How Judith Shaw Forgave The Man Who Infected Her With HIV

Judith Shaw’s boyfriend and father of her daughter sat her down some years ago and gave her the news that would change her life:


“He said, ‘I need to talk to you. I just want you to know, I have what Magic Johnson has.’


I said, ‘What does Magic Johnson have?’


He replied: ‘He has AIDS.'”


Shaw shared her wrenching story of being infected with HIV in the director’s cut of Helen Whitney’s film “Forgiveness: A Time to Love and A Time to Hate.” The film, which was broadcast by PBS in 2011, explores the possibilities and limitations of forgiveness.

Although it took a long time, Shaw insists that forgiveness saved her life: “For me, If I hadn’t forgiven I would be out there, somewhere, in that world, abusing myself, I would die.”


Coming from an alcoholic family and experiencing sexual assault by an uncle starting when she was seven, Shaw had gone through a lot by the time she was told she had been infected with HIV.


Her first reaction to the news was violent anger.


“I was so angry, I was so scared,” explains Shaw. “I wanted to die, but before I died, I wanted to kill Joe. I went to his door, with the gun behind my back, rang the door bell, and he came to door and, honest to God, I saw my daughter’s face.”


What followed were years of hating and hurting herself through drug abuse and neglect. But she also started therapy and, as she explains, she stopped hating herself, which was the first step toward forgiving herself and forgiving those who had hurt her.


“Once I was able to forgive me, that freed me up to forgive everybody else. And it took a long time…to get to where I am. I forgave my uncle, because not to forgive him gives him power — and Joe for infecting me with HIV. I don’t want to live with that because I don’t want to be a bitter old woman. I want to grow old gracefully. And that’s what I intend on doing. And I am loving life. I just got married, I don’t have time to be bitter.”


Click HERE to read more

Releasing Relationship Pain: Don’t Let Your Past Stand In Your Way

By Jason E. Johns

Often times when a relationship ends there are things left unsaid and questions left unanswered. Through the use of this technique you can resolve these issues and allow yourself to move on and let go of the past. This technique can also be used with those that are now deceased.

Sit yourself in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. Ideally have an empty chair or seat opposite you. Close your eyes for a moment, and take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax and let go.

When you open your eyes imagine that you can see the person with whom things are left unsaid sitting opposite you. All you need to do is to pretend they are there, so if you think you are having problems visualising just pretend.

Say to the person whatever is on your mind, whatever you want to release. If there is a situation that you want to resolve, for example the break down of a relationship then talk about that.

When you have finished you may want a response from them. If so then go and sit in the other chair and pretend you are them answering back. Keep your mind focused on what was said when you do and allow the answer to flow. Remember that if you consciously say what you want to hear rather than what you really hear you are only cheating yourself, no one else.

When they have finished speaking, sit back in your original chair.

Keep up the conversation, moving from chair to chair assuming the other person’s persona when in their chair until the conversation comes to an end. Then return to your original chair and thank them for their time before going about your business.

This technique is incredibly valuable for letting go of pain, guilt and hurt from any sort of relationship, not just romantic relationships. Often when performing this technique you will be surprised by the answers that you receive from the other person.

Through a technique such as this you are able to finally let go of pain from the past so that you can move on. The pain that you have been holding on to from these past relationships may well have been preventing you from having the fulfilling relationship you’ve always dreamed of.

Enjoy using this technique, and remember, it can be used for many more things than just releasing relationship pain.

Jason E. Johns is a personal success coach specializing in helping you achieve your dreams & resolve your personal challenges through an innovative & compassionate approach. Visit him at

Marian Wright Edelman Pens A Thanksgiving Prayer To Stand For Children

Children did not ask to be born, did not choose their parents, state, zip code, race or income level. I share the belief of all great faiths that every child is sacred. I believe in America’s promise, yet to be fulfilled, that every child and person has a right to a fair and level playing field on which to survive and thrive. That millions of our children lack the most basic protections of health care, nutrition, housing, safety, early childhood development supports, education which prepares them for college or career and productive work, and stable family support, threatens our national, economic and military security now and in the future.


While our nation is in a dither about an impending fiscal cliff created by political grandstanding and gridlock which threatens economic recovery, it needs to turn with equal urgency to another threatening deficit: our human capital deficit that is eroding the foundation of our nation’s house today and tomorrow. The greatest threat to our national security comes from no enemy without, but from our indefensible and foolish neglect of our children today. Each day in America:


5 children are killed by abuse or neglect.

5 children or teens commit suicide.

80 babies die before their first birthdays.

949 babies are born at low birthweight.

1,204 babies are born to teen mothers.

1,240 public school students are corporally punished.

2,058 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.

2,163 babies are born without health insurance.

2,573 babies are born into poverty.

18,493 public school students are suspended.

These facts of child neglect will be the seeds of our nation’s undoing if we do not act with urgency and exercise common, fiscal and moral sense in our budget and investment choices. If the foundation of your national house is crumbling, you don’t say you can’t afford to repair it. So as we give thanks this week for all the blessings we have, let’s also commit to pray and stand for children who need our voice.


We pray and stand for children blessed by parents who care and for children without a parent or anyone who cares at all.


We pray and stand for children filled with joy and hope and for children whose days and nights are joyless.


We pray and stand for children with hope and for children without hope whose spirits have been dimmed and dashed.


We pray and stand for children high on play and study and laughter and for children high on pot, glue, cocaine, and ecstasy.


We pray and stand for our children for whom we pray every day and for children who have no one to pray them along life’s way.


We pray and stand for children poised by circumstance to soar and conquer life’s challenges and for children bogged down by hunger and homelessness and violence and miseducation and trying so hard to survive.


We pray and stand for children who love to read and for children who can’t read at all, for children who learn with excitement and for children told by adults they cannot achieve. We pray and stand for children who we expect and help to do well and for children whom no one believes in or helps succeed.


In this time of Thanksgiving, we pray as parents, grandparents, teachers, preachers, political and community leaders that we will be a help and not a hindrance to children we call our own and to all the children God created who are part of our family too.


Follow Marian Wright Edelman on Twitter:

Really Need A Change In Your Life? Only YOU Can Make It Happen.

By Jeanne Angel St.Cyr

How you see yourself in your mind is what you are going to manifest in your life. You will never rise higher than your own perceived expectations. How do see yourself? Are you a positive, outgoing individual? Or are you a quiet little mouse hiding in the corner afraid of the future?

You have control over your mind and emotions. Simply put you have the power already inside you to determine which path your life will follow. You can reprogram your mind through meditations, positive thoughts, saying or writing out positive affirmations. The word affirmation means to make true. What do you want to change in your life?

Make a list. Number your list in order of importance to you. Decide what one thing you want to work on. Only one goal or dream at a time, so as not to overload yourself. It has been said that it takes only 21 days to make or break a habit. You could be only 21 days from your greatest successes! How great would that be? You may feel that you have a long way to go, but look back at how far you’ve already come.

Don’t stay locked away in a prison of remorse, of things done or not done, of choices made or not made. Let yourself be free and enjoy a brand new beginning! Now is the time. Do not delay. No more excuses, just start now!  If you don’t take action on your dreams and ideas, how can you expect to manifest success? You must take the 1st step, no one else can do it for you! Your never too old and it’s never too late to start.

BLAM Fam: If this seems eerily profound and speaks exactly to you and your situation in this moment take it as a sign and confirmation that you need to move! Seize the moment, and take that 1st step!

Jeanne Angel St.Cyr is the Author of “Inspirations”. Jeanne and her husband John live in Northern California with their son, Brad.  In April of 2012 they will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary. Visit her at


Let Them Walk. Let It Go.

By Team BLAM

We are clear about our mission here at BLAM. We exist to promote, encourage, and elevate marriages & relationships in the African-American community in particular and the world in general. But, we are not here promoting any old kind of relationships. We are not here to say hang in there even when you are being disrespected, walked all over, and treated like trash. You have to utilize keen discernment to know the difference between  “appropriate going through” in your marriage and “this is crazy, get out, move on, this ain’t love and never was”. We believe in love. We believe in commitment. But, we DO NOT and never will believe in foolishness, emotional or physical abuse, or staying where you are not wanted. As a wise person once said the best thing to do when something is over is–LET GO.

Is Your Spouse Making You Fat? 5 Steps To Stop Relationship Weight Gain.

By Violet Smith

From your first kiss to your first time meeting each other’s families, relationships offer many exciting, and stressful, experiences. It can also be a stressful experience for your waistline as well.

According to research from the journal Obesity, dating and cohabiting can lead to weight gain. The 2009 study looked at 1,293 dating, cohabiting and married romantic couples, and found that over five years, women who were dating put on an average of 15 pounds, and those living with a romantic partner gained 18 pounds. Men also have an increased risk of becoming obese as they stay in a relationship, but not as much as women.

Why? Researchers say that when people, particularly women, start a new relationship, they often adopt some of their partner’s less-than-healthy behaviors. In addition, they may cut back on workout time to spend more time with their new partner.

Easy Steps To Avoid Relationship Weight Gain

Stay Home More. Dining out can be hard on both your wallet and your waistline. Save cash and some calories by eating at home. Find a healthy recipe together, go to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients, then spend the night making a healthy dinner together. Once dinner is ready, light some candles, turn on some music and enjoy your romantic evening in.

Be More Active Together. Dates that involve more activity, such as dancing, bowling, walking and skating, give you the opportunity to burn some calories and get to learn more about your loved one.

Watch Your Portions. When you’re going on a lot of dates, it’s easy to get wrapped up in conversation and not notice how much you’re eating. You might even order foods you normally wouldn’t eat, such as heavy appetizers or decadent desserts. When the date of your dreams asks you out for ice cream, it’s hard to say no, right? So instead of saying no, think small. When you’re out, be sure to put your fork down between bites, order healthy foods whenever possible, and remember to listen to your hunger signals.

CLICK HERE to read more.

A Vote For Romney Is A Vote Against The Vag

By Amanda Chatel

It goes beyond just our right to choose.

Still undecided about who should be our next president? Election Day is in less than a week (November 6th to be exact), so now’s the time to put some serious thought into who you’re voting for. Of course, I’d never tell anyone who to endorse — but I will give you a hint: If you have a vagina and you’re sexually active, you probably shouldn’t be voting for Mitt Romney. In fact, you probably definitely shouldn’t. We’re talking about a man who wants to put an end to some forms of contraception and consider them “criminal” if used. What year is this again?

And it gets worse. If chosen, Romney and company will do their best to take away funding for Planned Parenthood. The conservative “right” will tell you that this is because Planned Parenthood does little more than provide abortions. But in truth, only 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions — legal and safe abortions. In fact, some of their clinics don’t do abortions at all.


About 35% of what Planned Parenthood does is provide contraception to those who can’t afford it, so less woman are faced with the painful decision of whether or not to abort in cases of unintended pregnancy. The rest of Planned Parenthood’s services account for STD education and testing, counseling, cancer screening and prenatal and pregnancy care. For more than five million women (and men), Planned Parenthood’s services are a necessity — and one that will be eliminated should Romney be our next president.

Romney even wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Granted this will be tough, but he’s going to try anyway. He’d like to see this landmark decision dropped to state level, as oppose to reigning high at a federal level that keeps it at least somewhat safe. Without the right to safe procedures, we’ll be looking at back-alley abortions once again — and a death toll that’s totally avoidable.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tried This. Tried That. Tried Prayer?

By Lana Moline

There are a few things in my life that keep me on my knees. I’ve accepted the fact that I just don’t have the power to fix it or even navigate through it without help for that matter. Those areas are my “prayer things.” Prayer things are matters in life that we don’t have any dominion over and no matter what we do or how hard we try, we are incapable of conquering it alone. Just saying those words evokes a funny feeling because on one hand it shows how far I’ve come and on the other it shows how powerless I truly am as a human. The prayer things are also the things I used to get so upset about but the wonderful thing about having prayer things is that prayer really does work. So the quicker we yield those areas to the power of God, the more at peace we will be.

Growing up I had an idealistic view of the world as did many others. I looked at the world in terms of right and wrong and while I still have that tendency, I recognize that right and wrong exists congruently all the time. For instance, we’ve heard the saying “hurting people hurt people” or even read a police report of theft due to poverty. I can’t quite resolve that to a matter of right and wrong but of circumstance. Furthermore, I thought that fixing the issue would solve the problem until I grew up and saw that everything is a choice.

True enough, we face daily challenges, yet most of us wake up every day and try to do something while others succumb to those challenges. Life is much like that funny Facebook relationship status, it’s “complicated” and the sad reality is that contrary to the widespread belief that cancer is the #1 killer, untapped potential is an even worst epidemic and is a direct result of improper labeling of your prayer thing.

Once it’s moved out of the way, there isn’t anything that you can’t accomplish by grace. You don’t want to look back and see that this one time, you really did hold the key to it all.

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.

4 Tips To Help Men Lose Their Post Pregnancy Belly

By Jon Finkel

A few generations ago, men routinely became fathers in their early to mid-20s (on purpose). This meant that, by age 35, the average guy may already have had a teenage son, and that just at the moment when his body started showing signs of aging (slight aches, longer recovery after a basketball game, full-day hangovers), the heavy lifting with the children was almost done. This left your typical man in the middle of the last century with little to do physically after age 40 but take care of his own body (and back then, that meant smoking a carton of Marlboro Reds a week).

Cut to today, when couples are delaying having kids until later and later, and what do you have? A generation of men burping babies in bodies better suited for coaching Babe Ruth Prep. Biologically, chasing toddlers and chasing fly balls is a young man’s game, not something nature intended men in their late 30s and early 40s to do. At an age when many athletes retire from their sports (see: Barry Sanders, 31, or Rocky Marciano, 32), men today are just starting to think about having kids.

It’s the perfect storm for poor health: more responsibility and stress, less time to exercise, easier access and desire for crappy foods, the instinctual impulse to put the well being of your child and wife above your own, and so on. This leaves us with millions of men having kids at the tail end of their physical peak, putting on hold the one thing that will keep them feeling younger for longer — a healthy lifestyle.

In order to avoid packing on the paternal pounds, you need a blueprint to maximize your minutes during the craziest time of your life. Here’s a start:

1) Open Your Mind

Trying to squeeze in a block of time to exercise on a day-to-day basis for the first half-year of your baby’s life will just turn into a stress-inducing mess. Each day will be an exercise in futility, leaving you feeling rushed, annoyed and frustrated. With the right plan and the right mindset, you can eliminate this from happening. How can you do that? Your first order of business is to realize that your standard model for working out (dedicating a solid half hour, hour or more a day to hit the gym or play sports) isn’t the only way, or even the best way, to stay in shape. In fact, this regimented style is a result of our modern workweek and society. Humans didn’t evolve to exercise one hour of the day and then sit on our asses the other 23. For 98% of our history, we were on our feet, out and about, all day, every day, until we went to bed. Keep this in mind as you read the next few strategies.

2) Burn Calories, Not Minutes

Unless you’ve had an efficiency expert follow you around, you have no idea how many calories you burn throughout the day. Since time is of the essence when you’re a new dad, you’re going to have to learn to fit your workout around your daily activities. No more leaning against the counter while something is in the microwave. No more staring at your oddly patterned chest hair while you’re waiting for the water to heat up in the shower. If you can’t block out the half hour or more you used to spend at the gym four or five times a week, those moments we just mentioned need to be maximized. Do 20 body squats while the frozen breast milk is warming up. Try and do 50 pushups before the water gets hot in the shower. You literally waste dozens of minutes a day that can be used to crank out a quick 30-second or one-minute workout. If you take advantage of those minutes every day, you’ll be amazed at how much exercise you can squeeze in without changing your schedule one bit.

CLICK HERE to read more.

I Am Bigger Than…Better Than

By Lana Moline

I’m bigger than my problems.  I can pick them up and put them down.  I can add to them and take away from them which tells you its power.  My problems don’t define me or indicate the direction I am headed.  In fact, sometimes they do just the opposite.  Sometimes my problems are the pawns on the chest board, and if I play them just right, I have the upper hand in the end.  The word problem is actually an anomaly because the very definition is a question posed for a solution or discussion, which is not a problem at all.


My problems have their place.  They exist to bring light to the things that require more of my attention or sometimes less of my energy.  When put in its place, they are more like the turn signal and not so much like the check engine light.  They can’t accomplish much by itself.  In fact, if left alone 9 times out of 10 it will diffuse itself or adjust to the lack of attention.


So not only am I bigger than my problems but I am better than my problems.  True enough, they exist as a part of my life but they are in no way my totality.


I am stronger than…….


I am bigger than…….


I am better than…..





I accept my God-given ability to conquer the obstacles that He allows in my path.  But what I can’t do is to confuse a tactical maneuver in strength and conditioning and view it as something else.  How I choose to define myself and where I choose to position myself has a direct impact on the outcome.  It’s personal because I expect great things.  I desire abundant blessings.  I am seeking after all that is pure and whole and truly believe that one day I will understand the things that I once pegged as problems.  At some point, the things that once attempted to throw me for a loop actually spun me in the perfect direction to the destiny that was ordained just for me.

Be bigger than your problems.  Be better than your problems.  Watch what happens.  You’ll see.

Lana Moline is a 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