Posted in **RELIGIOUS**

Black. Catholic. Full Stop*Beginning of Lent and Resisting Temptation

I had no intention of discussing Lent today nor its meaning..But it happened anyway..Not within the confines of things I can control..It just happened..Funny thing IS it happened while simply explaining to someone I couldn’t keep my committment to work out due to it being Ash Wednesday..Little did I know that would lead to an entire text chat defending my Catholic Faith..Are y’all ready for this? Hold onto to your caps, hats, wigs and weaves because here I GO>>

I’ve no issue with defending my Faith..But I’ve also no issue admitting I don’t like being put in a position to have to! I don’t ask anyone else to defend their Faith and I don’t take kindly to feeling I have to defend mine..But I shall if I and when I have to..Any day 24/7 365 days of the year. I am Black and I am Catholic. Period. And there is no other religion I’d rather practice and be a pupil of; other than the first. Catholicism. >>

I don’t critique other religions. I feel everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they desire..I also feel folks that do NOT have a clue about a certain practice of religion, other than speculation or hearsay, should never ever speak as IF they’ve got knowledge of a certain religion. I’ve no problem with answering questions about the religion I’m apart of..But when you a. step to me and act as if you know all about Catholicism but come across as not knowing the first thing about it. OR b. step to me with nothing but hearsay and wrong assumptions OR c. step to me quoting me Bible scripture that you think counter the Catholic religion…My interest level wains from the inception and so does my respect level for you. Instantly. >>

Before I go any further I’d like to profess I don’t think nor feel I’m a Bible thumping over righteous type of Christian who bangs folks over the head with my religion nor my Faith…I’ll never show up at your front door trying to convert you to Catholicism. I even sometimes wonder if there are so many things considered SINS in Catholicism that I’m forever destined to be a sinner. (after all we were born sinners..) Though I practice celibacy until my next marriage(OMG that’s tough) it is said even lusting or thinking about SEX is a SIN outside of marriage..IF that is truly the case then I’ve certainly got strikes against me! ..For I’m not of the belief I have ‘credit’ with God; no matter how good I treat people in my day-to-day life. But I’ll try not to stray to far from my point>>

All of that said today was the first day in my entire life I told someone google UP what Ash Wednesday Mass meant to Catholicism ..I’d tired of texting the reasons..And just in case I left anything out, I figure I’ll give it my best shot here. For I believe a lot of folks , even practicing Catholics, might not know what the intent is behind Ash Wednesday. We’re all learning and there is nothing wrong with learning a little bit more & truly understanding the age-old rituals>>

Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional ennumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

Hopefully none of you will have to answer a litany of questions about practicing Lent(and from a friend no less..) but IF you are I’m prayerful my rant can give you the the info you need..Or , even more importantly, motivate you to learn more about your Catholic Faith. Bottom line as Believers we’re all brothers/sisters in Christ..And at the beginning and end of each day that is what should matter in our interpersonal relationships..Not what religion we practice. Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted and blessed,Berna(the 1 & Only)

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Unplugged & Unmasked Christian Hypocrites @The Christmas Season

I probably should begin this rant with a disclaimer..I’m an imperfect Christian striving daily to give to others the love I feel inside. Whilst also continually moving progressively towards reaching my God-given potential.. End of disclaimer>>

Once again while I was driving to Mass(church) Sunday I saw panhandlers along my route..I’m always struggling to get to my wallet(while at a stoplight) to give..One of the signs , in particular, caught my eye & pulled at my heart strings..A lady holding a sign that said “Mother of 3 . Recently unemployed. No money for Christmas. Need $188.50 for rent.” Far cry from the usual will work for pay signs..Finally managing to open my wallet I had NO cash! Didn’t have time to find an ATM to get cash either..I started looking around at the other cars silently wishing someone else had cash on them..Wishing with all my heart someone else would STOP to give this mother a couple dollars..It was a steady stream of traffic in 3 lanes..True to my past bean-counting background(Accounting); I quickly added up the amount of bucks she could’ve gained..IF only people had dug in their pockets and gave ..After all this IS the season of giving ! And loving! And caring! I wondered if I was the only one feeling like absolute shiiiite that I had nothing to give to this woman. A stranger and yet? What if it had been me out there standing on a corner trying to scrape up the rest of rent money…A mother wanting to provide the basic of needs to her children. A roof over their heads..It saddened me to notice that not one car stopped to give her any assistance. Not one! It got me to thinking>>

This IS known as the season of love and compassion..It would be so beautiful if we all harden not our hearts when we see someone else in need..It is my belief the greatest gifts are given without expecting a gift in return…Tis the season to do just that.

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**

*REDEEMED*Forgiven*REBORN* Happy Easter !

I am redeemed! i AM forgiven! I really AM so REBORN! If there were any way on God‘s GREAT earth I could share this oh so, SO, good feeling I would. I promise…And I made a promise to my Heavenly Father that I would do MY best to try to share it; right here and now. When I rose this morning; leaped! out the bed as I so often do..filled with such a feeling of thankfulness/filled with a feeling of such inner PEACE/such a feeling of utter overwhelmingness…2day is a brand NEW day. Why? This is the day that HE rose for ME! And U..and yep U too..even for those of U who don’t , yet, Believe in him…Did ya’ll know Jesus died of a broken heart? So much I’ve learned and thirst to learn; during this spiritual journey of mine. I was reading yesterday, led to read something that hurt my eyes/gave me a headache to read! ..and hurt my heart to read the words. I read, word for word, facts about Jesus’s cruxificication..Written by a physician whose does research on what that does to a body, physically. This physician said he felt he’d been taking it for granted..WHAT JESUS GAVE UP FOR US..and I felt I was also. Something in my spirit led me yesterday to read words I’d never seen before. I read things that I’d closed my eyes to when I watched the movie ‘Passion of the Christ‘ years ago. Made a vow to myself! that I would never, ever, EVA watch that movie again..Now I know why it hurt so much to watch. How often do we avoid things that hurt to see? To know? To say? To go THROUGH? Know what I think, feel!, now? That we’ve got to go , through, some bad things to get TO good things. Look at what Jesus sacrificed for US and what the end result was…From this day forth because I’m in a state of NEW awareness, NEW self, NEWly re-born, NEWLY confirmed into the Catholic Faith(as of last night…) I am making a vow to do better…I was once so very blind; but now I see. I do>

Folks out there reading might wonder how I can speak of loving God 2day..Yet, yesterday I could partake in writing sensual poems. Because I am multi-faceted. I’m embracing ALL of who I am. For the 1st time in my entire life..and thats a mighty long time & many moons passed. Most days? I stand before the world NAKED. Off & online…I wear my feelings on my face & sleeves.(a fact my Daddy has said all my life) I do NOT have a poker game type face! Any emotion or feeling I am feeling is displayed on my face…I can’t seem to hide it. So I have stopped even trying to…This is who I am 24/7 and 365 days of the year. And it is who I am going to be until the day I leave this earth. For years I tried to fit my squareness into round holes; not anymore. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer(a full blown band lol! ) the only difference now? I’ve got the courage & confidence to embrace it…I need no introduction. No fan fare. I am just going to be me…A loved child of God created in HIS image. A one and only ME. I am the only one who can do ME; and I’m doing the best I can to do that. Totally unscripted..and I hope ya’ll are doing the best of U daily also. God loves all of us; even those who don’t yet recognize him. I was once so very lost my dang self; but I thank GOD I’m not anymore. I feel relieved! I feel redeemed! I feel so very renewed & reBORN. And I feel like screaming it from the mountain tops; that is how GOOD it feels all the time.

Can’t seem to stop myself from digressing this morning..My mind & heart are all over the place..I am excited! I am on FIRE..As I was saying I no longer wanted to know what it meant about the beauty of Jesus rising TODAY..Which is why I read about the physicalNESS of the account of his cruxification yesterday, even though it hurt to read(I don’t even watch horror movies..yep, I cover my eyes if I’m forced to) because I wanted to know..really know…what Jesus went through for me. Just for ME(and for you also…) One can not know what they don’t know; till they really know. And now that I’m reading up on it more & more(thank U God for my inherent love of reading!) no more will anything I go through seem like I can NOT get through IT…For, if Jesus could go through , what he went through for me, certainly I can get to the other side of any earthly pain/hurts/disappointments. Right? Yes, absolutely right. There was a time I didn’t feel that way. Backintheday…I’ve been in some really DARK deep valleys…It is the reason I can now know such JOY. One can’t know or feel joy; without having felt the opposite. Please google that concept if you don’t believe me..but I’m speaking from a life time of experience. Once I was so very blind; but now I see. And that didn’t happen overnight either..Its taken me a life time. I’m just so very , very happy to be HERE . And for this moment in time? I feel like screaming it from the roof tops>

The fact that Jesus died in an UNnormal fashion for a cruxification; shouldn’t have surprised me when I read it. But he did..he died from a broken heart when they pierced him in his heart. *And he never said a mumblin word* However, if we study the scriptures he did manage(even through his excruciating! pain from the torture…) to utter 7 brief sentences. The last 7 things Jesus said before he died..>1. Father, forgive them for they know not what they DO. 2. Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise. 3. Behold thy Mother. Woman, behold thy Son. 4. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?? 5. I thirst. 6. It is finished. 7. Father! Into thy hands I commit  my  Spirit>

~I was asked a couple days ago IF I knew the last 7 things Jesus said..I was only certain of ONE of those..So I was thirsty to KNOW. I was thirsty to KNOW why I’d been asked that question..I was led to read up on it & that is how I read through the ENTIRE account of Jesus’s death. It wasn’t pretty. It was beyond anything that the human mind can imagine. FAR more awful a death than was even portrayed in the movie “The Passion”; and I can’t bear to watch that but ONCE in my life. I could barely see as I read those words yesterday; through my tears. As if my very heart would break in two reading it..its a tough read to read. Indeed. But now that I know what I know..I truly KNOW just that small amount Jesus endured so that I could live today. That is more heavy of a thought today, for me, than ever before. I hope you’ll remember with me; that he died just for YOU. I hope you realized how LOVED that means you are. YOU are special. I’m going to do my utmost to spread that feeling; of knowing that. Of feeling that. It just feels so very GOOD all of the time..And on that note I’m signing off for now. Stay UPlifted & blessed. Until I read/write ya’ll again have a wonderful , love-filled Easter. It is a brand new day>

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**

~My Holiest Holy Week Ever~

~I honestly thought about not posting this here..Instead I was just going to write it & post on my church’s Faith blog site. And then? I decided this is such an important & integral part of who I am; that I wanted to share it here as well..Take it or leave it, Love me or not; I’m going to be ME no matter where I am..And that includes 4ever and always on my blog site. >Disclaimer in advance= These are my beliefs and my thoughts about God/religion/FAITH; all based on my life journey and experiences. I’m not saying nor implying what anyone else should believe or not. Quite simply professing I am very much a BELIEVER and this is what my Holy Week in 2013 will consist of…Ready for me? Ready or not here are my inner-most thoughts>

^Very brief(yep , I’m still working on brevity…) history lesson about Catholism. The early Fathers of ‘the Church’ used the word ‘Catholic” to describe the church because ‘Catholic’ means universal. Which , in short, means that ‘Catholic religion  ‘ & ‘Christian religion ‘ mean the same thing. Later, when folks began to break away from the ‘Catholic religion’ to form other religions; the ‘Catholic religion’ still remained what it has always been. The Catholic Religion..is the  religion which I’ve been a part of since I received the Sacrament of Baptism  as an infant. Moving right along to where I am today in my faith and the Catholic faith/religion>

^I’ve not always been as steady on my feet in my faith or my walk as a Catholic; as I am NOW. And while I think it is the NOW that matters the most..I also can greatly appreciate the laborious journey it took to get HERE. Scraped knees from praying & scraped knees from falling; from one extreme to the other I’ve lived it. And I’m very pleased to be able to say, with utmost sincerity, not only am I still standing..but I’m standing taller than I’ve ever stood. All 5’4 inches…well , without heels>

>I’ve gone through periods of life when I wasn’t attending Mass on a regular basis. I’ve gone through periods of life I sent my sons to Mass; yet I didn’t attend. I’ve gone through periods of life that I questioned the existence of a true higher being..to say I’ve struggled with being a full Believer is an understatement. Always wanted to be one; yet I was what I can best describe as a wanna-B-believer. I prayed to a GOD; that I wasn’t quite sure truly was listening at times. There were times I felt IF he did exist; how in the heck could he allow some of the things I lived THROUGH to have happened in the first place?!? My questions had questions…and yet I never totally didn’t believe. But I had serious doubts…and I for sure had doubts in a religion I felt(and experienced) as NOT being totally inclusive of folks of color. Folks that looked like ‘me’. I just wasn’t feeling comfy; and I hadn’t found a church home. (though not for lack of trying/and holding an elected seat on a predominantly ‘Conservative’  Catholic church school board..) And then…>

*My 1st spiritual awakening happened in the unlikely of places; and at the unlikely of times in my life. Unexpected, unprovoked and with no warning..just happened. Bam! What came over me was a feeling of such utter & complete immediate total JOY; that it scared me. I didn’t see any bright light at the end of a tunnel. Very much awake & I was sitting reading a Bible…something , at the time, I wasn’t accustomed to doing. Very early one morning in total quietness..suddenly..I could feel GOD’s presence. Warmth like a comforting liquid flowed down over my entire being; I can’t express it any other way. Just felt good, all over..quite suddenly. Long enough for me to be aware of it & then it was gone. But from that point on I could no longer be totally in doubt of his existence. For once in my life I didn’t have to see something to believe in it. Didn’t have to touch or feel it or taste it. Suddenly I was no longer a believer that seeing was believing..

It was at that time in my life I began to feel a need for re-newness. An inner need to start brand new. A re-start towards A re-birth. I don’t recall sitting and figuring out a plan how I was going to get that accomplished. And I’m a planner…no longer did I feel in control of my own destiny. It was at this time of my life I felt the most; lost. Wasn’t sure which direction I should head at all. Yet I was driven. That might not make any sense to anyone else; but it makes perfect sense to me. In essence I was no longer holding the reins to my life..No longer leading my own foot steps. Yet, I was on a mission. And fast-forwarding> A mission that led me over 3,500 miles>Home to my parents..A place with 2 people who loved me more than any other people on this planet>Yet, it was a place I said I’d never live, only visit, again. But I was on my way to becoming complete. Finally. I’d come completely full circle..

**My 2nd spiritual awakening came in the midst of many who looked just like me..At a gathering I’d flown 2 reach with many to attend the National Black Catholic Conference. Over those several days I knew I was right where I was supposed to be..A week earlier I hadn’t even planned on being there..It was there I realized there wasn’t just a place for me in the Catholic religion; but there was NO other place I belonged to get closer to GOD. I was home & had always been a part of it…Finally I was filled with a passion to learn more about my faith in the Faith that had been chosen for me since Birth. It was then that my re-Birth unofficially officially began..I began to fall IN love with being Catholic. I wanted to learn more &  more about it. From that conference I took with me, within my spirit, the same feeling shared there amongst hundreds of others like me. I  began to make a place for me in what quickly became my church HOME in the new city I now resided in. Same city my parents had lived for over 30 years. Their church home became mine; totally effortlessly. I don’t know if it is because my frame of mind changed & was open to it. Or a combination of that & the feeling of warmth & welcome in which I was received into the church. All I know is all of a sudden I felt like I was HOME. And my new church , almost over night, became my church HOME. I’d never felt that way about a church before..everything was simply falling into place. I joined the choir the week , alongside my parents, the week after my arrival to the “Left Coast”..Slowly but surely after that I began to get more & more involved in my new church home. I’m amazed myself! how involved I’m feeling driven to be..It wasn’t planned..Just keep holding my hand UP to serve more & more!  And with each day I can feel a warmth from within, like my inner GLOW, pouring out of me..There is no other way I can express it. The feeling of contentment I feel majority of the time; is something I wish I could bottle up ..and share with the WORLD. Which is what I am attempting to do , right here and now; with my words. Painting a picture, as only I can do, with my fingerstrokes. This is where I’ve come from 2 Where I am right now. And it just feels GOOD all the time>

**For the past 5 months I’ve been involved in a process..After a lifetime of being part of the Catholic church; I’ve chosen to take the Sacrament of Confirmation. As an adult this is a conscious effort & desire..it has consisted of attending 1 1/2 hr sessions every Monday. The sessions cover basic information about the Catholic Faith & fundamentally communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults will climax with receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation..in front of my church congregation on Easter eve evening..The Easter Vigil Mass. With the exception of childbirth and marriage ceremony; there is NOTHING I’ve been more in anticipation of in my life. It isn’t simply a step for me. It is part of my re-Birth. Couldn’t be more symbolic than for it to take place on the eve of Easter…This past 5 months has been a period of deep reflection, prayer, instruction, discernment and formation..One of my spiritual advisors leads the sessions and is also someone I call friend..There was the perfect time, a pre-selected time, for me to be confirmed into Catholism. Everything is falling into place all by itself…When things are right, they just feel right, and they just happen. And? It just feels GOOD all the time>

Because I will always keep it real= When I first learned I was expected to attend Mass 4 times during this Holy Week it blew my hair back..WOW thats alot of church for ME in one week..That isn’t including attending my regular session at church last night. A council meeting tomorrow night. Basically that means I’ll be at the church every evening except for tonight..WOW again. Having said that & all of what I’ve shared here; that was only my first response and thoughts. After it sunk in? My thoughts now= What BETTER place for me to be during the Holy Week preceding my receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation? It is where I am supposed to be in preparation ..Quite honestly I’ve got butterflies in anticipation & excitement. I thought as the time neared I’d be nervous. I am not. I am just eager & ready. I probably won’t share with ya’ll the events of this weeks’ church activities. Even having shared this is extremely personal for me. But I wanted to share with each & every one of you something that I feel is very..Beautiful. My testimony. IF you read between the lines, that is what I’ve just shared …My life journey to here. My walk now as I try, with all my might, to walk the walk that I feel most close to Jesus’s walk. It isn’t nor hasn’t been a straight road. It hasn’t been without bumps along the way; and even now. But when I look back, briefly..every single thing I’ve experienced was leading me to ..HERE. And knowing that/feeling that/realizing that ALL my life there has been a MasterPlan..Finally becoming aware that I’ve never , ever walked alone..Reflecting back on ALL of the people who entered into my life; that were unannounced Angels..Leading me/guiding me/counseling me/accompanying me on my journey..WOW, just WOW. Feels so GOOD all of the time. I hope something I’ve shared here with ya’ll has possibly made you reflect on your own spiritual lives..We all have one…Just takes some of us longer to tap into to it. We’re all loved children of GOD created by a mighty Father..One who is so patient /merciful/& loving; that he waits for us to discover that he simply IS. Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted /Blessed/and have a beautiful Easter experience..4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 & only)

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, **RELIGIOUS**, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, WOW, ^Encouraging Words, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~To B Continued

~~Daily Prompt~UN FaithFUL *DP CHALLENGE*Post A Day@Just DOing IT

I saw this prompt on WordPress this morning N could hardly believe my eyes! A chance to write, solicited, about my journey of Faith. A journey which spans an entire lifetime, mine, N a myriad of phases. From wannaBbeliever/attending Mass all the while over the years, yet not feeeeeeeling IT/starting 2 grasp IT/seeking 2 fully believe/Believer in every bone of my body and HUNGRY to learn more N more. Going to take a few moments to gather my thoughts so that my keystrokes can relay what I’d like to share. ^2 B Continued Soon^

Where do I begin  a topic such as Faith? A topic that has become so very personal 2 me that I’m excited just being about 2 write about IT. Saying that, keystroking it rather, still amazes me because a mere 5 years ago I’d not have felt such excitement over the topic of Faith. I was IN a different time N space then. A different mindset. And yet, I’ve been LED to right where I am now. The here N now. Present in the moment N oh! so content , pleased, HAPPY, to B in this moment. Any1 who has known me for a decent length of time knows that is a miracle inofitself…

I can not promise this will B a post of brevity. But I can promise it will B sincere N hope it is received as such. Never do I profess to be an expert in anything..though I’m experienced in ALOT ..I possess a PHD in life. From extreme moments of joy 2 being down in valleys so deeeeeep I didn’t think I’d make it out..alive. Real talk. There once was a time I didn’t think I’d live to see 50 yrs of age. There once was a time I did NOT want to live to see the age of 50 yrs of age. There once was a time my own actions /feelings were indicative that I didn’t like myself very much. And  yet by my outward appearance people thought I loved ME. But on the inside I was lost…a part of my inner being was murdered when I was a teen. An action that even my own Daddy couldn’t *stop* from happening to ME..and yet here I stand on the brink of making IT to 50 yrs of age. I am in AWE of that and that is tough! to express to people. So I no longer try…I just AM . Trying to live UP to my GOD given purpose. Far from that goal yet I’m so very , very much closer than I ever have been in my life. And you know what? I just feeeeeeeeeeeeeel GOOD about 99% of the time! Real talk. Alive, vibrant, and leaping out of bed each day @O’dark thirty hours eager! to start each new day. I say all of this to attempt to express to ya’ll how very GOOD that my GOD is allll the time. I’d not have wasted these keystrokes to say such personal things if not trying to show you just how FAR my GOD has brought ME..through things I didn’t think I’d ever make it through. Once something I yearned to believe IN(because those I loved dearly@my parents believed so strongly…) and now? I believe so strongly that  at times the feeling of goodness feeeeeels so good I get overwhelmed. Ever felt something that good? So good it scared you? And yet even that scared feeling of butterflies about to burst out of your tummy felt good?!? That is how I feel most of the time now…I can’t properly describe it any other way.

After experiencing a very  unexpected spiritual awakening in a state I’d lived in &  loved! since 1989..I found MYself led, guided, to move cross country. 2 beginning anew. At 48 yrs of age…I was simply put, terrified to do that! Yet everything happening was urging me/gently pushing me towards making such a bold move. I was afraid to do it. I was afraid not to do it. Hope that makes as much sense to ya’ll as it still 2 this day makes 2 me. Shortly after relocating cross country I was fortunate enough to attend my very 1st(but certainly not my last..) National Black Catholic Conference in Indianapolis with my parents & new church friends. AND MY LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. Over a period of  4 days I for the 1st time in my life felt I belonged NOT just to the religion I’d been a part of since birth..but I began to feel remarkably different. I began to see things differently. I began to say things differently. It happened so suddenly! I had begun to believe in GOD fully and almost overnight. Not forced nor reaching to believe as I had my entire 40 some odd years…Bam! I believed. My life, the years past of my life/events of my life/people who had entered my life/circumstances that happened in my life/…began to rewind in my mind. Over days N days..as IF someone was playing a movie of MY life. I couldn’t STOP it..seriously thought I was losing my dang mind. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. Not even my Mom. Sounded far too crazy to try to explain..or did IT?

My entire outlook on things changed..Instead of feeling sorry for MYself about things I’d left behind..Stead of lamenting about people /loved ones! I couldn’t see daily(that I missed as if it were the AIR I had to breathe..) I threw myself head 1st into becoming the type of person I so admired. I began to WORK on tweaking/changing every facet of myself that I did not care for. Tough job to do at almost 50 yrs of age…I didn’t consult anyone. But I began to PRAY for guidance. I simply had a chat with GOD N asked him to please let me seeeeee the me that everyone else loves! Let me begin to love…ME. Heal me from things that happened long ago that were NOT within my control. Allow me to learn to lose  the tight, oh so tight! control, I have held over my heart. Let me live life to the potential I know you’ve plotted out for me since before my conception. And then! I realized I was talking to GOD..and I fully believed he was hearing me. Just so happened the exact way  I just wrote it. I became a full believer without the least amount of effort. A process of things over a lifetime brought me..here. So I’ve decided that it must’ve ALL been a part of HIS plan. That had my life happened any other way I simply wouldn’t have gotten IT. Once I was so very blind; but now I see EVERYthing so clearly. I kid you not. N I’m as serious as I’ve ever been about anything.

Now? I’m like a sponge. I am on a personal pilgrimage..Still journeying to get closer to my GOD. So much I’ve yet to learn . I don’t confess to have Bible scriptures memorized. Nor do I profess to be a perfect Christian. I am NOT a perfect anything. I am just me..the one and only creation of what my God created me to B. I don’t even long to be perfect! I think that would make me boring as heck…What am I? I am perfectly imperfect.

I’ll leave ya’ll with this final thought. Fear not if you don’t yet believe 100%…just wanting to believe is a start! WE are ALL loved children of GOD..whether we believe or not. This is what I feel. This is what I’ve come to know. And if we just stop trying to follow our OWN will N let HIS will for us B and go with the flow when we are LED by him…life gets SO much easier! I stress and worry so much less than I used 2..that is yet another miracle! inofitself. Not saying I don’t still worry about things; but its FAR less than I used to. Progress…for Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it is ridiculous to think anything, including a person, especially one almost 50 lol! would change totally overnight…but I’m getting closer. I am WISER. I am STRONGER. I am SO much better than I used 2 B. Can’t ask for much more than that. And? If it can happen to me, and I can assure you my words R true, it can/WILL happen to anyone. You if you want it 2. All you have to do is ..BELIEVE. Stay UPlifted N blessed ya’ll. N remember 2 count each and every one of your blessings 2day N every day. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 N only)

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**, Motivational!, ^Encouraging Words, ^^Thought Provoking^^

+the REAL meaning of CHRISTmas

Disclaimer:  Any and all thoughts I ever write/say are  entirely based on “my” thoughts/feelings/beliefs..For the sake of this post I am NOT saying that having GOD back in schools would’ve stopped what happened recently in Newton from happening. I understand it could’ve happened anywhere..however what I do “feel” is that it couldn’t hurt matters overall. And I stand by that feeling/thought/belief…

As the days draw nearer to CHRISTmas my thoughts/emotions/feelings  rest  more N more on the meaning behind this season…I love this time of year! Have since I was a very little girl..funny  how even as we mature, age, evolve there are still core elements  about us that never change. That though is one of the many beautiful things about life.

WE find ourselves in a time N place in which one has to be careful in so many ways..How we dress; as to not incite unfavorable opinions of us. What we eat; so we don’t ruin our health. What we say from our lips AND how we say things to others. And even how we address people when wishing them  well wishes about this current season…Well, I’m old skool and will be until the day I leave this lifetime. Know what that means? It means for ME this season will always B as it should rightfully B…CHRISTmas. Why, has it become such a time in our history in which folks wish N choose to change SO many things? And now! think they can also change the VERY things in which created them..

God has been taken out of schools and YET folks wonder why the youth are doing CRAZY things. I can’t even begin to talk abut the recent “incident” yet that took the lives of 20 young children..But the person who made that come about was still very young.  It IS time to go back 2 the very things that brought us into existence in the first place. I , for one, am NOT going to NOT say Merry CHRISTmas. It is literally a crying shame one has to worry about wishing someone something GOOD. Now we have to worry about how to re-phrase or phrase even that..OMG. And yes, oh MY God. I am a believer. 24/7.. There was a time N  place, sure as I’m sitting here typing this, that I thought! I lived in world where everyone , at the least, believed in God. Or wanted to believe there was a God.  Yep, I was once that very young  and naive. 

“”But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” I John 1:9..

Jesus was born so that one day the price would be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. God sacrificed his ONLY son for us! THAT is what the REAL meaning of CHRISTmas is. When I think about that; I mean when I reallly, really think about that@sacrificed his only son. I’ve got 3 sons. 3 beautiful, Black, smart, personable, intelligent sons that I’d literally do ANYthing for without a moments’ hesitation. Would I? Could I? I’d like to think I would; but would I sacrifice even having THREE sons for the good of all mankind? As I sit here now even re-pondering that for the upteenth time …truth is I don’t think so. Why? Because in my realm of think; my scope of thinking…I just can’t give any of my 3 sons up. To or for anything. Period. So even more so reason for me and all of US to be thankful that God did that for US. I think about stuff like that nowadays…there was a time I didn’t. I used to be one of those people out there running AROUND till the very, and I mean very! last minute buying and buying and trying to buy more gifts and gifts and gifts and gifts and gifts to give. And for what????? So that we could ALL be broke or worrried about being broke AFTERwards???  How does that even come remotely close to what the REAL meaning of CHRISTmas is? It simply does not. Not when I was doing it and not NOW….Bottom line IS we are loved children of GOD. He loved us SO much he sacrificed his ONLY son for us. No matter what is happening to us in our lives right here N now..no matter we may miss our sons who can’t be here..or any other loved one we wish we could spend this holiday with…WE know we’re loved children of God. WE are never alone and always, always loved unconditionally. Just knowing/feeeeeeeeling that should bring us inner JOY and PEACE N then we’ve got to share it with others.  I just attempted to do that with my words right here and now. I wish ya’ll a very, very, merry CHRISTmas. Stay uplifted , encouraged and BLESSED..and remember 2 count your blessings 2day and everyday…4ever sincere Berna(the one N only)

Posted in @Cultural, Things That Make U Say Hmmmm@, ^^Thought Provoking^^

“`Why I am BLACK..Not African-American“`

English: African American History
English: African American History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer: Please read what I’m saying before assuming what I’m saying. I’m not saying I am not in love with my African roots nor am I saying I don’t love that I was born American. I love that both of those things are FACTUAL. Understand also that we all have opinions N are entitled to them. When we don’t agree its perfectly fine to agree 2 disagree. I wrote what I’m going to share in   response  to a very well written piece(from a blogger on this site)  on this very topic. It is a controversial topic yet not one that I fear opening for dialogue. So feel free to read with an open mind & ears N lets rap..

*Whats in a name? Some might ask that question but I don’t. Lets see if I can properly express how I feel about being “labeled” either Black or African-American.
What is IT with our country having to label folks anyway?!? Shouldn’t it be a personal choice? Why can’t we put OTHER as I’ve seen “others” allowed to do? Others that don’t exactly fit to a T the multiple choice slots on all the forms WE have to fill out in this lifetime…What about the situations folks that are White yet from Africa fall into? Are THEY African-American when they become American citizens? I actually meant a guy that fit that case scenario; he was a coworker . Awesome guy and we had conversation after conversation over this exact subject matter. Interesting to say the least!

Personally? I identify with my BLACKness before any other title/label I hold. When my feet hit the floor in the morning & I look in the mirror the 1st thing I see N know I am is BLACK. N I loveeeeee that I was created in the image of Jesus.(another topic for another time..) There is nothing else I’d rather have been created as..God makes NO mistakes. But I digress..

Some in the generations behind me feel that its oldskool to want to be labeled as Black. I figure we’re all entitled to our opinion..and I’m open to dialogue with anyone who can properly argue their points. But at the beginning and end of the day aren’t we all still..Black? A point those in favor of the African – American label make is that to NOT use the term is to deny our tie to the motherland. Africa…Hmmmm. Really??? I’d like to take a poll to see how many Blacks a/k/a African-Americans truly know a thing about their roots! Where they hail from in Africa? Where there ancestors first landed in America? How they acquired their birth surname…was it acquired from their slave master? Should the name @ African-American be carried by folks who have NO clue where they come from? Must I be labeled with the term African-American to be a PROUD Black Sista? I think NOT. And who is the infamous “they” that gets to determine how I’m going to be labeled anyway? Shouldn’t I have a VOTE in what I’m going to be labeled? In my life journey I’ve gone from Negro to Afro-American to BLACK to African-American..heck its surprising I’m NOT confused my own dang self about my..identity! And yet we sit back N wonder why generations behind us are out of touch with who they ARE.

I am BLACK. I am American. Period. Exclamation point. When 1st I wake I’m a BLACK woman/daughter/sister/mother..in that order. Every single day of my 49 yr old life. That is who I am. Regardless of who feels they have the right to “label” me it won’t change who I am. And I sincerely hope that is how more folks , BLACK folks, begin to look at it. And NOT let such topics further divide US…I love people. All people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. I just happen to be part of a bloodline of the very 1st line of people on Earth. How could one not be extremely proud about that?**

>In summation when WE(or anyone actually..) let “others” define who WE are & then re-define(or place a title on..) over N over N over again ..it is NO small wonder some  in my generation and many in those behind my generation..have lost sight of WHO they are. Or least that is the way I see it.<

Wishing all that read this love, joy and peace. Stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 N only)

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, WOW, ^Encouraging Words, ^^Thought Provoking^^

^YOU better RECOGNIZE, Acknowledge, N Give THANKS…

First & foremost sending out sincere wishes 2 my family/mi familia/coworkers/friends/extended family of friends a  beautiful, loving, relaxing, fun, &  BLESSED Thanksgiving! Woke UP as usual @ O’dark thirty(a Bernaism ..) feeling full of energy, excited, and eager to start the day..As I’ve stated before each N every day has become for me a totally new adventure..I feel like I’m a child on Christmas morning and leap! out the bed ready to run down the stairs to unwrap presents..Remember those days ya’ll? Blessed I am with an excellent memory I can still remember that FAR back…I feel compelled to share what I’m about to say for 2 reasons: 1. To give thanks to my God , again, in a public forum thereby adding to the sincerity of my gratitude 2. To hopefully encourage someone else to STOP for a moment and count their blessings as well.

The truly ironic thing about this is that just a mere 4  years ago..I’d not have stopped to count my blessings nor even recognized my blessings. Which in-of-itself means you can at this very moment begin to “change” so that you can also “see” your blessings N give thanks. What better day to begin than on this day of Thanksgiving? Anywayz fast forwarding to the message I’d like to share..a very BIG blessing that recently happened in my life. I tell ya’ll when God’s hand is IN a situation in our lives he does things in a BIG way. And it is my belief that we/one must acknowledge/give God his props/and be N act thankful. Period. Exclamation point. 

About 3.5 months ago I was BLESSED with a JOB that I not only love..but I’ll go as far as to say it is the BEST  career opportunity I’ve ever had. Hands down..and I’ve held/had some really good jobs ya’ll. But this one stands at the #1 spot. Many of ya’ll out there know people who actually LOVE what they do from 8 -5?? If a poll was taken right now how many would hold their hand UP? I’m not talking about just loving the salary/benefits. I’m not talking about just loving working in a beautiful environment. Nor am I talking about loving vibing with or working well with coworkers. What I’m talking about is LOVING every single aspect of  what one does as a means of self-support for 40 hours a week. What I honestly love the most about my job is knowing without a shred of doubt that what I “do” every day at work..is helping to improve clients lives in a positive/progressive manner. I never even knew how much that meant to me..until I was BLESSED ..with this position. And the ironic part about it all? I knew nothing of the position when I applied online. Nor did my church sister who mentioned to me I might want to check out the organization’s website for “possible” openings. So I did. And on the very same day I went online at approx 2 pm…the position was closing at 5 pm! Wowww. So anywayz I submitted my resume & filled out the online application. For a position I knew nothing about! Real talk folks…For an organization I “thought” I knew what it stood for(I’ve since learned it stands for FAR more than I knew prior) Fast forwarding…out of alot of applicants there was a final top 3. I was the runner UP out of the 3. Now I never aspire to be anything but number ONE..but this time it paid off for me being #2. For reasons unbeknownst(not a Bernasim but love being able to use this word!)  to me after being chosen. And after showing interest in being chosen. #1 choice all of a sudden poof! just didn’t come through. WOW. After I’d been told I didn’t have the position all of a sudden I was called and asked if I’d come in to begin the screening process. (which consisted of a full background check, full Lifescan & criminal history check,drug testing) Well my hair was blown back! I’d just licked my wounds over not being #1 and not being chosen…So of course I said I’d love to come in and do that! And I kid you not I almost ran from place to place over a span of 3 hrs to get it all done quickly as possible . And here I sit 3.5 months later in a position I didn’t think I had & a position that I wasn’t the #1 pick for..but that I now feel I was THE perfect choice for. Wowwww.

This is just one example of things happening in my life lately in which I’ve learned that..When something is for YOU it will happen. Regardless of how much it looks like it..won’t. It will! Now some out there might say it just happened to work out for me…But I don’t believe that! I believeeeee God’s hand was in it. Period. Exclamation point. And though its already been near 4 months I am STILL giving thanks N props to my God. I think that is important. Or least it is in my world these dayz..So on this Thanksgiving Day I want to say one ‘mo time. THANK YOU GOD FOR BLESSING ME WITH MY JOB! And also thank you for the other many blessings in my life now and for allll the times that I did not give you the glory. Because now that I “see” with clarity with my spirit instead of trusting only what my eyes see it has changed my entire walk. For now every day I feeeeeel like I’m walking on air. And yet I am still staying grounded…

If I may ask all of ya’ll to STOP for a moment today. Try to find a quiet place in the house. Close your eyes. Speak with your heart/spirit and call upon the Holy Spirit. Conjure UP thoughts of allll the loved one in your life, allll the friends who grace your life with gooooodness & positive words, alll the coworkers who help you to feel welcome and/or to do your job better, allll the people you encounter while handling business affairs or shopping that offer customer service(rare these days but it still exists..) , allll the strangers who give off such a good vibe when you meet them they become instant dear friends/confidants..Just take a moment 2 recognize, acknowledge that God brought them into your world and then..Give God the glory and the sincere THANK YOU that is deserved.

Again ya’ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family/friends..N remember to count your blessings 2day and every, single day. Sincerely, Berna(the 1 N only)

 

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**, ^Encouraging Words

~~Bruised *But*NOT*Broken~~

Good Monday Morn Church Family/Family/Mi Familia/Friends/Extended family of friends..I know I promised to not post anymore new topics till next week..and I won’t..after this one. On this beautiful morning IF you saw a Sista with a bright orange shirt and work out pants on brisk  fast walking pace  with bright purple earplugs in her ears N an Iphone clasped in her right hand singing loudly with joy as she walked down a very busy major street you should’ve waved N I’d have waved back! Anywayz this topic came to me as I was on my morning walk. AND I am going to go with the flow and let the vibe just flow..for I simply can not resist the itch to write N share N hopefully impact someone out there reading this that is presently..going thru a tough , dark time in their life journey…

It is probably evident by now as you read me..that I march to the beat of a different drummer. I readily admit and own that fact. Yet there was a time when I felt that being “different” was a very bad thing. I felt alone..like on an island. Tried to fit my “square ” Self..into social circles that were”round”. Afraid to speak my opinion for fear of being laughed at or worse totally IGnored. REjected. Now? I care less, honestly, what folks think about who I am, what I am, or where I have been. I am secure in the fact that its been revealed to me, over a lifetime, of not “seeing” signs/confirmations..what “my” God given purpose IS. And I am on a mission to fulfill it and reach the fullest level of it with every ounce of my being. I am SHE~ N ~ it  is personal…

For those that are reading this that are currently going thru a difficult , dark time N feel you are alone pleaseeee let me assure you ..you are never, ever alone! And I have been in your shoes. Let my past life experiences and my words be a testimony to convince you that you WILL get thru to the other side of how you feel at this very moment in time. Just hang ON. Try to be still N listen to the signs/confirmations that are before you. Sometimes the hardest things in life to “see”are the very things right before our eyes/ears. Know always you are a LOVED child of God N  if you call on him , pray!, he will bring you comfort to ride thru the wave of the “dark” times. For some of us this can take many, many moons..like me. But God sent me SO many angels in my life journey thus far that it became impossible for me NOT to see, recognize and give glory to where it was coming from…And when it hit me??? It hit me with such full force that it almost took my breath away. And now? I find myself testifying (which I NEVER thought I’d do!) N praying(OUT LOUD even which is a remarkable turn-about for me..) with words flowing from my lips that I didn’t even know I felt..until the words come out. Real talk.

As a passionate music lover(not much I do without listening to music..) these Joss Stone words from a song called Bruised but not Broken (I’ve lived thru these words also)  come to mind regarding this topic: “Gonna pick my heart UP/Take MY life back/Shake the hurt away/Pull mySELF 2gether, put the pieces back into place/I learned love’s so hard/Love left my SOUL scarred/I was shattered inside”…N after many years of living a life using my “own will” and not following God’s lead/will I finally, yep finally!, realize that as Jill Scott says it best how “Blessed” I am!

N last but not least these words come to mind as I try , with all my might, to further convince you that you’ll be alright ….These words from one of my fave artists on the planet@ Marvin Sapp. A song called , I never would’ve made IT:”I would have LOST my mind a long time ago/If it had not been for YOU/I AM STRONGER/I AM WISER/NOW I AM BETTER!/So much better/I made it thru MY storm & my test/Because YOU were there 2 carry me thru MY mess..

I say all of this to remind you to get to a point of “stillness & quiet” . Make a time every day to give yourself time to find that. God talks to us in quiet times. No boob tube on. No cell phone on. No music on. No incoming faxes. No other voices talking. One just has to be open N LISTEN. And usually that will mean doing things that one does NOT want to do! I speak this from my soul N my spirit. I have very much beeeeen there. Listening to HIM might mean at a ripe age moving back home after not having lived at home since one was 19 yrs of age; can you imagine that??? I stand here as a testament that doing things like that  can make one finally, yep finally!..bring one to feeling totally complete. Real talk…so never, ever give UP. Hang ON and you’ll get thru the troubled, dark and difficult times. Stay lifted, Stay encouraged N Stay blessed. Sincerely from the depths of my soul, Berna(the 1 N only)

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~To B Continued

IF 2day Were Judgement Day..

Wondering if anyone out there thinks about this day from time2time as I do…Reaching out to open dialogue on what I personally, as of  late, have grown to believe is an important topic. I wonder HOW to prepare for this day. I wonder IF the life I’m living on a day2day basis is one that will pass judgement on this day. What will I say?? Will I know what is the right thing to say? What IS the right thing to say? And how do I from THIS day forth live a life that I’ll feel confident will be worthy of speaking on when Judgement Day arrives? Deeeeeep thoughts indeed. Did not Jesus warn (Matthew 7: 21-23) that… “not” everyone who says to Me ‘Lord!, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those that DO the will of my Father in Heaven will enter…Now I admit folks I don’t have alot of Bible verses memorized but this is one imprinted in my mind.  In the next couple days after a bit more thought; I’ll post what I feel my responses are to date on the above questions..Please feel free to post more questions/insight/responses. This is a topic I am eager to discuss with ya’ll