TuesdayTea|Resurrection & Redemption

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair and fill your mug.
Today’s discussion: resurrection, redemption, and you.

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An old friend of mine stopped by my house yesterday.

We sat in my dining room, me with my green tea and he with a glass of water, catching up on the past couple of months. I read my TEDx speech to him, which he applauded (*blush*)

Then we spent the next 3-4 hours flowing between casual banter and in-depth delving into the mysteries of Christ. Boy, did we dive IN–and did he challenge my beliefs, my knowledge of Kingdom principles and my relationship with God!

See, my friend prefers to see himself as “spiritual, not religious.” He believes that God does exist, as the central intelligent energy composing and ordering the universe, but how up close and personal we can know Him–not that well. That there is a spirit world and other realities rampant with evil and benevolent spirits, a lot of duality and possibilities in magic, and that even God can be evil. That we engage with our context and what someone else has told us to believe rather than seeking such knowledge for ourselves.

Being this the day after Christ followers worldwide celebrate the Day of Resurrection, where He conquered death, hell and the grave and got up with all power in His hands, I asked him about his view on redemption. His answers intrigued me.

So, here are some takeaways from that discussion:

  • Redemption is not synonymous with retribution. Retribution, like revenge, is payback, retaliating one wrong with another, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
  • What Christ did was not to retaliate or even to respond to His accusers or curse them, but instead to forgive them. So too we must forgive (release others) from their offenses, remembering that mercy triumphs over judgment.
  • Redemption is paying the full price of something, or recovering the value of something.
    What Christ did was pay the debt that you and I could not pay, in our sinfulness:
    we miss the mark of God’s standard for holiness, righteousness, purity, every single day. The wages of sin is death–destruction in our minds, wills, bodies and spirits, in our personal relationships with one another, and our relationships with God.
    So He laid down His life for each and every one of us, once for all.
    In Christ we now are saved eternally–past, present, future covered. Grace!
  • Resurrection is not resuscitating; it’s not bringing back to consciousness what had fainted, fallen asleep, or lost its breath. It’s not reviving what is dormant.
    Resurrection is giving NEW life to what was DEAD, in full power.
  • Because of redemption and resurrection, dry bones can live! By the Spirit of God, by belief in Christ the Son of God, we don’t have to subject ourselves to our flesh passions and former lifestyle that brought us shame, to the elemental spirits of the world through magic and manipulation, to our cravings and our conflicting desires. WE have power over all the works of the enemy, and in faith we stand victorious, unashamed, full of hope! No condemnation over here!
  • By redemption, Christ became our righteousness. We have new life and a new identity, a second chance to get it right and to become every last bit of who He created us to be. He gives us peace; He gives us purpose!

In some pragmatic terms, here’s what all that breaks down to for you, creative:

  • You are a new creature, liberated, not defined by your yesterday.
    Your mistakes, faults, failures, and finicky nature are no longer counted against you. You get a fresh start.
  • You are noble, now. You have the freedom to make choices that honor Christ in you, that honor your family and community.
  • Your life is hidden in Christ. Your purpose is changed, elevated and bound up in His Kingdom, to glorify God by making the best use of your talents, gifts and abilities.
  • As you walk with Him, He leads with resounding joy and lasting, transcending peace. He orders your steps with what is absolutely best for you–no more worrying about tomorrow! The King of Kings, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and your mighty Savior, has got your back 10000%. 
  • You get to redeem the time, yet realizing that no time spent in preparation is wasted. Some ideas that you’ve had, projects you didn’t finish, companies you failed to start, can begin to manifest again as God provides opportunity according to His timing and purposes. You learn patience. It’s humbling to wait on Him, knowing He will satisfy all our deepest needs, and get us ready for the good work He has for us to do!
    Teach us to number our days, O Lord, that we may know wisdom. Ps 90:12
  • You get to redeem your relationships–those broken connections, those old hurts, those family and friends who betrayed your trust or didn’t believe in you or invest in your great ideas. You can forgive them, and even reconcile with them. You get to free yourself from the tyranny of people’s opinions.

Knowing is only part of it–it’s by believing and embracing that God is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, that we find all we were looking for, and learn the secrets of true redemption and resurrection.

Let’s continue this conversation! What does redemption mean to you? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter!

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TuesdayTea| Out with the Old

There’s a time and place for everything, a season for every activity under the sun.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5

 

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair and settle in. ☺️

Ah, spring has finally arrived to wake the sleeping earth. This is my favorite time of the year: cherry blossoms bloom, birds singin good morning, the weather begins warming up, signaling that sundress season is upon us. (Showers, storms and pollen clouds are also rampant, but more on that later.)

With the change of seasons, there comes this urge to purge. We may clear out our contacts, revamp websites, wrap up Lent with intently focused fasts, or weed through our shamefully overstuffed closets.

It’s a great time to release, to throw away stones.

Quarter 1 is over.
What lessons did you glean from this initial phase of 2016?
What memories, relationships, regrets, hurts, habits and hang ups do you need to relinquish?

It’s time for throwing away stones–weights, tools, anchors, foundations, blockages, reminders of the past–that no longer serve us.
It’s time to distance yourself from the dead things, and discipline yourself in order to excel further than you ever have before.
What you can do is share, sell, gift away, or put in the garbage.

1. Share: Are you currently carrying a load that you are not meant to bear by yourself?Can you delegate responsibility elsewhere? Can you outsource some of your business administrative stuff (Fiverr is good for small tedious tasks) or hire an assistant? (Indigo Colton knows all the things about getting a virtual assistant onboard.)
Will you let someone pray for you, and stand by your side in your struggle? You are not alone.
Also, tell other people what you are going through. Transparency translates to authenticity.

2. Sell: Evaluate what you have a grip on, mentally and emotionally. What can be packaged as a product and sold? Write the book you’ve been putting off; price your art/craft.
Tis the season of the yard sale.
Furniture, clothes, baked goods, books, you can put out anything you haven’t used in a year or longer. There’s pawn shops and local thrift stores. You can also donate to Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill for tax write-offs and Plato’s Closet for cash.
I will be selling old artwork to make room for the new.
Whatever has been of significant effort, energy and sentimental value to you most likely will also benefit someone else in the world.

3. Gift away: Be generous at heart. Do not withhold from your neighbor when it is in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27
If you know a particular person or family who can use what you’ve been hoarding in your closets and basements, then clean it up, wrap it nicely, and give it away.

4. Put in the garbage:
Some things are not worth resurrecting.
Some things have long worn out their usefulness. Some things you have entertained are so stretched and corrupted beyond their capacity and original purpose, they won’t go any further. Some attachments are broken past repair and hindering you. Some are just plain toxic: fear of proceeding, fear of succeeding, strongholds and falsehoods from the enemy. Don’t keep your “it” another day! Don’t go fishing for it later, either. It is finished.

Throwing away stones isn’t throwing them at another person.

You are taking up accountability for allowing the blocks in your life, dismantling them, and removing the pieces.

 

#TuesdayTea| Getting Your Voice OnStage

When you are asked to speak on an action provoking idea at your alma mater, you don’t really say, Nah.

When that speaking engagement is your alma mater’s inaugural TEDx event, you definitely accept and gear up to do your best! 🙂

 

Speaking engagements can be terrifying even for the most experienced and eloquent among us.
Everyone gets nervous, no matter how much expertise they have, or years of being before an audience. This includes the motivational speakers, preachers, life coaches, comedians, actors and actresses, comic con panelists–we all get a bit pale before the limelight.

How do you master a fit of nerves? I have a couple tips:

  1. Relieve yourself. I’m serious. Anxiety registers in the endocrine and digestive system. The last thing you need to do is run to the bathroom because you’re nauseated…or worse.
  2. Clear your mind of everything, except fine dining and breathing.
    Lol that went horribly for Spongebob, but the principle still sticks. Rule out all irrelevant thoughts and information, aside from your subject, (your name), and breathing. Emphasis  on breathing, deeply and calmly.
  3. Stay ready, and you won’t ever have to get ready.
    Keep in mind that preparation is the majority of the work.  Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, in the shower, in the mirror, recorded by friends and family, in front of all kinds of audiences. If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it enough. (Einstein is credited with that, I believe.)
  4. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
    I have a tendency to analyze something down to atoms, and to insert far too many details. Remember #2.
  5. Exude confidence with a big, comfortable smile.
    Just play funny Vine clips or Condescending Wonka memes in your head.
    Focus above your audience’s head.

I will keep all of these in mind as I get ready:

As mentioned in my previous post, I will be speaking at TEDx Agnes Scott College on Friday, April 1st, 2016, in Campbell Auditorium.

The event runs from 3 p.m. EST to 7:30 p.m.

You can catch a sneak peek here.

I’ll be presenting “Happy Place: The Art of the Outlet:”

Consider this: How often do we unplug from all the stimuli around us? How often do we focus on becoming versus doing?
What overactive minds need way more of is community and space, to breathe, to decompress, to fall apart, to collect their broken pieces and fit them back together, to heal. This is so essential to their mental health.
The keys? Consistency. Conciseness. Connections. A Channel for Creative Inspiration.

Snazzy, am I right?

Should you happen to be in Atlanta, I hope to see you there. More details shall emerge soon!

#FLOURISH30 Day 17: Exertion

As I type this, I am simultaneously preparing for many things.

Between events, interviews, some guest posts on other blogs (once I write and send the respective pitches), and my twin’s graduation, I admit my mind is just not [here].

How odd that we should expect that when our projects are bigger than us in conception, that we don’t factor in that potential overwhelm. It’s exciting; it’s provoking; it’s breathtaking; now, it’s suffocating…It’s really fun to watch the tsunami wave approaching, and also spellbinding and beautiful…

B R E A T H E. Do you have room to b r e a t h e?

Say out loud: I need to simplify. I give myself permission to ball up this piece of paper, and throw it.  Exert some of the pent-up energy. Release myself from the burden of unmet expectations and unreasonable demands on my mind, will, emotions, and body.

PSA:

I will be speaking at TEDxAgnesScott in about 2 weeks, on Friday April 1st.

“Happy Place: The Art of the Outlet”

Sounds pretty cool, yeah?

I am in the middle of whittling down my presentation, to simplify a whole lot of expressive therapy terminology and neuroscience and journaling excerpts full of my own capricious runaway trains of thought.

I may scrap it and start all over. It’s the creative process.

Streamlining is a thing. I cut down to redirect. onepointperslide, makeitcount. pictures pictures everywhere.

Exertion is also a thing, and staleness. If there is no more juice in the lemon you should stop squeezing.

I am waiting patiently and expectantly for the serendipitous moment, where God breathes on you so you can do a new thing, gain a second wind.

 

 

 

TuesdayTea| New Management

Good evening, creatives!! Welcome to #TuesdayTea. Pull up a chair and sip with us. 🙂

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It’s the start of Quarter 2! Time sure flies by. Are you prepared for new management?

 

This past week, I attended a training session, A Heart of Stewardship: managing your time, your talents, skills, and gifts, and your relationships. It is the month of the upgrade for a reason; in order for you to launch that new venture, take on that new responsibility, go after that better job, make a new product, you must do things differently.

We are blessed with countless opportunities, tools and resources; it is up to us to be wise in how we manage them.

How you make the best, most honorable use will determine just how far you are able to go into new territory. Think a bow and arrow: You must line the arrow up in the notch, and pull the bowstring back as far as possible in order to shoot the arrow long distance. With power!

Here are my takeaways, keys to the expedient upgrade:

  • The footprint of your life should reflect an outpouring of the time, talents, and treasures that God has entrusted you with as His child.
  • Our hearts’ disposition needs to be generous. We really should be delighted to serve others, even if they cannot repay us for any kind gesture we dole out (especially so), out of love for God’s people. We are blessed in proportion to our giving: Give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Luke 6:38

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Be careful and discerning about who you are connected to, who you allow to speak into your life. Your character is shaped and influenced by the company you keep: Don’t be fooled: Bad company ruins good character.  1 Corinthians 15:33
  • You can leverage the relationships you have formed for more than just business contacts and letters of reference. Build a good rapport with all kinds of people, including older people, people who are in a different field than you, who have a different worldview and think differently.  Join a mastermind group (shoutout to  #Takeover2016! shout out to Up Early group!) who will challenge you to stretch beyond your current borders, and nudge/press you out of your comfort zone.
    Focus on building community centered on passion and faith. You can have both.
  • Your support system ought to include mentors–they are determined by wisdom and experience, not necessarily age; someone who has been where you are headed or weathered your storm in this season of your life. You can have more than one mentor, for more than one aspect of your life: career, financial, spiritual, mental&emotional (therapy is cool, guys.)
  • Be wary of showing favoritism, though,  and always check their fruit. Bitter people cannot give level, sound advice when they are speaking from their place of hurt. Treat everyone with kindness and dignity. Invest some effort in the underdogs and the outcasts that noone else will speak to. James 2
  • Become an active, empathetic listener. Showing kindness and wisdom grants you favor in the eyes of God and men.

    Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
    Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.
    Proverbs 3:3-4

TALENTS

  • You have a gift even if you do not think so. To have a spiritual gift is to be endowed by God our Creator to do something exceptionally well. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Light, in whom there is no variance or shadow of turning.  [You can trust God; He is faithful]. James 1:17, side-note from me.
    Ask for your particular gift to be revealed to you; it most likely will unfold itself as you are serving people.
  • What HE gives us, He expects us to USE in the community, on our jobs, and  in the Kingdom, not bury our talents or write them off because they seem insignificant. They also may have NOTHING to do with your career, and that is okay. You may not be the star athlete, or a phenomenal singer, but perhaps you are an excellent administrator. You might not paint hyper-realistic paintings for a living or travel doing public speaking, but maybe you are an encourager. Again, ask God how He wants to use you; humbly make yourself available.

    My gift is showing mercy.

TIME

  • Every minute, there is a time for something. Wasting time is arrogant, disrespectful, and selfish, and says a lot about your character. (Ouch.)
  • Treasure every moment that you have! You cannot minister effectively or be productive if you do not respect your time.
  • Make the sacrifice to get up earlier! Snooze is the enemy. Do what it takes for your morning to feel good. Get up and push yourself!
  • You cannot save time; you can only invest it. In all your careful planning, still yield your day to God.
  • When you feel scattered, stop, and pray for focus, for clarity; get still. Then move forward, and manage where you are.
  • Every moment is a gift from God, for a purpose, and must be manged wisely. Get in order.
  • Enjoy your time, your life and your experiences. Build margins into your day.
  • Be flexible; be patient with yourself. Gentle reminder: Habits produce a lifestyle; in time, you become an expert; don’t get discouraged.

Being a good steward over your time gives you peace of mind, better health (no stressing out! time to heal), stronger relationships (you can prioritize people), and availability for service.

In summary: Be consistent; be diligent; be confident; be excellent.

 

 

#FLOURISH30 Day 7: Shenanigans

My entire day has been one big adventure into the land of LOL. In the spirit of generosity, I share all this with you.

I’m big on DIY, because I like to learn new things, especially languages and skills.
Also, I’m frugal; why break the bank to accomplish something if you don’t have to?

SO, after an extensive Google search, I decided to set up and take my own headshot.

What do I need to accomplish that? Glad you asked!

  1. A good camera: 20 megapixels or better, not a cell phone camera (although I’d argue that iPhone and LGs cameras are comparable, still don’t need to risk unnecesssary pixelation. Your web cam won’t cut the cake either. (I’ve tried.)
  2. Decent lighting: It should be muted lighting, ideally natural light, so your features don’t distort, and you don’t look shiny. Fortunately for me, I happened to be in a space with two large windows on adjacent walls!
  3. A suitable backdrop: A plain wall, white or beige, or some muted color. With out textures, stains, holes, rips, etc. If you’re in a bedroom, try to eliminate as many distractions as possible, like Tupperware, clothes, etc.
  4. Batteries.
  5. An SD card.
  6. Patience + 3 hours + a computer
  7. photo editing software, such as Pixelr, or Photoshop
  8. Stackables like books, shelves, containers
  9. An outfit that flatters, fits, suits your personality and is professional: Think clean, wrinkle free, business casual, hair puled or pinned back from your face. You can add a statement piece like a scarf or chunky necklace. Limit your palette.

What do you do if you’re in a time crunch (let’s say, 3 hours or less to complete the session) and your space is less than ideal?  (You’re really not aiming for Candid Camera, Bedroom Backdrop, but you are working with what you’ve got.)

You can take this shoot outside or transform your indoor space with some strategic placement of bedsheets, scarves, canvases (large, draping, concealing objects). Clear up the background space and cover up doorknobs, wires, etc.

Make sure you have room on your SD card and full batteries in your camera.

Take some test shots so you know your camera and your overall setup are feasible/ need adjusting.

Stack your books, boxes, rubbermaid containers, shelves until the camera is at eye level (this worked best for me when I was seated a good 3 feet from the camera, and I had its self-timer set to 10 seconds.

try this angle 1

I would love to say I had all this down ahead of time, but this was really a mad dash effort (including arranging my hair,  making a battery run, repositioning chairs, and moving lots of stuff around)!

So, see the bloopers. Have a laugh. 😀

try this angle 2
Here was right between the windows, so I tried to make it work!! I was also getting used to the timer–this is a solid NOPE.

 

this position not working
I sat on my dresser, guys. Not bad

 

this angle not working 1
I was moving the camera around to capture the right lighting. It’s looking up at me.
setup shot 1
Getting ever closer!! I was too far from the timer…but I was readdaaayyy!
caught the light!
Closer…

Experiment with your self-timer. Results may vary. (I also shuffled my background covers.)

 

At last, after an hour or so of adding books to the stack, setting the timer and scurrying in place, and rearranging paintings in my studio, I got the shots I was looking for!

(If you can do this in a bare room, you will save yourself time and energy. ;D )

I look gorgeous, no?

TherapyThursday | Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Ambition

Welcome to Therapy Thursday! I’m so glad you could join me in this safe place. You can stretch, grab some water, sip on some green tea.
Have a seat and get comfy, because we are going to dig deep today, into our intentions.

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Ambiguity (n.)–
a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways :  an ambiguous word or expression; uncertainty

Ambivalence (n.) —
 1. simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action
2. continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite)b:  uncertainty as to which approach to follow

Ambition (n.) —
1.  a: an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power b:  desire to achieve a particular end
2:  the object of ambition <her ambition is to start her own business>
3:  a desire for activity or exertion <felt sick and had no ambition>
What do these three terms have in common, besides alliteration?
They describe mindsets, states of mental activity, flowing thoughts, maybe even hyperactive thoughts, and they directly relate one to another:

An ambivalent person will most likely express herself in an ambiguous fashion, which hinders her own ambition.

How?

Say I am at half-court, dribbling a basketball, preparing to shoot, intending on scoring 3 points. I cannot make any points if I aim at the other team’s basket, if I hesitate between taking the shot and holding onto the ball, or if I aim underneath the basket—inevitably, I come up short. The same holds true for following through on an idea, a plan, or a strategy:

If I am fluctuating between two opposite ideas, then I am lukewarm on the subject, which will show up in the ways that I communicate about it, and my drive to make things happen—or a lack thereof.

Words do hold creative potential; that’s why reciting Scriptures that affirm your worth, value and purpose works. That’s why repeating negative and faulty ideas such as, I’m a failure; I can’t ____, also works. You instill belief in an idea and express the strength and magnitude of your conviction by saying it out loud.

(This is also the process of renewing your mind, that you may prove the good, perfect and acceptable will of God, according to Romans 12:2; that you may discern truth from falsehood and error, that you will be able to maintain righteousness by obedience and faith in the Word that saves you.)

James 1: 5-8 NLT
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Do you find yourself constantly wavering between two opinions?
Consider carefully and nod your head if this sounds like you:
Yes, this is worthwhile; yes, I can do it; Yes, this will succeed and prosper in my hand–No, this isn’t a proper investment of my time, energy, faith, and resources; no, I cannot do this; no, this may fail, and I cannot bear the thought of failure.
(Nevermind that you are entertaining it at the very instant.)

I took some time to understand why we waffle around on essential, beautiful, novel, and expedient ideas. Why do creatives go back and forth between confidence in a product launch and gripping, terror-inducing worry and anxiety? Why do we cave into perfectionism and procrastination? Why don’t we always aim for the lofty, vertigo-inciting opportunities? Why don’t we get the things done?

We’re ambivalent in our thinking and our understanding. We pursue things that we halfway care about, stuff we “could” do, with a plan B and an itty-bitty committee-approved safety net of excuses, for when we don’t execute.
We deliver an ambiguous message, trying to be SuperWoman and Mr. Fantastic, tagging on title after title, role upon role…to sell everyone who will listen on all that we can do. We juggle way too many hats, because we won’t specialize, because we are ambivalent on standing out by being outstanding. At that. one. thing. We’re not clear on what we are doing, and neither is anybody else who reads our copy, hears our podcast, or looks at our presentation.
We then jeopardize our own success; we get lackluster results and back down, dim our lights, settle for a more dull “existence” instead of thriving. It’s a vicious cycle of poorly communicating to ourselves, and then to our our coworkers, supervisors, colleagues, classmates, family & friends, mentors, audiences, the world, and back to us.

This has been me.
This has been every black sheep who ever attempted to blend in to some generic bot role, and that backfired.
This has been everyone who has ever conceived something far greater than themselves.
This has been every underdog, every unconventional thinker, every person who ever dared think about going against the status quo, carving out a niche, doing what no one in their family, community, generation has done.
And if this has been you, then I encourage you, to let today be the very last day you were ambiguous or ambivalent about your life, wherever this resonates.

Acquire some executive, decisive language, and make some executive decisions.

Let your Yes be Yes, and your No, be No. Anything other than this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

How are you doing? Have you been ambivalent, ambiguous, or just ambitious? Tweet using #TherapyThursday and let me know! 

#Flourish30 Day 5/6: Riding the Wave

Transparency- (n.) the condition of being transparent:
a :  free from pretense or deceit :  frank
b :  easily detected or seen through :  obvious
c :  readily understood
d :  characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Transparent moments are sometimes private events, introspective moments to pause and reflect.
More often, though, they are a means for you to communicate just how entirely human you are. They prompt you to return to your call, to return to your place of reckoning and questioning, making. They place immediate emphasis on becoming more than doing. They show you where you have room for improvements, and can therefore endear you to your audience and customers. 
They urge you, in the depths of loneliness that you may be experiencing in waves, to reach outside of yourself for answers, for support. They remind you to be accountable to your community, that you are not alone. In your transparent moment, you may find out who is truly down for you like four flat tires, who offers you moral support and is willing to get their hands dirty to uplift you. 

In the silence following the outcry, embrace your transparent moment. Soak in the very fact that you are vulnerable, and do not resent it as though it were a sign of weakness.
Far too many of us live our lives looking in some mirror, obsessing over our images: How will this panic attack/ fright fest/ meltdown make me look? How will this mistake shake up my authority, or my credibility? How can I pretty this up? How can I cover up this fatal flaw or tendency, dress it up (put lipstick on a pig), or make sure it never surfaces in the public eye?

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The more we suppress a habit, hangup, hold up, the uglier it mutates in that darkened recess that we shoved it in.
Have you ever had one of your faults closely examined under the Light for the hideous thing it is—sin? Deceit? That nagging vice the enemy pokes and jeers at you with, holding over your head?
Could you even recognize that little white lie after it snowballed to encompass your entire life?

This is food for thought.

Many of us are too afraid to confront our own imperfections. We are afraid to face the monster under the bed, afraid that we will encounter is…our own face glaring back at us.
Does the idea of transparency scare you?: Being truly, clearly open, being see-through? Being able to hide absolutely nothing about who you are and what you are doing? Not being in control?

I learned and am still learning to practice this: If you do not fall apart, then you cannot come back together. You cannot overcome, or bounce back stronger than ever from something you don’t experience.

By falling apart, I do mean allowing yourself to not have “it” all together. I mean, relinquishing your composure temporarily, maybe even ugly crying, humbling yourself to be in total honesty with yourself and others. Assess what your reality is and discern the falsehood (the lies that make you vain, the lies that call you an imposter, the lies that make you miserable) from the realness.

This is not a natural work—letting go completely like this is something I do in my quiet time, in the presence of the Father, in surrendering my mind, will and emotions to the Holy Spirit, and letting Him take control. There I find peace that surpasses understanding, as a quiet calm resonates throughout my being. There I find joy, comfort, and protection, security in this secret place that I access by faith. There His abundant, all-sufficient grace and His unfailing love pours over me, and leaves me in awe.

Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
  at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

The coming back together happens when we allow our Creator, our Sustainer, our heavenly Father to scoop up what remains of us, our broken pieces–all the shards that we’re thinking can impale or injure our loved ones, all the “advantages” and character traits we thought were beautiful and adequate in our own self-righteousness, but proved to be fragile and “ruined”–
clean us up, and fit the shattered fragments into a gorgeous mosaic of grace and mercy.

#Flourish30 Day 3: Me & Community Building

Yo. Shoutout to Brittany for putting us on to great shortcut platforms! *cues applause*

Task: Focus on community self-care; provide information.

It’s easier for me to engage a community at large; participating in Twitter chats has definitely made me more confident in offering knowledge/help/connections. Personal favorites include #sidehustlechat, #blkcreatives, #createlounge, #ambitionista, and of course #mhchat.

Admittedly, I am still working on day 1, a matter of execution and the element of surprise. There are people that want to work with me, hear what I have to say? It catches me off guard at times even though I know I’m a talented writer, mainly because I’m not really out here looking for the accolades. Fiction writing and poetry were my first loves, before I discovered the liberation from spilling pigments onto substrates.
Today is the day I own that my voice matters. God will use you as His instrument, surely if you are yielded to be the conduit to be the vessel carrying His glory this journey will be so worthwhile, wow I am in awe, so accustomed—too accustomed, rather, to getting downplayed, ignored, denied access…I have been dreaming of a long corridor filled on every side with doors opening and closing and I know now I am only beginning to see and walk through some of them!

  1. By far my favorite social platform to use is Twitter. It’s the quickest way by far for me to fire off my thoughts in an instant, and even to summarize my main idea succinctly (that 140 character limit does serve to simplify.)
  2. As an artist, it’s essential that I optimize visuals (duh, Mia): Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter are top network sites that come to mind. I have been using IG more effectively now than I was the last couple years I’ve been on it, but still would like more views…
    I am still figuring out Pinterest.
    All of my fellow nerds, gamers, and anime lovers urge me to get a tumblr account…I will at some point this year, after I get the hang of Pinterest.

    Cool thing that happened today:
    I teamed up with @TallGlassofStyle and @TyshiaShante to start a #blackpinterest board, #MelaninMarch and Beyond.
    We noticed that not enough black bloggers use Pinterest or recognize its value to building your brand/company visibility online. If you account for the fact that representation matters, this becomes more than a mere hobby. WE (black women especially, but all melanated folk) need to see ourselves reflected in many, many spaces, instead of being erased and assumed to be only consumers of other products. As more and more women of color enter the tech field, particularly in coding and front-end developing, we are raising a bar for our own level of activity.

    Sure, we can repin someone else’s brilliantly composed graphics, but we can also post our own compositions. This board can serve as a resource, even generate support for such companies as createherstock , full of images of women of color, and colorstock, a company who’s “changing the hue of stock photos with authentic depictions of people of color.”

    So, we shall be building this board up over the course of March and through the rest of this year. I’ll report on its progress here; check it out and feel free to add pins to it yourself! 

So, I’ve created a case study for this lesson! 😀

What is your favorite social media platform? How do you build your online community? Tweet #flourish30 and let us know!