Friday, December 30, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Just remember that all things work together for our good if we LOVE Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So, as long as we keep loving God and living out His purpose for our lives, everything else will come together for our good. So, practice more patience in your love for others. If you are married, be more patient with your spouse. If you are a parent, be more patient with your children. In your relationships, practice waiting without becoming annoyed and trust God to work it out for your good. Focus on becoming a better person, pursue your dreams and walk in your destiny.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
"I'm too blessed to be stressed, too anointed to be disappointed," or
"If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side, where would I be?"
or my personal favorite,
"God is good, all the time and ......c'mon you know what to say....all the time, God is good." RIGHT!!! :-)
And, while most of these terms are based on scripture or someones personal testimony, they often are repeated in concert by the church with no real connection to the message behind the cliche. In some cases, they have become ways for people to sound and be, what I like to call, "churchy."
As you develop a personal relationship with God, our creator, you start to get a better understanding of what people really mean and feel when they say things like that.
YOU start to understand and even witness the actual goodness of God in your own life and even through the difficult times, you learn that God IS good!
Well, I was thinking about where I am right now and what I should blog and one of these "churchy cliches" came to mind and it is reflective of where I have been and where I am and probably where I'll continue to be.
"If He brought you to it, He'll take you through it!"
This message popped into my mind and I started to think about all the things He (God) had brought me TO. For the purposes of my relationship with God, I look at "brought me" the same as "allowed." I believe that God, in many situations, ALLOWS us to endure different situations and doesn't necessarily bring those situations upon us.
He "brought me" to a period of unemployment and "lack," but eventually, I walked with Him through it and now I'm gainfully employed.
He "brought me" to a period of loneliness and heartache, but as I continued to keep my eyes on Him, I'm experiencing more joy in my life because I'm surrounded by love from family and friends.
And those are just two examples of how I've witnessed this saying in my own life.
Usually, people use this saying to encourage others during times of hardship and suffering.
We are encouraging them to keep their focus on God and He will bring us through every situation because He will never leave us or forsake us.
But, recently, I've had to shift the relevance and application of this saying to my life right now.
Now, I'm at a place where God is actually bringing me to some of His PROMISES for me!
So many incredible opportunities to live out my dreams and to fulfill His destiny for me, are right at my fingertips, and I'm excited, but somewhat fearful of what lies ahead.
So, when I think about the phrase, "If He brought you to it, He'll take you through it," I think it also applies to the good times and His promises.
Often, we are more fearful of the promises than we are of the pain.
Our pain becomes so much of a consistent part of life that we can't imagine a life without pain and heartache or disappointment.
So, when we begin experiencing the harvest season of life, we can't even believe that God really does allow His Son and sun to shine in our lives.
So we become afraid instead of believing that if He promised it and brought it to us, then we will get to the other side of that promise into destiny!
The good news is that, if we are in relationship with Him, God will walk in front of us allowing his favor to go before us into places that we would never imagine and He's walking beside us to help us learn how to experience Him through faith.
If He brought you to it (allowed it to happen in your life, sent his abundant blessings your way, answered your prayers, making all things work together for your good), then He will bring you through it (to a place of destiny, fruitfulness, and joy).
Thursday, September 22, 2011
In August, I started a new job and a PhD program and I've been going full speed ever since.
I feel like I haven't had much time to enjoy the leisurely activities that I did during my time of unemployment (rest).
And, oh how I miss my Zumba classes (I need to find some that fit into my schedule ASAP)!
But, as I sat and thought about how tired I felt, I decided to stand up and stretch.
I walked over to the window in my office, lifted my arms above my head and pulled my body into a deep stretch...then, I bent down and stretched my back and legs. When I stood up, I felt much better!
I felt a lot of the tightness and tension leave my body and even felt a burst of energy that helped me continue the rest of the day.
I think life sometimes requires us to stretch to feel better.
We often become bogged down with the routine and tired from all of the roles we play in life.
When we're able to "stretch" our minds and our spirits to focus on something else, it often helps us feel a lot better.
But, how do we "stretch," mentally, spiritually and emotionally?
Do something different to change your perspective about where you are and what's important
- Take a leisurely walk with no clear destination - observe, meditate, smile
- Eat your lunch outside
- Start a conversation with a stranger
- Take a moment to stand outside and look up in the sky (it's amazing how much clarity you receive when you realize how small you are in this giant world)
- Take deep breaths (you will notice how very little we are actually breathing!)
These may seem like really simple acts, but how often do you really take a minute to do such things?
How often do we feel like we don't have the time to take a minute and enjoy life and our surroundings?
What are some of the things you do to "stretch" throughout the day?
Monday, September 5, 2011
As we draw closer to Him and begin to understand the plans He has for us, sometimes it requires us to take a path that isn't always understood or doesn't even make sense to other people. I believe it is our individual journeys and our collective faith that makes our connection with God and His purpose for our lives so great!
So at some point we just need to live...mistakes and all....so we can know that power and share with others.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I use the word "shifting" as opposed to "shift" because it is actively taking place, even as I type.
You might not understand what I'm talking about so let me help you understand.
Over the past two years I've experienced the following (not necessarily in this order, but pretty close)...
- Sold a house; moved into an apartment
- Got divorced
- Was laid off from a job
- Started developing a small business
- Started my natural hair journey
- Started this blog
- Turned 30
- Wrote a book about that hair journey
- Used public assistance (unemployment) to support myself
- Developed new friendships/relationships that will be lifelong
- Strengthened old relationships
- Applied for countless jobs
- Interviewed for some great positions
- Applied for and accepted to a PhD program
- Hired for a management position at a major globally acclaimed institution
These are just a few of the life changes I've recently experienced.
Not to mention that my personal life has taken quite a few interesting turns of its own.
So, I choose to say, instead of saying I've experienced problems or challenges, that my life is shifting.
During a shift, there are some things that happen in our lives that cause us to STOP in our idea of movement and take a look at what is happening in our lives and around our lives.
If you remember, as a child, standing on a carousel that is moving, you remember that if you moved too much during the movement of the carousel you would get dizzy and often stumble and sometimes even fall down.
So, normally, you would stand still and hold on to one of the poles that supported the carousel animals.
The purpose of the shift in life is to prepare us to walk in our purpose and destiny.
I am a believer that greatness is not an accident and doesn't JUST happen.
There is purpose in everything that happens in our lives that leads us to a place of purpose and destiny.
In other words, stop trying to figure out why you're going through life's shift and just hold on.
Many times, we feel that we must "keep it moving."
Our culture makes those of us who are ambitious, goal-oriented and purpose-driven feel that we need to constantly move so that we won't be left out or left behind.
But sometimes movement actually means standing still and allowing movement to take place around us and shift our current position in life. It doesn't mean that we aren't always thinking, conceptualizing and dreaming, but it just means that we take the time to stop and see where we are and use that view to help us figure out the next move.
Just like that carousel that is moving even while we are standing still; life is similar.
Sometimes life is moving all around us and as we stand still we are able to see different perspectives as it moves.
The position in life where we are walking in purpose and living our dreams, sometimes requires that our perspective change. We don't always SEE things the way we need to see, so when we are able to stop and watch the movement around us, our eyes are opened in a new way.
We are able to define who we are and what it is we are here on Earth to do.
Each of us has a divine purpose, which is great in one way or another, but often, life's circumstances and situations cause us to lose sight of that purpose and we end up moving our feet but not walking in or on purpose.
You are on the brink of greatness and there is something that you must SEE before you can take the actions that will eventually lead you to greatness.
So, stand still, hold on, keep dreaming, see what you need to see, then ACT accordingly.
Your destiny is not going to be by chance...
It's on purpose...be still, so you can walk into it!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
"Wash and Go" Style
aka "Bunny Puff"
Easy style for hot, summer, "go with the flow" days!!!
So, I'm sure you've realized by now that we are on a "downward slope" to the end of 2011.
The year is over halfway complete and we are cruising through summer at a pretty good pace.
Right about now, many of you are making to-do lists filled with plans for fall, planning holidays and end of year vacations.
You're making lists of things to buy your children for the beginning of the school year and you're already focusing on some changes you need to make for 2012.
But, really, you can determine how fast life is moving for you.
And all of this planning can become very overwhelming when you think about where you are now and what you have to do to get to where you want to be (whew, that was a mouthful)!!!
But, I would advise you to FIGHT THE URGE to jump ahead and plan every single day and week of the next 52 weeks of your life!!
Sometimes we miss out on valuable (an invaluable) interactions, experiences, moments, and opportunities because it wasn't in our "plan!"
Just during the past year of my life, I've met so many people and experienced some randomly occuring blessed moments because I decided to ditch the plan for the day or week.
Through hardship and life's turmoil, I've learned to GO WITH THE FLOW.
Sometimes, even our very plan, is against life's natural flow.
Sometimes, life and the Spirit is telling us to just follow and go with the flow.
Don't worry so much about where you're going and what to do, just enjoy the journey and you'll get to where you need to be.
This is certainly evident in my life right now.
As I continue to cultivate my personal relationships with God and loved ones, start a PhD program, a new career and continue to grow my business, I'm constantly reminded that sometimes the FLOW is not in the PLAN.
Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting that we don't need to set goals. I'm a very goal oriented person and I think when we have goals we are able to focus on our purpose and make a greater impact on our life and the lives of others. But, our plan needs to be in line with the way your life is moving.
We get so lost in our own agenda that we don't pay attention to the direction our life is actually taking us.
So, like I stated earlier, some of us miss out on so many opportunities to experience joy and growth because we weren't sensitive to what our life was telling and showing us.
So, as we move forward with the rest of the year, I'd advise you to pay attention to your heart, mind and spirit and fight the urge to plan, plan, plan.
My PLAN for the rest of 2011 is to move with, not against, the flow of my life's current!!!!
Monday, July 18, 2011
So, the other day, I was standing at the sink twisting my hair and going through my usual routine of massaging my scalp with castor oil and finger combing and conditioning the ends of my hair.
As I stood there looking at myself in the mirror, I began to think about my upcoming birthday.
On 7/24/11, I'll be 31 years old.
But, as I thought about birthdays, I thought about the fact that by the time my birthday arrives, I would have already completed my 31st year of life.
So, in actuality, on my birthday, I will begin my 32nd year of life.
Then, I just began to think about how much life is really a process and journey.
We have to go through whatever process we are faced with, in order to get the title associated with what we've accomplished.
When we were born, we didn't instantly become 1 year old. We had to spend that first year in stages and each month we got a little closer to the completion of that very first year of life.
But, ultimately, on our 1st birthday, we and everyone else in our lives, celebrated the fact that we made it!
So, as we walk through life, we must remember that we have to go through many processes in order to have the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishment!!!
Sometimes we want to put the cart before the horse and gain title and recognition before we go through the process.
But, once we go through the process, then we obtain the title, we rejoice in our accomplishment, and we prepare to begin the next phase of the process!
God gives us the ability to dream big and have a vision for our lives. But sometimes we want to jump straight to it without walking through each and every step. If you find yourself being impatient with the process, then remember my example of the infant going through his or her first year of life. At every phase there were milestones and lessons learned. They learned to sit up, crawl, stand up on their own, move from formula to more solid food, some even began walking unassisted. But at each phase, there was progress. It wasn't always about getting to that first birthday party, but it was about enjoying the journey along the way.
That's what I believe God wants us to do. He wants us to commit our ways unto Him, trust Him with our vision and let Him lead us and guide us while we enjoy the journey!
Sooo, as I continue to work on GROWTH in all areas of my life, I can practice patience and perseverance knowing that I am going through a process and each step is getting me closer to that day of rejoicing and celebration!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
But, I was thinking the other day about all of the "how-to" questions I get from friends, and even strangers, about my hair and various styles.
I decided to do this post as a way to give some insight into my "process" of styling my hair.
I generally wear the same styles on a regular basis (unless I get my braider, Natasha, to do something special for me).
The styles I choose are generally low and easy maintenance and allow me the opportunity to wear one style for a longer period of time.
So, here I will feature some basic instructions for a simple braid-out that I did last week.
I was really pleased with the results.
Tropic Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
Darcy's Botanicals Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner
Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade
1. After Shampooing my hair (with the castor oil shampoo) and applying Darcy's leave in conditioner throughout, I sectioned my hair (as you can see I don't part my hair at all!).
NOTE: For this style, I didn't use a wash-out conditioner because the leave-in conditioner does really well on my hair and the burnt sugar pomade is all oil based and acts as a humectant which seals in moisture.
2. I made sure each section was still wet with conditioner (and an occasional spritz of my water and vegetable glycerin mix - from my water bottle), used the burnt sugar pomade and distributed it throughout.
3. I finger combed each section to ensure that it was detangled.
4. Then, I braided (or plaited as we say down south) each section...when I got to the end, I twisted the ends around my finger.
I really like this style because it is simple to achieve and relatively low maintenance.
Feel free to hit me up on Facebook (Margaret A. Brunson) or Twitter @MBisFree for more questions!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Recently, I met with 2 retired executives with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) to receive some free business counseling for my consulting firm. As they gave their recommendations one of them talked about finding your niche. As he talked about setting yourself apart and figuring out what you do better than anyone else, he quickly stated, "don't just be a me too."
I actually stopped to think about what he was saying and once I realized what he said I immediately grabbed on to the application of that statement in my life.
We all have gifts, talents and abilities. But we have to use those unique gifts in ways where we stand out and apart from everyone else. As a special creature made by God, we each have a distinct place in the Earth. So it's up to us to find that place. Plenty of people can sing. But what sets the talent of someone like Jennifer Hudson apart from another gifted singer. Alot of times it's drive and the willingness to step out and pursue a dream or goal.
I don't want to just be a "me, too" who goes through life doing what everyone else does. I want to be set apart and special.
Even when it comes to my personal style and image I want to stand out for my uniqueness and confident approach to my physical appearance. Don't just be a "me, too."
Time to #standout #justsaying
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I mean, it isn't because I haven't been inspired.
There's so much to write about!
From the British Royal Wedding to the Arnold S. case to the early extreme heat wave going through North Carolina right now.
Also, there have been local bear sightings, devastating tornadoes and of course, Garner NC's own Scotty McCreery in the final two on American Idol.
But, this really isn't that type of blog.
This blog is dedicated to inspiration and encouragement and I do that through my own thoughts, daily experiences and revelations about my hair journey.
So, today, I was inspired to write after watching Oprah's final show after 25 years on air as The Oprah Winfrey Show.
She said so many things that were inspirational, thought-provoking, prophetic, informational and encouraging.
There were quite a few things she said that will resonate with me for days to come because I find myself in a place, right now, to receive what she said and apply it to my life.
However, one thing she said really stuck with me and I wanted to share my thoughts about it.
Oprah talked about how we all have a voice in our spirit that speaks to us. And when we are still and listen to that voice, we will obtain guidance for our lives. She mentioned that when she has tried to do things on her own or made mistakes it was because she didn't listen to that voice.
She said we all have this voice and it is God and our life speaking to us and it is up to us to listen.
I'm very much in THE "listening lesson" of my life right now.
There are things I've asked of God to do in my life and I'm at a point now where I believe things are moving in the direction they're supposed to.
I'm absolutely confident that I'm on the brink of a major shift towards greatness and influence. I've asked God for growth this year and when something is growing, it is stretching. Growth is sometimes very uncomfortable.
When children grow, it means they have to buy new clothes and shoes because the old clothes no longer fit. When plants grow, sometimes it means re-potting that plant to place it in a larger plant where it has room to keep growing.
So, as an individual who is growing, I am going to be uncomfortable.
When I don't listen to what my life is saying, I start to become discouraged and doubt that my life is headed in the direction of growth, change, success, and greatness.
I can even see my life and the things that are happening that are "falling into place" according to my vision and hope, but because I'm still unemployed, have no stable income and slowly growing a business, I get discouraged.
That voice in my life, just like Oprah mentioned, is God.
God IS my life.
So, what is my life saying to me?
My life is telling me:
"Trust and follow.
Stop trying to plan it all out.
Just trust and follow.
I have everything worked out for your good and when you begin to truly trust and follow, you will start to see where I'm taking you.
Even though certain areas of your life are in "lack" right now, I have still blessed you with abundance overall.
You have family and friends who love you.
I have placed you in an environment with people who encourage, nurture, challenge and push you to do everything I called you to do.
So, stop worrying.
Trust and follow.
You are going to see, soon enough, what I have in store for you."
"I hear you."
Your life is speaking, are you listening?
- Spiritually Natural
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I'm so excited about the Spring season.
I definitely went through a WINTER season of my life this year and I'm ready for the newness that Spring brings.
There are opportunities on the horizon and plenty of blessings on the way from above!
It's so exciting to think about the beautiful sunshine, flowers, and warm breezes throughout the entire day!
Not to mention, the chirping of the birds and sights and sounds of children playing outside after school.
For me, the Spring season brings an opportunity to RENEW my commitment to spiritual growth.
Two years ago this month, I cut out the last of my relaxer and started this New Growth hair journey!
I was in transition prior to that, but the day I cut out the last 3 inches of my relaxed hair was the beginning of a NEW me.
I continue my hair journey, but now it's time for another type of transformation...but, still New Growth.
NOW, I'm commiting myself to a healthier lifestyle.
I'm ready for change in my mind, BODY, and spirit.
This process begins with a mental and spiritual commitment to living a healthier lifestyle by gaining discipline and making healthier choices with nutrition and exercise.
What does this mean for ME?
I've made the DECISION to live healthier.
And just like any other DECISION in our lives, there will be pros and cons.
But, it means that I'm going to choose healthier foods to eat, and commit to a more active lifestyle through exercise.
By eating more nutrient dense fruits and vegetables and choosing lean proteins and low and no fat dairy products, limiting sugar and fat intake and exercising regularly, I will transform!
I'm not going to put pressure on myself to "lose weight" because if I focus on my health, weight loss will be the end result, in addition to healthier hair, clearer skin, and numerous other health benefits.
When we focus on the right thing, benefits are inevitable.
It's like the scripture Matthew 6:33 that says "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (NIV). When we seek to please God and live according to His definition of what is righteous and what is good, then everything that is supposed to happen in our lives will. He will take care of us when we focus on Him!
My spiritual journey will now include this new commitment.
I present my body as a living sacrifice....
Romans 12 (New Living Translation)
A Living Sacrifice to God
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Stay tuned for updates and feel free to send me encouragements, healthy eating tips, etc...
Facebook: Margaret A. Brunson
Friday, April 15, 2011
So, I was talking to a couple of young ladies yesterday at the gym and they were saying that their boss (who is a Black man), makes comments to them about their natural hair whenever they wear it in its natural state and not straight. He says it's nappy or makes comments that make them feel uncomfortabe wearing their hair natural to work.
When I left the gym, I couldn't stop thinking about this guy and how much of a slap in the face it is for a black man to not support women with natural hair.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Dear Young Black Woman/Girl/Teenager who has ever felt less than beautiful:
I did this for you. I was afraid but I stepped out into uncomfortable territory so that I could grow, change and share my story with you. I had thoughts like, "what will people think?" or "people might laugh at me," which sometimes cause us not to take the risk of being uniquely different and set apart. But, when you understand how bold and powerful you are and when you realize that there will NEVER come a day when we'll be able to totally please people, you will know, then, that the only thing that matters is how God sees us. And when you begin to see yourself the way He does, you will be FREE. Your spirit, mind and body will be free.
My decision was to go back to my natural hair and back to myself. And as I decided to make this physical change from my relaxed hair to my natural hair, I had to go through some changes. I began to understand that this journey was part of a preparation process; preparation for a greater purpose which 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 you prepare to reach your destiny in life, it will require more effort, greater observation to what's going on in and around your life, and more time spent on actually working to improve yourself. 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."
But, I did not worry about PEOPLE and what they thought.
I believed that my mission would be accomplished.
I believed that through this intimate hair walk, I would experience a new thing: FREEDOM and CONFIDENCE in self and that old things would pass away and ALL things would become new. I believed that this journey to bring women closer to their own purpose through this unexplainable, divine connection we have with our hair!
I believed that I would gain spiritual and emotional strength as I walked out this hair journey.
I was and 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.
So, go forward in boldness and confidence. Reach your destiny. Fulfill your dreams.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I thought it was an excellent movie and more than that, it was thought-provoking and incited me to really examine myself. As I watched the movie, I realized a lot about myself and my view of life and purpose.
I don't want to get into the plot of the movie, but I wanted to share something that stood out to me and how I plan to apply it to my life.
LOVE IS OUR PURPOSE.
I am a strong believer in God. And I truly understand the power of Love and how when God is in our lives, we will know how to love.
However, sometimes, I tend to be so "purpose-driven," that I neglect the importance of LOVE in my life. Receiving love from others and also showing love to others.
I believe that I know how to love, but at the point where it "interferes" with my purpose, I don't always focus on it.
However, LOVE is the foundation of our purpose in life.
Then, I thought about 1 Corinthians 13, which is the scripture where Paul talks about Love. Sometimes, I focus on the part that says what Love is, but I was forced to think about the first part of that passage which is,
"1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing."
So, as I think about it, Paul was saying that nothing we do in life matters if we don't have love. I may have gifts and be able to do great THINGS for God, but if I don't have love, then it doesn't matter.
The movie reinforces this thought. Love is the central theme even though when you watch it you might think that the central theme is purpose. But, that's just it...LOVE IS OUR PURPOSE! And we should make every effort to walk and live in love...in love with God and with each other.
If you've seen it, let me know what you think and what you took away from it!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
But, most of the changes, even those that were tumultuous, were for my good and have worked out to be for the best!
I recognize, now, that who I became for about 7 years was not who I was at all.
I was walking around with straight, flat hair, an affect just as flat, wearing no make up, not communicating and relating to my friends on a regular basis, and without LIFE!
Sure, I was alive, but I wasn't LIVING!
I was simply existing and surviving in my chosen environment.
Now, as I enter in another Spring season of LIFE, I'm so grateful to be BACK to myself.
Through my hair journey, I've rediscovered who I am and what is important to me.
I believe that this energy that's so inspired by my hair gives me the confidence to be myself and know that who I am is actually ok.
I don't have to dumb down, water down and play down who I am.
As women, or even people, we should have the freedom to walk out our purposed life journey with only a concern for who God wants us to be.
To be able to live life to the fullest, without regard to what others say about me is a great feeling.
It's nice to be free from the judgment of others and be able to live for God the way HE wants me to live.
I'm on a journey.
I'm walking towards the vision that God has given me for my life...
And, I feel glad about it!
Can I get an Amen!?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I have been in a state of "transition" in my professional career and personal life. I'm at a point in between where I was and where I'm going to be; if that makes sense.
I am in a phase of action and rest.
I must take the steps to move closer to my destiny, but I almost must rest so I can hear and feel what I'm supposed to do.
In my personal life, I am developing and cultivating a new friendship that has the potential to be a great, long-lasting one. But, still I must move as well as wait; being careful not to confuse myself in the process.
So, what's up with my hair?
Well, I've been wearing my hair in the same styles since becoming fully natural. I've tried various products and stylists. So, I feel that now I've gone as far as my current skill level will take me and I'm in a state of transition with my hair. So, I believe that it's time for me to start to learn how to do more to my OWN hair. I must take the initiative to learn some new styling techniques and develop the patience to allow myself to try and fail.
Thankfully, youtube and blogs like curlynikki and naturalchica are out there to help me. I'll rely on my other natural sisters to teach me.
The last thing I want to happen is to get stuck into a specific way of wearing the natural and losing my creativity and individualism on this journey.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Yesterday, as I talked to my friend Crystal about the current state of her hair, I realized a few things through her hair journey.
Crystal has been natural for over 10 years. So she came into the game before it was a "trend" or movement. Since her first big chop she has worn Afros, twist outs, braids, head wraps, had other big chops and other styles. For much of the past 10 yrs her relationship and treatment of her hair resembled the flow and movement of her life's experiences. One day, I'm sure you will read about some of those in a book OR maybe even a guest post on my blog. (Wink wink).
However, a few yrs ago she moved back home to care for her mother who was in kidney failure (last October she was blessed with a kidney transplant). Well, the verdict is still out on the reason why she experienced it but Crystal found herself in a situation where she was losing hair. Her hair was breaking off and shedding in an unhealthy way. She knew she needed to focus on it and get it to grow again but she was honest with herself. She knew that the combo of everything going on in her life and her lack of desire to actually commit to the work of cultivating her hair was not a good one. So she made the decision to get her first sew-in. She was committed to growth but she was honest with herself about her comfort level of involvement in the process.
Since making that decision last year, she has been wearing sew-ins and making sure her hair and scalp stays clean, moisturized and conditioned. Recently, she got a "fresh" sew-in and she reported to me that her hair has grown and is much healthier.
SN: I was a lil perturbed because she didn't let me see it...
But she said that she's happy about the progress she's made with her hair.
I think her process resembles the process of many of us who want growth. We sometimes see the damage or breakage in certain areas of our lives and we know something must be done. But, we are not honest with ourselves about the level of commitment or involvement we are comfortable with. If we were more honest with ourselves and came up with alternate ideas about how to achieve our desired outcome, we would probably succeed.
I believe Crystal experienced some personal growth from this process as well because she made a point to tell me that in years prior she had not been upfront with herself about her willingness to work with her hair. She would do different things to it and sometimes would just cut it off and start over. But, this time she did something different. She had a goal in mind and she knew what she would and wouldn't do; so she aligned her actions and choices with that. I believe that her expectancy was different this time as well because she knew she was doing something she had never done before.
I have learned a lot from her story of growth and as I continue on my journey I'll be mindful that growth requires honesty and commitment.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The topic came up because when I said hello to Jaymar, the very first thing I noticed was his growing hair and facial hair. I asked him about his "bush" and he said that he is going to grow out his hair (scalp and facial) throughout 2011.
When asked why he made that choice, he said he's on some "new things" and when I asked him to elaborate, he mentioned that his hair was becoming a symbol of strength and that he wants to grow it out. I immediately thought about Samson, in the Bible, who's great spiritual and physical strength was because of his vow to never cut his hair. I became excited for Jaymar because I know that if he is looking at his hair in that way, he's going to experience something awesome from the commitment to grow his hair.
So, then De'Von, who is my close friend, jokingly told him that he should contribute to my blog. However, as he thought about what he was saying, he mentioned that he, too, is growing out his hair and he mentioned two reasons that stood out to me, as I reflected on my personal hair journey.
1. He is growing out his hair in order to change the texture of his hair. He wants to bring out his natural curls. He said he feels more like himself when his hair is longer than when he has a short haircut.
2. He feels like he IS on a hair journey because if his hair is growing, he thinks he should be growing, too.
This made me start to think about my hair journey and how much I could relate to what he said. As my hair grew out, I remember working hard to train my hair and cultivate a new texture. As my hair grew, the texture began to change and my natural curl pattern grew out. This was so symbolic of my spiritual transformation at the time as well, because as my hair was changing, so was I. I was changing "back" to my natural state/personality, that I had lost (or relinquished) throughout my marriage.
I was so excited when De'Von mentioned that he feels like maybe he is on a hair journey. His statement about hair growth = personal growth was so awesome because growth has definitely been a benefit of my hair journey. I have grown personally in so many ways and I can attribute much of that to the connection between my spirit and my hair. As my hair grows and changes, so does my character, professionalism, purpose, friendships, relationships, etc.
I'm so excited for De'Von and Jaymar and I plan to check in with them from time to time. Maybe they will even contribute to the blog and share their journeys with some of the men!!!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Sometimes, we need a refreshing and a little boost in order to remain encouraged as we press towards our destiny.
I just had the best weekend!
I traveled to Atlanta to visit my friend Naja and attend the Bronner Brothers hair show.
Friday evening, Naja and I attended a natural hair meet-up sponsored by CurlyNikki
We were so inspired and encouraged when we saw the widespread diversity within the natural hair community. Truly, natural hair divas has become a culture and there's so much versatility and diversity with styles and personal "swag" options!
My natural hair choice is all about my life's journey and to see so many women embracing the freedom and joy that comes from this choice was EXCITING!
The Bronner Brothers hair show was also a great experience and I have a greater and deeper level of respect for hair stylists. They invest a lot of energy, training and money into making people feel and look good about themselves, and for that I'm appreciative!
One of the best parts about this visit, though, was some great quality time between my friend and I. We've been friends for almost 19 years and we've been through alot with each other. As we get older, it's important for us to maintain and continue to develop our friendship. We're both adults now living very different lives in two different cities, but the bond of friendship goes beyond state borders and marital status.
Naja, this blog post is dedicated to you!
I look forward to continuing our friendship in hopes that we will strengthen, encourage, develop, grow and experience each other in new and different ways!
I love you my sisterfriend!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I am AFRAID!
WOW...that was more difficult than I thought it would be!
I am admitting to everyone (ok, whoever will read this), that I deal with fear!
Why in the world would I be afraid?
I didn't really know how to describe my fear until TODAY after a conversation with a friend and mentor who guided me to this conclusion:
I'm afraid of myself!
I know that doesn't make much sense, but this is what I'm saying...
I'm afraid of the power that is within me!
I'm afraid of the consequences AND responsibilities that come with who I am and who God made me.
I'm afraid of doing the things that I am purposed to do because of what will happen as a result (in my life and the lives of others)...change, growth, empowerment, increased knowledge, new life, joy, wealth, etc.
I'm afraid of myself!
As soon as I started writing this post, I thought about the famous quote by Franklin Roosevelt where he said the "only thing to fear is fear itself" but what in the world does that mean to me?
It means that when I fear I LOSE my power.
So, I should actually fear being afraid because it leaves me powerless.
It keeps me from moving into my purpose and destiny and keeps me in a place of uncertainty, doubt, lack, and despair.
Well, TODAY, I am making the decision to acknowledge the fear and walk away from it.
- I am determined to have the power, love and sound mind that Paul spoke about in the Bible.
- I am determined to stop negative thoughts that keep me from being able to will God's blessings into my life.
Life is a challenging journey...but one assurance that we all have is that it will end.
I don't want to live a life of fear and doubt. I want to leave my mark on this world by living out my purpose and knowing that who I was made a difference to someone.
I will continue this discussion as I fight, pray, and live through it.
If you deal with fear (of anything) and it's holding you back (I'm pretty sure it is) in any way, then I'd challenge you to acknowledge it, name it, then make a decision to either continue to let it follow/lead you or to walk away from it!
NO MORE FEAR!
Friday, February 11, 2011
My Faith Confessions
I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
The Son has set me free. I am free indeed! (John 8:36)
My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Nothing can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
In all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
God is faithful. He will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
My light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me. (Ephesians 3:20)
God is for me! Who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)
Monday, February 7, 2011
I heard a message yesterday and I wanted to blog about it because it stuck with me...
I visited some friends' church yesterday and the pastor preached about The Responsibility of Letting Your Light Shine.
Generally, the message centered around discipleship and being followers of Christ and as we follow Christ our lights will shine for the world to see God in us.
He started out by singing the familiar song, "This Little Light of Mine."
He then proceeded to bring out his points about the parable Jesus used in Matthew about us being lights of the world.
The pastor talked about the science behind light and how light moves in a straight line. He used this as an analogy to say that as children of God, we should live our lives on the straight and narrow and not bend with every problem, discouragement, disappointment, etc.
Also, light exposes darkness and where there is light, there cannot be darkness.
The two cannot exist together. So, when our lights shine in the world, it will expose darkness and there won't be darkness in those places. We show forth God's glory and are able to bring God into places that would otherwise be without Him.
He also talked about how manufactured light has to have a power source in order to operate. Therefore, since we were created by God, then we can only shine with our power source, which is Jesus Christ.
One of the comments that was most memorable during his message was how he used different types of lights to describe the way some of us "shine."
He used and explained the following:
1. Some of us are like Christmas lights...once a year (or a short set period of time), we shine brightly for the whole world to see and then as soon as that time is up, we put our lights away and continue on until the next time.
2. Some of us are like candle lights in that during storms, our lights shine for a time, then when other lights come on, we blow ours out. Or, just like candle light, some of our lights will flicker and waver and easily go out if someone does or says something to put it out.
3. Finally, he compared some of us to flashlights who only allow our lights to shine in emergency situations or someone is in control of how bright our light shines.
He mentioned that, sometimes, insecurity, fear, guilt and shame will cause us to not allow our lights to shine. He said that God is able to restore your "power connection" and cause your light to shine again if only you would reach out to Him.
He challenged and encouraged congregants to be like reflective lights which reflect the glory of God and show Him to a dying world.
While this message was a very familiar theme of encouragement and discipleship, it was still powerful in its simplicity. We often need to be reminded that we are children of God and that we do carry His light within us. Sometimes, people see God in us when we don't see Him ourselves.
I will strive to let my light shine more and allow God to use me in the areas He wants to!
This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine!!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I'd like to utilize my blog to answer some of those questions...
Q: What did I do to transition from my relaxer to my natural hair?
A: When I decided to transition, I was about 4 months into my last relaxer. So I had quite a bit of new growth. At first, I was getting it straightened with a flat iron. I did that off and on for about 4-5 more months. When I didn't get it straightened, I would get roller sets or rod sets.
Then, I began experimenting with twist-outs.
I started two strand twisting my hair and rolling it on the ends (because remember the ends were still relaxed).
I liked the texture of the two strand twist out as opposed to the braid out.
Then, I began to try different products and what I've determined is that you really must see what the texture is of your natural hair and use the appropriate products.
Also, keeping the hair moisturized is very important during transitioning.
Because with 2 different textures of hair on your head, the natural hair can become very dry. Once I had 3 inches of relaxed hair left, I cut it off and got my hair twisted in two strand twists. I wore it like that for a couple of weeks then started my new fully natural journey.
EXPERIMENTATION is the key!
Paying attention to your hair and trying out various products to support the look you want is very helpful.
Do a little research online about products that support growth and moisture during the transition process.
Also, I've heard of people getting braids or weaves as their hair grows out.
Just make sure that you allow the hair to shed because this is a normal part of hair growth.
Your hair must shed in order to make room for the new hair growing in.
Also, your hair grows about 1/2 inch each month. The more you work with your hair and "train" your hair, the more you support normal growth.
Feel free to email me with any questions about specific products or techniques!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
They believe that their life should look differently than the year before or else they really haven't taken full advantage of a new year.
A resolution is the formal expression of an opinion or intention or a determination.
The tone of a resolution is that there is some problem that needs to be solved.
Sometimes, it's difficult for me to view my behaviors or actions as "problems" that need to be solved.
I just like to identify my target goal and align my thoughts and actions to achieve that goal.
Therefore, for 2011, as I've done in previous years, I have set A goal...and it's a simple ONE...GROWTH!
My goal is to experience GROWTH in every area of my life:
How in the world will I achieve growth in each of these areas?
Well, just like the process of growing hair (which grows about 1/2 to 3/4 inch every month), I will have to place attention, care, and effort into the areas I desire to see growth.
When I want my hair to grow, I must keep my scalp clean, comb/brush my hair, obtain regular trims and place care into styling.
In the same manner, I must give attention to my financial life by using more wisdom with how to spend my money, creating a budget for spending and saving, seeking ways to earn additional income to reach my savings goals, pay down debts, and seek out better ways to manage my money.
For relational and social growth, I must cultivate current relationships and establish deeper connections with my family and friends. And, I will put myself in more diverse social environments that will enhance my network and ability to relate to other people.
I could go on with other examples, but I will allow you to think about how to reach growth in various areas of your life.
So, I'll check in often with lessons and reports on my GROWTH this year!
Til next time...
Monday, January 10, 2011
During the winter, your hair and scalp are more susceptible to becoming dry and brittle.
It's important to moisturize and condition the scalp and hair.
Therefore, a deep conditioning treatment or hot oil treatment is something you can do at home. You can purchase deep conditioning packets from the hair supply and drug stores. They're usually between $1.00-$2.00 per packet depending on which brand you purchase.
All you have to do is shampoo your hair normally (using a shampoo that is sulfate free - because sulfates dry the scalp and hair), then once you've rinsed your hair, put in the conditioning packet and place a plastic cap on. You can sit under a hooded dryer for about 10-15 minutes or you can not sit under the dryer for about 30-45 minutes. Then rinse it out.
You will find that it leaves your hair soft and your scalp will be moisturized and less susceptible to dandruff flakes.
AND, men can do this too!
Because real men deep condition!
shout out to De'Von! ;-)
Friday, January 7, 2011
It was one of the biggest, most difficult decisions I've ever made in my life.
I was MARRIED...not just a long-term relationship, but I'd stood in front of God, and my family and friends and made a vow to be with this man til death.
And, since I am a BELIEVER, marriage to me is more than just a sheet of paper.
It is a covenant made between man, woman and God.
It is a partnership where two people agree to live their lives as one in the presence of God with Him being at the center of the relationship.
So, getting a divorce was difficult.
However, there are some things I learned as a result of the entire experience.
During the next year, I plan to share some of those lessons with hopes that you will be inspired and encouraged.
I AM WHO I AM...
So, one of the most important lessons I learned was that I am who I am!
AND, that I actually like who I am AND that there's absolutely nothing wrong with who I am!
So many times, we get into relationships with people who want to change who we are.
They like parts of our personality or they like the way we make them feel, however, they don't really WANT to be with US, as we are.
They have an idea of who they want to be with and instead of finding and being with that person, they try to change the person they're with.
We all have our own unique, God-given personalities.
We all walk differently, we're shaped differently, our hair is different, smiles are different, etc...
So you know if just those small things are different that we have many more characteristics that are different than ones that are common.
It's extremely important to be who we are and not allow anyone or anything to dictate who we should be.
Of course we should constantly want to grow and change for the better, but our natural evolution of self shouldn't happen because we're trying to force ourselves to be something we aren't.
I lived for years trying to do and say everything to please someone else instead of doing and saying what would please God.
It's impossible to make people happy.
There's always going to be something that they don't approve of or wish to change about the way we do or say a thing.
So, it's more important to me, at this point in my life, to live a life which will be pleasing to God.
And even if I mess up, make mistakes or do something that I know He wouldn't be happy with, at least I know I'm living for Him.
I'm not worried about what others think of me...
Because I am who I am!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
But, it's a new year and I'm so extra excited about the possibilities of this year.
I haven't spoken openly about many of the personal challenges I've endured recently, but I feel empowered to do so, now, because I've grown so much in the past 2 years.
I'm no longer worried about what people think of me and how things may "appear" to others.
I'm walking on a path where only what God thinks of me really matters.
Because when all of this is over, He's who we answer to.
So, stay tuned for me to share some of the lessons I've learned over the past few years of my young life!
It's 2011 and I'm soooo excited!!!