Don’t Quit..The reward is ahead

winners-never-quit-and-quitters-never-win-quote-2

I know that was meant for more than just staying stagnate. I’ve had hurdles that should have taken me out. I’ve had struggles that I’ve seen others never come back from, but in all of that, I continue on. I press forward because I know that what is behind me can totally be forgotten about, what’s going on now often pacifies me, but what lies ahead sends a challenge back to me to do my best to get there and I’m not one to back down from a challenge. There are people who have died so that I could have the opportunity to try and try again because the only roadblock is myself. One step in front of the other and I’m already a winner because I didn’t settle for standing still; I choose to see what’s on the road ahead and ready or not, here I come!

 

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

http://www.crbarton.com

 

 

The Death of a Powerful Man: Bishop Eddie Long

long Yesterday I was sitting in worship service and my cellphone vibrated and when I checked, it was a news highlight that Bishop Eddie Long had passed away. I didn’t know if it was true or not, so I took a few minutes and checked a few other sites and sure enough, he had died sometime early Sunday morning. I shared that information with my parents who I was in worship service with and both had a look of total surprise on their faces; I did not. I’m no psychic, able to foretell coming events, but the last time I set eyes via the internet on Bishop Eddie Long, he didn’t look well. At that point, while others checked out the same photos of him that I had seen, I saw a lot of social media posts about what could have been the cause and I remained quiet. I had read stories over the past several years about possible indiscretions regarding Bishop Long and again, I didn’t comment and I decided to not play judge or jury because it wasn’t my place and its not anyone else’s place either. It is our place to pray for a family who has lost a loved one. It is our place to pray for a congregation that is now in mourning over the loss of a man they didn’t hold judgement against. Despite what the headlines had been saying over the years, some did what the Bible said and they prayed and forgave in order for them to be able to move on and continue the work of the Lord. Isn’t that what churches are supposed to do? Its what I thought.

I’ve never been to New Birth in Atlanta, but I had heard about all of the great things they were and are doing for the community. A lot of that started with Bishop Eddie Long and his heart for the people. The things I could see and witness are the only things I am able to give response to. Those crimes he was accused of committing happened behind closed doors and what it did was pit one man’s story against another. People chose who they wanted to believe in based on what they read in the media as if they were actually there and saw it happen. Now, I’m not proclaiming guilt or innocence and I don’t know everyone involved stories, but I don’t need to know. All I need to do is pray for the situation and pray for healing of those involved. Social media though, has allowed people to become judge and jury and as their opinions spread, so do lies that then are exacerbated to the point that someone in another state or country reading the stories on the internet become angry, vengeful and yes, judgmental. I, again, chose not to take that route. I could have an opinion about what I read and share it on the internet helping to fuel the fire of anger that spread across the world. I didn’t because in the quiet of my own space, I prayed that God would heal a people; heal a nation. This wasn’t the first of this kind of story and it wouldn’t be the last. Throwing social media stones at a situation that I’m not involved with or getting angry at the church over it would not be the best decision. I didn’t want to carry hate or hurt in my heart about another person’s dilemma; trust, I have enough of my own issues going on  that I don’t need to focus on someone else’s and I believe we all do.

Bishop Long may have had issues and personal demons, but who doesn’t. Is it our place to judge and jury? No. Lots of people benefited financially from the settlement, but did it take the hurt and pain away? No. Are those who are in leadership positions in churches perfect people without demons and vices? No. Is Bishop Long’s death some sort of karma coming back on him to extract a price for his wrongdoings in life? No. None of us knows what karma looks, feels or acts like. We’re going by what we think and not by what we know. The bottom line is, Bishop Long was a man with a title, held high up on a pedestal and if it were you or I, people would gasp at our secrets as well and then judge and jury us. I believer in God’s Word and I believe that He is the only TRUE judge and jury and I don’t care what any court says. In the end, God will have the final say when we all stand in judgement alone to answer for what we’ve done in our lives from the day God breathed life into us, until the day he took that last breath away and said your will is now done. The life Bishop Long led is more than the bits and pieces we all know about, not personally, but through the words we read on the internet, in a news or magazine article. I understand he did some great things to help where no other help was on the horizon.

There were recipients of cars, houses, bills being paid, prayers and words of comfort that none of us no all about. Those are the deeds of a powerful man. I have had struggles in my life and though I didn’t turn to a church for help, I turned to my parents who have always been there with their trusty safety net. Because of them, I made it through and because of Bishop Eddie Long, there is another person someplace who survived and can proclaim they made it because of his helping hand, words of encouragement and whispers of prayer. Anyone who can touch a life and provide a need is a powerful person and that, too, was Bishop Long. I’m not condoning anything he did in his private life, but we don’t have access to that other than what we hear about third, fourth and fifth-hand. I could believe those or I could believe him, but I chose to not do either. I chose to mind my business, let those people handle their business and in turn, I sat back and prayed that they would all survive and get back some semblance of life. If not, there are other powerful people that God has raised up in the form of doctors and counselors and it is my prayer that those who need it will take advantage of it and begin to heal. There is a lot of healing that needs to take place and it’s not a time to throw stones at a man who is no longer here to see and hear it. Who is left are his wife, children and congregation and what they need from us most right now is their prayers. Pray that his wife finds comfort in knowing that God knew what was best. Pray that she is comforted knowing that her husband of many years is no longer in pain. Pray that she has the strength to comfort her children who lost their father. Did you not have a father that you wished could be around you to console you, place his arms around you, give you advice, smile at you, laugh at your jokes and love you with all of his heart? His children did and right now, they don’t need people playing judge and jury about what their father may have done; they need a people who understand what it means to lose someone and can offer words of comfort and prayer as they go through. There is a congregation that despite the cloud that hung over Bishop Long for years, they still believed in him because they believed that God uses all kinds of people to bring His Word to the masses and in this situation, He used New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long. We may not like what we have read, but were you there? If not, pray for those who were. Find compassion for the situation for everyone involved and not get excited over your chance to jump on a bandwagon of vile words and hatred. You may not have had Bishop Long’s issues, but there are issues and if there was a spotlight shown on the skeletons in your closet, I hope you would want to find comfort in a world of people who understand that none of us are perfect. We al have problems and I’m sure, so did Bishop Long.

Problems or no problems, it didn’t take away from the fact that some people did and still do consider Bishop Long a great and powerful man. He may have done wrong, but he also did good and if one life was blessed because of the life he led, then he did what the Lord told him to do. I know I go about my life everyday and there are things that I do that don’t glorify God and His plan for my life and the lives around me, but I try and that’s all each of us can do. While some sit around and persecute Bishop Eddie Long, someone else is saying a prayer of thanks because they lived another day not starving, not out in the cold or jobless, unable to feed their children. If in your life you touch one person and because of you their lives changed for the better, then I consider you a great and powerful person because you made at least one positive difference. Through his good and his bad, Bishop Eddie Long did that and for that, I consider him a powerful man. I choose to let God deal with the wrong Bishop Long may have done in life and while I can still pray, my prayers go up and out for the family, congregation and friends he left behind. They are the only ones who are left to deal with the aftermath of his passing. I don’t know what he died from and I don’t care. What I do know is that there is a large group of people who need my support and prayer today and I choose to give that instead of spreading hatred because there is already enough of that going around.

Peace!

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

 

 

 

Who you gonna call?

124079-Think-For-YourselfI went to a business expo and one of the speakers, who was a fellow author, talked about people she comes across on a daily basis who have shied away from following a dream or a passion. Nowadays, it’s hard to convince people to stay the course and follow their dreams because there is always some naysayer on social media or some other platform who has nothing else to do with their day other than to tell you how much your dream or goals suck. You find yourself making an honest attempt and putting in the hard work only to feel let down when someone throws shade on your dream. She spoke about her path to writing and then publishing and how shock set in the moment she read her first review. She vowed never to write another novel because of how nasty and cruel the review was while other people seemed to love it. For three years, she put off writing another novel until her son asked her what was taking her so long. She told us it was words from her son that encouraged her to pick her pen back up again and read. He asked her why would she let a few nuts in a barrel of millions control what she does with her life and whether she ever writes again. He told her he was proud of her for doing what some people only dream of doing and because she took that first step and published her first book, he looked forward to reading her next. The next day, she started work on her second novel and now she is seven novels in and loving the path.

When it was my turn to introduce myself and talk about what I do, write romance novels, I talked about my path to writing and how, even now, I don’t let any of the reviews of my books taint my decision to write or not write. I love all of the reviews, good and bad, but what I’d like for people to do is learn to make a decision about what you like or don’t like on our own. We are becoming a people who take to other’s to decide what choices we’ll make in our lives. Who you gonna call?

I’ve always said like what you like if you decide that’s what you like and not like whatever you decide isn’t for you, but make it your own decision. People don’t know how to think for themselves anymore, but they wait to see what the masses think. I wanted to see a movie with a friend once and he refused to see it because he heard it was awful and based on what people were saying on the internet, he wouldn’t waste his money. I went to see the movie anyone on my day off and I laughed the entire movie it was so good. When it came out on DVD, I bought a copy just for him and we watched it one evening and you know what? He LOVED it! He was all set to not like this actor because other’s told him he wasn’t funny, but I tell you at one time I thought I was going to have to get some tissues he was crying fro laughing so hard. I told him next time just go see it and not make a decision based on someone who doesn’t live, think or act like you do. Be your own person!

One good example is Kim Kardashian. Now I see how social media has a love/hate relationship with Kim, but you can’t knock her hustle and thankfully, she doesn’t give two shades about what anyone has to say about anything. By way of those who love and and hate her, trust that someone is watching everything she does, buying what she sells and promotes what she says by tweeting and retweeting her every word and that’s what it’s about. It’s about going through life not allowing someone else dictate what your next moment or next move will be. i respect her for her game and however she chooses to increase her bank account, I say go for it. As others are sitting home and complaining about the next picture she puts up or the next wild thing her husband does, she’s throwing up the finger as she heads into the bank to check her new balance! I’m the same way when it comes to my writing. You can’t write or live to please everyone. For me, if I love what I wrote then I have mad love for it and nothing anyone can say or do will ever, ever, ever change that. See, the way my self-esteem is set up, I am my own woman and I dance to the beat of my own drum and it makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Miserable people are miserable and like to spread their misery because no one finds anything about them to like so they want to share how much they don’t like anyone or anything else. It’s perfectly okay. Who you gonna call?

I look at our youth of today and they can’t survive without everyone loving and liking everything they say and do and if they are not the popular one’s, they look for a way to tear other’s down. You have to find your life is worth living, no matter what someone else things about it. Just do you, boo boo! You will find that when you walk through life not giving a hoot about those who have a problem with you, you’ll spend it trying to always make them happy. I live for me, yet I respect everyone’s desire to live their life their way in their own space. I pick a movie to see because I want to see it. I read a book because I love reading and none are perfect, but all are someone’s hard work. I drive the car I want because I like it and if you don’t, I have no problem driving by you. I’m currently buying a new house and buying it where I want to live because the bank said yeah, you can do that girl and so, yeah I’m doing it! For the few people who said why would I move so far from work and my answer is because I want to. If you don’t visit me now, should I not expect you now that I’m moving so far away? Yeah, let me take a lifetime and think on that one. I didn’t make these decisions based on making a million phone calls and asking someone what I should do. I did it because you only live once and for this one life I’m living, I’m going to do it my way. Who you gonna call?

When I choose the next book to write and I put it out, I feel excited and happy that I’ve made another achievement, doing something that I’m very passionate about and I do it thankful for those who decide to read my novels. You don’t have to, but you choose to and I hope you continue to do so. All of my books are my favorites and my most favorites change according to the day. Today my favorite four of my own novels are

unbreak cover photoBossy2Bachelor_Not_For_Sal_Cover_for_KindleHeartthrob Cover

Now, this list will change tomorrow based on how I’m feeling, but trust, I love every single book I’ve put out and I choose what to write based on what I decide to write about and how I want to write it. I’m like Kim Kardashian, while some sit home and critique my art, I’m actually following my dream and achieving some goals while other’s choose to sit home and not chase any and that’s okay too. Who you gonna call?

Who am I gonna call? No one because when I make a choice or a decision, I easily live with it because it came from my heart.

Happy living 🙂

Cheryl

 

I Want More

Down,_But_Not_Out_Cover_for_NookMy name is Karina and for now I’ll leave my last name a mystery just in case someone who knows me is reading this. I’m a young mother of two of the best kids in the world. How did I end of being blessed enough to be a mother to two such wonderful kids. I haven’t lived a life deserving of such an honor. I’ve done some terrible things and I have justified doing them by convincing myself that I didn’t know any better, but deep down I did. Sometimes I watch my kids sleep and I wonder if they deserve a different mother, someone better than me who can give them much more that I can. They are the only reason I wake up each day still in this trap, struggling to find my way out.

My plight started back in high school when I fell for the hottest boy in school. That led to a teenage pregnancy, his dreams of a career in professional sports flushed down the drain and my lack of self-esteem and self-respect. How could things have gone so wrong? I could blame it on my upbringing because my mother didn’t work hard enough to keep us from staying in the hood where all I ever learned to do was survive by taking advantage of others. I could blame it on the friends I had who never wanted anything for themselves so I followed the crowd instead of becoming a leader. Perhaps I could blame it on the system that keeps us down by giving us the bare minimum to survive, but not enough to get out of the downward spiral that is living in the hood. Who or what is the blame? Perhaps it’s me? Perhaps it’s the father of my children who I couldn’t seem to break away from even when I knew he was doing things that would either land him in jail or the grave. Perhaps I’m just someone who doesn’t deserve anything more than what I have.

There are many like me who wonder whether or not the hand we have been dealt is the only hand available to us. We all, at one time or another, have encountered others who were able to get out and now live in big houses, driving fancy cars and have careers and not just jobs. How did they make it yet I’m still here? I’m young, I have two children, I don’t work and though a high school education was free, I turned my back on that and figured, I’m fine, I’m sexy so some guy with lots of money will want me and once I give myself to him, he give me the world because after all, the only way I know to survive is to use what I have to get what I want. What does someone like me have? Only what I see in the mirror so that means I have to keep it tight and right and make sure it’s the first thing everyone notices about me. Should I care that all they’ll want is my body? I should, but I don’t because that’s just the hood where I came from and that’s all I know.

I’m going to take another look at my children while they are sleeping and I’ll dream of a better life for them even if I can’t have it. A dream, is a dream is a dream and that’s all some of us have to live on. There’s no prince charming who will come and rescue me from this life because they don’t want to come to the village and get themselves a slave girl living life on a wing and a prayer when they can have a queen who brings as much to the table as they do and not just what’s between her legs.

As I once again look at my beautiful children sleeping, I realize I have my motivation to do better and be better right before my eyes. They deserve me just as much as I deserve them and we all deserve so much more. I stand up straight, hold my head up high and decide at this very moment that I may be down, but I don’t want the world to count me out because I want, need and deserve to have it all and I’m going to get it. I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and walk my way into my new destiny and that starts with loving myself enough to know that I can get out because I’m better than my situation. Being down, but not out is who Karina will be.

Come read more of my story in Down, But Not Out: Breaking Chains. I am no longer my situation. I’m Karina Joseph and I’m breaking out of here!!

http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylbarton

http://www.cherylbarton.net

A Change

changePeople oftentimes wait until the new year to decide to make a change in some aspect of their life. I see resolutions about weight loss, going to church more, finding a new job or just about anything to be sure they don’t repeat an old habit from the year before. In my mind that means for an entire year, you settled for something that made you unhappy and waited on bated breath for the new year to come in to make a change. A change can come and be made whenever you are ready for it and not just at the beginning of a new year.

I personally never make resolutions or declarations of things I’m going to change about myself when a new year comes around. I could say I’m going to spend more time in the gym and exercise or even walk more and I won’t do it. I could say I’m going to cut out fried food in the new year, but I don’t see that happening either. I can even say I’m going to make sure I’m in church every Sunday for every service and with technology that allows me to enjoy a wonderful service from someplace else around the country via my computer, I’m gonna say right now, I’m good with the plan I’ve laid out for myself to stay connected. I find that if I resolve to change something from what was the year before, I’m declaring that I allowed myself to live unhappily before and that’s more unacceptable to me than making a promise to myself that I know I won’t keep.

Each year that comes along I try to be the best person I can be. I’m far from perfect and I don’t strive to be perfect because how big of a let down would that be to finally discover I’m not perfect after planning to work hard to get to that. I’m not saying I would never set a goal for myself that may be a hard one to reach, but the goals I set are done so that when I wake up each day, I appreciate the fact that I woke up. I look at each day as a brand new slate to fill in with all sorts of exciting things. I know that there are still 24 hours in a day, but no one can tell me that time isn’t moving at an alarming rate. Is 24 hours still 24 hours or is 24 hours more like 12 hours. I can still remember 2010 as if it were just yesterday. Where is time going and what am I doing with the time given to me?

I kick off every day like it’s the first day of the rest of my life and the only thing I resolve to do is make a change from what I did the day before, not insinuating that the day before was lacking anything. That day is gone, never to be seen again, but this new day? Oh it’s filled with so many possibilities of making everything around me better, more pleasant and livable so that at the end of the day, I’m smiling as I lay down and give my body a rest because I feel good about what I did in the 24 hours that I was given.

If you find that there is a need to make a change, do it whenever you first think about making that change. Don’t wait for a time in the future when there is the possibility that making that change won’t mean as much to you as it did when you first thought about it. A change allows you to redirect from a path you were on to a new one and as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others around you, go ahead and do you. A change is good and if it makes you happy, those around you can live in the overflow of your happiness and will be glad when a little bit of it drops down on them. Let an everyday change in the right direction be what motivates you to be a better you all the time and now just on the first day of a new year.

Go ahead and change something today! I dare you!!

http://www.cherylbarton.net

Peace? Oh Yeah!

Peace.jpgI brought in the new year in church and thankful that I knew that was where I needed to be. That isn’t the case for everyone and I don’t judge. Everyone should be able to live in the space and have the life they’d like to have because life is short and it shouldn’t be lived according to anyone else’s expectations.

Being happy and being content are two very different outlooks on life. My being happy means that I respect everyone’s space and even their expectations of what they think my life should be, but my happiness is based on what I feel I need to do each day when I rise in order for me to have no regrets when I wake the next day.

Being content is allowing someone else’s expectations to control my actions because it’s more important to me that they are happy with me than I am with myself. That’s no way to live if your plan is to live a happy life.

Last night, Dr. Kenneth Robinson at the Dream Life Worship Center in Randallstown, Maryland, preached, “He Brought Me Out On Purpose.” THAT was a message for me and though I enjoyed the entire sermon, those 6 words were exactly what I needed to hear.

I made it through quite a few moments in 2015 that should have taken a person down, at least mentally and emotionally. I’m not a perfect person and I don’t strive for perfection, but I do try my best to do the right thing making sure that I keep myself at the top of my list when it comes to treating someone right. If you don’t treat yourself properly, you can’t treat anyone else better.

Toward the end of the year, there were several things that invaded what I considered to be my place of internal peace. When people can’t cut you deep physically, they come at you a different way. Some things I saw coming and others took me by surprise and yet, I’m still here and I’m thankful. I don’t think I survived because of anything I did specifically, but because I have a purpose that involves me being even stronger than I am right now. My true purpose isn’t quite clear yet, but I know it involves me staying in the game and not being distracted by things thrown in my way to tear down my spirit and my ability to appreciate all that life has to offer. I came through because my purpose is greater than anything I’ve seen happen in my life so far. My purpose is requiring me to not put everyone else’s happiness ahead of my own, no matter how much it hurts to back off. My purpose requires that I stay strong and remember just as I am trying to be happy and not just content, others have the right to do the same which means live and let live. This path to my purpose is redefining me by consolidating all of the things my parents taught me as a child, what I have learned as an adult and the sacrifices I’ve made as a parent that I will forever be grateful for.

In 2013 I wrote my first novel which was pretty good, but turned out to be better once I re-edited it in 2014. I had never written anything other than a few short notes, but nothing as extensive as a romance novel. After that first novel, I wrote 16 more and I realize my purpose is being formed and will include not only my continuing to write, but also my ability to release what binds me by writing about it and hoping it finds another person who needs a few words to take the away from a world that can wear them down. I look forward to whatever my purpose is because the struggles can’t be for naught. I won’t allow myself to believe that what I’ve been through, though not as bad as others who have a bad day, I’ve still encountered things that would have made a less-strong person collapse and give up from sheer exhaustion, but I believe I survived with my sanity because I have a purpose. My eventual purpose is what brings me peace through every storm so I say oh yeah, I’m running toward that purpose so that I can continue to have peace. So peace? Oh yeah! I have that and purpose keeps my peace alive and in control of my life. I’m happy because the peace that I encounter as I live a purpose-driven life isn’t contentment, it is LIFE!