Sunday, December 21, 2008
The message about the current recession taking place in the world is resounding louder than any other message that the media is broadcasting. However, for Christians this is not our reality. We understand that we are not bound to the systems of this world. We are set apart and favored amoung the masses despite how bleek the world may look.
I work for a Private Equity firm, so needless to say the message about the world's recession is blarring loud most of the day. Thankfully, my company has not endured the hardships that many other companies have been experiencing: massive lay-offs, hard hit portfolios, corruption and the like. Instead, in an effort not to lay anyone off my company is taking some preventative measures to prepare for the rough economic coming up in 2009. Currently, the area where we are cutting back the most is compensation. Last week, my CEO and CFO announced that most people would be taking generous cuts backs in bonuses and most people would not receive raises. Normally, bonuses increase every year However this year, the would be cut by about 50% for those who were receiving them.
I had my annual review with my boss, the Head of the Investor Relations department on Friday. During the review period is when plans for individual compensation for the coming year are discussed. My boss and I have somewhat of a father/daughter relationship and we are pretty candid with one another. When he decided to have the conversation with me late in the day he acted as though he has some pretty rough news to tell me.
The conversation went something like this: Pat:"Sit down young lady. In light of the current economic circumstances, you....are GETTING A RAISE! You are one of the only people in the firm getting a raise. On top of that you are getting a bonus, and it's not being cut nearly as much as those who are getting bonuses. Most people are not getting raises or bonuses. We advocated for you to Dan (CEO) to continue to increase, because of your enthusiasm, positive attitude and willing spirit. Keep up the good work. And also, I want you to take on more responsibility in IR. Are you up for it?" Me: (Somewhat speechless) "Yes, Pat! Thanks for the opportunity." Pat:"Thank me after you begin doing your additional assignments. It's going to be a lot of work." Me:"I'm up for it and looking forward to it!" Pat:"Oh and here's a bonus from me. I wish it could be more. You deserve it and I look forward to an even better year in 2009."
That was bonus number two and three. I had already gotten one earlier in the week. After my conversation with me boss, my CFO called me into a conference room to debrief with me. He made sure to tell me of the fantastic job that I had done this year (which was so encouaging considering I felt like 2008 was my worst year for performance in any company). He reiterated that most people in the firm did not get bonuses and raises and I was one of the few. He also wanted me to prepare to dedicate my attention to Investor Relations. This was a fullfillment of my hearts desire. I created and took on many Human Resources related responsibilites and duties early on at the firm. However, HR is not really my passion or my desire. Investor Relations is definitely more my lane. PR for finance, interacting with our investors, making sure the RELATIONSHIP between us and our investor is in tact and on point. That's all me. Plus, I want to do some major deals and projects where finance is concerned. I feel like I'm getting paid to learn a big part of what I will do with the rest of my life.
God is good. ALLLLLL the time. Good, bad and Great. He's good, and he's faithful to his word.
I'm set apart
I'm blessed to be an EMPOWERMENT (blessing)
Word of the day: Malachi 3:10
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tell em why you mad son
Cause they hatin' on you?
No be mad when they stop hatin' on you
Cause that's when you need to step your game up
To another level
Nope, cause the moment you relax
To level two and you're still on level one
Making excuses for why the world is against you
"It's just me against the world"
Get out of your own way
Make room for the blessings to flow
Tell em why you mad son
Cause he's biting your style?
Look closer, think smarter
Your hater is a fan
The role we model
The leader we follow
The first in line
The head of the class
The best talkin' trash
The new millenium man.
Swag is official
The secrets remain confidential
Paparazzi on the coat tail
Biters come with signs that say "for sale"
My image isn't up for sale
It's an original
Made by the Creator of the Universe
In His Likeness
Made to be Righteous
Rule and Reign
Look different from the same
Clones that follows me
Shadows attached to me
Remarks to mimic me
Dirty dozens to trip me...up
I'll tell you why I'm mad son
Cause yesterday I had 100 haters
And today I only have 99
I got 99 problems and I need one more.
"Haters are your Fans!"
Word of the Day: Proverbs 25:28
Kristen ~ The Billionairess
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
By: Tye Tribbet & GA
I want it all back
You may have thought, you won that last round
You may have laughed (cuz) I almost fell down
Maybe you think I give up easy
But it's not ovah, I got more in me
You thought I stopped, you thought I sat down
But I am standin', you made me mad now!
You got some things, I think you owe me
I've come to get back everything that you stole
I want it all back
You hit me hard, I should be knocked out
Things I've been through, don't even wanna talk about
You crossed the line (this time) you violated me
I want revenge (I want everything back from) A to Z
The battle's not mine, the battle is the Lord's
In the name of JESUS, I'm takin' it by force
I want it all back
If you only knew what I was gonna be
After the storm you wouldn't have even bothered me
(And now I'm) stronger
(And I got more) power
(I'm a little bit) wiser
(And I got more) strength
(I got thee) anointing
(Got God's) favor
(And we're still) standing
I want it all back
Give me my stuff back, give me my stuff, give me my stuff back
I want it all I want that, What about your family and all your self-esteem, even your destiny? What about the joy you tasted and the time you wasted, do you want it back?
What about your place in God and all your faith in God, even the ways of God?
What about your hopes and dreams and your communities, even your kids and teens?
I want that 'want that 'want that 'want that I want it all back
Monday, December 8, 2008
Dear Kristen, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. It blessed me so. I've been going through some rough things myself and find myself not the joyful Joy I was intended to be or the one I used to be. Thanks for the ray of hope. Also, I'm going to send your blog site out to others I know that would be blessed by it.
I design quilt patterns and make scripture prints with me photographs and scriptures from the Bible and inspiration. I would like to offer you one of my prints. Go to www.beejoyfulquilts.com/prints and pick out whichever print you would like. DO NOT click on the paypal button, but e-mail me back and let me know which one you want and I'll send it to you in the mai. It's just my way of saying "Thanks" for sharing and blessing me and others. I hope that you find one you will want.
May God take care of you and bless you bunches.
Word of the Day: Philippians 2:11
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I hope you all enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving with loved ones. It's hard to believe CHRISTmas is almost upon us. Although the year has not been a blur, it has passed by rather quickly and even though the year is not over I will at least walk into 2009 with one extremely beneficial life sustaning lesson. That is: always having JOY and PEACE. I fought extremely hard for most of this year to hold on to my joy and peace. I cried out to God many many nights in tears and frustration. Not having these too major assets overflowing in my life affected most every area of my life: my performance at work, my relationships with co-workers, family and most importantly my relationship with myself.
(Here's transparent Kristen)
Basically, for most of 2008 I was depressed. Since, I'm not a doctor, I don't feel completely liberated to diagnose myself, but what I did and do know is...Kristen. Naturally, I am a happy, joyful person. This year I was the complete opposite. I was heavy burdened, unhappy and putting on a face to hide it. Mentally, I had no confidence in who God has made me to be, the person I have always been so proud to be and I could not concentrate or focus. Emotionally, I was empty and wounded. Physically, my body told the story (facial breakouts, signs of excema, sickness). Spiritually, I was broken and desperate for a major breakthrough.
I was pressing through daily emotional heartbreak and denial that the person I loved somewhere deep down inside loved me back and would show it. The first heartbreak, I assume is always the hardest. God, I hope that's the last time I will ever have to experience it. I love hard, so hard that it hurts. That may sound crazy to some...but it's honest. I don't fall in love easy, but when I do I stay there and it takes mighty mountains to move me from that place. As a result of that I spent most of the year avoiding eye contact with the opposite sex as my confidence and self esteem was so low. Feelings of interal and external rejection dominated my thoughts.
Additionally this year, I began using a product on my face that resulted in a volitale breakout that lasted for a straight month and wouldn't stop. The scars it left behind are costing me hundreds of dollars a month to correct. (Thank God for health insurance). One day I will post the before, during and soon-to-be after pictures.
I spent the greater part of this year running myself in the ground to achieve my dreams. Working 9-9 and staying up late in the studio and on the weekends in addition to stepping up my involvement at church. By July, I was physically tapped out. Most of the activities, however were band-aids for dealing with my real issues and they gave me something to talk about and to work towards.
Then finally...breakthrough came. In the form of people, intercessors, revelations, light and most importantly: JOY and PEACE. Somewhere along the way, God closed some doors, opened other doors and handed me a rainbow. The rainbow after what was almost a year long storm is my JOY and my PEACE. It's the rainbow I will always keep with me where ever I go.
Faith is an interesting force. It makes no logical sense to believe in something you can not see, touch, feel, smell and taste. But when nothing else seems to work and the world can not offer you any solutions for your issues, faith is your lifeline. It's your I-V. It's your life support.
Why am I sharing all of this with you...because someone needs to hear it. This is my record to look back at life and see how far I have come. It's my living journal to inspire, motivate and empower people.
By September, I began to see the light at the end of this tunnel only to make a right turn to continue the journey in a new direction. I wanted to put this whole year behind me as a failure and a loss. Quite the contrary. This year has been lesson after lesson after test after seed sown after prayer after cry to God till now my TESTIMONY.
Restoration is my Testimony. The Lord is balancing the scales now. My experiences were not in vain, rather preparation for a higher level. The tears were not in vain. The pain was not in vain. This year 2008 was not a waste. We really are puzzles that the Lord has the ability to put back together. He makes us whole. Not any person, not any thing, not any life changing event...just God. Without him, you really are insufficent, and without hope.
In times like the ones we are experiencing now my greatest assets are my JOY and my PEACE and an UNSTOPPABLE, UNBREAKABLE FAITH. They are my sustaining counterparts as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I'm not scared and not I'm apologetic about who God has made me to be and what he's brought me through OR where he's taking me.
I appreciate you for listening...reading, whatever. Taking it all in with me...LOL.
Till we share on the couch of Kristen again. :-)
Word of the day: Philippians 2:4
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"Bump n' Grind" instead of "All my Life" (LOL)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
For our parents and grandparents, I believe this was validation of a group of people whom the country told all their lives they were not as good.
For my generation it should be fuel to move toward those goals that seemed out of reach.
For the next generation it will mean there is no excuse for anything less than excellence.
This has a lot more to do with the future than the past. These were not reparations. Another door that was closed is now open. But, in order for us to walk through that door still requires that we are the best of the best."
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Many people that I didn't even know read my ramblings told me that my last testimony (praise report) blessed them and encouraged them to keep fighting the good fight of faith. So I plan to continue sharing my good favor. Be encouraged during uncertain times in this world. We win...no matter what!
Here's my recap in order from Monday to last night.
I participate in the transit check program at work which allows you to pay for your metro cards pre-taxed. I normally pay for a monthly metro card that has unlimited usage for 30 days. By about October 7th, I lost my metro card. I called MTA to find that it could not be replaced. I prayed and asked God what to do and he said ask for what you want, because your needs are already met. I told my boss that I lost the card; the first time in two years with this company and he didn't hesitate at all to replace my monthly metro card on the spot! Monday, I dropped the new metro card in the open space where the floor and elevator meet in my office building You can imagine my thinking. This was the replacement card! So at the end of the day I took at step of faith and told our security officials in the building what happened. I showed them the elevator where I dropped the card and they called their service men to go downstairs into the basement of our office building. Within five minutes the service men came back upstairs with with my metro card! Such a WOW moment. Praise Him! (I'm holding on to this card for dear life!)
My DVD player has not been working for months. Since I am not home enough to watch DVD's it does not bother me that much. This past Saturday my roommate and I wanted to watch a movie in the living room and of course the DVD player wasn't working. She asked me when I was going to get a new one LOL. I said mostly likely around Christmas. Just to back up a bit, last week one of my bestest, Toya asked me if I could buy anything for myself right now what would it be. I said a DVD player. Tuesday, my brand new DVD player arrived at work compliments of Toya! I was in amazement of fast God worked and so excited to believe God for "much more" more often!
I came home after Bible Study and in my normal routine I checked the mail. Thankfully there was only one bill! Lol. I opened the Con Edison bill(excuse the step by step) and could not believe my eyes. As a sidenote my power bill hit astronomical numbers this past summer so when I saw the bill, I truthfully could not believe my eyes. It says we owe 93 cents! In total!
My roommate and I can not explain it. It reads that we paid last month's bill and this month's bill in the last month's cycle. Neither one of us can account for this. It may sound crazy or out there but when my bills come I immediately pray a simple prayer asking God to pay them, confess a cooresponding scripture, and then thank him for doing so. This is amazing! My Father is working faster than I can keep up!! Time for another Praise Dance!!!
DREAM BIG - EXPECT EVEN BIGGER - AND WHEN YOU GET IT...TELL SOMEONE!!!
Word of the day: Revelation 3:10
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Normally, I don't post things that stray too far from music, or empowerment. However, this article below is an excellent read and gives examples of a great model to follow no matter your passion. Further down in the article it highlights the founder of ING Direct in the light of the mortgage crisis. ING offers mortgages and out of 100,000 mortgages ING lended only 15 have ended in foreclosure. That's a pretty small number compared to the many in some cases the majority of mortgages owned by other well known, highly trusted banks that ended in foreclosure. I am happy to say that I bank with ING Direct and have watched a steady not huge, but steady increase of interest accrue.
Additionally, ING founder Arkadi Kuhlmann talks about the temptation to be unethical and greedy for lack of more friendly word during the housing boom. He choose to go another route. His path seems to be paying off not only for ING but for their homeowners. Kuhlmann instituted innovativeness in a less popular way. I'm sure he didn't have many cheerleaders and as many supporters but his choices have kept him above water and still winning.
I love the title, "Sometimes it's Hip to be a Square." (The road less travelled)
How do you keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs? This has become a defining challenge for leaders in an age of technology bubbles, private-equity overreach, and, most recently, the mania (and meltdown) in the mortgage market.
Failure, we like to tell ourselves, is a powerful opportunity to learn. If that's the case, there must be lots of executives learning powerful lessons these days. The government has stepped in to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, once pillars of the financial system, whose misguided policies enabled so much of the mortgage madnesss. The CEO of Washington Mutual, once a darling of Wall Street analysts, resigned in the face of balance-sheet pressures. Banks and financial institutions everywhere are writing down assets, bumping up loss reserves, slashing payrolls--and watching shareholder value evaporate.
What can we learn from this heartache and misery? To me, the most valuable insights come from those few leaders who refused to be seduced by the promises of fast growth and easy profits. Sure, many of the biggest and best-known names in banking decided to offer teaser rates to attract unqualified borrowers, and to approve loans without verifying incomes. But a few holdouts, who were tremendously creative in much of how they did business, decided that when it came to the "financial engineering" that reshaped the mortgage market, Huey Lewis had it right: It's hip to be square.
One case in point is Hudson City Bancorp, a 140-year-old company based in Paramus, New Jersey that has managed to avoid the mortgage meltdown and continues to post tremendous results. Business journalists have discovered this quiet little outfit and marveled at its strategic insights. Its shares are up 50 percent since last August, when the credit crisis really kicked in. (A leading index of bank stocks is down 40 percent over the same period.) "Hudson City banks the old-fashioned way," Newsweek marveled. "It takes deposits and makes mortgages to people who buy homes in which they plan to live. And then it hangs on to" the mortgages, rather than sell them in the secondary market.
Imagine the brilliance! Take deposits. Make sensible loans. Repeat over and over again, until your market cap approaches $10 billion.
The New York Times tried to unpack the secrets of Hudson's success and offered this analysis:
"The bank carefully screened loan applicants to ensure they would be able both to afford a new house and reside there, rather than flip it. And the bank demanded hefty down payments...as a cushion against any sharp drop in home prices, because it planned to hang on to the loans."
What a formula! Make sure borrowers can afford their loans. Insist that they make a big down payment. Favor owners over speculators.
Hudson City's mindful approach to banking only looks remarkable because so many established banks lost their minds. ING Direct, a cutting-edge banking innovator about which I've written in the past, also managed to avoid the march of folly in its industry. The bank avoided the subprime meltdown because it stuck to simple, plain-vanilla mortgages rather than exotic instruments that sounded too good to be true (and were). The bank has written 100,000 mortgages worth $26 billion and has a grand total of 15 foreclosures. Not 15 percent, just 15 mortgages out of 100,000.
Arkadi Kuhlmann, ING Direct's founder and CEO, is one of the most creative business leaders I've ever met. But he was able to distinguish between get-rich-quick industry fads and real innovation. "Every person who tries to do real innovation is going to be tempted by money, greed, acceptance, being in the middle of the action," Kuhlmann says. "But at the core there is one fundamental difference: I know why I'm here. I want to make a difference. If I was into this just for making money, being a big accepted banker, I would have been tempted. But that's not why I'm here. I am trying to build something that changes the business, that allows me to stay on the right side of the discussion."
Kuhlmann's skepticism about mortgage fads speaks to one of the unappreciated elements of strategy and creativity. Sometimes, the most important form of leadership is resisting an innovation that takes hold in your field when that innovation, no matter how popular with your rivals, is at odds with your long-term point of view. The most determined innovators are as conservative as they are unique. They make big strategic bets for the long term and don't hedge their bets when strategic fashions change.
"We as individual leaders operate inside a cultural context," Kuhlmann explains. "The question is, do you want to try to influence the culture that you're in, or do you want the culture that you're in to overwhelm you?"
By combining cutting-edge insights with back-to-basics discipline, ING Direct, like Hudson City Bancorp, has created a powerful new force in the financial-services market. Kuhlmann and his colleagues resisted the worst excesses of the last few years, because they weren't interested in running with the pack--they were determined to do what made sense to them. "When you run with the pack, what you generally see are other people's backsides," Kuhlmann wisecracks. "We know why we're here, and it's not to photocopy other people's bad ideas."
Do you have the values and discipline to keep your head when so many around you are losing theirs?
Word of the Day: Joshua 1:7
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I found my answer in a post about the Greatest of All Time (in my book), Lauryn Hill.
"Lauryn Hill is building up material for a major comeback after giving birth to her five kids - she has song ideas and lyrics scribbled all over her bathroom. The reclusive star’s longtime partner Rohan Marley reveals Hill is as prolific as anyone in the music business, and cannot stop writing lyrics and tunes while she’s on hiatus. He says, “She writes music in the bathroom, on toilet paper, on the wall. She writes it in the mirror if the mirror smokes up. “She writes constantly. This woman does not sleep."
Many people have asked me the reason for the name: Bathroom Freestyle. Although my reasoning for giving this fountain of words that name is on the ride side bar, the question still persists in the minds of some people. However, others get the name right away and understand the meaning behind it. It sounds like Lauryn Hill has the same pattern of thought. Reading this quote above resonated in me like I just won an award for innovativeness...LOL! And one day, maybe my words, writings, songs, lyrics would be as impactful as one of my BIGGEST heros who ever put pen to paper, note to beat, voice to microphone.
Lauryn Hill is undoubtedly my Greatest inspiration. She is prolific, truly a genius with words and their deeper meanings. She's a singer/songwriter/lyricist/mother/actress. I can still remember the day I bought the most expensive cd I've ever owned, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," at Blockbuster in Roswell, Georgia in 1998. It was totally worth $18.99 without tax. I still found hidden, not so obvious meanings in songs like "Tell Him" and "Ex-Factor" ten years after hearing them. The title track, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" resounds in my heart, like I wrote it. That's how personal the song is to me.
It's true that you have to reach your own level, but looking up to the Greats like Lauryn Hill is like looking up to the standard, the Giant of the art in my generation. This makes me want to write, and write, and write until I get right. Here's to Lauryn and her foretold return. Like the many other loyal, diehard fans, I'll be waiting for the Legend to reclaim her stage bigger and better than before.
***Also check out fellow writer Ebonne Jones, "Letter to Lauryn Hill" http://www.mahoganybutterfly.com/cms/templates/expressions.aspx?articleid=2636 which also celebrates the 10th year anniversary of "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.," this month. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the classic was released.***
Word for the Day: Ephesians 2:13
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Recently, the frustration reared its ugly head again. This time my frustration was about wanting to focus only on music and only my music. My question to the Lord was, "Why do I have to focus on music, my job in finance, be an entreprenuer, etc?" Why can't I just work on music, learn about finance (get GREAT with money, develop the mindset for aquiring BIG, LONG wealth, not the money we deal with day to day just to live, and make a couple of meaningful wealth-building transactions), but really just focus on music? (I'll explain later my ideal vision for my future husband, music and our businesses in music and finance! :-) )
The Lord sent a messenger to answer this question today. Refer to the "Parable of the Talents," Matthew 25:14-28. In the parable a master gave his three servants a certain amount of talents (talent is defined as: a unit of value, the natural endowment of a person, a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude b: general intelligence or mental power : ability). In this parable, the talents were money. A quick summation: The master gave one servant five talents, the second servant two talents and the third servant one talent. After a long time the master came to settle his accounts with his servants. The servant with five talents returned to his master ten talents to his master. The servant with two talents returned four talents to his master. However, the servant given only one buried his talent in the ground and returned to his master the one talent that was given to him. His master referred to him as wicked and lazy and gave his talent to the servant who had ten. The revelation from my friend is that we are all given/entrusted with a different amount of talents (gifts). It doesn't have to be money, but sometimes it is. For me its singing, songwriting, encouraging, and one day wife, mother, and businessowner. But I can't even limit myself to these things, because God may add to this list. However many talents we are given not only are we required to do BIG THINGS with these talents, but we must take them a step futher than how they were distributed to us. We have to double them, increase them to bless others. This is completely the answer to my frustration, because I am now resolved knowing that I have MANY talents. I can take the limits off of myself and my BIG, HUGE God and stop using the word can't in relation to things that I have yet to try.
As I get surrendered (horrible english!), free in God I will continue to realize that my frustration comes from trying to figure the process out in my own knowledge, wondering how my time will be evenly divded and how things will get accomplished in Kristen's timelines. Usually the things that stick around and last for a while had to go through an extensive process. They didn't develop overnight. The parable makes it clear that the master returned after a long time to collect his increase. So, while I'm not going to procrastinate accomplishing the things set before me, I can also enjoy the journey and the process until they manifest.
Rewind: By now you know that I'm CHI bred, ATL refinded, but my parents live in MIA now. I travelled to Miami last weekend for my cousin's 40th birthday on Fisher Island and my brother's 13th birthday. WOW! Fisher Island is completely exclusive. You have to be on a list in order to take the island's ferry across the water to the island. I think the exclusivity of Fisher Island is what's so special about it. Or maybe is the 5 bedroom 6000 sq feet villas on the island available to rent during your stay. Or maybe it's that you don't see many people of color on the island other than in service positions (an there's nothing wrong with, but it's nice to see us enjoying the same luxuries on an equal playing field). Although Harold Ford Sr. and Oprah have residences on Fisher Island, to the common, everyday hard working African American Fisher Island seems a little out of reach. My cousin spared no expense to show us how great 40 looks, and it looks FABULOUS! I have great images in vision to aspire to. (The pics are from the last weekend.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Today, I'm in love...again.
Here are my Top (kris)TEN In loves...from bottom to TOP.
I'm in love with...
#10: New York City - Good ol' NYC. I had the pleasure of hosting my 15 and 11 year old cousins from Cleveland, Ohio for the 4th of July weekend. This was their first time taking a flight and their first time in New York. I basked in the loving duty of taking them on a tour around the city of New York. We indulged in things that I had not yet experienced before even after being here for almost three years! It's good to know that I still have much more to discover in the city while I'm here.
#9: Romance - Ode to romance. I am the biggest romantic ever! I believe in it, I hope in it and I want to live the rest of my life saturated in it. Larenz Tate said it so eloquently in the quintessential love story of my generation, Love Jones..."Romance is about the possibility of things." I'm sure that romance will always be a huge part of my life, because I find it in everything. God created this earth with such attention to detail, beauty and most importantly love. The wind, trees, cobblestone roads, walks in the parks, rain and sunsets are the epitome of romance. And I live in it...everyday @---<<---- #8: Church - Most people I meet in the city share my introduction to NYC. They are a transplant from another city that’s not quite as culturally diverse, not nearly this fast pace or filled with such vast opportunity. However, the sustaining element when embarking on the Big Apple is always church. My church (my pastor, the people, the ministries) keep me sane, grounded and spiritually uplifted. Since joining my church choirs I can’t get enough of church. If you’re looking for me on a random night…that’s the best place to check. (http://www.worldchangerschurchnewyork.org/)
#7: ATL, GA- Those that know me, know that even though I’m from the “City of Wind,” my heart belongs to A-T-L-A-N-T-A-G-A. When I first inhaled the air in March 1998, I knew it was a special place of prosperity and beauty. Since then, I haven’t been able to separate my heart strings from this city. The trees, the “laid back kickin Georgia pride,” the red clay, the drawl, the food, my friends, and my Goddaughter all keep me coming back for more.
#6: Helping People – When do I feel the best about myself and life? When I am considering and contributing to the success and greatness of others. When I am making a difference in someone else’s life. Whenever I see people who dedicate their lives to helping others, they seem not to have one care in the world. Maybe it’s because life gives to the giver, God gives to the giver and when you are more concerned about the well-being of others you have less time to “care” about what’s not perfect in your own life. I love to volunteer, create ways to help others move to higher levels and see people accomplish their full potential, rather than just scratching the surface. (Look out for The King’s Daughters ™– Party for a Purpose coming soon!!!)
#5: My friends that are like family – My family and I are very close. (Sometimes I say that the reason for this is because I don’t live with them. LOL! They live in Florida). But nevertheless, being far from them is hard sometimes. My friends that are like family are the best gifts from God. They keep me excited about life, constantly practicing love in my relationships and they check me if I’m “trippin.” My friends come to visit me all the way from the west coast, to the Midwest and from the “dirty-dirty.” They continually bless me and allow me to bless them. The older, more mature and wiser that we become the circle of friends changes AND it also gets smaller. So I’m holding on to my “folks” tight…for the long haul.
#4: My Goddaughter Aydin – This whole entry could be about her (and it will be soon). You ever notice how everything to children and babies is so simple. When they’re fed, changed and clean they are so happy and pleasant. Then we grow up and make life complex. Looking in the face of my Goddaughter reminds me of the beauty and simplicity of life. The joy of being a member of the village called to raise and watch over her is fulfillment beyond measure. She gives me hope for the future and an invisible push to always strive for excellence, because God didn’t put us here for ourselves. Aydin is constant proof that we/our gifts are here for someone else.
#3: Music – Singing: “I like that I can talk to you. And you seem to adore it. I like that I can tell you…exactly, how I feel. I like that you don’t…look at me, that confused kind of way when…the thoughts are running through my mind and I can’t seem to find the right thing to say. Oooooooo…this feels nice.” (Easy Conversation, Jilly from Philly). This is my favorite song. It describes my relationship with music, with God and with my best friend. I have a King David experience daily, where I just cry out to God in song, a psalm. Music for me is totally spiritual. It’s the air, it’s the rain, it’s the wind and the water. Music is everywhere. So I make it, I sing it, I live it, I breathe it, and I share it.
#2: My Family – I am absolutely in love with my family. They are my rock and my foundation. It sounds very cliché but it so true. There is no Kristen without the Rogers. For most of my time spent away from home (the last eight years of my life) I have dealt with being away from them pretty well. But every once in while, I have a “blue” day. During my “blue” moment, it never fails that I can always call on my family for advice, to brighten my mood or to give an encouraging word. It’s simple…they’re the best!
#1: Jesus Christ – Two words to describe perfect, unconditional, undying, never failing, faithful love: Jesus Christ. He dwells in me and me in him. We’re always together, always talking, walking and laughing together. He loves me when it seems like no one else does or has the capacity to. He writes all my best songs and He gives me the creativity for new songs. He’s ALWAYS there, no matter what. He always makes time for me. I am totally obsessed with Jesus and who He is in my life. For some people, this is way too deep. But for me its home. It’s my DNA, right where I belong in the most intimate relationship I will ever experience.
So, I’m in love. And when I love, I love hard.
I’m headed to choir rehearsal, my favorite activity of the week! Gotta love a good praise session. Check out the pics from my performance this past weekend. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2001095&l=60b54&id=1017204308. I had a great time getting lifted, elevated by the music, the feedback and the support. Shout out to my World Changers!!
Please also check out the best new fashion mag to hit stands next month: Boho Magazine!! http://www.bohomag.com/ Written and published by my mentor and sister celebrity stylist Gina LaMorte. This is the very first green fashion magazine! (Music to my ears). She rocks!
I’m headed to the studio on Sunday to record a song I wrote for a dope producer working with Rihanna and Chris Brown. Let’s get it! (A placement that is..:-)
And I had to include this url showing the new Rap-Up cover. Teyanna, Keri and Solange are wrecking havoc and I love it!! The cover is FIYAH! They inspire me!
All the best to you as we approach a glorious weekend.
Word of the day: Matthew 6:6
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I once read something from my pastor (Pastor Creflo Dollar) that mentioned it was better to live a life 'directed' rather than 'driven.' That seemed so foreign to me. Like, could it be possible to be ambitious, goal-oriented, passionate and not live a driven life? I began to put things into perspective. As a Christian it's vital to stay in the will of God for your life. In that place there's protection, mercy, grace and other infinite benefits. It's similar to the way the Bible describes Jesus as the vine and us as the branches. It's crucial that we stay connected to the vine because apart from the vine, the branches can do nothing. I say all that to say, in the past I have ventured off to do what I thought was cool stuff or get involved in cool projects without always heeding the voice of God. The aftermath would be weariness, confusion, eventual disinterest and then a complete failure to continue my committment. So, you live and you learn and I hope I have learned from those failures and so that now I can apply the wisdom and lessons learned to my present.
When I decided to move forward and start The King’s Daughters™ all signs and arrows pointed in the right direction. Everything really began to move into place. I took two steps and the Lord took 10. I honestly thought I would begin working on the organization somewhere later on down the line. However, the call to act on this movement was louder than NYC ambulance sirens. I have to admit that before about 12 months ago, I never really had strong entrepreneurial desires. I tossed the idea of owning my own business around, but not that seriously. I also knew that I didn't want to work for someone for the rest of my life, but I didn't formulate a plan to make that a reality either. Embarking on this mission is so exciting everyday! Laying the groundwork is even more enlightening. I read something this week that basically referred to moving to quickly, or hurriedly or in haste shows lack of wisdom. Talk about a wake up call for me. I can have a tendency to get on a roll and pick up momentum and then not know where to put on the brakes and find myself spinning out of control and then having to regroup and retreat. So now for the tough part. It has now become a daily, conscious task to take one step at a time, condition my mind, body and soul to be patient and live a directed life and not necessarily driven. My biggest hope and goal right now is to lay a solid foundation for this organization and take the necessary steps possible to build a long-lasting movement that touches many generations after me. Here goes.....
What's that you ask? Am I abandoning music? NEVER THAT. That would be like cutting off an arm or a leg. Not gonna happen. Music is here to stay and it will be a vehicle used to empower the young ladies in the organization. As a matter of fact, I performed at the Village Underground again on Sunday, Mother's Day. I sang another Jilly song, "He Loves Me." I got some good feedback and some good constructive critques. I had the priviledge of going first for the night! Wow! Day 26 was front row and so was the latest and greatest, Chrisette Michele (shout out to Michelle Renee), who also performed her *** off later that night. If you haven't seen her perform live yet, you need to. She's NEXT, period. Now back to me :-) The performance was really and last minute. Sorry for no notice. I'll do better, I promise. I have video of the performance that seems not to wanna load. :-( Big shout out to my homie Will Gordon over at Digiwaxx who taped the performance for me. Thanks so much for the love and enouragement.
Last Wednesday, I checked out the Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z concert. They are truly two of the BIGGEST BOSSES that we have seen thus far! MJB is amazing. She performs with total honesty and tranparency. Jay-Z, what can I say? It's like he invented his own arena, completely created his own space in the entertainment game and rewrote the rules for those currently playing and those to come behind him. Beyonce graced the stage for a few moments during Jay's set. Method Man joined Mary for the classic, "All I Need," Memphis Bleek paraded the stage with Jay for a few records and Diddy played Jay's hype man on one track. All in all it was the concert was a banger. For some reason that just felt really good to get to the music side of things!!
For those of you in the NYC area tomorrow night and those who just like to support good causes, The Brotherhood-SisterSol, an organization that I have been volunteering with for the past two years that empowers young African American and Latino youth is hosting their annual Voices IV benefit at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 West 19th Street tomorrow night at 8:00pm. Sway from MTV is hosting. Tickets are $150.00 and tax deductable. http://www.brotherhood-sistersol.org/ You can use this link to buy tickets or simply make a donation. I hope to see you there!
Well good people....I'm signing off for the night. I'm in Miami this weekend celebrating one of my BEST FRIENDS in the whole world's birthday. T-Double aka Toya is turning the FAB 27 on Friday. I couldn't let her celebrate alone! Well that and she called me to tell me those were the plans. LOL. Miami or BUST! MIA is always a slammin get-a-way, no matter the length of time. Gotta love it. Plus my family lives there. BONUS!
I think we're all caught up.
Be blessed and not stressed by the mess that tries to tear you down. Be encouraged daily!
Verse for the day: Hebrews 12:3
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Just a sidenote... Today, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the world's greatest, genius, Gemini artists ever: Andre 3000 Benjamin. I'll keep the details surrounding our meeting private for now:-) However, I will say he has great energy. Very serene and peaceful, like he was back in Atlanta chillen under an oak tree enjoying the breeze. And for the ladies...what a smile. :-) It was a great ending to the perfect song (day)....
Till we sing again,
Verse for the Day: Ephesians 5:19 (Very appropriate for our conversation)