Category Archives: Living

being intentional about being present .

I have found rest in some of the smallest uncozy spaces . And then when I see this frustrated, restless self of mine, I regroup.

My rest often hides in spaces I haven’t been in a while . I am finding rest in books. Books titled “Present Over Perfect.”

I’m learning here, in the book self care involving being intentional about being present with those i love , and letting them know it.

being intentional about being present with those i love , and letting them know it.

I mean, when the last tim

I mean, when the last time you looked your loved one in the eye and said :”You know I really, really love you, right – and here’s why…” and you tell them.

And then I find myself sleeping in late; maybe until nine, or ten sometimes on weekends. Or I walk a bit in the woods; or laugh at myself and sing some old songs or I listen to jazz because “ good jazz” makes you dance and get ‘all the way’ down.

Photo by You Are So Beautiful Photography

Maybe the moments of rest are within our souls: capturing everything we normally miss… when we blink. When we hear those voices deep down in our heart speaks and whispers “Tell them…” and then you hesitate and say it – not because it’s just senseless, but because there’s a chance by saying it , it materializes into a deep truth,& a deep comfort for the one whose ears received it.

This is being present over perfect.

And that all matters .

Introverted Productivity

I am an Introvert.

It wasn’t until I packed up, moved my entire life and homestead from the East Coast to the Midwest that I realized this was true about me. I was getting married, and moved from Maryland to Texas. I was happy, yet overwhelmed. Completely. I was getting married, had to find a new job, and absolutely stressed out because I left my entire family behind, of whom I was at least used to seeing twice a month. It was at that time, my new husband to be, noticed me.

He recognized that I was very stressed and handed a book to me about introverts. The book was “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen

After reading two chapters. I realized I wasn’t going crazy after all, and that my life was in transition. Yet I still needed to keep a certain momentum, in my life. Over the past seven years I have crafted and shaped a new life for myself, because I gain and preserve my energy completely different than most. I love that I am one who loves to listen to myself think. I have learned the person with the most important things to say, is myself. And if I haven’t heard it first, then it hasn’t really been said.

porch safe house

I am going to share with you the completely creative ways I prevent inertia and maintain my productivity, because it’s total self-care and provides mental productivity – which then preserves my physical, psychological, workplace and spiritual self care, as well.

1. I value my inner voice. I just can’t believe it’s taken several years in order for me to find it. In order to hear it, though I must listen. Cultivating listening takes skill. And it won’t happen unless we make that space in our lives for it.

2. I listen to my soul. I can truly say I appreciate cultivating the skill of maintaining a balanced peaceful and happy state of mind. Let’s face it, mental health care is not something everyone focuses upon, yet something everyone NEEDS. without it, we would lose a lot of things and not all of them are material. Emotional and spiritual care reigns high on my list of priorities because they SUSTAIN my inner being, and not only do others like me, I like myself.

3. Finding myself in nature and nothingness. I find stopping the “rat race” helps me to be more productive. Once I pull away, and become refreshed, then I can regroup and focus better. What sustains me, in those moments are: walks in the park, “quiet”, friendships, prayer and meditation, getting a kiss from a child that does not necessarily belong to me; but is happy to see me when I walk through the door. Simple, sometimes planned, and sometimes spontaneous events that make me smile.

4. Remaining grateful. I have taken to over the last few years to being grateful, because I love noticing the things I wouldn’t necessarily notice unless I was slowing down. How sun feels on my face, for instance, and how citrus calms my mood and help some to be a bit sprightly… noticing how a nice cup of tea soothes me and helps me to relax. Or to notice how much more refreshing it is to have a cup of ta while I read my favorite book on a nice, relaxing chair on my porch. when I place everything in perspective, I see the combined effect of being able to bring several of those instances of warmth and comfort to my soul in one place, and then I recognize I can say to the universe: “thank you.”

5. Intentional celebrations and rewards. Celebrations have been a rewarding tradition in my family. Growing up, I have fond memories of going on simple rides in the country, treating ourselves to ice cream, ‘just because’ as a family, or traveling once every summer to see distant relatives after a long season of work for my parents. Today, rejuvenation looks like the same. I am glad I have carried this tradition and ritual of celebration into my family life and legacy. When I married my husband Tim, rewards became even more important. He believed even if you didn’t have money, you still had to find a way to enjoy the moment. Carpe’ diem, became a regular occurrence, and I was on my way. Some of my best moments imprinted in the fiber of my mind have been when I slowed down and then would rise and be encouraged, because either obtained great resolve in my decision-making; or had a ‘creative jolt’ that was out of this world, and helped launch me to another level of success, in my career. I have a very fond moment of when I made a final decision to get out of an unhealthy, unproductive relationship that wasn’t satisfying for me. It came after going to a bookstore, buying my favorite book, and treating myself to Red Lobster, and eating alone.

I could tell you many more restful, productive moments for me. Yet, this may become a really long article. One of the greatest blessings of productivity may have just been taking the time to find myself and enjoy the moments in between.

And for that, I am grateful.

Indwelling.

Indwelling.

Is there such a word? I was reading today in the Word how being in fellowship with friends and others and also God-we learn how to be built up, and grow. We make more room for growth by allowing for friendships; and sometimes those friendships have a God-nature, if you will that comforts.

That’s cool. It makes sense. I really didn’t have a desire for friendships much when I was younger. Like in my twenties. I pretty much isolated myself and spent time with my first husband a lot. Well… not really. After we became kind of estranged in our marriage, I spent a lot of time alone, actually. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I bonded with two girlfriends who were friends by nature of my struggle – we all had similar concerns, and bonded.

They were raising children and I kind of admired their children and how they mothered and loved their children as my own, so I became family, with them and helped them. It was nice, since I didn’t have children of my own, and I was considering that. That never really happened, having the children (for me), but I learned so much about mothering from them. So much about nurturing. And I learned about life with them, as we “did life together.” As we would fellowship together – we spent quite a bit of time together talking about life, cooking, playing, talking about God together, and eating together. Yes fellowshipping …was what I did with them. I was very interactive with the children – and watched them grow. This was over a period of eight to ten years or so.

Indwelling.

I never thought much until now, about how I grew because of them. My sisters… the depth of their character and their faith and friendship. Their capacity, and mine. How we held each other up in good faith and with prayer. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could go on and they would have this soothing, mothering nature that just knew I needed them and would comfort well. Their company and friendship, and their love. Possibly very conscious to them… that God was helping us and bonding us- yet I was just trying to survive.

I never thought about how God used them. To provide an indwelling. (A motivating force for me.)

So yes, there is such a word. I looked it up. Indwelling means: ‘to provide a motivating or guiding force ‘- “to possess (a person), as a moral principle …or as a motivating force.” That’s pretty deep. That an indwelling can work for us positively, or even negatively, depending upon whom we spend time with, and how often and how we allow them to influence us .

Yes… indwelling.

Indwelling forces. They are almost mysterious in several ways. I mean who thinks about them when they are happening?

Motivating us past circumstance, past situation, rising above shame and hurt; yet prevailing.

Who really tends to notice ‘how the bonding happens…’, when we are bonding, right?

I didn’t. Perhaps this is how and when I learned to receive from others. In the midst of my struggle. When I didn’t understand what life was offering me, and I didn’t want what it set before me.

Perhaps in God’s awesome Grace I received friends and was taught invaluable life lessons. Perhaps. Via friendships I survived. I yielded. I acquiesced.( I yielded without protesting.) Hmm…

Okay. So thank God for friendships then, and friendships now – and what I now offer – was not fully aware I was being then, even. By nature of how my relationships have formed today, thank you God, for allowing me to mentor and nurture women today,

I am indwelling.

Providing and being a motivating force and a guiding force for women, looking back and noticing what I need, what they need- and noticing what helped me to survive.

Yes. An indwelling.

Selah.

Question: Where does your indwelling come from?

Do you nurture & cultivate -it or ignore it?

Are aware even as to whether it exists?

On Being Authentically Happy.

I’m learning authentic happiness is often  unearthed in the places we least expect.

So… after a very challenging  week last week, and more contemplation on just what it takes to remain in a positive state of mind and be: #NthabiHappy , I have found that it takes effort and a soul- searching and it helps to also be aware of your state of being and having tools & resources, mentors , even to help you manage to shift it; even noticing at times when it’s okay to NOT shift it, and to “just be.”

One of my girlfriends asked me today in the midst of my coping with my grief – “how I was managing?“. To be honest, I literally didn’t have words. I told her that I was just trying to be “present” with my grief because at the moment that’s all I knew how to do.   I learned that here.

I know, you didn’t expect a “Happiness” article to be about grief, did you? (It’s Ok. ) – it’s just authentic talk. Contentment comes with acceptance . I’m learning that the more content you are in your soul, the better you exude happiness. We have to deal with the unrest in our souls in order to be truly authentic human beings.
Sometimes being present to life and living it , it’s what necessary to thrive. The effort we put forward in being one who lives with purpose and living in faith, are what sustains is.

And movements of faith looks like : Finding others who share our faith, encourage us, those who treat us with love and kindness, taking care of our soul: our mind , will and emotions… and living in peace with ourself and others. It looks like praying, and sitting and being honest with yourself, telling yourself what you need, then pursuing that. This year, I knew I needed a group of women praying with me. So I created a group called SHINESisters Helping Intercede Nurture and Excel. Shine is doing so much more than I ever imagined! (And it’s only six months old.) Yet I am excelling and I’m being nurtured by women who are awesome leaders.

As I look back and think about my answer, I realized that was great for an answer, because if we live in the present, we are not numbing out . We are living life and not allowing it to happen to us, but we are being conscious to what we need to be in this life.

Sometimes when you aren’t sure “how to be”; you have to just focusing on BEING. And then feel what you must, in that moment, even if it’s the most saddest, painful and unspoken fear you’ve ever had. Then call a friend, get some professional help if it surfaces too often or is too heavy for you; or perhaps get a mentor to guide you through it or help with combined perspective; and don’t walk it ALONE.

This “processing” of myself and my pain, I literally decide to ’embrace’ and ‘move through it’, in order to become a better me. And that’s quite alright.

As I therapist, I’ve learned that moving through your pain with someone who understands and makes you feel totally and absolutely validated in that pain, can actually help you to move past the most painful part of it.

But it still takes some time. Make some attempts at being as authentic as you can possibly be.
What does that mean? It means to not deny what is inevitable. Practice acceptance and just move through your emotions feeling every part of who you are.  But after a while letting go. Remembering that this has made you a better person, accepting that it’s meaningful, and embracing the lessons learned.

Being #NthabiHappy ( that’s my video blog series) Today, NthabiHappy means just allowing myself to be authentically me. Feeling the good, feeling the not so good, yet determining to still be happy, despite myself and my emotions. When we learn to embrace emotions instead of run from them, we’ll find that life can be a rewarding presence and those emotions can transform into Pure Joy.

Selah.

What’s Intriguing Right Now… in my life…

What I’m WATCHING…
I’m watching on Netflix “The Fosters”.
It’s a cool drama about foster families and I think I love the ‘kid actors on here And all they face from day to day. The show plays with the dangers of secrecy, and all that comes with it. And I love it.

What I’m READING…
I’ve been reading a few things. The last exciting book I read was Homecoming. Ex-cell-lent! It was long …and you had to stretch your Imagination a bit but it really got me lost in the lives of the people, their experiences and the mystery of family. Before , during and after the Middle Passage.

How I’m MENTORING…
Mentoring has been successful. I’m very glad it’s started. I began Mentoring a group of about ten women in October 2016. I love when women come together to nurture themselves and have a bit of self- introspection and “me-time”. It always helps keep be grounded and uplifts me a bit.😇❤ If you’re even the slight bit interested, we participate in discussions online video, in an intimate app, and in person if you live near Jenn. Send an email to: mentormysister@gmail.com for more information.  Also visit mentormysister.wordpress.com .  We will have our website up soon as well!

What I am LISTENING to…
Well my music life is shifting…
I am liking recently everything that even sounds like Todd Dulaney, an amazing gospel artist and musician Johnathan Reynolds. They inspire me immensely through song. And when my soul needs a lifting, that’s where I go.
How I’ve  been FEELING….
I’ve been feeling sort of isolated  near the end of 2016 with my illness. But I’ve had a lot of contemplative talk time with hubby, and  we’ve prayed , dreamed and searched one another’s thoughts together. It’s been real.

What I’ve Been WRITING
I’ve been writing more.
It’s cool because my blogging experience is focused on self development and I write on those topics. I like writing about self-development and self-awareness, although I can see how others may be confused about my ‘self-focus’ cause I post a lot of selfies and talk about myself quiet a bit! Yet join me on this journey. It can be life-shifting!. (😄 👊👊) The journey is vast and enlightening. Why not learn from an introspective person who is trying to love herself more, about how she gets there, and what she makes more room for self care, confidence and self-awareness and self-love,in that space.

I’m LOVING…These days…I’m really loving just ” Being”. Possibly on any given day you can learn from me in that way and see I get a lot out of being, so that may not change. But that’s how self-awareness happens in this space of learning and loving yourself. Through Journal-sharing, Self-evaluatiion and Encouragement …we grow..

What I am PLANNING…
So that’s one  (of many areas) of my life where things are “just. not. perfect.” I am a planner at heart. Sometimes it just gets colluded, though. Not sure why…need to think a little more thoroughly about that. But I bought a planner for next year and I’ve decided for the first time I’m going to plan to write read, research and study. And all that is going in my planner.  This year. Yeah. Even the fun stuff I never get to do. Like pictures and scrapbooking. Just because I love memories and reminiscing. Cool. So that’s where do am. Thanks for listening.