A Moment – Happiness is an Inside Job

There are times in life where we just need to take a moment. Sometimes we realize it right away, and other times it takes us a while to actually get that we need to take a break. Then there are those times where we feel as if we can’t take a break because of all that is going on around us. However, it is imperative that we take a moment or a break at different times in our life’s journey.

I can honestly admit that I have been a tad bit overwhelmed these past few weeks. There is just so much I need to get done, so much I want to do, but limited time. The life I see myself living forever, is not the life I am currently living. I am most definitely on my way, but there are times where I just see so much more for me, those around me, and those I’ve been called to lead that my desire to tackle them becomes overwhelming. Lack or results and a cluttered mind caused me to make a decision to limit my social media usage. Social media really takes up a great deal of a persons day. I’ve decided to start off with the week, jump back on on Sunday’s to do our weekly Spark Sunday, browse for a few, and disconnect once again. One day, I just deleted every social media app I had. Can’t say that I was 100% off this week, but it was still successful, and I am going to continue this weekly.  It’s so important to disconnect every once in a while to get yourself aligned. We have so many thoughts, that sometimes, it pushes us off of the track or path that we are on. I can attest to this. We don’t always allow life to happen. We get to a point where we try to make things happen. Things that may not be meant to happen at this moment. Things that are to come along our path, after we have learned a particular lesson, or experienced a specific thing. (It took me this very moment to remember this. The power of taking a break!)

I had a meeting today (Saturday afternoon) scheduled in Bryant Park, to discuss Take A Moment, which will be hosted next month. After the meeting, I decided to take a moment and sit in the park alone. My laptop, music, a notepad, and bread (I’m hungry!). Before going back to work for the event and even writing, I decided to take a moment. I sat and took in the scenery and enjoyed the warm weather. I needed to clear my head. Ministry, events, work, Lovely Miss Jones, relationships have all been on my mind heavy lately. Most of these areas produced some sort of conflict. Which tugged at my peace. And I wasn’t the happiest that I could be. Almost as if I was unhappy because of all that was going on around me. However, as my notepad says, Happiness is an inside job. Our happiness isn’t dependent upon outside sources. I’ve felt the most misunderstood in these moments. All the more to disconnect.

All breaks or moments won’t look the same. Maybe sometimes you need to just sit, on a day like today. Sit alone in a park, take in the moment, and release your thoughts. Or maybe you need to disconnect. Take a break from social media, limit your phone usage, be less social. Just disconnecting to realign and get back on track. When we try (key word) to continue to move in the moments where we need to take a break, we become overwhelmed and even frustrated. No real results and a cluttered mind. Which can leave us in a place where we aren’t our happiest. In order to get the results we desire and be at our happiest, taking a moment is required. Be sure to take your share of breaks on your journey!

-xo Miss Jones

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!

                                                                        

I Know The Plans I Have For You…Do You Know?

The first month of this new year comes to an end in just a few days. As many of you have, I started this year with confidence of great success and growth. However, in this first month, I’ve experienced a few things I didn’t necessarily expect. Although I’m aware that everything isn’t a perfect ride, it won’t always be smooth sailing; I just wasn’t expecting things to be this way so early on.

I know business wise, my plans were to flourish and do as much as I could. I was preparing to work with a company I’d wanted to work with for quite some time. I went as far as to signing a contract. I was ready to work. However, there was no contact at all for work. I reached out consistently and I was pretty much ignored. And to this day, there’s been no response to any of my contact. So it’s my assumption that the contract just fell through, for what ever reason.

After this situation, a company I’d already been working with just went inactive. After an email in December, I received a message saying they’d be up and running the following week. Over a month later, there’s been no activity with them. After emails and calls, there’s been no contact on their end explaining the difficulty.

After these two situations, an issue in my personal life occurred. I ended a friendship with a friend of many years. It’s always been an up and down ride with this particular friend, but I don’t think I necessarily thought it would get to this point again. And although, I wasn’t angry about it (because I’m sure this was the best route, so I have no regrets) it was something that wasn’t expected at this time in my life.

With all of this over a span of a few weeks, I could’ve been discouraged and wanted to fall back from things for a while. I could’ve been discouraged and thought that things just won’t work out for me. But, I wasn’t, at all. Does it always feel good to revisit a feeling of confusion, of course not. But I’m able to bounce back because I know what’s ahead. I was reminded that there’s greatness ahead for me, no matter what my current situations are. You really have to know it for yourself to be able to continue on with your journey towards success.

The Bible lets me know that God has a plan for me. It says in Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ NIV)’ I know this for sure, therefore, I can continue on knowing I’m going to win. It’s one thing for God to have a plan for us, but there’s another to know and truly believe it. You have to know for sure.

Things may not have looked the best as these situations occurred, but I know God has a plan for me. Not plans to harm me, but plans to prosper me. He plans for me to succeed. He plans for me to flourish richly. I won’t be stuck on what didn’t work out, but rather what I was able to learn from it. It’s all beneficial to my growth and success. I will continue to work as hard as I’ve been, if not much harder.

So I encourage you not to fret and become discouraged when things don’t go according to your plans. Know and believe that God has a plan for your life. Rest assured that everything that you go through is stepping stones for where you’re headed. Learn from it and know that you will prosper!

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You Can Have It If You Want It

Often times we see the things that we want, and feel like we can’t get it. Maybe we have feelings of inadequacy or even feel that we aren’t deserving of all that we want. Or that it’s just not in arms reach and isn’t realistic enough to be ours. But allow me to let you in on a little secret….you can have it if you really want it.

I learned a little late in the game too, so no worries if you weren’t aware :). Below are a few ways that’ll ensure that you get exactly what you want. That is, if you really want it.

•Speak it into the atmosphere. What you put out, comes back to you. When you begin to speak things even though it’s not here as yet, you’re showing your faith. And with faith, all things are possible.

•Believe it. You have to believe it for yourself. You have to believe that no matter what comes up against you, this thing is going to work out for you.

•Claim it. After you’ve spoke it and start to believe it, already act as if it’s yours. Start walking in confidence, believing that it’s your season. Walk with boldness, declaring that you already have it.

•Work for it. Nothing will happen if you don’t work for you. When you believe and claim it, it’ll push you to go even harder for exactly what you want. When you put in the work that’s required, you’re showing just how bad you want it.

•Receive it. When it begins to manifest, welcome it. Don’t be surprised of feel that you’re not ready, just take it all in. After all that you put forth, you deserve it. Enjoy the fruit of your labor.

No matter what it is that you desire, know that it’s possible to attain. That level of success that you hope to accomplish, know that you can reach it. All you have to do is want it bad enough. Speak it, believe it, claim it, work for it, and receive all that’s meant for you to have. You have to step out on faith, but trust you can get there!

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2014 Overview Part II: The Closure

This has been an incredible year, to stay the least. I can honestly say that this has been one of the best years for me. It’s brought many joys as well as hurts. But through it all, it’s produced great growth. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.

Coming into this year, I had great expectations. I knew last year was all about transition and growth. I took a leap of faith and finally began doing what I loved. I wasn’t as consistent as I’d like to be, but it was a start. I knew something great would be produced, however, I’m amazed and forever grateful for this journey. It’s been an incredible ride. To have my gift recognized by people, has blown me away. I’ve barely reached the surface, but for me, this means a lot. To sit back and think of the quiet girl I used to be, never wanting to be seen or heard; it’s overwhelming to see where I am now. To have built my personal audience. To the many messages I’ve received of how I’ve encouraged someone through my writing. To have been featured on different websites, web radio interview, and become a blogger and journalist for two websites. To the connections that I’ve made for collaborations in this coming year. It’s just mind blowing. 2014, has literally changed me forever.

I can’t say it’s been all joys though. I’ve been hurt many of times. I’ve had my back against the wall more than I can count. There’s been many times this year, even in these past few days, that I’ve just wanted to go into a little bubble and say forget the world. But I realized that I can’t do that. There’s so much I need to do, so much I need to share in order to impact the lives of others. What I’ve been called to do. But it’s not easy at all. Especially when you’ve been hurt by people. In the past I’ve experienced this hurt and I didn’t expect to revisit it in this year. I’m such an emotional person, so I feel like I’m effected by things on a whole different level. I always said, it’ll be understandable for me to not trust anyone with the hurt I’ve experienced, but that’s just not who I am. I can’t fault everyone for the mistakes of others. So I go all in when it comes to friendships and building with someone. And in more cases than one, I feel like I’m in it more than the other person. There’s been times I’ve felt like I’ve been taken advantage of, wasn’t given the respect I deserved, and just wasn’t taken seriously. All reminders of my past. I’ve been put into situations I never thought I’d be in. And I stayed, as I did in the past. Wanting to make changes, but not receiving much support from those I called friends. Thankfully, I finally realized I needed to isolate myself from certain people. I needed to withdraw for a little while. Although I had grown, I still struggled with insecurities. I’m not saying all of the people I experienced this with were horrible people, I just didn’t see myself for who I really was in some cases. I’ve been in situations this year, where I felt like I just wasn’t good enough. And that’s one of the worst feelings, especially when you’ve began to grow and start to believe in yourself. But, I was able to come back. In removing myself from certain situations, I took from it what I could. I used it as a learning lesson. I grew enough strength to say, I can no longer stay where my growth is stifled. I had to consider not only me, but the lives of those I have help.

Every single situation I experienced taught me something. And I’m grateful for the good and the bad. I’ve learned how to love me for me. I’ve accepted me for who I am. I’m less concerned with what people think of me. And I know I’m worth more than I’ve accepted before. Aside of being hurt, I’ve experienced great struggle. But I’ve learned to master the art of reflection. When you sit back and think of all you have and how far you’ve come, you can’t help but be grateful. Your focus begins to shift and what should make you sad, turns into what makes you happy.

This year was about building. Building my relationship with God, building my strength and confidence, building relationships with people, and building my empire. I’ve got a ways to go, but this foundation is now strong enough to withstand what I’m going to face. I have a better outlook on things, which will help in the success of all areas of my life. I’m going into this new year better because of what I experienced. It all pushed me to grow. It pushed me to be strong. It pushed me to prayer and thanksgiving. I’ve embraced it all and accept all that’s about to come on this new journey in 2015.

So I encourage you today, reflect on this year. All the good and unpleasant things as well. Embrace it, and see how it’s made you who you are. It’s taught you something, and you’ll be stronger because of it!

~XO Miss Jones image

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

Proper Planning Leads to Great Success

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve begun to realize just how important it is to create a schedule for all of the things that we have to do. I’m not extremely busy, however, with every responsibility I have it can get a little chaotic at times. And that’s when I don’t plan properly. This is definitely what I’ve signed up for: but if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.

Often times we find ourselves in situations where we become overwhelmed and the quality of what we produce isn’t to our greatest potential. When we don’t schedule our priorities accurately, we lack time. And with lacking the proper time, we may find ourselves rushing to get things done. In the rush, our work may be mediocre or not the best of our ability. I recently experienced this. I rushed to complete a project and at the end I didn’t feel as if the finished product was the best that I could do. It was good, but it wasn’t great. I knew that it could’ve been better had I put more time into it. Which showed me just how beneficial my to-do lists and prior planning really are.

When we learn to plan and create a sufficient schedule, we can produce quality work. It’s important to always be clear in your thinking, and get it all down before you make a move. This is when whatever you have set out to do will be great.

So I encourage you today to plan properly and take advantage of the time that you have. Create a plan and follow through. Then the work you produce will be that of your greatest potential, a reflection of the preparations you’ve made. Proper planning leads to great success.

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(Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance)

Beauty Within TV

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Anissa Rochester, CEO of Beauty Within TV. We decided to meet during fashion week so she could not only tell me about herself and BWTV, but to fill us in on Fashion Week. Our meeting place was at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

I started the interview with getting a better feel of who Anissa is. She has been in the entertainment industry for years. Since the age of 19, she’s been a fit model, actress and toured as a dancer. So she’s no stranger to the field of entertainment. Anissa graduated from LIU with a degree in media arts. When she decided to pursue her love for acting and dancing, she received a scholarship to NYU’s theatre program. When Anissa found out she was pregnant, she decided to go another route. Somewhere down the line, she mixed her knowledge of beauty and fashion with her media skills and created Beauty Within TV.

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Anissa Rochester

Here’s a deeper glimpse of the interview:

Miss Jones: How would you describe BWTV for readers that may not know?

Anissa Rochester: Beauty Within is an outlet to inspire women, ages 18-30, to believe and fulfill their dreams. I’m passionate about helping others to pursue their dreams and finding their inner beauty. BWTV started out as a television program on public access, where we interviewed many celebrities. Ranging from Kerri Washington, Kim Kardashian, Tina Fey, Miguel, R. Kelly, Sherri Shepherd, Iman, and several others. BWTV also had the opportunity to cover red carpet events, including the TLC Story and The Best Man Holiday. About two years ago we relaunched with an entertainment website.

MJ: What was one of your most memorable interviews?

AR: I would say that my interview with Iman was the most memorable and inspiring. She was so nice and classy. She treated us with respect being a small unrecognizable name. There are many celebrities who don’t take the time to support your passion. However, she was the complete opposite. Iman was very welcoming as well as professional.

MJ: How have you applied your passion for helping others rediscover their inner beauty as well as fulfill their dreams?

AR: In my experience of business and fashion, I’ve done a few workshops in schools for young girls. We split them up in different groups and gave them their own fashion houses and taught them about the business of fashion, rather than just the model aspect. There’s more behind a pretty face. All the groups were given the task of creating a name and an idea for a logo. After that was done, each of them were assigned a specific task. For example, one of the girls may have been a stylist, while another was on the financial end. They were given paper dolls and asked to design different things. Then they had to write a proposal showing how they planned to be successful based on their ideas.

MJ: What grade/age group did you work with?

AR: This particular session was with 4-6th graders. I also did another program with 12th graders on their way to college, it was the Beauty Within mentoring program. We came at the very end of the year, they’d all been gotten accepted into college. We partnered with another organization that prepared them for school. My segment was to do makeovers, and we posed the question “what makes you beauty within?” We also asked what motivates and inspires them. I was very surprised by the answers I received.

As we continued on with this topic of mentoring, I saw this as a great opportunity for these girls at such a young age. I’m sure it will most definitely lead them down the right path. Anissa plans to continue to do more hands on activities and projects with young people as soon as the next phase of BWTV has launched.

MJ: What’s next for BWTV?

AR: BWTV will be launching a magazine in October. It will be another outlet to deliver what we cover on the site. With something tangible, it’ll be a faster way to reach and build our audience.  We will have fashion content, as well as various celebrity interviews. On the cover of our first issue will be Fifth Harmony, an all girls group that started on XFactor.

MJ: What are some of the struggles you had to face in this industry?

AR: One of my biggest struggles were finances and funding. As entrepreneurs starting out, we just don’t have the money. Which can lead to frustration. I’m still an artist, so as artists, we get frustrated easily because we want to live our passion. I didn’t just want to work at any mediocre job. Even if it was a job on wall street, I didn’t necessarily want to do it because it wasn’t my passion. But I had to work jobs that I didn’t want to work in order to make money and still do this at the same time. Funding is very difficult. But you have to have perseverance and resilience. I could’ve quit a long time ago when we were just a program on public access. I had camera guys not show up for interviews and hosts that would argue with me and not show up. I didn’t have much money and most of them were working for free. Working on a zero budget, everything came out polished. Even my team now is comprised of interns who only receive a stipend or credit for school. It’s been a struggle, but when people see my work, they know it’s polished. My work speaks for itself, therefore people believe in it. This also shows my leadership skills, to have as many people as I’ve had work with me with no budget says a lot.

MJ: What are some of the results you began to see thus far?

AR: I would say completion and growth. To see how far I’ve come, close to completing and accomplishing my goal is the most fulfilling thing. The connections that I’ve made are also great results. It’s all about who you know. I’ve learned not to burn bridges. My network is my net-worth.

MJ: What would you say your ultimate accomplishment would be?

AR: My ultimate accomplishment would be for BWTV to be known nationally/worldwide. I hope to gain more finances to expand my company, build my team and create jobs. I ultimately want to grow.

MJ: What advice would you give a young person that desires to go down the same path as you?

AR: I would tell them to make sure they have a great support system to surround and encourage them. If finances are an issue, don’t let that stop them. Continue to pursue your dream. Also sit back and reflect, make sure this is really what you want. And don’t be afraid to try different things until you find exactly what fits you.

MJ: So let’s talk Fashion Week

AR: I thoroughly enjoyed this week. I attended many shows, but the Michael Castillo show was my favorite. David Tlale’s show made me feel like I belonged with the African rituals. However, Castillo’s designs were amazing. My favorites were the long gowns.

Lovely Miss Jones is just as passionate about helping others, so I commend Anissa and BWTV for the work that she is putting forth and look forward to working with her soon. To stay up to date on the upcoming magazine as well as other exciting ventures coming from BWTV, visit the website, beautywithintv.com and follow on instagram @beautywithintv. You won’t be disappointed!

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Miss Jones & Anissa Rochester

Are Eyes of Frustration Holding You Back?

Sometimes the things we are looking for/forward to are really right in front of our eyes.

So two nights ago I thought I lost my wallet. I got home from church in a panic looking for it. When I realized I didn’t have it, I said it had to be at the church. I was hoping I didn’t drop it in the street on the way to and from the car. Because I literally had everything in there, the next morning I went to look for it. I had to leave Jersey earlier than I normally would to travel to Brooklyn to go to work in Harlem, which is closer to my home. I tried not to stress over it, but I was honestly a little frustrated being that this was the second time I misplaced it. I went to the church and looked in every place I thought I’d been and couldn’t find it. I immediately felt a way because in my mind, I’d wasted my time traveling that far and still couldn’t find what I needed. I just sat there for a while, called a few people, talked about how I was all messed up now, and looked a few more times. I didn’t see it and needed to go to work, so I left.

When I got off of work, I received a phone call from my mother telling me that she’d found my wallet, at the very church I went to that morning and left without a wallet.

As I was at a concert last night waiting for it to begin, it dropped into my head that sometimes we need a fresh set of eyes. We’re looking with eyes of frustration and a preconceived notion that we’re possibly not going to find it or it possibly won’t happen. When there are fresh/clear eyes, it’s easy for us to see what’s always been.

Then that statement shifted for me. We’re looking for gifts that we already possess. But we’ve become too frustrated that its clouded our vision. Many times, we may not see results as fast as we’d like and after some time, we begin to get frustrated. Through our frustration, we assume we’re not gifted or that we’re missing something. But in actuality, it’s been there all along and we have to keep working in order for us to pull it out. Had I sat back and didn’t make any phone calls to vent before I decided to look again, maybe I would’ve been able to think the night before through. Which would’ve helped me remember exactly where I’d been in the church. I would’ve then been able to find my wallet.

Be encouraged, don’t allow your frustrations to blur your vision. Don’t begin to deny or doubt the things that you already posses. Take a seat back and reevaluate things. Think it over and maybe plan before you continue with your process!