Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Self-Awareness


Self-Awareness Improves Communication
A guest post by Marie W. Watts

Good communication skills are vital to building trust. Without it, we will be unable to bridge the racial divide in this country. The first step in developing your ability to express yourself effectively is to master self-awareness. Tuning into our own feelings, thoughts, and actions is paramount. Also, we need to be able to recognize how our behavior affects others.

I was raised in a rather stoic household. On the one hand, keeping my feelings hidden worked well when my younger brother jumped out and yelled “Boo!” He soon abandoned the game because I did not react. Additionally, when investigating employment discrimination complaints, knowing how to keep a poker face worked perfectly. No one knew my thoughts about the situation.

However, my inability to telegraph internal emotions caused issues in other sectors of my life. I remember my daughter saying to me, “You don’t care.” At first, my tendency was to ignore her accusation. After all, the statement was incorrect. Thankfully, I faced the uncomfortable feedback and, with some analysis, understood that I was not displaying outward signs through body language and tone of voice that reflected my emotions. Others aren’t mind readers, after all. From that point, I began a conscientious effort to use tone and facial expressions to communicate my sentiments to my loved ones and others.

Emotions play a powerful role in our lives. They are neither good nor bad—they just are. We can learn to control them or let them control us. Identifying feelings and the behaviors they elicit is paramount. Only when we know what pushes our buttons, why we do what we do, and how we react under stress can we deal with the upheaval. We can choose to consciously make choices to improve the outcome of those circumstances instead of shutting down.

The following steps can help improve self-awareness:

· Understand what you desire and why.

· Determine your strengths and weaknesses.

· Do things that make you feel good.

· Acknowledge your feelings.

· Analyze your emotional triggers. Do not be afraid to seek professional assistance to help you identify and work through them.

· Reflect on your thoughts and feelings.

· Ask for feedback.

· Monitor your self-talk by dwelling on the positives and not the negatives.

As our self-awareness increases, so does our confidence. The resulting enhanced communication skills will improve relationships with those who are different from ourselves, allowing us to be the change we seek. Additionally, it leads to a higher level of happiness. And we can all use more joy in our lives!

~*~
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, December 20, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Roseanna's Review of "The Color of Compromise" (book by Jemar Tisby)


Review by Roseanna M. White’s review of Jemar Tisby’s book, 
The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism

When I heard about this book, it was with a warning: “This isn’t an easy book. It’s a challenging book. And it’s a necessary book.” Cue me all but running to order it. Because when things aren’t easy to learn about, when they challenge preconceived notions…well, that’s when I really come away with new knowledge capable of changing me. That’s what I wanted when it came to the subject this book tackles: the American church’s complicity with racism.

Tisby begins his book with more modern history, taking his readers by the heart and diving directly into the bombing of a black church in the 1960s that killed three pre-teen girls. This kind of hate is the sort we can all call out today, that we can all stand against. But then the author takes us back in time to the very founding of the Virginia colony. And he shows us through documentation and history how our nation ever arrived at the place where people thought it was okay to destroy a church simply because its worshippers were people of color. He shows us how race was a concept deliberately created by one group of people as an excuse to dominate another, how misinformation and gross misconceptions were taught about the nature of said group of people, and how, rather than standing up against it as an institution, the American church instead compromised. Purposefully. Willfully. Repeatedly.

There’s too much history for me to share in a short book review, and honestly, my advice is simply to read this book yourself. But there are a few things I want to touch on, because they represent a history that’s usually ignored, overlooked, or denied. The first being how from its very inception, the Virginia colony acknowledged the duplicity of its stance in its laws. First, it recognized that the slaves being imported from Africa were indeed people with souls capable of being saved—something that had been debated at the time, sadly, but which missionaries insisted upon. But secondly, that they were an inferior sort of person who could be saved, but for whom the usual side-effects of salvation were to be denied. In Europe at that time, if one’s bondservant became a Christian, they were freed from their terms of service. This was the reason slaveholders in Virginia fought to establish a rule that said Black people were not people capable of salvation—they didn’t want to be forced to set them free. So when the missionaries insisted, they struck a compromise: people, but lesser people. Freedom of the soul, but not of the body. That was all the Church was allowed to teach.

And so began a history and a gospel diluted and perverted by our own greed.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book—it’s impossible to enjoy something that shines a light on the evils done not just by one’s country, but one’s brothers and sisters of faith. And yet I couldn’t put it down. With a vivid writing style and carefully chosen examples, Tisby really brings to life the history too long ignored. And ignites in the reader a desire to be better. To right wrongs. To cleanse our lives and churches from the stain of this sin.

Until reading this and Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison, I’d never really pondered that the very splits in many denominations—such as the Southern Baptists breaking away from the original Baptists—were over slavery. But they most assuredly were, which just illustrates the main point of this book: that many Christians not only didn’t speak against slavery, they spoke for it. They believed and taught that it wasn’t only not sinful, it was righteous. It was what God intended. And even though Northern churches drew a different line on slavery itself, very few leaders were willing to take it so far as equality of the races. Even in the North, Black pastors were required to have a White man supervising them, for instance.

The history of racism in America is long and grievous; and though the terminology has changed over the years and acts of violence have become nearly universally condemned, the seeds of it are still there. Harmful ideas are still being taught.

But there’s hope. That’s what I also loved about this book. Jemar Tisby doesn’t just illuminate and condemn—he offers real-world advice for how to systematically change systemic prejudice.

And it begins with each of us making a decision to change it. As individuals, as families, and most importantly, as the Church. God calls us to be His love to the hurting, not to be the oppressors. So what can we do today to turn a pattern of prejudice into one of agape love?

Well, as with most things, the change has to begin with acknowledgment. Admission. Repentance. And then, my friends, our hearts will be ready for effecting true change in the world around us.

I highly encourage everyone to read The Color of Compromise and to find someone to read it with you so you can talk about it as you go or once you’re finished. There are supplementary materials for churches and small groups as well.

~*~
Reviewer’s 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

~*~
Blurb for The Color of Compromise:

A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller!

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically — up to the present day — worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response. 


The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don't know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.

The Color of Compromise:

· Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America's early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War

· Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today's Black Lives Matter movement

· Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration

· Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action

· Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners

The Color of Compromise
is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people. 

Starting today.

~*~
Author Bio:

Jemar Tisby is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Color of Compromise, president and co-founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, and co-host of the podcast, Pass The Mic. 

He grew up just north of Chicago and attended the University of Notre Dame. He went on to join Teach For America and was assigned to the Mississippi Delta Corps where he taught sixth grade at a public charter school and later went on to be the principal.

He received his MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary and is presently working toward his PhD in History at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.

Jemar and his family call the Deep South home and especially love the weather, people, and food! His new book, How to Fight Racism releases in January of 2021 and is available for pre-order now.

~*~
Connect with Jemar:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JemarTisby1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemartisby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JemarTisby
Website: https://jemartisby.com

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: God is My Defender


My Defender

A guest post by Dr. Angelle M. Jones

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 
– Psalm 82:3-4 (NIV)

As a racial reconciler and facilitator, one of the most common push backs from the opponents of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) or current social justice movement, is the issue of fatherlessness in the African-American community.

Often contenders of the BLM Movement, will use resistance statements such as “due to the lack of fathers in the home, Black boys resist arrests,” supposedly warranting the many unjust deaths at the hand of White police. As a Black minister serving in majority White churches, like in other spaces, after hearing it for so long, I must admit, I found myself agreeing with my colleagues, that many of the ills in my community just may have been caused by fatherlessness. Truth is, this along with other narratives are often used to deflect from the real root cause of absentee fathers in African-American homes. After years, I realized, I had upheld this belief system for way too long.

Finally, after years of wisdom learned from living, I’m aware that for any effect there must be a cause. Reflection on my own personal journey allowed me to dismantle the untruth. History rejects the myth of fatherlessness being the number one reason for problems in the Black community. To my White Christian brothers and sisters, I have recaptured my Black voice, from now on, I will use my personal story to address the problems that affect my community, and ultimately, my life, in spite of your rejection of Critical Race Theory.

As a poor, fatherless Black girl from the Glenville community, on the East side of Cleveland, OH., as a first-generation college student, I decided to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in African-American Studies. I believe the most important thing I learned from this part of my journey, was that I was of African descent. Why is this so important, you ask? My response, “for those who never have to question their ancestral history, it may not be important.” For those wondering from where, and from whom they came, it becomes one of the most important questions they could ever ask.

Like many others, mine is a story of a girl who doesn’t really know biologically, from where she came. No, I wasn’t adopted, but sixty-three years later, I’m still not sure, who was my biological father. Although I have a speculation, I have nothing to prove it. Truth is, now that all contributing parties are deceased, unless two bodies are exhumed, my patriarchal identity will likely remain a trivia question that may never be answered. Except by God.

Of course, as a child, I never thought much about how his not being around would impact my life. Neither did I think of myself as a statistic. In the same way, I didn’t think about how not knowing my Black history affected me either. In the same way I embraced the father God gave me without knowing if he was really the one from who’s seed, I came, I also embraced that I was a Black American. Unfortunately, unlike immigrants from other countries Blacks didn’t have the same proud ancestral connection with Africa to give me reason to naturally connect.

I do remember however, how learning that Eden, Egypt, the Nile and other rivers mentioned in Scripture, when written, all rested in Northern Africa, finally gave me reason to be proud to be a “Black” Christian. I learned, that as important as slavery is in American history, my ancestral lineage did not begin with the enslavement of Africans. This new narrative was one that made me desire to embrace my Blackness in the same way that learning that God was a defender of the fatherless, helped me to accept the love from the father I called “Daddy.”

The connection between racism in America and fatherlessness goes back to the fact that racism has historically affected every societal structure. Yes, even the idea of fatherlessness stems from the root of racism. It is through the ugly lens of racism that slaves were viewed as inhumane and uncivilized. In so-called Christian missionary theology, the continent of Africa was seen as underdeveloped, filled with non-Christian religious heathen needing to be evangelized spiritually, culturally and nationally. As a result, American history continually portrayed Blacks and especially Black men as unable to learn, lazy, and docile while many were used specifically as sexual breeders. Sadly, these and other stereotypes remain when describing African-American’s in today’s society.

Honestly, I never thought I’d live to see the day when any of the current racist structures in America would be overturned. However, in the short time since this current wave of racial turbulence, the uncomfortable narrative of the history of racist America keeps rearing its ugly head. No matter how much of a Christian, or religious nation we claim to be, our true truth keeps marching on. Fortunately, new curriculum is being provided no longer by Whites telling our stories through their lens, but by those of us penning the stories shared from family historians. Authentic American history is being told.

Even though as in any society, there may have been some lazy members, it is impossible that the majority of Blacks could have been lazy or unable to learn, if so, this country’s buildings and infrastructures, most built from the free labor of male slaves would not still be standing today. This includes the White House as well as the many institutions surviving today as a result of the services of underpaid “essential workers,” many who are Black men. Many who are the missing Black fathers.

I am reminded that God is the ultimate defender of the true history of fatherlessness in America’s Black community. It is the story of missing melanin bodies. Incarcerated Black bodies. Dead Brown bodies. It is not a story Whites can tell. I will tell my story.

~*~
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, December 6, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: The things we say


Please Stop Saying …

A guest post by Kristen Rimer Terrette

“Slavery ended over 150 years ago … I never owned slaves … I’m not privileged. I’ve had hardships too … Everyone has the same rights now!”

Do these sentences make you sigh? Part of me wants to rant when I hear them. Part of me wants to cry. White brothers and sisters, can I speak solely to you for a moment?

In my experience, these words are usually said in defense by my well-meaning white friends or acquaintances who feel they haven’t contributed to racism or displayed hatred toward people of color. They feel they’re not part of the problem. And in part, that’s true, because they don’t use racial slurs, shy away from friendships with different ethnicities, and may work cordially alongside people who don’t look like them.

But my frustration with these statements is that they degrade people of color’s experiences with racism, prejudice, and injustice, as well as their victories.

They also put us, the white majority, in a position of complacency and indifference.

Let me lay out some realities …

A few weeks ago, November 14, 2020, marked sixty years since six-year-old Ruby Bridges walked into a previously, like literally until that very moment, all white school in Louisiana. What a brave little girl! What a courageous mother to send her that morning!

To back up a bit more, in May of 1954, only six years earlier, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that “state-sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment and was therefore unconstitutional.” It took six years for this decision to trickle down to Ruby Bridges’ town. Six. Years. For a ruling over something that should have never been in place at all.

And my mother’s city, Chattanooga, TN, took even longer. It was 1963-1964 when her school desegregated. Almost ten years after Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling! Ten years for her school, and the surrounding area, to implement desegregation.

So, let’s talk some facts. I’m in my thirties (though my very late thirties, but let’s not go there). I have school-aged children, with one still in elementary. And my mother (my kids’ grandmother), who is only in her mid-sixties literally witnessed (as in a firsthand account) the very first black children being admitted into her previously all white grade school. And she was ten years old at the time—not a baby, not a kindergartener, but a child about to go into middle school.

This should put things in perspective for those who feel like the civil rights movement happened a long time ago. There is only one generation—mine—between the children who witnessed desegregation and the children who are seeing the racial tensions we’re witnessing now.

Only ONE generation.

Truth is slavery as an institution ended on paper roughly 150 years ago, but that’s only about six generations back by my count. And its oppressive affects lasted much longer. In fact, they are still being felt today.

Please, hear my heart, and let my information dump serve as a plea for us to live as Paul asks us to in 1 Corinthians 12. He eloquently discusses the importance of being of one accord in a passage aptly titled, Unity and Diversity in the Body (the church). According to this passage, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (NIV), “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 

Our Christian brothers and sisters have stories to tell. Ones of grief and ones of triumph. So, we must rid our minds and tongues from the demeaning phrases above. And, instead, listen to people of color who still struggle with the painful effects of racism, but who are afraid to tell their stories because of the responses they get in return. We must also celebrate greatly all minorities who have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time instead of diminishing their victories with flippant responses or, and possibly even worse, by acting like we understand their pain in these areas.

Let’s take Paul’s advice and approach our diverse relationships by asking Jesus for spiritual eyes and ears to listen and celebrate each other. We are one body of Christ after all.

People of color, do you have a story to tell? We’re ready to listen, so let’s keep the conversation going! Comment below or on social media to tell us your story, whether one of heartache or victory. We want to listen, learn, and celebrate with you.

~*~
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/

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Rearrange the Room


At the Table of Racial Reconciliation
A guest post by Sherrinda Ketchersid

It’s three days after Thanksgiving, and you may still be wearing your elastic waistband pants after indulging in the traditional feast of turkey and dressing—not to mention all the pies.

With COVID-19 still running rampant, your Thanksgiving may have looked a little different. Some may have been able to sit together around a table to feast, while others may have had to eat together through a Zoom call or eat outside, weather permitting. We have had to rearrange our traditions in order to accommodate safety for one other.

This got me thinking about a study I just finished by Kristi McLelland called Jesus and Women - Bible Study Book: In the First Century and Nowand how it relates to racial reconciliation and social justice. During one lesson, we focused on the story of Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50. A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to his house for a meal, and Jesus ended up rearranging the room.

To give a little background from biblical times, hospitality was important. People honored others by having them in their home for a meal. Being a generous person was important as well. Therefore, people would allow the poor, the outcasts, and marginalized to sit along the wall and partake of the food. The guests of honor would recline at the table, leaning on their left side so that their right hand (the hand of blessing) would be free to eat with. Their feet would point to the wall. This gave easy access to the woman who had heard Jesus was going to be at the Pharisee’s house, and she came to bless him with her jar of perfume.

This woman came with her hair unbound, which indicated she was an immoral woman. But she came to honor Jesus, and washed his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, and anointed his feet with her jar of perfume. Her actions must have caused quite a stir, and Simon was indignant. Though he did not outwardly speak against her actions, he thought them … and Jesus addressed his inward thoughts. Let’s read about it in Luke 7:44-47 (NIV):

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Jesus turned toward the woman. He saw her. He saw her plight. He saw her tears. He saw her heart of love for him. He saw Simon and his own condescending thoughts and feelings. By comparing the woman and Simon, Jesus rearranged the room. No longer was the woman assigned to the wall. Jesus lifted her up and brought her honor. She had a seat of honor at his table, figuratively speaking. And Simon…well, Simon was removed from his seat of honor and relegated to the wall, so to speak.

I think the beauty of Jesus Christ’s mission on earth is that He is room designer. He lifts up those who are neglected and hidden from view to a place of prominence in his kingdom. He finds a place of importance in the room for the marginalized. He believes all of his creation—all of humankind—should be given honor and respect, not relegated to the back wall.

We should all be looking for ways to bring Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC) to the forefront and promote them to a place of honor and prominence in a white-centered world.

So often, BIPOC are overlooked because we Americans as a nation are so white-focused. There are more movies, TV shows, and books with more White leads than with BIPOC. Most politicians are White. Most CEOs are White. BIPOC shop in stores catered to White people and often cannot find products like makeup or hair care that will work for them. It is harder for BIPOC to get business loans because of racism and discrimination. I could go on and on with these types of issues.

Not only are we White-centered in our consumerism and leadership roles, we are also White-centered in the way we deal with the hurt of BIPOC in their ongoing oppression—and yes, they are still oppressed because racism is systemic and ingrained in everyday life. We’ve seen this when discussions get heated and Whites try to “tone police” a BIPOC’s emotional response. We see it when Whites get defensive when called about their White-centered words or actions. Anything that puts a White person’s feelings over that of BIPOC is White-centering, and this practice should be dismantled.

As Jesus Christ came to turn an upside-down world to an upright position, we, too, should look for ways to make things right for BIPOC and others who are marginalized by the world. Whether we shop BIPOC stores, read BIPOC authors, give money to BIPOC causes, and truly listen to BIPOC voices, we need to be seeking opportunities to make a difference in the journey of racial reconciliation. We need to follow the footsteps of Jesus and rearrange the room for all those who need justice.

~*~
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/

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Empathy is an Art


The Art of Empathy
A guest post by Marie W. Watts

Being the change we seek requires us to practice empathy. 

Simply put, empathy is trying to understand another person’s feelings.  

According to Merriam-Webster, sympathy implies sharing (or having the capacity to share) the feelings of another, while empathy tends to be used to mean imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that we do not actually have.   

If I have had a divorce, for instance, it is easy to imagine the feelings of another who is going through marital issues (sympathy). However, if I’ve never been in that situation, conjuring up that emotional state may not be so simple (empathy).

Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV) describes how Jesus Christ practiced compassion. Compassion refers to both having empathy and the desire to mitigate the pain:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  


As our journey in the footsteps of Jesus Christ unfolds, how do we develop empathy for those who are different from us, so we can move to compassion? A few suggestions follow …

    When we are in a one-on-one situation:

·      Suspend judgment. Don’t judge until you know the person better.

·      Listen.    

·      Ask questions if you think something is wrong.    

·      Ask about feelings.

·      Show concern.

·      Pay attention to the needs of others.

 

When listening, follow these tips:

 

·      Reflect the speaker’s feelings. Example: That must have been a terrible experience.      

·      Ask for clarification using “I” phrases. Example: I’m not sure I understand. Not You’re not making any sense.

·      Use eye contact.

·      Show interest through body language.

·      Don't plan rebuttals.

·      Don't jump to conclusions.

·      Give the person your undivided attention.

·      Don’t interrupt or impose your solutions.

·      Summarize what you believe the person is saying.

Often, we are not in a position to speak with individuals who are different from us. We can still develop empathy by reading or watching programs about their experiences. My next novel involves a character whose mother is mixed race African American and Korean. Until I read an anthology of stories by these individuals, I never realized the pain and suffering they endured.      

Lastly, if you are in a position to ease someone’s pain, do so. There’s quite a bit of hurt in the world right now, and we can all use some tender loving care.

~*~

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, November 15, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Roseanna's Review of "Wings Like a Dove" (book)


Roseanna M. White’s review of the book Wings Like a Dove by Camille Eide:

“Any town that is predominantly white could not possibly be so by accident.” 

This is a line and indeed an idea that I first encountered in the author’s note of Wings Like a Dove, which is in turn quoted as the premise of Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James Lowen, which in part inspired Camille Eide to write her novel, Wings Like a Dove. Until I read this masterfully written historical by Eide, I’d never heard of “sundown towns,” where people of color were not allowed to remain after dark. Coming from a town and county with an extremely low minority rate, this statement made me open my eyes in new ways to my own community and wonder what it would have been like a hundred years ago.

Wings Like a Dove is by no means a non-fiction treatise though—it’s an engaging, soul-piercing work of historical fiction that lingered with me for months after reading it. Have you ever read one of those books that’s so packed full of spiritual and emotional truths that you want to bring it into nearly every conversation while you’re reading it, and long after? Yeah…that’s how this book was for me.

The story is about Anna, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who finds herself in a terrible predicament. She’s pregnant, and she’s unmarried. Her mother gives her an ultimatum: go to a home for unwed mothers and agree to sign her child over to the institution or be disowned. Anna, however, can’t comply when she sees some of the shifty things going on at the home. So she does the only thing she can think to do: She packs a bag and heads west, determined to track down her father, who none of them have heard from in years.

Her path leads her to a small Indiana town, where a passel of orphan boys—and the former minister who is in charge of them—are in rather desperate need of help. One of the boys, Sam, was told he couldn’t attend the local school because he’s Black…and so, all the boys quit with him. Which means they’ll all be in hot water unless they can pass the tests for their school years. Rather desperate herself, Anna agrees to tutor them and cook and keep house—for a while. But she knows she can’t stay long or her shameful situation will become known.

Tossed straight into a town fully in the clutches of the then-newly-revitalized KKK, Anna experiences what too many of us have chosen to forget or not teach our children about: the terrors of a white supremacist culture, where the supposedly upright, moral citizens were willing to stoop to terror to preserve what they called the “pure American” lifestyle. Anna, being Jewish, learns firsthand about this hatred; and feels it all the more keenly for Sam, the sweet-natured boy who is clearly hiding an inner agony. Also in the crosshairs of the Klan are the Catholic nuns who are the only ones who will bring aid to the group of orphans and their guardians.

What I love about fiction is that it can ask the hard questions in ways that truly touch our hearts. Wings Like a Dove asks questions about how we can tear down the invisible walls between us. How we can choose to walk a different path. How we can open our eyes to what makes our hearts the same and be blind only to what would drive us apart. How we can love, forgive, and embolden others to do the same with our actions.

As a novel, Wings Like a Dove is riveting and so very impactful that it will forever remain one of my favorite books. As a glimpse into our nation’s shadowy history, it’s a heart-wrenching portrayal of an era that was filled with terror for anyone who was a minority in race or religion of which I’d known far too little before reading this. As a faith-filled work, it’s a reminder that God and His love are bigger than all the walls we build. Bigger than all the hatred we stack up. Bigger than all our excuses. And it challenged me to look deeper at my own heart, my family, my church, and my community.

Because those invisible walls that separate us can be torn down—but only if we put in the work to do so.

~*~
Reviewer's 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

~*~
Book Blurb for Wings Like a Dove:

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down? 


In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy—the nuns who help Thomas and the boys—and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe…and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…

~*~
Author Bio:

Camille Eide writes more than a romance with her tender tales of love, faith, and family for those who enjoy inspirational romance and women's fiction. 


Her novel, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, was awarded 5 Gold Stars/Top Pick, Best Inspirational Romance, the December Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews, and Oregon Christian Writers' Best Historical Fiction.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Being "Woke"


The Hole in the Soul of America
A Guest post by Dr. Angelle M. Jones

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 
–Psalm 82:3-4 (NIV)

I cannot remember exactly, but I believe I was a mere twenty-one years old when I voted for the first time. This year, I voted by absentee ballot; another first.

I was surprised because in my early years of ministry, I traveled and relocated from one city and state to another. I guess wherever I traveled, one way or another I always returned in time to cast my personal vote at the polls.

As always, I prayed, I did my research, and studied the candidates. It seemed to feel more daunting than ever before. It also seemed to take much longer than it should have. As strange as it may seem, it was not that it was difficult to know who I would vote for, instead I was challenged because for the first time in many years, I felt free to vote how I chose to vote. For the first time, I set myself free from the bondage of voting the way I was told I should vote.

During the most controversial election in my life time, along with my first absentee ballot, came the freedom to vote my own conscious. This election, not my Black family or friends, or my White church would tell me how to vote. This time, after forty years of voting, I showed up as an emotionally healthy, spiritually mature adult. No longer divided by race or religion. Free in the comfort of my own sacred space, called home. Free from the elements. Free from being harassed with sample ballots by last minute campaigners. Freed from the volunteers and onlooker’s stares holding me captive, if my ballot wasn’t found in the majority party’s book for my neighborhood. This time as I marked my ballot, it was as if I heard it shout loudly in return, “Free at last, free at last!” Thank God Almighty, she’s free at last!

In the midst of what political analysts are considering to be the most divisive election in my lifetime, I had the unmitigated gall to vote just how I wanted to. I realized as I toiled to fill in the empty white circles legibly, as they were colored black by the stroke of my pencil, I was finally returning to myself from a wilderness journey of personal deconstruction. The years of grief, loss, tears, and finally emotional and spiritual growth were all left on that road to my current state of being, which had now become my transformation of reconstruction.

I was woke for the first time in years, or possibly, the first time ever. I felt as though I could think clearly, more importantly, I could finally think for myself. No more did I have to follow whoever showed up as the leader of who I should vote for, which party, which candidate, or which issue. I would not allow my family, my race, nor my religion, continue to hold the reins on my way of doing life any longer, especially as it related to how I spent my time at the ballot box.

As it happens, I finally accepted the fact that from now on, I am free to be the leader of how I cast my ballot. I finally embraced the baton passed down from generations of my ancestors who showed up at the polls in years past, knowing it could cost them their life to even show up to vote. Those same dark melanin ancestors like Fannie Lou Hamer, marched to the polls anyway, prepared to vote her conscious, after being beaten days before, for trying to register to vote.

It takes a relationship with a liberator to liberate oneself from the bondages of sin and evil. The soul of America sadly, is an interconnection of both ills, the sin of racism and the evil of oppression. As my grandmother would probably say, this country is “Rotten to the core.”

To be fair, the most important lesson learned, is it takes a liberated mindset to free one from themselves. To be freed from oneself, is to be freed from allowing the oppressive attitudes and actions of individual or collective oppressors to control your life. What I finally learned from my own wilderness journey, was, no matter how oppressed you may feel, you can free yourself.

When your mind is free, no matter how tight the physical chains, as the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:1 (NIV), “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” I finally set myself free to vote as I chose, and although it may have been with good intentions, not how others instructed me to in the past.

Today we need leaders like the prophet Asaph, in Psalm 82. Bold prophets and leaders who are willing to call out the modern-day oppressors. These individuals need to be called out from hiding the darkness of voter suppression, and even the manipulation of bullying Christians who try to make their political opponents feel threatened because they don’t vote a certain way. Yes, to vote is to offer one aspect of your voice, however to defend the weak, and not only the aborted fetus, but also the fatherless children, should be the voice of today’s prophets. Where are those who God has called to speak in behalf of the weak and needy?

From now on, I will cherish the right of American citizens to vote as they please. Instead of stacking votes for their preferred party and political pundits, hopefully Christian leaders from all political parties will strive to uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

This is my prayer: O Lord I pray, raise up the people of your Kingdom, who are willing to work as one, from the Conservative Right and the Liberal Left, to rescue the oppressed from their wicked oppressors.

~*~
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, November 1, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Challenging the status quo


Challenging the Status Quo: Going Against Our Elders

A guest post by Kristen Terrette

Spiritual Elders. We all have them. They may be our church leaders or mentors. Or grandparents. Or parents. Or even our friends’ parents. 

Really, what I consider an elder is anyone with earned respect through evidence of wisdom and spiritual maturity. It’s a position garnered through life experience, and it warrants a level of reverence and humility in the mentee. It’s a place, even if figuratively, of honor.

But what happens when an elder lets you down? Are we, as the underling, allowed to combat them? Do we speak up about the injustice? Or are we supposed to halt our mouths?

I’ve been dealing with this struggle a lot lately when it comes to the tension amongst whites and black or brown people. It seems the moment you agree to take a stand and do your part in fighting racial injustice of any kind, the devil comes prowling to show you just how weak and unworthy of the cause you are.

I’ve dealt with family members who don’t see eye to eye with my views on interracial dating or marriage. I’ve had someone who went to school with my husband incorrectly assume I’d be offended if I had a biracial grandchild one day. These were handled, hopefully, appropriately when I carefully stated I did not agree with their opinions. But recently, I was confronted not once, but twice with an uncomfortable situation with an elder.

And now, I’m feeling like I didn’t handle it correctly. That I let God and the people of color in my life down. Let me explain.

I was at an event with many childhood friends, and a man I’ve known a long time proceeded to tell a racist joke. My back was turned away from him at the time. He wasn’t close by but made an effort to tell the awful joke loudly so all could hear it. I froze, not knowing what to do. I decided to pretend I didn’t hear him, to ignore him. Maybe that way he’d leave having gotten no reaction from his audience. And no one, to my knowledge because I had my back to them, did indulge him. I didn’t hear laughing or comments. And honestly, it happened so fast, I thought: Okay, I reacted somewhat appropriately to that despicable joke which completely disgusted everything inside of me.

But then, hours later, he drew near once more and told another racist joke. A different one, like he had plenty to choose from, all stored away in his mind to pull forth when he wanted. I was facing my friend and, again, not him at the time. Both our eyes went wide. Our expressions turned angry and red as we, through the eye stare only close friends can have, silently asked each other, “What do we do?” 
I steeled my body against the rage. We rolled our eyes and made extra effort not to allow any movement or sound escape. We silently told one another not to let him even think he got a laugh out of us. 

But I didn’t say anything. Didn’t call him out for this repulsive humor. Didn’t stand and leave the area with a snarl he could see. Didn’t make sure, absolutely sure, he knew I didn’t think his jokes—or rather insults—were funny, that they in fact not only offended people I love but offended me as well by him thinking he could tell them in my presence.

And see, this man is a devoted church member. He’s raised a daughter with a beautiful heart and love for God. He prayed over the microphone for our dinner. He openly talks about Jesus, His Savior, which makes this situation so hard.

But, in prayer, I realized that I witnessed a blind spot in this man’s soul exposing itself. We all have them—blind spots. They’re a deception placed on us by the enemy. A part of our self that needs work, but a part that the devil has covered up carefully so that we don’t even notice it’s causing problems in our journey with Jesus.

My battle is not with this man, but with the enemy, so I must pray his blind spot is revealed to him (as I pray mine are to me as well). And I must ask God for forgiveness over my failure, and that He, in His glorious mercy, will give me opportunities to redeem myself.

I want to be respectful to my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I also want to stand up for my brothers and sisters in Christ. And as I’ve dwelled and prayed over this, recalling those few seconds after he concluded the joke, the conviction in my heart tells me I should have done more. This person told two racist jokes in my presence, and, elder or not, I should’ve reacted better and differently, defending openly my beloved people of color. I should’ve fought for them and the heartache his flippant words caused.

Will you, person of color, also forgive me, please? I am sorry I failed you. Will you also pray for me? Pray I have the courage and wisdom to combat respectfully anyone who may be in a position of authority, whether officially or superficially, over me when needed? Pray I’m able to stand up for justice, love, and my fellow Christian brothers and sisters without faltering?

I can do better. More. I will. For you. For my children. For my grandchildren.

And for yours.

~*~
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/

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Reconciling Sins


Reconciling the Sins of Our Ancestors
A guest post by Marie W. Watts

I, like many Caucasian Americans, have ancestors who were slaveholders. Case in point is documentation I have uncovered about my ancestor Francis Dorsett (my great-great-great-great-great grandfather) and his son John Dorsett (my direct descendent).

Francis was born in England in 1740 and migrated to the United States. The family settled in Chatham County, North Carolina. (West of Raleigh). Francis served in the Revolutionary War by furnishing supplies. Upon his death in 1813, he owned 277 acres of land. A complete inventory of possessions is fascinating and includes the following:
  • a hymn book and Bible, although he was illiterate, 
  • one looking glass, 
  • one wagon, 
  • blacksmith tools, 
  • Livestock: seventeen hogs, three horses, two cattle, four sheep, 
  • Kitchenware: two kettles, two pots, one skillet, one tea kettle, one set of teaware (sic), and One Negro Woman, Mime. (Note: Mime was left to Francis’s wife, Rebecca, in his will.
Rebecca was fortunate as he left her one-third of his property until her death. Then, the lands went to his sons. The custom was, at the time, to leave daughters nothing. However, he did leave Mime’s future firstborn child to his daughter as well as Mime, herself, upon Rebecca’s demise.

Slavery is abhorrent to me, and I am not personally responsible for it. Unfortunately, the remnants of slavery—racism—are woven into the fabric of our social and economic systems, leaving persons of color at a disadvantage. This impediment is not in keeping with the Christian tradition of loving your neighbor as yourself.

The question then becomes, are we responsible for the sins of our ancestors?

Dr. Michael Rhodes, in the article “Should We Repent of Our Grandparents’ Racism? Scripture on Intergenerational Sin”, suggests a closer look at Leviticus 26:40–44 for guidance. He states:

"…one reason the present generation needs to repent of the sins of their forebears is that sin causes a rupture that must be repaired. What’s required is not just that the present generation confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors, but also that they “make amends (yirṣû) for their iniquity” (26:41b, 43). If the damage one generation does is not fixed in their own day, that damage does not simply disappear at their death. The wrong must be righted, and the job may well fall on their descendants."

The healing process begins by naming our intergenerational sins and realizing how we, personally, have benefitted from them. For instance, depriving persons of color economically through the lack of good jobs, bank loans, and full participation in the American dream has left the rest of us in a better financial situation.

The second step is to actually make a change, starting within ourselves. Are we perpetuating stereotypes? Do we walk the talk of Christianity?

Until our hearts are clear, we cannot begin to take action in the community to undo the effects of racism. Once self-healing has occurred, we can take action by supporting efforts to create a racially just society. 

~*~
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/