Coffeehouse Conversations

Coffeehouse Conversations | By Sonya Finley

Hey girl, good morning! Give me a hug. Good to see you. Oh yeah, I already got my coffee. Yes a Venti! Ha ha! You got me out early. I needed something to wake me up. Go on and get yours. I’ll grab us a table outside in the sun.

How am I doing? Me? Girl, I’m fine. Putting one foot in front of the other. Keeping it moving.  You know me, that’s how I roll.

What? Be honest?  Yeah, I hear ya.

So, well, if I am completely honest, I am having a bit of a struggle these days. Oh, you knew that, huh? Okay. Well anyway, for most of my life I have fought with an identity crisis. Whether it was from things spoken into me, experiences that left wounds, or unfairly comparing myself to others—I just never quite felt “enough”. I know who I am now, having gone through an incredible season of God defining my identity and showing who He has called me to be. And yet, and yet. . . .


And yet, one word of criticism couched in the guise of “mentorship” from a person in authority over me takes me all the way back to feeling inadequate. One word subtly suggesting that a change be made to a core personality trait that will make me more appealing to a minor minority who “doesn’t’ get me”.  It leaves me helpless, defensive and not a little angry. And sister, that is not a good look on me.

So, I began, again, the cycle of questioning myself, my actions, my perspective, my “me”. I began, again, to wonder, is there something wrong with me? Should I change certain things about me to suit someone else’s ideals because maybe they see things from their vantage point that I can’t see? So I began, again, to retreat inside myself. And again, I am lost, struggling to find me, the “who” that I am deep down inside. Sigh….

identityWhat’s that? I am who God says I am? Girl, I have that taped to my bathroom wall as a daily affirmation!  It is there with a list of others and my eye lands on it just when I need it. No greater truth needed and such a timely reminder. I am who God says I am! Regardless of what man says or how he criticizes. I have been created for a purpose and for such a time as this. The “me” that He created, the “me” that I have grown to be, is okay. This doesn’t mean I am perfect. It doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, say the wrong thing or be misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that I will always be accepted by everyone I meet. But it does mean that who I am is okay and because of who I am, I am totally useable in God’s plan.

I will probably still struggle with that. Thorn in the flesh and all that, but yeah, you’re right. When the thoughts arise, I can use that statement to remind myself of who I really am. My identity is not dependent on what people think or say about me or even how I feel about myself. I am who God says I am. And that’s that. . .

So how are things with you?

Oh I’m sorry to hear things are not falling into place as you hoped. That can make moving forward or even staying encouraged extremely difficult. I totally get that. Many of us find ourselves right there. It’s the waiting for something to happen and not feeling like it will, that discourages you.

Yeah, I know that place. Praying and praying for God to intervene in a situation and not seeing it happen as soon as we’d like. It is discouraging and it is easy to lose faith. That’s how it is for me with my son. I have been praying for years through his drug usage, bouts of homelessness, attempted suicides, and brushes with law.  And to me, it seems as though change is coming slowly—oh so slowly. And there are times when something happens and it seems that the situation goes right back to the beginning.  I just want my son to be okay.

But as I sit here with you, thinking on your situation and mine, I am reminded of yet another statement of affirmation on my bathroom wall: God can do what He says He can do.

‘Nuff said! Oh but I know. It gets hard on a sister. All this waiting and anticipating and feeling like the nothing could possibly fix the situation. But hey, just like you told me, when those thoughts began to come, just remind yourself that God can (and will) do just what He said. Keep telling yourself that till it overrides anything else that may want to set up shop in your mind. God’s got this. You just keep living life expecting it.

And yes, my son is doing better these days. But you know us momma’s, we want the best for our children, right?

Oh, you heard about me doing the Freedom Challenge? Yeah. Women joining together to raise money and awareness for human trafficking by climbing mountains. Yes, you heard me, mountains.

You’re amazed I’m doing it? So am I. And if I am being completely honest, I am more than a little afraid. I admit it. I be “scurred”.

What am I scared of?  Not meeting the fundraising goals. Not being able to keep up on with the other ladies. Not being able to complete the challenge.

Oh you got jokes? My bad, you got another quote? I can do all things through Christ?  Wow, another statement from my wall of affirmations! We are three for three!

But you are right. I got this! As long as I look up for my strength and not rely on what I see or feel like—cuz you know a sister can get in her feelings—I can complete this challenge. I will complete this challenge. Any challenge. And when I think I can’t, I will use that statement to remind me that I can.

Well, girl. I gotta get out of here. The boys are wanting to go to a movie. What’s that? Where did I get the statements from?  Beth Moore’s book, Believing God….

God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God’s Word is alive and active in me.” 
Beth MooreBelieving God

Asian Women Chatting over CoffeeLord, thank you for sister-friends who allow and compel us to be transparent, authentic, and venerable. Bless us to understand the need to reach out for and allow ourselves to receive the love and support being offered to us so that we may know that we are not alone on this journey. As we allow ourselves to reach out and admit our need, send those who will walk with us, stand with us, and pray with us in sisterhood and in love. Amen.


Sonya A. Finley has been living the single life for 24 years. In that time she has raised four awesome young men (James – 26, Kevin – 23, Joshua and Johnathan – 18), graduated from college with a BFA, and began a huge step in her professional career. She is on the verge of a new season in her single life that now focuses on a journey not centered around child-rearing. She has made many mis-steps, learned quite a few bits of wisdom along the way and is happy to share with women who find themselves in the same place.

A Relationship Renewed 

A Relationship Renewed | By Terri Krumweide

Difficult relationships can be, well, difficult. When the difficult relationship is with someone you gave birth to, it can be heartbreaking. My son has always been a bit of a challenge. At 11 lbs 11 ounces, he came into this world physically advanced and already more than a handful! I couldn’t keep up with him even then, the kid was just hungry. All. The. Time. I started him on cereal, by the Doctor’s suggestion, at one month. From there, he just seemed to do everything early, roll over, crawl, walk. He even learned to ride a bike without training wheels at 3- I kid you not. Raising a child who is so physically capable, yet not mature enough to control his impulses, was, well you guessed it- difficult.

Lil Ryan and meIn addition to his lack of impulse control, he had to deal with the confusion of being raised separately by two parents with very different discipline styles, a new stepdad, and a new baby sister- not a recipe for success for any kid. I put him in organized sports at age 3, which helped him burn off some of his energy, but my first trip to the principals’ office was his fourth day of kindergarten, and every parent teacher conference was me listening to the teacher tell me how disruptive my son was in class and how all the kids followed his lead. Ritalin was even suggested, which my pediatrician, God bless her, completely rejected. It wasn’t until third grade when he had, which he will still tell you to this day was his favorite teacher, Mr. Peterson, that someone finally understood what my son needed. As I walked into that first conference, head held low waiting to hear the horrors my son had been causing in his class, Mr. Peterson smiled and told me what a good boy my son was and how smart and helpful he was in class. My look of shock made him laugh and when I asked him about him acting up in class he said, “Well if I see Ryan getting a little antsy, I just send him out to run a couple laps on the track and he comes back ready to work.” Eureka!! He had another great teacher the next year, Mr. Mann, but sadly there were many more years of unhappy teachers and trips to the principal’s office, and unfortunately it developed a pattern of me always expecting the worst and constant disappointment, hopelessness and heartache.  And if someone is always expecting the worst of you, it’s pretty easy to deliver.

Teen Ryan and meMy son was not raised in a Christian home. We went to a Catholic church until he was about 14, which does not operate in the grace of God but more on how good you are, which my son was constantly being told by people in authority, he was not. I didn’t get “Saved” until the first time my husband left, and during that time, there was so much pain and so many tears from me and his now 3 sisters’, and that, coupled with the complete devastation of losing the respect of a man he completely looked up to, he found his escape in drugs and alcohol.  Yet another source of great pain and disappointment for a mom that never wanted her children to go down a road she had been down and knew where it led. My goal at that time was pretty much just to get him graduated from high school, which he did, barely, and then he would be on his own and I would not have to be affected by his rebellion and bad choices any longer.

Flash forward to my son as an adult, living back in my house, after several times being kicked out but having just been released from being in jail for five days and having nowhere else to go. There is something about seeing your child ushered into a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit handcuffed to a bunch of scary looking criminals that makes you want to bring them home and keep them safe. I set really strong boundaries, church was mandatory, no drugs, no visitors, get a job, etc and any violation of the rules meant immediate eviction.  At first, he was so compliant and very eager to please, grateful he had a place to live, but as time went on, old behavior patterns kicked in, and he was back in the habit of disappointing and I was in the habit of constantly letting him know it.

Love WorksThen, I signed up for a class at The Father’s House- “Love Works” a program developed and taught by Weyman and Susan Howard, based on 1 Corinthians 13. Compassion is my lowest gifting, so loving other’s well is something I desperately need help with. The first week of class was about patience, first receiving it- I knew my sins had been forgiven but had I ever stopped to think about how patient and long suffering the Lord had been with me in doing that? Had I ever truly received it? As I examined it I was sure of one thing- God never threatened to kick me out of the Kingdom every time I made a mistake, not like I did to my son… Ouch. Next was, kindness, where again we focused on first receiving it from the Lord and then practicing it. I was on my knees constantly for my son and I fiercely loved him, but my thoughts towards him were anything but kind. As we continued into the study, The Lord was softening my heart towards my son and showing me what I needed to let go of “Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs” Love doesn’t but I sure did and could recite them all back to him at any given moment. When we got to the “Believes All Things, Hopes All Things, Endures All Things” section that’s where The Lord really opened my eyes to what my son needed. When I looked at my son, I saw all the hurt and disappointment of the past, I never saw him how God saw him, I never BELIEVED anything more for him, I had stopped hoping for anything more from him. As I look back and read the things I wrote at that time: “Lord, help me to see my son as you do and to love him like you do, correcting in love.” And “I need to believe that the power of The Holy Spirit can help me to believe good for my son, and to help him resurrect his true identity and be the man God created him to be.” I can assure you that The Lord did. He showed me that Ryan didn’t need to be reminded of all the bad things he’d done, he needed all the goodness in him reaffirmed, and even though he still wasn’t making choices that I necessarily liked or agreed with, I could still operate in love.

My son is a good person with a generous heart, when I looked back on the fights he got into growing up, he was sticking up for the little guy. Although he was never studious and didn’t apply himself in school, my son is really intelligent and learns things easily. Although he could be disrespectful, he is kind and helpful. His physical ability has made him amazing at every sport he’s ever tried. He is great with children; kids and pets love him. It did my momma’s heart so much good to see my son through the eyes of love again. He was more than his mistakes, he was a masterpiece.  God is Love and Love brings renewal. I began treating my son with respect, and I asked for forgiveness when I didn’t, and sure enough, as time went by, the pattern was broken and the relationship was restored. And even when our relationship was tested and we failed sometimes the effort made to love my son well, was truly blessed by The Lord, and I can tell you as I write this, not only has the Lord redeemed my relationship with my son, but He has completely redeemed my son’s life, but that, is a story for another time!

The familyTerri Krumweide lives and works in Escondido. Her greatest achievements in life are her four children, Ryan 31, recently married to the beautiful Alexys, Brianna 28, married to the brilliant Dr Brendan, Miranda, 25 married to the amazing Joey, the proud parents of her adorable first grandbaby, Jeremiah, and her youngest Micaela 21, who is currently away, killing it in college. A couple of her favorite quotes are “Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for the kingdom is not in what you do but in who you raise.” And “There is no greater joy than to know your children are walking in the truth.” All four of her children are amazing servants of God and her constant source of joy is spending time with her family. She also has two golden retrievers, Daisy 5 months and Delilah 5 years, who receive all the nurturing she has to give now that all of her children Daisy and Delilahare out of the house. She spends most of her time walking and pampering her pets, and babysitting the sweetest boy in the whole world, every chance she gets. She also co-leads the ‘Extraordinary Women’ women’s group at church where she loves connecting with the ladies of The Father’s House and friends. She is always looking for new ministry opportunities where she can utilize the gifts The Lord has blessed her with to serve others and to help further the kingdom. If you want to know more- get connected with her- she is always looking to make new friends!


Cultivating the Soil

How God cultivated the soil of my life to create Miracles in the Mess | By Sandy Ochoa-West

Cultivate Defined:

To prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening; To till, plow, dig and work the soil

To try to acquire or develop a quality, sentiment, or skill; He cultivated a life of integrity

Gardener Defined:

A person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living.


My mom loved gardening and was really good at it. Me on the other hand, well I have pretty much killed every plant I’ve ever had and can’t even manage to grow mint which apparently you can just throw on to the dirt and it grows and takes over everything! With me however, dead in two days!!! I give a whole new meaning to the word black thumb, so the fact that I am writing about tilling the soil, gardening, cultivating etc. is a miracle in itself.

As a young girl I felt always felt like I didn’t fit in, didn’t belong. I grew up as the middle child in a family of 6 kids (I know that explains a lot right) and as a tiny little freckle faced kid I pretty much felt invisible, unnoticed and overlooked. As I look back I realize that even at a young age my life was being tilled and cultivated, but not by the one who created me. The enemy took control as the gardener and starting planting the seeds and cultivating the soil of my life with things like unworthiness, fear and feeling like I didn’t belong.  At about 14 years old, even though I was on Drill team, in Glee Club and the Journalism staff, I felt ugly and out of place. I felt like a weed in a garden of beautiful flowers. It was around that time that I took over as the gardener (remember the whole black thumb thing) and as I started to plant my own seeds in the soil that was already damaged and unhealthy I slowly began to cultivate a life filled with drug addiction, abortion, abusive relationships, depression and suicide attempts. This downward spiral would go on until the age of 30. I’m going to spare you all the ugly messiness I created because my story is really a story of redemption. On August 27, 1995 at a Harvest Crusade, I accepted Jesus into my heart and gave my life over to the Master Gardener. He began to dig up all of the guilt, shame and feelings of unworthiness that the enemy had planted and began to tenderly till the soil with love, grace, mercy, and hope. I was redeemed by the gift of God’s sacrifice on the cross.

The drug addiction had changed my life forever, but Jesus; he changed my life for eternity. I was in bondage to so many things but that day the chains were broken and I walked away a free woman because Jesus loved me enough to pay the ransom for my sin with His own blood, His own life. He accepted me just as I was, but loved me too much to let me stay that way. What Satan used for evil, God used for good. Through God’s redemption and His grace He turned my test into my testimony, my mess into my message, my broken into beautiful and I went from victim to victory.  And today I have the privilege of mentoring young women, teaching them to develop and cultivate a sense of self based on a deep and personal relationship with Jesus, grounded in the Word of God and passionate about sharing the Gospel. I am willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly.

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 NLT

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

feature_940x529_cultivate_14-158111Today, I still can’t keep a plant alive (I’m giving succulents a shot at the moment, pray for them), I love weeds more than flowers and I have finally allowed the one who created me to be the Master Gardener.

“God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.” Job 33:28 NLT

I would like to share 3 of my writings with you; each relates to my Miracles in the Mess.

The first was written at a workshop at a Youth Winter camp in 2016 where the students were asked to write a letter to their future selves. As I looked around the room I realized that they were all about the age I was when I started using drugs so I decided instead to write a letter to my 14 year old self.  

Letter to My 14-Year-Old-Self :“You took these rags & made me beautiful” (11/2016)

Oh sweet girl, how I wish you knew back then how very much our Heavenly Father loved you.

The pain and the sorrow, the shame and the guilt you endured searching for someone to simply love you for who you are.

The addictions you chased to fill the hole in your heart could have been so easily healed by the one who created you and your beating heart.

It was a God shaped hole that took on many forms but only He could truly fill.

Climb up into His lap & lay your head on His chest. Let your tears pour down for He hears your cries.

You are enough! You’re pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, simply enough.

If you only knew how God is going to turn your pain into purpose, your test into you testimony and how He will take you from victim to victory.

In years to come you will be sharing your story of God taking your broken and turning it into beautiful.

How He took the dirty, messy rags of your life and wove them into a beautiful tapestry to cover & comfort those who are hurting.

You will leave the cocoon and become a beautiful butterfly ready to color the world with your story of redemption and deliverance.

You will leave the cocoon and become a beautiful butterfly ready to color the world with your story of redemption and deliverance.

This next writing was written in 2016 around this time of year after I had driven by this field filled with the most beautiful wild flowers (weeds) I had ever seen. God gave me a revelation about myself and “Weeds” was born.

Weeds (2016)

I have decided that my favorite flower isn’t a rose or daffodil or sweet pea. Although I find them beautiful, I am drawn to

and love the weeds found scattered on freeway off-ramps, fields and various other random places. The definition of a weed

is: a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. I’ve been thinking about my love of weeds for a few days and today God gave me a revelation as to why they are so dear to me and why I am so drawn to them. They are the overlooked, unwanted and set aside. Some people don’t want them around at all, they are an inconvenience. That is how I felt for so much of my life; unwanted, uncared for, like I was just an inconvenience, like I was existing where I wasn’t wanted with people who were much better or more cultivated than I was. Today I see broken people out there who like weeds are set aside, overlooked and unwanted. They are walking through life feeling as if they don’t matter to anyone, that they are ugly and just an inconvenience. I make eye contact and our hearts speak: why can’t anyone see me, why can’t they see that I matter and have purpose, and I reply “oh sweet and wild weed, there is one who sees, one who cares and one who gave you purpose. He is your creator. Bloom in His presence and the world will finally see that yes you are wild but you are oh so beautiful, oh so worthy and oh so loved.


Lastly, at the beginning of this year I was asked not only to be a part of TFH Women’s Ministry Team but to also be on the panel of women sharing their testimony at the March Daughters Event. The theme we decided on was “Cultivating What Matters”, Miracles in the Mess. The next morning as I was praying God put this writing on my heart.


The Master Gardener

Father, you have planted a new seed in my heart and have tilled the soil of my life with

your tender love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Jesus you are the “Sonshine” I needed and through your redemption and deliverance, I’ve become stronger.

Holy Spirit you have watered me with wisdom, discernment and direction and what began as a seed has blossomed into me finally starting to become the Woman of God I was created to be.

When I allowed the enemy to till the soil of my life, only shame, guilt and fear were grown, but Jesus, when I finally

surrendered my life to you, you planted the seed of redemption in soil rich with hope, encouragement, and faith.

Where the enemy saw a weed, unworthy of anything and cast aside by most, you saw me as beautiful;

a treasure, a daughter and worthy of an abundant life.

I am nourished by your unconditional love.

Now, when I see a woman who has allowed the enemy and the world to plant the seeds of discouragement & despair in her life, I know that can take her by the hand and lead her to the one who can give her new life; I can lead her to the Master Gardener.



Messages Image(3099754613)Sandy Ochoa-West has lived in Southern California her whole life. The beach is her favorite place, it’s where she feels like she can reach out and touch God’s face. She loves reading, her family, connecting with friends and a good strong cup of coffee! She is the mom of two great kids and one son-in love. Robyn (39), her hubby Joseph (34) and Shane (24).  Mentoring women is her passion. She strives to be as real and transparent as possible as she shares her story of redemption and deliverance.



The Power of Saying Yes

March Madness – The Power of Saying Yes | By Sonya Finley

As women we can all attest to a certain amount of crazy in our lives. It comes naturally from all the things we find ourselves doing. Growing up, growing older, raising children, caring for parents, working a job, building a business, embracing our singleness, embracing a relationship –*whew*, we have a lot going on in any given season. Most of time, we have enough to juggle just from living a woman’s kind of life. Why on earth would we add something else? Why would we say yes to more? Where is the wisdom in all of that?

Yeah, tell me about it. Have you seen my life?

For me, any given season of my life can be described as chaotic in the most normal of times. Heck, I am a woman (now of a certain age dealing with all that change–yeah, y’all know what I am talking about), I raised four, now adult, men—2 of which still reside at home. I have always worked–full time and/or part time and sometimes more than one job (I’ve worked up to 3 at one time).  I have also been known to pursue educational goals, participate in ministry, and lend a bit of creativity to projects here and there (all while raising four sons!). I have done a lot, I do a lot, and a lot do me.

Adding a different kind of madness. . .

I admit it, there are a lot of things I am pretty good at, but I am usually not that person who will insert myself into a situation to use or showcase my “special” skills. I have never felt that was necessary. I am a firm believer in Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” So while I may not seek out a special spot on the team, I will say yes to “divine” appointments/requests for the very reason the scripture indicates. It is because of that thinking I find myself where I am, with quite a lot on my plate and saying yes to adding more.


Quite a bit more in fact. . .

I have begun saying yes—and saying it in a big way! I said yes to stretching myself physically, committing to keep moving down a path that would find me completing a half marathon on my feet. I said yes to a unique kind of ministry with a defined message and yes to the opportunities it presented. I said yes to building a business that is, let’s face it, so me. And in saying yes, this business has not only brought in much needed income, but it has allowed me to minister and connect to women in a very unique and profound way. I said yes, much to my surprise, to participating in the Freedom Challenge (a hiking event that raises funds and awareness to fight human trafficking). I will be participating not only as a ministry leader but as a hiker and a fund raiser as well. If you know anything about me, you know all of those items bring quite a bit of “opportunities for stretching”.

Sounds like a lot of additional stuff, right?

It is a lot. It is a lot on many different levels. Nevertheless, I am learning that God’s math is not ours. We think more is just more—more trouble, more concerns, more stuff. What He adds to us does not multiply our troubles or add to the weight we carry in the way our ordinary minds think it would. That idea is extremely difficult for a natural thinker to comprehend. The idea of doing something new, adding something else, comes with quite a bit of fear, large amounts of uncertainty and a heck of a lot of questions. “How am I supposed to do all this? Where will I find the time to do it? What do you mean I have to raise $5000?!” Saying yes to God’s requests and divine appointments takes quite a bit of faith—especially when I’m already knowing I have a great deal of crazy in my life (have I told you about my job?). But when God asks us to add something to our lives and we answer in the affirmative, we must know that He has already prepared a way. He has already lined up resources and support. He has already formulated the plan. All we have to do is take that first step and in doing so we say “Yes to the Bless”.

Yes to the Bless?

Yes. By saying yes to God we do take on “more stuff”—quite a bit more actually, but we also open ourselves up to the benefits of trying new things, stretching ourselves and doing His will. Those benefits include, but are certainly not limited to; higher heights and deeper depths (to quote a cliché), a profound repositioning of ourselves, greater influence, expanded borders, renewed identity, and stronger connections.

All this yes-ing has left me with a great sense of awe. I am amazed at how God has moved and is still moving in my life. How He keeps opening unexpected doors in unexpected ways. Each door leads to the next new yes and the next new opportunity for growth. I am a woman of limited energy, so it is amazing to me that I am able to keep up with all the new tasks, to get things done and get them done on time. I am amazed at how I am able to balance all of it and in the balancing find a certain measure of peace and assurance that it’s all good (or to quote the song, “it’s all God”). I look back at what I have done and look forward to what I still have to do and know I would fail “But God”.


It is a good madness. . .

I have spent quite a bit of time these days reflecting on the current “crazy” of my life.  As I reminisce on how things are unfolding and my talents that are being tapped into, I realize I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have said “Yes to the Bless” and I stand blessed indeed.

**For information about Freedom Challenge or to make a donation:

20170113_074913-1-1Sonya A. Finley has been living the single life for 24 years. In that time she has raised four awesome young men (James – 26, Kevin – 23, Joshua and Johnathan – 18), graduated from college with a BFA, and began a huge step in her professional career. She is on the verge of a new season in her single life that now focuses on a journey not centered around child-rearing. She has made many mis-steps, learned quite a few bits of wisdom along the way and is happy to share with women who find themselves in the same place.

In Celebration Black History Month

In Celebration Of

February is considered the month of love. In fact, our blogs for this month were dedicated to different concepts of relationships. However, February has also been designated at Black History Month. In honor of that, The Daughter’s Blog writers have chosen to write and highlight African American women that influenced or inspired them the most.

Maya Angelou:  April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014
Beth Sousa

Black history month was one of my favorite times of the school year as a kid because I was taught about people who spoke out in courage and bravery against inhumane treatment of people and exposing the inequality of man. I loved that as I got older, the lessons and depictions of these people got more exposed to me and I was able to grasp the intensity of their actions as I matured. One of those incredible people that always stuck with me was Maya Angelou.

Maya-Angelou-quotes-AmazingNow, I could take up all my allotted words to just quote her and I think you would agree – that’s powerful enough. However I think there’s something to be said about such an incredible woman in the creative arts. Being a creative myself, I loved seeing/learning about a woman who has played such a powerful role in society not only with text, but in leadership, community outreach, and song. I look at this woman and think to myself, how do I follow in those footsteps of courage to say, create, sing, write, and DO what I believe the Lord is enticing me to do?

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

This quote is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites, because it’s so very provoking. It makes me die to myself and dare to share in whatever capacity I can. Maya was a woman of grace, but also a woman of power. She, to me, is such a great depiction of a real feminist – a woman who holds herself accountable to her morals, values, core beliefs, and sense of equality. She taught me that I cannot expect to change the world, but to expect that God can use me to move the world.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

Anita Baker:  January 26, 1958 –
Bethany Luchetta

I admire Anita Baker for her strength and determination to push through all her early childhood adversities and become an amazing singer, songwriter, social icon, and mother.


A “few” things I love about her:

  1. 1.She overcame the challenges of being abandoned at an early age, then losing her foster parents at the age of 12.
  2. She began her music career at the age of 16 and then took time off from an extremely successful music career to raise her children while they were young,
  3. Her rocking music! Music which has won her 8 Grammys, a platinum and gold album.
  4. Her decision to retire last year at the young age of 60 because she did not want to work herself into the grave.

“Anita Baker: Her unique, towering voice has remained an influence in contemporary soul music, mixing jazz traditions and picking up several Grammy Awards throughout her career. The legendary singer has four No. 1 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums, including Rhythm of Love, Giving You the Best That I Got, My Everything and the platinum-selling Rapture.” ~Billboard Magazine.

Queen Latifah (AKA Dana Owens): March 18, 1970 –
Sonya Finley

There are many strong, powerful, insightful, inspirational African American women in history. Some are well known, such as Harriet Tubman, who, after finding her own freedom from slavery, risked her life helping others find theirs. There is Josephine Baker who had to leave the US to become an icon of the Jazz Age.  There is Rosa Parks best-

known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56. And of course, Michelle Obama, America’s first African American First Lady who, while, standing by her man, was able to create her own identity as an advocate for education and healthy living. There are also others who are a bit lesser known, but equally important. There are women such as Phillis Wheatley, an educated slave who found fame in 1773 by publishing a book of poems–a book that included a preface by 17 men to provide proof that she actually wrote it. There is also A’Lelia Walker, daughter of the famous Madame CJ Walker, who was a great business executive and patron of the arts. She became known as the Joy Goddess of the Harlem Renaissance for her role in bringing together artists, writers and intellectuals.

I have always been a fan of Queen Latifah’s story. It is ground breaking in its own right. She started at one point then proceeded to another, defining and redefining who she was and what she was capable of. Never allowing society to tell her what she could or could not be.


Latifah began her career as a rapper and won a Grammy for her single U.N.I.T.Y.  In the 90’s she branched out into acting, first in films such as Jungle Fever and Juice. She later went on to star in the sitcom Living Single (one of my favs!). It remains one of the few sitcoms to feature and focus on a group of African American women. Queen Latifah pursued this side of her creativity with gusto with performances in a list of movies far too long to write here. Her most acclaimed role may have been in the hit musical Chicago. But I liked her performance in a recent version of the musical Hairspray.  These musical debuts bring me to the next great thing in her story—her awesome singing voice, which can be experienced on several albums produced under the name Dana Owens.


Latifah’s accomplishments include, but certainly are not limited to: rapper, record producer, actress, CoverGirl Spokesperson, talk show host, and singer. Such an inspiration, I cannot wait to see what she does next!