March On!!!

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Let me tell you..it’s the last day of February and I am sitting here like it’s 11:59pm December 31, 2016. I have butterflies in my stomach. I am once again excited about this year.  January wasted no time in teaching me some very valuable lessons. Some of the lessons were great and others, not so much.

One night after work (two days before March 1st to be exact), I saw an ad for one of my favorite shoe stores. It was actually confirmation that once again I had the freedom to move forward with my plans and desires in the same peace I had coming into the new year. God will use anything (even a shoe ad)  to encourage you in whatever place you are in.

So with that said, I am ready to “March On” into March and the remainder of the year. If your year didn’t start off the way you wanted it to, it’s ok! Pick up your head, square your shoulders and keep it moving.

God’s got you!

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The Weight of The Wait.

Young African American black woman in city at night waiting for subway train

If you never had to wait on anything in your life, you better thank God. No seriously! You better thank Him for the fact that He “fast-tracked” you to whatever it is you are abundantly enjoying at this minute. Be it a great job that “fell into your lap”, the car you always wanted that’s parked in the driveway of the house in the great neighbourhood you want to live in, or the spouse you quickly “lucked up on” when you weren’t even looking or the ability to have children with no issues.

You.Betta.Thank.God! You’ve been spared!

Time and time again, I wonder if people are truly grateful that they did not have to go through an excruciating waiting period to obtain the thing(s) they desire. I wonder if people are truly grateful for the talents they have that position them into greatness. I wonder if people truly thank and praise God for all He allows them to have without waiting. Because, let me tell you, the “weight” of “the wait” (not to be confused with the book) is not for the faint at heart.

It really isn’t.

Some of us had to wait for one job offer when others were getting multiple. Some of us are still single attending the weddings of friends while watching social circles dwindle. Some of us are trying to own house #1 while others are on #3. Some of us have a business idea that isn’t taking off as fast as we like, but someone else with half an idea and less effort went viral practically overnight.

Like I said the “weight” of “the wait” is not for the faint at heart.

Those of us in the “the wait” life, didn’t choose this for ourselves, it choose us. If we had a choice, we would be right where we want to be, with who we want to be with, living where we want to live with the children we desire to have while having the things we want. We did not choose to be delayed or sidelined. We did not choose to forgo our desires for a wait filled with years of tearful prayers in order to cope with the weight of it all. We don’t know why God allows some folks to go into their promised land quickly and while others have to hang back and watch. But here is some understanding: Those chosen to “wait on the Lord” have a remarkable resilience that is unfathomable to most people and essential to the existence of today’s society.

In laymen’s terms: you are needed in the population to provide a stillness from your steadiness which would’ve never been birthed in you if you got everything you wanted the way you wanted it (James 1:4-8). Everybody can not be on the same path at the same time (Galatians 6:9).

Some of the most powerful people I know in the faith, have dwelled in Midian (the dessert wilderness Mosses stayed in for 40 years before leaving to fulfil the exodus prophecy) and lived to tell about it. Their stories about carrying the mantle of “the wait” are some of the most inspiring things one could ever hear. I have heard stories of waiting for years to have a first child to losing everything then having to slowly rebuild. I’ve heard stories of waiting until early to mid 40’s to marry their first love, and some waiting even longer to have a life worth living. One thing I’ve noticed about dwelling in the land of “wait” is that a sense of calm and peace is developed within. The calm and peace that sustains one through crisis and disappointment. The calm and peace that creates wisdom (’cause after all, there will be a lot of scripture reading and praying during the wait). The calm and peace that people gravitate towards when the fast track gets………too fast.

So, to those who have been selected to “wait” for it seems everything they desire in life, you have been called to wear this special mantle. Wear it proudly! There is a reason behind it. As much as it pains me to say the very thing that has been said over and over and over again, I’m gonna say it with a different spin: waiting helps us to get closer to God through prayer, scripture reading and a face streaked with tears because “The Wait” is probably hitting an area God wants to work on (1 Peter 5:10).

To those waiting on the Lord for something, let us be brave. Let us be brave in our personal Midian. Let us be brave when others are getting the things we are patiently waiting for. Let us be brave when God goes silent on an unmet desire while it seems He is blessing others instantaneously. Why? Because someone is pulling strength from your every move. Somebody will need to hear your testimony one day. Someone will need a glass of water from the well that waiting has planted within you.

The Blessing Of Day Break

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(Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Concourse C, across from Starbucks)

Soooo, I’m in the airport after a flight that left at “O:Dark Thirty”. I grabbed a hot cup of  Starbucks habit and noticed the sun was making it’s way up the ladder of day break.  It was then I noticed…mornings are absolutly dope! There is something peacefull about being up to see the sky turn from black to purple to purple-blue then a magnificent burnt orange preparing the way for a large circular bundle of magnificent that emerges from the depths of night. It is the most intimate time of the day where I’ve prayed some of the deepest prayers in my life to date.

When I think about mornings, I think about new beginigs. Fresh starts, resets and another chance to come back from whatever happened the day before. It’s powerful. I’m sure there is a scripture about morning around here somewhere ..oh..here it is.. (Psalm 30:5)!

Mornings to me are biblical. Seeing this large sphere float above the horizon isnt just for show. I guess God knew there would be so much pain and trouble in this world that He had to create a daily reminder that no matter what happens, time will keep moving and so will we!

So, that said…take one morning (or two or three) where you wake up before the rest of your world, watch this mighty pagentry of cosmic transition then wisper to God thanking Him for a brand new day to be and do all the things He has called you to do.

 

Hot Off The Press (….Literally)

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(Photo of my article in the South Florida Times newspaper ….)

My article “Why I’m not doing a 2017 vision board” first appeared in the Theprayingwoman.com and I was thrilled. Then it gets even better. In the middle of me cleaning out my closet and purging old items that no longer brought me joy, my phone makes it’s characteristic whistle-chirp noise telling me there is a new text message or an email. When I am “knee deep” in work, I usually ignore the phone until I am at a good stopping point. This time was different. I paused what I was doing, walked over the mounds of clothes that would be making it’s way to Goodwill and grabbed the phone. It was an email that turned out to be an awesome invitation for my article to be a part of The South Florida Times’ “Prayerful Living” section. What an awesome way to end 2016. Unbeknownst to me, the act of getting rid of things that were just taking up space allowed room for an unexpected blessing.

Maybe I need to throw away some more things.

Dear 2016, Thank You For Your Service!

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You started off with such hope and wonder. I clearly thought you would be a continuation of 2015 which I would say to this date was extremely memorable. I was ready to fly to higher heights and soar above the mountains in my life. Then YOU happened. You showed up and pulled the rug from under my feet and had me to fall on my butt. Everything I hoped and dreamed you would be turned out to be the complete opposite. Instead of delivering me to the next level like I thought you would, you left me in the waiting room. I waited and waited and waited for what I hoped you would be to show up. And while I waited, I flipped through several magazines filled with the successes of others hoping that the little window in your office would open and my name would be called into greatness.

My name wasn’t called and out of pure frustration, I canceled our appointment, went home and pouted.

I was HOT with you. But when summer rolled around, you surprised me. I went on my first cruise. You reunited my siblings for the first time in over 20 years. You showed me that I have the confidence to do anything I put my mind to, in spite of what others say. To top it all off, you birthed a love in me that I never knew existed. Out of the whole year, the last 5 months were the most memorable, even amidst disappointments and the grief from the passing of comrades (not to mention celebrity pillars from my childhood). In the disappointments and grief, you showed me that I need to live a life worth remembering (…..and that I need to hurry up, live it and stop waiting for everything to be “perfect”).

2016, I am going to thank you for your service. You accomplished what you were set out to do in my life. And that was to show me that life is not scripted like a Netflix or network tv series. It is to be appreciated and “lived in”, not covered in plastic like mom’s furniture from back in the day or only brought out like fine china during special occasions then put away when done. We are to live life “full strength” holding nothing back. As I look to 2017 with gratitude and thanks, I will make room for 2017 to be what it is as I desire to live life full strength withholding nothing.

The Hurt and Healing of being “Single & Saved”

 

back view of african woman drinking tea


(This is a mid-sized read…settle in for a few minutes 🙂  )

So, I read an article about singlehood being hard. As I settled in to read what the author had to say, I agreed with her to a point. Yes, singlehood can be hard. It isn’t necessarily “is” but it can be hard. She then went into explaining how hurtful existing in a life of “non-existent” physical touch can be. I think she really wanted to get into the fact she missed/yearned for the physical touch that comes from a man and the way it feels within a romantic relationship (is that church enough? ok good!) but it went “left” quick and that’s when I got up and got myself together for church.

It left me to ask myself if singlehood was hard especially if you’re in the”Single & Saved” camp (how’s that for a double shot?). Want my answer? Yes, and at times it hurts. But, there is a healing. Let’s talk about the hurt first.

Experiencing life changing situations like job loss, and the death of loved ones…single
I will never forget how it felt to get a brown envelope on one of the coldest days of the year. I called my parents. I called my pastors and then I went home. Alone. My Christmas tree was lit and gave “some” light to a very dark situation. The next day, I woke up alone. I was teary eyed didn’t know where my next dollar was coming from, I wrapped myself in the warm comforter then prayed and cried. I knew the presence of the Lord was with me, but when you wake up and can’t melt into the arms of an understanding husband can be the most sobering feeling one can experience. Sobering to know that you are about to enter into an emotionally trying situation by yourself. Sobering to know that you have to suit up for war the moment your feet hit the carpet. Sobering to know you’re going to have to find a way to process your emotions without someone standing by your side. Sobering to know that there is no warm hug, touch or cuddle of reassurance.

I also remember when I laid my father to rest. I shouldered that experience on my own. My mother stepped in to share the load but I didn’t want her health to become unstable while trying to handle the illness and eventual loss of her husband of 42 years. I have two very good friends that walked me through the “in’s and out’s” of paperwork and just letting me vent when it became too much to silently bear. Every time I came home from the hospitals, the nursing home and the doctors, I was alone. No one was waiting at home to hold and allow me to cry until my eyes ran dry. I had to “man up” and learn to compartmentalize the pain that a daughter feels after losing her first example of a man. When it was all over and the planes left the airports and the phone calls stopped, I was alone and very much single. No warm hug to greet me. Nothing. I couldn’t cry too long. After all, I’m “Single & Saved”,  and I should know where my “help” is. In times like this, the “Single & Saved” are expected to “press in” and “press through”. Quietly. Very quietly.

When your career kicks you in the butt..single
I’ve had my share of wins and losses over the years. The losses hurt when I came home second guessing my worth and talent because of a comment I either overheard or directed at me. The losses hurt when I lay awake at night wondering if the meeting I conducted earlier was “on point”. The losses hurt when I wake up to face another day with my game face on and behave like I’m made of “Teflon” in the midsts of these losses alone. There is no one physically rooting me on in the mornings. No one to make me a “champion’s breakfast”. Nope. It’s me. I’m facing the world solo. No whining, no tears, no hug before I open that door. As for the wins, I can come home and call my inner circle of friends and my older sister (but you can only keep people on the phone for so long though…). In my wins, I am throwing confetti single. No hug, No nothing.

(Side note: there’s always a pint of Talenti Roman Raspberry to help with the celebration)

When your social circle shrinks because everyone starts pairing off..while you’re…single
I didn’t understand why the Lord lead me to a season of disconnection from a group of women I held near and dear to me. I guess he saw what was coming on the horizon. One by one all the girls in my circle got engaged, married and moved into their new lives. Everything that was no longer was. No hard feelings though. I love ’em all. But I guess God wanted to make sure I was far away enough from the changes so I wouldn’t get hurt…by the changes. Soon I was navigating the waters of living “Single & Saved” by myself. Entertainment routines changed and I had to “stick and move” with a new group of ladies that were single, until one by one, their statused changed from single to “dating” to “in a relationship”. I know what’s coming next. I’m prepared. I even stocked up on hugs from my male associates. Yeah!

When you have to brave events built for the married and dating…single
Long live the company Christmas party. In one season of my life, I was actually dating a wonderful young man during the holidays. Let me tell you, it was wonderful. Being able to joke around and catch your boyfriend up on the office drama and him being able to match names to faces is awesome. It’s like having a partner in crime during the most awkward event in your professional career. Fast forward to now. I sit at tables with co-workers and spouses alone. Awkward. Really awkward. Ever did the cupid shuffle/wobble/electric slide by yourself? Eventually, I warmed up and became the life of the party until it was time to leave. One by one the couples left, got into their vehicles and went to their “afterparty” while I got to go home alone. On the drive, I would calculate the time it will take to remove my makeup and outfit in the hopes that my single bestie was still awake to hear about the evenings’ shenanigans via phone. Ever walked into an empty home after a bangin’ Christmas party? Let’s not even go there.

When your health becomes a challenge….while you’re single
I had a health issue a while back which required surgery. Anything that requires surgery means you need someone to drop you off at the hospital and pick you up when it’s over. Someone to be there with you when you’re recovering with the assistance of taking powerful painkillers. Someone to get soup and crackers when the morphine that’s still in your system brings everything you attempted to eat up to the surface. Someone to just……..be there. When my friends and family went back to their lives, I was at home single and under a blanket.

When you’ve done everything the articles tell you to do…and you’re still…well…single
There is a demographic that is willing pay their hard earned money to listen how they can escape being single. I’m no longer sowing seeds into that ministry but let me tell you how un-authentic some of these “Find A Man” books are. I’m to the point where I will no longer fatten someone else’s wallet/purse to tell me how they “made it over into the promised land of marriage” and what’s preventing me from getting there. Nope. Not gonna do it.

I remember being told by associates that I am not trying hard enough or that I should give cyber dating a try. For the record, I tried and it was horrific. I left cyber dating right where it found it: in cyberspace.

I did everything those “living your best single life now” type of articles said to do. I’ve travelled (still travel), slept in past 9am (makes me queasy), went where I wanted when I wanted, (did you see the gas prices lately?), took cake making classes (put on about ten pounds then hired a trainer to take it off), read tons of books (my home library is on fleek), became an author and wrote a book (that is inspiring many many people), started a fitness journey ( I love the kaleidoscope of colorful workout pants) and a host of other things to keep me “busy”. After all, Boaz might find me right? Wrong. Never the less, when I travel, no one is waiting for me at the airport, no one to read passages of some of the Jamaican history books I’ve been indulging in, and no one there to make me a recovery shake and rub my sore muscles when I come home from a circuit training beat down. No high fives, no smacks on the bottom. I come home single.

…there seems to be an overwhelmingly large amount of single women who desire to marry (vs not enough men who feel the same way) and the body of Christ is still figuring out how to “handle” and even counsel the hurt and disappointment found in this demographic.

When you have to stand on everything your pastor/singles ministry/women of God/well-meaning sisters and brothers in the faith tell you…single
I prayed. Made my list. Fasted. Removed things from my list. Got specific. Didn’t get specific. Went to the altar. Left the altar. Repented. Fasted. Went back to the altar. Listened to married couples. Listened to divorced women and men. Removed barriers. Put back the barriers. Asked God to be my husband. Acted like a “wifely” single. Acted content. Acted angry. Now, repeat all of that in THAT order. I was (emphasis on was) doing this in cycles. Being “single & saved” left me bewildered. Dazed even. I got the classic lines of “encouragement” from my brothers and sisters: “Wait on the Lord”, “He’ll come when you stop thinking about marriage”, “Remove your expectations”, “We’ll you know Jesus was single”, “Paul said it is better to be single than married”, and the clincher: “Everybody isn’t getting married” (it stings a bit extra when a married brother/sister in Christ says this). I have an added bonus “Did you ask God if it was in His will?”.

I won’t get mad at the corporate church. I just think there seems to be an overwhelmingly large amount of single women who desire to marry (vs not enough men who feel the same way) and the body of Christ is still figuring out how to “handle” and even counsel the hurt and disappointment found in this demographic. I won’t even get mad at the overly attractive married brothers and strikingly beautiful sisters in the faith who never had issues getting dates or experiencing intimacy all of their lives trying to  give singles advice. They mean well right?  But, what’s the logic in telling a single woman to take a “man fast/man break/man vacation” if she hasn’t been on a decent date or out for coffee with a man in years?  Where’s the “Balm in Gilead” for that?

I got into this vicious cycle of “clearly I’m doing something wrong”, and maybe I’m “too” saved (I didn’t even know being too saved existed). I thought about dippin’ out on God like the prodigal son just to see if the odds would be in my favour (I did that once, wasn’t pretty). I even second-guessed the path God had me on (hurt will make you delirious and do stupid things). It got to a point where I got tired and resigned to the fact that being “single & saved” and the hurt that comes from it is like rocket science. I was either going to let it destroy my faith trying to figure it out, or just simply move on with my life. I decided to move on. I decided to find something to hold onto when the hurt comes up. Mustard seeds, grains of sand or just the air of faith when things (i.e. the hurt) got too heavy for my single to handle shoulders. I dug my heels further into the faith that God can eclipse an unmet desire. I wanted to live and I wanted the hurt to stop.  Realizing that “waiting in the pews” wasn’t working for me did NOT mean I was going to abandon my Christ walk (like many other women in the faith were doing). It just meant I had to do something different.

…I got tired of being sick and tired. I left the “hurt” circus and never looked back.

I simply could not take another ride on the merciless lazy-susan of thoughts of not being enough, then reading yet another article on being single written by the churched and un-churched, listening to a preacher (not a pastor) run down a list of scriptures on why the Lord wants me to remain single, perusing a book written by an Instagram/Youtube celebrity, and paying someone $150 bucks to berate me and a host of other “Single & Saved” women in a hotel conference room for not being pretty or desirable enough to marry and what I need to do to change my situation. I got tired of being sick and tired. I left the “hurt” circus and never looked back. But before I could even “live”, I needed a healing. I needed to find a way to turn this hurt into power.

I used the hurt to lead me into His presence
I discovered an inner strength that God birthed in me specifically for tough times. In those quiet moments when that single hurt would show up, I ran into my hiding place of honest prayer and worship. The kind of prayer and worship that goes beyond the surface stuff. After all, this “Single & Saved” journey is bigger than me and I needed an even bigger God to help me through it.

….un checked hurt turns into bitterness.

The hurt made me trust Him even more
I’ve trusted God’s will for small things, but relentlessly putting the hurt of singlehood on His shoulders was the biggest thing I’ve ever done. I will never forget the day I decided to stop looking over my shoulder to see if marriage was hiding behind me or even playing peek-a-boo as I continued with my life. In bible study, we were tasked with going to God about a prayer he did not answer. It took me a week to start the assignment because of the hurt I felt. The hurt from being single over a stretch of time during the most trying situations of my life. The hurt from the prayers not being answered. The hurt that took root in my heart and morphed into bitterness (..did you catch that??) Let me repeat that: un-checked hurt turns into bitterness. When I opened my mouth to talk to my pastor about the assignment, the tears came and I had a very ugly cry. Without getting overly specific, it was in that cry I learned that I simply had to trust God and let go of the hurt that comes from being single. This was something that the books, articles, Instagram/Youtube experts and preachers fail to address.

The hurt lead me to love myself even more
When you’re in the midst of cycles of singlehood hurt, loving yourself can be a chore. Singlehood has a funny way to making you believe there is something wrong with you, when there really isn’t.  After giving that burden of hurt to God including the lack of human touch us in the  “Single & Saved” camp experience, there was a new Tracey that possessed a physical and inner beauty I never saw before. I realized no one could be “me”. I owned my journey and no one could take that away. When I realized that in the end of those situations I was still standing, I appreciated and began to love the person looking back at me.

The hurt pushed me to live the life I’ve been missing out on
I wanted to start living and stop existing (for real this time). I wanted to live without the albatross of being hurt around my neck, without being reminded every holiday season, every birthday and every rainy night that I was still single. I could not force God to send a husband the way Amazon would send my packages. That meant God would have to make a man “marriage ready” with two day free shipping. The last time I checked, the majority of the brothers in and out of Christ aren’t quite making marriage a priority the way the sisters are. So while the men are trying to figure out who they are and what they want, I’m gonna live my life. I never experienced such clarity about where I want to go, what I want to do and the options I have. That might not be good enough for those who are still hoping for a husband, but for a person who lived under the hurt of singlehood for a few years, this is freedom!

In closing…
Women admitted their hurt in one huge exhale since the release of the article. The “Single & Saved” broke their silence and admitted, yeah it’s slightly harder for us because we are expected to shoulder everything we go through “with a bible scripture and a smile”. I think this is the first step into the healing we need. Hopefully, the conversation and counseling methods will change in the body of Christ for those who are still single and still waiting. What we got going on here is heavy and it’s real!

I could focus on the hardness of being single, but that would require me to go back to a place where I felt bound and couldn’t appreciate what was in front of me. I could focus on being hurt, but it seems every other week, someone on my Facebook is passing away who happens to be in my age group.  The realness of someone passing away pales in comparison to not having a husband around to zip up the back of my dress. I could focus on the lack of attention and affection from the opposite sex, but that would drive me into the same mistakes I did earlier in my Christ walk. Next thing you know there will be another article and movement about that. Wait, there already was (“No More Sheets” on line one).

I can’t say that the hurt won’t re-surface (the holidays are coming, oh joy), I can’t say facing another trial-while-single will be easy, I can’t say some well meaning associates/friends won’t have any more comments and suggestions on how to depart from the land of singlehood and I can’t say there won’t be any more “Wait on the Lord” sermons at church. All I can leave you with is this: you have the choice to give that hurt over to God completely by releasing it (when I say release, I mean resigning to the fact that your singlehood situation is simply too big for you to handle on your own) or live in it and allow it to make you bitter.

I pray we all release the singlehood hurt for the sake of our hearts, mind, soul, body, spirit and most of all our faith. There is freedom to be found. There is freedom to be had.

Amen and amen.

Things My Father Taught Me

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(Me on dad’s shoulders. Me and dad at graduation when I earned my masters…..something he urged me to do.)

As I sit here on Father’s Day reminiscing about the lion of a man who was and is my father, the memory of his tall and commanding presence still thrills me. Little did he know, I learned things from him that I carried into my adult life. He didn’t have to verbally share everything in order for me to commit things to memory. Watching him live his life was filled with so many teachable moments that became the bedrock of who I am. There are a few that are and will always be paramount to me.

1. Always put yourself together
When it was time for my father to go out somewhere, be it church, weddings, and other social gatherings he was well dressed. From head to toe, my dad would have his shirts finely pressed, dress pants with a crease so sharp it could cut a finger, and his shoes were Florsheim leather hard bottoms that were always shined. Because of my father’s height (6’3) and average build, there was absolutely no room to look sloppy. When I go to events where I’m speaking or social events where dressing up is mandatory, I’d take a page out of my father’s book and meticulously prepare my wardrobe just as he would.

2. Go to work, say hi, do your job and go home
Dad was a master carpenter who did finish work for many of the buildings in Manhatten and Brooklyn. I can imagine the competition for that kind of job. Being inside and not laboring in the elements was a choice position in the world of construction. My father would tell me the stories of being one in a handful of black people on the job and how it was necessary to be early, have your work be beyond perfect and get the heck off the job site when the bell rung. Hanging around long enough to catch the eye of the foreman could easily lead to unnecessary conversation. Conversations like the foreman asking about your family, your home, or whatever else. If the foreman perceived that you were doing better that he was, it could lead to getting moved around the job site then suddenly on the sidewalk and replaced with two laborers that could do the work of one senior carpenter.

Yeah. It was rough during my father’s time and working generation.

As for me, my generation’s work culture is different. Conversation is encouraged. Presenting yourself as friendly and accommodating is the way of life and determines your career growth. People want to work with people. Not robots. But, remembering how my father was laid off three days after giving his foreman a ride home in his old Cadillac (a month fresh from moving our family from Brooklyn to Miami in the late seventies) was a harsh lesson that everyone you work with is not a buddy. And no matter how friendly the environment, one should act accordingly. When you get to work: say hello, share a funny story/or current event over coffee, do your work and go home. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

3. Speak up
My father was never short on words.  He was never afraid to defend himself or make his stance known. And because of that, people loved and respected him. I always look for ways to keep the waters placid. I’m a Christian. That’s my job. Then there are the times when I get aggravated and Fred Jackson shows up. There is an art to speaking up, then there is an art to just dropping the brick and letting the dust settle where it may. I’ve witnessed my dad dropping that brick and not holding nothing in or back. He didn’t lose sleep in the aftermath. He just kept on living. I’m still learning to finesse that trait while putting some Jesus on it. The hearts and feelings of others are important to me. If anything, I learned it’s imperative to speak up (gently of course) at the right time and don’t hold anything back.

4. Take advantage of opportunities

“Tracey if your job asks you to travel, do it!” he said as he sipped a hot cup of coffee.

My father was an entrepreneur in his later days. He put his business name on his white Ford Econoline van and started doing small carpentry jobs in the city. He enjoyed working for himself. If anything, he was living his dream. He was always pushing me to do something different with my life. Travel, get more education, do something and do anything so that in the future I’ll be taken care of. Create opportunities and take advantage of them when found. He would always push me not to settle but to do something great with my life. I will say that if it had not been for him and his pushing, I would not be where I am today telling the world about his greatness.

As I sit here writing this piece before church on Father’s Day 2016, I realize how much he deposited into my upbringing. Not so much with money and gifts but by how he lived his own life.

Thank you, dad. I love you always.

Hello Nia Magazine

For the past few weeks I’ve been grinding, writing and planting seeds. There are a few great things happening in the upcoming weeks but today I want to announce that I have a great article published in Nia Magazine Online titled: How To Conquer The Internal Work Bully.

I am extremely excited to continue to encourage people from my humble POV. Everything I share I’ve walked (sometimes ran, stumbled and crawled) through then I lived to tell the story. 🙂

Enjoy!

Link to the entire article.

When the Christ-walk gets dry

In this Christ-walk there will be seasons. Seasons where you have so much to do, people to see and places to go. Seasons where you are at total peace and even seasons where growth is birthed out of trials. And then there are seasons where there is nothing going on. When I say nothing I mean absolutely nothing. Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing to run home and tell mom or the blog about.

Absolutely nothing!

I personally remember the times where I contemplated going back to what God told me to walk away from. But then, reality sets in and the disappointing memories of times past reminded me that the past and all it entails is in a place where I should not return. Then I thought “But God, what about my social life? I’m still young. My greys aren’t noticeable under all this afro crowning glory. I can still do the wobble line dance with the best of them. I don’t want to wake up and my youth is all but a memory while I’m feeding cats and watering plants!” The moment I thought about thinking about rustlin’ up a no good dating excursion and giving into all the ill advice from random people, I came across this very transparent account from a sister in Christ…

“Living a holy life can be emotionally painful at times. Wanting to be friends with some people, but you can’t, because you don’t want your spirit to be corrupted by bad company. Trying over and over to find the right guy but every guy your come across God says no to.”

Slain in the spirit yet?

“The happiness I thought I would have rebelling against God never came.”

Someone bring the cloth and cover me up.

This young lady echoed the sentiments I’ve had on numerous occasions while confirming what I knew all along: without Christ, there is no joy.  The random thoughts like  “I want to be on the go”, “I want to be in” and  “I want the life I have in my head ” ran through my head during those dry seasons. We’ve all been there. Even the strongest of believers went on a “field trip” without a signed permission slip from our heavenly father. While some of us stayed in our rooms arms folded pouting at God,  others forged His signature in the middle of the night and wandered away only to return disappointed and bruised by the world and what it was “supposed” to offer.

In the non-eventful “boring” season, we may think that we are the only ones experiencing “desert-like” conditions (i.e. no business or career opportunities, weekend nights alone, dreams that just can’t get off the ground and  hum-drum day to day living). The good news is, we are not walking this Christ-walk alone and these seasons are meant to come and go. This means we can overcome those dry moments, days, and weeks through the transparent testimony of another and staying in His word. In this case, this courageous young sister in the faith’s testimony ( and even her referring to disobedient Jonah running from the voice of the Lord) became a balm to my soul.

Real talk. The enemy is right there waiting for you to pick up that phone and call the cutie you’ve been entertaining in your mind when you know good and well, he is NOT the one. Or, entertaining the thought of rolling with the old crew that’s not quite jazzed about your new or well-established faith-walk. When the urge comes to forge Dad’s signature and run off, be still and know that Dad IS God. Dad architected this very season for you. Be real with God and tell him how you feel ( respectfully of course). He wants to hear from you during these times not watch you run into whatever is calling you away from Him. His peace will be like a glass of cool water during this very temporary dry spell.

Wisdom is expensive

The other day I was reflecting on the past and where I wanted to be in the future and a thought came up: “Wisdom is a life saver.”

Ecclesiastes 7:12 – “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.”

The funny thing I’ve found about wisdom is that everybody doesn’t want it. Why, because it’s expensive! Nobody wants to be told how to live much less what to do with their life. Don’t even mention sacrifice. Just…forget about it.

People buy expensive situations in hopes for a return on investment that’s bigger than the price they originally paid. But what happens when there is a loss? Folks go back into their pocket and spend spend spend on people, hopes, dreams, and desires until they are emotionally bankrupt. Is wisdom expensive? Yup! It sure is. It costs a large amount of humility to “humble up” and listen to someone other than yourself while being led by God. But the ROI is insurmountable. It’s double, triple, quadruple in its return and way more than what a self-driven investment could ever promise.

Everybody has it all under control (and paid for) despite the silent cries for help plastered on the walls and halls of social media or better yet, the tears shed at night or privately during the day. Folks would rather struggle it out in the name of being a grown adult. I get it. But then again, I don’t.

Why not invest is in some good Christ-life wisdom? His wisdom has graciously extended her hand and gave me a life full of peace. Walking in His wisdom kept me from being foolish with the resources God allowed me to have while keeping me out of situations and away from people that would have brought me no peace. His wisdom told me where to plant seeds for my future. His wisdom flat out saved my life, from being like everyone else going bankrupt with maxed out credit (not talking about money either). His wisdom forged a unique path that only I can walk down.

Did you get that? There was a nugget in there at no cost to you!

While some of what I obtained was free, the others were paid for with a price that goes beyond money (i.e. cross, a crown of thorns, tomb, full acceptance, you get it!). Then it occurred to me, wisdom comes with a hefty price (i.e Christ) that most don’t want to “ante up” on much less invest in but would rather invest in something else that is not forever.

So, with all that wisdom has to offer, people want the free samples but not the endless supply. But one day (and there will be a day) wisdom will once again extend it’s hand to help or save someone but only when they ready and willing to pay the full price.