Categories
life

In the Shadow of HIS light.

This is a woman who has made many mistakes. This is a woman who has celebrated lots of victories. This is a woman who asks a million questions. This is a woman who appreciates healing. This is a woman who cried, TODAY. This is a woman who has been poured into. This is a woman who pours out.

This entire blog was inspired by two things.

One: The life of Dr. Lois Evans.

I never got to meet her in person, but I met several people that she personally impacted. I thought I would get to meet her at Chrystal Evans Hurst’s Sister Circle Retreat – https://chrystalevanshurst.com/sister-circle-retreat/ which was AMAZING, but she was unable to attend. While she couldn’t attend, she spoke to us via phone several times. Even in the fight of her life, she was encouraging us. I CRIED EACH TIME. You see cancer has plowed through my family as well. When I watched my SUPERDAD fight it, I worked REALLY hard to life faith first. Even when I knew God was going to call him home. Today, after avoiding it for as long as I could, I listed to the video of Dr. Tony Evans preaching the eulogy. I think I cried through almost all of it. I cried because I hurt for them and I cried because I remembered my pain. Cried because when he said she saw her parents, I remembered my dad telling me my grandmother and cousins had come. I cried because she kept the faith and stayed connected to God until she went to Glory and so had SUPERDAD. I cried because no one is immune to pain. One thing that stood out to me the most was just HOW impactful she is. She lived well. So help me God, I want someone to be able to say that about me when it’s my time to go. Dr. Evans spoke of how Paul fought the good fight, how Sis. Evans fought the good fight, and how if we are going to fight… it need be a good one. How much of the weight I hold has been carrying things that did not equate to a good fight? I am crying while typing… but it’s a slow sweet cry. I marvel at this woman who’s life is poured out as sheer magnificence. I remember videos that her daughters and granddaughter posted. Such a rich legacy of a woman who dedicated her life FOR HIS GLORY. To what honor do you give a woman, who even through a third party touch, has inspired you so? Real questions that need answers.

The Second: the shadow effect of this selfie.

Direct your attention to the only picture that will be posted with this blog. When you are directly in alignment with the sun, there is a shadow that is cast over you. The artist in me sees metaphors in a beautiful way. Lord let me align with your Light in such as way that I am a shadow of You. I want to face into HIM in a way that it’s no longer about personal glory, but His light and His glory in me. Through me. Any great thing I do, let it point back to HIM. Abba. God the Father, God the Son – Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.

January can trigger a lot for a lot of people. I pray it renews a drive to seek after Him. A match that lights a fire for Christ that is redeeming in nature. While I am a well-dressed-mess, weird – and proud to be it, creative and quirky, passionate and purpose driven..I am a child of the Most High. Child- like inquisitive nature, question and answer seeking, and apologetic in my issues. I am no where near perfect. I don’t care to be perfect. In my humanity I relate to those I encounter – my sisters and brothers. I LOVE PEOPLE. I really do love people. Differences and Similarities. Cultures and Languages. The amazing gems of humanity are a plus in my book! Yet, I am also greatly annoyed by the choices of some people. I read somewhere… the people who are the hardest to love need love the most.

If I have to be in a shadow, I pray its in the Brilliant light of Christ. I pray that I live well, love well, and serve well. I pray you do too.

Ivy Out – #AuthenticallyAndonnia #andonniaspeaks

*As with any post, If you enjoy it, please comment and let me know your thoughts. I would love your respectful rebuttals as well. Feel free to comment, life, and subscribe. Sharing is caring. šŸ™‚

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 šŸ˜‰ ), 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.