Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Transparency - The Why and How

The Art Of Transparency

When I first started this blog it was all about fashion. I dressed up, took photos with my camera and wrote a quick story because I thought my readers needed commentary to explain the outfit.
Then one day I woke up and remembered how much I owe the Government for my English degree. I kid!! Joking..not really.  What I really woke up to was the thought  of having a  space where single moms could visit, be encouraged and inspired because they saw pieces of themselves in my writing.
I wanted,  NO want them to tap into their inner Diva while being a Mom and take control of their journey. Make the travel what thy deeply desire not what life deals haphazardly. So I stated talking (because I want my writing to read like I'm actually having a conversation) about the things I was going through, had gone through and where I'd like to see myself go.

I sit down at the computer and the story  unfold. Out took a long time to get here. I've been on this space almost 4 years. That's a lot of life. So I begin to question if what I was doing here initially made someone believe single parenting was the easiest thing in the world. I questioned of I appeared superficial because it appeared that all I cared about your clothes and shoes. There was some other questions I ask myself but I can't think of them right now.

The result was when I would share in private with someone a good or bad experience, what I learned from it, how I grew and became better; they seemed so empowered that I wanted topi share more and I wanted to hear the speed of others like me. The layers and masks were / are being stripped away and I discovered /am discovering myself.

The Art Of Transparency

Some of those epiphanies were heavy,  painful,  bottled up from my childhood,  some were swift kicks in the pants and I was forced to acknowledge I was out of the will of God and made a messy, I'm talking landfill mess of specific areas in my life.  But they weren't all negative. I stated seeing the good I'd done,  the valuable lessons passed on to me as well as the ones I learned journeying sometimes solo, dating the wrong guy,  when there were changes in my village and support system, with a committed prayer life and when it was non-existent.

I wrote about those things. It was rewarding. I was able to look back and see from when I'd come. It was helpful to others. It was helpful to me. Allowing others to peek in my window provided insight where they might not have known what to do or what could be done. I'm no expert but real life, real people and real stories will reach my heart any day of three well. Genuineness is authentic. To be authentic you may be transparent. No curtians, drapes or blinds. Just a raw movie being played out.

That's why I'm here. To practice the art of transparency in hopes that a reader whose light may have dimmed will find their flame ignited, their spirit renewed and their mind alert, ready for change and transformation. Nothing I write here can be used against me! I've already lived it and survived. Ha, ha, haaa the irony.

The Art Of Transparency

Thank you for journeying with me. I am a D.ivine I.nspirational V.ictorious A.mazing
Mom with a story that's on display.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Birthday Letter

What I love about a new year is my birthday is 21 days into it. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days. I couldn’t decide between writing out xx things I wanted to share for the number of birthdays I’ve celebrated or a letter to my younger self. As I sat on my bedroom floor in my robe, listening to a worship song by Shana Wilson that is so on point for #twentysixteen came to mind and I started to write. You can listen here while you read the letter below. A letter that speaks to my younger and current self. It is a reminder to always evolve.

Dear Self,
You are an amazing gift to the world. I know, I know. You’ve taken xx years to truly recognize the beauty of your story. The little girl from the small town of Monticello who experinced so much hurt and pain growing up. The kind that should have been generational but instead was broken through prayer and faith. 

Not only are you an amazing gift with an inspiring story but you are stronger than so many expected you to be. Much stronger than you expected you to be. You no longer look to superficial things to validate that you’ve made some sound decisions that has produced a hefty harvest. You didn’t give up when you made decisions that were down right terrible. That list is long but the growth, improvements and lessons learned are greater. Stop today and count your blessings. 

Besides being the amazing Wonder Woman in your own right, you have a heart for young people that should be applauded. You’ve been battered, bruised, stomped upon, made to feel that the work you’ve done and the investments didn’t matter but today reflect on the 16 years you’ve dedicated to children/students who sometimes needed and desired what you had to offer; as well as those who didn’t. Know that the good you see in the life of your son is the reward for the faithfulness and every seed sown that you often cried over and wondered if it success would be a result.

I hope today is all about you. About the love you have for your family and friends. The adoration you have for your son and what his birth has meant to 16 of you xx years. I hope you consider the faithful, God fearing, caring, handsome lover who will find you at the right time. Oh the sparks!!  I hope today you see not just the best in the clothes you wear but in the future, your BEST  days ahead. Days in which Christ will continue His work in you to bring you to a wealthy place. The place you’ve prayed and longed for.

Let this birthday be intentional. Purposed filled. Reflect but don’t stay there. Declare that you will never be the same as you were this time last year. Your circumstances won’t be the same. Continue to learn about managing your finances and save, save, save those $$$. Get your proposal and plan reviewed. Take a grant writing class. Book the two trips you’ve desired for the past 2 years. Remain comfortable saying no. Be ok with folks walking away. Embrace new relationships. STOP OVERANALYZING everything and everyone. Be gentler. Don’t stop being kind because it’s not reciprocated. If you change who you are let it be the will of God because that area of your life was displeasing to Him. Surrender and know that it will work out for your good according to Romans 8:28. You were purposed xx years ago. You matter. The world needs what you have.

Be brave,

Image result for happy birthday cupcakes

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Be In Love

Happy Sunday Loves! One of my favorite days of the week because I have time to post an outfit. The person you see in these photos is in love. With life. Every aspect. Maybe the painful times even more because I've come to appreciate myself and the journey. Sings in my wanda be Whitney Houston voice,  "I didn't know my own strength."

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I am 11 days away from another birthday so I've started reflecting on who I am, where I've come from and where I am headed. My biggest desire is to grow spiritually and laugh more as much as I can. When life throws me a curveball I'm going to laugh.

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And look good doing it!

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Monday, January 4, 2016

The Road Not Taken

Here we are in the third day of #twentysixteen and I’m ready to tackle truly living my life on purpose! I am on a journey and I am certain that God is orchestrating newness for my future as I seek him and block out the world. Not because I don’t need support but because I don’t want to deal with those who don’t understand what it means and requires to truly following Christ. It will not make sense to them and it doesn’t need to in order for it to manifest. In just a few days of being alone with my Bible, devotionals and journal I’ve experienced more confidence, fear and a host of other emotions.

I remember when I first began falling out of love with teaching. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to reinvent myself. I felt guilty that I was betraying black boys and girls who needed me because I was seen as one of the good teachers. I’ve never won any awards but I’ve always poured all of me into every year, every set of students if not more. Four years after I began teaching I started having panic attacks. It was one of the hardest decisions to make a move to a new school but I did and I survived. One year later I received a promotion as a reading coach. It was a great experience until I lost sight of me and the reason God had promoted me. I allowed the noise to drive me to frustration and I lost my confidence. I began operating in self and not in Christ’s strength. This opened the door for a number of events to occur that resulted in me being returned to the classroom and folks who pretended to be my supporting cast sliding into the job I’d prayed for and believed God has provided.

The lessons learned over those years were tough. But Job said it best, “Naked came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither, the Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1: 21 KJV Looking back I realize that nothing went wrong during that season. It was never meant to be permanent. It was a test that I both failed and passed. I learned that I need more mentoring and polishing for a leadership role. I learned that the enemy really does come to kill and destroy (I was hospitalized and off for two weeks). I learned forgiveness is more powerful than bitterness. Eventually those who had a hand in unseating me experienced tragedy and either reached out to me for prayer or I reached out to them to support. I am not saying that I wanted something bad to happen to them but karma is a bulldog. The Bible says that if we put it in the ground, it will grow and produce a harvest. What are you planting?

Fast forward seven years and the processing I had to go through to grow and glow. But God! Won’t He do it! Who would have thought I would even start a blog. That I would go from posting teacher outfits to sharing my faith. Not me. But the trials I experienced have prepared me for this moment to dream. To use the challenges to inspire other single moms or educators. What I now know is that I needed to be stripped of pride, bitterness, of depending on teaching to provide for me, playing small, the inability to see my gift as something more than just being a classroom teacher to arrive here today. The Kerissa that’s writing this post. I’ve been given a task to impact lives for the Kingdom and I plan to do just that in the season to come. This year I’m asking God for his plan and planning. God says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you… plans to give you hope and a future…pray to me, and I will listen to you” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV 

All the years I’ve spent praying was and will always be the catalyst that has and will propel me into my destiny. The times when I prayed for my students and hoped I wouldn’t get fired, the times I’ve prayed for my leaders, strangers, Facebook friends, real friends, served on the prayer team, hosted prayer conerence calls to prayer for our kids, prayed with parents for their kids, prayed with kids concerning their parents. All those moments. All of them. He has heard my petition. I know because he confirmed it on New Year’s Day and again Saturday. Both of the messages were about vision. So this year I wrote it down. I addressed the following questions:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What do I enjoy doing most? 
  3. What accomplishments make me feel best?
  4. List five moments in my life when I was acutely aware of this feeling of       fulfillment.
  5. What does this reveal about my purpose?
  6. If money wasn’t a consideration, how would I fill my days?
  7. How does this compare with where I am now?
  8. What one small step can I take right now to move toward my calling?
  9. What have I learned about my purpose through failure?
  10. Who do I admire for the way they applied their talents?
  11. What can I learn from them?
  12. How would I describe my vision for my life this year?
Other suggestions from these devotionals were to ask family and friends who really get me to give me feedback about on how I could use my talents? I had already done this on Facebook prior to reading those messages. Most people said something with fashion, mentoring and speaking. What say you? It was hard tackling those questions. Actually writing them down and answering them made the coming transition really real. I awoke Sunday morning tired and sick. I put me fully into journaling those answers. What I realized is that I’ve put what I desired into the atmosphere, released some negative energies (doubt, disbelief, fear, lack and so much more) and taken on a BIG goal. It took something out of me and sparked a new faith within me. I know this won’t happen overnight but God and I are finally on the best journey for this divamom and that’s to fulfill His will for my life by serving those who can benefit from my story.

Let me know if you decide to tackle the questions above.

Clinging to "Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

Friday, January 1, 2016

Twenty Sixteen

If you are reading this it means you made it. I’m delighted for what’s in store for you and I. I’ve been anxious to write a reflection post about last for the past few days but I’ve been doing more sleeping and watching Xfinity To Go than being productive. This may be a long post. I find myself reflecting on not what’s behind but what’s ahead. Last night at church Pastor Whitney Shipman ministered from the following scripture:
Isaiah 43:19 NLT
For I am about to do
something new. See, I have
already begun! Do you not
see it? I will make a
pathway through the
wilderness. I will create rivers
in the dry wasteland.

As a PK I’ve been in many New Year’s Eve services or watch night meetings as we called it in the country but the message ministered on the last day of 2015 resonated so deep in my spirit that I wanted to throw myself on the altar and weep. Not from sadness but from having everything the Holy Spirit   has been speaking to me during my winter break confirmed. See I’ve used this time for the normal things like enjoy family, read, relax, Christmas shopping for the kid except this time I took it a step further and tapped into a tweeny tiny bit of selfishness. I sought the Lord. Not with my mouth but my ears. I want to hear. With my heart. I need to know my divine purpose for 2016. I can’t remain in the place I am regarfing my career or financially. These are the two biggest areas I’ve been working extremely hard on last year.

Motivation for 2106

Why those two areas? Those are my stressors. It’s no secret I’ve been wanting out of the educational field for a few years now. If you are going to get on your soap box and ask why haven’t I just walked away refer back to the second stressor. I haven’t been wise with money and we (educators) don’t get paid much. As a single parent I’ve sacrificed in areas over the years. Some of those decisions were good and others were bad. The positive in it all is I’ve grown tremendously in the last year. My favorite word to myself is “NO!” I’ve saved like I never have before even when I still struggled to get the bills paid on time. I paid myself first. Imagine the pride I felt when I was able to see the money I had saved.

Teaching. My gift. What I can do so easily. What I love. What I hate. I can’t go on waking up for 180 days with dread looming over. I felt the panic attacks and the heaviness returning so I’m back in therapy. One reason for this is because I’m my own top priority and I have a kid that I need to be healthy for. The goal is to utilize this service to get through the school year and plan my exit for 2017 (KT’s graduating year). The irony here is I want to continue servicing youth. Even funnier is I was persuing a Doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (more family than marriage since I’m the poster girl for singleness). I am still leaning towards someday completing my studies even if I am as old as Sarai. You know Abraham’s wife. #sochurchy

Here I am in the first day of 2016 and I’ve launched the first part of my plan. My birthday is in 20 days. I have no idea how I plan to celebrate but I plan to prepare by seeking the Lord more than I have before to have Him settle me concering where I should be. I’m reading two fantastic devotionals on my Bible app. You can find them here and here. I’ll be working on my vision board this Sunday. I’ll continue to write in my prayer journal and share here what I am learning. Already I’m...

Motivation for 2106

This is the word that I felt tapping me on the shoulder this morning when I awoke. It occurred to me at some point in 2015 that I was struggling with living purposefully. My therapist noted that I am surrounded by family and friends, that I’m plugged into my community and that I serve and yet I haven’t felt alive in a while. We are working towards intentionally. She’s helped me to see that my gift is still very valuable but the time has come to shift and take the message elsewhere. I don’t know exactly yet where that will be. I’ve fought relocating, I’ve fought coming off preachy but the truth is I’m a Jesus love and a preacher’s kid it really is in my genes {my Grandmother was a minister), I’ve considered a nonprofit and such and still at the end of the day fought all these things. #absurdity Time for faith to drive out fear! 

The ideas are bouncing around and need to be orchestrated to create the life Jesus died for me to have and live while impacting the Kingdom. No this doesn’t mean I’ll go to seminary and preach, well teach from a pulpit but I will teach others what I’ve learned along this divamomsjourney. The times I’ve felt broken, confused, bewildered, hurt, rejected, loved, celebrated, cared for, envied, not good enough, pride and full of pride are all lessons that someone will benefit from and I plan to teach them openly with transparency.

So darlings, here’s to 2016 the year of INTENTIONALITY. Moving from the old into the new in Christ Jesus. From the wilderness into a life of purpose. There’s rivers of life where my daily living reflects my devotion, obedience to the Lord. Here I go. Oh and if I falter along the way it is my hope that I find a lesson in that too. Patience and complaining are two vices I need to rid myself of.

This is my command-be
Strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or
discouraged. For the
lord your God is with
you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NLT

Motivation for 2106

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