Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Self-control


Striving for Self-Control
A guest post by Marie W. Watts


“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

While it sounds simple to deal with others who are different from us in the manner God intended, I continually struggle with this concept.

In the 1990s, while working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), I had my first contact with a Nigerian. Before this meeting, my slate was clear. I had no opinions—good or bad—about individuals from that country.

Working on his failure to hire complaints was a disaster. He became angry with me because I was not able to prove discrimination. To me, he was rude and sexist.

Sometime later, a friend and I were working on a management training class for a nonprofit. I began to complain about Nigerians, and he said, “Nigerians? Nigerians. I’ve been to their country. They are warm, wonderful people.”

Then it hit me—I was stereotyping! I took everything negative about one individual and piled it on to all who were similar to him. And my job at the EEOC was to stop others from doing the same thing.

Why is it so easy to stereotype even when we intellectually know better and are striving to follow God’s command to love others?

Our brain has a built-in function that allows us to generalize. For instance, this ability is helpful when dealing with a pot of boiling water. Once we learn that we can be burned by the boiling water, we do not have to relearn this fact every time we see a bubbling pot. Just imagine how stressful life would be without our capability to generalize.

We can trip up, however, when dealing with people. Stereotyping keeps us from seeing the individual and all his/her potential. We often handicap that person with stereotypes, never bothering to look further.

Fast forward to the 2000s. The day the AT&T store opened in La Grange, Texas, I was one of the first customers through the door. I was determined to learn all I could about the Galaxy before making the switch from my iPhone.

As I stepped inside, a man I took to be in his 70s approached me with the familiar question, “May I help you?”

My brain began yelling, “Go away, I don’t want to talk to you. You don’t know anything about smartphones! You’re too old.” I caught myself, thank goodness, and realized I was stereotyping.

Turns out, the man who approached me was an AT&T executive in town for the grand opening. He quickly turned me over to a younger individual who came from an out-of-town store to help for the day. I bought the Galaxy and spent some time exploring the features.

Several weeks later, I went back to the store to ask questions. The out-of-towners were gone, and the regular staff (Millennials and Gen-Xs) were there. I found out I knew more about the Galaxy than they did. (By the way, I am in my 60s.) Go figure.

The bottom line:
In order to deal lovingly with others, we must continually monitor our tendency to lose self-control.

So, the next time you interact with someone different and began to experience negativity, stop and do a gut check. Has this individual actually done anything to elicit that emotion? Or, is stereotyping controlling your reaction? Only then can you make a conscious choice to act lovingly.

~*~
Author Bio:

Marie W. Watts is a former employment discrimination investigator and human resource consultant with over twenty-five years of experience. In pursuit of justice in the workplace, she’s been from jails to corporate boardrooms seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of humans at work. 

Her on-the-job observations came in handy when she co-authored a textbook about how to behave at work, Human Relations 4th ed. Additionally, her work has been published in the Texas Bar Journal and the Houston Business Journal as well as featured on Issues Today syndicated to 119 radio stations, NBC San Antonio, Texas, and TAMU-TV in College Station, Texas.

A popular diversity and employment discrimination trainer, Marie has trained thousands of employees to recognize their own biases and prejudices and avoid discriminating against others in the workplace. She has brought her experiences to life in the trilogy Warriors For Equal Rights about the struggles of ordinary people who work at the little-known federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

She and her husband live on a ranch in central Texas. In her spare time, she supports a historic house and hangs out with her grandsons. For more information about Marie and her stories about life, visit www.mariewatts.com.

~*~
Connect with Marie:
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/marie-w-watts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mariewattsbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MarieWattsBooks
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mariewattswriter/
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-w-watts-5b2a2b/

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: My lens and their world


Changing Our Lens
A personal essay by Roseanna M. White

As a novelist, something I’ve been thinking about a lot in recent years, as people ask me how I create my characters, is the lens through which we view the world. 


It’s easy to talk about in terms of these fictional people—after all, I’m the one creating them. I get to decide what their lens is and whether or not it shifts throughout the course of the story. I define it as “how they view their world and all their experiences.” A mathematician is going to see things differently than a musician, a biologist differently than a fairy tale enthusiast.

This is an understanding that I have about my made-up world because of my awareness of how I view the world always through the lens of “writer.” I’m always trying to put words to everything, trying to capture each experience through a turn of phrase.

We all have a thicker lens than our profession or even our calling, though. And I’m just beginning to understand what all truly makes up that glass through which we each see our world.

A lot of it is informed by our culture, our personal history. My lens is that of a white, middle-class woman. A West Virginian. A girl who prefers rural settings to urban ones. My lens comes from being raised in a Protestant church. In a school without much diversity. Going to a college that had people from a lot of countries, but most of whom still looked “like me.” 

But learning, there, to talk about everything with everyone, to view conversation as a way to bridge any gap. My lens comes from realizing, thanks to my fiction writing and reading, that we can always remove our own lens and put on someone else’s long enough to glimpse their world and come to new understandings.

As racial tensions continue to mount and a light is shone on systemic biases and injustices, sometimes our first reaction is to hide behind our own tinted glasses. “That’s not our world. That’s not how we experience it.” It’s easy to call it exaggeration or political or even flat-out mistaken.

But let’s take off our own lens. It’s a challenge—we’re so used to it that everything might look a little myopic when we make an effort to check our usual outlook at the door. But the best things in the life are the most difficult, and it’s an exercise worth the effort. Take off your lens. Put aside how you experience things. And really ask yourself how others do.

I’ve encountered prejudice here and there because of being from West Virginia. But it’s one I can counter by the way I present myself. When I take off that lens, I see that others don’t have the same ability—no matter what they do, people will make assumptions based on outward appearances that they cannot—and should not have to—change.

I’ve made plenty of friends with people of color, never seeing them as different. But when I take off my lens of “equality,” I see that there are differences, and that by ignoring the continued inequalities, I don’t make them disappear—I just don’t help solve them. In order to truly love and respect those friends, I need to take active steps, not just make assumptions.

I have opinions on right ways and wrong ways to handle problems. But we tend to define “right” and “wrong” by what works and what doesn’t. When I take off my lens, I see that what works for me does not work for others—and so, when is taking different action the only possible recourse?

This is something I have to keep practicing every day. But I should, every day. Because Jesus called us to look outside ourselves. To be radical with our love. To seek out those who are different. He calls us to see everyone through the lens of the only true equality to be found—His love.

What defines your lens? And how can you shift it to see the world in new ways?

~*~
Author Bio:

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes.

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself.

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

~*~
Connect with Roseanna:
Blog: https://roseannamwhite.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseannaMWhite/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/roseannamwhite/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roseannamwhite/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoseannaMWhite
Website: https://www.roseannamwhite.com

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Love Your Neighbor


Who Said Loving Your Neighbor Is Easy?

A guest post by Rev. Angelle M. Jones

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

A few months ago, a dear friend started having what she thought to be a simple physical challenge. Living in separate cities but talking regularly, for weeks she shared how she was experiencing ongoing sinus problems. Because the city where she lived had been determined to have an abnormally high pollen count, she attributed that as the reason for her reoccurring misery.

Doctors prescribed several doses of antibiotics and steroids but she just kept getting worse. With COVID-19 lurking and some of her symptoms seeming relatable, her family persuaded her to go to ER. What she and doctors thought to be a simple sinus infection turned out to be a life altering illness, completely turning her world upside down.

Once hospitalized, her mode of communication was limited to texting and selfies to explain what was going on. Although most of it was more than my non-medical mind could begin to translate, I thought I had the gist of it. What I did understand was the diagnosis was a life-threatening autoimmune disease that with flare-ups, causes an insurmountable surge of deadly inflammation to spread throughout the body.

Prior to the diagnosis she had experienced an unusual amount of hearing loss in both ears for someone her age. Once diagnosed, they found this to be the reason not only for the hearing and minor memory loss, but for other symptoms as well. 

After being hospitalized for almost three weeks, when time to be released, unmarried and no children, aware that her family were all employed or out of state, I offered to help her transition back into her home. Of course, I had no idea what to expect but having served as a professional caregiver off and on for the past twenty years, I really didn’t give it much thought. It couldn’t be too difficult I reasoned, after all, I’m a natural caregiver! I raised two generations as a single parent, and consider myself pretty intelligent. Moreover, it was the least I could do since this friend of over thirty years had been there to help during some of my toughest times.

As I write this (and yes, I am publishing with her permission) I wish I could report that everything has been as easy as one, two, three, however, and I’m sure she’ll agree, it’s been a far cry from easy. Through tears, anger, and days with little to almost no sleep, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that my professional caregiving skills and sincere desire to love “my neighbor as myself,” were challenged immensely.

After the first week, I realized I hadn’t truly grasped the brevity of her illness, or the level of care needed to help with the most basic needs. The idea of an autoimmune disease coupled with the threats of COVID alone were enough. Add having to become someone’s ears to communicate phone calls, shop, manage medicines, and never ending doctor’s appointments were unimaginable.

Perhaps with my own age-related limitations, when told, I obviously missed the full scope of the diagnosis. After a few weeks in the battle, I guess I expected my friend to be able to immediately pop in some high-powered hearing aids and quickly get back to life as normal.

Our first few days were probably the most difficult either of us had ever encountered. After the first week, we both woke up every morning tired not only physically, but our spirits were being tried in the fire and our minds were battle fatigued. I finally had to admit that even being quarantined for months before, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional battle involved with facing this new reality. Embracing the new, called for me to now accept that the two young women who used to share the art of listening to one another’s deepest desires, were no longer.

To say I have just undergone one of the most transformative periods of my life would be an understatement. If honest, most of us offer ourselves to serve in capacities we’re either passionate about or feel we’re qualified and gifted to do. However, every now and then we find ourselves called to enter into a transformational space of sacrifice. Often God has a way of calling us to a level of giving that warrants more than what we feel we can do on our own. Truth is, we really never do anything without His grace, and this experience proved it more than ever.

After a short period into my caregiving experience I had to question whether this particular case of loving my “neighbor” was possibly harder not only due to her circumstances but also because my friend is White and I am Black. In the midst of one of the most racially tense moments in America I found myself having to check my heart. Although I could pretty easily acknowledge my limitations, and admit how hard caring for her was, what I wasn’t ready for was the possibility that my anxiety might also be attributed to our racial difference.

Could it be that her excessive demands were based on her imposing her privilege? Was it her, or was it me that made me feel almost diminished to a modern-day slave by the daily tasks I was being asked to perform?

I knew the thought that my friend might be doing anything intentionally to discriminate against me was improbable. However, as a racial reconciliation facilitator, because of my work, especially in this season, I had to admit my thoughts moved there quickly. 

Thankfully, because my work focuses on building authentic race relationships, after deep introspection I moved past the thought quickly. Having to check my heart for racial bias toward my friend taught me that the work of racial reconciliation is ongoing. More importantly, I was reminded, it takes intentional work from both races, and whether friend or not, Black or White they are still my neighbor.

Through this experience I have come to realize that my neighbor is the one who I not only sympathize with, but the one with whom I may also have to empathize. What I’ve learned most, is that to love my neighbor as myself means, no matter how difficult, if at all possible, I will not allow them to experience loss alone. 
Instead, as in this case I must embrace my friend’s loss as mine. If my neighbor is suffering, so am I. If my neighbor grieves, I grieve. Most importantly, just as my friend is called to endure this trial, we may be called to endure it together. 

Simultaneously, God revealed to us one day in a divine moment of transformation that no doubt, we were called to share this sacred space of loss and grief together. Embracing, we cried and prayed, committing one another’s pain to the One who invited us to share this space of learning.

Instantly, we both knew it would be the place where we would learn how to truly “Love our neighbor as our self.”

~*~
Author Bio:

“Inspiring and Motivating With the Power of Words” 


Angelle M. Jones believes that the power of words inspires, and motivate to bring about transformative change individually and collectively.

Angelle originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Angelle has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and an earned Doctorate in Ministry on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of The Beloved Community from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Her ministry career began as a staff member of the Northeastern Ohio Billy Graham Crusade in 1994. For twenty years, as founder and director of In The Spirit Ministries, Inc. she led teams on mission outreaches throughout the world. From 2007-2012 Angelle served as Missions Director of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio where she currently resides. Angelle is founder and director of GlobaLife Coaching and Consulting serving as a Life and Transformation Coach and Church Consultant.

In 2016 Angelle authored and self-published her first book, Happily Never After. Along with sharing words of hope by sharing her writings on her social media platforms, she has been published in Vantage Magazine which is a literary source for faculty, students and alumni of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Ready which is a cutting-edge online magazine addressing current events and trending socially relevant topics for women.

Angelle is the mother of an adult daughter. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Saying "Yes" to God


When I Am Weak, God is Strong

A guest post by Kristen Rimer Terrette

I’m scared, y’all.

Have you ever committed to doing something you feel God desires from you, then as this very commitment approaches, you find yourself wanting to renege? That’s where I am.

I’m sitting in that tension, screaming inside, and with a racing heart, thinking, “God, what did I say yes too?! I’m not equipped! I’m not knowledgeable! I’m not enough!”

You see, not only have I agreed to participate in this Sharing Our Stories blog, but I’m beginning a church small group about racial reconciliation.

Me. A white girl in a predominantly white suburb (though changing more every day) of Georgia and, true to these statistics, one who attends a predominantly white church.

What can I do? Honestly, I’m part of the problem. Or at least I was, without a doubt, before I worked through the topics of the study I’m facilitating. Topics like awareness, lamentation, confession, forgiveness, and repentance. And even still, having done some internal work in my heart and having conversations with close friends and my husband over the years, I don’t know how to help people along on their journey toward acknowledgement, confession, healing, and growth—the very things that must happen for reconciliation to be realized. So many other are more qualified, even in my own church!

This was glaringly evident last Sunday when I was asked by a church member what made me want to start a group around racial unity. My first instinct was to cringe, because knowing a bit about this church member meant that, most assuredly, he’s further along in his journey toward correcting any previously held biases and prejudices. I felt inadequate immediately, not because of anything he did, but because of my own insecurities.

But after my initial recoil, words flowed easily. Something like (though probably not as eloquent as I’m remembering), “There are people of color my life who I care deeply for. These relationships have lasted for many, many years. They are family. They come to Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. They celebrate and grieve with me. They love me, and I love them. And once my eyes were unveiled to the injustices and pain they’ve been through, I felt sheer sadness over their oppression and sorrow.”

Knowing my loved ones had dealt personally with racism and hatred, meant I could no longer live in oblivion. My heart aches for them and that heartache makes me want to face my own part in their pain and work toward learning, listening, and doing something to help tend to their wounds.

But is it enough? Is this my own ambition? And what difference could a group or a blog post make in this chaotic world? I’m so small. So weak.

In my quiet time, as I prayed over this, God reminded me of 2nd Corinthians, chapter 12. Here, Paul describes a vision from God where he pleads three times for the Lord to take away the “thorn of his flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). In verse nine, we read God’s response to Paul’s cries, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” The verse continues with Paul’s acceptance of his challenges, “Therefore I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It was like God bonked me on the head and added a playful eye roll. My role in these commitments didn’t matter. My insufficiencies only release God’s power as I walk along His path for me. I cried (recently) for Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and my loved ones who I worry about facing brutality. But, also for Eric Garner, Tamir Rice … and the list goes on … I’d told God in these moments I would say yes to whatever He asked me of me.

And that was the only step He needed.

He wants my obedience, because my weaknesses aren’t a problem for Him. They only make His power shine perfectly. He’ll do the work. He’ll bring the people to the small group. He’ll bring the words for our blog posts. He’ll bring readers who are ready to go out and “do” good for Him in the world. His power is all we need to spark change.

I love that Paul adds in 2 Corinthians 12:10,“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What step are you afraid to take but feel God asking of you? One where you feel ill-equipped for, but a passion for the cause has been stirred in your heart that you can’t deny? 

Guess what? God put that passion there. He’s ready to come in power. In fact, that’s the only way He can come. So, take the step of obedience and delight in that feeling of weakness, because when you are weak, God says, because of Him and His Holy Spirit, you are strong.

With all our obedient steps combined and with God by our side in power, we can make a difference and inspire a change of heart.

~*~
Author Bio:

Kristen's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. 

She lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. where she served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years. With the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing fiction and non-fiction.

She also serves on the women’s leadership team at her local church and writes for Crosswalk and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her articles and novels at www.kristenterrette.com.

~*~
Connect with Kristen:

Website - www.kristenterrette.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KTerrette
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kterrette/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252020.Kristen_Terrette
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kristen-terrette
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/kterrette2/

Friday, September 4, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Introducing the writers


Introducing Sherrinda Ketchersid, in her words:

When I applied to be a contributor to Alexis Goring’s new blog series, Sharing Our Stories: Being the Change We Seek, I did not expect to be chosen. I’m a 55-year-old white woman who has just started this journey of anti-racism—I have much to learn.

I come from a white conservative background where both grandfathers were preachers. While I was brought up in a home of love and acceptance, I grew up in America where laws were put into place that benefited me and my whiteness. My life was white-centered, and I thought nothing of it until this year with the death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s murder sparked a discussion between me and my niece, Courtney. Hearing her lament and outrage sparked a disquiet in me that I couldn’t push away. She began purchasing books to educate herself about racism, and so I followed her lead, buying up books by Latasha Morrison, Robin DiAngelo, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Ibram X. Kendi, to name a few. 


We ended up going through the daily exercises in the book, Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, and I was floored at my own ignorance, white-centeredness, fragility, and bias. How could I have gone through life without realizing I am part of the problem? It has been the question that has spurred me to keep learning and has made me realize that this is a life-long journey, not a quick-fix.

In the short time I’ve been on this anti-racist journey, I’ve realized this path is also one of ministry. Racial reconciliation is a ministry that is God-approved. 

We are God’s ambassadors, charged with telling the people of the world they can be reconciled to God through Christ. But as reconcilers in this world, we must love God and love others first and foremost. We cannot love others well if we have forced them into a place of oppression, as we have people of color in America (and around the globe). 

We need to work to address this massive problem of institutional racism and free people of color from the challenges they face.

I want to be a voice to help educate white people like me who just don’t know what they haven’t been taught. I want to be a voice for good in the ministry of racial reconciliation. 

While I am sure I will make mistakes, I am committed to racial reconciliation and speaking out again racism, blatant or not. I want to call out injustice and bias when I see it. I want to cultivate a heart that is brave when racial conversations are difficult. But most of all, I want to cultivate a heart that loves God and others, no matter the cost. 

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this blog, and I pray God used the words of each contributor to motivate others to be a voice of change in the journey of racial reconciliation.

~*~
Author Bio:

Sherrinda Ketchersid is an author of historical romance and a minister’s wife who loves to paint in her Bible. 


She loves to read, spend time in her flower garden, and try her hand at new crafts. She likes to blog and is part of a group called The Writers Alley. 

Sherrinda lives in north-central Texas with her husband of 35 years. With four grown children, three guys and a gal, she has more time and energy to spin tales of faith, fun, and forever love.

~*~
Connect with Sherrinda:
Website: www.sherrinda.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherrindaKetchersidAuthor/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sherrinda
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sherrinda
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherrinda/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19022507.Sherrinda_Ketchersid
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherrinda-ketchersid
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sherrinda-Ketchersid/e/B07Q5Y8QHF/

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Introducing the writers


Introducing Marie W. Watts, in her words:

The day my brother participated in Little League tryouts is etched in my mind. The third graders took the field, a coach hitting balls to them. I watched as a boy at shortstop reached for a slow-moving grounder hit right to him and let it roll between his legs. A terrible realization seized me. Although I could play baseball better than that little boy, I would never be allowed on the field because I was a girl.

You see, my father was an extraordinary man. Because he had led a sheltered life before being thrown into combat in WWII, he was determined that neither me nor my younger brother, would suffer the same fate. I learned to play ball, ride a bike, and mow the lawn along with my sibling.

Both of us were expected to go to college and to succeed academically. It’s remarkable, really, that I was under the illusion that my brother and I were equals until I was in fourth grade.

I expressed rage at the indignity of it all. My wonderful dad and mom did not try to put me in my place or tell me that’s just how it was. He coached a group of my girlfriends, and we had our own baseball team. Unfortunately, we could only practice. No other female teams existed at the time.

Over the years, other incidents have occurred to remind me that, while things are better, the playing field is not level. Women, persons of color, the disabled, those of certain religious faiths, low-income Americans, and the LGBTQ community struggle in various ways.

Thirty years of my career were dedicated to ending employment discrimination and teaching diversity to thousands of Texas employees. Prodding me to push forward was the disappointment, dejection, and fury I felt that day on the tryout field.

Each of us has a moral responsibility to leave this world better than when we arrived. Yes, we can vote, write our politicians, and donate to charities. But there are things we must do when interacting with others to show our commitment to change.

Over the coming year, I will be sharing ideas and skills to help control the biases and prejudices in each of us. Only by taking a fresh look at how we interact with those who are different from us and changing ourselves can we tackle the systemic racism/sexism in this country. If each of us takes responsibility for leveling the playing field even a fraction, the unfair barriers will begin to crumble.

~*~
Author Bio:

Marie W. Watts is a former employment discrimination investigator and human resource consultant with over twenty-five years of experience. In pursuit of justice in the workplace, she’s been from jails to corporate boardrooms seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of humans at work.  

Her on-the-job observations came in handy when she co-authored a textbook about how to behave at work, Human Relations 4th ed. Additionally, her work has been published in the Texas Bar Journal and the Houston Business Journal as well as featured on Issues Today syndicated to 119 radio stations, NBC San Antonio, Texas, and TAMU-TV in College Station, Texas.

A popular diversity and employment discrimination trainer, Marie has trained thousands of employees to recognize their own biases and prejudices and avoid discriminating against others in the workplace. She has brought her experiences to life in the trilogy Warriors For Equal Rights about the struggles of ordinary people who work at the little-known federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

She and her husband live on a ranch in central Texas. In her spare time, she supports a historic house and hangs out with her grandsons. For more information about Marie and her stories about life, visit www.mariewatts.com.

~*~
Connect with Marie:
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/marie-w-watts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mariewattsbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MarieWattsBooks
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mariewattswriter/
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-w-watts-5b2a2b/

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Introducing the writers


Introducing Roseanna M. White, in her words:

I love to explore ideas. 

Having come out of a college that focuses on philosophy and conversation and the foundational writings of Western civilization, I spend a lot of time thinking about the big questions (some might say too much time, ha ha). I’ve always thought “equality” was important…and that because I wanted it, that meant it was a finished process. I always assumed, in some part of my mind, that the work had been done and we could just walk in it, if only we’d stop focusing on our differences. 

In the last year or so, though, I’ve begun to see that the process of equality is far from complete, and that wanting a thing doesn’t make it so. We have to do the work—continually, tirelessly, without fail, day in and day out. I’ve come to see that it’s not enough to not be something bad—a racist or a bigot or judgmental—we have to actively work against racism or bigotry or prejudice.

I come from an interesting part of the country. West Virginia exists as a state because it remained in the Union (or rejoined it, actually) when Virginia seceded with the Confederacy. But this decision was more political—and the seizing of a loophole that would allow for statehood—than cultural or moral. We’re an interesting jumble of Northern and Southern sentiments and traditions. And we have a bit of a reputation of our own. 

Let’s be honest—when most people hear “West Virginia,” they make a few snap judgments about hillbillies and rednecks and twangs and family feuds. I’ve found, however, that these are judgments I can overcome easily by speaking in a certain way, dressing in a certain way, and behaving in a certain way.

It took me a long time to realize that not all prejudice is equal. Because it can’t all be overcome so easily.

It took me a long time to realize that trying to be “color blind” isn’t in fact helpful, because it doesn’t acknowledge the very real experiences of my neighbors.

My heart was, I think, in the right place. But I regret that, by not seeing the scope of the problem, I may have played into it. That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. And so, now I’m trying to put aside the mere philosophy and live out the action of actually loving my neighbors, in all our differences. Of walking beside people in their experiences, in their pain, in their joys.

I don’t pretend to have the answers. But I’m eager to be on the journey toward a God-inspired reconciliation. Between different races, different cultures, different churches, all made in the image of God. And when we focus on Him, I have a feeling He’ll show us things about ourselves and each other that we never could have dreamed.

~*~
Author Bio:
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. 

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. 

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.