Shining… But Not Very Brightly.

Hello. October was all about the word Shine. So let me share what the mean it of the word emphasizes. To Shine means: To have significance: (the quality of being worthy of attention); the quality of being important. Synonyms of this special word are: to have heart, sense , understanding, force, or meaning.

I bet when you thought of Shining this wasn’t at the forefront of your mind, huh?

I chose a word that was a bit difficult to practice this month. Not because I couldn’t practice it, it was because I have to receive the word a bit differently. One of the things that caught me off guard was how much it takes to Shine… especially when you are not feeling the best.

Photography by You Are So Beautiful Photography
Me driving to work one morning.

Shining matters within, our personalities and out outer appearance, at times- and also on the outside of our lives: how we cherish moments with the special people in our lives. My momma always told me: “Actions speak louder than words.” The parts of our lives where no one notices – but you, your family and your children. It matters to them, it matters to God. That we let our “lights shine” no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing.

I’ve learned that wherever I am leaving a legacy of truth and discipline, hope, influence, purpose and good communication, those are places where I truly shine I also am shining where I am a positive and showing meaningful leadership. Where I care for others and remain positive, even when other around me, are not.

Where everyone in my life sped things up this weekend, I decided to slow it down. If I cannot hear myself for the sake of moving too fast, then I may need to turn the volume down. Am I taking time for that family member? Am I spending quality time with that loved one? Will this matter in five or ten years? Will it matter later this week? Just another positive way to think about whether “time” is mine, or it truly belongs to someone else.

Having had a birthday this past week, one of the things I am learning is to count the cost of everything… even the ones you miss. Sometimes the moments that matter most, are the ones you missed.

Why not slow it down, decided to do something different, make someone smile by choosing to do the one thing you normally would not have done, and bless them with the gift of time.

I am grateful for this month, because although I wasn’t feeling my best for most of the month, I took advantage of ‘ how I felt’, and instead of complaining , I made the most of it. And that involved shining, being grateful and giving thanks for what I have.

So when you slow it down this month, spend a little time reflecting on the Who, What, Where, Why and When… and even the “How” – ‘cause it all matters. Plan something very intentional, yet not work related. Take a Sabbath day. Change it up. Love on someone … Just because …and it will return unto you.

Share a few places where you’ve been shining lately very intentionally….

I took this on Lake Ontario, in Rochester NY


So next month I’m going to center on Joy. It’s the Sept. word of the month. I started months ago searching for this one, because I believe joy can be so illusive. People can say they have it but u until it’s full & encompassing your entire being I don’t really believe you have it, completely.

I’ve had a few joyful moments this month, and last month and so now I believe I can write about it with some experience.

Here are a few of my beliefs about true joy:

1. True joy involve gratefulness as a practice.

I don’t believe you can be truly appreciative of joy until you learn how to practice gratefulness. An appreciation of the big and the small is the requirements for joy, then giving thanks for its source .

2. Joy involves elation.

You must participates with something that makes you feel the elation over the course of a few hours or days or as part of an experience. True joyfulness stays within, and it lasts and it makes those things you enjoy desire to maintain and ebb and flow. A way to capture and continue in that pattern is what you desire to take in the future . True joyfulness involves meaning – making and reflection.

3. Joy is an experience . It has to register as something that makes you fulfilled, and involves the senses: touch , taste, smell, hearing and sight. It might be that all of these are expressed and or experienced at once, or they come in waves. Yet they are present.

And as the days go along in September, I’ll share the joy.

Stay tuned and engaged this September. I’m thinking i’m going to learn a lot.🌺

Complacency : Robber of Your Personal Strength

Complacency is the word this month! This was challenging word, because it quite possibly the first word I chose to look at closely that was not a word that was positive. But we will make the experience of communicating the positive- with this word, because it is what can make us change.

So…. what does it mean to be complacent?
It is defined as an often unjustified feeling of being pleased with oneself or with one’s situation or achievements
a momentary complacency that was quickly dispelled by the shock of cold reality.

What I don’t like abut complacency is that it slows you down. it limits your success, and it appears to make us very comfortable and it sneaks up on you and can be quite subtle.

In my head – I lived in a ‘FOG‘ – I was not successful in accomplishing things in my life due to being ‘too comfortable’ in my life. Either with my time, my actions, too much money, people enabling me, or struggling with my own identity – I wouldn’t put the work in… you know, do the things necessary for change. You could say I had a lazy mentality. Yeah, I hate the word lazy. I consider myself quite productive. Yet I was sadly not doing what was required to be whole. And this is where I would falter with complacency. I allowed complacency to become my ‘friend’, instead of my foe. And beause it was so subtle, it made me realize I had more WORK TO DO.

I am going to even venture to say : Complacency was my enemy because I was ‘numbing’ to some of the things in life I didn’t want to see. (…And I will talk more about that in another blog post.)

I am complacent with my energy. That’s my confession today. I tend allow things that are not very important, be quite important, or be more important than they should. And get this: THEY ARENT really very important!!

If I complacent with taking vitamins, eating well, or exercising – I tend to take these things for granted in terms of how I deal with my energy and make time for my health and betterment of myself.

In the space and time of resounding and being strong, I have been complacent with my words and actions. I was too comfortable in spaces, and convinced myself I was, ” comfortable”, but I really wasn’t. I was people pleasing. In those familiar spaces, I sacrificed myself – and when I did this, I was not allowing myself to speak up and speak my truth. All those are moments when I sacrificed myself. Do we want to sacrifice what is precious, what is on the altar of our hearts – this sacred space in our lives? Where “We matter”? If we speak our truth in the moment, we free ourselves. We have to grasp those moments where we tend to freeze or become silent, and we don’t speak – we sacrifice a part of our own identity. We have to say the things that matter.

A few synonyms for complacency: “bighead-edness”, conceitedness, ego, pompousness, pride, self-admiration, self-assumption, self-conceit, smugness, vainglory, vanity.”

Hmmm.. something to think about…

Antonyms for complacency: humbleness, humility, modesty. What a contrast. These are the things that often prevent the gem of ‘humility’ and change to give birth, in our souls.

Humbly submitted.

Nthabiseng AKA JennRene Owens

My Voice… Resounding.

Ever wished you had pushed record on the tape you played about losing your voice?

Well I did, today.
Not literally, but figuratively.
I just kept the recording playing in my mind of how important it is to say what I need to say, and say it firmly enough, that I’m heard.
But not so much to others, really. That I say it firmly enough that “I believe it”, it matters and it cements within my soul .And reverberates. To reverberate means to: reflect repel or ( to resist). Resistance can be a powerful thing of placed in a powerful situation. That’s when it involves permanence. It stays in place. Has impact. Or in other words, it involves making myself “happy”.

Some things in life are meant to be said. And others are not. There are some things when they are said, they resound reverberate . They matter .

Like when someone said after a man died on public television, that Black Lives Matter . And the whole world resounded and reverberated to that vibe , that truth….and responded with marches, and protests and people all over the world saying the same. Black lives matter . Some of them even saying it for the first time, and others really understanding it , for the first time.

When thoughts and feelings and a knowingness becomes alive… that’s when self – love matters, reverberates. for me. When “I matter”… I resound. And I reverberate . And you know, what that looks like is me deciding thatI will say what I feel , what I think , and I will “be what my name means”. So let me talk about my name: My African name. My name is Nthabiseng. Nthabiseng means “Make Me Happy”
I know, for you this may not mean a thing, but for me, this name when given to me, and I was crowned by it- it meant “Life- Change”.
And life- change meant that “I have volition. I may not have know this before , yet i’m here now to use what matters. It meant : “ I have agency.”

Selah. *{pause & calmly think of that}

You know, for women , this is not a topic women often choose to talk about. Words that make us even more complacent, like weak, low self esteem, and “ being silenced “ all come from places where we were ‘not allowed to become .’ Not allowed to be our true selves. Where we have painted our walls with shame – not opened our eyes for opening them would have meant we had to open our mouths too,… & recognizing that ‘speaking up’ may have been too costly in places before , where shame was bred.

Yet now, we are free.
We determine that being strong looks like having confidence using our voices and making use of our own volition, not as a ‘right’ – but as a necessity, a need and as we we evolve – we become women we never even imagined we could be.

And guys this goes for you all, too.

When you speak up, you evolve.
You prosper.
You grow.
You are Successful.

my flowers blossoming.

why I love emoji’s…

I love emoji’s. They tend to make you smile . there are a range of emotions in the air on any given day, and I love that several can be expressed by one person, alone.

Lately the covered face emoji’s with the masks have made me smile as well. And since I work at a place that requires I wear one everyday; I just think it’s a good idea to have emoji’s that express a range of emotions that you can’t see anyway.

The Covid epidemic has seemed to taken away our expressions lately. It’s great to live in a world where emoji’s are so wonderful and beautiful to behold. I’m grateful for them.

How about you?

So, if you’re ever loving your expressive -lifestyle and living – use an emoji and every now and then to express the love!

Best Friends

So I have have never been ‘the best friend’ nor had many of them since 2nd or third grade. Then , some time around the age of 45, I came across a few friends in a new state and they became my hanging partners and accountability buddies.

Did I need to have them around ? Most definitely. We’re they best friends?

Certainly. I still never thought much about the term again in terms of describing a friend, and as I referred to them, I’d say : “you’re one of my best friends”… and I’d figure they’d know. But I figure in my lifetime if I have friends who have good intention and they have the qualities below- a few of them at least- then they’re a few of my best friends.

I believe friendships should be reciprocal. And if they don’t require we ‘glean’ love on one another and help each other to become better women, then what’s the point?

Here were a few qualities we gathered from our conversations earlier this year on one of our Zooms. if you like to join a zoom talk we have once a month , comment below and let me know. We are always talking about emotional wealth, psychological and self care and emotional resiliency. Join us!

Sister-Supported .

changed my life .

one day, a sister sent me this card. she told me she believed in my dream. she wrapped her arms around me and my vision , and embraced our possibilities.

it was grand.

I felt supported.

she told me she was proud of me, what i’d had planned, and believed it would make a difference .

major support.

when you are uncertain, yet hoping,, praying, trusting for the best.

doing it, despite the fear…

using fear as energy – to push you forward.

falling forward, using your self-created prayer team for hope.

it worked.💓

this was me,,in 2003…

believing , trusting, yet everything seemed to fall to pieces when I arrived in South Africa. Between jet lag, and my plans , I felt rather hopeless.

all I could do was sleep.

then I asked to find a phone cafe’. I called my sisters. told them my plans for this vision, asked for support .

and within a day, my situation turned around .

resurrected purpose, peace about the problem, and hope, we’re all mine.

my itinerary took shape,, I began to travel and speak, I had influence and supporters of the vision align with me.

more support.

some things have spiritual resolution.

that’s all.

Friendships – Are You Really My Friend Or My Soundbite Buddy?

Lady Victoria & Jennifer

Jennifer: Friendship, is our Focus word for February 2021. I’ve been pondering over an article for the month of February focusing on friendships, & then I realized I had one in my archives!

If you’d like to join our conversation on Friendships this month on Zoom, please connect with me. As a group of women we meet monthly to discuss and share in authentic conversation.

Jennifer: This is a guest post by my long time sister-friend, Lady Victoria Walker, who has been a friend over the course of the past 20 years, or more. She and I both really love friendships and try our best to keep our friendship as connected and authentic as possible. I love and appreciate her for her depth and honesty. A few years ago, she and I had a really good conversation about friendships, and I thought it would be neat for her to write a guest post for my blog!

Friendships – Are You Really My Friend or My Soundbite Buddy?

Earlier this year, I was contacted by a long time friend, Jennifer, to write a blog for her website about the topic of friendship. I thought it would be a simple project…then I discovered, that preparing for the task led me through an interesting discovery process. First, I decided to take a long look at the number of contacts on my phone; and then, I asked myself “huh, it looks like over a couple hundred people are here, but who has contacted me recently?!” So, I decided before writing an article about friendship, let me first find out what’s going on with my own friendships!
I am so glad that the opportunity to complete this writing project literally forced me to reevaluate the people in my life that I considered friends. This journey has led me to take the time to focus on who I have in my life and why they are there. More importantly, how do they really feel about me as a person and how do we treat each other. As a writer, I wanted to gather pertinent data to assess the actual quality of my friendships as opposed to just accepting, at face value, that just because we connect, does that mean we are friends?
Would you believe I developed an actual friendship questionnaire?! And sent it out to my “friends” by email. I explained it was an important matter to me and requested their help by responding honestly to the questions which I had carefully crafted. Let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience! If you would like to use my survey tool, feel free to ask me. However, you should know I discovered, only a few people actually read my email. I know, I know. Everyone is busy and their email accounts are overloaded with emails. Okay. Then, out of the few that read it, the responses were intriguing, uplifting and some were down right hilarious! One person wrote to me and said: “you are salt and light in a tasteless dark time”; how encouraging! Some people complained that they preferred to discuss their responses with me over the phone instead of answering the many questions. The phone conversations were actually very enlightening. They lead to some discussions about our friendship which would not have occurred unless I asked questions like: “why do you like me as a friend?”
I mean really. When was the last time you asked someone…”why do you hang with me?” Do you really know if your friends actually feel about you, the same way you feel about them? One of my friends who is in her senior years, said to me that when she started asking similar questions of her friends, whom she had known for years, she found out after 30 years that they did not feel the same about their friendship as she did…to her amazement! Apparently, many of her relationships were more one-sided, and she had not picked up on that. It seems learning how to develop and manage good friendships can take a life time.
As I began to have these “assessment” discussions with the other people I know, I discovered that many of them were not taking the time to evaluate who they had in their lives and why. It seems that, today, people are so busy trying to make a living, that as long as they “connect” with others by Facebook, Twitter, forwarded email chain letter or some other social media platform or perhaps by text, those “sound bite” “drive-by” contacts from others are the new way friendships are being managed. Hmmm…
It also became apparent, during this discovery process, that while our phones may have hundreds of contacts, how many of those people actually have contacted you, by phone, this year? It’s now July. Half of the year is over. How many have called just to say hello and to ask “how are you?”. Often when I asked, I discovered, people are not really contacting others to have meaningful dialogues. It makes me wonder about the quality of friendships that people are having these days, are they really developing relationships that are strong, enduring and endearing? Between our daily busyness and social media, how solid are our friendships?
Can people really develop trustworthy and sound friendships without regular meaningful engagement or just depending on soundbite conversations when they log into a social media account? Is everyone so busy that we are not paying attention that fewer people are really reaching out to see how you are “really” doing? More and more I am hearing that people are not really speaking to each other, but may receive a contact by text or social media every now and then.
I don’t know about you, but frankly, while I understand the importance of remaining relevant by keeping up with people using social media platforms, since we can connect with so many at a time… I still enjoy a friendly conversation when I call a friend or they take the time to reach out to me…to let me know that I matter, deserve more than a soundbite and that they care. How about you?
By the way, I cleaned out my phone and email contacts. I am still available if they choose to reach out, but I decided to focus on people, who are the friends, that have chosen to focus on me!

Lady Victoria Walker

: Lady Victoria Walker is a global operations, communications and administrative systems designer, writer, public speaker, professional voice-over talent and productivity enthusiast. She is from Guatemala, Central America, raised in the Bronx, NY and earned her B.S. in management and communications at Syracuse University. She is tri-lingual and tri-cultural, speaking English, Spanish and Garifuna (a Central American language). She currently serves as the Vita Global Operations Director. Lady Victoria’s voice has been broadcast locally in DC, nationally and around the world. Her creative writing has been featured in WAVA FaithTalk Magazine, and more. Her background includes extensive experience in organizational, media, project and business management development both in the corporate and non-profit sectors servicing companies such as: Motorola, Atlanta University, Syracuse Community Health Center, SCHC Total Care, Inc., Salem Communications, Inc. – 105.1FM / AM780 WAVA, SRN News and Goodwill Industries International. She lives in the Metro DC area, teaches liturgical dance, is an aspiring vocalist, mentor and photographer. Lady Victoria strives to serve others by connecting her purpose with international productivity.

Connect with her at: