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

The Process. It’s Good For You

As I’ve discussed in my previous post, many things have begun to change around me. After I wrote that piece, it seems like I’ve felt completely all over the place. Things are definitely moving in another direction. And in some cases, not at all how I’d anticipated. Through my circumstances and experiences, I’ve come to realize that the process is good. No matter what it looks like, no matter how uncomfortable it may be; the process is needed. 
These past few days I’ve consistently said to myself, “God has a way of doing things.” Nothing happens haphazardly, it’s all for a purpose. There’s significance, it’ll birth something. After a situation last night, I realized it caused me to see things differently. There are times when we begin to allow fear to overtake us. We see the inconsistency of our success, the constant roadblocks, and we begin to think that maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe what we desire isn’t really what we deserve. Despite our feelings, there’s a purpose in all that we go through. Our circumstances and situations do the following:

  • Settles us. Difficulties have a way sitting us down. Sometimes we run too much physically, emotionally, and mentally. There are times when our situations cause us to take a step back, relax, and evaluate. 
  • Shows us where our dependence should lie. The different things that we go through in life also cause us to realize that we shouldn’t put our security and dependence in things. We can’t trust physical things. We have to put our trust wholeheartedly in God. Our plans aren’t always His plans. He knows what’s best for us; and even if it’s not what we had planned, it’s greater. 
  • It teaches us. There’s always a lesson through every struggle. It’s all preparation for what’s soon to come. It’s building and strengthening us for our future. If we don’t go through things, we won’t be able to grow. We won’t have a backbone, or any endurance. We would fall apart at every sign of disappointment.   

We have to learn to discern the seasons of our lives. Everything isn’t meant to last always. But there’s purpose in it. There are certain times that we have to go through a season where we have to just settle ourselves down. This season helps you to mature and grow into the person that you’re supposed to be. It will help us to somewhat master the art of balance. It causes us to trust that God has major purpose for our lives. And all we have to do is trust Him. We have to learn to trust the process. We have to realize the only way we can be purposeful is when we understand the process. So I encourage you today, don’t allow a particular season in your life to break you. Comply and yield yourself to your process. If it causes you to be still in order to teach you balance, allow it to. If it’s going to increase your faith because you realize Gods position in your life, allow it to. Trust that the best is yet to come when you continue in your process, instead of giving up. 

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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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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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)

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

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!

“Dreams Won’t Work Unless You Do”

As I thought these past few days what my next post would be, I somewhat drew a blank. My last two posts were reviews, and I have interviews and features scheduled, but I wanted to share a post that was inspirational through a personal experience. Which is the central theme of my blog. I’ve written two potential blog posts, but I just didn’t feel as if it was the right time to post them. One on Friday and another last night. I have plenty of topics I could possibly write about, but I continued to contemplate if I should post them.

So today, I had a scheduled interview that we ended up rescheduling for tomorrow. It was better for the person I’m interviewing and myself travel wise; and I thought it would be a great chance for me to work on my next post that I definitely wanted to post today.

As I began to skim through Instagram, one of the first pictures that caught my attention said, “Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do.” Immediately I said to myself, this might be good. I then took out the latest issue of Essence Magazine to see what I could find. Essence has always been one of the places I find the most inspiring and motivating pieces. So I wondered if I’d get inspired from one of the articles. The first article I read was an email written by a fifteen year old girl. She shared her story about how she was accepted into the yes we code hackathon at the essence festival this past July. Her mom was struggling to find a way for them to get down to New Orleans. They weren’t sure if they’d be able to afford a hotel room and plane tickets. After they were told they’d be able to have a dorm, they only had to worry about the tickets. However, they were too expensive. Her mother tried her best to get this done for her daughter by going to the bank and trying to get an increase on her credit card, but she couldn’t. At that moment she felt like a failure, she felt like she couldn’t deliver. Her mother then chose another option and they decided to drive. While they were down in New Orleans, the young girl worked the hardest she’d ever worked with her team to come up with an app that would help stop sex trafficking. On her way back she learned that her team had won for best social impact.

After reading this great article, the pieces began to come together. We can have all of these dreams, but it will never work for us if we don’t put in the work that’s required. And after we’ve encountered disappointments, it’s our job to find another option. Change the method, but not the goal. And the end result will be great.

These past two years have shown me this. I’ve discovered how passionate I really am about my writing. In that, I’ve created a few goals for myself. I would like to reach as many people as possible, create change, build my audience, as well as build my credibility as a writer. Now all of these things require work. If I sit back and expect things to fall into my lap, it’ll never happen. As I begun to really put in the work, things are beginning to happen. I made a decision to write more consistently, which has drawn more readers. Because of that, I’ve heard many people say how encouraged they’ve been because of it. In order to build my credibility as a writer, I made goals to share my writing as much as possible through other outlets aside of my own blog. This could only be possible if I continued to work on my writing and submit samples here and there. Things won’t always be peaches and cream. There will be disappointments when you don’t get results immediately. But when you keep working, success will come. As I continued writing, I began to get recognized for my work. My work was able to speak for me. And in that I am now doing a weekly blog in the wellness section of the online magazine, Everything Girls Love (everythinggirlslove.com). Which was one of the personal goals I set for myself. People have also begin to reach out to me for services regarding my blog. And this is just the beginning of my dreams being unfolded. Had I been asked two years ago if I’d be here or going down this path, I don’t believe I would’ve said yes. But because I realized that work is required in order to make things happen, I am.

So I encourage you today to put in the work. Whatever your dreams are, it’s possible for you to fulfill. But you have to do something in order to make it happen. When things come up against you that lead to disappointment, don’t stop. Keep going and see where it leads you!

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