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The Process 

The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about my process and the amount of time it’s been taking me to get to certain places. I often think about my journey, however, this past week has been more than ever.

I began to think about those around me. In some cases, I saw that some started when I started. Some not long before me, but they seem to have progressed much faster. As I began to think and say, “man I’m gonna need God, Krystle, and this process to get on the same page so we can start moving” (lol); I realized two things. One, the process is good for me. And two, I have to stay focused and put in more work. 

I began to see my development through my process. It may be longer than anticipated, but it’s good for me. I’ve grown tremendously with every step that I take. It’s almost like being pruned. Or better yet, when one has to crush an olive to get to the oil. Neither of these processes are easy, but the end result it great. There are things I have to learn on my journey. And I’m realizing that I’ll be much better because of it. 

Through my process, my growth, and my learning; I saw that there’s more that I can do. I learned that I shouldn’t always focus on the distance, but focus on what else needs to be done. When you allow your mind to dwell on how far you thought you’d be in a certain amount of time, you may cause yourself to either soak in that place or go back a little because of discouragement. I learned that those moments take away from my progress. It takes away from what I could be doing to ensure my success. 

The journey to success is never an easy process. No matter who you look at or who you think got to a place faster than you. You have no idea what they had to endure and what sacrifices they had to make. Trust that your process is good for you. The tools and skills that you learn, are exactly what you need in order to produce. Don’t allow yourself to focus on what your expectations were and if you haven’t met them. Stay focused and keep working so that you will see the benefits. 

Embrace and Celebrate Yourself! 

So I finally participated in #wcw on Instagram today, and named it women celebrating women. I hesitated and wrestled with this, but I chose myself. I’m at a place where I’ve learned to accept myself, flaws and all. I genuinely love who I am…now. 

I’ve struggled in the past with major insecurities. I cared tremendously about what others thought about me. Which led me to be an introvert. I really went years without having any friends. All the way up to my very last year of high school. I went through school as quiet as a mouse; went to my classes, did my work, and went straight home. I was afraid to speak to people. I didn’t always think I was pretty, I didn’t always like the things I had, and sometimes I just didn’t think people would like me. I didn’t always know what I was capable of bringing to the table.  But I’ve come a long way, and decided to share and celebrate me. 

I realized that my insecurities began to creep in as I wrestled with the idea of posting this morning. I was concerned with what people would think about me; I thought that some would perceive the post as being vain. I didn’t want the old perception of me to come back in the minds of those who would view it. So many people in the past would express how standoffish I was, or how I seemed to be conceited because of my quietness. So I was nervous. 

On the other hand, I thought about the people who may have struggled with the same thing I’ve struggled with. There may be someone who’s afraid to post things that they’ve overcome because of what someone else may think. 

This lead me to the scripture, we overcome by the words of our testimony. It’s important to speak on the things that we have come out of. The more we do, the further away we become from that particular struggle. When we speak on it, we confirm our accomplishments and are able to continue to move forward. If I didn’t post that picture because of the same insecurities I felt I’d overcome, I would’ve lost the battle once again. I would be right back in the same place I’ve been before. 

I’ve grown and fought to be in the place I am today. I refuse to revert back into it because I’ve allowed what someone may possibly say effect me. Not only am I doing this for me, but I’m doing this for the people who struggle with insecurities and loving themselves because of what someone else thinks. 

So I encourage you to embrace and celebrate you! It’s perfectly okay to share your growth. It’ll not only strengthen you, but it can possible strengthen someone else. Let’s stop allowing peoples’ thoughts and opinions to put us back in a box that we’ve walked out of. Be proud of how far you’ve come and don’t let anyone stop you from celebrating your progress! 

Maintain What You’ve Been Given 

It’s important that we hold on to the jewels that we’ve been privileged to receive. Too often we get something of great value, and just let it slip right out of our hands. It’s one thing to hear something powerful and profound and get excited. But it’s another thing to take hold of it and apply it to your life.  

This weekend I went to a youth conference with my young people. As a youth leader, it is my desire that my young people grow. But that’ll only happen when we are able to hold onto the knowledge that is shared with us. 

As I began to talk to one of the young ladies, I told her how important it is to write things down. I told them collectively that I needed to know what they gained from the weekend. I need them to write it or talk it out. The reason behind this was to help them maintain the words they heard that would ultimately push them to grow, and get them to the place they need to be.  

As I continued to think about it, I thought about how this relates to all aspects of our lives. I recently uploaded a picture to Instagram that talks about getting all the knowledge but with no execution behind it. It’s impossible to expect to grow with just words. There has to be some type of movement and application. 

Here are a few simple ways to maintain some of these things you receive:

  • Write things out. The more you write, the more you’ll remember. 
  • Find one person that’s close to you and talk it out. Allow them to hold you accountable. 
  • Make daily affirmations regarding the information that you received. 
  • Acknowledge your small victories. When you realize you e begun to use these things, celebrate yourself. 

Growth and progress is a constant thing. We must do our best to keep the golden nuggets we’ve gathered along the way. Not only hold onto them, but utilize them as well. So I encourage you today, don’t just listen and said “oh that’s good”; take those good things and turn into something amazing!

Distant Connections 

It’s very important that we evaluate the people we are connected to. It’s imperative that we evaluate the relationships that we place ourselves in. Although it may have been good, or looked good doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best place for us to be in. On the other hand, just because we come across a disagreement it doesn’t mean we should completely severe the connection. 

It is very often that I’ve wanted to always just run and hide and take a break from people. When an issue or reoccurring issues surfaced itself, I was ready to jump ship. And in most cases, I did just that. After some time, I began to realize it was of no benefit. It didn’t really solve anything. 

There are however, some connections that need distance at some point. And it may be beneficial. There’s nothing wrong with a little space here and there, when done correctly. My issue was I just wanted to retreat as fast as possible without even deeply addressing the issue. 

Honest moment: I strongly dislike when I feel as if things or situations in my life are repeating cycles. It just does something to me. So there was a situation with this one particular individual that I kept pulling back into my life. No matter what happened as to why we originally needed the space. I will say, this was at one point a great connection. The very last time I felt just a tad bit of familiarity, I said I have to get out of here. I tried, but it just felt like it wasn’t working. So when the time came for me to back away, I did it all wrong. There was no explanation one, and it was the wrong form of communication. (We have to be mindful of how we approach situations.) This led to one of the biggest spats I’ve encountered; confusion, frustration, and all around miscommunication. Which ended the connection completely.  This could’ve gone differently, without the initial stress, had I evaluated the situation and connection thoroughly. 

After this particular situation, I was able to learn from my past mistake when it came to addressing people I’m connected to. Another issue occurred, where I didn’t necessarily feel as if I was in the wrong, but knew I had to address it. (Sometimes we may only view things from our perspective, not knowing how the other party may have interpreted the situation.) During the discussion, we were able to put our feelings on the table, and walked away with no hard feelings. Although, we had no intentions on growing or building the connection any further, it was beneficial to address it and move on. A smooth transition with no arguments, where there’s no love lost. 

Both of these situations taught me how important it is to carefully evaluate the people you are connected to and the situations that will most likely arise. There are some connections that need to be removed for a little while, and some that need to be shifted for the long run. All in all, we must be careful in our approach and execution. Let’s not be hasty when it comes to severing relationships without assessing the situation and moving in the correct manner. It’s also beneficial that we see when we need to clear the air, but step away in a peaceful way. 

So I encourage you today, take time to focus on the direction of your current connections. Evaluate, and act accordingly.  

 

It’s Not Always “Them”

Sometimes we unknowingly create issues within ourselves and pass it off on others. There are times when we need to check ourselves and not the motives of those around us. Often times we create issues in our heads based off of what we’ve been through, what we expect, what we assume, and decisions we have to make. It can sometimes even be unconscious behavior. However, we have to get to a place where we know when our thoughts play a part in the situations we may be in. There are some people who actually want the best for us. Every uncomfortable situation isn’t because of other people. This thought led me to a very recent personal experience.

I was experiencing a very emotionally season of my life. Not realizing all it took was for me to make a decision to rid myself of these feelings. During this process I was delicate. I put up a wall and dodged certain things because I assumed that these particular people around me were putting me in a place where I’d be pushed further into my emotions. After one very important conversation with a close friend, I realized I wanted things to be made easy for me. I wanted my decisions to reflect the decisions of others, which would make my decision much easier. Sounds complicated, right? But I’m the one that made it complicated. I made it uncomfortable, not the people that were around me. It was me, and I had to take ownership of that. People have always been my downfall. But it was always because I allowed it. 

When you realize you’re the one who created the circumstance or situation you’re experiencing, you’re closer to a solution. And from there you’ll be in a much better place; emotionally, physically, then your headspace will be a lot clearer. Which will give you time to enjoy your life. You’ll be happier and experience the joy that you once desired. Once I acknowledged that I had to make a decision, I was able to do it. I put my thoughts into perspective and I acted. And it honestly put me in a much better place. Not even knowing for sure if it was going to be this way forever. I’m learning to live in the moment. It’s ok to make mistakes, as long as you own up to it. We have to come to a place where we stop blaming our discomfort and difficulty on other people. Our happiness and peace of mind isn’t dependent on other people. It’s our choice, and we always have a choice. So I encourage you not to always think that someone is out to get you, or your happiness lies in the hands of others. Evaluate yourself and not always the thoughts of others. Own up to your own thought process, decisions, and behavior and see how happy you will be!

                                                                        

Be the Change you Wish to See

Over the past month or so, I’ve been feeling a bit stagnant on my job. I haven’t felt like I’ve been the most effective and it began to bother me. I found myself sharing with others how unfulfilled I had been feeling overtime. Last night was the very last conversation I had and it caused me to think past the very words I spoke. Instead of complaining about what I felt I couldn’t do; why not do what I could, where I was, with what I had.

Often times we become discouraged because of the place that we’re currently in. We feel as though we can’t produce the way we intend to because of an uncomfortable place or situation. However, when we begin to look around us, we can find things to put our hands to. We shouldn’t limit or subject ourselves to the situation we’ve been given. We can complain and talk about how we’d rather not be in that place; or we can make the best of it, put our hands to other things in the process, and work on how we can become better.

When our desire to see change is greater than what we currently see, we’ll be able to be more effective. Sulking ourselves and others in what we dislike doesn’t change much. We have to be dedicated to the conversion we’d like to take place. Then and only then will we be able to make progress.

This reminds me of a sentence I read in one of my devotions recently, “what you focus on, grows.” If we focus on the unpleasant feelings, that’s what will begin to grow and keep tugging at us. On the other hand, when we begin to put all of our focus on the actions we need to take in order to change our situation, that’ll take precedence over the negative feelings.

So just as I’m encouraging myself, I encourage you to shift your focus. Change your attitude and your mindset. Begin to look at your surroundings without eyes of frustration, but rather the eyes of change. Let’s be agents of change and do what we can, where we are, with what we have. We can be the change we wish to see.

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Live Purposefully

As I thought about things to write about, all I continued to hear was “live purposefully.” Although I’ve written about this in the past, this blog is for you to receive encouragement from where I am. My personal real life experiences. This is where I am.

I went to a funeral, rather celebration of life, Saturday morning. The life of a 19 year old young man. He was the brother of a friend that I’ve had maybe two encounters with. However, you could tell what kind of person he was. Great personality, making jokes and all around happy.

After attending the funeral and hearing more about the life he lived, I was amazed. Despite what people saw on the outside, this young man was in pain for years. Had battles with death early on, but you could never tell. Even in this, he always lived his life to the fullest. The words that were spoken on his behalf were amazing. To hear young people say that he was the only person to be able to get through to them in the midst of their depression, was overwhelming. He lived his life with the intent of fulfillment.

I was beyond inspired leaving that church Saturday afternoon. Many of us struggle with living with all of our being. Sharing all of our gifts freely, being joyous, caring for others more than we do ourselves. He didn’t allow his condition to keep him from doing all that he desired.

Many times we feel as if we can’t do a certain thing because we don’t have this or have that. But we have no idea who needs what we do have. This is why it’s important for us to live with purpose. When we purpose in our hearts to give all that we have, we can touch peoples lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine.

I’ve struggled time and time again with giving my all. But when I contemplate on the purpose behind what I’ve been given, I realize I can’t sit back it on it. Passion goes far beyond what can be taught and your circumstances. So I encourage you not to doubt yourself because of what you don’t have or the situations that you are in. Use the passion that’s within you and live your life to the fullest, intentionally with purpose! 20141021-235141-85901734.jpg

Sunday Evening Serenade

Sunday, September 21st, I had the pleasure of attending Sunday Evening Serenade’s one year anniversary! This event is created and hosted by Olivia Gilmore. Sunday Evening Serenade is an acoustic showcase that’s put on once every month. The purpose of this event is not only to give artists a platform to perform; it is also for all artists, vendors, and those in the entertainment and fashion industry to promote themselves and network.

SES was held at Ripley Grier Studios in the midtown area of NYC. The room was nice, quaint, and intimate with a beautiful white grand piano. Just right for an evening serenade. The featured artists of the night were, Ashton Martin, Mayo Bass, and Olivia Gilmore. Because of traffic, Natalie Imani was unable to attend.

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(Mayo Bass, Olivia Gilmore, Ashton Martin)

The evening began with great tunes playing in the background, while the audience was given an opportunity to mingle and network with one another as well as the vendors, who I must say produced great work.

Cherise Broadbelt of Reese B Designs blew me away with her collection. As her material says, it’s “Not Your Average.” Cherise has a line of bow ties (available for both women and men), clutches, and jewelry. Every bow tie and clutch is handmade by Cherise herself, with beautiful fabrics and leather. Her pieces are well put together ending with a great product. Not only are her pieces amazing, her personality is very warm and welcoming. View Reese B Designs below and visit the Instagram, @reesebdesigns, to view more and order pieces from her collection.

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(Cherise Broadbelt, Reese B Designs)

Another vendor was Tremaine Angevine, CEO of OFCC. OFCC is an urban clothing line with great designs. Every shirt, sweatshirt, hat is personally designed by Tremaine. OFCC has done many trade shows and continues to push their brand. Take a look at apart of their collection below. Also check out their website for more, http://www.ofccest1982.com.

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(Tremaine Angevine, CEO of OFCC)

Other vendors included, food by Ms. Anita G. From the raves on social media, her food was delicious. Be sure to check her out on Instagram @chefmamagarciajr.

After the brief mingling, it was time for the main show. Every artist who took the stage, was absolutely amazing.

Starting out with Ashton Martin accompanied by JT on piano. From the melodies that flowed from Ashton’s mouth Sunday evening, you could tell that he’s been doing this for some time now. He’s actually been singing since the age of 10 and composing his own songs by the age of 12. Since then, he’s been perfecting his craft and doing a great job at it. Ashton started his set with one of my personal favorites, So High by John Legend. John Legend is an amazing artist and not many can fill his shoes. However, Martin’s raspy voice fit the song perfectly. Every note in the right place. He then went to a self written song entitled, Your Body. Which is a song he wrote after a breakup and all he could think of was her embrace. His connection with the audience was amazing. You could hear every emotion while he sang as he have the perfect eye contact. He finished his set with very popular song, Superstar by Luther Vandross. Overall, great singer, songwriter, and performer. Be sure to check Ashton out on twitter and Instagram @ashtnmrtn. Also, purchase his new single “Lights Out” on iTunes.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

Up next was the bubbly Miya Mayo Bass accompanied by Eddie C on piano. When Mayo entered the room you automatically saw her lively personality. Mayo was X Factor 2013 finalist and worked with countless recording artists. Varying from Brandy, Shirley Murdock, Mary Mary, Fantasia, Vashawn Mitchell, and more. Mayo started out with ‘Boy Band Trivia’ from her upcoming project Nostalgia. This song is a cumulation of some of the greatest boy band hits; such as Don’t Leave (Stay) by Blackstreet, It’s Over Now by 112, On Bended Knees by Boys II Men, Gone by Nsync, and 5 Steps by Dru Hill. One of the most creative songs I’ve heard. To put these amazing tracks together was amazing to hear added with her amazing vocals. She then ended with her latest single, ‘The Cure.’ This is by far one of the most powerful songs. This song was created for anyone who suffers from cancer, diabetes, and anyone who needs healing. Mayo prayed and asked God for the lyrics, and The Cure was birthed. Sunday evening she belted out these lyrics and you felt every word. To hear the song, visit http://youtu.be/OBxokN9c32M and view the official video, available for purchase on iTunes. Mayo is also currently doing a church tour where she is open to visiting churches and singing ‘The Cure.’ Stay up to date with Mayo Bass by visiting her website, http://www.miyamayobass.com.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

Last but certainly not least, the host and creator of Sunday Evening Serenade, Miss Olivia Gilmore. After hearing about the effects of bullying, she was prompted to start out with Unpretty by TLC. Encouraging everyone to look within and find their beauty and not allow the words of others to get them to a negative place in life. After her first song, Olivia let the audience in. She explained how private of a person she was, which is understandable in this business, but grasped the crowd with her transparency that night. She talked about how SES started as well as the difficulties she’s encountered throughout this year. Although there were many obstacles that came up against her, she never gave up. She expressed her goal as an artist and how she wanted to become famous when starting out, but she never only considered herself. She created this showcase for the benefit of all artists. Olivia not only wanted to build her brand as an artist, she also wanted to help her fellow artist get ahead in the game. Which is commendable. To have had to face troubles along the way, she could’ve stopped; but she continued to maintain. Olivia also has a great personality. She kept the crowd laughing the entire night.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Olivia and attending such a wonderful event. Special thanks for the invitation. To stay up to date with Olivia and Sunday Evening Serenade follow her Instagram @msoliviagilmore. You can also check out her music on soundcloud. You won’t be disappointed, she gave her all with every song she sang Sunday night.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

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-Miss Jones

Consistent Check In: It’s Necessary for your Growth

Often times we may feel that we have something under control, but that doesn’t mean it won’t rise up again. We have to be consistent in keeping certain things in check. And today I was reminded of this. Well not just today, but it just wasn’t my day. Hopefully you caught that.

In any event, I was a little overwhelmed today. After a few conversations that led to deep thought I began to wonder about certain situations. I’ve also been trying to work on my website and launch party that I plan to have this August. With everything going on, I began to think if it’s even possible. I began to doubt myself and my abilities to make things happen. Even questioned whether I fully knew my worth.

As you may gather from my previous posts, I’ve struggled with insecurities and the way that I feel about myself. I’ve struggled with whether I’m good enough as a person and whether I’m good enough as a writer. I have grown tremendously. I’ve come to the place where I realize I have something to offer. However, after you begin to realize who you are, that very thing you think you’ve overcome will most definitely creep back on you. As I went about my day this morning, taking care of business and running errands I started to feel down. I became frustrated with the thought of things not falling into place they way I wanted them to. A few unexpected surprises and I felt those insecurities rush right back. I had a moment. I was definitely in my feelings.

Then as I was on the bus, still stuck in my feelings about to tweet, something inside of me said, “this will help someone else. Snap out of it and write about it. You have something to share that will help someone. This is what you do.” Now at first, I wanted to ignore it and stay in my feelings just a little longer. But I can’t sit back on what I’ve been called to do. Those days are over.

So I began to think and some things began to come to me. Although we grow and overcome different stages in our lives, we have to constantly make sure we stay in a place of growth. We’ve all experienced different insecurities in our lives, but we have to remind ourselves of who we are not who our insecurities say that we are. There are ways to prevent these feelings from overtaking us. The thing I find helpful to do, is to repeatedly remind yourself of who you are and all that you have to offer, through positive affirmation. Write it down if you need to and keep referring to it. Daily. It’ll help build you up and keep you in a good place.

So I encourage you to constantly work on those things that held you back in the past. Don’t allow it to creep up and overpower you. You are strong and you have much to offer. Walk in your purpose, calling, and destiny!

~Lovely Miss Jones xo

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