In April of 2017, the internet was abuzz about an optometrist from Alabama, but the national attention Dr. Lori Alyse Croom was getting had little to do with her Birmingham-based clinic, NowVision Eye Care. Lori loves God. She loves music, too. And one day she posted a hilarious video of herself reciting lyrics from the rap hit “Wipe Me Down” by Boosie Badazz (then known as Lil’ Boosie). Like a preacher reading from the Book of Psalms, Lori used the words to remind her viewers that God will always provide for them and that “There’s an anointing on your life to bless others, and yes, there’s oil there. And we will wipe you down, because you’re on.”

The video went viral on Facebook, getting a million views and thousands of shares. VH1, Vibe.com, and other websites wrote stories on the video, too. She shared the video on Instagram and soon people started asking her to make more videos. So, Lori launched an Instagram account specifically for her “sermons.” 

Now, Lori has given us something else to talk about — her book My God Today: 365 Devotions for People Who Might Be a Lil’ Ratchet (But God Knows Your Heart). Inspired by her wildly popular videos, each daily devotional includes a short quote from a song lyric accompanied by an inspirational message and a scripture to read. My God Today has sold thousands of copies since its September 2020 release. We’re excited to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Dr. Lori Alyse Croom.

What inspired you to write My God Today and turn your social media messages into a book?

During the pandemic, I had to be out of work for a while. My clinic had to be shut down for about two and a half months, and I didn’t know what to do. So, I sat down and asked God what I should do with this time, and I heard the Lord saying write this book.

What was your writing process like?

Some messages I already had because of the social media page. But I would play Pandora, and as I was sitting there listening, I would jot down the messages I was getting. Then, when I sat down to write, I would go to the list of songs and phrases, and I would write.

I started in May and wanted to have the first draft finished before the end of July. So, I calculated how many pages I needed to do per day, and I would do it.

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You started the book in May 2020, and it was released by September 2020. As a mom, how did you find the time to get the book written, edited, and published so quickly?

I credit the Holy Spirit because I went into Kevin Durant mode. They say Kevin Durant is so focused on basketball that sometimes people have to remind him to get a haircut. I got off Facebook and Instagram while I was trying to write. My daughters are 4 and 6, so I couldn’t do a lot of writing while they were awake. I had to wait until their naptime or bedtime. Eventually, I started back to work, and I had to do virtual school with my girls. I would stay up late, wake up early, and work on the weekends.

Your book, like your social media posts, has been a huge success. Have you received any negative feedback from people because you’re pairing scripture and spiritual messages with secular music?

That’s what I thought was going to happen, but for the most part, it hasn’t. The church people have gotten behind it. Let’s be honest — they know this music. But even the elderly, the seasoned saints, have been really embracing the book. They say, “I don’t know these songs, but I can still read the message and the scripture.”

I got a couple of negative reviews on Amazon. Someone said, “I guess it’s good if you have one foot in the church and one foot in the world.” I was actually offended by that because you really don’t even have to have one foot in the church for this. You can have both feet in the world, and it should still be good!

Dr. Lori Alyse Croom posing with her book

Lori’s book, My God Today, features daily devotionals inspired by song lyrics. Each devotional is accompanied by a lesson and recommended scripture.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love massages for relaxation. Shout out to Lemar Storey at Life Touch Massage!

I really like going to The Perfect Note. It’s a restaurant/music venue. You get dinner plus a concert. They always have great music; they have a couple of vegan items on the menu, and it’s Black-owned.

I like to travel. I like to go to other countries if possible. I went to St. Lucia for my birthday. It was so beautiful and peaceful. I loved it. And I do enjoy flying down to Montego Bay.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

My most recent trip was to Fort Lauderdale Beach. It’s like Miami for the grown people who just want to chill.

What’s your favorite hidden gem in Birmingham?

GaBriella’s Bistro and Art Gallery. It’s a soul food buffet downtown that’s open only on Sundays. I haven’t been since becoming vegan, which is such a travesty!

What was your last best meal at a BHM restaurant?

The Hippy Roll at Wasabi Juan’s with peanut sauce.

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Do you have any other favorite restaurants in Birmingham?

Because I’m vegan, there’s not a lot of places around Birmingham I frequent. I cook a lot. But I do like going to Greek restaurants like Pita Stop and Falafel Café.

What’s on your bedside table?

My book, my Bible, and my journal.

Lori posing in blue dress

Lori is a lover of local Birmingham gems Wasabi Juan’s and The Perfect Note.

What’s the best advice you have to give?

The best advice that I can give is #BoundariesForPresident. My best friend and I, that’s the hashtag we use with each other. It will change your life if you learn good, solid boundaries in every aspect — work, family, friends, romantic relationships, health. If you can learn boundaries for yourself, you’ll do a better job taking care of yourself and preserving your peace.

Other than faith, family, and friends, name three things you can’t live without.

Tacos, Netflix, and scented candles.

Thank you, Dr. Croom! All photography by Danny Austin Photography.

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Meet more inspiring Birmingham women in our FACES archives.