Shut Up

Day 3 of the 30 day self esteem challenge was:

A part of your personality you like.

I like being an orator.  I like debate. I was on the debate team in high school. We battled the best of the best at Fordham University and I wasn’t scared at all. I like an intellectual battle…not necessarily an argument but a in depth conversation.  I don’t shy from the podium. I love it.

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Ultra Feminine

Still doing the 30 day self esteem challenge!  Day 2 was A physical feature you like on yourself.

I like my clavicle.  Weirdo right?! I really do though. I cut the necks out of my tshirts. I wear low cut shirts. In the summer I wear strapless dresses. I think its just an ultra feminine beautiful part of the body. It looks strong too. Like it accentuates the shoulders and arms. We carry the world with those arms.

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“He traced the line of my clavicle with this finger and kissed the corners of my mouth.”
-Dannika Dark, Twist

Bark and Bite

Psalm 141:3
~Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;keep watch over the doors of my lips!

I am doing a 30 day self esteem challenge in support of someone very close to me. I did not come up with the challenge myself. It is a conglomerate of mental illness mouse on tumblr and faithfitnessfun.com.

Day 1 is: Choose a facial feature you like on yourself.

I love my lips. My whole mouth actually. It is the vessel used to express myself. Sometimes it is a double edged sword but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As I grow and I learn to control my lips and appreciate them, I am growing stronger. I am learning when to bark and when to bite.

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Please share your favorite facial feature with me!

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