Take A Moment: Feel Your Best, Be Your Best

Lovely Miss Jones, LLC, GLLOW, LLC, and Still Becoming Inc. presents:
Take A Moment

Feel Your Best, Be Your Best

Often times as women we run endlessly. We have many obligations, and we wear many hats. We give in so many different areas. But how often do we stop for a moment to take care of ourselves?
Friday, May 26th we set out to have an evening of educating, networking, and exploring ways to keep ourselves in a healthy space; which in turn will help us to be our best selves. It’s difficult to be effective when we aren’t wholly healthy.
We’ll have a panelist of women in the heath field, covering areas such as: medical health, psychotherapy, mental health, sexual health, and holistic health. We will engage in a panel discussion and Q&A.
Come out and enjoy a night of connecting, performances and amazing discussion! All for the purpose of healthy living and effective giving! 

Panelists:


Dr. Kelita Alston -Jones is currently a Regional Medical Director and Clinical Consultant in Oncology for the largest company in the nation, for which she is the youngest and only African American female to hold the position. 
Founder and CEO of Healing Hands Medical Group, which provides workshops and medical referrals to aide the community in increasing awareness of common diseases and providing access to affordable care. She also owns her own health and wellness business called Get Healthy with Kelita, that provides all natural supplements and alternative ways to keep your physical body in optimal health. Kelita is a motivational speaker and a dynamic preacher of the Gospel. 
She believes in the empowerment of women and is the founder of Daughters of the King Ministries. She currently holds monthly empowerment sessions, mentorship classes and one o one sessions that help women to “take of their masks” and reveal the truth of who they are, while healing the deep wounds that may hold them back. Kelita is the co-host of the Ladies First Radio Show on WBJL Gospel.  

Chanel McCord is the founder and CEO of Oasis Wellness Group. Chanel received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Seton Hall University and a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University where she graduated with distinction. Chanel is licensed as an Associate Counselor (LAC) in the state of New Jersey and is in the application phase of obtaining her Professional Counselor clinical licensure. She holds several certifications including CPR/First Aid, Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Posttraumatic Stress Management (PTSM). Having settled several years of counseling experience under her belt, Chanel seeks to restore and assist in the healing process of adults, adolescents, children and families through counseling, psychoeducation, mentoring and wellness initiatives targeting the physical, mental, social and spiritual paradigms of oneā€™s life. Education, empowerment, encouragement, enrichment and hope are aims that Chanel seeks to share with others.


Jasmine Marie Utterback is a passionate and engaging public health professional whose work is focused on building community partnerships to deliver sexual health education and training. She has worked with incarcerated women, college students, youth experiencing homelessness, and adults with developmental disabilities. Her topics of interest include building healthy relationships and safer sex communication. Jasmine’s motto for life is, “Together we are better.” Together we can develop the skills needed to protect our sexual health. 


Shelley Chapman, EdM is a nutrition educator, weight loss motivator and wellness workshop facilitator. Before stepping into those roles she received her Masters in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University and her Bachelors of Arts from Spelman College. She also spent ten years overweight as a Compulsive Overeater and starved, binged and mistreated her body for years. In her commitment to heal, she learned about healthy eating, how food production affects the body, and the dietary lifestyles that reverse disease and turn on the healing switches in the body. She also addressed her emotional traumas that played a role in her eating disorder.

As a result, she went from a size 12 to a size 2 in one year. She now creates health curricula and travels throughout the country teaching workshops on how to shift from emotional and stress eating to mindful eating and how to integrate healthy behaviors into busy, modern lifestyles. She has worked with a variety of companies and institutions including Food Network, National Institute of Mental Health, Teach for America, New York University and Emory University. She is the author of the Amazon Best Seller Tantric Tastes and she also produces health focused web series and cooking videos for her YouTube channel, ShelleyWellness. You can find her online at BodyFoodFreedom.com and on all social media @ShelleyWellness. 

Crystal Fulwood is an Emotional Health Advocate and a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, teaching the general public about mental health awareness. Crystal is also the founder of f.l.a.w.e.d., which is an organization that connects, equips and supports women on their journey to wellbeing. 

You don’t want to miss this event! May 26th! An evening of education, discussion, and ways to keep ourselves healthy as a whole. Register today! Takeamoment526.eventbrite.com!

 

LMJ Second Annual Scholarship Benefit Recap

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, we successfully hosted our second annual scholarship benefit! LMJ is a strong believer of sharing ones experience in order to connect and help further the growth of someone else. And this is how the scholarship benefit was created. Going through the process of college, I know firsthand what it’s like to not be able to pay tuition. College is very expensive. Period. Knowing what it felt like, it was my intent to create opportunities to help others in areas that I could’ve used assistance. I wanted to be able to be a blessing financially to a few college students, to help alleviate the financial strain they may experience.

December 19, 2015 was our first. Seeing its effect, it was only right that we continue and make it an annual affair. It’s not easy putting any type of event together, but knowing that this was bigger than us, pushed me to do it anyway. The purpose of the event was to celebrate these college students for their accomplishments. The first step being, making the decision to further their education in order to pursue their dreams. It was intended to be a night of sharing, educating, honoring, educating, and connecting with others. And I must say, it was a success.


The event was hosted by author, poet, and content creator Church Johnson. Which is a product of networking and making connections. Intentional connections.

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There were two speakers; Asha Boston, Director of The Dinner Table Documentary (a documentary geared towards changing the perception of black women in media. Also offering high school and college workshops centered around self esteem) and Schoquilla Coleman, Founder and CEO of Golden Life Resource Center (an organization that encourages and promotes educational growth, financial stability and positive mentor ship in youth). Both of these ladies have succeeded after going through the college process. They are an inspiration to many, and needed to share their experiences. In order to let the candidates know that they too can make it, and also to show others how they can contribute to the lives of our young people.


There were two incredible performances by amazing artists, ART Music and Lynette Rhett-McNeil. Both blessed us with their amazing gifts.

We honored Ska-Keya Flenory, who tirelessly dedicates her time and service to NYC Public Schools, along with Sheneya Wilson, who recently graduated with her masters degree in accounting and is on her way towards obtaining her phd at the age of 22. Their hard work is inspiration to others.

Raffle prize sponsors; award winning author, Nigeria Lockley, Michelle Dwight Designs, and Elle and Johns body products.

Other sponsors include; Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Campus Essentials (donating care packages to our winners. Innovative Music Inc (silver sponsor). And BCAN2SOC (Brooklyn Community Acition Network To Save Our Community) our double platinum sponsor!

Excellent food provided by SWB Catering.
Lastly, we acknowledge our 2016 LMJ Scholarship recipients! First place, Sherqwanna Laws. Second place, Niesha Georgeon. Third place, Candace Rose. Fourth place, Naomi Georgeon. We are extremely proud of these young ladies. And because of your help, we are collectively able to make an impact in their lives. They all have their own stories, their own struggles; but we were able to make a positive impact. We thank you all for your support.

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To view photos from LMJ’s Second Annual Scholarship Benefit (captured by PhotosByCeeJay) click here.

August, New Beginnings: Haiti Missions Trip Part I

Entry: August 2, 2016
We are officially in a new month. Aside from it being the best month out of the year, my birthday month (the 4th) šŸ˜Š, it’s also the eighth month of the year. Eighth symbolizes new beginnings. And this month is just that. Yesterday, August 1st, I traveled for the first outside of the United States. Not for pleasure, but a missions trip. I am currently writing from Haiti. (Still seems so unreal that I’m actually here.). It was my intentions to write a post nightly, however, I didn’t get a chance to do so last night. Therefore, I’ve decided to do a recap for every two days. So this is part one…

Upon our arrival to Haiti yesterday afternoon, you could instantly see the difference when we traveled to our set place to stay. We landed in Port Au Prince, but stayed in Croix-Des-Bouquet. We had a van take us to our destination, we were met at the airport by a few men. One was a pastor and another works hard alongside him. He speaks English and is able to translate. 

On our way to camp, we drove on dusty bumpy roads. No traffic lights. On the busier streets, there were police officers directing traffic. It’s almost as if there are no rules when in comes to driving. You do what you can to get to your destination. Even if it means driving on the other side of the road, or even on the sidewalk. There were buses that Ebony (who has traveled here in missions before) compared to the dollar vans in NY. They are called the tap tap. As the busses passed, you could see how packed they were through the windows. The people were literally piled inside, just to get to where they needed to go. There were trucks that had the back open, filled with men. There were also motorcycles stopping and picking up people and were paid to ride them to their destination. This seems to be their form of transportation if they’re not in close proximity to their desired location or if they don’t have a vehicle. Unfortunately by looking out of the window, you could see that we were in a country that has struggles when it comes to poverty. As I sat and watched, and listened to stories by Pastor Pullings, (who is the missions department president of the first ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ENY, of the Church of God in Christ), I was able to get a glimpse of what they had to face in this area. 

On our drive to the compound, I thought about what I wanted to give, and what I wanted to gain. I knew that we were there for a specific purpose, and I wanted to be sure that I fulfilled that purpose. It’s a new experience for me, so I want to ensure that I give and get all that I can. How will I approach the people, what exactly will I do, will I be able to relate, etc. ? I just wanted this experience to be all that it could be. 
When we got to the compound, we settled in a little. Picked our room and put our stuff down. Our living conditions were petty good. We shared rooms, 2 to a room, but it was still good. Two bathrooms, kitchen, running hot water, and wifi access.  
 We then went to meet the girls in the orphanage. Not knowing who some of us were, the way they greeted us was so beautiful. All of the girls one by one came up to each of us with a kiss on the cheek. Although they were in grossed in their television show, they were so polite and spoke to each of us. While we were there the very first night, we took a look at what they were being served for dinner. We weren’t aware of what it was, but it was a big pot a woman had on the ground and she looked to be cleaning a piece of meat of some sort. It didn’t look appetizing to us, but this is what they’re used to eating. After seeing the girls, we went shopping. Not at the markets in town, but at a market that’s considered safe near the embassy. This shows the different areas and parts of Haiti. There’s such a difference, a separation. 
  

Later that evening, after shopping, cooking, and eating; we set up all of the items we brought for the girls in the orphanage and the clinic as well. We all brought at least one suitcase full of essentials, and when we laid it all out we were so happy to have been able to have so much to give. 

  

  

Day 2: 8/2/16 Journal entry..
Woke up with a feeling of excitement to see the looks on the girls faces when they receive what was brought for them. However, a little more reserved than I’d like to be so far. I’ve been thinking of ways to be effective over here. How can I/we leave a lasting impact. Giving is one thing, but connecting is another. We have to be able to show them how much we care, in such a short amount of time. 
I want to give my time and service more than anything. I also want to learn as much as I can. And do it all over again. To be the most effective, you have to be a giver. Not only material things. In this case, it’s needed. But also in time. Making that connection is key. Forgetting about yourself. 
God uses us right where we are. Only when we allow ourselves to be used…
Before going to the orphanage and giving the girls the items, we took a trip to the clinic. There were supplies for them as well. Mostly over the counter medicine. According to the stories, the over the counter medicine from America heals the ailments that most of the patients have. Because it’s medication they aren’t used to using. Going to the clinic, you could see a few areas where they needed. It was a nice set up. They needed more medication in their pharmacy and a little more precautionary items. (Cleaning supplies, gloves, etc.). Just looking around and seeing the facility was a blessing. I was happy to see and hear that they’re able to serve the community with the facility and supplies that they do have. What concerned some of us most, was the medicine that they had to offer in the pharmacy area of the clinic. It didn’t look like much. But it may be because they don’t use as much traditional medication in Haiti as we here in America use. They did however, have a dentist area. And area with beds where patients get checked, etc. 

   
   

We then went over to the orphanage to set up the items and look around the orphanage. We used their dinning area to set up every item on the tab,e for display for the girls. We wanted them to be able to see and choose what it was that they wanted. After setting up, we took a look around the grounds of the orphanage, for the first time. We were able to see their rooms, etc. There are seventeen girls living in the orphanage at this time. There are four girls to each room. Two bunk beds. The rooms are s little small, but they fit the two bunk beds, along with dressers for the girls. There were about two in each room. But as we passed, we noticed that some of their beds were falling apart. They needed new mattresses. One of the needs that the caretaker expressed, was that they needed was sheets. Again, the facility was nice. And we’re so proud of the work that has been done so far, but there’s still more work that needs to be done. The the interaction began..

Nightly journal entry:

After visiting the orphanage today, I’m in awe of the way we were able to connect with the girls. Although they didn’t speak English, the connection was almost instant. They immediately gravitated towards us, the minute we initiated it. All it took was one small gesture. As we sat and waited, I had to initiate interaction with them. That was the reason we were there. So I sat and asked about the coloring sheet they were coloring, and it took off from there. We talked the best we could to each other, but the connection was so strong despite the language barrier. We laughed, we sang, and dance. Took pictures. And took more pictures. These girls absolutely loved taking pictures. I asked them to read, but it was an English book, so they wanted me to read it. As I read, they repeated every English word after me. We fooled around with snapchat. And they absolutely loved the filters. At that point, there were about three girls who clung to me. Their names were Daphnaika, Melissa, and Lisa. There were a few others that came and joined a little while after. After reading, some of the girls sang and danced. One song was, I love you I love you my love. They danced as they sang that song. Then they started to do the whip nae nae. Which was absolutely cute. We colored together. We sang When Jesus Says Yes. And we just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. 

 After our lunch break, we came back to distribute all of the material for the girls. They’d already been peeking in while we set up, so we knew they were excited about it. As each girl came in and received the bags and they pointed to certain things they wanted, you could see the appreciation in their eyes and in their faces. Many of them smiled as they looked and received. There was one, Melissa, who had the biggest smile on her face. She danced around as she looked at all of her new clothes and just continued smiling. There was another, one who didn’t interact with me as often as others, came to me and taped me. I turned around, and she pointed to her shoes and gave me a big smile. Another girl looked through her bag, looked in my direction and gave me two thumbs up. That was their thank you. They were so excited to get new things. And you could tell they were grateful for it. It was an amazing feeling. Not only for them to receive things they needed, but also to interact with other people. To be able to socialize with others outside of those they see on a daily basis. Amazed by this new experience. The start of a new beginning. There’s more. 

Black Lives Matter – You Have A Voice

It’s been a little over a week since the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and I haven’t addressed it personally on the platform that I was given. Upon my initial reaction, it was difficult for me to write anything. I sat with a blank page trying to allow my thoughts and emotions to hit the page and come across my screen. Maybe a day or two later, very few thoughts became words… 

The emotions that I’ve experienced in a matter of two days have left me completely baffled. My heart literally hurts because of what has transpired. In a matter of two days. In a matter of hours. So many thoughts, so many emotions. So much, that it’s even difficult to write. A little difficult to comprehend that we still live in a society like this. A society where white police officers can shoot a man down when they haven’t even reached for a weapon. A society where a white police officer can literally shoot a man six times, SIX, on the ground at close proximity. A society where a white police officer can shoot a man down for complying to what he was told to do. In the presence of his girlfriend and a child in the backseat. It just isn’t right. But somehow we find ourselves in the same place over and over again. 

I’m not the most articulate writer, but it’s my duty to speak on things that ultimately affect my community. Alton Sterling, Plilando Castile, and the countless names that proceeded them could have very well been my brother. My dad. My uncles. Nephews. Cousins. I’m angry, heartbroken, and so many other emotions. My heart aches for these families, for my community, for our families. 

I don’t by any means have all of the solutions, but we can’t sit idle while this happens. It took me a while to watch the video footage of these murders as they surfaced. I’ve heard people say they’re not surprised. But every time it happens, I’m still shocked. I’m still saddened by it. And it just keeps cutting deeper and deeper. 

The day after these events, I saw flashing lights as I left work and walked to the train and I immediately felt angry. We shouldn’t have to feel this way about people go should be helping and protecting.

After seeing the videos, after anger rose up; what are we going to do? What can we do to erupt change? How can we fight for our rights in positive effective ways. Without violence, without innocent blood being shed. Without invoking the same pain we feel on the families of others. 

I haven’t been able to post anything on social media. I couldn’t without a solution to this madness. I didn’t want to just talk about it. I’m not blind to the situation, nor have I been completely silent. I’ve had many conversations with family and friends. However, it’s time to take action. We can’t sit idle and just continue to express our concerns and feelings without moving. We need to gather together, United, to take a stand. We need to educate our youth. Keep them abreast of the times, but helping to avoid them from being in these scenarios. Although it can happen at anytime, to anyone, the conversation must be had. 

There have been plenty of marches and meetings held on light of these situations. One I intended to go to, but wasn’t able to. However, my church held an event last night. An event where people from anywhere can come join together and share their opinions. There was an opportunity to voice your feelings, ideas, suggestions, solution. A judgement free space. It was amazing to hear the thoughts of others. Some feelings we all may have felt. There were so many positive ideas and opinions that came across that microphone. People from the community as well as those who are I’m office. Below are a few of the concerns and solutions of any are interested in knowing what they can do next. There may be some you may or may not agree with, but these are the voices of our communities. 

  • Educate our youth. Warning them of what to do and what not to do. Creating a curriculum so that our young black children can know their rights. 
  • More African Americans running for office. 
  • These events are things that have been happening for years. Through the pipeline. But it is something that has been excused for many years. We need elected officials who are willing to change the law. 
  • Go to borough hall. Going to your local assembly meetings. Get to know who’s working for us. The people who can go to bat for us. 
  • Being aware of our image. What is the perception that we are sending. Are we creating a negative image to the cops? Are we afraid of one another, which in turn puts the police officers in a place of fear?
  • Creating affordable or free programs for our youth. For our black community. We must find ways to educate our youth and keep them engaged. In order to keep them out of certain situations. 
  • Where there’s no plan the people perish. 
  • A village. Kids are now raising themselves. We lost community somewhere. That’s where we lost community policing. We need to get back to the community (village) raising our youth. Helping them and showing them the way. 

These are just a few. How will you go about erupting change in society. Thing about some of these things, process it, feel it, and let’s get to work! Change has to come, and it has to start with us. 

There’s Power in Being Unapologetically Black and BeautifulĀ 

As you all know, my pieces are all for the most part inspirational. I started this blog with the intent of sharing my experiences and sharing who I am in order to create positive change. These past few months, I’ve realized that I haven’t done that fully. As a black woman, I haven’t touched on certain topics and/or issues that deserve being touched on. As as black woman, it is my duty to discuss things that pertain to me and people who are just like me. I can be honest and say, I’ve struggled with posting or highlighting things that may be seen as controversial. However, over the past few months, I knew that I needed to step outside of that box. It isn’t that I’m just learning to embrace being black. Not at all. I love being black and I absolutely embrace my culture. I may have conversations about different issues that effect the black community, but I haven’t fully utilized the platform that I have to do so. Being unapologetically black, despite the backlash that may come along with it, is powerful. And it’s time to tap into that. 

As my thoughts continued on this topic, and I planned this post, I was reading this months issue of ESSENCE Magazine. In Vanessa De Luca’s (Editor In Chief) article, she wrote “there’s power in being unapologetically black and beautiful.” And I knew immediately that this would be the title of this article. When we can all come together and stand as black people, embracing who we are and our culture; we desire to do our best to help create the change that we wish to see.

One thing I was reminded of as I prepared lesson plans for my students to perform in the black history showcase, was how important research and education is. I am introducing writing to them for this particular project. Last year,I was able to introduce high school students to black history through literature. And this is something I’d like to do with my first graders. As a writer myself, it’s important that I do my research on great writers who have made great impact on the lives of others and created some type of change in our society. One who has brought various topics and issues to the forefront. It’s also imperative that writers research what’s going on in today’s society. The same goes for the black community. It’s important that we research and educate ourselves on those who have paved the way for positive change within black communities. There are many who provoked great change, and made a huge difference. And it’s up to us to learn about them, and continue on in their footsteps. It is our duty to continue to contribute to the changes that need to be made in society today. The only way that we can do so, is being aware and raising awareness of the issues that we and our community face. Once we become knowledgeable about our surroundings, we can do what we can to help make a difference. 

It’s important that we embrace who we are as a people, and as a culture. We must be proud to be black. To realize the strength of our people and how far we’ve come, no matter what has come up against us. When we embrace it, see our beauty, and just be us, unapologetically; there’s no way we’re comfortable when we see social injustices. How can we be comfortable or sit in silence about the lives of people like, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and others. How can we not bring to light situations that plague our communities and our people; such as, what’s currently going on in Flint, Michigan. It just shouldn’t sit right with us. Which should cause us to pay more attention to what’s going on, concerning our communities, in society today. We must also educate ourselves on these topics and things of the past. 

The most important thing to understand is that we are better together! Powerful things can happen when we link up with one another. If we all embraced who we are, unapologetically, so many amazing things can take place. Things that we’ve been able to witness overtime. The more unity, the more change we will begin to see. 
There’s so much greatness within our people. We’re intelligent, strong, creative, thinkers, inventors, artists. We’re gifted. Therefore, we can use our gifts with the platforms that our gifts made room for to help bring about the change that we so desperately need in our communities. Not only our communities, but in society as a whole. And it won’t end here!