Monday, June 28, 2010

it's the little things...and some hair tips

It's been a while since I've blogged.
This summer is shaping up to be a very interesting one.
I am especially excited about my upcoming 30th birthday (July 24)!!!

Sometimes, when we're in conversation with people, we should really pay attention and hear the revelation behind some of the "little things" that are said.
This week, I was in conversation with several friends and I thought about a few small nuggets of wisdom that stuck with me.
I want to share one of them with you...then at the end of this post, I'm going to post some hair tips for those of you who've been asking me about products and styles.

1. "You are your people." I was with a friend of mine in DC visiting family and as we left, a young lady told my friend "have your people call my people" and my friend responded, "have your people call my people," and the young lady said, "you are your people."

What this says to me is that instead of trying so hard NOT to be like our family or trying so hard to be JUST like our family, we should see our family for who they are and accept what is good for us. Anything that doesn't really line up with who we are as individuals, we should just take it as it is. Much of who we are is attributed to the influences in our lives. Sometimes we allow those influences to shape us TOO much, thus we don't ever really know who we are. We simply become replicates of our mom or dad or uncle or aunt or favorite cousin. However, our family members had their own journeys and they each had to determine the best way for them to go in their lives. Some of our family members would even admit that if they had've had more courage to step out in some areas, they would've made different decisions. True joy in life comes when you're walking in faith trusting God to lead YOU in the direction YOU must go. Your journey is not someone else's. Yes, we are our people, but we are also so much more. We are human. We are spiritual. We are water. We are light. We are so much more complex as individuals than just a few categories or some socioeconomic status label attached to "our people."

Several people have asked me what products I use on my hair and what styles I usually wear.
My favorite style right now is the twist out.
I like this style because it's simple and it lasts for a while.
Plus, once it gets "old" it makes a really cute curly fro!

Products I use:

- To cleanse my hair, I use Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner or Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo/Conditioner and Leave-In conditioner
(I shampoo my hair every other week and I do a "conditioning wash" sometimes twice/week) - A conditioining wash is when you "wash" your hair with only conditioner...not shampoo. Sometimes shampoos will dry out your hair too much.

- For my twists-outs and daily curl definition, I use Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme and Baby Buttercreme
Because my hair is naturally curly, after I wash it, I will put the curly buttercreme on it and then use the diffuser on my hair dryer to "set" the curls in.
This makes my curls last a little longer without getting frizzy from the elements outside.
I've also tried Kinky Curly Curling Custard.
I like this product, however, it makes my hair a little hard because it is a natural hair curling "gel" product.

- For moisture I use Raw Shea Butter (melted to an "oil" and rubbed into my scalp and hair)

I am learning how to do more with my hair, so as I learn about new styles and products, I will post!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

walking towards the light...

As a child, I remember a horror movie called Poltergeist.
And many of you who remember that movie can recall a line or two from it where the little lady was telling Carolanne to "come to the light."
The light was supposed to represent safety from the harm of the evil that was trying to consumer Carolanne.

As I think about my future and destiny, I find that daily, a voice (God, of course) is telling me to "come to the light." The light is the truth about who He is and also who He is within me. My purpose here on earth is the lead others to the light; whether it is by leading them to the right career choice, helping them start a business, teaching them how to set goals and achieve goals or just encouraging someone to look beyond what they see right now. I have a clear purpose for who I am to become in Him because He created that purpose.

So, it's not time for me to become lazy or complacent. As I looked at myself in the morning while rushing to get dressed, I started thinking about how I really need to do my hair. I've been rocking this curly pony puff for about a week and it's such a "lazy" hairstyle for me. Even though it's "cute," it's extremely lazy because it means that I don't have to do anything to it. But, I know that in order for me to get the most of out of my hair, I have to care for it, take time to style it and put the energy and effort into doing so.
I can't become lazy about it because then I'll just settle into this one style and the health of my hair may suffer as a result.

In order for me to be a healthy person in body, mind, spirit, and heart, I must put TIME and ENERGY into developing that woman.
It's life depends on it.
So, I have to continue to walk towards the light which is how my journey is illuminated and I'm able to do the things I need to do.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparation for the Purpose...God's Timing

It's so amazing how GOD will give us a clear vision, but then the journey or way to the vision seems so cloudy.
I'm learning that this is where God wants us to trust Him.
He knows that sometimes, as flawed humans, we have to be able to "see" something before we will trust Him so He gives us the vision.

The vision is something for us to hold on to as we walk the journey.
The vision is so we will have an end in mind so that we'll keep going.

But, He wants us to trust Him with the path that we are to take to make that vision a reality.
He already knows what mistakes we're going to make, and the "detours" and "distractions" we will create for ourselves along the way.
But, we still have a vision.
And with God's hand upon us, we won't forego the overall vision just because we veered off the path for a moment.
Through a consistent relationship and communication with God, we will maintain our life line to Him.

As I continued on this hair journey, I realized that I was being prepared for my purpose. I now realize that this hair journey is about me becoming a new creature.
There is definitely a spiritual transformation taking place, but it started with something that I never thought I'd do.

The preparation process is so important.
The purpose often lies within the process.

For example, if you want a juicy steak on the grilled that's seasoned to perfection, you know that you can't just pull the steak from the freezer and throw it on the grill.
You would follow a specific process:
defrost, tenderize, marinate and then grill.

As humans, we don't want to go through the process of being seasoned because often times, it means that we will be beat down, discouraged, get weary and want to give up. We often think about how difficult things are for us and we lose sight of the vision (the promise). The cares of life bog us down to the point where we can't focus on what God has for us.
But, the lessons we will need in order to sustain the vision are learned during the process.
In one of India Arie's songs, she says that "Life is a journey, not a destination."
We're so focused on the destination that we miss the lessons in the journey

I believe that when we focus on the process of preparation, the end result will be more in tune with how God wants it to be.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bold Transition...

Stepping into uncharted or unfamiliar territories can be frightening.
But, most of the time, it's scary because we're concerned about the social consequences for being DIFFERENT.

Thoughts like, "what will people think?" or "people might laugh at me," may cause us not to take the risk of being uniquely different and set apart.

But, when we become bold and realize that there will NEVER come a day when we'll be able to please people, we'll realize that the only thing that matters is doing what God wants us to do.

God sometimes chooses the most unlikely person to fulfill GREATNESS for Him.
Why does He do this?
He does this because He seeks out the heart and not physical appearance.

God chose Mary, a young, poor virgin, to carry His son!
To avoid the consequences of having a single mother situation, He could've easily chosen a 2 parent family, with a kid and a donkey (did they have dogs back then? - LOL).
But, He didn't!
He chose Mary...
Don't you think He knew she'd be ridiculed and that she'd face torment by her village people?
God chose Mary because He knew her heart and the Bible says that He favored her!

He knew she loved Him and that she'd be grateful for the GREATNESS that would be fulfilled through her.
Mary's cousin, Elizabeth even called her blessed because Mary truly believed that what God said to her would be accomplished. (Luke 1:45)

So, as I transitioned into my natural hair, I realized that I'd get some odd stares, some negative comments from some of the people in my life and face some ridicule.
I had women who said to me, "oh, why would you want to do that, you have such beautiful hair," or "I like your hair straight better, it fits you better."

And, the entire time, I'm thinking to myself, so you like the artificial me have accepted this image as who I really am?
You have no clue who I REALLY am...and I am not THIS hair!

But, I didn't worry about PEOPLE and what they thought.
I believed what God said to me would be accomplished.
I believed that through this intimate hair walk, God would do a new thing in me and that old things would pass away and ALL things would become new.
I believed that God would use this journey to bring women closer to Him through this unexplainable, divine connection we have with our hair!
I believed that God would strengthen my spirit as He ministered to me through this hair journey.

I am willing to place the world's view of my "beauty" on the line to fulfill the GREATNESS that God wants to do through me.

It takes boldness and courage but it's worth it...

Friday, June 11, 2010

just a thought...

we all have those days when we allow things to get to us that really shouldn't.
we are all human and part of that humanity is that we have emotions.
things sometimes happen beyond our control. but what we CAN control is how we respond to it.

one of my hopes for myself is that one day i won't allow what others say or do to have an effect on me to the point of causing me emotional distress.
i can only control what i do and how i respond to what others do.
so, it's about a choice to not let it affect me.

people are going to say they love you, then show you something totally different.
people are going to say they respect you, and then show you something totally different.
but, if we love and respect ourselves, then we won't be so disappointed when others don't!
and more importantly, if we know that God loves us, then whether or not people do, won't matter.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

preparation...the "ugly" phase.

I was thinking today about my facebook status post from yesterday...
"In order to change, we have to go through some changes."
This is a very profound statement because sometimes we want change in our lives but we want it to come instantly or in a way that will be comfortable for us.
But, we quickly realize that in order for change to really happen, we have to go through some changes. Some of those changes aren't very happy or comfortable.
They are often difficult and challenging.

So, as I decided to make this physical change from my relaxed hair to my natural hair, I had to go through some changes.
This phase was quickly named, "the ugly phase."
It was ugly because my hair was becoming something that I didn't recognize and I didn't like it.
Mostly because I didn't really know what to do with it.
There were days when I wanted to just go get a relaxer (go back to what was comforting and looked good).
Then, there were other days when I wanted to chop all the relaxer off (something easy to skip the process).

But, I began to understand that it was part of the preparation process.
And, preparation for a greater purpose is sometimes VERY uncomfortable and requires patience.
I had to start paying attention to my hair and spending more time on my hair to come up with styles that looked good.
In this same way, as we prepare to reach our destiny in life, it will require more effort, greater observation to what's going on in and around our lives, and more time spent on actually working to improve our current state.

So, I started researching about what to do with my hair.
At the same time, on this spiritual journey, I began reading my Bible more, talking to God more and asking Him to lead me in all areas of my life.

My hair was growing and so was I...and it was happening quickly.
Normally, your hair grows about 1/2 inch every month.
Mine was growing twice as fast...about 1 inch every month.
At that same rate of growth was my spiritual life.

I was gaining insight to the things of God and I was getting a better understanding of my purpose and who He created me to be.
But, God was also preparing me for the trials that I would face in the months to come.
How can we endure and go through our storms?
By knowing, believing and standing on the very Word and Promises of God.
He was planting His word in my heart so that I would have the strength to endure.
He got my attention through my hair.
As I paid attention to the new growth, I was also paying attention to my new spiritual growth.

This is one of my prayers for those following this blog.
To allow God to prepare you for the destiny He has for you...

Look at what God encouraged.

I wanted to post this today to encourage anyone who is dealing with ANYTHING that seems too hard. We have to remember what God says to us and believe that He will make it real in our lives...
So, what does He say?

God said…no good thing shall I withhold from them who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11)

God said…the sufferings of this present time shall not be compared to the glory which shall be revealed (Romans 8:18)

God said…trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5)

God said…surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6)

God said…all things work together for good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God said…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like an eagle. (Isaiah 40:31)

God said…greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4)

God said…therefore there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)

God said…if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved (Romans 10:9)

God said... God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

God said…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

God said…delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)

God said…that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

God said…how can a young man keep his way pure?…by living according to the word. (Psalm 119:9)

God said...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

God said...For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (paraphrase) 2 Timothy 1:7

God said...Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? (Jeremiah 32:27)

What is the God Said that you will hold on to today?!
Even if it's not on this list...feel free to comment!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

From the Root....

In preparation for a wedding back in August 2008, I got what would be my last relaxer.
During that visit to the salon, I felt odd and awkward.
I had been getting relaxers for a looooong time...and usually, it was a painstaking process, because I have thick hair and a sensitive that basically meant longer processing and a scabby scalp after it was done.
And, I NEVER really liked my hair bone straight, but my hair was so "unmanageable." (So I thought).

So, anyway, that was the last time I got a relaxer, but I hadn't intended for it to be.
After that relaxer, I decided to wait until the new year to get another relaxer and let my hair grow out a little bit.

So, in December 2008, I was sitting on the sofa in my living room and I was on my laptop looking up hairstyles...
I came across a website that talked about "transitioning" from relaxed to natural.
As I read that article, it because APPARENT to me in a revelatory way that I needed to "go natural."
It was like the Spirit Himself was letting me know that this was not just about what to do with my hair, but this would be a journey towards spiritual transformation.

You see, I was also "in transition." There were some things about to change in my life that I didn't even know about...a spiritual transformation would take place at the same time as this natural/physical transformation.
God knew I would need the strength and the perseverance to endure what was to come...

So what better way to increase strength and perseverance than to put a WOMAN (who struggled with low self-esteem, self-image issues, etc...) through the PROCESS of growing out a relaxer (a comfort zone, a safe place for my self-esteem) and thrust me into wearing my hair in its natural state (a condition where confidence and strength would be needed)?

So, many people will ask, why didn't you just cut it all off?
The answer was part of the purpose.
The purpose of it all was to help me see who I was and who I was to become.
The transition from relaxed to natural involves patience, observation, maintenance, creativity, and endurance.
I would've skipped the PURPOSE of the process just to get to the end result.
That is NEVER what God intends for us.
Sometimes, He desires that we make DRASTIC changes in our lives, however, even then, there is PURPOSE.
But, sometimes, God wants us to go THROUGH the process so that we may see His glory on the other side and appreciate the path that got us there.

This is the beginning of new growth...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a year in the making...

So, this is my first post on my new blog.
On this blog, I will discuss my spiritual journey since deciding to wear my hair natural.

It was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I want to encourage others to do the same.
But, this blog isn't JUST about hair.
It's about taking risks, growth, developing new character, and becoming who God always intended us to be....
It's been a year since I've been completely natural (pic is from last May after getting the last 3 inches of relaxer cut out) and I've learned so much about God, myself, and life since that time.

Feel free to comment, share your stories and experiences with the ways you've experienced your own new growth!!