Today I am doing my annual reflection on how much I have grown, spiritually (or not), in my walk with the Lord. While this really is a daily thing with me, I like to look back over the year around my birth date, Feb. 12, to see what I could do better in the coming year.
First, I must give thanks to the Lord for sparing me to see this day. My mind goes back to the time I was a child and, like in a movie flashback, I see so many snares God has brought me through; so many blessings He has afforded me. Fast forward to today: He is still blessing me.
Growing up as black female in America had its challenges. I was reared in a fatherless home by a God-fearing woman who had a lot of old-fashioned ideas about how to instill in me, and my brother, the values that would take us through life. I must admit, I didn’t always agree with her. But looking back at those early years of my life when I often thought my mom was unfair, today, I can say from my heart, “Thanks, Mom.” Because of Mom, I developed an early love of things spiritually.
Mom loved attending church, and singing spirituals and gospel songs. As a young woman, she sang in the church choir. I inherited my love of music from her — sacred music especially — and I enjoyed singing church songs, just like Mom.
I also inherited my love of church from her. As a child, I listened to the preachers’ sermons. For years growing up, I didn’t always understand all they said, but I believed it when the preacher said “Jesus loves you.”
Together, with the Lord, Mom got us through the dreadful Jim Crow years, by constantly letting us know that just because somebody called you the “N” word, doesn’t mean that you are one, she’d say.
“Keep your head up” she said.
And so I did. And by doing so, I developed the love and respect for myself and others that would be so necessary in keeping my dignity and faith.
So today, I look back over the past year and I can see growth. But I also see room for more growth on this journey called life. That is one of the great things about the Lord: He gives chance after chance to make it right — if we really want to. I can see there is still room for improvement in my life. There are still people on my list to visit who are ill; there are people who are hurting to pray for; and people who are lonely to reach out to. As I think about this journey that we are on, I am amazed at how each day we are given is simply another opportunity to do good. I guess that is why we call life a journey that we take, one day at a time.
Dear Neighbors, I want to say this without sounding too sappy, but I cannot close out these comments without letting you know how much you have encouraged me in the past year. Your prayers and blessings have helped me to be a better person. I am so thankful for you all.
TEACHING KIDS ABOUT MANAGING MONEY
Miami trial lawyer David Bianchi will be the guest speaker at the next “Windows to the World” community speakers series at First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18. Bianchi will speak on the topic, “Blue Chip Kids: What Every Child (and Parent) Should Know About Money, Investing and the Stock Market.”
When Bianchi learned that the schools were not teaching children about the topic of allowance management, he started teaching his own 12-year-old son about money. Each night he wrote about things to discuss with his son and soon learned that he had a book-length manuscript on the topic of money management for children.
After interviews with students — including the University of Miami — Bianchi discovered there was a void of knowledge of topics ranging from how to open a checking account to how many stocks are in the Fortune 500. He published “Blue Chip Kids” in 2015 in an effort to demystify the basic principles about money matters and what it takes to spend, save and invest wisely.
The free program is open to parents, grandparents, youth as well as children, and will be followed by a reception. The event will be in the Founders Hall of the church at 836 Coral Way in Coral Gables. For more information call 305-445-2578 or visit: www.fumccg.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TREASURES OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET
A free and ongoing class called “Treasures within the Hebrew Alphabet,” is taught 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Coronado Library, 20335 W. Country Club Dr. in Aventura.
The class is taught in an “atmosphere of excitement an joy,” where participants discover “mind-boggling, awe-inspiring insights within the Hebrew letters relevant, empowering and uplifting.”
Everyone is welcome, regardless of affiliation or beliefs. Knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet is not required.
Interested persons should call 305-933-1801 for more information.
WORLD CANCER DAY 2016 SHABBAT
World Cancer Day 2016 Shabbat will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at Beth Torah Benny Rock Campus, 20350 NE 26th Ave. in North Miami Beach.
The shabbat is a part of the global event designed to unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer and is co-sponsored by the Memorial Cancer Institute (MCI). Dr. Brian Hunis, medical director of Head and Neck Cancer Program and Quality Initiatives at MCI, will be the guest speaker.
The evening will include services and a light dinner to commemorate the 2016 theme: “We Can. I Can Prevent Cancer. Together We are Stronger.”
For more information, call 954-265-3442.
TEMPLE PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT LEADERSHIP
Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom at 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami on Sunday, Feb. 14, will present a panel that will discuss the many facets of leadership, including features of good leadership, the panel’s personal leadership experiences and their vision for the synagogue. Lunch will be served at noon, followed by the panel discussion.
Also, the synagogue is offering a year-long introductory course in Judaism and Hebrew starting 2 p.m. March 6.
GIRLS’, WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT
Women of Miami Gardens and surrounding areas may register now to attend the “Girls’ and Women’s Empowerment Summit” to be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at The Universal Truth Center for Better Living, 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.
The panel will consist of Miami Gardens Commission for Women and Councilwoman Lillie Q. Odom, along with Women Answering the Call, Legal Shield, Jackson Health Foundation, and Lynda V. Harris and the topic of discussion will be, “Sistah Talk/War Room Tactics/Relationships/Financial Planning/Health and Fitness/Self Defense/Empowerment.”
Registration is from 8 to 8:45 a.m. followed by the discussion at 9 a.m. Minors must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or chaperone. A continental breakfast will be served. Contact Linda Mobley at email@example.com or call her at 305-333-4568.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.