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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Mountains… or Hills?

I am in Dansville, New York today. Just left a really pensive session about family, & what it means to me. I admired the atmosphere; being surrounded by mountains on each side. I kept taking in the views, and exclaiming how beautiful the mountains were, and one of the residents of the community said to me: “Oh those aren’t mountains, they’re hills.”

I smiled and said to myself…”They’re mountains to me.” You see, whether they are mountains or hills depends on the person. The power mountains give us – and the power the hills give us – they may be the same … or not .

I recall a time enduring a very difficult season and it was like my drives in my car during this season of my life were instructing me. I was traveling through a small town and there was this particular part of town where I noticed once – that the mountains had reduced in size!

I wondered to myself : “How did that happen!?” And I realized internally, my perspective had shifted.

Just like that.

Sometimes the life seasons we endure cause us to shift and change (snap!) just like that.

Driving those those small towns I had being enduring a really hard season in my life. And the trees and the mountains were so meaningful. They reminded me of how powerless I am, in comparison to the beauty of this world, and God’s power. God was teaching me. Informing me of my perspective. Stretching me…molding me… shaping me and causing me to shift.

I love mountains and I love hills.

The point is, no matter whether they are mountains or hills, they still encourage me. They still inspire my soul. They still make me think about the wonder of this world and how small I am in it,.. and sometimes my perspective, too.

Thank God for shifts.‚̧ԳŹ

Oh, and mountains…‚ėļÔłŹ

The Value Of The Table.

This is my table at home.

If you have a table at home, it’s likely much happens around that table. Or, if you’re like me in the past few months, things have piled up on it, like books and magazines and … “stuff”.

I’ve decided this year to honor my table, at home.

It’s so dear to me. It’s been in my life now for about ten years, and it’s still holding ūüí™ūüŹĺ strong.

This means to invite folk to sit at it, to do rituals around my table, and to have great conversation around it as well.

It was a few weeks before it was actually up and ‘present’ in my new place. And boy, did i miss it!

I love my table.

It’s wooden and large, and it’s quite spectacular. I’ve had friends there, meals there, great conversation and dinners there with friends and family, and it’s just been a great gathering place for us. Change has happened at that table.
Marriage work, has been a focus – here, as well. Prayers and blessings have been given and good writing has even been accomplished with friends, at this table.

At work I have a table too, and there I receive great wisdom from my peer pastors, presenters and chaplains. Unbelievable memories exist as we determine outcomes around that table, and I gather a certain excitement even before I reach it. I’ve met new people and crossed paths with persons I may have never met had I not sat down and chose to walk this process out I’ll never forget some of those conversations as they have given me a spiritual maturity that has helped me recognize what really matters and makes me fulfilled in life.

The fact that so much growth happens has opened me up to new possibilities, and quite honestly it’s been making me be quite conscious about the interactions that happens around other tables in my life.

It’s so interesting that it’s symbolic for the places we receive, refresh, replenish & re-energize – what was once on a tree, is not something I also use to symbolize my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. The fact it’s so connected to nature and to my sense of peace and ‘groundedness’ are symbolic , as well.

What grounds you? Is it similar to an object, like a table? Is it a place? Or a certain feel you get when you have that wonderful sense of nostalgia?

This is my place. would love to know what’s yours. Just respond below.

I’ll continue to share with you those places and pictures in the next few blog posts.

Below is a pic I took in a park in Tulsa called The Gathering Place. Just sharing because it’s such a big wonderful, table in an open park and invites community, right smack dab in a big, beautiful city with lots of nature surrounding it.

( I also simply adore the fact it’s outside.‚ėļÔłŹūüėČ)

This was the first table I was going to use…at a community park, but I decided to simply use my own.

Confidence.

Since this month I am  speaking about esteem…  and where it comes from  and how it’s developed, I wanted to share  my story on  how I personally developed  my confidence and esteem .

It’s  a story of several  weaved into one,  but  they  all have   deep meaning.   My  story  doesn’t  begin here.. but I wanted to share  this  belief with you , because this young student  from South Africa  spoke to my heart and through my heart into something i have always believed.  She was the essence of my dream, articulated.     And  this was  when  I rose to the occasion and began  ‘activating’ my journey. 

It was  in    May of 2003  and  this room of young people had been gathered together to be encouraged.   I was not  surprised,  but then I was.  They were here to  hear a woman from  America  speak about following their dreams.   Why? because  young people in South Africa, particularly in Kuma,  South  Africa – in this  case,  had  been discouraged.  Suicide was  rampant,  across the land –  and  they needed a voice of encouragement.     And God sent me. 

I had  known I was up for the challenge, indeed

It had taken  six months to get here.  And I knew I was coming, but I had to be prepared.   So six months prior God began to establish His  message in me.  It  was a lot of  quiet time spent with Him to  hear what He wanted me to say.  I decided   during this  time , that if God was going to send me to South  Africa,  I  must have  had something mighty  important to say.

Standing before that room and listening to this  young lady, I had heard this before.  I had  heard this  in my Bible,  in my  teacher’s  rooms,  and I  heard the same voice of  encouragement in mother’s voice,  my mentors and auntie’s voices  that were  encouraging me on.   You see, what she  saw,  I saw  because  those gone before me  had manifested that belief in me.   I  knew the strength  she  knew was in her people;  she had believed was there all along.

And  so, my confidence  has come through the walking of other’s  shoes.  The  stride of their pride,  and the   risks they have taken to make  the  messages they  believed in made clear.   Without those  risks – they would not be where they were.  I told them  the risk I took in leaving everything in America behind.   I   did not believe I could make it to  S. Africa, and yet here I was , standing in a room before them,  encouraging their hearts  – Because  God chose me. 

I  told them how I was  chosen , the opposition I came up  against, and  how I still made it to speak to them.  It took  loads of faith.  Not just mine… but  others.   Then I turned the page, and told them I  came on  the backs of my ancestors.  And I knew I had to get to Africa  because  it was home. Home of my identity. And I told them how privileged they were to be in touch with the honor of being home. And living “at home”. they  were the dream  I had set out to be.  The dream of knowing and believing I had to return to my  ancestors   place of residence,  and “be that Queen.” 

The  queen  that  spoke largely to my destiny and my  significance, and the  queen  that  I studied about  – and who had lived  here in Africa, long before them. 

Yes,  they were   surprised they were my inspiration.

But my  inspiration had a long and lengthy legacy  of hope and faith.

 Selah. 

I have committed this year in 2018 to writing about ūüíé Diamonds my online course and writing about the gems therein. To make it even more exciting, I’m challenging myself to write a book on how I got to the “Other Side” of pursuing me.”stay tuned as I share more on this journey, & eventually provide links to the course.

Memories from My Moves: The Value of Writing During Life Transition.

I have moved  approximately nine times in my life.  I  know it sounds like a lot, but  several of those moves were  within state and  needed for job transition .

Doesn’t make it any any easier, nor ¬†does it make it ¬†less of an issue. ¬†I ¬†have to admit – I don’t really lke moving per say, but I have ¬†enjoyed ¬†learning ¬†new cultures and new places and people where I have lived.

I have moved to ¬†get a ¬†new start on life maybe ¬†three times. ¬†The others were due to the fact I was running, ¬†I ¬†just did not like my life there anymore, and three ¬†times I have moved with issues ¬†surrounding “a man”. I never wanted to follow a man, but I ¬†twice moved once because ¬†I ¬†wanted to “get away ” from ¬†a man; and I must‚Äôve learned from it; ¬†because the other I‚Äôve involved wanting ¬†to be ‚Äėnear‚Äô a young man, and that man eventually became my husband. And that was a ¬†really good move. ¬†To Texas. ¬†Texas enlivened me. ¬†I ¬†flourished there. I had ¬†friends I had never had ¬†anything like before, and ¬†they were supportive of me.

Moves are hard though if you’re a introvert. I’ve found that getting involved with groups helps me spread the love around and have a more active social life.

backlight grapes.jpgWith every move, ¬† I ¬†have had, ‘journaling’ has ¬†given me a sense of place and ¬†recogniton of the move and ¬†resolve and acceptance. Writing became my mainstay. I later found ¬†it to be a way I coped with transitions.

Here’an old post but good one ¬†that reminds me where ¬†I ¬†find ¬†resolve with ¬†my every ¬†move. ¬†It was never publlshed, just ¬†something I found in an old newsletter ¬† I‚Äôd ¬†made.

I Will Be Transitioning!

 I have found value in my writing lately.  I am  in a transitioning phase.
At the end of this week, I ¬†will be moving to a new home. I am a bit sentimental, ¬†and have begun to take pictures as I transition for this home, to the next.¬†Thusly, I’ve been doing a lot of writing.

One of my last sessions ¬†this past summer, we spoke about the ¬†value of journal-keeping. Lately that has been a struggle for me, in terms of consistency, but I have been ¬†keeping a voice diary. It’s like a journal, but ¬†just easier. Stay tuned for examples¬†of ¬†my e-course I am making and my Soundcloud voice diaries I keep, ¬†and desire to share or you to think about rest easier. Though my course isn’t¬†finished¬†yet, I do desire you hear the¬†diaries to think about ¬†the perspective I have on the¬†relationship¬†we need to have with rest for our soul-care.
 
Journal writing has several values.While studying these facts, I discovered why the act of writing ¬†is such a¬†consoling practice for me.¬†I literally believe keeping a¬†journal¬†has SAVED MY LIFE. I am sure some of you can relate. ¬†Here’s what Peg Nolan, ¬†has found as ¬†a few truths: ¬†¬†

1. ‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing¬†¬†brings me clarity.‚Ä̬†–¬†It helps me to see myself and acknowledge my fears, so I can begin to work on them.
2. ‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing¬† helps me focus.‚Ä̬†Nothing better than knowing that my mind can settle because I now have it now on paper, and can return to that thought, and it won‚Äôt be caught out in oblivion.
3. ‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing is for my own personal ¬†accountability.‚Ä̬† ‚Äď Sometimes if there is no one to tell that dream to, it helps to be accountable to myself by writing it down.
4.‚ÄúI can yell in my journal and no one will hear me raise my voice.‚Ä̬† ‚Äď And I do yell – mind you, with¬†LOTS of exclamation points¬†for those things I struggle ¬†to comprehend.
5.‚Äú Journal ¬†writing¬†¬†increases my self-awareness.‚Ä̬†(Oh yeah,. and my self confidence‚Ķ)
6. ‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing¬†reduces my stress.‚Ä̬†It keeps my blood pressure¬†regulated. I believe once it saved my life. Kept me sane‚Ķ
7.‚Äú¬†Journal ¬†writing¬†a place to sort through my struggles.‚Ä̬†I am always focused on maturing my SOUL‚Ķ it‚Äôs an ongoing battle and I need it in order to be self actualized.
8.‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing¬†gives me peace of mind.‚Ä̬†¬†And an ability to listen intently to my thoughts, and ¬†to ¬†talk ¬†softly with God about them. (Love it! I am such a deep thinker!)
9.‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing¬†¬†a vision illuminator¬†!‚ÄĚ-¬†¬†My dreams grow and incubate and simmer‚Ķ some more…and ¬†then they do something else…they ¬†‚Äėcrystallize‚Äô – which when defined means to become definite or clear¬†. I ¬†found this with every move, to be true.¬†
10.¬†( This one is mine! )…I can hear God speak, when I write:¬†I believe God is ALWAYS speaking, we just aren’t quiet enough to hear Him.
11.‚Äú Journal ¬†writing is¬†an idea incubator.‚Ä̬†‚Äst¬†Man oh man, I have so many ideas, I could write about a book about ALL OF THEM!!
12. ‚ÄúJournal ¬†writing is a judgment-free zone.‚Ä̬†‚Äď ¬†You’re ¬†definitely ¬†not ¬†going to find anyone peering over your ¬†shoulder – unless you give them ¬†permssion ¬†– to ¬†look, or ¬† leave cause for that to happen…) And no one can give me feedback and I can sit with myself and my own thoughts and keep them as private as I want, til they are born and put into practice‚ĶOR NOT.
 

The Walls can Speak for Themselves ‚ÄĒ Ball of Light

It’s 4am on Monday morning. All week, I wondered what I’d blog about. Ideas came and went, but I knew the whole time I wanted to tell you about tonight. Trouble is, I had to wait until tonight to know what to say. I’m not going to talk. I’ll let the walls speak for themselves. Watch this video. I […]

via The Walls can Speak for Themselves ‚ÄĒ Ball of Light