Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review: 3627 by MiMi Q. Atkins

This past Resurrection weekend, I finally finished a great read from author MiMi Q. Atkins. Check out my review of her first fiction Christian romance, '3627':
Faith, Hope, and Love intertwine two souls from two different worlds.
My copy of '3627'

Before reading 3627, I hadn't picked up a Christian novel or any other genre of fiction in a long time. I only had one other Christian romance novel (purchased in 2007) in my collection which I still haven't finished to this day. After that, I became more engrossed in non-fiction inspirational/self-help books. Thanks to 3627, my desire to read fiction books again has resurfaced. The story of Rumor and Holden has touched my heart in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time since, "A Walk To Remember" (one of my favorite movies as a teenager). There were moments in the story where I would see myself in Rumor and Holden, while at times feeling convicted. No other book has challenged me or brought me to a place of conviction and repentance the way that 3627 has done. At every turn of each page, I could tell that the author was led by the Holy Spirit with each word. Oh, and the details!! As an avid reader and writer, I am very detail-oriented and love stories that are written the same. I am still in awe of the details in 3627 and how they were so intricately written. I could literally picture the places and the characters as if I was right there with them. I witnessed hope, faith, and love between two people from two different worlds with a commonality, brokenness. Through their story, I felt hope again. A hope that there is a God-fearing gentleman out there for me that will love me past my flaws and I will love him the same and we will both continue to bring each other closer to Christ every day. Most importantly, 3627 reminded me that the Lord gives me hope and promises me that through His love and my faith in Him, I am whole. I wish I could say more, but you will have to read it yourself to enjoy this beautiful, timeless treasure that is 3627. May you all be blessed by this book. I know I was.  Thank you, MiMi; I'm looking forward to your next masterpiece!😄 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Journal of Lena Oliver (My Tribute to Dr. King)

Every year that it is Dr. King's birthday (January 15, 1929) and we celebrate MLK Day (2nd Monday in January), I love to reminisce on his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

The following fictional story was written on March 11, 2004 as an assignment for English 1101(Ms. Murphy's class-Darton College) It is based on Dr. King's march on Washington. I've noticed that since high school, I've always loved writing about Dr. King's life and work. I hope everyone enjoys this story:


The Journal of Lena Oliver by Lequvia Ousley



November 8, 2003



It is a rainy, gloomy Saturday afternoon and as usual I don't have anything to do. I remember as a child spending Saturdays with my grandmother, I affectionately called Mama Pearl. Mama Pearl always knew how to chase the boredom way. She would gather my sister, Lois, my brother Lionel, and I in the kitchen, bake cookies then let us eat all of them until we couldn't eat anymore. Sometimes when the day was good and sunny, Mama Pearl would take us shopping. We would go to the antique stores and the nickel-and-dime stores of her youth and she would share a story with us. I saw that each store held some kind of sentimental memory for her. Her stories whether true or imaginative, were my favorite memories as a child.

"Lena, Lois, Lionel, come here. I want to show you something!" Mama Pearl exclaimed. "What is it, Mama Pearl?" I said. I found my scrapbook," she said. All of us gathered in the living room and began to look through the scrapbook. It contained several photos of a young, vibrant, carefree, Mama Pearl. "Mama Pearl, would you tell us another story?" my brother asked. "Of course, Lionel I will tell you a story." Storytelling is my specialty," she said. "Did I ever tell all of you about my trip to Washington, DC?" she asked. "No, Mama Pearl you did not tell us that story. " Could you please tell us?" Lois asked. "Yes, I will tell you the story."

The year was 1963 and I was twenty years old, working part-time as a waitress at a local diner in Chicago. During this time, blacks didn't receive the same treatment as whites. Blacks were beaten, harassed and unemployment was at an ultimate high. I just felt blessed to have a job. There was a light through that dark tunnel though, the civil rights movement. It was the one catalyst that helped not just the blacks, but all people."


"I heard about the march from my friend, Charles. He said, "Pearl, participating in this event could be the one thing you will never stop telling your grandchildren about. Needless to say, he was right because here I am telling each of you about it." "What happened next?" I asked. "Well of course, I didn't refuse. Besides, I would have the best of both worlds, a reunion with an old friend and a chance to show my political side."

Weeks before the march, Charles and I reserved our seats on the "freedom" bus, as it was called, which would take us directly from Chicago to Washington,D.C. We also made protesting signs. My sign read, "Fight Discrimination for Integration!" We were so excited.

"When we finally arrived at the march, we departed the bus, grabbed our signs, and headed into the crowd. I could not believe there were so many people. It had to be at least 400,000 people. Whether black, white, old, or young, everyone was there. The scene was beautiful. Throughout the march, people chanted, "Pass the bill!" "Pass the bill!" One of the important reasons for organizing the march was to pass a series of bills, one being the Civil Rights Act. When some people talk about the march, they discuss the serious aspect of the event. The march was not just a serious event; it had its entertaining moments as well. I saw performances from Josh White, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan, and the famous trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary. The performances were spectacular.

As the day went on, more people arrived. What impressed me the most was that there was no violence. With so many people, anything could have happened. The highlight of the day was Dr. King's famous, "I Have a Dream" speech. At this point, I'm thinking, "I can't believe I'm here, a part of such an inspirational and influential event. My favorite part of the speech was when Dr. King said,"....all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants, will all be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last; free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Dr. King's speech was the true essence of the march. "

"Mama Pearl that was a great, story," said Lois. "I'm glad you liked it, "Mama Pearl said. "Let's go into the kitchen and make some cookies!"

As I sit here reminiscing about my grandmother and one of her many inspiring adventures, the feeling of boredom has gone away. Now that Mama Pearl is gone I can always feel her presence from all the memories we shared together. Like Dr. King and so many other pioneers of the past, my grandmother's legacy will live on and be told forever.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Day I Forgave My Father

In honor of Father's Day this year, I wanted to share my testimony of how I forgave my father. On June 15, 2014, it was Father's Day and Heather Lindsey shared the following post:


After reading her post, it prompted me to write the following response and post on my page:

From 11-17 years old, these were the feelings I had towards my father, not completely understanding that my feelings towards him stemmed from spewed negativity and me not seeking God for healing and restoration. It wasn't until I was 17 and my father was in a near fatal car accident that God opened my eyes, showing me that I need a relationship with him regardless of his past mistakes and relationship with my mother. My father and I were 20 mins from each other in different cities but yet I couldn't reach out to him. Sad but true. It blew my mind that I kept seeing him from a far in public but couldn't hug or call him. At the age of 22, with the encouragement of a friend, I courageously went to my father's job and cried to him, asking for forgiveness for all the pain I held inside for the last 11 years towards him. It was the second hardest thing I had to face in my life. Because of the negativity I was fed and my own inferiority complex at the time, I didn't think he loved me or wanted anything to do with me. I was wrong. He embraced me and we've managed to have a relationship for the last 6 years. It hasn't been easy and there have been moments where I would still feel hurt but I thank God for softening my heart and allowing me to heal and still love him after all the pain. Thank you Heather Lindsey for posting this message. Reading this reminded me of the importance of forgiveness and how it can elevate you to have more meaningful relationships. Thank You Lord for second chances. ‪#‎Forgiveness‬ ‪#‎Healing‬ ‪#‎Restoration‬

Labor Day 2011
I share this short testimony as encouragement for those who don't have a solid relationship with their fathers. Forgiveness has been one of the biggest and hardest tests in my life, especially when dealing with family matters.  It definitely takes time to heal from past hurts and being courageous to make that first step; it's scary but so worth it. As a young woman, it was important for me to build a relationship with my father so God could show me what I needed in a father. So many of my relationships with men (seeking validation from them) were not great because of the absence of my father and the lack of positive views of men. I needed to forgive so that I could move on, trust, and form positive relationships with others again. My prayer is that those who are reading this understand the beauty of forgiveness and the release it has on one's heart to love and start over again. Remember forgiveness is for you, not the other person.

Home for  ASU Fall Graduation 2011

Me and Dad ASU Homecoming 2012
After Grandfather's funeral June 28, 2014





God bless,


~Lequvia Ousley~

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Journey from Accounting to Teaching: A testimony of perseverance and faith

It's been awhile since I've written a blog. As I woke up this morning, I was soaking up the fact that I will be embarking on a new career as a full-time math teacher in the fall. I'm going from a career I was once familiar with to a career that I'm learning about each day with prayer, guidance, and wisdom. This blog post chronicles my journey from changing careers to persevering in the midst of struggle. I want to share it again as a testament to what God can do.


The following testimony was shared on Facebook on April 25, 2015:

I remember back in 2012, feeling burnt out and not quite fitting into the accounting industry I was working in, an industry that I dedicated my studies too since high school. I chose that industry at the age of 9 based on my love for numbers and the money potential, not really considering the cost years later and other gifts that I possessed, mainly teaching. The teaching part of my personality has been part of me since I was 5, lol. My parents and my late, kindergarten teacher, Linda Lane Owens can testify to that. Looking back I realized that throughout high school and college, I remember always extending a helping hand to classmates and colleagues not really paying attention to the fact that God would draw me into education one day. The idea of me teaching didn't cross my mind until I oversaw the work of a few accounting interns, Thaddeus Maximus, Chelsea Lately, and Tee Jester from June-Oct. 2012. I enjoyed showing them the basics of accounting. By that time, I had connected w/ CoachEric Speer, a fellow educator and track coach, who after learning about my accounting background encouraged me to pursue teaching, particularly in Math. It was interesting because I kept meeting teachers and professors that year. I didn't think about teaching again until after I lost my job in 2013. I wasn't able to get back into my field immediately so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and apply as a substitute teacher. After submitting my application, I was hired and processed that summer. I did get back into accounting temporarily in 2014 but it was project based so when that ended, it was back to teaching I went. Once I was in the classroom, it made sense that I was called to education. I've always been a Math geek and Math is one of the critical areas that students dislike and struggle with. I don't like to see students struggle with basic math. Why not fulfill that need? So after another year of constant contemplation, personal challenges, doubts, stress, frustrated days and nights, and constant prayers, I decided on March 3, 2015 to register for the GACE Middle Grades Math test and today, on April 25, 2015, I'm happy to say that I PASSED!!! I'm so thankful for the encouragement from students, fellow teachers, and my first set of teachers, my parents for stressing the importance of an education. I praise GOD for His love, strength, correction, conviction, and being my guide. I pray that anyone who reads this knows that when you are faithful with a little, God will bring forth those who need your testimony and gift(s). Be encouraged.



The following post was originally shared on Sunday, June 5, 2016 in the Facebook group, "LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT IN GA" :

Good morning everyone!! I didn't share this last month but it was on my heart to share this morning to encourage someone. In Feb. 2013, I lost my job in the accounting industry and I was unemployed for six months and living off my savings account and any money that was given to me by friends and family. Prior to that I went through a transition and really started to be honest with myself about my passions. The passion I had wasn't there anymore and I began to be drawn to my writing and teaching. In March 2013, I finished my Master's in Accounting and Financial Mgmt and was still looking for jobs. I was encouraged to apply to substitute teach until I found something else. By May, I was hired to sub and in July, I committed myself to contract work for a nonprofit. Between those opportunities, I volunteered to keep myself occupied and not focused on my situation. So as the school year began, I was getting used to sub teaching and in March 2014, I received a call for a contract Accounting position. I accepted and I did both jobs. I noticed however that working in that industry wasn't the same anymore and I started to think about the students. The contract ended in Sept. 2014 and I was back in the classroom. I decided to take the Middle Grades Math GACE in April 2015 and passed. From there, I began job searching. By July, I was told I had to go back and complete more assessments due to a new GA law. I was irritated, because of my finances. But, I committed myself to save and take those necessary tests between Sept. and Oct. 2015. I was still applying to jobs. I shared with a sis in Christ (a teacher) that I was looking for a position and she shared that her school had just hired a teacher. She encouraged me to look consistently and to let her know when I saw a position. In Dec. 2015, I saw a posting for a Math position, but I was too late again because I didn't see it until around Christmas Eve. I still reached out, shared my interest, and sent my resume over. As 2016 came in, I received a call from the school in regards to a position I was interested in, although it was filled before the holidays. However, I was asked if I would be willing to interview for a science position, Life Science to be exact. I thought about it. Although, science wasn't one of my favorite subjects, I did like Life Science. So I said yes I would interview. By this time, I was enduring allergies/sinuses, but I had a great interview. I didn't hear from the principal, but she assured me that when something opened up, she would reach out to me. At the end of January I interviewed at another school. Another great interview, but no call back. I remember receiving an email for another interview at another school, but I became discouraged, tired, and burnt out so I didn't go. I was tired of the process. In Feb., I had a few more interviews, with the same results. In March, I went to a state-wide district fair and I gave out a few resumes, but once again the process was draining. I pushed myself to go to another district fair in April and once again was disappointed. By May, I stopped looking and was focused with finishing the school year. I even considered going back to Accounting so I began applying to clerical/accounting jobs. In the beginning of May, I received 3 different emails to attend 3 different career fairs, but I had to decide which one. I chose one and stuck with that choice and then in that same week, the first principal I interviewed with in January emailed me, expressing how impressed she was with my interview. A position had opened up and she was offering it to me and wanted to discuss further. I was elated so I agreed. Once, again I'm dealing with allergies/sinuses. We discussed the position and I accepted the offered and will be teaching in the fall. She expressed to me that even though I was willing to teach one subject, she knew my heart was for math. I admit, I was grieved in my spirit because it was the same day, the news reported about the new restroom laws. At that moment, I began to pray that God protect and guide me in this new assignment. I was reminded that He alone is my Source and anything else is a resource to do what He's called me to do. To those of you who are continuously searching for employment, continue to place God first in all you do, take heed of wise counsel and guidance, and know that God's plans for you outweigh anything that you can ever imagine for yourself. Keep pressing and never give up. God bless!


As I close, again I pray that those who are currently unemployed or thinking about stepping out on faith to do what your heart desires, that you be encouraged and don't stop pursuing what has been placed in you. Your gifts have made room for you. Keep praying and keep pursuing!



Original artwork by Lydell Martin. I met him at the For Sisters Only event, 2013



God bless,


Lequvia

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Love Letter To God

I originally wrote this as a post on Valentine's Day 2013; I decided to recreate it in 2014 as a love letter to God, my endless love:








Dear God,


On this day and everyday, I'm so glad that I receive everlasting, unconditional love from You. You are love. I pray that those that have accepted You, continue to seek Your face and embrace all that You have for them, for we are all daughters and sons of You, our King. My prayer is that those who don't know you, become connected to You and experience Your love on a daily basis, not just for a day. May they learn about Your love and apply it to their lives. May they love You first before seeking love from others.
Thank you Lord for loving me and taking care of me even when I didn't love myself. You are my best friend and confidante. You are beautiful and amazing; no one compares to You. Thank you Lord for always dwelling in my heart opening it up to love, forgiving myself and others even when it hurts at times. Thank you Lord for showing me what agape love means through the friendships and divine connections you've placed in my life. You all know who you are. Thank you Lord for your son Jesus Christ, the ultimate love sacrifice who shed His blood and covered a multitude of sins so we could live. He didn't have to do it, but He did. Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, and perfect love that is patient and kind. I LOVE YOU, my Valentine.




Your princess and precious jewel,





Lequvia

Just wanted to share this as a source of encouragement for those who feel down on Valentine's Day. Remember John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The time is now to develop a relationship with Jesus. Without Him, we are nothing. So remember to love God, yourself, and others 365 days, not just for one day.

 Below are throwback Valentine pics from 2008 (Albany State University)



God bless!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016: The year of LOVE

I've been obsessed with numbers and their meanings since I was a little girl. As a college student, I began to notice numbers and their significance in the Bible. At that time, I had only shared that discovery with only one person who understood what I was seeing too. It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I came across the book, "Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numberics, How to Count the Bible by Evangelist Ed F. Vallowe. This book is amazing and it has solid proof from the bible about each number. I've made it my business to always look at a specific number every time a new year comes. The following is a post I wrote on Facebook on New Year's Day. The information presented is taken directly from the book:


"2016: From the book, "Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numerics, How to Count the Bible": 16 is the number that represents LOVE. This number is found 23 times in the Bible. There are 16 times in the Bible we find Jehovah Titles. The name Jehovah means the Self-existent or Eternal Creator; the Immutable One, He who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME. The name JEHOVAH is combined with other words which form what we know as the JEHOVAH TITLES.

1. Jehovah- Elohim-the Eternal One or Creator, Gen. 2:4-25
2. Adonai-Jehovah -the Lord, our Sovereign; Master Jehovah Gen. 15:2-8
3. Jehovah-Jireh-the Lord will see or provide. Gen. 22:8-14
4. Jehovah-Nissi-the Lord our banner. Exodus 17:15
5. Jehovah-Ropheka- the Lord our healer. Exodus 15:26
6. Jehovah-Shalom-the Lord our peace. Judges 6:24
7. Jehovah-Tsidkeenu-the Lord our righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6
8.Jehovah-Mekaddishkem-the Lord our sanctifier. Exodus 31:13, Leviticus 20:8; 21:8
9. Jehovah-Saboath-the Lord of hosts. 1 Samuel 1:3. Used 281 times.
10. Jehovah-Shammah-the Lord is present. Ezekiel 48:35
11. Jehovah-Elyon-the Lord most high Psalm 7:17, 47:2, 97:9
12. Jehovah-Rohi-the Lord my shepherd. Psalm 23:1
13. Jehovah-Hoseenu-the Lord our Maker. Psalm 95:6
14. Jehovah-Eloheenu-the Lord our God. Psalm 99:5; 8, 9
15. Jehovah-Eloheka-the Lord thy God. Exodus 20:2; 5, 7
16. Jehovah-Elohay-the Lord my God. Zechariah 14:5


That's what I posted but I wanted to add another fascinating discovery that I was reminded of today:


"In I Corinthians 13:4-8 there are SIXTEEN things said about LOVE. The SIXTEENTH time Paul's name occurs is where he is called "BELOVED". (Acts 15:25)

"There were EIGHT boards and SIXTEEN sockets in the west side of the TABERNACLE. (Exodus 26:25) In the EIGHT boards is given the number for the NEW BIRTH. In the SIXTEEN sockets under those EIGHT boards is the number for LOVE."


"Everyone that LOVETH, is born of God, and knoweth God." (I John 4:7)

SIXTEEN is two times EIGHT. The one who is BORN AGAIN (EIGHT) loves all other persons who are BORN of God (EIGHT).

"Everyone that LOVETH Him that begat LOVETH Him also that is begotten of Him." (I John 5:1)


"How beautifully and perfectly these numbers fit into the whole pattern of the WORD of GOD."


Yes, amazing!! As I was sharing with my sisters today, it seems that before the New Year and at the start of the year, I've literally seen scriptures speak on love and I've seen several couples that I know personally and via social media that have gotten engaged that have done it God's way. Miraculous. One of the couples is a young lady who shared a prophecy that God gave her last year on New Year's eve for 2015 and she specifically mentioned marriages. She and her fiance were courting last year and he proposed on New Year's Eve, 2015. Beautiful testimony and moment to witness.

Now after reading about LOVE and the number SIXTEEN's significance, I've challenged myself to meditate on those scriptures consistently and center my focus on God's love for me and what it truly means in my life in all areas. Although I'm happy for those couples who are headed towards marriage, I don't want to make an idol out of marriage and lose my focus on where God has me. As I heard this past Sunday, in order to become a new person in this new year and beyond, we have to constantly examine our hearts and renew our minds with scripture, prayer, and actions. Our love for God comes from our obedience to His voice and His Word.

So let's challenge ourselves to look where we are and love God, love ourselves, and love others and let everything else fall into place according to God's will and purpose.


Blessings!!




Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Poem Of Thanks

As I arose this morning, I was inspired to write the following poem:

A Poem Of Thanks by Lequvia Ousley

Thank You Lord for what you've done.
Thank You Lord for Your precious Son.
Thank You Lord, it is You I adore.
Thank You Lord, for loving me evermore.
Thank You Lord for the sun, moon, stars, and earth.
Thank You Lord for Your Son's precious birth.
Yes, the rain brings the rainbow and darkness turns into light, but I thank You because You make things right.
Thank You for your presence, so strong and tough.
Thank You for carrying me through the days that are out of control and rough.
Thank You for Your love, so sweet and pure.
Thank You for Your embrace, because of You I can endure.
Thank You for breathing life into me.
Thank You for guiding me as I become what you created me to be.
It is not just today that I thank You, I strive daily to give You praise. Paper, pencil, and ink can't convey how much I'm thankful for Your grace.
Thank You Lord for seeing me as precious, a jewel, a Queen of destiny.
Thank You Lord because of You I have everything.
You give me love, joy, peace, the things I need.
You give me lyrics and harmony, a new song to sing.
So I close this poem with a pledge I made,
To continuously live for You and praise You always.

Thank You!

After writing the poem, I noticed the following quote and scripture in my journal:

"The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."_Frederick Buechner

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6 NASB

Reading that confirmed a lot of why I should be thankful. Each of us on earth has a gift inside of us that needs to be shared with the world. God's greatest gift to the world was His son Jesus Christ. Our lives should be an example of His love towards us. So live and and have a heart of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!