Laying here thinking. The first of three scheduled presidential debates happened last night. No, I did not watch it. I already know who I am voting for. The debate would not have changed my mind. Even with knowing who I am voting for, some would say I should have watched the debate anyway. But why? Only to feel as hopeless and discouraged as those who did watch it? If anyone has followed the two candidates over the past several years.. not months, but years.. you would know their character. Their character has not changed. Then you add age. I believe as a person ages their true character surfaces even more. It is as if the older a person becomes, the more prominent their “I don’t give a ______” attitude becomes. Am I right, or am I right? If you have ever spent time with older adults, you know what I am referring to. Sometimes they are very amusing. However, when it comes to leading our country, amusement is the last thing we need.
So… the reason behind the title. As I was reading headlines and social media posts, I began to feel hopeless, and even fearful. I felt like what was the use of even hoping for a better outcome when this is all we have. Is our country doomed?
Then God reminded me that He is still in control. He is hope. You see, the goal of the enemy is to create fear and chaos. To get us to take our focus off God. Once we have done this, he has won. Y’all, I refuse to let him win. Hope will win. Love will win. Kindness will win. Peace will win. God will always win.
I do not have much time to write. I need to get ready for work. So I am going to make this short.
Been following this guy Gary Vee on social media. I started listening to him because I liked his no-nonsense way of motivating people to pursue their dreams. According to him, no dream or idea is unobtainable. All we have to do is go after it. Honestly, he says what people already know, but need someone to actually voice it. For example, on his Instagram Live, he invites people to chat with him. Some have already started businesses while others are just getting started. Most of them come with questions about how to move forward. Like, they are in a place where they feel vulnerable, unsure of themselves, and unsure of their next moves. Gary steps in, says a few cuss words (which makes his advice even more interesting) and gives it to them straight. Most of the time the thing that holds people back is FEAR. After carefully listening to their stories, he tells them what they are afraid of. Some are afraid of failure. Others are afraid of others’ opinions. Of course there are so many more fears out there. Think about why you have not pursued your goals or dreams and I am pretty sure fear is in there somewhere. As I said, he just voices what people already know but are afraid to admit.
Anyway, one of his big takeaways is– do it! Want to start a business? Do it! Basically, nothing is stopping you, but you. Another takeaway, that has really motivated me to move forward, is to stop overthinking your moves. This one was a big for me. I tend to overthink things. Especially things that I believe I will be judged on. Most of it is associated with my professional life. HA! I tend to let go and have fun in my personal life.Lol! My professional life is where the whole perfection thing comes in. Here is what Gary Vee has to say about perfection, “Perfect is based in insecurity.” How true is that! It is exactly what I have been writing about over the past year or so– facing my insecurities.
Okay.. I really need to go. Just felt like writing. Yes, I could finish writing later, but I am pretty sure you would get a totally different blog. So I am going to post this one.
Check out Gary Vee on social media. His style of delivery is not for everyone. Lol! However, I love it! It has me moving forward.
Word of advice– do whatever makes you happy. Whatever that may be (as long as it is not causing someone harm- thought I needed to add this tiny disclaimer- Lol). Forget perfection. Forget others’ opinions. Just do it. Do you! It really is that simple.
My first thought was to save this for my weekly Hello Sunday blog since it sounds like a Sunday message. But this is how I am feeling now– in this particular moment. So I am sharing.
After checking Facebook and Twitter this morning, I began to feel discouraged. Every post/tweet was about chaos and doom. If someone was not sharing stories about us going to a cashless, socialist society, then they were sharing stories about injustices and living in the last days. Sometimes.. no.. most of the time, it is so overwhelming. However, this morning, as always, God reminded me that He is still in control. Our job is to trust Him in spite of what we see.
When I was a little girl, I spent my summers with my great-great grandma, Madea. Every morning Madea would get up, pray, and read one chapter from her ginormous white Bible. That chapter was Psalm 23. It was her morning ritual. Y’all, she did this every morning before she started her day. To this day, that entire chapter is instilled in me. However, verse 4 is my secret weapon. Whenever I feel afraid, that one verse seems to calm all of my fears. I dare you to recite it when you are afraid. Whew! Talk about peace like no other! Personally, it kind of makes me feel like royalty. As if my daddy is The King and I am His princess. Like nothing can touch me. Sounds crazy– huh? But it does.
Anyway, without further ado, here is Psalm 23. Enjoy! And use it!
Psalm 23 KJV
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.
Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.
Okay… moment of full transparency.
It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!
The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.
Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!
The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.
The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.
When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.
After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.
As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.
Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.
Sitting here reminiscing about events that took place in the Summer of 2014. Y’all, so many wonderful things happened that that year. Like the memory I am about to share.
One day, out of the blue, I received an invitation to attend a culinary media training event in New Orleans. It was an all-expenses paid trip. All I had to do was show up. At first, I was hesitant about going because I was afraid. I was afraid that I would not live up to what was expected of me. I was afraid that I would make mistakes. I was afraid I would not fit in. I was afraid of where it could possibly lead me. I was afraid of the potential– my potential. Then, I remembered God’s favor. He would not have presented the opportunity if He believed I could not handle it. I mean, EVERYTHING was paid for. All I had to do was go. So, I went. Here is what I wrote afterwards:
New Orleans was definitely a great professional experience. I came back with a sense of worth. I felt like I could actually accomplish my goals. I now have a different outlook on life & my role in this universe. I am destined for greatness & there’s nothing wrong with it. Thank you God for helping me realize my potential. Please give me the knowledge, strength, courage, and intelligence to do things the correct way. I thank you so much for the favor!
Shaun’s Journal: June 2014
Can’t you hear Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers singing, God’s Favor? I can! The song says, “God’s favor is more precious than life.”
Yesterday was very long and draining— mentally and emotionally. So, I reinstalled my social media apps with the intention of only posting my blog and managing business accounts. Needless to say, I fell right back into the same trap as before. I could not stop scrolling through the stories. Some of the stories were horrifying– people being tear gassed, looters destroying stores and properties, and people crying for justice. While other stories offered hope– law enforcement officers marching alongside protesters, white friends and colleagues recognizing and denouncing racism, and people being blessed in the midst of this madness. All of it was so overwhelming.
Some time during my scrolling and crying, I fell asleep. When I awoke, I had this song stuck in my head, I Surrender All. Growing up, we would sing it during alter calls (part of church services where people asked for prayer). The song says:
I surrender all I surrender all All to Thee, my Blessed Savior I surrender all
Y’all, I needed this reminder. For the sake of my sanity, I have to surrender all to God. For the sake of humanity, we must surrender all. There is a scripture in the Bible that reads:
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22