Rationalizing

Rationalizing

Last weekend, my sister invited us to workout with her trainer. I am ashamed to admit it had been a good two months since I worked out strenuously. Her trainer didn’t beat us up (although walking was a challenge for 2 days afterwards) but it was obvious to me it was about time someone did or at least come close to it consistently.

Between travel, doctor’s visits and hospital stays, I hadn’t realized I gave up on working out. Days really do turn into weeks and weeks into months. I am determined not to finish that last sentence with “and months into years.”

I can rationalize reasons to let the sentence head in that direction but I heard something else from Patrice Washington’s podcast yesterday. She calls rationalizing “rationing out lies.”

I could lie and say there’s not enough time or I’m too tired but why tell those lies? They are not fooling anyone, including myself. As for all of the other reasons that took my focus away from my healing these last couple months, I forgive myself and will move on. I have a tendency to stress about “where I would have been if only I had done this” but that never gets me anywhere.

The point is to start over right where I am. No waiting for the New Year or even my birthday in a couple of weeks. I am hoping the adage “when you know better, you do better” applies to me this time around.

So for anyone else starting over especially in the midst of a trial, I wish you luck, pray for blessings and send every ounce of positivity I can your way.

Why #Bloglikecrazy?

Why #Bloglikecrazy?

I am sitting here, fatigued from fighting allergies and looking forward to my second year of taking the #bloglikecrazy challenge. Every day in November (per See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser), we are challenged to write a post.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The last 2-3 months, I intentionally took some time away from consistent blogging. Hubby and I are on a healing journey that became more serious in nature in August. There wasn’t much left in me to express.

I couldn’t seem to find the words. I didn’t want to look at new recipes and there seemed to be no words left to write about any aspect of writing.

After the Digital Storytelling Workshop for Women of Color at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, new life was breathed into me. I want to keep blogging but I know I want to shift my focus. After all, I am interested in so many things: minimalism, plant-based food, natural hair, spirituality and religion, dance,  travel, natural healing, fertility, reading, storytelling, paying off debt, giving back and becoming an established writer with entrepreneurial skills.

Although I am not sure what that looks like yet on this site, I do feel drawn to figuring it out now.

I believe blogging like crazy will help me shape these ideas and forge a new path for me as I head into 2019.

What’s in Store for 2018.

What’s in Store for 2018.

After tonight, the next time I post here will be on January 1, 2018. So this is the perfect time to share my writing goals for 2018 (some of which are already in full swing).

Here we go:

-Submit work to publications at least once a week

-Complete my E-Book. I have an outline. It’s time to execute.

-Complete my novel. This was on my list last year. I know achieving this goal will be a result of my effort and consistency. No excuses.

-Go to more events as part of James River Writers, our local organization for writers. I went to a Writing Show, their annual conference, a book reading and a salon but I can make time for more.

-Connect with and be of service to other writers

-Strengthen my accountability resources (Be more active in my online groups and with my current writing partners)

-Embrace opportunities to speak about my journey (whether that be as part of a panel, as a speaker or as a podcast guest)

-Read more (2 books a month). Some months I read more, some less. I would like to be more consistent.

-Continue to go to book signings (especially for local authors!)

-Continue blogging 3 times a week.

-Do #bloglikecrazy challenge with See Jane Write again in November! (That challenge stretched me and gave me the idea to incorporate Meatless Monday posts).

-Seek more opportunities to guest post (at least once a month).

-Continue to take writing classes, even if it’s just a one-day workshop.

-Write down my goals daily in my journal!

-Remember to keep having fun! This level of commitment to writing is still technically in its infancy so there is no need to compare my walk with anyone else’s. I love that last year at this time I didn’t have a blog, had never taken a writing class, had only been published on one site, never thought to apply for a fellowship, and did not have a writing group. All of that has changed in the space of one year. I feel like my eyes have sprung open. I am already excited about what goals I will get to post in December 2018.

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I wish and pray for the absolute best for all of you!

Your turn: What are some of your goals for 2018?

 

I DID IT!

I DID IT!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Day 30 of #bloglikecrazy is here! November flew by. I can admit there were a couple of times during the challenge that I thought about quitting. However, I knew I wouldn’t get the lessons I was bound to learn if I didn’t complete it. And therefore, wouldn’t be able to share it with all of you.

So here it goes:

1. I’ve learned my 21-Day Water-Workout-Write Challenge was not a fluke.

2. If challenged (by myself or in this case, by See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser), I will rise to the occasion.

3. I love trying new recipes regularly. I have never been a woman who loves to whip out the cookbook and dive in. I was more of a go with what you know type of cook and try a new recipe once in a blue moon. Meatless Monday posts stretched me and now I want to incorporate recipes more regularly. What I eat is a significant part of my wellness journey and deserves a place here.

4. I am capable of surprising myself. This is something I suspected while taking Life in 10 Minutes with Valley Haggard and Pens Up, Fears Down with Sadeqa Johnson. Even when I thought the well dried up, the words would find a way to appear. However, this challenge asked me to do it every day and more days than not, I opened my computer and stared at a blinking cursor and typed nonsense until I found my way or my way found me.

5. Inspiration is everywhere. It is in the photos you take, nature, the TV or movies you watch, past travels, a conversation at work, books or even as I discovered this month, in a hospital room. Life is going on around you, inside you, and has a past, present and God willing, a future. It is always ready to be found.

If you’ve ever wondered if a challenge like this would be beneficial to you, wonder no more! Give it a try! I am already excited for #bloglikecrazy 2018!

Ask and Then Let Go

Ask and Then Let Go

In the last week I’ve thought more about letting go than I have in years. By letting go, I mean letting go of control. A few days ago, I had the courage to tell someone what I needed. I may have done it through tears, but I did it. I bring this up because although I asked for what I needed, I am keenly aware that I may never get it.

And I have no control over whether or not I will ever get it.

I believe you can never be at peace if there are needs in your life you have the awareness to ask for but let fear keep you silent. From there, even if you do work up the courage to ask, the peace you seek may not be attained if you don’t accept you cannot control the outcome.

I am learning through shaky voice and tears to walk through the fear of speaking up and letting go once the words are out. Once they are out there, I can’t take them back, reverse time and watch the words slip back down my throat.

If the words need to be said, why would I?

 

Telling a Better Story

Telling a Better Story

I  was listening to a podcast earlier today and they were discussing why people don’t try to change or at least don’t stay consistent in their efforts to change. The interviewee pointed out how easy it is to stay the same and do nothing. The interviewer agreed, acknowledging the comfort of being static. Forgive me for not remembering names, I listened to many today while working so I don’t want to attribute the interview to the wrong people.

It got me thinking that of course it’s easy (and convenient) to continue down a path you’ve always gone or to tell yourself the exact same story about your life. “I always do this…I never remember that or I never follow-through on….

It reminded me of a a quote I first heard from Jim Kwik: “Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk.”  What if I’ve been telling myself a story about myself, convinced that I already know the ending? And is my mind being programmed by my negative self-talk?

When I engage in negative self-talk, I believe I am giving myself permission to give up. I’ve done it with some of my writing and wellness goals in the past. It makes the bad medicine go down, nice and smooth.

Except that it’s not so smooth, is it? While you’re swallowing, the taste gets a little sour–even rancid, doesn’t it?

When our self-awareness grows, the harder it is to feel the comfort, to convince ourselves we are at ease when we quit. Now that I am writing on a regular basis, I am not choking down anything.

I am too busy telling myself a better story.

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Taco Salad

Meatless Mondays: Black Bean Taco Salad

I decided to make a salad tonight. Since the misconception from many people is that vegans only eat salad, I have shied away from posting one. However, I found a recipe for one that is hearty, colorful and sure to fill anyone up. I even made the dressing–Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing! Both recipes come from Jenn S. at veggieinspired.com.

Ingredients
Black Beans
Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and dried really well) (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 20171127_184417
    Chickpeas tossed with spices–ready to be roasted!
Salad
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce (chopped) (romaine would be great too)
  • 1-2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss chickpeas with the chili powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20-30 minutes, shaking them around 1/2 way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy…they will continue to crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
  4. Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with 1/4 cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Plate the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with the Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing.
Creamy Cumin Ranch Dressing:
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Add additional water by the tablespoon if needed to thin.
  2. Enjoy!

Hubby says we should have it every night! The roasted chickpeas, avocado and black beans along with the dressing made this meal as filling as promised. This is the last Meatless Monday I will be doing as part of #bloglikecrazy. Challenging myself to try a new vegan recipe each week has made me push myself. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with 4 or 5 of your favorites and take-out but this has opened my world up. I will definitely be posting new recipes in the future.

It’s Everywhere.

It’s Everywhere.

Everyday during this challenge, I find myself looking for inspiration. Sometimes it comes from a picture, a message heard, a memory, a book, a meal, a quote or is birthed from just typing words until I see the words forming into a message. Today, I was watching an episode of the new Spike Lee Joint, the updated “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix. Nola Darling and her date walked into The River Cafe in Brooklyn. The entrance was lit beautifully and the greenery was incredibly lush.

My mind wandered to a restaurant in Aruba we went to on our honeymoon. I don’t remember the food but I remember the trees and the lights. The air. A lonely dog strolling back and forth in front of the entrance.

A connection was made. Watching Ms. Darling saunter confidently in her black dress into a cafe extracted memories of lovely trees lighting up our dinner in Aruba. There is beauty in finding inspiration everywhere, from leafing through an old notebook to standing on a balcony to sitting in a church pew to the cinematography on a TV show.  I hope I never lose sight of that–even after the daily challenge of looking for it is over.

Treasures

Treasures

I was thinking recently about the first time I thought I about being a writer. I was around 10 years old. I still have one of my first old notebooks with abandoned attempts of short stories in a box somewhere. One of the stories was about an 11-year old girl named Stephanie who was spending her first Christmas after her parents’ divorce with her father and younger brother. The notebook had multi-colored tabs and I divided my work into ideas, first drafts and final drafts. I was also gifted multi-colored retractable pens. I still remember the glee I felt pushing one color down and watching a new hue pop up each time. The first draft of my Stephanie story was written in a teal cursive.

What I remember most fondly is how I thought this was the beginning and I couldn’t wait to publish my own series of books like Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books and be an acclaimed teen author. I love that I had dreams as a child. One of the most precious things about a child is their innocence. I was allowed to have mine. I had parents who bought me books and notebooks and colorful pens and never once made me feel silly about writing my stories.

They were my treasures. Mine to have. Mine to hold. Mine to keep.

 

 

 

Long Weekends

Long Weekends

We are heading into a long weekend and there are certain things I look forward to:

How quiet my neighborhood seems during the day.

Binge watching TV with my husband

If weather permits, going to the park for a casual stroll.

Sleeping in

Last minute weekend getaways!

Reading for long stretches at a time.

Not thinking the following sentence: “I should really get to bed now.”

Conversation. Conversation where you don’t watch the clock or the phone.

Did I mention sleeping in?

Allowing myself to be still for longer periods of time.

Feeling rejuvenated.

Writing.

Eating at restaurants I haven’t tried yet.

Board games and cards..there have been many many many hours during a long weekend spent at my sister’s and parents’ house in a Monopoly, Uno, Scrabble or Phase 10 battle over the years.

Feeling grateful as I head off to see my family tomorrow to enjoy lots of the things on this list.