Thursday, March 24, 2011


We are living in trying times. People are losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their livelihood, losing their cars, losing on their investments, losing their hope, and some are even losing their minds. Few things are more heartbreaking than working hard to build a dream, and then losing it all through no fault of your own.

But as I turn on the television and watch the devastation in Japan caused by a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, I see people who have no jobs, no homes, no cars, no money - and if they do have a few coins there is nothing left to buy. Each survivor shares a similar story:
** I held on to my wife's hand as long as I could, but she was washed away...
** I was washed away but I hung on to a floating tree that came my way. I was circling around some houses. My daughter was washed away; I still don't know where she is...
** I believe my mother is buried in the rubble of the house. I held my father above water, but the force of the tsunami was too strong. I couldn't hold on to him...
** Frightening beyond belief. I have no words. My mother and uncle are missing. They were both home...
** I thought Japan would disappear under water...
** My wife, my children, my four grandchildren -- they are all gone...
The last quote is one I shall never forget. Having lost his entire family, the man was serving as a volunteer firefighter. If anyone deserved to sit at home with head in hand having a good ol' pity party, he'd be the one. But that is not what he chose to do. In the midst of a personal loss, the man was out trying to help somebody else.

Japan has the world's third largest economy; therefore, their day-to-day lives are much like our own. They live in nice homes, drive nice cars, have nice jobs. But in this moment of massive loss, I have yet to see a survivor search for their home, or their car, or their ATM card. The point I'm trying to make is this: all the stuff that matters so much to us -- you know, stuff like nice jobs and nice homes and nice cars really have no value when compared to the things which can't be replaced -- you know, things like family and friends.

For as far back as I can remember, seismologists have warned that The Big One will hit the west coast on any given day. It is a blessing to wake up on solid ground, even if it's a place we don't want to be. As a society, we have desired and acquired so much stuff until we have forgotten to be thankful for the many irreplaceable things we possess. I remember when gratitude was a way of life. And the funny part is we didn't have much. Maybe it was our upbringing because the old folks sho' used to say, "It don't cost nothing to say 'thank ya.'"

We used to have "testimony service" in the old-school pentecostal church. All my childhood years I was forced to listen to the old folks saying the same ol' tired thing week in and week out. And for some reason they would get "happy" during their boring testimony. But the older I get, the more sense I find in their repetitive words. Now that I think about it, when you got in an old-school prayer line, it was for one of two things: (1) to get saved, and/or (2) to get filled with the holy ghost. That was it! There was no such thing as praying for a hosue or a car or a husband or to be delivered from depression. They were always thankful and welcomed the opportunity to rejoice and be appreciative. So as I sit safe and sound in a home that is still standing, full of every kind of techy device available, and closets full of clothes, and shelves full of food, and a full tank of gas in my car, I invite you to journey back five decades with me to a little church in Los Angeles called Greater Circle Mission on the corner of 107th and Normandie. Every Sunday night, every Wednesday night and every Friday night the church folks would stand up one behind the other and say:

"Giving honor to God, and to the pastor, and to all of the saints of the Most High God, I wanna thank and praise God for His goodness toward me. I could have been dead, sleeping in my grave, but the Lord saw fit to keep me in the land of the living with the use and activity of my limbs, and a portion of good health and strength. I wanna thank and praise God that I am yet saved and sanctified and filled with his precious holy ghost. I wanna thank and praise God for keeping me in my right mind. I wanna thank and praise God for keeping me safe from all hurt, harm and danger, and for building a fence of protection around my loved ones. I wanna thank and praise God because He's brought me from a mighty long way. I wanna thank and praise God for giving me a desire to go all the way to see what the end is gonna be. I wanna thank and praise God for you and you and you. Pray my strength in the Lord."

Hallelujah, for real! That old-timey testimony has me all stirred up to where I'm getting "happy" too! In fact, I feel my own testimony coming on: "Giving honor to God, and to all of the readers of Be All You Can Be ~ the Newsletter, I wanna thank and praise God for finally learning that things can change in a moment. So in spite of my own personal drama going on at this moment, I just wanna thank and praise God!"

Be all you can be!

Yolanda Wright Bozant
(310) 528-5115


  1. From Renee:
    Thanks auntie for the reminder that I need 2 be thankful for what I have & stop worrying about what I don't. To my shame it has been on my heart for a while that I want 2 upgrade my phone. I keep looking @ other peoples phones & comparing what they have to what I have. I remember when we bought ou phones & how excited I was to finally get a BlackBerry (12/2009). It's been little more then a year & I have been bugging [my husband] since I think about Nov about getting a new one. I need to pray everyday for Gods will 2 be done. There are so many other things I could be focusing on rather then getting a new phone. Starting 2night I'm gonna get on my knees & say a thank you prayer 2 God before I go to bed. I want 2 have a heart full of gratitude for what he's given me.
    Luv u,
    Renee ;)

  2. From Pastor Shigg:
    I just wanna thank and praise God, although i have to get up at 5:30 to go and do a repetitive job BUT I thank Him for A job, I just wanna thank and praise Him for the shrimp fried rice that I had for dinner, I just wanna thank and praise God ... my wife got a new weave today, I can't stand weaves but I thank and praise God for a wife that is HERE to get a weave.... Pray my "striff" in the Lord

  3. From Dovey:
    Amen and ha--llelujah!!!!!

  4. From Bridgette:
    Thank you so much. I mean this more than you could know. Thank-you

  5. Geraldine said:
    This is the Day the Lord has made,let us Rejoice and be Glad in it;
    Rejoice in the Lord always,and again I say Rejoice. Always be Thankful
    with Praise & Prayer in your Heart;
    Ps.118:24 Phil.4:4

  6. From Barbara:
    This is fantastic and is right on time.
    Love your newsletter!
    You are a great writer.
    Just an important reminder for all of us.

    Love & Blessings,

  7. From Tasha:

  8. From Marlene:
    Hi Sweetie,

    I love your newsletter, always giving us something to think about and to also understand that it is not what you possess, it is the LOVE of your family and close friends that will get you through the difficult and hard times.

    So, we have to keep the connection, and love one another as if it is the last day on earth for each of us. We may not like each other BUT we have to love each other.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom.

    Much Blessings My Sistah!

  9. From Sonja:
    I needed that reminder! It was right on time. THANK YA!!!!!!!

  10. From Marilyn:
    Awesome! Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and guidance! Love that Sgt. Gibbs!

    Hey, Yo, what's the recipe for that cake of yours, you know, the pineapple one! Boy, no one makes it like you do!

  11. From Robbi:

    Nothing better than that old time testimony...I remember that and can testify to!
    That was right on time today.

  12. From Gracie:
    Girl you better stop before I start shouting. Just hearing that old time stuff made my belly start jumping with the holy ghost. Just to say thank you.

  13. From Pastor Liz:
    Girl, I had to calm myself down.....I felt that testimony!!! You are always right on time....

  14. From Pastor Betty:
    Wonderful insights, and yes I remember those testimonies myself. As we get older we find ourselves realizing the "true treasures" one has in their life. Your values change and you see things from a different perspective. Enjoyed this very much.

  15. From La'Keisha Ford Calhoun:
    Cellie, You better minister!!!! That really blessed me. If it wasn’t so late in the hour, I’d ask to send it out to my reading audience but since it’s already after 4pm CST; with your permission, I’d like to share it with my reading audience tomorrow so they can get “happy” with the both of us!!!!

    I wanna thank and praise God!!!!! Thank you, Jesus!!!!

  16. From Faye:
    Hi YoBo - Thanks for that reminder and I am grateful that I met you.

  17. From Betty:
    Awesome! Brought tears to my eyes because I can witness/and know the same
    prayer, same prayer lines, same ole Saints, same old feelings of judgmental
    disbeliefs of their realness; but when I became an adult...I now see...I can
    see what the old folks was talking/speaking about.

    Tears are in my eyes for real, and now running down my cheeks, here in my
    office as I write. What a wonderful move of the Spirit, and a sweet and
    convicting touch from the God of our Creator! What a great cleansing of the
    soul and spirit...powerful, and ain't nothing you can do about it but
    submit! I just welcomed it.

    Thank you for your writing, for the gift he's given you; for the insight and
    wisdom you have and to share w/us. I sore thoroughly enjoyed this reading
    of your on this day, and much appreciated your talents.

    God Bless You Yolanda...


  18. From B:
    Just read your newsletter Yolanda and was moved to tears! Why you say? Well, I've been going through the valley of decision regarding my [home]. I was laying on my face this afternoon in prayer about [it]. You see Yo it is in pre- foreclosure.

    The Lord gave me peace about it to let it go! then a hour later I read this. WOW! You think God is trying to tell me something? Guess what, I got it.

    You had me at the testimony service. I can still hear my grandmother giving her testimony just like you said, not asking God for nothing but, just thanking him for his many blessings!

    So, if this didn't pull on the heart strings of your readers, it pulled mine.

    Thank you for those words of encouragement.

  19. From Joyce:
    Hey Sistah Friend. Good words of wisdom as usual. That prayer took me way back, and I grew up Baptist. Our elders prayed the same no matter the denomination. Much love.

  20. From Phyllis:
    I just want to thank you for this wonderful message. I am sitting here with
    tears in my eyes just from reading it. Today, I am 63 years old; and all of
    the things in the testimony are things I have heard all of my life and am now
    feeling right now. I am just so happy to know this family. I just love each
    and every one of you.