Vision Boards and What I Think of Them

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I have read “The Secret “and I’ve seen the documentary.* I have also read “The Power” by the same author. I’ve read multiple Napoleon Hill titles. I have also seen the motivational video featuring Oprah Winfrey where she discusses how she landed the role in “The Color Purple.”  All of these works center around one thing…

Law of Attraction.

I have often been torn by this concept. I was unsure of how I could implement it into a Christian lifestyle. Can these two beliefs exist at the same time? After many years, my answer is, yes.

The law of attraction is just what it states. It’s a law. Just like the law of gravity it can definitely co-exist with Christian beliefs. Yes, I believe in God and I believe he is the one who has drawn the blueprint for my life. I also believe that doubt, insecurities, distraction , destruction, and distortion can lead you away from the path God has created for you. Your lack of focus and your inability to believe in yourself can cause you to miss out on His gifts.

What is the law of attraction? My condensed oversimplified answer is:
What you believe and envision can and will manifest.

We know this!

Look:

Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…~Romans 12:2

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.
~Dalai Lama

So what is a vision board? My condensed oversimplified answer is:
Its a map that leads to your own self discovery. It’s centered on you and your desires. It encapsulates your wants and your needs. By taking everything  out of your brain and heart and gluing them to a poster board you are forcing yourself  to focus. You’re at least glancing at this thing twice a day (morning and night.) For me, the images return to me throughout the day. So let’s say one photo on the board is “new car.” I find myself being more conscious of how I maintain the car I have. I downloaded a budget app on my phone to improve my credit. I pack lunch more often to put that money towards savings. That photo is a reminder that there is a goal in place. It also makes that goal feel more like an official agreement with myself. Also, seeing it makes it seem more attainable.

Vision boards are also a lot of fun!! It was fun finding the photos. It was nice to take an hour out to be creative in a different way. I have secretly always wished I could draw. I still can’t draw but I was able to produce something visually stimulating (well at least it stimulated me.)

Try it! Let me know how it works out. Do you already have one? Do you think it can help your quality of life?  Do you think they’re silly?

I’m excited about my future. If you asked me last year if my life would be this abundantly blessed this year, I would have laughed. God has smiled on me and I owe it to Him to run a more disciplined race. See you at the winner’s circle.

By:Shaun Nickens

*The Secret is by Rhonda Byrne

What the Heaven Are You Looking At?

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Cookie. “
“No honey, Mommy doesn’t have a cookie,”I whisper.
“Cookie.”
“Be a good girl, we’re in church,”I whisper.
“COOKIE!  COOKIE!!!!!!!!!”

My one year old flails herself around screaming to God himself for a cookie that I don’t have. Her big sister looks at me helplessly watching my brown face turn beet red in embarrassment.  Then she sweetly leans in and says, “You have crackers though right?”

The innocence. 

As I fumble through the diaper bag l glance up and see an impatient onlooker two pews ahead of us. She looks over her shoulder every time one of my children or any child says or does anything! 

Bear in mind, we are sitting in the very last row of the church.  Why? It is simply because I remember being young and single with no kids and shaking my head as I watch a parent provide pacifiers, goldfish, handheld electronic games, or anything short of monetarily bribing their children to be quiet during a church service. I always said I would sit in the back when I have kids.
A friend of mine said they once sang the ABC song during a baptism to keep their little one calm during service.  I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will work. ”

Meanwhile, the baby seems to have built an equaliser in her lungs and a microphone in her throat.

COOKIE.COOKIE. COOKIE. COOKIE!!!”

I stayed calm. “They can sense your fear,”I thought.

The lady two pews ahead is still staring. 

“What the hell …heaven. ..is she looking at?!”

This is when you will hear non-believers say the church is full of hypocrisy.  It is because of situations like this. A kid is fighting a nap and you are giving a parent a murder one ice grill (my slang shows my age) instead of being empathetic. A scripture came to mind:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~Matthew 19:14

The next time the woman glanced I smiled.  I simultaneously tuned in to the preacher saying,

“Reach into yourself when it is difficult and be your better self always.  Forgive those you’ve trained yourself to forget because of the pain they’ve caused you.”

I chuckled to myself knowing adults have a hard time focussing in church,  let alone children.  I gave the girls a granola bar to share. I kissed them on the foreheads and we snuck out (towards the end) with stealth while another kid had a breakdown over juice. I silently hoped they enjoyed fellowship and hoped they learned something.  I know I did.

By:Shaun Nickens

 

For Pete’s Sake…Lick the Bowl!

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I made this crumb cake on Wednesday!

When I was young my mother would bake from time to time.  Sometimes I would get so excited. She would give me the bowl to lick the batter while I waited for the cake to bake.  I would sit contentedly with my finger and my spoon in and out of the Tupperware.  I’d be wrapped in a pink comforter, watching a good movie,  with my bowl. Oftentimes,  by the time the cake was ready I didn’t want it anymore.  I was content with what I already received. 

The treat that was given to hold me over became better than what I anticipated.  I started to anticipate the batter and the bowl.  I started to look forward to the process more than the finished product. 
When did you stop enjoying the process? When did you become addicted to instant gratification? Don’t shake your head with that “no, not me” look. Yes, you! Why do you want the glorious rewards of your future TODAY?

What about dinner?  What about finishing the meal God has prepared to sustain you and make you stronger, before you dive into desert?  Thank Him for giving you a bowl to lick. Be thankful for the patience the process will instill in you.

Lick the bowl and enjoy it! The struggle is yours and specifically designed to give you the tasty tomorrow you are craving. 

Bless!

By:Shaun Nickens

Don’t Go To Bed Angry

Dear Mr. Sandman I heard you may be at the bottom of this glass. All I have to do is keep drinking.  So breathing through my nose I’m gulping this remedy passed down to me by my papa and my daddy and probably a few aunties. See I can’t seem to turn my mind off. I’m stuck with these damned thoughts that never go away. Actually,  can you guarantee me they won’t come back in my dreams?  Some of them are frightening.  Some of them are mean. Some of them antagonize me and make me think of things I shouldn’t think of. The visions are really tough.
Can you hear me in there? I know you’re in there. I can’t see you but I’ve been told that this glass filled with liquid poured from this bottle is where people find rest. I can’t see you but I know you’re there. Its funny how people believe in some things so easily.  

Mr.Sandman how will I sleep with all that dirt in my eye? Are there side effects?  You know there are always side effects.  I just want to be normal. I heard you may know what normal is. Mr.Sandman?

By:Shaun Nickens

What is a Strong Black Woman?

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Once, my uncle walked in on me crouched over the washing machine in tears. I was “venting” to myself and I didn’t realize anyone else was there to listen to my present plight. 

He walked over and said, “Shauness”, in his low and steady voice. That is his nickname for me. In his relaxed and laid back way he said, “everything alright?” I chuckled to myself because my uncle is like that.  He’s not overly emotional but he has a way of letting you know he cares about you.  I proceeded to tell him about whatever was upsetting me at the time and I continued to let the tears stream down my face.  Then he said something I will never forget:

“It’s alright to cry.  It’s alright to completely fall apart.  The catch is, you have to put yourself back together again. That is what a strong black woman is.  It is not the lunatic yelling and screaming or the person who gave up. It is the woman who has unmatched resilience.  That is the legacy.” 

Today for Martin Luther King Day I have been thinking about “the legacy.”  I came across a reading I have always loved from “African American Political Thought” with quotes from Washington, DuBois, Garvey and Randolph. It is one of my college favorites. There is a DuBois excerpt from “A Philosophy from 1913”:

…I will be a man and know myself to be one, even among those who secretly and openly deny my manhood, and I shall persistently and unwaveringly seek by every  possible method to compel all men to treat me as I treat them. 

In 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated. 

Prior to his death he was fighting for and preaching about the same thing. Today is an American holiday because it wasn’t about black supremacy it was about human rights.  It was about change.  It was about…LOVE. 

What legacy does his widow Coretta Scott King have to preserve? I wonder how often she has to “fall apart and put herself back together” again. I wonder how often all the wives, girlfriends, and mothers of slain activists or martyrs “fall apart.”  I wonder if they have ever said “I don’t need no man!”  I wonder what trials they have faced.  I wonder if they have ever called AAA for the 2 gallons of gas that comes with the membership because they can’t afford to get to work.  I wonder if anyone has ever called them a “bitch” or looked down on them. I wonder if they even see color at all or if they just feel pain with no identification and no overly simplistic labels. I wonder what their definition of a SBW is and if they even consider themselves one. Is Coretta glad he fought and died or would she have chosen normalcy? Would she have chosen a movie and dinner?

What will your legacy be?

 

By: Shaun Nickens 

 

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Girl Bye Part IV “Mae”

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She drove a two-tone, 12 year old mini van.  It had one of those “baby on board” signs in the back passenger window.  Sometimes the sign would fall but the suction cup that held it up would remain.  She was middle aged and her children were grown but she said the sign made people drive “sensibly. ”  Her “luxury car” as she sometimes called it,  was dated but it was hers…she owned it. She didn’t have many things that she owned.

Mae pulled right up next to a 2014 Camaro in the parking lot of the local popular pizzeria. They advertised you could get a large pie for $10.95 and that would be enough for Mae.  She could save some for breakfast the following morning with a cup of instant coffee. The Camaro had a confederate flag in the back window.  Mae had a “Obama 2012” sticker in the window.  The two drivers exchanged glances but no pleasantries were made.

Mae used to take long drives when she was stressed out. Those days were long gone. There was 123,000 miles on her van. Gas prices went up to 3.78 a gallon. So there was no escape.  Mae used to do hair but she was no longer as easy on the eyes as she once was. Women don’t usually trust you to make them beautiful when you aren’t. So age and a hard life retired her. Mae used to be an escort. She was good at it too. She still unofficially “did favors” as she liked to call it. She would frequently meet new clients at “Biddies. ”

Aniya saved Mae’s ass multiple times. She pulled an old dirty bastard off of Mae once. A brute who had no intention of paying for the “merchandise.” She let Mae sleep on her lazy boy recliner one night when Mae was evicted.  Aniya was the closest thing Mae would have to a friend. 

When Aniya called Mae after 2 years of not speaking,  she knew something was up.  Aniya always said no favor was free.  Mae was a benefit because she had nothing to lose…not even her life.

To be continued

By:Shaun Nickens

*Day 11 I didn’t post but I wrote! #30daywritingchallenge Comment.  Like. Share. 

3 Reasons I Love Being a Parent

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1. I took my 1 year old to a mommy and me “Babies Music and Play” class yesterday morning.  I don’t have her in a traditional daycare so I proactively look for opportunities for her to socialize with other children.  The kids all went into the meeting room and immediately began playing with one another.  When it was time to sing songs, my kid was singing at the top of her lungs. She showed the other children how to play with the toys. She stood in front of the play kitchen and had a full length conversation on the “phone.” She was showing off her vocabulary “Papi”,”mommy”, “hi”, “I’m okay”, “What you doing?” I was so proud! The other mother’s started asking me questions about her age and activities.  I felt instantly privileged to be her mom.

2. Sometimes I’m exhausted.  No, like borderline dead/comatose exhausted.  Like putting your phone in the freezer and your eggs in the bathtub exhausted!   Like putting your window all the way down and your music all the way up so you can drive home safe exhausted.  Yet, I will jump up at any time day or night if I am responsible for doing something for my children.  There is something wonderful about being needed and wanted at the same time. There is something awesome about tiny fingers holding your head and looking into your eyes lovingly and curiously. 

3. Children are raw, open, honest and unapologetic.  They have so many questions.  I love the responsibility of being one of the first people they go to for their answers.  Your four year old wants to know:
“Why do you go to work? ”
“Why do you have to make money? ”
“Why do you have to pay bills?”
“Why do we need heat?”
“Why is it cold?”

You better come up with some great answers for them and for yourself!  Children help you reassess, edit, and improve your life. My sister is 15 years old. She plays music at the highest decibel and dances with the girls until they are all out of breath and she is their she-ro! Kids are simple. They just want attention and uninhibited honest fun and unconditional love. They want you to be yourself which is the opposite of the facade we normally have to display.  Parenting gives you at least one safe place to be yourself.

By: Shaun Nickens

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*Day 10 of the 30 day writing challenge! Tell me why you LOVE being a parent.  Follow us on Twitter @shutyamouthnow
Bless!!