The Black Female Development Circle is a 501(c)3 organization that was established in 1994 to serve as a support system for black women. The organization's mission is"To Educate, Explore, Enhance, and Celebrate Womanhood" and has chapters at UCF, FSU, TSU, and FIU. Read more...

The Eternal Tribute

by Johora Warren on July 22, 2014

Just 6 days before my 21st birthday, I lost my father to cancer.

That was nearly 4 years ago.

The loss of a parent or other very close individual is indescribable.

Grief is a curious thing. Sometimes you go through the day, thinking fondly of your loved one or even joking around about them (good-naturedly of course) and other days you feel an overwhelming sadness… A literal ache in your chest that soon overcomes your entire body as if your emotional pain must reach a certain equilibrium with physical pain.

Whenever I think about my dad (which is multiple times throughout the day), I keep it to myself. It’s awkward telling a random story to a friend (more so for them than it is for you) about someone who is deceased.

Or is it?

A friend of mine on Facebook recently lost her grandfather. She had recently deactivated her account but came back after hearing the news of her grandpa’s passing.

Her message was simple: Cherish those who matter to you NOW, rather than later.

I liked her post to show I supported her and was terribly sorry for her loss.

Then she began to do something I had never seen on Facebook.

She wrote a story about her grandfather.

Then another.

Then another.

And another and another and another and another.

There have been 15 posts thus far in the past 9 days.

Some of these stories were absolutely hilarious. Some made you think. Some moved you to tears. But all of them gave you a glimpse into the man her grandfather was. After having read those stories, I feel like I sort of know him, too.

Her stories were/are intriguing. I began to look forward to them. Although they are about a man I’ve never met, after reading these stories, I feel a kind of closeness to her, the closeness you feel to another human being who has suffered a great loss.

My friend did this (or should I say is doing this) as a way of sharing with the world who her grandfather was and how much he means to her. She continues to post about him whenever she feels the need as a kind of heart-wrenching yet beautiful relief of her grief and hurting.

I would like to do the same. I have all these great memories of my father. Why shouldn’t I share them as frequently as I can?

I encourage you to do the same if you have lost a loved one.

Funerals give us one opportunity to memorialize our loved ones. Who says we can’t (or shouldn’t) make it an ongoing experience? Continually share stories of our experiences with them… An eternal tribute, if you will.

Let’s continue to keep our loved ones in our memories… But also strive to share about them whenever we feel like it.

They deserve it.

{ 0 comments }

This past weekend six Beautiful ladies took on the city of Houston, TX and left feeling refreshed, encouraged and confident in their ability to continue their journey through this thing we call life. Our first bi-annual Alumni Getaway started off a bit rocky as we enjoyed a “lovely” boat tour of landfills, cargo ships, abandoned buildings and cranes :/ but things quickly changed for the better. We took pleasure in being with one another as we sipped wine and painted a lovely canvas of women dancing and having fun, improved our health with a 90 minute Bikram Hot Yoga session, shopped our hearts out at the Galleria Mall and took pleasure in Gods underwater creatures at the Houston Aquarium.

All in all, after reveling in the activities of the weekend we sat down with one another for group therapy. Here lies the problem: Encouraged Black Women! We left equipped with the tools to face the struggles and trials of life which will allow us to continue trekking towards success! One of the many meaningful quotes that were shared during Group Therapy was “when you think positively, your life becomes much easier.” When you think that you are able to overcome ALL that life has to offer,  your journey through the various obstacles will become smoother. Without the negative thinking, including fear, inability and feeling defeated, one is less stressed, overwhelmed and better able to trek towards their fullest potential!

For those that were unable to go this time, do not fret! For this time will come again in the summer of 2016! Don’t miss out again!

{ 1 comment }

Pride.

by Maya Francis on July 7, 2014

I have always said that both my greatest strength and weakness is my pride. It is so strong that it possesses the capabilities to not only give me confidence and a sense of dignity, but has hindered me from accepting help as well.
Lately it has seemed as if I can never win – as soon as one situation is resolved, another one presents itself. And being the prideful woman that I am, asking for help to fix these situations is of course just out of the question.

Why?

Because I’m Superwoman in my eyes, Miss Independent, the one that can do it all.

But in reality like Superman, Superwoman has her weakness as well.

As I am approaching my senior year in undergrad, life is happening: my granny has died, my mother is still mourning, I have leadership responsibilities in multiple organizations, the pressure to maintain my grades is weighing on me, preparing for grad school is a class of its own, and above all, as of May 21, 2015 my life will never be the same.
I vowed never to accept defeat but I honestly had to admit to myself that I have reached my breaking point.

I NEED HELP !

By no means can I do this on my own. And thankfully, the best thing about it is – I don’t have to, WE don’t have to !
When you don’t ask the Lord for his help, when you feel as though you can do it on your own, it is as if you are trying to do His job for him. Romans 11:18 reads, “Do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”

We were not built to carry all of the burdens of the world on our shoulders. That is what we have a Father for! It is He who is waiting on us to humble ourselves and ask for Him to lighten the load. I have allowed my pride to get the best of me for the last time. And I pray that others who struggle with it feel the same. No longer will I block my blessings by not asking for what I need because I have been reminded that, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

And when you have wisdom you have the favor of God.

BFDC Love,

Maya Francis

{ 0 comments }

Black Female Development Circle, Inc., we work TOO hard for us to not enjoy what we have earned thus far! As a recent Master’s graduate from the University of Central Florida, I found myself having the same mindset as a student after I graduated and secured a job. I thought I had to nickel and dime every dollar I had just so I could “survive” and get home ASAP so that I can get homework or internship work done. How ridiculous! The reality of my situation is that I’m making way more than I did at my part-time school position and I have an abnormally greater amount of time to finally enjoy life.

If you are a graduate, whether you have secured a job or not, make the most of this FREE time you have right now! See the family you have not seen due to a paper being due every single week. Go visit those friends you had to deny hanging out with because of all the studying you had to cram the night before. Exercise! (You know we can get so busy “accomplishing our goals” that we neglect our health). This is the time to truly enjoy the fruit of your labor thus far.

We are members of this organization because we are ambitious, successful, and desire to grow. However because of that very reason, we can get so caught up in getting to the next level that we forget to just enjoy where we have gotten thus far. Being a social worker, working with young families, gave me a greater awareness of how blessed we are to be a “minority”, young, pursuing higher education and not having children (or having children and taking the steps to give them a better life). We are in a great position in life!

Whether you are still in school or not, make some time to breathe and enjoy your accomplishments. Sure, we may not all be where we’d ideally like to be, but we have accomplished a heck of a lot thus far. Pour you some sparkling white grape juice and say “Cheers” to that!

P.S. I would be remiss not to mention our BFDC angel Jewel Witherspoon who passed away recently. After her diagnosis, you could tell that she was able to make the most of the days she had left with us. I will never forget her beautiful spirit and how she fought her battle with such grace. We will miss you Jewel!

Sincerely,

Kiara J. Nair-Mason

{ 1 comment }

Hey! It’s summer! Be free and happy and danceful and uninhibited and now-y! ~Terri Guillemets

A time for beach days, BBQs, sun-tans, and relaxation. Summer is a beautiful time to reflect on what has taken place thus far, the midpoint of the year. Are you halfway to meeting your goals, have you kept your new years resolution? Take the time to stop and reflect to analyze if you are on the right track to successfully meeting your goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Summer may also be the time that you take a step back and regroup and reestablish the goals you previously set for yourself in the beginning of the year. For example, I set a new years resolution and 2014 goal for healthy eating and weight loss, well lets just say life has gotten the best of me. So last week I took a look at what I was doing right and was I was doing wrong that was preventing me from meeting my weight loss/health lifestyle goals. I know I need to become more active and limit my fast food/casual dinning intake. I am definitely going to step it up a notch and make a conscious effort to change. Ask yourself:

Have you set your goals?

Are you on track to meeting those goals?

Are you in the mindset to actually achieve your goals?

“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” -Bikram Choudhury.

 

Check out this “feel good” video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr0tTbTbmVA

 

#BFDClove

-Shirelle

 

{ 0 comments }

There is a very popular quote by Maya Angelou that says “When people show you who they are, believe them.” But what happens when people show you who YOU are?

I was recently involved in a disagreement with someone and it was a scenario I’ve encountered before. Person says something; I react; person reacts; I make a decision that this person “has shown me who they are” and I decide not to engage with them further… ever…. for any reason… ever.

I was telling a friend about the scenario and they said “you sure do like to burn bridges”. What?! Me?! So of course, I defended myself “my actions were justified”; “I don’t like to burn bridges”; “I will not let people disrespect me”; “maybe I overreacted, but if I don’t stand up for myself who will?”.

And it was in that last statement that I caught a glimpse of who I am. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a person who tends to “over” react. Even though I feel completely justified in my actions, if I’m being honest, there are times when, if I would have done something even slightly differently, there may have been no altercation at all.

You know, it’s a hard thing to be honest with yourself, but that’s what development is all about. We adapt, we learn, we grow, we change. If the change is based on an internal desire, we change for the better. If the change is based on external stimulants, it could be good, but most often it is not.

So here’s my truth. I don’t enjoy burning bridges. Since I don’t enjoy it, I will commit to trying not to “over” react. I will actually put effort into it, where I never have before.

When people show you who they are, believe them. But, when people show you who you are… you have a choice. You can deny the truth, or if you don’t like it – you can change.

#BFDCLove

#BFDConPurpose

{ 1 comment }

Progress

by Ionia Knott on June 9, 2014

I’ve watched proudly this summer as many people I know graduated including some of my BFDC sisters. Although I was sad to see them go, I couldn’t help but be inspired by what I saw in all of them. Progress. It’s what we work for everyday. To be able to take every step needed to be a little closer to our goals. This just simply made me want to work harder because it was proof that all the hard work I put in now will yield results. I just have to continually aim to move forward and eventually I’ll look back and realize I made it much further than I was before. I feel as if this is what we aim for in BFDC, to progress collectively so that we may all be further than we once were. We all have individual goals but we can work with each other to keep one another moving and even give that extra push when needed. Even now, I believe many of us can look at our BFDC experiences and can truly say, we progressed.

{ 1 comment }

You are Beautiful

by Johnesha Hinson on June 2, 2014

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size  

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,  

The stride of my step,  

The curl of my lips.  

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,  

That’s me.”

We recently lost one of the greatest poets of all time and I wanted to share an excerpt of one of my favorite Maya Angelou poems “Phenomenal Woman.” The reason I love this poem is because it empowers us as women to be the best woman we can be. We have to have the mentality that we are worth something and we deserve to be treated like queens. It reminds women that we are valuable and we don’t have to look like the girls on magazines to be beautiful.

I am a curvy woman and when I was younger I can admit that I have felt unattractive at time because I’m not skinny and I don’t resemble the women in the magazines. But as I grew up, my self-esteem rose higher and higher because I realized that I am beautiful. It’s because of organizations like BFDC, whose principles are self-actualization & improvement, belief in a higher power, and self respect, that I am reminded of my beauty even when I may be down or feeling insecure.

So remember… YOU ARE PHENOMENAL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

#BFDCLOVE

Johnesha Hinson

BFDC Mission: “To Educate, Explore, Enhance, and Celebrate Womanhood.”

{ 0 comments }

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope you are able to enjoy this weekend safely with family and friends.

As many of you noticed through social media accounts, BFDC has began the “Womanhood 365″ campaign. In efforts to share our mission to the world, each week the BFDC National Public Relations Committee selects a national women’s organization that is doing profound things for it’s members and the community. Our celebration of women is not just limited to one month. In BFDC, we celebrate women everyday! So far, we have successfully completed 1 cycle of the campaign and have received wonderful feedback from the organizations we highlighted and our members.

On behalf of the National Public Relations Committee, I would like to thank you for your support thus far. Continue to follow the #womanhood365 campaign on twitter (@BFDCinc) and our Facebook page (The Black Female Development Circle, Inc.). A special thank you to my committee members who have been so efficient and eager with this campaign. Your participation is appreciated.

We celebrate womanhood 365 days out of the year. How do you celebrate womanhood?

BFDCLOVE,

Jazmin

{ 0 comments }

My blog post is due and guess what? It’s late! Ugh… How could I overlook the deadline? Well, don’t I look like a failure? I’m sure she’s gonna snatch me off of this list, QUICK… Welp, I better make the most of my last post.

Those were just a taste of the multitude of thoughts that ran through my mind as I was reminded that my blog post was due.

A thousand of those little ideas ran through my brain and the most recent one was, “What am I going to blog about?”

In need of inspiration, I reflected on all of the things that have happened in my life since my last post… Master’s graduation, marriage, that free dessert from Toojay’s yesterday, the anxieties of starting my business and I just stopped. I sat there and thought of all of my thoughts and how it was going to influence what I would give to the world.

It dawned on me that our thought life has so much power – the power to create and the power to destroy. I had the thought to give up but I thought how cowardice I would be. It’s funny how one thought can defeat the other. Finally I came to the conclusion (in my mind) that I would continue to post this blog and now you all are witnessing the results of my thought-life.

I encourage you to monitor your thoughts this week. What are you telling yourself when you make an error? Do self-defeating thoughts arise? Do you think that you will be given grace? All of your thoughts influence what you do. Even the clothes you are wearing as you read this blog are a result of what you thought this morning (or last night, for my planners).

There has been a BIG “be positive” movement happening lately, but this is an old truth… “As a woman thinketh in her heart, so is she” (Proverbs 23:7 Kiara’s Version). Therefore be mindful of your thoughts, even dare to think of yourself differently than you have before because it will all influence who you are.

Take Care of Your Mind,
Kiara J. Nair-Mason

{ 0 comments }