Hey You! S.T.R.A.P.

Stop Throwing Rocks at the Penitentiary (S.T.R.A.P.)

Donald Shepherd Founder S.T.R.A.P. Foundation

Donald Shepherd
Founder S.T.R.A.P. Foundation

How does a homeless man create a foundation that serves as an incubator for the talents of our youth?  That is what I wanted to know, so I asked Donald Shepherd , Founder of the S.T.R.A.P. Foundation.  The answer was simple:  A clear vision, a passion for saving our youth, focus and support of the community.

Essentially the S.T.R.A.P. Foundation recruits young people from different churches that are trying to get into mime dancing, ministry, singing, etc. These multi-talented young people are incorporated into the S.T.R.A.P. program, and they travel with the youth departments of several churches and put on different shows.

Don says that the S.T.R.A.P. Foundation has 25 active cadets (Foundation members) that go everywhere with the group Although they travel in groups of combined churches’ youth departments, these cadets are the only actual members of S.T.R.A.P.

For the past two years, S.T.R.A.P. has traveled to perform skits dealing with the consequences of poor decisions.  The message behind the skits are intended to stop youth violence, Stop Throwing Rocks at the Penitentiary (S.T.R.A.P.) and stop the rate of deaths among young people. As part of those skits, they have traveled with their trademark coffin which represented the ultimate consequence of poor decisions (death).  Don says that in March 2014, S.T.R.A.P.  retired the coffin.  I asked if that meant that they had replaced it with a new coffin?  They did not replace it, but instead of speaking death and dire consequences, the group now speaks life.

I first learned about S.T.R.A.P. via Facebook and I’m not sure how S.T.R.A.P. showed up in my FB feed, but there it was in my feed every single day.  I found out that S.T.R.A.P.’s FB presence is very intentional in that the skits are only a small part of promoting the Foundation.  The media involvement is essential to getting the word out about the Foundation, its travels, its youth and its mission, which is to involve young people in social consciousness while they simultaneously tap into their creativity.  Every time S.T.R.A.P. plans an event, the media is contacted for coverage. S.T.R.A.P. relies on that coverage whether TV, in print or social media, to broaden its reach. They have been covered by The Birmingham Times, Fox 6, and Alabama’s 13 WVTM.

An unlikely candidate to found such an organization, Donald Shepherd has spent time in the very penitentiary system for which he so staunchly steers young people away.  He spent 15 years in the prison system himself. He’s a recovering addict and 28 year cancer survivor.  Lessons learned the hardest way provides him with the testimony that aims to keep kids on the straight and narrow and to strive for a life for which they can be proud..

The following are S.T.R.A.P.’s Board of Directors: Robert L. Operton as President, Clifford Watkins as Vice President, Sylvia Watkins as Executive Secretary, T. Watkins as Secretary, Regina Gray as Treasurer, Errick Gray as Assistant. Treasurer and Jovita Operton as a Board Officer.

Many of S.T.R.A.P.’s events are well attended by the City of Birmingham officials including Mayor Bell and council members. Not only do they attend, but they actively participate in the celebrations of life.  Parents Against Violence has partnered with them also to bring an end to violence.

Donald welcomes any youth group and churches to become a part of the mission.  You can contact him via Facebook or contact him directly at 205-356-4478.

Here’s the line up thus for August 2014 S.T.R.A.P. activities.  You too can join the cause to Stop Throwing Rocks at the Penitentiary.

Many of S.T.R.A.P.’s events are well attended by City of Birmingham officials including Mayor William Bell and council members. Not only do they attend, but they actively participate in the celebrations of life.  Parents Against Violence has partnered with them also to bring an end to violence.

Donald welcomes any youth group and churches to be come a part of the mission.  You can contact him via Facebook or contact him directly at 205-356-4478.

Here’s the line up thus for August 2014 S.T.R.A.P. activities.  You too can join the cause to Stop Throwing Rocks at the Penitentiary.

The STRAP Foundation schedule for August 2014:
August 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm
National Night Out. Tuxedo Heights
August 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Birmingham Dance 4th Annual Celebration
His Word Ministry
August 23, 2014
The STRAP Foundation “First annual Fun Day and back 2 school
Rally at The East Thomas Park.
11:00-3:00 pm

 

RRR Special – Man on the Move: Ferlando Parker

Ferlando Parker, ihangTVs.com

ihangTVs

ihangTVs

Just bought a flat screen television and don’t know how to hang it? If you live in the Metro Birmingham, AL area, I’ll bet the first thought that came to your mind was ihangTVs.com. A short while back, ihangTVs owner, Ferlando Parker, posted on his Facebook page that there was talk of a new show, Fix It and Finish It, on Fox 6 and his name had been dropped to be featured on the show.  I decided right then that he was the man I wanted to speak with.  I in-boxed him and within seconds he replied.  I called up the man himself for a brief chat about the possibility of ihangTVs.com being featured on the upcoming TV show.  Plus I got a bit of history on his company.

First I was eager to know if Ferlando had heard anything else about the Fix It and Finish It show and how his name came up.  According to Ferlando, a representative from Fox 6 had contacted him about the show and arranged for him to meet with the show’s producers.  He said everything went great as far as he was concerned.  He made a pitch suggesting that if any of the seven Birmingham Fix It and Finish homes needed any wiring that they allow ihangTvs.com to be featured on the show as the installation contractor.  In addition, if there were going to be any television upgrades for the families, iHangTvs.com would do what it has become known to do:  hang TVs.

The Start of it All

I told Ferlando that this was a business that literally fell in his lap and I’m sure you’ll agree after reading his story.  Prior to ihangTVs.com, Ferlando owned his own business doing account generation for existing Direct TV and Dish Network dealers. After that, he went to work for Direct TV as a technician.

During his time at Direct TV, the digital transition was taking place and people were getting rid of their big back, antenna TVs and replacing them with high definition (HD) TVs.  This was great except for one thing:  every time Ferlando would finish a job wiring a home for Direct TV, the homeowners didn’t know what to do with their TVs.  He says they were literally sitting them on the floor because there was no place to put them. Time and time again, homeowners were asking him if he knew of anyone that hung TVs and time and time again, his answer was no.  He offered to check with Direct TV to see if he could refer someone or some company to hang them, but Direct TV was against that.

Also, while he was working at Direct TV, Ferlando had a side business installing telephone wiring, cable jacks and internet jacks in order to bring in extra income.  Direct TV found out about that and felt that it was a conflict of interest and suspended him.  In the meantime, Ferlando successfully hung a flat screen TV in his own home and eventually he took on a client hanging their TV and that customer told somebody, and then they told somebody and so forth.  He started getting more and more calls.  Initially, he thought his phone was jumping off the hook with request for phone jack installs.  As  it turned out, they were calling to have their televisions hung on walls.

At the time, his company was named  ExtraJacks.com.  He was installing extra phone jacks and cable jacks, but request for TV installs were beginning to dominate, so he changed the name to ihangTVs.com.  The original name that he came up with was wehangTVs, but someone already had that name.  Before long, he had a logo, added the logo to his vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, which he still has, and he passed out a thousand business cards every month as a means of branding ihangTVs.com. I mention that back in 2008, branding was still a relatively new concept and even then he was on the cusp of cutting edge marketing.

That was in 2008 and for the first year he hung TVs primarily by himself.  He didn’t have any employees, but on occasion he would hire a helper.  In 2009, advertising reps began approaching him about advertising.  He gave it a shot and one instance in particular did not pan out because of ill-placed ads.  In addition, he had not yet identified his target customer.  The one thing that Ferlando had going for him was that he had a sales background and he knew how to generate business regardless of whether the ads were working.

I asked him about the company called We Hang TVs and wanted to know if they were local competition and he confirmed that they were not.  They were actually a company out of Texas.  It was a guy just like Ferlando, who had ventured off into a business for which a need was not being met.

Ferlando said after four years in business, the company had a solid foothold in the market and has been going strong ever since.  He is a prime example of an opportunist in action.  He quickly identified a need in the market, developed the skill to meet the need and with nothing more than his tools, logo, business cards and sales know-how, ihangTVs.com was born and bred.

Business ideas do not always fall in the laps of entrepreneurs the way that it happened for ihangTVs.com.  However, every entrepreneur has to be ready at any moment to recognize opportunity when it knocks at the door.

Now back to my original question:  Just bought a flat screen television and don’t know how to hang it?  Call ihangTVs.com at 205-326-2884.  Be sure to “like” ihangTVs on Facebook.

Advancing in Years

Advancing in Years

by Guest Writer Sharon Williams

Advancing in Age

Advancing in Age

I tend to be one of those people who will sit quietly taking note of my surroundings, and then spend days meditating on it.  My brain seems to take on a life of its own and will exhaust any conceivable concept related to that subject, sometimes to the point of physical exhaustion for me.   Actually, I think I just never outgrew the “why” stage of my childhood, and learned to ask the questions to myself instead of out loud.  Just a few years ago, I discovered that writing gave me that freedom of release and provided a way to clear my thoughts, just in time for the next adventure.

Here lately, on more than three occasions, I have taken note of advertisements for procedures around anti-aging.  The processes claim to be a low-risk way to reverse the signs of aging, but in the grand scheme of things, is that even truly possible? Is it truly a reversal, or just a slight delay? What’s so wrong with aging?  Did I mention that I never outgrew that “why” phase?  Maybe here is a chance to Renew, Refresh, and Reset our thinking when it comes to aging? Aging is not always about what you lose; sometimes it’s a matter of discovering what you’ve gained.

I personally see aging as a positive thing, a blessing.  Aging signifies maturity, growth, and advancement. Anything that does not grow has no life, it becomes stagnant.  On the other hand, anything that continues to grow but does not somehow change is, well—I’m really not sure what that is.  For some, it may be difficult to see yourself advancing in years, but you have to remember, you are still who you are.  A line or a wrinkle on my face does not alter me; my spirit, which is the real me.  You can’t even see the real me, what you see is just a shell.  The real me, is what gives life to that shell.  Sure, my “shell” does not look like it did when it was twenty, but I am perfectly ok with that.  When I was twenty, I had not had the experiences, nor was I even remotely prepared for the experiences that I had when I was in my thirties and forties.  I did not know the concern for a child in pain, a parent in surgery, or the struggles that come with a job that goes away.  I did not know the joys of becoming a mother for the first time or having someone to love you unconditionally.  I had not communed with as many elders to understand the joys and struggles that come with making the world a better place.  That’s life, and sometimes life tends to show on our faces.  Each face has a story to tell, and oh what a beautiful story it is!

Imagine all the delightful experiences you would have missed if you were forever young.

You may be able to erase a line or two, here and there, but the true essence of who you are should never be hidden.  As long as I have breath in my body, I have the opportunity to live life to the fullest!  The time I could take to inventory every line or crease around my eyes, is the time I choose to use in reflection and thanksgiving for the maturity, growth, and advancements in life that I have been given.

photo credit: Barack Obama via photopin cc

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.” Charita Cadenhead, Life Coach


Sharon Williams 

Advancing in Age

Sharon Williams

Sharon, hails from Birmingham, AL by way of Boston, MA.  Born in Tuscaloosa, AL she is a graduate of Stillman College and currently holds a PHR certification in Human Resources–the field in which she has worked for the past 20+ years.  Sharon has recently published the book: The ABCs of Real Beauty–the “must have” accessory for every woman and young girl.  Through years of battling negative body image, fighting the internal struggle to be herself and yet conform to her environment, and hearing the conversations of other women, Sharon saw a need.  Relying on her faith, while balancing the responsibilities of wife, mother, and career, Sharon sought for a solution.  A solution that would lift the esteem of herself and other women alike. Something that would fly in the face of those “unwritten” rules in which society operates.  You can learn more about her work by visiting her Real Beauty A to Z website.  Copies of her book, The ABC’s of Real Beauty, can be purchased on Amazon.com.

Sharon Williams on Twitter

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The Source of My Strength

Source of my Strength

Recognizing the Source of My Strength

One of my co-workers is always saying that I have so much energy.  I don’t always recognize that because I just do what I do without ever thinking about it. But then when she mentions it, I do kind of seem like the Eveready Energizer Bunny (that just keeps going and going and going).

I was reminded of my co-worker on Sunday at church when the choir sang You Are the Source of my Strength by Richard Smallwood. The song goes on to say “You are the strength of my life.”  As I was leaving church and walking to my car, I thought about all of my energy that Susan (my co-worker) is always talking about.  I felt a smile glaze across my face and I just thanked God for being the source of my strength.

As I continued a slow, steady and reflective pace to my car, I found myself clothed in thankfulness and gratitude for the awesome fact that God is the strength of my life.  I reflected on all of the times that God had carried me over so many hurdles.  Through Him, I was able to circumvent obstacles, and he made a way out of what I perceived to be no way at the time.

I recalled being a single mother raising a little girl and the times when we had little to eat and yet neither of us ever went hungry.  I recalled a specific occasion when I had very little money to provide for our basic needs. I remember turning my situation over to God and then letting go of it.  From that day forward it seemed that every time I looked around, I had a check in the mail.   Every time I reached in the mailbox and pulled out a check, I would break down in tears. It was such an incredible feeling knowing that God was fully in control and had his almighty hand rested upon my shoulder.

He Gives Me Strength Daily

Still en route to my car, I had finally approached it.  I thanked God again for being the source of my strength and my seemingly endless vitality.  I stay pretty busy and I am always on the go (except for when I am sleep and then I am probably dreaming about doing something).  How else would I have the energy to keep going if it were not for the source of my strength?

All I can say is that I have no real complaints about my life.  I do the things that I enjoy, and I help others in the process.  I thank God for being the source of my strength and energy.

God has blessed me with immeasurable strength, and although I forget that at times, I remain grateful that he infuses reminders that he is the source of my strength.

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita H. Cadenhead, Life Coach
photo credit: Matt. Create. via photopin cc


 

Charita Cadenhead Renew Refresh Reset Your Life

Charita Cadenhead
Renew Refresh Reset Your Life

Charita H Cadenhead is a Life Coach and founder of Renew Refresh Reset Your Life.  She is the creator and editor of the RenewRefreshReset motivational blog and The Introvert Advocate, all of which launched in 2014.  Her passions lie in activism for introverts, writing, empowering women, coaching and encouraging people to embrace their strengths and use those strengths to live a powerfully fulfilling life

She has been featured on NuWireInvestor.com and has written for Smart Healthy Women. She has been a guest as well as a co-host on The Joe Lockett Show and as been a guest on Erica Glessing’s 2014 Happiness Telesummit.  In addition, she’s a licensed Realtor® in State of Alabama serving the Metro Birmingham market since 2006, Co-author of the book “Sell Your House Fast for the Right Price” and a blogger on ActiveRain Real Estate Network with over 90 featured post.

Like Charita on Facebook

Renew Refresh Reset

Follow Charita Cadenhead on Twitter

Freedom Through Forgiveness

Forgiveness: The True Price of Freedom

by Guest Writer:  Dr. Veronica Harrington

Freedom

Freedom

I grew up in a single parent household just like many other children.  My father’s absence in my life as a young girl affected my ability as a woman to trust and allow someone the ability to love, protect, and provide for me in a relationship.  In courtships, I subconsciously sought needs from men that were unfulfilled by my father. I wanted love and security from a man, but as I matured I realized that I was broken.  I was hurt and angry from failed expectations from others and that impacted my ability to have lasting relationships.

People are not perfect therefore relationships are not perfect.  As long as we are in relationships we will have to forgive and be forgiven.  Forgiveness sets your soul free.  There is a poem by William Ernest Henley entitled Invictus that concludes with this “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Forgiveness is a process that begins with a decision to let go.

The Process

  1. Self-Awareness: Know who you are and recognize unhealthy reactions to external actions.  People deal with hurt and pain in a variety of different ways so it’s important to be honest with yourself about how you feel about things that have occurred in your past.
  2. Determine the Source: Seek out the source of your pain. Are you angry with yourself? Are you angry with a parent, another family member, spouse, coworker, or a close friend? Who is the person(s) responsible for your brokenness?
  3. Prayer- Set aside some quiet time each day to reset through prayer.  Ask for help along this journey to forgive yourself or people that have hurt you. Prayer will refresh your spirit, strengthen, and empower you.
  4. Time: It takes time to forgive people that have hurt you and time to heal your heart from hurt, pain, and bitterness.  Patience is a virtue so allow the necessary time for complete healing to take place in your life.
  5. Think And Speak Positively: Develop a consistent habit of thinking and speaking positively.  When you have a positive attitude, you draw positive energy and positive people to you.  You speak things into existence.  Speak great things into your life.  Speak love, speak positive relationships, and speak forgiveness into your life.

You can’t change your past or unfortunate events that have occurred, but you have the ability to control how you react to things that have happened to you in your past.  Let go of the past and move forward in freedom towards your future.  By choosing freedom, you chose to live your life to the fullest.

Photo Credit:  Visual Eyes by CHC.


 Dr. Veronica Harrington

Dr. Veronica Harrington

Dr. Veronica Harrington

 

Dr. Harrington is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.  She was educated in the Birmingham Public School System at Ramsey High School and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Hampton University.  Dr. Harrington continued her education and pursued a doctorate in Vision Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She is passionate about people and desires to make an impact on people through her published written works.  Dr. Harrington is the author of “The Journey” and she is currently in the process of completing her next book entitled “Pieces of Me.”  She enjoys her work as a financial professional and freelance writer.  You can rearch her at www.thejourneytopurpose.webs.com or doctorvrh@yahoo.com.

 

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita H. Cadenhead, Life Coach

Renew Refresh Reset: It’s How I Live

Renew Refresh Reset Is Not Just a Blog

cropped-RRR-Quotes-Background-image.jpg

After I had thanked the Lord for waking me up this morning, I reflected on how thankful I was for another day to Renew Refresh Reset my life. For those of you read or  follow Renew Refresh Reset, I hope you enjoy the articles. But more importantly, each time you log on to this site, I hope that the words “Renew Refresh Reset Your Life” resonate with you.  I hope that you realize that today and every day going forward is another day to “make right” the wrongs of yesterday.

At the end of every post, you’ll find these words: “Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.” Yes, that’s my tagline, but it also serves as a constant reminder that if I didn’t get it right yesterday, I’ve got another shot at getting it right today.

As humans do, we may occasionally sit and perhaps sulk over an error in judgement or “perceived” stupid thing we’ve done.  We may sit on a great idea for far too long until the motivation to act upon it vanishes without notice.  It happens, and it’s okay so long as we move on once we recognize the error or the real cost of procrastination.  Getting stuck on the action or inaction of the past simply delays the timely pursuit of the necessary counteraction.

A Final Note About a Life Reset

Whatever wrong you’ve done, whatever mistake you’ve made, there is absolutely no chance that you can undo it. If you have been putting something off for far too long, recognize that now is as good a time as any to stop the procrastination. Ask yourself what is preventing you from moving forward.  Once you’ve identified it, decide right then to renew, refresh and reset.  And remember that

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita H. Cadenhead, Life Coach


DSC_0083Charita H Cadenhead is a Life Coach and founder of Renew Refresh Reset Your Life.  She is the creator and editor of the RenewRefreshReset motivational blog and The Introvert Advocate, all of which launched in 2014.  Her passions lie in activism for introverts, writing, empowering women, coaching and encouraging people to embrace their strengths and use those strengths to live a powerfully fulfilling life

She has been featured on NuWireInvestor.com and has written for Smart Healthy Women. She has been a guest as well as a co-host on The Joe Lockett Show and as been a guest on Erica Glessing’s 2014 Happiness Telesummit.  In addition, she’s a licensed Realtor® in State of Alabama serving the Metro Birmingham market since 2006, Co-author of the book “Sell Your House Fast for the Right Price” and a blogger on ActiveRain Real Estate Network with over 90 featured post.

Like Charita on Facebook

Renew Refresh Reset

Follow Charita Cadenhead on Twitter


 

Our Guest Writers

 

S.W. Cannon

Author SW Cannon

Author SW Cannon

S.W. Cannon was raised and still lives in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has had a love of writing for years and getting her feet wet in published works with blogs and a local magazine was just the beginning. She has a freelance career with experience in copy writing (fashion/style) and content writing (legal field) but her passion is within the lifestyle/relationship genre for both the male and female demographics. She has written under the name Sha’ Young for Shepreneur Magazine, Y.U.R.I. Magazine and SportsLifeMusic.com. As a part of the Yahoo Contributors’ Network, she has also done copy writing for Accessorizing You on Yahoo Shine!, a hugely popular eZine of the search engine giant Yahoo.

S.W. Cannon was raised and still lives in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has had a love of writing for years and getting her feet wet in published works with blogs and a local magazine was just the beginning. She has a freelance career with experience in copy writing (fashion/style) and content writing (legal field) but her passion is within the lifestyle/relationship genre for both the male and female demographics. She has written under the name Sha’ Young for Shepreneur Magazine, Y.U.R.I. Magazine and SportsLifeMusic.com. As a part of the Yahoo Contributors’ Network, she has also done copy writing for Accessorizing You on Yahoo Shine!, a hugely popular eZine of the search engine giant Yahoo. S.W. Cannon has built a great readership with her writings on relationships with her blog STFU4ABetterRelationship.WordPress.com. Her straight talk about interpersonal relations is just what most need to interpret the opposite sex and change behaviors that endanger their relationship as well as how to keep things copasetic with your loved one. S.W. Cannon writes about relationships for life and fiction.  Check out her first novella Casey Canyon available at www.AuthorSWCannon.comTwitter2Like Aimee on Facebook


 Dr. Veronica Harrington

Dr. Veronica Harringrton

Dr. Veronica Harringrton

Dr. Harrington is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.  She was educated in the Birmingham Public School System at Ramsey High School and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Hampton University.  Dr. Harrington continued her education and pursued a doctorate in Vision Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She is passionate about people and desires to make an impact on people through her published written works.  Dr. Harrington is the author of “The Journey” and she is currently in the process of completing her next book entitled “Pieces of Me.”  She enjoys her work as a financial professional and freelance writer.  You can rearch her at www.thejourneytopurpose.webs.com or doctorvrh@yahoo.com.

 


D.  Joseph (DJ)

DSC_1931-CroppedDJ is a native of Washington, DC now living in Birmingham, AL.  She is a journalist, home color/design/organizational stylist, and inventor.  She enjoys giving back to the community through elementary/middle school scholarships, work with local Birmingham non-profits and churches.

She has written and published several articles for local Christian magazines, The Faith Connection and Pure Heart Magazine.  In her leisure  DJ enjoys Jazz music, hosting informal gathers, poetry readings and being of service where needed.

Currently, DJ is developing a business that will incorporate her various talents.


Aimee Lanier

Aimee Lanier

Aimee Lanier

Aimee was raised in Fairfield, Alabama and currently resides in Fairfield. She is a copy editor for the Renew Refresh Reset blog and The Introvert Advocate blog.  Her background is in Natural Health, Herbology and the Mind, Body, Spirit Connection. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Studies from the University of Alabama. Her hobbies include photography and writing. She is a classic car enthusiast and uses the hobby as a method of community outreach for volunteering and fundraising for local charities. She is actively involved in serving through the Glen Oaks Neighborhood Association, Heartland Cruisers Car Club and Elevate Church.

Aimee has been published in the Holistic Times Newsletter, Comprehensive Iridology Newsletter and Biodiversity Magazine. She also has experience in copy writing, course writing and editing in the Natural Health field.

Like Aimee on Facebook She currently works for the City Clerk in the City of Homewood, which is career that provides valuable insight in serving her neighborhood association and attending city council meetings.


Michelle Spratt-Lockett

Michelle Spratt-Lockett

Michelle Spratt-Lockett

A Birmingham, AL and Dallas, TX native who resides in West VA as an Operations Manager for a lucrative Industrial Distribution company. Michelle is a passionate writer with a style of old world literature with notes of neo poetry and witty humor. Freedom of expression along with the thirst to have positive life experiences are the driving force to which she writes.  To have human moment’s everyday gives us all the ability to witness the raw forms of love and humor- so understand that we are humans first and deserve to laugh at life with dignity


Jackie Whitehead

Jacqueline Whitehead

Jacqueline Whitehead

Jackie’s hometown is Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  She has had a love of numbers and helping people for years.  She started her professional career as a consultant in the IT field and loved it for a great many years.  She has always had a heart for helping people, so when she retired from the IT field she decided to become a consultant in financial services.  Like IT, being a financial wellness consultant enables her to work with numbers and “put the pieces together” for her clients.  Jackie is a contributing writer for “BlackLifeCoaches.net”, the site for certified life coaches in the black community and “LinkedIn”, the professional networking site.  You can also find her speaking around the US and in her community at: churches, civic events and on the radio about financial wellness.  Her financial wellness company, JJ Consults, will take you from creating a personal or business budget to retirement planning.  She can be reached at: jackie@jjconsults.com or 205-378-9352.


 

Love Grows and Music Captures Those Moments

Michelle and Joe

Love, Music, Moments

by Guest Writer Michelle Spratt-Lockett

I recently decided to renew my wedding vows to my husband on the beautiful beach of Panama City, FL. Our love has grown so much and we never had an official ceremony that reflected us. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to honor our marriage that reflected how I felt. As I was walking up the steps of a private pier that revealed a picturesque view of the Gulf of Mexico, my 10 year-old son (who walked me down the aisle); had such a cool look on his face as he did as a newborn. My mind instantly flashed back to when I was 21, I became a first time unwed mom who wanted to give my son a fighting chance at a good life. I made a pact with my newborn, looking into his eyes I told my baby, “Love will combat any obstacle in our way and I will be there to see you become a responsible man!”

All of Me

The song playing at that moment was “Happy Feelings,” by Frankie Beverly. It was something about the lyric- I’ve got myself to remind me of love- to catapult my thinking into self worth and worthiness of being loved. In that moment, I commemorated a tattoo on myself that says love in Japanese, who could predict I would marry a man who speaks and reads Japanese? We descended down the steps onto the warm sand as John Legend’s “All of Me” started playing.  I focused my sights on my husband of 2 years (7 total years together) as he stood underneath the wedding arbor- I remembered every argument, love session, and all the tough conversations we’ve had and wouldn’t trade a moment.  How he loves my imperfections and has given me the opportunity to grow into the woman I can and should be- gave me all the ammunition to Renew and Refresh my focus on our marriage and family.  We were pronounced husband and wife again while Tony, Tone, Toni’s “Just Me and You” played in the background. With family and friends surrounding us at the beautiful location my husband had a look that forever will be embedded in memories.

In marriage there will always be a reset button. I choose to celebrate the resets, renewals, and refresher courses to keep the passion going. There is always room to grow together and as an individual just know communication is the key. There are great men and women in this world who are full of virtue and love, no one is perfect but we all deserve a fighting chance to find the happiest soundtrack of our lives!

 Photo Credit: A. Boswell Photography


Michelle Spratt-Lockett

Michelle Spratt-Lockett

Michelle Spratt-Lockett

A Birmingham, AL and Dallas, TX native who resides in West VA as an Operations Manager for a lucrative Industrial Distribution company. Michelle is a passionate writer with a style of old world literature with notes of neo poetry and witty humor. Freedom of expression along with the thirst to have positive life experiences are the driving force to which she writes.  To have human moment’s everyday gives us all the ability to witness the raw forms of love and humor- so understand that we are humans first and deserve to laugh at life with dignity


 

Re-learning How To Be Me

How to Be Me

by Guest Writer Aimee Lanier

Learning to be me

Learning to be me

People often fall into the trap of letting a job, relationship or title define them. Worse yet, some people allow a tragedy to define them.  We are all meant to be more than what any single title or event can describe. Life is a process, a journey, a growth process. We are not meant to let one hurdle stop us in our tracks. Our character is not defined by how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up, brush the dust off and keep going.

In my late thirties I found myself starting a new job, a new church and a new life. I had experienced the loss of my mom just a few years after my dad passed away. A few months later the school I worked for closed. I was getting good at “dealing with things.” I had numbed to the constant attacks on my comfort zone, but I kept going. I worked up my courage to begin attending church again and I started a new career. Then one day, during my quiet time on my way to work, I heard that still, small voice telling me everything was new. I could be the me I wanted to be. This was my chance relearn how to be me, to redefine myself and to reset.

I realized I was stronger than I thought. I had gotten through tougher times than I ever imagined I would go through, and I was okay. I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, found new mentors and I broke free from an unhealthy relationship. I began enjoying old hobbies again. I reconnected with the classic car club I grew up in, picked up a camera again and I began volunteering. I prayed for opportunities to serve. I began serving through my neighborhood association, my car club, my church and through a homeless ministry. I began……AGAIN.

I redefined myself… Photographer, Volunteer, Hot Rod Girl, Organizer, Leader, Servant, Friend… Did challenges stop during this re-defining process? No, if anything, they came at me more rapidly, and as the numbness wore off I began dealing with feelings again. I asked myself why certain things bothered me that did not used to affect me and why certain things hurt my feelings that never mattered before. Then I realized that it was because I was actually feeling again, and that was a good thing. It was another lesson in re-learning how to be me.  I began learning to guard my heart a little better, to make sure I spent time with the right people; encouraging people. I learned to go where I was celebrated, not tolerated.

Re-learning how to be me is a process and the fun is in the journey. Each day is a new day and I can wake up and say, “I can be whoever I want to be today and I can do whatever I want to do today.”  I pick up my camera and ask, “What do I want to see today?”


Aimee Lanier

Aimee Lanier

Aimee Lanier was raised in Fairfield, Alabama and currently resides in Fairfield. Her background is in Natural Health, Herbology and the Mind, Body, Spirit Connection. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Studies from the University of Alabama. Her hobbies include photography and writing. She is a classic car enthusiast and uses the hobby as a method of community outreach for volunteering and fundraising for local charities. She is actively involved in serving through the Glen Oaks Neighborhood Association, Heartland Cruisers Car Club and Elevate Church.

Aimee has been published in the Holistic Times Newsletter, Comprehensive Iridology Newsletter and Biodiversity Magazine. She also has experience in copy writing, course writing and editing in the Natural Health field.

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She currently works for the City Clerk in the City of Homewood, which is career that provides valuable insight in serving her neighborhood association and attending city council meetings.

Financial Wellness Is Not Happenstance

Creating Financial Flow

by Guest Writer Jacqueline Whitehead

As long as you’re living, life is going to happen.  People often use the phrase, “Go with the flow” and this gives them the validation to live their life haphazardly.  No great athlete has used this as their mantra; they have all lived with purposeful intent…spending hours on the basketball court perfecting that hook-shot or years perfecting that extraordinary drive on the golf course.   We must almost have this type thinking when it comes to our financial wellness.

If you are like most of us, you did not have any financial literacy classes in school nor did we receive any teachings in your home.  I don’t know how society thought that we would be productive and wise when it came to our finances!  I meet people all the time who don’t have a budget, they are just going with the flow and their money is flowing right out the door.  It’s ok to start where you are and not be ashamed, again, life happens.  It could have come in the form of a divorce or maybe you were helping your ailing parents purchase the medicines that they needed or maybe you were trying to impress people who didn’t matter.  There are places that offer the resources to help you get out of whatever jam you are in.  The first step is to admit that you need help!

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you have a monthly budget?
  • Do you know how much your net pay is and how much your monthly expenses are?
  • Do you have a plan for the next year to pay down your debt?
  • Do you know how much debt you have?
  • Do you have an emergency fund?
  • What is your net worth?
  • What are your financial goals? Ex. New car, new home, vacation
  • What are your retirement goals?

If you can’t answer even one of these questions, you may be living a haphazard financial life.

We cannot keep starting over in our families from generation to generation.  It’s time to start taking responsibility for what you have been given: your life and your family’s legacy.  Proverbs 13:22 says, “That a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children”.  I’m not saying that you cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor while you are here, but live purposely with intent and security for the future.


Jacqueline Whitehead

Jacqueline Whitehead

Jackie Whitehead’s hometown is Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  She has had a love of numbers and helping people for years.  She started her professional career as a consultant in the IT field and loved it for a great many years.  She has always had a heart for helping people, so when she retired from the IT field she decided to become a consultant in financial services.  Like IT, being a financial wellness consultant enables her to work with numbers and “put the pieces together” for her clients.  Jackie is a contributing writer for “BlackLifeCoaches.net”, the site for certified life coaches in the black community and “LinkedIn”, the professional networking site.  You can also find her speaking around the US and in her community at: churches, civic events and on the radio about financial wellness.  Her financial wellness company, JJ Consults, will take you from creating a personal or business budget to retirement planning.  She can be reached at: jackie@jjconsults.com or 205-378-9352.

Don’t Let The Sand Cover Your Head

by Guest Writer S.W. Cannon

Don't Let The Sand Cover Your HeadBefore you can begin to redesign anything, you will need a focal point.  The change needs a focal point to be kept in mind as you go along to make the decisions needed to get to your desirable re-tuning of life.  When it comes to your life and what you desire (other than your love of God), your love of self should be what guides you.  It seems simple but you can only be happy with your life if you are doing what you want to do with it.  Allowing others to throw the sands of their needs over you can bury you completely.  You can enjoy the beach, if you aren’t under the sand.

Every day, people are putting other people before their own happiness.  It’s hard to fulfill your purpose when you are used up, overwhelmed and buried alive fulfilling the purposes of others.  I do not speak of children, the beings we brought on this earth and are responsible for until they can do for themselves.  I do not speak of spouses, the beings that we became one with and blended as a single spirit.  I speak of others that have a life of their own but we give of our life, our energy….ourselves to the point of exhaustion.  Saying no to others can most often be the greatest gift of redesign to ourselves.

I know you have three kids to help with homework and that you have worked a lot of overtime this week, BUT can you bake 50 cupcakes for the bake sale tomorrow? No.  I heard you were laid off from your job yesterday, BUT can you let me borrow $100? No.  Those were easy examples, however every day not so clear examples are happening.  When do you say no for the sake of saying yes to yourself?  How do you keep from being covered up by too much sand?  Think of it like this, any time someone asks something of you, ask yourself a few questions:

Is there someone else they should ask?

  • Is this something they should be able to handle on their own?
  • Did they miss a chance to take care of this themselves?
  • Do I feel taken advantage of?
  • Does this person always ask too much of me?
  • Is it selfish of this person to ask this of me?
  • Is the sacrifice mine when it should be theirs?

If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then giving of yourself may not be the best result.  Helping others feels good.  Constantly giving of yourself until there is nothing left for yourself, is never good.  You cannot deplete yourself to fill up someone else and expect to have what you need to move forward.  We are all given a life.  If you allow others to have the benefit of their own life AND your life, then you are not left with a whole life to live.  You have to take care of yourself first.  As a life guard, the goal is to save others.  At the point, that saving them risks your own life, you have to choose you.  In this life you have to make sure you have what you need before you go to help others, if you do not want to perish.  Use balance, discernment, boundaries and qualifications to determine how much of yourself others are allowed to use.


 

Author SW Cannon

Author SW Cannon

S.W. Cannon was raised and still lives in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has had a love of writing for years and getting her feet wet in published works with blogs and a local magazine was just the beginning. She has a freelance career with experience in copy writing (fashion/style) and content writing (legal field) but her passion is within the lifestyle/relationship genre for both the male and female demographics. She has written under the name Sha’ Young for Shepreneur Magazine, Y.U.R.I. Magazine and SportsLifeMusic.com. As a part of the Yahoo Contributors’ Network, she has also done copy writing for Accessorizing You on Yahoo Shine!, a hugely popular eZine of the search engine giant Yahoo.

FacebookTwitter2S.W. Cannon was raised and still lives in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has had a love of writing for years and getting her feet wet in published works with blogs and a local magazine was just the beginning. She has a freelance career with experience in copy writing (fashion/style) and content writing (legal field) but her passion is within the lifestyle/relationship genre for both the male and female demographics. She has written under the name Sha’ Young for Shepreneur Magazine, Y.U.R.I. Magazine and SportsLifeMusic.com. As a part of the Yahoo Contributors’ Network, she has also done copy writing for Accessorizing You on Yahoo Shine!, a hugely popular eZine of the search engine giant Yahoo.

S.W. Cannon has built a great readership with her writings on relationships with her blog STFU4ABetterRelationship.WordPress.com. Her straight talk about interpersonal relations is just what most need to interpret the opposite sex and change behaviors that endanger their relationship as well as how to keep things copasetic with your loved one.

S.W. Cannon writes about relationships for life and fiction.  Check out her first novella Casey Canyon available at www.AuthorSWCannon.com


“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.” Charita H. Cadenhead, Life Coach

Reflections of a Life Reset: Sweet Silence

Sweet Silence

by Guest Contributor D.G. Joseph

Sweet Silence

Reflections of a life reset

 

I encourage everyone to find the time for silence. Getting in touch with inner peace and inner self is a way to renew, refresh and reset, which in itself is sweet.  With all that surrounds us through technology, obligations and overwhelming responsibilities, it’s hard to find that quiet time.  When we are quiet we are able to get in tune with ideas, thoughts, places, times and experiences that often brings happiness, encouragement, peace, excitement and joy!  Silence enables one to tap into talents, known and unknown. Be encouraged to periodically find the time and the space to seek Sweet Silence! ~ D. G. Joseph  6/18/14

 

 

 

DSC_1931-Cropped

Image credit: Visual Eyes by CHC

D.  Joseph (DJ)

DJ is a native of Washington, DC now living in Birmingham, AL.  She is a journalist, home color/design/organizational stylist, and inventor.  She enjoys giving back to the community through elementary/middle school scholarships, work with local Birmingham non-profits and churches.

She has written and published several articles for local Christian magazines, The Faith Connection and Pure Heart Magazine.  In her leisure  DJ enjoys Jazz music, hosting informal gathers, poetry readings and being of service where needed.

Currently, DJ is developing a business that will incorporate her various talents.

 

Photo credit: VisualEyes by CHC

Guest Writers Wanted

Renew Refresh Reset is Seeking Guest Writers

Renew Refresh Reset Your Life blog is currently seeking guest writers to aid in its mission.

cropped-RRR-Quotes-Background-image.jpgThe primary mission of Renew Refresh Reset Your Life is  empowering readers to make changes where needed or desired in their lives. If just one thing that you write, will inspire someone to finally do what they have been needing or longing to do, then I’d count that as a success.

No doubt you have experienced a “reset” or two in your own life and are free to blog about that experience (what prompted it, how it turned out, etc).

Our guest writers’ backgrounds will be quite diverse and have national, if not global reach. Each writer’s contribution will add value to Renew Refresh Reset as well as add value to the writer’s portfolio and hopefully aid in building a strong community of writers and nationwide network of support.

If you feel that you can contribute to this mission then please submit an example of your writing, if you have one, OR a synopsis of an initial article that aligns with our mission.

First, please ensure you have read and agreed to our Guest Writer Guidelines.

I’m looking forward to this collaboration.

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita Cadenhead

Dying to Be Free

A Quest to Bee Free

This poem was sent to me by Ikki A. Lou (pen name) and with permission, she has allowed me to publish it here.  If ever there was a cry for a life reset, this is it.

This 8-4:30, this 9-5 is really beginning to kill my vibe
This is not who I am meant to be
God Knows everyday I just want to break free
I am not a desk,a chair, a computer, a time clock
I AM freedom, loud, creative…see I ROCK!
I dance, I sing, I flip, I clap but everyday I come here; I conform to this crap.
You can not tell me when to vacate or how long you think I should take because just like the birds I long to be free
But each day I sit here I lose a part of me.
I roam, I wander, I look all about for various ways to get me out of this hell, this jail, this tunnel of death.
Cause the longer I keep coming here the more I lose of myself
to the boss, the man, corporate america, whomever he may be,
The world pushes to be more like them but I am dying to just be free me.
Ikki A. Lou
“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita Cadenhead, Life Coach

Coming Out of the Introvert Closet

Embrace All That is You

Introversion Introspection

Introversion Introspection

I can honestly say that I proudly embrace my introversion.  It took me 50 years to do that, but it finally set me free.  My introversion (personality type, not defect) IS my greatest Strength, even in a world that views it as a weakness.  My quiet strength has been a blessing and not a curse that I believed it to be up until 4 years ago.  For the better part of my childhood people tried to fix me as if I were broken.  That’s a tale that I love to tell to any audience, large or small, that will listen,  The resounding message “We ain’t broke so stop trying to fix us.”

The Sustaining Power of an Introvert

My introversion sustains me in this often crazy world. As hard as it may seem for some to believe, my introversion has made me a PHENOMENAL Woman.  I see what others don’t.  I hear what hasn’t been spoken.  My instinct is my gift given to me by the giver of all gifts and it has served me well my entire life and meant to be shared.

Some of you may have picked up on my introversion long ago and others will be surprised by this admission.  And will refuse to believe it, in large part because you only have an inkling of an idea of what introversion really is.   But in retrospect it will all make sense and become clear.

I am an introvert with extrovert tendencies.  Those that fall somewhere in the middle are referred to as Ambivert, but I’m not an ambivert nor am I am fan of that term.  For some, this admission is the coming out of the “Introvert Closet” rather loudly at that (yeah, that’s an oxymoron or so you think).  Recognizing my own personality type has given me a keen sense of tolerance and acceptance of other people and their personality type.  I’m slow to make assumptions about people that I know and don’t know.

Don’t underestimate me because I’m not like you, the extrovert.  You have your attributes and I have mine.  Don’t underestimate me because of my observant and introspective nature.  If you are an introvert pretending to be an extrovert, I live for the day that you reach out to me with a simple nod, and I’ll know that you have discovered your true gift and have given up the facade and decided to BE TRUE to you……The Introvert.  Although a nod will do, I know from experience and the testimonies of other introverts, that you’ll be shouting on the rooftops that you’re finally free.

Renew Refresh Reset Your Life today and let’s talk about (it yeah , we do talk and have a lot to say).

Topics of particular interest.  Open for dialogue for interested and inquiring minds.

  • How to make your introversion work for you
  • Introversion from childhood to adulthood
  • Introvert entrepreneurs
  • Introverts in the workplace
  • The education experience of introverted children

Contact me at 205-527-1112 or complete the contact form below.

Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.”  Charita Cadenhead

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