Monday, November 12, 2012

My Love Letter to My Mother (Throwback from 2002)


Ever since I can remember, you have called me your little rose.  I never really sat and thought about why until today.  There are a couple things about your relationships with roses that are reminiscent of your relationship with me.

First, you have a beautiful rose garden, for which you spend a great deal of time caring.  The roses in your garden are all different colors, yet they all receive your love and affection.  You don’t seem to be partial to the reds or oranges, nor the whites or pinks.  They all receive the same attention from you.

Second, you pick your roses with care, set them all around the house, and enjoy their beauty.  It is obvious that your tender touches mean as much to them as their pulchritude means to you.  They realize that you don’t care for them because you were forced to care, but rather because it is something that you enjoy doing.  You love having them around you. 

“Good morning, roses,” I hear you say.  And at the sound of your voice they open their arms, reach to the Heavens, and rejoice.  They appreciate your nurturing, as is evidenced by their response to your lovely face and your kind words.

It makes me feel so special to know that I am your little rose.  You have spent twenty long years watering me with your love, fertilizing me with your wisdom, tilling my soil with your kind words of encouragement, and healing my wounded spirit when different bugs and insects take advantage of my dispositions.  You have done these things faithfully and they have proven to me that you care.

You appreciate me in all the different seasons of my life and throughout the changing colors of my buds.  On days when I am happy or sad, moody or glad, angry or overjoyed, confused, downtrodden, or hysterical, you are there loving me unconditionally.  When I yell or fuss, worry or nag, you are there loving me unconditionally.  When I am not at my best, not feeling too well, insecure or defensive, you are there loving me unconditionally and in spite of my faults and mistakes.  And your presence and love have meant the world to me.

When I sit in the choir stand, catch your eyes, and see you smile lovingly upon me, I see ever so clearly that you are proud of me, and that makes me happy.  I get a wonderful feeling inside and my heart opens up and invites you to relax in its most comfortable chair, where you are forever welcome.  One look from you and I know that our love will never end.  I will love you for always and you will love me until the end of time. 

I hope you know that I love, respect, admire, and appreciate you with all that is within me!  You have been the best mother that anyone could ask for!  I am proud to be your little rose, happy and contented with the care you give, and determined to reach to the Heavens and make you proud.

With my deepest love,

(August 2002)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seeds (Throwback from 2005)

I remember when I used to think whatever—write whatever.  Now, to the best of my ability, I censor my thoughts and control my hand so that whatever makes it to the page represents the legacy I hope to leave behind.

My creativity is not stifled because I force myself to think outside of my mental comfort zone.  To the contrary, I am free and able to experience God’s mental symphony that I thought impossible to play its sweet melody inside of me.

I allow God to plant positive seeds in the soil of my psyche…and these seeds are watered by His Holy Spirit, which is that little voice inside of me that has kept me sane and remained peaceful when all else raged. 

And it is these seeds that flower into a colossal tree inside me with braches yearning to be freed of the shell that encompasses my being.  Dying to breathe carbon dioxide and provide oxygen to the dying world around me.  It’s all about relationship.  This tree is so much bigger than me and I can no longer keep it inside.

For there is so much power in this tree that God has planted within me.  The words that He has given me are also meant for the world around me.  And in these words lie the mental, physical, and spiritual stimulation of being rooted in the Master’s undying love.  And in His infinite love, there is liberation from strongholds; there is peace in the midst of tumultuous situations; there is joy unlike the happiness any happening can bring—joy that no man can take away; there is understanding; there is truth; there is security; there is protection; there is comfort; there is freedom!

So you see, by censoring me, I become God’s vessel and He uses me to plant His seeds in the lives of others.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

As He Lay

My father was an amazing man.  I can’t tell you how many pieces I wrote about him or how many letters I wrote to him or how much I talked about him every day.  He was my hero.  There were things he never knew I said about him behind his back—things like:  “Pops is my boy!”  “That dude pops is a thug.”  In my mind he was like Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless.  He got things done!  And I loved that about him.

My dad KNEW that I loved him because I did my best to both show and tell him, but I can honestly say that he had no idea the full extent of that love.  He probably never knew how much I actually thought about him each day…or exactly how much I admired and respected him……or how I looked for him when I had a problem I couldn’t seem to figure out…or how much I wanted to be just like a female version of him…or how I really did internalize everything he taught me…or how I felt like no one else could compare to him.  My friends and I would constantly reminisce and laugh at all the hilarious and outrageous things he inadvertently said over the years.  I’m quite sure that he had no idea that he was responsible for hours of my mind’s ongoing comedy showcase.  I wouldn’t have known how to put all that into words.  Each time I tried, I had to cut it short because of all my tears.
As my father lay dying, my biggest fear became my reality.  He’d been in the hospital a few times during my life and each time I cried and acted up!  Each time I was afraid that it was the end.  And each time he would say, “Stop all that crying!”  One time, he loudly told someone to get me outta the room with all my crying.  This time he looked at me as I cried and I could tell he wanted to tell me not to, but he knew that he was nearing his end.  He looked at me with loving eyes.  And I continued to cry. 
Although I miss my father sooooo much, I am eternally thankful for the precious moments God allowed me to witness during my father’s last days—my mother adjusting his covers to keep him warm and him re-adjusting them to keep himself cool; my sister and her new husband stopping by immediately after their wedding and my father pleased to see her so happy and lovely in her beautiful dress; the huge smile and satisfaction on his face when my brother, his namesake, walked into the room to spend the evening with him; my father instructing Amari and kissing Halle for the final time; his concern for my mom and relief when I promised him that I would do my best to look after her.  The predominant theme was love.  For the first time I understood that love is what matters most.  It is what remains when all else passes away.  Love is powerful.  God is love and I felt His presence all around me.
I am so grateful that God allowed me to see my father’s face when he laid eyes on Jesus.  That sounds strange, but I saw it.  My dad was lying in the hospital bed.  I was standing by the window crying and talking to the Lord.  My dad sat up, looked past me, lifted up his arm as if grabbing hold to the Master’s hand, and smiled the biggest smile I have ever seen.  His mouth was open as if gazing upon the most glorious splendor.  His eyes looked youthful.  Big.  Blue.  Bright.  Just as soon as he’d sat up, he laid right back down.  Shortly after, I mustered up enough strength to ask him if he was in any pain.  He responded by shaking his head and saying, “I’m so happy.  I’m just rejoicing right now.”  I hadn’t expected that response, but I was glad. 
The day before my dad died, I put my face right in his face and held his head in my hands and rubbed his hair.  “I love you so much, dad!”  I had never been so close to him.  I had never rubbed my hands through his hair.  I had never thought to until this moment.  And it felt so right.  He smiled at me and repeated twice, “I appreciate it.”  I hadn’t expected that response either but that was my dad.  My “dude.”
I miss my dad.  God knows I miss my daddy!!!!  But I am so happy to have had him in my life for 30 years.  I am happy for the memories and the guidance and the love.  And I rejoice because I know I will see him again someday.

R.I.P. Reverend Wimberly Watson I
April 28, 1923 - July 1, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mc Donald's or Magic Mountain?

I must not have heard her correctly. Did she say Mc Donald’s or Magic Mountain? Seriously? Sabrina and I stared at our youth leader for a few moments and then looked at each other to see whether the other had heard the same ridiculous question. Sabrina’s face looked as shocked and confused as I’m sure mine did. What kind of question is that? Did she mean to ask something else—like Mc Donald’s or Burger King, perhaps? One thing was clear. We had better answer quickly! “Magic Mountain,” we replied enthusiastically.

And then I went home and laughed and laughed and laughed some more. That was the funniest question anyone had ever asked me.

Almost twenty years later, it is still one of my favorite memories from childhood—one that still makes me laugh the same way I did all those years ago. Whenever I have to choose between two things, one of which isn’t even worth true consideration, I think, “Mc Donald’s or Magic Mountain?” and I laugh.

For some reason, the first thing I thought when I woke up yesterday morning was: “Mc Donald’s or Magic Mountain?” After laughing for a few minutes, a serious thought crossed my mind.

In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses told the Israelites that they had a very important choice to make and then went on to tell them which was the best choice. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

For a 13 year old who LOVED amusement parks and didn’t get to go to them often, the question of Mc Donald’s or Magic Mountain had an obvious answer. Magic Mountain. But what about a more serious question? Life or death?

Feeling disconnected, constant searching, never finding, lack of direction, distress, misery, unanswered questions, walking this road alone, mediocrity, nothing to look forward to, constant disappointment, DEATH…

Living for Jesus, having direct access to the Father, allowing His Holy Spirit to dwell in me and guide me, a constant friend, a heavenly Father, joy, peace, purpose, unconditional love, security, everlasting life…

The choice is yours.

I choose to live for Him. I choose to be His servant. I choose ABUNDANT LIFE.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Snake Made Me Do It!

“The woman made me do it,” Adam whined.

“The snake made me do it,” Eve cried.

It is safe to say that it’s human nature to look for people or things to blame when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations of our own creation—especially when the results are potentially catastrophic.

Whenever I left the house in just enough time to make it to work within my grace period, I would immediately blame the traffic if I saw that I wouldn’t make it on time. In my daily frustration, I finally started to look inward. I realized that the true cause of my tardiness was rarely traffic. In fact, more often than not, the only reason I ran into traffic was because I hadn’t left home early enough in the first place. What could I do to rectify the problem? Take responsibility. Wake up earlier. Prepare the night before. Make a habit of leaving the house no later than 6:25. The results are noteworthy.

A few weeks ago my daughter had a soccer game. I told her to be sure to find out the location of the game before she left school on Friday. In the car on Saturday morning I asked her whether she had the address. “I left it in the house,” she replied. I asked her whether it was at the same place it was last time and she said yes. I sat for a few seconds and determined that she didn’t need to go back to get the address since I knew exactly where we were going. I hopped on the freeway and headed to the school in Tarzana.

As soon as we arrive it was clear that we were at the wrong place. What happened?

She informed me that she meant the school we were at the time before last…the one 25 minutes in the opposite direction.

I was disappointed by the situation, but I wasn’t upset at all. In this case we each could have blamed each other for something or another, but we did not. I immediately asked myself what I could have done differently and shared what I came up with Amari. I could have made sure we had the address before we walked out of the house. I could have given her a chance to go back inside and get the address. I could have asked her based off landmarks what the school looked like and what game she played the last time we went. I could have even googled the school before we got on the road (since we were certain of its name).

I asked her to tell me what she could have done differently. She responded that she could have remembered to bring the paper or she could have given it to me the day before or she could have asked me to allow her to go back inside to get it.

I told her that when something like this happens we should always look at ourselves first and ask what role we played in our current circumstances. It is best practice to take responsibility for our actions and the situations we create for ourselves as a result of our actions.

I meet too many adults who say that they never pursued their goals because their parents didn’t believe in them or they didn’t finish school because they had a baby or they were late to work because the traffic was horrendous. Perhaps these things are true, but they don’t have to keep you where you are (if you don’t like where you are). Your past is no excuse for mediocrity in your present. Stop blaming and change your circumstances today. Take responsibility today.

I saw a quote on a marquee near my job that I really like. It said: “Don’t complain. Don’t explain. Just get it done.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Christian Anger Management 101

I was like a volcano, never quite sure when I would erupt. It happened at work when I didn’t like a co-worker’s tone when she spoke to me. It happened when I was pulled over for “running a red light.” It often happened in my home whenever conversations turned to areas of disagreement. Imagine that! Sweet Loureva would turn into a thugged-out, fist throwing, foul-mouthed Incredible Hulk in a heartbeat.

“…To be SLOW to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation.” Those are words from the church covenant that I recited each first Sunday for the first 22 years of my life. I said the words, but living them was a challenge. How could I live them when so many people and things seemed to push every button I had until they found the ones that set me off?

I was in my early twenties when my father sat me down to tell me that I really needed to get my anger under control. I rolled my eyes and lashed out at him for having the audacity to suggest that I had a problem. A few years later, however, the Lord revealed to me just how my anger was holding me back from the relationship He wanted to have with. I realized that I didn’t like who I was when I was angry. I didn’t like the way I felt when I was angry. I didn’t like the residual guilt, anger, pain, and other nasty emotions that remained when I allowed myself to be angry. I looked to the Lord and sincerely cried out to Him for help.

I began to speak candidly with loved ones about my angry moments. Last summer I even signed myself up for an anger management course, where I was surrounded by people who were angrier than I was. Hearing their experiences with anger really made me think. There are so many Christians walking around angry. Unconstructive anger is one of the enemy’s tricks to hinder our praise and block our blessings. Anger separates us from God’s presence and strains our relationships with our loved ones, and worse, our relationship with Him. The good thing is that there are things we can do to release ourselves from anger. There is victory in Jesus!

If you find yourself feeling angry, DON’T:

• Excuse the behavior. I rationalized that my anger was a part of who I was. Being angry is NOT okay. It is NOT a part of who you are, so don’t claim it.

• Ignore your anger. Sometimes I would get so upset that I would just go to sleep and hope to feel better when I woke up. Interestingly, the same level of anger would return as soon as I opened my eyes and saw that the problem was still there. You have to figure out constructive ways to express and release your anger. If you ignore it, it will only grow.

• Be too embarrassed to seek help. You can’t afford to be embarrassed about it. Your life will be so much better, your relationships will be so much stronger, and you will be so much happier once you decide that you don’t want to be angry anymore.


• Look to the Lord. Spend time with the Lord in prayer. Let Him know exactly how you feel. Cast your cares upon Him because He genuinely cares for you and wants you to be happy, emotionally stable, and functioning at your best. Seek His guidance and He will show you exactly what to do.

• Hide God’s word in your heart. Attack negative emotions with the word of God. I have included some helpful scriptures at the end of this article that you should memorize and recall when angry emotions arise.

• Figure out your triggers. Find the things that set you off. They vary from person to person. Identifying the things that make us angry can help us to avoid them or determine coping methods for things that we can’t avoid (living situations, classmates, co-workers, etc.).

• Release your anger. Breathe. Journal. Exercise. It is important that you let go of anger. Taking deep breaths, journaling and exercising are great ways to physically release the tension caused by anger.

• Talk with the person who has angered you AFTER you have calmed down and sought God’s guidance. You will feel relieved once you have calmly expressed your emotions from a loving place.

• Talk with someone who will pray with you and offer sound advice. Your church family is a great place to start. You’d be surprised by how many other people have grown through the same emotions you are feeling. You are NOT alone.

• Know that effective anger management is a process. New situations will constantly arise and test you, but if you follow these tips, you WILL overcome them.

God’s Word Says:

• "A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back." (Proverbs 29:11)

• "This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20)

• "Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools." (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

• "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thir¬sty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:18-21)

• "Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-temp¬ered man, lest you learn his ways and find a snare for yourself." (Proverbs 22:24-25)

• "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are... enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions... and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:19-24)

• "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What He Likes Most...

Shan and I teach 2nd and 3rd graders at church on Wednesday nights. It’s a really special time for us because it’s a way for us to serve the Lord together. Last night was my night to present the lesson. I was disappointed with my presentation because, although I had studied and although the children were engaged in the lesson, I felt like there was so much more I could have said to get the point across. I hadn’t gone deep enough. I had dropped the ball.

I am extremely passionate about teaching young people and I can’t conceal it. Why? Because I know that the lessons and scriptures I learned in 2nd and 3rd grade are the ones that swirl around in my mind 20 years later. They are the things that have helped me get through some tumultuous situations. I feel obligated to teach my students thoroughly. I feel a need to convey every important point I know. I don’t want to miss anything. I know that a spiritual battle is raging and I want to make sure the children are equipped with everything I’ve got and more to help them in this fight.

When I voiced my concerns to Shan, he assured me that things had gone well and that I would be able to go a little deeper in the word next week. He said that he could tell the children were paying attention by the responses they gave to our questions. They got it. He said that I should stop being so hard on myself. When I allow the Lord to speak through me, no point that “should” be covered is left uncovered. The Lord knows better than I do what the young people need to hear.

Then Shan said something that made me feel REALLY special. (I mean I’ve been cheesing all day.) He said that the thing he liked most about me when we dated was my passion for Christ. It is the thing that most attracted (and attracts) him to me. I never knew that. I never thought to ask him what he liked MOST about me. (I assumed it was my striking good looks, my amazing personality, and my delicious twice baked potatoes.)

I am elated to know that the thing my husband likes MOST about me—the thing that is MOST attractive about me—is my passion and my thirst for God. How awesome is that? I am so honored.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Wednesday, January 11, 2012



I choose to focus on who you are and what you are able to do ABOVE what my situation appears to be.  You are greater than my situation!

I choose to focus on that truth and remain encouraged--no matter what.

I choose to speak confidently to my situation because I trust that you know and want what's best for me.

Finally, I thank and praise you for the opportunity to choose.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheryl Cobb-Debrosse, “Pulling the EXTRA out of Ordinary”

 I was recently blessed with an opportunity to sit with entertainment guru, Cheryl Cobb-Debrosse. With over fifteen years of industry experience, Cheryl has worked closely with such talents as The Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, Fantasia Barrino, and Chante Moore (who she currently manages). Earlier this year, Cheryl embarked upon a new pursuit and co-founded Sporty Girl Fitness, a movement dedicated to the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of everyday women. Through Sporty Girl Fitness, Cheryl empowers women to tap into the confidence, faith, and self-love that are essential for true success. Cheryl’s mission is to “Pull the EXTRA out of ORDINARY.” Her career advice, if followed, will motivate us to be extraordinary in 2012 (and beyond).

• Always consult with the Lord before making decisions. If our will is in line with the will of the Father, we can’t help but be successful.

• Consider your strengths and pursue a career that allows you to do what you love most. Cheryl knew that she wanted to be in entertainment when she was four years old. She learned how to read music and grew to LOVE it. She played in the band at Locke High School in Los Angeles and was also an accomplished dancer by the time she was in college. She always entered and produced talent shows and felt the greatest satisfaction when she was a part of creative efforts that revolved around music. When she reflected on her strengths, she realized that although she liked to perform, she really enjoyed directing people and making things happen behind-the-scenes. Pursuing a career managing musical artists would give her an opportunity to do what she loved and make great money while doing it.

• Have an action plan. Once Cheryl figured out what she wanted to do, her next step was to come up with a solid plan that would help her reach her goals. First, she made a list of five performers she would LOVE to work with. Next, she planned to reach out to their management, introduce herself, and offer to take their artists to the next level. Once she got her foot in the door, she was prepared to work hard, build strong relationships, and eventually transition into artist management.

• Invest in yourself. Read and learn as much as you can. Stay current. Immerse yourself in your industry of choice, but don’t stop there. Being well-versed will assist you in making lasting connections and increase your value in corporate America.

• Be confident. Cheryl called Michael Jackson’s production manager and requested five minutes of his time. After he got over the initial shock of receiving a call from a total stranger, he agreed to meet with her. She spoke earnestly with him for five minutes about the contributions she could make to his team and ended the meeting with him wanting to find out more about her. Although he wasn’t able to fit her into Michael’s camp, he was scheduled to be the production manager for an upcoming Rolling Stone’s tour and offered her a production assistant position.

• Be tenacious. Diligently pursue your dreams. Never lose sight of your goals. Success comes to those who are diligent. Successful people don’t give up when they hear the word “no.” Instead they figure out other ways to get what they want.

• Be prepared. If you don’t have everything you need at the exact moment an opportunity presents itself, make sure you get it immediately. When Cheryl initially called Michael Jackson’s production manager, he requested a copy of her resume. At the time, she didn’t have one. As soon as they got off the phone, she created a resume and hand-delivered it to his mailbox the same day.

• Use each successful experience as motivation to fearlessly anticipate and embrace new opportunities. Cheryl used her experience with Michael’s production manager to give her the confidence to reach out to other artists’ (from her list of five) production managers as well.

• Don’t be afraid to take risks. When Luther Vandross’s production manager called to offer Cheryl a position as Luther’s “Hospitality Director,” he told her that the job would pay $600 a week and warned that it would be “dirty.” She would be responsible for setting up Luther’s meet and greets, after parties, and anything else that the backstage crew needed. At the time she had an office job making $125,000 a year. Accepting the “Hospitality Director” position would be a HUGE pay cut, but she was willing to take the risk because she knew it would help her reach her ultimate goal.

• Keep a positive attitude while building and maintaining your network. The Hospitality Director position was far from ideal, but Cheryl had a goal. She knew that her situation was a temporary and necessary stepping stone to get what she wanted. Cheryl became friends with artists’ managers and heads of record labels. While touring with Luther, she introduced herself by saying, “Hi. I’m Cheryl, Luther’s Director of Hospitality. How can I make your life easier?” The executives loved her positive can-do attitude. Through Cheryl’s connections, she obtained a position as Toni Braxton’s personal assistant. She and Toni both felt that she was over-qualified for the job and after a week, Toni let her go. They remained good friends, however, and Cheryl eventually went on to become Toni’s European tour manager (and later career manager).

• Listen to the encouraging voice in your head. Cheryl’s inner voice constantly reminded her that “we walk by faith and not by sight.” “Act as though it were.” “Faith and fear cannot exist in the same realm. You have to choose one or the other.” Whenever self-doubt tried to surface, she quickly shut it out with affirmations of faith.

• When you know in your spirit that it is time to move on, MOVE ON. Too often people are afraid to leave situations because they are unsure about what lies ahead. Leaving requires faith and trust in God. That’s why it is important to pray without ceasing and seek God’s direction. When He instructs, we must obey. For example, Cheryl stuck with R. Kelly during some very tumultuous times in his career. She genuinely believed in his talent and wanted to help get his career back on track. After talking with the Lord, however, she was instructed to move on. Although it was a difficult break to make, she followed God’s direction immediately. The following day, she and her then boyfriend, Jean, traveled to Hawaii. While there, he proposed and she accepted. This once again confirmed that when one door closes, another one opens. According to Cheryl, “You have to be at peace with the situation you are leaving. When you’re at peace, something better will come.”

• Your words have power. One evening after Cheryl and Jean were married, they found a moment to relax and tune in to American Idol. Cheryl immediately set her sights on Fantasia Barrino. Although Cheryl had taken a break from the industry to nurture her new relationship and prepare for motherhood, she told Jean that she would go back to work if presented with an opportunity to manage Fantasia. A few months later, Cheryl received an unexpected invitation directly from the creator of American Idol to manage Fantasia. In essence, she put the energy out there and God did the rest.

As Cheryl and I wrapped up our interview, I asked what she enjoys most about walking with the Lord. She didn’t hesitate. “He is always faithful and true. He has proven it time and time again. God never ceases to amaze me. With God in my life, everything just works out.”