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Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." (New International)

This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. "When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (The Message)

Do you know who you are?  I mean really, really know?

You are special and God created you for a very specific purpose.  NO situation has the power to defeat you. You are destined for greatness in EVERY area of your life and have the ability to access the tools you need to live joyfully and receive the goodness that is rightfully yours.

At times, I'm sure you wonder if you're going to sink or swim and believe those to be your only two options.  Yes, circumstances arise that present difficulty and doubt, but there IS a third option that speaks to God's will for you and His ability to be a very present help just when you need it.  So, what's left, you ask?........WALKING ON THE WATER, that's what!  In the natural, walking on water seems far-fetched or impossible, but since there is no physical water to speak of, the same can be said of "sinking" and "swimming" when referring to a personal situation, performance on the job or some type of struggle.

The difference you see, has a great deal to do with the positive messages you feed to your inner being (self-esteem) and the positive attitude you project towards others.  When combined with your faith that God is able, He can and He will...you gain a new and life-changing perspective. What do you tell yourself…about yourself?  In what ways do your friends represent your values and support your goals?  It's important that you surround yourself with people who will encourage you and are supportive of the wonderful person you already are!

A long time ago, I made a decision that I was not going to allow anyone to define my worth.  No, my parents didn't have a lot of money and I didn't wear the latest fashions, have the best hairstyles or drive the best car (truthfully, I didn't have a car), but what I did have was a very strong sense of who I was (thanks mom and dad!) and "who" I wanted to become.  I'm not referring to occupation or social status, but rather the 'type' of person I desired to be (kind, compassionate, giving, empathetic to the needs of others, etc...)  Even as a teenager, I understood the importance of being and feeling valued.  My parents made me feel that way so it was natural for me to want to provide the same to those around me.

 When I laughed; I laughed hard.  When I cheered; I cheered hard and made no apologies for it.  I still don't.  Some things are fine in moderation, but sometimes you just gotta overdose on the things that feed your joy and give your life its wings of purpose and happiness.  I love my family too much, I kiss and hug my children too hard, I am too loyal to the friends who genuinely seek my good and I sing life's praises too loud!  I've also learned from others that I am too happy and smile too much.  Whaaaat?!?!  The people (and there have been many) who have said those things to me were not trying to be nice.  They had no idea the venom that left their mouth was sweet nectar when it reached my ears and I walked away happier and smiling harder. 

My friends, the key to happiness isn't necessarily about being 'happy'.  I have dark days and expect to continue to have them in the future.  My happiness isn't dependent upon temporary situations.  I believe the key to happiness is mastering the art of perspective.  Basically, I squeeze everything I can out of the time I'm given on this earth.  Only I can walk the path that has been set for me.  It's my journey; and the same is true for you.  When you're living this thing called life, who has time to pause just to see who's watching and criticizing?  Life is far too amazing to leave crumbs of potential, joy, enthusiasm, hope or expectancy on the table.  Those things belong to us! 

Let me tell you something about possession...when something is valuable to you, no one should be able to take it from you easily or without you putting up a fight.  I want you to value you!  Value the gifts you possess!  Value the struggles that have made (or are making) you stronger, wiser, resilient, more kind/loving, better. Value the right you were given at birth to just be happy.  Do you hear me?  You weren't created to feel constant sorrow, to be the object of constant ridicule or to be surrounded by darkeness.  You weren't born to have a life of sadness and depression.  When things happen to you or you experience a setback, it's okay.  It may be the end of a relationship or an employment contract, but it's not the end of YOU!  You WILL make it through.....there is STILL joy to be found.....you WILL smile again.  I have come to the realization that I AM special, I AM unique and I have a gift to share with others.  No one can do 'me' as well as I can!  You are NO different....YOU are special, YOU are unique and YOU have soooo many gifts and talents!  No one can do 'you' as well as you can, so UBU!!!


You must never be intimidated by another woman's success or be falsely strengthened by her weaknesses or failures.  The same way you are unique and are the best thing since sliced bread, so is every other woman out there (and if she hasn't realized it yet, it's only a matter of time before she meets me and I let the secret out of the bag!). 

Hear me: Someone else's success and/or good fortune do not take away from you!  Turn your eyes and focus away from "what other people have, what they're driving, where they live, how they look, etc." and take a moment to give thanks for the wonderful gifts you have of your own! Don't let your own life pass you by because of your obsession to live or upstage someone else's....that path will leave you frustrated and defeated and my friend you are too precious, insightful, valuable, gifted, confident, motivated, poised, talented, unique and blessed for that!  Yeah, I said it!  ...and when did this become a competition, anyway?  

FREE YOURSELF!  Shine on!  U B U!!

I have no idea how many women will get this message but I hope, in some way, I have encouraged you today.  I don't have to know you to care about you or want you to have the confidence that you need to reach your goals and live your life to the fullest...the best gift you can give yourself is acceptance.  Self-acceptance opens the door for harmony with others and that's what UBU is all about.

Never apologize
for being who you are. Never apologize for sharing your gifts and talents with the world.  Don't make the mistake I used to make by dimming your light to make others feel comfortable.   

Laugh when you feel like laughing--out loud!  Dance when you hear the music--why not go for broke?!  BE JOYFUL and walk in the confidence of God!  When you're at your best, it's only then that you can inspire others to be their best.  If God has blessed you with gifts and talents - use them so that He gets the glory and through you, He is able to draw people to Him

Your destiny is eagerly waiting to meet you...and so am I!!! 


SMW Photography, Burlington NC (Martin & Stephanie Williams)