Thursday, September 4, 2014

PUPPET PASTORS: THE DETERIORATION OF TODAY'S CHURCHES

THE GREAT SHAME OF OUR CHURCHES TODAY IS is that they have become; not only political, but polluted. You would think the church leaders are running for office, instead of guiding their sheep! You have Pastors bringing "people" into the ministry as Ministers, Elders, Deacons, Evangelists...without having to "prove" or prepare themselves with education or mentoring. Many are fresh off the streets--without any anointing--and are "crowned" as a Minister before the congregation, without as much as a trial sermon. If our old Mothers and Fathers of the gospels knew of this, they would be turning in their graves. All it seems to take (this day and time) to be licensed as a Minister is a loud, sing-song voice, a little dance in your step, and an animated amount of passion and bravado! Add in a large amount of charisma, and you've got yourself a Preacher! In other words, if you can run around the church with enough passion and energy, and can holler almost as loud as the Pastor, you're in line to be "licensed!" If they dress well, make enough money, contribute enough to the church, and holler loud enough, they're already at the top of the list! Many Pastors today, round up and license as many Ministers as they can, as fast as they can, with a hidden agenda: To became the Big Guy...a Bishop! Moving up the ecclesiastical  ranks seems to be or more importance than leading one's congregation to God. I mean, really, leading them in spiritual growth, maturity, and relationship with The Father and His Son; not just in appearance, but in their innermost hearts. I'm afraid the true meaning of Church--and Worship--is getting lost in the spirit of self importance--self elevation, self propagation, self...period! When did it stop being about Christ, and Him Crucified? When did it become about elevation, and functions, and programs, and everything except Christ? When? I really want to know!


And, let's talk about those who are serious about their walk with the Lord--whose very heart and soul is to serve and please Him; and let's say that over a course of years, they've discovered that they have various spiritual gifts that God gave them for the furthering of the Gospel and/or His Kingdom. You would think that a church would be thrilled to have such a person who, could not only draw more people to both their church and to Christ, via the use of these gifts; but in a great many instances, this hasn't been the case. I know of a particular person in the Ministry--an Evangelist--who had a Prophetic gift; I witnessed various male Pastors speak so poorly of her, and joked about her "so-called" gift. They would invite her to speak in their churches (because she could bring a decent "crowd;" but once she left for the night, they would laugh and poke fun at her. They did this to the point that when I opened my own church, I refused to invite her to speak because I thought she was a joke. I had bought into their view of her, because they knew her long before I did. I never agreed with their joking and making fun of her behind her back--I don't play that, and I didn't take part in it, but I thought there must be some truth to what they were saying; or else, why would they all be saying it. I finally felt lead to invite her to my church (though I did it cautiously) and, yes, she was a bit "dominating" in that she wanted to keep interrupting my Message with her prophesies. Talking to her later, I came to realize her "gift" was very real, but she didn't know how to use it! She had never been taught! So, whenever something came to her, she felt she was to immediately stand and speak on it. When I realized the "problem" she had--which was lack of education in this area--I took her under my wing to mentor her. I taught her to either remember what she's been told about a particular person or situation for when her turn came to speak, or write it down so she could remember. That way, she would get to use her gift without interrupting the whole service! No one had ever taken the time to teach her this simple thing; instead, they laughed, joked, and made fun of her behind her back. It was a simple case of learning to do things in decency and in order. 
 
I found in a great many churches, that if you're not in the Pastor's "inner" circle; no matter what kind of gifts you have, you're not going to use them in his/her church. And, sad to say, it far worse if you're a woman. If you have spiritual gifts that the Pastor or his wife doesn't have, it would be better for to lay low and keep it to yourself, or you'll immediately become suspect...treated as though you have some contagious disease or like you are a mental case! Your spiritual gifts can't possibly be real, because the Pastor didn't prophesy them over you! Or, they'll try to persuade you that you're off in the left field and don't really have any spiritual gifts, because if God would give them to anyone, wouldn't he have given them to him or her; meaning, the Pastor? Or, they'll preach at you from the pulpit, and insinuate that just because God may have used you a couple of times in the past, it doesn't mean you actually have any specific spiritual gifts, or that you don't still have them. They not only attempt to plant doubt in your own head about yourself, but they attempt to put it in the heads of their congregation's about you as well! And, God forbid you KNOW something (have a revelation or understanding of a scripture) that they don't, because you're definitely going to be preached at from the pulpit, and cunningly made to become suspect to the whole congregation. They have become as Pharisees, and they don't even realize it! Didn't the Pharisees say of Jesus, that if God was going to use or reveal Himself to anybody, it would have been them, not Jesus...not a nobody, carpenter's son! That same frame of thought permeates our churches today. If you're not somebody important, then you're nobody at all! GOD HELP US! I've never broadcasted myself as a Prophet (never!)...it was not that important to me; yet, God uses me with very specific messages, e.g. Watch your child closely for the next three month, she's either going to be raped or molested!--A month later, in another state her mother sent her to, the little girl and her cousin was raped on the rooftop of a New York apartment building. Thank God, this man was caught and convicted months later. I could give you so many more examples of the prophetic, word of knowledge, and healing gifts God has given me and used me in, but most people (except my family and close friends) don't even know about them, because I don't brag, broadcast, or feel the need to shove it in everyone's face I meet! Even with a strong prophetic gift, I still don't claim to be a Prophet! I get upset to this very day when my adult children call me to ask me where something is in their house that they lost, because I feel like they're using me as a psychic, and that bothers me to the core. And, yet, they still do it! I've even been called by my daughter to help a friend of her who lost something important in his house, a house I've never been in...not even to this day. After praying about it (as I always do), I told her exactly where it was located: Exactly! And, it wasn't anywhere the average person would have thought it would be. Someone had hid it from him, intentionally, but nothing is hid from God! And, by the way, please don't misunderstand me; I don't say this to promote myself in any way, but to clarify that when I speak of spiritual gifting, I know what I'm talking about! 

I think we should be very careful in using God's gifts for our own attention, elevation, or pats-on-the-back. It should be enough that we were blessed with them, to use to God's glory, to the benefit of His people, not to our own elevation! Not, at all! And, when I did Pastor a church, I taught on the gifts and helped people to first, find out what gifts they had; then, learn to use and mature them. In this process, I discovered a Minister that had been at a particular church (in Syracuse, NY) for eight (8) years who had a gift of healing and didn't even know it! I touched him during ministering once at his church, and God made me aware of it. So, after the service, I asked him about it (because I had never seen him use it), only to find out he didn't even know he had it! And, I don't think he believed me at first, until I proved it to him. Needless to say, not only did he have a healing gift, it was very strong! Yet, his Pastor--whom he had been under for 8 years--never picked up on it. I didn't understand that then, and I don't understand it now. Why? Because I believe God equips us to do the job he called us to do. If he called me to be a Pastor, then I should know the strengths, weaknesses, and certainly "gifts" that my sheep possess! That's just what I believe!


The truth is, people don't like people that are different. People in high positions tend to feel that if God would use anybody; surely, it would be them! What would these very Pastors (Bishops, Elders, Evangelists, and others) do if Jesus came into their churches in disguise, today, and claimed He walked on water, or fed 10,000 with a hand full of food, or made blind eyes see! I guarantee He wouldn't last a week in the average church! They would do everything in their power; not only to discredit Him, but to run Him out of the church, altogether! In fact, that's exactly what they did do! Isn't it? Over 2000 years ago! They even went as far as to say he was doing what he did by the hands of Satan! That he and Satan were in cahoots! After all, they had to say something, because they sure couldn't deny he had these gifts...that he was performing miracles! So, they blamed it on Satan! They said he was doing it by the hand of Satan! His own sisters and brothers--who grew up with Him, didn't believe Him!


What makes me such an expert in all this? I'm not, and I don't claim to be. But, I am quite knowledgeable in the workings of churches and how they operate; both, in public and behind closed doors. I've been in the ministry for almost 30 years (I've been saved for 43 yrs), and I've seen it ALL; from Pastors giving their wives "papers" (ministering license) just because they "whined" for them, or pressured their spouse for it---not because of any calling on their lives, to a Minister being given Elder license so his so-called future wife wouldn't be "over" him (as she was already an Elder, and had been for years). This was the Pastor's attempt at pairing them up for marriage...and making sure they were equally yoked together; which, needless to say, never took place! One Pastor went as far as to put an Elder out of his church (permanently) because the Elder "disobeyed" him, by not jumping up and shouting "on demand!" This is the honest truth! This really happened, right before my eyes!

Now we have a wave of Pastors and Preachers calling themselves "Prophets," who can't prophesy the rain, with heavy clouds hanging in the sky! I've seen this garbage up close and personal in many ministries, and it breaks my heart! And, it breaks God's Heart!

I know that no one is perfect--least of all, me, and I know that God can use anyone He pleases! Absolutely! But, this whole phenomena is totally out of control! You tell somebody--who already had several applications put in at various places--they are going to get a job. Two weeks later, they testify to having a job, and all of a sudden, the pastor who spoke it is now a Prophet! I'm not claiming to be an expert on prophets; they come in many shapes, sizes, denomination, and economic statuses (including, homeless and on the street); but telling someone that a very natural occurrence is going to happen, when the probability of it happening was already high and in place for it to happen, doesn't make one a prophet. Now, when you tell me something specific like what kind of job I'm going to get, possibly the name of the Company or the street it's on, then I'm listening (unless, of course, you already knew I had applied at that particular place)! I just don't like playing church! I didn't like it when I was 17, and I don't like it today! And, when I say I have no respect of persons in this matter, I really don't! I don't care if you're my mother, brother, sister, or great-grandmother, I don't like pretense, and I don't like fake! And, I've always been this way! Because, I don't think God is anyone to play with, as loving as He is: He says what He means, and He means what He says. And, I don't care how long ago it was when He said it--since he doesn't change--His Word doesn't change, either!  And, believe it or not, I'm far harder on myself, then I'll ever be with anyone else! I am what I am, and I try with everything in me to be whatever I am to His Glory! It breaks my heart to think that I've disappointed Him for a minute; thus, I reach towards the mark...and I keep reaching! Does that make me better than anyone else, No, it doesn't. But, it does make me sincere, and I know I'm not the only one out here that has a sincere heart for God!

I'm not young anymore, but my mind is keen and alert, and my heart is honest and true! Am I perfect? Absolutely, not! Do I make mistakes? Absolutely, I do! I've done things that were dead wrong, but for what I thought at the time was the right reason. It plagued me for over 6 months. I could hardly talk to God, or look at myself in the mirror. It bothers me to this day! And, you know how devious the devil is? You do a wrong thing to help somebody, and then they turn around and stab you in the back, and lie on you and make it look to others like you did even worse than what you really did! As though what you did wasn't bad enough; but, now, they have to make you look like a monster, simply because you claim to be a child of God, and they feel it's their job to bring you down a notch or two! Not, realizing that what you did was enough to break you for life...without their adding lies to it! It hurts me beyond measure when I feel as though I've hurt God or disappointed Him in any way. I can promise you that long after God has forgiven me, I'm still beating myself up about it! I take Ministry--preaching, teaching, living it--very seriously--especially, for myself--and it's time the Preachers of this day get back to doing the same...taking it seriously!

And, NO--for the record--I'm not talking about any one particular person: I'm talking to ALL those in the Ministry who has made ministry more about themselves--and the who's who of their churches; the ones with the fancy and/or expensive cars, with their pockets loaded with money for the church plates, and all that other nonsense that goes on behind closed doors! These are the "sheep" the average church today seem to care more about, than their "ordinary" people. This seem to be what and who they care about, far more than they do about God and His Son! It's time to get back to basics! To our first fruits!


It's time to take off those weights that do so easily beset you--the weight of Pride, the weight of Arrogance, the weight of Self and Self-righteousness, self-indulgence, the weight of Secret Sins, the weight of Gossip and Back-stabbing, etc.--and get back to pressing towards the mark of the High Calling. Put back on the Robe of Righteousness...and walk in Holiness! In fact, let's first put on our Armour of Salvation, period! So that we can fight the good fight!

The bible says, Many are called, but FEW are Chosen. Today, most of the "chosen" ones have chosen themselves. I can't tell you how many false prophesies that's been "prophe-lied" over my life! I used to believe every one of them because I didn't know any better. If they said they were a Prophet, I believed them! Why wouldn't I? Christians don't lie, right? I'm now 60, and not one of them have come true, accept the prophecies of a true Prophetess that God introduced me to a little over 10 years ago. I had set myself up to not even listen to her, until she started saying things she couldn't possibly know! She didn't know me, she didn't know my friends or family! But, she DID KNOW MY GOD! She told me what I'd done, what I was doing, and what I would be doing in the future: She's been 100% accurate on it ALL, and very specific! She's now one of my closest friends!


People, thank God for the gifts and talents He's given you; don't pretend to be more than who you are! Isn't it enough that you're in Him? That He loved you enough to give His life for you? Trying to be something you're not will only serve to hurt the very people you're trying to minister to! Don't try to go further than God plans for you to go before time; He will elevate you in Due Season! Stop trying to be the Big Shot and just be the Pastor people NEED you to be! And, to the regular church people (those without titles), don't pretend to be less of who you are just because someone makes you feel that way. You know who you are in Christ, and you know what gifts he's given you. If you're in a place where you and/or your gifts are not appreciated, then find a church that will appreciate your gifts as well as you! It's as simple as that! God gave you your spiritual gifts to be used...so use them, wherever you are! Don't stifle your gifts! That's no different than quenching the Holy Spirit!

And, Pastors, I know how busy you can be---remember, I've been a Pastor, too! But if one of your

members is on their sick bed, and they specifically asked for YOU, show up! Don't send a minister or deacon or mother in your place; they deserve first class attention if they asked for it! Don't get so big that you can only provide personal attention to the "Big Shots" in your church, and leave the so-called "little people" to everyone else! God put YOU over them, not everyone else! Just saying....

People...time is short; very, very short! You can believe it or not, but Jesus is on His way back! And, He's looking for a church without spot or blemish; A church who's not covered in the muck and mire of the world, but in His Anointing! So, I beg you, those that have not given your lives to Christ, do so now! Some preachers talk about hell and casting out demons, but don't even truly believe in them! You tell a Pastor today that you cast a real demon out of someone and, again, they look at you suspect, like you're out of your mind! God, help this untoward generation. Demons are REAL! Angels are REAL! Heaven and Hell are REAL places! Please, Choose you this day whom you will serve...thus, choose you this day where you will spend eternity! And, Who you will BELIEVE!


Remember, Pastors...many have entertained Angels unaware! Many more than you might even believe! In fact, even demons for that matter! Just because you don't see something, doesn't mean it isn't there or doesn't exist! Either you believe the whole bible or none of it at all! Pastors, Preachers, Ministers, Bishops, Evangelists...Please...Get it right with God! Check yourself and see if you measure up with the Word of God. It's no shame in regrouping and confessing your faults; it IS a shame to pretend you're right when you're NOT! And, the truth is, people know whether or not they're right with God, even those who cover their sins with excuses! You can fool the WORLD, but you can't fool YOURSELF, and you certainly can't fool God! Just, get it right...for YOUR own sake, and for the sake of the PEOPLE you lead and serve. Shake the dust from your garments, and get back in the battle!  Because, whether you're an Elder, Bishop, Deacon...or whatever, you're NOT a Big Shot in the Eyes of God, you're a SERVANT! Keep the "Servant" part in mind, and it'll keep you forever Humble! But, start believing you're more special than anybody else, and you'll lose vision of why you were called or chosen in the first place! Never, lose sight on who you are in Christ Jesus! And, in the end, on the DAY of Judgement, you just might get to hear God say, "Well done, my good and FAITHFUL SERVANT!" 

So, From One Servant to the Other...Keep on Serving to the Glory of God, 

And NEVER Give Up the Good Fight...Because, You're Not Just Fighting for Your Life, 

But For The Lives of So Many Others!



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Dividing Nation (Part II)

       The last part of our Pledge Of Allegiance states, "...with liberty and justice for all." Most of us have been saying this pledge since entering school, but how many of us have really taken the time to consider what these words really mean? We get a certain status in life and all of a sudden, everyone else is beneath us. Or, someone rises to the top in life, and all of a sudden we declare them to be uppity! If we're up, we look down on those who are down; if we're down, we look down on those who've risen up! If we see a teen dressed a certain way, he's either a prep or a hoodlum...why can't he/she just be a teen trying to fit in? It's like, we no longer remember when we were kids; when it was us! Now, we're policemen, social workers, Judges...and we're the BIG GUYS, we're IN CHARGE...and we want everyone in the world to know it!
       When I watched the Fruitvale Station (Oscar Grant) movie a couple of weeks ago, I was outraged at how those policemen treated those kids. I'd like to go on record saying that how they were treated was no less than a crime! And, I'm not going by a movie: I did my research before seeing the movie! I saw the actual clips of those policemen man-handling those kids. It was no surprise that one of the kids ended up dead at the hands of the police. And, yes, I said police--not policeman, because none of the policemen there put that policeman that was out of order in check; therefore, making them all at fault. In fact, two of them was completely out of order. The public outcry, even before the killing took place, was proof of that! The sad thing is, the very person that was looked upon as a criminal ended up dead for no criminal reason, and the one perceived to be the protector of the people ended up killing for no reason!
       We say "liberty and justice for ALL!" Where is the liberty when someone like Trayvon can't walk down the street--minding his own business--in his own neighborhood, without fearing for his life from an over-anxious wannabe-cop, because his skin isn't the right color and his clothing isn't the right style; and, who indeed, ends up dead!
       I've worked as a Juvenile Crisis Counselor, as a Corrections Officer, and as a Social Worker--to name a few. All these positions gave me a certain amount of power over others that I could have easily abused, but I didn't take those jobs for power; I took those jobs to help change lives! Yes, even in the prison system. You'd be surprised at the people who'll listen to you when you treat them with decency and respect! Unfortunately, a lot of people go into these very jobs on a power trip, and the system doesn't care enough to weed them out! God help us!
       What's even sadder about all this, is that we're blinded enough to think that it can't happen to us: We're good people, we're honorable people, we're church-going people...we follow the rules! America, open your eyes! When the police decides to pull you over--for whatever reason--and you as much as ask why to the wrong policeman, you're already on the wrong side of the law. Anything you do besides exactly what you're told can land you in a casket, and that policeman can pull something from your record you did when you were 10 years old and make you look like this horrible person, walking away--himself--with no more than a slap on the wrist! This is the America we now live in! The question is...What are we going to do about it?!
       When are we going to stand up and say, "We've had enough!"
      

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Dividing Nation (Part 1)

          When I first heard of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman situation, I wasn't sure whose side I was on; but, then, that was because I didn't have all the facts. It's easy to come to an arbitrary conclusion with preconceived assumptions, when one doesn't have all the fact. The assumptions being: "The kid shouldn't have been dressed like that in the first place. He was out looking for trouble!" Or, "You know he was a trouble-maker; he'd just gotten suspended from school!" "That's just another thug off the streets!" How about the assumptions: "Zimmerman was no more than a wanna-be cop, looking for someone to push around!" Or, "That toy cop was out looking for someone he could bully!" "He was prejudice, anyway! Everybody knew it!"
          The truth is, we tend to--in this society--assume to know everything about a person just by looking at them, or spending 10 minutes in their presence.  We assume to know why a person does what he or she does by the look on their faces, the way they dress, their status in life...even by their past history. In this society, being in trouble once or twice means you're a troubled person...period. Coming from a poverty background means you're low-class, and not capable of doing something so simple as commanding the King's English.
          I don't know much about either Trayvon or Zimmerman, aside from what the media says. But, what I do know is the automatic prejudices of people, and I know this from personal experience. Being an extremely light-complexioned, so-called "black" or "African-American" woman, I suffered prejudice--even from within my own household--at a very young age. It was said I thought I was better than others because of my skin-tone, when I wasn't even old enough to know the differences of skin-tones, or what it meant! I was called chicken-sh-t color by my step-grandmother whenever I upset her, and "high-yellow" by everyone else! By the time I was a teen, I was the "white" cousin or Baby Red! As I got older, it was said I talked too proper to which I tried changing my diction in an  attempt to sound more "black"---whatever that sounds like, in hopes of fitting in. I've always had a High IQ and was told because of it, I thought I was better than everyone else! Of course, I thought no such thing! Because of people's attitudes and statements, I've--to this day--never put my Degree on the wall. Not in 30 years!
          Now, as a disabled person on a fixed income (after having mastered several Professional jobs and two micro businesses of my own), I'm treated like an imbecile who don't understand basic English and/or can't fill out a simple form. It's not just frustrating, it's downright insulting! What does any of this have to do with Trayvon vs Zimmerman, you might ask? Everything!
          The first thing the media pointed out about Trayvon was the hoodie he was wearing, as though wearing a hoodie automatically makes one of questionable character, if not a low-life criminal or thug! It was February, a hoodie was appropriate attire for said month; not to mention, hoodies are popular with all teens, everywhere. The second thing mentioned was he had just recently been suspended from school, as though this automatically made him a problem person. And, yes, I know why he was suspended...for being young, impressionable and stupid! But, that didn't make him a bad kid, no more than showing extremely bad judgement on that fateful day makes Zimmerman a bad man.
       I did read somewhere that George Zimmerman had been turned down for the police department before, but who hasn't? Oftentimes, it's simply because one didn't pass the written or physical exam. However, it was noted (from prior police reports) that he had a history of a temper and violent behavior, which should have kept him from ever being issued a gun permit in the first place. I'm still not saying he was a bad person, as it was also reported how he worked with troubled teens and treated the African-American teens no different than the others. In fact, in early 2011, Zimmerman participated in a citizen forum at the Sanford City Hall (in Florida), to protest the beating of a black homeless man by the son of a white Sanford police officer. During the meeting, Zimmerman called the behavior of officers on duty "disgusting." So, what happened on February 26, 2012? How did these two people collide? I'll tell you how...via social prejudice! Determining a person's character, intentions, even their worth by how they look, act, talk, dress, and by where they live.
          It didn't matter that Trayvon belonged to a family living in the same "gated" community that Zimmerman also lived in. To Zimmerman, he was a hoodlum...plain and simple; at least, that's what Zimmerman saw. A young African-American man with a little swag in his walk--trying to look cool like kids do. Instead of a pair of slacks with a button down shirt and sweater--and, of course, the unsuspecting windbreaker--he had on a pair of jeans and a hoodie, of all things! Did I mention that he walked with his hands in the waistband of his pants? Kind of like cowboys do, but Zimmerman didn't see a cowboy, he saw a hoodlum...looking for trouble. Trayvon didn't "know" that he was looking for trouble that day, he just thought he was being himself; listening to his music, in his own world, on his way back home from the store. He thought he was just a cool kid with a little swagger!
          The problem developed when Zimmerman decided he knew more about Trayvon than Trayvon knew about himself, simply by the way he walked and dressed... and by the color of his skin. He was doomed from the moment Zimmerman decided he knew him...or rather, he knew his kind! The kind that drifted about the neighborhood, peering through windows, scoping out homes, seeing what they could come back later to steal! He was tired of Trayvon's kind...infiltrating, drifting through, and harassing his neighborhood. He had had enough! It was time to take action; time to make his community safe again! It was time to get "guys" like Trayvon off the streets! And that's when he decided: This time, the "guy" isn't going to "get away!"
         
         

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Ugly Truth About Indie Publishing

I have 13 days to go before my Kickstarter Project will be over.  Unfortunately, unless a miracle takes place between now and then, it will have been a total flop.  And, I honestly don’t understand why?  I’ve seen people on Kickstarter with some amazing products that deserves every bit of the support they receive and then some, but I’ve also seen some of the dumbest stuff up there receiving crazy funds beyond one’s imagination…for picture books, puzzle books…painted cards…painted posters…hundreds of thousands of dollars for these items!  And, I ask myself, what am I doing wrong?  I’ve checked and rechecked my post, tweaked and re-tweaked my videos;  I deleted 1/3 of my information, thinking I was overwhelming people with too much info, etc.  I even added a second video to explain why I was asking for the funds, which I also posted on my last post here!  All to no avail!

I’m not upset or anything like that.  I’m just…confused, frazzled, thrown-off-balance a bit.  Here’s why.  You start out writing and everybody under the sun says, If you need anything, And I Mean Anything, Just Let Me Know: I’M HERE FOR YOU!  I’M SERIOUS!  JUST LET ME KNOW!  You don’t call on them personally, but you set up this project and you let them know about it and ask them to spread the word to their friends and; suddenly, people (even, your immediate FAMILY) act as though you have the chicken pox.  They now want to keep their distance from you!  Even by email!  As though they can catch whatever it is they think you’re “spreading” via Twitter and/or FB and/or Email.

You attempt to put them at ease by saying:  “No, no…I don’t want anything from you (as though $5 would break their bank!), just spread the word for me.”  Retweet this for me or email that for me to your friends and all of a sudden, you hear:  I really don’t have too many friends or I don’t have those kind of friends!  I actually stepped out on the limb on New Years Eve (at our family gathering) and asked my oldest daughter to retweet my kickstarter “spill” for me, and she said (with a straight face, I might add):  “I don’t retweet.  I only retweet things that I like, like that guy you introduced me to…what’s his name, Deitrick Haddon?  Yeah, I retweeted a couple of things he wrote, but that’s all.  No, I don’t retweet.”  This is MY DAUGHTER SAYING THIS TO ME!  Needless to say, I was totally taken back by her nonchalant attitude while making the statement.  Like she was saying, No, I don’t like chocolate ice cream.  I couldn’t believe it.  I wasn’t even angry.  I was hurt!  It’s like, you’re trying to get your book out and the whole Universe is suddenly against you!  But, these are people you’ve done FREE Resumes, Divorces, Bankruptcies–you name it–for that would have cost them Thousands of Dollars with anyone else, but I did it for them for FREE!!!  And, thought NOTHING OF IT, AND DIDN’T HESITATE TO DO IT!

Within a few weeks of joining a new church and the Pastor finding out I was writing a book (and I didn’t tell him); all of a sudden, I’m getting a dig from the pulpit:  “These people got talents and gifts that God gave them and they’re just sitting on them. They could be making money right now singing, writing music, writing books.  In fact, people taking forever to edit their books and stuff, when all they have to do this day and time is write the book and upload it to the publisher.  The publishers do all the editing and everything and you’re done.  It don’t take all that stuff that people are doing holding up the book!”  This is from a person who’s never written anything in his life; who knows NOTHING about indie publishing or any other kind of publishing, for that matter.  He reads a little article somewhere or seen something on the internet and now he’s an expert on how MY book should be published!  But, did HE donate a dime to my kickstarter project?  I don’t think so! But, he’s waiting for it to be published so he can benefit from it like everyone else!  Needless to say, I’m resigning my membership!

The Ugly side of Indie Publishing is that you (on the most part) have to go it ALONE!  And, I mean ALONE!  You spend longs hours alone trying to create, long hours alone rewriting, editing, tweaking, always alone…no one as much as drop by to bring you a cup of coffee (except, my youngest son and his wife who keeps me in Barnes & Nobles gift cards…bless their hearts!).  But, when your book is published and it begins to creep, then crawl, then move, skip, climb, jump, and dive to the top of the bestsellers list, here they come!  They always knew you would do it!  They ALWAYS had your back, they were just giving you space to work!

Now, this may not be the case for all indie writers; in fact, I’m sure it isn’t.  Many have supportive spouses, cats, dogs, pigs…maybe, even, a few horses, turtles, spiders, snakes!  Others have their gourmet coffee, lemon tea, kettle chips, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate eclairs, and the list goes on.  But, what we really need are PEOPLE!  Without people, our writing and/or publishing isn’t worth the time it took us to do it, perfect it, and put it out there for your enjoyment!  And, if we need a little help along the way, so be it!  GIVE IT, for goodness sake!

We can give help and support for the dumbest stuff:  TRUTH!  We Americans will donate Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars for the dumbest stuff on earth!  Plain Truth!  Save the Alligators!  Money by the bushels!  Save the Crabs!  Money donated by the yang yang!  Let’s study how far the Butterflies fly?  Millions of dollars come in!  CRAZY!  But, ARTISTS…ALL OF US…We have to GIVE AWAY THOUSANDS OF FREE BOOKS AND CDs JUST TO GET YOU TO BUY A FEW!  HARD TRUTH!  We have to struggle, but we do it, because we believe we have something beautiful to offer.  And, we believe in it so much that if you aren’t willing to help us to get it to you, then we’ll struggle on our own to get it to you, even to the point of having to PAY OUT OF OUR OWN POCKETS to get it TO YOU FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT.

Now that I’m one of them, I totally understand the term “struggling artist.”  You struggle against your inner demons, you struggle against self-doubt, you struggle against systematic defeat (from time to time), you struggle against hindrances, your family, society at large; you struggle to get something passionate and beautiful into the hands of society; to share a little piece of yourself, and hope in the process, you’ve touched someone in some small, significant way…enough to be rewarded in return,  if only with appreciation.  I ask you:  Am I worthy of your appreciation?  Or, am I not?  I’ve given you several lengthy excepts of my writing to give you a feel for my talent, my style…what more can I give you to get your support for my book?  Is $5 or even $10 too much to ask for your help?  I’ve done my part, the rest is up to you.

So, there you have it!  My heart on my sleeve and the plain truth as ugly as it may be.
Now, if you’re interested in supporting this Indie Author, please go to http://kck.st/1017F2v
Your Help is more than Appreciated, and I can assure you: 

I’M WORTH IT…as are ALL US INDIE AUTHORS!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kickstarting LETTERS FROM HEAVEN off to SUCCESS!

I recently launched a Kickstarter Project to take my book further than the "Ebook" format (which I can do and am doing on my own). Until you have to do it, you have no idea what it takes to, not only get your book written and published, but to make it a Success! I have all the faith and confidence in the world that my book will be exactly that: SUCCESSFUL! But, even successful people have; oftentimes, needed a little help along the way to their success.

I come to you as my Family, Friends, and Acquaintances to ask your help in taking LETTERS FROM HEAVEN to the next level...and the NEXT! 


On a $10,000 Credit Card donation from a "Friend," The Shack (a self-published Christian Fiction Novel) went on to be on the NY Times Bestseller's List and earn the author, William P. Young, $3.5 million dollars (by now, even MORE!). It all started with a "Friend," a Donation & Determination...and the rest is history!

I can only imagine that this friend is one happy guy today, and wealthier for his Faith in his Friend.

I'm hoping that you will come on board as my Friend and help me to SUCCEED at the Kickstarter Project, and know that the success of one is the success of all...as we all believe in Paying It Forward!
 

You can check out my Letters From Heaven Kickstarter Project at: http://kck.st/1017F2v.    

(And, by the way...IT IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE)!
 
So, Please consider helping. It would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, and to all A BLESSED LIFE!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

LETTERS FROM HEAVEN: In a nutshell!

The first thing a person asks you when you tell them you've written a book (or is writing a book) is...What is it about. Then when you begin to tell them--after the second sentence--you've lost their attention. You're still trying to explain your "masterpiece" to them that has taken you, sometimes, years to write. You want to give them every juicy detail, but they want the whole book in one sentence! Frustrating for sure, but this is the give-it-to-me-quick, fast and on-the-run generation. Even sex has been reduced to a "quickie!" So, I'm going to give it to you in a nutshell, what Letters From Heaven is all about (although, if you've been reading these blogs, you've been given a bit of information regarding this, already). But, for the quickie generation who's never been to this blog before and isn't about to read it from the beginning, this information is for you. So, again, in a nutshell, this should summarize it:

It's a compelling love story of the unbreakable bond between a mother and her daughter, who refuses to allow even death to keep them apart. 

Now, for those of you who really want the low-down on this book and a little more to "chew" on, this is for you. And, by the way, you are more like me...I want to know as much about a book as I can in order to make a decision as to whether or not I want to invest any real time in it. So, for you...here goes:

In a time when rape was a secret one kept to one's self; when bearing a child outside of marriage was taboo, Angelica "Geli-bean" Snowden was born to a mother whose life defied the times and whose love defied death. Ava Lorraine "Rainey" Snowden (the mother of Angelica) set out to prove that love doesn't have to end with the grave...and the power of love doesn't end at all.

Letters From Heaven is the story of a precocious little girl--born of rape and of another race into a family of wealth and prestige--whose journey through childhood into womanhood is guided by the love of her mother (via letters) who refuses to allow, even, death to keep them apart.

Upon discovering her fatal illness, Rainey (Angelica's mother) begins a series of letters that will follow her daughter throughout her life (long after Rainey's death), hoping to give Angelica the feeling of security and stability that only a parent--in her case, a mother--can give. If only she could have foreseen the future, she would have known that it would take far more than "letters" to bring stability to her daughter's life. 


Angelica's life will be everything but stable: Her conception, a crime, her birth unwanted and her race a travesty to her family's name. Angelica's life is doomed to be filled with bumps, bruises, twists, turns, pain, and unimaginable darkness. The letters may appear to come from "heaven," but her life is the stuff of...well, let's just say, the other place!

Letters From Heaven is an intriguing story of four women whose lives are interrelated and interconnected (unbeknown to them) in a complex web of secrecy, all weaved around the life of Angelica (Geli-bean). Her mother, Rainey, is a woman of strength, even in the midst of terminal illness. Myra "Grand Myra" Snowden (Angelica's grandmother) is cool, aloof, and haunted by devastating secrets that have been sheltered by old money and her family's name, much to her unspoken shame...and pain


Louise "Mama Louise" Cash is a self-appointed, African-American surrogate grandmother to Angelica, who harbors secrets of her own that could destroy both her and Angelica's family. And, Angelica--who possesses a supernatural bond with her mother that extends beyond the letters from the grave--discovers (at the brink of adulthood) that her entire life has been a lie!

It is the 1st in a series of *3 books (written in the form of letters and lyrical prose) that proposes to change the way on views death, challenge the way one champions loss, and encourage one to embrace all of life's possibilities. 

(*NOTE: Next 2 books in the series will include parts of diaries as well).

Now, that should be enough information for you decide whether this book is worth you checking it out or not; hopefully, it is. It's fun, it's sassy, it's painful, and it's life! 

I truly hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like V.C. Andrews, Anne Rice style of writing (not content, but style--though their content is GREAT as well), and such books as Nathan's Run, Angela's Ashes, and the Nanny Diaries, I believe you will absolutely LOVE LETTERS FROM HEAVEN!

So, there you have it! And, if you're ready to read this book in it's totality, consider helping us to Kickstart it off by going to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/784316705/letters-from-heaven-a-mothers-love-never-dies.  

However you choose to support this book, whether through the Kickstarter Project or by purchasing a copy once publish, know that you are so appreciated.

Remember to LIVE, LAUGHT, LOVE...and have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Oh, and remember to SPREAD THE LOVE!!  And, Be Blessed!