Some people call me a preacher girl. Some people call me a wordsmith. Most people call me “Y.” I love telling people about the origin of my name. As you can imagine, I am often called “E”vette, “Ya”vette and all kinds of Vettes. My mother named me “Y”vette and made a declaration that the “Y” is not silent. Now that’s a prophetic word, because as a writer, preacher, spiritual life coach and pastor, I am not quiet when it comes to sharing the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My life’s work is about helping people move from brokenness to wholeness. I left a lucrative position in the non-profit world to answer my calling into ordained ministry. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University with a Masters of Theological Studies. I am also a 2017 fellow of Princeton Theological Seminary's prestigious Black Theology and Leadership Institute. I am currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry in Land, Food and Faith Formation at Memphis Theological Seminary.
As a licensed pastor and theologian, I am a prayer warrior who advocates for those who are marginalized, particularly for women who have experienced brokenness in their personal, career and church relationships. As a Methodist elder, I founded and launched Her Sister's Situation Ministry, out of my own experience of sexual assault.
I am a Dallas girl who fell in love with writing when I was six-years-old. That led me to being a budding junior “investigative reporter,” and to pursue my BA in Journalism and English Literature from the University of North Texas. After a successful career in journalism working in print, radio and television, I shifted gears to serve in the non-profit world where I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people with whom I came in contact. From my work as a public relations specialist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC to my work as regional vice president of communications and marketing for the South Central Affiliate of the American Heart Association, I’ve enjoyed utilizing my God-given gift of writing and editing to make meaningful contributions and to help positively transform the lives of others.
My poetry, creative non-fiction, historical fiction and academic work is published in anthologies, journals, books and magazines, including Kente Cloth, Tex!, Langdon Review of Arts in Texas, Texas Short Stories, New Texas 2001, and The Hoot and Holler of the Owls.
I am a three-time scholarship recipient of The Hurston Wright Foundation's Writers Week in Washington, DC, where I was selected among 60 writers from throughout the African Diaspora, to work with noted literary giants such as Sonia Sanchez, Jewell Parker Rhodes and Tim Seibels, in honing our skills as short story and creative non-fiction writers.
I am a firm believer that God can and will heal our brokenness. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s Masterpiece. He has created us so we can do good things.” I am hopeful that God will continue to allow me to do the “good thing” of helping everyday people, like you and me, put our words to paper, and produce work that will truly be a balm for the masses.
I have edited an anthology, a scholarly journal and have worked with ministers and pastors to help them turn their messages and sermons to published books - twenty books and counting!
What sets me apart from being just a "copyeditor," is my background, education and theological training in God's word. I read for grammar, flow, and attention to the accuracy in God's word. This means that I will double-check Scripture, listen for your "flow," stay true to your voice, and I will make sure that what you "preach" comes across with the same power in your book. It's like having another minister of the Gospel working alongside you.
In July of 2017, I released Being Ruth: Pressing Through Life's Struggles with Fearless Faith. Read an excerpt and order here.
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Land. It's always about the land. That's why I am pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Land, Food and Faith at Memphis Theological Seminary. As an innovative disruptor and a pursuer of justice, I am a 2018 fellow of Vanderbilt Divinity School’s Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative cohort. I am actively engaged in ministry in the margins and seeking to disrupt the systems and structures that promote marginalization, poverty, food injustice and famines. My heightened awareness of food justice began during my time at Perkins.
While I was serving as a resident community chaplain, I began to focus my attention on the struggles and impact that the misuse of land causes for impoverished communities. With the help of students, I created and led a “Harvest for Our Communities,” food project to intentionally draw attention to the food injustices that resulted in food apartheid and barren land, making it unable to produce crops. This project helped to crystallize for me a vision that God had set before me many years earlier: restoring the land in a way that is redemptive and that helps to bring God’s Kin-dom on earth as it is Heaven.
In my formative years, I spent many summers on my grandparents’ land, heir property, in East Texas, with ownership that dates to the mid-1800s. For years, I've pondered how this heir property originally began with God deeding the land to God’s people for sustenance, thriving life and sustainable goods. I've been exploring the effects of what happens when people abuse this sacred gift that God bestowed to us, and how the wielding of power, deeds and land titles have disrupted the health and wholeness of God’s people. In some areas, the Promised Land of milk and honey has been tarnished and misrepresented as the Poverty-Stricken Land of malaise and hurt.
During this same time at SMU, I began to develop and write a comprehensive Bible study on the Old Testament Hebrew story of Ruth to fulfill requirements for Board of Ordained Ministry. As that study grew and evolved into the book, Being Ruth: Pressing Through Life’s Struggles with Fearless Faith, my appreciation and fascination for land deepened as I researched and explored the relationship of faith and famine in the sacred text. From the origins of the creation story in Genesis, agriculture has been at the core of our faith. Land has always been sacred, and its intended use has unfortunately been maligned by people in charge of systems and structures who perhaps don’t understand the social responsibility and stewardship of taking care of the land. When land is treated as a disposable commodity rather than heir property gifted to God’s children, then injustices are ripe for the picking. In many ways, this attention to land has always been foundational in my ministry. More specifically, who are the vulnerable among us living in neighborhoods without access to healthy and culturally diet specific foods? Why is food apartheid (food deserts) more prevalent in black and brown communities? And how does the church respond to this injustice?