I had a blast being interviewed by Letrise Carter of Sistah’s Place. I am typically the once asking questions. Here the tables are turned. Take a listen and check out her online magazine, Sistah’s Place.
When I was a young woman, I knew the life I wanted but I had no idea how to get there. I understand what it is like to have to forge your own way through unchartered territory. When I meet someone, who has done just that, I choose to celebrate her. I am excited to share my conversation with Shirene Hicks.
Shirene is a minister of the gospel, radio host, author, and police officer. I would describe her as a modern day super heroine with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other – carrying the law of the Lord and the land. She is a devoted wife and mother of three beautiful girls. Who says a woman cannot have it all?
I am the founder of Breaking Through Barriers Ministries. I am an ordained minister. I am the author of the book, “365 days of Tears”. I have also been a law enforcement officer for the past 13 years. Currently, I host a weekly radio show every Monday on 1570 am from 4:30-5:00pm. The goal of my radio show is to inspire both hearts and minds. I am working towards a second Master’s degree at Loyola University in counseling. I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and three children.
I am called to missions and the prophetic. I recently visited Haiti and I had a life changing experience. I have a love and desire to help those that are in need. I find comfort while on the mission field. It is my opportunity to humbly give back and minister to others. Over a decade ago I discovered my calling. Through dreams I saw myself traveling the world and digging wells. I knew then that I had an awesome mission ahead.
One thing that I absolutely love to do is travel. I enjoy traveling both domestically and internationally.
Fear is a stumbling block and it prevents progress. I had to overcome fear when being vocal about feminism. I am a feminist. I am interested in equality. My goal is not to bash men but to fight for equality among women. When I identify myself as a feminist, I am often judged especially by my male counterparts. I overcame fear by accepting who I was called to be.
My greatest accomplishment is finishing my book, 365 Days of Tears, within a two-month time frame. During that time, I had an infant daughter that I also had to care for. Every morning after, when she was sound asleep, I would sit up and write from 2 am to 5 am.
The goal of my ministry is to preach the kingdom of God in a way that will draw all to Christ. I measure my ministry success by the change that is evident in others. In the near future, I am working on opening up my very own counseling center. I am currently working on a second book. I am also building a global women’s ministry. A ministry where women can come together and build one another up. A ministry that will allow room for travel, retreats, and other outings.
Website: prophetessshirenehicks.com for upcoming speaking engagements and conferences.
356 Days of Tears is available on Amazon also available at nextcenturypublishing.com
Breaking Through Barriers Ministries Prayer call begins on January 1, 2018 at 7 pm. Dial in # (563)999-2090 access #338929 playback# (563) 999-2099. The prayer call is every Monday.
I find women veterans fascinating. Women all over the country have been raising their collective voices in the #metoo campaign, sharing stories of sexual violation. From Harvey Weinstein to Bill Cosby, we are seeing evidence of how years of protected patriarchy leaves women vulnerable to abuse. So, there is something powerful about a woman soldier. Vera Harris is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army having earned the distinguished honor of being the first female Command Sergeant Major to serve in an Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Vera has taken on a different battle in her retirement from the armed forces; that of an author of children’s books. I had the honor of interviewing her recently.
Why do you write children’s books?
I was inspired by my grandson to write children’s picture books because I wanted not only my grandson but other children to develop a love for reading. I enjoy reading. I have been a reader all my life and I noticed that my grandson struggled with reading. So, I decided to write easy sight words so that kids like him could develop the courage to read (and) would enjoy what reading brings. Reading will help them develop into leaders and productive citizens. In my experience, most readers are great leaders and introducing children to the art of reading will help kids become great leaders in school, in their communities and in their circle of friends.
What impact do you hope your books will have on others?
The main impact that I hope my books will have on others to encourage young children to enjoy and develop a love for reading books so that the love of books will follow them into adult life.
What was the biggest obstacle to you becoming an author and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming an author is writing books that will engage young minds. I am learning more from veteran authors, from training, and conferences that specialize in helping authors improve their writing. I write from experience and from my imagination, so I am constantly working on books that will open up children’s imagination as well.
What should we expect from Vera Harris in the future?
I am excited about the future! I am currently working on my fourth children’s picture book which will be released in 2018. And since becoming a published author, I have been invited to speak at some events. I am enjoying and learning so much on this journey!
From defending our freedom as Americans to championing literacy for children, Ms. Harris is a true American Hero. You can connect with Ms. Harris by the following:
As a writer, I am tasked with articulating the human experience. My characters must resonate with readers by being relatable, honest, and sometimes, outlandish. In 3D, relating to each other can be a bit more precarious. It is easier to trust the person on the page than the one sitting next to you on the subway. Then, there are people whose radiating presence penetrates the hardened façade of strangers making them feel at ease. Tamala Baldwin is such a light.
Tamala is a renaissance woman for the millennial generation. TV Host, Speaker, Producer, Author, and Businesswoman top the list of her amazing talents. This year, she had added actress to that impressive list. Tamala is staring in the Curvy Girls Rock: The Series, fulfilling a dream which fear had held her back from for many years.
Three years ago, Tamala interviewed me to discuss my debut novel, “Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story”. Who knew three years later, I would be blessed with the opportunity to return the favor. I
For the longest time, I believed my gift was that of performing. Though I absolutely LOVE to perform, I learned that my true gift is so much deeper than that. The reason I believe I was born was to share the gift of human sunshine. Sunshine can change anything, transform anything, re-make anything, and cause anything to become as beautiful as nature intended. In this lifetime, I have been able to experience an enchanting union with the radiance of my own soul and I feel positively free, as if nothing could ever stop me because of this sunshine. My gift is to share these sunbeams to everyone I meet and one of the ways I feel drawn to do that the most, is through storytelling. We are so blessed to be alive. We are so fortunate to have the luxury of time to evolve into greater expressions of ourselves through the experience of life. Capturing the human experience in order to help others tap into deeper awareness of their own sunshine . . . that is my gift.
Coming to this state of awareness has been extremely difficult. As someone that is so open to the light, navigating the shadow or darkness was definitely part of my journey. As a child, God shielded me from internalizing what I saw, but that shifted in my 20’s. It was as if my Creator opened the gates of heaven and I experienced the harshness of life for the first time. It was as if I left home and wandered in the wilderness. Of course, in my infancy, I thought this was a punishment, because I TRULY never experienced REAL sadness even though I grew up in the hood and saw a lot of things during the 80’s. Yet, I realize that the wilderness is not a punishment. It is an invitation to become aware or conscious of your divinity, who you are and the paradise that you come from.
This awareness of GOD being closer than breathing is forever expanding, so even though I have this amazing love buzz in the center of my heart, every day I am being purged and cleansed of fear, guilt, doubt… of anything that gets in the way of experiencing more TRUTH. For example, it was only after the passing of my mother did I realize there was a part of me that was afraid and was still hiding. We all hide and it is only until we REALIZE and see it for ourselves can we step from behind it and into the light.
My fear was that I was not the ideal weight to act. The goal of the media is to tell us what to think and somewhere along the line, I told myself that I was too fat (I am a size 12 and sometimes a 10) to pursue acting. Yet, after experiencing the loss of my mother, it allowed me to release that. Losing the person that loves me the most in life freed me from the lie that I was telling myself, which at the root, was that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough and so forth.
Let me tell you, releasing that untruth has been so freaking liberating! It was like a weight, I didn’t even know I was carrying, was lifted.
Fear is anything that keeps you from experiencing the Truth. Fear is a weight that can paralyze you from fulfilling your purpose. Fear is a deceiver and a lie. Fear is something that keeps you hostage and dims your light. Fear is that bad friend that holds you back from doing what God has called you to do and will use any means necessary to manipulate you. The only way I know how to handle fear, is to seek refuge with God, my Creator and the Lover of my Soul. I don’t address fear. I don’t ask fear to flee. I ask God. The reason I was able to release the fear about being too big to pursue acting was because I prayed to God day and night for clarity on my purpose. After losing my mommy, I was so confused about what I was meant to do with my time here. Should I go back to working a 9 to 5? Should I stop performing and teach? I had no idea what to do especially since I am a caregiver for a mentally ill sibling. Since I knew I was coming from a place of fear, I asked God, who is my Ultimate Protector, Lover and Best Friend. When I say who God is to me, I mean it with all of my heart. We go together and so when I go to “him” it is one of the most intimate part of my day. God loves us so much that there is no need to look at the fear. Casting our gaze upon LOVE is all we need.
Curvy Girls Rock is the second series I booked since I became awake to this fear that had taken up residence in my mind. The other series I am also working on is, “Asunder”, which can be found on Amazon Prime in 2018. When I booked, “Curvy Girls Rock: The Series”, all I could do was smile at the synchronicity since this series stars women that are curvy in size. All I could do was smile at God at this opportunity that was a direct reflection of the fear I had just released. All of us are born with purpose and to add sunshine. No matter what is happening around us, what has happened to us, where we went to school, or what we look like – we are here and charged with purpose. “Curvy Girls Rock”, was a wink from God affirming that truth and we must never believe the lies we tell ourselves. Rather, to trust the greatness, the love, the sunshine that dwells within us.
Being the light may sound a little cliché but every platitude starts as a commonly accepted truth. Humans radiate light and absorb it. We need it to live, grow, and thrive. Light requires a fuel source. We call that source God. When we connect with God intimately, his light flows through us. Thank you Tamala for allowing the light of God to shine through you to us.