Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Suicide Awareness

I posted this writing on my social media this morning but I wanted to share it with you. What I am about to share is an uncomfortable subject in the Black community. Why? Because we are always looked at as strong because we have survived so much as a people. We are human and we bear a lot of weight. We have to start talking.

In the 10years since my aunt's passing, never have I posted this. Felt strongly compelled to share today. My Aunt Jackie would've had a birthday this month. But sadly, 10years ago she committed suicide. She had received devastating news about her health. She had many struggles and even sought the church to help rid her of her personal thorns. I was on the East Coast Regional from Philly to Baltimore as I would normally be on a Thursday. That day, I suddenly got this feeling in the Spirit that something was wrong with one of the sisters of my last living Grandma. I called my Mom to inquire. My Mom made a call. She then called me back with her number. I called to check. My aunt said she had been worried about Aunt Jackie because Aunt Jackie had seemed so distraught. She repeatedly said she was going to kill herself. My Aunt said she told her to stop saying it and that she didn't mean it. Well then she hadn't heard from Aunt Jackie in a week and was worried. She sent Aunt Jackie's only daughter to check on her. When my baby cousin arrived, she found her Mom dead. She had been dead an entire week. She did what she said. We had 2 funerals in 30 days. We buried another aunt, a sister to my Great Grandma less than 30 days prior due to illness. My now late Cousin Connie, shipped her Mom back to PA for us to memorialize her October 2007. Just like that, we had a second funeral. 😢
My point, when someone isn't doing well, DO NOT take for granted that they will be okay. Their comments to you may be the only cry for help they give. I felt Aunt Jackie this morning. My program for her memorial is buried in a box around here but I know this is a prompting for someone to see and hear. Love you Aunt Jackie!!!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Special Event Announcement- October

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you are doing well and making it a marvelous Monday! Please see the flyer below.  I am taking part in the 8th Annual African American Authors & Empowerment Expo at Morgan State University. In "The Book Pitch" seven authors will be pitching their books to a panel of four filmmakers.  I am blessed to be an author as well as a filmmaker and playwright so I'm very excited to be the moderator for a second year.  I hope to see you this Saturday. The expo is FREE to attend.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Special Event Announcement

Good Evening Family and Friends,

I hope you are doing well and making it a great evening. Join me tomorrow on The Stubbs Show.
 See the flyer below.

Friday, August 18, 2017


Good Morning Family,
I hope you are well and making it a fantastic Friday. It's time for another segment from the Get Your JOY In The Morning YouTube Channel. The latest poetic video is titled "Blink." Click the link here:


Enjoy your day!

Friday, August 4, 2017

REMINDER: Last Call for Auditions for "Broken Pieces"

Saturday, August 12th is the last call for auditions for the upcoming stage play, "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep." If you know any young people between the ages of 10-14 and adults 18yrs+ who would be interested in auditioning, please contact Joy T.J. Riley at getyourjoyinthemorning@gmail.com for more details. This is an opportunity to communicate the importance of breaking cycles, awareness on verbal and emotional abuse in families and getting some laughter at the same time. Use your gifts to make a difference in the world.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Special- New FX Series

I had the opportunity to attend the DC/Baltimore screening of legendary film director, John Singleton's new FX series titled, SnowFall. Set in South Central Los Angeles in 1983, the series chronicles how the crack epidemic began. It follows Franklin Saint, played by Damson Idris, who wants freedom so bad that he has no idea of the price he pays. His freedom comes at the cost of the bondage of others. As John Singleton said during the Q&A, "Franklin wants so much to not be like his father but he ends up being a worse man than his father ever was." Franklin has been given opportunities that some of his childhood buddies, like Leon Simmons, played by Isaiah John, only wished to have.  However, to Franklin, it's not real freedom due to racial politics.  He is warned by his family about the choices he's about to make. veteran actor, Alon Moni Aboutboul, from Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, plays the Israeli expatriate who takes a chance on introducing Franklin into his business. Angela Lewis, who has played on Law & Order: SVU, plays Franklin's Aunt Louie. Amin Joseph from the new Baywatch plays Franklin's uncle, Jerome Saint. Michael Hyatt, from The Wire also stars in this "throwback drama" as Cissy Saint, Franklin's mother.

During the Q&A John Singleton stated he wrote the script to address those of us who came up during the crack epidemic to spur conversation. He also asked the question of how many people in the room had people who had been affected by the crack cocaine epidemic. Indeed, I raised my hand. We are living in a time of the opioid epidemic and prescription drug addiction but for those of us Gen X's and the Baby Boomers, we know this is dejavu. Are we still having a conversation with the generations after us about drugs and choices?

#SnowFall airs on Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

My Journey of Loss

John 11:35 Jesus Wept

Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.

My grief facilitator said to me that even Jesus wept over death. For those who do not think it's okay to cry, to mourn. It is okay. My grief facilitator had commented on the fact that I had endured so much loss that the process was going to be different for each. She also said that no one can tell you how long to grieve or how to do so. "Own your own grief." She said loss isn't just loss of people, it can be loss of relationships, jobs, possessions, etc. But for me, the journey of loss I thought had come to an end at the beginning of the year, has picked up again. I hurt. I am sharing this with you because twice in one week it has been said to me that my journey of loss may be because I have to share it in book form. The reality, there's more to this story than many know. I have shared with all of you about the loss of my aunt, my boyfriend and my grandmother in a period of 30 days from Mid-September to early October 2016. January  2017 I lost a cousin on the same side as my aunt. This month, my family memorialized a cousin close to my age on another side of the family while a family member on the same side laid in ICU. Within another week an old college friend, in his 40s passed of a heart attack and was laid to rest this week. I can go on but I think you get the point. There are several patterns I am seeing.

1....3 African-American males between ages 41-51 passing of treatable illnesses which were simply about lifestyle change. One was already making the change. This revelation caused me to make an announcement on my social media about the importance of African-American men taking better care of themselves because it does affect those they love. African-American families have enough to be concerned about, health is probably the easiest of controllable factors.

2. Life insurance- African-Americans have endured so much and have been so resilient in the face of trials but having life insurance is important to protect those you love who remain behind to make arrangements on your behalf.

3. No one believed me months before the collapse of a major institution. It was the one God told me to leave from because they were hurting people, young people, those I was purposed to help. When the collapse was announced, friends and family who heard me finally understood. And even the church where I worship has benefited from that collapse and has bought the building that once housed a sister campus to where I worked. God speaks, and no organization is above God's hand.

4. God has revealed to me in this process the three things that are truly important beyond this society's quest for stuff. We are to love and worship God, understand our individual purpose for being put here and carry it out and to foster the relationships we've been blessed with. To sum it up, we are to leave a legacy of love. Yes, if a person is saved and we are saved we will see them again but that doesn't negate their absence from this space in time. For the true gift each individual person gives us is the gift of their presence, nothing more, nothing less. So in this, I make a plea to you that if you do not know your purpose, please ask God to reveal it to you and then execute, do not delay. And life is too precious and short not to show genuine love and care.

5. I also weep because many years ago, when I first received salvation, I didn't understand my purpose. Outside of God who understood, guess who else did? You guessed it, the enemy. I once had a horrible nightmare which I never forgot. At the time, I was burdened with fear and perplexed because it was more prophetic in nature. I saw the children I was destined to help before understanding that my painful past was the key to helping them but was warned (sarcastically) I couldn't help them all. And the second part of the dream, there would be tremendous loss of family and friends around me on the journey long before my own passing.

This is a very painful process, and I truly understand Job's pain, questions and even how he desired to resolve the matter. I do know that I am not the same person I was when I walked into this journey. Just before the loss began, which did include stuff too but God is a restorer, i praised God for thinking I was worthy of whatever was about to come. I now know that if it wasn't for His grace, I wouldn't have made it this far into the wilderness. A woman whom I had never met before said what she saw in my spirit and was a very timely word. "God allows some people to be in the wilderness because He knows they will keep going."  I have felt that I'm not strong enough but my will to keep going is dominated by the purpose and promise I made while on my death bed 9yrs ago. So I press on. My journey of loss, prayerfully will never be your journey, but I pray that should you come to a fork in the road, you will understand the lesson and the blessing.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Last Call for Auditions for "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep"

Good Evening,

Saturday, August 12th is the last call for auditions for the upcoming stage play, "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep." If you know any young people between the ages of 10-14 that would be interested in auditioning, please contact me per email for more details. If you or anyone you know age 18yrs+ may be interested in auditioning to communicate the importance of breaking cycles, awareness on verbal and emotional abuse in families and getting some laughter at the same time, then contact me via email for more details. Use your gifts to make a difference in the world.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Special Event Announcement- Power Walk 2017


I am a guest speaker on Saturday, July 29th for Power Walk 2017. Let's walk and talk about sexual abuse. Feel free to bring your strollers.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As Summer Begins

Good Evening,

A couple of weeks ago I had the awesome and humbling honor to be the lunchtime speaker for a local county's Head Start teachers' and bus drivers' in service day as a survivor of child sex abuse, author and advocate. In light of the investigative reports about Prince George's County, Maryland's Head Start debacle last year and the recent death of an 8month old in a Baltimore daycare, I truly believe the event was timely. It hit home for some of the teachers to learn how old I really was when I had my first of multiple encounters of child sex abuse. Yes, I felt the tears and heartbreak in the room. I was reminded of one thing at the time I felt heartbreak of those who serve parents and children, their love for them. I encouraged them to remember to love the children. When children are hurt at the hands of people who are supposed to care for them, they don't feel loved. I was complimented and to God I owe all the credit. I am living proof that a child who has been abused can not only survive but can thrive. I shared that therapy is not a dirty word.

As school is winding down for many students in the next week or so and you embark on sending your children to summer camps, day cares, etc, remember to teach them about appropriate vs inappropriate touching. If you need additional resources on how to start this conversation, please feel free to contact me.  A moment of prevention beats finding healing from a pain that will turn their world upside down, post traumatic stress disorder, long term effects, etc. I am a living witness. But I am blessed that pain has been turned into purpose. To God be the glory!
Be well,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Reminder- Casting Call for "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep"

We are holding auditions on Saturday, April 22nd for the upcoming stage play, "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep" on verbal and emotional abuse for ages 10-60yrs. If you are interested in attending, respond via the flyer below. Feel free to SPREAD THE WORD!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Update on Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep

Good Morning Everyone,
I hope you are well. For those of you who did not catch the story on WUSA*9 NEWS DC I have included the link here: http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/woman-writes-play-to-educate-community-on-sexual-abuse-/430718140.  Please note, the next audition day is Saturday, April 22nd. See below! We hope to see you!

Be Well,

Monday, April 10, 2017

In The News

Good Day,
I hope you are well and making it an awesome one! My interview on abuse and upcoming stage play, "Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep," with WUSA*9 DC reporter Mikea Turner, will air on Wednesday, April 12th between 4:25am-7am. I hope you can catch it.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Auditions for Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep

This stage play represents a new level of advocacy for me. I am excited about this coming Friday's auditions! Broken Pieces is a funny and thought-provoking play about verbal and emotional abuse in families. If you or anyone you know is interested in auditioning for the play, send an email for more details.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Moguls In Media

Last week Moguls In Media founder, Darcel Laurie, welcomed emerging and seasoned media professionals for a mix of panel discussion and networking. The panel of media professionals included (in photo left to right), Terrence Nelson of TV One, Regan Farley of My PR Agency, Patrice Tartt of Black Enterprise, Darcel Laurie, Mikea Turner of WUSA*9 News and Candice Nicole of Candice Nicole PR and Women Who Hustle. The atmosphere was genuine and the panel discussion candid. The panelists shared their wisdom and offered solutions to age old questions that many new entrepreneurs face. The food provided by Executive Chef Damian Brown was innovative and tasty. DJ Schemes spun with a mix of old and new school. The next stop on the Moguls in Media Tour is Atlanta. Get your ticket! #MIMDC www.mogulsinmedia.com

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Broken Pieces: Some Family Wounds Run Generations Deep

Good Afternoon,

I have shared with you previously that God is doing a new thing. I have shared that God is expanding on my ability to communicate with you the message of faith, hope, healing and purpose. i have also shared with you that I am a survivor of multiple abuses. I do not say this with pride, but I say it with the conviction that God can deliver and heal your broken places no matter what you face. I am a living witness. Though I am still in a trial right now that has seemed to drag on, I BLESS GOD because He is still getting the glory. I am still pressing in and forward with what He gave me to do.

Verbal and emotional abuse can seem harmless to some, almost a rite of passage, especially among teenagers. However, verbal and emotional abuse often leaves many unseen scars.  These abuses would not be included as part of domestic violence initiatives if they were truly harmless.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 95% of men who physically abuse their partners also psychologically abuse them. In some cases it is an internal issue that can be traced to feelings of another’s insecurities and hidden jealousies. In other cases, it is simply the environment a person has been brought up in and they aren’t even aware of how venomous and destructive verbal and emotional abuse can be. Childhelp.org reports that about 30% of abused and neglected children grow up to abuse their own children.  The abuses can eat away at a recipient’s core belief of their self-worth.

My next production is on generational verbal and emotional abuse. If there are any of you who are actors/actresses who want to be part of something bigger than you, I encourage you to come out and audition. You can email me directly for more details.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review of Advanced Screening of Fox's "Shots Fired"

What do you get when you combine writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood and writer/director/producer Reggie Rock Bythewood? You get a passionate, well written, directed and produced series about life in small town America dealing with a big city problem. Reggie Bythewood explained that "Shots Fired" was inspired by a conversation he had with his son after watching a TV event. Reggie Rock Bythewood has written and produced for Fox's drama "New York Undercover," directed "Biker Boyz" and "Daddy's Girls." Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed "Love & Basketball" and directed "Disappearing Acts."   "Shots Fired" includes an all-star cast with Sanaa Lathan ("Love & Basketball," "The Best Man Holiday," "The Perfect Guy"), Mack Wilds ("Miracle Boys," "The Wire," "90210"), Richard Dreyfuss ("Madoff," "The Goodbye Girl," "Mr. Holland's Opus") and Stephan James ("Selma," "Book of Negroes," "Home Again").
The show is thought-provoking and thrilling. There are real life struggles with real life responses. The series premieres on Wednesday, March 22 at 8/7c on Fox.
TUNE IN! #shotsfired

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do You Love You?

Good Evening,

As we are approaching Valentine's Day, so many people are looking externally for love. Whether out of loneliness, dysfunctional relationships/upbringing or the like, the result remains the same. The irony is that Jesus said to "love thy neighbor as thy self." How can you love someone else if you don't love you or don't know what love is? It makes it difficult to receive love as well, no matter what form it arrives in and who it sincerely comes from.  I pray the poem God gave me in this video I created via YouTube will give you something to reflect upon. I created it originally for a non-profit organization. However, I believe it is powerful enough to reach many as we get closer to Valentine's Day.


Monday, January 16, 2017


Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

The new date for the "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" Tour is Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 11am-3pm.  If you already bought a ticket for the January 14th date, your ticket is STILL GOOD. Get your tickets while they last. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. The previous event was nearly sold out. So don't wait!!!  PLEASE use my promo code: "JOY"  for your $10 discount.

Time is Limited

Isaiah 38:5

5"Go and tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen more years."

King Hezekiah was originally told by the prophet Isaiah "to get your house in order for you shall die and not live."  What was King Hezekiah's response? He turned his face to the wall and prayed asking God to  remember him and how he had served Him. And then he wept. God heard his prayer and gave him more time.

Did you know that "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day?" You can find it written in the New Testament in 2 Peter. Time. Time is what many try to manage while others waste. Do you know how precious time is? Do you know the reason you are still here is because you are being given another chance to fulfill that which God put you here to do? Are you working on it? Do you know what you are here to do? When Bishop T.D. Jakes paid a visit to our church to sign copies of his latest book, "Destiny," he said, "too many people are chasing a check and not enough people are chasing purpose." What are you chasing?

I ask that because I just found out a few days ago, my cousin, who was about to complete his second masters and working in the field of psychology to help people passed away. He was barely 50yrs old. His death makes the second in my family on one side in the last four months. For me, his departure is number four in the last four months. I learned yesterday a childhood neighbor I had in my birthplace passed the day after my cousin which would make number five. I have lost my aunt, my boyfriend, my step grandmother, my cousin and a former neighbor in such a short period. The message I continue to receive is that time is limited and I must complete what God gave me to do.

I already received a second chance in 2008, as many of you already know through previous writings and my book, "Get Your JOY In The Morning."  I do not know when that second chance will end but I am working to get things done. It would also explain the many challenges and obstacles I have endured. As the prophecy was given. I share with you as I do because I know we are ALL on limited time. We do not know the day nor hour any of us will be called to return. The one thing I ask, I ask that this year, you not only exam what you are truly called to do but I ask that once the Lord reveals to you His instructions that you do not delay. My cousin didn't finish. My boyfriend didn't finish. They were working hard to do so. Whatever it is that you are called to do, get it done. It is arrogant for any of us to assume we have all the time in the world to fulfill our purpose. We do not. Time is limited. Why have you delayed? What distractions and emotions are holding you back? When the Lord asks you what you have done with the time He's given you, how will you respond?

P.S. I told you every once in a while you will still receive a written message as God gives to me though He is expanding the forms of communication. Blessings

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen,
I hope you are doing well. I was just informed there are ONLY 20 tickets left! DON'T WAIT!! Tickets will not be sold at the door. Go online today before it's too late! Get that ticket for your special lady. Ladies, it's time to do something for YOU!

Peace and Blessings,

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Time For A New Thing

Isaiah 43:19

19Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?

Happy New Year!! I wish you well in this new year. By now, many of you are aware that Get Your JOY In The Morning is evolving. I want to thank you and I bless God for you. Many of you have been with me on this journey for nearly eight years!! Can you believe it?! Get Your JOY In The Morning will be turning eight years old in just another two months. If you do not know, eight represents a new beginning. The tide has changed. The Lord is finally bringing to pass what He showed me many years ago. I was only eight years when I had dreams of being a filmmaker. I was eleven when I began writing to cope with my pain. When my partner and I began the company, the vision God had always made known to me was that one day films and plays would be part of the evolution of Get Your JOY In The Morning. It is another way to communicate the message of faith, healing and hope. When you are faithful with little, He blesses with much. Inspite of all the challenges faced in 2016, I am still grateful to God to be here to walk in purpose. There will still be times when devotionals come across your screen. However, the main focus is on expanding ways to communicate meaningful messages with you.
I finally understand what my Mom said when I was in high school. She said, "Joy, I know you love entertainment but you don't have to go to school for it. You already have it in you. Get a business degree or two. That way, you won't end up like some of the others." I didn't major in English or journalism. What you've experienced is what God has given, the gift of writing. The gift of writing is defined by kodachrome.org/spiritgift as:

Writing - the gift that gives a believer the ability to express truth in a written
form; a form that can edify, instruct and strengthen the community of

The special God-given ability to formulate thoughts and ideas into
meaningful written forms so that the reader will find courage, guidance,
knowledge, or edification through the words shared with them.
The Bible was written by people with this gift.
People with this gift:
- may write stories, sermons, devotions, histories, prayers, songs, or
poetry to be used to build up the body of Christ
- may be inspired by the Holy Spirit in what they write
- may teach God's word to others through what they write
- may use writing to express other gifts
- may be better at expressing their thoughts in written form than in verbal
God is doing a new thing. I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the projects coming forth in 2017. In the meantime, I hope you have had a chance to watch the trailer for my new documentary film on the first African-American female comedic impressionist, Sylvia Traymore Morrison. You can view it on my page Joy TJ Riley on Facebook or through the Get Your JOY In The Morning YouTube channel, which is also accessible through www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com. I hope many of the ladies have registered for the "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" Empowerment Tour on January 14, 2017. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Please stay tuned for more projects coming in 2017. #theyearoffulfillingpurpose2017.
God bless you and your family in this new year.