Things Are Good Because I Say They Are

By Skye Thomas

The subject of positive self talk regarding our goals and dreams reminds me of the childhood story, The Velveteen Rabbit. The boy loves the toy so much that a magic fairy comes and turns the toy bunny into a real rabbit. She tells the bunny it has been loved so much that it has earned the right to be real.

Wouldn’t it be great if all we had to do was to love our dreams and fantasies until a magic fairy came, and poof, our dreams were real? How many of us would forget to love our dreams enough? Would they be lost under the bed like some long ago childhood toy? What if it really was that simple?

Years ago, I was a single mom with two small children. Both were still in diapers. We were on welfare and getting help with housing assistance. I had $335 each month to support a family of three. There was no husband, no boyfriend, no child support and no reason to believe any of those things were every coming near me. My friends were all happily married and most did not even have children yet. I was struggling to come up with money to buy diapers and they were buying boats and campers and going on long vacations. I was very frightened and alone. I had no family around to help me out of my situation and my childhood friends were all too busy with their new lives to be of much help to me. They all had careers and their families and new in-laws to hang out with. They loved me, but often forgot to even check on my kids and me.

I spent a lot of time alone while my babies were sleeping or playing together. I realized how sad my children’s lives would be. They were being raised by a sad lonely depressed welfare mom. I could not do that to them. I could not afford to get counseling, so I went to the library to research “happiness.” I began to read everything I could get my hands on. I did not want my kids to grow up secluded, scared, and depressed like me. My research lead me to books on religion, romance, parenting, spirituality, everything.

After a few months, I realized I was reading the same message over and over again. It did not matter what topic I was reading, it always came down to attitude. What I believe is what I will see. What I see is what I live. That is when I wrote my life’s mantra: Things are good, because I say they are.

I wrote it on a half sized sheet of my nicest pink paper with my favorite purple pen and taped it to my bathroom mirror. I saw it many times each day. Every time I brushed my teeth it was there. “Things are good, because I say they are.” Every time I washed my hands, “Things are good, because I say they are.” Every time I put on makeup or brushed my hair, “Things are good, because I say they are.” It began to work it’s magic on me.

I decided to fake it and act like I was happy. I made a rule… from then on, I would only tell people the good things in my life. I would no longer tell them how many bill collectors called that day or that my three year old was probably never going to be potty trained. I was not in denial. I simply wanted to practice this positive attitude stuff I had read so much about. Would it really change my life? I doubted it, but I was going to at least give it an honest try.

Whenever someone asked me “How are things going?” I would remember my little statement and tell them, “Things are good!” I would make myself find positive stories about my life to tell them. I owe my children a great debt of gratitude for providing me with something to smile at every day of their lives. Never has a day gone by since they were born have they not at the very minimum made me smile if not fully laugh out loud.

The only positive things I had to tell were funny stories about my two kids. People may have gotten tired of always hearing about my babies, but that was all I had for examples. “Things are good! My son is finally potty trained!” “Things are good! My daughter did the funniest little dance the other day! It went something like this…” They all thought I was this good little mom who was obsessed with her kids. The truth is, I had nothing positive to say about myself.

I cannot tell you when the exact moment was, but about a year later, I realized that I was not faking it anymore. Things really were good. I had proven the theory “fake it until it’s real.” I had gone back to work and was learning a new career. My kids were in a wonderful safe environment while I was at work. They loved their daycare center. My career was worth talking about. I joined a local gym and started working out every day. My kids loved the playroom there and were thrilled with going straight from daycare to the playroom at the gym. They hadn’t suffered because I had taken care of my own happiness.

We had a lot less time together during the week, but everyone was very happy. Our weekends became our time for adventures. I started dating again. I had fixed my credit to the point that I was able to buy a new car without a cosigner. When people asked me, “How’s it going?” I actually had something besides my kids to talk about. Things WERE good, because I SAID they were. That magic fairy must have made it real when I wasn’t looking.

Skye Thomas began writing books and articles with an everyday practical approach to spirituality, motivation, and inspiration in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, motivation, and parenting. More of her articles can be found at as well as free previews of her books.

Committed To Closing The Gap Between Where I Am And Where I Want To Be

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

A few years ago I wrote myself a very detailed letter of exactly what I wanted my life to be. I was specific. I wrote down how I would look, what my social life would be like, the status of my marriage, how my finances would be in order, etc. I was detailed. Tonight I read it and thought, “what happened? Why am I not that person on the paper?” Well, let’s see.. I think I can narrow it down to discipline, focus, and obedience.

Yeah, yeah. I could whine and moan and say that I’ve had some setbacks. That would be true. I’ve had some serious setbacks, roadblocks, hell, I’ve had mountains to climb. And I’ve scaled them. But when you are constantly playing defense sometimes you can forget that you have to put numbers on the board. I lost sight of that.

Seeing that letter reminded me of who I said I would be. Who I was to become. All of the things that I listed on that letter are still things that I want. I still want to be debt-free. I still want to have a career that I get up and love going to everyday. I want to travel more – much more. I want everything on that list.

So instead of writing about who I want to be and putting it in my journal, the Neysa 2.0 Manifesto (catchy name, huh?) is going on the bathroom mirror. I will be forced to look at it everyday so that I don’t forget the goal. I will work at closing the gap until I can introduce my present self to my best self.

Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work

I’ve Got An Attitude Of Gratitude

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

When the editors of asked me to write a piece on gratitude, I immediately thought about my marriage and being grateful for still being married to my husband. I mean that is what I normally write about and it seems to fit the theme of Black love and MARRIAGE, right? But while I am grateful for my marriage, my family, my job, and continuing personal growth; I am also very grateful for my health.Huh? What? I am grateful for my health. I’ve had 7 surgeries in 12 years. Yep, you read that right. Seven. And that’s just the surgeries. I’ve made repeat extended stay visits to the hospital in-between those surgeries. It’s pretty bad. Actually it’s so bad that my 2011 New Year’s resolution was to stay out of the hospital. Unfortunately I was admitted to the hospital for 4 days on 1/2/11. That’s the kind of chronic, reoccurring illness that I have.

Anyone with a chronic illness knows that treating it is tough. It’s a constant battle. But diagnosing it is even harder. I spent years in and out of doctor’s offices trying to figure out why I was in so much pain. Years of misdiagnosing. Years of functioning through the pain. Years of wondering if I was actually crazy. I visited so many doctors that I keep a list of surgeries and medications typed up and would fax/email my information to them in advanced because I was so tired for repeating myself. I would watch medical mysteries and “House MD” and pray that some doctor would help me the same way.

So if I have medical issues how can I be thankful for health? Easy. I had my “House MD” moment. And while the problem is recurring at least I know what I am dealing with. I’ve learned how to manage it. I’ve learned how to call a time out when I am feeling bad so that I am down for just 1-2 days instead of weeks.

So what exactly am I grateful for? Each time I went into the hospital, I got to come home at the end of my stay. Some folks can’t say that. Some folks moved to the morgue, but I didn’t. Each time I have been ill, my friends and family have gathered to take care of me and my children. Other people can’t say that, but I can. While my job may complain about the amount of time that I’ve been off from work, they have always preserved my job for me. Some people can’t say that, but I can. My good days out number my bad. Some people can’t say that, but I can.

While some people can say that their health is perfect, I can’t say that. But what I can say is that I am grateful for the health that I do have.

 Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work

VIDEO: Marvin Sapp Speaks About The Death Of His Wife & Why He Wants To Die “Empty”

By Team BLAM

Pastor/Gospel singer Marvin Sapp talks about how the death of his wife impacted him, overcoming barriers to achieve greatness and why he feels it’s his responsibility to give back. He says he wants to be able to say he “died empty” doing everything that he desired to do. Listen in to his testimony.

No Picture Perfect Childhood With A Mommy & Daddy Here…And Yet I Am Still So Grateful

By Lana Moline

When I was 11 months old, my father died of a rare disorder, myasthenia gravis. My siblings were 8 and 6 at the time and my mother became a widow at a very early age just a decade into their marriage. Needless to say that’s not quite the stats that anyone wants to register.


I don’t quite recall how I felt about this when I was a lot younger because I had the privilege of uncles, cousins and an older brother who would have moved heaven and earth if I asked him. So I did not spend years of my life searching for love or trying to understand male love because quite honestly, love was all around me. There was a void, however, and I didn’t truly notice it until I got married. You see the thing is, I didn’t always feel safe and secure.


A few years ago I was holding a conversation with my husband about the kids and their fears. I shared with him that one of the things that brings me crazy joy is watching my daughters try just about anything because they believe that no matter what, Daddy will be there to rescue them. In their minds, they know that I will be there to comfort but they look to their father for the security in knowing that Daddy is strong enough to protect them from danger. As we spoke, I realized that security was something that I gathered and learned, not something I simply felt.


I thought about all the years prior to getting married when my brother, sister, mother and I lived together a part of me felt afraid sometimes and I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. It wasn’t until I saw the confidence that my daughters and my son for that matter display that comes from the love of a father that I was able to identify the void. Sure, my brother tried to step up and offer what he could but he as well longed for my dad.

So now, 4 decades later, I still wonder what it’s like to sit on my dad’s lap and tell him about my day at school. I can’t help but think about whether my life would have turned out differently had he been alive. Would I have had the confidence to try something amazingly different? Who knows? But what I do know is that his memory is with me every single day and in every decision that I make. From all accounts, he was a beautiful person, a straight shooter who never claimed to be perfect but loved his family unconditionally.


Nevertheless, I am grateful. For me, there was still a blessing in not having that picture perfect childhood with a mommy and daddy. That blessing causes me to strive very hard to make sure that my home life is healthy, peaceful and nurturing. I make sure to give my husband the space he needs to carve his own relationship with our kids and I relish the times when he is cuddled up with them. I imagine the joy I feel watching it is a reflection of their joy and that fills my void. So ultimately, my heavenly Father allowed me to see through the death of my father how important a father is to his children. It pushed me to truly connect to my roles as wife in mother in ways that I never considered before and gave me perspective on who I truly am. All I can say is “thank you!”


Lana Moline is an integral part of the writing team, freelance writer and poet who lives in Ft. Worth with her three kids and husband Emile. Married 11 years, both media professionals have vowed to maintain integrity in all aspects of print and broadcast journalism.Visit her at Lana Moline Speaks.

Welcome To The Gratitude Challenge! Day 1: The Gratitude Jar

By Team BLAM

Welcome to Day 1 of our Gratitude Challenge. Every day this week we want you to be sure you check in with us to take the Gratitude Challenge for the day. Today’s challenge is to make a Gratitude Jar. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to be a jar to be honest. It just needs to be a container for you to place your gratitude. Place the Gratitude Jar along with small squares of paper and a pen in a central place in your home that everyone can easily see and access.

Every morning before getting your day started and leaving the house you (and everyone in your family) need to write down what you’re grateful for and put it in the jar. Doing this every day over the next week will create within you and your family a habit of FOCUSING FIRST on what you’re grateful for. At the end of the week long challenge you should sit down with your family (or with just yourself if you’re doing it alone) and share out loud all of the things that you all have to be grateful for. Watch how the atmosphere changes when you do this. Pay attention to how it impacts your family. Being grateful is a beautiful thang!

Want To Turn Your Passion Into Profit? Learn From 11 Year Old Business Owner Maya Penn

By Team BLAM

11 Year Old Maya Penn knows what many adults are still struggling to realize. “Do what you love and the money will come.” Maya is a creative little girl who enjoys making things and started out by finding odds and ends around the house. She would make a hat or scarf and eventually decided she could have a shop. Maya designs and hand makes eco-friendly clothing and accessories. And she’s now the CEO and owner of her own online company called Maya’s Ideas.”

She is a true inspiration. If all of us would remember to encourage the natural gifts and talents in our children and in ourselves–we would all be much better (and richer) for it.



Tyler Perry Says The Key To Being Successful Is To “Never Stop Believing”

By Team BLAM

Tyler Perry has been releasing short videos these days in an effort to share some of his insight and feelings with his fans. This particular video focuses on what he feels is truly needed to be successful in life. He speaks about focusing on one (not 5,6, and 7 projects) thing and doing it really well. Most of all, he says that the difference between himself and others who have not had the success they  want is the fact that he never stopped believing. Your belief is the key. Listen in and be inspired.

Stop Looking At Everything Else….Start Taking A Look At Yourself.

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

Ok, this is another kick in the rear end type of post. Are you ready? Seatbelt fastened? Ok, let’s go…I want everyone to take a good look at themselves in the mirror. Seriously. Pull out a mirror and take a look at yourself. Ask yourself this one question: “If I met myself at the club, would I want to have sex with me?” I know, it’s not real deep but it’s real. Look at yourself. Do you like what you see? If you were out and about and saw your mirror image, would you holla’ at that person? If you answered either of these questions negatively, then guess what? You have work to do.Let’s be honest if you are married or in a committed relationship for a long time there is a tendency to get comfortable. Well, “getting comfortable” isn’t the correct terminology. It should be called “I am so focused on my career, my family, trying to keep this house together, pursue this advanced degree, make this money, teach this child to read, serve my community, and my spouse that I have no time for me itis.” It’s not that you “got comfortable.” You got incredibly busy. But how does that play a part in your marriage/relationship? I’m not just talking about how your partner feels about you, but how do you feel about yourself?

I know, I know. You are thinking that your spouse should love you for you? And they should. I have witnessed my grandmother offer loving care to my terminally ill grandfather. In those final weeks, I am sure dressing up and looking “fresh” weren’t anywhere on their todo list. But if you are not battling a serious ailment, then you should upgrade your look. Why? Because your spouse deserves your best.

Let’s think about it for a second. If you were still on the dating scene you would take better care of yourself. Your hair would stay whipped. Your figure tight. The mani-pedi would be flawless. And it’s not just the ladies that would come correct. Fellas know that before they hit the club they are Diddy-clean. Fades are lined up geometry straight. They are looking good! Sometimes the care and attention to detail start to fade after you’ve been with someone awhile. Speaking from personal experience, it’s not that I don’t want to get my nails done, but when I weigh that against braces, groceries, and the light bill my nails don’t seem that important anymore. But my spouse deserves the best me that I can be. He deserves me looking my best. He deserves to have a spouse that he is proud of on his arm.

And beyond looking cute for my spouse, I deserve to be fabulous. I deserve to take time to keep myself looking nice. I deserve some “me time.” When you look better, you feel better about yourself. You have more confidence. You walk taller. You put a little extra pep in your step. No, I am not saying your looks are the most important thing in your relationship. But they are part of the package.

So stop. Check yourself out in the mirror. If you see something that isn’t to your liking, work on it. Sometimes you can upgrade your relationship by upgrading yourself.

Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work

Pay It Forward…Your Love Can Profoundly Impact Another Person’s Life

By Team BLAM

Mikey Carraway feeds the homeless to raise awareness about organ donations — and to honor the man who saved his life. Mikey was selected as a CNN Hero and he has truly taken his blessing and paid it forward over and over again. As I sat and watched this little soldier I was moved. We must all remember what matters most in life. #PayItForward