Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Gotta Testimony: I'm FAVORED among many!

Not too long ago I heard about message about Restoration and Reconciliation. The message was basically saying that God would restore all that you had lost (which is currently happening now) and that he would reconcile you, meaning he would make sure that you were not in a deficit by the end of the year. This is also happening.

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 favored
I'm different
I'm light
I'm unique
I'm blessed to be an EMPOWERMENT (blessing)

Word of the day: Malachi 3:10
Favored,
The Billionairess

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stretch My Muscles - Freestyle IV

***Hater is a Fan***

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
Reinvent
Rewind
Rethink
Relax

Nope, cause the moment you relax
He advanced
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
In love,
Kristen ~ The Billionairess

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I WANT IT ALL BACK - TYE TRIBBETT & GREATER ANNOINTING

I Want it all Back!
By: Tye Tribbet & GA

I want it all back

(Verse 1)
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

(Chorus)
I want it all back

(Verse 2)
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

(Chorus)
I want it all back

(Bridge)
If you only knew what I was gonna be
After the storm you wouldn't have even bothered me

(Chat)
(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

Pretty Kool

Blessed People...this is a letter I received from a new reader, that I wanted to share. It really warmed my heart.

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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.
Joy

Word of the Day: Philippians 2:11
Always empowering,
Billionairess

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tis This Season to be Joyful: I Gotta Testify about my RAINBOW!

My apologies for taking almost three weeks away from the blogosphere. As 2008 comes to a close my focus is sharpened and leisure time is more scarce.

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
Honestly,
The Billionairess

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stretch My Muscles - Freestyle III

***SHINING STAR***

Light in the dark
Joy in the pain
Love that rains
Love that pours

I'm a Beauty with a name

Unique amongst many
Charming outside and in
Laughter begins at the sight of him

Tried to put me in a box
Tried to make me his "bot"
Oppress and depress my shine
Blow out my twinkle
My candle burned too bright
The flame of my heart
Passionate from the start
Not ashamed to show my affection
Open about my intentions
Unique amongst many
Different from the plenty
Called out from the crowd

Told me I was less
Not quite right
Imperfect in his eyes
But well able between the thighs

Still not good enough

My vision is a little blurry
My hearing is a little a worried
Because now his opinion counts
His voice sounds in my sleep
When I wake up
I spend the day in night
Dark rules over the light

Mind over matter
Life over death
Air for my breath
Healing for my heart

Bruised and scarred
Mr. Right turned into Mr. Wrong
His name changed
When he changed his tune
Sang the wrong song
"Bump n' Grind" instead of "All my Life" (LOL)

What happens when the stars go dim
No hope the future
No kisses under Moonlight
No hugs at Midnight

The whole world is waiting for me
To turn my light back on
Glow in the dark
Illuminate greater than Times Square
Light brighter than Rockefeller Center

What happens when a star goes dim
She needs to be turned on again
This time the switch is from within
A place hidden in secret
Where no one can see it
Or turn the tables
Or break her heart

Shine bright little star!
The whole world is waiting for your arrival
Midnight into Daylight
New life is growing
Seasons change
But your light remains

***To all my stars...his opinion never mattered. SHINE BRIGHT! YOU ARE THE LIGHT***

Word of the Day: Proverbs 28:20
Shining,
The Billionairess

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

VICTORIOUS IN A HISTORIC BATTLE

Do you know what it's like to be the first? The first to intergrate a school; the first to win an award; the first in your family to finish college. Being the first carries a huge responsibility and creates a long-lasting legacy. No matter who comes after you, you paved the way, you set the stage and you made it possible for someone else with similar hopes and dreams to follow. You lead the pack. At 5:30am on Tuesday morning, my roommate and I got in line to elect the first African American to the White House.

On, November 4th at 11pm, Senator Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States of America. This momumental moment in time has changed the perspective of not only Americans but people all over the world. It can be argued that no other US Presidential election has garnered this much media attention and public support. President Obama crossed color lines, changed the game of politics and created a campaign that was truly for the people and by the people.

While President Obama has more than his share of a mess to clean up and country to rebuild, I believe we are going to see prosperity arise again in the lives of everyday people. People who have been oppressed by the last eight years due to the downturn of the politics and economy in this country. Thankfully, Pres. Obama has the majority of the nation's support to make his message of hope and change a reality.

Americans must exercise patience during the Obama administration. It didn't take four years for this country to be turned upside down and four years may not be enough to turn back right side up. However, since God is still in control it can take an instant to change from one state of being to another. In an instant we will say goodbye to President Bush and hello to a refreshing change. I'm ready. The best is truly yet to come!

Our First Lady Michelle Obama who I must say is the finest example of leadership, poise and brilliance, is dedicated to issues concerning working mothers and our children. As a single woman with the desire to be married and have children one day, this gives me great hope! The Obamas are more than the first African American couple in the White House. They are a force for change. They are the best represention of the "United States." They're tireless efforts have brought this country together again for a common goal. Watching the media coverage in my hometown of Chicago in Grant Park was tingling. It looked like a Michael Jackson concert when he performed "We are the World!" This victory is not only for Black people, but all races, religions and backgrounds.

I have attended predominately African American schools with the exception of my high school years. Being surrounded by other high achievers that looked like me has always given me pride in my race. However, the combination of living in New York City, working with and befriending all races, and volunteering for this campaign helped to remove the "I only see Black" veil from my eyes. Don't get me wrong. I have never been more proud to be an African American, but embracing other cultures without pretence and prejudice has been equally as liberating.
My final words come from my Father (my hero, mentor, the greatest):

"I'm going on the radio in the next hour to address what does last night's election mean.

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."

Word of the Day: Psalm 27:14 (The Best is yet to come!)
Inspired,
The Billionairess

PS - The links below are should continue to inspire you to stay the course, remain steadfast and never give up! xo

Sunday, November 2, 2008

INSPIRED

It's Sunday evening and I'm at the office. Doesn't sound like much fun, but its purposeful. The office is quiet right now (except that I am listening to the Idlewild soundtrack) making focus and clarity evident. I plan to write this into my weekend; a few hours on Sat or Sun, I will come in the office to work on work, song writing and the KINGDOM VISION.

The weekend has been full of celebrations. My girlfriend and fellow choir songstress Aja just got promoted at her job! My past and future travelling compadre Marcus passed the South Carolina State bar! Yesterday's message at church confirmed my life in full: the year I have had, my present day and what's to come!! To celebrate, some friends and I went out to stuff our faces and feed our souls with shouts of joy in light of all the great things happening!

This afternoon I had brunch at Max Brenners with my good friend Arin who's also pursuing her passion of singing and recording: http://myspace.com/arinmayamusic, http://noseandeyelashes.blogspot.com/. (Check out this glowing beauty). The conversation and mix of creative energy was the perfect yellow light during my day. We talked music, travels, experiences in NYC (we're both from the WINDY) and the journey of life. On our mission to good food, we ran into some locally and internationally known musicians underground in Union Station's subway. The "Hypnotic Brass Ensemble" (http://hypnoticbrass.blogspot.com/, http://www.myspace.com/hypnoticbusiness - pic above) also from the WINDY have toured with Mos Def, and independently released two albums. Arin knows them personally and I only remembered them vaguely from seeing them play underground in Times Square. They sounded so professional and played with much passion like "The Roots." I did what any music lover would do...I bought their cd for $10.00. I got home, listened to album and was thankful I spent the money. That was at least a year ago. Fast forward to today, after touring internationally, performing with Mos Def, gaining a significant fan base, I find them underground playing with the same passion and musicanship. I'm inspired.

We all have to start somewhere. No matter how small, the key is to never give up. Never quit. The seeds you sow today, will bear the fruit you enjoy tomorrow. Keep the same momentum and excitement about that thing you're working on from Day 1 to Day 365.

Additionally (my new favorite word), I saw Sen. (soon to be Pres.) Barack Obama live from Ohio on CSPAN today. Do you agree that if you have seen Sen. Obama speak, you can't help but be inspired. His journey, his passion, his faith and his diligence to stay the course no matter the obstacles is inpsiring. Are you convinced that VICTORY is going to take place on Tuesday? Don't doubt, just believe. If you are not on the Obama side of things...it's cool. I respect all points of view. Just know, he's gonna WIN. :-) xo Regardless of your viewpoint, excercise your RIGHT and your AUTHORITY to VOTE on Tuesday, November 4th. Take part in this historical election. We will never travel this road again.

Word of the Day: Proverbs 18:21
Always Inspiring,
"The Billionairess"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Gotta Testify - II

The praise reports continue! This week has been full of small victories that add up to make a major impact.

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.

Monday:
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!)

Tuesday:
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!

Wednesday:
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
Lovingly,
"Billionairess"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DREAM BIG - EXPECT EVEN BIGGER!


A famous filmmaker said, "I dream for a living." When I first heard this it sounded so abstract. Probably because I was processing this statement with my logical, over analytical mind, instead of my creative, loving, ever hopeful heart.

Do you remember when you were a child and you used to DREAM BIG and EXPECT BIG? There was nothing in life that you could not imagine accomplishing. Your thoughts were vast beyond your own ability. About a month ago, I realized that I had not taken the time to just dream silently or aloud. I believe your dreams are your visions. Your visions are what is at the end of the road for your life. Everyday that you move in the direction of your vision you become closer to making your dream/vision a reality. If you stop dreaming your ability to visualize BIG shrinks and your expectation of life's returns diminishes.

I encourage you to SOW BIG SEEDS, DREAM BIG DREAMS and EXPECT BIG VICTORIES!

While we are on the subject of DREAMING BIG. The word Billionaire in reference to me has been used more times than I can count in the last few weeks. I have always believed that I would be used as a catalyst to move my already prospeous family to a higher level. Even though I was not quite sure how, I knew God had chosen me to be a major part of this process. Additionally, there is much work to be done in the earth before I ascend to heaven.

Since joining my church choir my memory for remembering songs has expanded, my vocal range has expanded, my attention to detail has sharpened, but something else major has happened. I have been surrounded, submerged and almost drowned in positive affirmation. My expectation of what I was going to receive when joining my church's choir was too small. My brothers and sisters reaffirm the gifts God has placed inside of me (2 Timothy 1:6) every time we are together! I have never had so many people that I just met some only a few months ago speak life into me! I get called a Billionaire at least twice a week. So, I humbly accept the call! Ha! Billionairess...I AM! (Destined to inherit my Father's Billions)

Although singing and songwriting is a huge part of my destiny, so is overcoming the world's system of operating with the Kingdom of God's way of operating. "...your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) This is going to take BIG money.

It's time for the: TAKEOVER, TAKEBACK and TURNAROUND! Holla!

Verse for the Day: Deuteronomy 30:19
In Expection,
"Billionairess"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Room for Squares

John Mayer's debut album, undoubtedly one of my favorites and still in rotation on my iPod, "Room for Squares," captures a young man finding his way on life's journey through song. I used to think every acoustic guitar strummed by a white guy all sounded the same. For some reason this album triggered emotions that others following this formula had not and tugged on heartstings to that point were underdiscovered. But whatever...I just liked it alot. :-) Since this album, I have continuously listened to John on later projects follow his own path for individuality.

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)
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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
Always Empowering,
Kris!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stretch My Muscles - Freestyle II

I Fly High

The low road, the road most travelled
The high road, the road travelled by champions
Olympians and now new millennium politicians

The low road where the little play and the little squander
The high road; where we don't ponder, we decide
We make changes in the world in which we abide

Soaring beyond the clouds with minds set on prosperity,
longevity; pressing toward the mark to become a better you, become a better me
I can see clearly from up here

Taking chances, taking risks, taking life by the wrists
Leaving the past in a cloud of rain to fall on the 
haters that wished you pain

Beauty for ashes and dust to dust
The past is dead and life with wings as an eagle is a must
The low road can't sustain my high hopes

I put distance between me and she, me and he
To explore the air up there, up here
in a heaven of dreams. When I rest I float.

The low road, the road most travelled
Popularity abounds on the ground.
The high road, the road travelled by champions
I fly high, sometimes solo...in the sky.

"The happy heart runs with the river,
floats on the air, lifts to the music,
soars with the eagle, hopes with the prayer." - Maya Angelou

Verse for the Day: Job 4:4
Poetically,
Kristen Lauren

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Gotta Testify!

Allow me share my testimony of the week (I say the week because I expect to experience and share favor filled testimonies with you weekly)!!!! 

I have been songwriting for 15 years and it's only been in the last two years that I have taken this gift seriously instead of for just recreation. Today, I can say with confidence that the Lord has called me to write and sing His music; one of the biggest reasons for Him sending me to New York. Since moving to NYC, the Lord has blessed me with opportunities to write demo's for up and coming artists, co-write songs for well known hip hop artists and just meet some great people in the music industry. In the last year, I have had in studio training with accomplished writers, producers, artists and engineers in the music industry as well.

 In an effort to continue working on my craft of becoming a serious songwriter, I enrolled in a songwriting course at NYU a couple of weeks ago. One day later after I enrolled in the class, it was dropped due to a lack of enrollment. I prayed that since the God closed that door, he would clearly open a new one. On Monday of this week, I got a call directly from the professor who was supposed to teach the class. He apologized for the class being cancelled although it was out of his control. However, he wanted to offer me an even better opportunity than the NYU class. He extended to me a personal invitation to join a select group of people to take songwriting sessions from him in his recording studio for the next month! After doing my research on him, I found out that he is a four-time Grammy nominated songwriter. His songs have sold over 27 million copies and he's worked with Brandy, Van Halen, and David Bowie to name a few. I always pray upon taking my desire to become a more skilled singer and songwriter to the next level, that the Lord open the doors that He would have me to walk through and allow me to work with the best, most anointed people He has to offer in music.  This open door is a door opened by my Father that no man can shut!  

*I'm doing my praise dance right now!* :-D

Word for the Day: Proverbs 21:13 

Lovingly,

Kristen ~ "Olympian Pen"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stretch My Muscles - Freestyle

DIRECTIONS

I'm on a mission for change
To make a mark in the lives of others 
Who can't seem to find their way

I know what's it like to be lost and alone
Stuck in rut, maimed with pain, ashamed of my name
Unclear of where to aim 
my frustration

Incapable of making the right decisions
Lost in translation 
In the middle of a transformation 
Spinning out of control 
Trying to find the breaks, hoping for a sign
that says this is the way you should go!

There it is...that still small voice
Slow down, stop and think! 
Walk this way, turn right
You've been going left

One right turn, becomes another right turn
Till I find myself back on the right path
Moving in the right direction

I bring one, two, three people along with me
They looked stranded with their thumbs out
waiting for someone to pick them up
But now I know the way in which we should go

He whispered the directions in my ear
Just thought I should share
The path is straight and narrow
Not for the faint of heart
And sometimes it can get lonely.

Suddenly, I look up to find three, two, one
It's just me
Walking, changing, transforming
into what He wants me to be.

Following directions = long life.

Word of the Day: Proverbs 18:10
Thoughtfully,
"Olympian Pen"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Create Your Own Hype!

"I've been waitin on this my WHOLE life! These DREAMS be wakin me up at night!"
~ Kanye West, I Wonder (Graduation, 2007)

The word "hype" is considered an inflated truth or exaggerated, misconstrued story. The word inflated stands out the most. Inflated means full of empty or prententious language. Meanwhile, this offering is to encourage you to "CREATE Hype!" and make it your own. (How ironic)

This year and the latter part of last year, I learned that Hype does not have to be BS. Hype is simply whatever you want it to be. It's your belief system. The thoughts, notions, values, principles, truths that you believe in, you will pub(licize), endorse and co-sign to the next level. This is totally me. When I believe in something, I make it public. I speak about it and I make it real BIG. 

One of the greatest examples of Hype created in the last 12 months was the controversy between Kanye West and 50 Cent's album being released on the same day.  Of course I had my money on Ye. There was so much Hype surrounding the release of the both albums, if you were music lover at all you could not help but to indulge just a little. Well we all know how that one turned out. Ye took the most units in the first week and his hype paid off once again. Why do I say again? (I don't want this to turn into a conversation completely about Ye but...) Again, because Kanye brought attention to himself at his beginnings by making people believe in his talents and gifts simply because he believed in them the most. I've watched Kanye's Driven, Through the Wire, read the articles, heard the rants, blowing of his own horn, etc. However, any one who subscribes to the trends, pop culture and the hip-hop generation can not deny Kanye's affect on all of the above. Kanye has always been his own hype man. When the labels wouldn't do it, he did it himself. When the award shows didn't show love, he created more hype and drama still turning the attention (although negative) to himself requiring more people to dig deeper into Ye.  What's even greater about the hype that Kanye created around himself is that it's totally warranted. He is extremely talented in music and art. He has changed the hip-hop culture for this generation in many ways. 

I have a tendency to down play my BIG stuff,  and hype my "sister" or my "brother's" vision. Kanye's example shows me that we must HYPE our own visions. Getting them out there is our responsibility and at the end of the day, no one but God (and I think that even God can't believe it for you) will believe your vision, dream, or goal as much as you do. God gave you the vision and He will surely bring it to pass...if you believe it can actually come to pass. Kanye believed in his vision when no one else would and more than anybody. Now he has the whole world believing in "Kanye West - Mr. Glow in the Dark." I'm not mad at CHICAGOIAN-GEMINI-TWIN. 

So from now on... CREATE BIG HYPE for your BIG and little DREAMS. When you take a BIG STRIDE, or make a BIG SPLASH don't down play it. MAKE IT BIG, SAY IT LOUD. You're helping someone else along the way believe that they can make their dreams and visions come true too. 

I'm working on tracks with Keith "K-Boogie" Hanns, original member of Wreckx N' Effect. He's cool people with an experienced, comfortable flow. I'm writing songs like crazy for MYSELF (Yes!) and others of course, getting ready to take a highly-recommended class at NYU so I can join the ranks of the BEST to put pen to paper (Smokey Robinson, Lauryn Hill, Eric Roberson, NE-YO). The BEST is on it's way. 
I'm also looking for a live band. If you know of one, let me know! 

Word of the day: Philippians 4:8
Obama '08
Musically,
Hype-Woman~The Olympian Pen™

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thinking/Creating/Writing Like the Greatest of All Time!

I haven't visited Bossip.com in many months. Once I arrived to their website, I still questioned why I decided today to explore the popular gossip well.
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
Lyrically,
Kris

Sunday, August 3, 2008

PREPARATION in Surrender/SURRENDER in Preparation

Preparation means: the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty. Readiness.
Surrender means: to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand; to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner, b: to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence).
How are these words related and intertwined? Currently, I'm in a season of preparation for many things: to be a cutting edge performer, an entrepreneur, homeowner, future wife, future mother, and some others characteristics. Earlier this year, I was in a wilderness season, entrenched in frustration. One of reason for my frustration was due to the many visions the Lord has given me for projects and goals to work towards. As a result, I was trying to accomplish everything at the same time, causing greater frustration, because I couldn't see, hear and think through any of them clearly. As I said before in "REST," I fall short in that area.

Lately, the Lord has been sending me many messages and revelations about surrendering to Him. (I thought I was surrendered to God and His will for my life.) But He showed me that in order to be properly prepared for the things He has in store for me, basically the list above, that I need to be surrendered to His will and His strength in my life. I, Kristen can't get all this done, by myself, but God working through me will accomplish these things to further His Kingdom and purpose for my life.

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.

And when someone says to me, "You're doing too much," I will have peace knowing that what they meant to say is, "I admire the talents God gave you and I look forward to seeing you use them in a way that impacts the whole world!"

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.)

Have a wonderful week knowing that YOU really can do ALL things through JESUS CHRIST that gives you the strength. Phil 4:13

Word of the Day: Psalm 89:34
No more excuses. Just results (Dr. Toya Greene)
Kris

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm in Love...

Singing: "Lately, I've had the strangest feeling..." My admiration, my adoration, and my passion have been turned up a notch for some loves in my life. For certain sentimental beauties in my life, I have always been in love. But for others, I have only had a strong liking.
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!
http://concreteloop.com/2008/07/mag-covers-keri-teyana-solange-mary-j-rihanna#more-29452m

All the best to you as we approach a glorious weekend.
Word of the day: Matthew 6:6
In song,
Kristen

Monday, June 30, 2008

REST

I don't think this is going to post the correct date, but today is actually June 30th. This has been in draft mode for like a week. As a result, I totally canned what I had written, but I could not go into July without updating my most loved outlet these days.

I just flew back to NYC from A-T-L-A-N-T-A-G-A this morning. I finally met my BEAUTIFUL and PRECIOUS Goddaughter Aydin. I thought it was going to be overwhelming and it was an emotional time, but honestly it was very serene looking into her eyes for the first time, holding her and recognizing that she's actually here. I have to admit that I have been a little nervous about being a good Godmother. I take this so seriously, and not in name sake only. My Godparents are the BEST EVER! Surrogates to me and my syblings and, they have been there for EVERYTHING and have always gone above the call of duty for the three of us. Big huge shoes to fill. But I had to realize that I'm not them, although I have their support and advice. My Godmother said that to love her unconditionally was the best and biggest thing I could do. I can't wait to go back to ATL and love on her some more :-)

I chose REST for this entry because it's exactly what's on my mind right about now...LOL! I got a little taste of sleepless nights this weekend with Ms. Aydin. But hardly what her Mom is experiencing. She's my new HERO. (Well kind of my Throwback HERO).
Last week was a Blessed Rollercoaster! :-) Last week, my pastor decreed a week of supernatural manifestation. Additionally, I heard many confirming words and messages that backed up what Pastor Dollar said regarding many things breaking loose in the lives of believers. This past week was MAJOR. By Monday, I had more than one offer to write songs with some great prodcuers working with Rihanna, Chris Brown, Timberland and more. I have to say I'm very proud of at least one of the new songs I wrote that I hope gets placed soon. Definitely that FIYAH! :-)
The logo for "The King's Daughters" is completed!!! I can't wait to unveil it - after it's protected of course. Last Thursday, I auditioned and joined World Changers Church New York's adult choir! The audition, the feedback, the feeling...all too powerful! Here's to singing, sangin, and singing some more!!! By Friday, I had my bags packed and was on cloud nine to head to my favorite region of the US...the SOUTH.
Last week didn't appear to leave much room for rest. I usually pencil in a nap during the week. I don't see the nap taking place this week either. No complaints though. I'm blessed to have a plate full of life blessings.
To resume about REST, I had a conversation with one of my Mary Kay leadership counselors and I told her that I don't really understand the meaning of rest, or resting in God. I just didn't get it. I always feel like I can be doing more, or I'm not doing enough and that continually keeps me moving. Recently, I read Proverbs 24:33-34 that says: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - an poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. My counselor told me that rest is different for everyone. Some people are not called to move at the pace that I move and vice versa. Some people aren't called to do as many different things as I do and vice versa. She also reminded me that in our own weaknesses God is made strong. So, I guess now I am resting in God, because my strength is a tad weak and to continue on, I'm solely relying on His strength. That's POWERFUL. Major Revelation as I'm writing this. And so that weak/week begins.
There are many more things I need to catch you up on, like the inspiring "Legacy of Homeownership Tour" sponsored by Chase Bank, that I attended two weekends ago for a day. It was Phenomenal! It reinforced that information is priceless and ownership is the legacy we MUST pass down. I'll be sure to invite you to my housewarming in no more than 12 months!!!
This weeks is JAMMED packed. I'll be SOB's tomorrow night for the Eric Roberson, Curt Chambers/Franklin Bridge and Fuzz Band Experience. Wednesday is Bible Study, "The King's Daughters meeting, and a celebratory Brotherhood-SisterSol farewell to Fabulous Kaajal Shah as she makes her transition to DC for New Beginnings. Thursday is CHOIR REHEARSAL! I can't wait. Friday, my 15 and 11 year old cousins from CLEVE-LAND come to visit for the holiday weekend. Time to get that second wind.
Be blessed this week! Good things are on the horizon as we continue to seek first HIS Kingdom.
Verse for the Day: 1 John 4:15
Lyrically Yours,
Kris

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Better is Here and Best is on it's Way!


Recently, I received a divine knock at my door and when I answered it "Better" was on the other side. I told "Better" I have been patiently waiting for his arrival (Psalm 27:13), looking forward to his interruption. He said that he was here to stay for a while, until "Best" showed up, and he assured me that "Best" is on his way. Let me share with you what "Better" looks like. He's basically my perception's idea of perfection, above average and never mediocure. He's constantly opening new doors and presenting me with new and exciting opportunities that lead to my destiny. He's the most encouraging, uplifting and positive whisper in my ear. He never hesitates to challenge me to come up higher. He's very supportive and extremely creative. He always operates in abundance, never lacking anything and he shares it all with me! Some might say, it sounds like you just met Jesus and I did.....about 13 years ago. "Better" is all of the remarkable, mind-blowing revelations and changes that have occured in the few weeks as a result of a "Better" relationship with Jesus, myself, my family, my friends and my passions. "Better" is clarity in many critical areas of life. It's contentment with what is, and hope (joy, patient expectation) for what is to come....."Best."

The blessed rain began on around June 1st and just keeps pouring down on me. The weekend of my birthday (June 1st) started with a slammin 80's/90's themed party downtown hosted by DJ Greg-Nice. So you can imagine the MUSIC. It was refreshing to see people dancing to every song that was played. Later in the weekend, my business partner Candice and I had the pleasure of escorting her six and three year old cousins around Harlem and then to church. We played games with imaginary people, shopped at my favorite boutique in Harlem, Bebenoir, went to church and then had dinner. It was a great preview for what Candice and I can anticipate running The King's Daughters™. On Sunday (June 1st!) my roommate put together a beautiful birthday brunch (shout out to the best Roomie - Nyle!) with some of my closest girlfriends at Paradou in the meat packing district. It was the perfect way to start my BORN DAY. Afterwards we indulged in the mania that is "Sex and the City." This was the perfect bridge on a day with your girlfriends. Afterwards a few of us headed to dinner and then to another fellow, brilliant Gemini's birthday pool party at Hotel QT. Normally, I venture out of NYC and head to Miami or Chicago to be with family on my birthday. So, I was a bit apprehensive to spend it in New York City this year. Needless to say it was one of the best birthdays I've experienced! Cheers to NYC!

Last week was full of belated birthday wishes and meetings regarding both music and non-profit stuff. This past weekend culminated the week long celebration of birthday events with a party on the roof-top of the Dream Hotel (courtesy of my fabu roomie Nyle and bestest Toya). This time we kissed the skyline of NYC and lived "Sexy in the City." It was a celebration filled with friends, great music, great atmosphere and CAKE!!! Those who know me well know my fetish for birthday cake. I can eat it everyday! To all my fellow Gemini's I encourage you celebrate for at least a week or until the first day of summer. It's all about living life to the fullest! (Good lesson learned)

On this same glorious day, 06/07/2008 probably one of the most important events of my life took place as well - my Goddaughter was born!! (Rewind back to May Flowers post) Aydin Santiago was born at 6:44pm and she is beautiful and perfect and I can't wait to meet her! The joy of new life can't really be compared to much else. The new birth of anything blessed is amazing. New life gives hope for the future, and forces us to keep pressing forward because we are reminded that we have so much to look forward to. I've never been a Godmother before, and I am so excited to take on this lifelong responsibility. As part of her village, it's my job to pray for her everyday and endow her with a legacy of wealth. What a cool job!!!

On Sunday, my business partner Candice and I shot a commerical for The King's Daughter's™ in and throughout Harlem. (Shout out to Jarrell aka DJCEO, Ashley, and N'Keisha for helping us create a masterpiece)! We shot for 8 hours what will probably be cut down to one minute. lol But it was an awesome experience to create our vision with images and put it together. I can't wait to unveil the logo for everyone. It's almost done and I think it really represents our mission and vision for the organization. Last night, I had a meeting with a well seasoned A&R who's been in the music business for the past 15+ years about his artist and my upcoming contributions to the project. Lately, I've been focused heavy on songwriting. I'm reading Jill Scott's book of poetry. Wow! She's one of my greatest inspirations. One of the best to bless a microphone. She's so unedited. I love her honesty and vulnerability. Her throwback goodie, "Golden" is my theme song for the summer.

You can tell the summer is upon us: the pre-mature heat wave, the dance - riding in your whip music, the events. Right now, I'm headed to a networking event at N Harlem, a boutique uptown. Later tonight Omar Sosa, a highly acclaimed Afro-Cuban musician is playing at the Blue Note downtown. If my schedule permits, I may check out my fave Eric Roberson hosting the famous Sol Village at SOB's tomorrow night. He's also opening for Lyfe Jennings at the Apollo Theater on Friday night. Good music lives long and strong even if you have to be creative to find it. The newest underground changed above ground phenom making waves that I'm diggin is Santogold. http://www.myspace.com/santogold She's going against the grain and definitely operating stage left. Gotta love that.

Thanks for tuning in to the update. There are many, many new things musically and charitably on the horizon. As the summer unfolds "Better" couldn't have arrived at a better time :-)

Verse for the day: Hebrews 13:6
Stand Strong...Walk in love!
On Pitch,
Kris

Friday, May 23, 2008

RISING UP: Onward and Upward!

Onward and upward/forward and in my own words/thats the direction for the moment/the movement rather/the light at the end of the tunnel/propels me to keep moving/Different degrees of momentum/create a sensation/to press toward/what lies ahead/beneath instead/I reach for the past/but only to remember where I've been/to grab hold of where I'm going/Now it all makes sense/Faith covered by grace/Yesterday was preparation for today/and today is nurishment for tomorrow/tomorrow is today's hope/All wrapped up in one.......Forward moving movement.

Just had to get that off and out. After two weekends of travel, I find myself able to better appreciate New York City more than before I left. That has always been apart of my love affair with New York...coming back after I leave to go somewhere else to reenter this city's greatness.

Miami was mini paradise. It's always sooo hard to leave because my family loves on me so hard. Toya couldn't have picked a better birthday destination. We had the BEST time. South Beach never dissappoints except during Memorial Day weekend when it's total pandemonium (for those of you who still make the trek to Miami for Memorial Day weekend, do your thing...lol). We stayed in a FAB hotel on Collins and did the regs: Wet Willies, the News Cafe and a club called the Fifth (all while wearing the STRONGER glasses!) FUN! FUN! FUN! We tried a new restaurant every night for three nights we inhabited South Florida's beauty, tanned on the beach, drank margharitas by the pool and lived life in abundance to the full, until it OVERFLOWED! I took the 5AM flight on Monday back to NY and then went straight to work. What a weekend :-) It totally served its purpose....Loungin with my loved ones.

St. Louis...hmmm. This requires a slight pause.

Now I can begin again. I spent the Memorial Day weekend in St. Louis. I can feel the puzzled look on your face. "St. Louis? Why St. Louis?"
Again, May was all about seeing and spending time with my loved ones. So the trip to St. Louis was appropriate, since I was visiting another Bestest.
But man!!! Talk about Country livin. When I got off the plane and walked to the baggage claim area, I felt like I had stepped back into time. Immediately, I felt out of place. The weekend was complete after at a house BBQ, someone I had just met called me "High Sadity." Wow! I hadn't heard that one in a long time.
Despite that minor detail, the trip was good. On a positive STL note, African Americans in their late 20 and early 30's are making great entreprenurial moves down there: car washes, event planning business and restaurants that are making waves in the Lou.' That's always encouraging to see, especially since I'm on the same path to ownership. I hope you enjoyed the long weekend and got a chance to thank a solider for protecting our country.

Speaking of ownership, The King’s Daughters™ is coming along with bright lights. The Lord is opening doors left and right in many different arenas. Graphic designers, potential investors, mentors, other business owners and opportunities are meeting my partner Candice and I the threshold of this divine call to empower the next generation of women. It's a very exciting time, especially whenever you can make your vision a reality.

My biggest vision and the core reason for this outlet is MUSIC. I start a new 8 week voice training class with a new vocal coach next week. She is endorsed by the SongHall of Fame (an org. that I am a member of) as one of the best, and her motto is to help you sing like you speak. Basically, to sing like you breathe with complete fluidity and flow. I'm so excited to take my gift to the next level and share it with you :-)
On the music note please, please, please if you haven't already...check out the Roots album. The single "Rising Up" is total fire along with the video and so is the rest of the album as to be expected. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5HGPD3rWqA.
It's been real downloading with you...
I anticipate that the next time we sing together, I'll be a year older. June 1st is fast approaching and it's carrying a number 20-something with it :-0 I'm super excited for that too!
Verse for the day: Romans 4:17 - Our words have POWER.
In Love,
K.L.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moving at GodSpeed

Happy Humpday! Truthfully, I was not going to update this fulfilling tool of release until I got back from Miami this coming weekend, but I couldn't stay away that long. :-) While I am somewhat fatigued....life is great. Not that I should ever complain, but I don't have any right now.

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
Always Empowering,
#1CHISista!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MAY FLOWERS


Flowers are the result of pollination, followed by fertilization, leading to the formation and dispersal of the seeds. I believe that this is often times not an easy process. Specifically the process of growth and development. Sometimes there is a struggle, a tugging back and forth of different forces and then there is the downpour of rain, heavy rain. I think the heavier the rain, the harder the stuggle to fight against the odds of survivial. Last month in April, I had a downpour of some heavy rain. There was definitely the stuggle of forces to stay motivated, and encouraged to rise to the next level. My mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities were warring against the process of growth, healing and development. I took my eyes off of the goals for a moment and focused on the obstacles and enemies put here for my demise. Last week, the sun came out and my flowers began to bloom. All the fertilization and rain is proving to be totally worth it. My soul is rejoicing for the next level; the rise. Without growth and development, there is no next level. There's only a tapering off. I'm so happy that I stuck out the period of rain, because right around the corner were multitudes of blessings!
I just got back from Detroit Michigan yesterday from celebrating new life getting ready to be born in 30 days; a beautiful baby girl to be exact and I'm the proud Godmother! Below is a picture of my best friend Desiree and I at her baby shower in her hometown this past Sunday. It was a rejoicing good time and a great opening into another subject.
This topic is very near and dear to my heart. As a matter of fact it is most of what's in my heart. It's the subject of helping one another achieve their destiny and specifically women empowering other women. Last week, I attended VIPink hosted by the WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) organization founded by Valeisha Butterfield. Bryan Michael Cox performed. (In the picture above Lauren Lake (WEEN) interviewed him) This organization is bringing women together in a positive, supporting envoirnment. Something we don't see often enough. I applaud and admire organizations like WEEN and NABFEME, because they reinforce what women ought to always be doing: supporting each others visions and goals and creating an envoirnment where we can nuture one another, instead of having to rely on toxic relationships and negative envoirnments for affirmation. Which leads me to next point. (I love the way this is all flowing).
A huge part of what I want to do in this life, here on earth before I go to Heaven :-) is help this effort of empowering young women. Currently, I am starting an organization that is dedicated to doing this. My organization is called: The King’s Daughters™. My mission is to help young women identify who they are and help them develop the gifts that are inside of them. When I was younger I was not always able to articulate what I wanted to do or wanted to pursue in life. When people wanted to help me, it was hard because I couldn't give a clear picture and description. At times, I also struggled with self confidence and self esteem. My mission is also to help young women affirm who they are through Christian principles and not their outside circumstances, like the father that was never around, the bad relationship they just got out of, or the teasing that scarred them emotionally. I want to remind them of their royal heritage through Christ and their rich ancestry and change the negative images they may have formed about themselves. I am going to incorporate music, theater and of course travel! and many more elements of the arts, entertainment and of course Christian counselling. Getting ready to welcome my first Godchild into the world is a huge responsibility and joy for me. Surrogate parents have to be ready to step in at moments notice to handle parental duties and they are a vital part of the village that helps to raise that child.
As part of my month celebrating "May Flowers," I am travelling to Miami and the "Show Me State," this month to see more of my loved ones and surround my self with the people who have always been there for me, supported me and cheered me on at the finish line before I even got there. Since travelling is spiritual for me, this is also time I am using to gather inspiration for songs and ideas for my new empowerment organization that is already global! Look for more updates on The King’s Daughters™.

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)
#1CHISista!