Now is the time

Happy Thankful, Thursday! Everyday is a gift and yesterday reminded me of my purpose here on earth– to serve. My prayers have changed to: Lord how can I serve? and Who do you want me help?  No more prayers of  what can I get, but what can I GIVE.

I’m a medical case manager for terminally/ chronic ill patients. This week was challenging because my fifth member passed away. When you’re this type of manager, you see your clients monthly mostly, and they accept you like family. Sometimes even closer. I’ve learned they are the most kindest and humblest people; because they focus on things that really matter. They are an absolute delight to talk to and know. The world can definitely use more kindness, and everyday, I think we should strive to see someone smile, and let our light be so bright it eases the burdens of whomever comes our way. 
Let’s celebrate birthdays more, and express how we feel about our dear ones while they are here.
Yesterday, on my way to a home visit, I saw a SUV and car collide, and flip completely over right before me. I pulled over and thanked God for his timing for covering me, and I prayed for the families involved. In minutes, life can change!  So, let’s do things NOW, say I love you often, love through your actions, treat everyone the way you want to be treated, because each day counts  and our days are numbered.

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Be the Change You Desire to See!

My mother’s words constantly play in my head daily. She used to always say, ‘Love ❤️ is a verb…an action word.  It’s deeper than what you say, it’s a testament to what you DO!’ We all have gifts and talents that we can share. I believe deep in my soul it starts with the power of ONE. One small act of kindness, volunteering, mentoring or helping a wayward child, can save a life.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ommunity can reach out beyond their own homes, we can help change our city for the better, because real change starts with me/you/and we. I can’t save everyone, but I’m certain, I can touch many.  We can all find someone who needs a light. Yes…it’s a challenging time, but I know if God blesses me, he can do it for everyone, because he loves us all the same.< a href=”https://greatnessisachoice.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/img_5820.png”&gt;So, let’s Pay It Forward, and let God use us to heal our city.  He is still very much in the blessing business! We CAN encourage, mentor, coach, support, enlighten, sponsor a youth. Let’s not talk or sit on the sidelines. Let’s take action, tell the story and make a timely goal to encourage someone that needs it. The time is now to show Black is Beautiful. Black Love is real!!! ❤️😊❤️

Let’s show the world the true power of  praying women and take back our schools, community, churches and any place where the darkness needs our light. So, on this Saturday morning, let us remember you are the church, therefore, the church travels with you everyday and everywhere. We don’t even have to have a t-shirt or bumper sticker for people to know, our light and life should tell the story; so the blind can see and the deaf can hear.  Get active and start being someone answered prayer!  We all have the power to empower, encourage and positively impact our communities starting today with you!?

Love shouldn’t hurt

“It is estimated that every 9 seconds, a woman is abused/ battered” – The Department of Justice, 1997
Today, I decided to put out into the universe some helpful information to help women or anybody in an abusive situation know they have options. No one ever deserves to be abused, and it’s never your fault. Hopefully, this information is useful and can possibly save a life or a family.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of physical or psychological abuse, threats, intimidation, isolation or economic coercion used by one person to exert power and control over another person in a dating, family or household relationship. Unfortunately, many people feel domestic violence is a private matter and often choose to suffer alone in silence. It is not, or it should not be a private matter, it is a CRIME!!!

Forms of Abuse:
Emotional Abuse: It harms a person’s self-image and self-esteem. It often causes shame or the individual to question themselves.

Tactics often used by abusers:

1. Repeated lies

2. Withholding affection

3. Extreme jealousy

4. Frequent insults and put-downs

5. Threats to the person’s safety or loved one’s safety

6. Controlling the person’s whereabouts, dress, how they eat, etc.

Physical Abuse:

It causes physical pain or injuries. It is any unwanted physical act.

Examples includes:

1. Hugging

2. Tickling

3. Kissing (if unwanted)

4. Kicking

5. Slapping

5. Attack with a knife, gun or any other object or weapon

6. Any physical unwanted act that is hurtful.

Sexual Abuse:

It is any kind of unwanted sexual advance or contact. This can include anything from unwelcomed touching, kissing, intercourse or unwanted sexual comments. Forced sexual intercourse between two people is always called “date rape” and unfortunately is too, too common and goes unreported.
How Can You Help?

1. Support

2. Be an Advocate

3. Support Causes that Support Survivors

4. Educate your loved ones of the problems that exist

5. Volunteer

6. Listen

National Domestic Violence Helpline

(800) 799-7233(800) 787-3224 TDD
Chicago Domestic Violence Helpline

(877) 863-6338(877) 884-0005The
National Sexual Assault Hotline

(800) 656-4673

Safety Planning:

Planning for safety during a violent act involves figuring out how to safely exit the home or finding a lower-risk place to go if an argument happens. As a result, a place with no exits, such as bathrooms or closets, or that provide access to weapons such as in kitchens or garages, are difficult and unlikely to provide safety. Individuals should make a list of people they might contact in an emergency or places they coud go to if they decide to leave.

Safety Plan Emergency Checklist & Other Important Items to Possibly Take When Leaving:

___ Identification for yourself

___ Driver license or state ID

___ Your birth certificate

___ Child/Children birth certificates

___ Social security card for yourself

___ Social security cards for your child/ children

___ Money

___ Lease, deed to house, Mortgage information

___ Wallet, checkbook, credit cards, ATM

___ Orders of Protection

___ Insurance cards & policies

___ Keys

___ Medications

___ Address book

___ Pictures

___ Shot & school records

___ Passport, work permits, green card

___ Divorce

___ Jewelry or whatever you feel is necessary

___ Journal of physical abuse with dates/time

Profile of an Abuser:

1. Jealous – Accuses victim of being unfaithful flirting

2. Isolate partner or limit contact with friends and family

3. Tries to control partner

4. Jekyll & Hyde personality, terrible alone & nice to others.

5. Threaten to hurt you or your children/ family

6. Very critical may say “No one will ever want you or you’re ugly”

7. Blames other all the times for their actions

8. Bad tempers

9. Threaten suicide or have made suicide attempts

Prayerfully, this information will be useful and informative.

Happy 2015

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The wonderful feeling about a new year is the energy and idea that we can create a new day. Personally, I’m so thankful to be here and still standing. Last year for me was truly my most challenging year to date.

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The death of my mother came as such a shock! My mother was my rock and Bestfriend and when you experience that type of loss, words can do no justice! However, I’m picking up the pieces and moving forward.

Time is so precious and every experience just makes us better and more equipped for the world. Death is very cruel and sometimes comes without warning. Therefore, I kindly suggest all who read my blog, reflect and think if today was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?

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Each day is a gift and no matter what our circumstance are, we can all make a difference and do something great! Even if it is simply offering a hello or saying thank you. At the end of the day, if we were all blind and material things didn’t matter, we would all realize we are made of the same ingredients and basically desire the same things. So let go of negative people, places and things and start celebrating your gift of 6ft up everyday!!!

Thankfulness

Last year, I purchased a extra Valentine’s Day card for my mother because I assumed she would be here so why not be practical and be proactive for next year.

IMG_3220.JPGSilly, I never imagined my mother had other plans! My mother passed away on April 26, 2014 and my world instantly changed. Nothing is quite the same! Death is a beast sometimes! Although, I had experienced death really close before, this for me was on a whole new level. It felt like the world stopped and everything shifted into an order of importance.

My mother passed away at the age of 69. Dorothy Mae was healthy and simply died in her sleep. For years, my mother would always say, I want to go first and in my sleep. Well unfortunately, for me she got her wish! My mother was everything to me and one of my greatest cheerleaders! My mother understood me and I could always go to her for anything! She knew how to solve any problem and what she couldn’t fix, we knew to solve it with prayer!

Last year was so hard for me and my mother because we both experienced many losses in the past few years! So many that we almost became numb. My mother was the anchor as usual and the first to say life goes on and get over it Sharon!

She would say do something for you and get out of that house. Just the week before, I took my mother’s advice! We had the best time of our life! I took her on a shopping spree and got her a no chip manicure. If I only knew, that would be our last girls day!

After all is said and done, I feel very thankful. It’s a blessing to know love so closely for 43 years! Always receiving me with a smile and a word. Not many in the world can say that! I learned from my loss, that each day is special. No need to wait for a holiday to say I love you! Everyday 6ft up is grounds for a celebration! If you love someone tell them, show them and spend some time with them.

Learn from me, people die and leave off schedule and even when they are not sick. So if we all treat each day, like it’s our last, we will have a better quality of life and live to the fullest!

Love hard and pick your audience carefully!

IMG_3183.JPGBe thankful everyday and know God is always in control. Love never dies and is the only gift that can transcend heaven and earth. As long as our loved ones legacy is kept alive through us, their spirit lives on through us!!!

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Relationship Blues: Poor Decisions

I believe the biggest problem for men and women is poor decisions!

Unfortunately, in my opinion too many people including men and women select partners or mates for ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG REASONS!
Overall, I think women focus on finding stability too much and men focus on physical attractiveness too much.

As a result, both usually end up in a troubled relationships because the motives or goals in the first place were way off. People should focus on character traits that mean something at the end of the day like the following: loving, spiritual, goal orientated, focused, intelligent, nice, friendly, integrity, hard-working, visionary, a giver, CLEAN, Funny, Nice, mentally stability, consistent, excellent cook, no sexual hang-ups, family focused, risk taker, spontaneous and finally honest.

As a result, I truly believe if the selection process was based on substance, those things, relationship would improve 95%. In addition, please know that I agree that it is nice to have a man who is financial and physically stable. But I believe in first possessing what I want. If a woman want a stable man with good credit, well by all means in my opinion she should come to the table with the same things to offer!   Likewise, I believe if a man want a top 10 super model, he needs to bring the eye candy to the table as well.

The nerve of some men that want a super model, that personally possess 3 extra stomachs and a spare. That is so funny to me. I truly believe that men and women have to learn the art of being an asset and not a liability.

Finally, I believe relationships are meant to be like cake and icing. Icing make a cake taste better, it enhances the cakes favor. But let the truth be told, cake still taste very good on its own! Being your own happiness to the relationship table😊.

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College Freshman 101: Date Rape & Safety!

Reflection
This post is detailed and may be too descriptive for some. My hope is not to offend, but to share my previous challenges…a glimpse inside my head…maybe it sounds familiar.

The funniest thing about obstacles and challenges is that they seem to always be delivered without an introduction or a warning. In 2009, I got an unthinkable Facebook friend request from the man that stole my virginity and date raped me in college.

Date Rape

Naively, I was the typical freshman, and never knew danger could come and find me in the form of a new boyfriend. For hours, I looked at the request and decided to forgive him, but the idea of befriending him was just way too much.

Unfortunately, the challenging life course was just getting started for me. A few years ago, I remember arriving to a work training only to be greeted by the man who date raped me in college.

The timing could not have come at a worse juncture. I was emotionally spent.  I was fragile and tired. My sister had just got married, my pastor had just passed away, and my closest cousin, who is like a sister, husband, suddenly died.

My heart started beating fast and I hurriedly started talking to myself. Put yourself in auto-pilot mode and just get through the day! God must really like challenges. My mind was racing. What should I do?! I had no desire to disclose this information to my boss. And so, I decided to just maintain and hold it together; because it was my responsibility to listen and bring back the information for my team. Prayerfully, I managed to survive the entire event without flinching, leaving or escaping.rapeEmotional Wounds

My twenty plus year old past, that haunted me for years was now staring me in the face. Thankfully, I’m a testament that God’s grace is always on time, and I was able to weather that storm. The trainer’s voice faded quickly, and all I could think about was keeping my cool and getting back to my office. As the trainers prepared for lunch, guess who offered me their card and decided to sit next to me? Yes, it’s true…the man who date raped me and caused me to lose trust in most men.

Shockingly, he had become a state licensed social worker and had his own youth mentoring business. He apologized and told me he was a changed man and determined to give back and make a difference.

Predators are Often People You Know and Trust

In college, I was a very naïve girl from Chicago.  I was shy with big hopes and dreams. I never had a clue that you might need to protect yourself from people you know; as well as strangers. Predators lurk in all sorts of places, and the wise can only be proactive and share their wisdom to prevent others from becoming new victims.

I love to share my challenges in an effort to let people know it is ok to be human, a survivor and seek help when you need it. I wish I knew to date in groups; until you really know the person you are dating. Time is a true measurement test for integrity, character, respect, love and support.

Remember, challenges and obstacles knock on every person’s door. Stay prayerful and know God is always there with us; through every trial and tribulation. Believe, trust, and let go, no matter how scary the situation is. God’s grace is always enough and timely!

Moving Forward

Thanks so much to everyone that replied to my post. I truly appreciate each and every comment. The older I become, the more I feel compelled to be transparent, and share my journey through life. As a result, I firmly believe that sharing my challenges and pain will free others, and maybe even encourage forgiveness; so they can move forward with their lives. From my own experiences, again, I have learned our pain sometimes can become our own prison.

Therefore, forgiveness is a defense and offers all an opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives. It has nothing to do with the perpetrator/s.  It has everything to do with the healing of our mind, body and spirit. Sharing my personal story of rape and survival is just my way to encourage others. If I overcame it, so can you. It is truly my hope to let my fellow survivors know they are not alone, to offer an opportunity to educate and inform others of the potential dangers and to give another face/ profile of a predator.

stop rapeAs a mother of a daughter, I hope my story encourages mothers to have a conversation with their daughters, and let them know of the potential dangers when dating. Explain the rules, and why it is so important to date in groups and spend the necessary extra time to get to know someone before welcoming them into their personal space.

Mothers remind your daughters they are special, and educate them about dating.  It should be someone that respects them, and understands fully that “No actually means No” and will accept it without question. My experience taught me that I was picked intentionally.  He was extra careful…selective even…I was the perfect candidate.  Twenty- six years ago, I was extremely shy, and so ashamed that I allowed this rape to happen to me.

My Rapist

In my mind, my rapist was never what I pictured a rapist to be. My rapist was extremely popular on the basketball team, homecoming king, well-educated and had many admirers to say the least. Personally, I thought a rapist would be a stranger and someone that would pop up in a dark alley or something like that.

Never in a million years did I even entertain the thought that my new boyfriend could be a rapist and be so well-liked. My flawed act was simply agreeing to go watch a movie in his room with four other friends. When the movie ended, the four people left the room and I prepared to get my coat and leave, the rest…history. I remember him blocking the door way and telling me, ‘Sharon you can make this easy or hard, but today you will leave a woman’.

During that time in my life, I was extremely shy and timid, 18 years old and afraid. My rapist was 6 feet and at least 200 pounds and I was just 5’7 and maybe 120 pounds. Initially, I tried to fight and stop him, but he was convinced that this was what I needed to take us to the next level. The feelings of being helpless and powerless over my situation consumed me and changed me forever. The story of how I lost my virginity was traumatic and permanently sketched in my brain. I carried that pain for years and never reported the incident due to my own embarrassment at that time.

Emotional Baggage

As I stated before, I used to be painfully shy, and thought if I told people, some how I would end up being the blame me for going, and watching the movie and being so naïve. Plus, he was so well liked and get this…I did not want to consider HIM going to jail, losing his scholarship and dealing with the reality of everyone knowing in great details what actually occurred to me. As a result, I did what many women do, I buried the pain and carried the baggage of my rape into every relationship I had including my marriage. Thankfully, the encounter early this year gave me the needed closure and the opportunity to get the answers of why. Plus, he apologized, and allowed me to forgive and put that luggage down.

Growth and Empowerment

In my opinion, rape is a very emotional and altering act. However, a survivor selects to deal with the pain of rape, is their personal choice. For me, I decided to become a blogger, a sexual assault advocate, and a social worker. By simply sharing my story and ways to prevent date rape, I hope to empower others to be survivors and advocates against date rape and sexual assault. If anyone you know is a victim, encourage and let them know, “NO means NO” and it is never their fault or too late to seek support or get help!

My wish is to let all survivors know:

1. They are not alone and it is never their fault.

2. To offer an opportunity to educate and inform others of the potential dangers.

3. Give another face and profile of a predator for they are often never a stranger.

4. Encourage people to listen and be alert.

5. Help end sexual assault and Date Rape.

6. Help eliminate the shame, guilt and secrecy of abuse.

7. To volunteer and support organizations that advocates to end sexual abuse

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is:

(800) 656-4673. The hotline is free, private, and available 24 hours a day. http://www.greatnessisachoice.com

Cheaters

Unfortunately, most people who have been cheated on, are 1000% AWARE! Likewise, there is no such thing of blindsiding a sane stable person. Often we select to put on our blinders because we are simply not ready to deal with the truth.

We all learned as children that hiding from a problem never solves anything but prolongs the issues. Prayer, honesty, open communication, forgiveness, respect and addressing all the Core Issues is the only real solution.

Since communication is now 90% non-verbal, almost every person I have ever spoken to who has been cheated on, knew, who, what, when, where, why and even sometimes how. All this non-sense of not knowing is just foolishness.

Body language is almost involuntary, so everything a person really needs to know, is usually right there looking them dead in the face. Regardless to not having concrete evidence. However, if more people accepted the naked truth facts around them, we would be a lot better off.

If something, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smell like a duck, then by all means stop all the analysis and just accept it is a DUCK! If your significant other displays any of the following red flags you may want to accept the duck status for sure!!!

1. Indifferent towards you!

2. Inattentive to your needs and wants!

3. Working late unexpectedly or all the time!

4. Bathes or shower as soon as they hit the door!

5. Never want to spend quality time together!

6. Refuses to communicate with you!

7. Has become a stranger in the house!

8. No connection intimately or concern for your satisfaction!

9. Unsupportive of your dreams or aspirations!

10. Negative towards your goals & vision for your life!

11. Has guy or girl trip plans to travel to Brazil or the Dominican Republic.  It’s not for fishing or golfing of the normal sort 😜.  

12. A sudden change in their physical appearance, dress and demeanor!

13. Excessive talking on the cell or texting frequently! Locks it too!

14. Obsession with their personal computer or laptop!

15. An absolute change in attitude and perspective!

16. Wear cologne or perfume all of a sudden!

17. Never affirm their significant other or compliment them.  Plus suddenly stops complaining!!!  Normally a back up has been hired 😉!  The website Ashley Madison has made millions by setting up marrying individuals who still like to explore.  

18. Take, Take, Take & Never Give!!!

19. Unexplained STD😑. 

20. Loves Porn, No discipline or integrity!!!

21.  Feels unappreciated, neglected,  taken for granted, resentment, stifled or unattended, is a great recipe for a side piece invite.  

Enough said already!

http://www.greatnessisachoice.com

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Getting Past the Pain

Yesterday I was inspired by Monique Spence😍. I also like to tell my stories of faith & God, because I truly remember all to well a very shy girl from the south side of Chicago with not too much but with a lot of love and a great family. When I hear about all the violence in Chicago and discord going on, I remember my mother saying God is the same yesterday, today & forever! I remember being afraid of going back to grad school and then the day came & I had to bury my son.

I just had a child by C-Section, 19 staples, chest in pain from the milk, and my son passed away! I’m in the maternity ward & babies are everywhere except mines. Thankful, the Staff at the University of Chicago had a heart. Put me in a private room & took me off that ward. I remember being in that room, alone & thinking God, if I can live through this, getting my Masters will be a breeze! It was! I graduated from Spertus College in 1999 with a Masters in Human Service Administration with a GPA of 3.8. Thank God for his Grace, that was 19 years ago on 6/25/95. I will never forget Deloris Foster, Jacqueline Glass, Tiffany Roberson, Michelle Davis, Chris McMorris, John Williams, my Parents & Tamla Jarrett. God Grace & the love & support of friends and family is how we make it to see the sun again!

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National HIV Testing Day

Today is National HIV testing day! As a HIV/ AIDS, Program Coordinator it is very important to know your status! Black women are being effected by the disease the most! Knowledge is power and can save your life! So many advances has been made with medications and practices to treat the disease.

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Service
STI/HIV/AIDS Evaluation
The following CDPH clinics are drop-in specialty clinics that diagnose and treat sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea and others. They also provide information about condom use and other prevention methods. Services are offered at no cost, and on a first-come, first-serve basis, no appointment is necessary.

Free clinic hours and locations:
Englewood STI Specialty Clinic
641 W. 63rd St., Lower Level
Phone: 312.747.8900
Fax: 312.747.5275
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 8 am – 4 pm
Tue., Thu.: 9 am – 5 pm

South Austin STI Specialty Clinic
4958 W. Madison
Phone: 312.746.4871
Fax: 312.746.4637
Mon. and Wed.: 8 am – 4 pm
Tue., Thu.: 10 am – 6 pm

Lakeview STI Specialty Clinic
2861 N. Clark, 2nd Floor
Phone: 312.744.5507
Fax: 312.744.2573
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 8 am – 4 pm
Tue., Thu.: 10 am – 6 pm

West Town STI Specialty Clinic
2418 W. Division
Phone: 312.744.5464
Fax: 312.744.5516
Fri.: 8 am – 4 pm

Roseland STI Specialty Clinic
200 E. 115th St.
Phone: 312.747.2831
Fax: 312.747.2841
Mon.: 8 am – 4 pm
Thurs.: 9 am – 5 pm

Services eligibility:

Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for services. No one is turned away if unable to pay. Fees are on a sliding scale basis.

*Additional locations are available by calling 1.800.AID.AIDS

Services provided at the clinics:
Evaluation, testing & treatment for sexually transmitted infections & HIV
HIV Counseling
HIV Rapid Testing (same day results)
STI & HIV Education
Partner Notification
Treatment Services
Free Condoms
On site lab testing and dispensing of medications Early Intervention Services for persons living with HIV . Services are provided at the Englewood and Uptown Clinic Locations. CDPH Clinics test for the following sexually transmitted infections:

chlamydia
gonorrhea
genital warts
herpes
HIV
non-gonoccocal urethritis (NGU)
syphilis
vaginal infections (trichomoniasis, yeast, and bacterial vaginosis)
Testing and treatment services are available for many less common STIs

such as:
chancroid
crabs
lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
molluscum contagiosum
mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC)
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
scabies
HIV Primary Care Clinics hours and locations:
CDPH’s HIV Primary Care Program provides care for persons living with HIV. These programs provide integrated, life-sustaining services that include primary medical care, HIV treatment, mental health assistance, and comprehensive support to promote healthy living for our clients. Our caring teams of HIV specialists include physicians, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, case managers, and medical assistants who provide comprehensive, integrated, multidisciplinary HIV specialty care services tailored to individual client needs. Services are offered by appointment.

Englewood Primary Care Clinic
641 W. 63rd St., First Floor
Phone: 312.745.0667
Fax: 312.745.7753
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 8 am– 4 pm
Tue., Thu.: 10 am – 6 pm

Uptown Primary Care Clinic
845 W. Wilson, 2nd Floor
Phone: 312.744.1935
Fax: 312.744.1308

Mon., Wed., Fri.: 8 am– 4 pm
Tue., Thu.: 10 am – 6 pm

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