the beautiful lobby and the deck where the seniors like to barbecue during the summer months.   The building was clean and very welcoming.

Back in the car, we continued our drive and wound up on West Kenny and Howard Streets.  I hadn’t been in that area of the city in some time and it had improved greatly.  Once laden with projects, pimps and prostitutes, this part of the city has experienced some true revitalization.   We stopped at Vonda’s Kitchen located at 183 West Kenny Street on the first floor of a building complex.  Vonda’s Kitchen is a delight in the city. It is a Soul Food lover’s dream with traditionaResturantl dishes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and greens.  She serves up delicious seafood dishes, baked and barbecued chicken, fresh vegetables, salads, traditional burgers as well as a selection of vegetarian burgers. But Vonda’ s Kitchen is not a neighborhood greasy spoon. The pristine brightly colored decor is only out shined by her friendly staff.  Vonda has nothing to hide either.  I just love the window where the customer can look directly into the kitchen to watch the chef and staff at work.    I’ll have more to say about Vonda’s kitchen in the near future.

Back in the car again: Ms. Rosie chatted on about how blessed she and her husband were by ministering at a local nursing home. She bubbled with delight as shared stories of her weekly visits; how she truly enjoys sharing the word of God with them.  We talked about vision, goals and her desire to open up a business that would really serve the needs of Senior Citizens and their families.  She shared her newest passion, coin collecting and selling them on Ebay.  All I can say to you is this, by the time we arrived at my house, my whole mood had changed. Earlier In the day I was on the brink of tears now I was filed with laughter and joy. I realized I had been coddled and comforted by a very special angel.  By the way it was close to 5:30 when I got home.  So a 15 minute ride turned into two hours.  Thanks for the ride Ms. Rosie.  It was a trip well spent.

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Feel free to comment.  Be sure to visit my site http://www.Lesliehowardministries.com

I Remember Momma

As a very young child I wanted for nothing. Everything was provided by my mother. When mom was pregnant with me, my parents separated  and dad had  little to no dealings with the family. So, mom raised  us as a single mother. She cooked, cleaned, cared for us and held down a job so we wouldn’t be hungry or homeless.  She was indeed an incredible woman.

I remember her voice, her touch, even her smell.  A gifted story-teller, I loved to listen to her.  She had a way with voice inflection that was simply unmatched.  It’s a wonder I’m not a “Goth” seeing she introduced me to Edgar Allen Poe when I was just about four years old.  I remember many nights after her reading to me either from a book or a scary story from her own  imagination, being afraid to go to bed.  She’d let me crawl into bed with her.  I’d snuggle real close. Sleeping with her made me feel so safe.

I remember her straightening my hair on Easter Sunday so I could get all dressed up and go to grandma’s house.  She’d put hair-grease on the back of her hand with a cigarette dangling from her mouth she’d meticulously get every hair on the edge of my head. ( You know in my “Kitchen.” Smile) I’d hold my ears down so as not to get burned by the hot comb.  It was to no avail, because she’d slap my hands away and tell me,”I’m not gonna burn you child.” 

I remember learning to cook under her tutelage. I’m not even half the cook she was. Oh the joy I’d get watching her beat cake batter by hand and laughing as  her hips moved in rhythm.  How I find myself today mimicking those moments as  I whip cake batter or stir up cornbread mix.  

Dancing at my wedding, holding my children for the first time, praying with me, and even on occasion crying with me; all of these memories and many more will have to sustain me until I see her again.  I look at my daughter and granddaughter, and once in a while I’ll see my own reflection in the mirror and I remember Momma.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Visit my website www.Lesliehowardministries.com

Kindness

All this week in Sister Circle Prayer Network during devotion we have been examining The Fruit of  The Spirit.  Today our focus is on kindness. Kindness is one of the fruits that we all like to receive but may not necessarily want to reproduce. Why? Because it takes a little bit of work. Kindness takes effort and let’s face it, we are just too busy to take out time to smile at someone, or leave a posted note on their desk that says “You did a good job.” How about sending a card just to say “I’m thinking about you today.” What about the widow next door? How about sharing a cup of tea or taking her grocery shopping? You have to go anyway. But no. We’re just too busy for all that. Hmmm… I wonder. I wonder, what if The Word said, “I’m Just Too Busy”?

If anybody had the right to say I’m too busy it would have been Him. But the Word became flesh and dwelled among human kind. He healed, fed, and forgave sins. Gave vision, stopped blood, and resurrected the dead all because he was moved by compassion which caused Him to do great acts of kindness. And let’s not forget the greatest act; He died on that cross so we can have everlasting life! So do we have an excuse??? Sisters let’s pray to be moved by the Spirit to see the needs of others. Let’s be spurred by compassion to show kindness to those in need.

Sister Circle Prayer Network gathers daily at 6:30 am  eastern, for morning prayer and devotion.  If you’d like to join look us up on Facebook groups or email me your name along with the state (or country) you live in and I’ll send you a call in number with a personal pin.

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