Feel.

I guess I could’ve chosen another word this month, for July to focus on, but as a Nation, I believe this is where we are. I chose “Feel“.

America is changing. There are many things that have occurred that causes trauma to bring out actions that were once hidden and contained in one space – to open up into the main arena- which often is the community, at large or even small communities as of late.

The mass murders that have occurred over the past few months have caused me to put a few projects on hold and to take take to be present to you feelings, lately. I am not feeling just for myself, but I find myself feelings for others, as well.

The victims, the perpetrators, the communities affected. And I’ve been doing the only thing I know how- which involves prayer, and open lamenting. Open lamenting involves talking about the grief , and the actions and behaviors and losses I don’t quite understand. I choose to feel.

I am still feeling. And possibly will be all year- who knows… Because someone has to. Someone has to make the things people numb out to – be at the forefront. And if that’s what I do by writing, so be it.

Someone has to speak to the pain, the hurt, the challenges, the shifting of this world as it evolves. Sometimes faster than we are changing ourselves. Someone has to respond with love, encouragement, to love this life with freedom even when it seems it’s too risky to go out in communities for fear of being harmed.

I used to live on the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Ok. And this photo above was a place where I considered to be my safe space. When things began to shift and change, I would walk the path alongside the river and it would calm me. Until one day the river overflowed its banks. And it was in my backyard. We had to move. We shifted. And not reluctantly, at all. We just knew it was time. So together, we shifted with the way life was leading us.

Even as things shift and change in your life, find yourself safe space. As life shifts and challenges, you and atrocities happen all around. Remember also what “centers” you. Remember to ” give thanks” even when it’s hard to. Keep a heart of gratitude.

We need to have a certain level of adaptability to life, when things shift. We cannot choose numbness, or indifference, or ” anger” as our way of dealing; because it may cause self- sabotage, or systemic sabotage, or even resentments and hate. We have to tap into where love is. We cannot freeze up. We must feel.

Pray. Cry. Deal with and talk about how you feel about women’s rights, death, loss, grief, murder. Don’t distance yourself, don’t ‘veg out’ on TV.

Feel. Believe. Trust.

Even if believing is a challenge.

Choose to feel. Allow yourself to breathe. Because when challenges sometimes happen , the first thing we do is hold our breaths.

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January Gemsūüíúūü¶č

Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection.

Identity-what gives me identity

What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends family and my spouse; but also mentorship .

My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.

My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.

Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.

Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.

Here are a few mentors in my life

Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :

1. Trees .

I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and i was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.

2. My African Heritage Family.

I found identity in my African Heritage family. There’s a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.

I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.

The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.

3. My Worth

Where have I found worth and value?

What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?

For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, My vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .

And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.

Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.

Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.

Yes, Opportunity became my Teacher.

Looking Into The Windows of my Soul…

Sometimes I look deeper..

Deeper within.

‘Cause I hope you know that Vulnerability is an eye to the window of your soul.

I remember a time when I knew I had skills; yet I didn’t use them.

I took no risks.

It wasn’t until I began to “call myself a photographer, that I truly became one.”

It wasn’t until I began to “call myself a writer that I became an author.”

And it wasn’t until I began to find my voice and project vision, that I ‘knocked the socks off’ my listeners with my speaking.

I am somebody.

How do I know? I sow seed and it produces some thirty, sixty, one hundred-fold.

I am Enough.

I Trust enough.

I Lead enough.

I Pledge to BE excellent enough…

I Thrive enough.

I excel enough.

I am God perfect plan to bless the earth with His Goodness , His Mercy, His Light.

The sky is the limit,

The earth is my classroom,

And God people are my prospects.

Let’s Go!

Acceptance & Receiving.

This very well may be first writing in 2018 on Receiving. I suppose if I set a goal, then by the end of this year, both you and me shall learn immensely about my one word. (So my first goal is to truly see where this precious word leads me!)

I will say this, this evening I wasn’t even looking for the word and it sort of “popped up” on¬† the¬† screen ,¬† STARING AT ME as if I asked¬† ¬†the word to embrace me. Accept.

I wasnt sure…¬† what¬† wasn’t¬† I accepting?¬†What¬† did I not desire to¬† ¬†receive?¬† Why was¬† this word¬† already of “Receiving” challenging me¬† so very soon into the new year?

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Seeing the word “receive” in this definition, the same word offered unto me “as acceptance”; gave me goosebumps! I¬† wasnt¬† ready… but my word said I was. So¬† why do I need¬† “consent to receive?”¬† I asked.¬† Consent is needing permission for¬† something to¬† ¬†happen.¬† Or needing¬† agreement in order for something to happen.¬† ¬†Here it is¬† 20¬† days into¬† the¬† year and I¬† still havent¬† given myself¬† permission to¬† ¬†receive.¬†

And¬† so….¬† I¬† struggle with my writing and with my soul¬† to acknowledge¬† what’s been¬† hard to believe since¬† the end of December.¬† It’s time.¬† ¬†To¬† walk in.¬† To believe.¬† To¬† receive.

'Captured Moonbeam.'
‘Captured Moonbeam’ by You Are So Beautiful Photography

I  think I have been   looking for this  kind of  VALIDATION  for  such a long, long time.  And I am not sure  if I am  still there.  But  I shall keep  surrendering.  I  think its the  quickest way unto  Receiving.

Anything.

As if  receiving has a  door gate, and  I am the gatekeeper. 

Selah.

I Am Enough Because I Am Wise.

 I Am  Enough Because I Am Wise.

So what does it really mean to be wise?

Does being wise mean… to be humble?

Does it mean we should consult with someone else who has  good advice, can problem-solve, help us manage our lives better or may give good counsel?

Or does it mean simply having good sense In knowing how to respond?

Perhaps.

…Or maybe it means being still enough to take care of our lives ¬†because we care enough about our lives to be safe, discerning and aware.

Perhaps where I am wisest is when I spend time in the presence of friends. I have wise friends. There is a scripture in the bible that says : “The is safety in a multitude of counselors.‚ÄĚ
I love that scripture. It has resounded over the years with me. I have realized over time that perhaps the best ¬†acumen, has come from experience as my ¬†teacher. With my experiences, I have ¬†gained such rewarding treatment and insight from friends who in my own¬†personal¬†struggles, when I needed¬†such¬†wisdom, –¬†sowed¬†complete love for me, ¬†and their wise actions and advice, benefited me greatly as I endured my situation. ¬†The intuition ¬†and ¬†inspiration was on an entirely different level and ¬†completely humbling. ¬† As a result, I have ¬†compassion for ¬†them an for others who have experienced similar situations. It led me to ¬†write my book, Red Sea Situations.

I believe one of the most humbling  situations I experienced, was  a friend who helped me when I had no where else to go. She had always told me, because she knew I was going through a hard time no matter when or what time it was, whenever I needed a place to go, I could just stop by.

One night I thought I was close to losing it, and I knew I just needed solace.¬†So I ¬†went over my friend’s home…and it was about 10:15pm. When I arrived at her door, her husband answered, he smiled, and ¬†didn’t say a word. All ¬†he said was: “She’s ¬†is upstairs, go ahead on up.” ¬†(Can I say I have respect for a ¬†man who allows his ¬†wife’s friend to come over so late in the evening , so she can support her?) Clearly, I had been crying, and I slipped past him. When I go to the top of the stairs, ¬†I heard her talking to her boys ¬†in a very sacred moment, and she said, “Come on in, Jenn.” She was there with the two of them, they were about three and six years old, and ¬†she was hugging on them in bed. She made space for me, and ¬†welcomed me in me bed with them. We didn’t talk much that night, we just laid there in quiet and peace. Her boys smiling and ¬†she interacting and mothering them, and I quietly watched them enjoy and love on one another. I never felt so welcomed. to this day, our bond is unbreakable.

Now, this has nothing to do with me, and my wisdom. However, my friend’s wisdom in this moment taught me how to be wise.

Her wisdom taught me how when I am at my lowest point to embrace someone in love and just acceptance, is the very best  action of love. For me, wisdom and love, really are not far  apart. In fact, they are cousins. I  also found out that I don’t have to know all the details, I just need to love on them.  There’s a time and a season for everything, and sometimes knowledge isn’t necessary. She didn’t know, and still doesn’t know what I was experiencing that evening, but what maters is that I  knew she was there, and that she loved me. To me, that’s agape love. The God-kind of love. From this one action, I have found that I can love people without words, in such an amazing way, and that it involves just seeing that their soul is so worthy of love. This type of ‘friend -awareness’ has allowed me to be the same kind of friend.

On a lighter note,

I am wise because I am clever.

Cleverness is not  a word I use very much n my vocabulary, yet I find very attractive. My husband is rather clever. It was attractive to me from the first day I met him. And his cleverness tends to rub off on me at times. Cleverness involves, quick wit, charm, and  wise words, and at times a bit of playfulness. Perhaps the playfulness is the most fun. Being clever involves finding  a certain resourcefulness from within. It’s understanding how to use integrity to teach someone by not reacting. It also involves  not  stooping to a level of  personal embarrassment or  ignorance  because someone else does. Not allowing their impulsivity, unkindness and lack of intellect, to move me with words. I think I learned how to be clever once I  decide din my mind I didn’t care what others thought about me. It was freeing.  I decided that once I had made up my mind, and it made sense and I had  filtered it through my wisest  friends, and they were in agreement, it was well. And no one’s opinions mattered. My clever quick wit would then pounce back on others when they had comments  or opinions about my  actions in which they did not agree. I admire folk who can take judgment and  crush it as soon as someone swings it at them, and  keeps on  walking without shame or resentment because they are confident they are in a good place.

I am wise because I am contemplative.
Contemplation is one of my favorite things to do. As an introvert, I tend to find myself when I contemplate. Whether it involves speaking to myself, my heart, and pondering the actions of my day I find rest in re-evaluation. If I don’t do re-evaluate, I become restless.
What is in this restless space? Unawareness? A lack of purpose? Dis-alignment? Is that why when I am not looking within, I falter?
I get nervous, my anxiety peaks, or I have a loss for words? I prefer contemplation in order to help me rest. I may not have even realized the extent to which I depend upon what I call : ‚Äúfinding center‚ÄĚ Laraine Herring in the book: “Writing Begins With Breath: Embodying your Authentic Voice‚ÄĚ, says after the basic needs of food air, water and shelter are met, most of our actions and behaviors stem from a need for love, compassion, understanding and emotional safety.‚ÄĚ I find that interesting, because that means if this is true, most of what I seek, when I look within, is about finding self love.( Read about  my  self love and being enough in another story.)

I must say however; some of the most unwise persons have hurt me. have been unreasonable,  inattentive ungraceful and  ill-mannered people I know, because they lacked compassion.   Indeed, perhaps this scripture measures up when wisdom is most attractive: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

jennifer

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My Sabbath Rest, Day .

I’ve taken to micro-blogging for the sake of a lack of time, and what you see here is the beginnings of my offering to you –  as  I  share how I  partake of my personal rest.

Self-care used to be hard for me. I have a very busy job and some days I get going and don’t settle at all til the evenings…rather late… Yet this picture here helps me find that and remember it. I try my best to make Sundays a Sabbath. The last few Sundays I have been pretty  good with this goal. I’ve been successful in finding rest. Some try to often make us feel guilty for resting, but no, not I.   For me, Sabbath is a place of resolve. And if I cannot find it at  all…in any given day, then something’s wrong  with my time management and  self-care paradigm. I don’t care who tries to make me feel guilty, I won’t accept it.

Even from my husband .

(And he’s the one that initially turned me on to Sabbath!  Interesting how  easily we  can  get out  of routine, huh….)

Want to rest with me on Sunday?

Here’s how  I do rest:

  •  I  get a  cup of tea.
  •  I spend time with  a friend that may like to contemplate or  quietly write.
  •   I  go to  a cafe’ and   drink and  journal.
  •  I  spend time if it’s nice outside –   drinking  in the sun.
  •  I  spend  time  near  a  body of water or in nature .
  •  I  read a good book in a  quiet corner.
  •  I   laugh.  I  find a   comedy movie,  a friend  who likes to tell  jokes,  and just  chill.
  •  I  gather  perspective and I may  go to yoga.
  •  I  catch up with a friend or spend time  writing a letter to them.
  •  I  scrapbook.
  •  I have a pajama day.
My noted change as a result of this practice has been: ‚ÄėNo   dreading  with the pre-Monday  blues‚Äô I‚Äôm better   – because I  feel rested  On  Monday , now, and ready for the day! Check out my links I post, or my blog posts.. you’ll find rest….ūüėĄ Please read this blog by Shelly Miller it’s on time for learning about how to rest. Shelley is no longer with us, but she left a legacy of restful words. Check out her blog here: http://redemptionsbeauty.com/sabbath-society/

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 Keri Wyatt Kent is one of my favorite authors of books called: “rest.” Her blog is here:
http://www.keriwyattkent com is another good Sabbath blog.

Why not join me and rest?
Share every Sunday how you take time to relax in the weekend.
Thanks for reading. And sharing!

Taken in Tulsa, OK.