You Can Actually Do It All

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Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Answer those. 

What’d you say for “What do you do?” More than likely you answered with your job. Our culture teaches us to place our value and find our identity in our occupation. 

Think about it. As a kid you probably answered this question innumerable times. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Then you had to do a project to research that thing. Then you were told to go to college so you could be that thing. And perhaps you’ve become that thing. 

I’m sincerely proud of you! But I have a question. What else do you wanna be? What other titles do you wish you carried? What are some hobbies you wish you could invest more time and energy into? 

Why haven’t you done those things? Is it because you believe you have to choose?

Well… you don’t. 

Take this guy. Clearly he’s a speaker of some kind. And clearly a musician. He plays jazz and has a single on the charts that rivals pop artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna. Listen Here!

He’s clearly a family man. 
And he’s lettered and has dope friends who are doing great things. 💁🏿‍♂️👨🏾‍🎓He travels and mentors. 

And through 14 years of sermons and teachings he has pastored me and numerous others. 

My pastor has been the embodiment of exercising EVERY gift God has given you. His leadership and example inspire me to tap into all of my talents and not alllow anyone to pigeonhole me into one arena. But people seriously struggle with the idea that anybody, especially a pastor, can truly be multi-faceted. It’s so bad that he had to release this statement on Facebook in February because his music has been gaining more attention. 

“Hey FB Family! I have been fighting a vicious rumor for about 8 months and it has now hit a new level. It has been reported that I am leaving Lansing and resigning as the Sr. Pastor of the Epicenter of Worship. This rumor is an absolute LIE!! I am not leaving Lansing and last Sunday WAS NOT my last Sunday. In fact, Epicenter is expanding its footprint in the region. We currently have 3 churches in Lansing (two sister churches and HQ). With the help of about 50 people in Detroit we have opened Epicenter of Worship Detroit and it is doing well. IN 2017 ALONE, WE HAVE ORDAINED OVER 12 MINISTERS FOR GOSPEL MINISTRY IN THE REGION.   

Yes, I am a jazz SAXOPHONIST- musician but that doesn’t take away from my pastorate. Why can’t I do multiple things and still LEAD HEALTHY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES? I am asking EVERY EOW MEMBER TO MEET ME ON SUNDAY AT 10AM!! HELP ME PUT THIS LIE TO REST!!!! NOW YOU HEARD IT STRAIGHT FROM ME!!! THE LION IS OFFICIALLY AWAKENED! LANSING GET READY FOR EXPANSION.”

What I’ve learned is this… My job is what I do. It’s not who I am. Who I am is a child of a supreme being who created the universe with His words, who split apart a sea, who set a water soaked altar ablaze, who showed prophets visions of things thousands of years before they happened, who impregnated a virgin, who became a human, who died, who came back and who gives His Spirit to those who receive Him. If that’s my Father why would I relegate myself to one way of expressing myself? 

Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Who’s stopping you from doing and being more?

Thank you, Dr. Sean Holland for living your life as an example for others. 

You can purchase your copy of Steps of a Good Man here👇🏾

Black Girl Magic

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She rocks her hair

Short and curly

Or long and straight 


Really… she can do it all. 

With her ample lips 

That complement her wide hips

She overcomes every obstacle 

To create, shape and fill her destiny. 

She is aware of her call. 

To birth all of humanity


To her family she brings sanity

She’s the glue of her community

She is why we understand real unity 

She’ll be the reason we are liberated from poverty


She’s so down to earth, but so out of this world at the same time. 

Just like her hair defies gravity,

She defies the odds and it’s truly mind blowing. 

Intersectionality shows her doubly oppressed identity


It’s hard to understand how she could be 

Amongst the most educated social group

With all of her degrees 


And still takes care of family

Most don’t get it

Because they can’t do it. 

You see, she gets her strength from the most high God. 

His strength allows her to do this with ease so it doesn’t look hard.

She’s smart, talented, resilient, and beautiful. 


With all those facets, I get why they call her magical. 



The Dichotomy of Artistry

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I started writing because I was going through things that I did not know how to express. Somehow, though, when I put my pen to the paper I was suddenly articulate. Something about writing for an audience made me remember that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. Something about writing for an audience made it all worth it.

I didn’t want anybody to know there was a problem, but the only way to deal with the problem was to tell somebody. When I started writing, it forced me to find the lesson. When I found the lesson, it made the pain make sense. Sorta…

So I write to expose the wound

To clean the wound

To let it breathe

So it doesn’t get infected

and cause unnecessary sickness

So that I can remember that I’m not

the only one in this

And I get to look back and see

That I’ve been through this before a time or two or three

And just like I learned before,

This isn’t the end of me.

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It’s rude to YOU, not to them, because it’s normal there.

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Different cultures do and accept different things. Seems obvious, right? But for most people it isn’t.

During my freshman year of college, I was conversing with two friends about a proposal that was on the table at my school. A group of students wanted to make all the restrooms unisex so that transgendered students wouldn’t have to be forced to go to restrooms they didn’t feel comfortable in because of their outer appearances. My friends were completely against the idea of unisex bathrooms.

“So Claricha,” my male friend started, “you’d be okay with me being in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower?” He asked.
“No, because I’d be naked. But that’s totally different from you peeing in a stall next to mine. You guys only think it’s weird because you’ve grown up that way. If the norm was unisex bathrooms, you would think it was weird to have them separated by sex.” All these years later that conversation popped in my head when I was in Israel and this happened.

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Wouldja look at that? A unisex bathroom and nobody bats an eye because it’s normal there.

**Enter an ear piercing scream here**
That’s what one of the ladies I was on the trip let out when a stray cat rubbed against her leg while we were eating at an indoor restaurant.
We all laughed at her. The others at the restaurant didn’t even notice the cat because it’s normal there.

Speaking of restaurants, I went out with some others last night and got some yummy ice cream. We sat down at the tables outside of the sandwich place next door. We were asked to leave though. Why? “Milk and meat, it’s not kosher.” You can’t have dairy products served with meat. Crazy. You’ll never be able to have a cheeseburger or a chicken caesar salad with Parmesan cheese. That’s so weird to me, but it’s normal there.

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No milkshakes with my McChicken?! Malarkey!

I wanted to take a pic every time I saw a smoker especially the one who couldn’t have been older than 13 or the ones smoking in the restaurant. But I didn’t because no one else was taking pics of them. Because it’s normal there.

In America, we have all kinds of initiatives making smoking in public illegal because we don’t want our rights to clean air infringed upon by others. In fact, we think it’s rude when people do that. So as we walked through different cities in Israel, I heard a few people comment on how rude it was for the smokers to smoke in restaurants or near others. But guys, you have to remember it’s rude to YOU, not to them because it’s normal there.

In Case You Didn’t Know…

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**Snagged from my 2010 tumblr blog. So excuse the stuff that’s reflective of the time it was originally posted**

I heard a song once that says, “Did you realize that you’re alive at the greatest time in history?” If you’re like me when you first read that statement you may be like, “How could you even think that’s true? Crime rates are steadily rising. Global warming is becoming a more pressing issue. Earthquakes are happening everywhere, more often than ever before…” ya know, the whole rant we can go on about the horrible state of our world. BUT the song was really talking about at this point in history, we can spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ faster than ever before!
Think about it, people in my age range tend to be members of several social networks. I am connected to thousands of people on Facebook alone. I have over 900 followers on Twitter and my followers have followers who I’ve never met before. So if I post a statement as simple as Jesus is Lord, as soon as I press the post button, INSTANTLY I have given over 1000 people the opportunity to find out more about our Lord. The same thing is true about Twitter. It’s the latest craze, but what separates Twitter from other networks is the ease at which we can repost small pieces of information. With that being said, it’s just as simple for me to tell my followers a little bit about Jesus and it could be retweeted a largely finite number of times.
All of this is nice, but you can run into people who get offended or annoyed by your social network ministry, but just as you would in face to face ministry, you have to ignore their feelings enough to help them to get saved.
After I first got saved, I had a real fire and zeal for God. I talked about Him everywhere I went and to everyone I knew, starting with my Facebook status. A girl came up to me that I knew from high school and said, “I read your statuses every day for encouragement. I read them and think ‘I wanna love Jesus like that too.’” That has stuck with me ever since that day in the Fall of 2006. If people don’t mind spreading the news of how crappy their days have been or how the people in their lives have let them down countless times, I should surely feel free to spread my love for Jesus in hopes that another person will develop a hunger and thirst for a relationship with the creator as well.
You might not have realized it was that easy.
-OhCAE

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Not *JUST* One, Just… One

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A friend of mine offered to give me tickets to a game before.
She offered to give ME ticketS to a game.

A couple years ago I won a contest. I sent in my application. People voted for me. After voting results came in I was given TWO passes to a festival.

When I was a kid, my friend called the radio station at the perfect moment and she won a PAIR of tickets to a concert.

I thought about all these instances recently because I have been trying to figure out why is that when I go to restaurants I get the strangest looks when I request a table for one. “JUST one?” they ask. “Yes,” I reply with a gentle smile. “YES!! Isn’t that what I said?Why is that so difficult? I’m only one person. Can’t I go eat by myself?” I scream in my head.

outside inside(google didn’t have a better picture conveying happy on the outside, irritated on the inside but anyway…)

I guess it’s not so weird when I consider the fact that our world clearly expects us to come in pairs. I think that’s why we see so many people who battle sadness and depression that is brought on by the fact that they are *cringe* single ESPECIALLY as they get older.

This year I turned 25. Someone called me on my birthday and said “Wow, 25 huh? You’re about to have a Master’s. You have a good job and you’re living on your own. You go to church. Now, all you need is a man.” #SideEye

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Why do we accept a world that tells us that we are not enough alone? Think about some of the language we use to talk about significant others. “Other Half” is my newest favorite. That basically communicates that at my very best, until I am in a relationship with someone else, I can only be HALF of who I really am. Um… whet? It took a while for me to realize it, but truly I’m a pretty awesome person, by myself.

Starting from my childhood days, I’ve been Claricha and somebody else. I’ve always had cousins and friends by my side in every social situation. It was great, but I’m learning to get used to being by myself and still being happy about it. There are plenty benefits to being by myself and dating myself. I always want to eat what I want to eat. I always want to see the movies that I want to see. I only want to go where I want to go. I only stay as long as I want to stay. Honestly, it’s a pretty good set up.

So, no hostess at my favorite restaurant not JUST one, just… one.

ASK

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When I was 17, I was in the Michigan State University Gospel Choir and we had an engagement at the Kellogg Center on campus. In the vestibule T-shirts were being sold for $15. One of them said “ASK” and had the Ask, Seek, Knock scripture on it.

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Me being the smartie I can be at times put my hand on the shirt, closed my eyes and said “Lord, can I have this shirt for free?” When I opened my eyes the man at the table asked me “What size do you want?” I still have that free shirt today.

I pray that I never forget that moment because it was such a simple situation that reminds me that if there’s something I want from MY Father all I have to do is ask!
If there’s something you’re desiring, by faith, put your hand on it and ask.
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I composed this post in 2012. Here I am two years after posting this the first time and nearly eight years after that moment and I’m still afraid to simply ask for what I want!

What is it about life that teaches us that asking is so bad? The worst that can happen is whoever we’re asking will tell us no. I’ve had innumerable experiences that have collectively shown me that rejection is not so bad and sometimes it’s actually good!

The hardest thing about being an emerging adult during the Great Recession is that it’s super hard to start a career. Millennials are the most college educated of any generation. Competition is everywhere. I have no idea how many jobs I’ve been turned down from and it’s even harder to know how many I never even received a call back from. What I’ve learned over the years since finishing my undergrad career is that it’s ok to be ambitious and it’s ok to be told no. Every opportunity is not a good opportunity and there’s often something better coming.

There’s nothing wrong with asking your Father for what you want. He doesn’t love you any less just because He tells you no. Accept the rejection and remember that He knows the end. And just like with my shirt, even though it may seem crazy, sometimes the answer is yes, but you won’t know that unless you’re crazy enough to ask!