Today is the first day of the Lent season! I have really been looking forward to it this year. As some of you may know, I was baptized in November. It was one of the most amazing experiences and decisions I have ever made! I am so happy I made it official to become a follower of Christ. I was actually baptized as a baby when I “was” Catholic, but that is another story for later ;-).
Lent is a time when I RECHARGE and refocus on my relationship with God, myself and others. It is a time when I figure out what I not only want to give up during Lent and after, but also, what I want to gain. Since being baptized, there have been some interesting experiences happening. God didn’t say once you are baptized your life will be perfect. It is the total opposite. But that is where the faith you may not have had before really starts to kick in. You have faith in God’s plan for your life and not so much of your own. HA! God’s plan will leave our plans in the dust, if only we really TRUST him. It is hard and no walk in the park. Take a moment to think about when things really got tough, and now, look at where you are. See, God’s got you.
It never ends. We, as African-Americans, have to continue to educate ourselves and others on OUR history, struggles, and triumphs. We have to know our own history in order to teach our children, so they can keep it going!
We have overcome so many tragedies and obstacles, but we continue to rise! This is evident in education, business, media, science and politics. And the list goes on and on. It all starts with a conversation in an effort to end ignorance. (more…)
I had the chance to interview an inspiring Entrepreneur who is also one of my best friends. She established The Heart of Appreciation, LLC which is an organization with a goal “to help people of all ages and genders have a consistent healthy lifestyle mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” Antoinette “Toni” Jackson is a woman of many hats. She is a life coach, educator, fitness instructor, wardrobe consultant and a woman of GOD. Her faith illuminates and is the core of her drive and The Heart of Appreciation. Toni delivers to her clients and audiences daily devotionals and empowering videos that remind you of how important, loved and special YOU are no matter what others may think of you. The Heart of Appreciate, LLC is an organization that gives back to help enrich the community and help individuals to truly love themselves.
I’m sure we’ve all at some point during our childhood read books by Dr. Seuss. It was either Green Eggs and Ham, 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Hop on Pop and so many other favorites. As children we didn’t really get the meaning sometimes behind those stories. To us, they were fun to read because of the funny little rhymes and the silly looking characters. But, those stories gave us perspectives on life and not being afraid to be yourself.
(I traveled from Washington DC to Washington State…by train. One of the Best Experiences of my Life)
Some are already aware, but for those who are not, I have recently relocated to beautiful Washington State! I have been wanting to move away for quite some time now. Certain situations have happened in my life in the past couple of months that pushed me to make such a MAJOR change. This was actually one of the biggest decisions I have ever made in my LIFE. I was laid off not too long ago and I sat down with myself and GOD and prayed about what to do next. It’s really amazing how everything worked out to where all things lead to me leaving home. Most people would be down in the dumps but I look at me being laid off as a blessing and an opportunity.Yes, it was a little devastating but, it was not a surprise (you guys know how government contracts work. Time for bids and only one can win). A lot of people asked me “Well, why Washington?” Well, I applied all over the world and the job market is tough. I have never been out of work until now so I can understand what so many Americans are going through. Searching and applying every single day. It’s TOUGH! So, I chose Washington State because I have family here and it’s not the norm I am use to. I’m getting older. The “fast life”, partying etc got old to me a long time ago. Not that I still don’t enjoy a good time but, I’m trying to establish a career and find where I want to settle. I’m at a different place in my life mentally and needed something a little more chill. People seem to choose where they want to live according to what they are accustomed to. That’s all find and dandy, but I wanted something……DIFFERENT. I needed a FRESH START. Just to be clear, this wasn’t a fresh start to “find myself” (I knew who I was before I left home), but a fresh start to gain new experiences, try new things, meet new people. A chance to LIVE. Being laid off is one of the best things that has happened to me in my life. GOD let it happen to give me that extra PUSH. Inside, I wasn’t content with where I was, so HE made it possible for me to change it. (Praise HIM!)
You know the old saying “treat others how you would like to be treated”. Of course you do. Do we all do that? Of course we don’t. When people in our lives or even strangers treat us poorly, it’s hard to be friendly and caring in return. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is not treating you with love and respect and you have done nothing wrong, please understand that what they are doing to you has nothing to do with YOU. Don’t let cruelty from others turn you into something you’re not. Don’t be spiteful or seek revenge. Instead, BE THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU WANT TO MEET. Be caring, encouraging and a joy to be around. Yes we all get mad but don’t let adversity consume you.
I was scrolling through my INSTAGRAM feed one day and saw this quote by Diane von Furstenburg and I couldn’t agree more.
You are always with yourself. When you wake up, when you go to work or school, everywhere you go. You may be with others too sometimes but, when you are alone, do you enjoy YOU? Well, you should.
I am a firm believer of “Me time”. I even take myself out on dates! And yes when I was in a relationship I did too. And no it isn’t pathetic, not at all! There is no one on this Earth and I mean NO ONE who will treat you better than you can treat yourself. When you hear people say “You can’t love someone until you love yourself”, well, it’s true! Humans have this sense where we can tell the people who really care about themselves and those who don’t without them saying anything. It’s an aura, seriously. If you don’t even enjoy your own company, what makes you think someone else would?
I saw a little boy in the window playing a game of Tic-Tac-Toe by himself. I thought it was too cute. Seeing this also made me think back to when I was a child. As children, we find the simplest things for entertainment. There isn’t a care in the world sometimes. I thought about when I was a child and how my childhood shaped me into the woman I am today.
Sometimes you have to sit back and reflect on things in your life. Take a look at your past and understand how it has helped you to grow into the person you are TODAY. Life is all about GROWTH and Learning from Experience.
I have always said that Life is a Test, but there are No Study Guides.
Walk your OWN path and determine what it is that YOU want to do.
Do what makes YOU Happy!
And Always, and I mean ALWAYS take the time to sit back and think about every step you have taken to get you where you are today.