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Wednesday Wind Down: Here We Go

Well, Sweetheart, it’s November. Whew!

If you’ve been with me for a couple of years, you already know what time it is — it’s #bloglikecrazy with See Jane Write. For 30 days in November, I’m going to share special content with you and I’m looking forward to it. This annual writing challenge is hosted by Javacia Harris Bowser, my official empowerment pusher and writers from everywhere join the opportunity to post on their blogs for 30 consecutive days or participate in NaNoWriMo by writing a novel by the end of November.

This is my fifth time in the boxing ring with my fall nemesis. That’s how I see #bloglikecrazy — a stealthy feminine boxer customized to make me better. She mean-mugs me and taps her pink gloves together in October so I remember she’s been training for me. Our matches began with me just keeping my head above the literary waves to developing themes to cracking open some of the most intimate areas of my soul. After all, bloggers write to share experiences. We write to connect with others who may be part of our tribe. I’m no different.

The first year I tried to beat my sparring partner, I lost. I underestimated her. I thought — I can do this. I write all the time. Pshht. Such hubris. I crawled past the 30-day finish line well past November.

In 2017, I stretched my skills and jumped back into the ring. This time, my goal was to expound the use of one word every day.

In 2018, my theme was 30 Days of Good. That year hosted such stress that I had to highlight 30 good things that happened to me to stay sane — from attending a dinner party in my sweaty performance clothes to volunteering at UTR to being taught by my colleague in massage therapy school.

In 2019, the theme was Peep My Prayers. I gave an inside look into 30 of my personal prayers to encourage you to peel back the layers and communicate authentically with God.

This year, I’m sharing Open Letters in hopes that you are inspired to speak authentically to yourself and to each other. We’re living in a world where there’s so much fire and ice — both being deadly. I find it urgent that we not only speak freely when it comes to opinionated political stances, but when it’s time to address pain, concern, and love.

Once again, God is stretching my comfort zone by going deeper and I hope it helps. Once again, I’m slightly nervous but excited about where this path will lead. Once again, I’m looking forward to kicking it with you in November.

See you Sunday, Sweethearts. Let’s do this together.

Wednesday Wind Down: Full Circle

Good Evening, Sweethearts!

So, a beautiful thing happened this month and there were 3 messages that were so clear to me. I chewed on them a bit before sharing them with you and now I’m ready. But first, the context.

On Saturday, February 16th, the Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation hosted A Conversation with Dr. Angela Davis at the historic Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama. I had the honor of performing Glory (from the Selma movie soundtrack) with my childhood friend G.I. Magus in front of Dr. Davis and a potpourri of historical and political pillars. I was appreciative just be a piece of the puzzle and I couldn’t have written a better chapter in my life story. Besides the obvious prestige, let me tell you why this was a jewel of a moment.

In elementary school, I saw a photo of Dr. Davis and was entranced. She was a beautiful mix of political prowess, academic excellence, and natural beauty. I loved the way she wore her freedom like a long technicolor cape. Her hair, her voice, and her facial expressions screamed confidence. It was official – she was a shero. The more I read about her, the more fire I felt and I was proud to know that she was a native daughter. I was convinced that I would have an afro just like her when I found the courage to do so. For over 10 years, I did and still do.

Seeing her this month was the culmination of multiple dots connecting to create a beautiful experience, which leads me to the first message – your past can touch your future at any moment, so spend your present well. You never know how hello’s can turn into a double helix of lifetime connections. The people I met in 7th grade, high school, and college would become creative geniuses, community organizers, academic powerhouses, and prolific speakers. Any way you slice it, the fingerprints of my past were all over my future and I was in awe of the masterpiece.

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It’s a blessing to genuinely develop relationships over time, which leads to the 2nd message I heard that week –  your character will follow you wherever you go. This past weekend was a reminder that how you treat people goes far beyond the present moment. I’m not perfect, but I am so grateful that my rapport was strong enough to last a decade or two and some awesome individuals thought positive of my footsteps. That is a gift I will never take lightly… as long as I live. I hate it when people size me up based upon what I can do for them. That’s why I love learning about the spirit behind the job title and socioeconomic status.  In the end, we all appreciate being seen as a person. We appreciate a chance to disrobe our character and let it walk freely ahead of us.

The third message was just as loud – your help is waiting on you. I couldn’t have performed with confidence without the support of my tribe. The prayers from my mother, the love from my small group, the perfect track from my friends, the training from my mentors… there were familiar faces in every facet of this opportunity, each of them believing in God’s gift in me. I am forever grateful. Forever appreciative that when I asked for help, many hands opened wide. Pride keeps a lot of people in the jail cell of their souls’ contempt. I was once a prisoner of that warden and never will be again. This experience was a reiteration that some are still held captive.

Sweethearts, you are exceptional. Stop trying to be perfect. See everyone around you as an individual, not as a marketing tool. Try to be a better version of yourself than the day before. Whether you know it or not, everything will come full circle if you let it. I am so glad I did.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 30 – Love It Up

The Good

#30 – I spent mother-daughter time at the beach!

These posts have not been published in the order of importance, but I definitely saved the best for last. It was desperately on my heart to enjoy the King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort with my mother during the Word of Faith Love Center‘s At The Table Women’s Ministry Retreat. This is not your stereotypical Christian retreat. You know the ones… you’re not super saved unless you wake up at 5:00 AM to pray with everybody, attend 5 breakout sessions with 10 different speakers, 2 prayer meetings, then snot-nose-cry on the floor well after 1 AM. Not that I have never been a broken piece of clay at a spiritual event (because I have), but if you tell me that I’m attending a retreat, that is what I expect. I shouldn’t need a vacation when I return home. That’s what I wanted for my mother. After the decade she has had, a time to refresh and replenish her spirit was not part of the calendar. So, that’s exactly what we did and it was the really Good stuff of this year.

The Lesson

Allow your love level up.

I had attended the retreat twice before, but this year was different. It seemed like everything in the world tried to prevent me from going (just like the previous years), but instead of focusing on the obstacles, I was relentless about the outcome. My mother was coming with me no matter what. And guess what? She felt the same way. We double-teamed our discomfort with faith and action. We declared and decreed that we would not only attend the retreat but that we were going to have a fabulous time together. There was a season in our relationship where that was not our warcry, so I was so full to be able to say those words.

Love overrides obstacles every time. The obstacles will be there, but they don’t have to shine. Don’t be afraid to let love surpass the pain, the frustration, the history, the cracks, and bruises. My mother is the most resilient person you will ever meet. She greets challenges with a smile and hammer ready to work. Every day. Since I’ve been born, she’s been on the grind and it healed my soul to see her singing in the ocean, trying new foods, embracing her natural hair and new makeup, and connecting with other phenomenal women – including me. I love her more now than I ever have. Because we decided to “level up” our love, I am able to witness the expansion of her courage in real time and be an active participant of her regeneration. Love breeds love, so all we have to do is let Him breathe between us.

Peace & Thanks for listening! I appreciate you hanging with me again this year during #bloglikecrazy. It’s been a blast. See you next week on our regular Wind Down Wednesday schedule. God bless you all and enjoy your weekend, Sweetheart. I love you too. *hug*

#bloglikecrazy: Day 24 – UTR

The Good

#24 – I volunteered for Upon This Rock Passion Play!

This. Was. Amazing. I’ve worked on productions before, but this was an experience. The people worked together like a well-oiled machine, but with strong family ties that oiled each gear. As it approaches its 35th year in 2019, Upon This Rock: The Passion Play is an Indianapolis, Indiana production that includes over 300 cast and volunteer members that makes the Bible come to life in a unique way. Spoken word, live animals, authentic songwriting, the live choir, and band – individuals come from all over the country to be part of UTR and with the great help of my sister, I was able to finally make the trek to experience it for myself.

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My big sister Moe as Martha

The Lesson

When God gives you something, you have an obligation to inhale it and run with it. There’s no time to waste because there are lives that are waiting to be changed by the glory that God gave you. It’s going to take some work, OK… who am I kidding, it’s going to take a lot of work, so it’s not for the faint of heart. You have the ability to complete it and do it well. The biggest obstacle in front of you is YOU. I can’t imagine not experiencing the wealth of creativity, skill, professionalism, and camaraderie that day. So, I am so grateful to Playwright & Executive Director Sharon Thompson-Hill and Co- & Managing Director Pastor A. Thomas Hill for not only hearing the Voice of God, but inhaling the Promise and Direction, and running with the Vision.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

By the way: Show dates are April 19-20, 2019 and tickets go on sale January 1, 2019. Go ahead and put it on your calendar. You won’t regret it.

#bloglikecrazy: Day 14 – Wisdom Walking

The Good

#14 – I enjoyed the presence of mentors.

Tena Wilson. Annie Joe Edwards. These ladies are legends and I can’t talk about them without beaming with adoration. Honestly, I’m a fan of their artistry and their queendom. Whenever I can watch them perform, I treat myself and marvel at their creative excellence. Then, when it’s all over, I get to hug these two powerhouses and they shower me with wisdom, humor, and love.

Queen Tena (as I call her) is on the far left of the photo. Actor, music educator, and vocalist extraordinaire – opera, jazz, spirituals, you name it – she can sing you into euphoria.

My SoRHOr Annie Jo is in the middle and she still hand-scores her music. *insert emoji face with heart eyes here* Music educator, actor, songwriter, playwright, pianist, and comedienne.

Between them, they have decades of entertainment experience and touring under their belt and they’re also great friends.

The Lesson

Sit under wisdom and stay there. “Yes, ma’am” freely leaps from my lips and pride is nowhere in the room. I listen. I learn. I obey. I accept. I pay attention and I leave richer than I came.

When you see wisdom walking, stop and soak, especially when someone wants to share her with you. Proverbs 1:20-29 says that wisdom cries in the streets with the hopes of gaining your attention. Too often, we’re just too stupid to listen to Her. Consequently, we succumb to negative effects and wonder why they happened to us.

Wisdom is not far away and you may be surprised at how freely She flows when you ask for Her.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 13 – Sweet Treat

The Good

#13 – I spent much-needed sister time with Shannon + ate a random DQ Blizzard!

Snapseed.jpgMy sweet sisterfriend Shannon is a force to be reckoned with. Not only is she an E-RYT (Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher) and graphic designer, but she’s a wife, mom, and perfect pizza date. She rocks everything she touches and her spirit is as authentic as they come. So, imagine our silly selves eating wood-fired brick oven pizza at Post Office Pies on our lunch breaks. Smiles and laughs everywhere. There might as well have been confetti thrown over our heads. The server was blessed by our joy and we were enriched by her bright and shining heart. We encouraged each other and caught up on the haps.

Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, she and her daughter surprised me with a Dairy Queen Blizzard at work the following month. *smh* I had not had a Blizzard in years and was going to treat myself to one in a week or two, but when your sister asks what kind you want, you don’t procrastinate! It was the perfect pick-me-up for an intense week.

The Lesson

There’s nothing like a sweet conversation and a surprise. One planned lunch and one drive-by dessert made me a happy soul. I love surprising people, but I must admit, they got me good on the Blizzard day. It wasn’t the lunch or the dessert; it was the Love. Love always expresses Himself and since God is Love, we share God when we express Love toward each other. The hugs we shared on both days were rich and life-giving and we could all use a bit more of that any day. That’s where living really thrives.

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It didn’t stand a chance.

When was the last time you surprised someone you cared about?  Maybe it’s ice cream, a blanket, gift card, or my favorite – a drive-by hug – that can make their day better. Pick a person this month and 2 people next month to surprise with Love and let the confetti shower begin.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 12 – Here Comes The Judge

The Good

#12 – I judged the Camille Armstrong Memorial Scholarship Stepshow again!

For the UAB community, the Camille Armstrong Memorial Scholarship Stepshow is a Black Greek family reunion. The step routines, the strolls, and the passionate chants created memories that NPHC organizations will remember for years to come. But what really makes the alumni come outside on a cold February night is the chance to laugh and chat with old friends. Being a former participant in the step show and a former executive board member of the Black Student Awareness Committee (the hosts of the show), I am always honored and appreciative to serve as a judge for this beautiful event. Regardless of the banter shared across the organizational color line, we’re threads of a historical tapestry of academic and community excellence and nothing can tear that apart.

The Lesson

Legacy is everything. The relationships that formed as a result of being Greek in Birmingham, Alabama still vibrate with love and respect to this day. Being a judge means that I have the opportunity to keep the art form of stepping alive with integrity and excitement. As a choreographer, that means everything to me. As an alumna, it makes me proud. I went from attending the step show to assisting with it -> to being on the executive board -> to judging it. When I sat for a minute and thought about it, I appreciated the blessing to be involved in those ways.

For my collegiate Sweethearts, take note of your relationships. You don’t have to be a member of a sorority or fraternity to have meaningful interactions. When you’re in college, you have the opportunity to make friends that last a lifetime and the chance to leave a legacy. Serve where you can. Meet people you have nothing in common with. Attend events that you have no clue about. Be safe and explore where your legacy begins.

Peace, Thanks for listening, and Happy Founders’ Day, my SoRHOrs! EEE-YIP! #SigmaGammaRho #LastCreatedBestDesigned

#bloglikecrazy: Day 9 – Deuces

The Good

#9 – My blog and my publishing company turned 2 years old!

When I started this blog, I didn’t think anyone would read it. What I found was a group of friends and strangers that felt the same way I did, experienced similar situations, wanted to be supported, and wanted to support me. That is a lot of Good to be grateful for this month!

The Lesson

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This year marked 2 years of Listening At The Speed of Life and The Write Wade Publishing Company, LLC. I clearly remember the moments when I talked myself out of pressing the “publish” button numerous times and consulted with my Small Business Association representative. I was scared to open myself up for anyone to see. And the kicker was when one of my students within months of posting, said “Ms. Wade! I read your blog!” I froze like Clark Kent with an exposed identity. But what was I afraid of? Being judged. I look back on that moment now and shake my head and how terrified I was. Now, if a student or co-worker says they read my content or my book, I graciously say thank you and ask them their thoughts. The future me was definitely waiting for this present.

When you step into the pool or ocean, the water may seem too cold, but that’s what acclimation and affirmation are for. Everyone doesn’t dive in head-first. Professional swimmers splash water on themselves before diving, so there’s nothing wrong with priming yourself before you smash fear in the face. Say scriptures to yourself as affirmations of strength and promise. Write down 3 S.M.A.R.T. goals that you can accomplish in 10 days. Smoke one less cigarette today. Do something that your future self will be proud of, even if it’s a baby step. Just don’t be afraid to start because the two-year-old baby dream is waiting to be born.

Peace, Thanks for listening, and I appreciate you, Sweethearts!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 5 – Sister Time

The Good

#5 – I spent much-needed sister time with Ashlee!

Why is this a big deal? Because like any other relationship, sometimes the demands of life cause us to pass by each other like ships in an ocean of responsibilities. The good thing is that we’re transparent enough with each other to say Hey, I need some sister time and do something about it.

Ashlee and I met in college and now we creatively cross paths as members of two performing arts companies. She is the assistant director of one and I am the founder of the other and we easily weave in and out of each other’s leadership like Olympic skating partners. Mutual respect. Mutual trust. But at the end of the day, when I need my sister, I’m not afraid to tell her and she’s not afraid to tell me. We don’t mix buckets – work is work, us is us. The result? Laughing over pasta, sharing updates over tea sips, and dancing at random moments. This year, I got to spend some old-fashioned QT with one of my favorite humans and it was definitely fuel for the soul.

The Lesson

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Notice the people in your life that you don’t have to entertain and be perfect for and be that person for them as well.

Ashlee and I enjoy being around each other because we accept each other for who we are no matter where we are in life. I love that we can just… be. With almost 20 years of friendship under our belts, we have learned to be emotionally honest and give each other room to grow. It reminds me that God wired us for unconditional Love and when we share that Love with other people, it leads to a pretty dope life.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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