Sunday, December 30, 2018

How Does Your Garden Grow!!

Why, why does this happen??
Every year even before I have taken my Christmas decorations down, the question starts coming in.
“What is your New Year Resolution?”
 I must admit I use to be one of those people who would begin the year by resolving to do this or that.  Exercise, lose weight, start a hobby, go back to school, better my career or any other such thing.
I am not that person anymore.
Everyday I wake up is a day that I am working on myself.  Every day I wake up is a day to accomplish growth.  Every day I wake up is a day to get it right!!
I strive and push towards being a better me every day.  Why would I wait (procrastinate) to the New Year to grow??
I am planting seeds along the way. I wake up every day with the expectation of seeing a blossom break the ground.  The seeds I have put in the ground are not dead, they are planted!  I water them with my blood, sweat and yes, tears!
I also have seeds that were not planted personally by me.  These are seeds that have found me by just being around people who are bloomed.  Because I am in proximity of their open blossoms, the wind occasionally blows pollen from them onto me.  Unexpected blessings!!
So, you see, every day I am planting, tending, anticipating and sometimes surprised by blessings. 
When the clock chimes midnight on December 31st, 2018 and rolls me into January 1st, 2019 I will walk into my garden and Bloom!!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Are You Really That Beautyful!

Recently……. okay being honest it was just today.  I had someone DM me to ask if I REALLY think I am beautiful.  I did not answer the DM and my hope is that person reads my blog because I am choosing to answer the question here.

Do you think you are that beautiful??  Heck Yeah!!

Have you seen this dark ebony skin?  I once paid a lot of money for a purse simply because it was this perfect blend of Hershey’s and Godiva.  So of course, I think being a breathing, talking, walking version of that color is priceless.
Have you seen these large eyes?  Walk into your local pet store and not fall in love with tiniest of puppies with the biggest of eyes.  Go ahead, I dare you!  So of course, when I look in the mirror and these large eyes stare back at me, I fall in love too.
What about them thick thighs?  Have you ever watched a sporting event, especially with women athletes?  The strength and explosion they exhibit with their thighs reminds me of gazelles AND lions!  So of course, whether I am in a pair of Converse or 6-inch heels, I strut on these legs.
Well what about that kinky hair?  Wars were fought, and millions of people died over the soft, frizzy, fluff of cotton.  It costs lives!!  So of course, as I twist, braid, and twirl my kinks into this style or that I feel no less than Cleopatra or Nefertiti.
So again, person in my DM, Do I REALLY think I am worthy of the moniker Beautyful Dark Skin Girl??
Of course, I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who made flowers, sunrises, rainbows and Prince! 😄
A resounding, YES!!
And I hope that you do too!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

What Do You See, When You See Me?

I LOL when I hear them say,
What will she look like today?
But when I walk in they look shocked anyway,
As if I can’t change or grow or Sashay.
If they open themselves up beyond my superficial display,
What will be seen is the illuminated result of this morning’s pray!!
original poem by BeautyfulDarkSkinGirl.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It's Time......When Grace Meets Growth!!

I have been on this awesome journey of spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth.  It has not always been easy, but it has definitely been worth it. 
I am a music lover, especially when song lyrics speak to me and/or a situation, music is a monumental part of my life.  Kirk Franklin has lots of songs with some awesome lyrics.  Though provoking, foot tapping singing in the shower type of music.  One in particular is, It’s Time. 
The lyrics state, “When destiny and victory finally collide, there no sound more sweeter then when God says it’s time!!”  I feel like I am right smack in the middle of this song.
The doors that are opening, the blessings that have been falling in my lap, and the peace that I have been feeling through it all.  In reality I should be exhausted, and probably freaking out with everything going on right now but nope.  Because I know I did not devise this, it also let’s me know I am not in control of it. 
Please don’t think that knowledge negates the fact I have stuff to do!  I won’t be sitting back on my haunches waiting for opportunities to knock on my door.  I am committed to using the gifts God has given me and running down every path He leads me to. 
I am blessed to be a blessing!!
I am a successful to show others they can have success!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#CountryBougie or #BougieCountry

I am coining a new phrase to describe myself, maybe even a hashtag.  Country Bougie.  #countrybougie. 
I discovered this oxymoron during time with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I am from what could be termed as a pretty big city. This Thanksgiving I decided to spend time in a small (almost microscopic) town with my extended family.  I hadn’t been to my dad’s home town since I was a small child, when my mom would send myself and siblings to visit during summer vacations.  During those visits, it was a working farm, so vacation was a term used loosely.  We were up early to start chores until called by my grandmother for breakfast.  Ham, eggs, biscuits, homemade preserves were some of the mouth-watering delicacies we indulged.  But then it was back outside to continue what we started.  Sometimes, I forgot we were supposed to be working.  My siblings and I would run around, play games, and eventually complete our chores.  I loved those summers!!
Soon enough we would become moody teenagers and were given options for our summers.  The thoughts of good food and running around a farm faded to be replaced by boyfriends/girlfriends, summer jobs that paid money, and late rising to a bowl of cereal and Voltron. 
But as I drove down those long roads last week it triggered all those happy memories of years ago.
I strolled around that land and felt a sense of belonging.  Like every step on the ground wrapped around my feet and pulled me into the land.  I became a country girl. 
I had identified before, things that could be country tendencies in my life.  I have been a long lover of Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Darius Rucker, Faith Evans and Tim McGraw.  Even though JJ Grey is more on the bluesy side, I have gone to concerts and festivals solely based on his presence.  I grew up singing folk music while wearing a checkered maxi dress all throughout my elementary school years and still know all the lyrics to Froggy Went A-Courtin’.  I know how to play the auto-harp.  Love horseback riding, baking, and my previously mentioned obsession with barbeque ribs.  Like I said, country tendencies.
 But here’s the kicker……I am bougie too!!
I love designer handbags, make-up, and business suits with high heels.  I change my hair about every three weeks or so and get mani/pedi’s with equal frequency.  Sure, I love country foods but also admire Indian, Asian, Italian, and French.  Along with country artist, I also listen to Jazz, Opera, R&B, and Neo-Soul music.  Yep, not full blown bougie, but definitely on the bougie spectrum.
Hench my new term/hashtag.  I am now inventing myself to be Country Bougie or Bougie Country interchangeably.  There is not really a difference between the two, it mostly depends on the playlist of the day.  J

Monday, November 19, 2018

Meditate on This!!

I open my eyes give thanks to God for another day to try and get it right.  I take a deep breath and I try to cut out all the clutter that started immediately upon awaking. 
What am I wearing to work?  How many meetings do I have today?  Where am I on this or that project?  How are the kids, my family, my friends? What devotional am I sending out to my group this morning?  And so on, and so on…….

Something needed to change, that would allow me to focus first thing in the morning.
Now my morning regimen includes a ten to fifteen-minute quiet meditation.  I go into quiet reflection to clear out the cobweb of last night’s sleep but more importantly to bring peace before the roar of a busy day.  Besides being next to the ocean, it’s the time I hear God’s voice the clearest.  No, it’s not a conversational type of hearing, it is more to a knowing or nudging that allows me focus.
It is amazing how hard it is to meditate.  The effort it takes to tune out your own thoughts, let alone to just be still in the moment, is not easy at all.  I am not quite sure how Deepak and Oprah got so good at it! 
But I recently came across book by Justine Brooks Froelker called,Glorifying Him Through and In Our Self-Care, that offered some wonderful techniques to facilitate my morning meditation.

1. Color in an adult coloring book. -When I say adult, I mean don’t steal your child’s Barney one.  There are great coloring books at Barnes and Noble or even better your local neighborhood book store.
2. Use an app like: Head Space, OMG I Can Meditate, Calm, Mind Valley Academy 6 Phase Meditation or Oprah and Deepak’s app.  -I use my earbuds and listen to Abide through YouTube.
3. Watch a candle flame. -Pick your favorite scent and include sight, smell, and sound (or the lack thereof)
4. Use a scented essential oil. Rub it on your hands and wrists and sit quietly. When you get distracted, smell your wrists and refocus your mind.

5. Listen to the same instrumental song every single day.- It doesn't have to be some new age stuff either.  Pick an instrumental version of your favorite gospel, soul, or country song.  
6. Count your breaths, inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4 and so on. Only count to 10. Then start back at 1. Repeat for ten minutes.
7. A real-time feedback tool. Muse provides you with nature sounds for feedback, such as birds chirping when you are in the calm state.
8. Close your eyes, breathe and repeat your favorite, comforting Bible verse. -My favorite is a verse we recited every Sunday at the church I grew up in.  Psalms 19:14- Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Go ahead and give it a try.  Then come back and let me know if adding those few minutes of reflection to the beginning of your day helps you handle the chaos of the remainder.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Don't Miss The Beautyful in Your Own Back Yard!!

As I was working from home today I happen to look up from my computer and saw this!  Amazing right!  Don't get me wrong, I love to travel and I try to be on the go at all times.  But we also have to remember to see the beautyfulness of right where we are! Right now, be present in this moment.
What do you see from your window?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Could I ever be Vegan/Vegetarian………Probably Not!

My base for eating partners has broaden significantly as of recently.  Before this sudden and unexpected (God is so good) surge, you could count on maybe a hand and a half, of who I would be sitting across the table from for any meal.  Going out to eat included my twins, my sister, and my sister friends.  I would occasionally have lunch with a co-worker or two but, since most of my lunches are spent at my desk, those are few and far between.
But now, I have this sudden influx of eating partners and by chance (?) the majority are either vegan or vegetarian.   This could be solely related to the fact I have been breaking bread with more bloggers, writers, and poets.  I don’t believe being vegan or vegetarian is a requirement when selecting those as your chosen field???  But it has become increasingly suspicious since the percentage rate of vegan or vegetarian meal choices by my eating partners are related to those professions. 
I consider myself to be a foodie.  I have and will try any variety of foods.  I used to say I would try anything at least once, but I have seen enough episodes of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern shows to know that is a blatant lie.  Tempt me to try a Coconut Tree Grub or Horse Rib and Rectum Sausage, and you should have the Fear Factor barf bucket at the ready. 
I have not found that to be the case for vegan/vegetarian foods.  There have been times when ordering and eating a vegan meal, I have forgot to be upset about my meal being meat, dairy, or eggs free. 
I recently went to an awesome local vegan restaurant with another writer.  After perusing the menu, I ordered the Sheep’s Pie.  It is the vegan equivalent of the classic Shepard’s Pie from the perspective of the sheep instead of the shepherd.  It came with peas, carrots and mushrooms in gravy covered with fluffy mashed potatoes.  I opted to add Seitan, wheat gluten, as my meat substitute.  Honestly, had my stomach not been to capacity I would have licked the dish clean! It was that good!
I am also cooking more vegetable-based meals at home.  My commute home from work is pretty lengthy, so by the time I arrive home it is late.  My go-to meal on those days is typically, olive oil sautéed veggies and riced cauliflower.  Even when I have 2 to 3 servings of both, my calorie count is minimal, and I am done cooking in roughly 10 minutes.  So, I guess, I am currently bordering on the Lacto-vegetarian spectrum.  Lacto-vegetarians include some dairy products, such as milk and cheese, in their plant-based diet.
So, as you can see, I am probably 80% close to being allowed to call myself a writer/blogger.  But here is the kicker………. RIBS!!!
I have such a love of ribs that, get this, I may or may not have dated someone just a little longer than I should just because he could barbeque the H#&& out of some ribs!!  I am not saying it was right, just stating the facts!  It’s not about the entirety of the pig either.  I have NEVER liked pigs’ feet, pig ears, chitlin’s, or hog maws.  Please don’t revoke my southern black card.  I also have no problem with saying no to ham or bacon (I mostly eat turkey bacon now anyway).  But just the smell of ribs cooking on the grill sends my glands to salivation. 
Once upon a time I did attempt to walk away from them.  The first time I heard Prince say he didn’t serve ribs as lyrics to “Get Off”, I wanted to oblige my bae’s wish.  If Prince could not get me to leave ribs alone, let’s just say I am going to need a direct word from Jesus y’all! 
So, to my newly obtained vegan/vegetarian blogger, writer, poet friends please be aware.  One of these days when asked to pick the restaurant to meet at, do not be surprised when you pull into Big Boy’s Southern Style Barbeque!!  I would suggest ordering a slice of white bread, that would be your sole choice that day!!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Voice

" There is a voice inside of you That whispers all day long, "I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong." No teacher, preacher, parent, friend Or wise man can decide What's right for you--just listen to The voice that speaks inside." ~ Shel Silverstein
This poem reminds me to listen for God's voice at all times and nothing needs to be done with a shout, that can not be done with a whisper.
I will let you in on a little secret, whispering has more control than yelling.
Don’t believe me?
Try yelling at someone, then whisper.
Which requires more attention of what is being said?