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

Release, Lay It Down

As you can see, it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything. I’ve been experiencing a lot of difficulty in this season. Sometimes I feel ashamed or a little embarrassed, or even frustrated when I find myself in this place. But I do however know, that I’m human. And we all experience difficulties. It’s not a one time thing. It comes and it goes. And comes and goes. It’s just the way life works…

So as I’ve previously stated, I’ve been experience great difficulty. Quite a bit of emotional things that I’ve yet to be fully healed from. And it seemed as if I’ve been trying everything to get to a place that I needed to get to, but it just wasn’t working. I constantly found myself repeating cycles again and again. Just when I think I’m good, here comes a familiar place. So over the last few months, I knew that I needed to take action to get my life back. I knew I wasn’t in a comfortable place, and it wasn’t beneficial for me to stay there. We all go through the process. But a process doesn’t mean we stay in that place of struggle, or that place of difficulty. So I knew, it was time for me to move. So, I sought out solutions to my season of issues. Some things I just refused to tell anyone about. Had a few friends I’d share with in hopes of getting advice. Had a sister I’d share with, in hopes of getting advice. Then as most of you know, I decided to go to therapy. Let me just put this out there, I’m a strong believer of therapy and counseling. My therapy sessions were going well. It helped me to see things from different perspectives, it helped to think about situations in my past that ultimately led me to where I currently was. It helped. I felt myself going in the right direction. Found myself in a good headspace. 

However, somehow I revisited a familiar place. I found myself in the same place. I began to feel uneasy. Felt myself in uncomfortable places I knew I shouldn’t be in. My attitude kept getting worse. I was snappy, moody, and constantly frustrated. I felt like my voice was being stifled once again. I was always misheard, misunderstood, or not given an opportunity to be heard at all. I felt as if people accused me of things that they did, and weren’t giving me a chance. I was hurting on the inside. In some cases, I felt like I was doing my very best, but many of those things were being overlooked. 

And I began to feel like everything I tried just wouldn’t work. After seeking advice, after finding a good Christian therapist, how could I feel what I’m trying to leave behind here with me again. I would pray, small prayers. I then started reading Christian books to help me. And as I started reading, I noticed the correlation to the messages at the time when I’d go to church. It was always about submitting, and giving God all of our issues. I’d read it, take notes, highlight, but I was still there. Yesterday’s church service was sort of unique. We had testimony service, which we don’t normally do on a Sunday morning. So many of the members shared their testimonies, and it really blessed me. It’s amazing to see the hand of God on the lives of other people. You just never know what someone has gone through. As I was blessed by the testimonies, I started to get chocked up. And felt as if I should’ve shared a little. But I couldn’t. Lately, I haven’t shown too much emotion. I don’t act as if I have it all together, but I haven’t shown that I’ve been broken. During the service, I kept hearing that too often we try to fix things on our own when we’re under attack. (When we have great purpose and destiny on our lives, the enemy will always attack us. We will always endure some sort of trouble.). We think we can handle it on our own. We come up with all of these potential solutions, and start with the trial and error phase. Exactly what I chose to do. I thought all of this would work, when I try put it in my own hand. (These methods can and will work, when we put it in the right hands.)

As the service and prayer went forth, I began to realize why I was really in the place that I was in. I wasn’t passing through, I was still there. It was because I hadn’t fully submitted to God. I hadn’t really laid every weight down. I hadn’t really given it to Him. I was still holding onto them, trying to figure it out on my own. Trying to seem like I was fine, when I really wasn’t. I couldn’t handle it on my own. We’ll never get the relief we need when we continue to hold onto the weights and the issues. We’ll continue to go around in circles. 

There’s no way we can do it on our own. We have to release it, lay it down, and trust God to do the healing. We also have to ensure that we don’t pick it back up. Often times we lay things down, and not too long after we’ve picked the very same thing back up. And we start to feel the same effects of the past. To be sure we keep moving without picking it back up, we have to have a prayer life. That’s what keeps us. Prayer and hearing from God. Whether that be through the bible, through people, or an audible voice. That connection is important. It’s keeps us grounded, and pushes us to propel. 

I said all of this, just to encourage you to trust God enough to give Him everything. All of the constant issues that we face, we can’t handle alone. But God can. Sometimes we don’t understand it. Sometimes it’s just because of the purpose we have on our lives. And we can’t allow the attack of the enemy to take us out. We have to fight. Fight through prayer and through the word of God. Release, lay it down, and trust God to do the healing! Then what we thought wouldn’t work, God can use. 

Be blessed,

~Miss Jones xo

August, New Beginnings: Haiti Missions Trip Part I

Entry: August 2, 2016
We are officially in a new month. Aside from it being the best month out of the year, my birthday month (the 4th) 😊, it’s also the eighth month of the year. Eighth symbolizes new beginnings. And this month is just that. Yesterday, August 1st, I traveled for the first outside of the United States. Not for pleasure, but a missions trip. I am currently writing from Haiti. (Still seems so unreal that I’m actually here.). It was my intentions to write a post nightly, however, I didn’t get a chance to do so last night. Therefore, I’ve decided to do a recap for every two days. So this is part one…

Upon our arrival to Haiti yesterday afternoon, you could instantly see the difference when we traveled to our set place to stay. We landed in Port Au Prince, but stayed in Croix-Des-Bouquet. We had a van take us to our destination, we were met at the airport by a few men. One was a pastor and another works hard alongside him. He speaks English and is able to translate. 

On our way to camp, we drove on dusty bumpy roads. No traffic lights. On the busier streets, there were police officers directing traffic. It’s almost as if there are no rules when in comes to driving. You do what you can to get to your destination. Even if it means driving on the other side of the road, or even on the sidewalk. There were buses that Ebony (who has traveled here in missions before) compared to the dollar vans in NY. They are called the tap tap. As the busses passed, you could see how packed they were through the windows. The people were literally piled inside, just to get to where they needed to go. There were trucks that had the back open, filled with men. There were also motorcycles stopping and picking up people and were paid to ride them to their destination. This seems to be their form of transportation if they’re not in close proximity to their desired location or if they don’t have a vehicle. Unfortunately by looking out of the window, you could see that we were in a country that has struggles when it comes to poverty. As I sat and watched, and listened to stories by Pastor Pullings, (who is the missions department president of the first ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ENY, of the Church of God in Christ), I was able to get a glimpse of what they had to face in this area. 

On our drive to the compound, I thought about what I wanted to give, and what I wanted to gain. I knew that we were there for a specific purpose, and I wanted to be sure that I fulfilled that purpose. It’s a new experience for me, so I want to ensure that I give and get all that I can. How will I approach the people, what exactly will I do, will I be able to relate, etc. ? I just wanted this experience to be all that it could be. 
When we got to the compound, we settled in a little. Picked our room and put our stuff down. Our living conditions were petty good. We shared rooms, 2 to a room, but it was still good. Two bathrooms, kitchen, running hot water, and wifi access.  
 We then went to meet the girls in the orphanage. Not knowing who some of us were, the way they greeted us was so beautiful. All of the girls one by one came up to each of us with a kiss on the cheek. Although they were in grossed in their television show, they were so polite and spoke to each of us. While we were there the very first night, we took a look at what they were being served for dinner. We weren’t aware of what it was, but it was a big pot a woman had on the ground and she looked to be cleaning a piece of meat of some sort. It didn’t look appetizing to us, but this is what they’re used to eating. After seeing the girls, we went shopping. Not at the markets in town, but at a market that’s considered safe near the embassy. This shows the different areas and parts of Haiti. There’s such a difference, a separation. 
  

Later that evening, after shopping, cooking, and eating; we set up all of the items we brought for the girls in the orphanage and the clinic as well. We all brought at least one suitcase full of essentials, and when we laid it all out we were so happy to have been able to have so much to give. 

  

  

Day 2: 8/2/16 Journal entry..
Woke up with a feeling of excitement to see the looks on the girls faces when they receive what was brought for them. However, a little more reserved than I’d like to be so far. I’ve been thinking of ways to be effective over here. How can I/we leave a lasting impact. Giving is one thing, but connecting is another. We have to be able to show them how much we care, in such a short amount of time. 
I want to give my time and service more than anything. I also want to learn as much as I can. And do it all over again. To be the most effective, you have to be a giver. Not only material things. In this case, it’s needed. But also in time. Making that connection is key. Forgetting about yourself. 
God uses us right where we are. Only when we allow ourselves to be used…
Before going to the orphanage and giving the girls the items, we took a trip to the clinic. There were supplies for them as well. Mostly over the counter medicine. According to the stories, the over the counter medicine from America heals the ailments that most of the patients have. Because it’s medication they aren’t used to using. Going to the clinic, you could see a few areas where they needed. It was a nice set up. They needed more medication in their pharmacy and a little more precautionary items. (Cleaning supplies, gloves, etc.). Just looking around and seeing the facility was a blessing. I was happy to see and hear that they’re able to serve the community with the facility and supplies that they do have. What concerned some of us most, was the medicine that they had to offer in the pharmacy area of the clinic. It didn’t look like much. But it may be because they don’t use as much traditional medication in Haiti as we here in America use. They did however, have a dentist area. And area with beds where patients get checked, etc. 

   
   

We then went over to the orphanage to set up the items and look around the orphanage. We used their dinning area to set up every item on the tab,e for display for the girls. We wanted them to be able to see and choose what it was that they wanted. After setting up, we took a look around the grounds of the orphanage, for the first time. We were able to see their rooms, etc. There are seventeen girls living in the orphanage at this time. There are four girls to each room. Two bunk beds. The rooms are s little small, but they fit the two bunk beds, along with dressers for the girls. There were about two in each room. But as we passed, we noticed that some of their beds were falling apart. They needed new mattresses. One of the needs that the caretaker expressed, was that they needed was sheets. Again, the facility was nice. And we’re so proud of the work that has been done so far, but there’s still more work that needs to be done. The the interaction began..

Nightly journal entry:

After visiting the orphanage today, I’m in awe of the way we were able to connect with the girls. Although they didn’t speak English, the connection was almost instant. They immediately gravitated towards us, the minute we initiated it. All it took was one small gesture. As we sat and waited, I had to initiate interaction with them. That was the reason we were there. So I sat and asked about the coloring sheet they were coloring, and it took off from there. We talked the best we could to each other, but the connection was so strong despite the language barrier. We laughed, we sang, and dance. Took pictures. And took more pictures. These girls absolutely loved taking pictures. I asked them to read, but it was an English book, so they wanted me to read it. As I read, they repeated every English word after me. We fooled around with snapchat. And they absolutely loved the filters. At that point, there were about three girls who clung to me. Their names were Daphnaika, Melissa, and Lisa. There were a few others that came and joined a little while after. After reading, some of the girls sang and danced. One song was, I love you I love you my love. They danced as they sang that song. Then they started to do the whip nae nae. Which was absolutely cute. We colored together. We sang When Jesus Says Yes. And we just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. 

 After our lunch break, we came back to distribute all of the material for the girls. They’d already been peeking in while we set up, so we knew they were excited about it. As each girl came in and received the bags and they pointed to certain things they wanted, you could see the appreciation in their eyes and in their faces. Many of them smiled as they looked and received. There was one, Melissa, who had the biggest smile on her face. She danced around as she looked at all of her new clothes and just continued smiling. There was another, one who didn’t interact with me as often as others, came to me and taped me. I turned around, and she pointed to her shoes and gave me a big smile. Another girl looked through her bag, looked in my direction and gave me two thumbs up. That was their thank you. They were so excited to get new things. And you could tell they were grateful for it. It was an amazing feeling. Not only for them to receive things they needed, but also to interact with other people. To be able to socialize with others outside of those they see on a daily basis. Amazed by this new experience. The start of a new beginning. There’s more. 

Editor’s Note: Lovely Miss Jones Scholarship 

Good afternoon loves,

Time is surely winding down. We need your support to raise funds for the scholarship. It is our hopes to assist a college student (s) with a scholarship award to assist with their college expenses. We can only do this with the help and support of you all. This next generation is in need. These are our future leader, let’s help them reach their goals!
Please visit gofundme.com/LMJScholarship! Please help us reach our goal in order to support our future doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, etc!! We can do this together!

~Miss Jones 

Breast Cancer Awareness: Firsthand Survivor Story Part II

As promised, here we continue our testimonies from family members of breast cancer survivors.

This story is about Andrea Wilmer, a breast cancer survivor. To have personally known this woman, I saw firsthand her incredible strength during this time. Those around her, including myself, may not have even known her story until she personally gave her testimony. Which speaks volumes. Through her scary experience, her faith allowed her to stand strong. And we can now call her a survivor.

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The following was submitted by her daughter and Brooklyn College student, Alexis Wiggins.

The experience
To be honest I never really thought about life without my mom. My mom hid all her doctors notes/reports or anything pertaining to her having breast cancer hidden from my sister and I. She would go to the hospital and not say a word. It would be days my grandmother would call and say did you hear from your mother.

The effect on me
I would say there really was not an effect on me because I knew so little. Before this happened my great aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hospital visit one after the other she never left her smile or her aura. She was a fighter. I’m sure she had gotten bad doctor reports but all I knew was God was a healer. Everyday I would sing to myself ” I don’t believe you brought me this far to leave me”. And that goes for about everything.

Strength till the end
God is my strength, a very present help in trouble. Not to be so spiritual but I’m serious. After what I’ve seen God do for my cousin, little George who was sick unto death, I could never doubt him for anything especially healing. As Tye Tribett would say if he did it before he can do it again.

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