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! ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’™

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. โ˜บ๏ธ Whatever it was, it led me to agree to getting him. We’ve already had fun in the past two days ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

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 ๐Ÿ˜…). 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 ๐Ÿ˜ญ

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! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

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 ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’™

stepping up.

“Imagine all the people who would have been affected if Esther never stepped up. Okay, now imagine all the people who will be affected if you never do.”

– from @shespeaksministries Instagram, written by @worthyofgrace
View this post on Instagram

โ€ญโฌ‡๏ธDevo โœ๐Ÿผ @worthyofgrace . Esther a woman who was not born into royalty, but was chosen by God to be queen to save the Jewish people from annihilation. Her story is a lot like ours, once an orphan, but now chosen to do the work of her Heavenly Father. Esther is easy to relate to. When Mordecai (her cousin, but he also adopted her, and raised her), came to Esther one night and said, that Haman has order the death of the Jews – her people. Esther was saddened by this news, and Mordecai encouraged her to speak up for the voice-less. Sometimes, we sin by what we know to do, but yet, we do not do it. Speaking up for truth and justice in the midst of great fear had Esther dreading this assignment. Itโ€™s easy to want to back down, because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of can God really use me, fear that the whole plan will be utterly chaotic and ruined if you do it, so you back down. Well, despite all her fears, Esther called for a fast, and God responded with great favor for her and the Jews. Is God calling you to do something hard? To speak up, to step into your purpose, to pursue your Heavenly Fatherโ€™s business? Remember Jesus always went about healing people and doing good – ACTS 10:38 (I love that about him)! . You were made for such a time as this! Itโ€™s time to step out you are worth it! You and God got this! #shespeaksfire . Esther 4:14:โ€œIf you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?โ€โ€ โ€ฌ

A post shared by She Speaks Ministries ๐Ÿ—ฃ๐Ÿ”ฅ (@shespeaksministries) on

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

My coworkers all decided to wear red, white, and blue to work today since tomorrow we’ll be off, and the Fourth of July is this Saturday. If you’re not aware: with the recent events surrounding racial tension, and the increase of racial awareness, most Black people have decided to celebrate Juneteenth instead of July 4th for Independence Day, declaring the Fourth of July a “white holiday.”

So, all week I’d debated on whether or not I should participate because I definitely wasn’t planning on celebrating the fourth, and I didn’t want to symbolize that I was with what I was wearing, but I also knew that, being the only Black woman in my workplace, I’d probably be making people feel uncomfortable, and questioning me as to why I didn’t dress in the said colors. And since I work in a preschool, I didn’t need or want parents complaining to my boss about what I was wearing either.

Because I decided this morning to wear my “I Can’t Breathe” shirt instead.

I had so many thoughts: Would someone say I was trying to be political by wearing it? Would my boss be angry with me? Is wearing this shirt inappropriate for work? But why would it be? Why am I questioning if I can wear this shirt when I’m able to wear almost anything to work and be 100% fine? (I knew the answer to the last question)

I resolved that, if my boss told me to take it off, I’d just take it off and just have a different shirt on, but I would not wear the color combos red, white, and blue to work today. I was honestly sort of nervous…so much so that I texted the co-teacher I’m working with this summer about it to get her thoughts…not her permission. She fully supported my decision, and even said she wouldn’t wear the designated colors too so I wouldn’t be alone.

As I prayed this morning and prepared my heart for the day, the quote above popped into my mind. I’d read it yesterday, and was touched at how powerful it was, and I was grateful that it could resonate with me this morning. (If you don’t know about the story of Esther, definitely check her out in the Bible. Such an amazing woman!) What if I wore the shirt and was able to start conversations with my co-workers about what was happening, not just in our city, but in our country as a whole? Granted, we’ve been back to work for weeks now…I honestly feel like some of them are avoiding the topic of racial tension because they don’t want to say the wrong things or offend me. But I’d rather them say something wrong and I be able to help them understand why than to not talk about it at all. Because the reality is, they work with ME…I, a Black woman, am going to be with them five days a week, and that right there is looking and being with racial tension – what to say, what not to say. To touch my hair or not to. To make comments about certain situations, or to just be silent. I see all of that stuff, and I take notes, and act accordingly.

If I chose to just give in and wear what everyone else was wearing, I felt like I’d just be giving up, and not speaking up. And while I shouldn’t be the only person that my co-workers go to for Black questions, I feel a responsibility as the only Black woman there to be the voice for the Black community that is rarely if not at all represented in that area.

The result?

I went to work, had a co-worker ask what my shirt said, I showed her, and she said, “Oh, okay!” Had a few other co-workers see my shirt and they silently kept it pushing.

Feeling like I had to explain myself (which I shouldn’t have to, but anyways…), I talked to the same co-worker who asked me what my shirt said about why I wasn’t wearing red, white, and blue, and she fully understood, and said she wasn’t offended, and didn’t know why others would be.

When my co-teacher came into work a little later without any red, white, or blue on, my boss asked her why she wasn’t wearing any, yet she didn’t ask me when she fully saw that I wasn’t wearing any either.

Apparently, she also made a comment out loud again about how one of the kids in our class looked cute wearing the patriotic colors, but my co-teacher (not me) wasn’t matching.

It sort of breaks my heart that no one really asked me more about my shirt, or tried to ask my opinion on what was happening, or even ask how I was doing (because since everything started in late May/early June, no one from my job has asked except my co-teacher) but it also doesn’t surprise me. I just wish people wouldn’t be afraid to have racial conversations that could possibly expose things they didn’t know weren’t okay to say, do, believe, etc. And maybe they are having those conversations outside of work, which is great! I’d just like to know that that information is being translated to EVERY area of their lives, NOT JUST to their black friends outside of work, or their black family members.

I will say that I’m extremely grateful for my co-teacher…she stepped up for me today, and I cannot thank her enough! It felt good to have someone stand with me in solidarity today. And even through these first few weeks of work, she’s been pro-active about asking me questions and talking about the racial events that are happening, and I believe it is not a coincidence, but a full-on blessing that we were assigned to be with each other this summer.

Just felt like I had to share that. There is SO much work to be done to undo all the racial injustice our country has held tightly to, and I’m grateful that the protests haven’t died down, and pray that the conversations everywhere don’t die down either. While my gesture of wearing a “I Can’t Breathe” shirt to work may seem small, it opened my eyes to just how deep the fear of being called out about my race is rooted in me. And in no way would I say that I’m ashamed to be Black! But I know that I myself need to shake out of being afraid to be a topic of conversation, or to have conversations with people I’m with on a daily basis, or with my friends or family.

I continue to pray that all my Black brothers and sisters would be able to step up wherever they are: in their friend circles, in their families (whether blood or in-laws), in their workplaces, etc. I pray for strength and courage. I pray for peace. And I pray that the spirit of racism would cower at the Holy Spirit, who favors no person because of their race or background, but lives within WHOEVER believes in Jesus Christ and His death, resurrection, and return.

BLACK BROTHERS AND SISTERS: What are some ways you’ve had to step up for yourself, either recently or in the past, in regards to your race? Where do you find the most support? Where do you find the most tension?

BLACK ALLIES: Have you been inspired by a Black friend, family member, co-worker, significant other, etc. who has stood up in the face of racism, or in just the isolation of being Black in a particular place or circumstance? How did you respond? Did you learn anything that you’ll take with you as the fight for racial equality and justice continues?

Mishy ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’™

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 theyโ€™re at the end of their rope: when theyโ€™ve tried any and everything to improve their situation. When really, as soon as we realize the weakness weโ€™re in, thatโ€™s when we have to understand that it is an opportunity for Godโ€™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 ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’›

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, itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜

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, โ€œDUH, Itachi!โ€ 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 โ€œreal self,โ€ Iโ€™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 thatโ€™s who God made us to be…not because we changed ourselves to fit in someway, somehow. It doesnโ€™t mean we canโ€™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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’›

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 ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’›

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 ๐Ÿฆ‹๐ŸคŽ

if you know an encourager/motivator/supporter…keep reading.

As someone who is known as an encourager and motivational speaker (I was also told yesterday that I’m viewed as a “life coach,” and I am humbled to have that title attached to me and what I do), I have something to say:

Please check up on people like me.

Sometimes there can be this misconception that people who are great at encouraging, motivating, and supporting others don’t need anyone to help them stay encouraged, motivated, or supported. This is a lie; truly, I could not do what I do, or say what I say, first of all without the help of the Holy Spirit, but it also helps to have wise, caring, and supportive people in my life to help me get through as well.

what I’m not saying…

  • I’m not saying that motivators/encouragers/supporters are always down in the dumps. But personally, I do go through my moments when I feel like I can’t do what I do; I can’t write, I can’t organize the projects I’m working on well, I can’t create well, etc. Everyone goes through those moments at some point in their journey, so just be mindful that those inspirational people go through them too.
  • I’m not saying that you need to check up on these people every single day. But if you think about them, shoot them a text. Call their phone, and if they don’t pick up, don’t take it personally, but leave a nice voicemail for them to listen to later. If you see something that reminds you of them, get it for them (depending on what it is), or take a picture of it and send it to them telling them that you thought about them when you saw it. There are so many ways for you to show someone that you’re thinking of them, or just hear for them if they need you. Sometimes these things are all it takes to turn someone’s day around. Get creative! ๐Ÿ˜Š
  • I’m not guilt-tripping you right now if you haven’t checked up on these kinds of people in your life, I’m simply here to remind you! We all need reminders every now and then, and even though I’m an encourager, I have friends who are also encouragers that I need to be mindful about checking on too!

You know who the encouragers in your group of friends are, so I challenge you to reach out to one or two or all of them this week. Because it takes a lot for anyone to pour into people, or to pour out onto a platform or brand, and even though it may seem like they’re always up for it, I can guarantee you that there are days when they don’t feel up to it, and they most likely still do it anyway!

And for the record, I’m not writing this post because I’m currently feeling some type of way right now. I’m actually doing quite well, and I’m grateful for the people in my life who do check up on me when they think of me, or when they get the chance!

Mishy ๐Ÿฆ‹๐ŸคŽ

healing wholly.

Happy Tuesday, luvvies!

It’s been days since I’ve blogged, but it’s because of the new Brown Skin Girl Project I’ve been organizing! I’ve been scheduling meetings, emailing reminders, creating content, all the while just trying to get in some time to do all the things I’ve been doing since the quarantine started.

Last week was a good week for me, honestly. It was the first time in a while that I’d felt more at peace, more grounded and centered, and actually okay with who and where I am, and what I look like. Maybe the latter is because my skin is clearing up due to my new skin care routine, and actually drinking enough water ๐Ÿ˜… And maybe the other two are because of my willingness to surrender everything I’d been feeling, and to allow God to work through all of it in His own way.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. I wish I could say that I recently felt the same way as I did last week, but the Enemy does his best to kill the joy that you feel somehow, especially after you feel like you’re “in the clear.”

But one thing I can say, is that I’m thankful for this time I’ve been given; these couple of months being stowed away at home have given me time to heal wholly.

half the healing

Before when I was working about 10 hours a day then going straight from work to the gym then back home just to have enough time to shower, eat, and then go to sleep, I had hard days when I thought self-sabotaging thoughts and placed the weight of everything associated with me upon myself. And what did I do? I’d just shove those feelings down my throat as best as I could, and kept it pushing. Because there wasn’t time to act like that; I had things to do, people to work with, a schedule to uphold. If I cried, I’d have maybe 10 minutes in the bathroom at work to do it before my coworkers wondered where I was (doesn’t mean I never did it. I just felt guilty for doing so). Or I’d have 10 minutes before my boyfriend had to clock into work to briefly talk about it before I couldn’t speak to him for another 2 hours.

Those little 10-minute moments were simply mini-healing sessions, times I tried to sort through what was going through my mind in as little time as possible before I just pushed it all to the back burner and got back to my routine. Sometimes they worked, and sometimes they didn’t. In hindsight, I I feel like it was mostly unhealthy for me to rush the healing process, but during that time, I really thought they were somehow still helping me by getting it all out little by little.

The problem was that there wasn’t really healing happening, just bandaging it up. Maybe not even that; more like putting duct tape over an open wound, and planning on taking it off later, only to rip the tape off, opening the wound even more, and seeing that there was no healing ever happening…the wound may even look worse because I didn’t tend to it properly in the moment it should have been dealt with.

Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with all of those duct-taped wounds during this quarantine time, and while what I may post seem all peachy keen to you all, what I’d been feeling on the inside has been truly hurtful. Not all the time, mind you, but I definitely have had some hard times mentally. Having all of those wounds patched while I tried to truly heal only allowed their toxicity to come through, and try to tear down those parts of me I was working on.

still surrendering

Honestly, I started writing this post yesterday morning, and I went through different phases. Yesterday morning, I was talking bout how I could see the progress I was making in surrendering, not just creative projects, but in my life. Then yesterday evening, I was having a hard time letting go of some of the things I thought I let go. And today, I’m feeling so much better!

I even had to go back and reread the last blog I posted about surrender to remind myself what I even said. How often do we do that though? Feel like we’ve taken three steps forward, and then in a day or so, we feel like we’re right back to where we started.

But I’m learning to be more gentle with myself, to be okay with the surrender being a process, as everything is. It’s a daily battle: to surrender the burdens I feel like I need to hold onto, and the weight of things in my life that I feel I must carry, or it won’t make it to where God eventually wants me to be.

what about you?

Have you been healing during this time? What are some ways you’ve been doing that? How have you been handling the rough days? The good days? How do you remind yourself that God is in control of all things, and that you need to daily surrender to Him?

Mishy ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿค

more than the major.

Where my Bible reading people at?!

Y’all, I’ve been going through this plan to read the entire Bible in a year (which isn’t going to happen in a year because I’m SO MANY DAYS behind, but it’s all good!), and I’ve reached one of the parts in the Bible maybe many of us skip over…and you know what parts I’m talking about!

The endless lists of names…
The measurements of items for the building of the Tabernacle, the designs of the priests clothing, etc…
The Old Testament laws that are HELLA specific…

Honestly, reading all that stuff got me looking at my Bible like…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always steered clear of these parts of the Bible, and it’s because honestly, reading about all of that is just boring. Let’s admit it: it’s hard to read about the specifics of the Tabernacle of God when you know Jesus came thousands of years later to die on the Cross, and completely get rid of the purpose of the Temple all together! I know it’s in there to show us the importance of what it was like for people pre-Jesus’ death to be close to God; to show exactly what it took to have the presence of God descend onto earth because that’s how He wanted it to be, it seems. But I know there aren’t too many Bible studies these days on the book of Leviticus. Or Numbers. Or even the last half of Exodus; we go through the “meat” of Moses’ story, and then stop there, skip to the next famous Bible story there is.

why is that though?

Why do we skip all the “______ the son of ______ who was the son of _______” parts of the Bible? Why do we skip reading about the numbers of people who were in those tribes back then? I can think of a reason why I personally do…

We as people connect with STORIES more than anything!

Stories about one person or a group of people are just more interesting. We can connect with someone’s story. And when you’re growing up in a Christian household, some of the first things you learn as a kid are the specific people and their stories that are highlighted in the Bible. Yeah, you right: there aren’t too many children’s Bible books about how the Temple was built. Or VeggieTales movies, for that matter.

That’s understandable because children’s attention spans can only be held for so long, that we need to tell them major stories to get them to listen, to get them to understand. The problem is though, that we sometimes take those major stories into adulthood, and only focus on those things when it comes to our faith. And maybe that’s how it was supposed to be…or maybe we’re supposed to read those parts of the Bible that aren’t as interesting, and learn what we can from there as well!

things I think we should learn from these parts

History

The details that are in the Bible show an amount of history that will lead up to the major stories we read and know. How will we know the lineage of David which will lead to the lineage of Jesus if we don’t know the people who came before them? It also gives us a sense of time with generations being named one after the other.

And too, I think about understanding the size of Israel. I wonder how big they were compared to the other nations surrounding them at the time, and I can’t help but feel like maybe, if they were one of the smallest, the victories in battle would be all the more miraculous with God on their side.

Obedience

It also shows the people’s obedience to God. Like, God told them exactly how to make his Temple. Down to the measurements, down to the “minor” details, and the people didn’t complain and say, “Really, God? You really want us to be that specific?” They just did it, without hesitation (at least, from the writer’s point of view they didn’t complain). The laws, of course, had to be written down because there were SO MANY, surely, it would be difficult to forget! But they were written to keep the Israelites accountable; even if they were to forget, it would be on a hard copy somewhere for them to see for themselves!

Not to mention, at the end of Exodus where I read today, it talked about how the Israelites had to watch the cloud the Lord put over the tent to see if they had to stay where they were, or pick up and leave. Talk about waiting on the Lord! Full on obedience here as they watched the cloud ascend and descend.

Contrast

And, as I mentioned before, we’re able to contrast the amazing Grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice by seeing what we don’t have to do anymore. We don’t have to go into the inner place of a tent where the tabernacle is located. We don’t have to wait for the cloud to ascend and descend (although, I’ll admit, sometimes when I got to make a decision, I’d love if God could physically show me a cloud of where I gotta stay, and then let it disappear when I gots to go!). We don’t have to go and kill the best of our livestock for the sacrifice…we don’t even have to own livestock.

But we can be grateful for all of that because Jesus paid the price for us once and for all on the Cross. So, we can see the contrast between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and how it affects us as Christians.

I encourage those who do read the Bible to take more than the major parts into consideration. To read through as best as you can (trust me, my mind starts wandering when things start to get repetitive in those verses!), and analyze what you can learn from those passages. What is God teaching you?

What are you favorite parts to read in the Bible? Do you have a favorite person or story? What’s your least favorite part or book of the Bible? How can you read through it and gain wisdom and knowledge from such a part?

Mishy ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿค

to be real.

How is it already almost 10 o’clock at night as I’m writing this?

These days filled with nothing seem to be going by quicker than days in which I was extremely busy. But maybe it’s because there’s time to do the things I’ve been wanting to do!

Honestly, what can I write about? Today was a fairly normal day in which I made sure to do the essential things: my quiet/devotional time, eat, work out, shower, dishes, and laundry. The rest of the time, I was gathering more writing information so I can learn even more about this thing that I love.

Part of me is excited, and another part of me is nervous. Excited because it’s good to level up in my craft in some ways! Can’t grow if I’m just doing the same thing. I’m nervous because sometimes I wish writing was just simple. Not because I’m lazy, but because the simplicity of just writing whatever comes to mind, whatever is in the heart, just seems highly genuine and real to me. Sometimes I feel like people can get so lost in creating content, we lose the authenticity of things.

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days when I wish I could be just as carefree in my writing back a few years back when I used to do this every day. Part of me feels like there’s a lack of inspiration since I”m confined to such a small space to really experience anything, but I guess that’s no excuse for that when the lack of space can still give me time to experience things online.

But truly, I think it’s because I fear the audience I potentially have right now. I don’t know how many people are actually reading my blog these days (don’t feel guilty if you’re not…well, I guess if you’re not, then you wouldn’t be reading this. ๐Ÿ˜… Anyways!), but I do know who could possibly lay their eyes on my words. And in a way, that makes me nervous. Because I want to make content that’s relatable and interesting, but I also want to be as genuine as possible.

Back when I wrote on my blog every day, I really didn’t know who my audience was, so it made it easier for me to write without feeling maybe judged by what I wrote about. But I know I should have the same mindset back then as I do now, no matter if I do know who my audience is or not! Who knows if me being real allows someone else to feel understood? Who knows if my words could open someone’s perspective to a different point of view?

I guess I’ll never really know until I stop being scared to just be real on here. Not saying that everything I’ve written so far during this quarantine time hasn’t been real, but there have been times I’ve filtered maybe an opinion I had, or didn’t write about something on my mind/heart because I felt like no one else would understand.

But who’s website is this again? Yep, it’s mine. So it’s time I stop walking on eggshells here, and just be who I am!

What are some things that hinder you from being authentic and genuine? How can you push past these things to unleash who you really are/what you really love?

Mishy ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿค