Tag Archives: inspire

Awesome Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

You might not officially have a month off work in order to commemorate this special time of year, but there’s plenty to do in celebration of Black History Month.

  • Search for the hidden gems in your community by paying a visit to a local black-owned business.
  • If you’re a music lover, diversify your playlist with the jewels of black artistry. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
    • Listen to the bluesy songs of Ettta James and Ray Charles.
    • Uplift your spirit with the angelic vocals of CeCe Winans.
    • Hum along to the country tunes of Darius Rucker.
    • Relax to the smooth sounds of Leslie Odom Jr. and Miles Davis.
    • Kick back to the soulful harmonies of Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, and H.E.R.
    • Dance to the up-tempo masterpieces of Michael and Janet Jackson.
    • Fall into nostalgia or experience something new vibing to the hip-hop tracks of artists spanning from Eric B. & Rakim to Lecrae.

(As you can tell, I’m definitely a music lover.)

  • Watch a film about a black, historical figure or Binge watch a new series with a majority black cast. There’s even cool shows for the kiddos to watch, like the Netflix Series “Motown Magic.”
  • Cozy up with hot tea and a warm blanket while reading an inspiring book from a black author. Upgrade your Must-Read list with favorites like Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Make Room: Finding Where Faith Fits by Jonathan McReynolds.

For even more ideas, click here!

Happy Black History Month!

Supersize It

Me, enjoying my french fries.

My father and I sometimes go hang out and grab a bite to eat. Sometimes I’ll buy, and sometimes he’ll buy. Anytime my dad says that he’s buying this time, I joke with him and say, “Well in that case, Supersize it!”  Since I would be depending on his wallet and not my own, I want the boundaries to be endless, well . . . at least to the extent that the menu allows.

Recently I started to wonder, what if we had that no holds barred mentality when it comes to God and our dreams? In our minds, we have these structured, miniscule plans, while God’s plan could be to take us bigger and better than we initially planned. We just have to put our trust in Him. There’s nothing too hard for God. Your dreams are big, but they can be even bigger. Lean on Him and depend on His provision. Take the limits off. He can do above what you can imagine. We need to depend on God’s provision, not our own.  Pray and ask God to supersize it.

Awaken the Gift

I sit and stare at a blank screen attempting to type up yet another blog post. As life would have it, I hadn’t had a chance to prepare in advance like I had done previously. However, I had a deadline that I wanted to make—the usual deadline I’d given myself to post. But, then it hits me. You can’t rush good work. Oh, the woes of a writer! Whoa, I just referred to myself as a writer for the first time. That was weird. But maybe it doesn’t have to be weird. Perhaps, I can get used to that title. Perhaps, I should embrace it. Maybe God is calling me to write more. Maybe he is expanding my purpose.

What I mean by “expanding my purpose” is what I initially thought I’d do in life was in a nice, crisp box. Maybe God wants to unfold the closed edges of that box and awaken the gifts inside, gifts that I didn’t even know I had. They are gifts that are so huge, so brilliant, and so vibrant that they cannot be contained in some mediocre, plain-ole, dull-colored box. Or maybe God is not expanding my purpose at all. Maybe I am just beginning to see my purpose with fresh eyes . . . . We’ll see.

 

Food for thought: What traits, talents, or skills have you brushed aside as just “a thing” and didn’t view as something to be nurtured? What gifts have you been toying around with and have yet to take seriously and explore? What ideas has God dropped inside of you that are just waiting to come into fruition?

What have you been doing with your lemons?

When life gives you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade right? Well, I discovered that I have not. When life has given me lemons, there have been plenty of times that I’ve thrown the lemons back at life and yelled, “Hey! Knock it off! I’m tryna’ make Kool-Aid over here!”

So many things go on in our lives that we didn’t plan initially. We don’t want lemons. Lemonade wasn’t in our plans. That is not what we had a taste for. Where is my nice warm Caramel Macchiato? Why does it seem that no matter how many drink orders we place in life, life only seems to give us the options of tap water or lemons?

We plan our lives down to the very minute detail only to have life throw us one curveball after another. I get super frustrated when things do not go according to plan. Before I get consumed by my frustration, I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:9, “ In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” What I’ve had planned for my life was good on a small scale and seemed to satisfy my taste buds at first, but where is God trying to take me in the grand scheme of things? Where He is taking me could be far better than I could have ever imagine, but if I refuse to go, kicking and screaming, I could be missing out on a delicious experience of life.

Though a lot of the things happen in our lives that appear out of place or taste sour at first, they can eventually turn into a sweet elixir of wisdom that can be used for our own personal growth as well as the development of others. All we have to do is let God lead and we’ll discover that the lemons in life that we’ve been given aren’t just for individual thirst quenching, but rather those lemons are to be shared in order to quench the thirst of our neighbor as well. We can learn a lot by taking situations in life as opportunities to better ourselves and to help others. What have you been doing with your lemons?

 

Divine Inspiration

It’s hard to write—it’s even harder to write consistently. I’m sure my fellow bloggers understand that painstaking moment of writer’s block. What’s even more torturous is the lack of inspiration. Whether you’re a writer, an artist, or a musician—inspiration is everything. It gets your creative juices flowing. What do you do when the inspiration well runs dry? I’ve learned that I’ve had to stop pulling my inspiration from things or circumstances because they are constantly changing. In order to consistently be creative and remain inspired, you need to pull from something more stable.

Life gets tough and you undergo some major struggles. Sometimes you end up not feeling as your most inspirational self. I have learned that if I plan on consistently blogging, I need to tap into a resource that is constantly inspiring. While having a discussion with some friends, I had an epiphany. The only way that I can continue to give encouragement through my blog is to tap into my source—God. God is my inspiration. He is the only constant that has remained in my life. Trends change. People change. Circumstances change. He remains the same. I didn’t mention this to go into a debate about religion or the existence of God; you’re entitled to believe what you want to believe. I’m telling you what I know to be true for MY inspiration.

If I tried to draw inspiration just from how my day went, on some days I wouldn’t have anything to talk about. I’m no longer drawing from my day, but I’m drawing from God. I feel that if I stay tapped into God and keep building my relationship with Him, there will always be something new and encouraging to talk about, even on my bad days. There were times in my life where I went through some emotionally dark places, but He was the only one that got me through. It’s hard to describe but even on my darkest days, I know He’s there for me, and THAT is inspiring.

1 Year and Counting . . .

Today is the 1-year anniversary of my blog! Yay! I just had to post something on this special day. Special thanks to all of my blog readers! I really appreciate each and every one of you for allowing my voice to be heard. I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my thoughts with you all throughout the past year. I hope that you all have been inspired by my posts in the past, and I look forward to sharing many posts of inspiration in the future. In the meantime, work hard, go for your dreams, enjoy life, and always, ALWAYS be thankful! Happy jurist journey!1-year

Please hold…

Have you ever been on a business call and before you were able to talk to a “real” representative, and you were place on hold? Most of the time, being placed on hold usually consists of some music playing in the background while you wait your turn. However, I’ve come to notice that the holding period is much more pleasant when the music itself is pleasant. Sometimes, I fail to realize just how much time has gone by so long as the good music has pacified my impatience.

During those rare occasions when I actually like the tunes being played over the phone (and believe you me, they are very RARE), I do find myself humming the catchy melody and moving my shoulders to the repetitive beats. Before you know it, a representative has answered on the other end, throwing me out of my musical trance with the words, “Hi, how may I assist you?”

This blog post isn’t to talk about the many woes of being placed on hold, neither is it to highlight the few good things that come from being on hold. (Other than good music, the only thing left that is good about being placed on hold is having enough time to gather all of your account information together before the rep answers the line—that is if you haven’t done so already.) Recent life events have helped me put things in perspective.

I’ve been waiting on certain events to take place in my life, and I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER. I started to think about the equivalent of waiting on hold during a telephone call. Then that got me to thinking about what if there was a way to make the waiting process of real life more pleasant and less painful. And then it hit me. The way good music can ease the horrors of being placed on hold during a phone call, is the same way positive thoughts can ease the horrors of the waiting process.

Let’s be honest, the waiting process is tough. And what makes it even tougher is focusing on the time you are waiting, sort of like when you staring at the clock on your cell phone noticing how long the representative has kept you waiting. But wouldn’t it be great if we could use positivity as the “good music” in our lives to ease waiting periods? I mean, dwelling on the negative never helped anyone, but thinking positive would make the waiting process feel not so torturous.

Just imagine, you staying positive, keeping the faith, and then BOOM—before you know it, you’ve accomplished that goal or that dream you wanted. I think that’s a better alternative than focusing on what hasn’t happened, how much farther you’ve got to go, and how long you’ve already been waiting. It’s easier said than done but ultimately, we control the playlist of our lives. Positivity or negativity, which have you been listening to lately?

Tips for the New Year and Beyond

As you go into the New Year, I wanted to encourage you with one last post from 2014.

(1) Be you. This is not to say that we don’t all need to grow as people because everyone should develop into better people and learn from their mistakes. I simply wanted tonew-year-n-beyond encourage you to be who you are. You are unique and you should embrace your “uniqueness.” Go into the New Year being yourself, i.e. your best self.

(2) Be kind. With so much hatred going on in the world, we could definitely use a lot more kindness. (Despite the rose-colored glasses that some people may have on, hatred is very evident in the comment boxes of various news articles, videos, etc.) Even on social media, people have chosen to forget that there are actual people behind the profiles. Remember that just because there’s a screen in front of you, doesn’t mean you get to disregard people’s feelings. You may not always agree with a person’s views or actions, but that does not mean that you have to be a jerk about it. People are hurting and because of their hurt sometimes they develop a cold heart towards the world. Don’t be overtaken by hurt, but be kind to others. An encouraging word, a smile, and a kind act go a long way.

(3) Be more compassionate. Egos are getting bigger. People are so focused on “me, Me, ME!” Let’s flip that and begin to turn our focus towards others more. People always say things like, “I feel . . . .” Well, do you ever take time to think about how others may feel? Do you ever consider other people’s feelings or concerns? Do you ever consider other people’s experiences, or do you only value and trust your own? Have some compassion. Don’t be insensitive. It’s not always about you. You’re not always right.

(4) Learn to listen. Everyone’s shouting, but no one is listening. Learn to listen more and hear people out. As my father would say, “You might learn something!” At the end of the day we can agree to disagree, but don’t insult someone’s intelligence by claiming to have dialogue with them when it’s really just you talking over the other person trying to get YOUR point across.

(5) Finally, learn to be more appreciative. A thank you also goes a long way. This year has been a great journey, and I am so grateful for all of my blog readers! I wish you all the best on your future endeavors, and thanks so much for letting my voice be heard! I look forward to posting more inspiring blog posts in the future! Again, THANKS!

Hope these tips help you not just in the upcoming year, but for many years to come. Happy New Year, and happy jurist journey!

If Life were a Video Game (Part 1: The Extra Man)

I don’t play a lot of video games, but I love Super Mario. It’s a classic! It’s so exciting to see Mario fearlessly go from level to level on a mission to save Princess Peach. If he messes up on the way, no harm done because he’s got an “extra man” and he can pick back up where he left off.

For those of you who may have been video game deprived (or even worse, never experienced the awesomeness that is Super Mario. Gasp!), an extra man is basically “another life.” If Mario makes contact with an enemy or takes a nasty fall, then the level will use his “extra man” to start that level over again so that he has another opportunity to complete it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life played out like that? Wouldn’t it be nice if EVERY time we made a wrong decision, we could start that exact same level over again? (Sometimes we can, but not always.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time life brought us a challenge we didn’t want to face, we could use a special star that would make us invincible to go through problem areas unscathed? That isn’t life. We hurt. We bruise. We stumble. We fall. However, like Mario, we can use our mishaps as lessons of what not to do the next time.

Life is full of so much pressure. One decision, one mistake can change everything, and that can be scary. However, sometimes the decision can work out for the better. (Like when Mario has fire flower power and opts to shoot fireballs at his enemies rather than jump on top of their heads.) Sometimes you’ll sail through life’s levels, and sometimes you’ll mess up a few times before you “get it right.” But another tragedy is if you don’t try at all, you’ll never know. Don’t do yourself a disservice by never trying. You may just be an incredible success just waiting to happen. Happy jurist journey!