Archive for May, 2010

Interview With Attorney Steven Parker

I had the great pleasure of sitting down and talking to one of my best friends.  Steven and I have been friends for 15 years, he’s like family.  We met through a mutual friend (thanks T-Bone).  The first time we talked on the phone we were laughing loudly and making jokes like we had known one another all our lives.  Since that time, our friendship has been challenged but through those challenges our friendship has grown and I could not imagine my life without him.  He used to say that we would be friends forever and now I truly believe that we will be. Please enjoy Steven’s interview and come to know him the way that I do.

Name:  Steven Parker

Occupation: Attorney & Professor, in Birmingham, AL

Number of Years in Occupation: 5 years

(Judith)  What is your marital status?  Do you have children? 

(Steven) I am single and I do not have any children.

(Judith)  During your early years as a man, what were your goals?  In the early years, how did you plan to achieve your goals?  

(Steven)  I wanted to be a Minister or to go into Politics.  My interests were split.  I became a student of the Bible and I focused in a lot on spirituality and community with people. For the political side, I became interested in Student Government as early as fifth grade.  In Junior High I was elected Class President.  In eleventh grade I was Student Body President.  I went to Community College and was the first Black Student Body President.  Once I transferred to California State University Northridge, I became a Student Senator, Director of Finance, and was then elected the Student Body President overseeing the needs of 35,000 students.   I was elected the Vice-Chair of the California State Student Association.  All of this experience prepared me for a position in government.

(Judith)  Did you face any hardships that tried to derail your goals? How did you handle the situation? 

(Steven)  Yes, my childhood was hard. I grew up in a single-parent home on welfare.  For me there was something about wanting to do better.  I wanted more out of life.  I ended up hanging out with people who had more life (education, things, etc) and wanted more out of life.  I learned from those people how to go after what I wanted. 

(Judith)  What person or persons impacted your life the most?  What tools did you need to be successful? 

(Steven)  My Uncle Willie had a major impact on me. He showed me attention and was instrumental in leading me into a relationship with Christ. He would come, pick me up, then we would hang out.  My Uncle was fun to be around.

(Judith)  Steven, what tools did you need to be successful?

(Steven)  I always had a very strong drive.  If I wanted something I worked hard at being good at it.  I always wanted to be a student of life and I am always eager to experience something new.  I went through life with my hands open and with the determination to make it.”

(Judith)  What is the single most important advice that you would give to people these days as they are dealing with a down economy, lost jobs, and or loss of family?

(Steven)  “If you lose all your things you can adjust.  Try to accept the fact that things are different, make the necessary adjustments, then rebuild.  Setbacks are temporary and allow us the pause to reassess, re-strategize, and re-prioritize.”    

 (Judith)  What advice would you give to young men or other men in regard to achieving their goals?

(Steven)  Determine what you want then figure out how to obtain it.  Sometimes we don’t always know what we want, but we have to learn how to figure it out.  Once you figure out what you want, then go after it.  The best thing to do is to speak with people who have already made it to where you want to go in life. 

 

 

Always Speak

 

Dear Young Ladies: 

I hope that you had a wonderful week and I hope that you are living life to the fullest and working toward your dreams and goals. 

I was thinking about my days in college. I remember walking onto the U.C.L.A. campus.  I was so happy to be there I just wanted to meet everyone.  As I started to walk the campus I was so excited to see other Black young ladies on the campus (because we were few).  One day, I walked past a Black young lady.  I said, “Hello!”  She rolled her eyes and did not speak to me.  Day after day I received the same response from young lady after young lady(not all ladies were like this, I made many Sista friends who I am still friends with today).  Back then and even today, I think that this behavior is AWFUL. 

As ladies, we should remember that we are beautiful and wonderful creatures.  First off, we must develop our self-esteem.  Next, we have to fight to protect our self-esteem.  If we protect our self-esteem we are able to make eye contact and speak to other women and men when we see them.  In other words, in passing or walking by other people, always say, hello, make eye contact, hold your head up, and smile.  By projecting a great attitude all of the time, this lets other people know that you are confident.  Even if you speak to someone that does not speak to you just brush it off and keep being a classy young lady.  Also, please apply this same behavior when you go to church, clubs, or parties.  Be a lady!  Be above the mess.  If someone does not like you that is his or her problem, not your problem…so don’t make it your problem by calling her(the offender) out of her name or fighting.  It’s not worth it.  You will go far in life when you know how to treat people despite what they may do or how they behave.

As always, remember that I love you and I am praying for you.

I’ll Try It!

 

I am trying a new product.  It is called Cell Food.  It has dissolved oxygen, trace minerals, and plant source Amino Acids and Enzymes.  I purchased it from Whole Foods, but I do not want to reveal the company information until I know how well it works.  After I tried it last week, I did have a lot of energy but I need more time using the product.  I intend to status my progress on this product weekly.  Hope it works (smiling).

Sweet Sensation

 

I felt like it was time to discuss my progress in attaining a healthy lifestyle.  I lost 2 pounds last week, but I am having my usual problem.  I love sweets!!!  My issue is not with regular food as I can take regular food or leave it.  Lol!  I eat healthy well-portioned meals, but my issue is with sweets.  Why? Well, when I was a little girl my parents did not have much money but they had a ton of love to give.  In our household, when I bought home great grades I would be rewarded with a choice of homemade sweets like upside-down pineapple cake, berry cobbler, peach cobbler, caramel cake, etc.  All sweet items were homemade.  The problem is, when I feel like I am having a bad day or that life is really being really ugly to me, I think of the most delightful sweets that I can make or buy.  For a moment life seems bearable again. 

I do NOT portion the sweets I eat because for me one sweet is too much.  Once I have one sweet I want another.  Someone told me that I need to just eat a small portion of sweets.  That was the funniest thing I ever heard (laughing).  Telling me to take small portions of sweets would be like telling a smoker to only smoke once a day or telling an alcoholic to take a half a drink instead of a bottle.  Get it!!!!  It’s hard.  Although this is a hard issue for me, I am glad that I know the root cause of it.  I am glad that I know my issue is purely “emotional.”  I am also glad that I know that I am trying to re-create the good times that I had when my parents were alive.  At any rate, no matter how good the intentions may be, I do intend to work through this issue and kick the habit…….my way.

Want Tight Skin???

 

This article was written by my friend and colleague Susan Hale.  Susan also has a Master of Urban Public Health Degree.  She and I had a conversation a while back about how to tighten skin after weight loss.  Susan was kind enough to write this article and I am sure that we will all enjoy it.  Thanks again Susan!!!

Three Steps to Tight Skin

Tight skin. We all want it. Every woman who’s over 30 or ever had more than ten pounds to lose KNOWS what I am talking about.

But despite what television ads say, you don’t need expensive and risky lasers or surgery to solve your problem. This is one problem that can be solve with just a cheap brush, some bath salts and a supplement costing less than $20.

Step 1- Dry Brushing

Anyone here ever hear about something called “The Lymphatic System”? Anyone? You- there in the back, you ever hear of it? Nah…and until I took pre-med anatomy, I hadn’t either! The lymphatic system is your OTHER circulatory system. Much like blood, it runs through the lymphatic vessels in your body and besides serving to help balance fluids in the body (among other things) the lymph and the lymphatic system helps deliver and REMOVE fats and waste from your body (like loose skin!).

This system has no pump, so it needs external help to keep things moving.

Regular muscle movement usually does the job. But as we lose weight or get older, this circulation needs a little extra help. Dry brushing gently massages the skin and helps get extra circulation to the areas where age or weight loss has loosened things up a bit.

This helps your body mobilize the fats and waste your body needs to get rid of as you lose weight, and tights up the skin in the process.

How to dry brush:

If you go to your local health food store you may see a stiff U-shaped brush that looks like a natural fiber toilet brush, but wait! It is actually for dry brushing!

You use this brush on your dry bare skin each morning or night before you shower or bathe. By the way, never get the dry brush wet and clean only with rubbing alcohol! Also, body brush ONLY in the bathroom with the door shut. The last thing you need is a cloud of dead skin floating out onto the hall carpet or bedroom (eww!). And never, ever, brush over broken or infected skin.

How to dry brush: holding the brush in your right hand, start at the sole of your left foot, and gently brush from toes to heel eight times. Then move to the top of your foot and repeat, moving up to brush all around the ankle, then the calf, gently brush upwards, in short strokes, 8x in each place. Repeat up the leg until you have brushed all the way up to your groin, and up over your behind. Repeat for your other leg, then brush around your torso, reaching as far around to the back as you can. If, like a lot of us, you have loose skin around the tummy, just gently lift that area up and keep brushing up in short gentle strokes from underneath, then over the top of that area. Stop just under your bust and move to your arms. Start at the palms of your hands and up your arms to the shoulders and underarms brushing both areas.

After brushing each arm, move to the bust. Gently brush in short upwards strokes around where your bra band usually sits. Lift each breast and brush upwards in short strokes up and around underneath, over and around each breast. When you reach your collar bone, gently rub the brush in a clockwise circle under each side. For optimum results, follow with a 15 minute soak in a dead sea salt bath.

Extra Credit

Want even better results? Try these two extra steps:

#1- Dead sea salt in a warm bath helps improve the circulation in your skin and speed skin tightening. These are sold online or at health food stores. Just soak for 15 minutes after brushing, and take a quick shower to wash off the salt.

#2- The extra-super secret weapon: Aminogen. Herbalife developed this dietary supplement to help people digest the extra proteins in their weight loss shakes. But as clients took this supplement, especially the female clients started to notice that when they took the aminogen, their skin started to tighten! Honestly, it’s become the beauty secret of a lot of ladies who use and sell Herbalife. Note: there are other amino acid digestives sold by other companies, and I also hear that eating papaya helps tighten skin. But I haven’t used those products, so I can’t say if they work for tightening skin too. But I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried them and had it work!.

 Full disclosure: Why do I know this? Because I am an Herbalife distributer. Soon after becoming a distributer (and losing 20 pounds), I became engaged. Like any bride to be, I was excited about finding THE DRESS. But instead of happily trying on everything in the bridal store, I had to stick to dresses with sleeves. After years of yo-yo weight gain from steroids (I have asthma) the loose “chicken skin” under my arms was awful and strapless dresses looked horrible. Then my friend and Herbalife supervisor told me about Aminogen and body brushing. I tried it, and a few months later, I was wearing sleeveless tops, and feeling pretty cute! My mom and sister even noticed, and cornered me at a family party, demanding to know what I was doing to make my arms look so good!

Oh, and my wedding dress? Six month later, I wore a white satin STRAPLESS dress without a single jiggle of loose underarm skin!

So there you have it, all my secrets about how to tighten your skin and look your best for summer. If you have any questions or other tips to share, please post them below. And if you’re going to give this a try, please post your results!

Here’s to your best beauty and health!

Faith=Spiritual Exercise

 

I talk to God all the time about my desires, needs, wants, and how I am feeling.  A few weeks ago I asked God for a few really specific things.  I had a need and I told God about it specifically.  A few days later, He answered but at that time I did not know that  He answered my prayer so concisely.  Today, I found out that He hears every word that I say because He answered my prayer far beyond what I asked of Him.  Amazing.

Today taught me that I have to use my faith.  I have to ask for what I desire and wait for God to fulfill it.  I learned that if I don’t use my faith by pursuing dreams or making request of God, I will never know if He hears me or if He answers.  I found out today that he does answer….because he did answer.  So amazing!!!

I wonder, has anyone else had a similar experience?

Forgiveness=Living A Healthy Life

 

This week I decided to do something different.  I usually talk about a product that I like or an exercise that I enjoy.  This week I want to talk about something that was negatively affecting my health in a worse way than the lack of healthy eating habits and exercise.  I was dealing with a situation that I could not let go of.  Sometimes you cannot understand how people can be so terrible, so dishonest, so selfish, etc.  I just kept thinking about this terrible situation.  I prayed about it and I even told the Offender that I will forgive them no matter what.  Truth is, I did not forgive.  My un-forgiveness turned to hatred and was beginning to turn to bitterness.

Last Sunday, my Pastor preached a sermon from Matthew 18:21-35.  He emphasized the Bible’s emphasis on forgiving 70X 7=490 times.  He talked about the idea that the 490 number indicates that we should never stop forgiving and we should not be keeping track of how many times we have forgiven.  Of course I knew this information but things mean more to you when you hear them and you are going through the particular situation.  Anyway, while he continued to preach, I wrote God a letter.  In the letter I told God that if he would reverse the effects of what my Offender did to me, and allow me to recover from the situation, that I would forgive.

While I was writing my letter to God, my Pastor said something else that really struck a chord.  He talked about the effects of un-forgiveness.  He said that before God gave his son Jesus I was in debt to sin, which made me a debtor.  Because God gave me his son Jesus to pay the ransom for my sin, I am now a creditor.  I am a creditor because I am now able to forgive others based on the sacrifice of forgiveness that has been given to me.  Lastly, if I decide not to forgive others, despite the fact that God freely forgave me, then I myself become a prisoner.  SO TRUE! 

Right then and there I prayed a sincere prayer to God and I felt Him heal my heart.  I felt so much better and my weight/burden was lifted.  I decided that I would not be a prisoner to un-forgiveness.  The cool thing is, I was able to release myself from this prison.  How rare is that?  A prison where I had the keys to be released?  Of course, it was harder to do than I am saying, but I am glad I let myself out of prison.  Needless to say, during last week many doors that were previously closed to me opened up and I am so eternally grateful……so I said all of that to say…..THE KEY TO GOD’S BLESSINGS IN MY LIFE ARE IN HAVING A FORGIVING HEART AND BEING FORGIVING.  

Last Sunday, I thought of this diagram which would visually portray my Pastor’s sermon. I hope you don’t mind Pastor Marlon but I made a picture out of the Bible’s words and your sermon.  Many thanks!

Un-forgiveness ~Concept by Pastor Marlon Saunders

Cycle of Un-forgiveness (diagram created by Judith):

                            Creditor

 

 Debtor                                                         Prisoner

Educate To Elevate

 

Dear Young Ladies:

I hope that life is treating you well.  I was thinking about what to write to you this week and I decided I would write about education.  My older sister T, recently wrote a book called, “Yes, I Said It!”  In her book, she dedicates an entire section to the importance of education, so I want to follow in that vein.

Young ladies, please listen up.  I can assure you that you will feel a certain way at 16 yrs that you will not feel at 18 years old.  Then when you turn 21 you will feel different yet again, by the time you turn 25 your hormones and feelings about the world change again, when you become about 30 you start to mellow out and finally get an understanding of yourself that starts the process toward full maturity.  I said all of that to say, when you are a teenager, you may not think that it is important to study, but it is.  Please push yourself.  Other people will come into your life to distract you, but please DO NOT be fooled.  Girlfriends will tell you that nobody needs school and boyfriends will tell you that they love you just so that can have sex with you.  You may have family problems, or any host of other issues may arise, but please let none of it deter your BRIGHT future.  You may not have anyone who supports your dream to educate yourself.  All of these things are just distractions please run away from them!!!!!   

I am asking you to PROTECT your education and treat it like it is golden (idea borrowed from   singer Jill Scott)…..because it is.  Education is the one tool that can take you from the ghetto or poverty to the White House or affluence.  How do I know?  Because I was born in the projects in Bridgeport, CT but I had big dreams for myself and I knew education would take me there.  I did not care what other people did or were doing,  I had one goal in mind, I knew that I was going to be a successful doctor (at that time I wanted to be a Neurosurgeon).  I changed my educational goal of becoming a Neurosurgeon but I did not give up my goal of educating myself to become a different kind of doctor. 

Young ladies, I need a favor, please do this exercise with me.  Write down your dreams and goals.  Next, write down what you need to do to reach your goals.  Now, write down what you are going to do to make those goals happen in your life.  Keep track of this process and come back to your writings every so often to be accountable to yourself.  This process really helps.  Try it!  You can do it!!!

As always, remember, that I love you and I am always praying for you.

Sex is Spiritual

 

Wow!  I never thought that not having sex would bring up so many feelings toward me from other people.  I have been asked question after question.  Some people are not speaking to me and others have chosen to ignore me altogether.  I must admit that this is funny to me (lol).  It seems that some people have forgotten that having sex or not having sex is a choice and I have made mine.  I am the same person or friend that I was before I revealed that I am still a virgin.  I have to wonder why this revelation has made some people very angry.  If anyone has any ideas about this “phenomenon” please let me know.  If I have chosen not to have sex, why would that make other people mad?  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them (big smile).

Anyway, as you all know my site is simply my opinions based on how I was raised as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and how I am on a personal Journey toward bettering myself first and if at all possible, encouraging others to do the same.  You all did know that I am/was a PK (Preacher’s Kid), right?  Well, if you did not know, I am (lol).  On my site, I share from my heart about how I have lived my life in hopes that some young lady somewhere will exercise her choice to live without sex until she is married and ready to handle the responsibilities of sex.

So, one of my readers asked me, “Why have you decided not to have sex?”  At first, I thought the answer was a no-brainer, but then I thought this topic was worth exploring.  As you all now know, I am a PK (Preacher’s Kid).  I was the youngest of four children, so my parents were older when I was growing up in the eighties.  I had the opportunity to see the lives of two sisters and one brother and I learned a lot from them. As a young girl, I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.  When I accepted Jesus Christ, I decided to accept everything that the Bible said, despite whether or not I agreed with its stance.  I felt and still feel that the Bible is relevant and even though times have changed, I believe that the precepts and concepts of the Bible are in place for my total protection and not for my demise. 

These are a few scriptures that I read since I was a child that discuss the perils of fornication, they are:

I Corinthians 6:13 (reading the I Corinthians Chapter 6 is good idea to understand these scriptures in context).

…….Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

I Corinthians 6:18

Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.

I Corinthian 6:19

What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 I Corinthians 6:20

For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 

Since I was a kid, I just thought that if I believed in something I should live like I believe in what I say that I believe in….that’s just how I feel.  So, the first reason I have not engaged in pre-marital sex is because I believe that God does not want me to.

Secondly, as a kid, I was very observant.  I just enjoyed watching people and their behaviors.  I always wanted to know why I did the things that I did (example: desire, motivation, reason).  I also wanted to know why other people did the things that they did.  I think I was born asking the question, “Why?”   Lol!!!  Anyway, in my observations from childhood until the present, I had this theory.  My theory was in the form of a question, “Why do people change after they have sex?”   Let me explain, I had friends in junior high and high school who had promising futures and bright dreams, but as soon as they had sex they were more concerned about pleasing their sexual partner than they were about their own lives.   In my opinion, many people who are engaging in pre-marital sex, seem to lose self-identity.  I think that being in relationship with someone should enhance my life not diminish it.  I have my own identity and having sex with someone should not erase my existence.  Right?  I personally did not like this behavior and I vowed to be in a position to take care of myself and be married before I engage in sex.  I noticed that when people started to have sex they would often do and say things that were not in their character prior to the sexual encounter.  Real talk, this is what I believe.  I BELIEVE THAT SEX IS A SPIRITUAL ACT THAT MANIFESTS PHYSICALLY.  I THINK THAT WHEN YOU HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE YOU ARE FOREVER JOINED TO THEM IN SOME WAY.  Personally, I DO NOT want to be joined to someone who I casually care for, which is another reason why pre-marital sex does not work for me. 

If you are a person who has had sex before, I have a question for you.  After having sex with someone, did you notice that you started to do and say certain things that you never did and said before?  Did you feel like you were not quite yourself?  Did you find yourself thinking or feeling like your sexual partner? Think about it before you answer.  I believe that when men and women engage in sex they are swapping their spiritual selves.  For instance, I think if you sleep with someone who has low self-esteem you will touch or access that spiritual problem when you have sex with them. In fact, I think that you may start to feel your own esteem diminish.  I know that many people will not agree with me but I think that sex should be in the confines of marriage because whatever issues my future husband and I have will be worked out in the marriage.  Because I will choose to be married, I am choosing to share my spirit with my husband only.  I am saving myself for marriage because I do not want to be spiritually attached to many men, whether you agree with me or not, I still believe this to be true.  If I am wrong in my belief, I think that I will find the truth as I continue on my journey….but if I’m right, I would have saved myself a world of headache and heartache. 

As always, I welcome your opinions and feedback.  Thanks for Journeying with Judith!

Mother’s Day Tribute

Dear Mommy (Harriet L. C. O.)

On this your special day, I honor you! I miss you terribly and since you passed away almost 11 years ago, I decided to write you a letter to tell you how I am doing now and how you are still a part of my life today.  Mommy (Harriet L.C.O.) you were the best!  You always had time for me and prayed for me.  When you were too sick to care for me or needed a stand in, you left me with my sister, Tlona D. O.  In your absence she is still caring for me and putting my needs before her own just as you would.  When life has thrown me a curve ball your prayers have assisted me and given me favor with other mothers who have embraced me and given me love in times when I needed it most.  Mommy, on this day, I not only honor you, but I honor the other women who have impacted my life so deeply.

Grandma Hattie T. O. –Thank you for caring for me after I was released from the hospital in a premature state.  Thanks for loving me.

Grandma Sara L. C. –Thank you for your prayers and for birthing my Mommy.  Sorry that I did not have the chance to meet you.

Tlona D. O. – My biological sister and Second Mother, thanks for always being there when I felt as though I had no where else to turn. Thanks for all of the sacrifices you made to help raise me including turning down a marriage proposal.  God has awesome plans for you!

Great Aunt Hayruth C. F. –Thanks for teaching me to speak my mind, which in turn helped me to stop having asthma attacks.  You saved my life!

Shirleyne B. –Thanks for your unwavering love and support.  Thanks for always making me sing when you see me, it reminds me of how my Mommy raised me.

Gloria H. –Thanks for taking my Mommy to the doctor for check-ups. Thanks for calling me a “jewel” for helping her in the best way that I could as a child.

For all of the ladies below, thanks for your kind words, support, guidance, encouragement, prayers, shelter, and love.  You all are the reason I am still alive.  You are awesome mothers and I love you.  My own mother Harriet C. O. would also salute you if she were still here.

Adopted Grandma Faye D., Sandra C., Nancy P., Irma C., Cousin Hazel G., Martha M. J. Aunt Joy C., Aunt Mary B. O., Aunt Lois O., Aunt Catherine O., God-mother Lois M., Aunt Janice O. A., Aunt Mammie J., Adopted Grandma Rozena E., Charles Etta B., T. Marvene W. and Pam W.

“Mother’s Day Poem” ~ Written by Judith 5/13/07

When I was young you protected me, you guided me, and you loved me.

As I grew older you continued to protect me giving me more room to grow.

You encouraged me and told me that I could achieve anything in life.

You believed in me when the world tried to brand me as this or that.

You showed me how to be a lady with confidence and self-respect.

You showed me how to have a relationship first with Jesus Christ so that He could

help me to navigate and succeed in my earthly relationships.

You told me that I never had to settle for less.

You challenged me to pursue a better life for myself.

You taught me never to depend on others for approval or rely on them for unmet

emotional needs.

You taught me how to laugh, love, and sing.

You taught me how to smile with my soul and maintain a clean heart.

With all my heart I miss your essence on this day. I miss your voice and I miss your

Godly-wisdom.  Thanks MOM!  I am grateful that I had you as my Mother here on

earth.

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