Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Master Gardener

Words have a way of filling us up when we need it the most. Sometimes they cannot leave our mouths but only come pouring out through our pens. Reading good poetry pierces the depths of my soul the same way a good gospel song sends chills down my spine in church on a Sunday morning. Beyonce's Lemonade has reignited my craving for good poetry. Poetry that speaks of Blackness, womanhood, love, life, heartache, and loss. Poetry that evokes tears, joy, fury, passion, and gives hope. I am grateful to personally know some really good poets.

Here is a poem from one of my dear sister friends that is serving up all kinds of poetic goodness right now.


I told y'all she was good! Make sure you read that at least three times to let those words sink in.

Know any other great woman poets we need to be reading right now? Leave their names, blogs, or books in the comments below. Be sure to come back for more poetry from @cecewriter and others in the coming weeks and months.

Be lifted my friends.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mid-Week Boost: Beautiful Transitions

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty:
Contrary to the title, transitions are often far from beautiful. They are in fact often extremely painful. Childbirth, failure, heartbreak, and rejection--nothing glamorous about those. Beyonce's Lemonade displays the many sides of transitions in a way that is so real and applicable to almost any life transition.

Intuition. Anger. Apathy. Emptiness. Accountability. Reformation. Forgiveness. Resurrection. Hope. Redemption.

It is perhaps through the most painful transitions in my life that I have filtered through that very same spectrum in order to be led to a place of redemption, joy, and love. My sweet baby boy being born. Stepping out of my comfort zone as an educator to embark on a new career path as a family therapist. Taking the painful yet courageous step to end my marriage of almost nine years in order to not settle for less than God's best for me and in order to save myself from breaking to the core. Leaving my work family of over seven years to start a new career in which I will be able to do something that I am fully invested in every single day. These transitions have given me a chance to stand on my own, find my voice, and speak up for what I really need to be whole. They have allowed me to start to move beyond a place of merely surviving to a place where I can actually thrive. I am reminded everyday that God does not allow for something to die without replacing it with something far greater than we could ever imagine.

I have lost greatly and been hurt deeply in this season of transition; but now more than ever I am grateful. Being in my thirties has caused a major shift in how I see myself and what I want my legacy to be. I have long craved for something new that would allow me to find an ebb and flow of love, motherhood, work, and life. I may not be where I want to be yet but I am certainly on my way.

Our problems---especially those we encounter during transitions are real but the promises of God are realer. This year has been a transformative year for me so far and I know that in the end it will be beautiful.

How have the transitions in your life allowed something beautiful to born?

Pause and take in that beauty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Extend Grace

It always astonishes me how mean people can be. Maybe it is the sensitive Pisces side of me but I cannot wrap my head around why people make deliberate choices to do things that hurt and exclude others. Even in our current political climate and with all the terrible things happening throughout the country, unkindness still baffles me. I wrote about rude people a while ago and it seems like not much has changed. Doesn't it take more energy to be mean? If we were all just a little nicer, our world would truly be a better place.

A recent turn of events in my life have led me to be on the receiving end of meanness from people that I love dearly. This weekend I had enough. I was tempted to venture back to my hot tempered spicy mouth days and meet their meanness with the same and then I saw this:
Have you ever read something that just causes you to stop in your tracks? Like I know that God placed this right where I would see it so that I would pause before reacting. So often people project their own insecurities on to us. Rather than address their own issues or talk to you directly, you become the target. In my case, it took me a while to realize that I was in fact the target. What reason would people I love have to ignore me? I must confess my immediate response was an immense sadness for what I was losing and then anger because why would any one treat me this way? 

Then I realized three things after reading Pastor Ryan's tweets: 
1. The reasons people are being mean have nothing to do with me. 
2. God is ordering my steps even if others don't understand it. 
3. God wants to stretch me through this process.

I need to shift my focus from what I am not getting to the work that God has given me to do. I am called to be a game changer. Pastor Ryan said that just a few weeks ago (come on over to Christ Church one day---I promise it will bless you)! In his sermon on Palm Sunday, he talked about the fact that as a game changer, I am called to give great grace. When we are hurt and offended and still show the love of God--we can really change the game. So today, I choose to not be petty and extend the grace that God has given me---even when it is not asked for or deserved. Today I will not meet hate with hate but continue to show the love of God. I need God's grace myself so instead I will pray for those that curse and turn their back on me. I will carry on in peace because I am the daughter of a King and I know he is directing my steps and has great things in store for me.

I accept this challenge not because I am better than but because of what I am striving towards. I challenge all of us to just be nicer. Before we ignore a text or talk about someone behind their back, can we pray for them instead? You never know what someone is going through. Be the bridge that leads someone to Christ and not the hand that pushes them over the edge.

Have you ever been stretched by God to show grace to someone you felt didn't deserve it?

Join me in praying for whoever that might be in you life and watch God move!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Spread The Love

I love holidays. Even if they are filled with overspending and overeating. We can have all good things in moderation right? Anyhow, holidays are gentle reminders throughout the year for us to pause, reflect, and celebrate. As we celebrate another Valentine's Day (one of my Top 5 favorite holidays), I am reminded of the importance of love. Loving our families, our boos, and our friends. Love, when done well, is amazing. Love not only covers our imperfections and allows us to come as we are, but it also gives us hope and strength. Love-especially selfless, unconditional agape love, gives us a purpose greater than ourselves.  Love supports our dreams, comforts us in tough times, and can be our voice of reason.

Love makes everything better. 

The media constantly reminds us of all the hatred and violence around us. So how can we do our part to spread more love? We can do this in so many simple yet intentional ways everyday by doing things like saying good morning, asking how someone is doing, or by helping someone out. We can all do just a little more to spread love. Our acts of love of our way of sharing Gods love throughout our various circles of influence. You never know how one small gesture of love can change someone's day or life. We need to love---heavy. Remember that Mali Music song Heavy Love I shared before?

I believe in the power of love. I am truly grateful to love and be loved. Let this Valentine's Day be a reminder to love and let yourself be loved. Do the things that make you feel loved and that allow you to spend time with people you love everyday. Share a cupcake, laugh at silly things, be mushy, let your child get that extra five minutes of whatever they've been begging for, Call someone unexpectedly, surprise someone with something you know they'll like and most importantly, take some time to love on yourself. 

Love has a pulse. Can you feel yours?

Take the time to intentionally love on someone today. You won't regret it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Black Girl Got The Juice

Hey y'all! I'm BACK!  I know, I know it's been far too long but I am so glad to be back on the heels of yet another glorious Beyonce performance. I have so many awesome things to share on this whirlwind of journey that I have been on this past year. I am getting my juice back--the juice that I never really left me but is coming out swinging in 2016. 

What is this juice I'm talking about? Glad you asked:

This revolution for Black women and girls across the country comes from one of my favorite clothing designers Joshlyn Turner who is also the owner of The Write Fit. I've always looked at myself and my sister friends and recognized that there was something different in us. Something that propels us to move forward and impact the world around us in so many profound ways in spite of the many challenges that we may face. Sometimes our days are long and thankless. We experience stress, health issues, have setbacks, and often get very little sleep. However, by the grace of God, Black women across the country continue to come out on top because we have the juice. Joshlyn says that Black Girls Got The Juice is important to her because it is her--it is all of us. "With so much emphasis placed on our image, I constantly look in the mirror and tell myself that I am enough. You might ask where our juice comes from. Our ancestors gave us the juice. We been had it, we always will. We are the driving force of society. We are the leaders in entertainment, music, education, and fashion. Everything we touch is golden. And the purpose of this line is to show Black women, young and old, that the juice has and always will be the driving force of this world. Never forget."

I am a firm believer in uplifting, supporting, and celebrating sisters. So how can I not spread the word? What better message to remind us that even in the midst of chaos in the pursuit of our dreams, our work, school, and relationships--no one can take our juice from us. Let this juice that runs through our veins drive us to reach new heights in our whatever our calling is in 2016 and beyond. My grandparents gave me my juice and I am using it to do great things and to be a model for the Black girls in my life who need someone to remind them that they have it too in a world that often depicts them as less than. Excellence is not exceptional; it is the Black girl standard.  

As my boo Beyonce says dream it, work hard, and grind till we own it. We got the juice y'all!

Black Girls Got The Juice.

What gives you your juice? How are you using it this year?