Categories
life

Documented.

What makes you want to get up in the morning? What makes going to bed tired, whenever that is, worth it?

How much longer shall we punch the time clock of life while living casually?

I saw an almost wreck today. I immediately began to thank God that I wasn’t looking at the aftermath of the red light the jeep disregarded. Life can change THAT fast. It is not going to ask your permission. It is not going to wait for you to hit the breaks on bad decisions, or accelerate the good ones. Time is going to continue to push forward. What you do with the time you have, is up to you.

To me, living life without faith is like driving to an undisclosed location, without gps, full speed ahead.

You can argue with a lot of things, but that analogy should at least make you think.

What would you tell your child if you gave them instructions to go to the store, gave them your debit card and keys, but never gave them the directions to the store. Landmarks only work if they can be recognized.

2019 reminded me of some lessons I learned the hard way. I bought some really nice pieces, but sacrificed somethings I shouldn’t have. I sold some art, but not as much as I liked. I sold more t-shirts that I thought I would, but I didn’t track progressions like I know to. I said good bye to some people I wish I wouldn’t have had to. Longed for someone I shouldn’t have. I got up to preach and felt the weight of the failure – even though some got blessed by it. I produced poems that hit home for me, and me alone.

But I did it all.

I said the things.

I apologized – because you can not call yourself mature if you refuse to own when you mess up.

I said more hello’s to new people.

I was triggered by social media, and podcasts, and memories, and one particular therapy client.

Somewhere some good things happened.

Noir Bella Project expanded into a weekend retreat. I had one art show – and I am sooo grateful for that. I laid the groundwork for CONCRETE GLASS. I started teaching my 11th class of middle school readers. And for the life of me, I think there are more things… they don’t jump out at me.

But that’s how this goes. The negatives stick out more. They always do. So… let’s develop them. Helping people drives me. I seem to have diversified how I do it, but I now recognize that I have been walking in that since I was a little girl. I get to do it internationally soon. Stoked.

I was going to wait until Christmas to release my Reflect and Reset document… but I think I’ll release it earlier than expected. JUST NOT TODAY.

It will be a free document to guide you down memory lane. I believe strongly that you shouldn’t start a new year until you finish the one you are in. So before you crack open the 2020 calendars (except for the folks who are already #bookedandbusy and have 2020 dates already 😉 ), let’s wrap up what we have done, seen, and memories established in dear old 2019.

Will you be back to download the document? It’s free. Will you share this one with friends? If they subscribe now, they will get the notification as soon as it comes out – just like you.

Sharing is caring. Commenting helps too.

This almost ten year blog needs to connect with some new people. Help me do that. That part is free too.

Categories
life

When all else fails, learn.

No one likes to lose. Seriously, let’s be honest. When we put effort behind something and then it doesn’t work out the way you envisioned it, it’s the anvil that weighs you down. There’s just this little nagging truth. We learn a great deal when we lose.

Go ahead. Get mad at me. I knew it would happen. It’s not me, it’s the truth.

When I think about my 2019 I have two overwhelming feelings. One, I made some decisions that didn’t work. As in, I was warned and didn’t heed the warning. So, when these decisions didn’t end well for me… it hurt twice as bad. However, it forced me to reevaluate my thought process. It made me look at what my decisions prompted. Honestly, I am grateful for the thought interrupt. It was a detour that I needed to comprehend now. I don’t want to get to 2025 and have the same outcome. The only way to change the outcome is to change the actions and thoughts that got me there.

The second overwhelming feeling I have is GRATITUDE. I don’t look like what I have been through. Sincerely, most of the battles I fought were not plastered publicly. I doubt many of them were easily identifiable, even to the people closest to me. I had to reevaluate how I viewed my friends AND me as a friend.

PAUSE.

Me, as a friend. It is very easy to become critical of the people you call friend based on what they do or don’t do. It’s another thing to look at one’s self and give that same energy. I had to realize that I don’t pick up the phone and call people like I should. Over the years, I think texting and social media became my cop-out way of checking on people. Then, when people began to institute digital wellness (i.e. logging off and really perfecting face (2 face) time…) then I lost connection. Not because feelings were lost, but because my cop out was tapped out. (Insert me waving a white flag) The other culprit, change of environment. Two years ago I changed churches. That seems like a big deal to some…because…black people don’t often change churches. Those who regularly attend and serve become loyal to the building as if God isn’t present in others. Yes, church sarcasm. You’ll be ok. I am saying what some won’t. I still love my old church, but God told me to move on. I am super glad I did. What I was worried about, was staying connected to those I used to see weekly. I can admit that the connections aren’t the same, but I haven’t lost them. I just have to work harder to speak to them, since we don’t conveniently see each other weekly.

THERE’S THE REVELATION FOLKS… SHIPS are WORK. Friendship, Relationship, and any other ship that involves interaction and connection between two or more individuals. Even staying digitally connected to my blog audience is a struggle some times. Not because I don’t want to. The desire is ALWAYS present. My schedule, clear thoughts, planning and execution… those things don’t always align. Attached to the revelation is the fear that maybe I don’t measure up as a friend. Maybe I don’t reach out enough. Did something major happen and I missed it? Was I there when they needed me? Half the battle is showing up, did I? This is less about if it was noticed and more about the intention.

Hindsight is plenty clear. While I know I have some work to do, I did set out to be intentional about my connections about a year ago. Loosing #superdad in 2015 reminded me how precious life is. It put some of life’s great and horrible moments in perspective like a permanent contact lens. I am grateful for grace and mercy and friends that extend that to me. I then also extend that to them. I don’t think I am the only one who needs to work on intentional connections, re-connections, or learning when to let “well enough” be enough. Some people are good and just NOT going with you into your next season.

Say it with me friends, “Just let them go”. I know. I’ll be the bad guy for the truth. We have to honor seasons. Believe it or not, they change without your permission. Some of the people who were closest to you in previous seasons will not be adding your to their Christmas card list. (Non-Shameless Plug… want custom Christmas Cards handmade for your circle> email annlettered@gmail.com , you can also check out work on annlettered.com and http://www.instagram.com/annlettered ) When the calls stop, the texts diminish, and the face time is non-existent, say a prayer for their good and move ON. Not because you dislike them or harbor ill will, the page turned. The page WILL turn on some people. It’s ok. LEARN.

The loudest lessons this year were taught when I fell, cried, prayed, screamed, and just went to sleep because at the time… that’s all I could do. I don’t profess to have all the answers. I wouldn’t want that burden anyway. I do know how to pray. When people connect with me for prayer – I take that seriously. The mess ups prompt me to pray too. Urgent and Life altering prayers like… “fix it Jesus” and “I surrender Lord”. I know that when I mess up, my default is shifting to JESUS. I know that not every amazing event will include space for me – but that doesn’t change the fact that the event is dope. Not being included used to make me feel some kind of way… one of those lessons showed me that it’s usually not anything personal. So, I learned.

Some won’t like this. That’s ok too. Welcome to Andonnia.com. Some of the opinions of the author will not be accepted as general consensus. It’s supposed to be that way.. group think doesn’t go with my heart. (get it.. this (insert thing) doesn’t go with my outfit… )

When you don’t win, you learn. You should. Reflect and grow. Tis the season.

Ivy Out.

Categories
life

One Minute Truth

I just wanted to pop in and remind anyone who needs to read truth today… Your pace isn’t set by what someone else is doing. As a matter of fact, they can be doing the exact thing YOU are doing and still not be competition for you. God is not a man that He should lie. Each of us has a purpose, gift(s), and a set time. Continue to keep your eyes on the One whose command even the winds obey. Take your eyes off of others, unless it’s to love and celebrate them (or correct IN LOVE).

Competition is the enemy of Greatness and the death of progress. Compliments and Grace take one much farther. No, I don’t mean to shell out compliments with zero integrity, because kindness isn’t fake niceness, but complimentary living. There are those in your life that fit in this season. You all either grow and groom or nurture and push each other forward. These are your people in this season. Don’t neglect that. Above all things, solidify and nurture your relationship with God. Many people seek external sources to figure out why they are on earth… why not go to the one who sent you?

Be Encouraged. You were equipped for today.

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Truth at Almost 36

There are seasons in life where you feel like every challenge that comes up in your life is PERSONAL.

I know, I know, this is where you tell me don’t take anything personally, right?

Well, I did.

Insert the “I am getting older again reflection hamster wheel….” I should really have a zillion hyphens in the midst of those words, but not today. Anti-hyphen blog.  Just jokes, laugh at my sarcasm, ok? Or at least, laugh in sympathy.

But this was different.

I will be thirty six in 18.5 days. That’s crazy. I feel like I just turned 35. As I mature in age, like fine wine might I add, I realize there is a cycle of what have I done with my life type questioning. Are you following, with my missing hyphens and all?

Sometimes I feel like I have accomplished NOTHING at all, other times I marvel at what I have been blessed to accomplish. You see, when these feelings come up, the pendulum decides how I categorize them. Am I by myself?

If I am “feeling” blessed that day.. then I get excited and count my blessings. If I am “feeling” down that day, I am counting my hit and misses. Which honestly, are all lessons. Lessons teach more than victories do, but Lord keep sending the victories!

I really felt like I should have blogged months ago. But I couldn’t. Today, I must. Nothing is random. I believe the reflective thoughts we have allow us to shift our perspective. I can recognize areas of growth. I pray ALL DAY LONG. Not the long drawn out sweat and tarry prayers…but sometimes a quick “fix it Jesus” or “Lord please help me”. I find myself surrendering more – thanking God for the split second saves that seem to stand out more to me. Are you familiar with the Reticular Activating System (RAS)? The RAS makes sure to filter out unwanted or unneeded info – so when someone says you are a non-factor…they are basically acting as a RAS lol. It’s also the reason why the minute something is fresh on your mind/heart you notice it EVERYWHERE. Well, I having been sharing a concept that is a reality for me.

“WHEN LIFE HAPPENS, LOOK FOR THE GOOD. When you can’t find the GOOD, look for the GOD moment.” – #andonniaspeaks

I wish I could claim some mammoth check for the value of that truth, but alas I cannot. It’s just FACTS. We are quick to quote Romans 8:28 but let’s highlight ONE word… ALL. That means not everything that you will encounter feels good. Insert adult pout. However comma ALL things work for my GOOD. Secondly, wilderness seasons have a place. What we can frequently call a wilderness season may in fact be a wellness oasis. Perspective people.

What are you talking about Andonnia?

I’m glad you asked.

When Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, and was tempted, he was AWAY.

The children of Israel had to travel to get to the promised land, and all though they prolonged their stay, they had to travel AWAY from the others.

John the Baptist was prepared in the wilderness AWAY from others until it was time.

Maybe God is preparing you AWAY from the noise. AWAY from people who are not your assignment. Maybe, God has your next around the corner, but you have to submit to your now. Any by you, I really mean me. You see, when we find value in where we are…it doesn’t hurt AS bad. The pain of the process is relative. As children, when gift giving holidays came up, we didn’t mind waiting because there was a calendar date attached to the expectation. As adults, we don’t mind waiting as long as there is an expected delivery date. Just because we don’t know the date doesn’t mean THE GIFT isn’t coming. THAT is the key!

I don’t know what your gift is. But I hope you take this season VERY PERSONALLY. I hope you personally improve. I hope you personally grow. And I pray you are PERSONALLY rewarded for your obedience in your NOW.

P.S. I did a thing… https://andonnia.wixsite.com/andonniaspeaks/she-speaks

Additional P.S. – to hear the last message God gave me to preach -> https://youtu.be/fZ3wtUFzPh8

I love you, and there isn’t nothing you can do about it.

IVY OUT. #andonniaspeaks

Categories
life

19 years ago today…

Well not to date, but to Holiday, my life changed. I referenced it in my sermon from April 14, 2019. To understand -> watch here

What changed? Five cities would have been one less citizen. SHSU would be one organization lighter – Adopt A Heart. The Theta Epsilon Chapter would have had 11 not 12 new members in Fall 2004. Alpha Alpha Eta Omega would have chartered with 70 not 71 members. 1,000 students in three districts in the Houston would have missed the USM experience. Several friendships, relationships, and business partnerships would have never formed. And how was I reminded? This song came on my pandora playlist today ->I Told The Storm

This is how the Lord got my attention that day. I am grateful He did.

Purpose doesn’t disappear because troubles appear… it just grows deeper into your being. Upon a little research one might read that under ideal conditions, tree tap roots can grow down twenty feet deep. The tap root stabilizes the tree. Your purpose… is your tap root. What you do with that… is where you bear fruit. 🌳

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Overcoming Overwhelm

Inhale. Exhale. Tear up. Pray. Inhale Young Living Essential oil. Prayed some more.

This was today. This IS today. Today I needed breathing, prayer, faith reminders, essential oils, and a powerful few people in my support system. This is NOT a dress rehearsal. This is life. Life has this powerful way of reminding you how “small” you are. However, my God is not small at all. God is infinite and mighty! I needed to anchor to that reality. I needed to surrender all of my worry, anxiety, and failure thoughts to the God of infinity. I needed to lean on the BIGNESS OF GOD today. Prior to that reality, I was staring up at a mountain.

                        Comprehensive exam approaches in exactly 5 weeks, or 38 days, or 912 hours.

                        Work – STAAR approaches in about 7 weeks.

                        Semester assignments are due weekly – Friday before Midnight

                        Ministry – No End Ever! (Whatever you do for CHRIST will LAST)

                        Art – Concrete Glass, Personal Inventory- Ongoing Passion Business

                        Sorority – Life Commitments…but I have reduced immediate demands

                        Notice…these aren’t even the “because I want to things”

            Finances… I legit had all kinds of brainstorming blurbs about how to find a way to earn more time back and not lose income/benefits. No real hits here. Lol

So yes… this was the mountain, that might as well be Kilimanjaro.

How-and-ever… I had to say out loud – I believe either God will give me wings or dynamite. Either I am going over the mountain or through it. It’s not for me to figure out. I am putting this back on GOD ALMIGHTY. Big God… HELP! That is my prayer. I can’t spend hours more under the weight of what my two hands can’t move. Oh, but I can pray-breathe-be encouraged-read my Bible-listen to music-bust a move-and re-center myself.

“Where are you RIGHT now Andonnia?”

“What can you control Andonnia?”

“What is the NEXT step?”

Who did I call first? Someone currently victorious in his doctoral program. He encouraged me and reminded me that it’s not for everyone. He reminded me that I am equipped. He reminded me to put up my affirmations and to read them.

Who did I speak to later? Someone who has already beat the Doctoral beast. She reminded me that my thoughts are not estranged. She spoke life to and in me. She told me the discomfort meant I am doing something.

**BECAUSE YOU NEED PEOPLE TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. **

You will lie to You. Yes, I said it. You will speak failure and defeat if that’s what you feel in that moment. IT IS A LIE. You need people around you that will speak life.

You know what shocked me? She said I held it well. I did not think so initially. However, I am grateful that people see the God in me and not just my broken moments. I post them too… see Instagram post a few days ago. Yet, to have someone who interacts with me on a regular basis say that I am holding it together gave me hope. I encourage others from that place. Insert 2 Corinthians 1:4. I don’t encourage and empower because I have this perfect life.

I AM A CHILD OF GRACE AND MERCY.

I can tell a sister to keep going because I had to learn that message myself. And when my voice isn’t enough, someone in my circle reminds me. When it gets overwhelming, and it will at some point, pull out your tools. PRAY – this is calling on your HEAVENLY HELP! Breathe. Read Scripture. Grab the calming essential oil (If you want information about how/why I use them, reply in a comment and we can talk off-line). CALL YOUR EARTHLY HELP. Know that no one person on this earth has it all together all of the time. We are human-becomings. We are growing through. I know I am.

Inhale. Exhale. Take the next step. Even if that is going to bed.

IVY OUT.

Categories
life

BEautiful BEginnings BEgin with YOU

Blonde Curls. Photo taken by iPoeticPhotography. Andonnia 2017.

Happy 2019! No time like the present to acknowledge that we have victoriously walked into another year.

No. I am not lacing that statement with sarcasm. As I write this, with a lot of things on a “to do right now” list, I am grateful. I can acknowledge that my 2018 did not go the way I wanted to go. I can accept that all of my decisions were not the greatest. Yup, because in order to grow, one has to acknowledge “STUFF”. That does not mean that each of those decisions felt great. However, they happened. The past is static… it doesn’t change.

Then… AFTER acknowledging and praying about the things that rocked my life last year, I can celebrate all of the blessings. NEVER forget to put a spotlight of gratitude on your blessings. That is an area many fail at. We highlight the negatives and forget to “develop” the positives. I was blessed to start working at a new campus (cue gas savings), One class made top 10 in the district for growth in reading level )*insert happy dance*, I met amazing people, I was honored as one of the first WOMEN OF W.E.A.R.T.H. awardees, I preached three Sunday sermons, I spoke at Black Girl Mixtape Houston AND a young girl’s conference, I facilitated the Noir Bella Project 2018, I mentored and was mentored, I traveled to Trinidad and Tobago for the first time, and I created a lot of art. There is probably more, but as we speak… one of my teacher responsibilities is pressing on me to watch the clock.

Blonde Fade. Self Love. My Choice.

I also went back to blonde and got a fade. I didn’t have to ask permission, it was my choice. I LOVE IT. Sometimes, we second guess what we want because of what others will think. Once I made up in my mind and heart, talked to the Lord AKA prayed, it was settled. I told my barber we were taking it off. I called my colorist and said I was going back to blonde. We actually went through a couple of shades of blonde to get here. This is home. As an artist, I feel better when I acknowledge my quirks. I love being able to express them.

I am also about 30 pounds lighter. I made a decision in July 2018 to pick up the discipline to change. A friend of mine agreed to coach me through her method of keto and I started. I didn’t announce the decision… I didn’t know if it would work. I also think I talk too much. THERE, I said it. I’ve learned to listen more. To observe more. To let results show up before my voice did. I’ve morphed from extrovert to ambivert. I rather enjoy that. I enjoy my voice, but not at the expense of hearing others out. This growth thing has something to it, ya know?

I still have my art business… Annlettered -> http://www.annlettered.com

Annlettered Stationery
Hand-lettered Calligraphy
Hand Lettered Stationery
New Valentine’s Day Card designed by Annlettered now available at http://www.lasercutco.com

I also charted a graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha last June. Our chapter, Alpha Alpha Eta Omega, is very special to me. The sisters are warm and supportive, and serving along side them is a treat!

“I am blessed. All of my needs are met. I am receiving my hearts desires in JESUS’ name, and it’s happening RIGHT NOW!” Growing up, Reverend (Dr.) Linden taught us this proclamation. We said it every week before offering. As an adult, it comes back to me. It’s timely. Speak it over your 2019. Write it down. Carry it in your heart. Let it bubble up when doubt comes to steal your joy. CANCEL ALL JOY KILLERS in 2019. Hold fast to the gratitude spotlight in your life. Excel. Acknowledge. Grow.

Forever grateful that somewhere in the six years that I ‘ve been blogging, you’ve joined the party. IF someone shared this with you.. you can subscribe and get a notification when I post. I promise not to fill your inbox. My goal is to post 12-24 times this year. See? Not a whole lot.

With ALL Sincerity –IVY OUT

Categories
life

Truth Serum

How long will it take you to acknowledge the truth about your journey? Here it is: Your errors won’t cancel out your purpose.

That’s all I have.

Forever love,

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Single, single

So… I am a 35-year-old Black Christian Woman. I have never been married or engaged and the only “child” I have is my dog Phoenix. He has health insurance and doctor visits – he is my fur child. I have two degrees and one in progress. I have a home and a vehicle.

Why the demographics?

Because when I do encounter men (which isn’t as often as some think), there are two assumptions that pop out. “You’re either crazy” or “You are damaged”. Or by a few of my brethren I’ve gotten “You intimidate men”. I think the latter is a lie. A man shouldn’t be intimidated by a woman. I am not here to do anyone harm. Now, people’s personal experiences may not allow them to believe that initially… but its true. I have encountered amazing men in my past… but none were assigned to stay… because I am Single, Single. Seriously… not attached (hypothetically or realistically). No, its not by choice. Yes, I have standards… no its not an impossible list I wouldn’t stand up to myself. I am a work in progress… so ultimately I expect “him” to be as well.

So why the blog:

Christian Married People:

1) Be Careful How You Encourage.

Sometimes I cringe on the inside when people begin to “encourage” me in my singleness and then return to their married homes. It can even sting when people don’t realize its a lot easier to speak on the subject, quote scriptures, and give testimonies once you are in the next season. The Holiday season is rolling in. You don’t have deal with the “not married or dating questionnaire” from family and friends. You may have your own set of children issues… but you don’t have to live in proverbial Auntie-Land. No complaints… just stating the facts.

2) I need your prayers and not your sympathy.

Single doesn’t equate desperate. Which means I may not be dating… but I won’t just date anybody. Did you do that? (Don’t answer out loud… andonnia.com wont receive any counseling bills after this post!) BOAZ isn’t for me. While he was a redeemer.. guy was old. I need my husband to help me raise our family. Go ahead… look that up. Obed wasn’t out playing catch with dad. Instead of feeling sorry for me… pray that in due season God will allow me to be seen. Really seen-> heart>body. Because the prayers of the righteous avails right?

3) Don’t belittle your marriage or spouse by telling me to enjoy this season because you are going through.

Neither season is without woes. And while we do need to be content in each season… why would you devalue the institution because of a temporary situation? I won’t stop desiring marriage because yours is in turmoil – I will pray for you though. The prayers of the righteous…

4) Don’t attempt to diagnose me!

“If you change _____ you won’t be single”

“If you just wear a little makeup…”

“If you stop wearing too much makeup…”

“If you loose a little weight…”

“If you…”

STOP THIS!

Each of us has an appointed time. I can’t be too much of anything for the right one. There are people on both sides of my current weight that are happily married. There are makeup artists who will drag out a face -> and are happily married. There is an exception for every rule. Your prescription won’t make “Him” manifest. Please see previous suggestion -> pray for me.

Finally, know that while I wait… my prayer is that I wait well. I am constantly working on myself. I am praying. Join me.

With my entire sincere heart…

Ivy Out

Categories
life

It’s HARD

So… I ran across this post on Pinterest. And… while I agree with the message, my spirit through a small fit. UNCERTAINTY is hard. It’s frustrating. It’s unnerving. It’s (insert adjective here), but it’s required for faith. Faith is BELIEVING what you DON’T see. It’s trusting that the God who knows all of your tomorrow’s before you do, knows this too.

So when it gets hard, remember who’s in control. He’s got you and me in his hands!

IVY OUT