How Hip-Hop Culture Correlates with Church Culture

Over the years Hip-Hop has become one of the most influential sub-cultures to entertain persons of every age, from every cultural background. Hip-Hop has struggled as a musical genre misunderstood among church cultures. Employment with a gospel recording label became a firsthand witness of the negative effects that Hip Hop music has on ministries. This particular gospel recording label adjoined a prosperous ministry, which founded its perception of Hip Hop music on personal opinions and stereotypical judgments alone. As one who has followed Hip-Hop music and grown up with the artists behind the music and their personal-life stories, through television, magazines and other media outlets, an acquired understanding of Hip-Hop music and the lyrical content it produces, seems to correlate with ministries. Hip-Hop culture is relative to ministry because Hip-Hop lyrics are comparable to testimonials spoken by church members, in addition to other adjoining and undeniable factors.

Hip Hop History

The Beginning of the Hip-Hop Movement

An article from Facts on File News Services defines Hip-Hop as “a popular art form, distinguished by spoken, rhyming lyrics that are delivered rhythmically over a musical beat.” This definition is the innocent foundation for which Hip-Hop was laid on when it began in the year 1970. In the beginning, Hip-Hop crowned itself as a positive platform for the urban community to stand on and verbally express themselves and the struggles they endured, over beats and rhymes that made everyone who listened to the music catch the vibe and want to stand-up and dance. Hip-Hop birthed and originated in New York City and became popular through the guise of every other genre of music that was already shaping and defining it as an independent culture. Some of the music that has influenced Hip-Hop is disco, funk, soul, rock and roll and rhythm and blues, and more important reggae music. Reggae music was the biggest influence on Hip-Hop because the Jamaicans, who immigrated to New York, brought the traditional sounds of their cultures music with them and passed it on to the pioneers who re-invented it and named the new sound Hip-Hop. In 1980, shortly after the inception of Hip-Hop as the term for the newest music to hit the scene with its conscious lyrics and rhythmic beats, Hip-Hop had become a household name in urban communities all over the world (Cited in Billet, A., 2010).

The Significance of the Hip-Hop Movement

The pioneers of Hip-Hop performed on streets, in local bars and clubs, on outside stages and in concert arenas all over the country, to uplift urban communities and empower and encourage the youth to become more productive leaders and citizens in society. In a time when societal struggles were prevalent in urban communities Hip-Hop became the catalyst that made it acceptable to speak openly about people living in less than standard conditions while opening the door to a plethora of wealth, success and fortunate opportunities through lyrical sounds and talents. Adults and youth alike enjoyed celebrating life through relational voices of people who seemed to have a refreshing birds-eye view into their homes and shared common interest in their lifestyle and cultural environments.

Hip-Hop as a Sub-Culture

Ironically, urban communities are not the only ones culturally affected and infected by Hip-Hop’s shift in the atmosphere of music. Collectively Hip-Hop has touched every race in the world and “With hip-hop culture more influential than ever before among young folks of all colors, that’s reason to be hopeful” (cited in Billet, 2010, p. 3). Every community around the world can relate to unfortunate conditions associated with producing something from nothing based on the lack thereof. Underclass societal norms range in every culture from Caucasian to Asian to Latino and the children of the struggle are no stranger to seeking a way out, even through the lens of Hip-Hop music. “According to The Source, a leading hip-hop magazine, 70 percent of rap and hip-hop music is purchased by white consumers, and it has recently outsold both rock and country to become the nation’s top-selling format of popular music” (Brown & Fraser, 2001, p. 2). The chart, “Commercial Music Sales in the U.S., 1995-2001” (See Figure 1) shows the Hip-Hop on the rise against other genres of music.

Hip-Hop has managed to embrace every culture in America and abroad with respect to breeding artists from various backgrounds. Hip-Hop is not just about the low living standards of a generalized population; rather Hip-Hop is a standardized population of people reaching for higher levels. “They saw access to the mainstream, not as an attempt to conform the nations of what was acceptable or palatable by the larger society (both Black and White), but as a way of transforming how Black experience might be interpreted by the larger society” (Munn-Joseph, 2010, p. 4).

hiphop

Hip-Hop Affects Every Culture

Hip-Hop has had a global effect on inter-connecting with diverse genres of people around the world yet there remains a cultural gap that could only stand to benefit in building a bridge for Hip-Hop to cross. “It perpetuates negative stereotyping of the black community and is not positive for the broader society either,” says Gerald Durley, a Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Atlanta (Brown & Fraser, 2007, p. 3). This conventional way of thinking with consistency has been a common boundary between Hip-Hop and ministries of every religious background. Misconceptions with Hip-Hop music and the church lie in the content of the lyrics, the visual expressions of glamour, the exploitation of women, the violent, and sexual imaging. When looking at all these elements on the surface and from a negative angle, Hip-Hop can be obviously disturbing and leave a downbeat impression beyond any unreasonable doubt. The comparative truths behind Hip-Hop music, the words the artists produce and the images the music videos convey, are the factual ways of communication within themselves. It takes an open-minded, non-judgmental person or organization to read between the lines and identify the positive traits that are affiliated with Hip-Hops subliminal, true-life messages. The lyrics of Hip-Hop music are similar to the words a pastor or minister addresses to their congregational members, including the supporting scriptural substance. Hip-Hop music and ministry share the same design in imparting stories of overcoming unfortunate circumstances and surviving insurmountable outcomes to tell it.

Hip-Hop takes its testimonials a step further through the illustrations of grandeur and prosperous lifestyles as a diligent reward for surviving life’s struggles. Both Hip-Hop and ministry indulge in a faith and a belief that has stood the test of time in building a spiritually sound foundation to stand on and naturally overcome less than standard conditions. Hip-Hop is as much a benefit to the community as the church, if not more based on Hip-Hop being a career, which pays well enough for the artists to provide for their families and their affiliated communities. When ministries decide to take the limits off Hip-Hop, open the doors of the church to diversity and solid reasoning, ministries all across the world would profit at the expense of making factual judgments.

Hip Hop Music Sales

Hip-Hop Correlates with Ministries

The day ministries embrace Hip-Hop music as a tool to connect a generation of youth drawn into the light of Hip-Hop as a power, will be the day that there is no more separation between equals. In Oakland, California, Cat Chen, a youth director for New Hop Covenant Church conducted on the spot video interviews with teens at bus stops. Chen drew them into the discussion and opened up the dialogue with the question, “What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Hip Hop?” (Cited in Huyser-Honig, 2010, p.1). The teens gave several ideals which, defined their love for Hip-Hop that they defined through common interests such as “originality…struggle…graffiti…art…a lot of stories in one…cool beats” and individual style (Cited in Huyser-Honig, 2010, p. 1). Figure 2 “Music Genres” shows the percentage of school age youth who listened to various recorded music genres in an average day between grades 7th through 12th.

Clearly the youth have a different and innocently valid perception of Hip-Hop music as a positively motivating experience. Today’s youth view Hip-Hop as a force to reckon with inspite, and despite the superficial picture it paints. The best way to understand Hip-Hop is to look behind the scenes and listen to the messages of dreams becoming a manifested reality through spoken word. Hip-Hop brings as much richness to the urban community and its followers as a church choir brings to the congregation and its members. The similarities in Hip-Hops artistically creative boogie moves are as free-spirited as the worship and praise dances performed in ministries. Hip-Hop artist’s style of dress has also been an issue and has more to do with ministries constricting themselves from enjoying the culture with a need to look beyond the surface and revel in the artists’ creative style as the common denominator that lies underneath the clothing. “Hip hop boldly questions realities that the church and “the powers that be often neglect” (Huyser-Honig, 2010, p. 2). Hip-Hop has proven itself to be as powerful as ministries and can be as beneficial to the youth as a parent, role model, or public figure-head.

Conclusively, personal experience teaches that ministries can only afford to benefit from the productivity that Hip-Hop has maintained in capturing the entire world as an audience. When ministries become more aware of how positively influential Hip-Hop music is in expressing the most negative sides of life, the church will gain an authentic connection into Hip-Hops comparable culture, which is as relative to communities as the church. In the future Hip-Hop will become more of a positive influence on every church culture in the same manner that Hip-Hop has managed to affect and infect every other culture in the United States of America and countries worldwide. The mistaken cultural identity of Hip-Hop is nothing less than a positively motivating force for low-income communities all around the world, regardless of the surface images Hip-Hop depicts. Hip-Hop is about the foundational message behind the music and the people who have stepped-up in front of relational struggles. Hip-Hop is a lyrical force deserving of its place in society, to correlate with ministries and connect as a musical platform for empowerment, encouragement to enhance the survival techniques needed to uplift those in life’s every day struggles and challenges, in the same manner as ministries.

Ode to Hip-Hop

Complex is the simplest one-liner; iconic is the purest forum for power, eclectic is the all-consuming synergy; electric is the breath of the energy, from youth to adulthood I adore the way it moves, find resilience in the way it soothes, selectively my heart vibes to the grooves it chooses! ~Nikeeta M. Collins-Thomas

References

Billet, A.. (2010). Beats, rhymes, and power. New Politics, 12(4), 155-158. Retrieved June 30, 2010 from Atlanta-Press Watch (APW). (Document ID: 1966410591

Brown, W.J. & Fraser, B.P. (2001, January 8). Hip-hop kingdom come. Article posted to Christianity Today Magazine, archived at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/january8/4.48.html

Hip hop culture (2009, July 6). Issues & Controversies on File. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2010, from Issues & Controversies database.

Huyser-Honig, J.. (2010 April 19). How and why churches use hip hop in worship. Article posted for Calvin Institute of Worship, archived at http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/hip_hop_bonus.php

Huyser-Honig, J.. (2010, April 19). Why churches are engaging hip hop culture. Article posted for Calvin Institute of Worship, archived at http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/hip_hop.php

Munn-Joseph, M.. (2010). The hip hop generation and parent/school relations. Race, Gender & Class, 17(1/2), 217-223. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from Alt-Press Watch (APW). (Document ID: 2039347141).

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved August 5, 2010, archived at http://www.riaa.com/

Rideout, V. & Roberts, D & Foehr, U.. (2005, March). Generation M: Media in the lives of 8-18 year olds. Executive Summary posted for A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. Retrieved August 13, 2010, archived at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Executive-Summary-Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds.pdf

Top Five Fundamentals to Visionary Entrepreneurship

In 2020, a year that signifies clarity of vision, in my eyes, foresight and hindsight are 2020. That isn’t something I was told, this is where my 45 years of living and learning has brought me to.

In preparation of 2020, I didn’t make any resolution’s, I did what some people do. After a full-year of diligent service in various communities on the East Coast, I allowed myself to slow down and reflect on my perception of the year 2019. I re-envisioned myself from where the year began, to how I ended the year, to where I see myself in 2020. I evaluated myself mentally, physically, spiritually, professionally, & fiscally, without taking myself personally.

After careful consideration, my advice to grassroots, babyboomers, generation x, y, z’ers, millennials & anyone looking to Think & Grow Rich, outside the box, is the same advice that was given to me, through years of studying an abundance of visionary entrepreneurs, who paved many ways to multiple streams of income. What is a visionary entrepreneur? We are people of action. We do what other’s do, we just do us differently. We find different ways to help improve life and making that difference helps improve and increase life in others. Are you a visionary entrepreneur? Who you like to learn how to develop the skills to be s visionary entrepreneur? Of course you would, who wouldn’t want to know my Top Five Fundamentals to Visionary Entrepreneurship:

1. When God gives you a vision, don’t lose sight of it.

Remember, people will come and people will go, but when you become an entrepreneur the people who believe in your vision will come, stay, and become one of your best Client’s. No one sat down with me & gave me my vision. I share my vision for other’s to see the perspective of God in it, to see how we are chosen to profit and prosper. A visionary entrepreneur is also someone who lives to equip ourselves for a sustainable future of our future. We reference God as our spiritual guide, even when God uses a person, place, or thing, and especially when that person is us.

2. Look for ways to love your vision & don’t be afraid to fall while you’re in love with it.

Remember, there are up’s and there are down’s in life. A key to staying up when you’re up and rebounding when you’re down, is maintaining a stable mindset that builds mental stability. Trust the process, your vision will support you. Focusing and locking in on your vision will support you. It is possible to have more than one vision. Don’t get overwhelmed and cheat yourself out of your vision when it doesn’t happen the when, where, how, or why you see it.

Envisioning anything before it manifests is a painstaking, productive and progressive process. Carrying a vision to fruition can and will change your life, depending on how you envision to re-envision yourself in the process. No one will tell you that seeing to being something is easy. If it was everyone could easily be what they see.

Care for your vision the way you would care for a child, a family member, a significant other, a pet, your home or a car. Most importantly, nurture your vision the way you nurture yourself, with all things in moderation. Vision is life, life is love, and life creates more of a love for life. Life is seeing yourself through the eyes of God, even more when you’re helping others.

3. Don’t wait for someone to see your vision.

It’s okay to see yourself through the eyes of someone else’s vision. God had to see himself as Jesus. Malcom X has to see himself as The Great Elijah Muhammed. Go figure. It can be hard to see self when you’re looking at someone else.

When people can’t see your vision in the natural, they will struggle to operate with you in the supernatural. What do you do when the people who can’t see your vision are the people around you? You see yourself even more, especially when that means you have to find new surroundings to see and be more of yourself in.

When you are genuinely focused and locked in to your vision, if you haven’t moved out of other’s comfort with being uncomfortable; blind and closed-minded to your vision, God will move you to move yourself. Don’t be afraid to move on. Don’t be afraid to move up. Life might not always look like you’re up and looks can be deceiving, but don’t look down! Looking down is the surest way to a frown, keeping our head up and standing our ground is how we hold our crown.

At the end of 2019, the more I reviewed the initial business plan and PowerPoint presentation I created and materialized over two decades ago, the more I re-envision what my vision has been built to do. There was no one sitting with me, I had to learn on my own, but when I say I learned on my own, I learned from a world of others. That is something I will always suggest about becoming and growing as an entrepreneur. That is a key I learned from other entrepreneurs: find multiple sources and resources from people who have been where you see yourself being. Learn from the unsuccessful as much as the successful.

My learning was accelerated when technology began developing as a tool for increasing and utilizing business capabilities. I expect the next generation will be even more accelerated with things being created, currently at two-thirds the speed of light traveling. Google: Light travels at a speed of going around the earth 7.5 times per second. Go figure.

That’s the design of things in this first year of the 21st century, thanks to the digital age of technology. Did you know there’s a wealth of distance learning resources, digital apps, and social networking platforms, being created daily? Don’t worry, if you’re not tech savvy at Collins & Ziegler, Inc. that’s why we’re here. We love building up future entrepreneurs as much as ourselves, on the top foundations in a world full of free enterprise.

We don’t expect you to know everything about everything to succeed in whatever business you are chosen or choose to be in. I was chosen to be my God-vision Collins & Ziegler, Inc. I chose to be Bold Productions & Publishing thanks to the vision of the Founder of The Black Peofessional Speakers Association. You see how that worked? My vision was to be an Author, when I chose to see my vision with and in service to someone else, my vision expanded. That’s key to developing as a visionary entrepreneur.

Know when you know what you know. Don’t get too focused on what you don’t know. You don’t have to know everything, you simply need to know your answers to two key things:

1. What brings your vision to life?

2. What maintains and sustains the longevity of your vision?

Even the current President, Donald Trump, didn’t need to know everything to get elected as President. According to “Understanding Trump” by Newt Gingrich, Trump knows what he knows when he needs to know it. Trump’s campaign was strategic and it didn’t cost him millions of dollars to run. Trump is a great example of an entrepreneur, he has his way, why not have yours? We live to learn from the best to the worst, what to do, what not to do, how to do, and how not to do it.

4. Live to LEarn & LEarn to Live.

One of the most important things I did as an employee thinking like an entrepreneur, was to learn the vision, mission statement, & core/ethical values of the employer I was working with. Yes, I said working with. With a learned entrepreneurial mindset I always believed in working towards growing into being who I am born to be.

Who am I?

I, Nikeeta Michelle Thomas, am a corporate entity, a parent company with subsidiaries. I am the Founder and CEO of Collins & Ziegler. I am the vision God gave me. I became more by doing more. When I worked for a mega ministry, I became the vision of that ministry as a member and as an employee. A key: I viewed every business I worked with as my business because becoming a business like the businesses I worked in was and is my business. I valued being in whatever business I was in, until I exceeded my value and became more than employment. It should motivate and inspire others when you’re able to become an employer’s vision while becoming your own, but we all know that’s not the way all companies are set up.

Becoming an entrepreneur is risky business and when you’re an employee the people you’re working with know you’re a risk because they’ve been through the process. A key to growing yourself from an employee to an entrepreneur is building yourself as an asset rather than a liability. Employers risk hiring, training, and firing you. The best employers will appreciate themselves with or without you, knowing that being a great employee is a prerequisite to becoming a great employer. Don’t just see the process, be the process, and learn the process while you’re in it.

That’s what makes being an entrepreneur while you’re an employee so risky. Have I been fired? Yes, more than an employee handbook should have allowed, Thankfully, my mind was already set on being fired up & out. When you’ve grown outside of who people want you to be versus who you are and what you see growing on the inside of you, it gets easier to buzz off. Celebrate yourself wherever you are!

5. Don’t be afraid to grow your vision up, out, & create you’re own buzz & pollinate, but don’t be in a rush.

Remember, it took a moment to create you, months to develop you, a length of time before you were discovered in the womb, a length of time before anyone found out, and moments for you to be born, just so you can live your lifetime learning to live. You are key in teaching other’s how to live. The moment you think to believe you can spread your wings & fly, fly! Fly like a bumblebee. How do bee’s fly without being fully aware? That’s a great question I went to YouTube to research why bee’s aren’t aware they are aerodynamically designed not to be able to fly.

Click the bumblebee photo to watch an explanation of how bee’s are able to fly without knowing:

Thanks for reading my first blog of 2020! Collins & Ziegler, Inc. is building even more wealth in even more communities this year! If we haven’t connected with you yet, we look forward doing so, in one way or another.

Our goal this year is to continue connecting and working with other organizational structures that are as open to our vision as we have been open to freely being and building with others. We are going to generate more metafiscal wealth than we can imagine. Building for others builds us. Are you a builder? Are you in “The House That Builds Wealth, in Communities Worldwide”? No. Click the image below. Yes! Thanks, so much! The more bricks we have the better our house stands!

On the first and fourth of the year, I sent out my first professional e-mail marketing campaign. In the e-mail I re-introduced our company vision, mission statement, and our code of ethics, with Special Thanks to the communities my husband and I voluntarily worked with in 2019.

We were blessed to be welcomed in the East Coast area, while networking virtually to connect with global communities. I also introduced my concept for achieving a holistic mindset, set on being totally wealthy, with an overall goal of continuous learning to earning self in every area of our lives. It’s what I believe life has evolved from and life is evolving to. Becoming metafiscal is a new level of self-mastery.

Are you metafiscal? Click on the photo’s and link’s within this blog to read more on my metafiscal vision and Subscribe to Stay in the Building! Feel free to comment your thoughts and tell us how we can help? What does your community need to become metafiscal?

We are Meta to Metafiscal Wealth!

Be A Brickhouse!

Your Community is Our Community! We Appreciate Building Your Wealth!

Nikeeta Michelle Thomas, is a Community Analyst, Community Activist, Community Advocate, Brand Manager, Marketing Strategist, Author, Publisher in South New Jersey, is a member of The Black Professional Speakers Association (BPSA) and a Sponsor of the Eastern Service Workers Association (ESWA).

Debt at Inception

 

Child+Support+Bab

What would you do if someone owed you $41,897.68 in child support arrears, payments that are overdue, and either he or she couldn’t afford to pay it back to you or he or she was actually providing more than the court ordered support, that was mandated by a system of the government that you received financial assistance from, to help you take care of your children? In May of 2019, the question I just posed to you, is exactly what I asked myself, a few others, and what I am asking you now, when the choice to do 1., 2., 3., or 4., came to mind.

As the Obligor in three cases totaling $41,897.68, these were my options:

  1. Use the system to enforce the other parent to make his or her court ordered payments, until their balance owed is paid in full. (Note: States/Counties are set-up differently.

The U.S. Census Bureau created a report detailing stats on child support, specific to the amount of child support that is currently owed and how many parents have been ordered to pay child support and are paying or receiving it. This report titled Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support (https://www.census.gov/topics/families/child-support.html) is updated every other year or so, with the most recent report having been created in January 2016. The report highlights and expounds on the demographics and data of custodial and non-custodial parents. According to the report,

  • About three-quarters (74.1 percent) of custodial parents who were due child support in 2013 received either full or partial payments and less than half (45.6 percent) received full payments.

  • About 68.5 percent of the $32.9 billion in child support due in 2013 was reported as received, averaging $3,950 per year custodial parent who was due support.

First, using the system to enforce the other parent/guardian to make his or her court ordered payments, is an oxymoron. Years ago, I was informed by a child support caseworker, they had so many cases they couldn’t keep up with mine, unless I called them whenever one of my Obligee’s missed a monthly payment. Basically, they wanted me to do their job and even that didn’t guarantee that the Obligee would pay his or her child support. Clearly, either the agency was short-staffed, or they just didn’t want to do what they are paid to do. Either way, it was just too much rigamarole for me to do what I wasn’t getting paid to do. Go figure.

virginia-child-support

  1. Allow the outstanding balance to go unpaid and remain on the credit report of the Obligee, and give the power to the government to take some form of disciplinary action (i.e. report to credit, wage garnishment, property lien, jail sentence, etc.) against the Obligee on behalf of your children.

According to the 2016 Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support report,

  • The aggregate amount of child support due in 2013 was $32.9 billion, a decrease of $14.0 billion from a decade earlier, when adjusted to 2013 dollars.

Now considering ‘Option 2.’, in this instance I am the Obligor, the parent/guardian the arrears were owed to, but there was a time when I was the Obligee, the parent/guardian ordered to pay the arrears, and I was responsible for paying child support to three guardians of my children.  I have had my paycheck and a couple of income tax refund checks garnisheed, until I opted to make substantial enough payments and paid them all off, to a zero balance. I didn’t owe nearly as much as the combined amount above, but looking at that amount, how many of you would agree to forgive the debt that was owed to you? Again, that’s the question I challenged myself with.

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  1. Expect the other parent(s) to eventually pay the arrears when he or she comes into an unexpected lump sum of money? (i.e., inheritance, spousal support, insurance claim, gambling winnings, etc.)

The Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support reports,

  • The proportion of custodial mothers with income below poverty (31.2 percent) was higher than that of custodial fathers (17.4 percent).

Well, according to the handful of people I discussed this with, no one agreed with me erasing all of what was owed to me and that included the child support caseworker I spoke with, right before making my decision. The caseworker told me to really consider my options as the Obligor, because one of the Obligee’s that owed me could possibly win the lottery or something. The lottery is something that child support monitors and has the power to garnishee payments from, in lieu of payments that are owed to the Obligor and the child support agency. Fortunately, for the Obligee’s, I’m not the Agency.

child-support-hearing

  1. Request a Forgiveness Hearing and file Forgiveness Affidavit with your local Child Support office, that gives you the power to have the agency erase either a portion or all the total arrears that are owed by the Obligee.

The child support report created by the U.S. Census Bureau states,

  • About half (48.7 percent) of all custodial parents had either legal or informal child support agreements, and custodial mothers were more likely to have agreements (52.3 percent) than custodial fathers (31.4 percent).

Fortunately, for the Obligee’s in my cases, requesting a Forgiveness Hearing is exactly the option I chose. After agreeing to consider what the Caseworker suggested about one of the Obligee’s coming into an unexpected, large sum of reported cash.  I was more interested in cutting all my ties with the Child Support Agency and the only way I could do that was to terminate all the cases that were owed to me. Ironically, I had already cancelled the child support for one of the Obligee’s before, but the custody courts decided to open it back up. Unfortunately, when I cancelled the arrears this time around, I was told that the Obligee’s would still be responsible for paying a portion of the arrears that were owed to the county. In addition to that, the Agency had placed a lien on the property of one of the Obligee’s, to prevent the Obligee from receiving any cash from the sale of the property. Basically, that gave me and the Agency ownership of the Obligee’s property and it couldn’t be sold if the Obligee owed support. It really didn’t do any good to put the lien on the property, unless the Agency was going to really take ownership and sell the property to cover some or all the Obligee’s arrears. Or the Agency could have made a contractual agreement with the Obligee to have parts or all the arrears paid off, after the sale of the Obligee’s property. Whatever the case, I did for the Obligee’s what I would want someone to do for me.

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Overall, after my dealings with the Child Support Enforcement Agency, up until the day I mailed in the signed and notarized Forgiveness Affidavits, I can honestly say, I feel for the debt collection agencies all around the world, who are burdened with chasing and hunting someone down who owes them money. That’s a very annoying process, for all of us who’ve been involved with having outstanding debts reported to collection agencies. Every second, minute, hour, day, and moment that goes by, children need, let alone something. I never believed in using the government to force a male or a female to take care of my children and I do believe the government has made itself a crutch for many of us waking up more with our children and less without the government and the other parent. Believe it or not, there was a time when I received welfare while living with an Obligee, who was obligated to pay because I was receiving welfare for our children and when we sent payments to child support, they sent the payments right back to us. That was the case, simply because we weren’t married and that is the case for a large majority of males and females, in communities all over the world. It’s an unending cycle of debt by deception. Filing the Forgiveness Affidavits to erase the debt from those who owed me was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done for myself. Based on the timing of my filing, I dressed my decision up and gifted it to all the Obligee’s, as Father’s Day gifts, including the Obligee who isn’t a male. All the Obligee’s were appreciative of what I did, but who wouldn’t be? Welfare and child support are not privilege. With a government that believes generosity is found in welfare benefits and fatherhood is represented in a child support payment, taking financial responsibility is a must. On this Father’s Day 2019, I challenge our United States government to take a stance on the amount of child support debt that is owed and not received and I challenge every male and female who child support is owed to, consider how much of a benefit the government is or is not helping you help yourself and if the system is not working on the best behalf of your children, forgive, they know not what they don’t do. You have options!

child-support

 

 

No Hype, Get YOur Mind Ripe!

Blackface ShoesIn recent news, an epidemic of supposed blackface images on clothing, has sparked an outrage within urban communities all around the world, especially among specific rap and hip hop artists, who have grand social media followings. From what I have gathered, as a black woman, my culture is being called out to boycott distinct clothing designers, based on images resembling what some believe to be a reflection of what urban communities recognize as the forbidden blackface. Historically and while we’re in the heart of the month of February, being Black History Month, for those who are too young to know what the blackface is and means to the black community, I did a little research, to remind myself of the negative connotation that resonates and ignites the soul of a generation of black people.

The blackface was created in the 1830s, by white performers in New York, as a way of characterizing black people in their minstrel shows. According to the Google search engine, a minstrel, is “a medieval singer or musician, especially one who sang or recited lyric or heroic poetry to a musical accompaniment for the nobility” or more relational to current events, “a member of a band of entertainers with blackened faces who performed songs and music ostensibly of black American origin“.  Rather than characterizing themselves as black people in a positive light, mainly white male performers, would use black shoe polish or burnt cork to color their faces black, dressing in raggedy clothing, and purposely portraying black people as the most revolting, enslaved and freed race of people.  Through disgustingly designed, plagiarized musical acts, white performers entertained a schematically racist way of oppressing blacks; demeaning, demoralizing, and demonizing the image of black people, for anyone to see and delight themselves in.

Referencing a Smithsonian article, “Blackface: The Birth of an American Stereotype“, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, the “Father of Minstrelsy”, created Jim Crow, as his first blackface caricature, representing racial segregation and discrimination against all people of who are considered a part of the black race. The idea of the blackface fed into the many misconceptions that are still living and breathing in our society today, that all black people are, “lazy, ignorant, superstitious, hypersexual, and prone to thievery and cowardice”. Unfortunately and no thanks to Rice, his blackface became an extremely vulgar way of delivering a death blow to the slave mentality. Without physically hurting or punishing a slave for the color of our skin, the blackface was a personal way of adding insults to injuries, forever bruising and leaving scars on the psyche of the black culture and with this rebirth of current events, blackface is resurrecting itself. 

Now that some of the top fashion designers have seemingly created apparel that has triggered a newfound uproar within the urban community, as a black woman, I have found myself conflicted with the idea of protesting against any creative mind of designer clothing. First and foremost, addressing what I have seen labeled, posted and written about on social media. One the Instagram pages of one of my all-time favorite black, African-American, urban, rappers, also a television and movie actor, Clifford Joseph Harris, professionally known as T.I. @troubleman31, I noticed a few fashionable images of clothing above open letters to clothing designers, Gucci, Prada, and Moncler . The letter to Gucci, included an image of a black sweater with a turtleneck that went all the way up to the nose and a red-line opened around the mouth of the white female model who was wearing it. The letter to Prada, was accompanied by a photo of a purse with a keychain wooded brown monkey with huge eyes and big red lips. The letter to Moncler, was detailed with a picture of a black puffy coat, a black t-shirt, and other black products, with reflections a face with large eyes and clown-like red lips.

Blackface Blog Photo

At first glance, I clearly observed what can seemingly be compared to that of the blackface, but then I looked more carefully and closely at the images. First, I consider the cold weather conditions in many areas of the country, during this time of year. Add that to the iconic color scheme that Gucci has always used. Without thinking of the skin of my people being black as coal, although I am fully aware that there is a beautiful collection of very dark-skinned men and women, thriving in countries all around the world, I only see a very exclusively designed sweater that can keep my face warm and my upper body protected, during the winter months.   Next, I consider the fact that we live in a technologically advanced age, where the mass majority of people use emojis, as a way of expressing ourselves, either in or without context of virtual conversations. An emoji, that’s what the face on the fashions by Moncler look like, to me. Then, I consider the fact that I am a highly intelligent quick-study, and fast-learner, comparable to the way the entire primate species has been seen, ever since the beginning of human evolution. When I look at a monkey on a keychain, on a Prada purse, in relation to the mirror I view myself, my children, my parents, my family, the urban community, let alone every black person around the world in, all I see is a primate, not a human being. When I look at a pair of shoes, I came across today, made by Katy Perry, a pop-culture singer, I see a face that a kindergarten child would abstractly draw and be praised for, being creative.

As a black woman, in today’s society, what I see is what I believe, we all should see. As a black Mother, in today’s society, I gave birth to a daughter who is in what appears to be a biracial relationship, with a male who loves her without boundaries and no limitations. As a wife, in today’s society, I am the stepmother of three children, created by a white mother and a black father. As a business woman, branding myself, I am a total image and product of a fair-skinned, brown-skinned and dark-skinned ancestry. As a creative mind, in today’s society, I respect the freedom of all minds, to create whatever comes to mind, hopefully and prayerfully, without being prejudice. As a believer, in today’s society, I have faith in all people, to be the best you can be, whatever that means to you. As a builder, in today’s society, I strive to uplift all people, regardless of the color of skin, the demographics someone grows up or lives in, a person’s sexual preference, political choice, or cultural affiliation. As a people, in today’s society, it is not necessary to tear one race of people down, with a misconceived notion, to raise up a new generation of people, who may or may not have factual eyes to see, past something a blind eye was not created to see. As a lover of every generation of music, hip hop has pioneered, I applaud all efforts to integrate and desegregate any industry that has not grown to be all-inclusive.

Keep hope, not blackface, alive! I welcome all comments and new subscribers!

 

More Than A Class

Galatians 3 28
It is with careful consideration, I believe, the majority of black Muslims who have taken on their religion to offset their beliefs in Jesus have imprisoned themselves in a slavery mindset. When I really think about slavery, a large majority of black people still live in fear of one color of people over our own, the color white. Ironically, the image of Jesus has been openly portrayed as white. That makes it hard for a black person who still lives in fear of white supremacy to believe in the image of Jesus. That makes it easier for people to believe in a religion, that in past history has defined the color white as being the devil. I am not undermining the fact that slavery happened, racism exists, and white supremacy is still an active idea in the minds of a lot of white people, who were ideally raised to believe in being superior over another race of people. I am bringing light to the fact that in the mind of a white person, the image of Jesus is white, being a reflection of who they are. That make sense. Mutually, as a black woman, my image of Jesus is black, being a reflection of who I am, in addition to my scriptural and biblical geographic roots. What I gather is, it’s easier to relate to following the Muslim religion, because Islam has never been represented in the image of a white man. As a believer in Christ Jesus, I can clearly see why some of my own color of people see me as being submissive to what they consider to be “white” religion. I’m sure, it is easier to believe in someone who looks like a relative and represents an actual human being rather than the Spirit of someone. I am reminded of a moment in my educational history, when I was attending a Catholic College, where taking courses in religion was a prerequisite to every degreed program.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ~John 1:1
While sitting in a class learning about the beginning of Western Religion, the teacher was showing a video that was supposed to thoroughly explain the start of western religion. As I watched intently, I listened to theologian after theologian give historical references and facts to support, but after the video ended I was left with one unanswered question. I immediately raised my hand to ask the teacher respectfully, “Do you mean to tell me there were no black theologians back then?” With the teacher looking surprised and stumped by my question, before she could give me her answer a student sitting behind me blurted out, “It’s not about black and white, Nikeeta!” Still, the teacher hadn’t answered me and it didn’t help that I was the only black student in my class, so I replied to the student and the flabbergasted teacher, “No, it’s not about black and white, but are you trying to tell me that there were no black theologians involved in the start of western religion? I find that hard to believe, when even slaves who weren’t able to read had a spiritual connection and relationship with God. There is a lot of evidence to support that!” The entire class sat in silence, as the teacher tried to explain why there were no black theologians in the video, without ever answering my question, and the class ended, with the teacher informing me she would look for my answer. Clearly, the teacher had limited knowledge and no one in the class wanted or needed to expound on what they had just been shown and were being taught. They simply believed, but I refused to believe that what I had watched was the whole truth. Without knowing, I knew better.
We Didnt Land on Plymouth Rock
What I knew was, there was something inside of me that not one of those theologians gave light to or touched on. What I knew was, my intimate experience with God, the Father, & the Holy Spirit was not being taught in this particular class. What I knew was, my relationship with God, in the name of Jesus, did not come from a book, but of course, there are many biblical accounts in the Holy Bible that I can relate to, more than I could relate to what I was being taught in these classes on religion, that I struggled to pass and didn’t get the best grades in.
“I am not a religion. I am a witness.” ~Nikeeta M. Thomas, Publisher
When the last day of that particular class came, we were scheduled to visit a famous Islamic mosque. During the trip, I anticipated what the teacher would tell me, but I didn’t ask because I was really excited about going to the mosque. I wanted to learn something I didn’t know. When we arrived, we were treated as Muslims, taught how we should enter the mosque, barefooted, we prayed on our knees, and recited surahs, then we were shown every area of the exquisitely decorated mosque. After that, at a moment when no one was around, the teacher pulled me to the side and began apologizing to me for not knowing how to answer me. Then the teacher enlightened me to what I knew in my heart and what should have been common sense to her. The teacher said, “Nikeeta, yes, black people did play a major part in the foundation of western religion.” With that being said, I’ve never been the ‘I told you so’ kind of person, but I did make sure to let a couple of my classmates know what the teacher said, since she saw fit to tell me away from everyone else. Nevertheless, as I embraced the Muslim culture, in that moment, I became intrigued with the Pilgrimage to Mecca, a journey I look forward to completing one day. The images of thousands of people coming together, not to worship an idol, but to pray and worship God together, forever captivates me. I was so moved, I purchased a book on “Selected Surahs”, being poetry to me and a Quran.
The class outing was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget, and it even opened my perception to being more open to the Muslim community, but it didn’t make me want to become a Muslim. Through the years I have befriended several people, regardless of the color of skin, who are Muslims, some of whom have seemed very angry and unhappy to me. Especially the ones who are dead set against Jesus and even more the ones who have adopted and adhere to the mindset that people who believe in Jesus are wrong, let alone white people, who are devils to them. What I learned to know is, most people believe what we are taught, but very few truly know the love of God, from first hand experience.. My reality is, when we know better, we know to teach better. That’s something I believe, even Malcolm X, an American Muslim minister and Human Rights Activist, grew to know, in spite of what he was taught to believe, by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, a religious black leader of the Nation of Islam.
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.” ~Malcolm X (1925-1965)
Do you know what you know because of what someone tells or told you, or does the truth of your inner voice speak to you, freely and wholeheartedly in a way that you can’t deny yourself even when others reject your spirit? Something to think about and with an open mind, let’s discuss, your thoughts? Have you ever experienced a genuine example of the power of God, not something that happened because someone made it happen, but something that can only be explained as something greater than something you have ever known? Do you freely identify with your choice of religion on more than chosen holidays and for more than feeling the need to belong to a select group of people or have you lost your identity in what you’ve been taught, but don’t really know about yourself?

How to Be An Entrepreneur

In a day and time when the job and labor economy is crumbling and job security is becoming extinct like a dinosaur, there is a new age of being and doing that is creating its existence, through the rise of Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship has now become the most integrated tool for creative thinkers all around the world to learn how to be and do more for others and ultimately for ourselves. One of the most foundational ways I learn how to develop myself as an entrepreneur is through the training and coaching of Eben Pagan’s StartUp training program. The StartUp training program has an intersecting design where anyone choosing to be an entrepreneur can thrive and develop ourselves into a powerful, innovative and a successful entrepreneur. Now is your time to be the Entrepreneur you always wanted to be and do what you love by creating a profitable business and becoming the creator of your life!

What is an Entrepreneur?

employeevsentrepreneurmindset When we look at the word entrepreneur based on the etymology or background of the word, the French root of the word entrepreneur is to take or to self-motivate. The Latin form of the word entre means connecting all things. From these definitions we can gather that an Entrepreneur is someone who connects, self-motivates and builds things to connect them together. Other definitions of the word entrepreneur that come to mind from my studies with Eben Pagan are someone who manages a business, runs a business, starts a business, and creates innovate things for customers. The most profound way of describing an Entrepreneur and from personal experience is someone who is a bearer of taking calculated risks and that is the one part of being an entrepreneur that most people fear. Believe me, it took me quite a few years to get over my fear of working more for myself than for an employer. Let’s face it, quitting or leaving a job, especially one that you have spent many years working at is not the easiest thing to do, but thanks to Eben Pagan’s training program, there is hope for us all! The more time you spend developing your skills and mindset, becoming an Entrepreneur becomes your identity and rather than identifying yourself as someone who works for someone else’s business you will learn to identify yourself as someone who created a business entity with products or services that bring value to the lives of others.

“Learning is the measurement of knowledge before and after.” ~Eben Pagan

Why Should You Become an Entrepreneur?      

Entrepreneur a day in the life.jpgNow that we know what an entrepreneur is, the why should we become an Entrepreneur is the one question that we all must answer before we can make the shift and take the leap of faith from becoming an employee. Becoming an Entrepreneur provides us with the opportunity to create success for ourselves and for others. As Entrepreneurs we can create some of the most interesting products, services, and the best part of all is we can provide jobs for others all around the world! One of the most amazing things about Eben Pagan’s training program is that it has a virtual platform that makes the ease of learning the skills and mindset of an Entrepreneur as simple as it is for you to sit in your living room, den, or bedroom watching television. Yes, from the comforts of your own home or even during your lunch break at work, you can take this stairstep, start your way up and create your own opportunities to making a difference in the world. The Eben Pagan training program gives you the security that a job does not have and a peace of mind that do not want to hold your future clients, your business, and yourself back from! Choosing to become an Entrepreneur, you can’t do what worked in the past to make money, you have to do what works in the future and Entrepreneurs who continuously develop our skills and mindsets are the future of the workforce!

What Separates an Entrepreneur from Everyone Else?Employee vs Entrepreneur            There are characteristics that make being an Entrepreneur who creates a profitable business, a choice that not everyone has the willpower to develop themselves into at first, but don’t give up on yourself!

  • The first characteristic that separates an Entrepreneur from everyone else is that an entrepreneur innovates and creates to multiply ourselves as a creative force in the world. When an opportunity arises, an Entrepreneur does not copy, imitate or rip-off others ideas or take advantage of people, but an Entrepreneur takes what we learn and we use it immediately, at what Eben says is the “speed of implementation”. The speed of implementation is simply the enlightening period between the amount of time we have spent developing our entrepreneurial skills and mindset to the precise moment we get a great idea and run with it.
  • The second characteristic of an Entrepreneur is that we create our business for others. A business is an entity that offers products and services that create values for your customers, for your business, and for yourself. The business we create becomes a separate system apart from our customers and ourselves and the more we learn with Eben Pagan, we learn to build and meet the needs of the business itself. As you develop as an Entrepreneur, you will learn how to execute the money-making and value creativity activities from the Eben Pagan training program, each and every day in your business operations.
  • Becoming profitable is the third characteristic of becoming an Entrepreneur. After you have developed the skills and mindset to create products and services that generate more value than are consumed the cost of investing in learning will make you a value to your business and your customers. In return your business and your customers will become a value to you.

How Do You Become an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur ExitThink about the first time you applied for a job that you didn’t know how to do, but you were willing to learn and be trained how to do it? After you developed do you remember how eager you were to start doing the job? Whether you took the risk to go for the job because you needed money does not matter.  You went for it! The fact that you took the opportunity to put yourself in a position to build yourself up courageously and confidently is what really mattered and if you stayed on the job long enough I’m sure you were retrained and hopefully at some point you moved up in the company. Well, that’s the same way the process of becoming an entrepreneur works. Warren Buffett’s partner, investor, businessman, author, and philanthropist, Charlie Munger said it best, “Opportunity is infrequent and you have to be ready when it comes. When you take the opportunity to start training with Eben Pagan you will learn very specialized thinking and action skills to make you very effective and efficient at whatever it is you choose to do to help others and you will be ready the moment that one opportunity in many comes your way. Go for it!

With Eben Pagan’s Training Programs, specifically designed with the skills and mindsets of you being the Entrepreneur you always dreamed of being in mind, you will learn that there is more than one way to profit in business. For example, Entrepreneurs profit socially by helping others, emotionally by being optimistic, and intellectually by learning. With continued access to the Eben Pagan training program you can refresh your skills and mindset over and over to become a perpetual motion machine.

Now, as you take action in your choice to become an Entrepreneur and develop your skills and mindset with Eben Pagan’s StartUp Club training program, and as you take action, remember, if you are not creating more profit you are costing more. Today is your day to say, “I am an Entrepreneur! I create value for other people! I create products! I create services! I create business! I create wealth!”, and when someone asks you, “What is an Entrepreneur?”, you will teach them your identity when you say, “I am an Entrepreneur! I look for opportunities in the world to create value for others! I am an Entrepreneur! Go for what you don’t know to get what you want and create it for others!

“What’s the difference between people who feel successful and people who feel they’ve failed? The answer is mindset: If you learn and grow from failure, suddenly it becomes a personal asset. People who are successful don’t want instant gratification. They don’t think about hitting a point of success and never working again. Instead they ask, How do I improve myself and continue to do that consistently over time?” ~Eben Pagan (www.ebenpagantraining.com)

 

 

For Colored Only

Colored OnlyAs a 42-year young, black woman, who has grown up as a citizen of the United States of America, all my life, I have been faced with dealing with the societal conflicts that we, the black people, have overcome and are still challenged with enduring. Over the years, while I am considered a direct descendent of slavery, I myself, have not been through the level of discrimination that elders and many others, being people of color, or for lack of better words, black people, have had to go through. I have no idea what it means to fight to go to a school, where only one race or color of people, being white, were allowed to go, because by the time I grew to school age and every year after, I have attended any school public and private, urban and suburban, thanks to those who fought for my right. I have no idea what it feels like to try to drink from a water fountain, but before making the unconscious decision to do so I would have to first be conscious of the fact that there is a sign posted above my head that either reads, “For Colored People Only” or “For Whites Only”, because by the time I grew tall enough to choose to drink from a water fountain, anywhere, anyplace, and at any time, the choice was already made for me, thanks to those who fought for my right. I have no recollection of ever being hungry, walking into a restaurant or a public establishment of any kind, and being turned away, refused service, or arrested for being at the “wrong place, wrong time”, because by the time I grew able to feed my hunger pains, my options were limitless, thanks to those who fought for my right.

Now, in 2017, after deciding that I would like to open a bank account with a black owned bank, which I recently became familiar with, I am faced with fighting to understand how and why, I feel like I am choosing to attend the school, drink from the fountain, and dine in the restaurant that has a “For Colored People Only” sign posted in front of me? Even after doing the research and finding the facts behind the reason black owned banks came to be, I am perplexed by the idea that in a sense, it seems that we, the black people, of the United States of America, have grown accustomed to people, places, and things, that are typically “for us” only. Ironically, I do not see a problem with this and I appreciate the benefits of being black, with respect to black owned banks. Especially, when the things that are “for us” have positive effects and are designed to build “us” up, rather than having producing negative results that can destructively tear us down. From what I’ve gathered, thanks to the civil rights movement and all those who were and continue to be involved, it is important to understand the facts and ultimately over-stand the “sign of the times”, that clearly distinguishes “us” from others, makes us different, but keeps us exclusive to who we are on an all-inclusive level, with respect to where “we have” come from and what “we have” been through and many still struggle to get in where “we” fit in.

My reality, as I have shared many times, being black and proud, is I grew up in a family where my paternal Grandmother founded an organization, Zeigler Habilitation Homes, Inc., in 1977, that has fed her immediate family, in addition to employing and housing many others, outside of her family, for 40 years. As the indirect descendent to the legacy that my Grandmother left, through a business that was established 3 years after my birth, I consider myself fortunate, thanks to my Grandmother who fought for my right, to see her name on a sign that speaks volumes and says more than “For Colored People Only”. Seeing the name of a woman and a family on a sign, is one of the foundational reasons, I am building my own legacy, with the maiden name of my Mother and the name given to me by my Father. While my sign is black and white, in color, the only color I really see gaining my interest, from the perspective of an entrepreneur, banking on white and black, is green, thanks to me, for giving me the right, to be black and never losing sight of being, “For Colored People Only”, and “For Whites Only”. C and Z Logo Revised

Know Your Brand & You’re Competition!

​In marketing your brand, recognize that there will always be opposition and you will always have competitors, but you should only recognize, grow on, and learn from the ones in the same industry as you. This is a Marketing 100 key and major fact. Anyone in business, but not in the business you are in, is not your business. The fact of the matter is, if a business is not working, producing or servicing in your field, they are not your competition! 

Build your brand the way you see you, in light of who you have the power and ability to be! Never lose sight of the value and worth of your company’s vision, and with respect to other top business models. The possibilities are endless! 

If your goal is to be a Fortune 500 company, follow Fortune 500 companies and nothing less. If your goal is to be a millionaire or billionaire, follow millionaires and billionaires, with a proven track record of failing to succeed. If you’re an online business, be an online business. If your goal is to be the next Walmart, Microsoft, or Forever 21, build your brand on who you are, do not be afraid to fail or to succeed and rise to the top! A lot of people are afraid to do one or the other, but few are afraid to do both.

Whatever your brand, product, service, or business is, be careful who you take advice from and who you listen to. If they haven’t been where you see your brand and company going, they are not representative of the personal and professional goals you should already have set for yourself! 

At Collins & Ziegler, we have a blueprint for our success. A blueprint that began in our mind, was written on paper, created as a PowerPoint presentation, and is manifesting as a corporate entity. A blueprint with God’s design, to build more than just ourselves up. A blueprint we have only shared with a handful of people and the most important, being those in our family business, who we respectfully believe in and paved the way for us. 

In 1977 (3 years after my birth), my Grandmother, Charlotte B. Zeigler, founded Zeigler Habilitation Homes, Inc. located in Toledo, Ohio. Zeigler Homes began as group homes for the mentally and physically disabled, a business that began from one home and even to today, progressively succeeds my Grandmother’s passing (March 20, 2005) and has grown to be so much more! 

The passion my Grandmother had to leave a legacy for her children, combined with providing direct care for others with special needs, is a driving force that propels the heart of who Collins & Ziegler is. While the vision my Grandmother had productively carries on, still to this day and for generations to come, our company is the first to expand on the hopes and dreams our Grandmother had for us to survive and thrive, on a national to international level. 

Even outside of our immediate family, who have their own branches of a business we have all known, to love and work for, and are fortunate enough to have grown from. Even as the offspring of parents, who have had several businesses and still have their own businesses, we have never forgot where we came from and can always go locally back to. 

The best part of being who we are is in addition to the legacy we were blessed with and will forever be a part of, we have worked with a vast variety of small businesses to large corporations, while venturing in a variety of cities and states, all around the United States. 

To our point, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and we have never stopped learning, growing, and building ourselves up! As we look at how far we’ve come, seeing ourselves on a competitive level, with so far to go to fulfill our life mission and reach our goals, our biggest challenge and greatest competition will forever be ourselves! No matter the opposition or how challenges present themselves, we see ourselves first and foremost, faced with being the heart of who we are, from start to finish!

“The way we start, is the way we finish!” ~Rita J. (Collins) Ziegler, Admistrator of Make-a-U-Turn, Inc. & my Mother

10-Step Homemade Gold & Diamond Cleaner

Things needed:

Cooking pot or microwave safe bowl

1/2 – 2 Cups Water

Dishwashing Liquid

Child Soft Toothbrush

Soft Hand Towel or Washcloth 

Jewelry Polishing Cloth (Optional)

Steps:

1. Make sure your jewelry is real diamond and gold, not gold-plated, or else it will tarnish. ( For example, 10k gold, 14k gold, 18k gold, 24k gold, yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and green gold, are all genuine types of gold.)

2. Heat desired amount of water, 1/2 cup to 2 cups, (depending on how much jewelry is being cleaned), in a pot on stove or in heat-resistant bowl, using your microwave.

3. Bring the water to an easy boil.

4. Carefully, pour the water from the cooking pot into the heat-resistant bowl or remove the bowl from the microwave.

5. Place your jewelry into the bowl.

6. Squeeze 1 to 2 tablespoons of your choice dishwashing liquid in the bowl with the jewelry. (I prefer Palmolive, Dawn, or Sun with Oxy.)

7. Stir the jewelry around in the dishwashing liquid, with the child soft toothbrush, for approximately 60 seconds.

8. Let jewelry sit in bowl covered or uncovered, until the water cools to room temperature. )Approx. 30 minutes, give or take.)

9. To remove unwanted dirt, gently brush the jewelry, especially in hard to reach places and underneath genuine stones, with the child soft toothbrush.

10. Rinse the jewelry off in clean, warm to cool water, then place on a soft hand towel or washcloth, to dry. Gently wipe to dry.

If dirt is still visible on jewelry, repeat steps, as needed. 

For added shine, use jewelry polishing cloth to rub over gold areas. Jewelry polishing cloths can be purchased anywhere from your local jewelry store to online jewelry stores, for less than $10. (i.e., Tiffany & Co., $5.00 online.)

I have used this homemade method as a way to naturally clean my gold and diamond jewelry for years, to beat the cost of buying jewelry store jewelry cleaners, and in between getting professional jewelry cleanings. I have never tried my handmade solution on any other type of genuine precious metal, such as sterling silver or platinum.

All My Life… I Don’t Have To… Fight!

image

#DearPollingPlaces, all around the world, #SameSong, right, left…

On this morning, being #Ready, #Registered and more than #Willing and #Able to make my voice heard and #RockTheVote, through the #PrimaryElection voting process, I showed up at my designated polling place, here in #NewJersey, right.

Well, to my surprise, after making sure I mailed my husband and my voting registration cards in, I was told that I was not on any of their respective lists. Now, the people assisting me at the polling place were great and very helpful, to my point, one of the women offered to make a call for me to find out why they could not find my name and what I should do.

While the women assisting me tried her best, giving them my legal name and address, the lady on the phone said she could not find our registrations, so the woman gave me the phone to speak on our behalf, right. #NeverTheLess, I explained to the lady on the phone that I made sure to take our registrations to the #USPostOffice, where they could be #DateStamped, in an effort to have them arrive before the deadline and in preparation for today, right.

The lady on the phone swore she could not find our registrations, but I kept at her, fully aware of the facts supporting voting registrations. Eventually, the lady stated, sounding reluctant, that she had found our registrations and that they arrived in their office on May 20, 2016. Okay, I thought and said, “But don’t you see them stamped as May 17, 2016? Isn’t that the date that counts?” She said, “No.” I debated with her, “So you mean to tell me I can’t vote today?” Again, she denied me and feeling bummed, but never defeated, I ended the call.

#HowAboutKnow, on the way out of the polling place, I went to the car and before I could pull off, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Go back.” Immediately, leaving my purse in the car, I made my way back to the polling place and this time I noticed a sign on the door that said, of all things, “No Voter Turned Away”, #HuHDough, I #QuickOnMyFeet thought, they have to honor that or it’s false advertising, right.

Now, when I went back in, I verbalize my thought and with all of the people assisting the poles in agreement with me, the woman made the call for me and again, allowed me to speak on my own recognizance, right. This time around, getting transfered to the same lady I had already spoken to and had been denied by, I expressed the fact that, #LikeItOrNot, #IAmAVoter and I was not leaving without voting.

Still with the lady on the phone, fighting me against the very rights I was standing up for, I was told my vote would be rejected and would not be counted. At this point, #FeelingMyself, championed and victorious, I was informed that I could vote through a #ProvisionalBallot, right. Well, hey, #NeedLessToSay, I made my marks, trusting and believing, they will never be erased, right.

As I left, I told a gentleman, also working with the polling station, what I had just went through, #ButGod, accomplished, right and proceeding to go on about my business. Before I could pull away, a Teacher of the walked up, who had just heard my story through the gentleman and #Congratulated me on doing what I needed to do, just to get the job done, right.

To the Teacher point, I said, “Hey, someone fought for us to vote, why not fight too!” With #FistBumps #AllAcrossTheBoard #And1 #Swoosh!

#MoralOfTheStory #ZeroTolerance #AsYouWere