Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Write Radical: Understanding Crazy Faith

Hello #JustWrite and welcome 2022!! Let's dive right into this month's topic. What is faith? A general definition would be: 1. Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. The bible speaks about faith in many verses but here is one that we all know: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

This verse reminds me of the analogy of air. We may not see it, but we feel and hear it and know that it is air. That's how faith works in our lives and circumstances. We remain hopeful in all things whether we see it instantly or not. What does it mean to have crazy faith? This month's book club selection is Crazy Faith: It's Only Crazy Until It Happens by renowned pastor and author, Michael Todd. Here's an excerpt from their overview:
"Pastor Michael Todd shows us how to step out in faith and dive into the purposeful life of trusting God for the impossible. Even if you have to start with baby faith or maybe faith, you can become empowered to let go of your lazy faith, trust God through your hazy faith, and learn to live a lifestyle of crazy faith."

We have many examples of crazy faith in the Bible, notably, the stories of Noah, Moses, and of course the birth of Jesus. These same biblical heroes are infused with stories of modern-day scenarios in Crazy Faith. The book will inspire you to do the following:

• believing the impossible
• choosing hope over fear
• being alert to the voice of God
• coping with loss and doubt
• developing a deeper level of trust in God
• speaking faith-filled declarations
• inspiring crazy faith in others

Join us on Tuesday, January 25th at 6pm as co-host Renee Carter shares her insight and brings the topic of crazy faith full circle as we navigate these crazy and uncertain times.  

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”
_Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Write Giving: Understanding the Generosity Factor (Time, Talent, and Treasure)

 Hey #JustWrite!! Woohoo!! We are at the end of 2021.  We are in another season of giving. Yes it's Christmastime, but I am speaking on another type of giving, the giving of one's time, talent, and treasure. I know during this time of the year, many are focused on gift-giving and festive gatherings. Let's not forget the precious meaning of giving: being of service to others through what has been given to us.  Of course, we must be led by what God is showing us. The core of Just Write for many years has been building relationships and the concept of netweaving which was introduced through our relationship with EICC. As we prepare to embrace the new year, it's very important that we take into account the necessity of intentional giving and fruitful relationships. What does it mean to give your time? One definition for time is, "the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists." We've heard the phrase, "Time is Money." From a labor perspective this is true because hours worked at a specific time interval equates to an hourly wage. From a purpose perspective this is not true because one can possibly get money back if it's lost but can never get time back once it's gone. Remember our time is precious so we should be joyful in giving it back with our talents and treasures. Each of us has been bestowed with unique gifts to share within the Kingdom. This month's book club read is "The Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure" by authors, Ken Blanchard and Chick-fil-A founder, S. Truett Cathy.  Many of us define success in different ways whether it's inspiration from our favorite thought leaders or from lessons learned through our unique experiences. We have also seen where one can be a public success and private failure. The Generosity Factor puts a creative spin on the subject matter as a parable unfolds between two characters, one who dreams of being successful while feeling indifferent and another who is successful because of the success principles that drive his life, hence the name, the 'Generosity Factor.'

Join us on Tuesday, December 28 at 6pm with our host, Tricia Scott as she provides her insight on the beauty of being generous. May we all understand that generosity is by God's design. I close with a quote from the blog, Generosity NY on why the concept of generosity is important to God: 

"Generosity is our opportunity to serve the purpose of our Creator. Our generosity towards each other is a tool which God uses to create abundance. When we practice authentic generosity, we are lending ourselves and our capabilities as vehicles for the Lord’s work.

If we give them to Him, God will use our talents, our time, our resources and everything about us to do His work on earth. By sharing what we have with others, we are giving a gift to God, by serving him in the creation of abundance where there was once scarcity."

Matthew 6:1-2

Remember your presence with others is valued more than the presents to others for it is your greatest gift given and received.

Merry Christmas and see you all in 2022!!

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Write Manual: Building an Outstanding Black Family

 Hello #JustWrite!! The topic of relationships and having a strong village within our community has been a constant topic as we come into another holiday season with loved ones. As we gather with family in the next few weeks for Thanksgiving, it is a great time to reflect on how to continue to connect and build up our families. We all can agree that we live in a society where there wasn't a clear cut manual on how to parent. We have thrived off of traditions, rituals, and superstitions as it relates to life, family, community, and just survival. As I think about family, I came across the following biblical verses that speak on family

“As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” — Ephesians 5:25

“Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you.” — Exodus 20:12

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; in Jerusalem you will be comforted.” — Isaiah 66:13

“Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them.” — Colossians 3:21

“My son, keep your father’s command; don’t abandon your mother’s instruction.” — Proverbs 6:20

“Friends love all the time, and kinsfolk are born for times of trouble.” — Proverbs 17:17

“Those who say, ‘I love God’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars. After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen!” — 1 John 4:20

These scriptures speak to the different levels of family from spouses, parents, children, and extended such as neighbors and church family. 

This month's book club discussion will visit this topic on the same level in the book, 
The Black Family - How To Build an Outstanding One: How a Man Can Build a Strong Powerful Relationship with Your Children, Your Family, Your Loved Ones and Your Peers

Join Just Write on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 6pm. Bring your questions and invite someone who needs to hear the message. 

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Write Self-Care: Black Mental Health and Emotional Wellness

Hello #JustWrite and hello again October!! We are in the final stretch of 2021 and the topic of mental health has resurfaced again. The blog has touched on this topic a few times through the years and more specifically in the Black community. Again, for those who don't know, October 10th is World Mental Day where everyone in the world brings awareness of the importance of having self-care regimes. When it comes to the topic of mental health, particularly in the Black community, it tends to be a taboo topic because many struggle privately and feel scrutinized if they share their battles publicly. A lot of our battles begin in the mind before it becomes spiritual and physical. A lot of trauma within the black community has come from what our minds have processed with the lack of discussion and proper care/guidance for healing. Living in a digital, social media world, there have been many celebrities and influencers who have been open about their mental health. Now it's time to have a more in depth discussion for those who are suffering silently who may or may not have the same access for help. This month's book club read is  "The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health" by author Dr. Rheeda Walker. The book explores unequal systems, provides tools for emotional wellness, and suggests strategies to navigate racism and discrimination.    

In 2021, we as a community have seen enough issues and situations that have triggered many memories of past traumas, known and unknown. Most of us were taught about the atrocities of slavery and oppression in this country and the way we tend to view ourselves stems from what has occurred but never discussed or examined. In some instances we make decisions and respond to issues based on what we are facing instead of considering the outcome. Dr. Walker's book will dive deeper into helping readers to understand their mental health through the eyes of the Black experience from a somber past, eventful present, to a hopeful future. Join Just Write on Tuesday, October 26 at 6pm as host Pastor Ron Sailor leads the discussion on how to be unapologetic with one's mental health. It's time to heal and experience a freedom, holistically, mentally, and spiritually. Be free, unapologetically.

In His Service,

Lequvia Ousley

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Write Influence: Leadership Through Tribes

 Hey #JustWrite!! It's September and once again we are nearing the end of another Quarter. As we near another chapter, let's discuss the word, "tribe". Honestly when I think of tribes, I think of the group of people that I descended from in the Bible and my immediate family history which includes the Native American tribes and African lineage I've been accustomed to learning in addition to what other genes are within my family tree. On another note, when I think of the word, "tribe", I think of a group of faithful people that have my back and best interests at heart. Those tribes are sisterfriends, business collaborators, and those I share similar interests with. I consider the Just Write Support group and The Write Team (fellow collaborators for Just Write) as two of the many tribes I'm blessed to be a part of. Historically, with a tribe, there tends to be one leader who is guiding the people to a desired goal. I have been fortunate to be a part of these two tribes where we are all seen as leaders. As writers, regardless if we are a newbie or seasoned, the ability to share our thoughts and voice in written form creates a space to be a leader. I was reminded of this quote from Pinterest, "With Jesus, there are no big “I’s” or little “you’s.” The ground is truly level at the foot of the cross. No matter who you are or where you come from, we all have a place in Jesus." I wholeheartedly agree with this statement as we all need to be reminded that we are special and significant in Christ's eyes. As we navigate another year of the pandemic, it is important that we inspire and encourage each other through these hard times personally, professionally, and spiritually. This year, specifically today's date makes year 7 for me as the blogmaster of Just Write and I can truly say I am fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by leaders from all walks of life who inspire and encourage me to walk in my respective calling as a scribe. 

This month's book club is centered on the book, Tribes by author Seth Godin. The book describes how we as a people can rise to the occasion and by pass the barriers that were previously set before the era of the internet came into existence. Because of social media, blogs, and other online platforms, people have more access and the ability to be leaders, changing the trajectory of what it means to be a leader. We all have the same 24 hours and we all have the ability to lead. Join Just Write on September 28 at 6pm with our host Kimberly Thompson as she discusses her thoughts on leadership within our respective tribes. Come ready and prepared to be revived and inspired to push through hindrances and embrace leadership.


In His service,

Lequvia Ousley

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Write Stance: Displaying Boldness on Societal Issues

Hello #JustWrite!! It's August and we are once again at the tail end of another year. Time flies by when you are focused and productive. Speaking of being focused, in August of 2019, I touched on the subject of staying woke. Those written words pre-pandemic prepared myself for what's happening now. Here we are in 2021 and that 'back to normal' the majority of the world was hoping for hasn't come back into fruition. Yes, we have some sense of normalcy with daily activities but deep inside, we are all taking each day as it comes. Since college, my father always told me that as time goes on, "things are not getting better but worse." These words are not being said to provoke gloom and doom, but to spark an urgency to be mindful of the times we're living in. For those who are Christians, we are living in a society and culture that is removing a lot of freedoms. In the last few years, I have seen many debates between brothers and sisters who state that as Christians we shouldn't be consumed with the world's issues and societal decay. The truth is we as believers can have a balance of caring about the issues that affect us not only as individuals but as believers in a collective faith. These issues include, poverty, sex trafficking, marriage, abortion, racism, and religious liberty, etc., which are discussed in Atlanta-bred author David Platt's book, Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age. Platt believes in his book that Christians must take a stand with passion for the issues that plague our daily walk. Persecution and turmoil continues to repeat itself as we have witnessed in past years. I truly believe that when we address the issues that exist today in the same manner that Christ addressed them through His life and the Gospel, then we will understand what it truly means to set apart and not of the world. Most churches are becoming like the world which is why the message of the Gospel is not taken seriously. Messages are watered down and there is much compromise to gain a name. We are change agents called to be bold and proclaim the Gospel.

Join us on Tuesday, August 31 at 6pm as one of our change agents, Ursula Frederick-Brown will dive into taking a stance and proclaiming boldness in the midst of adversity and social decay. Ursula is no stranger to boldness as she has transcended throughout the mountain of entertainment/arts in addition to the business sector with such flair and passion for being Kingdom-minded and Gospel-centric. Come with the expectancy to get back on track with what's in front of us and let us all stay focused.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Write Intentions: Understanding Mindfulness and Stress Management

 Happy July #JustWrite!! We've made it to the second half of 2021 and this month we are talking about that dreaded "s" word. No, I'm not referring to an explicit word or the word, "sin". The "s" word is "stress," something that we all can relate to. The current pandemic has brought on so much stress for many of us in addition to getting back to a so-called "normal" after being stressed out. The irony, right? Anyways, this topic is another on time subject as there have been many conversations relating to stress management, mindfulness, and establishing work/life balance. The topic of mental health cannot be stressed enough as it is on the same level of importance of physical health. A lot of dis-eases in our bodies stem from stress so this month's book club discussion pick, "Mindful Living Everyday" by Dr. Kathleen Hall is the perfect topic. Dr. Hall is the founder and CEO of the Mindful Living Network and the Stress Institute. As a world-renowned stress expert, she believes that the remedy for stress relief is mindful living as she focuses on 3 components: Mindful Living, Mindful Living Community, and Mindful Work. We all can agree that our mindset and the thoughts that we think affect the rest of our body and how we respond. We all can use effective stress management strategies to help us cope, be whole, and healthy.

Join Just Write on July 27 at 6pm as Minister Natolie Warren shares her thoughts and insight. Minister Warren is a licensed therapist who specializes in the healing of women, while helping them to grow confidently and thrive in all of their relationships. In addition, Minister Warren believes in the motto, "Each One, Reach One, Teach One" where she helps other therapists build and grow their respective businesses through "InPowerment", hence the name of her practice. Thank you Minister Warren for being the change agent for therapy and healing. Thank you Just Write for this topic and starting the conversation.

In His service,

Lequvia Ousley