#WYAOApril| Heal

*This post is for Write Your *** Off April, a Twenties Unscripted writing challenge. Today: Musings on Healing. Enjoy!*

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi 4:2

I Am the God who heals you. Exodus 15:26

What happens when you suffer an injury?
Capillaries break and blood rushes to the surface of your paper thin skin.

You experience the sensation of pain; your brain synapses fire, your body indicates that something traumatic has occurred. Homeostasis disrupted, security breach. Must seal the wound and block from infection.
That’s bites, bruises, burns, lacerations for you, in a nutshell.

Healing: sealing the breach, repairing the brokenness, replacing with new tissues, restoring to a strong condition. It is rarely a comfortable process–in fact, it can be stiff, acute, tingly, and downright itchy. Even mending fractures requires setting, casting, fusing, and rehabilitation. Alone, without intervention of antibiotics, salve, and bandages, our wounds may become malformed. Bones misalign, muscles ache or atrophy, we end up long-term requiring others’ assistance when we don’t acknowledge and accept short-term help.

God often facilitates our healing through key people that He places on our path.

Addressing psychic wounds is no less messy, collaborative or informative.
To heal an impaired mental state takes lots of time, patience (literally long-suffering), trusting in God to carry you with joy and peace through the process, interdependence within a family and a community.
Isolation is devastating, but genuine fellowship in love uplifts and empowers. We heal faster within groups, shouldering one another’s burdens, carrying our weights. I speak life over you; in turn, you encourage me. There is more to sharing honestly than merely exchanging the most exciting parts to our journey–that’s just broadcasting. To dig deeper, we must five below the surface, sand off the veneer, make an incision to medicate that raw flesh underneath. The aim of group therapy is to access an open, safe space for you to be held accountable, to give your testimony, to commit to trusting and sustaining the souls within that circle.

Confess your sins to each other, praying for one another that you may receive healing.

I heal when I can touch your life as creative, as sister, as confidante. I receive healing when I humble myself long enough to become vulnerable, to be meek. Meekness, strength operating under self-control, draws and frames the support you need. When you are meek, you are not loud, boastful, resistant to seeing yourself reflected in others, but quiet, embracing the flow, the critique for necessary change.

Healing occurs in waves and stages, like grief. It is not always instanteous, nor is it so glamorous: when the breach is mended, this process leaves scars. Unpretty, discolored, awkwardness, raised patches & paths. Keloids, stretch marks, incision lines. It’s about what exits us as much as what remains and enters. Reminders of past injuries and afflictions will surface from time to time, and in the locus of your memory, you may relive the trauma, fool yourself into thinking, This presently affects me.
You know you have healed sufficiently (completely) once the once aching places no longer hurt when you touch them.
Hearing their name or passing that house doesn’t make you wince; you don’t downward spiral recounting the offense. You barely remember why you were so upset. You can recite the facts, and laugh out loud at how less wise you were; looking back yields gratitude in place of bitterness.

Therapy requires constant stretching and strength training.
We are susceptible to injury, to fracture, suffer repeatedly in the same places. Thankfully, we’re being renewed in the inner man day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

I am growing.
I am recuperating. I am rehabilitating. I am healing.

Advertisements

#WYAOApril| Complicate

This post is for Twenties Unscripted writing challenge, #WYAOApril. Today’s Musings: how we Complicate our faith by walking by sight. Enjoy!

Pending: Sonrise

At night, the darkest clouds roll in to drench us in anxious thoughts
At night, the enemy plagues us with air raids firing into the canopies
Incoming
seeds of self-destruct to kill our faith, steal our joy, wreck our connection to God.
At night, as we relax and recline, seductive demons slip into our wild dreams and torment us out of sleep
The accuser of the brethren dons a sheer facade of light to pace the Father’s throne room, citing all his petty grievances
At night, the questions arise–anticipating daybreak–
Lord, when shall You come through for us?
O wretched person that I am! Shall my Beloved deliver me?
At night we rail against the Most High with clenched fist and indignant tears, daring He prove He’s concerned about us.
Tossing at the sky our presumptions, our meaningless resolutions, screaming desperately at pitch midnight indigo silence.

At night we double over clutching our stomachs in agony.
At night we cry and howl in type as we slice paper thin skin with serpents’ fangs
Hoping our neon gods will supply us an answer.
At night we can catch the faintness of resounding truth if we would only wait
the stirring of the still small voice, if we would suffer long
For, He waits
for our tantrums to subside

before cradling us in His everlasting arms,
calling forth the moon and the stars to show forth His handiwork
To quiet our much vexed souls

At night, the Redeemer rebukes the storm and walks the waters.
At night, He strides the mountain tops and weathers the valleys with us
He doesn’t slumber nor sleep,
for night
is as day
to Him who is able to keep you from falling.
At night wonders never cease, Adonai centering in the midst of it all.

#TherapyThursday| Checking In

Welcome to TherapyThursday! I’d like you to get real comfortable. 🙂

How are you holding up?

Has your transition into this next quarter, this next season been smooth? Hit a few speed bumps? Downright rocky?

Do you ind yourself suspended in a state of meh?
What is motivating you right at this moment? Are you even remotely motivated, or unclear?

What could fortify or re-energize you? I’d like to explore some options with you.
First, some tips for riding the inevitable waves with relative ease:

  • Trust the ebbs and the flows, the crests and the troughs, as they carry you out with the tide. Trust the process of development.
  • Trust is a choice and an executive decision, not an emotion. To trust is to believe in something, having confidence in, relying upon, leaning on, and depending on something or someone. Without trust, you cannot love (anyone, including your own reverentially and wonderfully made self).
  • Love you demonstrate, not merely speak. Love is patient and kind, humble, meek, gentle, honest, gracious &merciful, honoring others above your own agenda & pending wants and needs, hopeful, persevering, unfailing (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Love empowers you to go above and beyond your own self-centered complacency and expectations, like spiritual adrenaline. Love lifts when nothing else can help.

For dealing with divisions, resolving brokenness in relationships, faltering at forgiveness:

  • Trust God: He’s ever faithful even when you are not–when you drop the ball, ruin that project, miss that deadline, make that careless remark, disobey your parent. In any and all cases, you can trust His timing to bring you out, to cause resolution, and sometimes reconciliation.
  • Trust His wisdom, even and especially the instructions that look absurd to others.
    Godly wisdom is “first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive [yields to authority, not rebellious], full of mercy and good fruit [love, joy, peace,  patience, gentleness (humility, kindness), goodness, faith, meekness, self-control],
      impartial [not judgmental, not showing favoritism] and sincere [legit].” James 3:17
    Whew, I could easily spend the rest of the session unpacking that!
    In short, it is wise to act in others’ best interests; to take the focus off yourself yields favorable outcomes.
  • The path of reconciliation is not linear. In fact, things can come full circle, but not at the pace or in the ways you may expect. It starts when you choose to forgive. It may end there. Forgiveness is a prerequisite, but reconciliation is optional.

  • Reconciliation takes a lot of courage and humility. There’s no room here for your ego; whether you’re ultimately at fault or not, take it upon yourself. Accept responsibility for the part you play, without judging the other person or condemning yourself.

I’m certain we all have a fair amount of spring cleaning to do, things that have worn out their usefulness, habits to overcome, baggage to relinquish.

Be kind and patient with yourself.

P.S: Happy Place Project 2.0 is launching SOON! (May 15th-21st) Registration opens May 2nd! 
P.S.S. I’ve got a suite of products coming at you to get you right and relaxed for summer, including a spring sale on prints! Stay tuned!

How are you doing, really? Check in with me, shoot me a message in the comments below. We’re in this together.

 

#WYAOApril| Love

This is a part of Twenties Unscripted Writing Challenge, #WYAOApril. Musings on love. Enjoy!

Memory no. 24:

The texture of tepid mists that ripen the tomatoes and make okra lilies bloom
Make me blush shades of the rose quartz near my womb
Your nails firmly pressed into my palms
keep calm in fits of laughter
delighting in fresh picked strawberry arugula salad
duck attacks by quiet manmade creeks
How many birds have we frightened now by being genuine
but my favorite feeling is a tie between
reverberating effervescent silence warmth vibrating in my blood
and the cadence of that knowing watermelon smile when you chuckle at my feigned ignorance, my melodramatic silliness

I’ll remember, I’ll remember, I’ll remember
When love paused on a damselfly’s back and illuminated her lacey wings
I’ll remember reciprocating with tea and witty banter & closed eyes
what three words in English verge inadequate to communicate:

This remains new.
***********************************************************************

She calls us the most likely least likely duo. Ha. I recall having sentiments that really defied any particular label toward you. Song of Solomon made a bit more sense–you know, when she says she wishes her beloved was her brother so she could shower with affection without judgment? Yeah, I overstood then. At the same time, I just really desired to be your best friend–we flowed pretty well; I processed my thoughts quicker and more accurately; i recharged, and so did you. Vibes flying and curiosity building–I think I probably always loved you, but ego, denial ran interference.

Love, I learned, we learn in context, sharing ourselves with other people, who are also flawed, temperamental, capricious, rough around the edges; they polish and refine you. Those people that break you down have the potential to show you the depths of your own compassion, resilience, and faith in the midst of immense pain.

No, I am not advocating for Stockholm syndrome. But you haven’t truly lived until you’ve been betrayed. Passed over and around, kicked to the side in favor of the pursuit of riches, status, sex, their own interests.
And given the opportunity to repay the evil, I didn’t kick back.

Are we least likely because we can’t see it coming? Are we most likely because we are so alike, we mirror each other?

I realized while you deliberately broke me down, as acutely as it hurt, that I HAD to feel more than just arbitrary fondness or infatuation. Self-preservation instinct screamed at me to retaliate. Finish him! Ruin him! But I couldn’t dare be so hateful. I realized as I braced the flaming sword above your head, I couldn’t lop off your head. Oh, no, I thought, you are actually this significant to me; your mind, emotions and will matter to me. I mean, maybe I actually love my mortal enemy?

Even while unpacking that,

Love is quieter and more conventional now, haha. I have a range of exuberant expressions (gifts and lyrical declarations) and some practical things, like bringing a sick friend soup. Love isn’t just good morning texts or liking the same music, not that cut and dry,  as five hour phone calls. Love is praying together for one another. Love is studying Scripture, then waxing poetic about how awesome God is. Love is protecting even when it’s difficult, and telling the truth at the risk of being on someone’s “bad side.” In fact, love is risk-taking, trusting, believing the best, hoping in the middle of worst case scenario, reconciling, humbling, transforming.
I loved at deeper levels, more profoundly, after I understood “unconditional” as without condition, clause, extenuating circumstance, or time limit. Desiring the best for someone’s physical, social, mental, spiritual well-being, even without being a part of their lives. Love is generous, hopeful, unwavering, as strong as death.

I love others, and you. Love is so much for than what we attempt (and often fail) to describe, signify, or settle for. It is healing inside out, refreshing, resplendent, radiant, transcendent.

  • You can continue to love someone without being reconciled to them. What a glory ache it is to love somebody from a distance! But it’s a protective measure.
  • You can love someone exponentially more, appreciate, value, demonstrate, and persist in love after you’ve gone through the testing, the forgiveness and restoration. You accept (not merely tolerate) the endearing and the not-so-cuddly aspects of their person, and decide to literally love the hell out of them.
  • If Love lifted me when nothing else could help, then by electing to love when I don’t feel like it, I lift, uphold, empower the “irredeemable.” That is radically great power. That is being godly.
  • I not only wield, possess, and embody that restorative power within myself, but I have great responsibility to love unconditionally.
  • Don’t dilute the strength of true, pure, noble, righteous, praiseworthy, excellent love with the impure motives of lust.
  • Love is holy, of one, sacred–not because it’s associated with an edifice, or chubby winged babies, or splashed with Florida water and anointing oil, or fueled by mere passion alone.

Holy is love, because it plunges in deep waters and goes through fire, yet emerges intact, purer and truer than 24-karat gold.

#WYAOApril| Roar

This post is part of Write Your A** Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge.  #WYAOApril

AHC, I Indict You, And So It Stands:

How’s this for an impoverished narrative?!
What business have you getting fat from widows’ pain?!
Dishonest gain will burn through your linen trousers
you may not sweat before the altar
does that make you less unclean
When He said It’s a house of prayer but here’s the huddle around the King of 40 thieves
You bleed the anemic dry and deny water to desert-dwelling orphans
Why they get a ziplock bag when you sprinkle thousands of gallons on your great lawn
No coincidence that in the sole independent black nation in the west
You take bread from babies’ mouths

and line your pockets in blood trusts delight to bake their withered corpses in tropical sun
Ki lè yo chache lavi.
If the Cross is where justice kisses mercy why does your Crimson stain stand devoid of meaning

as drained of “life giving life” as your backdoor profiteering politicians            puppets stringed up out on the wayside
How’s this for an impoverished narrative?!
When the first will be last and the last shall be first
Pray you won’t have to beg all these poor Lazaruses
To relieve your thirst.

YW4PATL | Painting Live

This past Saturday, April 16, 2016 marked the first Youth March for Peace in Atlanta in 50 years. I’m glad to have been a part of such an historic event, advocating for the end of domestic abuse and violent crimes and for pursuing peace and unity instead.

Many thanks to the committee, to Chivon Ferguson of Pretty PR, to keynote speaker Congressman John Lewis, to Amber Nicole of Her Black Matter and to fellow artist Ayanna Mabry.

You always have a lot to learn no matter how long you’ve been in a career path, especially in this ever shifting global economy.
Working artists are no different, and I’ve got a couple takeaways for working with civic organizations:

1. Get everything in writing. Leave nothing to assumption.

Learn and verify who is in charge of what, who to go to for what, who is most accessible.
Do not agree to do anything without fully comprehending the scope of what you are responsible for. Do not agree to do anything without understanding how you will be compensated, if at all. Make sure you are on the same page with the party who asks for your labor, across the board. If you need/require payment for hours of labor, plus supplies (and you do), say so. No one knows or will assume what you need and desire if you do not ask. Which brings me to the next point:

2. Make your requests known. Be as specific as you can, right down to poster print costs of the price range for a 13 oz tube of medium. You’re the expert when it comes to the creative process; so act like it. Make it clear, and present as early as possible so those budget decisions include you.

3. Know the logistics of the event ahead of time. Attend all planning meetings so you can clarify your role, make suggestions as needed, and make certain all variables (time, supply runs, tech difficulties etc) are accommodated for.
Scope the venue in advance, if possible. Are you inside or outdoors? You don’t want to be unprepared if you may need lighting, extension cords, extra tables, water, etc.

3. Maintain a pleasant demeanor and a patient attitude. Think diplomatically. Someone is always watching how you deal with personal conflict and challenges. You don’t want to burn a bridge in the midst of an unprofessional rant (and exercise PR etiquette in social media).

4. Be prepared! If you look at an item the day of, throw it in your bag. Trust your intuition nudging you to bring it. And be ready to improvise!

5. Follow up. Follow through.
–Communicate, communicate with all levels of participants from a chairman to committee leader to team members, throughout the planning, implementing and the day of. People are counting on you; be reliable!
–Engage the people. You can make your process interactive; crack jokes; let children assist; be collaborative; be open.

–Make the connections, get the contacts, and send a quick email or message within 48 hours. Building community builds relationships. Stay involved and in touch.

6. Be grateful always.

#WYAOApril| Ignite

writing challenge blog thumbnail

 

I caught a ride on a snow flurry in the span of an eyelash

my mind whirred and clicked many lenses multiple shots of lavender sky how I wanted to relax and get as quiet but I couldn’t help blurting whispers

Lord send Your angels of fire to wrap their arms tight
Around the homeless
Huddled beneath highway bridges or crammed in pissy doorsteps clutching rotting newspaper
I liked the image of the seraphim touching a coal to Isaiah’s lips
How comforting
To be so warmly fiercely purged from the uncleaness of our lips and my thoughts snagged on those several white lies I’d told stretching the truth to insulate my listeners in false security or
Protect me from facing the music that I was more self absorbed than faithful
The air hadn’t been so frigid.
My goodwill could shatter in an instant from sheer annoyance.
How did the toothless elder in the parking lot know she requested divine blessings over a sanctified head? And I count myself among the least.
Buried under a once crisp white blanket
In silence
The city
And I
Just
Exhale slowly.

#Flourish30| Day 7: BlogLovin’

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14845199/?claim=3zwh8gq53sm”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

90 days of intentional focus on this blog, begins with 2 challenges at the same time: #WYAOApril, and of course, #flourish30. So be on the lookout for more miscellaneous thoughts; they’ll be here! 😀

Renewing commitments sometimes means returning to what you dropped, and reestablishing good habits.

In this case, I’m going back to the beginning of the #flourish30 challenge so I can work my way through the whole thing. No skips, just some Wild cards and a couple Draw 4s. 😉

Day 7: Using BlogLovin to drive niche traffic.

Step 1: Sign up. 
Step 2: Claim blog. So now, I’ve got a feed
Step 3: Share (tweet link etc)
Step 4: Connect. (Find, follow, share and talk to 3 other bloggers on whatever media outlet you’re using.)

Quick Resource Review: BlogLovin reminds me of Pinterest, in the way the categories are organized and posts displayed. You can even save blog posts that you like into “collections.” Mood boards for writers?
I’m not sure exactly how to get more of my posts onto my profile, since WordPress doesn’t support its widgets…
It didn’t take long to peruse through blogs already here from blogspot, Tumblr and other hosting sites, and find something that resonated with me:

  • All The Many Layers by GG Renee Hill: She’s not afraid to get introspective about her creative process, and she has such a gift with words! You may have been on her Tumblr a few times or seen her quoted on Instagram. (Can you tell I’m a fan? :D)
  • Right Brain Planner by stargardener: When I promote journaling as the optimal creative outlet, this person here knows what I’m talking about! Her gluebook images are some strong, vibrant examples of inner world cartography (exploring your own mind.)
  • Sprinkle of Jesus by Dana Chanel: Christ-centered inspiration, in a neat package= my jam

 

Will I enjoy this as much as I like using Tweetdeck? According to Brittany, this site rewards you with frequent flyer miles (my paraphrase, you get the idea.) Let the views come pouring in!

 

#Flourish30| Our Free Will

Have you ever made a promise, set a goal, said that you were going to do something, and then stopped “feeling like it?”

Did you quit altogether? Did you only give it a half-hearted effort because you were so over it”?

It is harder to commit your will to something than it is to persuade your rationale/reasoning or your emotions. As it ought to be.

God wired us for our wills to dominate, so that temporal distractions, erroneous knowledge, and fleeting pleasures/feelings won’t sideline us all the time. He created us with a free will like His own, so we could make choices. Unfortunately, we sometimes choose to be led by our feelings, our intuition, our past experience or limited understanding–instead of aligning our will with the absolutely, ultimately awesome will of God.
We make the easy, simple choices and delay decisions that have greater impact and bigger consequences–or we go with what seems correct but in the end leads to death.
(In the meantime, God, in His great fatherly love for us, allows us to take these “shortcuts” and eventually come to the end of our own devices, so He can step in and lead us. :3)

If we depend on our understanding,  we forget that Jesus is The Truth.
If we demand our own agenda and methods, we forget that Jesus is The Way.
If we seek compromise/loopholes or try to manipulate situations for our own good, we give up access to the abundant life that He has in store for us.
If we neglect reading the Word, praying and so separate ourselves from the Source of our salvation, joy, peace, love and power, we forget that Jesus is the Life and apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Once you commit your will to something, your mind and your emotions eventually catch up and follow suit. After all, they form one unit, your soul. And as your soul prospers (in submission to God’s best, acceptable and perfectly pleasing will), so will you. Choose to commit your will (and your ways and your understanding) to something that stretches you, challenges you, increases your dependance on God and lessen your reliance on self. Then the true way of life, that “enlightenment”, every New Ager espouses, can be yours already in Christ.

I’m in the middle of renewing some commitments in different areas of my life and being intentional about how I spend my time: more time in service to others, deeper prayer life, less time on social media (from sunset to sunrise, no social media for me this week), firmer Nos to distractions and “good” opportunities, saying Yes to things that free me.

Yes to taking better care of myself, No to overwhelming myself and slacking off on what truly matters.
Yes to honoring my family, friends, church, and organizations, by showing up on time and being fully present. No to selfish ambition, image building and perfectionism.
Yes to living boldly for God, taking heed to guard my heart, my words to my self and other people. Ephesians 4:29
No to being hypocritical, religious, judgmental, highminded, timid and rude.

As I take it day by day, “being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in me shall continue it and complete until the day of Christ,”(Phillippians 1:6),
I turn my own will, my plans and blueprints, my desires over to God’s sovereignty. I trust Him to do what I am not able to do, what I’m not strong enough to finish on my own.
I’m a work in progress.

#TuesdayTea| Perfectionism

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair and fill up your mugs. 🙂

4

Arise, My people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you.  Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you.  All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you.
Isaiah 60:1-3

Hi, my name is Mia, and I struggle with…perfectionism.
You can now stop holding your breath, and holding in your negative feels, because I know you probably sit in this boat, also. Welcome, welcome, friend.

As creatives and entrepreneurs carving out our own space in the gig economy, we often feel as though we have to do absolutely everything ourselves. We are at the helm of all things from the creative process, to customer service, to branding and marketing, to research and development. It makes sense to want everything you put out there to be of utmost quality, the very best of the best.  You want to represent yourself well and put forth a good image–professional, excellent, commendable at all times. You want to demonstrate that you’re becoming “the best version of yourself.”

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Here’s the catch: Sometimes in striving to appear the best, we end up setting our hearts after an unrealistic image.

What drives us to perfectionism? The urge comes from a place deep within us, in the recesses of our hearts and the back of our minds, that’s fearful and insecure. That part of us that is afraid of messing up and having to start all over. That part of us that loathes rejection and sees delay as denial, as a blow to our egos. That part of us that would much rather control everything than to feel powerless.

I wrestle with perfection when I entertain doubts that what I am doing is not enough, that what I am making is not enough, that it–that I–am not prepared. It rears its ugly head when I misalign my perception of who I am and equate my identity to a sum of my triumphs and failures. It’s a crisis of doing and pursuing to look mighty instead of being and becoming strong and at peace first. And, perfectionism is a weapon the enemy uses to delay and derail your best work.

Perfectionism steals our joy, sucking the fun out of celebrating any accomplishments. Perfectionism steals our peace, winding us up tight with anxiety. It destroys what we are on the verge of creating, as we block our minds with “Not what I wanted! Terrible!” and other projections. All that intensity and frustration can cause us to seal ourselves in funk, self-pity and isolation, because we’ll push off the very folks who want to help! It makes us less authentic, less relatable, harsh, and even hypocritical. Ouch.

Ready to exit that horrible headspace? Give yourself some grace!

Arise, and shine, for the glory of God is upon you.
Do you believe that you have God given gifts, good and perfect in and of themselves, deposited inside of you?
Do you believe that you were chosen in advance for greatness, created intricately in majesty and wonder? The Scripture says that the light of the world is already shining from within you. You are glorious in God’s eyes, you are glorious in Christ.
You are special; you are brilliant, splendid and radiant.

So there is no need to push to dress the latest style, or obsess over the sound of your voice in a recording, or edit the same design over and over and over again because you’re afraid it isn’t absolutely perfect. Make improvements, but there is no need to fret your heart out over your flaws and faults. They’re complements that magnify the grace you’ve been given.

Don’t focus in on yourself so much. Ultimately, your success, your achievements, your shortcomings, your stewardship of your gifts and the goods you provide to the world don’t point back to you. All the glory goes back to God. 😉

Be encouraged, and release what the world is waiting on.