Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Author Spotlight (Michael Beckford)

This week’s author spotlight is on my brother & fellow author Michael Beckford.

Michael Beckford’s life began whereas most lives end. His July thirty-first nineteen hundred and eighty-five story began as a cliff note or ode to a young mother whom had to give away her first and only child at the time. She being at the tender age of fourteen, was barely able to tend to herself, let a lone a beautiful baby boy with long hair and a sparkle in his eyes. 

The scenery of sadness and depression filled the air, as Michael Beckford’s mother had to make the tough decision to give him up for fostercare. With a childish innocence, little Michael Beckford had no say in the matter, nor did he understand the complexities of the situation at the time.

During the years of Michael’s foster care, he grew up as a child with a very vivid and inquisitive imagination. He just had a way of bringing the things which were dull and obsolete to life in his imagination.

Like most in life, Michael Beckford witnessed many storms in life, both in a spiritual sense and in the natural such as 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed nearly every home around the neighborhood except his. “Truly God was in the work over my former foster home,” Michael Beckford says.

Just as storms don’t last always, his departure form the foster home, came at the sudden death of one of his caretakers, Edna Lewis. With her untimely death, it brought life to Michael Beckford’s situation, which moved him into adoption by two beautiful, young, and energetic parents.

These two parents fueled Michael’s desire to be greater in life, henceforth the birthing of a Great American Writer was formed. From the everyday life stories and struggles in school, Michael’s new mother guided him into writing journals about his daily life’s like’s and dislikes. This movement into the deeper parts of Michael’s mind and creativity led to the praised and often underserved expressions of poetry.

Michael’s new mother, being an Award Winning English Teacher, signed him up for oratorical, a writing contest, and is responsible for the consummate birthing of his writing success in which he enjoys today. She did not give him a natural birth, but the birth of his writing has been an expression of an effect felt upon the many whom have read his books.

Michael Beckford penned his book in February 2004, which is suitably titled Speak Up Poetry! This is a book which essentially dials into the history of a man, and the spirit of the African-American community as a whole. This book digs deep through the progressions and depressions which have been experienced over time since the time of slavery.

Speak Up Poetry! Is a notable success, with it being Michael Beckford’s first book published, and he was only eighteen years of age at the time. This book reached many corners of the country, as it was available for sale throughout the Barnes&Noble, Borders, and other chain retail outlets.

As Michael Beckford began to Speak Up! So did his parents, whom helped to influence some of his collegiate decisions while he attended FAMU. While attending FAMU for a brief season, Michael Beckford took some time off from the book circuit, and expanded upon his knowledge through college, and continued his craft of writing.

It wasn’t until April of 2009 when Michael Beckford reappeared on the writing scene with his first self-published and successful book, Beautifully Ugly People! A transition in writing he took from poetry, to the Christian fiction genre, he’s mostly known for today. Beautifully Ugly People! has been both a book which touches the hearts of many and begs the question of, ‘why do people have to be so beautiful, and yet so ugly?’

His book Beautifully Ugly People! has broken the barriers of what individuals may feel Christian fiction should portray. This is one of Michael Beckford’s best at digging deep into the heart of the situation, and letting God do the rest.

In between touring, blogging, speaking, and just engaging his readers; Michael was putting the finishing touches on the sequel to Beautifully Ugly People! which is I Am The Secret! And was released in December 2009 to great reviews and pestered the many questions of ‘what is the secret?’

I Am The Secret! Has since been the go to book for teen issues and problems. The 5000 Role Models program in Miami-Dade County took the initiative to purchase a book for each individual graduating senior. I Am The Secret! Is also herald as a must read for young adults going through their own struggles in life.

As Michael Beckford continues to travel the country promoting his books through prison ministry, church events, conferences, and other exhibits; he has learned that in order to fight, one must first beware that there is a fight. With the many successes of his books so far, at such a young age, many seek to wonder what he would be speaking up about twenty-five years from now.

Michael De’Angelo Beckford is truly a renaissance man; a man whom loves Jesus Christ. It is Michael’s vision to bring Jesus Christ in his writing to those whom don’t know him, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if one were to know who Michael Beckford is, it’s a matter of knowing who Jesus is. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walking In Integrity

I am privileged & honored to have my editor Shantae A. Charles write a column for my blog. I know many people (including me) will benefit from this post. She needs no introduction, so receive a blessing from what she has to say.

Walking In Integrity

            Integrity: This word is bandied about freely but seems to be in great demand in our present day society. I've been doing a study on this concept and principle and I'd like to share a few insights with you.

            1. Integrity doesn't stem from an external judgment but from an internal examination by God of man's heart. Evil people perform charitable deeds all the time. That does not mean that they themselves are walking in the path that God deems as integrous.

            2. Integrity is tied to our motives. David said, test my motives and my heart, and see if there be any evil way in me, once again pointing to integrity being an internal work, not as many preach, an external show.

            3. Integrity opens the door to mercy. God really does look at our heart condition. Many people in this failing economy are finding themselves out of work, their homes in foreclosure, their cars repossessed. Their credit rating is so low it is no longer in numbers, but in words: pay us. Does this mean that they are bad, disreputable people? No, life happened, but now their character is being decided by Equifax and TransUnion. But, this is where mercy comes in. God will show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are towards him.

           4. No amount of anointing will make up for lack of integrity. As one writer stated, "If a man has integrity, nothing else matters. If a man doesn't have integrity, nothing else matters." Ask Saul, chosen of God and totally lacking in moral fiber. Rather than completely follow God's directions, he decided to be king and priest without God's permission, to appease the people. The result was the loss of his kingdom.

           5. Integrity cannot flow out of dishonesty. You are either wholly integrous or wholly dishonest. Integrity will not allow you to present a business plan to someone and then renege on your part of the contract. The Bible speaks of keeping your word, even to your own hurt. There has been many times when I undervalued a service to a client. I didn't demand more on the back end. I absorbed the cost of miscalculation and revised my contract for the future.

6. You can injure your inner-self by doing what costs too much to your soul: compromise. Many people have felt totally disillusioned after losing their integrity and felt that it could not be restored. Ask Judas. He repented after he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but no one was willing to receive his repentance. He took his own life as a result. Please know that if you feel this way, there is HOPE. God will restore you willingly. Confess to God how you fell short. Allow His grace to restore your soul and then allow the Holy Spirit to fill you freely, and empower you to live a life of integrity.

          7. Integrity is one thing that the enemy desires from you, so that he may make a mockery of God. See. Job 2:1-9 After Job had gone through his second round of loss with bodily affliction, his wife posed this question: "Still you maintain your integrity? Why don't you curse God and die?" You see, the one thing the enemy is after is not your children, or your home, or your money. He's after your integrity. He's after that part of you that God is measuring, that opens the doors of mercy on your behalf.

         8. Your integrity can speak so loudly, that God will remain silent during your greatest trials. Have you felt lately like God wasn't speaking and everything wrong that could happen has happened? Let me suggest to you, that God is taking measure of your heart. He likes what He sees, and maybe, just maybe, He might be holding testimony service with you as the subject matter. Let that sink in.

         I encourage you to walk in integrity (Ps. 26). It may cost you but God will repay in mercy towards your situation. There is nothing you lose in this life that God cannot restore. If you've ever done what you promised God you would never do, cheer up. You're in good company (just ask Peter). Grace is still available in this season to make it right. Blessings and Church Love!

Shantae A. Charles is a Publisher, Editor, Artist, Teacher, and Author of the Church Love Novel Series, available on Kindle, Nook, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble. For more info, visit her blog,