Monthly Archives: December 2010

Single, Why?

Breathe Again – The Radio Show

NICOLE

Hosted by Nicole Cleveland

Episode # 18

Single Why?

A spin off from Things That Make You Go Shhhhh hosted by A Sister’s Heart Ministry & Breathe Again Magazine …. Listen as three saved adults share why they believe they are single.Victoria is a successful business owner, Elder Deborah Brown is in her 40′s and waiting on a transformed thug and Charles Hayes is single ( not because of choice ) and shares what’s it’s like to be married and now single again.

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Listen Below

Single Mom shares Tips on Surviving

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How a single mom makes it on $31K

Tricia has 3 kids, 2 mortgages, 1 car payment and a salary of about $31,000. While it’s not easy, she’s doing OK, thanks. Here are 15 lessons she learned the hard way.

By MP Dunleavey

While I admire the folks who were born smart about money, my true heroes are the ones who had to struggle to find that precious commodity I call financial sanity.

Take Tricia, a single mom who lives in Pennsylvania. She supports herself, three kids, two mortgages, one car payment and a couple of student loans — while still paying off her credit card debt — all on about $31,000 a year.

My first question, after squelching a sense of shame about how much my husband and I spend with just two cats to support, was: How does she do it?

A series of unfortunate events
Before Tricia started taking control of her financial life a couple of years ago, she faced one money calamity after another.
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Married young, Tricia had three kids by the time she was in her early 20s — and a husband who would spend the next 10 years on disability from a work-related injury. But that wasn’t the hard part.

A few years later, the home they’d bought and rehabbed burned down. Though they were able to rebuild the house with the insurance money and pay off their credit cards, it didn’t cover the extra loan they’d taken out for the renovations.

“Then we discovered Atlantic City,” she says.

Losing it all
Gambling and her husband’s fascination with get-rich-quick schemes — “He sent away for those real-estate tapes, and we had a candle company there for a while” — drove up the credit cards again. Then they got a windfall of about $80,000 when her husband’s injury claim was settled.

Unfortunately, it was the late ’90s, and her cousin was their broker. “He was new at the company, so he was just taking all their recommendations,” she says. He put almost the entire windfall into tech stocks.

“Gone, all of it, in the market crash.”

Trying to turn the Titanic around
While some of this was just lousy luck, Tricia knew that longstanding bad habits were also to blame. “I can tell you the all-too-familiar story of the unhappy wife who shops to make herself feel better,” she says. “I never bought things for myself, always everyone else.”

More ‘Women in Red’ on MSN Money
Related resources image
•    Follow the exploits of the ‘Women in Red’ daily in MSN Spaces
•    Meet the ‘Women in Red’
•    7 stages of lasting financial change
•    7 ways to control your emotional spending
•    Start with saving; the spending will follow
•    5 steps to total financial control
•    Sign up for MP Dunleavey’s newsletter at her home page

She knew there was a way to get on top of her endless money problems, and despite the circumstances, she was trying to find it.

“I was always a fan of those financial self-help books, and whenever I saw one at the library, I grabbed it,” Tricia says. But as most of us have learned, it takes years to change old attitudes and habits — and then you still have to dig yourself out of the hole.

It wasn’t until Tricia divorced her husband a few years ago that things hit rock bottom. “After he left, I just couldn’t make ends meet,” she said. That’s when she realized: It wasn’t one thing that had to change, it was everything.

Tricia’s book of revelation
Tricia credits a close friend she made during that desperate time with helping her change her financial philosophy. “This woman has a lot more money than I do,” she says, “and at first I was jealous and resentful.”

Then she began to realize that the reason her friend had more money wasn’t because she was born rich but because she saved constantly and only spent her money on what was truly essential.

Slowly, over the last three years, Tricia began a new financial life. It hasn’t been easy, but realizing she wanted more out of life than the treadmill of debt and struggle has kept her moving forward.

Here are some of the ways she manages to keep body, soul and family together on $553 a week, net pay, including child support.

Tricia’s tips
# Think different. “A big thing that’s changed over the last two years is the way I think of shopping and purchases. I used to be more impulsive. I’ve learned to ask myself: ‘Why do you need to buy that? Why does my kid need that?’ Give me a reason to spend the money. I’ve really learned the difference between necessities and luxuries.”

# Use technology to your advantage. “I’ve been using money software for years,” she says. She also uses a spreadsheet to monitor spending on certain items, from one month or week to the next. “I don’t think I’d have this much control without software.”

# Plan ahead. Tricia uses the computer to map out all her fixed expenses (utilities, phone, mortgage) for the entire year. “That way, I see immediately when I spend on extras.”

# Live a balanced life. “I balance my checkbook daily. Some people might think that was crazy, but it forces me to see the numbers every day. If you make so many purchases during the week, it’s too easy to say, ‘I can’t believe I spent all that money!’”

# Pay off debt weekly. Tricia has about $4,000 in credit-card debt on two cards. In addition to making the monthly minimum payment, she sends an additional payment each week. “Another good strategy is to add whatever interest you were charged that month to your minimums. Every little bit helps.”

# Bank that tax refund. As she has for the last few years, Tricia is taking her $3,600 refund and putting it in the bank. “I know I could pay off my credit cards faster if I used that, but this is what covers all the unexpected expenses during the year.”

# Rely on the kindness of friends. When Tricia was trying to master these new habits, a friend suggested he could create an “escrow account” for her. She put extra money (like the refund) into that account — and could only access the cash if she discussed it first with her money buddy. “That made it harder to ask for, so I only spent that money when I absolutely had to — for heating oil or for something one of my kids needed.”

Smart shopping; facing reality
# Never pay full price. “Clearance is my favorite word,” Tricia jokes. Her other trick for finding high-quality items at low prices: consignment shops. Now her daughter is a fan, too.

# Give up your fantasies. “One thing that contributed to my ‘turning point’ was reading a book, ‘Women Who Think Too Much.’ Something stuck with me. Many women are just waiting to be rescued. I wanted to be taken care of, but I’m the only one who can do that.”

# Wait before you shop. When Tricia knows she needs shampoo or groceries, she resists the urge to go shopping. “I have only (so) much budgeted for groceries. So when we get close to that amount, rather than go to the store, I say: ‘What’s in the freezer?’” Although she paid for her son’s gas while he was in technical school, she gave him the same strict instructions: “You can spend X per week on gas. When that runs out, you don’t drive.”

# Scale back the services. Because her house is in a rural location, Tricia has to pay for basic cable. But she took the long-distance service off her land line. “We never used it, and yet there were always these little charges on the bill.”

# Bargain for everything. To help out her two oldest children, Tricia struck a deal with the cell-phone company: three phones for $100 a month. Now she’s trying to see if she can get a three-way discount on student loans: two for her college-age kids and one for her while she completes a BA.

Passing along what you learn
# Teach your children well. Tricia has no problem explaining the financial facts of life to her kids. Now that her oldest is done with technical school, “we’ve had several conversations about the fact that I won’t be paying for his phone or his car anymore.”

# Keep learning. “Educate yourself,” Tricia says. “Read anything you can that might help you stick to a plan.” A favorite quote she read recently: “Squirrels end up with millions because they put the nuts away, not because they make lots of nuts.”

# Never pass up a freebie. “I love Nascar racing, so I work at the track when they race nearby. I raise money for our high-school band, and best of all, I can enjoy an experience that would otherwise cost $50 or more. My boss offered me tickets to see our local Triple-A minor league baseball team — and it’s through our local public broadcasting company. We will have VIP seats and be fed. What a great way to spend time with my children!”

Meet Latonya Brinson

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Latonya resides in Chesapeake, Virginia

Bio:

Latonya is a child of GOD Living for his will.  She is married with 4 kids who
loves to help people. She is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist through
the board of National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and
Bodywork
(NCBTMB) and License in the State of Virginia through the Board of
Nursing.  She is also licensed in the City of Chesapeake and insured by ABMP.

Kingdom Healing Stone LLC (Health and Wellness) focuses on the
the well being of you and your family. Kingdom Healing Stone was
established on September 2005 with the Vision of:

Building a Christian Business on the Stones (Rock) of High Standards of
Professionalism, code of ethics and the respect of the fellow man. We strive
to bring Harmony for the MIND, BODY and SPIRIT to the WHOLE Kingdom of GOD
no matter the creed, Religion, Gender or Financial Situation through Love
for ourselves, peace and understanding.  Educating people on the benefits of
Massage, health issue, and information passed down through generation.
Kingdom Healing stone strive to be an All natural company offering Cures not
Treatments to all unbalances of the MIND, BODY and SPIRIT within the scope
of our practice

For more information on Massage Therapy and what it can do for you, your
family, or your business Call us at 757-515-3012 or email at
info@kingdomhealingstone.com

Visit here site here – www.kingdomhealingstone.com

Meet Pastor Rosalind Y Tompkins

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Rosalind Y. Tompkins resides in  Tallahassee, Florida

Her hobbies include reading,writing and rollerblading

Bio:

Rosalind Y. Tompkins has been said to be an icon because of her work with families and communities in crisis. The over twenty-years in recovery former addict founded Mothers In Crisis, Inc. (MIC) in 1991. MIC is a non-profit, community-based organization comprised of women and men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Through MIC she has impacted the lives of thousands of families. She also founded Turning Point International Church in 1998 where she currently serves as the senior pastor.

Rosalind Y. Tompkins is the published author of the books, “As Long As There Is Breath In Your Body, There Is Hope”, “Rare Anointing”, and the newly released, “You Are Beautiful”. She is a prophetic poet who writes and recites poetry and spoken word and has been compared to the likes of Maya Angelou. She has two CD’s of poetry, “Poems of Life Volumes One and Two” .

The Florida State University graduate has literally branded the Tallahassee and surrounding areas with the now famous trademark, “As Long As There Is Breath In Your Body, There Is Hope®”!
With a ready smile, piercing eyes and a warm heart she teaches and preaches in prisons, and pulpits throughout the nation and around the world.

Who do you want to connect with?

Other like-minded women of God

Visit her site – www.rosalindytompkins.com

I’M SO FAR BEHIND I FEEL LIKE I’LL NEVER CATCH UP

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We’ve all heard the expression ‘Baby Steps’.  And that is usually the answer when we need to do something in our lives that requires us to change our usual habits.

If you try to do everything at one time you get more overwhelmed and seem to take three steps forward and two steps back.  This only leads to feelings of failure.

The biggest step you can take at this point is to actually start.  Stop putting it off and get started.

Now for the Baby Steps, let me suggest this approach.  Take it one step at a time.

Depending on your personality and which approach will give you the largest sense of momentum to keep moving forward, decide if you should start in the area that will be the easiest for you to do or to start in the area that will give you the biggest sense of relief once it is done.

Once you have made that decision take on that one area.  If it is a rather large area divide it into manageable chunks.  For example, if you choose to start with your desk.  Start with one drawer, not four drawers.  Just one.

When you are done with the one drawer you can always move to the next one if you’re ready, or you can stop.

The trick now is to make sure you set your next appointment with yourself to move on to the next step.  (And of course, make sure you keep that appointment).  Treat it like you would an appointment with your best client.  Because ultimately getting yourself pulled together will allow you to attract more of your best clients.

And VERY IMPORTANT, whatever you went through and organized in your first session, don’t undo that action.  Whatever you do, don’t put anything in the drawer or area that doesn’t belong.

Keep the momentum going by living with the results of your hard work.  As you begin to make your way around your office or home and can feel the weight lifted and the overwhelm dissipating, you will make it all the way through.

Keep the appointments you make with yourself to keep going and you will feel a sense of great accomplishment very soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Flarida is the owner of Get It Together. She is a Certified Professional Organizer,
productivity coach & efficiency expert for businesses since 1991.
Visit Beth on the web at http://www.getbeth.com and sign up for her free weekly
newsletter, Answers From The Organizer®. Then claim your free 20-minute Problem
Solving Strategy Session and jumpstart your organizational goals!

A Sister’s Love

Laleise

After she and her sister had not spoken for a year and half, Laleise Curtiss would have never predicted what would bring them together.

Laleise was born in Detroit, grew up in Cleveland and moved to Virginia Beach 15 years ago.  Curtiss and her sister had not spoken to each other in a year and a half and suddenly her sister found out she needed a kidney transplant.

“It was at that time, I knew this was God’s doing,” said Curtiss.  Hereditary medical problems from their father’s side of the family is  what led to her sister needing the transplant.  She flew to Cleveland, where her mother and sister resided, to be tested as a match for her sister.  “I found out that there is only a 15% chance that siblings are even a match,” said Curtiss, “The tests came back that I was a perfect match.”  Curtiss continued to make several trips back and forth to the Cleveland Clinic and the surgery was performed on June 1, 2007 at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Since that day, my sister and I now talk to each other every single day!” said Curtiss.  When asked what led her to the decision to donate a kidney to her sister, Curtiss said, “God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit led me to do what I did.”  Curtiss admits that she was nervous, anxious and scared about the procedure but there was one thing that kept her strong, “I purposely kept myself away from naysayers, doubters and those trying to sow fear,” says Curtiss, who was focused and courageous.  “I stayed in prayer, which took all that away.”

The night of the surgery while they were in their separate recovery rooms, Curtiss said her sister called her on the phone crying, “She said thank you, you saved my life, I love you and I feel so much better already.” Curtiss and her sister had not even finished recovering before their bond had been renewed.  “Like I said, we went from not speaking for a year and half to now talking every single day,” said Curtiss.

The procedure was harder on Curtiss than it was for her sister because the procedure is harder on the donor than the recipient.  Curtiss had to be hospitalized twice after the surgery and ended up staying in Cleveland over a month to recuperate.  “Our theme song is “Never Would Have Made It,” by Marvin Sapp,” said Curtiss.  Curtiss’ sister gave her the CD for her birthday, and said that she would have never made it without Jesus and her.  “I know that without Jesus neither one of us would have made it,” said Curtiss.

Both Curtiss and her sister are now doing very well.  “My sister is back to her old self,” says Curtiss, “She finally put on some weight.”  Curtiss’ sister had lost so much weight that she had to pin and tie her belts around her clothes to keep them from falling off.

Curtiss admits that this experience has taught her so much and she has learned to appreciate life much more.  “I have also learned not to take the small things in life for granted that most people do, including being able to even urinate,” said Curtiss, which her sister had completely could not do for months.

Curtiss, now 46 years old, is employed at Aviation Company in Moyock, North Carolina as an accountant executive for Black Pages USA and is the outgoing President of the National Council of Negro Women, Norfolk section, and will assume the role as the second vice president of the Urban League Guild of the Hampton Roads, NAACP, Virginia Beach Branch.  She is also an Advocate/Ambassador for the National Kidney Foundation of the Virginias and speaks on their behalf.

Curtiss plans to start a non-profit RLC Foundation in memory of her father who died in 2009 after bleeding to death when his dialysis catheter dislodged.  Robert L. Curtiss had been on dialysis for eight years.

“I want to spread more education and awareness regarding organ donation,” said Curtiss.  Curtiss noted that live donation is quicker and better and educating the population’s minority is important, especially for African-Americans. “We shy away from organ donation simply out of fear due to lack of knowledge, which is why we perish.”

Written by Tiffani Addison

http://addison86.wordpress.com/

Abundant Life Costs

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The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him. Psalm 28:7 AMP

It was definitely no mistake, my peaking out the kitchen window to enjoy a quick view of our backyard and learn the weather conditions before dashing off to work. The trees looked sturdy as ever, the sun shone brightly on the grass, and the dried leaves from last fall that are hard to gather remained vigilant. The weather appeared very inviting. I stepped away from the window to get my breakfast and gather my lunch containers and then heard my husband urging me to move quickly and witness the blue jay feeding its infant.
Oh it really was a wonderful surprise.

I observed that there was another young fury feathered bird not so far in the distance. It was apparent that more than just an early morning feeding was occurring. We realized that this was the case because once the Blue Jay was fed-as if on cue it began to flutter its wings. The youngster’s furious flapping didn’t get him far at all. Maybe midway up the trunk of the broad tree, if that far! Then the miniature wings seemed to broaden, but that didn’t prevent the Blue Jay puttering out and down the tree trunk! The bird’s stamina returned and then made another attempt to fly. Determination was evident.

We observed that in the near distance was a squirrel, possibly summing up the situation and planning to pounce on this unsuspecting prey. We were correct. The squirrel leaped in midair towards the baby Blue Jay, but its attempt was feeble. The squirrel didn’t prevail! In a split second a pair of elder Blue Jays pounced on the squirrel and a chase erupted. You had to witness this to really appreciate it. A squirrel being pursued by Blue Jays, imagine that! Who was the victor then? The Blue Jays were prepared to win! They didn’t miss a beat. Oh my friends, there was no victimization mentality there! They were having none of it!
The youngsters were having a real survival lesson and our backyard was the launching pad. We enjoyed watching the heroic Blue Jay family and immediately in my spirit I surmised that abundant life costs, it’s not free! It’s not easy, and it’s daunting at best and often a struggle to get ourselves off the ground, moving up the “tree of life” towards our destined call. Launching pads aren’t for the faint at heart. Wimpy sprits aren’t welcome, they need not apply and bully’s better get back! I appreciated the parents of the baby bird and how they were there to teach, direct and protect, but wise enough to understand that it was time for the babies to be pushed out of their comfort zones.
God designed and orchestrated our observation of that teaching moment! Thank you Jesus! Today’s life lesson demonstrated with a simple act of our peering out the window many things about God’s providence. What does this lesson convey to your spirit? I trust you’ll agree that daily it takes muscle, wit, tenacity, strength and determination to say focused and endure! Let’s agree that God is our strength and gives us the resolve and nourishment needed (i.e. His scripture and guidance) to keep at it. It allows us to keep attempting to get our living right.
Thank goodness for the concordance which alphabetically lists the principal words like “strength” to assist us in locating reinforcements, the sword; the word of God! Yes, the Holy

Scriptures to make living relevant
Isaiah 41:10 – 13 AMP

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all. For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!
Remember it is ok to follow our lead, lift the shades, open the doors, pull up the blinds and part the curtains as you marvel at the Divine at work! God will give you the strength to soar! We are witnesses that abundant life does costs, but it is so sweet!! Rely on his word; His strength is yours for the asking!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Linda Mose Meadows is celebrating ordinary days with extraordinary promises! She’s co-editor of Eyes of Faith Magazine :http://eyesoffaithmagazine.blogspot.com/ http://issuu.com/eyesoffaith and the Inspirational Author of devotional (paperback/audio book/eBook)entitled: The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises , Journalist and Inspirational Columnist for Empower  and Urban Views weekly-Richmond Times Dispatch.

Unarmed But Dangerous

Tawana Williams shares her remarkable story with Breathe Again Magazine readers. Born without arms, she has a powerful and uplifting message for people of all walks of life. BAM Cleveland’s interview with Tawana delves into the heart of this compelling story of triumph, perseverance and determination.

BAM: My guest today is Tawana Williams, author of Unarmed But Dangerous. This book tells the story of Tawana being born without arms, surviving the trauma of gang rape, abortion, her addiction to crack cocaine and the miraculous birth of her daughter. The message that she is spreading is to look beyond your circumstances and accept God’s gift of freedom without limitations. Welcome to the show, Tawana.

Tawana: Thank you so much, Nicole. It’s a pleasure to be a part of what you’re doing here.

BAM: You are now officially one of my heroes. I’m just letting you know that now, okay?

Tawana: Thank you, sweetie. What an honor.

BAM: You are more than welcome. Now, let’s just get right into it. You were born with no arms. How did that happen?

Tawana: Well, it goes back to 1963 when my Mom was carrying me. In about her third month of pregnancy she had been experiencing fainting spells and dizziness and so she went to her doctor, which was the only Black doctor here in Wilson, North Carolina. He gave her some pills off of his shelf and my Mom believed in her doctor and trusted in her doctor and a few months later I was born without arms. And we found out that the drug that he had given my Mom was thalidomide. And they were giving that drug to people all over the world and babies were born without legs and arms, with facial disfigurements. So, I’m blessed to just be born without arms. I am so blessed to be here today.

BAM: You are. And even in school, your Mom didn’t want you to be teased, so she wanted to send you to a special school. Is that correct?

“My Grandma told me age of four,“Tee, you must not have needed arms because God didn’t give them to you.”

Tawana: Absolutely.

BAM: But you wanted to go regular school.

Tawana: I sure did. I was so determined to be normal and to be treated normal. Of course my family treated me normal and the kids in the neighborhood, once they got used to me, they treated me normal. But I just felt out of place at that school.

There was a school in Washington, DC called the Sharpe Health School. And I went to this school from kindergarten to the seventh grade and I did not like it. One summer I begged my Mom to allow me to have the opportunity to go to a public school like my sisters. And she was determined for me not to do it because she knew how mean and cruel the other kids would be to me, but I promised her that I could take, I promised her that I wouldn’t come home crying. So, I just knew that I could take it and she agreed.

And it was rough. From the first day of school I experienced what she was trying to shield me from.

BAM: But that didn’t stop you, did it?

Tawana: Absolutely not. I kept fighting it. I didn’t let the kids at school see me cry, but every day coming home from school I was bawling like a baby and had to wipe my face and get straight before my Mom got home from work.

That was a tough time for me just trying to fit in, trying to be liked, trying to be accepted. That was hard for me.

BAM: Now, as a society we take so many things for granted. What was it like to be a child growing up without arms, Tawana?

Tawana: It was rough, Nicole. It was some hard times and I’m just a strong-willed person. My Grandma Rogers, she passed away in 1999, but she and my Mom instilled such greatness in me. From a baby they let me know that I had what it took to make it in this world.

My Grandma told me at the age of four, she said, “Tee (that’s my nickname), you must not have needed arms because God didn’t give them to you.”

How powerful is that?

Tawana using feet to sign autograph

You’ve got to fight like you’ve never fought before. I tell life every day, ‘Bring it! Whatever you’ve got for me today, I’ve got my boxing gloves on my feet. So, bring it on!”

BAM: That’s powerful.

Tawana: And so, just going through the situations that I had to overcome, I was always reminded of what Grandma said to me; everything that I needed I already had within myself.

So, I just pushed my way through. I’d say to myself, ‘Today is Monday. I’m going to make it through,’ and on and on through the week. I just pushed my way and I pressed my way and I persevered and I was just so determined not to go back to Sharpe Health School that I did it.

I hung in there, I didn’t quit, I didn’t give up and I persevered and I made it.

BAM: Now, how did you do it, though? How did you write? How did you do things?

Tawana: Well, I carried my book on my shoulder. My Mom made me a bag. It wasn’t actually a backpack, but it was a canvas bag and I would carry it on my shoulder and when I’d get into the classroom I’d put it down on the floor just bending my body and holding it with my chin and my shoulder and lowering it down to the floor. And I’d take my books out and my pencil and paper and I kept up.

I was a straight-A student all through grade school until I got in high school when the peer pressure got tough for me. But all through grade school I was a straight-A student, an honor roll student. I was awesome!

BAM: I’m telling you, you are awesome! Now, when people say they can’t do it, I’m going to send them right over to you and say, “Don’t tell me you can’t do it.”

Tawana: Absolutely. That’s right. And that’s my motto, you never give up. You’ve got to fight like you’ve never fought before. I tell life every day, ‘Bring it! Whatever you’ve got for me today, I’ve got my boxing gloves on my feet. So, bring it on!’

BAM: Girl, you better not get me excited up here now. {Laughter} Now, you went through a rough time when you got older and the peer pressure. You were introduced to crack cocaine, is that correct?

Tawana: Absolutely. I was introduced to crack cocaine as a senior in high school when a so-called friend said, “Try it, Tawana. It will make you feel good.”

And I lowered my standard. I forgot about the greatness that was on the inside of me and I succumbed to what everybody else was doing and I smoked crack cocaine for the first time. And back then we didn’t call it crack, we called it freebasing.

And it blew my mind. The first hit that I took, I was instantly addicted.

BAM: And how long were you addicted?

Tawana: I was instantly addicted and my addiction consumed my life for ten years, from 1981 until 1991. In 1991 I hit rock bottom. I saw the hurt in Toby’s eyes and Toby is now my husband. But I destroyed him on the inside because he knew that I was bigger and better and greater than crack cocaine.

I saw the hurt in his eyes after he came back from Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. He was in the Air Force at that time. He had left me with money to pay the bills and to keep the household going while he was gone. And I was a crackhead, so of course, you know what I did; I smoked every dime of it.

And when he came home, that was my rock bottom. I didn’t have to lose my house, my car, my baby, I didn’t have to lose material things and family, but I almost lost the man, the only man, who loved me unconditionally. And that was my rock bottom.

And on that night we lay in bed and I just cried to God. I said, ‘God, if you’re real you got to help me with this. I can’t do it by myself. I want you to do one or the other: I want you to either kill me in my sleep or deliver me from crack cocaine.’

And Nicole , the next day that I opened my eyes, life was brand new. It was like I was born again. I mean, I didn’t know who God was, I really didn’t believe in God, but I knew God had to be real because I saw my Grandma praying for me, I saw my husband, Toby, praying for me for ten years and laying hands on me and sacrificing and doing what they did for my deliverance.

But I want you to know that that day it was like the beginning of my life. It was like I was transformed. It was powerful!

BAM: Because you were a new creature.

Tawana: Absolutely.

BAM: That’s awesome!

Tawana at speaking engagement

“The doctors told my Mom I would never walk. I’ve been walking since the age of two; I’m now 44 years old.”

Tawana: And then you know what? Not only did God do what I asked Him to do for me, then I had to step up and do my part, you know? A lot of times when people hear my testimony and I tell them what God did, they don’t realize that Tawana had to step up and do her part after deliverance came.

I had to find some new friends and get away from negative, toxic people. I had to stop hanging around crackheads and alcoholics and I just had to change my environment and change my lifestyle.

And so I did that and it’s been since 1991. That’s all I can say. I give God glory for my deliverance because my deliverance was instant. Just like my addiction was instant, my deliverance was instant.

BAM: That is so powerful. One thing you said that really hit home was that you said, “I forgot all the things that God did for me.” That’s amazing to me, Tawana.

Now, you instantly were delivered from crack cocaine and you started your new life. On your site you have videos of how you fed your daughter. When was your daughter born?

Tawana: She was born in April of 1986. She’s now 22 years old. And let me just say this: she’s not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be here, number one, because the doctors told my Mom that I would not live to be two weeks old just because I didn’t have arms. The doctors told my Mom I would never walk. I’ve been walking since the age of two; I’m now 44 years old.

And then they had the nerve to tell my Mom I would never have children. And my daughter April is 22 years old and I now have a grandson that is four years old, so the seed continues.

BAM: You’ve just proven everybody wrong.

Tawana: Absolutely.

BAM: That’s right. That’s awesome. You have the videos on your site and your videos actually show how you fed your daughter with your feet and how you changed diapers with your feet.

Tawana, you just get the Amazing Award from me.

Tawana with husband Toby

“He allowed you to be born without arms for the world to see what a defeated life most of us live.”

Tawana: Thank you. I tell people, ‘I am the bomb. So, what’s your excuse?’

My thing is -you got to do what you can, where you are, with what you have. That is a quote by George Washington Carver that has carried me through the years.

BAM: Amazing.

Tawana: And I will never be satisfied with where I am in my life because when we get satisfied we get comfortable, we get complacent. So, I just continue to move, continue to grow and just continue to be a blessing to people all over the world.

My husband Toby told me something a while back. He said, “Tee, God didn’t allow you to be born without arms for us, your family. He allowed you to be born without arms for the world to see what a defeated life most of us live.”

That’s powerful.

BAM: That is powerful.

Tawana: If you think about it, BAM, most of us do live a defeated life. We walk around, we say what we can’t do before we try, we hang around the wrong people, we hang around negative people and then we say we want to be this superstar or we want to do that, we want to be great.

How are you going to be great hanging around negative people, hanging around crackheads, hanging around do-nothing people, people that are lazy and slothful and slack and procrastinators? No, it’s just not going to happen.

BAM: Tawana, how long have you been married?

Tawana: I’ve been married since Christmas Day, December 25, 1991. When I got delivered from crack cocaine, Toby knew that I was over that. He knew that it was done.

He said, “If you stop getting high, I will marry you.”

And he did it four months later. I got delivered in August, we got married in December. God is good.

BAM: Toby seems like he’s an amazing man as well.

Tawana: Toby is awesome. He is an awesome man of God and I’m just so grateful that once I stopped seeking a man – and that’s what most of us do because I’ve been there where I sought a man and found exactly what I was looking for. When you seek, you’ll find it.

And that’s what I found. I found a man to beat me, I found a man that held a crackpipe to my mouth, I found a man that told me I was nothing, that I’d never be anything, that abused me physically, emotionally and mentally.

But when I stopped seeking a man, when I stopped settling, that’s when Toby found me. And the Bible says that when he found me, he found a good thing.

BAM: A good thing. That’s right.

Tawana: Yes!

BAM: You’re awesome, Tawana. I tell you, I could talk to you all day long. Now, let’s talk about this book.

You’re on a mission right now and you’re traveling all across the country, is that correct?

Tawana: Absolutely.

BAM: And you are spreading the message of hope and inspiration. What are you trying to tell the world?

Tawana: What I want to convey to the world is that we all need to look at our own lives and where we are in our lives right now. And we need to ask ourselves, “What is it that you want to accomplish?” And once you determine what it is that you want, then use what you got. I did it.

Do not come up with excuses, “Well, I don’t have the money. I don’t have the resources. I don’t know the right people.” You know what? I found in life you’re either going to have excuses or you’re going to have results. You can’t have both.

And there’s another quote by George Washington Carver that I love and it simply says that “99% of all failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” That’s powerful.

So, what I’m trying to convey to people is that once you stop living an excuseful lifestyle and you start moving towards your greatness or towards your dream or whatever it is that you want to have in this life, it will happen.

I just was not satisfied with my life where I was, so I decided to use what I had and to continue to move and things began to happen for me. Once I stopped complaining about my situation, the quality of my life began to change. And through the inspiration of desperation I began to use what I had. And all the time and energy I spent complaining about my situation, BAM, guess what? My situation never changed and yours won’t either.

So, that’s the message in a nutshell that I want people to know. That you’ve got that same power; anything you want to happen in your life, it’s possible. It can happen if you align yourself with the right people.

When I tried to go out in the world and get a job and I was turned down and they said you can’t get a job, guess what I did? I created my own job.

BAM: Go ahead, now.

Tawana: I am the CEO of Tawana Williams Outreach. I write my own checks. My husband and I, we travel all across this country, sometimes 20 to 25 times per month.

I decided that I was going to do this. I decided that I was going to make a career for myself. I wasn’t going to stand out in front of a store begging for money or a handout. I wasn’t looking for a handout. I was looking for an opportunity to create a life for myself.

And I realized that all the bad things that had happened to me in life—being raped, being molested by my stepfather, being addicted to crack cocaine, experiencing abortion—all of those things could have made me bitter or better and I chose to be better and you’ve got that same power.

BAM: You bad, girl! I’ll just tell you – you bad. {Laughter} I can’t say nothing else. Right now my hands are up. It’s like, “You just do your thing!”

Tell our listeners how they can contact you and how they can get your book, how they can book you to come to their church, their organization, their women’s meetings. I want the world to know how they can get in touch with you.

Tawana: Well, my website is www.tawanawilliams.com or you can email me at motivationalspeaker2003@yahoo.com. My phone number is 252-291-6081.

And I just want to say, BAM, that everybody that’s under the sound of my voice needs to order a copy of Unarmed But Dangerous. My book will change your life. This book will move you towards your greatness.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your life. You can be a doctor, lawyer, preacher, somebody that’s low in your life or addicted to drugs. Unarmed But Dangerous will move you, will give you no more excuses. It won’t allow you to say what you can’t do.What Unarmed But Dangerous will do is make you begin to live your dreams and to live your life full so that when you die you die empty.

BAM: That’s right. I think all youth groups should have it, all homes should have it, all people across the nation need to have it: book groups, women’s groups, women’s ministries; even high schools, Tawana.

Tawana: Absolutely. My book is everywhere. It’s that tool. I had a lady call me one day and she said, “Miss Tawana, I read your book and I’m not trying to be funny and I love the word of God, but I’m putting your book up here right next to the Bible.”

I was like. ‘That is deep.’

BAM: That’s right. That is so true. Well, Tawana, it’s just been a blessing speaking to you and if we can assist you in any way to spread the word about your book, spread the word about what you’re doing, email us and let us know. We will assist you in getting the word out.

I just thank you for sharing your story with others to provide hope, inspiration and encouragement.

Tawana: Thank you so much, Nicole

Copyright © 2008 Breathe Again Magazine

About the Interviewer
Nicole Cleveland is founder of Breathe Again Magazine Online and BAM! The Radio Show Podcast. She is on a mission to empower, encourage and motivate women by posting real life articles of women overcoming adversity. Visit www.breatheagainmagazine.com or contact her at editor@breatheagainmagazine.com

That Night In Eden

terrance

Though God,
with mind stroke
and wave of hand,
created the universe,
never ending,
forever growing,
its only parameters
defined by His own divine fingertips;

had created pristine oceans flowing,
towering mountains
that stretched to the heavens,
searching for home;

had created emerald plains
that seemed to roll into infinity,
and distant planets that would become stars,
celestial sparkles in earth’s night sky;

and created wild creatures
of every sort imagined
in His own sweet dreams;

it was not enough!

There remained a void,
something missed,
something needed to satiate
His complete love.

Then,
on one bright and sunny day,
His eyes transfixed on magnificence,
and a smile that
stretched across His whole universe,
God breathed life into the dust
of a special plot of Earthen soil
He would called Eden.

And in a moment,
there was man,
Adam,
a new wild creature,
with intellect,
a heart,
a soul,
a miracle offspring
made in the image and likeness
of the divine creator Himself.

But as God looked lovingly upon Adam
as he discovered Eden,
and watched him,
as with a child’s energy and wonder,
he frolicked in abundant garden,
thrilling
at the sweet, soft, glorious assault
of his senses,
those blessings that God granted
so that man might experience all that is living,

God grinned,
as Adam marveled at the sight of pervasive beauty
nestled in every corner of what seemed an eternity,
feeling the innocent tickle of buttercups
that he brushed across his cheeks,
listening to the errant gusts
of invisible winds
that teased his imagination,
tasting plump berries
that would burst at the seams,
and smelling the lush,
moist, cushion of grass
as he laid to slumber,

God knew that for this mortal man,
like Himself once lonely,
there remained a void,
something missed,
something more needed for him to love.

So,
beneath a crimson and golden sky,
God waved His hand again,
so that Adam might sleep.
And as the dusk surrendered into night,
God performed another miracle.

Taking a single rib from Adam’s side,
an emotion-filled, passionate, God
raised it high into the magical African night,
the blackest ebony firmament,
full of mystery,
wonder,
and surprise.
And when God placed the rib back at Adam’s side,
it was woman,
Eve,
meaning the night before.
Adam was awakened the next dawn
by a new, sweet, fragrance.
With sleepy eyes slowly parting,
he glimpsed the wondrous form nestled beneath him,
her exquisite beauty making his eyes bulge,
and they have bulged ever since.

Adam stared in wonder,
marveling at smooth skin
painted the color of African night,
drinking in Eve’s full lips,
that spoke to him
still closed.
He stroked thick, midnight hair
that tickled like buttercups,
and listened to her gentle breathing,
those soft gusts on invisible winds
that teased his imagination,

all the beauty of Eden,
packaged into the delicate blessing
that lay beside him.

And Adam cried,
having discovered
what he had never known was missing,
having known loneliness,
but not knowing why.

His happy tears slid across his cheeks
and collected beneath his chin,
until they could cling no more
and began to drop upon Eve.

Awakening,
the first thing this world beheld
for this new creation
was a tear-laden Adam,
someone she would instantly love.
By instinct,
she caressed him,
to console,
to mother,
to love.

At the dawn of man,
blackest Eve,
as all of her daughters who would follow,
became the strength that would help man
carry on,
his leaning post,
his heart food,
the only place his seed might flower.

Make no mistake!
To celebrate woman
is indeed a celebration of man’s better half.
His first act was to explore,
to marvel
and wonder.
Hers was to love,
to care
and mother.

With all of his extraordinary strengths,
man possesses great weaknesses.
Thank God for the blessing that is woman,
whose truest strength
is the unceasing capacity for love.

That one night in Eden,
knowing that He hadn’t quite finished,
God improved upon man
by making woman.

© Terrance Afer-Anderson March 18, 1995