The Route Might Be Clear

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I stood at this sign over a month ago. It was one of those fun photos you take when you are on a girl’s trip.  You are on Route 66, the historical highway and it seems like the possibilities are endless. It was fun.

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A month later I am standing on Michigan Ave and I see this sign. Wow.  It didn’t even hit me where I was or how crazy cool it was to there.  I had been invited to an on campus interview at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a graduate program. It was an honor to be there and talk about the possibilities.

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Chicago has a different vibe from the city where I currently live.  There was a moment when it started snowing.  Instead of the panic that insues in my part of the country, folks walked around taking pictures. We walked around taking pictures.

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All of this to say, God has incredible things planned for your life, you just got to Trust Him.  It is God when it is something that you can’t do on your own or with the help of your people.  Where is He leading you in 2018? There is lots of work to do, lets get to it.

 

 

 

 

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Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, I am going to share some African American History moments with you throughout the month.  I love history because it is like a present in a wrapped box. You shake it and think you know what it is. You unwrap it and find out it is something altogether different.  Prepare to learn and be entertained this month.

Black History Month

Each week, I will give away one of my books. the first book, Destiny’s Dilemma, is perfect because it is a historical fiction set in 1912 Fort Worth, Texas. Checkout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on Monday to see how you can win a copy.  There are also copies available if you want to purchase a printed copy for $10.

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Today I learned about an African Latina woman, Anita Scott Coleman.  She was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance, but never lived in Harlem. She lived in New Mexico and California.

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Here is a link to more information about this amazing woman.

http://www.somosenescrito.com/2016/01/afro-hispanic-writer-anita-scott.html

Knowing What You Are Called To Do

Have you ever had someone say something you know, but once they say it it actually becomes clear? What I love about my relationship with God is that  He doesn’t just say something to me, He gives me a full 3D experience to make sure I get it.

The speaker said “We are not called to be successful. We are called to be obedient.”

This word encouraged me to the point I almost shouted right there! God used my whole weekend to make this point.

Sometimes when we are doing things we were called to do we have a goal in mind, but it is not the same goal as God’s.  There is a feeling that if He calls me to it, He is going to make me successful in it. Sometimes all He wants from us is to show up. We assume that He calls us to places to win the big prize or make the big deal.

Saturday started with me finishing last in a 5K.  I mean the very last person to walk across the finish line. When I finally caught up with the police officer  who managed the traffic for the race, I asked if he was afraid I was going to jump on his bike and ask for a ride because he pulled off everytime I got close. He laughed and went on home.  I kept walking. I finished the race. (Now I wasn’t trying to win, but I later learned that I was not called to be successful, just to be obedient.) Somedays it is about us showing up.

2018 5K

No matter how many things are on my agenda for the day I still have to manage my business. Later that evening I sat down with my marketing plan and saw there were some holes in it.  Usually, I would get frustrated and chuck it. I would look for something else or contact a consultant.  But I came to a better understanding that I was not called to be successful, just obedient.  Somedays it is about showing up.

This statement reminds me that God’s plan doesn’t look like man’s plans.  As long as I am obedient, I am moving in the right direction. My obedience is success in God’s plan. You have to learn to listen to God and not all the people around you sending you in the wrong direction.

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Finally, this evening as I was standing in a hallway, I watched a little boy have a melt down while the adults around him didn’t know what to do. The adult in me said leave those people alone, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. But the Holy Spirit who is quite familiar with me, said you know what needs to happen.

So his father put the little boy down after I asked if we could pray.  After seven years as a children’s leader, you know how to listen for the Spirit speaking to you.  You see this morning the pastor taught us that we are all in a struggle and God is waiting to rescue us.  We just have to give Him our struggles.

I don’t know if the little one will understand what we prayed for, but I know that success was not my goal. It was being obedient to the Holy Spirit. The God I love gave me all of these expereinces that mean one thing on earth, but something different in heaven. This will be a year of letting the outcomes go.  You see He didn’t call me to be successful. He called me to be obedient.

1 Samuel 15:22

 

 

 

 

 

15, 16 and 17

Let me warn you now, any good you see in me is really Christ because there is no good in me except for Him.

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15. I did not set out to do this, but as I looked back on it, I have to say I am impressed with God.  I did stuff for others and required nothing in return.  Atleast once a quarter I donated blood or platelets. It may have been more because sometimes  went when they called. But atleast once a quarter I gave so someone else could benefit.  This year I also reached out to my friends and we raised money for a family that adopted 4 children into their family of five.

16.  I learned to do new things on social media.  I started sharing my art on Instagram. It challenges me to see the world differently and use the things I learn. It makes me tell a story in a few shots.

I.love.twitter. There are some of the most wittiest and clever people I have never met. But there are also some of the most stupidiest. I have found hope and joy in the words of others. I have found laughter that almost stops my breathing. And I relish the moments I can join the fight.  There is absolutely nothing like when twitter goes in on a person. ( If they ever go in on you, shut up. Do not respond you will only feed the fire.) i.love.twitter.

 

17. I took some great photos this year and surpassed my goal. There was a good combination of families, individuals and events.  They all made me look good. Thank you.

Doing 17 things that I had not done before was not easy. Sometimes it was really hard to do things differently or step out of my comfort zone. I had to think about what I was doing because it is easy to do the same things you are comfortable with, but what does that really get you.  What new thing are you learning? How are you stretching your current skill set? Since next year ends in 18, there will be 18 different things on my list. I look forward to what the year brings.

I challenge you to look for 18 new things to do next year. As you accomplish these things, take a photo and share it with us.

Peace and Hairgrease.

11, 12, 13 and 14 of my 17

I attended some functions I have not attended in a while and others I had never attended before. Each experience was unique. So one of the things that make all of these special is that I do not like crowds.

11. I attended a comedy show with some of my favorite comedians. I love spending time with my sister and where ever we go, we laugh. And I learned why it had been almost a decade since I did that. The woman who sat next to me was very drunk and didn’t know who most of the comedians were.  And she was smoking.  Some of the comedians were funny, some were just angry.

 

12. I attended Congressman Marc Vessey’s townhall. I learned a lot about how government works, but the most profound thing I learned was that there were jobs available, but few people who wanted to learn the skill set to do the job. Congressman Vessey explained how there were blue collar jobs available but very few wanted to learn the skillset, so many of those jobs went to international workers who were willing to learn the new skill sets and make up to $100,000 a year because Americans turned them down. The room was packed, standing room only. But many of the folk wanted the government to give them something, they did not want to change how they did business, or move or learn something new. They wanted it the way it always was.

Life changes constantly. We can try to make someone or thing stay stagnant to please us.

 

13.  One of the best things I attended this year was Poets In Autumn. It is a Spoken Word Tour that uses a combination of live and recorded performances. I  loved seeing Jackie Hill Perry live!!! It was so encouraging and fun. I was introduced to this new form of performance and it rocked me. I am inspired!

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14. This year a good friend invited me to Propel Women with Christine Caine, Beth Moore and Lisa Harper. It was a great blessing. I had never seen Christine Caine or Lisa Harper live.  I loved hearing Harper’s story of the adoption of her daughter. It was powerful. I enjoyed Christine Caine, but it was so great to see Beth Moore live.  It had been years since I seen her live.

 

This year I got to witness many talented people inform, entertain and inspire me. There were some great moments and not so great moments. But it was all a part of the adventure of life.Go live, learn and be inspired.

 

Peace and Hairgrease.

 

8, 9, and 10 of my 17

Here are some more of the things I accomplished in 2017.

8. I learned to create digital art.  This was not easy nor did it come quickly. I changed colors, added images, deleted images and even created some from scratch. More importantly, I learned to look at it as digital art. I worked with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

What I learned here is that you have to create your own path and don’t get side tracked by what other people can do. Do you.

 

9. At first, I was intimidated at the thought of creating light photography.  And my first few experiments did not work out. But, when it did work out, I loved it. Learning to do this photography was a blast. I enjoyed the experimental aspect of of itand trying to get the light to do what I wanted it to do.

 

10. I learned to photography with an Alien Bees Flash Unit.  This flash creates a flash of light that separates a subject from the background making the image very crisp. But the real learning happened when the Alien Bee didn’t work, but I still needed to created portrait studio quality images.  I learned to manipulate the settings on the camera to give almost the same quality of image. It broadened what I could do photographically.

 

I learned a lot in 2017. It made me a better photog and gave me the opportunity to take some amazing photos.  I also added new depth to my art.  If there is something you are really good at, look for some ways, maybe even unconventional, to add depth to it.  It will allow you to look at the world around you with new eyes.

Peace and Hairgrease

More of My 17 in 2017

Here are more of the 17 things I did this year. This time has a lot to do with broadening my artistic perspective. I learned some new things about myself and added some new skill sets.

5.  I learned how to develop black and white film. I have always been in love with the camera, but the journey to developing film was rough.  My fellow students and I used to joke about the chances of actually getting all of your film to develop correctly.   In the process of putting the roll of film on the reel correctly, then putting it in the right chemical in the right order for the correct amount of time always made it iffy about getting specific images. We learned a lesson in how to make due with what you have.  And a bonus was the sulfuric perfume of the chemicals that clung to your clothes for the rest of the day.

6. So the biggest challenge to making prints for me was fighting my aging body. When you reach a point in life where you need light to see, working in a darkroom can be troublesome.  Finding focus in the dark can be a challenge, but it is all so worth it.  I learned to use an enlarger to make prints from film I developed. It was challenging but expanded what I know about images and tone.

7. the easiest part for me was following instructions. I had never taken a drawing class so it was easy for me to listen to the instructor and do as he said. I did not have years of other instructors in my head telling me to do something different.  The hardest part for me was not being able to erase.  I learned how to draw what I saw, not what I thought I saw.  In meeting this challenged, I learned new things about myself and what I could do.

 

Some of these things were never on my list as things to do.  I am glad i got the opportunity to do them because they have opened up new worlds for me.  I see myself as a different type of artist now. It has been powerful.

In 2018 go find you power.

My 17 in 2017

Because of my friend Bridgette Brown, I set out to do 17 things that I have not done before (or in a long long time).  As I tell you of my accomplishments, I will break this up into several days.

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1. One of the most profound things I did was attend Dave Ramsey’s class on how to manage your money.  This class changed how I viewed money and how I handle it.  I have watched people do all kinds of crazy things with their money and wondered “Why are they doing that?”  Dave Ramsey changed my perspective on money.  And that is the key. God taught me what He sponsors, He pays for.  If you have to jump through major hoops and you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t sign up for it. Don’t do it. God provides for my needs. Not all the other crap I see that I want. I trust Him.

 

2 For the first time ever, I went to a Mardi Gras parade. With my friends and family, we went to Galveston to experience the parade there. It was an adventure for me as we walked pasted houses decorated for Mardi Gras. Some folks had music playing. It was a party atmosphere I had never experienced before. I also got to take cool photos. (It is also the only time I have been that close to the beach and not gone near the water)

3 Breakfast Klub

3 We had breakfast at the Breakfest Klub in Houston. (Uh yeah, we are foodies. We will travel across the country to eat at a restuarant) But if you have been following me long, you know that.

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4  At church they moved me to camera operator (during  the live production!).  It is so funny to me because I always remind them, I can’t see if it is in focus or not. (the struggle with growing older is you get much smarter with age, but your body parts start to break down and not function properly.) Who knew a volunteer position would stretch you? I love being a part of that team.

 

As you get ready for 2018, look at the world around you and ask yourself, how can you participate? How will you get better, learn something you never knew or get better at something you used to know.  Make yourself a list and look for those moments when God opens a door for you to step out of your comfort zone.

I promise you, it will be a blast.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.