Just BE

How many of us are living the life that has been defined by someone else? How many of us are breathing stale air and reminiscing on forgotten dreams? I continuously question my purpose, my passion, and my place in this world. I decided to stop chasing after the “American Dream” and to focus more on being. Being present, being passionate, being happy, being grateful. I am no longer here to operate in the narrow halls of societies definition of life, but to expand my presence to cover as much space as possible.

We get so caught up in trying to obtain something that we miss out on the experience, the lessons, the journey. We wish for the end at the beginning and refuse to appreciate the process.  The struggle is real, but it is also the place where we grow the most. We plant a seed and we want it to grow right now, but in reality there is an entire process that has to take place before the seedling can even breakthrough the soil.  Even after seedlings have broken through the hard ground, they are not ready to be harvested.  There is still more cultivation of the crop that has to take place.

The work that it took to prepare the ground, till the ground, and protect the crop is tiresome.  If any steps are missed, all of the handwork that you put into the harvest will be wasted.  At every step of the process it may not seem that the work that you are putting in is worth it, but you have to remember why you even took the first step down this road. Be where you are. Be in that moment. Be aware. Be awake. Be engaged. You are here for a reason that is greater than this moment. Just BE.

Every step may not be easy, but every step is worth. Make sure you are walking in the right direction and not going backwards because you cannot see what is next. Take a moment and be grateful. Count your blessings. Express gratitude for your today.

Just BE. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

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What I Had to Go Through

People see you at various points of success within your life, but very few people see you in the midst of the process.  They see you as you enter into a challenge and many times won’t see you again until you are exiting that challenge. All of the tears, late nights, self-doubt, and conversations of quitting are not put on a display for the world to see.  Based on the images of the beginning and the end, many people assume that you have something special about you that others may not have.  Despite this perception and misconception, the only thing that makes me different from the next person is that I went through what I had to go through to get where I wanted to be.

Many times people ask for something and as they enter onto the path to get what they asked for, they self-destruct.  People turn around to go back to their comfort zone at the first sight of handwork, adversity, or stress.  Every person that is extremely successful today had to go through some dark moments.  Even those who we think woke up and had it all, still had to endure life to get to a place of peace, joy, or love.  We measure the success and happiness of others based on the materials that they possess instead of the characteristics that they have obtained.

I try to be as open as possible on here to share that this process is not always pretty.  Many times you try to smile through the pain, but it becomes overwhelming.  I am not perfect, my life is not perfect, and I am not done going through rough times because life will not stop because you remain stagnant.  Although I am in a happy place right now, this place has come with its own set of challenges and sacrifices.  I have wanted to turn back and return to my comfort zone, but my calling and my amazing support system has forced me to push through.

If you are truly yielding to your internal instinct and living life to the fullest, you are going to have to endure some painful moments.  You can never prepare for these moments, but you have to believe that they will pass.  If you get stuck in the middle of your journey, because you feel that your current state is your future state, then you will never make it to your next destination.  We assume that life will wait on us, but know that if a seed is placed in your life and you do not care for it, God will take that same seed and sow it into someone else’s life.

What I had to go through may not be what you had to go through, but we both had to go through something.  As we fight through this life to get to the next level, build people up as they navigate through their journey.  When you tear another person down when they are struggling to get to the next level, you are only removing the rungs from your own ladder and hindering your own progress.  You may never see what  I go through, but just know that I had to go through some things to get where I am.

This thing is bigger than me and because I am only a piece of the bigger picture I must remain diligent and steadfast.  Don’t focus on everyone’s picture perfect beginning and end, respect that there was a process even if you did not see it.  Don’t criticize what others have when those are the exact things that you want.  Get off of the side lines spectating at everyone else’s success and do what you have been called to do.

Your success is waiting on you. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Follow Through to the End

I have started so many amazing projects and allowed my focus on them to fizzle out. I picked up new projects and explored new ideas before I completed my other ones. I know that I don’t have the time or money to finish all of them, so I am going to sit back down, map out my projects, and decide what I can devote my time to. This is such a hard task for me because a new idea pops up and I am behind it until I start to hit roadblocks. Such is life. But that is no longer going to be my story.

I learn through my mistakes and I try to avoid those pitfalls the next time I encounter the same or a similar situation. Yesterday I could not sleep because I was energized to work on a project. I have been piddling around with this project for years, and I know that once I get the structure in place, it will all make sense. As I started working I realized that I was doing it again. I was picking up one project when I have so many other pertinent ones that need to be focused on today.

So, I am going to prioritize all of my projects and the steps that I can work on for each. I am going to follow through. I have completed many things, but I keep reaching a limit that is self-imposed. I am going to start my days by saying, “There is nothing that I can do. Stay focused. Follow through to the end.” Sometimes you simply have to motivate yourself and keep yourself focused. I hope that everyone can see the greatness within themselves and will take the limits off of their dreams and desires.

Be blessed. Be excellent. Follow through. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own story. On your own terms.

Do Not Feed the Fear

I am sure this has been said by many great thinkers and a few books have probably been written on this topic alone, but for me this statement is personal.  I have used this as my personal mantra to step into the unknown and believe that everything will work out.  At every major turning point in my life where I had to make a major decision, I was afraid and feared what I did not know.  Despite the fear that I had or that others had for me, I was able to focus on my dreams and not feed into my fear.

When I got accepted into college and did not have a plan in place to get me from one year to the next, I focused on graduation, making my family proud, and completing what I started.  When I studied for my nursing boards while working full-time, I focused on passing, making more money, and making the past 5 years of my life worth every moment.  When I decided to leave nursing and pursue a legal career, I focused on gaining knowledge, expanding my network, and having access to different opportunities.  You have to have a focus and it cannot be your fear.

As I countdown the days to embarking on a new journey, I naturally have fears that run through my mind as I pack, but I only allow them to rest for a moment.  I think about it and push it out by thinking of all of the great things that I know are coming and can come from this next opportunity.  Many times we begin to discuss our fears with others and allow that negative seed to plant and grow roots in our minds and spirit.  That fear keeps you awake at night, it keeps you from making sound decisions, and it keeps you from stepping into your destiny.

Someone recently told me, “You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  Although I initially thought that I hate being uncomfortable, I realized it is only when I am uncomfortable that I actually take the risks that yield great returns.  I have been in DC for 11 years and had plans on staying for at least 2 or 3 more. I had to be broken down and detached from my place of comfort, so that my heart would be open for this opportunity.  If I would have been presented with this opportunity months ago, I would have turned it down because I would have been waiting for my ideal job.  My brokenness, my desire to get back working, and my openness to my personal definition of “ideal” is what allowed me to interview for this position and move my entire family there knowing that this was the right decision for us.

What I have learned over this part of my journey is to Fear NOT.  I do not fear because God is with me.  I do not fear because my steps are ordered.  I do not fear because everything is working together for my good.  My faith has sustained me even when my mind could not rationalize my reality.  You have to grow through every season, especially the ones that are tough to get through.  Many people talk about having tunnel vision but never discuss how hard it is to get through the tunnel to the light. As you walk through the tunnel you have to stay focused on the light and not fear the darkness that surrounds you or your situation.

Do not feed the fear.  Let your faith sustain you.  Greater has to come.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

When I Want to Give Up, I Remember the Why

Over the past 9 1/2 weeks, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions.  It all started with the excitement of beginning the first steps to completing the final hurdle to complete freedom.  This soon glided into the endless feeling of being overwhelmed with the amount of information that I needed to consume daily, which then lead to mental exhaustion that made me fly back to feeling overwhelmed.  Then a sudden breath-taking drop came with the death of my grandfather, followed by the slow progression back to a level of focus that I needed to be productive and progressing towards being polished.

During many of the unproductive, completely overwhelmed and paralyzed due to exhaustion days, I wanted to throw in the towel, close the books, stop writing essays and stop practicing multiple choice questions, because I clearly was not going to make it to the end of this process better prepared than when I started.  I did not see the progress.  I felt that I was getting the same types of questions wrong and missing the same issues on the essays.  I decided that I would just go back to my old life, my old career, because I was never going to be ready for this daunting exam.  I kept telling myself everyday, “You are behind. You will never catch up.”  When I needed to rest all I could think was, “I am behind. I can sleep when I pass!”  I was angry at myself, at my lack of progress and at the idea of having to tell people that I quit.

Then after going months without seeing my son and days where he wouldn’t talk to me on the phone, we were able to connect with him on the iPad and I saw his precious face.  “Hi mommy. Hi daddy. Mommy. Daddy. Daddy. Mommy.”  In that moment, all of my stress, anxiety and fear melted away.  The only thing that was important was our special gift.  His smile, his laugh, his kisses…all of the things that I missed and the exact thing I needed to see to get my mind back in order.  After speaking with him and seeing his face, I realized that I cannot quit because I have someone watching my every step; basking in my successes and pushing me through my failures.

My son is my WHY.  For some people it is a car, a job or a vacation spot. For others it may be their mother telling them that she is so proud of them or standing next to their father who was sworn in as an attorney at the same place 30 years ago.  What your WHY is does not matter, knowing what your WHY is does.  If you do not have a WHY, you will give up during a breakdown MOMENT, instead of waiting a MOMENT longer and reaching your breakthrough.

After refocusing on my WHY.  I stopped telling myself that I was behind, and instead I told myself that I was where I needed to be.  Suddenly a burden lifted from my shoulders and I had renewed energy to make my WHY proud and complete the mission I set off to accomplish.  When you reach that moment where you cannot go on anymore, stop focusing on the negative, pessimistic or potentially disastrous outcomes and focus your energy on the positive, optimistic, and successful outcomes that you have worked hard to reach.  Focus on your WHY.  Keep pushing for your WHY.  Never give up because your WHY is waiting for you on the other side.

Your WHY won’t ever let you give up, so don’t give up on your WHY.  Why you do this.  Why this matters.  Why failure is not an option.  Why you can.  Why.  Stay the course.  Persevere.  Push through the pain.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Live Life on Purpose

If everyone’s life ended peacefully, then we would forget to live life purposefully.

Live life on purpose; that your echo will continue to be heard many days after you have left this earth.

May your works change the lives of many, inspire others to continue your legacy and your loved ones beam with pride when they hear your name.

There will be a point where there will be no more “Im sorry,” “I love you,” “We can work on that tomorrow.”  So share those words now and do those things today, because they will forever mean something to the person who receives them.

Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Written Words: Worries from 2009

This flood has given me the opportunity to go through some old journals, letters, cards and notes I have written to myself or received from others.  The timing is amazing because graduation always brings on a spirit of reminiscing.  Despite some of the damage that the flood has done, it has also brought a level of healing and elevation that was unexpected.  One of the boxes that was unsalvageable contained my 2008 graduation gifts from my family.  One of the items was a personalized keepsake box that I put a few pictures in, a $1.00 bill, my cords, and a note that contained all of my worries.  I listed out my worries which included making my student loan payments, my family and my future.  But at the end of that letter, this is what I wrote:

” My prayer: God I pray that you take all of my worries and work them out for my good.  May your will be done in my life.  Help me to be all that you want me to be, walking in my purpose and destiny.  Thank you in advance. Amen.”

Everything that I worried about in 2009, God WORKED IT OUT.  I always orally expressed that I never wanted to get married but in my writings to myself it consistently appears.  Five years ago no one could have paid me to believe that I would be where I am today, still with worries but not the ones I had 5 years ago.  But I took my worries and gave them to God and He worked every single one of them out.

I hope this post inspires someone to take all of their burdens off of themselves and release it through writing or verbalizing and then look back a few days, months or years from now and see how it has been worked out FOR YOUR GOOD.  Be blessed.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

The Day My Faith Wavered

While I was in school there was always a lot going on personally, financially and spiritually.  I went through a period where I was completely broken.  My spirit was torn to shreds.  I felt that because I paid my tithes, I went to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week, I volunteered that I should be blessed.  It was a very dark time.  I was in a very dark place.  I felt that God did not love me because so much bad was happening to me and I could not serve a God who did not care for me like the word said He did.  Had He not punished me enough by being born to parents who weren’t there for me growing up, or allowing me to live with a father who was unstable in every aspect or by making me poor and have to struggle through school.  He could not possibly think that I needed to endure more to learn MORE lessons.

 I felt that I had learned enough already.  I had endured enough pain.  I wanted my story to change and for it to change at that moment.  So, one day during the this dark era I gave up on God.  Although I grew up in a home full of abuse and was isolated from my family for months or even years at a time, I had never given up on God, but right then I couldn’t deal and I decided  that I was done.  I had enough and I couldn’t take any of it anymore.  So for a few weeks I began to tell myself that God wasn’t real.  Things went from bad to worse.  So, I continued telling myself that God wasn’t real.  He couldn’t be real.  If He was real then He wouldn’t do this to me.  I started to throw myself a pity party and lean onto my own understanding.  I cried a lot.  I didn’t pray.  I didn’t process my pain or anger, I just let it well up inside and hoped that it would all go away.

Then one day, Greater Mt. Calvary was having a service and Pastor Marvin Winans was preaching.  It was June 20th, 2006 (I looked up the sermon on their website).  The sermon was titled, Let My Son Go.  I did not intend to go but the Holy Spirit drew me in that night.  I remember sitting there stoic with no expectation but just present.  Everything he said that night spoke to my situation, to my heart, to my spirit.  There was a demonic spirit on me that had to be called out and removed.  I realized that I had not given up on God but I had given up on myself.  And if I wanted to get out of this Hell I was going to have to be the one to change that.  That one word literally saved my life.  I am not sure how far deep I would have gone but I am glad that I did not find out.

Whatever religion you believe in or state of enlightenment you live in, you have to believe in yourself, take charge of your life and never give up.  I had to give up to learn that I CAN NEVER GIVE UP.  We are all going through something even on our happiest days.  Embrace this physical season change and make a spiritual change to be better, become greater and inspire others.  My charge on this blog is to share my truth.  The one I live. But I want you to also live in your truth and share your truth with other.  Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

How to Achieve Your Goals: #12goals and I AM Statements

I made and shared this video 3 weeks ago but it is something I remind myself of monthly. Another month is coming to an end so it is important that you assess what you have done, what you could have done and what you need to get done. On top of being organized and prepared, write down statements proclaiming who you are. I AM powerful. I AM loving. I AM debt free. These types of statements force things in the universe to move and make provisions for you so that you can be who you are proclaiming to be. Everyday won’t be perfect but you will appreciate your good days and see how much they outweigh your bad days and you will make the most of the good and the bad. Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

If You Want It All, Go For It and Don’t Quit

Society wants to dictate to you what you can have.  They throw statistics around without any context and run anecdotal stories filled with extreme examples of people who are forced to choose or those who quit before they accomplished their goals.  I am a living witness  on how prayer, determination and hard work will guide you through and to your destiny.  When you have to weigh your options, quit now or keep pushing through the pain, you realize that you really don’t have a choice.  If you quit right now you won’t be happy and will end up further behind than you would have been if you kept pushing through.

Before I had my baby, I dreaded going back to school.  I knew that physically I was going to be challenged and I did not have everything in place as I had expected.  I am a control freak and very type A.  I needed a tangible plan with back up plans in place.  That was not happening.  I cried and cried and begged Adam to let me quit but he said the same thing every time, “You have come too far to quit.”  I knew he had my back but the unwavering support I received from my classmates, friends and local family was unforeseen.  Everyone rolled up their sleeves and sacrificed their time at various points over the past two years to help me get through.  My co-worker who had just retired watched baby Adam for the first few weeks for free.  The days she couldn’t watch him, my classmates allowed me to bring him to class or watched him for me on their breaks.  My co-worker was scheduled to watch him for six weeks but as the weeks passed by, I had no idea of who was going to watch my son permanently.

As life would have it, I ran into a classmate walking down the street and she suggested I ask another one of our classmates.  Through her I was able to find an amazing sitter who has taken care of my son since he was 3 months old.  When I leave my son with her, I never have to worry if he is being cared for.   I am always exhausted, always running, always busy and my schedule is hectic but it was all worth it.  My son survived. My marriage survived.  My personal finances are a little tattered but I am great at getting things in order, so I will fix them.  But most importantly I survived and achieved what I set out to get done.  I could not have planned for all of these things to have worked together.  They did because I was where I was supposed to be.

Bottom line.  Never stop dreaming.  Never stop believing. When it gets hard keep pushing through the pain.  Ask for help when you need it.  You are stronger than you even know.  Don’t let expected or unexpected obstacles overshadow your purpose.  Don’t ever quit. God will provide.  The universe knows what you need.  Live in your truth. Be you.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.