One word at a time.

It’s October 31, 2017.  For some people this is a holiday filled with disguises and tons of sugar. For the longest time, it was for me, the day before I would prepare for what I usually call the Super Bowl of the writing world: NanoWrimo.

One of the things that sometimes I don’t realize, is that the days go by and then all of the sudden a long time has gone by. and I’ve lost time doing the things that I loved so much. Writing is something that has been a part of me since I was very young. Back in 2009 when I rediscovered the pleasure of writing, I felt alive again.  I did it consistently for a few years, but I allowed life to get in the way again.

NanoWrimo was the start of taking my writing career seriously. It was the birth of this blog I felt that it was fitting to restart writing again with in the same place that got me started.  Back in 2009 I had a plan, a book in my heart. Today I must honestly say that I have no idea what I’m going to write about. I’m rusty. I’m out of shape. So, I need this book camp. There are many stories inside of me that are in need to be told.

Ironically the last time I posted was exactly a year ago. It was promoting a book about terrorism from a fellow writer. Today in NYC, there was a horrible act of terrorism. Thoughts and prayers to those victims and their loved ones. More reason for me to return to talk about love, common sense and Jesus!

In other news, this time I’m taking my writing to another level. Aside from my former education in media relations that gave me a lot of writing tools, I’m joining a formal writing class in the next week or so.

I should have never left, but I don’t regret it. During that time, I had something to do for me and some for the work of The Kingdom. But like my friend Carrie says, “you know what your calling is”. It is time to be back home doing what I was created to do.

So here I am, smiling at the sight of my laptop and a blank page. I sure missed you my old friend.

 

Stay safe.

 

Naty

 

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When ISIS turns your city into a living hell…

This is a new book by Jim Baton. This is a serious topic being discussed in America at this time. Read and let us know your opinion on the information provided.

Summary :

ISIS unleashes a reign of terror across Indonesia. As a former jihadist, Abdullah knows all too well the high cost and absolute ineffectiveness of fighting such violence with violence. He accepts the impossible challenge of finding the ISIS cell hidden in his city, and disbanding it non-violently. But time is running out, and there may not be any city left to save.

Meanwhile, he has to protect his adopted daughter Sari, a Christian university student, who is one of ISIS’s targets. Together they come face-to-face with the holy warriors of mass destruction and strive to overcome that evil with good.

In this riveting sequel to Someone Has to Die, Jim Baton introduces us to the real people caught in the web of terrorism, with their wide variety of backgrounds and motivations, and the possibility that they, too, can change.

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You can learn more about his work and novels at www.jimbaton.com, or find them on www.amazon.com.

Perspective: Dallas Shooting

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I was on the phone with my mother, with the news on the background, when they started talking about the Dallas shooting. It was a confusing situation. During a protest by Black Lives Matter and other organizations, a shooting broke out. 12 people were shot, 5 of them died the rest wounded. 11 of them were police officers and 1 civilian.

This was a significant incident given that the protest was against police brutality and the target of this shootings was the police. At the beginning it was thought that there were multiple shooters, but at the end it was found that it was just one well trained one.

You can find bad apples in every bucket, that doesn’t mean that all the apples in the bucket are rotten. I can remember every interaction with the police that I’ve had. I don’t have a particular bad experience to recount. But I know that’s not everyone’s experience. I have been stopped for no reason to ask for my identification, but it has never developed into a situation. They take the information, they verify and I go my merry way.  So I can’t relate to those who have had bad experiences, but I do know that they happen and they are real.

However, the majority of police officers go into this line of work for one reason, and one reason only: to serve. Every day and night they risk their lives to ensure a safe society. Do they need better training? Yes. Do they need better pay? Yes. Are there some that shouldn’t be on the force? Yes. But just like we don’t want racial, socieconomical and gender generalizations, we shouldn’t do it for the brothers in blue.

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The story that really encompassed what happened that night was told by one of the protesters. He recounts that he was running when he heard the shots. A police officer pushed him out of the way to safety. At that same moment that cop was shot and was one of the casualties. John 15:13 tells us “
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” That’s exactly what this officer did and many do every day.

It’s ok to make callouts to justice. It’s not only proper, but a legal right. But we should hold accountable those bad apples instead of harming all the good apples that are working very hard for us.

Food for thought.

Perspective: Philando Castile

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I was listening to the news while watching my twitter feed. Someone posted the link to Diamond Reynolds live stream. She had ended the stream probably 30 minutes prior. This video is very raw and disturbing. Philando Castile, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old were detained by police, and during that traffic stop Philando was shot by the police. Diamond starts live streaming the situation on Facebook. She’s asked to get out of the car, handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. I watched this video holding my chest in disbelief until her daughter tells her “It’s OK mom, I’m here with you”. I totally lost it. I could not stop crying.

At that point I figured that Philando was on his way to the hospital, so I started praying for the Lord to be with him. I kept trying to find updates online to see if he had made it. It was a long night. At some point I fell asleep of exhaustion. A few hours later, I woke up looking for an update. Philando was dead. But there was a new concern, nobody knew where Diamond and her daughter were once taken into police custody.

The phone number for the Police Department was blasted all over social media. People from everywhere were calling inquiring about her. It was a moment of unity. I had several conversations with people on social media trying to create a line of communication updating each other on any new piece of information we could find. From the pictures on their twitter profiles, there were people from every background trying to make sure that Diamond and her daughter were OK. Total strangers for one moment united looking out for the well-being of one of us, another human being.  We need to extend those moments. At some point, in the morning, a friend of hers posted on Facebook that she had been found and we all breathed a little easier.

When I was a child, we used to place firecrackers on our neighbors fences. We would open the little string and take some of the powder off to act as a timer. The idea was that when the firecracker went off we would not be there, so we wouldn’t be found as the culprit. I think this firecracker had been lit for a while and this incident was the one that finally blew it.

I’ve tried to place myself in this woman’s shoes and I don’t know what my reaction would have been. I think that my reaction would have been to tender to him and that could have resulted in my own demise.  I don’t think I would have had the presence of mind to get my phone and start recording.

From everyone who knew Philando, that has spoken, he was a great guy. He worked at a Montessori school in the cafeteria. They say that he was a role model to the kids and well loved. It sounds like his passing was a true loss to the community.

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My biggest heartache is that child. That baby could have been shot in the crossfire. That baby can’t unsee what she saw. We don’t know how this will affect her in the future. If this was an intense experience for people watching the video, can you imagine what this does to the young mind of a 4-year-old?

Different things have been brought up. The ones that have been confirmed are that he didn’t have a criminal record, but tons of traffic related violations. He did have a gun and a permit for it. There has been the speculation that he didn’t have a permit because none were found in his county of residence. Apparently he obtained it in a different county. At the end of the day none of this matters, he didn’t deserve to die.

As I said yesterday, aside from the child, the eagerness to find something to say negative about him has been appalling. The attempt to justify that his life somehow was not important. I think as human beings we need to recognize that those feelings don’t come from godly places.

This one is a complicated one, there’s so many things that went wrong in the heat of emotions. Listing them is not important, but creating consciousness of what matters now.

We need to stop devaluing life. We are our brother’s keeper. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our brother and sister is Every. Single. Person around us. We all get hungry. We all get sad. We all get sick. Our blood is red for all. And it was with blood that we were bought. Blood was the prize that Jesus paid for our redemption. When things like this happen we need to embrace each other.

peaceRemember that regardless of the circumstances, there are immediately two families destroyed that had NOTHING to do with the incident; the shooter’s family and the family of the one who was shot. Let cool heads prevail. Let’s pray for the families that are going through the worst time of their lives. Let’s embrace each other instead of fighting each other over the smallest detail. It’s time to mourn together as the human race, because we have lost plenty in the last few days.

Be blessed.

Perspective: Alton Sterling

As promised this is my first post on my perspective series. I’m trying not only to voice some of my feelings, but also some of my concerns with the current events in our country. I’m going to try to do this in the chronological order of the events.

The first incident (this time) was the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA. A homeless man called 911 stating that Mr.Sterling had threatened him with a gun. The police came to check the situation and he was shot to death during the exchange.

I became aware of this incident by the time the second video came out. That second video was the first one I saw.  Without more details I couldn’t understand why this man was shot. In the video that I saw, I saw him pinned to the ground by two police officers. One policeman had his legs, the other one was pointing a gun to his head and all of the sudden he received multiple shots to his chest. I know some people say that he was moving his hand, that his hand was moving towards the cop’s gun or could have been interpreted that he was going for the gun that he had in his possession. I don’t argue with what others saw. I didn’t’ see that. But that’s not for me to determined. The justice system is working on that and more details will come and provide more insight on this issue.

What hurts my heart about this incident has been the anger and reaction towards Mr. Sterling as a person. Comments like “he’s not an angel” and “he’s a sex offender” are thrown as if he deserved to die. From my perspective a lie and a murder are equal in the eyes of God. So any sin that I’ve committed in my life is not better or worse than any shortcomings that Mr. Sterling could have.  In moments like this we need to remember Romans 3:23

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I don’t know if the death penalty is legal in the state of Louisiana, but to my knowledge there are no sexual offenses that qualify for the death penalty legally speaking. Even, if so, as a society we have a process, a justice system that includes several steps to determine such things.

Mr. Sterling was a registered sex offender. He spent 4 years in jail for his offense. If you stop right here, you have already painted a picture of this man. But then you hear what the “victim” of his offense had to say; things are not so black and white. The mother of his son went on television to explain that she was in a relationship with Alton Sterling when she was 15 years old. Alton Sterling was 19-20 years old at the time. In the process of their relationship she became pregnant therefore he was accused of statutory rape and registered as a sex offender. I think in perspective the picture changes. The same lady stated that he was a good and present father for all his five kids and had a decent relationship with the mothers of his children.

Alton Sterling owed money for child support. If you stop right here, you can assume that he was irresponsible. Our reality as a society is that most convicts pay the consequences of their transgressions for a lifetime. Once they come out of jail, it is very hard for them to find a stable job due to their criminal record. So even when they have paid their debt to society, we continue to punish them beyond the term that the law saw fit for their punishment. Even with an education, it would have been very hard for him to find a well-paying job that could provide appropriately for his family. I’m not sure that he would qualify for a license to open his own business due to the same reasons.

The encounter with the police was not related to any of his past transgressions. When we say “but he did, but he was” we are providing a justification for his death. We are telling ourselves that it’s OK for him to not be alive because he wasn’t up to whatever standard we have placed on him and that’s not OK.

I saw his oldest son sobbing on television. It was a very sad thing. That son is 15 years. He and his siblings will not have a father to grow up with. Regardless of any past or current actions of Alton Sterling, he was a human being. He was a father, a son and a friend.

My prayer is that the community gathers around his family not only for support during this time of mourning, but for the kids in the future. My hope and prayer is that those around those kids step up to be inspirational figures so that they can become productive citizens.

Most of all, I want to make sure that we stop to think that a human being is dead and that a family is in mourning.

Blessings.

rest

 

I want to stress that my writings are my own. Those are my opinions, views and perspective and they do not reflect the views of my employers or any organization that I belong to. I also plan to not censor comments on these posts. I really never do, but I do require pre-authorization because I do not allow profanity, hate speech, or insults to me or other posters. Any comment with that content will be deleted. Disagreements in a civil way are more than welcome.

Perspective

For the last couple of months I’ve been silent. I know I’ve told most of my readers that I’m working on getting back to writing, but that I’ve been reading for a while, which is true. Something has changed in me. It’s not the desire to write, but somehow I can’t get butt in chair to get it going.  The events of the last few months have really troubled me and I’ve still been quiet, not out of not wanting to ruffle feathers or concerned with opinions. Those who know me know that I can speak my mind. I just couldn’t do it.

I think I’ve grown. When I started writing seriously back in 2008, I said that part of the reason I was starting this blog was to share my perspective on things. I wanted to share the truths that God had revealed in my life. The things I’ve learned.  I did so nonstop for several years. I also wrote some pieces of fiction that you have enjoyed and I did too. Ministry called me to work and my time to sit and write was not there, so I entered into a semi hiatus in which I reached out to check on all of you from time to time.  Once that season was over, I couldn’t get back in rhythm and I think it was because I was trying to force myself to go back to finish those fiction projects that I have not yet completed.

This morning I woke up with a heart full. I’m full from all the events of the last days. I want to write about it. I want to write about my pain and my heart for what’s going on. When I started writing fiction it was in part because there were certain events in my life that I wanted to share on an indirect level. Every author tends to do that. But I know that when I’m most passionate is when I speak from my heart. So to my novel lovers, they will come…but for a while I think I need to stick to my blog and some nonfiction ideas that are burning in my heart.

I’m going to start a series called Perspective: In this series I’m going to talk specific about : Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas Police Shooting, Racial Bias, Election 2016, Social Media in Current Events  and other topics as they come along. Yes they are hot topics, but these are conversations that need to happen.

Expect the first one of these later today.

I want to stress that my writings are my own. Those are my opinions, views and perspective and they do not reflect the views of my employers or any organization that I belong to. I also plan to not censor comments on these posts. I really never do, but I do require pre-authorization because I do not allow profanity, hate speech, or insults to me or other posters. Any comment with that content will be deleted. Disagreements in a civil way are more than welcome.

 

Let’s get the conversation started.

WF: Worship and Positive Attraction

In its purest form, to worship is to offer reverence to God. The wonder that is worship is that this Cover 2 JPGexplosive offering is like a bomb that both gives off and attracts God’s positive emotional vibrations.
When you worship and praise God in any form you are releasing vibrations that are in tune with His broadcast. God’s presence is drawn in by these worship vibrations, for He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). This holy habitation means He literally lives and abides in His praises, and how could He not (?) for the vibrations of praise are the vibrations of His Spirit, touching God as a pleasing fragrance and kissing the very frequency of heaven itself.
Praise and worship are special and personal expressions of the heart that release adoration, gratitude, and favor; these expressions change and charge the atmosphere, ushering in a frequency that is in tune with a higher realm that is the abode of God.
In some church circles, the strong link between worship and positive emotion has upset some people as expressive worshiping is labelled as nothing more than ‘emotionalism’. As we understand the important role emotions play in daily attraction one should ask ‘what is wrong with emotionalism?’ God has given us our emotions for a reason and a genuine encounter with the Most High Source will touch ones emotions and see some form of emotional response. When one considers the fervour and passion seen in the stands of a football game how much more should expressive emotion be broadcast towards the Main Attraction, Creator God?!
A popular and particularly emotive expression of worship is through releasing vibration through song and music. When intent is placed behind the voice box and instrument a force of tremendous fortitude is enacted and released.
From the tribal war drum to a lullaby soothing a crying baby, worship through music is truly dynamic in authority that elevates vibrations into God’s presence and sees ones reverberations flow in harmonious synchrony with His Spirit.
Though this act is a pleasing sacrifice to God it also attracts pleasing things to us, for worship feels good, raising ones frequency and actualizing a positive emotional state. It seems a type of paradox that the more one gives the more one gets. The fact that by giving an offering of worship to God that He gives His presence, healing, and breakthrough is another aspect of grace. Though the heart motive of worship should be genuine adoration, appreciation, and glorification – getting is a by-product of giving that is His spiritual law. When it comes to worship we do not give to get but nevertheless we will get if we give.
One day my brother Leigh worshiped in song with the words to God “you are holy’ and distinctively felt Him singing back “You are whole – Leigh”. The reciprocal heart of God in the cycle of attraction reflects a love that is truly breathtaking.

bio2Author bio: An ever inquisitive mind, Craig has spent years carefully crafting a mosaic of rich philosophy through his study of the positive faith, mind-set and action connection and marrying these insights into practical living. With a message on his heart and an anointing to share rich and deep insights, Craig’s book ‘The God Attraction: A fresh revelation of the Law of Attraction’ can be found at: http://www.amzn.com/B01DFDLR8M