Where is the village?

Begi (3)


“Our villages have turned into one bedroom studio apartments.”

There is an African Proverbs that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”, and I believe it to be completely true. It takes all of us to raise not only our biological children, but our neighbor’s children, our children’s friends and so on and so forth. By all of us I mean parents, teachers, mentors, community leaders, and churches. Anything and anyone in a child’s community has the opportunity to make an whether it be positive or negative.

Unfortunately, with me being the age that I am and with my experiences I never got the chance to see the village working together. The only thing I have to go on are stories from grandmothers, aunts and uncles when things were different. I remember a family member once told me how their neighbor was also responsible for them. If the parent was not around the (even if they were inside of the house) the neighbor would keep a watchful eye over the child for various reasons and it worked, but somewhere along the way it stopped.

I don’t know if it’s because of the time change, experience people have had or a plethora of other things, but we really don’t do things, but we really don’t do that anymore. We don’t talk as much, trust as much and maybe we don’t care as much, but as a result we are as a whole suffering especially our children.


Where is the village?



The Root Remains

Begi (1)



There is a tree that produces fruit. The fruit you want are pears, but the tree is producing apples instead of pears. You can remove each apple as it shows up on the tree. You can even get pears and some type of way attach the pears to that three. Try as you may the fact remains, the root remains. The seed that yielded roots that yielded a tree that yielded fruit was an apple seed. Regardless of what you do as long as the root remains you are going to continue to get the fruit of that seed.

I think the same thing metaphorically applies to children. It applies to children in church, within schools, on the streets and in our homes. I don’t think we realize what seeds are planted within children. And just like a natural seed nurture it long enough and it will grow. It doesn’t matter what type of seed it is, a seed of love nurture it and it will will grow, a seed of low elf-esteem nurture it and it will grow. There are battles that we face and children and not excluded from experiencing battles as well. In fact children are the most vulnerable and it makes them a target. It makes them a target for the enemy.

Have you noticed that if you were to ask the majority of adults who have certain views, ideas or even struggles a lot of them were developed during their childhood. Those years are crucial as it shapes just about everything. We as adults must not only realize this, but understand this. Watch and pay attention to what your children are exposed to. As a parent you have many purposes and responsibilities, one of those responsibilities is to guard. We aren’t called guardians for no reason at all. Guard your children, guard their ears, their eyes, their heart, and their spirit. To everything these is a root.



“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45


Taboo: Family Secrets (Molestation & PTSD)

Richelle E. Ghjhjoodrich.png


Tonya M. Nanthavong, BSN, R.N., B.S., Certified Life and Health Coach



What you want to discuss that is Taboo/topic?

Family Secrets (Molestation and PTSD)

What happened?

I was molested from the time I was 7 years old until I was 15 by my step-father. It didn’t stop because someone stepped in and made it stop. It didn’t stop because my mom found out and made him leave. It didn’t even stop because he made it stop. It stopped because I came home from school one day early in my junior year in high school to find out that they (my step-father and mom) changed the locks on me so I could not get in. So that I could stop “disrupting our family unit.” At that moment, I became homeless. A 15 year-old track star, cheerleader, and star student, now homeless! I held this all in, all through the rest of high school and even onto college and even into my adulthood. This became another dark, family secret. Because of this, in my early 30’s as I was going through a divorce and my world was crumbling down on me, I realized that this family secret would have to come out and be dealt with or I personally would not be able to continue on with my life.

How did it affect your child or how has it affected you even as an adult?

As a child, I think I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what was happening. At some point I realized this isn’t right. It doesn’t feel right and I began hurting internally. I always wanted to be the “good kid”, so I just focused on everything and everyone else. I was a good sister, a was a good student, a good friend, a good athlete, etc. But, in reality I had really low self-esteem and was sad and never felt good enough for anyone or anything, not even for myself. I didn’t want anyone to see the pain and hurt that I was hiding inside, so I just let everyone see the “THINGS” I could do that made me “good” on the outside. I became an over-achiever in every aspect of my life, everything had to be a certain way and I never ever expressed my feelings and when I did it usually wasn’t in a positive way. At 17, I purchased my first home and started my first business. I actually had to wait to turn 18 before I could sign any documentation for either. So as an adult, I thought “I AM WINNING”. I am not a statistic and I didn’t let anything that happened to me hold me down. I kept having continued success after continued success in my teens and 20’s. Until my marriage with my high school sweetheart devastatingly fell apart at the seams. I didn’t realize it until several years later, but I was suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I tried to commit suicide a number of times and I knew I needed help. I sent a goodbye letter to my family and everything talking about our family secrets and that I could no longer continue in this way with them. That is when the real
work started towards my healing.

What steps have been needed in order for you to heal, forgive, grow, let go?

I stopped and listened! I took time to be calm and really genuinely listen to myself and what I needed. I started to say no…ALOT! I found out about EMDR and that changed my life 100 fold. I started going to counseling and sharing my story with others. All of those things allowed me to begin the healing process. It made me understand myself better in order to try to understand others and life in general. The first step for me, however, was just listening to that inner voice that kept telling me, “Tonya, something is not right with you, this isn’t you!”. That is HARD to do. You have to be extremely honest with yourself and then you can go anywhere. Now, I just take everything as part of my journey, good and bad. I’m definitely not perfect at it and I have not-so-good days too, but I get up and make action towards being the best person I can be
every single day.

Why do you think people don’t talk about things that are Family secrets?

People don’t talk about this because 1. It’s uncomfortable (for the person who feels like maybe it’s their fault and for others around them that may have to look at someone close to their family differently now) 2. It can and usually tears families apart, so it is just “easier” to be quiet 3. They think it will get better if they are silent.

What words of encouragement do you have for someone who has endured the same
thing you went through or experienced as a child?

If I could offer any words of wisdom or encouragement, it would be to forgive and to move forward! I truly now believe that I had to endure the things I endured in order to help others. I was once told when I was about 19 or 20 that the strongest people are given the most difficulties/hardships because they CAN handle it and they DO move forward from it. I used to get mad when people who say that, like really really mad. But, one day it hit me, every time something is thrown me off course and is meant to defeat me, I come back stronger and better than before. No matter how bad it is. So, I thought, maybe I am “one of the strong ones”. My story is not only MY story, so instead of saying “why me” in the negative. Now, I say why me and WHO am I supposed to help now with what I have experienced. I forgive, I let go, I do not let the traumas define me as a person. I do not allow them to make me a statistic. They are unfortunate things that happened to me, but now I can relate to others because of it. Your perspective is what will define how you end up. Always, ALWAYS take the positive route.

I forgive in these ways and hopefully whoever is reading this can relate to one of them:

1. Inspire, Create, and Engage
2. Forgive for YOU, not for them
3. No More Rearview
4. Your Past DOES NOT Define you
5. You are NOT your Statistic
6. Speak your truth and heal from within

Taboo: Exposed

Richelle E. Goodrich (100)


It’s difficult to expose what is easy to withhold. Actually it’s more-so a stronghold than easily withheld information. I believe the more we share the more we expose and shine light into the dark places. I’ve witnessed things children shouldn’t see. I was exposed to pornography at a very young age, about 3rd grade. “Cousins” that would “play” sandwich & other ones that would peep. It all seems so innocent, but now I truly understand it was a seed. It was planted to steal my destiny, the weeds that grew from taboo encounters caused me to battle with depression, abandonment, rejection, fornication, suicidal thoughts, masturbation, identity issues, lust, homosexual desires… Even in typing this I want to erase it and not share because of “what will they think” but what’s even louder to me is the one that will say “ there’s hope for me too!” I desire for my testimony to help others address the issues and get to the root so the process of true healing can begin. Sharing even this hopefully shows others that true freedom is speaking up & taking your power back from that which attempted to rob you of it.

Taboo: Child Abuse

Richelle E. hjhjhkhkGoodrich.png


Denise M. Walker
 What you want to discuss that is Taboo?
Child abuse
What happened?
I experienced abuse at the hands of someone connected to my family.
 How did it affect your child or how has it affected you even as an adult?
I grew up not being able to trust people. I experienced depression. I also didn’t trust people with my child.
 What steps have been needed in order for you to heal, forgive, grow, let go?
I began to heal when I came into relationship with Jesus Christ. He has helped me forgive and move forward. I have also been able to pray and grow in Christ. This helped me to know that I am an overcomer, and that God is a healer. He has called me to forgive those who hurt me, and I have.
 Why do you think people don’t talk about Child Abuse?
I think that people don’t talk about this in my community because they would have to deal with it. I think people find it hard to deal with their own past pain, so they just try to move on and so you have to as well. However, you can’t move forward until the issue is addressed.
What words of encouragement do you have for someone who has endured the same 
thing you went through or experienced as a child?
I would say to anyone, “Tell someone if you are being hurt. No one has the right to harm you. It is not your fault. And no, you can’t just get over it. You need Christ to get through it.”

Taboo: Broken relationships within two parent homes

Richelle E. GoodrichShakeisha

My name is Shakeisha Smith
 I am 27 years old
What you want to discuss that is Taboo?
 I want to discuss broken relationships within two parent homes.
Silence: Let’s Not Talk About it.. No talk about it!
I tried my best to not make this super long but I am just going to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way. Here we go….
What happened?
Growing up life would seem like it was pretty good for me to anyone looking from the outside. I had what a lot of people around me didn’t. A nice home, my own room, never went hungry, and I even had both of my parents in the home! Life should’ve been good right? To everyone else my life seemed perfect. I assume because no one knew my dad had a drinking problem or that I watched and listened to him verbally, physically and mentally abuse my mother. It seemed perfect because no one could ever understand how we could all stay together and barely speak a paragraph to each other daily. It never seemed ok to talk about anything in my home. Not the abuse I watched like a horrible rerun or about anything I was feeling. My dad worked a lot. Two jobs sometimes. If he was ever off one day he would be so mean and he always complained about he has to work. He didn’t necessarily leave the home but ultimately put work before his family and was never there. I needed my dad to teach and tell me so many things but work always seemed to get in the way. Mom was home all of the time but she spent a huge amount of time in her room with the door closed or would constantly be yelling. She never wanted to be bothered. I had both parents but it felt like they were absent as ever. They barely noticed anything with me. They never took the TIME to get to know me. I was able to hide my period for almost a year! My mom only found out because I brought her to the toilet one day and showed her. She had no idea what to say so you know what she did? She drove me to my grandmother’s house to let her explain. “You are a woman now. Don’t go out here having babies. Does your stomach hurt” were her exact words to me. Huh? I was just so confused. My mother did not know how to talk to me. We didn’t have a close relationship and for the life of me I could not understand how I could have a mom right there but nothing was really present. Growing up I did not feel like she really loved me. Her actions and words proved that to be true to me. I asked my mother from the backseat of our mini van one day if she even wanted girls. I was about 8. Even though I did not understand things somewhere in me felt something which I believed prompted me to ask my mom that question. Her reply was that she wanted all boys. My dad looked at her and asked why she would say that. She said because I did only want boys. He told her that she should never say that and that she should love all of her kids. He turned around and told me he loved all of us. That moment made me feel so good because that did not happen often. My dad actually looked at me and genuinely said he loved me. Even though my dad tried to cover up my mother’s harsh truth, those words still stuck with me. I would go on to ask her the same question randomly throughout my years and she stuck with she just wanted a boy. If she only had her boy she would be good and growing up that was obvious. I knew my brother was her favorite but how do you talk about it to a mom you barely have a relationship with? On days I would come home from school after being bullied I would sit in my room and cry hoping that she would just walk in and know what to say or do. A few times she did walk in and I would look at her and tell her some of what happened. She would slowly walk over and I would hug her and just cry. She never knew what to say but the embrace I so rarely got was all I needed. I just needed more of my mother’s love, her words, more of her. Why didn’t she love me! I became closed off from everyone. I no longer spoke because I did not feel I could talk about anything. I just didn’t know how. That led to me battling depression. I was so sad and it came to a point I no longer wanted to live. I felt so unloved, alone and worthless. I attempted my first suicide when I was about 14.
How did it affect your child or how has it affected you even as an adult?
 This part of my life affected me tremendously has an adult. I had so much pain, anger, bitterness, confusion built up in me that I never talked about. I grew up not knowing how to communicate what I was feeling and that it was not ok to express myself. As an adult I still felt that way. I became abusive to my mates.I did not know how to love or talk to my kids. I had very low self esteem. I battled depression and was suicidal for 10 years. I also deal with social anxiety. I searched for so long for love in all the wrong places which led to a life of giving my body away and doing whatever else it took to feel loved. I battled alcoholism. I became an alcoholic and drug abuser which led to rape. I made a lot of poor decisions as an adult because I held everything in. I didn’t know how to deal with things and it came to a point I didn’t even want to learn.
What steps have been needed in order for you to heal, forgive, grow, let go?
People think i’m this introverted quiet woman but I was not born this way. I actually have a lot to say, just still learning how. What I went through sort of altered who I really was. I am still on a mission to be who God created me to be not what my situations made me. I had to learn how to communicate with people as a grown woman. I have sought counseling a few times also. I had to stop blaming my parents and forgive them. Not for them but for me. The most important step that I have taken in this healing process has been to be real with myself and God.
Why do you think people don’t talk about broken relationships within two parent homes?
 I believe people don’t talk about broken relationships within two parent homes because it is hard to understand. You don’t hear a lot of people talking about two parent home issues but they do in fact exist. Single parent homes are not the only homes with issues. Just because daddy stayed does not mean he was there. Just because momma didn’t give up her kids does not mean she raised and loved them. Some parents think just doing what is seen as right is enough but kids need more than just a present parent. They need an active one. A loving one.A dependable one. A teaching one. A real relationship with one.
What words of encouragement do you have for someone who has endured the same
thing you went through or experienced as a child?
 I want to encourage the child who feels like they do not have a voice. I want to encourage the adult who has so much inside that they want to release but just do not know how. SPEAK. You can not worry about who is going to think or say what. A lot of my healing and understanding has come from first surrendering to God and then testifying. God has had me minister to many young women and it has truly set me free. Be honest with yourself. Whatever you went through and however you felt happened and was real so it is going to take some real work to get through. No shame! Do not be ashamed. There are so many people who have or are going through what you’ve been through. You are not alone. God will use it ALL. I thank God for using everything that was happened in my life. Now I can identify with the drug addict, the prostitute, the young teen mother, the single mom, the suicidal person, the depression battlers, the anxiety suffers, the rape victors(never a victim), the abusers, the alcoholics, and so many more people. Parents, seek God to lead you in parenthood. This is a tough hood lol but with God nothing is impossible. Talk to your children. Make time for your children. Learn who your children really are. Pray for your children. Build a real relationship with your children. If any of this proves to be too tough, again, seek God. You are not in this alone.
With love,
Shakeisha Smith

Taboo: Mental Health/Substance Abuse in the African American Community


Richelle E. Goodrich (87)

Isha K Taylor
Mental Health/Substance Abuse in the African American Community
 What happened? 
My grandmother suffered in abusive relationships, battled drug and alcohol addiction her whole life. Due to her dependency on these substances, they greatly impacted my mother’s like life. In retrospect, I understand that my grandmother suffered from severe mental health issues. She used drugs and alcohol to run away from the pain, up until her death in 2017. In the African Americans communities we are taught to just deal and to get over trauma. We aren’t taught how to cope and heal with intent and purpose.
 How did it affect your childhood or how has it affected you even as an adult?
 As a result of my grandmother’s mental health, my mother, aunt, and uncle were in and out of foster care. My mother fell victim to substance abuse, sexual abuse and lost custody of my siblings and I permanently. I suffered from abandonment issues, I hated myself and spent most of my childhood seeking validation. I wanted to belong. I attempted to commit suicide. I lost my virginity at 14. I didn’t believe in myself because I thought I was so worthless, that my mother choose drugs over my siblings and I. I didn’t know what I or the depth of my purpose, during those years.
As an adult, I am just entering into a space that I can and have healed from my childhood pain. I am aware of unhealthy relationships and how to identify individuals who have not healed from childhood trauma. I was playing a supporting role in my own life, due to my need to help others. I gravitated towards pain. I connected with people, places and things that were considered normal based on my family history. I was so angry. Angry at people who from the outside looking in had a better life than me. Those who had all of the things I thought I needed as a child. I had no idea how to build healthy relationships or how to set boundaries. I self medicated with alcohol, excessive shopping/spending, and empty relationships. My trauma ruled my life, but I had no idea I was in pain. I didn’t know that I was in survivor mode.
What steps have been needed in order for you to heal, forgive, grow, let go? 
Whew! If I have to narrow it down. At first, I acknowledged that I needed to change. I realized that I was allowing my past to control the outcome of my future. I began to evaluate, myself, the people around me, and my purpose. I begin questioning everything. I stopped going through the motions. I had to hit rock bottom, a lot! My greatest victories have been birthed out of rejection and failure. I learned from everything and everyone. I began to set boundaries for myself and others. I gained a sober mind. I had to forgive years before I was actually healed. I’m now entering into my healing phase. Now I can share my story from a place of victory and not a position of victim. My pain was a barrier to my growth and I had to surrender my old self, my old thoughts, my old belief systems, my fears. I had to deconstruct the foundation of my past.

Why do you think people don’t talk about

things that are Taboo?
 I believe that people don’t talk about things that are Taboo, because they haven’t been shown a better way. I also believe that people have become consumed with living a false reality. Consumed with being the world’s version of perfect. I also believe that after so many years, it is hard to face themselves and sometimes the pain is too great. My mother has just revealed things to me in her childhood, that she clearly hasn’t healed from. My grandmother died an early death, but she lived a hard life not acknowledging the pain from her past. I also believe that we are taught that we deserve less. We were misinformed when we consider religion. I grew up in the south and we were forced to go to church, we were forced to accept things that bought shame and to never speak of it again. If you stepped outside of the perception of what it meant to be perfect, than you were consider to be the black sheep.
 What words of encouragement do you have for someone who has endured the same
thing you went through or experienced as a child? 
Don’t spend your life as a victim! You made it through the trauma, so heal! I challenge you to heal yourself, don’t let anyone keep you from growing forward. As cliché as it sounds, you must take the necessary steps required to be the change that you want to see! Live life with intention! Stop surviving and thrive in your purpose! Not everyone makes it through, but if you are reading this, YOU MADE IT! You can’t change your past, but your present is a gift, and your future awaits! You owe it to yourself to be free from the pain of your past so that you can live a life of abundance!

Taboo: Effects of a Father’s Absence




Richelle E. Goodrich (91).png



Age 48
The Effects Of A Father’s Absence

At age 5 I was raised by my paternal grandparents. My mother and father were no longer together. She left him due to the physical abuse she endured during the time that they were married. Even though my Father was absent, my grandfather played the father figure in my life. He was always there, very supportive, and gave me the love that I didn’t receive from my dad. As I got older especially in my teenage years which even carried over into my adult years. I sought attention in guys who showed me love. When I say love, I mean it could have been abusive or even mental it didn’t matter as long as I heard the words I love you as well as getting the attention that I wasn’t getting from my father that was all I needed. I didn’t feel pretty I didn’t even love myself. I always waited to hear those words coming from a man. Yes my grandfather was in my life and gave me that attention but it wasn’t my father. I viewed a relationship as if a man puts his hands on you and talks to you any kind of way and said those magical words I love you then it was okay. Even in my marriage 10 years plus I suffered mental abuse even to the point where I was ready to take my life because it became too much on me. But thanks to God I prayed that off of me because I knew that one day it would be meant for me to share my story. I did leave my marriage. I just woke up one morning and realized I had enough and I left. I did seek counseling because I had to work through issues that I was dealing with from my childhood as well as understand why I had become the insecure person that I was. Honestly I just realized last year what my TRUE VALUE was and that was LOVING JOANN FLAWS and ALL. I have forgiven my father and the biggest step was forgiving my ex-husband that was closure and my exhaling moment for me to move on. Yes there are days that I still struggle with self love but I’m not where I used to be. I take each day slowly with the help of God. This is why I want to reach out to young women and even women my age who are struggling with self love. It can be a struggle because of what we see on TV showing how your body should be, how you should look, it can be the absence of your father, or how others look down on you meaning with hurtful words they may say or things they do. I’m quite sure that some will read and be like whatever, and some may say I’m not going to any therapists/counseling. But trust me it will help as well as talking to someone who has been down that path and who understands what you have been through or better yet may be going through now. Know this you are fearfully and wonderfully made we can uplift, support and encourage each another as we go on this journey together.

Begin Again



It has certainly been a while since I created a blog post. I haven’t been very active and I guess in a way you can say that I took a break. If you also follow me on social media especially Instagram you probably noticed that I have been missing. Let’s just say the time away was needed. I didn’t understand why in the beginning. I had gotten used to posting in social media routinely and even posting blogs up quite regularly o when I felt led to I did so out of obedience and the last few months of 2017 were definitely interesting to say the least. However, nevertheless I am  here and with a lot more peace I will now begin again. My goal, no my purpose is to be more intentional and not just doing things because it’s a good idea but because it is a God idea. I have learned now even more to run the race that has been set before me. I have learned to not look at what others are doing, what they are saying. I move when God tells me to move, I say what He wants me to say. So cheers to a New Year, new beginnings…for the opportunity to begin again. To God be ALL the glory!


Deuteronomy 5:32

“So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.”

Walking by Faith

It’s been awhile since I have created a post and this one will actually be short. I don’t usually post about personal things, but I feel led to do so without being too open. We hear the saying walk by faith and not by sight, but how many of us can truly  say that we have or that we are walking by faith. It’s easy to do things when it;s comfortable, when it’s something that you go on doing every day and you may not even think of it. However, it is something and I mean something when God calls you to literally walk by faith. When you can’t see, but you just hear what it is that God is telling you. I know I am in fact in a season to where I am not only becoming more humble and stretched ,but also to where I am having to walk by faith. When everything around you including people are telling you differently. Who will you trust? What will you trust?