Your Art Will Not Be Perfect

Art is subjective. It is the truest representation of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. One man’s art is another man’s trash. I can go on and on with the cliches. The use or misuse of cliches can also be seen as art. Art does not have to be perfect to be present. We all strive to put our best foot forward; however, if you wait until every “i” has been dotted, you could be waiting forever.

When I published my first novel, Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story, I agonized over the roll-out not being perfect. There were mistakes made. Ironically, the mistakes taught me how to become a better writer, editor, and publisher. I have met many contacts in the literary world and garnered incredible opportunities. These opportunities never would have materialized if I had not published my book waiting on perfection.

Any form of waiting to act can easily morph into procrastination. Fear of failure can halt the creative process. Throw caution to the wind (cliche) and write, act, go to school, workout, learn a language – just freaking do it. The failures that come are a blessing if you learn the lesson.

Do not wait to become perfect. Act and then perfect the process. RuthsAwakeningALoveStory.jpg

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.

Say What You Want and See What You Said

I don’t want a dog. I want a husband.

There I said it. I am single and I bought a house but I refuse to buy a dog, or a cat, or freaking fish. Thank you to all of you well meaning friends but I don’t want animal companionship. There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that I would like to married. There is actually power in confession, words are a creative force. My heart’s desire is the same. There is no alternative.

I define settling as not believing in the truth of your first conviction. It’s like my house story. I wanted the house I currently occupy but there were two offers on it prior to mine. I later saw a duplex that was ‘good enough’. I was on the verge of taking it when the seller of my house called us and said those other offers fell through.

*praise break*

Settling can also occur when you were never sure what you really wanted in the first place. Some of us date who is available and accessible at the time. Then we try to form out of the dust and clay a man/woman fashioned to our liking. Spoiler alert – that does not work. I took the time to write down the qualities of the man I would like in my life. Most are character qualities but some are physical. It took me a long time to accept that desiring a physical quality was not superficial. Attraction is important. Funny thing is, I did the same thing with my house. Yes, I wanted a home that was sound structurally and in a safe area; however, there were aesthetics that were important also. I wanted a brick home, a big back yard, French patio doors, no carpet, and lots of natural light. My home has all of the above and even faces the east. Every morning, I open my blinds and let the sunshine fill my life. Write it down!

It is difficult to find what you are looking for when your search is too broad. This works for homes, companions, and even Google. Get specific.

You have to be radical about your dreams and desires. Not everyone will see or agree. That is okay. What is the type of life you want to live? Design it in your mind first. You have to visualize before you actualize. Then write it down. You can journal or create a vision board. We all know the result of settling. Why not try going for your heart’s desire? Just do it.

Please share your thoughts.

An Ugly Goodbye

“Be mindful of how you leave,” a stranger posted in a Facebook group in response to someone who had just purchased a home and wondered if she should pay her last month’s rent. Many years ago, I worked at a bank. The teller called in and quit, no notice, only to come back a few weeks later and ask to have her job back. The manager said no and added, “Never burn your bridges.”

I recall telling my ex that I was thinking of moving back to Dallas. I did not owe him an explanation but I wanted to have a “good” bye. He became angry and told me that if I made the move, not to expect any help from him. Then, he stormed out of my apartment like the villain in a Tyler Perry movie. Ironically, his outburst only made me more determined.

If a relationship ends, it just means that you are no longer sharing the same path. It does not negate all of the good that occurred. Breaking bad makes it difficult to salvage any future benefit. Life is cyclical. Sometimes you pass the same tree twice, once on your way out and then coming back. Imagine getting lost because you cut down the tree as if you would never need to cross that path again.

There is another school of thought. It includes a clapback, a telling-off, a burning of bridges. You may feel empowered by that course of action. It’s just not my style.

  1. Always say goodbye. The word ‘goodbye” is derived from the phrase, “God be with ye.” It is wishing someone well although your journey together has ended.
  2. Always give a two-weeks notice. Tie up loose ends, close out projects. Leave guidance for your replacement.
  3. Break good. There is no need to get even. A pure heart is open to all of the blessings and promises of God.

There is a graceful art to leaving, like serging the edge of fabric to keep it from fraying. It’s an extra step that keeps the framework intact. Keep your heart pure and your integrity unscathed. You are not judged by how others treat you but how you treat others. Never let anyone’s negativity change who you are. That way you show up as your full glorious self at the next destination.

Are Soul Mates Really A Thing?

There is a story of a couple who were married for 44 years. They died hours apart in the same nursing home. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a man’s wife was trapped under the rubble of the bank where she worked. He would come at night after the rescue crew and dig for her by hand. She was eventually rescued alive. What kind of love is this?

Previously, I asked if Soul Ties were real. What is a soul?

I really like this interpretation from Merriam-Webster:

a person's total self

The bible actually uses the word translated as soul to describe the corporeal and not the spirit. So, soulmates in this instance would be a two living, breathing beings with such a strong compatibility it would appear they were made for each other. Other biblical guidance describes the soul as the totality of your mind, will, and emotions. So, a soul mate in this instance is someone who is mentally, temperamentally, and emotionally compatible. Sounds tough.

It is not good to be alone.

I get conflicted about this statement as a self-sufficient introvert of sorts, but even I get lonely. And, yes, being alone does not equate to being lonely. However, being lonely is not a crime. It is, also, not a defect of character.

“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

Concept of Lifelong Mates

Swans Mating

Swans bow their heads toward each other when mating creating a heart shape. They also are lifelong mates. There are several other animals who mate for life. It is not inconceivable that humans are also a species who can have a lifelong mate. Humans are different from animals in that we are self-aware and we have free will. Something other than a biological urge or imprinting has to keep us committed to another human being. We have to exercise our mind, will, and emotions to choose to stay committed.

Although, I am not sold on the idea of soul ties, I am feeling the soulmates concept. What say you?

Why I Love You by Major (Cover)

The Parable of the Talents is story in the Book of Luke in which a king leaves on a journey. He gave three servants talents (money); one servant received five, the second received two, and the third received one. The first two through effort doubled their talents. For their stewardship, they were rewarded handsomely. The third hid his in the ground. For his laziness, he was dealt with harshly.

God has blessed us with many talents. They are to be used to multiply the love he has given each believer. Are you aware of your gifts?

I know my talents. I am a writer. I write love stories. So, many readers have shared how Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story mirrors their own struggles with church, familial obligations, and unrequited love.

I am also a singer. I was on the Praise and Worship team and sang in choirs for years. The lesson of the talents is that our gifts are meant to be developed and shared. Sharing multiplies its value. I felt led to share this song. You never know who needs to hear that they are loved.

You. Are. Loved.

When the Lights Go Off

When I went a way to college, I wanted the “college experience.” I am a first generation college graduate. My only exposure to college life was via the “A Different World’ TV series. S college life goes, I made some friends and we went out from time to time.

One night we got all dressed up to go to a house party. I remember wearing this brown marbled velvet dress. Yes, the 90s fashions were poppin’ lol. We happened to get there early or everyone else was late. I am not sure which. With the lights on, the scene was unimpressive. About 20 or so college age kids sitting around a house waiting for something to happen.

On queue, someone turns off the lights, the music starts, and everyone gets up and starts dancing. The party had officially begun for everyone except me. I felt like Dorothy hoping for the wizards favor only to find a man behind the curtain orchestrating the special effects. Was the party not a party because I had seen the scene with the lights on? I don’t know. It was the instinctual behavior change of everyone around me that got the gears in my mind tuning. Why do we do what we do? What makes something cool versus not cool? What makes a party a party?

So, I never became the party girl. I never frequented the clubs. I was no longer curious about what was behind the velvet rope. I had witnessed the magicians slight of hand and was left unimpressed.

Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? When did the mystery end for you about a thing?

A Pillar Of Salt

Salt is good. It flavors. It preserves. It prevents spoilage. It was once used as currency, it’s value was deemed so great.

Did you know the body is designed to desire salt in smaller amounts but as sodium levels increase the flavor changes from salty to bitter to prevent you from consuming too much? SOURCE

Maybe that’s what really happened to Lot’s wife.

As the biblical story goes, Lot, his wife (not named in the Bible), and family, are allowed to escape Sodom and Gomorrah before it is destroyed by God with fire and brimstone. Two angels warned them not to look back. They are well into their escape when Lot’s wife looks back. For her disobedience, she is turned into a pillar of salt.

Why salt?

Looking back to a past God has rescued you from is dangerous. Like salt, looking back in small reflective doses is good; to see how far you’ve come, to learn the lesson, etc. Nostalgia is a tricky feeling tho. It is a rose-hued cloud that filters out the negative realities of past experiences. That relationship that nearly destroyed you emotionally, financially, and/or physically, becomes a reel of only the highlights. While in Sodom, Lot’s home was surrounding by townspeople threatening to assault him and his guests. His entire family was in danger of being destroyed. Pretty bad stuff, huh? Yet, she looked back.

Bitter Betty

No matter what you think you may have lost, if God told you to move forward, do that. Your best days are ahead of you.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

If you believe your best job, relationship, or any experience is behind you, you risk becoming bitter. Like too much salt on the tongue. Your future is sweet. Keep pressing forward.

What say you?