Glazed and Fired

Glazed and Fired

Glazed and fired

a spiritual journey of pain to beauty

By Matthew Brewer – Guest Blogger

This article is brought to you by The Wendy Thompson Lending Team. More Than A Mortgage!

Have you every looked closely at a beautiful ceramic vase, at the color, the detail, the fine craftsmanship that this vase displays?  Have you ever considered what this vase went through to look the way it does?

Maybe you have seen someone in a magazine or a T.V. commercial with a chiseled body or a figure that you would kill for?  Have you every considered what that body had to go through to look like that?  What pain was endured in order to have that body?  What sacrifices were made?  What was added to this person’s life in order for them to look like this?

Oftentimes in life, we look at the finished product of something, see its beauty and admire it, and never once stop to think about what happened to it to get it there.

I have been guilty of this many times.  I see someone at the gym and I think I want to look like them.  I want to have that type body.  However, the true painful reality for me is that I am not willing to do what it takes to get that body.  I may do a few things to be healthier and I may change a few habits, but I am not willing to take the steps to make such a dramatic transformation.   I am not willing to endure the pain to have a refined, toned body.  When you talk to these fit and trim people, more likely than not, they all have a story of dramatic and systematic changes that they had to endure to create and maintain their physique.

The vase is just clay and rude paint until it has been glazed and presented to the flames of the fire.  The body is just flesh, bones, and skin until it has been toned and manicured.  Our lives are just empty vessels until they have been glazed by the fruits of the Spirit and presented to the flames of the Holy Spirit.

Our lives are just empty vessels until they have been glazed by the fruits of the Spirit..

We begin our journey as clay, waiting to be created into something beautiful by our Creator.  He takes our lives and pours Himself into us, with attention to detail and with a strong purpose to make us into His image.  We have to go through something in the forming.  Life is not perfect.  Life is not always easy and life is certainly not the proverbial bed or roses that some think it should be.  It is through our pain, our struggles, our sorrow that we can be glazed and fired by the flames of the Holy Spirit.

When I think about the glaze on my own life of clay, I think of 4 ways in which I am glazed and then fired.

1. Bible Study
2. Daily Prayer
3.  Community and Fellowship with Other Believers
4.  Corporate Worship in a Community of Faith

Bible Study helps me to understand God and His purpose for my life.  It helps me to know how to surrender and allow God to lead me on my journey.  Daily prayer is my conversation with God.  My wife has often said she doesn’t say Amen after a prayer because it is a conversation that never ends.  Fellowship and Community with other believers help cheer me on my way.  We laugh together, we cry together.  We experience life together.  We were not meant to be alone.  Community and Fellowship is a wonderful way to glaze ourselves in the Holy Spirit.   Corporate Worship – the church coming together to Worship the One who is worthy of all our praise helps to keep me on the same page and moving toward a common goal of celebrating the goodness of our Great God.

Are you ready to be glazed and fired?

Glazing is essential to bring out the inner beauty.  Even after a piece of pottery is painted, the colors don’t shine and sparkle as they should till it has been glazed and fired.  When it comes out of the fire, then we see what it is truly made of, and the image that it conveys.
Our lives are like that.  When we go through the fire, we become stronger, and when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives through his refining power, we see what we are made of, who we were meant to be, and the image that we convey.

Are you ready to be glazed and fired?  The flames of His Spirit are waiting today!

Prayer

Great God our Father, thank you for the blessings of this life, and Lord, please help me to see the refining that you are doing in my life as a blessing, as a way to draw closer to you and understanding who I am to you and the purpose you have for my life.  I will cover my life with studying your word, having daily conversations with you, fellowshipping and worshipping with other believers.  Guide me today and always.  Amen!

Matthew Brewer

Guest Blogger

Matthew Brewer has been in the Memphis area since 2003, and in that time, he has been no stranger to the wonderful southern cuisine found here in the Mid-South.  He graduated from West Liberty State College, received his masters from University of Louisiana at Monroe, and his D.Min from Andersonville Theological Seminary.  He is employed by Shelby County Schools as a PLC Coach, pastors Grace Gathering Church, and in his spare time, does marketing for his Wife, Jennifer’s custom Jewelry Company, Jentegrity Jewelry, located in Cordova.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, quiet evenings at home, dinners with friends, and lots of family time.

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An Engine For Local Economic Development – GMMDC

An Engine For Local Economic Development – GMMDC

an engine for
local economic development – GMMdc
By Joe B. Kent – Guest Blogger

This article is being brought to you by Safari Lawn Care, Click to Get a Quote from the Best!

The local work of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council (GMMDC) adds significant capacity to local workforce and economic development efforts. GMMDC, located in Bartlett, collaborates with 27 biomedical member companies to identify biomedical occupational requirements to close the skills gap in service of the growing biomedical industry. This work is done while also meeting student career needs at an accelerated pace.

Closing the skills gap involves providing industry recognized credentials and work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and internships to prepare participants for careers in the medical device industry. GMMDC also partners with the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Bartlett City Schools, Arlington Community Schools, Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) and the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW).

GMMDC Responds
The “Room to Grow” report published by Complete Tennessee approximately a year ago reported frustration by local industry leaders of timeliness of student completion. Complete Tennessee works to increase completion rates statewide and GMMDC has locally responded to this pressing local workforce and economic development need.  

Roy Smith, GMMDC’s Executive Director states “The GMMDC counsels parents, students and teachers to help them better understand the great benefits of a career in the medical device industry. While still in high school, students can use the Tennessee Promise grant and dual enrollment classes to complete a diploma and then go directly into a job or an apprenticeship with no college debt.”

There may be no better way for families and students to get ahead than to start a career with no college debt. According to MarketWatch and Edvisors  as reported in 2016:

  • The class of 2015 will graduate each student with $35,051 in debt on average, according to
    Edvisors.
  • The total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.2 trillion, that’s the second-highest level of consumer debt behind only mortgages. Most of that is loans held by the federal government.
  • About 40 million Americans hold student loans and about 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients
    graduate with debt.
  • One in four student loan borrowers are either in delinquency or default on their student loans,
    according the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Recently, GMMDC announced the approval of the GMMDC Machinist Apprenticeship through the United States Department of Labor (DOL). An apprentice learns a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at lower wages. As a GMMDC Machinist Apprentice, students become proficient with the following career relevant skills:

  • Reading blueprints (GD&T), sketches or CAD/CAM files
  • Understanding the fundamentals of machining different metals
  • Operating and monitoring manual equipment and CNC machinery
  • Shaping metal into machined parts that match product specifications
  • Performing required job functions in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices as defined by the company’s Quality Management System

The above win-win programming meets both student and employer needs through thoughtful and collaborative curriculum alignment while propelling the local economy.

Collaborative Partnership Gets It Done
The previously mentioned career ready programming came about through a collaborative effort of multiple organizations summarized below:
Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce – The Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) led the creation of the GMMDC by researching in 2011 the local business landscape which revealed a concentration of medical device companies. These research findings resulted in the BACC closely listening to the needs of medical device manufacturers which revealed a skilled worker shortage was constraining business growth. The BACC then led a successful collaboration between 27 area medical device companies which resulted in the creation of the GMMDC in 2014. The GMMDC is currently thriving and housed at The BACC where bi-monthly meetings are held in a board room funded by a Delta Regional Authority grant. Bi-monthly meetings focus on building a talent pipeline for careers in the medical device industry which results in collaborations with BACC area education and workforce delivery organizations.

Bartlett City Schools – GMMDC collaborates with Bartlett City Schools (BCC) and area systems such as Arlington Community Schools (ACS) and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) in talent pipeline development efforts. TCAT helped establish a modern showcase machine shop at Bartlett High School as well as a dual enrollment program where high school students earn dually both credits and college hours towards a TCAT diploma. The partnership between BCC, ACC, Bartlett High, TCAT and the GMMDC has resulted in the planned construction of a new 40,000 square foot TCAT facility to host a flagship medical device machining program. The new TCAT facility is currently set to open in early 2020. 

Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW) – While GMMDC collaborated with TCAT in 2014, GMACW was emerging as a facilitator for Memphis area talent pipeline development. GMMDC helped to provide GMACW with a framework to scale talent pipeline development efforts into other industries to serve regional workforce and economic development needs. The GMMDC and GMACW collaboration resulted in a GMACW led United States Department of Labor America’s Promise $6M grant award. The grant award supports the local Move-Hire program and funds: 1) tuition for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, 2) educational equipment purchases and 3) partner organizations that help individuals connect to post-secondary educational, career and job opportunities. 

 

Conclusion
Listening to customers in area employers as demonstrated by the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce can lead to collaborative innovative economic development solutions like The Greater Memphis Medical Device Council. Such solutions stand to move the Memphis community beyond a real estate / corporate tax incentive economic development approach to more locally balanced economic development efforts.  

The data is conclusive. A locally focused tax incentive heavy approach to economic development that focuses on local companies and real estate development does not work. Such an approach has led to forgone investments in education and public transit resulting in workforce unreliability, taxpayer losses and below peer average total wage growth rates. 

While companies will come and go in many cases beyond the control of the community, the one area that the community controls is the development of a proficient workforce. Why not Think BIG and launch a Nation Leading Career Education initiative to fully own what can be controlled while squelching concerns regarding the availability of a skilled workforce? After all, the GMMDC provides the community with momentum and arguably a Nation Leading education to employment model. 

It would seem customer taxpayers would agree with this type of Nation Leading approach to economic development. In a recent survey administered by the local social media activist group Memphis Raise Your Expectations, respondents ranked the importance of the six criteria of The University of Memphis Amazon Road Map of The Memphis Economy  in support of economic development efforts. The survey results revealed the following percentage importance distribution: 1) Career Ready Workforce -21%, 2) Public Transit – 19%, 3) High Quality University – 17%, 4) Quality of Life – 17%, 5) Efficient Air Transportation – 14% and 6) Tax Incentives – 12%. 

Perhaps listening to the customer taxpayer and fully implementing funded initiatives as demonstrated by the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce is the key to addressing Memphis economic development needs. In this case, simply listening to customers has resulted in an innovative economic development model in GMMDC that has the potential to transform and catapult local economic development efforts.

joe b. kent
Guest Blogger
Mr. Joe B. Kent has worked throughout the country on workforce and economic development projects and is a reform activist in Memphis. Joe B. has a BBA in Finance, Masters in Instructional Technology and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator with an emphasis on labor market information.

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Traveling without chains of racism

Traveling without chains of racism

Traveling without

chains of racism

By Celeste Riley // Guest Blogger

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”

as stated by Mark Twain is a quote that’s needed in today’s diverse political environment especially in Memphis.

In May, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel abroad with Southwest Tennessee Community College to Poland. When we arrived in Krakow it was like stepping back in time to the beginning of the 7th century with buildings that exploded with medieval architecture. The Old town square had brick walkways and long rows of colorful buildings painted cheery red, yellow or green hues while roofs were black, red or green. Krakow is best known for its Jewish quarter and was the center of Nazi Government during WW11 in 1939 with a population of 70,000 Jews at that time. 

Hearing Polish spoken most of the time was unnerving making one feel lost, but being with the group and an agenda anchored us.

Our group was made up of one white professor, one black, a Russian advisor, two Hispanic students, one African student and four African American students.

Our diversity was warmly welcomed in Krakow with friendly smiles and admiration. We walked around the town so much in those few days and had a real great feel for the country via the open market, restaurants and shops. The food was carefully prepared with only the freshest ingredients that left one’s palate bursting with flavor from the Krakowsky Borsch to the Pork Pierogi. The Borsch is a traditional beetroot soup with homemade ravioli that can be stuffed with beef, pork or mushroom. Surprisingly many restaurants offered Beet juice which is also common in Latin American countries known for its medicinal properties. 

The feeling of elation in Krakow still had the ominous underlying feeling of dread and sadness by what happened during the Final Solution from 1939-45. In 1933 Hitler stated that some people were “dangerous” and enacted the Nuremberg Race Laws with the purpose of having a “National Community” guaranteeing health benefits and social programs. This lead to the first concentration camp for half Germans who were not part of the “National Community” according to ushmm.org.  Polish German Jews were forced to move to ghettos in Krakow, which we visited along with viewing pictures from the Jewish museum and the Jewish cemetery.

To see graves markers desecrated by the Nazi’s and used to create a road to Auschwitz was emotionally numbing. We visited Auschwitz I and Birkenau (Auschwitz II) concentration camps and seeing the endless barbed wire, children’s articles of clothing as well as adults, mounds of eye glasses and whole shaved off hair still in braids was shocking. We also visited a Professional Photographer from Memphis who currently lives in the Jewish ghetto and his building was evidence to the terror brought by the Nazi’s. This building was home to one hundred Jewish orphans during the occupation who were taken by the S.S. to their demise along with the Rabbi who cared for them.

..endless barbed wire, children’s articles of clothing as well as adults, mounds of eye glasses and whole shaved off hair still in braids..

After three days in Krakow we traveled north to Ludz a five hour trip which proved to be a crude reminder of our ethnicity by dirty looks of disgust and disdain.

When our group sat down for dinner at a restaurant another all white male group , who obviously were having a good time until we arrived, abruptly got up and left.

My discrimination experience came due to my looks (being Half Hispanic and half Bulgarian Gypsy) in an unlikely manner. We waited in the hotel while our professor called for three cabs to take us to the Museum of Cinematography and when one arrived we were told to go out quickly to catch it. I went to open the back door of the small sized taxi and the taxi driver pulled away from me and up a couple of feet. I was dumb struck and didn’t know quite what to do so I asked the professor if she could advise him that we were indeed part of the student group. He never did apologize but just took us to our destination, the experience reminded me of the history of America’s mistreatment of minorities.

Even with the Emancipation Proclamation and Black Reconstruction minorities had Jim Crow laws to deal with until Dr. King challenged with civil disobedience.  Today we have political rhetoric that state that certain populations are “dangerous, rapists and drug dealers” who drain our economy. We have new laws that ban travel from certain Middle East countries and plans to build a wall to keep out criminals. The immigration laws are a hundred years old and need to be updated to allow a secure process of mercy to fleeing immigrants while halting terrorists at our borders. 

The biggest lessons I learned in Poland is that people are intrinsically valuable and add new dimensions of hope and talent to our global world.

We may speak different languages, eat different foods like beet juice or are just different from those around us but that doesn’t make one better or more deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We all love our families, want to live in safety and want to make a difference in this world by leaving our mark with dignity and pride.

celeste riley

Guest Blogger

Celeste is a non-traditional student who decided to continue her Undergraduate at Southwest Tennessee Community College while balancing work and home life. She’s currently pursuing an Associates of Science in Teaching K-5th grade with an emphasis in ESL and Minor in Spanish. Celeste loves being involved in student life at Southwest by joining Honor Societies, Study Abroad programs, as well as the Student Newspaper. She started as a reporter, became Deputy Editor and is currently Editor-in-Chief of The Southwest Source.

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Your neighbor told us to share this with you . . .

So your yard looks like crap

 

I mean really, hire someone to cut it already. Make sure they trim the edges, and for god's sake clean your flower beds. I am sorry there's more. You could live with a little fertilizer. Not done! So gutters around your house could use some attention too!

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MATA, Workforce, and Economic Development: Where Is The Advocacy?

MATA, Workforce, and Economic Development: Where Is The Advocacy?

mata, workforce, and economic development
where is the advocacy?
By Joe B. Kent // Guest Blogger

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A lack of Memphis community leadership advocacy has stifled local economic development efforts. True economic development efforts support safer/paved streets, a better workforce, public transit, small business and competitive economic growth. Evidence of a lack of leadership advocacy can be found in the recent Memphis Business Journal (MBJ) “Redacted” series on the negative economic impact of inadequate public transit and funding for the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA). 
Where is the Advocacy?
In the MBJ series, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, responding to a question regarding the corporate community’s support for public transit, says in short that he has not heard from the Greater Memphis Chamber or Memphis Tomorrow on public transit. And in City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s MBJ interview, the Mayor can be found prodding the MATA Board to advocate more for public transit. 
It’s for sure that the business community is for and has mentioned a need better public transit. But are they advocating for it? What about advocating for the win-win in the entire business community and a community in need and not for just a limited few in large corporations and real estate investors? Advocacy has been defined as follows: “the act of pleading for; supporting; or recommending; active espousal.”
Based on the Mayors’ interviews, Memphis Corporate Community Leadership is not sufficiently advocating for and making the plea for better public transit. Commercial Appeal reporter Ted Evanoff questioned sufficient local board advocacy after naming a number of non-profits in an article last year where he stated, “If you sit on the board of one of these organizations and at the end of the year your group has met its goals, maybe your group needs tougher metrics”. In another recent Ted Evanoff Commercial Appeal article, David Waddell, a Greater Memphis Chamber Chairman’s Circle member calls for advocacy by asking the question “Does Memphis really want to grow? Memphis has to decide. If Memphis is going to grow, the citizens have to speak up to politicians, support Richard Smith (Greater Memphis Chamber Board Chairman) on his mission.” And I personally wrote in the MBJ last year about a lack of leadership advocacy regarding the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce’s (GMACW) sluggish performance in local workforce development efforts. 
Leadership is not sufficiently advocating for and making the plea for better public transit

Where is the Advocacy for Workforce and Economic Development?
After all, the lack of economic development advocacy shows up in local Memphis Corporate Community Leadership behavior as they sacrifice support for true economic development in safer/paved streets, better workforce, public transit, small business and competitive economic growth for instead local corporate/real estate tax abatements. 
That is $85M that could be invested in economic development

This lack of advocacy and closed, non-external and largely local corporate/real estate development approach to economic development, which includes bogus incomplete accounting for retention PILOTs, cost taxpayers approximately $85M in recurring annual revenue shortfalls. That is $85M that could be invested in economic development that serves the entire business community and a community in need. 

 A specific example of the above lack of advocating behavior can be found in the historical meeting agendas of the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) that was born out of Memphis Corporate Community Leadership’s advocacy. EDGE, who is the parent of GMACW, meets monthly to abate Memphis/Shelby County taxes for corporate/real estate PILOTs. But for some reason the pitiful GMACW Board staffed by EDGE Board members could only manage to meet one time in the last year to take up local workforce development. Where is the advocacy for workforce development?

What about Legislative and Press Advocacy?
 City Councilman Berlin Boyd has recently stated “We are in crisis mode” regarding economic development. But vital local systems in Memphis needed to fuel economic growth are not working in legislative oversight and a curious press. The Joint Memphis City County / Shelby County Commission EDGE committee has only met once since being established on March 1, 2018. This as a crisis exists and corporate / real estate tax abatements continue to explode at a significant cost to taxpayers. And the local press has yet to question the lack of meetings during the crisis.
Even during the crisis, EDGE course correction, reform and oversight discussions are not the priority on legislative committee agendas. As an example, during the crisis and the most recent County Commission Economic Development committee meeting on July 18, the priority for discussion was about local government facilitation of more corporate welfare for real estate development in Federal Opportunity Zones. 

With the legislative leadership window quickly closing with a soon to be departing experienced Shelby County Commission, local legislators have the unique opportunity to proficiently lead, curate and craft local economic development policy. Co-Chairs Commissioner Heidi Shafer and Councilman Berlin Boyd can take the lead by scheduling the Joint Council / Commission EDGE meeting to take up the oversight work that has not occurred over the past seven years.

This work should arguably start with the restructuring of EDGE whose efforts in collaboration with Memphis Tomorrow and Greater Memphis Chamber have resulted in 1) below peer average economic growth, 2) bogus incomplete retention PILOT accounting and 3) unlimited EDGE board member terms. Again, this comes at a cost of approximately $85M in recurring annual tax revenue shortfalls to Memphis/Shelby taxpayers resulting in forgone economic development investments that serve the entire business community and a community in need. 
Conclusion
The plea that comes with leadership advocacy does not exist for Memphis economic growth. Instead, kleptocratic like policy pronouncements heavy on corporate/real estate tax abtements that lack a vision for comprehensive economic development with few short-term winners have been the rule in Memphis. This practice of benefitting only the few ends up costing everyone in the long term. 

Economic growth will only come when the Memphis Corporate Community Leadership makes the plea for comprehensive economic development and local legislators lead the effort while practicing vitally needed oversight. 

Memphis can only reverse current economic trends with increased hands-on, overseen and targeted philanthropic help and advocacy from Memphis Corporate Community Leadership. That is advocacy that includes pleas  for comprehensive balanced economic development that fiscally supports safer/paved streets, a better workforce, public transit, small business and external industry recruitment efforts that serve all. 

joe b. kent
Guest Blogger
Mr. Joe B. Kent has worked throughout the country on workforce and economic development projects and is a reform activist in Memphis. Joe B. has a BBA in Finance, Masters in Instructional Technology and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator with an emphasis on labor market information.

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Impressions On The Heart – Turning Pain Into Purpose

Impressions On The Heart – Turning Pain Into Purpose

impressions on the heart
turning pain into purpose
By Chelsea Lyles-Jackson

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My name is Chelsea Lyles-Jackson I’m 26, I’m a wife, mom etc. I work full time from home now. I guess my story starts off pretty typical. My mother raised my brother and I. We had a pretty good child hood, we had it rough, but we were well taken care of and loved. I would describe the child me as shy, sweet for the most part lol, sensitive, and giving. I went through my rebellious period as a teen and a young adult. I would say I had big dreams, goals, I’ve always wanted to help people in any way I could. I thought I knew everything and that I was grown too. Although, I allowed different experiences to take me hostage and set me backwards, and over time I know I lost myself early. There were times we were without a place to call our own, but mom always made sure we had some where to go.

I’ve had my share of heart breaks, etc. I tried community college a few times after high school, but I never could/would stick to it. I was only going because that’s “what you should do”. I started to forget about my dreams. School didn’t work for me not once out of the at least 4 times I tried. I moved in with my, at the time fiancé, and his mom maybe 2 months after high school. We worked minimum wage jobs just to feed ourselves. We were young, in love, and stupid of course not even knowing who we were. We struggled a lot financially as well as in our relationship. So much pressure. So young. We had a baby 20 years old; still babies ourselves. She is a blessing, but we weren’t ready, and reality hit us fast.

We went ahead and got married when our daughter was 6 months. We were still struggling and still living with my mother in law the 1st 4 years of our relationship. We finally moved out on our own with our baby and it only got harder for us. I couldn’t even really begin to talk about the demons we’ve faced. I became depressed and anxious over time. It seemed like everybody around me was going through too and to be honest that added to the depression. As bad as I thought it was for me, I hate to see other people going through. I genuinely care, I used to think I was weird and I cared too much. I job hopped and we kind of stood still it seemed like. I gained weight, I went from 135lbs to 220lbs. The depression got worse, I tried counseling and the doctors even put me on meds. It drove me personally crazy, to me it seemed to make me worse. I eventually tried to commit suicide. I know now it was selfish, but I felt weak, I felt alone, I felt like I failed as a wife and a mother. I felt like my daughter was better off without me and like everybody else was too because I couldn’t help nobody the way I wanted too not even myself…

“Thankfully the failed suicide attempt was a wake-up call”

Thankfully the failed suicide attempt was a wake-up call, a slap in the face, a reality check. I realized I needed to check myself! I stopped loving me along the way, I stopped doing things I liked and there were days where of course I was not the best to the people I love most. One thing for certain I love my family to the death of me. There are things I’ve experienced like most people that naturally cause damage.
everything is overcomeable

However, everything is overcomeable (may not be a real word but…). We all just need a little help sometimes. A simple hand to say get up baby you can make it through this and that can be from anybody, given to anybody. I realized though if you need help, it may be hard for you to help me especially if we’re trying to figure out how to overcome the same thing. Typically, what happens is we don’t realize that just by changing the way we think we can help ourselves and each other…. I’m personally tired of been sick and tired of being broke, depressed, overweight, insecure, I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of sitting on the phone with someone I love and that’s all I can do is listen to them cry. That makes me feel helpless and my spirit sinks within me. I hate feeling weak and to be stuck in feeling weak, held captive, sunken within in yourself for years is one of the hardest if not the hardest battle you’ll have to fight. Sometimes I stay off social media for periods at a time and I don’t watch the news ever because 9 timestime outta 10 you’re going to see somebody going through something. I think if I could…. I would… I yearn to be able to…. 

Eventually after a lot of praying and applying change. It hit me that I could do what it is I yearned to do. The very things that would call out my soul… My Destiny! Living a happy, fun, harmonious, loving, life with my family just turnt all the time (LOL). I just mean living my best life and living it to the fullest; I only get one. I can’t do that while there are so many people going through around me. It’s like a distraction I’ll never be fully focused or fully at peace. Even when I’m still going through myself. I want to make a change, though, and I don’t have all the resources I need to make this change, but God will provide.
“I want to make a change, though, and I don’t have all the resources I need to make this change, but God will provide.”

I started to dream again

I started to dream again, to believe I could again. To love me again! I’ve remembered my name. And i’ve remember that I’m passionate about poetry, dancing, good books, music, spending quality time with family, hanging with friends, traveling, I love to talk, I love helping people, I love to encourage others even when I can’t encourage myself. I believe in healing I want to heal and help others along the way, I feel like we can do it together.

I have big dreams to help out my community, to help women just like me who have struggled with insecurities, self-doubt etc. I want to reach suicide victims, mothers, I want to help families heal, become closer etc. I want to help children keep them dreaming. I want to help domestic violence victims, co-parenting issues, the homeless, people who just need a little more help rather it’s getting their license back, getting things expunged from their record so they may have better opportunities or finding affordable housing and jobs. I want to help former convicts get back on their feet. How do we expect them to do anything better when we wont give them a chance to?

I feel as though our crime rate is high because our kids/teens don’t have anything to do our parents can’t afford nice summer camps etc. My grandmother taught me long ago a child is going to be a child if you don’t give them something to do they’re going to find something to do and that’s one of the realest things I’ve ever heard. We don’t have enough resources, support.  I want to be able to help men heal, to talk and release. I recently found out that the suicide rate for men is higher than it is for anyone. I believe part of that comes from our men clocking out as boys, because their taught “you’re a big boy shut up get up and dust yourself off”? I can’t imagine not giving my son the same love and affection I give my daughter. 

changing the world with impressions on the heart
“we all have some type of heartbreak, past pain, that molds us and sometimes the outcomes aren’t good”

My list doesn’t stop here but honestly, I want to change the world. I know I can’t do it alone, I don’t want to and I’m not I have a team behind me that feels the same way I do, and I know there are several other people out there. I just want everybody to help each other we can change it together a little bit at a time. I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface of how far I want to go to help, and the resources I want to provide. I don’t have a $1 to my name but I leaped out on faith and started a non-profit in hopes to help endlessly.
I found that people generally are good and mean well but we all have some type of heartbreak, past pain, that molds us and sometimes the outcomes aren’t good. So, I know there are a lot of people that want to help, sometimes we just don’t know where to start. Resources to help are endless. Any positive service can be utilized; donations of food, money, property, counseling services, healing services, people who have been through and they’re better or working on it to speak and be encouraging, fitness trainers, fitness equipment, volunteers, monetary gifts, poets, singers, dancers, the list is endless. I have so many different ideas, events I would like to host to empower and help the city, in so many ways no help is too much because I’m going to need all the help and support I can get. While I’m still saving up for a website etc. I’m trying not to let anything stir me away from the mission Guidance through love and life. 

If anyone would like to contact me regarding my foundation Impressions On The Heart the best way at the time to contact me would be via email impressionsontheheart@gmail.com

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The Treasure Chest and The Treasure // JustMyMemphis

The Treasure Chest and The Treasure // JustMyMemphis

The treasure chest

and the treasure

By Matthew Brewer // Guest Blogger

This article is brought to you by The Wendy Thompson Lending Team. More Than A Mortgage!

I remember vividly the first time I watched the movie “The Titanic”. I saw it December 19, 1997 at the Keith Albee Theater in Huntington, West Virginia. The historic theater was packed for every show that evening including the midnight show that I attended. The music, the visuals, and the acting, all presented themselves in a way that drew the audience to the place where the Titanic saw the last light of day.

I knew the story, I knew the ending, and yet I still wanted to see it. I wanted to experience all that it had to offer. The outcome would be no different than what I knew. Many people would lose their lives right in front of me on that big screen. It was 3 1/2 hours of great adventure, intrigue, suspense, and sorrow. As I watched real footage of the Titanic I could see how the years had decayed the old ship. It had lost its luster and shine as it had lain submerged in the deep waters for nearly 85 years.

For years, explorers had searched for the Titanic and had spent millions of dollars trying to locate it and retrieve it’s treasure. They did not care that it had been beaten by the cruel forces of nature. They did not care that it was dirty, decaying, and barely recognizable. They were concerned with what was on the inside. They knew the contents of the inside was where the value would be found. The ship itself was just a decaying shell….but on the inside, that’s where the treasure would be found. When the explorers found jewelry boxes and other trunks that had been in the harsh conditions all those years, they didn’t care about the condition of the outside of those boxes, they wanted what was on the inside.

As human beings we all have different casings, and we have all have different shells. Sometimes the painful reality of life has broken us to our very core, however we still remain. Sometimes the storms of life have beaten us down so badly that we can’t see a way out, yet we still remain. You see, it is not the outside…it is not the bruises, the scars, the tattered bodies that define who we are. We are defined by what is on the inside. Everything else is just casing to protect the treasure that lies within each of us. Our hearts, although sometimes broken, define who we really are. Sometimes we can be badly broken, but we still have a heart no matter how many pieces it may be in. The condition of the treasure does not take away from its worth. I could take $100 bill and place it on the street and let cars roll over it all day long. By the end of the day it is hard to say what condition that bill would be in. However, even ripped and torn, I can still spend that $100 bill at any bank or store.

Come. Just as you are. That is the call that Love extends to each of us. Come with your brokenness. Don’t try to fix yourself as you come. Let TRUE LOVE fix you. What a beautiful thought that the the Creator Of All will take us with all our broken parts and smudges because He sees the value of our hearts.

Today, it is my prayer that no matter what the circumstances of life, we can share our hearts and our love with someone everyday. We are all broken in some way, that’s just a fact of life. However, we can grow together each and every day in grace, hope, and love. give Jesus our hearts each and every day. Remember, don’t ever count someone out just because of their casing! We are all beautiful!

Matthew Brewer

Guest Blogger

Matthew Brewer has been in the Memphis area since 2003, and in that time, he has been no stranger to the wonderful southern cuisine found here in the Mid-South.  He graduated from West Liberty State College, received his masters from University of Louisiana at Monroe, and his D.Min from Andersonville Theological Seminary.  He is employed by Shelby County Schools as a PLC Coach, pastors Grace Gathering Church, and in his spare time, does marketing for his Wife, Jennifer’s custom Jewelry Company, Jentegrity Jewelry, located in Cordova.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, quiet evenings at home, dinners with friends, and lots of family time.

See All Articles by Matthew

 

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