Hiatus…

There was a time I really used to think that going on hiatus was a bad, horrible, awful thing that you should never do… HA! That was until I went on one. For the last month or so I’ve taken a break from nearly everything it seems like. Social media, relationships, blogging, friends and family at times. I ate an abundant amount of carbs, didn’t workout at all, then again I never did, watched Game of Thrones on repeat for the 6th time and got alone with God and myself to really figure out what it is I was doing with this gift we call life.

During this time I really realized I was just doing. Doing this, doing that… but never really being anything purposeful. Growing up, in a lot of ways things just happened for me. I happened to go to an awesome college, I happened to start singing and playing guitar, I happened to fall in love with an idiot or two, I happened to move to North Carolina then to New York, then to California then to Florida and back again, all while happening to go absolutely nowhere all at the same time.

Something in me needed to change. Perhaps die is a better way of putting it. I got to a place in my life where my complacent, lackadaisical, all pray and no work attitude had to perish and I had to begin to accept the calling, the plan, the purpose and the will of God for my life.

I now live in NYC, a definite dream I’d always had since I first visited as a teenager. Not much seems to have changed on the outside, by meer glance some would say I appear to be worse off. However, I know that more than what appears to be going on externally there is something greater, more fruitful and more inspiring going on on the internally. And in due time the vine of my life will begin to blossom and the fruits will undoubtedly show.

Glad to be back…

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Motivation

I am up far to early today, not at all because it is in my nature, its more so having something to do wit an early stirfry dinner that gave me idus last night and left me passed out on the living room floor around 6pm. Up at 3am and scrolling through some of my favorite blogs, I came across ordinarilyextrodinarymom‘s blog post No Hustle, No Sleep, No Repeat and it really got me to thinking about motive and true inspiration. And as if by magic I turn into today’s devotion and it read

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18 ESV

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Ugh oh, I know what this means, and I don’t need Shug Avery to sing it to me for confirmation; it’s obvious, “GOD”S TRYNA TELL YOU SOMETHIN””

Grudge, malice, vengeance, animosity, those are all such harsh and dirty words. What on earth could they possibly have to do with a good ole’ christian girl like myself? But, this is why I love the Holy Spirit so much. Just when I’m about to mount my high horse and set off swiftly into the sunset, like a perfect gentleman He takes my hand and brings me right back where I belong.
So perhaps I’ve never tried to put sand in my exes fuel tank, never wished that my neighbors cat would die, and I didn’t talk bad about so & so (well…that bad, I didn’t talk about her that bad) after I found out what she said about me. No, my motivation is more elusive than that, I would pay them back simply by trying to be better than them, proving them wrong and living my life with the mantra “Oh, I’ll show them!” Suddenly it was clear, and for the first time I realized that maybe those  dirty words I’d like to think I’ve never done,  I did and actually do.

What’s Your Motivation?

Bringing Glory to God

“So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 AMP

Is it success? is it popularity? Is it to be known? Is it to be loved?
When our number one priority and motivating factor above all things is God there is fullness and satisfaction. Don’t misunderstand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being motivated by the desire to live a full life that is profitable and successful, to have an abundance of awesome friendships and healthy relationships, to live life with purpose and to thrive with passion for what you do. These are all great things we should want and should be motivated by. In fact, Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). But what happens when our primary motivation is not our love for God and bringing Him glory? Idols, which is anything or anyone we put before God, are formed. Comparing ourselves to one another and even jealousy can crop up in our lives. We lose the sense of enjoyment we once found in what we do. Our lives are consumed with busyness always going going going with a harvest that bears very little fruit or growth. Things begin to feel like a struggle; there is a loss of peace and a contentment that only comes from glorifying God . What we once viewed as important because it was done to edify God has now become negotiable; based primarily on feelings and circumstances.

Love

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2 ISV

Love for God, Love for others and love for yourself. I ask myself, especially when I’m blogging or on social media, does this post demonstrate my love for God? Will this retweet enrich or disrupt someone else’s life? Does this instagram post show me in a light that is reflective of the love and respect I have for myself? And that’s just one minor way love can be a motivating factor. In my case, taking on an attitude of trying to show off or show out because of a grudge or out of revenge is faaaaarrrrr from operating in love. It should be no wonder why things often did not prosper. Whether its love for God, love for others,  a healthy love and respect for yourself or a love for what you do, it’s all meaningless and nothing outside of love.

4 things I wish every interviewer would know… written by an interviewee

Having been on many interviews in my lifetime and recently having gone on several more, I decided to freshen up on my interviewing skills and do some research on the best interview etiquette and decorum. Yet, I’ve discovered in a few cases that after having put on my very best both aesthetically and mentally I was met by a least than favorable interviewer. So for all the interviewers out there here is my observation and 4 things I wish every interviewer would know when conducting an interview.

1) Have a personality

Whether you are interviewing for an Ad agency, a law firm, an auto mechanic or a cashier at Forever 21 be yourself. Don’t be afraid to have conversation and communicate outside the sheet of paper you check off like a script. I don’t know how many interviews I’ve been on and ended up leaving the interview feeling like, “Wait, who was that? Where am I? And was this position for the Walking Dead because right now I’m so confused” There is definitely a way to be professional and personable without sacrificing the purpose of our meeting.

 

2) Love  your job, brand, organization… or at least like it

Speaking of personality please be somewhat passionate about what it is you do or the brand you represent. Or at least attempt to make me think you sorta care. I’ve gone into a few job interviews feeling a bit on the fence about a position, perhaps because it’s a slightly longer commute, a lower rate of pay or longer hours than I would have normally liked to work but because the interviewer was so passionate, optimistic and sincere about what the position had to offer I  ended up accepting gigs from a few of them. And for the ones I didn’t  or couldn’t accept,  I was confident in referring friends and eligible candidates that would be a good, if not better fit, because the lasting impression was so positive. Conversely, I’ll never forget I went to an interview for a retail position and the manager spent 8 mins going on and on about how horrible the customers were, how terribly long the hours are and that basically she’d sold her soul to the devil. I mean, please be honest,  just don’t be traumatic. Afterall, I don’t wanna leave an interview feeling like I have a Phd in psychiatry. Unless of course you really do have to sell your soul to the devil, in that case, please let me know immediately and move on to point3.

 

3) Be honest. Be real. Nothing is perfect.

Nothing is 100% easy peasy. If it were everyone would do it (or so I hear). Every job or profession has it’s good days, it’s bad days and many days in between. If you deal with rowdy clients quite frequently because of your demographic or the services you provide say so. If often times employees will inevitably have to work many hours overtime, say so. If vacation time during the holidays is not an option, for the love of humanity… say so! Whatever the reality of your industry is, both pro and con say so and say so with honesty and clarity of what you expect from your employees. A new hire is less inclined to walk away when they know what they’re walking into. Actually that goes for any hire probably.

 

4) Listen…like… really listen.

In one of my recent interviews the interviewer would ask me a question, and as soon as I began to answer the question she would look down and start writing. I didn’t think much of it. I figured it was pretty standard routine. You gotta take your notes, no biggie. Next question. I begin to answer then she picked up her phone. “Well perhaps she has an emergency going on,” I thought. Then she giggled, and I was like, “I hope no one died cus thats an awkward response.” Next question. I begin to answer and she cuts me off mid-answer to ask the next question… sighhhh… Long story short, I didn’t take that job.

The Four “Knows” of Going to a New Church

At first I thought it was a weird question to ask. “How do I go to a new church alone?” Afterall, I’ve been attending church in some fashion since before I can remember and there’s no doubt I’ve spent more than half of my life dedicated to a congregation and participating in fellowship regularly. However, since my move from California to Florida only 2 months ago, I kinda found myself a little lost on the subject.
Yet, upon further investigation, and after reading several posts on the topic, I’ve found that while I may feel alone I’m not and after practicing these four “knows” I’ve began to feel less of a stranger and more of a member.

1. Know you Are not Alone
Starting out anywhere new such as a new school, beginning a new career, venturing into a new relationship or otherwise  can be a bit challenging, pose many new questions, feel a slight awkward and perhaps, dare I say it, be somewhat uncomfortable. It’s normal! Know that at one point in time, just about everyone you see around you has gone through varying degrees of the same thing when they first began coming to that church. Breath, it’s nothing new.

2. Know You are Welcome
Unless the church you choose to attend is heartless and cold, in which case what are you doing there in the first place? The members of that church will be very gracious, kind, welcoming and delighted to see you. It’s easy to forget that the church is not the building you meet in, the church is made up of the body of Christ, that means people like you and I. A church that strives to see the body of Christ grow, thrive and function the way it is intended is elated to welcome a newcomer into its fold.

3. Get to Know Others
I felt out of place for a time in my early days of attending what is now my home church. It wasn’t until I stepped out and got involved that I began to feel like I wasn’t alone.  By going to new members classes and attending functions I met newcomers just like myself and ones that had been involved with the church for years. As new members we could bond and find ease amongst one another because we were all going through the same “new person thing.” By connecting with members who had been there for a while  I found a lot of useful information about the different ministries and activities the church offered. From there I began to get more involved and as time went on my circle grew. Now, I find myself surrounded by people  who I no longer consider strangers but friends who will someday soon become more like family.

4. Know how to pass on the Love
Once you have become more comfortable and as your circles begin to grow and no longer feel stuck in that awkward place of feeling alone in a brand new world, remember to remember others who may be going through that phase that you previously passed through. Remember what it felt like and remember to be that friendly face, warm hug and inviting handshake someone once was towards you.

What Music Lessons Taught Me About Life

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If I’d known that I was going to get so much out of taking vocal lessons I think I would’ve signed up sooner. I’ve been privileged enough to work with an amazing instructor who is as honest as he is kind… and I will also say that since I’ve been working with him I’ve not only learned a lot about music and vocals but surprisingly I’ve learned a lot that I can also apply to my life. Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way thus far:

  • Who cares what others think?

Standing transparent before others and bearing all you have can be kinda scary. “What will they think about me, what will they say?” I can admit I sometimes have to fight these thoughts whenever I choose to e authentic and sincere. But I’ve learned that whether they like it or not this is my voice, my song, my words, my life and my truth, so it comes with no apologies. Just as an artist stands behind his work even if it looks like goobly glop to others so I’ve learned to stand by the unconventional masterpiece that is me.

  • No one is perfect EVERYONE has weaknesses.

One of  the first things my instructor told me was not to worry. Everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses. The key is to enhance and amplify your strengths and improve your weaknesses. So the next time I feel a little unsure because of a weakness in an area of my life,  I remember, we’ve all got eum honey. No one is perfect.

  •  Strive for excellence not perfection.

And speaking of perfect, I know we’ve heard it a million times “Practice makes perfect.” Newsflash, it doesn’t…and that’s OK because what practice does do is make us prepared. When we prepare or practice with a spirit of excellence we give it our full effort, our best shot; we give it all we’ve got and leave the outcome to God. Sometimes we come out on the other side with the results we were looking for and other times we come out with something slightly different. Either way both are opportunities to grow, learn and develop. What more can you ask for when you give it all you’ve got?!

  •  Don’t compare yourself to others!

Ew the comparison trap, its an ugly snare. Truth is, there will always be someone or something that can seemingly do one thing or another better than you, more effectively than you or differently than you. That’s just the nature of this game called life. Your mission is to take those special, unique, and precious gifts that you’ve been given and use them as effectively and proficiently as YOU can, in whatever way God intended and planned for YOU to use it. NOT ANYONE ELSE.

  • Confidence is KEY…

Confidence comes from knowing who you are and living in that revelation… confidence is not only empowering to self it’s attractive to others. Remember, confidence is not defined by what you do or how good or bad you do it. Confidence is defined by knowing who you are and living in that truth to the best of your ability.

  • Stay Inspired…

Inspiration is all around us God is always speaking. I know that when it comes to songwriting I’m constantly looking around life for the perfect melody to call my own. Sometimes it’s in the good sometimes it’s in the bad but I know whether it’s in the sunrise or the tears that have stained my pillows there is inspiration all around. Look around in your life and ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see the inspiration, hope and lessons he is constantly whispering to you

  • Better Together.

We need others. As much as I’d like to do it all myself, i can’t. Any time I open up, humble myself and let those who are good at what they do come alongside me we can all do something great together.

The Tree & Me

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And there it was, this old scarred tree, burnt, wounded and vacant, waiting to be filled, praying to be whole. Among a forest of blossoms and ancient pillars abundant in leaves it would seem to have stood out in the worst way.

What may have been considered the most ugliest of creations, to me, became the most beautiful, the most relevant, the most important, the most likely to be me in another life…

This tree would never audibly speak no matter how hard I’d try to channel my inner Pocahontas,  yet it still told a story worth a thousand words. What had marred it so visibly made it so worthy of wonder.

wp-1452497093066.jpgQuestions came to mind… almost in endless numbers. How did this happen? How did it survive? How did it manage to still stand so strong, head still high, hands still reaching towards heaven….?

I am that tree, broken yet whole, scarred yet healed, humbled by circumstance yet still standing, head high and hands still reaching towards heaven.

Mended, strengthened, and filled by the greatest power ever known.