patches.

Well, those of you who follow me on social media know that I entered a new chapter of my life this weekend: I became a mom.

A DOG mom! 🐶💙

Yes, my boyfriend and I had the joy of getting a new German Shepherd/pitbull mix puppy, and we named him Patches (after a stuffed dog my mom had when I was growing up that also had a patch over his eye!). Every time in the past I’d thought about getting a dog, I’d had major hesitations because I knew things would change. I would no longer be dealing with just myself, but with another living and breathing being as well. Which meant dealing with pee and poop, giving it exercise, training it, not leaving it alone for too long, etc.

But there was just something different about this time. Maybe I just felt the attachment after I’d seen Patches’ picture, and I longed to understand what the connection was. Of course, my boyfriend was all for getting him too. ☺️ Whatever it was, it led me to agree to getting him. We’ve already had fun in the past two days 😂 if you think having a puppy poop in your passenger seat is fun. He did it on an old t-shirt though, to which I say, GREAT AIM, PATCHES! 🙌🏽

a little, 4-legged teacher

I definitely did not go into the weekend thinking that I would begin this new week with a new responsibility. Taking care of plants is one thing; taking care of an animal is COMPLETELY different! I had always been nervous about it just because I live in such a small space, and having a dog would mean having to do different things (keeping plugs/wires off the floor, not dropping specific foods, not being able to diffuse essential oils, keeping the plants away from it so it wouldn’t dig them up, etc.).

But as I spent today away from him because of work, I considered that maybe Patches being in my life was changing up things for me for the better. Keeping things off the floor meant my apartment would be cleaner (not saying that I’m a total pig or anything, but sheesh, catch my apartment in the middle of a work week, and it’s not really pristine 😅). I’d be tending to my plants more regularly since I’ll have to be sure they’re out of his reach. Putting him on a schedule means I can’t be super flexible with my own schedule like I used to be i.e. I can’t hit snooze on my alarms or try to sleep in knowing that I have to take him out to pee in the morning so I can get my own day started.

And while I know I’m only in the beginning days of my time with Patches, and things won’t always be fun or easy, I am grateful to have this opportunity to be a mom to him! I feel like he’ll teach me lessons I wouldn’t get to learn if I didn’t have him in my life – some things I’ll share with you all, and some things I’ll keep to myself. I also feel like watching him grow will be such an experience for me. Like from little-bitty puppy to giant dog, and then to see how much he learns in that time? My heart 😭

Not to mention, my sister has a dog, some of my co-workers have dogs too, so we’ll now have ALL THE DOG DATES! 🙌🏽

jump in

My decision to have Patches join me in my journey of life truly was me just jumping in without second-guessing everything. Okay, maybe there was some slight thinking about it, but I knew that if I continued to cycle through thoughts of what could go wrong, what may be frustrating, or any other negativity, I’d talk myself out of it.

I also had thoughts about being prepared: was I in the right time in my life to take care of a dog? Would my attention be mostly on it, and not on the other things I wanted to accomplish? Don’t get me wrong, these are all good things to think about; don’t jump into a decision if you KNOW you aren’t financially capable, you don’t have the time, you can’t commit, etc. I know I’m no dog expert, but I’m willing to learn, and that right there should be enough! I know that I won’t make the right decisions all the time, but I’m willing to learn from them, and do things differently when the time comes.

And, most importantly, be sure to PRAY ABOUT IT. If you feel the Holy Spirit telling you it’s not time yet, listen. If you feel Him saying that that choice is not good for you at all, don’t try to come up with excuses on how it is a good choice for you. He will guide you to the things that will be best for you, so TRUST HIM! Because sometimes He’ll lead you into just going for it, and seeing what happens!

*To all the pet parents reading this: What are some things you learned through having a pet? Were you fully prepared for everything that came with it? What are some tips you might have for a new pet parent like me?

*To all my readers: Do you tend to just jump into a new experience, or do you have to list out every single pro and con? What is something you’ve been dwelling on, or something that’s come up in your life several times that you’re tempted to just jump into? What are the thoughts that are causing you to hesitate? Thinking about these things, are you at peace with the decision you’ve made/you’re about to make?

Mishy 🦋💙

weakness.

Strength. Weakness.

At the end of May, I did a Words with Women event based on these two things, discussing what it means to be “strong” or “weak” as a woman. The conversation was truly amazing…I loved hearing each woman’s perspective and thoughts on these themes. And it’s crazy how God will lead you to some topics, and then bring them back up as time goes on.

Last week, I thought about weakness.

It was my second week being back at work, y’all, and I was TIRED. My feet had been hurting from walking and standing around again after three months of resting them. I’d been getting back to my heavier workouts so almost each night, my body would ache from a previous workout I’d done. Not to mention, since going back to work, I’m now only getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night because that’s just when I’m able to manage hitting my bed after getting off work, working out, eating, showering, and spending a little time for myself through writing, reading, or playing the game (I recently got a Nintendo Switch with my boyfriend, so that’s been fun to play for the past week-and-a-half!).

But one morning last week, I was just feeling so weak. Like I wasn’t prepared to get through the day because my energy was spent…and it was only Tuesday!

Then I began to think about these verses in the Bible:

“But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“My Grace is sufficient for you…”

The context of these verses is that the writer Paul is discussing the “thorn in his flesh” that he’d prayed God would take away from him several times, but God replied with the verses above. While I’m not sure exactly what Paul’s “thorn in his flesh” was (2 Corinthians 12:7 leans towards a spiritual battle as he refers to a “messenger of Satan”) I know I can definitely relate to having “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” of my own, no matter what they may be!

But it is only through weakness that we can truly and fully become stronger, and that strength isn’t our own, but is solely through dependence on the Lord. We can’t sit in the comfortability of always being strong, wise, certain, or successful, and expect to learn, to mature, to grow, to become even stronger than we are now. There has to be a period of weakness. And through both times of strength and weakness, we have to lean into God.

Tula’s strength.

Those who follow me on social media know that Tula, my pink hibiscus plant, has finally bloomed after about a month of being barren. She would have buds form, and then they’d fall off. I was so crushed that she wasn’t blooming, and I even wrote a poem about this phase of her life cycle as a metaphor for the phase I was in with my poetry (which also seemed to be lacking). But after researching and experimenting (i.e., making my own insecticide to spray on her) she opened up a big, beautiful pink flower a couple of weekends ago, and surprisingly, it stayed around for about 2.5 days.

My yellow hibiscus plant (Reyna) has flowers that only last about one full day and start to shrivel and close back up. When I mentioned this difference to my boyfriend, he said that maybe after being dormant for so long and fighting off those pests, she came back stronger. Tula has become yet another metaphor for my life, and maybe even for your life too!

We all go through phases of weakness, and it looks different for each person. The phase could be long or short; it could deal with different aspects of life. It could be something you really have to persist through, or something that takes one moment of getting over. In any case, we must be able to withstand the phase to become stronger. But, how do we do that?

embrace it!

It is good to actively do something about your weakness! The first step should be to go to God for wisdom on which steps to take, and He will graciously show you the things you need to do. It could be setting boundaries, doing more in an area, getting help, admitting weakness to someone close to you, etc. In this, I believe that we truly need to embrace the weakness, and understand that it is not our own power that will carry us through.

A lot of times people will cry out to God only when they’re at the end of their rope: when they’ve tried any and everything to improve their situation. When really, as soon as we realize the weakness we’re in, that’s when we have to understand that it is an opportunity for God’s strength to shine through us. He may be allowing you to go through something so that your testimony of that time will point back to Him!

So, as you go through your daily life, and as you encounter different times in which you feel weak, remind yourself that it is a time in which you can really see God work in you and through you! Don’t be so quick to beg Him to take it away, but allow Him to teach you through the weakness, and to show you just how powerful He is!

Mishy 🦋💛

lessons from Itachi.

“He who forgives and acknowledges himself…that is what it truly means to be strong!”

“If you want to know who you are, you have to look at your real self and acknowledge what you see.”

– Itachi Uchiha, Naruto Shippuden

***Disclaimer: I finished Naruto Shippuden with my boyfriend recently, and I truly fell in love with the whole Naruto franchise. There is so much depth in that show, it’s crazy. While I understand that identity crisis can truly only be healed through understanding our identity in Christ, I just thought it was awesome how these two quotes were brought to my attention, and have helped me do some self-reflection about my own identity. Just had to say that 😁

I was looking up a specific Itachi Uchiha quote for the pictures I took yesterday in my Akatsuki tank top (because Itachi is my favorite Akatsuki member in Naruto. I went through a lot of emotions regarding him, but he truly is amazing), and I found these other quotes that I resonated with heavily. This past week I had to come to terms with some things I’d already come to terms with previously, but had to think about again. And it honestly made me annoyed and irritated at myself; like I couldn’t get it right the first time, so here I am, having to start over again, or so it felt like.

There were so many things last week that grabbed my attention: the message I heard from God about looking through His eyes, several devotionals I’d read through this week, hard conversations that needed to be had, being by myself and facing things on my own, writing habits down that I needed to break, hearing yesterday’s sermon about my identity in Christ, how I am not to love the world and what it stands for, but to be in the world, and speak the Gospel, the Truth, and now these quotes. Everything that happened last week needed to happen before this new week began, before I went back to work, and back to possibly being busy again (I hope not).

Both of these Itachi’s quotes, I believe, are from when he was fighting with Kabuto, another main character, one of the villains, whose whole story is about finding out exactly who he is. He struggles by trying to take on traits and skills of other characters in the show, and ultimately, does his best to become just like another one of the main villains, Orochimaru by transfusing some of his blood into his body, and doing other experiments. He does all this because he is unsure of what his true identity is.

Itachi’s words were directed at Kabuto’s story, telling him that he needed to acknowledge who he was outside of all his efforts to try to become someone else.

Let’s talk about the first quote…

As I said before, having to face some issues I had already been dealing with again just made me irritated with myself. It made me want to mentally beat myself up, like, Seriously, why have you not moved past this yet? It can be hard to forgive other people, but for me, it really is hard to forgive myself for things I’ve done or said. And I use the excuse sometimes that because it’s me and not another person, I can be more harsh about it, which isn’t right. It’s that perfectionist side really trying to get at me.

It also makes me not want to acknowledge who I am; to be transparent, I’ve been having issues accepting the fact that I’m just not like everyone else. There’s this silent pressure I put myself under to be a certain way, either because I’m a poet or because I’m dating a rapper, or whatever, and it’s been difficult for me to learn to just be who I am because the people who are actively in my life are there because I was authentically myself, and not trying to be like anyone else.

Admittedly, it’s taken some strength to embrace myself as I am. So Itachi’s first words here really hit me when I read them. And I strive to continue to be strong in forgiving myself even when I still stumble into comparing myself or desiring to be something or someone I’m not.

And now, the second quote…

I feel like a lot of people could read this quote and be like, “DUH, Itachi!” But how many of us look at ourselves in the mirror and wish we looked like someone else? How many times do we do something or act a certain way, and wish we could be different? Do we wish we could be more or less of anything…loud, quiet, brave, creative, etc.? Or, how many times do we watch someone else behave a certain way, and long to be similar?

When Itachi says “real self,” I’d like to think it means seeing me stripped of all outside opinions…what is left? How do I see myself, not in relation to anyone or anything? Then, can I slowly add on outside factors that are true to form my identity – the things that I personally believe, that stand for who I am, and not things I claimed are a part of me based off of anyone or anything else?

Knowing who we really are is understanding our character traits, personalities, and physical features, and accepting them as they are because that’s who God made us to be…not because we changed ourselves to fit in someway, somehow. It doesn’t mean we can’t mature or change, but here in this moment, we have to acknowledge ourselves, and be more than okay with the way we are.

And most importantly, we have to know that God acknowledges us as we are. He loves us so much, that He longs for us to come as we are to Him. We don’t have to be all “cleaned up,” we don’t have to have a perfect performance history, we don’t have to have perfect church attendance, He’s just asking us to be vulnerable with Him, and to surrender our identity to Him, because He sees us as we are, and He desires for us to see ourselves the way He sees us – fearfully and wonderfully made.

Who says an anime can’t help you learn something? 😉

Have you ever felt like Kabuto: searching for your true identity by taking on other people’s characteristics, styles, views/beliefs, routines? Have you ever tried to make yourself physically look like someone else because you didn’t like what you saw in the mirror? How would you define your “real self”? When was the last time you went to God as you are: not trying to ask for things, not trying to appear “better” than you are or feel, but truly calling on Him in vulnerability?

Mishy 🦋💛

intentions.

It’s June 1st, which means for me, a new color for the month (even though I’m a little behind on the #BrownSkinGirlProject, it doesn’t hurt to have a few more brown girls on my feed, especially in the times we’re in right now).

Today wasn’t just a change of color for my social media though; it was a change of color in my spirit. With everything going on in the world, we all still each have our own personal battles we deal with, and honestly, mine have been pretty heavy and consistent. You may think, What? You don’t seem like it… but it’s true. I may not portray on social media my internal struggles, but I still have them.

And as I cleaned my entire apartment (I’m talking…from bathroom to bedroom, the bed sheets and kitchen towels, the counters and inside the fridge…DEEP CLEANING), my spirit just kept bringing up this word and phrase: “intentions”, “set your intentions.”

Now, of course, we all have goals and plans, and of course, many of those goals and plans went straight out the window from March to even now. We’re entering the second half of 2020, and there are a lot of unknowns still. A lot of heartbreak. A lot of changes and movements happening. And underneath this all is an overarching theme of healing…we’re all still trying to heal from things, whether it’s COVID-19 related, racism related, or something else personal going on in your life.

I looked up the definition of “intention,” and Oxford Languages via Google not only gave the “aim” or “plan” definition, it also provided this one:

“the healing process of a wound”

How ironic is that? Or maybe it’s not ironic at all; the Holy Spirit set that word on my heart for a reason or two. And I aim to write down every intention I have for this last half of the year, and to pray on each one and work towards those things coming into fruition, and healing after so much negativity, pain, and hurt.

I refuse to settle in this place I’ve been in.

Last month as I was mentally preparing for June, I was thinking about what words were brought to mind when the color yellow is seen. Of course, we think of the obvious ones: bright, joyful, exciting, inspiring, bold, confident. And now, the word I have for yellow is intention. The beautiful thing about this is that this isn’t just another project or set of posts for my feed, but it’s something personal I’m setting my mind to doing; I’m actively choosing to engage in this healing process of the wounds I’ve been digging my fingers in for way too long.

As my sis Cydney would say, I was manifesting my own downfall. And today, it’s time for that to end in ALL AREAS of my life.

Today, I cleaned my room. I prayed for God to clean my spirit. I cleaned my mind. I am abounding in my intentions.

What are some intentions that you have set for the last half of 2020? How are you healing with everything going on in our world? What steps can you take in your healing process?

Mishy 🦋💛

reality.

Well, y’all, it’s official. A set date has been made for when I’ll be returning to work, and it all seems so surreal. Part of me wonders how I’ll be once I do return; will I go back to the same habit of being constantly busy? I really hope not; seeing the hours I’m going to work though, I’m nervous that it’ll just be going back to same old, same old for me.

But I still have about three weeks left of social distancing, so I’m going to take advantage of it as much as possible!

Even though going back to work seems like going “back to reality,” I know for a fact it won’t be the same. Already, we’re having to change so many ways in which we need to do things; I’m afraid the place that I worked at before will never return to be the way it was even months after we return.

Don’t get me wrong, it will be sweet to reunite with my coworkers, and to see what new children I’ll get to have this summer. But a part of me does wish I could have had just one more week with the kids I had for this past school year. Even if I was rippin’ and runnin’ this semester (well, most of the school year), I still enjoyed my kids. I enjoyed teaching with my co-teachers, and getting to talk with them, not only about school things, but also about our lives.

And I could say that the routine was bearable, but maybe now I can have a better handle on how I do things from here on out when it comes to the time I do have outside of work.

Another part of me feels sort of selfish because I know that while I’ve had practically ten weeks off, there have been so many people who have continued to work, either on the front lines as essential workers, or from home. For some, it has picked up their workload even more so, and I do want to say how grateful I am for those who have been continuing to work through this whole pandemic time.

I can only continue to pray that even before I go back to work, things will get better. Life will return to when we can all be in large groups together without face masks, and without the concern that we may be endangering each other. And I can also pray that, when it is time for me to return to work, that I won’t return to the same habits that I had, but will be more present, more aware of how I’m feeling, more willing to sacrifice a routine or schedule to do things I feel led to do instead of doing things I “have” to do outside of work, and more grateful for the way things are, because things change quicker than we can blink our eyes.

What are some things you’ve learned that you can take with you once a routine away from social distancing starts for you? How can you be sure that you’ll stick to those things moving forward?

Mishy 🦋🤎

meet pops. 🌿

Story time!

It’s been a minute since I’ve told a story on here, so I’m excited that I get to indulge y’all in something different!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I posted a picture of this little guy on my story this past week, asking who wanted to hear a story about him…

I also asked my followers what I should name him, and after only several good name choices were offered (Xavier, Edward, Jeffrey, Pops) I decided to go with “Pops” because of what this plant has gone through. And here’s where I’ll explain…

it looks like the end…

One night, my boyfriend closed my porch door. Normally, Pops is on the complete opposite side of where the door shuts so that he isn’t in danger of getting shut by the door.

So, you see what happened then…

Yes, my boyfriend accidentally shut him in the door, causing many of his little leaves to come off, and the top half of one of his branches completely came off. I felt many emotions…sad, upset, frustrated. I had watched this little succulent grow in over a year after my stepdad gave him to me for Valentine’s Day 2019. He was the only plant that I kept alive since Reyna and Tula 1.0 were unfortunately not taken care of properly last summer. And suddenly, he’d been crushed because, as my boyfriend put it, “He got up and walked toward the door without him seeing.” 😭

I honestly felt like Pops was going to die after that, and I was so sad about it (this was before I got my hibiscus plants, Reyna and Tula 2.0). I loved watching him gain new leaves, and I eventually wanted to repot him this summer.

pop go the new leaves

You read it right!

After several days of continuing to water Pops and give him as much sun as he needed, I took a good look at him, and noticed that there were little new leaves popping up where the old leaves had been (I guess those old leaves were dead).

I couldn’t have been happier! I’m really glad I didn’t throw him away when he got crushed, because now I get to see the new growth happening first hand! 😍🌱

let’s talk about us

As I thought about Pops’ story, I thought about us as people. There are a lot of things in life that can and will crush us at some point, and in those moments, we have choices to make. We can either throw all the potential we have stored within ourselves away, and give into what crushed us, or we can choose to try to keep growing and striving toward moving past it.

Of course, I encourage us to do the latter; we are so much more capable of healing if we give ourselves time. But too often, if we don’t heal in the time we desire, we can tend to give up, or try to take shortcuts to healing by just pretending everything is okay.

A plant may be able to pretend things are okay by looking okay for a small period of time. But then what happens? One day, it starts to droop, or it loses leaves, visibly showing that it’s not okay, that it needs water, sunlight, or fertilizer. And the same goes with us as people!

Pops was a great reminder for me to keep going, even when I’m being crushed by a heavy emotion or event in my life. He also is a great reminder to keep taking care of myself with whatever I may need spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. And I hope you’re reminded of this as well!

What’s something in your life that’s been a great reminder? It can be a plant, an animal, a game, an event, etc. What was the lesson it reminded you of? Did it change the way you view yourself or others?

Mishy 🦋🤎

surrender.

I just had to surrender.

Sometimes, when I want to create something new, be it a poem or full on project, I get frustrated when it doesn’t come to me quickly. I try to think of new ways to do things, try to look things up, brainstorm, and nothing will come.

But there’s something about that moment of surrender…

When you just roll with the punches, when you just go on about your day, doing the things you had in mind to do, or letting the day unfold before you; I find that it’s in THOSE times…an idea is formed. I truly believe my best ideas are God sent, and I believe He won’t send them until I surrender the process to Him. Because if I try hard to think of something, and end up with a plan, more than likely, I’ll pat myself on the back for it than give God the credit.

So I’m grateful for the times He reminds me to just let Him work. To just keep my hands open to receive what He has for me.

I did a lot of letting go this morning as I started my day, and I feel like it made my day go 10x’s smoother than when I’ve just got a closed fist over everything. Keeping my hand shut tight gives me the illusion of control, when in reality, it only hinders me from opening my eyes and heart to the things around me, to other things I haven’t thought of.

I encourage you: surrender. Wherever you are and whatever you’ve got going on, open up that hand of yours. Release any sense of control you think you have or should have, and ask God to open your eyes.

I believe that what He reveals to you will be more beautiful, more extravagant than you can imagine!

How hard is it for you to surrender? What are some things you might need to let go of to make room for God to show you something new?

Mishy 🦋🤍

learn.

Katsushika Hokusai.

How many of you know what I’m talking about? Maybe if you’re an art major/minor, you do. Or, if you’re just someone who’s into art, you know. Or, if you’re of Japanese decent, you might know as well!

Here, I’ll give you a hint…

Chances are, this is more familiar to you!

Yesterday, I received a long-awaited package: a cover for my MacBook Air. I’d ordered it maybe two weeks ago, and it finally came in! After a little struggle, I was able to snap on the case, and now I have this beautiful copied piece of work displayed on the back of my laptop.

It’s called Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave).

Honestly, I’ve seen pictures of this wave before, and knew it was a famous art piece, but didn’t know anything about it. And as I sat here thinking about what I wanted to blog about today, I looked at my laptop and thought, Maybe I should learn more about this painting.

so, I Google’d it…

The first thing I found out was that it actually isn’t a painting, but a ukiyo-e, a Japanese woodblock print made in during what was apparently the Edo period. This print in particular is a polychrome (multi-colored) woodblock print, made with ink and color on paper! And this particular piece is actually a part of a series of prints that Katsushika Hokusai did back in the early 1830s entitled Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji.

So, because this print was a part of that series, Mount Fuji had to be somewhere in this piece! And I never realized it, but the site where I got the information from showed where on this particular print Mount Fuji was located on:

Scroll up and look at the picture as a whole now, and find where Mount Fuji is located!

look it up!

There is so much more information I could share with you guys about this piece, but I really wanted to talk about what I thought as I continued reading about it. There are many things (images, written works, etc.) that maybe many of us just take at face value. We know they’re well-known, but we won’t take the time to figure out why. We won’t try to understand who the person was behind something that was created, we just slightly acknowledge it, and move on.

I feel like we need to be better at learning more, instead of just letting things we don’t know about pass us by. We are living in the age where we have TONS of information at our fingertips, yet we only use a fraction of it on a daily basis. Why don’t we use it to learn about things that maybe aren’t as significant or needed in our lives?

There are a lot of things going on in people’s lives, I understand this. So I know that looking up the history behind a piece of artwork or band or era may be “wasting time” to some, but truly, when I think about it SO MUCH stuff has happened in times when we weren’t even born, and even now! And when we’ve got the technology to understand and learn, why don’t we?

With the time we have right now, there’s really no excuse!

So think: What’s something you’ve been curious about? Is it a musician, a piece of artwork, an event in history, a subject / theme of the Bible? What’s a question you’ve pondered before, but never bothered to try to find the answer to?

It doesn’t have to be a skill or hobby that you need to put into practice! It can just be some more knowledge to tuck into your belt.

Mishy 🦋🤍

*Source used for The Great Wave information: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/south-east-se-asia/japan-art/a/hokusai-under-the-wave-off-kanagawa-the-great-wave

at PEACE or relaxed?

Yesterday, I wrote about my personal experience with PEACE and FREEDOM, and I mentioned that there’s a difference between being at peace and relaxing.

This is something I’m learning: It’s too easy to grasp for anything that we think will “bring us peace” or “be our peace,” when really, the things we go for are more relaxing than peace-giving. We are living in a time when we have EVERYTHING at our fingertips, so we have the option to use ANYTHING: TV shows, movies, and music to escape. Social media to create a persona of ourselves that we feel people might like better than who we really are. Bubble baths just to sit and breathe. Food we can indulge in, and it can even get delivered straight to us through so many 3rd party businesses. Alcohol and drugs to numb ourselves, money or the act of spending it to try to make us feel secure. We can even try to find peace in our jobs, overworking ourselves to distract us from the chaos that is occurring in our hearts.

But are these things bringing peace or are they just relaxing? Let’s talk about the differences…

What Relaxing Looks Like…

Relaxing is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “reducing tension or anxiety.” The root word relax is defined as “make or become less tense or anxious.” Any definition of these words uses the words “reduce” or “lessen.” Which means, if something is relaxing to you, it only temporarily relieves any stress, worry, anxiety, or fear that you’ve been feeling.

So all the things I mentioned in the second paragraph of this post are relaxing…they only relieve a stressful thought, situation, or person for a short time. You can be doing one of those things, and something will cause you to think about something that will bring your mind back to being stressed and anxious again. The comfort lasts as long as the relaxing activity lasts, or sometimes shorter.

Now, I’m not saying that doing any of these things is wrong (except alcohol and drug addiction), I’m just saying they cannot bring about true peace. They cannot end the restlessness you feel. It’s like slapping a bandaid on a cut; the bandaid doesn’t heal the wound, it simply shields it from infection and irritation.

What Peace Looks Like…

Peace is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility” or “a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.” It is more conclusive, more final than relaxation is.

When you’re at peace, despite anxious thoughts looming in the back of your mind, you do not waver. Your mind is free from any possible tension or worry. It doesn’t mean the situations or people that cause the stress/fear/anxiety do not exist, but it means you’re capable of not being bothered by it. You can be at peace with a situation or a person, and that means you’ve come to a conclusion that you no longer are concerned about.

And this is why it’s so important to understand these differences, and what we choose to be our peace and our ultimate comfort versus what simply takes our mind off of things for the moment. If we believe peace comes from temporary things and activities, we may feel hopeless that peace even exists. But if we place it on the One Thing (God) that can truly wash our worries away, then we can continue to move forward and hope.

I remember writing a post last year about the whole “be his peace” phrase. People may read this post and think, “Well, I feel at peace when I’m with my friends, family, significant other, etc. Why can’t that be true?” And I do think that being around certain people who encourage you and make you feel safe is possible. In no way am I saying that things or people that allow you to relax are wrong; it’s not bad to have people in your life who relieve your stress, in fact, I hope you have more of those people and less of those who will cause stress, anxiety, fear, and worry!

The main question is: what in your life fixes the issues, and what just temporarily relieves them? And which one do you depend on/put your faith in?

Now that we’ve discussed the differences…

  • What are things that relax/relieve you?
  • What is your peace rooted in?
  • Who are the people in your life who help encourage you, relieve your stressful moments? Thank them today! Tell them you appreciate them!

Mishy ✌🏽🦋

distractions.

“Are you down to beeeee…a distraction, baby?”

Anyone know what song that is?? Anyone?? Let me know in the comments if it’s your jam too (I’ve literally had it as my ringtone since it came out in 2016 lol 😄)

*Pause the Post* Can I Be Vulnerable with You?

I almost didn’t post this because as I was writing it, I realized that it was like some notes I would’ve taken for a Motivational Mishy Monday episode, and a HUGE part of me was like, You gotta save this! Don’t post this yet, make this the first episode of the next season when it’s time!

But after days and days of sitting and thinking on this, I realized that if I kept these things to myself for a later day just to have content to post, I could totally be missing out encouraging someone who needs to hear this right now. And how selfish of me to not be able to encourage and inspire someone now just because I wanted to have something to post later because that isn’t the point of what I do.

All that to say! This content is now yours. 😊 And I’m more than happy to give it to you today 💚 As a creative, I’m really paying attention to my mindset and motives as I move forward with everything I’ve got going on presently. And presently, to be honest: Motivational Mishy Mondays is at the back of my mind right now, and that’s okay. Because I still have this platform to encourage when I can in the midst of other projects and things going on! 🙌🏽

So! Onto the true topic of this post…

Before I started writing this, I was scrolling through Instagram, and back-to-back was hit with some posts about distractions, and not letting them consume our lives so much that we don’t do what we need to do, or we don’t live our lives fully.

Of course, feeling convicted, I got off Instagram and began writing this post. Because I know I could spend a good amount of time just scrolling through people’s feeds and stories and whatnot, when I could be getting some work done. And I’ve got a lot of work to do, which is a good thing!

On an episode of that lovely podcast I wrote about a few weeks ago, Pray Plan Slay, the host talked about the 2 P’s: perfection and procrastination, and how both of these can hinder the manifestation and success of the visions and dreams we all pursue. I honestly struggle with both of these, although I am getting better. But right now, I know I’m wrestling hard with procrastination, and distractions feed into this so heavily.

I distract myself with so many things, like cleaning my apartment (giving the excuse that it needs to be done, or my mental state can’t handle it being unclean and disorganized) and scrolling through Instagram, causing me to compare myself and start a spiral of negative thoughts that have taken me completely far from any motivation to do anything. But I can also distract myself with other projects that, even though I should be working on them at some point, they aren’t the priority right now, and I should be working on more pressing things that are coming up.

Okay, So, How Do We Fight It?

As I say all the time when I’m giving advice or motivating, I give these tips to myself while I give them to you. Because everyone faces distractions, even the person who seems to have everything all planned, organized, and figured out. Who knows how long it’s taken the people who we deem self-disciplined to actually learn how to be that way? 🤷🏽‍♀️

Here’s a few tips on how we fight the distractions…

1. Pray About It.

I’m telling, y’all, it WORKS! Ask God to remove the distractions out of your life, whether it’s a certain chore, a certain thing, or even a certain person! Ask Him to center your mind on the things that you need to accomplish, and for strength to continue that focus.

Remember to lean on the power of the Lord in your weakest moments, and trust that He’ll bring you through it. He is more than capable of providing the motivation you need to do what you need and want to do! You simply need to ask!

2. Don’t Even Go There

Sometimes, we know what our distractions are, where they tend to be, but we choose to go down that road anyway, using excuses like, “I’ll just be on there for like five minutes!” or “It’ll just take a second, I’ll be there and back in no time!” But we know ourselves, and we know it’ll take longer than we say it will, maybe because we prolong it ourselves, or we just allow the distraction to take us away.

If you know something or someone is a distraction from what you need to be doing, don’t. Even. Go. There. Don’t even place yourself in that position to begin distracting yourself from what you need to do! Avoid it until you get the task(s) done, and do not make excuses for the distractions. Just don’t even go there if you know you’ll be there longer than you need to be!

3. Prioritize

If you’re getting distracted by something that should be done, but not right at this second, take the time to write out a list of priorities from MOST IMPORTANT to least important. Take this topic for example: I’m currently working on blogging more consistently, and not on videos for Motivational Mishy Monday’s. So, if I’m prioritizing correctly, then this topic should be used now, and not wait until later because this blog is of most importance currently.

I don’t write that to say that it isn’t wise to plan ahead; of course it is! And if you come up with something, sometimes it may be wise to wait it out and let it build instead of just throwing it out there immediately. But if you’re constantly feeling the nudge (aka the Holy Spirit) telling you it’s time, or bringing it back to your attention, or showing you things that tell you, Hmm, I feel the need to do this, then it may be time to go ahead and DO THE THANG!

Prioritize the things that are happening sooner rather than later! Don’t heavily work on something that’s due in a month until you finish the task that’s due in a week!

4. Get Out Ya Feelings

It’s good to feel and acknowledge emotions, be them positive or negative. But I find that wallowing in mostly negative emotions can cause me to be distracted from the things I need to do. If I’m in my feelings about something, I can either choose to continue putting myself through that negative cycle, therefore hindering my productivity process

***What I’m NOT saying is: “Don’t process your pain.” Because there will be times when you do need to be emotional and just feel everything, and take time to work through certain things that have been difficult for you personally. I’m mostly talking about negative emotions/attitudes like comparison, pride, jealousy, the “woe is me” that cause us to focus more on ourselves than on the things we are called to accomplish.

***What I AM saying is: “Don’t be there longer than you need to be.” Don’t stay stuck in those feelings, be sure to work through them as best you can, in the timing it takes for you. Maybe working through those emotions is your #1 priority, and if that’s the case, by all means, work on that and don’t let anything else distract you! 😄

I hope this was helpful and encouraging for you! If not, I know I at least needed to write these things down and be reminded of them myself. Keep the distractions at bay! Don’t let things hinder you from growing in whatever area of your life you need to grow in, it doesn’t have to be about your passion or career; it can be spiritual, emotional and mental as well!

What are some things distracting you from putting in work where it really counts? Which one of these tips really hit home for you, and how are you going to apply it to your life today?

Mishy 🦋🌿