Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lost & Found

Remember the "Lost & Found" bin at school? You know, it was that big box, bin or table that collected all of the things people lost over the years, but never claimed. Some of those items were dirty and worn out so we were not surprised that they were "lost." However, did you ever see a shirt, jacket, pair of shoes or backpack that you wouldn't mind taking home with you? You were completely flabbergasted that the owner didn't miss it or didn't realize it was lost.

I don't know about y'all, but when I lose something, it stays on my mind preventing me from focusing on other important things like getting to work on time, calling so-and-so back or even going about my day-to-day routine. If I realize that something once in my ownership has been misplaced, then it becomes my ONLY priority. Yes, it depends on how much $ I paid for it or if I borrowed it from someone else, but nevertheless, I gotta find it...somehow...some way or lose my good sense LOL

Aside from the humor in being confused and irritated when you misplace something and cannot find it, there's a serious issue surrounding the "Lost & Found" sections of our lives. You see, it's easy to replace a pair of shoes, jewelry, even our favorite pair of house shoes. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to replace a memory, a relationship, a gift put in our possession only temporarily.

Think about those valuable items and relationships that have been in the "Lost & Found" bin for years. So much time has passed that no one even remembers that these items and persons have been lost. Be honest with yourself, ever felt like someone left you on the "Lost & Found" table?

If not, well good for you, but for some of us, we know how it feels to be lost and "unclaimed." We remember how hopeless we felt, the depression we fell into and the deep sadness our hearts endured while waiting on our friends and family to remember remember that we have lost our way and need to be FOUND.

Now before we start tearing up, let's rejoice that not all is lost. Yep, it's true that some friendships, marriages, partnerships and other relationships were broken, lost and never repaired but GOD!

You see, I'm a firm believe that at times, following God will cause some folks and things to fall off your radar and you'll look around, noticing that you have a few things in the "Lost & Found" bin. You don't plan to claim them because God took them from you for His purpose. Hallelujah God for inserting expiration dates on people, places and things that I deemed eternal pieces of me. For Your thoughts are not my thoughts and Your ways are not my ways, says the Lord (Isaiah 55:8). Thank you Lord for nudging me...sometimes snatching me up so that I understand how these "bad apples" truly will spoil the bunch.

On the flip side, we can rejoice that God never left us on the "Lost & Found" table. Un uh, nope, that's just NOT how He rolls. Everytime I even thought about running away from the Lord, he sent an angel to not only watch over me but also that RAM to bring me back to remembrance of Him. It's funny but quite amazing to fully understand that God considers you to be worth saving...worth sending a search party out for...he put the ultimate finder's fee on your head: LIFE!

You shouting yet? No? Too bad cause I'm happy all by myself, you hear me?! God doesn't give up on you just because time passed or the "crowd" voted you were not worth the time and effort to keep looking. Nope, my God promised that even if it takes years, decades, blood, sweat and tears He will never leave you nor forsake you! So that means that the cost to replace you in His heart does not exist. He can't just go out and find another you, there's only 1 spirit, 1 soul, 1 place created especially for you. So if God can't find you, His heart will never be mended...and that truth means more than me than anything else.

To know that although the lonely nights, dark paths, toils and snares come upon you like a thief in the night, God sees all and never left you. In fact, He was that stranger that gave you a place to stay...that shelter manager that gave you a warm bed in a foreign place...the source of the peace that calmed your nerves when you thought you were never gonna find your way. God is and will always be the lamp unto your feet and the light unto your path (Ps 119:105).

Doesn't it feel good to not be forgotten? God has not forgot!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Truth About “Busy” Work

Remember back in the day (pre-2008) when the term “busy work” came into play?

You know, like in school when the teacher would assign random handouts or homework assignments just to “keep us busy.” It was acceptable at the time, but as we got more grown and starting smelling ourselves we DEMANDED that every assignment given to us had a purpose and some measurement of credit behind it.

We was like “un uh, if it ain’t being graded, then I ain’t doing it.”

Well if you never uttered these words, I guess you can’t relate. However, for those of us who DO remember them days, let me suggest something to ya: Don’t be consumed by the act of being “busy.” A few years ago, a very wise man warned me of always being busy: Bound Under Satan’s Yoke! (Thanks Ron)

It caught my attention then, but man oh man have I seen the LIGHT now! When I think about how often my friends and family say, “Tam you stay busy” or “I guess you were too busy to call/text/e-mail me” I feel the guilt. Actually, I’m primarily annoyed because the phone and inbox works BOTH WAYS! Lol

But in all honesty, I look back over the past year for signs of progression and goals attained…yet not that much has been done that I can measure with a ruler or scale even. I’ve been “busy” all dang’on year but ain’t did nothing!

How did this happen?! I'll tell ya how: I got accustomed to being “busy” for the sheer sake of passing time. I’m not saying that I didn’t accomplish anything, that would be dumb to say LOL but considering all the time I spent running errands, checking off my daily to-do list and just being “busy” I don’t see many results other than being worn out, stressed and broke LOL

So I’m reminded of my younger self where I analyzed the smallest matters (pettiness) but I did it because I valued MY time. It’s time I stopped being BUSY/BOUND and started freeing up some idle time in my life. Time to rest, recuperate and rekindle the flame I had with God and the other loved ones that bit the dust over the past 8 years of my busy-ness.

Won’t you join me? Let’s stop accepting “busy” work: activities done JUST to appear that you are working on something or just to pass the time. Let’s be more INTENTIONAL with our actions.

This goes for ministry as well. How many ministries are we involved in or the leaders of that are just placeholders and time-consuming, "busy" work stations?

The people of God deserve purpose, not just a quota we decided to fill to make it appear that our church, our ministry, our "busy" selves are doing something.

Who's grading your paper?

I'm gonna share a lesson I learned the HARD WAY: not everyone's expectation of you is the same. Be sure that you know what your grading criteria is before you start ANY project, job, relationship or ministry. Why is it important? Because it will be used to measure your end result and if WE are living to be acceptable & pleasing in God's sight let's be real about it - S.M.A.R.T. goals won't work in heaven!

Remove the clutter so God can work!

After all, our time is precious.

Like KW said, “Ain’t no tuition for having no ambition and ain’t no loans for sitting yo…at home. So we forced to sell, rap and get a job. You gotta do something man yo…is grown!”



Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Winter Season: Do you REALLY know what time it is? Scriptural References: Ecclesiastes 3

As I was talking to my sister Keena on the phone last night about the cold winds that were tearing my behinds up when I checked the mailbox at my apt complex, I noticed just how much I LOATHE the winter season.

Here are my thoughts...

Before I began studying the Word and attempting to live this Christian walk, my reasons for HATING (yes, I know it’s a bad word) winter was simply based on the EPIC drop in temperature. You see, I’m a “summer baby” which means I was born May 4th (for your 2012 b-day calendar reference LOL) so I’m accustomed to shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts and SUNSHINE.

PLUS, I’m from Louisiana so even though I’ve lived in the Midwest for about 13 years, my natural climate is Southern Style: blistering heat, mild winters, and FLOODs from all the rain mixed with a poor sewer/drainage system (another blog).

Now that I’m older in age (more experienced and traveled to a few states) and more mature (realistic) in the faith, I can see how EVERYONE, non-believers included, needs a WINTER season in their lives. If you don’t know what I mean by “winter” season, then please read below.

Winter is the only season that…

A. Most if not all plants and things that blossom subject to the elements DIE

B. FORCES you to MANAGE/PLAN your time more effectively

C. PREVENTS you from engaging in certain activities due to fear of a FATALITY/INJURY

So to sum it up, winter is a season of DEATH, RESTRICTION and ACCOUNTABILITY – 3 things I despise!

I’m spoiled. Receive it into your spirit LOL, because I have embraced it. I’m the youngest of 4 girls + 1 boy sooooo somebody had to be the baby…who better than Tam, right? Right!

So with most young’ns we do NOT understand when someone tells us NO. Even though I’m a ripe 26-year old professional upper-body dancer, I still struggle with NO and NOT NOW. I’m stubborn, impatient and VERRRRRY self-centered so I want a through reason from YOU and the LORD ALMIGHTY on why I can’t have WHAT I want, WHO I want and WHEN I want them. Stay with me, I’m going somewhere.

You might call it DEATH…I call it the robbery of LIFE.

You might call it RESTRICTION…I call it punishment and control.

You might call it ACCOUNTABILITY…I call it “getting on my LAST nerve” and “nosiness”

As Keena & I were discussing the spiritual application of this cycle of seasons, she brought up a GREAT point: after the winter, comes Spring. I must say that the LORD knows that I need a sister in my life to remind me that despite the long, sometimes unbearable season of winter, boo boo SPRING will come!

Are you shouting?! If not, you must not be saved ahahahahahahahahahha j/k…well kinda LOL

I will let her write about the breakthroughs we have access to if we can just HOLD ON ‘til Spring comes, but this blog right here is for the REALITY of the WINTER SEASONS we must get through in order to arrive at Spring.

Why is it so important to understand the purpose of WINTER?

It’s important because no matter HOW HARD WE PRAY, HOW MANY TIMES WE TRY TO BLACK IT OUT ON OUR SPIRITUAL CALENDARS, this cold, lonely and harsh condition is INEVITABLE so we MUST prepare for it. Amen? Amen :-) 

A lack of preparation will yield poor results and sadly, a weaker spirit than what we can embody if we had remained focused and OBEDIENT to what OLD MAN WINTER commanded.

You don’t wanna DIE before Spring comes and that rebirth or renewal ceases to exist, do you? So what suggestions does Tam have for us to BATTLE WINTER & WIN, WIN, WIN no matter what?!

1. Acknowledge what time it is.

A. Attire – does it fit the weather pattern? Are you covered?

B. Arrangement – did you squeeze a few extra minutes to your day to account for the weather?

C. Attitude – do you REFUSE to accept the season that has come upon you or are you determined to make it to Spring?

 2. Prepare

A. Worst-case scenario – are your ducks in a row? Do you have spiritual resources on deck just in case you need to make a spiritual withdrawal?

B. Are you fit for the journey ahead? Are you prayed up? What will you PREVENT from RE-OCCURING from last season? Have you set up booby-traps for Satan or just yourself?

3. Adjust your schedule as the STORM(s) arise.

A. We can buy the most advanced almanac, subscribe to the most intelligent (reliable) forecasters, but when GOD says STORM COME or STORM GO, trust me, even lil ol' me can't change it. So although we prepare, plan ahead, leave work 20 minutes early, warm up our car for an extra 5 minutes, buy hat/gloves/pea coats/CarHarts if the temperature is below freezing, all we can do is ADJUST & KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

B. Don't quit, your soul deserves better. Heck, your inner circle (most imptly the LORD) deserves better from you!

C. If all it takes is a $200 gas bill from MGE or $500 KCP&L bill to shut you down, put you into extreme hibernation and POSTPONE God's work in your life, then why are you even reading this blog? Satan already declared victory over your defeated life. Pull the blanket over your cold, shivering body and DIE.

D. GOD offers us the ABUNDANT LIFE, not just material excess, but the spiritual gifts and inner strengths that TRUMP any storm, any blizzard and any change in the forecast. Let your devotional life (prayer, meditation, study, etc.) be the thermostat that changes the temperature or measure of YOUR FAITH, not the other way around.

E. God is still God in the Winters, Springs, Summers & Falls - but are you the same believer?!


If you are NOT willing to adjust to THIS season’s weather conditions, then STOP reading!

We plant the seed, but it God who provides the sunshine and rain. What does this mean? If you have mustard seeds of faith planted in your spiritual garden, only GOD can substantiate GROWTH. Those seeds have to be planted DEEP enough that even the Ice Storm of 2001 cannot uproot the growth you’ve accomplished in the previous calendar months.

God did NOT say that winter wouldn’t come babe, but he said “Be of GOOD courage, for I have already overcome the WORLD.” Take the word “WORLD” out and input whatever worries you the most about the WINTER seasons in your life.

-loneliness                                  - low temperatures              -ice storms
-snow                                          -death -limitations               -solitude
-higher cost of living           -driving -transportation     -illness

You CAN make IT through WINTER; remember SPRING is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! - Tamz

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do More

Confess your sins, but do more than just confess – repent and turn away from IT.

Repent and turn from IT, but do more than that – show compassion for believers who still struggle with IT.

Show compassion for your fellow believers, but do more than that – pray for those believers to utilize the self-control God has afforded to them. Let them know that there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

*Note: You cannot pass JUDGMENT but call it ACCOUNTABILITY; people CONDEMN, the Holy Spirit CONVICTS – know YOUR role within the spiritual recovery cycle of the Kingdom.

Pray for those believers to utilize the self-control God has afforded to them, but do more than that. Pray for the sin to dissipate, pray for those believers to testify to other believers, atheists and the doubtful about how the Lord walked WITH them.

After prayer (the spiritual evaluation of the circumstance), THEN you move to the practical application of the Word.

*Note: Practical application of the WORD is not your interpretation of the Word. We do not need to sugarcoat or reduce the severity of its commands. It is a double-edged sword.

For example: God says “Do not grow weary in well-doing.” That means:

1. You WILL grow weary in well-doing
2. When you do grow weary, be of good courage; God is with you always.

So the best thing to do is pray about EVERYTHING, panic about NOTHING!

Can I remind you bro/sis that the word mentions that God takes care of the birds of the air and the animals of the land, so why should we PRAY & WORRY?

Did God not give MAN dominion over the WORLD?

So it is NOT that we lack authority or power to change, it is that we allow our PRIDE, IGNORANCE and IMMATURITY to weaken our position of influence.

God Bless!

Tamz Devotional Inspired by my fellow believers, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit

Sources: Matthew 6:1-34; Hebrews 4:12


Monday, October 10, 2011


Being a young adult attempting to live this Christian life is a constant cycle of worship & response. God is great, I recognize a blessing, I vow to be a living sacrifice, I sin, I repent, God forgives & forgets…and the journey continues until the NEXT hiccup in my walk of faith.

From time to time, I get overwhelmed with emotions and begin to question my faith. Why me God? Why can’t I just STOP sinning? When will my struggle be over? How do I serve better, witness more effectively?

All these questions are asked on an ongoing basis…but this one – I don’t think I will fully understand its power or potential solution until I sit at His feet in the midst of His angels, completely detached from my flesh and able to experience His glory face-to-face.

Lord, why do I hafta wait on you to move when you know the urgency of my circumstance?

The title of this blog reads “God promised me the abundant life – so why am I struggling? Have you EVER asked this before? I think in every believer’s life, there comes a time when we STRUGGLE to WAIT on God to MOVE in our lives for a number of reasons (this is not an all-inclusive list):

1. We do not understand the purpose of our delay.

Because we do not UNDERSTAND God’s timing, we question it. Because we do not UNDERSTAND our role in God’s will, we question our faith. Because life appears harder than it is ‘supposed’ to be, we question the very presence of God. I’m not sure what book, chapter or verse we have to back this thought process up, but GOD NEVER SAID THAT HE WILL WAIT ON YOU TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE MOVING IN YOUR LIFE!

I remember sitting in “Experiencing God” and hearing the first principle: GOD IS ALWAYS AT WORK. I had already been a church-goer for years so this was well overdue but nevertheless profound. God is ALWAYS working on us and the world around us. Please receive this into your spirit. Although the seasons in your faith walk change, phase-out and transform, God’s purpose in your life DOES NOT CHANGE.

So instead of wondering WHY, allow the PEACE which surpasses all understanding to guide your thoughts and emotions. Alternatively, you can continue to set this DOUBLE-MINDED, ANXIETY-driven and HEAVY-burdened example to ALL of the believers AND non-believers watching you.

2. We confuse the Lord’s timing with our stopwatch.

Read Ecclesiastes 3:

Everything Has Its Time

1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8 A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.

3. We have allowed the circumstances in our lives to determine our faith instead of vice versa.

On the flip side, let’s be real about it. It’s VERY hard (nearly impossible) to explain to the IRS, your boss, your landlord, your children, your mate, and more importantly God on why you missed the deadlines set before you. However, we are not perfect and are constantly apologizing for unexcused absences in our daily relationships and responsibilities.

YET, God extends NEW mercies every day. We keep apologizing for our sins, always EXPECTING God to give us another chance to get it right, but how many chances do WE give God before we give up on Him altogether? Seriously, sit down and make a list of all the times GOD didn’t come through. On the other side of the paper, write down all the times we didn’t come through for God. Do NOT write down your logical or spiritual reasons for disappointing God, rebelling against His word, yielding to temptation and causing others to fall. I like to call this NO EXCUSES area of faith. So the next time you say, “God what’s taking so long?” think about how often God wonders the same about you. Like when will we UTILIZE our measure of faith? How much longer does He have to be with us before we trust Him? How many more goof-ups will it take before we understand that God expects for us to live a holy life, acceptable in His sight?

Sometimes we ask God for patience, but never mentally or spiritually condition our heart and mind to WAIT on Him. Before you pray, make sure that you are FIT for his response. Our petitions do not change God’s will – we shouldn’t want them to. Instead prayer changes our hearts and focus on God’s way vs. our way.

4. We are unable to discern between an unconditional and conditional promise of God.

I have been waiting to talk about this the whole BLOG…here goes!


A. 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matt 7 Amplified Bible

B. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10 NLT

C. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8 NKJV

D. 14-17Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? James 2 The Message

We often confuse all-inclusive promises available to the WORLD and the exclusive privileges related to the believers of Christ and doers of the Word. Let’s take a more in-depth look, shall we?

A. C H Spurgeon writes, Faith asks, hope seeks, and love knocks.

Tam says: To ask (pray) is to acknowledge that this is the only way to CHANGE the situation; this shows your faith in God. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1 NLT). Love knocks on the door of God’s heart. Unless we have GOOGLED the Lord’s address, mustered up enough strength to get out of the car and walk to Him, how will we know if He is at home (present)? If you don’t trust God, it will show in how often you acknowledge that He is in control and has the FINAL SAY!

B. This passage of scripture is describing the kind of ABUNDANT LIFE that only the Lord’s sheep encounter. I was talking the other day with my sis Keena about the QUALIFICATIONs of a Christian. Spiritually, we know that salvation is free. Tithes, offering, membership dues, etc. are not required to gain salvation. No works or any action can ever EARN salvation; it is a gift from God that Jesus paid for with His life. Does that mean there aren’t any RULES to bear the name of a Christian, no! As mere humans, we foolishly attach a particular VALUE to objects and people based upon how much it COSTS us. So we take grace & mercy for granted because we didn’t WORK for it and certainly haven’t PAID for it.

Let’s flip it. Consider your car. You paid for it or someone else had to pay for it. Even if you didn’t pay for it, you more than likely are paying insurance, maintenance and licensing fees on it. Therefore, when someone asks, “Can I borrow your car” – we immediately begin to calculate the costs of the potential damage this individual could cause in the worst-case scenario. This cost-benefit analysis normally does not take long and almost always leads to the following response: NO!

Here’s the part that hurts my heart to consider. When someone asks us “Hey, do you want to sin with me” or “Can you step out on God just this ONE time” – we don’t hesitate. Most of the time it’s our flesh asking our spirit to STEP ASIDE, I GOT THIS! So we commit adultery with our sin and leave God hanging out to dry. We lack self-discipline and control, but always are the FIRST ones in line for God’s next blessing because “there’s gotta be one with MY name on it!”

C. Um…yeah. I love this scripture, don’t you? This tells me that no matter what HELL I go through, all my scars and bruises will be worth it in the end. The problem is that we often confuse the OUR stress with God’s struggles. God gave you a behaviorally-challenged child. You have allowed that child to worry you so much that you’ve picked up a habit of smoking. You get lung cancer, are able to fight it and BECAUSE God spared your life, you begin to minister to Smokers Anonymous groups across the world. Great job! But what if, instead of being a cancer survivor, you were supposed to be a Family Counselor or Youth Minister? So of course, God is gonna get His glory, but look at all the chaos you created once you decided that God was NOT the solution to your problem. Lord, I pray that we would seek you first GOD and consider you the ONLY option to “cope” with our circumstances and situations while we live on this Earth.

D. Enough said!

Related Sources:

“The Pursuit of Purpose” Myles Munroe
“What Is God Waiting For?” Marlinda Ireland
“Healing for Damaged Emotions” David A Seamands
“Balance: Living with Life’s Demands” Tracey L Henderson

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4 NLT

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8 NLT

10 I praise God for what he has promised;

Yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised Psalms 56 NLT


Monday, October 3, 2011


We all can be critical. It’s been said that “you are your own worst enemy.”
I believe that because when I arise in the morning, one of the first things I do is go to my bathroom mirror.

During this time I slowly open my eyes as they adjust to the light. Then I take a quick glance in the vanity mirror. Why? Because I want to see HOW MY DAY IS GONNA GO; you see, during this quick 90 seconds or less I analysis my reflection:

EYES: Any dark circles, puffiness, redness, CRUST
FACE: Any dryness? Did I remove all the make-up from yesterday?
MOUTH: Are my lips cracked? Do I have any visible slobber residue?

*THESE ARE IMPT QUESTIONS! The answers dictate my morning…just wait and see!*

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a “no-rush, no-fuss” kind of person. Meaning I attempt to make it on time, but I prioritize everything I do in the morning and if it means I show up 10-25 minutes late, so be it. I guess I would apologize for this tardiness, but I really INTEND to be on time EVERY morning…just doesn’t work out so well all the time.

Back to this CRITICAL EYE though. So I plug up the clothing iron and flat iron – I call these acts “daily preparation” because even though I have not picked out the day’s outfit or hairstyle, these gadgets are absolutely needed before I can walk out the door and need time to heat up. Okay, so let’s address the results of the morning’s analysis.

EYES: Depending on whether I actually LOOK tired vs. just feeling sleep–deprived, I have a few options.

1. I could hop in the shower and hopefully WAKE myself up.
2. I could do both #1 plus use my personal collection of Mary Kay eye make-up/eye care products.

*NOTE: I ALWAYS do #1; #2 is really for 1 of 3 purposes: #1 I want to look presentable for the day or #2 I have a Mary Kay meeting/event later today or #3 I need to COVER UP some trouble spots in random order.

FACE: Depending on the whether I had make-up on yesterday OR am having a rough day:

1. I could use my Mary Kay 3-In-1 Cleanser & Moisturizer, then analysis later.
2. I could use my Mary Kay Micro-dermabrasion Refine & Replenish Set.
3. I could do both #1 and #2 plus use my personal collection of Mary Kay make-up/skin care products.

*NOTE: I ALWAYS do #1; #2 is a weekly or bi-weekly routine; However, it really comes down to 1 of 3 reasons: #1 I want to look sassy, #2 I have a Mary Kay meeting/event later today or #3 I need to COVER UP some trouble spots in random order.

MOUTH: Depending on just the JACKED up-ness of these luscious lips AFTER washing my face and brushing my teeth I have a few options as well:

1. I could use my Mary Kay Satin Lip Set.
2. I could use some lip balm, lip suede, lip nectar or lip gloss to make ‘em POP!

*NOTE: I always do #2 because we live in KC and the weather (wind, humidity or crazy temps) will force you to apply something or look like a crack head on the Dave Chapelle Show.

So you see there is a CRITICAL EYE in everyone’s normal routine.

Here’s the deeper issue tho…

When you pay THIS MUCH attention to your own outward appearance, you more than likely will turn that CRITICAL EYE to the public! The strangers you see on the street, your co-workers, friends, even the family in your own house. I went to a Mary Kay workshop a few weeks ago, I heard a NSD say “criticism is NEVER constructive.” I see where she was going with this, but I think there are some grey areas.

Like for instance, if analysis of your outward appearance, inner character, speech or behavior AFFECTS your employment, discipleship, reputation or treatment, then YES, we should all be inclined to receive feedback, or namely, constructive criticism. HOWEVER, constructive criticism turns into the CRITICAL EYE if left in the wrong hands.

Synonyms of CRITICISM: censure, disapproval, condemnation, judgment, analysis, appreciation

Antonyms of CRITICISM: allow, approval, enable, un-opinionated, carelessness, devalue

These are VERY thin, almost transparent lines that separate each side of CRITICISM. I think H-TOWN was on to something when they said, “It’s a THIN line between LOVE and HATE.” So your FAN can become a HATER in 0.5 seconds…if you INTERPRET or RECEIVE the CRITICAL EYE in a way the FAN never INTENDED you to ACCEPT it.

This is basic communication theory: a sender sends a message to a receiver, NOISE occurs; then, the receiver receives a message from the sender. NOTICE I did NOT say the message the sender sent is the exact same message the receiver gets. The NOISE factor is so crucial and is of the UTMOST importance in this communication cycle.

NOISE is the sound, clatter, racket or any other DISTRACTION that causes a BARRIER for the sender to get the message across and the receiver to in fact, receive the INTENDED message the sender INTENDED to transfer. Please do not let you PRIDE, IGNORANCE or EMOTIONS block the POSITIVE, PRUNING message GOD intended for YOU to receive!

We should not ALLOW the NOISE of our FLESH to destroy the PURPOSE of the MESSAGE. Spiritual Application: Harden not your HEART toward the WORD of GOD; it could come from a scripture, devotional or word of mouth. Practical Application: Before you SPEAK out of your mind, check YOUR HEART and consider the messenger’s INTENT. It could save a lot of “hurt” feelings and “cuss-out sessions.”

We in the same picture, but we all got different poses. Each one of us did NOT deserve Christ, but that didn’t stop God from giving His life on our behalf. Before you CRITICIZE another, take an inward evaluation of your MOTIVES. It would be far better to do self-development before focusing on MENTORING someone else in the FAITH. We all NEED JESUS, We all NEED GRACE & MERCY from God. We all NEED the Holy Spirit to dwell in us 24/7 as we enter into spiritual warfare on a daily basis.

So let us not forget that if it HAD NOT BEEN for the mothers that taught us how to be ladies, the fathers that taught us how to keep a man, the elders that kept us in check, the friends that taught us to stay in touch with fashion, the many HATERS that keep us on top of our toes and more importantly our Father in Heaven that constantly teaches us HOW TO EMMULATE CHRIST, where would we be? Turn that CRITICAL EYE first on yourself as you compare your LIFE to CHRIST! The rest of the world will have to check THEIR REFLECTION on their own, either in the private MIRRORS in their life or the public EYES of God on the day in which we will all sit at the FEET of Jesus.


Related Sources: Gen 1:1, Matthew 7:5, Carter IV, Luke 6:41, 1 Corinthians 13, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, James 3, Rev 22:21, Matt 7:1, John 14:26, 1 Sam 16:7, Microsoft Office Word 2007

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Do I Listen to RAP Music?

You’re probably thinking “what does Tam know about RAP music?” Well, thanks to my bff and my quest for enlightenment via ART I’ve slid on over to this genre.

Overall, my interest in rap music is solely educational. I consider myself to be an artist in many ways: whether it’s blogging, poetry, singing, etc. So I take note when there are other artists doin’ they thug thizzle better than anyone else in the game. Music is by far the GREATEST unifying element of society today. Seriously, it knocks down walls of age, race, income bracket – you name it and I bet you can find at least 2 people who listen to or play the SAME kind of music and other than that they are complete opposites. For example, list the characteristics of a Michael Jackson fan. I bet you will have traits all across the spectrum because overall, MJ was a performer. It didn’t matter if you was “black or white” because when it’s time to “BEAT IT” or you see a “PYT” walking down the street honey shuga iced tea, you were ALL EARs.

Now to understand the POWER behind music and the INFLUENCE artists have, let’s discuss your experience with this system of beats, lyrics, melodies and clefs. Has music ever “taken you there?” You know what I mean. When you were sitting at home one day by your lonesome, did you not put on some Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or some “Stanky Leg” and supremely KICK IT. You didn’t need no crowd, no drank and no distractions. When it was time to pick the songs for your wedding, did you not borrow the classic lyrics from the O’Jays, Babyface & Luther Vandross? See, music will take you places: voluntary or involuntary.

See the dangerous element of music is its ability to creep into your subconscious, plant a garden and have you sprouting up emotions you never thought possible. I can recall a many of times riding in the Cobie and “One Last Cry” from Brian McKnight simply take me to a rough time in my life…now I’m crying ‘cause I’m remembering “the one that got away” and all the HELL that last foo’ took me through. So BE CAREFUL what you allow to enter in your spirit. MUSIC can be a dagger or a hoist, use it wisely.

Back to the topic at hand: RAP MUSIC. What I love about rap music and any music with quality is how clever they string together the song as a whole. As I mentioned before, I sing, write poetry and most definitely respect MUSIC as an art form. So when I listen to music: I dissect the lyrics, critique the beat and if it doesn’t intrigue my mind or spirit, I turn it off. For the majority of my musical life, I’ve only considered R&B, Gospel and more of the “calm” side of music to fill up my cassette case and disk drive. That was until I heard these artists below….

Christian Lecrae, Da T.r.u.t.h., Flame, Sho Baraka, Trip Lee

All these artists TEACH the word of God to the masses.
Their target audience is the YOUNG ADULTs in and out of the church.
All have a testimony that would normally disqualify them from ministering, BUT GOD!

Secular Jadakiss, Wayne, Nappy Roots, Lauryn Hill

All these artists TEACH you their principles of how to live life.
Their target audiences are quite diverse.
All have life stories that, for the most part, coincide with their identity in music.

So you might ride past me in traffic BLASTIN’ some “Background” from Lecrae or “Tie My Hands” by Weezy F. Oh my word – how can a Christian justify listening to SECULAR music?!!!

Simply put: I use it for various ministry moments & the METAPHORs are ridiculous!

I put some of my favorite pieces below. Guess who they belong to.
Only the 9 artists listed above are choices. You might be surprised.

1. I'm leaning to the right. The light is where I'm running.
    I thought I wanted life, drunk, sexed out and blunted
2. As I look at what I've done. The type of life that I've lived. How many things I pray the father will forgive
3. But who am I to talk? We in the same picture but we all got different poses
4. If I was worth dying for, yes this God’s worth living for.
5. I just wanna make you famous.
6. ...scared to get some water, roaches hangin’ over the faucets
7. I'll mess around and lose my life man tryna walk in you
    I'm standing on these stages and got these people believing me
8. Why they gon’ give you life for a murder - turn around only give you eight months for a burner.
9. If the bible was re-written and the writers put me in it. I wonder how my life would read? Would the people that have heard of me read just to learn of me be turned away by what they see? Or would they slump in their sofas blown away and sober by my life... didn't come to believe. Or would they do a once over read the pages of my life, and once it's over, close the book and say that's not how I want to be!

*Answers will be e-mailed to all readers that leave a comment.*

Did I write this to make you start/stop listening to rap whether Christian or Secular. NOPE! I consider myself to be open-minded at my core so I’m like a SPONGE – tryna get educated and enlightened in any way that I can. Do I listen to every Weezy F song he puts out? NO because sometimes I can’t handle its profanity or I’m on something different that day. I respect his hustle tho’. I’m becoming more and more aware of what I allow into my personal bubble: people, music, teaching, spirits so of course I’m not promoting either artist but I will say that if you want to bring people together, stop judging people by the music they listen to. It might be mess to you but it could a reflection of their own life. No, I’m not a gangsta and no I’m not a saint but I am ME: an artist at heart, child of God, hustla’ in my own right & lover of music. Jesus didn’t hang out with the saved all day long, did he? He was in the streets so if I can connect with a person on the music front, maybe I can convince them to lower their wall and consider another viewpoint – after all, you can’t have a ministry moment with a conversation starter!

Hope you enjoyed my insight.

Go pick up that Le’Andria Johnson and Kirk Franklin (Hello Fear) album (shameless promo).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning from the Oldies: LIFE LESSONS taught by R&B Classics

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a MUSIC FANATIC. So of course, my musical interests are diverse: country, R&B, gospel, rap, blues, etc. However, when I want an emotional release to clear my head, give me a laugh or help me vent I find myself dipping & dabbing in some of the music my mom played on her record player. I can recall plenty of times where I would sit and listen to some Prince, Michael Jackson, Teddy P. & a slew of others. I was only a young buck (12 yrs old), but the songs spoke to me. LOL As an adult, I started to actually listen to the lyrics. This analysis led to a few conclusions: 1). Music is a lost art 2). Real music outlives the time period in which it is created & 3). All my older adult friends/family better not say nothing about how disrespectful, sexually-oriented our music is because honey sugar iced tea y’all was doing the same thang!

*chuckle, it’s ok to laugh*

So of the numerous selections I had to choose from, these were the first ones that popped up in my head & media player on my phone. These songs taught me a lot about life, love & everything in between. Go back in time with me for a minute…I know what you’re gonna say: “what about so-and-so” & “why you put it on the list.” It’s not an all-inclusive trip, just a speed bump in the musical era I call, “The Oldies but Goodies.”

No Pain, No Gain (Betty Wright)
Anything worth havin' at all
Is worth workin’ for and waitin' for
Some gifts are just to make him feel better while he's on his guilt trip
Sometimes flowers mean "Maybe we should just be friends"
In order to be something
You got to go through something
Be a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the streets
You can't show your teeth to every guy you meet
It's alright to be a little sweet
But be a mama with the kids and you know what in the sheets
No pain [No pain], no pain [No pain]
No gain [No gain]

*LESSON: Love is a plant – it needs both SUN & RAIN!

If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right (Percy Sledge):
*LESSON: Don’t be no fool – you will never be happy with a MARRIED MAN! He ain’t leaving his wife & ain’t gon WIFE you. You shouldn’t want a man that would CHEAT with you ANYWAY!

Always & Forever (Lutha Vandross)
Always and forever
Each moment with you
Is just like a dream to me
That somehow came true, yeah
And I know tomorrow
Will still be the same
'Cause we got a life of love
That won't ever change


‘Cause I Love You (Lenny Williams)
*LESSON: When a man truly loves a woman, he can’t eat, sleep or think about anything but her. If yo’ man ain’t fighting for you, then ask yourself – WHY? If you ain’t fighting for him, then maybe the feelings are mutual.

Stairway to Heaven (O’Jays) – ENUFF SAID!

Woman to Woman (Shirley Brown)
*LESSONs: Understand your POWER & VALUE as a woman. Secure women don’t go after men that are already attached. Know that I’m gonna check ya if you have overstepped your boundaries with my man. At the end of the day, I was me before I met him & honey I hope you can say the same.

Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder): ENUFF SAID

I Apologize (Anita Baker)
*LESSON: Be woman enough to say you’re SORRY. We yell at men for upsetting us and not caring about our feelings, but when we wrong we try to cover it up and excuse it. Wrong is wrong and even if he is wrong 99% of the time, you need to be secure enough to accept blame & take responsibility for mending the problem you created during your 1%.

We are FAMILY (Sister Sledge)
*LESSON: Family sticks together. It starts with immediate family, then extended family, then family in the Faith. Unity empowers us and selfishness will DESTROY us.

Practice What You Preach (Barry White): ENUFF SAID!

Superwoman (Karyn White)
*LESSON: Every once in a while we (women) have to remind them (men) that we are not SUPERWOMEN. Yes, we take care of the kids, clean the house, work a full-time job & try to keep you satisfied but please believe: there is going to come a time when we won’t be so eager to be at your every beck & call. So treat us right or be a lonely fool. It can't be one-sided: we both hafta give our time, heart & effort to make it work.

So Much Love (B Angie B)
*LESSON: Men (and women) will stray, sometimes even when the grass IS green on their side. You can’t waste time PROVING you’re good enough for him. If he can’t tell, let HIM GO! Fight for your man, but you shouldn’t want ANYBODY that DON’T WANT YOU! Simple as that.

After the Love Is Gone (Earth, Wind & Fire)
It’s best to end a relationship while the friendship still exists. Nothing good comes from staying in an emotionless, LOVEless situation. It’s not fair to you or them. Know when to walk away. Sticking around is worse than being REAL about your issues. Love ‘em enough to let them find someone BETTER.

Love & Happiness (Al Green)
Love and happiness
Something that can make you do wrong,
Make you do right

*LESSON: Love is crazy enough to make you act a PLUM FOOL but sweet enough to get you through some of the roughest time.

It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay (Whitney Houston)
Ladies, if you find out your man cheating. Don’t make a scene, don’t cuss HER out and please do not bust the windows out his car or key it. Keep your composure, remember that what goes around comes around and LEAVE! He’ll regret degrading you and if he doesn’t – OH WELL.

Whitney said it best: I can pay my own rent. Pay my light bill & take care of my babies.

Hope you enjoyed this flashback! As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diary of a FRUSTRATED Black Woman: The Series

Preview Entry List

My Hair: Blessing or Curse? Inside take on weave, natural & everything in between!
My Skin: Does shade really matter?
Go BIG girl, what you gon’ do? Full-figured & BEAUTIFUL!
Understanding your role (spiritual vs. practical)
Workplace Dynamics: Is There An Even Playing Field?
Those who can’t COOK, order…will he still wife you?
Accessories: the ones you CAN’T take off
Is There A Heart in the House Tonight? Judgment in the Church
Fashion: Dressing for the Occasion
Talk To Her (Respecting My Sista): Manners, Unity & Empowerment
The Balancing Act: Being Professional but Not Forgetting Your Roots
The B-WORD: Who you calling a B*TCH?!
I’m A Flirt: No Harm, No Foul? WRONG!
I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T: What’s the HARM in that?
Bad Habits: An Analysis on the Destiny Child’s Classic
Birth Control: Is it a requirement? Safe Sex: Is It An Oxymoron?
The Waiting Game: Does it even matter?
The L-Word: Lesbianism – your thoughts?
A Diamond Is A Girl’s Best Friend & A Woman’s Safe Deposit Box
COLLEGE: Is it worth it?
He Put A Ring On It…now what?
Tell Him The TRUTH: CHEATING on Accident?
Motherhood: Living for my children
Teen Pregnancy: An Epidemic Choking Our Culture
Shopping Is My Escape, but is it Costing More than I bargained for?

Let me know which ones you like/dislike!

Gospel Music Then & Now: Has its purpose changed?

Background: I spent a few hours visiting with my Pooh’s mom this past Sunday. We watched Sunday’s Best, laughed, joked but overall, had a spiritual discussion concerning gospel music.

Here’s a summary of the topics we discussed:
1. Should a non-black contestant be able to win Sunday’s Best?
2. Does color matter when it comes to gospel music?
3. What is the target audience of contemporary vs. traditional gospel music?
4. Does music add or take away from the overall worship experience?

Now of course we joked and laughed about how Mrs. Andrea was going to despite her being Caucasian. Ms. Lynn said: “Well, we go Obama – Andrea gon’ take Sunday’s Best.” Not joking because it’s impossible tho – in fact, we both VOTED for Andrea for the following reasons:

1. She has an anointing in her spirit that you can’t help but embrace when she sings.
2. Why does color matter if God is love & does not discriminate?
3. Gospel music is supposed to “get you through” – she has such a sweet voice that is not only skillful, but allows you to fully intercept her praise
4. The other girl, my apologies as I do not know her name, seemed more Neo-Soul which is cool but neither one of us felt like she was singing to the Lord; simply performing a song.
5. When we close our eyes and listen to each woman’s voice – there’s anointing in one & the urge to get up and dance in the other. Both gifted, but we value anointing over skill/flavor.

I personally feel that above all, soloist and other music ministries have ONE PURPOSE: To usher in the Holy Spirit by inviting the congregation into your personal praise. What does that mean? That means if I’m singing a solo, the congregation should NOT be distracted by me: not my outfit, my “runs” or my attention to making sure I hit EVERY note right.

*Note: At times your voice can be a distraction if:
1). Your voice fails (note goes flat or off-rhythm)
2). You are a true background singer and not soloist (can hold a note but need voice lessons)
3). You add so much complexity to the melody of a song that even old classics become foreign & we lose sight of what the lyrics truly mean (too many runs, not enough praise)

We discussed how gospel music has transformed over the years. Ms. Lynn felt that gospel just “ain’t what it used to be” – but I disagreed. See, I grew up in the South (straight Baptist preaching, teaching & sanging). However, my worship did not become intimate until I became an adult, life happened & I chose to stop running from God. So I’m familiar with the greats like John P Kee, Milton Brunson, Richard Smallwood, Daryl Coley, Shirley Caesar, Tremaine Hawkins and such.

On the other hand, my friend/bro Gary Stallings who is more of a contemporary gospel music buff explained to me why gospel music HAD to change. It has been and will always be a time of praise and glorification of the Lord – BUT now that the younger generation is full of zeal, rebellion & off-the-chain alternatives to Christ gospel music has to ATTRACT, ENTERTAIN & TEACH simultaneously. It has to have a dope beat, youthful & be relevant to my present/past circumstance. So if you go into Mardel’s or any Christian music store you will see the gothic section, southern Baptist section & a plethora of other genres WITHIN the Christian Contemporary Music section. Gospel music has GOT to take the brilliant & innovative minds of today’s youth, teach them Christian values & empower them to share the gospel.

So what does this mean?

The next time you see a church choir sing a remix to a Hot 8 @ 8 song, a mime with Kirk Franklin beats, a Christian gospel rap concert EMBRACE the purpose – the target audience needs to be the youth because in 15-20 years, they will be running the country. It’s so important to mentor our youth (not make a mini-me) and give them every opportunity to excel, make change & liberate the spiritually-fallen.

Discipleship is our CALLING – have you enlisted or are you stuck in the mentality that you are ONLY responsible for your own ticket to heaven?

I leave you with these scriptures:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Romans 12
A Living Sacrifice
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Reflections: 1st Fridays Bible Study
Text: II Samuel 13 “You Got It Bad”

First of all, if you missed last week’s First Friday Bible Study hosted by UBCC’s IMAGE Ministry – consider yourself DEPRIVED!!! Minister Trell Hollis led a powerful and enlightening discussion/study over the story of Amnon & Tamar as told in II Samuel, Ch. 13. The title “You Got It Bad” inspired by Usher Raymond’s hit from the 8701 album puts a new-age connotation to an ancient problem: IDOLATRY! What is that “thing” or “person” placing a wedge between you and the Father? Is it worth it? Obviously, because it’s got a hold on you (emotionally, mentally, physically and of course spiritually).

Just admit that if we are honest with ourselves, WE GOT IT BAD!!!

Principle #1: If you are going to combat your infatuation or your obsession, you have to kill it before it gets started.

Principle #2: Ungodly obsessions are not only damaging to one’s spiritual health, but also their physical health.

Principle #3: Obsessions will lead you to rebel against what you know is right.

Principle #4: Obsession will cause you to lose perspective of the reality of who you are!

Principle #5: Your obsession will make you more susceptible to the plans and schemes of the enemy!

Principle #6: Your obsession can cause you to miss out on the very thing you are obsessed about!

Principle #7: Your obsession can cause you to confuse what you can’t live without with the thing you need to live without.

My Conclusion:
There are people and things in our lives that start out as blessings yet over time, show themselves to be distractions, temptations, strongholds or just gateways to sin. Take some time and think about what and/or who has taken priority over God in your life. That new/old relationship, that new promotion or just our old buddy PRIDE could be detaching us from the vine (John 15). Seek first, the kingdom of heaven and He will give you the desires of your heart (according to HIS WILL).

I leave you with this one question: IS “IT” WORTH YOUR PLACE IN HEAVEN?

Thanks Trell for blessing us & thanks to all for reading.*