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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Sharing makes me nervous. Says the girl with a blog where she pours her heart out in posts for the whole entire internet. Yea…I don’t get it either. Sharing makes me nervous. But…it’s easier for me to share on a blog post though. I check my stats, I mean, I’m a blogger. I pretty much know how many people are reading my stuff on any given day. It’s still weird sometimes sharing here but it always makes me feel better. As if the words are bottled up inside and the only way to relieve the restlessness is to get them out into the world. Where…maybe they can help someone or…maybe not. But at least they are free, which makes me free.

So blogging, itself, isn’t the sharing the makes me nervous. It’s the sharing that I can’t as easily get neat little analytics data from. So, it’s really social media. I hate sharing, on pretty much any social media platform, except Twitter. Twitter is my fave. I’ll share for days over there.

All this rambling about how I’m allegedly nervous about sharing but can share where it feels good to me, brings me to the point of vulnerability. When is too much, too much? I put myself out there on these blog posts and I have no problem tweeting through it. But something about sharing my blog posts–yes, even on Twitter–just makes me cringe. And then, I shudder when I think about Instagram. It’s all fun and games posting selfies and cute pics of my kids but getting deep? It hurtsss. Literally, it hurts. I can’t.

I’ve been thinking about all of this though. Because, the truth of the matter, as the hubs so lovingly walked me through is that, this is what I love to do and this is what I want to do. Meaning, writing, blogging, being a writer. So…is sharing the shit sandwich (Big Magic reference, get into it) that comes along with it? Vulnerability? Even when you feel like it’s all too much? 

I guess so.

But as much as I loathe the sharing (literally, I feel my stomach turning thinking about it) the question remains–as it always does when you are battling your fears no matter how small: but did you die? (Hangover reference kids) And because it’s never that deep…I carry on. Vulnerability and all. Yes, even when it feels like it’s too much.

~xoxo

Life

Honoring My Gift

Honoring my gift
Do you want to know something weird? One of my favorite sounds is the one that my keyboard makes as I’m writing stories. There’s probably nothing that brings me greater joy and comfort than hearing those keys knowing that each word I type is just a small piece to a bigger, greater puzzle. This might seem like a small thing but, for me, it’s a true acknowledgement that I love writing and everything that comes along with it. Which is why I find it so interesting that, I don’t think if you would have ever asked me in my if my dream was to be a writer, I would have replied yes. Being a writer was never something I thought about doing. It wasn’t a thing that I thought I could achieve. It wasn’t a thing that I even knew people, personally, did. Writer was never a dream…

As a child, I could lose myself faster in a book then I could anything else. And I’ve been writing poems and short stories for as long as I can remember. It was this, probably, that led to one of the reasons I never entertained the idea of being a writer. Because the idea of writing only came to me in the form of a book. And that seemed like such a huge feat to undertake. Especially for someone who struggled with turning in a 5 page college essay on time.As I got older, my love for written word never left me. I loved writing but the world and life had distorted my view of what writing truly was. What it could truly be.

As an adult, my escape from the 9 – 5 life, the only professional life I’ve ever known, came in the form of writing. The universe is sly like that. This career or life that I’ve always been drawn to, but never gave the chance to be, was exactly what gave me the professional freedom I’ve longed for. But even then–because remember, I’m the stubborn learner–I didn’t recognize myself as a writer. Nothing about the way that I could effortlessly string together a few words to form sentences that people actually paid me for, stood out to me as extraordinary. Even though it was that very talent that was providing for my family.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t writing the stuff that made my soul come alive. I wasn’t writing the stories that were buried deep within my bones. And while the things that I was writing about are all things that are important to different people, when you get a certain kind of feedback on a certain kind of work, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that maybe that’s the only thing you’re good at. To think, maybe that’s the kind of writer I am.

I have written so many words. Countless. In journals, on this blog, on my old blog. Both published and hidden. And many still lurking in my drafts. And for all the heart and all the soul that I have poured into some of those posts, it’s an odd pill to swallow when the result after publish is silence. A vastly different world from the one where a client could ask me to put my magic on a paragraph, and in an hour’s time after the task is complete, I open my email to feedback like “PERFECTION. You just get it.” These things, for the “artist who is sensitive about her shit”…can distort the mind and has many times left me feeling like…maybe that’s not the kind of writer I am.

As I’ve settled into my life as a freelance writer & editor…(one of) my dreams has become clear. I want to be a writer. I am a writer. But I want to be the writer that I am in my heart. The one who writes the stories inside her. And as I realize this, all I can think about is the countless reasons that Elizabeth Gilbert tells us we have to chase and pursue our most deepest creative endeavors. Big Magic

I’ve learned over the past year that, this is a gift. And it’s my dream/duty/goal/Personal Legend (The Alchemist strikes again) to honor it as much as I can, as many ways as I can, for the time that I am here on this earth.

~xoxo

Life

When You Really Want Something…

The Alchemist

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ~Paulo Coelho

I just finished reading The Alchemist and I have to say that it lived up to everything people said about it and more. The Alchemist is one of those books that everyone talks about and says all the things you want to hear about a book like: life changing, top 5 favorites, must read. So when the hubs and I ended up at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago and he told me to pick out whatever I wanted? You know, I pulled up my book list so quick. I have at least 20 books on it but my eyes were pulled to The Alchemist so that’s what I got. And guess what? Life changing, top 5 favorite book, a must read for sure.

This blog is not a book review though. This post is about that quote. In my last post, I talked about obliviously hearing or reading things. Taking in as much as I can with deep reflection is one way I’m hoping to combat that. But even still, as I read this phrase countless times during The Alchemist…I wasn’t exactly taking in all that it really meant.

When you really want something, all of the universe will conspire to make it happen.

Can we have a truth moment here? Between friends? I’m a stubborn learner. I’m the kind of girl that struggles with receiving the message without the mess. I don’t love this about myself but transparency…for you and for me.

There’s something I want in my personal life. Something that I know that I can absolutely achieve. I’ve talked about it, I’ve written out plans for it (write the vision), I’ve dreamt about it. But, if we’re being real–amongst friends here remember–it’s resided just outside of my reach because of my own actions or inaction at times. Now, I want to be real here because I do believe there’s truth to the idea that if you really want something, you’ll work for it. Or the similar notion that your actions speak louder than your words (I’m a REAL life advocate of that one). But, and this is a big but, sometimes you really can want something and for whatever reason (fear, anxiety, lack of discipline, I could go on) be paralyzed in your life to do what it takes to go after it.

That’s where I was and that’s where the universe came in and conspired to make things happen…and it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows.

There’s an old saying that goes “be careful what you wish for” and it’s been adapted a million times a million different ways. The main gist of it is really is, to understand that what you’re asking for, you will receive and it might not look pretty to get there. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t want take that thought and be all paranoid about my requests. But it’s a truth. That sometimes there’s a mess to get the message. And sometimes the universe’s conspiracy might be a little rough.

Just some food for thought for those of you in the thick of it. Those having the moments like me. Half crying, half talking through the mess to understand that it’s all part of the plan.

Oh and look at message found in my cup of tea today! After I wrote this and just as I was editing and getting ready to post. Confirmation. I see what you did there God.

He who wants a rose must respect the thorn. ~ Persian Proverb

PS: Get The Alchemist ~xoxo

Life

Spiritual Sunday: Finding God

Spiritual Sunday: A freely written essay series on lessons along my spiritual journey. Ramblings, personal discoveries, and hopefully a cohesive message delivered in love. 

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ John 4:4

Growing up in church, I’d always hear that God is everywhere. Only now that I’m consciously walking in my spiritual journey, am I realizing how oblivious to this majestic truth that I’ve been. Before, I “knew” that God was everywhere but I didn’t know. You feel me? But now, I know know. A true awakening indeed.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16

In you…

There’s something remarkable about reading scripture through my current lens. As if I’m reading them with new eyes, in new light. I’ve recited each of these scriptures more times in my life than I can count. But only now…is the depth and a fresh understanding of this word truly means is being shown to me.

In you…God…is in you.

I sit here and let those words cover me. Wash over me. Fill me. My body has a physical reaction to the word. I can feel myself becoming whole as I meditate on this truth: God is in me.

Peace ~xoxo

Life

Self Work

Self Work

Self work is a phrase that has been steadily on my mind for awhile now. It’s so fitting. In this time and space where I am learning and discovering, working on myself has become something I must pursue with great intensity. I talked about this before but, everything around me, inside of me, is changing. And that’s to be expected you know? The only thing constant in this life is God’s love…and change. The thing is though, great change is hard. And it’s even harder when you’re not equipped to handle it. When you’re not balanced. That’s where self work comes in. And that’s where I’m at. At the point where it’s essential for my well being–is it too dramatic to say for my survival?–to work on myself. But what does that mean? Oh, so much. But let me see if I can break it down.

Spiritual Work: Above all else, nurturing my spirit is one of, if not the most, important parts of myself. When you think about it, and yes this is going to be a bit woo woo, the soul/spirit is all you really have. This body, this life, this time is temporary. But your soul and the spirit is everlasting. Eternal. So if you need to work on yourself, it only makes sense to start there. I am a follower of Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light for me. But, I have beliefs that might not align so perfectly with your “traditional” Christian ideals. For a long time, I suppressed those. But I’m beginning to learn that I was not made to sit in these limiting beliefs when there are such strong feelings planted deep inside of me. I’m limiting and blocking myself from being spiritually whole. I’m not sure what my feelings mean. The only thing I know for sure is that I am God’s Child and Jesus is my Savior. The spiritual work is figuring out the rest. That starts with with study and learning. Putting in the spiritual work.

Mind Work: You know that saying “what you think, you become”? Perspective is everything. Literally, everything. No matter the situation, your perspective can completely change your experience. But mastering positive perspectives is hard. Especially for an anxiety driven, emotional, intuitive, and (overly) dramatic person like myself. Becoming a master of my thoughts is the fight of a lifetime for me. But, I’m beginning to understand it is part of my assignment. Anxiety, and it’s overwhelming effects it can have on the mind, is something I have struggled with my entire life. But mind work goes beyond just that. It’s about perspective on everything. Letting go of things you thought, letting go, letting life flow, and having the outlook that it’s all right/alright. That’s mental strength. And probably something that gets easier when you’re spiritually healthy.

Body Work: And finally, the temple. This is what brings the self work full circle. Mind, body, soul…or in my case soul, mind, body. I’ve written at length my recent struggles with my body. For the past 29 years, I have barely exercised and rested comfortably in my petite frame without giving health, fitness, or nutrition a second thought. Well…when you know better, you do better. Nourishing my temple is such an important part of my self work. My spiritual and mind can be perfectly aligned but without my temple, I’m again, limiting myself on this earth. Changing the foods I eat, being more intentional with what I put in and on my body, and working on my physical strength is the foundation to treating my body like the temple it is. One of daily affirmations speaks directly to this: My body is a temple and I take care to treat it with love by what I put on, in, and surround it with.

So here’s to self work. To focusing on nourishing yourself, in the areas that you need, in the ways that you need. If you’re doing some self work and want to connect let me know. Let us journey together. Peace. ~xo

Life

On Choosing Natural

Choosing Natural

I realized I’ve never actually shared why I’ve decided after almost 30 years that I wanted to change my lifestyle. I’m sure it had to come across strange, this makeup obsessed blogger goes on hiatus and comes back all zen, clean eating, and holistic wellness. Yes I’m all incense and herbal tea now y’all. I’d be wondering what’s up too. Honestly, natural based living is something I’ve been wanting to pursue for a while, but could never master the discipline to really do it seriously. And then, divine intervention and God’s cosmic line up of the universe put me in a position where…well…I didn’t really have a choice. Hashtag blessed. I’ll try to make this timeline as simple as possible but…y’all already know that sometimes my words have a mind of their own. TLDR; at the end if it gets too deep peeps.

Continue Reading

Life

31 Empowering Self Affirmations

I don’t want to sound redundant but I have to be real with y’all when I say that 29 has really been a transformative year for me. Or at least, it is the start of a transformation into the woman I hope to become. So more like, a year of discovery. Or at least, the very beginnings of discovery. You get the point. I feel like I’ll be reiterating that in more posts than not but I can’t help it. It’s where I’m at in my life and you gonna get a piece of this glow up okay?

So, at the beginning of 2017 I had just finished reading Big Magic–a must read for any creative, struggling creative, aspiring creative, whoever you are, just read it–and was feeling all sorts of creative magic flowing through me. I decided, since I’d already been feeling like 29 was bringing me so many discoveries, that I wanted to really flex my creative muscles. Right around this time I had also decided that 2017 would be the year of consistency so you can imagine the wild ideas that were flying around my head. When they finally settled, I had come up with the idea that every month this year, I would dedicate myself to doing one creative thing every day. No strings attached. No fear, no thoughts. Just open creativity and consistency. Hand in hand. Making magic happen.

I chose a theme for each month of the year–I’ll share as we go along–and January’s was to write daily empowering self affirmations. So in January, every day, sometimes in the morning when I first woke up, sometimes at random moments in the day, and others right before I closed my eyes, I wrote an affirmation. Every day that I wrote one, I felt like it was trash. Don’t be concerned, that’s my normal writing process. It goes literally something like: YAY project! –> Sheesh this is hard –> Trash –> Trash  –> I suck –> Oh. Ok. –> I kinda like this –> I’m decent!!! Ayeee. So yea, I felt like it was trash until I looked back at my month and had 31 dope ass self affirmations (if I do say so myself). One time for the year of creativity!

Sharing because where’s the love in keeping all that to myself? Y’all mind if I wild out? Sorry, couldn’t help it.

31 Empowering Self Affirmations

self affirmations
~ I am obedient, disciplined, and always in the presence of God.

~ I trust the process of my life and have faith that my steps are divinely guided.

~ I know that my words have power so I ONLY speak life and positivity.

~ I know that everyday is a fresh start. I am not defined by yesterday’s events or actions.

~ I am a master of my own body and know that consistency is achieved through discipline.

~ I approach each and every moment with wild ambition.

self affirmations
~ My perspective is my choice so I choose to look at all things with love and light.

~ My creativity is limitless.

~ I am aware of what it is that I want and always act with intention.

~ I know that the key to reaching my goals is not about the bigger picture only about the NEXT STEP.

~ My body is a temple and I take care to treat it with love by what I put on, in, and surround it with.

~ I love woman I am, the one I was, and the one I will become.

self affirmations

~ I can reinvent myself as often as I need to. The only definition of me that matters is my own.

~ The answers to everything I need to know about myself already lie within ME.

~ I know that I control the narrative of my thoughts and choose positive perspectives over everything.

~ I know that love takes work and pledge myself to be a servant to it everyday of my life.

~ I know that my words are not only powerful but truthful and I stand behind all that it is I speak.

~ I know that grand visions require grand plans and action and I will show up and deliver.

Self Affirmations
~ I believe in the stillness of the journey. Urgency is not welcome here.

~ I know that I was made of and for love. It is all I share into the world.

~ My life has no bounds. Any divine vision placed in my mind or in my heart I can manifest.

~ I am not worried or fearful of anything. I am covered by His mercy and led by His grace.

~ I know that a harvest is just beyond the struggle. I will never give up.

31 Empowering Self Affirmations
Life

New Things in Old Places

New Things
Hey Queens. I’m still getting my groove back when it comes to blogging again, but I wanted to share more about what you can expect and the direction this space will take. I hope you’ll all continue to follow along, but if not, no love lost. Promise. If there is one this to be said for this oversaturated, hyper connected, sea of content that we call the internet it’s that you MUST practice the art of taking what you need and leaving the rest. It’s life changing. So what can you expect here on This Brown Queen?

Natural Beauty | Soulful Living | Conscious Motherhood | Health + Wellness

Natural Beauty: If you’ve been around here the past couple of years, you know this blog originally started as a beauty blog. I had some lifestyle stuff sprinkled in but for the most part I was writing about beauty for brown girls. Beauty is still very much a passion for me–so much so that I have my own makeup and skin care line for brown girls–but my love for it has changed a bit. I’ll continue to share beauty posts but it will be much more natural focused. And as for natural hair, while I’m no longer a loose natural, I’m so in love my loc journey so I’ll be sharing as I go. Speaking of which, I’m co-hosting a green beauty + natural hair Twitter chat on March 1st at 7est. #cluelessbeauty Join us!

Soulful Living: The biggest change is that this blog will be much more lifestyle focused than it’s been in the past. When I fake started that other blog {insert side eye}, it was because I felt the need for a lifestyle blog but didn’t want to disrupt this space. But, lifestyle is really what I love writing about. But why soulful living? Well, I’m working on exactly what soulful living means to me in my home, work, spirituality and daily life so you’ll see many of my lifestyle posts focused on that part of my journey.

Conscious Motherhood: My parenting style is evolving as I do. Do you realize how difficult it is to parent when you’re still trying to discover yourself? If anyone can relate, please, let me know so we can talk about it. Our journey of conscious parenting is a long–and difficult–one. I want to share as I’m learning, what’s working, what’s not, and all the wonderful discoveries along the way. That can include everything from homeschool discoveries to how we celebrated Kwanzaa this year.

Health + Wellness: The last piece of the puzzle–which probably should be the first–is taking care of myself. With 30 so close I can feel it (literally, everything hurts) my health and wellness is a major priority. This is new to me. Healthy eating, exercising, whet? But I have to make some changes. I’ve recently switched to a dairy-free diet–crying real tears on that one–and have been experimenting with more whole foods and organic options. So yes, you’ll be getting my chia oatmeal and blueberry muffin recipes here as well :).

So here’s to new beginnings in old spaces. ~xoxo

I trust my creative process and embrace its depth and dimensions.

Life

Love Thyself + Trust the Process

Tyshia Shante
I have to say my 29th year of life has been the most transformative thus far. I mean, aside from the arbitrary ideas that come along with 30 steadily approaching–feelings of where I should be, what my bank account should look like, what LIFE should look like–there’s been something much bigger going on. Something deeper. Subconscious even. I didn’t expect to go through so many changes this year. It’s like everything I had come to know, everything I thought I wanted to be, shit…everything I thought I was…was challenged. But in a good way. A way that I needed to be challenged. A way that I needed to experience so I could begin to peel back the layers of this persona and get to know the real me.

At a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I’ll be honest to say that I didn’t really know who I was for a long time. Still don’t if we being real here. Oh, but I’m learning. I know it’s trendy, cliche even, to use the term “woke”. Everybody’s woke these days. But, lowkey, it’s fitting. The past decade, chile yes I said a whole decade, I’ve kind of just reactively gone with the flow. I’ve never been a really questionable, skeptical kinda girl (aside from the times my intuition has blatantly told me “girl this ain’t right”). I was primarily raised in a family of the same. I had some really tough experiences in my early twenties but still, nothing too eye opening. Nothing too life changing. It wasn’t until my mid/late twenties when I started to embrace the complexities, the quirkiness, the afrocentricity, and the spirituality within me that I had always, subconsciously, suppressed.

I don’t know exactly what caused it. I’m sure it was a number of things. Meeting my husband introduced me to a world of art and culture I never knew existed. He helped me unlock the creativity that I had hidden inside, pushed to the back of my consciousness. Blogging and social media introduced to communities of women who were like me and different from me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. There were a few other things that I’m sure contributed–making my own career path, transitioning to natural hair, growing in marriage, and motherhood. Regardless of how it started, this period of awakening over the past couple years brought me to the interesting space I am now.

And I’m just scratching the surface. I’m just now figuring out what it is I want–in this moment. I added that last bit because I’m aware that life is fluid, it’s a journey, and things will change. But, I’m learning what it is I want, who I am, what’s important to me, what I like, what I believe, what I want to teach my children. I’m learning. Everyday.

I’m envisioning the woman that I would love to become but I’m not her yet. And that’s OKAY. I’m a work in progress, but that doesn’t take away from the Queen that I am right now. 

~xoxo

I love that woman that I am, the one I was, and the one I will become.

Life

Let’s Talk about It

Let's Talk about ItPeeks in…is this thing on? Hey hey Queens. So…shall we address the elephant in the room? Where have I been??? It’s a long story and I’ve been procrastinating for awhile but I’m ready. Grab your wine or some coffee and let’s talk about it.

January 2016 – Around the last time you heard from me

Whew. It was A LOT going on. I quit my job. After blogging here for three years, I was able to build a somewhat stable freelance writing career writing for a few beauty magazines and websites. logistics-wise things were changing drastically at work. Not to mention, I had been having a hard time juggling a full time job, three kids, an increasing workload, and general life responsibilities. I was always stressed. Always rushed. Always upset. My body was giving me hard signals that I needed to change things and soon. So, I did. And full transparency: there was no financial safety net and no star studded roster of clients. There was only God, faith, and ambition.

I landed a pretty big freelance contract days after my last day of work. Let me tell you how writing the vision and doing the work can work out for you–insert praise hands emoji. I had set some financial and business goals at the beginning of the month and I wrote the amount I needed to make each month from freelance work to reach it. That contract was the amount. To the dollar.

February 2016 – That time I fake started a new blog

In hindsight, I should have known better. I had just made one huge change in my life, that should have been enough for the moment. But, with all my energy now focused on freelance beauty writing, I felt I didn’t have anything left to say–here. I wanted to switch gears and make this a lifestyle space but…I didn’t follow my gut. Which I should have. So instead I started a whole new blog. One focused on lifestyle and motherhood. I had monetized this blog a bit, but three years into the game I knew so much more and I had big dreams for the new blog. Spoiler alert…it didn’t work out that way.

Summer 2016 – New year, new things

Time flies so yup. Between starting the new blog, freelancing, enjoying my newfound work at home life around spending my days with a toddler in tow…I blinked and it was my birthday. I was still blogging over at the new spot but I didn’t have nearly as much time as I thought I was going to have to get it off the ground. Let me tell you…I thought I had struggles with balance before? It was nothing compared to life now. The difference though? The struggle was worth it. Or as Elizabeth Gilbert so eloquently put it in Big Magic, I was more than willing to eat the shit sandwich that came along with freelance freedom.

I celebrated my birthday at a mountain resort in Seven Springs–I blogged about it–learning more about how to get involved in the school community in my city. I also started to set my sights on something new-ish. A beauty brand had been on mind every since my very first post. It was a natural extension of the work that I do–helping women of color in the beauty space. I had been tinkering with this brand, testing, trying, mixing for a couple years along with my business partner. With my “extra”–ha!–time I had been thinking about really getting it off the ground. So we set a timeline and got to it.

Fall 2016 – #notricksjusttreats

Belle Marron, an all natural makeup and skin care brand for women of color soft launched on Halloween #notricksjusttreats. We launched with the Belle Box, a taste of our full product line, and started shipping orders on Black Friday. My other blog had like ZERO views even though I had been pouring my heart into those blog posts. My freelance career was stable. And every where I turned, every networking event I went to, I heard the same thing “what’s up with This Brown Queen”? I missed this blog. It fit me. It was me. This blog changed my life and nothing I did over at my new site made sense the way This Brown Queen did. I decided I would be coming back…just wasn’t sure when/how.

Winter 2016 – Back like I never left…right?

Looking back…2016 was obviously the year of CHANGE. I started the year calling it the year of intention and maybe to an extent, it was. But more obviously, it was a year of change. Winter 2016, I started a loc journey. After about two years natural, I was over it and decided to loc my hair. Winter 2016 I officially shut down my old blog and transferred all my heartfelt posts to This Brown Queen.

And now we’re here. If you’re still here reading, thanks sis. I needed to get alladat out. If not, cliff notes version: I quit my job, started a new blog–that’s over, it’s cancelled–launched an all natural beauty brand and now I’m back.

Later days~ xoxo

I can reinvent myself as often as I need to. The only definition of me that matters is my own.

Life

The Year of Consistency

The Year of Consistency

As 2016 was coming to end, I started to think about what my focus word for the new year would be. I’ve been practicing using a focus word since 2015 when I decided my word would be action. By the end of that year I had put myself in the position to quit my job and freelance full time. Action indeed. Last year it was intention but if we’re being honest…the verdict is still out on how that worked out.

During the last few months of 2016 though, I kept thinking about growth. The word kept coming to me as I thought about what all I wanted to accomplish this year. The year of 30 has to be one of tremendous growth right? So just a few days before the clock struck midnight on the 31st, I was all set  to move forward with my year of growth. There was just one thing…in order to grow, one must CONSISTENTLY make an effort in whatever area of their life they are hoping to experience growth.

About that…

I struggle with consistency. Over the past few years I’ve had multiple blogs, in which I’ve struggle posting consistently. I’ve had a YouTube channel, in which I’ve struggled with consistently uploading videos. I’ve started many a budget program and have struggled with consistently updating it. I have started many challenges be it prayer, reading, writing, and have consistently failed in keeping up with it. I have set daily schedules, and business schedules, and household cleaning schedules and have consistently struggled to stick to them. I’ve launched a business and have struggled with consistently building my brand.

Growth? Yea, getting a bit ahead of myself there.

Instead, I’ve decided to commit to a year of consistency. Because I’m certain that if I’m going to improve anything in my life, it’s going to start with that.

So here’s to 2017. A year of consistency. And hopefully, if all goes well, the set up to a year of growth.

Life

Representation Matters…or Black Santa

Black Santa

A few days ago we were driving through my dream neighborhood. A diverse suburb right outside of Philadelphia. I won’t mention the name but just know, it’s on the vision board and written down plain, so you know it’s real. Anyway, we we driving through admiring the Christmas decorations when we noticed one of those big blown up Santa’s on a lawn. Pretty standard decoration right? Except, this Santa was black.

That caused me and the hubs to get hype. I mean, have YOU ever saw a gigantic black Santa just chillin on someone’s lawn? We sure hadn’t. So, hubs yells out “there’s a black Santa!” and we smile, cheer a bit, and keep it moving. That is, until our middle son asks something along the lines of “what’s the big deal”–that’s not the teaching moment here, it’s coming–and our oldest says:

Because all of the other Santa’s are normal. 

Hubs always says that I’m the parent who will catch a comment before it slips away like “ah ah not so fast, let’s talk about that.” And it’s true. Our society has allowed us to normalize so many things that, aren’t exactly normal, and I’m the mom who will quickly gather the children together for a teaching moment when those things arise. Read that as, daily.

What makes a Santa normal?

That’s what I asked our boy. It was quiet. I let the question marinate because, I don’t even think he really noticed what he said, before I asked my question. We were excited to see a black Santa, because it’s not something we see often. And because it’s not something we see often, our son had translated that as “not normal”. Now, okay you could say I’m being a tad overdramatic–it’s always 50/50 chance I’m being as such–but this wasn’t one of those moments. Normal, doesn’t equal white. And whether that’s what he was trying to say or not, it’s those subconscious thoughts, that I absolutely will not let fly around these parts.

I asked him again after a few moments silence. What makes a Santa normal?

It was like you could hear the realization coming to life in his mind. Quietly, he answered…”you know, I guess both Santa’s are normal.” I left it at that. Remember, I’m his mama, I know I had gotten through. Enough said.

Couple days later, I walk past the stockings we had hung on the railing a couple weeks ago. I purchase new stockings for the boys every year, the kind that they can color in and we always let them decorate the night we put up the Christmas tree. My oldest son had chosen a Santa stocking to color. A couple days ago, the Santa was white. He was…what was it he said again? Oh yea, he was “normal”.  At some point between our conversation and the moment I walked by, my son had colored the Santa black.

I know, I know. What’s the big deal right? Well, it’s actually a huge deal. Representation matters. Even when it comes to fictional characters. IT MATTERS. When our kids don’t see themselves, they form ideas about who are what they are. What they can become. They also don’t really question it, you know? It’s limiting. But when you show them, that black people are normal and can be anything, even Santa, it inspires hope. And it lets them know they matter.

‘Tis the season. ~xoxo

Life

A Quick Note

Hey friends. You know that moment when you realize the thing that you thought you got over, you didn’t? Yea. So that was me. My last post, I really thought I was back ya know? Like, sure the whole entire country may or may not have lost its mind, the white house is looking very…white, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this new ‘merica situation but, I thought I was back. That I dealt with it. Nah son.

The reality is, I’ve been mustering about all the creative energy that I have to tackle my client projects. Anything left over after that has been going to Belle Marron. And in my spare time I’ve been trying not to feed the Facebook trolls–it may or may not be working–while also leveling up my volunteer work. All of that has led me to…well…here we are.

I almost don’t want to say it. But…me and nablopomo? That’s over. It’s cancelled.

Joanne the Scammer

Kidding…kidding… Until tomorrow then yes?

~xoxo

Life

Forward, Always

Forward, Always

Who else is dreaming of binge watching Netflix with a glass of wine and ice cream for the next 4 years weekend? Yea, me too. Hey, I didn’t say I was going to do it but transparency is key here people. Truth. Now that I’m halfway out of my pit of sorrows, I’m ready to starting thinking about what’s ahead. Yesterday, I wrote a reminder that we must seek the kingdom of God above all else. For me, that starts with what He’s put on my heart and in my mind so far. Remember, I don’t have the answers. Not by a long shot, but I do have some thoughts and opinions on what I can do so I’m sharing them here.

+ Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10. I’ve made it a point since I started freelancing full time to volunteer in my community. For me right now that looks like serving at my son’s school, one that’s part of an urban school district. Aside from serving as the VP of the SAC (basically a PTO), I write the school’s monthly newsletter and I’ve also volunteered to organize a newspaper club for students to give them a space to tell their stories. I plan to dedicate my time and gifts even more to my community and those around me. Faithful stewardship.

+ But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. ~ Luke 6:35. Now I did not say this was going to be easy. In fact, as a Christian I know that my path is one that will include hardship. But, if this election has shown us anything it’s that there is a lot of hate in this country we call home. I won’t add to that. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she has studied God’s love for years and overnight almost lost everything she had come to learn. That can’t be us as children of God. That can’t be me. I’ll practice love. I’ll teach my children love. And let it be said…love can be from a distance friends. Self-care is a beautiful thing. 

+ Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22.6. To be clear, the votes showed than young people voted differently than the outcome we received. There’s hope for our future. There’s hope for us, as millenials, and for the generation that we are raising. I read an article about the election reactions from students in our school district and let me tell you…the babies are watching. And even though what they see is far less than the example we want, they are practicing empathy and compassion. Let us be mindful of this. No matter our feeling, let’s not raise up our children to be angry or to repeat the ideals of those before them. Let’s show them the acts and grace and love. Let’s raise a better generation than the one we see before us today.

Let’s move forward. In hope and love. We’re going to need it friends. ~ xoxo

Life

So…What Now?

So What Now?

Peeks out from under the covers Okay okay okay. I know I was supposed to post yesterday. But y’all, for the sake of my sanity I had to take a mental health day. It took everything in me to pull together some creativity for a few deadlines I had to meet and even those were kind of iffy. I was sleep all day. Not like the trendy term “sleep” as in opposite of “woke”–stay woke y’all–but physically sleep. I was up until 1:30am or so Tuesday. Staring at my computer screen in a state somewhere between disbelief and pain. Notice I didn’t say surprise. Because if there is one thing I knew before going into this election is that there’s a lot of “talk” that goes on behind closed doors. Seeing those conversations play out on a national stage via the 2016 election was painful, but not shocking. I mean…just because you know the girl down the street talks about you doesn’t make it feel any better when she says it to your face.

As I watched state after state go to our now President-Elect though, I was speechless. Again it’s one thing to know the girl down the street talks about you but to find out everybody on your street does too? I mean sheesh. Tell me how you really feel. So yea…I needed a moment. Self-care is a beautiful thing.

In the words of my son “welp…today is a new day.” It’s time to move forward. Today the real work begins. What are we going to do in the next 4 years? In our communities, in our homes, in our hearts.

If you came here for the answers sway, sorry to disappoint you because answers I do not have. But, here’s what I do have.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33

It’s so important now more than ever, to be seeking God constantly. All day. Everyday. To guide our steps, our words, and our actions. To give us comfort, hope, and peace. And please don’t take that comment as dismissive. It’s okay to feel pain, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to cry.

Love & Blessings ~ xoxo