My January Gems

Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection. Every year we challenge each other to live out a new word FOR that following year. To inspire you, nurture you and become your Teacher. These were a few of the ladies, and our words, during this past years.

Identity-what gives me identity

What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends family and my spouse; but also mentorship .

My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.

My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.

Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.

Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.

Here are a few ‘mentors’ in my life

Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :

1. Teens & Trees .

I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and I was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /“We Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.

2. My African Heritage Family.

I found identity in my African Heritage family. It’s a leadership organization that teaches diversity. The leader, a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz, is the Master Teacher. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.

I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.

The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.

3. Opportunity.

Where have I found worth and value? I believe it has come in the form adversity. Turning them into opportunities.

What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?

For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, my vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .

And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.

Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.

Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.

Yes, Opportunity became my Teacher.

When Dreams Come True

I am sharing about when m y dreams came true. Here is one story that tells how I got to South Africa, and it literally changed my life.

 10 yrs ago when I got back from South Africa I was standing in my kitchen and saw my reflection. In the reflection was a  reflection of how my friends in South  African saw me: “Nthabiseng”- which means – “MAKE ME HAPPY.” I was instantly reminded of my strength and that I had to remain HAPPY, because that’s my name! I saw through that reflection, I really wasn’t  strong, at home  in the situation  I was in,   in 2003  –  and set out to change that. As I  was leaving  South Africa, a sister who gave me a small hand mirror to take with me.   I left South Africa a new woman, with a new  dignity  and perspective, because a beautiful woman I spent a few hours with, found out my African name was Nthabiseng.  She was delighted to see the name fit me well and gave me a blessing of a ‘mirror,’ as a small gift. As I left my new home of S. Africa. She said to me: “Every time you look in this mirror, and are not with us, be sure to think about how you “Make Us Happy”. Boy, did that resonate! It carried me into a new destiny, and inspired me to take this photo tonight. So if you wonder where i get my strength from , think abut how my sisters in S, Africa poured into me one evening in Kuma, South Africa. 

I just love when I pursue God and he shows up. This is an excerpt from m y book: and in this chapter, I tell the story of my inheritance

Foundation Scripture: (Luke 17:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Key Questions: What do you want from God more than anything else? Are you willing to release your CONTROL over it and give it all over to God and release what you think “could be” for something even better?

I remember wanting to go to South Africa. I went to South Africa, but I didn’t know yet that the experience of going there, would completely supersede my ability to understand and comprehend God’s love for me.

I remember the first three days of visiting there. I had to much jet lag, I never thought I would be able to bounce back and be the resilient person I knew myself to be, with the boundless energy I knew I had! I think it took me about three days to recover from the of shock that I was actually here, on the other side of the world over 8,000 miles away and I was alive.. not dreaming. Although my reality at the time seemed as such, it was true. I was not dreaming. I had to pinch myself over and over as I looked around me, I ushered in the remembrance of the dream. I was literally in shock . It took a while to arrive there. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:” “My feet are tired, I have chills and feel as if I am about to become ill… but I am ready to meet the women of South Africa. Then later …“Well, I met them, all the women … are lovely. They help, help, help! They bought me Epsom salts for my sore swollen legs from sitting cramped for 14 plus hours… and warmed my bed with a hot water bottle. I knew I would love them!”

I later met another group of women, who I find were praying with me. When the leader inquired with me what I would like to do, I told her I had a word for the women, that God had given me, and I needed to share. She said, “Okay! We will have a prayer vigil all night long tonight!” She said: ”We have been praying for you, so I know God will show up!” Well I remember that night well. I remember waiting for the women to call the meeting together. They all were chatting and eating and everything else… I didn’t expect God to tell ME that I needed to call the meeting. I mean, I don’t even know these women, “Why would they listen to me??” I thought. Apparently, these women had much more of desire to listen and receive than I thought, yet I HAD to call the meeting. Before we ended that evening, with me: the women laid hands on me, and prayed. Feeling their hands and prayers on me, made me feel light. I was so full. I needed to rest, and they told me to sleep. I woke up the next morning empowered. I was no longer weak, my legs didn’t hurt and I could speak to them and tell them what we needed to do. I FELT like a synergistic leader. And I became a leader on another level.

I had walked into my inheritance in the Lord.

I didn’t know it at the time, but every time I was ready to speak to kids or share with adults, ‘a mighty power’ came over me strongly, that led me to share and do this in a mighty way. I felt as if I was made for this time.

The Book of Esther says: “ For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Coming to the kingdom is knowing within yourself your worth. Knowing what you are called to, and knowing that you must receive all of what you were meant to have.

In the spiritual realm, what is that?

What are you worth? Jesus directly said to his disciples: ”Follow ME”. How do you know when Jesus truly calls you for something?

How did I know I was called to South Africa? God informed me in a dream a very vivid dream, I was to go there and make a difference. Then he positioned me to meet a man who   actually lived there and asked me to come and speak to  the children in his village, and share the vision that I had been working on with my business, Kamau.

Here is what it took for me to get to South Africa: I had to set to three consistent tasks: focus, discipline, and determination. I had to give a daily focus to something I truly believed would happen. And I had to believe nothing could get in my way. Once the plane arrived, I flew overseas, and I got off the plane… the true test had begun: I had not yet reached the people. Contentions came on every side about ‘why I was there’, and ‘who was I anyway to come and share with these youth?’ I neither knew about these questions, nor acknowledged them – (partly because I didn’t understand the language) Once there, I realized my momentum had be halted in some way, and I was not clear as to why. Then it occurred to me: Spiritual warfare. I asked to visit an internet café, emailed my friends and mentors who were believing with me… and asked them specifically to pray for me, and shared where I needed prayer from them. I got exactly what I needed: renewed vigor, focus, and vitality and to look past people ‘s feelings, thought and thinking. And time flew along. Gods strength became my strategy.

From that time on, I received God’s strength in such a way that I had never know before. I knew His knowledge like I haven’t spoken before. I had wisdom I had never know before. His wisdom. I knew truth on a new level. His truth. This  prayer kept me  focused and self- disciplined, and my  determination  grew daily.

And my inherent worth became even stronger, to lead. Following the greater good, began to look quite foreign to me, yet I know that where I was and what I was about to do, would fully arm me for what I was called do to for this entire mission.

  • Have you had a time where it seemed as if your purpose had come to a halt?
  • How did you approach that season in your life?
  • Where did your faith go? (Was it higher and more determined, or did it appear to be even harder to stretch?)
  • At what point did you begin to recognize your worth and dwell upon the promises of God?

Did you feel  as you were not in obedience,  you  would fail? 

Did you consider what this  would mean for the rest of your life?

Well … let me tell you when God made such a huge promise, I didn’t look back. I was thankful daily, for His divine intervention, and on those days I saw nothing, He prevailed. By the time the blessing fully arrived, it looked like a miracle, because I had arrived to the place where I had proclaimed thankfulness, on daily basis.

In this chapter, I talk of how I did not allow my intention to supersede God’s intention. In this manner, I began a new prioritization of God and His will for my life, and His will for my life, began to take over. I didn’t realize this surrendering of myself would turn into an entirely new way of living for me. From this experience, I received a greater expectation, a greater faith, and a greater realization of God’s sovereign ways, and His intention for me , became very clear, as well as his power, the angels he would send on my behalf to rush in for me and assist me with a vengeance. To see God’s will and volition move on my behalf, showed me His love for me.

This is an excerpt from my book: Red Sea Situations, Devotional and you can have the entire book and the devotional for a small price of $25.00.

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A Surrender Inventory.

In a sacred space.

“Take your everyday ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking around life and place it as an offering before God.”

So, I was here today… Making a surrender inventory. I read about in a book i was reading and here are all the categories, below.

Completing my own surrender inventory was pretty tough. I had to be pretty truthful with myself. I am learning the more transparency we allow in our lives, helps us to grow and change and be OPEN to change. The less transparency we allow, the more we are stagnant.

chicago

To “Surrender” means: one who’s will and affections are yielded to the power,control or possession of another’s influence on demand. Whoa. (Vulnerable moment.) I really didn’t like the ‘demand’ part, but then I thought about it, and reasoned that maybe, just maybe doing something because there is a demand for it, makes it all the more valuable to surrender to. (For instance, without supply – demand doesn’t exist, right?) Hmmm…

One cannot give freely what is not REQUIRED. Selah.

I was able to utilize this AWESOME assessment of my life purpose by reading the book: Conversations on Purpose”, By Katie Brazelton

So here were the categories and I will choose to write ‘with transparency’ on my blog:

* Social /Relational *Mental
*Physical *Emotional
* Family and Faith

Spiritual Growth
*Personality & Character Faults
*Vocation/Avocation * Entrepreneurial
* Life Purpose/Calling
*Self Image
/ Maturity.

So here are mine:
I. Social /Relational: Surrendering to a challenge to be with respectable & acceptable partners. (Vulnerability, Lack of Authenticity, Passive Aggressiveness)

I have spoken about vulnerability on several occasions and I can say this: the fact of surrender gets magnified ten times and looks all the more scary, when we are afraid of being vulnerable, yet the rewards are AWESOME. Your life is enriched, its more full and alive, and you experience much more sincerity and can offer it as well.

Brené Brown says :

II. My Mental Life : (Abilities , Control/Manipulation, Failures, Hope, Dreams, Longings & Struggles.) Surrendering to a mature perspective takes a WILLINGNESS from deep within. I cannot surrender to anything outside of my own perspective unless I am at first willing. And that takes maturity in my perspective. Where do you gain mature respective ? I read , talk to my sisters, & choose to be vulnerable with the mentors in my life.

III. Physical : (My Body, My Energy Level Safety, Pain, Image-bearing, Perfection, Busyness).
MY energy level has been a MAJOR challenge for me, especially when I leave from work, and have an entire evening to continue with. If I am exhausted, sometimes I have to just stop and allow myself to be.

IV. Family (, Mothering, Intimacy, Spouse, Stepfamily, Miscarriage, Empty Nest.) Surrendering to my family & spouse looks like: Yielding. I have found that yielding to anyone, helps them know you are not their enemy, so why waste the energy, anyway? Yielding takes practice & discipline but it makes you the better person, always.

V. Emotional: ( Release All feelings Regret, Self hate, Shame, Fear, in order to live Authentically. .)
Surrendering to fear really shows where your strength is. I have had to do this several times, but what was really on the other side was: COURAGE.

VI. Spiritual Growth and Faith : (Via your Spiritual Journal, Forgiveness, Spiritual Disciplines & Spirit-Perspective /Practice – Spiritual Disciplines are VERY HARD to do. Yet so rewarding and bring so much RESOLVE when we relent. Spending a good amount of time with your spiritual discipline here- allows your soul to shine.

VII. Service – Involve Yourself !

Give. In whatever way makes sense. You extending a part of yourself allows you to become a better person. Michelle Obama sacrifices her profession to follow her husband’s dream. What she did not sacrifice was her family. She gave up her dream to become the Nation’s most honored woman.

VIII. Your Personality & Character Strengths : Bitterness, Resentments & Your Peace : (had to get that one in!)
Bitterness – (used to have it, used to have it!) And boy did it eat me up! I was so bitter, I spewed out venom! Naw, I really was mean though, at one point in my life. But it stole my peace so much, I decided it took MUCH MORE ENERGY to hold onto it, than it did to LET IT GO.

IX. Vocation/Avocation: ( Have you surrendered this part of your life to Being in Purpose?)

What does purpose look like in this season for you

Our Sister Retreat

Spiritual alert: We cannot reach the heights of our destiny unless we really know who we really are.

So.. one wonderful day in the Spring of 2017, my sister and I sought out ourselves and ways we could be present for one another. A few friends and I, desired to get together to help one another and just talk about our identity and what gets in the way of is growth.

I call these: “Identity Blockers“. These are things that stunt our growth and prevent us from getting bro the next place in God.

I remember wanting to leave Tulsa so badly… I could concentrate on nothing else. I was resistant, stubborn and no change would come my way. I had to learn how to acquiesce. It has been a long six or seven years, and I was just ready to move. I found it hard – very hard to acquiesce. To acquiesce means to : “To yield without protest.” This action and ‘stance’ – allows us to stay within the realm of understanding we need in order to finish the task at hand – to remain in purpose until God’s will is fulfilled. our spiritual mantles left untended and uncultivated, does not allow us to bloom, and will not bring us to a place of knowing how deep God’s love really is. We won’t manage to get to know the breadth and width and depth of God’s love in these places.

Surrender will not come, if we wallow in  struggle  and try to take situations into our own hands. Or we try to fix it… and remain in  continual despair, and frustration.  By nature of our decisions and choices we fight ourselves. We are not fighting others or fighting circumstances. We are fighting God and His ability to allow transformation in our lives. 

Identity blockers  can sabotage our leadership; and several of our spiritual gifts from developing.

Here are a few ways identity blockers can manifest in small ways and complicate our lives:

1. By hiding (isolation, or being too shy, or introverted.)

2. By telling lies – (the lies we believe, or the lies  we tell.)

3. By how we filter information/our perceptions, and interactions with others.

4. By a lack of socialization , and how we withdraw and isolate.

5. By lustful actions or sexual addictions

6. By greed .

7. By low self-esteem

8. By a lack of communication (of our true feelings.)

9. By people- pleasing or man-pleasing.

10. By pretense ( when  we feel have to pretend to be someone we are not.)

Why do these issues clog up our thinking? Effect our sense of identity and strength? Because they are ways we keep from pursuing our purpose. And the last thing the enemy of life wants is for us to succeed at being purposeful.

Here are a few ways  identity blockers manifest in larger more complex  ways and can involve a traumatic past or influences.

◦ Self-Hate

◦ Depression 

◦ Insecurity 

◦ Idolatry

◦ Fear

◦ Rejection 

◦ Shame 

◦ Abuse

◦ Our Thought Life-(the characteristic spirit of a culture or community. (So much of our thought life is influences generationally by family . )

Our spiritual mantles offer that higher level of security and blessedness that  offers us hope ; and sets us on the other side of our prosperity; walk-in in our true, inherent worth. We can then  learn how to be:

Secure, 

Walk in Wholeness,

We are Reconciled, 

Settled, 

Confident, 

Brave, 

Expecting, 

Compassionate, 

Truth-filled, 

Satisfied, 

Trusting of God, Self & Others,

Finding Resolve, 

Filled with delight

We are  Sufficent, 

We are  Confiding, 

We are Complete,

We are  Free, 

Relaxed, 

Engaged, 

Beautiful 

Patient, 

And Self-Possessed.

And let’s talk about self-possession. Because its the reason why we can be self-composed and successful in life, because we have this type of self-discipline. It helps remedy all the other unbalanced areas. And right now, I am speaking of wholeness. Because wholeness has everything to do with how your spirit is, as well as all of the other parts of you.

So we completed and exercise where we didn’t get bogged down by all these idiosynrasies, and we didn’t try to look in a mirror, but we saw our sister as she is. As she presents. And this is the way, that exercise worked.

We had a list of small blank dots where we wrote down words that came to us as we approached dour sisters, and placed them on her pages she carried. And when it was all over, everyone had stickers on their pages. More than they ever imagined! And it was very, very affirming! Sometimes it’s good to see yourself through the eyes of others. And also very necessary. Like a relief of fresh air… we all felt like we could bring again, because it brought such warmth to ourselves to see ourselves through neutral eyes. Eyes that didn’t know all about our past, or trash from the past, the ugly, and the uncomfortable things that made us stumble. Sometimes we have to ask our sister s and mentors what THEY see in our lives. Here is a video of something I spoke about in South Africa, that spoke to the identity of the people in the audience. The same applies here.

The sister here spoke about her identity and how it was challenged to the extreme. She wanted more.

Nature Does Not Hurry…

Albert Einstein said this:

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. The good man is the friend of all living things. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

I love nature.

I didn’t love it very much until the earth visited ME. And that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma or I should say when I moved out west . It was after a time of grief , as well. I was seeking solace , and happened upon a place that called to me.

Nature.

Trees.

Water .

Lakes.

Sun.

Colors in the woods and cool sounds . (Even at midnight. )

I lived near a river, and the river became my beautiful place of refuge. Not being near the river any longer has shown me I took it for granted, somewhat, and also the spaces that I could have visited often .

Texas afforded me the same grace. And perhaps Texas was where it all began. I lived in a really cool home where I could see a great expanse, and I could cows watch cows over my back fence.

I believe our west the sky is brighter and there’s often more sun. Especially during the fall and winter months. During these prominent years, of growth and introspection, I grew quite a bit, and nature was my “go to” for self-care.

Photo by Kristi Bridges @1momentwiser

Once I lived right above the river , and the photo above was often my space of contemplation. Now I have new spaces for contemplation .

The spaces sort of vary, and are not as much woods and countryside , now that I live here in New York. We moved last year to prioritize family needs. And now, my space and time ventures back and forth between family, and activity and animals, and love .

Willow brings smiles to my face even when she doesn’t mean to .Shes a funny pup that loves water so much, they bought her a small pool. (She’s my brother’s dog. I haven’t gathered up enough courage to befriend a dog yet); however Willow is my go to when I need a little play. And boy, is she playful. She loves water and drinks very little of it, and prefers cooling off in it.

Life is Good!
Hubby (smile)

I am Enough Because I am Authentic

I am Enough Because I am Authentic

Being Authentic requires some self awareness, some grit, and intuitive knowledge about who you really are.

Authenticity requires you to be entrusted with something that people can depend upon with consistency; yet also its an innate ability to trust yourself, despite yourself. When you are truly authentic, you shine. You determine your limitations with skill, you know when you are well, and when you aren’t . And when you aren’t you decide : ‘its okay,…I can put this aside for now, and just be. ‘ I can spend a little time with myself and just decide I can plan a time out, or I if need a vacation, and I can plan it and go spend sometime with myself too.

So here are a few tips I have gained from being and practicing authenticity within:

  1. It’s an innate attempt to reach for Clarity.
  2. It’s taking the time to: Think.
  3. To Still Still in Quiet.
  4. To Receive Mindful Meditation.
  5. To Rest because you’re soul needs the Rejuvenation.
  6. To Celebrate Myself.
  7. To Validate & Encourage Myself, Especially when no one else does.
  8. To learn how to ‘Be’ with another who doesn’t mind sitting in quiet contemplation.
  9. To Forgive Myself.
  10. To be Patient with Myself.
  11. To find Hope even when I don’t feel like I can.
  12. I’ve learned to trust myself.
  13. Remember what’s genuine and ‘sound’ about me in my soul.
  14. To be self-aware: to ‘find a place for all those negative thoughts & the ones that are not good, throw them away – quite intentionally & consistently.
  15. To practice Self-Care.
Life in the Sun.

Authentic people are:

Dependable, Honest, Convincing, Sure (about somethings & especially themselves… ) Believable, Persuasive. Present.

And… most of all…they LIKE themselves.

I have learned to like myself. Eventually, then transfer that like to self-love… during the hard times in life, you sort of need it like a life preserver .

I learned I am one who endures… it’s in my nature to thrive. So i do t have to worry about falling and not getting back up.

I am one who also manages to figure out how to love myself and see hardship, disappointment , difficulty, pain, and discouragement – frankly, as something I can cherish, once I can see the lesson on the other side . And even then, when I can’t see it, I am still built to get through it. For me, that’s courage, that fidelity to myself, and it’s winning.

If I can figure out how to win – and still be honest with where I am, and be okay with the struggle of it all, and even not okay, if that makes sense… then I am a pretty authentic person.
Brene Brown says – being authentic is: ” to show up and let our true selves be seen.” I have been showing up for several years.

I suppose this is me. Thanks for letting me share.

Settled.

My 1 word is working me. Every year in January, Mentor My Sister Participants choose 1 word to carry throughout the year. Amazing .. the power of words . Taking you can express an intention, use a word to offer you direction, and things just take flight. Before 2020 ended, I was able to find a word I really needed in my soul for the soul’s sake.🦋

I just really, really needed a word that could help me through the year – feel “together”. I’d relocated and needed to have a place to rest.

Rest can be illusive, so that’s why my ‘great ask’ was to be settled… then “Placed.” Settled was something I needed more as I’d been uprooted from everything I need as community, awesome church home, great friends, work I really loved doing, (yet not perfect and ideal…) and just an overall sense of contentment. Yet I’m realizing that  contentment is not often enough.

There’s also joy.

You can be happy; yet not have fulfilling work. You can be content without feeling as if you’re fulfilled. When you’re settled, you have this inner joy that lasts. It just helps to be in a place that feels like good shoes. Like those you never want to let go.

(Have you ever had those kind of shoes?) Yes….

Am I speaking of peace, or something else?

Not sure yet. I’m not quite there . The closest I’ve come has been ‘inner joy.’

And hey… I thought I had it all…

Oh well… keep li in’ they say…

January Gem 💜Identity

Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection. Identity-what gives me identity

What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends family and my spouse; but also mentorship .

My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional. My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well. Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them. Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships. Here are a few mentors in my life

Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life : 1. Trees . I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and i was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /“We Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since. 2. My African Heritage Family. I found identity in my African Heritage family. There’s a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again. I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies and experiences about African American, and I re-claimed myself. The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective. 3. My Worth

Where have I found worth and value?

What foundations have I established my worthiness upon? For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, My vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics . And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways. Or maybe it was the fact i did t allow Opportunity to pass me by. Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor. Yes, Opportunity became my Teacher.

The Value of Vulnerability in My Life.

I’ve had my share of unhealthy relationships. I believe the hardest part during this season of life for me was discerning was what was really “unhealthy”. I don’t really know that Ii had been taught that by example.
I believe I was simply unaware. Looking back, I wish i had spent more time with my younger self to determine who I was and what I desired in life, in order to have clarity about what I needed in a relationship.
I had not defined for myself what I needed, and valued and had not committed completely and wholeheartedly that those values were essential for me to thrive and to grow & thrive, in life .
Looking back: I am thinking of my journey saying to myself:
“What in the world was I doing?!”
Yeah, and it makes so much sense now that I know who I am …what my self -worth needs in order to thrive and be connected to another human being. I know what it means to be loved, and ‘in love.’
So I am going to share some thoughts on being in a healthy ‘vulnerable ‘ relationship, that helps us to thrive and be our best selves in our relationships .
I have decided to approach it from a vulnerable place, because I just like to be transparent . Vulnerability requires trust. And if you love someone vulnerability should be an essential part of helping that relationship to grow completely as individuals and also as a couple. Vulnerability with your partner should never be considered a weakness. You should continually be moving towards fruitfulness and transparency and greater love.
Here are a few things that being vulnerable in a relationship teaches you:

  1. Vulnerability teaches you to ask for help. You increase your connectedness to others and learn to empathize with them. It’s essential for growth.
  2. Being vulnerable teaches you the unknown parts of yourself. You develop a sense of resiliency and it challenges your authenticity – your heart mind and soul. It also helps you to be more self-aware.
  3. With vulnerability, you develop a new appreciation for self-care. Self-care is essential to a certain level of awareness and patterns with yourself. Being able to address them with honesty, help you to grow in vulnerability.
  4. Vulnerability teaches you to walk in realness. There’s a level of authenticity that comes from sharing honestly with others and you choose to listen, share and engage differently.
  5. Vulnerability teaches you to connect better to your emotional self. Knowing “why” you’re angry; “why “ you’re sad, and why you’re emotional and choosing to do continual, intentional self-evaluation – helps you notice yourself on another level.
  6. Being vulnerable allows you to have a better relationship with Grace. Not everyone understands grace and how to live in congruence with it; but what vulnerability teaches you is that grace is something we can ‘expect ‘ and ‘choose’ and live with intentionally, despite how we feel about life and how they occur- that things will get better, we will overcome ; and life can depended upon to operate in a full circle, that’s complete .
  7. Vulnerability teaches you to be grateful and share your thankfulness. Appreciation comes in several selfless acts. When you share openly, of what you’re thankful for you’ll find people appreciate you, and consider the same blessings . Is this something that is reciprocated in your relationships? If not, it’s something to consider.
  8. Vulnerability teaches you to be patient with yourself . When you push yourself past your limitations and you learn how to deal with successes despite being frustrated. You teach others how to be patient , as well.
  9. Author and spiritual leader Spencer Kimball says that “Humility is royalty without a crown.” Humility is learned by truly being vulnerable. Being able to acknowledge your weaknesses and to grow in wisdom and grace daily with intention, are life’s truest blessings.
  10. Vulnerability teaches you the most meaningful thing in life are learned by “pacing yourself ” through life. When I ‘slow my roll’ , I am informed, I am clear, I make room for more. Vulnerability leads me into the experience of “more”…
  11. Vulnerability teaches you to release. It helps you to recognize when you’re burdened or heavy, and that relationship , or situation needs to be let go. Maybe you’re carrying more than you should, if you have not yet recognized the value of letting go. When you choose to really ‘ think about what you’re thinking’, choosing to let go of weight that causes anxiety and stress helps us find a way to cope with our inadequate thoughts and insecurities. That’s truly being vulnerable.
    Well …. we’ve come to the end of this segment. what have you learned that’s new today? Take one element of vulnerability and commit to trying something new in your relationships and trusting yourself to grow just a bit more.