Monday, August 15, 2022

The Write Phenomenon: Our Potential Through the Eyes of Jesus

Hey #JustWrite!! This month's book club read is a timely selection as we are in the month of "new beginnings." The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything by author Erwin Raphael McManus is a book that explores the spiritual and intellectual phenomenon of Jesus through the lens of power, empathy, meaning, beauty, and truth. When we think of geniuses, we think of those individuals that have influenced the masses within the disciplines of science, art, technology, and math. Geniuses tend to go outside of the box, beyond the expected, cultivating the art of being a disruptor within society. In other words, geniuses are interruptions in the world. We know that Jesus was not only an influential figure in history, but He was also very controversial all the way back to His birth. There isn't anyone in history whose birth was conceived by the Holy spirit to His mother without physical contact. In addition to His unique conception, Jesus also was controversial throughout His life from understanding His assignment, performing many miracles, and His crucifixion that changed the trajectory of our lives. Despite what the world says, He is the only person to have lived, died, and remains alive today. How genius of our Heavenly father to orchestrate such an event in HIStory. 

 The following are three quotes to ponder as we prepare for this month's discussion: 

1. "Our job is not to change people; our job is to connect people to Jesus, and it's Jesus' job to change people." Yes. We are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior) that serves to convict, prune, and transform the hearts of those who hear, submit, and abide.

2. "If we keep asking the wrong questions, we are just going to get better wrong answers. The solution to lack of community isn't to give up on the community." Yes, despite what others are saying and doing, we have to show up in love and for a common unity.

3. "I know it sounds crazy, but as soon as Christians start telling non-Christians how to live their lives, we've lost the Christian faith." Yes, our job is to speak in His truth and love with prayer, allowing God to get the glory for the work that is happening through the person and for the person. We are not God.

Join us on Tuesday, August 30 at 6pm as Kimberly Thompson and co-host Wanda Gilliard discuss more in depth "the man who changed everything." We look forward to seeing you.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Write Support: Black Mental Health and Emotional Wellness Part 2

Hey #JustWrite!! We are in the 3rd Quarter of 2022. Can you believe it? The month of July is a time of rest for many of us and an opportunity to take those final summer vacations as we stated in the previous blog about bucket lists. This month the conversation of mental health continues with our previous book club read, The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health by author Dr. Rheeda Walker. The previous book club conversation about black mental health occurred in October 2021. This was during the time World Mental Health Day was observed. For those who are not aware, the month of July is when awareness is brought "to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States." It's only befitting that we bring the conversation back to the forefront this month. So what prevents black mental health awareness? The following are the top 10 barriers that have prevented black mental health:

1. High Costs

2. Familial Shame

3. Cultural Shame (an extension of familial shame)

4. Lack of Diversity in Health Care

5. Poor competency among non-black clinicians (lack of understanding that culture, race, and ethnicity play a role in mental health)

6. Whiteness as a Foundation to Mental Health

7.  Distrust of Medical Industry

8.  Difficulty Navigating the Process

9. Emotional Hesitation

10. Negative Past Experiences

As we know, these barriers in addition to other factors (systemic racism) continue to add to the huge rate of depression and suicide. In Dr. Walker's book, she takes readers on a historical exploration of this crisis and offers a much needed road map for guidance and healing. Here are some quotes from the book: 

“Scientists can say with confidence that racism is bad for Black mental health."

“Be careful about how you hide yourself from people who care. Your hiding could set up a life-or-death situation whereby you are in need and there is no one left to help.”

“You need so much more than mental health or “well-being” in this era of discrimination, invisibility, and psychological warfare. You need an impermeable web of protection for your mind.”

“If you (or someone you care about) cannot take on as much as someone else, that does not make you either weak or crazy. You just have to prepare differently and live your life unapologetically for you.”

“An African proverb says, “When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

Join the conversation on July 26th at 6pm as we continue to explore the notions that continue to plague the black community as it relates to mental health. As stated in our previous blog, "It's still time to heal and experience a freedom, holistically, mentally, and spiritually. Be free, unapologetically."

Let us all continue to walk boldly in our healing journey. Remember, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalms 147:3

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Write Voyage: Destinations and Bucket Lists

Hey #JustWrite!! We are in the 2nd half of 2022 and in the midst of the summer season. We know this is the time of year where everyone is enjoying vacation and a much needed break. So far 2022 has been an interesting adventure in so many ways for many people. The beauty of it is that it is never too late to realize one's dreams. How many of you reading have a bucket list? How many of you have actually crossed off items from the bucket list? I don't have a bucket list but I have definitely accomplished a few things off of a few lists through the years and in some instances, I have lived in the moment without a list. 

This month's book club pick is The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big and Small by author Kath Stathers. It is a detailed guide of activities and ideas with special attention to specific locations. The ideas discussed include, "self-improvement, sports-related endeavors, natural wonders, cultural experiences, culinary delights, and more." This is a great companion for travel enthusiasts of all ages and passions listing mountains, monuments, beaches, museums, inns, restaurants, and islands.

From a biblical perspective, here is a bucket list and below is another bucket list to consider:

1. It becomes us to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).
2. Live, not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
3. Worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve (Matthew 4:10).
4. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
5. Repent and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:15)
6. You must be born again through baptism (John 3:7).
7. Worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
8. Repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38).
9. Take and Eat, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me (Mark 14:22).
10. Reckon yourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11).
11. Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1).
12. Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit (1 Corinthians 6:20).
13. Desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1).
14. Stand fast in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13).
15. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30).
16. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
17. Pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
18. Rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 3:1).
19. Set your heart on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, rather than things of earth (Colossians 3:1–2).
20. Let the peace of God rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15).
21. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16).
22. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).
23. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
24. In everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
25. Do not neglect your spiritual gift (1 Timothy 4:14).
26. Lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12).
27. Be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8).
28. Strive to enter into the rest of the people of God (Hebrews 4:11).
29. Hold fast to your profession of faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23).
30. The just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38).
31. Keep Holy the Sabbath, do not neglect to Meet together each Sunday (Heb 10:25).
32. Despise not the correction of the Lord, for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives (Hebrews 12:5–6).
33. Make straight paths for your feet, Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:13-14).
34. Refuse not Him who speaks and warns from heaven (Hebrews 12:25).
35. Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name (Hebrews 13:15).
36. Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21).
37. Submit yourselves to God (James 4:7).
38. Is any among you afflicted? Let him send for the priests of the Church, let them anoint him (James 5:13).
39. Declare your sins by regular celebration of Confession (John 20:21-23; James 5:13).
40. Declare with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. (Romans 10:9)
41. Sanctify the Lord God in your heart (1 Peter 3:15).
42. Commit the keeping of your soul to God in well doing (1 Peter 4:19).
43. Cast all your care upon him, for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
44. Look for and hasten the coming of the Day of Lord (2 Peter 3:12).
45. Devote yourself to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)
46. Build up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20).
47. Keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 21).
48. Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works (Revelation 2:5).
49. Fear God, and give glory to him (Revelation 14:7).
50. Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of waters (Revelation 14:7).

In terms of bucket lists, whether practical or spiritual bucket lists, the important thing is to remember to enjoy the journey. On June 28, join the discussion at 6pm. In the meantime, on the way to creating those bucket lists, check out this upcoming event commemorating Juneteenth and maybe a possible item crossed off of a personal/business bucket list:

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Write Opportunity: Navigating Life Post Corona

 #Hey JustWrite!! This month makes 2 years since the lockdown was lifted. Many of us experienced many changes from the pandemic, some good, bad, and indifferent. I remember finishing school around this time and making so many intentional trips to visit family and friends. This month alone also reminded me of so much that was missed due to the pandemic which at times brought on feelings of sadness and regret. On the flip side, this month also reminded me of so much great change that has taken place in the last two years not only for myself but others. Despite the huge virus crisis and economic decline, most people saw the pandemic as a time to revisit previous goals, write down new goals, and seize the opportunity to focus on other important endeavors. Those endeavors may have ranged from education, employment, business launch, retirement, health, etc. 

This month's book club selection is Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by NY Times bestselling author Scott Galloway. The book explores how COVID-19 caused an obvious divide between different situations and industries. Across the nation, people experienced working from home, the resentment of the young generation vs. the older generation, the economic gap between the rich and poor, the political stances of those representing red vs. blue, the advocates of mask wearing and the despisers of mask wearing. The e-commerce business industries (Amazon, Zoom, etc.) saw an increase in consumer consumption, while the customer/client-facing industries saw a decline in sales. Despite those challenges, the pandemic brought more opportunities to strategize and pivot within one's business. In all honesty, the pandemic exposed a lot of hypocrisy and obvious misconceptions as it relates to the history and ideals of this country. We as a nation were reminded once again of all the broken systems. Join us on Tuesday, May 31 at 6pm as we speak more about Galloway's insight as his book offers a combination of hope and caution.  Be prepared to engage and relate. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Friday, April 15, 2022

The Write Questions: Understanding Healing, Resilience, and Trauma

Hey #JustWrite!! The conversation of healing and trauma has resurfaced again in this month's blog. Prior to writing this blog, a majority of my conversations have been centered on going back to the root of many situations that have occurred not only in my life but in the lives of the individuals I have spoken with during this pandemic and before the pandemic. With the times we're living in, many people avoid speaking on any trauma in their life with the fear of being ridiculed and judged. The pandemic has brought forth even more conversations about what has plagued us for so long. In many ways, the pandemic exposed our pain and trauma with provided opportunities for many to connect with the intent of healing. A previous blog written August 2020 spoke about trauma, specifically in the black community. This month's book club discussion centers on the book, "What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing." by authors Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey. This book explores conversations on healing from past traumas through the stories of Winfrey's past. The overall premise is for people to understand how present day behaviors from others are the byproducts of past circumstances. The authors state that the question of, "what is wrong with me?" should be shifted to the question of "what happened to me?" in order to jumpstart the healing journey. 

The book also takes the reader on a journey of understanding not only from a psychological perspective, but from a scientific perspective. Unresolved trauma affects the brain which leads to how our bodies respond to trauma-related stress through pain and medical ailments. The following are 3 key points gathered from the text:

1. Our earlier childhood experiences form and affect our brain as adults.

2. Our trauma can be dealt with by learning positive regulation strategies and setting boundaries.

3. Our support systems can help us overcome our past traumatic experiences.

Through everything, our communities we engage with on a daily basis (families, school, workplace, places of worship, etc.) need more information on how to be a support which can help anyone cope and heal. Join us on April 26 at 6pm as we unpack this topic even more with the understanding that we are not alone within our journey and healing process. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Write Governance: Understanding Self-Discipline

Hey #JustWrite and hello March!! Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. To some people, this word brings a sense of anxiety while to others, the word discipline provides a sense of momentum and drive. When I look at the word "discipline", I also see the word "disciple". One definition for discipline is, "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience." Another definition is, "a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education." The word "disciple" means, "a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher." We know this from the Twelve Apostles who followed Christ.  To be disciplined in something means to exercise self-control in the effort to be properly trained or skilled in something. To be discipled means a person commits to taking up his or her cross and following Christ to the very end. From a practical perspective, being discipled also means committing to following the teachings of a respective person or leader and putting those teachings to use in one's personal and professional life. The topic of focus and discipline as it relates to writing is discussed more here

This month's book club read is The Science of Self-Discipline by Peter Hollins. This book takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and a path to never give up. The focus of this read is to explore those things that take us away from having self-discipline: procrastination, excuses, temptations, and laziness. The author provides insight from his background and studies in psychology and peak human performance. The ultimate goal is to learn the tools needed to fully execute, produce, focus, and achieve levels of self-discipline. Join us on Tuesday, March 29th at 6pm and get ready to learn what motivates us, what drains us, and emotionally moves us as we dissect what it means to have self-discipline. This is the 'write' time to seek to understand so we can achieve our goals.


In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Write Love: Notions and Nuances

Hey #JustWrite!! Here we are in February again and discussing the topic of love. Love has been discussed here in previous posts ranging from loving our truths and stories, loving our writings, loving words, and repairing love and relationships. This month, we will explore the topic of love written from the perspective of love having a deeper meaning than romantic love and in different phases of life. Agape love often comes to mind when I think of love. The word agape is a Greek word in the New Testament that means "the fatherly love of God for humans", as well as the human reciprocal love for God. Agape love is considered the highest form of love compared to romantic and brotherly love. John 3:16 is a verse that summarizes the Gospel message. Agape is the word used for the love that moved God to send his only son for the world's redemption. This concept of love is embedded throughout the Bible

This month's book club read is, All About Love: New Visions from renowned author Bell Hooks, known for the poem, "Aint I a Woman?". The following are a few quotes through the years from Hooks as it relates to love and relationships: 

"Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust."

― "Communion: The Female Search for Love"

"Living simply makes loving simple."

"To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds."

― "All About Love: New Visions"

"Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape." USA Today

All About Love challenges readers to look beyond the notion of romantic love being the most important love to desire. It explores the beauty of self-love that evokes peace and compassion to our personal and public lives. It also showcases how love in its purest form comes in to transform ourselves, our communities, and our societies. The book goes more in depth discussing how the ideals of giving and receiving love that we have been conditioned to believe can at times bring a sense of failure. As believers, we all can agree that it is important to get back to the sole purpose God created love, a love that is patient and kind, a love that is infallible and radical

Join us on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 6pm with our hosts the Thompsons (brother Bernard and Elder Kimberly) along with co-hosts, the Barlows (brother Reginald and Elder Linda) as they bring ministry and insight on love as we journey through All About Love: New Visions. And as we come off of celebrating Valentine's Day, let's all be reminded to love one another as our Father God loves us.

I close with a short poem I composed:

Quickens my spirit and soul
Under submission to God
Victorious as
Abide in Him

Love 365

Written 2/6/2022

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley