I Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

Eric Gardner pleaded 11 times that he could not breathe before being suffocating to death by the very people who took an oath to serve AND protect. As I watched the movie Queen & Slim, I sat in anticipation and feeling as if I couldn’t breathe. No worries, no spoilers here. Please watch the movie for yourself. Even as the movie ended and I left the crowded theater to return home, the tightness in my chest and tears continued to flow. I Can’t Breathe.

As a woman of God, I know the Word of God. Deuteronomy 31:6, ” “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” But I am still human and flesh that lives in a world where we often have the sensation that reflects how Eric Gardner felt. I Can’t Breathe.

Every day, I wake and pray to God to protect and cover my husband and all of my boys. When my phone rings, until I know who is on the other line the feeling returns. I Can’t Breathe. It doesn’t matter if the callerID shows the number of my family or UNKNOWN number, the feeling is the same. I Can’t Breathe. A sense of temporary relief rushes over me knowing it’s nothing but a scam caller or my son simply asking what I am doing.

I know everyone that reads this post may not understand how I feel everyday of my life. I Can’t Breathe. Everyone doesn’t know what it feels like to try to live a holy life but have feelings of fear because we are often judged, discriminated against, or even killed just because of the color of our skin. I Can’t Breathe. Some will never understand telling your kids the goal everyday is to just make it home. I Can’t Breathe.

As I look at the innocent face of my grandson, I fear the world he must grown up in. I Can’t Breathe. What can I do? What can you do? How can we help others see our value and worth? How can we create a world where we are all treated equally? How can I stop getting the double stare when shopping while black? How can my son drive my Lexus in a nice neighborhood without being stopped to ask whose car are you driving and why are you over here???

Normally, I have a reason to blog. Today, my reason is simple….

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

I Can’t Breathe.

Created for a Purpose? ??‍♀️

What is my purpose in life? The question so many ask but already have the answer. Shana, what do you mean? I have no clue what my purpose is. God has not revealed my purpose. Well, I beg to differ.

Some church folk can get real deep and lead everyone to believe your purpose is tied to an official title such as minister, pastor, apostle and oh my favorite prophet. Don’t get me wrong. You can possess the spiritual gifts to minister, pastor or even prophetsize but your purpose is even deeper. Your purpose is what God called you to be and do.

Let me give you an example. As a little girl, I was always a talker. Semester after semester my report card was filled with comments that referenced my constant talking in class. So it’s no surprise I found a career in customer service talking for a living. I like to think I am a Subject Matter Expert at talking. Anyway, as I continue to GROW, I realized my excessive talking and caring for others especially women was more than just a hobby. It is who I am. It is my purpose to inspire other women to be, act, and live the lives that were made just for me.

Not quite convinced? OK, I can keep writing until something stirs up inside of you. Here’s another example of how you can see purpose in play. As a teenager my husband provided $3.75 hair cuts in his grandparents’ garage. He later grew up and went into the Army. Quickly realizing that he was unsatisfied in that profession, he returned home and enrolled in barbering school. Don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t looking for his purpose. He was looking to get paid. He had a passion for the art and after a few years he ventured on to open his open successful barber shop, Born2Cut. He loved to cut hair. 12-14 hour days were nothing to him. What he didn’t realize until many years later, he had actually discovered his purpose. I’m getting excited let me slow down. What I didn’t say is as he was cutting hair, he was changing lives. As clients anxiously waited for their fresh cut or sat in his barber chair, he shared his personal testimonies and offered advice that some say changed their lives. You see being a barber can be just as impactful as some of those other popular religious titles.

Purpose is already within you. What is that thing that makes you so excited when you do it or talk about it? What is that thing you stop but something keeps drawing you back to it? What is that thing that you love to do that sometimes make you forget to eat? What is that reoccurring dream you have had for years? What are your talents and natural abilities?

So I ask, what is your purpose???????? Baker? Teacher? Singer? Author?Mechanic? Doctor? Engineer? Cook? Planner? Speaker? Leader? Do it because God called you to do it.

And more importantly when are you going to take a step toward living your purpose?????

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

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Let “It” Go, Let “It” Go, Let “It” Go!!!!

It’s simply hard to let somethings go. Have you ever had an unsettled feeling that you need to let “IT” go but you don’t seem to know how? Or someone is in your ear, “Just let it go!” I don’t understand why you can’t let it go. If it was me…..”   or your mind is telling you that you can just ignore “IT” but you are not at peace.  You have restless days and nights. You may even be withdrawn or an expert on hiding “IT.”  Your “IT” could be drugs, smoking, alcohol, abuse, job, a bad habit, unhealthy eating, a relationship or even a person. Maybe its me but there has been more than one occasion where I struggled to let go.

I worked for a company for many years, looked over for several positions but still didn’t want to let go. I was at the point where I no longer felt I belonged but loved many of the people I worked with. I just couldn’t let go. I was lied to, over worked and unappreciated, yet I couldn’t let go. I wasn’t at peace but still struggled to take a step to change my situation.  I questioned if I was good enough.  Even after leaving the company, and getting another job where I was paid more, treated with respect, rewarded for great work,  I still struggled to completely let go. I kept in touch with some relationships that were long dead that resulted in absolutely nothing. But I struggled to let go.

There were even some very good friends that I had known for many years that I no longer connected with as we did previously. I struggled to let go. We forced conversations, visits, calls and texts. Nothing specifically warranted ending some of the relationships, I just didn’t feel connected or fulfilled.  I am sure the feeling was probably mutually. Yet, I struggled to let go.

As my children began to grown, I struggled (still do if I’m honest) letting go. I could see some of the mistakes brewing and tried to lend a hand when in fact, I should have let go. It’s through mistakes that they will truly grow.  Some of my greatest accomplishments came when I let go. When I left my job, I found another team of amazing individuals. I obtained a consistent work life balance. I traveled to places I never thought I would visit. And most importantly, I truly discovered who I was – bold, courageous, intelligent, confident and inspirational. I realized that I had the courage to take risks, even when I afraid because I put my trust in God. I knew if he removed “IT” there was a reason. Some I completely understand and some I may never.

Holding on to “IT” could be the very thing that is preventing you from greater (a better job, life, relationship, health etc…) Stop hanging on to “IT” and do what you need to do to let “IT” go. Get help. Talk to someone. Make a plan. JUST DO IT!

Need a little more inspiration?

The Wall   by Pastor Jermaine Nichols, Greater Works Center

Let Go Let God Dewayne Woods

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:8-10NLT

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Be Blessed,



Circles, Circles and More Circles

Tired? Stressed? A little overwhelmed some days? Everything and everyone getting on your last nerve? Maybe it’s just me.  My internal alarm clock goes off daily at 6:53am. I usually begin with 30 minutes of Shana time (silence, prayer and mediation). Then coffee time. Then the corporate clock timer begins at 8am. My day is full with Can you? Will you? Do you? What about? All while being a wife – Where is my?, mother – Ma? What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? Let’s…? Time to go to…..? If you could relate to any of those questions, this post is for you.

Let’s be clear, I am not complaining because I love every aspect of my busy life. It is the life that God made especially for me at this exact time (Jeremiah 29:11).  But if I’m being honest, there are days that I don’t always like it. ??‍♀️ More specifically, when life happens and its not all sunshine? and rainbows? . You know those days when everything happens at once. Crazy day at work, debits less than credits, children acting like they didn’t have any home training and add you still working to make sure home is taken care of.
During these times, I have moments of weaknesses. Sound familiar? Recently, I was having one of those days. I wanted to just cuss everyone out and give up but that really wasn’t an option since its not who I am and probably would not be the best career decision either. What I decided to do was change the atmosphere. Change my mind. Focus on me.  I went to church and the pastor had an amazing sermon, “The Wall – Removing the Barriers from Your Life”. He spoke to exactly what I had been feeling, and my hope was restored. There was desire for me to break my routine and just be around others and I did just that. Well, what I discovered is that I am not alone. I was able to talk freely (without fear of judgment or embarrassment) about some of the difficult situations that were going on in my life. I truly was not alone. I was surrounded by several women who were experiencing some of the exact same feelings that I was. I talked. I laughed. I cried. I felt relieved. I felt supported. I felt encouraged.
At that moment, I saw how critical my circle is to who I have been called to be. Think about it for a minute. What is a circle?  A circle is simply a closed shape. You can not determine where it starts or ends.  Nothing gets in and nothing gets out.  That’s how I felt being surrounded by these women. We were not in a physical circle but we were in a spiritual circle. Where one was suffering, the other could relate, offer advise or pray for one another. It was therapeutic for everyone. Our souls and spirits were connected by love.  It was an interaction where I could express how I was feeling and not fear being judged or embarrassed by my personal situations. It was a time of giving and receiving. A circle of love and support.  It was one of my circles.  And at this moment, I realized I have different circles for different aspects of my life: Best friend circle, spiritual circle, development circle.
Today, I ask who is in your circle? Circles? Have you established a foundation of love and support?  A team that can pick you up and carry you when you are weak. Yes, even the strong gets weak. Some people struggle with asking for help. Maybe its just me. But I feared (past tense) that other’s would perceive me as weak. Well, if we could do everything on our own then we wouldn’t believe in the scriptures that say, I can do all things through God who strengthens me. ” It’s clear that weakness must exist in order for God to do Him. Isaiah 30:18- 19 reads, ” So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for His help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.” (KJV)
Friends, you never have to be alone. It’s a choice. Choose to take the lead and create your own circles of love, and support. There is someone else out there who also needs to be connected.
My goal is to inspire each person in my circle to create her own circle of support and LOVE and they in turn will create their circle…..

Trapped in Your Past

trapped in your past

Are you a prisoner of your past? Are you still holding on to what happened? Why me? Like I said in my book, It Is Well, Why not you?

This weekend I had the opportunity to sit still, which is rare, and watch a little television. I stumbled across this NetFlix series titled, “Wentworth.” For those of us who aren’t up on the current trending shows, it is an Australian drama of the life of several women in prison. The main characters were imprisoned for different crimes as a result of murder, drug addiction, alcoholism, and anger which all stemmed from situations in their past. Situations that hurt them so deeply; they were trapped. As I watched several episodes, not only did I see how the women’s past had caused them to be imprisoned physically but their past had imprisoned them into believing they were someone who they were not. They were incarcerated by their past. Trapped!

Are you trapped in your past? Have you allowed your abuse, your hurt, your lies, your mistakes, your anger, your low self-esteem to trap you in the past? Have I entered your street? No? OK, what about your weight, your debt, your cheating, your alcohol abuse, your drug addition, your past relationship? My friend, I am here to share that YOU are not the only one that has been through something. All those things happened to you for a reason. It is helping to shape you into the person God created from the beginning. It was part of God’s plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and to not to harm you,” catch this part, “plans to give you hope and a FUTURE.” What God didn’t do was plan for you to be trapped in it. Your past is simply a part of who you were. You are PERFECT, and born to be a testimony to someone else to share exactly how good God is.

The number 8 is very significant in the Bible. It is symbolic of resurrection. It is a new beginning. In this 8 month of the year (August), I dare you to boldly unlock the handcuffs of your past and let it go. Let it be your story. Your testimony on how God was there the entire time and how he used “it” to heal others, and to change lives, especially yours!

How do I begin to heal? It hurts so bad. Well, first you have to recognize that ‘thing’ that have you trapped. Pause here for a moment or two, a few of us have been hurting so long we don’t even know what it is that has us trapped. Ok, ready? Do you remember? Great! Now, let it go! Once you see that ugly part of your past for what it is, the past, you can move forward to a new beginning. Now that you know what has trapped you in the past, you can begin to heal.

Next, you must realize you are not alone. Our past can sometimes force us to be in periods of isolation. We can suffer from a wide variety of emotions – hurt, embarrassment, shame, discouragement , afraid, brokenness and even a feeling of unworthiness. But those my friends are all lies set by the enemy. You are not alone and if you look close enough you can see God was with you the entire time cheering you on. Have you ever started a conversation with someone and then all of a sudden you realize that they also went through the same thing you did? It is not a coincidence. It was God reminding you, you are not alone. Do not be ashamed.

Well, now its your turn to start that conversation and tell your story. The next time that feeling comes to share what happened to you, hold your head up, straighten your back and speak boldly about the things that happened in the past and how you are no longer trapped by them. This my friend is what will truly set you free. I hear the handcuffs to your past falling. It’s time for you to let the past stay in the past. You just took a step into your future and it looks mighty bright.

When They See Us

shana blogpost

I recently watched Ava Duvernay’s, “When They See Us.” As I watched, I cried and cried and cried again. So many times, I wanted to pause and stop watching but I just couldn’t stop. Each episode was filled with so much deep hurt and pain. I saw my husband, my sons, my nephews, my cousins and I am angry. I am afraid every time my phone rings. Yes, I know for all you holier than thou folks saying it’s not of God to live in fear, I know that. When they see ALL black men as thugs, murderers, rapist, you can’t help but to get angry and be afraid for their lives. Then I started thinking how do THEY see me? How do they see this black woman from North Charleston, SC.

I realize there are things that I can control and of course there are things I CANNOT. When they see me, what will they see? There is an old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I want to ensure that when I encounter “them” I will do my part. I will live, act and be the person that God has called me to be regardless of how “they” view me. I will project the image of a God loving educated black woman. They will see a POWERFILLED woman that is goal oriented and passionate about helping others.

They see an angry black woman….You are a strong black woman.

They see a ghetto black woman…You are prosperous.

They see a ratchet black woman… You are modest.

They see a brash black woman…You are humble.

They see a bougie black woman…You are high class.

Self awareness is the key to begin to change who you are. The goal is simply to be the best you and “they” will realize who and whose you are or they won’t. The point is focus on what we can control.

Wouldn’t Change the Bad Times

I wouldn’t change the bad times even if I could. I know you are thinking, “Shana, no one wants bad times. What is really going on?” And you are absolutely right but hold on, I’m not crazy; I’m blessed. Let me explain.

This weekend I had the honor of attending POWERFILLED 2019. It was nothing short of amazing. It inspired me even more to start thinking about my next step. What is it? Not ready to reveal just yet. But I’ve had the dream for several years. ?However, I can say God has been preparing me for a time such as these for several years. And I am fully equipped partially because of these times. Of course, I had to do my part and get prepared as well. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. Sorry y’all the session this weekend has my spirit lit! Let’s me explain why I wouldn’t change a few of the bad times in my life.

Finances….Yikes!!! I am ashamed to say that there was a time when my INDIVIDUAL credit card debt was almost more than my first house cost. I had several credit cards: Limited, Express, Friedman’s Jewelry, Sears, Montgomery Ward, JCPenney, Chase Visa, Citibank VISA, Discover, American Express, Bank of America Visa, just to name a few because I have forgotten the rest, with VERY GOOD credit (VERY GOOD 700-800 range. ALL GOD.  I paid the minimum due on time every month and the interest continued to climb.  Of course, I would recommend you to use credit more wisely, pay more than the minimum due, and save for a rainy day. The rainy day will come.  Several years ago, my husband and I attended a financial program that changed our perspective on money management. We learned the reality of our financial situation and knew we had to improve our debt. And guess what we did just that. I have experienced the feeling of drown in debt, living pay check to pay check.  I learned how to budget, save and invest. And now I can enjoy financial freedom. My poor experiences with my personal finances have not only taught me how to manage my money, but I can manage my own business and equip others. Deuteronomy 28:12, “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. If you are interested in joining me on this financial independence journey click here.  Take a Step to Financial Freedom and Click Here to Receive More Details

Now, let’s me move on to talk about building effective relationships. Later this month my husband and I will have been married for 22 years. Yep, 22 long years! Some of you it may be hard to believe that our marriage is not perfect. Facebook fooled you huh? It was not our intention to fool anyone. It was simply to keep others out of our business until it was a purpose for them to know. Pre-martial counseling with Rev. Dr. Isaac J. Holt, Jr.  provided us three key principles to ensure we had a lifelong marriage: COMMUNICATION, COMMITMENT and the most critical principle of all, CHRIST. Through many trials and tribulations, we have since added another one to our personal list, CONSISTENCY. At times throughout our marriage, we did not honor all of those principles. I’ll let you guess which one(s). But during those bad times, we learned and grew from our mistakes. We learned how to put each other’s need first, we learned how to communicate more effectively with one another and we learned how to give and receive feedback which are all key elements in any relationship, personal or professional.

And those very same principles I used to become who I am, Unapologetically Me, an author, mother, wife, friend, coach, inspirational leader and mentor. Again, I wouldn’t change those bad times even if I could.

As you continue through this thing called life, remember the bad times won’t last always. Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

In every situation, stop ask yourself what lesson have I learned? What could I have done to get a different outcome? What will I do next time? What can I share with someone else so they won’t make the same mistake? God often uses some of the worst situations in our lives to show us He is still in the midst and when your situation turns around, He will get all the glory.

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Just Take a Step

Just take a step? You always wanted to open your own business, write a book, go back to school or even find a new job. But you’re comfortable, right? To add even more confusion in helping answer those questions you have thoughts of what if I fail, what if I can’t make it by myself, or how will I pay my bills. Well, honey you are not alone. 

I have had several conversations recently with people that were struggling to take a step toward fulfilling the desires of their heart. The common theme was FEAR. But what if, you decide tochange your mind and rearrange your doubts. What if I succeed, what if not only can I pay my bills but I become debt free, what if Ifind someone who loves and respects me, what if I find happiness?

It’s harvest time!!! Your seeds have long been planted. Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. It’s your season to take a step into what God has called you to do. John 15:16 reads, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

Today, I challenge you to look deep inside yourself and believe the desires of your heart can happen. You have allowed life and people to dampen your dreams and today that ends. The next 30 days, write “it” out. Set a goal to focus on your passion, desires and purpose. Read a book, apply for the job, create a budget or business plan, just don’t sit there dreaming, take a step.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. -Harriett Tubman 

But all you have to do is that a single step!

Use the below hashtag when you take your first step.

#Take A Step

I AM Unapologetically Me

2 Kings 4:8-26

There are so many lessons we can learn from the Shunammite Woman:

1. Be prepared.

2. Have a spirit of expectation.

3. Keep the faith.

4. Stay focused and don’t allow others to block your vision.

5. Be who God has called you to be—Your Unapologetic Self!!!

Want to hear more? Tune in


Join us every Sunday at 10am EST

Greater Works Center

Pastor Jermaine Nichols

8169 Regent Parkway

Fort Mill SC 29715

Photo Credit: Roderick Phifer

Focus on YOU

The popular R&B song “Focus” by H.E.R. is filled with examples of how a young lady is desperately trying to get her partners attention. This song has been on repeat in my head since Minister Wendell Powell used it as a foundation of one of his sermons. The songstress is frustrated and ready to walk away from her relationship. He’s always playing on his phone, probably Facebook or Instagram. Lol.

Recently, I was chatting with my girlfriends about forgiveness especially in marriages. It’s always the partners fault and he needs to do…. and stop…… Fill in the blank. Then this song popped in my head again. It made me think, sometimes when we are hurt we act out of desperation and do/say things because of the pain we suffer. Forgiveness can be such a difficult act to do. However, when you change the focus and say, “Focus on Me” it really can change your perspective and outcome.

Today, I challenge you to focus on the things that YOU can control – YOU. It is not our responsibility to change others but allow our lives to model the behaviors we would like others to see. If your partner is always on Facebook and not giving you their undivided attention, YOU make the change. Make a point by declaring that you don’t want to be disturbed tonight so they can have your undivided attention. Or those moments when you are getting what you need, YOU should compliment and recognize the behavior. When you focus on YOU, you will get more of your needs met. YOU will be more satisfied and happier with yourself thus allowing you to be able to give and love that is not covered in those items that blurred your focus. Today focus on YOU!

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:15-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬


Focus by H.E.R.