Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Giving Credit Where Credit is Due"

This note was originally in response to a note on Facebook by a young lady named Rochelle but after being "checked" by facebook and getting my looong reply shut down, I decided to just write a note myself. And then it turned into a blog!??!?!

This note is not dedicated to only Rochelle, but to anyone who is currently in any sort of "romantic" relationship and if you're not and you read this, I pray that the words will be useful to your life somewhere in your future…


First of all, I'd like to commend you for giving credit where credit is due. Our men need to hear us admit that we are wrong (when we are wrong). It takes a strong person to humble themselves and admit when we have hurt someone else, regardless of the reason...I am SO very glad for one line that you said in this note...a lot of it was important, very important, but the number one thing for you to always remember is that you DESERVE to be loved!? No matter what you've done, what's been done to you or even who you give love to, you deserve to be loved, respected, cared for...all of those things that your heart desires and your life needs, you deserve.

Don't you dare ever settle for anything less...and just like you deserve all of these things, so do our men. Women often get caught up in wanting so much "respect" that we forget to give it. We are used to seeing our mothers, aunts, sisters, friends being the victims of "no good men" that being disrespected has become the expectation. Don't ever let this be your expectation...but in order to receive, you've gotta give.

I wish I could meet this young man...and hope that I can some the meanwhile I pray that you two are walking in God's will and that you are learning to COMMUNICATE. Communication is the ultimate key to any relationship. People think the key is trust but if you are communicating, the trust will be established. Others think it's good you're communicating, the sex will BE. GOOD. (When it's time of course!!!!??? Ha!)

The only way armies can be effective in war is with open, clear lines of communication. Without communication, there is no unity, without unity, the battle will be lost...Understand that relationships, marriages in particular, are ordained by God and they represent His relationship with us. Anything that looks like God, the enemy wants to destroy. This is why relationships are always attacked. This is why the divorce rate is so high, in this country in particular…because we are at "war".

I don't mean to get all "spooky" or "religious" on you but for real, take a look at the relationships of those around you and even your own and ask what is it that causes any drama that we/they encounter? Most times, it will be miscommunication that leads to arguments, fights or whatever…I could go on and on, but I'm tired *looks at clock* so, I'll leave you with this...

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT) 2 "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace."


Friday, February 22, 2008

Fathers and Daughters

I love my father!!! I mean, I REALLY, REALLY love my father! I cannot express how blessed I am to have watched him grow into the man that he is today! I cannot thank God enough for even allowing my father the grace to be in my life the way he is today…it wasn’t always so easy…
…I spent the majority of my life with my father. I have many of his mannerisms and I definitely have his sarcastic sense of humor…my eyes belong to him as well as my forehead…and the afro that forms after I go for even a month without a haircut, that’s all Carl!

This past Saturday, February 16, I had the opportunity to share my life with my father with about 50 middle school students within the Hampton school district as they sat, dressed in their best, having dinner beside their fathers. I commend Valerie Patin, Courtney Fields and the staff of the Northampton Recreation Center for their vision when it comes to the betterment of young people, our little sisters in particular. By hosting events such as their first annual Father/Daughter Banquet at the Northampton Community Center here in Hampton, they are aiding in the continued growth and development of these beautiful girls. It was a delightful time and I am most grateful to have received the opportunity to speak to both fathers and daughters about my relationship with my father, Carl Ligon, and about the importance of the relationship between kings and princesses!

After watching my father struggle over the years with alcoholism, financial irresponsibility and other life changes, I can say that he is one of the greatest influences in my life. His tenacity and strength have afforded me lessons that I have never learned in school and through his interaction with others, including with the police, various women and employers, I’ve learned how to (and how to not) communicate with those that I come into contact with. His honesty and ability to be transparent taught me the importance of the being same. Whether right or wrong, he stood tall. His integrity is matchless and because of his life, I am definitely the woman that I am today.

I can only pray that the young ladies that I spoke with will remember my father and me when they get to be my age. I pray that they recognize the humanness that is within not only their fathers, but mothers as well and all adults as they mature in age and make that they will make allowance for the things that their parents might do that they don’t necessarily agree with.

I pray that these parents can continue to be the leaders in the lives of these young women and that they might be transparent in allowing their children to see that they are indeed human…and not so perfect. I pray that the lines of communication have been opened and will remain open, strengthening the relationships and ultimately strengthening families! Amen!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Discussion: Motivation

Why have I lacked it? For almost four weeks I have failed. I have failed to wake up before 7am, I have failed to run with my God-given legs. I have failed to complete at least two homework assignments on time...and blogging...ugh...What is it that has caused me to lose my motivation?

It feels like literally from one day to the next, I went from answering 0530 wake up calls from God to finding familiar comfort in the 10 minute snooze of my Blackberry Curve. I have been blessed beyond belief already in 2008 as God CONTINUES to be His merciful, loving self and yet I have again found it difficult to simply get OUT of bed to speak to Him in the mornings...sometimes, I lay in bed at night and chat with Him...I thank Him for another day just as I roll to my right side and fall into a fog of slumber. I speak to Him throughout my day. Sometimes singing to Him, other times, talking to Him about my students or my homework or just sending up a quick, "Lord, help me."

I speak to Him...but when it comes time to get on my knees...ugh. I long for the days when I could stay up for hours past my "bedtime" and sing and pray and sometimes just lay and listen...I long for the energy (or obedience) to go for a run and interpret every breath as a prayer from the Spirit..."I NEED YOU LORD?!?!!?"

But where is my motivation? Where is my drive to SHOW that I need Him...that I want Him...that I want to walk in His will? Let me step out of this "spiritually" and just ask...where is my motivation? In my natural, womanly body and mind, where is that lil' something inside of me that moves me to really work to take off the pounds (and inches) where is that part of me that wakes up excited to write what is on my mind? And can I just GET MY HOMEWORK done for cryin' out loud?!?! Nina, do your homework?! It's a ROUGH DRAFT!? Write it and post it. Four pages. Boom. You're done. But

It's not even that I'm in a "blah" kind of mood. You know? Sometimes you just have those days where it might be raining out, (ladies) maybe you're PMSing and every little thing just gets on your nerves and you have no motivation to do anything but sleep...well, that's not the case this time. Although I do love sleeping, I have simply not utilized every minute of my day to its greatest capacity. But I’ve been in a great mood…I’ve just been unproductive…

What is it that makes us lose our motivation? What is it that makes people want to just “quit” or give up for a while…or forever?

How do you get out of your “rut”?

Blah, blah, blah…I could go on and on but…I’m not motivated! LOL! Tomorrow is a new day and it WILL be productive, “If the Lord see fit to let me live!” © My second stepmother

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Protege' 4:12 Feb 8-9, 2008

Hampton University's Student Christian Association is hosting a youth conference called Protege' 4:12. It is based off of one of my FAVORITE scriptures 1 Timothy 4:12...below is a blog (long but good) that I actually wrote a couple years ago...but I wanted to revisit what 1 Timothy 4:12 means to me...

I remember in 2nd grade, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. When the turn got to me...with my NAPPY hair, tattered clothes and snaggle teefs, I declared loud and proud, "A model" and went on to support my ideas. I thought I was pretty...I longed to grace the covers of fashion magazines and represent for lil' girls like me! THE CLASS LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHED. The whole class...And the teacher just played it off like..."that's great Nina" and moved right along...

As years past, I grew thicker 'round the thigh area, my hair went through transformations from jheri curls to press 'n curls to no curl at all and I continued to grow into the woman that I am today...all the while, the dream of becoming a model was still there but as I got older, it began to dwindle. Most models got their start around age 13/14 and there was no America's Next Top Model to make the dream of a lil' girl from Kansas come true. As I studied about various supermodels I discovered that many fell into a life of drugs (Hey Kate!!!), alcohol and self hate because of the pressure to maintain unrealistic standards of beauty. By then, I was about 17/18 and figured my boat had sailed…but my dream of working with models was still somewhere within me.

At age 26, I find that my father’s eyes, my mother’s smile (and somebody’s thighs) could still go a long way. I am considered “over-aged” within the fashion industry but I feel as if there are a lot of people that my life can influence if given the opportunity. I would use modeling as a platform to encourage others to live better lives BEGINNING with self love…

Today’s scripture was given to me as homework by my god-mother whom I am also named after. After meeting her for the first time in my adult life, I shared with this White lady from Kentucky some pics of me and she complimented my style and asked if I knew what attributes a real model should exhibit according to God’s word. I didn’t…but after some reading I’ve seen that by simply being in the will of God, I am on the right track. It is my goal to naturally allow my ENTIRE life to be an example for EVERY person that is exposed to my life, directly or indirectly. Within the ministry, I am an exception because of my youth in the physical and also my newness in the Body. In the fashion industry I would be an exception because of my additional years. Paul’s words to Timothy regarding his place within the ministry rang true to me. 1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

In SPEECH: The way I speak as well as the THINGS I say. I am a child of God and the things that come out of my mouth WILL reflect that.

In LIFE: My mere existence WILL be an example to every person that even HEARS about the woman that I was, am and the woman that God is making me to be.

In LOVE: People WILL be able to see God in me by the way I allow HIS love to shine from me. Be it my relationships with my sisters, brothers or even potential mates, I will be the best lover I can be according to 1 Cor 13.

In FAITH: Faith in God…not even the things he CAN do, but HIM. No faith in myself, my beauty, or my abilities…ALL GOD through Christ!

In PURITY: No drunkenness, debauchery, nor fornication, no laziness…nothing will infest my being so that I cannot be used by God. I won’t allow anything to hinder my growth in this world or in the spiritual realm.

Lord, it is always my prayer that your will be done in my life. I pray today that the persons that read this will come to truly understand what it means to be a model and that they will allow you to use their WHOLE life as an example of a true disciple. I pray that you continue to use me the way you've been and MORE and I gain more of you! I also pray for your success during Protege 4:12 and pray for everyone involved in the conferenc and in the SCA!!! I love you and I praise you Lord, Amen.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Your World Through My Eyes

Some say this is the time of your life
I agree yet
Wonder if you know it
Do you know that now could make
Or break
Your life
Your will
I see how you yearn
Long for something more…
…but don’t know what’s missing
And search under sweaty covers
Try to cover the stench of doubt in fragrant oils
Paint over your weary smile
You rock your freak’em dress
Walking around circles
in stilettos
And try to show that you don’t really care
By showing it all
You can’t wash it away…trust me…
I’ve tried
I try...
...I can’t...
I want to tell you that life
Doesn’t have to be this hard
That you are what you are
Who you are
There’s a voice inside
That tells you who
Who has the key to your creation
But you listen to the one that
“I know what I’m doing…”
You are a woman…
…You are not "in love" with your best friend
You deserve more than what he's giving
You are more than you can imagine
Do not start this life by
More than
How can you
Why won’t you
Love yourself
And sometimes
Just listen
I have been in your world with clouded eyes
A broken heart
And a need for more
Now see your world through mine
See what can be
When I tell you that
Life doesn’t have to be so hard
The decisions you make now…
I love you more than you know
I mean...
...I want you
love you
more than you know how
And learn
From the voice in your heart…
…not the one in your mind
the voices of those who
Love you
Open your eyes
As I pray for your world through mine

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's It Gonna Take?

So, I got up and ran this morning…it wasn’t easy and anyone who knows me knows how much I don’t like being cold. In an attempt to remain consistent, I bundled up three layers deep, tied a scarf around my face and hit the pavement. I’ve always enjoyed running, but of course, the older I get…love and action just don’t seem to coincide as often as they did ten years ago, shoot, in 2006 even. I was up to running five miles a day and doing pilates and yoga every other day on rotation. I was a lean 160lbs and feeling GREAT in my size eight!

So here it is the beginning of 2008 and I am anything BUT “lean". I’m still looking pretty good but my body can definitely tell the difference 20lbs have made…okay, 25lbs…but now that I’m running again, losing this weight shouldn’t be too hard. As with any success, it’s a process and I am determined to stick with the plan and reach my goal of running my first half marathon in April—PRAY FOR MEEEEE!? *wink*! I literally had to PRAY to get myself going today. Not only because it was 30 degrees outside, but because well, my bed felt good…but I told myself, if I am to attain my physical goals this year, I have got to stick with it…I determined in my heart that the only way this was going to work was if I practice consistency.

Over the years I have likened a relationship with Christ to getting into shape. When you’re working out, your body feels better, your mind is clearer and overall, you are healthier than when you were on the couch with a pack of cookies. Generally when people start a workout regimen they also commit to eating “right” or at least eating better. No more fried foods, cakes and other sugary snacks and, “I guess I’ll give up Pepsi for now…” When you’re on it, you’re ON it! But if you miss two days…even worse, over the holiday season, you allow yourself to indulge just a “lil’ bit” and the next thing you know, you’ve fallen off of the “horse” and sitting on the couch wondering, “what happened?”

My pastor says to all new Christians at our church that “a storm with Jesus is better than a storm without Jesus.” I cannot explain how true these words are. Just like a person who works out and lives a healthy lifestyle will have a greater chance at fighting illness, depression and other ailments, with a relationship with Christ, the issues of life always seem to be a little easier to bear. Getting to Christ is what’s so difficult. As with getting off the couch and getting active, letting yourself go and allowing God to control your life can be challenging. Not because He makes it challenging, but because by the time we recognize that we’re out of “shape” spiritually, we’re so far gone. We’ve adopted bad habits, bad relationships and everything else of our own will…so, the question is, what’s it going to take to get back in shape?

First it’s going to take confession. Admitting that I am not where I need to be. In the physical, that’d be confessing that I am unmotivated or simply lazy or addicted to chocolate, Pepsi or French fries. In the spiritual, we’d confess first that we are sinners; Confess that we don’t pray enough, that we don’t go to church, or that we have issues with believing in Christ at all. Maybe you struggle with forgiveness or jealousy or adultery…Confess. “I’m out of shape!? I’M NOT PERFECT!?”

Second, we’ve got to believe that we can change and see that we have everything that we need. Whether you join a gym, buy yoga DVDs (and DO what the DVD shows you to do) or just start out walking around the block in the mornings, you have what you need to get in shape. You don’t need high dollar gym memberships or cardio machines to get back into shape and neither do you have to go to the biggest or most popular church in your area. Find what works for you. Start reading the Bible…read a Proverb a day. Try to keep memory verses. Talk to God. Start out praying small prayers and don’t worry about not praying the way you’ve heard others pray…or using big words and sounding “profound” talk to God and ask for direction. You have everything that you need…now use it.

Now that we’re on the right track, remain consistent. Even on those days that you don’t feel like getting up and running or it’s cold and raining out and you don’t feel like driving to the gym, do it anyway. PRESS your way out!!! You’ll continue to see the benefits in your body and mind and you’ll feel accomplished knowing that you were consistent in working toward your goals. It is a cliché but, take it one day at a time. Spiritual conditioning is the same way. You must remain consistent in reading and you’ll find that not only are you reading more and more of the Word, but you’re beginning to become familiar with verses and learning to apply the words to your life. You’ll notice that you’ve moved beyond the simple, “Lord, help me” and are now not only praying for yourself but now you’re praying for others around you.

When you’re on it, you’re on it…as with working out, walking with Christ doesn’t make life easier, it just makes life better. You will still be tempted by your favorite snack, an extra glass of wine and fast food over taking time to cook at home; you’ll be tempted by ex-lovers, new ones. Your patience will still be tested as will your integrity. But do not bend! Stay focused on the prize and you will succeed!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Work On Me Wednesdays"(c) Pastor Barber

We received an assignment last week from our Pastor, Jerome Barber. He directed his Wednesday night congregation to dedicate Wednesdays, if no other day, in 2008 to work on us. He told us to make a conscious effort on Wednesdays to pray for ourselves; to focus on those things that we would like to change by the end of 2008. He told us to make a list of the things that we would like to change by the last Wednesday of the year, (which happens to be New Year’s Eve) put it in an envelope and hold on to it until that last Wednesday night Bible study of 2008 at which point we would open our envelopes, to find what I’m sure would be some half remembered goals…out of sight out of mind right? But God is just so “God” that whether we forget about things or not, once we pray something, God is already in the business of making it happen…still in His own time.

So last Wednesday night when I got home, I sat down to do my homework I just knew I’d be able to come up with something!? And I did, the normal things like, “change my physical being”, “Help me to be more consistent…in general”, “Increased self-control”, you know, the norm. I was tired and frustrated with my little list and decided to pray and ask God what HE wanted to change…what needed to be changed in me in the next year. “I’ll have it by next Wednesday, Lord” I promised.

So here I am, in the second Wednesday of 2008 and yes, God is already doing what He does. I’ve already grown and matured in one week and…I didn’t even really ask for anything…not really. Or did I?

For January 9th, Oswald Chambers refers to Psalm 139 in his historic, “My Utmost for His Highest”, “Thou art the God of the early mornings…the late at nights…the mountain peaks…and the sea; but my God, my soul has further horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of the earth…higher peaks…greater depths than any sea in nature—Thou who art the God of all these, be my God. (emphasis mine) I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths [of my soul]; there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at—my God, search me out.”

“Be my God.” “…search me out.” I realized that there is no way that I can possibly pray for the things that need to change in me until I ask God to search me out. There are areas in me that I have no idea about. There are things that are so deep in me; dreams, motives, sin...the good, the bad and the ugly…that unless God shows me daily, I may never know.

What 2008, every day in it and really every day our lives come down to is having more of God. Gaining greater understanding, learning to worship Him…oh yes, fall in love if you will. Love on Him the way we would love on a new lover…a good friend…a child. Fall in love. When we are in a relationship with someone, we always strive to be better for that person. As we grow closer to God, we will learn more about ourselves and in turn, He will work on us from the inside out.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mission Statement

"'Out the Blocks' and 'Be Inspired' were created to address the issues facing today's teenagers and young adults, helping to prepare them to grow through the building of self-confidence, self-awareness and the knowledge of God. Using the spoken Word, poetry, literature and song, it is my hope to inspire others to live the life they were created to live, not according to their own plans but to recognize the pre-destined purpose for their lives and to teach them to plan accordingly."

"My personal mission is to bring glory to God by allowing others to see into my life; my past pains, failures, joys and victories alike, teaching lessons learned with prayers that someone's life will be made easier, by the example of my own."

Today is just the beginning. God has big things in store and I look forward to being obedient. I have had some technological issues for the past couple of days but as the old folk say, "the devil is a lie!" I'm still working out the video blog part. I am so far from being technology savvy that it's not funny. I need a good digital video camera…or something. I have a webcam but it's not as clear as I thought it'd be once we size it and this and that…PRAISE GOD ANYHOW! I am confident that God will do what He says now that I'm doing what He said do!!!

Thank you Lord, for another chance to say, "Yes!"

My prayer...Father God, I come to you humbly Lord, asking that you touch my heart and my mind…and also the hearts and minds of those who may read this blog. Lord, I thank you for the support and pray that you continue to give me the confidence to step out in faith with the same zeal that I once stepped out into the world…give me more Lord! I want to live for you and you only. Help me to live according to your whole Word and more specifically 1 Tim 4:12. I pray that through my life, you receive glory and honor…I begin by giving my gifts back to you, Lord in trusting that you will do what you said…I love you and I praise your Holy name. Again, bless those who read this blog, who support my growth both believers and unbelievers alike. Show yourself strong oh Lord…in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

In the beginning...

...there was God.

Here we are in 2008 and we’ve waited long enough! I invite you to share in what God is doing in my life and spread the word of what’s to come in 2008. I have launched a new Myspace page with the help of my good friend and business consultant, Carla Thorpe of Make It Happen Consulting ( <---currently under construction or

Beginning Monday, January 7th, I will be at and here Please tell a friend about my page to share my blogs, video blogs and information about future speaking engagements and my first book, all happening in 2008!!! It is my desire and purpose to inspire and I pray that I am able to touch your life as much as you’ve touched mine!!! I thank you in advance for your support and ask for your prayers as I step out…into God’s will for my life!

If you’re not about business of helping me succeed or helping yourself even, feel free to continue being my “friend” at ninanin79, ninacinspires is all about business!!! It may not seem like a lot... "a myspace page whoo-hoo!!!???" Big deal right? YES...This is only the beginning!!!

Also, I have been writing for a quarterly inspirational newsletter for the past year called "Persevere". If you would or anyone you know would be interested in subscribing to the newsletter, free of charge, please send request to If you'd like to see the other newsletters from last year, feel free to respond to this email.

Thank you for your time and support!!!

I thank God for every one of you and the way that you have touched my life!!!