Gratitude Challenge Day 5: Write A Gratitude Note To Someone..And Then Read It To Them Face To Face

By Team BLAM

Allright ya’ll! We’re on Day 5 of the Gratitude Challenge and the stakes are getting more serious now. We’re gonna intensify things and really put the challaaaaange in challenge! Below is the assignment and hear me when I say it can be life changing. There’s really not much I need to say about it. It really speaks for itself. This one may take a little more time and courage. But, it is well worth your effort.


“Select one important person from your past who made a major positive difference in your life and to whom you have never fully expressed your thanks. (Do not confuse this with newfound romantic love, or with the possibility of future gain.) Write a testimonial just long enough to cover one page. Take your time composing this; people often find themselves taking several weeks, composing on buses and as they fall asleep at night.

Invite that person to your home, or travel to that person’s home. It is important you do this face to face, not just in writing or on the phone. Do not tell the person the purpose of the visit in advance; a simple “I just want to see you” will suffice. Wine and cheese do not matter, but bring a laminated version of your testimonial with you as a gift. When all settles down, read your testimonial aloud slowly, with expression, and with eye contact. Then let the other person react unhurriedly. Reminisce together about the concrete events that make this person so important to you.


You will be amazed at the results if you take the time to do this and really connect in to your feelings of gratitude for this other person and how they have impacted you. If you’re really feeling moved and brave you can send us a copy and we’ll post it on the site for all to see. Let us know how it goes!

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.

Gratitude Challenge Day 4: The Small Things Count. Tell EVERYBODY Thank You All Day Today

By Team BLAM

It is Day 4 of our Gratitude Challenge and we are on a gratitude roll! Lol. Today’s challenge is very simple yet I find that a lot of people. don’t take nearly enough time to do this small yet significant act. So just what am I talking about? Saying Thank You. Yup. Saying Thank you. We want you to do this today in a very deliberate and intentional way.

All day long today, any and every opportunity you get, say thank you. On the phone, at home, at work, at the grocery store, to the mailman. When I say take EVERY opportunity you have to say thank you I mean EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY. Take the time to say thank you to folks for all the things you take for granted. Thank your husband, your wife, your children, your neighbor, your co-worker, the busboy at the restaurant, the person handing you a free sample of teriyaki chicken in the food court, the person stocking the food at the grocery store, the person who lets you over while you’re driving (ok, just wave your hand to say thank you for this one…smile)….you get the point.

You see, even for those of us who consider ourselves well mannered and pleasant people–saying thank you becomes a sort of reflex and habit which is not a bad thing–but it can lose its weight and effect on us and others when we are not intentionally thinking about and attached to the thanks we are sending out to the people in our lives and the world around us. A rushed thanks is very different from a thank you that you feel within, make  eye contact with, and send genuine grateful energy with.

Be intentional with your thank you’s all day long today and note how easy or challenging it is for you. What will you learn about yourself? What can saying thank you do to change you and benefit you more than ther folks you say it too? And while you’re saying all your thank you’s today—don’t forget to thank The One that made you. 😉

Is The Gain Worth The Pain – NFL Star Tony Dorsett Sues The NFL For Long Term Injuries

By Ayize Ma’at

My “team”, the New York Giants, which I technically have ABSOLUTELY NO OWNERSHIP INTEREST IN just won the Super Bowl.  Yayyyy…i think? During the game, which I watched with my two brothers and a long time friend, I clapped, shouted, farted, ate, debated, laughed, talked sh$T… know all the things that men do when we have “church”.  I had a really good time escaping reality for a moment as I relished the comfort of being completely consumed by this game.  However, a few days following me flying high from “my” victory, I was slapped in the face by a sobering reminder of the DARK SIDE of professional sports.  Professional sports is big business and as Tony Dorsett says in the below interview….”colleges are like replacement factories” producing the next “star” to replace you.  There were a couple of things that were said in this interview that made me re-consider the heightened emphasis we place on on sports in our society. The pain that these players are left with after they’re finished being “used up” by the league makes me wonder is it really worth it?

Tony Dorsett is one of more than 300 former players suing the National Football League. He says the league pressured injured players to “get back out” on the field, causing long-term damage.

Your thoughts?


Loc Lessons

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

Over the past three weeks I have been immersed in a huge project – I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Yep, you read that right. I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Not cut my dreadlocks. Not shaved my head. But taken down my dreadlocks. (Yes, it can be done. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And me being me, I look for the lessons in everything and this project gave me a lot to think about.One of the lessons is that you can’t rush the job. Almost 7 years ago my hairdresser loc’d my hair. Piece by piece. Roll by roll. She put care into locking my hair. And 7 years later it had to be taken down the same way. Piece by piece.. hair by hair. There was no rushing the process. There was no going around the process. And there were no short cuts. To achieve my desired result I had to put in work. Lots of work. More work than I ever imagined. There weren’t any fastpasses to finishing. This theme has been reflected in my life over and over again. From personal growth to marriage restoration, there isn’t an easy button to get to the finish line. You have to put in the time and the work to get there.Another lesson I learned was setbacks happen. I had a plan. I had a good plan to get my locs out by the time a family event rolled around. I was confident in my plan then – BAM! – my plan was changed because of external factors. I threw a fit. Well, let me be totally transparent, I threw several fits. But when it came down to it, I could either stay in place and kick and holler, or I could get back to working a new and improved plan. In the end, the new and improved plan worked out. My life isn’t exactly where I want it right now. Ya’ll know that I’ve had some setbacks! But a new plan is in place. And I intend to work the plan until I achieve all of my goals.

I also had to learn to ask for help. The last piece that I wrote was about how I can do it all. I can wear the Superwoman cape, work a corporate job, and raise some kids. I was singing Chaka Khan – “I’m everywoman, it’s all in me” – at the top of my lungs. And I was exhausted doing it. When my personal deadline was menacingly staring me in the face, I realized one thing – either I ask for help or I miss the mark. I opened my mouth and asked for help. I didn’t just get help. I got love. I received so much help,concern,and time from my sister circle. They came and stayed all hours of the night to help me achieve a goal. I’ve known that my sistercircle was tight but I was amazed and so filled by the love they showed me. And I realize that these same sisters – and more – will have my back in future endeavors, just like I will always have theirs. 

I realized that everything can’t go into the future with you. To move forward with a major change you have to cut off some dead ends. I had 7 years worth of hair on my head and my ends were raggedy. I had to cut off the dead ends. Obvious metaphor here, right? To move forward in life, I have to leave some dead things behind me. Everything can’t go with me into the next phase of life. I have to leave some baggage in the past and let it stay there.

Finally, I have to get to know the new me. Loc’d hair was resistant to rain and humidity. Free natural hair takes time and care. Little things like owning a shower cap or a wrap cap (sistas, you feel me right?) had been missing from my daily routine for years. I have to get to know the new me. I have to spend time with the new me. And I have to treat the new hairdo totally different than the old one. The new Neysa can’t act like the old Neysa. I can’t expect new things while doing the old stuff I used to do. I have to govern myself with a new set of rules, by a higher standard. 

So those were my lessons learned from the seemingly simple act of taking down my locs. It’s funny, the old me would have thought I was just changing my hair style, but the new me knows that I am changing my life.

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

Gratitude Challenge Day 2: Get A Gratitude Rock & See What Happens

By Team BLAM

Do you remember what some folks used to do when we were little and they wanted to remember something very important? They would tie a string around their finger and keep that string on their finger all day long so they wouldn’t forget that special something.

Well, today is Day 2 of our Gratitude Challenge and we are going to do something very similar. We—meaning me (Aiyana), my husband, and my entire family (when they get home from school today) are going to go outside and find a rock—any rock that stands out to us and we’re going to call it our gratitude rock.

So, that means you are too right? Lol.

For the rest of this week you are to keep that gratitude rock in your pocket (or purse or close by if you don’t have a pocket) and throughout the day you should reach in to your pocket and feel the rock to remind you to be grateful. You should do this at least three times a day. Especially, when you are feeling irritated, upset, or just a plain ol’ mess! That’s when you should get that gratitude rock out and say out loud at least one thing you are grateful for.

You may be thinking this is so simple—and you are right, it is. Changing and elevating our minds is never complicated. We are the ones who make things complicated.  So, do it and watch how the simple and small things radically shift your mind and your matters.

Trust me it works! #Grateful!



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!

Join Us As We Gear Up To GET GRATEFUL! The Gratitude Challenge Starts Tomorrow Feb. 5th!

By Aiyana Ma’at

When I first started thinking about writing this post, it made me pause for a second. I didn’t want to use the word gratitude. I feel like sometimes we get so used to seeing and hearing certain words that they they lose the impact that they were intended to have. The word or the phrase kinda becomes cliche. We see it or hear it and it rolls right off of us. Gratitude is one of those words.

We think we get it but we really don’t. We nod our heads when we hear it talked about in church or in a meeting of some sort, but then we don’t actually practice it–and I mean practice it day in and day out. Really live it. Study the art of being grateful. Investigate  the effects it has had on people in history. Document the real life changes and blessings we see and feel in our lives when we are laser focused on being thankful and content.

Next week, we will kick off a week long focus on the powerful impact Gratitude can have in our lives and what it can do for our own peace of mind, our relationships, our marriages, our children, our workplace, our personal progress, and ultimately our world.

Get ready. This will be an experiment of sorts. We will have different Gratitude challenges and we will all need to take a few minutes each day to carry them out and write down our results and how we see the effects showing up in our homes and everywhere we go. It will be powerful. I can assure you of that. We will definitely be looking to hear from you and learn from your experience.

If being grateful makes sense to you but  you’ve never really concentrated on it and focused in on what you truly have to be grateful for—this challenge is for you. If you know about the mind altering, atmosphere  changing, life giving effects of being grateful—this challenge is for you. It’s for everyone you know.

Spread the word and get your mind right. 😉 Tomorrow, Feb. 5th is the day we officially begin and we want you, your spouse or significant other, your children, your momma n’em—everybody to be amazed at their own blessings. It’s one thing to be thankful. It’s an entirely different thing to live intentionally with it and breathe it in and breathe it out for a concentrated amount of time.

We’re excited over here! Let’s get a little head start right now by sharing what you are grateful for in this moment. I’ll begin.

“I am grateful for the areas in my life that get on my last nerve and still cause me discomfort and pain—I know that without these issues I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t get the chance to be who I will be tomorrow. I am a work in progress and I AM GRATEFUL to have the insight to know that all of my “stuff” is really a blessing in disguise helping me to become all that God created me to be”

Now, what about you?

I Just Want To Be Understood

By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

”Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey

How often have you heard yourself say:

“I just want someone to understand me.”

“I just want to be heard.”

“I feel invisible.”

“I just want to be seen.”

I know what it feels like to not be understood, heard, or seen, as I spent most of the first 45 years of my life feeling invisible.

It feels terrible.

By that time I had learned to do what Stephen Covey recommends. I was very good at understanding others, but I still didn’t feel understood by them.

It only took me 45 years to understand that what was really happening is that I wasn’t seeing, hearing, or understanding myself, and the people in my life were reflecting my own inner system. I had worked so hard to hear and understand others that I had completely forgotten to hear and understand my own feelings and needs. I fully believed that since I was good at hearing and seeing and understanding others, they should do the same for me.

That never happened until I learned to see, hear, understand, and value my own feelings and needs.

It wasn’t easy to start to listen inside. I was so focused on others’ feelings and needs that I was completely out of touch with my own. And I had to come to grips with the fact that my listening and hearing and understanding others had an agenda attached. It wasn’t coming from love but from neediness – I NEEDED them to listen to and understand me because I was completely abandoning myself.

Today, many years later, life is completely different. Sure, I love it when someone hears me and sees me and understands me – but now it’s the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Now I can listen to others from my heart and truly see and understand them because I don’t need anything from them.

I don’t need anything from them because the little girl in me feels me with her all the time – listening to my feelings, taking loving action in my own behalf, learning about what my inner child needs from me as a loving adult – a loving inner parent. Because the child in me – my feeling self – feels seen and heard and valued and understood by me, I can offer my caring and understanding to others from a full heart.

This is the inner work that we all need to do if we ever want to experience the wonderful feeling that comes from being truly seen and valued.

The thing that was in the way for me is that I always believed being seen and understood by others is what was truly important and fulfilling. Before practicing Inner Bonding, I had never experienced the profound joy of seeing, hearing and understanding myself. I could not even conceive of it feeling better than being understood by someone else. After all, wasn’t my value, as the wizard said to the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, not in how much I loved, but in how much I was loved by others? (The typical false belief of a narcissist!)

Now, I still love to be understood by others, but I don’t NEED to be understood by them to feel worthy and full within. Now, when someone important to me doesn’t listen or see or care or understand, I can fully and compassionately understand and care about the loneliness and heartache my inner child might feel, without taking their behavior personally. Seeing, caring about and understanding myself is profoundly powerful and fulfilling.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? and “Healing Your Aloneness.” She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner bonding now! Visit her website for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.comor email her at Phone sessions available. 

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.