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The Dark Sky Hides the Moon

The sky is the darkest black. It became darker as my soulmate shared his soul with me. The soul he tucks beneath his heart that is often unreachable.

He shared his soul with me, and I felt his pain. His anger. His loss.

I caught his tears. I made his sorrows my own. I feel what he feels. The pain is unbearable.

Holding his tears in my hands, I asked God to guard the soul he has shared with me.

Although we are separated by distance and time, my soul is connected to his soul.

His tears are mine. His hurt is mine. When he loses, so do I. He is my soulmate.

He shared his soul with me. The weight is so heavy, but I will carry what he needs me to carry. He would do the same for me. I remember he picked me up when I was at my lowest, and he took me to the moon.  He showed me how to chase it. He was and will always be my moon-chaser.

I need him to remember that nothing will make me feel differently about the special bond we share. I’m a ride or die chick until the end of time. One day, he will rise stronger than ever and conquer the moon again with me by his side.

The sky is dark, but the moon is still there. Don’t stop chasing it, babe.

Floating on Faith by Ronni Walker

I have fallen back in love with swimming after avoiding it for several years. I lost interest in swimming when my daughter almost drowned in our backyard swimming pool. For years, the pool sat quietly beneath the oak trees. I never told anyone, but that incident shook me to my core because for a split second, I lost faith in my ability to save my daughter. I was unable to understand why my only child was fighting the thing that brought light to her eyes. The water had betrayed her. Within that second, I worried that it would betray me too. We both knew how to swim, but for some reason, we took for granted its power, and we became fearful foes when our skills did not overshadow our emotions. Breaking loose from my complacency, I managed to pull her out of the pool. We never used it again.

Now, in an effort to get in shape with minimal impact my knee, I’ve been reacquainting myself with swimming—a love that never escaped me. Regardless of my great love, I face a significant disadvantage—my inability to trust the water. One of the first things a swim coach will tell you is to learn to trust the water because trust is detrimental to success. I started swimming when I was six years old, and my coach would require us to do small exercises so we could learn to trust the water.  We soon realized if you don’t trust the water, you resist it. Your resistance intensifies the task and eventually leads to sinking, choking, or drowning.

During the past few weeks, I’ve become relatively good friends with the water as long as I move forward with my eyes wide open.  I often rest at the end of each lap because I know what could happen if I attempt to finish a lap with tired arms and legs. However, in the midst of my morning routine—exhausted from swimming and out of breath—I decided to backstroke to keep my heart rate up and ease my breathing. As I turned around in preparation of the lap, I remembered the incident, and I briefly gave in to my distrust of the water. I struggled to get through the first lap. Nevertheless, I kept pushing, and with each stroke, the struggle became more intense instead of easier.  I reminded myself that the intensity would make me stronger—just like the struggles we encounter in life—designed to strengthen us in areas where we are weak. With that thought in mind, I forged ahead with great aplomb fully aware that I would reap the reward one day if I worked hard to rebuild the broken trust.

Today, I decided to begin my exercise regimen with the backstroke. My mind was still, so I decided to fall back into the arms of the aqua blue water without overthinking it. I felt the waves encumber my body as I began to reach for the wall behind me. Although my eyes were focused on the ceiling, I pondered on the true meaning of faith. Why do I worry if I have faith? Why do I doubt myself in the presence of faith?  Why do I choose to fight, when I have the option to float? After realizing that swimming and life are much easier when I relax and go with the flow, I felt the coolness of the concrete pool wall on my fingertips. I could hardly believe that I had finished the lap effortlessly because I decided to float on faith.

I let go of my insecurities and my doubts, deciding to fall back onto the waves and reach for a wall that I could not see. Although I could not see it, I knew it was there. I kept reaching. This is an example of what it means to have faith. Faith, in its simplest form, is reaching for something we can’t see, while holding on to the belief that one day the intangible will become tangible.

As you navigate through the pool of life, keep reaching for that thing you can’t see. Relax and float on faith with the assurance that one day, you will reach your wall of possibility.

Today is My Birthday by RWG

Today is my birthday.

I woke up with waves in my belly

Joel Osteen on my tele

Talkin’ ‘bout “Jesus is the way!”

 

Today is my birthday.

I have lines on my face

A heart full of grace

I kind of like the story between the lines.

 

Today is my birthday.

My smile sits between parenthesis

Body free from disease

My smile grows with the thought of that healing.

 

Today is my birthday.

Within my soul is a fighter

With steps that are lighter

I’m eager to continue my journey.

 

Today is my birthday.

God put me here for a reason

Behind this day is a new season

Watch me rise higher and love harder.

 

 

Waiting Until Dawn by Ronni Walker-Glasper

Waiting is such a powerful word.

Behind waiting is FAITH. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. All the words that give waiting POWER.

So many times I have tried to wait for HIM to move, but I decided to go for it on my own.

I fail every time because I am nothing outside of HIM.

In HIM, I am everything: Favored. Fearless. Faithful.

 

Waiting is always in opposition with impatience.

Impatience squeezes his hands around your throat until you can’t breathe.

In an attempt to break free, you lose yourself and focus on the goal of freedom.

Freedom disguises herself as shiny new things you can collect. You rename her Fortune.

Fortune becomes your friend. And eventually, she becomes your foe.

Every time I stand at the top of the mountain with pride in my pocket, I fall down to reality.

During the fall I realize I am nothing outside of HIM.

In HIM, I am everything: Brave. Bold. Beautiful.

 

He is there to catch me when I fall. He picks me up and mends my marks. I am whole again.

He asks me to wait for HIM to move, but I partner with impatience and move before HIM.

I fall again.

He picks me up.

I fall again.

He picks me up.

I fall.  Again!

He picks me up.

 

After my fall, I cry out to HIM throughout the night.

He holds me in his arms until the morning light.

My lament becomes my laughter.

My sorrow becomes my song.

My doom becomes my dawn.

 

I can’t keep the secret any longer.

I will shout to the world that I have accomplished nothing on my own.

But by HIS grace, I am here.

I am here.

I am here.

I am! Here.

 

I am ready to patiently wait upon HIS directives.

I will joyfully move in HIS timing.

Regardless of how long night lasts, I will wait.

I will wait.

I will wait.

I will. Wait!

 

I am waiting until dawn.

Friendship by Ronni Walker-Glasper

Friendship

 

I’ve lost a close friend

I didn’t see the end

There’s no time to amend

No money to spend

I’m not motivated to begin

My life.

 

I want to drink gin

Don’t want to offend

Or commit a sin

Alone in my den

Searching for someone to mend

My heart.

 

Toss laundry in the bin

While hiding from kin

Banging on my door with baked hen

Oh, that’s my neighbor, Fynn

I refuse to let him in

My soul.

 

Pick up a pen

Count to ten

In search of zen

Can’t call Jen

She’s in Japan spending yen—

My story.

 

Search my phone for a friend

On whom I can depend

Who is willing to suspend

Without talking about men

Who refuse to comprehend

My womanhood.

 

Open the book

That sits on the nook

The words inside

Make me swallow my pride

I call my lost friend with something sincere.

My apology.

The Blood Type Diet by Kathleen Simon

The Blood Type Diet

Kathleen Simon

Considering a new diet? Perhaps you’ve done your homework. You’ve read countless internet articles and binged on enough diet related YouTube videos you feel like a bonafide authority on ‘going raw vegan’ or adopting the paleo diet. Truth be told, hundreds of dietary theories abound. Apparently, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet, but there is a growing body of knowledge around personal nutrition.

But why? Remember that time you and your best friend adopted the paleo diet and she shed weight like a ninja and buzzed on natural energy while you gained ten pounds and fell asleep on your desk after lunch? Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, N.D., speculated this may be due to genetic differences, namely the four blood types: O, A, B, and AB.

Time and again, the research shows that blood type in relation to diet is “the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength”(1).

Since then, Dr. D’Adamo has treated thousands of patients and has come to one conclusion. Time and again, the research shows that blood type in relation to diet is “the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength”(1). And that is one hefty claim! Critics argue that the absence of clinical trials makes his claim just that–a claim. And it is unfortunate, though not surprising, that no one has funded clinical trials for these studies because what Dr. D’Adamo is saying would put the power back into the hands of the public. Many would no longer rely upon allopathic medicine or Big Pharma for their wellness. Food would reclaim its rightful inheritance, and Hippocrates could stop rolling in his grave.

Largely, Dr. D’Adamo claims that our bodies favor foods consistent with the diets of our ancestors, but the nuts and bolts of this mechanism revolve around “[l]ectins, abundant and diverse proteins found in foods, [which] have agglutinating properties that affect your blood and the lining of your digestive tract”(1). Basically, each blood type is susceptible to its own set of ills, and you should test out a plan specific to your type to see what thriving is really like.

Eating a food with protein lectins compatible to your blood type is like putting a goldfish in a freshwater pond. In the pond, the fish thrives and can live well over ten years. Put that same fish in a bowl filled with tap water on the dresser,and you’d be lucky to see him living in a few months. Though the water may appear just as clean, it’s a ticking time bomb.

So, what’s your tap water? Your freshwater pond?

Blood Type O. If you’re a Type O, you’re related to the Hunter/Gatherers of society. Dr. D’Adamo says the right diet will enable you to possess “exceptional strength, a lean physique, and a productive mind…[while warding off] common Type O health issues including insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid, and inflammatory conditions”(2). Furthermore, he recommends routine, intense exercise to control stress and weight.

Blood Type A. Having emerged near the dawn of agriculture, Type A benefits from a vegetarian diet but also tolerates seafood quite well! As a Type A, you’re statistically known for carrying higher levels of cortisol and benefit from exercises like walking or yoga.  

Blood Type B. Dr. D’Adamo reports that Type B thrives when eating a diet of “organic meats, dairy, and vegetables.” However, when out of balance, the Type B is prone to  “insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism”(2). Regular exercise that allows the mind and body to work simultaneously is recommended.

Blood Type AB. If you are an AB blood type, you know you are among a rare group. Research shows that the prescribed diet of “lean protein, organic vegetables, and grains…[helps to combat] autoimmune diseases and age-related cognitive issues”(2). You thrive best when regularly adhering to moderate and calming exercises which allow you to destress.

Don’t know your blood type?

Ask your doctor. If you have ever had your blood drawn by your General Physician, chances are there is a record of your blood type. If not, try asking your doctor to run some blood work during your next wellness exam that includes a test for blood type.

Donate. You can usually find out your blood type for no cost at all by donating blood. Of course, you will have to meet some strict requirements beforehand, but if you typically exhibit low risk behaviors, don’t travel to too many crazy places and are in good health, this may be for you. Just be sure to find out if the place you plan to donate is willing to share that information with the donor.

Test at home. Blood type test kits may be purchased at your local pharmacy, but if you would prefer not leave the house, some kits as low as $6.00 have been seen on Amazon.com (along with Prime shipping)! Prick your finger and interpret your own results all from the comfort of your own home.

Still skeptical?

For more information regarding the scientific basis of this diet, recipes, and in-depth blood type profiles, please visit:

  1. http://www.dadamo.com/  
  2. http://www.4yourtype.com/

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT ALLOW STRANGERS TO DEVELOP YOUR WEBSITE

In today’s competitive market, almost everyone is searching for the best deal. Why not? It seems perfectly logical to get the best “bang for your buck.” The old adage, “You get what you pay for.” is especially true when it comes to website development. Moreover, you’re taking a huge risk when you do business with someone you don’t know.  Although they offer you a deal you can’t refuse, the cheapest price is not always the best option for your company or your brand.  Here are three reasons why you should work with website developers you know; loyalty, quality and motive.

What happened to loyalty in business relationships? Some of the top business experts will advise you to avoid doing business with your family or friends; but in many cases these experts fail to address the importance of doing business with people who are loyal.  I agree that doing business with family and friends may not be the best choice, but only in the absence of loyalty. I would, however, choose to engage in business with a family member or friend who is loyal rather than hope for loyalty from someone who doesn’t really know me. Usually, people who are not familiar with your brand—which comprises your core values and beliefs—have no incentive to be loyal to you.

Loyalty plays an integral role in the relationship you have with your website developer. Some companies offer cheap prices to bait you. Once you’re on the hook, they steal your content, repackage it to avoid being black-listed and sell it to the next buyer. You should look for a developer who asks the right questions in an effort to thoroughly understand your business model.  In addition, look beyond the portfolio and ask for testimonials from clients who have worked with the developer on similar projects.  You should ask for contact information and speak with the client for first-hand information that allows you to determine the developer’s loyalty to his or her clients.

The quality of work is another reason why you should work with a website developer you know. Since your website is the heartbeat of your brand, quality is important and should never be compromised. The Latin phrase, caveat emptor, which means buyer beware, is the first rule of buying something that appears too good to be true. Once again, look beyond the portfolio. Speak with the developer’s clients to learn about their experience with the developer. Don’t be afraid to ask about the budget so you can evaluate the quality of the completed website as it relates to pricing.

When developers don’t really know you, some may attempt to sell you a website template that you could easily purchase yourself. The point of working with a website developer is to create a unique site based on your brand, not a template. If the developer understands your product or service, he or she can create meaningful content that is unique to your industry. Your developer should select the best graphics to bring life to your site. A developer who truly knows who you are will develop a website indicative of his or her knowledge about what you do and the best way to showcase your product or service.

The final and most important reason why you should work with a website developer you know is his or her motive for taking on your project. It’s always a good idea to question the intent behind every action. If the developer is willing to give you “inside” information and trade secrets, you should not hesitate to question his or her motive. Why is the developer motivated to share excessive information with you? Sharing information opens the door for the developer to ascertain how much you know about web development.  It is easy to embed fraudulent links that can lead your buyers to another site for another client or project the developer is working on. In some cases, they prey on your website visitors in an attempt to sell to your potential or existing clients. Beware of the developer’s motives. Make an effort to build a relationship with your developer throughout the creative process. Ask questions like why they do what they do? What are their goals and aspirations? How long have they designed websites? What do they like most about their relationships with their clients? Which of their clients can you speak with to get a feel for the developer’s work ethic?

You have the right to decide who you will trust with your brand. You should never feel compelled to engage in business with people who don’t know you or those who don’t have a desire to get to know you. Do business with people you know and trust.

Come Down South for the Best Fried Chicken

I hung up my pesco-vegetarian sash to savor the taste of the one of the best fried chicken recipes in the U.S. I knew I would struggle with my pescetarian lifestyle when I moved back to Louisiana, but I didn’t know I would lose the battle so soon. While driving through the French Quarter in New Orleans, I thought about the wonderful aroma that embraced me the first time I stepped inside Willie Mae’s Scotch House. I realized that Willie Mae’s had become synonymous with the Big Easy (aka New Orleans).

I decided to schedule my next business meeting at Willie Mae’s because I could hardly wait to feel the warmth of that Creole embrace again.  Needless to say, this was a fantastic business decision that allowed me to gain new business and fill the void of my no-chicken diet that I endured for the past 12 months. I was thrilled when my client agreed to the meeting place, and I was more excited to introduce him to a life-changing meal that he would always remember. It would be the same meal that caused Andrew Zimmerman’s eyes to roll to the back of his head.

My heart skipped several beats when we drove up to the St. Ann Street location in the 6th ward—a few blocks away from the Historic Tremé neighborhood.  As you can see in the photos, the exterior is not the most appealing, but it’s what’s behind the door that captures your heart.

Willie Mae's St. Ann

The moment you walk in; you feel the unparalleled Louisiana hospitality that makes you believe you’re in the right place for good food. The sweet and spicy aroma dancing around your face causes the crowd to dissipate.  The genuine smiles from the waiters and waitresses overpower the noisy chatter of hungry patrons. While standing in the waiting area, you not only feel the energy of satisfied customers who are leaving, but also the energy of the famous people from the past who stood where you stand and who sat where you will sit.

Willie Mae Seaton opened a bar in 1957 that eventually transitioned to a full-service restaurant in the early 70s where she showcased her passion for cooking and her passion for people.  Her savory Southern-Fried chicken became the star of the show that has brought national attention to one of New Orleans’ best-kept secrets. The original Willie Mae’s restaurant is tucked neatly between the streets that tourists don’t travel on typically; at least not until the restaurant was featured on the Food Network. Today, her great-granddaughter runs the show and is sometimes there to greet the line of eager customers that extends around the building waiting for their place at one of the 10 tables coveted by both tourists and locals.

The menu is simple, but comprises flavorful foods that make you fall in love at first taste.  I ordered the fried chicken with a side of creamy red beans and corn muffins. The chicken does not require much chewing because it melts in your mouth. It’s tossed around in a special family batter that creates the perfect combination of juicy and crispiness coupled with flavor that tap dances on your tongue with each bite. I’ve traveled across the United States, and I’ve tasted a variety of fried chicken. Willie Mae’s is by far the best fried chicken I’ve eaten.

Willie Maes Fried Chicken

I’m grateful to Ms. Willie Mae for sharing her wonderful recipe with the world, and I’m thankful for her great-granddaughter, Kerry, and her willingness to carry on the tradition. This chicken is so good, it’s hard to leave. My client and I were asked to leave because they needed to seat customers who were patiently waiting in the rain. Yep, it is that good.

Don’t bother asking for the recipe because I ask every time I visit.  They laugh and say, “Come back to see us.”  If you are in the New Orleans area, you must GEAUX to one of the two locations—St. Ann Street or St. Charles Avenue in the French Quarter.

He is … She is… by Rhonda Walker-Glasper

He rises with the moon. She rises with the sun.

He is asleep. She is awake. He is a quiet storm. She is an earthquake.

He wakes up as says, “You wanna go for a walk.” She replies, “Babe, I’d prefer a good talk.”

He begins his day by taking a run. She begins her day by praising the Son.

He heads for the shower to take a scrub. She ends her prayer and heads for the tub.

He sits at the table and orders, “Long Island Iced-Tea.” She smiles at the waiter and says, “Water for me.”

He stops chasing the moon. She stops chasing the sun.

 He comes home early. She stays out late. He starts reading the Word. She starts believing in fate.

He enters a room and lights it with his smile. She hides in his shadow while mourning the death of their child.

He becomes vulnerable. She becomes conquerable. He loses his inner-boy. She loses her inner-joy.

He finds FAITH and learns to be strong. She finds FAULT and focuses on what’s wrong.

He doubts his love for her as he journeys through life. She has second thoughts about being his wife.

He welcomes the sun. She embraces the moon.

He realizes he is the yen to her yang. She’s okay with saying “thing” and with him saying “thang.”

He turns over in bed and says, “Hi, babe. You wanna talk.” She touches his cheek and says, “No, let’s walk.”

He presses through life as a hurricane. She stands quietly in the wind and dances in the rain.

He bends down to pray forgetting all pride. She finds her place right by his side.
He is the deer. She is the fawn. He is dusk. She is dawn.

sun-and-moon-yin-ying