Make America Great, Again?

Last week I wrote about, “Tips to overcome fear“. Without realizing I have to combat a level of fear daily, due to the skin tone I was born in. My heart drops and races if I am pulled over by a cop. I’ve sat in offices being the only brown person and had to have a “clean” look (meaning straightened hair). I have been followed in a store due managers thinking I would steal. My dad, brother, sister, and friends were stopped individually and on different occasions for DWB (driving while black). This tragic moment of George and many other non-white individuals are highlighted to paint the picture of our everyday lives. Put yourself in our position.

Understand that America was built on a platform rooted in hatred. Stolen land from Native Americans, slavery, segregation, discrimination, oppression, racism etc.the list can go on for years. To “Make America Great AGAIN” is an implication that it was a great country before. Yet, that is not the case from my worldview.

Let’s create a TRUE, great America where people are are not detested for their differences and are respected. Let’s create a place where we are treated equally on all levels (Macro, Meso, Micro). In this place, there would not even be a notion such as “white privileged”, because the lines would be non-existent. We would all have the same treatment.

To ask of this is mind boggling and quite frankly my heart hurts. For I now believe that maybe it is too much of a request. You see, the root of past, present, and hopefully not the future America, is RACISM. Racism is the deep seed, that cultivates in one’s heart and brews until it is manifested as lynches, murders, false police calls, discrimination, you’re not welcomed here vibes. Racist are dressed up not only as cops but lawyers, doctors, therapists, politicians, pastors, school board members and leaders. These are people that are supposed to protect you, yet, I am finding that we have to protect ourselves. That’s frightening and ideally we should be united as one.

My point is to stimulate your mind into thinking, how can we make America, great?

-How do we create a safe place for all humans to interact amongst the environment freely?

-How can we make it so that people of color can safely run in their neighborhood?

-How can we make it so we can sleep peacefully in our homes without cops barging in and killing us?

-How can we make it to where I can walk with a hood on and skittles in my pocket?

-How can we make America a place where I can cash a check without it being reported as fraud?

-How can we make America a place where I don’t fear I will be shot when I am stopped by the police?

-How can we make America a place where people don’t falsely call the police on my brother or sister?

-How can we make America a place where I do not have to teach my children, what to do when the police stops you?

-How can we make it to where there are more people that look like me on TV and in the workplace?

I’ll tell you how, by dealing with the root of the problem, RACISM.

Racist individuals will continue to breed racist people if the root is not dealt with. Generational curses can be cured with the knowledge and willingness to break the cycle.

  1. Identify the issue. Why do you dislike a group of people?
  2. Seek counseling
  3. Utilize the techniques and strategies you gain to combat racism.

For the those that endure racism and for individuals that that may not experience it but still use your voice to speak up against wrong–> Please do not allow your heart to harden and grow cold. In the words of the the late Martin Luther King Jr, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. Know that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the authorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34.

I will not allow my hope to disappear regarding the future for my people. I will rest on the acts of my ancestors, faith in God and believe that change can happen. As we see, there has been some progression but we still have a long way to go. It may not occur in my lifetime but please in the meantime, lets uproot the weed of racism so that one day, America can be great, as it should.

Let’s make America, Great!

Remember, we are in this journey together.

God is in Control!

With all that is going on in the world it is so easy to become inflicted with fear and worry. I will be open and honest that anxiety gripped me while I was in the store one night. I viewed the empty aisles and fear seeped into my soul. As I felt my heart racing, I was reminded that God does not give the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He is in control!

I want to encourage us all that what’s happening in the world is not a shock to the creator. Though we may not understand completely, God will see us through. Let’s take some time out to re-center our minds on the Lord’s promises.

Isaiah 41:10 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 46:1 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”

Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Mathew 6:34

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Proverbs 16:4

“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

How to Find Your Purpose

I recall in my undergraduate years of college, hitting a wall and not truly knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I had it all figured out prior to entering college. Since elementary, I knew I would be a medical doctor and their was nothing that would stop me. I kept that SAME ENERGY, throughout high school, and all of my family and friends were supportive.

Fast forward to college, I was pre-med taking biology and calculus for the bio-sciences. This is where I came to the realization that I no longer enjoyed science and math was still my weakest subject. I was miserable and although my peers had the same feelings as I did, something did not sit right within my soul. Becoming a medical doctor was not the correct track for my life.

My family and friends were continuously supportive through my change of mind but one question remained. If being a doctor is not my calling then what is? That was the question that impeded my mind repeatedly. I took a semester of electives as I figured out my path which consisted of much soul searching and prayer. However, I found my purpose!

Many individuals are currently seeking after the correct path for their life. If that is you, I am here to help! Below you will find a quick list of ways you can your purpose!

  1. Follow your heart- Don’t allow society and others surrounding you, dictate your life. If you feel like you have to change paths then do so. It does not matter what people think, you have to follow your heart!
  2. List- Make a list of things that you are extremely passionate about in your journal. That can range from helping others, playing piano, or health and fitness. However, be detailed and specific about your interests. Ex: I am passionate about health and fitness because I want individuals to be healthy on the inside and out.
  3. Reflect- Reflect on your strengths and add them to the list you created. Circle all of the categories that line up with your strengths
  4. Aptitude test- Take a career and personality aptitude test to analyze your interests, values, personality and preferences surrounding your career.
  5. Pray- This is the most important of them all. Pray and ask God to reveal to you, your purpose in life. He will lead the way!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Mathew 7:7-8

A book that can aid in helping find the correct path is called, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Remember we are in this journey together!

Love,

6 Ways to Finding Happiness

The search for happiness is a piece of life that one must find within. As I’ve gone through this journey called, life, I’ve realized that happiness is not based on external factors but internal. Of course, money and materials things make life easier to manage. Yet, if you talk to the wealthy they’ll say “No matter how much you have, you’ll still want more”. It is your inner peace and the small things in life that make life worthwhile.

I always say life is like a rollercoaster. You will have ups, downs, twists, and turns. The only thing you can do is hold on for the ride. What do you do when those valleys hit home? Money can’t fix rejection, loss, and pain. Learning how to master peace, while you’re going through a storm, is the art.

If you base your fulfillment on environmental factors then you will constantly blame your unhappiness on people and things. “I’m not cheerful because I have a flat tire”. “I’m not happy because I don’t have enough money”. “I’m sad because I didn’t have a date”.

We all can find something wrong with our life every single day. Yes, we will have moments when we are down emotionally but we have to try to not allow these moments to take control over our life. Below you will find a list of tips to find your happiness:

1. Find your passion- Seek out the activities that you love to do.

2. Protection- “Rejection is Gods protection”. Rejection can come in many forms such as: not getting job promotion, breakup, loss of friendship etc. Just know whenever life does not go the way you envisioned, that makes room for something bigger and better to occur.

3. Pray- Some of us just naturally have a pessimistic view on life. Ask God to give you a new mindset, to be able to see the world from optimistic outlook. “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”(John 15:15)

4. Contentment- Reflect on your life to evaluate where your discontentment is stemming from. Sometimes, our unhappiness comes from not walking in our calling, feelings of being lost, or not truly understanding who we are. Take time to journal and gain a deeper interpretation of yourself. Find out the “Why” or the root of where your unhappiness resides. Once you establish a strong foundation, contentment will be on the horizon.

5. Make a choice- We make decisions every second of our life,yet, some are more difficult than others. Just like we choose what to wear to work, or cook for dinner, we have to choose to be happy. At times that maybe more difficult than others, however, be determined to not allow our circumstances to dictate our life. We are in control and have to constantly cast down those negative thoughts that want to reign on your parade. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2Corithians 10:5

6. Counseling- Sometimes a person outside your circle can bring about an awareness. Our friends may not understand or you may not feel comfortable venting to them. Find a therapist near your community to discuss your presenting situation and to find deep meaning to your unhappiness.

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

Living Single: How to Deal with Singleness on Valentine’s Day

One of the most hated days for many singles across the nation is, Valentine’s Day. It is a day dedicated to love which reminds many individuals of the relationship status they lack. It is a painful reminder that one does not have significant other, to share “love day” with.

I’m single, however, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays (not a public holiday). I have always equated it to love but not solely for couples. Even though it’s a day most recognize for couples, my family and friends have always made it a collective celebration. I enjoy it just as I do Christmas. Everyone gives and receives cute gifts and just enjoy the occasion.

If you are single this year for Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you that fulfillment of love does not stem from a man or woman, but it comes from within. YOU. Two of the greatest loves of all are, self love and the love from God. If your heart is hardened by this day of love, find rest in knowing that you receive the best love from our Heavenly Father. Below you will find a list of tips to help you through the Valentine’s season.

1. Girls night-Girl, enjoy this day by engaging in your favorite things. Self love is one of the best loves. Go to dinner with your gals and celebrate yourself. Cheers to not settling and being content with life. (Vice versa for the Fellas)

2. Favorite-Order take out from your favorite restaurant and catch up on your favorite tv shows or watch your top movie.

3. Family time-Most people do not like going out on Vday due to the crowds. If that’s in the case of your circle, the, spend time with your family. What better way to spend this day with people that love you most.

4. Gift giving-Send a gift to someone and help brighten their day. You never know what the next person is going through. Plus, it does the heart well by doing good for someone else. “It is always better to give than receive”.

5. Spa day/night- Give yourself a gift to the spa. Get a nice massage, hair/nails done and enjoy “Me time”.

6. Choices- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. That is true in a lot of cases but in others you know how to make the right choices. Just like you choose a show to watch or what you will cook for dinner, you have to decide to be happy and not bitter. So what you’re single! So what “everyone is in a relationship”! Are you going to sit there and choose to wallow in pity and despise the plan God has for your life? Girl/Guy dust yourself off and fight for your mind! Better to be single and happy than married and unhappy. If you do not master contentment in your singleness it will follow you into your relationship. Talk to married individuals and they’ll tell you, at times they feel lonely, unloved, not valued, or stuck. “Marriage won’t fix you and being single won’t kill you”. Emotions do not change just because of your relationship status. Managing your emotional state, is an inside job that you have to work on constantly, until you reach eternity. You got this!

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Remember we are in this journey together!

Love,


How to Identify Your True Friends

You know that saying “Your true friends you can count on one hand”, has began to ring clear, the older I get. I’ve come to the realization that you have to compartmentalize the people in your life. Everyone is not qualified to know your deepest thoughts, battles, weaknesses, and strengths. Only those individuals that are truly for you deserve to know you at a profound level.

We all have varying relationship levels based on situations. For example, coworkers, church friends, family, gym friends, brunch group, networking bunch and the list goes on. The conversations that you have with your best friend, may be totally different than those with your co-workers.

Your inner circle or, “tribe”, should consist of people that help you to become better. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). You and your closest friends help each other to grow. There’s only room for constructive criticism and no judgement. You feel safe exposing yourself because you know that this individual has your back. That’s your tribe.

Below you’ll find a quick list on ways to identify your true tribe!

1. You can discuss your battles in confidence, without the information being thrown back at you and vice versa.

2. Your friend lovingly corrects you when you are wrong. (Vice versa)

3. Your information is safe and does not get spread to outsiders. (Vice versa)

4. If you set a goal, your friend helps to hold you accountable. (Vice versa)

5. Forgives and communicates any issues with you, directly to you. (Vice versa)

6. Loves you no matter what. (Vice versa)

If you find that your close friends lack some of the traits above, I encourage you to have a conversation disclosing your feelings. Hopefully, there will be a positive progress towards strengthening of the friendship. If not, then use the tips above to find the right tribe.

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

5 Ways to Deal with Grief

The entire world was rattled, with the breaking news of the passing of Kobe Bryant, and eight other individuals on a helicopter ride. It is in these moments we are reminded that life is precious and to enjoy the moments that you have with one another. I pray for all of the families affected by this tragedy.

Losing a person you love and care about is extremely difficult. Although, grief is a part of life, there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the hurting you feel. Yet, there are steps one can take to aid in the healing process. Below you will find steps to help deal with your broken heart.

  1. Talk to someone- Talking to your loved ones can aid in the healing process. Yet, I also recommend that you to speak with a therapist and/or join support groups. Similar to you going to the doctor when you have a physical ailment, you can speak with a therapist for your emotional health.
  2. Grieve- Deal with the grief. There are seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. The length of time spent at each stage varies from person which is okay. Everyone processes events on their own time. Go through the emotions at your pace.
  3. Pray- The bible says that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV. Vent to God about your issues he will give you comfort that you are needing during this difficult time.
  4. Be patient with yourself- You may not be over this in a month or year. Be patient with yourself, this may take some time.
  5. Acceptance- Once you’ve gone through the first six stages of grief mentioned above (#2), you will reach acceptance. Acceptance is when you have come to the conclusion that the situation occurred and now you are willing to create necessary adjustments and embrace the change. Your life may look different than you have planned but it can still be a joyful and good life!

Reminders for yourself during this difficult season:

-You can heal!

-You can live a good life despite the change!

-Take it one day at a time!

-You will be happy again!

-You will overcome!

Remember, we are in this journey together!

Love,

10 Tips on Self-Care

Taking care of ourselves is one important value to help us function more efficiently. Between working 40hrs a week (or more), kids, cooking, cleaning, running errands, social events etc. life can get overwhelming. So it is important to take time out for yourself to relax and reset. Below you’ll find 10 quick tips on self-care.

1. Hobby- Take a designated time out of your day to focus on an activity that you love. The time may vary depending on your schedule (10min., 30min., 1hr.) and enjoy your favorite hobby.

2. Bath- Before bed take a nice warm bath with soft music in the background to relax from your stressful day. Ease your mind and body from all tension to reset.

3. Sleep- Sleep is vital for the body. When you do not get enough sleep it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Try your best to get the rest you need daily.

4. Girl time- Enjoy a ladies day/night out. Go to the spa, get mani/pedis, brunch, or dinner. Have fun!

5. Prayer/ Quiet time- When we pray we are reminded that we can cast our cares on Christ because he cares for us (1Peter 5:7) We do not have to carry the burdens of the world on our shoulders. God knew that it would be too much for us to bear. That is why he wants us to give all of our problems to him. He will give you the peace, comfort, and remind you that he has everything in control.

6. Take a walk outside- Changing the scenery and getting out to get fresh air can help you refocus. Stepping away from your daily duties for a few minutes has positive effects.

7. Listen to music- Put on your favorite hits and jam away. Music is proven to boost your mood.

8. Journal- Start a gratitude journal or creative writing journal.

9. Read- Read your favorite book instead of scrolling through social media’s world. We may not realize it but a huge part of our day is spent looking at a phone or computer. Plus staring at our devices all day can cause negative effects on eyesight. Try reading a book to help you de-stress.

10. Take a break- Some times we just literally need a break from the daily hustle. I am an advocate for taking off of work, for a mental health day. Use that time as you wish. Most importantly utilize it for relaxation.

I hope you enjoyed these quick tips on self-care. Remember we are in this journey together!

Love,

The Single Woman’s Anthem

To the single woman, 

This is a message of encouragement to remind you of your worth. You deserve the same love and energy that you give. Although, people are raised differently and have varying perspective, that does not justify their inability to reciprocate the love you give. If a person cannot adhere to the requirements of your morals and values, then you do not have to settle for some half love.

You did not spend all of the days, months, or years, as a single woman, just to get into a relationship and feel single or like you are alone. We’ve all heard this before but relationships are a partnership similar to a friendships. Will there be times that you feel lonely or alone? Yes, because a human is not made to fill all of your voids. Happiness is an inside job. However, there has to be the same level of commitment when you are in a relationship. So the red flags that you see in men are necessary because it helps you to not settle into something that you would be miserable in, later. 

See, you yearn for adventure, love that is never ended, a family. You want weekly date nights, vacations and to try out that new restaurant that just opened. You want to go to that exhibit, even if it is out of state. You desire that life because you live it currently. You are full of life, a ray of sunshine. Yet, coupled with the wrong person, that shimmer will not be as bright. 

While you’re single, I encourage you to not sit around waiting on a man to wife you up. Find you a group a friends, live life, and chase after your purpose. GO! Go on that journey to finding the squad that brightens the light that you already shine. Do not dim your rays because it makes someone feel uncomfortable. That would be a disservice to you. If you have to be single for the rest of your life, so be it! Find contentment in that knowing it is better to be single and full of life, than, married and feeling like you are missing out on living life. 

So let this be the single woman’s anthem on not settling, keeping your standards set, and remembering, WHO YOU ARE! You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)  and a child of a king.

Remember we are in the journey together,

Tips to Reduce Stress

Life can bring about some difficult times that cause unwanted stress. Your enjoyable day can be flipped upside down in seconds. I am literally writing this post as I sit in the dealership getting my car fixed. I was supposed to be having a pool day with close friends but that changed quickly! Fun day quickly turned to business in a matter of seconds. Although, frustrated, I had to find a way to relieve the stress and relax.

Plans can switch unexpectedly, but the way we handle the circumstance, can determine our stress levels. I am sure we all want to keep our mental state, balanced as possible. So I have compiled a quick list of ways to reduce stress.

Tips:

1. Change your perspective

Instead of focusing on the difficult moment, change your perspective, and look at the bright side. Okay you have car trouble, at least you have a car. You have your life, health, strength and means to get it fixed. Whatever your situation is, it could always be worse.

2. Breath

Just pause for a moment and take three deep breathsIncreased heart rate, incline in blood pressureand fast breathing all occur when you are stressed. Breathing exercises help to reduce tension.

3. Acceptance

Accept the situation that happened. There is nothing you can do to change. If you continue to rehash the event in your mind you will continue to have high stress levels. So accept the event and think of ways that can help you cope or solve the issue.

What are some ways you relieve your stress?

We are all in this journey together,