Each day there are so many things that if taken the time, we can find to be thankful for. On Thursday, our readers share and we highlight those things that we are most thankful for, that inspire us, and build and shape our lives. This day and everyday, we are thankful.
Excellence, distinguished, dignified, eminent are all characteristics that would be apropos to describe our President, @BarackObama, but humble, serene, sympathetic, cerebral, strategist, husband, father, and ultimate leader, would suffice just as equally. While many may have cheered his departure from the White House, many more mourned that he would no longer preside from the oval office.
Looking back over the past eight years, it is easy to say that no civic leader or politician, let alone the President of the United States, has been vilified to such an extent. Attacked moreso for anything and everything other than policy and presidential duties, we had a firsthand and up close view of what it means to not “stoop to their level” and “forgive them in spite of.” Not sure how many of us could withstand such a barrage, especially eight years of ridicule, racism, and cruel and ugly rhetoric, but this man not only handled it, he rose above it and shined through it.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 AMP). Watching the farewell speech, we had one final, public glance of grace and prestige. We saw a man of the people despite some of the people literally cursing his name and disparaging his character still championing hope and unity. Never once did President Obama look down on the less than, crucify the accuser, or hold himself on a pedestal. He has been and continues to be a man of the people, all people, no matter they supported him or not.
I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am saddened that hope is leaving the White House and the polar opposite is entering. I understand wholeheartedly why many wept watching the farewell speech and why so many feel hope is a delusion and forgone conclusion. But as President Obama so eloquently stated in his last speech as Commander-In-Chief, “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.”
Thank you President Barack Obama for all you sacrificed, the bridges you built, the hope you inspired, the legacy you cemented, and for showing us all that it is possible to love your family and lead with equal passion and superb excellence. Please take time to watch the farewell speech and listen to the tribute by @JoeyGallant. Both will stir in you all that is beautiful in America!
This pain I feel is wearing me down, how much turmoil can one person endure before they begin to drown. One thing is for sure, either you are going through, about to go through, or just coming out the storm, but before you give in, it’s after when the sun comes out and rainbows are born. There’s purpose in this pain and lessons learned, what didn’t kill has not only made me stronger, but made me wiser and for that, I no longer have to yearn. ~ BrotherWord
Pain attacks in a multitude of ways and affects us in all areas of our lives – physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual. Pain is one of those things that is inevitable, but what is often missed and overlooked is that even in the pain, there is still purpose.
Pain in the physical form brings forth a reaction from the central nervous system telling us that something is uncomfortable, does not feel well, is conflicting with our body. When our body aches, it triggers the mind to do something different or stop altogether, cease whatever action is causing the pain, but anyone who has ever worked out, trained, done any physical activity, will tell you that is not until you push through the pain that you begin to conquer the mind and your body. As much as pain may warn you, it can also trick you into prematurely quitting. If you succumb to the pain, how would you know how far you could go, how much you can achieve, how would you discover the deeper purpose.
Emotional pain is even more debilitating. An emotional blow can cause a ripple effect that will destroy the psyche and the physical if allowed. Emotional wounds attack the deepest recesses of our mind and cause us to doubt others and ourselves, retreat from the world, and at worse become recluse and anti-social. Some of this can be diagnosed as chemical imbalances or mental breakdowns and require medication and therapy, yet there are so many more instances of people being disappointed, hurt, betrayed by someone else or even feeling inadequate and having a self-loathing demeanor. It is painful to think you are alone, no one cares, or everyone is against you, but do not let the pain fool you into thinking you do not have purpose or were not created for a purpose. The greatest trick of the enemy is to make you believe you are inadequate, your life is irrelevant, and you have no worth. The devil is a liar! Discovering purpose breeds a renewed energy, it invigorates and revitalizes, the purpose in the pain is knowing that despite what the world my say or, you have confidence knowing that you were created on purpose for a purpose!
Spiritual pain can possibly be the most devastating and dangerous because at this point you have lost hope and any reason for carrying on. A pain such as this will not only cripple, but can possibly lead to internal and eternal condemnation. To lose hope in life, in others, and self means you have given up and given into the pain. The misnomer about pain that escapes us all is that pain is temporary! It will not last forever nor will it always be painful, because the same thing that once caused you pain may very well be the same thing that elevates you to your purpose. When you feel like quitting, don’t! It is at that very moment when breakthrough happens, revelation takes place, and your are enriched and enlightened. It is at the moment of last hope and desperation that we discover inner strength and realize that all the pain we endured was meant to strengthen and never to break us.
On the mountaintop we get to bask in our achievements, but it is in the valleys where the lessons are truly learned. It is in the pain that we discover what we are truly made of and also why we are experiencing the pain. If you are willing to endure, to tarry just a little longer, I promise you that on the other side of pain, you will discover a greater purpose! Do not get me wrong, pain is not fun and no matter the target, physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, it hurts. Just know that it is temporary. If you just started exercising, at first it will hurt, there will be pain. But if you continue and push through, inevitably you will see the desired results and the pain will dissipate. No different when tackling emotional or spiritual pain. Do not succumb… OVERCOME!
Anyone that is feeling the pains of life, please hang on! Pain reminds us we are still alive, alerts us there is still fight left, is an alarm to the brain, heart, and thoughts, letting us know we are near our purpose. Pain is no more than a prelude to finding purpose! Do not believe me? During childbirth, a woman suffers what may be the most excruciating pain of her life, her body literally being stretched and ripped apart, yet she endures the labor. And if labor can be defined as physical or mental exertion, a painful or arduous work, especially one that is difficult and exhausting, cannot the birth of that child not be deemed purpose – the very reason why something is done, a determined, resolute outcome. In other words, your labor is not in vain because what is birth was worth any pain!
Your pain is a divine right of passage through which you will be reborn as a being of strength, wisdom, and purpose.
~ Bryant McGill
Everyone by now has heard about the untimely death of Prince Rogers Nelson, but what I am most THANKFUL for and what many may have not known, is that Prince was a quiet, but monumental, humanitarian. This was a feat he prided himself, but went about behind the scene without any fanfare or hoopla. For Prince, it was never about publicity, but about the lives he could change.
Prince created and was the main source of funding for the “Love 4 One Another” charity that has donated millions of dollars over the years to schools, homeless shelters, and community programs in some major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and his hometown of Minneapolis, and has reached as far as Iowa, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas as well. He was a huge contributor to “Rebuild the Dream,” an initiative that focuses on providing opportunities for young people and changing the cultural climate. Also near and dear to Prince was “YesWeCode,” a program that introduced and trained underprivileged youth in the tech industry. A proponent of the environment as much as people, Prince was at the forefront for “Green For All” helping provide green energy, such as solar panels, and advocacy throughout the country.
To say Prince merely donated money would be an insult. He put his mouth, literally, where his money was, often putting on benefit concerts to subsidize and raise money for various organizations. But he did not mind writing a check either, evidenced by the $12,000 check he wrote for an African-American library in Louisville. Prince put on free concerts for the blind and deaf, showed up unannounced to schools to speak to kids and simply brighten their days, and even helped his fellow artists as he did when Lauryn Hill was facing legal issues and Prince made it a point to help support her and her children. There are countless people who are more THANKFUL for Prince the man moreso than Prince the musician.
Today, I stand with all who mourn his passing, yet I am eternally THANKFUL for his charitable efforts and for being more than a music legend, but transcending to become a global icon that let music be the key that opened the door, and not the end all, be all! Prince Rogers Nelson, THANK YOU for all the music that will live on forever and for paying it forward so that others may have a better life. We will miss you, but because of your unselfishness, your imprint will never be forgotten.
Sometimes the things we are most THANKFUL for are things that have yet to happen. It is the very definition of faith – the substance or assurance of things hoped for, the evidence or conviction of things not seen. Oftentimes in life, people pay it forward because they have been blessed and because their love outweighs circumstances. They simply do the things they do for another person’s happiness, even if they may never get to see the fruit of their labors.
I am so THANKFUL for those that have sacrificed, gave blood, sweat, and tears, and have gone above and beyond to lay a foundation so someone else could follow to a better life. From our ancestors as we continue to celebrate Black History Month every day, to our teachers and counselors, to our family members, each of these individuals has shaped our lives in a positive way. Sadly, many of them have gone to glory far too early to witness firsthand the impact that made, but that impact live on nonetheless.
It is said to give people flowers while they can still smell them. While you are giving them their flowers, also tell them how THANKFUL you are for the small and big things, for the way they pushed and challenged you to achieve beyond your own imagination, how they disciplined or counseled you when you fell short not allowing you to settle, and how they prayed without ceasing so that no harm would come your way. Let them know that their sacrifice was not in vain and although you may not understand it all now, just like faith, you are assured all that they do is for your good.
Today I am most THANKFUL for those that gave their all in order for us to have more, who prophesied, prayed, and proclaimed victory for us, when we could not see it for ourselves, and for those who believe in us more than we believed in ourselves. I am THANKFUL for the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, and anyone who poured into someone else, gave unselfishly, fought for the sake of someone who could never pay it back, not knowing if they would even see their efforts come to fruition. I am THANKFUL for those that had enough faith to cover them and me.
Dedicated to all the angels, especially Gail Turner Bell, who I never had the pleasure of meeting, but has blessed my life in ways never conceived or ever imagined. I hope to pay it forward and be a blessing as she was and continues to be for her legacy shall live on through us all! Rest in paradise and know your efforts were not in vain. We love you!
You may find it hard to be THANKFUL when life keeps kicking you in the teeth and at every turn failure continues to loom, but I can guarantee you that on your worse day, there is someone out there who would trade with you in a heartbeat. Life can be a cruel and relenting piece of work, but you are far greater than anything life can throw at you.
So THANKFUL that I was made in His image, made to be a conqueror, made to be great, made to overcome, and made to win! One of the hardest things to absorb, let alone live by, is understanding that obedience is better than sacrifice and being obedient even when it makes no sense and is incomprehensible, is a feat in and of itself. But my God! I am THANKFUL that with obedience comes favor and with favor comes the blessings of God. Walking in God’s will can be a complex conundrum wrapped in an enigma, yet it is a fulfilling journey that cannot be replicated or replaced. That is more than enough to be THANKFUL for on any given day!
Tomorrow when everything seems to hit a nerve, when the traffic is moving too slow, co-workers become annoying, family is losing their minds, and the walls are closing in, remember this too shall pass and because of your obedience in fulfilling your purpose, you have already claimed the victory. Be THANKFUL for the noise because it is an opportunity to calm the hysteria; be THANKFUL for the chaos because it is God’s way of putting life back in order; and be THANKFUL for the unknown, because it is in the wilderness that we find direction, purpose, strength, courage, and gain knowledge.
Yes, life can be hard, but I am THANKFUL that my God has seen it all and is the architect, so no matter what may happen, when I am obedient to His calling, my prayers shall be answered.
“Obedience is a word and concept from which the valiant look for their deliverance.” ~ Anonymous
“I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.” ~ Anne Sullivan
“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
For every bad there might be a worse; and when one breaks his leg, let him be thankful it was not his neck.
~ Joseph Hall
As I rolled down the highway earlier this week, probably going faster than I should have trying to make a meeting, suddenly out of nowhere, my rear tire blew! Anyone who has ever experienced this knows how terribly wrong this could have gone, but THANK God for grace and mercy. With little traffic on the highway, I was able to decelerate and as I was near an exit, able to coast off the highway and conveniently roll into a nearby parking lot. No further incident and minimal damage, and more importantly, both my passenger and I were safe. So THANKFUL that is was not worse.
As we waited for assistance and began to reflect on what just transpired, both of us almost simultaneously uttered the same phrase, “It could have been so much worse.” Just like life, sometimes our hopes and dreams are blown and shredded suddenly, but if we only take a step back, survey the situation, and reflect on what could have been, we realize what seems so bad, could have been a lot worse. At that speed, on a blown tire, we could have easily been flipping down the highway or loss control and slammed into other drivers, but because no one panicked and acted decisively, no harm occurred. What if when life begins flipping out of control, when others impede our progress or attempt to cause us harm, instead of panicking or acting out, we move decisively to make the best out of a terrible situation. I am not only THANKFUL we came out of the situation unscathed, but very THANKFUL for the tangible lesson learned.
Before you began to think woe is me and how unnerving the current conundrum may be, think about how incredibly worse it really could have been. One analogy reads, “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.” If that is not something to be THANKFUL for, I do not know what is.
Today, I am THANKFUL that I am still here to tell my story, still have full capabilities of all my faculties, and so THANKFUL that the only damage caused was to a tire. Remember, life may not always seem fair and may deal you a terrible hand, but even when it does, someone else’s hand is a lot worse. Be THANKFUL for the good and equally for the bad because we learn lessons, grow stronger, and find a new appreciation for this thing called life.
“And just when you think nothing could go worse, there are other people wishing they could have your life.”
~ Gabriela Barnard
Colossians 3:15-17 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
On a day full of things to be THANKFUL for, I am truly THANKFUL for life’s teaching moments and learning what is truly important. I know and have seen, and honestly have been one of those people who thought happiness came through the pursuit of power, possessions, and people and did not realize that real happiness is only found within. I am so THANKFUL on this Thanksgiving for an inner peace. (more…)
In a world where all the odds seem to be against you, every obstacle seems to find you, and no matter how optimistic you attempt to be, there is something that inevitably tests your will, it is great to know that those things have not and will not break you… as long as you do not allow them to. I am so THANKFUL for the failures, the setbacks, those that have gone out of their way to try to destroy my mind, body, and soul. Thank you for showing me what I am capable of, forcing me to dig deeper, and pushing me to realize that not only am I strong, but greater is He that is within me than that which is in this world!
Over the past few days, we witnessed unified strength as the African-American student athletes, backed by the student body and staff, stood for righteousness sake and united to right a wrong. I am THANKFUL that they had the courage to band together, willingness to face the repercussions and ridicule, and the conviction to peacefully protest and make a difference. Some will still question their motives and timing, but no one can deny the impact! As other universities and institutions join them in this crusade, we should all be THANKFUL seeing our future generation put a stamp on the annuls of history. It is still amazing and moving to see those with a purpose and passion for the right causes fortify and use their platforms to become catalyst of change. I applaud those that led the charge at Missouri, as well as those that supported them and did not try to dissuade them from pursuing justice. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand for your beliefs knowing all you have worked for could be swiftly taken away.
In the same vain and on the heels of Veteran’s Day, we have to salute our men and women in the armed services who valiantly fight for our freedom and risks their lives routinely to assure we maintain our civil liberties. I am especially THANKFUL for these courageous souls who stand at the forefront protecting from us all from enemies far and close. Salute to all you for your service and dedication
Face fear head on knowing that every challenge is just another test, another path along the journey, and another building block to boost your resume. Be THANKFUL for the hardships knowing that the most precious pearl had to be put extreme pressure before its beauty could be revealed. No matter how hard it may seem, how difficult it may get, how insurmountable the terrain may appear, remember three key things. 1.) Every thing we go through is working together for our good and no matter the circumstances or the situation, there is a lesson to be learned and growth to accomplish. 2.) No matter the test or the challenge, if you were not capable of handling it, you would never be presented with it. Each stepping stone is just that, an opportunity to elevate your mind and spirit and come to new realizations about who you are and what you are capable of. 3.) You are not the first person to travel this road. Many have gone before you and have weathered to storm and are the better for it. Do not let the unknown create fear or doubt, but know that you too can claim the victory as long as you continue to push forward and never give up.
Today I am extremely THANKFUL because I refused to let fear dictate my life, I fought to fulfill my purpose, and I even when I thought about giving up on my hopes and dreams, I allowed myself enough space to welcome new opportunities. I am THANKFUL because even when all looked lost, I did not stay in the abyss of despair, but instead chose to seek greatness, chase hope, and fight for a better outcome. I am THANKFUL because I know now that hardships only last for a moment, but the tools and traits we gain from them last a lifetime.
Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston Churchill
As kids we have a pure innocence that knows no boundaries and our dreams are as large and as magnanimous as our imagination can take us. As we grow older and experience life more, we become jaded and lose that virtue, become cynical, and our dreams are not as vivid as they once were. I am so THANKFUL that the world does not dictate the outcome of our dreams and if we are courageous enough to forge ahead in spite of all or any obstacles, our dreams can still come true.
I am very THANKFUL that dreams never die. They may become dormant or even forgotten, and in worse cases, given up on, but that precious dream still lies within and is just waiting to be stirred up, shaken awake, and pursued again. Life will take you on many twists and turns, derailing your thoughts, detouring your focus, and dividing your time, but is it not amazing how one glimmer of hope, one leap of faith, can redirect you and put you right on course to achieving your deepest desires and wildest dreams!
What is a real miracle is how even when you may quit on your dream, it never quit on you and when least expected, that dream that you no longer thought of, considered a possibility, or even fathom any longer has now come to fruition. THANKFUL for dreams beyond reality and greater than doubt and fear. THANKFUL for the little kid in me who still remembers that anything I believe, if I so desire and am willing to put in the work, I can achieve it!
THANKFUL that dreams are windows to our heart’s desires, our mind’s infatuations, and our soul’s purpose-filled destiny. THANKFUL that our greatest dreams somehow formulate a blueprint and road that lead to our greatest joy. Dream on my friend…
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes