I have a reminder for you as we embark upon fall responsibilities.
As the school year is underway, there are so many puzzle pieces at work. So much grace to give out. So much love that’s needed.
I keep imagining the 60-year-old educator doing his best to teach with virtual tools he just learned from his daughter last month. I see a first-year teacher on revision #5 of her weekly lesson plan. I’m thinking of the administrator who is juggling conference calls, professional development meetings, paperwork, and emails then going home and doing it all over again tomorrow. The parent helping her child before heading to work. The grandparent trying to read the teacher’s instructions.
Behind those screens, there’s a person. Behind that cell phone is a life. A human that may need a peek of Light to brighten up the day.
Sweethearts, be that Light. You have a responsibility to share the God in you. The goodness in you. The greatness in your heart. It’s easy to cop out and unload your frustration on the nearest soul, but it takes incredible substance to share grace instead.
Let’s remember that we’re in this together.
We’re not enemies. We’re a tribe.
A group of people, not individuals in silos.
We can do this. We can make it through this… with grace.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! Stay well out there!
Yep, I said it. I know people want to cancel 2020, throw it in the trash, and light a match, but I believe we need to be preparing for a shift. A good one.
A shift toward a better version of ourselves.
A shift to drop the weights that easily veer us off the purpose path (Hebrews 12:1)
A shift to receive the love we deserve
A shift to throw away procrastination so we can level up our businesses
A shift to collaborate in uplifting families and communities
September is the perfect time to write down what you want to leave behind and notate what you want and who you want to become. Why? Because it’s before the holiday rat race when work and home tug at you on both ends. Take 5 minutes on your lunch break or pull over during your commute and write it down… unfiltered. Give yourself the grace to change. Grace to evolve. You do have the ability to shift into another gear.
I know I am… and it feels good. It feels right. It feels holy.
I’m praying for your shift, Sweethearts. I pray that you do not lose hope in whatever situation you are in. I pray that you continue to dream, build, and rest. I believe your shift is coming and it starts with you.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there! I’m rooting for you!
I pray that your month has had a good start and if not, an insightful one. Allow me to share some happy and wrap up my August with you.
I grooved with my Crew.
Workmanship Incorporated was at it again and I was right there soaking it up. There’s just something about being in a dance studio that gives me beautiful vibes and creative electricity. It’s my second sanctuary (first is the beach). Being there with my sisters in movement ministry made it all the better.
I had a sweet chat with my Sorors.
In the midst of a meeting, a loving wind of sisterhood resuscitated us all as we shared why we joined the alumni association. It was so beautiful to be vulnerable together.
I saw Coach Bill Clark.
OK. I saw him on my screen during the UAB Alumni Association‘s 2020 Annual Meeting. In a land of social distancing, this is probably the closest I will get to meeting him for a while, so I was grateful for the moment. He addressed the upcoming football season and shared great information about the team’s diligence against the spread of COVID-19 and their annual outreach efforts.
I had hearty laughs with the Janes.
Every week, Founder Javacia Harris Bowser of See Jane Write, LLC carves time and energy out of her schedule to host a virtual writing session with her writing tribe. I’ve been joining in as a personal commitment to not only complete my 2nd book but to also bond with others that want to slay their goals. I love the time we set aside to check in with each other, write in silence, then check in again. It’s so nice.
My sister and I sharpened our iron swords.
In case you missed it, I co-host a real talk faith-based podcast called QueensBeLike with The Jasmine T. Before the month was out, God dropped an incredible Word that fit both of our seasons. We rooted for each other. We sharpened each other’s spirits. We laughed uncontrollably. Get you a sisterfriend that you can win with and as you’re waiting on the “W,” you fix each other’s crowns and walk uphill together.
Last, but not least —
I had wonderful sister time with Ashlee (click the link to see why she’s dope).
I shared an open letter to my younger self and a photo with my Facebook friends (this open letter and more coming in November for #bloglikecrazy so stay tuned).
Wherever you are, I pray that you are well in mind, body, and spirit. It takes work, but it is well worth it. This month taught me how to appreciate the journey I’ve had so far and the balance I’ve obtained to hold it in the road. I do all I can to keep it and I thank God that He reminds me of His Love in every way. A supportive mother, a ride-and-live family, a tight circle that I don’t have to second-guess, career paths that are purpose-filled, and peace of mind that makes a mighty fine pillow. No, everything isn’t perfect (actually I had a stream of bad news this month), but it sure isn’t diabolical. Remember, you do have time to enjoy something you love every week — no matter what.
Here’s to your September being exactly what you need it to be — the good, bad, or the ugly. Whatever comes to you, you are equipped to handle it and you are not alone. I love you all!
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
We’re in week 4 and I have to admit — it was rough. If we keep it authentic (which I always do with you), the whole month has been a fight to find my happy. I had valleys and mountains in clusters, but I meant what I said last week — you have the authority to do something you love every week. So, I did.
I got a legs/feet massage with my pedicure.
It costs a little extra, but it was so worth it. I’m used to getting 1-2 massages a month to maintain the physical demands of my work life. Well, COVID-19 has trashed that schedule, so when I saw the chance to upgrade my pedicure to include the massage, I snatched it. Unapologetically.
I spent quality time with one of my village kids.
She has a beautiful smile. She let me shampoo and detangle her hair. She cried a little. She let me hold her. We had a dance off. She won.
I caught up with my big sister.
The alumnae and undergraduate members of my sorority do our best to keep in touch. Sometimes, life events create some cracks in communication even though the bond is still there. I had a beautiful and hilarious conversation with one of my big sisters and it was epic.
I kept my hair appointment.
OK, this seems trivial to some, but I felt like a dirty Q-tip with a worn Brill-o pad sitting on top of it. Based upon those valleys and mountains, I had every reason to cancel it, but I didn’t. I stood up for myself and said “I deserve it.” It doesn’t hurt that Desiree Danielle turned my head into a masterpiece (yep, the same creative that took my blog branding photos).
I let myself speak… and cry.
I’m pretty good at pushing through, but the morning of my birthday, I received difficult news. My default setting of “quiet” was wrestling with my need to emotionally vomit. I didn’t want to say anything, but I needed to say everything. So, when one of my friends called and asked “How’s your day going?” I gave myself permission to cry and untwist the pressure valve a bit. I needed it. You may be thinking — how does this fit in the birthday mantra? Because I allowed myself to do something that would usher relief and joy. It was totally worth it.
I provided someone a chance to relax.
Everything that could have caused a delay or cancellation tried to occur, but I was determined to provide time and space for her to exhale and regroup. It brought me joy to hear her appreciation and for me to say “No problem. You’re worth it.”
I drove over an hour in silence.
I have a worksite that is over an hour away and I usually listen to a sermon, something meditative, or pray. On this drive, I did neither. I let my mind breathe. Every time I wanted to think about something particular, I let it wander. It felt amazing.
Remember what I said, Sweethearts. Don’t get lost in the hamster wheel. People die there. I pray that you discover that you can do something you love every week. I was determined to do that no matter how many audibles I had to call.
Here’s to you having some positive moments of your own this month. I look forward to hearing about them soon. If you already started, drop one of them in the comments. Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
I’ve had such sweet moments so far. If you’re just joining me, let me catch you up.
Each week in August, I do something that fills me with joy or I’ve been postponing, then I continue the celebration once per month until the end of the year. Just search “birthday” on my blog to see what I mean.
All caught up? Great! Let me share some of the good stuff I did during Weeks 2 and 3.
I treated myself to yummy treats!
Two foods that should marry — Five Guys french fries and Moe’s Southwest Grill Queso. So, I drove to two different cities to make sure they met. Then, I parked my car and savored every ooey gooey bite as I enjoyed a beautiful sunset on a hill. Can’t beat that kind of wedding. Oh yeah, I also had a large Strawberry Limeade from Sonic and a peach Chick-fil-A milkshake (on different days of course). For someone that eats vegetables like candy and hasn’t bought a loaf of bread in 3 years, I didn’t have a drop of guilt.
I put my health to the front of the line.
I checked in with my therapist and finally made it to my doctor’s appointment. Yes, that appointment. The yearly one. Why is that on my birthday list? Because self-care also means acquiring insight about your health and I had postponed it long enough this year. So, happy birthday to my empowered self.
I chilled with my mother.
We took a nice Sunday drive, had great conversation and hearty laughs, and delicious food. Who couldn’t use that in her life? When was the last time you scooped up someone for an afternoon drive?
I participated in UAB Trivia Night!
OK, this was a lot of fun and a lot of learning! Fellow Alumni from the University of Alabama at Birmingham got together and Zoomed a trivia game about our alma mater. I thought I was ready. I wasn’t. I knew half the questions and landed 27th place. I enjoyed every single minute of it and met some cool people. Go Blazers!
I danced my tears out.
My knee issue from last year has resurfaced and my sentiments needed to escape, so I strapped on an ice pack and did what I normally do when I’m at a loss for words — I danced. It hurt inside and out, but I danced for four hours. From 10 PM to 2 AM, I released the pressure valve until I could breathe again. My leg was swollen, but it was well worth it.
I wrote new content for my book.
This is especially for The Morning After fans. The sequel cometh. Carving time to write has been one of the highlights of this month and it feels so good to have the bandwidth to do it. So, get ready for some good stuff.
I binge-watched Being Erica.
So, this show has been sitting in my Hulu Watch List for about a year. I finally saw the entire series and was sad there were only 4 seasons once I reached the finale. It was good. Better than I thought it would be and deeper than I assumed. You can see the trailer here.
I didn’t watch the news for 2 weeks.
Just the Word and soul-feeding music on rotation over here. Then I went to sleep to the sound of ocean waves. It felt so good. I know a lot is going on, but I was to the brim looking at tornadoes of tomfoolery. I had to press pause on current events. I checked online for any updated order to be sure I could keep my business open and that was it. It was (and still is) a nice sensory breather. You gotta pause so you can fight again, Sweethearts.
See? I told you. Sweet moments. I share my shenanigans to remind you that you don’t have to have an extravagant party to commemorate yourself. While that is nice, you have the authority to do something you love every week. You do have time to experience something you enjoy. Don’t get lost in the hamster wheel. People die there.
Here’s to you having some sweet moments of your own this month. I look forward to hearing about them soon. If you already started, drop one of them in the comments. Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
If you’re just joining the blog, it’s my birthday month and my yearly tradition is in full effect. Every week, I do something I love and once a month thereafter, I continue the celebration.
Last week, I spent a sweet rehearsal fellowship day with my Troupe. When I got home that evening, I thought of them and the sentiments below and smiled.
Leading a team can be isolating. Your brain is on while theirs are asleep. They seek the end while you’re combing through the knots of details. The changes and adjustments — they are many. They seek answers you’re still asking God for. You create room for them to grow. You are grateful they do the same for each other and for you. You laugh together. You cry together. You trust they can turn the vision from the pen to perfection. You carry them in your spirit. You pray for their families. Their health. Their successes. Their hearts. You ache when they do, even when they don’t know it. So, why would I kick off my birthday month in this lane?
They also remind me to wear my knee brace. They force me to be vulnerable when I don’t want to do so. They balance grace for my mistakes with constructional feedback. They dive into the Word of God with me. They make me laugh within 1 minute of our meeting together. They pray for me. They trust me to lead the ship and they go where God leads us. They are unapologetically sold out for Christ. They are raw and tangible human beings. They always seek to understand each other. They allowed me to grow as a leader and as a friend.
To spend the beginning of August with my team instead of my original plans was a conscious decision to celebrate our connection. Our family. That growth journey. That opportunity to serve. As leader, I’ve learned to listen, be bare, be firm, and be observant. I’ve learned to be students of them. I’ve heard their inaudible voices of grief and anxiety and also memorized their laughters. I’ve learned that these are my people. My tribe. They are ready to pray at the drop of a dime and they are spiritually sound as a entity and as individuals.
The best part – they can carry on without me and I trust them wholeheartedly. So, what better way to kick off August than to remember that I’m not alone? To break bread and drip sweat and exchange sharpness with my folks? To fortify that God gifted me with people that turned from strangers to family?
To share life with others as you morph into versions of yourself is not for the faint of heart. But we do it anyway because of moments like this past weekend. Because Love is at the center. So…
Cheers to August. Cheers to us. Here we are — Still flapping these wings to heights unknown. Still soaring above murky waters. Still maneuvering through the challenges this season brought with it Still here. Still making it.
And I celebrate that. I celebrate God in me. I celebrate the woman I have become with my Troupe. My tribe. My sisters.
Hello, August. I welcome you with open arms because I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart. Open those arms wide and accept that you’re an amazing soul with potential above the heavens. And do something you love this week too. Put it on your calendar.
Well, Sweethearts, I have one for you that may sting a bit. It’s got some length, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I would share it with you at an appointed time. Now is that time.
“Let the fools pass you.”
Heard 2/9/20 @ 7:16 PM
I was driving on the night I heard this. A car was riding my tail. I don’t have road rage, so I waited until I could safely change lanes to get out of the way. The driver sped up but did not pass me. It was a weird moment because I had been subject to road rage before.
A few years ago, a White male targeted me while driving one day and antagonized me for a couple of interstate exits. I had not cut anyone off or was going too slow, so I was confused when the taunting began. I got over; he got over. When I sped up, he sped up. When I braked, he did the same. He almost sideswiped me numerous times and tried to run me off the road. He yelled choice words and had an evil grin. I truly believe he was possessed. The end of that story includes me doing some defensive driving and swerving off the exit he tried to block me from accessing. My hands were shaking, but I quickly circled back to head in the opposite direction and took some alternative ways to my destination.
So, you can understand why I was a little leery of this present-day situation. It was night time, not during the day like the previous experience. My senses were heightened and I was prepared to defensively drive again. I sped up; so did the driver. I braked; the driver did the same. I sped up and the driver revved the engine. I was annoyed, but calm. I accelerated with the intentions of leaving the opposing car behind my tail lights. Then, I heard the Holy Spirit say loud and clear – “Let the fools pass you.” I let off the gas and the car kept going into the distance.
For a moment, I was morphing into someone from the Fast & Furious movies. I was prepared to take my ride to the 100 mark and beyond if it meant proving my point to that driver. I didn’t sense danger; I detected that s/he was baiting me. And I almost took it. Almost.
Sweetheart, the evil forces in this world want nothing more than you bait you into being reckless. To be so autonomous that you sincerely disregard everything you know to be the truth and cling to a thwarted view of community. You know that Jesus is the answer and you also know that the pandemic is still here. You know that God is Jehovah Jireh and you also know what’s in your bank account. You know that faith is imperative, but you also know God made science. It’s inevitable to be shaky about some things, but it is not acceptable to be dismissive, callous, and hasty.
Fools will be fools until they want to know better. Jesus knew that better than anyone. Here is He was… the Son of God wrapped in skin and filled with blood, organs, and sensitivity and yet, even He couldn’t convince everyone that He was the One they prayed for and that His Word was true. Instead, the law keepers and church officers cherry picked the Word and made it fit to their liking. It happens now. The parable of the virgins is a good example of how some people take a fragments of information and miss the essential component for it to be effective (Matthew 25).
It’s not your job to convince a fool of her/his wrongdoings. It’s your job as a faith walker to set the example to light the way to right standing with God. Period. So, the more you yell on social media, the more you speak out of season, the more you choose to be blind to the truth, the less empathy you exhibit, the less Love you spread, and the less Jesus they see.
I am convinced that some people just like to rebel. They love to stir the ant mound. They feed off of drama, frenzy, and sensationalism instead of being patient enough to research the facts and listen comprehensively. Critically thinking is simply not in their repertoire. If they don’t like it, they starkly stonewall it.
As frustrating as that may be, your freedom comes in knowing that you are not responsible for their actions. Yes, in times like these, we can be negative benefactors of their decisions, but ultimately, we are not responsible for others. We are responsible to each other not for each other.
So, if someone wants to rebel against handwashing and sanitation because they believe it weakens their immune system to fight off COVID-19, let them have it. You just make sure you wash and sanitize you and your area. If your sister keeps squandering her money, let it go. Let the fools pass you. Yes, I said it. Let… the fools… pass you. You gain nothing trying to convince someone who has made it their ultimate goal to be rebellious against anything that appears to threaten her/him. You could showcase a petri dish full of bacteria and a person with a rebellious spirit will tell you it’s not real. You can read him the law and his reality will say those rights are being taken away. She will say “thank you, essential workers,” then say that the elimination of EMT Breonna Taylor‘s life was justified. The same person will wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, gloves, or a mask to work, but not follow the rules in a grocery store, school, or barber shop. Sweetheart, let them pass you. It’s not worth your peace to be angry at their mindset. Frustrated? Sure. Annoyed? Understandable. Just like I was with those drivers, I ultimately had to veer off or slow down to save myself.
Here’s a couple of verses as a reminder when your foot is on the emotional gas and you’re on the edge of fighting the whirlwind –
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” – Proverbs 18:2
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14
Lastly, I’m reminded of a time in school when I saw some students cheating on a test. It made me angry because I had studied hard for it and they were getting away with a great grade. Then came the semester exam and those students were struggling. One of them left out of anger a few minutes into the exam. I didn’t feel sorry for them. I did not help them. I kept going. They didn’t fool the teacher; they fooled themselves.
Whether it’s personal or professional, I pray that you let the fools pass you. It just seems like what you’re doing isn’t worth it, but your sanity, your wellbeing, your health is worth the work. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.
I hope you’re doing well. I have a short stop for your week about stretch marks. I was doing laundry this week when I heard God’s voice loud and clear.
“Stretch marks are allowed in this season.”
– Heard Monday 7/13/20
It was randomly befitting and it made me pause. It was God giving me permission to be uncomfortable to grow.
Now, here’s the fun fact – I’m in love with my stretch marks. Once puberty hit, bam — there they were. I made a decision right there in the bathroom that I was going to embrace them fully. Fast forward to my pause in laundry moment and I remembered that coming-of-age resolve. Then, my mind traveled to the significant coolness of stretch marks. They come about as a result of growth, change, and birth. Something expanded and the skin could not contain it.
This year, that’s what I’ve felt like. When I said “OK” to being comfortable being uncomfortable, I forgot about the stretch marks that would come with the journey. They don’t scare me, but I have to acknowledge that they are there. Emotional and spiritual stretch marks from being swelled with baggage I needed to release. Physical stretch marks from losing weight. They are a testament that change has taken place. That I’ve birthed something that belonged outside of me.
Sweethearts, I pray that you familiarize yourself with your stretch marks. They are proof that you’re still alive in spite of the change. Do not shy away from the discomfort of this season. It’s OK to have stretch marks after this is over. It’s OK to embrace them as beautiful parts of you just like your smile.
I admonish you to stretch. Keep stretching. Keep growing. Keep birthing. Keep being. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being a fruitful human being. We all have permission to grow into better versions of ourselves. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there!
I’m glad you made it to another Wednesday. If no one told you lately, let me say I’m proud of you. You’re still here. You’re still breathing. You’re making it and I’m glad you stopped by.
I’ve been chewing on a simple doozy the last few weeks. I can’t wait to hear your take on it.
Be ready for what you pray for.
We tend to say that directive when it’s a blessing and we experience overwhelming joy upon receipt or when someone says something that could be disastrous. This time around, it’s not the joyous feeling yet. I’m nervous and need to throttle down from the clouds of anxiety about what lies ahead. Let me explain.
Somewhere along this faith walk, the following sentences are usually said in prayer or song:
“Use me, God.” “I’m available to You.” “I’ll do what You say.” “Send me, I’ll go.” “Fill me up, God.” “Do whatever You want to do.” “All Glory to God.” “I surrender all.”
Well, I’m going to give it to you straight — those words are like vouchers and they get cashed in. Every time, my face resembled the woman in this post’s feature photo. Right before the new year’s eve countdown came to an end, I asked for opportunities to let God shine regardless of my comfort zone. I said I was ready for whatever. I meant it. I really did, but I didn’t say it with expectation (remember, this is a no-judgment writing spot). It sounded good too as I looked up and said it with a smile. Then came some wisdom from my sisterfriend — it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As soon as it left her lips, it penetrated my soul. I knew it was for me, but I didn’t greet it with a warm welcome. At all. The resonation sounded like a gong and it’s been reverberating ever since. I had questions when it sunk in – What in the world is that going to look like? Where would I be? What would I have to do? Could I live up to the assignment? I had no clue what was coming, but that uncomfortable factor was guaranteed and I had better brace for impact.
Since then, I have experienced blow after blow of growth opportunities. I see the buds of development in my gifts and fruition of my desires. It’s been uncomfortable but necessary and appreciated.
I’m definitely not complaining. If you follow this blog, you know I am a grateful spirit. It’s a way of life for me; however, I have never craved the spotlight and right now, I feel like a bright one is over my head. So, I’m determined to get these butterflies in my stomach to fly in formation so I can rock what’s ahead in Jesus’s Name. I am reminded that these are God-given opportunities and answered prayers no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Those words I said from my heart with seconds left in 2019 had a date and now is the appointed time with more to come. Vouchers, I tell you… vouchers.
In essence, review your prayers, Sweethearts. Mean what you say and get ready to follow through with God’s purpose in you. We are instruments and instruments are designed to produce sound. I pray that your comfort zones continue to break open so you can produce the music written on your heart by the Creator. You were designed to grow. To develop. To produce. To flourish. All of those are traumatizing processes for the seed, but necessary for the fruit to come forth.
Here’s to our growth processes, Sweethearts. Stay encouraged and walk right on it. That’s what I’m doing. As an example, I wrote a devotional for the 8th day of Zion iCampus’s 10-day Corporate Fasting & Prayer. I rarely share my work outside of this blog and social media, but I wanted to show that I’m practicing what I’m preaching. God will be glorified beyond my comfort zone.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!