Viewing entries tagged
Growth

What I Learned from A Meme: What I Asked for, What I got

Memes about a hairstyle that a client asked for versus what the stylist did crack me up. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. Recently I was chuckling about a meme when I realized something: God can relate to the disappointment and frustration of the clients that post the epic fails. These clients were hoping to be satisfied with what they asked for. There was an image or design they had in mind that wasn’t delivered.

As I consider this concept closely I think of times that I’ve sat in a chair or two and was spun around less than satisfied with what the stylist did to my hair. I was frustrated because I showed a picture-more than one knowing me, and was guaranteed by the stylist that they could do it. Ultimately, I was frustrated because I felt like I was lied to, used-assured just so that I would give them my hard-earned money, and completely fooled. Interestingly enough, I can recall a couple of stylists that were proud of their work for whatever reason. Maybe they felt that they should have gotten an “A for effort.”

Imagine how God must feel when He asks for things like obedience, faith, consistency, love, growth, holiness, etc. but gets things less than satisfactory like Plan B’s, riding the fence, overriding the Holy Spirit, broken promises, and so on. How about when we don’t do what He tells us but still pride ourselves and expect the A for effort? Granted He’s our father and knows that we will fall short, we should still purpose in our hearts to please Him. The content and intentions of our heart are everything!

Grace and peace,

Risha

Beauty for Ashes: 1 Year Later

I saw a facebook memory recently.  It was a post announcing that I would be releasing my first book.  My mind “timehopped” to how I felt when I posted the cover art for the project. I was literally nauseous. Not that I find one type of nausea more enjoyable than another but, this was a terrifying feeling. I posted the cover art as a form of accountability for myself to eliminate cold feet.  From there I continued the final writing stages and I spoke to God rather frequently regarding preparing my heart and the hearts of the readers. I wouldn’t dare try to front like there wasn’t any excitement in the mix because there was some of that too.

Even as I write there are so many memories flashing that it’s hard to decide which I should describe next. I’ll begin with the process. I was writing the book towards the end of 2015 but got distracted. Once the distraction was gone I put all of my energy and focus into finishing the book.  I was done with everything around April/ Mayish. After that, I submitted it to Ms. Green and we began to talk about book sizes, the number of pages, what I would need… the “logistics,” if you will.  A while later she sent me a screenshot of the anticipated delivery date and the countdown began.  I got home from work the evening they arrived and slid my box into the house. I sat the box in my thinking chair and walked the floor for a couple of seconds. I opened it and there they were: incarnations of my vision, dreams, nightmares, and testament. I was numb-in a good kind of way. It’s like a shock wave came over me. Once I collected my thoughts, I thanked the Most High, laid hands on the box, and prayed for the readers and path of those books.

I began working on getting the pre-orders out and pubbing online.  I think my first post regarding the book was something like… “so these came in the mail today.” Not long after that I had a book launch party. I joke with myself as I look back at the pictures from that event because that was the day I forgot I had a gap. And then life resumed. My indignation was tried and hard times revisited.  Ultimately I learned that convictions are great but they only really exist when we follow through with them. I saw times that I challenged women to know their worth and couldn’t calculate my own. I found that forgiving has challenges of it’s own; I realized the idolatry was more pressing for me in other forms that sleeping. The craziest thing I learned is that every wound seems healed until it’s pressed. I have more soft spots than I knew.

Nearly 1 year later, Beauty for Ashes has been published and I’m still making trades with God… still seeking healing, still seeking growth, and still seeking his redemption.  I’ve come to see that beauty for ashes is not just a one time thing in my life. The exchange of beauty for ashes is constant. It just happens at different times for different reasons. Making a spectacle of one’s self is not easy. Transparency has its risks. Submission to God is no cake walk. But I’m here for it.  

Peace,
Risha

Life Hacks for Depression

Depression is something else! It's something that many people have wrestled with at some point. Either past or present. There are some who are unaware that they are or have been depressed. There are others who are in denial. I’ve heard some argue that they don’t get Depressed. My interpretation of such is that they may not necessarily know what they've experienced; however, I believe everyone encounters Depression at some point in their life.  Depression tends to have a negative connotation within some cultures. Thus, some people are reluctant to share their experiences.

There are several signs of Depression. It can be an isolated incident or a recurrent one.  It can be for a short period of time or over an extended period. It ranges in severity. Some of the symptoms include: feelings of loss/emptiness/sadness/worthlessness/excessive guilt, loss of interest/motivation, a change in sleep pattern-either excessive sleeping or the lack thereof, a change in appetite-either overeating or no desire to, fatigue or loss of energy, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, continued thoughts of death of feeling that one would be “better off” dead. The symptoms can be experienced in a combination of ways.

The good news is Depression doesn’t have to be long-term or recurring. It’s a matter of thinking and will power. A person has to be willing to get past Depression and not be victim to it.  They also have to change their way of thinking. Negative thinking is a sure way of landing in the cesspool of Depression which, by the way, sometimes does not just stop at a "feeling." 

Take a look at a few life hacks for Depression:

  • Positive thinking-thought life is E V E R Y T H I N G! Thinking on the good things in life improves your mood and overall outlook

  • Positive expression-finding a way to communicate thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner; releasing feelings opposed to suppressing them (my favorite is art-written, visual, and audio)

  • A solid confidant- “one good person” you can talk to with confidence in their ability to keep secrecy (and possibly provide sound insight)

  • Guard your heart! Be leery of negativity and do not allow yourself to be around it.

These are just a few hacks. There are countless others. Find one (two, or three) that work(s) for you and start your process with kicking Depression!

 

Peace,

Marisha

My Truth about Small Beginnings

I saw a post on IG recently that read “every great artists started as an amateur.” This spoke volumes because I am notorious for focusing on final products.  I remember when I began writing spoken word, my brother told me that there was two keys to being a dope poet: “prayer and practice.” I secretly thought surely that could not be the foundation of his excellence; there had to be something else he was doing to produce the leaps and bounds in his art like he was.  Time has backed his claim and I have come to see it true in my own life.

I’m a vivid dreamer: night dreams, day dreams, or visions.  I dream big.  This is where my conflict comes in with small beginnings.  It can be discouraging to “see” yourself doing something grand, or expecting something grand and the results yield the opposite.  It has happened to me plenty of times: planning events and the turnout is not as big or aiming for fundraising and gaining small profits, anticipating mass support and landing with a faithful few.  I believe God is an artist: a visual artist, a writer, a poet, a musician, a designer, a sculptor, the list continues. There is nothing that I’ve seen from the foundation of the earth on its axis to the complexities of our creation that was not done in excellence.  Our projects should be the same. This is where it has become sticky for me in the past.

Because of my desire for excellence I have passed up projects because I did not have the resources.  I have later kicked myself because I despised small beginnings. Small beginnings, from a personal perspective, have caused me to be humble. More than likely, I would be feeling myself if everything always lined up the way I dreamed.  They have also caused me to appreciate the “come up” or, “progress,” if you will. They fuel hope, provide an opportunity to think clearly without being overwhelmed and open several doors for learning opportunities that I would not otherwise have had if  I walked directly into everything sitting in my lap.  Small beginnings have given me an opportunity to see God’s power, wisdom, and plans for my life. It amazes me when I think I know which direction God is coming from and he comes from somewhere I didn’t know existed PLUS some details that never crossed my mind.

n a nutshell, don’t be afraid to dream, don’t be afraid to step out, and don’t be afraid of small beginnings. Cultivate what you have from where you are and let God do the rest.

Peace,
Marisha

 

Why #NoLivesMatter

I believe it’s human nature to gravitate towards people we identify with. It’s not always physical characteristics; it can be beliefs, political parties, tax brackets, age groups, and etc.  This is what has prompted me to consider #NoLivesMatter closely.  Some may hate the very thought of such a concept but the issues that we are seeing today present all the facts.  Based on my observation, everyone wants to be acknowledged.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting acknowledgement.  It becomes problematic when one group (or person) cannot allow another group (or person) to “be great.”   There is a growing controversy between #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter.  In the wake of cries for justice some believe that identifying the significance of black lives is an attempt to omit the importance of other lives.  The very fact that lives matter has to be mentioned should raise concerns.  Our society is self-centered.  It seems that no life can matter without being interpreted as a threat towards another. The problem with “lives mattering” is the absence of balance and consideration for others. As long as humanity continues in self-centered perspectives and actions, no lives will ever matter with the exception of an individual’s own.  We were prepackaged to love and be loved.  Here’s my take:

 

-EACH AND EVERY PERSON MATTERS. When a person says “black lives matter” it does not mean that black lives are solely important.  It expresses the sentiment that some of the injustices we’ve seen were or are racially biased.  Additionally, while we communicate black lives matter, we as African Americans should ensure that we do not focus solely on “black lives” because social injustice is occurring across the board.

 

-There is a vicious cycle occurring.  Citizens become afraid of Police. Police get on edge or “leery” of citizens. Citizens distrust the justice system.  The system distrusts citizens. Does that justify the “trigger finger syndrome?” Absolutely not. But I believe that we should consider two things at minimum: (1) Not all cops are bad cops (2) when they hit the clock for their shifts they want to return home to their lives and families in one piece.

 

-We all have a role to play:
    Parents have responsibilities to teach their children how to respond to particular situations. This statement does not mean that teaching has not taken place.

    We have to know our rights.  There’s no time for assumptions or DIY responses from social media.

    We have to be consistent. What’s happening should not be dropped when the media drops it.

    We have to be informed.  Please understand that the media does its job well. Respond to facts. Let’s not get caught in race wars, hidden agendas, or fads.

    Lastly, although I know people don’t want to read this word: pray.  Pray for justice. Pray for wisdom in how to interact with others.  Pray for government officials to act with wisdom and integrity.  Pray for wisdom in how to promote and execute change.  Is prayer all that we need? Heavens no! But prayer should be in the forefront of our responses as it should be anywhere else (He will direct our paths in all of our ways if we acknowledge him).

Everyone is not going to acknowledge, accept, or agree that the bloodshed is senseless and inhumane.  That’s okay. Stay focused and play your part in bringing about change. Rise above division and fads. Make love and share it.

Two Worlds Collide

May 31, 2016, will be a day that two worlds collide.  I tried to keep them apart as long as I could but this moment is imminent.  The fact that there will be no casualties is a bonus, but it doesn't make me any less anxious.  May 31, 2016, my first book entitled "Beauty for Ashes: The Introduction" will be released.  I use the phrase "two worlds collide" because it means my world of semi-introversion will collide with the world of others: family, friends, colleagues, consumers-everyone.  Quite a few people ask me what I like to do "after hours;" my response is always the same: "writing and sharing poetry."  This project will allow people into my journey, one that was well guarded.  Make no mistake, my book is not a "tell all" but, it shares my thoughts, my heart, life's lessons of tough love, my observations, and plenty more.  I've gone through multiple cycles of giving myself the third degree: "Am I ready?" "Am I dope enough?" Of course, the "what if's" have a series of their own.  

I don't want to give too much away but... It's comprised of my testimony, my struggles, my fears, my outlook on life including society and humanity, as well as my relationship with God.  There are a few excerpts from my journals.  Some of the topics covered are Christian living, greed, love, forgiveness, maturity, and etc. There's something for everyone, I promise.  Although getting to this point was not easy-I'm looking forward to sharing. 

Every now and again I do something and I experience a form of confirmation; it's like my heart gives me a nod of approval.  Despite the barrage of fear and worries I've experienced since I began to focus on this book, once I completed the project my heart gave me "the nod."  Should I never learn of any other gift from God, I know and will be forever grateful for my gift to write.  Sometimes I write purely from emotion.  Sometimes I get the pleasure of being the scribe.  He tells me what to write and I do as He says.  I can only hope that every reader gains more love and adoration of God after reading my book.  I also hope that it sparks hope and catapults others into healing and growth.  I now realize that God wills for me (and you) to be whole.  There are some cracks holes that He's had to fill.  There's breaking and healing that I've had to and continue to experience.   My relationship with God is a journey; I've had my first taste of redemption and in the midst of growing further in His grace and love I have purposed in my heart that I want to bring as many people along as I can. 

Care to join me?