Steadfast Faith.

Once upon a time I went to South Africa.  I never I swear believed such a  dream was possible. Sometime it still feels like a dream. But i did go! May 14, 2003. South Africa was actually a dream come true. Its the first time I realized I could hold God to His word, and see the outcome of a literal miracle.

This is an excerpt from the book Red Sea Situations. If you would like to hear my  testimony of   when I went to  South Africa,   click here for the entire story.
Initially, my intent was to go to visit, but God had another plan. He began to reveal to me this “God – given dream” that involved what I love to do: Lead and teach youth and families. He gave me a prayer to pray during this time, that challenged by belief system, and my paradigm of thinking. This prayer and declaration I began speaking over my dream – defied my every thought about the possibility of going on such a trip. Yet because I knew “God (was) able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ever ask or think”… I trusted God over my own thoughts. (Eph 3:20) – I acquiesced. I yielded to his plan.

One of the most powerful words God gave me before I began this journey of traveling to Africa was: “Just praise Me for it, even if you don’t believe it.” As crazy as it sounded, I did. I did it for about a year and a half, in fact, and with the regular routine of brushing my teeth and combing my hair every morning, I would sing my little praise song for about two minutes.” “Thank you Lord for allowing me to go to South Africa.” Exactly one and a half years later, I met someone who because of my prayers of faith, and thanksgiving, offered me that very opportunity. The irony of this situation was: I didn’t initially believe it. I thought the dream was simply a figment of my imagination and a desire. Yet, the more I praised God, and offered up thanksgiving, the more I began to believe it was possible. In fact, I even began to have more dreams of what I saw myself doing there, and involved in! It became exciting! As simple as this sounds, it really wasn’t. It takes a lot of work to challenge your paradigm. Yet early on, I committed that whatever I would do in Africa, it would be for God to receive glory.

So you can imagine the opposition of the enemy in trying to prevent it. I had people ask me: “So how are you going to go to Africa?” “What are you going to do there?” I was always prepared and would have answers. Thusly, I spent time with God asking Him about his plan for my life while I would be there. I had others who were in leadership positions resist me – and try to distract me from the opportunity. Yet I held on to the dream. When I became discouraged, God seemed to send angels (people – and perhaps even some invisible angels) out of the “woodwork” to assist me! In fact at one point, I couldn’t even see how this trip would be paid for, and someone I didn’t know very well but was inspired by my story and I believe ‘sent by God’ as the key person who influenced my dreams. She quickly assisted me with a ‘campaign of sorts’ to raise money in time for my departure. Within one week’s time, a miracle happened. I had all the money I needed in order to go to South Africa. Obviously, I was shocked. This circumstance revealed to me just how powerful praise, thanksgiving and worship- combined with faith – effects our dreams.


There were several things by faith, I enacted to make this literal ‘dream’ come true. I truly believe our faith can cause miracles to occur. 1.) Obedience to God’s plan and declaring the impossible became my mode of operation. I believe sometimes God tests our obedience to see if we will blindly follow. Isa 42:19 says : “Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD?” I read this for the first time in the Bible and was absolutely amazed that God calls the blind servant – “dedicated”. I thought to myself: “Wow… He really wants me blind and deaf… how does that benefit anything??” Yet then I remembered: It wasn’t about me, it was truly about Him. 2) Despite my fears, my reservations the challenges I faced – I risked of looking absolutely foolish. I allowed my faith in God to produce – follow through – and my reward was with me. It was like my “faith became the substance” needed to fuel and secure the dream. Hebrews 11:1 says : “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” KJV. The entire passage of scripture in Hebrews 11 gives testament to how the people of God were enabled by God’s power to see the impossible because they had an “open mind and heart change” to what God could do by His divine power. The most valuable lesson learned during this time of my life was: 3) God absolutely loves it when you express what you intend to do in faith, and brag on His ability to do it. (I would simply state what I wanted and that I believed with God’s help it would be possible.) It becomes a challenge then for God to produce it. I believe God loves to be challenged. I would be amiss to say I knew exactly how God worked that miracle in my life. All I know is, I kept believing. His word says in Hebrew 11:6 – “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. He that comes to God must first believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. God was extremely pleased with my faith. Thusly, I received a reward. This reward – changed my entire life and future.

Now, when God gives me an assignment, I don’t nearly doubt as much as I used to, because the dreams keep getting bigger and bigger! When God tells me speaks to my heart about something I seek like Abraham to be fully persuaded – and I trust in God’s sovereign leadership over my life. I am radically inspired to be obedient, follow through, and trust His complete intention in the process of aligning my faith with His plan. In fact, I am propelled forward because I have seen what having faith in God can do.
Selah.
Written Sat  Jan.  15, 2011.

My Natural Hair Story/Journey

If you’d ask what’s the one thing that helps me to feel alive…its my hair.  I a absoooooolutely  love  having   locs that are free …MOST of the time, and  it  feels  good to   just have natural  hair that GOD made… and  see how the journey  helps me to be free  with the  growth and  I am  intrigued most of the time to  see what God does with it, next!

Washing my hair can be a source of pure pride. I actually have this sort of “glee” inside when I wash it, because I am often each time I am reminded of my spiritual journey. Perhaps because i researched a bit, and found hair is symbolic of several things: power, pride, shame & glory; and I even read some place it is relative to being thought of as: “the external soul”. Deep.

So.. Here’s my “Hair Story :

Over the past 8 yrs, I’ve wrestled with my hair. Its been quite a journey. “Should I cut it? Should I keep it long?” Will I know what to do with it when it grows out of control?” i now know that growing out of control was just an illusion, and I had issues with what people thought. So glad hat has subsided, and been buried in the ground. My hair has a preserving effect. It has kept me strong and delighted. hopeful and observant. And Telling. (Yes, with a capital ‘T’.) Because there is a certain “earthi-ness”, that comes with me, and I simple adore. I don’t like being categorized or placed into any one’s spectrum. I love to be brave, and have recognized the strength in being a brave soul. It’s been a journey, of sorts. A blessed one, indeed. One that has matured me, delighted my soul, kept me sane, and I can easily trace back to major sentiments and transitions in my life.

One of them being on the heels of a return from S. Africa, and a love for the people and how their hair were often personal & cultural statements about their lives, and mirrors to their soul. I now realize the ‘wrestling’ was not just with me, it was with my soul. And my lifestyle. And my choices about how I LIVED my life. I have realized where this new hair journey began for me, began with several new beginnings, and with each new beginning, I feel that much more resolve.

I am grateful for my hair journey today, the maturity, the resolve, the growth of my life and person-hood, and the courageous young woman it has helped me to become as i delved a little deeper in my soul, noticed where my life was going, considered what ‘beauty’ and Nthabi, looked like… (my African name). I have found my life wrapped up in my hair these past eleven yrs, and I am proud to say the woman I was then, I am no longer. My hair has evolved with me. Even my confidence, my refuge in this past year, and often my awakening.

Selah. 10-29-31.

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August 28,  2017.

Recently I changed my hair color and found my personality changing with it. Feels good to have options that add to your livelihood and manner of being!

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I Am Enough Because I BELONG.

Friends.

How many of us have them! ( I used to love that song the rapper sings and I used to love it so much I think because I actually loved having friends. ) Listen to the beat here I used to listen to in high school and tell me what you think.

To be honest, I keep my circles small. Yet I love every now and then to chat with a good friend and catch up.

Recently , a few friends and I started working on  a   project  called : “Women Who Belong”.    Oftentimes, women  tend to not  participate in group of women due to a lack of trust: or simply because they often  believe they  “don’t  belong.”  It hurts me when  women are left out of the  equation.   ANY   equation.   Any  relationship,  any time they  are hurting or  sad because  they  were forgotten or  sad  about something or  just wanted to belong to  something and someone    didn’t  feel  as if they were worth it,  so they  left them out.

I  am  also a   very strong advocate   against  cliques. I’ve been hurt by them and I wish they were never even a thought.  Often without much consideration, people who create cliques,  are often not aware they are in them. I also believe cliques  are  so demeaning. I wish everyone knew  when they were being a part of one, though.  Sadly enough, they dont.

Luckily, I am a girl who’s been kind of eccentric and figured out with time I could create my own communities.

I have found overtime that creating my own book clubs, my own writing groups and mentoring groups have just brought some really interesting women into my life, and cherished relationships I may have never found, otherwise.

They  say  cousins are our  first  friends.  We love  each other  so unconditionally, because we  are friends by the nature of being family, first. Recently, I been connected with a cousin-as -friend. And she’s really neat! She treated me to Wendy’s with her daughter and we had the best time catching up. Sometimes reaching out is not as complex as we make it to be. We just have to take a few risks. And of course, have a desire to “be”.

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So here’s the deal about belonging:

1.It’s not complex. Just ask someone you like to spend some time with you, and if they don’t, keep asking til someone does!

2. What’s your hobby? Do you have other friends who like to do the same? Invite them over with the hobby to share. I have one friend who just likes a good movie every now and then. So that’s what we do go watch a good movie.

3. Try http://www.Meetup.com. It’s a major network online that connects people with  their hobbies and  interests. It  has been a place where I’ve showcased my awesome writer groups,  and found interesting people  desire to blend in, visit, laugh and share. If you’re not the ‘leader-type’ , try  out a group that’s already existing, and find your hobby.

4. FInd a  group to belong to in the community. Libraries always have good symposiums and  showcase things happening in the community. Get out a visit them! See what you like and say hello to someone or ask a friend to go with you!

 

Leaving My Home In Tulsa… & Making Embracing ” My 1st Home in N.Y.” …

IMG_20170801_192926438_HDR-EFFECTS-01-01Simply being this summer.. at home (in Rochester, NY), this summer was amazing.

Even when I just simply sat at home -in the home where I was born- and watched TV with my dad or stayed up late with my mother, I felt like I was in Nirvana.

20374645_10211398725136119_1910213501644863060_nThere were a few beautiful ‘movie moments’ and even some time to stop and  actually spend time dancing and being silly like we were living back in the 1920’s. The women in my family are kind of sassy, have loads of personality, and care. A lot. Sometimes too much, but they’re definitely all kinda cute.

My definite highlight was going to the beach with my sister. It was her idea, because she knows I love the water.

She is much more of an artist than I…I think in recent years I may have caught up with her, though…

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Darryl is a photographer , too. Perhaps we got this great gift from our father. We become excited about capturing highlights on water or in the air or even with people.

My nearly 80 year-old Mama got all dolled -up  for a 20’s Birthday Bash, and blew my mind with her outfit! Yes she did! And her boyfriend didnt look too bad either!

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And last but not least… I got to spend a lil time with our latest angel in the Cox family…

Lil Deion.❤

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6. #50DaysToFifty: Joy At 50. Do Your Hearts Work.

IMG_20170826_222550Ava Duvernay inspires me. As I get older and wiser, I look to women like her, to inspire me. Strong, Powerful Black Woman, who doesn’t forget the skin she’s in.  That has brought to light (on film) what the discrepancies are that exist between Blacks and Whites (in the Netflix movie 13th); and even giving insight as to why those disparities exist.

I’ve been contemplating on My Hearts Work, lately. Then one day on Instagram, Ava spoke to it.

Ava says: “‪Before I was able to be a full-time filmmaker, I was a weekend warrior. Writing and shooting whenever I could. It’s Saturday. Do your heart’s work.‬ #onward xo”

When I was young, I  used to want to be a librarian.  My dad was a librarian for over  thirty  years.  When I  was little, my first memories acquainted with work was going to  work with dad, and mom.   I  would  ride with my dad on the Bookmobile,  and   travel to communities   giving out  books to  the elderly, at  nursing homes, and  also  community  centers and  other fun places where kids  hung out.  It was awesome I learned how to  check out  books so well,  I decided I would work at the library for a while, and  it was one of my first jobs!  with mom,  she was a  teacher, so  going  to work with her and  her classroom and on   field trips, was the norm!  It was  exciting… but I knew I didn’t want to be   a  teacher.  I did want to   work with  kids in some  capacity, but I wasn’t sure how.  I  did like seeing them achieve,    and pouring on the  accolades.

Well… I  didn’t  quite become  the librarian, but in college ,  it was always my work study  choice.  ALWAYS.   Not  because it was  easy, it was   quiet.  and I loved   quiet, and I also loved  reading and  researching.  So it was fun.  I   had  many    libraries where I  rejoiced  in complete   quiet and  did my  job.  Quietly.  I know   — total introvert, right?  Yep.

But mom’s  job  did  sort of    rub off on me.  I became a  social worker and  guess where my longest running   job was?  In a  elementary  school.  I did some high school in there , too.  Loved working with kids  as a social worker.   They loved me too.  Kids are so unconditional.   They are also very  faithful when you love on them.  Love that about kids.   I  was able to  mark this part of my life as a  legacy  leaver. I wanted to  absolutely   impact kids lives, but I also wanted to  be  one who impacted their parents, all the more.    And  so….  I became a counselor to  and for  families.  In the substance abuse and addictions  field.  That’s where I am  now.   I am sort of loving helping moms  to  reconnect with their  children.  After years of neglect.  Helping restore those families.  Not sure if you know   this about me, but I am  a child of  an alcoholic.   Been there.  Done that.     Up  until the age of eleven.  My  family  went  through some things that were rather challenging.  But  God….

My job…It’s  rather rewarding and its  also very  cathartic.    Kind of  cleansing.   Purifying work.   Yeah… that’s it.  It helps me feel …”full”.     I  guess  that’s JOY,  huh?  Awesome.  Guess  I’ve  come full circle.  This kind of  restoration is paramount in making me who   I am, and  who  also I will be  in the future.   I   dont have biological  children,  but I do have step  children who need  restoration.   To a   natural father and   biological one.  Yes, indeed.  And I am  ready  to   work it out.

So yeah..soon I’ll be 50 and I want to be known as a’ legacy leaver’ of  Joy. I want to be one who pursued my dreams and people said the followed and found the same. I will keep dreaming as long as I live. If there where God has inspired me most with my dreams.❤ He has made the hardest one, come true. And turned it into a forever memory.

Surely , He can do more than this.

I’m in expectation.