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Happy Thanksgiving

One of the most vulnerable times are those of the holidays.  There are many who absolutely enjoy the festivities, the comradery, the  decorations and the great feasts associated with the holidays.

While, there are others who absolutely dread, the family gatherings, the work place parties, and the sounds of music streaming in every department store.

This does not make either group of people wrong; it’s just that it’s their perception of the season.  I have come to recognize the ability to be sensitive to each group of individuals.

Many of  us, have had traumatic events which have occurred very close to a significant holiday during this season.  There may have been a death, a place of displacement,  a relationship, or something so horrific, it has left a hollow space where the joy once lived.

What may sound strange to some, is that everyone is not sitting around the table, laughing, smiling and reminiscing of wonderful memories gone by.  In reality there are some which are sitting around the table and the undisclosed or unmentioned issues are in fact very visible. Unspoken, but visible.793213041_250269

The dynamics of relationships are so vital, that it can cause the hours of the holidays to crawl by, slowly, unhurriedly and painfully.

I believe strongly in the power of prayer.    I honestly believe healing can take place in a matter which seemed unimaginable.  I also believe in the presence of having the ability to walk through the shadows of death with faith and perseverance.

Respecting  an individual’s hour, or the space they are residing at this time is so important.  Grief has many stages.  It is imperative to value the person’s present, honor their past, and speak positively into their future.

Some of us may have our homes decorated in a festive manner, and are looking forward to going, “over the rivers and through the woods to grandmother’s house”,  or however you choose to spend your holiday hours.  Please be aware  and sensitive of those who are not.  Take a moment and offer a moment of prayer or meditation for the hearts of those whose holiday hours are not the same.

I pray this hour for the person, who may be sitting alone.  I pray for the person who may be sitting in a group; and yet feeling alone.  I ask the Comforter  be about and within those whose family members have transitioned and there is now an empty chair at the table.  I believe the Lord may place upon you peace and comfort.  I extend a prayer of Thanksgiving to those who have a quality family unit, and give all praise to our Father!  This prayer we believe in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

The Lady Leaderlogo gif

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

logo gifBeing a Lady Leader is an amazing responsibility.  The spectrum of assignments is extensive and features  a wide range of flexibility.  A Lady Leader may find herself in the course of a week mentoring to a person who is preparing to enhance their life skills, to rolling up her sleeves and helping someone believe in themselves.  These tasks can also range from developing a curriculum to provoke someone’s God-given power, to being quiet and listening with an ear of empathy and love.

Throughout the many facets of Lady Leadership one of the most valuable for me is being a vault.  I really can’t recall when it happened, but early in the journey, I knew the importance of confidentiality and discretion.

A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. 

Proverbs 11:13 

One of the worst wounds one can experience is after sharing an intimate conversation with someone whom you trust; you find out it has been shared.  It takes an enormous leap to unmask, unveil and release. It takes a vault, a person endowed with the sanctity and respect of privacy to uphold such an honored position.

One of many definitions of the word vault is;  a large room or chamber used for storage, especially an underground one.  (Dictionary.com) A Lady Leader must have the capacity to value intimacy of the heart, as it will be used for storage.  You will be privy to information which may have crushed the interior soul of the person who’s sharing and because you were predestined as a vault in their journey, you are present.vault

On another level of discretion, a vault is used for underground storage.  As a Lady Leader, your confidentially is so crucial, that there is dialogue which is only shared with our Heavenly Father. It is carried as the pallbearers release us ashes to ashes, dust to dust back to the ground from which we came.

I never said being a Lady Leader was a simple assignment. I did, however; say it is an amazing responsibility.  It is not always comfortable being the reservoir to hold the tears, the pain and anguish of someone who feels helpless and hopeless.  Amazingly enough that very same person may be the one you are given the opportunity to witness their leap into the arms of faith, their catapult into a victorious lifestyle.  And for that we give God praise and ALL glory!

May you be ever strengthened with grace in your assignment, as a Lady Leader!

Dr. BJ Relefourd

The Lady Leader Welcomes

Jean Parker

Ret. DAV/Journalist

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The Lady Is A Leader And She’s A Matriarch

logo gifAs a youngster, I was always in awe of the matriarchs in my family and community.  These were women who in their own right were Lady Leaders whether in the home, the church, marketplace or the neighborhood.

A matriarch in the neighborhood was one where if you misbehaved, or acted  inappropriately, they had the authority to chastise you.  What was most interesting was that after the matriarch of the neighborhood would chastise you, once you returned home, so would the matriarch of your home.  It seems as though this is ancient history, yet it was only a few decades ago.

Adoring names would preface birth names with titles of affection such as Ma, Mu-Dear, Mama, and Mother to name a few.  It would not be unfamiliar to address a woman of mature stature as mother without the association of being in their bloodline.  It was a title of respect, endearment and love.

The month of September I was humbled to receive the 2016-21st Century Matriarch Award, along with some phenomenal women who I admire and respect.  As one of the honorees, we were being honored for longevity, consistency and integrity.  A matriarch doesn’t give up, through tears, wounds, hurts, and disappointment; you hang in there and believe God on behalf of those to whom we are given charge.matriarch

There are numerous women, men, boys and girls whom God has placed in my life who consider me among their spiritual mothers.  This is an assignment not to be taken lightly.  Unfortunately, what also occurs is when you are considered as someone’s spiritual mother, you also carry the hearts of those to whom you have been assigned.

I can recall my mother and many of the matriarchs of the community, shedding tears on behalf of someone else’s child, or wailing because of the misfortune of a family member of someone from another city, state or town.

I remember vividly the mothers displaying tears of anguish and overwhelming grief as a war casualty was brought home for burial.  It didn’t matter whether it was their child or someone else’s; it was a grieving mother’s broken heart.

A mother cares for her own offspring, as well as the seed of others with a love that is unimaginable if you don’t have a maternal spirit.  Being a female does not always mean you possess a maternal spirit, as we have witnessed in history, females who do have maternal characteristics, those who do not bond with their children and have no desire to do so.

A matriarch is defined as a woman who is the head of a family or tribe, commonly what we view today as a village.  A woman who against all odds remained in position to go into battle on behalf of her children or others.  Another definition describes a matriarch as an older woman who is powerful within a family or an organization. (Merriam-Webster)

As a Lady Leader or a matriarch, what we must understand and be confident in, is that all of our children do not look or act the same.  All of our seed, do not behave the same, and all of our children do not the same gifts, or talents; however, we love them the same.  Where we must use wisdom is having to ability to understand, learn and respect that each heart attachment is an individual.  Also as nurturing beings it is imperative that we not carry the guilt, and despondency when those we have carried in our hearts and womb act or react unfavorably in society.  Our assignment is to pray, discipline, love and forgive.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.   Jeremiah 1:5
jeremiah15

Also, never compete with other mother figures in the lives of great men and women, honor the part you have been given in their hearts and in their lives. Each person placed in the lives of someone else is of importance-value your role. I believe this is where the powerful definition of a matriarch comes into play.

You are bestowed the power and confidence to pray without ceasing, the courage to intercede with fervency, and a non-wavering love, which is constant and does not change with the seasons. The Lord knew whom He would place in our lives, and equipped each of us for what each individual would need, a strong matriarch who is….  A Lady Leader

 

Dr. BJ Relefourd

The Lady Leader Welcomes

Jean Parker

Ret. DAV/Journalist

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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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