So, Sunday didn’t happen… and Wednesday didn’t either. I apologize for not keeping my posting promise. Unexpected goodness absorbed the week, but I got you today! In honor of National Poetry Month, I made a goal to share a poem or spoken word piece each week and well, we’re in here now. *lol*
I wrote this piece in the spirit of gratitude. Thanks in advance for reading it!
When it’s all said and done I will be Forever Me The purest form of myself before I got to know who she was Quiet Smiling Curious and cautious Caring Relatively fearless Foreseeing Loving The spirit God planted inside of this shell The original.
I look down into my arms and see her smiling back at me “You’re going to be just fine,” I say, rocking her slowly Smooth as chocolate Back and forth Ebb and flow Like the waves she will encounter “Just keep growing,” I whisper, “… and don’t let this world turn you to stone…” I bless her face and peer into the horizon of her future Back, forth Ebb, flow Peace, storms, then peace again “You’re going to be just fine.”
Then, I see her in the distance Walking like a warrior over Earth’s edge Tattered armor, strong legs Bulging courage Breathing deeply Battle scars Sword of Truth in her right hand Testimonies in her left Sharp mind Focus, keen She sees me Through me In me And we share a breath of hope recognized Confirmation that we didn’t quit We kept growing Kept loving Kept soaring, despite the dips and blows Ebb and flows Back and forth
I appreciate her. So, I might as well get to know her now Love her curves and all her edges She is perfect imperfection Legend And I love Forever Me Because when it’s all said and done And the warrior stops walking That is all that I will be.
Have you ever seen a vision of your future self? Mine is amazing. Tell me about yours?
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
In honor of National Poetry Month, I made a goal to share a poem or spoken word piece each week. Well, last week, I feel off the rocker, so I’m posting one tonight and another on Sunday!
The piece below was written exactly one year ago in February while contemplating the past and present sacrifices made in my culture. Thanks in advance for reading it!
I SALUTE YOU
For every elder that was asked “How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” before casting their vote
I stand for you.
Hold my head up high and walk into work every day for you. Go to class and flash my smile and say “Yes, I’m here” for you.
For my sisterfriend on the verge of killing cancer dead in its tracks Intelligence questioned by White men, assuming her competence is thin and porous For every train car that clickety-clacked with Pullman porters, chins up and hands out in superior service
I stand for you.
This isn’t just Black History to me. This is a perpetual ceremony where you are the guests of honor.
I get the privilege of cooling in your shadows, walking in your footsteps, glowing in your Sonlight, basking in your love for my future.
For every lash received with outstretched arms and naked backs I proudly stand for you.
Clap my hands, hoot and holla any day for you, because you did what so few could do. You kept clocking in when they spit on you. Breastfed their children when they wouldn’t feed you. Sang and danced like a beautiful Black angel when they wouldn’t even pay you. You lived when they tried to kill you.
I stand for you.
Grandma, washing clothes of White families over the mountain, feet filled with fatigue In fatigues, Grandpa called “boy” while lacing up his combat boots getting ready for war Fighting for rights that didn’t see the light of day… back home
Accepting substandard pay and being told to comb your hair Swallowing your pride and pushing down your voice Diluting who you are to match someone else’s choice Being a superhero for your children when you were just treated like a child Making me smile after a long hard day Washing my socks on your hands before Sunday morning Dressing me like a chocolate doll and telling me I’m beautiful Even though you couldn’t afford to buy your food
You will never be forgotten. I appreciate you. I stand for you. I salute you. Forever, and ever… Amen.
The Magic City Poetry Festival is going strong here. Check out their events and read about the founder of the festival who is also first Black and youngest poet laureate of Alabama. How cool is that? I salute you, Ashley M. Jones.
I decided to switch it up and pop in during the daytime. Don’t fret – Wednesday Wind Down will return. 🙂
In honor of National Poetry Month, I will share poem or spoken word piece each week. The piece below is hot off the press. I wrote it this morning as I steeped in jazz music. Thanks in advance for reading it!
When I get old I pray That the waves of wisdom that crashed through my life Will flow as mighty streams into the ones I love Pour into cupped hands of expectation That it will save them from their contemplated sins That my mistakes will be their textbooks To review and expend
I pray When I get old That my words will find homes in the future Serve as nightlights for those lost in the night Reside in the hearts of passersby Cling to the souls of forever learners Grow in the soil of tomorrow’s harvest
History of joy and tears will be punctuated by crow’s feet Proof of humanity Resilience The fragility of my fingers The winding roads of wrinkles atop my hands Will be a testament of loving Living Praying Touching all this journey had to teach me I trace them end to end Every curve Every bend I embrace them.
I pray When I get old I won’t be thrown away Wisdom withering among white walls Visiting the distant lands of my memories Recalling history broken and rebuilt Again and again Just like me Sipping on feelings felt within the softness of my chest like a cup of hot tea Breasts, once the flagship of my womanhood, returning to where they began Heart beating in reverent rhythm Feet wiggling to a song in my head
When I get old I pray I bathe in the cleanliness of a child’s laughter The beauty of a sunset Kissing Water’s edge Reminding me of my lover’s lips I smile, and touch my own Savoring sweetness of moments untold I pray I lace my sneakers and walk on the devil’s head at dawn Fervently placing my feet as a reckoning of faith I pray I see the wonder of Earth’s bounty Lush and green Excitingly enticing me to commune and frolic To soak in freely in her majesty.
And as my eyes illuminate at heaven’s beck and call I’ll look back at it all All I saw All I felt All I poured All I accepted All the branches that grew within me All the leaves around my feet I’ll breathe in Smile again And I will exhale out of this life Into the next chapter of my spirit… When I get old, I pray… when I get old.
I have a shortstop for your week, so let’s jump into it!
When you hear that word, what do you think? What do you do?
In my mind, I see two things when I hear “break” – a bridge and a beach vacation. They seem like they don’t match, but both host a gap in time and/or space. Space from a hectic schedule. Space from a physical location. Time away to recuperate. Time to cry between pain and wholeness. A gap between two points.
When someone’s at the pinnacle of stress, a break is usually the answer. But when we are unable to control the details of that space in time, the uncertainty and frustration can create even more stress on our weary spirits. Our fragility seeks security in the gap and when we don’t obtain it, we can also break… in sanity.
In some of my darkest moments, the break didn’t feel welcoming. It didn’t feel like a garden for my best self to bloom, but I did. In other gaps between life events, I received enlightenment and strength. The break always worked in my favor to connect my former mistakes to my future wisdom. And as for those dark moments, there always came a break in the clouds to let the sun pour on my soul. The airy depth before rock bottom was rich in nutrients for me to grow in every way. It broke what could no longer travel with me and allowed me the opportunity to release it in the valley.
The break doesn’t have to break you, Family.
My prayer for you is that you appreciate it. Everything it brings will create a better you.
Breathe through it. Pray through it. Dance through it. Rest through it. Do what it takes to get from one side to the next because where you are is not the end.
I’m proud of you for making it this far. Keep going. 🙂
I hope you’re doing OK out there. There’s a lot going on, so keep praying for each other. Like how you want someone to pray for you. 🙂 Here’s a short stop for your week.
There’s two things about messes that can make us better –
It’s in the mess that we realize what matters.
It’s the mess that makes us remember.
Whether we’ve made it or whether it happened to us, a mess in any stage in life is inevitable. A mistake at work, a car crash, a financial fiasco, a rough relationship… whatever it is, I bet it taught you something. I bet it gave you a clearer picture of what you want and what you don’t want. It created an opportunity to regroup and realign after you remember how you felt in it.
That’s because messes teach us lessons we need for the next chapter. They can cleanse impurities from our spirits and prepare us for the road ahead. They can extract what could destroy our futures. As terrible as they are, they make us better… if we allow them.
Ask the Lord about the messes. Pray for guidance to not repeat the mistakes. Engrave the lessons learned on your heart’s tablet. Allow the Peace of God to pour over the wound and set your eyes to being a better version of yourself.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there and you are loved!
We’ve been on the appreciation train and tonight we’re focusing on each other… but not quite how you think.
I was listening to a sermon on YouTube and the auto-playlist showed a clip about a celebrity divorce. I’m not into gossip, so I rolled past it. Then I went back to it and stared at the sensational title and description. I thought of how crippling it could be to have intimate details of your life dissected among the public and sprinkled with the hot sauce of opinion. I imagined it was me.
During my divorce process, my mother said one thing – “No one really knows what goes on in a marriage except the people in it.” It’s true. All of the highs and lows are stuck between you and your spouse. Even if children are involved, they host a non-marital point of view.
Mutual friends. Mutual places. Mutual memories. It all comes to a close.
You wonder if you’re still connected to the people you shared – What do they think of me? Are we not friends anymore? Will I get invited to the wedding, baby shower, birthday party…?
Eating at the same restaurant without them feels weird. There was flirting, dessert, a symphony of laughs… you’re used to being part of a pair. Events you both attended now feel like foreign soil, even if things ended on civil terms.
And the memories. No one prepares you for the flashbacks in your mind, body, and spirit. After all, you were one.
Some of those areas close abruptly while others commit to a slow (and sometimes awkward) burn. You’re open. Raw. And you’re still going to work, raising children, caring for a parent, and appearing “normal” while debriding parts of your life. Now, your name is changed (again), you have to learn a new morning routine, or you have to create a solid face each time you say “We’re no longer together.”
What if the intimate details of your life were on display for millions to watch and reply? Then those persons demanded to be updated about each step without regard for the crackling sound of your heart breaking seconds at a time.
What if they captured your tears on camera and replayed your exposed emotions on their hand-held screens? Then tell you that you’re required to filet your wounds because you’re a public figure.
Did I also mention that your body is constantly being dissected according to its best and worst parts? Yeah… because your photo is always up for the taking. And your hair and makeup better be perfect.
I want you to sit with that amount of emotional exposure for a minute. No wonder some burn under the limelight and seek seclusion at any chance. The thought of people digging into the season of my divorce makes me shudder. Seriously. Though it was amicable, it was still a tender time in my life.
If we can respond to the invasion of Ukraine with a high level of compassion (prayers continued to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters and visitors of the country), certainly we can spread it to others during sensitive times.
Be gentle with people going through divorces, especially public figures. Let’s grow from being messy school kids gossiping in the social media cafeteria. It’s depreciating and we can do better. There are delicate emotions involved that should be handled with care. Before you comment under that post or upload the meme, put your face in there. See your child’s face there. Imagine your parent’s name there. Now think of Jesus. Remember His compassion and our charge to treat each other with value. That’s the center of appreciation.
I love the second definition of appreciation from Merriam-Webster – increase in value. Something increases in value when it is preserved over time and with distinct effort. It’s been protected, catalogued, and gently handled. It was valuable upon creation, but its value increases with consistent care. The more fingerprints, the less value. Family, don’t be the excess fingerprints that decrease a person’s sense of value. Be uplifting. Say encouraging words. Pray earnestly… and not out of what you want but out of what God says is healthy for their lives.
Love will forever be an action word. How can we say we Love God and not express Love to each other? How can we Love people we do not know and not the ones we do? We should handle each other carefully, with grace and Love. Every day. No matter what they look like or where they live. No one is required to update their status to soothe your itch for details. No price is high enough to demand answers when someone is restructuring their reality.
My prayer is that someone appreciates you in your current season. If things are going well, I pray they raise their arms with you in celebration. If things are not so great, I pray they elevate your heart with compassion and walk through the mud with you. And if you’re a celebrity/public figure reading this, my prayers are with you always. It takes a lot to be where you are, so I pray God reminds you that you are more valuable than your gift. I pray you feel the blanket of His Love every day, no matter the chatter at the lunch table.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
Once upon a time, I was too scared to be a full-time entrepreneur. I also knew I would be one, but the older I got, the more I thought it would reckless and expensive. The thought of depending upon others to provide my income carried anxiety with it. Strong, stinky, paralyzing anxiety. If you’ve been on the blog with me for a while, you remember when I stepped out on faith in November 2018. I heard God say “It’s time.” and I threw my whole self into my businesses. To still be here on that Word, that’s growth.
Another example is my “no” game. It’s stronger now than it ever was. Saying “no” felt like a sinful act of pride or disobedience. Now, I walk in the truth that my “no” protects my health and I use it as needed. I allow wisdom to navigate my life instead of letting guilt reign over my decisions. That’s growth. Serious growth.
Regardless of your age, I believe there’s plenty of learning to do in this world. Plenty of opportunities to be the best version of yourself. And with the world wide web, those opportunities are growing exponentially. Courses, webinars, workshops… take your pick. In the midst of your everyday grind, I challenge you to review how far you’ve come. Maybe it was being a doormat in your relationships or exploding anger on the people you love. Maybe it’s reclaiming your time for self-care or spending more time with your family. What about your patience or your lying habit? Are those areas sprouting green?
Growth is more than monetary or intellectual results. It’s more than congregation numbers and stock markets. While we’re here on Earth, our spiritual growth has great value. Every year, we should aim to grow closer to the Son. Just like the plants do. A branch of your spirit can sprout peace in the darkest of nights. A leaf can express colors of gratitude when seasons change.
When I feel like I’m treading water, I recall my less-than-lovely moments. How I treated someone. How I handled a situation. How I didn’t speak up for myself. Then, the Truth reaches out and brings me back to shore. Acknowledging my growth is the secret sauce that keeps me hopeful every morning. I still overthink things at times, but I’m not easily offended. I still get scared of the future every now and then, but my trust in God is stronger than ever. Perfection will never be reached on Earth, yet we are in control over how much we can learn while we’re here… how much we can grow.
Celebrate your wins, then pray for God to show you another growth opportunity. Are you going to church every week but not applying the Word among your family? Is Sunday morning or Bible Study Night a ritualistic checkmark on your calendar? Do you still manipulate others to get what you want? I promise that if you ask, He’ll show it to you.
Growth isn’t a stagnant thing. It’s a cycle. A continuous act. Trees may be stationary, but the impact of their roots and seeds spread beyond their visible location. You have that same power, Family. You truly do.
The feature photo on this post? That’s me walking into my massage practice… the same building where I attended yoga sessions. The same building where I said “It would be cool to have my practice here one day, but…” Then, faith said otherwise, and I agreed. And I love every step of it. That’s some growth right there.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Celebrate those sprouts and stay well out there!
I missed connecting with you while I was out. It feels good to be on an upswing and back on the page.
I thought about what I would say and the only thing that kept resurfacing was love, more specifically how to love yourself. Yes, Valentine’s Day is approaching, but that doesn’t mean that all of the love has to pour out and leave you behind. Plus, it sounds great, but sometimes you need night lights to lead you in the best direction.
Loving myself has been a journey with several moving pieces. I loved the parts that I loved, but it took work over the years to love the parts that were quirky, annoying, and confusing. When I was child, a constant question was “Lord, why did you make me like this?” I didn’t hate myself, but I disliked the parts that didn’t make sense to me. Being in what Jane Fonda calls the “second act” of life – between 30 and 60 years of age – has brought with it a deeper sense of self. A deeper understanding of what makes me an exceptional Creation of God. A sweeter Peace that passes all understanding.
In January, there’s natural talk about goals, developing new habits, healthy decisions, new career moves… things you will activate in the new year. I want you to consider a February resolution – to embrace every part of yourself.
My challenge is for every month of the year, I want you to locate and ask God to illuminate part of your design – your purposeful DNA, your spiritual architecture. If once a month is too daunting, just start with this month and see how it goes. You may even focus on the same attribute for a while. That’s OK. It’s not about quantity here; it’s about the quality of self you were designed to live with.
In your stillness, ask “OK, what is it about me that you made that is meant to multiply? What is it about me that is meant to elevate this world before I leave?” Maybe it’s your ability to make others feel comfortable in your presence or your ability to navigate difficult situations. Maybe when you hug people, they feel comforted. It could be your expressive nature that empowers others to lift their hearts, their voices, and their actions. Whatever it is, it’s important. It’s vital to this life down here.
We are often asked to cherry-pick our attributes and sometimes they bleed into stressful situations. I believe there is more than one thing that is awesome about you and I’m asking for you to begin learning how to love all of them. All of you. Starting this month.
Notice your design. Notice your stellar nature. Notice how God carefully created you.
While I pray nothing bad happens to bring out your awesomeness, the truth is crap happens. And sometimes it happens in clusters, to good people, at inconvenient moments, etc. So, if you naturally give comic relief in sensitive moments, embrace that. The more you illuminate how God made you and recall how He sees you, it will strengthen you when feel like you don’t have purpose and that you aren’t fearfully and wonderfully made. Because you really are.
My prayer is that you see yourself as different pieces that make up a mosaic, a beautiful piece of art… and I say that intentionally because we’re all a piece that’s designed to work together (1 Corinthians 12). Instead of boxing yourself as being one-dimensional or ordinary, I would like for you to ask God to show you what He made.
Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I’ll be honest with you (because we keep it authentic around here), I was unsure how it would go this year. There was a nervousness attached to it because this has been a season of processing a pendulum swing of intensities.
I gained wisdom. I lost 8 loved ones due to death. I acquired insight. I lost a dream. I gained stronger relationships. I lost ties I thought I had. I developed a deeper love for myself.
Sweet and bitter. That was the mix I couldn’t bypass. I tried, but it didn’t work. I screamed in both victory and in anguish this year and frankly, the velocity of the pendulum swing was nauseating. As we speak, I cried tears of appreciation and grief in less than 5 minutes. So, I paused, prayed, made some hot tea, and returned to writing this post. A post for processing smiles and frowns and to let you know you are not alone.
It’s OK to be excited about a new home, new family member, or new career venture, and yet be nervous your stewardship of it. I’m crazy enough to believe that God can handle that dichotomy of emotions.
You may not be finished processing everything, and that’s OK too. It truly is. Don’t let anyone stamp an expiration date on your journey; only God knows when and how. The Holy Spirit can walk you through a season until it is digested and He’ll even give you certain hands to hold along the way.
I also want to stand with you and say “You made it.” You made it through one of the most intimate holidays of the year! Keep breathing through the rough patches and celebrating the good parts. That’s what Christianity truly is. It’s giving God our broken pieces instead of hiding them and it’s appreciating His divine communion as we take one step at a time.
Process it, Family. Everything doesn’t bounce off you and everything shouldn’t stick to you either. Digest as you need it so you won’t be imprisoned by it. That’s what I’m doing… and it’s working.
Peace & Thanks for listening. I love y’all and stay well out there!
Written in honor of Alana, Kevin, Courtney, George, Mrs. Packer, Brian, Aunt Janice, Mr. Larry, Deacon Welch, Daddy Wade. I am so grateful to have experienced this life with you. You will forever be missed.