2016: Letters From The Heart, Pain And Gain

I can honestly say, this has been one of the hardest years I’ve had to endure. There was so much I experienced. From lost, to pain, to unnecessary situations that I’ve placed myself in. It was almost as if this year threw darts consistently at me and those around me. Never ending cycles of pain or struggle came up against us. Things and situation that felt unfamiliar.

 

Towards the end of last year, coming into this year my grandmother was constantly in and out of the hospital. My grandmother suffered from many different medical issues, but this time was different. It began to look bleak and she was slowly slipping away. Being rushed to the hospital, being released, and going right back.

 
During this process, my father had a heartache. If he wasn’t taken to the hospital at the moment he was driven, it could’ve been much worst. He could’ve possibly been gone. my family and I spent Easter Sunday in the emergency room. He had to get a procedures done and was admitted. The next day I had a job interview. For position I never sought out at my job. The position I wanted at the time wasn’t available, so this was a great opportunity. Even with my anxiety considering my fathers condition, I went to the interview and went back to the hospital after. Everyday that week after work, we found ourselves right in the hospital. My mother was dealing with what she was dealing with with her mother, but stood my fathers side. And upon his release we made sure they got away to get some rest.

 

A few weeks later, my brother in law was taken to the hospital, and it was said he had a heartache. This came at one of the moments where my grandmother had another bout and was in the hospital yet again. At this point, I immediately felt like too much was happening with the people around me. It was scary to say the least.

 

During this struggle, I managed to get that new position at work. I accepted, and the very same day I was offered the position I always wanted. It took me for a loop. And it frustrated me that the position came once I accepted another. Although the position I wanted had perks that the one I accepted didn’t, I ultimately feel like I made the right decision. But didn’t realize it in this moment.

 

The end of April, we were called to the hospital for my grandmother. The doctors said it wasn’t looking good. She was slowly slipping. That day in the hospital was sort of traumatizing. A day I’d never forget. It almost feels like that was the moment we lost her. It was almost as if I watched my grandmother lose life right in front of me. And as I write this, I find myself back in that moment fighting back tears. That’s a pain I wish on no one. This is something I very rarely talk about. The emotions I felt in that very moment, are emotions that never leave. She became unresponsive and it was like something out of a movie. The events after are unspeakable. But she was in a non-responsive state after that. And we didn’t know when she would go. Going to visit her almost everyday, not knowing if she knew who I was. Wishing in those moments that I did more, that I made sure I was around more. But what hurt the most, was knowing I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do more from that moment on. So being there was all I could do. After work, making sure I went as much as possible. About a week and a half after that Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning, we got the call that she transitioned. It was a few days before Mother’s Day, and a few days before her birthday. We all thought she’d make it at least until her birthday. Well we were hoping. So we had a week to prepare for the celebration of her life, which my family decided should be on the day of her birth. That was a process, I never experienced. Going to the funeral home to look at caskets. Just something I wasn’t all the way prepared for. It was a huge blow for my family. To see my mother, the strongest woman I know, in this state of pain of also hard. But all I had were memories. I talked to my mother about the past with her. Still wishing I created more memories. I loved my grandmother with all my heart, and hoped she was still here to make us laugh in an instant.

 

Through this process, I experienced the most difficult months at work. I seriously contemplated quitting and inquiring about the position I originally wanted. I felt like this just wasn’t for me, because of things that came up against me. It caused me to question myself, but also question God. Because I felt that He’d place me there. I now realize it was a moment that only made me stronger.

 

After these moments, I experienced something that I’ve always wanted to. I was given the opportunity to leave the country on a missions trip in August. To have been able to spend my birthday in Haiti, meeting amazing young girls, and learning new things was beyond amazing. I felt like this was the catalyst for the shift of the rest of the year. Knocking things off of my bucket list and experiencing something like this. I can honestly say, it’s been one of the best birthdays I’ve had so far. It wasn’t about me, but what I had to offer on this trip. Something God gave me. And I’m forever grateful for being able to be exposed to this.

 

After celebrating my birthday and two official years of blogging, two media outlets reached out to me for an interview. May not seem like much to others, but being recognized without having to necessarily seek out the opportunity, is amazing to me. It shows that someone saw the work I was doing, and recognized it. Women Cultivators and Lady Boss Blogger were the outlets, and I’m grateful for those opportunities that showcased what I’m about and allowed a new audience to see it as well.
Looking back, I’m also grateful to have been able to speak and facilitate a workshop at a school about Black Culture and The Media. I told myself I wanted to travel more, I didn’t do as much as I’d like, but I went to Philly twice, went to Atlanta, and went out the country to Haiti. For people who travel often, that’s not much. But it was a step for me. This year, I also celebrated both of my parents 60th birthday. A huge milestone. Many don’t reach that age, and my father could’ve legit been gone after his heartache. And my mother could’ve been broken to pieces and unable to come back after she lost her mother. I decided to do a photo shoot, as a sign of freedom and greater to come. And that was a great experience in itself. Not just for great pictures, but for the encouragement I received that day. In August, had a successful youth conference. This was big. God showed Himself amazing.

 

After the shift, my other brother in law was sent to the hospital for a very serious heartache. After my nephew (his son) had to endure surgery for scoliosis. My nephews surgery was a success, thank God. My brother and law had to get open heart surgery. And that was a lot on my sister and family.

 

And weeks later, my brother was tragically gunned down and killed. If this year hadn’t brought on enough, this happening in October added to the pain. This was the most unexpected thing to have happened. I was supposed to call him that week, and to know that I’d never get to hear or see him again, hurt. Still to this day, I’m not able to listen to any videos of his voice. It’s too much for me. And despite our back and forth relationship, this was my brother for real. Always looked out. Always there.  

 

After this, I was so ready for this year to be completely over. I was over it. There was too much lost. Too many blows. I just couldn’t handle anything else going wrong. So many deaths in one year. Even those who weren’t family or as close, it hurt me. Because I know I should’ve done more to be connected. This year I decided to go to therapy because of what I experienced last year. But this year, that very think just kept being thrown at me. I got myself in extremely crazy situations. Things that aren’t even like me. I was pushed to give up relationships, when I didn’t want to. It was just lost and pain.

 
However, I can honestly say, these moments showed me how important it is to truly cherish every moment. It showed me that it’s imperative to be present and express and show love to those around you. All of the blows this year pushed me to end this year on a good note. It pushed me to want to be great. Because I know what those I lost would’ve wanted for me. I couldn’t stay down. The pain is still there, but it pushed me.

 

One thing I set in my mind to do, something I was honestly going to cancel, was the LMJ Scholarship Benefit. I knew this was something I needed to do. Not just for Krystle, but for others. For the young ladies that were awarded the scholarship, for those who have gone through and think they have to become stagnant, for those who need guidance and inspiration. I had to push beyond my limits to create a way for someone else. To create platforms for other people. To allow people to connect that wouldn’t normally connect. It wasn’t until after the event that I realized just how necessary this was. How powerful it was. When you go beyond yourself, It’s still possible to gain. Even through your pain. This has been an incredibly tough year, but I was able to see the handiwork of God. There are areas of life that wouldn’t be the way they are if we didn’t experience these tough moments. And although sometimes it felt like it, all wasn’t necessarily lost. There was still a bit of hope left. God was right there in every moment, and working on our behalf as well.

 

And although I placed myself in some of the worst situations, God also placed me where I needed to be. I attended a few events, where I know God orchestrated it. He placed me around business women that showed and taught me that I don’t have to compromise my faith to be successful. This was huge for me. Because I found myself compromising in too many areas. And I’m now at a place where I know for sure that I don’t have to. I can’t afford to. And through this, my faith is increased. Being pushed by my pain and being exposed to certain things has given me faith. Faith to make moves. My theme for 2017 is faith moves. I can do nothing aside of God, and my faith and trust is completely in Him. I’m pushed to take the barriers that I’ve placed on myself off. Going beyond the limits. Regardless of what’s in place, now’s the time to give the world what it needs.

 

This is an extremely long post, but this is straight from the heart. My thoughts. I just want to encourage you to allow your pain to push you. Allow God to show you His handiwork in the midst of struggle and hurt. Get to the place where you can be stripped, but still see God. See that it’s possible to come back after lost, pain, and struggle. See that through all that you experience, God is developing something in you. Something that someone else needs. Something that causes you to increase your faith enough to move. This post may not be in the best order, but I need you to see something raw. Feel where I’m coming from, so you can relate. So we can come up, grow, and move together! Even through your pain, you can gain.

Wishing you all a safe, prosperous, and healthy year New Year. Full of faith moves!

-xo Miss Jones

The World Needs You

Four very simple words, that carry so much weight. So much power. These past few months I’ve been reminded by a friend, that the world needs what we have. There are times when we are aware of what we have, but we don’t always know how powerful it is. And how much someone else needs it. We’ve all been gifted with something. We all have a talent, or something that we are skilled at. These particular things aren’t given to us, just to say, “hey, I can do this…” or “I have this idea…” And leave it there. There are people literally waiting for what we have. Our gifts, talents, and abilities are far beyond us.

 

Often times we sit on what we’ve been given, for several reason. But now is the time to breakaway from those thoughts and get up and make things happen. As many of you know, I have my bouts with insecurities. So there are times where I know I’ve sat on what God has given me. I know I should be further along with my writing, and there are projects outside of my writing that I need to begin. But I’ve been sitting on it. There are times where I feel like, I’m not good enough to complete it. Or maybe I’m just not ready to put it into action. So instead of taking steps towards where I need to be, I just sit back and chill.

 

It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually written consistently. It’s often that I’ve used time as an excuse, since my new schedule with work. Or because of the many downfalls this year has brought on. But I’ve realized one is often moved by realizing what God has given them and the effect they have on others. Within these past few months, others have shown me just how much I need to get my head back in the game. Which has ultimately caused me to strive to take what I have to the next level. I’m reminded of the ways that I’ve heard how I’ve helped others using what I posses. The steps that people have planned to take after reading an article or bearing a piece of my story or someone else’s story I shared. But there has to be a greater level to that, so that others can be drawn and lives can be changed. Because I’ve seen the effect that I’m capable of having on others, I know how much the world needs what God has given me. And not on the current level I’m operating in. There’s a next level, because more people need what I have. More people need to see my words on paper, hear my experiences, and see how I’ve overcome.

 

There are so many of you that have hidden gifts and talents. Powerful gifts that the world needs. Something that will ignite and spark change in someone else’s life. It’s time for us to tap into our abilities, and operate in its full capacity. No, it’s not always easy. But trust, you’re not the only one. We all experience doubt and negativity, but just think about what you’ve been able to do on a level of mediocrity. If you’ve been able to touch just one person, imagine how much more you can do when you put your all in and go forth with no fear. We have to, there are way too many people waiting for us. And when we drop the ball, we fail them. Let’s get our heads back in the game and pull others up with us.

-xo Miss Jones

The Spiritual Network: Pregnant with Purpose

On Saturday, November 12th, LMJ was allowed the privilege of attending a life changing event. Hayley Johnson – Mckenzie, CEO and Founder of B. BeautE Enterprises Inc., put together a conference called Pregnant With Purpose. This was a conference that not only dealt with passion and entrepreneurship in the natural, but also incorporating and knowing that God should be the head. There are plenty of companies and organizations that talk about business and give you all of these tips and how to’s to becoming successful. However, there aren’t many that come from this aspect and cover both spiritual and natural.

Below you’ll find a brief interview with CEO and event host, Hayley Johnson-McKenzie.

  


Miss Jones: How did the thought of pregnant with purpose begin ?

Hayley J McKenzie: I got the idea for Pregnant with purpose when I recently found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I am a wife and mother, and this year I felt a shift in my business, I knew God was taking me higher. I questioned Him after learning about the pregnancy, how would I manage it all? I got the revelation that just as He had placed a new life in me He had also given knew life to my business & the idea for the conference stemmed from that revelation. Never was the pregnancy an accident or mistake, He had a purpose for the pregnancy both physically and spiritually.
MJ: What made you start the event?

HM: Last year I began to take my whole entrepreneurship journey seriously. I began to get out more and realized women’s conferences had become watered down and run of the mill. I couldn’t deny my relationship with God any longer and I created a conference that would cater to both business and the things of God. Many of us struggle in business because we lack balance and harmony in the other parts of our lives. So what better than a conference that would facilitate that balance and also teach you how to have a bomb business?

MJ: How long have you been working at this? (The idea and the execution of the previous event, along with this one)

HM: 2 years now, last year i went on a whim and just did an event no experience, no team just the vision. This year I had a new team, sponsors, new venue so I really had major growth both years brought out more than 100 women and Im excited to see how this grows.

MJ: What was the process?

HM: The process is prayer, planning and execution. I don’t sit on anything too long. I also take numerous certifications so that as the conference grows I am also growing and ready for the increase God will do as it pertains to The Spiritual Networker

MJ: How long did it take you to get here? (Career wise, spiritual wise)

HM: About 3 years, after I had my daughter, I had the motivation but lacked the belief in myself because of the fact that I was a statistic. I knew what God was telling me but never executed because I lacked self esteem. The one thing that kept me was my relationship with God. I held on tight to the one thing that made me feel fulfilled even though I was a bit mad at Him. After 3 years of simply taking what life gave me I decided that for myself and this beautiful babygirl God blessed me with I needed to make a change & that’s exactly what I did

MJ: What has been your biggest motivation?

HM: Definitely my daughter & now my family. They are my biggest support and I want to do right by them and by God.
MJ: What have been some of your struggles?

HM: Managing everything lol being a wife, mom, friend, daughter we play so many roles its hard to balance it all. I make sure that I make time for my children because all too often I see women become slaves to their business when in actually it should grant you freedom of time.
MJ: How were you able to overcome it?

HM: Getting more organized and setting limits. I mostly work when my husband & kids are asleep so I can ensure my mom and wifely duties are taken care of first. I pray daily and ask God to expose anything that is not of Him and to also cover where I fall short.
MJ: What did you hope to accomplish today?

HM: Change in the attendees lives, I hoped to give them exposure and a breakthrough as it pertains to their life and business. From the feedback I’ve received I think that was accomplished & more.
McKenzie surely accomplished what she set out to do on this particular day. The morning started off with special guest speaker, celebrity gospel artist, Kierra Sheard. Sheard came and brought forth a word centering the topic of birthing passion.
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There were also breakout master class sessions. Guest master class speakers included; Clarissa Ford, Nyala Phillip, Adara Butler, Debra Oh, Nikita B. William, and more. All of these women are successful entrepreneurs, authors, and are business minded. The topics discussed dealt with different mediums that ranged from social media to writing the book that’s inside of you. All things that will give the women in the room that extra boost or push they need to get their dreams and passions up and running at the level and potential that it could.
After the first breakout session, everyone gathered back together where Hayley asked the audience several questions, from the worksheets given, to get their minds going. Some of the questions were what would you do if you didn’t work a normal 9-5 job. Being that the goal is to ultimately become am entrepreneur, where you have an opportunity to create your own schedule.

Hayley then introduced 25 journaling questions to help one find their purpose.
Asking God to fulfill your purpose
What do you want to be?
What do you want to be known for?
What values are important to you?
What does God want you to do before you leave this earth?
What is your big dream?
If money was no object, you would…?
You believe you are here on this earth to..?
What is truly important to you?
What are your strengths?
What kind of leader do you want to be?
How can you make the world better?
What do you need to start, stop, continue to live in your purpose?
What would you do if you couldn’t fail?

 

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She then went into why these questions are so important. In order to know our passion and fulfill it, we have to first seek God and see what He wants for our lives. Then see where we want to be and be sure that it aligns. Throughout this discussion, CEO Hayley, made several good points and dropped many jewels.

“You sitting on your book is preventing someone from their deliverance. Get it done. It’s not about perfection, it’s about getting it done. God honors that” -Hayley McKenzie
Too often we don’t go forth with what we’ve been given because we think it has to be perfect. And all God really wants us to do, is step out and get it done. “If God gives you the vision, He will give you provision.” All He’s waiting for, is for us to step out and trust Him. He’ll come in and do what we can’t do on our own.


After breaking for lunch, all attendees were gathering back together for a worship session. Full on praise and worship at an entrepreneur event. Creating and setting an atmosphere so that God could do exactly what He wanted to do through His people. It was powerful to be able to see a room full of business women come together and worship.

And this is what separates B. BeautE Enterprises Inc, and the Pregnant with Purpose Conference from other organizations. Putting God first, and allowing Him to do what He wants to do. Emptying ourselves in that atmosphere, so that God could pour into us. All of this at a business event that deals with finding and delivering our purpose. It seems so appropriate, yet it isn’t common everywhere.

 

 

Following the worship session, Pastor Saroya Byrd came and brought fifth a powerful word. Again, it flowed with the theme of being pregnant. Pastor Byrd started with “You can be pregnant, but you’ll never produce if there isn’t a breaking. Before the baby, we already put a name on it and celebrated at the baby shower. But there has to be a breaking.” In terms of our passions. We may very well know what it is. We may have very well celebrated it. But we can’t truly produce unless there’s a breaking. Sometimes that breaking may call us to leave some things alone. Our way of thinking changes, our appetites change, our emotions may change. All during the process, then there’s the breaking. The ultimate release. Pastor Byrd went deeper into this, said what God wanted her to say, then prayed and laid hands. It was a powerful moment.

This event showed that you don’t have to compromise your faith or what you believe to become successful. That should always come first. Because ultimately, that’s where your success should lie; in the one who gave you that particular gift and passion.
And this wasn’t the end of this already amazing event. There was an opportunity for a few of the ladies to pitch their businesses for a television show, called The Final Pitch. This gave companies an opportunity to showcase their companies and become a contestant on the show. Following, continued the master classes.



Anyone who attended this event, had to leave a different way. Not only did you learn tips and tools that’ll help your business grow; but there was a spiritual encounter. There was a God moment. Which ultimately causes you to grow, so in turn your ideas, business plans, and companies can flourish. God gifted Hayley J. McKenzie with something so great that she couldn’t hold it in. And through that gift, this conference and company was birthed. And it’s only because she was willing to step out, make it happen, and let God do the rest. Her life and her decision is a living testament to what we all are capable of doing. This event was nothing short of amazing, and we are glad we were able to be apart of it.

To stay up to date with Hayle J. McKenzie, and all that’s to come, follow her social media networks. Instagram: @hayleyjmckenzie. Facebook: facebook.com/hayleyjmckenzie. Twitter: @hayleyjmckenzie.