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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. 🙂

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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.

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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

Transitions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

(Insert Fireworks, Toasts, Prayers, Fasts, and New Bible/Book Study Here)

WE have entered a new year, thank you Lord, and it could not come with MORE uncertainty. With a new head of state, there are new changes in government. Whether you agree or not, things are changing. New years also signal new seasons for some. (My season actually began changing in December, not January 1st. ) Lots of people resolve to make these huge changes in order to evoke something new. I stop resolving years ago. The resolutions didn’t come to pass. I didn’t take the steps to transition from then to the resolved issue. So you see, it wasn’t the resolution that didn’t work, it was me.

As I mature, if I can say that without giggling with sarcasm, I create goals for myself. While I do have a few annual goals, I much prefer my quarterly milestones. These are check points in order to help me look back on this year and see the actual transition come to its point of completion. I realized while I was encouraging sisters on my facebook page (Seven Days More), I had not created a solid God sized goal for Annlettered (Annlettered Home ). Once I sat down and started putting the dream on paper,  I realized the amount of commitment it would take. It also spurred research in areas that I am not well versed with yet. All of these are positives.

What isn’t positive: CLUTTER. Clutter will cause transitions to fail, schedules to be overbooked, and minds to ache. For example, if I pack my schedule to the brim with commitments, even if I mean well, I have no time for house cleaning, laundry, rest, and tasks that may seem mundane. Life doesn’t mandate that we become awesome in public and neglect the mundane. Once those mundane tasks become obtuse, you have now added more pressure to keep up outside of the home and inside which is in disarray. (This may not be your truth, add your specific situation here.) Just because you are awake 8-18 hours a day – which I often am, it doesn’t mean that you need to schedule every hour! One of my goals, which I didn’t accomplish last year, is to simplify. My schedule, responsibilities, house items, closet items (Can I get an amen here? Anyone clean their closet several times a year, but never see the relief?), and any other area where I feel I am just collecting things and not using them. We have become too loyal to clutter. Be like Elsa, “Let it Go”!

It is the time of transition. A new year. The first month of the year to start practices that can become habits. It requires discipline. It may not feel great in the beginning, but change doesn’t always come with butterflies. Do it now, enjoy it later.

Are there things you plan to change in 2017? I’d love to hear about them. Also, feel free to check out the links. 🙂

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Pink Note, Treble and Bass

It’s been a long time since something could move me to a place of drifting so deep in art

That the hemoglobin in my veins take a back seat to this feeling

This place that I drift in

 wraps itself around me like a strait jacket

Long enough for me to stop fighting and just exist in one with where I am

It envelopes me long enough for me to realize that it’s familiar

I belong here

Justified in the brilliance of notes on staff, I intrude in on the conductor

I am a part of the music, the missing element in the symphony

I have become less of the rest and more of the stem on an eighth note

In conjunction with breathing

I hear

I feel

The music creating a stir in my vocal chords, lost in the beauty of sound

I speak words in tune, not quite singing yet

Some would call it poetry

It’s just the language I speak.

Hope that someone can interpret for the commoners

Or those common to English. This doesn’t have restrictions and rules

It just is.

I just am.

Present in this moment that I am breathing music. I am being music.

The melodic state of being.

Then something hits me.

It is the evolution of a key change. A game changer.

It’s love.

Love can make minor chord clashes seem like symbols

Staccato glitter sprinkled among the staff like the beauty of shattered glass

Reflecting amber light from dawn

It’s a beginning.

Love can color music and paint pictures that even those with untrained eyes can see

Defying logic, love even makes science bearable.

Unapologetic and without permission, it invades space and time

Love is a continuum of life

Opposite of existing, it springs to, in and through all who are willing

For the unable, it disables their ability to analyze until it is acknowledged

This place is familiar because I was created here.

I create here

He who makes beautiful things out of us purposed me for this place

No seatbelts or safety precautions

No limitations of negotiation necessary

I have fallen with no need to feel the foundation of someone else’s ground

I can forever drift here

I can exist here

I can cast my ballot for permanent citizenship in a place where colors burst

From executed staffs that govern many instruments

On the canvas of my eyes and glitters sparkles over the dash

The pace between birth and return

Home.

-PhoenixSole

Special love and adoration sent to a friend whose notes won’t leave my head and the short story “I Wish I Was a Poet” by the late and great Alice Childress. 

Ivy Out.

 

Categories
life

WE are too impressed with right words, rather than right hearts…

#annlettered
#annlettered
I feel like I haven’t posted a blog in a lifetime. I apologize to anyone who has ever come to this blog for peace, comedy, sarcasm, or encouragement. The hiatus came on the heels of a lot of “life”.

Anywho. I have been feeling a lot lately. Is it just me? Not “in my feelings” like some of my friends and I blurt out during sensitive times, but actual feeling. I have been emoting. I have paid attention to the feelings that would consistently rise up. Not because they are supreme in my life, but they usually are a good thermometer for my heart. Emotions are to thermometer as heart is to thermostat. Let that sit with you for a bit. Brew over it like tea.

I had a very intimate conversation with several of my friends, at different times. Birthed from many exchanges, and prematurely inked on paper, I labor at this hour to produce my reunion blog. This is my reunion with my authentic voice. ::clears throat::

I have come to the conclusion that we often are too impressed with people’s right words instead of their right hearts. The biblical picture of this was the day future king David was anointed. Not initially considered for the invitation by his earthly father, David was tending to sheep- his father’s business. A world without social media alerts and instant feedback, David didn’t know he was the reason for the entire experience. Nor did the other human beings in attendance. One by one, David’s brothers were passed in front of the prophet and rejected by God for THIS assignment. It wasn’t the stunning and good-looking one. It wasn’t the next in line in their father’s lineage. It was young David. Not a mature David. Not the Goliath slayer (yet) David. It was young shepherd boy David. David smelled like sheep. It didn’t stop the anointing. God chose David because of his heart. We would later read and celebrate David because he was a man after God’s own heart. This was the same David that was passed over at his own party.

In 2015 we are often deceived by crafty, well thought out, and methodically organized words. After the hamster wheel of “nope”, “not you”, and the proverbial “haven’t I heart this already”, right words can be music to bruised ears. I am reaching here, but I believe both men and women are tired of both itching ears and bruised ones. Bruised ears have been abused with lies, fluff, and the noise pollution that comes from empty plotting people. (Subsequently, it could also come from negative news, social media, and strangers trapped in the friend zone that will never surface in a genuine light because it’s just not in them.) Right words can sound like a soothing balm…unless they are coming from someone with the wrong heart. My words are heavy, but my message is clear.

Your words could be mere lip service if your heart isn’t pure. If your motives aren’t pure, your heart is tainted with schemes, malice, or even disdain. Some people mean you no good. They simply are after what God is doing in you during a particular season. IS this FOR everybody? You can be the judge of that. My message is simply this: watch what you allow in. Filter your existence. Satan was an angel at one point, he knows word too.

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life

Grown Up. Not in age… in wisdom. Wisdom comes from God…

In this place, my default is worship. After realizing that I’ve been complaining about stuff only God can change, I stopped. Waking up and spending more time gathering things for others than self, finding the amazing framing of colors surrounding the dawn sky mesmerizing because only God can paint it that way, I realize that I am truly growing up. 

Not growing perfect. 

Not growing superior. 

Growing up. 

I can almost feel the scolding when I am thinking, walking, or talking wrong. Not that I’m at the “just don’t do it” phase all the time, but I know the chastisement is near. I can also feel the shifts as they roll in. I’ve felt the season changing for a while (blogged about it back in January) and today felt like fresh wind. It had some ups and downs because we now have four school days left, but the highs carried me into tonight’s worship. My alone time with God. It usually starts in the car because of long commutes, but it started in my classroom. I sat down to gather my things and started singing. Now if you know me, really know me, you know I don’t like to draw attention to my voice. However, I posted twelve seconds of this little song service. When I got in my vehicle, I turned on Pandora (to my Tye Tribbett station) and kept on singing. I cried all the way home. I parked and started shuffling in my car seat once I made it to the garage. 

Why am I sharing? Simple. You don’t need an audience of people to worship and praise God. I am NOT against corporate worship, but you should have the kind of relationship with your friend Jesus that you can just go to Him anywhere. IF not friend JESUS, then what about mother or father JESUS, brother JESUS, doctor or lawyer JESUS…. He is what you need. He answers prayers. Seriously. The suddenly type, the not right now type, and the confirm His Will and Word type, Jesus answers prayer. 

The beginning of my evening was just adoring Him. By the time I got home I was crying out to Him. I want Him to know, that I know, that He is my only solution…. He can heal my family. He can better my situation. He can direct my life. He can improve certain things about my job. He can FIX ME. He can… insert what you need the Lord to do. Just seriously bring it to Him. Unload it at your worship place. Let it all go into the hands of the Master. 

walk away lighter. 

Great Night.

ivy out.

Categories
life

Reflections with a cape…

I re-read my first year’s worth of blogs (yay, for growth!). I can honestly say, it was a great time to see some of those words again. The impact was undeniable, especially when you encounter words like these:

“Never assume the strong are invincible.”

There is no real super man/woman/girl/boy on earth. I, like many others enjoyed watching the popular television shows, cartoons, and movies that depicted the super heroes in their various spotlights. We are familiar with being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound as a trait of a super hero, but I’d like to submit an addendum. “Able to pray through battles and before complaints,’ as a champion trait. 

Strong doesn’t mean invincible nor is it impossible. It does however speak to an overcomer. No one has ever been deemed strong without first showing some sign. 

 

My prayer right now is for the renewing of those who grow weary from being strong. You do not labor in vain. Stay the course. I love you, and so does the Master Coach! 

Ivy Out

 

 

Categories
life

What if…

Earlier this week, while reading my Nehemiah Bible Study, I was hit by a sentence. I posted my reaction on Facebook in the form of a question. This week I leave that question with you: 

“What if your knee-jerk reaction was to trust God?”

I am not jeering at anyone. I am training myself to build the discipline of “praying first, not in reaction to”. I doubt highly that every believer is at the same stage in their walk with Christ. However, ponder for a second, what would be different in your life, and those you are connected to, if your first reaction was to trust God?

 

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Mental Attacks….

Image

Sleep is supposed to be peaceful, right? Rest is good for your body, blah-blah-blah.

I don’t really mean that, I just need you to feel my sarcasm though the blog. (insert hilarious giggle) Last night, I had another nightmare. In this nightmare, There was an evil presence in my house. I couldn’t say “JESUS”. It wouldn’t leave my lips. So on the inside I screamed it. I almost rolled off my bed (or that’s the feeling I had). I ended up downstairs and stuff was wrong. For a moment, I was paralyzed with fear. Then I remembered something. We have authority to tell the enemy to flee! That’s when the tables turned. Not only did I say Jesus, I told the enemy to LEAVE MY HOUSE. I was very specific. 

I said all of that to say this to you, YOU HAVE AUTHORITY!! When you feel attacked, speak the WORD. Jesus overcame satan’s attack by speaking the word of God. You too can speak the word and demand that the enemy flee. 

Attacks will come, but you don’t have to crumble in fear. Stand on faith and speak the truth. 

 

Ivy Out