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logo gifThe land of the free, the home of the brave.  One nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.  These are just a couple of statements which are ingrained in my consciousness.  These are quotes from which throughout my life, I have taken the time to reflect upon.

When I hear these words ringing proudly in my ears, I imagine visions of families with checkerboard tablecloths having a picnic in the park. I also can picture, 3 bases loaded and a batter hitting a home run, and each player on the baseball field running rapidly around the bases, touching the home plate and each beginning a jubilant dance of triumph.  An amazing pastime in the USA; baseball.

I have also read those statements, and had to revisit their meaning, for in various periods of my life, I had to wonder if those phrases applied to me.  Some of the memories I reflect upon while reading or listening to a commentator varied completely from their illustration and my encounter or experience.

My reflections may be biased, due to my personal experiences, but as I read the words of numerous journalists and authors, so are numerous others.  What is important is that we each have been given a pocket of memory which causes us to make decisions, plans and conclusions.  We also have the ability to share our opinions, thoughts, values and differences.

There is a word which really channels my journey, and growth.  That word is respect.   The rights, I believe  is that we each should respect  each other and the fact that we each reflect differently.  Your story is not mine, nor mine yours however; respect my right to have my very own memory of what transpired.

Studies have shown that a photographic image may have as much or more impact as a spoken word.  While the spoken word may cause a triumph of heart, a portrait vividly reminds us daily of the occurrence or incident.   thinking1

Reflections are just that, a pondering or a meditation on a certain subject matter.  Throughout the years of course my reflections have varied, due to circumstances and the environment.  A maturity has calmed my “quick to speak” attitude.  “Be quick to listenslow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19

You may not agree with my reason to reflect in the manner that I do; which may be therapeutic for me, and releases me into my destiny.  I only ask, as I would you, as a Lady Leader to allow me to reflect in my own personal manner, and respect my right to do so.

Walking in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

The Lady Leader Welcomes

Jean Parker

Ret. DAV/Journalist

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logo gifThe Lady Is A Leader And She Loves Imagery

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

~Matthew 5:16

Imagery, for me, is the definition of “a picture says a thousand words”.  Imagery takes a blank canvas and permits creative influences; which share with the masses, the heart and soul of an artist.  The research on the word imagery was absolutely fascinating, eye opening, and most intriguing.

Dictionary.com defines in part imagery as the formation of mental images, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively.

Photography is a form of imagery, and as The Lady Leader I am the first to admit a selfie, a photo shoot, or a casual spontaneous photo has my name written all over it.  Mind you, this was not always the case. This is most definitely a level of growth and maturity on my behalf.

I have the privilege to Co-Host a quarterly segment on Atlanta Live-WATC TV, entitled Sisters with Class.  The premise of the segment is to speak positively into the lives of younger women and share our experiences; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good thing about photographs is that it displays a likeness of the individual; however, on the other hand, a photograph (as imagery is defined) allows the viewer to form a mental image of the individual.  Some may say, it’s nobody’s business, or I’m not hurting anyone, or that’s the problem of the viewer and not mine.  Unfortunately, while each of us are welcome to have our own opinion, this is contradictory to the word of God.

Let’s view a few facts:statistics

  • It’s Nobody’s Business – The data shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social media posts, photographs and blog entries (time.com/money). Employers have terminated staff member in entry level to high management positions for actions associated with imagery.

So, yes… it is somebody’s business.

  • I’m Not Hurting Anyone – A recent article in Huffington Post entitled Moms/Why You Should Think Twice About What You Place on Social Media, shared how as a mother, a woman, or a lady, your posts could hurt someone.  It’s wise to think about your son or daughter, as our kids emulate their parents.  We should be their role model, their example, and the person they respect as having good moral judgement.Youth have harmed themselves, or others, due to embarrassment or bullying associated with a post their parent posted; while their peers teased them unmercifully.

So, yes… you may be hurting someone.

  • This Is The Viewer’s Problem Not Mine – True, the viewer of your imagery has a choice to view or not to view.  And, it is also true that you have the right to display what you like, since it is your freedom of speech.  However, the concern is, just because it’s legally correct, is it morally appropriate?

Not only for yourself, but also for the beautiful queens which are coming behind you.

So, no… it’s not just the viewer’s problem.

Of course, I have worn my share of hot pants, halter tops, and miniskirts. Fashion trends will come and go, and what’s completely hilarious, is that if you live long enough, they will re-appear with yet another runway designer.

The wisdom is in knowing whether or not the second run of the fashion trend projects the correct imagery for you.  You may possibly be in another position in life; i.e. parent or grandparent.  The imagery I now display, is something my children and grandchildren, would be proud of and can view with love.

The reason I am a proponent of imagery, is because at one time in my life, I allowed someone to silence my smile. I loved the image I saw, but because someone else felt I was not photogenic, I succumbed to the words which pierced my heart.

Now, I let my light, my smile, and my eyes shine before all, so that you can witness what God has done for me.

I would love for you to allow Him to do the same for you.

Walking in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

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The Lady Is A Leader And She Accepts Responsibility

logo gifIt is the responsibility of The Lady Leader to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand the duty of responsibility and to respond accordingly.  To that end, there are a few definitions of responsibility which resonate strongly within me:

The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something; the act or fact of being accountable; a moral obligation to behave correctly toward or in respect of.

Honored responsibility provides an opportunity to pull up a chair to the table, sit back, and sip a cup of “act right”! I used the term ‘honored responsibility’, because when given the assignment of responsibility, this is something which can’t be taken lightly; therefore, it should be viewed as an honor.

Honored responsibility does not allow a statement to be spoken, which is neither beneficial nor profitable. The Lady Leader recognizes that she is responsible for her personal care, and not to over-extend herself to the point where she is not physically, mentally, or emotionally equipped to fulfill her duty of responsibility.

She accepts the responsibility to also, “Let it Go!”

Let’s take a slow sip on that concept! I have witnessed occurrences where I have repeatedly shared an insight, or a suggestion, only to have the proposed offer either dismissed or not accepted; at times, even appearing as though the pearls placed in their lives was ignored and not valued.  From this experience, I have learned how important it is for The Lady Leader to possess wisdom; learning when to – and when not to – speak.  In other words… to just let some things go.

Wisdom is the principal thingtherefore get wisdom:

and with all thy getting get understanding.

~Proverbs 4:7

The Lady Leader should take into consideration that as one who mentors, leads, and directs, there is a vast difference between responsibility and accountability. Responsibility can be shared, while accountability cannot.  (www.diffen.com)  I am responsible enough to share with you pitfalls, and attempt to direct you around the potholes of life, and even give you a glimpse of some of the most horrific mistakes I’ve made. I’m a collaborator; I’m an “iron sharpens iron” kind of lady.  However, each individual is ultimately accountable for the decisions made as to which road to travel.

Another aspect of honored responsibility is the ability to accept the moral obligation toward and in respect of others.  I would venture to say acceptance in this facet of leadership demands wisdom; for without it, grave consequences may occur.

Let’s take a look at a few areas which may strengthen your leadership skills, by allowing a personal inventory of accountability and acceptance.

As a Lady Leader, can you:responsibility

  • Accept the responsibility to reserve your opinions for conversations and not consultations?
    This lessens or eliminates conveying your personal views into someone’s conscious. 
  • Accept the responsibility to give your very best; without depleting yourself?
    You can no longer become empty continually filling someone else who leaks.
  • Accept the responsibility of learning and understanding the terms of each relationship?
    Location, location, location. In order to know where ‘we’ stand, you must learn where they are.

As a Lady Leader, I am honored to share in the responsibility with many others to make deposits into your life. I consider myself as being a part of a village whose voice is impactful and valuable; and I share with numerous mentors in your life, who are given the opportunity to nurture and cultivate the gifts and talents within you, as a priceless Lady Leader.

 

Walking in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

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logo gifJune is the month which is normally filled with celebrations.  This is the month where people and things of value tend to either rise to the occasion, or walk in another direction.  Graduations, weddings, birthdays are significant when you have experienced just a portion of the afflictions and mishaps which have occurred in my life, so I view each year as another opportunity to show up.

I would like to take this moment to share with you how important it is to show up.  Recently I was viewing a television program and the host began to share with the audience the importance of being present, which proposed some really good questions.  Such as, have you ever been in a group or an environment filled with people, however, the person whose arrival you expected or anticipated never came?

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, pouring out your heart to someone, only to receive a response which clearly showed their body was here with you, but their mind was on the other side of town?  Instead of a dialogue, you found you were in the midst of a monologue; a solemn, lonely, monologue?

Memories are so real and replay so vividly in moments you least expect it.  Because now, you’re a Lady Leader and you are supposed to have grown from the insecurities and the uncertainty of the past.  For instance, I gave birth to a son after less than four hours of labor; therefore, I couldn’t understand when women discussed experiencing hours of labor and excruciating pain.  I was so naïve. My lack of experience and judgment were both in for a rude awakening!  After several devastating miscarriages, we conceived a beautiful baby girl.  But, the labor process for this pregnancy was quite different from the previous one; only to have to have a cesarean section, after more than 23 hours of labor, to deliver a premature, yet amazing, baby girl, whom I still did not get to hold or cuddle until 12 hours after her birth.

Walking in a new experience of motherhood also proved to be quite different.  The pain associated with a cesarean section for me, was unimaginable. This was coupled with the fact that I had to be re-admitted to the hospital, due to the physical healing process not moving forward as scheduled.

My mother, who was in the primary stages of a terminal illness, did everything she could to assist.  My mother-in-love aided and prayed for our family.  And, even though their assistance was valuable, I still struggled with feeling inadequate; tears flowing constantly.

It was at this time, my husband taught me a great lesson in how “love shows up”. While employed in an occupation which varied from one shift to the other every week, he gave all he had during this season in my life by hiring what would be known as a Nanny today, who helped me learn to care for a preemie and encouraged me to realize I was not inadequate… I just needed help. And, the right help.

I speak to your heart and to the void of those who didn’t show up. The key phrase I learned and value today: the right help, the Spirit-led help, and the anointed assistance.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

We found those whom we thought would be there for us, were not.  Those whom we had allowed into our intimate hearts with conversations and transparency never showed up.  Become observant and consistent in prayer, for being in a weak state, physically, spiritually or emotionally may cause you to not make decisions based on wisdom or guidance.  I ask you today to be selective and careful with your heart, because when you need love to show up, you don’t need excuses.

In our flesh we may not always “feel” like showing up. But, when it’s authentic, as least for me, the love and care I woman-drivinghave for the individual causes me to command my body to show up! Loyalty has a way of surpassing a headache; overcoming personal feelings.  Loyalty is like royalty… it rises to the occasion with grace.

Be mindful, there are emergencies and circumstances beyond our control which may not allow our presence, physically or emotionally.  But if that’s not the case, as a Lady Leader, consider the value, the gift that you are, and the love that you possess, and Show Up!

Walking in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

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Mother's Day

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Then the master said to the servant,

Go out into the highways and hedges and urge and constrain [them] to yield and come in, so that my house may be filled.

~Luke 14:23 (AMP)

This particular chapter in scripture demonstrates how the “Master” healed on the Sabbath… Something Unheard Of!  A dinner was prepared and the “familiar” people were not to be invited. Who does that? Lastly, a great dinner was prepared and everyone had an excuse as to why they couldn’t RSVP.  Have you ever felt like you were on the other side and everyone else remained where you left them?

 

As a child of the 60’s, I have had the opportunity to view numerous changes in society and technology.  I was the typewriterone who thought everything could be accomplished with a Brothers typewriter and a Texas Instrument calculator.

I can recall when my parents, who were in their 50’s when I arrived, stated to me that their parents called television “the one-eyed devil”.  I am fully familiar with placing a coin on the arm of the turn-table, so that a scratched record or LP (Long-Playing Album) would play properly.  I was not upset that an 8-track made the harshest sound between one recording to the next track. Why not? Well, because, this was a part of the experience of the moment.

We now are in the age of social media, iPads, Smartphones, and numerous other forms of technology which allow us to go into the highways (the internet is the information highway), and into the hedges; areas which we may have never had the opportunity to conquer, due to various life restraints.

It’s so good to KNOW your assignment, and to be confident in the manner God has given you.  The Word of God states the servant was asked to:

GO: Take action. Your go may be within your family, but go!  Your go may be within the walls of a ministry, but go!  Your go may be television, radio, social and/or physical media, but whatever form you’ve been given to transport His Word… GO!

 

INTO THE HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES: There is a fertile ground for the Word God has given you; your anointing must travel. Don’t allow it to remain dormant, because your gift is diverse. There are those along the highway, and those who may be buried within the hedges, who have a NEED for what God has given you!

 

COMPEL-URGE-CONSTRAIN THEM TO COME: Social networking can be used as one of the greatest forms of Evangelism.  The key is to remain consistent; remain in a position of compelling them to come to Christ.  Develop a spirit on Social Media so that when you post, or present a statement, it results in a yielding of the recipient’s spirit.

 

SO THAT MY HOUSE MAY BE FILLED: There is a reason for why you do what you do.  The purpose is to bring such as should be saved into the kingdom.

However, we must be cautious that we don’t discourage someone else who may be reaching a group of people; or even one person you are not assigned to serve.  I believe the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and various other social media communities, may not have realized how much of an open door their platform would provide for the Kingdom.

We must be mindful not to condemn or speak harshly of others who have found a positive forum to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The ultimate goal is to lead others to Christ.  While this may not be your chosen method of delivery, it does not mean it is not a productive form of delivery.  Likewise, those who use social media (and the like) to communicate must not discourage and speak badly of those who don’t.  There are numerous avenues to evangelize. Allow the Lord to speak to your heart as to which is best to support your assignment, and how you are to obtain good success therein.

Most forms of technology have the ability to allow Bible, Concordance, and Study Applications to assist each of us in carrying forth the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not the exterior of bound leather, nor the interior of a distinct paper, which is the Bible.  The Bible ‘contains’ The Word of God, so please remember that when compelling those to come… Jesus first stated, “…Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) before Twitter was established.  Also, before Facebook was founded, the character of friendship was established.  “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” (Prov. 18:24)

The decision is truly yours; however, I would ask you to search yourself and become a Lady Leader, and come on over to…

The Other Side!

Walk in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

The Lady Leader

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The Lady Is A Leader And She’s  Making An Impact

logo gifThe excitement I have in sharing this month’s Lady Leader blog with you, is explosive!  I recently sat among women from all walks of life.  These women exposed their challenges, while still making great strides to make an impact in the lives of others.

One of the primary topics we discussed, which appears to be prevalent in each economic, educational, and cultural status, is the ability to be successful without criteria.  The definition of success cannot be categorized by demographics.  The authentic meaning of success is derived from the sheer essence of individuality; causing a corporate affect.

               “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

     ~Eccl. 9:10

impact

Your unique gift has been unequivocally placed within you to be distributed or deposited within others.  The impact or impressionable statement you make upon someone’s life is invaluable.  Your smile, your words of wisdom, your hug, your humor, and your vibrant personality brings tranquility to someone’s chaos.

How awesome is that?

Success arrives in various forms, and departs in the hearts of many.  A successful impact on someone’s life can provoke change; a memorable act of kindness imparting the desire to pass it on to someone else!

Whatsoever the Lord has placed within you, arise and make the mission your motivator to become successful!

Walk in Power,

Dr. BJ Relefourd

The Lady Leader

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