Posted in 2020, America, Black, Do Something

I Can’t Breathe

I Can’t Breathe

The news cycle over the last 24 hours has been too much to bear.

My God, somebody make it stop. Please!

My breath has been slipping away for a while now, but at least I am able to grasp for air and keep on fighting for justice.

Ahmaud Arbery and the video of him being lynched still plays in my head. It was Mother’s Day when I did my jog in honor of his birthday and decided to spend the day praying for his mother. Just when I thought I could come up for air…

I be damned if now I have to lament my way through the video of George Floyd, who was murdered while having a knee lodged against his neck by a white man cutting off his oxygen. Mr. Floyd told him, “I can’t breathe.”

I. Watched. The. Entire. Video. #iCantBreathe

What the…. (yeah, you get the picture. I really want to drop that word right here.)

Many nights I am unable to sleep thinking about my Black husband, son, father, brother, brothers-in-law, nephews, and the Black male friends in my life. When my cellphone rings late night or early morning during the time my Do Not Disturb is activated, I grab my chest, hoping that the call is not news that one of the Black males in my life has died in the hands of someone white.

There, I said it. No, I do not feel any better saying those words, but I have danced around my white friends for a long time. I was trying to comfort them amid the horrific atmosphere I have had to live with for many years. I find myself assuring them that I do not see them as a part of the problem and do not fault them for the blatant racism and injustices of Black people. As I am comforting them, I am becoming angrier and angrier because they should be consoling me and standing up for me, and my Blackness using #BlackLivesMatter without having to hear all lives matters. What the hell!

I want to scream. Today was not a good day. All of my emotions have surfaced. Who’s going to do something? This post is not about likes or follows. I’m asking you if you will take a stand with Black folks in America who are losing their lives because of the color of our skin.

This is a problem with the system. Will you come from behind what’s deemed as politically correct and write legislation to help fix the system? Will you help expose those who are racist, waiting for the opportunity to call the cops on someone Black?

I am over talking about racism, yet I have to keep the conversation going.

Today’s blog post is for my white friends and family. What are you going to do? Will you stand with us for justice beyond making a social media post telling us that your thoughts and prayers are with us? Will you have a face to face conversation with your white friends who continues the narrative that “racism is dead” or throw out “what about blacks who kill other blacks” or whatever saying out there to help soothe them and allow them to go on about their day?

Yes, I want you to feel what I am feeling as a woman, wife, and mother of Black males. I desire you to pray while calling out to the Lord with tears streaming down your face as I do as a Christian woman. I implore you to step inside my shoes and look through my lenses and see what I see. I want you to feel your heart racing when the phone rings at night. I want you to witness what it is like without having white privilege. Yes, I want you to be just as tired as we are, and just as exhausted as we are on a daily basis.

You can no longer decide when you will speak out. Either you are with us, or you are against us.

Friends, remember… MLK1

…and let us not forget the latest Karen. #AmyCooper who lost her job and her dog, but George Floyd lost his life. #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

Finally, no. I will not apology for how I am feeling right now.

Please, use the comment section and tell me how you will stand up and become an authentic ally for Black people.

Posted in 2020, America, Black

Mother’s Day: A Black Reality

#AhmaudArbery

#BothemJean

#AtatianaJefferson

#StephonClark

#MikeBrown

#JordanEdwards

#JordanDavis

#JonathanFerrell

#AltonSterling

#RenishaMcBride

#AiyanaJones

#Charleston9

#SeanBell

#OscarGrant

#SandraBland

#CoreyJones

#RandyEvans

#ClaudeReese

#WalterScott

#AmadouDiallo

#FreddieGray

#EricGarner

#YvonneSmallwood

#CliffordGlover

#KeithScott

#TerrenceCrutcher

#JohnCrawford

#PhilandoCastile

#TamirRice

#TrayvonMartin

Yes, Mother’s Day for a Black mom is different. We don’t have the pleasure of relaxing on Sunday, watching movies, reading magazines, enjoying a cooked meal, or sitting on the patio. In times like these, our day is filled with pacing the floor and praying that we will be able to hear our child’s voice or see them alive because of the color of their skin.

Scrolling and reading my newsfeed on social media, I wept as I read posts by millennials hoping they can get through another day without being murdered.

I decided to ask some Black young adult women to share their voices on this blog post for Mother’s Day.

I asked them to respond to the following.

In the current climate of hashtags communicating another injustice in the Black community, I would say this to my Black mother (grandmother, mother figure) on Mother’s Day…

 “Dear Mom,

I want you to know that I will try my best to survive. I will cooperate when I am pulled over. I will not resist arrest or attempt to assault an officer. I will try not to run alone outdoors. This Mother’s Day, I do not want you to worry about me or my brother or sister. I will try to convince them to be careful with me. I will tell them to avoid over-watching the news or feeding into the sensationalism on social media. I will protect them when I can and protect you from pain if I can. I will try my best to survive, but because of the racial landscape of this country, it may not be enough. If any of us become a statistic, it is not your fault, these things just happen, and there is not much that we can do about them. So, I love you, and all I have to do is stay black and die. I just hope that the one is not the reason for the other.”

Candace Thomas

“Dear Mom,

In the current climate of hashtags communicating another injustice in the Black community, I say this to my Black mothers. Love on your babies every chance you get. Continue to speak love and light into their lives, instill them with confidence and knowledge, remind them of the beauty of their skin and the power behind it. Have those difficult conversations early and teach them their history. Pray for your daughters and your sons. Pray for all mothers. Hug them a little longer, kiss them a little more, embrace them a little tighter. Keep your faith and remain hopeful that the narratives will change. Our daughters and our sons deserve a chance, they deserve hope, they deserve success, they deserve love, and they deserve a future.”

Rashay Foster

“Dear Mom, 
I’m scared.

I know that I’ve always been the strong child, but I don’t know how to protect myself in a world that doesn’t love me or care that I’m a Black woman. I thought that they were supposed to look out for women and children. I’m not a mother, so I’ll never understand how that feels to bare children. I thought that when you went to the doctor, they’d look out for your best interests. They don’t. They told me that this was it. I’ll never share this day with you.

I’m confused.

My husband wants to fight for our country because he thinks that it’s his duty to leave a legacy that will be of honor and love for what he believes in. But this country doesn’t love him. I’m confused and scared that he’d go and I’d get the call that my Uriah has been put on the front line and killed.

 I’m hurting.

My heart is broken because no matter if we follow the rules, “be good” and do what’s right, it will never be enough. Going to church doesn’t mean anything. Loving your neighbor means nothing.

Was what you taught us real? Was it just to get us to follow what you were saying? All I know is life is creating too many emotions, and I feel crazy.”

Black Woman, Columbus, Ohio

“Dear Mom,

You taught me that it’s a blessing to birth sons. I watch my three Black boys every day and wonder how I will prepare them for a world that doesn’t want them. How do I explain the invisible birthmark shaped like a target on their backs? I do all I can to scrub that target off of them every day. I hear myself telling them. Don’t use slang. Don’t move too fast. Don’t jog. Don’t wear hoodies. Don’t carry concealed. Don’t play cops and robbers. Don’t play your music too loud.  Don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move. Stay with mommy.

Mom, how do I prepare? How do I let go and let God if it feels like God is letting his black sons go?”

Zelraye

“Dear Moms,

Thank you. Thank you for bringing us into this world. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for teaching us that our Black lives matter. We are thankful for you. We are thankful for all the times you told me to keep my head up. We are thankful for your unwavering support in everything we do. No matter what society thinks, says, does, we find comfort in knowing that you are on our side. We thank you today and every day.”

Keya Kellum

“Mom, I pray I never become a hashtag.” ~ Dominiq Dudley

So, on this Mother’s Day, in light of the current climate of hashtags connected to the murders of Black people, I can’t rest. I’m praying for Black people in America. However, I will do something in honor of the most recent hashtag #AhmaudArbery. I will jog 2.23 miles with tears streaming down my face in remembrance of him and praying for his momma.

Posted in 2020, Book Publishing, Do Something, Empowerment

Publishing Savvy 101

Author?

Blogger?

Writer?

Self-Publisher?

Indie-Publisher?

Book Publicist?

Check this out! During this pandemic, I have taken my philanthropy to another level. I’m giving away the house! Every room! Just come here (Facebook page) and glean. You need answers on publishing? Follow and like the Facebook page (link below) and get it all. Everything you need or want.

This week, I designed and launched a publishing page on Facebook.

This page is for authors, bloggers, writers, self-publishing and indie authors seeking information and direction about publishing. I am Gail Dudley, and I am the person behind the page. I am an author, blogger, coach, and publishing consultant. I have over 20 years of experience. I am the co-founder of READY Publication, a print and digital magazine in more than 35 countries, I am the author of fourteen books, and have coached and or published over 139 titles for authors. Additionally, I serve as a project manager for authors and writers taking their books from manuscript to published to the shelf into the hands of people everywhere.

Visit the Facebook page (link below) to watch videos, grab downloads, or ask questions.

I decided during this pandemic, that after 20 years of publishing experience, why not? Why not give people what they need to publish their books? So here I am. I am at the intersection of people, prayer, and politics. Why politics? Because everything is political. Positioning your brand and books becomes a political move. Why prayer? Because I intentionally pray for the success of authors and writers who are self-publishers. I desire to see you and your books soar to the top 50 authors out of over one million. Why people? Because I believe in you, the author.

Ready? Let’s get to work.

Need help along the way? Ask me. I do have consulting hours available.

Like and follow the FB page here:

Posted in 2020, Do Something, Empowerment, Ministry

Prayer: From Kneeling to Action

I love this passage of scripture from Acts 12:1-19, and particularly verse 5 where it says,

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

Twenty or so years ago, I recalled reading Acts 12. I was working as the director of training for a nonprofit called FIRSTLINK that served the community. My husband was completing his seminary degree, which means he was not working. We had two children. Through many hardships and financial challenges, we stayed the course and were faithful tithing members at our church. One Sunday, during prayer at the altar, I could feel the presence of the Lord upon me. I lifted my head and looked around to see if anyone else could feel what I was feeling. I then recognized a voice that I had heard before. He only spoke one word: Today.

After church, my husband and I took our children to eat dinner and returned home to where he continued his studies and prepared for graduation. With the children asleep, I was overcome with emotions and sat on the floor inside our bedroom. I can vividly remember crawling over to my Bible that sat on the nightstand. I turned to Acts 12 again and started reading one word at a time. I stopped at verse five. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” He was in prison, but the people were praying. He was in prison, but the people were praying. I kept reading those words over and over again.

I paused, waiting for God to speak, and there was nothing. So, I kept reading.

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

I focused on Rhoda. God started speaking directly to me.

Remember verse five said, “Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for Him.” Well, God answered their prayers, but they were still praying. Peter was free and knocking on the door, but the church was still praying.

Rhoda left the prayer circle and went to answer the knock on the door. She recognized Peter’s voice but did not open the door.

How many times have you prayed, and God gives an answer, and you’ve kept on praying?

How many times have you prayed, and God gives an answer, and you share God’s answer with someone else, and they look at you sideways? You returned to praying about the same thing, although God has already answered.

Why are we praying if we do not believe God will answer?

At some point, we must act on our prayers.

During this season, which has been very difficult for so many, as we pray, we must act upon our prayers. I am at the intersection of people, prayer, and politics. Therefore, I will be making requests from time to time.

Today, I want to make a request for Serving Our Neighbors in Hilliard, Ohio. SON Ministries, which is a faith-based not for profit which partners with children and families facing the unique challenges of suburban poverty. They mobilize life-improving resources and connect families to these resources and to a network of organizations and people who together strive to help strengthen families and their community. SON Ministries offers a respect-filled HAND UP to those in need and mobilize the community to Serve Our Neighbor!

Here’s a bit of the story, “On March 3rd, 2007 our Founder and Executive Director, Kim Emch prayed asking the Holy Spirit to ‘light my heart on fire in a whole new way’.  On March 11th, 2007 she learned there were 2,158 children in the Hilliard City School District, a suburban town, where she lived, worked and her children went to school, who were living in poverty.  She was SHOCKED and immediately felt God calling her to love, feed and serve them – body, mind and spirit – and to bring the Body of Christ with her.  She recruited 11 volunteers who felt God calling them to ‘feed My sheep’ and together they started a free summer lunch program – in their suburban town, Hilliard Ohio.  They asked everyone they knew to help and 175 volunteers from the community joined them to serve 2,376 lunches to 246 children facing poverty in their town. It was a HUGE success and the Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries Summer Lunch Camp was born!   No one had ever seen a FREE summer lunch camp in a suburban town (the Ohio Department of Education and the USDA came to see it).  They learned that poverty was moving to the first ring suburbs across the USA as urban cities were being re-gentrified.”

 This summer, they will serve meals to 3800 children in need. They are committed to standing in the hunger gap as they have for the past thirteen years. They need our help. Click the donate link to give a gift of whatever amount to help serve meals to 3800 children in need this summer.

We, the church, have been praying. God is answering those requests, and He is using us to do so. Won’t you give today to SON Ministries? They are STILL serving our neighbors.

donatePurplebutton Thank you for your donation to SON Ministries.

Posted in 2020, Life, Prayer

Demolish Strongholds

I’ve lost track of the number of days I made the decision to follow the guidelines and submit to the Stay at Home orders given by Governor Mike DeWine. Has it been three weeks? Four? Seven? I honestly do not know, but there’s no need to panic.

Yea, I wish it were that easy.

It started slowly. Hearing of COVID-19 in January, moving to February, wondering if it would reach America. Excited to see my daughter, I traveled to Atlanta for an event coupled with spending time with my baby girl, who also doubles as my business partner. We laughed as we were setting up her new apartment. We talked a little about the coronavirus, but it seemed so far from us that we did not give it too much thought. As I departed Sunday afternoon on my drive back to Columbus, I was scrolling through my news feed and seeing article after article that COVID is here!

Arriving well after midnight into my driveway, I rushed into the house to turn on the television. I found story after story of how this virus is taking America by storm. It took me a moment to calm down. Once my heart stopped pounding, I remembered that I have a call of prayer on my life. I had to turn what was trying to become fear into prayer. There was a settling in my spirit, but I found myself in a tug of war vacillating between a spirit of fear and leaning into the scripture, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Isn’t it interesting that you can read scripture over and over again, but then one day, you read it and find something you never connected before? Looking at, praying over, and studying 2 Timothy 1:7, my eyes landed on “God did not…” My spirit leaped.

God has not put upon us the spirit of fear. He did not give that to us. No! He has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. Some translations say, sound mind. Regardless of the interpretation, God did not give us a spirit of fear.

Fear is a stronghold that we must demolish.

No, God did not cause this pandemic. However, I do believe He is using it for His good. Stay with me. As it relates to my life, God had to bring me back to who He called me to be. I am an intercessor at the intersection of people, prayer, and politics. Everything that is going on right now has created a platform for me to move into what He called me to do. However, oftentimes we are faced with fear, insecurities, avoidance, lack, and asking questions. Some questions could be, “Am I operating in my godly position of power, authority, and anointing?” Have I abandoned my assignment? Have I allowed the enemy to distract me with his lies that push me in a place of hiding? Do I have what it takes? Can I use my voice?

Distractions are strongholds that we must demolish.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up again the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Time to fight with the correct weapons of divine power to demolish strongholds. Time to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus. Time to rise and take a stand.

Distractions.
Insecurities.
Fear.
Avoidance.
Silence.

In the name of Jesus, all those strongholds must be demolished.

Yes, undressing myself in my last blog post released some old chains that I had placed around my neck. They were starting to choke the life out of my, yet today, I can breathe fully again. I preached, and I have taught Isaiah 52 many times which says,

Awake, awake, O Zion,

clothe yourself with strength.

Put on your garments of splendor,

O Jerusalem, the holy city.

The uncircumcised and defiled

will not enter you again.

Shake off your dust;

rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.

Free yourself from the chains on your neck,

O captive Daughter of Zion.

I have freed myself from the chains around my neck. Now, it’s your turn. Do you have any chains that need to be removed?

Call to action. 1) Consider what chains need to be removed from your life. 2) Let me know how I might pray for you. 3) Share in the comment section what platform you have built so others can support. Yes, list your website. 4) Share how you are dealing with COVID-19 Stay at Home orders. 5) If you are led, consider sowing a seed. The PayPal link is on the right panel.

Schedule a free 15-minute time slot of inspiration, prayer, and spiritual direction with me during this time of COVID-19. Schedule here.

Posted in 2020, Life, Prayer

COVID-19: Easter Weekend

COVID-19 brings a different kind of Easter weekend for me and many others around the world. For me, because of a preexisting condition, I am unable to find myself in a church building gathered with others in a sanctuary, but I am wrapped in a wool shawl looking at a body of water as the sun rises.

The ripples that are flowing gently across Hoover Dam are much like my life right now. The pressure of life has my mind spinning, and if I’m not careful, I may find my back up against the wall.

Today is nothing like the excitement I felt crossing over from December 31, 2019, to January 1, 2020, as I sat in the back of the church praying as my husband delivered a New Year’s Eve sermon titled Help Is Already Here.

As I reflect this weekend, I laugh inwardly as I am reading through the notes of that particular sermon. I chuckle because I was standing on my feet with hands raised saying, “Amen!” and what we call in the Black church a call and response, I could be heard yelling, “Help is Already Here!” Oh, how I embraced God’s truth at that particular hour, yet four months later, I am doing all you can just to hold on.

Reading the Bible is easy when things are going well in your life. Today I struggle. I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

My mom was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday before Good Friday. With COVID-19, no one can visit her. We are that family that will rotate sitting at the hospital with our immediate family members until their release. However, in this season, we have to hope and pray that the nurses and doctors are taking great care of her and will reach out to us regularly with updates on the condition of her health. I, on the other hand, am silently caving, unable to ignore that my mom is 84 with prior health challenges. I am unable to show too many emotions because my family calls me the strong one. They have no idea that I am sitting in my prayer room, silently weeping as I speak with them on the telephone to emerge when it’s my time to talk with confidence in my voice.

I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

As I balance my emotions with my mom, I have someone close to me wrestling with some very unsettling health news. As I do all I can to keep my composure when speaking with this person, I have tears streaming down my face trying to withhold expressing too many emotions. Tapping into prayer, all I have is, Lord, hear our prayers, although I have not uttered one word of prayer. This person has no idea that I am sitting in my prayer room looking for something to let me know everything will be alright. I pull a book of prayers from my bookshelf flipping through the pages trying to find a prayer to pray and nothing. I have nothing.

I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

If those two situations were not enough, I am looking at my finances as an entrepreneur and small business owner. What I see with my natural eye is enough to break me. The magazine I co-own with my daughter was brilliantly relaunched in February and gaining significant traction. My daughter and her team took READY Publication to another level. The day after International Women’s Day (March 8, 2020), COVID-19 hit the US at the rate of having to shut down college campuses, small businesses, and so much more if you were not essential. Although we are online in this season, our interns’ lives were disrupted, and all of us had to figure out our new normal. The very plans that were rolling out included high school and college students, teachers, and professors, along with mentorship and civic engagement. Everything came to a halt. Will we recover? Can we recover? Our teams have no idea that I am sitting in my prayer room with them on a conference call trying to speak boldly, although my voice is shaking.

I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

Watching the news and reading articles written by a reputable journalist, I am learning how COVID-19 is hitting the African American community at the speed of light. I have one hand on my chest with my other hand on my smartphone, scrolling and searching the internet, hoping the news is not correct.

Albany, GA.

Detroit.

Chicago.

Louisiana.

New York City

Just a few places, I see the stats as I sit in my prayer room doing everything I can to push back tears and the fear that is trying to take over my life. I am wrestling with God. I don’t get it. Why does it feel that Holy Week, which led me into this Easter weekend, is crushing me on every side? I have cried so much this week that I don’t know if I’m going through a detox experience cleaning out things that are not of God, or if I am being stretched for a greater purpose.

I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

Let’s not forget ministry, my calling as a servant leader and intercessor, where I am at the intersection of prayer, people, and politics. I willfully serve in the trenches every day regardless of what I may face. I choose to lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth (Psalm 121). You cannot see me, but I am sitting in my prayer room, shedding a few tears as I look around and see hope. I smell the anointing oil I often use around the doorpost and on the floor where I circle and pray for so many people daily.

I am dealing with too many emotions at this very moment.

And yet, as I sit looking at the ripples in this body of water, I flip through my Bible, and what falls out are the sermon notes from my husband’s message dated, March 22, 2020, titled, “We Will Get Through This” from Psalm 46.

And so, this is what I will hold onto in this season. I will get through this. You will too!

Call to action. 1) Pray, 2) Sow a seed (right panel PayPal), 3) Enjoy the video below of the ripples, 4) If you are a praying person, pray for me, and 5) Leave a comment letting me know how I can pray for you in this season.

Posted in 2020, Business, Do Something

Beyond Prayer Intercession

Yes, beyond my gift of intercessory prayer, God has blessed me with the skills of coaching entrepreneurs and small business owners. I have more than twenty-five years of experience.

I was told the other day that I was the best-kept secret. The person said, and I will quote, “Gail, why don’t you tell people what you do? You are a walking book of gifts that others need for such a time as this. You are like a secret that I’m going to expose since you have helped me with my small business that has given me a return on my investment.” (Lisa Mayson, Missouri). I am guilty as charged. I can attribute this to the fact that I have never been one to stand on a stage and yell out, “Hire me!” Why? I have tried to live my life based upon God’s Word. I’m reminded of, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” [Proverbs 18:16] I believe my gift will make room for me, and at a certain time, others will see it and ask for my coaching and consulting. 

Here’s the truth. I stay before God and pray about everything. I’m not only praying and interceding for others; I am regularly praying and seeking God for Him to order my steps. I pray that people will get to a place in their walk with God to pray about everything, including their business, career, speaking, or writing, while they are praying for their finances, relationships, children, and everyday life situations. 

I have been an author for over twenty years. I have been coaching self-publishing authors for the last fifteen years. I am known for giving resources to others and have been developing a new venture to serve more people without having to necessarily engage in weekly one-hour coaching sessions, which can become expensive. I’ve always been known as someone who wants to make things affordable to others and come alongside individuals of all income brackets and walks of life, including those who are considered marginalized and may not be able to invest large amounts of money monthly. And yes, still appealing to those who are blessed to make six-figures or more. I wanted to design something for everyone. So, I developed a partnership called “This And Or That,” and it consists of three tiers.  

Tier One: “This” which consists of monthly resource information shared on the partnership website. This information includes business startup tips, entrepreneurship, small business, self-publishing tips, grassroots organizations, nonprofit leadership, volunteerism resources, how to’s, and so much more. This monthly partnership: $25.00

Tier Two: “This And” which consists of everything in tier one plus downloads like what you will receive in this eNews and instructional webinars, discounts on one-on-one coaching.  This monthly partnership: $50.00 

Tier Three: “This And Or That” which consists of everything in tiers one and two plus a 30-minute (live) group coaching with Gail each month.  This monthly partnership: $100.00

To give you a taste of what I am speaking of, you will find two items below. The first one is a twenty-one-page pdf on self (vs) traditional publishing, and the second one is an interview video currently public on my YouTube about self-publishing. 

To join “This And Or That” partnership, click here. 

Download the PDF: PublishingPresentation

YouTube: https://youtu.be/lJb0IBJsBsw