VOL 5 NO 1


4 Simply Divine - Publisher’s Piece
6 Reflections

8 Health &AFitnessLoss
Megan R. Mottley

Kingdom Quality Communicatons



LIVE To Tell Your Story
My middle name is Survivor! Well, not really but it ...

by Alfred Milan, Pastor, Dream Church Memphis

I began to
realize that
there is One
who really
survived and


T O A D V E RT I S E C O N TA C T 1 . 8 5 5 . 4 5 6 . 4 4 7 5


By Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey


even years ago, I found myself
depressed, unhap...




I was diagnosed with HIV
when I was 23 years old.

I learned of my status after
donating blo...

It is my purpose and assignment to use my life to enrich the
lives of others. I believe that everyday God wak...


Real stories told
byReal Survivors
Not Handicapped, Handi-c...
never heard of the disease. Since that time, I have been
contacted by other GBS patients and their family members,
just one year later after drinking and driving, I crashed my
car off the same bridge. This time I was barely injured, but

plan for you; b) Trust in your physician and
do everything he/she tells you to do; and c)


TOP 10
Treatment & Recovery Centers




When a woman has cancer, she has
to deal not only with the trauma of...


No longer does “healthy food” mean tasteless food.
In fact, eating healthy can be a ta...

By: Drenda Keesee
Many years ago, my husband Gary
and I faced our own financial ...
our own thing and expecting Him to bless it.
A few years later, our business beca...


The Grief Experience
by Angela Hamblen, Director of the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good...
Bullying and Child Predators are
nothing new to our society. These
terrorists have existed since Cain
killed Abel. Yet now...
meal each week together and attend one
family event (bowling, movies, boating,
etc.) at least twice each month. Studies
My story continues to help other kids tell their own.
When my dad passed away from cancer in 2002, I was sad, angry and co...
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs
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Final divine survivordigital WyJoyful Company's SurvivorWOWs

  1. 1. VOL 5 NO 1 CONTENTS IN EVERY ISSUE 4 Simply Divine - Publisher’s Piece 6 Reflections COLUMNS 8 Health &AFitnessLoss Becoming Weight Champion ON THE COVER... Heavenly Bodies Rae Lewis Thornton, AIDS Survivor & Activist 10 By Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey 15 Chart Toppers 17 DIVINE Destinations Time Off 18 Fashion & Beauty 19 Food Forte 20 Request A FREE Digital Copy of DIVINE Magazine Total Being: Inside & Out Money Market Literature & Entertainment Top 10 Treatment & Recovery Centers Cosmetologists Create Magic For Cancer Patients Tasty Recipes For Your Health Spiritual Gifts by emailing freedivinemagazine@gmail.com. View Your Magazine On Any iPad device or Smart Phone. Virtuous Living Thriving In Financial Hard Times Power & Purpose Lifelines Soul Connections by Drenda Keesee 22 The Grief Experience VISIT OUR WEBSITE By Angela Hamblen 24 GET OUR MOBILE APP Generations Armed & Ready: Fighting Back Against Cyberpredators & Cyberbullies 12 Of 7 StoriesHope Survival, & Restoration Faith & Family Your carrier’s standard rates may apply. Tell us how you feel about our New Digital magazine @facebook.com/divinemagazine
  2. 2. PUBLISHER Megan R. Mottley publisher@divinemagazineonline.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kingdom Quality Communicatons COPY EDITOR Angela Wilson INTERN Natalie Poe PHOTOGRAPHY Audria Richmond CONTRIBUTORS Greg Broy Jimmy Cruse Sharon Fox Angela Hamblen Karen Anderson Hardaway Wyvonia Woods Harris Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey Drenda Keesee Alfred Milan Julian Martin Rosalynne Martin Tiffoni Mitchell Summer Owens Kati Thomas Rae Lewis Thornton Alicia West Chris West Angela Wilson MTLY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 1.855.456.4475 Ext. 12 publisher@divinemagazineonline.com www.divinemagazineonline.com DIVINE Magazine is a division of MTLY Communications, Inc. DIVINE is published quarterly. No portion of this magazine, including without limitation, articles and listing, may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Send story ideas, questions or concerns to publisher@divinemagazineonline.com. Order print issues on our website at www.divinemagazineonline.com or from our Digital App available on all Android & iPhone devices. Request a free digital issue for your laptop, PC or Kindle devices at freedivinemagazine@gmail.com. Copyright 2013 by DIVINE MTLY Communications. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. SIMPLY DIVINE P U B L I S H E R’S P I E C E LIVE To Tell Your Story My middle name is Survivor! Well, not really but it could be and it should be my middle name because of all the storms that I have survived, the setbacks, the seasons of little to no support and so on. However, I’m not alone and that’s one thing that I have learned in my lifetime---everyone has a story to tell. We have all endured certain seasons of our lives that have literally knocked the wind out of us. A true survivor is not only one who gets up after being knocked down but one who makes it their daily goal to share their story with others. Your test is your testimony so be transparent. Inspire others to greatness even when their current circumstances look bleak. Encourage someone going through a hard time that they will live to tell their story. In this issue of DIVINE Magazine, that’s exactly what we’ve captured in the pages that you are about to read. Stories on top of stories of men and women who have lived to tell their story and those who rise daily to encourage others to keep fighting. Being a survivor is not about helping yourself but it’s about how many other people you help to see that they too are survivors. Our Cover Feature, Rae Lewis Thornton, truly understands this concept as she is an Emmy Award Winning HIV/AIDS activist who travels the world to share her story. Drenda Keesee, nationally known talk-show host, shares her story of how she and her family thrived during difficult financial times. Lastly, amazing men and women who were nominated by you, our readers, share their stories of survival that are sure to tug at your heart and empower you to stand strong in your fight. Remember that whatever you endure in your lifetime is designed to make you stronger. It’s designed to help the next person who’s coming along after you in the same way as the person who came before you! No matter what you’re facing, be encouraged. No matter how rocky the road that you’re on, be grateful. No matter who tells you that you won’t make it, be inspired—to live. You must live to tell your story! I pray that you will enjoy this issue because not only will our Survivor stories make you count your blessings but also because we are moving into the digital age at full speed. We are unleashing our new Mobile App and our fully digital publishing platform, a strategy that will give us incredible reach as we inspire readers to greatness across the globe. Feel free to share this issue via Social Media, email and on your blogs. In addition, please download our mobile app so you can stay connected to us on a daily basis. We all need a little push every now and then and our app will be there to support you on the good days and on those tough days. Our Mobile App is available in the Android Market and in the iTunes App store. We have survived the print age of magazine publishing and now we’re impacting lives digitally. I am so excited about the growth of DIVINE Magazine and I am extremely grateful for all of the support from sponsors, advertisers and readers over the past six years. I look forward to all that this NEW season will bring and remember: Be Encouraged. Be Grateful. Be Inspired. Megan R. Mottley Publisher www.meganmottley.com 4 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE Follow Me on Twitter @MeganMottley divinemagazineonline.com
  4. 4. REFLECTIONS by Alfred Milan, Pastor, Dream Church Memphis I began to realize that there is One who really survived and that is our Savior Jesus Christ. 6 When I think of what it means to be a Survivor, I often think of the lyrics to Beyonce’s song “Survivor”: “I’m a survivor, I’m not gon’ give up, I’m not gon’stop, I’m gon’ work harder, I’m a survivor”. This is exactly how my personal story unfolds. I am a Morehouse graduate but at a certain point in my life, I encountered a shift. I wanted to live my life independent of God and His ways so I, like most people, just spent my time “doing me”. However, it wasn’t long before “doing me” would become a painful experience of being lost, confused and about to end my life. After being addicted to drugs for many years, homeless, divorced, and discouraged, I learned one important lesson: Seasons do change! I began to realize that there is One who really survived and that is our Savior Jesus Christ. In fact, I accepted the fact that the storm that I endured for so long was not for me but for someone who was meant to grow from my hurt and pain. does not matter what your storm is or how long you’ve been in that storm, you can overcome it! If you are in a dark place, know that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Over the course of my life, I have been broken spiritually, financially, emotionally, and economically. I thought I would never see the Grace of God but it is always here for those who want it. It To find out more about Pastor Milan and the Dream Church, visit http://www. mydreamchurch.com. Become a Fan on their Facebook Fan Page at http://www. facebook.com/officialdreamchurch and Follow the Dream Church on Twitter @mydreamchurch. DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE I love Psalm 30:5; it says: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning”. My life experience brought me to the feet of our Father and all the honor and glory goes to Him for all of the favor that He has brought into my life. I am the husband to an awesome wife and First Lady and the father of three beautiful children. I also Pastor 200 people who know that God can do anything exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think. No matter what challenges that you face in life, always remember that there is a greater one on the inside of you. Never limit what God can do but know that seasons do change & favor is yours in Jesus name. divinemagazineonline.com
  5. 5. DIVINE CONNECTIONS T O A D V E RT I S E C O N TA C T 1 . 8 5 5 . 4 5 6 . 4 4 7 5
  6. 6. HEALTH & FITNESS H E A V E N LY B O D I E S By Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey S even years ago, I found myself depressed, unhappy, AND fat while also undergoing career and educational transformations. Talk about stressed! I wanted, no, I NEEDED to change. I was the girl that everyone felt was so happy. I was a young, new, educationally motivated Psychology Doctoral student that seemed to have it “all together”, but looks are not always what they seem. I had been through several “unhealthy” relationships, which I knew stemmed from my lack of self-confidence and self-esteem and I was determined to change that. I wanted to be my best in ALL aspects. In late 2005, I decided while working on my career transformation, doctoral studies and fixing my broken self-confidence that I would also fix my badly broken body. I would begin a quest to holistic health and lose 100 pounds or die trying. I read several books such as “Weight Loss for Dummies,” “Fitness for Dummies” and even scoped out workout videos by Jillian Michaels, Jeanette Jenkins, The Firm, Turbo Fire and more to exercise at home. Nina Ellis-Hervey, Ph.D., N.C.S.P., L.S.S.P. is an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology Program of Human Services at Stephen F. Austin State University. Visit Dr. Ellis-Hervey on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ BeautifulBrwnBabyDol or on her personal site at http://www.beautifulbrwnbabydol. com. You can also connect with Dr. EllisHervey on Facebook by searching Nina “BeautifulBrwnBabyDol”Ellis-Hervey and Follow her on Twitter @ButflBrwnBbyDol. In February of 2006, the journey began. I woke up at the crack of dawn 7 days a week to go to my school’s gym and I spent nearly 1.5 hours a day working out. I got over the embarrassment of being the largest person in the gym working out and envisioned myself healthy and even more beautiful. I even researched foods that were good for me to eat, studied body types and learned about “trigger foods”. In addition, I found ways to deal with my own psychological difficulties through the training I was receiving in my Psychology Doctoral program at Oklahoma State University. I was extremely determined. In a total of 10 months (around November 2006), I lost 108 pounds and I have successfully kept the weight off for 7 years. I’ve gone down from 238 pounds to 130 pounds and I’ve gone from an 18 dress size to a healthy size 2/4. I can run 5-6 miles easily and even completed a FULL 26.2 mile marathon. My workouts consist of football drills, weightlifting and more. I lost weight without any surgeries, fad diets or excuses, just plain old motivation and hard work. My weight loss journey was so amazing to everyone, including my family doctor at the time. She simply said, “Tell me what I should do to lose my weight”. Since then I have become Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey and I am now a Professor at Stephen F. Austin State University where I help many to achieve their goals. I also help individuals across the world through my vlog on YouTube, where I address holistic health and weight loss from the psychological perspective. Since the weight loss, I realize that it was a journey back to me. I love myself, I am proud of who I was and also who I am. I cherish 8 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE life more, love my drive and appreciate myself more for having the desire to remain happy, healthy and mentally sound. So I know what you’re thinking. How in the world do you get there and how do I do it? Don’t worry! Here are 10 simple steps to become a weight loss champion: 1. GET PERSONAL Decide that you want this for you and no one else. 2. SET A FEW EASY GOALS Don’t say, I’m going to run 5 miles tomorrow. Say, I’m going to walk 10 more minutes than I did yesterday. 3. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE This is your race, and no one else is on the track but you. Be real with yourself. Don’t desire a body that you can never achieve. Desire to be healthy and your body will do the rest. 4. RELEASE YOUR MIND OF MENTAL WEIGHT Stop thinking about your past failures and focus on future triumphs. 5. STOP SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE Being unhealthy is just as bad as being a drug addict. You can’t go to the places you used to go, hang out with some of the same people or bring certain foods/items in your home as they may trigger a relapse that you’ll regret. Step AWAY from the burger! 6. EAT SMART, NOT PERFECT You can’t ALWAYS be super healthy. Remember this is a lifetime goal so you are going to want cake and punch sometimes. Therefore, eat cake and punch SOMETIMES while rotating very healthy days with a few breaks. 7. LOSE WEIGHT IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE Get rid of the people around you, drama and silly situations that aid in your emotional eating and psychological stress. 8. LEARN TO DOCUMENT THE FOODS YOU EAT Journal about your calories, fats, carbohydrates, sugars and proteins. You will learn what foods work well with your body and those you should avoid. 9. WORK OUT AT YOUR POTENTIAL Don’t give up when it gets rough. You will only see results when you push yourself through. 10. REWARD YOURSELF Each week you meet a goal or milestone, reward yourself. This doesn’t always have to be food. It could be new clothes, shoes or that new gadget you’ve been wanting. Remember that a healthy lifestyle is forever. It is not a fad diet. You deserve to be happy and healthy and YOU are the only thing standing between the two. Stay spiritually sound and stay connected with those who support you. You can do it!!! divinemagazineonline.com
  7. 7. DIVINE CONNECTIONS                       by aointment only 901 288 7610 T O A D V E RT I S E C O N TA C T 1 . 8 5 5 . 4 5 6 . 4 4 7 5
  8. 8. COVER STORY DIVINE MAGAZINE I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 23 years old. I learned of my status after donating blood to the American Red Cross and they informed me that I was HIV infected. It was very early in the AIDS pandemic. There was no treatment and a lot of misinformation was still floating around about HIV. Stigma was very high in the United States and that led me to keep my infection a secret out of fear of discrimination. Prior to being diagnosed with HIV I was an upcoming national political organizer. By the age of 24, I had worked on my 2nd Presidential campaign as a senior staff person. While I knew I was infected I continued on my career path. I went to graduate school for my master’s degree in political science and was planning to get my Ph.D. However, when I made a transition to AIDS in 1992 the secret became too much to bear and I disclosed my status to friends and family. I made the transition to AIDS at age 27, my health started to down spiral and I was on a fast timeline to death. At that point I believed that my life and what it was like was over, but in the midst of my darkness, God gave my life new direction. It was never my goal to be an AIDS activist. A year after that disclosure, I started speaking about my life and what it was like living with HIV. Shortly thereafter, I became the first African-American woman to tell my story on the cover of a national publication (Essence December 1994). Since then I have become one of the most recognizable and documented women in the United States living with HIV/AIDS. 10 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE Often times when unlikely situations happen, people tend to view themselves as a victim instead of a victor. Yes, true enough; a victim is when a situation happens to a person that they have no control over. For example a child born with HIV is a victim, someone who is raped and contracts HIV or a wife who is infected with HIV by her husband. However, I am not a victim. I used the free will that God gave me to make a choice that left me with HIV. The victory is God’s grace. The victory is being forgiven for defiling my body and for the misuse of my free will. It may be a cliché to some but God took my mess and made it my ministry. I became the victor when I accepted God’s new plans for my life and that is to do God’s work to minister through my life. I share my story wherever I go to encourage others to recognize the victory that they can claim in their own circumstances. I’ve spent the last 23 years speaking about HIV/AIDS. Challenging stereotypes and myths about how one can become infected with HIV and who can become infected with HIV. I’ve used my life to show that AIDS is a nondiscriminatory disease. Speaking very openly and candidly about the impact of HIV on my life has been the epiccenter of my work. My transparency has been the one tool that I’ve used well to allow people a glimpse into the day to day life of what it is like living with AIDS. As well as, how I got to this place as a heterosexual, drug-free woman. In the last three years, as the topic of HIV/ AIDS has become less glamorous in the United divinemagazineonline.com
  9. 9. COVER STORY It is my purpose and assignment to use my life to enrich the lives of others. I believe that everyday God wakes me up in the morning that I am ordained to do God’s work. I’m starting in my own backyard because sadly enough stigma runs rampant in the black community and in the black church. I intend to make HIV a household conversation because the statistics of those becoming infected with HIV is daunting: • African Americans are over 50% of HIV cases but only 12% of the total population • African American women are 68% of all new cases of women infected with HIV • 1 of every 2 black gay men are infected bringing the total of cases to 30,573 • 13,402 cases of HIV was transmitted through heterosexual contact • Every 9 minutes someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV • In 2011, the estimated number of diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States was 49,273 With numbers like those, I will never stop educating on HIV/AIDS. In fact, I have created multiple channels to do so. I launched RLT Collection, a line of handcrafted fashion bracelets that I use to connect with women. I intend to make my jewelry line a household name. My bracelet designs are beautiful, my clientele is growing by leaps and bounds and I believe that I can make it even more successful. Just this year alone, Sheryl Lee Ralph wore my bracelets to the Oscars. My, Diva Living with AIDS blog receives about 20,000 views a month and my goal is to make that a weekly number. My RLT Reads book club has about 100 participants and my goal is to grow it to be as successful as Oprah’s book club. I love connecting with fellow tea lovers through Tea with Rae, my platform to review tea companies. I currently have 20 tea companies on my review list and I am aiming for far divinemagazineonline.com more. The point is, as long as I am living I intend to work at growing. If you don’t grow, you’re living dead. I strive to live a life of excellence so I will continue to build and grow my brands. At the end of the day, I want to truly help those who are struggling to cope with the tough circumstances that they may be facing be it themselves, family members or friends. The most complicated thing in life is trying to understand suffering. While I have no explanations on why people suffer, what I know for sure is that God is with us in our dark times. What we must do is remember our history with God. Look back on what you’ve already been through, on what you have survived, and the testament to God’s ability to keep you safe in the storm and deliver you from the storm. For sure living with AIDS has not been easy, but each day I wake, no matter what I am facing, I am reminded that I am still part of God’s earthly plan. It’s with that understanding that I keep it moving. No matter how slow the movements may be. “ “ States, I’ve turned to other avenues to share my message. The fact is, every 9 1/2 minutes a person becomes infected with HIV in the United States and African-Americans are leading in the cases. While I still speak across the country, I use Social Media very heavily. On Twitter, I educate my followers from the time I awake until bedtime to give a glimpse of what one’s life is like with HIV. On my blog, Diva Living With AIDS, I provide detailed information about the impact of HIV/AIDS. My daily posts on Facebook, are honest and forthright. I love having that connection with my fans and followers because you never know who you’re inspiring on a daily basis. DIVINE MAGAZINE At that point I believed that my life was over, but in the midst of my darkness, God gave my life new direction. SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM RAE LEWIS THORNTON: I’d love to speak at your churches, your school and your organizations. I can be reached at my Diva Living With Aids Blog at http://www.raelewisthornton. com. Individually, you can support me by visiting my blog and sharing it with others. Follow me on twitter @raelt, on Instagram @RaeLT and on my Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/ raelewisthornton. There is power in numbers and numbers will bring sponsors for me to continue this work. Lastly, you can check out my bracelets at RLT Collection (http://www.rltcollection.com). Order some for yourself or another glamorous lady in your life or you can sell them in your boutiques. DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 11
  10. 10. 7 S T O R I E S O F SURVIVAL, HOPE & RESTORATION Real stories told byReal Survivors ALICIA WEST Not Handicapped, Handi-capable 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with a neurological disease called Gullian Barre Syndrome. Let me take you on the fast version of a very slow journey... One morning, I headed out the door of my home just as I normally would. I worked in a corporate environment in front of a computer all day. On this particular day, I noticed that my vision was blurred and I was extremely tired. There was no pain just blurred vision and fatigue. I asked one of my peers to escort me to my eye doctor to have my contacts replaced. When I returned to work, I still had the blurred vision so two of my concerned employees took me home. That evening, a friend came to take me to the Emergency Room because I just didn’t feel right. My equilibrium was off, I was still very tired and I was beginning to discover that I could not walk. After running several tests, I was discharged and sent home but was still unable to walk. I returned to the ER the next day and was admitted to the ICU. It was there that I was diagnosed with a neurological disease called Gullian Barre Syndrome. I spent a month in ICU and two months in a rehabilitation hospital. I was told by my attending physician that I might not ever walk again. Needless to say, I was devastated! My family came to Memphis to fly me home 12 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE (Orlando), where I would spend the next 14 months in outpatient rehabilitation to learn to walk and use my hands again to perform simple tasks such as holding a fork in my hand and tying my shoes. I was left completely paralyzed! This life changing experience was the single most difficult thing I had ever faced. After a year of aggressive rehabilitation three days a week, I moved from the wheelchair to a walker and then to a quad cane. My body started to wake up and I was beginning to “feel” again. Every time the voice of that doctor telling me that I would never walk again would ring loudly in my mind, I had to remind myself that healing would be mine in the awesome name of Jesus. My Mother encouraged me to begin seeing myself healed. Once I moved past the severe depression that was associated with having GBS, the healing began. I stopped allowing any and everything to negatively influence my thoughts and my faith walk with the Lord. I never allowed people to call me “Handicapped” but would encourage them to use the title that I coined “Handi-Capable”. Today, I am healed, delivered, and set free of that horrific disease. By the grace of God, I superceded the prognosis that I had been given of never being able to walk again. This slow journey taught me to exercise patience and to trust God in every area of my life. Had I latched on to what the doctor believed based on his experience and expertise, I would still be sitting in my wheelchair. God has continued to be amazing in my life. Prior to having GBS, I had divinemagazineonline.com
  11. 11. never heard of the disease. Since that time, I have been contacted by other GBS patients and their family members, requesting a visit from me. It is my great honor to walk in a hospital room and show those patients that God is real, and well able to heal their bodies. WYVONIA WOODS HARRIS Smile, Touch and Listen I am a survivor! I drink from a Survivor Marquesas 2002 cup daily. I am writing today because of an encounter I had with one of my friends. I was discussing that I do not spend time in the sun because I had been diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) about 12 years ago. She looked at me with surprised eyes and said. “I did not know this.” I said, “Twas Grace that brought me through!” I have shared this testimony in so many places, so I am amazed and smile when someone says, “you don’t look like what you have been through.” In 2002, I was sitting in the Doctor’s office telling him what a difficult trip I had while in Las Vegas. I explained that I was so tired and had so much pain, that I had spent most of my time in my MGM hotel room. He said these words to me, “Let us run some tests.” My life changed in a few weeks, when I sat in the Doctor’s treatment room hearing these words, “your tests results show you have Lupus.” I said to him in my best survivor voice, “we need to run more tests because that is not the result I wanted.” So now I fast forward approximately 12 years to tell my survivor story. Today I use the acronyms, “Smile, Touch and Listen” as my WOW for survival. SMILE Send an encouraging message Make friends quickly Invite special Moments Live and Love a lot Enjoy Everything TOUCH Take time to treasure others Open your heart and hand Understand needs and work to erase them Cherish Change Hold on to hope and healthy habits LISTEN Let words flow in the spirit of healing Identify positive people and purposes Stay tuned in Treat others well Embrace events and experiences New opportunities begin with new days JULIAN AND ROSALYNNE How We Survived The Buy Now, Pay Later Myth We were two working professionals, college educated with thousands of dollars in debt-student loan debt, credit card debt, car loan debt, and personal loan debt. We decided that enough was enough and that the time had come for us to save more money instead divinemagazineonline.com of giving it away each pay period. We enrolled in a financial stewardship class at church to learn about strategies to help eliminate the debt efficiently. It took several years to be completely debt free from consumer debt, but “consistency” was the key to our victory. The strategy known as “snowballing” was a simple yet life-changing strategy that helped us to conquer this molehill of debt. To start the process of debt elimination, we recorded every penny owed from smallest to greatest. The smallest debt was paid off first and then the payment that would normally go toward that bill was added to the next smallest debt. This was done until all the debt on our list was ELIMINATED. The key to surviving debt elimination was sticking to our plan to pay off debt, resisting the urge to create any additional debt, and to avoid impulsive purchases. We would, however, celebrate the small victories of our teamwork paying off. Once completely debt free of consumer debt, we continued to pay on our credit card balance each month to avoid interest payments and we also saved for large purchases. Financial freedom is rare in a buy now, pay later society but we are grateful that we had the courage to take a class that changed our finances for the better. We are faithful tithers who strive to live within our means and we are thankful for every opportunity that the Lord gives us to share our testimony of financial freedom to encourage others. JIMMY CRUSE The Ultimate Wake Up Call No matter how strong the winds or how long it lasts, no storm lasts forever. Raised by a single parent, my mother did her best to raise a man. Despite her efforts, there were some things a woman could not teach a boy. The neighborhood and schools I went to were rough and survival was for the fittest. Being bullied and beat on like every other child, I fell into a category that psychologists have long classified as being headed for the wrong direction. Surprisingly enough, I became a criminal. I excelled in my new profession as I reached my mid-twenties but while claiming to be intelligent, I didn’t realize there were federal agents just as smart as me. In 2001, I was sentenced to 12 years in the western district of Tennessee. My mother remained by my side and assured me according to her prayer partner that I would not serve the entire time. She was correct. In 2009, I was released due to an amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines. I proclaimed to know the true and living God yet being poor again was a transition for me. I had been warned in prison by a prayer partner to never return to the drug business or I would surely die. This man of God also told me that God would tell me twice to confirm that what he was telling me was true. Needless to say, 24 hours later my best friend called to tell me that he had dreamed of my funeral. I may be disobedient at times but I do fear God and that is the beginning of wisdom. To deal with the new issues and schisms in my life, I began to drink heavily. One night in 2010, while speeding in my Jeep Cherokee, I swerved and drove off the side of a bridge. My jeep fell three stories and was crushed at the bottom of the bridge. By God’s grace alone, I climbed to the top of the bridge and notified authorities. Six broken ribs and a crushed ankle were the only injuries I sustained. After surviving this, I should have learned my lesson, but DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 13
  12. 12. just one year later after drinking and driving, I crashed my car off the same bridge. This time I was barely injured, but arrested. I begged God over and over for forgiveness but unfortunately I was still on probation and had to pay society for my deeds. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. One night after an argument with my girlfriend, her brother picked up a machete while my back was turned. Angels raised my arms (literally) and the machete struck my forearm as opposed to my neck or head. I was rushed to the hospital only to hear it again: “It’s a miracle that you weren’t killed”. It took 40 years of my life but I’m finally free from turmoil. I have lived to publish my first book entitled, “The Greatest Case of Identity Theft Ever: Stealing The Identity of a Nation” which can be found on Amazon.com. I am a true Survivor and I am at peace. SUMMER OWENS S.O. What! On my 15th birthday, I became impregnated after a forced sexual encounter by a friend of a relative. He was gone after that. I went on to be named most likely to succeed in high school and graduate number 8 in my class of 300. I earned a full Leadership Scholarship to the University of Memphis, and my faith, hard work and commitment paid off. I graduated magna cum laude earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and the title of Miss University of Memphis in 2001 all as a single mother. I maintained a progressive career which included marketing management positions for the NBA franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies and ServiceMaster. For the past six years, I’ve worked for the FedEx Corporation as a marketing specialist advisor. Three years ago I wrote my memoir, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, to encourage other teen moms and to help prevent teen pregnancy. In June 2013, I left my wonderful corporate job to launch S.O. What! LLC and The S.O. What! Foundation, both teach people (not just teen moms) to eliminate excuses from their lives to achieve success no matter what obstacles they may face. It is wonderful using my life’s pains and victories to change the lives of others. To date, I have delivered nearly 200 motivational speeches to schools, churches and other organizations that support teen mothers, have initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy, or simply want to hear a story of overcoming obstacles. I’ve been named Top 40 Under 40 by the Memphis Business Journal and Outstanding Young Alumna by the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business and Economics. I received the Tri-State Defender’s Women of Excellence award, McDonald’s Community Hero award, and Women of Achievement Heroism award. My story has been featured nationally on CNN Headline News and the 700 Club, as well as in numerous local media outlets including the Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Business Journal, and Memphis Parent magazine. All the trials that I’ve endured in my life have actually led me to my calling. When I graduated from high school, I had a two year old son on my hip so in essence he graduated with me. In May 2013, my son graduated from high school and as his 34 year old mom, I graduated with him! I have dedicated my life to sharing my story to improve the lives of others. I am currently a mentor with the Adolescent Parenting Program and the Leadership Program at the University of Memphis. I serve on the board of directors for the Memphis Exchange Club and WriteMemphis. I am a graduate of the New Memphis Institute. Find out more about my story at www.SummerOwens.com 14 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE KAREN ANDERSON HARDAWAY Beaten But Not Broken Where did being in an abusive relationships start for me? Part of it was during my senior year of high school, I was raped by someone I briefly dated. One day, he became enraged with anger and RAPED me. He threw me on the bed, ripped my clothes off and with my hands bound, he yelled for me to shut-up, spit in my face and cursed at me as if I was nothing. To make matters worse, his friend watched and did nothing. I was afraid, I felt dirty, I didn’t call the police or tell my father. I was the pastor’s daughter. I was damaged goods. Months later, I found out I was pregnant. I went full term with no pre-natal care, even went to college and my son was delivered while I was a freshman at Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA. I married a church musician and thought it was for life. In 2002, he hit me for the first time and after his promises to never to do it again, I went back. In early 2004, all hell broke loose. Out of nowhere, a kick, a shove, a real fight broke out. The day after my 35th birthday, I was literally fighting for my life. He threw me into a closet and began to choke me with his hands and a pair of pants. He broke my cell phone, the home phone was pulled out of the wall, he was throwing my clothes and the furniture into the hallway, my clothes were ripped off my body, my nails cracked in half from fighting, my face had scratches, and my legs were bruised. He treated me like I was a piece of garbage. Again, like I was nothing. That same night he threatened to kill me. When I finally escaped from the apartment, I ran to a neighbor’s house to use the phone to call the police and my girlfriend. Eight police officers later, I grabbed clothes, pictures and whatever else I could grab from the apartment and left. I ended up living in a hotel for a month. I was a total mess and still broken into pieces. No place to stay, name on a lease, with keys, but couldn’t get in. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. I had actually run into a brick wall. The more people I called, the more I felt alone. I called local pastors, deacons; however no help. It was only by the grace of God that I survived. My testimony produced a book entitled Broken Into Pieces, which is available at www.amazon.com where I share my story of survival in detail. CHRIS WEST Leaving A Legacy of Hope In 2010, I had what I thought was an ear infection and a swollen lymph node in my neck. It turned out to be Stage IV throat (base of tongue) cancer. I spent the next several months battling a disease with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and 7 weeks of daily radiation therapy. I remember asking my physician for theories on why this happened, as I don’t have any of the typical risk factors for this disease. “It doesn’t matter why you have it,” he explained. “The only thing that matters is what you will do about it. Focus all your efforts on not only surviving this but thriving”. With a new sense of self-determination, I reached out to one of my best friends who is also a cancer survivor. He gave me 3 pieces of advice: a) Trust in God – He has a divinemagazineonline.com
  13. 13. LITERATURE & ENTERTAINMENT plan for you; b) Trust in your physician and do everything he/she tells you to do; and c) Lean on your friends and family for help. As it turns out, that was pretty good advice. My wife Renee was a rock throughout. In many ways, cancer is tougher on the caregiver; not only did she attend every appointment and treatment; she also had to care for our two boys, communicate with friends and family, and keep our family going. It wasn’t long before our family and friends felt a deep emotional desire to help us in our time of need. As the time went by they were becoming increasingly frustrated because they weren’t really sure how to help. In fact, we resisted any help at first until a friend finally told me, “Chris, will you just tell us what you need? Let us do our job as your friend!” A light bulb went on and during one of the toughest seasons of my life, I created NeedRegistry.com, a way to make it easy for others to help – streamlining communications, scheduling meals, and fundraising for products and services to help my family. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I was an executive in the Pharmaceutical/Biotech industry, and very much focused on climbing the corporate ladder. While my new company was fantastic to my family during my battle with cancer, I returned to work. It was then that I realized that I had a different calling in life: to help others going through a time of need. We were blessed to have the love and help of so many, but there are so many others who don’t have that same support. NeedRegistry is still a young company, so one goal is to grow it into a successful organization as a means to help others and provide for my family. For now, I still have a full-time job as the director of a local nonprofit cancer foundation in addition to being a husband and father of active twin boys. I normally wake up around 5:30 a.m. and either exercise or catch up on work. After working a full day, squeezing in business meetings over lunch, I’m involved with my kids: either sports or homework. After they’re in bed, I usually start working on NeedRegistry, often meeting my partner online around 9 p.m. to talk about web development priorities. Cancer evokes many emotions, none more powerful than fear. I hope my story will inspire others to not only fight and survive their most difficult battles, but to also discover a purpose-driven life. I’d like other survivors to know that not only can you survive this trial, but use it as a springboard to help others. My journey led me to start a company that I heard my son describe to another friend by saying “My dad started a company to help people when they need it most.” How cool is that? If you want to help a loved one in their time of need, create an account for them today at http://www.NeedRegistry.com. divinemagazineonline.com SPIRITUAL GIFTS CHART toppers TOP 10 Most Popular Survivor Books 1. Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life by Joyce Meyer 2. Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman 3. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp 4. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst 5. The Bondage Breaker: New Edition by Neil T. Anderson 6. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie J. Davis, Beth Clark 7. Glamour Girl: How To Get The Ultimate Makeover by Megan Mottley 8. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition by Rick Warren 9. Keep Going: Overcoming Doubts about Your Faith by Neil Martin 10.Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian TOP 5 Christian Albums (About Survival) 1. Hello Fear - Kirk Franklin 2. All Things Are Possible - Mark Schultz 3. Miracle - Third Day 4. The Struggle Tenth - Avenue North 5. The Upside of Down - Chris August TOP 5 Gospel Albums (About Survival) 1. Beginnings - Marvin Sapp 2. I Win - Marvin Sapp 3. Songs of Emotional Healing - CeCe Winans 4. The Journey - Andraé Crouch 5. Till the Storm Passes - Lynda Randle DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 15
  15. 15. DIVINE DESTINATIONS TOP 10 Treatment & Recovery Centers TIME OFF THE CENTER FOR COUNSELING AND HEALTH RESOURCES Seattle, Washington Treatment Programs: Depression, Addictions, Eating Disorders, Anxiety, Abuse www.aplaceofhope.com CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tulsa, Seattle Treatment Programs: Acupuncture, Chemotherapy, Gastroenterology, Hormone Therapy, Nutrition Therapy, Survivorship Support www.cancercenter.com SIERRA TUCSON DEPRESSION TREATMENT CENTER Tucson, Arizona Treatment Programs: Trauma & Abuse, Depression, Bipolar and Mood Disorders, Anxiety/ Panic Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Pain Management, Addiction with Drugs, Alcohol, etc., and Eating Disorders www.sierratucson.com JOHN HOPKINS MEDICINE Baltimore, Maryland Treatment Programs: Aneurysm, Burn, Diabetes, Fertility, Headache, Lupus, Memory & Alzheimer’s Treatment Center www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/centers_departments YOUTHCARE RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTER Draper, Utah Treatment Programs: For 11- 18 year olds who have Depression or Thought Disorders, Social Withdrawal or Poor Self-Esteem due to Learning Disorders, Substance Abuse, or other SelfDestructive Behaviors www.youthcare.crhealth.com ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL Memphis, TN Treatment Programs: Brain Tumor, Leukemia/Lymphoma, Phase I and II Clinical Trials, Sickle Cell, Solid Tumor, Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant www.stjude.org ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION TREATMENT CENTER Newport Beach, California Treatment Programs: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Phobia, Other Phobias, Health Anxiety (Hypochondrias) , Tourettes Disorder, Tic Disorder, Tricotillomania, Autism, High Functioning Autism, Non-Verbal Learning Disability, Learning Disability, ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder and Depressive Disorders www.anxietyanddepressioncenter.com CENTER FOR CELIAC RESEARCH & TREATMENT Boston, Massachusetts Treatment Programs: Clinical Care, Diagnostic Support, Education, and Clinical and Basic Science Research in Celiac Disease www.celiaccenter.org AUTISM TREATMENT CENTER OF AMERICA™ Sheffield, Massachusetts Treatment Programs: All programs are designed especially for parents to teach parents how to effectively get help for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and effectively work with their children www.autismtreatmentcenter.org THE CARROLL CENTER FOR THE BLIND Newton, Massachusetts Treatment Programs: Computer Training, Education for the Blind, Independence For Elders, Summer Programs for Youth, Vocational Rehabilitation www.carroll.org divinemagazineonline.com DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 17
  16. 16. FASHION & BE AUT Y TOTA L BEI N G: I NSI D E & O UT When a woman has cancer, she has to deal not only with the trauma of the disease, but also the debilitating effects of cancer treatment on her skin, hair, nails and general appearance.  self-image and confidence as it is about appearance,” said Greg Broy, spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.  “Patients enjoy the opportunity to spend time in a relaxed, non-medical setting with others in the same situation. The free make-up and instruction from professionals help them look and feel better,” said Broy.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are dozens of anti-cancer drugs in use today, each with its own set of side effects.  sessions.  During these free group sessions, the volunteers teach women how to cope with skin changes and hair loss using cosmetics and skin care products donated by the cosmetic industry.  They also demonstrate beauty techniques that can enhance a patient’s appearance and self-image and help minimize the physical effects of cancer treatment.  Free cosmetic kits are provided in Nearly 14 million Americans who have survived cancer -- and countless others who have avoided it – will celebrate a birthday this year, thanks to the progress the American Cancer Society is making to help people stay well and get well, to find cures, and fight back.  These changes in appearance often affect a woman’s self-esteem, and many need help coping with the physical side effects of treatment.  Licensed cosmetologists from all parts of the country are using their skills and positive energy to make a difference in these women’s lives.  Working with the Look Good Feel Better program, specially trained cosmetologists help female cancer patients rescue their appearance and self-image from the ravages of cancer treatment by teaching them hands-on beauty and skin care techniques. As a result, patients feel better because they look good.  “Look Good Feel Better is as much about improving and maintaining 18 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE Possible appearance-related effects of chemotherapy and radiation include hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, or lashes; weight gain or loss; changes in skin pigmentation and texture; skin oiliness, itchiness or peeling; and alterations in nail texture and growth rate.  The American Cancer Society recruits licensed cosmetologists to volunteer as facilitators. Once the cosmetologists have been trained and certified, the American Cancer Society works with community health care providers to initiate group various shades to accommodate most complexion types. Women also learn ways to disguise hair loss with wigs, scarves and other accessories.  The Look Good Feel Better program is offered as a partnership of the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Association, and National Cosmetology Association. The program does not endorse particular products, manufacturers or salons.  For more information about the Look Good Feel Better Program or cancer, contact the American Cancer Society 24 hours a day at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org. divinemagazineonline.com
  17. 17. FOOD FORTE V I RTUO US LI V I N G No longer does “healthy food” mean tasteless food. In fact, eating healthy can be a tasty and delightful experience! If you have Diabetes, Celiac Disease or you have special dietary needs, these recipes will help you to stay on track with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. PINEAPPLE & AVOCADO SALSA APPLES & CHICKEN 1/3 cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. white pepper 2 tsp. garlic powder 2 tsp. ground sage 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 3 Tbsp. canola oil 4 medium Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced 2 cups apple cider 1 Tbsp. cornstarch 1 cup whole milk Mix flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sage in a shallow pan. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and brown each side for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and milk. Stir in apple cider. Add apple slices and cider mixture to the chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the apples are tender. This should take about 20 minutes. The cider should reduce by half during this time. Transfer to a serving platter. Serves 8. Calories: 304, Total Carbs: 25.6g, Dietary Fiber: 3.4g, Sugars: 16g, Total Fat: 7.9g, Saturated Fat: 1.4g, Unsaturated Fat: 6.5g, Potassium: 343.1mg, Protein: 31.5g, Sodium: 105.9mg, Dietary Exchanges: 1 Fat, 1 1/4 Fruit, 4 Very Lean Meat SWEET POTATO PIE 1 frozen 9 inch pie crust, deep dish 2 cups baked sweet potato 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 12 oz. fat-free evaporated milk 3 eggs 3/4 cup granulated sweetener (Stevia or Splenda) 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp. salt 10 Tbsp. Cool Whip Lite, for serving Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium size bowl, add the sweet potato, butter, milk, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sweetener, vanilla, and spices. Mix well. Pour into pie shell and place on a cookie sheet, to prevent spilling into oven. Bake 35-40 minutes, until set. Cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Top with 1 Tbsp. Cool Whip Lite. Makes 10 servings. Calories: 137.1, Total Carbs: 16.1 (pumpkin) or 33.2 (sweet potato), Dietary Fiber: 2.1g, Sugars: 4.9g, Total Fat: 7.1g, Saturated Fat: 3.3g, Unsaturated Fat: 3.8g, Potassium: 118.8mg, Protein: 5.6g, Sodium: 173.4mg, Dietary Exchanges: 1/4 Fat, 1/4 Meat, 1/4 Milk, 1/2 Other Carbohydrates. divinemagazineonline.com 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and diced 1 medium avocado, peeled and diced 1/3 cup red onion, chopped 4 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 1 tsp. lime zest 1/4 tsp. salt Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with baked chips as an appetizer. Also very delicious as a condiment over baked or grilled fish or meats! Calories: 28.7, Total Carbs: 5g, Dietary Fiber: 0.9g, Sugars: 2.5g, Total Fat: 1.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Unsaturated Fat: 1g, Potassium: 70.3mg, Protein: 0.6g, Sodium: 42mg, Dietary Exchanges: 1/4 Fat Recipes courtesy of Sharon Fox from her NEW Cook Book, “HEALTHY FOOD for Diabetes, Celiac Disease, and You!” Available at Amazon.com or www.elementsofanewday.com/apps/webstore/ DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 19
  18. 18. MONEY MARKET | P O W E R & P U R P O S E By: Drenda Keesee Many years ago, my husband Gary and I faced our own financial crisis. We had moved to Ohio to do what God had directed us would be our end-time work. We thought that because we had God’s Word on the situation, and if we obeyed that Word, we would be on easy street. What we were too naive to recognize is that there is always a fight for God’s Word— especially where money is concerned. We found ourselves strapped with existing debt and less income while starting all over in Ohio. The next few years would prove to be rocky with great pressures on both our finances and marriage. One day under great distress, we talked about throwing in the towel on our business. It just wasn’t working no matter how hard we tried. After almost a year of this, we both had lost sight of why we had moved and our dreams of what it would be like to have success…..and most importantly, to be an example of God to our family members. Tearfully, we prayed and asked God what to do. Had we missed His will? Where was our promise? Was there any hope we could make it? While we were having a serious discussion, a mail delivery truck pulled up and delivered a package. We opened it realizing it was from a ministry we had occasionally called for prayer and had sent some offerings when we could. Enclosed was a teaching series entitled, “Don’t Quit!”—it couldn’t have been more perfect timing! We listened to it over the next day. Encouraged, we didn’t quit and God breathed new strength and vision in our hearts! We simply received some provision for the vision, on the way to the promise God had given us. Sometimes we expect the promise to come immediately, but we had to walk out the timing until our business started to lift off. We decided to stick with it and persevere. My husband started delivering 20 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE soda pop to his father’s local restaurant as a side job while he continued to build our business. It was a little cash to keep us afloat. But we didn’t take our eyes off the vision while he worked part-time to fund the vision. One night not long after that, I made up my mind I would not go to bed until God spoke to me. I remember thinking, if Jacob could wrestle with an angel to get what he wanted, I can do the same until I hear from God about our situation. Surprisingly, I discovered that God was just as eager to spend time speaking to me as I was to hear something. I got my Bible and began to pray and search the scriptures. I started reading in Haggai. Out of all places, God spoke to me out of that small book of the Bible. The book of Haggai paints a picture of Israel’s lack because the people had left God’s work in ruins. God says to them that because His house was in ruins while they built their lives, He had not blessed their work or their lives. I couldn’t help but think about how hard we had been trying to build our business, family, and life without really seeking God first and foremost. We attended church regularly but we had one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in ours. We would seek God for a season and then the circumstances would pressure us into leaning to our old ways again. Sometimes we tithed and sometimes we didn’t. Sure we prayed and went to church, but it was more because we felt like we were supposed to rather than an all-out choice to honor and seek Him first. I went on to read in Haggai where God says, “Is there any seed left in the barn?” I knew a little about planting financial seeds from my time at Oral Roberts University, but we literally didn’t have any money to seed into God’s house. I said, “God, I don’t have anything left to give you, but me. I give you my life, such as it is, and anything you want me to do to build your Kingdom, I WILL.” God spoke back to me in my heart. “I am going to use you and Gary to help my people in their marriages and finances, and you will bring my people out of financial bondage.” I pictured how God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but we would lead people out of debt and into their promised land. Excited, I woke Gary up from a deep sleep. “God is going to use us to help people with their finances and marriages!” In a less-than-happy voice, he said, “I wish He’d show me first!” He was so discouraged that he struggled to see it, but I was enthused to pray and believe God’s Word again. I got the answer I was seeking. This vision of helping others would propel us through difficulties in the future and paint a picture of purpose for our fight to the finish line. After a few weeks, God gave Gary a dream. In the dream, a caterpillar crawled out on a limb and spun a cocoon. From the cocoon came a great and beautiful butterfly. He then heard the words, “This is how your business and life will be. Follow my plan and give your business to me.” We left the company vendor we were using and God orchestrated a new focus to our business where we incorporated His Word into our business practices. We got more and more excited about sharing God’s Word, and now our business didn’t seem so much like a business as it did a mission! We were excited for each new day and God began to download ideas to us both about how to build our company and help people. The Word of God became alive and we saw things in it about money, life and priorities that we had previously not seen. A struggling business began to take new form. It was still quite a few years before we saw it take off and fly, but it was on its way. More hurdles came that we had to persevere through, but we had learned to seek His Will for our life instead of doing divinemagazineonline.com
  19. 19. MONEY MARKET | P O W E R & P U R P O S E our own thing and expecting Him to bless it. A few years later, our business became the number one office in the entire nation and my husband was asked to share his success at a national convention. We weren’t striving for this goal, but rather following the passion of God’s plan for our life. Today, that business and the seed we sowed from it has produced a harvest we could not have imagined then. Why is there a fight over your finances? The Bible says you cannot serve two masters. You will love the one and hate the other. Money (or unrighteous mammon) is a tool that gives us the ability to carry out a mission and solve problems. Without it, we are tempted to always think about the need for it. Surprisingly enough, it is not the rich who are always thinking about money, but rather those who need money. The enemy wants to keep you serving money rather than the purpose of God. If he can press you in the area of finances, he can rob you of your time seeking God and fulfilling His destiny for your life. Serve is a verb and if you don’t have financial provision, you will be tempted to pursue money and worry rather than serve God. We learned that as we truly placed God’s mission of the Kingdom advancement as a priority, our finances became supplied with the provision we needed to run our race. Having money, or the things it can buy, is not a purpose even though that becomes the life pursuit of many. Money is to fund purpose, the purposes of God. In order to thrive financially, find your purpose in advancing God’s Kingdom and then your labors, business and life will take on a whole new purpose. The same God who directs your steps to your purpose, will give you the creative ideas and direction to fund and propel you in that purpose. God has led us to invest in businesses and areas that prospered. We have had streams of income dry up through the years, but never without God leading us to a new stream that ended up being more profitable. Don’t be surprised if you pray for increase and God closes the door on a current job or leads you to a new business. Or He may give you a new twist to your current business. Because the Kingdom of God is within you, out of your spirit will flow the direction you need to thrive in economic hard times. The Kingdom of God is not subject to this world’s economy, but you do need strategies from the Spirit to thrive in difficult times. Our nation is far from recovering from the many years of debt-laden lifestyles, divinemagazineonline.com improper usage of entitlement programs, and excessive printing of the dollar. We have only begun to see the bumps in the road of financial uncertainty and the dollar’s volatility in world markets. Because as a nation we have turned from the principles of God’s Word there has been a loss of individual freedoms, and a day of reckoning for our gross overspending in Washington is still unfolding. However, God will protect and help His children operate in His Kingdom; and those who do, will be like Elijah, fed by ravens in a famine. We do not need to fear but rather prepare as Joseph did by the Spirit of God. And we must live by faith. Here are some of the practical principles we have received by the Spirit through the years that have paid off greatly in our finances: 1. Seek first the Kingdom of God. 2. Give tithes regularly and offerings by faith targeted for specific needs. 3. Get out of and stay out of debt! 4. Seek God’s way of meeting a need instead of relying on debt. 5. Sell unneeded items and create an emergency cash fund (six months income is the goal but start with $2,000 minimum). 6. Give God your tithe first, then pay your savings account at least 10% of your income; live off the rest. 7. Invest in gold and silver for such unstable times, as well as commodities like food, and the necessities of life, since these will continue to increase in value and unnecessary items will take a downturn. 8. Consider a career change if yours is not recession/inflation proof. 9. Projected business growth areas are: general medical practice and related businesses, financial counsel, repair work (automotive, home, etc.), large scale farming, and low-ticket restaurants and retail vs. high-end. 10. For business owners: increase your customer service so your business tops competitors in client satisfaction and repeat business; make your product more affordable and appeal to larger numbers of clients. 11. Give---and then live on less than you make. God has always provided for His people in times of famine, national disaster and hardships. Build your life in His Kingdom and not the uncertainty of this world’s systems that are crumbling before our eyes. The upside to all of the shaking in this world is that many will recognize their need for a Savior. Get your financial house in order so you can be ready to reach them with His Love and Provision. For more of Drenda’s story and information on how you can follow God’s principles in your life and finances, get Drenda’s book, “She Gets It” at www.drenda.com or wherever books are sold. Also available: “Fixing the Money Thing” and “Money Mysteries from the Master” by Gary Keesee. For personal assistance contact: www.forwardfinancialgroup.com or call 1-888-815-0818. Together the Keesee’s founded Forward Financial Group, a financial services corporation through which they have helped thousands of families get out of debt, save and invest wisely for over thirty years (www.forwardfinancialgroup.com). Gary and Drenda pastor a thriving congregation at Faith Life Church in New Albany, OH. They can be seen daily on “Fixing the Money Thing” on Daystar. Drenda also hosts her own program, “Drenda”, airing on ABC Family and Daystar weekly. Drenda has a passion to minister God’s power to heal the fallout from the breakdown of families. She and Gary have raised five children, all serving in ministry. For more information go to www.Drenda.com. DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 21
  20. 20. LIFELINES SOUL CONNECTIONS The Grief Experience by Angela Hamblen, Director of the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief G rief is a universal experience but one that is not often talked out. Grieving the loss of a loved one is different for each person who experiences it. “There are no road maps, no directions,” said Angela Hamblen, director of the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, a comprehensive bereavement center offering free counseling, seminars and camps for the entire community. “What one person goes through is totally different from what another person may experience.” That is why, in 1999, Baptist created the area’s first bereavement camp for children, Camp Good Grief. Since its inception, Camp Good Grief has served more than 1,000 children, and the camp program has expanded to include a camp for teens and for adults. “Camp Good Grief has served more than 1,000 children and the camp program has expanded to include a camp for teens and for adults.” The Center for Good Grief, where Hamblen and her staff of five grief counselors have seen more than 6,000 clients since the Center opened in late 2010, are experts at dealing with all the emotions grief brings about and helping clients navigate their way through them. Hamblen compares the grief experience to standing at the edge of an ocean. When you stand there looking out at the waves, the water is just covering your feet but you can still feel it. The waves can change in an instant. A strong wave may come and you will have to plant your feet to keep from falling down. Another wave may hit you from out of blue and you may stumble. “The feelings are like the different waves,” she said. At camp, children are led through age-appropriate activities to help them deal with grief, such as building a memory box, participating in drum circles, and learning about their feelings and proactive ways of remembering. However, not all camp activities are focused on dealing with grief. “We have plenty of play time and outdoor activity,” Hamblen said. “Sometimes, kids just need to be kids and know that it is OK to still have fun even when they are grieving the loss of a loved one.” At the Center, rooms are designated for different age groups of children, and Hamblen’s staff is skilled at knowing how to deal appropriately with all age groups, including adults. SIGNS SOMEBODY NEEDS HELP: • Chronic depression • Isolation from family & friends • Academic failure or overachievement • Dramatic changes in personality, attitude • Drug & alcohol abuse • Fighting or legal troubles • Change in sleeping/eating patterns • Suicidal thoughts • Increased feelings of hopelessness • Inability to re-establish a routine • Change in social activity • No outlet for emotions TIPS FOR FAMILIES/FRIENDS IN ORDER TO HELP SOMEONE WHO IS GRIEVING: • • • • • Have Compassion Avoid Clichés Listen, Listen… Know your Resources Silence – you don’t have to have all the answers • Learn about Grief • Understand The Person’s Need to Ask “Why” “We see people from two-year olds to 90-year-olds at the Center,” Hamblen said. For more information about the Center for Good Grief, please call 901-861-5656 or visit bmhgiving.org. Find out even more about Baptist Memorial Health Care at www.baptistonline.org www.facebook.com/BaptistOnline 22 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE divinemagazineonline.com
  21. 21. Bullying and Child Predators are nothing new to our society. These terrorists have existed since Cain killed Abel. Yet now there seems to be a proliferation of news stories expressing the war of terror both bullies and child predators are presenting to the American family. Alarming news stories are unfolding daily like the group of African American males mercilessly beating a white teen on a school bus while the bus driver filmed the entire psychologically disturbing ordeal during which no one including other passengers stopped to aid the victim. Upon hearing about such stories, there’s usually outrage but no solution. There was a lot of talk at holding the children and their parents accountable but the accountability is always a legal accountability. Then the question was posed, where are all the Anti-Bullying groups? As a Clinical Psychologist, I see all the varying threads of psychosis weaved within the aggression of the incident, the lack of apathy of the witnesses and within our American culture as a whole. As a Certified Child Safety Advocate, I am not only outraged but I am actively working within our local & state communities to educate my neighbors, friends and all who see the need to rescue not only our American lifestyles and cultures but the lobbying for increased access to mental health, SEL (social emotional learning) curriculums in our schools and laws that are both punitive but restorative as it relates to bullying. As a mother, I am most concerned for the angry, aggressive children who perpetrated this horrible and violent aggression against a fellow student, the victim whose respect, humanity and safety was egregiously violated and the parents who are left to clean up the mess. Kids are a direct reflection of our efforts or lack thereof 24 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE bullies BUT there is much we can do to mitigate their access to our children as well as the creation of these individuals. I launched aBeanStalk, the first Parent Intelligence Software tool in the US to aid in this process. While aBeanStalk is an extremely valuable and useful tool, it is only the impetus to a greater tool, Familial Nurturing & Engagement. Through my work in the area of protecting our precious children, here are some great steps that families can implement to fight back against all levels of bullying and attacks from cyberpredators: #1Commit to Family Engagement and thus should be on the front line of this battle but it really is not merely a parental “issue”. I grew up with the understanding that it takes a village to raise a child with positive responsible character but our villages are equally in peril as our adults are just as aggressive and angry as our youth. If I have any wisdom, bullying and cyber-predators are by-products of a festering cancer that is destroying the very fabric of our culture and communities. Reclamation of humanity, respect, dignity and honor, should be the war we fight because these character traits seem to be dying within a society that reveres monetary wealth, power, prestige and persona at any cost. I do not believe we will eradicate the presence of child predators or Families are busier than ever. The lists of our responsibilities are long yet we all receive the same 24 hours in a day. Families have to “do” a lot more to maintain a reasonably safe, healthy and stable environment. Family dynamics have also changed. More households are led by single parents than two-parent households. Support family members (grandparents, aunts, etc.) are usually employed outside of the household and are not as available as in times past to support the rearing of our children. While I recognize these facts, they are not proper reasons for lack of engagement. Commit to talking to your children at least 15-30 minutes each day about their school, interests, events, etc. Talk to them in person and give them your undivided attention. Communicate on their level but really get to know THEM as human beings and not as your child in order to understand the best communication level. You do not have to be friends to be friendly and to get to know your children. This instills value and trust plus once you are both comfortable, you will be surprised at how open they are to share. Try to eat at least one divinemagazineonline.com
  22. 22. meal each week together and attend one family event (bowling, movies, boating, etc.) at least twice each month. Studies have shown that by using this method, youth are 88% more likely to be more successful in school, less likely to be socially awkward or in trouble and will have a positive, respectful & healthy self-image which will in turn cause them to have a positive & respectful image of those around them. #2 Boundaries We have to teach healthy boundaries, establish these in your home and help your children set their own boundaries (try to resist the urge to set your child’s boundaries for them). Let them come up with their own boundaries, talk about them and respect them. Some appropriate boundaries can be to only allow your children to visit homes in which you know the parent and vice versa. Others can be no digital devices after a certain time, use of digital communication modems during certain times of the day, and/or no communication devices at the dinner table or at family outings, etc. #3 Golden Rule We have to teach ourselves and our children about empathy. Disrespectful behaviors are a lack of value and respect for others. These actions are self-centered and self-absorbed and do not make a person feel good or safe. When my children were young, if they were mean to one another, I would give them a dose of their own medicine and it hurt their feelings. Once I saw the hurt, I would immediately remind them of the Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even though they are “kids”, they are still human beings with feelings, emotions, expectations and are worthy of respect and honor. Teaching them their value and the value of others despite differences creates empathy and this character will make them less likely to engage in bullying behavior or be easily coerced or seduced by predators. divinemagazineonline.com #4 Accountability We live in a world where people feel that they have the right to do whatever pleases them without the responsibility that these actions may require. This same society wants others to be completely accountable to their actions regardless of the negative impact. As we embrace accountability we have to teach our children to do the same. We must teach our children that EVERY action has a consequence and to be fully prepared to handle any responsibility that their actions and inactions may create. Require a Digital Use Contract with your child and aid them in the responsible and safe use of digital communication. Subscribe to a parent intelligence and/or digital literacy service, such as aBeanStalk or Common Sense Media, which will provide additional tools and resources to the responsible and safe use of technology and social media. Parent Intelligence tools give you direct and real-time access to your child’s activities within social networks and on their smart devices. This will enable you to reward responsible behavior and address negative or potentially dangerous activities before they get out of hand. #5 Get Involved Make a direct impact by getting involved in your child(ren)’s school, in your neighborhood and by volunteering with the clubs or activities in which your child participates. Get involved in The Bully Project so you can learn more about Anti-Bullying efforts in your community and how these efforts can be replicated in your school. Join a Child Advocacy program and a neighborhood watch. Most of all, commit at least 15-30 minutes of undivided, uninterrupted involvement with your child. Bullies and Predators prey on children with questionable self-image, who feel isolated, alone and are easily influenced and manipulated. Create a safe environment within your home and build trust within your household with these simple steps. Your children are really cool and with your love and attention you will quickly discover that fact. Studies show that children who feel safe and maintain positive trusting relationships in the home are 98% less likely to engage in risky youthful behaviors. Terrorists usually have been victimized in their past by the same behaviors that they exhibit. Eradication does not come simply by punitive actions but by our villages committing to healing, restoration, love, nurturing and a great deal of instruction without judgment. For more information about STEPS Lifestyle Company and the aBeanStalk tool, contact abeanstalkco@gmail.com. Kati Thomas is the Owner of STEPS Lifestyle Company, the parent company for STEPS Life Support, a life coach and counseling service for families and aBeanStalk Company, the first Parent Intelligence Software connecting parents to their child’s digital world. She is the Director of Math Made Simple, Etc. Academic Support Center for both children and adults and the newly appointed TN Regional Leader for the BULLY Project, the makers of the BULLY movie. 25 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE 25 DIVINE MAGAZINE | SURVIVOR ISSUE
  23. 23. My story continues to help other kids tell their own. When my dad passed away from cancer in 2002, I was sad, angry and confused. But like most kids who lose a parent, I kept my feelings inside. Then a guidance counselor suggested Camp Good Grief at Baptist Trinity. Gradually, they helped me realize my feelings were normal, and that talking about them was all part of healing. At the time, I didn’t fully understand how it would help me later in life. But today, as a volunteer buddy at the camp, I can see it firsthand. I now make sure that I live my life in a way that honors my father. Not only am I able to tell my story, but thanks to Camp Good Grief, I’m also helping kids learn that even in the worst times, there’s always someone to share your burden. — Jacinda Dunn KEMMONS WILSON FAMILY CENTER FOR GOOD GRIEF baptistonline.org | 901-861-5656