Hello, my name is Leah and I Make Mistakes

I thought this goofy picture of me on my 30th Birthday was fitting!

July 10th, 2022

How could I be so stupid?

I stared, dumbfounded, at my phone. A hacker locked me out of my Instagram account and was currently spamming my friend’s inbox messages. With my password changed, I lost access to my Instagram account.

All because I fell for a silly scam.

I’ve been doing a lot of silly things lately.

Initially, I thought I was talking to a relative about a Bitcoin investment they were supposedly involved with (turns out their Instagram account was hacked as well). They asked me to make a video to support their business and I was happy to help. The part where I messed up is where I allowed them access to my Instagram account. Suddenly I was receiving a flurry of phone calls, Facebook messages, and texts from friends telling me I had been hacked. Turns out the hacker used my video that was supposed to support my cousin to trick friends into investing in Bitcoin.

Praise God I was at least wise enough to give out any debit card or banking information. After imploring my friends to report, unfollow and block my account, I kept thinking “How could I be so stupid? So gullible? Why didn’t I question if this was really my relative? What happened to being wise and discerning? How could I have fallen for this?

Embarrassed, I spent this weekend mulling over my lost Instagram account. An account which was gaining traction and being used to encourage followers with the Word of God.

Turns out a pesky little devil wanted to stop that traction and derail the goal of my Instagram page. Further, I was so discouraged by what happened and the large part I played in this situation, I didn’t complete my writing goal for this weekend. The desire, thrill, and invigoration for my writing projects dissipated in a cloud of condemnation. Praise God that He pulled me to write this blog post!

When we make a mistake or fall into a scam, it’s easy to fall into self-pity and shame. Our enemy does whatever he can to put the brakes on our goals, especially when we are trying to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Around every corner, he lurks, with his foot stuck out to trip us and guffaws as we face plant on the concrete of life’s challenges, setbacks, and humiliating moments.

And if we stay face planted in our shame, we can never rise up, dust off our pants, and let God tend to our wounds.

The Bible always is the antidote to shame. Scriptures I’m going to hold on to for this week are Proverbs 24:16, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked” . Another is Romans 8:1, “So there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

The Instagram Incident reminds me of a time I made another mistake, this one back in March. A friend and their daughter were staying with me due to a sensitive situation. I happily jumped at the opportunity to serve a friend in need. I enjoyed their company and saw this as a chance to bond with someone from the church. Things were going well for three weeks. Then, on a particularly stressful day at work, I came home exhausted and emotionally spent. Fresh off the grief of losing my grandmother, student needs at an all-time high, and general insomnia, I plopped down on my bed and closed my eyes for what I thought was for fifteen minutes.  

When I woke up, groggy and bleary-eyed, I saw a bunch  (15 if I remember correctly) of missed calls and a text that read I’m really worried, I am calling the police. I shot up out of the sleepy stupor. Police?? Was someone trying to break into the apartment?? After scrolling through the text, I realized that it was close to 10: 30 PM. Turns out I accidentally locked my friend and their daughter out of the house and they tried to get in contact with me. I immediately called them back only for another woman from the church to answer. She explained that my friend and her daughter were now at her place. She asked me how did this happen, had I been on medication?

I felt the condemnation creep up. The following day, when I was about to text my friend to apologize profusely for what happened, they read my mind. They ended up leaving that morning, saying that the incident from the previous night was the reason they couldn’t stay with me anymore.

Those memories flashbacked this weekend. How similar thoughts of “How could I be so careless? Why didn’t I set the alarm?? What would the other members think if my friend told them about the incident?

We each have our weaknesses; shame is a huge one for me. And that’s where the devil strikes.

I have to remember I am human. I make mistakes. Some small. Some large. What I do after is what matters. Paul in Philippians 3:13 to forget what’s in the past and try to reach the goals in front of us . Similarly in Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”. That means “if I just” or “This wouldn’t ofs”.

Going forward, I now know to be more discerning when presented with an offer too good to be true. To ask questions. To investigate.

We learn when we make mistakes. We become smarter and wiser. We can help others avoid the same mistakes we made.

Speaking of helping others avoid being scammed.

1.       If ANYONE messages you with an offer for Bitcoin or other too good to be true opportunities. Ask a ton of questions. Hackers will start to become agitated and pressure you for an immediate answer to their “offer”. Reply “No thank you” and block on whichever social media site they messaged you through.

2.      If a relative or friend messages you, call them immediately to ask if they really sent the message. If not, their social media account has been compromised, and let them know right away.

3.      Common sites where hackers try their scams: Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp.

4.      Sometimes you’ll get a message on Whatsapp from someone claiming they meant to message someone else. They’ll try and sweet talk you into forming a relationship (this also happened to me. I tell ya, I’m going through some surreal situations). Do not respond and again, block that account.

God uses our experiences so that we can be a support to others.

Maybe Silly isn’t so bad after all. Lesson Learned.

With Love,


Helpful Youtube Video about Social Media Scams  

Scammers Impersonate Instagram Users in Crytpo Scheme 

Woman loses 390,000 of Inheritance in Crypto Romance Scheme

The Trouble With Love Part 1

“I hope I’m not becoming a misanthrope” I sighed to my friend, *Janice, on a Tuesday evening. We were relaxing in her cozy, 10th floor apartment after a dinner of hard shell tacos. I explained that people are irritating me to the extreme lately and I didn’t want to become closed off to others. 

Lately, I’ve grown to empathize with cranky and cantankerous characters like All in the Family Archie Bunker or The Grinch. Each time I venture out into the open world, I grow frustrated with abrasive New Yorkers shoving past me with so much as an “excuse me” to cram into an overcrowded city bus (I admit, I may have too high expectations of NYC dwellers in terms of courtesy and politeness). I clench my hands into fists while waiting in line at Mc’donalds while  an indecisive customer decides to play 50 questions with the cashier. I give my scariest evil eye to the lady at the restaurant who is playing an obnoxious video on her phone at maximum volume (This also happens on NYC buses ; newsflash there’s this nifty little invention called headphones) 

What’s bothering me is that my specific prayer, recently, is for God to cultivate a love like Jesus. A pure, sacrificial, no barriers and complete love.  

Instead the mere existence of the human species vexes me to the point I want to pull an Emily Dickinson; shut myself off from humanity and continually churn out novels from the refuge of my bedroom. 

Yet God gave this one commandment in Matthew 22:38 that admittedly causes me great angst ; Love your neighbor as yourself”.  

Lord why are 90% (a guestimate) my neighbors so darn unlovable. 

Of course I am not 100% lovable myself. Stated at the beginning of this piece, my misanthropic tendencies are growing faster than weeds in a field. I shy away from conversations, connections and can be downright standoffish to others. My therapist and I have talked through childhood learnings that contributed to my behaviors. However, as a child of God I am called to the highest standard (which I sometimes throw tantrums at). I often wonder why “God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16). Yes, the world. Not just Christians. Not just my parents. Not just my brother. Not just my aunts, uncles, cousins and my cozy network of close friends. God loves everyone. 

And as much as love is a struggle for me, I must love everyone too. 

This sunday at church, a young woman talked about how Jesus wept for humanity. She used a term that I mentally kicked myself for not coming up with on my own “We need to sow tears for humanity”. She discussed loving without barriers, limits and expectations. The sermon hit me with a proverbial arrow to the heart and I realized my heart needed God to perform major surgery. 

For this summer I’ve decided to give this “love without limits” thingy a try with the expectation that it becomes part of my DNA makeup. I want to bleed 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. To live out 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (New International Version). 

Most of all, I want to love like Jesus. Unconditional and without limits. A sacrificial love. 

With Love, 


Security in Christ When You’re Fearful

Hoh National Forest in Washington state. Great place for a prayer walk and to thank God for His creation!

“Hopeless”. “Desensitized”.  “Numb”. “I don’t feel safe here”. “I’m always looking over my shoulder”. “ I feel like I always have a bullseye on my back”. “This happens all the time”. I’m honestly ready to die”. 

  These words, spoken by my former students, shattered my heart. I looked around at the Black and Brown solemn faces, resignation and weariness etched in the expressions. What was frightening was how permanent those etchings were. 

I teach 9th grade English and part of the school culture is “healing circles”. Healing circles happen when there’s harm done in a community; usually a classroom where a fight breaks out or a major conflict between two students. The circle is meant for everyone to express, openly and without interruption, how they were impacted by the event. In this circle, we spoke about the Buffalo, NY massacre where almost a dozen, mostly African American, were killed by an 18 year old white male. 

A young man who could have been one of my students. 

We are living in troubling times; a two year pandemic, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, the war crisis in Ukraine and ever present gun violence. According to the National Public Radio there have been 198 mass shootings in the United States. Everyday a news article pops up detailing a shooting in New York City.

Sometimes it’s all too much. 

When I listened to my students a heartbreak and fury arose in me. I am furious at lawmakers, politicians, guns rights advocates, adults in general. We have to do better for our children. They deserve to live in peace. They deserve to live without a cloak of heavy fear weighing them down. 

I too at times feel hopeless. The Bible tells us “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, New International Version). 

What happens when all you want to do is faint?   

There is no easy, quick 1-2-3 remedy. In troubling times, God understands that we are running on empty.  The Bible is excellent at giving feedback on when you’re just too fed up with this chaotic world. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). In thinking about this, here are a few ways I can share on how I  remain hopeful when the world is going crazy around us; 

  1. Find a quiet place in nature (a park or taking a walk in a garden or wooded area): I love going on nature walks when I need a break from the noise of the world. Praying in a park or a beach, sitting down under a tree and journaling are great ways to appreciate the natural artistry of God’s creation. Being in nature reminds me how vast God’s majesty and sovereignty are. 
  2. Healing circles and support groups: Part of what attracted me to the High school I teach at was their response to community tragedies. The support staff and administration do an excellent job of preparing students to lead Healing circles. Being able to hear from your peers and know that we are feeling going through the same trauma helps us be more connected. Churches are also great spaces to s
  3. eek out people who will pray with and for you when the world gets too overwhelming.
  4. Gratitude Journaling: One of my friends gave me a challenge; everyday list five things you’re grateful for. focusing on what’s going well and how God blesses you can shift your mindset away from the negativity around you.  

Lastly, living without fear. When you look at the news, Facebook, twitter and other social media; we’re inundated with negativity. I always hold on to 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (New King James Version). God wants to live without looking over our shoulder for something to go wrong. Of course we should live wisely, be aware of our surroundings and let family and friends know where we are if we have to be out late or going on a long trip. However, God gave us life to live in full, not in fear. 

At the end of our circle, one of the students said “This is why I cherish every moment like it’s my last”. I hope that all of us have an aquarium filled with moments of laughter, joy, peace and love.  

With Love, 


Resources: These are the websites of churches I’ve attended that have prayer teams and support groups. 

  1. Palabras De Vida (Words of Life): https://ccpvida.org/
  1. New York City International Christian Church: https://newyorkcityicc.org/contact/?fbclid=IwAR3RzjPmG2PQx5CdgUcfMv5ZHAlW2Z0-ku8UHdqqxW6uoFL0kkyMif3GxwE
  1. C3 NYC: https://www.c3.nyc/  
  2. Rejoyce in Jesus Ministries : https://rejoyce.online/

Security in God’s Victory  (Or, What the Cross Means to Me)

Every Sunday the church I attend participates in communion. Prior to the symbolic breaking of bread, there’s a sermonette segment of the service dubbed “What the Cross Means to Me”. The purpose of the time is for each member to reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  A member comes up in front of the congregation and shares about how the sacrifice of Jesus has changed them in a certain way. 

In Luke 9:23, Jesus discusses that His followers must pick up their “crosses” everyday and follow Him. For Jesus, the cross was bearing the sins of the world, past, present and future. For us, God gave me a revelation that we will have various crosses to bear in our lifetime. I see each day as a new cross to carry. 

When I think about what the cross means to me, there’s victory.  While I was on hiatus from the current church I attend, I worshiped with a bilingual Spanish church. One of the Sermon’s was titled “The Victorious One is Here”. The sermon examined Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem a week prior to His crucifixion (I think this was the palm Sunday service). The pastor passionately asserted that Jesus was crucified so that we could have victory in our walk.

 Most of my life, I lived in a constant state of defeat. . I brushed off life, expecting to fail at my goals, dreams and desires. I developed a defeatist attitude in all areas of my life; ministry, jobs, friendships, leadership roles at my school, and different degree programs. Mentally and emotionally, I gave up on ever truly belonging or finding that solid forever friend group. One little setback and I’m saying “nothing ever works out”. I gave up on marriage. Having children. Writing. Feeling peace. My anxieties, fears, depression, insecurities and doubts were waging war in my mind and at times defeat felt imminent. 

Jesus is victorious. He didn’t suffer for hours, almost naked, lungs bubbling with blood, flesh hanging off and bearing the crushing weight of my sins for me to dwell in defeat. He conquered death, a victorious eternal king. Paul directly states in 1 Corinthians 15:57 “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Whenever I’m tempted to walk with the weight failure, I cling to God’s truth. That because of Jesus I can overcome, persevere, dream, and try. 

The next steps are to put on the victorious casing in my daily walk with God. A practical way to walk victoriously is to celebrate and thank God for the victories I experience each day; a lesson plan that my students enjoyed, making a colleague smile or uplifting the spirits of someone who was having a crummy day. I can look forward to and believe in future victories; a family member or close friend saying yes to Jesus, my students graduating from High school, a finished manuscript of my first novel. SOmetimes I will fail or take a misstep. Yet I remember who I belong to, the one who overcame the world, death and sin. 

Side by side with Jesus, I’ll always strut in victory. 

With Love, 


*Scriptures related to victory*

  1. 1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
  2. Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (New International Version)

“A Bird Alone on a Roof”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month - Florida Institute for Health  Innovation
Let’s break the Stigma

I decided to go grocery shopping today. I dragged my cart down three flights of stairs, stepped out into the liquid steel gray morning and trudged the 25 minute walk to Aldi’s. On the way there, I decided to pray. I spoke to God, thanking Him for the miracles in my life, speaking healing over my sick relatives, increased faith and to build up the confidence to share my faith with those in my circle. I entered Aldi’s pumped up, ready to take on the dairy and produce aisles. A clerk greeted me warmly and pointed me in the direction of the fresh, sun colored sweet corn. I sashayed through throughout the store, energized by my power prayer walk. I left the store and started back toward my apartment.

That’s when the enemy flung depression right in my face like a monkey at a zoo throwing its dung in its cage. As I struggled to push my cart up hills a barrage of thoughts such as ” you have no friends”, ” no one cares about you”, no one is thinking about you”, “you’re always going to be left out”, “you could disappear and no one would notice” drowned out the previous, kinetic and powerful pray from just 30 minutes prior.

The backdrop was mockingly perfect. Gray, sunless skies along with a taunting drizzle became my own little movie set as the wheels of my cart hit cracks on the sidewalk. The closer I got to my house, a place that is supposed to provide comfort and relief, the more I felt a growing void insidiously growing inside. Empty and colorless. I thought to myself, “You’ve been here before. Just get into the Word and then watch the church service. You’ll feel better”.

Except the void only expanded. Try as I might, the worship and message of the pastor failed to soothe the burning depression searing throughout my body. The music from the worship team sounded like a baby banging on pots and pans on the kitchen floor. The words from the Pastor dulled into my brain, but go figure, I could hear the enemies taunts of “you’re not good enough”, “what have you accomplished for God?” “Look at everyone else, they’ve got something to show, they’ve got the talent, the anointing”, “what have you got?”

Like a twisted melody, I let the enemy continue his sinister symphony. Even now as I’m writing, the burning in my chest persist.

I, like 16.1 million adults in the United States, battle Major Depressive Disorder (according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America). The National Institute of Mental Health has the figure of 17.1 million adults as having one depressive episode. These past two weeks I experienced the symptoms of “persistent, sad, anxious mood”, “feelings of pessimism”, Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”, “Restlessness, irritability” “Insomnia, early-morning awakening,” and “Loss of interest in hobbies and activities” (adaa.org).

Even today, I considered calling up a friend and saying I was no longer wanted to go on our trip to Montana. I ruminated on how to tell her that I didn’t want to go on the trip she is so pumped about.That I wasn’t interested. That I would feel like a third wheel.

Depression is one of the devil’s favorite friends. he uses depression to suck the joy and light out of anyone who has a dastardly encounter with it. Like a puppet, the talks through depression saying “When was the last time anyone texted you to hang out” and “See, you’re never invited to hang out or go on dates”, and “you’re not appreciated at work and your colleagues don’t respect you”. And worst “Look how you’ve wasted your time and life. God isn’t using you because you’re useless”.

Depression makes you feel like a bird alone on a roof. An unstable and collapsable roof.

Then, just when you’ve run out of tears to spill, another bird joins you on the roof. He shoos the enemy away and turns to you. He says to you ” Don’t let this rattle you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” (John 14: 1-4, The Message Version).

This bird will never leave you alone, even though that’s exactly what you want to be at the moment. This bird nestles next to you, sings a song of hope, light and love. The bird urges you to fly with Him high above the void that the enemy tried to pull you into. He takes you on a new route, the route of life and Truth. He restores your smile. Your outlook.

When Jesus was about to go to the Cross, he made sure that His disciples would be taken care of. He didn’t leave them alone, but sent His Holy Spirit as a comforter. The Holy Spirit helps us remember the character and promises of God. He’ll vacuum out the dusty cloud of lies that the enemy left behind and remind us that we are chosen, thought of and loved.

And my mind has a lot dust to vacuum.

I used to be ashamed of depression. On days when we duke it out and depression seems to have the upper hand, I think that I’ve failed God. That my faith is weak. In these moments, I’m reminded of the words the Lord spoke to Paul “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Instead of embracing depression, I am encouraged to embrace God’s grace and power. Battling depression has made me more emphatic and understanding. An advocate of mental health . And living proof of God’s grace and mercy.

With the Month of May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, now more than ever, I feel compelled to share my story. I may still be smack dab in the middle of a depressive episode, but that’s all the more reason I need God to use me. For me to tell you there’s hope. That struggling with your mental health isn’t shameful or an indication that something is wrong with you. I am proof that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, maladaptive behavior and other mental health challenges don’t have to rule your life. Because at the end of that long, dreary walk through that dark tunnel is light.

And I can’t wait to bask in it.

When I can do Nothing Else, I Can Write.

sayhisname hashtag on Twitter
jen #BlackLivesMatter's tweet - "You'll never silence us. Justice ...
NELP's tweet - "NELP expresses our deep sadness and rage at police ...

When I was an undergrad student at SUNY New Paltz my major was English. My degree required six credits of writing courses and I took the opportunity to enroll in creative writing classes. I learned a method of writing called “stream of consciousness”. The technique, defined my Masterclass.com as such

“Stream of consciousness writing refers to a narrative technique where the thoughts and emotions of a narrator or character are written out such that a reader can track the fluid mental state of these characters” (Masterclass, 2019) 

Essentially, a fancy way of freewriting. Our professors would encourage us to use the technique when we were stuck on our writing pieces. “Write what comes to mind. Let the emotions flow naturally” With all the pent up frustration built up over the past few days, I decided to just write. I owe them that much.

A Most Peculiar Dream

Where do I start? When does it end? My voice, silent, my prayers unspoken, my Bible untouched. Lord forgive me. Forgive us. We failed. We continue to fail you, to break your heart. What’s one to do? You tell us to turn the other cheek and our skin has been slapped raw by racism, oppression and violence. The blood. So much blood. So little air. I hide in your fortress, yet the cries of the suffering overpower my ears. I see George Floyd, his eyes bulging oxygen swiftly leaving his body like leaves being swept up by a powerful Autumn wind. He looks at me and cries “help”. I look at the man with a knee to his throat. He eyes me, reaches behind him…


I jolt up from my sleep. A nightmare. Yes. Has to be. Then I hear a gasp beside me. I turn and like my brother George, the air rushes out of my lungs. Breonna. Blood soaks through the blue fabric of her EMT uniform. Her eyes. Blank. I can’t tell if she looking at me or past me. I reach for her but she falls back. I try to grab her and her clammy hands grab my arm. We both fall.

I slam down on concrete. My ribs sting from the impact and gravel embeds in my palms. A shadow envelops me and I look up. A tall, African-American male stands over me.

“Are you alright?” He asks. He frowns and bends down so he can meet me at eye level. His eyes are the color of freshly ground coffee beans.

“Where-Where am I?” I stutter. What’s happening?

He places a hand on my shoulder. “Hey, let me help. It’s alright, don’t be afraid” He holds out his hand. I take it. It’s ice cold.

We walk and I glance at the young man. He smiles back.

“What’s your name?” I ask.


I stop.


He stops in besides me. His smile is gone.

I can’t breathe.

“Run”. I gasp.



I grab his hand. His palms have grown colder. Almost wax like. An engine revs behind us. Headlights.

I take off. We run and run and then BANG!

I fall back to the ground.

I wake up.

I see Ahmaud. I see Breonna. I see George. I see Tamir. I see Trayvon. I see Sandra. I see Michael. I see Alton. I see Eric. I see Philando. I see Amadou. I see Sean. I see Oscar. I see Rekia. I see Botham Jean. I see Aiyana. I see Emmett.

I’m stand up. I drift towards them.

I’m sorry I say.

Someone hands me a book. It’s black with Gold lettering on the spine. I recognize the title.

“Then fight back” they say.

I sit up. Silence. I’m back in my room.

I pick up my Bible. Time to read the battle plan.

(Written in honor of those we’ve lost to violence, bigotry, fear and hatred)

I John 1:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV Version)

The Importance of the Yourstory

toni morrison
Photo Courtesy of Vanityfair.com

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.-Toni Morrison

As we move into March (Woo hoo for spring time!) I am in awe of how time speeds past us faster than the Road Runner (and like Wile E. Coyote, catches us off guard and knocks us on our bum). I’m grateful to share my adventures, musings and confessions  with you. Let the sharing continue! 

One of my favorite pastimes is going to the movies; winter, spring, summer and fall. I stroll into the lobby of a movie theater (shout out to AMC Theaters) and am greeted by the aroma of buttery popcorn. After I purchase the salty, buttery goodness, I eagerly enter the subdued lighted room which will transport me to another world for the next two hours. Since I possess a short attention span, movies provide the perfect voyage to new worlds, complex characters and universal themes such as love, family, adversity, fate, and dozens of other themes. The craft of storytelling is an important part of film.  With every film I see, I try to absorb the message the author is sending to the audience. 

The last movie I saw was The Photograph, starring Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Y’lan Noel and Chante Adams. This post isn’t a review of the movie per se, however I definitely recommend going to see the film. With a predominantly African American cast, The Photograph tells the story about a young woman named Mae who recently lost her mother  to cancer. An art curator at Queens Museum, Mae meets a young man named Michael who works as a photographer. Mae’s mother, Christina, was a famous photographer who came from the countryside of Louisiana to pursue her passion for photography. Michael wants to do a profile of Christina’s photograph collection for the newspaper he works for and Mae becomes the platform for his research. The two meet at a gala sponsored by the Queens Museum, develop a relationship, fall in love, and, well, I’ll let you see for yourselves. 

Image result for the photograph movie poster issa rae
Photo Courtesy of Flickeringmyth.com

What I appreciated about The Photograph came from the universal themes of discovering your past, love, following your dreams, and longing for connection. Christina, the dreamer (Mae’s mother), falls in love with Isaac, a fisherman from Louisiana. Isaac wants stability and to build a life with Christina. Christina wants freedom to pursue her passion. Her steeled concentration of her passion led to her distant relationship with Mae. Mae tries to revisit that lost connection with the support of Michael (who struggles to maintain connection). 

Each scene of the film presents snapshots of the characters’ lives. One of the strongest elements of the film is the lighting and cinematography;the way the camera zooms in on Mae through Michaels’s point of view (love at first sight), the brightness of the countryside of Louisiana, the calm blue hues during a storm (this is where I caution parents with children under 13) while Michael and Mae make love for the first time. 

If you are looking for an action packed romp, The Photograph is definitely not the film. The subtleness of each scene is the movie’s core strength. More importantly, the film told a story with two African-American leads which didn’t involve drugs, gang violence, racism, poverty, or slavery. The topics listed are a part of the African-American experience, but that can be said for whites, Asian Americans , Latinx American, and Native Americans. 

I remember numerous conversations with my friend *Macy about how lucky young people of color are to have young adult authors such as Tomi Adeyemi, Nicola Yoon, Jenny Han, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Jason Reynolds to tell stories about youth who look like us.   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” highlights how stereotypical storytelling can harm a group of people (her Ted Talk is amazing and one I will be covering her talk in a future blog post). I remember growing up and constantly reading stories about young African-Americans escaping slavery, dealing with gangs, or overcoming racism in the Civil Rights Era. 

Yes, those stories need to be told as they are an integral part of African-American history.  However, I could have used stories about powerful young black girl wizards, warriors, scientists, and superheroes. The reason I reclaimed my love for storytelling is because I aim to write the stories that were missing from my bookshelves. 

I am also a Christian who loves God and one of my goals is to write young adult Christian fiction. Oftentimes, I’ve observed the media portrayal of christians, particularly in America, as haughty, judgmental and hypocritical. When I write, I know I have the power to share my story, my testimony while showing the power, saving and redeeming love of Christ Jesus. God himself is a storyteller! The Bible is a true story of God’s relationship with mankind.  Genesis 1:3 read “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light” (NIV) . God used words to create us! Psalms 139:16 reads “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV). God writes the story of our lives, creates us and sends us off on an adventure to share His love. What a story to be a part of! 

Whether you’re Christian, African-American, white, Latinx, Asian, Native American, male, female, Differently Abled, or Klingon, we each have our own unique stories. Our stories can be powerful and engaging narratives that make a positive impact on our fellow humans. 

Now tell me, what’s Yourstory? 


The Bashful Butterfly   

I was able to visit one of the locations in the film The Photograph. Taken by myself, Feb 20, 2020