Do Not Tolerate Anything Less Than in Love

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Today I listened to my father discuss tolerance during church today. He made a very interesting point in how it related to love. He said that tolerance is closely related to love. When he said this, he referenced 1Corinthians 13:7. That particular verse says this:

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things ensures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:7, NET

What I took from that, and chose to reflect on that and how it related to my current life, is two things:

1. The love I have for myself needs to mimic the way love was described in the Bible, and

2. I will not tolerate anything less in love, than what is stated in this verse.

I came to this conclusion because if I cannot see this love in myself, then I cannot expect anyone else to see that I love myself this strongly and I take love this seriously.

I also feel that if I am receiving love from someone, and if it is not described like this, and if a person who loves does not stand by this; do I even want it?

Why would anyone want to tolerate love that does not come close to how love is described in this passage? Why would anyone not strive to want to love someone else or themselves as strongly as it states in this passage?

I do not profess myself to be the most religious person; but I am realistic and there are parts of the Bible that while I may not look at in a religious sense, I take on in a realistic and logical one. The concept of love for myself and for someone else; as simply put in this chapter, is something that I can connect to specifically in a time in my life where I’ve lost a sense of my self love and lost the love of someone else.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m looking for answers, and trying to understand why my life has taken the turn it has. As I continue that journey, I find that in certain ways, I realize that if there were parts of my life in which I was lacking, then maybe the path I’m currently on was meant to happen. Other days I don’t want to believe that is what was meant to happen for me.

Either way, I will continue to find my way, and hopefully come out of this better than what I came into it.

New Work Coming Soon

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They say the best work comes from the most painful experiences…

This year has brought forth emotions that I’ve never imagined.

I’ve been compiling my words into notebooks and note apps on my phone. Waiting to put all the pieces together into one body of work to express the things I’ve been through this year; and the things I’ve learned and are learning.

My best work is coming. I can feel it.

Stay tuned.

Make Time for Your Creative Side, Too!

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As creatives, most of us aren’t blessed enough to make a living off what we’re truly passionate about. Whether it be writing, photography, painting, etc; for those who have made a successful living off of it, I applaud you. The rest of us; well, we have what I call a “regular” job to keep us afloat and pay the bills, and do our best to make time for our passion after work.

It is difficult at times to try and fit everything into a day (how I wish there were more than 24 hours); however, the most important thing you can do is make time for the passion in your life. As a creative, the thing that keeps us going is usually the moment we get off work, so we can go really work on our other dreams. We want to stay up all night researching, learning, creating and doing; but we know we can’t because eventually we have to go to bed and wake up for work (blah!).

I think the one thing that keeps me going is the fact that I find so many things fascinating. I’ve started to expand my creative side into more areas and found ways to keep my mind going on learning and researching new things. I’m always wanting to learn and grow and be better than I’ve ever been. I know what it requires and I know what is needed, so I am able to adjust and schedule my life to make time for the things that matter and what I want to focus my time on.

Because I have such a demanding job, I’ve learned that making time for my creative endeavors is just as important and just as meaningful to me as my actual profession. I still have hopes that I will be able to live off writing, or do photography on the side as a freelancer one day; but until then, I will continue to hone my craft, research, learn and grow until my moment comes. The goal is to never get tired of what you’re passionate about; because if you never get tired, you’ll always keep striving and achieve whatever goal you put in front of you.

A Little Sunday Funday Photoshoot

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My sister wanted me to take some pictures of her and my nephews this past weekend. I’m nowhere near professional status, but I took her up on the offer to improve my photography game.

While I thoroughly enjoyed photographing my little homies (no matter how moody they were ), I think my absolute favorites were of her.

My sister is such a beautifully strong woman. Sometimes she does so much for her children and others, there’s not enough hours in the day for herself. So it felt really good to take some pictures of her; to celebrate such a beautiful, strong, and fearless Black woman she is.

Here’s a little piece of some of the shots I got of her.

Congratulations on 1,000 Followers

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When I started blogging in 2015, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I dnd’t really have many goals or achievements. I didn’t know what I wanted my blog to be, or where I wanted it to evolve to. So seeing this day was a far-fetched idea. To some, this may seem like a small feat; but for me, it’s the biggest hump I’ve had to get over in my blogging journey. After five years of blogging, I hit 1,000 WordPress followers!!!!

Now officially, when I combine my Mailchimp subscribers to this, I am at 1,040 subscribers total to my blog site!! This is beyond overwhelming, but very exciting to achieve.

Where it all began

Part of me never thought I would make it here. When I started blogging, it was more like a journal; a hobby that I had because I loved writing so much. I didn’t even know what I would write about. As the years went on, I learned more, developed my style and five years later; here I am.

Writing and blogging have always been my favorite past times. The more I continue to put forth knowledge and effort into growing my blog, the more I dream to make it a full-time lifestyle. Blogging full-time was never a goal of mine, but the longer I stay at it, and the more I see others achieve it; the more I realize I can do it as well.

Its Only up from Here

Now that I have achieved this milestone, it’s only up from here. I hope to continue to gain more followers, create more amazing content for the followers I already have, and I hope that I can really begin to make some type of impact in the blogging community. Now that I have accomplished this, I can’t say that no goal is too small. I can conquer the world now that I’ve conquered this. 🙂

Cheers to 1,000 followers; and a huge THANK YOU to any and every single person who clicked that follow button, or subscribed via email and reads my blog. You inspire me more and more each day to continue to do this work. I will forever be grateful for all of you.

Here’s to Write, Live and Love. And here’s to the next 1,000, and the next, and the next.

September is NICU Awareness Month

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September is NICU Awareness Month, and I have to congratulate three strong little boys who were graduates of the NICU.

I have three nephews, Preston, Elijah and Isaiah. All three of my nephews were born premature and had to spend time in the NICU when they were born. It was an experience that my sister and entire family was not prepared for. We were grateful for the NICU staff, because it would definitely have been harder if it wasn’t for them.

My NICU Graduates

Isaiah N. Lapread – my youngest nephew

Isaiah is my youngest nephew, and the second-born twin. He was born at 26 weeks, and spent 159 days in the NICU. He faces some pretty significant challenges in life, but one thing I love about him is that he is resilient. Despite what he faces in life, you can see the joy in his eyes. His smile literally lights up the room when you see him. He is hearing and vision-impaired, but despite that, he makes up for it in happiness and love. You can’t help but leave his presence with your heart full. In a few months, he’ll be 4 years old, and steadily breaking down barriers with each passing day!

Elijah K. Lapread – my middle nephew

Elijah, the oldest of the twins, spent 165 days in the NICU before he was able to go home. He’s definitely a little firecracker. If his brother’s smile is a mile wide, his might be a mile and a half. He loves preschool and is learning all sorts of new words. Elijah has a few challenges of his own, but like his brother, he doesn’t let that stop him. He is just as strong as his brother, and the protective older brother even at the tender age of three.

Preston A. Izzard – the oldest and wisest nephew

Last but not least; the oldest of the three. Preston is my oldest nephew, who will be 7 next year. He had the shortest stint in the NICU, but that was truly a blessing, because when he was born we did not know how long he would be there. Based on his picture, you can clearly see he was a pretty healthy baby in the NICU. He was born at 34 weeks, which was still premature, but was 6 lbs when he was born. He received the best care and by the grace of God, in six days he was able to go home with the all clear. Six years later, he is healthy and thriving and the best big brother his little brothers could ever ask for.

Today, my nephews are three of the healthiest, strongest boys I’ve ever met. I’m a proud auntie and blessed that they’ve overcome so many obstacles that some wouldn’t even believe!

(Left to right: Elijah, Isaiah, Preston)

The NICU Experience and Appreciation for Those Who Serve

NICU awareness is very important aspect to childbirth and will always have a place in my heart. My sister, nephews and family all experienced first-hand what it was like to have babies that we love in the NICU. I can remember is seeing my nephews going into the NICU, and sometimes the limited access that my sister had to seeing them. Also, the difficult transition to going home knowing your children have to stay in the hospital and cannot go home.

NICU nurses and people who volunteer in the NICU are some of the best people that we met when my nephews were in the hospital. They were kind, understanding, and always willing to explain things and made sure my sister understood what was going on. I remember them making bracelets and necklaces for my nephews, they had special blankets and and hats. The NICU nurses really did everything they could to make babies and families feel special and important, despite the circumstances.

For more information on NICU Awareness, you can click HERE to gather more information, resources and volunteer opportunities in your local NICU!

Breonna, We Will Still Say Your Name

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Breonna, we have been speaking your name for 194 days. We have not stopped; and unfortunately, it’s clear that saying your name was not enough. Fighting and protesting in your memory for justice has not been enough.

Breonna Taylor has been dead for 194 days. The world watched and waited for decisions to be made in response to the officers who caused her death. There was no movement on a decision until recently. Days prior, news headlines warned of a “state of emergency;” and this is when I knew. I knew that something was coming and I would not like the answer. Whenever a state has to declare an emergency before an announcement, outrage is imminent.

Breonna’s case is not wanton endangerment

Today, an announcement was made by Attorney General Daniel Cameron that former police officer Brett Hankinson was indicted for wanton endangerment for his actions during the raid that cost Breonna Taylor her life. One officer was charged for firing bullets in a neighboring apartment; NOT for shooting at Breonna Taylor. That is the justice that should have been sought.

The world erupted in protest and advocated for the injustice and lack of accountability when Breonna’s death hit the media. What happened 194 days later would be an utter disappointment. It should be a shame for anyone to hold their head up with respect after representing a statement or charges such as these.

Is this being a Black Woman?

Malcom X is famous for one of the most prolific phrases in this world:

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

– Malcom X, 1962

As if this year hasn’t been traumatic enough, this is just another knife to the back of black people and specifically black women. This is another way to show us that we are unappreciated, unprotected and even unloved. At the end of the day, this is just blatantly wrong and unfortunately sad.

Breonna deserved more than this. She deserved better than what Louisville, Kentucky has offered her. She deserved more than what America has offered her. In her memory, this is what will be remembered. For 194 days, the decision for justice sat in people’s laps, and nothing came of it.

The family has stated it “doesn’t make sense.” They are correct; it doesn’t. It never will. Facts are facts. What happened was a young Black woman died at the hands of police officers, and no one will be held accountable for it.

Breonna, I’m so sorry for this. All of this, you did not deserve. You deserve justice, and you still have not received it. The world continues to mourn and say your name; forever.

It’s Best to Be Still and Don’t Speak

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Sometimes, Sundays are just for sitting and staring.

Today, my Sunday is representing a practice of the art of being still. Because I realized I move too fast; I speak too much. And sometimes it’s better to just move slower, be still and not speak as much.

I do my best to practice as much stillness as possible. I try to incorporate it into my day; even if it’s five minutes. It’s a great way to practice a little self-care when you’re short on time.

It’s also a great way to remind yourself to enjoy even the smallest and most peaceful moments in time.

A still Sunday afternoon.

Cancel Culture Is NOT for Me

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The wave of “cancel culture” seems to be the bandwagon of sorts that has created an ultimatum-type response; you’re either doing it or your not. And depending on what side of the fence you’re on, you will either be supported or criticized.

It seems as if it doesn’t take much these days before the whole world is ready to cancel someone or something. But let me tell you who doesn’t cancel every single thing or person that comes up: me.

The whole notion of “cancel culture” to me is a little excessive and unnecessary for one main reason; if you don’t like something, don’t look at it and if you don’t agree with someone, distance yourself from it.

Let’s be clear

Everything and everyone has something wrong with it these days. You can’t access something without there being a problematic piece to it. My personal belief about things that are problematic is this: if I come across something I don’t like, don’t agree with or find disrespectful or distasteful (and this is for any person, place or thing), I distance myself from it; point, blank, period. I’ve seen this happen more commonly with music artists, streaming services, and television networks.

Personally, If an artist makes a song I don’t like, I just don’t listen to that song. If one of my streaming services has a problem show/movie on it, I skip over that show/movie; and if a television network has a bad show on it, I just don’t watch that show. Do I decide to cancel that entire person or particular thing? No.

Now, that may make me a “problematic person” and if so, I’ll be that. But I think if we spend our time cancelling our every single thing that poses a problem in society, then we would have nothing. Truth be told, we’d need to cancel ourselves as well because even we are not perfect at all times ….

I say all this to say, stop criticizing people who don’t jump on every cancel bandwagon wave….it’s not worth the time and effort when I can just filter what I expose myself to.

Self-Care Sunday: Dancing it Out

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I just recently watched the episode of Grey’s Anatomy (which is one of my favorites) where Christina and Meredith do their final “dance it out” before Christina leaves to go to Switzerland.

It made me think about how sometimes, when life feels like it’s pulling you down, or when everything seems to be going wrong in life, you just need to turn on some music and dance the pain away. If nothing more, you could also get a good workout out of the whole ordeal, but dancing around as if no one is watching can sometimes bring a smile to your face that you never know you needed. And it doesn’t have to be an entire song-length. Even 20-30 seconds of a full out dance along could be just what you need to turn your frown upside down. And the good thing is, you can dance it out virtually anywhere!!

So, this week, my self-care idea is short and sweet; but meaningful:

When in doubt, just dance it out!