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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

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. 

Above All Else, Take Care Of You

Often times we revisit familiar places in life. Places we don’t always wish to go back to. Places of stagnation or feeling stuck. A place where we feel little to no progression. I’ve expressed these feelings countless times with you all. And although no one is perfect, it’s not always easy to admit the same feelings once again. But you have to be honest with yourself. 

Over these past few months, I’ve experienced feelings of drought. Places where I’ve felt as if I was lacking. I felt stuck, overwhelmed, and as if the peace I once experienced had escaped me. And it was difficult for me to produce as effectively as I would’ve liked. And as I began to take steps towards taking care of Krystle as a whole person, I realized that this was something I needed to write about. Which I realized was another reason why I hadn’t been able to produce as a journalist. (When I have trouble writing articles, I realize that it’s because there’s something else that needs to be shared. Something deeper I need to take time to tap into.)

I’ve begun to realize that I haven’t spent much time to make sure Krystle was in a good place. Emotionally, spiritually, time, Etc. I’ve been doing so much running. Trying to take care of all of the things I felt were of great importance. But realizing that nothing was actually being done effectively. Because I had a list of what I thought were my greatest priorities, I didn’t know where to start. I’d plan, make lists, but I wasn’t executing in the most effective way. It took me some time to finally see for myself why that was. 

As I mentioned in a post months ago, I’d made the decision to seek out a therapist for counseling. Which was the first step of taking care of Krystle. With all of the stigmas attached to counseling, I decided to do it anyway. I wanted to talk some things out, dig deep, and put some of the loose pieces of the puzzle, that is my life, together. I searched, and was able to find a therapist that fit what I was looking for. As we began to dig deep within our sessions and I began to talk about certain things, it became clear. I discussed all that I wanted to do, all that I wanted to be a priority, and also things and people I put first. I began to see a little clearer; I began to see that I had to do more to start taking care of me. And I now see how it has effected every area of my life. 

The lack of consistent care for Krystle, has effected literally every area in my life. The stress I’ve been experiencing, my failure to effectively take care of my priorities as a leader, my difficulty and lack of patience with work and people, the drought and standstill; is all a result of not properly taking care of myself. Although Ive seen the signs beforehand, I began to see it from a different angle. I realized that I couldn’t continue to live in a space with little to no peace. It’s uncomfortable, and not at all beneficial to myself or the lives of others. So I began to take action. 

Aside of starting therapy, I began to cut back on things. I’ve taken a step back in a few areas to give myself time to get in the right headspace. I realized that I used to constantly put myself on the back burner, and felt bad if I wanted to make myself a priority. It’s amazing to put others before yourself, but putting yourself first is so very important. One can never succeed in other areas if they haven’t taken care of themselves. It’s literally impossible. If you’re not in a certain headspace, your execution will never be fully effective. It’ll lack, because somewhere inside, you’re lacking. If you’re not whole, you can’t always help others to become whole. There’s a saying, the blind can’t lead the blind. If you haven’t taken care of yourself you can’t see properly. Your vision isn’t 20/20. And there’s no way you can be effective. 

After thinking about this deeply, I no longer felt as bad as I did cutting back in certain areas. It’s unhealthy to try to do everything around you and leave yourself to the side. Again, in order to be successful and effective, you must take care of yourself first. Don’t feel bad, or feel like you’re being selfish for not doing all that you would normally do. If it’s taking away from you, or leaving you to lack, or causing stress; take a step back for a little while. Allow yourself to recover, and get back in it. When you’re in the right headspace. Above all else, take care of you. 

-xo Miss Jones

  

The Insight in The Fallback

Over the past weeks or so, I’ve experienced a great fall back. Between everything I’d been going through family wise and personally, it caused me to take a break. Part of the break I needed and another part I feel I allowed myself to take more time than needed. As I began to bounce back in certain areas, I realized the insecurities that were attached to my fallback. Insecurities that I’m sure others have experienced. So I knew it was necessary for me to share my experience with you all. 

Being in a position where you’re required to be in the forefront and complete tasks that others will immediately recognize can sometimes cause nervousness or a little shyness about the work you’re going to produce. However, there can be times that insecurity comes in. Whether on the job or in any type of leadership position, we may take a backseat because we feel as if everyone is coming to the frontline and overshadowing what we’ve set out to do. Whether this is true or not, one may still begin to feel this way. Particularly those who struggle with accepting their place in the frontline. Sometimes it makes you feel as if you’re less than, or you’ll make an excuse using the statement, “I’m not really needed. I can step back.” However, I had to learn that it’s not always meant for you to step back. If God placed you somewhere, please believe it was strategic. God always does things strategically. He placed you where you are for a reason. He’s given you what He’s given you for that specific place. We must always be ready. We have to learn not to shy away because of what’s in front of us. They’ll be no fight, no struggle if we do what God has called us to do. If we stay in tune with the instructions He’s given us, things will be well. 

We can’t allow anyone or any situation to make us feel insecure or less than who you truly are. Know and be proud of what you bring to the table. No matter what others may have to offer, know that you have something valuable to offer. 

These are the exact words I heard from God as I sat in my Sunday morning service last week. He literally just dropped it in my spirit and I began to write. This particular part blessed me the most. This is what He said to me, word for word. “Use the gift that I’ve given you. Use the gift that you desired me to give you. Believe in what I’ve given you. Believe in the power behind the gift. Allow your fear to dissipate, so that I can get the glory. So that my people can get what I have for them. There’s breakthrough and blessings that will come through what I have placed inside of you. Stop making excuses and standing still, when it was I that have begun that good work inside of you.”

 

It was ironic that my daily message from Saved In The City read, “God wants to use you right where you are. No more excuses. It’s time to step up and be who He’s called you to be. John 15:16” 
Often times we make up excuses because of the insecurities that rise up within us. But it’s time to rise up and lush the insecurities and the fear to the side. Knowing that God is the one that has placed these gifts inside of you and will lead and guide you every step of the way. 
Allow this season to be a season of work and continuos preparation. A period of isolation (to an extent) as well as work. Isolation to the point that you’re able to prepare yourself without the opinions of others, and without what others may bring on you. Get to a place where you hear from the source and execute accordingly. 

As I go through my journey and I’m continually learning, it’s my duty and obligation to pass it along with others. And as my journey continues to unfold, sharing my experiences will never stop. My hope is that someone will be blessed by these words, and receive that extra boost that’s needed to continue to work regardless of what comes up against them. 

-xo Miss Jones

The Crippling Effects Of Fear

These past few weeks, I’ve had incredible writers block. It was a struggle to produce simple articles. Articles that would normally take me an hour or less. It was difficult to think of topics, and difficult to complete anything. I thought it was simply writers block, but I recently noticed that it has a lot to do with fear. 

I can be honest and say, I’m not satisfied with my life. I feel like there’s so much more, and I haven’t been able to tap into it. My career, writing, business, family, relationships, church; all of the things that are important to me, are not in the place that I’d hope it would be in. Although, all things happen within the right timeframe, one still has a responsibility to do something in order to make things happen. There has to be some type of action or movement in order for there to be success. 

I’ve been able to admit my fears in the past, along with overcoming stories. However, I now realize, the fear that I’m currently facing is a little different. It’s on a different level. I realized that I’ve subconsciously been afraid to go beyond what I’ve been currently doing. Not satisfied with it, but afraid of more (in a sense). I sense there’s more, but there’s still fear of failure.
Afraid that I don’t have enough money, afraid of the opinions, afraid that maybe my thoughts are a little too big. Maybe it’s not realistic. Afraid that it’ll all come crashing down. But in all actuality, what do I really have to lose. This is the perfect time in my life to take a risk. Although things may have fallen apart in the past, what do I really have to lose now? 

After a conversation with a friend, I really had to sit and ask myself that question. If I’m not in the place that I know I should be in, what is there for me to lose. I can’t be so concerned with why I wouldn’t be able to get to where I should be, more than the possibility of never getting there. My fear literally had me in a dark place. Writers block for a writer who loves what they do, is a place you don’t want to visit. You’re literally stuck. And it’s the same for any passion or dream. Fear literally cripples you. It keeps you in a place where you’re not sure which way to turn. I absolutely love what I do, but I became stuck because there’s so many ways that I want to expand from this blog. I struggle with how I can reach more people, how I can fully monetize from it, and how I can ultimately build my business and complete my book. And that’s where all of the fears I mentioned comes into place. But over the course of the past few days (The ending of last week) when I began writing this post, I realized that I needed to pull myself from that place. Fear comes from ourselves, our own thoughts. Therefore, making the choice to shift, comes from within. We can’t allow our fears to overpower the possibility of us reaching the level of success we were destined to reach. 

I want to end this post with a story that I heard Sunday morning during the sermon. The preacher told a story about a woman who was given a gift to write. God gave her the idea for the book, but her focus was on other things (being busy, why she couldn’t do it at the moment, time, money, etc) rather than what she knew God had placed inside of her. She never did it, and someone else wrote the exact same book she had been given. She later decided to write the book, but it didn’t have the same effect that it could’ve had had she written the book when God called her to do so. She missed her moment. I don’t want to miss the moment focusing on everything besides the goal. And I don’t want you to miss your moment focusing on everything besides the goal. We have to take the risk and jump head first into fulfilling our dreams. Others are depending on it. If we don’t do it, someone else will. Don’t miss your moment. Don’t remain stuck. Don’t allow your fear to cripple you. If you’ve been given a gift, it’s usually bigger than you could’ve imagined. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, that’s how God works. If He’s given it to you, He’ll provide the resources that’ll help make it happen. But you have to trust Him and the gifts and abilities that He has placed inside of you! Be encouraged, don’t stop putting in work. Keep your eyes on the goal! 

  

The Blessing In The Blessing Jar

As I realized, in the middle of this month, that I still hadn’t emptied my blessing jar from 2015; I sat and began to look at every single piece of paper that had significant moments in my life. Although I’d known, there was a feeling that began to overwhelm me. Recording and keeping this jar is so important and beneficial to your growth as an individual. It not only causes you to sit for a moment and be thankful as you’re writing them down. But when it comes time to read those moments, it helps you to remember those very moments.  

It’s important that we record moments that we’re most proud of; our accomplishments, achievements, special moments, moments of joy, etc. There are several reasons why we need to write out important moments in our lives. We’re our biggest critics, and we don’t always feel like we’re doing enough. I’ve experienced this, as I’m sure many of you have. We feel like there’s so much more for us to do, and we don’t even realize that what we are currently doing is very significant. As we set time aside at the end of each day and really reflect, then write on little slips of paper these very moments we realize how much we are actually doing. It shows us what we are capable of, and it also increases our faith. It also shows us what and who we’ve placed ourselves around, and how it’s helped change our lives. Seeing our accomplishments on paper shows us how we are able to make a difference, and the steps that we’re making to make an impact. 

After doing this for a complete year, when you go back and read every piece of paper, it puts you back into those moments. Sometimes going through an entire year, we can forget some positive things. I can admit, sometimes the negative moments come and almost makes you forget some of your biggest moments. Those moments where you’ve made some of the most progress. There are times we stress over completing big tasks or projects, that we forget the small moments that led us to where we are today. This has been a personal experience of mine. We go from one thing to the next, forgetting to recognize and celebrate significant moments in our lives. There are also times when we need to reassure ourselves that we can go to the next level. 

From my personal experiences, reading every single slip in my blessing jar; I saw plenty of small and big moments. Ranging from coworkers coming to church with me, to connections I made. Meeting exciting people to attending several events. Reaching goals to overcoming my fears. Being transparent. Random, purposeful, meaningful relationships. To experiences moments that didn’t follow through. But instead of feeling bad about them, I saw how I was able to learn and grow, and what else God had in store for me. From my very first “speaking engagement”, being a facilitator at the NYC Collaborative Studies school with the Future Project. Seeing where I messed up. Most importantly, I was able to see the seeds that were planted, the watering is now taking place, and I can sense the blossom that will soon take place. 

As I read these slips of paper, I smiled, I was able to think back, and even teared up. The very first day of 2015, I tried mussels for the first time. I wrote that this signified the start of doing things I’ve never done before. That set the tone for the year. I stepped into things I’d never experienced before, or thought I’d ever have the courage to do. A blessing jar sets the tone for your year. It causes you to focus on growth and determination. In a fresh, new way. 

This is my third year doing this experiment. This experience. And it’s helped me to have more gratitude. It’s helped me to be thankful for every experience and moment in my life. It’s helped me to look at things differently. It’s also helped me to look at myself differently, well the way I was meant to see myself. If you haven’t, I encourage you to join this journey. This journey to a more gratified life. It will help you in more ways than one! 
  

2015 Recap: Growth, Promise, Freedom

As we approach an end of a year, and the beginning of a new year, I contemplated what my end of the year post would be. I had many thoughts, different ideas I wrote in my notes, but I couldn’t formulate an actual article. As I sat to work on another post, I sat and waited for my thoughts to hit the screen, but I began to have writer’s block. Nothing, besides a title had been written. This afternoon, as I began to complete the post I was originally supposed to publish tonight, I was led to open a new document and get started on this one. As I began to write the title, those three words spilled onto the page; growth, promise, and freedom. I hadn’t received a particular theme or place I wanted to come from with this post. Last year, I broke it down into two different posts, and it came to me early. This year was different. And as I now begin to think, I like that it happened this way. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. Many times we wait in anticipation for a sign or for something to come our way, but when we just make a choice to just do, things begin to happen. This not only depicts the way things happened this year in a sense, it’s also confirmation for this year to come. 

So because these words so happen to have come to me, I believe this is where my thoughts for the year will come from. This year has been a year of complete growth. As the previous years have been as well. I’ve experienced some things this year, I never would have imagined. I’ve felt my weakest this year. I almost felt like I experienced some of my lowest points. Many of my insecurities came rushing back. I’ve had many feelings of inadequacy. But I’ve also been able to show myself my strength. I refused to be held down. I made a decision, after one of my biggest setbacks, that I would seek out counseling from a therapist. I haven’t found one as of yet, but often times, we (especially the black community) feel as if seeking help in that manner is a form of weakness. I did at one point, but these situations I’ve experienced this year taught me that it’s a sign of strength. I strongly believe that it’s commendable when a person realizes that they need help in a particular area. We can’t always do things on our own, and it’s okay to admit that. It’s unfortunate that I’ve placed myself in situations that I probably shouldn’t have. But I’ve been able to bounce back. Even in my struggles and insecurities, my weaknesses and low moments; I knew that God had a plan for me. And that plan was bigger than me. It went beyond just my name or brand being whispered. It meant more than a blessing for myself, more than personal growth. It’s for the benefit of others. I can’t stop knowing the countless people I’m meant to reach. I can’t stop knowing there’s a young girl that needs me to share my story. To share my journey. Now that’s growth. When you realize your purpose is bigger than you. When you realize your purpose goes beyond being recognized. When you realize your purpose will serve others. When you forget about you and just do it, that’s when you continue to grow. 

This year has also been a year of promise. Again regarding 2015, as well as the year to come. As this year began, I knew there was more than just my writing that needed to displayed. I knew my voice had to be heard in some way, aside of through my writing. I was contacted to help someone out with an up and coming talk show. Now, everyone know based of my previous posts how shy I was. However, I took this as an opportunity. Not only am I being of service to someone else, it’s giving me a jumpstart on what I know I will eventually have to do. This was a promise fulfilled. There have been a few other opportunities this year that I believe will be manifested in 2016. My biggest goal reached, and promise fulfilled this year was actually having the scholarship benefit event. It was my goal to be able to help someone who has gone through the very same thing I’ve gone through. College finances were one. Therefore, the idea to give away a scholarship was one. I knew I had to do it. But since this summer, things just wouldn’t come together. Without seeing how it would, I decided to just do it. And it came together. We were able to pull it off. 

The word freedom is very significant to me. I was caged in so many ways. I was stuck behind my own fear. I was stuck behind my own insecurities. I was stuck behind the opinions of others. This year, more than any, I was able to break free from most of these things. It’s most definitely a growing and learning process, but I’m experiencing true freedom. Freedom that causes me to just do, regardless of what’s in place. 

Overall, despite the low moments, it’s been a great year. A year of growth, promise, and freedom. Regardless of the things we experience, it’s important that we shed light on the positive sides. Step outside of your comfort zone, and allow yourself to grow beyond the things that you can see. Walk in your purpose and promise. And free yourself from your own negative thoughts and opinions of others. Then you can flourish and be who you were called to be; that blessing you were meant to be to others. Wishing you all a happy and successful new year!