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Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell's 3 Favorite Reads in 2023

What did I love most about each book?

The Gospel of Inclusion: Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism to the True Love of God and Self

By Carlton Pearson

I was introduced to Bishop Pearson’s work through a mentor, Rev. Virgie Seltzer, when I questioned the lack of love that I saw moving through some religious circles in the name of God.

She sent a video of Bishop Pearson being interviewed on “Larry Reed Live,” and I was hooked. He said God loves all of us, regardless as to whether we have accepted Jesus as our savior, particularly since some people will never have the opportunity to do so.

I watched the Netflix movie based on his life, which led me to this book. It expanded not only the concept of God’s love being expansive enough to cover everyone and inclusive enough to desire to do so but also the charge to each of us to want to follow the same model of love for our fellow man and woman everywhere we meet them.

It is a model that I subscribed to and work toward every day.

Transforming Lives Through God's Word: A 14 Day Devotional To Support Parents, Educators, and Students Through Life Challenges

By Carol Rhoden

As a parent, I strive to create strong relationships with my daughter’s educational team, and this book is a wonderful tool to cultivate such relationships.

Transforming Lives has daily affirmations and scriptures that explore the challenges that your child and their teachers/administrators encounter in working to build students into strong leaders, responsible community members, and loving members of our families. The author also included a list of best practices and advice from experienced educators that can help you support your child through crises and everyday living.

It is a pocket-sized book, so it can go where ever you go, and there is ample room for journaling after every chapter. Also, it is a 14-day journal, but there is a bonus day included.

Finding Me

By Viola Davis

Viola Davis is one of my favorite actresses. Her rise from the first time I saw her over 20 years ago as a young actress in the army to now being one of the few EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winners in the world has been extraordinarily pleasing to my soul. I love that she has never tried to hide who she is or where she came from, and she doesn’t allow her past to define her present or future.

This book is a biography of Viola’s life, and it is brutal and beautiful. She spares no one – not her family, the institutions that educated her, her profession, nor herself in assessing support, failings, abuse, and love.

It is the failings that led to the breakthroughs, the achievements that led to the understanding, and the acceptance that led to growth.

This book empowered me to be more transparent about my struggles and to put myself out there on more podcasts to share my story so I may empower others to embrace their entire lives!

The Light We Carry: Overcoming In Uncertain Times

By Michelle Obama

I have admired and respected Michelle Obama for most of her husband’s political career. She managed the delicate balance of motherhood, career, supportive wife, and political wife with such grace and elegance as the first African-American First Lady of the United States of America.

So when she wrote this book, I was happy to dive in to find out how life had been post-presidency. And I was not disappointed to know that the same grace and elegance that I saw the 8 years in the White House continues to inspire and uplift other people. One of those people is a distant cousin who serves as her right-hand woman; how she was so kind when she found out that my cousin’s father had been incarcerated.

The Light We Carry is one of kindness and love in the face of unkindness and darkness. And we are all empowered to share it at all times.

Keep reading to find out what my 16-year-old's favorite books are!

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