Tea Party With an 8-Year Old

I’d stroll up the driveway of 1 Caudle Avenue in Lakenheath Suffolk (England). Dressed in an airy sun dress and a spring floppy hat ready to meet little Sharon for a lovely garden tea party with her purple bunny and cabbage patch doll. As she pours her freshly brewed imaginary tea and I pass out the ‘cookies’ I’d have so much to tell her to prepare her for the yellow brick road of life ahead. I’d look at her innocent almond hued face with her snaggletooth smile and box braids and I’d say, Pookie… (as her daddy called her)

#1 Stay True To Who You Are
“To thine own self be true.” Life will try to change you. Society will pressure you to conform to the ‘norm’ and become like everyone else. They call it ‘growing up.’ Never stop growing, maturing, evolving… but never ‘grow up.’ You’re not a zombie. God didn’t create you from a assembly line. You are different. You are unique. And that is a beautiful thing. Embrace it. Learn who you are, then never deviate.  Like what YOU want to like. Listen to what YOU want to listen to. Dress how YOU like to dress. Do what you do because YOU want to do it! People can be very convincing but everything they recommend shouldn’t be applied to your life. Learn to eat the meat…but throw away the bones.
#2 It’s Just Puppy Love
Get your hands off that boy! No you don’t love him… and hell no he doesn’t love you! Neither of you are old enough to know what ‘love’ is or how it feels. Give it 2-seconds and both of you will be distracted by another, and will forget that this make out session ever happened. You’re worth more than a 5 minute (if that) feel good. Walk away and keep your eyes on the road to your future little girl! Your prince charming is coming… in about 10 years. 🙂
#3 Live Everyday Like It’s Your Last
Be bold. Be fearless. Be the life of the party. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. Let their fear stagnate their own life experience, but NOT yours! Take a submarine to the deepest points of the ocean, or jump out of a plane and soar through the skies if you want to. You only live once, so make the most of it.
#4 Go After Your Dreams
You’re a multifaceted talent. An anomaly. A rarity. Your all time dream is to grace the stages of Broadway and join the roster of your idols Diahann Carroll, Phylicia Rashad, Viola Davis, and Audra McDonald as another famed African American female to win a Tony Award . Believe in Yourself…You can do it. Pack your bags kid, we’re shipping you off to New York City!
#5 Don’t Try to Fit In
Popularity is appealing, and conforming is easy. Be comfortable standing alone; you’re a different breed and you won’t fit in to most social circles. Don’t try to change who you are to be apart of the mainstream, create your own stream. Believe it or not, there are more people who are like YOU that are trying to be like THEM. You’ll be surprised how many want to join #TeamIndividuality rather than #TeamPopularity.
#6 Love ALL of You 
You have a FIVE head… You have hips, thighs, and a gut… So what?! Who makes the rules on what is ‘beautiful’? When you look in the mirror… love ALL that makes you who you are. Forget what society has to say! If there’s something you want to change about yourself, do it because YOU want to, not because a magazine, commercial, friend, or family member thinks it needs to change. Accept every dent, imprint, imperfection, and curve of your body. Because for every idiot that doesn’t love it… there are a 1000 people who do!
#7 Yahweh is Everything
He is “your first, your last, your everything!” The air you breath, your reason for living. Everything you are is in Him. Trust him with your life not only your actions. Draw close to Him and NOT religion. Church folks will have you messed up! Your relationship with Yahweh is your serenity, your fortress, your place of security. Never, ever, ever, take your hand out of His.
#8 Let People Go
People will come and go. Relationships dwindle and disappear. It’s the circle of life. Learn to accept it and let people go. When their season of your life is over, don’t hold on. Enjoy them while it lasts, but when it’s over. Walk away.
#9 Everyone is NOT going to like you
Deal with it. Everyone is different, we all have different personalities and sometime they just don’t mesh with others. Some people won’t like you, just like you won’t like certain people. Don’t take it personally, and do NOT change who you are to try to make someone like or accept you. It is what it is. If you have to deal with someone who doesn’t like or accept you, don’t be mean or rude – that’s not who you are. Be cordial, and keep it moving.
#10 Never Stop Smiling
Choose joy over sadness. Always seek out light and don’t succumb to the darkness that life can sometimes bring. Things will happen that will make you sad and even depressed, but don’t stay in that place. Shake yourself off, get up and put on a smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling. Sometimes faking it will turn into the real thing, and you’ll find yourself back in your happy place before you know it.

God’s Plan vs. My Plan

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my trust could ever wonder
And my faith would be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
-Oceans by Hillsong UNITED
Disclaimer: This post is NOT me bragging on what I have or where I am in life, it is a testament of God’s divine purpose at work and hopefully an encouragement for someone to stretch their faith.

My daddy used to sing a song that said, “I’ve found the happy side of life” and I can relate to that more now than ever before. This time last year, I was in an ‘ok’ place. Life wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great… it was just blah. I had a good a job, was surrounded by family and friends that loved me and supported me, had a wonderful church home, and an active social life. Even with all of that, life was just dry! Boring. I needed more.
I had been looking into relocating because I wanted a change of scenery. At the time I was shooting for the summer of 2015. I’d narrowed my cities down to New York City (my favorite city in the US, though I’d never been), Houston, Charlotte, or Orlando. Then out of no where Yahweh presented the opportunity for me to move to Atlanta.
Say what?!?! ATLANTA??? That wasn’t on MY list.
Funny how that works out huh?
I struggled with the idea of moving to Atlanta. I’d be moving by myself to a city I didn’t know how to navigate- known for terrible traffic and car accidents. Starting a new job at the bottom of the totem pole. No friends. No family. God are you sure about this?
But even with my doubts and fear, I felt a peace in my heart that this was truly God’s plan for me, and for whatever reason, I was supposed to be in Atlanta at this point in my life.
And I have yet to regret trusting God enough to step out and ‘walk on water.’
Since I’ve moved to Atlanta, I’m walking through doors  that never would’ve been available to me back home. Ever.
Artistic – The creative opportunities (I’ve been praying for) are endless. I’m working with an amazing vocal coach that is a perfect fit for me, and auditions are popping up every time I turn around.
– Financial–  I am making close to TWICE as much as I was making this time last year.
– Social– How can you ever be bored in the “A”? I always have options of things to do and I’m surrounded by like-minded young professionals, what could be better than that?
Career: I’ve been promoted twice in less than a year, since moving to Atlanta and am finally working in management.(At my last job I was told that I wasn’t “ready” to be in management. Ha!) I get to travel monthly to cities all throughout the US and Puerto Rico. Within the next 2 years I’ll also be traveling internationally.
Life is no longer dry… I am truly “singing and dancing in the rain…”
All because I decided to trust God and step away from what was comfortable and familiar.
– Was it a hard decision to make? Of course.
– Are there days I reminisce and long for times once shared? No doubt.
But God knew what I needed… and His plan for us is much greater than the plan we could EVER imagine for ourselves.
So if you are feeling God’s nudge to make some changes in your life, trust Him. He’s the author and finisher of your life’s journey, He knows the end from the beginning. So if there’s anyone who know’s what’s best for you- it’s Him.
Have courage. Go after God’s plan for your life. I promise you, in the end, it’ll be the best decision you ever made.

Write the Vision | Setting Goals

“Yahweh answered me and said ‘Write the vision and make it plain, so that those that read it may have clear understanding.'” Habukuk 2:2

I’ve read, heard, and seen this scripture a million and one times throughout my life as a Christian. And it’s weird how, when you think you truly understand a principle, God will bring the same thing to you with entirely new meaning. I’ve always applied this to writing the vision for a major plan or project for your life. A long term and/or complex goal you want to achieve like starting a business, or saving for a house. But God challenged me in my personal time with Him to write my goals down in a journal, short term and long term… doing so, actually turned into my detailing my weight loss plan for 2015. Losing 100 pounds by the end of October… a completely obtainable goal. It’s amazing how pumped up you can get from actually having a solid plan and not just an idea. 🙂

I challenge you to write down the goals – short and long term- in every area of your life. 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year goals… it’s a great checkpoint for yourself to see how much you’ve achieved. To actually be able to mark your progression based on a solid plan not just an idea or dream. In 2015 let’s set realistic goals (not a New Year’s Resolution that you drop by January 31st), write them down…every measly detail… and lets make them happen! You with me? 🙂