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So, here's my brief genesis, present and destiny:
Through my testimonial about my personal struggles and issues such as overcoming symptoms of molestation as a child to being almost raped as a teen, fear and insecurity, adjusting to life after divorce to single-parenting, homelessness, financial hardships and more, I've been able to breakthrough barriers and propel into my purpose. Was raised in the projects in Brooklyn NY as a result of my family being placed there for free the initial year due to a fire that forced my parents to move from an apartment to the projects with all of its growing negative environmental elements.  

Favored: Determined not to raise my daughter in public housing or other poor and dangerous environments, I vowed that I would rather live in my car than expose her to the same elements I endured growing up in my neighborhood-seeing physical and substance abuse, theft, violence, and other crimes so near and frequent. I was actually robbed myself and one time at gun point. I almost forgot about that. So with the favor and help of God, my daughter and I managed to always live in nice decent suburban neighborhoods in Queens NY, even if we had to sleep together in the same bed in a one bedroom apartment, a room or a family member or friend's sofa.  

So, I also went from having no HS diploma to earning a Cosmetology license, my GED, an Associates, two years of graduate clinical social work studies and a Bachelors and Masters Degree. Note: I didn't begin or complete any of this until I was in my 30′s to 40's (never too late). Got my first book out of me in 2011 titled "Let Me Out!" and writing more. One of the things I'm thankful for is inheriting the entrepreneur bug that I realized came from seeing people around me hustling to make ends meet in the hood. Also, I grew up experiencing my parents hustling instead of totally depending on the "system" and low paying wages to help support me and my siblings. My parents sold dinners, drinks, snacks, cake, and some of the best fried chicken sandwiches. They even hosted their own poker-game parties with low to high table stakes in the projects with real poker game tables, chips and money. Yes, it was an in-house casino (ah ya'll don't know about that life). 

Boldly: I went in hard and relentless-building my confidence, breaking through feelings of insecurity and hidden identity crisis of trying to fit in (what I call "The Misfit Syndrome"). Through the word of God, I learned to launch out into the deep by identifying what God endowed me with, embracing and declaring His purpose for me and my own passions. Writing them down as they came to me through visions and dreams, and the prophetic word that confirmed what He revealed to me. I eventually became ordained as a pastor and a licensed minister and humbly served as an associate pastor for over seven years-preaching, teaching and engaging in outreach. 

Determined: Then had the nerve and dare to start my own business(es) in the midst of homelessness and unemployment, and eventually using my cosmetology license by working part-time as a hairstylist during the evenings and weekends in salons and at home.I was also blessed to work as an assistant director of an after school program within my community to also completing my book in the midst of an economic crisis and transitioning careers and housing…

Breakthrough: Because of my unwavering faith in the sovereign God, I dismissed anything contrary to my vision and prophecy from God and His confirmation through people of faith. I continued implementing spiritual disciplines of faith through prayer, fasting and worship, and stayed tenacious toward my dreams in order to push through hard times while laughing at the enemy, because I (really God) was going to have the last say over my life. 

endeavored to be more than a conqueror and live as a victor and not a victim! I declared that I would trust God with my life! So in the words of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) from the movie The Color Purple, "I'm here, I'm here!"

Today: I'm building, pushing, and planting seeds within others while leaving a legacy within my daughter, who will be graduating from college May 2017 (Hallelujah!). I'm serving others through preaching the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, sharing my story and triumphs through writing, coaching and speaking to women and men, as well as hosting female teen workshops and women empowerment tours. I desire to see others live on purpose and in harmony with God's will and purpose for your life.  

Cheryl Yolanda Howard