For more child sex abuse survivor stories, check out, www.wesurviveabuse.com.
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For more child sex abuse survivor stories, check out, www.wesurviveabuse.com.
Follow WESurviveAbuse on Twitter: @WESurviveAbuse
Do You Know How to Defeat Satan?
By Shanika Sealy
Edited by Hope Ellis
Satan is everywhere. He causes divorces, breakups, work conflicts, wars, gossip, and death because he wants us to distrust God’s word. Satan does not discriminate. The hardest task in any religion is defeating Satan because this world is evil. Dr. Charles Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, suggests several ways to defeat Satan, “knowing who you are in Jesus Christ and responding to temptation based on who you know who you are.”
The bible states, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11) …“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Also, Dr. Stanley stated, Satan operates in five steps: Doubt, Denial, Deception, Discord, and Dislodge.
How to Determine God from Satan:
Dr. Stanley preached, “He designs his warfare by attacking us in these seven areas. Ask God to teach us how to have a discerning spirit so that when in the midst of discord in your home, you can identify where it’s coming from.
Lastly, if we are going to overcome Satan’s schemes, we must get familiar with his schemes. Again, always trust in God and know who you are in Christ. God takes care of all of our needs and protects us. Keep in mind, God has the power, but his plans for our lives can be disrupted by the enemy if we have not surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ and accepted him as our Lord and Savior. After Jesus comes into our heart, the enemy will be defeated.
Steps on how to remove negativity
By Shanika Sealy
Any forms of negativity are distractions. They can be interruptions for people who are seeking personal growth. Start taking the necessary steps to remove it from your life.
Step #1 – Mediation
When someone is suffering from a divorce, job loss, a sickness, or a tragic situation, negative energy should be off limits. Grieving is normal during these circumstances, but spending time around negative surroundings are not healthy for the body, mind or soul. It’s time to reevaluate your life. Start taking steps to learn how to mediate your body to remove the negativity. Make a personal list of all your troubles, and create a strategy on how you’re going to reverse them into positive solutions. Some problems are not easy to resolve, but it’s a huge step to rethink on how to make things better for you. It takes time, so take small steps. Keep in mind that one step taken means your one step ahead of becoming a new person.
Step #2 – Evaluations
A second list is required, but this list should include friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Look through cell phones, emails, and social media accounts. All the negative people must go. They will delay your growth with their complaints, and some of these complaints can change your focus on what you want to accomplish. Let me first start by defining a negative person:
A negative person is determined by someone’s opinion meaning he or she can be negative to you, but a hero to some people. People have different morals, values, and beliefs. Some people dislike traditional lifestyles whereas others are strongly for them. People make choices. However, a problem can arise when some people refuse to accept different views, try to manipulate their negative lifestyle onto other people, and give negative advice. They only see one way of living. Their negative energy can transfer over to you.
Keep positive friends and relatives that accept chance, and have your best interest.
Step #4 – Exercise
When the body suffers from stress, exercise is the best remedy. Negative thoughts can have people question themselves: “Am I’m doing the right thing?” Ignore these feelings. The mind is tricky, but we can control our minds by staying focus on what is important which is being in peace.
If you have a gym membership, utilize it, or look into joining a local gym in your neighborhood. For the people who can’t make it to the gym, try other options such as jogging, power walks, joining a boot camp, or yoga. Any exercise is helpful for eliminating stress.
Step # 5 – New Routines
We wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, go home, eat dinner, and sleep. If you have a family, this is your most popular routine. Regular routines are boring, and leaves space to call negative people. This will prolong your process into removing the negativity out your life.
Take up a hobby such as dance class, art, cooking, or swimming. Google search for classes that are offered in your area. Also, look into expanding your career, and register for evening courses. Go complete those classes to obtain that degree. To remove the boredom, get into a new hobby as soon as possible.
Step # 6 – Pray
Praying helps to remove negativity. According to an article in Everyday HEALTH, “Prayer and spirituality can help ease depression and act as a cushion when life throws curve balls your way.” It also assists with removing bad spirits. Praying has no schedules. People have regain strength, peace, hope and power after praying.
Step # 7 – Positivity
After getting rid of the negative people, get out and meet new people at the dance class, on the train or bus, at the grocery store, mall, or gym. Keep in mind that you will encounter new people, and some will not be heading in the same direction. Be careful who enters your life because one negative person can bring you back to where you began.
Step # 8 – Goals
Now that you are heading towards a new direction, start setting new goals. Goals don’t have to be associated with careers. It can be anything from traveling, learning a new language or getting a new hairstyle. If you don’t want to pursue your old goals, start creating new goals. Goals keep people moving.
Step # 9 – Focus
On this journey, there will be more challenges. As long as you stay focus on your goals, stay healthy, pray, learn how to let go of negativity, you will be in good shape for the rest of your journey. Never look back and continue to work in bettering yourself. You have the power to make changes in your life.
My Four Amazing Moments at The Bronx Book Fair
By Shanika Sealy
Edited by Hope Ellis
More people than expected attended the 2016 Bronx Book Fair at the Bronx Library Center on Saturday, May 7. The book fair was awesome. I met some of the most creative, talented, and interesting people. There were self-published and published authors, poets, comic book illustrators, activists, organizations, and even a chef. The public access television network, BronxNet, was in attendance as well. They interviewed to almost every vendor except myself and two other young ladies. At first, we were hurt; then we healed. The free airtime we missed left lots of room for massive book sales. My goals were to support every creative item. But I must admit, I liked all the vendors.
I had my doubts about attending the book fair. I didn’t think many people would attend. I assumed I wouldn’t any sell books or meet any interesting people. For over thirty years, I have lived in the Bronx and I have never heard or known anyone in our neighborhood who attended a book fair. It was my first book fair, but this year, I became a self-published author debuting my first novel, Please Help Me, Santa, so I was intrigued.
A woman by the name of Cesilie Vega said, “I don’t have a television at home. All I love to do is read. I heard about this book fair and I came to buy some new books for the summer.” Her statement blew me away. Self-published authors love meeting people who love to read. Not because she bought our books, but because it showed that she was interested in our work. We spend endless tired nights turning our visions into realities. She’s the kind of person we would like to meet everyday.
My four most amazing moments at the book fair were the artistic vendors, the customers, my new friends, and Angelo.
My excitement for selling and promoting my novel did not stop me from sneaking away from my table to introduce myself and engage in small conversations with all the other vendors. At the end of the conversations, I snapped a photo of each vendor. Also, I got the chance to introduce myself to the organizers of the book fair, Lorraine Currelley and Ron Kavanaugh.
Here’s a look at all of the vendors I met at the book fair:
Sonya Harris, author and owner of Sayha Publishing, traveled from Boston to attend the fair. She displayed two books called Guilty Pleasures and My Body Is Calling. Guilty Pleasures tells a story about love, loss and lust whereas My Body Is Calling is a novel about health, love, decisions and self-love. For more information on Sonya Harris and purchase her two novels, log on to www.sonyaharris.com.
Alex Clermont, a Bronx writer and author, published his first novel, You, Me, and the Rest of Us, a collection of his short stories and articles about the big apple, New York City. Clermont is also an expert in self-publishing. If you want to read some amazing stories about New York City or have a question on how to self-publish a book, visit his website: www.alexclermontwrites.com.
Brian Keith, aka “Big B,” is one of the authors of the book, When the 180 Traveled 360, a story about three young men attending college in North Carolina. It gives details on the highs and lows of attending college in a different state. Plus, it helps young students learn to focus and gives insights on how to cope with their new freedom being away from home. The perfect gift for a freshmen student heading to college this fall. Purchase a copy at www.whenthe180.com.
Deneen A. Connor is the author of four books: Tell Him, Excuses, After the Wedding, and Tell Him Too, a sequel to Tell Him. Connor has two more upcoming releases, Tell Her and Another Wedding. Just because a woman gets a diamond, and has a fabulous wedding, doesn’t mean she’ll get a happy ending. Purchase Connor’s books at www.iamanauthor2010.com.
Blaque Diamond is the author of She named me Stacey, a book for children who were taken from their parents to live in another home. The main character, Stacey, is based on Diamond’s niece. Due to the circumstance with her parents, Diamond’s niece lived in foster care until she was granted the chance to live with her aunt, Diamond. Diamond published the book to help Stacey understand why she and other children have had to live with other families. This book is perfect for children currently in foster homes. For more information, please visit her website, www.Blaquediamond.net.
At the book fair, Dara Kalima, an author, poet, and theater practitioner, presented her new novel, Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child. The novel addresses family and social issues in the African-American community. Gender plays a huge role in the black community. Problems are different for a black man than for a black woman or a black child. She addresses these problems individually. This book can provide great insight for non-blacks to see the difficulties of the black race in this society. Purchase Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child at http://darakm.com.
Erisbelia Garriga is the author of three cookbooks, Homestyle Puerto Rican Cooking, Sabrosuras Boricuas and De la Tierra con Sabor, comprised of a series of her personal recipes of popular dishes in Puerto Rico. I took a short glance inside the novel and read some recipes. They were simple. Not the usual complicated steps, seasonings, and ridiculous flavorings that have our heads spinning trying to track them down in various supermarkets. The novel, De la Tierra caters to vegetarians. For some more information on how to cook these delicious Puerto Rican dishes, check out her website, www.sabrosurasboricuas.com.
Taneeka L. Wilder, an author, writer, and facilitator, published her novel, On the Precipice of Love Illuminated, which is a collection of poems and short stories about her personal experiences. She emphasizes on self-love and healing. For more information on Wilder, please visit her blog, www.resurrectedmind1127.wordpress.com.
Felicia Harris is an author, who transformed a unique concept into a book. Her book can be a will, journal or keepsake. It is designed to keep a record of your personal memories. Similar to a baby’s book where we store memories of the baby’s first walk, first word, and first tooth. Harris has made an adult version. Instead of digging in the basement, pulling out old memories and messing up our closets, The Makings of Me stores all your memories from your place of birth, schools, purchase of your first home, hobbies and favorite moments. It is perfect gift for someone to store their memories for their next generation. For more information or to purchase a copy of Makings of Me, visit the website, www.themakingsofmebook.com.
Angela Williamson, author and owner of Williamson Publishing Enterprise showcased her two books, Return to Mu and Effective Treatments and Solutions for the Autistic Population. The novel, Return to Mu, is about four typical successful and educated people who are looking for love and working to stay successful. One day, the two couples decide to voyage on a cruise to Bermuda that results in unexpected surprises. For more information, check out her website at www.williamsonpublishingenterprise.com.
June Montgomery-Lewis, a novelist and speaker, published a memoir titled Born Again: A Memoir of Survival. It relates her journey from being born into dysfunctional circumstances, to living a fast life in the streets, to finally finding Christ. Today, she’s a mentor and guest speaker working to help save young girls who are headed for the streets. For more information about Montgomery-Lewis, or if you want her to speak at your event, you can e-mail her at email@example.com.
Marquette Bragg, a Harlem native, publisher, editor, and summer camp director, wrote a book called Straight From the Kitchen: Homemade DIY Hair Recipes. Bragg invented many hair care products in her kitchen. The book includes over one hundred homemade recipes to get strong and healthy hair. Bragg uses ingredients such as avocado, cayenne pepper, and cornstarch. Furthermore, Bragg also provides publishing services for self-published authors. She edits, writes copy, and designs book covers. For more information, visit her website, www.straightfromthekitchenbook.com.
Kundiman, an organization that represents Asian American writers, was established in 2004 by two poets, Sarah Gambito and Joseph O. Legaspi, after they noticed the lack of recognition for Asians Americans in the literary field. Today, fellows of the organization have published seventy books, fifty-three chapbooks, and numerous articles in a dozen popular publications such as The New Yorker, Colorado Review, and Best New Poets. For more information, please visit their website, www.kundiman.org.
Manhattanite writer and blogger Marc Polite showcased his book, Everything to learn, Nothing to Teach. A collection of his well-written essays on various topics ranging from politics to his personal experiences in this society. For more information, please visit the website, www.politeonsociety.com.
We have to give thanks to the customers for their support. They gave each vendor time by visiting all the tables, and bought our books. Children, teenagers, young adults, adults and elders were all in attendance. In addition, the people demonstrated pleasant personas which was an important factor. They listened. They showed interested. One customer was a former professor from Bronx Community College, BCC ¾my first college ¾and he recognized me.
In like matter, I had a conversation with a young woman who was supposed to be on her way to college this fall. She was undecided about attending college and she revealed that she was battling an illness. The ladies at the next table and I gave her some advice.
Another woman came to my table and wanted to purchase my book, but she didn’t have any change. She promised to return. Just as I finished packing up my books, she returned and bought my book. That was a great feeling.
God is always good and on time. He sat me next to two of the smartest, ambitious, mature, literary women, Angela Abreu and Cristina A. Melo. Abreu is a writer and poet who published her first novel, I Have No Room For The Broken in 2015. It’s a book full of inspiring poems about love, heartbreak, feminism, self-worth and self-love. After I finished reading her novel, I was blown away. The content was real, honest, and close to home. Every person could relate to her poems. Everyone on this planet has experienced a broken heart. Her novel revealed to me how much I’ve grown from my times of distress. Be on the lookout because Abreu is working on developing a play based on her book.
Cristina A. Melo aka, Crissy the Lust Goddess, took the word “lust” and created her own definition which led to publishing her book, Lust Talk About It. It’s a collection of short stories and poems interpreting her perception on lust. It discusses the definition, history and society’s perceptive on the term, as well as listing ways of how lust is more than a sexual word. Melo is full of energy and knows how to use it. She hosts a talk show panel on YouTube called “Lust Talk it Out.” She has been a guest on several radio stations. Recently, I saw her at Union Square preaching about lust. Cristina is an inspiration to young girls. I can see her taking her perceptions of lust to new levels. For more information on Cristina and lust, visit her website, www.lustyinlavender.com.
Lastly, Angelo, the man with hidden knowledge. That’s the name I gave him. When I first saw Angelo walking down the stairs, he came straight to our table and did not move. At first, he was annoying. He started off by pretending he was interested in buying our books, but he had come into the library for more than books. He came to preach. I heard some of his conversation with Angela and Cristina, discussing relationships ¾which is what their novels are about. Angela and I left to converse with other vendors while Cristina stayed at her table to talk with him. When I returned to my table, he was still talking to Cristina. After he had spent an hour chatting with Cristina, he started chatting with me. The chat started off lame. Twenty minutes later, though, it became juicy and I was intrigued. He told these stories about himself, his mother, and his Yale University-educated sister. He stated that his sister was bougie because she lives in Connecticut and teaches at Yale University. Then he told a funny Christmas story about how he tricked his sister with a cheaper version of her favorite perfume. The real version was hidden in a Timberland boot box. The story was hilarious.
The more I listened to his stories, the more it reminded me of when I was growing up we loved to hear stories from older people. He reminded me of my grandma’s ex-boyfriend, Irving, who used to tell my brother, cousin and me stories about his childhood. He ran in the streets, played sports, and went on far away missions. We never knew what the missions were and didn’t care what it meant, but we knew the missions were fun. With all the technology today, kids don’t sit and talk. These stories are a part of growing up. We learned from the stories, so we can tell our children the same stories.
Angelo’s appearance comes off as though he is a homeless or a drug addict. Though I’m unaware of his current circumstances, from his conversations at the book fair, he came from a good family. Regardless of what he does in the streets, there’s evidence that his mother taught him respect and morals. Those two important elements cannot leave a person when they were originally instilled in him.
Overall, my experience at the Bronx Book Fair was splendid. Thanks to the organizers, Lorraine Currelley, Ron Kavanaugh, the Bronx Library Center, and the Literary Project for bringing this event to the community. We need more events in the community to show our kids that reading stimulates the mind, increasing knowledge and that they can achieve anything with a mind full of knowledge.
My Favorite Movie/Television Characters
By Shanika Sealy
Edited by Hope Ellis
The television has a significant influence in our society. It is natural to admire movie and television characters. There are numerous of reasons why we take time to sit in front of televisions, insert DVDs, and stand in long lines to support our favorite actors/actresses because of the characters they portray. It can be the character’s personality, humor, morals or behaviors. Perhaps, some characters remind people of themselves, a relative or what they desired or wanted to become at one point in their life. These are my favorite movie/television characters:
When Rocky visits the gymnasium where he would fight his contestant, Apollo Creed, he informs the promoter about an error in his promotional photo. Rocky’s shorts are red with a white stripe. The colors were supposed to be white with a red stripe. The promoter disregards his suggestion and insults him. He says, “Does it matter? You will give us a good show.”
Rocky refuses to react to the promoter’s ignorance. For his first professional boxing match, Rocky’s performance is magnificent. His boxing style is a challenge for Apollo Creed. In Rocky II, he wins the heavyweight championship title.
In one of her law classes, Elle’s professor discusses a case that involves a sperm donor who was harassing the parents of one of his children for visitation rights. Elle gave her point of view about the case. She said, “ I have to wonder if the defendant kept a thorough record of each sperm emission made throughout his life?” The classmates laughed, but this remarkable statement impressed the professor. If she were the lawyer for that case, she would have won. She ignored the criticism from her classmates and was granted an internship.
Myrtle Simmon’s daughter, Helen, visits her in a nursing home. After eighteen years of marriage, Helen’s husband, Charles, has left her for another woman, and kicked her out of their house. She tells her mother that she’s lost her mind. Charles was her everything. Simmons responds, “God is your everything. Don’t you know he’s a jealous God? He wants no man before him.” After the visit, Helen gains the courage to move on and develop a life without her husband. She left her pain with God. At the end of the movie, she becomes engaged to a man who is able to love her unconditionally and appreciate her.
Mary is bossy, witty, and thinks she knows everything. She has traditional morals and isn’t afraid of intimidation; she puts people in their place. She supports her daughter and husband. Mary raised her daughter with her values and advises her about growing up too quickly when her daughter decides to get a makeover to appear sexier to boys, Mary’s philosophy is to seek out respect instead of attention.
In one episode, she surprises her husband with tickets to a football game. Mary doesn’t understand the sport, but she wants to make her husband happy.
Thelma Frye is a thirty-four year old single woman who loves her father, church, and of course Dr. Reverend Reuben Gregory. Even though she is daddy’s little girl and a horrendous cook, she knows what she wants when it comes to love.
My favorite episode was when the Reverend Gregory, and Tanya (a guest star played by Lonette McKee), were rehearsing a scene for a candy bar commercial in wedding attire at a local church. Thelma assumes Tanya is marrying the Reverend. She bursts into the church through the window and gives a memorable speech that represents her confidence, strength, dignity and worth: “A woman as put together as Thelma Frye does not beg or grovel over anybody. I never have and I never will.”
Will You Wait for God?
By Shanika Sealy
Edited by Hope Ellis
After careful observation and interviews, it is obvious that people do not like waiting. For several days, I conducted a short survey. Out of 20 people, only one person admitted to being patient, but the others, who admitted that they did not like waiting, confessed the results were better after they waited.
Waiting is the Christian life and is crucial in our Christian walks. As we wait for God, he is working to bring us our desires as he promised. Also, it restores and strengthens us, and keeps us from the desires of sin.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
We must trust, give all our worries, and let God be in complete control while we wait. According to In Touch Ministries Dr. Charles Stanley, there are three steps on how to wait for God:
1. We must be sensitive to God – We must be willing to accept his terms, his truth and his word. Do not confuse and manipulate with your understandings.
2. We must trust God – We must know with a pure heart and understanding that he will deliver us peacefully from any circumstance.
3. We must obey God – This can be extremely difficult because we must learn and accept how to obey him. After we learn how to obey God, the task will become easier. Keep in mind that we will never lose if we choose to obey God.
There are several consequences when we choose not to wait on God and choose to plan our paths. Some people think they know their desires, but God knows our desires. He knows what we need. Because it’s our life that we should know what we want, but we don’t. When we choose not to wait on God, it leads to destruction. Also, it can delay our blessings. Once we’re thrown off God’s path, it can lead to hurt, pain, and regrets.
The founder of InTouch Ministries stated, “Whenever he gets ahead of God, he made a mess. Whenever he did it his way, he made a mess of things. Whenever he had to have it his own, he made a mess of things.”
Our strong desires ⎯ what God wants from us ⎯is focus. God wants our full undivided attention. We need to focus on him instead of our desires. He promises to grant our desires and by believing that he will give them to us, we must rely on him to grant them. Also, know that God’s timing is always right, and he is getting us ready to face, accept, and appreciate what we ask from him. Furthermore, waiting is God’s test to see if he is in control of our lives.
Do you wait on God? Is there anything worth sacrificing that can interrupt what God has planned for you? You will regret not waiting for the rest of your life. Please read the following scriptures on the importance of waiting:
Psalm 25:1, 25:20, 25:21, and 25:27
Psalm 27: 13 and 27:14
Psalm 37: 7 and 37: 9
My First Painting Mix Media Class
Written by Shanika Sealy
I took my first mix media class with MilleMade Creations. This opportunity gave me a small understanding of painting. It’s more to painting than a piece of construction paper and paint.
First, I had to meditate and connect with my spirits.
Second, with a marker, I had to share the five most important things in my life:
Third, Millie put twenty colors of paint in my lap and told me to use my fingers in the paint. After I exhausted most of the colors, an angel appeared. With my focus and Millie’s expertise, we added more colors, shaped and outlined the paint, and brought life to this angel.
Please see below:
I’m calling her, My Holy Spirit.