Author Archive

Security Blanket 

Question: Are you incapacitated by fear due to a lack of faith in the ability and skill that has been placed in you?

Book question derived from: State of Emergency: Breaking Down the Wall (Non-fiction –  Not Published)

Answer: In some areas of my life I can say no. Other areas, it’s a resounding yes. State of Emergency: Breaking Down the Wall is my spiritual journey to move passed the fear and those things that caused me to build a wall around my heart and life. I was comfortable within the situation I was in. It was my security blanket. In order to change and shift my life, I had to release it. Anytime things didn’t go as planned, I found myself returning to my comfort zone. A person holding onto a security blanket can’t grab hold of God’s blessing. Now I managed to grab a few things while holding on, but the bigger blessing I could not grab until I let go of it.

Where I went wrong is despite saying life was a journey and not a destination, I continued to treat it like a destination. When God said it was time to shift again, I realized I’d let go of one security blanket and picked up another. Most people know that I’m an author. What they don’t know is that I struggled to see my writing as a talent. It has always been a survival tool. Had my sister not asked to publish my first book, my books would still be collecting dust on my shelf. However, I didn’t put the energy necessary to improve the book chances of becoming successful because I was not confident as a writer.

That unbelief in my ability as a writer became my security blanket that allowed me to not  publish another book for about four years. Despite the request for a second book, I held on to that unbelief because it allowed me to remain where I was comfortable. I always felt out of place in a room full of writers. They loved what they did and were all about the art of writing. Writing for me is not a result of love for the craft. It took me publishing five novels to accept the title of author. Honestly, if I had not been diagnosed with Lupus, I probably would not have published another. The impact of Lupus on my life, forced me to find a project to stay sane. So, I grabbed another book off the shelf to publish. As people continued to purchase my books, I was forced to take a time out to evaluate my why behind my lack of faith in my ability to write. I had to ask myself; Why was I hanging onto this security blanket? What is it really doing for my life?

The truth I had to accept was it allowed me to stay where I was instead of working towards being the best writer that I could be. I wasn’t developing my skills because I was too busy feeding my doubts. My faith in my ability was destroyed by constant attempts to compare it to others. Even when the opportunity presented itself to promote my book, my fear had me passing on it. Why, because I was not confident in my skill. Since I stumbled into writing and publishing, I decided to stop publishing for a while. I didn’t feel I had the passion to pursue it. Yet, I seem to be unable to detangled myself from it. It was then I had to realize that I had to be patient with myself. No one was putting pressure on me to be anything but me. I had not gotten to be the way I was in a day and couldn’t expect to update my lifestyle in a day. Some areas in life I’m able to immediately implement change. In other areas it is a process and one that is not easy. All that being impatient with myself does is trips me up and sets me back.

I had to develop a questionnaire that provided me an opportunity to deep dive into the reasons behind why I was holding onto certain things in my life. While I had release some of my favorite security blankets, there were a few I took to the next phase. So I had to create a strategy that would assist me in navigating my issues and not prevent me from grabbing my blessings in the next phase of change. God wants us to constantly polish our gifts because it keeps His blessings on the forefront of our minds.

Summary of Lessons:

  • Always take time to evaluate the real reason behind you are holding onto a security blanket or a particular belief
  • Put more energy into building your dreams than doubting them
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. It handicaps your faith and has the potential to kill your dreams.
  • Be patient with yourself. The process of change is not easy.

The Regret Minimizer

Question: As you look back on your life, where do you wish you’d been a little braver, trusted in yourself more, and been less cautious in the chances you took?

 

Book question derived from: Life on Fire (Fiction)

 

 

Answer: There is a scene in Life on Fire where the main character Brooklyn is considering passing on a position. Dante, the guy she was seeing at the time had to talk her into being a little braver. “Don’t limit your ability to fly. Life is about taking calculated risk. You weigh the factors and decide if you’re going to take the leap of faith.” Unfortunately, I didn’t begin to learn that until later in life. There were a lot of times where I should have been a little braver, trusted in myself and been less cautious in the chances I took.

 

I wished I would been a little bit braver in exploring an opportunity to dance. Most people don’t know that my dance teacher wanted me to take a dance internship in New York after I graduated from college. I had an entire list of why I wasn’t qualified to take the internship. I was not brave enough to attempt to see if I could build a life doing what I loved. Instead I became that girl who spent most Saturdays on the dance floor of one club or another. It took me a while to recognize that I allowed fear to sideline me. Fear that, because I didn’t fit the image of an ideal dancer, I would not succeed. Dancing for a living may not have been the route for me, but I will never know for sure since I allowed fear to make the decision for me.

 

I wished I trusted myself more in the area of business communication. My second offer coming out of college was to manage a new project for my school. I had the talent to do all the footwork, but every professor commented that I needed to work on my communication skill. While I’ll admit my personal communication skills were poor. I don’t talk about the important stuff even when it is required and necessary. My business communication was better. I spoke only when I had something to contribute to the conversation. I felt no need to impress people with extra words or additional comments just to be seen.

 

Unfortunately, I adopted others belief that I had poor communication skills which became my truth. I allowed it to limit my success and declined opportunities to go to the next level on the job. It increased my dislike of talking and caused me to avoid speaking even more. Yet, I found myself sitting in room with top level executive and 40% of them were like me only utilizing their communications skills when necessary. I realize I’d done myself a disservice. Due to my belief that I was a terrible communicator, I began over explaining trying to compensate for a lack of skill and avoiding opportunities. However, I could have been one of those directors in that room who were not big talker but utilized their skills when necessary. I recognize my interpretation of what was said was to blame. I never asked how they thought I should improvement my communications skills. As I continued to get those comments on my communications skills, I begin to understand what they all consistently said was they wanted me to talk more. Understanding that helped me start to enhance my life and stop passing on so many opportunities.

 

I wish I’d been less cautious in the chances I took, with regards to the certain relationships that passed through my life. I allowed negative relationships in the past to cause me to be very guarded when developing new relationships. I have passed on some people that could have been great friends or contributed greatly to my life. But, my inner circle was on lock down like it was Fort Knox. In college, I was fighting for a limited edition friendship and rejecting a long term one. My extremely cautious attitude on allowing new people into my life made it extremely hard on the people I met that wanted to get to know me. Most of them were limited editions, but there were few if, I’d fully appreciate relationships instead being overly cautious, could have been long term. Even limited edition people entered my life for one of two reasons, to contribute lessons or deposit blessings. If I missed those lessons, I end up learning them with a long term person making our relationships a classroom for something that I should have already learned. Now with all that said I do believe in being cautious, but not overly cautious to the point I pass up on an opportunity that was supposed to prepare me for what’s next in my life. Being a little braver and less cautious allows me to fully explore the situation. It doesn’t mean I will always make the best decision but it does mean that I live fully in the moment. It’s a regret minimizer.

 

I met some very successful people who claim to have no regrets. Yet, when no asked directly about regrets, they spoke candidly about their missteps and things they wished they did differently. I had to learn that since regrets are considered a negative, they had to train themselves to reframe the way the spoke about it. When people say they have no regrets, it doesn’t mean the absence of regrets, but that they have utilized those experiences to enhance their lives. When we are a little braver, trust ourselves more and are little less cautious in the chances we take, we minimize our regrets. It is hard to say you regrets things that you did your best with even when they don’t work out as expected. Or when you’ve learned so much from the experience. However, we can’t allow our gifts to become buried under regrets. People whose verbiage around regret is negative are usually too busy kicking themselves in the behind for something they cannot change to find the lesson or blessing that could enhance their life.

 

When we didn’t give our best to a situation, we run the risk of regretting things to the point where it incapacitates our dreams. Being a little braver, trusting yourself more and being less cautious is about attempting to put your best foot forward despite your fears. Even if things don’t work out as planned we cannot regret being the best person we could be in that window of time. If failure paves the road to success then regrets are the stops along the way to prevent us from making similar mistakes. While I know it will be a challenge, every day I will challenge myself to minimize the regrets by being a little braver, trust myself more and be a little less cautious than I was the day before. Life should not be defined by past mistakes but can be refined by them. The decision which it will be is completely up to you.

 

Summary of Lessons:

  • Never let fear be the deciding factor.
  • Don’t adopt people’s negative comments or opinions of you as if they are your own
  • Be willing to ask for clarification. It helps prevent misinterpretation of what was said.
  • Being braver and less cautious doesn’t mean you will always make the best decision. It simply means you’re willing to fully consider opportunities before rejecting them.
  • Regrets don’t have to be a negative if they shape your ability to change and prevents you from making similar missteps.

Polish Your Gift

Question: Are you ready to rise and shine?

 

Book question derived from: State of Emergency: Breaking Down The Wall (Non-Fiction – Unpublished)

 

Answer:  The moment I felt like God was asking me that question I came up with a laundry list of reasons why rising and shining may not be for me. A couple of years ago it would have been an emphatic no. My answer today is yes, if it means standing in shadow being like a spotlight shining down highlighting the talent of someone else. Over the years, I’ve keep what people have labeled my “spiritual” writing hidden because I felt it clashed with my fiction writing which has drama, suspense and violence. When my mindset started shifting and I shared my spiritual struggle via blogging and sharing with a select group of individuals, they begin giving me titles I was not comfortable with. I wasn’t a prophetess, a spiritual advisor or any of the other names they were trying to assign me. People started requesting I write “Christian” fiction. My response is that I couldn’t write what other considered “Christian” fiction to save my life. I did not like the attention it brought to my life and reduce the list of individuals I shared my spiritual struggles with. My preference is to shine a light on other people’s talents and help them achieve their dream.

 

Clearly, God had other plans otherwise you would not be reading this. I was reminded of a dream I had about standing on the corner with two ladies waiting to cross. Both had these bags with metal coins in them. When we were able to cross, one lady stuffed hers in her pocket and the other one stuffed her pouch in my pocket. My interpretation of the dreams was those metal coins in the pouch represent talents and gifts. One lady hid them from the world and the other one shared them. However, I was the worst of the bunch because I was unaware that I had any gifts. I had to learn that rising and shining was about polishing your gift at the level you are at. Polishing your gift is about discovering/recovering it, unveiling it and being in a constant state of refining it. In the beginning I did not recognize my talents/gifts. I had to pull it out the rubble of the past and identify my life’s silent dream killers. Once I did that I became like the lady that hid her pouch in her pocket. I shoved my gifts on the shelf, in the back of doubt and fear’s closet to collect dust. Now it time to be like the woman that gave her pouch to me. It is time to unveil that gift to the world and let it be whatever God intended for it to be.

 

I want to be a spotlight because it allows me to remain in the shadows yet feel like I was in action. But, I had to accept that it was my way of avoiding my assignment. The realization I had is that I had to do the work. I cannot pass my assignment off to someone else. Originally when I came up with the idea for the talk series to put on YouTube, immediately I found a talented individual to be the host. She agreed but her schedule just wasn’t cooperating with the project. I had already announced to my readers. I wanted to honor my word so I changed up the format a bit and took it on myself. I can’t force myself to like to talk but I can take small steps towards stop avoiding opportunities attached to speaking. It’s really about me shifting my mindset around it. Instead of seeing talking as something that puts me under the spotlight. I have to see it as an opportunity to like a lighthouse. A lighthouse is visible day or night to provide guidance to people on their journey. It is not require for us to dim our lights to help other people shine. It would be like a lighthouse minimizing its light during in the middle of a dark stormy night and expecting ships to make it to shore safely. I had to accept, our life experiences when we rise and shine can help others navigate the chopping waters of change and possibly help them avoid crashing into some of the same rocks we did along the way. I’ve been avoiding my own definition of what it means to rise and shine. It’s time for me to shift making small steps towards fulfilling my assignment and see how God defines what it means for me to shining.

 

Summary of Lessons:

  • Rising and shining is about polishing your gift at the level that you’re on whether you’re in discovering/recovering phase, unveiling phase or refinement phase.
  • You have to be willing to work. Other people can’t do it for you.
  • You can’t force yourself to change immediately but, you can continuously take action that will shift you where you need to be.
  • You do not have to dim your light to help other people shine.
  • Sometimes we have to manage our own expectations.

Answer the Call

Question: Are you on your assignment?

 

Book question derived from: Wounds in the Way: Transcending Limitation (Unpublished)

 

Answer: I wish I could say a powerful yes to this but I can’t. I’ve been writing for over 18 years, published five novels, hosted several panel discussions and I’m currently working towards producing my first feature film. Based on that, you’d think my answer would have been yes. Up until recently, it was more of a yes and no. I was saying yes to the smaller assignment but saying no to the larger one. What most people don’t know is that my only dream at one point was to become a hermit. That is until God put a red light on the path I was on and forced me to take a good look at my life. I entered a spiritual journey of change not only to become a better version of myself but to discover and recovery my gifts. The struggle to change was educational. While I achieved some goals, I let some progress slip away when things didn’t work out as I thought they would. God recently put another red light my path telling me it’s time to shift and be about my larger assignment. I had to backtrack to figure out how I successfully changed the first time as well as identify where I went wrong so I could move to the next level as instructed. In doing that, I realized I’d cataloged my struggle to change but I had not written my vision and made it plain. I went through my journal entries and pulled out the questions that helped me begin to change and developed a deep dive questionnaire as well as a personal strategy workbook to help me write my objective in a plain manner so I could check my progress and stay on track.

 

What I didn’t realize was God was setting me up to stop making excuses and get on my assignment. Every valid reason I gave God for not being on my assignment to share my experience with others and help facilitate their dreams and polish their gift, God shut down. I reminded him of my Lupus which makes it hard to commit and be consistent. Lupus is a mixed bag of unpleasant things. Usually no warning shots are fired to let me know that I’m about get to handed something out of the bag. So I did my assignment on a small scale sharing my experience with limited people. What I didn’t realize is all I was doing was positioning myself to execute my assignment. No matter how times I tried to offer God people who were more qualified to complete the assignment I found it falling in my laps. I attended a conference where there were quite of few people like me in the room. In their words, I could hear the fear of failure, the fear of no longer being accepted by those they love, the fear of succeeding and the list goes on. What seeing their fears did for me was help me recognize mines. I was scared of being wrong about my assignment. I was even more scared of being right about my assignment. It requires me to be more transparent then I was ready to be. I was also of afraid of saying the wrong things as well as having my words be misinterpreted. At the conference I made a statement that was that partial untrue. I could not correct my statement because the exercise ended. Although the room moved on to next activity, my mind was stuck on my .5% failure rate. While 99.5% of what I said was true that .5% was feeding my fears like wildfire. I felt like there was enough people representing God badly and I didn’t need to add to the mix. Every failure, every mistake, every stumble, every flaw in my personality, every imperfections that my mind could produce feed my fears and kept my ducking and dodging my larger assignment. God had to remind via the speaker at the conference of something he had already told me. He didn’t want me to wait until I got myself together. God was not looking for perfection. He was expecting me to have enough faith in him and his assignment on my life to choose to move in my imperfections. So I’m here knees knocking because God has rejected every valid reason aka excuse and said its time for me to show up despite all the reasons I believe I should stay in the shadows.

 

The moment I decided that I was going to stop dragging my feet, the challenges started to occur. First my laptop keyboard went out so I decided to use my sister’s laptop whenever I had a chance. Then I got what started as a headache and became a face ache, there was no functioning with that so I was out of commission for the day. I finished my Polish Your Gift Series downloads and was planning be on periscope. On the night before I was scheduled to scope my good friend lost her dad. I went to hospital to support her and despite the lack of sleep I was still planning to start actively moving in my assignment. When time came, I wasn’t function properly so I said I’d do it Sunday. Unfortunately, Saturday night my Lupus flared. Half my lip was swollen for no apparent reason and started breaking out. However, I decided I’d do the scope even if I looked like the elephant man. Sunday through Thursday  I was extremely sick. I wanted to complete the task despite not feeling my best because I was committed to the assignment but I also didn’t want anything to happen during a live broadcast to gross the viewers out. I was planning to do it when I landed in the city that the conference was in but my flight was delayed. I said I would do it before the conference but technically difficulties ate into my time. Returned to room for my conference planning to do what I said but I started coughing so I begin to wonder if was a physical reaction to not wanting to follow through.

 

Was I now using my illness as an excuse not to start the talk series which is a major part of my current assignment? This is why it so important to be in an environment that feeds your dreams. As determined as I was, with each challenge doubt begin to creep in slowly wearing on my determination. I had to read and listen to things to feed my determination so that I wouldn’t shift to a place where my challenges became my excuses for not executing my assignment. Honestly I didn’t want to offer what has now become my Polish Your Gift Discovery Series. God had to remind me I’d never know who it would help if I don’t put it out there. I had to remind myself everyone is as jaded and critical as me. In my life, it too me a while before I enlisted assistance to keep me going during this process of change. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I accepted I had gone as far as I could on my own. I had to invest money in getting assistance to help me to do the things that I was hoping I could change God’s mind on. I’m not going to lie, change is frustrating.

 

I had a dream that a little girl was trying to climb a wire fence but keep falling to the ground. The father wouldn’t allow anyone to help her. He simply told her, “it will take some time.” Basically what he was telling his daughter is don’t give up. It takes to build endurance and develop the skill necessary to accomplish your goal. I’ve been like that little girl ready to give up because I’d try failed repeated. Most time people give up when their almost at their goals because they are so fatigued from the previous attempts but if they don’t give up and continue to push they can make it. Some days I found myself face down in the dirt. Others days I find myself scaling the fence with no problem. Each level of change is different some levels. I’d blow through some levels with no problems, others I ‘d struggle for what felt like an eternity to win the battle before moving on to the next level. So over the next few weeks I will be on assignment, answering the call and sharing my struggle with change in attempt to polish my gift. One thing I do know, is when you are on your assignment lives can be changed. Last year I had plan to publish the book that I’d promised the readers when God told me to publish the book I co-wrote with my sister. It’s sparked something within her and now she has now created a writer up guide for those who want to write a book but don’t know where to begin. She is also creating e-courses to help people get started writing their books. You never know what completing your assignment will mean to someone else until you do it.

 

It was until the morning after the conference that I realized that God was waiting for the true revelation of what He had been telling me to hit me square in the chest. I’ve been making this about me. What I did and didn’t want to do. What I’m not. What I thought and felt. Yet it’s not about me. People keep saying develop products and services that your future clients needed. What I do has always been about my life and my journey, I didn’t know how to shift out of that. I couldn’t see how I could help anyone when I was constant state of pushing myself to get it together and move to the next level. That is until after the conference, I had to realize God created my journey to help someone else on theirs. However, He needs me to step out of the shadows in order for them to find me.

 

Summary of Lessons:

      God isn’t looking for perfect he wants us to move in our imperfection.

When we are determined to achieve a goal challenges along the path become motivation when we are not it become excuses to stop.

Each level of change is different some levels are easy for us than others

When you are on your assignment,  other people lives can be change. You can inspire them to get on their assignment. Or you can let them know they are not alone on the journey to be the best version of themselves they can be.

You’re a survivor 

When life is applying enough pressure to make you want to give up, look in a mirror and tell yourself what Dante told Brooklyn in Life on Fire. You can survive this. Don’t give up!

Ability to Fly 

Are you limiting your ability to fly? Sometimes we allow our fears to prevent us from launching to new heights in our life. Do you agree or disagree with what Dante said to Brooklyn in Life on Fire excerpt in the pic? Love to hear your thoughts.

Diamonds

Some of us are diamonds in the rough. When bad things happen, we have to consider it just may be God applying pressure to break away the things that keep your diamond from being polished. Don’t let what you are going through negatively define you but let it refine you and bring you clarity.

Recovery

Breaking up with someone you love and still want to be with is hard. Sometime no matter what you do to attempt to repair the relationship the other person is determined to walk away. In Trifling Ways, Mrs. Black tells her, “I gave you ample time to get over yourself and you’re still moping around. You need to start getting your life back and from the look of things, it will be with Raven.” This lead to the question what is ample time to recovery from a devastating break-up? How do you get back to live life once it has taken an hit to your heart? How do you move on with your life especially when your path continues to cross with the person you’ve ended a relationship with whether it coming across a picture or bumping into a person? There are times where life gives you no choice but to more on. If you can’t manage to move out of the past and stop dwelling on what will never be again, you just might find yourself simply existing instead of living life to the fullest.

Worth Fighting for

Marcellus kept writing letter to Raven. Do you think he was doing enough to win Raven back. What are you willing to fight for your relationship?

Mrs. Black stated, sometimes life permanently takes away your opportunity for another chance…anything worth having is worth fighting for. What do you think about the advice Mrs. Black gave Raven?

Mrs. Black told Raven stop fueling that anger you keep to protect your heart. How do you lower your defensives to try again?

Mrs. Black stated, “If you give up too easily or walk away, there is a very big chance down the road there’s a bag of regrets waiting for you.” How do you determine when enough energy has been devoted to a situation so you can let it go without any regrets regardless of what happens down the road?

 

Just Friends

Can you really be “just” friends that you have feelings for or are in love with?

Do you believe that ex-lovers can become truly platonic friends?

Most likely from one time or another, there will be someone that is interested in your significant other just as Duane was interested in Raven. Do you trust the love if the person you are with? Do you think if Marcellus trusted Raven’s love for him then would have been different in the marriage?

How do you recognize that your feeling have officially shifted out of friendship zone and it’s not some fluke? What do you do when you have feels for someone that is off limits?