Category Archives: Motivation

A Different Kind of Rest.

People rest.

Porch & People rest on mom’ porch.

Dad resting with me.

Porch rest.
Beach rest.

Rest from wind, water and field.

Nature rest.

Rest received by flowers ‘ n photography.

Travel rest.

Travel rest. Just does an introvert soul, good.

Resting & Watching.

Pensive rest.

Rest on , in imagination.

Mesmerized By The Skies…

Since I was a child I have been mesmerized by the skies.

I’m not sure if it was being raised by parents who just placed in me a sense of wonder and joy, or just had professions where they absorbed the unreachable. Mom was a teacher so learning was her best thing. Mom could teach you , while at the same time cut up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in front of you and it was the best classroom ever, right there in the kitchen. Often at the table …why I asked her pensively, why the sky was green or why people were so mean inside. One thing for sure, I listened to all this answers and they formulated opinions in my head about how to treat others, myself.

Dad … on the other hand, was a librarian. (Another major absorber… ) sometimes I would see Dad with a book in his hand , reading.. but not often . He mostly seemed to like the interaction with others in how he brought the books to others and the thoughts related to engaging with them. He liked the sense of wonder and conversations that arose from those books. And I think he secretly like also the way I’d visit the bookmobile he drove daily and grab nearly 15 to 20 books every week and get stocked up on my next few that I’d settle into for the next week or weekend.

(I believe both of my parents were grateful they were raising a book nerd, to be honest… maybe I’d stay outta trouble..)

Evening skies. July 2020

Yet Dad nurtured that sense of wonder the most, when he took us on rides in the country . Every Sunday, he would grab his family and we’d go for a Sunday drive. Just looking out our windows, feeling the evening breeze on our cheeks, rising in the breeze and remembering how soft and free it felt on our faces.

I think perhaps I loved it the most.

I was the baby of the family, and I’d get excited, skip and laugh to get in the car. My siblings on the other hand would have scowls and frowns on their faces .. that was until they got about five miles outside the city, and they too would feel the nostalgia.

And everyone would just.. relax. The car would get quiet, we would all get contemplative and just watch the skies. Or… fall asleep.

To this day my siblings and I send each other photos of the sun going down or beautiful skies and photos of nature.

So the nostalgia continues …

Even in our older age.. we are mesmerized by the skies…

Selah.

Seeking Normalcy in a Pandemic

I have been thinking about self -love and self-care and why others have such a hard time with it, sometimes . Lately, in the pandemic, I’ve been way too busy. I’ve been a caregiver for parents, I’ve been a mental health therapist, I’ve been a concerned friend. But I haven’t cared  for me , like I should. I’ve placed others’ needs above my own and thought less of mine .

When the racial protests happened I felt bad I couldn’t walk with them, because I was trying to be safe from the Corona virus.  I compared my suffering to that of others and thought about the consequences; feeling guilty I was not as involved as a activist for social justice issues like this. Yet then, I realized as long as I had a voice my voice would matter , my sharing and transparency mattered, and so did my attention on friends who were suffering the same.

“Even our pain and hurt should not be compared and ranked .” (Brene’ Brown)

These were Brene ‘ Browns‘  soothing words while experiencing crisis. I don’t know about you but I’ve had a range of emotions during this ” stuck at home time.”

Brene encourages is by saying: “Don’t ration love.” We need to up the ante on self-love. Self-love is not something I often think about ; but oh do I need more of it!

Though it’s hard sometimes, I find the need to just stop, slow down, and take morning baths. Why? Because morning baths are soothing, relaxing and set the tempo for the rest of my day.

I also read  on self- development and  how to be my best self,  take notes and meditate on learning points through the week. Why? Because knowledge is always present , and I am ever- evolving. And I need this meditative , contemplative part of me to be a sanctuary for a sound mind.
I have other self- soothing tips during this season. But self-love is an ‘acquired taste’ for me, and it takes thoughtfulness , meaning-making and time to pause.

“We need to attend to our own emotions, so we can be also present for others.”

I am not certain I’ve been very consistent with this. There are times I didn’t want to even think about how I felt. Being numb and not thinking much, just felt safer. But then I realized “there’s safety in a multitude of counselors.” (Scripture) And this safety is wrapped up in the arms of those who comforted me and believed I wasn’t alone. With them in my life,  life is just better.

We should never compare our suffering, emotions or affect with other-suffering. We should not deny or double down on our feelings. This invites shame, says Brene’ Brown.

Listen in to the Unlocking Is podcast with Brene’ Brown

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unlocking-us-with-brené-brown/id1494350511

Giving from a deficient place.

I’m reading a devotional , and in the devotional it speaks about giving from a deficient place. And I that deficient place, it says more shall be provided than you’ll know. Interesting that ‘lack’ can have an almost amazing fulfillment.

It makes me think about how my esteem used to be really low. But then, I’d go to school with my mom who was a teacher.

And I was famous for a day.🌺

It’s So odd how true truth rests in how we perceive and how we are received. Receiving unexpectedly, like being in the right place at the right time, makes you feel valued. As a spiritual principle, being valued can exceed your imagination .

It gives you strength, affirmation , acceptance, worth. Wholeness …smiles, warmth.

And most of all, LOVE.🌺

When I was younger, my moms would take me places . She’d give me all these new experiences . I’d go to the beach, I’d travel to the library, I’d take days off to go on fields trips with her school, and her school children. She was not just my own Teacher. She was THEIR teacher . And some of the kids would just STARE at me. Like wishing they could go home with her too.’ Like … ‘what made HER so special that she hung out with my teacher?’

I learned from my Momma the power of making people feel special. It made you famous . Well.. sorta. Lots of people like you when you make them feel worthwhile. And make them smile.

Not that life is all about that, but… YOU feel good too when you make them smile inside . For this reason, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, too.

Then I changed my mind once I was in a room with a bunch of kids. Couldn’t handle it.

Decided I’d spend maybe a few hours with them, yet still be their teacher . How could i do that?

Oh! ( Be a school social worker!)

And that was my longest job.

I learned so much about kids and how to water them and make them grow. I learned a lot about myself, too. And what I needed to grow.

Value yourself , today🌺.

You deserve it.

And don’t settle for anything less.

Quite longingly… they would look…as if I were special. So i began to believe I was. 🌺 And they’d desire to play with me and be my friend, and sit right next to me. They knew I wasn’t a student in their class. And they knew I was a pretty special girl, if I’d come to their class, and belonged to Mrs Cox.

Q

I always wondered why it felt so special to be there .To experience the class as an outsider. As I think about that special feeling; I now know what they saw. Value.💜

Read more about Value, here on my podcast, ShineBaby Shine!🌺

For me to see from a deficient space.

To see opposite of what everyone else saw. To see from a deficient space, and give from that special place.

My Journal (& Processing Life)…

I guess I’m back to journaling .. and sharing my heart with you all here…☺️

It’s really a wonderful season I’m in, so I wanted to share here some of those blessings and the mindset God gives me as I make shifts and transitions .

Ever felt like you had to go back to the place you were from to heal some of the things in life that you never really addressed fully? I think that’s why I’m back home after almost 27 years of being away.

Although a bit daunting, it also been a breather .. a releasing of sorts… an enlivened moment of peace, joy and security as I find my niche in anew city and try to reclaim my roots and my personhood.

‘Settled’ was one of my words for 2020, as I entered a new year, and the word “Rooted” showed up as I sought out the word. I am planning on being Rooted.. Or expecting on being rooted, I should say.. looking for roots and foundation in a way I never have… asking .. seeking.. finding… they are all good as the revelations flow and this discovery finds ME.

Selah.

It’s going on my seventh month as a New Yorker again, and I’m quite delighted to be in a place of “Sincere Growth.” I’ve been planted in a great church that is concerned about my growth spiritually, and my purpose. It feels good. I love the smallness of it, and the people seem focused and ready to do exploits in God.

The pastor who spoke today spoke on getting ‘ planted ‘ and being with your tribe . I remember when I was in South Africa; although I didn’t know the people, it get so good to fool them for three mins of even, as I responded the South African language : when they said: Dumela Akai?“ (“How are you”? ) & if said firmly and loudly in response: “Kite!” ( pr.Keetay” ) -which means (Fine!)☺️💜It was as I was South African, they thought I was one of them. It was wonderful. And they were so kind to welcome me home.

‘Welcome home’ is such a blessing, they offer, when they welcome you back to the Motherland it does feel like home. Unexplainably, a place that’s foreign , could feel so familiar… And boy…was I welcomed! from the food to the parties, to the youth rallies, to eating the food, walking through flea markets, enjoying church services, having youth run up to me and hug me, and even in visiting foster homes as a social worker & speaking to youth about their dreams in schools.

As I contemplate on this journey, I also feel welcomed by God in N.Y. I feel His presence as being affirming, Loving, kind, as as I feel a shift in the familiarity, I feel “Welcomed.” By Him. He loves me.

And in this welcomed space is Healing. I’m just expecting it to be a part of the territory. I am.

Don’t be surprised what I share later this year as I become.

Watch out Rochester! I got something for ya!☺️👍🏾💜

Ask , Believe …Receive.

“Where was grace found in your past when you stepped out on faith? “she asked.

“It was a sort of Surrender, she said. “

“This is a word you should seek again and return to that helped manifest your dreams.” I was speaking to a mentor who helped direct me at a special time in life.

So I was still this morning.

And I listened to the little small, still voice in my heart . And kept whispering… “ Surrender”.

And the word came back to me in Silence:

“Consistency.”

And then a little while later…

“Hope.”

And finally…

“Treasure.”

All these words spoke to me and I allowed me not to take for granted any steps going forward to make them as intentional as possible, and to ‘not hold back. ‘

And I struggled here.

I thought about all the places consistency had failed me: I’d struggled with hope.. and treasures seem illusive.. and I was discouraged for one moment.

Then, I realized I did t need to produce anything, or make it happen. I just had to Surrender.

It’s a discipline, you know .

I must continually remind myself .

And stay

There.

💜

Selah.

So… Have you ever encouraged people to the point you  are  more so encouraging yourself?

I happened to me, this week… yes it did. It seems like I’ve been giving everyone this word all week… and then.. it appears! Be Still.

But maybe God has been  really speaking to my soul.

I had a vision or a dream the other morning. It was about My Grandmother , Mae. She  was in my spirit this morning. Her resoluteness. Her certain magic. I saw an image in my mind of how she used to stand over her kitchen , & just look out  and stare straight ahead… or look at her children and grandchildren while standing  resolute at that counter… the only one still… the only one… quiet…
I used to catch her eye sometime and he’d just stare at me with a lil smirk, & say nothing.. yet she would smile… as though she had a secret. I know she didn’t do this with me alone, yet it often felt like she did.  I felt like she was Present. And Happy.
We are- My family- The Stenson’s- are a family that’s known for being Present. 
So I wrote my families a letter and emails this A.M.:
“Let’s redeem that, this week.
Let’s be still enough to notice. “
Just exactly what my grandma Mae  was praying and thinking deeply….contemplating… feeling…or feeling about her people in that place. In her kitchen,… just …Being Still .  Will forever have me wondering.
I had a week sort of like  this , this past week ,in quiet contemplation.
Yet I was blessed to find peace this week in being still. My grandmother visited me, this week. Mae practiced that regularly. Stillness.  I believer this where I get that stillness from. 
When  I’m not still my mind and world turns upside Down ..  Things are out of order …what ‘s important sort of diminishes and I get distracted.
My Priorities shift.
So in  the spirit of Mae , I ask you to be still this week, spend time alone and with God and think… just be resolute … find resolve … find peace.
 I looked up STILL in the dictionary and the word STILL meant” ‘ to be (current, to make motionless.)’
 Whew,  that just took me some place! In my book, Red Sea Situations, I  wrote a chapter called ‘What’s Your Positional Stance?’ I recall several motionless nights…just siting there waiting on God. Not moving.  No deciding, but waiting to hear his voice,  look for an impression, let him decide my fate, etc… Then, I looked it up n the Hebrew language concordance to gather deep meaning… Being “Still” in the  concordance means to:  (relax, abate,  withdraw,  to let drop, refrain, or  forsake.) Funny that I found words that pertain to  such life-giving spiritual purpose.  Intertwined with  the  words often my husband and I use to encourage one another: We always tend to say to each other:” Just Sit Back, relax and  Enjoy the ride..”  
Because our pilot, who’s sits in the heavens knows we are just co-piloting. We must know it, too. Life is too busy when we attempt to take over the reigns.
Being Still… is a gift . It can be such a  ” wonderful  adjective”, yes, I said adjective! Because… “Being Still.” Takes active intention, and  quite a bit of WORK!                                          So… Be Still  and listen to your  little soul while you do…

Selah.