What’s So Bad About Obama ? – Revisited

I posted this op-ed piece about President Barack Hussein Obama several months ago. In it, I lamented over the utter lack of respect that is shown this man, the elected President of the United States. From calling him a liar during the State of Union Address to planting seeds of distrust about him and his platform, I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

But it has.

It is beyond disturbing, in fact it is downright pathetic, that so many people who tout themselves as intelligent refuse to believe the president is a natural-born citizen. Let’s have a common sense check: Do you really think ANYONE could hold the highest office in the land without having EXTENSIVE background checks, not just by the government but by news agencies and also the opposing camp? If they were unable to disprove his citizenship, why is this still an ongoing issue?

For those easily influenced by money and power, the words of Donald Trump have weight. Always remember, a man’s actions show his intentions more than his words ever could. Of all the hurdles facing Americans right now – joblessness, the economy, healthcare, education – the issue most important to him was stirring the pot of ignorance surrounding President Obama’s birthright when it had long ago been settled. This is a clear indication to me that a Trump presidency would be more of a 4 -8 year PR stunt then 4 – 8 years of being led by a man who truly cares for the welfare of America and all Americans.

In listening to satellite radio yesterday, many young listeners called in saying it was about time the president provided his birth certificate because, in their words,” you have to to show a birth certificate to even work at McDonald’s!” Now, I have never worked in the fast food industry, but I have worked for major global financial corporations. I have had to provide my social security card. I have had to provide my driver’s license. I even have had to provide a copy of my college degree. But I have NEVER had to provide my birth certificate for any position. I’m not doubting there are positions that require this documentation, but I do think they are far less commonplace than those callers would like to believe.

America, wake up. You can dislike the president for his platform. You can dislike him for his delivery. You can even dislike him for his race. That’s your prerogative and your privilege as an American. Just don’t be proud of being ignorant of cold, hard facts. If you feel the president has an “agenda”, then also know those who oppose him have agendas as well. And if their agendas seem to be solely focused on discrediting the president, question the motive instead of blindly following. Do some research of your own and stop relying on the constant stream of inaccuracies and innuendo being poured on the American public.

God, I pray, please bless America.

Satan’s Sisters by Star Jones – A Book Review

I can admit to being skeptical. Star Jones may be a gifted legal analyst but fiction writer? I had even gone on record to family and friends insisting that I had no intention of reading, let alone purchasing, Ms. Jones’s foray into storytelling. But the more I heard about the book (mostly via Twitter), I decided to go against my better judgment and download the tome to my Kindle. Besides, the title – Satan’s Sisters – intrigued me.

Good thing I am a person who can also admit to being wrong.

I actually enjoyed this debut novel. Satan’s Sisters follows the lives and misadventures of the ladies of The Lunch Club, a television talk show hosted by five women from varying racial and age groups who offer opinions and insight into current events and social mores. Maxine Robinson, a no-nonsense, arch-competitive, trailblazing journalist who rules the show with intimidation, founded The Lunch Club. Seated beside her are respected journalist Whitney Harrington, young, hip supermodel Shelly Carter, lawyer Dara Cruz and comedian Molly Stein. Behind the public faces of these dynamic women are private secrets (drug addiction, and extramarital affairs) and heartaches (loneliness and grief over a child’s suicide) that threaten to crumble their carefully crafted images. And the one instigating the crumbling is former co-host Missy Adams, who has written a blistering tell-all that sends Maxine and others into a maddening dash to discover just what – and whose – secrets are being spilled.

While Satan’s Sisters may not be a literary masterpiece, Ms. Jones is a good storyteller. She obviously took heed to the oft-offered advise to write what you know as it is evident this novel is culled from her experience as a co-host of The View. While reading, I found myself trying to figure which real-life person each character was based upon (Maxine – Barbara Walters?? Whitney – Meredith Viera??). I was surprised, however, to find the novel is quite a sexy read. Not overly explicit but definitely spicy. If you are sensitive to such writing, you may find yourself skipping over a few passages. The only criticism I have is the plot is a little over the top and the ending is too tidy for some characters and non-existent for others. There is also a subplot involving an illicit affair between producers that, although enjoyable to read, doesn’t add to the novel.

In closing, Satan’s Sisters is a delightfully dishy novel that would be perfect take-along for the upcoming beach and vacation season. On a five star rating system, I give it 3 ½ stars.

This Man Called Christ

Until now, you have been indifferent.

This Man, the one they call Christ, has been performing miracles throughout the land. Your neighbors tried to coax you into traveling to see Him, but you always resisted. Certainly, He is a madman, proclaiming Himself the Son of God when He hails from Nazareth. No, you would tell them, go ahead and chase after lunatics. I have better things to do.

As His fame grew, however, your stance began to soften. After meeting with Him, men lame their entire lives were walking. He restored a blind man’s sight in Bethsaida. There was even talk that he had raised this one man, Lazarus, from the dead. But right as you were deciding to see Him for yourself, the religious leaders warned, “Do not be fooled. This is the work of the devil, not God.” The leaders are men you have known your entire life and respect; you have never had a reason to doubt their word or their authority. So, again you resist.

During the night, however, there is a great commotion. You hear the cries from the crowd, “Crucify Him!” You shake your head in dismay. It is Passover, you think. We should be focused on our deliverance!

When your neighbors beckon this time, you follow but stand at the back of the gathering. The crowd has been whipped into a fever pitch. You see a procession from a distance. An acquaintance, Simon, is carrying a cross for a badly beaten Man as He is being mocked and struck. Ah, the murderer Barabbas is finally meeting with his fate, you think. Why would Simon assist him? When the procession stops at Golgotha, you see a crown of thorns have been fastened and placed upon His head. You find this odd.

You avert your eyes when He is crucified with two others. This barbarism sickens you. When you open your eyes, you see the Man has been placed between two others. But it is not Barabbas. You are shocked when to learn he has been released.

“Who is He, then?” you ask and someone points to a notice fastened to His cross, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

“That’s Him?” you ask aloud to no one particular. Near the cross, women are gathered, weeping. You want to leave, but can’t. Your feet are cemented. You are at once repelled and fascinated. You hear others say what you are now thinking, “Why doesn’t He save himself? He saved others!” You wait, but no miracles today. The leaders were right.

Without warning, the sun stops shining. Fear and uncertainty grip you as the darkness takes hold for the next three hours. The Man, the One called Christ, cries out and dies. At that moment, the curtain of the temple is torn from top to bottom and the earth shakes. You fall to your knees as others beat their chests in mourning. Surely, He was the Son of God!

You will your body into motion and walk home. There, you sit at your table and try to rationalize what you just witnessed, but you can’t. You only know your life will no longer be the same.

Come Together

It is Holy Week. It was during this week many centuries ago that the prophecies were fulfilled. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, completed his mission on Earth and died on the cross for our sins. He split in two the barrier between God and man (Luke 23:45). He then overcame death and was resurrected. Through Him we now have direct access to God. It is from His sacrifice that salvation is available for all men, not just a chosen few. Let’s use His sacrifice as an example in our lives. Let’s turn away from selfish thoughts and actions and put the needs of others before our own. Let’s come together as Christians; instead of focusing on each other’s faults, let’s embrace the one similarity we share – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God bless you and keep you. Praises and glory to the Most High!

The Closed-Minded Christian

I had a conversation recently where I referred to homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. The person to whom I was speaking became indignant.

“There is no such thing as an ‘alternative lifestyle’. Jesus didn’t give an alternative. I don’t care what they say, I believe what Jesus says.”

When I advised that I had purposely used that term to prevent offending anyone listening to our conversation, I was met with more of the same. The person actually began talking over my words to drown out and nullify what I was saying. That got me thinking. Not about the issue of homosexuality. God’s position on this is clear as Paul reminds us in Romans 1: 26-32. The purpose of this post is not to offer my opinion. Rather, I was struck by the absolute closed-mindedness of the self-professed Christian.

I knew what the person meant, but I couldn’t help but wonder how someone unfamiliar with Christ would internalize our conversation, especially if he or she were living such a lifestyle? Would that person feel comfortable approaching us to discuss and therefore learn why we take such a position on the lifestyle? Would that conversation make the person seriously consider making a change in his or her life? Or, would that person become apprehensive not just of us but of Christianity as a whole? As Christians, we have to be mindful of our speech and our actions. Proverbs 15:1 ” A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We should be vessels that direct one to Christ but sometimes we are brick walls for those seeking the Lord.

We should stand firmly against sin, but standing firmly against sin doesn’t mean we should discard the sinner. In Matthew 9:9-13, we are told of the time when Jesus and the disciples had dinner at Matthew’s house with tax collectors and other ‘sinners’, When the Pharisees (a Jewish religious group that zealously followed the Old Testament laws as well as their own religious traditions) saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Upon hearing this, Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'”

As followers of Christ, we should reach out instead of closing ranks. Christianity is not an exclusive club only for perfect people. If that were true then none of us could be members. In our zeal to confirm our Christianity to ourselves and to others, we tend to vehemently condemn sin by invoking Jesus in our speech. When we do, let’s remember to also take on the characteristics of Christ so we don’t turn away seekers but invite them to the most important relationship they will ever have.

As Seen in Beauty Mags – The Clarisonic Mia!


For months, I had been reading rave reviews about the Clarisonic Mia, the travel sized version of the Clarisonic sonic brush facial cleansing system. I was in interested, but after researching its price range – $124 to $150 – I quickly lost interest. However, after further research, I discovered the Mia was developed by the same minds as the Sonicare toothbrush and was sold. I have owned the Sonicare toothbrush since last November and love how clean and healthy my teeth and gums are. If the toothbrush was a good investment, the Mia couldn’t be bad. Right?

Absolutely right! I purchased the lavender Clarisonic Mia from Amazon (it had the lowest price I could find) and have been cleaning my skin with it once daily for the past week. I am very pleased with the results. I have had a hate-hate relationship with my skin since my early teens. I had horrible acne and some scarring was still visible in my middle age. Since I have been using the Mia, the appearance of the scarring has diminished. Patches of dry skin that had begun to take residence above my brow line have disappeared. My skin feels smoother and is brighter. I can definitely see myself using the product every day.

Clarisonic offers three types of brush heads for the Mia. They are Normal, Sensitive and Delicate. My purchase shipped with the Sensitive brush head. It also came with a trial sized version of Clarisonic’s normal to oily skin cleanser, but I have not yet tried it. Instead, I use Oil of Olay’s Foaming Face Wash for sensitive skin.

Given the price of this system, I can’t recommend it for everyone. If you don’t have problem skin and just want the added cleansing benefits of a brush system, there are far less expensive products. The Oil of Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System comes to mind (approximately $30 retail). But, if you have prominent skin issues like acne and scarring, then this is a good investment and you will be very pleased with the results. I will post a follow-up review after I pass the 30 day test of this product.

A Beautiful Outward Appearance, But What About the Heart?

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’. 1 Samuel 16:7

Who among us has not felt convicted by this verse at some time or another? For me, it is usually after averting my eyes from that homeless man or woman on the street. When shaking my head “no” from inside my car as they panhandle at traffic lights. Sometimes, it’s when I cross the street or take a different direction to keep from passing a person who just doesn’t look right. You see, I have been conned by people posing as homeless and physically threatened by mentally unstable people while walking to the parking garage from work. So, I’m leery but I do tend to go against instinct and let my guard down. I’ll still offer money and a blessing to the men and women holding signs on the street corners. I’ll push aside past experiences and walk by that person on the street.

When reading the verses leading to 1 Sm 16:7, you will discover the context in which the Lord spoke these words to Samuel. Samuel was sent to Jesse to appoint one his sons king. Samuel saw Eliab’s impressive appearance and thought surely he was the anointed one. Thankfully, the Lord guided Samuel. For it is from the lineage of David that Jesus was born.

Like many, I have no problem with guarding myself against individuals who appear unsavory. But how many times have I been pleased by the outward appearance only to be hurt when the true nature, or heart, shows through? Often, we see people for what we want them to be, not for who they actually are. God doesn’t have these limitations. He sees the heart and knows the person’s strengths, weaknesses and intentions. Before rejecting someone God has placed in your life, pray for discernment. Outwardly, he or she may not be what you expected, but his or her heart may be everything you need.

Songs Currently in Heavy Rotation on my iPod

 

I appreciate all genres of music. You’ll find Pop, Hip-Hop, Rock ‘n Roll, Gospel and Heavy Metal in the Songs list on my iPod. Lately, I have been in a R & B state of mind and have been loving the following songs:

“Gone Already” by Faith Evans
“Good Man” by Raphael Saadiq
“Lions & Tigers & Bears” and “10 Seconds” by Jazmine Sullivan

These artists’ talent is showcased by thoughtful lyrics and powerful vocals. Great, slow songs that can played in mixed company without anyone feeling uncomfortable. Maybe there will be a return to pure R & B (fingers crossed)!