Called to Create

“In the beginning, God created . . .” is the starting line of Genesis, the first book of the bible.

Something from Nothing –

According to Google (Oxford Languages) dictionary, to create is to bring (something) into existence.

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876 when he was 29 years old. Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse code, created the telephone’s predecessor, the telegraph. However, the idea preceded him by nearly 100 years!

Every great innovation starts with a novel thought. The seed of thought yields our reality. Contemplating while awake or even daydreaming serves a function in the creative process.

Daydreaming is a form of imagination that opens new horizons for the individual to his unknown future visions; i.e., it is the psychological process that allows the individual to live his distant or impossible ideas.

Source

“Living his distant and impossible ideas.” Daydreaming is pleasurable and beautiful. You cannot live with your eyes closed. You need to put action to dreams to bring them into reality.

Order from Chaos

Humans can have greater than 6,000 thoughts per day. I can start thinking about what I will eat for dinner and end up researching the origins of bananas. The answer is Southeast Asia in case you were wondering, lol. Writing gives order to my chaotic thoughts. Journaling is a technique used in therapy to help a person sort through complicated thoughts, memories, and traumatic events.

When I decided to Netflix, I end up spending an hour searching for something to watch only to end up watching reruns of Girlfriends. If I dare to watch something the app has suggested, I end up critiquing instead of enjoying ‘new’ shows or movies. I spot plot holes and lack of character development. My creative juices flow after I turn the television off.

My first novel, Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story, began as an idea I had to tell a love story written from a church girl’s perspective. The idea was born in 2007 and published in 2014. It took concerted effort to weave my idea of a love story into a published work.

The cover of Ruth's Awakeing: A Love Story
Ruth’s Awakening: A Love story by Felicia Michelle Malone

Writing is my joy, my life’s purpose, and my calling. In the image of my creator, I create – characters, stories, worlds – from the infinite flow of the imagination.

Your Calling

Creatives are throughout the Bible. . David built the temple. The Proverbs 32 woman made tapestries and clothes of fine linen. David was a poet and a songwriter. The song of Solomon is a love story. Even Jesus was a carpenter!

Are you called to create?

Out of Control

Janet Jackson’s top charting album Control debuted in 1986. I was 7 years old. I had no control over anything. I went to church, to school, and to bed when I was told. I ate what was put in front of me. However, my siblings and I did jointly revolt against stewed rutabagas. I shared my room and my toys. I could hardly wait to become an adult because that meant having a say in what happens to me and controlling the stuff around me.

Poor delusional 7-year-old me. Much of life is out of our control – my control. The ones we love will behave in ways we wish they would not. An employer may move the company to another state. Your neighbors will put in noisy windchimes that sound like the intro soundtrack of a horror movie every time the wind blows. #argh. It is all out of our control.

What you can control is you. And that’s a big task. When I wake up in the morning, it is a decision for me to give thanks. Most days it is natural. Other days, when I have slept in the wrong position and wake up with a crook in my neck, or have to do some arduous task; my first thought is not always gratitude. So, I make it a practice, part of my morning routine. “Lord, I am grateful for life.” That is my repositioning mechanism. It reroutes my train of thought from all of the unpleasantries to the beautiful serendipity of this life.

You actually have a lot of control. You control if and when you eat, workout, listen to gossip, watch TV or read a book. You choose whether to curse the sun or bask in its heated glory. Choosing wisely affects your growth – mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Like Janet, you are in control.

. . . And A Funeral

Last Saturday, I celebrated two people embarking on a new life together – a wedding. This past Saturday, I celebrated the life of my aunt – a funeral.

Life is impermanent

In 2019, we were on the warm sands of Jamaica celebrating her grandson’s wedding. The wedding was a beautiful moment where family got together to celebrate a happy occasion. In retrospect, I am grateful to have spent that time with my aunt. Who knew that eight months later the pandemic would arrive? Travel and weddings were halted in the face of a global crisis. The wedding last Saturday, was the first I have attended since my little cousin’s wedding in Jamaica.

Every time someone passes, the universe shifts. Much like the pandemic, there is the world that existed before and the new world order that exists after the event. I think about my godmother whose passing caused seismic changes in my world.

Life is cyclical

My aunt and my godmother were both old school saints. Having grown up COGIC (#IYKYK), the old school saints represented tradition and faithfulness. My godmother was someone whose advice and judgment I trusted. The old saints could ‘get a prayer through’. With the passing of the old guard, an uncomfortable truth is birthed. We are the new elders.

What will our legacy be? What will my legacy be? It is tough thinking of myself as an ‘elder’ when I still feel the preteen angst of not quite knowing how I fit in the world. I am still learning and growing.

Bearing the Load

Funerals are horrible for empathic souls like myself. I cry when I see another’s tears. My heart aches when a head is bowed in sorrow. Words cannot erase the sting of death. Being present in loving support is all we can do. If pain is transferable, then so must be hope and love.

My nephew was one of the pallbearers. A loaded casket can weigh at least 300 pounds. Yet the weight is distributed amongst six or more men, making the load less heavy. We attend funerals to celebrate the life of the person who has graduated to heaven. We also go to provide emotional support to the immediate family so that an unbearable loss can be borne.

Dallas Black Bloggers Meetup at Native Coffee

I forget names as soon as they pass from my auditory nerve in my inner ear to the auditory cortex in my brain. It’s my superpower.

A group of women met today to discuss blog content and life at Native Coffee. It’s a coffeehouse in a church or church in a coffeehouse. Not sure which.

Matcha Tea

God has a way of winking at you. I have my biweekly book club meeting today at 2:00 PM. We are smack dab in the middle of reading, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. In it, Mark tells of God giving him the idea to start a coffee house in what use to be a crack house. So, apparently, Mark started the wave of church adjacent coffeehouses.

Speaking of water, learning to swim is a counterintuitive exercise of the mind. In order to float, you have to let go of control of your limbs. Every muscle fiber wants to fight to keep your head above water which only pulls you furthr beneath the surface.

Being in the presence of other creatives is freeing. I shared my frustration with being in a season of uninspiration. Is that a word? It is definitely accurate. I got support and advice. No one told me I was being extra. It was comforting.

Like floating faceup in a blue pool with the Jamaican sun in your face. Freedom.

I even felt inspired enough to crank out this post. Community matters.

Hidden Talents

There is a story in the bible known as the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, a man leaves on a far journey. He entrusts three servants with varying amounts of talents. To one he gave five; to another two; and to the third, one talent. Upon the man’s return, he called the three servants to account for what had been given them. The first two doubled their amount of talents through investments and hard work. The third hid the one talent in the ground and returned the single talent to the man. The prosperous servants were granted many things due to their profitability to the man in his absence. The third unprofitable servant was punished.

As I write this post, I am listening in on a Zoom with a woman who is leading worship via piano – singing and playing worship songs. She is a former music teacher who can no longer teach due to health issues. Although she is no longer able to use this gift in her former career any longer, she is still putting the gift to use sowing into the spiritual lives of myself and everyone else on this call.

What is your ‘talent’?

In the Bible the talent in the parable is a monetary unit. It is a tool that can be invested or loaned out to increase its value over time. The initial amount provided to the three servants was money that belonged to their master. It is because they multiplied the value of that investment, they were rewarded by being made ‘rulers’ of many. A hint to discovering your talent is to realize it is a gift entrusted to you from the Father. It is valuable in its original state. Your management of it is the key to your increase. Are you frustrated with a lack of success in your career, finances, relationships? Could it be you have hidden, undiscovered talents in you?

Writing is my talent. It is the activity that brings me the most joy. Today I am inspired to keep sowing my talent via this blog and my books.

Hidden Treasures

This scripture popped in my head today in the early morning hours:

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3 NIV

In the biblical context, God is speaking to a pagan king. He promises to give King Cyrus “hidden treasures” because he allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

I pondered upon the meaning of the text. God will bless those who bless his people. Who are God’s people? Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Then I asked, who can I bless?

Someone needs what you can provide; be it your time, money, attention, or service. Those who need it the most may not ask for your help. You need to seek out opportunities to assist. Prayerfully ask God to reveal who needs you. You do not have to be perfect to be a vessel for God’s glory. Look at King Cyrus. You only need to be willing.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Mathew 7:11 KJV

Christmas 2021 is over and done. You could not control the gifts you received. Trust me, I know. I got a tin box filled with 3 stuffed Minion characters for the Secret Santa exchange. The good news is that you can control the gifts you give. God is the best gift giver. Like, who can top eternal life? Even in this present world, you can receive “hidden treasures”. Not that you give to receive, but a promise is a promise.

Ask yourself today, “Who can I bless?”

What are your thoughts on today’s topic?

Starting Over Should Be Easier

But it’s not. When the end of something approaches, there is this primitive fear of what is next. Is there a landing just beyond the ledge or a cliff. Why does faith demand that we jump either way?

It is frightening. To date, to find a new job, to move to a new city, to buy a house, to enforce a boundary, all are difficult feats. I am continuously suppressing the urge to delete every new contact become a hermit and buy a cat. It would be the safest, riskless thing to do.

It still seems unfair. To have invested so much time, hope, and energy into a venture and have little to no return. I wonder why am I not content to just be? I have this innate desire to explore, to reach for more.

I am still going to move forward. There is no alternative. Life ceases where there is no growth. Unless you become some dormant being. Who can live in dormancy?

Have You Lost Your Peace?

It is the month of July, seven months into year 2021. This is not a post shaming you for what you have not gotten done. It is not a warning to start hustling for the rest of the year. It is a call to appreciate today. Breathe. Your lungs work. You are alive. That is something to be excited about.

Imagine you are asleep peacefully in bed. The house thermostat is resting at a cool 68 degrees. You may even have a fan going while you are snug under a soft blanket. Pretty peaceful, right? Now imagine the piercing sound of your home alarm blaring. You bolt up, toss the blanket aside, and rush down the hall. From the corner of your eye, you see the intruder dart back out of the door he/she had pried open a moment before. No one is harmed. Nothing is taken. Can you then just secure the door, get back in bed, and fall into blissful slumber?

NO! Of course not. The robber may not have stolen your physical possessions but he did rob you of what you once had – your peace.

Living in the here and now, being content with what you have brings peace. Peace is an internal state of being. What can rob you of this coveted contentment? I would say anything that keeps you from appreciating what you have in the here and now. Jealousy is a green-eyed robber. It causes you to covet something someone else possesses. This can morph into hatred of the other person if left unchecked. Comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 12 can switch you from peace into discontentment. Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

If you have found your self depleted of your peace, could it be that you have shifted your gaze into someone else’s lot?

It is okay to desire good things. We all want a safe home, a good income, a family of our own. These are all good things. Some things may come with time or not at all. Being grateful for all that you do have is a surefire way to shift your focus. Gratitude is a mood booster.

I am exciting about the now. There is joy and peace in the place you are right now. This very moment you are reading these words. Inhale. That breath is a sign of life.

So, Boom, I Was Minding My Own Business

Let me backtrack a bit.

I actually took a vacation, a full 4 days off from work. I organized my kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Mopped my floors. Washed Just about everything. My family came to visit. I ate too much. All of the things I never get to do on regular work days, except for eating too much. I am a work in progress.

Today, is Saturday. My family have made it back to their homes. Looking to recover from the no calorie counting week, I get up early and get in a 45-minute walk. I usually do longer but I am working with an injured foot. I even stop to do 5 minutes of park bench assisted pushups. I decide to go to Bam’s Vegan: Smoothies & Wraps spot in Irving. A little backstory here. Bam’s Vegan was a really popular Dallas Farmer’s Market station. He always had a long line every trip I made and ALWAYS sold out fast.

Vegan Blackened Chicken Alfredo Wrap

I get there early and sit in my car chatting it up with a friend. I get off the phone and head over to the door only to discover a line of about 5 people in front of me. Now, I am wishing I had started walking like I was talking. I ask the young woman ahead of me if this was the line to enter because others were just walking in. She says, “Yes ma’am” to every question. I am no longer annoyed at the line but the fact she keeps yes ma’am-ing me to death. Yes, I did knowingly go out of the house without coloring my grays which are directly along the front of my hairline, but still. Disrespect aside, lol, I get my vegan delights and head home. The food hits the spot and I am in a food coma. I start to think, how easy it would be to be vegan if Bam’s was closer to my home or work. It is a good 35 minute drive to get there.

I was listening to a prayer on my walk this morning. Nature and the Lord is a good combo for my peace. The narrator mentioned how the capacity to do good and evil exists in all of us, even the bible heroes. I could have easily not had the extra slices of pizza, or the ice cream. Did I mention the Doritoes? YIKES. Here’s to forgiving ourselves, choosing better next time, and getting me some Clairol in a box.

The Grays have arrived.

The Obligatory Happy New Year Post

It is December 31st, 2020. It has not been a tough year for me. It has been a challenging three years for me. With all of the many challenges, there have been major highlights – my move back to Texas and my first home – to name a couple. I hate to break it to you but that’s life. It is full off ebbs and flows; highs and lows. Regardless of the day, I choose to be happy.

There in lies the rub. How does one choose to be happy? You choose which thoughts to follow. I can have a great morning and then a thought of what could possible ruin it will come. I deliberately vanquish that thought and replace it with a greater one. Who we are begins in the mind. Similar advice is given when embarking on a weight loss journey. When cravings occur, you must replace the bad food habit with a good one. Every. Single. Time. No do that with the mind.

This is why breathing exercises work so well to halt racing thoughts or heightened anxiety. You are forced to change your thoughts from the issue causing anxiety to your breath, the most basic element of being. The Bible says;

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7

We are because we breath. Elementary my dear Watson.

I have a theory that we have memorized a soliloquy of negative thoughts about ourselves. That scene is turned on intermittently. We know if word-for-word, like the Sophia speech in The Color Purple, All my life I had to fight . . .

Today, write a new version. Start with what’s good about you. I know this is difficult, especially, if you are only used to the abusive version. I’ll start.

  1. I am a loving, God-fearing woman. I work hard and try to treat people with love and respect.
  2. Yeah me! I bought a freaking house in a pandemic. God is good. Am I right? lol
  3. I have lost most of my regained weight. I have renewed focus and determination regarding my health goals.
  4. I am over 10k words in book number 2!

As I was typing, I resisted the urge to temper my good things with an ‘I am not perfect’ or a ‘It has been a struggle’. No qualifications, state what is great about you. It is important to celebrate your wins. Even small incremental ones. If you did 1 sit-up, tell yourself, “You did that!” You drank 8 glasses of water today, “You go girl!”. You caught yourself before spiraling into destructive thoughts, “You da man!”.

You are worth celebrating. You are loved and needed. I am telling you, now tell yourself. Choose your thoughts. As a man (or woman) thinks, so is he. Real talk.